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#15 : March 31, 2010, 12:27:16 PM

Leaving argument, snide digs and government out of it can i ask why you believe what you do so vehemontly? I can only assume you've had some sort of experience in your life where you felt 'touched' (easy now you lot). Otherwise you'd basically be just doing and believing what you're told.

I'm not trying to wind you up. As with most things here, just trying to understand.


I think you will have to pardon some here Yoozaho, you see in the southern USA, this is not something you ask a person, especially one you know casually: There are, or used to be, three things you do NOT discuss with strangers - never ask someone about their religion, their politics, or their income.

I don't have a problem with it, as a matter of fact, I've made my convictions known, here.

I would like to know why you selected me and my belief, specifically?

My experience isn't reactionary, emotion was involved, but it was not emotional. Your question does interest me - because it is my belief that even if you ask with an intent other than honest inquiry - something caused you to ask that question.

It seems to me that it is easy to see the need for God, and that Gods handiwork is easy to see all around us.

The better question for me is - why do you look around and not see him?

Because if my belief is so outlandish as to cause you to assume that I must have had an emotional experience/touch in order to believe it - otherwise I would simply be doing what I was told - am I to equally assume that you've had an experience to cause you not to even consider God's existence?

Because following your logic - if you haven't had an experience - you must just be relying on what you've been told, right?

Thanks, TWT, i appreciate you answering when you really didn't have to. I knew that religion was far more important to people in the US than here in the UK and in part that probably answers one of your riposte questions but i'll get to that in a sec.

The reason i asked you specifically is because of the very considered way you put your point across, thoroughly thought out and i felt you'd be most honest.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like i don't see the need for some people to see the need for god or a belief in something greater than what we can see/hear/prove and i suppose to a degree i share a 'faith' of sorts. The reason i look around and don't see god? Many reasons i suppose, although my grandad was catholic i never knew this until about 10 years after he died because it was never brought up. I think even if it had been then i had far too much of a Mathematical, logical, scientific brain to accept christianity in the way it was presented to us at school where it was literally taught is if it were all mystical and magical. Then there were my experiences growing up in deprived areas in the North of England, people left right and centre and what they were going through very often brought up the question "How can a loving, forgiving god allow these kinds of things to happen?", i'm talking about things like friends getting murdered, children being taken away through drug abuse of the parents, children dying for various reasons. The phrase "god works in mysterious ways" always used to really wind me up, given what i'd seen first hand and then what you saw people going through on TV in places like Ethiopia in the mid 80's. I suppose what i'm saying it would be easy to look around at someone giving birth, a bee pollinating a flower, tuna fleets jumping in the seas and see god in some way, but when you also look around and see things like the Boxing Day tsunami, Haiti Earthquake, Monserrat volcano, starvation, genocide it's just as easy to think either that there cannot be a god, or if there is he either doesn't care anymore or is not as powerful as is made out. Does that make any sense?

I suppose those would be the experiences you thought of but you have something massively wrong about me, I don't refuse to consider the existence of god. As a Mathematician and Statistician i must concede that until i can prove otherwise i may very well be wrong about it all. I wasn't there at the moment of creation so i don't know but my contention is that no-one else was there either so they don't know either and to profess to actually know 100% one way or another i would call blind faith (or blind lack of it).
Good post, and your points are valid to me.

I believe in god, however I would not call myself religious in any way. I completely agree with you in the sense that with so many things in history that have happened that are awful it is often hard to believe that a higher power would allow it. I am in the same boat though, I'll never pretend to know everything and I think both sides to this life long argument will never be right. In many ways both arguments have flaws and both have very valid points.

I also don't take any offense to this discussion, but many do. I think you definitely were not offensive in your asking.

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#16 : March 31, 2010, 12:27:46 PM

There are a multitude of reasons why people believe what they do.

I am a team member of a ministry in our church that amongst other things arranges a retreat once a year where guys can talk about their faith, discover what point their faith is at and how that can be expressed within the church and the general community. The idea being to raise awareness within the congregation and let them figure out what their faith really means to them. Part of that retreat is a number of talks where guys give their life stories as it pertains to a certain subject matter. Conversion, the sacraments, Eucharist, scripture etc and so forth. Not a biography but how that subject has effected their lives, good or bad.

I bore you with that because you find out in that retreat, and within the team we put together to run it a cross section of men who found God in a number of different ways. A few examples being:

1. They reached some low point in their lives, jail, divorce, death etc and God entered their lives to get over it.
2. Some kind of conversion moment, Saul like etc.
3. They saw how some people of our (or some other congregation) work and wanted to find out more about it.
4. They are cradle Catholics and they were brought up that way.

For example our current team has the following:

1. 2 ex cons.
2. 2 ex seminaries (trained to be priests but weren't robed)
3. 2 ex Protestants. Nothing against Protestants but just to show the diversity.
4. 1 ex atheist/agnostic.
5. 1 Sault type moment.
6. 5 cradle Catholics

The how and why God came into their lives and what it means to them is different in every case. Some people are quite devout and use God as a guide in everything they do, some use God as a guide and some are still trying to figure it out. In short Yooza, to answer your question in as few words as possible, "it depends.."

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#17 : March 31, 2010, 02:01:53 PM

I can present a carefully considered rational argument for God - but I cannot prove God exists by using the scientific method. However, I believe there are limits to scientific inquiry.

As Immanuel Kant offered - "... Therefore if the mind can think only in terms of causality - which he concluded that it does - then we can know prior to experiencing them that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect. However, it follows from this that it is possible that there are objects of such nature which the mind cannot think, and so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside of experience: hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause. And so the grand questions of speculative metaphysics cannot be answered by the human mind, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind.." ( Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). "From Plato to Derrida") emphasis is mine.

Have you read any Kant? Some of that fascinated me because it is what seemed to me to be obvious - for instance:

I could ask why men evolved the systems and then the capacity to reason, to love, to hate...? How and why would a being develop a need to write Shakespeare...?

What could that possibly have to do with belief in God? The idea that science does not offer us a reason for this question beyond; "evolution made man's brain big enough and so, he used it". Well, for me that was a lot like saying - "because I said so..."

It doesn't work, at least not for me. Man doesn't need this - animals could be helped by having evolved a "need" to read, and some even have brains large enough to - but they aren't able to - there isn't a scientific reason that we developed the need for abstract thought...we just assert that there is because we can.

There is no need to consider God - yet we do. Something exists that caused me to wonder - how did all of this happen?

The scientific response is very detailed - and I don't disagree with the description - I have a problem believing random things happen, yet randomness seems to employ systematic order - a lot. I was told this should make perfect sense - but it didn't.

So, to make a long story a bit shorter - God seemed as plausible as what I was being offered. Nothing since then has talked me out of the basic belief in God. Now, I don't mean to state that the logic supporting the existence of "a" God, justifies a particular god.

I think that is a matter for faith.

I am persuaded that I have found that God in the person of Jesus Christ. Christianity offers me an explanation for how and why I am here. I did not need to be persuaded of mans tendency to deceit, and evil. I did not need to wonder why God would allow evil to exist - I considered Christianity's explanation that man was given a free-will to act as he thought best - and that choice ushered in evil. MAN chose to introduce evil and it has grown since it's inception. Man is responsible for the evil he does to other men and for the path he's on.

Like accounting - debts must be brought into account and justified. God proved his love by also supplying a second opportunity. God gave the choice, proved the need, and offered a justification for mans debt.

Through Christ man now has the choice to un-decide.

You seem to point out the trouble I have with government sponsored atheism - don't want to put words in your mouth so I'll state what I got from your explanation - before you could make up your mind, you were led to draw conclusions about God - a forced perspective by those your young mind considered authority figures. You were taught to view God and religion as mysticism - unsubstantiated myth - so Christians are a weird sub-culture - but consider that you were taught this by folks who are in the minority.

Like I said - I'm not trying to show that a belief in a religion can be proven conclusively.

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#18 : March 31, 2010, 03:11:46 PM

Leaving argument, snide digs and government out of it can i ask why you believe what you do so vehemontly? I can only assume you've had some sort of experience in your life where you felt 'touched' (easy now you lot). Otherwise you'd basically be just doing and believing what you're told.

I'm not trying to wind you up. As with most things here, just trying to understand.

I think you will have to pardon some here Yoozaho, you see in the southern USA, this is not something you ask a person, especially one you know casually: There are, or used to be, three things you do NOT discuss with strangers - never ask someone about their religion, their politics, or their income.

LOL .... What?? Those rules of etiquette, or whatever, pertain to asking someone that completely out of the blue. Yooza and you two have already been deeply involved in religious conversation/debate. There was absolutley nothing wrong with him asking what he did under the circumstances. This is like chastising someone for asking cyberdude about his political origins.

OK my (polar-opposite, but fellow) rabble-rousing friend - I think you missed that this was in the form of an explanation for Yoozaho as to why he was catching so much flack before I got involved in this particular discussion (that's why I said the "you will have to pardon some here...")...

...and then you missed the fact that I said this...

I don't have a problem with it, as a matter of fact, I've made my convictions known, here.

I'm sure you just overlooked that part of my post...

No, I didn't overlook it but you are correct that I probably should have replied to the some you refered to, instead of yours .... it's just the way you worded your response about off limit subjects struck a funny chord in light of what goes on on this board.

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#19 : April 01, 2010, 01:52:50 AM

I'm really liking the discussion this thread has brought up, it's been really interesting to read.

ts - thank you for appreciating the question, i see you and me are cut from a similar cloth

spartan - fair play indeed, sounds exactly like an answer someone would give on our Manchester United board to a question (although this question would get a fair bit of derision as the board is predominantly atheist and a bunch of people some of whom are far more sarcastic and dark humoured than me) and their answer wouldn't have any of the explanation, it'd just say "hard to say". But thanks for the insight, like i said, conversation and dialogue is how we grow best. Makes sense since it's how children learn to talk.

TWT - your point about the limits of scientific enquiry are very true indeed, will we as a species live long enough to know the answer one way or another? Honestly, i doubt it, unless we learn how to colonise another solar body soon. Maybe we will though, and maybe scientific enquiry will develop into the knowledge that The Big Bang was God, after all, science cannot even begin to touch on how so much matter in the universe came from suppsedly nothing and it's the scientific concept i have most difficulty with.

No, i'd never read any Kant, never even heard of him/her to be honest. My reading habits as a child were on such things as nature, astronomy, dinosaurs and they stayed the same ever since. If you can recommend his best work though i'll keep an eye out for it at Waterstone's (a UK national chain of book-shops, if it's anywhere, it'll be there). I woyuld argue a couple of points though, even the fact that you and i are having this conversation i would suggest proves that your mind can think outside of cause and effect, yours and the beleifs of 6 billion others prove it, i reckon. Unless i've misunderstood it. Also, although yes, science is considered by the mind and dependent upon experiment, the belief that it has limitations in this way i think makes a mockery of discovery, 550 years ago the mind could only consider to earth to be flat and that the sun went round the earth, that's the most obvious example where people have thought outside of what the mind is usually thinking. Thinking beyond what we know to be true i believe is what makes science (and by science i mean specifically Physics) so interesting, String theory and theories on the multiverse would blow most people's minds.

Your idea about man's intelligence being such because god made it so intrigued me a lot, The ability to think laterally, communicate through complex speech and language, love, hate and so on...couldn't you argue that 'because god made it so' and 'because evolution made it possible' are pretty much the same level of argument? My contention is that some species had to be at the top of the cognitive ability tree on earth, just so happens we are that species.

Th thought of evil being a man-made invention....can't argue with that but i would also say that the whole morality scale is a man made invention. Not just the bottom end. And it's through our increased cognitive ability that generally we've been able to leave behind ideas that we can end anothers life or take what is not ours. A belief not shared by any other species on earth. So one could argue that if god is responsible that man is his favourite creature since he gave us free will, all this thinking power above any other creature as well as the potential to be moral and civil but it leaves a very big question of why?

This phrase baffled me a little, "Through Christ man now has the choice to un-decide". If you believe god gave us free will then how can we un-decide something? That sounds like free will given, then taken away. 'youre allowed to do what you want...actually, no, youre not'. Can you just clarify a touch?



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#20 : April 01, 2010, 11:19:45 AM

The idea of one remote god held responsible for all mankind is what's baffeling............

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#21 : April 01, 2010, 11:43:25 AM

The idea of one remote god held responsible for all mankind is what's baffeling............

So's quantum physics.

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#22 : April 01, 2010, 11:50:09 AM

The idea of one remote god held responsible for all mankind is what's baffeling............

So's quantum physics.

Depends on one's religion......

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#23 : April 01, 2010, 11:59:36 AM

The idea of one remote god held responsible for all mankind is what's baffeling............

If by that, you're talking about a god being a micromanager, I agree ....

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#24 : April 01, 2010, 01:55:08 PM

The idea of one remote god held responsible for all mankind is what's baffeling............

So's quantum physics.

Depends on one's religion......

I would imagne religion has less to do with it than IQ.

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#25 : April 01, 2010, 02:40:08 PM

Back to the subject, I can accept not talking religion in order to follow this council -"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."- Romans 12:18 (NIV)

But I will talk about the Bible.

As far as being a Christian, there are certain requirements and here is one of them:
"...... Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"- 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Why ? How else would the good news be spread as Jesus foretold at Matt 24:14 ? He also commanded his followers to make disciples at Matt 28:19-20. So, Christians preach, but more importantly, they teach. This requires Christian love (agape') and humility.

Yes, it takes action to be a Christian. 'Faith without works is dead' (James 2:14-17), yet you cannot earn everlasting live because it is a free gift. Many do not understand what this means. Sadly, too many who profess to be Christian lean on one scripture, claiming that all you have to do is believe and you'll be saved (John 3:16). Yet if we read John 3:36, we find that we must also obey the Son. You see, 'the demons believe, yet they shudder' (James 2:19) They shudder because they know they have been adversely judged. I like this version of James 2:19 & 20:
 "Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That's just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?" -James 2:19 & 20 (The Message)

Faith is not credulity or blind faith. You cannot see electricity or gravity, but everyone accepts them as fact. Christian faith is based on hard evidence:
 "NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]."- Hebrews 11:1 (AB)

The point is, we must not only know what God's will is for us, but we must also do it:
 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."- Matthew 7:21 (NIV) See also James 1:22-25

It seems that religion has come between God and man even though Christ's ransom sacrifice makes a relationship with our Father possible. He died for our sins and then presented his sacrifice to his Father which enabled him to become our mediator. Further, religion adds philosophical thoughts along with their traditions. At Matt 15:1-9, Jesus stated so when he condemned the religious leaders of his day. Paul warned against this as well:
 "See that there be no one who shall lead *you* away as a prey through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the teaching of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ." -Col 2:8 (DT)

Religion supports killing in wars and nationalism. Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for them(Matt 5:43-48). Look at a picture of the earth. Do you see any national boundaries there ? Our Creator didn't put them there, Satan did. He was able to do that because he rules the world:
"For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, "They're yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they're yours, the whole works."" -Luke 4:5-7 (TM)
"We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one."- 1 John 5:19 (NIV) see also: John 12:31, 14:30, 16:7-11 & 2 Cor 4:3 & 4

There is nothing wrong with asking questions like why God allows suffering.... the Bible gives satisfying answers on this subject and others.

It's OK to not believe in God Jehovah. This is because he created us with free will which was motivated by love. But just as there are consequences to jumping off a high cliff with no parachute or safety apparatus of any kind, the Bible tells us there are consequences when we don't live our lives in accordance with the way we were designed.

This is going to be my only post because I don't want to get into any disagreements with anyone. But if you have any questions and really want to know the truth about what the Bible teaches us, please feel free to e-mail me.

Good to see you again, mtnbuc .... Where's Ernest T??

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#26 : April 01, 2010, 05:03:38 PM


This phrase baffled me a little, "Through Christ man now has the choice to un-decide". If you believe god gave us free will then how can we un-decide something? That sounds like free will given, then taken away. 'youre allowed to do what you want...actually, no, youre not'. Can you just clarify a touch?


Without getting into an argument wether it actually happened or not, the story of Adam and Eve has one important lesson. God gave the earth to man with only 2 pre-cursors. Look after it and don't eat the apple. Man decided he knew better and ate of the tree, thus committing the original sin. By doing that, we became the masters of our own destiny and with it came consequences. That is, we will be judged by our actions. God could have rejected us entirely but he did not, he gave us a second chance by sending his son. We now have the choice of accepting that chance, in essence undoing the original decision or continue along our ways. Hence, in my interpretation the "undeciding". A rather novel and neat twist on words.

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#27 : April 01, 2010, 09:14:33 PM

YoozaHo,
Thanks for asking; not offended.  I was born into a very troubled life and childhood.  Seemed very confused about God and creation.  The more I heard the bible preached, the more confused I became.  Very fascinated with the unkown like Bigfoot and aliens as a youth; I blame "In Search Of and Leonard Nmoy!"  At any rate, I always "felt" God was real and my life had purpose, but was so caught up in being an American and chasing the dream, braking free from my past, that I never gave it serious consideration.  It wasn't until after I became an adult to where the thought of there must be more to life than this began creeping into my conscious more and more frequently.  Why are we here?  How can people really believe in God/Jesus?  I intentionally allow some of those who knew me "before" I surrendered my life to God to see my posts on this board to see their reactions...priceless.  Those who knew me before simply have no real answer to what happened to me.  I simply changed instantly when I surrendered to the belief in Christ.  I don't practice religion whatsoever, and I'm shunned by the church for this effort.  I'm so fortunate to pastor a church where I'm accepted. 
I so wish I had the ability to convey just how powerful and awesome it is to know God...but I don't know how.  I'm not very smart and don't know too many fancy words and don't have the patience to Google them to impress others with my knowledge.  I'm a prodigy of the songs though; Once was lost, but now I'm found.  I was so blind, but now I see.  It hurts me to know there are so many who are actively seeking the very thing I was, but refuse to "give up and surrender" to the belief.  I use to think I would miss out on things and life would be miserable; I haven't it and it isn't!  I guess I'm a cross between Ned Flanders and the apostle Peter; I love the Lord, but I'm pretty common and hard-headed. 
This I know for sure though; I wouldn't change anything.  My childhood, my failures, my arrogance, my victories...nothing.  Life is what we make of it for sure, and at least I feel certain I've found my purpose and embarked on fulfilling it.  To this end, I pity those who have not and wander.  Get busy living or get busy dying Red would say....

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#28 : April 01, 2010, 09:40:35 PM


This phrase baffled me a little, "Through Christ man now has the choice to un-decide". If you believe god gave us free will then how can we un-decide something? That sounds like free will given, then taken away. 'youre allowed to do what you want...actually, no, youre not'. Can you just clarify a touch?


Without getting into an argument wether it actually happened or not, the story of Adam and Eve has one important lesson. God gave the earth to man with only 2 pre-cursors. Look after it and don't eat the apple. Man decided he knew better and ate of the tree, thus committing the original sin. By doing that, we became the masters of our own destiny and with it came consequences. That is, we will be judged by our actions. God could have rejected us entirely but he did not, he gave us a second chance by sending his son. We now have the choice of accepting that chance, in essence undoing the original decision or continue along our ways. Hence, in my interpretation the "undeciding". A rather novel and neat twist on words.

Have there ever been any dissertations, theories or whatever, as to what would have happened if they hadn't eaten the fruit?

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#29 : April 01, 2010, 10:27:39 PM

Nope, not that I am aware of, but to be blunt, what would be the point? It is what it is and history cannot be changed. People are what they are and they need to decide what they want to be. That IMO is what it is all about.
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