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Author Topic: How does one come to know that Christianity is true?  (Read 9928 times) Average Rating: 0
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LizaSymonenko
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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!
 
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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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« 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.


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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


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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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.



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