Carbon Express Arrows
Oh Steve Harvey
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Contributors to this thread:
DL 05-Jun-18
Owl 05-Jun-18
BC 05-Jun-18
Pig Doc 05-Jun-18
Owl 05-Jun-18
Pig Doc 05-Jun-18
Owl 05-Jun-18
Pig Doc 05-Jun-18
Pig Doc 05-Jun-18
Owl 05-Jun-18
BowSniper 05-Jun-18
slade 05-Jun-18
Owl 05-Jun-18
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spike78 05-Jun-18
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Owl 05-Jun-18
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WV Mountaineer 05-Jun-18
Owl 05-Jun-18
BowSniper 06-Jun-18
slade 06-Jun-18
Salagi 06-Jun-18
Owl 06-Jun-18
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Owl 06-Jun-18
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Solo 06-Jun-18
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Owl 19-Jun-18
deerslayer 20-Jun-18
From: DL
05-Jun-18

DL's Link
Well what do you think?

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
I've had this exact conversation with my wife concerning the kids. My starting point is a belief in God. So, I agree 100% with Mr. Harvey. Though, I wouldn't "walk away" from atheists. Just keep them at arms length.

From: BC
05-Jun-18
Just the opposite. Show them a Christian example in how you live your life. We are to be a light in the darkness.

From: Pig Doc
05-Jun-18
Insinuating that you have to believe in God to have a moral barometer is ridiculous. It's right up there with believing everyone that believes in God has a moral barometer. Pedophile priests have clearly proven otherwise.

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
And without an objective morality (which requires not only "a deity" but a singularly objective deity) the morality of what those pedophile priests did is only a matter of opinion.

From: Pig Doc
05-Jun-18
Bullcrap, as usual. Intrinsic value does not require God. There are animals with higher moral standards than pedophile priests and muslim jihadists. Secular humanism predates religion by thousands of years. Your own religion does not require morals or virtue. As long as you believe and repent you get a free pass to heaven, along with thousands of pedophile priests.

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
"There are animals with higher moral standards than pedophile priests and muslim jihadists." -Which ones? The ones that breed with their offspring, siblings, etc as a matter of routine practice or those that kill them for food and/or reproductive ranking?

" Secular humanism predates religion by thousands of years." Given secular humanism is a religion, your statement is logically impossible. Now, if you want to say early ancestors were not aware of their religion, that may make sense.

"Your own religion does not require morals or virtue. As long as you believe and repent you get a free pass to heaven, along with thousands of pedophile priests." The Bible is replete with rather specific morality and you know that. You have a problem with the doctrine of forgiveness, and, frankly, most of us do when it suits us, or rather, our sensibilities.

If, in your mind, all of Christianity is liable for pedophile priests, I want you to answer for the abortions secular humanism has rendered. Have we topped 60 million, yet? How do square that in your mind? What is the moral standard that says its permissible to kill unborn humans with the same (general) genetic code and requirements of life that you have?

From: Pig Doc
05-Jun-18
There are Christians that breed with there offspring. You good with that?

Secular humanism is not a religion. There is no God involved.

I'm not a secular humanist.

Secular humanism is not responsible for all abortions and there are thousands of Christians that have had abortions. I suppose if they ask for forgiveness that's not a problem in your book.

Morality exists with or without religion and many aspects of morality predates religion.

From: Pig Doc
05-Jun-18
Apes exhibit moral characteristics including altruism, empathy and benevolence. I suppose they picked all that up in church.

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
"Secular humanism is not a religion. There is no God involved." I disagree on both accounts and, like all religions, the question is not "if" but "who" is God. Secular humanism answers that quite loudly. Furthermore, inasmuch as it promotes a concept of God, it is a theology. Like atheism.

"Secular humanism is not responsible for all abortions and there are thousands of Christians that have had abortions. I suppose if they ask for forgiveness that's not a problem in your book." 'Twern't the sermons of Billy Graham that led us down the path to mass extermination. We can lay that at the feet of human expediency. And while that is definitively un-Biblical, you are correct there are Christians who participate.

"Morality exists with or without religion and many aspects of morality predates religion." - And gravity existed before Newton. God exists beyond our understanding of Him.

What is your moral code and what is its basis, Pig Doc?

From: BowSniper
05-Jun-18
I think this is why religious fanatics of every size shape and colors start so many wars. All this 'my god is better than your God stuff' and your God (or no god choice) makes you an idiot. Such pious nonsense.

Harvey mocks the idea of evolution as ridiculous, but instead believes people were magically 'poofed' from a rib?? The theory of evolution may not be perfect, but rarely do its critics subject the old talking snake theory to the same standard of proof.

I think the truth is probably somewhere in between the many religious extremes, and the so-called idiots are those who willfully confuse faith with fact.

Oh, except for anyone who thinks that planet earth is literally only a few thousand years old. THEY are offically idiots. Lol

From: slade
05-Jun-18

slade's Link
Genetics Confirms the Recent, Supernatural Creation of Adam and Eve....:)

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
Bowsniper, the question of God is the seminal question. If it cannot be discussed, we should all be the idiots to which you refer. Willfully so. BTW, evolution does not exclude God, merely the fundamentalists' interpretation of the Creation story. The Bible does not age the Earth. It ages the recorded history of the Bible.

From: BowSniper
05-Jun-18

BowSniper's Link
Slade - the Smithsonian would tend to disagree.

From: BowSniper
05-Jun-18
Owl - the question of God is interesting and perplexing, and an interesting discussion, but hardly solved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Agreed that evolution does not preclude a god theory, nor should the god theory serve as reasonable proof to explain itself. i.e. - If God HAD to create the Universe become something cannot come from nothing, then where did God come from?

Whether bible aged or by any other means.... my point remains that any grown man who thinks the earth as a planet was created only several thousand years ago (modern 365 day sun revloving Human years) is an idiot.

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
- If God HAD to create the Universe become something cannot come from nothing, then where did God come from?

-There isn't a world view (religious or scientific) that can avoid answering for the pre-existent. And make no mistake, science has to answer for a pre-existent being/force.

I'll take a page from Frank Turek. If one believes in the Theory of Relativity, this person understands that space, time and matter all came into being simultaneously. It also expanded in a very finitely tuned manner. So, given something logically cannot come from nothing, a force outside of space, time and matter had to generate our universe. This force had to be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, creative and intelligent. These are the attributes we give GOD. Not necessarily the God of Steve Harvey, Owl, spade, Bowsniper or PigDoc but "a God" nonetheless. That is the minimal rational starting point, imo.

From: spike78
05-Jun-18
So he believes that a catholic priest who has molested a boy has more morals then an atheist who has not? Makes sense.

From: BowSniper
05-Jun-18
If something cannot come from nothing, then by that same logic there cannot be something else that creates everything from nothing, that itself came from nothing. If that were to be your line of thought, you have only moved further from logic and reason. Once you start inventing magical and supernatural solutions to answer real world questions, it becomes a never ending descent into irrational thought IMHO.

Maybe there is no beginning and the Universe always was.... and if we are just making up stories to answer the unknown, then let's not kid ourselves. A starting point of the material universe always existing is just one step less silly (to me) than adding the additional step of an all powerful supernatural entity "poofing" the entire universe into existence.

If by definition you create a supernatural answer to 'solve' the unsolvable.... an explanation so incredibly magical as to be proof of its own incredible magic.... you must realize how that might sound to the unindoctrinated. And depending on how much a person allows word games to affect their reality, it goes back to my point that some people willingly choose to confuse faith with fact.

And that the planet earth is simply not several thousand years old in any rational explanation of its origin.

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
If something cannot come from nothing, then by that same logic there cannot be something else that creates everything from nothing, that itself came from nothing. Except that is the exact nature of God.

Once you start inventing magical and supernatural solutions to answer real world questions, it becomes a never ending descent into irrational thought IMHO. Not conjuring anything. Were I, I'd give myself more latitude to misbehave.:)

Maybe there is no beginning and the Universe always was.... and if we are just making up stories to answer the unknown, then let's not kid ourselves. A starting point of the material universe always existing is just one step less silly (to me) than adding the additional step of an all powerful supernatural entity "poofing" the entire universe into existence. The expansion rate of the universe proves it has a finite beginning according to scientists, including Stephen Hawking. Something with a finite beginning cannot be infinite.

If by definition you create a supernatural answer to 'solve' the unsolvable.... an explanation so incredibly magical as to be proof of its own incredible magic.... you must realize how that might sound to the unindoctrinated. And depending on how much a person allows word games to affect their reality, it goes back to my point that some people willingly choose to confuse faith with fact. This is not a "God of the gaps argument." Anything that exists outside of time, space and matter is supernatural. Particularly if it functions with creative intelligence - I'll offer examples when I have time.

And that the planet earth is simply not several thousand years old in any rational explanation of its origin. As an Old Earth Creationist, I agree. Again, nothing in the Bible ages the Earth.

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
Relative to intelligent design, consider the human genome in each of our cells has approximately 3 billion pairs of DNA formed in chromosomes. DNA is constructed similarly and functions like a genetic computer code but on a level of sophistication that makes Bill Gates look like a kid with a crayon. The Laws of Thermodynamics cannot select for development of such a code even over immense expanses of time. Nature tends to degrade everything over time, anyway (Law of Entropy). Cars, trees, animals, humans - we oxidize and die and rot. The universe winds down and chaos does not produce order on any basis much less on a level so unimaginably complex.

From: BowSniper
05-Jun-18
Owl - "If something cannot come from nothing, then by that same logic there cannot be something else that creates everything from nothing, that itself came from nothing.".... "Except that is the exact nature of God." - in which case you are just making up a word/concept to explain that which cannot be explained. It doesn't make it any more real, likely, logical, or rational. If what you are saying is true, then I would choose to worship the uber mega god, the entity that created the god you believe created the Universe. Because something would have had to create the god that created the Universe, and the would be the exact nature of uber mega god.

See how silly it gets when you make up terms to create the unexplainable? Its easier to say the universe appears to be expanding, and we don't know the beginning. It could be expanding and contracting, and then bursting back out again, forever. But I don't think Stephen Hawking ever seriously proposed that the original big bang mass was 'poofed' into existence by an invisible sky fairy.

Similar to your billions of pairs of DNA argument. Its one thing to say this is incredibly complex, sure.... but that does not mean there has ever existed something infinitely more complex to create such complex DNA. Because once again, you have only created a more impossible riddle as a supposed explanation. And given it a name, and humanized its characteristics... which is the most utterly ordinary and human process to deal with the unknown.

05-Jun-18
After reading this, it is obvious why the one miserable poster on this thread, comes across so........... miserable. SMH

From: Owl
05-Jun-18
I'm working backwards eliminating that which logically cannot be and dealing with what remains. I'll say again, every worldview has to solve for pre-existence. Shrugging your shoulders is not doing you any good.

When Moses meets God in the book of Exodus, he asks God, "Who shall I say sent me?" And God replies, " I Am. Tell them 'I Am' sent you." (paraphrasing)

As a young man struggling with my faith, that really ticked me off. I thought it was weak. Where was the Biblical equivalent to Zeus, Horus or Marduk? "I Am?" Really? But the more I learn, the more sublime and perfect that name becomes. Too well constructed not to be true - especially in ancient cultures. BTW, it is in our nature to fail to perceive God so when you call God a "sky fairy," it is in keeping.

From: BowSniper
06-Jun-18
Pre-existence is a tough concept that no one can claim to really know. Its not simply shrugging one's shoulders. It's being honest enough to recognize when you drift so far off the path of logic that you are just making stuff up to fill in some uncomfortable blanks.

You can say 'real' stuff like mass and matter just have 'always been' for all of time ... or you can choose to add the extra step of inventing a magical overload who poofed everything it existence first. And then say that 'it' just had always been for all of time.

I don't see how adding one even MORE complicated and impossible step advances the understanding of an already complicated and impossible problem. Call it what you want, but the truth is that it only becomes another term or place-holder for the phrase "I just don't know". Making an agnostic position on all this the most sensible of all.

From: slade
06-Jun-18

slade's Link
STUDY: Evolution Doesn't Work Quite The Way They Said It Did Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images ByHANK BERRIEN June 5, 2018

According to a new study, people who claim that modern-day animals have evolved over millions of years have some rethinking to do. The study examined mitochondrial DNA from thousands of different animal species and humans only to find that virtually all current animal species only date back 100,000 to 200,000 years.

Mark Young Stoeckle of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University and David S. Thaler of the University of Basel authored the study, titled, "Why should mitochondria define species?" Stoeckle told The Christian Post:

Our findings challenge the idea that present-day animal species are millions of years old. A short summary of our view is “life keeps evolving.” What we show is that most (90 percent) of animal species have similarly low mitochondrial DNA variation. This is surprising because theory predicts that older species and species with large populations should have more genetic variation. We propose that most present-day animal species, including humans, arose in the past 100,000 to 200,000 years.

From: Salagi
06-Jun-18
The more I look at nature and study science (it's part of my job), the more I believe it takes more faith to NOT believe in a Creator. It all fits together to closely to just be chance. When you look at the order science says things came to be and compare that to the order we find listed in Genesis, they agree. I have no problem with a young earth or an old earth, Genesis gives an outline and when you read past the first chapter, time becomes meaningless in that outline. All I really need to know is found in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Furthermore, everyone believes in evolution. By definition evolution is the change of a species over time. The Theory of Evolution states that all things came from a single source (paraphrased of course). Unfortunately, both sides misuse the phrases and so fail to listen to each other. Finally, contrary to what much literature would have you to believe, not all scientists believe in the Theory of Evolution.

From: Owl
06-Jun-18
Nicely put, Salagi. I've read that if the gravitational force was altered by a fractional percent factor of 40 (.0000000000000000000000000000000000000001), our sun, and therefore we, would cease to exist. Yeah, mere chance...

The universe is too finely tuned to be a product of chance but, because people can't comprehend such power, they refuse the existence of a creative force. To that I say entities,truth and/or concepts do not require comprehension to exist.

The prime example, for me, is still DNA. It's code - literally information. Since when did information ever derive from an unintelligent source?

From: Grey Ghost
06-Jun-18
I think Harvey should read John 12:47, and contemplate its meaning.

Matt

From: Owl
06-Jun-18
Perhaps you should read John 12:48-50, GG. :)

From: Grey Ghost
06-Jun-18
Owl,

The gospels are full of examples of Jesus interacting with non-believers. He didn't "walk away" or call them "idiots". He healed them while giving God credit. He praised and encouraged them. And most of all, he loved them, despite their religious beliefs.

Harvey needs a refresher course.

Matt

06-Jun-18
Atheism is a non-prophet organization. - George Carlin

From: Owl
06-Jun-18
GG, I agree with you* but citing 12:47 out of context produces a different meaning than the entire passage. That's my only point.

* Jesus did NOT praise and encourage the Pharisees and priests. He was rather harsh to them. But my take is He was really speaking to the crowds in those moments.

From: Grey Ghost
06-Jun-18
Owl,

I assume that most who will research a passage will also research the context. I could be wrong.

Nevertheless, my point remans. Harvey needs a refresher course.

Matt

From: Owl
06-Jun-18
People read the Bible like it's a collection of fortunate cookies. And, yeah, he does.

06-Jun-18
I'm not sure he needs a refresher course. I think he is aware of what is expected of him. He does that quite frequently in his everyday life. However, he was put on the defense b a question and, gave a no holds bar reason why he believes a moral barometer is important in a human being when being asked why he feels the way he does.

From: Solo
06-Jun-18
Steve made it abundantly clear that he wasn't pushing his beliefs on anyone. And he clarified that he's lousy with being PC. What more could anyone want in this day & age of being so backassward prone to being a sucker in trusting deception above providence?

From: Grey Ghost
06-Jun-18
I would let Harvey watch my back in any bunker. Not that I know much about that, but you get my drift.

Harvey has lost sight of a fundamental concept of Christianity. Christians love all, despite their differing beliefs. We lead by example, believing our way will lead others to the same path.

Harvey is promoting a very anti-Christian attitude. I think he's smarter than that.

Matt

07-Jun-18
Read Matthew 10:14 GG. Maybe that’s what Steve means when he says he’ll just walk away. You can’t relate where we’re coming from bowsniper without truly understanding faith. And obviously you don’t.

From: Owl
07-Jun-18
sportoutfitter, In my experience, everyone has faith. It's just a matter of where and why they place it. Bowsniper likely has more faith than you or I could muster.

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
Sportoutfitter,

You need to read the context in which that passage was written. Jesus was instructing his 12 disciples to go and drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. He said, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel."

So it's clear Jesus was sending his disciples to interact with non-believers, not "walk away" from them.

Matt

07-Jun-18
I doubt very seriously Steve Harvey literally walks away from non believers. His testimony when given is quite the opposite actually. He lays it out there.

It’s easy to say what a brother needs to do. It’s much harder to assess his condition in 1:21 second answer of a pointed question by an obviously non Christian.

From: Salagi
07-Jun-18
"I assume that most who will research a passage will also research the context. I could be wrong."

Unfortunately you are wrong. Most folks, including good church goin' peoples, are too lazy to bother to look past the one passage they are told to read. Most of them will just take what someone tells them at face value, especially if that person is well known "religiously" or has several fancy letters after his name. That's why so many buy into some of the philosophies today. Not a new thing either. Paul warns Timothy of this in II Tim 4:3-4 and the writer of Acts commends the people of Berea because they didn't do this in Acts 17:11.

And yes, I have been too lazy to double check what I was told a few (well, more than a few), times, and have also failed to look at the context of a passage.

Dad used to say you can make the Bible say anything if you want to if you don't take things in context. His example was the last part of Matt 27:5 - "...departed and went and hanged himself." And then the last part of Luke 10:37 - "Go and do thou likewise." ;)

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
Salagi,

I too am guilty of reading the Bible like "fortune cookies" at times, but I generally try to understand the context of any passage, especially if I'm discussing the passage with someone else.

And, I fully admit I don't spend enough time reading the Bible. I do know, however, that Jesus loved and often reached out to non-beleivers. Isn't that what evangelism is all about, after all?

Harvey certainly has the right to "walk away" from atheists, or call them "idiots", if he wishes. But that's not what Jesus did, nor what he instructed others to do.

Matt

07-Jun-18
I agree with what you are saying Matt. However, Steve’s experience with nonbelievers may go more in line with Matthew 7:6.

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
Interesting that you'd mention Matthew 7:6, since that chapter starts out with “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matt

From: Owl
07-Jun-18
Yeah, Mathew 7 is a fairly straightforward admonition on how to judge.

07-Jun-18
I have read the text, many times GG. Not trying to be confrontational about the Bible, but I’m not sure your clear on the message in Matthew 10. In the verses you speak of, your introduced to the disciples and told of what abilities they have. In verse 14, he is speaking about dealing with people who are not receptive to his teachings.

07-Jun-18

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
Sport,

Harvey didn't distinguish between receptive or non-receptive atheists. He said he "walks away" from all of them, and called them "idiots". Jesus wouldn't do that. Shame on Harvey.

He needs a refresher course.

Matt

07-Jun-18
Completely agree with you there. I wouldn’t call them idiots either. I don’t feel Jesus would want us to spend time in council with atheists. They are aware and have made a conscious decision to turn their back. All we can do is move on, or “shake the dust”. Hate the sin, love the sinner.

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
"I don’t feel Jesus would want us to spend time in council with atheists."

I disagree, and the Bible is full of examples of Jesus doing exactly the opposite.

Matt

From: tonyo6302
07-Jun-18
Harvey is not Jesus, and neither are any of us. ( This statement is not directed at anyone in particular, but to all of us of Christian faith )

.. .. .

. .. ..

Each Christain, of any faith, must find and march to the beat of the Spiritual Gift bestowed upon them by the Holy Ghost. ( Holy Spirit for you Milineals ) :^)

Maybe Harvey knows his gift IS NOT converting atheiests.

I cannot discern what is in the heart of a man I have never met, so on the issue of walking away from athiests, he gets a pass from me.

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
"Maybe Harvey knows his gift IS NOT converting atheiests."

That is not a gift. It's a decisively anti-Christian attitude.

Harvey needs a refresher course.

Matt

From: BowSniper
07-Jun-18
I don't think "receptive" is the right word. Perhaps "tolerant" is better. And it would be nice if Atheists were tolerant of Christian beliefs, and that Christians were tolerant of Atheist beliefs... which are every bit as valid and protected.

Even through both sides think the other is friggin' nuts. :-)

From: tonyo6302
07-Jun-18
GG, .. ..

.. ... .

My Mother could not sing very well, so she was never in the church choir. She did make a joyful noise.

She could not develop a lesson plan, or an outline of a sermon, and was unable to speak to a large audience.

However, she did find her spiritual gift, and she taught childrens Sunday School for 45 years. At that she excelled greatly.

So are you trying to tell me, that because my Mother was unable to preach to and convert atheists, that she had an anti-Christian attitude?

From: Owl
07-Jun-18
In the grand scheme of things, I believe most folks are very tolerant of other viewpoints. Including Steve Harvey.

07-Jun-18
Jesus is a gentleman, GG. He didn’t push his teachings on anyone. He knocks. It’s up to us to open the door. I don’t have any angst against atheists. I simply choose not to push my beliefs on them. I agree with you sniper that we should be more tolerant of one another. I don’t see atheists as nuts. Just somewhat misguided. I tend to feel bad for them because they haven’t had the privilege of a true encounter with Christ. It changes everything.

07-Jun-18
I’ve thought about what I said earlier Matt. I Should have said that in my opinion, Jesus wouldn’t want me wasting valuable time spreading the gospel to people who will never receive it. That’s exactly how I interpret 10:14. Steve Harvey is just a little more extreme about it.

07-Jun-18
Case in point, homosexuality was known well before and during the time of Christ. And yet he never mentions it, he never says to abandon them, to denounce them. Now look at Christians today. What happened to being Christ like? I don't have a dog in this fight, I have my very firm beliefs. However, its a valid question.

From: Bentstick81
07-Jun-18
y f IMposter. Now you are back on the "wanna be an atheist." Comical watching fantasy land. At least you make a fake conversation piece. 8^))))))))))

From: Owl
07-Jun-18
Unfortunately, no question you ask is "valid" yfp. You've lied yourself into a state of existential illegitimacy. And it's really sad to see.

07-Jun-18
It’s easy yfp, Bill and Jill can make a baby. Bill and Phil can’t. It’s NOT natural!

From: Owl
07-Jun-18
I disagree with that sportoufitter. Homosexuality is demonstrably natural - as it occurs repeatedly in nature. I just think that ain't really the point. No one is called to be natural.

From: Grey Ghost
07-Jun-18
Every Christian's goal should be to spread God's word. Especially to non-believers.

Harvey needs a refresher course.

Matt

From: BowSniper
07-Jun-18
Maybe if the Christians weren't so intent of spreading/indoctrinating others, the Atheists of the world would not feel so compelled to push back. I might suggest it would be better if you demonstrated a more admirable life example (and less pushy/preachy) some non-believers would be drawn towards you 'seeking', rather than repulsed and driven away by what feels like a more desperate sales pitch.

Just look at the effect Imposter has, driving people away from his liberal ideas, just by trying too hard to convert and convince at the expense of any credibility.

07-Jun-18
That was “tongue-in-cheek “ Owl. You know. Go forth, and multiply. I should have included :).

07-Jun-18
imposter has no desire to convert anyone to his way of thinking. Only cause mayhem with those that will allow him to do so.

The typical christian here and, in everyday life fails miserably at influencing non believers. My guess is most don't have the Holy Spirit guiding them to do so is why.

The point I was making earlier is, As believers we are supposed to set examples for others in our life and, those who are watching us. However, we are not to waste time with those that mock our relationship with the Lord. With that task known by all, people love to point out where a man of faith falls short when he doesn't run around turning the other cheek meekly. As Matt proves repeatedly with his posts.

I have never read in the Bible where Jesus calls for his followers to be weak minded push overs. I do agree, idiots might not be the best word to describe Atheists. However, for the some people, it may be the exact right word to get them thinking. And, just like Jesus was very much to the point in his teachings, I'm pretty sure some of us are given the gift to be the exact same way at times.

That's my thoughts. The rest is between him and the Lord.

From: Owl
08-Jun-18
Maybe if the Christians weren't so intent of spreading/indoctrinating others, the Atheists of the world would not feel so compelled to push back. lol. Try living as a Christian in today's world. The only way to avoid humanistic or atheistic indoctrination is to become an ascetic on a mountain top somewhere. Quite literally separated from the world. No, we all have to live in and among the influences of competing world views and we should do so honestly. To tell one group to sit down and shut up is really just a not-so-subtle gambit for an ideological competitive edge, imo. How we influence and how we compete are really the only conundrums we face from a perspective of ideological harmony. Frankly, I think we do a more than acceptable job at it writ large.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Jun-18
"With that task known by all, people love to point out where a man of faith falls short when he doesn't run around turning the other cheek meekly. As Matt proves repeatedly with his posts."

I've read this 3 times, WV, and I'm still not sure what it means. Should I feel offended or complimented?

Matt

From: BowSniper
08-Jun-18
I don't see it as one group telling another to sit down and shut up. It's one group telling the other group to enjoy their religion freely, but not to force/coerce /peddle it to others uninvited.

I have had various christian groups going door to door in the neighborhood on many occasions. It's a bizarre peddling of personal religious beliefs, that they just can't seem to leave as "personal". Never have I seen atheists going door to door trying to convince people NOT to believe.

I look at the push for prayer in public school the same way. I don't want bible prayer in public shool, or chanting the Koran, or kneeling on rugs facing mecca, or spinning dradels. Teach your kids their rigious beliefs as a family, at home, and in church. Let's only have more math and English and science in school, as we are falling behind.

From: slade
08-Jun-18
""offended or complimented""

Ignorant.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Jun-18
Thanks, Slade, I can always count on you for a uplifting post.

Did you lose your binky?

Matt

From: slade
08-Jun-18
Not here to uplift deceitful bloviating closet democrats who know not what they blather about.

From: Owl
08-Jun-18
I don't want bible prayer in public shool, or chanting the Koran, or kneeling on rugs facing mecca, or spinning dradels. Teach your kids their rigious beliefs as a family, at home, and in church. Let's only have more math and English and science in school, as we are falling behind. That attitude only creates a theological vacuum in the public square. And that forces people to function as secularists (which only advances secularism and the Godless religions). No thanks. I'd prefer people bring to the public the God they worship if they can do so in an orderly and respectful way.

08-Jun-18
Matt, no offense meant. It wasn’t a compliment either. However, It was describing your behavior. It was meant to prove how convienent it is to point out where a man of God fails. Even his peers take task with pointing it out, over and, over and, over again if they see failure.

From: Will
08-Jun-18
Sorry, went way long here.

Religion is great. For some people. I send my kids to a catholic school in part because I like that there is a discussion of morals and ethics from a young age. I also like the values of the average family attending. Part of me struggles with that statement, there certainly are plenty of families attending public school with the same values, but who can not afford to pay for a different option.

It does make me glad that here in MA, public schools (at least in middle school) teach about religions and spiritual belief systems fairly extensively. It's not locked on Christianity, it's discussing that, and many other systems of belief, comparing and contrasting, and working to help the kids see both the differences and similarities.

That's great in my mind.

Modern humans were first found in the fossil record around 200,000 years ago. I have not read the actual scientific paper quoted above, I'm ok suggesting it's a one off or has had components morphed to fit an agenda. Especially since many modern animals have had minimal change in a lot longer than that 100-200K years angle. That said, that's way better than the Christian school in SC I believe that actually gave kids the correct answer for suggesting people and dinosaurs were walking the earth at the same time... Google around and you will find the articles about it. That's so far from reality it's preposterous! It's like teaching a kid a knife is called a hair dryer and wondering why they keep stabbing their head after taking a shower.

There were early forms of micro-organisms living here in the 3.5-4 BILLION years ago range.

Science, NOR faith can claim to know and fully understand how "this" happened... Science appears to keep getting closer though, and hasn't stopped looking. At least from the outside, it often seems the faith end is looking to come up with answers to science and not to accept it's own simple reality (to me at least)... It's faith. You just have to believe.

That's the common thread in basically every known culture ever. People believe in something bigger. Some guiding force. It helps them when things are hard. It helps them make (hopefully) good choices. Even scientists tend to believe in something... Mother nature, God, etc...

Science is trying to prove things. It's not about faith at all. It's about asking a question and seeking an answer, then repeating that. Over and over. At some point, due to the strength of outcomes and number of reps it's considered as close to certain as we can figure. I can not see atoms individually, but they are there. That's not faith. That's as close to fact as we can know.

Many people would say that's the case with "God". Great. The difference is that the former (the atom) is known fact, while "God" is known via faith. We can't see either, they are just known via different routes.

Apologies ahead of time if that last paragraph comes off rough. Not the intent at all.

I was asked in a different bowsite conversation by a devout Christian, who, is a great guy, something to the effect of: "When you are dying, wont it feel horrible if you discover you are wrong (for trending towards Shamanism)?" "No" was my answer. "If I've lived a positive life and helped people and tried to bring good into the world, and God is as amazing as Christians say he is, he will open the gates and bring me in with open arms."

And that's the crux of it. You don't have to have a specific brand of religiosity to be a good person and to do good things for the world. Religion does not have a monopoly on goodness. You just have to be a good person. Whether that's based on family and community lessons or hard wired, hard to say. Likely all of the above.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Jun-18
Hey Owl, close your italics, brother.

WV, fair enough. As a very public figure, and one who doesn't shy away from speaking about his religious beleifs, I think it's important to point out Harvey's failures. So, I stand by my comments, but I do appreciate your critique of my behavior.

Matt

From: Owl
08-Jun-18
Got it, thanks GG. :)

From: Owl
08-Jun-18
And that's the crux of it. You don't have to have a specific brand of religiosity to be a good person and to do good things for the world. Religion does not have a monopoly on goodness. True on both accounts.

You just have to be a good person. Whether that's based on family and community lessons or hard wired, hard to say. Likely all of the above. What definition of "good" are we using? What's 'good' for one is not always 'good' for another. I believe what you are describing is merely social harmony. Whatever that is.

For me, this is about truth. If truth exists, it does so SINGULARLY. There are no versions of the law of gravity, the laws of physics are not merely a matter of opinion. Similarly, a singular objective morality must also be.

08-Jun-18
Matt, stand by it brother. Just Remember Matthew 7. God Bless men

From: BOX CALL
08-Jun-18
I've never liked Steve Harvey,and there is a ton of so called preachers and churches that suck millions of dollars into their coffers every year.so called evangilist really really suck the believers dry.been there,no more.

From: Owl
08-Jun-18
There are crooks and heretics in every walk of life. Susceptibility to those people is a good indicator one needs to bone up on doctrine or work on a personality weakness(flaw).

From: Will
08-Jun-18
Owl, at it's most basic, I'd say "good" people are living the golden rule. They may be different, have different ideas, come from different places and have experienced different things... but they live the golden rule.

I'd suggest, the basic moral / ethical code is just that as well, the "golden rule".

From: Owl
09-Jun-18
That's your opinion Will. What makes that any more valid than any other opinion?

From: Will
09-Jun-18
Nothing makes any opinion I have more valid than another. Extreme examples make easy analogies...

Say for some insane reason slavery was deemed ok again in America. If someone decided to own slaves they are not a good person. Golden rule explains why, but that should be obvious without needing it.

Can we work to create exceptions? Sure. It would be like a college philosophy class "experiment". In the end, it's hard to see where treating others as you would like to be treated is negative.

09-Jun-18
It blows my mint how liberals give human nature credit for the good in the world. Here’s a tip fellas, look at society’s without Christian influence for examples of what human nature is.

From: BowSniper
09-Jun-18
And those bad places also believe and worship an all powerful God who created the Universe.

The only difference is that you claim YOUR god is the only real god. And they claim that THEIR God is the only real God. And that kind of shows how silly this really is. Because the concept of the ONE creator for the entire Universe only works if its the same singular source (who magically doesn't have to comply with the 'everything has to come from something' rule you invented)....

Meanwhile this little world is stuck in an endless game my god is better than your god, I am right and you are wrong, because what I believe about the invisible all-powerful sky lords makes perfect sense and what you believe about the same basic story is ridiculous and makes no sense at all.

Personally, I think we are going to find some other life in the Universe long before this age old argument makes any progress. And I will be VERY interested to see how that discovery then begins to play into this same old story line. Anyone else???

From: Owl
09-Jun-18
Say for some insane reason slavery was deemed ok again in America. If someone decided to own slaves they are not a good person. Golden rule explains why, but that should be obvious without needing it. How about when society codified slavery? Was it ok then? Why is that 'obvious' today but not a short 150 years ago? Besides, don't fool yourself that we have progressed beyond slavery. We've just become skilled at restructuring it (see our "inexplicable" immigration stalemate that creates an underground labor category).

And while we sit on our golden laurels, remember, this is a society that, largely, idly abides an ongoing genocide that makes the Nazis look like saints. No, morality is as objective as any other truth and second to none in the importance of its recognition.

09-Jun-18
Bowsniper, get past your hate and contempt for Jesus Christ and comprehend what’s written.

09-Jun-18
Dang it Owl, spot on.

From: tonyo6302
09-Jun-18
Bowsniper,

.. .. ..

.. .. . .

May I kindly suggest you research the big island that contains Haiti and the Dominion Republic. One chose Christ, the other Satan.

Semper Fi,

Tony

From: BowSniper
09-Jun-18
WV - I have no hate for Jesus Christ. It sounds like he was a great guy, and said some wonderful things. I just don't believe he was the son of a God that preceded and created the entire Universe, as if that was even possible.

Its fine that you do. I hope it makes you a better person. But it doesn't sound very Christ-like to immediately determine that someone who doesn't happen to believe YOUR fairy tale somehow hates the moral of the story.

I think these are lovely stories meant to teach lessons of life. But just not something a grown man should take literally. Same as I think the Santa Claus story is charming and teaches kids the spirit of giving. Its just that when you get older you realize its simply impossible for one fat dude to scamper house to house delivering presents. As a child we created a reason to explain away the impossible and have sweet dreams at night.... flying reindeer, magic to go down chimneys, elves to make toys, etc. The lesson remains the same, even if we grow older and wiser and no longer believe it all so literally.

You are free to believe what you want. As I am free not to believe at all. But when you get mouthy confusing faith with fact, you become Steve Harvey. Which to me was always the point of THIS particular story.

Carry on....

09-Jun-18
My fairy tale? This has nothing to do with me. I've said it a bunch. It doesn't really matter what you or I think. It doesn't change reality. You can also tell me how UN-Christian that is but, you'd be wrong. I'm charged with the responsibility to tell you such. What you do with that is between you and, the God of the Bible. Which is the Alpha and Omega.

Do yourself a favor. Instead of taking task with what i just typed, It's imperative you do this. Don't let my frankness turn you off. Don't keep making excuses. Leave your pride at the door. Just try it. God Bless men

From: 70lbdraw
09-Jun-18
"Bowsniper, get past your hate and contempt for Jesus Christ and comprehend what’s written."

Kinda like...if you don't agree with illegal immigration, than you must be a racist and hate all immigrants? Why is it if someone chooses to believe something different, it's because they're a hater?

As far as comprehending what is written...ask 100 people and they'll all give you a different interpretation of "whats written".

From: Owl
09-Jun-18
Not only is a deistic creator possible, it is the most logical explanation for what exists. But we've been 'round that rosebush already.

As far as comprehending what is written...ask 100 people and they'll all give you a different interpretation of "whats written". So? That does not invalidate the content. You and I could read a biography of Robert E Lee and come away with different opinions about what was written, the intent, etc. but that does not mean the man did not exist or do what he did.

10-Jun-18
70lb, it isn't like anything you suggested.

The difference in your mind's idea of what I said and what is real, has to do with people's contempt for Jesus Christ. I'm not saying this as opinion. Jesus himself said that as fact. That's why it is true. I'll say it again: Read and comprehend. If you had, you'd know Christians are charged with telling people that. We under serve our purpose by sparring the uncomfortable confrontations to those that approach their salvation apathetically.

If that offends you, I'm sorry. That isn't the intent. The intent is to make people aware.

God Bless men

From: 70lbdraw
10-Jun-18
No offense taken. The concept is well understood by many. Those "uncomfortable confrontations" often mimic the door-to-door vacuum salesman. You know he's trying to provide a service, but you quickly question the motivation of his ultimate goal, and the validity of the information he's giving you. Is he there to help other people better themselves, or is he there to strictly better himself? And what qualification does he have to validate his actions?

So, are you saying that ANYONE who does not accept Christ is guilty of contempt? If so, it seems like a broad brush scenario.

" So? That does not invalidate the content."

No it does not. But it makes it more difficult to embrace when it seems as though there is so much ambiguity in the content.

10-Jun-18
Yes, It can be summed up by feelings of contempt for Jesus himself. Broad brush in your mind or not. Type in "Contempt" to your browser and, read the definitions of the word given. I don't think anyone could argue any different after doing so.

Are you confused about Christianity? Or, are you just trying to make issue with me personally? I'm not being a wise guy. I am just confused by your lack of understanding the simple concept of free will, your disregard of the teaching's of Jesus talking about the responsibility of the Church, and your continual questioning of the fundamentals of a believer. That or, you are taking issue with the messenger. I can't derive anything else from it but these two possibilities.

Once again, this isn't about me. This is about cutting through the fat to get to the meat. It's not personal. It is just the truth. Not my words either.

God Bless

From: Owl
10-Jun-18
70, I believe a good deal of the "ambiguity" is imported. ;)

From: 70lbdraw
10-Jun-18
You're right...I know better than to engage in this topic. Someone left a needle on the table and i just couldnt resist!

Please excuse me for the interuption.

From: Robear
11-Jun-18
Sniper, in answer to the question you posed earlier asking if anyone believes man will discover life somewhere in the universe. I do believe that it has to exist in some form either in the past, or will exist in the future, simply because of the sheer unimaginable size of space. Billions upon billions of planets and stars. Somewhere along the line, the proper conditions will exist. But, because of the vast distances involved, I do not believe man will ever know for sure. It is fascinating to think about however. As for the back and forth discussion on this thread, my beliefs are in line with yours, but I'm afraid my skills of communication are rather inept compared with yours. I commend you on your ability to deliver level headed, reasoned responses.

From: Will
11-Jun-18
I hear you Owl, but yes, I do believe slavery was wrong when it occured/s. I do believe there are those - even those who are not slaves - who recognize that but who can not change a cultural "norm" for many possible reasons.

That said, we make decisions based on information available, and possibilities we can imagine, individually and as a cultural group. It's not a high horse to look at say, places in the world where serious injustice occur - be it stoning a woman for not wearing a head cover or enslaving people of a different region, religion, race; or other challenges facing the world, and see that golden rule thinking could help.

If we are taught that slavery is good, as a horrible example, you are right. It would be harder to stop or change. And good lessons are very often learned in challenging ways. That doesnt make it correct, or just when it occurred, just that we shouldn't pretend things never were - history is a great teacher.

The religion aspect with this, to me, is similar. If we step aside from God or Jesus etc and just look at the general concepts, at their most basic... I bet they are pretty darn similar or summed as a group (say the 10 commandments) by something close to the "golden rule".

We just dont need a version of religion to live with that mindset in play, or to live a positive and productive life for our and the greater good of the human race. It (religion) may, or may not help folks. Our families and perhaps communities can develop those positive approaches to living as well.

I really enjoyed your last (I think, it was about 15-20 up) post Bowsniper, it hit home for me.

From: BowSniper
11-Jun-18
Imagine for a moment the progress of science. We went from cranking a car by hand to standing on the moon in just 50 years! Ancient understandings should evolve and change (no pun intended) where clearly the earth is no longer flat. AND the earth is millions if not billions of years old. Not just a few thousand as a few bowsiters still believe, and I happen to think that kind of religious extemism is severely limiting, if not dangerous. Remember Josh and how that conflict between intellect and faith eventually tore him apart??

That is why I often use the rough age of the earth as an intellectual barometer, because if you are closed to even the most basic science, you are holding mankind back in a very primative way, not much different than the Taliban who oppose education and science as a means of control, IMHO.

To be fair, science does make assumptions and is not infallible. But I do see where science and religion can coexist until something more definitive is know. In that wonderful middle there is a whole lot of grey area to ponder.

The Hubble (and soon the James Webb) telescopes are expanding our view far beyond what was ever dreamed when man first looked into the night sky. I saw Neil Armstrong step onto the moon and dream that I live long enough to see man walk also on Mars! Wouldn't that be incredible!! Discoveries of modern man are fascinating and keep me very much entertained, along with debunking the occasional Bigfoot story. Ha!

From: Owl
11-Jun-18
To be fair, science does make assumptions and is not infallible. "Science" does NOT make assumptions. Scientists do. No small distinction. Facts are not fallible but people are.

That is why I often use the rough age of the earth as an intellectual barometer, because if you are closed to even the most basic science, you are holding mankind back in a very primative way, not much different than the Taliban who oppose education and science as a means of control, IMHO. Which brings us full circle to Harvey who, basically, makes the exact same case relative to one's theology as a moral "barometer." I will add, if you think there is little distinction between a young earth creationist Christian and the Taliban, you are either willfully ignorant or patently dishonest.

11-Jun-18
“if you think there is little distinction between a young earth creationist Christian and the Taliban, you are either willfully ignorant or patently dishonest” x2

From: BowSniper
11-Jun-18
I would point out that anyone who actually believes the 'young earth' nonsense is both willfully ignorant and patently dishonest. Because as you said, facts are not fallible but people are.

A person that would truly believe the earth is only a few thousand years old in this day and age is so intellectually damaged as to be incapable of reading, reasoning, or referencing a sarcastic comment about the Taliban or anything else.

While that comment was more specific to their comparable scientific prowess, you can run with it as far as you feel necessary to obfuscate the point...

From: Owl
11-Jun-18
Bowsniper, if you choose to cast yourself as the Bowsite Joy Behar continue trading in hyperbole.

From: Bowbender
11-Jun-18
"A person that would truly believe the earth is only a few thousand years old in this day and age is so intellectually damaged as to be incapable of reading, reasoning, or referencing a sarcastic comment about the Taliban or anything else."

Hmmmmm........ Guess I'll tell my former coworker with the masters in mechanical engineering how patently stupid he is.

From: BowSniper
11-Jun-18
If bowsite is becoming Guyana on the 7th Mountain, then I will gladly accept that title. Because the belief in an impossibly 'young earth' is every bit as foolish as still believing the earth is flat. Both positions are ridiculous and unsupported by fact, and both (sadly) have their passionate yet misguided followers.

If we entertain foolishness for feelings, we do our society a great disservice. The earth is simply NOT thousands of years old, and anyone who believes that nonsense is an idiot (to quote Stave Harvey).

From: Owl
11-Jun-18
If we entertain foolishness for feelings, we do our society a great disservice. Well applied to someone who believes time, space or matter is infinite. Or that chaos selects order. Or that incomprehensibly complex information does not require a commensurately powerful intellect. All are simply logically impossible but folks traipse about under those theories like the Dude Lebowski hangs a bathrobe about his shoulders. And all the while, our modern Godless social machinations have killed millions and millions of infants. Talk about disservice.

From: BowSniper
11-Jun-18
Owl - does your redirection from my last very clear position mean you actually think the earth might be just a few thousand years old (or that the earth is perhaps flat)??

Or does that feint mean you agree that both of those positions are so ridiculous as to not waste time in defense, and are moving on to greater more debatable mysteries of the universe??

From: Owl
12-Jun-18
No "feint"- I'm drawing a direct analogy between the Young Earth Creationists(YEC) and folks who believe in materialism, multiverses or any other illogical construct used to explain existence. These are more expressions of faith (and, more likely, rationalization) rather than reflection of "facts" as we know them. But that's unfair to the YEC scholarship out there.

Now, for the sake of an honest debate, I am an old Earth creationist. I've stated before the Bible does not age the Earth. One cannot read past Genesis 1:2 without putting a crater in that notion. The Bible ages the Bible and the events contained therein. That stated, one's salvation is not based on what one believes relative to the Genesis account so I don't waste time debating the YECs. The Great Commission is not to make literal believers of Genesis.

I've made my position clear enough for debate. What do you believe, Bowsniper?

From: BowSniper
12-Jun-18
Owl - I believe there is no YEC "scholarship" and to infer an educational term towards such nonsense is a pitiful joke. It is no different than those who believe the earth is flat, or that man never really landed on the moon, or that giant hairy Bigfoot (feet?) roam among us. Plenty of followers for each (sadly) and ALL mentally damaged at some level. They twist up some pseudo-science into a cult that willfully ignores a mountain of demonstrable contrary fact. And it should not be entertained as even remotely true. It's a total fabrication with 0.0 chance of being correct.

That said, I don't think the fake YEC drivel bears much weight on any real discussion of a greater power and the unknown origins of the universe.

I believe we live in a universe of almost unimaginable scale and dimension. It's very real with actual planets and stars and matter that appears to all be moving outward.... so I believe this points to an original "big bang". From that point it's all pretty much wild conjecture.

It could be that the original 'beginning' was a giant ball of matter that exploded outward billions of years ago. Or that this outward explosion at some point contracts again and repeats the process forever. I often wonder what would be beyond the farthest object (several entire galaxies already confirmed to be farther than a quasar, some 13 giga-lightyears away). The farther we look the more we continue to see. At some point is there an edge of nothingness?

You keep returning to the idea that something incredibly powerful and complex had to 'create' this first mass/action. And I keep saying that would be even LESS logical/likely because now you have to invent an even more complex and impossible creator for the creator.

My best guess is that the original mass for the 'big bang' was just always there. If there had to be a creator, then where did the creator come from. Oh, he was just always there. Do you see how silly that sounds? The argument against an existing universe can't be something that fails the exact same argument!

It only moves further from logic and reason to say the entire known universe had to be magically 'poofed' into existence by an invisible sky fairy. Or that because evolution has gaps in the known science and timeline.... it somehow makes more sense to believe a magical overlord 'poofed' a human from a rib (which is even LESS likely and supported by no fact or science or proof of anything at all).

Surely there are limits to what we humans know at any given time. But to just invent a magical solution to explain the unknown, give it a name, assign human feelings, and kneel in prayer to the 'All Powerful Oz' just seems silly to me. No need to fear the unknown, it is what it is. And eventually we may learn more about the origins of mankind, the same way we solved the horror of an angry god blocking the sun (a simple eclipse) or sailing off the edge of the flat earth (with a sphere), etc.

From: Owl
12-Jun-18
Bowsniper, Your repeated use of the phrase"sky fairy" belies an immature and vapid understanding of the issue.

Much of what you say about the universe I agree with but unfortunately for your argument, those points (like expansion and entropy) solidly support a finite beginning. And a finite beginning requires extra- material causation. That's just science, or,rather, the laws of logic.

12-Jun-18
Atheist mock the Christian faith. They make fun of believers as if they are intellectually superior in their beliefs. There is no denying this as it’s been pointed out in his thread by the typical atheists.

The only thing I’ll say in return is you can mock my intelligence and faith all you want. But, if you think that your faith puts you above that, think again. I truly believe that any person who can convince themselves all of this originated from a blob of ooze, a Big Bang, or any other of the numerous theories of creation, based on hypothesis, you exhibit the commitment of faith all Christians could benefit from duplicating.

God Bless men.

12-Jun-18
I would imagine there was a “big bang”. When GOD spoke it into existence. As an outdoorsman, can you not see God in everything?

From: Salagi
12-Jun-18
"My best guess is that the original mass for the 'big bang' was just always there. If there had to be a creator, then where did the creator come from. Oh, he was just always there. Do you see how silly that sounds?"

But it is not silly that the "original mass" was just there? I've always said that is where the belief in a creator has an advantage. From a scientific standpoint, how the "original mass" got there has to be explained and they are unable to do that. From a creationist standpoint, we don't have to explain how the creator came to be. Maybe that seems like a simplistic way out and so be it. I am fine with not knowing . I Cor 1:23, 25. Rom 11:33

As I said earlier, the more I study science, the more God becomes apparent. The Bible is full of scientific "facts" that we humans only figured out thousands of years later. There is a lot more agreement between science and the Bible than most folks realize. Ps 19:1-3

From: BowSniper
12-Jun-18
Owl - my use of words like sky fairies, or magical overlord, or pixies is just a placeholder to indicate some supernatural entity that does not actually exist by any reasonable measure. If you are inventing a solution out of thin air (literally) and giving it a name, and saying it can defy any reality and answer any question and be the solution to any problem by the mere definition of the word... then yeah, use any word because it's all the same. It's a completely made up concept and any term is just as silly. Thus the immature words to reflect the immature solution they honestly represent.

I went through this with the cult of bigfoot. No matter what rational argument was presented as fact, the Bigfoot religion could invent a magical answer. No clear trail cam pics? Only shows his amazing intelligence to avoid them. No bigfoot home discovered? Shows his amazing woodsman skills to remain hidden. No bigfoot hit by a train or a truck? He is smarter and more careful than man. No baby Bigfoot captured? Only shows his amazing parenting skill. No bigfoot bones? Shows their healthy lifestyle allows them to live hundreds of years or some other such nonsense. The lack of proof becomes the proof itself, for the unprovable.

Every religion thinks they are right and the others are wrong... the most self-serving and ordinary human concept of all, and one that belies any greater singular truth. If God wanted the truth to be universally known, it would be done. And to create a stpry where the lack of definitive proof becomes the proof itself (or test, or devotion, etc).... well, let me sell you some giant shoes for those Bigfeet.

I don't see anything in the bible that would demonstrate a supernatural knowledge or understanding beyond what ordinary man would have imagined at the time. No dinosaurs, no age of earth, no galaxies or creation of the universe except for a magical poof to explain away any unknown. Striped animals from peeling a stick thrown in water? The son of God needing to move a boulder to get out of a cave? C'mon now. You know who moves boulders? Ordinary people. I'm just not buying it.

If the unknown is scary and you need an invisible friend... then recognize that for what it is. A belief, a faith, a choice. I only argue for the difference between faith and fact, and highlight those creations of the human mind that are devoid of any basis in reality. At least until something more definitive is discovered. Until then...

From: Owl
12-Jun-18
Bowsniper, you seem to have a problem with what is inconceivable. Well, for perspective, consider how inconceivable our own cellular structure is to our understanding. We cannot even fathom what we know-like 2.3 billion strands of DNA per cell much less what we cannot. Yet, our ignorance does not negate our existence.

If the cellular level can be so beyond our grasp and the universe ever expanding in complexity, it stands to reason there is an external force equally beyond our understanding.

BTW, I am not "inventing" anything. Were I, I would give myself license to indulge myself on a much larger scale than my faith permits - a characteristic common among non-theists.

From: Owl
12-Jun-18
Actually, how the boulder was rolled away is unknown.

The Bible is not a science text (though there are sublime mentions of scientific facts as Salagi points out). It is the story of the bloodline of Christ and it is THE story of love. If one cannot read the Bible as an exposition of eternal love, one cannot grasp its meaning. At all.

From: 70lbdraw
12-Jun-18
WV, what are you so angry about? My post was not confrontational, yet you fly off the handle making accusations. You dont want to debate. If it's all simply "mockery" to you, why do you engage?

From: Will
12-Jun-18
Wow - this blew up into a heck of a debate. Interesting points and discussion.

12-Jun-18
What in the world are you talking about 70? My Posts have not been in anger

You are the one that left the “debate”. I simply stated the truth. I’m having s hard time understanding where you are coming from. I asked you simple question. You retired, then come back with the anger remark? Someone appears angry alright But, that isn’t me.

God Bless men

From: 70lbdraw
12-Jun-18
Simply giving an example of an "uncomfortable confrontation". You mentioned it as if you don't understand it. Just giving you my point of view. I'm not confused, nor am I taking personal issue with you.

12-Jun-18
religion by definition is nothing more than so much superstition and is evidence for nothing other than the imagination of man. Using religion as if it could add additional factual meaning or persuasion in a debate is tantamount to mental masturbation.

From: BowSniper
12-Jun-18
Owl - I actually enjoy the inconceivable, hence my fascination with the ever expanding universe of real stuff. Did you know it's actually accelerating and picking up speed? Is that a giant invisible guy on a bike peddling faster? Or a scientific property of whatever blasted apart in the first place? I presume the latter. And I can't even begin to grasp dark matter or why there would be 80% for every 20% of actual matter in the universe. Why? Invisible guy said so, or some property of physics? Again, I will go with the latter.

If we don't yet understand our DNA coding, it doesn't mean we fail to exist. It also doesn't mean we need an invisible friend to hold our hand and ease any concern until we find out. Man will study and learn by fact based testing and research. At no point does supernatural magic fit into an equation on the blackboard without being laughed out of MIT.

For that matter, I find the biblical boulder/cave story absurd from a factual standpoint. A guy disappeared from a cave and the security boulder WAS moved. Who needs to move a boulder to get someone out of a cave? Regular people. If the son of God were going to vanish, the boulder could stay in place and the story would be of a true godly scale. You know who screws up a story with ordinary human actions? Regular people. Why would Mary even be coming back with ointments if the door was blocked with an immovable boulder?

I am all for the bible being a store of love, sharing meaningful lessons in life. Jesus sounds like a deeply caring fellow and wonderful teacher. But should every story book be taken literally??? Of course not. Look what happened when Orson Wells had people thinking "War of the Worlds" was real. Otherwise reasonable people went nuts!

Just look at how upset this gets WV. :-)

12-Jun-18
70, you claim I was "hating". I explained differently. There was no hate in my message.

70, you asked why i was so angry. I explained that there is no anger in me over this. only once have I been angry on this site. This wasn't it.

Everything you seem to be implying abut my emotional state seems to me to be the exact description that fits your actions. Not mine.

The only people on the uncomfortable side of those confrontations, aren't the believers. And, despite how popular it is to take task with the messenger for delivering the message, we all know the problem causing the uncomfortable feeling isn't that. It is the Message being delivered.

There is no anger, aggravation, or hate in that.

Bowsniper, you haven't nor will you make me angry. I feel for you. But, it isn't anger. God Bless men

From: BowSniper
12-Jun-18
WV - I didn't really mean you were angered by the whole conversation, nor would I care... hence the biblical smiley face after my post. Its all good. Pray on !!

From: 70lbdraw
12-Jun-18
"we all know the problem causing the uncomfortable feeling isn't that. It is the Message being delivered."

Fair enough. Problem is, not everyone that delivers the message is qualified to do so. Common sense goes a long way. To the skeptic, there is nothing common, or sensible about it...especially if it's being delivered by a couple of snot nosed kids going door to door. This is why I ask, "Are they trying to convince others, or themselves?"

From: Owl
12-Jun-18
Owl - I actually enjoy the inconceivable, hence my fascination with the ever expanding universe of real stuff. Did you know it's actually accelerating and picking up speed? That's debatable but Hubble's Law still points to a Big Bang. Is that a giant invisible guy on a bike peddling faster? That's infantile. Or a scientific property of whatever blasted apart in the first place? I presume the latter. Me too. And I can't even begin to grasp dark matter or why there would be 80% for every 20% of actual matter in the universe. Why? Invisible guy said so, or some property of physics? Again, I will go with the latter. Me too. God is not an invisible 'guy.' BTW, the laws of physics also point to a God for laws don't exist without a law giver. Otherwise, please demonstrate where else a law has been generated from nothing. The laws of physics also bear the stamp of an intelligent being because they are rational, constant and orderly. If we don't yet understand our DNA coding, it doesn't mean we fail to exist. It also doesn't mean we need an invisible friend to hold our hand and ease any concern until we find out. I'm not certain what you're concerned about but I hope you work it out. I truly do. Man will study and learn by fact based testing and research. Totally agree. Never suggested otherwise. At no point does supernatural magic fit into an equation on the blackboard without being laughed out of MIT. You mean like "magic rocks" (matter) that exist out of nothing? Completely agree.

For that matter, I find the biblical boulder/cave story absurd from a factual standpoint. A guy disappeared from a cave and the security boulder WAS moved. Who needs to move a boulder to get someone out of a cave? Regular people. If the son of God were going to vanish, the boulder could stay in place and the story would be of a true godly scale. Actually, no, people would just claim the body was never placed in the tomb at all. You know who screws up a story with ordinary human actions? Regular people. Why would Mary even be coming back with ointments if the door was blocked with an immovable boulder? You REALLY know neither the story nor point of the Resurrection. The Resurrection HAD to be bodily in nature, ergo, no wisping away. The boulder was not "immovable" (Obviously, it was moved to close the tomb). The Marys even ask aloud in the text, "Who will roll away the stone?" Further, the Marys, as was the custom, returned to anoint the body. Not much of a stretch. Though, I imagine they had an abiding curiosity and ulterior hope...

I am all for the bible being a store of love, sharing meaningful lessons in life. Jesus sounds like a deeply caring fellow and wonderful teacher. Respectfully, you cannot even get this correct logically. Look at the things Jesus said. He was either the Son of God or a stark raving lunatic. Even the Apostle Paul addressed that point. If someone is "lukewarm" about Jesus of Nazareth, he is not really not putting much thought to the subject.But should every story book be taken literally??? Again, such a cursory understanding...there are prescriptive and descriptive passages. There are metaphors, similes, etc - all the normal literary devices. When Jesus claims to be the light of world, does that mean he has a wick emanating from His head? Come on, man.

From: Owl
12-Jun-18
This is why I ask, "Are they trying to convince others, or themselves?" - Both, if you ask me, 70. But that should be neither surprising nor particularly condemning.

12-Jun-18
Probably both 70. Everyone has to start some where though. I cut them slack, allow them to spread their message, question them about their testimony, then pray with them. No need in getting mad at a new convert doing what they can to further the gospel. God Bless men

From: lawdy
12-Jun-18
I admire the faith in their beliefs atheists have. Being a biologist, I can't fathom that the incredible diversity we see in this world, along with the structure of DNA, just happened by chance. That, along with a miracle I personally witnessed, leaving doctors stymied, further cemented my faith and the power of prayer. The biggest gift from faith is that I don't worry much. I put things into the hands of God and let it go. Works for me.

From: BowSniper
13-Jun-18
The entire concept of organized religion is so utterly ridiculous (to me) that I can't possibly pretend to play along. But if it gives other people a sense of peace or purpose, that's great. Just stop with the door to door sales pitch through the neighborhood. Ding-dong....here is my crutch, would you like to give it a try??? Ummm, no thanks.

I gave it a chance like most children/teens - I've read the books, attended the services, and sang the hymns. The songs are terrible by the way! Poorly scored with weak rhymes pleading in fear, so as not be smited by the all powerful overlord. I wish you could step back and really look at this from the outside.... its like a primative tribe in the jungle dressing up and worshiping a totem pole, singing songs pleading for rain from the rain god. Sorry, but that's just how it appears to a non-believer...

Owl - the laws of physics ARE the example of intelligent laws that come from nothing. The properties of gravity were always there. Man at some point identified, described, and named them. You can choose to believe that someone put gravity there for us to find (like an easter egg hunt) but understand you are just imagining that part. It's simply a "belief". That is where the train jumps the track from fact to fiction, and you should know which stops are real and which ones you are just "hoping" are up ahead.

I use the biblical cave story as an example of one that should not be taken literally. If Jesus was placed in the cave, with a boulder at the door and guards who never left their post.... and the next day Mary comes back and they open the cave and find Jesus miraculously gone, you might have something there. But instead, she comes back and the door is already wide open and the body gone??? The most ordinary non-magical disappearance ever! David Copperfield must really make your head spin if that's the case. Wow.

Could there possibly be a greater power that created the entire universe in a poof from nothing? I suppose. It just seems to be the least likely possibility of all to an unindoctrinated free thinker. And even if there was somehow a singular entity that created billions of entire galaxies, the "belief" that we are the only intelligent life with some personal continuing relationship and dialogue among the vast universe is just ludicrous to me. A very ordinary human invention dreamt up by ancient man. Though I do find the whole spirit/ghost thing pretty fascinating as to how it might fit into the world as we know it. There are some truly amazing things in the universe... I just don't look to answer from 2000 years ago as to what it might all mean.

From: Will
13-Jun-18
BowSniper - I work from a home office, literally just had the door to door sales pitch. It came with a nice pamphlet and an offer to take my family to a BBQ this weekend. Sounds nice, but I had a prior gathering to take my family to, with the rest of my family... So I just recycled the pamphlet :).

I do believe in spirituality. I think it's useful for people. I just dont believe in any one specific version of it being superior, or more real. The general concepts of good living make sense, and often those carry over from religion to religion in different forms or languages. In other words, it's a mindset and a doctrine for people to live by vs actual facts.

I wouldnt say I'm an atheist. I find many concepts from Shamanism and Buddhism really positive. And when things are really hard, I may think: "if there is a god, now would be a good time to help out".

But it is very hard to believe there is some form of "master" who created it all. Very hard, as in, I dont believe it. Unless that "master" is something which will ultimately be described via physics or chemistry as starting the chain of events which we experience today. Not a being, but some action.

For me, that's a big player in the wonder of our natural world. How incredibly fortunate are we to be here. What a MASSIVE stroke of luck, that we exist at all. That there is this amazing planet to live on, and so many different things to experience on it.

4.5B years, at least, the earth has been spinning around the sun, spiraling through space. Mind blowing what has evolved. Mind blowing. Humbling as heck too!

From: BowSniper
13-Jun-18
Will - funny you mention buddhism. I am drawn to a Zen type perspective more than anything else. We live life as an infinite series of immediate moments...

From: Grey Ghost
13-Jun-18
I just want to say, this has been a wonderfully civil and interesting discussion, especially by CF standards.

Thanks, gentlemen.

Matt

From: Owl
13-Jun-18
The entire concept of organized religion is so utterly ridiculous (to me) that I can't possibly pretend to play along. But if it gives other people a sense of peace or purpose, that's great. - Yeah, I get weary of it too. I much more prefer when the faith was called "The Way" and was much more viral. But, then, I have to acknowledge that if I don't contribute to the corporate body of Christ, I am no different than the folks tearing it down.

Just stop with the door to door sales pitch through the neighborhood. Ding-dong....here is my crutch, would you like to give it a try??? Ummm, no thanks. - The door-to-door evangelism does not do much for me, either. But imagine how bad it would be if their "crutch(es)" were piped in non-stop in every waking moment. That's what it is like being a Christian in the world.

I gave it a chance like most children/teens -Doubtful judging by your responses. -

I've read the books, attended the services, and sang the hymns. The songs are terrible by the way! Poorly scored with weak rhymes pleading in fear, so as not be smited by the all powerful overlord. I wish you could step back and really look at this from the outside.... its like a primative tribe in the jungle dressing up and worshiping a totem pole, singing songs pleading for rain from the rain god. Sorry, but that's just how it appears to a non-believer... - Some of the songs are tedious, especially when the organist falls in and out of time like her hands are watching a tennis match. But, hey, no one's perfect. Many hymns, however, are profound and beautiful. You really cannot speak to my perspective unless you knew how many years I spent as a "non-believer."

Owl - the laws of physics ARE the example of intelligent laws that come from nothing. - Bowsniper, ponder "nothingness." I don't think you really appreciate it. Aristotle said, "Nothing is what rocks dream about." Simple but clear. If you're saying physical laws come from the equivalent of rock dreams, by all means, it's your position to defend. I cannot pretend to believe in the categorically impossible.

The most ordinary non-magical disappearance ever! - Now you're beginning to get it!

From: Owl
13-Jun-18
Will, I wish I could muster the time to answer you and Bowsniper. As it is, I implore you to do a small amount of research on the Fined Tuned Universe Theory. There isn't a statistically recognizable concept of luck that can represent our existence.

One excerpt I will tackle: The general concepts of good living make sense, and often those carry over from religion to religion in different forms or languages. In other words, it's a mindset and a doctrine for people to live by vs actual facts. - I agree. I believe people can so closely approximate each other's morality to, essentially, construct a social contract for peaceful coexistence. But when you introduce the notion of "good," you also import morality and that's where subjectivity starts to erode.

From: Will
13-Jun-18
I'd ditto GG on this. I have no clue where you live Owl, nor Bow Sniper and the others on here discussing this "big" topic... But it would be really cool to enjoy a coffee and discuss this stuff. I'd bet we all walk away pretty much where we are now, but, still expanded. That's a gift.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Jun-18
Will,

I especially liked your reference to the Golden Rule. Virtually every religion teaches a similar concept, even Islam. I've maintained for years that it's not so much about the flavor of religion that you believe in, but rather that you use the teachings of your religion as a guide to life and being a better person.

IMO, if there truly is just one divine creator, then he also created the traits in humans that cause them to have differing religious beliefs. And if so, in the end, I think everyone will be judged equally, regardless of what religion they've practiced, or not.

Matt

From: BowSniper
13-Jun-18
You guys ever read the Koran? Doesn't flow real well.... more of an instruction manual than stories and lessons per se. Repeats itself quite often too, which is rather tedious.

My take-away on the Koran was two fold.... (1) that if you believe the bible literally you might be annoying, but if you believe the Koran literally you could be a danger to the rest of the world. Very strict, often violent. (2) It struck me as being written by a pretty ordinary guy - with one section about not sleeping with any woman Mohammad slept with first ... and another verse about not bothering Mohammad while he is eating. Ordinary human weakness stuff ruined it for me.

Important to note that the Koran talks of three books delivering the word of a singular god. The Torah, the bible, and the Koran. Many similarities throughout, calling it the third book of the same story. BIG difference is that neither the Torah or Koran have Jesus as the literal Son of god. Makes more sense really as prophet, or messenger of god. Much more believable than thinking the all powerful creator of the universe impregnated a lady to send a messenger, when entire galaxies are being poofed instantly into existence. And what would Son of God DNA look like? Mary's X chromosomes along with some godly sparkles for the missing Y's? Not believable to me at all.

I haven't read the Torah, so perhaps someone else can speak to that here....

From: slade
13-Jun-18
June 13, 2018 Black America Walking Off the Cliff By Samuel E. Tolley III

For many years, I wondered why European Jews voluntarily marched into cattle cars to be shipped off to Nazi slaughterhouses. How could they compliantly participate in their own destruction? Why had so many lost the will to survive? Or was it that so many thought their compliance would guarantee survival? Some Jews thought not and fought to the death, like those in the Warsaw ghettos, yet far too many didn't. I always wondered why, until now.

This aging Baby-Boomer can no longer dwell on past Jewish deadly compliance because I'm faced with the deadly compliance of people who look like me. The words of George Santayana are unknown to the less informed masses of black America, but the intended lessons should have been learned long ago. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Many of us forgot, and others never knew.

Black Americans are not being herded into cattle cars. Today's eugenics is not publicly barbaric, nor is it the maturation of scientific fantasies. It requires smooth lips instead of sharp tongues, pretended promises instead of protruding barbwire, and hidden death instead of open genocide.

I've lived long enough to witness the racist pre-Civil Rights negro-controlling techniques evolving into the self-perpetuating genocidal black machine we have today. What the Klan, Jim Crow, segregation, and every other racist policy couldn't accomplish has been accomplished beyond the expectations of the American Eugenics Society because of a singular unalterable fact. The society that perverts the family structure of man, woman, and child cannot stand, because every society that abandons the truth of God will eventually collapse. Once that foundation has eroded, the society will crumble under the sheer weight of its own depravity.

But many will say, "Wait a minute, blacks make up only 13% of the U.S. population. What is happening to them isn't necessarily representative of the whole nation. Also, America is still strong, and our economy is booming. Just because black folks can't get their act together, doesn't mean the whole country is doomed!"

That is even more reason to pay closer attention to what is happening to blacks in America. Throughout our history, black Americans had a strong faith in God. We trusted God throughout the slave years. Trusted him during Reconstruction. Trusted him throughout the years of Jim Crow and segregation. The pinnacle of that trust was on full display during the fight for civil rights. Unfortunately, after victory was obtained, our parents dropped the ball, and we let the air out of it.

Our elders engraved the harshness of the struggle in our souls, but they left out God's demand for forgiveness. They made sure that we never forgot being sent to the back of the bus, back of the store and back of the restaurant. They just didn't remind us that God always had our backs. They didn't want us to ever forget about the separate drinking fountains; they just never insisted that we remember Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. They always told us to believe in God, but their actions taught us that dignity and self-worth are achievable by trusting in government.

Some may say, "The church is still here. We fill the pews every Sunday, and we love the Lord." To this I say, so did many Jews in the Northern Kingdom under Jeroboam. They loved the Lord in their own way, but not his. They worshiped him in their own way, but not his, and they also worshipped golden calves, thereby rejecting the First Commandment not to have other gods beside him.

Aren't we doing the same thing? If God wouldn't settle for a syncretistic form of worship from the Jews, why would he settle for it from us?

The pre-welfare black society understood the necessity for respect and responsibility. From slavery until LBJ's War on Poverty programs, intact black American families were the norm. The church was the glue that sealed biblical bindings in the hearts and minds of the family. Fathers governed their households, and young men were less likely to become criminals. Fornicators and adulterers were unwelcomed parasites. Premarital pregnancies were a rarity, as they were a cause for shame and reproach.

In 1950, eighty-five years after slavery, the two-parent black household was 78%. By the mid-sixties, black lives started to matter much less under LBJ's Great Society. Now, just fifty-three years after the War on Poverty began, the once stable two-parent black household has disintegrated to an abysmal 27%, and the black church is all but silent! The roots of this catastrophe were sown the minute the black church started trusting in government instead of God.

While the two major political parties share joint responsibility for the state of government, the Democratic Party has placed itself in direct opposition to God. Those whose stand against God dig their own graves, and the black church by and large has decided to dig alongside the Democrats.

Contrary to the first covenant God made with man, that a man shall leave is parents and cleave to his wife, the Democratic Party accepts, defends, and promotes the blasphemy called "same-sex marriage." Contrary to the fact that man was made in the image of God, thereby having intrinsic value far above any other creature, the Democratic Party endorses, justifies, and defends euthanasia. Contrary to the Lord's commandment that we shall not murder, the Democratic Party supports and defends abortion for any reason up to birth.

The Democratic Party's promotion of same-sex "marriage," euthanasia, and abortion shows its complete distain for the God of the Bible. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, "The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

Those prophetic words from the late Dr. King foretold the judgment evident in large segments of the black church today. If the black church were still the conscience of America, she would soundly condemn every affront to God.

Instead, we have filled our pulpits with biblically disobedient pastoral pretenders who endorse the God-dishonoring policies of the Democratic Party. Even though judgment will begin in the house of the Lord, they have no fear of God. The human rewards they gather today will cost them a godless reward throughout eternity. To whom much is given, much is required.

When the black family trusted in God, there were difficult days, but God always saw us through them. With our present trust in government, we still have difficult days, but will God continue to be our guide? Being only 13% of the population, we have over 30% of the abortions and account for 40% of the criminal justice statistics, and at 27%, the black two-parent family is almost nonexistent.

The Jewish people survived the diaspora and Nazi genocide because of the prophetic plans of God. He even brought them back to the Promised Land. The only land for black Americans is America. The only hope for the black family is complete repentance and a return to trusting in God. If we fail to repent, ours may just be the foreshadow of the fate awaiting the rest of the nation. If that happens, we can forget about partaking in this melting pot called America, because all that will remain of us is a stain at the bottom of the pot.

From: slade
13-Jun-18

From: Owl
13-Jun-18
Likewise on the civility comments. Be honored to sit in the company of you fellows.

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
A good discussion, thanks to the brainstorming gentlemen of the group for sharing thus far.

But Slade lost me with those last two posts. Ya really need to add some personal text explaining what you are sharing amd how it relates to the conversation. A big cut-N-paste news story comparing blacks and jews? A country music video? In what context??

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
Here is a wild thought that might blow your mind (especially coming from a skeptic like me...!)

Many years ago, in Marine boot camp, I had a definite ghost encounter. Something woke me up... I saw guys scrambling to get dressed.... so I got up and quickly started getting dressed too. As I became more awake (at least one sock on by now) I saw it was only those several guys moving so I stopped and asked them what they were doing. No answer. I could see them in the dark maybe 15-20ft away, wearing the military white boxers and t-shirts of the time, standing and moving quickly to get dressed. So I turned and started waking my top bunk guy to get moving (who was annoyed and just went back to sleep). When I turned back around the original guys were gone. Nothing. So I went back to sleep thinking I imagined the whole thing. Though wearing socks now. Ha!

Morning comes, and things were crazy. Drill Instructors going more berserk, more furious than we had ever seen. At one point, a guy in the opposite row of bunks said he saw me talk to ghosts that night. He saw the whole thing... them dressing, me talking to them, then gone! And we soon found out that on that night the Marines were killed in Beirut. It was Oct 1983.

So how can I square this idea of spirit/ghosts with my idea of how the universe might exist? One thought I had is the Buddhist idea of reincarnation. Think about it!

It doesn't really make much sense to keep cranking out an endess line of souls, and then stacking them up after a very short human life span, hundreds of billions stored in a floaty sky cloud. Where would that even be located in the universe? That whole story about heaven and hell seems totally made up by ordinary man based on simple fears of life after death.

However, what if there really was reincarnation (as some people claim to have experienced)? Souls being an energy, where energy can neither be created or destroyed. For each death a soul returns with a new life to start again in an endless cycle. The Buddhists believe this includes animals, too. And as I thought about it, it seems to me that while there are more humans in the world every year, there might be less animals, thus keeping the total soul count in perfect balance.

And then ghosts are those sad few who, because of some tragic event in death, "miss" the normal cycle and are lost for some period of time? Something to ponder!!

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
Important to note that the Koran talks of three books delivering the word of a singular god. The Torah, the bible, and the Koran. Many similarities throughout, calling it the third book of the same story. BIG difference is that neither the Torah or Koran have Jesus as the literal Son of god.

- What's really cool is that, between the Torah and the Koran, they tell the full story of the Resurrection without putting it all together. The Torah says Christ died but did not rise and Koran states that Jesus "rose" after the crucifixion but did not die (I believe it contends another died in His place.)

Makes more sense really as prophet, or messenger of god. Much more believable than thinking the all powerful creator of the universe impregnated a lady to send a messenger, when entire galaxies are being poofed instantly into existence. And what would Son of God DNA look like? Mary's X chromosomes along with some godly sparkles for the missing Y's? Not believable to me at all. - Doctrinally, Jesus what not a messenger and the Y's were Y's. Jesus was a man as well as God. Think about this for a matter of perspective, the western world has only had widespread distribution of the electric grid, what about 75 years(?) and can already perform artificial insemination. If there is a higher power (of any description), the virgin birth is a rather pedestrian feat.

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
There's room in the infinite for finite souls. Not sure where you are getting a "floaty cloud" construct... You are correct about the curiosity of a man who decries the spiritual believing in spirits. :) But now the shoe is on the other foot because I do not believe in ghosts.

14-Jun-18
And the biggest Billy Goat gruff said: Well, come along! I've got two spears, And I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears; I've got besides two curling-stones, And I'll crush you to bits, body and bones. ...then he flew at the troll, and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade, and after that he went up to the hillside. There the 3 billy goats got so fat they were scarcely able to walk home again. And if the fat hasn't fallen off them, why, they're still fat; and so,

Snip, snap, snout. This tale's told out.

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
Straight Arrow - is this intellectual exchange too much for you? The collective brain trust here is celebrating meaningful debate and exchange of ideas. And you are still pouting and throwing a childlike tantrum? It appears nursery rhymes and fables is as far as you will ever progress...... sad.

14-Jun-18
Not being a wise guy but, you just put your version of “nursery rhymes “and “tall tales” into your description of souls in the clouds. I understand you were actually debating your point. But, the Attitude you are expressing towards believers, is no less demeaning with your out landish descriptions meant solely for effect. God Bless men.

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
WVA - along the way I also try to keep it interesting and fun/funny. This is the most reserved/respectful I have ever been when discussing this topic. And playful analogies help bridge the gap when discussing the atheistic and biblical perspectives.

I used "floaty cloud" for heaven because that is generally how it is illustrated in pictures. No? And ridiculous phrases are necessary for me as a way of describing how these things really sound/appear to the non-believers. Still.... along the way we are exploring the basics of what each group believes and some of the why. Not entirely devoid of substance. Have some fun. You won't really be banished to eternal hell for cracking a smile once in a while. God has a sense of humor.... (psalm 2:4)

Speaking of which, if you think heaven and hell are real... where exactly might they be? I mean really, if you had to guess. A place somewhere in the universe? Some 4th dimensional portal? If souls are going there, there needs to be a there there. What do believers actually believe, and why?

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
If heaven in the presence of God, hell is a state of privation of/from God. So, by and by, hell may travel with us.

Bowsniper, As for your descriptors of Christian concepts and viewpoints, they don't come off as funny. One of those times the inflection in your head does not translate to the words on the screen as intended.

From: Will
14-Jun-18
Continuing to see this as an interesting discussion.

GG cleanly summarized a key to the whole area to me: "... it's not so much about the flavor of religion that you believe in, but rather that you use the teachings of your religion as a guide to life and being a better person."

I suspect one could morph those words, in particular: "better person" into something bad. For example: that person has different religious/spiritual belief's than I do, thus they are bad or should be fixed so they are more like me... etc. I don't read his point that way, as I thought about it, I could imagine someone saying something like that about it though... "What's a better person?" for example.

I may be taking GG's point out of context, so this (below) is what I see in that mentality.

Our spiritual system of beliefs supports the desire we have to be, and do good, for the greater world.

That could be our immediate family, community, state, country, species, environment etc. The circles keep edging out and are related.

I really liked that statement from GG. It reflects an important point. If we use our spiritual belief's (from Atheism to Christianity and Pagan to Zen) to better the world, that's a positive.

14-Jun-18
"Straight Arrow - is this intellectual exchange too much for you? "

I've debated this topic here on the bowsite for decades at this point.....it is not an intellectual pursuit. It is a discussion of different people's superstitions. You are debating what is by definition unknowable......something that is simply a matter of faith.

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
S-A I agree with you to a point. I am just delving into this more specifically.... to learn more about the literal vs anecdotal beliefs, and that line between fact and faith. The young earth is a good example. Methuselah at 969 years old is another. Noah with two of every animal in a big ass boat? Literally... or just lessons/morals of a broader story based around the genuine belief in a greater power?

People believe in lots of things... there is a lady that is in love with London Bridge and think they have a relationship too. Some people believe the most ridiculous things to fill some empty void in their lives.

In the case of religion, I often wonder WHY people believe what they do, and how far it goes. When on the surface it seems so utterly far fetched. If they believe every single line of any religious book as fact, it is cause for concern and perhaps some mockery. If that hurts some feelings its probably because deep down that know how crazy it sounds too....or even worse, because they DON'T! But when its a healthy balance between faith and reality, then it is interesting to share viewpoints and experiences. Owl provides some good back and forth on that basis.

I certainly don't know all the answers, but I am also not afraid to ask the hard questions (even if without much tact) :-)

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
Owl - when you say heaven is with god, can you narrow it down to whether you think that might be somewhere 'within' this universe or 'outside' this universe?

I ask that under the concept that those who think they are going to heaven when they die.... where you think you might actually go (where the soul would move to) if not here.

And do you think the Islamic place described in the Koran with 72 virgins and gardens, etc. is describing the same place in the big picture???

14-Jun-18
I smile plenty Bowsniper. However, it vexes me to see someone so careless with what has been and, will be a wrathful God to those that oppose him.

You keep using the word religion. The relationship with Christ that is needed to get you to heaven is the definition of the death of religion. Religion and, it's man made fallacies do nothing but make mankind feel better about themselves. Religion is fruitless. That much I will say we agree on.

Where we differ is the knowledge of God and, the presence of the Holy Spirit. I won't go further into that because it is obvious you aren't lost with the concept. You just choose not to accept it as reality. To that I will say if you ever meet the Lord, on his terms, there will be no doubt of his existence. No amount of mocking or denying it will change that. It is something that every believer has experienced when they met the Lord. Knowing the Lord isn't faith. It's acknowledging and accepting him on his terms. Faith is what Believers have in the teaching of Christ and the Bible. Not what saves them.

Anyways, I will pray away for you. Take care and God Bless

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
Owl - when you say heaven is with god, can you narrow it down to whether you think that might be somewhere 'within' this universe or 'outside' this universe? Both. I don't get the reflex for limitation, spiritually speaking. Or it could be Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska ...during an ACTUAL WINNING SEASON!!!!:(

I ask that under the concept that those who think they are going to heaven when they die.... where you think you might actually go (where the soul would move to) if not here. Other than what's outlined in Revelation, I don't know. Even that, I wonder may very well be symbolic.

And do you think the Islamic place described in the Koran with 72 virgins and gardens, etc. is describing the same place in the big picture??? Definitely not.

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
What and where do you think happens to us when we die, Bowsniper?

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
You keep using the word religion. The relationship with Christ that is needed to get you to heaven is the definition of the death of religion. Religion and, it's man made fallacies do nothing but make mankind feel better about themselves. Religion is fruitless.

-I really like that, WVM. An interpretation proven by those who sought to have Him killed.

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
A word on " faith." It gets bantered around a lot as if it means "blind allegiance" when, in fact, it is a synonym for "trust" - as in a faithful spouse. Most of us have faith that are spouses will not cheat because they have sufficiently demonstrated that they have the character to avoid adultery. For me, I have faith in Christ because my questions have been sufficiently satisfied by Biblical accounts.

From: Will
14-Jun-18
I'd like to take a stab at the "what do you think happens to us when we die" question.

I think, originally, we lay where we died and were returned to the earth slowly over time. Eventually, that morphed into others in our unit moving our bodies away from how living areas, eventually burying them and allowing our bodies to give something back to the earth, a minor repayment on the debt of life it gave us for however many years we survived.

As spirituality formalized more and more, rituals evolved. They changed those steps. And today for most of us, we are placed back into the earth, unable to give anything back to the earth, as we are within boxes of various shapes and sizes pending the burial approach we decided upon, or which was decided upon for us.

We most certainly live on, at least for a while. We live on in those we left behind. Not just genetically, but in the ways we may have changed the world and the memories those who knew us carry forward. Things we may have taught, or experiences we had with others, will change how they relate to the world in some way, and in that way, we live on. In that way, we are not quite immortal or living the after life... But we, the dead, are at rest... Those surrounding us carry us on.

Some what merciless, yet oddly beautiful. The fact that memories of my grandfather, dead close to 25 years now, help steer some of my choices today, even influencing how I behave as a dad is amazing. What an impact any life can bring to those around it!

Knowing that, influences my behavior. My choices. I could be a jerk. I could be the guy who blatantly cut in front of about 4 or 5 of us at the bank today. I could be the person at a Catholic Mass who leaves after taking communion, rather than sticking around for the end. I could be rude, hurtful... you get the idea. But I choose to try to be a good human being who does good things for others and hopefully, in some small way, helps improve the world.

Successful? Nah. Sometimes, but not all the time. No one could be.

In a lot of ways, that's the same sort of stuff religion motivates for those who are believers in a specific "school" of thought.

I'd be curious to see BowSnipers thoughts, and others. How about you Owl. When you die, what happens and where do you go? How about non believers or non Christians, where do they go?

14-Jun-18
Do you have any friends or family that are Christians, BowSniper? Maybe a coworker that you trust? I ask because I wonder if you’ve had similar conversations with them? I could witness to you about a personal encounter with Christ that resulted in a physical healing for me. No made up, “Peter Popoff” nonsense either. I figure you’ll just shrug me off as some Jesus “freak” on the internet :). Ask someone you trust and believe. Awful hard to explain away miracles. Other than the “sky fairy “ type comments, I would enjoy this debate around a campfire.

From: Owl
14-Jun-18
Will, I will be judged. I believe I will immediately spiritually enter the presence of the Christ. Sometime from there I will have a bodily resurrection. The former is certain; the latter only debatable in the details. As for non-Christian's, Romans 14:11 says "Every knee wiil bend" and "every head will bow to acknowledge God." That stated, they will still be judged and they will still be accountable. Some people think that outlook means people will escape Hades. Well that's not true. People know God now and deny Him. There is no reason to believe there will be none after death. The privation of God will be real. Volitional but real, nonetheless.

From: BowSniper
14-Jun-18
Owl - I find it interesting that you don't think different religions who worship the same one benevolent god go to the same place, whether they call it heaven or something else. Sure, I suppose you think suicide bombers go to the "hell" and good people go to the "heaven". But really, there are plenty of good Jews and Arabs that love the same one god. And ought to go to the same place, if there was actually one god for all mankind and one place for good people to go. Yet another reason I don't honestly "believe" in any religion per se. If the jews think Jesus did not rise, and the Muslims think he did not die, and the Christians believe in the trifecta.... billions of people are wasting their time?? Its rather pretentious to think YOUR story is the only right version, and everyone else is wrong. When the other 2/3 of the world thinks the exact opposite. To me, the definition of inconclusive.

Could faith not only be trust, but also hope? Because from my perspective you have no real clue what is going to happen, but you have faith/hope in what you believe will be. That you will die one day is certain, but you "believe" you will then meet Christ.

I think when we die we go into the ground and are eaten by worms. At least our bodies. It's the reality as far as anyone really knows, pious internet rambling aside. If I had to guess about spirituality, I have reason to think our 'souls' or life energy or whatever its called is reincarnated. And that energy is in a continuous circle of life. Our bodies dissolve and those molecules also recycle in the great circle of life. We are always something, somewhere here... just in various forms.

From: Robear
14-Jun-18
Recently the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, announced that there is no hell. After 2000 years of the Churches position of upon death, an unrepentant soul going to hell to suffer a fiery punishment for eternity. Now, the Pope says an unrepentant soul just ceases to exist.

I am not Catholic, or a religious man at all for that matter, I just find it interesting that this Pope see things a bit differently.

From: slade
14-Jun-18
The Pope is not a Christian, but a cult leader.....:)

From: Owl
15-Jun-18
If the jews think Jesus did not rise, and the Muslims think he did not die, and the Christians believe in the trifecta.... billions of people are wasting their time?? Its rather pretentious to think YOUR story is the only right version, and everyone else is wrong.

- It's not "pretentious," it's part of the human condition. Everyone has a worldview, everyone has a bias and it is the nature of truth to be SINGULAR. That's not my fault anymore than it is yours. And Christians are just as vulnerable as anyone else in that dilemma. After all, if any of polytheism, atheism, secularism is true, than "billions of (monotheistic) people are wasting their time," right? Idling away precious life worshiping a make believe "sky fairy."

BTW, large portion of this thread is dedicated to atheist apologetics, so to lay the conceit of exclusion at the feet of Christians is a lack of awareness. BTW, you asked specifically about Islam, not Judaism.

From: Owl
15-Jun-18
Could faith not only be trust, but also hope? Absolutely, but, again, hope is not the purview of the Christian (or other deists alone). That falls squarely on your shoulders equally.

Because from my perspective you have no real clue what is going to happen, but you have faith/hope in what you believe will be. That you will die one day is certain, but you "believe" you will then meet Christ. Empirically, that's true. But I have the words and I have trust in those words based on reasoning through the historical facts that scholarship agrees upon and claims thereof.

From: lawdy
15-Jun-18
Hell to me would be dying and at the moment of death, realizing that I was simply going to die because I rejected Christ. I don't fear dying as I am saved, but I fear how I die. I prefer it to be quick and painless.

From: BowSniper
15-Jun-18
It's easy for one Pope or another to see things differently, because the unknown by definition is a made up story. With the many different organized religions each creating their own versions to consolidate power and control (and wealth). And where individuals make-up their own personal belief choices to satisfy their own specific needs, supported by hope and faith. If you would apply the term "scholarship" as if in agreement on ANY of this, you hold a very different definition of the term than I.

There are no atheistic apologists, because that entire concept (if that is what you would call a no-thing) is unapologetic. Actually, if the term atheist is meant to mean someone who "knows" there is not a god or an afterlife or reincarnation, that is equally wrong, too. As ridiculous as any of the invisible friend stuff sounds on paper, who really knows for sure??

The 'agnostic' is the only logical position because we only know that NO ONE knows, and the entire pretext is a waste of time.

The Zen mindset takes it a step further, refining that to only exist in the now. Eliminating the weakness of human want. Why would you want anything?? If you don't get it you will be unhappy. If you get it you will worry about losing it and be unhappy. If you live only in the now, there is no want or unhappiness.

Any thought of an after-life is at the expense of the present. We know what we know, we are where we are, and should not waste time inventing frivolous fairy tales in a hopeless effort to fill in the blanks. Because some might argue that heaven is the right here right now, this incredible experience of life..... and that now is being tragically wasted any time you are thinking instead about the later. Which may or may not even exist!

15-Jun-18
You spent the earlier parts of this thread talking about how inappropriate it was for Christians to insist that Jesus Christ is the only way. Yet, you are now insisting that being agnostic is the only appropriate way to address what happens after death. Can you say irony?

From: jjs
15-Jun-18
Christian Murty said, anytime you have a religion you have persecution; can be no truer statement, I put legalism right with this. Christ wasn't a manmade religion, he was born from a virgin as God in human form to be the ultimate sacrifice for mankind, the alpha and omega, with the main mandate of Love him as your neighbor. A very simple principal to accept and follow but so against the nature of man to follow. As far as after life, I've seen enough death and witness the spirit leaving the body and seen peaceful death and anguish death and that was usually the nature of the person's spiritual well being, no I was not delusional or on drugs. We all have our free will to choose which way one takes the internal road and personally I choose what has been witness and in the written word. Evil has not been mention on this post but again we all have lived long enough to either seen or witness people that are pure evil and how it has been absorbed into their souls. Have met some people that radiates evil and the ones that can cover it up by deception really well and those are the ones that can do great destruction by being unaware. Would like to know other ones take on this?

From: BowSniper
15-Jun-18
WVa- the point is that Christians are selling their own particular brand of crazy (belief, hope, trust) as if fact. Often shamelessly and door to door. Ugh! Its not much different for atheists who don't really know either. But at least they are not going door to door pretending they know.

Agnostic only means that NO ONE really knows, which is a fact if you have the courage to face up to some hard truth. If not, there is always a security blanket, invisible friend, lucky rabbits foot, crutch, etc to help you make it through the day until you are strong enough to stand on your own two feet. :-)

From: Owl
15-Jun-18
Bowsniper, there are far too many fallacies in your last few posts for me to tackle. For expediency, let me ask you a question - If Christianity were true, would you follow Jesus?

15-Jun-18
I know what you might think the whole point is. Or, what you want me to believe is your point. However, I know what your point is. It’s plain for everyone who reads this thread what your gripe is. And, what you are trying to accomplish with it.

No, athetists are not going door to door. However, they are using our courts to skip that. They are suing, protesting, and basically insisting that all Americans bend to the way they want to see this country. No “In God we Trust” on our money. No commandments in law buildings. Nothing but their faceless deprivaty of the way they see the future for all, is good enough for atheists. They can’t honor leave thy neighbor alone to believe what they want. Instead, they are trying to force upon everyone what they believe.

You’ve tried to position yourself in this debate as being neutral in the aspect of religion. Yet, then talk as if you can relate to a religion. I see you switching back and forth as the debate ebbs and flows. But, the one constant you express is your disregard of Christians and Christ.

You’ve spent this whole thread taking little jabs and cheap shots at Christians. Insinuating they are weak in mind. Being a wise guy with bloated ego and explanations why you are right and others are wrong. But, you commit the same offenses you so Adamently use to deplore Christians. You have expressed acceptance of religion. You are however rejecting Christianity. I’ll say it again. Your problem is with Christ and the God of the Bible. You have more then mistakenly proven that as you “mouthed” off this whole thread. Say what you want but, that much is very obvious.

From: BowSniper
15-Jun-18
WVa - I don't think atheists should be forcing their religion onto you, any more than you should be forcing your religion onto them. No baker should EVER be forced to make a product against his religious beliefs! I've tried to position myself pretty neutral in all this, where you are clearly not neutral at all. Not even a little. So close minded you can't see the forest through the imaginary trees.

You want the 10 commandments in federal buildings? How about the Jewish minorah? And a Muslim prayer rug? How about the statue of Buddha? Nope - you want freedom of religion as long as it's only YOUR religion, which makes me oppose your type most of all for the un-American viewpoint you represent (meaning true freedom of religion)

You have your church to wear robes, shake smoking cans, kneel and chant. You can do your wacky rituals at home in total freedom and peace. And if you want it to continue through school, you have dedicated Catholic schools to teach the creationist stories that real science ignores. But noooooo. None of that is good enough for you. You have to go door to door like snake oil salesmen. And then you demand to bring it into government buildings and public schools to indocrinate others. That is where a religion becomes a cult. Do you know who else brings religon to public schools and government buildings....? The Taliban.

I don't want to see ANY religion imposing on the equal rights of others to worship as they see fit (or to not worship at all). I happen to think ALL religions suffer from the same innate basic human weaknesses. It just seems that those who believe it most literally here tend to be the self-righteous Christians banging their evangelical drums out of tune. I don't know if we have many jews, or buddhists, or Muslims on bowsite; but they certainly don't prosthelytize the same way here. Or trumpet their beliefs in a way that invites similar criticism.

Look - if you literally believe that Noah was 800 years old and sailed around with two of every animal in a boat for 40 days and 40 nights, I think you are mentally deficient. That is not to say that there are no good Christian beliefs or practices or virtues. But if there really is a greater power who created the entire universe, I am saying he would be embarassed by YOU.

Owl - on a separate note, you asked a very good question that I wanted to give serious thought and consideration. But the noise from the kids table has created a bit of a distraction....

From: Salagi
15-Jun-18
"Look - if you literally believe that Noah was 800 years old and sailed around with two of every animal in a boat for 40 days and 40 nights, I think you are mentally deficient."

First off, it rained 40 days and nights, Noah and passengers floated for about a year. But here are some ark odds and ends some might find interesting. Using an 18" cubit (most common length) the ark would have been 450' x 75' x 45' this is said to be the most stable proportions to float (think of it as a big floating box since no need to steer was needed). This is about 1.5 million cubic feet. 3 decks gives it more floor space than 21 standard college basketball courts. It is also about the same space as 569 standard railroad stock cars each of which will haul about 240 sheep sized critters. It was the 1800's before we have record of another ship of comparable size was built.

It is estimated by scholars that 16,000 - 35,000 animals would have to be taken on board to represent "kinds". The average size of animals in the world works out to be sheep sized. A 44' triple deck livestock trailer will hold 300 sheep. 40,000 sheep would take up about 29% of the available space on the ark. So from a logistic standpoint, the ark is a lot more doable than many people realize.

15-Jun-18
Man I’ll tell, you are one twisted human being. Speaking of Blinded by the trees. SMH. I know what you think of Christians. You’ve been mouthing off about it the whole time. I don’t know what to say about that other then I hope a bunch of them knock on your door in the next month. It would do you some good.

We Already have places where religion is allowed. The argument is we are losing places where Christianity is allowed. It may chap your butt that this country was founded on Christian beliefs by Christian people but, that’s the way it was and is. It is your religion that insinuating that change. Why? For your delicate feelings I suppose.

Atheists don’t fight against Islamic prayer in school. They Don’t fight against religious outfits, costumes, or rituals any where UNLESS it is deemed to be Christian beliefs. All the while too ignorant to know Christianity isn’t a religion. That isn’t in coincidental either. Tell me again how concerned you are that “religion” not infringe on freedom. Your very argument preaches another tune.

With every word you type, you prove that it has to be your way to be acceptable, ethical, intelligent, etc.... You are the definition of what you proclaim to oppose.

From: Bowbender
15-Jun-18
"I've tried to position myself pretty neutral in all this,.."

"Sky Fairy"

"Invisible friend"

"Man in the cave"

"...You have your church to wear robes, shake smoking cans, kneel and chant. You can do your wacky rituals...."

"Mentally deficient"

Neutral? Hardly.

From: Will
15-Jun-18
Question RE the ark... Even if, a structure strong enough to survive a year at sea while being that big was created, 1.) how could animals with dramatically different environmental needs get there or survive when there - walrus, polar bears, or rain forest creatures for example? 2.) So, we have now managed to get all of said creatures on the boat. imagine the man hours required to remove refuse and move food to those animals... not to mention the space needed for the food for beast and man. How many people were on board?

Take that further. If an african lion was on the boat, and it needs to eat, say, a zebra a week, then we need extra space for 52 spare zebra size animals, no, 104 (52 for each lion). Go down the list though, how many meat eating animals are there that would need a bunch of other animals on board just to survive?

Or were there fewer animals until after the flood, when more were provided?

I'm not trying to be annoying. It's just interesting to consider.

15-Jun-18
Just consider that if God wants you to have a ribeye, you are going to get a ribeye. No way around it. And, if you will have FAITH in him, all things are possible.

You men looking to putvrational reading with Gods abilities are gifting a losing battle. That’s the faith equation part of this.

From: Owl
15-Jun-18
Owl - on a separate note, you asked a very good question that I wanted to give serious thought and consideration. But the noise from the kids table has created a bit of a distraction....

-With respects, Bowsniper, this is not the kind of question that requires any thought and the fact that you want to consider it reveals your estrangement from the concept of truth, itself.

From: Salagi
15-Jun-18
Will I agree it is interesting to consider, and to me not annoying in the least. One thing it brings up to me is the concept of evolution - the change of an organism over time not to be confused with the Theory of Evolution as I mentioned in an earlier post.

According to science, polar bears, grizzlies, black bears etc are in the same genus although different species. The same with most of the canines. So, did Noah have to take a couple of each species or did the species we have today evolve from the pair originally? I personally think that it was the latter. Maybe God did add some more animals after the flood as well.

As to food, why would the food have to be fresh food? why not preserved in some way? Maybe they ate enough to keep them healthy but without much waste, (look at the specialty dog food manufactured today with the whole idea of reducing waste). Perhaps God miraculously reduced the required amount of food needed. I don't know, it doesn't tell us in the few verses recorded in Genesis.

On space requirements, to handle the "kinds" of animals would take less than a third of the available space on the ark leaving room for food, waste etc. There would have been ample time for feeding and caring for the animals, what else are you going to do for a year? ;)

I can answer this question for sure though, there were 8 people on board, Noah and his wife, Ham Shem and Japheth and their wives. Gen 7:7 and I Pet 3:20, (the last verse along with vs 21, says they were save BY the water, not FROM the water which brings up another interesting aspect to think about)

There are a lot of questions we could raise the account leaves unanswered for the most part, this is indeed where faith comes in.

One last thing I think is interesting, many cultures, including at least some of the American Indians, have a story of a flood that destroys the earth with only a few saved.

From: Will
15-Jun-18
Salagi,

Cool man, I appreciate the information and ideas. To me, you hit on the key of a discussion like this... faith. Science can prove a lot, factually. There are things which are not fully investigated or are still uncertain. I have "faith" that those answers (what kicked off the big bang for example) will ultimately be answered.

I don't have "faith" that the Ark happened or that Jonah was spit to shore on the beach... But I do enjoy those stories. Even read them to my kids and they enjoy reading them in a kid's bible to us. For me they are stories which can help teach lessons, my "faith" is that they can help with that.

From: BowSniper
15-Jun-18

BowSniper's Link
Owl - the wording in your question was not clear (at least to me) so I was not sure exactly what I was answering? "If Christianity were true" - do you mean the basic tenants of Christianity or literally believing the bible word for word as if true? "Would you follow Jesus" - Follow him where if dead for thousands of years? Do you mean be one of his followers in practice while on earth, or some prospect of following him in an afterlife that I would also accept as true? If you think this is such a quick easy question - I would ask if Christianity were not true would you stop following Jesus? How could you possibly answer something which cannot be proven, where have created a belief supporting the belief you believe.

Salagi - partial answers and selective sourcing is often how people reach the conclusions that they do. What about the part where Noah was 800 years old? Short of the bible as support of the bible stories, where else has anyone in recorded history achieved such a feat? For the Ark - If a railroad car is your example of holding a quantity of sheep.... is it an example of holding that many sheep for a year? Of course not. There was no large wooden ship built UNTIL the 1800's because no such ship could be built prior due to limitations in engineering, wood, fasteners, and basic principles of buoyancy in ration to dimension. Here is a interesting link that compares biblical lines with scientific fact (not perfect but good). The Noah story appears to have been written without a full accounting of the number of animals that really exist, based on the limited knowledge of man at that time. And now that we know those numbers are far greater, the story is being massaged by believers to now mean only limited "kinds" of animals with God to jump in and work out the subspecies later. Which still does not work in a ship too big to sail, but shows the way these faith based defenses are concocted. If the reasoning gets down to God poofing a ribeye steak if he wants, it becomes quite lacking in respectable intelligent substance.

Bowbender - I view neutral as holding all to the same critical standard. Something quite lacking in the do-unto-others (but never to me) world of Christians. You forgot to mention where I gave examples of fault in the Koran. I simply don't know much about the Torah to give meaningful examples. But neither tribe is relentlessly wall-papering their belief system here, either. Having read the bible and participated in services (with friends who preach the same anecdotal proverbs as if fact) I simply have more familiarity to comment. But given my criticisms of atheist beliefs too, your criticism is simply self-serving.

15-Jun-18
Some great stuff here. I am a believer, yet I think everyone has at least questioned at some point.

As a Christian, the best "evidence" of Christ's story to me was when I was asked that given the horrible deaths the disciples experienced, would they have subjected themselves to that if they had not witnessed the Resurrection and Ascension?

We have some very intelligent folks here, thank you for having this discussion!

From: Salagi
15-Jun-18
Bowsniper - I gave the data concerning the ark as things I have found interesting and which show that the concept is not as far fetched as it first sounds. To be honest, I didn't expect you to believe it. The RR car was an example to show the size comparison. Plenty of space on the ark left over to spread out, hold food etc. We do not know how many animals actually went on the ark, he was just told to take a male and a female of every "sort" or "kind" and 7 of the clean animals. Scholars say up to 16 - 35,000 "kinds" would satisfy the requirement. I'm not sure what you mean by massaging the numbers unless you're basing that on picture books with giraffes sticking their head out of the windows etc. Artistic licence some have used to make the ark look pretty. ;) Fact is, we don't know the shape but from the description it could have easily been just a rectangle box since Noah didn't need to steer it, all it had to do was float. The Bible says it had one door and one window contrary to how people often draw it and God shut the door. We are also told it had 3 stories.

Now as to Noah's age. He was 600 years old when the flood came. He was 950 years old when he died. There have been lots of hypotheses for why men lived that long up until the flood. No pollution, better environment, the list goes on. I'm perfectly willing to go with 'cause God said so because it really doesn't matter. Lifespan after the flood was brought down to 120 years per God (Gen 6:3), and later to about 80 years (these numbers are an average, your individual mileage may vary). Why these numbers? I don't know, nor really care. I would assume it was to jumpstart the population but that is 100% a guess.

I know this does not "prove" it to you, but even in pure science we hesitate to use the word "prove", instead relying on such words as "indicate" and "the data suggests". But when you back off and look at the logistics honestly, the story of the ark, even condensed as it is with out a tremendous lot of detail, becomes possible.

From: Owl
16-Jun-18
If you think this is such a quick easy question - I would ask if Christianity were not true would you stop following Jesus? In a nano second. Why bother following something that is not true?

From: Owl
16-Jun-18
...to me was when I was asked that given the horrible deaths the disciples experienced, would they have subjected themselves to that if they had not witnessed the Resurrection and Ascension?

-That's one of the strongest arguments for the bodily Resurrected Christ, HfW. The same 11 men that abandoned Him at his crucifixion went on to preach His salvation to their impoverishment, imprisonment and tortured deaths. Only John escaped the latter, though he was exiled to Patmos. They were decapitated, crucified, and 1 was even flayed alive for teaching the Way. That's beyond the scope of reasoning to endure unless they saw Jesus rise. They didn't believe, they knew. And that's just the recorded testimony of the disciples. Jesus appeared to many more who were lynch pins to establishing the early church.

From: lawdy
16-Jun-18
Our pastor gave a sermon a while back on the suffering and deaths the disciples experienced because of their faith. They definitely saw the Resurrection to accept their fates and not deny Christ. The fact that a bunch of atheists are still trying to deny Jesus 2000+ years later while in some countries people die for him proves the incredible impact Jesus had and still has. It also signals doubt in the minds of the unbelievers in my opinion.

16-Jun-18
There absolutely WILL be a day when BowSniper’s knee will bend.

From: BowSniper
16-Jun-18

BowSniper's Link
Salagi - the problem with biblical study is that is maintains a very loose relationship between fact and fiction, and its followers do not care to make the distinction. Deliberately. Because any true study of actual fact would bring the entire house of cards down and expose religion for what it really is.... a simple belief in the unknown, with no known facts in support. When "scholars" are mentioned, it is only biblical scholars supporting their own predetermined conclusions, using only the bible as its fact base, devoid of fact.

So for example - the ark. The only actual scholarly peer reviewed study determined the amount of weight a ship of those dimensions could theoretically carry. See Smithsonian link attached. That DOES NOT conclude how many actual animals could fit in the boat, with associated food and water, for the claimed year. And DOES NOT demonstrate that a boat of that size loaded as such could actually float, as has never been duplicated in recorded history. Or that a boat that size could even be built, in those time, with that much wood, in a duration before the wood rotted, etc. (*the example in Kentucky took 1000 men and used 95 tons of steel and has never floated). And the study DOES NOT explain how the limited numbers of animals that fit into this size suddenly becomes the millions of species existing today, other than to claim God has a workaround with "type" and "kinds" which had to evolve to those known species today. Evolution when convenient. Magic when all else fails.

The earth is millions/billions of years old, not thousands... and only one answer is demonstrably "true". No humans ever lived to 800-900 years old. It has zero basis in fact, and the only explanation is that it must have happened because the bible says it. Inventing any imaginary combination of possibilities to obtain a predetermined outcome, when you will only accept the outcome as truth. And when nothing is logically possible, the explanation becomes God's invisible magic powers make all things possible. Circular nonsense presented as fact.

And that is really what I argue against, faith presented as if fact. Could there be some force that created the entire Universe? No one knows one way or the other (both Christians and Atheists) but it seems the least likely intelligent possibility. The argument always gets back to the Universe was just always there. No, because everything just HAD to come from something. Then where did the Creator come from? Oh, he was always there. Circular logic based on invisible magic. No thanks, I'll just stick with what modern man and science and technology knows until we know more. You can use a storybook from 2000 years ago. Fine. But don't present it as real fact without real ridicule.

Owl says - Why bother following something that is not true? Yet you are following something that is only true if you believe. And every other religion is following something different, that THEY believe is true. That you believe is not true. So the argument that a religion is being followed demonstrates some truth, is disproved by every other religion. And the only TRUTH is that you choose to believe your made-up story is true, and every other made-up story with its followers is false, and your invisible God is better than their invisible God. Nothing more.

16-Jun-18
My Canon's wife is an MD and has been giving a lecture series about the scientific proof regarding Christ and his life. There is an LOT of information available about this that some should look deeply into.

It is believed that Mary also ascended. One of the things I found last year that is most interesting is that recently, science has determined that when a woman carries a child she then has cells from that baby in her body for the rest of her life, which is why Mary had to ascend, she had part of Christ in her for life and could not then be buried.

From: BowSniper
16-Jun-18
Sportoutfitter - I am more grounded in reality. As I get older, my very real knees bend less.

From: Salagi
16-Jun-18
Bowsniper - there are a lot of scientific principles found in the Bible that weren't realized for a long long time after. That said, the Bible isn't a science book I will agree, it is not it's purpose. I had no intention of spending this long on the ark, I just presented things as are shown in the Bible and science. How many animals actually boarded the Ark? How was the feeding done? I don't know and don't even worry about it. A lot is left unexplained and I have no doubt that some of the logistics (such as gathering the critters) could not have been accomplished with out God. Your first article assumed a lot things that the Bible doesn't address. No doubt some of their assumptions were based on what some creationists have assumed also, again with no Biblical backup. Some of those things are patently false or at least assuming too much. The fine details of exactly how it was accomplished is not necessary to our salvation so I tend not to worry about that.

" The argument always gets back to the Universe was just always there. No, because everything just HAD to come from something. Then where did the Creator come from? Oh, he was always there. Circular logic based on invisible magic. No thanks, I'll just stick with what modern man and science and technology knows until we know more."

I have to laugh when someone posts that. "everything just HAD to come from something." I agree. So where did the something that started the everything originate? It is a dead end scientifically. Where did the Creator come from? It is the answer you can't accept, He always was. And yet, you have no trouble believing that something came from nothing. That is faith, a different kind of faith than mine. It is easier (for me at least) to accept the concept of a Creator than that something arose from nothing. The more I study science, the more I look at nature, the more I see God.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen." I love that definition, it explains faith so well. We all have faith, some in God, some in no god, but faith is there.

16-Jun-18
I had to edit:

Well said brother. I'm sure he will have a reason why we should all choose to bridge the gap of "something that came from nothing". And, put our faith in his man made explanation versus believe what we do. As I said before, if Christians exhibited the level of faith that Atheists do, The church would be a whole lot more to Gods liking.

I've read the numerous cheap shots and, shook my head at the person so ignorant to proclaim what he has, with no mention of his own fairy tale belief's. Claiming science is infallible. But, he's educated, intelligent, and cultured for believing such things. It's the Christians with their crutch that needs help.

I'm not going to put whip cream on top. I have zero desire to spend time with Bowsniper or, people like him. Zero. He is not welcome at my campfire until he learns a few manners and, gives his fellow human some common respect. If that makes me wrong with some of you, I'm ok with that too. I'm not mad nor would I ever put myself in the position to be. Which is why I say what I said. God Bless you gentlemen. And, spare this man your efforts. He does not deserve them nor, your time at this point. He will drag you down to his level if you allow him. That is his purpose here.

From: BowSniper
16-Jun-18
Salagi - some confusion from the prior post lost in sequence. "I" was not making the argument that "everything just HAD to come from something". That was me restating the basic religious argument is support of a God. Yet those same people don't think God had to come from anything. Refuting the very argument they make in support of God. My example of circular logic.

My position remains that everything in the Universe was always here, at least as far as anyone really knows. All the matter and energy and particles/pieces/parts. Our own lives and matter recycling (reincarnating?) in an endless cycle. Examples of reincarnation are known and equally unexplained. In some parts of the galaxy/universe there is life. Some life more advanced, some less.

And those ahead of us appear to be able to visit. See pentagon story from 2004 where our most advanced fighters and radar tracked and chased a UFO over several days. It demonstrated flight and function advanced beyond anything on this earth. It means something out there knows more than us, and likely has more of an answer as to our origins. Perhaps even being the source of our origin. I dunno. We shall see. But I am not so quick to kneel before this or any other mystery.

If faith provides a path for goodness and relives suffering, it is a good thing. If stories teach the lessons of that faith, wonderful. The buddhists also describe a path to relieve suffering of mankind. The Muslims don't appear to have as much success in advancing progress or relieving suffering. I happen to think you can achieve the same real human personal progress without the stories and theatrics. All depends on how much direction/guidance you need to get where you want to go. Sheep by nature need a Shepherd. Maybe find your own answer.

Gutei's Finger (Zen Koan) - Whenever anyone asked him about Zen, the great master Gutei would quietly raise one finger into the air. A boy in the village began to imitate this behavior. Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei's teachings, he would interrupt the discussion and raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. When he saw him in the street, he seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and began to run off, but Gutei called out to him. When the boy turned to look, Gutei raised his finger into the air. At that moment the boy became enlightened.

From: Grey Ghost
16-Jun-18
I figure it doesn't cost me anything to believe, and it could reap rewards in the end. Who knows.

Conversely, It wouldn't cost me to be a non-believer either, unless I was wrong.

;-)

Matt

From: Salagi
16-Jun-18
Bowsniper - " Yet those same people don't think God had to come from anything. " We don't have a need to explain where God came from. Yet, those who don't believe in a creator have to explain where that nothing came from that became something. And they fail.

I think it was in this thread (not going to look back and see), that someone mentioned that atheists don't go door to door and they wished Christians didn't (paraphrasing mind you). Atheists or non-Christians have no need to try to bring others "into the fold". Christians have a commandment to spread the Gospel. There is the difference.

WV - "As I said before, if Christians exhibited the level of faith that Atheists do, The church would be a whole lot more to Gods liking." Amen! I agree completely and I have said it myself. I just need to do a better job of living it. I also stated the I didn't expect Bowsniper to believe the things I posted. But, it is a little like scattering seed, you throw it out knowing some will germinate and some won't. I responded to him part of the time in the hopes that some would read it and it might make them think. I will give him this, overall he has been more civil in this discussion than some have in other discussions of this type. Most everyone has been nice in this thread and I appreciate it.

Matt - I have said if I am right and there is a God, and I have lived my life in obedience to His will, following His commands, when the end comes I will hear "Well done, enter ye in". If I am wrong and there is no God, when the end for me comes there will be no one to say "I told you so." Either way if I have lived my life as a true Christian should, then I should leave this old world a better place for having been here.

From: Grey Ghost
16-Jun-18
"Matt - I have said if I am right and there is a God, and I have lived my life in obedience to His will, following His commands, when the end comes I will hear "Well done, enter ye in". If I am wrong and there is no God, when the end for me comes there will be no one to say "I told you so." Either way if I have lived my life as a true Christian should, then I should leave this old world a better place for having been here."

Well said.

Being a believer is a no-lose proposition. Being a non-believer, not so much.

Matt

From: Owl
16-Jun-18
Salagi, speaking of science in the Bible, John's recounting of the crucifixion mentions "blood and water" pouring out of Jesus when the Roman guard pierced His side. Seems a incredulous detail to memorialize. It took about 1900 years for humankind to finally understand what pleural effusion is and why its recording actually adds credence to the Resurrection.

From: Owl
16-Jun-18
Matt, Pascal's Wager is no small philosophical argument.

From: Grey Ghost
16-Jun-18

Grey Ghost's Link
Owl,

You seem interested in scientific evidence that validates the Bible's less believable miracles. I am too. I ran across this a while ago and thought you'd be interested. See link. It was published in a peer reviewed journal, and promoted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

This is the short version:

"Wind setdown is the drop in water level caused by wind stress acting on the surface of a body of water for an extended period of time. As the wind blows, water recedes from the upwind shore and exposes terrain that was formerly underwater. Previous researchers have suggested wind setdown as a possible hydrodynamic explanation for Moses crossing the Red Sea, as described in Exodus 14.

Conclusions/Significance

Under a uniform 28 m/s easterly wind forcing in the reconstructed model basin, the ocean model produces an area of exposed mud flats where the river mouth opens into the lake. This land bridge is 3–4 km long and 5 km wide, and it remains open for 4 hours. Model results indicate that navigation in shallow-water harbors can be significantly curtailed by wind setdown when strong winds blow offshore.

Matt

From: Will
16-Jun-18
More interesting discussion guys. I feel the same conclusion as the last few posts, but via an opposite route. If there is a God, when I die, assuming hes as awesome as folks suggest, if I've lived a good life, I've got no worries. I'm confident God would say "Well done, come on it."

If he wouldn't, despite living a good life, I question whether He's as good as portrayed.

From: Owl
16-Jun-18
Thanks Matt.

Will, Why do you believe you will be anymore accepting of God in the next life than the one you have now?

From: Bowbender
17-Jun-18
"If there is a God, when I die, assuming hes as awesome as folks suggest, if I've lived a good life, I've got no worries."

Define "good" life. And by whose standards? Flawed man, or a perfect Holy God. How do you or we know what "good enough" is?

"I'm confident God would say "Well done, come on it."

After ignoring God during our earthly life, why would he invite us into his house once our life is over?

From: Grey Ghost
17-Jun-18
""After ignoring God during our earthly life, why would he invite us into his house once our life is over"

This is one I've always struggled with. What if a person is never exposed to God's word in his life? Surely that is the case with some people. Will those people not be invited in, or will God give them a pass?

Matt

From: Bowbender
17-Jun-18
Matt,

I've struggled (among other things) with that as well. Psalm 19 states:

1.The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

God's creation declares his handiwork and thus himself. I do believe if the heart is tender and open God, thru the Holy Spirit will reveal himself.

I am an automation engineer. Design hi speed automation, previously for the medical device industry. Basically, very complex equipment assembling very complex devices. I use PLC's, PC's, machine vision, servos, robots, all integrated to assemble a device with a failure rate of less than 1 per million. It requires an in-depth knowledge of current 3D design software, machining, post machining surface treatments, FDA validations, etc...

By all intents I am neither stupid, a lunatic, nor looking for a crutch. I've been a believer since June of 1991. Have my devotions daily (most days), go to Sunday School, church and often Sunday evenings.

I do realize that even though I've read thru the Bible several times, taught Sunday school for a number of years, I am not familiar enough with Gods word as an atheist that has read the Bible once and attended a few friend led services, to be commenting.

From: Grey Ghost
17-Jun-18
"God's creation declares his handiwork and thus himself. I do believe if the heart is tender and open God, thru the Holy Spirit will reveal himself."

Thanks for your response, Bowbender. but it created more questions than answers, for me.

How would the heart of a African tribesman, for example, who has no concept of Christianity, or that of a divine creator, be "tender and open to God?"

Matt

From: Salagi
18-Jun-18
Matt - the question has haunted my mind for many years. I know what the Bible says about what we must do to be saved but what if someone never has the opportunity to hear about God at least once? I've asked Bible scholars, people I respected, and much of the time the answer would be something along the lines of "if they ask, God will send someone." But it raises the question to me (like you), how would they know to ask? It is up to us to take the gospel to the world and we don't always do a very good job of it.

Maybe God will make exception for those who never had the opportunity to hear, I don't know. This is something that I personally do not have an answer for and unlike some of the things I've talked about where I don't need to find the complete answer, this one does concern me. It also makes me want to work a little harder to spread the Gospel in whatever way I can, whether speaking to others or supporting those who take it throughout the world.

18-Jun-18
....and if you don't like the specifics of what someone believes....why you can just call them a cult leader...I mean the Pope is going to hell right? I think I just saw that post above. All the innocent babies who die before they are baptized? I have had a number of people here tell me it's unfortunate.....but they are going to hell also. Who but a pretty deranged individual can think like that?

From: Owl
18-Jun-18
Unbaptized children do not go to hell. Nor do the unaware. I would choose a different denomination if that's what you are hearing.

From: Will
18-Jun-18
See, that's, for me, a "system check". I'd put my existence in my 44 years in the good category. I've messed up, sure. But overall, if the existence I've had isn't good enough to get in (assuming there is a place to get into) then, Ill suggest the majority of people will be with me sweating a lot with the horned trident carrying fellow.

If the "good" is only defined as "living strictly by one specific religious pathway", I'd seriously question how good that is. For example, someone who's disrespectful of others, perhaps a bully, perhaps cheats things a bit or cheats others but gets to church for mass every week sometimes twice... Does that person go "in" but a person who doesn't believe but treats other people well, helps people, puts effort into improving their families, communities and world show's up on the steps, and is denied for not executing the steps so to speak? Makes no sense to me. I'd rather treat other people well, help them, help my family and community and world while I'm certain I can - while Im alive and here.

In that example, it would be easy to say: "Will, that person who goes to church you described isnt good, they are not executing God's will and would not get in"... Ok, that makes sense... But if the other person who essentially IS EXECUTING GODS WILL, just not in his name, cant get in... Makes no sense.

19-Jun-18
you are not allowed to question it Will and parts are not optional. It's all or nothing or you are damned. people like us better get with the program and start living life a little more hypocritical or we are screwed. As Mark Twain used to say....."faith is nothing more than swearing to believe in something you know ain't true."..........and "Religion was invented the day the first con man met the first fool."

From: Owl
19-Jun-18
you are not allowed to question it Will and parts are not optional. It's all or nothing or you are damned. - Considering how many denominations of Christianity there are, that's just hilarious.

people like us better get with the program and start living life a little more hypocritical or we are screwed. - Relax. You're fine if hypocrisy is your metric.

As Mark Twain used to say....."faith is nothing more than swearing to believe in something you know ain't true." Really? I have faith that when I finish typing this post and hit "SUBMIT MESSAGE," it will get added to the thread. I guess we all know that ain't true.

..........and "Religion was invented the day the first con man met the first fool." Well, that's just funny.

19-Jun-18
ok....I'll bite. But you also have faith that someone walked on water and rose from the dead. If you swear you believe that...you are either a liar or a fool. There is no in between. You may was well claim the earth is flat.

19-Jun-18
Obviously, believing the earth is flat is more your bailiwick, SA.

19-Jun-18
it's a matter of faith spike.

From: Owl
19-Jun-18
SA, I trust Jesus walked on water and rose from the dead. If God exists, and He does, those are minor miracles compared to creation.

20-Jun-18
I am in complete agreement on the miracle of creation Owl. I can find no explanation for there to be anything..........other than God made it so. I for sure do not believe that the universe is the ultimate free lunch.....but that's just faith talking there.

From: deerslayer
20-Jun-18
The "What if someone never hears" question is a good one. I'll be the first to admit here that while I've been a Christian my whole life I do have a lot of questions and don't understand a number of things. I am constantly seeking sound logical answers from intelligent men such as Ravi Zacharias, Frank Turek, and many more. At some point on some level it really doe come down to believing or not. The morality issue is what I always come back to in that if there is no God I see no basis for morality, kindness, generosity, etc. Why not just act like the animal I am, take what I want, how I want, when I want. In a survival of the fittest world morality and the aforementioned characteristics are of no value. however we all know deep down that murder, for example is wrong. The Bible says that I am made in the image of God, and that, I believe is where are conscience and moral values originate from. I can't logically explain that in my mind from an evolutionary stance.

I constantly struggle with doubts, and wish I was as resolute and articulate as Owl in my beliefs. I mean that with all sincerity. I don't hold it against people for having doubts as well. In the end if the Bible is true each one of us will give our own account before God.

For the answer to what if they never heard I believe it is answered in the book of Romans: "for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ"

1 John 1:9 alsp says that Jesus lights every man who comes into the world. It would seem that for those who never heard God will judge them by the measure of light they have had and what they did with it. I believe this, no one will be separated from God without having made the choice. The bible says that "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should have everlasting life" I can't say 100% what God does with the Amazonian tribesman, but I do believe He is 100% just in every person's eternal situation.

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