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Christianity....what do you think?
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connor
the thief catcher


Joined: 10 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:09 pm
Post subject: Christianity....what do you think?
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Well everyone, I got in a fight today with my parents... pretty much about how i just broke to them that i don't belive in catholicism. Well he said that god is real...ect....but at the end of the day he can't prove it. And all in all catholicism IS based on the bible and the bible is bullshit (sorry to all christians if i've offended you). Therefore i'm not a catholic. He then said that it isnt about the bible....but then im sure thats wrong. Anyway he said that there must be a god, and i honestly don't know, and I honestly just don't want to be part of something i know is based on lies...cough christianity.
Whats your views on this everyone?
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:45 pm
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I'm a believing, practicing Catholic but I'm not a nut.

I think that says it all. :P
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TPM



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:00 pm
Post subject: Re: Christianity....what do you think?
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connor wrote:
Well everyone, I got in a fight today with my parents... pretty much about how i just broke to them that i don't belive in catholicism. Well he said that god is real...ect....but at the end of the day he can't prove it. And all in all catholicism IS based on the bible and the bible is bullshit (sorry to all christians if i've offended you). Therefore i'm not a catholic. He then said that it isnt about the bible....but then im sure thats wrong. Anyway he said that there must be a god, and i honestly don't know, and I honestly just don't want to be part of something i know is based on lies...cough christianity.
Whats your views on this everyone?


Honestly, I believe that your beliefs are your beliefs.

I don't believe that cramming the Bible down someone's throat is healthy for anyone involved. If you choose not to believe, well that's your loss.

See, I come from a school of thought that says that Christians don't change anyone. It is our duty to act as agents on behalf of Christ, but the Bible explcitly states (1 Corinthians 3:3-9, Ephesians 2:4-7, Romans 8:28-30, to name a few) that it is God who brings about the change toward belief. I'm going to stop this line of reasoning right here b/c I'd rather not turn this into a debate about predestination because it gives me a headache every time I think about it.

Simply put, if you firmly believe that Christianity and the Bible is based on lies, then nothing I say or do will change that. For many people, the journey toward Christianity is about self discovery. People usually don't wake up one day out of the blue and accept the gift of grace; there is usually a process of doubt, inner turmoil, and struggles before they come to accept it. I know that I had my fair share of clashes with God in my early 20s and it took me a good 3-4 years of struggling with this concept of God and grace before I finally had the root of it figured out.

So honestly... if you truly believe everything that you said, then any reassurances I give you here would be useless. However, if you have questions that you'd like addressed, I'm always open to those because honestly, if you have questions (and not straight out criticisms), that's a possible sign that maybe you can struggle your way back to belief.

Oh, and as a disclaimer, I'm a Protestant Christian (technically a Calvinist by association, although my pastor says that some of my theology has a whiff of Armenianism), so if there's a Catholic specific question, then Pat would be your man.
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:26 am
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Nothing wrong with Arminianism. It's those crazy Anabaptists who are crazy.

Though they make awesome apple cider.... Now I want apple cider. Sigh.
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LunaRaven



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:33 am
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connor wrote:
Well everyone, I got in a fight today with my parents... pretty much about how i just broke to them that i don't belive in catholicism. Well he said that god is real...ect....but at the end of the day he can't prove it. And all in all catholicism IS based on the bible and the bible is bullshit (sorry to all christians if i've offended you). Therefore i'm not a catholic. He then said that it isnt about the bible....but then im sure thats wrong. Anyway he said that there must be a god, and i honestly don't know, and I honestly just don't want to be part of something i know is based on lies...cough christianity.
Whats your views on this everyone?


View on what? How you were treated or regarding religion? It's only fair to expect your parents to be upset. Though you may find their particular religion to be baseless, to your family it is truth. You can't tell them it's lies because to them it simply isn't. When it comes to the battle of religions and philosophies, there is no winner. In the end, admist all the hypothesis and speculation, no one is really wholly and undeniably right. Where you might see bullshit, other people see something bigger than themselves to hold onto. In the end, it's simply a matter of personal opinion and viewpoints.
At the same time, it's important that you broke any illusions of faith in catholisism. It wouldn't be fair to yourself to not be open about your beliefs, and it probably wouldn't be fair to your parents either(even if they now feel that they'd rather have just kept on beliveing a lie).
While at the end of the day your father can't prove there is a god of any sort, at the end of the day you also can't disprove it. Until we as human beings(and LunaRavens) die we will never know with 100% certainty the nature of universe, and by then of course you won't be able to say, "I was wrong" or "I told you so". Dead people don't do a lot of talking, so I'm told. It gets frusterating when you find something to be completely and utterly rediculous, and yet still witness people believing it anyway. I would tell you to be flattered that your parents are upset. Ultimately, whether you're in accord with their spiritual beliefs or not, they're still only looking out for your spiritual nature. Sure, you may not buy it. Or maybe you do believe in spirits, but perhaps just not the same ones taught about in the Catholic religion. But to them the idea of life after death for the soul and the punishments a soul can face are very real and daunting and if they're upset with you it's probably only because they're truly in fear for your spiritual well being. Wether you believe you have a spirit or a life after this life isn't the point. The point is they care.

Bottom line of this semi-long post, you don't have to believe what your parents believe. Such is life. I think it's good that you told them now. The sooner the better, where such things are concerned. Don't blame them for being angry. Imagine if you raised a family that was supposed to belive Catholisism to be a pretty lie, only to have your son or daughter tell you one day that they're a devote Christian, Muslim, or Satanist. Wouldn't you be a tad frusterated? If they continue being angry at you, and possibly closeminded simply be the bigger person and show some tolerance, then politely point out that tolerance is supposed to be their job, especially if they're Jesus' penpals.

On a very important note, I agree with Patrick. Crazy people make good apple cider. I would know...I'm crazy.
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connor
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:31 am
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mhm thanks for that LunaRavenm i guess your right about that. And TPM or Patrick i'd like to ask you's a question( not a criticism); well actualy more of at statement tbf. I think that I could handle faith if there was any evidence what so ever of its existance, but like for all i know the bible was wrote by lunatics (not saying it was), so basicly im asking is there actualy is any evidence about who actualy wrote stuff in the bible? If you happen to know anything about that.
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TPM



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:53 pm
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connor wrote:
mhm thanks for that LunaRavenm i guess your right about that. And TPM or Patrick i'd like to ask you's a question( not a criticism); well actualy more of at statement tbf. I think that I could handle faith if there was any evidence what so ever of its existance, but like for all i know the bible was wrote by lunatics (not saying it was), so basicly im asking is there actualy is any evidence about who actualy wrote stuff in the bible? If you happen to know anything about that.


If you're looking for something that was signed and notorized with 50 witnesses present to see the affixing of the seal, then no, there is no such evidence.

The way that I (and a lot of Biblical scholars) approach this idea is to view the Bible not as "holy book," per se, but as a historical document. Judge it by the same criteria by which we say that Shakespeare wrote "Romeo and Juliet," that Plato wrote "The Republic," that Homer made up "The Oddesey." The Bible, in the purest sense of it being a literary work, is a history book. Now, I don't claim to be a history buff, but you can cross reference the events and prophecies in the Bible to secular history to see if they line up. Both Christian AND secular scholars agree that the Bible is, at the very least, historically accurate, that the events described in the Bible hold up well to historical scrutiny.

What you have to realize is that no one person wrote the Bible. It is a collection of 66 books with well over 2 dozen distinct authors who wrote over a span of several milleniums. Some books say the author straight out (e.g. Luke and Acts were both written by Luke, a doctor who traveled with Paul and was writing this to a Roman official named Theophilus. All this info is stated in the beginning of Luke and Acts); others (especially some of the historical Old Testament accounts) are more vague. However, we trust that the early church fathers (i.e., those who were at most a generation removed from the Resurrection) were a MUCH better position than we are right now to determine what books were real and which were fabricated b/c they had access to eyewitnesses and testimony that we don't have today (obviously b/c the eyewitnesses have been dead for over 2000 years).

Example: History tells us that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. How do we know this to be true? No seriously, how do we know that it was Jefferson and not Franklin or Washington or some monkey with a typewriter? Well, first, there were eyewitnesses who saw Jefferson write and present it, people of historical credibility who were able to testify to the fact. We have a written document that we could see and we could analyze the handwriting, the sentence structures, word choices, etc. and compare it to other known Jeffersonian writings. Wouldn't this be enough evidence to conclude that Jefferson wrote the Declaration?

Like I said, this is a rather huge topic and it involves a greater knowledge of history (both Biblical and ancient secular) than I have or remember, but from what I've read on the issue, secular historical accounts and archaelogical finds match up well with what's written in the Bible.
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:36 pm
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Well, I am a history buff. :P Got a degree in it and everything!!

I'm mostly with TPM on this. If you're looking for direct physical or other first-hand evidence of who wrote the Bible, you're not going to find anything...the New Testament dates from the first century AD, and the oldest surviving manuscript fragments date from, at the earliest, the first quarter of the second century. The Old Testament is far older, having been written hundreds (or thousands, depending on your scholarly position) of years before the New Testament; the oldest surviving Old Testament manuscript fragments date to about 600 BC.

But, this isn't something that's unique to the Bible. Take Roman law. The original basis of the Roman legal system was the Twelve Tables (Lex Duodecim Tabularum), a body of laws that was originally inscribed on stone tablets and which dates to 450 BC. The originals were destroyed a mere sixty years later when the Gauls sacked Rome. No original records of them remained, nor any official copies, and only fragments of them survive to the present day. The Tables are attested to in numerous texts dating throughout the history of the Republic, and were the very foundation of Roman law, and all we have left after 2,500 years are bits and pieces. Yet no one denies that they existed, even though little physical evidence remains.

Me, I believe the Bible is the revealed Word of God. He revealed His word to human authors who wrote with human literary conventions on perishable physical materials. No, I can't go to the library and find an original signed and dated manuscript that proves such and such book was written by so and so author on a precise date...but do I really need to do that? Christianity is about faith, not empirical science. I don't need archaeological evidence to prove that Paul really lived or that Peter died in Rome, either. It's nice, to be sure, but it's not central to why I believe what I do.

I don't know how to explain what I feel any better than this.
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Dudde
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:40 pm
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Quote:
He then said that it isnt about the bible

I love theological debates where the religion-supporting side says this pretty much flat out, however, you may not have been debating the subject with your parents as a point of interest you both have (i.e. science vs. religion)

for the record, I don't believe in any structured religion, and am on the fence about believing in a deity of any sort, I do however enjoy discussing the matter with religious people and leaders (mostly leaders because the people get all indignant sometimes)
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LunaRaven



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:05 pm
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Dudde wrote:
Quote:
He then said that it isnt about the bible

I love theological debates where the religion-supporting side says this pretty much flat out, however, you may not have been debating the subject with your parents as a point of interest you both have (i.e. science vs. religion)

for the record, I don't believe in any structured religion, and am on the fence about believing in a deity of any sort, I do however enjoy discussing the matter with religious people and leaders (mostly leaders because the people get all indignant sometimes)


I expect people to be sort of indignant about their beliefs. I was talking wth an anthropology professor the other day about the evolutionist theory. I was honestly curious about his personal belief in the theory, why he felt compelled to believe it, and what the theory did for him. I expected an intellecutal conversation, but was instead met with a bumbling, fuming, beet-coloured middle age man stuttering about the ignoramouses who believe in a god blah, blah, blah.
I will confess though, I have baited people before just to get a reaction. Silly people are so funny when they're being silly. I like to look at religious or life views that don't match my own from a sociology perspective and I try to avoid ethnocentrism in all forms.

Quote:
mhm thanks for that LunaRavenm i guess your right about that. And TPM or Patrick i'd like to ask you's a question( not a criticism); well actualy more of at statement tbf. I think that I could handle faith if there was any evidence what so ever of its existance, but like for all i know the bible was wrote by lunatics (not saying it was), so basicly im asking is there actualy is any evidence about who actualy wrote stuff in the bible? If you happen to know anything about that.


Lawyer overlord Patrick and TPM beat me to the bush on this topic(and belive me, that bush deserved a good beating. It made fun of my knitwork. Nobody puts my knitwork in a corner).

Putting your faith in something would indeed be easier if that something had undisputable evidence working towards it's credibility. However, hardly anything in the world contains undisputable evidence, I find. The heart of faith is being able to wiggle out of your worldy chains in order to trust in something bigger than yourself. People do this for different reasons, and it happens everyday. Parent's use faith to belive in their children that have a history of drug abuse despite the fact that the child's history works against them. People in duress put their faith in a deity because believing that a power higher than their situation is looking out for them, which gives them a greater will to get past said situation.
Everything about the Bible basically been said. Other than the fact that Bible follows an accurate historical timeline and that certain things written in the Bible just seem to be common sense(not killing people, for example. Unless you intend to eat them...) you won't find the rock solid evidence you're really looking for.
I agree that it's best to look at the Bible as a historical text and a body of literature and not a holy tome of holliness. And if the Bible was written by lunatics, what the hey! Who said crazy people can't write? Moi? I get an A in English, thank you very much. As stated before, no one person wrote the Bible. Books were written by a variety of people and later(after these people were long dead, so I understand) they were put together in a specific order by the Catholic Church sometimes in the late 300's or early 400's C.E.
Basically, if you're a person who desires hard facts or as the Lawyer Overlord put it, "Empircal Sciences" Christinaity and Catholosism, as well as many other world views probably aren't for you. The people who believe in Christianity usually don't need these things. To them, it's not about facts of the physical but more about facts of the spiritual.
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Xinpheld
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:45 am
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Believing that the Bible is God's word made manifest is great, but when I hear someone say that, I can't help but want to ask, Which Bible? That is to say, which translation? There have been so many over the course of the last 1500 years, versions that have greatly different meanings, at least by the standards of those who debate over contextual minutiae line by line. King James? Greek Orthodox? Good News?

I also have to ask, why is the Bible the only source of God's word? There are many other texts that have been left out of what we know as the Christian Bible for various reasons, most of which are based around the idea of making The Jesus more divine than mortal. What of the Gnostic texts, which were written by Biblically significant authors? Should they be ignored because a council of elders in the 300's BCE decided they didn't make the cut? Heck, the Mormons believe that their book is written under the same premise. Should they be ignored? Who is to say what is God's word and what isn't? Where is that line drawn, and who gets to draw it? If someone today walked up to you and said, "dude, God talked to me last night and dictated this book, and he wants me to add it to the Bible!" you might think he was a nutjob, no matter how well written it was. But what makes something that happened over a thousand years ago more credible than something that happens today?

This is not to say the the Bible is not a credible work. It has history, and it had moral allegory, and there is a lot to be learned from it. Call me an atheist, but I just can't truck with the notion that it's the word of God directly or indirectly, especially when one considers the dubious beginnings of the Judeo-Christian God in the first place (see: Abraham and the Priest of Ur).

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Caleyna
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:32 am
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I was a Christian from a very young age, but in my 20s I realized that none of it rang true for me. Everything that had been offered as "proof" that God must exist was completely false. Of course, the big thing about Christianity (or most religions, I guess) is that you have to take it on faith. But all the things that I had been told were God's promises to me and his people never panned out.

Eventually I started analyzing things critically and realized that for me, Christianity just didn't make sense. I liked Jesus. He was a loving, wise, good person. But God? The God presented in the Bible? He was just an posterior fundamental orifice. Did I really want to worship this jealous God who sent people to an eternity of burning torture if they dared not believe in him? There are so many Biblical stories that portray a picture of a very angry, unfair, jerk of a God. Why should Jacob be loved for stealing Esau's birthright? Why should the Isrealites get to take over Canaan? So many of the stories are about God helping a people that really was not that wonderful or nobel attack innocent people.

I can understand why your parents are upset. If they truly believe that non-believers will roast in hell for all eternity, of course they want their son to have a place in heaven. I just find it sad that those are the two options. Either you get paradise or torture. Can there be no middle ground?

I don't know what the truth is, but I know that I simply can't believe in a Christian God any longer. My hears as an agnostic/aethist have been much happier than my years as a Christian. There is no more guilt for not loving God enough and not being holy enough. I think I am still fundamenttally the same person. I'm responsible and do my best to do unto others as I would have them do unto me.

So that's what I think.
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TPM



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:32 am
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Xinpheld wrote:
Believing that the Bible is God's word made manifest is great, but when I hear someone say that, I can't help but want to ask, Which Bible? That is to say, which translation? There have been so many over the course of the last 1500 years, versions that have greatly different meanings, at least by the standards of those who debate over contextual minutiae line by line. King James? Greek Orthodox? Good News?


If we're talking about translation, then they're all valid. The reason for the various translations comes down to the fact that it's impossible to do a 1:1 word translation of any language (remember "All your base are belong to us?"), so different "versions" exist for different needs.

Some translations (e.g. NASB, ESV) were created with the philosophy of staying as close to the original Greek and Hebrew as humanly possible while making it readable in the English language. This is why in both of those translations, you see figures of speech like "gird your loins," which is a literal translation, but makes most modern readers go, "Huh?"

On the other end of the spectrum, we have what are called paraphrases (e.g. The Message, TNIV), which basically, as the name implies, paraphrases the original Greek and Hebrew into a modern language. These are ridiculously easy to read, but the reader-friendliness comes at the expense of missing a lot of the nuances of the original text.

Basically, you'll see pastors and scholars using the NASB or even ESV b/c it adheres the closest to the original language. New believers are often given a TNIV or a similar paraphase in order to aid in understanding the Bible. Most people I know use the NIV because it's right in between the NASB and The Message, which means that it's easier to read than the NASB, but keeps more of the nuances of the text than The Message. On a side note, the original KJV is considered closer to the NASB than NIV, but most pastors and scholars I know agree that the NASB is the strictest translation available on the market.

Xinpheld wrote:
I also have to ask, why is the Bible the only source of God's word? There are many other texts that have been left out of what we know as the Christian Bible for various reasons, most of which are based around the idea of making The Jesus more divine than mortal. What of the Gnostic texts, which were written by Biblically significant authors? Should they be ignored because a council of elders in the 300's BCE decided they didn't make the cut?


I'll readily admit that maybe there might be some worthy texts that didn't make the cut. The question is, am I going to lose sleep b/c the early church fathers decided not to include a book? No, not really. I trust that they were in a better position than I am here in the 21st century to make an evaluation of the texts included and not included.

I'll address the rest later b/c I really should finishing briefing the rest of my cases.
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Xinpheld
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:00 am
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TPM wrote:
If we're talking about translation, then they're all valid. The reason for the various translations comes down to the fact that it's impossible to do a 1:1 word translation of any language (remember "All your base are belong to us?"), so different "versions" exist for different needs.


On this point, I'd like to direct you to a book called Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the Bible and why by Bart D. Ehrman. Interesting read.

Here's a link to part of the book at Google:

http://bit.ly/CnlIF

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Jade
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:01 am
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I'll agree that the Bible is more or less a historical text just like any other. I have a problem with the idea that it is the word of God though. Don't get me wrong - while I'm not religious, I'm not actually arguing against the idea that God may have chosen certain men to speak through and write stuff down. My problem is that like many historical documents, the creation of the Bible (or at least of the New Testament) was a political process. If I accept that the individual books were divinely inspired, I still believe that a bunch of Romans got together hundreds of years after Jesus was dead and decided what to put in the Bible, and what to leave out.

Anyway... Like someone else said, I'm on the fence about the existence of some kind of divine power. But I think organized religion always becomes much more about the people running the show and their personal ambitions and prejudices, and if there was ever any true message from god in there somewhere, I think it gets lost or muddled.

The other argument - there are a hell of a lot of religions in this world. If you look back over the entire history of humanity as a civilization there are even more. They can't all be right. So either one of them is right and all the others are wrong, or they're all wrong. And who are any of us to say which one is right? The religions with the most followers usually just had the most aggressive conquerors in the past, who converted at the point of the sword.

There may be a god, or a force greater than us mere mortals - but I think organized religion is and always has been a human construct, and as such needs to be taken with an absolutely huge grain of salt.

Jade

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Xinpheld
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:22 am
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Jade wrote:
My problem is that like many historical documents, the creation of the Bible (or at least of the New Testament) was a political process. If I accept that the individual books were divinely inspired, I still believe that a bunch of Romans got together hundreds of years after Jesus was dead and decided what to put in the Bible, and what to leave out.


You said more clearly what I was trying to say. Of course, one might argue that God was influential in the construction of the common configuration of the Bible, but then that leads down a road where anything that's called into question is answered with 'God did it' and conversation shuts down. Point being, whether or not the original writings were the word of God, the question remains as to how much that word was distorted, intentionally or not, by man over the centuries.
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TamAlthor
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:13 pm
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I think that I am rehashing for the most part what has already been said. For the most part though what I am seeing is that you want physical proof of the spiritual.

We can physically see and touch the bible, or surviving manuscripts from which it was translated, but we have no physical verification as to what the source or inspiration of these writings were.

We are told it comes from God and that its words are true. But again no physical proof. As stated, if you have determined for yourself that it is all crap, there is very little that change your mind.

However if there is a place in your views for ‘if’ then your may have something to work with. Not saying you have to believe in God. Just a little imagining that if there was a God.

We have heard a few times that things are taken on faith. Well I have faith the sun will rise tomorrow. Heck I dang near know it will. It will rise if I believe in it or not. However I also have the luxury of having seen it rise for the last few years or so. I have something to base that faith on.

If you truly want to know if there is a God or Christ, It generally takes trying to do what you think God would want you to do, and that is followed by a good feeling or an assurance that you are doing the right thing. Kind of like seeing the sun rise each day has supported my faith that the sun will continue to rise.

It is tricky though ‘cause there is so much that people say that God wants you to do. So go ahead and listen to what others may have to say, but don’t just take their word for it. Search it out on your own terms. Experiment a bit, read the bible, or some other scripture on your own time and try to gain your own understanding of what is being said. I would also say pray to God for assistance and ask what he wanted to be understood from what you are reading. I mean if God can inspire someone to write it then he can inspire me to understand the indented message.

I can understand why it would be hard to be a Christian, let alone a Catholic. I mean to believe that some dude was born of a virgin, walked on water, healed the blind, turned water into wine, and then died cause he felt like it, and came back and then flew off into the sky, oh yeah and he was the son of God….That is a lot to swallow (On a side note, if you can truly believe these things I hope you have an open enough mind to accept other peoples beliefs). Having said the preceding so flippantly I should also state for the record that I do believe that these things literally did happen. I believe the Bible to be the word of God, so far as it has been translated correctly (see xin’s comment above). I believe that God can and does speak to all of us, regardless of our faith or denomination. I also believe that is it important that everyone have the freedom to find and follow their own beliefs.

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connor
the thief catcher


Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 255
Location: Newcastle, England, Tar Valon

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:09 pm
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Thanks for your views everyone. I did know that there is more than one author, but as dudde said earlier, would I belive someone who said that god had spoke to them? Nope i defiantly would'nt so why would i belive that god spoke to people 2000 years ago. I understand that people like tam for example have different views on the bible and faith and im ok with that, but I just think that everyone should choose if they wish to be a christian, Muslim or an athiest.
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Patrick
Sleepless Sonneteer


Joined: 05 Nov 2006
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Location: Arkansas, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:39 pm
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Tam wrote:
I can understand why it would be hard to be a Christian, let alone a Catholic.


Hey, what's that supposed to mean!? :P
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TamAlthor
The Zeppo


Joined: 09 Nov 2006
Posts: 713
Location: Alberta Canada

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:21 pm
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If being a christian in generaly is hard, picking and adhering to a particular denomination must be even more difficult. I chose catholic as that was the frame of reference Connor started with.
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