Friday, April 06, 2012

Greater love hath no man than this

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, who was with him at and since the creation of the world, to die the agonising death of a cursed criminal. The cross that killed the Son of God blotted out our every sin: that which was torture for Him was a sweet gift to us – the path to eternal life.

On this Good Friday, take a moment to reflect on the man hanging upon that cross. Consider that our every selfish thought, our pride, our fits of anger, our lies, jealousy, greed and intolerance drove those nails into His feet and hands. Even in His deepest agony, He was forgiving us.

The death of Christ brought His disciples to the very depths of despair: they were abandoned, mocked and disillusioned. And yet they possessed within their hearts the peace which passes all understanding: an assurance, a hope that their time of testing might pass and that the curse of death might be conquered.

They did not know; they believed.

And the message they believed has been central to the Christian faith for almost 2000 years. It is one that has to be reinforced continually at times of stress, despair and danger; the moments when faith is tested and the will to overcome is undermined. This is why Good Friday is so central in its symbolism: the descent of darkness, the portents of destruction, the expiry of vision and hope. Good Friday comes to every person at different times, when failure robs life of all meaning, joy and love. It is the collapse of enterprise, confidence, relationships and dignity. It is the descent into Hell.

Christians endure what Josephus referred to as ‘that most wretched of deaths’ on Good Friday because of the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection: it sustains us through the despair. But this life does not promise the joy and ecstasy of Easter: that is for another place. All that we can expect on earth is to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness: the world will hate us, but it hated Him first. We may be cast aside as weirdos, extremists, phobes and bigots. But they despised and rejected Him first.

Today is a time to reflect, remember, re-enact how our sin brought Jesus to His death on Calvary and what that death meant for our sinfulness and redemption. How can we not be grateful? Love so amazing, so divine, demands our souls, our lives, our all.


Blogger David B said...

I'm curious about Christian views, since atheists like myself are often criticised for taking a literal view of the Bible and Christian faith which does not reflect the truth of Christianity.

Does this whole redemption idea require a literal Adam and Eve and fall to be meaningful? Or what?

Could not a benevolent God have found some more obviously humane way of redeeming humanity, without a blood sacrifice?

Could not an omniscient God have foreseen the fall?

Could not an omnipotent God have avoided the fall (literal or allegorical?) in the first place?

Was the crucifixion bound to happen? If so, where is the merit of the sacrifice?

Might Jesus or Judas or Pilate have acted differently? If so, what if they had?

As I say, I'm interested in what Christians really think, since I have been accused - by some commenters on this blog IIRC - of addressing my own preconceptions of Christianity, rather than the Real Thing.

This in no way implies that I believe the biblical accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection, among other reasons because of the dearth of non biblical confirmation of Matt 27 51-53, and various internal inconsistencies in the gospel accounts.

Nor does it imply my belief in any anthropomorphic God.

David B

6 April 2012 at 10:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Dr Cranmer

Thank you.

"For when He was on the Cross, I was on His mind".

May He be on our minds today and everyday.

God Bless you.

6 April 2012 at 10:53  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

David B, in the manner of the New Atheists, you've just asked for a degree course in theology in a soundbite, which even the Divine would be hard pressed to provide. However, to answer your immediate questions

"Does this whole redemption idea require a literal Adam and Eve and fall to be meaningful?"
No. There is a whole biological-theological argument involving two real figures whom the DNA tells us actually DID exist, called Scientific Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, but these two lived in different periods and never met. For Adam and Eve, read mankind in general.

"Could not a benevolent God have found some more obviously humane way of redeeming humanity, without a blood sacrifice?"
Define "benevolent". Do you mean a nanny type figure who spends thier existence blowing your nose and wiping your backside for you? If so, you radically need to update your image of God. Try some of that thought that atheists claim for their monopoly.

"Could not an omniscient God have foreseen the fall?"
I'm sure he did - that doesn't mean He made it happen.

"Could not an omnipotent God have avoided the fall (literal or allegorical?) in the first place?"
Yes He could. An omnipotent God can do anything which can possibly be done. This means that even He can't do something which is a contradiction in terms, such as make a square circle or a married bachelor. Similarly, even He cannot stop humanity sinning without depriving them of their free will. Theology 101.

"Was the crucifixion bound to happen? If so, where is the merit of the sacrifice?"
No, it wasn't bound to happen - He volunteered for it to help us out. Consequently, there is merit in that He didn't have to do it. He doesn't need us, but he did it anyway.

"Might Jesus or Judas or Pilate have acted differently? If so, what if they had?"
Yes, and I don't know.

I'm sorry if I sound short or curt, but you really are asking questions which most Christians take years to work through, and it is a source of major irritation to us how self-congratulatory atheists can be when they don't get pat answers to massive questions. It seems to confirm them in their opinions of their own cleverness and they consequently don't look any further.

6 April 2012 at 11:26  
Blogger non mouse said...

God Bless all, on what seems to me the holiest of days. Thank you, Your Grace, for those words from the beautiful hymn.

While I deplore affective piety, preferring the plain cross to the one 'with the little man on it,' I quite see that the modern mind can't get the picture, otherwise.

6 April 2012 at 11:30  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

David B

If you are genuine and not mocking at the foot of the Cross, read the full text of the Exsultet for your answers. Even better, listen to it being sung as you read the words.

Praeconium Paschale
O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Catholic's refer to Adam's sin as the felix culpa - "Fortunate Fall."

St. Augustine:
“God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to allow no evil to exist.”

Thomas Aquinas:
"God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom."

Ambrose spoke of the "fortunate ruin of Adam" in the Garden of Eden seeing his sin bringing more good to humanity than if he had stayed perfectly innocent.

We can become One with Christ, we are able to join the Godhead! Imagine Lucifer's rage.

6 April 2012 at 11:35  
Blogger Prodicus said...

David B

I'm curious about Christian views, since atheists like myself are often criticised for taking a literal view of the Bible and Christian faith which does not reflect the truth of Christianity.

--- Christianity is not a book. It's a huge throng of people... who share a book. Get about a bit. Find yourself a Christian academic or two, someone at your level who would enjoy talking things over with you with no strings attached.

Does this whole redemption idea require a literal Adam and Eve and fall to be meaningful?

--- Not as I think you mean 'require' and 'Adam and Eve', no.

Could not a benevolent God have found some more obviously humane way of redeeming humanity, without a blood sacrifice?

--- God alone knows, frankly. (Some questions do not have answers.)

Could not an omniscient God have foreseen the fall?

--- We assume that He did, kind of, being omniscient - but 'foreseen' is a time-bound word and God is not within time. 'Before' & 'after' & 'foreseen' don't apply.

Could not an omnipotent God have avoided the fall (literal or allegorical?) in the first place?

--- Not without making humans unfree which would have made our freedom to choose, to love or to do any other free act impossible.

Was the crucifixion bound to happen? If so, where is the merit of the sacrifice?

--- No, it wasn't *bound* to happen. It did happen though, as the confused press reports of it attest.

Might Jesus or Judas or Pilate have acted differently? If so, what if they had?

--- They might. Who knows? As in: 'Directions to London? Well, you shouldn't start from here.'

As I say, I'm interested in what Christians really think, since I have been accused - by some commenters on this blog IIRC - of addressing my own preconceptions of Christianity, rather than the Real Thing.

--- Well, you have to agree it's possible that you do just that. Don't we all? I often do.

This in no way implies that I believe the biblical accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection, among other reasons because of the dearth of non biblical confirmation of Matt 27 51-53, and various internal inconsistencies in the gospel accounts.

--- Ever read totally different accounts of the same even in the Guardian and the Mail? The Mirror and the Express?

Nor does it imply my belief in any anthropomorphic God.

--- Jolly good. Anthropomorphising God is never a sound policy for us. If you're God, on the other hand…

6 April 2012 at 12:01  
Blogger Hereward said...

David B@ 10:20

Here's how I see it:-

The Adam & Eve story may be figurative or literal but it explains historical events.
The first humans disobeyed God and doomed themselves and their descendants to physical and spiritual death.

God could not have redeemed humanity without a blood sacrifice. He would be breaking His own rules. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22) This may not be humane but redemption is a benevolent act of sovereign grace.

Our omniscient God did foresee the fall and permitted it.

Our omnipotent God could have avoided the fall but He chose to create mankind regardless.

God did not have to save us. He chose to. The merit of the sacrifice rests in the sinless perfection of Jesus Christ who willingly died as a substitute for sinful man to make eternal life possible through faith in Him.

Both Jesus and Pilate had freedom of choice. They made their choices and the consequences are unchangeable, therefore speculation about what might have happened if they had acted differently leads nowhere.

6 April 2012 at 12:06  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

David B,

Your question is genuine and I don’t know if there could have been another way of redeeming this sinful world. Christianity does teach that Adam was a literal man who sinned and that the world we live in now is the legacy. As St. Paul says Jesus the man/God atoned for the sin of Adam. However, I find that every criticism of Christianity is answered by Christ. Why do some people suffer so terribly but others don’t? I don’t know but Jesus was there first accepting the price of our sin. Why are some afflicted by terrible addictions? I don’t know but Jesus was greviously tempted. That’s what made his triumph so stupendous. We think we have a lot to put up with in our modern democratic society but it pales into insignificance beside the suffering of Jesus. It is not a way of salvation that I would have designed but Almighty God has to tread carefully. He cannot demean our free will. He respects our independence. We have our difficulties but the way to overcome them is not by independence but by accepting his help. He proved himself on the cross.

6 April 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


Well reasoned, Sir. You are no 'babbling brook'.

6 April 2012 at 12:32  
Blogger len said...

Man was tempted to sin and succumbed to sin and then became a servant to sin and could not escape by his own efforts.
God foreknew that this would happen this was a result of man having free will to either rely on God or to be independent of God.God could have created a race of 'robots' but how can someone programmed to a certain response be capable of responding to love?.

God cannot condone sin.God cannot turn a' blind eye' to sin. sin MUST be judged and the penalty paid for sin.God`s sense of Justice and righteousness demands this!.
But God stood in our place at Calvary and took the punishment that was due to us upon Himself.
God is Eternal He stands outside of time and therefore Calvary is a present reality to God.So those who accept Christ as Saviour become One Spirit with Him( the Same Spirit that went through the Crucifixion )and therefore those who accept Christ as Saviour are accept by God as crucified and risen again with Christ.

This is the Love of God revealed to mankind through the atonement(for our sins) and the resurrection of Jesus Christ our mediator before a Holy God and our Saviour.
There is no other Way to Salvation.

One last thought God does not punish us because we 'are sinners' but this is a cause and effect principle, we reap what we sow unless there is Divine intervention.

6 April 2012 at 12:59  
Blogger len said...

The evidence that God foreknew all that would happen to mankind through the' fall of man'is given through hundreds of scriptures (approx 300)regarding the 'coming Saviour'(Jesus Christ) in the OT.
Gods plan for the salvation of Humanity is revealed more clearly in the NT.(Because if Satan had fully understood Christ`s mission the crucifixion would never have happened.)

'1 Peter 1:18-20 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.'

6 April 2012 at 13:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. The easiest way to search for God is to appreciate that the planet we live on has been tweaked for life to exist. Even a 23% tilt for the seasons to happen, and that wonderful stuff, water. Not to mention a magnetic field, and an oxygen supply. Had this discussion with a pal who gave the ‘sentient puddle’ argument. The depression the puddle sits in is a perfect fit for him. Where was a creator in that ? Well, some force caused the depression to occur. It didn’t just happen.

You see, you first have to take an intelligent creation on board before you analyse the nature of God and His intentions. Acceptance of the existence of God is required before considering whether or not he cares enough for us to do what happened two thousand years ago...

6 April 2012 at 13:16  
Blogger Just Me said...

David B

You have my deepest sympathy. That will sound patronising, and there is no way to excuse it. I don't mean to be though, I say it from the essence of years of struggle and anger. I still find the entire story a miasma of ineffable nonsense. However, I have something to add to that.

It is only my opinion that tells me that it is very difficult, if not nearly impossible, for one man to force another into believing in the existence of God. It is almost a futile exercise. Except maybe by small degrees, is it possible to influence someone over time by small, or large acts of compassion and gentle consolation, into feeling, or sensing the presence of God in their life.

I have always believed in God, and His presence as a reality. I have searched for answers for what seems like two hundred years. Some of the things I have learnt have been helpful and positive, and others have been less so. One real and solid truth that I have discovered for myself is this: You have to have the presence of God in your life to begin with before you can start on the road to faith in any of the things that religion will have to offer. Religion is crammed with ineffable nonsense, and it's almost as though the entire world of common sense and intelligence has to be abandoned before you can get the second step out of the way and progress with the third (whatever it might entail for the individual).

If you do have the slightest incline about the presence of God in your life, then I can only offer you advice on how you could proceed, which will be based on my own assumptions and discoveries from my own trials and tribulations. First of all, it is essential, I repeat, essential, to begin with intellectual honesty. Start with whatever your relationship with God might be and work with that. That's basically what I do. I have come to the conclusion that the Easter story is highly likely to be real, for no other reason than the fact that humans are genuinely this difficult to handle. I think there was no other way than this level of absurdity to hammer home any decent level of intrigue that would act out in the human sphere. Sad as that may sound. The human condition is rather traumatic on every level though, so why expect anything different? That wont sound like intellectual honesty to many, but it's what I use to satisfy myself that 100% compulsory belief in every daft detail is not necessary. We have the results of primitive fears about God and His anger all recorded in history. That's the lesson, should we choose to accept it.

I believe in One God and many prophets. I do not subscribe to any Trinity or other philosophical/theological theory about the complexity of God. There is only one God worthy of worship. And I press along with this in my heart of hearts and try my level best to keep a firm hold on intellectual honesty in as far as it is possible not to stray away from the God that keeps me going, here, in this bloody messy life.

6 April 2012 at 13:31  
Blogger Rory Martin said...

Adam and Eve were seen as literal by Jesus himself (matthew 19) and thus Paul(Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15 which explains why Jesus came into human history). If Adam was not literal then Jesus' death and resurrection was not literal and we Christians have believed in a complete delusion. But it is pretty difficult to disprove the gospels due to the evidence.

6 April 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger IanCad said...

David B,

As a man of faith (for as an atheist you most surely are) your concerns are quite legitimate. A literal Adam and Eve was a part of God's plan. His ways are not our ways.
That God is benevolent there is no doubt.
"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called tha sons of God." 1 John 3:1.
He is love. What greater manifestation could there be of this than the blood sacrifice of Himself through Christ?
"God was in Christ, reconciling the the world unto himself." 2 Corinthians 5:19.
Our concept of "Humane" is based upon our own weak reasoning. We cannot judge God by our own imperfect knowledge. We see but darkly, We know all power comes but from God. We have free will, God has foreknowledge. It is a mystery.
Our only hope is in the Grace we are promised by God through righteousness by faith as explained so well by Len yesterday.

6 April 2012 at 14:11  
Blogger peggy38 said...

David B,

I am just going to take one of your questions. On its own, it is more than enough subject matter to deal with.

You asked

"Could not a benevolent God have found some more obviously humane way of redeeming humanity, without a blood sacrifice?"

The best way to explain that is that we live in a universe of consequences. If we decide to put a gun to our head and pull the trigger, we will die.

Sin is suicide or a choice for death. Sin cuts us off from the wellspring of life which is God. Sin is also madness. And so we often say that the suicide was mad at the time he killed himself. And don't we wish that someone had been there to intervene?

Think of sin as that bullet flying towards your skull. You have lost your mind and have chosen death. The bullet is in flight. Then Jesus throws himself between you and death. He takes the bullet for you so that you might live.

This is the reason why he had to die for us in order to save us. Sin is a real thing that we decide to do which creates real consequences for us and the world. A righteous judge does not pretend that a crime has not been committed even if the criminal was mentally or emotionally compromised at the time. The crime must be addressed even as the compassionate judge accounts for whatever the extenuating circumstances in which the crime was committed.

We can think of sin as a crime against Love. It is violence against Love. All of our pettiness, meanesss, selfishness etc that we commit during our lifetimes are blows against Love. Now multiply those crimes by the number of all the people who have ever lived. Think of what we deserve for the sin pollution that we send out into our world which harms everyone eventually.

But Jesus took on all of those consequences, or punishment as it is more often termed, upon himself for our sake.

And he forgave us for it.

This unfathomable Love is at the heart of the Christian faith. There is nothing more worthy of our time, our study and our devotion than this mighty heart of Love. We Christians believe that this love is the expressed face of God. It is at the heart of the universe. For the person who makes it their all, there is indeed LIFE from Death.

Thank you, Jesus!

6 April 2012 at 15:03  
Blogger Gary said...

Sigh. Please remember the second commandment, Mr C.

6 April 2012 at 15:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

How is this a "graven image", worshiped as a god? Can you not tell a latria from a dulia?

Did God command Moses to make images of cherubim for the Ark of the Covenant and to embroider cherubim angels on the curtain of the Holy of Holies?

“When He who is bodiless and without form... existing in the form of God, empties Himself and takes the form of a servant in substance and in stature and is found in a body of flesh, then you draw His image..."
(St John of Damascus)

6 April 2012 at 16:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say Dodo, that Gary character must be one of those odd ball protestants, don’t you think ? Queer attitude to Christ on the cross, what !

6 April 2012 at 17:24  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Peggy has experessed it well. It is about free will, our choices and sin. However, our choice for sin is sometimes an addiction which makes us powerless to resist and that is why Jesus had to put himself between us and the bullet.

6 April 2012 at 18:34  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

I would like to address the question of whether any other way was possible, rather than the crucifixion and resurrection.

If we take the Old Testament records as literal then I believe that we find God did try anything and everything else first. For example, as current trends show, we want to be able to do what we want, when we want without anything stopping us. Or we want a set of rules that make things clear on how we should act so we know where the lines are. Or we want the world to be perfect and for humans to be incapable (or at least unknowing) of evil. Or we want to be able to have complete control of things, to be able to put things right by our own actions rather than rely upon anyone else.
Look at the take of the people of Israel as they go from just 2 in Eden to 2 nations in exile. They start off with no knowledge of evil and they mess it up. They are then left to it and they make an even bigger mess. They are then given brief moments of direction with longer moments of being left to it, still making a mess. Then they get given a list of things to do and not to do, with ways for them to put things right, and they STILL messed things up! God sent people with messages from him (prophets) telling them that they were messing things up and that they needed to sort themselves out but still they got it wrong.

God made it clear that going against Him meant separation and thus death. Therefore, for humans to be made right with God there had to be a death. And because separation from God is the most traumatic experience possible to experience, so the death to set things right had to be the most traumatic ever, so that it could be a true sacrifice in our stead.

6 April 2012 at 20:13  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Your Grace :

"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,Sorrow and love flow mingled down!Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore."

6 April 2012 at 20:26  
Blogger Preacher said...

Finding the truth means embarking on an unbiased & diligent investigation of all the available facts & reports available.
Many come to the Christian faith from different directions & backgrounds, I know that factors like the the total changes in many lives, born out by the many testimonies both ancient & modern must not be left out of the equation.
Each person must make their own choice to respond or reject the gospel, but it would be insanity to make a life or death decision without researching every available aspect first.
Don't forget, we are talking about eternal, not temporal issues here.
God Bless & guide you David B.

Blessings to all.

Special Blessings to our host for giving us all this forum.

6 April 2012 at 20:30  
Blogger outsider said...

Dear David B, The questions you ask are both important and interesting to millions of people of all faiths and none. They are just the sort of thing you might expect to see TV programmes about on Good Friday. But the schedules reveal that there is no programme on BBC1 or BBC2 today relating to the events of Good Friday and disputes over their meaning and relevance. There is nothing on the BBC website. Do you not, as an atheist, find that ... how shall we say, odd?

6 April 2012 at 22:09  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

There are some Protestants who understand the Commandment relating to worshippig "graven images" differently to Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

Sadly, for them the splendour of imagery and majesty of music and ritual are considered contrary to the Biblical law. There are differences over translations, interpretation and application.

Personally, I believe God endowed people with artistic talent to give thanks to Him and His creation. To celebrate and express joy and sadness - to paint, dance, write and to sing. This is a theological argument that goes back to at least the 8th century.

So, not so much strange but a rigid and sterner approach to worshipping God. That said, the proper relationship between images and the reality they represent needs to be kept appropriate. Many Protestants mistakenly believe Catholics and Orthodox Christians worship statues and Holy symbols and relics.

6 April 2012 at 22:53  
Blogger outsider said...

Dear Just Me,
Thank you for you Comment. The Comment section of His Grace's blog seems usually to be a cosy conversation between atheists and orthodox (with rows between Anglicans and Catholics) without much room inbetween.

As you say, we all come to see or deny God in our different ways. And there is a reason for that. As we know, God is the one word answer to a series of questions arising from childhood, such as what is life why are we here and what is the purpose of life.
The trouble is that God is just a word and most great religions (Hindusism, Judaism, Christianity and even the old Greeks) found that so dry that we need to conceive - even personify - God even though God is by nature inconceivable.

I (occasionally) pray to an Old Man in the Sky, even though I know full well there is no such person, because to do otherwise is too hard. That is the paradox of all theology. It starts with the proposition that God cannot be understood and then spends 3,500 years trying pin down a description of God and everything in God's mind to the finest detail. You cannot blame them. We all do it to some extent. But as you say, feeling the presence of God in your life is the basic and we can only get there in our own ways.

If you start as an atheist, like David B, I would suggest the Holy Spirit might be a better approach rather than God the Father, with all the baggage that goes with that term.

7 April 2012 at 02:14  
Blogger len said...

John 4:23-24
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

(It should be remembered that Jesus was talking to a Samaritan.)

Jesus reminds the woman that since she was a Samaritan she could not have been taught the truth about the Worship of God. The Samaritans had parts of the Old Testament which they recognized as inspired, (i.e. the Pentateuch), but they rejected all of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Since they rejected the prophecies of the Old Testament they also rejected the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. Salvation was coming to the world through the Jews.
Note the contrast here between the “true worshipers” and the Samaritans who followed their own traditions rather than the Word of God. This verse clearly demonstrates that God SEEKS true worshipers. There is such a thing as false worship, or ignorant worship. The Samaritans were guilty of ignorant worship. Jesus contrasts this with 'true worship'.

The 'Church' lost a great deal when it severed itself from its Jewish roots.

7 April 2012 at 07:34  
Blogger len said...

In fact when you divorce Christianity from its Jewish foundation much of 'Christianity' becomes meaningless.
The 'Church' tried to transform the Jewish' Jahshua'(Jesus) from a Jew into the'European'Jesus.'

'Jesus'was and is the' Lion of Judah' and should be thought of as such for He will ever remain so!.

Even the name 'Jahshua' is loaded with significance.

The name 'Jesus' is the Greek form of the Hebrew 'Joshua', or 'Jeho-shua', which has its roots in 'Jah-shua' meaning 'God Saves'. Not only does this name declare Christ's deity but it declares Him to be the God who saves! Now, this is a truth to which every knee shall bow - that God Saves! That through Jesus alone God saves sinners; that salvation is entirely of Him - from start to finish. Man simply has no part to play in it - the work is ALL of God - for God Saves.

Hallelu- Jah praise to Jah(God)

7 April 2012 at 07:52  
Blogger len said...

The rising tide of anti -semitism is possibly in anticipation (by opposing spiritual forces)to the return of the Lord to this Earth.

The 'Church' needs to get behind the plans of God for Israel and the Jewish people!.

Central to the LORD's plan is Israel and the Jewish people. Romans 11:11 explains that the Gentile believer has been chosen by God to bring the witness of the LORD to the Jewish people. As this message of Yeshua is brought back to, and received by, the Jewish people, they will say, "Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai" - "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!" and in so doing, usher in Yashua's return (Matthew 23:39).

7 April 2012 at 08:21  
Blogger David B said...

Thank you all for your courteous and sometimes kind replies.

Which I have read with great interest, in the spirit of trying to think about them in a way which interprets them critically on the one hand, but as sympathetically as I can on the other.

I find the latter easier to do with some of the replies than with others.

There seem to me to be hints of panentheism in a couple of the replies, and that I sort of understand.

I won't cover everything - it would be hard to fisk such a variety of posts.

I'm not persuaded by the argument from design, as Inspector appears to be.

Nor am I persuaded by arguments for benevolence, given bilharzia and other diseases, and the idea that a benevolent God who would act as 'The first humans disobeyed God and doomed themselves and their descendants to physical and spiritual death'

This strikes me as bizarre.

I dispute that I am a man of faith, as claimed by IanCad.

To quote Hitchens, with whom I concur on this point at least.

'Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.'

The literal Biblical creation accounts do indeed contradict science, though treating them as allegorical does not.

I saw one post hinting that atheists deny God in order to allow anything morally. I don't think that this is the case at all, many atheists are concerned with questions of morality in a Godless world - and the problem of morality in a putative God filled world for that matter. There is the euthyphro dilemma, after all.

Then there is the suggestion that the Holy Spirit is a better approach than God the Father and the baggage.

I can view that sympathetically, by going back to Hitchens.

'We have a need for what I would call "the transcendent" or "the numinous" or even "the ecstatic," which comes out in love and music, poetry, and landscape. I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't respond to things of that sort. But I think the cultural task is to separate those impulses and those needs and desires from the supernatural and, above all, from the superstitious.'

And it comes out in contemplating life, the universe and everything as best one can comprehend it, which provokes feelings of awe and wonder in my experience.

David B

7 April 2012 at 08:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. On the subject of nasty diseases, and earthquakes and the like. I believe that God has given us a package (Earth) to work with. It’s up to us to make it work, as indeed we are doing so with so many diseases conquered and earthquake proof building technology. Corrigan made the point that it’s not for God to blow our noses for us and to wipe our behinds. Strongly agree with that.

7 April 2012 at 12:40  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

David B.

You could spend years trying to understand it all, the question is whether you go on that journey within the church or without it. It's obvious not only that not all churchgoers are expert theologians but also that they don't all necessarily believe everything they are perhaps supposed to. Try reading "Christian Atheist " by Brian Mountford. Very enlightening.

7 April 2012 at 16:44  
Blogger David B said...

Jocelyn, I read through the amazon reviews of that book, and it looks to be the sort of book I need to read to understand some sorts of Christian positions.

On reading the reviews I found the name of Martin Rees springing to mind, as from what I have read about him that seems to me to be his sort of position.

I hope you have heard of him - one of the finest minds of the past century.

But in case you haven't I'll post a wiki link.,_Baron_Rees_of_Ludlow

When I read I found much there which mirrored my experiences of entering into and finally leaving ashram life.

For myself, I don't see any sort of journey within the church - not really the place for a somewhat evangelistic atheist, I think.

I must remember, though, that there are some people who try to understand life, the universe and everything from within various religions, and who try to eschew superstition, and even the supernatural, while doing so.

I have arrived at a metaphysical naturalist position myself, and think I have good grounds for this, though short of formal proof.


I would substitute 'happenstance' for 'God' in your post above.

It is not just here that I interact with religious people, of several stamps.

It has been interesting in all places to see that some religious people do not fit the stereotype of brainwashed, over-credulous, superstitious sheep, and hopefully some of the religious people here will see that atheists are not stereotypical hedonists, or 'angry at God', but as people concerned about truth and ethics.

I wonder if I'm right in supposing that the more thinking and less superstitious religious people come from and/or gravitate towards groups like the CoE, liberal Catholicism, the Quakers and a few others, as opposed to sects like the JWs, Southern Baptists, and other Biblical literalist sects.

What about Mormons? Their scriptures have an awful provenance, coming as they do from a convicted fraud, and are completely out of touch with any sort of scientific or historical reality.

Do you think it possible that there are Mormons who strive to interpret their scriptures in a way that is consistent with science and history?

And a question for the more literal Christians here - do you think the Mormons as doomed as you think I am?

David B


7 April 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Yes, of course I have heard of Martin Rees, and he is mentioned in the book. I found it helpful for me too see that there isn't much of a boundary between people who struggle with faith but nevertheless believe, and persons like myself who cannot sign up to the God of Christianity but are nevertheless profoundly interested in the whole business of faith.

7 April 2012 at 19:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Keep on developing that open mind David B, and you never know. On the subject of the more demanding Christian churches, personally feel that the life controlling nature of them is indeed harmful. Always been one for a take it or leave attitude on belief. Christ came across many who did not listen, and He didn’t pull his hair out, or theirs - He just walked away. Perhaps if the Inspector had been around when Christ came, He would have walked away from him too. An unsettling thought that is entertained from time to time.

7 April 2012 at 19:10  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

David you could also try Keith Ward's "What the Bible really teaches" and also "God outside the box" by Richard Harries. More a modern Liberal theologians take on Christianity.

7 April 2012 at 19:23  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Inspector, even St Peter denied Christ so you'd have been in good company!

7 April 2012 at 19:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

That is right Jocelyn Knockersbury. What disturbs the Inspector even more is that had he lived around that time, he might have signed up for the Roman Army. Get to see the known world plus a free short sword. Help to police the greatest empire ever, and learn how to crucify Rome’s enemies...

7 April 2012 at 19:33  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...


7 April 2012 at 19:34  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

David, a few points. You are not persuaded by the argument for design. Are you persuaded by the argument for evolution and if so why is randomness a better explanation than design?

You quote Hitchins as saying that we respect free enquiry and open-mindedness. You might want to look at this video on Youtube. It is fairly long and the debate doesn’t begin for about 12 minutes so you might want to turn it on and then write a few emails first.

You can decide who makes the better argument or responses to his opponent’s arguments. It is a long video but worth taking time over.

I wouldn’t get too tied up with those who take an extreme literalist position. The opponents of Christianity usually drag out these people as an argument against Christianity but if you read the early Fathers you will see they understood certain passages of scripture allegorically.

If Hitchins is right in our need for the transcendent then why not follow that to its logical conclusion. He appears rather to limit the free enquiry at this part and eliminate the possibility of God from the not so free enquiry.

7 April 2012 at 20:39  
Blogger len said...

The fact that anyone 'gets saved' at all is a mystery to many, myself included.
It is impossible(IMO)to 'drum up' enough faith to get saved!.If we could then we could boast MY faith has saved me.

Faith then is a gift from God.
It says in the scriptures that God rewards those who seek Him (earnestly)with all their Heart and all their Soul.

The Bible tells us where faith comes from. Heb 12:2 says "...Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith". And Rom 12:3 says " ... God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” These two verses clearly tell us that faith is not something that we do or a presence of mind that we develop, but that faith is a gift from God. Rom 10:17 says " ... faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God." So faith is a gift from God.

7 April 2012 at 20:39  
Blogger outsider said...

The supernatural is vital to millions of people of faith. To many other millions of us, the supernatural is a daunting barrier between us and Jesus's unique formula for peace and happiness that we have to try to circumvent.

7 April 2012 at 22:48  
Blogger David B said...

Shacklefree a few points back at you.

The first to say that this discussion is taking place in a very good spirit, for want of a better word lol.

We are addressing points, not attacking person. This is good.

I trust that you are well enough informed to be aware that evolution is a theory concerning the origin of species, not about the start of life or the start of the universe.

I have often seen atheists attack your POV with a response like 'evolution is not random, dumbass!' I rather deplore responses like that, but, while there is a randomness in evolutionary theory, there is also an algorithm. Which is not random.

Darwin was ignorant of much we know a lot about now, now, like genetics and epigenetics, but his insight was remarkable.

What, if anything, do you see as out of touch with reality in the following quote?

'If, in the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organisation, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season, or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to the conditions of their existence, causing an infinite in structure, constitution, and habits to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation had occurred useful to each beings own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterised will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and, from the strong principle of inheritance, they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterised. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection.'

I have seen the Hitch WLC debate before, and also familiar with other critiques of the KCA.

Craig fails to make his case, but this is not the format to go into this in detail.

Some people do seem to attach a lot of importance to the inerrancy of the Bible - look at Len in the post below yours.

Unless the Bible is inerrant - which it ain't, as the contrast between the two conflicting creation accounts vis a vis science certainly shows - then I am hardly likely to be persuaded by quotes from a book which was, I suppose, written by people grappling to understand life, the universe and everything from both a very much less informed view of the universe, and the same sort of prejudices regarding the Christian religion as present day Mullahs have about Islam, and Mitt Romney has about the Smith fraud.

I think Hitch over-stated a need for the transcendent a bit. Some people seem to prefer status symbols which they lie about.

Like the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who had a picture of him wearing a 30K watch airbrushed out of a picture and then lied about it.

Part one - too many charactors

7 April 2012 at 23:04  
Blogger David B said...

And part 2

But I personally, as did Hitch according to his own account, enjoy the feelings of wonder, awe, and being carried away by music, by landscape, and the contemplation of life, the universe and everything, without it requiring any sort of God.

Depends what is meant by 'God', of course. Ideas like God as metaphor for the deep rules of the universe, or God as ground of being, seem to me to be not so much wrong as confusing, and enabling of people like Len to take a scripture which is clearly errant as somehow persuasive.

To enable people to view God as the sort of figure who can literally flash his back parts at Moses, if you like (Ex 33 23).

When I criticise the Bible, people come back at me with words like 'context' and 'allegory', which is fair enough if the critic is not a literalist.

But then other people, like Len, come back with Bible verses that they seem to think definitive, infallible and all sorts of concepts like that.

This can be confusing.

David B

7 April 2012 at 23:04  
Blogger Just Me said...

Been getting this via email updates. It always ends up turning into a Darwin lecture. If I swear then this comment will be deleted. But to hell with Darwinian proof that there is no God, it's boring man. There is no proof of anything. It's all gas. Rapid fire bible scripture is equally dull. If you want to preach Jesus then say something relevant to the subject or sign up for bible study and the natural sciences. What we discover through our own initiative is good and wholesome, but Jesus will be watching to see how you use it. You can poke each other in the eyes with razor sharp formulas and church-endorsed bible beams, but that's just behaviour.

7 April 2012 at 23:32  
Blogger David B said...

Just Me, I don't think Darwin saw his work on the origin of species as any sort of proof against god. No more do I, though it does render the argument from design redundant regarding the origin of species.

Actually, I'm not sure that Darwin denied the existence of a God at all, though he did call lose any sympathy for Christianity, as a result of the death of a beloved daughter, and his view that there was no evidence for some absolute benevolence in nature's struggle for existence. As I understand him, anyway.

I think that he was something of a deist, though.

David B

7 April 2012 at 23:59  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

On your comment about evolution, David, you say that the theory is only about the development of species and not about the formation of the universe, but the problem is that it is used as the basis for trying to work it out, relying a lot upon the progression from state to state of matter. Indeed, for example, Dawkins' main arguments for evolution are laced together under this premise. So I hope you can understand why we might take it as the standard way of the theory being applied.
However, if it is not then the question has to be asked, how does evolution come about as a process if it has no link to the creation process of the universe?

On the Bible's 2 creation stories, there are more than a few ways that people understand these to be both accurate and yet not inconsistent. For example, my personal favouring is towards the idea that the story in Genesis 1 is general creation (that talks about days if creation that are not necessarily consecutive) and 2 is about a separate creation within creation where God creates a man and a woman with whom He meets, befriends and starts a chain of events in order to tell the world about its creator.
I am not saying that I am right, but it does seem to fit with the historical record of the world and the existence of the Jewish religion as written in the Old Testament.

8 April 2012 at 00:14  
Blogger len said...

The only way to interpret the Bible (IMO)is to let the Bible interpret itself.
It is apparent from all the contradictory teachings of the many'Christian' cults and denominations that they cannot all be right!.Yet each claim to be 'right'!.
And each use the Bible as the source of their teachings.
So the fault must lie not in the Bible but in the interpretation because God is NOT the author of confusion
So how do we interpret the Bible?.

This article might help.
'Biblical Principles for interpreting God`s Word'

8 April 2012 at 00:30  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...


Just arrived home from a lovely Easter Service.

Happy Easter!

Now, you scoundrel, slipping this little advert in for your protestant opinion whilst I've been.

You're relying on his understanding of interpreting scripture based on his own interpretation of scripture.

Ironic when you consider he wrote:

"If the Bible is the Word of God and God's revelation to man, then surely God would not give us His revelation without a way to accurately discern what He meant."

God did give us a way. He gave us His Church to teach and to interpret the Bible and promised His Spirit would guide its leaders.

8 April 2012 at 00:51  
Blogger Just Me said...

God so loved the world He drowned everybody and then appologised. Yeah OK. Then He whips himself to a pulp and gets nailed up, stabbed in the guts and dies. Then He comes back to life and says you can't kill Him for a penny cup of tea and vanishes, never to be seen again. He should have stuck to the drowning model, always go with your first instincts because first impressions are hard to shake off. And by all accounts, those who can't see beyond the absurdity of divine logic are doomed to a worse fate anyway, so drowning would have been a more loving gesture. My sarcasm is aimed at religion and not the God Who created the world.

8 April 2012 at 03:33  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Love so amazing, so divine, demands our souls...

Only cults demand your soul, your identity e.g:
- Communism
- Islam
- Sexual Eroticism
- Roman Constantinism

"He (Jesus) called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Only those who gave up their souls need to take the medicine and repent and be born again. Jesus only came for the sick who gave up their soul for a piece of religion.

And the leaders of the religion Jesus freed people from, killed him.

Has always been so. You can't put new wine into old wineskins.

8 April 2012 at 04:30  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Just Me

The target of your sarcasm not withstanding, it is self-evident that you know nothing of the God who created this world. Else you should not have said what you did.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 1 Cor 1:18-19

You know not what you despise.


8 April 2012 at 04:34  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Hi Carl,

St Paul was not the 13th apostle as he pretended to be.

8 April 2012 at 06:17  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

David B. You are right, Darwin was not an atheist. The modern theory of evolution in the biological sense relies upon random genetic mutation and natural selection, youthpasta, and therefore cannot be applied to non living things. When scientists speak of the evolution of the universe, etc they plainly aren't referring to the biological theory but simply to the way things have changed over time. Clearly there is a different theory according to whatever is being discussed but most theories explaining the development of things are going to involve change of some sort. Lumping the whole of science under the heading "evolution " and then dismissing it or opposing it is extremely foolish.

Opposing the misapplication of pseudo-scientific applications of Darwinism, for example applying it to the economy, or "social Darwinism " is right and proper but to extend that to opposition to biological science is absurd.

8 April 2012 at 07:25  
Blogger len said...

Dodo. You call me a 'Scoundrel' now ,I will, add that to my (long )list of insults that have been hurled at me by you and your 'associates.'

I think you will find that you are wrong again(sigh)Jesus didn`t give us a body of fallen men to interpret His Word for us.Fallen men would only put their own 'spin' on the Word of God and that is exactly what your 'Church has done!.

If you want to understand a book who would be the best person to do that for you ?.
That`s right got it!(hopefully)The Author!.

Now who is the author of the Bible?.That`s right!(hopefully) the Holy Spirit( now has the Roman Church captured the Holy Spirit and is holding Him hostage in Rome) ?No!Of course not....God is omnipresent .

Who did Jesus say would guide us into all Truth(did Jesus He say a group of men in Rome?)No (yet again).

There are three things that must all agree to be' the Truth.'

One. the Word of God
Two, the Words of Jesus Christ
Three, the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.

When these three agree you can be sure that you have arrived at the truth.

Jesus said 'But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.'
(John 16:13)

8 April 2012 at 08:42  
Blogger David B said...

Jocelyn - Well put, I concur. Some scientists in some contexts do indeed misuse, or perhaps use as a metaphor, the word 'evolution' outside the context of descent with modification.

Another bugbear of mine is the misuse of the word 'theory', when what is meant is 'speculative hypothesis', but that is another story.

Len - let's look at your post

'The only way to interpret the Bible (IMO)is to let the Bible interpret itself.'

OK, though the same might well apply to the Book of Mormon, the Koran, the Unpanishads et al

'It is apparent from all the contradictory teachings of the many'Christian' cults and denominations that they cannot all be right!.Yet each claim to be 'right'!.'

Indeed! They can, however, all be wrong. Or even right or wrong to a greater or lesser degree

'And each use the Bible as the source of their teachings.'

Indeed, though some use other evidence as well. Which is why, for most, the geocentric view of the universe has been dropped, as has the idea of a 6000 year old earth.

'So the fault must lie not in the Bible but in the interpretation because God is NOT the author of confusion'

We have yet to establish the both the existence of a God, or that a putative God inspired the Bible.

Further, are there not biblical verses that imply that the Bblical God did sow confusion? Regarding Pharoah, for instance?

I looked at your link, which appears to put forward an interpretation of the Bible that demands a young earth, a literal Adam and Eve, the literal Flood, and all sorts of other things contradicted by observation and sense. So that can safely be dismissed.

David B

8 April 2012 at 08:55  
Blogger len said...

The religious leaders who were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ hated Jesus because He undermined' their authority over the people.
So much so that they constantly planned to kill Him.Jesus is as much an offence to many 'religious people' today.The main factor behind this hate is pride.Total reliance on Jesus Christ for salvation robs the Church of its authority, power, prestige, and position.And the church(in many cases) hates to come second place to Christ.

Of course it will never say this openly.

The people wanted a King they could see to lead them so they chose Saul.
The Pope is the 'Saul' of the people and robs Christ of His true position.

8 April 2012 at 08:57  
Blogger Just Me said...

I have unsubscribed. I will no longer be aware of any replies. Good luck to all and may the Force be eternally present.

8 April 2012 at 09:00  
Blogger len said...

David B,
I think if you look at the Bible as I suggested you will see that it contains truth.
Of course if you want to reject the truth all you will be left with is speculation.

your choice.

8 April 2012 at 09:02  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

He Bible cannot "interpret itself " for it contains many internal contradictions. It contains for example four differing interpretations of the life of Jesus. Once you say that it "interprets itself " you actually leave it open for anyone to interpret it according to the beliefs they already hold.

8 April 2012 at 09:24  
Blogger David B said...

Len, am I right in thinking that looking at the Bible as you suggest leaves us with a six thousand year old earth, a literal Adam and Eve, a literal Noah account?

If so, then it contains untruth. That view is demonstrably plain wrong, to the point where denying it would be perverse.

I am left with doing my best to understand life, the universe and the human condition as best I can.

That will do for me - I am not going to abandon my critical faculties on a promise of pie in the sky when I die, or threats of eternal flames.

David B

8 April 2012 at 09:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. Agreed, much of the bible is in the form of allegory. It has to be. No problem with that personally.

8 April 2012 at 09:52  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

leb said ...
" ... (sigh)Jesus didn`t give us a body of fallen men to interpret His Word for us.Fallen men would only put their own 'spin' on the Word of God and that is exactly what your 'Church has done!"

Just read your Church Fathers, read your protestant and catholic theologians, modern and ancient, and scour your internet. What do you find? Since Christ lived, died and rose, men have always and always will, sought to understand the Divine mystery of God and His ways.

The Bible is not a book capable of being opened and "understood" by individual men. It was written by men under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It uses terms and references located in time, though its message is timeless. It uses unfamiliar language and these terms have to be contextualised too withing specific passages by comprehending the whole.

Your 'theory' is the Spirit causes a "rebirth" and then you "understand" God word, His mystery and majesty, and can read the Bible infallibly because the Spirit is one with you.

Let's close all the theological schools; abolish all Sunday schools; end preaching of the Word.

History proves you wrong! Scripture proves you wrong!

Your very own understanding is demonstrably influenced by your own extra-biblical readings. Your comprehension of church history, and therefore the bible, is not exclusively the Holy Spirit's. It is mixed with the ideas of fallen men. You belong to a church, just as much as Catholics and subscribe to its doxology.

The word "scoundrel" was meant affectionately, not literally. Do stop tilting your lance at the Catholic windmill you see.

8 April 2012 at 12:00  
Blogger Kinderling said...

"Just read your Church Fathers, read your protestant and catholic theologians, modern and ancient, and scour your internet. What do you find?"

A "Love so amazing, so divine, demands our souls.." all those who swore allegence.

Jesus said “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.)

You are at all times to keep your common sense and not indulge them into the estacy of heaven or earth, in prayers or candy, for the life that sustains comes from within like a living water.

8 April 2012 at 12:17  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Now that you know what you think you believe must be right, are you here to show everyone the light?

Who are you? The Christian Church, this amazing, Divinely inspired and guided religion, as divided as it is, has 2000 years of prayer, reflection and authority with it and yet still admits it hasn't all the answers! And you claim you do?

8 April 2012 at 15:55  
Blogger len said...

How on Earth did the disciples understand salvation without the Catholic Church there to help them?.

They were all obviously doomed!.

But wait..... they had Christ to help them.Although they never completely understood what He was saying!.
So what changed the disciples and turned them from weak, unlearned, fishermen into bold announcers of the Gospel even unto death?.
Well it obviously wasn`t the Catholic Church.
So what was it?.Or rather Who?.

It was when the disciples were baptised with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Matt 3:11 “I(John) baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one
who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (NIV)

This is what transformed the disciples and we can be transformed in exactly the same way.

(No Church membership required...... only an honest desire to know the truth and repentance of ones past life)

The Catholic Church has not 'cornered the market ' on salvation however much it professes to do so!.

Salvation belongs to the LORD. (Ps. 3:8)

Truly my soul waits upon God. From HIM comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense. I shall not be greatly moved. (Ps. 62:1-2)

8 April 2012 at 18:31  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

David B, Thanks for your reply - sorry for the delay in replying. I agree about the need to argue courteously. My point about evolution was that the randomness / design argument applies in different areas. Evolution is one example and whenever we get into questions about God, the question of randomness must be considered because if there is a God we would expect order underlying what appears to be chaotic. Gleick’s book ‘Chaos’ in fact gives a very strong scientific argument for the idea that chaos simply does not exist in our universe and bearing in mind the extreme fine tuning of the Universe, it seems to me to suggest that this is yet another argument in favour of intelligent design. Would you not agree that to argue from the premise that everything must have a purely natural cause is limiting the debate from the beginning and conveniently discredits one side of the argument before it has begun?

I concur with the idea of variation being clearly demonstrated and of environmental factors having an effect on survival. We agree about evolution or variation within a species but change across the species barrier is a different ball game altogether and randomness is not an adequate explanation when we consider the odds involved. In particular, in order for inheritance to occur, the DNA molecule must already be in place but the complexity of the molecule is so vast that evolution by small imperceptible changes which must produce a survival advantage at each stage is not credible so inheritance would not even begin.

With regard to the Bible, the variations which we see between the different gospel accounts actually suggest authenticity. As an example consider a judge faced with a number of witnesses under cross examination and the testimony of all the witnesses agreed 100% in every detail. The judge would more likely assume collusion rather than authenticity. The differences in the Creation accounts do not present an obstacle if they are allegorical and not intended to be historical. I would not blame you for feeling a great deal of disgust at the pronouncements of very many Muslim clerics but I think the important approach would be to ask “Are they conveying the teaching of their founder when they promote violence”. Personally, I think they are which is why Islam is a heresy but the faults of one religion cannot be used as a hammer against a different one particularly when the teaching is so different. By all means criticise the pronouncements and actions of certain Christian leaders in the past but then ask whether they are in conformity with the teaching of Christ. You pointed to the arguments of Len but I think the important point in this current discussion is not the opinions or interpretations of individuals but the basic idea which we began with – Is there a God and if so has he given us an objective standard of morality to which everyone should comply? If there is a God I think you might agree that this would have to mean there can only be one true religion. This is the important point. If there is not a God then I think Craig is right to suggest that morality is merely a local decision with no objective authority. Personally, I cannot accept that there is no ultimate justice and that people like Hitler and Stalin will get away free.

8 April 2012 at 21:29  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len said ...
"(No Church membership required...... only an honest desire to know the truth and repentance of ones past life)"

Not today. We can discuss Pentecost nearer the time.

I will just say, from the first the Church regarded itself as a single community with common shared beliefs and a leadership. This common profession has been developed over 2000 years.

The ecclesial relation between the parts of the Church means the community can correct and censure members who reject its common doctrine. For Catholics the definitive profession is expressed in Scripture, tradition, and by the Church's Magisterium and theses are seen as inseparably united.

You appear to stand on your own belief that the Spirit is directly instructing you in the Word of God. Presumably more reliably than all the many other interpretations given to others.

You've taken 'sola scriptura' and 'sola fide' to their logical conclusion - spiritual anarchy.

8 April 2012 at 22:11  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

The utterly revolting picture shows just what a vile death-cult christianity actually is

9 April 2012 at 08:02  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

True to form Tingey. Verbal abuse

9 April 2012 at 19:28  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

@Tingey, I attempted to go back to the time of the Christ; first by direct linkage , then by an attempt to go directly to that time frame. I was met by the most powerful and complex temporal buffers and security. Not even the Vatican has the ability to bloc space/time in that way. So it would appear that your sky Gods wish this event to be a matter of faith alone.

9 April 2012 at 22:44  

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