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robertmf
20-01-2013, 18:48
One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don't belong to any religion.

NPR audio+transcript (http://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169342349/more-young-people-are-moving-away-from-religion-but-why)

rusmeister
20-01-2013, 19:23
The answer is relatively simple, I think, Robert. When they say "religion" here, they mean some form of western Christianity. And I think western Christianity is failing, and must ultimately fail. If you see as I do, that the Roman Church went wrong a thousand years ago, and that the so-called "Reformers" (who wound up reforming nothing, but merely producing endless schism) went even more wrong, then it makes complete sense.

All of the western forms are becoming what we would call "worldly". Some, like the Amish and Mennonites, will hold out longer. But having the wrong orientations in the first place, worship that is centered on the individual and seeks to entertain, it winds up being another form of particularly boring entertainment. I grant that there are good people in the various branches struggling to maintain tradition, but when worship becomes entertainment by a rock band, then that branch has lost a vital connection to a faith that has outlasted empires and civilizations. And people feel it. If you can vote on morality, then it's just another form of democracy. And people sense this. The older people grumble, some break off (schism) yet again, the young people just leave. It's predictable.

But I really think the Orthodox Church bucks all of the trends. The things some of you complain about; its intractability to change just because some people want things to change, is the very thing that keeps what has always been worthwhile keeping, what people have been willing to live and die for.

You won't find many articles in the mass media about the Orthodox Church in the US, but if you do any research, you'll find a thing that is growing, not shrinking. And THAT is FAR more newsworthy that the 7,493rd article this year trumpeting the death of religion. And the major media are not reporting it. That ought to make you think...

robertmf
20-01-2013, 19:45
The answer is relatively simple, I think, Robert. When they say "religion" here, they mean some form of western Christianity.

Yes, the article represents Judeo-Christian in the US.

There is growth of Orthodoxy in the US (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/06/report-finds-strong-growt_n_753447.html). This growth seems to be from immigrants, who by nature bring along 'the old country'. The NPR article is dealing with ..umm.. established youth that have gone through the school system.

rusmeister
20-01-2013, 20:08
Yes, the article represents Judeo-Christian in the US.

There is growth of Orthodoxy in the US (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/06/report-finds-strong-growt_n_753447.html). This growth seems to be from immigrants, who by nature bring along 'the old country'. The NPR article is dealing with ..umm.. established youth that have gone through the school system.



The immigrant thing is no longer true. It's ancient history. For the past fifteen years, growth from converts - Americans discovering the Church - has outstripped growth from immigrants. Including youth that have gone through our school system. Try looking up the story of Peter Gilquist and the Evangelical Orthodox Church. It's not that spectacular as a rule, but it's a fun example. Especially check out the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Lost in moscow
20-01-2013, 21:13
western christianity is by far not the only major religion in the states.

rusmeister
20-01-2013, 21:54
western christianity is by far not the only major religion in the states.
*Sigh* Anything to avoid the point...

yakspeare
20-01-2013, 22:39
meh, christianity has historically ebbed and flowed. Time magazine famously put on its cover is god dead? in the 1960s...and less than a decade later had the jesus movement on the cover and christianity growing again among youth.

Rus is partly right but a growth from near zero is no achievement-orthodoxy will never replace protestantism or catholicism in the US or even be seen as an equal alternative. people tend to become more conservative as they age and so, with ab aging US popullation overall, it isn't surprising that some people are moving into orthodoxy.

and you can easily chart christian moves towards conservatism with the same in the muslim world over the last 30 years, as more the pendulum swings towards liberalism, conservatives will pop as a counter.

Nothing to see here folks

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 00:19
If you want a point.

I find it ridiculous that religion abuses the human nature to believe in something to prove that religion is not a scam but truth.

I keep hearing that people's lives get changed around because in hard times they turn to god, and if their life changed for the better, they start to think their life was indeed saved by a god.

But what everyone seems to forget is that this can work with anything. If your lifes in the shitter, most people will look to change something to their current lifestyle. Have it their hair colour, style, their clothiers, the company they hang out with(religion). And if their life turns for the better, they become a true believer that it because of that particular change that they did in their life.

This is true, because you believe that for instance, changing your hair colour will change your attitude to something, it will happen. You had programmed yourself to think that way, so when you did finally change your hair colour, your attitude has indeed changed. You notice how people's attitudes towards you have changed.

Just because religion was brought to their attention before...lets say eating 12 grapes on new years and making 12 wishes. Have anyone one of those 12 come true, you will see that person repeat that tradition every year for the rest of their lives.

It's become a belief, and they will never back out of it out of fear that their life will take a turn for the shitter again (hell rings a bell). The few "real" believers will only lose faith if their belief was proven wrong in their eyes. If they personally understand that it wasn't real.

I can tell you day n night how much of a scam religion is Rus, throw facts at you, spreadsheets, graphs, pictures, PPP's but until you personally witness it for yourself, you will continue to assume that all that has happened to you over your lifetime is the will of your god and not the reaction of your own actions, and I'm that evil, that snake, the bad that you were so warned about since day one of sunday school. You're scared to take the apple out of fear that it isn't truly real, that you have believed in a lie for so many years. Yes! I'm that thing that you have been taught to not listen to, to ignore the "young", "blind", "inexperienced", "untaught*cough*brainwashed" mind.

RichardB
21-01-2013, 00:30
Don't worry folks, there will soon be a cure (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211511/Why-born-believe-God-Its-wired-brain-says-psychologist.html)for it all.

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/is-the-brain-hardwired-for-religion

http://www.uncommondescent.com/atheism/are-atheists-brains-wired-differently/

robertmf
21-01-2013, 00:41
If you want a point.

... Just because religion was brought to their attention before...lets say eating 12 grapes on new years and making 12 wishes. Have anyone one of those 12 come true, you will see that person repeat that tradition every year for the rest of their lives.

It's become a belief, and they will never back out of it out of fear that their life will take a turn for the shitter again (hell rings a bell).

Saturday, did you jump into the ice on Orthodox Epiphany ?


Jan 19th is The Epiphany for Russian Orthodox believers. Because it is believed that Jesus was baptized on this day, it is believed that all water becomes holy on this day and is imbibed with special health-giving powers. So, Russians cut through the thick January ice on rivers and lakes... and jump in.

Usually the hole is cut in the shape of a cross and sometimes a smaller cross is carved from the ice lifted from the lake. The ice cross is then placed at the head of the hole.


-- The School Of Russian and Asian Studies (via Facebook)

:idea: More to the point ... did *Rusmeister* :question:

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 01:52
No I didn't, only found out about it late last night when my neighbor congratulated me on the holiday. My blank face and question which holiday was only met with shock and "what? in america you don't..." type of questions.

robertmf
21-01-2013, 02:51
But what everyone seems to forget is that this can work with anything. If your life is in the shitter, most people will look to change something to their current lifestyle. Have it their hair colour, style, their clothiers, the company they hang out with(religion). And if their life turns for the better, they become a true believer that it because of that particular change that they did in their life.

... My blank face and question which holiday was only met with shock and "what? in america you don't..." type of questions.

Baseball players in particular are noted for being ..umm.. superstitious ;) Most all develop little and big rituals & routines (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/375113-top-mlb-superstitions-and-rituals). *MickeyTong* would have a field day in a pro baseball clubhouse :Loco:

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 05:16
meh, christianity has historically ebbed and flowed. Time magazine famously put on its cover is god dead? in the 1960s...and less than a decade later had the jesus movement on the cover and christianity growing again among youth.

Rus is partly right but a growth from near zero is no achievement-orthodoxy will never replace protestantism or catholicism in the US or even be seen as an equal alternative. people tend to become more conservative as they age and so, with ab aging US popullation overall, it isn't surprising that some people are moving into orthodoxy.

and you can easily chart christian moves towards conservatism with the same in the muslim world over the last 30 years, as more the pendulum swings towards liberalism, conservatives will pop as a counter.

Nothing to see here folks

Yak, you're banking on "conservativism vs liberalism". The whole problem is that the very base the people you call "conservative" are leaning on is eroding - particularly Protestant, but also Catholic Christianity. In the Catholic Church, despite clear administrative unity they have incredible doctrinal division - the idea that one may be "Catholic" and openly reject Catholic doctrine, and so you have (for example) "Catholics for Choice" (pro-choice Catholics). This is not just a problem - doctrinal division on this level is a fatal schism that is effectively denied.

In Protestantism, which was never really united, anyway, the problems are worse. The Episcopal Church, for example - the Anglican Church in America - has approved of sodomy in the priesthood as well as priestesses and has even proferred a "same-sex marriage rite" (which some here may cheer, but a conservative traditional Christian of the type Yak is talking about never could). I could go on and on, but the point is there is almost nowhere for the "conservatives" to turn when the "conservative" leadership ceases to be conservative. (in the Episcopalian example, a small number of Episcopalians have broken off and attached themselves to the guidance of African (as in, in Africa) Anglican bishops who reject the American changes.)

So the pendulum must swing much harder and more catastrophically than you seem to think. You can't easily shove the toothpaste back in the tube or put the evils back in Pandora's box.

And that's why the Orthodox Church is actually growing in America, and now due to converts from the sinking ships of the traditional American Christian denominations more than immigration.

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 05:30
If you want a point.

I find it ridiculous that religion abuses the human nature to believe in something to prove that religion is not a scam but truth.

I keep hearing that people's lives get changed around because in hard times they turn to god, and if their life changed for the better, they start to think their life was indeed saved by a god.

But what everyone seems to forget is that this can work with anything. If your lifes in the shitter, most people will look to change something to their current lifestyle. Have it their hair colour, style, their clothiers, the company they hang out with(religion). And if their life turns for the better, they become a true believer that it because of that particular change that they did in their life.

This is true, because you believe that for instance, changing your hair colour will change your attitude to something, it will happen. You had programmed yourself to think that way, so when you did finally change your hair colour, your attitude has indeed changed. You notice how people's attitudes towards you have changed.

Just because religion was brought to their attention before...lets say eating 12 grapes on new years and making 12 wishes. Have anyone one of those 12 come true, you will see that person repeat that tradition every year for the rest of their lives.

It's become a belief, and they will never back out of it out of fear that their life will take a turn for the shitter again (hell rings a bell). The few "real" believers will only lose faith if their belief was proven wrong in their eyes. If they personally understand that it wasn't real.

I can tell you day n night how much of a scam religion is Rus, throw facts at you, spreadsheets, graphs, pictures, PPP's but until you personally witness it for yourself, you will continue to assume that all that has happened to you over your lifetime is the will of your god and not the reaction of your own actions, and I'm that evil, that snake, the bad that you were so warned about since day one of sunday school. You're scared to take the apple out of fear that it isn't truly real, that you have believed in a lie for so many years. Yes! I'm that thing that you have been taught to not listen to, to ignore the "young", "blind", "inexperienced", "untaught*cough*brainwashed" mind.

Hi, LM,
In your observation that "everyone seems to forget...", the operative word is "seems". It doesn't seem to occur to you that maybe we have NOT "forgotten" this question but have already thought about it and found an answer different from yours.
And what YOU seem to forget (and I cheerfully admit that the seeming is only based on what I have seen of your posts to date) is that sometimes NONE of the things you mention work. They certainly can't work when someone is facing their own death, when no hair style or company of friends can save you, or even realizing that that moment must come (as in my case). In fact, your comment seems to be that of a person who has not yet fully realized (in your gut, not just intellectually) that your death MUST come, and that no delight of this world can offer any particular comfort or hope in that hour.

Also, lumping all religion into one basket is like lumping all atheism in one basket. I might as well lump your atheism in with all mass murderers who lacked or denied belief, from Joseph Stalin to Adam Lanza. That would be very unfair to you, though, don't you think?

The existence of bad religion does not disprove the existence of good religion, any more than a false banknote disproves the existence of real ones. In any event, some of us (like me) are interested in truth, not "religion".

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 05:41
Saturday, did you jump into the ice on Orthodox Epiphany ?


Jan 19th is The Epiphany for Russian Orthodox believers. Because it is believed that Jesus was baptized on this day, it is believed that all water becomes holy on this day and is imbibed with special health-giving powers. So, Russians cut through the thick January ice on rivers and lakes... and jump in.

Usually the hole is cut in the shape of a cross and sometimes a smaller cross is carved from the ice lifted from the lake. The ice cross is then placed at the head of the hole.


-- The School Of Russian and Asian Studies (via Facebook)

:idea: More to the point ... did *Rusmeister* :question:

No, I didn't, Robert.
I'm quite sick, and while it is true that we think some grace may be extended to believers who actually believe, who are oriented the right way, trying to change their lives, recognize and reject sin in themselves and turn towards God, we don't think it's mechanical magic, as the article you quote implies. The Eucharist grants even greater grace - but not to someone who is just "going through the motions". Also, we don't believe in tempting the Lord our God. That's why we don't do stupid things and say, "Oh, God will save me from my own stupidity!" (like that unfortunate Christian snake handler in America last year)

So yeah, a lot of Russians who are only nominally Christian do it out of superstition, and apropos the Russian word for superstition, their faith is in vain, though doubtless "Polar Bear Club" people who do it regularly always get a general health benefit.

We don't believe in that kind of magic. We believe in asking for things, and that God might say "Yes" - or "No". Either way, our prayers are answered. Sometimes just not the way we'd like.

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 05:54
Don't worry folks, there will soon be a cure (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211511/Why-born-believe-God-Its-wired-brain-says-psychologist.html)for it all.

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/is-the-brain-hardwired-for-religion

http://www.uncommondescent.com/atheism/are-atheists-brains-wired-differently/

Richard, you go right on hoping that the supernatural can be explained away by the natural. It is not "like saying"; it actually IS saying that physics will prove that there is no metaphysics. In short, the philosophical assumption is ultimately illogical and self-contradictory, as materialism always is. It doesn't matter how big one's hippocampus is if one uses it badly.

Plain logic says that if something is outside the natural universe, that is, super-natural, or extra-natural, then by definition it cannot be defined by the natural sciences. It is exactly like using the Bible as a science textbook - appealing to a thing that can have no authority in the given field.

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 09:47
Hi, LM,
In your observation that "everyone seems to forget...", the operative word is "seems". It doesn't seem to occur to you that maybe we have NOT "forgotten" this question but have already thought about it and found an answer different from yours.
And what YOU seem to forget (and I cheerfully admit that the seeming is only based on what I have seen of your posts to date) is that sometimes NONE of the things you mention work. They certainly can't work when someone is facing their own death, when no hair style or company of friends can save you, or even realizing that that moment must come (as in my case). In fact, your comment seems to be that of a person who has not yet fully realized (in your gut, not just intellectually) that your death MUST come, and that no delight of this world can offer any particular comfort or hope in that hour.

Also, lumping all religion into one basket is like lumping all atheism in one basket. I might as well lump your atheism in with all mass murderers who lacked or denied belief, from Joseph Stalin to Adam Lanza. That would be very unfair to you, though, don't you think?

The existence of bad religion does not disprove the existence of good religion, any more than a false banknote disproves the existence of real ones. In any event, some of us (like me) are interested in truth, not "religion".

I've come within a hair of death now multiple times, each time only reinforcing that religion is bollocks, first time being only 9 years old and having to undergo two major surgeries that saved my life. Even then I understood I caused that pain to myself, and a dedicated team of doctors helped me live past my stupid choice that lead me to their operating table. I haven't been scared to die since. My life is in my hands.

Of course your answer will be different, you have to saveface, your preaching something that you are assuming is 100% real and will never admit that your skeptical about it because oh dear, that means you're not a true believer. I on the other hand will not waste my time here worrying about what comes after death. Yet your wrong about one thing, I don't fear death. Your making an ass out of yourself assuming I'm some idiot that doesn't understand that his time on earth is limited. I've been looking death into its eyes every day for the past 4 months living with my grandma, I see first hand what death looks like when its looming around the corner. Yet for some reason she hasn't magically found religion, and seeing what I see, it isn't making me a believer either, even when she herself understands her days are limited, she continues to just try and enjoy today, while fighting to see tomorrow. I also know one day it will be my turn, and trust me when I tell you that if I start believing in some fairytale then, I've become delusional.

Secondly, I've never denied that there could be greater forces, higher beings, I deny religion, the concept, its trash. There is no such thing as good religion, they all take advantage of weak minded little people who are scared of what comes after death. So they create a fairytale of lies to comfort themselves while they are alive. Its ok that your one of such people, your not alone:) I'm not here to convince you that your belief is a sham, you can only do that for yourself. I'm only here to explain that it is possible to make sense of life without having to believe in fairytales. If you really were interested in truth, you wouldn't dedicate yourself to one particular cause.

See I told you that you will play the "I've not grown to your level" card to discredit everything I wrote.

Action-Reaction, Cause-n-Effect thats what life is.

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 12:52
My life is in my hands.

Until it isn't.


I've never denied that there could be greater forces, higher beings, I deny religion, the concept, its trash.

Since "religion" is the attempt to understand those beings, and to learn and teach what our purpose is in this life in relation to those higher truths, the ideas cannot be separated, even if you were to believe that all the attempts have been thoroughly cynical and evil - which is improbable in the extreme. It's like saying, "I believe in black holes and quasars and stuff - I deny science, the concept, its trash."
(Here comes the demand for empirical proof, which ignores the evidence of the reason and experience of others...)


I'm not here to convince you that your belief is a sham, you can only do that for yourself.

Maybe not and maybe, but you're sure trying.
I, conversely, DO hope to convince you that YOUR belief is a sham, though, in failing to convince you, someone else may see the truth in what I say and not in what you say.


I'm only here to explain that it is possible to make sense of life without having to believe in fairytales.

It's not that one HAS to "believe in fairy tales", but in understanding what a fairy tale actually IS, and what value it has. "Beauty and the Beast" is a fairy tale, and holds the tremendous truth that often one must be loved before they can become lovable. If you spurn fairy tales, then you deny yourself such truths. Such a universe, without fairy tales, a mere mechanistic universe without imagination or love, is a narrow universe indeed. I would much rather believe that all the fairy tales are absolutely true than that we came out of nothingness, and will go back into nothingness, for no reason. It is not bravery to hold such a view, but insanity - mental and spiritual ill health.


If you really were interested in truth, you wouldn't dedicate yourself to one particular cause.

But that cause is truth. How can I not really be interested in the truth if I dedicate myself to it? If you have found that your atheism is actually true, that my belief is really just a sham, and expound on it, how does that mean that you aren't really interested in the truth?


See I told you that you will play the "I've not grown to your level" card to discredit everything I wrote.

It sure looks like you think I haven't grown to your level. I don't mind, as long as you care about what is actually true, and are willing to go wherever that is, even if it turned out to be what you now see as "fairy tales". For my part, if I were to discover Orthodoxy to be actually false, I WOULD abandon it and go with whatever happens to be the truth.

Potty
21-01-2013, 14:44
Over and over again I ask myself what Lost in Moscow is doing in such threads? Such topics don't really concern you. Leave people alone! Why don't you? why do you have problem with religion? Why do you care?

rubyrussia
21-01-2013, 14:58
+1 Rus,

Solid post. Enjoyed reading it.

JanC
21-01-2013, 15:44
One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don't belong to any religion.

NPR audio+transcript (http://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169342349/more-young-people-are-moving-away-from-religion-but-why)


I suspect this is not a temporary trend, literal theism has been evolving into the non-literal as well as deism. Atheism I think will remain a minority for the foreseeable future. It's just not something most people arrive at by convenience or accident, few people even care to give the question much thought which all things considered is not a bad way to go through life imho.

The "problem" lies with organized religion insofar that the major religions and their leaders for the most part insist on literal interpretations of the various religious scriptures.

In today's age where we have an unprecedented amount of information at our disposal, taking the religious texts literally and as absolute fact is looking a little bit silly to educated people. You have to avoid or tune out a lot of information out there which conflicts with religious literalism.

It is to be expected that this trend will show up predominantly in younger generations. It's very likely that their offspring will move even further away from literal religion because their parents are unlikely to indoctrinate them.

The mid-term result could be a deist majority. We're not likely to lose our dualist nature from birth after all, and our agency detection is likely to keep working as well. The idea that there is something "more" to the world than we know or can see isn't going to go away, but literal religion is going to have a hard time in the developed world.

Either that or it's all going to go backwards and put humanity back into the dark ages like Islam has done to large parts of the ME from the 11th century onwards. Fortunately the trends suggest it's unlikely.





Richard, you go right on hoping that the supernatural can be explained away by the natural.


I kind of want to stay out of most of the stuff that was already posted in this thread; but I'll just point out here that you are presupposing the supernatural to exist.

It's an entirely hypothetical concept which has not been proven in any way or form, in fact the concept is such that it is logically impossible to ever know whether the supernatural is real, a delusion, or false.

So in the interest of an intelligent discussion, you might want to acknowledge that none of us are in a position to make any definitive claims about the supernatural.

Jack17
21-01-2013, 19:00
Over and over again I ask myself what Lost in Moscow is doing in such threads? Such topics don't really concern you. Leave people alone! Why don't you? why do you have problem with religion? Why do you care?
Potty, long before you, long before Willy and Carbo, long before RGC, long before even MissAnnElk, people have been arguing with Rusmeister over his religious disertations. It's a fixture of this site. If not for posters like Lost, with whom would Rus have to argue? Relax, get used to it; I think this site is owned by Westerners who believe in at least a certain level of freedom of expression.

Potty
21-01-2013, 19:05
Potty, long before you, long before Willy and Carbo, long before RGC, long before even MissAnnElk, people have been arguing with Rusmeister over his religious disertations. It's a fixture of this site. If not for posters like Lost, with whom would Rus have to argue? Relax, get used to it; I think this site is owned by Westerners who believe in at least a certain level of freedom of expression.

I find this behavior illogical. For example I don't understand people who eat dry calamari. But I don't chase after them trying to prove something. It's just waste of time.

robertmf
21-01-2013, 19:08
Potty, long before you, long before Willy and Carbo, long before RGC,

Before *Carbo* :12115: I didn't know time existed way-back-when :) He was doing Kennedy era political diatribes on theglobe.com forums in the late '90s.

robertmf
21-01-2013, 19:11
I find this behavior illogical. For example I don't understand people who eat dry calamari. But I don't chase after them trying to prove something. It's just waste of time.

Dried squid is a Japanese bar snack and rather tasty. Chewy, but not as chewy as whale blubber.

mrzuzzo
21-01-2013, 19:18
This is good news. It means the American youth are becoming smarter and are stopping to believe in religious fairy tales.

Finally people are starting to see god as the genocidal, narcissistic, racist, homophobic, and egoistical bastard (I'm referring to Noah's Ark in Old Testament).

Anyways personally I have no issue with people believing in fairy tales about supernatural beings, but with the higher and higher involvement of technology, Internet, and access to information and opinion I think that, for curious young people, the argument that god really doesn't exist is just too hard to stand up against.

Jack17
21-01-2013, 19:28
I find this behavior illogical.

If you're looking for logic, I think you're in the wrong thread.

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 20:17
Potty, long before you, long before Willy and Carbo, long before RGC, long before even MissAnnElk, people have been arguing with Rusmeister over his religious disertations. It's a fixture of this site. If not for posters like Lost, with whom would Rus have to argue? Relax, get used to it; I think this site is owned by Westerners who believe in at least a certain level of freedom of expression.
Well Jack, it looks like the only way you can argue with me now is to condescend to me in front of others. You certainly can't respond to anything I say. You can not or will not show that your ideas are better than mine in direct debate.

I think other people, except people who feel they MUST hate anything I say and thank absolutely any post that objects to it (which is rather unreasonable) can't really be impressed by that. Sure, there are a bunch of such people here, but they're in the same boat - no consideration of my words or effective response, and some people think I'm right. So go ahead - it's the ignore list for you, and too bad - you were pretty reasonable and gentlemanly, initially, and I don't mind disagreement at all when it is so.

When it comes to who engages whose ideas, it's obvious that it isn't you. You've got nothing but naked assertion. Still, I wish you the best.

Jack17
21-01-2013, 20:42
it's the ignore list for you,

:yikes: Oh no, I've been sent to the corner again!

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 21:15
Until it isn't.

Always will be

Since "religion" is the attempt to understand those beings, and to learn and teach what our purpose is in this life in relation to those higher truths, the ideas cannot be separated, even if you were to believe that all the attempts have been thoroughly cynical and evil - which is improbable in the extreme. It's like saying, "I believe in black holes and quasars and stuff - I deny science, the concept, its trash."
(Here comes the demand for empirical proof, which ignores the evidence of the reason and experience of others...)

Religion is a guess of what these being are, nothing more, nothing less. Its someones interpretation of what they think they are. The fact there are so many different religions only means everyone has their own take on what these things are. One thing is to believe they exist, But to worship them is a whole other story. Hence why I said the concept of religion is trash, i believe something HAS to exist, but I sure don't worship them.

Maybe not and maybe, but you're sure trying.
I, conversely, DO hope to convince you that YOUR belief is a sham, though, in failing to convince you, someone else may see the truth in what I say and not in what you say.

Im all open for you to convince me oh great Rus. if i wasn't looking to be proved wrong I would have never started but all you're doing is reinforcing my current theory that its just another con, scam, sham.


It's not that one HAS to "believe in fairy tales", but in understanding what a fairy tale actually IS, and what value it has. "Beauty and the Beast" is a fairy tale, and holds the tremendous truth that often one must be loved before they can become lovable. If you spurn fairy tales, then you deny yourself such truths. Such a universe, without fairy tales, a mere mechanistic universe without imagination or love, is a narrow universe indeed. I would much rather believe that all the fairy tales are absolutely true than that we came out of nothingness, and will go back into nothingness, for no reason. It is not bravery to hold such a view, but insanity - mental and spiritual ill health.

Again, I don't see anyone worshiping the beauty and the beast fairytale.

But that cause is truth. How can I not really be interested in the truth if I dedicate myself to it? If you have found that your atheism is actually true, that my belief is really just a sham, and expound on it, how does that mean that you aren't really interested in the truth?

You've been told that this cause is the truth. Its not your own opinion, its someone's else, who taught you. You just agree with it now because they led you down their train of logic to believe its the truth, they held your hand and explained that parts which you had trouble understanding. Its like a reporter only using one source for the story, how much truth will you find if you're only getting one side of the story??

It sure looks like you think I haven't grown to your level. I don't mind, as long as you care about what is actually true, and are willing to go wherever that is, even if it turned out to be what you now see as "fairy tales". For my part, if I were to discover Orthodoxy to be actually false, I WOULD abandon it and go with whatever happens to be the truth.

You never will, not if you keep only following one side of the story.



Nope, nothing solid at all.

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 21:20
Over and over again I ask myself what Lost in Moscow is doing in such threads? Such topics don't really concern you. Leave people alone! Why don't you? why do you have problem with religion? Why do you care?

I looking to be proved wrong. I want to say "shit I guess I ****ed up for not worshiping one of the thousand different religions"

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 21:24
I find this behavior illogical. For example I don't understand people who eat dry calamari. But I don't chase after them trying to prove something. It's just waste of time.

Are you trying to compare religion to dry calamari?) I've time to waste in the metro, so why not

robertmf
21-01-2013, 21:28
I looking to be proved wrong. I want to say "shit I guess I ****ed up for not worshiping one of the thousand different religions"

:11629:

rusmeister
21-01-2013, 21:39
Nope, nothing solid at all.

Hi, LIM,
I really don't think you are open at all. You are closed tighter than an oyster.

I ddn't say you ought to "worship" Beauty and the Beast. I said the tale contains truth, since you seem to think fairy tales are mere falsehood.

A difference between you and me is that I HAVE been down both sides of the tracks, and seen both sides of the story. You have zero experence with intelligent faith. I HAVE had experience with intelligent unbelief. If you can't acknowledge that truth, and can show no knowledge of intelligent and reasonable faith; if you only attack without considering the reasonable side of my faith, then it's not worth talking. It would be another matter if you were quoting Anthony of Sourozh or Alexander Men', but you can't, because you have no idea who they are or what they said or taught. If you did, you would not be saying what you now say.
I, on the other hand, HAVE read Christoper Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, and so on.

That's the difference. I really know the best defences and defenders of your position; you know nothing of mine. I know what intelligent unbelief has to say, you don't know what intelligent belief has to say. If you don't know your opponent's actual position you have nothing to say about it.

Jack17
21-01-2013, 22:20
Do you understand your problem clearly now LIM? Has Rus explained it to you well enough? You're ignorant. If you were better educated in the arguments of Hitchens, Russell and other agnostic/atheist thinkers you would either agree with Rus, or, at least offer a more intelligent argument.

So, it's off to the library with you and off to the corner with me. In the mean time, Rus will just have to argue the inarguable with Yaks or someone not on his ignore list. :wavey:

Lost in moscow
21-01-2013, 22:51
why does everyone assume I'm atheist, where have I once said I don't believe in the existence of deities??

I just think Religion is as made up as the beauty and the beast, regardless what morals both try to teach.

The only difference between you and me is a decade+ of living and me being raised in three different societies, oh and you deciding to worship a fairy tale. Been there done that, being baptized and all, and I was the one who asked my mom to take me to church when I was 7, and by the time I was only about 12 years old the whole orthodox charade turned me off little by little. So if at that young of an age I already understood that its trash, it makes me wonder what have you been doing all these years.

I'm happy you spent time reading them, it doesn't change the fact that the stories used in the different religions are as fictional as any other book/movie that claims to be based on a true story. They exaggerate things to make it interesting.

If not accepting that these deities will punish me if I do not worship them or follow their rules makes me ignorant, then I'm fine with it, I will still live a full happy, fulfilling life living off the very basic and simple idea; life is cause and effect

you can continue to suffer for whomever you believe in while I enjoy my time on this very beautiful planet. My life is in my hands)

yakspeare
21-01-2013, 23:33
Do you understand your problem clearly now LIM? Has Rus explained it to you well enough? You're ignorant. If you were better educated in the arguments of Hitchens, Russell and other agnostic/atheist thinkers you would either agree with Rus, or, at least offer a more intelligent argument.

So, it's off to the library with you and off to the corner with me. In the mean time, Rus will just have to argue the inarguable with Yaks or someone not on his ignore list. :wavey:

I resemble that comment.

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 04:35
Do you understand your problem clearly now LIM? Has Rus explained it to you well enough? You're ignorant. If you were better educated in the arguments of Hitchens, Russell and other agnostic/atheist thinkers you would either agree with Rus, or, at least offer a more intelligent argument.


But this actually IS the case. "Ignorant" means "doesn't know". And LIM really is wholly unfamiliar with Christian apologetics and ancient Christian theology. He attacks something he knows nothing about. If he would even quote a Protestant like John Wesley I'd be more impressed. He HAS to speak about abstract religion because he really can't say a word about Orthodoxy. He can take a vague familiarity with fundamental Baptists or whatever and use that to dismiss everything without any real consideration.

Intelligent argument means CONSIDERING the ideas you disagree with. Labeling them as "fairy tales" without consideration is simply not intelligent. It is raging ignorance. The intelligent argument takes each idea and honestly asks the question, "Could this be true or not? Why or why not?" "Because it is a fairy tale" is unintelligent. Even "there is no empirical proof", Jan's argument, is more intelligent than that. (Have to remember to find and respond to Jan's recent post, btw)
Jan does the more intelligent thing. He DOES, to a degree, consider the ideas he dislikes, and so, offers intelligent argument. But the "fairy tale" argument does not. It's a refusal to think and mere assertion of one's own ideas, and so, doesn't pass an intelligence test, just as "Repent, the end is near!" fails as Christian argument. An opinion can be intelligent and wrong, or unintelligent and right, but even if the "fairy-tale" attackers are right, they show no intelligence in doing so. I DO believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but you would not think much of the intelligence of my arguments if all I did was stupidly repeat it, and this is exactly what the person who simply dismisses Christian faith as a "fairy tale" does.

If you want to be thought right about anything, you ought to want to be intelligent about it.

AlabamaRussian
22-01-2013, 09:25
Moving on from religion is good because that will lead many to what is true and real. Personal relationship with God through faith in Christ and NOT man made idols or legalistic law.

More Jews and Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last 25 years than in all of time before the last 25 years combined. Through out the world Christianity is the fastest growing faith bar-none.

Being simply born into a faith is not considered into this point as well it shouldn't be either. One must choose at some time in life.

All choose to worship and/or believe in something even if that something is Self.

The Church is learning to combat the world system's of mass media and attempt to reach folks younger and younger. It worked for McDonalds, Disney world, hollywood and etc etc etc.

Messianic faith is rapidly growing in the USA and really is most alike the original church to the dismay of Orthodoxy.

For those who are not aware of Messianic belief and faith the link below will give information. For informational purposes here is said link...

http://www.bethhallel-al.org/CMS/

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 10:49
The Church is learning...
If only you can define what the Church is and we could agree on that definition...


Messianic faith is rapidly growing in the USA and really is most alike the original church to the dismay of Orthodoxy.

We're not that dismayed. :)

Carl
22-01-2013, 11:19
"Ignorant" means "doesn't know". And LIM really is wholly unfamiliar with Christian apologetics and ancient Christian theology. He attacks something he knows nothing about.

But Rus... have you not attacked one night stands, gays, divorce, anal sex & same sex marriage more then a few times here. Just how familiar are you with these subjects?

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 11:57
But Rus... have you not attacked one night stands, gays, divorce, anal sex and same-sex marriage more than a few times here. How familiar are you with these subjects?


Carl, it ought to be obvious that commenting on a complex institution or organization, such as a Church or nation, really requires significant knowledge of the thing to be able to comment effectively on it, whereas commenting on the morality of an act really just requires the experience of being human. That this is not obvious says something. (But I am optimistic that people are capable of ackowledging this as soon as it is pointed out. Very often, these turn out to be things we simply haven't thought of before.)

If I were to take your stand for even a moment, then only a murderer could judge the rightness or wrongness of murder.
On the other hand, it would imply that a sheep farmer in Afghanistan could comment competently on the internal politics of a provincial American town, knowing nothing about the history or culture of the place or its people, religion, language. This is backwards and upside down. Sanity is forwards and right-side up.

It should be obvious that if you don't know the history or culture of a nation or institution, you cannot make informed comments on it, and conversely, that one CAN make judgements about immoral acts without ever having performed them. In fact, the best judge really IS the most innocent one; the next best being the one who has repented of such deeds - the first tendency of those engaged in immorality is to justify it, and that will remain true as long as people have this metaphysical thing we call their conscience. We do wrong even though we know we shouldn't, and to compensate, we try to tell ourselves that it is not wrong, after all.

JanC
22-01-2013, 12:27
it ought to be obvious that commenting on a complex institution or organization, such as a Church or nation, really requires significant knowledge of the thing to be able to comment effectively on it

Depends what one is commenting on.

If one is commenting on the validity of specific claims being made by a certain organization...knowledge of the organization itself is not particularly relevant.

If I claim something to be true and want to be taken serious then it ought to be possible for me to offer proof to anyone even though they know absolutely nothing about me. It's not complicated.

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 12:41
Depends what one is commenting on.

If one is commenting on the validity of specific claims being made by a certain organization...knowledge of the organization itself is not particularly relevant.

If I claim something to be true and want to be taken serious then it ought to be possible for me to offer proof to anyone even though they know absolutely nothing about me. It's not complicated.
(Sorry, I know your earlier post was lost in the shuffle. It really is on my serious consideration list.)

The central point we seem to clash on, I think, is in what seems to be your position that only empirical proof of the physical universe is admissible. Philosophical proof arrived at by reason and human experience (proving the conscience, for instance) are forms of proof that it seems I admit and you do not.

When you say "valid", is that merely a term for "true" that attempts to subjectify the concept of truth?

As far as empirical proof goes, the claim of a single Christian Church for a thousand years, and the history of Christian faith prior to the Reformation, is far better supported than any historical claims AlabamaRussian might make about the Messianic movement or any Protestant claim to be the continuous Church, and know what it was like in the first centuries. Here, two Churches - the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Hurch have all others over a barrel. They have solid and demonstrable history of a continuous organization. The others do not, and must pick and choose and make arbitrary claims.

rubyrussia
22-01-2013, 13:08
Messianic faith is rapidly growing in the USA and really is most alike the original church to the dismay of Orthodoxy.


"Messianic faith" should be the envy of the "other / only correct church" Christians? How do you interpret Galatians? At a first glance, your denomination seems like the full and total conclusion of dispensationalism. Correct me if I'm wrong and I will read further.

JanC
22-01-2013, 14:29
The central point we seem to clash on, I think, is in what seems to be your position that only empirical proof of the physical universe is admissible. Philosophical proof arrived at by reason and human experience (proving the conscience, for instance) are forms of proof that it seems I admit and you do not.

The problem with "philosophical proof" or "human experience" is that it is inconsistent and can be used to prove "everything" and "nothing". There is no way to tell fact from delusion. This kind of "proof" has been, and still is used today by apologists for any religion you can think of. Many of them conflict on pretty important points i might add. If all we have is that people "feel" they are right then we're not going to get very far with anything.

This is a clear issue of inductive reasoning versus deductive reasoning. The latter being much more reliable. Emotions and gut feelings are not reliable indicators.

And if we are on the topic of admitting evidence, do you admit for example that there is genetic evidence which proves conclusively that modern man has been around for at least 100.000 years and evolved from mammal ancestors?

Genetics being a practical science which consistently delivers results which are exactly in line with theoretical predictions (and therefore demonstrably not a delusion)



When you say "valid", is that merely a term for "true" that attempts to subjectify the concept of truth?

Subjectivity has nothing to do with it. Any claim is either true or false, but depending on the claim we might not have all the evidence and tools at our disposal to determine which it is. In that case we must reserve judgement, even though we may be in a position to judge how likely or unlikely it is to be true or false.



They have solid and demonstrable history of a continuous organization. The others do not, and must pick and choose and make arbitrary claims.

The organization itself has nothing to do with it, was my point. The continuity and consistency of a religious organization has no influence whatsoever on whether the core of the religious story in question is real or fiction. Just like a conclusion can only be as reliable as the premises it is based on, when using perfectly valid logic. Garbage in, garbage out.

The general premises of any religion I have heard of are unreliable and tend to be based on ignorance or superstition. When such premises are taken for granted and a church is built on them, all the valid logic and good intentions in the world will not make their claims reliable.

That's not to say that the church or religion in itself is a bad thing per se. I tend to look at it like a part of human nature, it would be foolish to ignore that religion can have a very positive function in one's life. I'd probably even prefer certain religious claims to be true. Alas, based on what we know the chances of it are remote and I am not of the disposition to believe what I'd prefer to be true.

Ghostly Presence
22-01-2013, 14:47
If we assume that the humankind will continue to exist for millions of years into the future and science will not at some point grind to a halt because it reaches frontiers beyond which it can not p**** then ultimately Religion will either crumble under the weight of new scientific evidence and will become no more than a strange cultural phenomenon of the ancestors, or will be proven right in one form or another.

By the way, people who go through a near-death experience often claim that all truths were revealed to them on "the other side" but that they were not allowed to bring them back. So, on the personal level we are likely to learn what the Truth really is much earlier than the science will be able to tell us all about it.

JanC
22-01-2013, 15:17
then ultimately Religion will either crumble under the weight of new scientific evidence

It wouldn't, we can see the evidence for this in the present.
You have to be scientifically literate to understand the evidence. Those who are not and have no desire to be (even branding science the enemy) will perfectly manage to dismiss scientific evidence no matter how conclusive it is.
Just look at young-earth creationists, quite a few of them exist today in spite of the fact that their position is scientifically indefensible.

Baghdad was once at the forefront of science, mathematics and astronomy. Until Islamic religious literalism brought and end to all that nearly 1000 years ago and there is still no real sign of recovery in that part of the world.

Ghostly Presence
22-01-2013, 15:35
Good point, but the modern man exists only a short span of time compared to dinosaurs, for example, who roamed the Earth for millions of years, so if we do not perish, who can tell how we will eventually evolve and how our beliefs will evolve together with us.

Pictures of Orthodox priests clad in their lavish outfits will one day probably be looked at with the same jovial curiosity as we now look at the outfit of some African shaman.

peppermintpaddy
22-01-2013, 17:07
This is good news. It means the American youth are becoming smarter and are stopping to believe in religious fairy tales.

Finally people are starting to see god as the genocidal, narcissistic, racist, homophobic, and egoistical bastard (I'm referring to Noah's Ark in Old Testament).

Anyways personally I have no issue with people believing in fairy tales about supernatural beings, but with the higher and higher involvement of technology, Internet, and access to information and opinion I think that, for curious young people, the argument that god really doesn't exist is just too hard to stand up against.

What he said....Americans are becoming smarter-Finally!

yakspeare
22-01-2013, 17:54
this thread is a natural experiment in bias. I mean the heading and the celebration of the claim is rather amusing.

It could easily have been written like this:


Americans still finding religion relevent


80% of Americans are still religiously affiliated particularly of older age groups.

Indeed two thirds of young Americans state they are followers of a particular religion. Though these figures are lower than in previous years it still shows the high relevence of religion in the scientific age and suggests religion will not die out any time soon.

robertmf
22-01-2013, 18:14
this thread is a natural experiment in bias. I mean the heading and the celebration of the claim is rather amusing.

It could easily have been written like this:

Americans still finding religion relevent

80% of Americans are still religiously affiliated particularly of older age groups.

Indeed two thirds of young Americans state they are followers of a particular religion. Though these figures are lower than in previous years it still shows the high relevence of religion in the scientific age and suggests religion will not die out any time soon.

The article essays the trending of youth moving away from organized religion. Acceleration, not a static data.

If an organization (be it Moose Lodge or Major League Baseball) does not develop members|fans from the youth, then that organization will, by definition, literally die out.


“Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.”


-- the waxy one

yakspeare
22-01-2013, 18:33
The article essays the trending of youth moving away from organized religion. Acceleration, not a static data.

If an organization (be it Moose Lodge or Major League Baseball) does not develop members|fans from the youth, then that organization will, by definition, literally die out.


“Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.”


-- the waxy one

yes but those levels are still extraordinarily high considering the secular age and the assertion amongst many here that an intelligent believer is an oxymoron. 66% of youths still identify with religion which makes it the majority. if the numbers were reversed then a claim of it dying out wouldn't be so sensational.

robertmf
22-01-2013, 18:36
yes but those levels are still extraordinarily high considering the secular age and the assertion amongst many here that an intelligent believer is an oxymoron. 66% of youths still identify with religion which makes it the majority. if the numbers were reversed then a claim of it dying out wouldn't be so sensational.

That 66% you are using is a nominal number. It's more like, "I was raised Baptist, so I'll just answer Baptist".

Trust me that 66% of American youth do not participate in any (organized or not) church activities.

yakspeare
22-01-2013, 19:16
That 66% you are using is a nominal number. It's more like, "I was raised Baptist, so I'll just answer Baptist".

Trust me that 66% of American youth do not participate in any (organized or not) church activities.

that is an entirely different argument-clearly when a person even nominally calls themselves a baptist it means they have some sort of faith in a God-they aren't that observant though. Atheists are quite proud of the fact they are what they are and freely declare it.

AstarD
22-01-2013, 20:28
Major Scaled #2 : REM - "Recovering My Religion" on Vimeo

mrzuzzo
22-01-2013, 20:38
I consider myself Christian and wear a cross around my neck at all times, but I do not go to church nor do I worship the fairy tale god from the bible.

mrzuzzo
22-01-2013, 20:44
.

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 20:52
this thread is a natural experiment in bias. I mean the heading and the celebration of the claim is rather amusing.

It could easily have been written like this:


Americans still finding religion relevent


80% of Americans are still religiously affiliated particularly of older age groups.

Indeed two thirds of young Americans state they are followers of a particular religion. Though these figures are lower than in previous years it still shows the high relevence of religion in the scientific age and suggests religion will not die out any time soon.

Well, Yak, I guess we can appreciate what is common in our respective views.
That IS the basis on which disagreement, even friendly disagreement, can be rationally established. :)

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 20:57
The article essays the trending of youth moving away from organized religion. Acceleration, not a static data.

If an organization (be it Moose Lodge or Major League Baseball) does not develop members|fans from the youth, then that organization will, by definition, literally die out.


“Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.”


-- the waxy one

This kind of takes us back to square one, Robert, and leaves out the exceptions to the general rule, which I agree with you on. I don't think Christian faith can possibly survive if it does not remain objectively Christian; that is, identifiable as common to what Christian faith has always been held to be throughout history. And the exceptions, notably Orthodoxy in the US, beg to differ with the general observation. If any ONE faith remains to be reckoned with, unbelievers cannot crow about "the death of religion". You only need one that people still find relevant - and it will be the one that doesn't try in the least to be relevant, but sticks to what brought agnostic and atheist Romans to faith in a dying Empire.

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 21:02
.

I can think of a Chestertonian reply that would perplex the would-be infuriator. I would ask what the peculiar symbolic significance of the letter "t" might mean.

If it's not "too long" for you to read and consider:


It will appear only a jest to say that all religious
history has really been a pattern of noughts and crosses.
But I do not by noughts mean nothings, but only things that are
negative compared with the positive shape or pattern of the other.
And though the symbol is of course only a coincidence, it is a coincidence
that really does coincide. The mind of Asia can really be represented
by a round 0, if not in the sense of a cypher at least of a circle.
The great Asiatic symbol of a serpent with its tail in its mouth is
really a very perfect image of a certain idea of unity and recurrence
that does indeed belong to the Eastern philosophies and religions.
It really is a curve that in one sense includes everything,
and in another sense comes to nothing. In that sense it does confess,
or rather boast, that all argument is an argument in a circle.
And though the figure is but a symbol, we can see how sound is
the symbolic sense that produces it, the parallel symbol of the Wheel
of Buddha generally called the Swastika. The cross is a thing at
right angles pointing boldly in opposite directions; but the Swastika
is the same thing in the very act of returning to the recurrent curve.
That crooked cross is in fact a cross turning into a wheel.
Before we dismiss even these symbols as if they were arbitrary symbols,
we must remember how intense was the imaginative instinct that
produced them or selected them both in the east and the west.
The cross has become something more than a historical memory;
it does convey, almost as by a mathematical diagram, the truth
about the real point at issue; the idea of a conflict stretching
outwards into eternity. It is true, and even tautological,
to say that the cross is the crux of the whole matter.

In other words the cross, in fact as well as figure,
does really stand for the idea of breaking out of the circle
that is everything and nothing. It does escape from the circular
argument by which everything begins and ends in the mind.
Since we are still dealing in symbols, it might be put in a parable
in the form of that story about St. Francis, which says that the birds
departing with his benediction could wing their way into the infinites
of the four winds of heaven, their tracks making a vast cross upon
the sky; for compared with the freedom of that flight of birds,
the very shape of the Swastika is like a kitten chasing its tail.
In a more popular allegory, we might say that when St. George
thrust his spear into the monster's jaws, he broke in upon
the solitude of the self-devouring serpent and gave it something
to bite besides its own tail. But while many fancies might be used
as figures of the truth, the truth itself is abstract and absolute;
though it is not very easy to sum up except by such figures.
Christianity does appeal to a solid truth outside itself;
to something which is in that sense external as well as eternal.
It does declare that things are really there; or in other words
that things are really things--In this Christianity is at one
with common sense; but all religious history shows that this common
sense perishes except where there is Christianity to preserve it.

rusmeister
22-01-2013, 21:04
I consider myself Christian and wear a cross around my neck at all times, but I do not go to church nor do I worship the fairy tale god from the bible.
The real question is whether Christians throughout history would consider you a Christian - and I'm afraid you wouldn't like their answer.

If you have nothing in common with them it is rather meaningless to call yourself one of them.

Jack17
22-01-2013, 21:15
I consider myself Christian and wear a cross around my neck at all times, but I do not go to church nor do I worship the fairy tale god from the bible.
Oh Mr. Z, I'm left astonished by the things that come out of the mouths of the Millenial generation.

AstarD
22-01-2013, 21:27
I consider myself Christian and wear a cross around my neck at all times, but I do not go to church nor do I worship the fairy tale god from the bible.

What is it about yourself that makes you consider yourself a Christian, then? What do you think the cross you wear symbolizes?

mrzuzzo
22-01-2013, 21:31
The real question is whether Christians throughout history would consider you a Christian - and I'm afraid you wouldn't like their answer.

If you have nothing in common with them it is rather meaningless to call yourself one of them.


Oh Mr. Z, I'm left astonished by the things that come out of the mouths of the Millenial generation.


What is it about yourself that makes you consider yourself a Christian, then? What do you think the cross you wear symbolizes?

Tradition, family values, and culture. I do not consider myself a "real" Christian and wouldn't expect others to consider me so.

My first cross was given to me by my dad, I then lost it and the next one (which is the one I'm wearing now) was given to me by my first love who remains a very close person to my heart to this day. It has a lot of emotional significance behind it.

Remington
22-01-2013, 21:34
I consider myself Christian and wear a cross around my neck at all times, but I do not go to church nor do I worship the fairy tale god from the bible.

So you'll consider yourself a Jew if you wear a Star of David around your neck?

Jack17
22-01-2013, 21:39
So you'll consider yourself a Jew if you wear a Star of David around your neck?
No, Mr. Z is honest and his is a plausible answer. The crucifix for him expresses a cultural identity, not a religious one per se.

I know countless Jews here in Southern California (most from Russia) who have never set foot in a Synagogue; but they consider themselves to be Jews in much the same way that Mr. Z considers himself to be Christian. Yes, in fact, some of these Jews do wear the Mogen David.

mrzuzzo
22-01-2013, 21:39
So you'll consider yourself a Jew if you wear a Star of David around your neck?

You didn't get my point did you? I come from a christian family. Why would I wear a star of David? I would if I came from a jewish family.

Remington
22-01-2013, 21:46
You didn't get my point did you? I come from a christian family. Why would I wear a star of David? I would if I came from a jewish family.

My post was a little late but anyway coming from a Christian family doesn't make you a Christian. You have to practice Christian faith to be a Christian otherwise it's all meaningless. You can wear a cross but it doesn't make you a Christian if you don't practice it.

mrzuzzo
22-01-2013, 21:59
My post was a little late but anyway coming from a Christian family doesn't make you a Christian. You have to practice Christian faith to be a Christian otherwise it's all meaningless. You can wear a cross but it doesn't make you a Christian if you don't practice it.

Correction, it doesn't make you a true Christian. But yes I agree.

JanC
22-01-2013, 23:27
It could easily have been written like this:


Americans still finding religion relevent

Not if they use a spellchecker ;-)

yakspeare
22-01-2013, 23:53
Not if they use a spellchecker ;-)

Indeed.

rubyrussia
23-01-2013, 00:01
Correction, it doesn't make you a true Christian. But yes I agree.

What's the point in identifying yourself as a fake / false Christian? To make your family happy?

Jack17
23-01-2013, 00:09
Indeed.
Everyone knows Australians can't spell.

mrzuzzo
23-01-2013, 00:19
What's the point in identifying yourself as a fake / false Christian? To make your family happy?

It's for myself only, I wear my cross always under my clothes and it is never visible (except to the lucky ones that do get to see me without a shirt). The cross has a very big personal significance for me.

yakspeare
23-01-2013, 00:20
Everyone knows Australians can't spell.

shore wi kan.

rusmeister
23-01-2013, 21:13
One of the general problems I've had with typing on an iPad, aside from the betrayals of the virtual keyboard, leaving typos in every post when on a regular PC, I'm pretty much typo-free, is that all browsers I have ever tried constantly reload pages. Even when I try to arrange the settings to minimize this, I still get reloaded; if not now, then in ten or firteen minutes. That results in posts half-written being wiped out. It's a lack of effective windows that leave everything the way you left it.



The problem with "philosophical proof" or "human experience" is that it is inconsistent and can be used to prove "everything" and "nothing". There is no way to tell fact from delusion. This kind of "proof" has been, and still is used today by apologists for any religion you can think of. Many of them conflict on pretty important points i might add. If all we have is that people "feel" they are right then we're not going to get very far with anything.

This is a clear issue of inductive reasoning versus deductive reasoning. The latter being much more reliable. Emotions and gut feelings are not reliable indicators.

And if we are on the topic of admitting evidence, do you admit for example that there is genetic evidence which proves conclusively that modern man has been around for at least 100.000 years and evolved from mammal ancestors?

Genetics being a practical science which consistently delivers results which are exactly in line with theoretical predictions (and therefore demonstrably not a delusion)




Subjectivity has nothing to do with it. Any claim is either true or false, but depending on the claim we might not have all the evidence and tools at our disposal to determine which it is. In that case we must reserve judgement, even though we may be in a position to judge how likely or unlikely it is to be true or false.




The organization itself has nothing to do with it, was my point. The continuity and consistency of a religious organization has no influence whatsoever on whether the core of the religious story in question is real or fiction. Just like a conclusion can only be as reliable as the premises it is based on, when using perfectly valid logic. Garbage in, garbage out.

The general premises of any religion I have heard of are unreliable and tend to be based on ignorance or superstition. When such premises are taken for granted and a church is built on them, all the valid logic and good intentions in the world will not make their claims reliable.

That's not to say that the church or religion in itself is a bad thing per se. I tend to look at it like a part of human nature, it would be foolish to ignore that religion can have a very positive function in one's life. I'd probably even prefer certain religious claims to be true. Alas, based on what we know the chances of it are remote and I am not of the disposition to believe what I'd prefer to be true.


(Hoping you get that a delayed response time from me is complementary - it means that more thought, time and energy are required for a response, so the better posts get slower responses...)

First of all, no one is appealing to "gut feelings" ("I've 'got a feeling' it's true!"). When I speak of reason and experience, I am talking about more concrete things. That's why I objected to a fellow Orthodox Christian on another forum the other day when she said "I know how you feel about this...". I explained the difference between feeling and thinking. I object tonthe habit of imprecise language, when people don't say what they really mean, and consequently, don't mean what they actually say. So we can dispense with mere feeling as an argument against experience altogether.

It is true that experience may not be of much help to others in transmitting truth; any help requires believing that the reported experience is true. But it can certainly help you, the person experiencing the thing.

But not if you come to the point of doubting your senses and knowledge altogether. And this is where philosophy comes in. Without a first hard dogma that you take for granted and do not question, you can never know anything about anything, not even your own existence. And so we must admit an unproven and unprovable philosophical supposition as granted and enabling the revelation of truth - that human reason is valid and can reveal truth.
Without that, you cannot prove, even to yourself, that you are actually staring into a monitor screen right now.

I quite agree with your statement on true or false claims. However, if I cannot attain to knowledge via the experimental method or reason, I can still be reasonable in accepting something as true if I believe a witness that I find as absolutely reliable, that has always told the truth. This is belief, but it is reasonable and logical belief.

Science can and has changed its positions, and may be expected to continue to do so in the future. We must have faith in science in order to believe that we actually know this by it; all knowledge is ultimately a matter of faith, faith that what we experience is real, and not mere subjective delusion. 

To answer your question, do I admit there is evidence? Certainly. Do I think the evidence proves a thing true? No, although it may be very likely, particularly if no false assumptions are made. For example, (in my best understanding) as long as the rate of decay in radio-carbon dating remains constant, then the dating currently accepted may be accurate. If, however, at a certain point beyond our ability to measure, the rate changes, then all calculations are off, and may be way off. I do not even insist that that is the case. There are certainly other assumptions that must be accepted that may have a  condition that, if not met, again would lead to error. So I find it to be at least as easy to be agnostic about the findings of science as I do the religion that I think reports accurate truth, much of which I can witness for myself and do not need to accept as a matter of faith.

When speaking about the length of endurance of an institution there is an enormous truth that I see that seems to completely escape you, and that is that no falsehood can long endure without a GREAT deal of truth. Soviet Communism could not and did not last four generations, or one ordinary person's lifetime, though it had truths - unprovable by your standards, about the brotherhood of men and so on.

The great world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism (insofar as it is a religion) and Shinto) could not possibly have lasted as long as they have unless they have a great deal of truth about human life and the human condition. No scheming men in robes could possibly carry off a scam for millennia - even a falsehood needs a LOT of truth to stay alive for any length of time. Whether the core of the religious story s true or not, the presence of truth is unquestionable. Only a fool would question it. I will never be a Jew, but I would be a fool to deny that there is a great deal of truth in Judaism.

"Dumbledore IS a great wizard. Only a fool would deny it." Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

As far as I can tell, you have heard nothing of Orthodoxy. That or you have a wildly wrong understanding of what ignorance and superstition are. If a given postulate is true, then the claims based on it, however wild they would seem if the postulate WEREN'T true, may logically follow. That is the essence of what theology is, and my sense is that you have encountered no serious Christian apologetics or theology, certainly not Orthodox theology. So not being familiar with the rational bases for those postulates, you are dependent, not on evidence, but on speculation in the absence of evidence to label them ignorance and superstition.

I do think your insistence that truth be more important than preference to be admirable and I share it. If I really found greater truth outside of Orthodoxy, I would align myself to that. I don't see it happening, though. But it is an enormous advantage we hold over the committed agnostic (who denies that there is any truth to be known) and this is good common ground for a start. 

robertmf
23-01-2013, 21:40
My post was a little late but anyway coming from a Christian family doesn't make you a Christian. You have to practice Christian faith to be a Christian otherwise it's all meaningless. You can wear a cross but it doesn't make you a Christian if you don't practice it.

It is "the path of least resistance". When the census man or pollster knocks on your door and asks, "what is your religion?", and you are not a regular church goer, but don't want to declare atheism or agnostic, then you answer what you were raised as in by parents|Sunday school.

Instead of Sunday school for today's youth (OT - has this generation be given an name; Gen-X, Gen-Y etc ?), it may very well be
watching the movies Bloody Bloody Bible Camp and Bad Kids Go To Hell (both 2012).

rusmeister
23-01-2013, 23:01
It is "the path of least resistance". When the census man or pollster knocks on your door and asks, "what is your religion?", and you are not a regular church goer, but don't want to declare atheism or agnostic, then you answer what you were raised as in by parents|Sunday school.

Instead of Sunday school for today's youth (OT - has this generation be given an name; Gen-X, Gen-Y etc ?), it may very well be
watching the movies Bloody Bloody Bible Camp and Bad Kids Go To Hell (both 2012).


It has a name: Nominal faith. The cheap kind that desn't cost anything. When it costs you your life, then nominalism disappears and only hard-core (serious) believers are left.

Jack17
23-01-2013, 23:04
Are you planning on becoming a martyr anytime soon Rus?

RichardB
23-01-2013, 23:50
The real question is whether Christians throughout history would consider you a Christian - and I'm afraid you wouldn't like their answer.

If you have nothing in common with them it is rather meaningless to call yourself one of them.

Real Christians throughout history?

Do you mean those people who went off on crusades in the name of their 'god' to teach those 'heathen' scum that 'we' are right and they're wrong?

Or those people who went off and converted 'them backwards black people' because they were classed as savages by the self-righteous 'Christians'?

Or those people who choose to follow their 'god' while f**king little boys and girls THROUGHOUT history?

Or those people who follow the text of a book which cannot be empirically verified by science and historians?

Or those people who believe in something that they cannot prove empirically exists? Who will then point out that something else (which again cannot be proven empirically) says that 'god' exists therefore it must be true.

Or those people who have caused so much suffering and innumerable wars throughout history in the name of their 'god'?

MrZ gets my vote for being a Christian. He has done none of the above and leads his life in a 'good' way. Can your historical Christians say the same?

JanC
24-01-2013, 00:24
One of the general problems I've had with typing on an iPad..............

I admire your dedication Rus, if I had to reply to you on an iPad I'd probably rather go and shoot myself.
That said, perhaps you should download something like the popular app "pages". It kind of gives you a notepad (so no reloading of anything) where you can save progress and at the end of it just copy-paste it over. You can probably copy-paste the post you want to reply to into it at first.

But it's still a bit of a hassle to say the least.


First of all, no one is appealing to "gut feelings" ("I've 'got a feeling' it's true!"). When I speak of reason and experience, I am talking about more concrete things. That's why I objected to a fellow Orthodox Christian on another forum the other day when she said "I know how you feel about this...". I explained the difference between feeling and thinking. I object tonthe habit of imprecise language, when people don't say what they really mean, and consequently, don't mean what they actually say. So we can dispense with mere feeling as an argument against experience altogether.

Fair enough, in this case I think emotions were indeed not necessarily relevant. I vaguely remembered this being an issue in a previous back-and-forth we had but this is a different one obviously.


It is true that experience may not be of much help to others in transmitting truth; any help requires believing that the reported experience is true. But it can certainly help you, the person experiencing the thing.

But not if you come to the point of doubting your senses and knowledge altogether.


Question: is the human brain a reliable data-gathering device?
The scientific answer is no, it isn't. Eye-witness testimony for example is the least reliable form of evidence for that reason.
In many cases where you have multiple witnesses, their stories will conflict on very important points. Particularly when whatever happened is not something they are particularly schooled in. Astronomers for example are not very likely to mistake planet Venus for a UFO, unlike people who have no clue exactly what the sky should look like when they look up at night.

So now we already know that people (their brains specifically) have a habit of "filling in the blanks" when confronted with something they do not understand. It's an unconscious process which we cannot control, not to be confused with lying.
Our brain is constantly in the process of "showing" us things which we don't really see. When you're walking (especially in a familiar place) your brain will actually be showing you what it knows is there rather than what you are seeing through your eyes. Unless you start to pay attention of course.

The brain has the power to make stuff up, it does so on a daily (and nightly) basis.

Therefore, "I've seen it happen" is not sufficient proof for anything. No hard feelings, we're only human.

We also know that humans aren't particularly accurate story-transmitting devices. We've probably all done that little experiment in school I think.

So for me it's not a matter of trusting the individual. There is no shortage of unlikely stories, religious or not, anyway.



Without a first hard dogma that you take for granted and do not question, you can never know anything about anything, not even your own existence.

The only dogma we should take for granted is that we both exist, we are communicating right now through words and understand them in a similar fashion. In other words, the only thing relevant here is that this not just in one of our heads. If this is false, then everything else is irrelevant obviously.

If one of us strikes a match and we can both agree that it catches fire, that's all we need to know for the sake of this conversation. We are in the same plane.



And so we must admit an unproven and unprovable philosophical supposition as granted and enabling the revelation of truth - that human reason is valid and can reveal truth.
Without that, you cannot prove, even to yourself, that you are actually staring into a monitor screen right now.

Quite so, we'll take this for granted because it's the only way any of this matters.


I quite agree with your statement on true or false claims. However, if I cannot attain to knowledge via the experimental method or reason, I can still be reasonable in accepting something as true if I believe a witness that I find as absolutely reliable, that has always told the truth. This is belief, but it is reasonable and logical belief.

This I find problematic for reasons I've laid out earlier. If someone I trust implicitly to tell the truth tells me about a fact he witnessed which I find hard to believe then I do not doubt his honesty. But I am in a position where I can reasonably doubt that the fact happened how he remembers it.

Accepting the flaws in our perception is nothing to be ashamed of, it's a fact of life. Any book store will sell you books full of "optical illusions".
Illusion is a nice euphemism really. What is actually is, is a failure of the brain to understand what it is looking at. Our brains have evolved to understand our environment and when you give it something it is not prepared for you get an "illusion".

One of my interests is air travel and accidents and the stories you get from witnesses there are literally all over the place. Almost as good as useless because most of them don't have a clue what they were looking at.

"does not compute" is not something our brain will tell us. Instead it takes a guess and it will be as "real" to us as toast in the morning.

And then of course there are real and fairly common physical issues that can cause hallucination.

So no, someone (even myself) seeing something with their own eyes is insufficient proof of something spectacular or "super natural".
As always, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.



Science can and has changed its positions, and may be expected to continue to do so in the future. We must have faith in science in order to believe that we actually know this by it;

What you need to understand about science is that it is not about absolute facts or formulas. Science is a method. This method can discover, correct and confirm. The scientific method has never changed. It is merely the tool we have to try and understand as much of our universe as we can with the data we manage to gather.



To answer your question, do I admit there is evidence? Certainly. Do I think the evidence proves a thing true? No, although it may be very likely, particularly if no false assumptions are made. For example, (in my best understanding) as long as the rate of decay in radio-carbon dating remains constant, then the dating currently accepted may be accurate. If, however, at a certain point beyond our ability to measure, the rate changes, then all calculations are off, and may be way off. I do not even insist that that is the case. There are certainly other assumptions that must be accepted that may have a  condition that, if not met, again would lead to error.

This is true, and this is where it is handy to have multiple independent methods to verify the same thing. Just to create near absolute certainty from a statistical point of view. In terms of dating the margin of error we have achieved is impressively small these days. You can link living and dead tree rings to go back well beyond the young earth creationist timescale for example. You can go much much much further back with ice cores. And we know the stability of earth's orbit around the sun.

In terms of descent, though...there is statistically satisfying certainty about the facts of evolution I mentioned. Millions of predictions you can make based on evolution are confirmed. No prediction one would make if "creation" happened matches with what we find in the field and under a microscope.




When speaking about the length of endurance of an institution there is an enormous truth that I see that seems to completely escape you, and that is that no falsehood can long endure without a GREAT deal of truth. Soviet Communism could not and did not last four generations, or one ordinary person's lifetime, though it had truths - unprovable by your standards, about the brotherhood of men and so on.

You're sort of losing me here but I'll try to keep up.

Communism and religion are 2 very, very different things. Religion makes a supernatural claim. Communism is an economic proposition if anything. Communism did not deliver the results necessary to sustain itself. Most of the time it was also pretty much run as a dictatorship. Not compatible with human nature.

Religion has to produce no results or evidence. All it takes is that people believe it is true and pass it on through the generations. The only real evidence there could ever be would be after you're dead. Inconvenient for the living if it were true, convenient if it's not true (convenient for the religion to survive that is)

An analogy that I always come back to is Santa Claus. If nobody ever told us that it's "just a story" and presents kept popping up out of the blue for the rest of our lives many people would continue to believe it indefinitely.
It's just that it is not possible to keep it up from a practical perspective. Not everyone would be asking how does Santa manage to travel from house to house at a few million miles per hour.

Religion does not need to deliver any results. Some people will imagine results, while others may believe because they're taught to believe and have no inclination to question it or care about the question.

The last bit is statistically obvious when you look at the distribution of religion geographically. The details (let's be honest, not JUST the details) of religions vary enormously and in incompatible ways. That doesn't stop believers from believing nearly always what their elders believe(d).



The great world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism (insofar as it is a religion) and Shinto) could not possibly have lasted as long as they have unless they have a great deal of truth about human life and the human condition.

They might hold a great deal of truth about human life and the human condition. Truth that might be found elsewhere as well, perhaps.
That's not what we're arguing about though is it. Religion can be good for people in a million ways, but their supernatural claims are still unfounded.

That's the truth I am interested in. I'll agree any day of the week that there are good and true sides to religion.


No scheming men in robes could possibly carry off a scam for millennia

What if the scam cannot be proven in any way to be a scam? The people keeping up the scam might not even know it's a scam.
It's a logical loophole. Claim something that cannot be proven to be false and if there are appealing sides to it....why wouldn't it survive? Religion has nothing to prove, there IS nothing to prove.


If a given postulate is true, then the claims based on it, however wild they would seem if the postulate WEREN'T true, may logically follow.

Sure. But if you can't establish the truth of a very unlikely postulate in any way then you are still nowhere. I don't see how this works to strengthen your point, frankly. There is still no way to tell delusion from fact if we have to assume something to be true before we can move on.
But if you wanted to keep a "scam" alive this is exactly the mechanism that would be used.



But it is an enormous advantage we hold over the committed agnostic (who denies that there is any truth to be known) and this is good common ground for a start. 

I think an agnostic by the usual definition doesn't believe that exactly. I think it would even by a logical fallacy to deny any truth to exist. Agnosticism is the position of simply not knowing so we are all agnostic about some issues, really. Heck I am agnostic on the question of whether God exists just the same as I am agnostic about the existence of pink unicorns. Any hypothetical thing we can think of would have to be met with agnosticism. Of course practical down to earth thinking simply dismisses such things until some proof comes forth.

RichardB
24-01-2013, 00:56
Religion has to produce no results or evidence. All it takes is that people believe it is true and pass it on through the generations. The only real evidence there could ever be would be after you're dead. Inconvenient for the living if it were true, convenient if it's not true (convenient for the religion to survive that is)

Religion does not need to deliver any results. Some people will imagine results, while others may believe because they're taught to believe and have no inclination to question it or care about the question.

The last bit is statistically obvious when you look at the distribution of religion geographically. The details (let's be honest, not JUST the details) of religions vary enormously and in incompatible ways. That doesn't stop believers from believing nearly always what their elders believe(d).That's the truth I am interested in. I'll agree any day of the week that there are good and true sides to religion.


That has to be one of the best answers I've read on these forums.

rusmeister
24-01-2013, 04:02
Real Christians throughout history?

Do you mean those people who went off on crusades in the name of their 'god' to teach those 'heathen' scum that 'we' are right and they're wrong?

Or those people who went off and converted 'them backwards black people' because they were classed as savages by the self-righteous 'Christians'?

Or those people who choose to follow their 'god' while f**king little boys and girls THROUGHOUT history?

Or those people who follow the text of a book which cannot be empirically verified by science and historians?

Or those people who believe in something that they cannot prove empirically exists? Who will then point out that something else (which again cannot be proven empirically) says that 'god' exists therefore it must be true.

Or those people who have caused so much suffering and innumerable wars throughout history in the name of their 'god'?

MrZ gets my vote for being a Christian. He has done none of the above and leads his life in a 'good' way. Can your historical Christians say the same?

Is this all you know about the history of Christianity??

Any knowledge of history must be capable of identifying anything good about a person, an institution or a nation as well as anything bad. What I see from you is an extraordinarily narrow view of Christian history, which does indeed have great evils in it that I could agree with you on, as well as great good, of which you are, to all appearances, wholly ignorant, and so far incapable of being fair and showing a just understanding of the thing.

All you're doing is listing a few of the most commonly cited evils (in an exaggerated and unsubstantiated form) followed by arguments which are unclear, confused and self-contradictory.

Your last question makes the whole point. Do you know nothing of the Christian martyrs and saints, of Nicholas of Myra, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, Mary of Egypt, Gregory Palamas, John Climacus, Seraphim of Sarov, the New Martyrs of Russia and on and on?
Yes. Historical Christians can say much more than the same. Until you begin to learn about them, you can't, on the basis of having a cursory familiarity with Mr Z's posting, make any comparison at all, because you plain just don't know.

Jack17
24-01-2013, 07:41
Do you know nothing of the Christian martyrs and saints, of Nicholas of Myra, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, Mary of Egypt, Gregory Palamas, John Climacus, Seraphim of Sarov, the New Martyrs of Russia and on and on?
Yes. Historical Christians can say much more than the same. Until you begin to learn about them, you can't, on the basis of having a cursory familiarity with Mr Z's posting, make any comparison at all, because you plain just don't know.

:coffee: I'll admit, reading the lives of the Saints can be inspirational and uplifting. But as edifying as the stories of their lives may be, have you ever asked yourself how much of it is true? Being from Missouri, I was always taught: Believe nothing that you hear and only half that you see.

Weren't these lives of the Saints and Holy Martyrs written by pious monks and church fathers precisely to steel of fervor of the faithful? Do you ever suspect that the travails of Mary of Egypt (my favorite since she was the only nymphomaniac saint) may have been exaggerated - just a smidge?

scd167
24-01-2013, 08:56
Are you planning on becoming a martyr anytime soon Rus?

We can only hope?

:11513:

rusmeister
24-01-2013, 14:18
:coffee: I'll admit, reading the lives of the Saints can be inspirational and uplifting. But as edifying as the stories of their lives may be, have you ever asked yourself how much of it is true? Being from Missouri, I was always taught: Believe nothing that you hear and only half that you see.

Weren't these lives of the Saints and Holy Martyrs written by pious monks and church fathers precisely to steel of fervor of the faithful? Do you ever suspect that the travails of Mary of Egypt (my favorite since she was the only nymphomaniac saint) may have been exaggerated - just a smidge?

Jack. the exaggeration, where it is found in hagiography I think, is much more on the level of "Babe Ruth hit a thousand home runs!" - certainly an exaggeration - but the basic truth is unaltered: He hit a ton of home runs.
A nymphomaniac radically changed her life. I don't think it matters that much whether she spent 30 years or 47 years in the desert - she spent a heckuva lot of years in the desert, and that's the important thing.

But all of this you just bring up as a distraction from the fact that neither Mr Z, you or I come even close in terms of goodness and holiness - the radical and genuine change of one's life away from our own passions. You always seem to be picking at things, as if the idea that I say anything true at all irritates you. Maybe I'm wrong on that, but that's sure what it looks like.

MickeyTong
24-01-2013, 22:11
..... John Chrysostom.....

....who set the ball rolling for the persecution of Jews in the Christian world.

I know the "excuse" for his toxic tirades against Jews is that the Man with the Golden Mouth was following the standard 4th Century rhetorical convention of psogos (the no-holds-barred vilification of opponents), and ancient "standards" should not be judged according to modern values.

But the Adversus Judaeos show none of the forgiveness, mercy, compassion or charity which should, reasonably I think, be characteristics of any saintly Christian exemplar.

http://www.preteristarchive.com/ChurchHistory/0386_chrysostom_adversus-judeaus.html

rusmeister
25-01-2013, 16:16
....who set the ball rolling for the persecution of Jews in the Christian world.

I know the "excuse" for his toxic tirades against Jews is that the Man with the Golden Mouth was following the standard 4th Century rhetorical convention of psogos (the no-holds-barred vilification of opponents), and ancient "standards" should not be judged according to modern values.

But the Adversus Judaeos show none of the forgiveness, mercy, compassion or charity which should, reasonably I think, be characteristics of any saintly Christian exemplar.

http://www.preteristarchive.com/ChurchHistory/0386_chrysostom_adversus-judeaus.html

The main thing I would say about this is that I would say personal hostilities toward Jews as individuals is wrong, I won't defend that, and that I will certainly defend Christian truth against Judaic truth. So everything anybody at all says, saint or not, that does the first, doesn't pass the test of Orthodoxy, anything that does the second certainly does.
i don't think, however, whether you think Chrysostom did or not, that you yourself make any distinction between a person and their beliefs. It is obvious to me that wrong beliefs ought to be attacked; that it is right and necessary to condemn them, and that this is not at all the same thing as condemnation of the person.

Here also, the issue is whether any of us honestly think we have strived to be more holy than the people in history acknowledged to be great saints? Not whether any of them had any faults or passions that we would say are wrong, but whether we have truly tried to be holy. I say it is ridiculous to make or support such a claim.

Lost in moscow
25-01-2013, 21:43
Here also, the issue is whether any of us honestly think we have strived to be more holy than the people in history acknowledged to be great saints? Not whether any of them had any faults or passions that we would say are wrong, but whether we have truly tried to be holy. I say it is ridiculous to make or support such a claim.

No such thing as striving to be holy, to do that you have to first have an opposite or you will never know if you had reached this holy your looking for, you have no idea what holy is, you have only the assumption, that was taught to you.

"Frederick the Great to his minister, Radziwill, "there is anything to be gained by it, we will be honest; if deception is necessary, let us be cheats."

This is human nature, great people all have skeletons in their closets that just don't get brought up. PR was around even back then, no one tried to be holy back then, they just did what they thought was right at the time. Just because people considered them "saints" doesn't mean they really were, the true character of a person only comes out when he thinks no ones looking.

rusmeister
27-01-2013, 22:27
Responding to Jan's post No. 82:

(Hoping we remember the observation about delayed responses...)

Hi, Jan,
Let me say first that I respect your engagement of ideas FAR more than the ideas of those that will thank your posts, yet not do like you do. It gives a strong impression of others "hiding behind your skirts/kilt/whatever".

The first problem I see is that you DO insist on doubting your reason; you throw intense doubt on the ability of the mind to know things, then insist that we believe it when confronted with proof of the "scientific" type; in short, a bias toward accepting only truth of the material world as "true". I find this to be self-contradictory, especially in light of the fact that for any years we rely on simple belief until we begin analytically thinking, when we do at all. Even then, the indoctrination of our childhood remains a powerful influence, even our teen years when we reject parental wisdom and try to construct "our own view", which, sadly, usually turns out to be things propagated in the media; the imposed views of yet others. 

The mother tells the three-year old that soon the snow will begin to melt and green buds appear on the trees. For some time, he has no way of confirming this; he accepts his mother's word on faith. If he finds his mother consistently tells the truth (which is often the case) he comes to believe her as a truth-telling authority. You cannot possibly learn anything about any kind of scientific method until you first accept that your teachers ALSO tell the truth; as you get older you begin to acquire the tools to test this. But your frst steps must be made on faith, and you can get nowhere until you learn literacy and other things that you must initially accept on faith.

So it's NOT about believing the word of "just anybody". It's about believing the word of authority that we find to be truthful, in other words, that we may test a great many things and find them all to be true. The question then becomes "Why do we doubt?" rather than "Why do we believe?" Skepticism itself becomes suspect. Suspicion for suspicion's sake is a genuine hindrance to learning. If you find that your mother always tells the truth, why should you doubt her word on something she has seen or experienced now? You KNOW in that case that she is not in the habit of "seeing things" or simply imagining them. Your experience tells you that this person regularly says things that you find to be true. It is actually illogical to begin doubting; the doubt itself is based on an irrational dogma.

"The only dogma we should take for granted is that we both exist, we are communicating right now through words and understand them in a similar fashion. In other words, the only thing relevant here is that this not just in one of our heads. If this is false, then everything else is irrelevant obviously."

Well, from your own words, I cannot be sure that you have a firm logical basis for assuming that you exist. If the human brain, or more accurately, human reason is NOT reliable, then no assumptions at all can be taken for granted. You may not even think. ANY thoughts might be suspect - UNLESS human reason and sensory experience have validity. You say you grant that, but because you ALSO hold that they might be suspect, so I see contradiction.

I think the words of Dickens, via Jacob Marley's ghost, most to the point:


"What evidence would you have of my reality, beyond that of your senses?"

"I don't know," said Scrooge.

"Why do you doubt your senses?"

"Because," said Scrooge, "a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats.  You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.  There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel, in his heart, by any means waggish then.  The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror; for the spectre's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.

To sit, staring at those fixed glazed eyes, in silence for a moment, would play, Scrooge felt, the very deuce with him.  There was something very awful, too, in the spectre's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own.  Scrooge could not feel it himself, but this was clearly the case; for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless, its hair, and skirts, and tassels, were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven.

"You see this toothpick?"  said Scrooge, returning quickly to the charge, for the reason just assigned; and wishing, though it were only for a second, to divert the vision's stony gaze from himself.

"I do," replied the Ghost.

"You are not looking at it," said Scrooge.

"But I see it," said the Ghost, "notwithstanding."

"Well!" returned Scrooge, "I have but to swallow this, and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins, all of my own creation.  Humbug, I tell you!  humbug!"

At this the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held on tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon.  But how much greater was his horror, when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head, as if it were too warm to wear indoors, its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast!

This is not argument. This is one of the ways of delivering truth that you so far deny - imagination revealing truth in a flash, an evolutionary leap, if you will. The sort of thing that actually happened to Saul of Tarsus.

Now we might easily doubt the story of Saul. It is, after all, remarkable. But we then find that Saul (renamed Paul) shows extraordinary perceptive acuity regarding human nature - the man is consistently right about who we are as human beings. It is belief that is based on the evidence, and again, it is the skepticism of an otherwise trustworthy man that is irrational, based on a dogmatic belief that the miraculous is impossible (not merely an agnosticsm about the possibility that is open to being convinced otherwise, but dogmatic denial). When the skeptic says, "I will doubt it even when I see it", as you do, this is confirmed.

Finally, when you say that "
Religion has to produce no results or evidence. All it takes is that people believe it is true and pass it on through the generations." I object sharply. While true that one person may NOT require evidence, anther person (such as myself) absolutely requires it. However, I accept evidence that you evidently reject. I start from the undeniable existence of positive human evil and proceed to the fact of sin (which needs to be properly understood, NOT as an arbitrary violation of arbitrary rules, but the contradiction between such things as our conscience and sense of justice, and our own behavior (aka "selfishness"). I see this in the street every day. It is not my imagination, it occurs many times every day, committed by both myself and those around me. But according to you, this is not evidence, even though it can be observed, quite regularly.

Next, that you take the analogy of Santa Claus only says that you know essentially nothing of traditional (ancient) theology. It s exactly like drawing an analogy between the Genesis account and evolutionary science. To do such a thing, one would have to know NOTHING about the rather extensive development of the latter. So it appears to be with you and theology. There IS no extensive theology around the modern myth of Santa Claus. It IS quite simplistic. And not knowing how that theology constructs a world view that makes sense of EVERYTHING regarding human behavior, attitudes, psychology, etc, your analogy cannot be considered at all scientific, or based on reason, which requires information that you do not have. Yes, I can take the primitive theology of some yahoo fundamentalists, and draw analogies to Santa Claus based on very little indeed (though I think, even there, that we'd be selling the common man short in his ability to sense and experience truth ). Even I know relatively little about theology, being an apologist, not a theologian, but I know enough to know that the waters are very deep indeed, and the rational basis is not on myth and miracle alone, but on what we can observe.

No scam can survive for thousands of years. I think Lincoln (or Barnum) spoke an axiomatic truth in saying that "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." All of the ancient major world religions are rational, reasonable, and not based on scams in their general postulates, theology and practices. It does not stand to reason.  Certainly, scams are periodically practiced, but always come to light, sooner or later.The "scam" argument can only be made against the major traditional religions from a position of ignorance.

On "agnosticism", I think we are merely bandying semantics. I said "the committed agnostic", by which I meant the person who denies that the truth can be known, not merely the person who admits there is something somewhere that we don't know (which all sane men admit).

A holistic world view is one that understands everything as a piece of one whole. I certainly understand that you have not reached such a place, but if everything we DO know IS better explained by specific supernatural claims than by the natural ones, then it is rational to accept them, and irrational to reject them. Again, it requires a blind belief that the supernatural does not exist, an unreasonable dogma that miracles are impossible.

So you say that truths "cannot be established". I think the bar you are setting is asking me to show you a black swan, then ruling out all of my swans because they are black. You speak of "proof" and "evidence", then reject without even asking the things I consider proof and evidence that lead me, step by step, not assuming but establishing, to the conclusion that the Christian faith describes the actual nature of the universe.

I apologize that this comes across as a patchwork response. I tried to cover all the bases that  we think important, though I did go for a summary on your comments on what the brain can be relied on for.

JanC
28-01-2013, 01:34
Thanks for the reply Rus! Late or not doesn't bother me. In line with your earlier statement, let me say that you should not take the immediateness of my reply as a sign that it didn't require thought ;)


R
The first problem I see is that you DO insist on doubting your reason; you throw intense doubt on the ability of the mind to know things, then insist that we believe it when confronted with proof of the "scientific" type; in short, a bias toward accepting only truth of the material world as "true".

I expected you would find an apparent contradiction here, I've thought about it in advance. I'll explain the difference between reliable and unreliable "perception" in the context of what I was saying earlier.

This isn't really about "knowing" something, it's about deciding whether what you see or what somebody else claims to have seen is likely to be accurate or not.

If someone claims that they saw an alien space ship (or a religious figure appeared to them) then that is most likely not a reliable observation.
If several scientists are looking at the display of a sensor array displaying numbers relevant to what the machine is supposed to be observing then that is a reliable observation insofar that it can be double and triple checked with back-up tools and the "flawed" human side is only responsible for reading well defined symbols and recording them. They can then be used in equations which are mathematically and logically sound (and can be demonstrated to be that)
We have created tools that are immensely superior to our own senses, entirely without bias or imagination.

Note that scientists do not make any claim based on "I saw it happen".
If it doesn't come with data and is not repeatable then it is equally dismissed.
If a scientist was dreaming or delusional about the results of an experiment then the data will not hold up during peer review.

To the point of being limited or biased to the material world: it is the only world we know to exist. More importantly, it is the only world where we can verify we are not in fact delusional.

How would you tell between delusion and reality in the non-material world Rus? And there is no consensus either. Observing your fellow human beings many of whom are convinced of entirely different materially unfounded beliefs is not much help because there is no agreement. Math and physics are the same no matter where you go, and demonstrably so. The properties of "super natural" entities are different wherever you go and indistinguishable from any claim which is pulled out of thin air.



The mother tells the three-year old that soon the snow will begin to melt and green buds appear on the trees. For some time, he has no way of confirming this; he accepts his mother's word on faith. If he finds his mother consistently tells the truth (which is often the case) he comes to believe her as a truth-telling authority. You cannot possibly learn anything about any kind of scientific method until you first accept that your teachers ALSO tell the truth; as you get older you begin to acquire the tools to test this. But your frst steps must be made on faith, and you can get nowhere until you learn literacy and other things that you must initially accept on faith.

Agreed.




So it's NOT about believing the word of "just anybody". It's about believing the word of authority that we find to be truthful, in other words, that we may test a great many things and find them all to be true. The question then becomes "Why do we doubt?" rather than "Why do we believe?"

There are several ways to answer that question.
I don't think the usefulness of doubt or skepticism is in doubt here...without doubting anything we would be still living very primitively indeed.

In practical terms I think that we learn to doubt by experience. As we grow up we inevitably find that some things we are told are not true or do not happen as predicted. A bit further down the road we learn, again by experience, that there is a certain predictability to claims that do not turn out to be true. Something which conflicts with how we know things to be is generally less likely to be true. That's just experience we already receive in kindergarten. At that point we consider our fellow kindergarteners less trustworthy than our elders. As we get older, we do realize that our elders' words aren't 100.00 percent reliable either.

Often simply because we are confronted with many claims out there in the world which are obvious contradictions. If we have learned about logic, we will understand that not all of this can be true.

That's just to answer the question where doubt or skepticism comes from.


If you find that your mother always tells the truth, why should you doubt her word on something she has seen or experienced now? You KNOW in that case that she is not in the habit of "seeing things" or simply imagining them. Your experience tells you that this person regularly says things that you find to be true. It is actually illogical to begin doubting; the doubt itself is based on an irrational dogma.

Because our first doubt is not normally that of a person we trust, it is of a person we do not trust. Once we learn the concept, it can move on from there.

If someone is making a claim on a subject that they are not obviously qualified for, or where the source is suspect, then doubt is rational.
If your mother tells you that someone told her something, and even the person who told her obviously did not get the info first hand, then doubt is reasonable regardless of how truthful your mother generally is.

Believing someone merely for the sake of being consistent in believing them is not rational. I know my mother will not lie to me for as long as she lives, but she has this idea that she can feel with her nose the oxygen content of air which I know she can't. It's just a matter of accepting that people you trust might not know everything just because they think they know.



If the human brain, or more accurately, human reason is NOT reliable, then no assumptions at all can be taken for granted. You may not even think. ANY thoughts might be suspect - UNLESS human reason and sensory experience have validity. You say you grant that, but because you ALSO hold that they might be suspect, so I see contradiction.

In order to remove this contradiction, you would have to claim that ALL "human reason and sensory experience" is valid. Is it?
If you think so, I can very easily prove you wrong with a list of examples as long as you like.

Is there a way of distinguishing between reliable and unreliable "experience" ?
Well yes there is, but I'd be repeating myself.

It is an obvious fact that not everything humans see or think we see is in fact valid. If we did not have a very reliable way of telling what is real and what isn't, again, we'd still be in the dark ages. Almost none of our technology would exist without it.




This is one of the ways of delivering truth that you so far deny - imagination revealing truth in a flash, an evolutionary leap, if you will. The sort of thing that actually happened to Saul of Tarsus.

None of this is established. In any way at all. Sorry, assertions on their own don't cut it.


the man is consistently right about who we are as human beings. It is belief that is based on the evidence, and again, it is the skepticism of an otherwise trustworthy man that is irrational, based on a dogmatic belief that the miraculous is impossible (not merely an agnosticsm about the possibility that is open to being convinced otherwise, but dogmatic denial).

I am somewhat surprised by the repeating pattern in your posts that when you find someone to be truthful about certain things you automatically have to accept EVERYTHING that person says as being true from that point onwards.
I find my doctor to be knowledgeable and good at his job, but I don't consider it a given that he's infallible as a result.
Nobody in this discussion is saying the miraculous is impossible. What I am saying is that it's going to take more than hearsay from otherwise reliable people to establish is as real.
Claimed miracles don't have a very good track record. So we have good precedence to be doubtful about such claims but open for any evidence to be submitted.



When the skeptic says, "I will doubt it even when I see it", as you do, this is confirmed.

Do you believe David Copperfield can do proper magic Rus?

Witnessing something with our eyes is insufficient evidence in itself. In other words, it takes more than that.



However, I accept evidence that you evidently reject.

The evidence you speak of appears to be indistinguishable from delusion.
I'm not saying it IS delusion. But if we can't tell the difference, what good is it?


I start from the undeniable existence of positive human evil and proceed to the fact of sin (which needs to be properly understood, NOT as an arbitrary violation of arbitrary rules, but the contradiction between such things as our conscience and sense of justice, and our own behavior (aka "selfishness"). I see this in the street every day. It is not my imagination, it occurs many times every day, committed by both myself and those around me. But according to you, this is not evidence, even though it can be observed, quite regularly.

Human behavior is evidence of...human behavior. It's not evidence that is in any way relevant to the supernatural. Our behavior can be scientifically described and objectively observed. The sense of right and wrong you speak of we can even track to a specific part of the brain. Of course what's right and wrong today would not necessarily be identical to what it was 100 years ago.



Next, that you take the analogy of Santa Claus only says that you know essentially nothing of traditional (ancient) theology.

The Santa Claus analogy was only used to demonstrate our capability to accept something fairly ludicrous as "knowledge".


There IS no extensive theology around the modern myth of Santa Claus. It IS quite simplistic.

You missed the point completely there Rus, but I'm not pretending to be great at explaining either.


And not knowing how that theology constructs a world view that makes sense of EVERYTHING regarding human behavior, attitudes, psychology, etc

Sounds a lot like reverse engineering a desirable answer to something unknown. Just because it might "work" for you or others doesn't mean it's factually truthful.

Very very different religions "make sense of everything" for their believers. Yours is not unique nor particularly better developed than all the others from where I am sitting.



No scam can survive for thousands of years. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Well, atheists exist don't they! Couldn't resist that one lol.

You are the one calling it a scam by the way. I'm not going that far because it involves the people at the top of the "scam" being in fact aware that it is one. Not even the original creators of the different religions were necessarily aware that what they were saying wasn't true. If they believed it themselves, that only makes it easier for others to believe them. In most cases it's fairly harmless.

Superstition has existed for millenniums and still does today. By your logic that means they are true as well?

If religion's claims are not true, essentially nothing but superstition, it can still survive and be passed on as a tradition which is actually helpful and positive. The net result can be positive even if it is based on something which is effectively not true. Can it not? Religion is belief that something is true. The fact that is is a belief and not material evidence based means it can continue indefinitely. Blessed are those who believe without evidence.



All of the ancient major world religions are rational, reasonable, and not based on scams

That's a bit rich. I wonder if we had a time machine to go back a few thousand years and we could witness with our own eyes how unbelievably ignorant people were about the world at the time these religions sprung up....if that wouldn't change a few people's minds.

The Egyptians and their sun god...rational? Sure, I suppose. They didn't know what the sun was but it was obviously powerful so they considered it a god. Makes sense. More sense than many later religions actually, because they could see their god all sun shining day long.

Religion is an explanation that often crops up in the absence of knowledge. When (primitive) people don't understand something, they will make up an explanation anyway! They don't go "that's odd, oh well". Sorry, it's a well documented phenomenon which is extremely applicable to the conditions in which the "ancient" religions originated.


The "scam" argument can only be made against the major traditional religions from a position of ignorance.

I'm making an ignorance argument, not a scam argument. Big difference.
Many claims made by ancient religious texts are demonstrably false. Others we cannot verify. How does this all go unregistered for you?



On "agnosticism", I think we are merely bandying semantics. I said "the committed agnostic"

I don't know anyone like that. Of course if we narrow it down to be a specifically religion related claim then I can kind of see where you are coming from. Their claim is a bit difficult to prove false (much like the religious claim itself) when constrained by logic.


if everything we DO know IS better explained by specific supernatural claims than by the natural ones, then it is rational to accept them, and irrational to reject them.

Your "if" is not confirmed. In fact if we were to draw a graph of supernatural vs natural explanations over time, there is a whole bunch of phenomena which USED to be explained one way...and now in a different way (with proof to boot)



Again, it requires a blind belief that the supernatural does not exist, an unreasonable dogma that miracles are impossible.

Would you stop putting things upside down please? The burden of proof is on the maker of the claim. This is always the one who is making the claim that something exists. There is no logical way to claim something does not exist.

Does it require blind belief that pink unicorns do NOT exist?
Does it require blind belief that there are NO invisible leprechauns on my shoulder?

If you believe that something DOES exist, but have nothing to show for it except for claims and assertions that may or may not be delusional then you have nothing left to argue about. Perhaps that's why you keep turning things around.



So you say that truths "cannot be established". I think the bar you are setting is asking me to show you a black swan, then ruling out all of my swans because they are black

You have not yet shown me any swans. You talk of non-black swans but they are thus far invisible so I can't tell if they are imaginary or not.


to the conclusion that the Christian faith describes the actual nature of the universe.

Even the parts that conflict with what we have scientifically established to be true? The stuff that actually demonstrably works?

The problem for you as an apologist is that there are plenty of apologists for very different religions and all are equally convinced they are right. It all "fits perfectly" for them as well. And none of them have evidence that rules out delusion.

AlabamaRussian
01-02-2013, 05:22
If only you can define what the Church is and we could agree on that definition...


We're not that dismayed. :)


The Church is not denominations or buildings. The only true Church is those people who are believers in Jesus Christ and following Him by faith.

Orthodox, Pentecostal nor anyone simply belonging within any denomination alone in the church. People are the Church. The Holy Spirit DOES NOT LIVE in buildings but within those people who truly believe.

Thus says the Holy Scripture.

As to your "We're not that dismayed" You can not speak for we. You can only speak for you. Others clearly are dismayed because of their incorrect belief that only orthodox is true church.

Unless you have a gerbel in your pocket or you are skitzo....we is not accurate.:AngelPray:

Jack17
01-02-2013, 09:17
Mirabile dictu. From the heart of 'ol Dixie, the simple unvarnished truth.

Thank you Alabama; thou hast said it eloquently and simply.

rusmeister
01-02-2013, 10:32
The Church is not denominations or buildings. The only true Church is those people who are believers in Jesus Christ and following Him by faith.

Orthodox, Pentecostal nor anyone simply belonging within any denomination alone in the church. People are the Church. The Holy Spirit DOES NOT LIVE in buildings but within those people who truly believe.

Thus says the Holy Scripture.

As to your "We're not that dismayed" You can not speak for we. You can only speak for you. Others clearly are dismayed because of their incorrect belief that only orthodox is true church.

Unless you have a gerbel in your pocket or you are skitzo....we is not accurate.:AngelPray:

Hi, AR,
There are misunderstandings that we'd have to ckear out of the way. Any misunderstanding at all, and we go off on totally wrong vectors.

Since the last shall be first :) ...
When I said "we", I meant "Orthodox Christians". There IS a Church, community that I can hook into and say "we".

Next, we agree that the Church is in neither defined by denominations or buildings, and that people constitute the Church, and that the Holy Spirit abides in people. It is a common error to think that, because we believe a building to be a sanctified place and call it "a church", that we think it to be THE Church. This is not the case, though.

We also agree that membership in a given visible church is no guarantee of salvation. So you need not attack the idea that only X Christians are Christians - I do not defend such an idea. Some of my favorite writers were not Orthodox, and we believe God extends grace to whom He will.

The point of disagreement here is that Orthodox Christians believe the Orthodox Church to be, not "a denomination", but to be pre-denominational, that "denominations" are a product of schisms. The ancient Church produced definite things, among them the Scriptures that you look to for authority and that we hold in the HIGHEST place in our Tradition. It is illogical to say that the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries, which defined the canon we rely on today, to be untrustworthy. There is no sense in recognizing Scripture if we do not recognize the authority that defined its table of contents, that included the gospel of John and excluded the gospel of Judas. So up to the fifth century, the Church had to still be a definite thing, a definite organization with a definite structure, with the authority to determine canon and to tell sincere groups here and there that they were wrong, and their ideas rightly excluded. Otherwise we would not share in common today what we do. That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God and fully Man, born of a Virgin, that He was actually crucified and rose again the third day, each of those ideas was attacked, that He was God, that He was Man, that He was actually born of a Virgin, that He actually died and certainly His Resurrection have all been challenged and denied by some, and the thing that repelled those attacks was the Church.

The idea of only the authority of individual believers to decide for themselves what is true cannot be true. The Holy Spirit has decidedly NOT led all Christians into all truth - the schisms and denominations of Christianity today are witness to that. The term "Christianity" itself is an invention of the Reformation. For all of Christian history before that, people spoke of "the Church", whether they meant the (today so-named) Roman Catholic Church after the Great Schism, or the union of all the other Church centers called the Orthodox Church, or the Coptic Church of Alexandria. So some believers MUST be wrong, though they believe and they are sincere. Likewise, the Ethiopian Eunuch had Scripture, but could not interpret it on his own. We have it today, and cannot agree.
There MUST be an authority higher than the individual believer that can tell him what the Scriptures MEAN. A visible, present authority, not voices in his head and certainly not his own head, that may not dictate whatever its living representatives might prefer, but a faithful handing down of a Tradition that is not ours to alter. And so we still need a visible Church, with leaders that we can see (and hold accountable should they stray from that Tradition founded on Scripture and what has been handed down (2 Tim 2:2 and 2 Thess 2:15, for example). But it's worth noting that I don't read that Scripture on itsown, isolated from its larger context. Scripture Wars are a waste of time. Everything deends on the authority used to determine what Scripture means.

Anyway, if we can avoid misunderstandings, we can avoid unnecessary rancor.

rubyrussia
01-02-2013, 20:04
The Church is not denominations or buildings. The only true Church is those people who are believers in Jesus Christ and following Him by faith.

Orthodox, Pentecostal nor anyone simply belonging within any denomination alone in the church. People are the Church. The Holy Spirit DOES NOT LIVE in buildings but within those people who truly believe.

Thus says the Holy Scripture.

As to your "We're not that dismayed" You can not speak for we. You can only speak for you. Others clearly are dismayed because of their incorrect belief that only orthodox is true church.

Unless you have a gerbel in your pocket or you are skitzo....we is not accurate.:AngelPray:

Hi AlabamaRussian. Probably one of the first things that Protestantism 101 teaches is that the church isn't a building. ;) You're "preaching to the choir here". ;) Why? Who is that comment directed to anyway?

Speaking of identities, you mentioned that your Alabama Russian? So, I take it from the link you told everyone to check out you are an Alabama Russian American Messianic Jew, is that right? Or perhaps you're a proud American from Alabama that goes to a church heavily immersed in Protestant dispensationlism? In fact, I asked you some questions about the link you told people to check out and you never responded. I'm still interested in hearing a response. Anyway! Welcome to the forums. I look forward to hearing about your faith in more detail. For example, you said that a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus, follows by faith, and just left it there. What exactly does that mean? I mean Mormons believe in Jesus too and call upon his name, but somehow I have this feeling ;) you wouldn't consider them Christians in the big group you've defined there.

JanC
02-02-2013, 17:57
The ancient Church produced definite things, among them the Scriptures that you look to for authority and that we hold in the HIGHEST place in our Tradition.

Man-made, indeed.



It is illogical to say that the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries, which defined the canon we rely on today, to be untrustworthy.

Please point out the exact logical flaw. Should be easy, no large block of text needed.

While you're at it, perhaps you can tell us why we should consider the 4th-5th century church to be a reliable source of information, other than that it's very old.



a definite organization with a definite structure, with the authority to determine canon and to tell sincere groups here and there that they were wrong, and their ideas rightly excluded

So the men of flesh and blood, not born of virgin mothers and living in a time of sheer ignorance about the world had to determine by sticking their wet finger in the air what was admissible and what was not. Where did their authority come from precisely, or did they "authorize" themselves?


That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God and fully Man, born of a Virgin, that He was God, that He was Man, that He was actually born of a Virgin, that He actually died and certainly His Resurrection...

I think you forgot to capitalize a few words.

What is this, the German way to write English? Capitalizing half the words in a run-on sentence does not really strike me in awe I must say.

It does look just a bit fictional when you sum it all up like that as well.



The idea of only the authority of individual believers to decide for themselves what is true cannot be true.

Still struggling to see how the regular primitive folks that made up the early church had any more authority than the average Joe.


The Holy Spirit has decidedly NOT led all Christians into all truth - the schisms and denominations of Christianity today are witness to that

Not very sporting is it. Should we feel pity for all those millions of people who through no ill will of their own were born into families that taught them the "wrong" kind of Christianity?

This also reminds me of the fact that the concept of "The holy trinity" was something that was simply voted into truth, idea with the most votes won. Somewhat democratic I suppose, but reality tends not to hinge on people's opinions.



There MUST be an authority higher than the individual believer that can tell him what the Scriptures MEAN. A visible, present authority, not voices in his head and certainly not his own head, that may not dictate whatever its living representatives might prefer, but a faithful handing down of a Tradition that is not ours to alter.

So if I'm reading this right the church exists because there is a NEED for authority, though authority did not present itself. When no super-natural authority is available for comment, we'll have to do it ourselves however we see fit. Brilliant.



The way I see it, the whole argument is pointless because the premise that is being argued over is most likely entirely man-made and its relevant parts most likely fictional. All the logic and special pleading that follows won't set it straight.

When I say for example that "the Biblical stories point to being man-made" there I'll throw in a few arguments to support the theory.


1) Huge overlap with previous myths and religious stories from different cultures. Things like virgin birth and resurrection had already been thought of long, long before the birth of the Jesus character.
If something truly super-natural were to happen, what are the odds of it being exactly like something people had already fictionally invented?

2) Gods consistently have human traits and emotions. I think I'm quoting Carl Sagan if I say this looks a heck of a lot like humans projecting their nature onto nature. One of the most frequent reasons that people give for believing in God these days is "it couldn't all come from nothing" and then promptly move to exempt the deity itself from this logic. It is an obvious reaction to the human need to fill in the gaps in our understanding with "something".

3) If you do a character analysis of the god Jahweh from the OT and the NT they are 2 entirely different characters. The actions of the character in part 2 are inconsistent with what he did in part 1. (mass genocide, infants included and wiping almost every living thing off the planet for the sins of a few versus.....non-sexually creating his son and then sacrificing him for the sins of all those poor people born with sin)

4) Nothing in religious scripture is really ahead of its time. With that I mean...if the information contained in it really came from a "higher" source, why would it be confined to contemporary knowledge? It contains explanations for natural events that should be absolutely preposterous to any human born in the 20th century or later. But these silly explanations are in line with what people knew back then (or more precisely, what they did not know)

5) We know little to nothing about the authors but there is obvious copying going on, and there are various parts of the Bible which are universally agreed on to have been "tacked on afterwards" by those good people who gave themseves authority to (presumably) sex up the story a bit.

6) People were absolutely clueless at the time of Jesus. No shortage of potential messiah's either. No offense, lack of knowledge would do that to any of us. But the point is that Jesus was not making any particularly unique or inventive claims in that day and age. His relative success in convincing primitive people does not make any of it more likely to be true (not least because the success only really kicked in long after anyone who might have met him was well and truly dead)

7) There is a long list of debunked miracles, a list of 0 for confirmed miracles. Not to mention the apocalyptic beliefs of the earliest Christians (seems by your logic they ought to have good authority) have not come true. Jesus' predicted return never happened either.

8) We can trace back superstition and religion to many thousands of years before Christianity arose, and it is still one of many conflicting religions. It wasn't the first, it wasn't the last, but it makes very similar claims to all the others. If there was an omnipotent being interested in making his existence known to us, he has been doing a very poor job indeed.
In fact this omnipotent being appears to be actively hiding from us, putting in place falsified evidence to lead us to believe he doesn't exist at all. How is this in any way compatible with the god of either the OT or NT?

9) I'm Hungry

rusmeister
02-02-2013, 22:03
Jan, I intend to get around to your previous post. But you are now responding to something that wasn't addressed to you at all.
From my standpoint, there are quite a few things I already agree with AR on that we don't have to argue about. Thus my post was tailored to his understandings and not yours.

Also, your questions here do not appear to be sincere inquiry, but only sarcastic jabs with question marks attached. That attitude would discourage me from bothering to answer you at all, for you can say nothing to someone who has no real intention of actually listening to you and considering what you say.

We actually have intelligent answers to all of your real objections. But if you are prejudiced against hearing them, then answering you is just a waste of time. You're NOT reading it right because you're reading it wrong. With the wrong attitude. Ask honest questions on how an intelligent person could, for example, see a need for human authority in the Church and I'm right there.
Smirk, offer your own derisive explanation that knows nothing of our explanation and say "Brilliant" and you'll wind up being ignored.

And if that post was a result of frustration that I haven't responded to your previous post, then I do apologize for that. As I said, I do triage, and responses that take five minutes or so are handled, and ones that will take a half hour or more are put off. I do think your prior posts have serious objections and questions worthy of serious consideration.

yakspeare
02-02-2013, 22:57
Jan, that was rather well written and thought out-but it isn't as if such questions and ideas are new.

Firstly most of your objections seem to be towards christianity per se, so (as a non hchristian) i don't need to explore those.

the two i will raise are the common myths and human characteristics of God.

to the first, the flood myth his a part of most cultures in the middle east and even Australian Aborigines...the fact that these areas were once under water-and indeed most of the Earth-can be seen in the fossil record. So it could have been a common experience and hence why the stories are similar.

another point is the LACK of similarites in some myths that people do the their best to find similarities. We had a guy on this forum post a video about ancient egypt and how judaism and christianity stole ideasfrom that. but the story of Osiris' death is significantly different to christ's ressurection. there was the claim that god and satan , seth and horus battle it out each day and each night-reflected in the times of day. Judeo-christianity suggests nothing of the sort and actually neither does the religion of the egyptians. someone just made that up. we have also a lot of chicken and egg scenarios....just because a religious belief is imitated or adopted by someone else doesn't make the original untrue. and which group of people believed in the concept first?

The people of Persia had a concep of God, Mazda, but their fire worship ways were unique and the evil god and his role is not similar to either the judaic or christian view of the devil.

As for human characteristics-it is said we are made in the image of God. does he have our charactersitics or do we have his? can a dog show affection, love, loyalty, anger? Does a dog cease to exist because its emotions can sometimes be comparable to a humans? There are also characteristics of God , in figurative speech, which are decidely non human...animal characteristics...wings etc. I mean we could just replace all these words with "thingy" but it is about communicating into a language the people would mostly understand.

As for looking at the period of time-the language was to be expressed to the audience of the time. you also ignore the esoteric language of prophecy about future events which eople believed came true. what possed Abram, Moses etc to move from where they were if they didn't believe in some future promise?

and, to stand up for christianity here, at the time some of the ideas were indeed radical...indeed such notions of a brotherhood of man and equality under God and unimportance to station in life-didn't appear in secular times to the french revolution and the founding of the United states.

Jack17
02-02-2013, 23:15
didn't appear in secular times to the french revolution and the founding of the United states.

It should be: "The founding of the United States (American Revolution) and the French Revolution" The American Revolution came first.

yakspeare
02-02-2013, 23:38
It should be: "The founding of the United States (American Revolution) and the French Revolution" The American Revolution came first.

How about until around the time of the colonization of Australia? :P

But I take your point. Here I was befuddled and forgot who influenced whom. Does embracing some American ideals or French ideals make the other one less true? Liberté, égalité, fraternité of the French revolution and the US consitution principles come much from the same sources but it also different in its own way. It doesn't make either of them a fraud or proof that that neither can be right, just because of imitation and absorbing ideas. It is much the same with religion-even in religions i see as untrue still signpost back to an original source. Such is the case with christiaanity and Islam pointing back to Judaism.

JanC
02-02-2013, 23:52
Jan, that was rather well written and thought out-but it isn't as if such questions and ideas are new.


Thanks, wasn't going for "new". This stuff has been around for so long coming up with something new would be no small feat.


Firstly most of your objections seem to be towards christianity per se, so (as a non hchristian) i don't need to explore those.

Christianity happens to be what I know most about, because of where I grew up, I'm not intentionally singling it out but when making examples it's what comes to mind first. Supernatural claims is what religions have in common and it is my main (and almost only) objection to them. I believe religion could be on the whole positive and beneficial. Just most likely not supernatural.



to the first, the flood myth his a part of most cultures in the middle east and even Australian Aborigines...the fact that these areas were once under water-and indeed most of the Earth-can be seen in the fossil record. So it could have been a common experience and hence why the stories are similar.

There's hundreds of flood myths/stories in nearly every culture around the world, as you would expect. People settle near rivers and bodies of water for obvious reasons. Floods tend to happen and big destructive ones turn into myths. But there was never a global flood. Noah's ark never happened. Well I can't claim no guy called Noah ever built a boat and tried to save animals with it obviously, but if he did then it was very local and extremely small scale. As in, no support for the supernatural biblical story.


another point is the LACK of similarites in some myths that people do the their best to find similarities. We had a guy on this forum post a video about ancient egypt and how judaism and christianity stole ideasfrom that. but the story of Osiris' death is significantly different to christ's ressurection. there was the claim that god and satan , seth and horus battle it out each day and each night-reflected in the times of day. Judeo-christianity suggests nothing of the sort and actually neither does the religion of the egyptians. someone just made that up. we have also a lot of chicken and egg scenarios....just because a religious belief is imitated or adopted by someone else doesn't make the original untrue. and which group of people believed in the concept first?

Don't get too hung up on the details.

Is the Jesus of Nazareth story the first to feature:
- Virgin birth? No. (the list is actually quite long)
- A man being the son of God and able to perform miracles? No.
- Resurrection? No.

Even if it was the first, that in itself wouldn't be proof of anything of course.
But the CORE beliefs of Christianity, the things that got people's attention can be found in earlier myths which are universally accepted as fictional. If only to prove that yes, people can indeed just make this stuff up.



The people of Persia had a concep of God, Mazda, but their fire worship ways were unique and the evil god and his role is not similar to either the judaic or christian view of the devil.

I wasn't saying that all religions are carbon copies of each other. Most of them are vastly different. It's not very likely that humans who are randomly making up explanations will hit the same idea twice (if they are completely separated of course)

But I could say that this Mazda God has as much evidence as any other god that's been made up over time.


As for human characteristics-it is said we are made in the image of God

That is what is said, yes. No evidence for it of course. It's the most convenient explanation in any case.



As for looking at the period of time-the language was to be expressed to the audience of the time. you also ignore the esoteric language of prophecy about future events which eople believed came true

Well I'm not really interested in what people believed came true if belief is all there is. Many physical facts could easily be expressed in primitive terms without being ambiguous. It's not the language, it's the information it contains. And most of it as exactly as wrong as the average person back then would have been had you asked him something for which the correct answer had not yet been discovered.


what possed Abram, Moses etc to move from where they were if they didn't believe in some future promise?

Are we assuming that these are not fictional characters? Because there is some debate on that. Even if I grant you Abraham, Moses is really rather unlikely.



and, to stand up for christianity here, at the time some of the ideas were indeed radical....

Yes but you can find radical ideas in any age. It tells us something about the person coming up with them but not much more than that. Nothing supernatural to see here.

JanC
02-02-2013, 23:59
Jan, I intend to get around to your previous post. But you are now responding to something that wasn't addressed to you at all.

Sorry, I was bored. It's a forum after all so I figured I'd jump on it even if just to remind you ;)



Also, your questions here do not appear to be sincere inquiry, but only sarcastic jabs with question marks attached.

Actually I think our discussion might benefit if I'd make a list of straight and short to the point questions. If only to remove ambiguity that sneaks into what I write sometimes - English as a 3rd language and all that.


We actually have intelligent answers to all of your real objections. But if you are prejudiced against hearing them, then answering you is just a waste of time. You're NOT reading it right because you're reading it wrong. With the wrong attitude.

I've come away rather disappointed from our previous debates exactly because I did NOT get intelligent answers even though they were consistently promised. I would love to still receive them.

Just understand that things like "personal experience" are not a valid answer to "how do you know X is real and not a delusion".



Ask honest questions on how an intelligent person could, for example, see a need for human authority in the Church and I'm right there.

That's not what I would ask. I would ask, is the authority invented merely because there is a need for it? Or is the authority supernatural and unquestionable? The latter needs evidence. The first is self defeating.



And if that post was a result of frustration that I haven't responded to your previous post, then I do apologize for that.

Nah just bored really. I was waiting to continue our discussion I admit, but not losing sleep over it by any means.

robertmf
03-02-2013, 00:25
I've come away rather disappointed from our previous debates exactly because I did NOT get intelligent answers even though they were consistently promised. I would love to still receive them.


Welcome to the *Rusmeister* world.

yakspeare
03-02-2013, 00:48
Jan two points:

firstly the inundation of water seen by the fossil record is not localized flooding at all. Almost the entire continent of Australia was underwater at some point. there almost isn't a spot on the planet that doesn't contain fossils of oceanic life-so most of the world has indeed been underwater at some time and under seawater. whether this happened in the time of man or not is conjecture but no one yet has claimed it wasn't, to my knowledge, and can prove it.

As for the supernatural, I have shared my own experience with you and the forum, of hundreds of witnesses seeing me with broken bones at a bottom oa waterfall and hours later not a scratch on me. Emergency service personal became believers in God on that day and the story spread around all the churches of Brisbane. now you can say mass hypnosis, suggestion or whatever but that is actually less likely considering the condtions and the number of witnesses and of different faiths and of no faith at all. but your level of proof requires a miracle in a lab done a thousand times and peer reviewed. really there is no level of proof you would honestly accept. and in all your cleverness and unswaying logic you mght fail to see the big picture and what is actually out there.

rubyrussia
03-02-2013, 00:55
My goodness Yak, for just another guy on the forum you certainly have seen and experienced a lot. Glad you are here to share it with us.

JanC, I am impressed at the length you went to repudiate all those various points made by Rus, and some of them turned out to be rather long too. You could have said God doesn't exist and so the rest is bunk. That would have been more concise or shall I say twitteresque ;) I must say though that your English is great. I hope my students will ultimately learn to write and speak as well as you do. I guess we should thank the Belgium education system. I often think about how Russia can reform its language instruction to help people communicate in foreign languages like English better.

robertmf
03-02-2013, 01:12
JanC, I am impressed at the length you went to repudiate all those various points made by Rus, and some of them turned out to be rather long too. You could have said God doesn't exist and so the rest is bunk.

You make a rather good (British understatement) point.

AlabamaRussian
03-02-2013, 04:01
Hi AlabamaRussian. Probably one of the first things that Protestantism 101 teaches is that the church isn't a building. ;) You're "preaching to the choir here". ;) Why? Who is that comment directed to anyway?

Speaking of identities, you mentioned that your Alabama Russian? So, I take it from the link you told everyone to check out you are an Alabama Russian American Messianic Jew, is that right?
Or perhaps you're a proud American from Alabama that goes to a church heavily immersed in Protestant dispensationlism? In fact, I asked you some questions about the link you told people to check out and you never responded. I'm still interested in hearing a response. Anyway! Welcome to the forums. I look forward to hearing about your faith in more detail. For example, you said that a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus, follows by faith, and just left it there. What exactly does that mean? I mean Mormons believe in Jesus too and call upon his name, but somehow I have this feeling ;) you wouldn't consider them Christians in the big group you've defined there.

Pump those brakes a little friend. That is a lot of assumption and condescension in such a short post.

No i am not a Messianic Jew. I noted my reason why i suggested and posted the link to Beth Hallel.... For those who ARE NOT familiar with Messianic beliefs.

I do and have attended Messianic for 5 years because i find the teachings and worship to be extremely beneficial to my discipleship. Considering Jesus Christ was and is the Messiah. Considering ALL of His 12 disciples (save one) were also Messianic Jews.

Why would i NOT want to attend Messianic synagogues?

However i do not attend solely Messianic. I attend another Ekklesia on Sundays. Yes i am proud to be American but not because it gives me some inherent superiority over any other person from anywhere else in the world.

I am also proud to have Russian blood in my veins. I am also proud to have German blood in my veins. Why? Because God has chosen it so.

Alabama in my birth state and yes i am proud to be from Alabama. Southern by birth and Alabamian by the grace of God. ROLL TIDE!!

As to the differing doctrines between the many denominations within Christendom. I choose not to publicly debate the rib issues. No good what so ever would come of it. I do not consider the book of Mormon an authentic word of God nor do i consider it an extension of the Holy Scripture. But reading any book including the Holy Bible can not save anyone.

Only God knows who is a true believer and no one will enter Heaven by accident. Nor will anyone receive false judgement from a Holy and Righteous God.

As to my focus and dedications. My life is fully committed to orphans and at-risk youth in USA and former the Soviet countries.

I will work with anyone to help change the future of those children and youth......including those who hate me and my beliefs.

When it comes to the spine issue of Salvation. I noted Faith in Christ Jesus and following Him with one's life as evidence of true repentance. I hope that gives you more clarity.

In short, intellectual division is the evil one's greatest trick apart from convincing some that he does not exist at all. WE WHO BELIEVE SHOULD NEVER BECOME SO SPIRITUAL THAT WE ARE NO EARTHLY GOOD!!

robertmf
03-02-2013, 04:28
I am also proud to have Russian blood in my veins. I am also proud to have German blood in my veins. Why? Because God has chosen it so.

Alabama in my birth state and yes i am proud to be from Alabama. Southern by birth and Alabamian by the grace of God. ROLL TIDE!!

As to my focus and dedications. My life is fully committed to orphans and at-risk youth in USA and former the Soviet countries.

I will work with anyone to help change the future of those children and youth......including those who hate me and my beliefs.



You might want to contact *Mud* to see if you can help out.

I have Irish and German blood, but I seriously doubt "God" had anything to do with it. More like "somebody slipping over in the boat".

Yeah, Ken Stabler Alabama has a good college football team. Better than the catholics' (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/01/us-usa-church-abuse-idUSBRE91005R20130201) one :)

AlabamaRussian
03-02-2013, 04:31
Hi, AR,
There are misunderstandings that we'd have to ckear out of the way. Any misunderstanding at all, and we go off on totally wrong vectors.

Since the last shall be first :) ...
When I said "we", I meant "Orthodox Christians". There IS a Church, community that I can hook into and say "we".

Next, we agree that the Church is in neither defined by denominations or buildings, and that people constitute the Church, and that the Holy Spirit abides in people. It is a common error to think that, because we believe a building to be a sanctified place and call it "a church", that we think it to be THE Church. This is not the case, though.

We also agree that membership in a given visible church is no guarantee of salvation. So you need not attack the idea that only X Christians are Christians - I do not defend such an idea. Some of my favorite writers were not Orthodox, and we believe God extends grace to whom He will.

The point of disagreement here is that Orthodox Christians believe the Orthodox Church to be, not "a denomination", but to be pre-denominational, that "denominations" are a product of schisms. The ancient Church produced definite things, among them the Scriptures that you look to for authority and that we hold in the HIGHEST place in our Tradition. It is illogical to say that the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries, which defined the canon we rely on today, to be untrustworthy. There is no sense in recognizing Scripture if we do not recognize the authority that defined its table of contents, that included the gospel of John and excluded the gospel of Judas. So up to the fifth century, the Church had to still be a definite thing, a definite organization with a definite structure, with the authority to determine canon and to tell sincere groups here and there that they were wrong, and their ideas rightly excluded. Otherwise we would not share in common today what we do. That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God and fully Man, born of a Virgin, that He was actually crucified and rose again the third day, each of those ideas was attacked, that He was God, that He was Man, that He was actually born of a Virgin, that He actually died and certainly His Resurrection have all been challenged and denied by some, and the thing that repelled those attacks was the Church.

The idea of only the authority of individual believers to decide for themselves what is true cannot be true. The Holy Spirit has decidedly NOT led all Christians into all truth - the schisms and denominations of Christianity today are witness to that. The term "Christianity" itself is an invention of the Reformation. For all of Christian history before that, people spoke of "the Church", whether they meant the (today so-named) Roman Catholic Church after the Great Schism, or the union of all the other Church centers called the Orthodox Church, or the Coptic Church of Alexandria. So some believers MUST be wrong, though they believe and they are sincere. Likewise, the Ethiopian Eunuch had Scripture, but could not interpret it on his own. We have it today, and cannot agree.
There MUST be an authority higher than the individual believer that can tell him what the Scriptures MEAN. A visible, present authority, not voices in his head and certainly not his own head, that may not dictate whatever its living representatives might prefer, but a faithful handing down of a Tradition that is not ours to alter. And so we still need a visible Church, with leaders that we can see (and hold accountable should they stray from that Tradition founded on Scripture and what has been handed down (2 Tim 2:2 and 2 Thess 2:15, for example). But it's worth noting that I don't read that Scripture on itsown, isolated from its larger context. Scripture Wars are a waste of time. Everything deends on the authority used to determine what Scripture means.

Anyway, if we can avoid misunderstandings, we can avoid unnecessary rancor.

Yes i understood who you meant by "we." I do not place too much authority in men. But i do adhere to any authority that God places above me. Except when said authority begins to lead me into conflict with personal convictions or differences of understanding on critical issues.

I also agree that the "TRUE CHURCH" is pre-denominational. Again that "TRUE CHURCH" is not the Orthodox Church. None of those present at Pentecost nor the immediate time following them were Orthodox. And i have found many more than Orthodox who believe they are pre-denominational.

When man began to corrupt the 1st century teachings and beliefs. The church that is present today, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox was birthed.

The only True Church is those of us who truly believe and what Denomination, Non-Denomination or Pre-Denomination one attends is irrelevant.

Man has been trying to control and manipulate faith from the beginning of time.

I also have attended an Orthodox Church in Birmingham Alabama and i find the people to be wonderful. They have been very gracious to me on the few occasions i have worshiped with them. One brother has become a very good friend and we pray for each other often.

{{And i have found many Orthodox believers in Russia to be willing to work together in helping those children i mentioned.}}

I especially love the Russian/Ukrainian cuisine after the service!!

I look forward to conversing more with you in due time.

S Bogom!!

http://www.birminghamorthodox.com/

robertmf
03-02-2013, 04:37
I look forward to conversing more with you in due time.

S Bogom!!



I dare say *Rusmeister* has found a fellow traveller :) This might prove interesting - assuming 'bamaRussian knows who Chesterton is ;)

AlabamaRussian
03-02-2013, 04:40
You might want to contact *Mud* to see if you can help out.

I have Irish and German blood, but I seriously doubt "God" had anything to do with it. More like "somebody slipping over in the boat".

Yeah, Ken Stabler Alabama has a good college football team. Better than the catholics' (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/01/us-usa-church-abuse-idUSBRE91005R20130201) one :)

I like the funnies!! lol

But if you watched the latest National title game. The Alabama Crimson Tide made the Catholic team aka Notre Dame look like boys playing against men. AlaBama 42 ND 14

Sorry to mention it but it was a bad night for the Irish and a great night for us Alabamians :boxing:


http://www.al.com/alabamafootball/index.ssf/2013/01/alabamas_bcs_national_champion.html

robertmf
03-02-2013, 05:31
Sorry to mention it but it was a bad night for the Irish and a great night for us Alabamians :boxing:


I watched the first half. Got bored. LOL I thought the game would be "a game".

What's that ND linebacker doing with an imaginary girlfriend ? What exactly are they teaching up there *snicker*

rusmeister
03-02-2013, 06:05
Sorry, I was bored. It's a forum after all so I figured I'd jump on it even if just to remind you ;)




Actually I think our discussion might benefit if I'd make a list of straight and short to the point questions. If only to remove ambiguity that sneaks into what I write sometimes - English as a 3rd language and all that.



I've come away rather disappointed from our previous debates exactly because I did NOT get intelligent answers even though they were consistently promised. I would love to still receive them.

Just understand that things like "personal experience" are not a valid answer to "how do you know X is real and not a delusion".




That's not what I would ask. I would ask, is the authority invented merely because there is a need for it? Or is the authority supernatural and unquestionable? The latter needs evidence. The first is self defeating.




Nah just bored really. I was waiting to continue our discussion I admit, but not losing sleep over it by any means.


Welcome to the *Rusmeister* world.


Robert's post underlines the real problem, the reason why I might NOT take the trouble to answer your posts further.

"Intelligent" does not mean "right". A person can be intelligent and wrong. I think people like Sigmund Freud and George Bernard Shaw very intelligent - and very wrong in regards to their world view. In other words, I am capable of respecting the people I disagree with. The only condition of intelligence is, not that one think a particular thought, but that they really consider and entertain thoughts that they do not agree with, that they show an ability to understand what a person is saying and give it a fair hearing.

So when you say "I didn't get intelligent answers", that is really insulting. I gave you intelligent answers. You didn't like them, or if they did not satisfy, you did not ask follow-up questions. You are in effect saying, "Whatever answers you give are, and will be stupid unless they agree with me." Despite what Yak says, this is not thinking things out well. It is refusing to think them out. (Your dogmas may preclude mine, but the mind that can truly think is capable of identifying its own dogmas.)

It seems this is the attitude of other people on this forum as well. That attitude is not intelligent. It is the heart of ignorance wherever it is found.

I've been on both sides of the fence. I have been an adult unbeliever AND an adult believer. (the adult part is important - childhood experience is no help when it is not also accepted in adulthood; the adult understandings of faith or the lack thereof are what matter)
I was intelligent as an unbelieving agnostic 20-year old angry at the Baptists I'd left and was intelligent when I began considering faith and I was still intelligent 20 years later when I read CS Lewis and began encountering people much more intelligent than me, to realize that there are people who can run circles around me in thinking - because they DID and DO consider my intelligent objections to faith, and that is what Aristotle called the mark of an educated mind.

Unless I see some change in that attitude, I'm really de-motivated to respond to you. I accept that my explanations may seem unintelligible, especially to those who have been taught to hate reading more than a few short lines (which obviously is not you), but not that they are unintelligent. If anything I say that defends my world view has been pre-judged to be unintelligent, then this is all a waste of time. For one cannot argue intelligently with prejudice.

rusmeister
03-02-2013, 07:08
Yes i understood who you meant by "we." I do not place too much authority in men. But i do adhere to any authority that God places above me.
Thank you! And yes, I quite agree.


Except when said authority begins to lead me into conflict with personal convictions or differences of understanding on critical issues.
This is curious. My own view is that if God has actually placed authority over me, and I disagree, then that is surely rebellion on my part based on my own wisdom; holding it as higher than God's wisdom. In other words, that it is possible that it is I who am wrong, rather than God's authority (and if I tell the truth, it is certain that I am wrong).

I have actually discovered, specifically on the issues of confession before a priest and the veneration of Mary, that it was I who was wrong, my own views, feelings and convictions that were in error. I learned how veneration differs from worship, and that we venerate things like our mothers or national flags yet understand that we do not worship them. I had, before my conversion, been cheerfully confessing in front of a dozen men in a secular men's group - as they confess in AA meetings - yet had kicked up a fuss about confessing in front of one. I also discovered that I was not confessing "to" the priest, but in front of him, that he is the witness to my confession. I also learned why the original practice of the ancient Church of confessing in front of the whole congregation ended and was replaced with this format. In short, that I had (and have) a lot to learn.


I also agree that the "TRUE CHURCH" is pre-denominational. Again that "TRUE CHURCH" is not the Orthodox Church. None of those present at Pentecost nor the immediate time following them were Orthodox. And i have found many more than Orthodox who believe they are pre-denominational.
Well, here you make assertions. The main thing I can agree with is that the Church was not called specifically "Orthodox" for hundreds of years. Even today, it is a term of convenience for distinction more than anything else. But for those many centuries, there was not the plurality of understanding on what "Christian" means today. But there WAS a definite Church, with a definite organization that was persecuted AS AN ORGANIZATION by the Roman Empire, and that organization was known and recognized when Constantine ascended the throne - the first bishops that made up the first ecumenical Council had been persecuted bishops, and that organization identified what we now call "The Bible". That organization has a continuous and traceable history. There was a relatively small schism from it that produced the Coptic Church, and the Great Schism left two organizations; one with a great deal of secular power tat produced the Crusades, indulgences the Inquisition, and the great schism called "The Reformation", permanently dividing all Christians in the West, and another organization in the East, a college of Church centers united in doctrine and without a Pope, whose secular seats were all swallowed by Islam, yet strangely, that Church survived and remained united in its faith and doctrine, without the central control Rome has always claimed, when by all earthly logic, it should have gone the way of the Dodo bird.

One of the tremendous problems of Protestant history is that it is essentially non-existent before Martin Luther. It's as if the Holy Spirit took a 1,500-year vacation after the end of the book of Acts. Certainly, all claim individual Christian here and there as their own. My mother, currently a Mennonite, once sent me a book which treated St Maximilian (a pacifist) as a Mennonite. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_(martyr)
But they never take into account that the individuals all saw themselves as part of the organization, that the modern idea of divisions of the faith didn't exist. There is no continous Protestant Church in historical record. All must derive their history from the legitimacy of Rome, as the Anglican Church does, or turn to the Orthodox or Coptic Churches, the only continuous histories.


Man has been trying to control and manipulate faith from the beginning of time.
Yes, and we call the attempts to do so "heresies", errors of faith that destroy self-supporting, holistic theology.



I also have attended an Orthodox Church in Birmingham Alabama and i find the people to be wonderful. They have been very gracious to me on the few occasions i have worshiped with them. One brother has become a very good friend and we pray for each other often.

{{And i have found many Orthodox believers in Russia to be willing to work together in helping those children i mentioned.}}

I especially love the Russian/Ukrainian cuisine after the service!!

I look forward to conversing more with you in due time.

S Bogom!!

http://www.birminghamorthodox.com/


Again, thank you!
I realize we have serious grounds for disagreement, and hope that we won't stop on simplistic assertions. Above all, I encourage you to study ancient Church history. If one cannot accept that Polycarp and Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria and so on were part of the Church established by the Apostles, then the Church died as soon as the last Apostle was martyred, which is simply nonsense.

And yes, there are many grounds for cooperation! I certainly think you right in your general orientation; one who acknowledges Christ as Lord, fully God and fully Man, has already turned in the right general direction. There is enough doubt and unbelief around here that I wouldn't want to waste a lot of time arguing from dogmatic positions (much as I respect dogma consciously recognized as such).

jask
03-02-2013, 11:20
some people here think verbosity wins arguments... NOT...

rubyrussia
03-02-2013, 12:16
Pump those brakes a little friend. That is a lot of assumption and condescension in such a short post.

Perhaps my post did come off as condescending. I just thought it strange to be lecturing someone like Rusmeister what the church is. It would be like telling your pastor what the second book of the Bible is?


No i am not a Messianic Jew. I noted my reason why i suggested and posted the link to Beth Hallel.... For those who ARE NOT familiar with Messianic beliefs.

I do and have attended Messianic for 5 years because i find the teachings and worship to be extremely beneficial to my discipleship. Considering Jesus Christ was and is the Messiah. Considering ALL of His 12 disciples (save one) were also Messianic Jews.

Yes, this is really what I was looking for. What exactly do Messianic beliefs mean? Are they somehow better than the plain 'n' dry / generic flavor Christian beliefs? May I ask what significance you are putting into the fact that the disciplines were Jews? Seems like the churches you attend are probably very dispensationalist just as most protestant churches are. Dispensationalism is a new trend that isn't more than a hundred years old and I believe to be in error.



Only God knows who is a true believer and no one will enter Heaven by accident. Nor will anyone receive false judgement from a Holy and Righteous God.

Yes, and I commented to your comment about what a Christian is because that's how it's often done these days. If you hear a huge summary about who He is and recite some words like in John 3:16 that you are Christian and will forever be in heaven. People accept a Jesus that they often don't really know much about and haven't understood the message.



In short, intellectual division is the evil one's greatest trick...

Seems like you agree with Rusmeister then. After all this is what he is arguing. The schisms were evil and brought separation and descent to the Church. Therefore, there is some evil between the three of us.

rusmeister
03-02-2013, 12:47
Yay, my mobile browser reloaded, erasing my post!

I apologize for being very short, but in short:

1) Thanks, Ruby, but I'd cut AR a break. 'He don't know me very well', to quote Bugs Bunny. We haven't had any interchanges, really.

2) I'd ask who can recite the Nicene Creed and say, "Yeah, I believe that."
It's been the baseline definition of what a Christian has to believe to be Christian since the fourth century.

For people who have no idea what that is (and why Baptists are decidedly Christians and Mormons actually aren't):

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.

And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/doctrine/the-symbol-of-faith/nicene-creed

(The Catholic version adds the Filioque "and the Son" to "proceeds from the Father")

Basically, if you can recite that (and mean it), you're Christian (aside from the part about being baptized and some form of the Sinner's Prayer", heterodox or Orthodox. If not, then not. It was that fact that my old Baptist self could say, "Yeah, I can believe that" that was the clincher in my decision to accept Orthodoxy.

If anyone can be an American citizen or member of the US Marines merely by declaring it, then the terms become meaningless.

MickeyTong
03-02-2013, 18:35
Yes, and we call the attempts to do so "heresies", errors of faith that destroy self-supporting, holistic theology.



Which is what the Ebionite Christians thought of Paul and his efforts to de-Judaise the faith.

rusmeister
03-02-2013, 18:47
Which is what the Ebionite Christians thought of Paul and his efforts to de-Judaise the faith.

Of course. The question, as always, is who was right?
If the Ebionites were really right, then where are they today? It's really hard to suppress the truth for centuries, let alone millennia.

MickeyTong
03-02-2013, 18:54
Of course. The question, as always, is who was right?
If the Ebionites were really right, then where are they today? It's really hard to suppress the truth for centuries, let alone millennia.

And where would the "orthodox" be if not for the support of a rigidly authoritarian imperial state after the 4th century?

yakspeare
03-02-2013, 19:11
good point Mickey...survivability tday doesn't make something true. we still have communists and fascists, we have mormons and jehovah's witness, heck even scientologists...hard to say which might last another 2000 years. But they aren't going away at the moment.

A church that not only rules on what is "true" but calls anyone else a heretic and executes people for disagreeing-doesn't give it any validity just because the opposition has died off. one just has to look at the old believers to see how orthodoxy treated those who disagreed.

MickeyTong
03-02-2013, 19:15
It is the victors who write history.

rusmeister
03-02-2013, 21:54
And where would the "orthodox" be if not for the support of a rigidly authoritarian imperial state after the 4th century?

Well, Mickey, it's funny you should ask that. The answer is "pretty much in the same place". All of the countries that had "rigidly authoritarian imperial states after the 4th century", with the exception of Russia, had collapsed by the 15th century, some centuries before that, and Russian support ended in 1917. In spite of all that, and all earthly logic, largely without any support and largely under Islamic/Ottoman oppression, it survived.

So looking at this, I'm back to, Falsehoods tend to die over such stretches of time, but it's REALLY hard to suppress actual truth for that long.

And that's precisely where we have evidence, and where Yak's thought is mere speculation. We have definite survivability of ancient Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism for well over a millennium. We have nothing of the sort for Yak's short list, and the significant communist and fascist states have fallen after extremely short periods (less than a single century) with no survivability record approaching Orthodoxy.

If the opposition has really died off, then it cannot really have had a big handle on the truth, for the truth will always out, sooner or later.

And as always, to dscover that at one time sinners ruled in the Church shocks only people who do not realize that we are all sinners, that the evil that deserves the greatest condemnation is not that in the heart of others', but in one's own.

The victors right history? Perhaps. But that phrase is generally used to debunk history we wish to deny, not history that we accept. And if the victors are right, thenwe certainly want them to write the history.

JanC
04-02-2013, 14:04
You could have said God doesn't exist and so the rest is bunk.

True enough, but then I would be inconsistent with the laws of logic. I do not have proof for a positive claim that God doesn't exist (since it is logically impossible) and I have no desire to enter the realm of unsupported claims.

For me, a discussion which is merely about personal opinion is not one worth having.


I guess we should thank the Belgium education system. I often think about how Russia can reform its language instruction to help people communicate in foreign languages like English better.

I'd thank the BBC and the fact that Belgian broadcasters use subtitles rather than voice-overs.

JanC
04-02-2013, 14:36
"Intelligent" does not mean "right". A person can be intelligent and wrong.

This is true. There's probably some misunderstanding (my fault entirely in how I expressed myself) as to what I considered an intelligent argument.
An intelligent argument has to be able to stand its ground. I'm really more talking about the conclusion rather than the process of intelligently arriving at it.

As I've pointed out before, any intelligent conclusion can only be as good on the premises on which it is based. If the premises are uncertain then so is the conclusion.



So when you say "I didn't get intelligent answers", that is really insulting. I gave you intelligent answers. You didn't like them, or if they did not satisfy, you did not ask follow-up questions.

I apologize if that came across to you as insulting. I am quite certain that I have never not asked a follow up question to something I did not agree with however. Sorry for the double negative.


You are in effect saying, "Whatever answers you give are, and will be stupid unless they agree with me."

I may have failed in accurately transmitting my thoughts into text, so I'll try again.

In order for your answers to satisfy the core question "does the supernatural exist and/or are any of the religious claims out there based on supernatural events" these answers and facts must be distinguishable from delusion.
You would have to show me precisely how you arrived at the conclusion that your religious reality is more true than any other. To the best of my knowledge, you have not succeeded in this challenge. If I am incorrect please take the time to point it out to me, for I am genuinely interested as my large blocks of text have already betrayed.

If any claim hinges on the maker of it being potentially delusional then it is no good to anyone else. If there is nothing to verify except assertions on their own then that is where we cannot draw conclusions which we can intelligently accept in this day and age.



I've been on both sides of the fence. I have been an adult unbeliever AND an adult believer.

Though it might be coincidental, the "seen both sides" thing is a common tactic to create an appearance of superior authority. Of course in this case I have no reason to doubt your life's history.

Still, many people can have a particular belief for very different reasons. Not all of them are logically sound. I've seen plenty of self-proclaimed atheists who really didn't get to their view with proper logic and supportable premises. Even those who were believers and dropped it. Just like you can be intelligent, logical and still wrong....you can be illogical and right by accident.

The fact that you've had different world views really does not add anything to the meat of the discussion. It's pretty much irrelevant.


(the adult part is important - childhood experience is no help when it is not also accepted in adulthood; the adult understandings of faith or the lack thereof are what matter)

And yet, your current belief is still based upon the exact same story you were indoctrinated with. Should we consider this a coincidence?
Is it a coincidence as well that almost every apologist out there is defending the same (or very similar) faith his/her elders and peers held? It's a mighty big one...


I accept that my explanations may seem unintelligible, especially to those who have been taught to hate reading more than a few short lines (which obviously is not you), but not that they are unintelligent

Just to drive the point home I will say once again that your explanations themselves do not seem unintelligent to me.
They are merely insufficient on their own to justify a supernatural belief.

Especially when there is a vast number and variety of religions which have existed, and still exist, and many of them are simply not compatible. We have established a well documented human trait that leads to religious invention and self delusion. You need to show that your premises are not based on human inventions like many other religions.

In order to rise above the others, you have to make arguments that (all but) rule out delusion.



I picked up on your line in a different topic:


Apologetics for a faith is a different thing - it seeks to demonstrate the compatibility of a faith and reason and why a person can reasonably see his views as actually true, not "just for him", but objectively true for everyone.

I would bring forth here the fact that apologists for different faiths have so far not succeeded, and are not likely to ever succeed in demonstrating their specific religious claims to be objectively true.

If there existed an argument, no matter how complex, that would actually demonstrate objective truth in a religion then all this would not still be going on.

The whole concept of apologetics appears to be an infinite loop. It's a great brain exercise but without evidence it can continue indefinitely. I think I could possibly be an apologist for inivisble unicorns without violating logic or making unintelligent arguments. Indefinitely.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 14:41
Well, Mickey, it's funny you should ask that. The answer is "pretty much in the same place". All of the countries that had "rigidly authoritarian imperial states after the 4th century", with the exception of Russia, had collapsed by the 15th century, some centuries before that, and Russian support ended in 1917. In spite of all that, and all earthly logic, largely without any support and largely under Islamic/Ottoman oppression, it survived.

So looking at this, I'm back to, Falsehoods tend to die over such stretches of time, but it's REALLY hard to suppress actual truth for that long.

And that's precisely where we have evidence, and where Yak's thought is mere speculation. We have definite survivability of ancient Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism for well over a millennium. We have nothing of the sort for Yak's short list, and the significant communist and fascist states have fallen after extremely short periods (less than a single century) with no survivability record approaching Orthodoxy.

If the opposition has really died off, then it cannot really have had a big handle on the truth, for the truth will always out, sooner or later.

And as always, to dscover that at one time sinners ruled in the Church shocks only people who do not realize that we are all sinners, that the evil that deserves the greatest condemnation is not that in the heart of others', but in one's own.

The victors right history? Perhaps. But that phrase is generally used to debunk history we wish to deny, not history that we accept. And if the victors are right, thenwe certainly want them to write the history.

Here you are confusing the surviability of an idea - a truth or truism-with the longevity of a governmental system. there are still communists and fascists and indeed states which favour that ideology. Feminism might survive 10000 more years but youwould not agree with it. Christianity survived 3 centures before it became the tate religion, and then subsequently that state failed. So your example is a poor one.

JanC
04-02-2013, 15:04
Agree with Yak (omg!)

The "been around too long to be false" argument is non sequitur.

First problem is that the subject matter is such that its falsehood cannot be established.

Second problem is that you are comparing a religious idea with a political one, which implies that we are examining practical functions.

There is no "true" or "false" political idea. It's either practically viable or it's not. Communism on a practical level just doesn't work very well, that's a historical fact. People living in communism (large scale) tend to not enjoy it very much either which speeds up the demise of such a system.

If the function of religion is to teach morality, console us in time of grief and offer deep explanations to questions we have no other answer for then it can work, and work well. It can spread and be successful.

But the indeterminable truth is entirely irrelevant to such functionality.

JanC
04-02-2013, 16:00
Jan two points:
firstly the inundation of water seen by the fossil record is not localized flooding at all. Almost the entire continent of Australia was underwater at some point. there almost isn't a spot on the planet that doesn't contain fossils of oceanic life-so most of the world has indeed been underwater at some time and under seawater. whether this happened in the time of man or not is conjecture but no one yet has claimed it wasn't, to my knowledge, and can prove it.

You are aware of tectonic movements right?

Science has a pretty good understanding of tectonics, insofar that we can piece together the puzzle of what was where and when and where it's going next. And, conveniently, we can see it in action right now.
You'll find evidence of sea creatures on Mount Everest. Not because the sea was ever where mount Everest is, but because the material that makes up the mountain was once sea floor.

This is not global flooding. You'll get huge (by our standards) differences in which parts of which continent were under water when. Millions and hundreds of millions of years difference. So any resemblance to the Noah story is very superficial.

Not to mention...the whole Noah idea simply would not work anyway, I know that I don't have to explain that to you, we're ahead of that.



I have shared my own experience with you and the forum, of hundreds of witnesses seeing me with broken bones at a bottom oa waterfall and hours later not a scratch on me. Emergency service personal became believers in God on that day and the story spread around all the churches of Brisbane.

Yes you have shared that story, but we all know how stories on their own are not particularly valuable.
The second part demonstrates nicely how our minds are formed in childhood to run to a particular conclusion. Even if all this happens exactly how you remember it, and those people did see it, there is insufficient evidence to credit any specific God with this specific event.
There's no shortage of stories very similar to these religious and non-religious all with zero evidence and people drawing their own different conclusions from them.


really there is no level of proof you would honestly accept.

False, I have said several times now that I will accept evidence that is clearly distinguishable from delusion. Your tale so far does not meet this standard. Do you accept alien abductions are real because there are people who will tell you in great detail they were abducted and will happily go on a lie detector to prove it?

Stories without evidence on their own do not cut it. I do not think you can consider this an unreasonable standard for "proof".

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 16:15
Almost 500 people saw it including a nurse and two paramedics, as well as dozens of state emergency volunteers. There is no scientific or medical explanation for a compound open fracture to go back within the leg within hours, let alone spinal bruising, a broken arm and cuts and scratches all gone-not a mark on me a few hours later. I was even playing basketball the next day. Now all my thoughts, the verse that came into my head as I fell, the feeling of thousands of hands ifting and turning me so I didn't hit head first etc are all subjective based on my own faith and belief and could be the result of delusion. But the medical results could not be. I have had an extraordinary life, hit by lightning(yes people can survive that too), set alight, shot at, hit by cars and trucks, was in the middle of a rock fall and prayed at the last minute and the rock hit my arm instead of my head and yet did a perfect cut to the bone but didn't break a bone and healed over a week without a scar. All kinds of near misses and times I should be dead. Either the supernatural exists or I am Superman...lol

JanC
04-02-2013, 16:30
Almost 500 people saw it including a nurse and two paramedics, as well as dozens of state emergency volunteers. There is no scientific or medical explanation for a compound open fracture to go back within the leg within hours, let alone spinal bruising, a broken arm and cuts and scratches all gone-not a mark on me a few hours later.

Yes, you keep telling me that.

Are you also telling me that 500 people who saw it none of them took pictures and wrote a book about it? Not even the paramedics? Are there pictures, X-rays, actually documented accounts? Other "miracles" tend to have at least that (and still tend to get debunked, but anyway)
If the paramedics ran straight to church instead of unleashing the entire scientific community on you then that already gives us a clue.

Maybe one of the 500 was a Kahuna? http://www.deeptrancenow.com/inst_heal.htm

I'm telling you, if I can't tell whether you are delusional or making up porky pies...what's the point? How do I tell the "real" stories from the "fake" ones?

I'm sorry but the line of crazy and supernatural stories stretches around the block. You would dismiss them without evidence, so do I.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 16:53
Yes, you keep telling me that.

Are you also telling me that 500 people who saw it none of them took pictures and wrote a book about it? Not even the paramedics? Are there pictures, X-rays, actually documented accounts? Other "miracles" tend to have at least that (and still tend to get debunked, but anyway)
If the paramedics ran straight to church instead of unleashing the entire scientific community on you then that already gives us a clue.

I'm telling you, if I can't tell whether you are delusional or making up porky pies...what's the point? How do I tell the "real" stories from the "fake" ones?

I'm sorry but the line of crazy and supernatural stories stretches around the block. You would dismiss them without evidence, so do I.

I can't control what people do with the information. Of course there are hospital records at Nambour base hospital. The ambulance people complained to me that they had wished the helicopter had been called to the scene-because that brings the TV crews automatically. People may have written to the press or not, I have no idea. I know it spread around the Churches in Brisbane quickly AND I even shared my story with some congregations who had their Pastors present and witnessed it. I didn't know there would be a JanC who wuld question me 18 years later. I still know a few of the people who saw it, and they still talk about it when I go back to Australia. They have never felt the need, as far as I know, to contact anyone else about it outside of religious circles. I know the ambulance people became believers but I never saw them after the incident.

I am quite sure I am not the only one this has happened to but if you witnessed it yourself I would be curious to see your reaction and attempts to deal with it. Doesn't matter how true it is nor the number of witnesses at one time-it isn't in the worldview of many scientists so they would shrug their shoulders and say there is no explanation but couldn't bring themselves to believe in the supernatural. Much like, I guess, your response. Some people are like that. If God appeared to you and pinched you, you still wouldn't believe your senses...but somehow what a scientists says is gospel.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 17:05
One of the reasons i left the pentecostal churches was over the "warm and fuzzy" healing sessions. Indeed in prayer in a group you could feel a wamth come over you and bad backs, migraines etc would seemingly disappear. Of course, days later, the pain would return and the victim would be accused of a lack of faith, or they have sinned, or it was the devil's attack. Allthis can easily be explained away with science and I rejected it. My situation was different because of broken bones, including the bone sticking out of my leg. No one manipulated it to try and put it back in the body and all the scratches and cuts on me were completely gone at some time after I had arrived at the hospital when the Doctor said "get up and walk" which is rather a peculiar thing for a doctor to say as a command.

The whole episode was unbelievable even to believers. those in the waiting room woke up with me saying "let's go" and thought they were in heaven by simply seeing me walking again. Especially when one of the paramedics was actually concerned I would never walk again.

To have grown men, Pastors and the like, who had been believers most of their lives come to you like some saint and fall down at your feet in tears, is an incredible experience and very humbling. I see any attempt for a scientific explanation for what happening as being less logical and more strained than a supernatural one.

AstarD
04-02-2013, 17:09
I read this book recently. It's by a skeptic who had the near-death experience himself and as a neurosurgeon, he can't explain it away physically or with science. http://www.examiner.com/article/harvard-neurosurgeon-says-heaven-is-real-new-book

JanC
04-02-2013, 17:28
I see any attempt for a scientific explanation for what happening as being less logical and more strained than a supernatural one.

There must be something to explain first. Usually, there isn't. I am not attempting to minimize your experience here. It's just how these things usually turn out.

A supernatural explanation, whilst impossible to say that there isn't one, is really a shortcut to the conclusion to "it's supernatural so leave it at that"

There are considerable money prizes for anyone who has proof of the supernatural by the way. For many years now, they haven't been claimed yet.

Most likely explanation: your story simply did not happen the way you remember it. With all the noise that gets made whenever someone's over-active agency detection sees a holy face on a cheese sandwich I would also have expected your story to have made it a lot further than it has. Why is there never any actual proof for claims that would be relatively easy to prove?

JanC
04-02-2013, 17:31
I read this book recently. It's by a skeptic who had the near-death experience himself and as a neurosurgeon, he can't explain it away physically or with science. http://www.examiner.com/article/harvard-neurosurgeon-says-heaven-is-real-new-book


This line sums it up nicely:


"But what happened to me was, far from being delusional, as real or more real than any event in my life

I'd expect a little better from a Neurosurgeon of all people.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 17:44
There must be something to explain first. Usually, there isn't. I am not attempting to minimize your experience here. It's just how these things usually turn out.

A supernatural explanation, whilst impossible to say that there isn't one, is really a shortcut to the conclusion to "it's supernatural so leave it at that"

There are considerable money prizes for anyone who has proof of the supernatural by the way. For many years now, they haven't been claimed yet.

Most likely explanation: your story simply did not happen the way you remember it. With all the noise that gets made whenever someone's over-active agency detection sees a holy face on a cheese sandwich I would also have expected your story to have made it a lot further than it has. Why is there never any actual proof for claims that would be relatively easy to prove?

Because it wasn't just me who saw this thing but around 500 people. The entire campsite saw me there as did trained medical personal. It happened just as I said-I could doubt my own mind but not that of so many other people wh saw the state I was in. Even the fact I survived such a fall is an achievement enough-but yes people have fallen out of planes from 18000 feet (if i recall) andlanded on a snow covered tree and survived. but bones going back into the body and scratches disappearing in hours and the fact i could feel no pain and walk again-all in hours and documented by the hospital records....there is no scientific explanation and there will likely never be one.

AstarD
04-02-2013, 17:47
There is a logical, scientific explanation, Yaks.














































































You're a vampire.

JanC
04-02-2013, 17:51
Because it wasn't just me who saw this thing but around 500 people. The entire campsite saw me there as did trained medical personal.

Where are their accounts, for a start? You're telling me five hundred people saw all of this and yet there is nothing documented of this amazing story?
I cannot imagine something like that happening exactly the way you describe with that many people watching would not have made world news. Even if it was just the slightly more sensational press, this would be in the long lists of "unexplained miracles". Why isn't it?


bones going back into the body and scratches disappearing in hours and the fact i could feel no pain and walk again-all in hours and documented by the hospital records...

I do not believe that if your scratches dissapearing and your bones mending themselves in hours was recorded in hospital records that this would NOT be one of the biggest miracle stories in history.

Show me the people.
Show me the records.
Stop talking about evidence and show it. Right NOW what have you shown in this threat? A story and assertions. Come on.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 18:11
But they did tell everyone, people heard about it even before I got back, heck I playsome online games and happened to chat a girl from Brisbane who is not religious-it turns out her friend was at the camp "Oh you're THAT guy."

I mean this all happened in 1994, before the internet was everywhere but I am surprised the TV didn't pick up on it still. Because a lot of people were talking about it, that many people talking to that many congregations means thousands would have heard of it. There is also a question of the media-they don't mind publishing things to riducule religion "I saw Jesus on my toast" as part of sensationalism, but perhaps don't want to investigate something that could challenge their own thinking. Mind you I am only speculating, I can't prove why the media didn't go with it(and perhaps they idid in the local paper)

All the hospital records would show is the ambulance report contradicts the Doctor's. And then of course the ambulance people must have been mistaken or written it down wrong, no it isn't going to say "miracle please report this to JanC" on the chart.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 18:14
There is a logical, scientific explanation, Yaks.































































You're a vampire.

In Russia I always thought I was normal but I did notice I glitter under the Istanbul sun...

JanC
04-02-2013, 18:23
happened to chat a girl from Brisbane who is not religious-it turns out her friend was at the camp "Oh you're THAT guy."


Because a lot of people were talking about it, that many people talking to that many congregations means thousands would have heard of it.

And yet all those thousands of people never wrote about it in any way whatsoever on the internet, even though they still remember. I can dig up a lot of (urban) legends just from blog and facebook posts and whatnot through Google that are not nearly as spectacular as yours.



All the hospital records would show is the ambulance report contradicts the Doctor's.

Better than NOTHING wouldn't you say?


Anyway, all we have and are going to get is your story so let's leave it at that. I was just hoping your story wasn't going to follow the trend of all the other supernatural claims out there. Huge story, many claimed witnesses, ZERO evidence or actual witnesses to be found. Stunning.

yakspeare
04-02-2013, 18:34
Hundreds and hundreds of witnesses and thousands know of it. It isn't my problem you don't. You can hop on a plane and visit the Mapleton youth camp or Nambour base hospital and see for yourself if my word has no credibility to you(which is fine by the way.) You are the one claiming there is no evidence, yet you aren't really looking are you?

JanC
04-02-2013, 18:43
Hundreds and hundreds of witnesses and thousands know of it. It isn't my problem you don't. You can hop on a plane and visit the Mapleton youth camp or Nambour base hospital and see for yourself if my word has no credibility to you(which is fine by the way.) You are the one claiming there is no evidence, yet you aren't really looking are you?

You have shown no evidence. You have claimed evidence exists.
The nature of the story and the amount of people claimed to know about it makes it highly unlikely that not 1 sentence on the internet would be dedicated to it.

I'm not claiming it didn't happen, you're just not giving something even nearly sufficient to make me consider it. It's an unsubstantiated claim.
I am quite certain that you would dismiss equally unlikely claims made by others if they had as much "evidence" as yours.

We were debating the supernatural and any evidence for it, and YOU brought up the story. It shouldn't be up to me to search for evidence. You claimed evidence, you ought to produce it. We're not sitting around the campfire telling stories and I don't even know you. A debate is not about trusting the other person's word.

MickeyTong
05-02-2013, 01:14
Well, Mickey, it's funny you should ask that. The answer is "pretty much in the same place". All of the countries that had "rigidly authoritarian imperial states after the 4th century", with the exception of Russia, had collapsed by the 15th century, some centuries before that, and Russian support ended in 1917. In spite of all that, and all earthly logic, largely without any support and largely under Islamic/Ottoman oppression, it survived.


What I meant was that "orthodoxy" was supported by a rigidly authoritarian imperial state in its suppression of alternative versions of Christianity. If the state had supported the Arians or the Docetists, etc, they would have been the enduring survivors.

Jack17
05-02-2013, 01:23
and Russian support ended in 1917.

:9456:

Oh, as if it didn't resume in 1991?????

yakspeare
05-02-2013, 01:39
:9456:

Oh, as if it didn't resume in 1991?????

I think it resumed half way through the Stalin era, actually.

yakspeare
05-02-2013, 01:44
You have shown no evidence. You have claimed evidence exists.
The nature of the story and the amount of people claimed to know about it makes it highly unlikely that not 1 sentence on the internet would be dedicated to it.

I'm not claiming it didn't happen, you're just not giving something even nearly sufficient to make me consider it. It's an unsubstantiated claim.
I am quite certain that you would dismiss equally unlikely claims made by others if they had as much "evidence" as yours.

We were debating the supernatural and any evidence for it, and YOU brought up the story. It shouldn't be up to me to search for evidence. You claimed evidence, you ought to produce it. We're not sitting around the campfire telling stories and I don't even know you. A debate is not about trusting the other person's word.

Your assertion is there is no evidence. There is evidence. I have told you a story about something real that happened to me. I don't expect you believe me, it really doesn't matter. But I say it to illustrate that such evidence does exist, you just choose to not look for it. Some people spend their lives searching for truth, travelling the world-you google it lol.

Seek and ye shall find, as they say.

MickeyTong
05-02-2013, 02:20
I mean this all happened in 1994, before the internet was everywhere but I am surprised the TV didn't pick up on it still. Because a lot of people were talking about it, that many people talking to that many congregations means thousands would have heard of it. There is also a question of the media-they don't mind publishing things to riducule religion "I saw Jesus on my toast" as part of sensationalism, but perhaps don't want to investigate something that could challenge their own thinking. Mind you I am only speculating, I can't prove why the media didn't go with it(and perhaps they idid in the local paper)


Anything reported in church magazines, or the Mapleton newsletter?

yakspeare
05-02-2013, 02:44
Anything reported in church magazines, or the Mapleton newsletter?

I really don't know. I bet the incident was reported locally-at least to the point that a youth fell off a huge friggin waterfall and went to hospital. I tried just before to see if the archives are on computer at Nambour-but not knowing the local paper and so many other hits for mapleton waterfalls etc it would take some work. As for church newspapers, i know some publish but really not many, but I went to half a dozen congregations and told my story including gateway and CoC which both have over 2000 people on a Sunday(the biggest in Brisbane) so it wasn't exactly a secret.

rusmeister
05-02-2013, 08:07
You have shown no evidence. You have claimed evidence exists.
The nature of the story and the amount of people claimed to know about it makes it highly unlikely that not 1 sentence on the internet would be dedicated to it.

I'm not claiming it didn't happen, you're just not giving something even nearly sufficient to make me consider it. It's an unsubstantiated claim.
I am quite certain that you would dismiss equally unlikely claims made by others if they had as much "evidence" as yours.

We were debating the supernatural and any evidence for it, and YOU brought up the story. It shouldn't be up to me to search for evidence. You claimed evidence, you ought to produce it. We're not sitting around the campfire telling stories and I don't even know you. A debate is not about trusting the other person's word.

As I said, Jan, I'm somewhat demotivated to respond to you (though I'll go back and consider what I think worth responding to), not because of perceived insult so much as because of a conviction that you will reject any evidence of supernatural experience offered. I think skepticism is good, to a point. There is a point where it ought to end. The purpose of seeing through is to see something behind it. When Superman uses X-ray vision, he's supposed to see something, not see through everything. To see through everything is to see nothing. It's like the Scooby-Doo gang pulling and pulling at the mask of the (supernatural entity) because it can ONLY be Mr Carruthers, the gardener.

Our justice systems are set up to determine truth and act on it when we ourselves could not see an event. The evidence of eyewitnesses is taken seriously, and often is decisive in deciding cases. It is not always believed, but you are like a court that refuses to believe ANY eye-witnesses to an event in all situations - and I think that is because you have a pre-established dogma that the miraculous is intrinsically impossible.

So I think your claims of impartiality are disingenuous. I don't mind a prosecuting attorney that seeks reasonable doubt. But a determination to doubt no matter what evidence and what witnesses is UNREASONABLE doubt. It is the attorney that seeks to win his case no matter what the truth is. 

In Christ's  (unquestionably a man of enormous insight into human nature, even if you deny his godhood) parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man (in hell) asks Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers, and Abraham replied that they already have Scripture and the prophets (evangelists, apologists, etc) and refuse to believe them, and would not believe even though one were to come back from the dead to warn them.

Rather than empirical proof, what I would offer to you (in the hope that your mind is not so closed as all that) is the personal experience and reason of a man who thought about all of these things.
http://www.gkc.org.uk/gkc/books/orthodoxy/ (html)
http://www.gkc.org.uk/gkc/books/ortho14.txt
http://librivox.org/orthodoxy-by-gk-chesterton/ (audio)

It's considered a great classic that doesn't beat people over the head. If you look up the reviews at amazon, I think you'll see what the consensus is.

I really don't think there's anything I can personally say that would convince you of anything. You are dogmatic, as I am, I merely think that there are things you do not consider, which touch the heart as well as the mind, rather than only the mind. And the heart is also worth considering, and also contains truth about us.

Jack17
05-02-2013, 09:39
Yes Jan, consider: Could Yak's miraculous escapte from death (or return from death) be untrue if so many Aussies believe in it? Oh ye of so little faith, I rest my case.

peppermintpaddy
05-02-2013, 13:31
I find Yaks story bizarre to say the least......for some strage reason unseen forces,possibly divine came into play and mended his compound fractures miraculously.....for what reason was Yak chosen to be spared?Just to annoy us on the expat forum?

Strange such divine intervention when not one of the 38 attempts on Hitler's life suceeded,where a little divine intervention would indeed have changed the course of History ,and saved millions of lives.
He does indeed work in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.Perhaps I'm just an old cynic,but I think it's all b****t.

yakspeare
05-02-2013, 13:42
I find Yaks story bizarre to say the least......for some strage reason unseen forces,possibly divine came into play and mended his compound fractures miraculously.....for what reason was Yak chosen to be spared?Just to annoy us on the expat forum?

Strange such divine intervention when not one of the 38 attempts on Hitler's life suceeded,where a little divine intervention would indeed have changed the course of History ,and saved millions of lives.
He does indeed work in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.Perhaps I'm just an old cynic,but I think it's all b****t.

That's fine PP and to be expected but it wasn't BS to myself or the people who saw it. I have no explanation for the "why"? And though I believe it is divine and from God-there isn't more than belief and some vague subjective clues that it was. Perhaps it wasn't my God, but Buddha with a sense of humour, Thetans from outer space or whatever. But it did happen and is beyond the realm of science and the natural-hence supernatural.

It isn't my only experience but I am actualy a rational person and all the others could be chance, coincidence or even delusion or lunacy. This is the occasion I share because of the abundance of witnesses which tell ME(but perhaps not you) that I didn't dream it, imagine it or have some scizo episode.
Otherwise I would probably doubt it too. So no harm, no foul.

JanC
05-02-2013, 14:17
Your assertion is there is no evidence.

Bullcrap. Show me where I am asserting that and I'll buy you a beer.

If I am asserting anything it is that you have not SHOWN the evidence you speak of. And that's not an assertion because I can point out that you have not. You have only TALKED of it existing. You have asserted the existence of evidence, as it were. In any reasonable debate this is equal to no evidence at all.

That puts you in amongst all the other fantastic stories that for some reason or other just can't produce the evidence when asked, even though it is said to exist and ought to be fairly easy to produce if it was nearly as fantastic and mind boggling as it was said to be.



Seek and ye shall find, as they say.

I do love forums and their search functions, I admit.

We have had discussions previously and, I will just tell you my personal impression here which is unscientific, you strike me as someone who is honest, passionate but liable to fairly wild exaggeration.

You have told the same story on this forum 7 or 8 times, and referenced a few more times. Thanks to a fairly efficient search function I compiled all of them to see how well they all match. And actually, they match fairly well. Of course if you're telling it every couple of weeks it ought to stay fresh!

But there are intriguing differences as well, not that I want to cast doubt on the basic story happening but some things suggest that by now not everything is being told or remembered exactly how it happened almost 20 years ago. In fact it's somewhat reminiscent of strange contradictions sneaking into the Bible.

I'll give you a few, compiled from the different times you recalled the same story.


I fell off a waterfall at 19 and smashed my leg and arm, with a compound fracture and jutting bone out of my leg, not being able to feel below my chest, with over 500 witnesses including an ambulance crew and state emergency service volunteers-and 6 hours later I am walking out of hospital without a single mark on me

well they took me to hospital, I arrived there 6 hours after I had fallen

I was stuck there, without any feeling below my neck for 4 hours

The difference of having no feeling below your neck or below your chest does not appear huge, but in practice it means you either felt your arms or you didn't. Messing up the time scale is a minor fault.

But then it gets more confusing.


of seeing my arm broken, paralyzed below the chest and bone sticking out of my leg and hundreds of witnesses to this and then being told by the doctor 4 hours later there is nothing wrong "get up and walk"


Now we've changed to being actually paralyzed from the chest down, and you're good to go 4 hours later instead of 6.

And again:


i had no sensation in my feet at all, a bone was protruding from my leg and my left arm was clearly smashed. i was more worried about the lack of real feeling below my neck though.

I can't speak out of experience (fortunately) but I would imagine I would remember very well the terror of not being able to feel certain parts of my body and exactly which ones.
If you were too far gone to remember what you could feel and what not then how on earth do you consider the rest of your "trip" to be remembered accurately.



Something a bit different now:

i have been hit by lightning, shot at, hit by cars, had a rock fall on to me where i heard the Lord's name in my head and i slipped that second and the rock hit my arm instead of my head and which split to the bone but did not break my arm-despite falling almost 100 metres above me, of running off a waterfall in the middle of the night


Next:

I have had 3 extraordinary events in my life. One was being hit by lightning at 10-but this could have a very rational scientific explanation. Another was a time at sea on a boat, but I won't go into that now....but the third was truly amazing and I have shared the story with many. I was on a christian camp

Considering that you specifically mention you've had 3 extraordinary events (not 2, 4 or 5) where has the story of the rock cutting your arm gone all of a sudden? Seems at least as extraordinary as being hit by lightning age 10 - you even mentioned a natural explanation was possible.

Or were you actually 8 ?

i ran off a waterfall when i was 19 and i was hit by lightning when i was 8

Bizarre.

So anyway, the waterfall is 1994, aged 19.

I mean this all happened in 1994

Whilst dabbling in older topics I came across this interesting statement


As for me, with an IQ of 156 and two scientific thesis published by the time I was 16(both in regard to astrophysics-primarily)
my work was done in the mostly pre-internet era of 1992-1993 but was published in Australia...

There's a slight discrepancy with dates here. If you were =<16 in 1992-1993 then you wouldn't be 19 in 1994. Not going to get hung up on the dates.

Aside from the fact that you were also on that occasion unable to support your claim, I have to say for someone who supposedly knows astrophysics you have made some astoundingly uninformed (guess I should use the plane word "wrong") statements and claims regarding evolution, geology and statistics that I can remember. I genuinely cannot imagine a published astrophysicist being that wrong about things simple enough that any 16-year old who paid attention in science class would know.

Essentially I have no reason to consider your stories to be reliable if you are not able to produce even a hint of evidence. I do have reason to suspect (not a scientific thing mind) that they are at least exaggerated.
Not that my opinion should be of any concern to anyone except myself of course. I will resist the urge to stereotype, even if your miracles seen from the surface are very much like any other unfounded claim at this point in time.

yakspeare
05-02-2013, 14:57
Thanks for that.

It was below the neck and the female paramedic thought initially my neck was broken but then saw I was moving it, she then gingerly moved my head onto her breats and used them as a pillow(she had an enormous chest and I certainly consider that good bedside manner).

My feet were in water,very cold water and lying there and they thought that might be why i had a lack of sensation.

The accident happened about 10 minutes to midnight. I know because we were playing a game when I ran off the waterfall. I arrived at the hospital at 6am and was discharged sometime after 7. The ambulance ride was about 2 hours and took the same toget there in the beginning. The state emergency workers, though, were really fast at arriving. So it was a total of 4 hours there and just over 6 hours after the incident I was healed.

I moved to England when i was 8(closer to 7.5) until I was 11. The lightning happened towards the end-hence 10, not 8.

When I think of 3 events they the lightning, a certain storm in the Bay, and the waterfall. I have had other incidents but they are the main 3 I think. I chose to share another.

As for my age-I joined the Navy in September 1995 at the age of 20. The waterfall definitely happened between my 19th and 20th birthdays.

Yes I know I was 16 at the time, because I was in year 10 when I wrote those papers. Which is a year out, 1991-1992.

JanC
05-02-2013, 18:30
Thank you.

So I can't help but ask, when you are writing in a style that suggests you remember it vividly as if it happened yesterday, where do the errors come from? 8 years old vs 10, okay. And you confuse chest and neck (twice on separate occasions) Then a whole bunch of different timelines of the event. Somehow you remember the voices in your head in better detail than the actual events.

Then we come to the injuries which seem extraordinarily accurately diagnosed by someone in a DARK FOREST in the middle of the night. (makes you wonder how much the 500 witnesses actually managed to see by very limited light)
If spinal cord or neck injury is suspected the last thing they are going to do is give you a full examination with your clothes off in a cold dark river. They'll do their best to avoid any moving or twisting of your body and ship you off into the ambulance. In fact paramedics' only job is first aid and judge whether or not you are stable enough to be moved. They're not specialists in specific problems and injuries.

I'm also slightly curious how it took an ambulance 4 hours to get there and then 2 hours to get to the hospital. I cannot imagine any youth camp, never mind one with several hundred individuals participating to have no way whatsoever to reach the outside world within a reasonable amount of time. 500+ people implies a serious organization with some kind of plan. I cannot fathom how it would take 2 hours to call for help? Pretty sure radio technology was quite advanced already in 1994.

It's a great story, it really is. My favorite part is where the miracle causes 2 of your rescuers to become Christians and you yourself then go on to leave Christianity altogether to become a Jew. Brilliant.

yakspeare
05-02-2013, 18:56
Thank you.

So I can't help but ask, when you are writing in a style that suggests you remember it vividly as if it happened yesterday, where do the errors come from? 8 years old vs 10, okay. And you confuse chest and neck (twice on separate occasions) Then a whole bunch of different timelines of the event. Somehow you remember the voices in your head in better detail than the actual events.

Then we come to the injuries which seem extraordinarily accurately diagnosed by someone in a DARK FOREST in the middle of the night. (makes you wonder how much the 500 witnesses actually managed to see by very limited light)
If spinal cord or neck injury is suspected the last thing they are going to do is give you a full examination with your clothes off in a cold dark river. They'll do their best to avoid any moving or twisting of your body and ship you off into the ambulance. In fact paramedics' only job is first aid and judge whether or not you are stable enough to be moved. They're not specialists in specific problems and injuries.

I'm also slightly curious how it took an ambulance 4 hours to get there and then 2 hours to get to the hospital. I cannot imagine any youth camp, never mind one with several hundred individuals participating to have no way whatsoever to reach the outside world within a reasonable amount of time. 500+ people implies a serious organization with some kind of plan. I cannot fathom how it would take 2 hours to call for help? Pretty sure radio technology was quite advanced already in 1994.

It's a great story, it really is. My favorite part is where the miracle causes 2 of your rescuers to become Christians and you yourself then go on to leave Christianity altogether to become a Jew. Brilliant.

um it really isn't difficult. I took 2 hours for the paramedics to get there, they were with me for 2 hours and then 2hours to get to the hospital again. And the forest wasn't dark at all because the state emergency service were there(volunteers) with all mighty big lights and generators. Nobody dared moved me to the paramedics came. My feet were in the water, the rest of me was in a kind of sitting position which is how i fell. The paramedics cut off my pants and my shoelaces to examine my legs and put a doughnut bandage over my leg wound. They considered helicopter extaction but it wouldn't have worked because of the canopy-so they had to be very sure that I could be moved and how i could be moved. they first thought my neck had been broken but after some time saw i had some movement in it. i still couldn't move my arms or legs.

and yes how i went from being a christian to a Jew is another story altogether.

rusmeister
05-02-2013, 20:17
What I meant was that "orthodoxy" was supported by a rigidly authoritarian imperial state in its suppression of alternative versions of Christianity. If the state had supported the Arians or the Docetists, etc, they would have been the enduring survivors.

Mickey, dude, you have GOT to study Church history.
The state DID support the Arians. The ruling class WAS Arian. And still they lost. It was the common people and persecuted bishops that supported Orthodoxy AGAINST them.

It's like saying that if Mary Tudor had supported Catholics, they would have been the enduring survivors. The humungous facts are that Mary DID support the Catholics who lost, and the Roman rulers who tended to be Arians, Constantius II and Valens being good examples (covering key years of the Arian controversy, if we don't count Julian the Apostate).

rubyrussia
05-02-2013, 21:19
Thank you.

So I can't help but ask, when you are writing in a style that suggests you remember it vividly as if it happened yesterday

Would you expect someone sharing a life or death story in a non-vivd way?

Jack17
05-02-2013, 22:12
It's like saying that if Mary Tudor had supported Catholics, they would have been the enduring survivors.

I'd say it's more like saying if Elizabeth I had supported the Catholics they would have survived, but didn't - well, except for Tony Blair.

MickeyTong
06-02-2013, 00:42
Mickey, dude, you have GOT to study Church history.
The state DID support the Arians. The ruling class WAS Arian. And still they lost. It was the common people and persecuted bishops that supported Orthodoxy AGAINST them.

It's like saying that if Mary Tudor had supported Catholics, they would have been the enduring survivors. The humungous facts are that Mary DID support the Catholics who lost, and the Roman rulers who tended to be Arians, Constantius II and Valens being good examples (covering key years of the Arian controversy, if we don't count Julian the Apostate).

Well, Constantine was certainly not an Arian, and one of the purposes of the Council of Nicaea was to anathematise Arianism. Constantine ordered this council because what Roman emperors valued above all else was public order, which was frequently threatened by lack of uniformity among Christians.

And the Edict of Thessalonika established Nicene Christianity as the Empire's only authorised religion. So, from 380 orthodoxy benefited from the full support of the imperial state and other interpretations became "heresies".

rusmeister
06-02-2013, 08:38
Well, Constantine was certainly not an Arian, and one of the purposes of the Council of Nicaea was to anathematise Arianism. Constantine ordered this council because what Roman emperors valued above all else was public order, which was frequently threatened by lack of uniformity among Christians.

And the Edict of Thessalonika established Nicene Christianity as the Empire's only authorised religion. So, from 380 orthodoxy benefited from the full support of the imperial state and other interpretations became "heresies".

Yes, Orthodoxy DID eventually triumph, though not completely, not until iconoclasm was finally burned out.

But your whole point is that Orthodoxy needs state support to survive. And I'm saying that it doesn't. It largely had that support in the Roman-Byzantine Empire, and completely lost that support when that Empire fell, except for Russia, where it lost it completely in 1917. Indeed, even in Russia it is remarkable that the Faith survived in spite of such total persecution, and its worldwide survival on the basis of state support becomes simply impossible. The evidence throughout history is that ideologies without a GREAT deal of truth do not survive millennia.

So you may doubt the identification of what heresy is, but the rational understanding of the word isbest defined by Hilaire Belloc
http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/HERESY1.TXT (just read the first page). In that understanding, and in view of its complete historical collapse, there can be no doubt that by all reasonable considerations, Arianism is certainly a heresy relative to Orthodoxy.

MickeyTong
06-02-2013, 13:19
Yes, Orthodoxy DID eventually triumph, though not completely, not until iconoclasm was finally burned out.

But your whole point is that Orthodoxy needs state support to survive. And I'm saying that it doesn't. It largely had that support in the Roman-Byzantine Empire, and completely lost that support when that Empire fell, except for Russia, where it lost it completely in 1917. Indeed, even in Russia it is remarkable that the Faith survived in spite of such total persecution, and its worldwide survival on the basis of state support becomes simply impossible. The evidence throughout history is that ideologies without a GREAT deal of truth do not survive millennia.

So you may doubt the identification of what heresy is, but the rational understanding of the word isbest defined by Hilaire Belloc
http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/HERESY1.TXT (just read the first page). In that understanding, and in view of its complete historical collapse, there can be no doubt that by all reasonable considerations, Arianism is certainly a heresy relative to Orthodoxy.

No Rus, my whole point was that what is now Orthodoxy survived and thrived because of state support from the end of the 4th Century. If the state had endorsed any other understanding of Christianity, then that understanding would have become "orthodoxy". Constantine was not a man to be crossed: had he been an Arian, the Council of Nicaea would have reached a different decision about Arianism.

And yes, I do understand that heresy is a deviation from necessary elements of a coherent conceptual matrix.

jask
06-02-2013, 13:33
http://now.msn.com/alois-bell-website-hacked-after-applebees-tip-incident

JanC
06-02-2013, 22:02
and yes how i went from being a christian to a Jew is another story altogether.

I can appreciate that.

I just get slightly annoyed when there is (something of) a debate going on and the final retreat is story which is entirely unverifiable from where I am sitting. It automatically brings everything to a close.

If I would accept your claims, to be consistent I would also have to accept claims about extraterrestrial abductions, witchcraft, the loch Ness monster and so on.

Your story is not unique but the one thing all supernatural stories (up till now) have in common is that there is insufficient evidence to be able to establish them as such.

This insistence on evidence might seem silly to some, but the truth is that any honest scientist would relish the chance to discover that supernatural things exist. Of course it would take a considerable amount of work first to establish it. Because the supernatural has never been established, despite countless (many contradicting) claims over many centuries it can never be the most logical or likely explanation for anything, no matter how it might feel or seem. Anything else is just temporarily filling the gaps in our knowledge.

JanC
06-02-2013, 22:08
Would you expect someone sharing a life or death story in a non-vivd way?

I would expect someone speaking in absolute ways to be sure of what he is saying, yes. If I'm not sure what age I was when something happened I wouldn't guess an number, I'd rather just say "somewhere around age x-x" for example.

Likewise I would not expect someone to recall an experience of paralysis differently to the point that the body parts involved are no longer the same. If I wasn't sure then I'd put it a bit more vaguely. The fact that it is written in a way that suggests he remembers it accurately when in fact his accounts differ on important points implies that not everything (including the more extraordinary parts of the experience) can be established as a proper memory (not like it would make a difference one way or the other mind you)

rusmeister
06-02-2013, 22:12
No Rus, my whole point was that what is now Orthodoxy survived and thrived because of state support from the end of the 4th Century. If the state had endorsed any other understanding of Christianity, then that understanding would have become "orthodoxy". Constantine was not a man to be crossed: had he been an Arian, the Council of Nicaea would have reached a different decision about Arianism.

And yes, I do understand that heresy is a deviation from necessary elements of a coherent conceptual matrix.

Wow.
You totally miss two humungous points.
One: Constantine died and his successors were Arian. The First Council did not end Arianism by any means. (Edit add: i think your opinion about Constantine's level of influence on the Council to be false. Sorry, the bishops that had been ready to die for their faith under Diocletian were not about to sell it out for Constantine.)

Two: Orthodoxy throughout the world, everywhere outside of Russia, has survived hundreds of years without state support. Well over half a millennium.

Glad at least you get that heresy can be a rational concept...

yakspeare
06-02-2013, 22:53
I would expect someone speaking in absolute ways to be sure of what he is saying, yes. If I'm not sure what age I was when something happened I wouldn't guess an number, I'd rather just say "somewhere around age x-x" for example.

Likewise I would not expect someone to recall an experience of paralysis differently to the point that the body parts involved are no longer the same. If I wasn't sure then I'd put it a bit more vaguely. The fact that it is written in a way that suggests he remembers it accurately when in fact his accounts differ on important points implies that not everything (including the more extraordinary parts of the experience) can be established as a proper memory (not like it would make a difference one way or the other mind you)

but there isn't a difference in bodyparts. if i said left leg and then right leg then yes but i didn't. it is simply a matter of timeline. when they first arrived they thought my neck was broken, later they realized it wasn't. I still couldn't feel below it therefore it is my chest down that I couldn't move. i couldn't move my arms of legs. Just like you saw an inconsistancy between 4 hours and 6 hours-where i stated it was 6 hours later i was in hospital, i was at the bottom of the waterfall for 4 hours. Just as you said why did it take so long for the ambulance to arrive and didn't they have communication etc. The ambulance was called pretty much straight away. it just took that long to get there.

and i have no idea why I wrote 8 not 10, it seems strange to me. an unintentional error in typing, probably. I have always said I was 10-but in any case that was a memory from before i was even a teenager versus when i was 19 when i gave a full account (unlike the lightning story) because I remember it all like yesterday. I don't remember things like the paramedic names but i know what they look like. I know it was Annette Seary and Pastor Thomas who went to the hospital with me. I know Marion couch was crying, I know I wanted Merve Werner to ride in the ambulance with me(who I had a crush on-the Pastor's daughter), i know it an Assembly of God youth camp led by Pastor Werner and there was over a different other groups up there, mostly Baptist with us who saw it all too. I know the game started at 11:50pm because I had just lookedat my watch and it was to be the last game in the evening. I remember the bible verse:

" He shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you:
And in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone."

Which a Pastor the day before had said to me, which was so unusual because i had only ever heard it before in the New Testament and it was the devil quoting scripture. so I was surprised the Pastor had siaid it to me to comfort me on something, not knowing it comes from the old testament too. And when I was falling that very verse came into my head. And that is when I felt like thousands of hands on me turning me over so I wouldn't land head first. of course, though real to me, I can't prove that part of the story. I can't prove it was my God that even did it. The only thing that is provable, by anyone who investigated it it, was a lot of people saw me broken at the bttom of that waterfall, my injuries and then fine a few hours later.

The time before last I visited Australia I visited my old congregation and they were still talking about it. All thought I was destined to be some sort of super Christian, instead I am a Jew.....

JanC
06-02-2013, 23:26
I understand Yak, but there are 2 problems that really make it pointless to take this any further.

1) You are thus far the only source of this story. There is no way currently to establish whether or not it's true.
2) If it's roughly true the evidence is still extremely limited to a bunch of people who saw you from some distance in conditions where visibility left a lot to be desired (can't imagine 500 people standing within a few feet of you in this situation)
Again, there are countless examples of claimed medical miracles that afterwards turn out to be not quite as extraordinary as told/remembered.

In the rare cases that enough data exists on an event that took on "supernatural" status, it usually turns out there is a big mythical overlay. Especially if you give it a couple of years to grow. If your story is still making its rounds back home, no doubt it has already changed considerably over the years.

Finally, the vast majority of humans never experiences anything miraculous. Those who do feel that a higher power has personally intervened in their life tend to have more than 1 episode. This appears to be true in your case, of course it doesn't support any conclusion. It merely fits a pattern.

Those words you remembered during the fall could be explained by known neurological tendencies. After all, they were read to you not long before, in any case you knew them and you even pointed out they had struck you earlier as somewhat unusual.
People of different religions will have different texts flash through their mind in extreme cases. I've said before the human brain is not a reliable data gathering device, well, whatever reliability it has goes out the window when it is put under extreme stress with all the emergency chemicals being suddenly released.

I am really not out to attack you personally, in fact I'd like to get off this topic because it makes me slightly uncomfortable to rationally analyze what is a very personal episode for you. Of course you've shared it half a dozen times but still, I prefer a debate based on logic, science and philosophy.

My stance remains simply that miracle claims have a history that has not thus far supported the existence of something "outside of nature". As is true for extraterrestrial sightings, ghosts and black magic, religious miracles lack evidence to support them. It needs more than memory or personal conviction to set your miracle apart from the rest.

I do not have months and years to spare to compile a list of the world's claimed miracles but the question has to be, why has proof so far not been forthcoming in any out of so many?
Of course, if a supernatural entity is actively hiding and covering up its tracks, falsifying evidence then many human made claims about its nature are plainly false anyway.

yakspeare
06-02-2013, 23:54
Well lighting itself wasn't an issue as i said but yes i don't think 500 people saw the extent of all my injuries. Probably two dozen. The rest would have sen a body there at the bottom of the falls, watched it go up to the amblance and then saw me playing basketball etc the next day. But still, people did come to me the next day who I hadn't noticed(there had been a rugby scrum around me until the paramedics arrived) and told me , with tears in their eyes, what they had seen-before dropping to their knees praising God before me.

Now someone could say it was a hoax, that the church members were in on it, that people made the entire thing up, that the paramedics were mistaken about my injuries or that I am not being truthful now or exaggerating. All this could be said but it isn't the truth that happened that day.

As for the verse, i don't say anything put it in my head, it was what sprung to mind as i was falling. So there doesn't have to be any mystery there.

and it isn't that i am claimng being indestructable-i have broken plenty of bones. Just on this occasion something highly unusual happened that I don't believe has a scientific explanation at all. i can't comment on the number of miracles claimants make but if miracles are real, from a religious point of view, they are an instrument in faith in God, of which i have plenty.

MickeyTong
07-02-2013, 00:04
Finally, the vast majority of humans never experiences anything miraculous.

Especially amputees. They are never the beneficiaries of miraculous cures.

MickeyTong
07-02-2013, 00:16
Wow.
You totally miss two humungous points.
One: Constantine died and his successors were Arian. The First Council did not end Arianism by any means. (Edit add: i think your opinion about Constantine's level of influence on the Council to be false. Sorry, the bishops that had been ready to die for their faith under Diocletian were not about to sell it out for Constantine.)

Two: Orthodoxy throughout the world, everywhere outside of Russia, has survived hundreds of years without state support. Well over half a millennium.

Glad at least you get that heresy can be a rational concept...

Hagiography is a wonderful thing, Rus, found in every religion.

After the Edict of Thessalonika there was only one interpretation of Christianity which received massive support from the imperial state, which would have encouraged many adherents of "heresies" to amend their beliefs.

I do not dispute that the Orthodox Church has survived without state support: I am saying that without state support in the first place something else would have been established as orthodoxy.

Jack17
07-02-2013, 00:44
Finally, the vast majority of humans never experience anything miraculous.

I'll tell you, sex with a 22 year old ballerina was more miraculous than rising from the dead - in fact, this nymph could make any man come back from the dead. I could go on and on about how she wrapped those legs around me, but, anyway, you get the idea. :nut:

yakspeare
07-02-2013, 01:34
I'll tell you, sex with a 22 year old ballerina was more miraculous than rising from the dead - in fact, this nymph could make any man come back from the dead. I could go on and on about how she wrapped those legs around me, but, anyway, you get the idea. :nut:

Ah Jack, once of course is believable but JanC would be the first skeptic if you say it happened again and again...

yakspeare
07-02-2013, 01:36
Especially amputees. They are never the beneficiaries of miraculous cures.

I promise Mickey that next time i decide to run off a waterfall in the dark I will make sure i sever at least one limb in the process , ok?

Jack17
07-02-2013, 01:37
I have a hard time believing it myself; in fact, it still seems like a dream. God I love dancers.

MickeyTong
07-02-2013, 01:44
I promise Mickey that next time i decide to run off a waterfall in the dark I will make sure i sever at least one limb in the process , ok?

Don't do it, Yak! Even Lourdes doesn't help amputees.

Or people with motor neurone disease......

http://i45.tinypic.com/2nla87b.jpg

rusmeister
07-02-2013, 06:42
Hagiography is a wonderful thing, Rus, found in every religion.

After the Edict of Thessalonika there was only one interpretation of Christianity which received massive support from the imperial state, which would have encouraged many adherents of "heresies" to amend their beliefs.

I do not dispute that the Orthodox Church has survived without state support: I am saying that without state support in the first place something else would have been established as orthodoxy.

Hagiography has nothing to do with whether fear of power would have guided the bishops' decisions. I say that both the time and climate were such that such fear as you imply was not and could not have been. It does not square at all with the 300 years of persecution they had just survived.

On the edict, yes, but there was that period of nearly half a century where the state supported the Arians.

I totally disagree on what I think you mean on the last. If you mean "established as the state religion", that goes without saying. But if you mean "determined what Orthodoxy is" you are speculating, and I believe wrongly. You are speaking from a pre-assumed position that Orthodoxy is merely a human invention. That is not granted. Then there is the problem of the nature of heresy and what Arianism really does to theology, but I think the assumption is the real stumbling block and our conversation on that comes to a grinding halt.

Not just any old belief system can survive for thousands of years. Those that have are not only self-contained, but thoroughly thought out, with pretty much all questions man has ever asked about it answered in considerable length and depth. (this is speaking about the forms with genuinely ancient traditions; modern offshoots that reject those traditions lose those qualities, thus, Mormonism, for example, could not by any stretch of the imagination qualify). And I think you have an impossible task in trying to argue that Arianism could have survived as Orthodoxy obviously did. Speculation on that is futile. I think that if it were truer than Orthodoxy, it WOULD have survived because the truth survives. The fact is that it did not survive.

rusmeister
07-02-2013, 06:51
Don't do it, Yak! Even Lourdes doesn't help amputees.

Or people with motor neurone disease......

http://i45.tinypic.com/2nla87b.jpg

The trouble I see with your understanding, Mickey, is that miracles are not magic, and we don't think of them in terms of "If we do the right incantations (or go to the right shrine) we will get what we want.". I think an awful lot of people are not helped at Lourdes, and it has nothing to do with the invalidity of miracles that you suppose. We know that the general answer to that sort of request, even when we ask, is "No", and we have ideas as to why that is.

We start from the assumption that God does not normally intervene to change what human will has wrought. If He does, glory to God! But the fact is that usually, He doesn't. (Never mind that Lourdes is not an Orthodox shrine)

rusmeister
07-02-2013, 06:58
Oh, and Jan,
I don't know the truth of Yak's story. But my worldview is liberal enough to allow me to grant its theoretical possibility. Yours must not allow the tiniest speck of the supernatural, or your worldview is lost. You must, on a dogmatic basis, deny it. I'm really free to admit that I don't know, because I admit the supernatural in general, whereas you have to categorically deny it.

So which view is reasonable and open-minded to evidence, and which is narrow and dogmatic, is the reverse of what most commonly suppose.

MickeyTong
08-02-2013, 02:36
You are speaking from a pre-assumed position that Orthodoxy is merely a human invention. That is not granted.

Of course that is my position, otherwise I would be an Orthodox Christian. And of course you don't grant my position, because you are an Orthodox Christian.

MickeyTong
08-02-2013, 03:02
The trouble I see with your understanding, Mickey, is that miracles are not magic, and we don't think of them in terms of "If we do the right incantations (or go to the right shrine) we will get what we want.". I think an awful lot of people are not helped at Lourdes, and it has nothing to do with the invalidity of miracles that you suppose. We know that the general answer to that sort of request, even when we ask, is "No", and we have ideas as to why that is.

We start from the assumption that God does not normally intervene to change what human will has wrought. If He does, glory to God! But the fact is that usually, He doesn't. (Never mind that Lourdes is not an Orthodox shrine)

Sorry, Rus, but I don't think of miracles in such terms. I certainly don't think that people will get what they want by performing the right rituals at the right shrine at the right time using the right incantations directed at the right God. (Was Saul's conversion on his way to Damascus a miracle? If Stephen Hawking were healed overnight, that would be a miracle - and not something he sought).

Yes I know Lourdes is not an Orthodox shrine (therefore not a "right" shrine?), and I also think an awful lot of people are not helped there (100% of amputees).

rusmeister
08-02-2013, 09:02
Of course that is my position, otherwise I would be an Orthodox Christian. And of course you don't grant my position, because you are an Orthodox Christian.
Yes, and I am an Orthodox Christian BECAUSE of understandings of history that really differ from yours. I think I have actually thought about yours, with sufficient understanding of human greed, selfishness, lust for power and so on to grasp why you see things as you do.
I don't think you've really thought about MY understandings. HOW could bishops who had just come out of the most sustained persecution in history, some of whom had been arrested and even tortured, with friends, teachers and so on actually martyred for their faith under Diocletian suddenly quiver in fear under Constantine? A great many of those men MUST have been men of iron, who really believed what they preached, having laid it on the line. Sure, I can imagine some of them might have salivated at the thought of earthly prominence in the beginnings of a legalized faith, but it defies reason to think that most, let alone all did. So your idea that Constantine effectively ruled, or had major influence among those bishops cannot be true.

I think that you have discounted real faith, that, having apostatized yourself from a faith (perhaps with excellent reason), you may be overly skeptical of constant faith, discounting it where it must have existed. There is no good answer to the Chrstan martyrs, to three hundred years of consistently sacrificing everything, including their lives, for the Faith, and the bishops under Constantine were their immediate heirs, with living memory of that persecution.

So as I see it, you hold the issue of amputees, that there is no extensive record of the restoring of lost limbs (though as soon as I think of the Gospels I come across Christ (and Christ alone, by the way) giving a man with no eyes eyes from the clay of the earth and restoring a sliced-off ear) as "proof" that miracles do not actually occur. One could make a similar argument on anything, venereal disease, for example, but it would be an equally hollow argument, when the whole bature of miracles is not the desire of the person who would see them, but the Will of the One they appeal to to give them. There are quite a few things that we might desire, some quite reasonable, that are NEVER given. In short, a miracle, should one ever happen to us (and I think I have experienced a couple of minor miracles in my lifetime) would give us, not necessarily what we want, but what somebody needs (which might not even be us).

You can continue to hold on to the amputee issue. But I don't think you reasonable in doing so.

peppermintpaddy
08-02-2013, 13:50
) In short, a miracle, should one ever happen to us (and I think I have experienced a couple of minor miracles in my lifetimewould give us, not necessarily what we want, but what somebody needs (which might not even be us).

You can continue to hold on to the amputee issue. But I don't think you reasonable in doing so.

Tell us about your miracles Uncle Rus,are they more believeable than Yak's?-I hope so.......I'd love a really believeable miracle.....

rubyrussia
08-02-2013, 13:54
Tell us about your miracles Uncle Rus,are they more believeable than Yak's?-I hope so.......I'd love a really believeable miracle.....

I smell some condescendation, errr I mean, condensation in the air. :rolleyes:

rusmeister
08-02-2013, 16:15
I smell some condescendation, errr I mean, condensation in the air. :rolleyes:

I think you mean "condescension". :)

Well, when people have no rational response to true argument, what do they do? They ignore what they cannot refute or they resort to such tactics or thank those that do so.
The truth is always superior to any falsehood. ANYTHING is good enough to change the subject.

rubyrussia
08-02-2013, 16:17
I think you mean "condescension". :)

Well, when people have no rational response to true argument, what do they do? They ignore what they cannot refute or they resort to such tactics.
The truth is always superior to any falsehood. ANYTHING is good enough to change the subject.

I greatly appreciate your correction Rus! I couldn't remember what that noun form was! ;)

peppermintpaddy
08-02-2013, 21:11
I think you mean "condescension". :)

Well, when people have no rational response to true argument, what do they do? They ignore what they cannot refute or they resort to such tactics or thank those that do so.
The truth is always superior to any falsehood. ANYTHING is good enough to change the subject.

Does that mean you're not gonna tell us about your personal miracles then? Shucks,I was looking forward to another tall tale.......

rubyrussia
08-02-2013, 21:16
Does that mean you're not gonna tell us about your personal miracles then? Shucks,I was looking forward to another tall tale.......

Yeeeeeeeeeah, ummmmm did you get the memo?

I'll just go ahead and make sure you get another copy, mmmm kay? ;)

http://expat.ru/forum/showthread.php?p=1122691#post1122691

peppermintpaddy
08-02-2013, 21:28
Yeeeeeeeeeah, ummmmm did you get the memo?

I'll just go ahead and make sure you get another copy, mmmm kay? ;)

http://expat.ru/forum/showthread.php?p=1122691#post1122691

hey smartarse-when i want your opinion,i'll ask for it-I was talking to the organ grinder-not the monkey!

JanC
08-02-2013, 21:28
if miracles are real, from a religious point of view, they are an instrument in faith in God, of which i have plenty.

Yes, much like many deeply religious people believe God has intervened on their behalf when they are fortunate, and don't take any note when they are unfortunate.

Even if a supernatural event were to be reliably observed, it is impossible to attribute it to a specific hypothetical deity. After all, miracles appear to happen fairly randomly distributed between religions, the exact religion doesn't appear to be a factor. The event would have to be marked as "unexplained". It's not like anyone would have evidence their particular God did it. Could've been an advanced alien race playing tricks on us for all we know.

Actually what probably bothers me most of all is how people draw conclusions when insufficient information is present to support it. I'm not even talking about theists in particular, there's agnostics and atheists as well who might not believe in God but will accept any old crap coming from a political party they support for example. Or flying saucers.

Humans on the whole don't appear to cope very well with not knowing the answer to something, to the point that any far fetched answer is better than none. We'd be off a lot better as a species if we were a bit more humble about our current limitations. Amusingly, the less educated tend to be less humble than the educated, you really do need to learn what you don't know.

JanC
08-02-2013, 21:34
Well, when people have no rational response to true argument, what do they do? They ignore what they cannot refute or they resort to such tactics or thank those that do so.


You're not half arrogant sometimes.

"they ignore what they cannot refute" ---> Because the argument has been put forth in such a way that it cannot in any way be logically refuted.

Maybe if you'd put up something that isn't logically flawed it would be worth something. True argument? Hilarious.

Unlike Yakspeare you really don't seem to have a solid grasp of logical principles. All you can do is fallaciously shift the burden of proof and then feel vindicated when people cannot produce a logically valid counter-argument.

There's a saying that applies well, it involves chess and a pigeon but I won't repeat it here.

rusmeister
08-02-2013, 22:40
You're not half arrogant sometimes.

"they ignore what they cannot refute" ---> Because the argument has been put forth in such a way that it cannot in any way be logically refuted.

Maybe if you'd put up something that isn't logically flawed it would be worth something. True argument? Hilarious.

Unlike Yakspeare you really don't seem to have a solid grasp of logical principles. All you can do is fallaciously shift the burden of proof and then feel vindicated when people cannot produce a logically valid counter-argument.

There's a saying that applies well, it involves chess and a pigeon but I won't repeat it here.
Jan, honestly, I'll credit you with being one of the few to trouble to respond. I actually was not referring to you. Most unbelievers prefer to heckle, to claim that believers are stupid and mindless, and then cut and run when one shows up who isn't.
You don't.

But the problem I see in talking to you is that you demand that supernatural beings and events be proven naturally, which is illogical, and reject any form of proof but scentific experiment, and disdain other forms of evidence, such as the evidence of the conscience, which indicates a dogma that the supernatural is intrinsically impossible. That makes conversation impossible between us impossible as I see it, as it is evident that the supernatural can give us clues as to its nature, but cannot be defined by purely natural means.

You can speak of a lack of logic on my part; your assertions have no substance. If I observe the visible facts of sin and death, and from that draw a chain of inferences that denies your dogmas, I am not illogical for doing so. I see YOU as illogical for failing to grasp the ultimate meaninglessness of life that your view entails; that your worldview literally collapses at the moment of your death and self-invented meaning dissipates - leaving the necessity of transcendent meaning, a dogma of MINE.

So I really don't think we can talk, and more's the pity, for I think we could be friends in a different reality. (I'm reminded of the old Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror")

rusmeister
08-02-2013, 22:53
Humans on the whole don't appear to cope very well with not knowing the answer to something, to the point that any far fetched answer is better than none. We'd be off a lot better as a species if we were a bit more humble about our current limitations.
I agree here. And I would include the limitations of science in that. But if we do NOT have a burning desire to know, understand or learn why we exist, then something is wrong with us. The insane person is the one who is indifferent.


Amusingly, the less educated tend to be less humble than the educated, you really do need to learn what you don't know.

I think the opposite to be much more true on the whole. It is certainly the less formally educated that tend to be more humble, and the educated much more snobbish.
Of course, I think modern education, especially the public sort, to be the worst form of education in history.

But I do agree that you really need to learn what you don't know. I think today's "educated" crop is in the terrible position of thinking that it knows, when it doesn't, and so is in the greatest need of genuine learning.

The test is philosophy. It is effectively dead in our time, killed by subjectivism and indifference. If it really DOESN'T matter what you believe, as the state teaches today, then philosophy is indeed the most useless discipline. Only that can't be true.

yakspeare
08-02-2013, 23:45
Yes, much like many deeply religious people believe God has intervened on their behalf when they are fortunate, and don't take any note when they are unfortunate.

Even if a supernatural event were to be reliably observed, it is impossible to attribute it to a specific hypothetical deity. After all, miracles appear to happen fairly randomly distributed between religions, the exact religion doesn't appear to be a factor. The event would have to be marked as "unexplained". It's not like anyone would have evidence their particular God did it. Could've been an advanced alien race playing tricks on us for all we know.

Actually what probably bothers me most of all is how people draw conclusions when insufficient information is present to support it. I'm not even talking about theists in particular, there's agnostics and atheists as well who might not believe in God but will accept any old crap coming from a political party they support for example. Or flying saucers.

Humans on the whole don't appear to cope very well with not knowing the answer to something, to the point that any far fetched answer is better than none. We'd be off a lot better as a species if we were a bit more humble about our current limitations. Amusingly, the less educated tend to be less humble than the educated, you really do need to learn what you don't know.

I am glad you mention atheists and agnostics as this is often the crux of my argument. MOST people,possibly everyone, has on some level an ideology, wordlview and a dogma. what is often the case is the relgious are singled out yet people consider their own ideas as "truth" and "grounded in fact" when they often require as much faith as a relgious person.

there are few objective people, even scientists are rarely objective. But the peer review process USUALLY(at least over time) finds these flaws and adjusts for them. But what is commonly accepted may not actually be true and might not be found to be false for some time.

As for your comments about how believers think, I find them curious and perhaps show a lack of knowledge on the subject. I mean some believers may carry on that way, but it isn't based on the religious teachings.

Some Jews, to this day, believe prosperity is a sign of God's favour-yet the book of Job strongly refutes that notion.

And for christianity there is actually a promise that you will suffer and be tested. So i don't think a reasonable christian would be balancing out the blessings and curses and unbelief would be the logical path when there is misfortune as the bible tells you to expect it and what it means.

I have no idea about the randomness of miracles and things being claimed by other faiths, i can only relate my own experience(s). But you are right that there is no proof that something comes from a particular deity...but i look at my experience at the waterfall in a context of the words said too me the day before, the fact I was about to give up on religion altogether(had already spoken to my mother about it and that was I went to see the Pastor who gave me that unusual verse) and that if pray does work then it was an excellent moment for it, as congregations all over Brisbane were there and were praying for my recovery after I had gone off to hospital. I am certainly no saint and can't claim to have had such a noble life so that certainly wasn't any justification for it.

JanC
09-02-2013, 17:09
my worldview is liberal enough to allow me to grant its theoretical possibility. Yours must not allow the tiniest speck of the supernatural, or your worldview is lost.

I can't believe that you still hold on to this idea that you know my world view - evidently you do not.
I fully embrace the theoretical possibility of the supernatural, religious or non-religious. But it needs a heck of a lot more than simple stories and people's gut feeling for a rational person to accept that it exists.

If we propose a theory of the supernatural, we can make predictions based upon it. So far this has not been possible and the supernatural remains something that could very well be a delusion from start to finish, we cannot tell the difference.
Currently the most plausible and rational explanation we have for events that are perceived by some as supernatural is that they are not. We cannot discount the probability that they are, and my world view would be entirely intact if we ever get evidence that allows us to conclude it is real and not just in our heads. My world view is about how we reach conclusions, not whatever the conclusion itself is.



But the problem I see in talking to you is that you demand that supernatural beings and events be proven naturally, which is illogical, and reject any form of proof but scentific experiment, and disdain other forms of evidence, such as the evidence of the conscience, which indicates a dogma that the supernatural is intrinsically impossible.

You would have to accept that this evidence of the conscience is potentially a delusion. As such, you can never positively prove the supernatural if you are going to dismiss the need for natural evidence.

People who believe that there is a supernatural deity usually believe that this deity will on occasion interfere with our natural reality, or in any case has already done so in the past.
So I dismiss the notion that there cannot be natural evidence of the supernatural, because interaction between the 2 is a vital part of theism.

Much like black holes can be proven to exist not by seeing them directly, but by observing the effect they are having on things we are able to see and measure directly.

So if you are saying no natural evidence is expected of the supernatural, say goodbye to the miracle stories.



That makes conversation impossible between us impossible as I see it, as it is evident that the supernatural can give us clues as to its nature, but cannot be defined by purely natural means

I do think we've hit a dead end, because what you consider evidence cannot be considered reliable or repeatable, and is indistinguishable from delusion.
The supernatural is not hard to define, but impossible to prove. We have evidence that refutes many supernatural claims. Unless the supernatural is falsifying evidence to hide its existence, the majority of supernatural stories are already established as human invention. For a rational person to believe in the supernatural, you would need something more than what has thus far been put forth.


You can speak of a lack of logic on my part; your assertions have no substance

Logic has well defined rules. What you consider logic seems to be whatever you feel is logical. Those are not the same things. If you would like me to compile a short list of 100% clear-cut logical fallacies you have written on these forums, I would oblige.


If I observe the visible facts of sin

Subjective.


and from that draw a chain of inferences that denies your dogmas, I am not illogical for doing so.

If your premise is subjective then your conclusion is relevant only to yourself, in spite of valid logic.

If the premise is unreliable and unverifiable then why bother with logic at all.


I see YOU as illogical for failing to grasp the ultimate meaninglessness of life that your view entails; that your worldview literally collapses at the moment of your death and self-invented meaning dissipates - leaving the necessity of transcendent meaning, a dogma of MINE.

Logical fallacy: Argument from Adverse Consequences. Like I said, there are rules...



So I really don't think we can talk, and more's the pity, for I think we could be friends in a different reality. (I'm reminded of the old Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror")

I only really started watching from The next Generation :)
I'm be more reminded of the Voyager episode "Blink of an eye".

That said, I think friendship can exist regardless of different world views, there is evidence to support that even with Chesterton.

rusmeister
09-02-2013, 18:26
Jan, the kind of proof you demand, the only thing you will admit as truth, is confirmation by the natural sciences the supernatural, something that is a priori impossible. You make it impossible or yourself to accept the only kind of evidence for the supernatural that could possibly be offered.

C. S. Lewis, a world-class logician, first as an atheist then as a Christian, in his classic bestseller "Mere Christianity", laid out the rational case step-by-step starting out with behaviors that we can observe in ourselves and each other and showed how one can rationally see one's way to God.

What is obvious to me and not to you is that ALL observation and experience could be delusion. You must make a leap of faith even to believe your own senses, and to refuse to make that leap is simply insane, and the person who does so ought to be committed to a lunatic asylum.

Now we come to agreement on one point - that of black holes. I agree. I say that human behavior - the fact of sin in ourselves and others, as well as the fact of death and our own general attitude towards it are positive starting points toward seeing the "black hole". But the thing Lewis realized, that I don't get that you do, is that man loses his objectivity when he becomes the subject of his own observations. So the only way to "experiment" is to make you the subject - to have you robbed and beaten, and/or seeing death roaring at you like a freight train. The trouble with that, though, is that you are trying to take out your eyes in order to look at them. And whatever it is must happen to you, and is almost certainly something you don't want repeated.

So in order to even be objective, you must at some point accept subjective evidence or arrange new quarters for yourself at Hanwell or Arkham. (Yes, I know Hanwell is an archaic reference). You must accept, when you are beaten and robbed, that you object to the behavior of your attackers, and that you actually think they should be held responsible for what they do. If the police come by and tell you that is just your subjective opinion, you might be slightly miffed.

On Star Trek: Bah! To not know the original series is to know nothing. ;)

But I'm not really a fan anymore. Roddenberry's philosophy is naked and bankrupt, and I find, even with my best friend from childhood, an ardent fan, an unwillingness to engage. It is really hard to enjoy a story when its assumptions have been shown to be false. It's much easier for me to suspend disbelief over warp drive than over the idea that we can actually become our own gods.

It is a popular work, rather than a heavy-duty academic one, but I would recommend "Mere Christianity" (which would probably be a lightning-fast read for someone like you) to have a sense of how I see the path of reason. For an academic defense of miracles, his book by that name - "Miracles" - is probably one of the best. The main thing you have to keep an eye on is your own meta-cognition, where your own dogmas rise up in objection so that you are at least consciously thinking about them.
http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/apologetics/mere-christianity/cs-lewis-mere-christianity-toc.php
(You have to select the table of contents)

For "Miracles", you're on your own. Too much of his stuff is under copyright, most of it is obtainable only in fragments. (which, seeing as he died before I was born and his step-family has nothing to do with the estate anymore, seems insane to me).
I did find this - the first essay is from Miracles:
http://libgen.org/foreignfiction/get.php?md5=f1435889155c03caf668ca2a7614e305

robertmf
09-02-2013, 19:35
C. S. Lewis, a world-class logician, first as an atheist then as a Christian, in his classic bestseller "Mere Christianity", laid out the rational case step-by-step starting out with behaviors that we can observe in ourselves and each other and showed how one can rationally see one's way to God.



Mere Christianity (http://lib.ru/LEWISCL/mere_engl.txt); 1943;
Scan and OCR by Copper Kettle aka T.A.G, 2003-12-21 Yekaterinburg;
Corrected: vladioan; Spellcheck: Andrew B Robertson, 07.01.2005.

MickeyTong
09-02-2013, 20:36
I think that you have discounted real faith, that, having apostatized yourself from a faith (perhaps with excellent reason), you may be overly skeptical of constant faith, discounting it where it must have existed. There is no good answer to the Chrstan martyrs, to three hundred years of consistently sacrificing everything, including their lives, for the Faith, and the bishops under Constantine were their immediate heirs, with living memory of that persecution.


I didn't apostatise from a faith, I apostatised from faith.


After 300 years of persecution it must have seemed like a miracle that the Emperor was being supportive.

JanC
09-02-2013, 21:00
Jan, the kind of proof you demand, the only thing you will admit as truth, is confirmation by the natural sciences the supernatural, something that is a priori impossible. You make it impossible or yourself to accept the only kind of evidence for the supernatural that could possibly be offered.

Thanks for the quick response!

I think ultimate proof of the supernatural might indeed be impossible, but there would at least be some indirect evidence to support it.

For example, the theory of how Yahweh created Adam and Eve who went on to populate the world. This is indeed a theory that allows you to make predictions on what you would expect to find if you went digging into fossil records and our current DNA. If what we find supports the Adam and Eve theory then at least you could say "well, looks like this might well be how it happened".

Likewise you can make predictions on what you would expect to find if the creation account in Genesis is an accurate description of our past. If the data matches, you have something to support your theory.

If what you find contradicts your theory, even to the point that there is no way it could possibly have happened without the deity falsifying the evidence at our disposal...then the only rational course of action can be to dismiss these particular stories as myth and move on.

As far as I have understood from our previous encounters, you don't do that. You don't appear to let it bother you that certain parts of your religion which you believe are in fact inaccurate. You choose to accept them anyway because on the whole, the rest of it makes sense for you. I don't think I need to point out here that this is not entirely rational. There is no need to choose between accepting everything or nothing, the truth can always lie in the middle.



What is obvious to me and not to you is that ALL observation and experience could be delusion. You must make a leap of faith even to believe your own senses, and to refuse to make that leap is simply insane, and the person who does so ought to be committed to a lunatic asylum.

I thought we were past this. Yes, we must make a necessary leap of faith in our BASIC conscience, observation and communication with other humans.

That doesn't mean that we need to go around and make leaps of faith left right and center on any claim put forth by others and that a leap of faith is always justified.

The leap of faith that I understand information in the same way as others do is a small one, because we can actually observe that it works. We wouldn't be landing rovers on Mars otherwise.

Everybody on this planet can agree on how the physical world works. If it works here, it works everywhere. Religion utterly fails in this aspect because they are different wherever you go. Claims are different, beliefs are different, all of them can make the same arguments as you are making right now.

The case that at the very least every religion minus 1 is wrong is obvious. And you just happen to be defending the one you were born into, by coincidence just like all the others.



I say that human behavior - the fact of sin in ourselves and others, as well as the fact of death and our own general attitude towards it are positive starting points toward seeing the "black hole".

Again, this is extremely subjective. Many human "sins" you will find in the animal world as well. And death. There is nothing definitive setting us apart from them except our vastly superior consciousness.
Different religions have different sins.


So the only way to "experiment" is to make you the subject - to have you robbed and beaten, and/or seeing death roaring at you like a freight train.

What good would that do, except to put one under extreme emotional distress?
Is your point that religion becomes a lot more appealing when one is looking death in the face? Not a very strong point for any of it being real is it.

All this is inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive) from start to finish.



you must at some point accept subjective evidence or arrange new quarters for yourself at Hanwell or Arkham.

But does subjective evidence trump objective evidence when both are available? I do not believe it does.


You must accept, when you are beaten and robbed, that you object to the behavior of your attackers, and that you actually think they should be held responsible for what they do. If the police come by and tell you that is just your subjective opinion, you might be slightly miffed.

There would be objective evidence and objective laws in this case, subjectivity would not be relevant unless for some reason or other you would not mind being beaten and robbed.

Of course, there are moments in our history where people could indeed be freely beaten and robbed if they belonged to a group that was considered inferior.


It is really hard to enjoy a story when its assumptions have been shown to be false.

I know exactly what you mean :D

rusmeister
19-02-2013, 13:11
My apologies - I put this off because I wound up NOT having time to pursue the validity of inductive reasoning - which, by definition, is reasonable. I wrote this a week ago, but it stands well enough as is:

I put this off because of what I thought would be a huge investment of time. But now that I actually look at it, I think I can respond relatively shortly (by our standards, which obviously differ from the standards of the expat community at large...)

On your exposition on the Genesis account and evidence, I think you put far too much faith in the ability of scientists to draw correct conclusions from the evidence. As I said, I am skeptical of methods like carbon dating, not where we can actually test it (in terms of decades and centuries, within the scope of known historical record) but where we cannot (where we can only hope that ANOTHER measurement is ALSO accurate, in which case...) And if it is NOT, then the whole case and all conclusions rapidly fall apart. Not that I think thhis a particularly worthy subject of debate, but I find your absolute faith in the natural sciences, a thing that admittedly changes and supersedes itself, to be  inconsistent with an absolute skepticism towards whatbthe overwhelming majority of mankind has consistently affirmed - the existence of deity, the certainty of creation, and some kind of afterlife with some kind of consequence.

Now, as a  matter of fact, my own theoretical position does not in fact begin with the Genesis account. It begins withe the readily observable fact of human sin, a thing we can all observe and read about (in the news, for example) every day. Nothing that I find contradicts that theory and absolutely everything supports it, so much so that it is clearly a Law, and not a theory, in my judgement. If you dismiss it as "subjective" then you must, in order to be consistent, dismiss all of human existence as subjective. But I think you are not in fact consistent here. You treat human existence as objective, and single out the idea of sin for "subjectivity". 

You speak of "parts of my religion which are inaccurate". Here you make assumptions of what is inaccurate without having identified what exactly IS inaccurate, and I suspect you of imagining a form of belief on my part that I don't actually hold.

If the truth lies in the middle, it is obviously not the truth, for it is lying. :) But word play aside, the truth lies in something, and its location must be sought regardless of where it is. What is true in your observation is that perceptions often exaggerate one aspect or another of a complex thing, and when a thing is exaggerated from its true proportions, then deflation of the exaggeration is essential.

When you begin speaking about leaps of faith, we agree. But then when you say " everyone agrees on how the physical world works you already lose me. Pioneers in science ALWAYS disagree on how the physical world works, and the unsuccessful ones are consigned to the dustbin of history, and the successful ones praised and lauded in future histories of science.

When you say "religion fails in this aspect" you totally lose me. Yes, beliefs are different. But the observations are generally the same. There is a definite moral compass with a magnetic north that all sane people have always agreed upon, and all major world religions (the ones which have the largest number of more or less sane people)  have moral codes which are similar enough to be remarkable. We do not find 360 degrees of opinion on moral issues. All agree that cowardice and the betrayal of those that trust and love you is bad. All agree that one ought not have any woman that he wants whenever he wants, and all agree on some form of lifelong union we recognize across the board which we call "marriage". And yes, their beliefs are different, but again, the practices are strangely similar. All priests wear robes. All worship involves singing and chanting. Candles are found everywhere. And so on. And when we come back to the moral test, other cultures seem to feel more or less as strongly about murder and theft as we do. Everybody fears death, and treats it like a tragedy, and see the few people who treat it purely as celebration without any tragedy are rightly seen as mad, across the world, in all cultures. We find that though the beliefs vary, the sensible religions deal with these issues in a most logical way,in light of the basic theories and assumptions which they began.

As it happens, I was NOT born into Eastern Orthodoxy. I was born (technically) a Catholic, raised as a Baptist, spent twenty years rejecting all religion, and reluctantly brought back to the necessity of acknowledging the claims of religion, and it was the religion of the native culture of my wife, which she herself had not grown up with, thanks to the views of those who shared your views and sought to exterminate it and failed, that I came to accept.

Your arguments against sin are heavily dependent on not defining it, on relying on vague assumptions of religious subjectivity. I need prove only one, really, to prove that there is positive human evil rooted in selfishness and a disregard for the welfare of others. Trying to deny that is like trying to deny that we need air to breathe. You are engaged in a completely hopeless position in doing so. Sin IS human evil. It is a broken relationship with our Creator, a failure to reach the mark of holiness that would make its existence impossible. The evidence is any wicked deed ever done, especially a wicked deed done against you, thou if you are capable of admitting your own capacity for wickedness that you hold at bay with your will, you are on the path to truth.

There is one case when you CANNOT POSSIBLY be objective. And that is when YOU YOURSELF are the subject of your study. You cannot, by any effort of imagination, honestly become a member of some bug-eyed species studying man -you ARE man. You have inside knowledge of the subject of your study. You can examine the things we call your " heart" and your "conscience". This is elementary in Lewisian thought (which, I don't suppose, you've troubled to take a gander at yet, though it could save us hundreds of futile posts.
And so, facing death becomes a relevant consideration.  Considering our reactions to evil done to us DOES reveal truth about the nature of man.

Consider that I am just an ordinary layman, an ordinary guy that happens to have found extraordinary teachers and an extraordinary faith, all of which are MUCH bigger and deeper than I. If I am the pinnacle of what religious thought you've encountered, then "you ain't seen nuthin yet!" I tell you that my teachers - CS Lewis and GK Chesterton, for starters, make me look small, and Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, Alexander Schmemann or Alexander Men' make anything religious I might have said look like the shallowest superficial commentary. The danger for you is in encountering them is that they can truly challenge your own beliefs, much better than I can, if you have not closed your mind so thoroughly that no appeal to anything could possibly access it.

To wrap up, the major scientific discoveries are made, not in step-by-step chains of deduction, but in an intuitive flash. I think that general human truth to be not less accessible than the more limited scope of the natural sciences.

yakspeare
19-02-2013, 13:50
Well the problem Jan is you take a western literal account of reading the bible to dismiss it. Firstly the written Torah is meant to be read with the Oral one, the Talmud. And both speak of over 900 generations BEFORE Adam.

The Jews wrote the creation account and it is best to ask them.

Rus is right in the inaccuracies of carbon dating, but there are other methods (potassium-argon etc) and the geological record that suggest the Earth is indeed very, very old. Jewish lore on its age varies, depending on what school of thought-with a limited amount siding with the christians but for the bulk the age of the Earth is billions of years old and this is from Jewish works, long before science came up with a similar figure. But it requires a pretty intense study of Judaism to leanr all of this. Much like the oldest book in the bible, that of Job, precedes the Greeks and states the Earth is an orb....yet christian world thousands of years later ignored this for flat earth theory.

rusmeister
19-02-2013, 16:08
Well the problem Jan is you take a western literal account of reading the bible to dismiss it. Firstly the written Torah is meant to be read with the Oral one, the Talmud. And both speak of over 900 generations BEFORE Adam.

The Jews wrote the creation account and it is best to ask them.

Rus is right in the inaccuracies of carbon dating, but there are other methods (potassium-argon etc) and the geological record that suggest the Earth is indeed very, very old. Jewish lore on its age varies, depending on what school of thought-with a limited amount siding with the christians but for the bulk the age of the Earth is billions of years old and this is from Jewish works, long before science came up with a similar figure. But it requires a pretty intense study of Judaism to leanr all of this. Much like the oldest book in the bible, that of Job, precedes the Greeks and states the Earth is an orb....yet christian world thousands of years later ignored this for flat earth theory.

Well, Yak, setting your claims of Judaic superiority aside, my remarks were not meant to be limited to carbon dating, but ANY form that excludes actual observation of time elapsed, that projects and assumes. And it is not to say that NOTHING can be known, but only to overthrow a blind faith in current scientific assumptions that may be called "scientism".

We just celebrated the Meeting in the Temple. Funny how Simeon was a translator of the Septuagint OT into Greek perhaps a century before Christ's birth. (and no, I'm not interested in modern Judaic claims "disproving" all of that. I BELIEVE the ancient Jewish accounts; I just don't accept the modern Judaic claims. Let's not get into assertion vs counter-assertion, but stick to the general basis for belief against unbelief.)

yakspeare
19-02-2013, 16:54
yes, and as that audio interview pointed out, the Septuagint is full of errors. I find it curious that you require Christian tradition to intepret the bible instead of Sola Scriptura-but the Jewish Talmud to intepret the Torah etc is disgarded. It was , indeed, my exploration of Judaism that validated the Orthodox and Catholic claims to being the "church."

And define modern Judaism? Modern Judaism is at least as old as christianity.

rusmeister
19-02-2013, 18:02
yes, and as that audio interview pointed out, the Septuagint is full of errors. I find it curious that you require Christian tradition to intepret the bible instead of Sola Scriptura-but the Jewish Talmud to intepret the Torah etc is disgarded. It was , indeed, my exploration of Judaism that validated the Orthodox and Catholic claims to being the "church."

And define modern Judaism? Modern Judaism is at least as old as christianity.

Part of the problem is in speaking in such broad terms. There was truly no such thing as "Christianity" until the Reformation. And to the ancient Jews, there was no such thing as "Judaism". These are modern terms for our convenience that the ancients didn't use. "Christianity" was an invention of "Reformers" that wanted to include themselves while rejecting the authority of the thing that had always been identified as the measure of faith - the Church.

You may find it curious, but I do not. If Christ revealed Himself to be the Messiah, the fulfillment of the ancient Scriptures and prophecies, then why on earth would people use understandings of Jewish faith that continued to say He did not? One must disregard that which insists on what is now denied.

But I'll repeat my line more openly. We can make assertion vs counter-assertion, but I think it here a waste of time. Only a fool would pretend that either Christian or Judaic arguments do not run deep. It is much easier to establish step one, that belief makes sense, especially in light of the fact that that is the OP of the thread, and I recommend we stick to that.

JanC
19-02-2013, 20:52
On your exposition on the Genesis account and evidence, I think you put far too much faith in the ability of scientists to draw correct conclusions from the evidence.

This appears to be very much an argument from ignorance.

You are not particularly educated in science so for you it seems more of a "who do I trust to be right" kind of thing.

The beauty of science is that everybody can learn it, understand it and create their own experiments to verify the work of others.

Like it or not, science is in a position to demonstrate its findings. That is something religion does not do. I don't know about you, but when I see something demonstrated that means more to me than simply accepting a story for the sake of it.



As I said, I am skeptical of methods like carbon dating

And actually I would LOVE to hear why, precisely.
What is your reason to distrust carbon dating aside from the fact that it might conflict with knowledge you hold dear?

I've already explained before that carbon dating does not stand on its own. It's not black magic. It can be, and constantly is compared to other natural "clocks" we have that go back a very long way. It is a branch of science that is extraordinarily well supported by both experiment and observation.


Not that I think this a particularly worthy subject of debate, but I find your absolute faith in the natural sciences, a thing that admittedly changes and supersedes itself, to be  inconsistent with an absolute skepticism towards whatbthe overwhelming majority of mankind has consistently affirmed - the existence of deity, the certainty of creation, and some kind of afterlife with some kind of consequence.

Again, this is an argument from ignorance. And you also throw in another logical fallacy in the form of the argument from popularity.
I'll just keep pointing out your obvious and clear-cut violations of logic, while you keep ignoring it.

If I have the choice to believe
a) the results of an experiment that can be repeated anywhere in the world
b) a story that conflicts with that experiment and which has no proof to offer of its own
then I will go for a) every time, that much is true. Your mind appears to be "stuck" in absolutes. To either believe everything from a certain source or nothing.

I will weigh any claim based on how well it can support itself, whether it is a claim made by scientists or not. There are many scientific theories that are not well enough supported that I would accept them as fact or even "likely true". It takes a lot before a scientific finding becomes accepted as fact, and most of them never make it that far.

It is about the method of discovering, not the individual claims of discovery. Again I'm repeating what I already put forward earlier.


It begins withe the readily observable fact of human sin, a thing we can all observe and read about (in the news, for example) every day. Nothing that I find contradicts that theory and absolutely everything supports it, so much so that it is clearly a Law, and not a theory, in my judgement. If you dismiss it as "subjective" then you must, in order to be consistent, dismiss all of human existence as subjective. But I think you are not in fact consistent here. You treat human existence as objective, and single out the idea of sin for "subjectivity". 

Oh boy.

When I say sin is subjective, I mean that "sins" are NOT the same for each and every person on this planet. Depending on the region and religion you are brought up with there are considerable differences in what is and what is not considered a "sin".

Mathematics and science are objective. They ARE the same for each and every person on this planet and in this entire universe as far as we've been able to determine. 4 + 5 = 9 and the laws of gravity and chemistry will produce the same experimental results wherever you go.
Opinion is entirely irrelevant when it comes to these objective things.

I cannot imagine that this is difficult to understand.



You speak of "parts of my religion which are inaccurate". Here you make assumptions of what is inaccurate without having identified what exactly IS inaccurate, and I suspect you of imagining a form of belief on my part that I don't actually hold.

You've said in an earlier debate that you believe we are descendants from Adam and Eve so I think I am allowed to hold you to that.

No evidence has ever been uncovered that supports this "theory". I say theory but it's really just a story that some people want to take literally for whatever reason. Predictions that can be made upon this theory do not match any evidence which has been uncovered.

Extensive evidence completely rules out the Adam and Eve being our original ancestors.

In fact a single male and female would mean the species dies out every time. The minimum number of individuals required to keep a species alive is considerably larger than 2 (just in case you buy the Noah thing as well)


When you begin speaking about leaps of faith, we agree. But then when you say " everyone agrees on how the physical world works you already lose me. Pioneers in science ALWAYS disagree on how the physical world works, and the unsuccessful ones are consigned to the dustbin of history, and the successful ones praised and lauded in future histories of science.

I am not talking about cutting edge theories here. When I say "agreement" it is on such subjects as "when I let go of this object it falls to earth" and that everybody witnessing this can agree that this is indeed what is happening. That there is no debate on whether the object moved or the direction it traveled.

It's not like arguing over what exactly is the colour red (although technical advances have made it possible to determine the temperature range of light which we see as "red")
My point was that we can all witness the result of an experiment in the same way, that our observation of the experiment is valid.



When you say "religion fails in this aspect" you totally lose me. Yes, beliefs are different. But the observations are generally the same.

Religion cannot demonstrate that the supernatural claims its beliefs are based on are real and not merely made up or delusional.
Science CAN demonstrate that it's not making empty claims. How you managed to get lost in all of this I'm not sure.



There is a definite moral compass with a magnetic north that all sane people have always agreed upon

Recorded history does not support your claim.



and all major world religions (the ones which have the largest number of more or less sane people)  have moral codes which are similar enough to be remarkable. We do not find 360 degrees of opinion on moral issues.

I don't find that remarkable at all. If anything it supports the notion that religion is entirely man-made. Do not do onto others what you do not want to be done to yourself. There, that sums up the vast majority of moral principles any religion preaches.
We see the same basic code in the animal kingdom.



All agree that cowardice and the betrayal of those that trust and love you is bad. All agree that one ought not have any woman that he wants whenever he wants, and all agree on some form of lifelong union we recognize across the board which we call "marriage"

If someone betrays your trust, your human emotions will do a good job of letting you know that's not a thing you enjoy. Nobody needs to be taught this, it's inherent in ourselves. Religious moral codes reflecting human emotions does not support any claim.

The marriage thing actually varies quite considerably but anyway.


All priests wear robes.

You're really grasping at straws now... I'll give you a tip: religious dress codes are fairly static, and if you go back far enough robes were the norm for everyone not just the priests.



other cultures seem to feel more or less as strongly about murder and theft as we do.

Gee I wonder why that is. I guess people don't like murder because it's not a good thing to happen to anyone?


Everybody fears death, and treats it like a tragedy

Fear of the unknown is a natural response. If most people treat it like a tragedy, that must be because emotionally it feels that way perhaps?
Does the thought of having an afterlife give consolation? Or Grief? Or neither?
It is generally accepted that religion has a considerable positive function to deal with grief. That means there is an emotional reason to believe in the supernatural. So there is support for the theory of man-made religion simply on the basis that it has desirable results.



As it happens, I was NOT born into Eastern Orthodoxy. I was born (technically) a Catholic, raised as a Baptist

I'm sorry Rus but the basic story is really identical in all of those. Jesus son of God, born of a virgin, resurrected etc etc etc.....afterlife.
By any standard you stayed exactly with what you were brought up in.



spent twenty years rejecting all religion, and reluctantly brought back to the necessity of acknowledging the claims of religion

I can't guess why you rejected religion at all, but having witnessed and repeatedly pointed out your numerous logical fallacies the fact that you went back to religion because you found it necessary does not support anything.



I need prove only one, really, to prove that there is positive human evil rooted in selfishness and a disregard for the welfare of others. Trying to deny that is like trying to deny that we need air to breathe.

What would that prove? I can show you animals that live in groups where individual members are "outcast" or punished when they act selfishly and with disregard for the welfare of others.

Humans are not lone hunters, we always lived in groups throughout our evolution. What you call "sin" can be explained very well as a result of our natural history. So what on earth or you on about?



Sin IS human evil. It is a broken relationship with our Creator, a failure to reach the mark of holiness that would make its existence impossible.

Empty assertion followed by rambling/preaching.


The evidence is any wicked deed ever done, especially a wicked deed done against you, thou if you are capable of admitting your own capacity for wickedness that you hold at bay with your will, you are on the path to truth.

Reason has well and truly broken down at this point.



facing death becomes a relevant consideration.  Considering our reactions to evil done to us DOES reveal truth about the nature of man.

We don't want to suffer or die. Shocker.


Consider that I am just an ordinary layman, an ordinary guy that happens to have found extraordinary teachers and an extraordinary faith, all of which are MUCH bigger and deeper than I

You liked what you found so you accepted it. You tune out everything else you don't know about and don't want to know about.
Again: you're just an apologist. I can find your counterparts in other religions and they'll be just as far gone the rabbithole of their respective beliefs as you are.



To wrap up, the major scientific discoveries are made, not in step-by-step chains of deduction, but in an intuitive flash.

At this point I can only conclude you are entirely disconnected from reality, completely ignorant of science and incapable of avoiding logical fallacies.
Really I could just have quoted this and ignore everything else you've said.



I'll leave you and Yakspeare to argue which of your religions is better.

yakspeare
19-02-2013, 22:26
Part of the problem is in speaking in such broad terms. There was truly no such thing as "Christianity" until the Reformation. And to the ancient Jews, there was no such thing as "Judaism". These are modern terms for our convenience that the ancients didn't use. "Christianity" was an invention of "Reformers" that wanted to include themselves while rejecting the authority of the thing that had always been identified as the measure of faith - the Church.

You may find it curious, but I do not. If Christ revealed Himself to be the Messiah, the fulfillment of the ancient Scriptures and prophecies, then why on earth would people use understandings of Jewish faith that continued to say He did not? One must disregard that which insists on what is now denied.

But I'll repeat my line more openly. We can make assertion vs counter-assertion, but I think it here a waste of time. Only a fool would pretend that either Christian or Judaic arguments do not run deep. It is much easier to establish step one, that belief makes sense, especially in light of the fact that that is the OP of the thread, and I recommend we stick to that.

well, jesus fulfilled no such prophecies and a basic understanding of Hebrew shows this and again the oral torah (Talmud)states exactly what such verses claimed by christians as jesus' messiahship, actually mean.You fall back all the time on the "well our tradition says different so your plain reading of the text is wrong" and the same is true of christian attempts to fit Jesus into a messiah model.

rusmeister
20-02-2013, 19:12
well, jesus fulfilled no such prophecies and a basic understanding of Hebrew shows this and again the oral torah (Talmud)states exactly what such verses claimed by christians as jesus' messiahship, actually mean.You fall back all the time on the "well our tradition says different so your plain reading of the text is wrong" and the same is true of christian attempts to fit Jesus into a messiah model.

We say He DID fulfill the prophecies in Isaiah, the Psalms and everywhere. That He makes SENSE of the Old Testament. And assertion and counter-assertion, Yak, yak, yak. :) it really DOES come down to what authority you find to be authoritative.

"He DID!"
"He DIDN'T!"
Ad infinitum.

rusmeister
20-02-2013, 19:21
Jan, I've demonstrated a solid ability to respond to you point by point.
Your arguments do not convince me any more than mine convince you. It is a waste of time to go back and forth like this. You are as dogmatically committed to your position as I am to mine, and no claims to the contrary can convince me otherwise. I don't really feel that you have honestly engaged my thought, only dismissed it.

Instead, I recommend that you take a cue from Christopher Hitchens, one of the more intelligent atheists of recent history, and take GK Chesterton seriously. You will get more out of it, IF you open your mind to human experience, and admit that love is at least important in life as logic, and that emotions can be reasonable. But if not, then not.

Best wishes in any event!

rusmeister
20-02-2013, 19:46
Currently reading GKC on Charles Dickens; came across this - totally appropriate:


I believe myself that this braver world of his will certainly return; for I believe that it is bound up with the realities, like morning and the spring. But for those who beyond remedy regard it as an error, I put this appeal before any other observations on Dickens. First let us sympathise, if only for an instant, with the hopes of the Dickens period, with that cheerful trouble of change. If democracy has disappointed you, do not think of it as a burst bubble, but at least as a broken heart, an old love-affair. Do not sneer at the time when the creed of humanity was on its honeymoon; treat it with the dreadful reverence that is due to youth. For you, perhaps, a drearier philosophy has covered and eclipsed the earth. The fierce poet of the Middle Ages wrote, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here," over the gates of the lower world. The emancipated poets of to-day have written it over the gates of this world. But if we are to understand the story which follows, we must erase that apocalyptic writing, if only for an hour. We must recreate the faith of our fathers, if only as an artistic atmosphere If, then, you are a pessimist, in reading this story, forego for a little the pleasures of pessimism. Dream for one mad moment that the grass is green. Unlearn that sinister learning that you think so clear; deny that deadly knowledge that you think you know. Surrender the very flower of your culture; give up the very jewel of your pride; abandon hopelessness, all ye who enter here.
http://lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/CD-Chesterton-CD-1.html#I

robertmf
20-02-2013, 19:59
Currently reading GKC on Charles Dickens; came across this - totally appropriate:

.
http://lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/CD-Chesterton-CD-1.html#I

Your GKC is saying the eastern religion idea of tolerate today and have faith that tomorrow's afterlife will be better; so don't bother to try and improve your shitty situation today.

rusmeister
20-02-2013, 21:15
Your GKC is saying the eastern religion idea of tolerate today and have faith that tomorrow's afterlife will be better; so don't bother to try and improve your shitty situation today.



That is not true at all. In fact, I would defend Catholicism by saying that it places EXCESSIVE emphasis on changing this world. I can only guess as to why you, an outsider, have drawn an opposite understanding, but it cannot be from knowing Catholic theology and theory well.

Orthodoxy is more "Eastern" in that regard, calling for what I see to be wiser - more of a "chill out, there are limits to what you can do to change this world" attitude - with a greater focus on changing YOURSELF if you really want to change the world, or even your own external circumstances.

I would reread the passage and think how it might apply to both your and my natural pessimism. (I'm a natural Eeyore, myself.)

yakspeare
21-02-2013, 00:26
We say He DID fulfill the prophecies in Isaiah, the Psalms and everywhere. That He makes SENSE of the Old Testament. And assertion and counter-assertion, Yak, yak, yak. :) it really DOES come down to what authority you find to be authoritative.

"He DID!"
"He DIDN'T!"
Ad infinitum.

but that is the entire point. if it was just so then i would have stayed a christian but it is overwhelmingly in our favour. No contest at all. It is abuse of the Hebrew it was written in. you might as well say it supports aliens and Loch ness monster-forget everything it says just make a church and , ignoring what Jews have believed for thousands of years, the very words of their prophets, just spin it anyway you fancy. It wasI who took the extra effortand it was humilating and humbling to have been wrong for so many years about something so basic. But christian apologetics just crumbles under true study of the text and what has been Jewish thought for thousands of years.

robertmf
21-02-2013, 00:29
but that is the entire point. if it was just so then i would have stayed a christian but it is overwhelmingly in our favour. No contest at all. It is abuse of the Hebrew it was written in. you might as well say it supports aliens and Loch ness monster-forget everything it says just make a church and , ignoring what Jews have believed for thousands of years, the very words of their prophets, just spin it anyway you fancy. It wasI who took the extra effortand it was humilating and humbling to have been wrong for so many years about something so basic. But christian apologetics just crumbles under true study of the text and what has been Jewish thought for thousands of years.

:soapbox: Don't forget to add in a strong dose of ..ahem.. appropriated pagan holidays and the images of Christ-as-caucasian.

rusmeister
21-02-2013, 00:42
but that is the entire point. if it was just so then i would have stayed a christian but it is overwhelmingly in our favour. No contest at all. It is abuse of the Hebrew it was written in. you might as well say it supports aliens and Loch ness monster-forget everything it says just make a church and , ignoring what Jews have believed for thousands of years, the very words of their prophets, just spin it anyway you fancy. It wasI who took the extra effortand it was humilating and humbling to have been wrong for so many years about something so basic. But christian apologetics just crumbles under true study of the text and what has been Jewish thought for thousands of years.

OK. I think the "no contest" to be entirely in the other direction. I admit that Jewish apologetics are extensive. You simply don't admit that Christian apologetics are, too. I think it a waste of time, but if I have to, I'll pull down a bit of what's out there, if only to show any audience that they are out there. You'll deny it, and say you have counter-responses, I'll launch the counter-counter responses.......

The Jewish position, in its simplest form, is that the Christians got everything wrong from the get-go, and everything that is understood today was understood before Christ and that the Christians revised the ancient texts.

The Christian position is that the modern Jewish position is revisionist, revised in the centuries AFTER Christ to discredit Him. If we ACCEPT the revisions, of course, your position would follow. But we don't.

On second thought, no, I won't go ten rounds with you over it. You can have your final denial. But it would be more intelligent to admit that the positions are not really simple.

But as for arguing with you over this, it is boring. You're dogmatic, I'm dogmatic, we both have what we think good evidence, and will hardly be swayed by the other.

MickeyTong
21-02-2013, 00:54
You're dogmatic, I'm dogmatic, we both have what we think good evidence, and will hardly be swayed by the other.

This forum ain't big enough for two dogmatists, and Rus was here first, so no one else is allowed.

yakspeare
21-02-2013, 00:58
but the Jewish books are much older than Jesus anyway. No revision needed. Two very similar Messiah stories are in Jewish lore from more than a century before Jesus too. A great deal of christian thought smacks of flavian influence with Hellenic mythos thrown in, changing the concept of God known to the Jews.

yakspeare
21-02-2013, 01:01
This forum ain't big enough for two dogmatists, and Rus was here first, so no one else is allowed.

we have far more dogmatists than us too. Something Rus and I would agree on.

robertmf
21-02-2013, 02:28
Flavian dynasty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jack17
21-02-2013, 02:35
This forum ain't big enough for two dogmatists, and Rus was here first, so no one else is allowed.
Isn't that rather dogmatic?

rusmeister
21-02-2013, 09:04
One thing's for sure - my view is definitely the most cheerful - that we were made for eternal joy and can definitely achieve it - and even comfort and hope for suffering in this world to boot.

It kind of kills the common complaint that we are too gloomy. But a fuller treatment of the contradictory complaints against Christian faith - "It's too optimistic"/"It's too pessimistic", "It's too ostentatious"/"It's too ascetical", etc etc are dealt with better in GKC's book "Orthodoxy". The shortest way of putting it is to suggest that if some people complain that a man is too thin, and others that he is too fat, some that he is too tall, and others that he is too short, then probably he is just about the right size, and the complaints spring from the abnormalities - the extremes.

JanC
21-02-2013, 22:06
I don't really feel that you have honestly engaged my thought, only dismissed it.

Because you keep breaking the rules. You turned the debate into the proverbial match of chess with a pigeon.

If you cannot avoid logical fallacies in your arguments then there is no point in going forward. I get suckered into these arguments because when I read something false or ignorant I can't ignore it. But there is a point where it becomes too annoying to continue defending objective reality.

I mean, I'm really not out here to insult you or anything but your responses have not been on a level that allows debate. You have produced nothing to defend your case that can be demonstrated as definitely non delusional. You have committed numerous logical fallacies which suggest that your grasp of logic is lacking and intuitive rather than studied.

It's not a question of religious faith being good or bad, desirable or undesirable but rather if it can support the claims it makes. Evidently it cannot, not in the way we demand of everything else in our lives. This means you need a separate set of rules when it comes to your religion, and that is where we are no longer playing the same game. Your rules have been shaped to comply with a predetermined conclusion. What is more, you have hinged the meaning of your life on your religion being true. As a result, you are simply no longer able to accept facts which contradict it. You need it to be true, and therefore large parts of objective reality are placed in your blind spot.
You have claimed several times that we are both dogmatists in a similar way, which I reject. In my reality, no scientific law or fact needs to be true. In fact I would be extremely happy to embrace the fact of any god if it is sufficiently supported. I am OK either way, because my life and what it means to me hinges on no single claim. I have not made it my ambition to defend anything except reason and logic, which is what has separated our species from the other mammals on this planet. That we can explore the nature of our existence, without cutting the thought process short and say "X did it, we were created and that's the end of it!". This only betrays the need to know where the buck stops, and ignorance does the rest.
To understand the complicated mechanisms of our universe, from the stars which fused the atoms which make up our body (for a short time) to discovering laws of physics which go beyond our ability to imagine how they work. We might be the only creatures in this universe that will ever understand nature to the extent that we do now. And we will exist only for a blink of an eye in cosmic terms. Truth can be stranger than fiction, and be all the more interesting for it.
When you are free to believe whichever fact or law can best support itself, you will never come away disappointed, you can be objective to the best of your ability because you have no stake in the result. It is freedom for your mind.

Of course we both knew we would inevitable reach this stage, but still, thanks for investing as much of your time as I did of mine, it's been enjoyable most of the time.

Jack17
21-02-2013, 22:14
I get suckered into these arguments because when I read something false or ignorant I can't ignore it. But there is a point where it becomes too annoying to continue defending objective reality.

You have my genuine admiration Jan as a very smart person; in contrast, it took me 4 years to come to the same conclusion.

rusmeister
21-02-2013, 22:50
Because you keep breaking the rules. You turned the debate into the proverbial match of chess with a pigeon.

If you cannot avoid logical fallacies in your arguments then there is no point in going forward. I get suckered into these arguments because when I read something false or ignorant I can't ignore it. But there is a point where it becomes too annoying to continue defending objective reality.

I mean, I'm really not out here to insult you or anything but your responses have not been on a level that allows debate. You have produced nothing to defend your case that can be demonstrated as definitely non delusional. You have committed numerous logical fallacies which suggest that your grasp of logic is lacking and intuitive rather than studied.

It's not a question of religious faith being good or bad, desirable or undesirable but rather if it can support the claims it makes. Evidently it cannot, not in the way we demand of everything else in our lives. This means you need a separate set of rules when it comes to your religion, and that is where we are no longer playing the same game. Your rules have been shaped to comply with a predetermined conclusion. What is more, you have hinged the meaning of your life on your religion being true. As a result, you are simply no longer able to accept facts which contradict it. You need it to be true, and therefore large parts of objective reality are placed in your blind spot.
You have claimed several times that we are both dogmatists in a similar way, which I reject. In my reality, no scientific law or fact needs to be true. In fact I would be extremely happy to embrace the fact of any god if it is sufficiently supported. I am OK either way, because my life and what it means to me hinges on no single claim. I have not made it my ambition to defend anything except reason and logic, which is what has separated our species from the other mammals on this planet. That we can explore the nature of our existence, without cutting the thought process short and say "X did it, we were created and that's the end of it!". This only betrays the need to know where the buck stops, and ignorance does the rest.
To understand the complicated mechanisms of our universe, from the stars which fused the atoms which make up our body (for a short time) to discovering laws of physics which go beyond our ability to imagine how they work. We might be the only creatures in this universe that will ever understand nature to the extent that we do now. And we will exist only for a blink of an eye in cosmic terms. Truth can be stranger than fiction, and be all the more interesting for it.
When you are free to believe whichever fact or law can best support itself, you will never come away disappointed, you can be objective to the best of your ability because you have no stake in the result. It is freedom for your mind.

Of course we both knew we would inevitable reach this stage, but still, thanks for investing as much of your time as I did of mine, it's been enjoyable most of the time.

Well, assertions of logical fallacy can go both ways; I think your approach equally fallacious as you think mine; the deliberate exclusion of any kind of reasoning but deductive being one example. And I think your dismissal of my points as debate-killers. But it is clearly useless to go back and forth. The minds are closed. I see nothing of the engagement of the nineteenth-century debates or even the early twentieth century (Lincoln-Douglass or even the totally one-sided Chesterton-Darrow debate), where the opponents really did engage and not merely dismiss.

I say that all of life can be delusional by your criteria; you merely choose to limit those criteria to evidence of religious experience and ignore the same criteria when you take all other sense/data experience and memory as reliable.

You have NEVER examined the non-religious considerations that led me to religion; "Mere Christianity" is still an unknown work to you, so I'm not impressed by your claims that my religion got me to my religion. You continue to impose, in your imagination, an ignorant form of religious belief onto me.

So as I've already said, we've reached a dead end. I again refer you to Christopher Hitchens, and to the quote from the book on Dickens above. That's all I think I can offer you.
Except.... You might look up "men without chests".

shurale
27-02-2013, 01:10
The answer is relatively simple, I think, Robert. When they say "religion" here, they mean some form of western Christianity. And I think western Christianity is failing, and must ultimately fail. If you see as I do, that the Roman Church went wrong a thousand years ago, and that the so-called "Reformers" (who wound up reforming nothing, but merely producing endless schism) went even more wrong, then it makes complete sense.

All of the western forms are becoming what we would call "worldly". Some, like the Amish and Mennonites, will hold out longer. But having the wrong orientations in the first place, worship that is centered on the individual and seeks to entertain, it winds up being another form of particularly boring entertainment. I grant that there are good people in the various branches struggling to maintain tradition, but when worship becomes entertainment by a rock band, then that branch has lost a vital connection to a faith that has outlasted empires and civilizations. And people feel it. If you can vote on morality, then it's just another form of democracy. And people sense this. The older people grumble, some break off (schism) yet again, the young people just leave. It's predictable.

But I really think the Orthodox Church bucks all of the trends. The things some of you complain about; its intractability to change just because some people want things to change, is the very thing that keeps what has always been worthwhile keeping, what people have been willing to live and die for.

You won't find many articles in the mass media about the Orthodox Church in the US, but if you do any research, you'll find a thing that is growing, not shrinking. And THAT is FAR more newsworthy that the 7,493rd article this year trumpeting the death of religion. And the major media are not reporting it. That ought to make you think...

The Orthodoxy is exotic in the West.
It appeals to some people in the same way as New Age or shamanism.
Bearded men in strange clothes, strange smells, unusual food, strange songs. All that jazz.

Some Russians choose to become Catholics because it is unusual.

robertmf
27-02-2013, 02:00
I get suckered into these arguments because when I read something false or ignorant I can't ignore it. But there is a point where it becomes too annoying to continue defending objective reality.



You have my genuine admiration Jan as a very smart person; in contrast, it took me 4 years to come to the same conclusion.

:beerbros: Count me in.