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Old 07-31-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
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Thank you for your honest questions. I did enjoy reading your writings, even though I don't agree with them. I'm glad that you cared enough to consider the subject.

I can't respond to your query based solely on reason. Nor can I answer it in a philosphical way. I believe Blaise Pascal was reaching out to the rationalists in their day in a language they could understand, appealing to their sense of "reason", however that can be perceived or expressed. I feel that was a noble effort. But Christ wasn't reaching out to a person's intellect or "reasonableness" when He had His ministry. He was reaching out to the a person's soul, that longing that everyone has deep down in their hearts that really can only be fulfilled with God's love. I believe that that's the meaning of life. I am certainly not a biblical or philosophical scholar by any sense of the word. But I have been a follower of Christ for many years, and I do know what He has done in my life. There are so many questions that can't be answered in ourselves or through people in our lives. I don't pretend that I know the mind of God -- no one really can. But I do know that that longing has been fulfilled, and I do have assurance that I have the unconditional love and companionship of Jesus Christ.

As for your question concerning Muslims, originally, the God of the Old Testament was the God of the Muslims through Abraham's son Ishmael, so the connection is there. In addition, Muslims don't deny the existence of Jesus, just His status as Son of God. They believe He is a revered prophet and teacher, much like Mohammed. No, I don't worry about not pleasing "Allah" in whatever form he's derived from. The entire old testament points the way to Jesus, and is fulfilled in the Gospels. I firmly know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Can I intellectual "prove" this? No. That's where faith comes into play. You might think this is silly way to live. To the world, I'm sure it makes no sense whatsoever, an afront to human wisdom. But that's how I live my life, trusting in a true, living God with whom I walk with each day by His grace. So therefore, I don't appeal to your sense of reason, but to your heart. That's where true wisdom begins. Thanks again for your reply.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
15,310 posts, read 10,345,088 times
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Originally Posted by kiggy View Post
I'd seriously like to have the OP's opinion on this. I'm a Christian. If I'm wrong about God and Jesus Christ, and there is no afterlife, and eternity is just one long sleep into nothingness, I know that I've led a decent life, have helped people along the way, and have led a happy, productive life. Nothing lost on my part. But if you're wrong, and there is a God, and there is a final judgement, you have everything to lose. Don't you ever get concerned about "what if"? Honest answers please, no smart alec answers -- someone who went to such trouble to make such a thorough, well thought out treatise should give me an honest answer to this question.
Damn!! We've been stumped by that one eh fellow atheists. What are we gonna do now??
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
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Not trying to stump. Trying to understand. :-)
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
15,310 posts, read 10,345,088 times
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Originally Posted by kiggy View Post
Not trying to stump. Trying to understand. :-)
Well let's not high-jack Arequipa's very excellent thread with this. Why not start another and we'll take you on.
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
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I certainly don't want to hijack Arequipa's thread. Far from it. I think my post is very relevant in response to his essay on Christ. If he feels that my remarks are off-topic, I will respect his wishes and not post again. Why don't we let him decide? It's his thread, after all. I'll respect his decision.

Last edited by kiggy; 07-31-2011 at 05:29 PM..
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
15,310 posts, read 10,345,088 times
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Originally Posted by kiggy View Post
I certainly don't want to hijack Arequipa's thread. Far from it. I think my post is very relevant in response to his essay on Christ.
I don't think your 'Pascal's Wager' has anything to do with the theme of his thread.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:21 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,973,253 times
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Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Why should I?
I'm only quoting this one phrase because I think it gets at the heart of the matter of difference between us.

If your thinking is that you will only believe things because you should or must believe them than much of what you're saying does fall together alright within your perceptions. Although it still contains a good deal of assumption and "it reads to me" statements, but you do seem to go for not believing things unless you feel you have to by evidence.

And I find that relatable in one way, but also slightly repulsive. What do you do when a situation really is ambiguous? When you aren't "forced", as you see it, to think one way or other? When people don't do things because "that's the most likely thing for a person to do in that situation." (Okay judging by what I've seen so far you just wouldn't see such a situation, you would think of a basically unambiguous hypothesis and embrace it if plausible. And I remember I said something once on paradoxes that gave me the sense you either think they don't exist or they all have to be solved like a puzzle.)

If you look at much of pre-modern historical documentation in terms of "Why would they do that?", "Why should I believe that?" than it's possible you're going to get theories as odd/fringe as you tend to get with the Gospels. Or odder. (I read a skeptical book that insisted Confucius was invented by sixteenth century Jesuits.) So on one level all this is rather interesting, but on another it's maybe a little funny. You're so convinced that some things are "witless and absurd" that it's a mix of irritating and maybe a little cute.

Still yes given how your mind works than yes this stuff works fine I suppose and I probably can't contradict it within your mind. I just don't think people think or respond the way you seem to think they do, but that's not really something I think can be dealt with much.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:33 AM
 
39,134 posts, read 10,857,554 times
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Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
I'm only quoting this one phrase because I think it gets at the heart of the matter of difference between us.
Perhaps it does, but first let's look back at the subject. It was about whether OT quotes could really be seen as prophecies about Jesus. You asked whether they could be seen as paralleling or repeating other events (of course one can always draw comparisons and people do the same sort of historical mistakes - so they are irrelevant as evidence that the OT prophecies Jesus - except in the self - fulfilling way of the jewish messianic expectations) and also foreshadowing which, if it means anything at all, is suggesting that someone with foreknowledge placed predictions about Jesus' life in the OT and these are pulled out both in the Gospels and in modern apologetics as Proofs of Christ.

I say 'Why should I?' Why should I, looking at those quotes in context, see them as anything but relating to the events of the times and hoping that God would make things better for them?

You next remark is relevant here.

Quote:
If your thinking is that you will only believe things because you should or must believe them than much of what you're saying does fall together alright within your perceptions. Although it still contains a good deal of assumption and "it reads to me" statements, but you do seem to go for not believing things unless you feel you have to by evidence.
Well what other valid parameters are there for believing anything? Just by pure preference? I know it's how we often reason and that's the individual choice but the more we can look at the evidence and see which way it points, that's good isn't it? Don't we all want to believe that what we believe is sensible?

The prophecy quotes don't stand up better than vaguely, the nugget of relevant prophecy apparently being buried in a mass of stuff clearly not relating to Jesus. But what I have shown is evidence that such prophecies were used to construct details of Jesus' life and that shows up the 'prophecy' evidence as very suspect indeed. In the face of that, 'Why should I' see these as foreshadowing Jesus is a very reasonable remark.

Quote:
And I find that relatable in one way, but also slightly repulsive. What do you do when a situation really is ambiguous? When you aren't "forced", as you see it, to think one way or other? When people don't do things because "that's the most likely thing for a person to do in that situation." (Okay judging by what I've seen so far you just wouldn't see such a situation, you would think of a basically unambiguous hypothesis and embrace it if plausible. And I remember I said something once on paradoxes that gave me the sense you either think they don't exist or they all have to be solved like a puzzle.)
When I find a situation is ambiguous, I don't draw conclusions from it. Perhaps I should have made that clear, though it should have been seen that I resisted speculating about Bethsaida, the anointing, the odd behaviour of Arimathea, and the question of Lazarus. What I have done is point up what I'd say was undeniable evidence and draw conclusions from it. The point about the gospels is that the comparison of the four gives us a lot of information. Information which seems for some reason I am unable to understand has been totally ignored by previous criticism.

The synoptics are based on a common text - not just 'same point of view' but a common text. It is shown that none of the three can be 'the original'. I won't rehash all the evidence but to object to this in the way you have is to try to find fault with the evidence of archaeology on the grounds that it makes assumptions about how and why people built in a particular way. The evidence is what I'm talking about here. The evidence which goes all the way through the gospels, Acts and Paul. To point up that a narrative is discreditably discrepant (such as the Nativity), that it is internally unbelievable (such as the Shewbread -type wrangles) and that the material is fiddled (like Paul's scriptural quotes) is as clear evidence as could be asked and answers your point about whether I had made a case or just a 'few points'.

You asked a few questions about the Nativity but you really couldn't prop up Matthew. I suppose I now need to have this stuff peer reviewed to see whether I am just devising another whacky "The real Jesus" theory (and I have seen some whacky ones) or whether what seems to me clear evidence really is. As I said before even the most erudite skeptic books begin with the premise that the Gospels are a reliable record of what Jesus did and said. I am confident enough to say that no reasonable person reading what i have posted could ever start from such a surmise again and that implies that all critical analysis that did has been fatally skewed. We really, really, need to start from scratch.

Quote:
If you look at much of pre-modern historical documentation in terms of "Why would they do that?", "Why should I believe that?" than it's possible you're going to get theories as odd/fringe as you tend to get with the Gospels. Or odder. (I read a skeptical book that insisted Confucius was invented by sixteenth century Jesuits.) So on one level all this is rather interesting, but on another it's maybe a little funny. You're so convinced that some things are "witless and absurd" that it's a mix of irritating and maybe a little cute.
I don't know what I can say to someone whose faith makes him deprecate as 'irritating and a little cute' someone who finds Matthew's star, the Shekel eating fish and the angel perching on a door as silly. So I'll say nothing.

Quote:
Still yes given how your mind works than yes this stuff works fine I suppose and I probably can't contradict it within your mind. I just don't think people think or respond the way you seem to think they do, but that's not really something I think can be dealt with much.
Since the way your mind works is so evidently unable to look at facts rather than rely on faith, it was perhaps naieve of me to expect an objective consideration. But I always have to hope. I was hoping that you or someone else would put the various points under the tough scrutiny that it needs.

I am going to have to get it Out There. I have read some pretty rubbishy books. One trying to prove that Kuan Yin was real by some semantic dickering about the reality of furniture. There surely had to be room for a theory based on demonstrated internal evidence.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 08-01-2011 at 03:47 AM..
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:41 AM
 
39,134 posts, read 10,857,554 times
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Originally Posted by kiggy View Post
I certainly don't want to hijack Arequipa's thread. Far from it. I think my post is very relevant in response to his essay on Christ. If he feels that my remarks are off-topic, I will respect his wishes and not post again. Why don't we let him decide? It's his thread, after all. I'll respect his decision.
It's actually for the Moderators to decide what's off topic, not me. I would prefer to stick to the general topic of whether the methods I suggested for finding the Historical Jesus (if there is one) from the Gospels and the Historical Paul from Acts and his letters provide valid evidence and whether we can glean some info. about the apostles under James from that.

Reasons to believe in Jesus such as Pascal's wager or Moral Codes or without Christianity we get Pol Pot are rather off topic though they are still worth discussing so, the best idea would be to start another thread on 'Why we should believe in Christ even if he never existed'.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
1,460 posts, read 1,493,220 times
Reputation: 956
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
It's actually for the Moderators to decide what's off topic, not me. I would prefer to stick to the general topic of whether the methods I suggested for finding the Historical Jesus (if there is one) from the Gospels and the Historical Paul from Acts and his letters provide valid evidence and whether we can glean some info. about the apostles under James from that.

Reasons to believe in Jesus such as Pascal's wager or Moral Codes or without Christianity we get Pol Pot are rather off topic though they are still worth discussing so, the best idea would be to start another thread on 'Why we should believe in Christ even if he never existed'.
Well, you know I won't post another thread called,'Why we should believe in Christ even if he never existed' because I know He does. But I will nevertheless respect your wishes and not post here again. One last thought though: everything in this world is not logical, nor can be explained by logic. Those gaps can only be dealt with by either unbelief or faith. You either believe in Christ, or you don't. I don't think you're treatise fulfills this because you yourself say there "might" not be a God. Atheism will remain as faithbased as Christianity until someone definitively proves that God doesn't exist. Thanks again, and have a good day!
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