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Thread: Perspective from athiests/agnostics

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    Yes I have to agree we are getting down to fundamental differences in thought. My goal in pursuing these discussions is not to change beliefs but rather to challenge the notion that these fundamental differences amount to much.
    So in your world, there's little difference between belief and disbelief??? There's no difference between Heaven and Hell??? Then there's no difference between good and evil! Man has searched since time immemorial, for an understanding of God. He has given us all manner of clues and facts and miracles to try to teach us that indeed, there IS a "great beyond," where He is King and we can be a part of that realm, if we simply honor Him, and submit to His direction and advice. He started out with thunder and lightning, and a voice from above. Then He gave us the prophets and miracles that could not have been possible were there really no God. Then, He even gave us His only begotten Son, to pay the price on the cross for OUR sins, and teach us and lead us, and try to counsel and advise us, with the best that we could ever possibly hope to have received. And yet, some still choose the path of atheism, and turn away from anything or anybody who might lead them to Truth in Christ. Maybe they just want to continue their chosen ways, some of which conflict with the scriptures as "sin." And not wanting to give those up, they turn away from anything that might make them feel guilt or condemnation. They want to FEEL sanctified without actually BEING sanctified.

    OK. If that's what you want. But don't ever say you didn't have MUCH better options! It's YOUR choice, and only you will be responsible for that choice. God be with you. You truly need Him.

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    But maybe this is why so many atheists adamantly refuse to seriously address the matter? Fear of discovering how terribly wrong they were is not something that enhances the larger egos, that look only to themselves for answers.
    Interestingly, that almost exactly applies to my thoughts on the fears of Christians. I have seriously addressed this matter for most of my adult life.

    Here's the difference. I can accept the possibility that there might be a God. I can accept the possibility that Jesus might have some sort of relationship with that God. I can fairly easily accept that Jesus actually existed and that he was a thoroughly decent sort. I have the gravest doubts, but I can accept the possibility. The things I cannot accept are the most of the Old Testament which I regard as man made mythology. Neither can I accept that a God that is supposed to love us all so much that he sent his only son etc. etc. would nevertheless damn me personally to an eternity, or even lets say a million billion trillion years of burning in hellfire, just a tiny part of eternity, just for being unconvinced when everything I have ever studied has left me unconvinced. So, while I might accept the possibility of God, and Jesus, I cannot accept the man made religion that goes alongside it, that has been demonstrably corrupted and abused for millennia by self serving vile people.

    As a stoic and though my life's experience I can accept I will die, however annoying the prospect is. If I find myself face to face with God and/or Jesus to be told I am off to hell for all eternity, not for the sins of my life, which I acknowledge and regret, but for no other reason than I could not find it in my heart to accept Jesus as my personal saviour then I will turn my back on Him gladly in the knowledge that I would find better company in hell.

    I apologise should this offend anyone but it is the literal truth so, if thine eye offends thee then pluck it out. It's your eye after all.

    P.S. Several schools of Buddhism, I believe, consider 'nirvana' as being one with God. There must be worse ways to spend eternity.

  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    So in your world, there's little difference between belief and disbelief??? There's no difference between Heaven and Hell??? Then there's no difference between good and evil! Man has searched since time immemorial, for an understanding of God. He has given us all manner of clues and facts and miracles to try to teach us that indeed, there IS a "great beyond," where He is King and we can be a part of that realm, if we simply honor Him, and submit to His direction and advice. He started out with thunder and lightning, and a voice from above. Then He gave us the prophets and miracles that could not have been possible were there really no God. Then, He even gave us His only begotten Son, to pay the price on the cross for OUR sins, and teach us and lead us, and try to counsel and advise us, with the best that we could ever possibly hope to have received. And yet, some still choose the path of atheism, and turn away from anything or anybody who might lead them to Truth in Christ. Maybe they just want to continue their chosen ways, some of which conflict with the scriptures as "sin." And not wanting to give those up, they turn away from anything that might make them feel guilt or condemnation. They want to FEEL sanctified without actually BEING sanctified.

    OK. If that's what you want. But don't ever say you didn't have MUCH better options! It's YOUR choice, and only you will be responsible for that choice. God be with you. You truly need Him.
    Since you refuse to meet me in the middle, I will argue on your terms.

    The greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself. In my ignorance, I am unable to truly love God because I cannot fathom his nature. It follows then that I must devote myself to loving my neighbors as myself, because I can fathom that. In what way does this make me beneath you and by what authority do you claim to know the true nature of God?

  4. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    Let me preface by saying, no offense is meant. I am just trying to speak plainly.

    To me your deity is a personification of your belief. Christianity is predicated on the notion of the “personal relationship” with God.

    My point was this,

    You are not infallible. It follows then, that you cannot claim your beliefs are infallible. If your beliefs are not infallible, then on what do you base your claim of an infallible God?

    You are appealing to a moral authority that exists only in your mind. (In so far as you claim to know the identity of God, and that he is infallible)

    There seems to me little difference in thinking yourself god and thinking yourself qualified to know the nature of God. What places you at an advantage over me in the identification of God?


    Sorry to ramble, just getting thoughts down on paper so to speak.
    If you've interpreted me as thinking most of the things I say are infallible, then you have misinterpreted me badly. I am fully aware that I am fallible, but I don't speak without very strong conviction that I'm right when I'm discussing matters of the eternal. I am not the ONLY source, either! I couldn't possibly be! Have you read C. S. Lewis? If you haven't, you need to. He was an unbeliever who, after being injured seriously in WWI, went to one of England's finest universities with the expressed intent of proving Christianity wrong, and wrong-headed, and all other religions as well. Yet, in that process, he became a devout believer, and one of Christianity's greatest writers ever. But he is at times harsh, and won't varnish the plain truth. You may even enjoy his writing, even though you don't presently believe, and may end up dying that way.

    But there are a FEW things in this life that I do, sincerely and honestly KNOW, as well and as much as a man can possibly know anything. If this life is not merely some big illusion, as Buddha contended, then how could anyone leave this world without KNOWING a lot of stuff?

    If you choose to doubt what I say I know, I know some will do that. But it is incumbent upon me to counter what I believe to the central marrow of my bones to be evil and lies, whenever I encounter them. So believe or not, it's OK with me either way. At least I've done all I know how to do, and it was insufficient to break through the glass you surround yourself with. Even when the angels in Heaven rebelled, 1/3 of them sided with Satan, and will spend eternity there in Hell with Him. It's no great surprise that quite a few mortals deny Him as well. But it'll never change the consequences of disbelief, nor the great tragedy of missing all the wonder and awe that true faith brings to us. God be with you, my friend. And never give up searching. Just try doing it with a humble spirit and a truly open mind, and you may surprise yourself.

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    Since you refuse to meet me in the middle, I will argue on your terms.

    The greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself. In my ignorance, I am unable to truly love God because I cannot fathom his nature. It follows then that I must devote myself to loving my neighbors as myself, because I can fathom that. In what way does this make me beneath you and by what authority do you claim to know the true nature of God?
    Nobody's beneath anybody else. We're all sinners, and some are saved by Grace. That puts us all in the same basket, but it will never keep us from seeing things as we wish to see them, or turning away from a "full truth" and trying to limp forward with only a partial dose of it. What is it that makes you think that an all-powerful and all-knowing God can't or didn't do exactly what is written in the Bible? If you LIKE the loving of others, then please continue. But if you cannot love God, simply because He doesn't provide you with the things you desire, then who do you think can do anything about that? Only you can change your own mind, and nobody else. So proceed with your life as you wish, but don't say you've never heard any reasons to believe. Even science today, with all its wonders, has PROVEN that all of the things recorded in the Bible are technically possible, and therefore may actually be true. Even Jesus' physical body passing through a locked door in the upper room after the crucifixion can be proved with subatomic theory! So now, even science has given us every reason to believe that we could possibly want or need. The only decision left, really, is whether or not any individual WANTS to find the real Truth, and come to belief in the process. The decision is up to you, my friend, and I say all these things with a light spirit and the hope that you will find your personal way to God one day. God be with you, for He'll never leave you, and will always be there despite whatever you've said or done in the past. He gives a completely new life - a new starting point, IF you want it. I sincerely wish you well.

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    Nobody's beneath anybody else. We're all sinners, and some are saved by Grace. That puts us all in the same basket, but it will never keep us from seeing things as we wish to see them, or turning away from a "full truth" and trying to limp forward with only a partial dose of it. What is it that makes you think that an all-powerful and all-knowing God can't or didn't do exactly what is written in the Bible? If you LIKE the loving of others, then please continue. But if you cannot love God, simply because He doesn't provide you with the things you desire, then who do you think can do anything about that? Only you can change your own mind, and nobody else. So proceed with your life as you wish, but don't say you've never heard any reasons to believe. Even science today, with all its wonders, has PROVEN that all of the things recorded in the Bible are technically possible, and therefore may actually be true. Even Jesus' physical body passing through a locked door in the upper room after the crucifixion can be proved with subatomic theory! So now, even science has given us every reason to believe that we could possibly want or need. The only decision left, really, is whether or not any individual WANTS to find the real Truth, and come to belief in the process. The decision is up to you, my friend, and I say all these things with a light spirit and the hope that you will find your personal way to God one day. God be with you, for He'll never leave you, and will always be there despite whatever you've said or done in the past. He gives a completely new life - a new starting point, IF you want it. I sincerely wish you well.
    I will ask again: by what authority do you claim to know the true nature of God?

    Scripture would be appropriate here.

  7. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    Interestingly, that almost exactly applies to my thoughts on the fears of Christians. I have seriously addressed this matter for most of my adult life.

    Here's the difference. I can accept the possibility that there might be a God. I can accept the possibility that Jesus might have some sort of relationship with that God. I can fairly easily accept that Jesus actually existed and that he was a thoroughly decent sort. I have the gravest doubts, but I can accept the possibility. The things I cannot accept are the most of the Old Testament which I regard as man made mythology. Neither can I accept that a God that is supposed to love us all so much that he sent his only son etc. etc. would nevertheless damn me personally to an eternity, or even lets say a million billion trillion years of burning in hellfire, just a tiny part of eternity, just for being unconvinced when everything I have ever studied has left me unconvinced. So, while I might accept the possibility of God, and Jesus, I cannot accept the man made religion that goes alongside it, that has been demonstrably corrupted and abused for millennia by self serving vile people.

    As a stoic and though my life's experience I can accept I will die, however annoying the prospect is. If I find myself face to face with God and/or Jesus to be told I am off to hell for all eternity, not for the sins of my life, which I acknowledge and regret, but for no other reason than I could not find it in my heart to accept Jesus as my personal saviour then I will turn my back on Him gladly in the knowledge that I would find better company in hell.

    I apologise should this offend anyone but it is the literal truth so, if thine eye offends thee then pluck it out. It's your eye after all.

    P.S. Several schools of Buddhism, I believe, consider 'nirvana' as being one with God. There must be worse ways to spend eternity.
    Atheists always bring up the "If God is so Loving and kind, why how could he throw me into Hell forever?" They're twisting, as they always do, the situation. God gave man a free will. He also gave man a very good mind - not the equal of His, but very good nevertheless. He gave us all the evidence and information we'll ever need to believe, but some simply don't WANT to believe, and thus, they avoid any real delving into His words and wisdom. So no matter how "wise" they may be in their occupations and in their social skills, they have made a DECISION, and as always, we're solely responsible for all decisions we make. The decision, though, about Christ, carries with it known consequences, and those who laugh and poke fun at that proposition, one day will have to pay for their decision by being unqualified to enter Heaven. If God allowed the sinful into Heaven, it wouldn't be Heaven any more! How can you not understand that? And it's YOU who decides your fate, not God, or Christ. They can never be responsible for the decisions you make. I'd think that would be clear, and as plain as the nose on your face.

    You continue to post your doubts, but not any real reasons for them. I know you must have them. Maybe you've just been "too busy to mess with all that???" Or maybe you are just averse to believing that there's anything beyond our finite, physical world??? I don't know, and that's your business. We here, discuss our beliefs, and the reasons for our beliefs. If you want to join in, you're always welcome. But it's poor form to state your beliefs without backing them up, especially when you're challenging the bulk of the posters here. Do you have real reasons, or do you just not want to believe?

  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    I will ask again: by what authority do you claim to know the true nature of God?

    Scripture would be appropriate here.
    By the authority of having communed with Him, prayed for guidance and understanding, and it was given to me, and by simply reading His word, and believing and at least partially understanding it, so that I have zero doubts about His existence, and His intent, and His power to effect all that He has told us that He can, and will do. If you've never communed with Him, it's not because you can't, it's because you've never really sought Him, so that you could. That's just how it works, and if you don't like it, don't be angry with me, because it's not me who made it that way, but God. He told us much about His will and His nature, and more is revealed in how He has dealt with his people. What more could a man ask for???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    By the authority of having communed with Him, prayed for guidance and understanding, and it was given to me, and by simply reading His word, and believing and at least partially understanding it, so that I have zero doubts about His existence, and His intent, and His power to effect all that He has told us that He can, and will do. If you've never communed with Him, it's not because you can't, it's because you've never really sought Him, so that you could. That's just how it works, and if you don't like it, don't be angry with me, because it's not me who made it that way, but God. He told us much about His will and His nature, and more is revealed in how He has dealt with his people. What more could a man ask for???
    I will be blunt:

    Can you through Scripture claim with confidence to know God’s true nature? Please cite scripture!

    If your belief if based on some personal experience, then how can you expect others to get on board?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    You continue to post your doubts, but not any real reasons for them. I know you must have them. Maybe you've just been "too busy to mess with all that???" Or maybe you are just averse to believing that there's anything beyond our finite, physical world??? I don't know, and that's your business. We here, discuss our beliefs, and the reasons for our beliefs. If you want to join in, you're always welcome. But it's poor form to state your beliefs without backing them up, especially when you're challenging the bulk of the posters here. Do you have real reasons, or do you just not want to believe?
    There is an old Yorkshire saying "Believe half of what you see and nowt (nothing) of what you hear." My first response is to challenge the concept of 'belief' without foundation. By definition, an agnostic does not believe. The simple fact is, I don't know. If we can only discuss here our (your?) beliefs then this is little more than an echo chamber. I certainly do not just not want to believe but I refuse point blank to believe what I do not find credible. There is an attitude creeping in here of the pupil in class asking the teacher to explain something and who promptly gets beaten for not just learning it by rote. The cheek of wanting to actually understand.

    Now, to return to the subject of "I don't know" it is my nature to try and find out. The first lesson I am instructed in amounts to "Because it says so in this book". OK, I read the book. Then I find out who wrote it, it's sources, which parts were left out, which were put in, and who decided which was which and why. The only answer can be that is is a work of man. Parts of it, indeed most of at least the New Testament may even be factual. Consider this, a thought has just occurred to me, how much weaker would the Catholic Church, the representative of Christianity for nearly two millennia, be politically if it had just concerned itself with the New Testament and the works of Jesus rather than relying upon the hellfire and damnation of the Old Testament? And it is quite certain that the Catholic Church is nothing if not political.

    We are given all the evidence we ever need? I discuss such subjects with many people of all faiths and persuasions, as far as it is possible for me. Evidence then. For 32 years of my life my work, and much of my life, has been concerned with finding evidence. I was paid well to do this. I understand evidence. How many times in the course of those years do you imagine I might have listened to someone insist that I must believe them for no other reason than they say a thing is so and what's more their friends all say more or less the same story when there is not a shred of proof?

    "It says so in this book", the final 'proof' people will offer. They will say that there is endless supporting evidence to prove what the book says, but this is mostly found in their book, of course. But what of the other books? Muslims will cite proofs of the Koran with the same absolutist conviction and as much, or little, 'evidence' as those citing the Bible, or the Book of Mormon, and may even be willing to die defending their beliefs.

    So, how do I, who doesn't know but who would rather like to find out, choose who to believe when there are so many? When as a student I ask one who would be a teacher a question about their teachings that seem to me to have no rational basis in truth that rather than address that question I am metaphorically beaten by that teacher for questioning his teachings which much to my surprise, seems to be your current approach.

    I have frequently posted the reasons for my doubts but it seems that my words become invisible in the face of the certainty of the faithful because they contradict blind faith and cannot therefore be even worth the reading. It is a fact that I will never, can never, believe the Story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden as anything other than allegorical. Same goes for Noah's flood. The sheer variety of denials about the age of the Earth, dinosaur fossils etc. means I cannot give any credence at all to anything said about it by anyone seeking to prove the Biblical version.

    In the face of this conflict of opinions, I cannot call it conflict of evidence, all from learned, devout, people, all disagreeing on so much, I, a mere mortal of limited intellect (as are we all) am supposed to make a leap of faith which will be nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of tossing a coin and decide to believe in one of these many options. No. It's simply not good enough.

    Here is my faith, for what it's worth. IF there is a God, IF He happens to be along the lines quoted in the Bible, and IF He feels the need to judge me, then any God worthy of the name will judge me on more than if I just professed a blind faith in his existence.

  11. #191
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    to me it boils down to whether belief trumps actions or actions trump belief ( or lack thereof). I struggle to understand those that find comfort in their beliefs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist;4706901.... IF there is a God, IF He happens to be along the lines quoted in the Bible, and [B
    IF He feels the need to judge me, then any God worthy of the name will judge me on more than if I just professed a blind faith in his existence[/B].
    WHAT? IF there is a God and if he doesn't let you get your way then you think he's not much of a god? Goodness man, there's more than a little bit of arrogance in there! Look around you, the evidence of God is observable. Faith isn't stupid. Faith is only blind if the seeker refuses to see and no one can "see" with his eyes squeezed shut. And blind professions of belief without trust is meaningless

    Truth is, "faith" isn't magic and it certainly isn't blind. Faith simply means "trust", meaning we see His hands at work and have faith (trust) that he will continue to do the same. As we mature our faith grows progressively stronger as we see more and more of his trust worthyness. So, IF there is such a God, it should be obvious that He has every right to "judge" you and everyone else as he sees fit.

    I think you are looking through the wrong end of life's telescope. It's a mistake to see God as someone who is - maybe? - a slightly bigger human who really ought to give your ideas a fair consideration when making his plans. But nothing you think is unique in history and God hasn't yet asked any man what he should do about anything.

    You're badly misunderstood the two most critical things about God's coming judgements.

    First and foremost, his coming "judgement" won't about heaven or hell for us, we each make that choice for ourselves (John 3:16-17)
    .

    God is no tyrant. Suggesting he may be "unfair" to you is foolish. You have the same basic information as the rest of us and God gives you total freedom to live as you wish. He simply lays it all before you and lets you make your own choice about who is right and who is wrong.

    Quit majoring on minors, quit agonizing over accounts of the days of creation, the flood, feeding with fishes, etc., and focus on Jesus himself. IF you choose to reject him and his agonizing blood bought and freely offered gift of eternity in God's heaven you have, by a binary default, chosen to live eternally separated from Him. And that ain't cool!

    You know the rules, you've been warned. You can't rightly say God has done you wrong when he simply lets you live with the results of your own decisions.

    Second, about rewards or punishments in the after life; what God WILL judge you for is how you have lived. Your level of eternal punishment will be determined by how bad you've been and how far reaching the effects of your harm goes; you will get the punishment you've earned, nothing more or less. And, for what it's worth, the saved, i.e., those who have trusted to follow Christ, will participate in making the Great White Throne judgement of your after life.

    None of this is a secret, it's all in the Book.

  13. #193
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    Poor guy. You believe your own preaching.
    As far as being in the book. It is just an old book of goat herders tales and nothing more.
    It contains not one bit of information necessary to life and you cannot provide evidence to the contrary.
    Most of the current population of the planet, all of the population of the planet prior to say 20AD and most of the population in the future will get along fine without the slightest influence of your simple beliefs.

    Say where did Mrs Cain come from?
    Quote
    "It frightens me to think of the state of learning in the world if everyone had your driving curiosity."

    Try a little thought without the limits of your religious barriers.
    What will happen in 500, 5000 or 50,000 years?
    Here is what will happen. Science and scientists will know way more than they do now and may have some answers about the universe and life. Given time they will know more than they do now. It is the nature of science that man keeps looking for answers.
    Your bible and your faith cannot change. Both will be the same in the years to come and cannot offer a bit more then than now which is essentially NOTHING.
    Say if man lasts another 100,000 years you do realize that you are stuck with the same old bible and the same old bible tales for another 100,000 years.
    In the mean time man will know much more about the universe and will have passed the bible into antiquity along with other generally useless old artifacts.





    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    WHAT? IF there is a God and if he doesn't let you get your way then you think he's not much of a god? Goodness man, there's more than a little bit of arrogance in there! Look around you, the evidence of God is observable. Faith isn't stupid. Faith is only blind if the seeker refuses to see and no one can "see" with his eyes squeezed shut. And blind professions of belief without trust is meaningless

    Truth is, "faith" isn't magic and it certainly isn't blind. Faith simply means "trust", meaning we see His hands at work and have faith (trust) that he will continue to do the same. As we mature our faith grows progressively stronger as we see more and more of his trust worthyness. So, IF there is such a God, it should be obvious that He has every right to "judge" you and everyone else as he sees fit.

    I think you are looking through the wrong end of life's telescope. It's a mistake to see God as someone who is - maybe? - a slightly bigger human who really ought to give your ideas a fair consideration when making his plans. But nothing you think is unique in history and God hasn't yet asked any man what he should do about anything.

    You're badly misunderstood the two most critical things about God's coming judgements.

    First and foremost, his coming "judgement" won't about heaven or hell for us, we each make that choice for ourselves (John 3:16-17)
    .

    God is no tyrant. Suggesting he may be "unfair" to you is foolish. You have the same basic information as the rest of us and God gives you total freedom to live as you wish. He simply lays it all before you and lets you make your own choice about who is right and who is wrong.

    Quit majoring on minors, quit agonizing over accounts of the days of creation, the flood, feeding with fishes, etc., and focus on Jesus himself. IF you choose to reject him and his agonizing blood bought and freely offered gift of eternity in God's heaven you have, by a binary default, chosen to live eternally separated from Him. And that ain't cool!

    You know the rules, you've been warned. You can't rightly say God has done you wrong when he simply lets you live with the results of your own decisions.

    Second, about rewards or punishments in the after life; what God WILL judge you for is how you have lived. Your level of eternal punishment will be determined by how bad you've been and how far reaching the effects of your harm goes; you will get the punishment you've earned, nothing more or less. And, for what it's worth, the saved, i.e., those who have trusted to follow Christ, will participate in making the Great White Throne judgement of your after life.

    None of this is a secret, it's all in the Book.
    Last edited by EDG; 08-14-2019 at 12:31 PM.
    EDG

  14. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Poor guy. You believe your own preaching.
    Now, with THAT announcement, you finally get something I've posted RIGHT!

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    Notice too that you are not answering any questions posed you are only offering a quip of no substance.
    The problem is no one listens to your nonsensical arguments because they are not based on any reasonable logic. In other words you are only making sense to yourself. If you cannot persuade others then all your preaching is wasted...

    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    Now, with THAT announcement, you finally get something I've posted RIGHT!
    EDG

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    I will be blunt:

    Can you through Scripture claim with confidence to know Godís true nature? Please cite scripture!

    If your belief if based on some personal experience, then how can you expect others to get on board?
    Gee whiz, T McD! Those scriptures would be from Genesis 1:1 all the way to the end of Revelations! I'm not about to post all that! And what makes you think the proof of MY personal beliefs/convictions must be supported by scripture? And anyway, my beliefs/convictions are NOT anchored in scripture. They're anchored in having had the experience of some sort of portal opening to another realm, and having Christ extend His hand to me, and my accepting it. The scriptures just provide edification. That's all. So no scripture would be sufficient, but all of them together form a very powerful indication of His nature ..... if you'd read them, and seriously and humbly read them. It's all up to you, my friend, and I wish you well. Those that come to faith after a period such as yours make some of the finest Christians that can possibly be. One of the best sermons I've ever heard was preached by an ex-moonshiner. He was as humble as anyone you'll ever meet, and very joyous in nature. He chewed tobacco, and had a red bandana to wipe the corners of his mouth with when needed. This man had spent considerable time in his life disbelieving and making moonshine. He'd likely have killed anyone who meant to take him to jail or ruin his still! And yet, someone brought him to Christ, and his moonshining days were over, and it was of HIS volition that he did this. What could cause such a man to veritably overnight change his ways, and even his occupation, but something VERY powerful! And you speak of doubt. THIS man was the king of doubters, until he had a personal experience, and that portal opened up for him. Something humbled him enough for him to see it, and the rest is history.

    Maybe it will be that way for you. Just remember, when one comes to God, God casts all his sins as far away as the east is from the west, and a totally new life begins. Yes, we have to stay in these mortal bodies we now wear, but that could never prevent us from starting a whole new life. I think you know that. Just imagine, your soul will again be as white as snow, like when you were born! And it's all right there in front of you, just waiting for you to become humble enough to see it, and join in the wondrous and holy throng. The other alternative, as you know, is rather grim. But you are far more than intelligent enough to know that this warrants a closer look, and at least a few moments of real humility and sincerity, don't you? God be with you my friend. I hope you find something that leads you to that moment that you've so long sought to put off, or abandon. You'll be SO glad when it finally occurs, if you'll but simply let it.

  17. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    Look around you, the evidence of God is observable.
    You haven't identified any evidence. Please, share some of it. Not all for that must surely take too long, but if it's that common then quite a bit will do. Not, of course, evidence of any God at all, but of your God. Not 'evidence' that's in the book either for that will prove nothing (see below) but things that are observable.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    None of this is a secret, it's all in the Book.
    And there is the problem. It's all in just about every different book there is on the subject, and all different. Why can't people understand the simple fact that something written in a book is not proof of anything other than something has been written in a book. Should I read the book on Greek, Norse, Roman, or even Hindu mythology? There are such books, what do they prove?

  18. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    There is an old Yorkshire saying "Believe half of what you see and nowt (nothing) of what you hear." My first response is to challenge the concept of 'belief' without foundation. By definition, an agnostic does not believe. The simple fact is, I don't know. If we can only discuss here our (your?) beliefs then this is little more than an echo chamber. I certainly do not just not want to believe but I refuse point blank to believe what I do not find credible. There is an attitude creeping in here of the pupil in class asking the teacher to explain something and who promptly gets beaten for not just learning it by rote. The cheek of wanting to actually understand.

    Now, to return to the subject of "I don't know" it is my nature to try and find out. The first lesson I am instructed in amounts to "Because it says so in this book". OK, I read the book. Then I find out who wrote it, it's sources, which parts were left out, which were put in, and who decided which was which and why. The only answer can be that is is a work of man. Parts of it, indeed most of at least the New Testament may even be factual. Consider this, a thought has just occurred to me, how much weaker would the Catholic Church, the representative of Christianity for nearly two millennia, be politically if it had just concerned itself with the New Testament and the works of Jesus rather than relying upon the hellfire and damnation of the Old Testament? And it is quite certain that the Catholic Church is nothing if not political.

    We are given all the evidence we ever need? I discuss such subjects with many people of all faiths and persuasions, as far as it is possible for me. Evidence then. For 32 years of my life my work, and much of my life, has been concerned with finding evidence. I was paid well to do this. I understand evidence. How many times in the course of those years do you imagine I might have listened to someone insist that I must believe them for no other reason than they say a thing is so and what's more their friends all say more or less the same story when there is not a shred of proof?

    "It says so in this book", the final 'proof' people will offer. They will say that there is endless supporting evidence to prove what the book says, but this is mostly found in their book, of course. But what of the other books? Muslims will cite proofs of the Koran with the same absolutist conviction and as much, or little, 'evidence' as those citing the Bible, or the Book of Mormon, and may even be willing to die defending their beliefs.

    So, how do I, who doesn't know but who would rather like to find out, choose who to believe when there are so many? When as a student I ask one who would be a teacher a question about their teachings that seem to me to have no rational basis in truth that rather than address that question I am metaphorically beaten by that teacher for questioning his teachings which much to my surprise, seems to be your current approach.

    I have frequently posted the reasons for my doubts but it seems that my words become invisible in the face of the certainty of the faithful because they contradict blind faith and cannot therefore be even worth the reading. It is a fact that I will never, can never, believe the Story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden as anything other than allegorical. Same goes for Noah's flood. The sheer variety of denials about the age of the Earth, dinosaur fossils etc. means I cannot give any credence at all to anything said about it by anyone seeking to prove the Biblical version.

    In the face of this conflict of opinions, I cannot call it conflict of evidence, all from learned, devout, people, all disagreeing on so much, I, a mere mortal of limited intellect (as are we all) am supposed to make a leap of faith which will be nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of tossing a coin and decide to believe in one of these many options. No. It's simply not good enough.

    Here is my faith, for what it's worth. IF there is a God, IF He happens to be along the lines quoted in the Bible, and IF He feels the need to judge me, then any God worthy of the name will judge me on more than if I just professed a blind faith in his existence.
    UK, I always enjoy talking with you, because you're immune from temper, and you write well your thoughts. I'll try to answer your questions in the order in which you've presented them.

    First off, we Christians do most certainly NOT beleive without solid foundation and intellectual and other senses that we are completely and utterly on solid ground. To think otherwise is to regard us as fools, and I'm sure you've known many in your time who were believers, and obviously weren't fools? And I'm also sure that you've heard much of the central points of the Bible, including that one MUST be "saved" if one is to share eternity in Heaven? And you've surely heard what it takes to do that. We believers now have even science on our side, and if you'd like support/proof of that, PM me and I can provide some very good sources for such proof. But the heart of the phenomena of becoming Christian, is and will always be the conversion experience. That can only come when we're humble enough to allow it to open, and hopeful enough to see it and feel it when it occurs. Obviously, you've never experienced that? And if you've never exprienced that, then you really have no basis for real discussion of it, because you simply have no frame of reference from which to view it. But if you, as you say, "don't know," then surely you have enough curiosity and discretion to at least investigate it, and the real possibility that there may well be things beyond this earth and our physical world that might possibly exist, and that could cause such events as the conversion experience. Don't you? How could anyone not investigate it seriously, unless of course they're not interested in even looking at something that might spoil their view of this finite and limited realm we now live in.

    And might there be a part of us that does not die when our bodies do? If there really IS a God, and we have souls, then could we possibly never have any evidence of them? As a matter of fact, Christians have an abundance of reasons to believe. G. K. Chesterton said he had "10,000 reasons" for his own personal belief, and from having read a good number of his writings, I believe him. But there's no space here to list all the reasons I and we believe. If the Bible weren't true, how could the words from the original texts, that have recently been discovered, match almost exactly the tests of our modern Bibles? Surely there's something beyond our fallible finite world at work there, don't you think? And now that science has proven that every story in the Bible may well be true through the study of quantum science, even to include Christ's physical body passing through the physical locked door in the upper room after the crucifixion, to see His disciples, we no longer have any reason to doubt any of the stories the prophets and scribes left us. Only a will could discount them offhand now.

    Seriously, if you want to know, you search, don't you? And how could you possibly consider it a "waste of time" to make a real and sincere and humble search to see if the things we believe might possibly be True, after all? But it's really up to each of us to make our OWN searches for a very life-changing and life-affirming thing that could lead to literal eternal life. But it's still up to you, and your will. I hope you find your way to a point where you can understand all these questions without any explanation from us. I really wish you well, because you're a very large believer in truth. That alone could lead you to Christ, if you simply apply it and make your own personal search. You can't find something if you're not looking for it, right? God be with you my friend, and I wish you all the best.

  19. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    to me it boils down to whether belief trumps actions or actions trump belief ( or lack thereof). I struggle to understand those that find comfort in their beliefs.
    The first two words of your post clearly define the reason you don't believe. "To me," clearly indicates you've been searching for God YOUR way, and not His! The way to belief is relatively narrow, but not really all that narrow. But one CANNOT find Christ if he's haughty enough to think his way is better than God's way, or enough to insist that God reveal Himself when challenged! God does NOT deal well with haughty challenges. He just leaves those totally alone. But do it the right way, by humbling yourself, and truly searching with an open mind and open heart, and you will almost certainly find it. What you choose to do with it then, is the key to the entire rest of your life at that point. You can turn away (and some do) or you can enter into the most wonderful relationship you'll ever know, and more joy than you ever realized might be possible. I hope you find your way. God be with you.

  20. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Poor guy. You believe your own preaching.
    As far as being in the book. It is just an old book of goat herders tales and nothing more.
    It contains not one bit of information necessary to life and you cannot provide evidence to the contrary.
    Most of the current population of the planet, all of the population of the planet prior to say 20AD and most of the population in the future will get along fine without the slightest influence of your simple beliefs.

    Say where did Mrs Cain come from?
    Quote
    "It frightens me to think of the state of learning in the world if everyone had your driving curiosity."

    Try a little thought without the limits of your religious barriers.
    What will happen in 500, 5000 or 50,000 years?
    Here is what will happen. Science and scientists will know way more than they do now and may have some answers about the universe and life. Given time they will know more than they do now. It is the nature of science that man keeps looking for answers.
    Your bible and your faith cannot change. Both will be the same in the years to come and cannot offer a bit more then than now which is essentially NOTHING.
    Say if man lasts another 100,000 years you do realize that you are stuck with the same old bible and the same old bible tales for another 100,000 years.
    In the mean time man will know much more about the universe and will have passed the bible into antiquity along with other generally useless old artifacts.

    Wow! What an eruption of doubt and disparaging accounts of believers! If the Bible is just a "book of old goat herders' tales," then how has it transformed so many millions (billions?) of lives? How has its prophesies all come true, except the Revelations, which is prophesied yet to come? What "evidence" is it upon which you base your denial that Christ was risen from the grave? What is it that supports your view that there couldn't be another realm beyond the one we now live in, that may be vastly different from what we know here? What makes you think that there is no God, or that he has never spoken to us mortals, or that he couldn't?

    You make a lot of pat statements, but never support them with anything other than "I don't believe what I have never seen for myself." You're like the ultimate "doubting Thomas." So be it. It's your life, and your soul, to do with as you please, and conduct yourself and your life any way that you choose. But to find, you must first seek, don't you? Then why have you never made a true and sincere effort to find God? Why can't you humble yourself before your much superior and more powerful God, and insist on dominating HIM instead of approaching Him much more humbly, as would befit the Supreme Deity?

    Sometimes, I get the feeling you're just showing off your disbeliefs. I hope that's wrong, but it'd be hard to avoid that take as at least one possibility. Are you here to learn and consider others' views and beliefs/convictions, or are you merely here to disrupt, or try to? Mostly, we believers have dealt with you and all other believers in a very courteous manner, but there seems to be a very hard edge on most of your posts, as if you were spitefully challenging us to change you, rather than letting you change your own self, so that you might actually find a way to open that portal I've described here a number of times now.

    But it's your life, and your soul, and it's up to you what to do with it. But seriously, if there IS a real God, and a Heaven and Hell, do you seriously expect Him to allow one with your attitude into Heaven? He can't. It wouldn't be Heaven any more if He did. So there's really no other available place for those who mock and taunt and try to challenge God, and that's Hell, and it's for all eternity with no end. It seriously pains me that any man should choose that route. But they have that right, given to them by God himself, and no man can change or minimize that one iota. So all I can do, is try my best to reason with you, and wish you well. God be with you. All that mocking will be thrown as far away as the east is from the west when and if you come to belief, and commitment. What a joyous day that will be for all. Even the angels in Heaven rejoice when a man like you comes to them!

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