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Thread: Torn between theism and atheism

  1. #61
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    I love these arguments because they are perpetual and go nowhere (which makes them absurd).

    No one will come to God by logic (because God says so - yes, my fellow Christians, it's in the Bible). The best an apologist can do is to facilitate the removal of intellectual obstacles. Other than that, beating your head against the wall will prove more beneficial to you than debating an atheist or other-faith believer.

    There is a logic that precedes faith, and a logic that proceeds from faith, but faith itself is not logical - "Faith is the belief in things unseen", and it is a gift from God:

    Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast."

    If God gives it, you are neither responsible for your own faith nor can you impart your faith to another.

    Just as I cannot understand how an atheist believes what he does, the atheist cannot understand my beliefs either. While "The first principle" argument and the existence of a double-helixed universe shaped like the tiniest chormosome in addition to prayers being answered and strange personal experiences prove to me beyond doubt that God exists, and just as Christ's death and resurrection touch my innermost being, so to an atheist it is merely synchronicity and circumstantial arguments.

    Since we were chosen in Christ before the beginning of the world, predestined for his kingdom, called, justified, and are in the process of sanctification for future glorification, God is ultimately the owner of our faith, our lives and our souls. It is up to God to touch the heart of man; it is up to the Holy Spirit to persuade by overwhelming evidence His existence. All we can do is share the truth. The rest is out of our control.

    So, no dead horses and whips, k?
    Madness is my defense against Reality.

  2. #62
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    PS: My maxims:

    Religion is man's approach to God; Christ is God's approach to man.

    Science cannot measure religion just as religion cannot measure science. Faith answers "why"; science answers "how".

    While Truth is Objective, truth is subjective. I subjectively believe in an objective Truth. As I am not omniscent, omnipotent, or omnipresent, I am only experiencing a fragment of reality.

    All religion contains truth, but Christ is the ultimate Truth.
    Madness is my defense against Reality.

  3. #63
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuppajoe_9 View Post
    What if you've got the wrong religion? There have been thousands of religions aside from Christianity, you know. What if the Aztecs were right? Come to think of it, what if you've got the wrong sect? Some Christians think that acceptance of Christ as your personal savior is enough to get you into heaven, some think that good works are required, some think something else. If you pick the wrong one, you wind up in hell. I hope you've chosen your religion carefully.
    Denominational membership does not guarantee heaven; the Bible makes clear the criteria for eternal life. Anything that disagrees with that offers false hope. The Aztecs cannot be correct because their vision of God cannot explain the origin of the universe, sin, morality and the solution to the problem of human sinfulness. All you need "choose" is Jesus Christ.

    Quote Originally Posted by cuppajoe_9 View Post
    Sound Darwinian reasons.
    Here's the trap that Naturalism requires we step into in order to claim that only material reality is what is real: we must turn love into a mere adaptive characteristic (or worse, a chemical reaction); the things that people do for love defy mere trivial explanations like "herd instinct," "chemical reaction," "desire to perpetuate oneself through children," "biological necessity" and whatever other absurdities that can be presented. Love defies logic, biology and chemicals. Period.

    Anybody who's been in love knows that it cannot simply be biology.
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

  4. #64
    Boll Weevil cuppajoe_9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    Denominational membership does not guarantee heaven;
    That depends extremely heavily on which denomination you happen to be asking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    Anybody who's been in love knows that it cannot simply be biology.
    What makes you think I haven't?
    What is the use of a violent kind of delightfulness if there is no pleasure in not getting tired of it.
    - Gertrude Stein

    A washerwoman with her basket; a rook; a red-hot poker; th purples and grey-greens of flowers: some common feeling which held the whole together.
    - Virginia Woolf

  5. #65
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuppajoe_9 View Post
    That depends extremely heavily on which denomination you happen to be asking.
    Denomination is secondary to what the Bible says. Period. Those that indicate that a certain denomination of Christianity is the "acid test" for eternal life have place denominational "theology" over Christian theology.

    Quote Originally Posted by cuppajoe_9 View Post
    What makes you think I haven't?
    Oh, my, joe: do you personalize everything I say? Do I need to put the qualifier "except for cuppajoe" in my posts so that you'll take my comments in their proper light? And, did you wish to respond to my generalization?
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

  6. #66
    it is what it is. . . billyjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    the things that people do for love defy mere trivial explanations like "herd instinct," "chemical reaction," "desire to perpetuate oneself through children," "biological necessity" and whatever other absurdities that can be presented. Love defies logic, biology and chemicals. Period.

    Anybody who's been in love knows that it cannot simply be biology.
    .

    thats your opinion. an atheist could argue that everything --including a splendid experience like love-- is biology or nature. after all, love is a feeling and feelings happen in our bodies and our bodies are natural/biological. thus, the love phenomenon could be explained reasonably with biology while abstaing from appeals to the beyond or god or soul. . .

    and zep, saying that arguably the best part about being human -love- comes from beyond us rather than from within us seems like somewhat of an insult to mankind. it seems as though all the credit for that which is wonderful in life is given to god or the beyond. all the blame for the crappy parts of life is thrown at man. seems like god is a fair weather fan.

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    Allow me to apologize for my unoganized and completely unrepresentitive thoughts from me in my last post. I was physically and mentally drained after a long soccer game that went to over time. Also, I would like to explain that one of my best friends is an athiest. So, please don't think I am saying that Christianity is better than one thing or another. You see. I think I am out on a limb here in the world of Christianity. That is because I am not a fan of organized religion or religous thoughts that don't come from the Bible. Another reason being. If God is God, than why can't everything that science said happened, happened? Also, if God is God why can't everything Christians say happened, happened? Why can't they co-exist. As others have stated previously we are limited by the fact that we are human and thus can only imagine what we can see or prove. Yet God is not limited by those factors. I don't know really, all I know is exactly what I have seen. Children throw grown men because they were possesed. A child in Panama had a brain tumor and we prayed for her two hours later she was supposed to be in surgery, instead she was at the park playing with friends. I stand firm that Logic and Faith can co exist. Logically when you sit down on a chair that has supported you before you know by its design and nature it should do it again. Yet you don't know that for sure. So when you sit down and put your weight on it you are putting faith in the belief that it will support you. Are you not?
    Per Aspera Ad Astra - To the stars, through difficulties.
    Don't get me wrong, look left and you'll see me right. - Adras

    I would tell you the meaning of life. Yet, my dearest, you must understan, that that would take a lifetime.
    - Adras

    Sometimes God will break you down because you put yourself together wrong. He just wants to make things right. - Adras

  8. #68
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    Well you've hit a point , can science and belief in God co-exists?
    Simple, Yes. Many important truths were revealed in the Bible thousands of years before they were discovered by modern scientist.
    Such as the earth being a sphere suspended in space (Isa.40:22;Job 26:7)
    Ocean currents flow through the sea(Ps.8:8)
    And that winds form a circulating system(Eccles. 1:6)
    Many points they support and co-exist, the major break being the begining
    but aside from this I believe they do .
    I am also a "fan" of the Bible and stand by its truth but if you look at Genesis evolution and creation can not co-exist(joe i'am not here to argue evolution so chill)so you must choose one or the other. Believe God or believe a text book.
    P.S. some of the greatest scientist whose researches and analyses that lead to our very laws and concepts of science which brought about the modern scientific age were Bible believeing Christians.Just to name a few Newton,Pasteur,Linnaeus,Faraday,Pascal,Lord Kelvin,Maxwell,and Kepler.There are several more I'am just too lazy to type them now.

  9. #69
    it is what it is. . . billyjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruhbr_ducky View Post
    (joe i'am not here to argue evolution so chill)so you must choose one or the other. Believe God or believe a text book.

    .
    only syths deal in absolutes--obi won kanobi.

  10. #70
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billyjack View Post
    thats your opinion.
    Yes - I'm aware of that. That's why I said it and not something else which was someone else's opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by billyjack View Post
    an atheist could argue that everything --including a splendid experience like love-- is biology or nature.
    Yes - and that would be their opinion as well. See how neatly this works?

    Quote Originally Posted by billyjack View Post
    after all, love is a feeling and feelings happen in our bodies and our bodies are natural/biological. thus, the love phenomenon could be explained reasonably with biology while abstaing from appeals to the beyond or god or soul. . .
    And this would be your opinion...I think I see a pattern developing.

    Quote Originally Posted by billyjack View Post
    and zep, saying that arguably the best part about being human -love- comes from beyond us rather than from within us seems like somewhat of an insult to mankind. it seems as though all the credit for that which is wonderful in life is given to god or the beyond. all the blame for the crappy parts of life is thrown at man. seems like god is a fair weather fan.
    It's not an insult to say that our ability to love comes from God - if it is He who created us - any more than it is to say I inherited my musical ability from my musically inclined father.

    Why should God take blame for that which he is not responsible?
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruhbr_ducky View Post
    Well you've hit a point , can science and belief in God co-exists?
    Simple, Yes. Many important truths were revealed in the Bible thousands of years before they were discovered by modern scientist.
    Such as the earth being a sphere suspended in space (Isa.40:22;Job 26:7)
    Ocean currents flow through the sea(Ps.8:8)
    And that winds form a circulating system(Eccles. 1:6)
    Many points they support and co-exist, the major break being the begining
    but aside from this I believe they do .
    I am also a "fan" of the Bible and stand by its truth but if you look at Genesis evolution and creation can not co-exist(joe i'am not here to argue evolution so chill)so you must choose one or the other. Believe God or believe a text book.
    P.S. some of the greatest scientist whose researches and analyses that lead to our very laws and concepts of science which brought about the modern scientific age were Bible believeing Christians.Just to name a few Newton,Pasteur,Linnaeus,Faraday,Pascal,Lord Kelvin,Maxwell,and Kepler.There are several more I'am just too lazy to type them now.
    This is one place I have yet to determine. Evolution and God. It will take some time of pondering. Even though it seems so simple the conclusion of God co-existing with science took me quite some time. Endless Sunday's sitting in a chuch pew tuning out the pastor while i work on my own in my mind. One day I'll have an answer.
    Per Aspera Ad Astra - To the stars, through difficulties.
    Don't get me wrong, look left and you'll see me right. - Adras

    I would tell you the meaning of life. Yet, my dearest, you must understan, that that would take a lifetime.
    - Adras

    Sometimes God will break you down because you put yourself together wrong. He just wants to make things right. - Adras

  12. #72
    Registered User aeroport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    Yes - I'm aware of that. That's why I said it and not something else which was someone else's opinion.
    But, am I mistaken in thinking that that is precisely what religion is? You would not be very likely to believe it, after all, had someone not told you about it.

    Yes - and that would be their opinion as well. See how neatly this works?
    Perhaps not so neatly as one might like to think, given that we're working with verifiable opinions...

    And this would be your opinion...I think I see a pattern developing.
    This might be argued for a working hypothesis - which, indeed, often arise out of scientific opinions - but this is beyond the stage of the hypothetical. This is science - opinions only remain as such for a limited time before being proven or disproven (at which point they become things like laws, which indicate all kinds of authority).


    It's not an insult to say that our ability to love comes from God - if it is He who created us - any more than it is to say I inherited my musical ability from my musically inclined father.
    Perhaps it’s just me, but it appears that your analogy is subverting your argument, given that ability comes from nothing but hard work – not some mythical hereditary connection. A deity’s appropriation of credit, then, for man’s higher inclinations is quite as ridiculous as a father’s calling the winner of the Van Cliburn ‘a chip off the old block’, especially considering its unwillingness to assume responsibility for man’s vices as well.

    Why should God take blame for that which he is not responsible?
    Precisely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    Oh, my, joe: do you personalize everything I say? Do I need to put the qualifier "except for cuppajoe" in my posts so that you'll take my comments in their proper light?
    I am afraid the use of sarcasm - which has, after all, positively no function save that of hurting others - reveals something more of defensiveness than of certainty; which is to say, it shows a greater interest in asserting that one is right than in finding the truth. This is emphasized by the fact that, while attacking cuppajoe, you also happened to be avoiding the question…
    Last edited by aeroport; 05-04-2007 at 02:59 AM.

  13. #73
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    But, am I mistaken in thinking that that is precisely what religion is? You would not be very likely to believe it, after all, had someone not told you about it.
    Religion is less an "opinion" than it is a choice one makes in terms of how one decides to understand and worship God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    Perhaps not so neatly as one might like to think, given that we're working with verifiable opinions...
    How do you figure this is so? A verifiable opinion - what is that? Is that a "fact"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    This might be argued for a working hypothesis - which, indeed, often arise out of scientific opinions - but this is beyond the stage of the hypothetical. This is science - opinions only remain as such for a limited time before being proven or disproven (at which point they become things like laws, which indicate all kinds of authority).
    Why does billyjack's opinion get the status as "working hypothesis" but mine doesn't? Unless you're revealing your particular foundation for assessing reality (naturalism)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    Perhaps it’s just me, but it appears that your analogy is subverting your argument, given that ability comes from nothing but hard work – not some mythical hereditary connection. A deity’s appropriation of credit, then, for man’s higher inclinations is quite as ridiculous as a father’s calling the winner of the Van Cliburn ‘a chip off the old block’, especially considering its unwillingness to assume responsibility for man’s vices as well.
    It was a weak analogy and I anticipated criticism on it. Christian theology (based on the Bible) indicates that - due to our fallen and inherently sinful nature - that the only good that humans do comes from God; our sinful nature makes us predisposed to choose evil - to choose selfishness over sacrifice, ourselves over our community; as such, only God can inspire from out of our evil nature anything good - because God is the source of all good in the universe. Since God has no part in evil, He cannot be responsible for our choices, because such a choice (to commit evil) is a rebellion against the good of God. As such, we are responsible for our choices that lead to evil and responsible for our choice to enact good - but the desire to do good comes from God. The desire to do evil comes from our sinful hearts (and Satan's relentless work to destroy the creation of God). My weak analogy was an attempt to bypass writing this lengthy paragraph. My error.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    I am afraid the use of sarcasm - which has, after all, positively no function save that of hurting others - reveals something more of defensiveness than of certainty; which is to say, it shows a greater interest in asserting that one is right than in finding the truth. This is emphasized by the fact that, while attacking cuppajoe, you also happened to be avoiding the question…
    I appreciate your evaluation of my sarcasm - but I find it interesting that few posters provide cuppajoe with a similar evaluation (seeing as how he is quite capable of unleashing biting sarcasm himself). cuppajoe's marked habit of taking my generalizations and making them into personal attacks on himself becomes a bit tiring to have to deal with because - instead of dealing with the philosophic point I'm making - he decides to make it into a personal battle between he and I.

    I need not answer cuppajoe's question because his question was irrelevant to the statement I made. His question was a rhetorical move to suggest that my generalization was false and that exceptions to my comment exist (as if I'm unaware of the existence of exceptions to rules).

    I appreciate your balanced and controlled tone - but I'm not sure I necessarily appreciate your attempt to analyze my sarcasm; sarcasm is not always inappropriate. Granted, I probably am defensive and I ought not let sarcasm slip out - but I question whether that's your job to do on a public forum on a post not directed towards you.

    No hard feelings, though.
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

  14. #74
    Registered User aeroport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redzeppelin View Post
    Religion is less an "opinion" than it is a choice one makes in terms of how one decides to understand and worship God.
    But is it not built on the opinion that this deity exists – I mean to say, the opinion that the Bible is a valid and reliable source?

    How do you figure this is so? A verifiable opinion - what is that? Is that a "fact"?
    Yes – I’m sorry. That was a bit of my own feeble sarcasm. (You are right; it does sometimes seep in of its own accord.)

    Why does billyjack's opinion get the status as "working hypothesis" but mine doesn't?
    I think my wording has confused things here. What I intended to convey was that what billyjack was alluding to was, if fact, more than hypothetical. Were it inconclusive, it would still be merely a hypothesis (having not yet been proven) and could indeed be called an opinion. However, one differentiation I had planned to make – and forgot – and that I think you’ve caught on to here was that there is indeed a difference between believing that biology can account for love and having indisputable evidence to that effect – namely, the former is an opinion, the latter not. I of course believe the latter to be the case (hence my remark about “verifiable opinions”), but, as I’ve not actually read a scientific account of this (call it laziness…), it’s something I won’t stand too firm on.

    Christian theology (based on the Bible) indicates that - due to our fallen and inherently sinful nature - that the only good that humans do comes from God; our sinful nature makes us predisposed to choose evil - to choose selfishness over sacrifice, ourselves over our community; as such, only God can inspire from out of our evil nature anything good - because God is the source of all good in the universe.
    Can we so easily attach such positive values to ‘sacrifice’ and ‘community’?

    I need not answer cuppajoe's question because his question was irrelevant to the statement I made. His question was a rhetorical move to suggest that my generalization was false and that exceptions to my comment exist (as if I'm unaware of the existence of exceptions to rules).
    It did indeed suggest that your generalization was false – how is that not relevant? This isn’t something conditional, like gravity, which only applies here and there. All human beings are about the same in this sense. I should think it worthy of consideration that someone who believes in biology’s capability of accounting for love claims indeed to have experienced it.

    sarcasm is not always inappropriate.
    Perhaps, but, directed towards an individual, it is rarely – if ever – kind.

    Granted, I probably am defensive and I ought not let sarcasm slip out - but I question whether that's your job to do on a public forum on a post not directed towards you.
    Understandable. I did indeed hesitate for this reason, but quite honestly I was interested in seeing where you would take the discussion following that remark; I should perhaps have mentioned as much. I was not trying to play 'Forum-Nazi'.

    No hard feelings, though.
    I am glad for it.
    Last edited by aeroport; 05-04-2007 at 03:44 PM.

  15. #75
    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    But is it not built on the opinion that this deity exists – I mean to say, the opinion that the Bible is a valid and reliable source?
    Yes it is.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    Yes – I’m sorry. That was a bit of my own feeble sarcasm. (You are right; it does sometimes seep in of its own accord.)
    I understand.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    I think my wording has confused things here. What I intended to convey was that what billyjack was alluding to was, if fact, more than hypothetical. Were it inconclusive, it would still be merely a hypothesis (having not yet been proven) and could indeed be called an opinion. However, one differentiation I had planned to make – and forgot – and that I think you’ve caught on to here was that there is indeed a difference between believing that biology can account for love and having indisputable evidence to that effect – namely, the former is an opinion, the latter not. I of course believe the latter to be the case (hence my remark about “verifiable opinions”), but, as I’ve not actually read a scientific account of this (call it laziness…), it’s something I won’t stand too firm on.
    I think science/biology can explain that something exists and that it connects to something (i.e. that when we show/experience love biology does play a role) but that "role" does not necessarily mean that love ends up being that and only that. Are you following (I ask because I don't think I'm being very clear)? In other words: I believe that spiritual things have consequences in the "real" world of physicality: thus, when we experience love (or even attraction) I do believe that the brain releases chemicals and all that stuff - but I deny that that is all love is: I believe the physiological/chemical reaction is love in action, but these things do not constitute the "being" of love. God designed us to love, and the fact that we "feel" it is due (in part) to our physiological/emotional reactions. But the choice to love is not merely chemicals or "herd instinct" because then we remove (to a greater or lesser degree) the idea of free choice.

    Blah...this is hard to do and I can't think straight right now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    Can we so easily attach such positive values to ‘sacrifice’ and ‘community’?
    The commitment to give up for the sake of others rarely has negative effects; that said, of course there are times when that can be detrimental. But, overall, I think these investing more in those two terms might reveal some clear benefits for humanity.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    It did indeed suggest that your generalization was false – how is that not relevant? This isn’t something conditional, like gravity, which only applies here and there. All human beings are about the same in this sense. I should think it worthy of consideration that someone who believes in biology’s capability of accounting for love claims indeed to have experienced it.
    I shouldn't have said "irrelevant"; what I should have said was that cuppajoe's reponse was a rhetorical question: just the asking of it made joe's point and I need not have answered it because it was a rhetorical question.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    Perhaps, but, directed towards an individual, it is rarely – if ever – kind.
    True - and I suppose I owe joe an apology (again! ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesian View Post
    Understandable. I did indeed hesitate for this reason, but quite honestly I was interested in seeing where you would take the discussion following that remark; I should perhaps have mentioned as much. I was not trying to play 'Forum-Nazi'.
    Got it. No harm no foul.
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

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