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Eight Questions for Christians

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Entoloma43, Mar 31, 2008.

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  1. Entoloma43

    Entoloma43 Well-Known Member

    Before answering these questions, I want to say two things.

    1. Please look into these questions with no biased viewpoint. Think about, and consider each question carefully.
    2. I am an agnostic, as of now I do not deny or accept any God(s).

    Question 1)
    What evidence did you use to determine the Christian god is the "correct" god, over every single other god?

    Question 2)
    Is it fair for you to dismiss other religions and gods, if you know nothing or very little about them?

    Question 3)
    -There are 22 major religions across the world. [1] Have you looked into and researched each one?
    -There are 18+ minor religions across the world. [2] Have you looked into and researched each one?
    -There are reported to be over 38,000 Christian denominations. [3] Have you looked into and researched each one?

    Question 4)
    Were you raised Christian?

    Question 5)
    Would it be fair to say, if you were born somewhere else, you may not be a Christian? For example, if you were born in in the middle east, since Islam is the predominant religion there, you would probably be a apart of the Islam religion.[4]

    Question 6)
    Do you agree with slavery, and if not, how do you rationalize the bible (old and new testament) supporting and encouraging slavery? (Leviticus 25:44-46) | (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT) | (Exodus 21:7-11) | (Exodus 21:20-21) | (Ephesians 6:5 NLT) | (1 Timothy 6:1-2) | (Luke 12:47-48)

    Question 7)
    How do you rationalize the numerous contradictions in the bible?

    Question 8)
    How do you rationalize the numerous scientific errors in the bible? A few examples: Earth is 6000 years old, sun revolves around earth

    [1] http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
    [2] http://www.uh.edu/~psaka/R/minor.htm
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations
    [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    In response to 6 - 8, I think most Christians would say that man has influenced what appears in the bible, it was written by a people whose history, culture and beliefs shaped what they wrote. (As well as being influenced by Persian and Greek thinking at the time also)

    It was people who wrote it down, translated it, decided which books to include and which ones to scrap. But even if there are errors, contradictions, scientific inaccuracies and passages we find unacceptable, this shouldn't stop people being Christians. I think it's the core message that's important, considering the bible in its entirety, rather than focussing excessively on individual passages.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2008
  3. Patch

    Patch Well-Known Member

    I think agnostics choose to develop their understanding of the natural world, rather than take part in spiritual debates
  4. LostMyMind

    LostMyMind Well-Known Member

    I was expecting this to be a good thread. :sad:
  5. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    1) I don't believe that. 2) I don't dismiss other gods. They could be real also. 3) Don't have to, to have sufficient evidence. 4) No. 5) It's fair assumption. 6) Those scriptures were the beliefs of the people who wrote them not from god. They were primitive peoples, barbarians. 7) Bible isn't perfect and I don't claim it to be. Contradictions because men who wrote bible had various experiences and interpretted them differently, also changed and added their own views. 8) See 6 and 7 answers.

    I'm not really a christian heh just a moralist I guess. The bible is filled with tons of ideas and stories stolen from other religions and pagan beliefs. Most believers have no idea they are worshipping pagan gods. Sun god.
  6. Esmeralda

    Esmeralda Well-Known Member

    1.) I believe all monotheists worship the same God who has revealed Himself in many ways to many different people. One religion does not have to exclude all others, but one religion may be "truer" than the others. I believe this of Christianity. Evidence? I don't require it, but it's there in the form of the miraculous. The miracle at Fatima, the incorruptible saints, the miracle at Zeitoun Egypt and Medjugorie, etc.

    2.) Maybe not fair, but if my religion rings true to me and makes me a better person in my daily life, then I don't see why every single religion needs to be exhaustively studied by myself. That being said, there is always merit in the study of other religions, if only to make our own faith more clear.

    3.) Not each one, no. But I have studied many major religions extensively and found some spiritual benefit in those as well. It would be impossible to study every one, but that doesn't mean I don't try to study other religions at all even so. As far as the Christian denominations go, I have studied many, but I am most definitely Catholic.

    4.) Yes, I was raised Christian.

    5.) Yes, that is a perfectly fair statement. But I believe everyone was born when and where they needed to be for their own spiritual growth. I happened to be born Catholic in the U.S. I consider myself lucky to be so, but feel no real superiority over those who weren't. That's between them and God. He knows their hearts and He knows what they need. I don't presume to.

    6.) Slavery is wrong. I believe God allowed it and taught the jews the best He could to prepare them for the coming of His son. The Bible does not always reflect God's perfect will, but often reflects what the people needed to hear at the time to prepare them as a whole for His plan for us. Ditto for questions 7 & 8. Also, the Bible was written by men, edited by men, and translated by men. It was inspired by God, so some errors would of course be expected.

    Good thread!
  7. Entoloma43

    Entoloma43 Well-Known Member

    Could you please extend on what you mean by this? I'm confused as to why God would reveal himself differently to two different people, if their beliefs contradict each other. If there beliefs are both different, yet it's the same God, which is the correct one?

    This is true, however, the basis of many religions is that they are the "correct" religion over the others. We'll take Christianity for example:

    Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

    Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

    So, Hitler was born in Austria for his spiritual growth?

    Jim Jones was born in South America for his spirutual growth? He claimed to be a incarnation of Jesus. Over 900 people died from cyanide poisoning or gunshot wounds in the aftermath of Jones ordering his men to kill visiting Congressman Leo Ryan and numerous members of his entourage.

    For an all knowing and all powerful being, that doesn't seem very practical to me. Consider the lives of all the slaves God allowed, just to "prepare" them for the coming of his son.

    How do you determine which parts of the bible are God's will, or simply reflecting what the people needed to hear? If errors exist, how do you know you aren't basing some of your beliefs of errors?
  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    In ancient times the way of the world was that your neighbours would attack you, steal your riches and your people and make them into slaves. Then later on you'd attack them steal their riches and make them into slaves etc. That's just the way the world worked.

    I mean sure your God could tell you not to take slaves, but as a nation you wouldn't last very long. Your God could also tell you that war was wrong and killing was wrong, but then God would be killing off his people before they've even been established.
  9. Esmeralda

    Esmeralda Well-Known Member

    Based upon what Catholics call "the test of conscience", which involves making a concentrated effort to ask ourselves if something (for example a specific doctrine or dogma) "rings true" (that's essentially what the conscience is, after all), THEN to study enough information (how much is enough?) It essentially involves doing one's due diligence to study scripture, what scholars (theological and otherwise) have to say about it one way or the other, and finally, doing our very best to take our personal wishes and selfishnesses out of the equation before coming to a decision about what we truly believe.

    For example, let's take the dogma of whether or not Hell (as an eternal place of damnation) actually exists. First, I would simply ask myself if the good, loving God in whom I believe in my heart would create such a place and what purpose that place would actually serve. Then, I would read the actual scriptures (the Bible first, and then hopefully/ideally other scriptures from other "good fruit-bearing philosophies/religions, see above) which relate to the existence of or the belief in eternal damnation. Then, I would read what scholars in the field have to say about things such as possible translation issues, how the people who first wrote the scripture down interpreted it, what the political/religious climate of the time happened to be and how that might have affected their interpretation, etc. After all, there have been Biblical scholars and scholars of other religious texts for thousands of years. Why would I not at LEAST read some of what people who devoted their lives to the study of such things had to say regarding the issue (knowing of course, full-well that even popes and scholars and saints and politicians and mothers and fathers can be in error on any of these topics)?

    It is especially important to look at viewpoints from such people which oppose my own inclinations. This is the VERY reason why the Catholic Church has actual priests/scientists/scholars, etc. who are called "Devil's Advocates". These are people whose sole purpose is to try and debunk the general opinion of the Catholic Church, exhausting all possible experts, knowledge, studies, etc. The Devil's Advocates then provide all of the information they have gleaned and studied to Church scholars and leaders, which then hear both sides of the issue and thus determine what Catholic dogma will be.

    Finally, let's say I decided that I believe Hell does not exist based on the previous questions and studies. I would then have to do my best to be extremely honest with myself and ask myself if this conclusion was in any way based on what I WANT to be true. If so, how MUCH did that desire to believe that Hell does not exist factor in to my final conclusion. I may even pray about it for guidance. If I can determine that my wishful thinking was not a deciding factor in my final determination, then I have fully gone through the rigorous process of "the test of conscience" and have come to my own conclusion.

    NOW the important part. The Catholic Church states that if I (as a Catholic) have followed ALL of these steps, and still believe that eternal Hell does NOT exist, in contrast to the belief of the Church, then, because I am following my true conscience after careful reflection, I am doing the morally correct thing by going against the beliefs of the Church. The same goes for ANY doctrine, be in pre-marital sex, divorce, or the necessity of attending church every Sunday, because in the end, I am the only one responsible for my own soul. I cannot plead ignorance and lay my sins on the head of a church or on a priest or on my Mother or Father or professor.

    So yes, I may absolutely misinterpret something, or be in error on a great many scriptures or studies or whatever, however, as long as I have made what can reasonably be considered a concerted effort to discover the truth about a theological issue, then I am required to follow my heart knowing that God will not punish me for my human fallibility, but rather reward me for my efforts to expand and develop a better understanding of my creator.

    Anyway, sorry to be so verbose, but I wanted to give thorough answers to your questions so you can know where I'm coming from here :)
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