Can the bible be taken literally?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Pagan-prophet, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Pagan-prophet

    Pagan-prophet (Protect Computer)

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    First I’d like to start by saying, I’m not trying to offend anyone. I’m merely trying to point out something that I noticed. If you disagree with me then pleas don’t flame at me. I actually want to know what some of you have to say about this. If you think I’m wrong I would like to see where I’m wrong because I don’t want to go on telling this to people if it is flawed.


    God is a hypocrite

    God is omniscient.
    Therefore,
    God knows what are future is going to be.
    Therefore,
    We have a set future. (no other options other than those set up by god.)
    Therefore,
    We have no free will.
    Therefore,
    God lied to us about making free will…
    Ultimately,
    God broke one of his own rules, “Thou shall not lie.”

    (note: If you believe that the bible is the word of god and is to be taken as a history book then you must believe in fate because God saw the future before he made everything. There is no fate in free will.)

    God made ultimate evil on purpose

    God is omniscient.
    Therefore,
    God knows hell will be created if he makes Lucifer.
    However,
    God makes Lucifer.
    Therefore,
    Hell is made and God made hell.

    Why did he make hell? To provide free will? I see it as a place where people can burn for not believing in a story that other people told me. There are many other hells out there too. If I believe in one god then I’m at risk of going to another religions hell.

    God made all pain and unhappiness for no reason

    God is omniscient
    Therefore,
    God knows Sin will be created if he makes the tree of good and evil.
    However,
    God makes the tree knowing Eve will eat from it.
    For whatever reason,
    God tells her not to eat the fruit knowing it will not change her decision.
    Eventually,
    Eve eats from the tree = God made sin.
    For whatever reason,
    God gets angry for something he expected.
    Therefore,
    God punishes Eve and Adam saying that, Men would have hard lives and woman would have painful childbirths. (he blames mankind)
    And,
    Snake gets punished by taking away his …feet.
    So,
    Eve and Adam likely go to hell for there sins and burn forever in hellfire…
    In other words,
    Man = horrible life because of God.
    Ultimately,
    God is not all loving.

    If we have no free will then why is it that he made sin?

    Now saying that we can never understand God because he is beyond us is the only excuse to get out of this augment. But the same can be said about EVERY other religion in the hole world. What makes Christianity any better?

    Adam and Eve may not have gone to hell but many other people have (in the bible).

    Next question I have is, why did god make hell?
    If he loves you all then why does he tear away your “free will” after you die simply because you don’t believe he exists when he never told you himself? I believe that if god REALLY loved me and wanted me to go to haven, he would come here and tell me about his existence himself. And don’t tell me that it has to be faith and not just a “given answer” because he has come down to tell other people before. If god was all powerful then why did he not send down a mental recording filled with proof of his existence? I would be fine if when a young boy or girl turns 13 he/she gets a mental recording of gods voice telling him/her not to sin and how to live.

    What I have proved:
    God is either not, malevolent, omniscient or benevolent. (either way God contradicts himself and the bible cannot be taken literally.

    The next question is, how much of the bible can we really discard as myth/tall tale/story/poor translation? This is something nobody will ever know because God did not tell us directly the true story. Therefore the only thing we can put into account is are own intuition.

    Everyone wants to have meaning in there life. I believe that if we quiet our minds and listen we will find the answer over many years. The bible speaks of the father the son and the holey ghost. I think that the holey ghost is contacting us but man blows everything out of proportion. We write down what we think he is saying but guide it with a false story when writing a holey book.

    But anyway… well all find out what happens after we die when we die.
     
  2. Anzac

    Anzac Resident Anarchist

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    I personally agree wholeheartedly with the Bible but there are a few things I'd like to point out:

    #1
    The Bible has been written, re-written, changed and altered since the dawn of Catholicism and was written by mortals about the divine. As such many things may have been subject to "human-error" in the first place (however, your argument on predestination is one of what I believe to be solid proof to disprove organized and hierarchical religion).

    #2
    You make several references to "and so God does not exist". That is that Christian deity of some branches of Christianity. Some do not believe in the Bible and that the word of Christ is sufficient in itself. However, the arguments (which again, I agree with on the whole) disprove certain elements of religious fallibility due to humanity.

    #3
    As for God making pain and unhappiness for no reason, well, due to your point about all knowing and an all seeing deity that is never wrong then he/she/it must have made it for some reason. There must be a point to all creation as the Christian God has willed.

    #4
    God didn't make Hell, he merely provided an all consuming (except for God obviously) pattern and material to create it, he wasn't directly responsible, he just outcast Lucifer and let him go his own way... (but there is actually no real direct reference to this place in the Bible, it may be another one of those Catholic misgivings).

    #5
    On Adam and Eve, isn't the Christian deity a forgiving one? Well, when they make one mistake they are outcast and humanity made to suffer. Yet due to the earlier point about predestination God must have surely known that this was going to happen and so directly caused society today as we know it - meaning God didn't really care about saving the Garden of Eden and was content to let humanity destroy itself.

    #6
    This is a separate personal point but in 1880 the Pope was declared infallible. What is true is only God can call someone infallible as he is the only individual to possess that. So surely the person/people who made the Pope infallible were wrong as they were humans, which means is the Pope's infallibility really as such?

    #7
    There are holes and problems in every religion as it battles with science and people who probe through history looking to undermine it. People can look to religious texts and organizations but in the end the only person that can relate to a possible divine being is a person. Not through an organization, a book, or any other manifestation. This is all prone to human error. You can disprove the foundations religion is created upon but at no point can you deny the existence of a deity as they have not been proven to put their foot down and make themselves known (anyone who says religious texts prove this, they are written by the same people who created "demon fever" and "devil dragons" that still live on the earth...)

    #8
    As for the meaning of life. What if the meaning of life is to find the meaning of life? The journey in a tale, more often than not, is more important than the final destination.
     
  3. JJM

    JJM New Member

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    I have mentioned this in a reply to something you wrote in the thread about Satan but I'll repeat it again. I think that God is all powerful in the sense that he can manipulate everything. Thus he can know the future because he can make it what ever he likes. But he doesn't know how these other beings that he has created will do. He can make them react in certain ways but he doesn’t because that would be taking away free will which is the greatest evil of them all. So in creating Lucifer or the tree in the Adam and Eve story but he had no way of knowing that they would betray him. As for why he asked questions of Adam and eve I think that was more to get them to confess then him not knowing that they did it. Why in fact he made the tree in the first place is a mystery to me but I does illustrate that God didn’t mean for us to sin we chose to on our own. My belief as to why Adam and Eve where kicked out of the garden is because I think that the garden was actually in heaven and because there can be no sin in heaven God had no choice (according to his rules) but to kick them out and I think the things about hard life and child birth where more things about being on earth rather than actual punishments. As for the snake I don’t think that it really happened it was probably some sort of problem with the text or a myth. I don’t doubt that some of the bible has been mistranslated and because it was written by humans it may have some flaws in its original. I don’t however think that any of it was directly written to deceive people. Obliviously some of is just stories because Jesus taught in parables and they most likely didn’t really happen. I think however that God did make Hell but not the place we think of as a fire pit of torture. It is rather a place where angles and the souls of the dead who do not agree with him. If he didn’t do this it would make him a fascist and I don’t think God is. The problem with this place is that you are so far from God that you’re completely miserable. And everyone around you are sinners that are constantly hurting each other this makes it worse. I don’t doubt that some is written wrong it probably isn’t the complete truth but I think that the truth is in there if you look for it and it was written to help.


    _________________________________________
    I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.
    Socrates
     
  4. Pagan-prophet

    Pagan-prophet (Protect Computer)

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    The next question is, how much of the bible can we really discard as myth/tall tale/story/poor translation? This is something nobody will ever know because God did not tell us directly the true story. Therefore the only thing we can put into account is are own intuition.

    Good point. However my argument was to those that took that bible literally.

    I understand what you are saying. I however do not believe that a god that loves all would use predestination.

    God did however trigger a chain of events that lead to the creation of hell. No other force was involved in making hell because there is no free will.

    Yep… and then everything after this I agreed with.

    I doubt that god is all powerful but chooses to ignore what he knows about the future according to how he makes things. That would mean that he is taking the risk of making say… WWII. In my opinion WWII and free will could have been replaced with Happiness forever.

    But he is all powerful he could have done some magic and made everything all better. (Get rid of sin: pain, unhappiness, evil) An all powerful god has no rules.

    Actually the bible says that you are engulfed in invisible flames and sounded in darkness forever. I don’t have my gospel track about hell with me but it has about 10 quotes about how horrible hell is and how painful it is. I think this is how the Christian religion turned into a dogma so easily… They did not want people to go to hell.

    “I don’t however think that any of it was directly written to deceive people.”

    Then what is the point of every other religion? If its not the word of God then it must be the word of man posing as God and therefore a lie. If this is true then man has tried to deceive people many times with other religions. How does this make the bible not also at risk of deceiving you?

    ------------------

    The biggest truth about the bible is that there is a god. I’v made up something that just seemed to stand out to me:

    God is Outside of time and space. Therefore technically he already was always watching over us before he made the world. That is the only logical explanation for why he can exist (the bibles god). Common sense:

    1. Everything that has an effect must have a cause.
    2. The universe is an effect.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

    God is also under the category of everything. So we must assume, God had no beginning therefore he is outside of time.
     
  5. JJM

    JJM New Member

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    If god Knows about the future then it I s already decided which means we have no free will. Because we can't choose what we does this means that no one has to be responsible for their actions. Thus God would send no one to Hell. Because I believe we have free will I can't believe he knows the future. Just my thoughts. I have said I think he can "do some magic and make it all better". But it couldn't have been replaced it with eternal happiness because the lack of free will isn't happiness it is ignorance. While some think that Ignorance is bliss I don't. I believe that a deeper understanding of God and his actions is bliss. By the way just because an all powerful God has no restrictions it doesn't mean he doesn't have rules which he has set for himself. By the way I don't beleive that God created WWII I think that Hitler created WWII and God just affected it's outcome. the best that he could with out affecting Free will.


    Thank you if you could find that in the bible somewhere out of revelations could you tell me because I liked to read it. I always thought that that Idea was developed in Dante’s Inferno. I guess I was wrong.

    My opinion is that all most all other religions are misunderstandings of Gods message. I explain this in the question about Satan thread. There are some who have wished to deceive and there is that risk in the bible. I just don't think it was.

    This is something that I don't think we can ever understand That is God being out side time and space because we are inside it and thus we couldn't begin to comprehend it. If him being out side of time means he knows the future though that still means we have no free will.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    interesting thread thus far.

    for a tangent... i'd like to point out something about the concept of existing prior to or outside the universe.

    classical physics is what we use to talk about the objects we see in the universe around use, Newtons Laws of Motion, Einsteins Relativity and so forth. the most common cosomological theory today is the Big Bang, whilst i personally think that there is a more accurate theory, for the purpose of this disucssion, i shall confine myself to Standard Big Bang or Inflationary Theory.

    so.. if the universe started as a singularity we have no way of ascertaining what lies beyond the singularity. classical physical systems break down at the edge of a singularity, such as a black hole, furthermore the information that is on the other side of a singularity cannot pass through. to talk about what happens at the edge of the singularity, we had to come up with another theory.

    one that took into account a few revlutionary concepts, namely the Heisenberg Uncertiany Principle (UP).

    The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.
    --Heisenberg, uncertainty paper, 1927


    http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08.htm

    here's what he concluded:

    Heisenberg realized that the uncertainty relations had profound implications. First, if we accept Heisenberg's argument that every concept has a meaning only in terms of the experiments used to measure it, we must agree that things that cannot be measured really have no meaning in physics. Thus, for instance, the path of a particle has no meaning beyond the precision with which it is observed. But a basic assumption of physics since Newton has been that a "real world" exists independently of us, regardless of whether or not we observe it. (This assumption did not go unchallenged, however, by some philsophers.) Heisenberg now argued that such concepts as orbits of electrons do not exist in nature unless and until we observe them.

    http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08c.htm

    so... how is all this applicable to the discussion at hand?

    if you posit that God existed prior to the universe, He can have no effect on the current universe since no information from prior to the singularity will be transmitted through, further, God cannot be omniscient according to the very rules that He created, if He created at all.

    now.. as an article of faith, there is no argument :)
     
  7. arthra

    arthra A friend

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    Well Pagan-prophet I took a litle time to respond to your thread this morning and hope you will recieve my comments not as an antagonist but as a friend... Also i want you to know i am not a Christian, but a Baha'i.

    Pagan-prophet wrote:

    I actually want to know what some of you have to say about this. If you think I’m wrong I would like to see where I’m wrong because I don’t want to go on telling this to people if it is flawed.

    Comment:

    I'm a little curious Pagan-prophet, I'm not sure anyone can convince you that your "wrong" but I'd be happy to share how i feel about your presentation, the rest is up to you!


    Your first question deals with the old issue of freewill and predestination:

    God is omniscient. Therefore, God knows what are future is going to be.
    Therefore, We have a set future. (no other options other than those set up by god.) Therefore, We have no free will. Therefore, God lied to us about making free will… Ultimately, God broke one of his own rules, “Thou shall not lie.”

    (note: If you believe that the bible is the word of god and is to be taken as a history book then you must believe in fate because God saw the future before he made everything. There is no fate in free will.)

    Comment: Well I do believe the Bible is inspired but I don't accept "fate" and while the Bible covers historical periods, it's not just a "history book" either...at least as we know history books today.

    But i think more deeply than that is the point you are making about God being prescient or foreknowing and confusing that with the issue of free will. By this i mean that God foreknowing an event does not "determine" it, therefore man is still endowed with freewill to choose.

    Knowing the sun will rise tomorrow is not the same thing as determining it will rise.

    Putting your argument forward: Ultimately, God broke one of his own rules, “Thou shall not lie.”... Sounds like maybe you personally have some issues that need to be worked out.

    Your next point:

    God made ultimate evil on purpose. God is omniscient.
    Therefore, God knows hell will be created if he makes Lucifer.
    However, God makes Lucifer. Therefore,
    Hell is made and God made hell.

    Why did he make hell? To provide free will? I see it as a place where people can burn for not believing in a story that other people told me. There are many other hells out there too. If I believe in one god then I’m at risk of going to another religions hell.

    Comment:

    From my perspective, men make make "hell" on earth for themselves by not responding to the Divine message and it is by their own choice. According to the legend "Lucifer" was an angel that rebelled against God and fell to earth and was allowed to tempt man but who will be dispatched in time...so he symbolizes rebellion against God and disunity and is not co-eternal with God.

    Your third point:

    God made all pain and unhappiness for no reason. God is omniscient
    Therefore, God knows Sin will be created if he makes the tree of good and evil. However, God makes the tree knowing Eve will eat from it.
    For whatever reason, God tells her not to eat the fruit knowing it will not change her decision. Eventually, Eve eats from the tree = God made sin.
    For whatever reason, God gets angry for something he expected.
    Therefore God punishes Eve and Adam saying that, Men would have hard lives and woman would have painful childbirths. (he blames mankind)
    And, Snake gets punished by taking away his …feet.
    So, Eve and Adam likely go to hell for there sins and burn forever in hellfire… In other words, Man = horrible life because of God.
    Ultimately, God is not all loving.

    If we have no free will then why is it that he made sin?

    Comment:

    I think you are taking the story of the Garden of Eden too literally and simplistically...

    It should be taken as a "story" after all and there have been i think some interesting interpretations of it, but it does not show us i think that "God made sin" or is "not all loving"... rather it shows i think that rebellion against God's laws causes man to fall from a state of peace and unity into a state of hatred and animosity, hence Cain murders Abel because he is jealous of the sacrifice made by Abel and the favor of God.

    Your point:

    Now saying that we can never understand God because he is beyond us is the only excuse to get out of this augment. But the same can be said about EVERY other religion in the hole world. What makes Christianity any better?

    Comment:

    If you read my reply above you know i didn't use that argument. I didn't need to use it because it doesn't apply... I think your statement assumes "every other religion" uses that argument is an assumpton you choose to make and i think you are generalizing too much.

    As to Christianity being better than other religions, I don't share that belief either as I believe all religions of the world have a divine origin and Christianity is only one manifestation of the mercy of God.

    I've responded to your points on Satan under that topic that you also started, but a statement you made in your conclusion also interested me:

    "I believe that if we quiet our minds and listen we will find the answer over many years. The bible speaks of the father the son and the holey ghost. I think that the holey ghost is contacting us but man blows everything out of proportion. We write down what we think he is saying but guide it with a false story when writing a holey book."

    Comment, I agree that "man blows everything out of proportion" and that it takes time for humans to respond "if we quiet our minds and listen we will find the answer over many years".... is very true I think and one reason the Prophet heard God in "the still small voice" in 1 Kings 19:12.
    Reading the Bible with an independent mind and a seeking heart will help you my friend.

    - Art
     
  8. JJM

    JJM New Member

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    i agree with most of that. I'd like to ask you about this quote:


    Is your example saying that if the sun doesn't rise tomorrow there will be know tomorrow thus the sun will rise tomorrow but it doesn't mean there will be a tomorrow? That is the only way that this makes sense to me. If not how can God know something (assuming that all things known are true) and have it not happen. If you know something then doesn't that make it true thus if you know the future and what you know is true then there is fate and we don't truly have choices. If you could clarify what you mean by this it would really help.
     
  9. Pagan-prophet

    Pagan-prophet (Protect Computer)

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    You have just proved my point. God cant see the future because that would be taking away are free will. Therefore, god is not omniscient or if he is he is choosing to be ignorant of mans situation.

    Are angel’s Ignorant?

    Nevertheless, God caused things to be the way they are today. Even If there was free will then that would mean that god was the programmer of the human mind (god made man the way he is). Therefore, he is the one responsible for Hitler’s actions (as well as everyone else’s).

    Why?

    -----------------

    Wow… I was about to miss that point. Very good observation. I believe that tomorrow without the sun would be relative to time and not light.

    to·mor·row
    n.
    1. The day following today.
    2. The future.
    The future is relitive to time so I would have to assume that tommarow can come without the sun.

    -----------------

    I Know that If I let a ball go it will fall
    However,
    I do not want it to fall
    but,
    I let go of the ball
    Thus,
    the ball fell and it is my fault.

    Imagine the ball falling is the human timeline. God let go of the ball. Therefore, he set a chain of events that led towards falling. If god let go of the ball then it must be his responsibility for the ball falling.

    So, is there a different path that we can take other then the one God knew we would pick? No because God is unflawed. No matter what I do, I am still stuck in God’s predetermined future and therefore I have no choice other than the one chosen for me.

    Your right its not. However, I cannot affect the way the sun raises. If god knew the sun would rise if he made it rise then he is responsible for the sun raising.

    I am only taking it the way some Christians take it. Some believe that the earth is 6000 yeas old and that all the events in the bible are the true unflawed word of god. My entire point of all of my arguments is how you cannot take everything in the bible literally (like the title of the thread). Not how the Christian god dose not exist.

    I see what you mean but I have to make the argument one more time: God made man therefore, God was responsible for Cain Killing able.

    God knew Cain would kill Able (before he made them)
    God made Cain and Able
    Cain kills Able

    This is just like:

    I know that if I make two robots a cretin way then they will destroy each other
    I build two robots that cretin way
    They Kill each other

    Whose fault is it, the Robots or my own? I would say that it is my own fault because I made the robots the way they are now today.
     
  10. arthra

    arthra A friend

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    JJM wrote:

    If you know something then doesn't that make it true thus if you know the future and what you know is true then there is fate and we don't truly have choices. If you could clarify what you mean by this it would really help.

    Response:

    This question has been raised before and I hope you will find the following answer satisfying to you and if not, let me know! I'm quoting from a book called "Some Answered Questions" first publishd in 1908 and it consists of a series of questions bothering many Christians of the time and answers by Abdul-Baha:

    Question.--If God has knowledge of an action which will be performed by someone, and it has been written on the Tablet of Fate, is it possible to resist it?

    Answer.--The foreknowledge of a thing is not the cause of its realization; for the essential knowledge of God surrounds, in the same way, the realities of things, before as well as after their existence, and it does not become the cause of their existence. It is a perfection of God. But that which was prophesied by the inspiration of God through the tongues of the Prophets, concerning the appearance of the Promised One of the Bible, was not the cause of the manifestation of Christ.

    The hidden secrets of the future were revealed to the Prophets, and They thus became acquainted with the future events which They announced. This knowledge and these prophecies were not the cause of the occurrences. For example, tonight everyone knows that after seven hours the sun will rise, but this general foreknowledge does not cause the rising and appearance of the sun.

    Therefore, the knowledge of God in the realm of contingency does not produce the forms of the things. On the contrary, it is purified from the past, present and future. It is identical with the reality of the things; it is not the cause of their occurrence.

    In the same way, the record and the mention of a thing in the Book does not become the cause of its existence. The Prophets, through the divine inspiration, knew what would come to pass. For instance, through the divine inspiration They knew that Christ would be martyred, and They announced it. Now, was Their knowledge and information the cause of the martyrdom of Christ? No; this knowledge is a perfection of the Prophets and did not cause the martyrdom.

    The mathematicians by astronomical calculations know that at a certain time an eclipse of the moon or the sun will occur. Surely this discovery does not cause the eclipse to take place. This is, of course, only an analogy and not an exact image.

    - Abdul-Baha in "Some Answered Questions"
    Part Two -- Some Christian Subjects
    pages 138-140
     
  11. arthra

    arthra A friend

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    Pagan-prophet thanks for your reply and you can call me "Art"!

    I hope that my last entry to JJM will answer some of your questions regarding freewill and prescience...Some how or other I think you have the "Doctrine of Pre-destination" of maybe Calvin in mind or the "Doctrine of the Elect"... Maybe you could find a Calvinist to talk with about that. Most of the Christians I know do not accept pre-destination and Baha'is don't accept that view point anyway.

    Pagan-prophet wrote:

    Originally Posted by arthra
    I think you are taking the story of the Garden of Eden too literally and simplistically.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am only taking it the way some Christians take it. Some believe that the earth is 6000 yeas old and that all the events in the bible are the true unflawed word of god. My entire point of all of my arguments is how you cannot take everything in the bible literally (like the title of the thread). Not how the Christian god dose not exist.

    Comment:

    Well Pagan-prophet I agree, some Christians do read the Bible literally but that's not the only way to read it as I think you should know by now...

    Returning to your earlier comment though which as you know I felt was very good advice to take:

    "if we quiet our minds and listen we will find the answer over many years"

    Some of us take longer perhaps than others but God is ever Merciful and Compassionate.

    In friendship,

    - Art
     
  12. JJM

    JJM New Member

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    Thank you for your answer to my question. Sorry I took so long had school again didn't have much free time. I now understand that you where saying that just because we know something will happen doesn't make that the reason for it happening. I guess your example just confused me. I would have written it knowing the sun will rise tomorrow is not the same thing as causing it to rise. I agree with that but what I was arguing is that gods knowledge of the future is not because it is pre determined but because he himself can manipulate it. Kind of like me saying when I hit the "submit reply" button my reply will be posted. Then when I hit the button I make it true. What pagan prophet was saying is that the future is known by God but he can't affect it (because if he knows the future because it has already been decided even he can't change it) thus the whole God creating the devil quote in his first post. I'm saying that God can predict the future because he can manipulate it into what he said will happen. I can use my theory to also describe the birth of Jesus. God told the prophets that Jesus would be born and how then he impregnates marry and causes a few misfortunes (note: I believe that the holy family went to Bethlehem because they could not pay the taxes that where in place because of the census not because they would take part in it.) And induce labor as soon as they reached the city. I am also saying that if we have free will God doesn’t make our choice for us so he doesn't change them to fit his plan. So he can't know what they are in advance and that is the problem for free will. As for Doctrine of Pre-destination" of maybe Calvin in mind or the "Doctrine of the Elect"... I've never heard of these if you think they really in some way reflect my beliefs and you wish to point out to me where I could find them that would be great.
     
  13. arthra

    arthra A friend

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    JJM wrote:

    "I am also saying that if we have free will God doesn’t make our choice for us so he doesn't change them to fit his plan. So he can't know what they are in advance and that is the problem for free will. As for Doctrine of Pre-destination" of maybe Calvin in mind or the "Doctrine of the Elect"... I've never heard of these if you think they really in some way reflect my beliefs and you wish to point out to me where I could find them that would be great."

    Comment:

    The discussions between those advocating free will of men and those supporting predestination by God have been going on over the centuries in Christianity and even to a degree in Islam. In Christianity the Predestiantion position was supported by John Calvin (Calvinism or Reformed views) and even by Saint Augustine while the freewill position was supported by Jacob Arminius...

    See:

    http://wesley.nnu.edu/Arminianism/Arminius/

    http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~gvcc/theology_notes/Calvin_and_Arminius.html

    http://www.gty.org/~phil/dabney/5points.htm

    So it would probably save you some time if you would explore the sources and then it will save you having to "re-invent the wheel"!

    As a Baha'i the reason i quoted Abdul-Baha was that we don't see any conflict as man has freewill to choose God or deny Him and God is omniscient that is foreknowing, that is He knows in advance what we will do and He allows us to make choices...So the burden of responsibility is actually on mankind to respond to God.

    Baha'is do not accept the doctrine of Predestination as understood by most Christians.

    - Art
     
  14. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

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    just to confuse things all up some more

    Just want to throw in the thought that God, being supreme over all things and independent of all things ("Self-Subsisting") is not under any limitations of time or space -- these are dimensions of the created, physical plane. God would be "outside" and independent of time and space.

    Thus for God all things and all times are simply exist and are equally observable and known. God can observe tomorrow or 6 billion years from now as easily as He can observe this fleeting moment, or a moment 6 billion years ago. Only for us in this plane is it a linear progression.

    Now, recall that we are "made in His image." As a Baha'i, I don't take this to mean I look like Him, or He like me. I doubt He has gender, or is getting grayer daily. But rather "I have breathed into thee a breath of Mine own Spirit" -- which I take to mean implies some measure of "Autonomy", "Knowledge," "Sovereignty" -- ie the attributes the Divine -- and our own Will -- from the Adam and Eve story: "now they are like Us" (having eaten of the fruit of "knowledge.")

    The Qu'ran says (paraphrasing) "God is man's mystery, and man is God's mystery."

    Think about that one! :)

    Some things are "pre-destined" -- like I was born, to these parents, in this time -- but for the most part, I really am free to choose much of the course of my life. If God observes me choosing to say a harsh word to a neighbor, even though that choice is 20 years in my future -- it is still my error -- that He can observe this in no way compels me to do it, any more than His noting an error I made yesterday compelled me to make that error.

    So by this reasoning also, fore-knowledge is not the same as pre-destined, or compelled.

    God made every soul "sovereign" and capable of choosing the good or the not good. God is the Source of good and offers it freely to us. We have the uncompelled power to embrace that good and benefit by it, or turn away and be deprived. If the lamp is the source of light, and I place a box over the lamp, has the lamp made the darkness?
     
  15. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    This conversation is like a nice warm bath...

    Browsing through what's been said, it seems to me that Pagan-prophet has been winning because he's got most of the rest of you who disagree with him exactly where he wanted you: luke-warm in the belief of your God.

    No house stands without a foundation. Here is the foundation of what Pagan-prophet claims to be true:


    This conclusion simply does not follow from the premise. As Art so nicely pointed out, just because God knows the future doesn't mean that he set it. Thus, the rest of this argument, and all of the other arguments which rest upon it, falls away.

    I'm sick and tired of people blaming God for our mistakes. Are you angry with God because of our evil? The alternative was for him to never create you at all. Would you prefer that?

    God doesn't need your far-out rationalizations of what he's doing, using Einstein's theories and unfounded unitarian drivel. In fact, he doesn't need anything from you, which is why he is God and you are not. But the one thing that he wants from you is the one thing that is clearly lacking in many of the responses to Pagan-prophet's challenge: faith; God wants you to believe in him, and by that I mean-- despite hell, and Satan, and sin, and the fall of man, and competing religions, and everything else that sucks about the world-- he wants you to believe that he's got a way out of it for you.

    Proverbs 11:21 says "Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free." Now let me ask you this: is your God powerful enough to find a way to make even you righteous? Mine is.
     
  16. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Actually, Marsh - if you take a deep breath a moment you'll see that the issue of Pagan-prophet's post is not about God - it's about interpretations of God, specifically from the position of literalist Christianity.

    Most of the comments relate directly with Old Testament statements, which are rarely given the honour of a deeper and wider reading (for example, with reference to Jewish philosophy and thinking, which has an extant ancient commentary of probably every aspect of the OT, backwards, forwards - but, heck, what could the Jews know about the Torah? :) ).

    Also note that Pagan-prophets objections are entirely sourced through literal English translations - the sort that Dennis McKinsey likes trying to rub them in the faces of Christians, despite protestations that the Bible wasn't originally written in English.
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    there is a short answer to this:

    "YES, BUT DON'T EXPECT IT TO MAKE SENSE OR HELP YOU UNDERSTAND"

    on all the stuff about G!D - it is by definition impossible to know anything *positive* about the Divine - all you can know is what the Divine Isn't. in this case, G!D Is not limited by the concept of only one future - G!D Can Conceive of *all* possible futures at the same time, before and after the event from our PoV. it is axiomatic to judaism that we have free will - without this there is no possibility of making the correct - or incorrect choice. likewise, we don't believe in "goodies go to heaven and baddies go to hell" - that's far too simplistic. "ha-satan", in judaism, has no power to do anything other than get you prosecuted (as it were) for things you have yourself done.

    the tree enables sin by activating free-will. free-will cannot exist without knowledge of choice and the consequences of choice - in other words, the knowledge of [the consequences of] good and evil.

    it's not as simple as that. G!D also gives us the knowledge of sex. without any of these things, would we be human as we understand it?

    as far as we're concerned, G!D Has Created a space within the Divine in which G!D's Will allows free-will to operate. this is what underlies the basis of the various commandments, such as the noachide commandment that no matter how bad we are in future, G!D Will not destroy the world again *directly*. we are of course able to exterminate ourselves through our own free-willed actions.

    is someone who cannot know suffering truly human, then?

    oh, deary deary me. this isn't the Divine you want - it's your mummy and daddy (and possibly a teddy bear. for a more adult outlook, there is a story in the Talmud where the rabbis are able to capture "evil" and take a few days debating whether to destroy it utterly. G!D speaks to them and says "oh, by the way, guys, before you do that, have you noticed that since you captured evil nobody has gone out to work, built a house or been able to get it up?" - the point is that it is simply unrealistic and immature to think that a world without evil can be one in which humans can live.

    this can only be done at the price of that which makes us human.

    quite. this has the additional advantage over the traditional "eternal flames and red-hot pokers up the jacksie" imagery of being self-evident.

    or, perhaps, the less obvious may be more effective.

    *ultimately*, yes - but not directly. the possibility is Created rather than the specific configuration of outcomes, such as wars and so forth. it's a subtle but important difference.

    that's a rather elegant way of putting it, you know.

    this argument was also made by the angels, according to the rabbis of the Talmud.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  18. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    Actually, Brian, I'm well aware of what Pagan-prophet's position is, and what the post is about. Take a look at my first paragraph following the inset quotation, which points out a non-sequitor logical fallacy in Pagan-prophet's position. The rest of my post? That was just what came into my heart as I was writing. We are allowed to speak our hearts here, aren't we?
     
  19. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Marsh, it was merely because you seemed to feel that Pagan-prophet was attacking God. This would seem to make no sense. But this place thrives on interpretations of God. :)
     
  20. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    Attacked by God?

    This is actually a response to Brian's response to my response to Brian's response to my response to Pagan-prophet's argument. Confused yet?

    These are some things that Pagan-prophet said-- not as part of his argument, but as foot-notes to it:

    I will conceed that Pagan-prophet is not attacking God in this post. However, he clearly feels "attacked" by God: he questions whether God loves him or not, he questions God's power, and he questions God's competence as God. But look at the first and the last statements: Who is he really frustrated with: God, or mankind's interpretation (and, often, exploitation) of God? That's what I was trying to get at.

    God has been taking flak from us ever since we had knowledge enough to question his authority. I don't mind it when people question God: everything that's true holds up when tested in the fire. However, I don't agree to any test where the questions are balanced unfairly, and since Pagan-prophet was challenging God based on mankind's theology, I consider the test to be unfair. Hence, my objection to what I called 'blaming God for our mistakes.'

    And yes, by mistakes I do mean theology.
     

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