National Council of Churches

golf

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I'd never expect Christianity to "have all the answers". Ha. Far from it.

But when people proclaim that there is only 'one true way,' and it can only be accessed through their own particular version of an invisible friend, I reserve the right to ask them questions about their invisible friend, and about his laws.

I think your points are valid. I have those questions myself. I just think the evidence available to us points toward christianity. Post 174 certainly not exhaustive but i think is instructive.
 

RememberMurray

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Personally i have little trouble with difficult parts of the bible as see them as cultural/hygenic/ holiness issues.

When i start to doubt my faith, my mind goes to things like how did something come out of nothing. A popular theory now is multiverses but even Lawrence Krauss doubts that. Then i also think about how could something as complex as the human eye or brain happen through random chance. Through historical documents we read of early christian leaders who were acquaintances of the apostles and were admired by the romans - yet they chose death rather than renounce. On a more personal level, although i am not charismatic, i have seen myself and heard of too many miracles experienced by credible people to believe the natural world that we see is all there is. Finally when i see all the gymnastics that some scholars go thru to discredit the bible it makes me doubt their ideas.

I can see how someone can be an agnostic i guess. Really hard for me to see how someone can be atheist, as the evidence doesnt hold for that.

If you're really, sincerely interested in exploring or even trying to understand the science-based theories on everything from the origin of the universe to the evolution of the human species, there is plenty of information out there.

The entire "complexity of the human eye" argument, for example, has been debated at length; it is extremely well-travelled ground. Richard Dawkins alone has gone into this many times: The Blind Watchmaker, The Greatest Show on Earth, etc.

I'm not saying you should read up on points of view from the other side of the debate. I'm only pointing out that if you sincerely want to understand how anyone can doubt supernatural explanations for our universe, there is plenty of source material, and it is easily accessible.

The same thing that applies to the scientific side of this also applies to philosophy and morality. Lots of material out there. A famous example of this would be discussions of Pascal's Wager. God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens explores the morality of religion, but as you can tell by the title it is a polemic.
 

Wally

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When looking at the evidence i think it takes more faith to be an atheist than a christian. See post 174.

Well I am more agnostic, I can't disprove there is a God, obviously.
 

USAF

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Personally i have little trouble with difficult parts of the bible as see them as cultural/hygenic/ holiness issues.

When i start to doubt my faith, my mind goes to things like how did something come out of nothing. A popular theory now is multiverses but even Lawrence Krauss doubts that. Then i also think about how could something as complex as the human eye or brain happen through random chance. Through historical documents we read of early christian leaders who were acquaintances of the apostles and were admired by the romans - yet they chose death rather than renounce. On a more personal level, although i am not charismatic, i have seen myself and heard of too many miracles experienced by credible people to believe the natural world that we see is all there is. Finally when i see all the gymnastics that some scholars go thru to discredit the bible it makes me doubt their ideas.

I can see how someone can be an agnostic i guess. Really hard for me to see how someone can be atheist, as the evidence doesnt hold for that.
This is a very well stated synopsis of my own beliefs. Much better stated than I'm capable of.

There has to be a God.

I also think much of organized Christianity is anything but Christian.
 

RememberMurray

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This is a very well stated synopsis of my own beliefs. Much better stated than I'm capable of.

There has to be a God.

"Has to be"? No. But, for the sake of discussion, let's assume that to be true. My question would then be: how do you decide which god? There are quite a few to choose from.
 

Bad Gopher

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One way or another, Jesus is being used as a political mascot for White supremacy and hate.
 

golf

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If you're really, sincerely interested in exploring or even trying to understand the science-based theories on everything from the origin of the universe to the evolution of the human species, there is plenty of information out there.

The entire "complexity of the human eye" argument, for example, has been debated at length; it is extremely well-travelled ground. Richard Dawkins alone has gone into this many times: The Blind Watchmaker, The Greatest Show on Earth, etc.

I'm not saying you should read up on points of view from the other side of the debate. I'm only pointing out that if you sincerely want to understand how anyone can doubt supernatural explanations for our universe, there is plenty of source material, and it is easily accessible.

The same thing that applies to the scientific side of this also applies to philosophy and morality. Lots of material out there. A famous example of this would be discussions of Pascal's Wager. God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens explores the morality of religion, but as you can tell by the title it is a polemic.

I have listened to many debates featuring preeminent atheists such as hitchens, carrier, krauss so feel i have a pretty good understanding of their arguments. Their scholarship is impressive although i believe not persuasive. On the christian side, I appreciate the work of craig and lennox.
 
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RememberMurray

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I have listened to many debates featuring preeminent atheists such as hitchens, carrier, krauss so feel i have a pretty good understanding of their arguments. Their scholarship is impressive although i believe not persuasive. On the christian side, I appreciate the work of craig and lennox.

Do you think it is morally defensible to punish someone today for something their ancestors were said to have done long ago?

Example: one day there's a knock on your door. It is the police, and they are there to arrest you for a crime that they claim your great-great-grandfather committed. Not only that, they inform you that all of your descendants, from your kids on down, throughout time, will also be punished for your great-great-grandfather's crime.

Would that be "righteous"?
 

Nokomis

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Personally i have little trouble with difficult parts of the bible as see them as cultural/hygenic/ holiness issues.

When i start to doubt my faith, my mind goes to things like how did something come out of nothing. A popular theory now is multiverses but even Lawrence Krauss doubts that. Then i also think about how could something as complex as the human eye or brain happen through random chance. Through historical documents we read of early christian leaders who were acquaintances of the apostles and were admired by the romans - yet they chose death rather than renounce. On a more personal level, although i am not charismatic, i have seen myself and heard of too many miracles experienced by credible people to believe the natural world that we see is all there is. Finally when i see all the gymnastics that some scholars go thru to discredit the bible it makes me doubt their ideas.

I can see how someone can be an agnostic i guess. Really hard for me to see how someone can be atheist, as the evidence doesnt hold for that.
The human brain is what gets me. It's my understanding the our brain capacity has remained fairly consistent since early man. Human intelligence exists largely within a pretty narrow variance with environment, education, and self-development playing a big part in how "intelligent" someone is. Take the settling of America for example. The indigenous tribes quickly learned European language and things like equestrian once they were exposed to it. This means the Native Americans had just as much brain power as the settlers, the only difference being exposure. If only attributable to evolution, how could the brain evolve so closely among different groups of humans around the world? You'd think our "progress" would be a lot slower if only attributable to evolution. I don't know a lot about ecology or anthropology, so just some of my own musings.

For all it's contradictions, I also think the Bible has amazing insight into the human condition. Many of the parables attributed to Jesus rival anything written by modern psychologists, especially for something written that long ago.
 

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Dont think it is fair that christians are required to have all the answers for their beliefs but atheists can say, "well we just dont know yet" or "we just dont understand" for problems with atheism.
I think you're describing agnostic. Agnostics "don't know". Atheists have taken a look at all the evidence and believe there is no God. As an analytical person, I have a lot more respect for atheists than agnostics. Agnostic is basically a lazy man's atheist. :)
 

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I've never seen any of the Hobbit movies, and have always wondered how they stretch it to a trilogy. I just finished reading the Fellowship of the Ring with my kid, (been 40 years since I last read it), and I can't imagine anyone wanting more Tom Bombadil. Pages of almost rhyming drivel.
I also started rereading the books as my kids have gotten into it. At the time, I also wondered why they needed to stretch The Hobbit to a trilogy. But having reread it, I can see why. Tolkien races through a lot of events in The Hobbit making it feel disjointed. He's much more disciplined in LOTR.
 

MennoSota

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Personally i have little trouble with difficult parts of the bible as see them as cultural/hygenic/ holiness issues.

When i start to doubt my faith, my mind goes to things like how did something come out of nothing. A popular theory now is multiverses but even Lawrence Krauss doubts that. Then i also think about how could something as complex as the human eye or brain happen through random chance. Through historical documents we read of early christian leaders who were acquaintances of the apostles and were admired by the romans - yet they chose death rather than renounce. On a more personal level, although i am not charismatic, i have seen myself and heard of too many miracles experienced by credible people to believe the natural world that we see is all there is. Finally when i see all the gymnastics that some scholars go thru to discredit the bible it makes me doubt their ideas.

I can see how someone can be an agnostic i guess. Really hard for me to see how someone can be atheist, as the evidence doesnt hold for that.
It's fascinating that Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins both worked on the genome project. Collins credits the research with pointing him toward God. He is now the head of the NIH and he directed the coronavirus vaccine. Dawkins went on to rail on Christianity and scream about his atheism. He's basically a forgotten person, except in small circles of radical atheism. I wonder if Murray and Wally are disciples of Dawkins.
It is interesting how humans can look at the exact same data (human genome) and come to radically different conclusions about origin.
 

RememberMurray

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The human brain is what gets me. It's my understanding the our brain capacity has remained fairly consistent since early man. Human intelligence exists largely within a pretty narrow variance with environment, education, and self-development playing a big part in how "intelligent" someone is. Take the settling of America for example. The indigenous tribes quickly learned European language and things like equestrian once they were exposed to it. This means the Native Americans had just as much brain power as the settlers, the only difference being exposure. If only attributable to evolution, how could the brain evolve so closely among different groups of humans around the world? You'd think our "progress" would be a lot slower if only attributable to evolution. I don't know a lot about ecology or anthropology, so just some of my own musings.

For all it's contradictions, I also think the Bible has amazing insight into the human condition. Many of the parables attributed to Jesus rival anything written by modern psychologists, especially for something written that long ago.

Those are interesting questions. I highly recommend Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, if you haven't already read it.
 

golf

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Do you think it is morally defensible to punish someone today for something their ancestors were said to have done long ago?

Example: one day there's a knock on your door. It is the police, and they are there to arrest you for a crime that they claim your great-great-grandfather committed. Not only that, they inform you that all of your descendants, from your kids on down, throughout time, will also be punished for your great-great-grandfather's crime.

Would that be "righteous"?

I dont. But as i said there are cultural/ holiness issues at play here so i think it is unfair to think that we should feel we understand everuthing that happened from a distance while not demanding total knowledge from the atheist view. There are certainly elements of christianity that require faith and are hard to understand. These things will also make me doubt but I just cant get past the evidences given in post 174 among others and so i believe it takes more faith to go with atheism than christianity. I go with the view that requires less faith.
A huge boost for my christian faith is miracles, their occurrence is too frequent and well documented to be denied.
 
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MennoSota

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One way or another, Jesus is being used as a political mascot for White supremacy and hate.
Jesus gets used for political gain by both sides. Both try to make him their poster child.
I would laugh if it didn't suck in the lemmings so easily.
 

golf

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It's fascinating that Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins both worked on the genome project. Collins credits the research with pointing him toward God. He is now the head of the NIH and he directed the coronavirus vaccine. Dawkins went on to rail on Christianity and scream about his atheism. He's basically a forgotten person, except in small circles of radical atheism. I wonder if Murray and Wally are disciples of Dawkins.
It is interesting how humans can look at the exact same data (human genome) and come to radically different conclusions about origin.

Yes, Collins i believe was agnostic. His story is very interesting. I didnt realize he was still around. Interesting, thanks for posting that.
 

MennoSota

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Yes, Collins i believe was agnostic. His story is very interesting. I didnt realize he was still around. Interesting, thanks for posting that.
Collins is Fauci's boss.
 

RememberMurray

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I dont. But as i said there are cultural/ holiness issues at play here so i think it is unfair to think that we should feel we understand everuthing that happened from a distance while not demanding total knowledge from the atheist view. There are certainly elements of christianity that require faith and are hard to understand. These things will also make me doubt but I just cant get past the evidences given in post 174 among others and so i believe it takes more faith to go with atheism than christianity. I go with the view that requires less faith.

Atheists aren't asked to produce total knowledge for a reason: no claims to total knowledge have been made.

Atheism is basically a skeptic's point of view. If someone makes an extraordinary claim, and wants to convince me it is the gospel truth, (or demands that I believe the claim) I politely tell them that in order for me to be convinced I'll need to see some evidence. The more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required.

If you told me you had pancakes for breakfast, I'd have little reason to doubt you.

If you told me your pancakes and syrup were actually the body and blood of Christ, well... that's an extraordinary claim.*

*Writer's credit to Sam Harris, who inspired that illustration of skepticism.
 

MennoSota

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Atheists aren't asked to produce total knowledge for a reason: no claims to total knowledge have been made.

Atheism is basically a skeptic's point of view. If someone makes an extraordinary claim, and wants to convince me it is the gospel truth, (or demands that I believe the claim) I politely tell them that in order for me to be convinced I'll need to see some evidence. The more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required.

If you told me you had pancakes for breakfast, I'd have little reason to doubt you.

If you told me your pancakes and syrup were actually the body and blood of Christ, well... that's an extraordinary claim.*

*Writer's credit to Sam Harris, who inspired that illustration of skepticism.
Right. You lay out the parameters in which you demand your parameters be met. If a person doesn't meet your demands, you will not believe their assertion. You are the sole dictator of what is right or wrong for yourself.
As far as I am concerned, that's fine for you. Just don't expect everyone else to live within your parameters. On my part, I won't ask you to leave your parameters.
 

WhoFellDownTheGopherHole?

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If one still argues semantics or the earthly definitions of the word, they probably have never actually opened their heart fully to God's love. If they have ever sincerely surrendered, in all humility, and given themselves completely over to the Divine, in full faith, there is only knowing the Truth - all else, ceases to be - it radiates through every infinitesimal particle of your being with absolute certainty.

People can go ahead and tear each other apart over the letters, but they are only ultimately depriving their souls of being receptive to the glorious enrichment and fullness that the Divine shares with us.


You either know or you don't know, but i promise it's never too late to get there. 😇
 

golf

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Atheists aren't asked to produce total knowledge for a reason: no claims to total knowledge have been made.

Atheism is basically a skeptic's point of view. If someone makes an extraordinary claim, and wants to convince me it is the gospel truth, (or demands that I believe the claim) I politely tell them that in order for me to be convinced I'll need to see some evidence. The more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required.

If you told me you had pancakes for breakfast, I'd have little reason to doubt you.

If you told me your pancakes and syrup were actually the body and blood of Christ, well... that's an extraordinary claim.*

*Writer's credit to Sam Harris, who inspired that illustration of skepticism.

Fair enuf, i also enjoy listening to sam harris. The dark web, right? However, it is also an extraordinary to claim that something came from nothing, that the human body happened due to random chance, that the precision we see in the universe to allow life happened by random chance, that the large amount of present day miracles we see are something other than supernatural. So also need extraordinary proof for these.
 

RememberMurray

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Right. You lay out the parameters in which you demand your parameters be met. If a person doesn't meet your demands, you will not believe their assertion. You are the sole dictator of what is right or wrong for yourself.
As far as I am concerned, that's fine for you. Just don't expect everyone else to live within your parameters. On my part, I won't ask you to leave your parameters.

If you claim to know the one true way, I will ask how you know.

If you answer "The Book", then I'll ask what specifically it says in "The Book" that convinced you.

Then you'll tell me to read "The Book" for myself and get back to you.

Well, I've read "The Book", and I've already commented on my impressions of what's in "The Book". So I guess we're done here.

I hope you don't mind if I attempt to converse with others.

Thanks in advance.
 

RememberMurray

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Fair enuf, i also enjoy listening to sam harris. However, it is also an extraordinary to claim that something came from nothing, that the human body happened due to random chance, that the precision we see in the universe to allow life happened by random chance, that the large amount of present day miracles we see are something other than supernatural. So also need extraordinary proof for these.

No offense, but it seems like you're equating theories by scientists with atheism, and they're not necessarily the same. A scientific theory as to a possible explanation is not the same thing as a claim to absolute truth.

And if science says it doesn't know the answer, that does not mean that Christianity is the answer.

As far as needing proof of "Something coming from nothing", and "random chance"...

As I mentioned, there is extensive published scientific work that you can explore, presenting the cases made by people in various fields for, say, the evolution of the human species, The Big Bang theory, and so forth. I certainly haven't read all of it or anything close to all of it, and I'll admit that what I have read can be complex and dry, but it is available for examination.

It's up to you to decide if you are persuaded by any of it; no one demands that you believe any or all it, and no scientist — or atheist — will tell you that horrible consequences await you in The Afterlife if you aren't convinced of their arguments.
 
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golf

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No offense, but it seems like you're equating theories by scientists with atheism, and they're not necessarily the same.

As far as needing proof of "Something coming from nothing", and "random chance"...

As I mentioned, there is extensive published scientific work that you can explore, presenting the cases made by people in various fields for, say, the evolution the human species, The Big Bang theory, and so forth. I certainly haven't read all of it or anything close to all of it, and I'll admit that what I have read can be complex and dry, but it is available for examination.

It's up to you to decide if you are persuaded by it; no one demands that you believe it or tells you you will face horrible consequences if you aren't convinced by it.

Just seems to me that the best answers to the big questions of how we got are best answered by intelligent design. I will say that i appreciate the honesty of many preeminent atheists/physicists who admit they dont have answers in these areas, just theories.
 

RememberMurray

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Just seems to me that the best answers to the big questions of how we got are best answered by intelligent design. I will say that i appreciate the honesty of many preeminent atheists/physicists who admit they dont have answers in these areas, just theories.

It's best to be honest, and admit there are things we don't know — until we have a provable answer, supported by real evidence.

It's provable that the earth is not the center of the universe. It's provable that the earth is not flat, and that it's not possible to sail off the edge of the earth. It's provable that volcanic eruptions and floods and disease are caused by naturally-occurring phenomena, and therefore not caused by the gods being angry with us.

We discover more and more about the universe over time. The old, supernatural explanations fall away, one by one.
 

WhoFellDownTheGopherHole?

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It's best to be honest, and admit there are things we don't know — until we have a provable answer, supported by real evidence.

It's provable that the earth is not the center of the universe. It's provable that the earth is not flat, and that it's not possible to sail off the edge of the earth. It's provable that volcanic eruptions and floods and disease are caused by naturally-occurring phenomena, and therefore not caused by the gods being angry with us.

We discover more and more over time. The supernatural explanations fall away, one by one.

Everything is the center of infinity. 🙃
 

MennoSota

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If you claim to know the one true way, I will ask how you know.

If you answer "The Book", then I'll ask what specifically it says in "The Book" that convinced you.

Then you'll tell me to read "The Book" for myself and get back to you.

Well, I've read "The Book", and I've already commented on my impressions of what's in "The Book". So I guess we're done here.

I hope you don't mind if I attempt to converse with others.

Thanks in advance.
I have no animosity toward you. You have made your decisions. Live within the parameters you have marked out for yourself. My parameters are marked out differently. It's okay if we are different.
 

Bad Gopher

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Dont think it is fair that christians are required to have all the answers for their beliefs but atheists can say, "well we just dont know yet" or "we just dont understand" for problems with atheism.
Reminds me of a convo I had with a pastor of ours. He talked about an instructor at seminary who, any time a question came up that there wasn't an answer to, would dramatically and comically say, "It's a mystery."

Which is not a joke. Just as there are infinite mysteries of the physical universe, practically everything in the spiritual world is a mystery to human beings. And just like we try to understand the physical universe by peering through telescopes from one single point, we try to understand everything about the spiritual universe by reading the Bible. In both cases, it's obviously insufficient.
 

RememberMurray

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Reminds me of a convo I had with a pastor of ours. He talked about an instructor at seminary who, any time a question came up that there wasn't an answer to, would dramatically and comically say, "It's a mystery."

Which is not a joke. Just as there are infinite mysteries of the physical universe, practically everything in the spiritual world is a mystery to human beings. And just like we try to understand the physical universe by peering through telescopes from one single point, we try to understand everything about the spiritual universe by reading the Bible. In both cases, it's obviously insufficient.

Okay.

For myself, I can't equate the natural world with the "spiritual world". I know the natural world exists; I've never seen any reason to believe that there is a spiritual world.

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but when you refer to the spiritual world, do you mean the unknown, or all things unexplained (to date)? Because obviously there is much we do not know.
 
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