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« on: April 16, 2010, 01:04:09 PM »

Why the Christian God? Why are you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc.?

What would you say to someone who asked a question like this?
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 01:06:17 PM »

Should only responses from Eastern Orthodox Christians be given?
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 01:07:31 PM »

Why not Christianity?
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 01:13:08 PM »

Should only responses from Eastern Orthodox Christians be given?

Preferably but not necessarily.

Why not Christianity?

Why not Islam? Why not Buddhism?
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 01:21:32 PM »

Why the Christian God? Why are you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc.?

What would you say to someone who asked a question like this?

From a Virgin didst Thou come, not as an ambassador, nor as an angel, but the very Lord Himself incarnate, and didst save me, the whole man. (Supplicatory Canon to Our Lord Jesus Christ)
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 01:41:44 PM »

From the Anaphora of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom:

"Priest: ...Holy art Thou, and All-holy, Thou and thine Only-begotten Son and thy Holy Spirit. Holy art Thou, and All-holy, and magnificent is thy glory: Who hast so loved thy world as to give thine Only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life;

Who, having come, and having fulfilled all the dispensation for us, on the night He was delivered up, or rather delivered Himself up, for the life of the world, took bread in his holy, immaculate, and blameless hands and, when He had given thanks, and blessed, and hallowed, and broken it, gave it to his holy disciples and apostles, saying: Take, eat: This is my Body, Which is broken for you, for the remission of sins.

People: Amen.

Priest: In like manner, after supper, He took the cup, saying:Drink from it, all of you: This is my Blood of the new testament, Which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.

People: Amen."

From John 6: 53-58:

"53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 09:20:45 PM »

The Logos, the reason for our existence, entered into our existence.  God became man and dwelt among us.

The only religion today where God becomes tangible while remaining God, and with surprising inner consistency in the dogmas of the church maintains her consistency in being exclusive.

A religion which brought about a moral/social revolution and freedom all at the same time because of Him, without the use of sword, deception, compromising, or passivity, but actively witnessing, being Gods in the presence of all.

And through Christ, I am promised resurrection, life eternal, and communion with His Divine Nature, with HIM most importantly, through which promises me eternal Peace, peace of mind and death to my curiosities.  Where nothing else matters.

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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2010, 11:27:03 AM »

Why the Christian God? Why are you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc.?

What would you say to someone who asked a question like this?

From a Virgin didst Thou come, not as an ambassador, nor as an angel, but the very Lord Himself incarnate, and didst save me, the whole man. (Supplicatory Canon to Our Lord Jesus Christ)

But that quote by it's very natures assumes one already believes Christian theology. It's not really a good answer in my mind because it presupposes that Christian teaching is in fact true.

When/if someone actually asks you the question "why Christianity and not Judaism, Hinduism etc?" one cannot say "because the Church teaches . . . ." because by doing so one is beginning with the presupposition that Christianity is true.

Most people who ask this type of question are not beginning with the idea that Christianity is true, and so arguing "well because it's true" is not a valid answer.

Think of it in reverse, say in the case of asking a Muslim "why Islam and not Christianity?" And they answer to you "because Islam is true!" or they answer "because the Quran teaches . . . ." would you just as readily accept their answer? Of course you wouldn't because they are appealing to teachings or writings or prayers or hymns that ASSUME one is already a believer in Islam. Just as if I asked a Neo-Pagan "why do you worship Apollo?" and they answered by quoting some Pagan hymn to Apollo. That's not an answer for the non believer in said faith.

the hymn and prayer you quoted are beautiful, but I don't think it's going to convince anyone who has come to the point of asking that question of others, or have asked it of themselves. (and I speak from experience with asking it of myself)








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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2010, 05:37:01 PM »

Why the Christian God? Why are you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc.?

What would you say to someone who asked a question like this?

From a Virgin didst Thou come, not as an ambassador, nor as an angel, but the very Lord Himself incarnate, and didst save me, the whole man. (Supplicatory Canon to Our Lord Jesus Christ)

But that quote by it's very natures assumes one already believes Christian theology. It's not really a good answer in my mind because it presupposes that Christian teaching is in fact true.

When/if someone actually asks you the question "why Christianity and not Judaism, Hinduism etc?" one cannot say "because the Church teaches . . . ." because by doing so one is beginning with the presupposition that Christianity is true.

Most people who ask this type of question are not beginning with the idea that Christianity is true, and so arguing "well because it's true" is not a valid answer.

Think of it in reverse, say in the case of asking a Muslim "why Islam and not Christianity?" And they answer to you "because Islam is true!" or they answer "because the Quran teaches . . . ." would you just as readily accept their answer? Of course you wouldn't because they are appealing to teachings or writings or prayers or hymns that ASSUME one is already a believer in Islam. Just as if I asked a Neo-Pagan "why do you worship Apollo?" and they answered by quoting some Pagan hymn to Apollo. That's not an answer for the non believer in said faith.

the hymn and prayer you quoted are beautiful, but I don't think it's going to convince anyone who has come to the point of asking that question of others, or have asked it of themselves. (and I speak from experience with asking it of myself)

I wouldn't be a Christian if I didn't think Christianity were true. My answer is a valid answer, though it was not meant to be a complete one. It is not invalid to speak from a position of faith when speaking about faith. I have no desire to go about trying to be 'objective,' and in any event, nonbelief is not more objective than faith.

I will clarify the point of my original post. I wanted to address "Why the Christian God?" i.e., why not some other religion? To answer that question one has to address the specific content of Christian revelation vs. Islamic revelation, for example. Obviously one would not say 'Because its true,' because that's not very helpful to your questioner who can't verify it except by faith. But one can, indeed must, mention the beliefs/doctrines of one's chosen religion. Whether or not Jesus Christ is God, it is a verifiable fact that the Church teaches that He is. That is what I was pointing out. I am attracted to that teaching over against Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian teaching. I was attracted to Christianity, even before I believed, by the beauty of its theology, represented by the quote I chose. I was particularly interested in how Christianity, especially Orthodox Christianity, promises salvation for the "whole man." In my mind, the Incarnation of God is the only thing that can bring wholeness to my own being and to the world. See Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments. So when I was an unbeliever, but looking into Christianity, I must admit that I wanted Christianity to be true whether is was or not. (Lucky for me, it is true! LOL)
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2010, 05:54:55 PM »

The answer was already given in the supplicatory canon.   All other faiths are established by abassadors, angels, and prophets.  Christianity alone was established by God incarnate.   Christianity alone provides a means by which we attain unity with the divine being without our personhood being annihilated.   Furthermore, the Septuagint is clear:  "the gods of the nations are demons."  Therefore, the polytheism of Hinduism, for example, is simply that of created spirits, not of the uncreated God.  There is no uncreated god in Hinduism, all are synchronous with nature's being.  Buddhism likewise offers naturalism and semi-polytheism (atheism by the standard of an uncreated God).  Islam and Judaism, however, according to St. John of Damascus, do not offer a different God but rather a wrong view of the true God.     
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2010, 05:56:54 PM »

Christianity alone provides a means by which we attain unity with the divine being without our personhood being annihilated. 

Exactly.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2010, 06:20:26 PM »

"All religions, and I propose, all philosophies of life, all ideologies, talk about sin, albeit in different terms. But not one of them other than Christianity believes that human nature in its current state is ill. Christianity affirms that the condition in which we people are born, exist, grow, are educated, take courage, mature, the state in which we find enjoyment, amusement, learning, make discoveries, etc., is a state of serious illness, bringing us profound harm. We are ill, but not with flu, bronchitis, or psychiatric illness. We are physically and psychologically well, we are capable of solving problems, and can fly into space. Nonetheless, we are gravely ill; in the beginning unified human nature sustained a strange and tragic fracture, dividing into apparently autonomously existing and frequently warring mind, heart, and body. Such a comment evokes universal indignation. "Isn’t Christianity being absurd?" "Me, abnormal? Sorry, others may be, but I am not!" If Christianity is correct, this is the root problem, the reason human life, life of the individual and of all mankind, goes from one tragedy to another. If man is seriously ill but does not try to heal the sickness because he is unaware of it, it will do him harm.

Other religions do not comprehend that man has such an illness. They believe that man is a healthy seed that can develop either normally or abnormally, with development dependent upon his social milieu, economic conditions, psychological factors, and many other things.

Man can be either good or bad, but by nature he is good. In this lies the principle antithesis, the consciousness of the non-Christian. I am not even addressing the non-religious, for whom the term "man" seems like an "exercise in pride." Only Christianity affirms that our current state is a deeply damaged one, so damaged that no one can by himself repair it.

This is the fundamental truth on which the great Christian dogma of Christ as Savior is built. This idea is the principle watershed between Christianity and the other religions."
- Speech given by AI Osipov.


and...

"An old story is told about a drunk who fell into a pit. The sides of the pit were so steep and he was so inebriated that he could not get out. He cried in alarm to anyone who would hear him.

A Jew walked by, stopped, took out the Psalms and quoted:-

“I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength” (Ps 88:4)

“My son,” he said, observe God’s Law and you will not stumble.” With that he walked on by.

A Muslim walked to the edge of the pit, peered over and declaimed: “You are a drunk, an unbeliever. First submit both Allah and to his laws, then you will know Paradise.” In disgust, he also walked away hurriedly.

A Hindu approached, a sage. “Your karma is now set by this deed. There is nothing you can do. Accept death and on your next rebirth perhaps your soul will make more progress.” The sage calmly walked away.

A Buddhist monk approached and with compassion he looked down on the man and tried to teach him to meditate. “Try to extinguish your desires … for earthly freedom, even for life itself. With desire comes suffering. With the right mental attitude you too can attain nibbana.” The monk retreated from the pit with a beatific smile on his face.

The drunk man grumbled noisily to himself in the pangs of his pain that all men were the same. With much difficulty he slumped and forward and fell into a fitful sleep.

Suddenly he was rudely awoken by a rough fellow gently shaking him. This man had let himself down into the pit with a rope.

The descent was so difficult beset with sharp stones, briars and obstacles that his hands and body were bleeding.

He took a spare rope, tied it round the drunken man’s waist who fell silent in disbelief. The drunk felt himself dragged to the side of the pit whereupon his rescuer strapped them both together and raised them up on a pulley fixed into the edge of the top of the pit for that purpose.

As they both stood out of the pit into the sunshine, unshackled, the drunken man, who was now a little more sober, looked round. The stranger had gone but there was a rather odd charge that lingered on in the air. He did not feel alone.

He looked back into the pit and thought thankfully about the great sacrifice this Man had made to save him."


http://antiochabouna.blogspot.com/2007/12/christ-is-born-glorify-him.html

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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2010, 10:03:32 PM »

Why the Christian God? Why are you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc.?

What would you say to someone who asked a question like this?

First because I was raised into it, and second because I chose it myself once I got older. Christianity is Incarnational and so it is suppose to start in one place like a seed, and multiply/spreadout all over the planet......if not the Kosmos!

Modern Atheism didn't fall from the sky! It too came from a place.....a classroom or lecture hall some centuries ago in western Europe. And it too had to spread and be taught to people all over the globe.


I would also tell him/her the differences in Worldviews, lifestyles, spirituality, morality.....etc. Then I would tell him/her about the sickness of mankind, the Incarnation, Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ as being the ultimate reason. Then I would ask him/her why wasn't they a christian?




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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2010, 11:19:15 PM »

Like jnorm, I was born into Christianity, and then became convicted of it when I got older.

One of the main reasons I was convicted was the astounding wisdom of not just Jesus, but of the Fathers in particular. It was the supreme explanation of my experiences in life.

Buddhism, Hinduism... all good things, but it is the fulness of the truth in Christian doctrine that first enlightened me. Neither in other religions nor in my personal conjecturing had I ever seen anything comparable to Christianity. Whenever I learn from Christianity, I feel wholeness.

That's one reason. I could make historical/philosophical/miracle-based explanations, but another person would likely be either bored of skeptical with that.
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 11:55:54 PM »

I could also invoke Apostolic succession of our bishops--we have a line of people who were ordained specifically to preserve the revelation of the Apostles all the way back to the time of Christ. It is very hard to argue with that.
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2010, 04:33:33 AM »

Why would the Apostles have gone through the suffereing, pain, and death they did if they were lying about the resurrection?
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2010, 08:46:56 AM »

Why would the Apostles have gone through the suffereing, pain, and death they did if they were lying about the resurrection?

This is exactly what I just posted in another thread!  laugh

I agree 110%!
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2010, 12:56:11 PM »

Why would the Apostles have gone through the suffereing, pain, and death they did if they were lying about the resurrection?

You assume those are the only 2 options, when it fact there are plenty of other options. For example maybe they all THOUGHT and truly believed Jesus rose from the dead, in in fact maybe he did not.

No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true believers", that doesn't make their belief true.

Just to be clear I'm not making the argument that Jesus did not rise from the dead, or that Christianity is not true, only that Christians for the most part need to come up with better arguments when a non believer asks the question "why Christianity and not (fill in the blank religion(s)?" Saying, "well it's true because I say/believe it's true" is NOT an answer someone who is a non believer will accept as valid. Anymore than asking a Muslim why they picked Islam, and they say "because it's true" is an answer for you.





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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2010, 01:02:48 PM »


I wouldn't be a Christian if I didn't think Christianity were true.

Of course not. To be in a religion or faith that you didn't deep down think was true (like a Pascal's wager scenario) would be absurd.

Quote
My answer is a valid answer, though it was not meant to be a complete one.

It's valid for YOU, not for most people who would sincerely ask the question as propossed by the OP.




Quote
I will clarify the point of my original post. I wanted to address "Why the Christian God?" i.e., why not some other religion? To answer that question one has to address the specific content of Christian revelation vs. Islamic revelation, for example. Obviously one would not say 'Because its true,' because that's not very helpful to your questioner who can't verify it except by faith. But one can, indeed must, mention the beliefs/doctrines of one's chosen religion. Whether or not Jesus Christ is God, it is a verifiable fact that the Church teaches that He is. That is what I was pointing out.
 I am attracted to that teaching over against Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian teaching. I was attracted to Christianity, even before I believed, by the beauty of its theology, represented by the quote I chose. I was particularly interested in how Christianity, especially Orthodox Christianity, promises salvation for the "whole man." In my mind, the Incarnation of God is the only thing that can bring wholeness to my own being and to the world. See Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments. So when I was an unbeliever, but looking into Christianity, I must admit that I wanted Christianity to be true whether is was or not. (Lucky for me, it is true! LOL)


Now THIS is a good answer! Smiley All I was trying to do was to get to a deeper answer to the question, not just an appeal to Biblical authority as it were. That's all.


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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2010, 02:25:22 PM »

Why would the Apostles have gone through the suffereing, pain, and death they did if they were lying about the resurrection?

You assume those are the only 2 options, when it fact there are plenty of other options. For example maybe they all THOUGHT and truly believed Jesus rose from the dead, in in fact maybe he did not.

No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true believers", that doesn't make their belief true.

Just to be clear I'm not making the argument that Jesus did not rise from the dead, or that Christianity is not true, only that Christians for the most part need to come up with better arguments when a non believer asks the question "why Christianity and not (fill in the blank religion(s)?" Saying, "well it's true because I say/believe it's true" is NOT an answer someone who is a non believer will accept as valid. Anymore than asking a Muslim why they picked Islam, and they say "because it's true" is an answer for you.






I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding. The Apostles' faith in the resurrection is not a faith in something they just happened to "believe". Its more than a generic religious faith. Its a faith in something they actually saw. They claimed to actually see something, and not just one of them but all twelve of them. This is fundamentally different in belief in something you cannot verify and that you have not experienced. If they didn't really see Jesus raised from the dead they could have easily said, "Nope, we didn't see him. Don't kill us. We made the whole thing up."
I had a non-Christian history professor at a liberal and secular university tell my class, "Never had anyone ever been so convinced of something as the Apostles were convinced that they saw the resurrected Christ."
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2010, 03:37:40 PM »

Why would the Apostles have gone through the suffereing, pain, and death they did if they were lying about the resurrection?

You assume those are the only 2 options, when it fact there are plenty of other options. For example maybe they all THOUGHT and truly believed Jesus rose from the dead, in in fact maybe he did not.

No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true believers", that doesn't make their belief true.

Just to be clear I'm not making the argument that Jesus did not rise from the dead, or that Christianity is not true, only that Christians for the most part need to come up with better arguments when a non believer asks the question "why Christianity and not (fill in the blank religion(s)?" Saying, "well it's true because I say/believe it's true" is NOT an answer someone who is a non believer will accept as valid. Anymore than asking a Muslim why they picked Islam, and they say "because it's true" is an answer for you.






I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding. The Apostles' faith in the resurrection is not a faith in something they just happened to "believe". Its more than a generic religious faith. Its a faith in something they actually saw. They claimed to actually see something, and not just one of them but all twelve of them. This is fundamentally different in belief in something you cannot verify and that you have not experienced. If they didn't really see Jesus raised from the dead they could have easily said, "Nope, we didn't see him. Don't kill us. We made the whole thing up."
I had a non-Christian history professor at a liberal and secular university tell my class, "Never had anyone ever been so convinced of something as the Apostles were convinced that they saw the resurrected Christ."
But you still haven't addressed the basic point Northernpines was making: that there are more options than (1) the apostles were lying; or (2) the apostles were telling the truth. Northernpines offered a third option, that the apostles sincerely believed they were telling the truth -- and this sincere belief may have arisen because they sincerely believed they experienced something miraculous.

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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2010, 03:41:15 PM »

I wouldn't compare the deaths of the Apostles with that of Muslim extremists, not because of differences in faiths or any disrespect.  But rather the way in which they present themselves.

The Apostles faced persecution for their beliefs and they didn't budge.  They encouraged others to move on, and to accept the possibility that others will hate you and kill you.

The flipside of this is that terrorists are not as hated as they hate others.  They are the persecutors, and wrongfully labeled "martyrs" by those who adore their actions.

It's easy to hate, very easy.  It's hard to love the one who persecutes you and still maintain your belief in the Resurrection.  I agree with Papist, this is a strong case for Christianity.
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2010, 03:51:05 PM »

Why would the Apostles have gone through the suffereing, pain, and death they did if they were lying about the resurrection?

You assume those are the only 2 options, when it fact there are plenty of other options. For example maybe they all THOUGHT and truly believed Jesus rose from the dead, in in fact maybe he did not.

No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true believers", that doesn't make their belief true.

Just to be clear I'm not making the argument that Jesus did not rise from the dead, or that Christianity is not true, only that Christians for the most part need to come up with better arguments when a non believer asks the question "why Christianity and not (fill in the blank religion(s)?" Saying, "well it's true because I say/believe it's true" is NOT an answer someone who is a non believer will accept as valid. Anymore than asking a Muslim why they picked Islam, and they say "because it's true" is an answer for you.






I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding. The Apostles' faith in the resurrection is not a faith in something they just happened to "believe". Its more than a generic religious faith. Its a faith in something they actually saw. They claimed to actually see something, and not just one of them but all twelve of them. This is fundamentally different in belief in something you cannot verify and that you have not experienced. If they didn't really see Jesus raised from the dead they could have easily said, "Nope, we didn't see him. Don't kill us. We made the whole thing up."
I had a non-Christian history professor at a liberal and secular university tell my class, "Never had anyone ever been so convinced of something as the Apostles were convinced that they saw the resurrected Christ."
But you still haven't addressed the basic point Northernpines was making: that there are more options than (1) the apostles were lying; or (2) the apostles were telling the truth. Northernpines offered a third option, that the apostles sincerely believed they were telling the truth -- and this sincere belief may have arisen because they sincerely believed they experienced something miraculous.


Option three: They, along with the female followers of Christ, and the five hundred witnesses all had the same hallucination over a 40 day period. That is kinda hard for me to swallow.
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2010, 04:05:12 PM »

You assume those are the only 2 options, when it fact there are plenty of other options. For example maybe they all THOUGHT and truly believed Jesus rose from the dead, in in fact maybe he did not.

Mass hallucination is unlikely.

Quote
No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true believers", that doesn't make their belief true.

The difference is that if it was true that Christ did not die on the Cross or died and was not resurrected etc., then the Apostles who were martyred did so knowing full that what they died for was a sham. On the flip side, fundamentalist Muslims do not know that Muhammed did what he said he did, they just believe. I believe in the Resurrected Christ because I know the Apostles were martyred for Him, and if Christ did not rise from the dead then they would have died for claiming what they knew was a falsehood.
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2010, 04:10:16 PM »

You assume those are the only 2 options, when it fact there are plenty of other options. For example maybe they all THOUGHT and truly believed Jesus rose from the dead, in in fact maybe he did not.

Mass hallucination is unlikely.

Quote
No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true believers", that doesn't make their belief true.

The difference is that if it was true that Christ did not die on the Cross or died and was not resurrected etc., then the Apostles who were martyred did so knowing full that what they died for was a sham. On the flip side, fundamentalist Muslims do not know that Muhammed did what he said he did, they just believe. I believe in the Resurrected Christ because I know the Apostles were martyred for Him, and if Christ did not rise from the dead then they would have died for claiming what they knew was a falsehood.
Very well stated. This was what I was trying to get across.
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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2010, 04:33:39 PM »

Why the Christian God?

Other gods are either too impersonal (like the "divine force") or limited with human flaws (pre-Christian polytheism), be it lust, egotism or greed. After reviewing the different deities, I feel that none but YHWH El Shaddai can love me no matter what and He proved this by dying for me, what other god is willing to do this?

Why are you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc.?

I don't know a whole lot about Zoroastrianism though there are some interesting parallels with Christianity and Judaism. But so far I get the impression that Ahura Mazda is not in complete control of the universe whilst every orthodox Christian and Jew agrees that YHWH is. A god that's not in complete control doesn't sound very powerful to me, the theological implications are obvious. I would like to learn more about this one though.

I'm not very well versed on Hinduism either, though I do know it's not a religion per se (not like it used to be) rather it's a collection of religions. There are monotheistic Hindus, polytheistic Hindus, pantheistic Hindus, ect. But from the little I know, here's why I'm not a Hindu:

1. The whole reincarnation thing is utterly pointless to me as we apparently can't remember anything about our past lives, so then how we so supposed to learn from our mistakes in order to get closer with the "divine consciousness"? Reincarnation can in a way encourage immorality because the worst thing that can possibly happen to you is that you will be reincarnated as a lessor being, so Hinduism doesn't install any fear of future judgement. Though to it's credit it at least teaches in the doctrine of Karma that there are consequences to the things we do.

2. I really don't like those creepy looking idols, the thought of having those things in my house or bowing to them literally makes me wanna hurl. They freak me out so much that I won't even go into an Indian restaurant, but I hate Indian food anyway, just gimme a bowl of curry if you really wanna punish me.

3. The pantheistic side of Hinduism (which can also be seen in Buddahism and the New Age Movement) denies the reality of evil. Quite frankly I cannot believe in a faith that refuses to see the world and humanity how it really is, because you cannot fix a problem if you refuse to acknowledge that it's there. Faith is believing what we can't see, not denying what is right in front of us.

As for Islam, now this is religion I'm much more knowledgable about. I am not Muslim because:

1. Muhammad's allah is too arbitrary for my liking, he changes his mind all the time (nasikh), does stuff just because he feels like it and his love is limited, it's not unconditional so I can't trust him with my eternal salvation.

2. Muhammad's allah is not holy, the Quran explicitly states that allah creates both good and evil. Well salt water cannot flow from a fresh stream, or as Yeshua put it "a good tree cannot bear bad fruit". Allah is good because does good (as Muslims claim) so if Allah does evil too, then obviously he is evil too, meaning evil is part of his nature. So Muhammad's allah strikes me a transcendent supernatural schitzo, I cannot accept that such a 2 face inconsistent deity can be the true one.

3. Islam is the only religion that I know of that actually sanctifies deceit. In practically every other religion dishonesty of any kind is considered totally unacceptable, but not in Islam as it's doctrines of Taqiya and Kithman make very clear. But what should we expect as according to Muhammad Allah is the "greatest deceiver". How 1.3 billion people (and counting) on this planet can put their faith in such an untrustworthy god is something I can't wrap my head around. This religion is no doubt Satan's most successful brainchild, his greatest masterpiece.

4. The man Muhammad. He was a lying, thieving, murdering rapist and paedophile, and all this is extensively documented in Muslim sacred literature, and to top it off he gleefully committed these atrocities without a hint of remorse. Seriously even Buddah and Krishna surpass him in the morality stakes.

Now I realize this sounds like a very Christian polemical response to Islam but because Islam is the youngest of the major world religions I already have other literature, world figures and deities to compare with the Quran, Muhammad and his allah. Yes there is all the usual objections of violence and hatred towards kuffar, but once you get deep into the theology you'll find that all this evil in Islam can be justified and that there is a loophole for any sin you can imagine. And that's what makes Islam different not only from Christianity but from everything else. There is just no absolute gage for what is right and wrong, there is no concrete basis for ethics, not even it's deity.

There's also the element of logic. I know that the Bible has some "unbelievable" stories but I must say that it's still the most believable book of the lot.

What would you say to someone who asked a question like this?

I would answer as I did above, name the problems I have with other religions and then I'll drop the bomb on what makes Christianity truly unique:

In every other religion you have to save yourself, well what you're really doing is appealing to the mercy of the god/goddess so that he/she will take pity on you and choose not to destroy you. In Christianity, more correctly in Christ, it is God who took the initiative to save us when we didn't even ask for it, and He did so by doing the unthinkable - dying for us out of sheer 100% pure love. And then coming back to life, thereby reassuring us that even if it seems like He won't come through, He will, that we can trust Him completely because He fulfilled His promises.

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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2010, 07:57:34 PM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
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« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2010, 09:40:47 AM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
I stay away from saying, "why not other religions?" as well. I know enough about history to know that Christianity is true.
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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2010, 11:34:45 AM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
I stay away from saying, "why not other religions?" as well. I know enough about history to know that Christianity is true.

But couldn't one also "know enough about history" to seriously doubt that Christianity is true? What about the Inquisition, the persecution of anyone who was different or who spoke out against the corruption seen in the church, the constant pogroms in Russia under so-called "Holy Russia", the massacre of the Old Believers, the troubles in Ireland between Catholic and Protestant, etc. etc. etc. To me, all these horrors and more could cause anyone looking on from the outside to wonder if Christianity contains any ability to change people's lives for the better in any meaningful way.
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2010, 11:40:44 AM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
I stay away from saying, "why not other religions?" as well. I know enough about history to know that Christianity is true.

"To be deep in history is to cease to be Christian"

Do I believe that at the moment? No. But I have believed something like that in the past, at least when it came to my own beliefs. I'll be honest, I really envy people who have a strong faith and assurance in their religion of choice.
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« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2010, 12:07:02 PM »

I am rather dubious of arguments against Christianity that boil down to "Christian history is violent" or "being a Christian means I can't do whatever I want."

Well, yeah. But the same can be said of any other historical religion and now, of any deeply secular society. Furthermore the reduction of Christianity as a means of control presupposes the absence of any kind of higher truth and boils basically down to utilitarianism. (You see this in a lot of [science] fiction--any religion, especially a Catholic-flavoured religion is actually a mad scheme to enslave people). If this were the case, I wonder how historic Chrisitianity (at least from the point of view of Acts) survived at all, since the people of the world already had a functional scheme of controlling the people in the form of Rome and other empires, and Judea had the Sanhedrin.

As for the violence argument, it is an argument that betrays fairly modern (and dare I say, Christian) presuppositions. If you look at any historical society, violence was a way of life. Only Christianity mitigated that. Before you cite "Crusade!" and "Inquisition!" remember that the former was not an unprovoked attack on Christians against Muslims, and the latter killed (over its entire span) something like 4 people per year. Both events, as unfortunate as they were, are even more unfortuneately not well studied by ordinary people and often manipulated by people with an agenda.
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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2010, 12:14:26 PM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
I stay away from saying, "why not other religions?" as well. I know enough about history to know that Christianity is true.

But couldn't one also "know enough about history" to seriously doubt that Christianity is true? What about the Inquisition, the persecution of anyone who was different or who spoke out against the corruption seen in the church, the constant pogroms in Russia under so-called "Holy Russia", the massacre of the Old Believers, the troubles in Ireland between Catholic and Protestant, etc. etc. etc. To me, all these horrors and more could cause anyone looking on from the outside to wonder if Christianity contains any ability to change people's lives for the better in any meaningful way.
The fact that there have been bad Christians is no indicator as to whether or not Christ actually rose from the dead and is the God he claimed to be. Nor does the fact that there are good Christians prove that Christianity is true. I have never really understood this silly arguement: "Christ can't be God because of the inquisitions and the crusades." It just strikes me as ridiculous.
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« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2010, 12:44:58 PM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
I stay away from saying, "why not other religions?" as well. I know enough about history to know that Christianity is true.

But couldn't one also "know enough about history" to seriously doubt that Christianity is true? What about the Inquisition, the persecution of anyone who was different or who spoke out against the corruption seen in the church, the constant pogroms in Russia under so-called "Holy Russia", the massacre of the Old Believers, the troubles in Ireland between Catholic and Protestant, etc. etc. etc. To me, all these horrors and more could cause anyone looking on from the outside to wonder if Christianity contains any ability to change people's lives for the better in any meaningful way.
The fact that there have been bad Christians is no indicator as to whether or not Christ actually rose from the dead and is the God he claimed to be. Nor does the fact that there are good Christians prove that Christianity is true. I have never really understood this silly arguement: "Christ can't be God because of the inquisitions and the crusades." It just strikes me as ridiculous.

And then people completely overlook the saints, ascetics, physicians, martyrs, etc of the Christian faith. What about the first public hospitals that were built under Basil the Great? What about the greater internal stability, social equality, and higher literacy that Christianity brought to the Roman Empire? There are so many ways that Christianity has been beneficial, even from a nonbelieving utilitarian materialist standpoint.
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« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2010, 12:50:18 PM »

I personally stay away from describing other religions when being asked "Why Christianity?"  If asked "Why not Islam?" perhaps I'll answer a few points on my issues with Islam.
I stay away from saying, "why not other religions?" as well. I know enough about history to know that Christianity is true.

But couldn't one also "know enough about history" to seriously doubt that Christianity is true? What about the Inquisition, the persecution of anyone who was different or who spoke out against the corruption seen in the church, the constant pogroms in Russia under so-called "Holy Russia", the massacre of the Old Believers, the troubles in Ireland between Catholic and Protestant, etc. etc. etc. To me, all these horrors and more could cause anyone looking on from the outside to wonder if Christianity contains any ability to change people's lives for the better in any meaningful way.
The fact that there have been bad Christians is no indicator as to whether or not Christ actually rose from the dead and is the God he claimed to be. Nor does the fact that there are good Christians prove that Christianity is true. I have never really understood this silly arguement: "Christ can't be God because of the inquisitions and the crusades." It just strikes me as ridiculous.
Precisely. It is, as you Latins call it, a non sequitur.

I've always been of the opinion that evidential apologetics is the strongest flavour of apologetics, since you really can't argue with what's there. Granted, we're trying to prove that Jesus's body ISN'T there, which is tricky. As far as I can tell, Judea didn't maintain DNA databases and there's a strong possibility that Jesus was haploid. But we can get close to the truth by examining the historicity of the texts regarding this most central Christian event.

Whereas with classical apologetics, people can (and have) spend oceans of ink creating new critiques of the Five Ways.
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« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2010, 01:49:24 PM »



Whereas with classical apologetics, people can (and have) spend oceans of ink creating new critiques of the Five Ways.
Of the five ways, I think only first two are proper proofs. They are valid, if they are expanded and explained in all of their premises.
The other argument that Thomas uses that I believe is valid but that is not necessarily a proof is the argument from design. Its not completely air tight but is a strong probable argument. The arguement from contingency and the argument from degreess of perfection have serious problems. I think these last two are good theology but not good apologetics.
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« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2010, 01:56:24 PM »



Whereas with classical apologetics, people can (and have) spend oceans of ink creating new critiques of the Five Ways.
Of the five ways, I think only first two are proper proofs. They are valid, if they are expanded and explained in all of their premises.
The other argument that Thomas uses that I believe is valid but that is not necessarily a proof is the argument from design. Its not completely air tight but is a strong probable argument. The arguement from contingency and the argument from degreess of perfection have serious problems. I think these last two are good theology but not good apologetics.

This is not a potshot at Thomas Aquinas, but his Five Ways are based on Aristotelean logic, cosmology, and physics, all of which have serious flaws. It is the same person who said that heavy objects fall faster.
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« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2010, 01:57:36 PM »



Whereas with classical apologetics, people can (and have) spend oceans of ink creating new critiques of the Five Ways.
Of the five ways, I think only first two are proper proofs. They are valid, if they are expanded and explained in all of their premises.
The other argument that Thomas uses that I believe is valid but that is not necessarily a proof is the argument from design. Its not completely air tight but is a strong probable argument. The arguement from contingency and the argument from degreess of perfection have serious problems. I think these last two are good theology but not good apologetics.

This is not a potshot at Thomas Aquinas, but his Five Ways are based on Aristotelean logic, cosmology, and physics, all of which have serious flaws. It is the same person who said that heavy objects fall faster.
This assumes that everything that Aristotle said was wrong.
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« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2010, 02:01:33 PM »

^ I would like to add that Norris Clarke had modified the causality argument with modern/scientific languae rather than Aristotilian language.
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« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2010, 03:21:12 PM »

But couldn't one also "know enough about history" to seriously doubt that Christianity is true? What about the Inquisition, the persecution of anyone who was different or who spoke out against the corruption seen in the church, the constant pogroms in Russia under so-called "Holy Russia", the massacre of the Old Believers, the troubles in Ireland between Catholic and Protestant, etc. etc. etc. To me, all these horrors and more could cause anyone looking on from the outside to wonder if Christianity contains any ability to change people's lives for the better in any meaningful way.

I know that other people have answered you, but I will interject and say that you are right that some folks will indeed wonder. What you pointed out happened, just as much as it is also a fact of history that Christianity has made things better for women, children and minorities (Jaroslav Pelikan's Jesus Through the Centuries). One could also point out that the issues were not as cut and dry as "the Inquisition" etc... In any case, people objecting to Christianity on the basis that Christians have misbehaved and sinned is an opportunity to witness to them.

What really matters is that (paraphrasing CS Lewis, Apostle Paul, and the Creed) if God did not send His only begotten Son to the world to be incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and to become man; to suffer, be crucified and die for us; and on the third day to rise again--Christianity would be a bogus faith. No other religion has such apparently ridiculous beliefs. No other religion has a God who is both the recipient of the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself. No other religion has such a loving and caring God, who demands not obedience to Himself but wishes for his creation to love Him back. And, no other religion backs up its claims by such evidence and action. In the current idiom, this God has walked the walk and His disciples have also backed Him up, even unto death.
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« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2010, 03:48:59 PM »

To be in a religion or faith that you didn't deep down think was true (like a Pascal's wager scenario) would be absurd.
I don't think that's an entirely accurate assessment of the wager scenario.
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« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2010, 04:00:43 PM »

As for the violence argument, it is an argument that betrays fairly modern (and dare I say, Christian) presuppositions. If you look at any historical society, violence was a way of life. Only Christianity mitigated that. Before you cite "Crusade!" and "Inquisition!" remember that the former was not an unprovoked attack on Christians against Muslims, and the latter killed (over its entire span) something like 4 people per year. Both events, as unfortunate as they were, are even more unfortuneately not well studied by ordinary people and often manipulated by people with an agenda.
Though I agree with you that sometimes these historical examples of Christian (usually heterodox, mind you) malevolence are over-hyped by those seeking to debunk Christianity, ultimately, I see no more need to make excuses for evil, whether perpetrated by Christians or not, than I do to make excuses for the many shameful and wicked deeds I have done, known or unknown, voluntary or involuntary, throughout my whole life. The very fact that all of us, individually and collectively, are every one guilty for every thing and before all (to paraphrase Dostoyevsky) is to me one of the strongest arguments if not for the truth of Christianity then at least for its necessity. If there were no Crusades, and likewise if there were no lies, no malice, no fear, no hatred, no murders, no thefts, no sloth, no suicides, no treacheries, there would be no need for the Godman Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2010, 07:54:45 AM »

Why Christianity?

Because it's the truth...

I would have included: Why Orthodox Christianity?

Same answer - because it's the truth!

But more importantly, Christ and His Church are the ONLY truth!

And I can prove that beyond any reasonable doubt. Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical person in first century Galilee.

The mathematical odds of Him being born to a virgin when He was, where He was, fulfilling all of the O.T. prophecies precisely in the way He did... are mindbogglingly, astronomicallly, virtually impossible.

Beyond that, an undeniable, scientifically verifiable proof that most Christians never seem to think of - is the Star of Bethlehem! The Star was an actual historical celestial event, which - thanks to today's technology and computer astronomy software, as well as Kepler's laws of planetary motion... can be seen today just as it was seen by the magi over 2,000 years ago.

In fact - the Star of Bethlehem was such a spectacle that many planetariums to this day provide a show of that very Star to the unwitting public, who never know that what they are seeing is that great Star that announced the birth of the King of Kings to the world!

There is only ONE Truth and Jesus the Christ IS that Truth!



Oh - and BTW...

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"No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true (Muslim) believers", that doesn't make their belief true."

ARAB MUSLIMS DID NOT  PERPETRATE 9/11!!
 
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« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2010, 04:31:42 PM »

And I can prove that beyond any reasonable doubt.

Please don't enter the legal system as a barrister and solicitor.
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« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2010, 06:04:04 PM »

Why Christianity?

Because it's the truth...

I would have included: Why Orthodox Christianity?

Same answer - because it's the truth!

But more importantly, Christ and His Church are the ONLY truth!

And I can prove that beyond any reasonable doubt. Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical person in first century Galilee.

The mathematical odds of Him being born to a virgin when He was, where He was, fulfilling all of the O.T. prophecies precisely in the way He did... are mindbogglingly, astronomicallly, virtually impossible.

Beyond that, an undeniable, scientifically verifiable proof that most Christians never seem to think of - is the Star of Bethlehem! The Star was an actual historical celestial event, which - thanks to today's technology and computer astronomy software, as well as Kepler's laws of planetary motion... can be seen today just as it was seen by the magi over 2,000 years ago.

In fact - the Star of Bethlehem was such a spectacle that many planetariums to this day provide a show of that very Star to the unwitting public, who never know that what they are seeing is that great Star that announced the birth of the King of Kings to the world!

There is only ONE Truth and Jesus the Christ IS that Truth!



Oh - and BTW...

Quote from: NorthernPines
"No one is martyred for something they know to be false. The 9/11 hijackers were "true (Muslim) believers", that doesn't make their belief true."

ARAB MUSLIMS DID NOT  PERPETRATE 9/11!!
 

You haven't provided any data, scientific or otherwise, to back up any of your statements.

If you are going to claim something to be scientifically provable on this forum, you better have the data/research to back such a statement up.
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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
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« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2010, 07:05:57 PM »

Christianity is really the only religion that explains how redemption as we think of it is possible.
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