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The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Philosophers and rhetoricians, Welcome!

Postby ethopoeia » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:25 am

Rhuiden wrote:
ethopoeia wrote:God is awesome and very dangerous indeed.
Do God's armies stand before a court martial when they kill civilians? :)
ethopoeia wrote:Does God apply death penalty after life?
ethopoeia wrote:Does God fly terrorist devils to exotic extraterritorial limbos instead of sending them to the actual hell?


these silly questions are getting tiresome.
Rhuiden


Do you think these are silly questions?
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Postby Bert » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:35 am

ethopoeia wrote:
Rhuiden wrote:
these silly questions are getting tiresome.
Rhuiden


Do you think these are silly questions?

I do.
With one of them you even included a smily face I assume to indicate that you did not mean for it to be taken seriously.
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Postby ethopoeia » Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:45 pm

Bert wrote:
ethopoeia wrote:
Rhuiden wrote:these silly questions are getting tiresome.
Do you think these are silly questions?
I do. With one of them you even included a smily face I assume to indicate that you did not mean for it to be taken seriously.

Ridentem dicere uerum quid uetat? :)

Wasn't Mars, God of War, brought to trial?!
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Postby Paul » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:14 pm

Rhuiden wrote:The Good News is that anyone and everyone can chose not to go to Hell. It is as simple as accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Sanskrit wrote:Either accept Jesus or choose for eternal damnation.

Rhuiden wrote:But you have it exactly right, those are the two alternatives.


Many years ago, when I was a young and fire-breathing Catholic, I took great pleasure in theological debates. My chief interlocutors were a young deacon - now priest - in the Russian Orthodox church and various evangelical Christians. I enjoyed such debate so much that one fine Saturday morning, despite being badly hungover (you know us Catholics, always drunk and looking for a fight!), I deliberately welcomed two cheerful Jehovah's Witnesses into my house and soundly thrashed them. They left mumbling that I did indeed know my Bible.

Many years later, with only an occasional puff of smoke about the mouth, I for a variety of reasons find such debates much less enjoyable. Yet, because it remains incumbent upon Christians of all stripes to give an account of their faith when so called upon, I would offer a few observations.

The Catholic Church has long held that those who do not know Christ, as typified in the figure of the "virtuous pagan", may indeed gain salvation. I am not saying that such salvation is easily obtained. Nor would I make the mistake, common among today's Catholics, that there is nothing "privileged" about our faith. But it seems to me both unreasonable and unjust to deny even the possibility of salvation to those who do not know - and therefore cannot accept - Jesus Christ.

The teaching of the Church Fathers on this matter will probably not convince the evangelicals in our audience. Also, I am sure that for each Bible passage I can produce in support of such "inclusivity", any good evangelical can find a contrary passage; perhaps even the same passage! But that others might hear an alternative to evangelical "exclusivity", please consider:

The Church Fathers interpret John 1:9 as the illumination of all men by divine grace, even unbelievers.

Thomas Aquinas (or as I like to call him, "the smartest man who ever lived") in arguing the question "Whether Christ is the Head of all men?" says of the Jewish patriarchs who kept the law, "Hence the ancient Fathers, by observing the legal sacraments, were borne to Christ by the same faith and love whereby we also are borne to Him, and hence the ancient Fathers belong to the same Church as we" cf. Summa Theologica 3rd part, Q8, objection and answer 3).

Pope Alexander 8 in 1690 condemned the Jansenist teaching that Christ died for the faithful only and that pagans, Jews, and heretics receive no grace from him.

Next, while it is a de fide teaching of the Church that membership therein is necessary for all men for salvation, we also believe that the boundaries of the Church may not be as distinct as some think. Specifically, the same de fide article allows that those who do not belong to the Church can achieve salvation. Actual membership in the Church can be replaced by an implicit desire for membership realized in a kind of moral readiness to fulfil the will of God.

In fine, I marvel at the hubris by which someone can say, "I'm going to Heaven, but you're going to Hell; I am saved, but you are not; I am of the elect, but you are not."

Any good Catholic Christian knows that no mortal can be so certain. Rather, "with fear and trembling we continue to work out our salvation."

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby Rhuiden » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:35 pm

Paul wrote:In fine, I marvel at the hubris by which someone can say, "I'm going to Heaven, but you're going to Hell; I am saved, but you are not; I am of the elect, but you are not."

Any good Catholic Christian knows that no mortal can be so certain. Rather, "with fear and trembling we continue to work out our salvation."


Hi Paul, thank you for your explanation of the Catholic teaching. I must say that I do not know enough about the beliefs of my Catholic brothers.

In my understanding, the Bible does teach that you can know for certain whether or not you are going to heaven. The entire book of 1 John contains many "tests" to give assurance to a believer that he/she is truly a child of God.

It is a little more difficult to tell if another person is a true child of God. Only God can know their heart for certain but the Bible does teach that we can "know" other christians by their fruits.

Paul wrote:Pope Alexander 8 in 1690 condemned the Jansenist teaching that Christ died for the faithful only and that pagans, Jews, and heretics receive no grace from him.


This is a Calvinist postion. I do not agree with all 5 points of Calvinism and this is one of the points I have a problem with. The Bible teaches the Jesus died for all people who ever have or ever will live. The problem is not with His atonement but with our acceptance of His sacrifice for us. Many do not receive the blessing of Christ's atonement because they do not accept Him as Lord & Savior. It is a choice they make.

In reality, it appears that we are arguing the same point, Christ and Him crucified, from different perspectives.

By the way, I have only known a few Catholics (not many in the area that I live) but none could have ever been described as "fire-breathing". It is an awesome thing though when someone gets excited about God and what He has done and what He will do.

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Postby Bert » Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:21 pm

Paul wrote:

In fine, I marvel at the hubris by which someone can say, "I'm going to Heaven, but you're going to Hell; I am saved, but you are not; I am of the elect, but you are not."

Any good Catholic Christian knows that no mortal can be so certain. Rather, "with fear and trembling we continue to work out our salvation."

Cordially,

Paul

Thanks for your contribution Paul.
I do not agree with everything you wrote (but that's okay right?) but it is evident from your post that you are sincere in what believe.
One think that I would like to address is the the above quote.
It is not because of hubris that I say that I am God's child (read: elect) but it is based on the convidence that the Bible gives me.
It is not for me to declare of anyone that they will go to Hell, nor do I have the desire to do so.
Passages like the one you quoted will quard me from becoming smug.
It is not a matter of being picked and then we can do what we want because we are scott-free.
We are chosen to serve, and to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (and then the next verse) for it is God who works in me the desire and the action for his good pleasure.
If God is the one doing this, how can it fail? How could I possibly not want to serve him?
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Postby annis » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:19 am

Rhuiden wrote:hank you for the advice on what non-believers hear when certain language is used. My desire is, in a caring way, to plant a seed that causes the non-believer to think about the topic being discussed. I don't intend to "freak them out".


I have no doubt that's not intended. It is nonetheless alarming (and not only to me).

I am curious, what type of martial arts do you study?


After years of destroying my joints with taekwondo, I switched to Xingyi and Baguazhang, more obscure varieties of studied unfriendliness. If I could find someone to teach me real Taiji — a martial art, not new-age interpretive dance — I would study that now. But in Madison that's not likely.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Andrus » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:35 pm

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Postby Rhuiden » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:47 pm

Andrus wrote:And if it was God that made me this way how can He punish me for being what He did.


This is a common question and a stumbling block for many. It arises from a mistaken understanding of who God is and who we are. First, God does not create people for the purpose of sending them to Hell. It is God's will that all should be saved but He does not force Himself on us. He wants us to come willingly, with a true heart. He does not create us as "God-robots".

Since God is not constrained by time like we are, He can see all points in time. He knows what decisions we will make. But knowing is not the same as causing it to happen. Since we have free will we are responsible for the choices we make. God is not responsible for our choices. With this in mind, the choice we have (serve God or not) is quite rational.

Second, the choice is necessary. God is perfect in every way. He cannot even be in the presence of sin. Since we (all of us) are going to sin, we have no hope of eternal life in Heaven. But God provided a way - a simple choice (it really is that simple). It is the biggest decision we can ever make. If we accept Jesus, God no longer sees our sinfulness. He looks at us through Jesus and all He chooses to see is the righteousness of Jesus. We are cleansed. If we reject Jesus, there is no "filter" through which God views us and He sees all of our sinfulness.

So you see, the choice of where we spend eternity is ours. God set the parameters and simply validates our choice on Judgement day.

You are right to say that there are going to be many good people in Hell. The is an old saying that goes like this: The road to Hell if paved with good intentions. Being a good is not enough. There is nothing we can do to be good enough. We cannot earn our way in but it is a gift freely given to all those who ask. Why is it free - because Jesus has already paid the cost!!!

Alright now, I will quit preaching.

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Postby PeterD » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:40 pm

Paul wrote:Thomas Aquinas (or as I like to call him, "the smartest man who ever lived")...

Tell me, Paul, do you make your pizza with mushrooms? If so, what kind do you use? I have a sneaky suspicion they're not portobello!

Tell me what makes him, in your opinion, the smartest man who ever lived, unlike other truly deserving figures like Newton, Einstein, Pasteur, Edison, etc. (and, in my opinion, way, way smarter than TA)?

Was he smart because he favoured putting all those who disagreed with the Roman Catholic church's theology to death? (Nice guy, eh?)

Was he smart because he thought women intellectually inferior to men? (Heck, it must've of sucked being a women in those days (or a heretic :)). )

Pray tell.
Last edited by PeterD on Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby PeterD » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:01 pm

edonnelly wrote:It reminds me of the old story of the man who dies and goes to heaven. He confronts God and says "How could You let all those terrible things happen?" God's response to him is "How could you?"


I am curious. When it comes to natural disasters, to whom shall we throw the blame?
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Kopio » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:14 am

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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby edonnelly » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:44 pm

PeterD wrote:I am curious. When it comes to natural disasters, to whom shall we throw the blame?


It appears the liberals blame George Bush -- don't you?
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library
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Postby Andrus » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:05 pm

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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby PeterD » Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:08 pm

edonnelly wrote:
PeterD wrote:I am curious. When it comes to natural disasters, to whom shall we throw the blame?


It appears the liberals blame George Bush -- don't you?


Hmmm, it never crossed my mind. But now that you mention it... :wink:
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Kopio » Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:15 am

Andrus wrote:1- God is creator of everything.
2- If it is so then God is my creator.
3- So I was what I was in the day I was born because God made me so.
4- I am now what I am because what I was when I was born and because the things I have lived so far.

On other hand God is not limited by time so:
5- He would know (even before creating the Universe) what I would be and what I would live through.
6- Then he must have known that with the way He made me and with what I would live that I would be unable to believe in Him.
7- If I will be punished for that then I’m punished by what He did of me.


I would say that I agree wholeheartedly with point 1 and 2. Point 3 and 4 is where things get fuzzy for me. You were not an atheist out of the womb. I wasn't a Christian out of the womb. I made choices to get there...you made choices to get there. God simply knew what choices we would make from the beginning. He still allowed us to make those choices.

Point 5 I agree with. Point 6 I agree with, except for the fact that I don't think you are unable to believe in Him, I believe you are unwilling to believe in Him (of course what do I know, I don't live in your head). Point 7 I can't agree with because God is not culpable for the choices you have made, even though He knew when He created you that you would make them. An aside here would also be....you still have a lot of time left (God willing) to roll this around in your head. I'm guessing that you have thought more about this topic recently that in a long time. The fact that your are still digging, seems to me that God is still working in your life, whether you acknowledge it or not. Wow....that sounded uncharacteristically evangelistic for me...I try not to get up on the pulpit when I post :oops:
Andrus wrote:The subject of the free will re appear in my mind last year when the Priest that baptized my daughter spoke, in a meeting for the preparation of the Baptism, about the free will of choose or not choose God and that He already knew what we would choose. That struck me as an absolute paradox and it has been around my brain from time to time (I don’t like paradoxes, or to tell the true I like to discover how to resolve them).

I must admit, this is a puzzling paradox. You spoke here of your daughter. So lemme see if I can give you a illustration.....
You are a proud parent, but you know that, just like yourself, there are some things that you cannot teach your daughter. Some things she has to learn for herself. Otherwise you would be severely overprotective, overbearing, and controlling. You cannot make her do everything you think she should do. So she thinks the woodstove is pretty neat and wants to play with it...yadda yadda yadda....you finally restrain yourself and let her touch the hot woodstove, she burns her hand and learns a lesson. You...the Creator of her, had complete and total foreknowledge that if she touched the stove she would be burnt and cry, nevertheless you allowed her to make the choice for herself, to touch it, and to learn.

I realize that, like all illustrations, this breaks down at some point, but the basic facts are the same:

You are her Creator/God is our Creator...
You knew what was best for your creation...
You could see that the choices of your creation would harm them...
You allowed your creation to choose for themselves even to their own detriment.

Does that make you a horrible parent? No. I had to touch the hot stove for myself, as well as stick my finger in the outlet (I still remember doing that at about 4 years old) to learn that what my parents said was really in my best intrest, and I had best listen to them.

For me this paradox is resolved. What part of it continues to bother you or not make sense to you? BTW, I always though it would be extremely bad form for an Athiest to allow their child to be baptized. Isn't that the case?
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Postby Kopio » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:08 pm

Ok....I know that this is a long dead thread, but I have been considering these things lately again. I am doing a paper right now at school on Open Theism, which (in a very small nutshell) says that we truly do have a free will because God doesn't have exhaustive knowledge of the future, he only has exhaustive knowledge of the now. In other words...God can be surprised! Anyhow, I would love to interact with y'all (especially Andrus) on this in the near future.

I must say Andrus, your 6 lines of logic are what really spawned my desire to investigate this theology. If this theology is right, it really would go a long way toward resolving your (and our) understanding of free will. That being said, I'm not sure I agree with Open Theology, but honestly, I don't know nearly enough of it to openly critique it at this point.

I look forward to future interaction.
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Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:47 am

Interesting Kopio - througout this thread you have been defending that trust/believing in God is a leap of faith, and now you want to start proving whether or not God has exhaustive knowledge of the future.

This may have nothing to do with your thesis, but do you assume that we share a common sense of spirituality (e.g. experienceing God) as human beings, or that spirituality is an individual experience? Or is it an individual experience of a common spiritual 'thing'?

I ask this because unless there is a possible commom agreement on the sensation of spiritual experiences, I do not see how you can 'prove' that this, or any other theology, is 'right'.

I guess what I am asking, in a rather clumsy way, is what the benchmark is whereby you intend to 'prove' your thesis?
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Postby Rhuiden » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:32 am

Kopio wrote:I am doing a paper right now at school on Open Theism, which (in a very small nutshell) says that we truly do have a free will because God doesn't have exhaustive knowledge of the future, he only has exhaustive knowledge of the now. In other words...God can be surprised!


I also enjoy studying theology. I am currently reading all I can on Calvinism....it is quite interesting.

I do not believe in Open Theism as you have defined it here. A god who does not have perfect knowledge of all past, present, and future events is not really a god at all. I believe that God has perfect knowledge of all past, present, and future events...He is never surprised.

The relationship between God's perfect knowledge and our granted free will is quite difficult and I do not pretend to understand it. All I know for sure is that the Bible teaches both. It is a very interest topic though.

By the way, what class are you doing this paper for?

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Postby IreneY » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:51 am

What confuses with the theory of Open Theism is the following: If God doesn't know what's going to happen then no prophecy can be made. If He doesn't know exactly what's going to happen what is the extent of His knowledge? How do we know? And if we are to accept that He knows some things but not all how does it solve the "where's our free will" issue? We have some free-will perhaps? Not on major issues though? Will our actions amount to the same after all? (you can choose to go left or right but Armageddon is going to happen no matter what)
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Postby Kopio » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:47 am

Kasper wrote:Interesting Kopio - througout this thread you have been defending that trust/believing in God is a leap of faith, and now you want to start proving whether or not God has exhaustive knowledge of the future.


Well, it goes like this. Do I believe in the Kirkegaardian existential leap of faith? Yes, I do, because I have experienced it (go figure). I am learning a lot more about my theological beliefs this year because I am immersed in upper division theology classes at school right now. I am finding that Kirkegaard and Karl Barth resonate with me deeply. However, I do think that there can be more intimate knowledge of God.

Ok, here's the deal....I talk to my atheist friends in a lot different of terms than I would talk to my evangelical friends. Do I beleive faith requires a leap at some point, yes...but I also believe, in using the Bible as an authority (a basis I believe but do not share with my atheist friends) we can know certain things about the nature of God (Theology Proper) and His revelation to us (Special Revelation). My arguments with my atheist friends are more related to the abstract and more general aspects of God (General Revelation). Does that make any sense??

Kasper wrote:This may have nothing to do with your thesis, but do you assume that we share a common sense of spirituality (e.g. experienceing God) as human beings, or that spirituality is an individual experience? Or is it an individual experience of a common spiritual 'thing'?


Short answer is, yes. Long answer is take a look at this article on General Revelation. While I might not agree 100% with everything the author says, he gives an excellent overview of the subject. I also think that God has given us all a conscience which I beleive could be understood as you "common sense of spirituality".

Kasper wrote:I ask this because unless there is a possible commom agreement on the sensation of spiritual experiences, I do not see how you can 'prove' that this, or any other theology, is 'right'.

I guess what I am asking, in a rather clumsy way, is what the benchmark is whereby you intend to 'prove' your thesis?


Oh no, it isn't a clumsy question at all...you have to understand that the debate amongst theologians is among (for the most part) Evangelical theologians. So there are a number of presuppositions (i.e. benchmarks) that we hold as common ground, viz. The diety of Christ, Authority of the Bible, etc. If you are not an evangelical, or Christian in any manner, I wouldn't even bother with arguing with you about such matters. Not unless early Christianity was a hobby of yours (which I DO have atheist friends that are fascinated by it) and you wanted to talk about what the bible really says about God.

Ok....I hope this makes sense to you, I am nearly not as schizo as you might think :)
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Postby Kopio » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:38 am

Rhuiden wrote:I also enjoy studying theology. I am currently reading all I can on Calvinism....it is quite interesting.

I find Calvinism interesting, but I think he misses the boat on a couple of things.

Rhuiden wrote:The relationship between God's perfect knowledge and our granted free will is quite difficult and I do not pretend to understand it. All I know for sure is that the Bible teaches both. It is a very interest topic though.

Yeah, these two things seem to be mutually exclusive, which is what the Open Theologians are trying very hard to resolve. BTW....this is an open debate amongst conservative theologians. Right now this is bigtime in the Baptist General Conference...that's right...BAPTIST!

Rhuiden wrote:By the way, what class are you doing this paper for?

I am doing this for 3 classes actually. The main paper I am writing is for Advanced Writing. I have to prepare an argumentative paper, so I am doing it on Open Theology. I am also taking Hermeneutics (the art of interpretation) and I am doing a paper in that class on the Hermeneutics of Open Theology. I am also taking a Doctrine class where I have to look at, evaluate and teach a class on an issue in contemporary theology...so I will be teaching on Open Theology. Basically, what I am trying to do is kill as many birds with one stone as I can! They will all be three very seperate papers and/or assignments, but I can use my research for all three..which should be helpful.
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Postby Kopio » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:44 am

IreneY wrote:What confuses with the theory of Open Theism is the following: If God doesn't know what's going to happen then no prophecy can be made. If He doesn't know exactly what's going to happen what is the extent of His knowledge? How do we know? And if we are to accept that He knows some things but not all how does it solve the "where's our free will" issue? We have some free-will perhaps? Not on major issues though? Will our actions amount to the same after all? (you can choose to go left or right but Armageddon is going to happen no matter what)

As soon as I crack this nut, you'll be the first ones to know! Also...you must realized that my representation of Open Theism is much more simplified than what they really believe. It is a highly nuanced theology by men and women that I would consider for the most part to be mainline Christians.

The who free-will, God's sovereignty thing is a quite conundrum. And what I do appreciate about the open theologians is that they are honestly trying to address the issue that Andrus brings up. If they are right, it solves the particular problem that Andrus raises.
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Postby Rhuiden » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:12 pm

Kopio wrote:I find Calvinism interesting, but I think he misses the boat on a couple of things.


I agree....I do not agree with 3 of the 5 points.


Kopio wrote:BTW....this is an open debate amongst conservative theologians. Right now this is bigtime in the Baptist General Conference...that's right...BAPTIST!


I personally would have to question just how conservative the proponents of open theism really are. I began studying Calvinism for a similar reason...it is growing in popularity in the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Postby IreneY » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:34 pm

Kopio wrote:As soon as I crack this nut, you'll be the first ones to know! Also...you must realized that my representation of Open Theism is much more simplified than what they really believe. It is a highly nuanced theology by men and women that I would consider for the most part to be mainline Christians.

The who free-will, God's sovereignty thing is a quite conundrum. And what I do appreciate about the open theologians is that they are honestly trying to address the issue that Andrus brings up. If they are right, it solves the particular problem that Andrus raises.


But how do they answer it is my question.

By the way, the whole first Chirstians and what they believed is, I think, a totally different matter (this is from another post but I just remembered it and am too lazy to go back and find that post in order to quote it)
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Postby Bert » Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:22 am

Rhuiden wrote:
Kopio wrote:I find Calvinism interesting, but I think he misses the boat on a couple of things.


I agree....I do not agree with 3 of the 5 points.



I agree with 5 out of 5. :)
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Postby Rhuiden » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:37 am

Bert wrote:
Rhuiden wrote:
Kopio wrote:I find Calvinism interesting, but I think he misses the boat on a couple of things.


I agree....I do not agree with 3 of the 5 points.



I agree with 5 out of 5. :)


We can still be brothers in Christ....

This is an issue that is debatable "in-house". That is to say between fellow members of the family of God.

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does it matter

Postby Turendil » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:59 am

Hello the question I have is do any of the issues debated really matter? As long as a christian you accept the aposte's Nicene and Athanasian creed the rest of the questions seem tobe theoretical. After all christ came into the world not to condemn the world but to save it.

Just my two cents
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Re: does it matter

Postby Rhuiden » Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:55 am

Turendil wrote:Hello the question I have is do any of the issues debated really matter? As long as a christian you accept the aposte's Nicene and Athanasian creed the rest of the questions seem tobe theoretical. After all christ came into the world not to condemn the world but to save it.

Just my two cents


The debate is usefull for at least two reasons. First, it helps us to be know not only what we believe but why - this is important when talking to non-believers or instructing less mature christians. Second, it helps to keep us accountable to one another.

Those are the things that came to mind immediately, I am sure there are many other reasons though.

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Postby Bert » Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:10 am

In addition to what Rhuiden said;
If God finds it worthwhile, so to speak, to put it in the Bible, it sure is worthwhile for us to try and understand it.
Aside from that, some of those points are more than mere theory.
The 5 points of Calvinsm (or the Canons of Dort) were developed as a statement of faith against those who thought that man was not depraved to the point of not being able to do anything for his salvation.
That is actually an age old thought; We want some control, some ability to determine our own destiny.
I agree with you Rhuiden, we can surely debate this in a brotherly manner.
I am looking forward to reading some of the fruits of Kopio's study.
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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby joja » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:17 am

Re: Faith in God

'You can only have faith as God gives you faith.
Faith is a gift of God.

A gift of faith is not something you take and do
something with. A gift of faith is you just get yourself
out of the way.
The gift is getting your ownself out of the way.

Now, if Jesus knew Who He was... He was a predestinated
creature of time. You believe that? Jesus, the body,
He knew that He was the predestinated Word, the Person
of God that was to stand in that day to be the Sacrifice
for sin. And He knew His adversary (as I preached on a
couple Sundays ago), He knew His adversary, and He knew
Who He was; therefore, those two great forces come together
, knowledge and faith. Jesus knew Who He was. Satan knew
the Bible as good as Jesus did, but It wouldn't work for Satan. See? No matter how much knowledge you have it won't work.

Believe it. No matter what takes place, believe it anyhow.
You see, Christians don't look at what they see; Christians
look at things they don't see. And the things you don't see
are more real than the things that you see. You see that
microphone. It'll perish. I see faith that'll never perish. See?
I see love--love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness,
meekness, gentleness, patience. Every shield of the believer
is supernatural. Everything that belongs in the realm of
Christianity is worked by supernatural. An atheist once said to
me, said, "Anything that can't be scientifically proven isn't real."
I said, "Anything that can be scientifically proven isn't real."
That's vice versa." - William M. Branham
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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby gfross » Sun May 29, 2011 12:28 pm

edonnelly wrote:
Chris Weimer wrote:You have made an assertion based on faith, yet you give no evidence for it at all.

I can't speak for Bert or Rhuiden, but there is evidence out there for those who wish to analyze it. For example, you could look at those who believe and follow the teachings of the Bible and compare their lives (in terms of things that matter to you) to the lives of those people who do not believe or do not follow the teachings of the Bible. It doesn't lend itself to traditional science because people would never agree on the measures of a "good life," but certainly an individual could make the judgement of what he/she thinks constitutes a good life for him/herself.

I would submit that if after doing this analysis one were to conclude that believing in and following the Bible leads to a better life (however one may define it) then that would be evidence (though not necessarily proof) that would support the position of faith.


Interesting statements: "...you could look at those...." Yes, one "could," but that action is still hypothetical. "if after doing this analysis, one were to conclude...." Again, hypothetical. What you are doing, as I see it, is defining the term "evidence," and that's all. Because if no one did those things you hypothesized them as doing, then no "evidence" would exist. And conversely, when someone does do those things, as you undoubtedly have (otherwise you wouldn't mention it), then the "evidence" does exist, as least for that person. And so very much depends on one's definition of "a good life." I suppose that means, for me, anyway, being happy, having a feeling of well-being, a feeling of well-being that comes with financial abundance, good physical health, excellent relationships, creating and living the life that I want, having ever-expanding freedom to do what I want when I want how I want, growing in awareness of love and beauty by focusing my attention only on what evokes the feeling of love in me and a greater appreciation of beauty -- and, of course, feeling the Divine Presence, the Love Heat of Divine Energy that renews me, uplifts me, sustains me, comforts me, nurtures me, accepts me as I am and encourages me to be more, adventures with me, laughs with me, and is always (although I am still not often consciously aware of it) part of my life experiences.

Actually, I used to be a devout Christian but am not now (well, since I was baptized and confirmed, I suppose that means according to various (not all) Christian theologies, I will always be a Christian per se, but I don't consider myself a Christian now because I no longer believe that Jesus Christ is my savior or that we are born in sin or that we need a savior -- which is the basis of the gospel.

I guess I have a pantheistic view -- that everything, from particle to universe, is the expression of God/Goddess/All-That-Is and has self-consciousness or Self-consciousness. My physical body is the expression in physical form of my non-physical body which is the expression of the point of Divine Light (Love and Thought) that I AM. All-That-Is is having an adventure through me (and everybody else and every being, from ant to orchid to ocean to a necklace of pearls to a molecule to a mountain to a solar system to a galaxy to an alien life form, etc. etc. etc.). As each being experiences life, so does All-That-Is through that being, and expands in consciousness from the experience. As we grow, so does All-That-Is, even though the paradox is that All-That-Is is already all that is. Paradox is part of Divine Being.

We become aware of our intimate connection with our Higher Self (Soul, whatever you want to call it) -- that part of us that is our nonphysical expression of Divine Being -- by thinking, saying, and doing things that give us pleasure, happiness, joy. We cut off the flow of Divine Energy to us when we think, say, or do things that cause us discomfort. Our emotions are our guidance system.

Dying is not dying at all. It is us leaving our physical body to continue life in nonphysical form, a life that is full of joy and creativity and discovery. There are many books written on this subject and many websites that deal with this, so I won't go into detail here. You might want to take a look at the trilogy by Robert A. Monroe (Journeys Out of the Body) to become more familiar with one man's experiences while he was out of his physical body.

Anyway, I am far happier now that I have dropped all those psychologically unhealthy beliefs that are part of Christian doctrine: I am a sinner. I am not worthy (which Catholics say several times during mass). I have to be saved, and everyone else does, too. I must do my Christian duty even though I feel emotional discomfort when I do, because I am doing those activities as a "duty," not as a pleasure. Only Christians will "go to heaven." Everybody else will either go to hell (doctrine of many conservative evangelical Christians) or, acc. to my understanding of the modern Roman Catholic catechism, risk the possibility of going to hell. What a burden these beliefs can be, esp. if one believes that one has to do "good works" as a part of one's faith. The emphasis for many Christians, from what I have observed, is on "has to," duty, moral obligation, with tremendous pressure from one's peer group to "live up to the faith." Such guilt devout Christians feel when they do not do that. Have to repent and ask God for forgiveness again and again. I know from personal experience (when I was a Christian) that one does feel forgiven and renewed, that the Christian belief system does work, that many Christians feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, of God. It's just that I have learned, too, that one does not need to be a Christian, with all that entails, in order to experience the Divine Presence and to live a happy life.

As a non-Christian (I call myself "spiritual but not religious), I, too, still feel the Presence of the Divine. I, too, have my prayers answered. I, too, have experienced miracles in my life. I have a "good life." I meditate one or two hours a day: Transcendental Meditation twice a day, two 15-minute breathing meditations, which I learned from the "Abraham" book and CD called Getting Into the Vortex by Esther and Jerry Hicks, meditations that I do to quiet my mind's chatter, to increase my communication with my Divine Self, and to release resistance to the flow of that Divine Energy ("Let go and let God" as Joel S. Goldsmith, an American mystic, used to say), and a meditation once a day listening to a CD by Lazaris (pronounced luh-ZAH-riss) published by Concept: Synergy. I also alter my state of consciousness and "sit" with my Higher Self several times every day. When I do, I receive and feel what I call the warmth of Divine Love; what Christians would probably call the Holy Spirit. I bask in that Divine Love and am energized and renewed by it. I am much happier now, being free of Christian beliefs. I do the things that make me feel happy. As Seth said (as I recall, in Conversations with Seth by Susan Watkins), "If you don't enjoy doing it, STOP!" and "Doing the things that you enjoy will lead your self to your Self."

I feel very attracted to those who love God, for they and I have that in common, and that love is the central aspect of my life, just as it is theirs. It's just that I no longer need the Bible for guidance, for I am guided by my emotional guidance system, which in turn is guided by my Higher Self, who is Who I AM eternally, a part of Source, of God/Goddess/All-That-Is, who always loves me personally, unconditionally, and always grants whatever I ask for -- although that does not manifest in physical form until I have released enough resistance to allow it to manifest, resistance in the form of fears, doubts, anxieties, worry, anger, irritation, envy, unhappiness, as well as resistant beliefs, like "It'll never happen" or "I don't think it'll work"). We get in life what we focus our attention on. If I hate something, I attract it to myself. If I fear something, I attract it to myself. If I am angry at something ("Fight AIDS," "Fight cancer," "I am against pollution," "I am against this," "I am against that"), I am helping to increase its power simply by continuing to think about it, to talk about it, to give speeches about how terrible it is and how much we need to change it.

The way to get the positive experiences and things one wants, to attract them into one's life, is to focus on the positive aspects and ignore the negative aspects. One does not need to work for peace; one simply needs to "let go and let God." The flow of the universe is always in a positive direction. By relaxing and letting go (of worries, doubts, etc.), one floats with the current of Divine Well-Being, toward an increased sense of well-being, toward a greater awareness of Divine Love. Human nature is not evil, corrupt, sinful. It is good, Divine, loving. We are good by nature. Of course, we have to choose to BELIEVE that in order to come to experience it. We create our reality according to our thoughts and beliefs, emotions and attitudes, and choices and decisions, using the "tools" of imagination, expectation, and desire. We are co-creators with the Divine; we are the Divine creating joyful adventures of life.
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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby dlb » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:29 am

gfross wrote:
edonnelly wrote:
Chris Weimer wrote:You have made an assertion based on faith, yet you give no evidence for it at all.

I can't speak for Bert or Rhuiden, but there is evidence out there for those who wish to analyze it. For example, you could look at those who believe and follow the teachings of the Bible and compare their lives (in terms of things that matter to you) to the lives of those people who do not believe or do not follow the teachings of the Bible. It doesn't lend itself to traditional science because people would never agree on the measures of a "good life," but certainly an individual could make the judgement of what he/she thinks constitutes a good life for him/herself.

I would submit that if after doing this analysis one were to conclude that believing in and following the Bible leads to a better life (however one may define it) then that would be evidence (though not necessarily proof) that would support the position of faith.


Interesting statements: "...you could look at those...." Yes, one "could," but that action is still hypothetical. "if after doing this analysis, one were to conclude...." Again, hypothetical. What you are doing, as I see it, is defining the term "evidence," and that's all. Because if no one did those things you hypothesized them as doing, then no "evidence" would exist. And conversely, when someone does do those things, as you undoubtedly have (otherwise you wouldn't mention it), then the "evidence" does exist, as least for that person. And so very much depends on one's definition of "a good life." I suppose that means, for me, anyway, being happy, having a feeling of well-being, a feeling of well-being that comes with financial abundance, good physical health, excellent relationships, creating and living the life that I want, having ever-expanding freedom to do what I want when I want how I want, growing in awareness of love and beauty by focusing my attention only on what evokes the feeling of love in me and a greater appreciation of beauty -- and, of course, feeling the Divine Presence, the Love Heat of Divine Energy that renews me, uplifts me, sustains me, comforts me, nurtures me, accepts me as I am and encourages me to be more, adventures with me, laughs with me, and is always (although I am still not often consciously aware of it) part of my life experiences.
...



You complain about hypothetical evidence!! OMG(osh), then you ramble on for 8 paragraphs about yourself in non-defineable/non-defensable terms which are nothing but totally subjective 'evidence'!? Go figure!!
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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby Dominus » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:24 am

All religion and faith is subjective. You cannot be faithful and fully objective.
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Re: The Bible as a Source of Knowledge

Postby dlb » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:43 am

Dominus wrote:All religion and faith is subjective. You cannot be faithful and fully objective.

Then my friend, are you taking verifiable evidence off the table?
And, you are telling me that faithless people are fully objective?
(Humm, atheists must be the only unbiased folks in town!)
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