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  1. #2131
    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    Life long agnostic atheist here. Bart Ehrman is one of my favorite authors on religion along with Richard Price. I like how Ehrman describes himself as an agnostic atheist, because agnostic simply means I don't know and atheist is not believing in a god.
    What some christians fail to understand is that for some of us to be stuck worshipping a loving blood thirsty vengeful god for all of eternity would be its own type of hell. I'm not too worried about hell since Jesus himself didn't even believe in it.
    I'm going to be really pedantic:
    agnostic is without any belief (in God)
    atheist is believing that there isn't God
    Pedantically it's incorrect to say both, but I can see where he's going with that distinction

    As someone who for so many years really really disliked (not sure whether to say the word "despised"? a close thing though) both Christianity and Christians I'm grounded in all sorts of arguments against the existence of God, fallibility of religion, from many different angles, including the currently popular evolutionary biology thinking. My own opinion today is that it impossible to prove in a series of logical statements that God exists and also impossible to do the same that God doesn't. In my opinion that's exactly what faith is about.

    Something I entirely failed to understand when I hated religion (especially Christians!) is that Faith isn't a logical argument, it's not saying x+y=z therefore God exists, nor is it just flipping a coin and deciding arbitrarily to believe something. Faith is an experience. That's both a huge problem, and a huge benefit. I can't write here any proof I'm right, just the same as you can't prove it's not. But it's a benefit because it can't be disproven. IMHO someone can't logically argue why God exists but they can give their testimony of what happened to them (which is an experience and so not logically disputable). And a great example is the very start of this thread
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  2. #2132
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    I'm not too worried about hell since Jesus himself didn't even believe in it.
    Where did you get that idea?

    “Don’t fear those who kill the body,” Jesus said, “rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28; see also 5:29-30; 23:15,33; Luke 10:15; 16:23).
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  3. #2133
    Registered User 7Seconds's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    I'm going to be really pedantic:
    agnostic is without any belief (in God)
    atheist is believing that there isn't God
    Pedantically it's incorrect to say both, but I can see where he's going with that distinction
    Theism and Gnosticism refer to two separate things. Theism relates to belief, specifically that a god exists. Theists believe in a god and atheists do not. Gnosticism, however, relates to knowledge.

    I think the label works. I do not have a full-fledged belief in a god, but I do not claim to know for a fact that no god exists. So my atheism follows from my agnosticism - no reason to believe the god hypothesis, therefore no belief. Most atheists I've run into are agnostic. Gnostic atheists, on the other hand, do not believe in a god and also claim to know that for a fact.



    ETA:

    The Jewish perspective


    There is a famous story told in Chassidic literature where the Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

    One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?” The Master responds “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all — the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

    “This means,” the Master continued “that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’” —Martin Buber, Tales of Hasidim Vol. 2 (1991)
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  4. #2134
    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    I'm going to be really pedantic:
    agnostic is without any belief (in God)
    The literal translation of agnostic is without knowledge. That's where I'm coming from on the use of agnostic. I don't know.
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  5. #2135
    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    Where did you get that idea?

    “Don’t fear those who kill the body,” Jesus said, “rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28; see also 5:29-30; 23:15,33; Luke 10:15; 16:23).
    Because the original transalation used Gehenna. Gehenna has often been mistranslated as hell. It was a real place a valley in Jerusalem where child sacrifice was practiced. Jesus didn't believe in a hell, he was jewish. He believed in heaven, but that's where god lived. People, with few exception, don't get to go to heaven. Jesus believed that heaven was going to be here on Earth, those that opposed god would be killed/wiped off the face of the Earth, not suffer in hell for eternity. Jesus didn't even believe that he was god, and please spare me John or any of Paul's writings. There's a reason John is called the asynaptic gospel, and Paul never met Jesus and preached a completely different message than Jesus did. Paul preached salvation. Jesus preached keeping the laws.
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  6. #2136
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    The literal translation of agnostic is without knowledge. That's where I'm coming from on the use of agnostic. I don't know.
    It's a teeny bit more than that. It's that a First Cause is not known and cannot be known.
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  7. #2137
    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    ... and please spare me John or any of Paul's writings...
    Like any book, political argument or religion - If you only accept certain parts, discard other bits and selectively interpret words, you can bend the meaning in many different directions.
    The orthodox (as in normal, not as in a specific church) Christian belief is that the bible is considered as a whole, so to argue against core Christian beliefs you'd need to do that.

    Some of the best thinkers (of all sorts of varied opinions) knew their opponents ideas almost better than they did and were able to demolish their opponents. Happy to debate in good nature, but please "attack" based on opposing core Christian belief rather than an unorthodox selective view otherwise it's a straw man argument (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man).
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  8. #2138
    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    Some of the best thinkers (of all sorts of varied opinions) knew their opponents ideas almost better than they did and were able to demolish their opponents. Happy to debate in good nature, but please "attack" based on opposing core Christian belief rather than an unorthodox selective view otherwise it's a straw man argument (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man).
    Pointing out that hell doesn't exist in the bible and that as a jew Jesus didn't believe in it is hardly an unorthodox selective view. It's one held by most biblical historians.
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  9. #2139
    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 7Seconds View Post
    Gnostic atheists, on the other hand, do not believe in a god and also claim to know that for a fact.
    I don't have the hubris to make that claim. I wish my evangelical counterparts could say the same.
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  10. #2140
    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    Pointing out that hell doesn't exist in the bible and that as a jew Jesus didn't believe in it is hardly an unorthodox selective view. It's one held by most biblical historians.
    it might be selective if it depended on excluding Paul's writings or John, Revelation etc.

    But still, we can argue on whether Jesus taught hell exists like some medieval European painting or whether it means being destroyed, or not destroyed but eternally apart from God, or thrown in a literal fire, or why the Bible refers to Hades and if that's different, etc, or of heaven has clouds and harps in the sky or a new Jerusalem on new earth etc but all of this is just a digression, going down some rabbit holes on side issues. Does it matter?

    The big deal of Christianity is believing that there is a God who created the universe AND that Jesus is your Lord and saviour, and faith is not a logical argument to prove or disprove it is experiencing God.

    Let's discuss/disagree on that bit instead, tackle the big issue not step around it

    Why are we letting ourselves get sidetracked into logical knots on these side issue which by comparison are insignificant. This is exactly what I was banging on about when I talked about debating what kind or tires.

    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    ... ... ...
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  11. #2141
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    As an idea, certainly the imagery and ideas of hell have evolved. Even before we get to the New Testament writers, hell was an evolving concept. The Old Testament talks mostly about Sheol, which is closer to the Greek idea of Hades. The idea of hell may have come the ancient Middle East first from the Zoroastrians.

    Paul doesn't use the word hell. John doesn't use the word. Matthew uses the word the most, but, it is consistent with Mark and Luke. But ultimately, there are so few references to Hell in the Bible, that it just opens the door to future generations writing into the gap with all sorts of ideas, imagery and doctrines.
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    Registered User thedickus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    it might be selective if it depended on excluding Paul's writings or John, Revelation etc.

    But still, we can argue on whether Jesus taught hell exists like some medieval European painting or whether it means being destroyed, or not destroyed but eternally apart from God, or thrown in a literal fire, or why the Bible refers to Hades and if that's different, etc, or of heaven has clouds and harps in the sky or a new Jerusalem on new earth etc but all of this is just a digression, going down some rabbit holes on side issues. Does it matter?

    The big deal of Christianity is believing that there is a God who created the universe AND that Jesus is your Lord and saviour, and faith is not a logical argument to prove or disprove it is experiencing God.

    Let's discuss/disagree on that bit instead, tackle the big issue not step around it

    Why are we letting ourselves get sidetracked into logical knots on these side issue which by comparison are insignificant. This is exactly what I was banging on about when I talked about debating what kind or tires.
    Side tracked? The issue at hand is christianity and what Jesus preached. Jesus never once claimed that he was devine or a lord and savior. There is no historical proof of this. In John he declares himself to be devine, it was the last gospel written as early christians beliefs on Jesus changed. Mark (the first written), Matthew, and Luke never mentioned that Jesus thought he was devine. This is far from insignificant. This is the crux of the issue. Jesus preached one thing and that was righteousness and repenting would be the key to everlasting life on the kingdom here on Earth (not heaven, people don't do to heaven). Paul preached something completely different, that salvation was the key to get to heaven. These are not side issues, they are the issues. Jesus was a jew, he didn't believe in hell, and Gehenna is not hell. He believed that evil people would be destroyed.
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post

    The big deal of Christianity is believing that there is a God who created the universe AND that Jesus is your Lord and saviour, and faith is not a logical argument to prove or disprove it is experiencing God.

    The Bible is one of the most significant and influential books in Western and world history. It's a group of people making and remaking the stories that shape them, asking the deepest questions and then wrestling with the answers. Plus a lot of it is just flat out, balls-to-the-wall nuts. It’s fascinating to me.

    The faith question in general isn’t all that interesting to me. Obviously, I have no problem with the average person having faith. I do have issue with people who make policy for the rest of us having that level of faith.
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    Originally Posted by 7Seconds View Post
    The faith question in general isn’t all that interesting to me. Obviously, I have no problem with the average person having faith. I do have issue with people who make policy for the rest of us having that level of faith.
    And therein lies the problem.
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    My thing is.....

    where was christianity before christ ?

    2,000 years ago is a drop in the hat relative to how long we as homo sapiens have be doing our things here on planet earth, and yet in the last 2,000 short years christianity tells us that a god with jesus as his son, created all of all this ?

    I can't explain the Bible because it's pretty intricate, but looking at the big picture of any religion based on a higher power ?

    I think it's all based on human frailty with a need to surrender (from time to time) to something .
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    And therein lies the problem.
    Absolutely...

    ....however, in the spirit of the thread, there is also a vast, unending ocean of human belief, ritual, architecture, arts, intellectual energy, social infrastructure and community support engendered by religion that confers upon it pride of place in the list of our species most precious cultural creations.
    As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.
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    Originally Posted by 7Seconds View Post
    Absolutely...

    ....however, in the spirit of the thread, there is also a vast, unending ocean of human belief, ritual, architecture, arts, intellectual energy, social infrastructure and community support engendered by religion that confers upon it pride of place in the list of our species most precious cultural creations.
    I agree there is much beauty in our world, I'm not sure if it exists because of or in spite of religion. I'm liking this thread so far. This is the "friendliest" I've had the chance to be when it comes to discussing religion. It usually devolves into an if you don't believe what I believe then you're just going to hell thread. I'm sure this one when will end up no different when I see the arguments presented. BTW I watched the video on the RNA World. Interesting, hard for me to fully follow as science isn't my strong suit.
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    Originally Posted by Oceanside View Post
    My thing is.....

    where was christianity before christ ?

    2,000 years ago is a drop in the hat relative to how long we as homo sapiens have be doing our things here on planet earth, and yet in the last 2,000 short years christianity tells us that a god with jesus as his son, created all of all this ?

    I can't explain the Bible because it's pretty intricate, but looking at the big picture of any religion based on a higher power ?

    I think it's all based on human frailty with a need to surrender (from time to time) to something .
    There was no christianity before Jesus. For Jesus there was only his religion which was judiasm. Jesus was a practicing jew. Jesus never believed or said he was god's son.
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    When I read the old testament I can see echos of Jesus and New Testament and see where it's going.

    Like a thriller book that has a twist in the plot, that doesn't mean the earlier part was wrong or different book, just that as you read the book you suddenly you gain a new perspective on the whole thing and if you re-read it after knowing the whole plot you'd see the signs. That's my Old Testament New Testament explanation anyway

    There's a heap of stuff with Jesus talking about his father and there is so much in the Bible about that. You could only conclude that Jesus didn't make that claim if you excluded substantial parts of the Bible, like exclude Romans and all of Paul's stuff for example. So selective interpretation?

    We should agree to disagre on both these points because to me they're both self evident when considering the complete text. But obviously not for you

    Edit: Got to say I'm very pleased with the friendliness of this thread, that we can fundimentally disagree on all sorts of points but remain on respectful and good natured discussion. A rare gem on the internet!
    Last edited by OldFartTom; 02-23-2021 at 01:55 AM.
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    Like a thriller book that has a twist in the plot, that doesn't mean the earlier part was wrong or different book, just that as you read the book you suddenly you gain a new perspective on the whole thing and if you re-read it after knowing the whole plot you'd see the signs. That's my Old Testament New Testament explanation anyway
    This speaks of the differences in the old and new testaments: "having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." (Col 2:14)

    I've heard the bible simplified with:

    OT: Jesus is coming
    Gospels: Jesus is here
    Remaining NT: Jesus is coming again

    Throughout there's the story of God's love and our reconciliation, i.e., how sinful man can spend eternity in heaven.
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    This speaks of the differences in the old and new testaments: "having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." (Col 2:14)

    I've heard the bible simplified with:

    OT: Jesus is coming
    Gospels: Jesus is here
    Remaining NT: Jesus is coming again

    Throughout there's the story of God's love and our reconciliation, i.e., how sinful man can spend eternity in heaven.
    Here's my issue with Pauline epistles. Thirteen books of the new testament are attributed to Paul. Seven of which are "undisputed" and historians universally agree were written by Paul. Colossians ain't one of them.
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    There was no christianity before Jesus. For Jesus there was only his religion which was judiasm. Jesus was a practicing jew. Jesus never believed or said he was god's son.
    The Bible actually DOES say that Jesus SAID he was the Son of God.

    "What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?" (John 10:36)
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    Originally Posted by thedickus View Post
    Here's my issue with Pauline epistles. Thirteen books of the new testament are attributed to Paul. Seven of which are "undisputed" and historians universally agree were written by Paul. Colossians ain't one of them.
    Why would it matter if it was Paul, whom I believe it was, or someone else? If an author is not explicitly stated then we don’t need to explicitly know.
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    Originally Posted by 2nd_chance View Post
    The Bible actually DOES say that Jesus SAID he was the Son of God.

    "What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?" (John 10:36)
    John is the asynaptic gospel, it doesn't use any other sources like Mark, Matthew, and Luke. John was written some 70 years after Jesus died and is the only one to represent Jesus as divine. By this time the thinking of early christians about Jesus had changed. KInd of strange that Mark (the earliest written gospel), Matthew, and Luke all forgot to mention that Jesus was actually god. Most early christians held more of an adoptionist christology, where after Jesus' death or baptism, depending on which book you read that god "adopted" Jesus as his son. Early christians didn't believe that god/Yahweh, the holy spirt/logs, and Jesus were all the same person. We have Tertullian to thank for that nonsense, and that was a couple of centuries after Jesus' death.

    Originally Posted by 2nd_chance View Post
    Why would it matter if it was Paul, whom I believe it was, or someone else? If an author is not explicitly stated then we don’t need to explicitly know.
    What makes you believe this, when virtually all credible biblical historians don't believe this. They attribute seven of the thirteen books to Paul. Why it matters is that early church leaders believed that apostolic authorship was required for a book to make it into the biblical canon. People with their own agenda, like the misogynist that wrote 1 Timothy, claimed to be Paul to push their ideas through. I'm guessing you also believe that the books of the new testament were written by people who actually knew Jesus and were his actual disciples. This is also not true and a view firmly help by biblical scholars. Please spare any William Lane Craig references, as Richard Price says about him, he's not a historian, he's just trying to get folks saved.
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    While I'm not saying academic theology or the latest interpretation of history is a bad thing, but if it causes someone to stumble from Faith and the message then that is bad. The study of Biblical history and theological debates are both creations of people.

    My belief is that: Faith is experiencing God, not based on knowledge.

    To roughly quote Romans 10:9 We're told that a person is saved if they have faith in their heart and admit Jesus is their saviour. It doesn't say that it is earned by obscure knowledge and a certain amount of study. (This is not saying people aren't then obligated to read the Bible as a consequence).

    That is such a telling comment, that someone was described as not being a historian just trying to get folks saved. Based on the Bible, which is more important being a historian or spreading the Kingdom.

    It's not my priority what either William Craig or Richard Price think, or which of them is the most clever, or who published the best research papers.

    Like principle of taking the log out of my own eye first... I'd be better off just reading the Bible more and opening my heart more before worrying about which academic has the most accurate theology/history research

    I think this kind of hair splitting academic argument risks dividing people and causing people to stumble if people start placing human logic above faith.

    (Above posted with best intentions, not intended to be inflammatory or an attack on anyone's views)
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    Originally Posted by Oceanside View Post
    My thing is.....

    where was christianity before christ ?

    2,000 years ago is a drop in the hat relative to how long we as homo sapiens have be doing our things here on planet earth, and yet in the last 2,000 short years christianity tells us that a god with jesus as his son, created all of all this ?

    I can't explain the Bible because it's pretty intricate, but looking at the big picture of any religion based on a higher power ?

    I think it's all based on human frailty with a need to surrender (from time to time) to something .
    It's to do with the arising of self consciousness and the resultant duality.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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    Originally Posted by ArchAngel'73 View Post
    I'm not Catholic and I associate with no Christian denomination so it does not matter to me what some churches may define as hell because what really matters is how the individual defines hell based on their relationship with God.

    I don't claim to know what hell is neither. By my definition, spending eternity out of favor with God is hell. And that's all I give a f*ck about.
    If you haven't always existed, you can't. You can't be half eternal.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    If you haven't always existed, you can't. You can't be half eternal.
    I hope God is taking notes, looks like he was going to make a mistake before you pointed that out

    I completely agree with ArchAngel on that one
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    I hope God is taking notes, looks like he was going to make a mistake before you pointed that out

    I completely agree with ArchAngel on that one
    You won't be disappointed.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    ...To roughly quote Romans 10:9 We're told that a person is saved if they have faith in their heart and admit Jesus is their saviour...
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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