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Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Old 06-01-16, 09:18 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Someone who has close ties to a universities surely cannot miss the clear, unmistakeable meaning of the text.
<snip>
But it doesn't take spiritual discernment to clearly understand the verses above. One just has to be conversant with the English language.
<snip>
I think you need to see all the passages teaching the doctrine of election to see how clearly the doctrine is taught. I'll look for the simplest link compiling them (I used to have a list of all the scripture references; it's hard to see how anyone could pretend it isn't supported by scripture).
Creek, your language here is pretty condescending to the majority(?) of Christians historically and currently who aren't Calvinist.

Or are they not true Christians?
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Old 06-01-16, 09:34 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
So you don't understand what the Bible means when is says that Christ became our righteousness and that God made a perfectly sinless Christ to be sin for us (in our place).

You either are willfully avoiding what is as plain as the nose on your face, or you are demonstrating exactly what Jesus says about people being blinded to the truth.
Again, tell me what about those statements demands that the only answer be double double imputation? You've taken the very essence of humanity, our free will, and thrown it out the window. I see nothing in the text that supports something so drastic and draconian.

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
It's understandable when it refers to hard truths, metaphorical sayings ("You must be born again"), and parables, but when the text just comes out and says it clearly....

I admit it. You've done the impossible. You've left me speechless. Congratulations, Mallet. Since it's my birthday today, we'll just call it a gift.

The good news is that, if God has predestined you to faith, you WILL understand clearly...and wonder why it took so long (well, actually, you'll know why). I've seen it happen over & over. It's like looking through an opaque window and seeing a little light but thinking you're seeing the whole picture. When the pane is replaced with transparent glass, we suddenly see everything that we were missing (but was right there all along).
First of all, happy birthday! Second, it could be you who is looking through tinted glass. Just saying.

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Ah, that's one of the laziest & most common tropes around. You can do better than that.

We've laughed about this for years. It's the old saw: Can God do anything? The usual answer is yes, but the correct answer is "No. God cannot sin."

It's a trick question, but entirely consistent. God's character of perfect holiness makes it impossible for Him to be less than holy. He is "limited" only in the sense that He cannot act in ways that contradict His character. That is part of His being.

Can you murder a child? Sure you can...but why would you want to? Do you consider it a flaw or weakness that you don't want to? In that sense, it's impossible for you to commit that crime unless you lose your mind. Are you omnipotent? No, but you act according to your character. Hopefully, that means you would never murder a child.

And you're only a creature. Now extrapolate that to being whose character is so far superior to yours that you cannot even begin to comprehend it.

You're coasting tonight, Mallet. Come on, Man...come up with something challenging!
I know, I just tossed that one off, but the fact is that if your god really is as unknowable as you claim him to be, you can't be certain that he isn't wrong at times, or doesn't sin. There are passages in the Old Testament where he changes his mind, for example, which would imply that he doesn't always carry through on every promise or threat.

And, just to be clear, also in the Old Testament Jehovah orders Saul to kill women and children. So yes, god is capable of murdering children.
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Old 06-01-16, 09:45 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Creek, your language here is pretty condescending to the majority(?) of Christians historically and currently who aren't Calvinist.

Or are they not true Christians?
Christians can have the rudimentary beliefs to have be considered true believers who demonstrate faith in Christ...yet still have a very weak theology. In fact, many staunch Calvinists came from those traditions and freely admit the errors in their former beliefs. I held many mistaken & foolish beliefs not because they were scriptural but because they were 'tradition.' So do many of our friends, who came to a clear understanding through God's grace in allowing sound preaching & exposition to look at all of scripture and not just a few books & passages preached over & over.

It may sound "condescending" to you, but how so when I include myself among those who ignored what the Bible plainly says on these matters?

We are called to weed out errors in the church and oppose false gospels and unsound doctrines. That's the charge of Jesus and his apostles, who were very critical (even harsh) toward those who promoted unsound doctrines & heresies. If these were MY ideas, it would be condescending. If I said that I know better because I am smarter or wiser, it would be condescending.

But to say that God has clearly revealed what He wants us to know, and that much of it is obvious?

What's condescending about that? Personally, I appreciate it when someone points out an error I have made. I want to be shown scriptures that correct my thinking.

Again, I have many dear Christian friends who aren't Calvinists. I don't harangue them and call them intellectually inferior, and I can sympathize with them, especially when they have been continually fed a spiritual diet consisting of milk (and sometimes milk substitutes) rather than moving on to more nourishing studies. I've been there, and some of my strongest influences were there, too. We're not too proud to admit that we were wrong...very wrong...according to the scripture.

If someone is too proud or too defensive to have their assumptions challenged, perhaps their beliefs aren't as strong as they would be if they had the clear support of scripture. And perhaps their understanding would improve with additional, systematic, comprehensive study and prayer.

Keep in mind that these recent posts were being made to posters whom I've known for years on this board who don't hesitate to make dismissive comments. I don't take it personally, and I don't think they do, either.
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Old 06-01-16, 09:52 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Again, I have many dear Christian friends who aren't Calvinists. I don't harangue them and call them intellectually inferior, and I can sympathize with them, especially when they have been continually fed a spiritual diet consisting of milk (and sometimes milk substitutes) rather than moving on to more nourishing studies. I've been there, and some of my strongest influences were there, too. We're not too proud to admit that we were wrong...very wrong...according to the scripture.
Your wording here suggests Christians who are not Calvinists simply haven't studied the doctrine of election deeply enough. I'm just curious...what do you make of those Christians who have moved on to "more nourishing studies" and still do not hold to a Calvinist view of election? (This may be more pertinent to the Christian idea exchange thread...)
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Old 06-01-16, 09:53 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Again, tell me what about those statements demands that the only answer be double double imputation? You've taken the very essence of humanity, our free will, and thrown it out the window. I see nothing in the text that supports something so drastic and draconian.

First of all, happy birthday! Second, it could be you who is looking through tinted glass. Just saying.

I know, I just tossed that one off, but the fact is that if your god really is as unknowable as you claim him to be, you can't be certain that he isn't wrong at times, or doesn't sin. There are passages in the Old Testament where he changes his mind, for example, which would imply that he doesn't always carry through on every promise or threat.

And, just to be clear, also in the Old Testament Jehovah orders Saul to kill women and children. So yes, god is capable of murdering children.
Thanks for the birthday wishes!

There's no "double double imputation." That's one double too many.

The essence of our humanity is NOT "free will." If that were true, then Jesus's death on the cross serves absolutely no purpose. If people could satisfy God's demands through perfect obedience, then no Savior is necessary.

"Free will" (with regard to salvation) exists only in the sense that we will always act in accordance with our sinful nature...and reject God. The Bible makes that abundantly clear...that no man comes to the Father unless drawn by the Holy Spirit, that no man is righteous, that salvation is the work of God, not man. The preponderance of supporting verses is overwhelming.

That does not mean that there is not some freedom of action apart from salvation, including both believers and nonbelievers. People are not robots and can make choices. With regard to salvation, though, they will always make the wrong "choice" if left to their own devices. They choose what their heart desires...unless God changes their heart (and thus their desires).

I was going to post this a bit earlier but got sidetracked by Trevor's question, but I still have it copied, so I'll paste it here.

http://www.calvinistcorner.com/predestination.htm

This is an excellent, excellent read. Very easy to follow & thoroughly supported with scripture. It includes a wonderful discussion of free will. Heartily recommend that the entire column be read.

Would be far too long to post the whole thing, but here's just a tad about predestination:

5) The Necessity of Predestination

I've laid the foundation: Man is completely a sinner who is incapable of understanding and coming to God and has a sinful free will capable only of rejecting God. Therefore, in order for salvation to occur, God must predestine. It can be no other way. If this is so, then there should be verses supporting it. There are:

Acts 13:48: And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; AND AS MANY AS HAD BEEN APPOINTED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.
John 1:12-13: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, WHO WERE BORN NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD.
Philippians 1:29: FOR TO YOU IT HAS BEEN GRANTED FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE IN HIM, but also to suffer for his sake.
Romans 8:29-30: FOR WHOM HE FOREKNEW, HE ALSO PREDESTINED to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Ephesians 1:5: HE PREDESTINED US to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.
Ephesians 1:11 Also WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE, HAVING BEEN PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE who works all things after the counsel of His will.

The preceding scriptures clearly show that the Lord is very active in salvation. He did not simply provide the means of salvation, the cross, but He also ensured the application of the blood of Christ through predestination.

Please consider that it is God who:
- draws people to Himself (John 6:44,65).
- creates a clean heart (Psalm 51:10).
- appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48).
- works faith in the believer (John 6:28-29).
- chooses who is to be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4).
- chooses us for salvation (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
- grants the act of believing (Phil. 1:29).
- grants repentance (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
- calls according to His purpose (2 Tim. 1:9).
- causes us to be born again (1 Pet. 1:3).
- predestines us to salvation (Rom. 8:29-30).
- predestines us to adoption (Eph. 1:5).
- predestines us according to His purpose (Eph. 1:11).
- makes us born again not by our will but by His will (John 1:12-13).

It is man who:
- is deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9).
- is full of evil (Mark 7:21-23).
- loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19).
- is unrighteous, does not understand, does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12).
- is helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
- is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
- is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
- cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).
- is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16-20).
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Old 06-01-16, 10:00 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
Your wording here suggests Christians who are not Calvinists simply haven't studied the doctrine of election deeply enough. I'm just curious...what do you make of those Christians who have moved on to "more nourishing studies" and still do not hold to a Calvinist view of election? (This may be more pertinent to the Christian idea exchange thread...)
I'd ask them to read the link I posted to Mallet & then ask themselves how they interpret it other than how the author views the topic.

And then ask them to supply a similar defense of "free will" that does not give the glory to man for his own salvation rather than to God.

And then ask them which view they think glorifies God more, is better supported by scripture, and makes them more thankful and humble.

That's what I'd say to them. Same things that were said to me.
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Old 06-01-16, 10:03 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Shoot, since everybody wants evidence, might as well post this:


Bible verses that prove predestination, election and reprobation, and God’s sovereignty


Predestination

Romans 8:29 — “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ephesians 1:5 — “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
Foreknowledge

Romans 8:29 — “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Romans 11:2 — “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel….”

Acts 2:23 — “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

I Peter 1:2 — “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

Election and Reprobation

Romans 9:10-13 — “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Election

Ephesians 1:3, 4 — “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

I Peter 1:2 — “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

Reprobation

Matthew 11:25, 26 — “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

John 10:26 — “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”

John 12:37-40 — “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

Romans 9:13-18 — “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

Romans 11:7-10 — “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them: let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back always.”

I Peter 2:8 — “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
God’s Sovereignty

Acts 15:18 — “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

Isaiah 46:10 — “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Job 23:13, 14 — “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.”

Psalm 115:3 — “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

Daniel 4:35 — “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Romans 9:15, 18 — “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion…. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

Malachi 3:6 — “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

Jeremiah 32:17 — “Ah, Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”

God’s Sovereignty over Sin

II Samuel 16:11 — “And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him.”

II Samuel 24:1 — “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.”

Job 1:12 — “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”

Job 1:21 — “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Proverbs 21:1 — “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Amos 3:6 — “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”

Isaiah 45:7 — “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

Acts 2:23 — “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

Acts 4:27, 28 — “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

Romans 9:19-22 — “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:”
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Old 06-01-16, 10:15 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post

I know, I just tossed that one off, but the fact is that if your god really is as unknowable as you claim him to be, you can't be certain that he isn't wrong at times, or doesn't sin. There are passages in the Old Testament where he changes his mind, for example, which would imply that he doesn't always carry through on every promise or threat.

And, just to be clear, also in the Old Testament Jehovah orders Saul to kill women and children. So yes, god is capable of murdering children.
God is not "unknowable." He has revealed what we need to know about Him and are able to comprehend in His Word.

In fact, a common term used is that God has "condescended" to reveal Himself; that is, He has brought a partial knowledge of Himself down to us in terms that we can understand (which is not very much considering the vast gulf between God & humans...far greater than we can imagine).

Since God is perfectly holy and Creator of all things, He is incapable of "murder." God is perfectly justified in all His actions and needs no approval from humans incapable of comprehending what God knows. I'm sure you didn't always understand the actions of your parents; now imagine a being trillions of times wiser than you (and that's a huge understatement; use the biggest number known to man & multiply times infinity) and then imagine the arrogance it takes to presume to judge the actions of God.

I believe the operative biblical attitude of the prophets and the apostles is "Who are you, O man, to judge the Almighty?"

<b>11:15 PM. Good discussion. Bedtime.</b>

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Old 06-01-16, 10:31 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi View Post
Is it wrong to believe that one's own understanding of morality is complete and perfect?
I never said it was complete and perfect. But if you ask me how I would handle a situation from a moral perspective, I will tell you what *I* would do. Not WWJD. What I would do.

All I'm saying is that I can make moral decisions every day without ever once checking an ancient book for an answer. So morality obviously doesn't come from Christianity since millions of people in this world are "moral" without it.
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Old 06-01-16, 10:42 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
I never said it was complete and perfect. But if you ask me how I would handle a situation from a moral perspective, I will tell you what *I* would do. Not WWJD. What I would do.

All I'm saying is that I can make moral decisions every day without ever once checking an ancient book for an answer. So morality obviously doesn't come from Christianity since millions of people in this world are "moral" without it.
Yes, you're able to make decisions about morality, and your judgement isn't complete or perfect. I don't think we fundamentally disagree.
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Old 06-01-16, 10:49 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
I'd ask them to read the link I posted to Mallet & then ask themselves how they interpret it other than how the author views the topic.

And then ask them to supply a similar defense of "free will" that does not give the glory to man for his own salvation rather than to God.

And then ask them which view they think glorifies God more, is better supported by scripture, and makes them more thankful and humble.
Some might say Calvinism glorifies a specific attribute of God more, namely his sovereign nature and Arminianism glorifies a specific attribute of God more, namely his relational nature. They might also say the whole of scripture makes it clear that God is both sovereign and relational and the mechanics of how those attributes manifest in the doctrine of election are more mysterious than either Calvin or Arminius were able to extrapolate.

That's what I'd say to them. Same things that were said to me.
There's nothing wrong with arriving at a specific view of election and encouraging fellow believers to explore it in depth. However, I would humbly caution that implying that the particulars you've personally landed on represent the "mature" view can quickly veer into dangerous territory of self-righteousness. That believers are elect and were predestined to be so is orthodoxy on which both Arminius, Calvin and all mainline Christians agree. The finer points beyond that are some of the most debated and deeply considered in all of theology and there is, therefore, a spectrum of views that can be mutually respected without assigning superiority.
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Old 06-02-16, 07:35 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi View Post
Is it wrong to believe that one's own understanding of morality is complete and perfect?
Is that action wrong... probably not. Could it be dumb as fuck to dive headfirst into ancient psychological control methods based on fear and reward... probably.
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Old 06-02-16, 08:41 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
I never said it was complete and perfect. But if you ask me how I would handle a situation from a moral perspective, I will tell you what *I* would do. Not WWJD. What I would do.

All I'm saying is that I can make moral decisions every day without ever once checking an ancient book for an answer. So morality obviously doesn't come from Christianity since millions of people in this world are "moral" without it.
And yet people have been referring the same ancient book of myths and legends for over a thousand years, and in the end came out with different answers at different times. Either the book has changed or it's not the gold standard were lead to believe.

Last edited by hdnmickey; 06-02-16 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 06-02-16, 09:07 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Here's proof that a vampire named Lestat exists :

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Old 06-02-16, 10:10 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by hdnmickey View Post
And yet people have been referring the same ancient book of myths and legends for over a thousand years, and in the end came out with different answers at different times. Either the book has changed or it's not the gold standard were lead to believe.
A third possibility is that it's the world keeps changing (and God keeps speaking) and thus so does its relationship to the Bible.

I appreciate how Marcus Borg puts it in terms of thinking of the Bible in the historical-metaphorical approach, as simultaneously for "their then and our now," and what it meant for their then may not be what it means for our now, as well as considering religious language may have a more-than-literal, more-than-factual meaning (sometimes called a "surplus of meaning"). One of the obvious challenges of that approach is determining which meanings are relatively the same and which have shifted, as well as who gets to determine that and in what context, I concede that challenge. And yet I'm challenged to think that God has finished speaking; the Spirit is still at play in the world. I haven't run into a Borg book I didn't like (Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time is probably his most well-known work, and his swan song, Convictions: How I Learned What Mattered Most came out a month before he passed away last year), and Speaking Christian is one of his most accessible:

A historical approach [to reading/interpreting the Bible] is greatly illuminating. Language comes alive in its context. Moreover, a historical approach prevents us from projecting modern and often misleading meanings back into the past. It is a way of escaping the provinciality of the present. It recognizes that the Bible was not written to us or for us, but within and for ancient communities.

Thus a historical approach makes Christian language relative and not absolute. For some Christians, this is threatening. For them, the word relative has only a negative meaning. It means “not important” or even “not true,” as when people say dismissively, “It’s all relative.” But relative also has a positive meaning— it means “related to.” In this sense, relative means, “This is how our spiritual ancestors saw things.” Their language, the language of the Bible and the postbiblical Christian tradition, is related to their time and place, their then.

To recognize that biblical and Christian language is relative does not mean that it has no important meaning for our time. But it does change the question. The question is no longer simply, “What does the Bible say?” as if that would settle everything. Rather, the question becomes, “Given what their words meant for their then, what might their meaning be for our now?”

For example, both the Old Testament and the New Testament contain regulations that concern slavery. The regulations are about their time and place, their then. But do they hold the same meaning for our now? Until at least the Civil War, many American Christians thought so, in the North as well as the South. But there arose other Christians who felt that other, more general principles taught by scripture (about equality, love, justice, human dignity, and so on) made the slavery passages of their then no longer applicable to our now. Today, I don’t know any Christians who think we should reestablish slavery, because passages in the Bible say it’s all right. Christians have rightly relativized that teaching, recognizing it as being about their then (and maybe even wrong in their then).

When we see the meanings of biblical and postbiblical Christian language for their time and place, we see their “relatedness.” Understanding is enriched, not impoverished. What it means for our now needs to take into account how they saw things then. But what it meant for their then may not be what it means for our now.
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Old 06-02-16, 10:16 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by story View Post
A third possibility is that it's the world keeps changing (and God keeps speaking) and thus so does its relationship to the Bible.
The responses have been to posts that have stated there has only ever been one correct interpretation that has never changed.

I actually believe our understanding and interpretation of the text has changed radically over the years. Including, but not limited to, our scientific discoveries and how they conflict with the bible unless we are to not take many bible passages literally.

For example, both the Old Testament and the New Testament contain regulations that concern slavery. The regulations are about their time and place, their then. But do they hold the same meaning for our now? Until at least the Civil War, many American Christians thought so, in the North as well as the South. But there arose other Christians who felt that other, more general principles taught by scripture (about equality, love, justice, human dignity, and so on) made the slavery passages of their then no longer applicable to our now. Today, I don’t know any Christians who think we should reestablish slavery, because passages in the Bible say it’s all right. Christians have rightly relativized that teaching, recognizing it as being about their then (and maybe even wrong in their then).
Great example. There are probably far more of these to come in the future. Current support of homosexual discrimination being only one likely example. A hundred years from now people will speak of it the same way they do the widespread Christian support of racial discrimination from our recent past.

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Old 06-02-16, 01:27 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
Some might say Calvinism glorifies a specific attribute of God more, namely his sovereign nature and Arminianism glorifies a specific attribute of God more, namely his relational nature. They might also say the whole of scripture makes it clear that God is both sovereign and relational and the mechanics of how those attributes manifest in the doctrine of election are more mysterious than either Calvin or Arminius were able to extrapolate.

There's nothing wrong with arriving at a specific view of election and encouraging fellow believers to explore it in depth. However, I would humbly caution that implying that the particulars you've personally landed on represent the "mature" view can quickly veer into dangerous territory of self-righteousness. That believers are elect and were predestined to be so is orthodoxy on which both Arminius, Calvin and all mainline Christians agree. The finer points beyond that are some of the most debated and deeply considered in all of theology and there is, therefore, a spectrum of views that can be mutually respected without assigning superiority.
1. Interesting viewpoint. I agree with both the sovereign AND relational aspect but disagree that the Bible isn't sufficiently clear re: the principles commonly summarized in TULIP.

2. Chastisement noted. I don't think I used the word "mature," but I was referring more to those who accept without challenge from the text whatever doctrines are taught by their particular denomination (such as the idea that dancing & drinking are sinful, just to use a couple). However, I do think that other Christians who have spent time studying the Bible are ignoring certain passages in order to emphasize others, often resulting in errors that become highly influential to their beliefs.
I'll try not to let my eagerness get in the way of discussion. I can get caught up in the discussion (particularly when fielding posts from several posters at once) and get forget the tone. In a round-table discussion among Christians with different beliefs (and/or nonbelievers), I listen a lot & wait my turn. In a one-on-one internet discussion, there's more time to reflect. Here, by the time you do that, there are often two or three more posts directed toward what you've said. But I appreciate the sound advice.

3. I think you'll find this link interesting since it was written by the author of "Why I Am Not a Calvinist." In it, he argues that "classic" Calvinism & "classic" Arminianism do not disagree as widely as is commonly perceived. He does say that modern "Arminians" have taken the doctrine far afield from what Arminius originally concluded.
That being said, this author...whom I think you would agree is highly-educated on the topic...mentions some MAJOR points of disagreement. At least, I believe that most Calvinists would find them to be deal-breakers and ones that make the two views incompatible (as opposed to only representing the "finer points").

Here's the article: http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2...inianism/37648

Now, here are some of the major points of disagreement:

5. Classical Arminians subscribe to a wider view of God’s grace than do classical Calvinists.

<b>The classical Arminian is convinced by the witness of Scripture that God’s love for the whole world (and therefore for every human being — see John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, John 1:9) entails the inescapable conclusion that God actually pursues every person, through the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit, in the real desire to save every person.</b>

Calvinists often reply that they too believe that God’s grace is universally displayed throughout the world in what is sometimes called Common Grace: the generosity and good will of God toward all humankind that allows all sorts of happiness and pleasure to be experienced in the lives of even the most sordid sinners.

But we must note that this claim about Common Grace stops short of allowing that God actually wills that all people be saved. Under close examination, classical Calvinists must admit that their theology prevents them from simply declaring that God loves every person and therefore wants to save every person.

6. <b>Classical Arminians believe the Bible teaches that human beings can (successfully and tragically) resist the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit.</b>

Here, of course, classical Calvinists will passionately object that such a belief degrades God’s absolute sovereignty. But it seems to classical Arminians that the Calvinist view owes more to Greek philosophy and to the construction of false alternatives (i.e. God is either “completely sovereign” — in the way they conceive it — or not God at all) than to the Bible’s portrait of God.

In the Bible we find Stephen (Acts 7:51) addressing those who would stone him, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.” Paul was concerned that some of the Corinthians would have accepted the grace of God “in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1).

Famously, the writer of the Hebrews warns believers against falling away from the grace they had received (Hebrews 12:15; 6:1-8). Many Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day successfully resisted the very purposes of God and rejected the Spirit-empowered ministry of Jesus himself (Matthew 23:37; Luke 7:30). These passages and their implications ought not be dismissed too quickly in a misguided attempt to protect a certain view of God’s sovereignty.

One striking incident illustrating our point might be that of the Roman Governor Felix (Acts 24:25), who became “alarmed” as Paul spoke to him about “justice and self-control and future judgment.” To an unawake person, such talk would make no impression at all. Only through the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit could such a person sense the seriousness of judgment, sense how precarious his position is before a just God, and find himself running away from the conversation. But we have no evidence Felix ever became a believer in Jesus.

7. <b>Classical Arminians believe that the universal, convicting (but resistible) ministry of the Holy Spirit creates the space necessary for the genuinely free human response to the gospel in the form of love to God.</b>

The Spirit’s universal (and unilateral) ministry of conviction has the purpose of creating a space within which human beings can respond, in genuine freedom, to the call of God.

Apparently the Spirit’s ministry comes and goes in a mysterious flow, repeatedly intersecting the life of each person by shining rays of light into the dark regions of the heart. Since Jesus spoke of the Spirit’s movements as mysterious (John 3:8), most of us will have no way of discerning where and when the Spirit is wooing a given person toward God.

It is within this space of illumination, created by the unilateral (unmerited, unrequested) ministry of the Spirit that the sinful human being is made free enough to be able to respond positively to whatever measure of light the Spirit shines upon him or her. This Spirit-created freedom (see 2 Corinthians 3:17) makes possible a genuine interchange of love.

It is the classical Arminian’s claim that such Spirit-created freedom is a necessary condition for genuine love for God to grow. A love for God that is caused simply by a supposed, irresistible approach of God upon us is not, as we view it, genuine love. (See my co-authored book Why I Am Not a Calvinist for more on this.)

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Old 06-02-16, 01:53 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Here's proof that a vampire named Lestat exists
So now you're bashing Anne Rice?

Since she renounced the R.C. Church back in 2010, thought you'd be a fan.
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Old 06-02-16, 03:29 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
When GreenMonkey says "asshole psychopaths," he doesn't mean that in a pejorative way since those people are simply products of evolution just as we all are.

Any value judgements we apply mean nothing other than as useful biological tools...sort of like a cosmic rudder to steer us in a certain direction to on a course with no destination.

You know...nothing matters & what if it did?

Words to live by...the evolutionist's motto.
I rarely respond to you, as I gave up on rational discourse after the ridiculousness with the statistics on prisoners and atheism and your incessant dodging of questions like "who counts as a true Christian". Honestly you talking about Christianity sounds like DVDPolizei and Trump to me. Too blinded by your surety to talk reasonably with. That's from someone with a great, great friend for the past 25 years or so who was almost a Catholic priest. But then again they aren't Christians, right?

Anyway, but I have no idea what you are saying. Complete gibberish to me.

And thank you for putting words in my mouth that I don't "mean that in a pejorative way since those people are simply the products of evolution just as we all are". Because I totally fucking said that. I appreciate that.

Pet peeve of mine.
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Old 06-02-16, 05:33 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
1. Interesting viewpoint. I agree with both the sovereign AND relational aspect but disagree that the Bible isn't sufficiently clear re: the principles commonly summarized in TULIP.

2. Chastisement noted. I don't think I used the word "mature," but I was referring more to those who accept without challenge from the text whatever doctrines are taught by their particular denomination (such as the idea that dancing & drinking are sinful, just to use a couple).
Just to clarify, my use of "mature" in quotes was intended to be a one-word summary of your paragraph referring to non-Calvinists having only been fed milk and not more nourishing studies. If I misunderstood or misrepresented your point there, my apologies.

For what it's worth, I personally hold to a Reformed (or very nearly Reformed) view of election, so there's not much for you and I to differ on there. That said, I acknowledge that differing views along the spectrum of orthodoxy have been arrived at with just as much study, scriptural interpretation, and personal reflection as my own.
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Old 06-05-16, 02:18 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
Just to clarify, my use of "mature" in quotes was intended to be a one-word summary of your paragraph referring to non-Calvinists having only been fed milk and not more nourishing studies. If I misunderstood or misrepresented your point there, my apologies.

For what it's worth, I personally hold to a Reformed (or very nearly Reformed) view of election, so there's not much for you and I to differ on there. That said, I acknowledge that differing views along the spectrum of orthodoxy have been arrived at with just as much study, scriptural interpretation, and personal reflection as my own.
No, Frank, I meant it when I said 'chastisement noted' (i.e., that I appreciated the advice). Proverbs 27:5 says, "Open rebuke is better than secret love." Verse 6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend: but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

I've been away most of the past two days, but I've had time to think about what you said & meant to reply sooner. To add to that, this morning's sermon hit right on this topic about allowing pride to hinder & sound condescending (the sermon text was Romans 3 about humility...aimed directly at me, apparently). I'll be posting it in the Idea Exchange thread as soon as it's up on Sermon Audio (probably tomorrow). Great sermon & well worth the time to listen.

It also hits on some objections raised here such as the idea that election is a license to sin & answers those clearly.

Please bear in mind that I was being critical of my own misunderstandings. It occurred to me that could be called atheist-bashing since in effect I was an atheist before conversion (acting as though God doesn't exist).

I would be interested in knowing how modern-day believers in free will reach their conclusions. If it's based on scriptural doctrine (rather than tradition) which scripture? Perhaps we can discuss that in the other thread since it doesn't fall under any bashing category.
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Old 06-13-16, 06:52 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Ultimately I don't care what the "correct" interpretation of the Bible happens to be. The correct interpretation of a text I don't believe be authoritative, or communicated by a supernatural being, has no meaning to me.

That makes me one of the "unelected", I guess. So be it. I'm not going to spend my life worrying about it, I'll just treat others with kindness and respect as I see fit. If that's not good enough for whatever god is out there (and I don't think there are any), then so be it. If that god wants to condemn me to eternal damnation because I don't buy the ancient text, so be it. If being kind to our fellow humans without groveling before an unproven deity is grounds for eternal damnation - then that deity is an asshole.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:03 PM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Ultimately I don't care what the "correct" interpretation of the Bible happens to be. The correct interpretation of a text I don't believe be authoritative, or communicated by a supernatural being, has no meaning to me.

That makes me one of the "unelected", I guess. So be it. I'm not going to spend my life worrying about it, I'll just treat others with kindness and respect as I see fit. If that's not good enough for whatever god is out there (and I don't think there are any), then so be it. If that god wants to condemn me to eternal damnation because I don't buy the ancient text, so be it. If being kind to our fellow humans without groveling before an unproven deity is grounds for eternal damnation - then that deity is an asshole.

Beautiful.
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Old 06-14-16, 07:13 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Ultimately I don't care what the "correct" interpretation of the Bible happens to be. The correct interpretation of a text I don't believe be authoritative, or communicated by a supernatural being, has no meaning to me.

That makes me one of the "unelected", I guess. So be it. I'm not going to spend my life worrying about it, I'll just treat others with kindness and respect as I see fit. If that's not good enough for whatever god is out there (and I don't think there are any), then so be it. If that god wants to condemn me to eternal damnation because I don't buy the ancient text, so be it. If being kind to our fellow humans without groveling before an unproven deity is grounds for eternal damnation - then that deity is an asshole.
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Old 06-14-16, 08:08 AM
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread



Which side are the last three posts supposed to be bashing?
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