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Author Topic: The non-existence of God  (Read 12370 times) Average Rating: 0
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TryingtoConvert
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« on: December 18, 2010, 02:11:35 AM »

That shows the spirit of a catechumen!

So explain exactly why the soul would have to endure 'spiritual' tests before being accepted into Heaven, so you get all the way to the final tollhouse and then somehow you don't pass and your soul gets dragged into Hell.

That's not the God of love that I know of.

People judge God because of hell's very existence. The particular and final judgments exist because of free will. It is not for you, as a catechumen, or for me as a communicant, to edit the teachings of the Church, whether they relate to dogma or are theological opinions taught by the saints, simply because they do not square with our own opinions of how we think things are or should be. Rather, we need to show some humility before the Church, our mother and teacher, and if there is something we cannot grasp or understand, instead or rebelling against it or calling it stupid, we should remind ourselves that we, by ourselves, do not have all the answers, and to us it is not given to comprehend all of the mysteries of God.
Isn't that **** convenient? I've always been bothered by the "God Logic" b.s. and how God's ways are above man's ways blah blah. It's always brought up right around the point that the circular argument has come full. Seems like a cop out to me.

If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life



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I've already had to modify one of your posts to edit out a profanity, which makes this the second offense. I also don't care what you think of our religion; we do not permit such blasphemous use of God's Name on this forum. As such, you are receiving this warning to last for the next two weeks. If you continue to use such obscene and blasphemous language on this forum, further disciplinary action will be taken against you, to include post moderation, muting, or banning. If you feel this action wrong, feel free to appeal it via private message to Fr. George.

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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 02:50:48 AM »

If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life
You wouldn't happen to be a fan of Rush (the band), would you?
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2010, 02:52:51 AM »


Isn't that **** convenient? I've always been bothered by the "God Logic" b.s. and how God's ways are above man's ways blah blah. It's always brought up right around the point that the circular argument has come full. Seems like a cop out to me.

If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life

Can you please go away now? Do you think you've impressed anyone or caused anyone to doubt their faith because of your arguments?  

The mods and many posters have been tremendously lenient with you, allowing and responding to your hostile questions/responses.  While you may have fleeting moments of coherency, this post wasn't one of them.  Either you are intoxicated, or you've decided your antagonizing comments need to be ratcheted up a few notches.  Go troll somewhere else.



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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2010, 02:56:18 AM »

I haven't listened to them in years.

There is nothing wrong with judging God based on Hell's existence.

Quote
The particular and final judgments exist because of free will.
A statement as if it is fact, that is not supported by facts.

Quote
It is not for me to edit the teachings of the Church, whether they relate to dogma or are theological opinions taught by the saints, simply because they do not square with our own opinions of how we think things are or should be.
How about, because they do not square with how things are? Empirical evidence not something to just dismiss, while concepts that have no empirical evidence to back it up can just be dismissed.

I do not need to show humility before the Church, your mother or teacher. It's not simply a rebellion against any church, theistic concept or person in particular...it's not even a rebellion. I merely do not accept anything as true without understanding it and the evidence that backs it up. The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2010, 03:24:02 AM »

I haven't listened to them in years.

There is nothing wrong with judging God based on Hell's existence.

Quote
The particular and final judgments exist because of free will.
A statement as if it is fact, that is not supported by facts.

Quote
It is not for me to edit the teachings of the Church, whether they relate to dogma or are theological opinions taught by the saints, simply because they do not square with our own opinions of how we think things are or should be.
How about, because they do not square with how things are? Empirical evidence not something to just dismiss, while concepts that have no empirical evidence to back it up can just be dismissed.

I do not need to show humility before the Church, your mother or teacher. It's not simply a rebellion against any church, theistic concept or person in particular...it's not even a rebellion. I merely do not accept anything as true without understanding it and the evidence that backs it up. The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?
Calm down. This isn't a youtube comment box.
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2010, 07:41:59 AM »

Beloved in the Lord,

Just a reminder that the purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or arguement, however it is a place for the new convert or catechumen to discuss issues that are causing them problems in their assimilation into the Orthodox Faith. Feel Free to continue to ask these questions.. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

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Again.
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2010, 11:19:36 PM »

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

Because you even have the ability to postulate it.  Do you know the odds against this even being a possibility without there being a God which created you with the ability to postulate?
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 11:22:35 PM »

^A gambler trying to bet against the odds on this is like one who is gambling against nearly infitite odds with money he does not have, because all is on loan anyway.   
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2010, 03:26:11 AM »

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

Because you even have the ability to postulate it.  Do you know the odds against this even being a possibility without there being a God which created you with the ability to postulate?
So anything I have the ability to postulate holds equal weight? If I postulated something that lowers the odds of the universe existing as it is, then that would be on the same level as postulating that there is a god. The odds that the universe exists as it does are very high, therefor it must have been created by subatomic robots.

Talking about odds doesn't answer the question as to why one would even postulate that the thing exists. We have reasons for postulating a thing like gravity, DNA, light, evolution, etc.. There are even reasons to postulate that something unproven like dark matter exists... but no reasons to even bring up a god.
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 04:13:41 AM »

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

Because you even have the ability to postulate it.  Do you know the odds against this even being a possibility without there being a God which created you with the ability to postulate?
So anything I have the ability to postulate holds equal weight? If I postulated something that lowers the odds of the universe existing as it is, then that would be on the same level as postulating that there is a god. The odds that the universe exists as it does are very high, therefor it must have been created by subatomic robots.

Talking about odds doesn't answer the question as to why one would even postulate that the thing exists. We have reasons for postulating a thing like gravity, DNA, light, evolution, etc.. There are even reasons to postulate that something unproven like dark matter exists... but no reasons to even bring up a god.
except His existence, for starters.
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2010, 02:49:51 PM »

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

Because you even have the ability to postulate it.  Do you know the odds against this even being a possibility without there being a God which created you with the ability to postulate?
So anything I have the ability to postulate holds equal weight? If I postulated something that lowers the odds of the universe existing as it is, then that would be on the same level as postulating that there is a god. The odds that the universe exists as it does are very high, therefor it must have been created by subatomic robots.

Talking about odds doesn't answer the question as to why one would even postulate that the thing exists. We have reasons for postulating a thing like gravity, DNA, light, evolution, etc.. There are even reasons to postulate that something unproven like dark matter exists... but no reasons to even bring up a god.
except His existence, for starters.
Except his purported existence, which is reason only to postulate existence, nothing more. Although not mentioned in the previous post, postulation of existence woud not be considered evidence for existence of any god.
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2010, 04:11:47 PM »

Can we please continue this argument outside of this thread and return back to the initial question asked by the OP?
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2010, 04:43:17 PM »

As requested by Ortho Cat:
Quote
Except his purported existence, which is reason only to postulate existence, nothing more. Although not mentioned in the previous post, postulation of existence woud not be considered evidence for existence of any god.
Discuss.
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2010, 04:43:54 PM »

Can we please continue this argument outside of this thread and return back to the initial question asked by the OP?

Will do. Made the thread here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,32196.new.html#new
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2010, 05:03:39 PM »

Postulation of existence would not be considered evidence for existence of any god.

The ontological argument, which has risen from the dead in recent decades, does hold that the thought of God's existence does imply his existence.
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2010, 05:39:40 PM »

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?
Because you even have the ability to postulate it.  Do you know the odds against this even being a possibility without there being a God which created you with the ability to postulate?
So anything I have the ability to postulate holds equal weight? If I postulated something that lowers the odds of the universe existing as it is, then that would be on the same level as postulating that there is a god. The odds that the universe exists as it does are very high, therefor it must have been created by subatomic robots. 

Um, actually the odds of existence in any form are very low. 
Quote
Talking about odds doesn't answer the question as to why one would even postulate that the thing exists. We have reasons for postulating a thing like gravity, DNA, light, evolution, etc.. There are even reasons to postulate that something unproven like dark matter exists... but no reasons to even bring up a god.
Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?    There is no reason to exist as opposed to non-existence.  Non-existence makes more sense.   Does that mean therefore things do not exist?
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2010, 06:05:05 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2010, 06:12:29 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.

I am assuming nothing and you are WRONG in saying that I am.   He stated that there is no reason to bring up God as a hypothesis.   I contradicted this statement, as the multiverse theory must be weighed against other probabilities.  To some the multiverse hypothesis is absurd.  To others the God hypothesis is absurd.  But to state that there is no REASON to even bring up God or any other causal or anti-causal hypothesis is unfounded.  It is simply seeking to eliminate the competition so that there is less work.  It is simply intellectual laziness. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2010, 06:16:33 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
All the multi-verse model does is push the same problem back a few steps. You just have a larger universe to explain. No dice buddy.
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« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2010, 06:21:22 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
All the multi-verse model does is push the same problem back a few steps. You just have a larger universe to explain. No dice buddy. 

Right, it does not eliminate the problem of causality but buries it in several more steps so that people bail before getting to the fact that the problem still exists without God. 
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2010, 07:24:04 PM »

I think it's particulary funny that when Science finally hit that point where it had to delve into metaphysics, concepts like the multiverse and super string theory, you kind of have to ask yourself how in the world did this even get created. Atheism is losing ground by all the recent scientific discoveries, and even more so with our exploration into certain cosmic events (like dark matter for example).

It's even more baffling when someone asserts that this was all just created out of nothing. Like there is no purpose to anything, it just happened and that's it. Now that assertion must be put into question, not God.
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2010, 08:02:23 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.

Whether or not we live in an infinite multiverse (which I doubt that can actually be "tested"), to assign God to the naturalistic world is no different than deistic or pantheistic at best and has ultimately no different purpose than atheism, but a personal God is one that which someone prays to, and develops a relationship with.  It's only proven through this relationship, I believe, through works.  If infinite and cyclical is something that the human mind can actually conceive of, then God by definition is much bigger than that.

I've been stressing works as an important component of our faith, that is humanitarian and at the same time ascetic lifestyles.  The problem I feel is that among us Christians, we believe, but we don't act or show the effect of our beliefs.  I think discussing this is useless if we don't "walk the talk" so to speak.  How can I show you how God exists through these words on a computer if I can't show you how God exists through my actions?  I believe we, Christians, reap atheism from what we sow, that is do essentially and collectively when we do nothing, as if God doesn't exist, we give birth to those who believe that God doesn't exist.

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2010, 08:19:12 PM »


Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
^A gambler trying to bet against the odds on this is like one who is gambling against nearly infitite odds with money he does not have, because all is on loan anyway.   

"Gotta play your hand, cuz sometimes the cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay em down.." truckin

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2010, 08:19:25 PM »

Even cycles have a beginning. Someone has to spin the wheel to get it going.
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« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2010, 08:21:25 PM »

Even cycles have a beginning. Someone has to spin the wheel to get it going.

Brilliant!
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« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2010, 08:54:38 PM »

The only mystery I see is 'why are you here' in this forum? Clearly, you're interested in nothing more than venting your ill-informed and juvenile hostility toward those who have never done anything to provoke you.  Why don't you toddle off to a Muslim forum and entertain them. Oh, sorry; you wouldn't have the nerve.
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« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2010, 09:18:51 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
All the multi-verse model does is push the same problem back a few steps. You just have a larger universe to explain. No dice buddy. 

Right, it does not eliminate the problem of causality but buries it in several more steps so that people bail before getting to the fact that the problem still exists without God. 

If the theory of a cyclical universe (or mulitverse) is correct there need be no first cause, it is infinite in the dimension of time and therefore 'eternal'. Theists like to bring god up as a first cause, but then fail to explain the first cause of this entity or even the nature that allows it to be infinite in any scientific terms. A rudimentary theory of an infinite universe/multiverse is an infinitely better approach than bringing in some magical being that you insist you don't have to explain. Insisting there has to be a first cause, throwing in the idea of a god as an explanation, then refusing to give a first cause for this god is such an obvious fallacy I shouldn't even have to point it out.

If your comfortable with the idea of your god not having a first cause, then perhaps you should apply Occam Razor and cut out the middle man, ascribing that attribute to the universe/multiverse instead.
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« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2010, 09:35:10 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
All the multi-verse model does is push the same problem back a few steps. You just have a larger universe to explain. No dice buddy.  

Right, it does not eliminate the problem of causality but buries it in several more steps so that people bail before getting to the fact that the problem still exists without God.  

If the theory of a cyclical universe (or mulitverse) is correct there need be no first cause, it is infinite in the dimension of time and therefore 'eternal'. Theists like to bring god up as a first cause, but then fail to explain the first cause of this entity or even the nature that allows it to be infinite in any scientific terms.
That's why one is called Creator, and the other creation.  If the First Cause was just a cause like all the rest, then at best you would have deism, but more likely monism.
A rudimentary theory of an infinite universe/multiverse is an infinitely better approach than bringing in some magical being that you insist you don't have to explain.

Why explain Him? We can know Him, while watching the cosmologists entertain us with their tales of big bangs, strings, dark energy, and other theories du jour.
Insisting there has to be a first cause, throwing in the idea of a god as an explanation, then refusing to give a first cause for this god is such an obvious fallacy I shouldn't even have to point it out.
Yes, what would we do without you to tell us what to think. Who needs revelation when we have Greeki's assertions?

If your comfortable with the idea of your god not having a first cause, then perhaps you should apply Occam Razor and cut out the middle man, ascribing that attribute to the universe/multiverse instead.
Then we would end up chasing our tails with the monists. And the cosmologists.
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« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2010, 09:56:34 PM »

If the theory of a cyclical universe (or mulitverse) is correct there need be no first cause, it is infinite in the dimension of time and therefore 'eternal'. Theists like to bring god up as a first cause, but then fail to explain the first cause of this entity or even the nature that allows it to be infinite in any scientific terms. A rudimentary theory of an infinite universe/multiverse is an infinitely better approach than bringing in some magical being that you insist you don't have to explain. Insisting there has to be a first cause, throwing in the idea of a god as an explanation, then refusing to give a first cause for this god is such an obvious fallacy I shouldn't even have to point it out.
If your comfortable with the idea of your god not having a first cause, then perhaps you should apply Occam Razor and cut out the middle man, ascribing that attribute to the universe/multiverse instead.

I disagree.  The proposed multiverse is still part of a bounded system and therefore cannot be eternal.  The problem of the multiverse theory is that the explanation of cause is still within the system itself.   God predates the system.   The gods of Hinduism or other religions are concurrent with the system and part of the system of nature, therefore, they have a need of causality, as the system has bounds, therefore one could propose “everlasting past” but not eternity, as the system is bounded.   If our current universe did not have bounds including physical laws and time, space, energy/mass, etc. then it would require no causal explanation whatsoever.   Likewise, the God of Christianity requires no explanation of cause as he is unbounded, unlike the bounded system of universe or even multiverses, even if we exponentiate them, they still can only draw nearer to infinity, but cannot reach it.
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« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2010, 09:59:21 PM »

God predates the system.   The gods of Hinduism or other religions are concurrent with the system and part of the system of nature....
True, because the gods, or devas, of Hinduism are more analogous to the angels of Christianity. The God of Christianity is analogous to the Brahman of Hinduism, Brahman being that which transcends the fields of causality.
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« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2010, 10:03:19 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 
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« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2010, 10:53:26 PM »

It's even more baffling when someone asserts that this was all just created out of nothing.

Isn't Creatio ex Nihilo a dogmatic teaching in the Orthodox Church?

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

As far as arguing for the "existence" of God, does not apophaticism show us that in a very true sense, God does not "exist", at least not in a manner we are able to fully comprehend? God is uncreated, therefore He does not exist in the conventional sense. He is no creature.
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« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2010, 11:09:09 PM »

It's even more baffling when someone asserts that this was all just created out of nothing.
Isn't Creatio ex Nihilo a dogmatic teaching in the Orthodox Church?
The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?
As far as arguing for the "existence" of God, does not apophaticism show us that in a very true sense, God does not "exist", at least not in a manner we are able to fully comprehend? God is uncreated, therefore He does not exist in the conventional sense. He is no creature.

1.  Yes ex nihilo creation is a dogma.   Also, twice in the Liturgy every week we acknowledge that God "brought us from non-existence into being..."
2.  Right, if we are speaking of existence as what we know as existence (circumscribed, bounded, etc.) or anything relative to it, we cannot apply such existence to God, and therefore He is beyond existence in such a context.   
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« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2010, 01:21:09 AM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
All the multi-verse model does is push the same problem back a few steps. You just have a larger universe to explain. No dice buddy.  

Right, it does not eliminate the problem of causality but buries it in several more steps so that people bail before getting to the fact that the problem still exists without God.  

If the theory of a cyclical universe (or mulitverse) is correct there need be no first cause, it is infinite in the dimension of time and therefore 'eternal'. Theists like to bring god up as a first cause, but then fail to explain the first cause of this entity or even the nature that allows it to be infinite in any scientific terms.
That's why one is called Creator, and the other creation.  If the First Cause was just a cause like all the rest, then at best you would have deism, but more likely monism.

So you don't have to explain the system because you gave it a different name, wow! Do you even read this dribble before you post it? A monkey throwing feces at a keyboard could have come up with a better response.

Quote
A rudimentary theory of an infinite universe/multiverse is an infinitely better approach than bringing in some magical being that you insist you don't have to explain.

Why explain Him? We can know Him, while watching the cosmologists entertain us with their tales of big bangs, strings, dark energy, and other theories du jour.
Insisting there has to be a first cause, throwing in the idea of a god as an explanation, then refusing to give a first cause for this god is such an obvious fallacy I shouldn't even have to point it out.
Yes, what would we do without you to tell us what to think. Who needs revelation when we have Greeki's assertions?

Who needs 'revelation' when they have half a brain and even the tiniest shred of common sense?

Quote
If your comfortable with the idea of your god not having a first cause, then perhaps you should apply Occam Razor and cut out the middle man, ascribing that attribute to the universe/multiverse instead.
Then we would end up chasing our tails with the monists. And the cosmologists.

So instead you just bury your head in the sand?
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« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2010, 01:32:29 AM »

If the theory of a cyclical universe (or mulitverse) is correct there need be no first cause, it is infinite in the dimension of time and therefore 'eternal'. Theists like to bring god up as a first cause, but then fail to explain the first cause of this entity or even the nature that allows it to be infinite in any scientific terms. A rudimentary theory of an infinite universe/multiverse is an infinitely better approach than bringing in some magical being that you insist you don't have to explain. Insisting there has to be a first cause, throwing in the idea of a god as an explanation, then refusing to give a first cause for this god is such an obvious fallacy I shouldn't even have to point it out.
If your comfortable with the idea of your god not having a first cause, then perhaps you should apply Occam Razor and cut out the middle man, ascribing that attribute to the universe/multiverse instead.

I disagree.  The proposed multiverse is still part of a bounded system and therefore cannot be eternal.  The problem of the multiverse theory is that the explanation of cause is still within the system itself.   God predates the system.   The gods of Hinduism or other religions are concurrent with the system and part of the system of nature, therefore, they have a need of causality, as the system has bounds, therefore one could propose “everlasting past” but not eternity, as the system is bounded.   If our current universe did not have bounds including physical laws and time, space, energy/mass, etc. then it would require no causal explanation whatsoever.   Likewise, the God of Christianity requires no explanation of cause as he is unbounded, unlike the bounded system of universe or even multiverses, even if we exponentiate them, they still can only draw nearer to infinity, but cannot reach it.

How does being bound imply not infinite? Furthermore, please define these bounds. Are you suggesting finite bounds or infinite bounds? If the latter, to what degree are these bounds? From my reading of the theory, if true the multiverse would encompass unbounded uncountably infinite time...sounds a lot like eternity to me.

Furthermore, something being unbounded hardly gets you out of an explanation; if it did it would have made my math classes easier, but it would have also been cheating.
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« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2010, 01:37:27 AM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
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« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2010, 06:35:51 AM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent. Christianity is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.

Fortunately I don't live in an aggressive theocracy like Saudi Arabia, the USA or Pakistan. I don't have to put up with being abused by nasty, self-centred, arrogant, proselytising, delusional God Botherers. The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free. With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell.
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« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2010, 06:40:56 AM »

Actually man chose death.

I don't recall the banishment of Eden as an act of "punishment", God did us a favor because in the Garden was the Tree of Life and had Adam and Eve eaten from it, they would have been immortal in their corruption. So God had to save His people from their falliness; Christ is the way.
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« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2010, 06:46:56 AM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent. Christianity is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He looked back into the pit and thought thankfully about the great sacrifice this Man had made to save him.
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« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2010, 11:13:56 AM »

"I don't have to put up with being abused by nasty, self-centred, arrogant, proselytising, delusional God Botherers. The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free. With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell."

Trying: Why don't you just change your moniker to "ProudLeftyAtheist" and have done with it? You're toxic, and you're full of nothing but vitriol and lies. (Reading Andrew Sullivan will do that to you.) You're here under false pretences, and I suggest you be banned.
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« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2010, 12:46:24 PM »

Really?  There are no reasons to bring up a first cause for all other things?
You are assuming there is a first cause though, since the human mind is so used to such a structure of events.  What if existence (in terms of a multi-verse, cyclical universe, etc) has always been?  Some attributes you assign to a deity, should then be assigned to the naturalistic world.
All the multi-verse model does is push the same problem back a few steps. You just have a larger universe to explain. No dice buddy.  

Right, it does not eliminate the problem of causality but buries it in several more steps so that people bail before getting to the fact that the problem still exists without God.  

If the theory of a cyclical universe (or mulitverse) is correct there need be no first cause, it is infinite in the dimension of time and therefore 'eternal'. Theists like to bring god up as a first cause, but then fail to explain the first cause of this entity or even the nature that allows it to be infinite in any scientific terms.
That's why one is called Creator, and the other creation.  If the First Cause was just a cause like all the rest, then at best you would have deism, but more likely monism.

So you don't have to explain the system because you gave it a different name, wow!

Since you can't get past the superficial, depth being beyond your reach, I can see how names confuse you. As for explaining the system, you would have to be weaned first before serving that up.

Do you even read this dribble before you post it? A monkey throwing feces at a keyboard could have come up with a better response.

Was that a Freudian slip? I've always suspected that you spend time here to prove that a monkey banging on a typewriter can't produce Shakespeare.

A rudimentary theory of an infinite universe/multiverse is an infinitely better approach than bringing in some magical being that you insist you don't have to explain.

Why explain Him? We can know Him, while watching the cosmologists entertain us with their tales of big bangs, strings, dark energy, and other theories du jour.
Insisting there has to be a first cause, throwing in the idea of a god as an explanation, then refusing to give a first cause for this god is such an obvious fallacy I shouldn't even have to point it out.
Yes, what would we do without you to tell us what to think. Who needs revelation when we have Greeki's assertions?

Who needs 'revelation' when they have half a brain and even the tiniest shred of common sense?


If your comfortable with the idea of your god not having a first cause, then perhaps you should apply Occam Razor and cut out the middle man, ascribing that attribute to the universe/multiverse instead.
Then we would end up chasing our tails with the monists. And the cosmologists.

So instead you just bury your head in the sand?
Why would we do that?  Christ is risen, and we don't need fossils.
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« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2010, 01:14:11 PM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent. Christianity is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


what a wonderful story!  thanks for that!  God Bless!
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« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2010, 01:29:39 PM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent. Christianity is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.

Fortunately I don't live in an aggressive theocracy like Saudi Arabia, the USA or Pakistan. I don't have to put up with being abused by nasty, self-centred, arrogant, proselytising, delusional God Botherers. The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free. With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell.

I like how you singled out Christianity as your punching bag of all religions, calling all others "self-consistent" but Christianity worst of garbage.  I'll take that as a badge of honor.  I will take crap from you any day in the name of Christ.  On behalf of whatever you experience, all Christians seem to you "abusive, nasty, self-centered, arrogant."  And to that I say, if that's what you saw, then it's understandable why you're an atheist.  When you're this angry, let's face it, you're simply in denial of your reasons for atheism.  You think it's because of your intelligence that you're atheistic, but really it's because of what you see around you.

Perhaps, you'll never believe.  But from what I understand, you children being raised in an atheist environment may tend to be very open to the idea of God later on, perhaps because he/she might also experience "abusive, nasty, self-centered, arrogant, delusional" atheists.
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« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2010, 01:30:22 PM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first
No, they weren't.
Quote
so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet
No, they don't.
Quote
so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive
No, they aren't.
Quote
so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent.
No, they aren't. But since you display no knowledge of any of them, assUme that an assertion must be taken at face value, and have yet to explain why being first, last or inclusive has any relevance to the Truth, I'm not sure you learning any facts on Judaism, Islam or Hinduism is going to make your thinking any more coherent.
Quote
Christianity is a joke.
Although your credentials as court jester may be in order, your "expertise" has failed you here.
Quote
An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do,
Only the seriously deranged condemn the gift of free will as a curse.
Quote
so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do
He did not say "I will kill you." He said "You will die by death."
Quote
and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place.
He created them, not the problem.
God pity your children.
Quote
Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.
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Fortunately I don't live in an aggressive theocracy like Saudi Arabia, the USA or Pakistan.
What part of paradise do you call home again?
Quote
I don't have to put up with being abused by nasty, self-centred, arrogant, proselytising, delusional God Botherers.
Oh? is that why you come here, seeking abuse?
Quote
The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance.
If you posts are any indication of your skills, they must be piss poor missionaries for you to get the better of them.  I should think that even the dumbest JW could knock you down a notch.
Quote
My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free.
So are all the children in our Sunday School.
Quote
With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell.
Hopefully your family is better than the "Murray's" (in quotations, because no Murray family, with married husband and father, ever existed:
Quote
In 1941, she married John Henry Roths. They separated when they both enlisted for World War II service, he in the United States Marine Corps, she in the Women's Army Corps. In April 1945, while posted to a cryptography position in Italy, she began an affair with an officer, William J. Murray, Jr. Murray was a married Roman Catholic, and he refused to divorce his wife. Mays divorced Roths and began calling herself Madalyn Murray, and gave birth to a boy she named William J. Murray and nicknamed "Bill."

In 1949, Murray completed a bachelor's degree from Ashland University.[7] In 1952, she completed a law degree from South Texas College of Law; however, she failed the bar exam and never practiced law.[4] In later writing for American Atheists, she referred to herself as "Dr. O'Hair," likely with regard to her law degree (a juris doctorate), although it is not standard practice for individuals in the United States with law degrees to do so. On November 16, 1954 she gave birth to her second son Jon Garth Murray, fathered by her boyfriend Michael Fiorillo.[3]

She and her two children traveled via ship to Europe with the intention of defecting to the Soviet embassy in Paris and residing in the Soviet Union. The Soviets denied them entry.[4] Murray and her sons returned to Baltimore, Maryland in 1960.[8]

Murray stated that she worked for seventeen years as a psychiatric social worker, and that in 1960 she was a supervisor at the Baltimore city public welfare department.[7]
Worked 17 years as a psychiatric social worker. Says a lot about the system.

There is a ray of light though: William, the one for whom she sued in the US Supreme Court to ban prayer in school, received baptism:
Quote
William J. Murray is the chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., active on issues related to aiding Christians in Islamic and Communist nations.

William is the son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair,[1] an United States atheist activist who came to national attention in Baltimore, Maryland when she filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of the United States, saying that compulsory prayer and reading of the Bible in schools was unconstitutional.

Murray converted to Baptist Christianity in 1980. His mother reportedly stated, upon learning of his conversion, "One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times ... he is beyond human forgiveness."[2] He felt similarly negative toward her in his first book, My Life Without God, as he made allegations such as: "She was just evil … She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents' inheritance."[3] Bill also repudiated his mother upon the occasion of her death, saying "I used to ask people to pray for my mother's salvation. I don't do that anymore…. My mother was an evil person."[2]

William J. Murray is the author of several books including Let Us Pray and The Church Is Not For Perfect People. His most recent book is The Pledge: One Nation Under God, for which the foreword, "A Washington, DC insider", was written by Congressman Todd Akin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Murray
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« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2010, 01:32:41 PM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent. Christianity is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


what a wonderful story!  thanks for that!  God Bless!
Indeed! Amen! Amen! Amen!
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« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2010, 01:33:39 PM »

Trying: Why don't you just change your moniker to "ProudLeftyAtheist" and have done with it? You're toxic, and you're full of nothing but vitriol and lies. (Reading Andrew Sullivan will do that to you.) You're here under false pretences, and I suggest you be banned.

No, I don't think he should be banned.  His reaction and his posts serve as an example of how bitter atheists can be in their lives, and his presence really is a blessing in disguise.
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« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2010, 01:36:52 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
Just because you can't rise above the level of technology does not mean everyone else is so limited.
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« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2010, 01:41:25 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.

Alas, the turning point of any belief system, the ultimate "Why."  For believers, the answer exists, but for non-believers the answer doesn't, and the question merely exists.  Like the question, life either simply is and never shall be again or demands an purposeful answer.
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« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2010, 01:47:44 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
Just because you can't rise above the level of technology does not mean everyone else is so limited.

If I want to hallucinate...there's a drug for that...but while not on drugs, I prefer to be in control of my faculties.
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« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2010, 02:02:40 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator.  

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
Just because you can't rise above the level of technology does not mean everyone else is so limited.

If I want to hallucinate...there's a drug for that...but while not on drugs, I prefer to be in control of my faculties.
Control? What control? You're all just random DNA, with urges and hormones. Or so you boast.

You've never explained, AFAIR, how meaningless DNA man has any use for mathmatics. In the end, even its technological uses in the end have no meaning if human existence has no purpose. In the end, why should anyone care?  Or is that what the hallucinagenics are for?
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 02:03:39 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2010, 02:06:46 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.

Alas, the turning point of any belief system, the ultimate "Why."  For believers, the answer exists, but for non-believers the answer doesn't, and the question merely exists.  Like the question, life either simply is and never shall be again or demands an purposeful answer.

For the most part, but I have to give the Taoists credit, they see the only purpose of life as living a temporal existence. It's really the one organized religion that has managed to evolve enough to divorce itself from questions of meaning or purpose.
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« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2010, 02:23:35 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator. 

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.

Alas, the turning point of any belief system, the ultimate "Why."  For believers, the answer exists, but for non-believers the answer doesn't, and the question merely exists.  Like the question, life either simply is and never shall be again or demands an purposeful answer.

For the most part, but I have to give the Taoists credit, they see the only purpose of life as living a temporal existence. It's really the one organized religion that has managed to evolve enough to divorce itself from questions of meaning or purpose.

I don't know much about Taoism to say anything on that regard, but I see it as choice, not as evolving into some sort of reality.  In fact, a meaningless life simply means everything we achieve or experience is meaningless, and that I find it a form of devolution because our minds simply evolved to search for meaning, not to throw it away.
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« Reply #52 on: December 20, 2010, 02:26:47 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator.  

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
Just because you can't rise above the level of technology does not mean everyone else is so limited.

If I want to hallucinate...there's a drug for that...but while not on drugs, I prefer to be in control of my faculties.
Control? What control? You're all just random DNA, with urges and hormones. Or so you boast.

Guess my random DNA simply contained the blueprint for a more capable computational system. Smiley

Quote
You've never explained, AFAIR, how meaningless DNA man has any use for mathmatics. In the end, even its technological uses in the end have no meaning if human existence has no purpose. In the end, why should anyone care?  Or is that what the hallucinagenics are for?

Use? I don't know if there's a use. That isn't really the point of mathematics, we do it because it's interesting...not because its useful. If you talk to most mathematicians, you'll find it to mostly be a hedonistic pursuit that just happens to have occasional applications.
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« Reply #53 on: December 20, 2010, 02:39:25 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator.  

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
Just because you can't rise above the level of technology does not mean everyone else is so limited.

If I want to hallucinate...there's a drug for that...but while not on drugs, I prefer to be in control of my faculties.
Control? What control? You're all just random DNA, with urges and hormones. Or so you boast.

Guess my random DNA simply contained the blueprint for a more capable computational system. Smiley
and even, for sake of argument, it did. So?

You've never explained, AFAIR, how meaningless DNA man has any use for mathmatics. In the end, even its technological uses in the end have no meaning if human existence has no purpose. In the end, why should anyone care?  Or is that what the hallucinagenics are for?
Use? I don't know if there's a use. That isn't really the point of mathematics, we do it because it's interesting...not because its useful.
So we can just delete your criticism about the uselessness of Christianity/Church/God..., no?


If you talk to most mathematicians,
Except for one, all the ones I knew dropped out of Physics because they couldn't take it anymore. Just came across your post


You don't have enough screen space to see how to the right Philosophers are.

Reminds me of an old joke,

A physics professor comes to his dean and says: 'We need another million dollars to upgrade our particle accelerator.' Dean moans: 'Why can't you guys be like folks from math department? They only need are pens, paper, and wastebaskets.' The professor replies: 'Did you mean folks from philosophy department? They only need pens and paper.'
you'll find it to mostly be a hedonistic pursuit that just happens to have occasional applications.
So like masturbation.
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« Reply #54 on: December 20, 2010, 03:24:36 PM »

This tread reminds me of a section of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", concerning the Babel fish:

The Babel fish" said The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly, "is a small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe...if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish."
"Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
`I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
`Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanished in a puff of logic."
   Wink
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« Reply #55 on: December 20, 2010, 03:52:32 PM »

Atheism is at its strongest when people actually become less Christlike.
If you're serious you're seriously deranged. I mean let's face it the Jews were first so they must be right, while the Muslims got the last prophet so they must be right, Hindus are all inclusive so they must be right. At least Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are relatively self-consistent. Christianity is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.

Fortunately I don't live in an aggressive theocracy like Saudi Arabia, the USA or Pakistan. I don't have to put up with being abused by nasty, self-centred, arrogant, proselytising, delusional God Botherers. The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free. With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell.
It's funny that what you are attacking really isn't Christianity. You are much like Nietzche in this. You don't even know your enemy.
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« Reply #56 on: December 20, 2010, 04:55:52 PM »

Also, multiverse theory still does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.   It simply seeks to explain how something rather than nothing can exist without the need for a transcendent creator.  

Why, as a meaningful question, is simply 'How did this become'. Now, when it's construed to be asking for 'purpose' or 'intent', then it's a simply a meaningless question because the response is tautological: there is none.
Just because you can't rise above the level of technology does not mean everyone else is so limited.

If I want to hallucinate...there's a drug for that...but while not on drugs, I prefer to be in control of my faculties.
Control? What control? You're all just random DNA, with urges and hormones. Or so you boast.

Guess my random DNA simply contained the blueprint for a more capable computational system. Smiley
and even, for sake of argument, it did. So?

It just explains our respective positions on this thread, nothing more, no special meaning.

Quote
You've never explained, AFAIR, how meaningless DNA man has any use for mathmatics. In the end, even its technological uses in the end have no meaning if human existence has no purpose. In the end, why should anyone care?  Or is that what the hallucinagenics are for?
Use? I don't know if there's a use. That isn't really the point of mathematics, we do it because it's interesting...not because its useful.
So we can just delete your criticism about the uselessness of Christianity/Church/God..., no?

Not merely useless, also absurd.

Quote
If you talk to most mathematicians,
Except for one, all the ones I knew dropped out of Physics because they couldn't take it anymore. Just came across your post

Your school must have had a crappy math department then, but that's not uncommon, I've seen some colleges out there who will give you a degree in mathematics with only two or three classes in pure theory. We had some dropouts from fields like EE and Physics go into applied math, but none really studied theoretical mathematics, analysis and algebra had about a 50% failure rate...many of the students that couldn't pass those classes after a couple tries went on and got degrees in EE, Physics, or Applied Math.

Quote


You don't have enough screen space to see how to the right Philosophers are.

Reminds me of an old joke,

A physics professor comes to his dean and says: 'We need another million dollars to upgrade our particle accelerator.' Dean moans: 'Why can't you guys be like folks from math department? They only need are pens, paper, and wastebaskets.' The professor replies: 'Did you mean folks from philosophy department? They only need pens and paper.'
you'll find it to mostly be a hedonistic pursuit that just happens to have occasional applications.
So like masturbation.

Kinda, and it's pretty fun...but sometimes we get to do it with other people, which is even more fun. Wink
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« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2010, 04:56:59 PM »

The only way that an atheist can prove to himself that god doesn't exist is when he yells out "Is there a god?"  and no one will reply back to him. At this moment the heathen will bask in glorious laughter.
 I watched an episode of The Twilight Zone that was similar to this once. There was a guy begging that he wanted to be alone. He died and finally got his wish. In the beginning he loved it.  After some time had passed he realized that being left alone wasn't exactly what he thought it would be. It actually turned out to be the worst kind of hell for him. After begging and pleading into thin air for what seemed hours. The devil had thrust him back to life. He repented and became a new man. The moral of the story is that we should be careful what we wish for.
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« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2010, 04:58:18 PM »

Thank you for your considered reply iamsiry, you have confirmed everything I expected of you. Nice to know I was spot on with my assessment of how you would reply. You can be on your way now.
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« Reply #59 on: December 20, 2010, 05:29:39 PM »

You can be on your way now.

ordering people around now, I see.
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« Reply #60 on: December 20, 2010, 05:39:28 PM »

You can be on your way now.

ordering people around now, I see.

Does everything he say have to be jeered at?
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« Reply #61 on: December 20, 2010, 06:17:03 PM »

So we can just delete your criticism about the uselessness of Christianity/Church/God..., no?

Not merely useless, also absurd.
Yes, I wasn't going to bring up that your criicism were not only useless, but absurd as well, but since you did...

If you talk to most mathematicians,
Except for one, all the ones I knew dropped out of Physics because they couldn't take it anymore. Just came across your post
Your school must have had a crappy math department then,
LOL. The Univeristy of Chicago?
Quote
Large and distinguished, the Mathematics faculty (in the top 5 out of 139 reviewed by the National Research Council) includes two winners of the Fields Medal (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics), two members of the National Academy of Sciences, and five recipients of Chicago's Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Faculty interests range from algebraic geometry, Lie theory, and partial differential equations to finite groups and finite group theory, topology, logic, and dynamical systems.
https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/academics/majorsminors/mathematics.shtml

I'm beginning to thing that your arrogance is proving something infinite alongside God.

Quote
but that's not uncommon, I've seen some colleges out there who will give you a degree in mathematics with only two or three classes in pure theory. We

Who's "we"?

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« Reply #62 on: December 20, 2010, 06:27:08 PM »

Thank you for your considered reply iamsiry, you have confirmed everything I expected of you. Nice to know I was spot on with my assessment of how you would reply.
Did you plagerize your assessment as well?
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You can be on your way now.
Sorry, I'm not Pavlov's dog, so like our God, I am not at your beck and call.

You came here to spout your prattle. That you are disappointed at our laughter is your problem.
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« Reply #63 on: December 20, 2010, 06:33:51 PM »

You can be on your way now.

ordering people around now, I see.

Does everything he say have to be jeered at?

Does he need to ride around on his high horse??
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« Reply #64 on: December 20, 2010, 06:40:43 PM »

You can be on your way now.

ordering people around now, I see.

Does everything he say have to be jeered at?

Does he need to ride around on his high horse??

Let him do so.  There's no need for us to respond to it, at least not on his level of immaturity.
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« Reply #65 on: December 20, 2010, 06:50:36 PM »

You can be on your way now.

ordering people around now, I see.

Does everything he say have to be jeered at?

Does he need to ride around on his high horse??

Let him do so.  There's no need for us to respond to it, at least not on his level of immaturity.
Knocking him off it may do him some good.
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« Reply #66 on: December 20, 2010, 07:02:47 PM »

Christianity is a joke.

Your sense of humor seems skewed.  But let's proceed to the substance of your argument, no?

An omnipotent, omniscient sky daddy was so incompetent he created creatures that he allowed to do what he didn't want them to do, so he punished them for doing what he had given them the ability to do and then turned himself into one of them and had himself tortured to death to fix the problem he had created in the first place. Get real, Christianity is a waste of time, space, effort and resources. If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality.

An omnipotent and omniscient God who has abundant love created people, but instead of creating self-serving robots He created us to have free will, and then to allow us the exercise of free will (what's the point of having it without being able to use it?) He gave us a choice - eternal life, or death.  We were tricked into thinking death was life, and we thus chose death.  Instead of abandoning us to our choice, forever to be condemned to death as a final ending, He chose to become one of us, suffer, die, and rise, in order to not only save us, but to do so while leaving that free-will (the third gift, after love and life itself) intact and unharmed - to allow us to make that choice again.

Christianity teaches us to combat the real problems of the world (hunger, poverty, disease, abandonment, etc.) head-on, not out of feeling superior or empowered, but out of humble love for the other people; to give without expectation of repayment, or expectation of conversion.  Those who do not practice this are not Christian, and those who practice it imperfectly are, well, human.

The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free.

So you're admitting to being a sadist?  What's the explanation for having "fun" by accosting "well meaning" people?  Your kids may be "superstition free" (which, by the way, we are, too), but they're not getting much of a lesson in interpersonal relationships.

With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell. 

We're really not called to "worry about" paradise or hell - we're supposed to care for people in the world, to pray for them and for us, grow in our relationship with God, and to gather together in thanksgiving for the blessings of life.  If you find that objectionable, I'm interested in hearing why.
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« Reply #67 on: December 20, 2010, 07:17:04 PM »

Bringing my children into this is way past the line where appropriate discussion ends.
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« Reply #68 on: December 20, 2010, 07:32:10 PM »

Bringing my children into this is way past the line where appropriate discussion ends.

No paparazzi here followed you here and brought them into the discussion. Your boasting over the automatons (since you fault God's giving free will, I take it that you try to deprive your children of it) did that.
when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free. With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 07:36:26 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #69 on: December 20, 2010, 07:46:23 PM »

Bringing my children into this is way past the line where appropriate discussion ends.


And who's to blame for that exactly?
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« Reply #70 on: December 20, 2010, 07:58:37 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.
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« Reply #71 on: December 20, 2010, 07:59:02 PM »

Bringing my children into this is way past the line where appropriate discussion ends.

I happen to agree with you, but if I recall correctly you've tried to use them as a "weapon" in this discussion:

The fun thing about that is that when accosted by well meaning street missionaries I can take the piss out of them mercilessly and have a real laugh at their ignorance. My kids are all normal people and completely superstition free.

With the birth of my child another generation of the superstition free has arrived and they may actually be able to deal with the real issues humanity faces rather than worrying about what an imaginary, mythological issues like going to paradise or hell.  

I'm perfectly willing to leave them out of any further discussion, if you're willing to stop using them to attempt to "score points."  (Which, personally, I don't think your use of them accomplished much in this discussion.)
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« Reply #72 on: December 20, 2010, 08:01:27 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to go onto a Christian board and assert that, "If you really believe in a Christian God you are definitely not really engaging in reality," and, "Christianity is a joke," etc., as part of an argument... I'm not going to both explaining, it is pretty obvious.

I do agree that sentiments like, "I feel sorry for your grandchildren," and the like are completely inappropriate.
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« Reply #73 on: December 20, 2010, 08:03:44 PM »

Bringing my children into this is way past the line where appropriate discussion ends.

I do have to say, though, that while contemplating your complaint here, a thought has come to mind: you have brought a sword to this discussion, and have attempted to use it freely, and yet you complain when others have attacked you with swords, too.  You should either treat this like an "appropriate discussion," and thus change your tone and approach, or you should be mindful that, just as you are permitted to make controversial claims and statements here in the "Free-For-All" Forum, others are, too.
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« Reply #74 on: December 20, 2010, 08:17:17 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.
Grandchildren?  I thought you just had children.  Have we aged here that fast?

The problem is you assert a lot of nonsense as "obvious."

I've skimmed through the entire thread, and seen no sorrow expressed for your grandchildren, or your children as part of an argument. Can you quote?-it's not plagerism if you attribute.
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« Reply #75 on: December 20, 2010, 08:46:36 PM »

That was a mistype, fruedian slip. Yes children, haven forbid I have grandchildren right ialmisry?
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« Reply #76 on: December 20, 2010, 08:56:41 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.
The problem is you assert a lot of nonsense as "obvious."

Seems to be a lot of that going on around here...
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« Reply #77 on: December 20, 2010, 09:03:09 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.
The problem is you assert a lot of nonsense as "obvious."

Seems to be a lot of that going on around here...
indeed:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=941;sa=showPosts
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« Reply #78 on: December 20, 2010, 09:06:04 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.
The problem is you assert a lot of nonsense as "obvious."

Seems to be a lot of that going on around here...
indeed:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=941;sa=showPosts

Yep, you got it, just about everyone I quoted and responded to today. Wink
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« Reply #79 on: December 20, 2010, 09:24:14 PM »

Anyone who doesn't understand why it is not appropriate to use "I feel sorry for your grandchildren" etc as part of an argument...I'm not going to bother explaining, it's pretty obvious.
The problem is you assert a lot of nonsense as "obvious."

Seems to be a lot of that going on around here...
indeed:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=941;sa=showPosts

Yep, you got it, just about everyone I quoted and responded to today
made better sense than you did.  But that's your trend practically any day.
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« Reply #80 on: December 20, 2010, 09:27:21 PM »

Well I apologize for my recent erratic behavior and taken that into offense.

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?
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« Reply #81 on: December 20, 2010, 09:29:05 PM »

That was a mistype, fruedian slip. Yes children, haven forbid I have grandchildren right ialmisry?
Heaven has little to do with it, even if you believe in astrology.

As for God, He did wonders with William J. Murray, so why not your progeny?
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« Reply #82 on: December 20, 2010, 10:23:30 PM »

Well I apologize for my recent erratic behavior and taken that into offense.

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?
Because Creation, and the human race, are by definition a bounded system.  By introducing sin into that system, it affects all members.  By definition God, being infinite, is outside that system:for Him to step in an seperate causes from their consequences would be to not only to rip open the bounded system of Creation but to change human nature, changing it from the Image and Likeness of God into a puppet.  When God entered the system as a member, through the Incarnation, He preserved the bounded system of Creation, the bounded system of the human race, left intact human nature-in fact, fulfilled it-while restoring it to the path it was originally set on. God suffered in the flesh by the consequence of Adam.
Quote
The joy that permeates and enlightens the service of Lazarus Saturday stresses one major theme: the forthcoming victory of Christ over Hades. "Hades" is the Biblical term for Death and its universal power, for inescapable darkness that swallows all life and with its shadow poisons the whole world. But now — with Lazarus’ resurrection — "death begins to tremble." A decisive duel between Life and Death begins giving us the key to the entire liturgical mystery of Pascha. Already in the fourth century Lazarus’ Saturday was called the "announcement of Pascha." For, indeed, it announces and anticipates the wonderful light and peace of the next — The Great — Saturday, the day of life-giving Tomb.

Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, personifies the whole of mankind and also each man, as Bethany — the home of Lazarus, — stands for the whole world — the home of man. For each man was created as a friend of God and was called to this friendship: the knowledge of God, the communion with Him, the sharing of life with Him: "in Him was Life and the Life was the light of men" (John 1:4). And yet this Friend, whom Jesus loves, whom He has created in love, is destroyed, annihilated by a power which God has not created: death. In His own world, the fruit of His love, wisdom and beauty, God encounters a power that destroys His work and annihilates His design. The world is but lamentation and sorrow, complaint and revolt. How is this possible? How did this happen? These are the questions implied in John’s slow and detailed narrative of Jesus’ progression towards the grave of His friend. And once there, Jesus wept, says the Gospel (John 11:35). Why did He weep if He knew that moments later He would call Lazarus back to life? Byzantine hymnographers fail to grasp the true meaning of these tears. "As man Thou weepest, and as God Thou raisest the one in the grave..." They arrange the actions of Christ according to His two natures: the Divine and the human. But the Orthodox Church teaches that all the actions of Christ are both Divine and human, are actions of the one and same person, the Incarnate Son of God. He who weeps is not only man but also God, and He who calls Lazarus out of the grave is not God alone but also man. And He weeps because He contemplates the miserable state of the world, created by God, and the miserable state of man, the king of creation... "It stinketh," say the Jews trying to prevent Jesus from approaching the corps, and this "it stinketh" can be applied to the whole of creation. God is Life and He called the man into this Divine reality of life and "he stinketh." At the grave of Lazarus Jesus encounters Death — the power of sin and destruction, of hatred and despair. He meets the enemy of God. And we who follow Him are now introduced into the very heart of this hour of Jesus, the hour, which He so often mentioned. The forthcoming darkness of the Cross, its necessity, its universal meaning, all this is given in the shortest verse of the Gospel — "and Jesus wept."

We understand now that it is because He wept, i.e., loved His friend Lazarus and had pity on him, that He had the power of restoring life to him. The power of Resurrection is not a Divine "power in itself’," but the power of love, or rather, love as power. God is Love, and it is love that creates life; it is love that weeps at the grave and it is, therefore, love that restores life... This is the meaning of these Divine tears. They are tears of love and, therefore, in them is the power of life. Love, which is the foundation of life and its source, is at work again recreating, redeeming, restoring the darkened life of man: "Lazarus, come forth!" And this is why Lazarus Saturday is the real beginning of both: the Cross, as the supreme sacrifice of love, and the Common Resurrection, as the ultimate triumph of love.

"Christ — the Joy, Truth, Light and the Life of all and the resurrection of the world, in His love appeared to those on earth and was the image of Resurrection, granting to all Divine forgiveness."
http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/lazarussaturday.html

John 12:16 His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of Him and had been done to Him. 17 The crowd that had been with Him when He called Laz'arus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet Him was that they heard He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after Him." 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa'ida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If any one serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves Me, the Father will honor him.
27 "Now is my soul troubled.
And what shall I say?
'Father, save Me from this hour'?
No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.
28 Father, glorify Thy name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
29 The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."
30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for Mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; 32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33 He said this to show by what death He was to die.
34 The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?"
35 Jesus said to them, "The Light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the Light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, that you may become sons of Light."

Part of becoming a son of Light is dispelling the darkness. But as St. Paul states, it is not a painless proposition:Col 1:24 "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church." What can be lacking in Christ's aflictions. Nothing, but if we are in Christ, then we too are called to this hour, and share in the blood, sweat and tears exerted in bringing Creation back to where it belongs.


Quote
The Son of God suffered "unto death", not that we might be exempt from suffering, but that our suffering might be like his. Christ offers us, not a way round suffering, but a way through it; not substitution, but saving companionship...Suffering cannot be "justified"; but it can be used, accepted — and, through this acceptance, transfigured.
The Orthodox Way
http://books.google.com/books?id=WpE8MwHLffEC&pg=PA82&dq=orthodox+way+suffering&hl=en&ei=yQ8QTbWXDITSnAfA1ZTDDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=orthodox%20way%20suffering&f=false
http://books.google.com/books?id=WpE8MwHLffEC&pg=PA57&dq=orthodox+suffering,+redeemed+transfigured&hl=en&ei=nxEQTdKyFIKWnAeImaiVDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #83 on: December 20, 2010, 11:06:19 PM »

Well I apologize for my recent erratic behavior and taken that into offense.

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Man influences other men to do things.  The story of Adam teaches us it can take one man to cause everyone around him to fall, like a domino effect.  One can start from Paradise and can still fall.  In Christ, one can start from the bottom, and work his way up, and in fact, one is perfected in that manner.  With Christ it seems, He dragged Paradise into this suffering world, turning our hopeless pains into blessings.  His Eminence the late Metropolitan Paulose Mar Gregorious of India says it all:

In a human person’s life, suffering is the most personal and intimate experience. Descartes definitely took the wrong starting point when he began with his “I think, therefore I am”. For most ordinary people, barring the academics, what they could say would be more like: “I think, therefore I am, I think....”. They would lack that Cartesian certainty about their thinking activity, which is easier for thinkers far removed from every day life. Whereas, if he had started with “I suffer, therefore I am” he would probably have come to quite different conclusions; at least he would have made more sense to common people. Because my suffering is my own, in a particularly intimate way, and I can never doubt it, even if others do not quite see it. The universal I is much more a sufferer than a thinker.

...

What the Christian tradition has taught me is not to ask for the cause of individual suffering, or to resolve philosophically the problem of unmerited suffering. My task is to use suffering that comes my way, for the exercise of self-discipline and compassion. I do not know why we have to suffer, but I know that where there has been no suffering there is no development of character. I know that compassion is learned and taught by entering into the suffering of others and by letting others share one’s own suffering, to a certain extent. Suffering seems to be Love’s way, at least in this world.

Suffering does not open the door by itself. The key has to be turned; suffering has to be transmuted by love. Hate and despair can turn it into poison. I am grateful to God that however close I came to despair in my suffering -filled adolescence, I did not give up. My little faith helped me to cling on in hope.

Suffering is the key to the mystery of existence in this world. That is why God himself, supposedly free from all suffering, decided to come and partake of it Himself. Thereby lies the Grand Mystery. God suffers, in Christ, in us, even today.


A key point of Christian living is to "rejoice in the suffering of Christ."  And if we are at a certain comfort zone while seeing others around us suffer, we leave our comfort zone to help others and spread this joy.
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« Reply #84 on: December 21, 2010, 12:04:21 AM »

Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.
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« Reply #85 on: December 21, 2010, 02:09:42 AM »

Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.

It is understood that man described God in a way he/she related to at the time.  It is understood that humanity in the OT was immature, childish or adolescent in behavior.  At one point they all followed God's commands, then fail, then back again after suffering, then fail, then back again, then fail, and so on and so forth.  The story of Israel is one with equally both praise and rebuke.  God was like a Father who pretty much praises their good deeds and terrifies them with their bad deeds, not that God is wrathful in any literal sense.  His wrath was that like a parent to a little child so that they can be geared towards the right way.  Also keep in mind, many of the stories really is not God punishing them directly, but rather letting them see for themselves the consequences of their own actions.

Some laws sound rough, but some of these laws were too unrealistic to follow.  Origen, third century theologian commented on the idea that circumcision law of a baby boy, i.e. it is written, if it is not done by the 8th day, the infant is cut off from the people.  Origen explained this doesn't advocate infanticide.  In fact, common sense should punish the father if someone deserved punishing.  The idea is the spirit of the law, not the literality.  In Christian understanding, circumcision is not taken literally, but that of the heart, removing old sins and garbage from your life, cutting them off, and being a new and free man in Christ.

Again, also the blood sacrifices that were performed were vain when people lost the point:

"For if You desired sacrifice, I would have given it with whole burnt offerings, but You shall not be pleased.  A sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.  A broken and contrite heart God shall not despise." (Psalm 51)

The blood sacrifices also an indication of a type of Christ, who sacrificed Himself for us.

Christ even rebuked the Pharisees for taking the law too literal and not understanding the point of the law.  Quoting out of memory, "If a lamb falls into the ditch on the Sabbath, will you not save it?" said Christ, rebuking the Pharisees for interpreting the literal commandment of resting on the Sabbath incorrectly.

So, in the NT now, you have the symbolism of a mature humanity.  God comes and rather than being above you, raising you, pruning you, disciplining you, He is now an equal to you, encouraging you, helping you understand, enlightening you, and teaching you to love and sacrifice as He did.  It is considered the fulfillment of the OT, and it is why we see the OT through NT lens.  It as like an adult who grows up and realizes the foolishness of his adolescent years, and while acknowledging some fiction along the way that help gear you to the right path, you understand also that these stories still prophetically lead to the fulfillment of the Incarnation of God the Word who raises us up to be closer to Him now, tearing down the veil of the temple altar, and revealing His glory to all.
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« Reply #86 on: December 21, 2010, 02:26:49 AM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam. We are the cause of the disease and suffering, by our disobedience and deficiency.  But we are called to be the New Adam; to breathe life into the cosmos.

Disease and all of these problems exist precisely because we are created in the divine image and likeness. In order for love to exist there has to be freedom in choice and will, and rebellion and death are the price of this freedom. But in the midst of it, there is still the potential to love. Death, disease and the like are distortions of our true nature and potential. But God was not so apathetic as to leave it this way. He sent his son to free us from death and infirmity by uniting it with his perfection, and thus absorbing all unrighteousness. In that perfect life we find the keys to immortality and victory over death, disease and decay. We arise from the dead glorified; deified.
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« Reply #87 on: December 21, 2010, 02:59:27 AM »

Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

That is because He was. What I mean by that is there was the natural sepearation between Creator and creation, which the Fall widened into a chasm.  This was symbolized/embodied by the curtain which seperated the Ark of the Covenant and us. At the Crucifixion, as St. Matthew tells us (27:51), it was torn in two, because of "the new and living way which He [Christ] opened for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh (Heb. 10:20). The Jewish Talmud (Yoma 39b) suprisingly provides corroboration: it tells us that for about 40 years before the destruction (70 AD) of the Temple (i.e. the time of Christ's Crucifixion ) every night the gates of the Temple would open of their own accord, and Rabbi Yohanan B. Zakkai rebuked them saying, "Temple, Temple, why do you alarm us? We know that you are destined to be destroyed"
http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Parochet/parochet.html
Christ offered the archtype of which all the various sacrifices of the OT only prefigured and reflected various aspects of it, the Son of God and the Son of Man pouring out His being to join man to God.

When Moses asked God's name, he was reflecting the prevailing thought in the Middle East: to know a god's name was to be able to put the deity at this beck and call, much like one would call a dog and tell him to fetch.  To this God tells Moses that He is above such things, that He is too big for their petty ideas of power:
Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Christ reiterates this, with a twist, when He says ""When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on My own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me." (John 8:28)
Once Moses asked to see God's glory:
18 Moses said, "I pray thee, show me Your glory." 19 And he said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you My name 'The LORD I AM'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But," He said, "you cannot see My face; for man shall not see Me and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
"Face," "hand" and "back" here are metaphorical, as God had no spatial dimensions. But when God entered space and time through the Incarnation, He replies to His disciples request, which echoes Moses':
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does his works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
As St. Paul explains (II Cor. 3)
3 and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8 will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor? 9 For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it. 11 For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor. 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. 14 But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But before that could occur, the way had to be prepared, which brings up your second comment.

Quote
I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.
The Fathers point out that Genesis, the first book of the OT law begins in Paradise and ends (Gen. 50:26) in a coffin in Egypt, underlying how far man had strayed. Scripture then takes up the giving of the Law in Exodus.  To cut it short, for brevity's sake, the Law was given for many complimentary reasons, e.g. :1) to show that man cannot save himself.  The OT records that unrepentent and unregenerated man repeats Adam's error in trying to be God without God, 2) to cultivate holiness from without so that He could in time come to cultivate holiness from within.  The OT records a progressive narrowing  down from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David all the way down to the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, who does not listen to the serpent's hissing promises of divinity but instead conceives God the Word through the ear (as the Fathers say) by hearing the call of God delievered by Gabriel and ansering "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." As my priest says, all of creation hung on her "yes" to God, as God didn't have a plan B.  3) to prepare the soil do that the new Creation would take root and grow without weeds.  In the beginning of OT, the Hebrews are no better than their neighbors in idolatry and polytheism, and the degenerate morality that engendered. As Moses points out at the giving of the Law:
Deut. 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; 8 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day. 12 "And because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which he swore to your fathers to keep;...9:1 "Hear, O Israel; you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' 3 Know therefore this day that He who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the LORD your God; He will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you. 4 "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that He may confirm the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 "Know therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. 7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD."

That centuries later the Hebrews were still not ready, the Prophet Amos lamented:
...2:4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
after which their fathers walked.
5 So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem."
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of shoes--
7 they that trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same maiden,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
upon garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God
they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
9 "Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars,
and whose strenght was that as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above,
and his roots beneath.
10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt,
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?" says the LORD.
12 "But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets 'You shall not prophesy.'
13 "Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," says the LORD.
3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you,
O people of Israel,
against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
2 "Of all the families of the earth, I have known only you;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

However, the Lord was determined to reveal Himself in Israel's seed, in spite of themselves, as the Prophet Hosea demonstrated (3):
1 And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins [the pagan version of communion]." 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days; you shall not play the harlot, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

Indeed, the Prophet Joel (2) both warns and promises:
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming,
it is near,
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.
3 Fire devours before them,
and behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
but after them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
and like war horses they run.
5 As with the rumbling of chariots,
they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army drawn up for battle.
6 Before them peoples are in anguish,
all faces grow pale.
7 Like warriors they charge,
like soldiers they scale the wall.
They march each on his way, t
hey do not swerve from their paths.
8 They do not jostle one another,
each marches in his path;
they burst through the weapons and are not halted.
9 They leap upon the city,
they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.
10 The earth quakes before them,
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
11 The LORD utters his voice before his army,
for his host is exceedingly great;
he that executes his word is powerful.

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

12 "Yet even now," says the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."

Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?

It took the wake up call of the Babylonian Exile to set the Hebrews straight, and the Prophet Malachi directed them to continue on that path:

3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. 6 "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Thereafter we see in the books of the Maccabbees the Hebrews dying rather than follow their kinsmen in disobeying the Law and worshipping Antiochus as ""God Manifest," and eating pigs sacrificed to the Greek pantheon:
2 Maccabbees 7:9 And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws." 10 After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, 11 and said nobly, "I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again." 12 As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. 13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" 15 Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. 16 But he looked at the king, and said, "Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. 17 Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!" 18 After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, "Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. 19 But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!" 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24 Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25 Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26 After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27 But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28 I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers." 30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, "What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. 32 For we are suffering because of our own sins. 33 And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. 34 But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. 35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, 38 and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation." 39 The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. 40 So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. 41 Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. 42 Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

Since the Hebrews had become singularly monotheistic that in such a monotheistic society that God could come and reveal Himself as Trinity without men falling into idolatry or polytheism with the revelation.  It is only in this retrospect that the OT makes any sense.
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« Reply #88 on: December 21, 2010, 03:03:25 AM »

I haven't listened to them in years.

There is nothing wrong with judging God based on Hell's existence.

Quote
The particular and final judgments exist because of free will.
A statement as if it is fact, that is not supported by facts.

Quote
It is not for me to edit the teachings of the Church, whether they relate to dogma or are theological opinions taught by the saints, simply because they do not square with our own opinions of how we think things are or should be.
How about, because they do not square with how things are? Empirical evidence not something to just dismiss, while concepts that have no empirical evidence to back it up can just be dismissed.

I do not need to show humility before the Church, your mother or teacher. It's not simply a rebellion against any church, theistic concept or person in particular...it's not even a rebellion. I merely do not accept anything as true without understanding it and the evidence that backs it up. The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

Two things: first, have you considered that being raised within a completely western mental training has placed you in a position to ardently value only an intellectual approach to life? Within our culture, the west, it is very difficult for us to even see the possibility that there might be a world outside of our framework of logic and reasoning. This sounds absurd to you, of course, but you and others who adopt an attitude of scientific and historical proofs have severely limited your understanding of the world around and within you. Frankly, in your attempts to be rational above all else you have become closed. Are you even capable of being wrong?

Second, no one is going to convince you that God exists. And even if you were to believe that on an intellectual level, it's not enough. You must have faith, in your heart of hearts that He loves you. That, I understand, is what one calls belief in God. But I digress: God might knock upon your door, but He will not break it down. You have the human will to make human decisions. So make them wisely. I suspect most of us have chosen this life to have a relationship with God--to seek Divine experiences, not argue reason. If you want a battle of intellect, religious forums are not the place. Religion addresses what man cannot.

I wish you luck on your journey, my friend. I hope you find what you're looking for. God Bless.

-Matt
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« Reply #89 on: December 21, 2010, 03:05:25 AM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam. We are the cause of the disease and suffering, by our disobedience and deficiency.  But we are called to be the New Adam; to breathe life into the cosmos.

Disease and all of these problems exist precisely because we are created in the divine image and likeness. In order for love to exist there has to be freedom in choice and will, and rebellion and death are the price of this freedom. But in the midst of it, there is still the potential to love. Death, disease and the like are distortions of our true nature and potential. But God was not so apathetic as to leave it this way. He sent his son to free us from death and infirmity by uniting it with his perfection, and thus absorbing all unrighteousness. In that perfect life we find the keys to immortality and victory over death, disease and decay. We arise from the dead glorified; deified.
I would not say that rebellion and death are the price of this freedom, but that they are the consequence of the misuse of this freedom.
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« Reply #90 on: December 21, 2010, 03:53:37 AM »

Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

That is because He was. What I mean by that is there was the natural sepearation between Creator and creation, which the Fall widened into a chasm.  This was symbolized/embodied by the curtain which seperated the Ark of the Covenant and us. At the Crucifixion, as St. Matthew tells us (27:51), it was torn in two, because of "the new and living way which He [Christ] opened for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh (Heb. 10:20). The Jewish Talmud (Yoma 39b) suprisingly provides corroboration: it tells us that for about 40 years before the destruction (70 AD) of the Temple (i.e. the time of Christ's Crucifixion ) every night the gates of the Temple would open of their own accord, and Rabbi Yohanan B. Zakkai rebuked them saying, "Temple, Temple, why do you alarm us? We know that you are destined to be destroyed"
http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Parochet/parochet.html
Christ offered the archtype of which all the various sacrifices of the OT only prefigured and reflected various aspects of it, the Son of God and the Son of Man pouring out His being to join man to God.

When Moses asked God's name, he was reflecting the prevailing thought in the Middle East: to know a god's name was to be able to put the deity at this beck and call, much like one would call a dog and tell him to fetch.  To this God tells Moses that He is above such things, that He is too big for their petty ideas of power:
Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Christ reiterates this, with a twist, when He says ""When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on My own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me." (John 8:28)
Once Moses asked to see God's glory:
18 Moses said, "I pray thee, show me Your glory." 19 And he said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you My name 'The LORD I AM'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But," He said, "you cannot see My face; for man shall not see Me and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
"Face," "hand" and "back" here are metaphorical, as God had no spatial dimensions. But when God entered space and time through the Incarnation, He replies to His disciples request, which echoes Moses':
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does his works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
As St. Paul explains (II Cor. 3)
3 and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8 will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor? 9 For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it. 11 For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor. 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. 14 But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But before that could occur, the way had to be prepared, which brings up your second comment.

Quote
I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.
The Fathers point out that Genesis, the first book of the OT law begins in Paradise and ends (Gen. 50:26) in a coffin in Egypt, underlying how far man had strayed. Scripture then takes up the giving of the Law in Exodus.  To cut it short, for brevity's sake, the Law was given for many complimentary reasons, e.g. :1) to show that man cannot save himself.  The OT records that unrepentent and unregenerated man repeats Adam's error in trying to be God without God, 2) to cultivate holiness from without so that He could in time come to cultivate holiness from within.  The OT records a progressive narrowing  down from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David all the way down to the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, who does not listen to the serpent's hissing promises of divinity but instead conceives God the Word through the ear (as the Fathers say) by hearing the call of God delievered by Gabriel and ansering "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." As my priest says, all of creation hung on her "yes" to God, as God didn't have a plan B.  3) to prepare the soil do that the new Creation would take root and grow without weeds.  In the beginning of OT, the Hebrews are no better than their neighbors in idolatry and polytheism, and the degenerate morality that engendered. As Moses points out at the giving of the Law:
Deut. 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; 8 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day. 12 "And because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which he swore to your fathers to keep;...9:1 "Hear, O Israel; you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' 3 Know therefore this day that He who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the LORD your God; He will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you. 4 "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that He may confirm the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 "Know therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. 7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD."

That centuries later the Hebrews were still not ready, the Prophet Amos lamented:
...2:4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
after which their fathers walked.
5 So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem."
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of shoes--
7 they that trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same maiden,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
upon garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God
they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
9 "Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars,
and whose strenght was that as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above,
and his roots beneath.
10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt,
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?" says the LORD.
12 "But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets 'You shall not prophesy.'
13 "Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," says the LORD.
3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you,
O people of Israel,
against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
2 "Of all the families of the earth, I have known only you;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

However, the Lord was determined to reveal Himself in Israel's seed, in spite of themselves, as the Prophet Hosea demonstrated (3):
1 And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins [the pagan version of communion]." 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days; you shall not play the harlot, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

Indeed, the Prophet Joel (2) both warns and promises:
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming,
it is near,
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.
3 Fire devours before them,
and behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
but after them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
and like war horses they run.
5 As with the rumbling of chariots,
they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army drawn up for battle.
6 Before them peoples are in anguish,
all faces grow pale.
7 Like warriors they charge,
like soldiers they scale the wall.
They march each on his way, t
hey do not swerve from their paths.
8 They do not jostle one another,
each marches in his path;
they burst through the weapons and are not halted.
9 They leap upon the city,
they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.
10 The earth quakes before them,
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
11 The LORD utters his voice before his army,
for his host is exceedingly great;
he that executes his word is powerful.

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

12 "Yet even now," says the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."

Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?

It took the wake up call of the Babylonian Exile to set the Hebrews straight, and the Prophet Malachi directed them to continue on that path:

3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. 6 "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Thereafter we see in the books of the Maccabbees the Hebrews dying rather than follow their kinsmen in disobeying the Law and worshipping Antiochus as ""God Manifest," and eating pigs sacrificed to the Greek pantheon:
2 Maccabbees 7:9 And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws." 10 After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, 11 and said nobly, "I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again." 12 As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. 13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" 15 Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. 16 But he looked at the king, and said, "Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. 17 Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!" 18 After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, "Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. 19 But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!" 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24 Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25 Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26 After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27 But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28 I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers." 30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, "What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. 32 For we are suffering because of our own sins. 33 And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. 34 But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. 35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, 38 and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation." 39 The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. 40 So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. 41 Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. 42 Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

Since the Hebrews had become singularly monotheistic that in such a monotheistic society that God could come and reveal Himself as Trinity without men falling into idolatry or polytheism with the revelation.  It is only in this retrospect that the OT makes any sense.

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
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« Reply #91 on: December 21, 2010, 04:06:14 AM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam.

Do you really believe that? I mean really really believe that? Or are you just saying, or do you just believe it, because you aren't aware of a better answer? I'm not looking to get into a debate or anything, I just remember lots of times giving an answer on message boards that I knew was "right," but that I pretty much just accepted because I felt like I had to, like it was the only way I could consistently hold to or make sense of things. Sometimes I read these things, like "I am Adam, and you are Adam," or "the doors to hell are locked from the inside," and so forth, and I really wonder about this, how people can really believe such ideas.
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Happy 450th birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!


« Reply #92 on: December 21, 2010, 04:07:00 AM »

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.

But at least you were kind enough to quote it, just in case someone missed it the first time  Tongue
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« Reply #93 on: December 21, 2010, 07:02:14 AM »

It is understood that man described God in a way he/she related to at the time.  It is understood that humanity in the OT was immature, childish or adolescent in behavior.  At one point they all followed God's commands, then fail, then back again after suffering, then fail, then back again, then fail, and so on and so forth.  The story of Israel is one with equally both praise and rebuke.  God was like a Father who pretty much praises their good deeds and terrifies them with their bad deeds, not that God is wrathful in any literal sense.  His wrath was that like a parent to a little child so that they can be geared towards the right way.  Also keep in mind, many of the stories really is not God punishing them directly, but rather letting them see for themselves the consequences of their own actions...

So basically since man kept falling down and back up, Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

And what about setting the stage for the Incarnation? I mean isn't the OT about setting up the savior as well?

I have a question, did Christ fulfill every single prophecy in the OT? And how many prophecies were there?
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« Reply #94 on: December 21, 2010, 11:30:12 AM »

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
There you are, speaking for everyone by self appointment again.

There are many who, like you, have gone through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. Are you admitting that you comment on things you haven't read, in other words you pontificate on what you know not?

Then there are those who post or PM their approval.

Then there are those who seem to skim through, see a point they like, skim some more see another point, skim some more.....Some come back and decide to read the whole thing.

And then there are those who I am a sure just see I posted it and skip it. The funny thing is those who have actually posted that that is what they do, aren't consistent and end up going through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. In other words, in the first group with you.

You will have to forgive me that I do not cater to your group as my target audience.  So I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you have attention deficit: what a winning combination. Tongue
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« Reply #95 on: December 21, 2010, 11:31:56 AM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam.

Do you really believe that? I mean really really believe that? Or are you just saying, or do you just believe it, because you aren't aware of a better answer? I'm not looking to get into a debate or anything, I just remember lots of times giving an answer on message boards that I knew was "right," but that I pretty much just accepted because I felt like I had to, like it was the only way I could consistently hold to or make sense of things. Sometimes I read these things, like "I am Adam, and you are Adam," or "the doors to hell are locked from the inside," and so forth, and I really wonder about this, how people can really believe such ideas.
Life experience, that's how.
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« Reply #96 on: December 21, 2010, 11:34:43 AM »

Life experience, that's how.

Interesting. I used to be a very traditional Christian, and politically conservative. After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic. Funny how that works.
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« Reply #97 on: December 21, 2010, 12:20:17 PM »

Life experience, that's how.

Interesting. I used to be a very traditional Christian, and politically conservative. After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic. Funny how that works.

Different strokes... laugh
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« Reply #98 on: December 21, 2010, 12:22:48 PM »

It is understood that man described God in a way he/she related to at the time.  It is understood that humanity in the OT was immature, childish or adolescent in behavior.  At one point they all followed God's commands, then fail, then back again after suffering, then fail, then back again, then fail, and so on and so forth.  The story of Israel is one with equally both praise and rebuke.  God was like a Father who pretty much praises their good deeds and terrifies them with their bad deeds, not that God is wrathful in any literal sense.  His wrath was that like a parent to a little child so that they can be geared towards the right way.  Also keep in mind, many of the stories really is not God punishing them directly, but rather letting them see for themselves the consequences of their own actions...

So basically since man kept falling down and back up,
Some got back up. Others just fell further down.

Quote
Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

Only in part: God the Son became man so that His relationship with God the Father could become our relationship with the Father.  Not taking us in like foster children, to be given an example of a good family and then sent back, but rather adoption into the divine family of the Holy Trinity.  In baptism our realtionship with God is not like that between Jesus and the Father, it is that relationship between Jesus and the Father.  As the baptismal hymn says "As many as are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." As St. Peter writes in his second epistle:

1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Pope St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, the Great Champiion of the Faith of Nicea, states: "God became man so that man could become God." Not according to the lie of the serpent, which led to death, but according to His Word "'Let Us create Man in Our Image and Likeness'....And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Quote
And what about setting the stage for the Incarnation? I mean isn't the OT about setting up the savior as well?

The OT has no other purpose.

Quote
I have a question, did Christ fulfill every single prophecy in the OT? And how many prophecies were there?
There are hundreds referenced in the NT itself, and thousands which the Fathers (and Mothers!) of the Church reference.  To give an exmple of one not in the NT, but expounded from the earliest days of the Church, Isaiah 66:
1 Thus says the LORD:
 "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house which you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine,
says the LORD.
But this is the man to whom I will look,
He that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

3 "He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb,
like him who breaks a dog's neck;
he who presents a cereal offering,
like him who offers swine's blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense,
like him who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
4 I also will choose affliction for them,
and bring their fears upon them;
because, when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes,
and chose that in which I did not delight."

5 Hear the word of the LORD,
you who tremble at his word:
"Your brethren who hate you and cast you out for my name's sake have said,
'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy';
but it is they who shall be put to shame.

6 "Hark, an uproar from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!
7 "Before she was in labor she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son
.
8 Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her sons.
9 Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth?
says the LORD;
shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?
says your God.
10 "Rejoice with Jerusalem,
and be glad for her,
all you who love her; r
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;

This Prophecy was fulfilled at the Nativity of Our Lord, and God, and Savror, i.e. Christmas, because the Church teaches that the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, gave birth to Christ, the New Adam without labor pains.  The reason is that from the first moment, Christ was undoing the curse at the expulsion from Paradise, Genesis 3:

14 The LORD God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle,
and above all wild animals;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
He shall crush your head,
and you shall bruise his heel."
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children
,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you."

Because the Holy Theotokos ("She who gave birth to God") listened to God and not the serpent, she gave birth to the New Adam without the pains of Eve. Instead, however, she experienced the pain of seeing her son and God dying on the Cross, where He crushed the head of the serpent.  Btw, according to Tradition, Golgotha, "the place of the Skull" got its name from Father Adam's skull being buried there. You'lll see it on most icons of the Crucifixion.


But back to your question. It may be better to say that He is fulfilling all the prophecies, as there were those on His first coming (which have all been fulfilled), some which were fulfilled during the time of the Apostles, some the Church has fulfilled since then, and some which will be fulfilled at the second coming. (btw, it is often said that the Jews are conflating the prophecies of the first and second coming, which is why they are still waiting for someone who has already come).
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« Reply #99 on: December 21, 2010, 12:24:32 PM »

Life experience, that's how.

Interesting. I used to be a very traditional Christian, and politically conservative. After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic. Funny how that works.

Different strokes... laugh
...different experiences.
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« Reply #100 on: December 21, 2010, 12:42:04 PM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam.

Do you really believe that? I mean really really believe that?
Makes sense to me. Adam (and Eve) represent the processes that occur in our own body-minds, the spiritual challenges we experience, and the possibility for falling, redemption, and getting back up on the path to God. The Creation narrative is actually a symbol of our process of theosis.
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« Reply #101 on: December 21, 2010, 01:58:42 PM »

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
There you are, speaking for everyone by self appointment again.

There are many who, like you, have gone through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. Are you admitting that you comment on things you haven't read, in other words you pontificate on what you know not?

Then there are those who post or PM their approval.

Then there are those who seem to skim through, see a point they like, skim some more see another point, skim some more.....Some come back and decide to read the whole thing.

And then there are those who I am a sure just see I posted it and skip it. The funny thing is those who have actually posted that that is what they do, aren't consistent and end up going through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. In other words, in the first group with you.

You will have to forgive me that I do not cater to your group as my target audience.  So I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you have attention deficit: what a winning combination. Tongue

Nothing wrong with lengthy posts, it's just the lengthy copy and pasting.
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« Reply #102 on: December 21, 2010, 02:12:55 PM »

So basically since man kept falling down and back up, Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

I don't believe that's the only reason.  Even if humanity was perfect in their deeds and follow God's laws, at a certain point, I believe God would still become man.  It just so happens that because man isn't perfect, God's incarnation is like killing two birds with one stone.  God becoming man helps us to overcome our falls, and even when we at least try, it's a source of comfort that God is right there with us even in His human form, struggling with us.  But it's not merely to help us overcome our weaknesses.  It also is the source of complete communion with God, engrafting us into God's realm.  We are not beyond infinite or eternal in nature.  There was a time when we didn't exist.  But the eternal and infinite God who became flesh also wanted us to partake of His infinite and eternal nature.  It is why fall or no fall, man would still continue to grow in God's nature.

Many Church fathers took the Genesis story allegorically.   The "tree of life" and pretty much all the other plants with it represented communion with God's nature.  The "tree of knowledge" represented a mature level of man that in the story, Adam and Eve were not ready to have, but at least it's there not to destroy man's free will, since God programmed that our free will are guided by the stimuli we see around us.  The question God asks us, do you choose life or knowledge?  If you choose life, you will grow, and when you grow, at the opportune time, you will able to handle and receive the knowledge.  If you choose knowledge prematurely, you will mar your image, your innocence, and you won't be able to handle it, and it will darken you and it will be death to you, and can lead to the misuse of good knowledge.  We don't teach for instance certain things to children until they're at a more opportune age.

Why tree?  Because it represents the "tree" that Christ died on.  The use of tree here is very clear.  One is a blessing and one is a curse.  Adam ate from the curse.  Christ came and turned the curse into a blessing by being nailed to it.  Man is now able to proceed to fight against his sins and in so doing partake of the divine nature through Christ.

Quote
And what about setting the stage for the Incarnation? I mean isn't the OT about setting up the savior as well?

The Old Testament is wrought with prophetic allegory, not just literal prophetical sayings.  From the very beginning, Genesis was one of them.  The stories of the OT is a story of failure and deliverance and salvation from that failure.  If they never have failed in the beginning, the OT wouldn't have been written at least in the way it has been written.  So yes, it was written primarily to set the stage for the coming of Christ in the context of man's fallen nature.

Quote
I have a question, did Christ fulfill every single prophecy in the OT? And how many prophecies were there?

Not all prophecies in the OT were about Christ, that is some were fulfilled before Christ came, but by the time Christ sent his disciples around the world, almost all were fulfilled.  As for how many there were, I don't know, but a lot is a gross approximation.  Other examples are those of Isaiah as Ialmisry showed you.

The Passover practices, the temple structures, and other stories like the parting of the Red Sea and Jonah and the fish are all prophetical for Christ.  Some websites that can help answer your question:

http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/bible5_e.htm
http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/old_testament_messiah.htm
http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/prophecies_christ.htm

And more links can be read from here:
http://fatheralexander.org/page8.htm
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/section.php?04_e#3 (I know the writing is pretty annoying, but if you go from the main website it's going to open like 12 java applets if you're willing.  These are only titles, but the links lead to places more readable)

On how to interpret the Bible, I particularly follow the teachings of this fourth century document:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/origen_philocalia_02_text.htm

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« Reply #103 on: December 21, 2010, 03:26:15 PM »

So basically since man kept falling down and back up, Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

I don't believe that's the only reason.  Even if humanity was perfect in their deeds and follow God's laws, at a certain point, I believe God would still become man.  It just so happens that because man isn't perfect, God's incarnation is like killing two birds with one stone.  God becoming man helps us to overcome our falls, and even when we at least try, it's a source of comfort that God is right there with us even in His human form, struggling with us.  But it's not merely to help us overcome our weaknesses.  It also is the source of complete communion with God, engrafting us into God's realm.  We are not beyond infinite or eternal in nature.  There was a time when we didn't exist.  But the eternal and infinite God who became flesh also wanted us to partake of His infinite and eternal nature.  It is why fall or no fall, man would still continue to grow in God's nature.

Yes, it is speculated by the Fathers that even if man had not fallen, God would have come in the Incarnation.  The Crucifixion and descent into Hell, not being needed, would not have occured.

Quote
Many Church fathers took the Genesis story allegorically.   The "tree of life" and pretty much all the other plants with it represented communion with God's nature.  The "tree of knowledge" represented a mature level of man that in the story, Adam and Eve were not ready to have, but at least it's there not to destroy man's free will, since God programmed that our free will are guided by the stimuli we see around us.  The question God asks us, do you choose life or knowledge?  If you choose life, you will grow, and when you grow, at the opportune time, you will able to handle and receive the knowledge.  If you choose knowledge prematurely, you will mar your image, your innocence, and you won't be able to handle it, and it will darken you and it will be death to you, and can lead to the misuse of good knowledge.  We don't teach for instance certain things to children until they're at a more opportune age.
IIRC I've never seen the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil portrayed as a Tree of Mature Knowledge.  Rather that man chose to know (connaitre) evil rather than to continue in the Knowledge of God, and just knowing of (savoir) evil.
Quote
"Adam knew his wife, and she conceived..."
I'm not sure what that has to do with the issue I brought up...?
You were arguing for the ignorance defense.  It it quite clear that they knew (savoir/wissen/scire/saber) that it was wrong, from what Eve told the Serpent, and what God said when He called them in the garden.  What the change was, was that they knew (connaiter/kennen/cognoscere/concocer) sin, i.e. its consequences.  That is the Knoweledge of Good [and more specifically] Evil.
The problem is reading scripture can be just as empty an experience.  I know plenty of atheists who study scripture who don't believe a word: the academies are full of them.  I myself have the problem of reading too much for apologetics, and worse yet, polemics, not enough for devotions.

As Satan showed in the Temptation in the Desert, he knows (savoir, wissen, scire, saber) his scripture, he just doesn't know (γνωρίζω, connaitre, kennen, cogniscire) it.
One of the Desert Fathers said "Seek God [the Hesychist way] and not where God lives [the Scholastic way]"

In other words "Know [cognire, connaitre, conocer, kennen] God, not know [scire, savoir, saber, wissen] Him (I don't know what, if any foreign languages you speak.  English doesn't make the distinction).

And that being said, I've been too busy discussing God, and am now late for worshipping and communing with Him. Another Hesychast/Scholastic distinction.
For example, St. John Chrysostom:
Quote
Do you see how he called the place after the event occurring in the place? Likewise the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is also the name given, not that it had a knowledge of good and evil, but because the proof of the knowledge of good and evil was given in connection with it, as well as exercise in disobedience and obedience.
Do you see how it is proven from so many examples that it is customary with Scriptures to call the actual places after the events occurring in the places? It is has the same custom in regard to times as well.
In just the same way Adam knew that obedience is good and disobedience wrong, but he later learned it more clearly when he was expelled from the garden for tasting fruit from the tree, and forfeited that blessed state. Since he fell foul of punishment for tasting fruit from the tree despite God's veto, then, the punishment taught him more clearly how wrong it is to disobey God and how good to obey - hence the tree's being called knowledge of good and evil. Why is it that, if the very nature of the tree did not contain the knowledge of good and evil, and instead the human being learned it more clearly from punishment for disobedience in regard to the tree, the tree is called knowledge of good and evil? Because this is a custom with Scripture, when an event happens in places or at times, to call the places and times after the events.
Let us hold on to that fact, then, that obedience is good and disobedience evil, and we shall thus understand the former case as well. The tree is referred to as the knowledge of good and evil, in fact, for the reason that the commandment exercising them in obedience and disobedience was given in regard to the tree: while Adam knew before this that obedience was good and disobedience evil, he learnt it more clearly later from actual experience.
http://voxpatristica.blogspot.com/search/label/Tree%20of%20the%20Knowledge%20of%20Good%20and%20Evil

It is not a choice between living in ignorance versus dying for knowledge. Rather it is a choice between liiving in Faith and trusting God's word versus learning the hard way that Father indeed knows best: man chose to know evil like he should have known God.
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« Reply #104 on: December 21, 2010, 03:42:11 PM »

I've quoted elsewhere that Gregory Nazienzen did not see the Tree of Knowledge as the knowledge of evil, but since God creates all things good, a tree to be used for a later time in man's life.

There are other interpretations, but at least I find this one very consistent and relevant to man's nature and Christ's coming.
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« Reply #105 on: December 21, 2010, 05:18:34 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?
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« Reply #106 on: December 21, 2010, 05:27:46 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?

This is going to be controversial.  But if you ask me, there's no spiritual value for my salvation to take the first chapters of Genesis ultra-literally.  Certainly, there are many bishops and priests presently in the Orthodox Church who teach this as well.

You will find others, as I'm sure you've seen in other threads that find it necessary for themselves to take these chapters literally, even to the expense of disregarding scientific theories.  I think you know very well my views on this, especially in the "Creationism, Evolution, Orthodoxy" thread.

So when something is read through the "lens of the NT" while at the same time acknowledging perhaps some of the stories written probably in poetic or fantastic ways, it gives credence to accepting even "fictitious" accounts in allegory.

I've given you some links that give you many views on how to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that one consults a spiritual guide in the Church to understand how to read the Bible as well, as Scriptures are not interpreted by yourself.  This keeps the Orthodox Church coherent and not as separative as the Protestant denominations.

Also we value the Scriptures not in a scholarly way, but in a spiritual way.  It is to be read when seeking your personal benefit.  Although the scholarly way is one way to look at it in studying it and can be beneficial, the most important is what you can learn from it for yourself.  We also view the Scriptures not separate from Church tradition, but a central part of Church tradition, whereas, Church fathers continued to write even after Revelations many writings, some of which can be read here:

ccel.org/fathers

Also do a search on the writings of Philo of Alexandria.  He's a first century Alexandrian Jew living before and during the time of Christ. Whether or not he knew Christ, we don't know, but we do know that this was considered the possible Greek Jewish thought at the time.  The Church of Alexandria later on were quite influenced by his writings in understanding how to interpret the Scriptures, and his writings pretty much were one of the things that set the stage for Christ's acceptance in the Greek world.
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« Reply #107 on: December 21, 2010, 05:48:29 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?

This is going to be controversial.  But if you ask me, there's no spiritual value for my salvation to take the first chapters of Genesis ultra-literally.  Certainly, there are many bishops and priests presently in the Orthodox Church who teach this as well.

You will find others, as I'm sure you've seen in other threads that find it necessary for themselves to take these chapters literally, even to the expense of disregarding scientific theories.  I think you know very well my views on this, especially in the "Creationism, Evolution, Orthodoxy" thread.

So when something is read through the "lens of the NT" while at the same time acknowledging perhaps some of the stories written probably in poetic or fantastic ways, it gives credence to accepting even "fictitious" accounts in allegory.

I've given you some links that give you many views on how to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that one consults a spiritual guide in the Church to understand how to read the Bible as well, as Scriptures are not interpreted by yourself.  This keeps the Orthodox Church coherent and not as separative as the Protestant denominations.

Also we value the Scriptures not in a scholarly way, but in a spiritual way. 
LOL. My priest once pointed out the difference between a scholar's way of putting things. "One says 'I'm going to watch the sun set with my wife. No one says 'I'm going to view the earth rotating on its axis.' That would be stupid."
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« Reply #108 on: December 21, 2010, 06:19:23 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?

This is going to be controversial.  But if you ask me, there's no spiritual value for my salvation to take the first chapters of Genesis ultra-literally.  Certainly, there are many bishops and priests presently in the Orthodox Church who teach this as well.

You will find others, as I'm sure you've seen in other threads that find it necessary for themselves to take these chapters literally, even to the expense of disregarding scientific theories.  I think you know very well my views on this, especially in the "Creationism, Evolution, Orthodoxy" thread.

So when something is read through the "lens of the NT" while at the same time acknowledging perhaps some of the stories written probably in poetic or fantastic ways, it gives credence to accepting even "fictitious" accounts in allegory.

I've given you some links that give you many views on how to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that one consults a spiritual guide in the Church to understand how to read the Bible as well, as Scriptures are not interpreted by yourself.  This keeps the Orthodox Church coherent and not as separative as the Protestant denominations.

Also we value the Scriptures not in a scholarly way, but in a spiritual way. 
LOL. My priest once pointed out the difference between a scholar's way of putting things. "One says 'I'm going to watch the sun set with my wife. No one says 'I'm going to view the earth rotating on its axis.' That would be stupid."

Although it would make good for a romantic comedy line.
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« Reply #109 on: December 22, 2010, 02:07:26 AM »

Hmm that sounds pretty good. But how did the early Jews take the prophets seriously though? How was the OT formed? Couldn't there be alot of false prophets? So how was discernment made?
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« Reply #110 on: December 22, 2010, 02:32:19 AM »

Hmm that sounds pretty good. But how did the early Jews take the prophets seriously though?
Depends on which Hebrews you are talking about.  Many, especially early on, didn't take them too seriously at all. By the time of the Maccabbees, the majority had taken them very serious. Their pagan neighbors remark on the strictness they had to holding to their law, refusing to participate in other cults (pagans had no problem for the most part worshipping each others gods), etc.  With the translation of the Pentatech/Torah/Five Books of Moses, their teachings attracted a wider audience, there being a movement called "God-fearers" among gentiles who followed the moral precepts and some of the rituals but did not formally convert (for one thing, circumcision was an issue, which is why most converts were women).  Cornelius in the Book of Acts is such a one.  By the time of Christ, we have all sorts of literary and archaelogical proof that the teachings of the Prophets were being followed in full force.
Quote
How was the OT formed? Couldn't there be alot of false prophets?

There were. We have records of many of them. Some of them are mentioned in the OT in passing.  Baalam is a famous example: we have actually found non-Hebrew, pagan Armaic inscriptions about him from Deir Alla.
Quote
So how was discernment made?
Through worship.  The Scriptures were drawn from the texts that were read in the Temple and synagogue.  Refined in that context, they stood the text of time and proved themselves representative of the Faith of those who held to the Covenant.
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« Reply #111 on: December 22, 2010, 02:39:44 AM »

Hmm that sounds pretty good. But how did the early Jews take the prophets seriously though? How was the OT formed? Couldn't there be alot of false prophets? So how was discernment made?

When the prophets were alive, a lot of them suffered by their own people themselves.  They didn't take them seriously.  It seems that they revealed to them prophecies that were later on fulfilled at that time that made descendants go back to these same prophets and take their words seriously.  And their prophecies sometimes were not easy pills to swallow and were very provocative especially concerning the failures of Judaic Kings and peoples, but their fulfillment made the people and the scribes look back to those words and honor them even though they killed some of them.  It's as if a child is warned about something wrong and its consequences, but doesn't listen until the consequences show up, and then it seems only from that they learn, and they go back and obey the authenticity and thus the authority of these prophets' words.  An example from Isaiah's first chapter:

Quote
Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
   For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”

This was the mood of the Scriptures repeatedly at people's failures over and over again.

We also know of an assembly of about 70 Jewish Rabbis who put together a Greek translation of the Septuagint 300 years before Christ compiling these records and confirming Jewish acceptance of the texts.  The Dead Sea scrolls also included most of the books of the OT as well, showing the acceptance by these group of Jews, i.e. the Essenes.
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« Reply #112 on: December 22, 2010, 03:02:15 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

And what of the slaves, why weren't the abolishment of slaves apart of God's Law in the OT?
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« Reply #113 on: December 22, 2010, 03:05:08 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.
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« Reply #114 on: December 22, 2010, 03:12:36 AM »

The best way to read is to click quote ,and read ,because there no blue background and the letters are bigger and black, against a white background...easier on the eyes...


Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

That is because He was. What I mean by that is there was the natural sepearation between Creator and creation, which the Fall widened into a chasm.  This was symbolized/embodied by the curtain which seperated the Ark of the Covenant and us. At the Crucifixion, as St. Matthew tells us (27:51), it was torn in two, because of "the new and living way which He [Christ] opened for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh (Heb. 10:20). The Jewish Talmud (Yoma 39b) suprisingly provides corroboration: it tells us that for about 40 years before the destruction (70 AD) of the Temple (i.e. the time of Christ's Crucifixion ) every night the gates of the Temple would open of their own accord, and Rabbi Yohanan B. Zakkai rebuked them saying, "Temple, Temple, why do you alarm us? We know that you are destined to be destroyed"
http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Parochet/parochet.html
Christ offered the archtype of which all the various sacrifices of the OT only prefigured and reflected various aspects of it, the Son of God and the Son of Man pouring out His being to join man to God.

When Moses asked God's name, he was reflecting the prevailing thought in the Middle East: to know a god's name was to be able to put the deity at this beck and call, much like one would call a dog and tell him to fetch.  To this God tells Moses that He is above such things, that He is too big for their petty ideas of power:
Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Christ reiterates this, with a twist, when He says ""When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on My own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me." (John 8:28)
Once Moses asked to see God's glory:
18 Moses said, "I pray thee, show me Your glory." 19 And he said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you My name 'The LORD I AM'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But," He said, "you cannot see My face; for man shall not see Me and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
"Face," "hand" and "back" here are metaphorical, as God had no spatial dimensions. But when God entered space and time through the Incarnation, He replies to His disciples request, which echoes Moses':
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does his works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
As St. Paul explains (II Cor. 3)
3 and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8 will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor? 9 For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it. 11 For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor. 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. 14 But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But before that could occur, the way had to be prepared, which brings up your second comment.

Quote
I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.
The Fathers point out that Genesis, the first book of the OT law begins in Paradise and ends (Gen. 50:26) in a coffin in Egypt, underlying how far man had strayed. Scripture then takes up the giving of the Law in Exodus.  To cut it short, for brevity's sake, the Law was given for many complimentary reasons, e.g. :1) to show that man cannot save himself.  The OT records that unrepentent and unregenerated man repeats Adam's error in trying to be God without God, 2) to cultivate holiness from without so that He could in time come to cultivate holiness from within.  The OT records a progressive narrowing  down from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David all the way down to the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, who does not listen to the serpent's hissing promises of divinity but instead conceives God the Word through the ear (as the Fathers say) by hearing the call of God delievered by Gabriel and ansering "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." As my priest says, all of creation hung on her "yes" to God, as God didn't have a plan B.  3) to prepare the soil do that the new Creation would take root and grow without weeds.  In the beginning of OT, the Hebrews are no better than their neighbors in idolatry and polytheism, and the degenerate morality that engendered. As Moses points out at the giving of the Law:
Deut. 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; 8 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day. 12 "And because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which he swore to your fathers to keep;...9:1 "Hear, O Israel; you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' 3 Know therefore this day that He who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the LORD your God; He will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you. 4 "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that He may confirm the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 "Know therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. 7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD."

That centuries later the Hebrews were still not ready, the Prophet Amos lamented:
...2:4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
after which their fathers walked.
5 So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem."
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of shoes--
7 they that trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same maiden,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
upon garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God
they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
9 "Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars,
and whose strenght was that as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above,
and his roots beneath.
10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt,
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?" says the LORD.
12 "But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets 'You shall not prophesy.'
13 "Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," says the LORD.
3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you,
O people of Israel,
against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
2 "Of all the families of the earth, I have known only you;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

However, the Lord was determined to reveal Himself in Israel's seed, in spite of themselves, as the Prophet Hosea demonstrated (3):
1 And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins [the pagan version of communion]." 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days; you shall not play the harlot, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

Indeed, the Prophet Joel (2) both warns and promises:
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming,
it is near,
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.
3 Fire devours before them,
and behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
but after them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
and like war horses they run.
5 As with the rumbling of chariots,
they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army drawn up for battle.
6 Before them peoples are in anguish,
all faces grow pale.
7 Like warriors they charge,
like soldiers they scale the wall.
They march each on his way, t
hey do not swerve from their paths.
8 They do not jostle one another,
each marches in his path;
they burst through the weapons and are not halted.
9 They leap upon the city,
they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.
10 The earth quakes before them,
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
11 The LORD utters his voice before his army,
for his host is exceedingly great;
he that executes his word is powerful.

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

12 "Yet even now," says the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."

Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?

It took the wake up call of the Babylonian Exile to set the Hebrews straight, and the Prophet Malachi directed them to continue on that path:

3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. 6 "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Thereafter we see in the books of the Maccabbees the Hebrews dying rather than follow their kinsmen in disobeying the Law and worshipping Antiochus as ""God Manifest," and eating pigs sacrificed to the Greek pantheon:
2 Maccabbees 7:9 And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws." 10 After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, 11 and said nobly, "I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again." 12 As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. 13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" 15 Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. 16 But he looked at the king, and said, "Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. 17 Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!" 18 After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, "Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. 19 But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!" 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24 Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25 Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26 After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27 But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28 I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers." 30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, "What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. 32 For we are suffering because of our own sins. 33 And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. 34 But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. 35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, 38 and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation." 39 The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. 40 So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. 41 Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. 42 Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

Since the Hebrews had become singularly monotheistic that in such a monotheistic society that God could come and reveal Himself as Trinity without men falling into idolatry or polytheism with the revelation.  It is only in this retrospect that the OT makes any sense.

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
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« Reply #115 on: December 22, 2010, 03:18:47 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?
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« Reply #116 on: December 22, 2010, 04:31:52 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.
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« Reply #117 on: December 22, 2010, 07:02:12 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
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« Reply #118 on: December 22, 2010, 09:45:19 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?

It could be tricky business: I Kings 19:11 And he said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And when Eli'jah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Eli'jah?" 14 He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 15 And the LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Haz'ael to be king over Syria; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel; and Eli'sha the son of Shaphat of A'bel-meho'lah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And him who escapes from the sword of Haz'ael shall Jehu slay; and him who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Eli'sha slay. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Ba'al, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

The Fathers talk about the Prophets' purifying their senses so as to increase their awareness and discernment.  I recall in my Paleontology class at the U of Chicago: talking to another paleontologist, one suddenly noticed a rock he was standing on, picked it up and looked at it, and remarked "this the other half of a fossil I found over there [motioning at a distance] 15 years ago." Sure enough, when it was compared to the piece in question, it fit perfectly.  But then the paleontologist had training, and developed an eye for what he was looking at.

So too, while the rest of Israel may have been impressed by the wind, earthquake and fire, but the Prophet Elijah was not, as he had been purified to recognized the small voice.

Sometimes God did go for the dramatic, for instance at Sinai with Moses. But often it was more mundane. In any case, since God was not then a part of creation, He spoke through use of impressions and forces in and on creation, sort of like what is proposed for atom theory: the structures of the atom are not seen directly, but postulated through their perceived effects.
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« Reply #119 on: December 22, 2010, 10:07:05 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

And what of the slaves, why weren't the abolishment of slaves apart of God's Law in the OT?
Similar to why polygamy wasn't. As Joseph says to his brother who sold him into slavery "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." (Gen. 50:20). It was an institution which fallen man invented, which God turned to His purposes, to train and prepare man for His coming. Note, the enslavement of Joseph later led to the enslavement of all of Israel, yet God calls this enslaved people His Chosen People.

He then teaches them in Person:

John 8:28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me. 29 And He Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke thus, many believed in Him. 31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, 'You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

as the Aposltes further expounded:
Phillippian 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
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« Reply #120 on: December 22, 2010, 10:33:26 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?
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« Reply #121 on: December 22, 2010, 11:51:19 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."

I find that these questions seem to melt away when I immerse myself in the liturgy. They just seem not to matter anymore...
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« Reply #122 on: December 22, 2010, 11:52:59 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."


It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.
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« Reply #123 on: December 22, 2010, 12:12:11 PM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?

I certainly hope not.  Undecided
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« Reply #124 on: December 22, 2010, 01:45:41 PM »

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."

Well, good. It sounds as though you've been spending a lot of time thinking about yourself.
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« Reply #125 on: December 22, 2010, 01:51:34 PM »

Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?

I suppose it depends on what you mean. It is certainly possible to acknowledge one's limitations and ability to know things with certainty, and all the while to practice the Orthodox faith. However, I hesitate to say that one could perpetually doubt the "existence" of God and have any real progress in theosis. Mustn't one thirst for union in order to achieve it? There has to be some level of resolve in order to carry the heavy weight of the cross; to keep one's hand to the plow.
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« Reply #126 on: December 22, 2010, 02:06:48 PM »

Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?

I suppose it depends on what you mean. It is certainly possible to acknowledge one's limitations and ability to know things with certainty, and all the while to practice the Orthodox faith. However, I hesitate to say that one could perpetually doubt the "existence" of God and have any real progress in theosis. Mustn't one thirst for union in order to achieve it? There has to be some level of resolve in order to carry the heavy weight of the cross; to keep one's hand to the plow.
"Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief." Mark 9:24.
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« Reply #127 on: December 22, 2010, 02:16:33 PM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?

I didn't realize the slavery question before, but Ialmisry gave a good answer.

As for God speaking, Ialmisry gave a good answer too, but I'll add this.  These prophets did things they didn't want to do or were uncomfortable doing so because more often than not their prophecies weren't all comforting.  There was some hope, but also some provocation.  By these actions, and by the fulfillment of the prophecies, one can say God indeed "talked" to them.  How?  It's a mystery.  God inspires, we iterate.  As Christ says, you shall know them by their fruits.
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« Reply #128 on: December 22, 2010, 03:11:56 PM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?

I didn't realize the slavery question before, but Ialmisry gave a good answer.

As for God speaking, Ialmisry gave a good answer too, but I'll add this.  These prophets did things they didn't want to do or were uncomfortable doing so because more often than not their prophecies weren't all comforting.  There was some hope, but also some provocation.  By these actions, and by the fulfillment of the prophecies, one can say God indeed "talked" to them.  How?  It's a mystery.  God inspires, we iterate.  As Christ says, you shall know them by their fruits.
Speaking of knowing fruits: the Prophets did not take up predictions as their main job.  Such prophecies of the future were to wake people up to the moral message.  It was, for instance, finding the fulfillment of the warnings of the prophets in the Babylonian exile that the Hebrews decided that they had better learn their lesson and listen to the prophets' messages against idolatry and immorality.  A good example would be Jeremiah.
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« Reply #129 on: December 22, 2010, 05:34:05 PM »

If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life.
Hey, I just realized something.  Yes, I'm kinda slow.  Just ask my high school math teacher, for example; he was a decent enough guy.  In fact, a very decent guy; I still remember him quite fondly.  He'd probably be the first to tell you that I showed signs of intelligence (well, perhaps not the first to say so, but he'd be in line somewhere) but that the intelligence always took a looooong time to display itself.  And I'd tell you what my English teacher thought of me, but I'm not sure what she has to do with this whole thing.

Anyway, it's taken me a while, but I just realized that, up until now, I'd assumed that the name TryingToConvert was a description of yourself.  How stupid of me!  Trying to convert doesn't describe what you are attempting to do for yourself; it describes what you are hoping to do with others.  Is that it?  If so, then first I must apologize for misunderstanding you.  And second, I must apologize for assuming you were being disingenuous; you in fact have been one of the more straightforward posters we've seen in a while.  Convert, while still a verb, is really a transitive verb.  Is that it?  And I think the right term is transitive verb, but wow, for that answer I'd have to reach WAY back to another English teacher, and I have no idea what she actually thought of me.  Isn't that funny!

At any rate, I understand that you are trying to convert...

...US!

How's it working, by the way?  I'm rather flattered that you'd consider us worth your time and effort, to be honest.  Have any of my colleagues converted?  Are any of us close?  As they say, it's the first dozen that are hard.  After that, it could be Katie-bar-the-door!

But as I said, I'm kinda slow.
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« Reply #130 on: December 22, 2010, 06:03:07 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.
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« Reply #131 on: December 22, 2010, 06:09:15 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?
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« Reply #132 on: December 22, 2010, 06:13:16 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?

No. Nothing can be known, not even the accuracy of the claim that nothing can be known.
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« Reply #133 on: December 22, 2010, 06:42:09 PM »

I find that these questions seem to melt away when I immerse myself in the liturgy. They just seem not to matter anymore...

Amen! Yes they do, which is why I'd want to be at a liturgy everyday, if that was possible.
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« Reply #134 on: December 22, 2010, 07:07:48 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?

No. Nothing can be known, not even the accuracy of the claim that nothing can be known.
He who hesitates is lost.
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« Reply #135 on: December 22, 2010, 07:12:04 PM »

That shows the spirit of a catechumen!

So explain exactly why the soul would have to endure 'spiritual' tests before being accepted into Heaven, so you get all the way to the final tollhouse and then somehow you don't pass and your soul gets dragged into Hell.

That's not the God of love that I know of.

People judge God because of hell's very existence. The particular and final judgments exist because of free will. It is not for you, as a catechumen, or for me as a communicant, to edit the teachings of the Church, whether they relate to dogma or are theological opinions taught by the saints, simply because they do not square with our own opinions of how we think things are or should be. Rather, we need to show some humility before the Church, our mother and teacher, and if there is something we cannot grasp or understand, instead or rebelling against it or calling it stupid, we should remind ourselves that we, by ourselves, do not have all the answers, and to us it is not given to comprehend all of the mysteries of God.
Isn't that **** convenient? I've always been bothered by the "God Logic" b.s. and how God's ways are above man's ways blah blah. It's always brought up right around the point that the circular argument has come full. Seems like a cop out to me.

If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life





If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life


Wow.. If your ego gets any bigger, maybe it could apply for Statehood.
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« Reply #136 on: December 22, 2010, 07:30:06 PM »

BUMP!!!

Well I apologize for my recent erratic behavior and taken that into offense.

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Since TTC apologized, I think it's unnecessary to make comments about his other posts.  I think what we need to do is accept his apology, stop making comments about his previous posts, and answer his questions.
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« Reply #137 on: December 22, 2010, 07:43:20 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?

No. Nothing can be known, not even the accuracy of the claim that nothing can be known.

So your statement "Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses" is meaningless.
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« Reply #138 on: December 22, 2010, 09:42:43 PM »

So your statement "Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses" is meaningless.

Maybe.
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« Reply #139 on: December 22, 2010, 10:03:22 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?

No. Nothing can be known, not even the accuracy of the claim that nothing can be known.
You're are pretty dogmatic about that. Wink
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« Reply #140 on: December 22, 2010, 10:04:54 PM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
You honesty is appreciated.
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« Reply #141 on: December 23, 2010, 02:58:05 AM »

Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

This could also read: Dogmatism and certainty are certainly intellectual sicknesses.  Wink
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« Reply #142 on: December 23, 2010, 07:42:17 PM »

So what about, let's say you are saved and you get to have that encounter with God "face to face"...does our freedom to choose be eliminated? Or would we even want to choose against that?

As the Orthodox speak of communion with God, do you just absorb yourself into God?
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« Reply #143 on: December 23, 2010, 07:55:18 PM »

So what about, let's say you are saved and you get to have that encounter with God "face to face"...does our freedom to choose be eliminated?
No, the human will remains but its gnomic will is burned off in the refinement of theosis, like dross from gold.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnomic_will
The natural will, having been connected between the logos (principle) of human nature and its telos (end/fulfillment), will cease to deliberate with uncertaainty but will chose the good with certainty.

Btw, being saved is only a means, theosis is the end. Had Adam not fallen, the coming of Christ would not have had to save him, but would still have been necesaary to connect the logos of human persons to their telos.

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Or would we even want to choose against that?
We will know better, and better equipped, than to do that.

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As the Orthodox speak of communion with God, do you just absorb yourself into God?
We unite to God, but neither hypostatically (union of Christ as both God and Man) nor consubstantially (the union of the three Persons in the Trinity). Our particular existance as a person (as opposed to Christ, whose Person never existed about from God, or the Persons of the Trinity, Who never exist apart from each other), always remain
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« Reply #144 on: December 23, 2010, 08:13:37 PM »

Btw, being saved is only a means, theosis is the end. Had Adam not fallen, the coming of Christ would not have had to save him, but would still have been necesaary to connect the logos of human persons to their telos.

Thanks for your response ialmisry.

So how did Adam and Eve conect with God, are using saying that the logos and telos were seperate? Since Adam was created he couldn't have that experience with something that was uncreated? But only in Christ do we experience that?

I'm slightly confused here.

Are there patristic writings I can learn from, any books I should buy? Not regarding just this, but anything to orthodoxy in general.
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« Reply #145 on: December 23, 2010, 10:13:55 PM »

Btw, being saved is only a means, theosis is the end. Had Adam not fallen, the coming of Christ would not have had to save him, but would still have been necesaary to connect the logos of human persons to their telos.

Thanks for your response ialmisry.

So how did Adam and Eve conect with God, are using saying that the logos and telos were seperate?

The logos had not yet attained its telos. It could not until the Incarnation. As the Fathers point out, just as an architect designs the house in which he will dwell, so too God created Man in His Image and Likeness. Man is the created God.  Until God took up His abode in man, the Creator becoming one with His creation in the Incarnation, the telos of humanity, and hence the individual telos of each human person, could not be fulfilled.

When I moved into a new home, we had to have the gas turned on, the electricity transfered, the phone line put in etc. before we could move in.  Until then, the house would be cold and dead.  Only then could the end of setting up a homestead be accomplished. So too the Incarnation.

However, since the logoi (pl of logos) of every being in existence exists only by the energies of God-otherwise they would have no existence-there is always contact with God. The question is, is the being swimming downstream and going with the flow of the divine energies, or are they swimming upstream, exhausting themselves going against God? As St. James writes (1:)God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." By going against its logos, and the energies of God which suppot it, a sinner avoids his telos, and in effect is trying not to be, trying to achieve a critical mass of antimatter, as it were.

But back to father Adam and mother Eve: until Christ came as the Light of the World, man was like the man born blind, who could feel the heat of the sun, but could not see it and its light until Christ opened his eyes. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the story:
Quote
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 6 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, 7 saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Silo'am" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, "Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some said, "It is he"; others said, "No, but he is like him." He said, "I am the man." 10 They said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" 11 He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Silo'am and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight." 12 They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know." 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see." 16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was a division among them. 17 So they again said to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, 19 and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20 His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself." 22 His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age, ask him." 24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner." 25 He answered, "Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see." 26 They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27 He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?" 28 And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." 30 The man answered, "Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34 They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of man?" 36 He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" 37 Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you." 38 He said, "Lord, I believe"; and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, "Are we also blind?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains.

Quote
Since Adam was created he couldn't have that experience with something that was uncreated?

Not directly. I'm not sure how good this analogy is, but I'm thinking of my recent experience at sea (I crossed the Atlantic to Bermuda). I always experience gravity when, for instance, I walk up the flight of stairs or try to lift something, but being out at sea, the rocking of the boat on the waves makes you aware of gravity in a way that goes right through you, so much that days after you are on dry land you still feel the effects (I was dizzy for several days) long after you have gotten off the rocking.

Adam could directly experience the rest of creation as he shared something in common with all of it. It is only when God took up the form of man, when the Divine Essence assumed a created nature, that such a relationship could take place between Adam and God. Before that, the relationship between man and God could only be mediated between the divine energies which upheld the logoi of creation.

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But only in Christ do we experience that?

Yes, as only in Him does the Godhead become accessible to creation, by His uniting of Creator and Creation in His Person.  As St. Paul writes (Col. 1:)15 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16 for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything He might be pre-eminent. 19 For in Him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before Him, 23 provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Quote
I'm slightly confused here.

Are there patristic writings I can learn from, any books I should buy? Not regarding just this, but anything to orthodoxy in general.
Still a good introduction is the Orthodox Way
http://books.google.com/books?id=WpE8MwHLffEC&pg=PA7&dq=Orthodox+way+I+am+on+a+journey&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Orthodox%20way%20I%20am%20on%20a%20journey&f=false
Which has a lot of quotes from the Fathers, but is not too technical and abstract.
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« Reply #146 on: December 23, 2010, 10:58:35 PM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.
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« Reply #147 on: December 24, 2010, 01:18:44 AM »

The only mystery of god I see is: why even postulate that such a thing exists in the first place?

Because you even have the ability to postulate it.  Do you know the odds against this even being a possibility without there being a God which created you with the ability to postulate?
So anything I have the ability to postulate holds equal weight? If I postulated something that lowers the odds of the universe existing as it is, then that would be on the same level as postulating that there is a god. The odds that the universe exists as it does are very high, therefor it must have been created by subatomic robots.

Talking about odds doesn't answer the question as to why one would even postulate that the thing exists. We have reasons for postulating a thing like gravity, DNA, light, evolution, etc.. There are even reasons to postulate that something unproven like dark matter exists... but no reasons to even bring up a god.
except His existence, for starters.
Except his purported existence, which is reason only to postulate existence, nothing more. Although not mentioned in the previous post, postulation of existence woud not be considered evidence for existence of any god.
The God of the Hebrews was never presented as something postulated. Personal/historical knowledge contingent to covenant-faithfulness versus, for example, the syllogistic extrapolations of the Greeks is a more accurate approximation of how the Hebrews understood their knowledge of God.

Israel’s God, unlike the gods of the ancient Near East, and unlike the Greek Logos born of cosmological speculation was neither a product of reflecting on the cycles of nature (Sumeria/Egypt/Ugarit/Assyria/Babylon etc.) nor was He extrapolated via systematic rational reflection on the ultimate constitution of all things (Greek thought from Thales to Aristotle):

The God of the Hebrews, writes Etienne Gilson, was “Not a God imagined by poets or discovered by any thinker as an ultimate answer to his metaphysical problems, but one who had revealed Himself to the Jews, told them His name, and explained to them His nature, in so far at least as His nature can be understood by men” (Gilson, Etienne, God and Philosophy (New Haven: Yale, 1962). Plato had concluded the ultimate philosophical explanation for all which exists should rest “not within those elements of reality that are always being generated… but with something which because it has no generation, truly is or exists…” This, Gilson observes, was almost exactly what the Christians affirmed, but with one critical difference: the difference of the article. “For Moses said: ‘He who is,’ and Plato: ‘That which is…’ If God is ‘He who is,’ He is also ‘that which is,’ because to be somebody is also to be something. Yet the converse is not true, for to be somebody is much more than to be something. We are here at the dividing line between Greek thought and Christian thought… Taken in itself, Christianity was not a philosophy. It was the essentially religious doctrine of the salvation of men through Christ. Christian philosophy arose at the juncture of Greek philosophy and Jewish-Christian religious revelation… Between ‘Him who is’ and ourselves, there is the infinite metaphysical chasm which separates the complete self-sufficiency of his own existence from the intrinsic lack of necessity of our own existence. Nothing can bridge such a chasm, save a free act of the divine will only. This is why, from the time of Saint Augustine up to our own days, human reason has been up against the tremendously difficult task of reaching a transcendent God whose pure act of existing is radically distinct from our own borrowed existence… Here again historians of philosophy find themselves confronted with this to them always unpalatable fact: a non-philosophical statement which has since become an epoch-making statement in the history of philosophy. The Jewish genius was not a philosophical genius; it was a religious one” (ibid, p. 42-43, 54).

“Though Israel’s notion of God was unique in the ancient world, and a phenomenon that defies rational explanation, to attempt to understand her faith in terms of an idea of God would be a fundamental error. Israel’s religion did not consist in certain religious ideas or ethical principles, but rested in experience as interpreted by faith… Not only was the Israelite league aware that its God had come from Sinai (e.g. Judges 5:4f; Deut 33:2); its sacred traditions remembered the covenant that had been made with him there… We are driven, therefore to assume that the origins of the covenant league, like those of Yahwism itself, reach back to Sinai. .. If Yahwism originated in the desert (as it certainly did) we must conclude that the covenant society did also, for Yahwism and covenant are coterminous” (Bright, John, History of Israel, pp. 148, 167-168).

If one was to set out to construct a "logically compelling god" on the basis of reason alone, the last idea one would come upon would be the incarnation of God in a babe born in Bethlehem. This idea is too bizarre to qualify as *philosophical* extrapolation. Perhaps some similar quandary was on Tertullian's mind when he penned the very odd statement "I believe because it is absurd." The Christian story is too strange to have been made up to be massively compelling to the mind. If one was seeking to make up a story whose supreme characteristic was syllogistic/rational credibility, one would have made up something entirely different than the crucifixion of the expected *Blessed* King of the Jews since as the apostle Paul before his conversion realized anyone who died on a cross of wood was held to have been cursed by God in Jewish scripture (Deut 21:23). These things are, intellectually speaking, more astonishing to the mind and less like pure philosophical extrapolation. The Hebrew/Christian God is the God was known over centuries of experience, but never through human wisdom:

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor 2:13-14

Paul understood the foolishness of the message he preached better than most, as he himself had once persecuted those who affirmed it, and once regarded it as completely absurd.


"Your fountain, Lord, is hidden from the person who does not thirst for You." -Ephrem the Syrian (Faith 32:2-3)

"Let them at least learn the nature of the religion they are attacking, before they attack it. If this religion boasted of having a clear vision of God, and of possessing Him plain and unveiled, then to say that nothing we see in the world reveals Him with this degree of clarity would indeed be to attack it. But it says, on the contrary, that man is in darkness and far from God, that He has hidden Himself from man's knowledge, and that the name He has given Himself in the Scriptures is in fact The Hidden God (Is 45:15). Therefore if it seeks to establish these two facts: that God has in the church erected visible signs by which those who sincerely seek Him may recognize Him, and that he has nevertheless so concealed them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all their hearts, what advantage can the attackers gain when, while admitting that they neglect to seek for the truth, they yet cry that nothing reveals it? For the very darkness in which they lie, and for which they blame the Church, establishes one of her two claims, without invalidating the other, and also, far from destroying her doctrine, confirms it" -Blaise Pascal

Unlike mere ideas, the God Orthodoxy speaks of is living and personal; he hides and reveals. A god which is a mere idea is not the God proclaimed by Orthodoxy, but an idol of the mind. The Kingdom of God, unlike the ideas demonstrable on the grounds of logic alone, may be at the very same time perceived by children and yet remain hidden from the wisest of the ages. Anything else would be a spiritual kingdom for the elite and the learned alone. Children could not enter in. But the Kingdom of God turns that upon its head.

"To obtain anything from God, the outward must be joined to the inward; that is to say we must kneel and pray alone, etc. so that proud man, who would not submit to God, may now be subject to the body. To expect any help from this outward act is superstition; a refusal to join it to our inward acts is pride. For we must not misunderstand ourselves; we are as much machines as mind. And hence the means by which a man is persuaded are not demonstration alone. How few things are demonstrated! Proofs convince only the mind. It is habit that produces our strongest and most accepted proofs; it guides the machine, which carries the mind with it unconsciously. Who has proved that there will be a morrow and that we will die?" -Blaise Pascal

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” –John 3:19-21


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« Reply #148 on: December 24, 2010, 02:30:16 AM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.

Just to skim off the top.

One thing we have to realize is the difficulty we would have to proove the existence of rulers of empires of the ancient world, let allow an itinerant peasant preacher.

Just to take two events, the baptism of John and the Crucifixion, with formed the core (with the Resurrection and Ascension) of the preaching of the early Church.

In the case of the batpism, the  career of John the Baptist is recorded besides the canonical Gospels, in the gnostist literature and in the Jewish historian Josephus. So we have literature from competing communities about this figure, about whom they agree in large part, written within decades of his death, to audiences which could easily dispute the facts if it did not concur with common knowledge.  The book of Acts witnesses that disciples of the Baptist were in Asia Minor decades after his death, among them Apollos of Alexandria. Some of these disciples ended up after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish wars in Mesopotamia, where they became the Mandeans, whose literature, like the Orthodox and Gnostic scriptures, link Jesus of Nazareth with St. John (the Mandeans, though, claim that Jesus was not to succeed St. John). So we have various competing communities agreein on the details of St. John's preaching, and combeting groups linking Jesus to St. John, some claiming Jesus succeeded St. John, one disputing that but corroborating Jesus' baptism by John, none disbuting the basic facts as the Gospels record them. They are seem to be aruging from the same common knowledge of the 1st century, that St John had preached repentence in the desert, and that Jesus was baptized by him.

On the crucifixion, the Gnostics denied the Christ really died on the Cross, some even claiming that Simon or Judas were changed in appearnce to take Jesus place, but they did not deny that most commonly thought (we would say knew) that Christ was crucified.  The Jews in their Talmud have bits and pieces about the crucifixion, changing some details (e.g. Jesus was executed for sorcery, that He was given a fair trial, with a 40 day waiting period to wait for exonerating evidence), but not denying the fact that He died on the Cross. The Romans have the various facts, such as He died during the time of Tiberius under Pontius Pilate. So pagan Roman, Jewish, Gnostic as well as Orthodox Christian sources of the 1st century all agree on the Crucicifixion, just differing on its import and its cause, but never differing of the event itself.

I could go on, for instance the literature about Jesus' (step)brother James and its import on the existence of his brother Jesus etc. but you get the idea: we have enough testimony of the first century from groups that agreed on very little but who present a set o agreed facts as to the mission and existence of Christ.
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« Reply #149 on: December 24, 2010, 04:10:04 AM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.
Two extra-biblical testimonies seem particularly compelling to me:

1. Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) Jewish historian, was a long-time resident of Jerusalem, the center of Christianity’s emergence (30/33-70 AD). Josephus' account of the death of James , whom he calls “the brother of Jesus,” is particularly interesting as Josephus was at the time  a resident of Jerusalem (and about 20 years old) where James was killed. His account was composed about 35 years afterward: as it was for him essentially a local news story. According to Josephus the high priest Annas (Ananus) the younger, son of Annas, had him stoned to death (Josephus, Ant. xx, 197-203); James' death is usually dated around 63 AD. The historicity of a "brother of Jesus" is compelling evidence in and of itself for the historicity of Jesus. The account reads as follows:

“…thinking he had a suitable opportunity, with Festus now dead and Albinus still on the way, he convened a session of the judicial Sanhedrin and brought before him James, the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, and some other men. Accusing them of breaking the law, he handed them over to be stoned to death. Those men in the city who were reputed to be most fair-minded and strict in their regard for the law were angry at this. They sent a secret message to the king [Agrippa II], beseeching him to command Ananus’s action had been wrong from the beginning” (Josephus, Ant xx.200f.).

Josephus, author of The Jewish War, Antiquities of the Jews, Against Apion, and Life, was appointed Jewish emissary to Rome in AD 64, and was imprisoned under Vespasian (67 AD). He was given a pension by the Romans to spend the rest of his life writing.

Also, insofar as James was the leader of the nascent Christian community in Jerusalem, the testimony in the synoptic Gospels that James was before the resurrection among those who "did not believe in him" is widely accepted on the basis of the so-called criterion of embarrassment.  I am not aware of any adequate explanation for James' conversion or his leadership of the nascent Christian community in Jerusalem aside from the testimony recorded in 1 Cor 15:7 -datable via Paul's firsthand/autobiographical testimony in Galatians to within a few years of the crucifixion according to all major NT scholars (whether atheist/agnostic/Christian). The involvement of Jesus' family and followers in the movement which from its inception was marked by a willingness to die for the claim that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead is also really quite remarkable (cf. also Richard Bauckham's article "Relatives of Jesus" in Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, eds., Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship, pp. 1004ff, and further remarks about Simeon, son of Cleopas, Jude, two grandsons of Jude, and other figures). It is worth noting how astonishing it is to see the “brethren of the Lord” as influential members of the church after the resurrection (Acts 1:14) given indications of their extreme reserve before Jesus’s execution: “even his brothers did not believe in him” (Jn 7:5).

2. The emergence of the church itself. History demands an adequate explanation for the origin of the church itself. As Princeton scholar Bruce Metzger points out, whatever we make of the resurrection, the fact that a significant number of people believed with utter sincerity that they had seen and spoken with the risen Jesus after his death is historically undeniable (cf. Bruce Manning Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content, 2003). They persisted in this affirmation in the face of great personal danger from the very beginning. The message of the earliest witnesses was not merely that they "believed something" (ala Kierkegaard) but that they had seen Him alive after His death (Acts 4:1-22). Even martyrdom could not dissuade their stubborn adherence to this testimony. Even their deaths would not silence them.

Not that there is a pressing need for such in that pretty much all scholars, except fringe writers like Robert Price, and a few "cyber-infidel bloggers" are completely convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was a man of history.

All the same, I agree with so many other posters on this forum that knowing God is VERY poorly understood as a "show me the proof" game. If the Christ spoken of by the Gospel writers is real and living, he is found -if at all!- in the manner explained in the Gospels and by the Church; he is kept if at all in the manner explained in the Gospels and by the Church. "In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." -Blaise Pascal
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« Reply #150 on: December 24, 2010, 01:47:04 PM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.

There are several pieces of evidence but one of the strongest is the martyrdom of all the Apostles except for St. John.

They all went to a grisly death. Why would they have been willing to do that if Jesus was a made up peson? It would make no sense at all.
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« Reply #151 on: December 24, 2010, 01:54:12 PM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.

There are several pieces of evidence but one of the strongest is the martyrdom of all the Apostles except for St. John.

They all went to a grisly death. Why would they have been willing to do that if Jesus was a made up peson? It would make no sense at all.

Indeed, it was a dark time for Christianity it seemed when almost all the apostles and St. Paul were killed for their beliefs.  And not just them, but also others who brought Christianity to their areas.  St. Mark in Egypt, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, etc.  One wonders, what moved the first and second century Christians to survive and grow in such a hostile environment?  It looks like Christ was very real to them.
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« Reply #152 on: December 24, 2010, 02:08:58 PM »

They martyrdom of St. Perpetua in her own words:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/PERPETUA.htm


"While I was still with my companions, and my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and so weaken my faith, 'Father,' said I, 'do you see this vessel—water pot or whatever it may be? . . . Can it be called by any other name than what it is?" No,' he replied. 'So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.' Then my father, provoked by the word 'Christian,' threw himself on me as if he would pluck out my eyes, but he only shook me, and in fact was vanquished.... Then I thanked God for the relief of being, for a few days, parted from my father . . . and during those few days we were baptized. The Holy Spirit bade me after the holy rite to pray for nothing but bodily endurance.

"A few days later we were lodged in the prison, and I was much frightened, because I had never known such darkness. What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all I was tormented with anxiety for my baby. But Tertius and Pomponius, those blessed deacons who ministered to us, paid for us to be moved for a few hours to a better part of the prison and we obtained some relief. All went out of the prison and we were left to ourselves. My baby was brought and I nursed him, for already he was faint for want of food. I spoke anxiously to my mother on his behalf and encouraged my brother and commended my son to their care. For I was concerned when I saw their concern for me. For many days I suffered such anxieties, but I obtained leave for my child to remain in the prison with me, and when relieved of my trouble and distress for him, I quickly recovered my health. My prison suddenly became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.

"My brother then said to me: 'Lady sister, you are now greatly honored, so greatly that you may well pray for a vision to show you whether suffering or release is in store for you.' And I, knowing myself to have speech of the Lord for whose sake I was suffering, promised him confidently, 'Tomorrow I will bring you word.' And I prayed and this was shown me. I saw a golden ladder of wonderful length reaching up to heaven, but so narrow that only one at a time could ascend; and to the sides of the ladder were fastened all kinds of iron weapons. There were swords, lances, hooks, daggers, so that if anyone climbed up carelessly or without looking upwards, he was mangled and his flesh caught on the weapons. And at the foot of the ladder was a huge dragon which lay in wait for those going up and sought to frighten them from the ascent. The first to go up was Saturus, who of his own accord had given himself up for our sakes, because our faith was of his building and he was not with us when we were arrested. He reached the top of the ladder and, turning, said to me: 'Perpetua, I wait for you, but take care that the dragon does not bite you.' And I said: 'In the name of Jesus Christ, he will not hurt me.' And the dragon put out his head gently, as if afraid of me, just at the foot of the ladder; and as though I were treading on the first step, I trod on his head. And I went up and saw a vast garden, and sitting in the midst a tall man with white hair in the dress of a shepherd, milking sheep; and round about were many thousands clad in white. He raised his head and looked at me and said: 'Thou art well come, my child.' And he called me and gave me some curds of the milk he was milking, and I received them in my joined hands and ate, and all that were round about said 'Amen.' At the sound of the word I awoke, still tasting something sweet. I at once told my brother and we understood that we must suffer, and henceforth began to have no hope in this world.

"After a few days there was a report that we were to be examined. My father arrived from the city, worn with anxiety, and came up the hill hoping still to weaken my resolution. 'Daughter,' he said, 'pity my white hairs! Pity your father, if I deserve you should call me father, if I have brought you up to this your prime of life, if I have loved you more than your brothers! Make me not a reproach to mankind! Look on your mother and your mother's sister, look on your son who cannot live after you are gone. Forget your pride; do not make us all wretched! None of us will ever speak freely again if calamity strikes you.' So spoke my father in his love for me, kissing my hands and casting himself at my feet, and with tears calling me by the title not of 'daughter' but of 'lady.' And I grieved for my father's sake, because he alone of all my kindred would not have joy at my martyrdom. And I tried to comfort him, saying, 'What takes place on that platform will be as God shall choose, for assuredly we are not in our own power but in the power of God.' But he departed full of grief.

"The following day, while we were at our dinner, we were suddenly summoned to be examined and went to the forum. The news of the trial spread fast and brought a huge crowd together in the forum. We were placed on a sort of platform before the judge, who was Hilarion, procurator of the province, since the proconsul had lately died. The others were questioned before me and confessed their faith. But when it came to my turn, my father appeared with my child, and drawing me down the steps besought me, 'Have pity on the child.' The judge Hilarion joined with my father and said: 'Spare your father's white hairs. Spare the tender years of your child. Offer sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperors.' I replied, 'No." Are you a Christian?' asked Hilarion, and I answered, 'Yes, I am.' My father then attempted to drag me down from the platform, at which Hilarion commanded that he should be beaten off, and he was struck with a rod. I felt this as much as if I myself had been struck, so deeply did I grieve to see my father treated thus in his old age. The judge then passed sentence on us all and condemned us to the wild beasts, and in great joy we returned to our prison. Then, as my baby was accustomed to the breast, I sent Pomponius the deacon to ask him of my father, who, however, refused to send him. And God so ordered it that the child no longer needed to nurse, nor did my milk incommode me."

Secundulus seems to have died in prison before the examination. Before pronouncing sentence, Hilarion had Saturus, Saturninus, and Revocatus scourged and Perpetua and Felicitas beaten on the face. They were then kept for the gladiatorial shows which were to be given for the soldiers on the festival of Geta, the young prince whom his father Severus had made Caesar four years previously.

While in prison both Perpetua and Saturus had visions which they described in writing in great detail.

The remainder of the story was added by another hand, apparently that of an eyewitness. Felicitas had feared that she might not be allowed to suffer with the rest because pregnant women were not sent into the arena. However, she gave birth in the prison to a daughter whom one of their fellow Christians at once adopted. Pudens, their jailer, was by this time a convert, and did all he could for them. The day before the games they were given the usual last meal, which was called "the free banquet." The martyrs strove to make it an <Agape> or Love Feast,[3] and to those who crowded around them they spoke of the judgments of God and of their own joy in their sufferings. Such calm courage and confidence astonished the pagans and brought about many conversions.

On the day of their martyrdom they set forth from the prison. Behind the men walked the young noblewoman Perpetua, "abashing the gaze of all with the high spirit in her eyes," and beside her the slave Felicitas. At the gates of the amphitheater the attendants tried to force the men to put on the robes of the priests of Saturn and the women the dress symbolic of the goddess Ceres, but they all resisted and the officer allowed them to enter the arena clad as they were. Perpetua was singing, while Revocatus, Saturninus, and Saturus were calling out warnings to the bystanders and even to Hilarion himself, as they walked beneath his balcony, of the coming vengeance of God. The mob cried out that they should be scourged for their boldness. Accordingly, as the martyrs passed in front of the <venatores>, or hunters, each received a lash.

To each one God granted the form of martyrdom he desired. Saturus had hoped to be exposed to several sorts of beasts, that his sufferings might be intensified. He and Revocatus were first attacked half-heartedly by a leopard. Saturus was next exposed to a wild boar which turned on his keeper instead. He was then tied up on the bridge in front of a bear, but the animal refused to stir out of his den, and Saturus was reserved for one more encounter. The delay gave him an opportunity to turn and speak to the converted jailer Pudens: "You see that what I desired and foretold has come to pass. Not a beast has touched me! So believe steadfastly in Christ. And see now, I go forth yonder and with one bite from a leopard all will be over." As he had foretold, a leopard was now let out, sprang upon him, and in a moment he was fatally wounded. Seeing the flow of blood, the cruel mob cried out, "He is well baptized now!" Dying, Saturus said to Pudens, "Farewell; remember my faith and me, and let these things not daunt but strengthen you." He then asked for a ring from Pudens' finger, and dipping it in his own blood, returned it to the jailer as a keepsake. Then he expired.

Perpetua and Felicitas were exposed to a mad heifer. Perpetua was tossed first and fell on her back, but raised herself and gathered her torn tunic modestly about her; then, after fastening up her hair, lest she look as if she were in mourning, she rose and went to help Felicitas, who had been badly hurt by the animal. Side by side they stood, expecting another assault, but the sated audience cried out that it was enough. They were therefore led to the gate Sanevivaria, where victims who had not been killed in the arena were dispatched by gladiators. Here Perpetua seemed to arouse herself from an ecstasy and could not believe that she had already been exposed to a mad heifer until she saw the marks of her injuries. She then called out to her brother and to the catechumen: "Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." By this time the fickle populace was clamoring for the women to come back into the open. This they did willingly, and after giving each other the kiss of peace, they were killed by the gladiators. Perpetua had to guide the sword of the nervous executioner to her throat. The story of these martyrs has been given in detail for it is typical of so many others. No saints were more universally honored in all the early Church calendars and martyrologies. Their names appear not only in the Philocalian Calendar[4] of Rome, but also in the Syriac Calendar. The names of Felicitas and Perpetua occur in the prayer "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" in the Canon of the Mass. In the fourth century their <Acts> were publicly read in the churches of Africa and were so highly esteemed that Augustine, bishop of Hippo, found it necessary to protest against their being placed on a level with the Scriptures.
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« Reply #153 on: December 24, 2010, 05:30:29 PM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.

There are several pieces of evidence but one of the strongest is the martyrdom of all the Apostles except for St. John.

They all went to a grisly death. Why would they have been willing to do that if Jesus was a made up peson? It would make no sense at all.

What do you think of this Marc? http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/apostle_martyrdoms.htm

What evidence do we have of their matyrdom?

Yes it seems if one was to look at Christianity historically you would have to look at the 'explosion' that occured at Jesus' Resurrection. I'm starting to feel had Jesus not risen, I don't believe that Christianity would have spread even at all without that event. I'm still doing more research on my end and I thank the above posters for sharing their information.
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« Reply #154 on: December 24, 2010, 05:57:56 PM »

What do you think of this Marc? http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/apostle_martyrdoms.htm

What evidence do we have of their matyrdom?

We do not have contemporaneous documentary evidence of the martyrdom of all the apostles. But I will argue that the evidence we do have makes it truly ridiculous to claim that these men did not suffer greatly and in all likelihood die for their beliefs.

James, the brother of John. James was one of the first apostles to join Jesus. The two brothers were fishing with their father Zebedee when Jesus called to them and they followed Him (Matthew 4:21-22). It certainly appears that James was with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection because the only disciple mentioned who was not there was Thomas (John 20:19-31). Plus, the Bible references many other appearances to the disciples as a group.

Acts 12:1-2 records the following:

"It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword."

Keep in mind that the Bible is a collection of books written during the same generation when these events took place. You can't exactly go around spreading rumors that James was executed by Herod when there are still people around to say, "No, he didn't, he fell off a cliff." Or worse yet, "He's not dead, I just had lunch with him last week!"

Also there is Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian who lived from 37-101 A.D. He was not a Christian. But he was writing during the time that Christianity was first spreading around the Roman Empire.

In his work "Antiquities", Book XX, Chapter 9, Part 1, Josephus made the following entry:

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned."

This isn't the only record of James' martyrdom. Hegesippus was a Christian historian who lived from 110-180 A.D., within a generation of the church fathers (some estimates have John the apostle living until approximately 90 A.D.). Hegesippus' works are unfortunately lost, but they were not lost yet at the time another Christian historian was writing. Eusebius lived from 275 - 339 A.D., and he quoted several passages from Hegesippus in his works. One quote comes from the fifth book of Hegesippus' "Memoirs", and it says:

"12. The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and cried out to him and said: 'You just one, in whom we ought all to have confidence, forasmuch as the people are led astray after Jesus, the crucified one, declare to us, what is the gate of Jesus.'

13. And he answered with a loud voice, 'Why do you ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sits in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.'

14. And when many were fully convinced and gloried in the testimony of James, and said, 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' these same Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another, 'We have done badly in supplying such testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, in order that they may be afraid to believe him.'

15. And they cried out, saying, 'Oh! oh! the just man is also in error.' And they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah, 'Let us take away the just man, because he is troublesome to us: therefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings.'

16. So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, 'Let us stone James the Just.' And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned and knelt down and said, 'I entreat you, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'"
Eusebius, Book II, Chapter 23, Parts 12-16.

There is certainly more detail in Hegesippus' version, but both end up with James being stoned.

So contrary to some assertions, we do have documentary evidence of the martyrdom of both James the brother of John and James the brother of Jesus. And understand that this treatment of Christian leaders was perfectly consistent with what we know about how Christians as a whole were being treated at the time.

Take, for example, this passage from Tacitus, a Roman (non-Christian) historian who lived from 55 - 117 A.D.:

"But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace."

The "conflagration" Tacitus is referring to is the burning of Rome, for which Emperor Nero blamed the Christians and inflicted "the most exquisite tortures" upon them.

Nero was Emperor from 54-68 A.D., the same time period when the early church fathers were spreading the Christian gospel. So it is during the lives of the early apostles that these "exquisite tortures" are taking place.

Considering the violent hatred that was spreading against Christianity, it defies reason to believe that the early apostles were not, at a minimum, heavily persecuted for their beliefs, and in all likelihood killed just like church tradition says they were (For all the persecutions that Paul faced even before he was martyred see 2 Corinthians 11:23-27).

The point of the argument holds true. Even if these apostles somehow escaped personal execution (a proposition that seems extremely unlikely considering the evidence), they clearly saw Christians being tortured and killed all around them. They must have lived every single day of their lives in fear that they would be next. They had every incentive to recant this "lie" if that is really what it was. But they didn't. All records we have show them continuing to preaching the gospel without even one record of any of them backing down.

People sometimes die for something that is untrue. But it is extremely unlikely that such a large group of people would be willing to be imprisoned, tortured, and killed over something they KNEW to be a lie. That's because they didn't make it up. After Jesus' death, these men clearly saw someone who, at a mimimum, we can conclude they believed to be the same man they had followed around and learned from for three years during Jesus' earthly ministry.
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« Reply #155 on: December 24, 2010, 06:23:54 PM »

That makes too much sense, I'm starting to lean more towards your faith and this is helping out.

One problem I still cannot get over, what of the history of Christ? What proof do we have that he existed on Earth?

It's a major hurdle for me into believing.

There are several pieces of evidence but one of the strongest is the martyrdom of all the Apostles except for St. John.

They all went to a grisly death. Why would they have been willing to do that if Jesus was a made up peson? It would make no sense at all.

What do you think of this Marc? http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/apostle_martyrdoms.htm

What evidence do we have of their matyrdom?

Yes it seems if one was to look at Christianity historically you would have to look at the 'explosion' that occured at Jesus' Resurrection. I'm starting to feel had Jesus not risen, I don't believe that Christianity would have spread even at all without that event. I'm still doing more research on my end and I thank the above posters for sharing their information.

You can find any opinion on the Internet that you care to find. It is absolutely necessary for Atheists and Anti-Christians to simply say that the Martyrdom of the Apostles was somehow made up. If it is True, then they are busted and would have to consider the life and resurrection of Jesus as a fact. Here we have near definitive evidence. Of course it must be denied, it's way too convincing to let stand.

How could this conspiracy have been carried out undetected? Where did the Apostles go? Was there a signal sent out and they all just disappeared into some wilderness, never to be seen or heard from again?

Where did Paul go? Why did his letters stop after he went to Rome? Did they really continue and were later burned to hush up the conspiracy??  Utter non-sense. The simplest answer is usually the one that is True. It's too broad of a broad conspiracy. It t would need to  have included too many people, all the Apostles save John, all of their personal following, most the the 70 Senior Disciples..all of their following...on and on. Pretty unwieldy. No?

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« Reply #156 on: December 24, 2010, 07:02:20 PM »

most the the 70 Senior Disciples..all of their following...on and on. Pretty unwieldy. No

Who are these 70 senior disciples?
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« Reply #157 on: December 24, 2010, 07:20:39 PM »

Tryingtoconvert,

I strongly recommend N.T. Wright's "The Resurrection of the Son of God."  It is a laborious read and nearly 750 pages, but it is well worth it.  After reading it, I was so thoroughly convinced of Christianity that I went to church and haven't stopped since.  There is no doubt in my mind that the man named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago did indeed rise from the dead. 

Here is a link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Christian-Origins-Question-Vol/dp/0800626796
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« Reply #158 on: December 24, 2010, 09:58:50 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventy_Disciples

The Seventy Disciples or Seventy-two Disciples (known in the Eastern Christian tradition as the Seventy Apostles) were early followers of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 10:1-24. According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs on a specific mission which is detailed in the text. In Western Christianity it is usual to refer to them as Disciples while in Eastern Christianity they are usually referred to as Apostles.[citation needed] Using the original Greek words, both titles are descriptive as an apostle is one sent on a mission whereas a disciple is a student, but the two traditions differ on the scope of the word apostle.
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« Reply #159 on: December 24, 2010, 10:05:16 PM »