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Old 11-09-2008, 01:21 PM
 
395 posts, read 887,708 times
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Hi. I guess you could say I'm agnostic, but I was raised Christian. I am wondering how intelligent Christians defend their religion?

My main concerns about Christianity follow from 1) the fact that the bible says things which, if interpreted literally, are clearly false given our current understanding of science. E.g., the earth created in 6 days, people living for 100s of years, miracles, all life being created at once.

2) The Christ story itself follows closely to an archetype of other near eastern religions. In fact it's basically a verbatim copy of a much earlier story of the Egyptian god Horus. Three wise men bearing gifts, virgin birth, crucifixion, etc.

3) This pattern exists in other stories e.g. Gilgamesh being a much earlier Great Flood story.

So how do you defend Christianity in the face of this? Please note that responses such as "science is satan's way of fooling us" or some other unfalsifiable nonsense are not acceptable answers and will be construed as an admission on your part that you cannot adequately defend your belief. Also claims such as "you just are here to make us doubt you have no place here you lack faith" or something is totally unresponsive. I don't mean to be harsh or trolling by putting these conditions on your responses, but it seems to me that these are fallacious ways that some christians try to stifle any honest and open communication about their beliefs.

All I seek is an intellectually honest and plausible (given our knowledge of science and human nature - specifically the propensity to copy earlier works) defense of the claim that Christianity has a unique claim on being the "true" religion. If your answer boils down to "christianity is not literally true but serves as a useful allegory" then it doesn't seem to follow that it is necessarily the best religion - buddhism or some other religion seems to be able to provide just as satisfactory answers from that point of view.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Chandler, AZ
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.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
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[SIZE=2]I think the Biblical explaination of creation was an old explaination of how things were created in old times before we knew more about the universe.
A mystical explaination of things for ancient times.

2) Might have been coincidence.

3) ?

Only in the Christian religion are there dead saints whose bodies don't decompose after death. My aunt had a book like this with pics; I showed it to a Jehovah's Witness who was trying to convert me and I was trying to convert him! He never came back to my house to bother me!

Lourdes, France - a miracle place with miracle baths related to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ - lots of miraculous cures happen here.
[/SIZE]
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:58 PM
 
395 posts, read 887,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
[SIZE=2]I think the Biblical explaination of creation was an old explaination of how things were created in old times before we knew more about the universe.
A mystical explaination of things for ancient times.

2) Might have been coincidence.

3) ?

Only in the Christian religion are there dead saints whose bodies don't decompose after death. My aunt had a book like this with pics; I showed it to a Jehovah's Witness who was trying to convert me and I was trying to convert him! He never came back to my house to bother me!

Lourdes, France - a miracle place with miracle baths related to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ - lots of miraculous cures happen here.
[/SIZE]

On 2) being a coincidence - but probabilistically, we know it's much more likely when there's a verbatim copy of something that it was simply copied. It's *possible* it's a coincidence, but the odds of that are staggeringly low. If you wrote something at your work, and somebody turned in something basically the same, with the same little details, what would you say? You'd accuse them of plagiarism, and rightly so. Why then do we adopt a different approach when it's religion, and suspend our usual skepticism about things?

3) Are you sure christianity is the only religion that claims certain people don't decompose? Even if they claim it, it doesn't make it so. Have scientists investigated the bodies?
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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Historical and Scientific Proof of Jesus
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Pikeville, Ky.
13,472 posts, read 21,255,245 times
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I don't feel the need to justify my "religion " to anyone..I have no "religion..I have a relationship with God, the creator..I have no problem connecting scientific facts with my belief, as I believe that all things are from God, including the scientific discoveries that teach us about our earth, provides wonderful new technologies that make our lives easier and advances our longing to search the unknown and to lengthen our lives and rid the diseases that shorten our lives..

I have the feeling that I have lost a few friendships in the forums that I valued very much, because of my liberal beliefs..and I am not sure what liberal beliefs are. Unless it is because I am sympathetic with the homosexuals and voted for Obama, or that I believe the earth may be billions of years old.

I do believe there is an afterlife that has been prepared for us, but it is not my job to decide who is worthy of it..
I believe the Godhead is made up of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three distinct persons or spirit with distinct jobs, but in perfect love and harmony..
I do not believe the legend of an everlasting fiery hell for everyone who disagrees with my belief..

These are my beliefs, based upon my faith and the peace that has come with it..I do not force them on anyone else, nor can I defend them if cornered, simply because I have no proof, that faith or absolute truth exists. For those reasons, I cannot justify my faith to you.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:33 PM
 
395 posts, read 887,708 times
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Originally Posted by soonerguy View Post
Both Josephus and Tacitus were born after Christ purportedly was crucified. So that hardly constitutes scientific or even historical evidence. Both men were repeating the lore long after the events supposedly occurred.

As to the notion that the Bible is a reliable historical source - what about the apocryphal gospels, many of which directly contradict the canonical gospels? Why are they disregarded as evidence but things which support modern dogma upheld as true?

The modern Christian doctrine was largely the product of decisions made by Constantine nearly 300 years after the events; e.g., the council of Nicea. Things which Christians assume as articles of their faith today - core aspects of their religion - were still up for debate at that point! Such basic things like the divinity of Christ, his supposed resurrection, and all that.

In sum, the historic record is at best ambiguous and at worst disfavors the modern Christian story.

I do appreciate you bringing those ancient sources up though I find it pretty interesting.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:36 PM
 
395 posts, read 887,708 times
Reputation: 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue62 View Post
I don't feel the need to justify my "religion " to anyone..I have no "religion..I have a relationship with God, the creator..I have no problem connecting scientific facts with my belief, as I believe that all things are from God, including the scientific discoveries that teach us about our earth, provides wonderful new technologies that make our lives easier and advances our longing to search the unknown and to lengthen our lives and rid the diseases that shorten our lives..

I have the feeling that I have lost a few friendships in the forums that I valued very much, because of my liberal beliefs..and I am not sure what liberal beliefs are. Unless it is because I am sympathetic with the homosexuals and voted for Obama, or that I believe the earth may be billions of years old.

I do believe there is an afterlife that has been prepared for us, but it is not my job to decide who is worthy of it..
I believe the Godhead is made up of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three distinct persons or spirit with distinct jobs, but in perfect love and harmony..
I do not believe the legend of an everlasting fiery hell for everyone who disagrees with my belief..

These are my beliefs, based upon my faith and the peace that has come with it..I do not force them on anyone else, nor can I defend them if cornered, simply because I have no proof, that faith or absolute truth exists. For those reasons, I cannot justify my faith to you.

Fair enough; I appreciate your honesty. I suspect this is how many Christians are - they simply have a belief and don't try to justify them.

The problem is in the case of some of your friends when they justify all sorts of inanity in the name of their religion - oppressing gays, stating that the world is 6,000 years old, etc.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Texas
4,934 posts, read 6,605,802 times
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The words in red ring true to me.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:45 PM
 
395 posts, read 887,708 times
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Originally Posted by TexianPatriot View Post
The words in red ring true to me.
What specifically rings true to you? I mean are you saying we should all be pacifists and socialists (what Christ seems to have been suggesting).
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