How can we know there is a God?

This is the place for mature and civil discussions. Not for the faint of heart or weak in faith.
User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby ArchAngel » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:39 pm

Well, you didn't exist before you were born. I bet it's pretty similar to that.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
JCstateofmind
Noob
Noob
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:29 pm
Location: MO

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby JCstateofmind » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:36 pm

If that's true, whats the point of anything? Our lives wouldn't matter, there would be nothing to look forward to. Everything would be meaningless. If living is just to please ourselves in our lifetime, then why do morals exist. Everything should be allowed, because it won't matter anyway. How would it feel to know after you die, that nothing would happen, you would just disappear. I find that depressing, and it just doesn't make sense to me.

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2898
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby Sstavix » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:36 pm

Something to be made clear: Christianity isn't the belief that you are going to heaven. Christianity is the belief in Christ. End of story.
Very true. Many religious faiths believe in a form of the afterlife. Christianity is hardly unique in that regard.
The entire point of Christianity, and even the purpose of God creating humanity in the first place, is to bring glory to God. That was his intention.
I've heard this before... but it's always seemed wrong to me. This makes God seem like a self-serving, somewhat immature being - He can't have any friends since He's all alone, so He'll just go ahead and create people whose only purpose is to worship him? If that is true, then what does that say about the nature of God?

I'm not necessarily saying you're wrong, but when viewed from the eyes of an unbeliever, then the question arises "why should I worship Him just because HE wants me to?" So it's always seemed to me that there is more to our creation than to bring glory to God.

I could go further into detail... but then that's getting into more of the LDS approach and my own personal interpretations / beliefs. So I'll avoid that for now. :)
I'm just saying where would our soul go if God didn't exist. I find it hard to believe it would just disappear or something like that.
Would you believe that this question is a plot point of the first novel I wrote for National Novel Writing Month? I'm seriously considering self-publishing this on Amazon soon. /blatantselfpromotion off
Well, you didn't exist before you were born. I bet it's pretty similar to that.
... again, because it gets into the LDS perspective, I have to refrain for now. ;) But that reminds me, there were other portions of this thread that I've been meaning to bring up with you, Broamir. Especially about the whole "edge of space" thing. I'll have to try and collect my thoughts on this later....
If living is just to please ourselves in our lifetime, then why do morals exist. Everything should be allowed, because it won't matter anyway.
I agree with you and also find this hard to believe. If there is no moral authority, then why bother having concepts of right and wrong in the first place? There needs to be something there to serve as the guide - otherwise, society falls apart as people will do whatever they want to do. Helping an old lady across the street has just as much moral value as beating her up and stealing her dentures. We're seeing things like this spread in this country as morality continues to crumble. We used to react in horror and disgust whenever we hear about a school shooting or a kid knocking down an old man to steal his car. Now, these are practically everyday occurrences that merit little more than a glance at the headlines. When there is little to no repercussions for doing amoral actions (or even worse, apparent rewards - consider the women who sent marriage proposals to the Boston Marathon bomber), then we'll see more actions like these spread around the country.

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby ArchAngel » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:15 am

Selderane, I apologize for my tardiness in the reply and thank you for opening up, just as TS. It's not a comfortable task opening up personal items, especially to scrutiny.
I will be offering my rebuttals, but I'm going to respectfully leave your personal experiences alone. As aggressive as I can be, I don't want it to feel like an attack.

So, I have reservations with your two points.

1)That seems like a God of the Gaps evidence. I can go on about some of what we know of the mechanisms of the universe and how they simply are not the same thing as an earthquake or a nuclear bomb, and that it's not simply random chance but the work of ordered processes, but the problem with the reasoning goes beyond simply not knowing how the universe created.
And I could go into all of the universe that simply do not attest to design. If the universe was designed, God would be a terrible engineer. The processes are some of the most wasteful, and seem to derive no intended purpose. There is a sort of ominous question behind a designed universe, and the question is... "for what?"
But, there's, unfortunately, a failing even beyond that. Even if we can demonstrate the universe is required to be designed, this speaks very little to a designer. Certainly untraceable to the God of the Bible, whose creation story is radically different than what scientific research has shown. It's not even traceable to a single being. It could be a civilization beyond the universe, creating another to escape into. Even if you can answer if the universe was designed, there is no progress on question "by whom or what?"

So, it's really more often than not, this is pointed to by people who already believe in God as post-belief support rather than what has actually convinced them.

And as a theist-turned-Atheist, I can say, the Atheist viewpoint is hardly dark.

2) Well, as for the existence of morality, I'm going to address both you and Sstavix at the same time. I might muddle it up a little, but I think there's more overlap than not.

For one, it seems like the religious man has a hard time picturing morality outside the context of divinely mandated, absolute authority, even though in any practicality, this has never been the case.

Morality has always existed, regardless of culture, as a social construct.

People refer non-religious morality as something that can change with time. Name me one religion that hasn't changed it's tune to morality.

Oh, how about all the bad things people will excuse themselves without divinely mandated morality? I can take a tour with you with some pretty awful parts of the Old Testament. It's going to sound like a broken record if I harp on it more.

And this is the thing. Even if you think that you believe in an absolute morality, there is no way to tap into it. Even if it existed, there's no way to know you have it. Even among those who believe the Bible is infallible, they still can't agree. If God created an absolute law, he did a bang up job making sure we'll never quite know it.

You can criticize the various ethical systems that come and go, but that itself is no justification for Biblical law, the existence of God, or absolute morality.

There is no such thing as absolute moral law on earth. If every person claims their own arbitrary set of rules is perfect, and when everybody has absolute laws, nobody does.
An absolute law will not happen, and even if it does, one should run from it for with it comes totalitarianism.

Now, for some things that were stated that were demonstrable wrong:
It wasn't long ago a signification portion of America believed there was no moral quandary to be had with one man owning another.
Well, no. As long as America was a country, slavery was always a controversial issue. The Constitution is testament to this, and abolition was a strong movement from before our nationhood.
Also, if your propping a biblical morality, slavery is a touchy subject. Reason-based morality has led men to abolition, but I recall a couple choice verses in both OT and NT that condone, but also lay out structure for slavery and even command it.
Should all the gods die it is foolish to believe war goes with them.
Nobody's saying that either.
If there is no moral authority, then why bother having concepts of right and wrong in the first place? There needs to be something there to serve as the guide - otherwise, society falls apart as people will do whatever they want to do. Helping an old lady across the street has just as much moral value as beating her up and stealing her dentures.
Completely not the case. We don't have roving bands of atheists destroying society. But this is part of the thing. If the Bible is right and we're all just sinful people held only by the goodness of God, shouldn't those who don't believe, non-christians in general, but just...really evil?
This is not the case. We find that people are generally about the same. Morality, as it seems, is a little more innate who we are as people.
Actually, there are a higher percentage of Christians in jail compared to population and a lower percentage of atheists. That's really probably a more socio-economic deal, but still.
We're seeing things like this spread in this country as morality continues to crumble.
No, it's not. Violent crimes are actually dropping. Even teen sexuality is on the downturn. Things were worse before.
We used to react in horror and disgust whenever we hear about a school shooting or a kid knocking down an old man to steal his car. Now, these are practically everyday occurrences that merit little more than a glance at the headlines.
More people die from lightning strikes per year than school shootings. Their are massively hyped in the media, and them being everyday occurrences and "hardly glanced at" is just about the opposite of the truth. Like I said before, violent crimes have been decreasing. The media coverage may seem like it's everywhere, but one must look to statistics.
When there is little to no repercussions for doing amoral actions (or even worse, apparent rewards - consider the women who sent marriage proposals to the Boston Marathon bomber), then we'll see more actions like these spread around the country.
No, there are a couple idiots that got way more attention for being stupid in what they tweeted, but over all, the Boston bombers are not in a better position now than before, and it was their conviction in absolute morality of their religion than led them to their horrible crime. They thought they were doing what was right, as mandated by their god! If you want to look at what absolute morality can bring, look no more than extremist Islam!

I had a hard time knowing how to respond to that one particular paragraph become it was almost the exact inverse of what was true. This is not even matters of belief or opinions; these are things that are demonstrable.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
JOJ650s
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm
Are you human?: Yes!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby JOJ650s » Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:34 pm

Whoops, I should have moved this thread to the debate area a while ago.
I guess I should probably check on these kind of threads more often.
Ooo, a post.
And I could go into all of the universe that simply do not attest to design. If the universe was designed, God would be a terrible engineer. The processes are some of the most wasteful, and seem to derive no intended purpose. There is a sort of ominous question behind a designed universe, and the question is... "for what?"
Okay, go ahead and point them out. It will make for fun research later.
Certainly untraceable to the God of the Bible
And yet everything is made of sound, science has discovered that, has it not?
Spoiler:
Gen 3. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
And you probably already know all about laminin.
Spoiler:
Image
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
whose creation story is radically different than what scientific research has shown.
Which research?
Name me one religion that hasn't changed it's tune to morality.
Christianity? Hahaha, yup I have said it. :P
Sure there have been slight changes, but the tune has only continued it's course;
The core things have remain the same.
I can take a tour with you with some pretty awful parts of the Old Testament.
Well, I am doing research on these things. I'll take the tour, though this might be more of a PM thing;
since it may end up rather big, and this is probably not the place for it..
Even if you think that you believe in an absolute morality, there is no way to tap into it. Even if it existed, there's no way to know you have it.
Do you mind clarifying that?
I don't want go on about something unrelated.
Also, if your propping a biblical morality, slavery is a touchy subject. Reason-based morality has led men to abolition, but I recall a couple choice verses in both OT and NT that condone, but also lay out structure for slavery and even command it.
I am still researching this, but I should point out that in the New Testament that they told the masters to treat them as they would Christ.
Spoiler:
Eph 6:5
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.

Eph 6:6
Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.

Eph 6:7
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Eph 6:8
Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

Eph 6:9
Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.
As for the old Testament...
but also lay out structure for slavery and even command it.
Mind pointing out where?
Actually, there are a higher percentage of Christians in jail compared to population and a lower percentage of atheists. That's really probably a more socio-economic deal, but still.
Haha, but with so much evangelism that takes place in prisons, of course there is!
Besides there are also "Christians" that don't care a second about God, and there are also immature Christians as well.
I mean the Bible says to respect your authorities several times.
Spoiler:
1Pe 2:13
For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state,

1Pe 2:14
or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
the Boston bombers are not in a better position now than before, and it was their conviction in absolute morality of their religion than led them to their horrible crime. They thought they were doing what was right, as mandated by their god! If you want to look at what absolute morality can bring, look no more than extremist Islam!
What does this have to do with Christianity?
Be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

Image
1 Corinthians 13; remember it always.

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3334
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:05 pm

I can take a tour with you with some pretty awful parts of the Old Testament.
Well, I am doing research on these things. I'll take the tour, though this might be more of a PM thing;
since it may end up rather big, and this is probably not the place for it..
Perhaps another open thread would be in order. I'm certain there would be folks interested in following that convo.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
JOJ650s
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm
Are you human?: Yes!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby JOJ650s » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:44 pm

I can take a tour with you with some pretty awful parts of the Old Testament.
Well, I am doing research on these things. I'll take the tour, though this might be more of a PM thing;
since it may end up rather big, and this is probably not the place for it..
Perhaps another open thread would be in order. I'm certain there would be folks interested in following that convo.
Perhaps, but unless people say so here I would prefer to keep it as a PM.
Be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

Image
1 Corinthians 13; remember it always.

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:13 pm

Thanks for moving this to Debate. I'll refrain from your questions concerning the Bible specifically for that new thread, and focus on the questions that are a bit more general.
I prefer to do things here open on the forum. This isn't personal information, so not a matter of privacy, and these ideas are best open to discussion and criticism.
Okay, go ahead and point them out. It will make for fun research later.
Off the top of my head and assuming the existence of us to be the purpose, the process of creation of heavier elements via stellar fusion and it's dispersion via Nova, while beautiful, is vastly inefficient if the purpose was to create heavy elements. It takes multiple cycles, spanning from several hundred million years to billions of years each, to get enough matter spread out enough matter for a planetary system. And only, small of the amount of that heavy elements actually get to be planets. Only a fraction of a percent.
Most of it goes to the sun, which... you know, lost to use.
Evolution had to occur 3.8 billion years in order to get to us, including several giant mass extinctions.
The very argument being how unlikely "we" are have to evolve, is the very argument that makes this machine to be so inefficient.
Why is a possibly infinite universe needed with parts we literally will be unable to even see because they are accelerating away from us faster than the speed of light.
Even with humans, if our purpose is to "glorify God," why has God made him so meticulously hidden. Is learning something he actively wants to dissuade? The common answer is "faith," but that just as much leads to any other religion or belief, all of which, of course, false except for the person making the argument.
And with the Genesis account, if God knew Adam would fall, why? Why not have it, and spare all of humanity countless sufferings and countless souls condemned to hell?
Just... doesn't sound like a great design.
And yet everything is made of sound, science has discovered that, has it not?
No.
What I believe you are referring to is String theory, which, as of yet, is still unproven and not even a fully fledged theory in it's own right, but what String Theory promotes is the idea that all the particles in the universe are the result of 2D vibrating strings. This is my layman's overly-simplistic understanding. Some people like to point at it and go "See, vibrations? Sound is vibrations! God spoke the universe into existence." But this not quite the same thing, and is really not the full picture at all.
And you probably already know all about laminin.
That is an illustration of Laminin. Here's what Laminin actually looks like.
Image
That, really, is the equivalent of find Jesus in toast. The people who start these little trends don't understand the subject material, and frankly, I doubt they care. They see one thing that might validate their beliefs and they just run with it.
I guess, on a fundamental level, this is what bothers me about most creationists out there. They really don't seem to care about the actual subject material. Evolutionary researchers get genuinely excited about the work they are doing and are focused on actual research. I don't see creationists care about discovering more about how this works, they are entirely fixated on validating their position and discrediting Evolution. Think the CRI is putting out ground breaking discoveries? No, it's a PR machine.
If I must make myself clear, this is not to say that a religious person can't care about the science. Yes, historically and even today, there are people who cite their religious beliefs and motivations to learn and explore, and these people, generally, count themselves among the scientists rather than a spokesman for AiG or some other publicity organization.
Christianity? Hahaha, yup I have said it.
Sure there have been slight changes, but the tune has only continued it's course;
The core things have remain the same.
Christianity can't even agree on a moral stance today, not even with the Christians of yesteryear. You think the Puritans will see eye to eye with you on morality, or conclude that your differences are slight details? Or with the Catholics who were persecuting them? It wasn't long ago before people were using God as a reason both for and against slavery?
Do you mind clarifying that?
I don't want go on about something unrelated.
When I say you can't tap into absolute morality, I'm saying there's no absolute way of knowing we found that absolute morality. Even the church can't agree on what it is, even those who agree the Bible is infallible. What about proving the Bible is infallible? Bet you can't.
How are we supposed to know one person who says they know the absolute morality actually does?
Without a perfect and absolute way of understanding the absolute morality, it's not absolute on any practical scale. It's hidden. We're all left with competing ethical systems that we need to discuss and work out.
And no, you can't say it's revealed through God's word or through prayer. People have been reading that and praying for a while, and we've gotten no consistent system. Unreliable.
Haha, but with so much evangelism that takes place in prisons, of course there is!
Besides there are also "Christians" that don't care a second about God, and there are also immature Christians as well.
I mean the Bible says to respect your authorities several times.
It's a little disingenuous to write off these people as "not real Christians" since they don't fit in nicely?
Oh, it's also a logical fallacy (see True Scotsman fallacy).
Also, that follow authority thing is a little problematic. If our nation was a "christian nation", why was it founded on a direct violation of Jesus' command?
What does this have to do with Christianity?
It has to do with the concept of divinely mandated absolute morality, which was what Sstavix was talking about, and in that sense, is related to Christianity. You know, atheists like myself aren't just focused on Christianity. We generally speak more about religion and theism, with Christianity often the topic because it's the prevalent religion in our lives, but if you want to see some of the sharpest retorts towards religion, watch how atheists talk about militant Islam, of which Christopher Hitchens eloquently put as an exhibition of the "horrible trio of self-hatred, self-righteousness, and self-pity."
Last edited by ArchAngel on Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2898
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby Sstavix » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:46 pm

It has to do with the concept of divinely mandated absolute morality, which was what Sstavix was talking about, and in that sense, is related to Christianity.
I've been meaning to comment - especially about this concept of absolute morality - but I keep getting sidetracked or forgetting. :oops: I'd like to point out that I didn't say anything about an absolute morality, divinely inspired or not. I stated that, in order for a society to function effectively, there needs to be some form of moral authority in place. While this could be divinely inspired, it also could stem from a government, a combination of government and religion (e.g. theocracies, or a monarch who rules by "divine right,), a set of rules carved into stone, or what have you. If there isn't any clear definition of what constitutes "good" and "evil," then people will be left to their own devices to come up with their own concepts of good and evil - and these will frequently clash with other peoples' ideas of what "good" and "evil" mean.

In fact, even with established moral authorities, conflicts can arise. For example, consider adultery. It's certainly against Biblical code, but committing adultery will not land you in jail in this country. This, of course, is an example of why there really isn't an "absolute morality" out there. In fact, I would even suggest that such a solid, ingrained established sense of morality would actually fly in the face of the concept of free will. I don't think it's possible to have free will, yet also be forced to subscribed to a specific set of rules without any way to deviate from said rules.

User avatar
JOJ650s
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm
Are you human?: Yes!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby JOJ650s » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:55 pm

Off the top of my head,
the process of creation of heavier elements via stellar fusion and it's dispersion via Nova, while beautiful, is vastly inefficient if the purpose was to create heavy elements. It takes multiple cycles, spanning from several hundred million years to billions of years each, to get enough matter spread out enough matter for a planetary system. And only,
I guess? I don't really see the problem, unless we manage to explore all of space. :P
No.
What I believe you are referring to is String theory, which, as of yet, is still unproven and not even a fully fledged theory in it's own right, but what String Theory promotes is the idea that all the particles in the universe are the result of 2D vibrating strings. This is my layman's overly-simplistic understanding. Some people like to point at it and go "See, vibrations? Sound is vibrations! God spoke the universe into existence." But this not quite the same thing, and is really not the full picture at all.
Very well.
That is an illustration of Laminin. Here's what Laminin actually looks like.
Haha, I was expecting a response along this line.
The rest of it however, I did not. XD
It's a little disingenuous to write off these people as "not real Christians" since they don't fit in nicely?
Be a little more careful on how you go about pointing out potential flaws, you might hurt someone. :P
Anyways, I didn't write all of them off as "not real Christians".
As I said before, it's more likely that they became Christians in prison,
and it could be that there are immature Christians that made some poor choices.
(and somehow one that that lands you in prison...?)

I am curious though, what do you think it means to be a Christian?
Also are you just talking about prison in the US? Or are you also talking about prisons in countries that basically throw you in jail if you believe in God, or own a Bible for that matter?
Also, that follow authority thing is a little problematic. If our nation was a "christian nation", why was it founded on a direct violation of Jesus' command?
Yeah it was a pretty crazy round of events.
We have a king who was abusing his power, settlers that tried to settle things peacefully, and apparently the majority of settlers didn't want to break off from England. It's not quite as easy to judge when it's not a matter between just two people, as it will take some research to know more about the people, their actions, why they did their actions, and in what way they did them.
Christianity can't even agree on a moral stance today, not even with the Christians of yesteryear. You think the Puritans will see eye to eye with you on morality, or conclude that your differences are slight details? Or with the Catholics who were persecuting them? It wasn't long ago before people were using God as a reason both for and against slavery?
Looks like we are talking about two different things. XD
Christianity was the wrong choice of words for me to use,
I keep forgetting people have gotten different definitions for it.
When I say you can't tap into absolute morality, I'm saying there's no absolute way of knowing we found that absolute morality.
Yet I have no doubts when God said stealing is wrong that it's indeed wrong.
Same goes for when God said to love your enemy, etc.
What about proving the Bible is infallible? Bet you can't.
Of course I cannot prove it silly, :P
that would be like you trying to prove that you Tim were the one who typed your post, or all of it for that matter.

The book itself shows its reliability, (not to mention personal experiences, and testimonies.)
and I believe every single word has a meaning within it, and was intended to be there by God.
The more I know God, the more His words make clear sense and why He put them there...
I can say the same for you and your posts.
Thanks for moving this to Debate. I'll refrain from your questions concerning the Bible specifically for that new thread, and focus on the questions that are a bit more general.
I prefer to do things here open on the forum. This isn't personal information, so not a matter of privacy, and these ideas are best open to discussion and criticism.
I understand that, still I don't think making a whole thread for it is necessary.
I don't intend to debate about anything, I mainly just want to know what it is that bothers you.
Yes I may say a few things, but if I did, I would try to keep it short.

Also I am the only one who said they were interested.
If others are interested as well, then I suppose I can't stop it from being a thread.

I also had a reason why I would prefer it being a PM,
but I can't seem to put my finger on it. :P
Be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

Image
1 Corinthians 13; remember it always.

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby ArchAngel » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:28 pm

I'd like to point out that I didn't say anything about an absolute morality, divinely inspired or not.
I apologize. I misread your post. I'm probably oversensitive on the topic of absolute morality and jumped the gun. The concept of a necessary moral authority is a more nuanced discussion and one far more interesting to have. This is definitely something I'd like to explore. I'll have to ponder some of these concepts.
This, of course, is an example of why there really isn't an "absolute morality" out there. In fact, I would even suggest that such a solid, ingrained established sense of morality would actually fly in the face of the concept of free will. I don't think it's possible to have free will, yet also be forced to subscribed to a specific set of rules without any way to deviate from said rules.
You've intrigued me. This is not a common theistic position. I'm curious on your standpoint on morality.
Anyways, I didn't write all of them off as "not real Christians".
Except when you said:
Besides there are also "Christians" that don't care a second about God, and there are also immature Christians as well.
There are, but I'm willing to bet there are plenty who do, but live lives you would find "unchristian." How is one to judge who is a "real" christian and who is not?

So, anyhow, if prison ministries are that effective and they turn most of the convicts into converts, what's the deal with all the repeat offenders?
Honestly, unless I see statistics, I don't think they are converting that many people. I think most of them go into jail as Christians. And even if you were to write them off as immature Christians, shouldn't the grace of God cover them? Is not righteousness through God's power and not our works or "maturity?" Doesn't it seem contrary to doctrine of grace that those Christians in prison must have not been a good enough christian and that's why they fell into sin. Seems almost like one's righteousness is based off works, then.
Also are you just talking about prison in the US? Or are you also talking about prisons in countries that basically throw you in jail if you believe in God, or own a Bible for that matter?
I'm talking about U.S. prisons. Most of them are on drug charges, anyways.
I am curious though, what do you think it means to be a Christian?
To be one who holds, to one degree or another, a set of doctrines and belief that hold, at least loosely, to the Biblical accounts of Jesus. Generally, if a person says their Christian, I'm willing to accept it, unless they say something like "well, my parents were Christians, so I guess that makes me..."
No. That's not how beliefs work.
I'm probably with you on this, I have no patience for that lackadaisical attitude. People should give a dang about what they believe. Beliefs matter.
Yeah it was a pretty crazy round of events.
We have a king who was abusing his power, settlers that tried to settle things peacefully, and apparently the majority of settlers didn't want to break off from England. It's not quite as easy to judge when it's not a matter between just two people, as it will take some research to know more about the people, their actions, why they did their actions, and in what way they did them
Certainly was. The American Revolution is anything but simple. Which is why simple, absolute statements on morality seem to fall short.
Yet I have no doubts when God said stealing is wrong that it's indeed wrong.
Same goes for when God said to love your enemy, etc.
Well, people didn't need God to tell them that stealing was wrong. Cultures around the world seemed to largely get that one right.
And "no doubt" has little to do with demonstrating and verifying.
Of course I cannot prove it silly,
that would be like you trying to prove that you Tim were the one who typed your post, or all of it for that matter.
Well, proving I typed these posts are far simpler to do. For one, it's not a supernatural occurrence; people type posts all the time. Also, I'm a physical being, and one can tie my physical location with that of my IP address. Etc. Etc.
The book itself shows its reliability, (not to mention personal experiences, and testimonies.)
Yeah... but it's not. It can't even keep it's own morality straight, although, it hasn't reversed it's stance on slavery, so there's that for consistency, I guess.
I understand that, still I don't think making a whole thread for it is necessary.
I don't intend to debate about anything, I mainly just want to know what it is that bothers you.
Yes I may say a few things, but if I did, I would try to keep it short.
About the Bible? Largely that people still think it's a shining example of morality, but it's poor and regressive. It's literally just ancient world morality being shoe-horned into the modern world. Most of it just gets "interpreted" out so they can pretend it's not what it is, and even still, there are teachings that are still negatively impacting the world.
Also I am the only one who said they were interested.
If others are interested as well, then I suppose I can't stop it from being a thread.

I also had a reason why I would prefer it being a PM,
but I can't seem to put my finger on it.
Well, threads are public to see who'd be interested. Now, Arctic seemed to show interest, but if there's anything you wanted to talk over PM, just message me the question and I'd be happy to oblige.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
JOJ650s
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm
Are you human?: Yes!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby JOJ650s » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:41 am

Sorry for the long delay, I plan to reply to your post very soon!
I think we are really getting somewhere now. ^-^
Be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

Image
1 Corinthians 13; remember it always.

User avatar
JOJ650s
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1694
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm
Are you human?: Yes!

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby JOJ650s » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:36 am

Wow, sorry for the ever long delay,
a couple things came up, although I think I could have continued this sooner.

Well then lets continue this, I really feel like it's getting somewhere. :)
There are, but I'm willing to bet there are plenty who do, but live lives you would find "unchristian." How is one to judge who is a "real" christian and who is not?
Well, I can only assume and come to a conclusion, I cannot really judge. (unless we are using the word loosely... which... yeah we are. XD)
Regardless though it depends, sometimes it's easy to tell through both actions and words and how they line up with God's Word.
however I believe our definitions of Christian differ...
We will get to that in a moment! ^-^
And even if you were to write them off as immature Christians, shouldn't the grace of God cover them?
Yeah, I didn't say it wouldn't.
I mean I consider myself rather immature spiritually. XD
(Second though, make that really immature, I still have much to work on and learn. XD)

Is not righteousness through God's power and not our works or "maturity?"
Yes, it's through God's power and love, works is just one way to express your love for Him.
And no, you don't need to be spiritually mature to be righteous,
Jesus is the only one who could be considered perfectly mature spiritually.
That doesn't mean that some people aren't more mature or immature spiritually than others though,
but that doesn't also mean that spiritually mature believers don't make mistakes. (I mean we are humans after all.)
Like Elijah, David, Moses, for example; while they are really mature spiritually, they have had their moments.

There was probably a better word I could have use than "spiritually mature" to capture what I was trying to say.
To be one who holds, to one degree or another, a set of doctrines and belief that hold, at least loosely, to the Biblical accounts of Jesus.
Oi, I now see your pain.
Well, I guess now I'll tell you what I think it means to be a Christian.

Above all, it's about having a relationship with God;
God loving us, and us loving Him back.
Everything else comes from that.

I mean really, everything ties into that.
It's so key to everything. (annnnd it took me way to longer to realize than I care to admit. XD)

1 Corinthians 13
Matthew 22:36-40

I mean love is the reason why God made us, (Oh man, I could go on about this part.)
and why the laws were made.

Why do I love my enemies? It's not because it's some rule I have to follow,
it's because I want to please God and to show that I love Him and that I honor His word and request. (Plus He always wants the best for us.)

It's like when a father tells his son to not leave the house when it's dark and the son listens.
It shows the son honors, respects, and ultimately loves his father.

If the son were to complain, or try to get out of doing it, but he decides to obey anyway.
What does that show? Same as above ultimately and that's great, but it all could have been expressed at such a deeper level.
This is what I consider an immature Christian, and yes,
even mature Christians may end up complaining now and then.
I am guilty of complaining quite a bit, but I have been working on not doing so.

If the son doesn't listen at all,
what does that show?
(This is where I feel like "Christians" tend to fit in.
Reminds me of Luke 6:46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?")

If the son were to accept the request with out complaint,
but yet never does it and had not intended to do it from the start. What does that show?
(This also where I feel "Christians" tend to be. Luke 6:46 also works here)

In other words Matthew 21:28-32.

Certainly was. The American Revolution is anything but simple. Which is why simple, absolute statements on morality seem to fall short.
Or maybe it's the people that have fallen short, but God in his mercy stayed with them. King David has fallen short many times, but God knew he was willing to turn back to Him.
People make mistakes, lots of missionaries have, yet God in His grace & mercy didn't turn away from them.
Shoot, the Israelites were pretty flawed, yet God was patient with them.

In this case though, a lot of people didn't want to break off from England, (more than half the people I have read.)
further more many of the people who did want to break off from England, weren't trying to rebel against God in doing so.
As Patrick Henry has said it in his famous speech. "... An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us! ..."
Sure I may be reading it in the wrong context, so I'll also be keeping an eye open for other words said by the settlers regarding the war.
Well, proving I typed these posts are far simpler to do. For one, it's not a supernatural occurrence; people type posts all the time. Also, I'm a physical being, and one can tie my physical location with that of my IP address. Etc. Etc.
Okay Ted, stop posting from Tim's location. :P
The thing is, you still cannot really prove it, you can try, but you'll never come up with solid proof.
Witnesses can be bought or deceived, videos can be forged, identities can be stolen, words can be lies.
I have to trust that it was you who typed your post, and I also have to trust that you typed all of it.

Sure I would be going to extremes... so I probably could have picked a better example. XD
Granted, looking back a little I am not even sure this example is even relevant, now that I think about it...
Yeah... but it's not.
Come now, surely you know of the prophecies that were fulfilled,
and the chance of them being fulfilled. There is also the ridiculous strict procedures that the Jews did when making copies of Scripture. Those alone shows much of it's reliability. (Then there are testimonies.)
It can't even keep it's own morality straight, although, it hasn't reversed it's stance on slavery, so there's that for consistency, I guess.
Can't keep it's stance on morality straight? or has the purpose of many of the laws simply been fulfilled? (Matthew 5:17-20; Jesus talked about this.)
God knows everything, how everything will play out, and He never changes; He didn't change His mind/views part way, no rather He moved things on to the next step, just as planned from the start.

The thing to analyze here are the reasons why He made those laws.
This I find so vastly important.
About the Bible? Largely that people still think it's a shining example of morality, but it's poor and regressive. It's literally just ancient world morality being shoe-horned into the modern world.
Really? Sure as a nation we have basic laws like don't steal, kill, etc; that's good, and pretty much everyone agrees.
Though it does not give a good strong reason why we should care for the orphans and widows, love our neighbors, and even our enemies.
We have been called to so much more than to not hurt each other, why stop at so little?
Most of it just gets "interpreted" out so they can pretend it's not what it is, and even still, there are teachings that are still negatively impacting the world.
And that should not be so, the New Testament talks a lot about false teachers and those who teach wrongly; like as it was said in Timothy 1 for example.
Well, threads are public to see who'd be interested. Now, Arctic seemed to show interest, but if there's anything you wanted to talk over PM, just message me the question and I'd be happy to oblige.
Okay, I guess I am just rather hesitant with some of the younger folk around; I mean regardless they are going to find and have to come to terms with the events that take place in the Bible. (because seriously, it's in the Bible. XD)
However, I am not quite sure how parents would feel if one of their children came across something like this.
(Which is super easy to do, namely View New Posts.)

I am not really sure what to think, because as I said, the young folk will come across things like this later in life.
Though the moderator side of me really wonders what the parents would think about their kids being able to access the debate sub-forum stuff.
Be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

Image
1 Corinthians 13; remember it always.

User avatar
Lazarus
CCGR addict
Posts: 2169
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:00 am

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby Lazarus » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:36 am

I knew why you wanted this discussion taken to PMs the very first time you posted that.

You're correct to worry about other people reading these threads - because the debates that used to take place on this forum with people like Eon(I wish he was still around) and Bruce more than a few years ago really helped me to start questioning my faith and religion. And it certainly didn't help that they actually had convincing arguments, much like Archangel in this topic.

I can understand exactly what you're saying, my own father used to tell us straight out that he deliberately homeschooled us and prevented us from being around non-Christians on a regular basis to stop us from hearing and being swayed or "confused" by alternative viewpoints. He even had Biblical support for this behavior. "Bad company corrupts good morals." I've had that verse memorized since I was five. I don't know how common that is among Christians but I've met enough who were raised that way to know that no one comes out of it with a healthy attitude toward life.

I find that kind of thinking that my father espoused incredibly sad. I know for myself that being raised that way made it very difficult to connect to other human beings on a personal level, and that lead to so much loneliness it almost killed me. It also left me with a lot of rage toward religion that I've not always dealt with in a healthy way(people on this forum can attest to that).

And I can't help but wonder that if I hadn't been able to talk to atheists like Eon on this forum without any parental oversight - would I ever have made it out, or would I still be like the rest of my family, homophobic, paranoid, anticipating the Rapture, never using bad language(it's like only having one arm) and being paralyzed with guilt over completely normal behavior? The thought of it terrifies me sometimes.

I can't bash on religion like I used to because I know everyone is different when it comes to how they actually live their religion, and some Christians raise their children to think for themselves, but as far as I'm concerned everyone needs to have their beliefs challenged, no matter how old they are.

I like to think that all the religious arguments constantly taking place on the internet are opening the eyes of every young person that come across them, even if the people arguing are already set in their beliefs.

And not to be totally offtopic, I think if we could know there was a God nobody would need faith, which is the core of all religions, so the question is stupid.

User avatar
ccgr
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 12385
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: IL
Contact:

Re: How can we know there is a God?

Postby ccgr » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:25 am

Faith (or lack thereof) has to be acquired on your own,, if it's not yours it's not genuine. While I like the openness of these forums, JOJ or I personally don't want to be responsible for people leaving their faith. In fact, we want to build people up and bring Christians together instead of tearing them or their faith apart. Can you blame us?

Please understand that we have no control over how you were raised and don't necessarily think along the same lines as your father. My kids are not home schooled, and while we do go to church on Sundays, if there is a situation where Jay or I have to stay for two services, we don't force the kids to stay for both of them, though 1/3 willing does so. They know what we believe, but we are not pressuring or forcing them to become baptized, that will be a commitment they will have to make on their own.

I don't intend on having them live in a bubble, but as parents we don't let them listen to music with strong sexual overtones or language and they do not watch movies with excessive violence, language or sex scenes. When it comes to video games we're pretty knowledgeable on the content within them so they can't get away with too much on that one ;)


Return to “Debates”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron