In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Doubts of Faith - Hell

Fist off I want to make it clear that I absolutely believe in the existence of Hell. I just don't like it. It doesn't seem reasonable, fair, loving or kind to me. I'm not comfortable with it.

The thing I like best about Christianity is Jesus. When Jesus began His earthly ministry he spoke of His mission to bring the good news of healing and freedom, He was compassionate, He spent time with people who weren't popular, He was merciful, He had time for children. Jesus was tempted and didn't sin, and He died on the cross for me. Yes, I really adore Jesus. But you know what? Jesus had a lot to say about Hell.

Jesus described Hell as a place of torment and agony, a place where both a person's body and soul would be destroyed, a place where the fire is not quenched, and a place of darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus taught that people end up either in heaven or hell based on if they accept His sacrifice on their behalf and follow after Him, or not. So Hell is one of those Bible truths that I referred to in my preamble when I said I don't like it, but choose to believe in it because it is clearly taught in the Bible.

A small incident that occurred recently, underscores what seems all wrong to me about Hell. I watched a 2010 rendition of the Diary of Anne Frank on TV. As is typical, I wept in the ending where it showed the Franks and their attic mates being found and taken by the Nazis. Following that scene, this rendition went on to print out how each of them died, accounting how Anne died in a concentration camp. Later when I was talking with my husband John the thought came to both he and myself that it was possible that both Anne and Hitler ended up in Hell. Boy does that seem totally unreasonable! Hitler in hell seems just, but one of his victims- my heart says that's not fair! Now John went on to think it through and say that Anne may still have been a child and not at the "age of reason", also that God looks at the heart so we do not really know where Anne or anyone else ends up. While John's thoughts are true, they don't really address the larger issue that looms for me - there are lots and lots of wonderful people who have not accepted Christ as their savior and Lord and the Bible says they are all going to Hell. I hate that. Of course, the Bible does say that God's heart is that He loves mankind and so sent Jesus so that humanity could have a path to Him and avoid Hell.

Issues like Hell, are doubts of faith for me because they are Bible truths that I do not like or that do not seem right to me. When faced with this, I choose to be honest about how I feel, and still trust God. I often quote a phrase from a Steven Curtis Chapman song that says "God is God and I am not". I like how Michelle said in her comment on my my preamble, with regard to doubts in general, that she has faith but that it may be little. I have little faith too. I'm sure grateful that God takes my little faith and still chooses to bless and use me.

What about you, are you comfortable with the Bible teaching concerning Hell?

86 comments:

Michelle said...

Doubts of hell are abounding! I'm not sure if it's specifically about the existence of hell or about what hell is. Is hell fire and brimstone, or is hell seperation from God...which is worse than fire and brimstone technically.

I have yet to come to any conclusion on hell. A pastor I listen to has some interesting thoughts on hell. He talks about how in our natural hearts, as children of wrath, if the gates of hell were opened people would still not come out because they hate God that much. It seems cruel and unusual to us, but I believe God's justice is on a whole new level. It is hard to come to grips that some "good" people may be seperated from God for eternity. But really, who is good? Our righteousness is as filthy rags and if Christ's blood does not account for our righteousness, we're just like Hitler.

GCT said...

IMO, the reason you have doubts when it comes to hell is because you are a good person and you see that hell is unjust. We revile at the thought of someone like Anne Frank ending up in hell as well as another person (non-Xian) like Ghandi, because we recognize that it's completely unjust to send people to hell for not believing the right things. So, why do we believe that the being that created this torment and sets up the unjust rules that allow good people to go there is a benevolent, kind, fair, and/or loving god? This is contradictory.

I'd even go a step further and say that not even Hitler would deserve infinite torture.

If god loves mankind, why set up hell at all? Would you be able to send a loved one to hell? Would you be able to send a loved one to any sort of torture? Would you sit idly by while a loved one did things that you knew 100% would lead them to torture? god does all of these things and more if we are to believe the tenets of Xianity.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Your feelings of unjustness (I hope there's such a word ... otherwise I've just invented it and will Copyright it).

Anyway, I must stop interrupting myself ... as I was saying; your feelings of unfairness about who may end up in hell only goes to show what a nice and kind person you are.

But remember; God created us in His image (that's in the Bible too) so it is right to assume that He is nice and kind too. And merciful, and loving as well as all-knowing.

So when He comes to decide who does go to hell we can rest assured that He does not make mistakes.

No one goes to hell by mistake. I repeat - no one goes there because of some clerical or computer error. Or because their name is on the wrong database.

God decides each case on its own merit. He knows what we believed or did not believe, what we did or did not do and our real intentions.

Aren't we glad that it is Him deciding and not us?

God bless you. Great post as always.

Tony C said...

I agree completely that Hell is an uncomfortable subject matter for Christians...and should be.

I don't believe we can be scared into Heaven in fear of going to Hell. I love God because He first loved me.

I do, however, feel anguish over Hell. I will one day account for the souls I've encountered and failed to go the next step in bringing God's Word to them. That's on me...not on God.

dsjohndrow said...

I guess its Hell week in the blog-o-sphere.

I think the best place to start is with God. He is holy, and cannot contact sin. We have read it, but I don't think that we get it when it says, we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) In order for Him to give us our free will, we had to be able to choose something other than God, or it would be control and not love.

We are made in His image, so we get to choose for or against sin. Jesus had the same choice. God's plan is simply for us to have faith in the sacrifice that He sent to receive our just punishment; Jesus. Without the sacrifice we are toast. Even Moses could not see the full glory of God or he too would have been toast.

Jesus said that he wanted all men to be saved. John 3:16-17. Because God is holy, and his sacrifice was holy, sin and death have lost it's power for those that believe.

There is a lot of noise about the judgment and the requirements for salvation. Romans 2:15-16 says, in the context of knowing God outside of Jesus Christ, he will look for what is written in the heart of the man. The "age of justification", the one that sincerely cries out, and the one who sincerely dedicates their life at the altar to Jesus - that faith is enough to write on the heart.

Hell, or the Lake of Fire (sounds like a vacation spot in Mexico) was meant for Satan and his demons, not us! God intended for us all to make it - to have faith.

But because He is just, he cannot allow the sinful, or unrighteousness, as it sometimes translated, to be in His presence for it would cause them to burn. That is why we need a glorified body in Heaven! This one would burn in the presence of the glory of God.

Truthfully - it is more than fair to be banished from Heaven then to be tormented in the presence of a holy God. Just look at the judgements of the Holy God against Egypt and every other national that has come against Israel and the body of Christ.

If we don't understand holiness, then repentance and just punishment will make no sense at all - making it all seem unfair.

Tracy said...

Michelle - I think you're right that:
*The subject of Hell brings up a lot for a lot of us.
*Being separated from God would be the worst.
It was funny 'cuz I went over to one of my favorite blogs (The Church of No People) today and Matt had posted on hell as well; he mentioned a book by CS Lewis - the Great Divorce - that I'm going to have to check out.

GCT - Knew you'd relate to some of my thoughts here. I repeatedly see a tender heart in you that is moved by the pain of people and wants good for people.

Victor - Perhaps only someone with a heart like yours could see someone like me, with all my questions and doubts, in such a positive light. Adore your words about the fact that we can trust God and there won't be any data base errors about who ends up in heaven or hell.

Tony - Perhaps you're right, that all Christians should be moved at the thought of hell. Moved to do whatever we can to ensure people have an opportunity to respond to heaven.

David - You make such a good point that hell can't make any sense at all until it's put into perspective. God is holy. I'm certain that you're right; for me, I know that I deserve hell, and I'm grateful beyond what I can ever express for God's gift of faith to trust Him for salvation and to follow after Him.

May said...

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. Mark 9:44

John Cowart said...

Hi Tracy,
Interesting questions you pose here, ones I'm going to have to think about a bit before I can comment.

I'm slow in my thinking and have a hard time making a quick comment off the top of my head. I want to percolate for a couple of days, then I'll try to respond on my blog.

You've given me a lot to think about.... Again.

John

tinkbell13 said...

Tracey

No offense. But, this is one of the most malicious things that I have ever read;

Later when I was talking with my husband John the thought came to both he and myself that it was possible that both Anne and Hitler ended up in Hell. Boy does that seem totally unreasonable! Hitler in hell seems just, but one of his victims- my heart says that's not fair!

I really would not like to believe that it is you, because the rest of the posting seems to indicate that you are wrestling with the implications of having such a thought. However, if I took a step back, and saw that a belief system had caused me to write such a thing, I would have to really question what I was doing. I would hope that you are intelligent enough to look at this objectively and see it for what it is.

dsjohndrow said...

You know, I was thinking, Jesus didn't come to make bad people good, He came to make dead people live. Even Mother Theresa needed a savior.

It's easy to sit and try to draw lines and say "if a person does ________ (or worse), then they should suffer in hell." The Bible is clear. It's says ALL need to choose. That way it is completely fair - anyone can make the choice by faith.

My previous comment explains why.

JD Curtis said...

How can any of you state with any degree of certainty that Anne Frank (or Ghandi for that matter) is in Hell? Prove it to me.


Only God knows the heart of a person and He will judge. Not me or anyone else.

I thought D James Kennedy had an interesting reply to the question, Do you mean to tell me God is going to send some poor person from Africa or Asia or China to hell for simply not believing in a Christ he's never heard of?

To which Kennedy replied... "My short answer would be: No, I do not think God would send them to hell for their ignorance". Kennedy goes on to say that it's quite possible that some other factor could send that person to hell. Perhaps such a person would be judged by a different standard.

ethinethin said...

@JD
"Perhaps such a person would be judged by a different standard."

Which is not supported by scripture, is it? Why wouldn't this different standard be mentioned in the infallible word of God?

Regarding the topic of hell, it is quite difficult to reconcile the thought of infinite punishment coming from a loving God. It takes a very large cognitive dissonance to believe these two contradictory ideas.

While Christians like to say "God gives us a way out of Hell", they're ignoring the fact that God was the one who created this hell in the first place. Wouldn't a loving God have thought of a better way to love us than to infinitely punish us for being the way he created us? Does he still love and feel sorrow for the people who end up in Hell?

Duane Scott said...

It actually scares the living daylights out of me. But I believe in hell. And I believe the Bible. So, I'm not going to shy away from what the Bible teaches about it.

photogr said...

I really don't know who gets on the train to Hell, nor does any one else still alive so far. So we have to go by what is said in scriptures.

Taking that into account, I also realize the scriptures were also translated from the Greek and Hebrew texts about 300 AD. So possibly the translations and possibly some liberties were taken by the scholars and monks of that day. However, we have to take the scriptures as fact for now or to a degree as fact.

However, I do believe that a hell exist ( and it might be here on earth now) and really don't choose to be on the train to there. I would have to hope there is a heaven that may have different levels based on your service to other humans or your level of faith. I know that Paul mentions that fact of levels in heaven in one of his visions.

I am sure in the coming times we will finally get to find out one way or another.

Ghandi, Anne Frank, or Mother Teresa I am sure has a place in heaven's eternity based soley on their humanitariian actions. Wouldn't you think so too?

Hitler, Stalin, or other demons. I don't think they may have made it though. I am not one in a position to judge them.

I would have to imagine I have different views of a possible heaven or hell that might not be main stream Christian but I do feel that Jesus was setting up the possibility of a free pass to a better place if we would only believe in Him as our Divine Saviour no matter what we were in this life time.

Who really does know for sure? Only by faith in the possibilities can we hope for a better life. With out faith in something, we are already dead.

JD Curtis said...

Why wouldn't this different standard be mentioned in the infallible word of God?

Also not mentioned in the Bible is the word "Trinity" and yet after much study of God's word, it is a cornerstone of orthodox Christian faith.

There is also this concept known as predestination which posits "that God is sovereign over everything that He creates, including the final end of all men".

If it pleases God to dispense grace to somebody, then why wouldnt he? Even if the person by our limited knowledge and standards, seems not to deserve it? I know that I don't deserve His grace, yet I'm willing to let God be God and He can save whomever He pleases.

Wouldn't a loving God have thought of a better way to love us than to infinitely punish us for being the way he created us?

Wouldnt a just God have to punish sin? If He didnt, then He wouldnt be much of righteous God then, would he?

Is He punishing us for being the way He created us or is He administering judgement concerning a lifetime of sin and a rejection of Him and His ways?

Does he still love and feel sorrow for the people who end up in Hell?

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Tracy said...

I take comfort in the fact that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I tend to agree with Tony and Duane that I try to keep it simple and stick with the Bible, even when I'm not comfortable with what it says. I can't get past those words of Jesus describing hell that I've linked here - if I believe scripture thean it must exist. When it's all said and done, I'm with you JD on 2 big points:
1-Only God knows who ends up where. And like Victor said, God doesn't make errors.
2-Adore the 2 Peter 3:9 quote, that God doesn't want any to perish, He wants us all to turn to Him and repent.

Being Me said...

Hell could be a place on earth while one lives too. It's through that suffering only that seems to enable us to find meaning and a purpose to our life.

God gives us many chances to enter Heaven but the way is through experiencing true love for our fellow man and sometimes that way is by walking through hell.

For some, they may choose to stay there and so it becomes eternity.

BM

May said...

Hi Tracy,
Stop by to grab your award. Have a great day.

BlancaMcleroy1230 said...

Well done!........................................

GCT said...

It's amazing to me how much Xian tenets and scriptures get thrown out when the barbarity and immorality of the Xian faith is presented.

For all those who claim that only god knows who goes to heaven and not, that much is listed in the Bible, but don't pretend that the Bible doesn't give us a clue as to what is necessary. It tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Those who believe in Jesus can attain salvation, no others will. It also teaches us that no one may get to heaven on their own, because in our hearts we are all wicked sinners.

So, let's apply this to Anne Frank, shall we? If we look at her heart, she would not be in heaven due to the fact that she's human and therefore a wicked sinner. So, if god is judging her heart, then she's guilty and worthy of hell according to Xianity.

If we try to cop out to the idea that god looks at what we truly believe, we have to say that Anne did not believe in Jesus (she was Jewish) and therefore did not have the requisite beliefs needed to be considered for salvation, and therefore went to hell.

It's nice that all the Xians here seem to grasp that this is rather unjust, inhumane, immoral, etc. so why spend your time trying to defend the indefensible?

Lastly, if god wants us all to go to heaven, then how is this plan of god's where all humans are destined for hell unless given his grace (which is granted to a minority of people as the Bible describes) not a colossal failure on the part of god?

GCT said...

"Wouldnt a just God have to punish sin? If He didnt, then He wouldnt be much of righteous God then, would he?"

That would be like telling your puppy not to get on the couch, placing the puppy on the couch, then punishing the puppy for being on the couch.

Tracy said...

GCT-Strange as it seems, because you and I come from such vastly different world-views/belief-systems, you often understand where I come from on an emotional level. Frequently when I've posted here, I've sensed that you understand the feelings I'm expressing. You've certainly nailed my dilemma that I tried to express when I wrote about the Anne Frank thing. I think it's a basic human thing, perhaps temperament too. I sense in you a kind heart that cares about people.

I actually agree with you that sometimes as Christians we say we believe the Bible, but then ignore it,or say a bunch of stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with what the Bible says, when we don't like what it says. Hell being the perfect example. I'm not as good a writer as I'd like to be. But what I was trying to express here is that I do not at all like what the Bible says about Hell, to my human brain it seems all wrong. But when I read those Bible passages that I've linked here in this post, I can't get away from the fact that the Bible records Jesus as saying a lot about Hell.

The reason I said that only God knows our hearts is not because I am denying that the Bible says that - admitting that we are sinners separated from a Holy God, believing that Jesus died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for all time for all of mankind's sin, choosing to put one's faith in Jesus' sacrifice and to follow after God - this is the pathway to God and heaven. I'm just saying that as humans we never know what goes on in another human's heart, so I do not believe we can ever be the judge of who will be in heaven or hell. I do however choose to trust that God judges perfectly.

I really meant what I said in my preamble to this post about having tasted/experienced God, and because of that, knowing His love and being given the faith to be able to continue to trust Him even when something He says (in the Bible or into my spirit) doesn't make logical sense to me. Wish I was more adept at explaining this.

tinkbell13 said...

GCT- Exactly. What you have here is having your cake, but complaining that it did not come in your favorite flavor. Instead of just looking at it as one of many choices available in a wide range of desserts and seeing it for what is.

I still stand by what I said. This doctrine enables people to have a "mask of compassion" for all living things. Then, the more enlightened ones struggle with the mixed messages of hate that this rhetoric instills in them. And, then having the nerve to stand by it because they interpret the scripture as making it seem "helpless". As Howard Zinn says (another Jew who will go to Hell, even though he was one of our most influential civil rights activists in the twentieth century and we all collectively reap the benefits of his advocacy everyday), "You cannot stay neutral on a moving train." I know that I am not.

GCT said...

Tracy,
As I said above, the reason you have your doubts about hell is because you are deep down a good person and concerned with equity, fairness, etc. You feel uncomfortable with hell, because you've used your reason and moral sense to determine that it isn't moral or just or fair or right to put people like Anne Frank in hell for eternity (I would go a step further and say hell is unjust for anyone, including Hitler). Yet, you still have the issue of clinging to god and trying to find ways to apologize for the actions that you rightly identify as immoral. Why is that?

Whatever your beliefs about how god acts for your personal behalf, does that mean that god is moral, good, etc? If a serial killer treated you nicely, would that make that person a good, moral person? Of course not. When examining god, you need to take all his actions into account before proclaiming that god is good, moral, just, etc. It's a cop out to claim that god simply is those things regardless of his actions, because it simply wouldn't be true without also claiming relative morality.

Lastly, I understand why you are claiming that only god knows people's hearts, but it's pretty obvious that some people - good people - did not and do not believe in Jesus as is required by the Bible. Ghandi was a Hindu, and no amount of quibbling is going to make that any different. According to the Bible, Ghandi is burning in hell as we speak, as would be Anne Frank.

tinkbell13 said...

GCT- Exactly right again. To even put it more in perspective.

All monsters have a kind and human side, depending on whose perspective you encounter. Charles Manson's folllowers adored him, mobsters families and children love them- John Gotti was convicted of 13 murders, and a reality show was made about his family. All dark creatures that instill moral outrage in all of us have people who did not see them that way.

Anne Frank was a meaningful voice and symbol of universal hope. She is a reminder of how ugly the human race can be, and her message has been brought to all people regardless of religion. Her life was not in vain. To take the memory of this innocent child and to place it within this framework is nothing short of shameful. And this type of demeaning rhetoric created this type of delusional rationalization.

You cannot stay neutral on a moving train.

John Cowart said...

Hi Tracy,
I'm a day late and a dollar short as usual but yesterday I wrote one hell of a post called... Er, let me reword that:
Yesterday, encouraged by your observations, I wrote a post about Hell, called "The Nicest Guy In Hell".
Hope you enjoy it.
John

JD Curtis said...

we have to say that Anne did not believe in Jesus (she was Jewish) and therefore did not have the requisite beliefs needed to be considered for salvation, and therefore went to hell

And why do we "have to say" this? Because some putz going by the screen name GCT somehow teleported back through time to 1945 Bergen Belsen and observed for a fact that Anne Frank never made a confession of faith? Ever? And of course he can now demonstably prove this because he recorded many hours of video while he was there?

Or that Superputz was there and somehow knows who was/is predestined and who is not?

Of course we "have to say" this. To do otherwise would rob the putz-atheist in question of his latest appeal to emotion fallacy in which he can rail against a God he supposedly doesnt believe in by putting forth as fact that Anne Frank is in hell now as surely as I am in Florida as I write this.

To take the memory of this innocent child and to place it within this framework is nothing short of shameful

Write this date down Tink. We actually agree for once.

JD Curtis said...

When examining god, you need to take all his actions into account before proclaiming that god is good, moral, just, etc. It's a cop out to claim that god simply is those things regardless of his actions, because it simply wouldn't be true without also claiming relative morality

This is almost mind-numbingly stupid. Reading this passage was akin to drinking a slurpee too fast.

Since God is eternal, then how do we know the consequences of God's actions if our ability to know the full effects and consequences of His actions is quite limited? Does He explain every detail to us along the way? No. Are we able to record every single effect of said actions by God? No.

So then let's judge Him with the very limited knowledge that we have. It's not like there's anything eternal riding on this. We can twist things around to make GOD evil and not ourselves and viola, I can have any lifestyle choice that I want and won't have to worry about consequences someday. Because afterall, I have God figured out and in the unlikely event that I ever have to stand tall before him someday, I can point out how wrong he actually was all this time. Why, He'll probably THANK ME for it in the end. Bwah ha ha ha!

Tracy said...

JD, I think you make a valid point that perspective is an issue here. How can we, finite people, judge the eternal creator of the universe? I was by no means trying to do that, but rather being honest about my doubts of faith. I'm reminded of a verse in Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV):

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

However, while I disagree with GCT's conclusions, I appreciate his comments. In fact, I think GCT understands Christianity's tenants more than some of the Christians who've commented here. His explanation when he said this was spot on:

"don't pretend that the Bible doesn't give us a clue as to what is necessary. It tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Those who believe in Jesus can attain salvation, no others will. It also teaches us that no one may get to heaven on their own, because in our hearts we are all wicked sinners."

On this same theme, John Cowart makes 2 points over on his blog that make a powerful point:

“I have no problem believing in Hell, it’s Heaven that I question.”

“There is no one who does not deserve Hell. The amazing thig is that God redeems anybody; He’s not obligated to. When it comes to Hell, we’ve earned our place there. We qualify.”

I know I do. Even my best is nothing when compared to the perfection and holiness of God. When I look at it this way, it makes more sense.

However, my entire point in posting my Doubts of Faith is to show that we can be unclear, unsure, and still be of faith.

GCT said...

"And why do we "have to say" this?"

Because, JD, unless you are willing to argue that Anne Frank was secretly a Xian and secretly believed in Jesus, all the while professing to be Jewish, we have no reason to doubt that she was, in fact, Jewish. Of course, if you are going to post hoc claim that all people you consider to be good people and worthy of heaven were really, secretly believers in Jesus so that you can claim they are in heaven, then I'm going to point out that they couldn't have all been Scottish.

"Since God is eternal, then how do we know the consequences of God's actions if our ability to know the full effects and consequences of His actions is quite limited?"

So, are you claiming not to know the consequences of eternal torment? This is a ridiculous stance for you to take and doesn't dispute the point I made.

"Does He explain every detail to us along the way? No. Are we able to record every single effect of said actions by God? No."

This is an impossible standard that would make it impossible to also judge any person as good or bad. Do you know every single detail that happened in Hitler's head or every single effect of said actions by Hitler? No. So, therefore, who are you to judge Hitler?

"We can twist things around to make GOD evil and not ourselves..."

Not only are you creating straw men to flog here, but you are also assuming your conclusions, setting up a false dichotomy, and moving goal posts. Wow, that could be a record - 4 fallacies in one statement! Care to try again, especially after making such grandiose claims about how my points (which you've utterly failed to address) were "almost mind-numbingly stupid," and like, "drinking a slurpee too fast?" Perhaps you should focus less on bluster and insult and more on the content of your posts.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"JD, I think you make a valid point that perspective is an issue here. How can we, finite people, judge the eternal creator of the universe?"

Then you can't claim god is good, since that is making a judgement. If you wish to contend that we don't have enough information to indict god, then we can't turn around and claim to have enough information to say he's good. You can't have it both ways.

Quoting John:
“There is no one who does not deserve Hell. The amazing thig is that God redeems anybody; He’s not obligated to. When it comes to Hell, we’ve earned our place there. We qualify.”

This is what I object to. No one deserves hell, least of all humans who were created in this state of supposedly deserving hell. I know that this is what Xianity teaches, and it's an abominable/hateful doctrine.

"I know I do. Even my best is nothing when compared to the perfection and holiness of God."

A) Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that you and all the people in the world deserve to be tortured for eternity?

B) This is another example of begging the question. You're assuming that god is holy/perfect and therefore justified in torturing you for eternity, even though it's contradictory for a good/holy/perfect being to fail so miserably and resort to strictly punitive torture. What sort of "good" being tortures other beings?

tinkbell13 said...

In Canada, we have to read The Diary of Anne Frank every year of our lives from Grade Six on. We have to read the little kids version, then the longer, more adult version later on. She was Jewish.

Might I still point out, the core of this message has not been addressed. Saying "The Bible Said" does not make it right.

David-FireAndGrace said...

A lot of nice thoughts...

A) God is the sole judge, and He will judge based only 1 criteria. That which is written on a man's heart. Period.

Romans 2:14-16 (NIV)
14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who DO NOT HAVE THE LAW, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

B) Anyone can have a relationship with Jesus - they don't have to read a Bible to get it. They have to communicate with the living God.

John 10:3 (NIV) The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name.

C) As wonderful as we may seem, the humanitarian and peaceful works of man, they are not considered in the "criteria" of salvation. There are heavenly rewards for works which will alos be judged by GOd.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NIV) 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Why is it that we focus on Hell, when we should be searching for God - not debating religion and philosophy. No one ever debated themselves into a relationship with God. There is no Christian that is an expert in all the Bible - sorry - it is a team sport.

What I find is a lot of folks that want set up their own rules, have their own personal theology, and if God happens to really be a part of that, cool. If not, they go on their merry way making things up as they go along.

If you can sit there and tell yourself how wonderful you are - let's say Gandhi is assuredly in Heaven with God - how do you compare? How about Mother Theresa? How about Chuck Colson? How do we draw the line? And what's good anyway? Not smoking, not murdering, not looking at pornography, staying married until the end? It quickly becomes very subjective - Jesus said that we all have sinned, just receive it.

And you said, that's too easy?

tinkbell13 said...

@ David Fire and Grace

This is not the point AT ALL. What we are talking about is the social ramifications of having a "relationship" with God, and this posting is a very clear consequence of it. Most of us who are kicking up a fuss here do not believe in God, do not believe in Hell, and your scripture quotes are a moot point. We are talking about how indoctrination fosters discord between people, and just cause the Bible enables people to have these types of thoughts does not make it right. No way, no how. If people continue to accept this type of teaching, the world is doomed.

Aside from that, there is no attempt to historically contextualize these types of ideas within an appropriate framework. Why were the Jews portrayed this way? What is the subtext here? Instead, there is just blind acceptance, tinged with guilt at having this awareness. That is the gist of the argument. Think outside the biblical box, and see it for what it is.

Tony C said...

@tinkbell13 I find the paradox in your last statement compelling. If you yourself don't believe in God or in Hell, why are you threatened by the words of a book you find moot or by the people who do?

The world has survived 2,000 years with Christian principles and concepts around, I think we'll make it at least another 100 or so...and by that time it won't matter in a temporal way to anyone commenting here.

By the way, Christians who think outside the 'biblical box' aren't really true followers of Christ. The Bible is our playbook and freelancing isn't encouraged or condoned.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Tinkbel13 - Thanks for the reply. I guess I am confused, Christianity which is completely described in the Bible; which is our handbook - well for those the actually read it - "gospel." Real Christians believe that it is the word of God. Conversely those that don't believe it are not real Christians. To go outside the box would be heresy.

I am sure you thinking how narrow minded that might be, but I assure you, I have checked out a number of religions and traveled pretty extensively experiencing Christianity many other cultures. I've been outside the box --

So let's get to the facts. Real Christians base their lives on the Bible - the rest are hypocrites. Christians believe that it contains THE spiritual truth, for which Hell is part of that reality. The only debate one can have about hell is based on the Scriptures - everything else is a moot point because it is simply an idea.

If the sacred texts have no value to you personally, that does not negate their existence or viability to the faithful - and as Tony stated, they have stood the test of time very well. They are for the most part accepted as historical and authentic. Sure, I know there are websites out there saying otherwise -not everything on the Internet is true - just sayin.

The social ramifications of hell, or any religious paradigm is either a reflection of truth or a lie. But since we can't define spiritual truth (outside of the Bible in my belief system) then then there is no way that we can rationalize Hell nor can any other perceived theoretical arguments be logically resolved. In order for that to happen, something would have to be true.

Therefore; there isn't a framework for which this can be debated unless we agree on the facts.

That said, for those that have sincerely called on the God, and know Him, the Bible is teeming with life and truth. Everything else is debate - and you can see by the comments above that everyone has a different idea - but the Bible only has 1. For those that call themselves Christians, if they can't support it with scripture, it should be suspect to all.

So, like the puppy on the couch, if we sit there with our own thoughts, and never read the Bible from cover to cover (to become a dog), searching for God, what is there really to debate? The existence of Hell is a Judeo-Christian truth, one in which others have imagined in ways that do not line up with the Scriptures.

I suppose the when the the human condition becomes painful enough, man will look for God. Until then, he will rely on intellect, and rationalization or logic, all which is not inherit in the supernatural kingdom of God.

Blessings of every sort.

tinkbell13 said...

Tony C

I find your choice of the word "threatening" to be interesting.

If you would look back, I am saying that the bigotry of that book does not condone prejudice in real life. Like it or not, Christianity fosters its followers to view nonbelievers as the "others" and as a Citizen of Planet Earth, that concerns me. This type of perception has dangerous social consequences for both you and me. And, it most certainly has for Jewish people, in all eras of life.

I really could not care less what you think a follower is or what a follower is not. Your interpretation of Christianity does not concern me. What does concern me is that all of us nonbelievers are the only ones (and JD too, which is a shock) are calling this what it is- Cruel and Malicious.

tinkbell13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tinkbell13 said...

At David Fire and Grace

I understand that you feel that you have the answers. When I say to look outside the biblical box, I would encourage you to start placing the Bible in context. Like all documents (which is what it is, it is manmade), it reflects the historical, political, sociocultural, and scientific values and beliefs of its time. Just as a book like the Grapes of Wrath or War And Peace captures moments of the societies from which they came from. I know that, in your mind, these comparisons are apples and oranges, but in my mind they are not.

I am always blown away by how little Christians actually know of how the Bible was created, and who made it. This Anti Semitism is there for a reason, it is not up to me to teach history here. Might I remind you that the Jewish people have always been faced with hostility, and these attitudes are very dangerous. Empower yourself, learn some Jewish history, learn about the canonization process, learn about the political forces at work during this time. Then, you would understand why we take offense to this. And, maybe you would all understand why this concrete, dichotomous approach to Christianity exists.

If anything comes from taking on this debate, I hope that you all start looking at non Christians with some element of real compassion. I also hope that you become more aware of the subtext of this book that seems to be taken so literally, and begin to embark on gaining a deeper understanding of why it says what it does. You never know, you might learn something and gain a deeper appreciation of your faith.

tinkbell13 said...

"If you don't know history, it is as if you were born yesterday."
— Howard Zinn

Tony C said...

@tinkbell13 My choice of the word 'threatening' is a direct reflection of your choice of the word 'doomed'. I assure you my demeanor in no way is postured to be threatening to you or anyone else.

There are so many sects of society that naturally create we/they dichotomies, it would be impossible to list them all. Christianity is far from unique in this aspect. I do believe one distinction somewhat sets us apart in that any true follower of Christ wants to see the separation vanish with all non-believers chosing to become believers, but Hell or the fear of Hell is not the vehicle we should use to encourage that choice. Our reflection of God's love should be the draw to bring non-believers to a personal relationship with the Creator of all through Christ.

Having once been agnostic, I've spent a great deal of time researching many of the things you mention...especially the canonization of the Bible. The evidence is overwhelming that the four Gospels are historically accurate and consistent. There is no objective way to conclude otherwise, and believe me I tried.

Your oft references to Jews and anti-Semitism as a basis for Christianity is perplexing to me. Why would Christianity as a movement chose a Jew to be its vessel? Christianity as a faith is not anti-anybody, as a matter of fact, I believe it is quite the opposite. Just because people like Mel Gibson decide to be jerks in the name of Jesus doesn't make it of Jesus. Judah(Jew) plays a significant role in fallen man being able, through God's plan, to return to Him.

Be careful with that paintbrush...you're making awfully broad strokes.

tinkbell13 said...

@ Tony C

I assure you my paintbrush is not broad, and it is very clear to me that you have not researched deep enough. I never said that Anti Semitism is a basis for Christianity, however I will directly say that it is part of the puzzle. Especially, the political puzzle, and it was also compounded on the other side by the Orthodox Jews working to discredit the threat of Chrisitianity, which was not as effective. Here is a link to an article if you wish to continue your research;

http://www.sandrawilliams.org/ANTI/anti-semitism.html

As for your vessel question- that is covered in the article, if you are interested. "The Jews rejected Jesus because He failed, in their eyes, to do what they expected their Messiah to do—destroy evil and all their enemies and establish an eternal kingdom with Israel as the preeminent nation in the world. The prophecies in Isaiah and Psalm 22 described a suffering Messiah who would be persecuted and killed, but they chose to focus instead on those prophecies that discussed His glorious victories, not His crucifixion."

You can believe that Christianity is not anti anybody, that is your right. I also believe that a religion that is established on the premise that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ is most certainly anti anybody who does not believe in Jesus Christ. Beginning with the Jews, who were quite stubborn in their refusal of this "Messiah". I would also encourage you to look a little deeper at the historical accuracy of the Gospels, some of which were written fifty years after the fact. I would encourage you to discuss the validity of first hand knowledge with a lawyer, especially fifty years later, and see if such testimony would be deemed credible today. Research and empirical testing has made this what it is- absurd.

I have no idea why you would discuss Mel Gibson within this debate- at no time did anyone mention him. I really do not have the slightest care what he thinks.

JD Curtis said...

unless you are willing to argue that Anne Frank was secretly a Xian and secretly believed in Jesus, all the while professing to be Jewish, we have no reason to doubt that she was, in fact, Jewish

Trust me Ace. That's just ONE possiblility that I could raise. Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple more that would make it likely that she actually IS in heaven. But I digress. On to your points.

I note that you changed my statement from speculating how you could possibly know for a FACT "that Anne Frank never made a confession of faith? Ever?" (This would include her last dying days) to her being a "secretly" practicing Christian. Bravo, but the survey says BRRRRK! Try again Einstein.

if you are going to post hoc claim that all people you consider to be good people and worthy of heaven were really, secretly believers in Jesus so that you can claim they are in heaven, then I'm going to point out that they couldn't have all been Scottish

Where did I state that all people I "consider to be good people and worthy of heaven were really, secretly believers in Jesus"? Please cite where I mentioned this or this is going to look like two, quick strawmen in a row.

This next one is a bit more slick than usual on your part. I stated...

"Since God is eternal, then how do we know the consequences of God's actions if our ability to know the full effects and consequences of His actions is quite limited?"

To which you replied..."So, are you claiming not to know the consequences of eternal torment? This is a ridiculous stance for you to take and doesn't dispute the point I made.

Exactly where did I state that my above question was in reference to damnation? God gets criticized by the godless for alot of things attributed to Him in the Bible. Why did you just pluck damnation out of the air when I didnt mention it at all? I was just speaking in a general sense.

Next, I stated.."Does He explain every detail to us along the way? No. Are we able to record every single effect of said actions by God? No."

To which you replied.."This is an impossible standard that would make it impossible to also judge any person as good or bad."

Ahhh, but this commits the error of thinking that God is a creature even remotely like us which the Bible states, He absolutely is not anything like "persons".


Do you know every single detail that happened in Hitler's head or every single effect of said actions by Hitler? No. So, therefore, who are you to judge Hitler?

Again, Hitler was a human being like me and you, not a divine God. I can judge his actions and so can you. Apples..oranges.

Now GCT, I have a question for you if I may.

To what degree of certainty do you believe that Anne Frank "went to hell"?

100.00%? Down to two, unyielding decimal points?

A bit less, say 85%

Or perhaps 60%?

Tell me, how certain are you?

Gandolf said...

JD said..."I thought D James Kennedy had an interesting reply to the question, Do you mean to tell me God is going to send some poor person from Africa or Asia or China to hell for simply not believing in a Christ he's never heard of?

To which Kennedy replied... "My short answer would be: No, I do not think God would send them to hell for their ignorance". Kennedy goes on to say that it's quite possible that some other factor could send that person to hell. Perhaps such a person would be judged by a different standard."

Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"
Priest: "No, not if you did not know."
Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?"
Annie Dillard, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"

So why do humans bother messing with guessing faith JD. To make use of fear factor to be able to gain control so as to get to rule folks

----------------

Tracy said..."How can we, finite people, judge the eternal creator of the universe? I was by no means trying to do that, but rather being honest about my doubts of faith. I'm reminded of a verse in Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV):


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."

So in actual HONEST fact, realistically folks have little real good reason for being so sure about whats being taught by Christianity or the bible or any human faith do they.

Thoughts contained within any faith belief have no guarantee of actually being thoughts or ways of the lord.

Its just as likely Tracy has very valid good reason to not feel comfortable.Tracy likely would also have good reason to not feel comfortable if she was Muslim in the Islamic faith also.

The reason is its often just becomes simply so very plain to see the mere human overtones glaring through the covers of all these faith beliefs.

---------------

All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.
Marie Henri Beyle (1783-1842)

tinkbell13 said...

Amen to that Gandolf.

Twin-Daddy said...

If the penalty for sin is eternal damnation and seperation from God.

Then wouldn't jesus still be burning in hell?

You might try to argue that since he was perfect then he gets a free pass. This doesn't really work though as when he was crucified God saw him as evil and should punish him accordingly..

If Christianity is real, then Jesus can't be hearing your prayers.. he's in hell.

JD Curtis said...

If the penalty for sin is eternal damnation and seperation from God.

Then wouldn't jesus still be burning in hell?


Your entire post is completely wrong from beginning to end.
Please begin by listing for us all of the sins committed by Jesus Christ.

You might try to argue that since he was perfect then he gets a free pass. This doesn't really work though as when he was crucified God saw him as evil and should punish him accordingly..

Substantiate the claim that when Christ was crucified, "God saw him as evil" rather than as a blameless, sacrificial lamb that bore our sins.

Twin-Daddy said...

According to bible, the penalty for my sin would be eternal separation from God. Not to necessarily die on a cross. Let's assume that Jesus was God and he was only going through the motions as you suggest. Dying on a cross, while unpleasant isn't really that much of a sacrifice, I mean, if he new he was going to bounce right back up within a few days, then it's not really that big of a deal. To fully pay the penalty for sin, Jesus would have to fully pay the penalty. That penalty is eternal separation.

2 Corinthians 5:21: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

You asked me if Jesus sinned, certainly he did, just read the bible.. Here you go.

Jesus harvested on the sabbath. While he may have been caught doing it and made up an excuse, he still broke the law.Assuming that the old testament laws were put into place to show man that he couldn't possibly keep the law, then Jesus just proved that very point..

Jesus says you can ask for anything and it will be given to you. This is a lie.

Jesus spoke in parables, then explained them to his desciples in secret. When asked by the high priest, Jesus lies and says that he never spoke anything in secret. (Mark 4, Matt 13)

I could go on.. It's a moot point anyway, to fully pay the penalty for man, Jesus should be roasting in hell as we type...

If we want to assume that God made a slight change to the rules so he could help Jesus out then every possible argument from believers about God having to follow his own rule is now thrown out of the window. If you're correct, then God should change the rules and just save everyone..

GCT said...

JD,
"Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple more that would make it likely that she actually IS in heaven."

Not without contradicting yourself you can't. You still don't understand the consequences of your own theology.

"I note that you changed my statement from speculating how you could possibly know for a FACT "that Anne Frank never made a confession of faith? Ever?""

You have previously made the claim that one can only get into heaven if one believes in Jesus. It doesn't take an "Einstein" to figure out that if you are also claiming that Anne Frank is in heaven, then she must have believed in Jesus. Considering that her diary has her claiming herself that she's Jewish, then claiming professions to Jesus are pretty far fetched, to say the least.

"Where did I state that all people I "consider to be good people and worthy of heaven were really, secretly believers in Jesus"?"

Considering that you seem to want to post hoc add Anne Frank due to the fact that you feel uncomfortable with the idea of the poor girl in hell, what other conclusion should I come to?

"Exactly where did I state that my above question was in reference to damnation?"

You didn't specifically state that, but A) It's the topic of the OP and B) it's fair game. You can't weasel out of this. You want to claim that we can't judge the consequences of his actions, yet we certainly can, at least in this instance.

"Ahhh, but this commits the error of thinking that God is a creature even remotely like us which the Bible states, He absolutely is not anything like "persons"."

Ah, so you're engaging in special pleading, eh? Nice.

"To what degree of certainty do you believe that Anne Frank "went to hell"?"

If your theological opinions are correct, then we should conclude Anne Frank is in hell. That's the point.

Tony C said...

@tinkbell13 My research has been quite extensive and ongoing. It is true that Paul had written most or all of his letters before any of the Gospels were penned, but you must take into account two important facts at the time: 1) The apostles fully expected Jesus to return in their lifetime negating the need to record their story in writing, and 2)verbal accounting was by far the norm and not the exception at this time in history.

Granted, today a verbal testimony given 50 years after the fact would be called to scrutiny, but the story told by the apostles was repeated to give account of Jesus probably daily until finally put to writing. Verbal accounting played a much greater role in society at this time.

Books were very rare until the 15th century, yet there are still over 25,000 manuscripts of the Gospels still available today from the early centuries. Far more than any other writing (Homer's Iliad has less than 700 and is second on that list).

Josephus, a Jewish historian turned Roman, along with Tacitus and Pleny the Younger each record a bit about Jesus in their writings. Even taking interpolation into account, the corroborating evidence supports, not rebutts, the Gospels as historically accurate.

If you take into account scientific evidence, the fact remains that only once in recorded history has something been created from nothing as found in the Book of Genesis. As smart as we think we are today...something can still not be created from nothing. Yet we live in an expansive universe that had to come from something. Long story short...even science points towards a Creator.

Having said and accepted that as fact, I'm left to also accept that it's His (the Creator) game, field and rules. I can choose to not like the rules, ignore the rules or maybe even break the rules...but I don't get a choice on playing in the game and there are always consequences where there are rules.

I would welcome our discussion to continue if you choose, but I feel a bit rude doing it on Tracy's turf. Feel free to email me at tonyctoday@yahoo.com if you wish to continue this discussion. I don't mean to come across as condescending or arrogant, but I think these discussions sometimes come across that way. You will ultimately decide where you are personally, as I have, and if you believe the human soul is eternal...then that decision has infinite consequences.

Twin-Daddy said...

@Tony

You're making a common error, you're making an argument from ignorance. Because you don't know something, you claim God is the answer. In all of scientific history when man made the argument for God from ignorance, they've been proven wrong.


No reason to think that won't continue to be the case...

Current theory only holds that no one knows at this point what existed before what we see now came into existence. There is certainly no compelling evidence to say a deity existed and certainly no evidence on top of that to suggest the judeo-christian God existed..

Tony C said...

@Twin-Daddy Would you care to give a few examples of this so called ignorance?

Also, I wonder if you would continue your offensive manners if one of your children became an ignorant Christian?

One last question, why do people with an opposing view of God feel the need to visit Christian blogs and stir with the proverbial trouble-making stick? Is there an entertainment value (which would be truly sad if the case)?

Twin-Daddy said...

@Tony,

Oh my, I wasn't really calling you ignorant, I'm saying that the type of argument you're trying to make is called "The argument from ignorance", the ignorance part being that since you don't know the answer, you just say "Godidit" as the answer, sorry to offend.

Also, I don't think all christians are ignorant. I used to think that but I do realize that there are clearly some brilliant christians, there are also ignorant atheist.

Hopefully my children won't make such an unfounded decision such as choosing christianity (or any religion), I can only do my best to teach them how to think critically and not be gullible. So far so good though.

I think we like to visit these blogs and comment for several reasons:

It's entertaining.

It makes us feel enlightened.

We're looking to see if the religious have come up with anything new to argue their beliefs (so far they mostly haven't).

Debate is a hobby, although, I would say religious folks (not just christians) don't debate that well. They always fall back on "Well, its about faith"..

JD Curtis said...

If your theological opinions are correct, then we should conclude Anne Frank is in hell

2nd Attempt

To what degree of certainty do you believe that Anne Frank "went to hell"?

100.00%? Down to two, unyielding decimal points?

A bit less, say 85%

Or perhaps 60%?

Tell me, how certain are you?

tinkbell13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tinkbell13 said...

Sorry, does not wash. Just because it was the norm back then does not give it any type of credibility back then either. I came back to what I said initially; empirical testing has completely discredited the validity of it.

During the same time that these eyewitnesses provided their first hand "testimony", they also drilled a hole in your skull to relieve pressure and they believed that the earth was flat. It would have the same validity as my grandmother testifying in court in her 80's about a crime that she "witnessed" in her 30's. Is that what we call fair to the person being accused? Believe me, you would not want that to happen if you were sitting on that bench, neither would I. Come on. My grandmother could repeat that story verbatim everyday of her life and it would still not be reliable. These are the facts.

Science does not point to a Creator, science discredits a creator. There is no objective evidence to support it. What is the fossil record? What is carbon dating?

I visit Christian blogs because I have been asked to write a book in the fall of this year. This is part of my research process. I do not personally know any Christians, and I do this to gain a sense of what you argue, what you believe is valid, and why you believe what you do. I cannot say that I have learned very much in the year that I have been doing this. No Christian has challenged my beliefs, which is sad. I was hoping to find that. If anything, it has confirmed what I already knew. Nothing but a house of cards.

tinkbell13 said...

Tony C

Howard Zinn ( I love him) said this:

"There is an underside to every Age about which history does not often speak, because history is written from records left by the privileged. We learn about politics from the political leaders, about economics from the entrepreneurs, about slavery from the plantation owners, about the thinking of an age from its intellectual elite. It is the victors who give names to the wars, and the satisfied who give labels to the ages. But, what did the Crusades mean to the peasants who died in them?"

I would strongly encourage you to begin looking at Jewish history, especially the point where they began to diverge. Look at Christianity through their eyes, and understand why this dogma resonates to this day. You seem like a smart guy, surely a little added knowledge would add some excitement to the day. LOL. I will take you up on it, I will start cruising your blog, you are always welcome at mine.

GCT said...

Tony C,
It's widely held by modern scholars that the gospels were not written by eye witnesses. Also, your supposed historical sources do not support your argument as well as you would like. Check this out for information on that.

As for science pointing to a Creator, it simply is not so. At best, you could say science is agnostic about the situation. The law of causality doesn't actually hold up in quantum situations, as we do see particles blink into and out of existence in certain situations. Also, causality is dependent upon time, so how can something "cause" time to begin in the first place? Really, what we have is a big question mark (a hole in our knowledge), and it's fallacious to simply insert your god into that hole and claim it is supported (it's called god of the gaps reasoning as well as arguing from ignorance).

Also, manuscript numbers do not buttress your argument as those are just measures of popularity (and we know that probably all of those manuscripts contain errors).

GCT said...

JD,
Stop trying to derail the thread. If you want to know how sure I am that Anne Frank is in hell, I'd say I'm about 99.99999999999% sure she's NOT in hell, because I'm about 99.9999999999% sure there is no hell.

But, like I said - and I'll use caps so that maybe you'll actually read it - THAT'S NOT THE POINT!

The point is what your theology teaches. You, yourself, claim that only those who believe in Jesus have a chance to go to heaven. As a Jew, she would not have believed in Jesus. Therefore, by your own arguments she would be in hell. Now, you can go back to being beligerent and ignoring what I say so that you can pretend that you're winning these debates and making valid points instead of consistently throwing up red herrings, strawmen, changing the subject, etc.

tinkbell13 said...

GCT- I would agree with you in saying that science is at best, agnostic to it. Although I think that evolution has explained much about our growth and development as animals. I think that most scientists will tell you that we are not there yet, but we will get there someday.

JD Curtis said...

If you want to know how sure I am that Anne Frank is in hell, I'd say I'm about 99.99999999999% sure she's NOT in hell, because I'm about 99.9999999999% sure there is no hell

Thank you. It only took a couple of tries and for that I applaud you. However, it would seem that evasiveness is still your best friend when it comes to internet argumentation.

Might you like to explain then, why you were making such definative statements that she is in Hell?

The point is what your theology teaches. You, yourself, claim that only those who believe in Jesus have a chance to go to heaven

Demonstrably misrepresentative.

"And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters." Matthew, Chapter 8.

These demons not only believed in Christ as a historical figure, but also that He is the "Son of God". Might it be more than mere belief in these things? Because "the devil believes these things, and trembles".



As to "what my theology teaches", what percentage of Anglican, C of E clergy feel that Anne Frank is in Hell? We'll move on to some of the larger US demoninations next, but lets just stick to clergy in the UK for right now.

Twin-Daddy said...

@JD..

You're demonstrably brainwashed..

You've now resorted to circular argument..

The bibles says it's true..so it must be..

GCT said...

Tink,
I don't know that science will ever disprove god, but we can certainly say that the ideas of special creation or the account of the book of Genesis are both false - unless one wants to claim that god used evolution to "create" humans, which wouldn't really fit the Xian conception of god. So, yeah, science can disprove and has disproven certain theological claims and ideas.

GCT said...

JD,
"Thank you. It only took a couple of tries and for that I applaud you. However, it would seem that evasiveness is still your best friend when it comes to internet argumentation."

Considering that this is all a red herring that you're insisting upon, do you want to reconsider your accusations?

"Might you like to explain then, why you were making such definative statements that she is in Hell?"

According to your stated theology of faith alone being necessary for entrance into heaven Anne Frank would be in hell. Of course, I've already stated that...numerous times. Why are you still asking me why I've stated it?

"Demonstrably misrepresentative."

So, do you or do you not hold to the doctrine of "faith alone" leads to salvation? If you're going to claim that I'm misrepresenting you, then you'll have to abandon your previous claims. Just let me know which belief you hold today.

"Might it be more than mere belief in these things?"

Which is why I said that it makes one eligible, not that it assures one's place in heaven. Please actually read what I write before firing off your tirades about my intelligence. Besides, this does nothing to help your argument about Ms. Frank, now does it?

"As to "what my theology teaches", what percentage of Anglican, C of E clergy feel that Anne Frank is in Hell?"

I'm not responsible for the cognitive dissonance that you or your selected clergy hold. If one must have faith in Jesus in order to go to heaven, then Ms. Frank is not in heaven, and therefore would be in hell. If you'd like to claim now that some other criteria is used for entrance into heaven, then make your claim and admit that what you previously said was untrue.

JD Curtis said...

I'm not responsible for the cognitive dissonance that you or your selected clergy hold

TRANSLATION: I havent examined the issue as to whether or not Anglican clergy overwhelmingly feel that Anne frank is in Hell or not. Nor do I care if they could advance a plausible argument, citing the Bible, to present the case that she is not in Hell.

Why, this is as astonishingly an admission of complete stupidity on one's part that I've seen in quite some time GCT.

I have exactly 9 college credits of economics on my transcript and I havent dusted off an economics textbook in 15 years.

Following you lead GCT, I think I will now enter forums where economics is discussed and argue over neo-Keynsian monetary policy (pro or con, it really doesnt matter) without even bothering to brush up on the stuff. If you can engage in such fun, foolish displays of know-nothing buffoonery, why should i miss out on the fun?

GCT said...

JD,
"TRANSLATION: I havent examined the issue as to whether or not Anglican clergy overwhelmingly feel that Anne frank is in Hell or not. Nor do I care if they could advance a plausible argument, citing the Bible, to present the case that she is not in Hell."

Don't put words in my mouth and pretend that it means you are answering me. Deal with your own theology and the logical conclusions of it. You can claim all you want that Anne Frank is in heaven, but it's contradictory to your other claims, which means your arguments are self-refuting.

"Why, this is as astonishingly an admission of complete stupidity on one's part that I've seen in quite some time GCT."

I see that it makes you feel better to attack me than to answer my objections and the points I raise, but doing so is no substitute for reasonable and rational debate.

"Following you lead GCT, I think I will now enter forums where economics is discussed and argue over neo-Keynsian monetary policy (pro or con, it really doesnt matter) without even bothering to brush up on the stuff. If you can engage in such fun, foolish displays of know-nothing buffoonery, why should i miss out on the fun?"

If you are trying to state that I know nothing about Xianity, I'll simply refer you to Tracy's comment above where she says that I seem to know the concepts very well. Secondly, I will also argue that I'm talking about the logical conclusions of your argument, which is actually about logic, not about religion, of which I'm well versed. Thirdly, I'm sure that many of the clergy of the CoE would claim that Anne Frank is in heaven, which is why I made my comment about cognitive dissonance. Again, if your theology leads to cognitive dissonance and contradiction, that's simply not my fault. So, I'm afraid that once again your attempts to attack have not only missed the mark, but have left the objections and points raised by me and others completely untouched. As always seems to happen, you're trying to bully and insult your way to having people think that you have a good argument, but you have yet to present one. As I said above, insults are not the same as cogent, rational, and reasonable rebuttals or debate.

Tony C said...

@GCT I checked out your suggested link, and had a hard time getting past the disputing conclusion that Jesus in fact never actually existed. The factual evidence just doesn't support such a conclusion.

Again with the broad stroking paintbrush, you label science as agnostic or pointing against the conclusion of a Creator while the likes of Francis Collins, Simon Morris and Martin Nowak (all respected scientist in their respective fields today) would take issue with that conclusion. Not to mention Newton, Mendel, and Pasteur who each made major contributions to science while holding faith in God.

Dr. Collins was a lifelong atheist but became convinced while mapping the human genome that life could not have happened accidently on its own. His analogy that 'if you place all the separate components of a watch into a bag together, no matter how many times you shake the bag, the pieces will never assemby into a working watch' is quite profound. Yet that is what people who don't believe in a Creator or Intelligent Design in essence think happened with the universe and life on our planet.

Carbon dating and macroevolution are both junk science. If you believe otherwise, you're not being objective on the facts of the science.

Call it arguing from ignorance if you want...we obviously define ignorance very differently.

@tinkbell13- Thanks and I will check out your blog. Education is a never ending process...

GCT said...

Tony C,
"@GCT I checked out your suggested link, and had a hard time getting past the disputing conclusion that Jesus in fact never actually existed. The factual evidence just doesn't support such a conclusion."

I'm left wondering how closely you actually looked at it, because you would have had to go through all the evidence presented to reach the conclusion. Do you dispute the evidence presented? Why?

"Again with the broad stroking paintbrush, you label science as agnostic or pointing against the conclusion of a Creator while the likes of Francis Collins, Simon Morris and Martin Nowak (all respected scientist in their respective fields today) would take issue with that conclusion."

Then by all means take a look at the evidence. You'll find no scientific evidence for your god. The arguments you have presented are not scientifically correct or sound, nor do they support your contentions.

"Dr. Collins was a lifelong atheist but became convinced while mapping the human genome that life could not have happened accidently on its own."

That is incorrect. He became convinced when he stumbled upon a waterfall that had 3 sources or something like that. He has admitted openly that it was not science but a sense of awe.

"His analogy that 'if you place all the separate components of a watch into a bag together, no matter how many times you shake the bag, the pieces will never assemby into a working watch' is quite profound. Yet that is what people who don't believe in a Creator or Intelligent Design in essence think happened with the universe and life on our planet."

No, that is not an accurate representation of abiogenesis or evolution.

"Carbon dating and macroevolution are both junk science. If you believe otherwise, you're not being objective on the facts of the science."

Francis Collins seems to believe in them. Since you cite him as a source above will you repudiate him now?

And, what is not being objective is disregarding the mountains of evidence that we have for both of those fields of study. You can't simply toss them out without dealing with the copious amounts of evidence.

"Call it arguing from ignorance if you want...we obviously define ignorance very differently."

As Twin-Daddy pointed out, it's not calling you ignorant, it's simply the name of the argument type. IOW, when you make claims that we can't explain X, Y, or Z or we don't know X, Y, or Z and therefore conclude god, you're guilty of this sort of argumentation. The problem is that you don't have warrant to simply insert your pet theory as "the answer" without having some sort of evidentiary backing for it. If we could simply insert god, what would stop us from claiming unicorns did it? So, no offense meant, just naming the fallacy. We can use "god of the gaps" if you like (I like that one better anyway).

Gandolf said...

Tony C said... "@tinkbell13 My research has been quite extensive and ongoing. It is true that Paul had written most or all of his letters before any of the Gospels were penned, but you must take into account two important facts at the time: 1) The apostles fully expected Jesus to return in their lifetime negating the need to record their story in writing, and 2)verbal accounting was by far the norm and not the exception at this time in history.

Granted, today a verbal testimony given 50 years after the fact would be called to scrutiny, but the story told by the apostles was repeated to give account of Jesus probably daily until finally put to writing. Verbal accounting played a much greater role in society at this time."

Hi Tony C.

Doesnt it also seem like a very important fact to considder.That if the story told by the apostles was repeated to give account of Jesus probably daily until finally put to writing.And these apostles fully expected Jesus to return in their lifetime negating the need to record their story in writing .

It then seems obviously something must have went very wrong.Jesus hasnt returned even though folks have been very very faithful and waiting.

If they could be very wrong about this particular matter,which being such a very important factor!, one would have hoped atleast this matter actually would have hopefully been totally well understood.

It leaves us to need to atleast serriously wonder and ask ourselves,what else was then actually fact verses fiction or just misunderstanding through lack of modern knowledge.

Now im one of the people who do still think it very likely a very well liked faith leader named Jesus actually existed.Just as im sure a well liked faith leader, named Benny Hinn actually does exist today.And from much of what ive read about Jesus he seemed mostly to be a great guy.

But that dont prove matters of the miracles or prove that these ancient people always understood many things they might have experienced.

For instance fishes appearing from the sky might have really seemed supernatural.But these days we do understand sometimes these things actually can happen through natural causes ... See here http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=10040

Gandolf said...

Tony C said.."One last question, why do people with an opposing view of God feel the need to visit Christian blogs and stir with the proverbial trouble-making stick? Is there an entertainment value (which would be truly sad if the case)?"

Tony it maybe would be a very different matter if faiths only ever effected the people who followed them.But the effects of the presence of faith in the world is actually far reaching, and happens to also effect the lives of almost everyone.

For instance we often have gangs in society also, and likewise some "non gang members" also feel a need to have to become involved in the matter of gangs.Its because the presence of gangs in our society can have a detrementle effect on all our lives whether we choose it or not.

You wouldnt think it right or so very fair or even honest,if gangs kind of suggested, look go away and mind your own business,why do you people with an oposing view to our gangs,feel a need to group with the police and come stir us with the proverbial trouble-making stick?.

We non believers could be asking,why do folks of faith feel they have a need to come and build churches in our neighbourhoods to stand on our street corners preaching,and blast their faith programs on TV.We have a right to ask if our kids should be subjected to the idea of faith beliefs, when faith beliefs are yet unproven as actually being a real longterm benefit

Yeah nonbelievers do happen to visit faith blogs,but so do folks of faith visit the atheist blogs also.

Tony its because this matter of faith is important to all of us to try and find some real answers.Look around in the world today and you can see the underflowing effects of all the different faiths effecting things everywhere.

Surely non believers also have rights in this world of getting involved in whats going on around them?

Maybe it just a little surprising, and in the past not been so traditional for those human rights to also have been extended to non believers

Just a thought.

JD Curtis said...

According to bible, the penalty for my sin would be eternal separation from God

So far so good.

Not to necessarily die on a cross

Nothing in the Bible states that you have to die on a cross.

Let's assume that Jesus was God and he was only going through the motions as you suggest. Dying on a cross, while unpleasant isn't really that much of a sacrifice, I mean, if he new he was going to bounce right back up within a few days, then it's not really that big of a deal



There are a couple of errors here. Most glaring of which is your characterization of the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ as being "no big deal". I guess that in your book, such a scourging as..

"At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.

Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is stopped' is "no big deal'.



As for the actual crucifixion..

"As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues - the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.” Link

All of this is "no big deal" to you? I would beg to differ. You might attempt to argue that He knew He would be raised on the third day and that would make it "no big deal'. But knowing that and being an actual flesh and blood human being who had to physically endure all of that is a "big deal" in my book anyway.

To fully pay the penalty for sin, Jesus would have to fully pay the penalty. That penalty is eternal separation

There's at least one error here and probably more. Jesus lived a perfect life. He was blameless and thus suffered unjustly. No human being can say that they are truly blameless and did not sin. (I know you have an objection to Christ being without sin, I'll address that also. So put down your bottle of K-Y and your hand towell. Turn down Comanche for a moment and I'll address that shortly).

JD Curtis said...

The Bible tells us that "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all", and that while on the cross, "“his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sonsof men". Might there have been something supernatural going on here? Something even more than the just the physical crucifixion and scourging that He suffered? The Bible states that Christ exclaimed "It is finished", which back then was written across the note of debtors to indicate that a debt was "paid in full".

Jesus harvested on the sabbath. While he may have been caught doing it and made up an excuse, he still broke the law

Inaccurate. Did Jesus gather up many ears of corn and take them to what then passed for the grainery that day and thus, was in fact "harvesting"? Or did he come across some ears of corn in the field and just grab one to eat?

Apparently, there were some 'superstitions' abounding in those days that said that not even acts of mercy and kindness couldnt be done on the sabbath. If you are of that opinion, few if ay Chritians would agree with you. The sabbath was made for man and not the other way around.

Jesus says you can ask for anything and it will be given to you. This is a lie

Is that what it says TD? At this point I think that it's quite certain that you are merely reciting atheist talking points and arent concerned with the truth at all. If that's not the case, what is the Greek word for "ask" and what tense is it in? Answer this please because I'm sure you didnt do anything so completely stupid as only examining this in English and not at length.

If we want to assume that God made a slight change to the rules so he could help Jesus out then every possible argument from believers about God having to follow his own rule is now thrown out of the window. If you're correct, then God should change the rules and just save everyone

Why shouldnt sin be punished TD?

tinkbell13 said...

Gandolf- The pain that faith causes is not fair, and your thoughtful postings are always a reminder.

Tony C-
On the one hand, I agree with you. Macroevolution is not all that relevant, and belief in that requires a "leap of faith", something that I clearly do not give much merit too. However, in no uncertain terms is carbon dating junk science.

As with all scientific methods, there is a margin of error. However, it has been proven to be highly effective, especially in fossils 50000 years old. Also, some of the flaws with it are our fault, with the increase of carbon in our environment, etc. However, microevolution has now gained enough empirical evidence to now become a fact. Science is no longer using the word theory anymore. And, our fossil record is pretty clear. Sorry, the Supreme Court of the United States does not recognize creationism as a valid scientific discipline, and I would have to agree.

When I said, along with GCT that science is agnostic to the idea of a Creator, it was meant in the way that they have not identified what the initial "spark" was that began our evolution on this planet. Some scientists, like Dawkins, will say" I don't know, but it most certainly is not a God", while others will just say that they have no idea, but they are optimistic with future experiments, we will get a better idea.

GCT said...

Tink,
"Macroevolution is not all that relevant, and belief in that requires a "leap of faith"..."

No, it certainly does not. See here: Evidence, and here: Speciation.

"...something that I clearly do not give much merit too."

I have no idea how you can state that. You don't think humans evolved from ape-like creatures?

"However, microevolution has now gained enough empirical evidence to now become a fact. Science is no longer using the word theory anymore."

No, that's incorrect as well. Evolution is a fact and a theory as well. No one is saying evolution is not a theory anymore. Of course, it should be pointed out that a scientific theory is not the same as a "theory" in the lay sense of a "guess." It's a well supported series of facts and the underlying explanation that brings all those observations and facts together. Hell, gravity is a theory as well.

"When I said, along with GCT that science is agnostic to the idea of a Creator, it was meant in the way that they have not identified what the initial "spark" was that began our evolution on this planet."

That's not what I meant by it. By agnostic, I meant that once one starts to posit supernatural entities and effects, it falls outside of the strictures of science - being the study of the natural world using natural means. Science is agnostic to the idea of god because to date no one has come up with a way of using supernatural methods of examining the world or methods that yield evidence of supernatural entities/forces/etc. It's a matter of practicality that these things are not considered until such time as someone comes up with a method to use or investigate them.

In the limited cases of the supposed natural effects of supernatural causes (prayer studies for instance) we find that the supposed effects of prayer are either in the noise and indistinguishable from chance or no effect at all (except for the one study that did indicate a lower rate of survival for people who were prayed for). IOW, not only do we not have methods for the supernatural, but the supposed natural effects are non-existent for all intents and purposes.

Bomi Jolly - JollyNotes said...

ah... hell.

I understand you perfectly.

Wish I had some eloquent words to say but I don't...many things running through my mind, but I can't say I have any solid conclusions on this topic so I won't bother starting any stories here. lol.

This was good to read though! I honestly look forward to reading more "doubts of faith" from you.

Blessings.. Bomi

tinkbell13 said...

GCT-

First of all, the way that Creationists use these terms are distinct. Most scientists do not acknowledge that there is a difference to them, and they will even refrain from using these terms at all.

Macroevolution, from the Creationist perspective, (which is who and what we are talking too) is a dog evolving into a cat. They have managed to make the efforts of billions of years into a Kirk Cameron absurd joke. The essence of what constitutes microevolution is, for creationists, different from the essence of what constitutes macroevolution. Creationists act as if there is some magic line between microevolution and macroevolution, but no such line exists as far as science is concerned. Macroevolution is merely the result of a lot of microevolution over a long period of time. It is junk science, in the way that they describe and comprehend it.

I personally do not use these names either, only blogging with Creationist types. I acknowledge that they make a distinction. In my world, evolution is a fact..... I do not make the distinction, and "microevolution" encompasses natural selection, speciation, and the process of change through natural selection.

Of course I believe that we descended from apes. I actually posted on my blog a little while ago, an article about the canonization of this theory. It is a fact, and I will dig it up for you.In no way was my comment meant to indicate that I was refuting the existence of evolution, but I could see how you would see that. I really should not post after work. I do not tend to be as lucid after a long day.

ethinethin said...

@Tink
"Most scientists do not acknowledge that there is a difference to them, and they will even refrain from using these terms at all."

There is a scientific distinction between the terms macroevolution and microevolution, but creationists get them wrong. Microevolution is a term used for changes in allele frequencies within a species, while macroevolution is the term used for changes in allele frequencies that result in a new species (the biological definition of species is members of a population which can interbreed but are reproductively isolated from other populations). They are related terms, and very similar, but there is a distinction.

An example of how creationists get it wrong: one species of salamanders becomes geographically isolated into two groups in two distinct environments and develop adaptations. After several generations, they become reproductively isolated. Biologists call this macroevolution. Creationists incorrectly call it microevolution (since they are both the same "kind", salamanders).

Tony C said...

@GCT It’s interesting in your rebuttals how you tend to skew facts to support your argument. Dr. Collins attributes his transformation to a number of events in his life, most notably the book ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S Lewis. The scene in nature just happens to be the place he came to accept God, making the basis of his decision more cognitive and less emotional as you imply.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/collins.html

In his book ’Language of God’, he specifically addresses the area of macroevolution as unfounded and not provable and counters with an explanation that resembles theistic evolution he calls BioLogos.

http://biologos.org/questions/inevitable-humans/

Just because I sited Dr. Collins as both a scientist and a man of faith doesn’t imply I agree with all the theories he presents in his book, but I try to at least reference his work factually.

There are a number of scientific ways to project the age of our planet, but carbon dating is not one of them. If you understand the principles of carbon dating, you then know that by using the ratio of the isotopes C-14 to C-12 limits the accuracy to a maximum of 80,000 years. So how could carbon dating be used to determine something is 2.4 million years old? There were also a number of major assumptions made by Dr. Libby in developing the science behind carbon dating include the stability of nuclear decay which has come under question in the field recently.

http://arxiv.org/abs/0808.3283

It is just as subjective to state there is no evidence to support the existence of God as it is for me to state there is evidence all around us of God. You dismissed the analogy I used earlier as not your point, but I find it a relevant point. Given, as I stated, there has never been a single example of something created from nothing, I believe it takes as much or more faith to believe in randomness than in a Divine Creator. Since you obviously devote a tremendous amount of time denying the existence of God and sovereign nature of His being and plan, based on the content of your blog and comments on other blogs, I can’t help but conclude there is tremendous conflict in you. On this National Day of Prayer, I will be praying for you earnestly to find peace.

@Gandolf I completely agree and empathize with your position that religion affects us all in one way or another. Speaking strictly as a Christian, I see the teachings and examples set by Christ being manipulated and perverted to almost an unrecognizable state. I guess I don’t yet fully realize or understand the gravity of the situation. By my very understanding of Christ’s teaching, no follower of Jesus should make you feel isolated or different. His sacrifice was for all. I applaud your (as well as @tink) efforts to find out more.

tinkbell13 said...

@Ethin

There is also this to it. And, I hate to sound this way, I really do. But, evolution is really complicated. While it makes perfect sense, it can be complex to understand. The thing is, most people have little idea what it is. And, the fact that we are debating this makes me think more that the criticism toward macroevolution is very valid. But, the crux of it all is this- evolutionary process is a product of time. Humans do not live long enough to step back and see the micro develop toward the macro. And, that is the other thing, there are many definitions of this too. Yours is correct, but there is also, what I think is a more simplistic explanation;

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0_0/evoscales_01

Apples and oranges, in a way, and in a way not.

GCT said...

Tink,
"Humans do not live long enough to step back and see the micro develop toward the macro."

I gave you a link of observed instances of speciation.

Tony C,
From you PBS link (which is broken BTW):
"You can argue yourself, on the basis of pure intellect, right up to the precipice of belief, but then you have to decide. I don't believe intellectual argument alone will push someone across that gap, because we are not talking about something which can be measured in the same way that science measures the natural world, and then you decide what is natural truth."

Also,
"I struggled with that for many months, really resisting this decision, going forward, going backward. Finally, after about a year, I was on a trip to the northwest, and on a beautiful afternoon hiking in the Cascade Mountains, where the remarkable beauty of the creation around me was so overwhelming, I felt, "I cannot resist this another moment."

And, here's some of that god of the gaps reasoning that you like so much,
"To my surprise, I found myself fairly easily compelled by his arguments about the existence of some sort of a God, because even as a scientist, I had to admit that we had no idea how the universe got started."

None of those sound like reasoned arguments, and he flat out admits that you can't reason your way to faith. (Really, it wouldn't be faith then, would it?)

From your Biologos link and the preceding paragraph, it seems to me like you should define some terms, because you seem to claim that macroevolution is not consistent with theistic evolution. As I'm using the term, macroevolution means simply speciation and significant accumulated change, which is not inconsistent with theistic evolution. Indeed, nothing in that link says this didn't happen. If by macroevolution you mean dog giving birth to cats or crocoducks, well that's a straw man that no one is suggesting.

"There are a number of scientific ways to project the age of our planet, but carbon dating is not one of them."

Of course not, because it's not accurate to billions of years. That's why we have other methods, and those methods all seem to agree. Do you think the Earth is 6000 years old? We have evidence of trees that are older than that. And, care to explain how the arvix link is relevant, or did you simply get that link from someone who told you it was?

"It is just as subjective to state there is no evidence to support the existence of God as it is for me to state there is evidence all around us of God."

Um, no, I made an objective statement, one that you can prove wrong by simply providing evidence for god. You have not done so.

"Given, as I stated, there has never been a single example of something created from nothing, I believe it takes as much or more faith to believe in randomness than in a Divine Creator."

A) As I stated, that's simply not correct. There are particles that come into existence completely uncaused and have real effects on the world around them (quantum level).
B) Your causation argument relies on time, which did not exist until a Planck constant after the big bang, so how can you claim that something caused something else in the absence of what we understand as time?
C) This is a god of the gaps argument and is logically fallacious, meaning it is not based on reason.
D) It does not take more faith to only go by the evidence. What takes faith is to import your own ideas of a deity that is purely unevidenced.

"Since you obviously devote a tremendous amount of time denying the existence of God and sovereign nature of His being and plan, based on the content of your blog and comments on other blogs, I can’t help but conclude there is tremendous conflict in you."

How does this make any sense at all?

Tony C said...

@GCT Your use of symantic gymnastics is quite amusing and your 'cut and paste' method of contextual confusion as well. Do you find people actually falling for those tactics of debate?

Please send me a link to a creditable website backing your statement 'particles that come into existence completely uncaused and have real effects on the world around them (quantum level)', because my understanding of quantum level theory is it requires the String Theory to reconcile with General Relativity, and the String Theory is considered an unprovable hypothesis. I'll admit this is not an area of acedemic strength, but I am very interested in the subject matter and always willing to learn something new.

No Answer.Yahoo or Wikipedia references please.

GCT said...

Tony C,
"Your use of symantic gymnastics is quite amusing and your 'cut and paste' method of contextual confusion as well. Do you find people actually falling for those tactics of debate?"

I quote people so that you'll know what I'm answering. It's supposed to make it easier for the person I'm talking to to know what it is I'm referencing. There's no "tactics of debate" about it and I resent the insinuation. I also resent your "symantic gymnastics" comment. If you find anything unclear, I'd rather you ask me about it than simply lob accusations at me.

"Please send me a link to a creditable website backing your statement 'particles that come into existence completely uncaused and have real effects on the world around them..."

Well, there's quantum non-locality where two quantum particles can interact instantly at great distances. How does measuring one cause the other to interact at greater than the speed of light? This is an uncaused event.

There's also radioactive decay and virtual particles (don't let the name fool you: From the Univ. of Michigan).

I'll have to try and dig up some good references when I have a bit more time. The thing is, however, that at the quantum level, causality simply doesn't hold.

Now, I will note that you latched onto only one of my points - the rest go unchallenged (and not just for this particular topic). I could add more as well, like the fact that it's special pleading to insist that the universe was necessarily caused but no such cause is necessary for your god.

Tony C said...

From your very first comment in my direction, you made a completely baseless point and referenced a website to support that point as fact. A website, mind you, that is nothing but a channeled marketing ploy to hawk a book called The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Doherty. Not exactly up to most standards on research.

'It's widely held by modern scholars that the gospels were not written by eye witnesses. Also, your supposed historical sources do not support your argument as well as you would like. Check this out for information on that.'

The first website in your last comment uses a Wikipedia reference. Seriously?

I wasn't insinuating anything, I was stating a personal observation.

@GCT- I have a tendency to be sarcastic, and I apologize for that trait. It is a part of my old self that has been slow to die, and I know it is not very Christ-like.

If you wish to continue our discussion, I think it would be best off of Tracy's blog and this comment thread. I encourage you to email any point you wish to discuss (in a respectful manner on my part)to tonyctoday@yahoo.com.

I pray that the day you finally meet God, your heart has taken a different path than the current one you are on @GCT. I don't say that either facetiously or guilefully. May you find peace.

vectorunknonw said...

GCT is my hero.

vectorunknonw said...

Please do not discuss off this comment thread. The heat is getting a little too high for Tony C. and so he wants to retreat under the guise of doing what's "best".

GCT said...

Tony C,
"From your very first comment in my direction, you made a completely baseless point and referenced a website to support that point as fact."

Um, it's not baseless. It is pretty widely accepted that the gospels were not written by eye witnesses and that the usual suspects trotted out to support the Jesus narrative (pagan writers) do not actually give support to the story.

"A website, mind you, that is nothing but a channeled marketing ploy to hawk a book called The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Doherty. Not exactly up to most standards on research."

Which part is not up to standards, the website or the book? Either way, you'd be wrong, just as you're wrong that the website seeks to be an advertizement. I see that you can't dispute the points made so instead you are trying to attack the integrity of the sources with baseless claims.

"The first website in your last comment uses a Wikipedia reference. Seriously?"

Yes, seriously. It does so as a link for background information. There is nothing wrong with that. Again, you're not dealing with the information but simply trying to dismiss it on any grounds that you can. If you were to study some quantum theory you might learn that your claims to cause and effect are not supported.

"I wasn't insinuating anything, I was stating a personal observation."

One that I hope I've corrected. Either way, it's telling that your "personal observation" (which was at best an insinuation and at worst an accusation) was that I'm automatically a liar, deceiver, etc. Why do you automatically assume that those who disagree with you must be debating in bad faith? Is this why you won't deal with the information presented to you?

"@GCT- I have a tendency to be sarcastic, and I apologize for that trait. It is a part of my old self that has been slow to die, and I know it is not very Christ-like."

Sarcasm doesn't apply here. You weren't being sarcastic, you were being accusatory.

"If you wish to continue our discussion, I think it would be best off of Tracy's blog and this comment thread. I encourage you to email any point you wish to discuss (in a respectful manner on my part)to tonyctoday@yahoo.com."

Sorry, but I don't do email debates. You have a blog and you can open a thread for it, or I can open one on my blog.

"I pray that the day you finally meet God, your heart has taken a different path than the current one you are on @GCT."

What's wrong with my heart? I'm a good person. What's supposedly wrong with my heart is that I don't believe in god. Yet, that's not a "heart" sort of thing. Belief in god is not a moral issue. Why is god so concerned with whether we have made the correct factual deduction instead of how we actually live our lives? Is that the stance you would expect from a moral entity?

Blog Widget by LinkWithin