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  1.    #681  
    Let me just add that to be in NYC on 9/11 would have been far worse than being in my office and having my wife call me on the phone crying hysterically. The people I told in my office didn't believe me and told me it was impossible. The first reports my wife told me was that it was a "small plane". The internet was overloaded as I was trying to figure out where the plane went down in Pennsylvania. Some people set up a TV, but I couldn't even watch what was happening. I was praying for the lives of all the people involved. When the first tower collapsed I was in anguish and worried about the same thing happening in the second tower. I know of a priest who was there on the sidewalk and was killed when someone who had jumped landed directly on him. To be there and to experience this first person is truly unimaginable for me. You and everyone from NYC have my deepest sympathy.
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  2. #682  
    From...God is Imaginary - 50 simple proofs

    If you ask a religious person about Jesus' divinity, you may find yourself in a conversation like this:

    Norm: If Jesus is God, why didn't Jesus ever prove that he is God?

    Chris: He did! He performed many miracles, and he was resurrected. That proves that he is God!

    Norm: Why did he not prove that he is God in a way that is definitive and scientifically provable -- for example, by moving a mountain?

    Chris: He could not do that! That would take away man's free will to believe in him. People must come to God through faith.

    Norm: Why, then, did Jesus perform the miracles described in the Gospels?

    Chris: To prove that he is God. If he had not done the miracles, culminating in his final most miraculous resurrection, we would not know that he is God.

    Norm: I thought that if Jesus performed miracles to prove that he was God, then it took away our free will.

    Chris: No.

    Norm: Isn't that what you just said?

    Chris: No. What I just said is that Jesus' miracles prove that he was God.

    Norm: So why didn't Jesus perform real, concrete miracles like moving a mountain?

    Chris: Because that would take away our free will.

    Try having this conversation yourself with a Christian and you will find it to be a very odd discussion. The circular logic will make you dizzy:

    • Jesus had to perform miracles to prove his divinity, and that doesn't take away free will...
    • ...But if Jesus performed miracles that we could see and scientifically verify, it would take away free will.


    Any unbiased observer can see reality. The reason why Jesus did not perform concrete, verifiable miracles is because Jesus was a man like any other.
  3. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #683  
    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    "I'm not trying to press you here"

    I've read your posts before and I know you are fair.
    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    I would never suggest Jesus or Alexander the Great did not exist. Those two people, although I cannot see them with my two eyes, pass my own personal common sense test. Too much evidence exists to suggest otherwise. What I cannot accept, even if I wanted to, is the fantastic and mystical stories that are also in the bible. I agree Alexander the Great existed, but if you then told me he lived for 900 years, breathed fire, and flew around on a magic carpet, I could not accept this -- even if a sacred macedonian text (like a greek bible) and 500 witnesses said it was true.
    I understand your distinction. Some other objectivists I've spoken to had a more restrictive view of things. They claim only to believe things known by experience, and I suggest that this is not possible. At some point, we all accept that certain things are true (like that Alexander the Great Existed), because we believe the accounts are sufficient, despite it being impossible for us to experience that on our own.

    KAM
  4. #684  
    Thanks, Bob (sudoer).
  5. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #685  
    Quote Originally Posted by dbd View Post
    BTW- Almighty loving God was nowhere to be seen that day either, but then again, you guys have prepared statements for such things as tragedies, calamities, the Holocaust, other ethnic cleansing, earthquakes, tsunamis and other destruction when thousands of people of every belief, die innocently.
    Yep.
    This is all because we were born in sin.
    If that's not the easy way out of this discussion for you believers, then i don't know what is.
    No, its because people used their free will to run airplanes into buildings.

    KAM
  6.    #686  
    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    Kinda insensitive. Question: have you ever noticed it is immeasurably easier to convert a 5 year old to your chosen religion than a 35 year old? Can't say for sure why, but 35 year olds tend to rely on critical thinking skills, logic, rational thought processes, and common sense, at least more so than a 5 year old.
    I wouldn't say easier, just different. I don't worry about converting anyone as I feel that's the Lord's work. I'm here to learn how others think and to understand why as humans we want to help each others. I'm innately curious and I'm observing that a lot of others here have asked themselves this same question. To the extent that I can help others, I'm doing so as I've tried to do with phone-related topics over the past 8 years.

    I find it more rewarding to discuss these sort of issues with adults. I think I'm innately a selfish person and I want to learn more than I want to teach. I'm at a point in my life where I realize much of what I need to learn has to come from others, and some of what I have learned should be shared with others.

    Children are totally beautiful and trusting in a way that adults should consider emulating from time to time. Adults have special responsibilities to children and God claims there will be much greater consequences for corrupting or mis-teaching youth. I don't consider myself a teacher, but I am wondering if there is any way I can incorporate a teaching ministry in any future jobs I might have. I'm unsure of God's plan for my life. Perhaps I'm just sharing more because I'm at another crossroad in my life right now.

    I really appreciate critical thinking skills and it's beautiful to see these develop in my children. They've developed these skills totally on their own through life experiences. One thing I need to learn in life is how to constrain information to what's most needed by others. For me, adults are more understanding of the complex thoughts that I often have. I think God gives each of us different gifts and I'm still finding mine. Teaching kids is easier for most people, but it's an area where I lack confidence.

    So maybe it was a sensitive question, but I don't mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    Question #2: if all humans, from this day forward, were forbidden to see, hear, read, think, discuss, etc. any form of any religion until they were, say, 35 years old, and only at that point would any religious person or representative be allowed to approach them with intentions of teaching the gospel, how long would it take for your religion or any other to drastically diminish in ranks or cease to exist?
    I believe it would cause people to think much more rationally about religion. There's a theological question of what happens to people who would die before they reach the age of 35 (assuming there is a God).

    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    In my opinion, religion continues to exist because it is taught to children as soon as they can understand pictures and language and it is explained to adults in a child-like, ritualistic, story-telling format (imagine if we taught math or science in the same fashion!). I would guess that most rational adults, hearing religion for the first time at 35 years old, would consider it an interesting story worthy of a 2-hour movie, or maybe a series, like Lord of the Rings.
    All of what we are taught happens in this fashion. That is a part of nature and part of who we are. To exclude some aspects of what people need to learn (be that the difference between hot and cold or answering questions about why we are here) would be irresponsible. Children need to be taught critical thinking skills when they are capable of understanding them. I'd argue this begins to a small extent between 7 and 10, to a bigger extent during their teenage years, and continues throughout life. I'm still learning (but I'm a bit of a slow learner too.)
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  7. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #687  
    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    Regarding my other comment, it's certainly speculation, nothing more. At the time of the bible, governments were local and shaky at best. I can't think of any other way to unify a people, wherever they may be, without violence, without payment, without borders, etc. Organized religion seems like the perfect tool at the time to control vast populations of people non-violently.
    Actually, the Jewish people (at least some of them) at that time were awaiting a Messiah that would lead them to victory over their oppressors. I think their expectations of a Messiah were much different from what ended up happening. Why do you think that the Apostles would go a completely different direction if they were simply trying to organize people? Wouldn't it have been much easier to play to what was expected?

    Additionally, but related to this, I highly doubt that the Apostles (several of which met bad ends in the pursuit of their Preaching) experiences would match what you are suggesting might have been the plan. They were often on the run, and persecuted. In fact, Christians in general were outright killed in many places--for quite a long time in fact.

    As a cultural event(s), I find it interesting that people could be so easily swayed to follow a religion that could very well mean their deaths so eagerly? I'm not claiming a supernatural cause, but it seems highly unlikely that a group of people with no political power (and in fact, the target of various political powers) would ever flourish to become the world's largest religion and for a period of time the torchbearer of western civilization. The fact that Christianity did grow as it did, is an indication that there was some very strong draw to it (for whatever reason). The ancient world was filled with people claiming to be prophets and saviors of one kind or another, so what made this one different?

    I guess what I'm saying is that this speculation is based on an established Church. What I'm saying above is how did they get to there in the first place, and I don't think they really anticipated or planned for world domination. If you suggest that the Church was the controlling factor after the fall of Rome through...oh 1700 or so, well, I could see that.

    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    Now, once the religious institution is established and some people reject the ideology -- thats when the violence begins. I once read a quote (and I certainly don't remember the source) that said, and I paraphrase, "more people have been murdered in the name of organized religion than all other causes for murder combined". And by that I think he/she meant ritual killings (Inca, Phoenicia, China), the crusades, the reconquista, the holocaust, jihad, etc. Anyway, it's all speculation on my part. The objectivist in me cannot claim otherwise .
    I'd challenge the claim about murder. I'd also reject the notion that the Holocaust was in the name of a Religion. It was AGAINST a Religious and ethnic group by a political group. I've mentioned to others--Communism is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th Century alone. Even the Crusades would have a hard time matching that. I've also raised the point that while many attribute deaths to Religious causes, I would argue that in almost every case it has a political component or Religion is the excuse or false justification (like 9/11).
    I think if you ask how many people were literally killed in order to satisfy a legitimate Religious practice (as defined by the religions in question) you would find that this number is quite small.

    The phrase you used was correct I think--"in the name of Religion." While the 9/11 hijackers claim to be doing the work of their Religion, that is rejected by mainstream Islam--for example.

    KAM
  8. #688  
    Quote Originally Posted by KAM1138 View Post
    No, its because people used their free will to run airplanes into buildings.
    KAM
    Weren't the folks who drove the airplanes into those buildings on a mission from God/Alllah at that time (at least as far as they were concerned), following their religious texts, leaders and doctrine the best they knew how?

    While I personally found the actions of the 9/11 terrorists repugnant; if their God guided the terrorists down this path how could someone else who believes in a God condemn those actions? Isn't God's will final and absolute?
  9. rjwerth's Avatar
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    #689  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    So I'm supposed to search for the rewrite that speaks to me in plain english and will convince me God is real? Okay then.

    Why hasn't the church/god developed an new bible for modern times. One with stories that have gone down in the last few hundread years?
    Let's see, we have one non believer who thinks the Bible has been rewritten too many times and another who wants it rewritten again. Hmmmmm..... Which one should we try to please?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    From...God is Imaginary - 50 simple proofs

    If you ask a religious person about Jesus' divinity, you may find yourself in a conversation like this:

    Norm: If Jesus is God, why didn't Jesus ever prove that he is God?

    Chris: He did! He performed many miracles, and he was resurrected. That proves that he is God!

    Norm: Why did he not prove that he is God in a way that is definitive and scientifically provable -- for example, by moving a mountain?
    The answer to this is not what you originally wrote, it is this: He did a number of things that were scientifically provable and witnessed and still you choose to ignore them. Some people will choose to not believe and there is nothing that you can do about that. As I suggested before, even if God returned with all the fanfare and spectacle, there would still be nonbelievers.
  10. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #690  
    Quote Originally Posted by joshaccount View Post
    Kinda insensitive. Question: have you ever noticed it is immeasurably easier to convert a 5 year old to your chosen religion than a 35 year old? Can't say for sure why, but 35 year olds tend to rely on critical thinking skills, logic, rational thought processes, and common sense, at least more so than a 5 year old. Question #2: if all humans, from this day forward, were forbidden to see, hear, read, think, discuss, etc. any form of any religion until they were, say, 35 years old, and only at that point would any religious person or representative be allowed to approach them with intentions of teaching the gospel, how long would it take for your religion or any other to drastically diminish in ranks or cease to exist?

    In my opinion, religion continues to exist because it is taught to children as soon as they can understand pictures and language and it is explained to adults in a child-like, ritualistic, story-telling format (imagine if we taught math or science in the same fashion!). I would guess that most rational adults, hearing religion for the first time at 35 years old, would consider it an interesting story worthy of a 2-hour movie, or maybe a series, like Lord of the Rings.
    I think this raises an interesting question, not only about Religion, but how Children are taught anything--including in our schools.

    KAM
  11. #691  
    Quote Originally Posted by rjwerth View Post
    ...even if God returned with all the fanfare and spectacle, there would still be nonbelievers.
    IF? I thought the big dude was scheduled for a return visit to bring death to all that will not follow him.....the rapture or some such thing?
  12. KAM1138
    KAM1138's Avatar
    #692  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    Weren't the folks who drove the airplanes into those buildings on a mission from God/Alllah at that time (at least as far as they were concerned), following their religious texts, leaders and doctrine the best they knew how?

    While I personally found the actions of the 9/11 terrorists repugnant; if their God guided the terrorists down this path how could someone else who believes in a God condemn those actions? Isn't God's will final and absolute?
    Yes, that's what those people claimed--people are wrong all the time, and I'd suggest that this is a very clear perversion of Islam. To answer your question...I'm not sure what you are failing to understand about the term "free-will."

    KAM
  13.    #693  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    Any unbiased observer can see reality. The reason why Jesus did not perform concrete, verifiable miracles is because Jesus was a man like any other.
    I appreciate your argument. Jesus did claim to be divine. He either was, or he was an extremely evil man. I don't see how any middle ground is possible unless this story was "mis-reported". I believe history supports the man and his story. The next logical step for me then is to decide whether Jesus was the Messiah or an impostor.

    If I conclude he was an impostor, next I'd look at Judaism and whether I was from the 12 tribes of Israel. This might leave a lot of people "out in the cold" so I'd have to reconsider whether God of the Old Testament wanted this, and I'd also revisit my understanding between what the Old Testament foretells and how I might be able to recognize the Messiah when he comes. I'd be thinking very similar to how Riley did: I'd expect mass coverage in the media and I'd expect it to be really obvious. This is why I believe the J e w s missed seeing Jesus as the Messiah. He didn't come in the spectacular way they had expected/envisioned.

    If I wasn't a J e w, I'm not even sure I'd be aware of this God. The fact that I am leads credence to an understanding that he probably did come.

    I hope my continued sharing helps some people here. In any case, I feel it is my responsibility to respond to questions here as I can. -- Bob
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  14. rjwerth's Avatar
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    #694  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    IF? I thought the big dude was scheduled for a return visit to bring death to all that will not follow him.....the rapture or some such thing?
    Indeed, but that doesn't change my point.
  15. #695  
    Quote Originally Posted by KAM1138 View Post
    I'm not sure what you are failing to understand about the term "free-will."
    KAM
    I'm saying that people who believe in god and want to spend the afterlife in heaven don't have freewill. Presumably the nature of their earth time will be evaluated to determine whether they take the escalator up or down. Of course the key to this is that you must "believe in god and want to spend the afterlife in heaven." If not, then you have freewill to live your life like the rest of the natural born population.
  16. #696  
    Quote Originally Posted by KAM1138 View Post
    I'd challenge the claim about murder. I'd also reject the notion that the Holocaust was in the name of a Religion. It was AGAINST a Religious and ethnic group by a political group. I've mentioned to others--Communism is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th Century alone. Even the Crusades would have a hard time matching that. I've also raised the point that while many attribute deaths to Religious causes, I would argue that in almost every case it has a political component or Religion is the excuse or false justification (like 9/11).
    I think if you ask how many people were literally killed in order to satisfy a legitimate Religious practice (as defined by the religions in question) you would find that this number is quite small.

    The phrase you used was correct I think--"in the name of Religion." While the 9/11 hijackers claim to be doing the work of their Religion, that is rejected by mainstream Islam--for example.

    KAM
    "It was AGAINST a Religious and ethnic group by a political group."

    Exactly, one culture murdering 6 million people of another culture based on their religion.

    Communism doesn't murder people, it sits idly by why people suffer and die under stifling political and social confines. If my neighbor needs my help, and I choose not to, and he dies, have I murdered him? If your answer is yes, then we have a different definition of murder.

    "I think if you ask how many people were literally killed in order to satisfy a legitimate Religious practice (as defined by the religions in question) you would find that this number is quite small."

    On this we disagree.

    "While the 9/11 hijackers claim to be doing the work of their Religion, that is rejected by mainstream Islam--for example."

    There was an infamous and telling video clip shortly after 9/11 of thousands of arabs literally dancing in the streets when news of 9/11 arrived. It was what I would describe as unbridled joy and celebration. Although I agree, Islam "officially" denounced the act of terrorism.
  17.    #697  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    IF? I thought the big dude was scheduled for a return visit to bring death to all that will not follow him.....the rapture or some such thing?
    The rapture is a subject which I do not fully understand. The Bible does talk about us being caught up in the clouds, so in this sense the rapture is something that is "in the Bible". Many people have predicted the end times (and so far have failed) on many occasions. While the Bible gives prophecy regarding the end times, it also records Jesus as saying that we will not know the day or the hour. It could me moments from now or it could be 1000's of years away. Many first generation Christians acted as if it would happen in their lifetimes. This is one of the major reasons why you don't see biblical writings in the earliest years.
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  18.    #698  
    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    The rapture is a subject which I do not fully understand. The Bible does talk about us being caught up in the clouds, so in this sense the rapture is something that is "in the Bible". ...
    Let me add that the "left behind" philosophy and teachings is something which began in the 1950's and was started by a footnote that was present in the Scofield Bible. (Footnotes are not part of the "Bible" themselves, they are a form of "commentary" or a "study aid".) I'm just mentioning the origin of the current belief. I've purchased a study on this issue but I've not completed it (and I'm not sure how soon I'll be able to get to it). It will become important for me to understand as I begin to dialog and fellowship with other Christians.
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  19. #699  
    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    it also records Jesus as saying that we will not know the day or the hour.
    I would think a guy with divine powers should have been able to do this with little problem, no?
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    #700  
    I look at the existence of god/creator this way. Consider this a psuedo law of existence: Without active involvement in space/time nothing happens or in other the natural state of everything is nothing.

    Even if you take existence back before the big bang or consider the universe a revolving door something had to start everything that something is god. Did god talk to moses etc... I don't know

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