I'm on the verge of Deconversion

simmo
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I'm on the verge of Deconversion

Hello everyone. 
I had written out a longwinded post here about my journey from true believer to my current state of what I would call semi-decoversion, however before I could post it I hit the wrong button at the wrong time and lost it all. The Christian side of my brain tells me that God didn't want me to post my comments, therefore I lost them, whereas the rational side of my brain tells me I'm just an idiot. But I am going to try again, albeit in a shortened point form. I am looking for comments from atheists and theists to try and help me make sense of things.
- I have always gone to church and had a 'born again' experience and belief as a teenager.- I have been reading many things recently cause me to question the truth of a historical Jesus, particularly the lack of mention of him by historians of the time and the similarities of the Jesus story with prior Egyptian gods.If he did not ever exist as a living person who lived, preached, performed miracles, was crucified and then rose from the dead, then everyting about Christianity changes.- I am still skeptical about there being no creator 'god', as the intracasies of life, the world and the universe seem difficult to imagine happening by chance, so at this stage I'm still with the watchmaker people.- The idea of God answering prayer seems to be an increasingly unlikely thing to me. The number of people who cry out to God for healing and don't get a yes is incredibly high, with the number of genuine healings not  easily explained as having been medically or naturally induced is extremely small.- Despite the negativity of many towards Christianity, I see much to like about it's effect on the world. Much of the humanitarian work throughout the world is done in the name of Christ, and the selflessness that is displayed by many (and should be by all) Christians makes the world a better place. - The teachings of Jesus and Paul in the new testament  are in general great guidelines for life. - The moral codes that Christians generally seek to live by are positive ones.
So at this point I am having severe doubts about the validilty of Christianity yet still see that living a Christian life as being the best way to live. Does that sound confusing to you? Because at the moment many things are confusing me, so I would appreciate your feedback. I hope this makes sense - my original post was far more eloquent than this one, but I was not going to attempt it all again lest I lose it asecond time. If this post doesn't go through perhaps I will take it as a sign from God that I was not going to post it (not that any of you will see it) or perhaps it will just be confirmation that I am truly a moron. 


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Hambydammit wrote: I'm not

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm not sure about this, but have I even used the word "faith" in this whole thread?

 

 

Does it matter whether you used that word? Is that your argument or not?

 

I'll re-word it then: 

 

That Christian reason based on the bible and hence that reasoning will be flawed?  That the bible promotes undersiable behavour and hence Christians must compartmentlize to do good things that go against the bible?

 

Simple answer

yes/no.

 


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Quote: Does it matter

Quote:
Does it matter whether you used that word? Is that your argument or not?

I'd think that when someone is making a point involving faith, they would mention it.  I'm learning how good you are at missing points, so I can understand why you'd think otherwise.

No, it is not my argument.

 

Quote:
That Christian reason based on the bible and hence that reasoning will be flawed?

No.

 

Quote:
That the bible promotes undersiable behavour and hence Christians must compartmentlize to do good things that go against the bible?

No.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Seriously? I re-read the

Seriously? I re-read the posts several times.

 

Hambydammit wrote:

The point is that Christian dogma is flawed. It's illogical and contradictory. Normal people find ways to avoid the cognitive dissonance. They live in a kinder, gentler version of Christianity, where things are not carried to their logical conclusion.

 

This is where I got the 'Christian's reasoning are flawed' part 

 

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm not inventing the rules here. I'm simply taking the rules that Christians swear up and down are the truth, and taking them to their logical conclusion. You can rationalize away the answer all you want. You're right -- it's extreme

 

Another source for the 'Christian flawed reasoning.'

 

Hambydammit wrote:

There's no legend at the beginning of the bible to tell you what to take literally and what to take as metaphor. Anyone can interpret it any way they want, and the only thing another bible-believer can do is say, "No, you've got it wrong. My interpretation is correct!"

 

 

 This is where I got the bible part.

 

 

 


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HD: The point is that

HD: The point is that Christian dogma is flawed. It's illogical and contradictory.

CP: "Christian's reasoning are flawed"

You see where you made the mistake now?

 

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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
BenfromCanada wrote:

The religion may or may not be wrong, but it encourages wrongdoing in some ways.

So does pretty much anything.

But not as easily as religion.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Canada is becoming more crazy all the time. We opened a Creationist Museum around the same time you did, about a 30 minute drive from the largest dinosaur fossil collection in the world.

 

What? A Creation museuem in Canada? Where?

 

Big Valley, Alberta. Less than an hours' drive from Drumheller, home of the the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which houses the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world.

Kind of makes me sick to the stomach to know that such a cesspool of irrationality and pseudoscience is so close to a veritable pillar of truth, justice, and the rational way.

 

Hamby: Just sayin', is all...But I'll let it be. 


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REVLyle wrote:   First the

REVLyle wrote:
 

First the Egyptian gods issue. A complete bunch of lies. I am not going to mention all the gods and all the issues but they seem to be enamered with Horus, so let's look at that one. Here is what they claim.

1. He was born of a virgin - that is not in the myth - complete lie

2. He was baptized - another lie - never in the myth - He was thrown in the nile river

3. Horus was born on the 25 of Dec. The Bible does not make one claim that Jesus was born on this day so who cares about Horus - but again a lie. Upon reading the only date that is mentioned is the 31st day of the Egyptian month of Khoiak

4. Horus had 12 disciples - Also a lie - maybe 4 followers but 12 is never mentioned

5. Horus' earthly father was (Seb) Joseph - that is not the myth. Seb was the earth-god. Horus was the son of Osiris. Wait a minute, you mean there is one version that has him as the father of Seb??? That is true but Seb isn't Joseph and exactly what Horus are you talking about??? There are between 10 and 20 variations of Horus and just as many different legends refering to him.

6. This one is just my observation but why didn't Jesus have the head of a falcon like Horus??

7. Horus walked on water - is not in the myth - another lie

8. Never raised someone from the dead - another lie

Thanks for providing all of the source material to prove all of this was a lie.  It makes it so much easier when I can blindly trust a Christian at face value, I mean it's not like you lie to yourself everyday about Gods existence.  You wouldn't possiby ever lie to us, right? 

- Brian Sapient


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Quote: HD: The point is

Quote:

HD: The point is that Christian dogma is flawed. It's illogical and contradictory.

CP: "Christian's reasoning are flawed"

You see where you made the mistake now?

 

Cpt... don't just leave this hanging, ok?   

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:
Quote:

HD: The point is that Christian dogma is flawed. It's illogical and contradictory.

CP: "Christian's reasoning are flawed"

You see where you made the mistake now?

Cpt... don't just leave this hanging, ok?

 

*Leaves you hanging*

 

 

So your argument is that Christian DOGMA is flawed? 

 

Isn't that what they base their reasoning on? 


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Quote: So your argument is

Quote:

So your argument is that Christian DOGMA is flawed? 

 

Isn't that what they base their reasoning on?

Very good.  So... what's next?

 

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simmo wrote: REVLyle, when

simmo wrote:
REVLyle, when you state "believe in Christ and you will be saved", what do you believe is the fate of those that are not saved? Do you believe in an eternal punishment in hell for all unbelievers? Because that is one of the real difficulties I have with my faith at present - the idea of eternal punishment based upon decisions made or not made during this finite time on earth seems hard to fathom, particularly when we spend most of our time talking about God's great love for us. I know all the standard lines about sin, God's perfection and judgement, but does it honestly make sense to you that God will send billions to hell forever? I just can't reconcile that thought with the rest of what Christians generally believe about God.

 

So you are asking if I believe in a literal Hell.  Yes, I do.   I believe in a literal hell because the Bible speaks of it.  I also believe in a literal Heaven.  One is a place of eternal torment and the other is a place of eternal rest. 

 Let’s address hell first: 

Matthew 25:31-46 – This passage speaks of Jesus separating the sheep from the goats.  The sheep are the righteous (verse 46) and those blessed by God (verse 34) and the goats are those that are cursed (verse 41).  Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” 

This eternal fire is also spoken of in Revelation 20. 

What about God’s great love?

You made the statement that “we spend most of our time talking about God’s great love for us.”  If one is to read the Bible and if you are to attend a church where the Bible is preached you will find that may different aspects of God are spoken of – not just His love.  The reason that we are so blown away by God’s love is the fact that there is absolutely no reason that God would have anything to do with us, but He does and He loves us which is what is so amazing.  

The tag line I have put on all of my post is simply John 3:16.  This is the Gospel, the Good News.  Why is it good news?  It is good news because the bad news is that if you do not believe in Jesus Christ you are condemned already.  John 3:18 – “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

God loved us so much that He sent His Son.  That answers your question about love.  I believe what you are asking though is, “If God loves us why condemn anyone?  Why not excuse or pardon everyone?”  The answer to this question is quite easy to answer.

 
  1. God is not only a God of love – He is also a God of righteousness.  He is a Holy God and a Good God.  Let me ask you a question.  If someone was convicted of murder, sent before the judge for sentencing and then the judge said, “Ah, don’t worry about it.  You get a free pass.”  Would any of us look at the judge as a good or righteous judge?  He would certainly not be a just judge.  So, all of mankind has rebelled against God.  He has given us laws to live by, none of us have lived by those laws and then we simply want God to say, “Ah, don’t worry about it.  You get a free pass.”  God cannot do that because to do that would be to act outside of his character of holiness, justice, righteousness, goodness, etc. . .   

You also wanted to know, “Why would someone suffer for eternity for decisions they made in a finite lifetime.”  The question I have for you is, “How can a man (the creation) atone for their rebellion against God (the Creator)?  What is the price that should be paid?”  The answer is that man could never pay the price for his sins and therefore God sent His Son to pay the price.  Whereas Jesus paid the complete price for our sins (He could because He was both God and man) we cannot sufficiently pay the price even if we suffer for all eternity. 

Even in our world, many times our justice is not complete.  We have the death penalty for the most heinous of crimes.  If someone was to murder a loved one and then they are put to death – Is justice done?  It is the best that we can do but complete payment for the damage he or she did cannot be paid.  I have not had my loved one returned to me.  I still have to deal with the emotional pain.  I have to deal with the loss of the loved one for the rest of my life.  Complete justice is not really possible.  Some may say that I am only talking about the extremes.  I could do this for all sin.  Sin has consequences that we do not understand or think of many times.  God’s justice is perfect.     

 
  1. As far as those going to hell – How could a living God do this???? – Kelly, one of the founders of this site, I believe, has stated that she would rather go to hell than serve Yahweh.  Believe me, she will get her wish.  If you and I choose to live this life without God, He will honor that request in the next life.  As I stated before, all those who have attacked me and what I believe have heard the gospel and they reject it.  THEY HAVE REJECTED THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HAS BEEN OFFERED TO THEM.

As I am raising my kids, I have warned them to not go into the street.  I have told them that if they go into the street, they will get a spanking.  Just like all kids, they go anyway.  How could a loving dad give their kid a spanking?  THEY CHOSE IT.  They knew the consequences and they chose to go into the street anyway.

I know that those on this website do not believe the Bible.  I am not hear to make them believe.  I am here as a messenger.  If I need to explain anything further, please let me know.

REV    

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Sapient wrote: REVLyle

Sapient wrote:
REVLyle wrote:
 

First the Egyptian gods issue. A complete bunch of lies. I am not going to mention all the gods and all the issues but they seem to be enamered with Horus, so let's look at that one. Here is what they claim.

1. He was born of a virgin - that is not in the myth - complete lie

2. He was baptized - another lie - never in the myth - He was thrown in the nile river

3. Horus was born on the 25 of Dec. The Bible does not make one claim that Jesus was born on this day so who cares about Horus - but again a lie. Upon reading the only date that is mentioned is the 31st day of the Egyptian month of Khoiak

4. Horus had 12 disciples - Also a lie - maybe 4 followers but 12 is never mentioned

5. Horus' earthly father was (Seb) Joseph - that is not the myth. Seb was the earth-god. Horus was the son of Osiris. Wait a minute, you mean there is one version that has him as the father of Seb??? That is true but Seb isn't Joseph and exactly what Horus are you talking about??? There are between 10 and 20 variations of Horus and just as many different legends refering to him.

6. This one is just my observation but why didn't Jesus have the head of a falcon like Horus??

7. Horus walked on water - is not in the myth - another lie

8. Never raised someone from the dead - another lie

Thanks for providing all of the source material to prove all of this was a lie.  It makes it so much easier when I can blindly trust a Christian at face value, I mean it's not like you lie to yourself everyday about Gods existence.  You wouldn't possiby ever lie to us, right? 

 

Hey Sapient,

As I wrote before to Hamby, both you and I could copy and paste all day concerning the validity of this claim.  I did cite my sources. 

Glenn Miller has a multi-part article covering:

I do not lie to myself about God and I have no reason to lie to you.  So I am glad that you feel that you can trust me.  BUT SERIOUSLY, What do I have to gain by lying to you?  There is always a motivation to lie to someone . . . what would be my motivation?

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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I trust that everyone

I trust that everyone reading this thread has noticed that REVLyle has completely ignored my thorough presentation of strong evidence that the bible is a myth.

Notice that he is again using the bible to prove the bible, even though there are mountains of evidence in this very thread demonstrating that this tactic is invalid and contrary to the evidence.

This is the standard theist tactic. When logic and evidence have proven them wrong, they revert to bald assertions that appeal to emotions. What else can they do? Their position is without a logical foundation, so it is all that is left to them.

Ask yourself why my Santa/Jesus analogy has not been refuted. Ask why the existence of all of the analogous myths has not been refuted. Ask why REVLyle, either through intention or ignorance, has been unable to grasp even the basic content of my statement about the Santa/Jesus analogy.

Going back to the beginning of this thread, the question at hand is this: Can Christianity stand up to the scrutiny of the same logic we apply to all the other religions?

Is it logical that only one text in the history of the world would be exempt from the rule that a text cannot be used to prove itself?

Is it logical that only one story with magic and supernatural deities would be exempt from the same skepticism that we apply to all the other stories?

If it is, what is the logic explaining why this is so?

If it is not, then why would you believe it?

 

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Hambydammit wrote:I trust

Hambydammit wrote:

I trust that everyone reading this thread has noticed that REVLyle has completely ignored my thorough presentation of strong evidence that the bible is a myth.

Notice that he is again using the bible to prove the bible, even though there are mountains of evidence in this very thread demonstrating that this tactic is invalid and contrary to the evidence.

This is the standard theist tactic. When logic and evidence have proven them wrong, they revert to bald assertions that appeal to emotions. What else can they do? Their position is without a logical foundation, so it is all that is left to them.

Ask yourself why my Santa/Jesus analogy has not been refuted. Ask why the existence of all of the analogous myths has not been refuted. Ask why REVLyle, either through intention or ignorance, has been unable to grasp even the basic content of my statement about the Santa/Jesus analogy.

Going back to the beginning of this thread, the question at hand is this: Can Christianity stand up to the scrutiny of the same logic we apply to all the other religions?

Is it logical that only one text in the history of the world would be exempt from the rule that a text cannot be used to prove itself?

Is it logical that only one story with magic and supernatural deities would be exempt from the same skepticism that we apply to all the other stories?

If it is, what is the logic explaining why this is so?

If it is not, then why would you believe it?

I trust that everyone reading this thread has noticed that Simmo asked me a question and I have answered.

  Hamby continues to want to compare a myth (Santa) with Non-fiction (Jesus - The Bible).  I have cited websites that totally refute Hamby's websites. BUT OF COURSE - only his websites are credible.  He believes that early myths were the basis for the story of Jesus Christ - I simply do not.  There is NO proof for this.  The only people who hold these views are Christ mythers.  Hamby shows the gradual aggrandizement of Santa and I have asked him for the same for Jesus - of course there is no gradual writing for Jesus.  He wants you to believe that what happened is that the authors simply looked back thousands of years and came up with the story of Christ.  I wonder?????  How did the OT writers (700 years before Christ) coordinate with the NT writers.  So if Hamby can just get the writings dating 500 years before Santa showed up that talked about Santa - That would be awesome.  Could you get that for me Hamby????  Come on, let's really compare them.   

What is amazing is that simply because Hamby can trace the myth of Santa Clause, then it applies to what ever he wants. HE BELIEVES that this is proof.  It is almost laughable.  I will simply respond to Hamby with scripture:

'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'  

 There is evidence of God all around us, but you are not convinced.  I am.  Even if someone you knew rose from the dead - you would still not be convinced.  You would believe it was a trick or an illusion - but no way that is was God.  Surely, there must be some logical explanation.  The biggest problem for Hamby and those like him is that they want empirical evidence for a philosophical question.  I wonder why he can't figure that out???

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Quote: I will simply

Quote:
I will simply respond to Hamby with scripture:

'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.' 

QED

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:

Hambydammit wrote:
Quote:
I will simply respond to Hamby with scripture:

'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.' 

QED

 

 

I don't know what QED means excpet for Quantum electrodynamics.  Oh, and by the way, I need those writings not only to be written about Santa, but by Santa as well. 

I tell you what, since Saint Nick was a real person as Jesus was, if you could just provide a writing about him 500 years before he lived, that would be great for your argument.  I need that writing to tell me about what he would do as well.  This will be awesome to make the comparison complete.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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OK REVLyle, I accept that

OK REVLyle, I accept that you are comfortable with the concept of hell being an eternal punishment, however I am still greatly troubled by it. What is your opinion then on my hypothetical of the young child with cancer - should medical help be sought to cure them and put them in danger of everlasting torment? Surely we would be better letting them die and ensure their eternal place in heaven.


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REVLyle wrote: He wants

REVLyle wrote:

He wants you to believe that what happened is that the authors simply looked back thousands of years and came up with the story of Christ. I wonder????? How did the OT writers (700 years before Christ) coordinate with the NT writers. So if Hamby can just get the writings dating 500 years before Santa showed up that talked about Santa - That would be awesome. Could you get that for me Hamby???? Come on, let's really compare them.

REVLyle wrote:

I tell you what, since Saint Nick was a real person as Jesus was, if you could just provide a writing about him 500 years before he lived, that would be great for your argument. I need that writing to tell me about what he would do as well. This will be awesome to make the comparison complete.

REVLyle, why would the OT authors have to communicate with the NT writers? Did the possibility ever occur to you that the NT writers read the OT and came up with a story to satisfy the "prophecies"? If someone wanted to write a sequel to a book they didn't write, all they'd need to do was read the original. The two authors don't have to collaborate in any way.

Also, there is no evidence that the NT was written by anyone who actually interacted with Jesus. The earliest book lands around 75AD if I'm not mistaken. If one of the apostles was an adult at the time of the crucifixion and lived another 40+ years to write a book of the NT in a time where 40 years was greater than the average lifespan, that'd be impressive.

Also, you keep implying that Jesus wrote things. What did he write?

-Triften 


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REVLyle wrote:   I don't

REVLyle wrote:

 

I don't know what QED means excpet for Quantum electrodynamics. Oh, and by the way, I need those writings not only to be written about Santa, but by Santa as well.

 

 

Q.E.D is latin for 'it has been shown that.'

I've seen it used in math proofs. 


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Quote: Q.E.D is latin for

Quote:

Q.E.D is latin for 'it has been shown that.'

I've seen it used in math proofs.

Or, I think more precisely, "Which was to be demonstrated." In math, it is used at the end of a proof to say that the point that was proposed has been demonstrated.

In debate, it is kind of a slang way of saying, "My point has been proven."

REV, if you need a little more help, I had proposed that the only way theists can respond when they have been left no logical ground, as I left you no logical ground, is to resort to biblical rhetoric and emotional appeal. In your very next post, you did exactly that, ending up by quoting a bible verse, exactly as I had predicted you would. So, I wrote Q.E.D. Those of us in the forum who have studied debate a little bit knew that I was saying you had proven my point for me.

 

 

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triften wrote: REVLyle

triften wrote:

REVLyle wrote:

He wants you to believe that what happened is that the authors simply looked back thousands of years and came up with the story of Christ. I wonder????? How did the OT writers (700 years before Christ) coordinate with the NT writers. So if Hamby can just get the writings dating 500 years before Santa showed up that talked about Santa - That would be awesome. Could you get that for me Hamby???? Come on, let's really compare them.

REVLyle wrote:

I tell you what, since Saint Nick was a real person as Jesus was, if you could just provide a writing about him 500 years before he lived, that would be great for your argument. I need that writing to tell me about what he would do as well. This will be awesome to make the comparison complete.

REVLyle, why would the OT authors have to communicate with the NT writers? Did the possibility ever occur to you that the NT writers read the OT and came up with a story to satisfy the "prophecies"? If someone wanted to write a sequel to a book they didn't write, all they'd need to do was read the original. The two authors don't have to collaborate in any way.

Also, there is no evidence that the NT was written by anyone who actually interacted with Jesus. The earliest book lands around 75AD if I'm not mistaken. If one of the apostles was an adult at the time of the crucifixion and lived another 40+ years to write a book of the NT in a time where 40 years was greater than the average lifespan, that'd be impressive.

Also, you keep implying that Jesus wrote things. What did he write?

-Triften 

 

Well if you think the Bible is a conspiracy, then you ought to believe in the Divine simply for that fact.  44 authors over a period of 1500 years somehow wrote a book that fits together (I am sure all of you would disagree with me - but it does)  That is something that no one else has been able to pull off.  Surely, there must have been a God to coordinate that task - and you could not be more correct.

Which naturally leads to answering your last question.  What did Jesus write - the entire Bible.  The Bible is the word of God.  Jesus is the 2nd person of the Trinity (God).  God wrote the Bible.  It is God's word.  He inspired the authors of the OT and the NT.  So if Hamby is going to continue to try to make the comparison of Santa and Jesus here is what is needed.  Jesus existed before he came as a man.  He, being God, inspired the authors of the Old Testament to write about Him before He got here.  Then He arrived. 

So I need Hamby to come up with the documents about Saint Nick (the beginning of the Santa Clause myth I believe - of course I am not the Santalogian, Hamby is) that speak of Saint Nick's coming written by Saint Nick 700 years before he arrived.  That is all I am asking for.  I mean come on.  There are so many similarities between how the myth of Santa and the myth of Jesus developed and according to Hamby he has more than proven this. So, I am still waiting on those writings by Santa.  Thanks

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Quote: So I need Hamby to

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So I need Hamby to come up with the documents about Saint Nick (the beginning of the Santa Clause myth I believe - of course I am not the Santalogian, Hamby is) that speak of Saint Nick's coming written by Saint Nick 700 years before he arrived.  That is all I am asking for.  I mean come on.  There are so many similarities between how the myth of Santa and the myth of Jesus developed and according to Hamby he has more than proven this. So, I am still waiting on those writings by Santa.  Thanks

REVLyle, I already told you that I'm not going to debate you until you can actually tell me what my argument is.  You still haven't demonstrated that you even understand what the Santa/Jesus analogy is illustrating.  You're not even responding to my argument here.

So, it's very simple.

You tell me what I'm arguing, and then, if you want to argue against it, I'll continue to debate you.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:
Quote:

Q.E.D is latin for 'it has been shown that.'

I've seen it used in math proofs.

Or, I think more precisely, "Which was to be demonstrated." In math, it is used at the end of a proof to say that the point that was proposed has been demonstrated.

In debate, it is kind of a slang way of saying, "My point has been proven."

REV, if you need a little more help, I had proposed that the only way theists can respond when they have been left no logical ground, as I left you no logical ground, is to resort to biblical rhetoric and emotional appeal. In your very next post, you did exactly that, ending up by quoting a bible verse, exactly as I had predicted you would. So, I wrote Q.E.D. Those of us in the forum who have studied debate a little bit knew that I was saying you had proven my point for me.

 Simmo,

What is really sad about Hamby is that he really thinks . . . he really believes that his point has been proven.  Look, even those against Christianity do not buy into the Christ myth.  I have already shown you how Richard Carrier, an outspoken atheist doesn't by into the Horus comparison.  So what about the overall Christ myth idea.  To call it even a theory is giving it too much credit.  You may not be familiar with Jeffery Jay Lowder but I am sure that Hamby is.  He is the founder of Internet Infidels.  Here is what Wikipedia says about them.

Internet Infidels, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization founded in 1995 by Jeffery Jay Lowder and Brett Lemoine. Its primary purpose is to maintain the Secular Web, an Internet-based library of resources pertaining to nontheistic viewpoints, including agnosticism, atheism, freethought, humanism, and secularism.  The Secular Web was originally hosted on the Texas A&M University servers. It is one of main web sites for skeptics on the internet,  and carries the slogan "Culture jamming theistic memes since 1995". 

My point is that Jeffery and his organization have no love for Christianity and when reviewing the idea that Jesus did not exist, that he was just a myth, by reviewing all the extra-biblical evidence he came to this conclusion.

I think there is ample evidence to conclude there was a historical Jesus. To my mind, the New Testament alone provides sufficient evidence for the historicity of Jesus, but the writings of Josephus also provide two independent, authentic references to Jesus.

As for McDowell's other sources for the historicity of Jesus, I think they are inconclusive. There is no evidence that the written works of the church fathers were based on independent sources. Tertullian's reference to Tiberius is inconclusive, as is Africanus' references to Thallus. Africanus' reference to Phlegon is probably an interpolation. The Talmud is too late to be of any value in establishing the historicity of Jesus. Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Lucian are not independent witnesses to the historicity of Jesus. Suetonius did not refer to Jesus. And Mara Bar-Serapion's letter is worthless as a witness to the historicity of Jesus.

No matter what though, Hamby and the Christ mythers will carry on despite all the evidence that say other wise.  You can read the entire article at:  http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html 

Simmo, I will address your question concerning the child with cancer later this week.  You should know that I will use scripture, as any Christian should, and know that they will accuse me of appealing to the emotions.  Not true.  I use scripture because it is the eternal wisdom of God vs. the (what are you Hamby 20, 30 years old) limited wisdom of man. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Quote: I think there is

Quote:
I think there is ample evidence to conclude there was a historical Jesus. To my mind, the New Testament alone provides sufficient evidence for the historicity of Jesus, but the writings of Josephus also provide two independent, authentic references to Jesus.

REVLyle, it's getting difficult for me to stay interested in this. This quote has absolutely nothing to do with my point.

The historicity of a man named Jesus has nothing to do with my point.

How else can I say this?

YOU ARE NOT RESPONDING TO MY POINT.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONDING TO MY POINT.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONDING TO MY POINT.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONTING TO MY POINT

YOU ARE NOT RESPONDING TO MY POINT.

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY POINT.

 

Do you have any idea what my point is?

Seriously.

Do you have any idea at all?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hey Hamby, Here is what

Hey Hamby,

Here is what you wrote:

Now, objectively looking at both stories, Santa Clause, and all that Jesus stuff I printed earlier, can you see how similar they are? Do you see how each one is a conglomerate of many different myths? Of course they aren't identical. That's because word of mouth, immigration, being conquered, illness, disease, and a hundred other factors change the way a myth is passed down.

Now, once you've thought about this for a while, I want you to ask yourself if you've actually thought about the way that Christianity has changed since it was invented.

Yes. Christianity has changed. When was the Catholic church formed? Do you know? How about the Protestant Reformation? Wildly different ideas about what Christianity "really is." Calvinism. Methodism. Baptism. Mormonism..... yes, that's about Jesus, too.

It behaves just like any other myth, simmo.

If you take away the blind belief, you'll see how it works.

What you want me to debate with you about is the story of Jesus Christ developing vs. not developing like any other myth.  The problem is that Jesus Christ is NOT a myth.  So you want me to treat the non-fictional story of Jesus as a myth and then defend it.  I cannot do that.  It is not a myth and therefore did not develop like a myth.  What you are asking me to do is impossible.  This would be like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presenting the story of Santa and then stating how the myth of the Holocaust developed the same way. 

1.  Many different sources

2.  Many different people groups

3.  Many different stories

4.  Real places sprinkled into the story

5.  Story of the Holocaust

 There is no debate.  Until he comes to grip with the reality of the Holocaust and that it most certainly happened . . . what is the point.  He has been shown the evidence and there are history books that recorded what happened and yet he still denies it.  The VAST majority of the world knows it happened, and yet he holds onto a lie.  That is all I can do for you.  I have shown you Christians who know that Jesus was a reality.  I have shown you atheists that know Jesus Christ was a reality.  The VAST majority of people and historians know that Jesus Christ was a reality and yet you hold on to a lie.  I would be more than happy to talk about the things of the Bible, as Simmo has asked (philosophy of life based upon theology), but as long as you treat Jesus Christ as a myth - what is the point.  For me to debate you concerning the mythological issue of Christ, which only Christ mythers hold fast to, is ridiculous.  I will not give validity to that position by giving it time and energy.  I cannot treat fact like it was fiction. 

By the way:  Baptism is not a view or denomination.  It is a ordinance or a sacrament based upon how one views it.  The denomination is Baptist.  Calvinism is also not a denomination.  It is a theological system named after John Calvin.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Quote: What you want me to

Quote:
What you want me to debate with you about is the story of Jesus Christ developing vs. not developing like any other myth. The problem is that Jesus Christ is NOT a myth. So you want me to treat the non-fictional story of Jesus as a myth and then defend it. I cannot do that. It is not a myth and therefore did not develop like a myth. What you are asking me to do is impossible.

Reading Comprehension, REVLyle.

See if you can make your brain work on this for a second, ok? Think really, really hard. This might be difficult for you to understand.

George Washington was a man.

George Washington did things.

There are stories written about George Washington.

One of these stories is about a cherry tree. Supposedly, George Washington said, "I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet."

Here's the thing. He didn't do that. It's a myth that was made up later on.

He also didn't have wooden teeth.

He also didn't throw a silver dollar across the Potomac.

Ever heard of Betsy Ross? She didn't actually make the first American Flag.

Eli Whitney? Didn't invent the Cotton Gin. Or interchangable parts.

Robert Fulton? Didn't invent the steamboat.

Now, REVLyle. Think about this really, really hard, ok?

George Washington, Eli Whitney, Betsy Ross, and Robert Fulton were real people. Within years, or even months or days, after their deaths, there were already myths about them. These are just a few examples that came off the top of my head. Myths form about people all the time.

Let me see if I can put this into the vernacular so you can understand it.

I don't give a flying fuck if there was a man named Jesus or not. I don't give a rat's ass if Josephus' account is reliable.

There have been billions of people living on this planet, and hundreds of thousands of them have had myths told about them after they died. Thousands and thousands of those stories involved magic, miracles, and claims of divinity. There have been lots and lots of people who have claimed to be gods or sons of gods or descended from gods.

But you're saying, "There was this dude, Jesus, and he did miracles and shit. And even though no other miracle stories are true, this one is. It's true because the book that tells the story says it's true. The other books that say they're true aren't true, though. This one is true because it's true, and the others are not because they're not."

You don't get to just say that this one dude who may or may not have existed (I DON'T CARE!!! IT DOESN'T MATTER!) is the only person in the history of the world where the crazy stories of magic and deity status are actually true without providing external, falsifiable evidence.

The story itself is not evidence. It is a story. You cannot use a book to prove itself. Would you read a god damned logic book or something?

But, you will say, there are lots of books in the bible, by different authors! This proves that they're right.

Except that lots of people have written books about King Arthur, and do you know the way they all knew to write about the round table? Care to guess? Because they read the books written before them.

Yes, you will say, but King Arthur didn't claim to be god.

So?

What the fuck does claiming to be god have to do with anything? Every Pharoah of Egypt claimed to be a god. Muhammed claimed to speak directly for god. Joseph Smith claimed to get tablets straight from an angel.

But, you will say, all the books about King Arthur don't tell exactly the same story.

Right! And neither do the gospels.

A. At what time in the morning did the women visit the tomb?- At the rising of the sun (Mark 16:2) vs. when it was yet dark (John 20:1)

B. Who came?- Mary Magdalene alone (John 20:1) vs. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matt. 28:1) vs. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome (Mark 16:1) vs. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women (Luke 24:10)

C. Was the tomb opened or closed when they arrived? - Open (Luke 24:2) vs. closed (Matt 28:1-2)

D. Whom did they see at the tomb?- The angel (Matt. 28:2) vs. a young man (Mark 16:5) vs. two men (Luke 24:4) vs. two angels (John 20:11-12)

E. Were these men or angels inside or outside the tomb? -Outside (Matt. 28.2) vs. inside (Mark 16:5, Luke 24:3-4, John 20:11-12).

F. Were they standing or sitting? - Standing (Luke 24:4) vs. sitting (Matt. 28:2, Mark 16:5, John 20:12).

G. Did Mary Magdalene know Jesus when he first appeared to her?-Yes, she did (Matt. 28:9) vs. no she did not (John 20:14).

http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart11.html#ref112

Let me put this in really simple terms.

Everything about the story of Jesus looks just like a myth except for one thing. People like you believe it.

That's it.

There's no external evidence suggesting that it's anything more than a myth.

Now, will you please stop bitching about me saying Jesus didn't exist. It doesn't matter. It doesn't affect the argument in any way. At all.

None.

Get it?

 

 

 

 

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Reply to REVLyle:

Reply to REVLyle:

 

*edit*

Hamby got it before me.

*/edit*

 

Quote:

I have shown you Christians who know that Jesus was a reality. I have shown you atheists that know Jesus Christ was a reality. The VAST majority of people and historians know that Jesus Christ was a reality and yet you hold on to a lie.

 

That is a very broad statement, and I'm not inclined to believe that it's true.

The vast majority of people in America identify themselves as Christian, but a portion of those are probably referring to their upbringing more than their own practices. As far as people outside of the USA, I don't think it's even close to true that most of them believe the Jesus story was a reality. Some of them do, sure. Not the vast majority though.

I also seriously doubt that most credible historians accept that the story of Jesus is absolutely true, but I'll admit that I haven't seen any actual statistics on that, but if you can link some, that would be interesting to see.

I've seen other statistics that show that the scientific and intellectual elite in the country are primarily atheistic, with a small group of agnostic theists. I'm sure you wouldn't like my source for that though.

 

Finally, going back to this whole notion of you refusing to treat fact like it's fiction:

That's exactly the reason atheists are going to get frustrated with you. What you're basically saying is that you refuse to consider any other possibilities. You refuse to even allow the possibility that you might be wrong so that you can fairly weigh your current beliefs against the information that challenges them. In other words, you seem to be saying that all you're going to do is keep ignoring us and preaching.

Which is about what we'd expect.

 

I'm not going to try and talk you out of your beliefs, REV. No one ever really wins a debate, after all. We can toss around rebuttals and all day, but the debate is ultimately for the person watching.

 

Hi, Simmo. =)

 

I think to some extent you realize this, and that you recognize simmo as being a person who is straddling the fence between theism and atheism (or at the very least, skepticism). Your adamant preaching sounds like you're trying to coax him back over the fence with the same strategies he's probably heard for years. Strategies that can be summed up as follows: "Jesus is true, and that's all there is to it. Nothing can change my mind about that. And it's not because I'm close-minded, it's because I'm faithful!"

It's just justification through semantic games.

 

If I'm wrong about that, then I apologize, but that is how the preachiness sounds to me.

 

Anyway, I've prattled on long enough. I'll let someone make a better rebuttal.

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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REVLyle wrote:

(Note to self: Read _all_ the posts before replying to make sure someone else hasn't more thoroughly made points you were getting at...) 

REVLyle wrote:

Well if you think the Bible is a conspiracy, then you ought to believe in the Divine simply for that fact. 44 authors over a period of 1500 years somehow wrote a book that fits together (I am sure all of you would disagree with me - but it does) That is something that no one else has been able to pull off. Surely, there must have been a God to coordinate that task - and you could not be more correct.

Please show me where I claim the bible is a conspiracy.

I merely pointed out that persons writing a sequel, didn't have to coordinate with the writers of the original work in order to do so.

And sadly, no. It doesn't fit together. The book of genesis alone has multiple versions of the same story shuffled into it, and the accounts of the crucifixion vary quite a bit.

REVLyle wrote:

Which naturally leads to answering your last question. What did Jesus write - the entire Bible. The Bible is the word of God. Jesus is the 2nd person of the Trinity (God). God wrote the Bible. It is God's word. He inspired the authors of the OT and the NT. So if Hamby is going to continue to try to make the comparison of Santa and Jesus here is what is needed. Jesus existed before he came as a man. He, being God, inspired the authors of the Old Testament to write about Him before He got here. Then He arrived.

Inspired the writing of? Or wrote himself? Is it the "Word of God" or the writings inspired by?

Also, so I have this straight, Jesus is god... so he was god before he was born... and returned to heaven after he died. So he was god and is god now... so what did he sacrifice?

-Triften


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I am soon to be en route to

I am soon to be en route to the conference, so at this point, I will be leaving this particular thread. With any luck, I'll have good wireless at the hotel(s) and will still be actively posting for the next week, but I'm pretty well satisfied that everyone above a fourth grade reading level gets what I've been trying to say... Zeus knows I've repeated myself enough... not to mention I used curse words in the last iteration, so it ought to even be crystal clear now.

(Tongue out of cheek)

Simmo, if you're still watching, I know I've already mentioned three years worth of reading to you, but there's a quick five minute read I want you to have a look at, especially now that you've seen how a typical atheist/theist debate goes, complete with the atheist cursing and calling the theist a retard.

Anyway, Simmo, fare thee well in your quest, and I hope it's at least been entertaining, if not enlightening. Hope to see you posting again soon! REV, catch you on the next debate.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Yes I'm still watching. I

Yes I'm still watching. I still have a lot more questions, particularly for the Christians, however I will wait for REVLyle to get back with his answer to the cancer question before I ask any more. It would also be good if Christians apart from REVLyle could come into the discussion.


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simmo wrote: Yes I'm still

simmo wrote:
Yes I'm still watching. I still have a lot more questions, particularly for the Christians, however I will wait for REVLyle to get back with his answer to the cancer question before I ask any more. It would also be good if Christians apart from REVLyle could come into the discussion.
Just sent out a post on another forum trying to help you out, simmo.


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I'm jumping in as a

I'm jumping in as a Christian way late.  Simmo, you can hit me with questions or pursue lines your already on.  This thread is massive and I haven't read anything but your intro and Ben's request for more Christians. 

One thought though: Christianity says God is a person.  You say you have faith.  Do you have faith in a person or just a concept?  A healthy Christian life requires BOTH. 

I'm putting your name down on my prayer list for what its worth. 


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Thanks for coming into the

Thanks for coming into the discussion Extant1. To answer your question, my faith has always been in the person of Jesus, believing him to have been God in human form who lived on the earth. This is one of the things that is causing me great difficulty, as I had always believed that there was plenty of evidence for the historical Jesus and the fact that he was a person who lived was not in doubt - the main question for us all was whether he was God or not. However my researching so far shows there is in fact very little evidence for his existence outside of the gospels, which as I'm sure you are aware were written well after his life on earth. It appears that there were numererous writers in his time and region who make no mention of Jesus, which seems unusual if he was making the impact that the gospels suggest that he was. Therefore I am questioning the historical accuracy of the Jesus story, and if he didn't actually live on earth, then he wasn't crucified and resurrected and Christianity pretty much falls apart.
I'll ask you a couple of questions that I have posed so far to see what your thoughts are -- I have great trouble with the concept of hell being an eternal punishment, which does not truly seem to be true justice for what we have done in a finite lifetime.What do you think about this?- You said you would pray for me - another difficulty I have is with whether God does answer prayer. What evidence do you really see of that?
I have plenty more to throw at you (and no doubt others will too) so if you are prepared for the ride I look forward to discussing my faith with you.


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simmo wrote: Yes I'm still

simmo wrote:
Yes I'm still watching. I still have a lot more questions, particularly for the Christians, however I will wait for REVLyle to get back with his answer to the cancer question before I ask any more. It would also be good if Christians apart from REVLyle could come into the discussion.

It has been a long week and I am glad tht I can now sit down and respond to your question Simmo.  Before I do that I want to address a couple of things.  There is simply no way to respond to all who disagree with me but I do want to clear up a few things.

Archeopteryx wrote:

I also seriously doubt that most credible historians accept that the story of Jesus is absolutely true, but I'll admit that I haven't seen any actual statistics on that, but if you can link some, that would be interesting to see.

I've seen other statistics that show that the scientific and intellectual elite in the country are primarily atheistic, with a small group of agnostic theists. I'm sure you wouldn't like my source for that though.

Believe it or not I actually do agree with you that the vast majority of people in the world do NOT believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  My issue is that while they do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that Jesus did miracles (healed the sick and rose from the dead) the vast majority of people DO believe the Jesus was a real person.  It is that FACT that Christ-mythers simply refuse to accept.  There are extra-biblical sources (I am aware that Christ-mythers attempt to cast doubt on even those) and the vast majority of historians believe the Jesus Christ was a real person and that he walked this earth.  I have even cited one here who is an atheist.  He does not adhere to all the extra-biblical accounts but even he admits that there is more than enough evidence to support that Jesus was a real person.

triften wrote:

Inspired the writing of? Or wrote himself? Is it the "Word of God" or the writings inspired by?

Also, so I have this straight, Jesus is god... so he was god before he was born... and returned to heaven after he died. So he was god and is god now... so what did he sacrifice?

Concerning the Word of God, it was inspired and it was written by God.  God simply used the authors to write the Bible.  Every word in the Bible was inspired by God.  The Bible is the Word of God.  If I tell my son to write a paragraph and he writes exactly what I tell him to write, who is the author.  He gets the credit for writing it, but I am the author - In the Bible we have Matthew, John, Paul, James, etc. . . but God is the author of the Bible.

Concerning the sacrifice - are you simply saying that the only sacrifice is a perpetual one?  If I say that it is a sacrifice to pay for my son's college - does that mean that after I pay all the costs - I continue to pay???  The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was a sufficient payment for the sins of mankind.  It is not a perpetual payment.  Once it was paid in full, there was no need to continue paying.

 

Simmo wrote:

Another problem that has come to mind with the general Christian concept of who and how one gets into heaven or hell is this - Christians usually believe that young children are not sent to hell if they die because they have not reached the 'age of reason', being of an age where they can understand and make a decision to be a Christian. So on this basis say a 3 year old would go to heaven if they died, but if that child died at say 16 years old they would be judged and go to heaven or hell dependent upon their decision to be a Christian or not. So then if our eternal happiness or punishment rests on this, how should a Christian parent react if their 3 year old contracts cancer? If they seek medical treatment, the child recovers, lives to 16 and then dies but has not decided to be a Christian then they are going to hell (most likely, according to generally accepted Christian thinking). However had they not sought treatment for the cancer and the child dies as a 3 year old, then the child is assured of going to heaven. So by having the child cured of their cancer they are taking a risk with the child's eternal fate if they do not become a Christian in later life. Therefore the best thing to do for the sick child is to let them die. This to me seems a logical progression of thought when looking at heaven/hell concepts, however that obviously flies in the face of what should be the right thing to do. Thoughts on this? I hope I've explained my thought process well enough.

Certainly a complex question and not one to be answered in a couple of sentences. 

What I believe you are asking is "Do all infants go to heaven?"  The answer to your question is simply, the Bible does not tell us this.  The biggest problem that many have is that people such as myself are considered cruel by not saying - "Sure, they all go to heaven."  I am not a cruel person.  I am a father of three children.  I pray for them and I hope that they also believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I cannot force them into that belief and I do not try.  I simply tell them what I believe to be true.  They will have the freedom to accept or reject the truth of Jesus Christ and they will either enjoy heaven after they die or they will endure hell.  I certainly want my children with me, but that is not up to me.

So what do I base my belief upon, the Bible of course.  The reality of life is that even when we are born we are not "innocent."  R.C. Sproul got it right when he said, "We are not sinners because we sin.  We sin because we are sinners."  So do infants deserve to go to hell - I would answer that by saying that ALL mankind deserves to go to hell, and yet God had mercy upon us and sent His Son to die in our place.  I would be neglectful to not mention one other aspect of your question.  There is one example of a child dying at an early age and his father proclaiming that he will see his child again.  This can be seen in 2 Samuel 12:23 - this story is about King David and the death of his child with Bathsheba.

Your question has to do with the issue of helping a child overcome disease and then . . . what if later in life they reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hamby then takes your question to the extreme and decides that the only logical thing for Christians to do is abort all babies.  The real issue here is the sovereignty of God.  Let me see if I can explain. 

1.  When a couple has a child that is a gift from God.  The baby is not something that should be killed because we do not like the timing, or because it is inconvenient.  I will not debate the "scientific" issues of if the child is a "clump of cells" or a "human being."  The issue is that even though a man and a woman decide to have sex, God determines when that sex results in a pregnancy.  To abort the baby is in essence to over ride God decision for human life.

2.  Who goes to heaven and who doesn't.  That is not up to us either.  Many people who post on this website understand as I do that if you believe - they cannot make you an unbeliever and if you do not believe, I cannot make you believe.  The reason that unbelievers do not believe in Jesus Christ is that God has not called him into a relationship AND they do not want to believe.  It is both.  Let me see if I can explain.  If you and I were to meet.  You can either attempt to get to know me or you can ignore me.  That is totally upon you.  ALSO even if you attempt to get to know me, only I can allow you to know me.  I can open up and let you know the real REVLyle or I can simply allow you to know nothing at all about me.  The exact same is true about God.  It is very arrogant for us to think that we can FORCE an outcome for our children.  No Christian would murder his or her child, thinking that in essence they would guarantee an eternal place for their child.  THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE IN SCRIPTURE THAT WOULD SUPPORT THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR.

Simmo, a person's eternal destination is between that person and God.  No one else has control over that decision.  Many times I get questions like, "What about the guy in Africa who doesn't hear about Jesus?" or "What about people who are born with a mental disorder?"  Let me conclude with this.  I believe in a great, righteous, merciful, and just God.  I do not know the answer to all those questions.  I DO KNOW that God is all those things I said to describe Him and more.  Because that is the God I serve I know that when it comes to all those tough situations He will deal with them as a God of mercy, a God of righteousness, and a just God.  The question that you, me, and all those reading this post is, "We do have the mental capacity to understand this about God and we have heard the Gospel (It is at the end of each of my posts) and what do we do with it?"  If you reject it . . . eternity in hell is in your future.  If you accept it . . . eternity in heaven awaits you.

I am not sure if there is something more specific that you wanted me to answer.  If so, then simply ask.  I hope that you are seeking God with all your heart and I hope that God is opening up to reveal more of Himself to you. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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REVLyle wrote: Concerning

REVLyle wrote:

Concerning the Word of God, it was inspired and it was written by God. God simply used the authors to write the Bible. Every word in the Bible was inspired by God. The Bible is the Word of God. If I tell my son to write a paragraph and he writes exactly what I tell him to write, who is the author. He gets the credit for writing it, but I am the author - In the Bible we have Matthew, John, Paul, James, etc. . . but God is the author of the Bible.

 

How do you know it is inspired by God?

REVLyle wrote:

Concerning the sacrifice - are you simply saying that the only sacrifice is a perpetual one? If I say that it is a sacrifice to pay for my son's college - does that mean that after I pay all the costs - I continue to pay??? The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was a sufficient payment for the sins of mankind. It is not a perpetual payment. Once it was paid in full, there was no need to continue paying.

I'm just wondering what he sacrificed. He's god before, he's god during, he doesn't really die, and he's god after. What did he sacrifice? If you pay for your kids to go for college but have just as much money after as you did before, what did you actually pay?

-Triften 


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REVLyle, you said  "No

REVLyle, you said  "No Christian would murder his or her child, thinking that in essence they would guarantee an eternal place for their child".
I am not suggesting murder at all, but rather trying to point out where things don't make sense in what most Christians seem to believe about hell and who goes there. If medical attention is not sought and we rely on God to heal or not, is that murder? Is that showing faith in God to heal? If the child dies, do we put that down to God's will? If we accept the generally held view that a child who lacks sufficient understanding to make a decision to accept or reject Jesus will go to heaven, then surely the most merciful thing we can do is let that child die rather than risk the chance of them going to hell by living to an 'age of understanding'. 
Please understand that I am not advocating this course of action and fully believe we should seek medical assistance when required - I am trying to point out where Christian understanding of heaven and hell is at odds with what should be the right thing to do.


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simmo wrote:REVLyle, you

simmo wrote:
REVLyle, you said  "No Christian would murder his or her child, thinking that in essence they would guarantee an eternal place for their child".
I am not suggesting murder at all, but rather trying to point out where things don't make sense in what most Christians seem to believe about hell and who goes there. If medical attention is not sought and we rely on God to heal or not, is that murder? Is that showing faith in God to heal? If the child dies, do we put that down to God's will? If we accept the generally held view that a child who lacks sufficient understanding to make a decision to accept or reject Jesus will go to heaven, then surely the most merciful thing we can do is let that child die rather than risk the chance of them going to hell by living to an 'age of understanding'. 
Please understand that I am not advocating this course of action and fully believe we should seek medical assistance when required - I am trying to point out where Christian understanding of heaven and hell is at odds with what should be the right thing to do.

 My response to murder was simply to Hamby's idea that one should abort their child in order to guarantee salvation.  Again, you and I are not able to decide who goes to heaven and who doesn't.  That is not up to us.

 What I believe you are asking is that "If God wills that a child (or anyone for that matter) is to die through sickness, and we believe in the sovereignty of God then to try to save or heal that person would put us at odds against God."  AGAIN - that is what I believe you are asking - correct me if I am wrong.

The first thing that I would do in connection to your question is this - look at scripture.  In order to answer your question I would simply look at scripture.  We know for a fact that Jesus healed people AND we know that some of those people were children.  So was Jesus, God the Son, in opposition to God the Father.  The answer is no.  For instance we have in scripture that Jesus heals a blind man and the apostles ask him - who sinned - did he sin or did his parents sin.  This goes back to the thought that if you did something wrong then God would punish you and if you did right, you would be blessed.  Here is Jesus' response:

 John 9 - 1As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

 When it comes to diseases I not only believe that God is in control of disease but He is in control of research into that disease.  The day that a cure comes for cancer . . . I will tell you what will happen and I will tell you what should happen.  Man will take credit and tell you that it is the advancement of science that created the cure.  The truth is, God should be praise and glorified for showing us the cure.  Sometimes God's gives us the cures through science and sometimes it is simply miracles.  You asked several people about that and included does God answer prayers.  There was a woman in our church who was diagnosed with cancer.  The doctors told her she would die and they could do nothing for her.  The church prayed for her and today she is living cancer free.  She was healed by God.  Science can not take any credit for what happened.  God got all the glory and all the praise.

I will also tell you that I know of a teenager who had cancer and she was healed.  She was in the hospital for 6 months and to this day if you ask her why she is alive she will tell you that God healed her.  WHAT ABOUT OTHERS IN THE HOSPITAL WITH HER??? Great Question.  Some did not make it.  It is not as if we can simply throw out God's will because we have science.  If we seek help in curing a child and we give the child the best that we have, if it is God's will that this child will die - the child will still die.  If we do nothing - maybe the doctor says that nothing can be done and it is God's will that the child lives - the child will live.  God's will, will be done.  When God wanted to raise up Pharaoh to enslave His people - He did it.  When God wanted to bring forth Moses to save His people - He did it. 

Should you and I seek medical attention for our children - sure we should.  If after seeking medical attention my child dies - then I certainly mourn because I will miss my child, but I know that God is in control.  If I seek medical attention and my child lives - I do all that I can to lead them to a relationship with Christ knowing that even then, they were saved by God through medicine - It was God's will.  BUT God will do with them as He wants.  He is the Potter, we are simply the clay.  EVEN IF MY CHILD DECIDES TO REBEL AGAINST GOD, I certainly do not look back and think, "If only I would have let them die at an early age."  I am simply a human.  I do not have the authority to manipulate salvation.  I do not have the ability force my will upon mankind - including my children. 

We must remember that God is in control of salvation.  We do not decide for our children.  Even when they are under our authority, how we address health and sickness does not change who is in control of live, death, and salvation.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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REVLyle wrote: What I

REVLyle wrote:

 What I believe you are asking is that "If God wills that a child (or anyone for that matter) is to die through sickness, and we believe in the sovereignty of God then to try to save or heal that person would put us at odds against God."  AGAIN - that is what I believe you are asking - correct me if I am wrong.


I'm still obviously not explaining myself clearly enough. I am not trying to look at whether we should or should not seek medical treatment or rely on God to heal, I am simply trying to get across a point about where Christian thinking on heaven and hell is at odds with what we would generally see as the right thing to do, which is seek medical help. I will try again in question form for you - - Do you believe a child that dies at a young age (say 3)and not having sufficient understanding to make a decision to become a Christian) would go to heaven or hell?- If that child lives to say 18, and has the capacity to make a decision to be a Christian but chooses not to, would they go to heaven or hell?- If you answer heaven to the first question and hell to the next, then is it not then logical to think that it is better for that child to die young and be assured of heaven rather than grow up and be at risk of eternal punishment?
I can't think how else to word this. Perhaps someone else who gets the point I am trying to make can help me and REVLyle out.


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simmo wrote: I can't think

simmo wrote:
I can't think how else to word this. Perhaps someone else who gets the point I am trying to make can help me and REVLyle out.

Simmo, your wording is fine for me. I'm pretty sure I'm following you on your point.

 

-Triften 


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simmo wrote:REVLyle

simmo wrote:
REVLyle wrote:

 What I believe you are asking is that "If God wills that a child (or anyone for that matter) is to die through sickness, and we believe in the sovereignty of God then to try to save or heal that person would put us at odds against God."  AGAIN - that is what I believe you are asking - correct me if I am wrong.


I'm still obviously not explaining myself clearly enough. I am not trying to look at whether we should or should not seek medical treatment or rely on God to heal, I am simply trying to get across a point about where Christian thinking on heaven and hell is at odds with what we would generally see as the right thing to do, which is seek medical help. I will try again in question form for you - - Do you believe a child that dies at a young age (say 3)and not having sufficient understanding to make a decision to become a Christian) would go to heaven or hell?- If that child lives to say 18, and has the capacity to make a decision to be a Christian but chooses not to, would they go to heaven or hell?- If you answer heaven to the first question and hell to the next, then is it not then logical to think that it is better for that child to die young and be assured of heaven rather than grow up and be at risk of eternal punishment?
I can't think how else to word this. Perhaps someone else who gets the point I am trying to make can help me and REVLyle out.

Seeking medical help IS NOT at odds with our view on Heaven and Hell.  As I said before, "God's will, will be done." 

The answer to your first question:  Will a young child go to heaven or hell if they die at a young age.  We cannot say for sure.  The Bible does not have a passage to specifically tell us this.  We must look at scripture and I have already shown you the passage from 2 Sam.  David states that he will go to his little one and we know that David was a man after God's own heart..  Therefore, one must believe that his child was in heaven.  We are not told in scripture that all babies will be in heaven.  We are not told that they are not.  It is upon this point that people have different beliefs.  I do not know.  I do know that I serve a just and merciful God and He does what is right.

The answer to your second question:  If a person lives long enough to understand right from wrong and chooses to reject God, will they go to heaven or hell.  They will go to hell.  They reject the Savior.  This is no different than you rejecting the hand of someone trying to save you from drowning.  If you reject it, you die.

The answer to your third question:  Is it better that the young child die and go to heaven rather than grow up and risk going to hell.  What you are asking is a narrow view point question and one that requires omniscience, which none of us have.  That belongs to God.  This answer takes more than a yes or no answer. 

1.  Why is it narrow in thinking????  Let's go to scripture.  When we think about our world, all of us tend to have such a narrow view, both Christians and non-Christians.  We think about ourselves and what we want and what we desire.  This is something that the Christian should begin to get out of because our view should become more God-centered rather than self-centered.  What do I mean by this?  The Christian's prayer should be, demonstated by Jesus, "God's will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."  The most important thing in life is not what we want, but rather what God wants.  The Christian understands that everything, all that is created, belongs to God, even our children.  We have been entrusted with them and that is all, but they are not ours.  Even when it comes to our children, God's will be done.  So where does scripture take this into account.  The passaage out of John 9 that I quoted before is one place.  I am sure there were times that the man who was born blind thought, WHY ME?  I am sure his parents thought, WHY US, WHY HIM?  AND YET in all of that God's will was that he would be given sight by Jesus on that appointed day so that God may be given Glory.  I am sure all the mothers in Egypt thought WHY US, when all the first born were killed by God in the 10th plague.  Are they in heaven?????? I do not know.  But I will tell you this - God tells us in scripture that HE did it so that all of Egypt and Israel would see His power and strength.  Would it have been better for Pharaoh to have died at an early age and go to heaven (which again, WE DO NOT KNOW) than to oppose God.  Well, let's look at scripture...

Romans 9:10-23 - 10And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

 14What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

 19You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—  

As I said before, God is in control of Salvation.  Why do you think I am so loyal and grateful to God.  I did nothing to be saved.  God chose me as a child of God.  It is not because I am good, it is because God has mercy on me. 

2.  Why does your question require omniscience - because none of us know what God's plan is concerning our children.  It may be that God is going to take them at an early age and save them from the things of this world.  It may be that he is going to raise them up to be a great evangelist and it is through that child that thousands would come to know Jesus Christ.  It may be that God is going to raise them up to oppose Him so that His glory might be displayed when He crushes them - so that all may know that he is a great and mighty God.  You and I cannot know these things.  I certainly do not want to think of my kids serving in the latter purpose.  I hope and pray that God also calls them into a relationship and that they may know this great God that I love and serve. - But God's will be done.

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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REVLyle wrote: I do know

REVLyle wrote:

I do know that I serve a just and merciful God and He does what is right.

Doesn't being merciful involve handing down a lighter punishment than what would fit the crime?

Doesn't being just involve handing down a punishment that does fit the crime?

How can someone be just AND merciful at the same time?

-Triften 


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What Simmo is saying is

What Simmo is saying is better illustrated using someone who already knows they are going to heaven. If this is the case, why fear death at all? In fact, if being in heaven with your god is so great, you should be happy if you get a chance to die early.

Quote:

The most important thing in life is not what we want, but rather what God wants.

This really isn't the case, no matter what is written in the Bible or what you think your god said. The reason is, you personally decide for yourself if your god has the right to do anything based on your personal desires:

Quote:

 Why do you think I am so loyal and grateful to God.  I did nothing to be saved.  God chose me as a child of God.  It is not because I am good, it is because God has mercy on me.

Exactly!!! Why are you loyal to God? Because he has mercy on you. God has given you an incentive to obey by appealing to your wants. Might makes right, huh? So we should sell our loyalty to the highest bidder?

Quote:

  I certainly do not want to think of my kids serving in the latter purpose.  I hope and pray that God also calls them into a relationship and that they may know this great God that I love and serve. - But God's will be done.

What is great about your god? You say you are loyal because you have his mercy, which is pretty much like saying you'd serve Hitler or Saddam Hussein if they spared you from torture. All you've done with your god is bump the threat of torture up to an eternal amount.

Wake up! You believe in an imaginary terrorist. If your god wasn't able to scare you into compliance, I doubt you would still obey.

"God's will, will be done", you say. So, if anyone goes to hell, it is God's will, and nobody has a choice-- for if God's will is for them to obey and go to heaven, then God's will must be done, and no one would go to hell. So basically, you love a god who wants people to suffer eternally and gives them no other choice.

 


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Quote: Believe it or not I

Quote:
Believe it or not I actually do agree with you that the vast majority of people in the world do NOT believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  My issue is that while they do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that Jesus did miracles (healed the sick and rose from the dead) the vast majority of people DO believe the Jesus was a real person.  It is that FACT that Christ-mythers simply refuse to accept.  There are extra-biblical sources (I am aware that Christ-mythers attempt to cast doubt on even those) and the vast majority of historians believe the Jesus Christ was a real person and that he walked this earth.  I have even cited one here who is an atheist.  He does not adhere to all the extra-biblical accounts but even he admits that there is more than enough evidence to support that Jesus was a real person.

Okay, so supposing that Jesus was a real person who actually walked the earth at one point. What foundation does this give for the Christian faith? Is the Christian faith not based on the events of the Jesus story?

I know this has been said before, but George Washington was a real person and we have overwhelming evidence that he actually did exist. Yet there are plenty of myths about him that are not true stories. They are just embellishments that reflect how he was perceived. Folk tales.

Even if one were to prove that a man named Jesus really did exist, what does that do for Christianity?

I still have some doubt about your claim that "most historians believe he was a real person", but I won't argue with you on that point since it's not something I can claim to have read into. I have my doubts, but for all I know, you could be right. I'll leave it to someone else to argue with you (or not) on that point.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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I do know that I serve a



I do know that I serve a just and merciful God and He does what is right.

 


This is one of thethings that I am having great difficulty with. How is eternal punishment truly justice for what we do or do not do during our finite life on earth? If I steal a pencil and am sent to prison for 50 years, is that justice or excessive punishment that does not fit the crime? I am sure you will come back with something along the lines that we are all sinners and are therefore deserving the wrath of God, but honestly, if you really think about this, is it truly justice for those that do not accept Christ to burn in hell forever? How is it right for God to have allowed billions to be born into this world, knowing that they would go to hell for eternity upon their death? That's not the actions of a good and merciful God. 


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Objectivity over

Objectivity over subjectivity:

After reading this thread Simmo I have some concerns on how you have decided to tackle your view of Christianity and moreover God. 

I see that you seek the opinions of Christians on difficult issues that emerge from religious doctrine. This approach is not as fruitful as examining your own ideas in a rational manner. I am worried that you are after some form of reinforcement on the truthfulness of Christian teachings. This is tantamount to wishful thinking. Are you looking for a way to rationalize a desired world view?

The opinions you acquire from Christians are by their nature subjective and when thorny issues are pressed the same sort of responses will come forth. This is evident in the manner in which RevLyle fleshes out his replies ultimately trying to avoid the stark reality, which is that he does not know what will happen when children die but he trusts in God to do the right thing (and God can only do the right thing!).

There is no deeper verification for the Christian belief it is merely communal faith in the words of the Bible and the unfounded pious gentry. I mean by this that there are no nifty, backed up answers to the concerns you put forward.

I implore you to try a different tact to ascertain your attitude towards God - a more objective approach.

It has been voiced that the stories of the Bible are comparable to myths such as those around Santa Claus and in the Greek legends. A very simple way to check the veracity of a tale is to break down all the evidence into hearsay and fact.

With this in mind I urge you to create some lists as long or as empty as you like:

In the first write down what you know to be true about God as an entity.

In the second write down the characteristics you are told or read about God.

The third relates back to the notion that a story is somehow embellished like in many myths, here I suggest you write a list of characteristics that would be pleasing to have in a God (I use God here to mean an entity that has ultimate power over humanity).

 I hope you will perform this little task even if it is just in your head but would really appreciate you to post the results (or anybody else for that matter). I trust you to come to your own conclusions and do not intend to push any opinion.

That being said...If there did exist an entity, like my Mother, who had ultimate power over me I would most certainly be fearful of such a creation and hope that its judgement would be on the whole fair and even swayed by some form of intimate ties. If I find there is a God I hope that is She.

 

 

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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REVLyle wrote: 2. Why

REVLyle wrote:

2. Why does your question require omniscience - because none of us know what God's plan is concerning our children. It may be that God is going to take them at an early age and save them from the things of this world. It may be that he is going to raise them up to be a great evangelist and it is through that child that thousands would come to know Jesus Christ. It may be that God is going to raise them up to oppose Him so that His glory might be displayed when He crushes them - so that all may know that he is a great and mighty God. You and I cannot know these things. I certainly do not want to think of my kids serving in the latter purpose. I hope and pray that God also calls them into a relationship and that they may know this great God that I love and serve. - But God's will be done.

I am horrified that there are people that believe this. So if God choses to:

    a. kill your child young and the child goes to heaven

    b. let your child grow up and have a good life and then go to heaven

    c. send your child young or old to hell for one reason or another

the action is still moral, just and merciful? And all this because he is "great and mighty"? 

So God is the ultimate tyrant. Ultimate power to do what he wants and whatever he does is right because he says so. 

And all you do is grovel in fear and prayer to appease this tyrant to show mercy to you?

 

Now I understand the joy of ex-Christians that are relieved that such a nightmare religion is not real.

I'm too angry and upset to continue this post. I wish you the best of luck in waking up and realizing it's all made up to instill fear and control you.

A mystic is someone who wants to understand the universe, but is too lazy to study physics.


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Here's another thought,

Here's another thought, Simmo: Why are you only worried about the Christian beliefs? What about other religions? Are you focusing on Christianity just because it's the most popular religion? Just because most of the people around you believe in it? Well, just because a lot of people believe in something doesn't make it true, or even more probable to be true. I recommend doing some historical research on how Christianity become so prominent. What you'll find is that Christianity was forced down people's throats over time, opposing beliefs or ways of thought were suppressed with torture or killing, and entire cultures that had their own separate religious beliefs were murdered or taken into slavery. The proponents of Christianity basically killed their way into the top spot. You've gotta ask yourself, if it had been any other religious group that managed to kill off the Christians and the other religions, would you then believe in their beliefs today?

There are some Americans who look down on theocratic governments, who despise the suppresion of women and the extreme violence in the name of religion in other countries. But just remember, America was once one of those countries.


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Fateless7 wrote: Here's

Fateless7 wrote:

Here's another thought, Simmo: Why are you only worried about the Christian beliefs? What about other religions? Are you focusing on Christianity just because it's the most popular religion? Just because most of the people around you believe in it? Well, just because a lot of people believe in something doesn't make it true, or even more probable to be true. I recommend doing some historical research on how Christianity become so prominent. What you'll find is that Christianity was forced down people's throats over time, opposing beliefs or ways of thought were suppressed with torture or killing, and entire cultures that had their own separate religious beliefs were murdered or taken into slavery. The proponents of Christianity basically killed their way into the top spot. You've gotta ask yourself, if it had been any other religious group that managed to kill off the Christians and the other religions, would you then believe in their beliefs today?

There are some Americans who look down on theocratic governments, who despise the suppresion of women and the extreme violence in the name of religion in other countries. But just remember, America was once one of those countries.

Because what you have written is such nonsense, even this little amount of effort given to it is a waste of my time.  You might want to go back and do a little more study in history.  First, where did the Jews come from?  Did they rise up and power from nowhere or were they enslaved and killed and have they been even in this century - YES?  As far as Christianity. . . let me see . . . were they tortured and killed.  I believe burned at the stake happened.  EVEN TODAY - Christians are killed for their faith.  I would be more than happy to prove this if needed.  It is amazing how you have rewritten history.  Have people done awful things in the name of Jesus Christ - yes they have.  I am ashamed at some of the things that have been done in the name of God, but I do not try to act like it never happened.  You have painted a very unreal picture of Christianity.  There have been centuries of people who have gone to their death simply because they had faith in Jesus Christ.  You are very dishonest in your presentation and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Christians have more often been the hunted than the hunter.    You should move up to some grown up history books.

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


Fateless7
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REVLyle wrote:Because

REVLyle wrote:

Because what you have written is such nonsense, even this little amount of effort given to it is a waste of my time.  You might want to go back and do a little more study in history.  First, where did the Jews come from?  Did they rise up and power from nowhere or were they enslaved and killed and have they been even in this century - YES?  As far as Christianity. . . let me see . . . were they tortured and killed.  I believe burned at the stake happened.  EVEN TODAY - Christians are killed for their faith.  I would be more than happy to prove this if needed.  It is amazing how you have rewritten history.  Have people done awful things in the name of Jesus Christ - yes they have.  I am ashamed at some of the things that have been done in the name of God, but I do not try to act like it never happened.  You have painted a very unreal picture of Christianity.  There have been centuries of people who have gone to their death simply because they had faith in Jesus Christ.  You are very dishonest in your presentation and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Christians have more often been the hunted than the hunter.    You should move up to some grown up history books.

History books grow up? Holy pancakes! You mean I can have a history book as a pet now, feed it, nurture it, teach it tricks and watch it grow up into an adult history book? Where was this going on when I was in school?? I feel so ripped off!

You say Christians have more often been the hunted than the hunter. Then... how did Christians take over an entire country? I suppose the Native Indians just said, "Hey man, it's cool, we'll convert if you tell us to. Our beliefs weren't that important to us anyway!"

I didn't rewrite history. All you're saying is, "Hey! Some Christians died too!" And most of the Christians who did die were killed by other Christians.

For example, Hitler was a Christian. He simply disagreed with the other branches of Christianity.

Quote:

Acclaimed Hitler biographer, John Toland, explains his heartlessness as follows: "Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god..."

There's nothing wrong with my observation of history. All you are saying amounts to this: Christians killed their way to the top-- and then started killing each other.

Quote:

You are very dishonest in your presentation and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. 

Shame is a tool of your religion, used to guilt people into believing a fairy tale. No thanks.

As I've demonstrated, your claims do not contradict mine in any way. I am asking Simmo if he knows how Christianity became the dominant religion. You can say that Christians have been persecuted, but this doesn't change the fact that Christians killed their way to the top.


Fateless7
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For you, Rev

By the way, have a look at this:

Quote:

"Here I merely want to suggest briefly that although Christians stood in formal, official disrepute for much of the first three centuries, informally they were free to do pretty much as they wished, in most places, most of the time.

As was established in the previous chapter, dreadful as the persecutions were, they were infrequent and involved very few people. Hence the early Christians may have faced some degree of social stigma but little actual repression. Henry Chadwick reported that when a Roman governor in Asia Minor began a persecution of Christians during the second century, "the entire Christian population of the region paraded before his house as a manifesto of their faith and as a protest against injustice" (1967:55). The more significant part of this story is not that the Christians had the nerve to protest, but that they went unpunished.

In similar fashion, archaeological evidence shows that from very early days, house churches were clearly identifiable--the neighbors would have been entirely aware that these were Christian gathering places (White 1990). In addition, soon many Christians began to take names that were distinctively Christian--scholars have no difficulty identifying them as such today (Bagnall 1993), and surely non-Christians in antiquity were sufficiently perceptive to have done so too. Funerary inscriptions also often bore clearly Christian identifications (Meyers 1988; Finegan 1992).

That Christians were not a secret sect is, of course, patent in the fact that they grew. If a group is to attract outside members, potential converts must, at the very least, be able to find it. Moreover, for a group to grow as rapidly as Christians did, it must maintain close ties to nonmembers--it must remain an open network. Thus had Roman repression been so consistent and severe that the Christians actually had become a hidden underground movement, this book would not have been written. A truly underground Christianity would have remained insignificant...."

From Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity pp.196-215 (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ) 1996


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Fateless7 wrote: For

Fateless7 wrote:

For example, Hitler was a Christian. He simply disagreed with the other branches of Christianity.

 

There's a problem with your observation. Hitler didn't do it because he was Christian. He derived his motives from Nazism, not Christianity. He equated Jews with Communists for example.