me fighting athiests for AARON

From: reverend john
Date: 03/10/06 05:43 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Ruledog,

the question of where did God come from is not an easy one to answer from a Christian perspective, in a way that is rational. I will attempt to do so. But ultimately it comes to faith in something outside of our understanding.

There is a suggestion based on physics (which I am far from and expert on) that at a certain speed, matter will achieve ultimate density and time would cease to exist, in that place or point. It is from this simplistic understanding of a very complex theory that I would suggest that there is some idea of a possibility of timelessness.

This is the realm of God, outside of time. So being trapped in time, our ability to conceive of what an eternal being would even mean, is very limited. God, being outside of time does not need a beginning, as beginnings only exist in a space time continum.

Now, please guys, do not attack me with physics stuff, I know my knowledge is very limited, and I will not be able to go with you. The idea that time can cease to exist is I think accepted, and that is my only point.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 03/11/06 05:35 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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"in the history of mankind nothing has caused more wars than religion. Also, the Christians are one of the most violent groups in the history of organized religion."

I cannot argue the second point, it may well be true. But the first point is absolutley false, and is a rhetorical devise that is a tired cliche'. In this last century you have World war 1 and 2, the Russian revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Chinese revolutioin, Viet Nam, the holocaust, etc. These were all wars that had nothing to do with religion. Regardless of how you try to categorize things, the truth is men kill men primarily for land, and power. This has been true forever. So in a time when religion is more politically powerful, the pursuit of power and land will be associated with the church. This does not mean the war was a religious war.

The pursuit of money, land and power is the cause of all wars, sometimes religion is used as a motivation by unscrupulous power brokers. But the facts do not change because of this. In a world without religion you will have more wars, and more killing. The recent communist movements are historical proof of this.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 03/11/06 07:49 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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As unpopular as it may seem you cannot believe in a religion that claim exclusivity and then not be exclusive. That doesn't mean you can't strive to understand other religions or the truth that all religions hold, but that at some point you either believe what Jesus said or you don't.

Now I have done a bit of study of other religions and am amazed at how much truth they do contain, however, if Jesus is the only way to the Father, then that means what it says. I however believe that God in His grace and mercy sees that heart of people, and judges based on that.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 03/11/06 08:55 PM
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Yep, that's one possibility. Or it could be that some of us aren't suckers who have bought into the ridiculous fantasies spun by organized religion, and realize that religion is just another mind-control con used by some people to try and achieve power and influence over other people.

Well religion at its worst is this, at its best it is a transforming miracle. Religion is not a tool for submitting subjects in my hands, in my hands it is a subversive, radical movement to end poverty, oppression, violence, and hatred. It is a call to a style of living that is wholistic, with the envirement, and empowering of people. The fact that power mongers inhabit the religious structures of our day, is only proof that there are people in our religious structures.

As to your other question, I showed you that an irreligious society will be just as violent as a religious one, infact I think my evidence showed even more so. But think of the blacks that died in the slave trade, this was capitalism not religion driven. Think about the wars of Ghengis Kahn! Attilla the hun! The vikings! Or in our own history, the civil war, the war of independence, the Spainish American war. These were the result of power and land possesion. The native american wars before we got here! And think of the deaths that were spared due to Gandhi, a religious man, who took the real teachings of Jesus as his guide and accomplished a warless independence.

Now I didn't start this thread, nor do I believe in this kind of promulgation of religion in such an impersonal way. But I do know that CHristianity has made me a better person, a more peaceful, and loving person.

the rev

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From: reverend john
Date: 03/12/06 09:16 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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There are many beautiful traditions that I have been told about in the native american religions. One which as told to me is called the talking stick, we used at our gatherings for years. My daughter attended a Christian sweat ceremony at a non cultrually imperialistic Christian mission in Arizona.

What you may not understand bro, is that Christians are taught that Jesus is the only way to be saved from hell. So their zeal to convert people is based on their very real desire to see people escape a bad end.

I don't know if you ever took the time to read about Jesus in the bible, but I imagine you would find that much of what is great about your religion would be reflected in the person of Jesus, as long as you don't read him through colonialist eyes. If you ever want to talk about these things, I would love to hear about your traditions.

pinnedagain2001 at yahoo.com

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 03/12/06 10:21 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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"But...I doubt you really want to think too hard about these things. It's not good for your faith."

Come on my friend, you know I think long and hard about this stuff, and it hasn't toppled my faith. You are very smart, you don't need to resort to that.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 05/15/06 06:04 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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The problem here is people aren't senstive to the intense emotions people have about their faiths. My faith is as dear to me as my family, and the have people make such classless and meanspirited comments against the object of my worship is not conducive to quality discussion.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 02/15/06 03:55 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Edit Last edited:15-Feb-06 03:43 PM

Matthew 1:22-23

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"[a]--which means, "God with us."

Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you [a] a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and [b] will call him Immanuel.

Now if you read this verse in context I believe it means exactly what Matthew said it means. Now if you say the word maiden does not mean a virgin then how is it that it is a sign? Women have babies all the time. Secondly, in that culture a woman that is not married, but has had sex is not called a maiden, she would be called a harlot. A maiden is an unmarried and virtuous woman. So I believe the context is perfect.

If you are talking about a historical context, I still believe it is perfect. The prophecy was not for that time, if you read the passage it explains that eventually all of judea and israel will be overthrown, and God's miraculous sign will be the birth of one who is God with us.

As to the evil that you would attribute to God there are two things to consider. The first is a bit abstract so lets try and flesh it out. Lets take the word jealous, in Corinthians it says God is love (specifically agape love, or supernatural love) but also says love is not jealous. So we have a contradiction it would seem. Until we understand a different point, Gods perfection, selflessnes and goodness (I know you don't agree, I'll get to that part, for now please just assume that for the sake of understanding) If in God we have a perfection of goodness and selflessness, then for this being to be jealous, it is not a jealousy that we would posses, rather a transcendant jealousy. That jealousy would be a jealousy for our benefit. For God knowing that only He can bring true life, true love, and true fulfillment, wants us to be faithful to Him so that we might enter into our rest, goodness and fullfilment. By His nature he transcends our understanding of these concepts. In other words His jealousy is much differnt from ours, and is loving, and selfless.

I will talk more about the second bit tomorrow morning, right now I have to do the dishes.

the rev

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From: IDNST
Date: 02/15/06 08:37 AM
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Very well done rev, thank you.

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From: reverend john
Date: 02/15/06 04:04 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Now as far as the different passages that would paint God as a monster, let me start by saying that these are not easy passages for me, and that I suffer over them a bit. But let me also say that the most powerful arguement I have for this will not be written here, but rather is written in my soul. I have faith that there must be a reason and an explanation for these things. And that faith is based on the supernatural way God has changed my life, and has shown His goodness to me personally, and through the person of Jesus. In the end your arguements might be better than mine, meaning they might make more sense, but I don't believe them. I believe what I believe because I have faith that the very real God that has changed my life, has shown Himself good to me, and therefore I will seek to see how these things that do seem contradictory to His nature could be true.

Firstly, we cannot have a discussion about God without understanding that eternity is far and away more important than this current life. Remember we are once again talking about the creator, who sees this life as a tiny, tiny chapter in the long novel of our existence. And like parents that punish a child, they know that the momentary discomfort, not matter how hard it seems will in the end make us better people, or in this case souls. We also must recognize that God can grant eternal salvation to whomever He choses, or is justified in doing so. Therefore to us the death of an infant would be cruel, but to God the death of an infant could save them from a life of suffering, a growing hardness towards GOd, a life of bad conscious and so on. Where there death could result in freedom, peace and love. The eternal nature of things must be considered.

Secondly, I believe that there are two things going on in scripture. There is history, and there is allegory. Now for the most part I believe that these run parralel and are not mutually exclusive, though I don't believe they are never mutually exclusive. So, if the instructions to the Israelites through Joshua are to wipe out every trace of every other culture, they are not just for the sake of destroying everyone but the "chosen people" but are a picture of our battle with sin. The idea being that whenever you make concessions, even under the best of motives, you will wind up being lead away from God by them. So the analogy becomes the important thing spiritually. Now this can be true regardless if you believe the history of the passages or not.

Now this can become extremely important to understanding certain passages. Like the Exodus story. We must see two things here very clearly, especially with God "hardening Pharoahs heart" One is the metaphor of the passover lamb, saving people from death. The symbol of Jesus here is so apparent and important that this must be shown. Also, what follows is incredibly important for us as Christians because though we were saved from death, we are not saved from our slavery to sin without a fight. And even after we manage to march away from our old lifestyle we wind up fighting our natural inclinations in the dessert.

The second thing to look at in this passage is the fact that Egypt was in Gods grace and plan as well. Egypt had become the greatest nation in the world at that time all the while worshipping many gods. So in showing both Israel and Egypt the one true God, there was a neccesity to show the power of the true GOd over the non true. So God is in charge of the frogs, even though they had a frog god. God is the ruler of the Nile though they had a god of the nile. God is in charge of the flies thought they had a god of the flies. And ultimately God is in fact Lord over death, though Ra was seen as the god of life and death. We see two analogies that become part and parcel of Gods intervention into our world.

cont

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From: reverend john
Date: 02/15/06 04:17 PM
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Now when you combine this understanding with the first, you can begin to see how or why these things might be. Which leads me to my third point, one which some of my Christian brothers and sisters may take a bit of offense to.

I believe we are an important part of this process as well, and as that is so we must factor humanity into the equation. Since God is interacting with us, we have an effect on what is known of God. So there is, in some sense an evolution of God. But this evolution is not based on God changing, but rather Gods revelation to us, growing as we grow. God remains the same, yet reveals himself to us as we are able, or ready to see. So it is not so much Gods evolution, but rather our evolution of understanding. Now I can back this up scripturally to a point, definately not well enough to satisfy most of my brethren, but well enough for me.

The way this works is we see God reveal Himself as the "I AM", the one God. This revelation comes to a society that has a god for everything. For the harvest, for travel, for the river, for love etc. Gods revelation to this people is to let them know, there is one God, over all of our life. This revelation grows as we grow as people. In a time when good times equal Gods approval, and bad times equal God's displeasure, God makes a moral contract that if you live well, I will take care of you financially. When the best god was the most powerful god in martial action, God became the conquerer. However, in the midst of all of this, there is continueing revelation and prophecy to the perfect completed revelation of God in Jesus. So the ultimate, complete and finished revelation of God, is in the person of Jesus. For until this revelation, though God was complete, there was no complete representation of God. Therefore, much like God must speak to the people within a framework of language, that they might understand, He also works in a cultural framework from which they understand as well.

So, when I take these three concepts together, they allow me to deal with these difficult passages. Though they may not be as easy as the way you deal with these passages, I am not given the luxury of your choice. Because I know God, I know Christ, I know and have expereinced the goodness, the mercy, the grace, the supernatural power of Gods love. And I can in no way deny these.

I can answer specific questions if you like, but there is not much I can add I think, to this framework of faith.

the rev

Interesting responses. Great post.

...although... I think it might take less effort on your part just tell the athiests to get bent because they're going to hell. And I'm sure they would hear that and become true believers on the spot. Just a thought.

From: reverend john
Date: 02/21/06 08:04 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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No, not weak, just not as strong as yours without the presuppositions that I hold due to my experiences. You seem to be more interested in being right and making me wrong than in discussion, and I really have no motivation to participate in this.

I would say this ringworm, if you want to understand how I view the world and life, read the gospels. And if you are more interested, read binding the strongman by Chad Myers.

If you just want to argue and try to convert me to atheism, it won't work, nor will I enjoy the process.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 04/06/05 05:33 PM
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And you look at scientists and they don't use the word probably because they are so arrogant to think they know exactly how everything happened?

On a scale of one to ten, that rant probably sucked

the rev

Hi Rev. John,

I am curious about Christianarchy. I have been trying to piece it together from your posts, but could you give me a relatively succinct account of what it is... it sounds quite interesting.

Octavious, start a thread and I will give you a run down.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/15/05 06:50 AM
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Uncle gruntly, you are an ignorant person if you believe that. Communism has killed more people in the last century than the entire history of religions. Add Hitler to it and it gets ridiculously lopsided. You know nothing of my beliefs regarding hell, nor peoples eternal destiny. Your statistical facts are a mere fabrication from your bigoted mind.

My religion causes me to reach out to the poor, to sacrifice my own oppulance to help others, to have homeless people, drug addicts and mentally ill people accepted as parts of my community, sometimes actually living with my family. It causes me to reject hatred, murder (even state sponsored murder), and racism.

So when you grow up and read some books you will understand that it is not religion that causes the problems in the world, but the will to power, and wealth. The fact that some people seek these in the guise of religion is a subtle twist that only those with an open mind and an education can actually see.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/15/05 07:53 AM
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Oh and I just noticed the good uncle is a first time poster, imagine that. Good job, you managed to spit out just about every meaningless, unsubstatiated cliche I have ever heard in your very first post. Good on ya mate.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/15/05 08:40 AM
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Well you conveniently cut off the most important part of that sentence. The will to power is often hid in the costume of religion, but it is still the will to power not the religion that is at issue, with very few exceptions.

As far as the rest of your comments, it is true people get emotional about their religion, it is very important and personal to them. Just like if you start to critique someones wife they will arc up as well. But I have many discussions with people that absolutely contradict my religion, with no issues, no problems whatsoever.

The idea that religions are responsible for most of the wars is a flat out fabrication. In the last century we had more war deaths than in all of history, and how many of these conflicts were religious in nature? The Russian revolution? World wars I and II? Viet Nam? Korea? the Communist revolutions in China, Cambodia, central and southern America?

The fact is people kill other people, with or without religion. To blame a religion that flat out says to love your enemies, care for those that abuse you, turn the other cheek, give to the poor, care for the marginalized etc. for the problems of the world is ridiculous. The fact that people who say they follow religion actually try to make sense of getting around these "suggestions" is also ridiculous.

There are some issues of power, and the stupidity of people that will follow brainlessly the lead of so called religious leaders, (really just powermongers in robes) is an issue, but one I see less and less in the modern world.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/15/05 06:31 PM
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ofcourse you don't need religion to do good things, but think of all of the good things done in the name of religion. The salvation army, World Vision, Mother Teresa, an unheard of non military revolution in India, the major players in the civil rights movement in the US.

But I appreciate your condescending elitism towards me and my fellow theists. Glad you are so complete that you don't need to believe in a diety. I only hope someday I will not have any selfishness, fear, bad habits, ego, anger, desire for power etc. so I won't need my religion wheelchair.

As to Austalias relative peacefulness, is that compared to Cambodia? Communist Russia? Viet Nam? Oh, no you mean compared to religious countries. Didn't you guys kill every aboriginal in Tasmania? Must have been the early Christian influence. Is it possible that you are peaceful because you give everyone a fair go, have plenty of land, and live a million miles from everyone else? Especially all of those murderous wheelchair bound religious losers.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/16/05 02:18 AM
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You cannot list the holocaust as a religious war, it was a genocide perpetrated by an irreligious dictator, just like you cannot say that the chinese extermination and imprisonment of CHristians was a religious conflict.

Again I would add just because someone is Christian doesn't mean that the war is Christian, many of the early Americans were CHristians, but the revolutionary war was not a "religious" war either.

The fact is in a largely irreligious decade there were plenty of wars, huge wars. Why? Because of power and money. When the people are no longer moved by religious leaders, who are really dictators in church clothing, we have other ways of motivating them do we not? So we have race, we have greed, we have perceived danger, we have moral responsibility, we have Manifest destiny. To blame religion for war is to look for a cheap scapegoat to appease your own faith stance. But the fact is religion is both a wonderful beautiful thing that does much good, or a horribly manipulative thing that does much evil. What is the difference? The amount of power and greed that is allowed to hold sway. Hmmmm that is the same thing that makes nations and governments good or bad. Maybe the issue is the power mongering, greed, and fear not the religion that does things.

I would be the last person to deny the problems with the church, the horrible abuses of power, the wars, the crimes against humanity. Even in our modern day the abuse of power used to abuse innocents and the subsequent cover up, but it is always the power, the money, and the fear that drives it. Just like it drives non religious people to acts of violence.

As far as evolution and the age of the earth, I have absolutely no problem with them, or science.

Yes the catholic church has said sorry, doesn't make it right though.

For me to cast the blame of the east coast indingenous americans on the english, would be the same as what you are doing with Tasmania, our forefathers were the ENglish. We are now something different, but we cannot say that the early problems with our country are someone elses fault.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/16/05 02:32 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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The aids thing was a huge horrible wrong by the church. But I could add say as well that the rapid growth of the aids virus was more the cause of the gay political lobby that made it a political issue rather than a medical one. Disallowing the closing of bath houses, the disemination of literature, and the education of their own community.

Again, there is much ignorance both within and without the church. But much of what we claim today as our western heritage is a direct result of the church.

But I will again point out, that this wonderful first time poster, came on this thread to attack me. Someone who has as a result of his religion dedicated his life to help people get off drugs, get out of gangs, get educations, and become functioning, contributing members of society. Do I do this only for those that choose to follow my religion? Not at all. In my life religion has caused me to be a better person, to raise better children, to mentor better citizens. To better the world we are left with. So in my case, and in the case of hundreds of people I know, religion has been for the betterment of society.

You have yet to show one shred of evidence that a non religious world would be less violent. You have not proven your faulty claim that religion has caused more wars. You have attacked me, for being concerned about the racism in the country I live in, and the refusal for the government to admit there is an issue.

As for me, I'll take a mother Teresa over a pol pot anyday.

the rev

From: reverend john
Date: 12/18/05 09:47 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Shame huh, I thought that was the domain of the church, along with judgementalism, you sure are a lot like them.

As to the ark thing I agree it is far fetched, but those that hold to that kind of teaching have some answers to the problems you present. As far as the dinosaurs some scientist have now suggested that they were too large to be cold blooded animals. The external heat needed to heat such a large body would have been too much for their skin, hide, or scales to deal with. The suggestion is that they must have been warm blooded animals, in which case they would survive an ice age, but not a flood. Interesting to me, though like I said I do not belive the ark to be literal neccesarily.

The fact that the church had killed scientists cannot be argued against. But neither can the fact that most of the science that we have to day was the result of theists.

Your emotional outburst was a personal attack on me, and religion in general. It was filled with cliche's, misinformation, and outright hatred. Your elitism is just as much a cause of violence as any religiousness. I showed very convincingly that non religious power structures are even more brutal than the inquisition, and the crusades. The fact is people kill people for power, money and land. They always have and they always will. Australia with or without religion will deal with these problems, the skin head vietnamese problems in foorscray years ago had not religious overtones. Nor do the underworld murders.

Now the embarassing fact that so called religious leaders use threats of hell and damnation to manipulate people into doing their bidding, does not make true religion the culprit, but say that even the supposed "sacred" stuff, is still affected by the evil of human greed, arrogance and lust for power.

Your judgementalism leaves you being completely biased and unable to logically look at the issue. You on one hand say the bible is evil and violent in its content, and shame others for believing it. Yet when someone says they agree with you, and that is why they believe the message was in some way supposed to be different you lambast them for having some kind of ulterior motives. Well what could those motives be, mr know it all? So far this brainwashing attempt by myself has caused me to live under the poverty line for most of my adult life. My adherance to the "true" gospel has enabled me to continue to have small churches among the outcasts of society, and therefore reap no benefits of power, money or prestige. I am constantly attacked and ridiculed for my beliefs, though they have only brought peace, and correction to myself and all those I have community with. Having people move from dependancy on drugs, sexual addictions, and gang communities into healthy happy good citizens. Yeah, this brain washing is really paying off for me.

Perhaps you can't realize that I have experienced something I cannot deny, and therefore, rather than burying my head in the sand and saying you can't understand it you just have to have faith, I actually look at these issues, and attempt to make sense of the world and my beliefs. And most of the CHristians I know in Melbourne are the same as me.

the rev

Rev,

I'm not here to battle, and I've only skimmed some of what you've written, but I actually find I agree with a number of the points you've raised. Especially when it concerns certain types of fallacious attacks against Christianity.

I'd like to get into specifics of where I agree...but work calls...

Prof.

Well I am just responding to Aarons criticism that I don't stand up to athiests. As an athiest, do you feel I just give you the light treatment?

the rev

Glad to know you're backing us up all the way, Rev. Welcome to our side.

you are going to hell. Would you like to hear more?

the rev

I didn't know that was your call, Rev. Is that an example of Christian Charity?

---"Well I am just responding to Aarons criticism that I don't stand up to athiests. As an athiest, do you feel I just give you the light treatment?"

Oh. I guess me agreeing with you doesn't help your case then :-) Oops.

Yes I have seen you stand up to atheists here, and yes you have given me some dressings down in the past, in case Aaron is unaware.

That said, it does seem you are generally less interested in the whole "debate atheists" thing than a number of other Christians here. So I don't see you jumping into the mud pit as often as others.

While I certainly don't want to speak for you, it's my perception that you are not so interested in debating atheists as you are in getting on with living a Christian life, and helping others do the same (in regards to your own views of Christianity).

Prof.

rastus that last post was a joke, don't know what you reply meant.

Prof, I treat sincere questions as just that, but I do not feel the need for long drawn out arguements that ultimately are just two people throwing other peoples arguements back and forth, and to presupositions that will never meet.

the rev

"rastus that last post was a joke, don't know what you reply meant."

As was mine. I was continuing the joke.