I'm going to be working from the more recent posts back to the beginning of the thread, and apologies in advance for the length and lateness of this post:
I agree that the Bible is ambiguous about a lot of things, homosexuality included.
Which Theologians?Originally Posted by AbdoRinbo
I find it interesting that the very things which throw the whole religion thing into question for you don't do that at all for me. I think it highlights mystery of God, someone who could create (however he did it) such bizarre (to me) things . . . :o . Besides which, I figure that he's probably got the time inconsistancies etc organised - I don't think that he himself is bound by a linear time as we are (and even that is cultural - more a western than an eastern way of thinking - I expect the biblical writers themselves wouldn't have thought about it the way we do, though I'm not sure). On who is really dead, I think that's a tricky question even if you leave black holes etc out of it. Is it when the brain stops working or when the heart stops working? Is someone on life-support who is otherwise a vegetable alive or not? I don't know, but I'm assuming God does. I don't think the fact that it's not dealt with in the Bible necessarily knocks the whole thing for six, especially if you take into account the human part of the writing of the Bible.Originally Posted by AbdoRinbo
Religion, yes; God, no. I don't think they are the same thing. The who knows what happens when we die question, hasn't (of course) just come up with the newer questions arising from us finding out more about the universe, it's been around for ages. I tend to think that even if I do just non-exist when I die, I won't know about it so it doesn't really matter. Seeing as we can't know for certain (excluding religious revelation) either way, then I guess you could say that believing in a (happy) after-life is a security blanket, in the sense that it presumably makes life more hopeful? bearable? whatever, while you're still alive.Originally Posted by AbdoRinbo
I would be interested to hear it. (Seriously)Originally Posted by AbdoRinbo
I don't think anyone's arguing that. I would say that nature and the Bible are separate revelations of God's character, both being based on a third entity, God, rather than one on the other. Note revelation is different from model - to me, a model implies completeness, ie. all characteristics of the original are reflected in the model, whereas a revelation doesn't.Originally Posted by AbdoRinbo
Taking the Romans verses again:Originally Posted by Kinch
So it's not Christianity as a whole (incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection etc) which is apparent from nature - that'd be ridiculous. What it says is that God's 'eternal power' and 'divine nature' can be seen from the world. Both seem fairly general terms to me, I don't think anyone could say definitively exactly what they mean, but I think it's fairly obvious that what it's talking about are of the order of 'invisible qualities' or characteristics, rather than everything God's done (which the Bible doesn't tell you either for that matter, but anyway . . . ), as distinct from Christianity or the Bible.. . . since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made . . .
Which is the same question as the OP which messes up my nice logical order but oh well . . . : my basic take on this is that I don't know, which is a bit of a cop-out. I tend to think along the lines that I know God, and I know that his character is both a) merciful and b) just and so I can trust him to figure it out satisfactorally. I like to think that this passage might have some relevance:Originally Posted by Kinch
but I could be misapplying it. It also brings up the purgatory thing again, and the reverse question to the original one - 'wouldn't it then be better not to have heard?' - to which I have no answer. Hmm.That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving of punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:47-48 NIV
I also have to go home (at risk of being locked out), so I'll probably continue tomorrow.