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The Last Firstborn

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PostSubject: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:30 pm

1. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis of your belief that the Bible is a 100% true and reliable historical document, and infallible Word of God?

2. Why do you believe in the God of the Bible, as opposed to the gods of numerous other religions?

3. How do you see the Bible (and God Himself) as just, when the Bible seems to be readily totalitarian, misogynistic and homophobic in parts?

4. How do you confide in your beliefs about God, Jesus and Christianity, when almost every aspect of Christianity can be interpreted in radically different ways (to the point that Christians are extremely divided)?

5. If we're living to die and go to heaven, isn't that deterring from our consideration and love of nature and the life we live?

6. How does anything in science or physics directly prove (or even point toward) Judeo-Christian beliefs? (I'm not talking about things that could be just as easily attributed to Deism, but the Bible/Torah specifically.)

I'm not trying to blaspheme, I'm just confused. Thanks in advance for your answers.
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Shamax

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:36 pm

Just wanting to get the ball rolling with a reply, so I apologize in advance if some of these answers aren't as thorough or developed as you would like. I'll also preface my answers by saying that I personally hold to "Reformed" theology. So, if there's any confusion as to where I'm coming from or what I may mean by certain terms, having that in mind should hopefully make things a little bit clearer.

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1. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis of your belief that the Bible is a 100% true and reliable historical document, and infallible Word of God?

A: More than one question, but we'll start with the Bible. The Bible is the most "reliable" book in antiquity. By "reliable" I'm talking purely about the number of manuscripts that exist, the relatively short amount of time between the dates of the manuscripts and their original authorship, and the "tenacity" of those manuscripts. Of the textual differences between biblical manuscripts, 99% of them can be dismissed as inconsequential to the point that we have a more accurate idea of what the original authors wrote than for any other ancient text. Also, the Bible is a unique "book" in that it is several books/letters written by multiple authors over the course of 1500+ years, it claims to be "God-breathed/inspired" meaning not that merely "holy men" wrote it or that it happened by automatic writing, but that it is the counsel of God revealed to man as the authors were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Those kinds of claims insist that a person must make a choice: Either the Bible is true in its entirety and its claims, or else it is the greatest and most elaborate of all conspiracies ever contrived - to be harmoniously doctored by thousands of disconnected people over thousands of years. I believe the former by the grace of God. Once I have accepted the unique truth claims the Bible presents about itself, the grace of God leads me as such to the likes of the Gospel of John 6:40 "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

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2. Why do you believe in the God of the Bible, as opposed to the gods of numerous other religions?

A: Because again of the unique claims of Christ. If one takes for example an inclusivist view like some religions - that "all faiths are viable paths to the same divinity" then it falls on it's head when it comes to not just Christianity, but Islam as well. It's like saying "we include everybody... well, except for those exclusivists" Smile As for other religions that make solitary claims about themselves, one must look at the basis upon which claims are made. The Qur'an has a decidedly different textual history than the Bible. Unlike the Qur'an, the textual transmission of the Bible has never been under the control of a central governing authority, so that it could never be changed without there being some kind of textual evidence as indication. That alone gives me pause when considering Islam. Beyond that, you would have to dive into specific claims of individual "exclusivist" religions to compare and contrast.

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3. How do you see the Bible (and God Himself) as just, when the Bible seems to be readily totalitarian, misogynistic and homophobic in parts?

A: I would first take issue with the claims of totalitarianism, misogyny, and homophobia by turning the question back upon the source and ask by what standard is one judging? I would then point out that many times these kinds of claims come down to a game of "dueling Bible verses" where the person claiming "unfairness" in God does what they wouldn't do to any other book or newspaper article (divorcing a phrase or sentence from its grammatical-historical context) and forcing 21st century Western ideals from a materialist worldview upon it. I would also tread carefully here, because especially as one starts to talk about homophobia, discussions very quickly veer away from anything logical, thought-out or truly heartfelt and usually enter into the realm of hyperbole and emotional reaction.

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4. How do you confide in your beliefs about God, Jesus and Christianity, when almost every aspect of Christianity can be interpreted in radically different ways (to the point that Christians are extremely divided)?

A: I confide in my beliefs because I again go back to the text of the Bible and interpret as I would any other work of literature - in its grammatical-historical context, and try to make myself aware of any time I am assuming a tradition and reading something into Scripture (eisegesis) rather than reading the meaning of the text out of Scripture (exegesis). Some may say: "But these people really believe what they're saying." To which I would say that sincerity of belief is no measure of the truthfulness of said belief. We must approach any truth claims with a critical eye, and not merely seek for what makes one comfortable.

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5. If we're living to die and go to heaven, isn't that deterring from our consideration and love of nature and the life we live?

A: The Christian life is one of paradoxes in many ways. We are already justified, and not yet glorified. We are to be in the world, yet not of the world. We are pilgrims in one kingdom and citizens in another. The Christian's aim is not merely to have their ticket punched and ride the glory-train to Heaven. It is to be conformed to the image of Christ and to worship and enjoy God and all that He has and is. It is true that we await our true reward in the life to come, but the life we are given now is a precious and wondrous thing. It is here in this life that we can model love, compassion, righteousness, and forgiveness. It is here in this life that we can suffer, fall, screw-up, and in return receive grace and mercy from God and model that same grace for one another.

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6. How does anything in science or physics directly prove (or even point toward) Judeo-Christian beliefs? (I'm not talking about things that could be just as easily attributed to Deism, but the Bible/Torah specifically.)

A: I would say that is an unfair question, because Christianity is a specific set of monotheistic beliefs that are revealed by the special revelation of the Old and New Testaments. One may arrive at "deism" through general revelation - from observing the creation itself. That would be like receiving an envelope one day and deducing that another person had to have sent it to you. But you wouldn't quite know the person who sent it was "Andy" unless you opened it, removed the letter from inside, and read Andy's signature at the bottom.

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I'm not trying to blaspheme, I'm just confused. Thanks in advance for your answers.

Not taken as such, and I hope and pray my answer may prove at least somewhat beneficial.
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olias

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:29 pm

LastFirstborn wrote:
1. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis of your belief that the Bible is a 100% true and reliable historical document, and infallible Word of God?
I am a Christian because I believe it to be true, nothing more and nothing less. It is a conviction, reached through reason and rationality.

LastFirstborn wrote:
2. Why do you believe in the God of the Bible, as opposed to the gods of numerous other religions?
Because we have reason to believe our God is the true God, namely the reliability of the bible in its historical accuracy in terms of the Gospels. They may say theirs is the true god, but we have many scholars to back up the Christian God. It must be said that our religion is the only one which was started by the God himself, and not a prophet who recieved the supposed revelation from his supposed god.

LastFirstborn wrote:
3. How do you see the Bible (and God Himself) as just, when the Bible seems to be readily totalitarian, misogynistic and homophobic in parts?

Its authors were not beholden to the 21st century standard. Their societies were not held to same standard as ours today. I'd have to question the validity of the books of the bible if the style of writing did not reflect the culture of the supposed authors.

LastFirstborn wrote:
4. How do you confide in your beliefs about God, Jesus and Christianity, when almost every aspect of Christianity can be interpreted in radically different ways (to the point that Christians are extremely divided)?
Because people are different. We are a disorderly creature. Some people choose churches based on feelings. Others choose their churches because they have surmised its the truth. But how we arrive to those conclusions is not uniform. That is not to say we are all right, but it is to say that as human creatures, we are created as individuals who reach individual conclusions. What is important and astounding is the survival of religion, particularly Christianity, in the western world, in the 21st century, when all signs pointed to its extinction. It is important to remember that many many many people, no matter their denomination, swear their allegiance to the father, the son, and the holy spirit.

LastFirstborn wrote:
5. If we're living to die and go to heaven, isn't that deterring from our consideration and love of nature and the life we live?
No, we are meant to love his creation, as he created it. Don't forget, it is he who created the very concept of love, nature, and life. It makes it all the more beautiful.

LastFirstborn wrote:
6. How does anything in science or physics directly prove (or even point toward) Judeo-Christian beliefs? (I'm not talking about things that could be just as easily attributed to Deism, but the Bible/Torah specifically.)
Science doesn't prove the bible, nor does the bible dictate science; it is not a scientific text. The conclusion one must reach in his beliefs must be of a philosophical nature. That said, one can reach such conclusions in a scientific manner, i.e. always asking questions, and searching for answers in a rational, logical manner.
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The Last Firstborn

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:31 pm

I appreciate your input, guys. Thanks!


Last edited by The Last Firstborn on Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Exquisite Corpse

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:49 am

Kudos on this: "sincerity of belief is no measure of the truthfulness of said belief. We must approach any truth claims with a critical eye, and not merely seek for what makes one comfortable.", Shamax. And your whole post Razz.

I don't have time to answer these well enough, so hopefully I will come back and post my answers.

However, in the short minutes I have on hand at the moment, I will say that on the topic of misogyny, that 1: as others above me have said, one has to look at the historical and cultural context of the time and 2: in the New Testament, one can see how Jesus and even Paul (who is widely known to be misogynist!) actually turned cultural expectations of women around. For an example, as Armando (of Eulogium) pointed out in an essay he wrote, Jesus had shown compassion and healed the child of a woman who went up to him, when women in those days normally weren't expected to face a man with such persistence and gut as she did. Also, Jesus had women who were his followers, and one can see how the ones to find out Jesus had been untombed were women. And I believe that the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection was a woman as well. And in 1st Corinthians, Paul talks about women prophesying and praying in the church. The other passage when Paul talks about how women should be silent in church, I believe that it was because in that particular church, there was a lot of gossiping from these women, and many of them would shout in church, and this would create disorder in the church meetings/services. Thus Paul had told these specific women to be quiet in church, and hence why he told them that if they had questions, they should ask their husbands at home (instead of loudly in the middle of church). Apparently, that is why that passage isn't to be applied to all women in general; at least I believe that it means so. Unfortunately, some have taken that passage to be applied literally and today, and thus that women should be completely silent in the church. I don't believe that should be the case, as far as I know. (AND, if Paul meant for women to be universally silent in all churches even today, WHY would he have been condoning women prophesying and praying in the church? Especially considering the fact that the term 'prophesying' in 1st Corinthians 11 apparently also means "speaking a word" of God, sort of like teaching, and not just prophesying as in "telling the future"? That would be contradictory, of course.)
Also, there are female prophets in the Old Testament, and important persons such as Esther. Smile If anything, the Bible is not misogynist, to me at least.

Sorry for this choppy answer but I'm in a hurry and have to go finish homework and studying.
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ELAN

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:48 pm

1. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis of your belief that the Bible is a 100% true and reliable historical document, and infallible Word of
God?

-I don't really embrace the term 'Christian' all too much, unless used as an easy umbrella term amongst believers. (Reason is because the word seems to have been conceived AFTER Christ, in the Roman era. I could be wrong, but I don't think I've ever seen the term 'Christian' in the Bible, apart from perhaps a use or two by Paul.) But, I believe in Christ simply due to three factors: faith, what I've experienced, and what I discern.
As far as the reliability of the Scriptures, I do believe that some of the Word has been tainted over the years, but God would not allow us to be able to twist it so much as to defile the original meaning of it all. So 100 percent? I don't know... but Word of God? Certainly.

2. Why do you believe in the God of the Bible, as opposed to the gods of numerous other religions?
-The 'gods' of other religions and faiths simply have never proven to be of much worth in my eyes... they are so easily and obviously constructed and conceived by man, for man's comfort. I have never heard another god speak to me and show me what my Lord has done.


3. How do you see the Bible (and God Himself) as just, when the Bible seems to be readily totalitarian, misogynistic and homophobic in parts?
-Many parts of the scriptures include God and Christ reflecting to commoners their social paradigms. "Is it not shameful for a man to have long hair?" is one of them... many things like this are taken out of context. For example, the aforementioned question is often seen by some to say that men should not have long hair. How, then, would a person like John the Baptist, who ate locust, wore camel skins, and had unkempt hair, be given the honor of baptizing Jesus?
In see the nature of your question in the same light.


4. How do you confide in your beliefs about God, Jesus and Christianity, when almost every aspect of Christianity can be interpreted in radically different ways (to the point that Christians are extremely divided)?
-Simply, I just read the Word, ask the Lord to show me what He meant as truth, and go off of what I feel is being conveyed to me. As I said before, my ties to conventional 'Christianity' are quite loosened, so I really do not have the time or care to study too many other theologians' ideals (unless I find them to be interesting and going in the right direction).

5. If we're living to die and go to heaven, isn't that deterring from our consideration and love of nature and the life we live?
-Well, why would our Lord put us on this earth and give us our home if we did not need it while we were here? Sure, our lives and environment are temporary as our lives are, but since we have been given many tasks and purposes on earth, we are not here simply to wait until we die.

6. How does anything in science or physics directly prove (or even point toward) Judeo-Christian beliefs? (I'm not talking about things that could be just as easily attributed to Deism, but the Bible/Torah specifically.)
-Some would argue that historical documents have been found that prove and align parallel to that of Biblical documentation. However, with that aside, there seems to be as much 'concrete' or 'theoretical' proof FOR His existence, as there are against. For me, this does not matter; faith is not meant to be concrete, OR theoretical. Besides, when one looks around at the complexities of the world around him in an artful manner, it is very simply to conclude that it was crafted very carefully.

I don't really have too much basis for my answers right now, as I am on a short timeframe, but this could kindof give more way toward understanding my views about it all. If anything seems confusing, I could expand on it perhaps as much as I can.
Note, that with my rejection of the concept of religion, and my dissatisfaction with the term 'Christian', one could possibly misconstrue my meaning to mean that I am more 'universalist' in my thinking. On the contrary, I believe ONLY in salvation through Christ's death.
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Mark

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:11 pm

LastFirstborn wrote:
1. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis of your belief that the Bible is a 100% true and reliable historical document, and infallible Word of God?

Because all evidence points toward the truth of the Gospel.

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2. Why do you believe in the God of the Bible, as opposed to the gods of numerous other religions?

Because Christ revealed Himself unto mankind through sacred scripture and tradition, and Christ is the only God logically conceivable.

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3. How do you see the Bible (and God Himself) as just, when the Bible seems to be readily totalitarian, misogynistic and homophobic in parts?

People who make such claims either don't understand what is actually said, or don't want to.

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4. How do you confide in your beliefs about God, Jesus and Christianity, when almost every aspect of Christianity can be interpreted in radically different ways (to the point that Christians are extremely divided)?

The teachings of the Church have been the same since the first century and passed on through the millennia by the Catholic Church.

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5. If we're living to die and go to heaven, isn't that deterring from our consideration and love of nature and the life we live?

We are obliged to serve God on Earth. See Matthew 25.

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6. How does anything in science or physics directly prove (or even point toward) Judeo-Christian beliefs? (I'm not talking about things that could be just as easily attributed to Deism, but the Bible/Torah specifically.)

As far as I know, there is no "scientific" evidence for the teachings of Christianity.

Quote :
I'm not trying to blaspheme, I'm just confused. Thanks in advance for your answers.

You're welcome.
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winterband

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PostSubject: Re: Random, religion/God-related questions.   Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:03 am

LastFirstborn wrote:
1. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis of your belief that the Bible is a 100% true and reliable historical document, and infallible Word of God?

2. Why do you believe in the God of the Bible, as opposed to the gods of numerous other religions?


For a religion to be a valid religion and not merely a nice philosophy, the hero must be able to handle the "death" thing. Jesus proved that He was God when He proved that He had power over death both by raising the dead and then raising Himself from the dead.

There was no need for a guard at Mohammed's grave... Hmmm that is a song title come to think of it, so, since this is a music site.....

No Guard At Muhammed's Grave by WinterBand



Regards,

Bro. Winter
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