Intelligence and Christianity: Oil and Water?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by secretasianman, Nov 2, 2002.

  1. secretasianman Registered Senior Member

    Oh, forgot to say (I guess Cris is the one who brought it up):

    Cris, have you ever wondered why Jesus was "invented" the way that he was? His message was profoundly different than any other at the time - Judaism, Greek myth - a very unlikely hero, if you see what I'm saying. In light of how uncannily Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy (especially to those who have honestly challenged Jesus), and how well the NT has stood the test of time, many have decided for themselves (and I don't offer this as proof, just something worth pondering) that Jesus isn't just a man's fabrication.

    *** btw, if any man were up to the task of inventing Jesus, it would probably be Shakespeare

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    But I suppose this sort of argument doesn't hold much weight in this community.
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  3. muscleman Banned Banned

    just watch and wait, then learn. Youll know when the time comes, and you will get it. You guys are brainwashed by "positive atheism" with webpages and attacking Mother Theresa who devoted all her life to charity, INSTEAD, your glorifying the FRUITFULL works of atheism (im exxagerating)by them protecting the "right-to-kill" calling it civil rights (abortion & euthanasia), support of gay and lesbian rights, attack on christianity (dont attack the problem, attack those who teach to do good, the church, even though the people who dont follow the rules is the problem, but lets attack the church instead).

    One of these days, you will all sadly learn the hard way, and I wish i wont be in yur position, I will not be able to bear the toruture u will be facing. I am a sinner, and I hope I will not be in your position, I will repent, will you?

    You guys think "How could this guy's faith be really strong and ours are just lies and opinions?" Well atheist, I experienced something u all dont. U heard some testimonies b4 of how some saints had a direct communication with God, and then you call them "Psycho" or "delusional and hallucinating", guess what, I heard God spoke to me when I was 15 before sleeping, even when I was a sinner like all of us, He said "I love you", in a very very deep voice and that was it. 2 years later I was praying the rosary in my mothers bedroom home alone, and Jesus spoke to me in saying "You dont need that, you need inner healing"...After that time, my faith from being a mustard seed became a solid hard iron ball, my faith became as hard as a steel. The ommunity prayed for my step-dad's liver cancer to be healed, and it was healed,the doctor here couldnt believe what was happening. And you know what, u heard them say "It is just placebo" meaning if u really put yur mind into it, it will heal. My step-dad was a smoker, who cares nothing but football (49'ers), and isnt even religious, I never remembered my step dad sitting down in the middle of his bedroom with his finger crossed meditating and saying "HUUUmmmm....." my dad was a former KKK, he doesnt go to church at all for he believes he is not worthy. The only thing i remembered my dad doing before the doctor realized his cancer was gone, was screaming at me and trying to hit me, LOL. He was an old man.

    I had encountered many atheist later on in life, I had a roomate who was atheist, although at the time I was ignorant about physics and evolution, etc. MY FAITH PREVAILED BECAUSE OF MY EXPERIENCE AND I JUST LAUGH AT HIS THEORIES AND SAY "YOU HAVE NO IDEA BROTHER WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT, YOUR ACCUSING A REAL EXISTING BEING AS A MYTH, AND I KNOW THAT AS A FACT".....Bceause of talking to atheist, I learned all their thoughts, and the conclusion is, they talk about things they dont know about, "MAYBE THERE IS GOD, AND MAYBE THERE IS NO GOD, UMM BUT I THINK IT IS UNLIKELY THAT GOD EXIST BECAUSE OUR INTELLIGENCE IS VERY GOOD"- Atheist, the only thing y u dont think there is God because like Lucifer, you are trying to take God's place, your pride is so high...
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  5. Xev Registered Senior Member


    I disagree with you re: the existance of Jesus.

    I can't pretend to have gone as deeply into the subject as you have, but I think that it's quite probable that somebody inspired the Jesus myth.

    How often do movements start independently of a creator? Communism was an idea until Marx and Engels (I'm grossly oversimplifying) made it into a concrete theory. Islam had Mohammed.....there's not MUCH more evidence of the existance of Mohammed than there is of Jesus.

    There are also the extra-Biblical references to Jesus, such as Josephius. And there is Q.

    I believe that, using Ockham's razor, we can say that it's simpler to believe that Jesus existed than it is to believe that he didn't.

    While Jesus' nonexistance would be the final nail in the coffin of Christianity, and I'd love few things more than to see that happen, Jesus' existance proves nothing about the validity of Christianity.

    We don't advocate racial purity because Hitler existed, or communism because Lenin existed.
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  7. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    "His message was profoundly different than any other at the time - Judaism, Greek myth - a very unlikely hero"

    No it wasn't. A few other religions at the time (which don't exist today) had very, very similar messages to Jesus and came about before Jesus. Not to mention that one even had a basically same savior with a same life-story.

    "light of how uncannily Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy"

    But he didn't. Doesn't the OT state that Yeshua would bring all Jews to Israel?
  8. Xev Registered Senior Member

  9. joegurl13 Registered Member

    have any of yall read A Case For Christ?
  10. Xev Registered Senior Member

    No. I thought just shoving Him into my trunk would be enough....I need to put Him in a case?
  11. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    You missed the main thrust of my point which was not that Christianity/The Bible can be misused but that it lends itself to misuse through relying purely upon authority for its argument.

    Actually, I believe that many of the problems that exist in Christianity and specifically in Catholicism can be laid directly at Paul's feet. Please note that Paul never met Jesus in the flesh and there is some indication that he was at odds with the apostles (Peter specifically, I believe). Personally, Paul strikes me as a fanatic... first involved in persecuting and killing Christians and then in converting people to his own interpretation of Christianity.

    This might bring up a slew of other considerations but lets stick to topic. You're misunderstanding my reference to reliance upon authority in Christianity and the Bible and that is perhaps my fault for expounding beyond the salient point. To get back to what I see as the intrinsic failing here: Certain ethics are prescribed that have very strong logical arguments to support them but rather than giving any reasonable basis they are asserted purely through authority (i.e. God's Commandments, the authority of Jesus, etc.). Such argument is weak in the extreme.

    And again this tradition lends itself to the tyranny of authority. If the Bible is accessible and understandable then why the need for authoritative translation?

    John 10:37-38
    "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."

    James 2:14-18
    What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

    Yes, there are many copies that date back to around the first century and these even hint back to earlier documentation (Q). This gives us a very strong reliability to that point in history. The Dead Sea Scrolls date back further (167 BCE-70 CE) making them the earliest Biblical texts but they make no reference to anything in the NT. Now personally, I believe that Jesus, or an individual who's life became wrapped up in the myth of Jesus, probably existed. I deduce this from the simple observation of human behavior that revolutionary movements always require an inspired leader. However, this lends nothing to the more fantastic stories attributed to him. These type of myths are also a part of human nature; our tendency to build a myth upon historical facts. One needs only to look to the figures and stories often told of the US revolutionary war and the founding of the US to find such myths (many of which are taught in grade school as if they were facts).

    Both create problems that I can see. The former is only a problem in-so-much that it is rarely acknowledged by Christians (again, acceptance based upon authority). The latter simply points to a poorly reasoned philosophy IMHO.

    And in that I find that your philosophy is better reasoned than many.

    Sorry, but I don't see that this addresses my points at all. In fact, you seem to have almost entirely missed my points but I added some clarification and we'll see how the conversation progresses.

  12. secretasianman Registered Senior Member

    Raithere - I'm not surprised if I missed the point, or if I will again. Bear with me, I'm trying.
    First, I know I posted some material that wasn't directed at you, just stuff I thought people should know - I didn't want to take for granted any prior knowledge of Christianity. I'm a bit paranoid, you see.

    Much of what you've said, I kinda "distilled" into the general idea that people, being imperfect and complex, misinterpret the *truth* in Christianity - because there is a definite, self-existant truth outside of our interpretations; any self-respecting Christian would pursue nothing less.
    Anyways, tell me if you disagree and if you do, please be patient enough to reiterate, etc.

    As for Paul, the Bible says that Jesus came to him in a vision and asked him why he was persecuting him - something to that effect. Maybe he was at odds with the disciples because he had a reputation for loving to kill/persecute Christians? I'll have to look into where the disciples/Paul's lives overlap, and *which* Paul they met. You might say he was on drugs, maybe he was crazy, or maybe God exists and there was something external and "real" behind his profound, lifelong change. Others have found that there is a way to "tell", I won't give up on that possibility.

    Can you give me some examples of the ethics you refer to? Thanks.

    Here's one example of the type of thing I've "distilled" (see my first paragraph).

    Not authoritative as you call it; but it helps to have an opinion from someone who's studied the scripture extensively (ie who's gone to a religious college) - call it an expert's opinion. It's not like they won't allow you to go to another church or look elsewhere for different interpretations/perspectives - unless they're not "for real."

    This sounds stupid, but I can't find where I said that although I vaguely remember it. Can you post the context in which I said that (I was very very tired when I was posting yesterday)?

    Well, my approach to the issue of "fantastic stories" is to see whether fundamentally Jesus makes sense; then I'd admit that those things may have happened - the miracles, Jesus calming the storms, etc. There are things out there I don't understand, and there may be a God beyond what I can see or beyond what science can prove (and this is where I am at odds with the majority on this forum

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    Here's a little story told to my sister, passed on to me a while ago: missionaries from my sister's church were off in some remote location somewhere - typical missionary stuff. They stayed at a remote, very isolated camp (surrounded by something like miles of wilderness) and depended on a single source (nature of which I forgot) for food, supplies, etc. One day, the missionaries came home extremely fatigued and the food wasn't there. Nor was it there the next day. Basically, the missionaries were worried, and with good reason. To the point: they prayed, and *right after they were finished*, a random guy pulled up in a truck chock full of McDonalds and told them something like: "I know you guys won't believe me, but God told me to come over here and buy McDonalds for you guys."
    *** Wait a minute; being a skeptic I can easily imagine that the ppl in charge of food deliberately did this as a trick, perhaps to bolster the missionaries' faith. I'll have to ask my sister about that ***
    What I was trying to get across was, there are many things which one would have a hard time explaining scientifically or otherwise, and the possibility of God/Jesus can't be ruled out.

    Raithere - I think I kinda addressed your questions in there, somewhere. I tried... please understand if I utterly failed.

    EDIT: Back with a 40 in my system... and a better anecdote (one that I actually experienced myself)

    When I was 4, I was part of a city-run daycare which one day decided to hold a field trip to the local swimming pool. Long story short, I decided to go into the deep end and the lifeguards were too busy flirting or whatever to notice I was drowning until something like 10 minutes had gone by.
    While I was in the ER, my grandma in Korea asked a pious Christian lady (with a reputation for being such) in her community to pray for me - after 45 minutes of straight prayer, the lady told my grandmother, with all confidence, that I was fine, and here I am, posting on this forum at 4 in the morning. *yawn*

    There's plenty of such anecdotes - but I'm not trying to prove anything. If anything, I might just be tempting you ppl to pathologize me or something, I'm just trying to get across that you can't rule out the existence of God/supernatural stuff - unless you believe that lady was telepathic or something

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    - Ed
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2002
  13. GB-GIL Trans-global Senator Evilcheese, D-Iraq Registered Senior Member

    Well, you have to admit that customs officials are less likely to check a case than they are your trunk when you arrive from Israel in the US to dispose of Him...
  14. Xev Registered Senior Member

    I'll just tell them I found Jesus and be done with it!
  15. GB-GIL Trans-global Senator Evilcheese, D-Iraq Registered Senior Member

  16. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    No problem there, although I'm quite familiar with Christianity and I doubt you'll come up with a major perspective that I'm completely unfamiliar with. Still, since there are myriad interpretations it's not a bad idea for you to present you particular take on the subject.

    This does hit upon my point. How is one to determine the "definite, self-existent truth" from these writings. No manner of argument is presented but instead it's based solely upon authority.
    Actually, the main disagreement seems to be in the area of conversion of gentiles. There are some other suggestions of a power struggle as well. It's been a while since I've read though some of that though. I know that various detractors of Paul point towards his misogyny and some of the other peculiarities of his personality that have filtered into the Christian paradigm.
    Well, we could look at the value of altruism. Which has several demonstrable supports. There are mathematical proofs that demonstrate how altruism is beneficial in an evolutionary sense. While such proofs wouldn't have been readily available back then there are the more obvious supporting evidences such as the physiological benefits inherent in helping others. Quite simply, altruism is part of our nature and is evinced as such.
    But that is part of the problem. The work is so indefinite and open to translation that we wind up with numerous factions all claiming to own the truth. Take a look, for instance, at the struggles between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. All three are derivations of the same religion yet they're at each-other's throats. Or look at some of the Protestant followings that literally find that Catholicism is the work of Satan. My argument is not that such attitudes exist... but that the work in question seems to utterly fail in communicating its central tenets clearly. Else how do we explain it?
    To which my response was simply to illuminate one of the apparent contradictions between Paul and the Apostles quoting Jesus. Paul stressing Faith over works while Jesus in the books of John and James seems to be stressing faith through works and that faith without works lacks in values.
    I was in a similar position for quite a while until I started examining the basis for my presumption of God.

    This perspective is quite common but is basically due to bad math. We tend to recall the successes and forget about the failures. In order to correctly analyze this type of event one must also include all those times when prayer did not "succeed"... where the prayers went unanswered and the food did not arrive or the child died. When analyzed in this objective light we find there is little correspondence between prayer and what happens. The little correspondence that does seem to occur is well explained by the placebo effect and other natural influences.

  17. secretasianman Registered Senior Member

    Raithere - you brought up some good points (that I don't want to address right now, or perhaps cannot address) which I'll discuss with some church guys around Friday.

    A few things though:
    - So let me get this straight: as far as altruism goes, you find a problem with the Bible because it doesn't depend on a "real" justification or use "proof" - examples of which you pointed out, i.e. from a Darwinist POV, or through math

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    - it just says "do it because God said so?"

    Perhaps I'm interpreting your question wrong, or perhaps we're interpreting the Bible incorrectly...
    - As far as my quoting Ephesians (thanks, btw), I wasn't really talking about "Faith vs Works" at all; I was just trying to emphasize that it's not about man living up to a moral standard/getting into heaven by his own merit, but through the *relationship* once again (in a way, not by works but by faith...) But anyways,

    Can you show me some places where Paul seems to emphasize faith over works (which I find hard to believe, unless you haven't addressed the whole truth or bigger picture)?

    Points for me to bring up:
    - Bible is too open to individual interpretations (perhaps "truth" becomes based on whoever has power)
    - Bible doesn't depend upon "proof/ 'science' " but instead depends upon "Word of God" and authority
    - Paul "vs" the disciples...

    I'll be back - if this thread hasn't burst into flames by then... I'll PM you if that happens.
  18. secretasianman Registered Senior Member

    This may be the meat of your argument (and to me, the most important point you've made). But first - a thing or two about your last post:
    - How are Judaism and Christianity the same? Jesus is about as big a difference as you can get; although I never looked deeply into it I take it that the Jews are still waiting for the "Messiah who will come down and restore the Jews (God's "chosen" ppl)" - Jesus wasn't what they were looking for. I'm definitely not certain of this, but the Christian belief is that the Jews were chosen by God (Abraham was chosen) to "set the stage" for Jesus. I'll try to find the scripture which clarifies this and better expresses what I'm trying to say.
    As for Islam, I really don't know the first thing about it and Mohammed's (sp) similarities/differences to Jesus. Need to look into all that too... damn. And then the Catholic vs Protestant conflicts (from my dabblings in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", I might suggest that things like political differences, the human agenda basically, might account for some of what you speak of), all the different denominations... This is going to be one long dinner conversation

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    I'll try to cover the points you raised over time, but there's just so many things I need to take care of.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2002
  19. Xev Registered Senior Member


    Do you plan on responding to my question?
  20. secretasianman Registered Senior Member

    Sorry Xev if I didnt' - but what was ur question? If it was the one addressed to Cris, I'm going to need you to explain what Ockham's razor is - and please tell me more about Josephius/Q. As for the posts above that... well, there isn't really much to say.
    Hope I'm not being an ass...

    EDIT: Raithere - I think I get it; Christianity
    . Don't know how far this can go as an "argument", but I'll still bring it up. I suspect it's one of those things you begin to understand with time.

    Also, if you have time can you elaborate on:
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2002
  21. axonio98 Banned Banned

    Please don't kick my ass, but didn't God made atheists too

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    I'm sure there are good atheists somewere. Isn't that what counts. I'm also sure there are very bad christians too.
  22. inspector Registered Senior Member

    "but didn't God made atheists too. I'm sure there are good atheists somewere. Isn't that what counts. I'm also sure there are very bad christians too."

    No. God made people. However, the introduction of sin in the Garden of Eden changed the rules. With our own free will and a sinful nature, we now have the ability to choose to be good or bad, right or wrong. Yes, there are bad people in this world, regardless of the self-imposed title they give themselves.

  23. axonio98 Banned Banned

    In many cultures there are myths of people being punished because of their search for knowledge. If God or the Gods didn't want us to have that knowledge, i gess they should have made us stupid and without curiosity. I guess we all make mistakes.

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