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Questions for Christians

matt8800
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1/2/2016 1:13:34 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Ive read the Bible about 8 times because I was raised a Christian. Finally I decided it was something that I would reject. Im curious about how a Christian would answer these questions as to why Christianity is necessary for morality?

For example, if your next door neighbor told you that God told him to take his child to the top of a hill, stab him and burn his body, would you praise him trusting in god or would you call the police? Am I wrong to believe that anyone that would suggest I do that to my son is sick?

If someone told you that they lived in a fish for several days because god wanted him to go elsewhere, would you believe him?

If your next door neighbor told you he was going to build a boat in a backyard so he could put all the animals of the world on it to save them, would you believe him?

If I found out that I had a father that nobody told me about but then he wanted to torture me forever with "weeping and gnashing of teeth" because nobody ever told me about him, should he be considered loving and merciful?

Killing people for working on Sunday? Why would that ever make sense?

If a gang of thugs came to your house to rape your guest, would you appeal to their senses by offering your wife for them to gang rape? As a godly man, would you cut up her dead body and mail the parts to other people?

If someone wrongs you greatly, you should take their babies and smash them on rocks? (psalm 137)

If some neighborhood boys make fun of your hair, as a godly man you should cause them to die? (2nd kings 23)

God wants to be worshipped but he wont speak to me directly? I have to rely on someone else who conveniently says they have some special revelation?
be_diligent
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1/2/2016 1:51:41 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/2/2016 1:13:34 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Ive read the Bible about 8 times because I was raised a Christian. Finally I decided it was something that I would reject. Im curious about how a Christian would answer these questions as to why Christianity is necessary for morality?

For example, if your next door neighbor told you that God told him to take his child to the top of a hill, stab him and burn his body, would you praise him trusting in god or would you call the police? Am I wrong to believe that anyone that would suggest I do that to my son is sick?

If someone told you that they lived in a fish for several days because god wanted him to go elsewhere, would you believe him?

If your next door neighbor told you he was going to build a boat in a backyard so he could put all the animals of the world on it to save them, would you believe him?

If I found out that I had a father that nobody told me about but then he wanted to torture me forever with "weeping and gnashing of teeth" because nobody ever told me about him, should he be considered loving and merciful?

Killing people for working on Sunday? Why would that ever make sense?

If a gang of thugs came to your house to rape your guest, would you appeal to their senses by offering your wife for them to gang rape? As a godly man, would you cut up her dead body and mail the parts to other people?

If someone wrongs you greatly, you should take their babies and smash them on rocks? (psalm 137)

If some neighborhood boys make fun of your hair, as a godly man you should cause them to die? (2nd kings 23)

God wants to be worshipped but he wont speak to me directly? I have to rely on someone else who conveniently says they have some special revelation?

The last part of your questions is where your other answers are.

God never told anyone to rely on men for answers. Jesus said,

Matthew 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

That is a promise.

Why do you think that you have to rely on men for answers?

Even Paul said this of himself, do you think that you are different from Paul?

Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul said this to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Paul did teach, but he encouraged a relationship where we would understand that we can go directly to God for our answers.

Iron sharpens Iron (followers of Christ can sharpen the understanding of one another), but only God can give us revelation on any matter.

Believe what Jesus said, and ask Him sincerely and search is out prayerfully, and watch what happens.
matt8800
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1/2/2016 8:10:01 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
Im sorry but that"s incredibly unsatisfying.

Basically you are saying that only god knows why he acts in such an unmerciful and unloving way.
RookieApologist
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1/2/2016 10:07:31 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
Hi Matt -

Thank you for inviting me to this thread, and I hope I can be of some assistance. First I want to commend you for reading the Bible eight times! That's pretty tough to do, so I admire that. I certainly haven't read it all the way through that many times. Also, I think you may get some benefit from learning a bit of my story. It is, in a way, almost a mirror image of yours. I grew up a non-practicing Christian, then later became an atheist during college and beyond, and came back to Christianity about 5 years ago after doing a critical analysis of the two worldviews. Whatever that is worth, perhaps it will be useful.

All of that said, I will also admit that I am not an Old Testament scholar, which is where most of your questions seem to arise from. Nor am I an expert in hermeneutics (scripture interpretation). But I will say, and more Christians believe this than you realize, that much of the Old Testament is written in allegorical or figurative language and is not a literal account of particular events. This is NOT to say that they are therefore unimportant or not serious, quite the contrary. In fact, I also feel that if someone only takes the story literally, then they will quite often miss the entire actual point or message of the story itself, since they are only concentrating on the literal meaning. This does bring up a dilemma though - namely how do we know which parts are figurative or literal? Also, if God wants to talk to us so badly, why does he use this type of language? I frankly don't have the answer to those questions. But since I find the Christian worldview as the most plausible, along with my own personal testimony and experience, I can only remind myself to be sure to ask God when I see Him!

However, since I am not an expert on the topic, I would like to point you to an answer that I hope will help. The questioner is asking a very similar question that entails the basic theme of your list of questions. You can find it here:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

I would also highly recommend reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity
. Your questions are certainly valid and important, but the issues they bring up are not central to the doctrine of Christianity.

I hope this helps, and I will be glad to continue the discussion, as long as it is done in a respectful manner.
matt8800
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1/2/2016 11:43:36 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
@rookieapologist Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Actually, I have read Mere Christianity....several times. There is no doubt that CS Lewis was brilliant and his premise on objective morality being evidence of a God is hard to refute. That argument is one reason I call myself an agnostic that believes there may be "something bigger". With that said, his argument as to why he picked Christianity and why someone should have faith without evidence was very weak , if not non-existent.

One of CS Lewis' quotes is, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." It is a profound statement except it can be said about any religion (for example, Islam or Mormonism).

Here are some other quotes by CS Lewis:

(Christians) "still believe (as I do) that all Holy Scripture is in some sense, though not all parts of it in the same sense "the Word of God."

"I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical."

"The central Christian belief is that Christ"s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work."

Why do most people pick Christianity? Primarily it is the geography of their birth. If you are born in a Christian country, you are most likely Christian. If you are born in the middle east, you are most likely Muslim. If you are born in Salt Lake City, Mormon. Otherwise reasonable and intelligent Muslims believe they are right in exactly the same way otherwise reasonable and intelligent Christians believe they are right. They all quote their respective scriptures and all "know" the truth in their hearts". They cant be all right, so which one?

I think you are absolutely correct that many scriptures cannot be taken literally. But then the question that begs to be asked is which ones and who chooses? If you were reading a book on science and found many things that could not be taken at face value, wouldn't that make you wonder what else is false?

The other issue is that I don't have faith in faith. There are many times I adamantly believed something to be true only to find out later I was wrong. After all, don't Mormons and Muslims have unwavering faith? Does their faith mean they are right? Faith seems to be celebrated but isn't believing what other people tell you with no evidence a dangerous habit?

How many people since religions have existed have claimed they are special messengers of God? What makes us believe one and not the others? It seems the biggest deciding factor is the geography of your birth.

I think the biggest motivating factor in holding onto Christianity is a fear of no purpose, no afterlife and a fear that society will lose all morality. (I believe we do have purpose, there is probably an afterlife and true morality will not be effected but that is another discussion.)
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
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1/3/2016 12:30:51 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/2/2016 1:13:34 AM, matt8800 wrote:
Ive read the Bible about 8 times because I was raised a Christian. Finally I decided it was something that I would reject. Im curious about how a Christian would answer these questions as to why Christianity is necessary for morality?

Hi Matt, I have lost count of the times I have read the bible. I rejected Christianity and all its false doctrines but I have not rejected the bible stories. I think there are some valuable lessons in them.

For example, if your next door neighbor told you that God told him to take his child to the top of a hill, stab him and burn his body, would you praise him trusting in god or would you call the police? Am I wrong to believe that anyone that would suggest I do that to my son is sick?

If you take the story literally, any sane person would call the police and try to stop the man from killing his own child. It is obviously an insane thing to do.
However, when you look at the story metaphorically, its characters as mythical representations of something else, here is what I see.....
Abraham represents maturity. His son represents immaturity.
Think about them as being two aspects of your own personality, maturity and immaturity, rather than two separate people. Would you sacrifice your own immaturity to maturity? I would and do it daily. I sacrifice my childishness and foolishness in favour of knowledge wisdom, maturity. etc.
The story is ridiculous if you take it literally but not so silly when you apply it metaphorically to human nature.
Skyangel
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1/3/2016 12:41:00 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/2/2016 1:13:34 AM, matt8800 wrote:

If someone told you that they lived in a fish for several days because god wanted him to go elsewhere, would you believe him?

NO. It is a silly story to take literally.

It's quite a different story when you can see its symbolic, metaphoric aspects.

There are plenty of fish in the sea. <<< That statement can refer to real fish or it might not be talking about fish at all. If it is not talking about fish, what would you say it is talking about ?

You need to read bible stories symbolically, allegorically and understand they are filled with idioms which refer to something deeper than what it appears to refer to on outward appearances. The story of Jonah and the whale is not talking about a real fish.

There are "bigger fish to fry" in the story. Look deeper than the shallow waters and outward appearances of fish.
matt8800
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1/3/2016 1:05:38 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
@skyangel I agree there is some literary value in the Bible and that it contains some good life lessons but the same could be said for Huckleberry Finn.

Would you attribute value in the same way to the Bhagavad Gita (Hindu book)? I have read that book and would say that it contains much wisdom, although I have no temptation to be Hindu.
Skyangel
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1/3/2016 1:09:15 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/2/2016 1:13:34 AM, matt8800 wrote:

Killing people for working on Sunday? Why would that ever make sense?

It doesn't, especially since all preachers work on a Sunday or whatever holy day they claim is the day when all people ought to cease from work. Ironic hypocrisy isn't it?

If a gang of thugs came to your house to rape your guest, would you appeal to their senses by offering your wife for them to gang rape? As a godly man, would you cut up her dead body and mail the parts to other people?

If they were a gang of male homosexuals they would not be interested in your wife. They might be more interested in raping you.
Sane people don't chop other people up and mail their body parts around the world.
However, I find it amusing to see it in a spiritual sense as members of the body separating themselves all over the world instead of uniting as one body.

If someone wrongs you greatly, you should take their babies and smash them on rocks? (psalm 137)

If someone wrongs you, you should tell them to GROW UP and stop being childish. Tell them to learn the difference between right and wrong. Smash their childishness onto the rock of Truth for sure. It might make them wake up to themselves. However, those who have heads as thick as bricks need a rock a lot thicker and stronger than their own head to wake them out of their stupidity.

If some neighborhood boys make fun of your hair, as a godly man you should cause them to die? (2nd kings 23)

Again, its not about killing the people. Its about destroying their childishness and helping them to grow up. The bible stories just have a way of making it very dramatic by using such symbolism.
Light kills darkness. Truth kills lies. Good kills evil.
When children are killed in the bible stories, I tend to read it in the light of destroying childishness which includes foolishness and stupidity not in the light of actual children being killed.

God wants to be worshipped but he wont speak to me directly? I have to rely on someone else who conveniently says they have some special revelation?

The God character in the bible stories "speaks" to all of us in the same way Mother Nature "speaks" to us.
We can hear and see the signs of nature and understand when a storm is coming or when danger is near or when something is safe and peaceful.
We hear our own conscience "speak" to us through our own thoughts and emotions. We can hear and feel love or hate, etc through our senses.
The God character is just a personification of those "vibes" we sense through life.
The "vibes" or "spirits" do not demand to be worshipped in the sense of performing religious rituals to try to appease them.
I think true worship of Life (God=Life) is more about adopting a way of life which is about living in love and kindness toward others and doing what is best for all, even if that "best" does mean you need to do something you would rather not do like kill something to put it out of its misery at times or chastise some stupid person for doing something wrong.

Knocking someones head against a wall metaphorically does not mean you actually smash their head on a literal wall.

https://drawception.com...
Skyangel
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1/3/2016 1:21:27 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 1:05:38 AM, matt8800 wrote:
@skyangel I agree there is some literary value in the Bible and that it contains some good life lessons but the same could be said for Huckleberry Finn.

Exactly. The same can be said for any myth. All of them contain "hidden truth" as it were. The morals or lessons are not always on the surface and sometimes you can glean more than one lesson from the myths.

Would you attribute value in the same way to the Bhagavad Gita (Hindu book)? I have read that book and would say that it contains much wisdom, although I have no temptation to be Hindu.

Yes, I attribute the same value to all books containing wisdom of any kind. We can always learn something from all words. The basic teachings about love and kindness, in most cultures are very similar. The characters in the stories are irrelevant to the messages. They are merely tools to send a message. The shape size or name of the messenger is unimportant. The message is the important part.
be_diligent
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1/3/2016 1:22:14 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/2/2016 8:10:01 PM, matt8800 wrote:
Im sorry but that"s incredibly unsatisfying.

Basically you are saying that only god knows why he acts in such an unmerciful and unloving way.

Why is it unsatisfying to you that God has reasons that are far greater than your understanding. God is not unmerciful or unloving in any way. Are you sure you have proper charges against God in the matter so say such things?

Have you asked God for understanding in these matters? Because I'm afraid that no matter what anyone says you will find it unsatisfactory.

There are some hard sayings in the bible, here's an example if you will pay attention.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

Sort of like what you are saying. The examples that you bring up are hard sayings, John ch. 6 was a hard saying for me, until I prayed and asked God for understanding in the matter, and He answered.

Here's what happened as you go further into the chapter.

John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

The number of that verse has always stood out to me. Take a look for yourself, and then read what "many of the disciples" did in that verse.

These were men who walked with Jesus, they saw first hand the miracles and the works that He did. And yet, when they heard one "hard saying," they walked away...

So then Jesus, He goes to the twelve and He asks them:

John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?


And I love what Peter said, and it's the same thing that we should be saying when there is a "hard saying,"

John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Peter knew that Jesus would make it all clear to him. He knew where his faith was and it was unshakable.

So I'm sorry that what I say is unsatisfactory for you.

But I will repeat what Jesus said to the disciples, and as a believer, that includes you,.

John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

This is where the walking in faith really counts, And believe me, we are all tested.
matt8800
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1/3/2016 1:26:53 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
@skyangel The case you are presenting is exactly the case that a good person would present because a literal interpretation would be evil.

If god is perfect in everything he does and it was god who inspired the book, wouldn't he just say what he meant? Isnt the confusion potentially dangerous? Many people have lost their lives over interpretations of the Bible. If you were writing a memoir to your children on how to live their lives, wouldn't you make an effort to be clear?

If the words, in their literal meaning, are evil and we have to make excuses as to why that is, isn't the value of that book limited? Isn't that the argument Muslims make about the Qur'an? Are they right or wrong?

It also brings us to one of my original questions: if you have to discount the literal interpretation of so much of the bible, how do you know you should take any of it literally, including the human sacrifice of Jesus?
be_diligent
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1/3/2016 1:35:12 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 1:26:53 AM, matt8800 wrote:
@skyangel The case you are presenting is exactly the case that a good person would present because a literal interpretation would be evil.

If god is perfect in everything he does and it was god who inspired the book, wouldn't he just say what he meant? Isnt the confusion potentially dangerous? Many people have lost their lives over interpretations of the Bible. If you were writing a memoir to your children on how to live their lives, wouldn't you make an effort to be clear?

If the words, in their literal meaning, are evil and we have to make excuses as to why that is, isn't the value of that book limited? Isn't that the argument Muslims make about the Qur'an? Are they right or wrong?

It also brings us to one of my original questions: if you have to discount the literal interpretation of so much of the bible, how do you know you should take any of it literally, including the human sacrifice of Jesus?

Matt, you claim that you have read the bible eight times, and yet you wonder why it isn't as simple as a child's book?

Haven't you read where even the disciples didn't understand Jesus in some cases, and they went to Him in private and asked Him and He answered, that is what made them "disciples."

Have you ever considered that the bible is written a certain way for a purpose? Not everyone can see...

Mark 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

Now before you respond, since you have read the bible 8 times, you should have no problem reading one chapter for me, and then telling me what you read. It goes right into what you are saying. Don't take my word for it. Take God's word for it.

You can start at Luke 24:13, and forward. Read it carefully and sincerely. It's very important.
Casten
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1/3/2016 1:48:42 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Yes. Why is it that Christians can accept that these magical things absolutely happened thousands of years ago, but cannot accept that they would happen now, in our age of iPhones and 3D printers? Why is it so hard to believe modern people are doing things that seem crazy because God is speaking to them?
RookieApologist
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1/3/2016 3:02:30 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Actually, I have read Mere Christianity....several times. There is no doubt that CS Lewis was brilliant and his premise on objective morality being evidence of a God is hard to refute. That argument is one reason I call myself an agnostic that believes there may be "something bigger". With that said, his argument as to why he picked Christianity and why someone should have faith without evidence was very weak , if not non-existent.

It's been a while, but I can't exactly recall CS Lewis saying to have faith without evidence.

One of CS Lewis' quotes is, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." It is a profound statement except it can be said about any religion (for example, Islam or Mormonism).

This is true, and this is then why one should examine the evidence and teachings of each of them and decide which they feel is most plausible as a worldview. Maybe none of them are, as many on this site feel. After much investigation, I came to realize Christianity was most plausible. But yes, I could certainly be wrong.

Why do most people pick Christianity? Primarily it is the geography of their birth. If you are born in a Christian country, you are most likely Christian. If you are born in the middle east, you are most likely Muslim.

I've seen this sort of statement several times before, and I never really thought it held much water. My reasoning is that it just doesn't make sense logically. It is true that not all religions can be right (I'm glad you agree with that btw!). Logically speaking, one's country of origin has nothing to do with whether a religion or lack thereof is actually true or not. And so we again follow the evidence and the teachings and see where they lead us. Again I feel Christianity holds up best as a worldview, even after examining other religions and worldviews.

I think you are absolutely correct that many scriptures cannot be taken literally. But then the question that begs to be asked is which ones and who chooses?

Again I can't really answer this, but what I can say is that it seems you are confusing some terms here. Just because a story isn't to be taken literally doesn't mean its overall message is false. And just because a story is to be taken literally doesn't mean it's true. I believe in the overall message of every story in the bible, while I still feel that much of the Old Testament is meant to be taken figuratively. The meaning is actually stronger when it is taken figuratively instead of literally.

The other issue is that I don't have faith in faith. There are many times I adamantly believed something to be true only to find out later I was wrong. After all, don't Mormons and Muslims have unwavering faith? Does their faith mean they are right? Faith seems to be celebrated but isn't believing what other people tell you with no evidence a dangerous habit?

I think you will run into this problem with ANY worldview, be it Christianity, Islam, or Atheism. All require some degree of what you consider faith. But I also think your definition of faith isn't quite accurate. Faith is not believing something without evidence. Faith is not a way of knowing, it is a way of trusting. Faith and evidence are not mutually exclusive. Faith is trusting in that which you have reason to believe is true. Once you have come to believe that something is true, using reliable epistemological means, you can then place your faith or trust in those things (this is credited to William Lane Craig).

How many people since religions have existed have claimed they are special messengers of God? What makes us believe one and not the others? It seems the biggest deciding factor is the geography of your birth.

I don't know how many said they were messengers, but as far as I know only one has said they are the Son of God. And again I disagree about geography. Of course it plays a role, but investigation and reflection play a larger role in my opinion.

I think the biggest motivating factor in holding onto Christianity is a fear of no purpose, no afterlife and a fear that society will lose all morality. (I believe we do have purpose, there is probably an afterlife and true morality will not be effected but that is another discussion.)

I'm glad you are still holding on! And I'm glad you are investigating the possibilities for yourself. I will say that while internet sites that like this one have their place, you will likely not find the answers you are looking for here. You will likely find them through continued reflection, prayer (if you pray, if not, what can it hurt?), and in candid conversations with people who actually know what they are talking about. Investigating and seeking answers is a good thing. It will only strengthen your conviction of the worldview you follow.
RookieApologist
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1/3/2016 3:11:20 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Matt -

Had to go check out the CS Lewis quote on faith. Maybe there is a different one, but this is what I found the most: http://cslewiswisdom.blogspot.com...

"Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods."

You also may find this link helpful or at least an interesting read: http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Skyangel
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1/3/2016 4:14:58 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 1:26:53 AM, matt8800 wrote:
@skyangel The case you are presenting is exactly the case that a good person would present because a literal interpretation would be evil.

I appreciate your opinion and implication of me being a good person but good and evil are a matter of subjective human perception.
Some might claim it is the case an evil person would present to try to destroy the faith of the good people who believe in miracles and supernatural events.
Opposite perspectives will always exist.

If god is perfect in everything he does and it was god who inspired the book, wouldn't he just say what he meant? Isnt the confusion potentially dangerous? Many people have lost their lives over interpretations of the Bible. If you were writing a memoir to your children on how to live their lives, wouldn't you make an effort to be clear?

If any character is perfect and inspired something perfect, his words would also be perfect. However, whether any words are perfect or not depends on human judgement of them. What one person perceives as perfect another might perceive and judge as imperfect depending on their personal perception of perfection.
What is your perception of perfection ?

Confusion in reading words is not potentially dangerous when it causes people to question and search for truth to overcome the confusion in what was meant. In that case it is a good thing which leads them to search for meaning. It would only be dangerous to anyone who literally hears voices in their own minds and believes some god has actually told them to go and physically kill another person. It is that type of belief and superficial thinking which is dangerous to mankind. People like that are a danger to themselves as well as others. They cannot be trusted. Often the way they think is due to a mental disorder or to brainwashing which is not their fault as in the case of children who are brainwashed and taught to become terrorists. Some people are simply taught to just take words at face value and never taught to "read between the lines" or see any lessons in the stories.

I make an effort to be clear with writing anything to anyone but even my efforts to be clear on here are rarely understood.
Very few seem capable of seeing opposite sides of "the coin" at the same time. Some who do, seem to be confused by the opposites and interpret it as self contradiction.

The ancient writers of the bible stories were superstitious people as well as creative writers. They were being creative not writing some memoir to their future generations to live by, even if they were, they were not telling their future generations to literally sacrifice their own children to gods.
Reading about the way superstitious people sacrificed other people to gods does not mean we ought to follow their examples. We should learn to be smarter than they were.

If the words, in their literal meaning, are evil and we have to make excuses as to why that is, isn't the value of that book limited? Isn't that the argument Muslims make about the Qur'an? Are they right or wrong?

All people are right in their own eyes when it comes to interpreting their own holy scriptures and any writing at all.
Words, symbols and sounds are meaningless unless humans assign meaning to them. Have you ever listened to a language you don't understand? Human language is fascinating due to the fact that we do not always literally mean what we say. We use a lot of idioms and slang in our languages which are very difficult to translate from one language to another and still keep the original concepts.
It is not hard to notice how readers of these forums have different reactions to the same posts. If they all interpreted all writing the same way, don't you think they would all react and respond the same way, yet we often get opposite reactions to the same words.
Have you noticed that phenomenon at all?
It is not words in books which are limited. It seems to be human perception and understanding of words which is limited.

It also brings us to one of my original questions: if you have to discount the literal interpretation of so much of the bible, how do you know you should take any of it literally, including the human sacrifice of Jesus?

The fact that so much of it is allegorical and symbolic causes me personally to take none of it literally but to ask myself what principles and practical truths can be found in the stories. I don't even see the character Jesus as a literal historical person due to his supernatural powers. If he set an example to follow, it is an impossible example for anyone without supernatural powers to follow.
Therefore I read all stories about him in a metaphorical sense and ask myself how can any normal person without supernatural powers follow an example of raising the dead and making lame people walk, opening deaf ears and blind eyes etc ? The only way I logically see to do that is metaphorically waking them up from sleeping in their fantasies and dreams and false doctrines. The dreamers are like dead people. They are not thinking straight. They are not in tune with reality. They are in a state of spiritual death or "sleep". Waking them from "a spiritual death" or a state of self delusion is not easy either but can be done far more easily than waking someone from literal death.
Truth sets people free so I take that advice from the bible and simply stay honest about what I think and explain my perceptions as clearly as I possibly can. Some will understand and some will not. The choice is theirs.
My job is simply to be open and honest. Some accept that and some reject it as lies. It is to be expected since truth and lies are opposite sides of the same coin.
matt8800
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1/3/2016 8:56:36 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
@skyangel "Some might claim it is the case an evil person would present to try to destroy the faith of the good people who believe in miracles and supernatural events."

Would you say the same about debating the credibility of Islam with Muslims? My biggest contention is that if people know that I don't share the predominant religious beliefs of the region, I am an immoral person. 49% of the US population feels that way. If most people believed as @rookieapologist (and myself) "But yes, I could be wrong", it sure would make it easier for everyone to live together.

Me accepting Christianity is probably just as easy as many of the respondents accepting Mormonism, for probably the same reasons.

@be_diligent If a Mormon told you it is reasonable to suspend logic and said to "take God's word for it" and believe in Mormonism, what would you say? One verse I like in the Bible, "you can judge the tree by the fruit on it", can be applied to the Bible. The Bible, like all other ancient religious texts, has some good fruit and lots of bad fruit. I think it is a stretch to say that some of the Old Testament examples I gave were good but we just cant understand it.

@rookieapologist "Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods" (CS Lewis). I have had relatives that were involved in cults and I can tell you that I have seen firsthand that this is a dangerous philosophy. I think we should all be open to the fact that we are wrong and be willing to change our thinking, which is the exact opposite of faith.

@skyangel If any character is perfect and inspired something perfect, his words would also be perfect. However, whether any words are perfect or not depends on human judgement of them. What one person perceives as perfect another might perceive and judge as imperfect depending on their personal perception of perfection.
What is your perception of perfection ?


That contradicts the concept CS Lewis spelled out of objective morality, which I happen to agree with. I believe that killing someone for working on Sunday, for example, is utterly and completely wicked. Furthermore, I believe anyone that would promote this is not good. I am using my human judgment to come to this conclusion.

Reading about the way superstitious people sacrificed other people to gods does not mean we ought to follow their examples. We should learn to be smarter than they were.

This is exactly my whole point.

I don't completely discount an afterlife but I do hold on to the premise that Christianity lacks credibility.
be_diligent
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1/4/2016 1:38:21 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/3/2016 8:56:36 PM, matt8800 wrote:
@skyangel "Some might claim it is the case an evil person would present to try to destroy the faith of the good people who believe in miracles and supernatural events."

Would you say the same about debating the credibility of Islam with Muslims? My biggest contention is that if people know that I don't share the predominant religious beliefs of the region, I am an immoral person. 49% of the US population feels that way. If most people believed as @rookieapologist (and myself) "But yes, I could be wrong", it sure would make it easier for everyone to live together.

Me accepting Christianity is probably just as easy as many of the respondents accepting Mormonism, for probably the same reasons.

@be_diligent If a Mormon told you it is reasonable to suspend logic and said to "take God's word for it" and believe in Mormonism, what would you say? One verse I like in the Bible, "you can judge the tree by the fruit on it", can be applied to the Bible. The Bible, like all other ancient religious texts, has some good fruit and lots of bad fruit. I think it is a stretch to say that some of the Old Testament examples I gave were good but we just cant understand it.

Well, now you've spelled it out. You doubt the credibility of Christianity. Ok....I was a bit frustrated as you stated that you've actually read the bible eight times, and in this thread you have been in agreeance with non-believers and false teachings.

I have first hand experience with Mormonism as one of my dearest friends is actually a professing Mormon, and a very close family member of mine married the son of a Mormon bishop.

I'm wondering if you've ever considered that the bible prophesies about an end time one world religion. We see it happening right in front of our eyes. The world governments are even pushing for this union. Many have already fallen for it. You can google accounts of "Christlam, to see that it's even worked it's way into the churches, and it's not just that mixture, no....go and look into the emergent church, you'll see that they are actually mixing Hinduism and other false systems into their teachings. If you want references, I'll add them at your request.

As I said, none of this is any great wonder, and some have expected it for some times.

Paul even spoke about it when he said:

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

So to answer your question, I most certainly would not listen to a Mormon or any other person who told me to follow their system because they believe it's true.

We can go directly to God and ask Him to lead us in Christ.

I do not attend a church for that very reason. Although I would if I found one that wasn't bound by doctrines that are set in place. Being in Christ is about growing, maturing and continuing, it's not about parking our behinds on church pews for 50 years. And I would attend one that focused on the entire bible, and not just portions.

Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Revelation 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Revelation 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Matthew 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

Notice where Jesus says if they say unto you behold "he is in the desert,"

Incidentally, Islam believes this:
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The House of GOD will be "built in the desert" (the Kaaba in Mecca). The path of the desert will be called "the Path of Holiness". And the Prophet will lead 10,000 Saints to liberate it. Perfectly fulfilled in Islam!
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If you are paying attention, now is not the time to be sitting on the fence.

Don't fall for the idea that world religions coming together is the answer.

Either stand for something or fall for anything....your choice.

From what i understand, you have a Christian background. You opened this thread with a serious question regarding things that you find offensive.

Was that really your intention? I'm beginning to think that you weren't serious and are more interested in doubting and bring doubt than getting any real answers.

"A little leaven leavens the whole lump."

So now, since you didn't respond to any of my previous statements, I highly doubt that you're actually reading any of my responses, so I expect another response back similar to the one you offered here....