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Author Topic: How does one come to know that Christianity is true?  (Read 10018 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 17, 2009, 07:02:53 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 08:42:00 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?
Praxis, not theoria.
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 10:17:00 AM »

About the existence of the Creator, I am sure know. It's all simply logic, the first cause et cetera.

As for Christianity, I just trust it that the Gospels are not some kind of conspiracy created by Zionists.
Concerning the branches of Christianity? Well, the rest have gone wrong and anti-Biblical, while the Orthodox are still correct.

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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 10:45:32 AM »

Actually, lulling people into believing that the Gospels are not a "Zionist conspiracy" is... a Zionist conspiracy.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 11:12:39 AM »


Can't you "feel" it?

Don't you come from Liturgy feeling energized and filled with gratefulness?

Other faiths "look" for something to believe in, yet, they are in truth empty.

Islam - they do not have a "close" relationship with their god.  To them he is distant and filled with retribution. 
Hinduism - while they preach peace and love for all creation...they are also misled.  They hold creation in such high respect that they have missed the true Creator. 
This is true of all other, non-Christian faiths (even many so called "Christian" denominations).

Even Judaism, which is the foundation of Christianity, is misled.  They still await the Messiah, when He has already come and gone.  They are not fulfilled.

Every other faith is "empty".


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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 12:03:14 PM »

Praxis, not theoria.

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 01:10:02 PM »


Can't you "feel" it?

What if other people do not feel the same thing from the same liturgy that you do? 

I do not mean any disrespect, but "feeling" would seem to be to make it subjective to individual people.  What if that "feeling" is lost?  Does that make the previous feeling incorrect or a mistake?  There have been people who have gone from one Church to another and from one religion to another because the feelings of surety, of excitement, that where they were was the "Right" one eventually fade and they decide that it must be wrong or they would feel that way all the time.  So they seek another.

C. S. Lewis wrote of the "dry times" or "troughs" when such good feelings and satisfaction may not be present.  One place was in the Screwtape Letters

Quote
Don't you come from Liturgy feeling energized and filled with gratefulness?

I have felt that after Anglican services.  I have been to a number of EO services and have not experienced the same thing.  I

Quote
Other faiths "look" for something to believe in, yet, they are in truth empty.

Islam - they do not have a "close" relationship with their god.  To them he is distant and filled with retribution. 
Hinduism - while they preach peace and love for all creation...they are also misled.  They hold creation in such high respect that they have missed the true Creator. 
This is true of all other, non-Christian faiths (even many so called "Christian" denominations).

Even Judaism, which is the foundation of Christianity, is misled.  They still await the Messiah, when He has already come and gone.  They are not fulfilled.

Every other faith is "empty".

Have you ever been or known well a practicing, believing Muslim or Jew or Hindu?  How do you *know* that they do not have a "close" relationship?  How do you know that they are "empty" or not "fulfilled"?    This is a very sweeping statement that, I submit, does not touch on the experiences of other human beings who follow other religions besides Christianity. 

Reading such works as those of Rumi or other sufi poets (Muslim) or some by Mirabai (Hindu) show very deep feelings and no "emptiness" in their faith. 

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 01:37:00 PM »


Actually I am well acquainted with Muslims and Hindus, both.  Have been friends with them for a number of years.

One of my closest friends is a Muslim.  Very devout family.  Follow their faith to the letter.  Strictly been fasting this month of Ramadan. 
However, I find that when we discuss our faiths, theirs simply (appears to me) not to have the "depth" of Christianity.
To them God is a distant figure.  They are often preoccupied with placating Him.  He is someone they worship, and yet "don't know".
"Don't know" in a sense that they do not have the close relationship that Christians have with Christ.
For them God has not been incarnated, has not come to save mankind.   

Again, this is my own personal experience and I do not mean to offend anyone.

I "know" that Christianity is true....sometimes things simply can't be proven.

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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2009, 01:52:39 PM »

Praxis, not theoria.

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.
So its more or an existential epistemology?
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 01:53:25 PM »


Actually I am well acquainted with Muslims and Hindus, both.  Have been friends with them for a number of years.

One of my closest friends is a Muslim.  Very devout family.  Follow their faith to the letter.  Strictly been fasting this month of Ramadan. 
However, I find that when we discuss our faiths, theirs simply (appears to me) not to have the "depth" of Christianity.
To them God is a distant figure.  They are often preoccupied with placating Him.  He is someone they worship, and yet "don't know".
"Don't know" in a sense that they do not have the close relationship that Christians have with Christ.
For them God has not been incarnated, has not come to save mankind.   

Again, this is my own personal experience and I do not mean to offend anyone.

I "know" that Christianity is true....sometimes things simply can't be proven.


So we can know Christianity is true based on perception?
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2009, 02:01:52 PM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.





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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2009, 08:47:45 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?

Can we ever really know this? Don't we need to acknowledge that there is a difference between knowing and believing? While I'm not belittling anyone's faith, I do accept that my belief in God's existence and Christianity is conditioned by many things.
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2009, 09:58:48 PM »

Grace and Peace,

By a 'first-hand' encounter with the divine Godhead. Nothing short of that is ultimately going to be a certainty.
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2009, 10:34:59 PM »

"He who comes to Me shall not hunger.
He who believes in Me shall not thirst."

Tried and true words.
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2009, 10:58:13 AM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.






So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2009, 10:58:55 AM »

"He who comes to Me shall not hunger.
He who believes in Me shall not thirst."

Tried and true words.
But that does not demonstrate that Christianity is true.
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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2009, 06:43:51 PM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.






So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?

I don't think you can know. The Muslim is just as convinced that he/she knows the true faith. Belief in Christianity (or any other religion) is always going to be subjective; a personal decision dependent on one's experiences in life. If God exists, as we believe Him to, I'm sure He can work with what faith a person has.
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2009, 06:55:09 PM »


Actually, lulling people into believing that the Gospels are not a "Zionist conspiracy" is... a Zionist conspiracy.   Roll Eyes

What Zionist content in the Gospels have you identified?
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2009, 06:57:35 PM »


I have felt that after Anglican services.  I have been to a number of EO services and have not experienced the same thing.

Hmmm interesting that you say that. I could say the same thing about myself, except that sometimes I have felt it in an EO service. Just not that often.
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2009, 07:00:11 PM »

Other than through an experience of divine revelation, one simply cannot know. I don't know why you seem to be insisting that there must be some way that we know instead of just taking it on faith and what seems particularly reasonable to one.
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2009, 07:58:57 PM »

"God became man so that man might become God."  Christianity seemed to have become rampant and many converts came simply because Christians proved His existence by becoming Him in grace.  When people see God in you, people will know you're true.

Personally, I use a mixture of rational and experience, but it's personal, and not to anyone else who may not understand it.  I don't think one can get rid of logic completely or one get rid of personal experiences completely.  The fact that Liz describes the Muslim god as distant, while we know our God through Christ is a use of one's logic and rational with experience.  One can't escape that.  But more than that, most of the New Testament seems to be a teaching of how we act, while dogma, although equally important, won't be as understood as much to those who are non-Christian.  The morals of the Bible is something that transcends nature, and if we become transcendent in front of the world, even though we may suffer, it is so that the world may know Who we belong to.

One can say, "But other people of other religions have taught similar morals."  True, and they may be more Christian than we are right now.  Gandhi has the best chance to enjoy time with Christ better than anyone of us right now.  For to enjoy the right dogma and not behave like a Christian is like partaking of the Eucharist unworthily.  It is why you see a growing number of atheists and apathists and converts to other religions.  A lot of us are the cause of the necrosis of parts of the Church.
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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2009, 09:39:58 AM »

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.
I suddenly feel proud for being a Greek. 4/5 words were Greek, haha. Tongue

God cannot be proven.
Since when? Huh

Quote
No religion can be proven or disproven.
What if its doctrines are self-contradicting and cannot exist?

So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?
Because we came first, then there is the apostoli succession and the Messiah, who has shown up in our version.


Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2009, 07:53:52 PM »

Praxis, not theoria.

Theoria through praxis, kenosis and katharsis.

dude.......english  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2009, 09:03:01 PM »

Faith is not "security". Faith is Faith.
"I believe in One God...." means precisely that. It means "I believe in One God....". It does not mean  "I know that One God exists....". And ultimately, "knowing" that God exists will not lead to salvation. Even Satan knows that God exists.
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2009, 09:57:51 PM »

St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith Book 1 Chapter 3

Proof that there is a God.

That there is a God, then, is no matter of doubt to those who receive the Holy Scriptures, the Old Testament, I mean, and the New; nor indeed to most of the Greeks. For, as we said(9), the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature. But since the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man's nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God, that most foolish and woe-fulest pit of destruction (whose folly David, revealer of the Divine meaning, exposed when he said(9), The fool said in his heart, There is no God), so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance(1) to the light of the knowledge of God. In like manner also their successors in grace and worth, both pastors and teachers, having received the enlightening grace of the Spirit, were wont, alike by the power of miracles and the word of grace, to enlighten those walking in darkness and to bring back the wanderers into the way. But as for us who(2) are not recipients either of the gift of miracles or the gift of teaching (for indeed we have rendered ourselves unworthy of these by our passion for pleasure), come, let us in connection with this theme discuss a few of those things which have been delivered to us on this subject by the expounders of grace, calling on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of wills. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?

And even the very continuity of the creation, and its preservation and gover, teach us that there does exist a Deity, who supports and maintains and preserves and ever provides for this universe. For how(4) could opposite natures, such as fire and water, air and earth, have combined with each other so as to form one complete world, and continue to abide in indissoluble union, were there not some omnipotent power which bound them together and always is preserving them from dissolution?

What is it that gave order to things of heaven and things of earth, and all those things that move in the air and in the water, or rather to what was in existence before these, viz., to heaven and earth and air and the elements of fire and water? What(5) was it that mingled and distributed these? What was it that set these in motion and keeps them in their unceasing and unhindered course(6)? Was it not the Artificer of these things, and He Who hath implanted in everything the law whereby the universe is carried on and directed? Who then is the Artificer of these things? Is it not He Who created them and brought them into existence. For we shall not attribute such a power to the spontaneous(7). For, supposing their coming into existence was due to the spontaneous; what of the power that put all in orders(Cool ? And let us grant this, if you please. What of that which has preserved and kept them in harmony with the original laws of their existence(9) ? Clearly it is something quite distinct from the spontaneous(1).And what could this be other than Deity(2) ?

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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2009, 02:43:26 AM »

the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance
I don't think this means that miracles "prove" God's existence.
Exactly 14 years ago today in 1995, statues of Hindu gods around the world began to "drink" milk offered to them, and this phenomenon continued for a few days then suddenly stopped. This has come to be known as the "Hindu Milk Miracle". Is this "proof" of the existence of Ganesh, Durga, Shiva etc?
I think what St. John Damascene means is that Faith in the Living God in an inherent part of Human Nature and that the wonders the Apostles did was a condescension to help rewaken this inherent Faith which had become obscured by the work of the evil one. The miracles themselves do not "cause" Faith, nor should they. In support of this the Saint says: "the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature", that is, Faith is natural to Human Nature, but "the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man's nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God", that is, the evil one has obscured what is natural to us (i.e. Faith), and "so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance to the light of the knowledge of God". So the miracles of the Apostles are the "nets" of the Fishermen with which to bring them to their senses and out of ignorance in order to rewaken that Faith which is natural to Man. If our Faith depends on miracles alone, we are doomed since the Antichrist will also work miracles and by them he will deceive many: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. " (Revelation 13:13-14)
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2009, 10:28:27 AM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out. I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason. I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.

That being said, I am trying to develop a greater understanding of how EO's can come to believe that Christianity is true as opposed to other religion.

This all being said I know that there is a huge difference between human faith and the saving theological virtue of faith that God infuses into our souls. I think human faith can be aided by reason and developed based on the evidence. A person might believe in God because of a well developed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' proofs or from the evidence of nature. A person might believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on a historical investigation. This does not necessarily mean that a person is in  God's grace. I believe that supernatural/saving faith, on the other hand, is a gift from God, infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit in baptism. I think human faith coupled with reason can remove intellectual obstacles that might prevent us from receiving supernatural faith, and is thus is useful, but only God can give us the faith that saves.
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2009, 07:02:51 PM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out. I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason.

The Apostle Paul had the same problem with the men of Athens where Paul persuaded the philosophers and other "deep thinkers" of that time that the Unknown God came down to Earth as Jesus Christ.  Now, if you desire to use medieval philosophy to prove the existence of God, do you have a camel to put through an eye of the needle?   Wink

I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.

OK.

That being said, I am trying to develop a greater understanding of how EO's can come to believe that Christianity is true as opposed to other religion.

Medieval Philosophy didn't make it to Constantinople with the daughters of the Holy Roman Emperors that the Byzantine Emperors married.  My focus is solely on what happened before 1054.   Sad

This all being said I know that there is a huge difference between human faith and the saving theological virtue of faith that God infuses into our souls. I think human faith can be aided by reason and developed based on the evidence. A person might believe in God because of a well developed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' proofs or from the evidence of nature. A person might believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on a historical investigation. This does not necessarily mean that a person is in  God's grace. I believe that supernatural/saving faith, on the other hand, is a gift from God, infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit in baptism. I think human faith coupled with reason can remove intellectual obstacles that might prevent us from receiving supernatural faith, and is thus is useful, but only God can give us the faith that saves.

What you said in the bolded statement sums up why Christianity is true.  There is a prayer during Holy Baptism (in Orthodoxy) which mentions the newly baptized being written in the Book of Life and ultimately the newly baptized person will be held accountable on Judgment Day.

Of course, I may have missed your entire point completely.  For that, I apologize.   angel
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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2009, 07:23:47 PM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out. I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason.

The Apostle Paul had the same problem with the men of Athens where Paul persuaded the philosophers and other "deep thinkers" of that time that the Unknown God came down to Earth as Jesus Christ.  Now, if you desire to use medieval philosophy to prove the existence of God, do you have a camel to put through an eye of the needle?   Wink

I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.

OK.

That being said, I am trying to develop a greater understanding of how EO's can come to believe that Christianity is true as opposed to other religion.

Medieval Philosophy didn't make it to Constantinople with the daughters of the Holy Roman Emperors that the Byzantine Emperors married.  My focus is solely on what happened before 1054.   Sad

This all being said I know that there is a huge difference between human faith and the saving theological virtue of faith that God infuses into our souls. I think human faith can be aided by reason and developed based on the evidence. A person might believe in God because of a well developed version of St. Thomas Aquinas' proofs or from the evidence of nature. A person might believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead based on a historical investigation. This does not necessarily mean that a person is in  God's grace. I believe that supernatural/saving faith, on the other hand, is a gift from God, infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit in baptism. I think human faith coupled with reason can remove intellectual obstacles that might prevent us from receiving supernatural faith, and is thus is useful, but only God can give us the faith that saves.

What you said in the bolded statement sums up why Christianity is true.  There is a prayer during Holy Baptism (in Orthodoxy) which mentions the newly baptized being written in the Book of Life and ultimately the newly baptized person will be held accountable on Judgment Day.

Of course, I may have missed your entire point completely.  For that, I apologize.   angel
Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2009, 07:48:05 PM »

I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.

I think we will know after we die. But otherwise - wouldn't absolute, rational knowledge make faith unnecessary? And wouldn't that be a loss? Not to be trite (I hope), but I think that experiencing faith is joyful, in a qualitatively different way from the way that gaining knowledge can be joyful.
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2009, 08:00:39 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2009, 02:09:15 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2009, 04:11:06 PM »

I found this in St. John Dasmascus' work "An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". It is from book one and in the section on the proof for the existence of God. Is it a good translation of the Saint's words?
"All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?"

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« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2009, 04:49:09 PM »

I just posted this above.  Is there a reason why you are re-posting it? 

I found this in St. John Dasmascus' work "An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". It is from book one and in the section on the proof for the existence of God. Is it a good translation of the Saint's words?
"All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?"


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« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2009, 05:04:07 PM »

I simply quoted from St. John of Damascus.   I added no commentary.   I don't think St. John is offering it as "proof" either.   However, there are certainly signs that are those that can only be performed by the Lord.  For example, "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.  Amen" (Mark. 16.19).  Perhaps not "proof," but rather "confirmation" as in Mark 16 is what St. John is suggesting of an already received word through faith?   As for the hindu "miracles," if the Psalms are correct (LXX), and that "gods of the nations are demons," then it is not surprising that they are rewarded by demons for continuing in cow-worship by the appearance of milk to keep them from the living God.   Then again, maybe it is a farce.   Either way, milk appearing cannot be likened to the healings performed by the Apostles, for example.   Even though we didn't "see" these Apostolic signs ourselves yet we behold them in the word, and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  But I agree, not "proof," yet still maybe "confirmation" of that which is already established in faith is what is being suggested. 

the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance
I don't think this means that miracles "prove" God's existence.
Exactly 14 years ago today in 1995, statues of Hindu gods around the world began to "drink" milk offered to them, and this phenomenon continued for a few days then suddenly stopped. This has come to be known as the "Hindu Milk Miracle". Is this "proof" of the existence of Ganesh, Durga, Shiva etc?
I think what St. John Damascene means is that Faith in the Living God in an inherent part of Human Nature and that the wonders the Apostles did was a condescension to help rewaken this inherent Faith which had become obscured by the work of the evil one. The miracles themselves do not "cause" Faith, nor should they. In support of this the Saint says: "the knowledge of the existence of God is implanted in us by nature", that is, Faith is natural to Human Nature, but "the wickedness of the Evil One has prevailed so mightily against man's nature as even to drive some into denying the existence of God", that is, the evil one has obscured what is natural to us (i.e. Faith), and "so the disciples of the Lord and His Apostles, made wise by the Holy Spirit and working wonders in His power and grace, took them captive in the net of miracles and drew them up out of the depths of ignorance to the light of the knowledge of God". So the miracles of the Apostles are the "nets" of the Fishermen with which to bring them to their senses and out of ignorance in order to rewaken that Faith which is natural to Man. If our Faith depends on miracles alone, we are doomed since the Antichrist will also work miracles and by them he will deceive many: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. " (Revelation 13:13-14)
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« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2009, 06:04:56 PM »

I just posted this above.  Is there a reason why you are re-posting it? 

I found this in St. John Dasmascus' work "An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". It is from book one and in the section on the proof for the existence of God. Is it a good translation of the Saint's words?
"All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of will. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space. Things then that are mutable are also wholly created. But things that are created must be the work of some maker, and the maker cannot have been created. For if he had been created, he also must surely have been created by some one, and so on till we arrive at something uncreated. The Creator, then, being uncreated, is also wholly immutable. And what could this be other than Deity?"


Yes. If you read the first book, then it appears he is, in fact, trying to provide proof. I mean, I was reading through the first book and it looks like a rough outline of the first part of the Summa Theologica.
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« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2009, 06:05:13 PM »

I'm just gonna go back to the basics:

We read Scripture with eyes He makes to see; the veil is taken away and we see Him in every passage of Scripture as the promised One of God, our Savior, who was crucified and rose from the dead, according to those very same Scriptures.  Once one identifies one's Savior, one fully encounters Him in the breaking of the bread.

This entirely subjective experience, imo, is the only way one can know that Christianity is true.
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« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2009, 06:06:43 PM »

I'm just gonna go back to the basics:

We read Scripture with eyes He makes to see; the veil is taken away and we see Him in every passage of Scripture as the promised One of God, our Savior, who was crucified and rose from the dead, according to those very same Scriptures.  Once one identifies one's Savior, one fully encounters Him in the breaking of the bread.

This entirely subjective experience, imo, is the only way one can know that Christianity is true.
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, etc. could all make the same claim of their religion.
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« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2009, 07:30:51 PM »

Wow. I've been reading St. John of Damascus and I'm blown away. I think I would like to have a study group that compares his work with the summa. This is cool stuff. I probably would not have stumbled upon his work if it hadn't been for this thread. Thanks guys.  Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2009, 07:45:12 PM »

I'm just gonna go back to the basics:

We read Scripture with eyes He makes to see; the veil is taken away and we see Him in every passage of Scripture as the promised One of God, our Savior, who was crucified and rose from the dead, according to those very same Scriptures.  Once one identifies one's Savior, one fully encounters Him in the breaking of the bread.

This entirely subjective experience, imo, is the only way one can know that Christianity is true.
Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, etc. could all make the same claim of their religion.

Well, not the same claim; Mormons could speak to the "burning in the bosom" experience upon reading the Book of Mormon, but I'm not sure if they have a eucharistic experience.  Muslims of course don't have the latter; I don't know enough about their view of the Quran to know if they can relate to the former experience via Scripture. As for Hindus and Buddhists, well, I'm not sure they could point to their holy writings, but they definitely can't point to a Eucharist, either.

You asked about Christ; I told you how Christ told us we could find Him.  That other faiths have similar (or, at best, similarly subjective) ways of encountering their "deities" has no bearing on the topic as stated.

Did you want to know about how Christianity can be proven to be true, thus negating all other faiths' claims?  That would be another matter.  To that, I would say the following:

Given that one must encounter Christ as I have stated above, there is not an objective way to prove conclusively that Christ is Truth and all other faiths lies (though this is, in fact, what I believe).
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« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2009, 07:49:20 PM »

A slightly different approach: Which of any major religions regards their supreme deity as Father? Only Christianity does. Consider the Lord's Prayer, and Romans 8:15.
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« Reply #41 on: September 22, 2009, 07:53:04 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?

I can only answer for myself so I would say........if God's energies are indeed true, then truth is not merely a matter of the mind and thinking about things/ideas.

If God's energies indeed permeate all things, then we can know God and thus Truth through actual experience........through actual interior emperical observation.









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« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2009, 07:53:17 PM »

Judaism? ('Cry abba, father')

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« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2009, 07:53:23 PM »

A slightly different approach: Which of any major religions regards their supreme deity as Father? Only Christianity does. Consider the Lord's Prayer, and Romans 8:15.

LBK,

But how does this prove that Christianity is true? Or that one can know God exists?
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« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2009, 08:02:17 PM »

According to wikipedia (that reliable resource), Sikhs also refer to God as father.
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« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2009, 10:57:33 PM »

...If you truly want "proof" that Orthodox Christianity is the One, True faith...just wait a bit until the Final Judgement, because then there will be no question!

Then you'll have your proof!

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« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2009, 11:15:33 PM »

...If you truly want "proof" that Orthodox Christianity is the One, True faith...just wait a bit until the Final Judgement, because then there will be no question!

Then you'll have your proof!


Muslims could make similar arguements. So could Jehovah's witnesses, Mormons, etc.
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« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2009, 11:19:19 PM »

Yes, they may claim it. 

I'm not claiming anything.

I am saying that you'll get your solid proof at that time - that Orthodoxy IS the Way!

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« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2009, 11:22:10 PM »

Yes, they may claim it. 

I'm not claiming anything.

I am saying that you'll get your solid proof at that time - that Orthodoxy IS the Way!


Your arguement assumes that Eastern Orthodoxy is true. Putting the word "IS" in caps doesn't demonstrate the truth of your statement. So again, how do you know?
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« Reply #49 on: September 22, 2009, 11:30:39 PM »

I simply know. 

Faith comes with experiences over one's lifetime.

Orthodoxy is the True Faith.

I have no doubt.  None.

This seems to be something you will have to work out for yourself.

Nobody can prove it to you, other than you.

When you finally "get it", you will know.



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« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2009, 11:32:15 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
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« Reply #51 on: September 22, 2009, 11:35:32 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.
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« Reply #52 on: September 22, 2009, 11:58:58 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.
Good luck trying to convince people that God exists simply because trees and cockroaches do.
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« Reply #53 on: September 23, 2009, 01:06:48 AM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that.  I think if you listen to them, you start to become sympathetic, and then you look around you and say "Wow, we have a lot of idiots that call themselves Christians.  That's why we have atheists, and a growing number might I add."

Sometimes I think I would have had the propensity to become an atheist if it wasn't for my father instilling some skepticism in me about things I hear in my own Church.

So, I'd be sympathetic to them.  There's a lot more delusional Christians out there than atheists.  Sometimes I worry that some are on the verge of psychosis.
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« Reply #54 on: September 23, 2009, 01:24:47 AM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that.  I think if you listen to them, you start to become sympathetic, and then you look around you and say "Wow, we have a lot of idiots that call themselves Christians.  That's why we have atheists, and a growing number might I add."

Sometimes I think I would have had the propensity to become an atheist if it wasn't for my father instilling some skepticism in me about things I hear in my own Church.

So, I'd be sympathetic to them.  There's a lot more delusional Christians out there than atheists.  Sometimes I worry that some are on the verge of psychosis.

Well said, minasoliman.
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« Reply #55 on: September 23, 2009, 10:33:42 AM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.
Good luck trying to convince people that God exists simply because trees and cockroaches do.
You a fan of cockroaches?
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« Reply #56 on: September 23, 2009, 10:34:15 AM »


Can't you "feel" it?

Don't you come from Liturgy feeling energized and filled with gratefulness?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no! When I was an active chanter (showing up for Orthros often before my priest) AND Altar server, after 3 plus hours at Church on Sunday one thing I never felt was "energized"...I was tired, worn out and exhausted. A good kind of exhausted (like the kind of tired one feels on a family vacation after a long day) but "energized" is not something I would have ever used to describe myself. The only time I feel "energized" is during Holy Week and Pascha, when most other people are probably tired...lol!
 
Quote
Other faiths "look" for something to believe in, yet, they are in truth empty.

That's not how I understand Orthodox teaching over the centuries. Orthodoxy, in general, is fine with accepting that other faiths DO have some truth, some even have quite a bit of truth. Some of our greatest saints wrote that there were many good things in ancient paganism no less...the idea that all faiths other than ours are "empty" I think is a bit of a stretch, nor does it seem to be in line Biblically with St. Paul's understanding that everyone has been given some sort of light of the gospel, even if it's only a partial light.  

Quote
Islam - they do not have a "close" relationship with their god.  To them he is distant and filled with retribution. 


That's merely a caricature of Islam, one that could also be used of Christianity as well, and that even includes various traditional strains of Orthodoxy. Go read the canons of John the faster and come back and tell us he saw God all that different than what you just described. Even many of our most beloved saints had a view of God (at times) that was quite severe IMO. That doesn't mean they weren't saints, it just means even saints can be wrong.

 
Quote
Hinduism - while they preach peace and love for all creation...they are also misled.  They hold creation in such high respect that they have missed the true Creator. 

I know a former Hindu (or at least someone who was "into" Hinduism for 30 years, though he doesn't consider himself ever having been a  Hindu per se) who couldn't give two rats behinds about the Creation and believes it's here for us to do with as we please. Granted he wasn't a "practicing" Hindu exactly, but I'm not sure Hinduism is really all that concerned with the Creation. Maybe some traditions of it are, I plead ignorance on the issue....perhaps Buddhism is what you were thinking of? With that said Hinduism (from the small amount of reading and study i've made of it) isn't as "empty" as you might think it is, and in fact it has a lot in common with Orthodox theology believe it or not.

Granted from an Orthodox Christian perspective, all other faiths are lacking some part of the truth to lesser or greater degrees....but that doesn't make them "empty".....and many people find fullfillment in those faiths, and so they would not agree that they are "empty"...just as we wouldn't agree with a Bob Jones III like Evangelical who said we practice an "empty dead religion" or a "paganized version" of Christianity.....


Quote
Even Judaism, which is the foundation of Christianity, is misled.  They still await the Messiah, when He has already come and gone.  They are not fulfilled.

While there is a number of things modern day Rabbinic Judaism  that I would differ with, the amount that we have in common (particularly Orthodox Christianity) with Judaism is absolutely astounding. Most Christians and Jews would be shocked to see the parallels in our faiths, not just theology, and history from long, long ago.... but in modern praxis as well, including liturgy, prayer, mysticism, family life, etc... Even philosophically our two faiths are so much closer than even most priests and rabbis imagine. Judaism an "empty" religion? That's a hard case to make when 95% of our traditions are held in common.


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« Reply #57 on: September 23, 2009, 10:35:58 AM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that.  I think if you listen to them, you start to become sympathetic, and then you look around you and say "Wow, we have a lot of idiots that call themselves Christians.  That's why we have atheists, and a growing number might I add."

Sometimes I think I would have had the propensity to become an atheist if it wasn't for my father instilling some skepticism in me about things I hear in my own Church.

So, I'd be sympathetic to them.  There's a lot more delusional Christians out there than atheists.  Sometimes I worry that some are on the verge of psychosis.
I have spoken with many atheists; some have even been close friends of mine. All of their arguements come down emotionalism or misunderstandings about who and what God is. Since they are not clear thinking enough to drop the emotional baggage, nor are they honest enough in their thinking actually find out what Christians and philosophers think and believe about God, I think that they are delusional.
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« Reply #58 on: September 23, 2009, 11:08:53 AM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?


Can we KNOW as in, irrefutable evidence? I don't think so. With that said, for me, what always "brings me back" to Christianity even in times of great doubt is historical evidence. Christianity claims to be a historical religion, and it seems to me that the historical evidence for the Resurrection is pretty strong. It's not irrefutable by any means....but the fact that practically every 1st century historian/scholar on the planet believes "something" happened that first Easter morning suggests that indeed "something" did happen.

What was it? a Vision?  Going to the wrong tomb? Or a crucified Jew rising from the dead? I don't "KNOW" (if be knowing we mean scientific evidence that cannot be refuted, in which case even few sciences can actually claim that...so the whole "idea" of knowing something beyond any doubt seems to be a fairly modern one that's not actually based in science) anyhoo.... the best historical evidence seems to point to two things....that every one of Jesus followers at least BELIEVED He had been raised from the dead....this assumption then leads into "why" did they believe it......and in the end, I think the simplest, and best explanation from an historical argument is  that He probably was.

This of course doesn't "prove" Christianity is true  or that any particular Church has kept the original message....or that God exist. After all, it could have been aliens, or some rift in the fabric of space time, or some scientific string theory-esque event that  may never be reproduced.....however these are all quite complex assumptions that in the end are a-historical and really unscientific alternatives that people use just so they don't have to come to  the simplest explanation which seems to be "God raised Jesus from the dead"....

Now that doesn't make someone a Christian as there are at least 2 Jewish scholars who also believe Jesus was raised from the dead, but say God did this not because Jesus was the Messiah, but God did it to show Jews they should have listened to him as a great prophet of Judaism. (I forget their names but one wrote a book in the early 1980's)....

Unlike you I don't think Logic or Reason can "prove" God's existence. One man's logic is another man's fantasy. Try telling Richard Dawkin's that "logic" and "reason" will bring him to the conclusion God exists and we can "prove it". In the end, deep logic is all circularly....(not just basic logic of, if I jump off the Sears tower I will die when I hit the pavement)...but the type of logic that might "prove" God's existence is used by another to "prove" God doesn't exist. One man's logic "proves" Christianity, another man uses logic to "prove" Hinduism, or Islam. Judaism is in fact (IMO) the most "logical" religion on the planet....it has a strong tradition of logic and reason to prove itself with many great rabbis at the time of Aquinas doing similar things that Aquinas did. (maybe better than he did) And it holds up better to logic and reason because Judaism leaves a bit more room for the mystery of God while at the same time using logic and reason to prove the Jewish faith. Yet I'm a Christian and not a Jew. Islam is a pretty logical and reasonable faith as well, yet I'm not a Muslim. I've seen many debates with read about many atheists who "debunk" Christianity and religion in general because of "logic"...and they are convincing arguments. Heck, in America we even have Christians who "debunk" Evolution because it's "illogical that one animal would turn into another animal"....I'm sure you and St. Thomas would argue that they're just not using the tools of logic and reason properly, and yet Dawkin's would say the same thing about St. Thomas...so who is right?

That's why for me personally I stick to history....I think it's the one thing honest people can come to terms with and agree on, even if it's only in the "big picture"....there are many disagreements as to "what happened" on that first Easter, but most historians and scholars say "something" happened....to me that's more credible than logic because logic says "dead people don't rise from the dead"...and yet we believe it happened and WILL happen at the final Resurrection. So I find history much more convincing and interesting. Yet in the end, I think it's ultimately by the power of the Holy Spirit that one believes. All these things, history, logic, reason, warm fuzzy feelings at Liturgy, are just tools that help lead people to God...

Anyways that doesn't really answer your question but I found it fascinating and decided to expound...LOL!

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« Reply #59 on: September 23, 2009, 11:33:02 AM »


I have spoken with many atheists; some have even been close friends of mine. All of their arguements come down emotionalism or misunderstandings about who and what God is. Since they are not clear thinking enough to drop the emotional baggage, nor are they honest enough in their thinking actually find out what Christians and philosophers think and believe about God, I think that they are delusional.


The funny thing is, those parts I put in bold, are the EXACT accusation Atheists make against Christians...LOL!

A friend of mine who is a professor of history once said that almost every argument atheists use against Christians, were actually INVENTED by Christians who used those arguments against other Christians FIRST....then in recent history atheists have picked up on them and used them against all Christians....you know what, I believe it. Of course atheists also use the ancient pagan arguments against Christianity too....but your words about atheists being emotional and not thinking clearly are exactly what they use against us.

They think we're just not "clear minded" enough and that we're too wrapped up emotionally with our beliefs to take a rational logical view of how ridiculous it is to believe some of the crazy stuff we actually believe. (like talking donkeys, all animals everywhere fitting into a really big boat, a man walking on water, being born of a virgin....(though science now shows a virgin birth is not really all that "unscientific" after all)....etc....

I do agree with you, many atheists have a horrible misunderstanding about God. But then that's OUR fault....(by that I mean the Church as a whole)....many atheists were once Christians. And indeed there often is an emotional issue involved for them. But not always. There are some atheists who simply over the course of time no longer believed in God. Not because they were angry, or because "all Christians are hypocrites", but simply because they for whatever reason, no longer believed. I'm pretty sympathetic to the rational atheist's arguments. (not Dawkin's who's just a jerk IMO). Maybe partly because I've been an agnostic and a Christian, and see both sides of the issue. But yes, atheists or agnostics who misrepresent Christianity or what religious people believe about God are frustrating, however they are often just as ignorant about our subject as we are about theirs. Dawkin's and Hitchison types drive me nuts, but they are a lot of atheists who distance themselves from that. Granted most people we meet in our every day lives take the Dawkin's approach because it's "cool", but then, they also aren't well schooled in history of religions in general anyways....trying to talk to those people is like trying to convince a Jehova's Witness that the word Jehova is not found in the bible's original languages...lol! (BTW I'm not bashing JWs as they're always some of the friendliest people I've ever been around)



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« Reply #60 on: September 23, 2009, 11:04:16 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that.  I think if you listen to them, you start to become sympathetic, and then you look around you and say "Wow, we have a lot of idiots that call themselves Christians.  That's why we have atheists, and a growing number might I add."

Sometimes I think I would have had the propensity to become an atheist if it wasn't for my father instilling some skepticism in me about things I hear in my own Church.

So, I'd be sympathetic to them.  There's a lot more delusional Christians out there than atheists.  Sometimes I worry that some are on the verge of psychosis.

There are alot of delusional atheists. Alot of christians eventually became deist, then agnostic and atheist through cynicism and rationalism. And in modern times, it is because of "indoctrination" through our public school system.....especially highschool and college.

For alot of people, atheism is simply something they were tought......either through school, books, tv, movies, family, friends, the internet.........ect.






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« Reply #61 on: September 23, 2009, 11:08:08 PM »

Possibly. I didn't ask why Christianity is true. I asked how a person comes to know its true. As for medeval philosophy, St. Paul said that we can know that God exists based on the things that he made. St. Thomas' proofs are all reducible to this point.
St. Paul did not say that we can know that God exists based on creation. What he said was that we can understand the Divine Energies and the Divine Nature from creation. Creation does not "prove" that God exists, but rather the logoi of created things reveal the Divine Nature and the Uncreated Energies, since the logoi of created things bear witness to The Logos. St. Paul says:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power [Uncreated Energies] and Godhead [Divine Nature]; so that they are without excuse."  (Roman 1:20).

I think you area stretching to avoid the clear indication of the passage. We are withoutexcuse because of the evidence of God in nature.
You are free to think that, but I am reading the text as it stands. The text does not say that creation prooves the existence of a Creator, but rather that Creation helps us understand the Creator. If Creation proves there is a Creator, why are there so many Atheists, Buddhists etc who do not believe there is a Creator? Are they simply in denial of "obvious facts"?
Perhaps some of them are. I think Atheists are delusional.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that.  I think if you listen to them, you start to become sympathetic, and then you look around you and say "Wow, we have a lot of idiots that call themselves Christians.  That's why we have atheists, and a growing number might I add."

Sometimes I think I would have had the propensity to become an atheist if it wasn't for my father instilling some skepticism in me about things I hear in my own Church.

So, I'd be sympathetic to them.  There's a lot more delusional Christians out there than atheists.  Sometimes I worry that some are on the verge of psychosis.
I have spoken with many atheists; some have even been close friends of mine. All of their arguements come down emotionalism or misunderstandings about who and what God is. Since they are not clear thinking enough to drop the emotional baggage, nor are they honest enough in their thinking actually find out what Christians and philosophers think and believe about God, I think that they are delusional.

As well as arrogant and pridefull......well, at least some of the ones online.








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« Reply #62 on: September 23, 2009, 11:29:00 PM »

As well as arrogant and pridefull......well, at least some of the ones online.








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I think it is safe to say that within every group, Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. you find arrogant and delusional people.  I know many incredible, sound minded Atheists, and many Christians who astonish me regularly by the garbage they spew.  Just part of being human.  Tongue
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« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2009, 10:40:10 AM »

I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason. I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.
Is this supposed to be contradicting to the transcendental stance of the Orthodox? If so, then I will have to disagree. The first cause argument seems appealing to me, but I still cannot say that God can actually be understood through reason.
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« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2009, 10:42:18 AM »

I personally believe that one can prove the existence of God through reason. I also believe that a good historical case can be built for the ressurrection of Jesus.
Is this supposed to be contradicting to the transcendental stance of the Orthodox? If so, then I will have to disagree. The first cause argument seems appealing to me, but I still cannot say that God can actually be understood through reason.
There is a difference between being able to demonstrate that there is a God through reason and being able to understand God through reason. I affirm that the former is possible but reject the later.
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« Reply #65 on: September 24, 2009, 12:54:38 PM »

Papist, I'd have to agree with NorthernPines.  Indeed, whatever emotionalism you accuse them of is the same thing they accuse us of.  I'm surprised you don't even realize that, considering the fact that everyone who uses "experience" as proof of Christianity, you successfully debunked them, and I agreed with you there, and "experience" does not have to be exclusively one with God, but also one with people.  For example, for the most part, I understand that atheists leave Christians because the Christians around them have become scientifically illiterate and hypocritical.  People who are converted into Christianity have experience Christian hospitality and love and sacrifice that echoes Christ's teachings, and attracted them to learn more and to try to understand with an open heart.  Notice then, that the "experiences" here are very much emotional in nature which lead them to a certain mindset.  It is why I believe very much in being an example.  Christ's teachings have the best teachings to examplify and transcend and Christians for the most part fail.  That's the best way I find Christianity to be true, along with the other tools of "experience" and logic.

I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.
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« Reply #66 on: September 24, 2009, 01:15:02 PM »

Papist, I'd have to agree with NorthernPines.  Indeed, whatever emotionalism you accuse them of is the same thing they accuse us of.  I'm surprised you don't even realize that, considering the fact that everyone who uses "experience" as proof of Christianity, you successfully debunked them, and I agreed with you there, and "experience" does not have to be exclusively one with God, but also one with people.  For example, for the most part, I understand that atheists leave Christians because the Christians around them have become scientifically illiterate and hypocritical.  People who are converted into Christianity have experience Christian hospitality and love and sacrifice that echoes Christ's teachings, and attracted them to learn more and to try to understand with an open heart.  Notice then, that the "experiences" here are very much emotional in nature which lead them to a certain mindset.  It is why I believe very much in being an example.  Christ's teachings have the best teachings to examplify and transcend and Christians for the most part fail.  That's the best way I find Christianity to be true, along with the other tools of "experience" and logic.

I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.
I am well aware that they charge Christians with emotionalism. That does not mean I cannot charge then with the same.
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« Reply #67 on: September 24, 2009, 01:31:53 PM »

Papist, I'd have to agree with NorthernPines.  Indeed, whatever emotionalism you accuse them of is the same thing they accuse us of.  I'm surprised you don't even realize that, considering the fact that everyone who uses "experience" as proof of Christianity, you successfully debunked them, and I agreed with you there, and "experience" does not have to be exclusively one with God, but also one with people.  For example, for the most part, I understand that atheists leave Christians because the Christians around them have become scientifically illiterate and hypocritical.  People who are converted into Christianity have experience Christian hospitality and love and sacrifice that echoes Christ's teachings, and attracted them to learn more and to try to understand with an open heart.  Notice then, that the "experiences" here are very much emotional in nature which lead them to a certain mindset.  It is why I believe very much in being an example.  Christ's teachings have the best teachings to examplify and transcend and Christians for the most part fail.  That's the best way I find Christianity to be true, along with the other tools of "experience" and logic.

I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.
I am well aware that they charge Christians with emotionalism. That does not mean I cannot charge then with the same.


You lost me there.

Then how are you disqualifying the "experiences" of Liza, Isa, and David earlier in this thread?  Please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way, but the way you even wrote that shows me someone of a stubborn-headed nature not willing to understand the other side.
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« Reply #68 on: September 24, 2009, 01:35:48 PM »

Papist, I'd have to agree with NorthernPines.  Indeed, whatever emotionalism you accuse them of is the same thing they accuse us of.  I'm surprised you don't even realize that, considering the fact that everyone who uses "experience" as proof of Christianity, you successfully debunked them, and I agreed with you there, and "experience" does not have to be exclusively one with God, but also one with people.  For example, for the most part, I understand that atheists leave Christians because the Christians around them have become scientifically illiterate and hypocritical.  People who are converted into Christianity have experience Christian hospitality and love and sacrifice that echoes Christ's teachings, and attracted them to learn more and to try to understand with an open heart.  Notice then, that the "experiences" here are very much emotional in nature which lead them to a certain mindset.  It is why I believe very much in being an example.  Christ's teachings have the best teachings to examplify and transcend and Christians for the most part fail.  That's the best way I find Christianity to be true, along with the other tools of "experience" and logic.

I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.
I am well aware that they charge Christians with emotionalism. That does not mean I cannot charge then with the same.


You lost me there.

Then how are you disqualifying the "experiences" of Liza, Isa, and David earlier in this thread?  Please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way, but the way you even wrote that shows me someone of a stubborn-headed nature not willing to understand the other side.
Or perhaps you are just judging that which you do not know.
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« Reply #69 on: September 24, 2009, 01:41:04 PM »

Papist, I'd have to agree with NorthernPines.  Indeed, whatever emotionalism you accuse them of is the same thing they accuse us of.  I'm surprised you don't even realize that, considering the fact that everyone who uses "experience" as proof of Christianity, you successfully debunked them, and I agreed with you there, and "experience" does not have to be exclusively one with God, but also one with people.  For example, for the most part, I understand that atheists leave Christians because the Christians around them have become scientifically illiterate and hypocritical.  People who are converted into Christianity have experience Christian hospitality and love and sacrifice that echoes Christ's teachings, and attracted them to learn more and to try to understand with an open heart.  Notice then, that the "experiences" here are very much emotional in nature which lead them to a certain mindset.  It is why I believe very much in being an example.  Christ's teachings have the best teachings to examplify and transcend and Christians for the most part fail.  That's the best way I find Christianity to be true, along with the other tools of "experience" and logic.

I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.
I am well aware that they charge Christians with emotionalism. That does not mean I cannot charge then with the same.


You lost me there.

Then how are you disqualifying the "experiences" of Liza, Isa, and David earlier in this thread?  Please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way, but the way you even wrote that shows me someone of a stubborn-headed nature not willing to understand the other side.
Or perhaps you are just judging that which you do not know.

Enlighten me.
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« Reply #70 on: September 24, 2009, 01:44:28 PM »

Papist, I'd have to agree with NorthernPines.  Indeed, whatever emotionalism you accuse them of is the same thing they accuse us of.  I'm surprised you don't even realize that, considering the fact that everyone who uses "experience" as proof of Christianity, you successfully debunked them, and I agreed with you there, and "experience" does not have to be exclusively one with God, but also one with people.  For example, for the most part, I understand that atheists leave Christians because the Christians around them have become scientifically illiterate and hypocritical.  People who are converted into Christianity have experience Christian hospitality and love and sacrifice that echoes Christ's teachings, and attracted them to learn more and to try to understand with an open heart.  Notice then, that the "experiences" here are very much emotional in nature which lead them to a certain mindset.  It is why I believe very much in being an example.  Christ's teachings have the best teachings to examplify and transcend and Christians for the most part fail.  That's the best way I find Christianity to be true, along with the other tools of "experience" and logic.

I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.
I am well aware that they charge Christians with emotionalism. That does not mean I cannot charge then with the same.


You lost me there.

Then how are you disqualifying the "experiences" of Liza, Isa, and David earlier in this thread?  Please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way, but the way you even wrote that shows me someone of a stubborn-headed nature not willing to understand the other side.
Or perhaps you are just judging that which you do not know.

Enlighten me.
You seem to think that I believe that all Atheists reject Christianity for emotional reasons. I do not believe that is the case. I believe that many atheists do this but not all. There are others who just use bad reasoning, whether it be a warped understanding of the Christian concept of God that leads them to reasoning out a "non-existence" of God or simple mistakes in their thinking process. Thus, I know there are well meaning and intelligent atheist. I just don't think that they are thinking clearly on this matter.
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« Reply #71 on: September 24, 2009, 02:04:57 PM »

Forgive me.  I misunderstood.

That being said, I do want to make one correction.  The best atheists I've talked to chose their words carefully.  They don't believe God doesn't exist.  They simply say they fail at trying to find any evidence even in a personal way to believe in God.
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« Reply #72 on: September 24, 2009, 02:13:40 PM »

Forgive me.  I misunderstood.

That being said, I do want to make one correction.  The best atheists I've talked to chose their words carefully.  They don't believe God doesn't exist.  They simply say they fail at trying to find any evidence even in a personal way to believe in God.
Wouldn't that be an agnostic?
Either way, I think this view fails to take in to account the evidence of reality and logic.
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« Reply #73 on: September 24, 2009, 02:28:12 PM »

Quote
I think Liz makes a good point on logic too.  I'd say for my part that history is a part of the logic I form around my understanding in Orthodoxy.  However, history alone seems to also have its interesting flavor of opponents who then try to show that there is really no proof that a Jesus existed.

God bless.


In the mid to late 18 hundreds the German highercritical/philosophical naturalistic scholar Bruno Bauer invented the argument that Jesus never existed. The idea is less than 150 years old. It was a naturalistic reconstruction of history.

But it seems that some would like to accept whatever atheists say.....and anyone who dissagrees with them either must be stupid, crazy or both.....we christians must submit and obey our secular/atheist masters.......we must believe whatever nonsense they tell us....and any christian who disagrees must be an idiot!

At least, this is what it seems like whenever a christian dissagrees with them or try to refute what they say. There are atheists on myspace and youtube, that still believe this garbage.


The early second century Roman historian Tacitus mentions Jesus, as well as the fact that He was put to death by Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius Ceasor.

One can also add to that the pagan critic Celsus. Origen gave rejoinders for his arguments so we still have what this christian hating pagan had to say......and he never doubted the existence of Jesus.


Today, most modern scholars will not risk their reputation by saying something silly like "Jesus never existed". Most modern scholars believe Jesus was a real historical person.









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P.S. "these ideas just don't fall from the sky.......no, they actually have a real history in time and space"
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« Reply #74 on: September 24, 2009, 02:48:40 PM »

Forgive me.  I misunderstood.

That being said, I do want to make one correction.  The best atheists I've talked to chose their words carefully.  They don't believe God doesn't exist.  They simply say they fail at trying to find any evidence even in a personal way to believe in God.
Wouldn't that be an agnostic?
Either way, I think this view fails to take in to account the evidence of reality and logic.

Some atheists tend to get upset with me when I call them "extreme" agnostics. Inductive logic caries with it a fallacy when you talk about "universal" absolutes from partial evidence, and thus an atheist can't really use Empericism alone when it comes to their claim that god doesn't exist.

Their rejection of a belief in the existence of God is speculative.........and will always be speculative. In some ways, it is no different from the mental dogmatic  propositions seen in some forms of "theology".

It is a belief, but this is something alot of atheists reject, they reject the idea that their rejection of God's existence is a belief. ....But it is, they are just in denial.










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« Reply #75 on: September 24, 2009, 03:01:46 PM »

As well as arrogant and pridefull......well, at least some of the ones online.


ICXC NIKA

I think it is safe to say that within every group, Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. you find arrogant and delusional people.  I know many incredible, sound minded Atheists, and many Christians who astonish me regularly by the garbage they spew.  Just part of being human.  Tongue


Were those "incredible sound minded atheists" once christian? Were they born and raised in a mostly christian culture or country where christian symbolism was everywhere (maybe not anymore, in this mostly secular age)

It is my personal prediction that the next generation of atheists will be mostly wild nihilistic, crazy anarchists,.........etc.

The more consistent an atheist gets, the more ideas and culture in general must change. A true consistent atheist must not believe in free will. For if the material world is all that there is, and if we are made of only material stuff, then all our choices must be determined, and all our choices must be 100%ly predictable.

If you are consistent, then you must believe that there is nothing wrong in herding people like animals, and nudging them, and killing them.....or doing whatever with them as you see fit.

Thus, there are consequences to a belief.....or lack of a belief.








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« Reply #76 on: September 24, 2009, 03:14:49 PM »

I think being an atheist is actually quite precarious and difficult. My dad is an atheist, and it does not make his life easier. For him, he simply cannot see how God can be true. He was brought up a Christian, and he will grant that he has met people, who believe, whose belief he found both inspiring and enviable. Obviously, I wish he could be brought to believe, but I can't make it happen. I can only do my best, and hope. And he is a good man, so I can hope that somewhere in him, perhaps where he doesn't even know it, he does recognize God.

It is very easy to be bitter towards atheists, and I know some of them are like Richard Dawkins, and really get up our noses. But there are idiots everywhere, within faith and without. But we should be sad for them (and I don't mean patronizing). Think about it: what have they got? What will make them happy or strengthen them? We shouldn't dismiss them en masse as 'emotional' or 'delusional'. They may be wrong, but you cannot make belief happen, you can only lead someone towards it and hope.

Sorry to be so personal ... I just think it's worth remembering that people's beliefs aren't there just to spite us - and many people struggle against what their own perceptions tell them.
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« Reply #77 on: September 24, 2009, 03:20:11 PM »

Forgive me.  I misunderstood.

That being said, I do want to make one correction.  The best atheists I've talked to chose their words carefully.  They don't believe God doesn't exist.  They simply say they fail at trying to find any evidence even in a personal way to believe in God.
Wouldn't that be an agnostic?
Either way, I think this view fails to take in to account the evidence of reality and logic.

Perhaps a grey line, but not exactly.  Agnostics will tell you both sides make good points and therefore I don't know.  Atheists (specifically the type I'm going to deny) will tell you theists don't make good points because they don't have evidence.  Surely though, atheists (any atheist) will compare our belief in God to a hypothetical belief in a Noodly Appendage god, in which case perhaps may give the appearance that they don't believe in God, but still using their words carefully, they say with the evidence presented at the moment, "highly unlikely."  To these atheists, it takes more faith to believe in one than not to.

Francis Collins explains the differences in his book, "The Language of God."  He goes through the different types of atheists, and he was once an atheist.  OC.net member Asteriktos was an atheist, and he defined himself not as one who believes in the non-existence of God, but doesn't find the reason or evidence to believe in one.

Here's a thread that links to a youtube video.  I would guess he would be the type of atheist that fits the above description imo.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23352.0.html

If anything, these type of atheists are those that struggle and give a lot of thought to the belief in God, not spiteful like militant atheists.

God bless.
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« Reply #78 on: September 24, 2009, 05:27:11 PM »

A correction from the above post....fingers type what the mind isn't saying...hehe:

Perhaps a grey line, but not exactly.  Agnostics will tell you both sides make good points and therefore I don't know.  Atheists (specifically the type I'm going to describe) will tell you theists don't make good points because they don't have evidence.  ...
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« Reply #79 on: September 24, 2009, 11:00:36 PM »

Were those "incredible sound minded atheists" once christian? Were they born and raised in a mostly christian culture or country where christian symbolism was everywhere (maybe not anymore, in this mostly secular age)

All over the board.  From former Muslims from Iran and Pakistan, to Hindus, to Christians from a variety of backgrounds (Orthodox from Crete, Catholics from Italy and Portugal, Protestants from Germany, Denmark and the southern US, from lax upbringings to former altar boys, etc).

Quote
It is my personal prediction that the next generation of atheists will be mostly wild nihilistic, crazy anarchists,.........etc.

I disagree.  I think the next generation will be that of atheists and pantheists, but I don't see crazy anarchists.

Quote
The more consistent an atheist gets, the more ideas and culture in general must change. A true consistent atheist must not believe in free will. For if the material world is all that there is, and if we are made of only material stuff, then all our choices must be determined, and all our choices must be 100%ly predictable.

I think it may be too many early mornings and late nights, but I don't exactly understand your last sentence.

Quote
If you are consistent, then you must believe that there is nothing wrong in herding people like animals, and nudging them, and killing them.....or doing whatever with them as you see fit.

Thus, there are consequences to a belief.....or lack of a belief.

I don't believe that is true at all.  I know many Agnostics and Atheists who have a moral fibre that outshine most, and they base it on their secular beliefs surrounding fundamental human rights and freedoms.  Some even advocate expanding the rights human beings enjoy in the western world to large apes and monkeys, our evolutionary cousins they would say.  Sure, they don't view life as 'sanctified', but that doesn't mean the lack of a belief in a deity destroys a moral compass.
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« Reply #80 on: September 25, 2009, 02:06:33 AM »

I don't believe that is true at all.  I know many Agnostics and Atheists who have a moral fibre that outshine most, and they base it on their secular beliefs surrounding fundamental human rights and freedoms.  Some even advocate expanding the rights human beings enjoy in the western world to large apes and monkeys, our evolutionary cousins they would say.  Sure, they don't view life as 'sanctified', but that doesn't mean the lack of a belief in a deity destroys a moral compass.

May I also add that morality, according to St. Paul was, in the case of the Gentiles, "from the heart."  Jews received whatever the heart of law was written by inspiration, but otherwise, they were considered all judged from the law that was "within their hearts."  In other words, morality is innate and doesn't require belief in God, or Judaic God in St. Paul's teaching.

So to say that atheists will lack the propensity to a moral fiber simply because the lack of a belief in God is actually un-Scriptural.
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« Reply #81 on: September 25, 2009, 07:21:27 AM »

There is a difference between being able to demonstrate that there is a God through reason and being able to understand God through reason. I affirm that the former is possible but reject the later.
Okay, leave out "emotionalism" for a moment, from both sides (Orthodox-Catholic). How do Catholics come to know that God exists and then get know Him? What is the difference between them and the Orthodox (just take a guess out of your experiences, if you're not sure)?
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« Reply #82 on: September 25, 2009, 09:29:09 AM »


Their rejection of a belief in the existence of God is speculative.........and will always be speculative. In some ways, it is no different from the mental dogmatic  propositions seen in some forms of "theology".

It is a belief, but this is something alot of atheists reject, they reject the idea that their rejection of God's existence is a belief. ....But it is, they are just in denial.

Excellent point.









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« Reply #83 on: September 25, 2009, 09:47:33 AM »

There is a difference between being able to demonstrate that there is a God through reason and being able to understand God through reason. I affirm that the former is possible but reject the later.
Okay, leave out "emotionalism" for a moment, from both sides (Orthodox-Catholic). How do Catholics come to know that God exists and then get know Him? What is the difference between them and the Orthodox (just take a guess out of your experiences, if you're not sure)?
From my understanding for that vast majority of people most Catholics would come to know that God exists simply by faith. Thomas Aquinas argues that God provides revelation for several reasons. One reason is that some parts of our faith are superrational and, thus, cannot be approached by reason alone. A second reason is that, although some things that are part of our faith like the existence of God can be demonstrated by reason, most people don't have the learning and time to come to the proper conclusions on this matter. Further, those who do come to know that God exists through the use of reason, will often mix error with this matter. Thus, the vast majority of people will come to know that Christianity is true because God reveals himself to them through the Scriptures, Traditions of the Church, lives of the saints, and the movement of his Grace.

That being said, the Catholic Church does teach, as per Vatican I, that a person can know that God exists through reason alone. Although the Church does not specify which proofs are the most effective in demonstrating this, I believe a complete reading of the first part of Aquinas' Summa Contra Genitles would aide a person in reaching this point. Furhter, the Church teaches that one can know that the Christian faith in particular, as opposed to other theistic religions, is the true revelation of God, through the evidence of miracles. I can't think of any other faith that has verifiable miracles such as those at Lourdes. But even beyond this, the greatest miracle, the ressurrection of Christ, is strong testimony to the truth of Christianity. The reality of this miracle can be supported by historical evidence.

This all being said, I would like to make a few important points. First, the proofs for the existence of God and the evidence for the ressurrection of Christ are useful in sweeping away intellectual barries to faith. They do not provide the God given gift of saving faith. I think a person can believe that God exists and that Christianity is true, without having faith. Second, just because a person knows that God exists by reason does not mean that a person understands God's essence at all. In fact, St. Aquinas argues that God's essence is beyond our understanding. Third, supernatural revelation is necessary to know things like the doctrine of the Trinity. Reason cannot provide for this.

I don't buy the charge that Catholics are rationalists at all because of our understanding of the necessity of revelation and grace to produce faith. However, I think Catholics avoid throwing out our God-given reason because it is an important path to finding truth.

Just wondering, how many people here have read St. Thomas Aquinas' works?
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« Reply #84 on: September 25, 2009, 11:11:45 AM »



Were those "incredible sound minded atheists" once christian? Were they born and raised in a mostly christian culture or country where christian symbolism was everywhere (maybe not anymore, in this mostly secular age)

Many were, many weren't. It all depends.

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It is my personal prediction that the next generation of atheists will be mostly wild nihilistic, crazy anarchists,.........etc.

So far, it seems to me that most of the wild and crazy anarchists in the U.S. claim to be Christian of one sort or another, not atheist. Just check out our recent political happenings to see the reality of that.

 Most "soft atheists" (or hard agnostics however one wants to phrase it) are in fact not nihilistic or crazy anarchists at all. It seems to me, most true anarchists (like the Joker in the Dark knight movie) in history were either mentally ill in some fashion, or were in fact quite religious in one form or another. (Bin Laden)




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The more consistent an atheist gets, the more ideas and culture in general must change. A true consistent atheist must not believe in free will. For if the material world is all that there is, and if we are made of only material stuff, then all our choices must be determined, and all our choices must be 100%ly predictable.

How did you come to such a strange conclusion about atheists and free will and everything being pre-determined? Did an atheist tell you that, or is that your conclusion as to what must be the "logical" outcome? As I know many atheists who strongly disagree with such an assumption. In fact, most atheists would find it odd that a religious person would accuse atheism is believing in and unchangeable "destiny".

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If you are consistent, then you must believe that there is nothing wrong in herding people like animals, and nudging them, and killing them.....or doing whatever with them as you see fit.

You mean like good Christians did for much of Christian history?  Or how the Holy Orthodox Church empowered the Eastern Roman Empire to put down the dangerous "heretics" by torture, warfare, excommunication, dragging people through the streets, skinning pagan philosopher's alive, stuff like that? Or Do you mean how the Church/State union took away Jewish land and rights? Told Christians it was a sin to go to Jewish doctors? Or how Orthodox countries like Russia had things like the pogroms, and in fact DID "herd people like animals" (as long as the people were Jews or Poles) into specific areas. Or do you mean how countries like Greece were ruled by dictators in the 20th century? I remember being told by someone at Church on Pascha night before the service while they were roasting the lambs...how "during the war of Independence from the Turks, when we rose up against our oppressors"....yada yada yada.......the story went on for awhile and then ended about how the villagers took a Turkish soldier, skewered him like a lamb and roasted him alive over an open spit, just like they were roasting the lambs outside the Church that night....the story ended with everyone getting a big laugh over this story because of course, the evil Turks deserve to be treated like...well, like animals I suppose.

Do you mean "atheist" ideals like that?

I need not go into all the evil Western Christians have caused towards our fellow man because every good Orthodox Christian already knows all that those "Westerners" have done. But the Orthodox are in no wise clean in these ideas you assume are particularly "atheist". (and yes I know all the good and unquely Christian values the Church both East and West has brought about too, but it doesn't really apply to my point here)



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Thus, there are consequences to a belief.....or lack of a belief.

I think rather there are consequences to our ACTIONS....now granted you or I might say "well Christians that beat slaves, burned pagans alive, and rioted in the streets were not behaving like "true Christians" should behave...and so weren't following "true Christianity"" . . . . and yes, I'd definitely agree with that. That is my take on it because Christ's teachings are so clear that these things are in fact quite evil, not "ok to do because I'm saved/in the Church". With that said, there are atheists who would use a similar argument about institutional atheism like the Soviet Union, as not really be "atheism" at all, but itself a religion, or at least a religious styled philosophy used for political gain and power. They would, and have argued that a "true thinking atheist" would not do such horrible things.....because, well it's irrational and actually goes against atheist ideals. Like, the idea that we only have one life to live, and we should make the best of it, which includes helping people in need, feeding the poor, and creating a better world for all humanity. Yes atheists believe in these Christian values too.


Indeed, if all atheists were like Richard Dawkins, then I'd agree with you that atheism is a dangerous philosophy because Dawkins and his group harbor a pseudo religious hatred toward, well religion. (ironic isn't it..lol!) However Dawkins seems to simply be doing what religious people have been doing for a long time. I don't see these problems as really "religious" or "atheist"....these are human problems. Call it original sin, ancestral sin, or some scientific name, for a "selfish gene", but it's a human issue. Granted extreme atheism and extreme Fundamentalist religious beliefs empower people to do evil things they might not otherwise do, however throughout human history, religious Fundamentalism has the far longer track record in doing awful things. "Atheism" with the Soviets and China caught up quickly in numbers, however the fact that these are really the extremes of both sides doing the exact same things shows to me that these are HUMAN problems.

I'm certainly not down playing the role of religion in particular (after all most religions believe in an "after life" and so if we "go to heaven" when we die, then what's the big deal if we kill a bunch of people....ie they're not really dead only "in the hereafter".....and so religious extremism I find a bit more unsettling than atheist extremism, however extremism is extremism and is dangerous no matter what. And in the end, it's a "human" problem.

Beliefs of course are important, but atheists typically do not raise their children to believe in "nothing"....however in the U.S. (heck and in Greece where 98% of everyone is Orthodox) people raise their children with "Christian values" and yet young people, raised Christian are the ones who typically believe in "nothing".

Anyways, I fear I've derailed the thread here with "bigger" questions to ponder which was not my intention. I just felt like atheists/agnostics were getting a bad wrap and an "us vs them" theme was beginning to play out, which has been happening since the Enlightenment which kind of set up the idea we're all "seperate" peoples.....there, we can blame the Enlightenment as opposed to each other for the woes of the modern world...much better...LOL!




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« Reply #85 on: September 25, 2009, 11:25:23 AM »


It is very easy to be bitter towards atheists, and I know some of them are like Richard Dawkins, and really get up our noses. But there are idiots everywhere, within faith and without. But we should be sad for them (and I don't mean patronizing). Think about it: what have they got? What will make them happy or strengthen them? We shouldn't dismiss them en masse as 'emotional' or 'delusional'.

Exactly! We don't like it when we're called "dulusional" (ie the god dellusion)....as Christ taught, let us LIVE the golden rule. Granted it is HARD to do with with Dawkins because as you said, he does get up our noses. Smiley

It's interesting to you mentioned being said for people like Dawkins, and I've never thought about it before....but here is really one of the most brilliant scientists on the planet, and he just seems to have no peace because he is so full of anger. Michael Shermer also an atheist/skeptic OTH treats religion and religious people with respect, even arguing for a scientific concept of "original sin" in his book "Why Darwin Matters" and isn't angry at Christians and seems to be more at peace with where and what he believes. Yet Dawkins and Christopher Hitcheson(sp?) are angry and always seem to be on edge.  Sometimes I think the atheists that shout the loudest only do so to convince themselves what they believe/don't believe is correct. But again, I think they are the minority, they just get the most press.
 

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Sorry to be so personal ... I just think it's worth remembering that people's beliefs aren't there just to spite us - and many people struggle against what their own perceptions tell them.

Indeed! Excellent point...i hope I can remember it! Smiley
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« Reply #86 on: September 25, 2009, 06:34:13 PM »

A second reason is that, although some things that are part of our faith like the existence of God can be demonstrated by reason, most people don't have the learning and time to come to the proper conclusions on this matter.
I like that. Clever one.

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Thus, the vast majority of people will come to know that Christianity is true because God reveals himself to them through the Scriptures, Traditions of the Church, lives of the saints, and the movement of his Grace.
Still, can a man acknowledge God through any transcendence-related experience? Suppose someone has never met God and is also not that smart or intelligent. What happens if God provides Him with a miracle? Does that fall under the second reason Aquinas talked about?

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That being said, the Catholic Church does teach, as per Vatican I, that a person can know that God exists through reason alone.
Does empirical proof count as a part of reason?

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But even beyond this, the greatest miracle, the ressurrection of Christ, is strong testimony to the truth of Christianity. The reality of this miracle can be supported by historical evidence.
Well, provided you believe in History. Tongue Tongue Tongue
I'm with you and I don't think that this is an only-Catholic stance. Every Christian would die to listen about the historical evidence or the reasoning that leads to the first cause. Wink

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I think a person can believe that God exists and that Christianity is true, without having faith.
Wait, are you talking about Christians or just persons in general (because that includes angels, demons et cetera)?

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Third, supernatural revelation is necessary to know things like the doctrine of the Trinity. Reason cannot provide for this.
What kind or supernatural revelation? Like the God-breathed passages in the Scripture that involve the three persons as one?

Is it true that Catholics do not recomend younger children to receive Holy Communion because they have not developed intellectually yet and thus they cannot understand the Eucharist?
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« Reply #87 on: September 25, 2009, 06:43:44 PM »

Does empirical proof count as a part of reason?

Depends, feeling Aristotelian or Platonic? Tongue
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« Reply #88 on: September 25, 2009, 08:01:08 PM »

I like that. Clever one.
I like it too.  Grin
Still, can a man acknowledge God through any transcendence-related experience? Suppose someone has never met God and is also not that smart or intelligent. What happens if God provides Him with a miracle? Does that fall under the second reason Aquinas talked about?
When Thomas Aquinas speaks of supernatural revelation I believe that he is talking about what he calls "sacra doctrina", sacred doctrine or the deposite of faith. In other words, he is referring to the Scriptures, Tradition, the Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councils. While a miracle can foster faith in the sacra doctrina, I don't think it qualifies as the supernatural revelation that he is speaking of. Supernatural revelation is public and can be identified as the "faith once and for all delivered unto the saints." The experience of miracles, on the other hand, is private, personal, and subject to interpretation.
Does empirical proof count as a part of reason?
That is a good question and I am not certain that I can give you a certain answer. More than likely "reason" here is referring to deductive and inductive thinking as found in Aquinas' work as the de fide statement that God's existence can be demonstrated form reason has been assumed to be talking about the kinds of proof that Aquinas provides.
That being said, the philosophy of Aquinas is not a closed deductive system. It includes deduction, induction, and emperical arguements as well. In fact, one of Aquinas' arguements for the existence of God is closely related to the arguement from Design  which be shown to be an emperical arguement.
So can empericism be included here? Possibly but I don't think exclusively.

Well, provided you believe in History. Tongue Tongue Tongue
I'm with you and I don't think that this is an only-Catholic stance. Every Christian would die to listen about the historical evidence or the reasoning that leads to the first cause. Wink
Hey I love this stuff.  Grin

Wait, are you talking about Christians or just persons in general (because that includes angels, demons et cetera)?
I am speaking about anyone who does not possess the theological virtue of Faith. This could be demons, or persons who know that Christianity is true yet refuse to convert. I remember hearing about the popular Thomsitic philosopher Modimer Adler. Previous to his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was often asked why he was not yet Catholic. His response: "God has not granted me the gift of faith." Now, I think that it was kind of a cop out on his part because the gift of faith is not something felt but rather something that is objectively in the soul once one is converted (i.e. baptized) and it is there as long as one wills it to be. That being said, eventually he accepted the gift of faith and converted.

What kind or supernatural revelation? Like the God-breathed passages in the Scripture that involve the three persons as one?
See my discussion on the "Sacra Doctrina" above.
Is it true that Catholics do not recomend younger children to receive Holy Communion because they have not developed intellectually yet and thus they cannot understand the Eucharist?
Yes, this is the current practice of the Roman Church but it is a practice that I strongly disapprove of. I would much rather revert to the ancient practice of communing infants. That being said, I understand why the Roman Church has chosen the current practice and I respectfully submit to my Church.
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« Reply #89 on: September 25, 2009, 08:38:41 PM »

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A second reason is that, although some things that are part of our faith like the existence of God can be demonstrated by reason, most people don't have the learning and time to come to the proper conclusions on this matter.

St Clement of Alexandria, considers faith a condition for knowledge. In the Stromata, he claims that knowledge is possible only because of faith and that faith is a condition for knowledge of any kind.

And excerpt from Book II;

But we, who have heard by the Scriptures that self-determining choice and refusal have been given by the Lord to men, rest in the infallible criterion of faith, manifesting a willing spirit, since we have chosen life and believe God through His voice. And he who has believed the Word knows the matter to be true; for the Word is truth. But he who has disbelieved Him that speaks, has disbelieved God.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made of things which appear,” says the apostle. “By faith Abel offered to God a fuller sacrifice than Cain, by which he received testimony that he was righteous, God giving testimony to him respecting his gifts; and by it he, being dead, yet speaketh,” and so forth, down to “than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” Faith having, therefore, justified these before the law, made them heirs of the divine promise. Why then should I review and adduce any further testimonies of faith from the history in our hands? “For the time would fail me were I to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtha, David, and Samuel, and the prophets,” and what follows. Now, in as much as there are four things in which the truth resides—Sensation, Understanding, Knowledge, Opinion,—intellectual apprehension is first in the order of nature; but in our case, and in relation to ourselves, Sensation is first, and of Sensation and Understanding the essence of Knowledge is formed; and evidence is common to Understanding and Sensation. Well, Sensation is the ladder to Knowledge; while Faith, advancing over the pathway of the objects of sense, leaves Opinion behind, and speeds to things free of deception, and reposes in the truth.

Should one say that Knowledge is founded on demonstration by a process of reasoning, let him hear that first principles are incapable of demonstration; for they are known neither by art nor sagacity. For the latter is conversant about objects that are susceptible of change, while the former is practical solely, and not theoretical. Hence it is thought that the first cause of the universe can be apprehended by faith alone. For all knowledge is capable of being taught; and what is capable of being taught is founded on what is known before. But the first cause of the universe was not previously known to the Greeks; neither, accordingly, to Thales, who came to the conclusion that water was the first cause; nor to the other natural philosophers who succeeded him, since it was Anaxagoras who was the first who assigned to Mind the supremacy over material things. But not even he preserved the dignity suited to the efficient cause, describing as he did certain silly vortices, together with the inertia and even foolishness of Mind. Wherefore also the Word says, “Call no man master on earth.” For knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, what is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter. But those who believe not, as to be expected, drag all down from heaven, and the region of the invisible, to earth, “absolutely grasping with their hands rocks and oaks,” according to Plato. For, clinging to all such things, they asseverate that that alone exists which can be touched and handled, defining body and essence to be identical: disputing against themselves, they very piously defend the existence of certain intellectual and bodiless forms descending somewhere from above from the invisible world, vehemently maintaining that there is a true essence. “Lo, I make new things,” saith the Word, “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man.” With a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, whatever can be seen and heard is to be apprehended, by the faith and understanding of the disciples of the Lord, who speak, hear, and act spiritually. For there is genuine coin, and other that is spurious; which no less deceives unprofessionals, that it does not the money-changers; who know through having learned how to separate and distinguish what has a false stamp from what is genuine. So the money-changer only says to the unprofessional man that the coin is counterfeit. But the reason why, only the banker’s apprentice, and he that is trained to this department, learns.

Now Aristotle says that the judgment which follows knowledge is in truth faith. Accordingly, faith is something superior to knowledge, and is its criterion. Conjecture, which is only a feeble supposition, counterfeits faith; as the flatterer counterfeits a friend, and the wolf the dog. And as the workman sees that by learning certain things he becomes an artificer, and the helmsman by being instructed in the art will be able to steer; he does not regard the mere wishing to become excellent and good enough, but he must learn it by the exercise of obedience. But to obey the Word, whom we call Instructor, is to believe Him, going against Him in nothing. For how can we take up a position of hostility to God? Knowledge, accordingly, is characterized by faith; and faith, by a kind of divine mutual and reciprocal correspondence, becomes characterized by knowledge.



http://www.logoslibrary.org/clement/stromata/204.html
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« Reply #90 on: September 25, 2009, 09:33:48 PM »

I just wanted to add, but was distracted in the process, something on this from Light From the East: Theology, Science and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, by Alexei V. Nesteruk.

It is faith, therefore, that allows one to formulate the first principles in a proper way and to perceive things that are not seen in the course of demonstrable knowledge. Demonstration, then, follows after faith, but not the other way around.(emphasis mine) The Greeks, according to Clement, participated in the truth that comes from the Logos, but they did not see any of the spiritual meaning of this truth because they did not have faith (in the Logos of God) and thus could not have access to the only true demonstration, which is supplied on the basis of the Scriptures. This is why a demonstration based on opinion cannot qualify as divine - only as human, that it, as mere rhetoric - whereas demonstration based on reasoned knowledge produces faith in those who wish to learn of God by examining the Scriptures. Clement calls this fath that is supported by philosophical methods a considered faith (that is, a gnosis), and, according to Clement, it forms the subject matter of theology.

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« Reply #91 on: September 26, 2009, 02:47:53 AM »

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I disagree.  I think the next generation will be that of atheists and pantheists, but I don't see crazy anarchists.

The anarchists who came to Pittsburgh caused some trouble at the G20 yesturday:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1926196,00.html

The hindu marchers were peaceful and civil. So I have alot of respect for them.

Also the greek anarchists seemed to have caused alot of trouble not too long ago.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20088.0.html

However, I will agree with you about pantheism, for naturalism can lead to a form of pantheism.


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I think it may be too many early mornings and late nights, but I don't exactly understand your last sentence.

What I said in the last sentence was based on some of the ideas of naturalism:
http://www.infidels.org/
"Naturalism is the "hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system" in the sense that "nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it." As such, "naturalism implies that there are no supernatural entities," such as gods, angels, demons, ghosts, or other spirits, "or at least none that actually exercises its power to affect the natural world."[1] And without miraculous interventions into nature from a spiritual realm, neither prayer nor magick are more effective than a placebo."

If the Universe is only material, and closed, and if it is the first cause of a long chain of cause and effects, then an atheist must eventually reject the idea of "free will".

For "free will" goes against the worldview/phronema of naturalism. A closed system Universe automatically imply/infer "determinism".

Thus, the Universe must pre-determine our every action, and it did so long long ago. For we would be nothing more than a lego, in a long chain of legos.

An open system Universe implies/infers "free will"......and we can see clues of this with "quantum physics". Thus, the reality of "transcendence", Miracles,.......etc.

I know there are alot of atheists that still believe in free will, but a consistent atheist will have to eventually agree with B.F. Skinner, and behavioral naturalism.

Or they will have to reject the idea that the Universe is a "closed system"........which would mean they would have to reject a key tenet of Naturalism, and If this would happen.......then I will have no clue of where this may lead.



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I don't believe that is true at all.  I know many Agnostics and Atheists who have a moral fibre that outshine most, and they base it on their secular beliefs surrounding fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Where was this moral fibre at in Germany when Hitler took over? There were alot of smart atheists and agnostics in Germany around that time, but what did they do? Maybe they were too bizzy advocating "social darwinism".......that was in vogue back then you know.

Where was this moral fibre at in the French Revolution? And what is morality anyway? Are their moral standards the same as ours? On Myspace, alot of Atheists would tell me that they were moral people, but they would cuss at me in the same post! So what do you mean by moral? Do they use birth control pills? Do they charge high interest on loans? Do they sleep around before getting married? Do they cheat on their spouse? Do they cheat on their taxes? Do they go beyond 5 miles over the speed limit? Do they tell little white lies? Do they dress immodest? Do they get drunk and abuse drugs? Do they take unfair advantage of their neighbors weakness? Do they exploit other people for their personal gain? Will they sacrifice their life for the sake of others?


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Some even advocate expanding the rights human beings enjoy in the western world to large apes and monkeys, our evolutionary cousins they would say.

So beliefs do have consequences....ok, maybe I'm using the wrong word here, but beliefs do have implications

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Sure, they don't view life as 'sanctified', but that doesn't mean the lack of a belief in a deity destroys a moral compass.

It is my personal belief that such a moral compass can only go down hill. For it will keep changing, and keep changing rapidly. For whatever the common secular consensus of proper moral behavior is today will change tomorrow.

It will be a rubiks cube from order:




To disorder:



One twist at a time.








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« Reply #92 on: September 26, 2009, 03:10:28 AM »

I think being an atheist is actually quite precarious and difficult. My dad is an atheist, and it does not make his life easier. For him, he simply cannot see how God can be true. He was brought up a Christian, and he will grant that he has met people, who believe, whose belief he found both inspiring and enviable. Obviously, I wish he could be brought to believe, but I can't make it happen. I can only do my best, and hope. And he is a good man, so I can hope that somewhere in him, perhaps where he doesn't even know it, he does recognize God.

It is very easy to be bitter towards atheists, and I know some of them are like Richard Dawkins, and really get up our noses. But there are idiots everywhere, within faith and without. But we should be sad for them (and I don't mean patronizing). Think about it: what have they got? What will make them happy or strengthen them? We shouldn't dismiss them en masse as 'emotional' or 'delusional'. They may be wrong, but you cannot make belief happen, you can only lead someone towards it and hope.

Sorry to be so personal ... I just think it's worth remembering that people's beliefs aren't there just to spite us - and many people struggle against what their own perceptions tell them.

Thanks for trying to hold me accountable, atheists are images of God too, and I have to keep that in mind when talking about this issue. I also have to keep in mind that alot of people have friends and family members that are atheist and agnostic.......I know I do.

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.










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« Reply #93 on: September 26, 2009, 11:54:31 AM »


The hindu marchers were peaceful and civil. So I have alot of respect for them.

And yet I recall Hindus and even Buddhists having riots about a year or two ago somewhere in the world, India, or the Phillipines, I can't remember. Look at all the "town meetings" in the U.S. that have gotten out of hand. I'm pretty sure those ruckus meetings and town halls were ruckus Christians, not Atheists.


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If the Universe is only material, and closed, and if it is the first cause of a long chain of cause and effects, then an atheist must eventually reject the idea of "free will".

For "free will" goes against the worldview/phronema of naturalism. A closed system Universe automatically imply/infer "determinism".

This is only your (a religious person's) interpretation of what you assume atheists must conclude about the universe without a belief in God. That's faulty reasoning akin to the exact same things atheists say about religion (Christianity specifically) and how they take something in the Bible out of context and assume it means something it doesn't mean to us. they interprate it their way, rather than the way WE understand it. And then conclude we're wrong based on THEIR interpretation.


how many times have you heard atheists say things like "a God who would tell a man to kill his own son to prove his loyalty must be wicked...therefore you worship a wicked God? Yet that's not really how we understand the story of Abraham...so they refuse to see it how we see it. It seems like that's what you're doing with atheism in general.


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Thus, the Universe must pre-determine our every action, and it did so long long ago. For we would be nothing more than a lego, in a long chain of legos.


The problem is you're using the religious/philosophical concept of "free will" within a system (naturalism) that rejects such religious concepts. Papist earlier rightly pointed out that many atheists become atheists or argue for atheism based on a faulty idea of who or what God is or a faulty understanding of said religion. I agree. And yet, you're doing something similar with atheism.

 Again atheists take the story of Abraham offering Isaac within a MODERN context, or the conquest of Canaan with a modern worldview, say such things are wrong, and thus assume God was wrong, and so if God was wrong He isn't God and so there is no God.

In other words they interprete religion based on their own personal world view, knowledge of history, or even their own knowledge of science....without even attempting to try and understand how religious people understand those passages. And here, you're interpreting what an atheist must conclude about free will, when most atheists don't give two rats behinds about a religious concept like free will.

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An open system Universe implies/infers "free will"......and we can see clues of this with "quantum physics". Thus, the reality of "transcendence", Miracles,.......etc.

I know there are alot of atheists that still believe in free will, but a consistent atheist will have to eventually agree with B.F. Skinner, and behavioral naturalism.

I had to look up who BF Skinner was, and on Wikipedia it says, he was an American Psychologist, author, inventor, advocate for social reform, and poet. A quick review shows he did a lot of study in behavioral sciences. The funny thing is the concepts you're talking about have much more to do with physicists, geneticists, astronomers, string theorists, and other heavy duty sciences that Skinner was simply not a part of. He was Psychologist and a philosopher according to Wikipedia. I'm hardly going to take my understanding of the cosmic order from a Dr. Phil meets atheism of the early 20th century. Smiley Interestingly enough I searched for the term "free will" on his wikipedia page, as well as the page for philosophy he helped make popular known as Radical behaviorism and "free will" simply cannot be found on either page. This leads me to believe that the way you or I might use the term "free will" and the way Skinner would have used it (if he used it at all) would carry very different meanings.


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Where was this moral fibre at in Germany when Hitler took over?

Where were the Christians when Hitler was so popular? Oh yes, they were cheering in the streets of Berlin, women fainting at his presence, and people crying tears of joy. I'm sure a vast majority of those people were at least nominally Christian, (albeit as I said they may not have been very good Christians, or "true" followers of Christ...but the core of the subject here is atheism/deism not who are good followers of either worldview) the point is few were atheists among the common people.


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There were alot of smart atheists and agnostics in Germany around that time, but what did they do? Maybe they were too bizzy advocating "social darwinism".......that was in vogue back then you know.

If you're implying Nazism was an atheistic movement, almost all historians on the subject would disagree with that premise, even if the religious right would agree. The question of what did Hitler and the Nazi leaders believe is a complex issue, they were not strictly speaking "Christian" in the traditional sense, nor were they strictly atheists either. In fact Hitler gave speeches against atheists. The Nazi's in short, kind of created their own religion based largely on Christianity, Messianic expectations, but mixed it with the weirdest sorts of doctrines, philosophies and pseudo sciences pulled from all sorts of different "traditions", this included a weird form of Darwinism, but it's pretty hard to conclude that people so wrapped up in the occult as the Nazi's were, were in fact in any sense "atheists". However just because someone can use a system of belief or scientific theory for evil, doesn't automatically make the source wrong. Otherwise the Bible, which has been used for all sorts of evil would be negated along with Darwinism.


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Are their moral standards the same as ours? On Myspace, alot of Atheists would tell me that they were moral people, but they would cuss at me in the same post! So what do you mean by moral?

I've actually never had an atheist cuss at me, but I've had plenty of "Christians" cuss and do a WHOLE LOT WORSE to me, and others than just cussing at me. Yes, atheists are moral people. Some 17 year old posing as an adult atheist because they just read Dawkins for the first time shouldn't be your basis of judging all atheists. Like even Orthodox websites, some places just draw the type of people who feel like passing judgement because they just read a book that they feel makes them an "expert" in some field. There are what I call "angry atheists" like Papist was refering to, and there are "angry Christians"....neither can be dialogued with IMO. And if this has been your sole experience with atheism I'm sorry....I used to feel very much as you did because the only "atheism" I was exposed to was the "angry" type.....but having seen people who simply will not come to Christ because the only people they've ever experienced were "angry Christians" causes me to see things a bit differently I think. And in the end I feel like there is a false divide between "science and religion" that simply doesn't exist except in the minds of the extremists on both sides.

[pquote]
Do they use birth control pills? Do they charge high interest on loans? Do they sleep around before getting married? Do they cheat on their spouse? Do they cheat on their taxes? Do they go beyond 5 miles over the speed limit? Do they tell little white lies? Do they dress immodest? Do they get drunk and abuse drugs? Do they take unfair advantage of their neighbors weakness? Do they exploit other people for their personal gain? [/quote]

Are we talking about atheists or Christians now? LOL!

Are you suggesting that you don't know any Christians who do these things? What's the name of your parish? I want to come visit...Cheesy Not to delve into American politics, but at least in the U.S., the people who do those things in our public sphere,  tend to be very devout Christians.


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Will they sacrifice their life for the sake of others?


I'm sure somewhere in the world there is an atheist, pagan, muslim, christian, jew, hindu, or whatever else laying down their life for the sake of another.


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It is my personal belief that such a moral compass can only go down hill. For it will keep changing, and keep changing rapidly. For whatever the common secular consensus of proper moral behavior is today will change tomorrow.

I think you're blaming "atheism" for the downward spiral of morality in some parts of the world, particular the U.S. But again, the majority of Americans still claim they are "Christians" and the vast majority still say they "believe in God".....we're one of the most "religious" nations on the planet, and yet we have more people in prison (percentage wise) than China does. Atheism is not the problem, corruption and power is. And no one, whether Christian or Atheist is free from the desire for power. (yes I'm a Tokien geek) Wink

At one time, I thought morality and atheism simply didn't co-exist but I don't see it that way anymore. And I'm hardly someone who thinks "most people are generally good", because I DONT think that in fact...I'm a cynic and think that ALL people suffer from "original sin" that makes us easily bent to the Dark Lord Saur.....oops, that's the Tolkien fan in me again....lol! Anyways, I guess I see people as people. Maybe because I've seen and been around so many Christians who did things that atheists/agnostics would never do...I don't know. So I could just be biased. In the end it's a fascinating subject, but when people start quoting Aristotle I'm afraid it's beyond my ability to comprehend...LOL!

In Peace, NP


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« Reply #94 on: September 26, 2009, 12:02:21 PM »

The Hindu's who marched were "Hare Krishnas", and the Town Hall meetings weren't really all that bad. The same is true for the 912 gatherings. And what I said about naturalism, a closed system universe, and determinism is true, and it's not just my view.....it is a view held by consistent atheists who reject the idea of free will. A closed system Universe = determinism....no if's, and's or buts about it. Now some atheists may try real hard to get around this, but to do so is to be inconsistent.

Thus,

It is my personal belief that atheists who want to believe in free will are inconsistent naturalists.

Also, I could be wrong about this for it's been 10 years....so my mind is a little rusty, but I thought B.F. Skinner also wrote a book in where he explained how a society could exist without "free will". ...anyhow....the people that follow his school of thought (behavioralism) are the advocates that free will doesn't exist.....and if you were watching the news this year, then you would know that more and more scientists are pushing this idea........the idea that free will doesn't exist.....and guess what? They come from the school of B.F. Skinner.

Naturalism can not allow "free will" to exist.  Eventually, they will find a way to stamp it out completely.

You said:

Quote
"you're talking about have much more to do with physicists, geneticists, astronomers, string theorists, and other heavy duty sciences that Skinner was simply not a part of. He was Psychologist and a philosopher"


B.F. Skinner was a certain type of "Psychologist"....all schools of thought in Psych are not the same.....I took 3 course in Psych many many many yeara ago. The school of thought of Erik Erikson(free will) is not the same as that of B.F. Skinner(hard determinism), B.F. Skinner was a hardcore naturalist, and the philosophy that all modern scientists must abide by is "philosophical naturalism"

And so, it doesn't matter if you are talking about Psychology, Philosophy, geneticism, Physics, Astronomy, String Theory......etc.

For at the end of the day, if you want to be scientific, then whatever you say must conform to "philosophical naturalism"......this philosophy automatically assumes atheism as it's starting point.......so it doesn't matter.....Naturalism is Naturalism....no matter where you find it.








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« Reply #95 on: September 26, 2009, 12:44:58 PM »

NorthernPines,


All I am doing is using the beliefs of athiests that reject free will against atheists that believe in free will. Why? Because I believe that the atheists that reject free will are more consistant when it comes to the logical conclusions of "philosophical naturalism".

So no, I am not mis-understanding them......atheists are not a monolith you know. They are diverse too!

It is my personal belief that the next generation of atheists will become more consistent....and if you are going to become "more consistent", then a belief in free will must eventually go. Free will doesn't belong in a closed system Universe.....it is the Pink Elephant in the room.



Check out this link so that you will see a little of what I mean:
http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/8127/
"A team of German researchers claims to have hard evidence that there is no free will. In a recent issue of Nature Neuroscience they show that brain scans predicted simple choices as long as 10 seconds -– "an eternity" -– before subjects were conscious of them. "It seems that your brain starts to trigger your decision before you make up your mind," says lead author John-Dylan Haynes, of the Max Planck Institute. "We can’t rule out free will, but I think it’s very implausible." In the experiment, participants were asked to decide whether to press a button with their left or right hand.
This unprecedented prediction of a free decision was made possible by software which recognised brain activity patterns in the frontopolar cortex preceding each of the two choices. The data was not altogether conclusive but the patterns were statistically significant.

Dr Haynes acknowledged that his experiment had not delivered a knock-out punch to traditional notions of free will. "Real-life decisions – am I going to buy this house or that one, take this job or that – aren’t decisions that we can implement very well in our brain scanners," he told Wired magazine. But he doesn’t regret the disappearance of free will. "It’s not like you’re a machine. Your brain activity is the physiological substance in which your personality and wishes and desires operate.""



Read the rest at the link


Naturalism, a closed system universe, and it's link with determinism is not new, and it didn't start with me, this is something that some atheists already know.










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« Reply #96 on: September 26, 2009, 12:47:42 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins or Rush Limbaugh's rants on Obama, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.
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« Reply #97 on: September 26, 2009, 12:58:31 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.

I have alot of respect for Dawkins for he is more consistent than other atheists, What he said about Gold is true....he was compromising for the sake of keeping peace with the religious.

I respect alot of atheists, my own step dad is agnostic and I love him. I respect honest atheists, but I despise others. I love honesty, and so I admit my feelings when I see a prideful atheist........and I am one to tell an atheist that to his/her face.....or message board. Why? Because I respect honesty.

I will let an atheist know upfront how I feel about them, and what they must do in order to get me to respect them. I have clashed with many, and learned to respect some.


You and I are two different people, for I prefer someone to tell me upfront how they feel about me......be honest about it.....I respect that.










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« Reply #98 on: September 26, 2009, 01:26:53 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins or Rush Limbaugh's rants on Obama, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.

I can understand being angry with atheists. I'm pretty sure that we all meet people who really annoy us and whose beliefs we long to discredit - for some this will be the local atheists, for others the local Evangelicals, the local Anglicans, or the local Muslims. But all of these groups are made up of individuals, not the whole movement or religion.

Convinced atheists are hard to cope with, particularly if they mock our beliefs. But I still feel more sorry for them than anything else (ok - that's true most of the time. Sometimes, mid-discussion, I want to rip heads too  Wink ). Why? Well, even if I discount all the good things that my religion promises me, I still have a better time of it than the atheists. I can go into church on a good day and feel wonderfully thankful. I can feel full of joy when I read John's Gospel or the Psalms. I can feel my faith strengthening me and know that I there is guidance when I am not sure what to do. I have a ready-made moral compass, and all I have to do is listen and think. What has an atheist got?
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« Reply #99 on: September 26, 2009, 01:37:03 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins or Rush Limbaugh's rants on Obama, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.

I can understand being angry with atheists. I'm pretty sure that we all meet people who really annoy us and whose beliefs we long to discredit - for some this will be the local atheists, for others the local Evangelicals, the local Anglicans, or the local Muslims. But all of these groups are made up of individuals, not the whole movement or religion.

Convinced atheists are hard to cope with, particularly if they mock our beliefs. But I still feel more sorry for them than anything else (ok - that's true most of the time. Sometimes, mid-discussion, I want to rip heads too  Wink ). Why? Well, even if I discount all the good things that my religion promises me, I still have a better time of it than the atheists. I can go into church on a good day and feel wonderfully thankful. I can feel full of joy when I read John's Gospel or the Psalms. I can feel my faith strengthening me and know that I there is guidance when I am not sure what to do. I have a ready-made moral compass, and all I have to do is listen and think. What has an atheist got?

Thanks for being honest










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« Reply #100 on: September 26, 2009, 06:45:54 PM »

I disagree.  Gould was also being honest, when all that mattered to him is that if one accepts scientific knowledge and continues in research (as he realized great scientists included many theists) in pursue of more scientific knowledge, religion to him didn't matter as much as Dawkins did, whose main purpose in his own life right now, is to eradicate religion from people's minds.

Gould's main purpose was preservation of scientific truth.  Dawkin's main purpose was destruction of any belief in God.  Thus, Gould didn't look for a compromise.  He was true to himself.  He was just as "honest" as Dawkins was, and could care less what you believed, acknowledging science didn't have to contradict religion, as I would also believe.
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« Reply #101 on: September 27, 2009, 08:15:55 AM »

Does empirical proof count as a part of reason?
Depends, feeling Aristotelian or Platonic? Tongue
LOL! I would choose Aristotle over Plato any time. Grin

When Thomas Aquinas speaks of supernatural revelation I believe that he is talking about what he calls "sacra doctrina", sacred doctrine or the deposite of faith. In other words, he is referring to the Scriptures, Tradition, the Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councils. While a miracle can foster faith in the sacra doctrina, I don't think it qualifies as the supernatural revelation that he is speaking of. Supernatural revelation is public and can be identified as the "faith once and for all delivered unto the saints." The experience of miracles, on the other hand, is private, personal, and subject to interpretation.
So, the miracles just increase one's faith and therefore make him trust the truthness of the Holy Tradition?

What about empirical proof through a revelation, like the one of Saint Paul? What if suddenly one is filled with the Holy Spirit and God grants Him all truth? Do we count that as empirical?

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I am speaking about anyone who does not possess the theological virtue of Faith. This could be demons, or persons who know that Christianity is true yet refuse to convert. I remember hearing about the popular Thomsitic philosopher Modimer Adler. Previous to his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was often asked why he was not yet Catholic. His response: "God has not granted me the gift of faith." Now, I think that it was kind of a cop out on his part because the gift of faith is not something felt but rather something that is objectively in the soul once one is converted (i.e. baptized) and it is there as long as one wills it to be. That being said, eventually he accepted the gift of faith and converted.
Hmm, maybe it wasn't faith exactly, but maybe Grace. Currently, I know that God exists and Christianity is true, but I'm going through the same stage; I feel dead. I don't think that it's because of lack of faith, but because of lack of Grace. For example, I'm sinning too much, I pray less and I don't attend the Eucharist (I'm just busy on Sunday mornings and I get tired too much every day). That Grace is what makes everyone feel alive. No matter how complete and correct my theological views may be right now (thanks to my Church) and no matter how much assured I am about His existence, I feel dead.
In the same way, there are many people who do not know much about History, reasoning, cannot read or write, speak properly or suffer from a minor mental disease; still, they have Grace and good works. My Church has a lot of Saints who were illiterate, but faithful and righteous at the same time. What's the case here?

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Yes, this is the current practice of the Roman Church but it is a practice that I strongly disapprove of. I would much rather revert to the ancient practice of communing infants.
I fear that this one day may expand to infant Baptism too then. Undecided
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« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2009, 10:59:21 PM »

I disagree.  Gould was also being honest, when all that mattered to him is that if one accepts scientific knowledge and continues in research (as he realized great scientists included many theists) in pursue of more scientific knowledge, religion to him didn't matter as much as Dawkins did, whose main purpose in his own life right now, is to eradicate religion from people's minds.

Gould's main purpose was preservation of scientific truth.  Dawkin's main purpose was destruction of any belief in God.  Thus, Gould didn't look for a compromise.  He was true to himself.  He was just as "honest" as Dawkins was, and could care less what you believed, acknowledging science didn't have to contradict religion, as I would also believe.

Then we will have to agree to disagree.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts about this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVSIG265b4


Also, what are your thoughts with what Fr. Hopko said here:
http://atlantaorthodoxchurches.org/stjohn/sounds/hopko04.mp3 ("What's going on right now in the western world")









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« Reply #103 on: September 28, 2009, 03:03:40 AM »

I disagree.  Gould was also being honest, when all that mattered to him is that if one accepts scientific knowledge and continues in research (as he realized great scientists included many theists) in pursue of more scientific knowledge, religion to him didn't matter as much as Dawkins did, whose main purpose in his own life right now, is to eradicate religion from people's minds.

Gould's main purpose was preservation of scientific truth.  Dawkin's main purpose was destruction of any belief in God.  Thus, Gould didn't look for a compromise.  He was true to himself.  He was just as "honest" as Dawkins was, and could care less what you believed, acknowledging science didn't have to contradict religion, as I would also believe.

Then we will have to agree to disagree.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts about this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVSIG265b4

The first part is simple.  Notice the first person grew up in a society where "evolution was illegal" to be taught, a close-minded Bible-worshipping society, the same society who decades ago associated their own religion with racist feelings.  To this, I find this video quite comforting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58UDTq3kaZM

You notice in the video Dr. Francis Collins, a former atheist, who lead the completion of the Human Genome Project, and wrote a book, "The Language of God" about his beliefs about science and his own faith.  Notice how they show you the reality that when you pin down a person from their childhood that evolution=heresy/atheism/evil/hell, and then they grow up studying honestly scientific ideas, you already programmed in their head that it's either evolution or faith, and you can't have both.  I'm not surprised why all these people became atheist.  Because of communities of ignorance and hatred.  They programmed them as young children that evolution is an vain, atheistic idea, and they grew up with that conviction, choosing it over ignorance of so-called Christians.

So, the Expelled Video, just as I'm watching an atheist video, is extremely biased, based on an agenda, not an objective view of facts.  In fact, in most parts of the documentary, it is filled with deceptions, twisting of truths, and downright lies.  Here's an example of an atheist who loves to use this to discredit theists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwhZqNgfRC0

The second part of the particular part of Expelled you linked to me talks about "Darwinism's" (which seems to me the video is talking about a philosophy, and not the science of evolution proposed by Darwin) links with Nazism.  Before getting into that scene, the philosopher Stein was talking to admitted this is not the main reason, nor should it be a reason that people who read "Darwinism" leads to these atrocities.  In fact, it can be easily argued that it's a misuse of Darwin's evolution theory.  It has no bearing on ethics whatsoever, but simply the natural world.  Nazis decided to use Machiavellian point of view, mixing it with a natural fact, and use it as an ethical standard.  A natural fact:  baboons have abusive alpha males with multiple wives, and they beat or kill other males who pose threats.  Okay....so let's be abusive polygamous husbands and kill other men who even dare to look at our wives (oh wait...there is a religion for that...hmmm...I guess they used Baboonism as a truth to their way of life).

A couple of problems.  Evolution is an observation, not a standard of ethics.  If it was, evolution would be a philosophical topic, not a science topic.  Second of all, let's assume that Nazis used "Darwinism" as an excuse to do whatever they did.  What about the history of religions that use their own religions as an excuse for the atrocities they want to do?  Can we discredit even Christianity's blunders?  Even Byzantine Orthodox emperors had their share of atrocities simply because an emperical council ruled something was heretical.

What about Jewish scriptures?  If we are to take the Jericho and Midianite holocausts literally, we are left with YHWH teaching Moses teaching Israelites to kill all men, most women, and boys (including infants) simply because God commanded it, since they either are on the Promised Land that belongs to the Israelites or did sin with the Israelites.  Did you forget the scene in the same video you gave me with Bill Maher, an atheist comedian, who uses the same argument Stein uses against scientists concerning the cause of atrocities and deaths in the world?  Of course both sides will also say it's a misuse of Christianity/evolution.  And round and round the circle we go.  When it comes to this, IDists and militant atheists are both sides of the same coin.

You have such a biased view of life.  And over and over again as I've seen in your posts, you don't offer anything new or convincing to a discussion of a similar subject like this.  I'm surprised you bring the Expelled issue up when we already had a loooooong thread on it before and you even were in it!!!  You seem to not want to listen to other people.  Instead, you probably want to rip their heads off.

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Also, what are your thoughts with what Fr. Hopko said here:
http://atlantaorthodoxchurches.org/stjohn/sounds/hopko04.mp3 ("What's going on right now in the western world")

When I get to it I'll let you know, although frankly you disappointed me with the first video.

God bless.
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« Reply #104 on: September 28, 2009, 06:12:13 AM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.






So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?

1) Many parts of the scriptures can be affirmed and corroborated with reliable historical sources.
2) Prophecy.
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« Reply #105 on: September 28, 2009, 11:22:37 AM »

The Hindu's who marched were "Hare Krishnas", and the Town Hall meetings weren't really all that bad.

Fist fights and a guy getting his finger bitten off wasn't "all that bad?" Good grief!!!

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  And what I said about naturalism, a closed system universe, and determinism is true, and it's not just my view.....it is a view held by consistent atheists who reject the idea of free will.

But the term "consistent atheist" is something religious people use in talking about atheists, not what atheists use to talk about themselves. According to atheists "consistent Christians" have to believe in all sorts of things that we simply do not believe in.

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A closed system Universe = determinism....no if's, and's or buts about it. Now some atheists may try real hard to get around this, but to do so is to be inconsistent.

They're inconsistent according to WHOM? You? Skinner?


You answered this perfectly well right here:

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Thus,

It is my personal belief that atheists who want to believe in free will are inconsistent naturalists.


According to YOU and YOUR intepretation of THEIR philosophy. That is identical to what to militant atheists do with religions, as I've already given several points of reference. (Abraham and Isaac etc)


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...anyhow....the people that follow his school of thought (behavioralism) are the advocates that free will doesn't exist.....and if you were watching the news this year, then you would know that more and more scientists are pushing this idea........the idea that free will doesn't exist.....and guess what? They come from the school of B.F. Skinner.

Who cares? Again, to use the term "free will" in the sense you or I would use it as Christians is completely different than how a scientist who would be capable of studying such a thing within his scientific field would use it. I'm well aware of the "idea" you're talking about within the scientific community, but it is a debate on many different levels that Skinner had little or no knowledge of. That doesn't make him wrong, it just makes his idea at best "incomplete".


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Naturalism can not allow "free will" to exist.  Eventually, they will find a way to stamp it out completely.

And what if the concept of "free will" was stamped out completely? Would that cause you to lose your faith? The idea of losing one's faith over the philosophy of "free will" and "Divine Providence" in light of scientific knowledge seems a strange one. Why not lose your faith over more concrete scientific facts like the world being ROUND, or the earth revolving around the sun? The truth is as Wikipedia says in the article on "free will", Early scientific thought often portrayed the universe as deterministic,[63] and some thinkers claimed that the simple process of gathering sufficient information would allow them to predict future events with perfect accuracy. Modern science, on the other hand, is a mixture of deterministic and stochastic theories.[64] Quantum mechanics predicts events only in terms of probabilities, casting doubt on whether the universe is deterministic at all. [65][66]Current physical theories cannot resolve the question of whether determinism is true of the world, being very far from a potential Final Theory, and open to many different interpretations.

If you go through all the different scientific perspectives from genetics to neuroscience you'll see that they are coming to different conclusion on the subject and only one is coming to the identical conclusion Skinner did, that being in the field of PSYCHOLOGY. This is why the quote in red is important, there simply is no final theory, or even a single theory that overlaps multiple disciplines as of yet. There are many hypothesis, but no theory. That doesn't make the theory wrong of course, and for all you or I know, Skinner may be absolutely correct scientifically speaking, within the realm of observable, testable science. (though his idea was merely a hypothesis not a theory). But then so what if he is? Does that somehow "disprove" our religious concept of free will? We know scientifically that dead people DO NOT rise from the dead (as did the ancient pagans, who didn't need science to tell them that), and yet we believe it anyway. We know people are not born from virgins, yet we believe it. So why would this be any different? We cannot "test" the universe to prove or disprove God's existence, and yet we still believe.

I just don't see why this is an issue for you, other than, if true you'd lose you're faith. Which I hope isn't true.

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B.F. Skinner was a certain type of "Psychologist"....all schools of thought in Psych are not the same.....I took 3 course in Psych many many many yeara ago. The school of thought of Erik Erikson(free will) is not the same as that of B.F. Skinner(hard determinism), B.F. Skinner was a hardcore naturalist, and the philosophy that all modern scientists must abide by is "philosophical naturalism"

And so, it doesn't matter if you are talking about Psychology, Philosophy, geneticism, Physics, Astronomy, String Theory......etc.

For at the end of the day, if you want to be scientific, then whatever you say must conform to "philosophical naturalism"......this philosophy automatically assumes atheism as it's starting point.......so it doesn't matter.....Naturalism is Naturalism....no matter where you find it.

You're confusing science with philosophy. And granted some scientists have done that in the past and present, Skinner may have been one, but then again, so what? Science adheres to the "philosophy" of naturalism in as much as that is simply what science is. A study of the material, testable, observable universe. You're faulting people for studying what God created (even if they don't believe there is a God).

It's not a philosophy at all, it simply is what it is. Just like an historian studies and speaks about history and not to being an expert in the field of medicine. This is not the "historians philosophy", it is simply what being an historian is and does. I'm not going to take medical advice from a history professor, nor am I going to learn history of the Roman Empire from my dentist. In fact, if you're dentist began to tell you that you needed a kidney transplant, you'd probably stop going to him. And rightly so. Because he's speaking of a field of medicine who knows nothing about. Granted, there are "frauds" who claim to be historians who are not, or doctors who are not...but my point is you're chastising science for being what it is, and that is a field that studies the the physical world. If you're going to chastize scientists for studying science, then we're at the end of our dialogue here.

In the end, science cannot study things like "love" and "sacrifice".....yes, science can tell us what happens physiologically when we love someone, via observation, but it cannot delve into that deeper realm that is beyond the testable and observable. it can't "prove" love. Yet love exists.

So even is from the POV of science there is no "free will" (which I still argue is a religious and philisophical term, not a scientific term) that doesn't mean we don't have free will. Besides, the whole idea that all consistent atheists scientists must come to the same conclusion Skinner did, is simply not how science works. Skinner may very well be correct. That doesn't make him 100% correct. Isaac Neuton was correct. But not 100% correct. Einstein was correct, but many scientists now believe he wasn't 100% correct. Science simply builds upon previous hypothesis and theories do evolve. In the 1800's geologists said the world was "very ancient"...50,000 years old. Then it was a million, then it was a billion...then 4 billion......the first scientists who said it was "very ancient" were correct, but not 100% so. New data and evidence builds upon the old....and evidence that doesn't fit is reconsidered. According to science from 100 years a "virgin birth" was scientifically impossible. Now, it goes by the scientific name of parthenogenesis. Science is self correcting (for the most part) and even if all the evidence we have shows we don't have "free will"...(which it of course doesn't say that), NEW data in the future might reveal that the previous data was correct, yet incomplete, and that in fact we DO have "free will"....new evidence doesn't contradict the old, it just might give a bigger picture. Testable and observable science of the mind is a very new science so I just don't see the problem here. Scientists cannot see our "souls" yet we believe we have one.

anyways, now we're way off topic...lol! Sorry for hijacking the thread.




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« Reply #106 on: September 28, 2009, 11:50:32 AM »


It is my personal belief that the next generation of atheists will become more consistent....and if you are going to become "more consistent", then a belief in free will must eventually go.

So what?

I still don't get why you have so much fear about this and about atheists and seemingly about science in general. The fact that you posted a link to Expelled is a conversation ender for me because, well, expelled is nothing but Creationist propaganda. Very good propaganda, but propaganda none the less.

Quote
Free will doesn't belong in a closed system Universe.....it is the Pink Elephant in the room.

Of course cosmologists aren't even sure the Universe IS a closed system, when they figure that one out, get back with me...Cheesy


Seriously, why so much fear? Because Ben Stein claimed atheism was responsible for WWII? The Holocaust? I've already brought up counter arguments to both those hypothesis to which you've given no rebuttal. "Social Darwinism" is a philosophy about society and civilization....Darwin's theory of evolution was the ground work for the modern scientific theory of evolution that has nothing to do with philosophical ideas. As I said, science is what it is. A friend of mine just completed a thesis in hydrobiology that was quite groundbreaking and in fact challenged the long standing assumptions of the "old guard" in the scientific community of watershed sciences. Yet, the "old guard" accepted that his thesis was "more correct" than theirs because the science is what it is. They didn't like it, and were miffed that this young 28 year old scientist was outdoing them in their field, but in the end, his thesis was accepted, he got his 2 year contract and yes, he is an Orthodox Christian. People like Ben Stein, whom I actually find to be likable and entertaining are none the less NOT qualified to refute things just because they don't like them. It reminds me of a politician I recently saw on TV whom when challenged about the American health care system and how we rank 37th in the world said, "well I know that's what the statistics say, but I think it's best!"....and he just assumed that because he said so, then it must be. Too many people are confusing science with philosophy, granted as I said, some scientists are known for doing that, but usually it's the Ben Stein types who will simply make stuff up put it into a movie and we're all supposed to accept it as fact. People like Elaine Pagals do the same thing with history. She writes a book, says women ruled the Roman Empire and Mary Magdalene was the "beloved disciple" and everyone without any sort of knowledge of history just accepts it because she "says so". Again, I'm not knocking Mr. Stein, as I do find him very likable, but Expelled is a joke. You'd do much better to be linking to Hugh Ross (who at least is a real scientist) than that film.








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« Reply #107 on: September 28, 2009, 04:28:12 PM »

NorthernPines,




Why did you bring up my "faith" in all this when I already said that I believe in an "open system Universe"(quantum physics shows some evidence of this)? If I didn't become an Atheist in highschool and college, then I'm not gonna become one now. My whole point for all of this is that "modern science" is flawed at it's very core for it only allows one to answer "all things".....I repeat, "all things", according to "Philosophical naturalism", and it is because of this, that science will "keep changing" and contradicting itself.....instead of what it was suppose to do....which was build upon facts upon facts....until we reach a complete knowledge of the universe....what we have is flawed for anything that is "sola naturalism" will automatically be flawed.....for you are observing the evidence with a pre-determined bias that may or may not be true. But you have to look at everything as if it was true......and that's pure fluff to me.

But our society doesn't know this, and so they will turn to this flawed system as if it's "infallible", and so they will try and brainwash all of us into conforming to "sola naturalism". They will indoctrinate "sola naturalism" into our children in all the educational fields, in all our jobs, even in all our religions......they will pressure all religions to adopt "sola naturalism"......as seen in alot of seminaries/cemeteries already.

And because I know this, my faith will never be touched, for I know that "sola naturalism" is false, and the people who reject "free will" that interprete the evidence are blind. For they come to the evidence already thinking that free will is false and so they only see what they want to see.

So no, leave "my faith" out of this. I just knew that some atheists rejected the idea of free will, and that they are pushing this idea onto the masses. And that those atheists who embrace "free will" are inconsistent with their "naturalism". Now you said more than once that they may have a different "understanding" of "free will" than us. And to that, I will say, that not all christians believe in "free will" either, and so, no, they don't have a drastically different understanding than us.

They wouldn't of used the term "free will" if they weren't using the common textbook difinition of "the libertarian freedom" of the will (my free will view is "semi-libertarian" since I am a synergist"). Now there is another interpretation of "free will" used by mainstream calvinists called "compatibilism", in my eyes, this isn't really free will, it's "soft determinism", and so a good number of atheists who think they believe in free will, actually believe in what some christians call "soft determinism" or "compatibilism". Other Calvinists believe in what is called "Hard determinism", and it's pretty much the same as the atheists I was talking about who also reject the idea of free will......the only difference is, for the high Calvinist, they point the finger at God, when it comes to "Hard determinism", whereas, for the (what I call) "consistent" atheist, they point the finger at the "closed system" Universe when it comes to "Hard determinism".

So the ideas are extrememly similar, no matter how you cut it. Just as, there are only so many drum kicks you can put on a single Meter, well, there are only so many ideas of "free will" that one can come up with.

So it doesn't matter to me if an atheist claims that free will doesn't exist or that some scientists claim that free will doesn't exist. My paradigm is not "sola naturalism", and therefore, I could care less about what they say. I am a Panentheist, and that is my "philosophical" foundation when it comes to the issue of "how to do" science. It is my own personal view that "Panentheism" should replace "Naturalism" for those who are not atheist, but still wish to do science......now they shouldn't tell anyone what they are doing, but to embrace "sola naturalism" is to eventually kill the soul.










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« Reply #108 on: September 28, 2009, 05:33:44 PM »

Quote
So what?

I still don't get why you have so much fear about this and about atheists and seemingly about science in general.

Inevitable persecution. Our current administration is looking more and more like an anti-christ.


 
Quote
The fact that you posted a link to Expelled is a conversation ender for me because, well, expelled is nothing but Creationist propaganda. Very good propaganda, but propaganda none the less.

I am a creationist......as should you be. It is my personal opinion that if you believe in God, then you automatically must believe in Creation ex nihilo at some point. So it doesn't matter to me if you are a Theistic evolutionist(even if you refuse to call yourself one), an Old Earth Creationist, or a Young Earth Creationist.

You should check out this young earth creationist in whom naturalists try and discredit by saying that he made an error back in 1965.....as if no scientist ever made errors. We can error and change, just like they can error and change. Now I am no longer a Young Earth Creationist, but I still listen to all sides for one can learn from all of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdLrXPnp0zs ((The Great Debate: Evolution or Creation Wilder-Smith))



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Of course cosmologists aren't even sure the Universe IS a closed system, when they figure that one out, get back with me...Cheesy

Then someone should tell "Naturalists" this, and someone should update/change the archaic philosophical underpinnings of how we do science.....for it is plagued with the false idea of "sola naturalism".


Quote
Seriously, why so much fear? Because Ben Stein claimed atheism was responsible for WWII? The Holocaust?

I already knew this, so I didn't need Ben Stein to tell me.


Quote
I've already brought up counter arguments to both those hypothesis to which you've given no rebuttal.

I mostly agreed with your counters, however, this doesn't mean that "naturalism" in all it's different forms didn't play a role in both World Wars. And this doesn't mean that I can't continue to show where naturalism played a role. Why? Because Naturalists sure won't bring this up.......so somebody has to.

So next time, when I bring these things up, I will just say that they played a "role".


 
Quote
"Social Darwinism" is a philosophy about society and civilization....Darwin's theory of evolution was the ground work for the modern scientific theory of evolution that has nothing to do with philosophical ideas.

This isn't what people thought at the time. Naturalists are only saying this now because it doesn't look good on their resume. All one has to do is read what people believed at the time. Also, Social Darwinism is still alive and well. It didn't die out with WWII, some of their ideas are a part of this current administration.



 
Quote
As I said, science is what it is. A friend of mine just completed a thesis in hydrobiology that was quite groundbreaking and in fact challenged the long standing assumptions of the "old guard" in the scientific community of watershed sciences. Yet, the "old guard" accepted that his thesis was "more correct" than theirs because the science is what it is. They didn't like it, and were miffed that this young 28 year old scientist was outdoing them in their field, but in the end, his thesis was accepted, he got his 2 year contract and yes, he is an Orthodox Christian. People like Ben Stein, whom I actually find to be likable and entertaining are none the less NOT qualified to refute things just because they don't like them. It reminds me of a politician I recently saw on TV whom when challenged about the American health care system and how we rank 37th in the world said, "well I know that's what the statistics say, but I think it's best!"....and he just assumed that because he said so, then it must be. Too many people are confusing science with philosophy, granted as I said, some scientists are known for doing that, but usually it's the Ben Stein types who will simply make stuff up put it into a movie and we're all supposed to accept it as fact. People like Elaine Pagals do the same thing with history. She writes a book, says women ruled the Roman Empire and Mary Magdalene was the "beloved disciple" and everyone without any sort of knowledge of history just accepts it because she "says so". Again, I'm not knocking Mr. Stein, as I do find him very likable, but Expelled is a joke. You'd do much better to be linking to Hugh Ross (who at least is a real scientist) than that film.


You can't totally separate science from "philosophy"......after all, western science started out as mostly deductive logic, and then it changed into a more observable Empirical form (Inductive logic) ............so If all of this was simply about sola "Empirical data" then we would all hold hands and sing kum ba yah.








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« Reply #109 on: September 28, 2009, 08:49:17 PM »

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« Reply #110 on: September 29, 2009, 12:17:50 PM »

NorthernPines,




Why did you bring up my "faith" in all this when I already said that I believe in an "open system Universe"(quantum physics shows some evidence of this)? If I didn't become an Atheist in highschool and college, then I'm not gonna become one now.

One doesn't have to be an atheist to accept the scientific method. the reason I mentioned your faith is because as a former young earth, 6 literal day creationist myself, I've "been there done that" as it were. And in the end not accepting scientific evidence is due to fear. And for many (as it was for me) it is because they were taught that to accept science, in particular evolution, is to deny one's Christian faith.  So it often comes down to a fear of losing one's faith.  You seemed to be taking the stance that to accept science would somehow disprove your faith or at least are making arguments that lead me to that conclusion. Yet the theories of gravity and plate techtonics, or the theory that the planets revolve around the sun are almost always accepted, all of which could be considered "anti-religious" and often were or would be considered heretical by many of the Church fathers are today accepted by "most" religious people in the world. And so we don't fear these theories anymore, why fear evolution? It just makes no sense to me outside of the belief that to accept it means one is somehow denying God or the Bible.



for you are observing the evidence with a pre-determined bias that may or may not be true. But you have to look at everything as if it was true......and that's pure fluff to me.[/quote]

 . . . . with that bolded part you've revealed a basic misunderstanding of science in general. Granted, this is sciences fault, because the majority of scientists are POOR communicators to the public...there's a reason over the last 50 years we only know of a handful of scientists within popular culture, because they stick at communicating...lol! (and many are now admitting this) But your assumption that science first assumes everythng as if it were true is completely backwards.

 You're right, the assumption that everything is true is fluff, but that's NOT what what science does regardless of what Expelled or whatever other propaganda films claim.

 In fact, it does just the opposite. I It lays forth a hypothesis, and then it assumes the hypothesis is FALSE....it will then test, study, observe, study, test some more  all in an attempt to DISPROVE said hypothesis. Only when ruling out all other options is a real theory developed to explain said evidence. For example . . . . if you were to take this statement to the scientific community:


Quote
And because I know this, my faith will never be touched, for I know that "sola naturalism" is false, and the people who reject "free will" that interprete the evidence are blind.

They would say, ok, good hypothesis, now, Prove it! Then as a scientist it is your job to present evidence to support your hypothesis. This is simply how science works, and has worked for a very long time. You cannot even get published in a scientific journal until you've proven or disproven something. And in fact, just because science "disproves" one theory, does NOT mean you're opposing theory is correct. For example, lets say it was possible to "disprove" evolution....that's fine and dandy, but just disproving evolution does NOT prove creationism. If evolution is false, then there must be an alternative explanation. It "might" be a 6 literal day creation, but as a scientist, you have to PROVE it.



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For they come to the evidence already thinking that free will is false and so they only see what they want to see.

Again, that is simply NOT how science works. Just because a group of scientists somewhere "disprove" free will, does not indicate absolute determinism is true. You need an entire different set of evidence, tests, and studies to determine that. Disproving one does not prove whatever the "opposite" hypothesis is, because BOTH could be wrong.













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« Reply #111 on: September 29, 2009, 12:41:30 PM »

Quote
So what?

I still don't get why you have so much fear about this and about atheists and seemingly about science in general.

Inevitable persecution. Our current administration is looking more and more like an anti-christ.


 Shocked Shocked Shocked


Quote


I am a creationist......as should you be. It is my personal opinion that if you believe in God, then you automatically must believe in Creation ex nihilo at some point. So it doesn't matter to me if you are a Theistic evolutionist(even if you refuse to call yourself one), an Old Earth Creationist, or a Young Earth Creationist.

i don't refuse to call myself anything. OF COURSE I'm a "Creationist" in the sense that God began the universe out of nothing. (how else could claim to be a Christian?) However in the popular sense of the term "Creationist" we're talking about people who DENY evolution to one degree or another....so in that sense I'm not a "Creationist". I accept that evolution is true because, well it is.  Just like gravity is true. I believe that the entire Cosmos is sustained and exists by the will of God. Yes, Theistic Evolutionist would be the most accurate term, but even that term has different interpretations of the phrase but generally speaking yes, I'm a Theistic Evolutionist.


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You should check out this young earth creationist in whom naturalists try and discredit by saying that he made an error back in 1965.....as if no scientist ever made errors. We can error and change, just like they can error and change. Now I am no longer a Young Earth Creationist, but I still listen to all sides for one can learn from all of them.

I have listened to Young Earth arguments before, as I said I used to be one. I'm not anymore. There simply is no "debate" over the issue anymore than there is a debate with flat earthers, or people who deny the existence of gravity or modern geocentrists (yes, these people DO exist). The only debate exists in the public sphere because scientists are such poor communicators and people think evolution says "man evolved from monkeys"...which is simply not what the theory says. But the American public "thinks" it does.


Quote
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Seriously, why so much fear? Because Ben Stein claimed atheism was responsible for WWII? The Holocaust?

I already knew this, so I didn't need Ben Stein to tell me.

Yeah, and Orthodox Christianity was responsible for just as many evil things. Does that fact "disprove" Orthodox Christianity?


Quote
I mostly agreed with your counters, however, this doesn't mean that "naturalism" in all it's different forms didn't play a role in both World Wars. And this doesn't mean that I can't continue to show where naturalism played a role. Why? Because Naturalists sure won't bring this up.......so somebody has to.

Carl Sagan brought it up all the time. So you're a bit late!


Quote
So next time, when I bring these things up, I will just say that they played a "role".

Oh yes, it did "play a role"...but that didn't seem to be your initial suggestion, nor is it the suggestion of Expelled. Expelled explicitly implies to be an evolutionist is to be a Nazi, Communist, or supporter of some form of evil oppression.


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This isn't what people thought at the time. Naturalists are only saying this now because it doesn't look good on their resume. All one has to do is read what people believed at the time.

Again, just read what people believed about being "Christian" in the Byzantine Empire, or Western Europe or even in America 200 years ago. In the past to be a good Christian meant to be a slave owner, a crusader, an Emperor who felt it his duty to put down the heretics, Jews, Samaritans, and all sorts of evils. This is what Christians believed at the time. And now we distinguish between being a "true Christian" and these "fake Christians"...but to THEM they believed it a good and holy thing to own other human beings, or to kill the Jews because they rejected Christ. As I said, the atheists are just borrowing the arguments we Christians used first. No difference.


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Also, Social Darwinism is still alive and well. It didn't die out with WWII, some of their ideas are a part of this current administration.

'sigh'



With that statement I'll bow out of the conversation because it's going into things completely irrelivant to the OP, and which has nothing to do with science but politics which I don't care to discuss.

I'll agree to disagree.










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« Reply #112 on: September 29, 2009, 12:53:56 PM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out.

IT WAS FLESHED OUT CENTURIES AGO.  THOUGH SOME HAVE BEEN WELL REASONED, ALL YOU'RE GETTING ON THIS THREAD IS OPINION.  AGAIN, IT WAS FLESHED OUT CENTURIES AGO.

 P.S. I apologize for sounding belligerent or seeming as if I were yelling; I merely didn't want this message to get drowned out in more opinion.  There are many wonderful sources available to us (though we musn't confuse the "finger for the moon" as it were).  You will see that the Fathers and Mothers were all unanimous; humility and a life of prayer is the path for our journey.
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« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2009, 12:57:02 AM »

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One doesn't have to be an atheist to accept the scientific method.

I know Northern Pines, I had teachers that were both Atheist as well as Christian, so I know that you don't have to be an atheist in order to accept the scientific method....but even that method took time to be what it is today, which tells me, that it can change again.......The thing is, the philosophy of science will only allow one to accept a "Naturalistic" premise. All your answers must be "Naturalistic" or else they won't be accepted. But you think such a thing won't compromise ones faith......and I say, oh yes it will. I had teachers that told me, that you have to have science on this side of the brain, while faith/religion on the other......that was how some of them were able to stay sane. That is something I totaly reject. Science shouldn't be on one side of the fence while religion on the other. Science and Religion/faith should be One. Science should dwell inside religion/faith. It started out inside Roman Catholicism and then later protestantism, before Charles Darwin made it completely secular.

Science needs a guide, thus, it needs religion/faith. Now science dwells completely in Naturalism......the place where Atheism calls home.


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Yet the theories of gravity and plate techtonics, or the theory that the planets revolve around the sun are almost always accepted, all of which could be considered "anti-religious" and often were or would be considered heretical by many of the Church fathers are today accepted by "most" religious people in the world. And so we don't fear these theories anymore, why fear evolution? It just makes no sense to me outside of the belief that to accept it means one is somehow denying God or the Bible.

I doubt if the church fathers were all in agreement on these things. But Darwinism is different from all these other things that you mentioned, for all these other things never caused so many christians to loose faith in the Bible nor in christianity in general as Darwinism has historically done.

Like I said, I would rather believe both Scripture and Science. I will not call huge chunks of scripture "myth", fantasy, fairy tale......etc for the sake of embracing certain soft scientific views that will most likely adjust in 5 to 10 years. It ain't happening.


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the reason I mentioned your faith is because as a former young earth, 6 literal day creationist myself, I've "been there done that" as it were. And in the end not accepting scientific evidence is due to fear.

Where there is smoke, there is fire, western christians had a right to fear in some sense, but I studied the history of science, and so I have answers for why I doubt certain ideas.......I actually thought things through.......unlike alot of young earth creationists. Also if you noticed, I no longer call myself a young earth creationist. I simply call myself a creationist that listen to mutiple schools of thought. I listen to Young Earthers, Old Earthers, and Theistic Evolutionists. I know why scientists say what they say, and I know why I am still critical.

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And for many (as it was for me) it is because they were taught that to accept science, in particular evolution, is to deny one's Christian faith.

Historically, this has been true, most scientists were Old Earth Creationists before Charles Darwin wrote his book. It wasn't until after, that you start to see more and more Old Earthers either become Agnostic, Atheistic, or Theistic Evolutionists. And this has been true for many, and even if you still profess Faith in Christ and christianity in general, you became more liberal in regards to your interpretation of historical figures in scripture. The first 11 chapters of Genesis is a good example of this. Historically, those who embraced those views had to call the first 11 chapters of Genesis myth....fantasy.....etc. So maybe if people didn't call huge chunks of scripture "fairy tale, myth, fantasy.....etc", then maybe christians will stop saying that to embrace such and such is to deny one's Christian faith.

So there is some truth to that fear. I am one who would rather literally believe in both science and scripture. So yes, I will fight anyone tooth and nail who thinks Scripture is a fairy tale. And I will comb scientific views to see where the assumptions are......and thus come up with my own interpretation of what the facts are.......of that which will stand the test of time......for if it's true, then it should always be true....it shouldn't keep changing every 5 to 10 years.

You, on the other hand seemed to have given up. Why throw your hands up and wave the white flag? Why not continue to be skeptical? Why not be a cynic when it comes to the claims of "Naturalism"?

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You seemed to be taking the stance that to accept science would somehow disprove your faith or at least are making arguments that lead me to that conclusion.

Real Science can never disprove anyones faith, but "Sola Naturalism" will automatically compromise everyones faith, for it is atheistic. So if you are calling "science" Naturalism, then I would say yes, naturalism will disprove anyones faith, so yes, I am making arguments against naturalism........that's if you think "Naturalism" & "science" are one and the samething. But if I already know that "Naturalism" is full of crap, then how can it disprove my faith? How can something that is not real ever disprove anything?



 
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. . . . with that bolded part you've revealed a basic misunderstanding of science in general. Granted, this is sciences fault, because the majority of scientists are POOR communicators to the public...there's a reason over the last 50 years we only know of a handful of scientists within popular culture, because they stick at communicating...lol! (and many are now admitting this) But your assumption that science first assumes everythng as if it were true is completely backwards.

 You're right, the assumption that everything is true is fluff, but that's NOT what what science does regardless of what Expelled or whatever other propaganda films claim.

 In fact, it does just the opposite. I It lays forth a hypothesis, and then it assumes the hypothesis is FALSE....it will then test, study, observe, study, test some more  all in an attempt to DISPROVE said hypothesis. Only when ruling out all other options is a real theory developed to explain said evidence. For example . . . . if you were to take this statement to the scientific community:


You misunderstood what I meant, I'm sorry for not being clear. This is what I meant:

"for you are observing the evidence with a pre-determined bias that may or may not be true. But you have to look at everything as if "NATURALISM" was true......and that's pure fluff to me."

This is what I meant to say.


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They would say, ok, good hypothesis, now, Prove it! Then as a scientist it is your job to present evidence to support your hypothesis. This is simply how science works, and has worked for a very long time. You cannot even get published in a scientific journal until you've proven or disproven something. And in fact, just because science "disproves" one theory, does NOT mean you're opposing theory is correct. For example, lets say it was possible to "disprove" evolution....that's fine and dandy, but just disproving evolution does NOT prove creationism. If evolution is false, then there must be an alternative explanation. It "might" be a 6 literal day creation, but as a scientist, you have to PROVE it.

Proof is for mathmatics. The whole point is that the only answers they will ever accept are "naturalistic" ones. That's the point.


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Again, that is simply NOT how science works. Just because a group of scientists somewhere "disprove" free will, does not indicate absolute determinism is true. You need an entire different set of evidence, tests, and studies to determine that. Disproving one does not prove whatever the "opposite" hypothesis is, because BOTH could be wrong.


If the only tools you have to work with is "Naturalism" then the atheistic scientists who reject free will, will automatically have the upper hand, for other scientists will have to work with one hand tied behind their backs. Have you seen a Naturalist explain away "all forms"(even the ones where a person saw physical things and places where they were never present) of near death experiences, and haunted houses where the ghost/spirit/demon actually has a conversation with a person? If the only explainations you can have are of a "naturalistic" nature, then you have one hand tied behind your back........and this is what modern science does. Modern science will say that the demon/spirit/ghost was nothing more than a pre-recording that the brick wall recorded some 50 years ago, and so the girl saw a pre-recording. They ignore obvious signs of "intelligence" in favor of nonsense.

So yes, I am skeptical, and Lord willing, will always be skeptical of such naturalistic nonsense.


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i don't refuse to call myself anything. OF COURSE I'm a "Creationist" in the sense that God began the universe out of nothing. (how else could claim to be a Christian?) However in the popular sense of the term "Creationist" we're talking about people who DENY evolution to one degree or another....so in that sense I'm not a "Creationist". I accept that evolution is true because, well it is.  Just like gravity is true. I believe that the entire Cosmos is sustained and exists by the will of God. Yes, Theistic Evolutionist would be the most accurate term, but even that term has different interpretations of the phrase but generally speaking yes, I'm a Theistic Evolutionist.

I would never call evolving from a group of Apes to a group of humans as true, in the same sence as "gravity being true"......by the way....we still don't know exactly what gravity is.......there are still some assumptions that were made by Einstein, that may or may not be true......thus there is a flaw and some time in the future our understanding of it is bound to change. But I would say that one HIV strain evolving into another HIV strain is more true than gravity. The same for a group of humans evolving into another group of humans, the same for a FLU strain evolving into another FLU strain........etc.

This is what we can observe, everything else is mostly assumptions based on the idea of what could or should happen over a long period of time. So no, I would never call that as being as true as gravity.

I'm happy you admited to being a Theistic Evolutionist. Thanks for being honest, for we have some Theistic Evolutionists on the board who refuse to admit it.

Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.


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I have listened to Young Earth arguments before, as I said I used to be one. I'm not anymore. There simply is no "debate" over the issue anymore than there is a debate with flat earthers, or people who deny the existence of gravity or modern geocentrists (yes, these people DO exist). The only debate exists in the public sphere because scientists are such poor communicators and people think evolution says "man evolved from monkeys"...which is simply not what the theory says. But the American public "thinks" it does.


I know, Robert Sungenis is a modern advocate of Geocentrism. I don't care about that issue for the Roman Catholic interpretation of scripture was heavily influenced by Aristotlian philosophy, and so, I point the finger at using Aristotle......I don't blame scripture for that. Also this debate happened when RC & EO were two different communions.

The Earth going around the Sun didn't seem to bother Capernicus's christianity, and so why should it bother ours?

The whole issue of flat earth is similar, there were christians on both side of the issue....for who was Saint Augustine and them arguing against? Were they not christians too? It didn't seem to bother their christianity, and so why should it bother ours?

The same can't be said for Darwinism, alot of people got jacked up over that. I read or heard somewhere that Stalin rejected christianity in seminary after reading Darwin's book. Now that may or may not be true, but that's what I heard.

And I don't think darwinian scientists are poor communicators.......the belief is truely that a group of Monkey's or Apes eventually evolved into something that looked somewhat human, and in turn they eventually evolved into us.


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Yeah, and Orthodox Christianity was responsible for just as many evil things. Does that fact "disprove" Orthodox Christianity?

No, for the first 300 years we were "mostly" pacifists. So that balance everything out. The same can't be said for modern Atheism of the past 200 years.


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Carl Sagan brought it up all the time. So you're a bit late!


OK, I'm late


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Oh yes, it did "play a role"...but that didn't seem to be your initial suggestion,

True, your counters made me modify what I will say for now on in the future. However, the very foundation of Naturalism makes it natural, normal, and more easy for someone to be a Hitler, Stalin, Hugh Hefner.....etc.


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nor is it the suggestion of Expelled. Expelled explicitly implies to be an evolutionist is to be a Nazi, Communist, or supporter of some form of evil oppression.

I have the movie expelled, and I saw it again on youtube, and they don't really say that. This is what they said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVSIG265b4

He said not everyone who read Darwin became a Nazi, the case he made was that Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for the phenomenon of  Nazism, but it was a necessary one. And I agree.


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Again, just read what people believed about being "Christian" in the Byzantine Empire, or Western Europe or even in America 200 years ago. In the past to be a good Christian meant to be a slave owner, a crusader, an Emperor who felt it his duty to put down the heretics, Jews, Samaritans, and all sorts of evils. This is what Christians believed at the time. And now we distinguish between being a "true Christian" and these "fake Christians"...but to THEM they believed it a good and holy thing to own other human beings, or to kill the Jews because they rejected Christ. As I said, the atheists are just borrowing the arguments we Christians used first. No difference.

What did christians say and do in it's first 300 years? The first decades of darwinism was what it was, and that will never change.....regardless of the historical revisionism of modern day Naturalists.

Just like modern Muslims who kill are just doing what their founder did, and what early Islam did. And so, modern naturalists in the Obama administration who want to kill babies, grandma, grandpa, make people sterile, and create a progressive/socialist or facist society are just being like the naturalists back then.







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« Reply #114 on: October 01, 2009, 03:30:13 AM »

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Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

If God woke you up one morning and asked you to go kill your son, or go exterminate a nation of people, would you do it?

If for some reason you didn't circumcise your son before the 8th day, would you cut him off from the nation of Israel and let him die?
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« Reply #115 on: October 04, 2009, 04:22:25 PM »

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Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

If God woke you up one morning and asked you to go kill your son, or go exterminate a nation of people, would you do it?

If for some reason you didn't circumcise your son before the 8th day, would you cut him off from the nation of Israel and let him die?

Personally, if 'God woke us up one morning' I think many of us would have the conviction to do much more than we might think.
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« Reply #116 on: October 05, 2009, 10:57:22 PM »

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Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

If God woke you up one morning and asked you to go kill your son, or go exterminate a nation of people, would you do it?

If for some reason you didn't circumcise your son before the 8th day, would you cut him off from the nation of Israel and let him die?

If I was living in the Old Testament sure....absolutely, but since Revelation is progressive I don't have to worry about that for we are able to know how God is through His Son. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware talked about this in passing in one of his lectures last year at Seattle Pacific University. If you go to Itunes and type his name in the search, then you should see a 90 minute video where he talks about theology.

I am a self professed pacifist, and only because of the teachings of christ and what I saw alot of early christians say and live.....and so that would go against what we are called to be like as followers of Christ.

For Jesus said:

Matthew 5:38-39
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

So Revelation is progressive.








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« Reply #117 on: October 09, 2009, 02:38:40 AM »

We are progressive from the past, but the past has things that are considered regressive to a certain extent.  I believe someone with a right mind always existed to believe that if voices in his head tells him to go sacrifice his most beloved son, it seems logical before the dawn of the science of psychology to just go kill himself.  That's not regressive from the point of view of now, that's just plain wrong even with certain non-human animal kingdoms.

If a voice in my head told me to do this, I'd seek a psychiatrist.  St. Paul told us even if you see an angel preaching a different gospel, do not believe it (even if it was Paul, do not believe it).  If I wasn't much of a skeptic on miracles, perhaps I'd think Satan is portraying himself as God through these voices.  I have been taught of a story of a certain monk in history who killed himself jumping off a roof of a monastery trying to jump on a fiery chariot "God" promised him so he can get to heaven, like Elijah.

My father taught me to discern with wisdom many things.  To be humble like a dove, wise like a serpent.  That was my father's favorite verse.  As I advanced in my studies, I find myself at a crossroads and I start questioning myself.  However, something for sure I cannot not believe in:

We have an inner sense of morality built in us, and yet we struggle in that.
We also struggle to stay alive, but for what?
The universe is so complex, and the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology are so intricate, to me a Creator exists.
The fact that there is a Creator doesn't mean make life non-vain yet.
The Creator's beneficence and relationship with mankind is the key to a non-vain life, that seems to explain our purpose both in morality and in LIFE.
This beneficence, in my opinion, is best portrayed in the incarnation and the person of Christ.
If one must maintain true Christian beliefs, one must study the Church fathers.
Even though I have trouble believing in certain things in the Bible, my prayer life in Christ and the saints is strong enough to counter any disbelief I may have.  I thank God many Church fathers also portrayed ways to interpret the Bible that appeals to my intellect.  Without this, I may have continued to struggle along the lines of truth in a religion.
I am still however a skeptic when it comes to most miracles people talk to me about, which is something I apparently inherited from my own father.  This leads also to skepticism on things like ghosts or hauntings.  I also like to challenge and like to be challenged, which goes somewhat hand in hand with my skepticism.  Christianity in an of itself is a challenge, along with my studies.

I believe if it wasn't for my father, I probably would have easily been an atheist.  I explained these things to my father of confession who practically disagrees with the way I interpret the Bible, and he and I find a common ground good enough for me to be able to continue to partake of the Eucharist and serve with him in the altar and outside it as a Reader of the Coptic Church as long as I am continuing in my prayer life, in my fasting, in my readings, in my dedication to my studies, and in my relationship with others, as well as in my faith and dogmatic principles.  We "put on Christ" in baptism.  We become one with Christ in the Eucharist.  What best way to prove the existence of Christ, the existence of God, than to act like God Himself Who is in and on us.  I believe that the best way to prove the truth of Christianity is to be an example of Christianity, especially for those who do not have the heart or the ability to study history as well as those who do not have the Spirit to understand the teachings..

I'm afraid due to my studies, I will be very busy to answer any further questions.  In the meantime, I did listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko, and while I'm still confused with the CS Lewis part, for the most part, I agree with most of Fr. Thomas Hopko, and in fact, these are thoughts that I had in my mind too.  I think the solution is precisely what St. Antonios said to Pambo, which goes back to being a good example to others as well.  I think others around us who have hardened hearts can be softened by the heat our own hearts emit.  Dark places of the soul can be given by the light we have.  Flavorless lives can be given the salt in which we hold daily, the same salt that was used to water a barren area in one of the stories of Elisha.  I have an optimism that although the world may look upside down right now, I have faith in God Who is just and merciful, and will never leave us in complete disarray.

God bless.
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« Reply #118 on: October 09, 2009, 09:55:22 PM »

Quote
Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?

I apologize if I repeat what others have already said in this post. I have only glanced over the thread, as I'm still trying to catch up on a few months worth of posts. Anyway, Justin Popovich published an interesting essay on The Theory of Knowledge of St. Isaac the Syrian. Here are the basic points Isaac (through Justin) made...

Man is sick. He has "A feeble soul, a diseased intellect, a weakened heart and will". The soul must be healed of this sickness. According to Isaac and Justin: "The virtues are the remedies that progressively eliminate sickness from the soul and from the organs of understanding. This is a slow process, demanding much effort and great patience."

- The first virtue necessary for healing is faith. "It is by the ascesis of faith that the treatment and cure of a soul which is sick with the passions is begun... But 'until the soul becomes intoxicated with faith in God, until it comes to feel faith's power,' it can neither be healed of the passions nor overcome the material world. There is both a negative side to the ascesis of faith, freedom from sinful matter, and a positive side, oneness with God."

- The second virtue necessary for healing is prayer. "It is by the ascesis of faith that a man conquers egotism, steps beyond the bounds of self, and enters into a new, transcendent reality which also transcends subjectivity. ...the ascetic of faith is led and guided by prayer; he feels, thinks, and lives by prayer. ...prayer is also a hard struggle, calling the whole person into action. Man crucifies himself in prayer, crucifying the passions and sinful thoughts that cling to his soul. 'Prayer is the slaying of the carnal thoughts of man's fleshly life.'"

- The third virtue necessary for healing is love. "'Love is born of prayer,' just as prayer is born of faith. Love for God is a sign that the new reality into which a man is led by faith and prayer is far greater  than that which has gone before. Love for God and man is the work of prayer and faith; a true love for man is in fact impossible without faith and prayer."

- The fourth virtue necessary for healing is humility. "The pride of the intellect gives way to humility and modesty replaces presumption. The ascetic of faith protects all his thoughts through humility, and thereby also ensures for himself the knowledge of eternal truth."

There are other virtues, of course, but these are the four primary ones that are mentioned. All the virtues are cultivated due to the grace and freedom God has given us. "By working together in God's grace and his own will, a man grows in faith to perfect stature. This happens by degrees, for grace entres into the soul 'little by little,' being given before all else to the humble. The greater the humility, the greater the grace, and wisdom is contained within grace. 'The humble are endowed with wisdom by grace.'"

Through the virtues, in grace and freedom, man is healed and his intellect is purified. "By an unceasing renewal of self through a grace-filled asceticism, a man gradually drives sin and the passions from his whole being and from his organs of understanding, in this way healing them of these death-dealing illnesses... Especial care must be taken with the chief organ of understanding, the intellect, for it has a particularly important role in the realm of human personality."

And this is where St. Isaac and Justin start to more directly answer your question:

Quote
According to St. Isaac the Syrian, there are two sorts of knowledge: that which precedes faith and that which is born of faith. The former is natural knoweldge and involves the discernment of good and evil. The latter is spiritual knowledge and is "the perception of the mysteries," "the perception of what is hidden," "the contemplation of the invisible." There are also two sorts of faith: the first comes through hearing and is confirmed and proven by the second, "the faith of contemplation," "the faith that is based on what has been seen." ... When a man begins to follow the path of faith, he must lay aside once and for all his old methods of knowing, for faith has its own methods...

The chief characteristic of natural knowledge is its approach by examination and experimentation. This is in itself "a sign of uncertainty about the truth." Faith, on the contrary, follows a pure and simple way of thought that is far removed from all guile and methodical examination.  These two paths lead in opposite directions... this natural knowledge, according to St. Isaac, is not at fault. It is not to be rejected. It is just that faith is higher than it is...

At its lowest level, knowledge "follows the desires of the flesh," concerning itself with riches, vainglory, dress, repose of body, and search for rational wisdom. This knowledge invents the arts and sciences and all that adorns the body in this visible world. But in all this, such knowledge is contrary to faith...  From the first and lowest degree of knowledge, man moves on to the second, when he begins both in body and soul to practice the virtues: fasting, prayer, almsgiving, the reading of Holy Scripture, the struggle with the passions, and so forth... The third degree of knowledge is that of perfection...

The first knowledge comes "from continual study and the desire to learn. The second comes from a proper way of life and a clearly held faith. The third comes from faith alone, for in it knowledge is done away, activity ceases, and the senses become superfluous." ...It is very difficult, and often impossible, to express in words the mystery and nature of knowledge. In the realm of human thought, there is no ready definition that can explain it completely... But the most profound, and to my mind the most exhaustive answer that man can give to this question is that given by St. Isaac in the form of a dialogue:

Question: What is knowledge?
Answer: The perception of eternal life.
Question: And what is eternal life?
Answer: To perceive all things in God. For love comes through understanding, and the knowledge of God is ruler over all desires. To the heart that receives this knowledge every delight that exists on earth is superfluous, for there is nothing that can compare with the delight of the knowledge of God.

For human knowledge the most vital problem is that of truth. Knowledge bears within itself an irresistible pull toward the infinite mystery, and this hunger for truth that is instinctive to human knowledge is never satisfied unto eternal and absolute Truth itself becomes the substance of human knowledge--until knowledge, in its own self-perception, acquires the perception of God, and it its own self- knowledge come to the knowledge of God. But this is given to man only by Christ, the God-Man, he who is the only incarnation and personification of eternal truth in the world of human realities...

What is truth? St. Isaac answers thus: "Truth is the eprception of things that is given by God." In other words: the perception of God is truth... In the philosophy of St. Isaac, the problem of the nature of knowledge becomes an ontological and ethical problem which, in the last resort, is seen to be the problem of human personality. The nature and character of knowledge depend ontologically, morally, and gnoseologically on the constitution of the human person, and especially on the constitution and state of its organs of knowledge. In the person of the ascetic of faith, knowledge , of its very nature, turns to contemplation...

So, it would seem that Justin and Isaac would argue that one progressively becomes more assured of the existence of God and the truth of Christianity through cultivating the virtues such as faith, prayer, love, etc.  This is obviously a very subjective answer, and other religions could say that cultivating certain virtues leads to the conclusion that their faith or God is the correct one. But anyway, I don't claim that this is the only Orthodox answer, but there is one Orthodox answer anyway.
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"But science is an inferential exercise, not a catalog of facts. Numbers, by themselves, specify nothing. All depends upon what you do with them" - Stephen Jay Gould
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« Reply #119 on: May 25, 2010, 05:32:12 PM »

jnorm888 commented:
I read or heard somewhere that Stalin rejected christianity in seminary after reading Darwin's book. Now that may or may not be true, but that's what I heard.

I read it in a story by one of Stalin's fellow seminarians. Darwin's book itself must not lead to atheism, since many creationists admit that evolution- which Darwin's book describes- is a natural process that started after the world's creation. Instead, it must have been the particular seminary's repressive ban on reading any secular books, or openly discuss them, that made Stalin reject Christianity at a time in his young life that he would naturally begin to explore the world critically. In fact, Stalin said at a psychological interview that the seminary's repressive "Jesuitic" methods was what changed him.



Simkins wrote on ( http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20146.msg302468.html#msg302468 )
Quote
Stalin restored the office of Partiarch, which was abolished by Pyotr I.

Correction: You are right to infer that the tsarist government demoted the church and abolished the Patriarchate.
But the Patriarchate was restored around the time of the 1917 October Revolution, in which Stalin played only a minor role, if any. Stalin only succeeded in manipulating his way into the government's leadership in 1923-1925, and I believe he imprisoned a few Patriarchs in the GULAG, including Sergius.
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« Reply #120 on: October 19, 2010, 06:53:50 AM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?
Praxis, not theoria.

This response makes me think that there might be hope for me within Orthodoxy yet.
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« Reply #121 on: December 13, 2010, 09:38:29 AM »

From Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 20-21:

"The Bible has no arguments for the existence of God. There are moments of conflict with God, anger with God, doubt about God’s purposes, anguish and lostness when people have no real sense of God’s presence. The Psalms are full of this, as is the Book of Job. Don’t imagine that the Bible is full of comfortable and reassuring things about the life of belief and trust; it isn’t. It is often about the appalling cost of letting God come near you and of trying to trust him when all the evidence seems to have gone. But Abraham, Moses and St Paul don’t sit down to work out whether God exists; they are already caught up in something the imperative reality of which they can’t deny or ignore. At one level, you have to see that the very angst and struggle they bring to their relation with God is itself a kind of argument for God: if they take God that seriously, at least this isn’t some cosy made-up way of making yourself feel better.

And that is actually quite a serious point about where belief in God starts for a lot of folk. It starts from a sense that we ‘believe in’, we trust some kinds of people. We have confidence in the way they live; the way they live is a way I want to live, perhaps can imagine myself living in my better or more mature moments. The world they inhabit is one I’d like to live in. Faith has a lot to do with the simple fact that there are trustworthy lives to be seen, that we can see in some believing people a world we’d like to live in."


To "believe" is to "be-love": "believe" is related to the German "lieben", which means "to love". 

"To love" is a verb, a particular way of living one's life.
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