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Simtropolis Religion Thread

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    Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs

    quote>

    huh.    What is the definition of "tender love"?

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    Originally posted by: Meg

    9
    Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs

    quote>

    huh.    What is the definition of "tender love"?

    quote>

    Considering the times and the place, you probably don't want to know.

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    OK, about this "thor" thing, everyone knows that lightning is not caused by some mythological "thor" out there. Let's start there...

    People tend to overanalyze things on me a lot, and I've just gotten to the place of mental health where I can recognize that sort of thing. People get on to me for wanting to wash dishes with my hands instead of with some nasty cleaning pad that's been used for days or even weeks uncleaned, saying "how will you live in a house that someone else has lived in". I simply respond with "I have lived in places that other people have lived in before, so there. " I was realistic with that.

    Now, I understand that to many people, the idea that a god exists is quite silly, but let's go back for a moment.

    Now, let's suppose for a moment that God did not exist. (You all know that I believe that God exists, but for a hypothetical discussion, let's assume otherwise for a moment. )

    Now, we have to explain how the universe came to be. How people know the difference from right and wrong, and stuff like that. (I know that many of you probably don't believe in moral principles, but if we were honest with ourselves, we all know that there are moral principles in the universe. Let's be realistic. Me trying to get around them lead to my mental collapse a while back and I've been learning to think clearly again. It wasn't a risk worth taking. )

    Now, how did moral principles develop? How did life develop? How is it that, somehow, the atom is designed so that, even though the nucleus is positively charged and the orbitals are negatively charged, the atom doesn't blow apart? Now, if you don't know what I'm talking about, think about this for a moment.

    We all know that like charges repel, and opposite charges attract. (Actually charged objects attract to neutral objects too, but not at the atomic level because the reason that charged objects attract to neutral ones is because of induction, which doesn't exactly occur the same way within the atom. )

    Well, we all know that the nucleus of the atom is made up of protons and neutrons. Normally, you would expect the electrons to fly into the nucleus, but because of centripetal force, that doesn't happen. Now, if the nucleus is all positively charged, why doesn't it blow itself apart? You would expect the protons and neutrons to instantly scatter and for the material to become plasma, but that doesn't happen except at extreme temperatures, does it?

    Now, as far as why this doesn't happen, physicists believe that certain photon configurations within the nucleus create a "strong force" that keeps the nucleus together. I won't get into this in detail, but still, this is an amazing design. I mean, let's face it, who could have thought of this themselves? The atom is truly amazing. I didn't even get to the specific orbit patterns, how the octet in the outermost orbital prohibits the flow of electricity, metallic bonds where atoms share electrons, and so on... I don't have time to write everything I know on this matter.

    Now, let's go towards molecules. We have over one hundred different discovered elements, and certain combinations create certain ionic bonds, like water, for example. (We all know this stuff, but please stay with me on this. ) Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom form a water molecule. Interesting, huh? Well, imagine all of the thousands of different combinations, some of which are extremely complex, out in the universe today. Just one slight change in certain properties can lead to dramatic changes in the properties of the material. This is quite difficult to comprehend, but somehow, there are thousands of useful materials that work with each other to create the universe. Atoms can form extremely complicated molecules, like DNA molecules, for example. If the dna packed in one small cell were stretched out, it would span several feet, but somehow all of that DNA gets packed into the cell nucleus. In fact, some cells have multiple nuclei.

    Cells are truly amazing too, how mitochondria can carry energy throughout the cell, how RNA can copy certain parts of the DNA of the nucleus of the cell and carry it off, and so on. How just one DNA molecule can contain all of the information needed in order for one little cell to turn into a full grown human being. How the birth cycle goes? I'm sure anyone in this discussion already knows at least something on the topic, so I won't go into detail, but imagine just how complicated the birth cycle is.

    Computers today aren't even able to have the same level of processing power as the brain when it comes to intelligence. Yes, computers can process billions of bytes of data in just one second, but that doesn't compare to how the brain can process everything needed in order to to basic movements all at once without you needing to think about it. Like breathing, stomach and intestinal muscles, the pace of your heart (the heart has its own pacemaker, but the brain can still control how fast it beats), and other things all without you thinking about it.

    Your cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls muscle movements. Just close your eyes, stretch out your hands, and then move them towards your nose with your eyes shut and have the tips of your index finger touch each-other. Imagine how much processing needed to be done in order to do that without your eyes. Is that something that could simply evolve?

    I could go on and on and on, and I almost wish that I had time to write a 10,000 word essay on this, but I don't have all day, so I've tried to cover as much as I could. My point is that, without a god, these things become impossible to explain .

    "Oh, all matter just spontaniously appeared and evolved into life where there are trillions of cells that all work together, all containing many molecules that are made up of many atoms that are extremely complex in and of themselves. Oh, that's how the universe came to be". Isn't it much simpler to say that a god created the universe?

    Now, as far as who this "god" is, that's something I'll have to get to in another post. (In the last take of this thread, (another thread altogether) I dealt with this extensively, but I realize that that's another thread. ) I don't have time to get into this today, but there is evidence out there, and it is reasonable. Many people just aren't willing to believe that God created the universe because then they have to actually be concerned about moral principles and stuff like that, and heaven and hell. Let's seriously think this through, though, because if hell does exist, we wouldn't want to be in it! It's worth honestly thinking through rather than simply being in denial.

    These are my views.

    -blakesterville

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    I like the something from nothng idea of the big bang theory.  Confuses the daylights out of people.

    If it is true, then your God is an extra-universal being, because the universe that we know so far did not exist until femtoseconds after the big bang.

    Do you think and extra-universal being would give a tinker's hoot about what happens inside a universe it kicked off, when there are so many more of them (if one, then why not many?)?

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    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    OK, about this "thor" thing, everyone knows that lightning is not caused by some mythological "thor" out there. Let's start there...quote>

    Yes, we know that from science. Although I don't think anyone's mentioned Thor at all.

    Now, how did moral principles develop?quote>

    Conjecture time!

    Back when we all lived in tribes, our own survival depended on the actions of others. It was a pretty good idea to act detrimentally towards the tribe in favour of ourselves, by theft, murder of our tribesmen, and so on. It was also a good idea to do things for the benefit of the rest of the tribe - sharing food, telling others about a source of water, things like that. These sorts of things developed as the human population grew and technology advanced, but the core ideas remained more or less the same.

    How did life develop? How is it that, somehow, the atom is designed so that, even though the nucleus is positively charged and the orbitals are negatively charged, the atom doesn't blow apart? Now, if you don't know what I'm talking about, think about this for a moment.

    We all know that like charges repel, and opposite charges attract. (Actually charged objects attract to neutral objects too, but not at the atomic level because the reason that charged objects attract to neutral ones is because of induction, which doesn't exactly occur the same way within the atom. )

    Well, we all know that the nucleus of the atom is made up of protons and neutrons. Normally, you would expect the electrons to fly into the nucleus, but because of centripetal force, that doesn't happen.quote>

    Er, no. They don't fly into the nucleus because quantum physics forbids that from happening. There are certain "levels" of energy an electron can have. It can't spiral inwards, as that would require it to have a forbidden amount of energy at some point. And that is, of course, not allowed. The closest it can get is the 1s orbital.

    Now, if the nucleus is all positively charged, why doesn't it blow itself apart? You would expect the protons and neutrons to instantly scatter and for the material to become plasma, but that doesn't happen except at extreme temperatures, does it?

    Now, as far as why this doesn't happen, physicists believe that certain photon configurations within the nucleus create a "strong force" that keeps the nucleus together.quote>

    We don't believe it. We're almost certain it is true, because experiments show it to exist and the universe wouldn't work as it does without it, but we don't believe it.

    And I'm sure you mean "proton" there.

    I won't get into this in detail, but still, this is an amazing design. I mean, let's face it, who could have thought of this themselves?quote>

    Physicists, of course. It was just there for the discovering though.

    The atom is truly amazing. I didn't even get to the specific orbit patterns, how the octet in the outermost orbital prohibits the flow of electricity, metallic bonds where atoms share electrons, and so on... I don't have time to write everything I know on this matter. quote>

    It would make for an interesting read, certainly.

    Now, let's go towards molecules. We have over one hundred different discovered elements, and certain combinations create certain ionic bonds, like water, for example.quote>

    Water is formed by covalent bonds between hydrogen and oxygen. The intermolecular hydrogen bonds (in this case, between a hydrogen on one water molecule and an oxygen on another) aren't ionic.

    (We all know this stuff, but please stay with me on this. ) Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom form a water molecule. Interesting, huh?quote>

    I suppose so.

    Well, imagine all of the thousands of different combinations, some of which are extremely complex, out in the universe today. Just one slight change in certain properties can lead to dramatic changes in the properties of the material. This is quite difficult to comprehend, but somehow, there are thousands of useful materials that work with each other to create the universe. Atoms can form extremely complicated molecules, like DNA molecules, for example. If the dna packed in one small cell were stretched out, it would span several feet, but somehow all of that DNA gets packed into the cell nucleus. In fact, some cells have multiple nuclei. quote>

    Yes, chemistry can come up with some quite complex things.

    Cells are truly amazing too, how mitochondria can carry energy throughout the cell, how RNA can copy certain parts of the DNA of the nucleus of the cell and carry it off, and so on.quote>

    RNA polymerase does the copying part, but yes.

    How just one DNA molecule can contain all of the information needed in order for one little cell to turn into a full grown human being. How the birth cycle goes? I'm sure anyone in this discussion already knows at least something on the topic, so I won't go into detail, but imagine just how complicated the birth cycle is.

    Computers today aren't even able to have the same level of processing power as the brain when it comes to intelligence.quote>

    It has been estimated that by 2045, the world's computing power will exceed mankind's total mental power.

    Yes, computers can process billions of bytes of data in just one second, but that doesn't compare to how the brain can process everything needed in order to to basic movements all at once without you needing to think about it. Like breathing, stomach and intestinal muscles, the pace of your heart (the heart has its own pacemaker, but the brain can still control how fast it beats), and other things all without you thinking about it.

    Your cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls muscle movements. Just close your eyes, stretch out your hands, and then move them towards your nose with your eyes shut and have the tips of your index finger touch each-other. Imagine how much processing needed to be done in order to do that without your eyes. Is that something that could simply evolve? quote>

    Yes.

    I could go on and on and on, and I almost wish that I had time to write a 10,000 word essay on this, but I don't have all day, so I've tried to cover as much as I could. My point is that, without a god, these things become impossible to explain.quote>

    They don't really, you just need to think a little deeper about things.

    "Oh, all matter just spontaniously appeared and evolved into life where there are trillions of cells that all work together, all containing many molecules that are made up of many atoms that are extremely complex in and of themselves. Oh, that's how the universe came to be". Isn't it much simpler to say that a god created the universe? quote>

    No. A million, billion times no. If you think the human brain is complex, imagine how complex a mental structure would have to be to keep track of everything in the universe. And that would have to spontaneously appear or evolve itself. And that's just one facet of the problem.

    Now, as far as who this "god" is, that's something I'll have to get to in another post. (In the last take of this thread, (another thread altogether) I dealt with this extensively, but I realize that that's another thread. )quote>

    I'll be waiting.

    I don't have time to get into this today, but there is evidence out there, and it is reasonable.quote>

    We shall see on this point.

    Many people just aren't willing to believe that God created the universe because then they have to actually be concerned about moral principles and stuff like that, and heaven and hell.quote>

    Many people are as concerned with Heaven and Hell as you are, presumably, with going to the Elysian Fields, the Asphodel Meadows, or Tartarus.

    Many people also live by moral principles, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.

    And how does not believing God created the universe logically result in not having moral principles anyway? That may not be what you mean, but it certainly comes across like that.

    Let's seriously think this through, though, because if hell does exist, we wouldn't want to be in it! It's worth honestly thinking through rather than simply being in denial.quote>

    You can only be in denial of something that can be shown to exist. Hell does not meet this criterion.

    These are my views. quote>

    And this is my rebuttal.

    -blakestervillequote>

    Astronelson.

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    Hmmm...  I'm not seeing things this way.  The evidence, from what I can tell, indicates that there either is no god, or god is profoundly different than the one that was daydreamed about in the religious books.

    The universe:  Well, this seems to work pretty well, from what I can tell.  I don't see any evidence that it was "created," however.  Does it have to have been created?  What if it just simply always has been?  Before the big bang even.  

    I also find it perfectly plausible that life developed on its own.  Given the 4+ billion years of our planet's existence, anything is possible.  That's a long, long time for things to happen.

    But no, those are not the reasons I don't believe in God.  The primary reason is humanity itself.  So, let me see if I have this right.  God is all knowing, all powerful, all seeing, all love, etc.  And this is the best he can do?  No, this is not good work.  This is the work of a bored cosmic intern.  If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed in the slightest.

    But, none of that matters anyway.  I believe what I can either see or what I can't but can be proven to me, like the existence of bacteria, for example.  If God does not want to make himself known, then I feel no need to bother getting to know God.  I can cross that bridge when I'm dead.  And no, I do not consider strange little books written millenia ago to be evidence of God revealing himself.  

    Quoting George Carlin:

    "Religion has actually convinced us that there's an invisible man, way up in the sky.  And the invisible man watches everything we do every minute of every day.  And the invisible man has a list of 10 things he does not want you to do.  And if you do any, ANY, of these things, he has a special place for you, full of fire and pain and suffering where he will send you to live to suffer and burn and cry until the end of time.....   but he loves you."

    So, wow, har har.  There's a guy named Thor that makes lightning, right?  That's hilarious.  Who would ever believe that?  For me, it sounds no more or less crazy than anything any modern religion would have me believe.

    ISF

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    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    I'm back, I guess, after a terribly long break. (I was recovering from another round of mental illness. )

    quote>

    Welcome back. Long illnesses are never much fun to endure. I hope you are feeling better. I wondered what had happened and if you were ok.

    I've been away a bit too, and I'm not sure I'm quite back yet.

    Originally posted by: astronelson

    On a completely different note, did you know there's a description of a clinical trial in the Bible?

    Daniel 1:8

    8
    But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

    9
    Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

    10
    And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

    11
    Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

    12
    Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

    13
    Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

    14
    So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

    15
    And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

    16
    Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.quote>

    quote>

    No I didn't know about that particular one, although there are other interesting references in the bible, such as the plague of fiery serpents.

    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    OK, about this "thor" thing, everyone knows that lightning is not caused by some mythological "thor" out there. Let's start there...

    quote>

    Why not? It's as good a place as any. If you were a Viking in the 11th Century, then you and everyone else would know that lightning was indeed caused by Thor. A Viking, seeing a phenomenon he couldn't explain, was driven to provide an explanation in the only way he knew - there was no known natural way this could happen, so it had to have been caused by an intelligence - a god, using tools familiar to the Viking - a hammer causing sparks. And everyone "knew" this was the only possible and true explanation for lightning and that Thor was therefore real.

    So let's compare this to today. An unknown phenomenon for which there is yet no known cause demands an explanation. Because everyone "knows" there can be no natural explanation since they don't know of one, there can only be one possible and true cause - an intelligent being (a god), who has characteristics drawn directly from the experiences of the people doing the explaining.

    The question is, what are the differences between the reasoning of our 11th Century Thor believing Viking explaining lightning, and our 21st Century creationist explaining the Big Bang? How do you know that modern creationist explanation of the Big Bang is not going to end up the same way as the Viking's explanation of lightning?

    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    Now, we have to explain how the universe came to be.

    quote>

    Whether a god exists or not you would still have to explain that. That a god did it is not in itself an explanation. And would that explanation end up being much the same as one that doesn't refer to a god? But on top of that you would then also have to explain the god as well.

    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    My point is that, without a god, these things become impossible to explain.

    quote>

    No, not impossible. In fact a lot is known about many of these things already, and we aren't done yet. Probably people once said of these things we now know that they would be impossible to explain. Why, not all that long ago, people thought that complex things like weavils spontaneously sprang into being from wheat grains.

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    Mankind has grown up from an unquestioning creature who took everything as it was, to an investigator wanting to know the explanation for everything.  We are limited to our experiences and our imagination. 

    If you postulate a race of beings more advanced than we, you could consider them to be either magicians or gods.  remember, any technology displayed before the ignorant is the same as magic.

    If you postulate the existence of an all-seeing, all-knowing god, you must realize how fast it had to run to keep up with us, especially in the last century.  Of course, to a god, this is trivial.

    One of the really big questions right now is how does gravity work, and how does the dark force interact with it?  By the way, I don't like the term dark force.  Why not call it shovity or something.  After all, we can't see gravity, either.

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    Although I don't think anyone's mentioned Thor at all.quote>

    Nobody reads my posts :'(

    Except for Sam. Thank you. What you said was just what I wanted to illustrate. A thousand years ago, lightning was a divine display of force humans could not comprehend. Today, children understand its inner workings before they reach puberty. When religious people today credit their god for something we can not understand, they are no better than the vikings sitting around the fire. Just because we don't know it yet, doesn't mean we will never comprehend it.

    Blake, your last post was an interesting read. But you still don't explain why it's the Christian version of Creationism we should listen to, instead of, say, Hindu or Pastafarian (it's as good as any of them, right?).

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    Cobraroll: I didn't have time to get to the Christian aspect of this in that post. The point that I was hoping to make is that God exists.

    As far as the Christian part of things, this is something that I wrote in the last thread, gosh, maybe almost a year ago or so. I couldn't get the quote thing to work properly, so, well, here it is like this:

    ----

    If the Bible was made purely for political purposes, then why does it permit us to disobey authorities if they are commanding us to sin?

    : Well, how would we know which god is true? If we come to the conclusion that God exists, how can we conclude who it is? How could we know whether Islam, Judiasm, Christianity, or other faiths, or perhaps even all of them are the correct way to heaven? How do we know if we can even conclude on this? How do we really know that the Bible is really God's word?

    Well, I turn to the ressurection of Jesus for this. There is clear evidence for His resurrection (which I visited in extensive detail a while back ).

    I think that I'll just quote work I did a while back for another purpose, but it works here.

    You may be asking "How do you know that there is life after death?" "How do you know?" If you have asked this, you have asked a legitimate question. After all, why would it matter if there was no life after death? Well, I know this for one because the Bible talks about life after death, but for another, I believe this because the Bible says that Jesus rose from the dead. If death was the end, and there is nothing for us after that, then how come Jesus rose? How did His spirit return? You may be asking at this point "How do you know that He rose?" Well, it makes sense from a historical and logical standpoint as well.

    The early believers had a huge passion for what they believed, and what they even saw for themselves. If this was a bunch of patchwork put together over the years, then where did this level of commitment and passion come from? They were willing to die for their faith, no matter what. I know what you're thinking: "People of other religions die for their faith too." Let me tell you: people very often die for what they believe, but they simply never die (or almost never die) for something that they know is a lie. These early believers, eyewitnesses, over 500 of them, saw Jesus for themselves after He rose.

    I find it rather hilarious what the Pharisees, religious leaders, and guards did after Jesus' resurrection. History suggests that anywhere from 12-60 guards (that's what a Roman "guard" refered to in that period of time) could have been guarding the tomb of Jesus. This was probably an easy task for the Roman guards. "OK, go and guard the dead man's tomb around the corner? That's a piece of cake! What could possibly happen?" This area was probably a public area. The Pharisees weren't stupid. They were probably thinking to themselves "If the idea of Jesus being the Messiah causes trouble, how much more trouble would be caused if Jesus' body wasn't found in the tomb? " "What if His disciples take Jesus' body? "

    Well, this was actually man at the height of its foolishness because the religious leaders still were in utter unbelief. Now, when the angel of the Lord comes and rolls the stone away, all of the Roman guards faint. Now, history tells us that Roman guards could be capitally punished for falling asleep on the job. Now, by then, the Pharisees are in trouble. Their plan was basically to say that they fell asleep on the job, and Jesus' disciples took His body away while they were asleep. That is ridiculous! What caused the Roman guards to faint? The angel rolling the stone away!

    Imagine what that would have probably been like in that time:

    "We fell sound asleep, all 60 of us, and Jesus' 11 remaining disciples came, rolled the stone away, and took His body. Now, they are preaching this to thousands of people in the vicinity! HA!"

    "Hey, John, what exactly happened with the empty tomb?"

    "Well, I fell asleep, and the disciples took His body."

    "Wait a second, didn't I hear the same story from George?"

    "Hey, David, what's the story of the empty tomb?"

    "Well, I am embarrassed to say this, but we fell sound asleep, and the disciples took his body away."

    "Oh... Oh... all sixty of you?"

    "Well, Uhh... Uhh... yeah! That's all of us!"

    "OK, so how do you know that the disciples took His body if you were all asleep? "

    ....

    It is nothing short of ridiculous that the Pharisees spread this kind of a report. The Pharisees also knew it wasn't true. In order for such a report to be true, these disciples would have had to get around anywhere from several to as many as sixty guards, who were all asleep, roll the stone away, unwrap Jesus, take Him out, and leave, and then go, the guards still asleep, out and be executed on this cause. Umm... Umm... That's beyond reason, my friends, and that's exactly what the guards spread for a large sum of money from the religious leaders. How did the guards know that the disciples took Jesus' body if they were all sound asleep? It seems overwhelmingly clear that Jesus was the Son of God and that He did rise from the grave like He said He would. Any other attempt to explain what happened is rather illogical from my prospective.

    ---

    I can get into more detail with this stuff if you want me to. I would have re-written it, but I don't have much time right now. (Sorry guys, time is always a limitation for me. )

    As far as the scientific quality of my posts, I try to write as well as I can, but I'm in ninth grade, so I'm no physics teacher. I'm trying my best with this stuff, but I'm no straight A student either.

    Sam: Thanks for welcoming me back. I'm fine, I just went through a relapse of serious OCD issues and stuff like that and that put an end to my religious debate for a while because it made it difficult for me to write. I'm getting better. It just takes time and I've had this stuff ever since I was just a few years old.

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    Interesting, but consider a few points:

    First of all, the Bible is the world's most edited book. It's been used as a power tool by whoever ruled Europe since the Romans started using Christianity to gather their masses. It permits you to disobey authorities, but the message is clear: Disobey authorities if they aren't Christian. It calls for rallying of the masses to topple dictators and disbelievers, but the mighty God watches you and will punish you (eternally, by the way), once you try to do the same to him (by trying to speak up against the people he has put in power, i.e. church autorities).

    I believe [that there is life after death] because the Bible says that Jesus rose from the deadquote>

    By applying that logic elsewhere, you can say that Obi-Wan appeared from the dead too, a long time ago in a galaxy far away, because Star Wars said so. Or that Britan has a secret Ministry of Magic, because it says so in Harry Potter. It only works if you apply the internal logic of the story you're trying to sell.

    You may be asking at this point "How do you know that He rose?" Well, it makes sense from a historical and logical standpoint as well. quote>

    How? Historically, there have NEVER been any recorded causes of people rising from the dead. Logically, it makes even less sense. Once the body's internal functions go dead, there is nothing left to save. When your brain cells start dying, neuron links snap, and the tiny electric pulses known as "brain activity" cease to appear, there's no way back. Clinical death might be feasible, but tissue degeneration is irreversible. A dead cell stays dead, and if that cell has a vital function, too bad. Once enough cells in the brain are gone, the body is lost forever. Please don't start with "was there in spirit, not in body". That is, by all accounts and everything we know about the world, impossible. If you handwave it with "God did it", you apply internal logic again.

    "People of other religions die for their faith too." Let me tell you: people very often die for what they believe, but they simply never die (or almost never die) for something that they know is a lie.quote>

    Consider the situation for the disciples after Jesus' death: Their leader is gone, one of their friends have comitted suicide, and the crowd following Jesus wherever he stood and walked look puzzled around as to what happens next. The disciples, having learned a thing or two about impressive speeches from Jesus, manage to pass on their teaching, which the crowds believe. As time passes, only the stories remain, and if exaggerated only a slight tiny bit for each generation, people will believe anything and even put their lives at stake for that belief. It's not a long way from "He will always be with us in our hearts" to "He will always be with us" to "Even in death, he never left us" to "His death meant nothing, he is still with us" to "He bested even death and is among us now" if you take it one step at a time.

    These early believers, eyewitnesses, over 500 of them, saw Jesus for themselves after He rose. quote>

    According to... again... the Bible. If there had been any independent reports of Jesus-sighting after his death, I would have agreed with you. However, when the only source of information on the event is the Bible itself, things can easily be edited or retconned between versions. It even took thirty years before the first gospel was written down, and there would be time for plenty of exaggeration during the decades the story was passed on from man to man (see above). There are way too many variables here. For all we know, Jesus might have visited a disciple or two in a dream (it would be natural that they would dream about him shortly after his death), and the rest is exaggerated to sound more impressive. After all, "500 people saw Jesus with their own eyes" sound better than "Many of the disciples had experienced vivid dreams about Jesus in the days after his death" when you are trying to convert people.

    There's no saying that all the guards of the tomb fell asleep. They might as well have been bribed. Jesus' followers might have removed the body, and given it a proper burial according to the customs at the time. After all, I bet the crucufixtion of Jesus sparked a lot of debate in Jerusalem. Many people might have agreed with what he said, perhaps even some of the guards believed that he was the son of God. Add to this the quite low wage of Roman guards at the time, and it doesn't sound too implausible that the guard(s) agreed to help the disciples remove the body in exchange for a neat little sum of money, then told some story about "angels of the lord" when asked why the body was missing. Imagine what that story would have done to the already existing debate of Jesus' divinity. When people openly declare that Jesus was the son of the Creator himself, some would ask "according to who?" and keep minding their own business. It would be very favourable for the disciples if eyewitnesses could back it up, however...

    All in all, the story of Jesus rising from the death is told from a really messed-with source (edited, translated, partially censored, rewritten, modernized and retconned over the course of two thousand years), with many fantastic elements and all in all relies heavily on internal logic to be true. Yes, Roman sources mentions that a certain Jesus was crucified at the time, and that he did have quite a few followers, but no mentions of "flames from the sky" or "divine angels" are made. Seeing as the Roman Empire later would adopt Christianity and pass the stories as fact, it's not implausible that Jesus' crucifition is edited into the history books at a later time, to add to its credibility. All this concerned, I find other religions to have equally plausible explanations.

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    Compared with most of the members on this forum, I've been around a long time.  I started out as a Roman Catholic, dragged to church by my mother.  About the time I entered high-school, I had become a serious skeptic, and it wasn't long after that that I consciously abandoned the Catholic Church, while retaining the ethical beliefs instilled at my mother's knee.  I try to be an ethical person and avoid doing anything that has an adverse effect on anyone, but if I must belong to a denomination, I am the first and founding member of The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.

    If there is some sort of supreme being who was "responsible" for the big bang, then why should it care a plugged token about our tiny solar system  falling around an insignificant type G yellow dwarf star.  I doubt it cares about our universe, or any of them.  If they exist, beings of this class would have other "fish" to fry.

    Gods are dreamed up by people who insist on immediate answers to questions that are beyond their grasp.  The only real answer comes with time, and they often discover that some snarks are boojums. 

    The currently fashionable problem is why there doesn't seem to be any likelihood of a big crunch because something is accelerating the dispersal of the galaxies and stars.  This has been named the "dark force", and the invisible, but blocking material that masks stars is called "dark matter" of which we understand neither.  But instead of attributing all this to some god, we ask questions, and postulate something missing with general relativity.  Not surprising since that theory is now a century old and pretty well verified.  I haven't heard anyone call it Einstein's Law yet, though. 

    We need a new unified field theory so that we can "use the force".

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    Well, after all, god would have to be too big to comprehend if he created the universe, right? I don't think that it's fair to assume that he does not exist because we cannot comprehend it. After all, there are many things in the universe that cannot be comprehended.

    And god considering us as "fish to fry"? Well, in the Christian story, well, uhh... Christ actually died for us. I have shown plenty of evidence for this, too. I have held firm to that belief because I cannot fathom the universe without some deity to have created it. You know, Christ is more real to me than you might think. This isn't some strange religion to me. It's my life, and it means a lot to me because I know it is real. People have accused me for even blasphemy for saying this kind of stuff (atheists have), but I honestly cannot deny that Christ is real and that He's there for me in surprising ways. It's truly amazing. And... from the Christian point of view, it makes perfect sense.

    I wouldn't mind some of you explaining your beliefs, though. I'd like to understand more about different world-views and I've never taken classes on this stuff or anything. I think this deserves to be a two-way debate (although clearly this is a "the Christian vs. the agnostics" debate. )

    -blakesterville

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    Explaining my beliefs? Hmm... guess I could try:

    I think science has made a rough outline of what has happened in the universe so far. Some time between ten and fifteen billion years ago, the universe came to be. I don't know how or why, and I don't find it problematic that I don't know. We're here, anyway, and that is what matters. Sooner or later we might find out, but until then, I prefer saying that we don't know. I do not want to attribute it to some phenomenom we can't back up with logic, or loudly claim that something is the definite answer.

    At some point down the line, life came to be as well, probably by chance. Probably, it happens all the time somewhere (the universe is humongously huge, after all), and as the conditions were right on Earth, it happened here as well. The Earth was not "chosen" in any way, it just happened to have all the right conditions for life to originate here. Just look up a list of planets and count how many places life didn't happen. Yes, the chance that life just pops up is extremely small, but nobody has counted the failed tries.

    From then on, life evolved. I think we can say that for certain. Due to a lot of luck, here we are today. Note that if humans (and whatever that later evolved into humans) hadn't been so lucky, something else would have been here instead. We've had several big extinction events, but none of them have ever wiped out all life (at least not since the very beginning). We're here because our ancestors belonged to the lucky percents that survived. If they hadn't, those lucky percents would have been somebody else, and they would have evolved accordingly.

    Later on, our ancestors got enough spare time to wonder why they were here. They saw the mighty animals, stronger than any man, and feared and worshipped them. They saw the sun which gave us light and warmth, and worshipped it. Some worshipped the ocean, some the mountains, the sun, the moon, etc. Stories were told around the bonfire at night, and legends emerged. Religion was invented. By man.

    I don't know what will happen in the future. The universe as we know it will most likely end some time, but that might not be the actual end of anything. Who knows for sure? Nobody. And it's just nonsense to claim that you do.

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    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    And god considering us as "fish to fry"? Well, in the Christian story, well, uhh... Christ actually died for us.

    -blakestervillequote>

    {emphasis mine}  I agree with you that there is documentary proof from an uninterested party, the Romans, that they executed someone who was turned over to them as a rabble rouser by the Sanhedrin.  There is no doubt that this person was crucified, since that is the standard method of execution at the time.

    Everything else is propaganda dreamed up by the Christian factions, and most of them written a considerable time after the event.  Internal evidence in the Gospel of John indicates it was the last written with the other three open in his lap.  It was written circa 80 C.E.  There are no more facts in all this than the Book of Daniel.  Everything is slanted, and often just composed fiction.  The Judaic writings were spoken a long time before writing began, and archaeological evidence has shown that there are multiple authors at multiple times.

    As for the Acts of the "Apostles", they were writings that had more to do with the founding of the Vatican state than Christianity, even if they did espouse the Christian ethic, which is not much different from the Judaic ethic, just a little less bloody.

    We don't espouse that you abandon your faith, but proselytising is out.  I have mentioned my belief system in a previous post and I don't think it is necessary to add anything.

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    but somehow all of that DNA gets packed into the cell nucleus.quote>

    We actually know how DNA gets packed into the cell nucleus .. It's no rocket science 2.gif

    (Well, the physics part of it can be really complicated though)
    how mitochondria can carry energy throughout the cellquote>

    ?? In some cases, mitochondria can congregate in energy-consuming regions of the cell, but they certainly don't carry energy throughout the cell.

    How just one DNA molecule can contain all of the information needed in order for one little cell to turn into a full grown human being.quote>

    It cannot. Not one molecule, not even two. 2.gif

    How the birth cycle goes? I'm sure anyone in this discussion already knows at least something on the topic, so I won't go into detail, but imagine just how complicated the birth cycle is.quote>

    I don't know what the "birth cycle" is, are you talking about development? It's not as complicated as you may think, it's in fact based on pretty simple basic steps repeated again and again in different settings and under different signalling.

    Like breathing, stomach and intestinal muscles, the pace of your heart (the heart has its own pacemaker, but the brain can still control how fast it beats), and other things all without you thinking about it.quote>

    Stomach and intestinal muscles have their own nervous system, a pretty crazy one with almost as many neurons as our entire brain(!). There is nothing especially complicated about how heart pace or breathing are controlled, they are controlled by quite simple basic circuits like the one depicted below:

    respcircuit.gif

    Your cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls muscle movements. Just close your eyes, stretch out your hands, and then move them towards your nose with your eyes shut and have the tips of your index finger touch each-other. Imagine how much processing needed to be done in order to do that without your eyes.quote>

    The cerebellum does not control muscle movements per se, it just controls when every motile order arising from higher centers must begin and stop. Think of it as a structure that has learned through repetition when it is the best time to stop a movement. The (human) cerebellum itself is quite a simple structure, its capacity to morph that simple morphology through training is what makes it an amazing organ.

    Is that something that could simply evolve?quote>

    Well, we do have a pretty good idea about how it changed over time, how it looks and works in other animals and where it came from, so yes.

    cerebellum1.jpg

    Even better, most animals have cerebellar structures we lack or have developed alternative cerebellum-like structures over time.

    My point is that, without a god, these things become impossible to explain.quote>

    Why would the emergence of the cerebellum require a god to be explained?

    Let's seriously think this through, though, because if hell does exist, we wouldn't want to be in it!quote>

    No problem, I'll just end up at Nirai Kanai anyway.

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    When it comes to contemplating an afterlife, let us forget various concepts of hell.  That concept belongs to another time.  If you are Christian, you should listen to your church bells that always chime out "No Hell, No Hell".  If you believe in Christ, then all men are redeemed if redemption was ever necessary.  Hell and its concepts are imaginary threats to keep people in line.

    My preference would be the Buddhist scenario.  You keep returning until you achieve enlightenment when you may join "the force".  I can think of a few people who should have come back as some lower form of slime mould. 

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    Well, Christ did die for us to bear our sins, but that doesn't mean that everyone has been paid for by his blood. Only the people who accept his forgiveness. Yes, it's pretty easy, but many people reject God's offer anyway.

    Now as far as miaricles, like Christ rising from the dead, Daniel surviving the lion's den, etc... From the Christian prospective, this makes complete sense. From the Christian prospective, after all, the God who created the universe can raise someone from the dead. This is not nonsense. If you believe in God from the Christian prospective, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, the whole universe makes a lot more sense from the Christian prospective. Of course, many people think the idea of a "god" is impossible, but seriously, if we want to think the universe evolved from a BIG BANG, we can fathom the existence of God.

    Many people have turned from God because they can't seem to find Him in their lives. They perform all the rituals, go to church every sunday, pray three times a day, and do all of that stuff, but they just can't seem to find God. Then there are those who can find Him and then the agnostics sit watching thinking "Well, this does sound good, but how can I know it is true when everyone has different claims?" That's even somewhat understandable.

    Well, I can offer some hope. Many people are so sucked into the rituals that they forget that it's more about a relationship than it is about a religion. Now the saying "It's a relationship, not a religion" is not 100% true because Christianity technically is a religion, but it's a very unusual one. It isn't really about the rituals and all that. It's about getting to know Jesus more and more.

    I don't want to take the stance of one denomination over the other, but I'll briefly list some things that come to me.

    Catholics generally have more traditions than protestants do. Not all catholics have gotten caught into the rituals only thing, but many have. These rituals were originally put in place to help people get closer to God, but they slowly became just more steps that people eventually came to believe were things they needed to do to please God and get into heaven, when in fact, the Bible clearly teaches that salvation is by faith alone. (See Ephesians 2:8-9, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ephesians%202:8-9&version=NIV)

    Thus, to the general public, Christianity has just become a big mess. They see the Catholics as the people who just do a bunch of rituals and protestants as people who use God's grace like a credit card to do whatever they want instead of living a good life. Not all Catholics are this way, and not all Protestants either, but this is a general pattern that many people percieve.

    Now I know that Catholics are probably reading this. Let me make my point clear. I have nothing against Catholicism and have a great deal of respect for it. That's not the point I am trying to make. Instead, I'm trying to say that, you know, I understand the confusion out there about it. I know Protestants are reading this too, and I have a great deal of respect for Protestantism too.

    My response to this is to read the Bible for myself and for me to try myself to understand it the best that I can. I don't even want to bother with a bunch of denomination stuff. It makes me feel sick. It is a lot simpler for me to read it for myself and to understand it the best that I can for myself. I make mistakes, but I try.

    And, you know, you really don't have to go through all the rituals in being a Christian. You don't even have to fast or anything. (Fasting is talked about in the Bible, but not commanded, as far as I know. ) Not that disciplines like that are bad, but we don't have to be legalistic about them. Legalism IS NOT what it is all about. It's about Christ. These things should pull you to Christ, not from Him. And for me, God is very real. That's how I've found Him. I found Him only through faith, though. It doesn't make sense until you have faith first.

    These are my views.

    -blakesterville.

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  • Original Poster
  • Originally posted by: A Nonny Moose

    My preference would be the Buddhist scenario.  You keep returning until you achieve enlightenment when you may join "the force".  quote>

    That is my preference as well.  But in this hemisphere it can be difficult to talk about lessons you learned in previous lifetimes and lessons you are learning in this one.   (Life is like a semester at a university.  What you are learning this time around depends on what you learned last time and what your major is.)

    I can think of a few people who should have come back as some lower form of slime mould.  quote>

    I don't believe it quite works that way.   It's difficult for slime mold to learn anything.

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    Originally posted by: Meg

    Originally posted by: A Nonny Moose

    I can think of a few people who should have come back as some lower form of slime mould.  quote>

    I don't believe it quite works that way.   It's difficult for slime mold to learn anything.

    quote>

    I was kidding, of course.  I gather the lowest you can be is a garbage scavenger (human) previously known as an untouchable.

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    Originally posted by: Barbarossa

    Originally posted by: blakesterville

    Well, Christ did die for us to bear our sins...quote>

    You do realize, I hope, that there is no proof for what you say?  Even quoting the Bible is not proof, because the Bible, as someone mentioned, is the most highly edited book in the history of the world, not to mention it was written by men with an agenda (again, with absolutely no proof of divine influence).

    Don't be so fond of circular arguments (using a source to justify the very same source).  It really does appear to be the wall you haven't climbed.

    Barbarossa

    quote>

    I've already commented on that quote, but I wanted to add that the doctrine of original sin and how Christ died to assuage all  this is just fiction invented by the founders of the Catholic Church.  I think we agree that the Bible is a work of propaganda designed to keep the "faithful" in line.

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    No proof? I've precisely been trying to give proof this whole time. To me, the work that Christ can do is proof enough. Some people might find that surprising considering all the time I've spent on scientific proof. I enjoy giving scientific proof, but when it comes down to it, Christ just seems to real. I don't understand it, but somehow he satisfies. It's almost an overwhelming feeling, actually, that everything that you do does actually matter because of Him. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that to convert anyone, but merely as a way of stimulating a little discussion. :)

    Back to the proof thing, I have given plenty of "proof" over the past year in both of these threads, or at least the way that I see it. It almost seems like we are going back over old content over and over again, through the same old arguments over and over again, etc... I honestly wonder about doing it again, but I realize that religious discussion goes on and on, and I not only enjoy sharing my own beliefs, but I enjoy learning about other's beliefs too. If you want me to try this again, I guess that if I can find the time, I might be able to try to account for my faith once more. :)

    Also, note that I may be less active in here for a while. Once again I'm in high school (I'm a little hesitant to give my actual grade level) and school has been occupying a lot of my time, so I might not be responding very quickly. Please forgive me for that as things are complicated right now.

    -blakesterville


      Edited by blakesterville  

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  • Original Poster
  • You don't have to "account for your faith". It's your faith. But it is faith.

    "just seems to be real" is not proof.

    Other people don't have the faith you do. That doesn't make them wrong. It just means your faith doesn't work for them.

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