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  1. #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by Longstrider
    Unfathomable...
    Another one of those words...
    Everything is fathomable... it is a matter or perspective.

    You are assuming that using the word coordination means that the 10000 people somehow communicated and were responsible for the gathering.

    But... that does not have to be the case.
    Quote Originally Posted by Longstrider
    My subjective view...

    Their is no such thing as "coincidence"...
    It is just another one of those words we make up to describe something we do not understand.
    Unfathomable: a : impossible to comprehend.
    http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dicti...a=unfathomable



    Last time I checked, "comprehend" and "understand" were the same thing (see link below). You contradict yourself. My answer remains "unfathomable".

    http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dicti...&va=comprehend
    .
  2. #22  
    How about if 5000 people had coordinated the described event and 5000 were there by coincidence? Then it would be both, no?

    This topic reminds me of those flash crowds people were constantly organizing a few years ago.
    .
  3. #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by Longstrider
    You are assuming that using the word coordination means that the 10000 people somehow communicated and were responsible for the gathering.

    But... that does not have to be the case.
    Maybe they did not communicate, but all read the same article on the internet, which stated everybody who shows up on that day in that Spanish town dressed like that gets US$1 million.

    The essence of "coincidence" in this case (IMHO) is whether it happened by chance or not. Chance according to Webster: "something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause".

    As mentioned before, if you define e.g. "dressed the same" and "from all over the world" narrowly, the probability of "it" happening purely by chance is very low.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  4. #24  
    For everyone to have acquired the exact same attire (unless they are completely naked in a nudist town), would most probably require some form of coordination either before or after they arrived.
    .
  5. #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by skillllllz
    Unfathomable: a : impossible to comprehend.
    http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dicti...a=unfathomable



    Last time I checked, "comprehend" and "understand" were the same thing (see link below). You contradict yourself. My answer remains "unfathomable".

    http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dicti...&va=comprehend
    Skillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllz...

    You indeed have skills .

    Using the literal meaning of Unfathomable... indeed you are correct. I did contradict myself.
    I instead interpreted your use of the word unfathomable in the way most people generally use it.... meaning to imply something is not possible.

    Damn... had I known you knew how to use a dictionary I would have just agreed with you because in essence... we see it from a similar perspective.

    So i recant... Unfathomable is an acceptable answer in my book.
  6. #26  
    "impossible" is of feeble minded jargon.
    .
  7.    #27  
    I got the idea to initiate this thread as I thought about this comment from the "Church-State Separation? Give Me a Break" thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by aprasad
    Only belief, faith that I support are those backed up by hard evidence ... in which case, they become facts, not faith (how I dislike that word ...).
    First I appreciated the implicit critique of the casual use of the term "faith." Most religious people I know (and I know a lot) use the term faith when a more appropriate term would be presumption. That is, their confidence in what they believe is the extent of the rationale for believing it. As I have stated in many threads, this is not consistent with the Biblical notion of "faith."

    The classic definition is in the book of Hebrews (11:1) where we read,
    Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    On first blush, this appears to be the same phenomenon I called presumption. However, a brief look at the terms 'substance" and "evidence" give a better understanding. Effectively, biblical faith is a claim check. It is the current right to redeem products or services in the future. This exchange is seen in retail stores frequently. A customer selects a product, and takes it to the Lay-away window. The worker takes a deposit from the customer and provides a ticket. In that transaction, the store agrees to hold the product for an agreed-upon amount of time, guaranteeing that when the customer returns with the ticket, he/she will be allowed to pay the balance of the current cost and take full possession of the product.

    During the period of time between making the down payment and paying the balance, the only "evidence" that the customer has of their right to the product is the ticket issued by the store. Without the ticket they can not make a claim on the product. As long as the customer retains the ticket (and complies with any other terms and conditions), he/she can be "confident" that they will receive the product. That confidence is their "faith." Anyone else who boasts that they can obtain that product is acting on the presumption that they can circumvent the process. But, they have no legitimate claim on the matter.

    The second thing that caught my attention in aprasad's comment was the notion of "hard evidence." One question for me was "what constitutes hard evidence?" I also thought about the numerous posts of agnostics who have reminded us that there is no way to definitively prove the existence or non-existence of god. All that led to me evaluating why I believe that there is a God who is actively involved in the universe. That consideration led to example of the vacationers in Spain.

    The thought process was spurred by the articles that clulup offered for reading in the interim. In the first article, http://therapists.psychologytoday.co...715-000008.xml, I found this conclusion:
    The upshot: improbable events are quite likely to occur but specific, predicted improbable events are far less likely
    The second article,http://www.davidmyers.org/Brix?pageID=91, provided this similar gem:
    The moral: That a particular specified event or coincidence will occur is very unlikely.
    So, now I will expose some of my thinking as to why I believe in God, specifically the God of that "old book" the Bible, and why I subscribe the claims regarding the man Y'shua (Jesus, the Christ).

    Disclaimer: I understand that in exposing these very personal musings, they are equally likely to be seriously critiqued and mercilessly ridiculed. I can handle that In fact, I appreciate both. They help me to refine and sometimes redefine my outlook. So, have at it.

    Here goes...

    The Bible, as we refer to it today, is a compilation of several writings of multiple authors who lived in varying generations, across multiple geographic locations, under diverse social/cultural/political conditions. The compilation is not exhaustive of the writings of people from those disparate circumstances. Rather, it includes only those writings which support the thesis of the compilers. While that directly speaks to a bias on the part of the compilers, it does not of necessity diminish the authenticity or accuracy of the writings, nor does it of necessity diminish the legitimacy of the thesis of the compilers.

    The Bible is published in many languages today. Many of the languages did not exist at the time the original writings were penned. Thus, we can say assuredly that the current versions of the Bible are translations. However, we are not without the source documentation from which these translations were taken. While, there is debate as to specific grammatical errors or methods in the translations (i.e. translating names versus transliterating them, the most obvious of which is the creation of the term "jesus" when Y'shua is much more likely what the man was called), the translations are easily verifiable as being accurate. Likewise, the approximate dating of the manuscripts was performed consistent with methods used for other similar artifacts.

    It's worth pointing out here that verifying that a document is ancient does not give it any additional credibility. The accuracy of the writings still needs corroboration. That corroboration has come in part from archaeology. More and more discoveries are validating information contained in the writings. This at least suggests that the people referenced in the writings are in fact real humans from the era rather than figments of the writers' imaginations.

    So far, the manuscripts support the translation of the book. Archaeology supports the content of the manuscripts.

    The next component of the logic is the prophecies/predictions/premonitions contained in the writings. There are descriptions of events in some of these writings, which, in varying levels of detail, are recorded, as having happened many years after the writings were produced (remember that dating techniques provide approximation as to when the writings were made). In some cases, there are linguistic clues to suggest the author intentionally offered a prediction. In other cases, such clues do not exist. However, evaluation of the cultures from which these writings derived suggests that the people of that era, and of that culture perceived the writings to be predictive of future events.

    Now, as clulup's articles pointed out, the sheer number of things that can occur to a given person, multiplied by the number of people that have existed, makes it highly probable that a scene imagined by one person could play out in the life of another, without there being any correlation or significance between the two. At best, it only becomes noteworthy when you get into specifics of the improbable.

    This is what we find in the body of prophecies/predictions/premonitions commonly referred to as "Messianic Prophesies." The Jewish culture for centuries has been, and in some cases continues, looking for the coming of their "Messiah." Their expectations regarding the arrival of this "savior" are largely shaped by the prophecies/predictions/premonitions found in their writings. Many of these writings are also incorporated into the canon known as the Bible.

    The people we call “Christians” are philosophical descendants of a segment of those Jewish people, namely those who were convinced that the biblical figure called "Jesus" was and is that "Messiah." This is based on the fact that the life of Jesus reflected the actualization of the prophecies/predictions/premonitions from the ancient writings.

    Here, statistical probability is employed to evaluate whether the actualization of these "prophecies" was the result of coordination or coincidence. There are some 300 specific predictions that are "fulfilled" in the life of Jesus from things like where the "Messiah" would be born, to the circumstances surrounding his birth, to the circumstances surrounding his death. I find many of the specific events that were predicted to be worthy of the description "improbable." That all of them would be fulfilled would have to at least be highly improbable. To have all of them fulfilled in the life of one individual leads me far away from the notion of coincidence.

    When I consider the Manuscripts, the Archeological findings, the Prophecies, and the Statistical probability of their fulfillment in one person's life, it leads me to believe that "coordination" has taken place.

    Now the question is, "who did, or is doing, the coordination?"

    Those same writers described physical occurrences that they attributed to interaction with a super-natural, yet very personal being. It's worth acknowledging a contrarian view that the writers may have found the concept of 'natural forces acting in accordance with physical laws' to be "unfathomable" as a means of explaining what they experienced. And as such, they may have simply concocted a "god" to represent that unknown realm. However, in light of my perception of "coordination," I see their God as not merely a catch-all for the unexplained, but a very present, active, purposeful participant in human history. Y'shua did too.

    Now, God may be too big a stretch for some. Perhaps we can just agree on coordination. Of course, then we would have to determine what person or persons would be capable of pulling the whole thing off. Because somehow or another, the "wizard" or the group of co-conspirators would have to not only be able to influence the writers who lived hundreds of years before Jesus, but they would also require sufficient influence in the culture in Jesus' day to ensure that their crafty predictions were perceived as being fulfilled in Y'shua, such as ensuring that the Roman empire would tax its territories, compelling people to go to their towns of origin to deliver said tax.

    I find divine intervention to be more plausible. Hard evidence? perhaps not. Viable explanation? I think so. As such, then, I also subscribe to the claims of Y'shua, recognizing that the (supposed) coordination around his life makes his life, and his words, worthy of attention.

    OK, this got very long. Let me pause here and get some feedback.
    Last edited by shopharim; 06/22/2005 at 01:15 PM.
  8. #28  
    I believe in an unfathomable, ubiquitous, metaphysical force/entity that not only encompasses all that exists, but is also integral to every single part of every single thing that does and does not exist. I often refer to this force as "God" but the way I perceive this force is more important to me than a label.

    I do not want to delve deep into the details of my experiences right now, but I will say that for many years I never believed in such a thing. I do know that when I used to hear people speak of such things it made me cringe inside and feel as though they were fools for believing.

    I now know the only fools were me, myself and I. What I now know deep in my heart and deep down within my soul is something I wish I could simply instill in others, but I have come to accept that others must follow their own path to wherever they need to be.

    I know it's very hard to make sense of what reeks of nonsense, as I would have most probably rolled my eyes at words like mine a few years back. Just know that I've tried my best to explain something that to me is outright inexplicable. For me it's a lot like attempting to explain a very particular and extremely unique scent to someone that has never ever experienced anything even close to it. How can one explain such a thing so that the other party truly understands and knows the scent you speak of without them ever experiencing it?
    .
  9. #29  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Here, statistical probability is employed to evaluate whether the actualization of these "prophecies" was the result of coordination or coincidence. There are some 300 specific predictions that are "fulfilled" in the life of Jesus from things like where the "Messiah" would be born, to the circumstances surrounding his birth, to the circumstances surrounding his death. I find many of the specific events that were predicted to be worthy of the description "improbable." That all of them would be fulfilled would have to at least be highly improbable.
    The major problem with this argument is the following: the calculations of likelihoods only work if the events under discussion happen independently. For instance, it would be surprising to find 100 people with an Elvis Presley hairdo in the same spot by pure chance. But if it is Elvis' Birthday, and the place is Memphis, it is not surprising at all.

    The same is true for the writings about Jesus, and how well they fit to the prophecies. The New Testament was written with the INTENTION to show/prove to the world that Jesus was in fact the messiah. The people writing the gospels decades or centuries after the events took place had a lot of liberty to adapt the story so that the events fit the description in the Old Testament - descriptions they were fully aware of, just like any other past or present Jew.

    Take Jesus being born from a virgin as one example. That the son of god is born from a virgin is a very old belief, a belief that is popular in many religions: e.g. Osiris and other Egyptian gods were also born from virgins (allegedly). So how do we know Jesus was born from a virgin? Because it is written in the gospel? Should we trust that their account is correct and impartial? How did the people writing it know? Did the run any tests on Mary before she gave birth? After all, she would neither be the first woman in history to become pregnant (in a totally natural way) before being married, nor the last...
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  10.    #30  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    The major problem with this argument is the following: the calculations of likelihoods only work if the events under discussion happen independently. For instance, it would be surprising to find 100 people with an Elvis Presley hairdo in the same spot by pure chance. But if it is Elvis' Birthday, and the place is Memphis, it is not surprising at all.

    The same is true for the writings about Jesus, and how well they fit to the prophecies. The New Testament was written with the INTENTION to show/prove to the world that Jesus was in fact the messiah. The people writing the gospels decades or centuries after the events took place had a lot of liberty to adapt the story so that the events fit the description in the Old Testament - descriptions they were fully aware of, just like any other past or present Jew.

    Take Jesus being born from a virgin as one example. That the son of god is born from a virgin is a very old belief, a belief that is popular in many religions: e.g. Osiris and other Egyptian gods were also born from virgins (allegedly). So how do we know Jesus was born from a virgin? Because it is written in the gospel? Should we trust that their account is correct and impartial? How did the people writing it know? Did the run any tests on Mary before she gave birth? After all, she would neither be the first woman in history to become pregnant (in a totally natural way) before being married, nor the last...
    Again, the potential or even probable bias of the authors is not sufficient cause to dismiss the content of the writings.

    To the specific example, the term virgin means maiden or unmarried, as much as sexually inexperienced. In fact, I would offer that the concept of virgin meaning without sexual experience was a function of the cultural norm that the unmarried were not engaging in sexual activity. In any case, Mary's marrital state qualified her as a "virgin" As to whether or not her conception was without sex/without man/without sin/... makes for wonderful theological debate

    More broadly, the circumstances that the "new testament" writers described were more easily verifiable by the readers at the time of the writing. Also, non-biblical sources verify the existence of the carpenter of Gallilee -- some detailing superior craftmanship as evidenced by decades-long use of tools fashioned by him. So, if there was a mortal rather than divine effort to present Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies, they still would have had to contend with the fact that the person they chose was known, and his history was accessible.

    As an interesting aside, if they were perpetrating a hoax, they sure went to great lengths to maintain the story line. Once heads started being chopped off, one would begin questioning whether continuing the charade was worth it. Further, the theological view they set forth was very self-effacing; an interesting approach for those setting out to dupe others. You would think that they would create a scheme that was more to their own advantage.
  11. #31  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    In any case, Mary's marrital state qualified her as a "virgin" As to whether or not her conception was without sex/without man/without sin/... makes for wonderful theological debate
    Are you suggesting Mary MAY have had sex with Joseph, leading to her conceiving Jesus? You would have burned at the stake for this in more religious times...
    More broadly, the circumstances that the "new testament" writers described were more easily verifiable by the readers at the time of the writing.
    How, decades or centuries later?
    Also, non-biblical sources verify the existence of the carpenter of Gallilee -- some detailing superior craftmanship as evidenced by decades-long use of tools fashioned by him.
    Source?
    So, if there was a mortal rather than divine effort to present Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies, they still would have had to contend with the fact that the person they chose was known, and his history was accessible.
    I am not saying they made all of it up. It does not seem unlikely that a carpenter was tortured to death by the Romans, even involving religious reasons.
    As an interesting aside, if they were perpetrating a hoax, they sure went to great lengths to maintain the story line.
    I never said it was a hoax. It is clear that they wrote the gospel with the intention of showing Jesus was the messiah, and/or based on that belief. The factual content of their claim remains dubious (certainly as far as the details are concerned), and we can be sure that they did not write the gospel independently of the messianic prophecies, so the "calculation" of the likelihood does not apply.
    Last edited by clulup; 06/23/2005 at 09:58 AM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  12.    #32  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Are you suggesting Mary MAY have had sex with Joseph, leading to her conceiving Jesus? You would have burned at the stake for this in more religious times...
    Thank God I was born in this generation!!
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    How, decades or centuries later?
    Their stories were more verifiable because they were not the only people recording events. Your suggestion was that they could play loose with facts because of the elapsed time between the events and the records. Consider, modern history. We can more easily verify events that occured in the early 1900's than those that occured in the 1400's
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Source?
    still searching...
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    I am not saying they made all of it up. It does not seem unlikely that a carpenter was tortured to death by the Romans, even involving religious reasons.I never said it was a hoax. It is clear that they wrote the gospel with the intention of showing Jesus was the messiah, and/or based on that belief. The factual content of their claim remains dubious (certainly as far as the details are concerned, and we can be sure that they did not write the gospel independently of the messianic prophecies, so the "calculation" of the likelihood does not apply.
    the calculation would apply to likelyhood that the disparate prophecies would be fulfilled in one person. If we were to find that actualization of the predictions never occured, the calculation would still be valid, only unnecessary.
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