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Unread 02-03-2011, 11:38 AM
 
2,899 posts, read 2,821,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
But, the critical brain is essential for authentic New Testament faith. Nobody, including God, expects anyone to believe simply because they think they should or because everyone else does.

The Greek word most often translated into English as "faith," is the Greek work "Pistis," which is defined as "being convinced of the truth of something." It is derived from the word "Peitho," which means "to be convinced by the evidence."

In other words, what God wants from us is to look at the evidence He's made available to us and determine for ourselves whether or not it rises to the level of believability. For me, there is evidence enough, even just within nature itself, that God actually exists and evidence enough to persuade me of the vercity of the Bible and the existance and authority of Jesus Christ. You may disagree. So do many others.

The point is that God WANTS us to believe for the right reasons, voluntarily, and He's made those reasons available for critique by the minds He gave us. An analogy I often use is that it's like a jury. They listen to the available evidence, which is rarely (if ever) 100% conclusive, and make their decision based upon the preponderance of that evidence. True, NT faith is the same thing.

Of course, there is a companion concept which must flow from a decision to believe. Faith un-acted upon is not faith at all. In that regard, we're very much like Enrico Fermi. Based upon the evidence available, he believed in the existance of atoms and believed they could be manipulated to create nuclear fission, even though he had never actually seen an atom. But, until he took that belief and actually put it to the test, his faith was deficient. Before he created and controlled the first nuclear reaction, it wasn't faith at all, but just an opinion. It's the same with Biblical, New Testament faith. Belief must be followed by concrete action or that faith is "dead." (James 2: 20 and 26)

(Interestingly, faith doesn't appear but twice in the Old Testament).
Why all the wondering,pondering,guessing,and hoping? God created humankind. Why doesn`t he just present himself to us in a straightforward,clear,concise manner. Please don`t tell me that he does present himself to us that way. God created the Arabs,Africans,Asians,Eurpoeans,etc. Why do they all believe something different based on where they were born? Why the need to conceal everything in a cloak of mystery and hope that some people choose the right way? People reject religion,not God. They reject a certain groups claims of entitlement or knowing the REAL GOD. If God were to actually reveal himself to the world in way that everyone would know beyond a doubt,then they would worship him. If you want your children to know something that is vital to their well being,you won`t keep it a mystery. You wouldn`t tell them 10 different things and leave it up to them to pick the right one.You will make sure they know and understand it in no uncertain terms. The bible reads that at a certain point in time,every knee will bow and tongue confess. At that point,people will bow and confess because it will become CLEAR to them who or what God is. Now there is much confusion. People don`t know what to believe. If it was clear to them,they would confess and worship.
So back to my original point. Why hasn`t God made it clear to us in no uncertain terms, like the bible says he will at a future date?Until that happens,people will always believe different things about God,the bible,the torah,koran,etc.We will always debate who or what God is. We will always think our belief is the right one. Again,it isn`t God,so much, that people reject. It`s your idea,my idea,or the other person`s idea of what God is.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 11:57 AM
 
2,958 posts, read 800,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spm62 View Post
Why all the wondering,pondering,guessing,and hoping? God created humankind. Why doesn`t he just present himself to us in a straightforward,clear,concise manner. Please don`t tell me that he does present himself to us that way. God created the Arabs,Africans,Asians,Eurpoeans,etc. Why do they all believe something different based on where they were born? Why the need to conceal everything in a cloak of mystery and hope that some people choose the right way? People reject religion,not God. They reject a certain groups claims of entitlement or knowing the REAL GOD. If God were to actually reveal himself to the world in way that everyone would know beyond a doubt,then they would worship him. If you want your children to know something that is vital to their well being,you won`t keep it a mystery. You wouldn`t tell them 10 different things and leave it up to them to pick the right one.You will make sure they know and understand it in no uncertain terms. The bible reads that at a certain point in time,every knee will bow and tongue confess. At that point,people will bow and confess because it will become CLEAR to them who or what God is. Now there is much confusion. People don`t know what to believe. If it was clear to them,they would confess and worship.
So back to my original point. Why hasn`t God made it clear to us in no uncertain terms, like the bible says he will at a future date?Until that happens,people will always believe different things about God,the bible,the torah,koran,etc.We will always debate who or what God is. We will always think our belief is the right one. Again,it isn`t God,so much, that people reject. It`s your idea,my idea,or the other person`s idea of what God is.
Man is a marvelous curiosity … he thinks he is the Creator's pet … he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea.~ Mark Twain ~
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Unread 02-03-2011, 12:09 PM
 
55 posts, read 25,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spm62 View Post
Why all the wondering,pondering,guessing,and hoping? God created humankind. Why doesn`t he just present himself to us in a straightforward,clear,concise manner. Please don`t tell me that he does present himself to us that way. God created the Arabs,Africans,Asians,Eurpoeans,etc. Why do they all believe something different based on where they were born? Why the need to conceal everything in a cloak of mystery and hope that some people choose the right way? People reject religion,not God. They reject a certain groups claims of entitlement or knowing the REAL GOD. If God were to actually reveal himself to the world in way that everyone would know beyond a doubt,then they would worship him. If you want your children to know something that is vital to their well being,you won`t keep it a mystery. You wouldn`t tell them 10 different things and leave it up to them to pick the right one.You will make sure they know and understand it in no uncertain terms. The bible reads that at a certain point in time,every knee will bow and tongue confess. At that point,people will bow and confess because it will become CLEAR to them who or what God is. Now there is much confusion. People don`t know what to believe. If it was clear to them,they would confess and worship.
So back to my original point. Why hasn`t God made it clear to us in no uncertain terms, like the bible says he will at a future date?Until that happens,people will always believe different things about God,the bible,the torah,koran,etc.We will always debate who or what God is. We will always think our belief is the right one. Again,it isn`t God,so much, that people reject. It`s your idea,my idea,or the other person`s idea of what God is.
My thoughts exactly.

Our ETERNAL CONSCIOUSES are at stake here. Is your god so ignorant that he doesn't understand how cruel the idea of eternal punishment is? Especially when the odds are almost totally against us? Especially when there are thousands of other religions and we, as human beings are inclined to believe in any of them. Especially when there have been so many liars and absurd beliefs throughout the history of mankind that it's hard for us to "have faith" in gentile Christians' misinterpretations of the Jewish Bible (Compare the mindset of the average 21th century Christian--his fears, his activities, his level of education, etc.--with that of an ancient Hebrew herdsman living in the 7th century BC.) . Especially when his "perfect" creation sinned virtually within a week of their conception.

Why does God want to shroud everything in mystery? What's the point of having faith? What is noble and admirable about jumping off of a bridge without knowing what's below, but hoping that you land in a pile of pillows? Why would this please God?

If he loves us so much and doesn't want to "force us into anything" (lol, I read that at the beginning of the thread somewhere. "Accept me or burn in hell for all eternity!" is not forcing someone into anything?), then why are the odds against most human beings for salvation? Even with Jesus' supposed sacrifice...why did God have to go through such a convoluted procedure to accomplish something he wanted? He's GOD. He doesn't have to bend under the whim of ANY law. He could have just forgave us.

It's problems like these that turn me off to Christianity: silly justification (Oh...uh...he died for our sins...yeah, that's it! That's why Jesus died in the most humiliating way possible!) after justifcation (Well, Jesus fulfilled the law so we don't have to live like Jews and obey the laws!!!! Phew!) after justifcation (Well, Jesus IS the messiah even though he hasn't fulfilled all of the prophecies...he will when he comes back, though and that could be anytime!) after justification (Good things happen to bad people because cold is the absence of heat so that means God didn't create evil! Don't blame him; blame yourselves/the devil.) to cover the holes in Christian theology.

The one that irritates me the most is mystery and faith. I know a lot of Christians answer this question: "Why can't God just reveal himself?" with something like, "Then we'd have no choice!/Then it would be too easy!/He already has!/Why, when he left so much evidence!?" But none of that justifies why has not left irrefutable proof. Why not reveal himself to the whole world at once? People say that Jesus died just on time because the population of the world had increased then; NOW would be a PERFECT time for God to reveal himself to the world since we have digital cameras and live-feed news programs. There'd be no denying it then.

God is prescient and omniscient. Wouldn't he already be aware of 21th century humans' skeptical attitude towards anything written in what we deem the literary infancy of mankind?

Is God shy or does he not want to ruin the mystique?
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Unread 02-03-2011, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
7,884 posts, read 3,999,280 times
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Quote:
Why is the Bible so confusing?
If you look at it correctly, it isn't. The Bible is nothing more than a collection of human beliefs, written over tens of centuries. Different people, different cultures and different times present different ideals, different commandments and different images and depictions of 'God'. When you try to assemble it as some singular message from a single entity, you find a confusing, contradictive, paradoxical mess. When you read it for what it is, the confusion vanishes........ instantly.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Buxton, England
7,039 posts, read 3,072,374 times
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The testaments have been through enough revisions and translations that even if the original were authoritative, there'd be room for huge mistakes. You can get as much out of it as any ancient storybook, but keep your critical thinking facilities engaged while you're reading it. This goes for any documents and books of the faithful. If you read it in context and with an open mind, you can get something out of it, and I encourage you to do so.Keep in mind that "God" is portrayed as a vicious, petulant jerk in the Bible. Is that who you want God to be? Is that who you want to be like? The Bible was written for people of a different age, whose social context included violent warring gods who smote their enemies.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 12:28 PM
 
55 posts, read 25,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weatherfan2 View Post
The Bible was written for people of a different age, whose social context included violent warring gods who smote their enemies.
If this were Facebook, I would like this comment. The base of my atheism stems from realizing the social climate of the Biblical era. If Christians were able to understand that the Bible relates more to the workings of ancient middle eastern civilization than their comfortable lives, then I believe there'd be more atheists...or at least, skeptics.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 12:33 PM
 
2,958 posts, read 800,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weatherfan2 View Post
If you read it in context and with an open mind, you can get something out of it, and I encourage you to do so.
Yeah...two naked teens in a garden with a snake and apple determining the eternal fate of mankind, big fish puking up live men, seas parting, floods which cover the planet then evaporate within a few weeks, men living through a 1200 degree furnace, walls falling at the sound of a trumpet, virgin birth, walking on water, thousands fed with two fish and five loaves, leprosy cured by touching, water turned into fine wine, raising the dead, resurrection etc. I believe I'll pass since I've already read it about ten times across half a century.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,023 posts, read 8,253,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spm62 View Post
Why all the wondering,pondering,guessing,and hoping? God created humankind. Why doesn`t he just present himself to us in a straightforward,clear,concise manner. Please don`t tell me that he does present himself to us that way. God created the Arabs,Africans,Asians,Eurpoeans,etc. Why do they all believe something different based on where they were born? Why the need to conceal everything in a cloak of mystery and hope that some people choose the right way? People reject religion,not God. They reject a certain groups claims of entitlement or knowing the REAL GOD. If God were to actually reveal himself to the world in way that everyone would know beyond a doubt,then they would worship him. If you want your children to know something that is vital to their well being,you won`t keep it a mystery. You wouldn`t tell them 10 different things and leave it up to them to pick the right one.You will make sure they know and understand it in no uncertain terms. The bible reads that at a certain point in time,every knee will bow and tongue confess. At that point,people will bow and confess because it will become CLEAR to them who or what God is. Now there is much confusion. People don`t know what to believe. If it was clear to them,they would confess and worship.
So back to my original point. Why hasn`t God made it clear to us in no uncertain terms, like the bible says he will at a future date?Until that happens,people will always believe different things about God,the bible,the torah,koran,etc.We will always debate who or what God is. We will always think our belief is the right one. Again,it isn`t God,so much, that people reject. It`s your idea,my idea,or the other person`s idea of what God is.

Why God decided to do it this way I can't say. I think it has a lot to do with wanting us to believe voluntarily. It's His creation, so He gets to make the rules, whether we like them or not. After all, He's God and we ain't.

As for all those other religions and faiths? Never forget that before Adam and Eve committed the first sin, there was no religion and only faith in the God who created them. All that other stuff flows from mankind's fallen nature, aided and abetted by the "Prince of the Earth," Lucifer.

But, God HAS revealed enough of Himself to us through the Bible and creation itself for us to decide to believe or not. I'm sure the Scriptures don't contain everything God knows, but it's as much as our poor, human minds can understand now. Enough anyhow to reveal His nature to us. He's not hiding anything, just limiting what He reveals based upon our limited ability to understand. It's sort of like that little drivers manual you have to study to get a drivers license. It's not ALL the traffic laws; just enough for you to pass the test and drive fairly safely.

And, if all those other religions were acceptable to Him, why did He tell us to preach the Gospel to all people? Surely, He knows about those other faiths, and knew about them in advance too, yet He specifically tells us take the word He's revealed to them. Obviously, that must mean those other faiths are unacceptable and He wants them to be exposed to the truth so they too can decide. Either that, or He's like an Army 1SGT and just wants to keep up busy.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 01:02 PM
 
2,958 posts, read 800,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
Why God decided to do it this way I can't say. I think it has a lot to do with wanting us to believe voluntarily. It's His creation, so He gets to make the rules, whether we like them or not. After all, He's God and we ain't.

As for all those other religions and faiths? Never forget that before Adam and Eve committed the first sin, there was no religion and only faith in the God who created them. All that other stuff flows from mankind's fallen nature, aided and abetted by the "Prince of the Earth," Lucifer.

But, God HAS revealed enough of Himself to us through the Bible and creation itself for us to decide to believe or not. I'm sure the Scriptures don't contain everything God knows, but it's as much as our poor, human minds can understand now. Enough anyhow to reveal His nature to us. He's not hiding anything, just limiting what He reveals based upon our limited ability to understand. It's sort of like that little drivers manual you have to study to get a drivers license. It's not ALL the traffic laws; just enough for you to pass the test and drive fairly safely.

And, if all those other religions were acceptable to Him, why did He tell us to preach the Gospel to all people? Surely, He knows about those other faiths, and knew about them in advance too, yet He specifically tells us take the word He's revealed to them. Obviously, that must mean those other faiths are unacceptable and He wants them to be exposed to the truth so they too can decide. Either that, or He's like an Army 1SGT and just wants to keep up busy.
Read the Mark Twain thread
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Unread 02-03-2011, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,023 posts, read 8,253,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvin.George View Post
Read the Mark Twain thread

Thanks for the tip. I hadn't seen that thread and I love Mark Twain, even though he was a draft dodger who scooted off to California to avoid service during the Civil War.

But, I don't think I'd take religious advice from him. He was a serious agnostic and his writings reflect that. Agnostics are unsure, one way or the other, and are consequently unstable in their conclusions.

The same could be said of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, neither of whom are often pointed to as having the "truth" about religion.
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