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Author Topic: Problems with the faith  (Read 9896 times) Average Rating: 0
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TryingtoConvert
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« on: November 26, 2010, 11:40:48 PM »

Perhaps someone can enlighten me but unless you interpret the Bible literally, there is no validation to anything in the text. The Bible is supposed to be a historical relic, depicting various trials and tribulations of men and angels alike, and the possibilities of our foreseeable future. Unless we interpret this literally, all the Bible is are metaphors, memes and themes that were written in order to inspire and preach a certain moral code.

If I read that Moses heard the voice of God through a Burning Bush, I am not seeing that as an accurate testament to something that REALLY happened. I am seeing that as something symbolic and metaphoric. An allegory if you will. And THAT is where the argument comes from. You cannot argue half and half. You cannot take the middle road with the Bible. You cannot claim that some of it is metaphor, some of it is fact, some of it is this or that, because, honestly, who are you or who is anyone else on this planet to truly know how to interpret this book with any kind of accuracy? The only glimpse of an idea we have on how to read it, is in the book itself, which requires a literal interpretation.

It is all confusing and contradicting. Everything associated with religion in general only leads to a giant circular, never-ending argument.

In short, you cannot say the bible is as factually solid as 2+2=4, and then say, except for this that and the other thing.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 11:42:06 PM by TryingtoConvert » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2010, 11:45:00 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

You may want to read this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25459.0.html

The issue of allegory in the Old Testament was discussed there.  I found what Fr. Peter had to say to be particularly helpful.
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2010, 11:45:40 PM »

Welcome to the forum.  I pray that you find your time here illuminating.
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 11:48:08 PM »

Welcome!

You cannot claim that some of it is metaphor, some of it is fact, some of it is this or that, because, honestly, who are you or who is anyone else on this planet to truly know how to interpret this book with any kind of accuracy? The only glimpse of an idea we have on how to read it, is in the book itself, which requires a literal interpretation.
You can claim thus, because:

The Orthodox Church can truly know how to interpret this book with a kind of accuracy; that is one of the tenets of Orthodox faith. The Orthodox Church produced the New Testament itself, and has been interpreting the Old Testament for nearly 2000 years.

If you use the Bible as your sole, infallible (in the enlightenment sense) authority, you are not Orthodox. The Orthodox Church isn't Bible-Based. The Bible is Orthodox-based.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 11:49:14 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 12:08:27 AM »

Don't you claim the bible is the INFALLIBLE word of GOD. How is it then that it's contents are based on a MAN MADE institution, and not that institution based on it's content (The INFALLIBLE WORD OF GOD)?
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 12:11:36 AM »

Don't you claim the bible is the INFALLIBLE word of GOD. How is it then that it's contents are based on a MAN MADE institution, and not that institution based on it's content (The INFALLIBLE WORD OF GOD)?
This forum discusses Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christianity is not the same as "bible-based" Evangelical Christianity, and is distinct from all Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholic Christianity.

You seem to be applying Protestant doctrines to Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox Church was founded by the Only-Begotten Pre-existent Word and Son of God Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago. It is not a man-made institution in the eyes of those who believe her. The Orthodox do not have the many "Infallible Word of God" innovated doctrines that many protestants have.

Doctrines like "sola scriptura" appeared during the Reformation and doctrines like "biblical infallibility" appeared as a reaction to the Enlightenment; they are less than 700 years old.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 12:15:47 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2010, 12:18:19 AM »

But It does not follow that the word of god would be IMPERFECT, if your God IS PERFECT right? It does not that your PERFECT GOD would divinely inspire MORTAL MEN to be his AUTHORS, his biographers, if you will, and they get it WRONG, producing an IMPERFECT document

If your god is perfect, then it follows that his words are perfect. And if his words are perfect, and the bible is a collection of his words, then it follows that the bible is PERFECT.
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2010, 12:25:52 AM »

Perhaps someone can enlighten me but unless you interpret the Bible literally, there is no validation to anything in the text.

Have you plucked out your eye or cut off your hand lately?

Have you cut off something else to become a eunuch for the Kingdom of Heaven? Shocked

Quote
The Bible is supposed to be a historical relic, depicting various trials and tribulations of men and angels alike, and the possibilities of our foreseeable future. Unless we interpret this literally, all the Bible is are metaphors, memes and themes that were written in order to inspire and preach a certain moral code.

Why all literally or all metaphor?

If you go with the all literal line of thought, who do you do with Mark 4:34 "He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when He was alone with His own disciples, He explained everything."

Quote
If I read that Moses heard the voice of God through a Burning Bush, I am not seeing that as an accurate testament to something that REALLY happened. I am seeing that as something symbolic and metaphoric. An allegory if you will. And THAT is where the argument comes from. You cannot argue half and half. You cannot take the middle road with the Bible.

And what do you do when the Bible says it is speaking in metaphor, and when the Bible says it is giving an accurate testament?

Quote
You cannot claim that some of it is metaphor, some of it is fact, some of it is this or that, because, honestly, who are you or who is anyone else on this planet to truly know how to interpret this book with any kind of accuracy?

That's why you go to the Orthodox bishops who succeed the Apostles to whom Christ "explained everything."

Quote
The only glimpse of an idea we have on how to read it, is in the book itself, which requires a literal interpretation.

Then give us the literal interpretation of the parables.

Quote
It is all confusing and contradicting. Everything associated with religion in general only leads to a giant circular, never-ending argument.


Only to those who make it up as they go along.

Quote
In short, you cannot say the bible is as factually solid as 2+2=4, and then say, except for this that and the other thing.
Where does the Holy Bible say that?
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2010, 12:28:07 AM »

Don't you claim the bible is the INFALLIBLE word of GOD. How is it then that it's contents are based on a MAN MADE institution,

Because the Son of Man build that instituion on the confession of Him being the Son of God.

Quote
and not that institution based on it's content (The INFALLIBLE WORD OF GOD)?
Because God the Word based that institution on Himself. The Body of Christ thing.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2010, 12:30:28 AM »

But It does not follow that the word of god would be IMPERFECT, if your God IS PERFECT right? It does not that your PERFECT GOD would divinely inspire MORTAL MEN to be his AUTHORS, his biographers, if you will, and they get it WRONG, producing an IMPERFECT document

If your god is perfect, then it follows that his words are perfect. And if his words are perfect, and the bible is a collection of his words, then it follows that the bible is PERFECT.

Please stop using all caps, it gives the impression that you are yelling! Wink

First of all: The Word of God is Jesus Christ.

Here's a perspective: The Holy Spirit guided many men, and spoke by many prophets. These men wrote spiritual truths as the True Living God was gradually revealed to them, culminating in the full revelation of the Image of the Father, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit worked with the fallen and erroneous cosmologies and histories of these men to present them with these spiritual truths over a gradual period of time.

The Old Testament is not the what the Qu'ran claims to be; it was not written via dictation from an angel, nor did it fall out of heaven in a complete package. It was never designed nor intended to be an infallible history or science textbook.

Perhaps if you stop calling it "The Word of God" and start calling Jesus Christ "The Word of God" it will help de-condition you from the protestant influence you clearly bear. word of God is an acceptable title for the scriptures, however it has been warped in other christian groups and seems to be doing you more harm than good at the present moment.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 12:34:46 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2010, 12:32:51 AM »

But It does not follow that the word of god would be IMPERFECT, if your God IS PERFECT right?

God the Word is perfect.

Quote
It does not that your PERFECT GOD would divinely inspire MORTAL MEN to be his AUTHORS, his biographers, if you will, and they get it WRONG, producing an IMPERFECT document

Imperfection interpretation does not make the scriptures imperfect.  

Quote
If your god is perfect, then it follows that his words are perfect. And if his words are perfect, and the bible is a collection of his words, then it follows that the bible is PERFECT.

You are confused thinking it is God>Bible>Church.  It is God>Church>Bible.  That Church is still around:the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Orthodox Faith, the Body of Christ, with His divinely instituted authority vested in the bishops chosen to succeed his Apostles.
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2010, 01:02:18 AM »

I apologize for using caps, I will try to italicisze of what I am emphasizing

You're playing at being dense to avoid a basic logic that is clear for anyone to see. Why would god, a perfect being allow the misinterpretation of his words?

You can not have it both ways. You both have stated, matter of factly, and based on the bible, that god exist. Period. This is an infallible truth. You then proceed to say the evidence upon which that belief exist, upon which your certainty lies, is not perfect. The "evidence", as it were, is imperfect.

That Your god, even with his divine inspiration, even with all of his "perfectness" still fell victim to "misinterpretation" because those men who he chose were themselves imperfect.

Are you listening to yourselves?
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2010, 01:09:45 AM »

I apologize for using caps, I will try to italicisze of what I am emphasizing

You're playing at being dense to avoid a basic logic that is clear for anyone to see. Why would god, a perfect being allow the misinterpretation of his words?

You can not have it both ways. You both have stated, matter of factly, and based on the bible, that god exist. Period. This is an infallible truth. You then proceed to say the evidence upon which that belief exist, upon which your certainty lies, is not perfect. The "evidence", as it were, is imperfect.

That Your god, even with his divine inspiration, even with all of his "perfectness" still fell victim to "misinterpretation" because those men who he chose were themselves imperfect.

Are you listening to yourselves?
First of all, you come across as if you are desperate for something. I understand that theology can be frustrating, especially when one is at the end of one's rope searching for answers; it will help if you calm yourself and think through each point slowly.


You're playing at being dense to avoid a basic logic that is clear for anyone to see. Why would god, a perfect being allow the misinterpretation of his words?
Because God bestows free will upon mankind as an act of condescending love.

You can not have it both ways. You both have stated, matter of factly, and based on the bible, that god exist. Period. This is an infallible truth. You then proceed to say the evidence upon which that belief exist, upon which your certainty lies, is not perfect. The "evidence", as it were, is imperfect.
We are not basing God's existence on the bible.

And furthermore, the bible is correct when it is used for its created purpose. It is not useful when you, or Evangelicals, or anyone else, take the bible out of its proper context and use it as an infallible modernist prooftext for science or middle-eastern history.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 01:13:22 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2010, 01:23:47 AM »

Do you mind sharing your background with Christianity-- were you raised in a christian denomination, where do you get most of your information, etc?
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2010, 01:31:02 AM »

LOL, really? Desperate? You can save your subtle condescension. I'm not "looking" for answers. The answers, to my life, are found everyday in my friends, my family, my girlfriend, and my future with them. I don't need to look for answers in a fairy tell book.

No, what I find infuriating has nothing to do with any answers I'm "struggling" to find, but everything to do with the asininity of your position.
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« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2010, 01:35:20 AM »

And that persons who hold similar positions, who also hold positions of power, have a DIRECT effect on my life and those around me.
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« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2010, 01:35:39 AM »

LOL, really? Desperate? You can save your subtle condescension. I'm not "looking" for answers. The answers, to my life, are found everyday in my friends, my family, my girlfriend, and my future with them. I don't need to look for answers in a fairy tell book.

No, what I find infuriating has nothing to do with any answers I'm "struggling" to find, but everything to do with the asininity of your position.
I wasn't trying to be condescending. I only assumed that you were searching for something because your name is "Trying to Convert", and because you react with so much hostility to our posts.
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2010, 01:37:28 AM »

I apologize for using caps, I will try to italicisze of what I am emphasizing

You're playing at being dense to avoid a basic logic that is clear for anyone to see. Why would god, a perfect being allow the misinterpretation of his words?

Free will. If you want a divine puppet master, try the Calvinists.

Quote
You can not have it both ways. You both have stated, matter of factly, and based on the bible, that god exist. Period. This is an infallible truth. You then proceed to say the evidence upon which that belief exist, upon which your certainty lies, is not perfect. The "evidence", as it were, is imperfect.

The evidence is perfect. Your interpretation is wanting, however.

Quote
That Your god, even with his divine inspiration, even with all of his "perfectness" still fell victim to "misinterpretation" because those men who he chose were themselves imperfect.


Our God offered Himself as victim as the perfect sacrifice for man's misinterpretation.  If He only chose perfect men, He would be the only one He could chose.

Quote
Are you listening to yourselves?
You seem to be listening only to yourself.
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2010, 01:40:20 AM »

LOL, really? Desperate? You can save your subtle condescension. I'm not "looking" for answers. The answers, to my life, are found everyday in my friends, my family, my girlfriend, and my future with them. I don't need to look for answers in a fairy tell book.

Then enjoy you life in your land of make believe.

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No, what I find infuriating has nothing to do with any answers I'm "struggling" to find, but everything to do with the asininity of your position.
Listening to yourself, are you?
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2010, 01:42:16 AM »

And that persons who hold similar positions, who also hold positions of power, have a DIRECT effect on my life and those around me.

Oooh! Positions of power!  Would it be the Ice King?

http://adventuretimewithfinnandjake.wikia.com/wiki/Ice_King
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 01:44:32 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2010, 01:48:19 AM »

Religion: The anti-logic.

If God is so perfect, why did he create confusion in the text he divinely inspired?

There are a million different interpretations of the Bible. There are a million different religions and a million more Bibles and a million more interpretations of each of those Bibles.

Is he playing games with people?
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« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2010, 01:55:11 AM »

Religion: The anti-logic.

If God is so perfect, why did he create confusion in the text he divinely inspired?

There are a million different interpretations of the Bible. There are a million different religions and a million more Bibles and a million more interpretations of each of those Bibles.

Is he playing games with people?
Sir, are you trying to convert to Orthodox Christianity?
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« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2010, 01:56:47 AM »

Religion: The anti-logic.

If God is so perfect, why did he create confusion in the text he divinely inspired?

There are a million different interpretations of the Bible. There are a million different religions and a million more Bibles and a million more interpretations of each of those Bibles.

Is he playing games with people?
God didn't create the confusion. Man created the confusion. You fail to understand the role that Free Will plays in Orthodox Christianity because you are currently attacking a strawman.
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« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2010, 01:59:39 AM »

You're playing at being dense to avoid a basic logic that is clear for anyone to see. Why would god, a perfect being allow the misinterpretation of his words?  You can not have it both ways. You both have stated, matter of factly, and based on the bible, that god exist. Period. This is an infallible truth. You then proceed to say the evidence upon which that belief exist, upon which your certainty lies, is not perfect. The "evidence", as it were, is imperfect.  That Your god, even with his divine inspiration, even with all of his "perfectness" still fell victim to "misinterpretation" because those men who he chose were themselves imperfect. Are you listening to yourselves?

"God" starts with a capital G.   Scripture is polyveilant and multidenotative. 
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« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2010, 02:01:44 AM »

Religion: The anti-logic.
If God is so perfect, why did he create confusion in the text he divinely inspired?
There are a million different interpretations of the Bible. There are a million different religions and a million more Bibles and a million more interpretations of each of those Bibles.
Is he playing games with people?
Sir, are you trying to convert to Orthodox Christianity?

No, he is not trying to convert himself.  He is trying to convert the rest of us to his form of "true thinking."  Thus the "trying to convert" is "trying to convert the people of this forum" to his mode of thinking.   
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« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2010, 02:02:31 AM »

Religion: The anti-logic.
If God is so perfect, why did he create confusion in the text he divinely inspired?
There are a million different interpretations of the Bible. There are a million different religions and a million more Bibles and a million more interpretations of each of those Bibles.
Is he playing games with people?
Sir, are you trying to convert to Orthodox Christianity?

No, he is not trying to convert himself.  He is trying to convert the rest of us to his form of "true thinking."  Thus the "trying to convert" is "trying to convert the people of this forum" to his mode of thinking.  
I don't think that's the impression he's trying to give. He put "seeker" in his faith field. He at least wanted this trolljob to start on false pretenses.

I recommend he trolls boards that speak his first language from now on, as his arguments may be more convincing if he understood the rebuttals of his forced-into-a-debate opponents.

What say you, Antitheist Alfred?
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« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2010, 02:03:47 AM »

I do want to believe in a 'God' or a higher transcendent being. I know about the baptist, lutheran, episcopal, etc faiths. All of that brought me here, I merely want to believe but there are obstacles that I have trouble accepting in.
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« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2010, 02:04:32 AM »

God created something men could not understand.

He does not sound so perfect to me.
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« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2010, 02:05:00 AM »

I do want to believe in a 'God' or a higher transcendent being. I know about the baptist, lutheran, episcopal, etc faiths. All of that brought me here, I merely want to believe but there are obstacles that I have trouble accepting in.
Forgive us for misjudging you, then, sir, but you are debating in a very hostile manner and we did not even know that this was going to be a debate.
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« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2010, 02:06:26 AM »

God created something men could not understand.

He does not sound so perfect to me.
God gave men a Church to help men understand the text he inspired. Then men, of their own free will, chose to leave that Church. God loves man and gives him free will, so he allowed this to occur without forcing man to return to his Church.
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« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2010, 02:08:52 AM »

I do want to believe in a 'God' or a higher transcendent being. I know about the baptist, lutheran, episcopal, etc faiths.
All of these faiths (with the possible exception of Episcopalians) use the bible as an infallible base.  The Orthodox Church uses the whole of Holy Tradition, including the Scriptures, as a base.
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« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2010, 02:14:47 AM »

Religion: The anti-logic.

Well, I guess Rome has spoken.

Quote
If God is so perfect, why did he create confusion in the text he divinely inspired?

To seperate the wheat from the chaff.

Quote
There are a million different interpretations of the Bible. There are a million different religions and a million more Bibles and a million more interpretations of each of those Bibles.

And only one correct, i.e. Orthodox, one.

There are 6 billion + persons on the planet. If they all agreed that the sun rises in the West, or they all differed on it would matter none. The sun would still rise in the East, unencombered with personal opinions.

Quote
Is he playing games with people?
Only with those playing God.
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« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2010, 02:17:26 AM »

I do want to believe in a 'God' or a higher transcendent being.

What for?

Quote
I know about the baptist, lutheran, episcopal, etc faiths.

Define "know."

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All of that brought me here,

To do what?

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I merely want to believe but there are obstacles that I have trouble accepting in.
How many of those obstacles are of your own erecting?
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« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2010, 02:18:56 AM »

God gave men a church?

I think you got that backwards.
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« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2010, 02:19:36 AM »

I do want to believe in a 'God' or a higher transcendent being. I know about the baptist, lutheran, episcopal, etc faiths. All of that brought me here, I merely want to believe but there are obstacles that I have trouble accepting in.
Forgive us for misjudging you, then, sir, but you are debating in a very hostile manner and we did not even know that this was going to be a debate.

There was no misjudging.   He did not even deny it when confronted.   I have encountered many atheists.  

Nice try "TryingtoConvert."   Hopefully you will get something out of it anyway.   Just don't be deceptive.   We have atheists here.  Just state who you are and where your coming from.   I know you are trying to prove that Orthodox are inept at converting people to theism.  But certainly this is possible without being deceptive, no?   Many of us here were born at night but it wasn't last night   Wink   
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« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2010, 02:20:34 AM »

Perhaps someone can enlighten me but unless you interpret the Bible literally, there is no validation to anything in the text. The Bible is supposed to be a historical relic, depicting various trials and tribulations of men and angels alike, and the possibilities of our foreseeable future. Unless we interpret this literally, all the Bible is are metaphors, memes and themes that were written in order to inspire and preach a certain moral code.

If I read that Moses heard the voice of God through a Burning Bush, I am not seeing that as an accurate testament to something that REALLY happened. I am seeing that as something symbolic and metaphoric. An allegory if you will. And THAT is where the argument comes from. You cannot argue half and half. You cannot take the middle road with the Bible. You cannot claim that some of it is metaphor, some of it is fact, some of it is this or that, because, honestly, who are you or who is anyone else on this planet to truly know how to interpret this book with any kind of accuracy? The only glimpse of an idea we have on how to read it, is in the book itself, which requires a literal interpretation.

It is all confusing and contradicting. Everything associated with religion in general only leads to a giant circular, never-ending argument.

In short, you cannot say the bible is as factually solid as 2+2=4, and then say, except for this that and the other thing.
The Church dictates what is literal and what is metaphorical. The Bible was meant to be accompanied with an oral tradition, not speak for itself. Besides, you're treating the Bible as if it's one book, you're interpreting it way too black and white for something that is collection of books spanning 1000 years of differing authors. With this in mind, you would have to take the "middle road" approach to the Bible. It would be absurd otherwise. Compare something like the Book of Revelation to the Acts of the Apostles, and tell me there's no middle ground in interpreting one metaphorically and the other literally.

So who are we to dictate what parts of the Bible are metaphorical? Our claim is to be the church founded by Christ and the Apostles, and I believe history is on our side when it comes to this argument. Not only do we claim to interpret the Bible correctly, but the Orthodox Church claims to have written the Bible.
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« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2010, 02:21:21 AM »

God gave men a church?

I think you got that backwards.
Why?

Jesus founded the Church before the New Testament was written.
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« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2010, 02:22:47 AM »

God gave men a church?

I think you got that backwards.

Well, at least you are being honest now.   Yes, God gave men the Church, and the Church gives men God.  
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« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2010, 02:24:33 AM »

So if the Church is a collection of interpreters how can they interprete what's literal and what's not? I just don't understand how they can be an authority on it? Where is the line drawn?
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« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2010, 02:25:07 AM »

God gave men a church?

I think you got that backwards.
I know you got that backwards.
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« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2010, 02:25:23 AM »

God gave men a church?

I think you got that backwards.
Why?

Jesus founded the Church before the New Testament was written.

Yes, but he would argue that the Church made Jesus God.  
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« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2010, 02:27:06 AM »

So if the Church is a collection of interpreters how can they interprete what's literal and what's not? I just don't understand how they can be an authority on it? Where is the line drawn?
Jesus Christ, whom we believe was God incarnate, taught his Apostles.

The apostles taught others, who then taught others, etc.

These "others", while having interpretational variants on non-doctrinal issues and understandings, have held to the same core doctrines throughout history.
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« Reply #42 on: November 27, 2010, 02:27:54 AM »

What JC taught the Apostles on what to interprete in the OT?
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« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2010, 02:28:38 AM »

So if the Church is a collection of interpreters

No, but it does have interpreters.

Quote
how can they interprete what's literal and what's not?

They stand firm and hold fast the Traditions received of the Apostles.

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I just don't understand how they can be an authority on it?

Because Christ says so. And makes it so.

Quote
Where is the line drawn?
Through the episcopal lines of the Orthodox bishops.
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« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2010, 02:28:51 AM »

God gave men a church?

I think you got that backwards.
Why?

Jesus founded the Church before the New Testament was written.

Yes, but he would argue that the Church made Jesus God.  
Yep!

This entire discussion is occurring on a juvenile level, I am merely giving basic responses.
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« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2010, 02:29:18 AM »

What JC taught the Apostles on what to interprete in the OT?
The doctrinal grid necessary for Orthodox interpretation, yes.
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« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2010, 02:29:59 AM »

What JC taught the Apostles on what to interprete in the OT?
You can see in the NT.
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« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2010, 02:32:59 AM »

But what about the Genesis account, Book of Job, Jonah, all of that how can we interpret those books? I don't understand what you mean by in the NT?
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« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2010, 02:33:21 AM »

Trying to Convert:

Maybe you could benefit from watching this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpmHZzURwZY&
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« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2010, 02:33:44 AM »

But what about the Genesis account, Book of Job, Jonah, all of that how can we interpret those books? I don't understand what you mean by in the NT?
NT means the New Testament. The books you are referring to are in the Old Testament.
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« Reply #50 on: November 27, 2010, 02:36:50 AM »

No I mean how are we supposed to interprete the books of the OT?
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« Reply #51 on: November 27, 2010, 02:38:06 AM »

No I mean how are we supposed to interprete the books of the OT?
We use the New Testament as a "lens" with which to interpret the Old. I think you are giving the old testament undue weight over the new.
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« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2010, 02:40:37 AM »

No I mean how are we supposed to interprete the books of the OT?

Not sure who "we" is here.   The Holy Spirit gives, the Holy Spirit interprets, as Christ promised, the Spirit shall lead you into all truth. 
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« Reply #53 on: November 27, 2010, 02:42:02 AM »

...and the "you" in the last part is in the plural, Christ speaking first and foremost to the Apostles
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« Reply #54 on: November 27, 2010, 02:42:12 AM »

What it ultimately comes down to is this: Do you trust that the successors of the Apostles preserved the faith, or not?


We believe that the successors to the Apostles did indeed preserve the faith, including an "orthodox doctrinal grid": in other words, correct doctrine leads to correct (I.E. not heretical) interpretations.
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« Reply #55 on: November 27, 2010, 02:42:51 AM »

No I mean how are we supposed to interprete the books of the OT?
We use the New Testament as a "lens" with which to interpret the Old. I think you are giving the old testament undue weight over the new.

I guess I have to ask how do we know what is literal and allegorical then, because look at the book of Genesis does Christ even mention it? So how do we make of the Genesis account? Did an Ark really happen, it seems scientifically absurd. It would be much better seen as allegory.
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« Reply #56 on: November 27, 2010, 02:43:14 AM »

But what about the Genesis account, Book of Job, Jonah, all of that how can we interpret those books? I don't understand what you mean by in the NT?
For one, Christ cites Genesis and Jonah, and His (step) brother St. James cites Job as well.
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« Reply #57 on: November 27, 2010, 02:45:12 AM »

I could always say that the Church Jesus Christ supposably started was the Roman Catholic church, not your Orthodox church; thus your entire point on the Orthodox church coming first and knowing how to interpret the Bible being false.
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« Reply #58 on: November 27, 2010, 02:46:09 AM »

No I mean how are we supposed to interprete the books of the OT?
We use the New Testament as a "lens" with which to interpret the Old. I think you are giving the old testament undue weight over the new.

I guess I have to ask how do we know what is literal and allegorical then, because look at the book of Genesis does Christ even mention it?

He cites from it several times.

Quote
So how do we make of the Genesis account?

Who is "we"?

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Did an Ark really happen, it seems scientifically absurd.

You don't believe in floods?

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It would be much better seen as allegory.
Better for what?
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« Reply #59 on: November 27, 2010, 02:47:18 AM »

We as in humans, sure floods happen but on a global level with no proof? Come on.

Allegory because of the church (ark) going through difficult times and still surviving and the waters representing a baptism effect.
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« Reply #60 on: November 27, 2010, 02:47:57 AM »


I guess I have to ask how do we know what is literal and allegorical then, because look at the book of Genesis does Christ even mention it? So how do we make of the Genesis account? Did an Ark really happen, it seems scientifically absurd. It would be much better seen as allegory.

I think I see the issue here.

If the bible alone is what you base your entire faith on, TryingtoConvert, then it is important what things are literal and which are figurative-- they determine your entire faith.

However, if instead, you base your faith on the teachings of the Church, upon a living tradition that includes, interprets and transcends and fulfills the scriptures, these questions are not so pressing. In the Orthodox Church you can believe that the Ark is an allegory and/or 100% literal. The spiritual truth, the ontological truth that persists even today-- this is what is crucial.
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« Reply #61 on: November 27, 2010, 02:48:16 AM »

I could always say that the Church Jesus Christ supposably started was the Roman Catholic church, not your Orthodox church;

And you can always say that the Sun rises in the West, but I'm still expecting it 6 hours hence rising in my East Window.

Quote
thus your entire point on the Orthodox church coming first and knowing how to interpret the Bible being false.

Because you say so?
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« Reply #62 on: November 27, 2010, 02:48:54 AM »

I could always say that the Church Jesus Christ supposably started was the Roman Catholic church, not your Orthodox church; thus your entire point on the Orthodox church coming first and knowing how to interpret the Bible being false.
Whether or not the roman catholics or the Orthodox are the True church is another debate, my friend!
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« Reply #63 on: November 27, 2010, 02:54:11 AM »

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with any kind of source outside of your own heart and mind being an influence on what you believe.

Whether or not God is real, He is supposed to stem from your heart. He is supposed to be something you feel every day and something you look up to and love for bringing you and the Universe life. What religion does to the idea of God, I can never come to terms with. I will never accept a religious view of God, because I do not believe there should be one. God should be something very personal to you and something that you hold most dear, not something influenced by a collection of books.
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« Reply #64 on: November 27, 2010, 02:54:43 AM »

I could always say that the Church Jesus Christ supposably started was the Roman Catholic church, not your Orthodox church; thus your entire point on the Orthodox church coming first and knowing how to interpret the Bible being false.

Ok, well if you said that, then it is ultimately either the RCC or the Orthodox Church that is the true Church.   So look into it more.  Is everyone else responsible for you being where you need to be or are you?  
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« Reply #65 on: November 27, 2010, 02:57:21 AM »

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with any kind of source outside of your own heart and mind being an influence on what you believe.

Whether or not God is real, He is supposed to stem from your heart. He is supposed to be something you feel every day and something you look up to and love for bringing you and the Universe life. What religion does to the idea of God, I can never come to terms with. I will never accept a religious view of God, because I do not believe there should be one. God should be something very personal to you and something that you hold most dear, not something influenced by a collection of books.

God is not an idea, nor does He stem for your heart.  Your heart stems from God.   If you are looking for the "idea" of God, go to philosophy classes at Harvard.   If you are the center of your universe and God stems from you, it is the wrong god. 
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« Reply #66 on: November 27, 2010, 02:58:18 AM »

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with any kind of source outside of your own heart and mind being an influence on what you believe.

Whether or not God is real, He is supposed to stem from your heart. He is supposed to be something you feel every day and something you look up to and love for bringing you and the Universe life. What religion does to the idea of God, I can never come to terms with. I will never accept a religious view of God, because I do not believe there should be one. God should be something very personal to you and something that you hold most dear, not something influenced by a collection of books.
We believe that communion with others and communing with our God go hand-in-hand. Once you realize that your very being receives its personhood only from communion, from loving others, then the whole "all I need is myself" outlook changes.
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« Reply #67 on: November 27, 2010, 02:59:22 AM »

We as in humans, sure floods happen but on a global level with no proof? Come on.
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Allegory because of the church (ark) going through difficult times and still surviving and the waters representing a baptism effect.
While that is a good (and correct) allegorical interpretation, it doesn't rule out the literal meaning.
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« Reply #68 on: November 27, 2010, 03:03:32 AM »

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with any kind of source outside of your own heart and mind being an influence on what you believe.
Heil Hitler.
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« Reply #69 on: November 27, 2010, 03:07:41 AM »

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with any kind of source outside of your own heart and mind being an influence on what you believe.


Quote
Whether or not God is real, He is supposed to stem from your heart.

Says who? God doesn't originate in man. Man originates in God.

Quote
He is supposed to be something you feel every day and something you look up to and love for bringing you and the Universe life.

Says who?

Quote
What religion does to the idea of God, I can never come to terms with.

What religions? Chrisitianity? Islam? Buddhism? Because they are all religions but they don't have the same idea of God.

Quote
I will never accept a religious view of God, because I do not believe there should be one.

So you not trying, because you have made your mind up. Aong with your god.

Quote
God should be something very personal to you and something that you hold most dear, not something influenced by a collection of books.
He certainly shouldn't be a figment of your imagination.
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« Reply #70 on: November 27, 2010, 03:35:26 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."

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« Reply #71 on: November 27, 2010, 04:04:01 AM »

That is fantastic Sleeper; the word of God is Christ!
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« Reply #72 on: November 27, 2010, 04:55:58 AM »

That is fantastic Sleeper; the word of God is Christ!
Seconded!
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« Reply #73 on: November 27, 2010, 06:36:28 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."


You can't definitively say who wrote what, it's a 2000 year old tale that no one knows the truth about. You can believe what ever you want, but the fact is you will never know the real truth behind it.
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« Reply #74 on: November 27, 2010, 06:51:39 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."


You can't definitively say who wrote what, it's a 2000 year old tale that no one knows the truth about. You can believe what ever you want, but the fact is you will never know the real truth behind it.
Knowing the truth of it isn't the same as knowing who wrote the Old Testament books.

The truth can be known, my friend.
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« Reply #75 on: November 27, 2010, 09:49:12 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."


You can't definitively say who wrote what, it's a 2000 year old tale that no one knows the truth about.

We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20.



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You can believe what ever you want, but the fact is you will never know the real truth behind it.
said the brain in the vat.
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« Reply #76 on: November 27, 2010, 09:53:08 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."


You can't definitively say who wrote what, it's a 2000 year old tale that no one knows the truth about. You can believe what ever you want, but the fact is you will never know the real truth behind it.
Knowing the truth of it isn't the same as knowing who wrote the Old Testament books.

The truth can be known, my friend.
"Trying to convert" can't handle the Truth, so he denies its existence.
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« Reply #77 on: November 27, 2010, 11:30:27 AM »

Perhaps someone can enlighten me but unless you interpret the Bible literally, there is no validation to anything in the text. The Bible is supposed to be a historical relic, depicting various trials and tribulations of men and angels alike, and the possibilities of our foreseeable future. Unless we interpret this literally, all the Bible is are metaphors, memes and themes that were written in order to inspire and preach a certain moral code.

If I read that Moses heard the voice of God through a Burning Bush, I am not seeing that as an accurate testament to something that REALLY happened. I am seeing that as something symbolic and metaphoric. An allegory if you will. And THAT is where the argument comes from. You cannot argue half and half. You cannot take the middle road with the Bible. You cannot claim that some of it is metaphor, some of it is fact, some of it is this or that, because, honestly, who are you or who is anyone else on this planet to truly know how to interpret this book with any kind of accuracy? The only glimpse of an idea we have on how to read it, is in the book itself, which requires a literal interpretation.

It is all confusing and contradicting. Everything associated with religion in general only leads to a giant circular, never-ending argument.

In short, you cannot say the bible is as factually solid as 2+2=4, and then say, except for this that and the other thing.



The Bible is about reality, and reality in different cultures. You are pushing your culture onto the Bible and you seem upset in trying to make sense of it from your own cultural lens.

Why not read and understand the Bible through the tradition of both Judaism and Christianity? If you did this then you would understand that within these cultures, the Bible has more than just one sense.

To say that the Bible can only have one interpretation and one interpretation only is the product of the protestant reformation and probably the Renaissance movement before it.




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« Reply #78 on: November 27, 2010, 11:40:28 AM »

You can't definitively say who wrote what, it's a 2000 year old tale that no one knows the truth about. You can believe what ever you want, but the fact is you will never know the real truth behind it.

My point though is that it doesn't matter.  Nothing within Orthodoxy is based upon the truth or validity of the Bible.  Nothing is riding on the authenticity of the Bible.  It's not the source or foundation of our Faith.

We love the Bible, and treasure it and read from it daily but it does not need to stand up to outside scrutiny at the risk of everything crumbling apart.  And the reason for this is because the Church is the living witness that goes all the way back to Jesus Christ Himself.

I understand your frustration (or whatever you'd like to call it) with the Bible, but you're truly fighting a Strawman here.  Let's leave the Bible out of it and talk about what really matters...
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« Reply #79 on: November 27, 2010, 11:44:20 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."


You can't definitively say who wrote what, it's a 2000 year old tale that no one knows the truth about. You can believe what ever you want, but the fact is you will never know the real truth behind it.

Saying that is like saying that the Constitution of the United States is nothing but a 200 year old tale that no one knows the truth about.

Also, how can you talk about FACTS?

You have no facts! All you have is a personal assertion. A chronic case of skepticism and cynicism.

The Real Truth behind it is a synergistic relationship between God and man. And the only way to get around that is to deny the history as well as the people of Judaism and Christianity.


You seem very dogmatic in your ignorance and error.

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« Reply #80 on: November 27, 2010, 11:59:57 AM »

It's not about the Bible, it's about the Life Jesus brought people into.  Jesus did not write something, hand it to His disciples and tell them to pass it along with the correct interpretation.

To put it bluntly (and perhaps some might disagree with this, but I think it's accurate):

If the Bible were to have never existed, Christianity would've progressed in its mission and message unhindered and completely intact.

This is what we mean when we say Christ founded a Church, not a book.  The book, the Bible, is a product of the Church; the fruit of her communal life, and as such it is an invaluable treasure trove of wisdom and guidance.  But the Bible is not the foundation of anything, it is not the source of our beliefs or practices (though it gives witness to both).

This is quite a different approach than evangelical Protestantism.

In the words of noted Orthodox theologian Fr. Thomas Hopko:

"At this point, allow me to reiterate that Orthodoxy is in no way based on the Bible. Nor is it based or derived from a set of oral teachings running parallel to the Bible. The Orthodox Church is the living Body of Christ - the living experience in history of the union of mankind with God in the divine-human Person of the Only-Begotten. The Word of God is not a book, but a Person. The Prophets, both those of the Old Covenant and those of the New, are those who have seen and heard and touched the Word of Life. The Divine Scriptures and the writings of the Saints are the written witness to this experience, but they are not the source of this experience."



This is good!
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« Reply #81 on: November 27, 2010, 05:39:03 PM »


If your god is perfect, then it follows that his words are perfect. And if his words are perfect, and the bible is a collection of his words, then it follows that the bible is PERFECT.

Who says that every word of the bible is directly from the mouth of God? That is a protestant inference upon which sola scriptura is based (ironically enough this assumption is not even found in the bible itself). Orthodox maintain that the men who wrote the scriptures were inspired to convey divine truths, but this does necessarily mean that what they wrote was literally/necessarily the direct/spoken word of God. Even if it was, who says that God can't directly convey to them an allegory? Some divine truth is most aptly revealed in allegory. Christ preferred to use this mode all the time in the New Testament.
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« Reply #82 on: November 27, 2010, 05:44:30 PM »

LOL, really? Desperate? You can save your subtle condescension. I'm not "looking" for answers. The answers, to my life, are found everyday in my friends, my family, my girlfriend, and my future with them. I don't need to look for answers in a fairy tell book.


Your name, 'tryingtoconvert' betrays your words here. What are you trying to convert to, exactly?
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« Reply #83 on: November 27, 2010, 05:59:21 PM »

The Orthodox faith is not just something you can learn out of a book. If you want to see what it's like, you may want to visit a church. Search for your zip code on the site below, and you can locate the nearest parish. Go there, see what the place is like, talk to people, attend a service. If you're not up for that, at least see where there's a church and contact the priest (most parish sites have e-mail and phone listings). It's fine if you have questions. Why not see where they lead?

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/
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« Reply #84 on: November 27, 2010, 06:00:56 PM »

Quote
God should be something very personal to you and something that you hold most dear, not something influenced by a collection of books.
He certainly shouldn't be a figment of your imagination.

New Age is true because it's on the internet. Books are the devil.
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« Reply #85 on: November 27, 2010, 06:38:18 PM »

A couple of thoughts that I hope are helpful:

The Bible is not to be confused with the Quran, which claims to be the exact word of God. The Bible is a collection of writings that was inspired--not dictated--by God. Consequently, it is a record of gradual illumination, culminating in God's full revelation of Himself. Even that, however, is filtered through the imperfect lens of the apostles;  Christ didn't write anything down Himself.  No claim of perfection can be made about the Bible: it's imperfect. That doesn't make its ideas any less beautiful.

Historically, the New Testament isn't codified until the second century; Christians worshipped passionately for a century without the NT. Christianity is not based on a book; its history is recorded in a book. The Bible's canonical interpretation--which parts are literal and which metaphorical--was determined in the first 500 years of the church. A standard understanding existed before the Protestants started interpreting it for themselves (sola scriptura). No, the Bible doesn't mean anything we want it to mean. You can justify all kinds of evil interpreting the Bible incorrectly. That doesn't make its ideas any less true, however.

Although created by God, we are not creatures of God; that is, we possess free will. God could so easily have saved Himself a lot of headaches by making us automatons. He didn't.

Belief is not based on argument; belief is a gift. Very little of what anyone says here is going to convince you of anything. you have a lot of misconceptions to overcome and a lot of studying to do.

Saint Paul exhorts us not to argue. So I won't.
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« Reply #86 on: November 27, 2010, 08:20:18 PM »

But It does not follow that the word of god would be IMPERFECT, if your God IS PERFECT right? It does not that your PERFECT GOD would divinely inspire MORTAL MEN to be his AUTHORS, his biographers, if you will, and they get it WRONG, producing an IMPERFECT document

If your god is perfect, then it follows that his words are perfect. And if his words are perfect, and the bible is a collection of his words, then it follows that the bible is PERFECT.

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In Orthodox we do venerate the Scriptures, but not in the typically Protestant way.  Firstly, we equally venerate the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Tradition as two halves of the same coin, so we do not rely solely on "the Bible" for our guidance, and we do not only define our worship and our Church by the Bible, but we combine a unison approach to both the Bible and the Tradition.  Both illuminate each other, and you can not understand either without the other.  The Bible without the Light of the Tradition is a Mystery, and the Tradition aside from the Bible is only theater.  Together, they are the Divine works of God in our midst.  But you cannot separate either, just as you cannot separate Christ's Humanity or His Divinity.

This Bible is not literally the words of God, as Islam interprets the Koran to be, but rather is the divinely inspired words of God, as given through the mechanisms of human beings and the Tradition is the same.  We do not base our interpretations and understandings of these texts and Traditions solely on the literalism or historicity, rather we prefer to rely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  We turn to God directly on these matters, and in Orthodox the Church defines the Bible according to the active and powerful Will of God in our lives, we do not search for the Will of God in the Scriptures, rather we use the Will of God to understand them.  God determines the Scriptures meanings, the Scriptures do not literally interpret the meaning of God.  This is why Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures supposing to find eternal life, but only if you would just turn directly to Me, who they refer to." (paraphrasing)

Most importantly, while in the Protestant background the Word of God is considered to be the Bible, this is not the case in the Church.  The Scriptures are the word of God (not uppercase), where as only Christ Himself, in the Eternal Flesh and Blood is the true Word of God.  The Word of God is not a book, it is a living Man and God!  We do not search for words written down to find, know and experience Jesus Christ, rather we come to Him directly, in person, here and now!  It is a fundamentally different approach and understanding.  Having been raised a fundamentalist Baptist, I can understand and have experienced both concepts, but truly the Orthodox is real and Divine, whereas the Protestant literalists are similarly confused at times as the Pharisees or the Gnostics, who spent more time reading books and scriptures to find God then actually searching for Him in the active life of worship.  This is not to discredit the faith of Protestants, or to say the God does not operate in them, but it is my analysis that the Protestant tradition makes it a bit harder to find God, as it is often looking in the wrong places. 

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« Reply #87 on: November 27, 2010, 08:46:43 PM »

Wait wait wait, did you actually say that his religion is the ONLY "correct" one? Such beautiful, stunning arrogance. I'm reminded again of the late great Sagan.

Quote
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
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« Reply #88 on: November 27, 2010, 08:51:10 PM »

You say Holy Tradition, what does that even mean?
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« Reply #89 on: November 27, 2010, 08:57:13 PM »

Your problem seems to be the with Bible and yet we've made it quite clear that we do not believe about the Bible what you think we do.  So what is your issue really with?
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« Reply #90 on: November 27, 2010, 09:00:30 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?
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« Reply #91 on: November 27, 2010, 09:05:22 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

It makes sense to me, that's all I can say.
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« Reply #92 on: November 27, 2010, 09:06:53 PM »

We are just a speck in the universe, why would God even make an entire universe why would we place any significance on ourselves?
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« Reply #93 on: November 27, 2010, 09:10:45 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

There are lots of (non-arrogant) reasons why I believe this, but do you really want to get into them or are you just being facetious?
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« Reply #94 on: November 27, 2010, 09:11:13 PM »

Wait wait wait, did you actually say that his religion is the ONLY "correct" one? Such beautiful, stunning arrogance

When the US President signs a bill into law, it is not arrogance for him to enforce it with the full power of the US government (btw, I think the present holder of the office is one of the most arrogant persons on the face of the earth. But that's a different issue). He has that authority.  It is arrogance for others to claim that authority.

It is not arrogance to confess the existence of the Truth. If that fact bothers you, that is your problem.

Quote
. I'm reminded again of the late great Sagan.
Quote
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
Now who's being arrogant.

Fact is, that little dot as far as we know is the only spot in all the universe that matters. There is no evidence of different worlds, and is is an act of faith, rather than a statement of fact, to postulate otherwise.
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« Reply #95 on: November 27, 2010, 09:11:47 PM »

Wait wait wait, did you actually say that his religion is the ONLY "correct" one? Such beautiful, stunning arrogance. I'm reminded again of the late great Sagan.

Quote
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

You can examine hydrogen from earth, and hydrogen from jupiter; they're both going to be governed by quantum physics.

Is it really so surprising that there are right and wrong answers to questions?
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« Reply #96 on: November 27, 2010, 09:11:59 PM »

We are just a speck in the universe, why would God even make an entire universe why would we place any significance on ourselves?

Since when does size correlate to something's significance?
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« Reply #97 on: November 27, 2010, 09:12:30 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

Appeal to ignorance.
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« Reply #98 on: November 27, 2010, 09:12:40 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

More to the point: on what basis do you claim it is not?
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« Reply #99 on: November 27, 2010, 09:13:43 PM »

Lamarckian evolution is true; if you say it isn't, you're being arrogant.

Right, TryingtoConvert?
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« Reply #100 on: November 27, 2010, 09:14:06 PM »

We are just a speck in the universe, why would God even make an entire universe why would we place any significance on ourselves?

Since when does size correlate to something's significance?

So to speak.
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« Reply #101 on: November 27, 2010, 09:14:48 PM »

 Wink
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« Reply #102 on: November 27, 2010, 09:18:48 PM »

Fact is, that little dot as far as we know is the only spot in all the universe that matters. There is no evidence of different worlds, and is is an act of faith, rather than a statement of fact, to postulate otherwise.

So what happens when we discover other worlds with people?
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« Reply #103 on: November 27, 2010, 09:20:52 PM »

Hmmm, probably nothing (but you'll definitely be hearing an "Awesome!" from me).  What are you getting at though?  Why would it matter if there were other civilizations with other creatures?
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« Reply #104 on: November 27, 2010, 09:22:08 PM »

Because if humans are God's best creation, then why would other lifeforms be there?

are you saying that jesus could sacrifice himself in other worlds too if sin existed?
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« Reply #105 on: November 27, 2010, 09:25:07 PM »

Because if humans are God's best creation, then why would other lifeforms be there?

are you saying that jesus could sacrifice himself in other worlds too if sin existed?

Because God likes to create?  There are other lifeforms on Earth, why not elsewhere?

And I'm not going to speculate about what God might or might not do with other possible creatures in the universe that may or may not be made in His image.  It's irrelevant to me and my life and a speculation like this doesn't determine the truth value of my faith.  Do you expect it to?
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« Reply #106 on: November 27, 2010, 09:28:01 PM »

I guess so, to me it would lose significance, you don't think it would cause a crisis at all within Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #107 on: November 27, 2010, 09:30:12 PM »

I guess so, to me it would lose significance, you don't think it would cause a crisis at all within Orthodoxy?
Nobody knows the answer to how the human race will react to aliens.
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« Reply #108 on: November 27, 2010, 09:31:43 PM »

It would be chaos you don't think at first? It could only help it would unify us as a whole in the end.
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« Reply #109 on: November 27, 2010, 09:38:49 PM »

So what if we were to beevolved from monkeys, does that mean we weren't made in the likeness of God or in His image?
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« Reply #110 on: November 27, 2010, 11:03:10 PM »

So what if we were to beevolved from monkeys, does that mean we weren't made in the likeness of God or in His image?

No
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« Reply #111 on: November 27, 2010, 11:21:01 PM »

Why not? Did he not make man from dust?
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« Reply #112 on: November 27, 2010, 11:33:20 PM »

Being made in the image and likeness of God is an entirely different issue than evolution.  They don't rule each other out.
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« Reply #113 on: November 27, 2010, 11:37:45 PM »

Being made in the image and likeness of God is an entirely different issue than evolution.  They don't rule each other out.

What about now extinct sub-species groups that existed only relatively recently (Neanderthal among others) who had graves dug and adorn with flowers?
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« Reply #114 on: November 27, 2010, 11:41:02 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

There are lots of (non-arrogant) reasons why I believe this, but do you really want to get into them or are you just being facetious?

I am genuinely interested.

How do you propose they don't rule each other out?
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« Reply #115 on: November 27, 2010, 11:41:26 PM »

That sounds intriguing! But I'm not sure what you're asking, to be honest. Smiley

Are you asking how such creatures could do such things if they weren't made in the image of God?
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« Reply #116 on: November 27, 2010, 11:47:15 PM »

I am genuinely interested.

How do you propose they don't rule each other out?

I would say my general attitude, rather than one of arrogance, is one of humility.  I was an atheist before I converted to Christianity.  And I simply followed where the evidence led.  I didn't find nearly enough in the other major world religions to warrant the amount of research I found was necessary to convince me of the truth of Christianity.

Some here may not like this, but I'd honestly have to say that, while there are certain aspects of Christianity that are of an objective, verifiable nature, it is ultimately a subjective truth, experienced as the Person of Jesus Christ.  So, for me, Christianity is the only true religion, but I'd never claim that I could objectively prove such a thing to you, because that's just not the kind of thing we're talking about here.  You cannot objectively prove the nature or status of a relationship.  It's not the kind of thing that can be studied that way.
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« Reply #117 on: November 27, 2010, 11:48:00 PM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

There are lots of (non-arrogant) reasons why I believe this, but do you really want to get into them or are you just being facetious?

I am genuinely interested.

How do you propose they don't rule each other out?

Well one person says 2+2=4 and another says 2+2=8.  They don't cancel each other out just because each makes a claim to truth. One is right, and the other is wrong.
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« Reply #118 on: November 27, 2010, 11:48:11 PM »

That sounds intriguing! But I'm not sure what you're asking, to be honest. Smiley

Are you asking how such creatures could do such things if they weren't made in the image of God?

In a way. If they were religious, they believed in some sort of divine. Were they praying in vain? Did they have a soul? Is God for them, too? Did God abandon them? Why are they not in the creation story?  
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« Reply #119 on: November 27, 2010, 11:52:57 PM »

I wouldn't rule them out as being "post-Breathed-Upon" if you will, haha.  But I'm not a creationist (in terms of special, 6-day creationism) so it doesn't really cause a problem for me.  My simple answer would be "I have no idea."  That's for God to sort out!  I don't think the creation narrative in Genesis is even trying to answer these types of questions.
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« Reply #120 on: November 27, 2010, 11:54:25 PM »

Quote from: Azurestone
Why are they not in the creation story?  

The creation story could potentially have gone on for umpteen pages. How many pages do we need? How much did we have to see, to understand that it was God doing it, and for His glory? It doesn't make me think I'm lacking anything because every living thing isn't listed like an entry in the phone book.
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« Reply #121 on: November 27, 2010, 11:58:16 PM »

Quote from: biro link=topic=31604.msg499767#msg499767 date= 1290916465
Quote from: Azurestone
Why are they not in the creation story?  

The creation story could potentially have gone on for umpteen pages. How many pages do we need?
Umpteen, apparently.  Grin
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« Reply #122 on: November 28, 2010, 12:02:52 AM »

Quote from: Azurestone
Umpteen, apparently.  Grin

You do. I don't. Speak for yourself. The Bible doesn't contain long discourses on how to repair a car, but that doesn't make me give up on it, either. That's not why I look to the Bible in the first place.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #123 on: November 28, 2010, 12:07:02 AM »

Quote from: Azurestone
Umpteen, apparently.  Grin

You do. I don't. Speak for yourself. The Bible doesn't contain long discourses on how to repair a car, but that doesn't make me give up on it, either. That's not why I look to the Bible in the first place.  Roll Eyes

I'm kidding! (notice smiley)

Besides, I'm often sarcastic or raise points for discussion and make others think, not necessarily because I don't have an answer.
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« Reply #124 on: November 28, 2010, 12:16:21 AM »

 Lips Sealed
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« Reply #125 on: November 28, 2010, 12:59:04 AM »



Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Fact is, that little dot as far as we know is the only spot in all the universe that matters. There is no evidence of different worlds, and is is an act of faith, rather than a statement of fact, to postulate otherwise.

So what happens when we discover other worlds with people?
Being made in the image and likeness of God is an entirely different issue than evolution.  They don't rule each other out.

What about now extinct sub-species groups that existed only relatively recently (Neanderthal among others) who had graves dug and adorn with flowers?
Who are we to comprehend the Mind of God? In Job, God humbles Job by pointing out it is He alone who forms and functions all of Creation, all of any Creation, all of any of the 11 dimensions postulated in the Multiverse model of String Theory.  In Orthodox we are not so self-righteously sure of ourselves, we are not scientists, we are theologians, we adjust our understanding of the world as God reveals it unto us, and we never make the presumption to know anything but the revelations of God through His Grace alone.  If God created 11 universes and a billion worlds and a trillion civilizations what is it to us? How does it change anything? Maybe for those who cling to literalist misinterpretation of Scripture or listening to too many Pat Roberston sermons but in Orthodox, we worship God, and follow all of God.  We follow the Mysteries as given to us by revelation, instituted by His own hand, given by hand down the generations from the Apostles unto this day.  Things change, only God knows anything, we just pray for His Will and do our best.  God is a Mystery, we do not try to understand Him, we try to experience Him and live constantly in

Because if humans are God's best creation, then why would other lifeforms be there?

are you saying that jesus could sacrifice himself in other worlds too if sin existed?

In Orthodox we teach that Jesus died for all of Creation, not simply humans alone.  For EVERYTHING, for in all came into pass of and through Jesus Christ, whatever is there, it is of Jesus Christ and saved through Jesus Christ, period.


I guess so, to me it would lose significance, you don't think it would cause a crisis at all within Orthodoxy?
Don't worry, in 2000 years we have not been short of any crises Wink, and surely we could survive any more in God's Grace.   

You say Holy Tradition, what does that even mean?
The Holy Tradition is all of the divinely inspired activity of the Church.  This includes the calendar, the Scriptural canon, the Ecumenical Canon, Synod Resolutions, oral traditions, Mariology, architecture, iconography, incense, bells, hymnals, instruments, vestments, Liturgy, prayer books, sacred geography, the writings of the Church Fathers, and even Imperial Edicts in some jurisdictions.  

These things we hold together in equal veneration as the Bible.  The Calvinists and the Puritans precisely wanted to do away with these in favor only of "the Bible" but there is not truly even a universal  Biblical canon amongst ANY tradition or denomination (even amongst Protestants, Pentecostals, Unitarians, Orthodox, Catholics, etc).  Luther was content only with reformation, but the Protestants of the American traditions are almost vitriolically opposed to the Holy Tradition.

In the Church, we use the Holy Tradition to understand the "Bible" and the "Bible" to understand the Holy Tradition, but both are interpreted through active worship and participation in the Mysteries and Holy Spirit.  Our aim is to be close to and to worship God, nothing more, nothing less, not necessarily to be wise, or moral, or saved, but truly to turn to God, and worship Him with all of heart, all of our soul, and all of our comprehension and to learn to say in sincerity and humility, "Father, let Thy Will be done and not our own" and also "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."




stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #126 on: November 29, 2010, 03:13:53 AM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

There are lots of (non-arrogant) reasons why I believe this, but do you really want to get into them or are you just being facetious?

I am genuinely interested.

How do you propose they don't rule each other out?

Well one person says 2+2=4 and another says 2+2=8.  They don't cancel each other out just because each makes a claim to truth. One is right, and the other is wrong.

 
ialmisry i couldn't have put it better myself.
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« Reply #127 on: November 29, 2010, 10:45:30 AM »

You claim your religion is the correct one, is that not arrogant? How do you know its the correct one?

There are lots of (non-arrogant) reasons why I believe this, but do you really want to get into them or are you just being facetious?

I am genuinely interested.

How do you propose they don't rule each other out?

Well one person says 2+2=4 and another says 2+2=8.  They don't cancel each other out just because each makes a claim to truth. One is right, and the other is wrong.

 
ialmisry i couldn't have put it better myself.

Especially since 2+2=8.
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« Reply #128 on: November 29, 2010, 03:32:58 PM »

We are just a speck in the universe, why would God even make an entire universe why would we place any significance on ourselves?
I am not sure why you think that size determines significance. The H1N1 virus is tiny but it was quite significant last year at this time.
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« Reply #129 on: November 29, 2010, 03:38:43 PM »

Wait wait wait, did you actually say that his religion is the ONLY "correct" one? Such beautiful, stunning arrogance

When the US President signs a bill into law, it is not arrogance for him to enforce it with the full power of the US government (btw, I think the present holder of the office is one of the most arrogant persons on the face of the earth. But that's a different issue). He has that authority.  It is arrogance for others to claim that authority.

It is not arrogance to confess the existence of the Truth. If that fact bothers you, that is your problem.

Quote
. I'm reminded again of the late great Sagan.
Quote
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
Now who's being arrogant.

Fact is, that little dot as far as we know is the only spot in all the universe that matters. There is no evidence of different worlds, and is is an act of faith, rather than a statement of fact, to postulate otherwise.

Well, I won't argue with you that Obama is quite possibly an arrogant man. But the fact that Sagan was "great" based on his scientific achievements alone is hardly arguable. And I shouldn't think I need remind you that "arrogance" is a term applied to one's own self-importance, something I have never bestowed upon my own character. There is a reason I called yours "beautiful." To dismiss the legitimacy of another's religion (which may have guided and enriched one's own life on a personal basis, to an extent no less than yours did) merely because it disagrees with your own, and completely oblivious to or ignorant of the follies of such thinking, reaches such astounding heights of textbook arrogance that I dare say you are among the best trolls the internet has yet produced. So in that context (and together with your statement that "there is no evidence of different worlds", when in fact there is ample evidence), disregard everything I've said and pat yourself on the back.Wink
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« Reply #130 on: November 29, 2010, 03:42:08 PM »

The Holy Tradition is all of the divinely inspired activity of the Church.  This includes the calendar, the Scriptural canon, the Ecumenical Canon, Synod Resolutions, oral traditions, Mariology, architecture, iconography, incense, bells, hymnals, instruments, vestments, Liturgy, prayer books, sacred geography, the writings of the Church Fathers, and even Imperial Edicts in some jurisdictions.  

These things we hold together in equal veneration as the Bible.  The Calvinists and the Puritans precisely wanted to do away with these in favor only of "the Bible" but there is not truly even a universal  Biblical canon amongst ANY tradition or denomination (even amongst Protestants, Pentecostals, Unitarians, Orthodox, Catholics, etc).  Luther was content only with reformation, but the Protestants of the American traditions are almost vitriolically opposed to the Holy Tradition.

In the Church, we use the Holy Tradition to understand the "Bible" and the "Bible" to understand the Holy Tradition, but both are interpreted through active worship and participation in the Mysteries and Holy Spirit.  Our aim is to be close to and to worship God, nothing more, nothing less, not necessarily to be wise, or moral, or saved, but truly to turn to God, and worship Him with all of heart, all of our soul, and all of our comprehension and to learn to say in sincerity and humility, "Father, let Thy Will be done and not our own" and also "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?
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« Reply #131 on: November 29, 2010, 04:12:11 PM »

The Holy Tradition is all of the divinely inspired activity of the Church.  This includes the calendar, the Scriptural canon, the Ecumenical Canon, Synod Resolutions, oral traditions, Mariology, architecture, iconography, incense, bells, hymnals, instruments, vestments, Liturgy, prayer books, sacred geography, the writings of the Church Fathers, and even Imperial Edicts in some jurisdictions.  

These things we hold together in equal veneration as the Bible.  The Calvinists and the Puritans precisely wanted to do away with these in favor only of "the Bible" but there is not truly even a universal  Biblical canon amongst ANY tradition or denomination (even amongst Protestants, Pentecostals, Unitarians, Orthodox, Catholics, etc).  Luther was content only with reformation, but the Protestants of the American traditions are almost vitriolically opposed to the Holy Tradition.

In the Church, we use the Holy Tradition to understand the "Bible" and the "Bible" to understand the Holy Tradition, but both are interpreted through active worship and participation in the Mysteries and Holy Spirit.  Our aim is to be close to and to worship God, nothing more, nothing less, not necessarily to be wise, or moral, or saved, but truly to turn to God, and worship Him with all of heart, all of our soul, and all of our comprehension and to learn to say in sincerity and humility, "Father, let Thy Will be done and not our own" and also "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?

1. References by the Jewish Historian Josephus

2. The Apostles all except one gave their lives. If it were not True and they had made it all up, then their actions don't compute.

How would that conversation among them have gone?

"Okay fellas, lets make up a story that the Messiah was with us, died and was resurrected. THEN, we go around the known world talking about it, eventually each of us will either be burned alive, skinned, beheaded or Crucified...  Sounds pretty cool huh?  Whose in ! "
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« Reply #132 on: November 29, 2010, 04:27:25 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.
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« Reply #133 on: November 29, 2010, 04:31:50 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
The Holy Tradition is all of the divinely inspired activity of the Church.  This includes the calendar, the Scriptural canon, the Ecumenical Canon, Synod Resolutions, oral traditions, Mariology, architecture, iconography, incense, bells, hymnals, instruments, vestments, Liturgy, prayer books, sacred geography, the writings of the Church Fathers, and even Imperial Edicts in some jurisdictions.  

These things we hold together in equal veneration as the Bible.  The Calvinists and the Puritans precisely wanted to do away with these in favor only of "the Bible" but there is not truly even a universal  Biblical canon amongst ANY tradition or denomination (even amongst Protestants, Pentecostals, Unitarians, Orthodox, Catholics, etc).  Luther was content only with reformation, but the Protestants of the American traditions are almost vitriolically opposed to the Holy Tradition.

In the Church, we use the Holy Tradition to understand the "Bible" and the "Bible" to understand the Holy Tradition, but both are interpreted through active worship and participation in the Mysteries and Holy Spirit.  Our aim is to be close to and to worship God, nothing more, nothing less, not necessarily to be wise, or moral, or saved, but truly to turn to God, and worship Him with all of heart, all of our soul, and all of our comprehension and to learn to say in sincerity and humility, "Father, let Thy Will be done and not our own" and also "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

stay blessed,
habte selassie


Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?

In Orthodox, we seldom have proof of anything, nor is it required, and rarely is it an issue.  We do not try to intellectually or logically follow God, or follow the Orthodox Tradition because it is sensible, reasonable, or any such things, rather we call it the Orthodox Faith for a reason Wink
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« Reply #134 on: November 29, 2010, 04:36:39 PM »

While I don't fully agree with this, HabteSelassie, I think you bring up a very good point.  I have found in my conversations with atheists that they become very frustrated when they find out Christianity is not like other things that can be dissected and studied.  They keep arguing with it as if it were.

It's like being angry at a painting because it isn't a math equation.

I cannot prove to anyone that my wife loves me.  It is something that can only be experienced in close, personal union.
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« Reply #135 on: November 29, 2010, 04:41:46 PM »

Have you ever tried praying to God to reveal Himself to you? I am asking this because I am honestly curious. I have heard people make that claim before that if you ask God to do so that He will. Whether He actually does or not I don't know...mainly because I have never doubted that He exists.
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« Reply #136 on: November 29, 2010, 04:49:25 PM »

greetings in that divine and most precious name of our lord and savior jesus christ!
While I don't fully agree with this, HabteSelassie, I think you bring up a very good point.  I have found in my conversations with atheists that they become very frustrated when they find out Christianity is not like other things that can be dissected and studied.  They keep arguing with it as if it were.

It's like being angry at a painting because it isn't a math equation.

I cannot prove to anyone that my wife loves me.  It is something that can only be experienced in close, personal union.

amen amen.
I like the way you put that Smiley


I had a discussion with an atheist about Creation who was discussing with me the concept that the Universe is self-existing, and that science disproves God because it somehow proves that there are mechanisms for creation which do not inherently need a divine mover.  I told him that just because you may in science understand the mechanism, does not negate the Creator.  That is like saying, "Ah ha! There is no music to speak of, the sound is just coming from vibrating strings! There is neither art nor artist to speak of"  Anyone with a lick a sense can see that just because the artists has a mechanism, does not take away from the art.

Love has no explanation, and God is love, and God loves us, and how could we ever explain this?  What is the evidence for this? There is none, for all evidence could be dissected into infinity and fault will always be found, because God is not about evidence.  It is a matter of faith, and for those who believe, there is no lack of evidence either, for all of life is evident of God to us.  

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #137 on: November 29, 2010, 05:19:36 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.


Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?
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« Reply #138 on: November 29, 2010, 05:24:11 PM »

Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?

Yes, of course.  I can make a case that only allows historical data that the vast majority of scholars would grant me as historically reliable, with no special appeals to the inspiration or divine source of the Bible.  And when I do use the Bible, I'll only use those portions which, again, the vast majority of scholars would regard as historically reliable information.  I wouldn't use "the Bible says so, so it's true" as a line of reasoning.  But surely we can agree that there are at least some things the Bible, as an historical document, accurately portrays?  Or would you discount the entire thing simply due to it's association with the Church?

I firmly believe that an historical case can be made, based on solid data, which only the Resurrection provides the best answer to.

Granted, this won't "prove" anything.  But then again, how much of anything can really be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt?
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« Reply #139 on: November 29, 2010, 05:25:15 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.


Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?


Previous post:

Well, I think it also depends on how far a person pursues a given line of evidence and what aspects they wish to emphasize as well (which may involve bias). For example, many christians like to point out how many copies of the new testament writings exist, the accuracy of the copyist transmissions, the dates of the writings surrounding the events, etc. to bolster the evidence and to give it unique credibility.

I would agree. It gives it direction and point. Its not really going to convince anyone but it does give an area of debate.

Also, going back to the days of my atheism I read that a lot of people say Jesus never existed due to little evidence of him. I brought it up to a Catholic who said "there is a religion based in his name, and in full swing, less than 100 years after his death, is that not evidence?" Which cleared it up for me. It doesn't prove a thing, but it does raise a good point.

That is another lie that is circulated. There is plenty of historical mention from the same time referencing Jesus. When I'm at my other computer tomorrow, I'll try to get you some sources.

Here:
Quote
"Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works--a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.

"He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those who loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day"
(Antiquities, XVIII, III). [Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, born in A.D. 37]

Quote
"derived their name and origin from Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, had suffered death by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate"
(Annals 15.44) Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 CE)

Quote
On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth--manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. (XVIII.1)
Julius Africanus, History of the World, c. 220 - concerning Thallus (c. 50-75 AD)


Others:
-Letter from Pliny the Younger to Trajan (c. 110)
-Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars, c. 125)
-Lucian (mid-2nd century)
-Galen (c.150; De pulsuum differentiis 2.4; 3.3)
-Celsus (True Discourse, c.170).
-Mara Bar Serapion (pre-200?)
-Talmudic References (written after 300 CE, but some refs probably go back to eyewitnesses)




That is another lie that is circulated. There is plenty of historical mention from the same time referencing Jesus. When I'm at my other computer tomorrow, I'll try to get you some sources.

You haven't yet provided a single reference for this claim. All you've done is provide quotes from people living 50-300 years later, who are basically just reporting that other people claim that Jesus existed.

Secondary sources are better than Third! ... or modern claims ...

The only primary sources that are available is the Apostles and the Bible... but we don't trust those.

EDIT: The references are included...
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« Reply #140 on: November 29, 2010, 05:27:02 PM »

Hello TryingtoConvert! Someone already requested for you to tell us a little about yourself. I for one would love to know your history especially spiritually. God Bless, and good to have you here.
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« Reply #141 on: November 29, 2010, 05:44:58 PM »

Wait wait wait, did you actually say that his religion is the ONLY "correct" one? Such beautiful, stunning arrogance

When the US President signs a bill into law, it is not arrogance for him to enforce it with the full power of the US government (btw, I think the present holder of the office is one of the most arrogant persons on the face of the earth. But that's a different issue). He has that authority.  It is arrogance for others to claim that authority.

It is not arrogance to confess the existence of the Truth. If that fact bothers you, that is your problem.

Quote
. I'm reminded again of the late great Sagan.
Quote
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
Now who's being arrogant.

Fact is, that little dot as far as we know is the only spot in all the universe that matters. There is no evidence of different worlds, and is is an act of faith, rather than a statement of fact, to postulate otherwise.

Well, I won't argue with you that Obama is quite possibly an arrogant man. But the fact that Sagan was "great" based on his scientific achievements alone is hardly arguable.

Well, just association with the University of Chicago should count for "great," but as for scientific achievements (the central one being his work on the climate of Venus, which contributed to the global warming hysteria), their significance can be argued.  That he had the gift of promoting complex subjects for a mass audience, that cannot be denied, nor his intelligence. But he was too clever by half when he wandered out of his expertise, as was shown when he entered cold war politics and came firmly down on the wrong side of history. He did show some true humility, as opposed to false humility (we will get to you below), denying he was an atheist as he didn't have enough information to reach that conclusion. though he did dally in metaphysical matters which were beyond his training.

Quote
And I shouldn't think I need remind you that "arrogance" is a term applied to one's own self-importance, something I have never bestowed upon my own character.
Sure you did. You arroganted to yourself the position of judging God and His Church, from the vantage point of  that tiny closed universe of "[your] life...found everyday in [your] friends, [your] family, my girlfriend, and [your] future with them."  We have several posters who pontificate for the Vatican, the enlightenment, etc.  We have seen you pontificate from nothing but your very limited, if even existent, knowledge and experiance, and dependence on a dead man proved wrong in his lifetime on his misguided politics, let alone his metaphysical thoughts about which he even admitted he did not know enough.

Quote
There is a reason I called yours "beautiful." To dismiss the legitimacy of another's religion (which may have guided and enriched one's own life on a personal basis, to an extent no less than yours did) merely because it disagrees with your own,

you assUme that I or others dismiss the "legitimacy of another's religion" merely because it disagrees with my own. Hint: TRUTH.

Quote
and completely oblivious to or ignorant of the follies of such thinking,

what follies do you imagine come with recognizing the Truth?

Quote
reaches such astounding heights of textbook arrogance

you seem qualified to write that textbook, that I'll admit.

Quote
that I dare say you are among the best trolls the internet has yet produced.

Trolls? I'm sorry: Did the oc.net 'Bot open a thread with silly postings and track you down and dragged you over here to post?

Quote
So in that context

your oblivion of knoweledge?

Quote
(and together with your statement that "there is no evidence of different worlds", when in fact there is ample evidence),

Of planets? Yes. Of worlds? No. There is no evidence of civilizations of intellligent life, nor even of life at the microscopic level, outside the world we inhabit, and upon which Christ walked.

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disregard everything I've said and pat yourself on the back.Wink
I think I'll blow my nose and get rid of a disagreeable little snot.Wink

Let's just cut to the chase: do you believe in Truth? Do you hold that Truth is knowable? Upon what basis do you "stand" to answer these questions. After all, I see no reason to go over forestry if you can't first see the forest.

"Seeker," what are you seeking?
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« Reply #142 on: November 29, 2010, 06:06:03 PM »

"Seeker," what are you seeking?



I'm kidding!  Cheesy Grin
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« Reply #143 on: November 29, 2010, 06:20:43 PM »

You say Holy Tradition, what does that even mean?

I'm going to repost something long (yeah, I know, suprise) but may not have the time to comment more.  I originally argued this against Sola Scriptura for the only source of the Faith.  I'll adapt it to the OP.

An example of what happens when Sola Scriptura runs against Apostolic Tradition:
Joshua Joshua 22:10 And when they came to the region about the Jordan, that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11 And the people of Israel heard say, "Behold, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh have built an altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel." 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh, to make war against them. 13 Then the people of Israel sent to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, in the land of Gilead, Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 "Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD, 'What is this treachery which you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the LORD, by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the LORD? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Pe'or from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the LORD, 18 that you must turn away this day from following the LORD? And if you rebel against the LORD today he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 But now, if your land is unclean, pass over into the LORD's land where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against the LORD, or make us as rebels by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.'"

21 Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 "The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward the LORD, spare us not today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the LORD; or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or cereal offerings or peace offerings on it, may the LORD himself take vengeance. 24 Nay, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, 'What have you to do with the LORD, the God of Israel ? 25 For the LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in the LORD.' So your children might make our children cease to worship the LORD. 26 Therefore we said, 'Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings; lest your children say to our children in time to come, "You have no portion in the LORD."' 28 And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, 'Behold the copy of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.' 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, cereal offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!"

30 When Phin'ehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manas'sites spoke, it pleased them well. 31 And Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manas'sites, "Today we know that the LORD is in the midst of us, because you have not committed this treachery against the LORD; now you have saved the people of Israel from the hand of the LORD." 32 Then Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the Reubenites and the Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report pleased the people of Israel; and the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them, to destroy the land where the Reubenites and the Gadites were settled. 34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar Witness; "For," said they, "it is a witness between us that the LORD is God."

Now, note the following:

The Sola Scriptura folks were quite correct: the Law given to Moses had restricted sacrifices to one altar before the one Tabernacle. Btw, the tribes living on the East of the Jordan was a deviation from what God had commanded, revealed in His Word, and to which the Prophet Moses objected (Numbers 32, especially verses 6-15). Sort of like the innovation of the monarchy (I Kingdoms/Samuel 8, esp. verses 6-7), but we go a Messiah out of that (I Chronicles 17). Yet it is those who add Tradition to the mix who save Israel that day, as the chiefs of the Assembly/Congregation (we would say "Church") of Israel admit.

However, the Sola Scriptura first accuse the Eastern tribes of rebelling against God's Word, setting something that they see in addition to, and hence in opposition to (in their mind) in order to supplant God's Word, and replacing the Word of God with the traditions of men. And their solution? Just stick to the text and cross over to us.

The Eastern tribes had the foresight to see that, people being people, and sin being sin, that the Books of Moses were not going to suffice to stop Israel from sin. Those on the West Bank would focus on the literal promises to Abraham (which said nothing of the East Bank) and would interpret it in a manner which suited their sense of sensibilities: the Promised Land should fit our idea of the Land of Canaan (sort of like the idea of eating Body and Blood). Acting on this, they would exclude the Easterners, leading them to sin.

So the solution? Set up an interpretation of the letter of the law that preserved an indisputable indication of its spirit. And this they did.

A Melkite priest gave the best one word definition of Chrsitianity: witness.

Now, the problem most Protestants have with Tradition is the idea that the Church which set it up has tried to suppliment, and hence oppose, in order to supplant, Scripture.

We do not believe in, say, the Real Presense because St. Ignatius of Antioch, whom the Aposles ordained themselves as successor of St. Peter in the place where the disciples were first called Christians, writes in c. 105:
Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from the prayer, because they will not confess that the Eucharist is the self same flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils. See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

we believe in the Real Presence because He said, "This is My Body," "This is My Blood." Rising, He appeared and was known to the Apostles in the breakding of the bread that first Pascha (Luke 24:13-36 NOT btw, in His opening of the scriptures, though that did make their heart burn). Those who continued steadfast in the Apostles' doctrines communed in the breaking of bread in the prayers of the DL every Sunday from the Resurrection until June 7, 2009 (Acts 2:42, 20:7), which we received, delievered to us by the Apostles from the Lord (I Cor. 11:23. btw. when these words were written, the Church had been gathering on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7) for over two decades).

Now, the Aposles weren't doing this because of the verses quoted. Rather the verses were written to record what the Apostles did, what they were doing, believing, teaching, whether by word or letter (I Thess. 2:15) so those who followed could stand fast and hold these traditions, and withdraw (I Thes. 3:6) from those who refused to walk according to the traditions which they delievered and which we received.

St. Ignatius stood fast and held that tradition, and did not neglect that gift that was given him by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the Apostles, guarding what was committed to him. (I Tim. 4:14, 6:20) St. Ignatius set in order bishops in every city as the Aposltes commanded, to hold fast the faithful word as it had been taught, by word or letter, to both exhort and convict by sound doctrine those of a different opinion (heresia) who contradicted, and refused to walk according to that tradition. (cf. Titus 1:5-9). As the letters show, strong in the grace of Christ Jesus, he was committing these traditions he heard by word from the Apostles to the Faithful to teach others. (2 Tim. 2:1-2), that the Catholic Church continue in breaking the bread, the communion of the self same Body of Christ (I Cor. 10:16).

We do not believe in the Real Presence because St. Ignatius says so: he received the same Faith we received, and he stands as a Witness that God has erected between the Apostles and us, as a sign post as to whether we walk according to the Tradition of the Apostles or not. "Lo! I am with you always (Greek: "all the days") even unto the end of the age." Those were His parting words. And so He has: rather than standing gazing, the Church has raised up witnessses to that same Faith, who stand as witnesses between us and the Apostles. We have not abandoned the Bible for the Fathers (and Mothers!). Rather surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we are able to point to the Witness, like the Eastern Tribes to the altar on the Jordan, to show that we are right in our interpretation of Scripture, including the Words of Institution (themselves written in the Gospels to reflect Church practice). Every generation, we can document, from the Apostles to this day, those who, if they lived in our day, would come to OUR Church and commune with us (of course, closed communion is part of that Apostolic Tradition). Their Faith is our Faith, and that is the value of their words, not that they replace the Bible. Rather they preserve the full import of the Bible.

Tradition is giving our ancestors, our Fathers, the ones who passed down the Faith and copied and preserved the Bible, a vote.

Catechesis means "echo," and Christ's Word has roared throughout the generations through Apostolic Tradition.

As our priest says, if you come up with an interpretation of Scripture that no one else has, be cautious and ask yourself if you are wrong. If it contradicts what has gone before, YOU ARE DEFINITELY WRONG.

How to interpret Acts 8:31? The believers of sola scriptura cannot tell us. They have no one to guide them.

I'm going to repost something long (yeah, I know, suprise) but may not have the time to comment more.  I originally argued this against Sola Scriptura for the only source of the Faith.  I'll adapt it to the OP.....
Title of the thread confused the Consensus Patrum as a Source of Faith: the Consensus does not provide the Source of Faith, it reflects it.

There is only one soure of the Faith, Christ.  How that one source is transmitted, and how its transmition is verified, is what is at issue.

The Faith is transitted in the Holy Mysteries: as the Fathers say, Christ has passed into the Holy Mysteries, the signs of Christ's life within His Body, the Church.  When the Church acts as the Body of Christ, as a Body, in unity with her Head, then she speaks infallibly.  That is why the assent of the Faithful is needed, for instance, for the Ecumenicity of a Council.

There is, for no instance, no objective criteria on which to base the canon of the Bible.  Authorship by an Apostle does not determine the canon of the NT: St. Luke, strictly speaking, is not an Apostle-he does not include himself in the company of eyewitness and ministers of the Word from the beginning (Luke 1:2, cf. Acts 1:21-2). Yet there is no question of it being in the Orthodox canon.  St. Clement's first epistle (I'll leave aside the question of the second) which was reckoned as Scripture: after Clement received his doctrine directly from the Apostles, and not as an eyewitness of Christ, the same way  St. Luke received his doctrine.  Clement's epistles are approved by the Apostolic Canons (85), but yet St. Luke is canonized and St. Clement is not.  If an archaeologist dug up St. Paul's missing Epistles or when they dug up the Gospels that record Acts 20:35, or the Jesus seminar could prove that St. Thomas wrote the Gospel named after him, none were or would be accepted into the canon.  The Church has spoken.  Many Fathers and Churches deemed Reveltion spurious, but the Church accepted it into the canon, and even if textual criticism would able to prove that St. John did not write it, it would remain in the canon as the Church has received it as an expression of her Faith in the return of her Bridegroom.

And that is why the Bible is canonized: it is not that the Church collected documents that the Apostles wrote.  Rather, they looked at what the Faithful had produced in the bosom of the Church, recognized herself in it, and adopted it as her self revelation.  Sort of like when parents see themselves in their children, and leave them as their legacy.  The Bible is not like the America Constitution, which brought a new government into order which is derived from that constition: it is like the Canadian Constitution, which merely codifies the system of government in place.  When St. Paul refers to Christ's life, he is not teaching history. He is appealing to an audience who already knows His life. Case in point: St. Paul's account of the Mystical Supper predates all the Gospels' accounts of it.  But he is not telling the Corinthians nothing that they do not already know (I Corin. 11:23)  In fact the ongoing Great Canon of the DL helped shape the Gospels' account.

That is why Sola Scriptura doesn't work: it is like owning the manuel, but not owning the car.

St. Theophan deals with the issue of why we say prayers written by the saints.  It is not because they are a replacement for Scripture nor for our own words.  But as we do not know how to pray as we ought, we look to those who did.  The saints we know (because they have been glorified, and their words consecrated by the usage of the Church) had reached the stage where the Holy Spirit spoke within them at prayer.  In that state, they composed in human language their thoughts in that state.  Using these words as guideposts, we are trying to follow them into the state where the Holy Spirit gives utterance to our prayers.  As the lesson of the Samaritan woman shows: the Samaritans came because of what she told them, but they reached a point at which they believed from knowing Him for themselves (John 4:43).

So too the Liturgy: the Church gathered as the Body of Christ so that He made be in their midst have put that experience into words.  The Church as a whole has adopted the Liturgy as the public expression of that experience, hence the appeal of liturgical texts for dogma: lex credendi, lex orandi.  But in that order: we do not believe that Christ is in the Eucharist because the DL says so, rather because we believe so, and experience Him in the Eucharist, that the DL so says.

So too the Dogmatic Definitions of the Ecumenical Councils.  The Faith cannot be added too.  No development of doctrine, if it was not in the Apostles' preaching it cannot be in the Dogma of the Church.  When heresy infected the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ, as a Body, mustered its antibodies, the Fathers and developed an immunity, the Dogmatic Definitions, to the heresy.  They did not add to the Faith: as the body already has the antibody proteins but only puts them to work to form a defense against the foreign pathogen, so too the Fathers only erect from pre-existing materials a boundary marker which the Orthodox may not move.  The Fathers confessed the same Faith, but in different words to ensure it remained the same Faith.  The expression of Faith changes only so that the Faith can remain the same, something litrugists should keep in mind.

The iconography writes an icon only when he follows the canon the Church has laid down for the visual expression of her Faith. Otherwise he is a forger and a counterfeiter (like our deluded friend Lentz).  The icon is the expression of the Church, not personal agendas, and just like a counterfeiter tries to make his money look real but it has no value, so too the icongrapher who oversteps the Church's bounds.  That is why we appeal to the icons when we are asked about what we believe, because they are backed by the full Faith and Credit of the Church.

No Church Father is infallible: only Christ is infallible, and the Church's infallibility flows from her being His Body.  But that flows only when she acts as a Body, like in Ecumenical Council.  Any individual member cannot act infallibility, so why the claim of the alleged "visible head" to speak infallibly cannot be accepted.  So too, no one should expect every word of an individual Father to be infallible.  It is only in as much as they reflect the common Faith, between us and them and lived in the Church now, that they constitute the Consensus Patrum.  What they served, as I pointed out in my OP, as a witness between us and heretics, so when they claim that the Real Presence is an innovation, that we point to St. Ignatius etc.: they witenss to the Faith as we witness to the Faith.

Which is the point of my OP to the OP: merely extended Sola Scriptura to included Ecumenical Councils and certain Fathers misses the point.  These are not the source of Faith: they are witnesses, like the altar on the Jordan, to make sure we have kept the Faith.
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« Reply #144 on: November 29, 2010, 08:40:33 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.


Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?

The Jewish historian Josephus who was contemporary to the Life of Christ, references him.

Would you like that repeated a third time?

http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm
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« Reply #145 on: November 29, 2010, 09:43:16 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.


Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?

While I would not trust Wikipedia as a primary research tool, it is helpful for aggregating disparate information. This page contains citations from many of Christ's contemporaries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus#Greco-Roman_Pagan_sources

Furthermore, the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are historical documents and don't really contain a lot of theologizing. They report events in a straightforward manner. Therefore they are valid proofs for the existence of Christ, because it is standard procedure to take ancient texts at face value. To say otherwise is special pleading.

We can squabble about miracles, but Christ's very existence is rather beyond dispute.
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« Reply #146 on: November 30, 2010, 02:40:40 AM »


Greetings in that divine and most precious name of our lord and savior jesus christ!

All of this discussion and debate is precisely why Jesus Christ is not really a matter of history.  From an academic or scientific perspective there is basically no objective evidence of Jesus Christ.  True, from inference, the very ancientness and continuity of the Scriptures themselves is a sure bet that there was indeed a man named Jesus Christ, or at the least a very convincing story of one.  But that is not what faith is about.  The Scriptures are not necessarily there for evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ as God, or of God either.  God is self-existing, these things are a matter of faith, which is what the Disciples asked for when they pleaded, "Lord add unto us faith!"

If we try to get caught up in historicity then we miss the point entirely.  I posted this before, but I will bring it up because it is relevant again here..




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But to read a (religious) poem as a chronicle of fact is to say the least, to miss the point.  To say a little more, it is to prove oneself a dolt, and to add to this, the men who put these (Holy) books together were not dolts but knew precisely what they were doing.."
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« Reply #147 on: November 30, 2010, 02:49:00 AM »


Greetings in that divine and most precious name of our lord and savior jesus christ!

All of this discussion and debate is precisely why Jesus Christ is not really a matter of history.  From an academic or scientific perspective there is basically no objective evidence of Jesus Christ.  True, from inference, the very ancientness and continuity of the Scriptures themselves is a sure bet that there was indeed a man named Jesus Christ, or at the least a very convincing story of one.  But that is not what faith is about.  The Scriptures are not necessarily there for evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ as God, or of God either.  God is self-existing, these things are a matter of faith, which is what the Disciples asked for when they pleaded, "Lord add unto us faith!"

Of course not, but there are lies and cults in the world. It's nice to know there is some basis in reality for your faith.
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« Reply #148 on: November 30, 2010, 05:22:27 AM »

I'll get back to you iasmlry, but what I must know is why is there a rejection of Orthodoxy has the first faith of Christianity?

"But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century" http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp

"The ability to trace one's church back to the “first church” through apostolic succession is an argument used by a number of different churches to assert that their church is the “one true church.” The Roman Catholic Church makes this claim. The Greek Orthodox Church makes this claim. Some Protestant denominations make this claim. Some of the “Christian” cults make this claim. How do we know which church is correct? The biblical answer is – it does not matter!"  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html
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« Reply #149 on: November 30, 2010, 05:47:06 AM »

I'll get back to you iasmlry, but what I must know is why is there a rejection of Orthodoxy has the first faith of Christianity?

"But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century" http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp

"The ability to trace one's church back to the “first church” through apostolic succession is an argument used by a number of different churches to assert that their church is the “one true church.” The Roman Catholic Church makes this claim. The Greek Orthodox Church makes this claim. Some Protestant denominations make this claim. Some of the “Christian” cults make this claim. How do we know which church is correct? The biblical answer is – it does not matter!"  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html
The problem is that these historical claims do not stand up to scrutiny. People make such claims because they feel it necessary to preserve the branch theory, among other things.
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« Reply #150 on: November 30, 2010, 10:41:46 AM »

I'll get back to you iasmlry, but what I must know is why is there a rejection of Orthodoxy has the first faith of Christianity?

"But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century" http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp

"The ability to trace one's church back to the “first church” through apostolic succession is an argument used by a number of different churches to assert that their church is the “one true church.” The Roman Catholic Church makes this claim. The Greek Orthodox Church makes this claim. Some Protestant denominations make this claim. Some of the “Christian” cults make this claim. How do we know which church is correct? The biblical answer is – it does not matter!"  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html

Protestants tend to confuse two different questions. The first is what is the "True Church"? Which one  best reflects the authentic and original teachings of the Early Church. The second is; which Church is the Historic Church?

They confuse these questions because in their mythology they tell people that the Historic Church died out. That is not actually the case. The Church as an organized functioning entity never disbanded or died out or changed their mode of operations in any substantial way. It existed from the first moments Christ brought it into being and still continues to this day. This is a shock for Protestants and those who have been influenced by their unfounded claims.

The Church, from the beginning, organized itself into area's of Jurisdiction with a Bishop in charge. They were Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Later as the World changed and Christianity expanded, others were added most notably Constantinople and even later places like Moscow, etc. The Roman Church as we know, departed that organization and claimed sole authority which the other Jurisdictions don't recognize.  

That Church existed then and exists now.  It is an indisputable historic fact. IBM was founded on such and such a date, has had various CEO's and many ups and downs, but it still exists and has not ever been disbanded. The Orthodox Church is like that.

The other question is whether or not the Theology and Practices of the Church reflect the will of God and is of the same Faith as the Apostles. That is a different question. We are certain we have changed nothing about the Faith but that is a question to be explored at length and in a different way than the historical question, which is beyond dispute.
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« Reply #151 on: November 30, 2010, 10:46:39 AM »

I'll get back to you iasmlry, but what I must know is why is there a rejection of Orthodoxy has the first faith of Christianity?

"But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century" http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp

There are numerous resources on internet as well as this forum that show a presence prior to the 4th century. What substantiates the claim that it was born in the 4th century? Or did you take it at face value?

"The ability to trace one's church back to the “first church” through apostolic succession is an argument used by a number of different churches to assert that their church is the “one true church.” The Roman Catholic Church makes this claim. The Greek Orthodox Church makes this claim. Some Protestant denominations make this claim. Some of the “Christian” cults make this claim. How do we know which church is correct? The biblical answer is – it does not matter!"  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html

Protestant denominations that make the claim broke from the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics (West) and the Eastern Orthodox Catholics (East) used to be part of the same Church until the 11th century. The Oriental Orthodox (Egypt, Ethiopia, etc) were part of that whole until the 5th century.

A stiff arm and denial doesn't substantiate any claims.
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« Reply #152 on: November 30, 2010, 12:45:50 PM »

I copied a paragraph from that web page and would like to answer it:


http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html
The first church, its growth, doctrine, and practices, were recorded for us in the New Testament. Jesus, as well as His apostles, foretold that false teachers would arise, and indeed it is apparent from some of the New Testament epistles that these apostles had to fight against false teachers early on. Having a pedigree of apostolic succession or being able to trace a church's roots back to the "first church" is nowhere in Scripture given as a test for being the true church. What is given is repeated comparisons between what false teachers teach and what the first church taught, as recorded in Scripture. Whether a church is the "true church" or not is determined by comparing its teachings and practices to that of the New Testament church, as recorded in Scripture.



See that? The are muddling together the historic question with the theological question.

Their first error is that they apparently don't believe the Bible in it's entirety. The scriptures promise:

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18

And they apparently dont beleive that this Church (which cant be defeated) is guided by the Holy Spirit:

 
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit;
Ephesians 3:5

They say the question of original historic  Church doesn't matter  because they have no valid historical claim to make about their own community. They need to blow smoke at the question and say that the historical question does not really matter, only the Theological question does.

We say both matter. The Bible says both matter. The Church through the ages has understood that both matter.

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« Reply #153 on: November 30, 2010, 01:11:14 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.


Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?

The Jewish historian Josephus who was contemporary to the Life of Christ, references him.

Would you like that repeated a third time?

Josephus was born a decade after Jesus died.
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« Reply #154 on: November 30, 2010, 02:34:50 PM »

I'll get back to you iasmlry, but what I must know is why is there a rejection of Orthodoxy has the first faith of Christianity?

"But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century" http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp

Because Ken Ham is a nutjob and not a good source for accurate historical information?
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« Reply #155 on: November 30, 2010, 03:34:05 PM »

So this is how you answer
Let's just cut to the chase: do you believe in Truth? Do you hold that Truth is knowable? Upon what basis do you "stand" to answer these questions.
http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html? They claim to believe the Bible. Do you?  I'll wait to respond to their nonsense until you answer that.

In the meantime:
I'll get back to you iasmlry, but what I must know is why is there a rejection of Orthodoxy has the first faith of Christianity?

Do mean why do some reject Orthodoxy?  If you read the NT and early Christian litterature of the first century, you will see that there were those who rejected Orthodoxy in the first century.  Of course, the problems is that those who rejected it died out, and so are not around to continue their arguement.

A third of the colonists in America in 1776 remained loyal to King George and a third believed the argument made in the Declaration of Independence. The latter called themselves patriots, and the former ended up in Canada-a visit to the Loyalist monuments there are somewhat surreal for someone raised in the States. So who obeyed lawful authority, the "Patriots" or the "Loyalists"? That someone rejected lawful authority doesn't prove its non exsitence-in fact, both sides claiming it corroborates its existence.

Quote
"But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century" http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v16/i3/orthodoxy.asp
The full quote is "The book does not go back quite far enough in history. But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century (p. 567) and is based on the writings of the eastern ‘Holy Fathers’ since that time, this is not surprising."  This is simply and factually inaccurate:the writings of the Didache, St. Barnabs, St. Clement etc. of the first century, St. Igantius, Papias, St. Polycarp, St. Hegesippus, St. Irenaeus St. Justin Martyr, St. Clement of Alexandria, etc. of the second century, St. Cyprian, the approved writings of Origin, St. Hippolytus, St. Dionysios, etc. have been cited by the Eastern Orthodox Church since those times until this day, as they were members of our Orthodox Church.


Quote
"The ability to trace one's church back to the “first church” through apostolic succession is an argument used by a number of different churches to assert that their church is the “one true church.” The Roman Catholic Church makes this claim. The Greek Orthodox Church makes this claim. Some Protestant denominations make this claim. Some of the “Christian” cults make this claim. How do we know which church is correct? The biblical answer is – it does not matter!"  http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html

no, that's the Protestant answer.  The Bible says something different, something we have dealt with here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28972.msg481480/topicseen.html#msg481480

I started a message dealing more deeply from the Bible on this issue, but a computer clitch and real life got in the way. Lord willing I will return to it. In the meantime, St. Paul knew it important enough for his last words in scripture to go over the qualifications for bishop (I Timothy 3) and remind his disciples of setting it in place (e.g. Titus 1:5), and the Church, reflecting on these facts, felt it important record that in the Acts of the Apostles (e.g. Acts 13:3-14:23).

How do we know which Church is correct? First, we examin their claims.
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« Reply #156 on: November 30, 2010, 03:42:52 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.


Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?

The Jewish historian Josephus who was contemporary to the Life of Christ, references him.

Would you like that repeated a third time?

Josephus was born a decade after Jesus died.
What historical figures will you have left, if you only take as evidence only that evidence that person left behind? Could you prove Cicero's existence? You have no autograph of his works, no body left.  Any sculpture from his lifetime? Any inscription he left? Any thing before Plutarch wrote his life a century after Cicero died?
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« Reply #157 on: November 30, 2010, 06:45:03 PM »

Hmm very interesting, in Orthodoxy what kind of proof can you attest to the existence of Christ and his Resurrection?


There's ample historical evidence.  In fact, this is what converted me from atheism to Christianity.




Can you point to historical evidence outside of your Church and Bible?

The Jewish historian Josephus who was contemporary to the Life of Christ, references him.

Would you like that repeated a third time?

Josephus was born a decade after Jesus died.

Actually, they missed each other by only four years if your really care. Josephus is considered a valuable historian of that time because he wrote for a Roman audience, so certain information had to be explained in detail so non-Jews could understand.

The fact that a Jewish Historian of that time notes Jesus should be considered good evidence for anyone except the most jaundiced skeptic. I don't think anyone thinks they had to meet in person for an historical reference to be reliable. Shelby Foote never met Lincoln.
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« Reply #158 on: November 30, 2010, 07:18:57 PM »

The other question is whether or not the Theology and Practices of the Church reflect the will of God and is of the same Faith as the Apostles. That is a different question. We are certain we have changed nothing about the Faith but that is a question to be explored at length and in a different way than the historical question, which is beyond dispute.

Marc I appreciate the response, would you mind going into more detail with this? Thank you.
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« Reply #159 on: November 30, 2010, 07:21:39 PM »

A third of the colonists in America in 1776 remained loyal to King George and a third believed the argument made in the Declaration of Independence. The latter called themselves patriots, and the former ended up in Canada-a visit to the Loyalist monuments there are somewhat surreal for someone raised in the States. So who obeyed lawful authority, the "Patriots" or the "Loyalists"? That someone rejected lawful authority doesn't prove its non exsitence-in fact, both sides claiming it corroborates its existence.

You could almost apply that to atheism right?
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« Reply #160 on: November 30, 2010, 10:02:28 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I had a meditation today at Liturgy for the Virgin Mary monthly holiday.  I was talking before about how God is like gravity, it is universal, fundamental and yet subtle.  God gives us the free-will, but like gravity, or like the programmer of a video game, we have absolute free will to make any decision we'd like, but yet are absolutely limited by the parameters of gravity or the programming.  God gives us the free-will to make decisions, and He just might not necessarily know what decisions we will make, but since He is the parameters themselves, He knows every single possible outcome, because He designed them all.  Thus God and free-will are perfectly harmonious, God gives us the freedom to make our own decisions, but entirely limits the possibilities of these decisions by the parameters of reality and then knows every possible outcome.  Just as you can freely move your hand anywhere you'd like in time and space, but then again gravity and the other 25 fundamental cosmological forces will actually determine every possible choice of movement. 

Also like gravity and these forces, God operates so smoothly in our lives that we rarely even notice until we learn what to look for.  You do not necessarily feel or consciously think about gravity, and yet it is always there operating in our midst.  Only when you exercise, or practice a sport with running or jumping or lifting heavy things, do you feel the presence of gravity very consciously and learn from experience how to operate with an through it.  Orthodox worship are the spiritual sports and exercises which make you take notice of the perception of God directly, just as learning to play a sport teaches you to work with gravity.  The Liturgy is the most powerful force in the Universe, and yet a common person might see the Blood and Body and might think nothing of it but a glass of wine and some bread.  But we who practice the spiritual exercise of prayer, and move the spiritual weightlifting of worship, feel the very presence of the Eternal Godhead when we stand in the presence of Jesus Christ Flesh and Blood on the altar.  Today standing before the Real Presence, my heart felt the highest perfections of God like Saint Theresa, and yet there was nothing necessarily out of the ordinary occurring.  Only from the revelation of God did I feel this, and only because through His Grace, I have found the spiritual exercise which enhances the perception.

When we evangelize to outsiders who are not of the Orthodox persuasion, we must always remember that its not necessarily obvious to them, they do not feel the strength or the pull of the Divine Mysteries yet, just as a person inexperienced will not necessarily start running 4:30 minute miles, or hit 400 yard home-runs, or lift 200 lbs on the weight bar.  Only after spiritual practice of prayer, and strength training of worship in the Liturgy, does God begin to reveal the spiritual strength and adeptness to begin to understand and experience the fullness of His presence.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #161 on: November 30, 2010, 11:10:23 PM »

So if Christ didn't say "write this down" did why did they? Maybe the writing has nothing to do with his message.
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« Reply #162 on: November 30, 2010, 11:18:27 PM »

Matthew 28

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.


That might have something to do with it.
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« Reply #163 on: December 01, 2010, 03:35:23 AM »

While I don't fully agree with this, HabteSelassie, I think you bring up a very good point.  I have found in my conversations with atheists that they become very frustrated when they find out Christianity is not like other things that can be dissected and studied.  They keep arguing with it as if it were.

It's like being angry at a painting because it isn't a math equation.

I cannot prove to anyone that my wife loves me.  It is something that can only be experienced in close, personal union.

So why are there so many people trying to debate christianity? The original poster is not going to convert because you convince him with logic. Why not encourage him to find what he is looking for? Would not prayer or "come and see" be a better response to someone looking for a personal experience with God in their heart.

(I agree with your post Sleeper and quote it not as a challenge but to entice others to rethink their game plan. So many are trying to win an argument and not help a convert.)
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« Reply #164 on: December 01, 2010, 10:20:50 AM »

I agree Dart!  My post wasn't addressed to the OP but to HabteSelassie.  If you read most of the thread you'd see that I am, in fact, encouraging the OP to keep asking questions and find the Truth.
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« Reply #165 on: December 01, 2010, 11:26:22 AM »

So if Christ didn't say "write this down" did why did they?
The Apostles were being martyred off.

Quote
Maybe the writing has nothing to do with his message.

John 1:14; 14:26; 15:26; 19:35; 20:31. So don't beg the question, make your "case."
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« Reply #166 on: December 01, 2010, 11:43:01 AM »

The other question is whether or not the Theology and Practices of the Church reflect the will of God and is of the same Faith as the Apostles. That is a different question. We are certain we have changed nothing about the Faith but that is a question to be explored at length and in a different way than the historical question, which is beyond dispute.

Marc I appreciate the response, would you mind going into more detail with this? Thank you.

Which part?

In terms of History, I would recommend the book "The Orthodox Church" by Bishop Kallistos Ware. It is widely used throughout the Church as a standard History of the Church ( though some folks consider him a bit too liberal).

I would also say that no serious scholar could get away with claiming the Orthodox Church really began in the 4th century or that it is not the same organization that has existed from the beginning.

For example, if you were a Graduate Student at a reputable University with a good school of Religion, lets say Princeton for example and in your  thesis you tried to make one these goofy Protestant  claims, you could not get away with it. You would be laughed out of the Program.

 As far as the Faith goes, you will need to ask individual questions. There are plenty of well learned people here who can help you. The Early Church looked and acted far more like the Orthodox Church than some sort of fanciful gathering of Protestants. It was based on the Eucharist, the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it was hierarchical with Priests and Bishops, they had Confession,etc. And as questions arouse about the spiritual identity of Jesus and other matters, The Church held Councils to come to a conclusion.

I would recommend the book: "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition"

by Michael Pomazansky ,

  
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« Reply #167 on: December 01, 2010, 03:57:19 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

While I don't fully agree with this, HabteSelassie, I think you bring up a very good point.  I have found in my conversations with atheists that they become very frustrated when they find out Christianity is not like other things that can be dissected and studied.  They keep arguing with it as if it were.

It's like being angry at a painting because it isn't a math equation.

I cannot prove to anyone that my wife loves me.  It is something that can only be experienced in close, personal union.

So why are there so many people trying to debate christianity? The original poster is not going to convert because you convince him with logic. Why not encourage him to find what he is looking for? Would not prayer or "come and see" be a better response to someone looking for a personal experience with God in their heart.

(I agree with your post Sleeper and quote it not as a challenge but to entice others to rethink their game plan. So many are trying to win an argument and not help a convert.)

Truthfully we must all pray constantly for God to unveil Himself to His own in His own Time.  But in regards to these discussions, it would be almost rude and disrespectful to the debaters and inquirers to discredit their skepticism and disregard it altogether.  It is a matter of mutual respect, if we expect them to hear our testimony, to try the Spirit, to fellowship with us, than surely we must oblige the same in return to them.  We must hear them in sincerity, we must empathize with them in sincerity, we must minister to them in the literal sense, and come down to where they are at, and comfortably share a moment with them, that they might see that the love of God in our lives is so concrete, so sustaining, that we can even dip into their element, into their level, and survive unscathed, cheerful, polite, attentive.

Atheists are happier when Christians actually discuss the issue with them, rather than patronize or dismiss them off, and this is what God calls us to do with all people, to share their lives with them whatever their lives may be, without judgment or partiality.
stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #168 on: December 08, 2010, 07:31:13 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything

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« Reply #169 on: December 09, 2010, 01:14:18 AM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
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« Reply #170 on: December 09, 2010, 01:34:10 AM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
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« Reply #171 on: December 09, 2010, 01:58:48 AM »

LOL @ tag, undercover Protestant troll
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« Reply #172 on: December 09, 2010, 04:36:32 AM »

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

As many as want to do so.
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« Reply #173 on: December 09, 2010, 02:45:21 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.
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« Reply #174 on: December 09, 2010, 02:46:50 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Since angels are not physical beings, they would not be able to dance, in the sense that we know it. lol
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« Reply #175 on: December 09, 2010, 03:21:53 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.

And you wonder where secularism came from?
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« Reply #176 on: December 09, 2010, 03:22:46 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.

And you wonder where secularism came from?
To say that secularism came from proving the existence of God, may almost be as silly as isa's post.  Cheesy
Scholasticism (in it's Thomistic form) was actually against the Averroists who were, in fact, the precursors to secularists. Thomas defended the faith from secularism.
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« Reply #177 on: December 09, 2010, 03:23:23 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Since angels are not physical beings, they would not be able to dance, in the sense that we know it. lol

This is the kinda Scholasticism I can get into!
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« Reply #178 on: December 09, 2010, 03:26:08 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.

And you wonder where secularism came from?
To say that secularism came from proving the existence of God, may almost be as silly as isa's post.  Cheesy

To render God to a syllogism, no matter how complex, is laughable. Certainly not Christian nor Biblical. Where is the Gospel in that argument of yours? The Cross?
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« Reply #179 on: December 09, 2010, 03:27:47 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.

And you wonder where secularism came from?
To say that secularism came from proving the existence of God, may almost be as silly as isa's post.  Cheesy

To render God to a syllogism, no matter how complex, is laughable. Certainly not Christian nor Biblical. Where is the Gospel in that argument of yours? The Cross?
Wow, you are completely undeducated about scholasticism. In fact, Thomas explicitly argues that we cannot know what God is. In fact, he says that the begining of wisdom is to know that we do not know with regard to God. That is different from arguing that God exists.
St. Paul is with me on this, not you.
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« Reply #180 on: December 09, 2010, 03:42:41 PM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.

And you wonder where secularism came from?
To say that secularism came from proving the existence of God, may almost be as silly as isa's post.  Cheesy

To render God to a syllogism, no matter how complex, is laughable. Certainly not Christian nor Biblical. Where is the Gospel in that argument of yours? The Cross?
Wow, you are completely undeducated about scholasticism. In fact, Thomas explicitly argues that we cannot know what God is. In fact, he says that the begining of wisdom is to know that we do not know with regard to God. That is different from arguing that God exists.
St. Paul is with me on this, not you.

I wasn't critiquing Thomastic thought. I was critiquing what I thought was a tongue in cheek argument by you with a similarly tongue in cheek counter argument and reference to another thread.

Since you evidently sincerely believe such stuff is relevant and compelling and revelatory to and about the Gospel. I will keep you in my prayers and tears.

You decide where the irony lies.

EDITED: Due to garbled placement in quote.
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« Reply #181 on: December 09, 2010, 03:51:26 PM »

^ If I misunderstood you, I apologize. To me it seems like were attacking something that need not be attacked.
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« Reply #182 on: December 09, 2010, 03:57:15 PM »

^ If I misunderstood you, I apologize. To me it seems like were attacking something that need not be attacked.

It's OK. I am used to boards with more implied vitriol, which usually is taken in stride as jest.

Probably something I should correct, since I am misunderstood here too frequently.

I apologize for being less than earnest. I will try to be more so in the future.

 
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« Reply #183 on: December 12, 2010, 05:34:36 AM »

What I want to know is how do you know that "The Holy Spirit" inspired, guided or "spoke to" anyone? It's one thing to make the claim that the words of an ancient religious leader managed to be passed down through oral tradition. It's another to make the claim that they were inspired by supernatural beings.

Additionally, if anything was supposed to be written down, wouldn't it have made sense for Jesus to say, "Hey, you guys better take notes." I mean, if he was standing right in front of a bunch of disciples and "God" was going to "inspire" people to write things down anyway, then it seems like that would have been a good time to start, not decades or centuries later.

And like I mentioned in another thread, if Jesus/God wanted to "make disciples of all the nations", then why not have a "representative" (i.e. virgin birth/messiah figure) IN all those nations in the first place? If people could only be "saved" through Jesus, then people were going to hell simply for not getting the memo. If the text really was divinely inspired, it seems like people should have had a "Bible" from every continent that conveyed the same history and philosophy.

I'm just asking these questions to try and parse out the ultimate logic here, because from my perspective, these things just don't really make logical sense as anything other than one of the many mythologies created by man to explain his condition and express his philosophy.
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« Reply #184 on: December 12, 2010, 10:36:35 AM »

And like I mentioned in another thread, if Jesus/God wanted to "make disciples of all the nations", then why not have a "representative" (i.e. virgin birth/messiah figure) IN all those nations in the first place?
A "representative" could also be a prophet, or philosopher, or a sage. Some Christians argue that the Holy Spirit has been active in inspiring many different such "representatives" across the globe:

"We are reminded that the "Spirit blows wherever it wills" ( John 3:8 ). Peter the Apostle states that. "Truly I perceive God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him" (Acts 10:34-35). St. Paul, addressing the Athenians at the Areopagus, observes that they worship an unknown God, whose name and message he came to proclaim (Acts 17:23-31).
....
Subsequent to the Apostolic age St. Justin Martyr, a second century apologist, makes the claim for Christianity that "Whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians." Justin espouses the belief that both Gentiles and Jews will be saved on the basis of their piety and holiness. He states that "Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above all that He is the Word (Logos) of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived according to reason are Christian.""
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« Reply #185 on: December 12, 2010, 12:36:04 PM »

What I want to know is how do you know that "The Holy Spirit" inspired, guided or "spoke to" anyone? It's one thing to make the claim that the words of an ancient religious leader managed to be passed down through oral tradition. It's another to make the claim that they were inspired by supernatural beings.
I'm skipping this question for the moment.

Quote
Additionally, if anything was supposed to be written down, wouldn't it have made sense for Jesus to say, "Hey, you guys better take notes." I mean, if he was standing right in front of a bunch of disciples and "God" was going to "inspire" people to write things down anyway, then it seems like that would have been a good time to start, not decades or centuries later.

Obviously, you are not a 1st century Palestinian Jew, and are influenced by Protestant post-enlightment views. Faith is not transmitted by reading a book. That would be like reading romance novels and never being in love. Christianity was not alone in this. The Rabbis forbid the writing down of what latter was redacted into the Talmud: teaching had to be transmitted through a chain of rabbis. A similar idea was acted on among the philosophical schools.

When the generation of the Apostles had started to pass, it consolidated the Church, grooming the next generation, consecrating their successors and establishing them in the major sees, and writing down and having written down their testamony in the NT.

For instance, in the scientific method, scientist conduct a slew of experiments and take copious notes (at least that is what we are told). They then redact this into their results which they publish for consumption by the scientific community to build up the body of science.

I reckon that you are now saying "but the scientists can replicate the results." But so can the Orthodox Christians. As the Gospels say 'Come and See!"

John 4: 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in Him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans came to Hhim, they asked Him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His word. 42 They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."

Quote
And like I mentioned in another thread, if Jesus/God wanted to "make disciples of all the nations", then why not have a "representative" (i.e. virgin birth/messiah figure) IN all those nations in the first place?

Because He is one God, not several. And He is incarnated, not coming down in an avatar.

There is a genre of Patriistics on "The Preparation of the Gospel" which goes over things in the various cultures that prepared them for the Gospel. Among it is a quotation of Virgil which reads like Isaiah and Luke on the matter.  It also played a large role in the evangelization of this continent in Alaska.

IN this season we have hymns that point out that Christ came to be numbered when the census of the world was being conducted, during the first, and only, time that the Mediterranean Basin was united in one government and with one lingua franca, in contact with Iran, India, China and Ethiopia, so that the Gospel could spread rapdily. Which it did.

Quote
If people could only be "saved" through Jesus, then people were going to hell simply for not getting the memo.

So you refuse to read and follow the memo you got, because someone didn't get the same memo at the same time?

Quote
If the text really was divinely inspired, it seems like people should have had a "Bible" from every continent that conveyed the same history and philosophy.

Your Protestant influences are showing. We Orthodox have a different teaching. I can elaborate later (I'm pressed for time, to get to Church).

Quote
I'm just asking these questions to try and parse out the ultimate logic here, because from my perspective, these things just don't really make logical sense as anything other than one of the many mythologies created by man to explain his condition and express his philosophy.
Funny you mention many mythologies, as the the Father utilize those very same in the writings on the "Prepartion for the Gospel."
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« Reply #186 on: December 13, 2010, 03:37:51 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

What I want to know is how do you know that "The Holy Spirit" inspired, guided or "spoke to" anyone? It's one thing to make the claim that the words of an ancient religious leader managed to be passed down through oral tradition. It's another to make the claim that they were inspired by supernatural beings.

We don't know, we experience it.  We do know assume, we discover.  Just as in this science you praise so highly, our religion is a methodology, a practice, an activity, it is not a stagnant dogma or belief.  We live our religion, we do no postulate on it.  The Holy Spirit speaks to us in different ways, just as scientific revelation comes to us at different levels of experience, and we live in this realm of inSpiration.  We must learn from our experience and growing understanding what Scripture means, and what the inspiration of the Holy Spirit means.

For example, the rabbinical interpretation of Isaiah 7 is clearly in reference to a young girl having a normal child in the contemporary period of Isaiah, and yet we in the Christian faith have come to understand through the Holy Spirit the Virgin birth of Jesus Christ.  God reveals this to us when we read the Scriptures, just as an algebra equation sort of explains itself as you go through the examples and formulas of the lesson.  The Holy Spirit is the lesson, it teaches us.  It is the inspiring Spirit of interpretation that reveals actively the meaning of Scripture.

We study it just as a person might science.  We do not necessarily suppose because of the Holy Spirit that a single interpretation is correct, or decisive, or conclusive, rather we let the realm of the Holy Spirit continue to actively define and explain the text.  You might pettily dismiss this as an active imagination on our parts, but think for a moment, what even is imagination? A random collection of neurochemical firing in the brain? What is the initial or first cause of these chemicals firing at one moment over another? Does science ever really explain aside from a "how"?

In our view from our own experience, the Holy Spirit is the "why" to the "how" answers of science. How God reveals Himself to us is through our minds, through the neurochemicals  which fire in our brains and dictate our perception, but the "why" is the interpretation these thoughts bring.  The Holy Spirit actively explains itself, for those patient enough to quiet all the selfish "I,I, me, me" chatter in their minds and just listen..

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #187 on: December 17, 2010, 05:06:45 AM »

Here is an interesting article for TtC:

"In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth."

Full Article: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/12/when-nothing-created-everything


Cute story.

So, where did God come from?
Only beings that are finite and changing need a cause. If a being is pure actuality, there is no need for a cause. The law of sufficient reason states that a being must have a sufficient reason for its existence in itself or in another. Finite, changing beings all must find a sufficient reason for the their existence in another. Thus they are caused beings. Since God is not finite and changing, we need not seek the sufficient reason for his existence in another, but rather in himself. As a self-existent being, he is the only uncaused being.

And, yes, I know some of the Anti-Westerners here will get all bent out of shape over the fact that I used Thomistic terminology.
How convenient it must be to not need a cause. So why can't our entire plane of existence simply be "pure actuality"? Why can't the matter and energy in our universe by the result of the confluence of multi-dimensional "membranes" (that are "pure actuality") or the nodes of inter-dimensions "bubbles", of the vibrations of "strings" of reality, or whatever. I think your answer just creates more questions. Saying God just always existed basically amounts to giving the reply, "just because." With science we look back as far as we can, and keep trying to go further. There are no absolute answers because there is no final end. And that is the one of the key differences between religious knowledge and scientific understanding.
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« Reply #188 on: December 17, 2010, 05:36:58 AM »

Saying God always existed answers infinite regress, that is the common problem facing the person who does not subscribe to a prime mover be it whatever, God, the universe, some cosmic event or whatever. I find God the most convincing answer to this problem myself.

This is not mere religious enquiry but logic, scientific and Theological in nature. For we must ask ourselves what started the universe? and perhaps teh naturalist will pressupose a pre existing universe which eventually retracted in on itself and then started antoher big bang and the process will go on and on if one does not subscribe to an ultimate mover or cause. This is not illogical, rather is the most logical answer that there was a thing, call it what you want, I and most others call it God, that is the source for all eternity.

But I would ask you, if i wasn't God, who purposely designed it as such, what was it?

That being siad, you seem to think science is the end all method of enquiry. Is this a correct analysis? That science is the best or only way to learn of reality?
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