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Author Topic: Criticism of Atheism  (Read 14196 times) Average Rating: 0
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TryingtoConvert
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« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2011, 11:34:02 PM »

Ah yes, because atheism is the natural outcome of logical thinking and rationalism  Roll Eyes
You seem to be saying that sarcastically, yet it makes perfect sense. I'm confused

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You're mistaking "religion" for unthinking irrationality.
The two are closely related.

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Try applying some of this supposed logical thinking and rationalism that you think you're utilizing and start to think above your false representations and silly mischaracterizations.
Uh huh.
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« Reply #46 on: January 01, 2011, 11:35:50 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.
I read Elder Paisios as saying that too much thinking, not thinking merely, is the problem.
Once again, our problem is not thinking too much. Rather, it's the exact opposite. This is clearly evident if you just look around (at least, in the good 'ol U.S. of A).
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« Reply #47 on: January 01, 2011, 11:40:35 PM »

Here's a few problems I have with accepting the belief in the Christian God

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Christians cannot reconcile this, try as they might.


God is willing that man should have free will.  This creates the possibility for evil.  Man can choose either God, and by choosing God do good, or man can choose to do evil.
And who made this how it is? God did. He created logic, physics, etc. etc. Everything. He could have made things differently if he wanted to.

Christians never seem to take this into account. They always seem to assume that things would have to be relatively similar. They don't. God can do anything. He could have made anything. Things don't have to be the way they are.
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« Reply #48 on: January 01, 2011, 11:54:07 PM »

Ah yes, because atheism is the natural outcome of logical thinking and rationalism  Roll Eyes
You seem to be saying that sarcastically, yet it makes perfect sense. I'm confused

Atheism undermines science, because science begins on the supposition that the universe is rational and intelligible.  This is a belief that does not arise from science, but one that must be held before it.  Because pure reductionist materialism, which atheists generally subscribe to, is based on the premise of random unguided processes.  If we then reduce the nature of believing something, i.e. the way our brain works, to the physics and chemistry of neurological structures, this raises a question:  If my beliefs, and my theories are simply the result of the motion of atoms in my brain produced by an unguided mindless process, why should I believe them? 

Atheism undercuts the scientific endeavor.  An argument that purports to be a rationality rising from utter irrationality doesn’t even rise to the level of a delusion.  It is logically incoherent. 

As for the supposed "problem of evil" that you think Christians have no answer for, I'd like to point out a few things.  Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.  This reasoning is, of course, fallacious.  Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.  We see lurking within this supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.  If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well then, there can’t be any!  This is faith of a high order.
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« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2011, 12:10:43 AM »

Atheism undermines science, because science begins on the supposition that the universe is rational and intelligible.
This is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to learn anything.

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This is a belief that does not arise from science, but one that must be held before it.
Again, axiom.

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Because pure reductionist materialism, which atheists generally subscribe to, is based on the premise of random unguided processes.  If we then reduce the nature of believing something, i.e. the way our brain works, to the physics and chemistry of neurological structures, this raises a question:  If my beliefs, and my theories are simply the result of the motion of atoms in my brain produced by an unguided mindless process, why should I believe them?
Why shouldn't I?
  
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Atheism undercuts the scientific endeavor.  An argument that purports to be a rationality rising from utter irrationality doesn’t even rise to the level of a delusion.  It is logically incoherent.  
Yeahhhhhhhhhh...whatever you say, buddy.

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As for the supposed "problem of evil" that you think Christians have no answer for, I'd like to point out a few things.  Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.
God made us in his image. Why would he not want us to understand the world? Doesn't he want us to use the logic and rationality he gave us?

I'm asking why evil exists at all. If God is perfect and can do anything, why couldn't he make things happen the way he wants them to without using evil? The answer: he can.

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This reasoning is, of course, fallacious.  Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.
But it's pretty good evidence that there isn't one.

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We see lurking within this supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.  If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well then, there can’t be any!  This is faith of a high order.
Again, the "belief" that logic and rational thinking are correct is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to do anything meaningful. And since your god doesn't exist, we can't trust him to help with anything.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 12:11:30 AM by TryingtoConvert » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: January 02, 2011, 12:25:03 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

And the Epicurean quote you quoted.  It consists of two answers.  Man's free will and God's incarnation.  In fact, I remember reading from a Church father, "without sin, there is no salvation."  Truly, we take our lives for granted.  Sometimes we need a little nudge in life to make us stronger, and the mistakes we do now help us to avoid them later.

If you give any example of whatever evil goes on in this world, there's always a Christian answer to it.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 12:28:19 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: January 02, 2011, 12:32:43 AM »

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.
That's a liberal view you have, and I commend you for it, but you hold a fringe position; most believes hold the bible as inerrant, and believe the story of Abraham to be a literal historical event.
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« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2011, 12:33:59 AM »

I wasn't aware that there were "billions" who considered themselves Abraham's "followers".

Billions of people are in the three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), so most of them are followers of Abraham.
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« Reply #53 on: January 02, 2011, 12:34:51 AM »

Atheism undermines science, because science begins on the supposition that the universe is rational and intelligible.
This is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to learn anything.

That's fine, as long as you realize that you're not starting from any more of a "reasonable" place than a theist.

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Because pure reductionist materialism, which atheists generally subscribe to, is based on the premise of random unguided processes.  If we then reduce the nature of believing something, i.e. the way our brain works, to the physics and chemistry of neurological structures, this raises a question:  If my beliefs, and my theories are simply the result of the motion of atoms in my brain produced by an unguided mindless process, why should I believe them?
Why shouldn't I?

Because, as you've said before, you demand good reasons to believe something and this worldview is laughably unreasonable.  You have absolutely no grounds to say that you can trust your beliefs and experiences knowing full well that they're "nothing more" than the firing of neurons in the brain.  Unguided, random firings.  I mean, by all means, believe them.  But don't pretend that it's a reasonable position to do so.
  
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Atheism undercuts the scientific endeavor.  An argument that purports to be a rationality rising from utter irrationality doesn’t even rise to the level of a delusion.  It is logically incoherent.  
Yeahhhhhhhhhh...whatever you say, buddy.

Nice retort.

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As for the supposed "problem of evil" that you think Christians have no answer for, I'd like to point out a few things.  Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.
God made us in his image. Why would he not want us to understand the world? Doesn't he want us to use the logic and rationality he gave us?

Sure.  Did I imply otherwise?  Unless of course you think "understanding the world" amounts to no mystery whatsoever and having every single answer.

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I'm asking why evil exists at all. If God is perfect and can do anything, why couldn't he make things happen the way he wants them to without using evil? The answer: he can.

The answer:  he did.  And from the Christian point of view, man mucked it up, not God.  If you're asking why God couldn't create a world where man never chose evil, well, you're getting into a different question altogether, one with a pretty obvious answer.

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This reasoning is, of course, fallacious.  Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.
But it's pretty good evidence that there isn't one.

I would agree if it weren't for Jesus of Nazareth.  If we ask the question, “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the whole answer is.  However, we now know what the answer isn’t.  It can’t be that he doesn’t love us.  It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition.  God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on Himself.

Quote
Quote
We see lurking within this supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.  If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well then, there can’t be any!  This is faith of a high order.
Again, the "belief" that logic and rational thinking are correct is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to do anything meaningful. And since your god doesn't exist, we can't trust him to help with anything.

Again, that's fine as long as you realize that it's a groundless claim with no more reasons to believe it than a belief in God would merit.
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« Reply #54 on: January 02, 2011, 12:34:55 AM »

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.
That's a liberal view you have, and I commend you for it, but you hold a fringe position; most believes hold the bible as inerrant, and believe the story of Abraham to be a literal historical event.

One needs to look that the view I hold is no new view, but an ancient one held by my own Alexandrian Church, and even before Christianity, by Philo the Jew of Alexandria, who we have received influence from.

http://tertullian.org/fathers/origen_philocalia_02_text.htm

So, I'm keeping with an Orthodox tradition of the Church

Judaism cannot really give a reason for the story of Abraham and Isaac other than a faithful and obedient man.  We see this story as the Father sending His only True Begotten Son to die on the wood for us.
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« Reply #55 on: January 02, 2011, 12:37:30 AM »

I wasn't aware that there were "billions" who considered themselves Abraham's "followers".

Billions of people are in the three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), so most of them are followers of Abraham.

And you still believe you're applying logic and reason?  What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?

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If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.
That's a liberal view you have, and I commend you for it, but you hold a fringe position; most believes hold the bible as inerrant, and believe the story of Abraham to be a literal historical event.

Once again mistaking Orthodoxy for Protestantism.  This is not a fringe position within Orthodoxy for we do not hold the Bible to be inerrant.
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« Reply #56 on: January 02, 2011, 01:03:48 AM »

That's fine, as long as you realize that you're not starting from any more of a "reasonable" place than a theist.
Not all axioms are created equal.

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Because, as you've said before, you demand good reasons to believe something and this worldview is laughably unreasonable.  You have absolutely no grounds to say that you can trust your beliefs and experiences knowing full well that they're "nothing more" than the firing of neurons in the brain.  Unguided, random firings.  I mean, by all means, believe them.  But don't pretend that it's a reasonable position to do so.
I don't trust all my beliefs and experiences -- our brains are good at making things up (like religious experiences), but I think it's generally easy to separate fact from fiction when you apply a little logic and rational thinking.

Our brains aren't random. And what else do you suppose I trust, then? If I can't trust my brain, what can I trust? Oh, yeah, right. A magical sky fairy. Uh huh. I think I'll stick with my brain, thanks.

Also, again: not all axioms are created equal. The axiom that we can generally trust our brains with a reasonable amount of certainty is a much more reasonable one than...well, whatever you want to put in its place.
  
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Nice retort.
Nice retort to my nice retort.

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Sure.  Did I imply otherwise?  Unless of course you think "understanding the world" amounts to no mystery whatsoever and having every single answer.
Why would God make us think he was a cruel one by making evil appear pointless to us when we think logically and rationally?

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The answer:  he did.  And from the Christian point of view, man mucked it up, not God.  If you're asking why God couldn't create a world where man never chose evil, well, you're getting into a different question altogether, one with a pretty obvious answer.
I feel like you ignored what I just said. God can make anything -- ANYTHING -- happen the way he wants it. He could have changed logic and physics. Why couldn't he have made us have free will why still never choosing evil? Why does he punish us for one sin that Adam and Eve committed? And such questions like that.

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I would agree if it weren't for Jesus of Nazareth.  If we ask the question, “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the whole answer is.  However, we now know what the answer isn’t.  It can’t be that he doesn’t love us.  It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition.  God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on Himself.
So, God sending his son, which was also himself, to sacrifice himself on a cross to "pay" for the sin of simply being born human because our first ancestors ate a piece of fruit from a tree he forbade them to eat from, even know he knew full well that they would still eat it because he's omniscient and all?

Hopefully, I don't need to point out all the problems with this theory. Hint: there's a lot.

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Again, that's fine as long as you realize that it's a groundless claim with no more reasons to believe it than a belief in God would merit.
We must believe that logic and rational thinking are correct. We don't have to have belief in God. Again, not all axioms are created equal. The axiom that god exists is baseless and useless.
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« Reply #57 on: January 02, 2011, 01:06:03 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.
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« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2011, 01:15:55 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



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« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2011, 01:21:45 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



Selam

Dear Gebre,

Forgive me for disagreeing with you.  I do not mean to sound intellectual or sophisticated on the manner.  I don't do this out of desperation either.  I simply am using human common sense on the subject.  For if the story is true in a literal sense, Abraham would be a crazy and stupid man.

I'm glad for once using this idea was not a new idea, but an ancient and Orthodox idea.  Even if there were no skeptic around to question this story, the Church still found wisdom to allow the teaching that one should use common sense, and understand the way in which these stories are told were for a much higher purpose.
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« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2011, 01:21:45 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.

Abraham didn't found any, sorry.
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« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2011, 01:24:54 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.

Abraham didn't found any, sorry.

Well, to be fair, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all called Abrahamic religions for a reason.
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« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2011, 01:27:20 AM »

I don't trust all my beliefs and experiences -- our brains are good at making things up (like religious experiences), but I think it's generally easy to separate fact from fiction when you apply a little logic and rational thinking.

You're missing the larger point.  I'm not talking about fact versus fiction, I'm talking about the very fundamentals of how the brain works and the problems that creates for those who hold a materialistic worldview.

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Our brains aren't random. And what else do you suppose I trust, then? If I can't trust my brain, what can I trust? Oh, yeah, right. A magical sky fairy. Uh huh. I think I'll stick with my brain, thanks.

What do you mean our brains aren't random?  How else could they be from a purely materialistic viewpoint?  I'm not sure what a magical sky fairy is but it sounds cool.

Your "logic" continues to astound me...

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Also, again: not all axioms are created equal. The axiom that we can generally trust our brains with a reasonable amount of certainty is a much more reasonable one than...well, whatever you want to put in its place.

Again, that's fine as long as you realize it's a faith position.  Your faith that our senses and our memories are (usually) reliable, rather than being hallucinations induced by some unknown outside source; your belief that our short-term thought processes are (usually) reliable (that is, that we are sane at all); your belief that the entire universe didn't whisk into existence a second ago (including all of us, with a complete set of fake memories), and won't whisk out of existence a second later; your belief that other bodies which act like ours contain conscious awarenesses like our own (and that the "intensity" with which they feel sensations and emotions can be judged by the complexity of their behavior); so on and so forth.

These little puddle-jumps of faith are the foundation for your reason. I think they are justified. But that reason is really a belief, an act of faith, an acknowledgment that, as humans, we have no "contingency-free" place from where to start at all and no "contingency-free" place on earth to end up at.

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Why would God make us think he was a cruel one by making evil appear pointless to us when we think logically and rationally?

He wouldn't.  

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I feel like you ignored what I just said. God can make anything -- ANYTHING -- happen the way he wants it. He could have changed logic and physics. Why couldn't he have made us have free will why still never choosing evil?

Because...that wouldn't be free will.  Are you serious?

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Why does he punish us for one sin that Adam and Eve committed?

I'm not sure who'd believe such a thing but it sounds atrocious.

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So, God sending his son, which was also himself, to sacrifice himself on a cross to "pay" for the sin of simply being born human because our first ancestors ate a piece of fruit from a tree he forbade them to eat from, even know he knew full well that they would still eat it because he's omniscient and all?

Hopefully, I don't need to point out all the problems with this theory. Hint: there's a lot.

I'm afraid the only thing that needs to be pointed out is how someone like yourself can spend this much time on an Orthodox message board and still have absolutely no idea what Orthodox actually believe.  Truly, it's impressive!

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We must believe that logic and rational thinking are correct.

Those neurons of yours must be firing randomly again.
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« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2011, 01:28:01 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.

This must be that dizzying "logic" of yours at work.
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« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2011, 01:47:34 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



Selam

Dear Gebre,

Forgive me for disagreeing with you.  I do not mean to sound intellectual or sophisticated on the manner.  I don't do this out of desperation either.  I simply am using human common sense on the subject.  For if the story is true in a literal sense, Abraham would be a crazy and stupid man.

I'm glad for once using this idea was not a new idea, but an ancient and Orthodox idea.  Even if there were no skeptic around to question this story, the Church still found wisdom to allow the teaching that one should use common sense, and understand the way in which these stories are told were for a much higher purpose.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, we have a hermeneutical tradition called Andimpta. It takes many years of study to learn this sacred interpretational method of the Holy Books. I do not pretend to grasp such wisdom. But I do know the basic premise, which is that the Scriptures contain numerous meanings, typologies, allegories, etc. But the historical books are nevertheless historical. Many lessons, applications, and meanings can perhaps be derived from the account of Abraham and Isaac; but in seeking these various meanings we must not discount the historical truth of the event.

You say that if the story were true, then Abraham would be “a crazy and stupid man.”  Well, the atheists and skeptics say we are crazy and stupid people to think that we will go to heaven because we eat the body and blood of Jesus. We Orthodox Christians have even been ridiculed as cannibals and vampires, but shall we discard the literal Truth of the Holy Sacraments in order that we will not appear to be crazy and stupid people? I am afraid that your way of thinking presents a very steep and slippery slope that could lead to the rejection of the very Sacraments upon which our salvation depends. Of course, I know that you would never reject the literalness of the Sacraments (at least I hope not). But if you rely on your own subjective opinion to reject the historicity of the account of Abraham and Isaac as illogical, then it appears quite contradictory to then affirm something equally as “illogical” such as the Holy Sacraments.

We can disagree my brother, and I suspect that we will continue to do so over this matter. I don’t think any less of you because of it, and I pray that you will understand that I mean no judgment or malice towards you.

Selam
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« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2011, 01:52:09 AM »

You're missing the larger point.  I'm not talking about fact versus fiction, I'm talking about the very fundamentals of how the brain works and the problems that creates for those who hold a materialistic worldview.
And I said that I believe that our experiences are usually generally reliable. If I didn't believe so, life wouldn't be worth living.

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What do you mean our brains aren't random?  How else could they be from a purely materialistic viewpoint?
How are our brains random? A stimuli happens. My brain responds. That's not random.

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I'm not sure what a magical sky fairy is but it sounds cool.
Oh, it is.

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Your "logic" continues to astound me...
Thanks, I'm glad my logic astounds you with its brilliance.

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Again, that's fine as long as you realize it's a faith position.  Your faith that our senses and our memories are (usually) reliable, rather than being hallucinations induced by some unknown outside source; your belief that our short-term thought processes are (usually) reliable (that is, that we are sane at all); your belief that the entire universe didn't whisk into existence a second ago (including all of us, with a complete set of fake memories), and won't whisk out of existence a second later; your belief that other bodies which act like ours contain conscious awarenesses like our own (and that the "intensity" with which they feel sensations and emotions can be judged by the complexity of their behavior); so on and so forth.

These little puddle-jumps of faith are the foundation for your reason. I think they are justified. But that reason is really a belief, an act of faith, an acknowledgment that, as humans, we have no "contingency-free" place from where to start at all and no "contingency-free" place on earth to end up at.
I wouldn't call axioms "faith positions", but call them whatever you want, as long as you realize how necessary they are.

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He wouldn't.
But yet he does, assuming he exists and all.  

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Because...that wouldn't be free will.  Are you serious?
AGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. You are ignoring what I'm saying.

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I'm not sure who'd believe such a thing but it sounds atrocious.
Most people in your religion believe it, actually. Of course, I keep forgetting you don't believe the basis of your religion.

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I'm afraid the only thing that needs to be pointed out is how someone like yourself can spend this much time on an Orthodox message board and still have absolutely no idea what Orthodox actually believe.  Truly, it's impressive!
Do you not even believe in the story of Jesus then?

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Those neurons of yours must be firing randomly again.
I am not amused.
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« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2011, 02:17:16 AM »

And I said that I believe that our experiences are usually generally reliable. If I didn't believe so, life wouldn't be worth living.

And I said that you have no grounds to believe this, which is fine, but don't pretend that it's a logical position to hold.  You keep rambling on and on about how materialistic atheism is somehow a logical and reasonable conclusion, when it is anything but.  Yes, it's an axiom, but that does not excuse it from being a faith position.

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How are our brains random? A stimuli happens. My brain responds. That's not random.

Materialism says that life is the product of random, unguided processes.  This would include the neurological structure of the brain, i.e. how the brain works.  If you deny this, then what do you propose in its place?

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Thanks, I'm glad my logic astounds you with its brilliance.

LOL!

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I wouldn't call axioms "faith positions", but call them whatever you want, as long as you realize how necessary they are.

If it quacks like a duck...

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He wouldn't.
But yet he does, assuming he exists and all.

As far as suffering goes, though it’s hard to imagine why God would let it happen, my point was that we can always turn to the cross and see that at least God has become part of it, rather than ignore it. This gives Christians hope that somehow, he is working everything into good, even if we don’t understand it.  If a cathedral is bombed, you can still find hints of its original beauty.  Suffering is a very important concept that needs to be dealt with.  The universe doesn’t show a one-sided, unmitigated picture of how things are, total suffering or total joy, etc., so in and of itself, this is not an argument against God, per se, considering we have positive evidence for God.  But the question is, do we have sufficient evidence to trust God in the midst of a universe that has ragged edges.  And that’s what brings us to the cross.  God has come into our world, and taken part in human suffering, and this gives us enough to trust him.

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AGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. You are ignoring what I'm saying.

I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...

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Most people in your religion believe it, actually. Of course, I keep forgetting you don't believe the basis of your religion.

It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.

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I'm afraid the only thing that needs to be pointed out is how someone like yourself can spend this much time on an Orthodox message board and still have absolutely no idea what Orthodox actually believe.  Truly, it's impressive!
Do you not even believe in the story of Jesus then?

What on earth are you talking about?

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Quote
Those neurons of yours must be firing randomly again.
I am not amused.

Not my job to amuse you.
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« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2011, 02:20:34 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



Selam

Dear Gebre,

Forgive me for disagreeing with you.  I do not mean to sound intellectual or sophisticated on the manner.  I don't do this out of desperation either.  I simply am using human common sense on the subject.  For if the story is true in a literal sense, Abraham would be a crazy and stupid man.

I'm glad for once using this idea was not a new idea, but an ancient and Orthodox idea.  Even if there were no skeptic around to question this story, the Church still found wisdom to allow the teaching that one should use common sense, and understand the way in which these stories are told were for a much higher purpose.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, we have a hermeneutical tradition called Andimpta. It takes many years of study to learn this sacred interpretational method of the Holy Books. I do not pretend to grasp such wisdom. But I do know the basic premise, which is that the Scriptures contain numerous meanings, typologies, allegories, etc. But the historical books are nevertheless historical. Many lessons, applications, and meanings can perhaps be derived from the account of Abraham and Isaac; but in seeking these various meanings we must not discount the historical truth of the event.

You say that if the story were true, then Abraham would be “a crazy and stupid man.”  Well, the atheists and skeptics say we are crazy and stupid people to think that we will go to heaven because we eat the body and blood of Jesus. We Orthodox Christians have even been ridiculed as cannibals and vampires, but shall we discard the literal Truth of the Holy Sacraments in order that we will not appear to be crazy and stupid people? I am afraid that your way of thinking presents a very steep and slippery slope that could lead to the rejection of the very Sacraments upon which our salvation depends. Of course, I know that you would never reject the literalness of the Sacraments (at least I hope not). But if you rely on your own subjective opinion to reject the historicity of the account of Abraham and Isaac as illogical, then it appears quite contradictory to then affirm something equally as “illogical” such as the Holy Sacraments.

We can disagree my brother, and I suspect that we will continue to do so over this matter. I don’t think any less of you because of it, and I pray that you will understand that I mean no judgment or malice towards you.

Selam


And under the Alexandrian interpretation, we find it that there are stories interwoven with history to give a full picture of the Holy Spirit's revelation of Christ while not doing harm to human intelligence in the process.  I will leave it at that.

As for the sacraments, I cannot in good conscience compare the story of Abraham to the mysteries of the Church.  The sacraments are mysteries.  The result of partaking of the body and blood of Christ is not the same as partaking of human flesh, for Christ's flesh isn't lessened by it, nor are we given it for mere physical nourishment.  Neither are we partaking of something different from us, for we are mysteriously the body of Christ, and as the canons and liturgy teach, no one can partake of something he is not part of ("the Holies for the Holies").  To compare the mystery of the Eucharist to the story of Abraham does injustice to the Eucharist.  For this particular story of Abraham helps validate the purpose of the salvation of Christ, true or not, but the Eucharist is necessary for our salvation, and damnation to those who partake of it unworthily.

I will not think any less of you either.  This is just my personal and sincere thinking of the matter.
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« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2011, 03:40:16 AM »


Contrary to popular belief, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.


Awesome logical fallacy bro.

What logical fallacy? Drawing a categorical conclusion would constitute a fallacy. The Wiki article is wrong, though, because absence of evidence is a data point in support of the hypothesis that the postulated entity is not there. Indeed, it was precisely this kind of evidence that led to the dropping of the luminiferous ether from our models of the universe, because if it existed, it would have left specific evidence which, when sought, was not found. In any case where the entity is properly defined, it is absolutely valid to infer absence from lack of evidence.

What absence of evidence is not is 'proof' of absence, but it is evidence. If you read the Wiki article fully, it actually makes a distinction and describes circumstances in which such inductive reasoning is important. Again, I would warn against drawing any categorical conclusions.

If I just went by the definitions that most people use to describe a god, I have no issue with saying that I know it is false. It is logically impossible for the Jewish/Christian/Muslim God to exist and yet I am led to believe that saying this deity is impossible makes me the jerk. Also since this Jewish/Christian/Muslim God does not exist it's because he has been given logically absurd and impossible attributes, but they don't cover all possible conceptions of deity.

The Judeo-Christian conception is not even a representative conception of deity in reality. It is only one of many, many conceptions of deity. Not all of them are logically absurd, although every single one I ever came across failed the test of parsimony. That's not to say, though, that a conception doesn't exist that is logical and parsimonious. This is another of those things that falls under the rubric of Hume's problem of induction.
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« Reply #69 on: January 02, 2011, 04:05:41 AM »

And I said that you have no grounds to believe this, which is fine, but don't pretend that it's a logical position to hold.  You keep rambling on and on about how materialistic atheism is somehow a logical and reasonable conclusion, when it is anything but.  Yes, it's an axiom, but that does not excuse it from being a faith position.
Axioms are completely logical. They may be "faith" positions, but, like I've already said like, three times, they're completely necessary, which makes them logical and rational. Stop trying to say they aren't. They are.

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Materialism says that life is the product of random, unguided processes.  This would include the neurological structure of the brain, i.e. how the brain works.  If you deny this, then what do you propose in its place?
You mean evolution? That's not random. And even if our brains are a result of random processes, this does not make them random themselves.

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LOL!
Yes, the truth can be quite hilarious.

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If it quacks like a duck...
Like I said, call them what you will, but they aren't illogical.

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Blah blah blah I have faith blah blah blah considering we have positive evidence for God blah blah blah God is good blah blah blah.
Whoa, wait a second -- positive evidence for God? Care to share some of this "evidence"?

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I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...
I'm saying that God didn't have to make things the way they are. Why is not having free will bad?

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It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.
Ah, okay.

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What on earth are you talking about?
Why did Jesus have to die, if not to correct original sin?

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Not my job to amuse you.
Then what the heck am I paying you for?

...Oh, right. I don't pay you. It's not your job to do anything at this forum.

You are purely based on faith. If I want to know what you think I'll read the bible and then read some transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church.

If I want to open up your mind I would have to get my ideas published in the bible or the transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church. You do not afford yourself the luxiory of thinking.

You seem very intelligent however your logic seems illogical. I like that you try to introduce the concept that logic and reasoning are simply beliefs, however I don't agree on this. I do get a bit frustrated with regards to my conversations with you because your responses with regards to your stance do often get mixed up with the stance of your Orthodoxy. I would like to view you as an individual but you do not afford me that luxiury.

I was surprised with regards to Achronos' stance on thinking so have posted something that I was hoping would get a reaction, I was hoping he would backtrack and suggest that he does engage his own brain towards thinking things through rather than strictly adhere to what he is told by his spiritual advisors. I am sure he is a thinker so maybe he has a little bit of devil in him.

If he doesn't think then it seems to be a waste of god's gift (his intellect and reasoning capacity) to him.
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« Reply #70 on: January 02, 2011, 04:33:22 AM »

If the universe is intelligible, it is impossible for a being to begin to exist in time unless another being caused it to exist. Likewise, if the universe is intelligible, an infinite being exists.

It is irrational to say God doesn't existence because there is no need to make a decision about God's existence. The only decision that has to be made is whether or not to believe in revelation. The part about God existing is a no-brainer.
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« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2011, 11:20:56 AM »

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It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.”

I'm sorry, but I also see it the opposite. I think it is dangerous to simply drop one's God-given capacity for logic and sense in order to believe in an ancient religious text in a literal way. Literalism leads to fundamentalism, and that can lead to all kinds of terrible things. Choosing this route also leads to ignoring things like scientific facts (or at least mountains of scientific evidence) whenever they contradict one's literal scripture interpretation. This, in turn, leads to a refusal to engage in relevant discourse with the secular world... not to mention cognitive dissonance. 

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I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics.


I also often see Christians desperately rejecting intellectual honesty and refusing to acknowledge sound arguments or scientific evidence in order to maintain a literal interpretation of a thousands-year-old religious text.

How can someone come to any sense of the truth regarding any matter if someone adheres inflexibly to one view (e.g. a literal interpretation of Genesis) and refuses anything, evidential or not, that contradicts this view? This is not truth, but verges on a kind of fanaticism, I daresay.
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« Reply #72 on: January 02, 2011, 11:45:23 AM »

Logic might tell me that one girl will make me happier while the other turns me on more, it's my preference as to whether or not I'd prefer happiness or miserable indulgence. 

Such indulgences usually only make you miserable if you've let someone hoodwink you into feeling guilty for no good reason. That's been my experience, anyway.

Btw, five star thread, would read again  police
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« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2011, 01:50:45 PM »

Logic might tell me that one girl will make me happier while the other turns me on more, it's my preference as to whether or not I'd prefer happiness or miserable indulgence. 

Such indulgences usually only make you miserable if you've let someone hoodwink you into feeling guilty for no good reason. That's been my experience, anyway.

Btw, five star thread, would read again  police

I was thinking more in the sense of long term relationship.  It's been my experience that the girls that tend to be most sexually attractive (not just pretty, in other ways as well) are also the ones most capable of making your life a living hell.
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« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2011, 02:02:24 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.
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« Reply #75 on: January 02, 2011, 02:46:21 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Excellent point.  A story to refute the sacrifice of children.  I can agree to that.
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« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2011, 03:18:33 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]
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« Reply #77 on: January 02, 2011, 03:47:11 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Yet another fine example of your impeccable logic and reason.  I've never encountered such clear thinking!  It's truly refreshing!  Please, please keep it coming!  It's so...nuanced and balanced and I'd even dare say sophisticated in its magnitude of understanding and depth.  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.

I'd have never worked on that dang Bible degree hanging on my wall had I known this is what the Bible taught.  How did I not know this after the 5 years I spent studying every book in detail?  Thank you for freeing my mind!
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« Reply #78 on: January 02, 2011, 03:49:52 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Oh noes!  God doesn't display the watered-down, cowardly, namby-pamby definition of love preferred by a 21st century quasi-rationalist!  He says things that are hard to understand, and can't be tweeted!  He actually wants us to think AND feel, and we can barely chew gum and walk at the same time!  Abandon faith, folks!

[Context?  If you think goat-herders are anything but hard-minded rationalists of the first degree, you haven't met any goat-herders.  And if you think daily life isn't apocalyptic, then you've a) never tried to struggle against yourself and b) have yet to realize that big, dramatic end could be tomorrow for anyone.  For an example of people taking modern atheistic superstitions to heart, go into any inner city wearing a brand new pair of nikes and a lot of gold (or just ask a group of teenagers in a small-town Florida movie theater to please not talk during the movie).  ]
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« Reply #79 on: January 02, 2011, 05:26:28 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.
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« Reply #80 on: January 02, 2011, 05:34:59 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Excellent point.  A story to refute the sacrifice of children.  I can agree to that.

I can agree to that as well.

Selam
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« Reply #81 on: January 02, 2011, 05:36:02 PM »

I had a point in mind, but forget it because now he claims Sleeper is playing "chess" with him? You've been checkmated many a time in the past my friend...
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« Reply #82 on: January 02, 2011, 05:42:30 PM »

Quote
It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.”

I'm sorry, but I also see it the opposite. I think it is dangerous to simply drop one's God-given capacity for logic and sense in order to believe in an ancient religious text in a literal way. Literalism leads to fundamentalism, and that can lead to all kinds of terrible things. Choosing this route also leads to ignoring things like scientific facts (or at least mountains of scientific evidence) whenever they contradict one's literal scripture interpretation. This, in turn, leads to a refusal to engage in relevant discourse with the secular world... not to mention cognitive dissonance. 

Quote
I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics.


I also often see Christians desperately rejecting intellectual honesty and refusing to acknowledge sound arguments or scientific evidence in order to maintain a literal interpretation of a thousands-year-old religious text.

How can someone come to any sense of the truth regarding any matter if someone adheres inflexibly to one view (e.g. a literal interpretation of Genesis) and refuses anything, evidential or not, that contradicts this view? This is not truth, but verges on a kind of fanaticism, I daresay.

I never said that we should jettison logic or always interpret the Bible literally. The ways of God are not contrary to human logic, but they often transcend human logic. Therefore, we should not make human logic the final arbiter of divine Truth.

As for the Bible, we have to recognize that it is comprised of historical, parabolic, epistlary, poetic, and prophetic liteature. To intepret the poetic as historical or the historical as epistlary is what leads to all manner of heresies, including fundamentalism. 

Selam 
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« Reply #83 on: January 02, 2011, 05:50:18 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

Which response are you referring to?  Had you presented any sort of reasonable argument in your childish diatribe against what you think Orthodox Christians believe (which I'm still baffled by, considering how much effort many kind people on this forum have exerted in trying to correct you) I could've responded with much less sarcasm.  But alas, such was not the case.

Quote
SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

My faith in Christ is logical and rational, not because it's axiomatic, but because it's the fruit of historical inquiry, philosophy, scientific inquiry and personal experience; i.e. the way everyone comes to conclusions about anything.

Quote
At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Do you live on a farm?  Because the endless amount of straw you seem to have available for these caricatures of yours is remarkable!

Let me know when you're actually ready and willing to engage serious ideas.

Quote
It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.

I love chess.  But truly, how do you expect to converse with someone when you're so unwilling to understand where they're coming from?  I've mentioned it in almost every single post, and you never address it, but seriously, I'm shocked at what you still think Orthodox Christians believe.  Do you realize you've not once provided a response to anything I actually believe?  Tell me how this supposed conversation you want to have is supposed to happen under these circumstances?  Because I, and everyone else here, are obviously willing to engage you and yet you keep copying and pasting ramblings that have absolutely no bearing on what anyone here says.  Forgive us if we find it tiring...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 05:50:58 PM by Sleeper » Logged
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« Reply #84 on: January 02, 2011, 05:52:47 PM »

  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.
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« Reply #85 on: January 02, 2011, 05:59:37 PM »

  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.

Scarecrow, is that you?  I haven't seen you since the Yellow Brick Road!
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« Reply #86 on: January 02, 2011, 06:11:21 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

Which response are you referring to?  Had you presented any sort of reasonable argument in your childish diatribe against what you think Orthodox Christians believe (which I'm still baffled by, considering how much effort many kind people on this forum have exerted in trying to correct you) I could've responded with much less sarcasm.  But alas, such was not the case.

Quote
SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

My faith in Christ is logical and rational, not because it's axiomatic, but because it's the fruit of historical inquiry, philosophy, scientific inquiry and personal experience; i.e. the way everyone comes to conclusions about anything.

Quote
At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Do you live on a farm?  Because the endless amount of straw you seem to have available for these caricatures of yours is remarkable!

Let me know when you're actually ready and willing to engage serious ideas.

Quote
It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.

I love chess.  But truly, how do you expect to converse with someone when you're so unwilling to understand where they're coming from?  I've mentioned it in almost every single post, and you never address it, but seriously, I'm shocked at what you still think Orthodox Christians believe.  Do you realize you've not once provided a response to anything I actually believe?  Tell me how this supposed conversation you want to have is supposed to happen under these circumstances?  Because I, and everyone else here, are obviously willing to engage you and yet you keep copying and pasting ramblings that have absolutely no bearing on what anyone here says.  Forgive us if we find it tiring...
Once again, you seem so keen on showing that you have no individual thoughts of your own. I guess you don't want the Devil to take over your brain because, you know, that's what will happen if you start to think.

I'm ready to keep going on if you respond to my post.
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« Reply #87 on: January 02, 2011, 06:12:26 PM »

  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.

Scarecrow, is that you?  I haven't seen you since the Yellow Brick Road!
That's not what a strawman is.
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« Reply #88 on: January 02, 2011, 06:15:52 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

Which response are you referring to?  Had you presented any sort of reasonable argument in your childish diatribe against what you think Orthodox Christians believe (which I'm still baffled by, considering how much effort many kind people on this forum have exerted in trying to correct you) I could've responded with much less sarcasm.  But alas, such was not the case.

Quote
SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

My faith in Christ is logical and rational, not because it's axiomatic, but because it's the fruit of historical inquiry, philosophy, scientific inquiry and personal experience; i.e. the way everyone comes to conclusions about anything.

Quote
At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Do you live on a farm?  Because the endless amount of straw you seem to have available for these caricatures of yours is remarkable!

Let me know when you're actually ready and willing to engage serious ideas.

Quote
It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.

I love chess.  But truly, how do you expect to converse with someone when you're so unwilling to understand where they're coming from?  I've mentioned it in almost every single post, and you never address it, but seriously, I'm shocked at what you still think Orthodox Christians believe.  Do you realize you've not once provided a response to anything I actually believe?  Tell me how this supposed conversation you want to have is supposed to happen under these circumstances?  Because I, and everyone else here, are obviously willing to engage you and yet you keep copying and pasting ramblings that have absolutely no bearing on what anyone here says.  Forgive us if we find it tiring...
Once again, you seem so keen on showing that you have no individual thoughts of your own. I guess you don't want the Devil to take over your brain because, you know, that's what will happen if you start to think.

And once again you refuse to address the fact that you've not presented anything Orthodox Christians actually believe.  Do that and we can proceed...

Quote
I'm ready to keep going on if you respond to my post.

Which one?  I thought I had replied to all of them.  I mean, the last few have been attempts at humor in trying to make a caricature of what I believe, but I don't believe much of what you posted so I'm not sure what needs to be responded to...

 The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.

Scarecrow, is that you?  I haven't seen you since the Yellow Brick Road!
That's not what a strawman is.

I thought he was a man made out of straw  Wink
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 06:17:28 PM by Sleeper » Logged
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« Reply #89 on: January 02, 2011, 06:19:02 PM »

This right here Sleeper:

And I said that you have no grounds to believe this, which is fine, but don't pretend that it's a logical position to hold.  You keep rambling on and on about how materialistic atheism is somehow a logical and reasonable conclusion, when it is anything but.  Yes, it's an axiom, but that does not excuse it from being a faith position.
Axioms are completely logical. They may be "faith" positions, but, like I've already said like, three times, they're completely necessary, which makes them logical and rational. Stop trying to say they aren't. They are.

Quote
Materialism says that life is the product of random, unguided processes.  This would include the neurological structure of the brain, i.e. how the brain works.  If you deny this, then what do you propose in its place?
You mean evolution? That's not random. And even if our brains are a result of random processes, this does not make them random themselves.

Quote
LOL!
Yes, the truth can be quite hilarious.

Quote
If it quacks like a duck...
Like I said, call them what you will, but they aren't illogical.

Quote
Blah blah blah I have faith blah blah blah considering we have positive evidence for God blah blah blah God is good blah blah blah.
Whoa, wait a second -- positive evidence for God? Care to share some of this "evidence"?

Quote
I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...
I'm saying that God didn't have to make things the way they are. Why is not having free will bad?

Quote
It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.
Ah, okay.

Quote
What on earth are you talking about?
Why did Jesus have to die, if not to correct original sin?

Quote
Not my job to amuse you.
Then what the heck am I paying you for?

...Oh, right. I don't pay you. It's not your job to do anything at this forum.

You are purely based on faith. If I want to know what you think I'll read the bible and then read some transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church.

If I want to open up your mind I would have to get my ideas published in the bible or the transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church. You do not afford yourself the luxiory of thinking.

You seem very intelligent however your logic seems illogical. I like that you try to introduce the concept that logic and reasoning are simply beliefs, however I don't agree on this. I do get a bit frustrated with regards to my conversations with you because your responses with regards to your stance do often get mixed up with the stance of your Orthodoxy. I would like to view you as an individual but you do not afford me that luxiury.

I was surprised with regards to Achronos' stance on thinking so have posted something that I was hoping would get a reaction, I was hoping he would backtrack and suggest that he does engage his own brain towards thinking things through rather than strictly adhere to what he is told by his spiritual advisors. I am sure he is a thinker so maybe he has a little bit of devil in him.

If he doesn't think then it seems to be a waste of god's gift (his intellect and reasoning capacity) to him.
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