I am going to start responding to these, as all 8 would take me a lifetime to do at once :) Hope this doesn't make it all too confusing!!!!
From what I've seen - and mirroring some of what you said - one of the "jumps" between the old and new testaments is the transition from "My God" to "The God." I believe it's rather telling that the second commandment is "You shall have no other gods before me," mostly because it freely admits to the existence of other gods. In fact, the phrase even indicates that paying some passing respect to another god is fine.
Ooooh an easy one! (phew) ;) The New Testament actually focuses on a “My God” due to the fact that it is all about personal relationship and personal salvation. The Old Testament also focuses on “My God” in the sense that Israel knew themselves to be the chosen ones. Does this mean that God did not love other tribes/nations? Nope! See New Testament. Christ’s whole schtick was that he was a missionary and a light for those who were OUTSIDE of the law, etc. So in both cases there is a strong emphasis on “My God.” I can provide scripture references upon request, but like you said, you bore easily ;)
As for “you shall have no other gods before me.” It isn’t admitting to the existence of other Gods. It records in the OT and NT a lot about people worshipping golden calves, greek gods/goddesses, Egyptian polytheistic gods, etc. These ‘gods” are not considered to be true. They are considered to be false idols or distractions. Some of the gods were so outlandish that it would be like me putting a ballpoint pen on an alter and worshipping it. But it is still called a “god” because that is the word for it. There is a difference between ‘god” and God. If you’re catholic, then the Madonna is not the same thing as Madonna….you know? :)
I don’t really see how it shows a passing respect to other gods. I think that is an odd interpretation of that, but however you read it, it does not disprove the message of God’s love and the salvation deal….which is what this discussion is about.
So all I can really say is that, from my limited exposure, I've haven't seen much evidence of a loving god. A vengeful one, definitely. Worlds flooded (though, um, it seems some wives appeared from "non-peoples" there, too), towns razed to the ground, kings punished for not killing off women and children - just a whole world of nastiness.
And yes, something must be done when a rule is broken. But there's something wrong with any being whose standard punishment for any transgression appears to be death for you, your family, your slaves, your livestock, and frequently your neighbors.
So I guess you're just going to have to come up with some examples of this all-pervading OT love you're talking about.
I think you said it right there in that first sentence where you talk about having “limited exposure.” What you are presuming as truth about God isn’t true, and it isn’t proven unless you take scripture totally out of context. When we don’t fully study or know all the facts (and I had to ask several people to verify this one to me, so don’t think I am trying to minimize your intelligence), it is very easy to create a god with a nature and character that isn’t consistent with the God revealed through the Bible. In which case, when a person reads the bible with presumptions that have been presented to them as fact (ie: the whole “jesus made wine and isn’t drunkenness wrong?” philosophy, even though it is a well-known historical fact that people drank wine because water was unsafe, and the wine of that time period had about as high of an alcohol content as one of today’s wine coolers…aw, biblical kool-aid at the wedding, party over!), then it is easy for us to view a God different than what He truly is. There is a basic principle that needs to be grasped before an intelligent conclusion can be made to this argument. One could argue that on the same note, having positive presumptions could lead to the same sort of experience in reverse , hence Christians, but if you are truly basing your knowledge on historical context and also literal context (ie who the story was geared toward), then this is difficult to do.
I am meeting with my pastor about this, (mainly because I want to learn from someone who has studied dead sea scrolls and all that fun stuff that brings more validity than just “feelings”), and until then if you want a more “Christian” answer, here you go….
The fact is we live in a fallen world and everything you mentioned is a consequence of sin. As parents we hold our children to a standard because we love them and by conforming to that standard they don’t get hurt. God’s standard for his creation is the same. Jesus asks of us to accept that He is the way to go. He demonstrated His love for us through His death on the cross thereby paying the price for our fallen nature. All of these side issues are the way of confusing the issue (confusing…not avoiding)….and the truth of the matter is again, none of this disproves either the existence of Christ, His message, or proof otherwise.
As far as being able to take on faith that there's some good reason why Jesus showed up so many years later, well, that is perfectly fine, if you're one of the faithful. This is one of those mindset problems.
Yeah I totally agree with that. But at the same time, can you explain to me every single aspect of anything? I think it is a mindset that, as humans, we unfortunately have by nature (or evolution). We only use a small percentage of our brains. Kind of unfortunate.
I just can't help thinking of all those generations of people that were completely screwed simply because they were born too early.
Salvation was found just as freely in the OT as it is in the new, unfortunately people do not focus on that very much. There are countless references to a savior coming, the redeemer of the Jews, and other overtly dramatic references. Point being, those people who were waiting on that Savior, were just as “saved” as those who were in the presence of one in the NT and beyond. Does that make sense?
Christ brought freedom from the law, but at the same time, the law brought freedom. Yes, the timing is something to ponder. But it does not take away the message of salvation or the rules of it. God is a just God, and he isn’t going to send people to Hell, purgatory, whatever you believe in for the sake of discussion….because they cannot control the timing of their birth. There is salvation in Christ found in many forms. The same can be said of early Native Americans and remote locations in the world where the gospel has not been heard. Christ reveals himself in many ways – not just through missionaries and the New Testament. In our western world, that is the most common way. But we have to remember that is not the only way.
On the "free will" thing - I don't have a huge problem with a being wanting to be loved freely. Seems a tad insecure, but OK.
Isn’t forced love with no choice a sign of insecurity? I don’t know…
I have a little more problem with said being creating rules, and then creating creatures with built-in instincts to transgress those rules. If you don't want gays, don't build men who are only attracted to other men.
There have been countless incidents of homosexual men and women transitioning out of that lifestyle. Please hear me on this. This one is sensitive, since I have many gay friends who I respect, admire, and love. Speaking from a biblical standpoint, homosexuality is a sin. But that does not make a gay person any less than anyone else, since we ALL sin and God sees ALL sin the same. We are not to judge gay people, and I do not look down on them. I am a bigger sinner, I have proved that to myself time and again! :) We are only called to love as Jesus loved, and if he were walking the earth today in physical form, he’d be at those gay bars.
God did not “build” men who are attracted to other men. A lot has to do with not only sin and free will but culture, lifestyle, childhood trauma, previous example, etc. That is complicated, but it all does come down to the same concept. God created human will so we could actually have a choice and return genuine love. Playing the “gay” card on me doesn’t really help the argument because the same could be said for why did god “build” alcoholics? Why did god “build” murderers? Why did god “build” pollution and global warming? It is all about choice, and the fact that we have a choice as to how to live our life is a beautiful thing because then our knowledge and closeness to God is genuine.
And most importantly, if you do that, don't get your panties in a wad when people don't measure up. There are so many transgressions that are an automatic damning. I mean, doubt his existence for even a second, and that's it, man, game over: Go to hell, do not collect $200.
Answered above. Who gets their panties in a wad? Fallible people and extremist churches? Or God himself? Nine times out of 10 (if not all 10), it is people. NO transgression is automatically damning if you accept the whole Jesus concept. And doing so is the easiest thing in the world, and even if you truly intellectualize it and study it, it’s still the easiest thing in the world. Following him is not so simple sometimes….but your guaranteed salvation is.
Returning back to part 1 and Pascal’s Wager….
For example, a Catholic would see the wager as a reason to go to Mass, while a Muslim would see it as a reason to always perform the five requisite daily prayers. From which one can begin to see that the problem is one of "betting" on one of a nearly infinite number of possible beliefs, most of which contradict each other.
The wager becomes something more like a dart throw from a plane about a mile up.
Christianity has no ritual engrained into it that assures our salvation. While Muslims believe the five requisites of daily prayers is essential, and Catholics believe that you need to say the rosary to pray someone’s soul out of eternal damnation – Christianity (a Christ-based, biblically based version since obviously Catholics consider themselves to be Christian…)…does not give you a punch card when you go to church. There is nothing within my faith that compels me to go to church in order to be guaranteed anything. Again, I have yet to find a religion less-fallible than Christianity, and so that is where my ‘wager” is, so to speak. I’ve traveled the world, I’ve been exposed to countless religions, the “double” in my double-majored B.A. is in religious studies from a non-religious, secular university, and in my immediate family alone there are 5 different religions running rampant. There are a lot of places I could have thrown my dart….but Christianity, from my study, research, experiences shared from others and my own experiences – has shown me that my wager has a pretty darn good chance of being correct. Again, feel free to present to me other horses in the race with a chance to win. I never want to be ignorant or self-assuming.
As far as the whole thing about "feel" is concerned - that's probably the best word. If I understand what you're saying, you feel anchored, and have an absolute frame of reference for the world. While there are emotional components, I'd say that's more of a sensation than an emotion.
Meh. Not really. As you can probably get the gist of from my personal blog, being a Christian often shakes up my frame of reference for the world because there are so many other viewpoints that come into my life. I have never been one to believe in something based in my emotions alone – that was proven to be a bad idea long ago in my life. I need to have some sort of intellectual justification as well, and the study of various ancient and historical texts and artifacts have confirmed that up for me pretty well. There is a “feeling” of peace and love that comes with being a Christian, but there is also a ‘feeling” of discomfort and a burden a lot of the time. I don’t get a god high from what I believe, if that is what you meant.
Science has proven the world is not flat or on pillars. But it hasn’t proven that the bible isn’t true. If the prophesies and miracles and records are all false…what a fantastic PR stunt! TMZ only WISHES they had lived in biblical times ;) Could you imagine the ratings?!?!?
It's amazing to me how a few fanatics can call themselves scientists, repackage creationism by labeling it "intelligent design" (which, though not even matching the definition of a hypothesis, is somehow a "theory"), and sell it to a credulous public that will then go on about a "multitude of publications." There certainly is no such multitude in any of the serious peer-reviewed journals.
Actually there are. Tell me how many you consider to be a fair multitude, and I will send you a list. At the same time, evolution or not, intelligent design or not, it still does not conflict with the message of Christ. There is no reason why God’ s creation could not have included evolution. While I personally do not believe in it, I do not doubt it could be true and I have not found anything in the bible directly contradicting it.
Human beings obviously have evolved. Wisdom teeth are a great example. We don’t need them. In fact, I didn’t get mine. Why? Because I got one of the newly evolved human body models in which to dwell, I suppose! But I am stoked for evolution so I didn’t have to have oral surgery! Wahoo! So again, evolution and creation isn’t even the argument (is it?) because it doesn’t disprove the validity of anything on either side.
While I'm not arguing against the bible, per se, I am arguing against the existence of an ultimate entity. Granted, purely from the standpoint of Occam's Razor.
Following Occam’s razor and it’s “ex parsimoniee” (or however you spell it) mentality, then I guess my question for you would be show me a simpler explanation. The bible (both OT and NT) makes references to us having to learn very childish spiritual things in order to understand. Jesus often was quoted as saying that children get it, but we do not. The whole concept of God is, God was, and God will be….and here is multitudes of evidence through not only ancient texts but archaeology, supernatural occurrences (NOT the virgin mary appearing in a tortilla…ugh!), and most importantly personal experience and encounters, seems the easiest to me. Your court on that one.
If an incredibly complex entity is required to create what is, as far as we can tell, a much less complex universe, then what even more complex entity was necessary to create the first one? And so on, going back forever. Since we’ve already covered that the bible does in fact agree with evolution and scientists have all but thrown out the big bang theory (which would still have to explain who created the bang?), etc. etc. Show me a solution to this. The most valid of evidence, both religiously and practically, points to a higher being. You are right, I cannot explain who created the existence of God. But again….only use a percentage of my brain. In essence, this still does not disprove the message of Christ, salvation, heaven/hell, etc. Don’t really know how to answer this one because I don’t know what you are asking? No matter what the reason, you cannot deny we exist. Unless you agree with the buddhist idealism of everything in this world being an illusion. In which case....who's illusion, and how are we all managing to have the same one?
The Noble Eightfold Path, that you mentioned earlier, (along with its sister philosophy the Four Noble Truths), again do not conflict with the bible. In fact, it sounds a lot like an Eastern-influenced Ten Commandments, doesn’t it? Even the whole concept of “karma” is true in the sense that what goes around definitely does come around. I don’t see any issue here that conflicts with the message of Christ. What I want to know is, what happens after you die? I try my best to live sincerely in THIS world, but the OTHER world is gonna be a lot longer. What do you believe happens?