Why I will never give up Christianity

in philosophy •  last year

It always amazes me how many arguments against Christianity base themselves on things that are NOT Christianity. For example, almost every single argument Dan Larimer makes in Why I gave up Christianity for his sad falling away from the truth comes from objections to what others who have fallen away have done or said. Non Sequitur.

Pointing to the overwhelming majority of humans who have made the same mistake he is making – devising their own inconsistent beliefs to suit themselves and seeking to convince others to validate those beliefs – merely proves that he is just like everyone else: probably wrong.

True Christianity is simply the compiled eyewitness accounts of those who knew Jesus and two of their personal assistants. That’s it. The Council of Nicaea’s job was only to weed out all the other merely human-generated content that didn’t meet those perfectly reasonable criteria. We deduce that God supervised that process since those eyewitnesses have testified that Jesus assured them that God supervised the writing of the true inputs to that process. Jesus did and said enough incredible things to convince those eyewitnesses that they should believe what He told them. If He could do those things, He is certainly capable of making sure that an accurate account of them is preserved for you.

Therefore, I consign to oblivion all arguments pointing to the subsequent inventions, deviations, hypocrisy and personal preferences of other deceitful or earnest men like Dan Larimer. The inventions of popes, preachers or libertarian cryptoanarchists are not Biblical Christianity and their heaped up errors do not prove that Biblical Christianity is false.

That gets rid of most of Dan’s article as a set of irrelevant objections – a mere excuse to proceed with making his own mistakes along with everyone else.

What sets Christianity apart from all other belief systems is that it insists that humans are incapable of meeting God’s standards and therefore qualifying for eternal life on their own. They need God’s help. That’s how you sort out God’s One Way from all the other ways people want to invent for themselves. So we all get the simple choice to accept or reject God’s help. What a blindingly simple criterion for who gets into Heaven!

Clearly, if there is a God, there is no reason at all why he should agree to any of Dan’s preferences about how things ought to be. As Owner of the Universe, he would presumably feel entitled to make the rules and decide if, when, and how to reveal them to mankind.

Failing to meet the expectations of each and every fallible human is the most bogus excuse I can think of for rejecting such revelation.

So out there among the infinite sea of Personally Preferred Beliefs, one can expect to find exactly zero or one version that represents God’s Official Revealed Truth. (Hint: It's probably not the personal beliefs of Dan Larimer.) So our challenge is to sort through that haystack of self-invented (i.e. wrong) beliefs to see if one can find any single well-documented set that might plausibly be the Actual Revelation of God.

One serious candidate is the Bible (in its original languages). Our task is to decide whether to believe it or not. Pointing to other people’s inconsistent or hypocritical interpretations and extensions of it as reasons why it is wrong is intellectually dishonest.

Now I could point out that the Dead Sea scrolls found in the Qumran Caves in the 1940s and archeologically dated to be over 2000 years old match the Old Testament on your mother’s bookshelf almost exactly. I could point out that the 5600 New Testament manuscripts dating to within a couple hundred years of when they were written and gathered from cities all around the Mediterranean all say the same thing. I wonder, how did they all get corrupted in exactly the same way? The medieval monks must have had a secret GitHub repository to publish their ongoing personal preference changes is all I can say. So there is plenty of evidence that Scripture was handed down to us unchanged over millennia. If you insist that that’s not possible without Devine Intervention, good for you.

But that's all noise, I’ll cut to the chase.

Everyone who reads the Bible either believes it or doesn’t. This is God’s explicitly stated intent. Those who prefer to place themselves on God’s throne and make up their own rules inevitably find an excuse to reject it. Those who are searching for God and willing to accept the fact that He is in charge, often accept it.

It’s a filter. You get to filter yourself out by deciding you’d rather invent your own rules and philosophy. The reason it is sometimes ambiguous or cryptic is explicitly to allow each of us the freedom to weed ourselves out if we want to. Jesus was very clear about this in Matthew 13:11.

Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do You speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.…

Alas, that’s what has happened to Dan. (But don’t worry, I’m praying for him. He’s “not dead yet!”)

Smart men like Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, and Stan Larimer studied the Scriptures and found them credible and consistent. Other equally smart men like Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking and Dan Larimer reached the opposite conclusion. So this is not an intelligence test. Get that arrogance out of your head. It’s a matter of the heart.

And that is what God is testing.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  trending

I think what you said basically amounts to: God is testing whether you have faith in Him.

But where do you get that idea from? The idea that God wants to filter out those who have faith and reward the true believers comes from religion. You seem to be first assuming that religious claim is true, and then reasoning from there. If that claim is not true, then the only support that I have heard of for faith being valuable disappears.

Religious people need to ask themselves what they care more about: finding the truth, or having faith. If their goal is to find the truth, then using faith to do that will produce terrible results. Faith has been shown time and time again to be a terrible mechanism of gaining knowledge about the universe. If that is your goal, you should instead use the best procedure humanity has found so far: the scientific method. If you did, you would find reason to not believe in most of the physical claims made in the Bible (or really any religious text). All that would be left are metaphysical claims (which are by definition unfalsifiable) and moral claims (normative statements telling you how you should behave). And I claim there is no reason why one should feel compelled to adopt these particular claims made in the religious texts as true (especially since the physical claims being false shows the texts as a whole are not infallible).

Now maybe you don't care about the truth and only care about having faith. Or maybe you are okay with using the scientific method to evaluate physical claims, but you choose to use faith when it comes to accepting metaphysical and moral claims. In either case, you should ask yourself, "Why?" Why do you value faith? What good does having faith add to your life? Could it be that valuing faith or using faith as a basis for how to live your life is in fact harming you?

·

Science limits itself to the observable and repeatable. It can tell me nothing about that which is not observable and repeatable. Thats a BIG limitation. But we routinely use eyewitness accounts to gain knowledge of that which is not observable or repeatable. To say we can know nothing that we can't repeat and observe ourselves is to say that a courtroom can never use eyewitness testimony to get to the truth of what happened beyond reasonable doubt.

So that's what I have done. Those eyewitnesses convinced me that Jesus is who he said he is. Therefore I take what they say he said seriously.

Jesus said, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me... If you believed Moses [scriptures], you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"

So therefore I believe the rest of the scriptures, because I believe Jesus, because I believe the eyewitnesses who observed and reported what he said and did.

No way I'm going to miss out on what Jesus is offering just because science can't address His supernatural field of expertise.

·
·

No way I'm going to miss out on what Jesus is offering just because science can't address His supernatural field of expertise.

But why you are missing all other religions? There are thousands of other doctrines that require faith to some supernatural being(s). What makes you think that everybody who has non-christian faith is totally wrong and only christians have the right kind of faith?

And you are also evading the fact that there are many different ways of interpreting what Jesus and/or God said. Which one of them is right? They are so different that not everyone can be right at the same time. How do you evaluate what is the right or at least most correct view of the faith?

Try to think about this from atheist point of view. There are millions of people who claim that they have witnessed the existence of and/or message from a supernatural being. How can we decide what is the truth if we can't use science?

"I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." – Stephen F Roberts

·
·
·

Because every other religion teaches what man has to do to reach God. Christianity is the only case where God condescended to reach down to man.

Look, I'm an analytical person that one would expect to be as skeptical as you. I studied the Bible and found it convincing. I credit God himself for that stroke of good fortune.

The Bible tells us that man cannot save himself, he need's God's help - specifically what Jesus did for us. It explicitly states that no other religion can be right, because they all require their adherents to do something on their own to earn God's favor. And they contradict what Jesus Himself said: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Show me another belief system that has better evidence. Where is your proof that what you see is all there is?

My OP allows for the fact that others can read the Bible and not be convinced. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

That's pretty much the whole point.

·
·
·
·

What I try to understand is why this has all been done in scriptures, why did God want us to believe in him through eye witnesses and some old written down texts that he knew would spread doubt in peoples mind if people at all would see the scriptures.

Was this done on purpose? Why did he not wait for these miracles to happen when humans had an internet connection and better means to witness it.
Now we have to trust some fishermen to have written down the truth on some single events happening hundreds of years ago. Was this really the only way?
Testing your own creations like this over and over again whilst they would multiply themselves, creating more children that have to spent a lifetime finding out whatthe purpose is of life.

I spoke to a well studied person a while ago in these concepts and he mentioned that if there is a God it would have to be a cruel one, for as most people on earth suffer unimaginably.

We that live in the lucky side of the world just don't feel and see that suffering as much as we live in abundance of wealth.

What if you were born in a country that never heard of those scriptures, brought up by people that can't read, have no internet, nor the time to be scholars of the Bible.
Most people worry about getting through the day.

Why is it that only rich countries have the right to study the bible whereas the poorest countries have no means to read or write and would just be living without the knowledge of this powerful God.
I know the bible mentions something in terms of that if you were unlucky not to see the bible you are still accepted as Gods child.

Life seems a lot easier if you don't get to see the bible according to that sentence for as if you do get to know the bible you must assure yourself that all other belief systems are wrong (it is an almighty task that is humanly impossible) No man can know all, so no man can ever fully conclude that his belief system is the only correct one.
This why it has to be regarded as a belief system that may proven to be correct, but there is a likelyhood that it isn't.

How often do people fool themselves thinking that someone tells the truth and it turns out more information was required to prove it was all a con.
How many people get indoctrinated with different truths all the time, how did Hitler manage to control so many minds.
People follow what is fed to them, based on their environment. This is why someone born in a country that believes that cows are holy will most likely believe that cows are holy. It is based on location, probability and environmental exposure.
For this reason alone we cannot and should not conclude that we can know the truth ever as we stop allowing ourselves to collect more evidence that it isn't.

Why didn't God make it a little bit more obvious to us that his ways are the only ways, but left us all with doubts causing millions and míllions to believe other things.

Is it a sin to believe that all other religions could be true as well unless proven wrong and just accept the fact that we haven't got the time to disprove these religions?

Will the world not be a better place if we allow ourselves to keep all options open?
Like any theory, we have to keep an open mind that new information might come to light, changing everything, in hundreds of years from now people will look at us and laugh about our shortsighted views of the world. As is proven over and over again,

How do we prove something wrong in a world we don't fully understand?

Quantum physics proves us that the world works fundamentally different in terms of physics and it seems that information of particles becomes reality by observing it.

In an information based world where particles can come randomly into our world, how do we disprove other believe systems if the world has shown us that miracles can happen.

Why not leave all possibilities open? Why choose for one truth?

How often do laws of physics only turn out to tell one side of the story but work differently on other levels.

There is no way for humans to be sure what is correct, this is why it is called a believe, I think discarding other options seems shortsighted and assumes that we are capable of knowing the truth.

But there is no evidence that we are ever right? All we do is guess based on information that is fed to us. And there is not enough time in the world to study all that is available or will become available.

The Egyptians lived for hundreds of years believing in a shortsighted view of the world, or maybe they were right? Maybe their reality worked for them? Reality is perception and depending on how you observe it you can create your own believe.

·
·

Science limits itself to the observable and repeatable. It can tell me nothing about that which is not observable and repeatable.

In other words, the unfalsifiable.

To say we can know nothing that we can't repeat and observe ourselves is to say that a courtroom can never use eyewitness testimony to get to the truth of what happened beyond reasonable doubt.

I don't see how any reasonable person can consider the writings in the New Testament to be a reliable enough source to be used as evidence in a trial, much less as supporting evidence for extraordinary divine claims. There isn't any hard evidence I know of to show that the people who actually claim to have seen these events themselves are the ones who wrote it down (and that their writings were preserved unchanged). More likely this "testimony" was gossip passed down verbally before eventually being written down (and then translated again and again), and any preschooler can tell you how a game of telephone can mangle the original message. And that is generously assuming that the original message was a genuine and authentic reporting by a sane observer and also that those writing it down didn't take creative liberties with their writing or outright decide to fabricate lies (which makes sense when you consider the great political power that be gained through religion).

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. To believe in the Jesus of the Bible is to believe it is possible for a being that appears to be a man to die, rise from the dead, and then literally ascend to heaven, or to walk on water, or to turn water into wine (and if you don't believe in any of the divine claims about Jesus, then what basis do you have to take any of the metaphysical claims supposedly said by him any more seriously than any political dissident out on the street today). These are extraordinary claims that appear to violate our known laws of physics. The evidence for such claims has to be incredibly compelling for any reasonable person to bother taking it seriously. I wouldn't accept video evidence of such events as something that makes it worth looking into (since it could be easily doctored with modern technology) much less the written down gossip of people.

·
·

I will never give up Christianity too

The heart forgives, accepts and is grateful for EVERYTHING. SIN means to "miss the mark," and has nothing to do with the vengefulness of hellishness. Belief is irrelevant - a matter of words and concepts. Only living the truth faithfully can reveal divinity.

The real nature of the divine is stated explicitly:

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM

Thus, we all share in divine identity so long as "I AM" is true of each of us.

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Neither here nor there means: the divine is WHAT IS, and THAT is WHAT YOU ARE: "Thou art that."

Why I will never give up Christianity

For me, statements like this^ reveal a lot: they indicate hidden insecurity about one's beliefs.

·

Indeed. "I've already made up my mind that no matter what happens, no matter how I feel or what new information comes my way, I will not give up Christianity", from my experience in the Church, that's how many people stay in their whole lives, by silencing any dissent and living in a bubble only doing what reinforces the belief system. It is a non-falsifiable conspiracy 101.

·

Matthew 26:35
Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

https://steemit.com/bible/@bible/holy-bible-pdf-download

The heart and the head come to different, even opposing, understandings and conclusions about many things. This is illustrated in Tantric Buddhism by the Peaceful (Heart) Deities and the Wrathful (Head) Deities.

"Everyone who reads the Bible either believes it or doesn’t." I don't experience that to be so. I am quite capable of both believing and not believing something simultaneously. I both believe the consensus reality that I participate in, and at the same time disbelieve it. I know that in a fundamental way, it is a projection of my inner state. I know that, among other things, a mere change in my mood, for instance going from bitterness to gratitude, drastically alters my perception of consensus "reality".

And I can have totally different opinions on a greasy hamburger with a full stomach than when I haven't eaten all day.

Glad to have found you Stan. Great article! I'm a newbie and just finding my way around. I made my very first comment on another blog writing against Christianity a couple of days ago and you Upvoted it! I so appreciated that! Thank you!

Great article!

The more I read about you and your son, the more I am impressed.

Beginning to pray with you for Dan's salvation, and joining you in the bitshares community. To God be the glory.

thanks for your cool post...will resteem it....i have a christian channel on steemit.....i have been posting christian music so far....i want it to grow so that i can write posts myself....if you like some of the music i have on my blog please upvote it....God bless you man...All the best

·

ops...cannot resteem your post.....getting used to steemit rules lol...but upvoted at least...will follow you too

I like this post because it is Stan's response to Dan. As for me, I would surely be happier if I could give up Christianity but I have found this for me to be impossible. It seems reality and myth have a symbiotic relationship!

·

When you realize that this life is just a proving ground for the eternal one to follow, it makes it a lot easier to put up with the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune". That confidence of what Jesus has in store for us is an enormous source of permanent happiness. I would be super-unhappy if I didn't have that great hope to help me make sense of this current crazy world.

Consider this: All men of belief believe that what they accept as true, is true, and that what others accept as true is flawed in some way. Clearly, humans have and do demonstrate themselves capable of believing in some of the most ridiculous ideas. Some religious ideas, on the other hand, are of absolute merit and are universally accepted. In my humble opinion, Christianity has spread the way that it has for one reason in particular: Christianity, once upon a time offered European pagan warlords and tribes a militaristic and psychological advantage in their fight for power. Pagan European Kings and leaders saw the strategic advantage (some say so in their records) of the "new faith" and embraced it for that reason. Their followers, on the other hand, accepted Christianity because that's what followers do, they follow. Christianity has proliferated because of the oft-spoken of socializing/organizing affect that it has on populations. Christianity has demonstrated itself to be a double-edged sword. Wicked men are "Christians" and not so wicked men are also Christians. For indigenous people, Christian people are from the darkness and to Christians all non-Christians need to be saved, for their own good. Christian history has proven to be bloody, brutal, and racist. By the time those soul saving conversions and 100 years have passed, you get crackhead/alcoholic, disenfranchised, under-educated, out-of-shape, gang-banging people of all races and ethnicities (and a million other failures). I hate to say it but Christians, then and now, really don't understand the bible (no matter what they say to the contrary). A Hebrew system, comprehended and practiced by nomadic, tribal, ancient people, that can't be fully understood by modern man, or reconciled with the world as we see it today. Put another way: If you practice what the bible says, if you do what the bible says do, you will be branded a terrorist. I see no possible way that a human being can obey the biblical Judeo-Christian God and obey a national government, without conflict that will leave one or the other violently angry. The Biblical God requires "Fidelity" as a condition for acceptance. You can't be a man of God on Sunday morning and a good American the rest of the time and expect God-almighty to accept your life. Read the book, again, very carefully. Then, read it some more. 1up-vote.

So glad to hear you share this after! Phillipeans 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing but by everything prayer and petition present your requests to the Lord. And the peace of the Lord will guide your path in all your ways to lead you in Christ Jesus. Namaste

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First ...

I have many problems with christianity. Here are few:

  • Why God doesn't update the Bible? The message is so unclear that christianity has been broken down to hundreds of different sects. How can we know which one of them is the right one? By updating the Bible regularly God would keep the message clear so that there would be only one style of christianity.
  • That whole thing with zombie-Jesus! WTF? Why did God had to sacrifice his own son to himself (although they were actually one with the Holy Spirit)? Why there is need to sacrifice stuff, especially people? How is it even a sacrifice, if the guy wakes up after a couple of days?
  • God is a mass murderer. He slaughters a shitload of people in the Bible. Yeah, some of them deserved it because they behaved badly, but wasn't there really a better way? After all, God could have just said that "hey motherfucker, stop acting bad or I will make you suffer eternally". That would make pretty much everybody to be nicer to each other.
  • If humans are designed, do we have free will? If God knows everything, doesn't he also know how every individual human is going to act in every possible situation, which makes God able to predict all decisions humans make during their lives? If we are created by all-knowing God, aren't we just robots without free will?
·

Lolz, all very valid points, my favourite, is your first one; why doesn't God update the bible? :-D

Nice one!

CG

·
  • Why should anyone update something perfect? Can you update the true?
  • LOVE... God is Love...
    John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

  • "stop acting bad or I will make you suffer eternally" actually he said something like that.No?
    Mark 9:43

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

  • Knowing what someone will do doesn't mean you decided it!
·
·

Why should anyone update something perfect? Can you update the true?

You don't have to necessarily to update it, but to explain it better. There are hundreds of different christian sects in the world which proves that God's communication style has been massive failure. People don't have any idea how to correctly interpret the message.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

But why God had to sacrifice one of his identities to himself? It just doesn't make any sense. We are not talking about a normal human being here, but a supernatural deity.

"stop acting bad or I will make you suffer eternally" actually he said something like that.No?

No, he didn't say that. Instead he massacred probably millions of people because they didn't do what he wanted. I think that as a creator of the universe God should have had some better alternatives to deal with people. But he just likes to massacre more than have a serious discussion. As an almighty being it shouldn't be too difficult to persuade people act nicely.

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
"Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
"Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?
"Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?
The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment.
The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken.
"Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.

...

Then Job replied to the LORD:
"I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
"You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.'
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭KJV‬‬

““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jhn.3.16-19.nlt

Dedicated to you and your beloved son...

Thanks for your post. I particularly enjoyed the clarity of your writing.

Heaven......mmmm. Sounds a lot like hell to me. You can keep your club if it's real. I want to be 'moral' for my own reasons, not because of a nightmare 'reward' or endless punishment. Too much harm has been done by religion. Supporting any of them is madness in my opinion. It would seem the 'God' is more than happy to sit by whilst religion is used to steal, rape and murder thousands of innocent people. The 'harmless' rills and streams become the mighty river.....you can't have the people destroying monster part of religion without all the 'harmless' rural communities. Faith is a mental trap. Think for yourself. Concentrate on making the world a better place for those you love. There's no higher purpose or reward. How do you know that the real 'super-being' test isn't to reject religion and do what's right on your own two feet?

·

Unfortunately, granting humans free will does have those implications. It is amazing to me how people can demand their autonomy from God and then blame him when bad things happen. No harm has ever been done by obedient Christians. It's only when we insist on doing it our way that the screw ups you refer to happen. That's the fundamental theme of my post: people pointing to the failures of others to obey Jesus as a reason to reject Him.

·
·

It is interesting, how many religious people fail to recognize the simple fact, that the idea of an all-knowing, all-present and all-mighty creator is utterly incompatible with a free will. If an all-knowing god created the universe, then he would have known everything that was going to happen within his creation. Otherwise he would not be all-knowing (and thus a liar in his own words).

Btw, if God would be all-mighty, all-knowing and all-present, then he would also be directly responsible for all the horrendously bad things happening on this planet. He would have made the universe (and even created mankind "after his image") in a way, which would allow for little children to be raped and murdered by psychopaths. He would have given people the "ability" to develop mental illnesses and delusions making them do such things. And he would have done so knowingly, without necessity (omnipotent, remember?). Must be quite the nice guy.

·
·
·

Your understanding of what constitutes reality is too limited. Like examining a shadow when there are other unobservable dimensions.

The horrendous things that are happening on this planet are the direct result of man's having been given free will and every chance to show that he can't handle it. There is an epic spiritual war going on and human hearts are the battlefield.

Flesh and blood are as expendable as your electronic character in a video game. It is merely your temporary "avatar" in this world. It's annoying to get killed in this artificial "matrix", but the real battle is taking place on a much higher level of reality. A place where science is unable to contribute understanding.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Until you understand this, a whole lot of things will not make any sense.

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.

I, for one, am staying in Wonderland.

·
·
·

@stormbringer So if I understand you correctly, you believe if you father/mother a child and that child subsequently hits their sibling, that is in fact your fault. Because you do know that your child will not be morally perfect, right? You're saying that's on you as a parent. Interesting.

·
·
·
·

I have no idea how you reached such a conclusion. No I have not said that.

·
·
·

@stormbringer Why does foreknowledge eliminate free will? I can see the past, does that mean those actors in past events didn't have free will?

·
·
·
·

God can either be all-knowing and all-powerful, then you have no free will. Because he foresaw all your decisions in the first place and created the universe knowing the outcome of everything. He could have changed your path at will, but decided to make the universe (and you) the way it is.

Free will is not generally impossible (I actually believe to have free will) but the concept logically excludes an all mighty creator. If we have free will, then the god of the bible (or quran at that) is a liar, because he/she/it is not all knowing and all mighty.

Alas, that’s what has happened to Dan. (But don’t worry, I’m praying for him. He’s “not dead yet!”)

I am praying too... It is the most powerful "non violent" weapon on earth!
I am so happy to know you choose to pray... God bless your family

"It's a matter of the heart.
And that is what God is testing."
LOVED this. In the end, faith (either FOR or AGAINST God's existence) is required for all of us.

There is a saying in Islam that sais; God is worshiped thru knowledge and Satan is worshiped (directly or indirectly) is worshiped thru ignorance

·

That is true. The parallel saying in Christianity and Judaism is (Hosea 4:6)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

Have your people read Answer to Job?

Hi Dan, I'm glad to have find you. Tanks for your work here on Steemit. I'm an evangelist and apologist from Germany. It's very encouraging to read your posts.

1Cor 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

good article, the problem with most people criticising religion is that they haven't studied philosophy. Their criticism most often is very basic and not new at all and has been refuted most probably hundreds of years ago. New atheists like Richard Dawkins are in fact not very clever people. They would fail in a debate with someone who has actually studied theology or philosophy. There are valid arguments against religion, but most people don't actually put in effort to get there. one book that in fact demolishes people like dawkins is this one:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1933771364/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1TGKMQB9H0A96&coliid=IP3GRNM9SO39J

It all comes down to faith, doesn't it? No matter how smart you are, you still depend on believing. Why is that? The bible is quite open to interpretation, so how do I discern the wrong ones from the right? Which interpretations do I choose to bet my life on? God has given us brains, so we should use them to find the truth. What we have are the scriptures and observations. If they contradict, there is something wrong with my understanding, and I must keep searching.
What do you think?

·

It's true that some of the Bible is unimaginably hard to understand. Save them for when you have studied enough to understand non-euclidian geometry, quantum mechanics, and women. The parts you "bet your eternal life on" are simple enough for a child to understand. In fact, children are much better off because they realize they can't handle things by themselves. Children, at least are smart enough to say, "Daddy! Help!"

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these"

choose a thumbnail picture to get higher exposure!

"It always amazes me how many arguments against Christianity base themselves on things that are NOT Christianity."

I find this remark typical, and it wreaks of confirmation bias. You cannot discern truth by examining only 1 side of the story.

There are numerous reasons to disbelieve Christianity. I finally saw "the light" after 20+ years of drinking the koolaid. As to the validity of Paul being a legitimate apostle, read Jesus Words Only by Douglas Del Tonto, and about how the Council of Nicaea (i.e. Constantine) orchestrated the Cannon in 325 AD see God's Secretary by Adam Nicholson Those are only 2 example of works that tainted the sweetness of the koolaid that ultimately led to my epiphany that religion is the same as government == a means of controlling the masses. Another extremely important work is The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose. The later applies not only to religion but any hierarchical organization that equates labels of authority with trustworthiness. Better to train yourself in the skills of critical thinking using the Trvium Method.

·

Every time I see that Council of Nicaea argument I know who's been drinking the Kool-Aid. You got that from Dan Brown's DaVinci Code no doubt - full of false information that people scoop up and spout back. The series of councils that debated which texts were authentic and which were not took place over many centuries and the final official canon was not universally accepted until about 500 AD. The texts themselves were not edited in any way during this process - they just had to prove that they were authored by an apostle or an apostle's assistant to count. Very reasonable due diligence.

And if you find my remark typical, I'm surprised but pleased. I would hope that all Christians could articulate this. Still it is clear to me you didn't understand what I said. That statement is arguing that critics of Christianity are picking on strawman actions and incorrect beliefs that are not part of Biblical Christianity. That's a simple statement and has nothing at all to do with confirmation bias or examining only one side of the story. I'm saying that criticizing something that is not in the Bible is criticizing something that is not Biblical Christianity. Simple.

There can be no doubt that Paul was a legitimate apostle because all the other apostles and the Christian communities of his day accepted him as such. John outlived him by several decades in Ephesus, right smack dab in the middle of Paul's missionary heartland. If there were false teachings from Paul, John had plenty of time to correct them.