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The Freedom Of The Atheist Options
Dreamy
Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2015 7:40:20 PM

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According to Wikipedia:
"The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is an American non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin with members from all 50 states. The largest national organization advocating for non-theists, FFRF promotes the separation of church and state and educates the public on matters relating to atheism, agnosticism, and nontheism."

My opinion as previously expressed, is that such zealous opposition to religion is itself religious.

In my opinion the freedom of theist, agnostic, atheist and nontheist to believe what they will is to be desired, and it is an evil thing to force a person against their will to confess a belief they do not hold.

But if the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ persuades a person to become His disciple then how much freedom should the atheist have in opposing that preaching?

Every freedom!!!

If a Christ-follower is tested and found unable to withstand opposition hell-bent on forcing their rejection of any revelation and reality that Jesus Christ was God Incarnate, that He suffered, died, was buried and rose again on the third day, and that He ascended to heaven all for the purpose of saving the sinner from firstly the power to sin, secondly the presence of sin, and thirdly the penalty for sin, then let them depart from the faith.

The atheist must have the freedom to test the faith of the disciple of Christ, I would have it no other way.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2015 9:09:19 PM

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I think most believers and non-believers could get along fine, but the problem is that there are too many on each side that are hell-bent, as you say, in thinking they have to disabuse the other side of their convictions.

As I said in another post, we are the people of today, and how we treat one another is what is important now, not what our ancestors did. Unfortunately, there are too many who wish to hang onto the past and relive the wrongs committed there.

Our societies in the West are based on the Judeo-Christian philosophy, and that fact cannot be erased, though many would like to do so. Those who have had some success in pushing the church back from the secular world are encouraged by that success, and have no desire to stop.

As with all movements, whether political or religious, enough is never enough. Just as the church thought its mission was to convert the whole of the Earth's population, so too do these non-believers think their mission is to eradicate religious beliefs entirely, and thus, the battle lines are drawn. It doesn't help that there are religious fanatics slaughtering people in the name of their God in the Middle East. This will only further entrench both camps. We are all in for a rough ride, I suspect.
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015 5:13:15 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
According to Wikipedia:
"The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is an American non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin with members from all 50 states. The largest national organization advocating for non-theists, FFRF promotes the separation of church and state and educates the public on matters relating to atheism, agnosticism, and nontheism."

My opinion as previously expressed, is that such zealous opposition to religion is itself religious.


While the zeal of some atheists may be as strong as the zeal of some believers, it is rather a stretch to call atheist zeal 'religious'.

I am a born-again atheist but, like many who have no faith in a divine being, I have no wish to promote atheist teaching in schools. I believe that promotion of belief or non-belief in a deity should play no part in any state policy, including the school curriculum.

My opposition, for example to 'equal rights' to present Intelligent Design in science lessons is not based on atheist principes; it is based on the fact that ID is not science. I also believe that any science teacher who claimed that the theory of evolution was proof that there was no god is a bad scientist. The teaching of neither atheism nor belief in a god have any place in a science lesson - or indeed in any other lesson at school.

If some atheists see to go over the top at times, it is because of the power that still seems to reside in the churches. In England and Wales, for example, the law states that every school day must begin with an act of collective worship. The taxes I pay go towards The salaries of teachers in denominational schools. A number of Church of England bishops sit in one of our legislative chambers. The parliamentary day begins with prayers. These are just some of the examples that make some of us us atheists zealous in our opposition to state promotion of religion.
.
Absinthius
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015 5:52:19 AM

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Freedom from religion is a right, just as much as freedom of religion is. That means that the non-religious should not be forced to adhere to religious standards. For example, a few years ago it came out that in my country many schools had switched exclusively to halal meat, to accomodate their islamic students. They failed, however, to inform their students of this decision.

I am aware that this sounds rather petty, but it does take away the conscious choice that an atheist may desire to make to not participate in religious practices.

Another example are 'special schools' for religious groups. Apart from tax exemption (what's up with that?..), they promote segregation. I come from an area in which there are two middle schools, a christian one and an 'open' one. The result is social segregation - the christian one refuses practically all non-white applicants. They can, as long as they base it on religion. This results in there being a white christian school and an ethnic school for the rest.

This can only happen under the flag of religion, it is obvious to everyone that any other criterium that would result in this is blatantly racist and illegal. As long as these practices are still commonplace, the 'zealous' atheist movement has a place. It doesnt strife for the propagation of an atheist agenda (if such a thing even exists), it fights for secularism and equal treatment for everyone. Religion should not play a role in deciding what rules and laws apply for what people.
will
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015 12:31:53 PM
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Absinthius wrote:

I am aware that this sounds rather petty, but it does take away the conscious choice that an atheist may desire to make to not participate in religious practices.

Petty only if you have no regard for animal welfare. I'm actually not that big on animal rights, but I'd sooner put the limitation of animal suffering or distress above some ancient superstitious ritual.

I was at a conference recently where it was proudly announced that all meat was halal. This caused a bit of a stir, but we were reassured that halal slaughter methods had been 'improved' to meet humane standards.

The contrarian in me was then annoyed that even daft superstitions aren't sacred; if you're going to have a silly ritual, at least have the integrity to stick to your principles...

Dreamy, I'm sure you won't see it like this, but all of our lives are effected by the action of others. A great many of those believe they are guided by voices in their head. Neither you or I tolerate what might loosely be called 'fanaticism'; for some of us who don't 'entertain' the supernatural, it hard not to see all forms of theism as part of the same whole.
Teluu
Posted: Saturday, June 6, 2015 4:23:01 PM

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Atheists don't worship deities you call god. The whole bible is fallacy written by tyrants. If religion is from god it wouldn't have been forced on mankind! If the Bible is true, then these conditions are real and verifiable outside of the Bible:

The universe is only six thousand years old, dinosaurs never existed, the world is flat and the earth is in the center of the universe, the Sun goes around the earth, demons, invisible spirits, ghosts, holy ghosts, demons, angels, snakes, bushes, and donkeys, can talk, virgin birth is possible, god and jesus live in the clouds above, prayer has secret powers over this god, miracles and blessing do occur, invisible souls can either be saved or unsaved, depending on what a person decides to believe in their heart, the heart is the center of all thought and emotion, people can talk to god and jesus with their heart, there is no such thing as a brain, people can be raised from the dead, people can walk on water, water can be turned into wine, 5000 people can easily be fed with two loaves and two fishes, only invisible jesus can save invisible souls, diseases are caused by demons, science is of the devil, a person can live in the belly of a whale for three days and nights, a whales’stomach acid has no effect upon humans.

Jesus prays to himself, his father which is also him, too??

Jesus and god are supposed to be one and the same, yet he asked on the cross, “My God, My God, Why Has Thou Forsaken Me?

All these are bible self-contradictory. BIBLE SHOULD BE IN A TRASH:

CovenantWord
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 9:58:55 PM

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Teluu wrote:
If religion is from god [sic] it wouldn't have been forced on mankind!

Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.
Wanderer
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 12:09:16 AM

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CovenantWord wrote:
Teluu wrote:
If religion is from god [sic] it wouldn't have been forced on mankind!

Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.



Covenant Word, I have a question. Let me preface it with my agreement that God doesn't violate man's free will but , religious people violate people's free will and feel righteous for it. Not forcing companies to recognize a woman's right to choose birth control is violating her free will. Where does God give Christian's the ability to violate rights that are "God-given?"
Absinthius
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 3:08:02 AM

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CovenantWord wrote:
Teluu wrote:
If religion is from god [sic] it wouldn't have been forced on mankind!

Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.


Yet if you disagree, you are punished for eternity with torture and everything. Your doctrine promotes everything BUT freedom. You cant eat shrimp work on some arbitrary days, women (who are apparently even less free than men) can't decide over their own bodies... If that is your kind of freedom, I want no part of it!
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 9:43:37 AM

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CovenantWord wrote:
Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.


This notion of man having free will within your interpretation of reality does not actually hold up. Besides the problems with the Biblical doctrine of predestination, which I realize some have what they consider valid arguments against, there is a more fundamental, inescapable problem.
God knows everything, is every where and every when, all of time exists within God, and he knows everything that happens throughout all of what we call time.

There were an infinite number of possible universes God could have created at the instant of creation, and at that instant of creation He would have known exactly who would be saved and who would be damned, so if even one of these folks were to change their mind, God would not have known everything, and would be imperfect, in other words, not God.

pedro
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 10:26:02 AM
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In a multiverse they would all be saved... (and damned for eternity too! You take your pick apparently.)
CovenantWord
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 9:37:53 PM

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Wanderer wrote:
Covenant Word, I have a question. Let me preface it with my agreement that God doesn't violate man's free will but , religious people violate people's free will and feel righteous for it. Not forcing companies to recognize a woman's right to choose birth control is violating her free will. Where does God give Christian's the ability to violate rights that are "God-given?"

Christian doctrine does not per se prohibit any birth control method that does not involve murder. Life is given by God.
CovenantWord
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 9:49:54 PM

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Absinthius wrote:
CovenantWord wrote:

Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.

Yet if you disagree, you are punished for eternity with torture and everything. Your doctrine promotes everything BUT freedom. You cant eat shrimp work on some arbitrary days, women (who are apparently even less free than men) can't decide over their own bodies... If that is your kind of freedom, I want no part of it!

Yes, an important implication of the doctrine of free will is that man is free to choose to separate himself from God in this life and for eternity. Man was created a moral free agent, and so if he wishes to condemn himself to the bondage of sin in this life and to an eternity of the wrath of God, he is free to do so, and many have made this choice.

Re: "You cant [sic] eat shrimp work on some arbitrary days": I'm not sure what this means.
CovenantWord
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 10:09:55 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
CovenantWord wrote:
Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.


This notion of man having free will within your interpretation of reality does not actually hold up. Besides the problems with the Biblical doctrine of predestination, which I realize some have what they consider valid arguments against, there is a more fundamental, inescapable problem.
God knows everything, is every where and every when, all of time exists within God, and he knows everything that happens throughout all of what we call time.

There were an infinite number of possible universes God could have created at the instant of creation, and at that instant of creation He would have known exactly who would be saved and who would be damned, so if even one of these folks were to change their mind, God would not have known everything, and would be imperfect, in other words, not God.

Yes, the doctrine of predestination is that, before the foundation of the world, including before the creation of time, God chose those whom He would redeem. Acting upon this choice, He established the means for that redemption, which only He can accomplish, not man himself.

"There were an infinite number of possible universes God could have created at the instant of creation." I'm not sure we are authorized to claim that, at least in an absolute sense. God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself. One could conceive of universes that would violate these limits.
tunaafi
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 1:24:45 AM

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CovenantWord wrote:
Yes, the doctrine of predestination is that, before the foundation of the world, including before the creation of time, God chose those whom He would redeem. Acting upon this choice, He established the means for that redemption, which only He can accomplish, not man himself.


Now that does seem to me to be rather perverse.

t also seems to imply a divine OK for crime. If your criminal was damned thousands of years before he was born, there is little point in his trying to live a good life.


Quote:
God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself.


And that seems sick.
pedro
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 5:03:09 AM
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I never eat shrimp on certain days. Does that mean I am to be condemned to an eternal damnation of pain and torment?
Dreamy
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 5:12:35 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
CovenantWord wrote:
Yes, the doctrine of predestination is that, before the foundation of the world, including before the creation of time, God chose those whom He would redeem. Acting upon this choice, He established the means for that redemption, which only He can accomplish, not man himself.


Now that does seem to me to be rather perverse.

t also seems to imply a divine OK for crime. If your criminal was damned thousands of years before he was born, there is little point in his trying to live a good life.


That's not how it works, tunaafi. The definition of predestination given by Covenant Word is correct but if left to stand alone without being viewed within the biblical truth of DIVINE FOREKNOWLEDGE which precedes it, predestination as you rightly observe is a monstrous perversion.

I never tire of explaining these verses:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:29 For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom he justified, them He also glorified.


The order is:
Foreknowledge - Before initiating His work of Creation God intimately knows "whosoever will believe in Him".
Predestination - Before initiating His work of Creation God determines that in the outworking of His plan, His foreknown ones will be "conformed to the image of His Son," whose brethren they will be.
Called - Having foreknowledge of "whosoever will believe in Him" God calls them and they become His Church (ekklesia - means "called out ones")
Justified - The guilt and penalty of sin is removed from believers who are declared righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice.
Glorified - As per Colossians 3:4, which says: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory."


tunaafi wrote:
God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself.


And that seems sick.


Not when you get to share His glory!

tunaafi
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:11:43 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
I never tire of explaining these verses: [...]

Sorry, Dreamy, but your 'explanation' did not do anything for me. Your series of Foreknowledge, Predestination, Called, Justified, Glorified seems to be a monstrous waste of time and effort. What is the point of setting up this immense universe if its aim is to save those who God knows in advance will be saved?

tunaafi wrote:
CovenantWord wrote:
God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself.

And that seems sick.


Dreamy wrote:
Not when you get to share His glory!

He wants to glorify himself, so creates beings who can share in his glory?

I don't (these days!) indulge in the anti-religious rants of some non-believers, and I do my best to follow the arguments of believers. I can see why some believe selected teachings of Jesus or Mohammed offer inspirational guidance on how to live one's life. However, this idea of an omniscient deity creating people he knows he will save seems preposterous. A created universe 14,000,000,000 billion years old, about 91,000,000,000 light years across (just one light year = 9,460,800,000,000 kilometres), containing perhaps, 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 - all this just so that some preordainedly-saved humans can share in the glory of God.
Absinthius
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:28:24 AM

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What does this "sharing in his glory" even mean? Sure it sounds nice, but they are completely hollow words.

The way you are describing you god, he comes of as a narcisistic and self-absorbed boss. Just imagine your manager having half of the traits that you claim your god has, wouldn't run for the hills before the end of your first day?

You have free will, yet you HAVE to use this to glorify this divine dictator. How is this any more free than any of the poor saps in North Korea? At least those people can pry themselves loose once they leave this planet.
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 9:49:42 AM

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CovenantWord wrote:
Christianity is not forced, it is revealed. God created man with free will, and He never violates that.

Epiphileon wrote:
"There were an infinite number of possible universes God could have created at the instant of creation."

CovenantWord wrote:
I'm not sure we are authorized to claim that, at least in an absolute sense. God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself. One could conceive of universes that would violate these limits.


That makes theological sense. I realized though that I didn't really elucidate my point clearly in that post.
The moment God created the universe, everything that would ever happen within that universe was known to God, so even if he foreknew who would be saved or not, it was still his choice to create that specific universe, with those specific people, who would make those specific choices, and none of that can change. Freewill is a myth that gets God off the hook for created a bunch of damned people.
CovenantWord
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 7:49:28 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
If your criminal was damned thousands of years before he was born, there is little point in his trying to live a good life.

Actually, redemption is separate from good works. Redemption is God's gracious and loving translation of a man from the condition of suffering His wrath to the condition of enjoying His blessing. This translation cannot be earned by any kind of works, for it is entirely undeserved.

Quote:
God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself.

tunaafi wrote:
And that seems sick.

Ah, there seems to be a misunderstanding. Perhaps I should have explained more. It is difficult to know what bases to cover in a discussion vignette. "Glory" as used here does not mean self-aggrandizement, but rather refers to the visible expression of an edifying or joyous internal characteristic.

One of the strong indicators that man was created in God's image is that man is creative as well. The vase of the potter, the dance of the ballerina, the novel of the writer, and the painting of the artist are all visible expressions of internal character, discipline, and talent. By analogy, God's creation is a visible expression of His own nature, which is powerful, beautiful, orderly, righteous, and sovereign.
Dreamy
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 8:08:56 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

The moment God created the universe, everything that would ever happen within that universe was known to God, so even if he foreknew who would be saved or not, it was still his choice to create that specific universe, with those specific people, who would make those specific choices, and none of that can change. Freewill is a myth that gets God off the hook for creating a bunch of damned people.

We've been down this road before, Epiphileon, but for the sake of freshly refuting the claims that for an unfortunate selection of people damnation is unavoidable due to fault on the part of God, I will travel it again.

Foreknowledge, Predestination, Freewill, and Divine Intervention are merged in God's Plan and Purpose in the same way that the three dimensions of space are merged with time in the known Universe.

This much is gleaned from a methodical study of the Bible to present God as always knowing all that is knowable, without beginning or end, so that every thought, word, and deed that exists in time is eternally known by God with no doubts or denials.

The argument that the thoughts, words, and deeds of an unfortunate selection of people are evil as a result of any of the four dimensions of God's Plan and Purpose is not upheld in His Word, the Bible.

2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Creation story in Genesis tells us that everything God created was good, and the book of James has this to say:

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man:
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.


I cannot improve on the comments of the much respected scholar and theologian Matthew Henry(18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714), whose work has helped many to see the truth clearly.

Matthew Henry wrote:
I. We are here taught that God is not the author of any man's sin. Whoever they are who raise persecutions against men, and whatever injustice and sin they may be guilty of in proceeding against them, God is not to be charged with it. And, whatever sins good men may themselves be provoked to by their exercises and afflictions, God is not the cause of them. It seems to be here supposed that some professors might fall in the hour of temptation, that the rod resting upon them might carry some into ill courses, and make them put forth their hands unto iniquity. But though this should be the case, and though such delinquents should attempt to lay their fault on God, yet the blame of their misconduct must lie entirely upon themselves.

For,
1. There is nothing in the nature of God that they can lay the blame upon: Let no man say, when he is tempted to take any evil course, or do any evil thing, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil. All moral evil is owing to some disorder in the being that is chargeable with it, to a want of wisdom, or of power, or of decorum and purity in the will. But who can impeach the holy God with the want of these, which are his very essence? No exigence of affairs can ever tempt him to dishonour or deny himself, and therefore he cannot be tempted with evil.

2. There is nothing in the providential dispensations of God that the blame of any man's sin can be laid upon (Jam_1:13): Neither tempteth he any man. As God cannot be tempted with evil himself, so neither can he be a tempter of others. He cannot be a promoter of what is repugnant to his nature. The carnal mind is willing to charge its own sins on God. There is something hereditary in this. Our first father Adam tells God, The woman thou gavest me tempted me, thereby, in effect, throwing the blame upon God, for giving him the tempter. Let no man speak thus. It is very bad to sin; but is much worse, when we have done amiss, to charge it upon God, and say it was owing to him. Those who lay the blame of their sins either upon their constitution or upon their condition in the world, or who pretend they are under a fatal necessity of sinning, wrong God, as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions.


If God is to blame for creating a situation where damnation is an unavoidable consequence of a person's existence with no recourse to appeal against it or plea for mercy then why send His Son to die on the cross for the sin of the world?


CovenantWord
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 8:13:34 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
The moment God created the universe, everything that would ever happen within that universe was known to God, so even if he foreknew who would be saved or not, it was still his choice to create that specific universe, with those specific people, who would make those specific choices, and none of that can change. Freewill is a myth that gets God off the hook for created a bunch of damned people.

A point of clarification: God does not foreknow merely in the sense of being aware of beforehand, but, more essentially, in the sense of bringing it about as an expression of will.

You are to be commended in coming very close to expressing one of the central paradoxes of the Christian faith: God is irresistibly sovereign, yet man is accountably moral.

Within this paradox is to be found both spiritual security and spiritual responsibility. It also protects against the imbalance resulting from the omission of either side, as in chaos in the physical world and meaninglessness in the world of the soul, on the one side, and arbitrariness and tyranny on the other.

You will note that I make a conscious distinction between paradox and self-contradiction.
Dreamy
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 8:40:32 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
Sorry, Dreamy, but your 'explanation' did not do anything for me. Your series of Foreknowledge, Predestination, Called, Justified, Glorified seems to be a monstrous waste of time and effort. What is the point of setting up this immense universe if its aim is to save those who God knows in advance will be saved?


Those who are saved must first acknowledge that they need saving and that only Christ can save them.

The opportunity must be given in order for the outcome to be known, both before and after the fact.

The meaning of life is evident in the existence of what is possible, such as a vast display of glorious creativity.

God can do as He pleases but by His very nature does no wrong, so who is man to accuse Him of any wrong?

The glorious Gospel of Christ is hidden to those who are wilfully blind to it, but a source of great joy to those whose eyes are open to it.
will
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 9:02:57 AM
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Whistle

.
CovenantWord
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 10:24:04 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
I don't (these days!) indulge in the anti-religious rants of some non-believers, and I do my best to follow the arguments of believers.

I appreciate that, and it is my intention to reciprocate in kind.

tunaafi wrote:
I can see why some believe selected teachings of Jesus or Mohammed offer inspirational guidance on how to live one's life. However, this idea of an omniscient deity creating people he knows he will save seems preposterous. A created universe 14,000,000,000 billion years old, about 91,000,000,000 light years across (just one light year = 9,460,800,000,000 kilometres), containing perhaps, 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 - all this just so that some preordainedly-saved humans can share in the glory of God.

Since it is a main point of this thread, perhaps you will forgive me when I insist that the doctrine be stated precisely: God created the universe in order to display His own glory.

At the same time, it is true that God has assigned man a place of paramount importance, even of glory, in that creation:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
(Psalm 8:3-5 NKJ)

And it is furthermore the case that Christ's Bride, those whom He has redeemed, will be honored -- perhaps "exalted" would be the more precise term -- at the major heavenly event after the Judgment, known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-9).

So, the question arises: On what grounds does man, the creature, place limits on the extent to which, and on the manner in which, the Creator may choose to display His glory?
tunaafi
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015 3:24:59 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
I don't (these days!) indulge in the anti-religious rants of some non-believers, and I do my best to follow the arguments of believers.

... but I have to say that words such as those I have quoted below are simply devoid of meaningful content to me.

CovenantWord wrote:
Redemption is God's gracious and loving translation of a man from the condition of suffering His wrath to the condition of enjoying His blessing. This translation cannot be earned by any kind of works, for it is entirely undeserved. [...]

God's creation reflects His nature and is for the purpose of glorifying Himself.
"Glory" as used here does not mean self-aggrandizement, but rather refers to the visible expression of an edifying or joyous internal characteristic.


Dreamy wrote:
Foreknowledge, Predestination, Freewill, and Divine Intervention are merged in God's Plan and Purpose in the same way that the three dimensions of space are merged with time in the known Universe.

This much is gleaned from a methodical study of the Bible to present God as always knowing all that is knowable, without beginning or end, so that every thought, word, and deed that exists in time is eternally known by God with no doubts or denials.

The argument that the thoughts, words, and deeds of an unfortunate selection of people are evil as a result of any of the four dimensions of God's Plan and Purpose is not upheld in His Word, the Bible.


CovenantWord wrote:
A point of clarification: God does not foreknow merely in the sense of being aware of beforehand, but, more essentially, in the sense of bringing it about as an expression of will. [...]

Within this paradox is to be found both spiritual security and spiritual responsibility. It also protects against the imbalance resulting from the omission of either side, as in chaos in the physical world and meaninglessness in the world of the soul, on the one side, and arbitrariness and tyranny on the other.


Dreamy wrote:
Those who are saved must first acknowledge that they need saving and that only Christ can save them.

The opportunity must be given in order for the outcome to be known, both before and after the fact.

CovenantWord wrote:
Christ's Bride, those whom He has redeemed, will be honored -- perhaps "exalted" would be the more precise term -- at the major heavenly event after the Judgment, known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb


FounDit
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015 11:33:41 AM

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CovenantWord wrote:


So, the question arises: On what grounds does man, the creature, place limits on the extent to which, and on the manner in which, the Creator may choose to display His glory?


The question arises only for those who believe in such a Creator. Many people do not believe because they see absolutely no evidence of such a being.

This is the heart of the matter. For someone who wishes to believe in a Deity, anything they have been told about that Deity is acceptable, especially if the information has been accumulating over millennia, with each piece being fitted into the whole story to make it a rich tableau worthy of acceptance.

All creation stories have such rich imagery, and all are completely accepted by its devotees. So it's pointless to argue the imagery with someone who doesn't accept the belief system, or to argue with someone who does accept it.

The only point that matters is whether or not a person accepts the idea of a Creator. For those who do not accept a Creator, the issue is settled, but for those who do, it then becomes a matter of which Creator one wishes to accept and place their faith in.


tunaafi
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015 11:56:42 AM

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FounDit wrote:
The question arises only for those who believe in such a Creator. Many people do not believe because they see absolutely no evidence of such a being.

Quite. You would think that if there were a creator, and if he really wanted people today to believe in him by acknowledging that 'those who are saved must first acknowledge that they need saving and that only Christ can save them', you would think he would provide some credible evidence of his existence. And no, believers, stories put together by people in the Middle East some two to two and a half centuries ago are not credible evidence.

Hope123
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015 2:10:08 PM

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Well, there it is FounDit.

You have summed it all up succinctly! As usual.

I prefer the term non-believer. And it has nothing to do with being in opposition, except that the words believer and non-believer are antonyms.
Dreamy
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015 8:41:02 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
... but I have to say that words such as those I have quoted below are simply devoid of meaningful content to me.

"What we've got here is failure to communicate".

I won't speak for CovenantWord, who is most capable of discerning the cause of such problems, but I get the impression that both our reasoning is resisted due to hardness.

This is something that Christ encountered in His ministry, and He addressed it using the Parable of the Sower.

In this parable four types of hearers are depicted.

The Wayside Hearer hears the Word of God from the well-worn pathways of atheism, and like a well-trodden thoroughfare, is hardened to it. While the seeds of Truth fall on the pathway they do not take root but are trodden under foot and pecked up by the birds.

The Stony Ground Hearer hears the Word of God from a shallow perspective of comfort and convenience, and like stony, rocky ground on which seeds become plants that thrive for a while before they wither and die from poor nourishment, as soon as hardship, adversity, affliction, persecution and pressure come, the Stony Ground Hearer fails to nourish the Word of God with faith and is soon deprived of it.

The Thorny Ground Hearer hears the Word of God from the thick of striving after satisfaction and success in a world of cares and woes and commerce and corruption, and like ground covered in thorns and weeds which smother and strangle good crops grown from good seed, the Thorny Ground Hearer chokes the Word of God with lust and deceit so that it is unfruitful.

The Fertile Ground Hearer hears the Word of God from a desire to completely yield and submit to the Will of God, and upon His Word he meditates day and night, walking not in the counsel of the ungodly, standing not in the way of the sinner, nor sitting in the seat of scorner, and like rich, well fertilised and irrigated soil, the Fertile Ground Hearer is fruitful in bringing forth much that is of value.


It is not easy for hard, heavily trodden ground upon which all that is opposed to the Gospel traffics to and fro, to become soft, friable, fertile soil. It requires work and commitment to achieving the goal, and many balk at it and turn away from it today, just as many did when Christ walked the earth.

But help is only a prayer away!
CovenantWord
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015 11:19:50 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
I have to say that words such as those I have quoted below are simply devoid of meaningful content to me.

Yes, we have been laying it on a bit thick. Sorry about that. Perhaps it would be helpful to take a page out of Jesus' notebook by relating a parable, which is more accessible than abstract theology. Most of His parables are illustrations of various aspects of the kingdom of God. As I thought about it, one stood out to me as capturing the idea of radical personal transformation that we have been discussing. It is widely known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but it is perhaps more accurately referred to as the Parable of the Loving Father.

A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me." So he divided to them his livelihood.

And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.'"

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son."

But the father said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." And they began to be merry.
(Luke 15:11-24 NKJ)

The younger son was greedy, impetuous, immature, wasteful, lazy, and immoral. The father would have been well within his rights to insist that the estate remain under his own control as long as he lived, but he loved his son enough to take action that he knew would bring him to the end of himself, dividing the estate that he knew would be lost. Nevertheless, while the son was absent, he yearned eagerly for his return. When the son came to himself and repented of his foolishness, he returned in shame, knowing that he deserved nothing but rebuke and rejection. But the father would have none of it, instead, he held a public banquet to celebrate the joy of the lost son found.

The son represents a repentant sinner, and the father represents our Father in heaven. This, then, is the nature of the relationship He sustains with His redeemed family. He loves them.
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 1:08:25 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
"What we've got here is failure to communicate".


You are right there. My 'parable' would be the one about the emperor and his new clothes, but I am sure it would fall on stony ground.

Billions, trillions, of words have been written/spoken about the Messiah and the Judaeo-Christian good over perhaps three millennia. Throughout that time, the majority of people in the world have not been convinced. Indeed, throughout that time, the majority of people in the world have not oven seen/heard the words (so they can hardly be accused of wilful refusal to listen). Of those who have listened, many have not been convinced (and an inability to be convinced is not wilfulness).

The parables repeated by you and CovenantWord help to explain how you and he see the situation, but do nothing to convince a non-believer that they are anything but stories within a story. My personal feeling is that, if there were an omniscient, omnipotent deity, he would be a little more successful in communicating his message.

will
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 4:53:24 AM
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Are you two aware there was a substantial period of man's existence before the Christian god most recently attempted to clear up his previous ambiguity? And that there are a plethora of contradictory prophets and revelations?

Is god (whichever) content for us to dismiss these realities and simply go with the accident of birth that has been dealt us?.. dammed for eternity simply for being born in the wrong place at the wrong time – let's ignore for now those poor souls that die in childhood, or those born without the physical or mental ability... there are volumes tacked on to all religious creeds on these subject, none of which are compelling and have led to a multitude of schisms.

Perhaps there is a simpler solution: It takes a lifetime to study one religion, but only an hour to study two.

You are simple parroting the only dogma you know, as though others are at fault for a lack of credulity, or some stubborn intransigence. I trust your intentions are noble but, honestly, it's rude and shows a deep seated disrespect.

Serious question, although an extreme example (I could cite many many more in different veins) but it does make my point: on what grounds would you dismiss this guy's claims of prophecy?
.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 4:54:02 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

The moment God created the universe, everything that would ever happen within that universe was known to God, so even if he foreknew who would be saved or not, it was his choice to create that specific universe, with those specific people, who would make those specific choices, and none of that can change. Freewill is (impossible without contradicting the characteristics of God.)

Dreamy wrote:
We've been down this road before, Epiphileon, but for the sake of freshly refuting the claims that for an unfortunate selection of people damnation is unavoidable due to fault on the part of God, I will travel it again.

Foreknowledge, Predestination, Freewill, and Divine Intervention are merged in God's Plan and Purpose in the same way that the three dimensions of space are merged with time in the known Universe.

This much is gleaned from a methodical study of the Bible to present God as always knowing all that is knowable, without beginning or end, so that every thought, word, and deed that exists in time is eternally known by God with no doubts or denials.

The argument that the thoughts, words, and deeds of an unfortunate selection of people are evil as a result of any of the four dimensions of God's Plan and Purpose is not upheld in His Word, the Bible. (Well of course it isn't, but that does not invalidate my point)

My point is that the notion of freewill cannot logically coexist with the attributes of God. The argument of whether that makes him responsible for creating damned souls, while closely related, is a different point and I should have left that out. See my edit to my above quote, hopefully I stated it more clearly.


If God is to blame for creating a situation where damnation is an unavoidable consequence of a person's existence with no recourse to appeal against it or plea for mercy then why send His Son to die on the cross for the sin of the world?

For the sake of the predestined of course.
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