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Author Topic: The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act
kmbboots
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Not sure what that has to do with anything.
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Scott R
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Paul seemed to do a lot of preaching to non-Jews if that's the case, kmboots.

quote:
Paul didn't actually know Jesus, did he? It's hard to know that Jesus would necessarily have wanted Paul to be doing exactly what he was doing since Paul ISN'T a Gospel.
That begs the question: what scriptures are you willing to accept as divinely inspired? How do you determine which has God's stamp of approval, and which do not?

I'm glad we got around to that question; it's something I've been wanting to pose to the forum almost since page 4...

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but Paul didn't actually know Jesus, did he? It's hard to know that Jesus would necessarily have wanted Paul to be doing exactly what he was doing since Paul ISN'T a Gospel.

To be fair nobody ever met Jesus because he's an amalgam of different people living in different times. Sort of like Dr. Zimmerman, or Santa Claus, or James Bond.

Who knew Jesus is sort of like a game of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon... Except if you're born again, I guess your Jesus number reverts to One.

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Scott R
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If you want, Orincoro, I can introduce you. [Smile]
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Orincoro
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I'm good. Thanks.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Paul seemed to do a lot of preaching to non-Jews if that's the case, kmboots.

quote:
Paul didn't actually know Jesus, did he? It's hard to know that Jesus would necessarily have wanted Paul to be doing exactly what he was doing since Paul ISN'T a Gospel.
That begs the question: what scriptures are you willing to accept as divinely inspired? How do you determine which has God's stamp of approval, and which do not?

I'm glad we got around to that question; it's something I've been wanting to pose to the forum almost since page 4...

Of course, Paul was preaching to non-Jews. Even mostly non-Jews. I am not sure why that was a question.*

I think that scripture is inspired by a relationship with the Divine. I also believe that the people who were writing it down (and those who chose what became canon) were people - rooted in a specific time and place and context with their own ideas and brains and wills.

*Edit to add: Imagine Paul preaching to a bunch of Greeks. "Okay, you guys. I think that I can get you in without the painful surgery, and I am working on the bacon, but you are really going to have to shape up on the sex stuff." Or something like that.

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Ron Lambert
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I hope that Paul knew Jesus. He wrote most of the New Testament, apart from the gospels. His theology forms the basis of Christian theology. We get most of our understanding of Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) from Paul. We get many of the definitive statements about the human nature of Christ from Paul (and most, if we accept the common assumption that Paul wrote Hebrews).
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Anna2112:
I may be reading this wrong, but are you asking why some Christian denominations believe that God doesn't allow everyone into Heaven? Because personally, I believe that anyone who wants to go to Heaven can. That's what Christ's death and resurrection meant: the salvation of humanity. As to the question of why you should even believe in God, if you don't have to in order to enter Heaven, the answer is a) that wanting to go to Heaven isn't something you can do on a whim. If God truly knows all of you, in your good and your bad, then that means that by meeting Him you have to truly want to know yourself and admit all your shortcomings and problems, and some people won't or can't do that. But believing in God in this life helps you to do so. And b) it's a better way of living, and it's good and right to thank Him for this life (which is a gift, even when it feels sucky) and because He wants us to, and you shouldn't question God too much. I hope that's the question you were asking.

It is, pretty much. It relates specifically to those who accept a teaching that if you don't beg forgiveness from Jesus Christ specifically while alive in a world where all claims to the divinity of a guy named Jesus Christ are credulous and necessarily require faith in the concept, usually one impressed from early life in a religious household that's specifically christian, to be at all reliable.

In fact, it could relate more broadly to those who don't specifically think that you have to beg Jesus Christ specifically for forgiveness, but either way, the way your life turned out and the choices you made assure that a significant chunk (in certain denominations, it's assured to be most people on earth; in other cultlike denominations such as the Jehova's Witnesses, it's virtually all humans on earth) of all human beings born onto this earth going to hell.

This, with little or no regard for the conditions they were born into that could have assured that there was virtually no chance that they would satisfy the criteria for entry into heaven.

On the surface, it is arbitrary and ridiculous. When you get into the meat of it and study it in depth, it's still arbitrary and ridiculous. Most of the defenses of these ideas boil down crudely to the point of giving God a nearly schizophrenic mentality towards the salvation of his creation. Others insist that the claims cannot be considered credulous, and that the divinity is only not evident to those who 'purposefully turn away' from realizing the truth. Or that there is some historical event which makes the claim of X faith being assuredly true non-credulous; we just did this with the use of the mythological tale of the mass revelation being asserted as proof of the mythologies which incorporate the God and holy book of that tale.

It does not apply to the message that other denominations have, which I largely find positive and which don't portray God as, essentially, capricious, vengeful, and immorally neglectful of his creation where there is a path after death for the unrepentant or ignorant sinner towards salvation, time where all lessons unlearned in life can and will be learned, and you don't have to have been saved in a specific way or an obedient part of a specific denomination of a specific religion in order to have (a) avoided hell for all eternity or (b) been disqualified for the bestest best available tier of the afterlife, and get a runner-up heaven instead.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I hope that Paul knew Jesus.
You are certainly aware that Paul was not a follower of Jesus until well after the crucifixion. In fact, the New Testament is quite explicit that he was a persecutor of Christians and participated in the stoning of Steven. If Paul knew Jesus, it was either as his enemy or post resurrection.
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kmbboots
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Samprimary, I believe that heaven is the condition of being in a specific relationship with God and that God will do everything to be in that relationship with us except force it on us.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Samprimary, I believe that heaven is the condition of being in a specific relationship with God and that God will do everything to be in that relationship with us except force it on us.

That's one of the better descriptions I've heard of heaven in awhile Kate.
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kmbboots
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[Smile] Thanks.
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Orincoro
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Heaven is a beach house in the caribbean inhabited by all your best friends, and free burrito supremes for eternity, and you never get fat.
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Chris Bridges
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That begs the question: what scriptures are you willing to accept as divinely inspired? How do you determine which has God's stamp of approval, and which do not?

The cynic in me would say anything that keeps the Bible internally consistent and reinforces it, and the mythology it describes, is automatically "divinely inspired," while anything that weakens the book's truthiness with inconvenient histories or unfulfilled prophecies is automatically labeled apocryphal. But that's just me.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Samprimary, I believe that heaven is the condition of being in a specific relationship with God and that God will do everything to be in that relationship with us except force it on us.

Sure, but what matters is if those tools are available after death, where, ostensibly, those non-evident matters of faith and competing false religions can be cleared up right-quick.

And, also importantly, since only one religion can be the correct one (if any), if god picks up a yanomamo tribesman who was never going to be a part of that religion or perhaps even never even heard of it, can they work their way up to everyone else's heaven, or do they have to fly coach to a runner-up heaven? "You don't go to hell, but only the best heaven is available to our devout followers!" is a pretty common thing in religion these days.

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Anna2112
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
[qb]
quote:
What downside could there possibly be in questioning God as much as you can, as often as you can?

Well, after hearing the answers (or lack of them), people start to leave the church, for one thing...

I haven't observed this to be true. I've observed that religious people tend to ask questions about God more than non-religious people. This is what drives the religious to do Bible study, meditation, etc. and that search for answers seems to more often drive people closer to religion rather than father from it.
I didn't mean this completely seriously, and now it's morphed into one of the major talking points. My bad? What I meant was that at a certain point, it all becomes futile. God's motivations and that sort of thing can only be confusing speculation, at best, I think. But I'm all for asking God questions. I just don't think we can understand all the answers.

[ February 04, 2011, 08:50 PM: Message edited by: Anna2112 ]

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Samprimary
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What do you think 'skepticism' is? Of a skeptic, what do you think they are 'assuming the assumptions' of?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Samprimary, I believe that heaven is the condition of being in a specific relationship with God and that God will do everything to be in that relationship with us except force it on us.

Sure, but what matters is if those tools are available after death, where, ostensibly, those non-evident matters of faith and competing false religions can be cleared up right-quick.


I don't see (and haven't heard a good argument) why not. I do think that choices one makes while living would have some impact on whether one chooses a relationship with God but I don't think that those obstacles are impossible to overcome.
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MattP
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quote:
Sure, but what matters is if those tools are available after death, where, ostensibly, those non-evident matters of faith and competing false religions can be cleared up right-quick.
Depends on the religion. For many (most?) Christian denominations this life is your one shot. Mormons talk about opportunities for conversion and spiritual growth occurring after death, which is why they have baptisms for the dead and other proxy rituals, but it's supposedly more difficult to progress that way because a physical body is considered to be a particularly useful tool in that process.
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Xavier
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quote:
Folks who treat it like religion is on trial tend to end up dissatisfied with religion, whereas folks who treat it like they are a student trying to learn difficult concepts tend to end up more satisfied after the questioning.

The big problem with this is that this works regardless of whether the religion is true or not.

A Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, or whatever, are going to all be comforted by the answers their religion provides in pretty much the exact same way.

So long as you ask your questions as a "student", you are going to believe whatever hogwash is served to you. It's actively turning off the skeptical portion of your brain to resolve your cognitive dissonance in a pleasant way.

I actually think the quoted statement is a really good observation, but where you are comforted by it, I am horrified.

[ February 04, 2011, 05:23 PM: Message edited by: Xavier ]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Sure, but what matters is if those tools are available after death, where, ostensibly, those non-evident matters of faith and competing false religions can be cleared up right-quick.
...but it's supposedly more difficult to progress that way because a physical body is considered to be a particularly useful tool in that process.
I've heard this theory, and while it may be correct, there's no strong scriptural backing or general acceptance in the church that changing one's attitudes is easier with a physical body. I think an apostle postulated that theory, and it mentioned by James E. Talmage in Articles of Faith, which gave it currency in the general church populace.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
Folks who treat it like religion is on trial tend to end up dissatisfied with religion, whereas folks who treat it like they are a student trying to learn difficult concepts tend to end up more satisfied after the questioning.

The big problem with this is that this works regardless of whether the religion is true or not.

A Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, or whatever, are going to all be comforted by the answers their religion provides in pretty much the exact same way.

So long as you ask your questions as a "student", you are going to believe whatever hogwash is served to you. It's actively turning off the skeptical portion of your brain to resolve your cognitive dissonance in a pleasant way.

I actually think the quoted statement is a really good one, but where you are comforted by it, I am horrified.

It does not sound like you are considering though that many of the requirements in a religion require obedience before the positive effects can be observed. For example, prayer is a tricky matter. In order to find out if prayer works, one must engage in prayer. A skeptic might say, "But we must be careful not to fall into the trap of downplaying a lack of answers, and focusing on perceived answers, as well as wanting so much for it to work that our brain starts formulating answers for us."

There's nothing wrong with believing in being cautious so that one is not deceived, but one must still pray as that's the way God has apparently designated that he would like for us to communicate with him with.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
There's nothing wrong with believing in being cautious so that one is not deceived, but one must still pray as that's the way God has apparently designated that he would like for us to communicate with him with.
So far as I can tell (given what theists of multiple religions have told me), the side effects of praying that devotely must result in enough self-induced answers that whatever true divinely inspired answers occur are indeterminable. If "doing it right" doesn't produce distinguishable results, then how is this useful for determining truth? (I'm acknowledging there can be value that isn't truth-related, but that value can be found from many strong belief systems)
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MattP
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Prayer is a pretty unreliable method because it's presented as a method capable of only supporting a proposition. The result is at worst neutral and cannot be considered demonstrative of prayer's ineffectiveness. Pray and get an answer - prayer works! Pray and don't get an answer - you didn't do it right, you didn't ask the right question, God wants you to work this out yourself, you got an answer but didn't recognize it, no answer is God's answer, etc.

And that doesn't even touch the idea of false positives - I prayed for help finding my keys and then I looked down and they were on the floor in front of me! I prayed that I'd get over my illness and I did! I prayed that I'd find a job and I got a call an hour later from a recruiter!

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BlackBlade
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Raymond: So far as you can tell. I have no idea how much praying you've done, or how your theist friends pray. All I know is, is that when I pray, it works for me. There have been then enough times where I really wanted something and thought it was a good idea and was told "No." as well as times where I was praying and an answer outside of anything I had conceived of came, that I now believe in the efficacy of prayer. At least until it stops working, but I don't expect it will.

Even people who are aware of biases can still pray with confidence.

--------

MattP: There are options you didn't account for, like, "Pray and don't get an answer, you aren't worthy to get an answer, God doesn't have an opinion on the matter make your own choice." I certainly hold God accountable to all the praying I've done where I was not given instructions and went on to make my own decisions. I fully expect he can account for all the times he didn't answer my prayers.

As for false positives. To me, if I pray and find my keys on the floor in front of me, well great I found my keys, "If that was you God, thanks." I've had an experience where I suddenly got better after praying to be healed, I'm reasonably certain my rate of recovery was faster than is generally accepted as standard. Can I prove God did it? No. For all I know God utilized my body's natural processes and I did all the work, or he already knew I would get better and did nothing. Or God doesn't figure into it. All of those answers are fine to me, I pray and get results, and so I continue praying. I feel like my entire life is a step by step process in understanding God's mind. I don't expect people who do not feel they've gotten answers to their prayers to sign up with my church. I just suggest they give prayer a shot, and observe for themselves if it does anything for them.

You can pray with a mindset of, "I don't expect this to work." I'm sure God can answer those prayers anyway, but I'm reasonably certain God isn't going to answer prayers for people who have already concluded, "Any answer I get is a false positive or something my brain has conjured up." Why should God bother when you've already formed a conclusion? I wouldn't call you if I knew you had already concluded that you weren't going to answer the phone.

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kmbboots
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MattP, None of that is how I handle prayer. We try to be in relationship with God. Relationships need communication. It isn't like throwing coins into a fountain to make a wish or asking the Magic 8 Ball to tell your fortune. It is staying in touch with the Divine.
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swbarnes2
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http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/29556929.html

quote:

Even as her 11-year-old daughter lay dying on a mattress on the floor of the family dining room on Easter Sunday, Leilani Neumann never wavered in her belief in the power of prayer.

"We just thought it was a spiritual attack and we prayed for her," Neumann said, according to a police report. "My husband, Dale, was crying and mentioned taking Kara to the doctor, and I said the Lord's going to heal her and we continued to pray."

Prayer didn't save Madeline Kara Neumann, who died of untreated diabetes March 23.

...

According to the police report, made available with the charging documents, Dale Neumann said "throughout the interview that he and his family do not need any traditional medical intervention nor do they 'believe' in it."

The document also states: "Neumann said his family never gets sick and if they would, prayer and God would heal them."

...

The Wormgoors arrived at the home 30 minutes before Kara stopped breathing, Dale Neumann said.

Randall Wormgoor encouraged Dale Neumann to call for medical help but the father "said he remained confident and steadfast in his belief that prayer would heal Madeline," according to an interview Dale Neumann gave to police.

...

Police also said an e-mail Dale Neumann sent at 4:58 p.m. on March 22, the day before Kara's death, showed that the parents were aware their daughter was very ill.

The subject line of the email was: "Help our daughter needs emergency prayer!!!!" The e-mail was send to AmericasLastDays, an online ministry run by David Eells.

...


Dale Neumann told investigators that "given the same set of circumstances with another child, he would not waiver in his faith and confidence in the healing power of prayer," according to the interview statement.



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MattP
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quote:
There are options you didn't account for, like,
Indeed. There are countless ways in which the failure of the activity is indistinguishable from a success condition. That was sort of my point.

quote:
I pray and get results, and so I continue praying.
This is what I meant about the test of prayer being a "positives only" evaluation. Any event that is apparently related to the subject of the prayer is fair game for attributing to the prayer. The lack of such an event or the experience of a counter event (prayed to find a better job but got fired and was unemployed for several months before picking a crappy part-time gig) is not considered evidence against the efficacy of prayer.

Once you've decided that prayer is likely or possibly effective, your criteria for evaluating its effectiveness all but guarantees that your confidence in prayer will increase regardless of how effective it actually is.

quote:
Why should God bother when you've already formed a conclusion?
Because God is supposed to be a lot more clever than I. Surely he can come up with a response that doesn't require that I start out believing that prayer works. I flip a switch and the light goes on whether I believe it will or not.
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BlackBlade
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MattP:
quote:
This is what I meant about the test of prayer being a "positives only" evaluation. Any event that is apparently related to the subject of the prayer is fair game for attributing to the prayer
Not exactly. Until prayer exhibits the predicted results I don't believe in its efficacy. Those results are not something as simple as I pray and feel good, or I pray a nice things happen.

quote:
Because God is supposed to be a lot more clever than I. Surely he can come up with a response that doesn't require that I start out believing that prayer works. I flip a switch and the light goes on whether I believe it will or not.
How is setting up a process by which people of all levels of righteousness are able to have a chat with god more clever?

I've stated this argument before. If we could reliably summon God, we would be worse off if we did not do as he instructed than if he just did not express himself to us in the first place. A person who is praying has to be in a frame of mind where he will accept instruction, even very difficult ones. If all you are interested in is verifying God's existence, but no more or no less, there's hardly any need for such a person to get an answer to that question.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
A person who is praying has to be in a frame of mind where he will accept instruction, even very difficult ones.
Why? It's not like God has to be somewhere else.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If He chooses not to heal somebody, it's not like He's let us down. He simply knows better.
Or He's let us down. There's really know way to know, which is the point. [Smile]

quote:
I wouldn't give them light when I fully know that they won't act on it and I will thus have to punish them more severely.
Why would God have to punish someone?
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MightyCow
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If, when you pray, God does what He Knows Is Best anyway, then prayer can have no effect. You cannot know better than God, and God does what He Knows Is Best, even if it is in direct contradiction of your prayer.

So prayer only "works" when whatever was going to happen was going to happen anyway. The rest of the time, the answer is "No."

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MattP
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quote:
So prayer only "works" when whatever was going to happen was going to happen anyway.
This is sometimes explicitly acknowledged in prayers with phrasing like "if it be thy will" (God prefers Elizabethan English).
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Raymond Arnold
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I think it's worth emphasizing that the definition of "works" that Blackblade was using (which isn't necessarily the same as the one LIGHT is using) is not getting a positive answer to a particular question, but rather building up a relationship with God. Your prayers are successful if you form a positive relationship with Him that improves your life.

I don't think that definition solves any problems though, because you could be accomplishing the same thing praying to Allah. Or just random imaginary friends. I personally am capable of feeling relationships with imaginary entities that I know for a fact I made up, and if a culture telling me those entities were in fact real, I might have a hard time distinguishing them from falsehood.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
I prayed that I'd get over my illness and I did! I prayed that I'd find a job and I got a call an hour later from a recruiter!

The same mental principles that feed this, it should be noted, feed the effectiveness of homeopathy.
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MattP
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quote:
I think it's worth emphasizing that the definition of "works" that Blackblade was using (which isn't necessarily the same as the one LIGHT is using) is not getting a positive answer to a particular question, but rather building up a relationship with God.
I'm not sure about that. In LDS circles, a lot of prayer is about getting a definitive response about one thing or another. It's the primary mechanism by which prospective converts are instructed to inquire as the truth of the church.
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MightyCow
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As an interesting thought experiment, every time you pray to God for one thing to happen, you can pray to Odin for the opposite to happen. You'll find that every time God answers No, Odin answers Yes.
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Scott R
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quote:
(God prefers Elizabethan English).
He is the King of Heaven, after all. Addressing God in formalized language is a sign of our recognition of that, and our reverence for him.

It's not precisely necessary-- in Italian, for example, they don't use the formal 'Lei' when addressing God, but the familiar 'Tu.' And prayers are answered all the same.

I submit that it's more about the attitude than about the language. [Smile]

quote:
MattP, None of that is how I handle prayer. We try to be in relationship with God. Relationships need communication. It isn't like throwing coins into a fountain to make a wish or asking the Magic 8 Ball to tell your fortune. It is staying in touch with the Divine.
100% agree.

quote:
I think that scripture is inspired by a relationship with the Divine. I also believe that the people who were writing it down (and those who chose what became canon) were people - rooted in a specific time and place and context with their own ideas and brains and wills.
Agreed mostly-- but why do we give weight to Jesus' words about helping the poor, but not to Paul's words about how women shouldn't speak in church? And how do we decide which is more valid or more weighty?

For Mormons, the answer is an appeal to a present authority: the current prophets. Which is not to say that all interpretation is handled through the hierarchy; personal revelation about which doctrines are most important to us personally is still a big part of Mormonism. In addition, if a doctrine is present in two or more of our scriptures, I *think* it's safe to say it's more an established doctrine than if it's just in one.

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Ron Lambert
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Tom, why would our Creator "let us down"? His top priority is to save us from eternal death, so that we can live in His perfect universe forever when sin has been removed from it. If He sees that He can save for eternity a mortally ill 12-year-old, who might otherwise suffer greatly in life and in bitter despair be lead to turn against Him if the child were to be healed, then He might judge it better to allow the child to die.

Or if He sees that the mortally ill child will grow up to be a terribly evil person who will harm many people, why should He specially intervene to give the child a miraculous healing?

It is one thing for God to allow a person like Adolph Hitler to grow up, and demonstrate the true malignity of the evil he will embrace, as a lesson to all mankind; and quite another for Him to specially intervene and miraculously preserve the life of Hitler. As I have said before, God does have freedom of choice, since He created it and gave it to His intelligent creatures.

Since God is the Source of all life, and sustains our lives from moment-to-moment (because He Himself IS Existence itself), therefore He knows us from the inside out and experiences all that we experience, think, and feel. His nature is pure and holy, and so there must be a limit to the burden of evil He will bear up under, even for our sakes.

If you do not believe in God to start with, and if you do not believe in the promise of eternal life or the desirability of living in Heaven and the New Earth, then you could not possibly evaluate these things properly. What you call logical and realistic are not; they are the product of ill-informed bias and antagonism against God.

You should not condemn what you do not understand. It is presumption for you to think you are qualified to judge God.

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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by LIGHT:
Prayer is not about getting your way or changing God's will. It is about realigning your will with God's.

My point being that if you pray to contradicting deities, you'll be realigning yourself with one of their will's every time.
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MightyCow
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Ron Lambert: Do you every worry that your beliefs are self-contradictory?

If God's nature is Pure and Holy, then it follows that he cannot have freedom of choice, unless Purity and Holiness are circular, only being defined as "whatever God does."

If there is any objective definition of Purity and Holiness, then God, being the epitome of those virtues, could never choose not to exhibit them.

Also, you have to consider that God's pretty impotent if he can't manage to turn a 12 year old to the straight and narrow. His ONLY recourse is to kill a sick child so that they don't grow up to be a monster?

Humans the world over can manage to raise good, moral children, but the creator of the universe can't figure it out, and has to let them die of Lukemia? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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Anna2112
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:

If you do not believe in God to start with, and if you do not believe in the promise of eternal life or the desirability of living in Heaven and the New Earth, then you could not possibly evaluate these things properly. What you call logical and realistic are not; they are the product of ill-informed bias and antagonism against God.

You should not condemn what you do not understand. It is presumption for you to think you are qualified to judge God.

Ron, none of this is going to convince Tom, mostly because you have to start from the premise that there is omnipotent loving God. Likewise, it seems a little hypocritical to me to say that you can understand God's motives and what He will do and why He will do it (in the case of if we legalize SSM, then God will destroy us with meteors because He will be so angry), when you say that Tom can't possibly guess God's motives.

Ultimately, prayer is going to fail any kind of rational experiment. You're conducting an experiment in which you expect certain results, and you measure those results in yourself, with no quantifiable measures or any controls. There's no way to empirically prove that prayer causes anything. Personally, I think I've prayed and felt an incredible change of emotions. It's made me feel better when nothing else could, etc. But I can't prove that it's God on the other end, and not just me entering into a more self-reflective state. All I can say is that it feels different than talking to an imaginary friend and so on, but I don't have any objective measure.

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kmbboots
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Scott, the words of Jesus carry more weight because Jesus (for us) is God. Paul was not.

[ February 05, 2011, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Don't you think it's important who or what we realign our will with?
I think it's important that people actually know with whom or what they've chosen to "realign" their wills, as opposed to with whom or what they'd like to think they're aligning.
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
If you do not believe in God to start with, and if you do not believe in the promise of eternal life or the desirability of living in Heaven and the New Earth, then you could not possibly evaluate these things properly.

This again? The starting assumption of God?

If one does not have the ability to properly evaluate these things, then how does one come to the conclusion that God exists? Where is the entry point?

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Scott, the words of Jesus carry more weight because Jesus (for us) is God. Paul was not.

But Jesus didn't write the Bible, kmboots.

quote:
I also believe that the people who were writing it down (and those who chose what became canon) were people - rooted in a specific time and place and context with their own ideas and brains and wills.
Consider:

1) If you believe that Paul was a prophet and that the Bible teaches the uncorrupted Gospel, then shouldn't his words weigh as much as Christ's? They spring from the same source, after all-- God.

2) If you believe the record of Paul's words can be corrupted by men with their own ideas, brains, and will, how is the record of Christ's words any different? In this case, both the words of Christ and the words of Paul are equally suspect.

3) If neither of the two apply to you, how do you explain the ability of Christ's words to remain uncorrupted throughout the years, and why wouldn't that ability apply also to Paul?

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Ron Lambert
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Sean, why do you object to my posing an argument by starting with the assumption that God is real? Most people here at least claim to be familiar with the scientific method--which starts with making an assumption, formulating a testable, falsifiable theory from it, and then testing it and then retesting it for confirmation. If it works, then you have validated your assumption. Anyone who confuses this with "circular reasoning" has no business even claiming to know anything about logic or the scientific method.

Anna2112, you made the same error some others have made in wrongly summarizing my position, where you said: "...in the case of if we legalize SSM, then God will destroy us with meteors because He will be so angry...." Twice I have sought to contradict that idea. I did not ever say that if we legalize same-sex marriage God would punish us in anger, or any such thing. I said that the Creator now exercises unusual, special, and supernatural intervention to protect our world from the destruction that already would have destroyed us all. But if we directly defy His authority as Creator to ordain and define what marriage is, then He cannot in justice continue to show us special favor. This is not anger. This is done with great regret, and He only does it because it would be hypocritical of Him to continue to show us special favor when we openly and officially repudiate Him by denying His authority. Is there some reason why the distinction I am making here is not clear?

Suppose you are a juvenile deliquent who has been engaging in a shoplifting career, plus occasional burglarizing of houses. Your loving parents may pay your bail and hire a lawyer to defend you, and help avoid or minimize any jail time you have to face. This can go on and on for years.

But suppose you get a gun and kill your parents, so you can feel that you are finally free of them. Can they still post bail for you, and hire a lawyer to defend you? No--you have gone over the top, passed a limit beyond which there is no retrieval. This is not because your parents ever deliberately sought to punish you. It is because you sought to punish them with an ultimate act of defiance and rejection.

Without going into the theological and philosophical reasoning, any desire to reject and defy God is ultimately revealed as the will to kill God. (But since God is the Source of all life, the desire to kill God winds up being suicide.) The point is that the example I gave is not far-fetched at all.

If we by an official act choose to contradict the Creator's definition of what marriage is, then we are no longer just routinely sinning (shoplifting, burglarizing, etc.), we are now trying to kill God. He still loves us, even so. He chose willingly to die for us. But He cannot continue to show us special favor by sending His angels to ward off megaton meteroid blasts, if we go over the top, and pass beyond the limit by directly, officially trying to overrule His authority. Divine anger nor punishment do not enter the picture at all.

[ February 05, 2011, 03:30 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by LIGHT:
swbarnes2: What if God thought that it would be better for the girl to die?



Well, obviously. You don't give a deadly chronic disease which causes a child to die over the course of 4 drawn out days to someone you want to have a healthy life.

We'll see if any other theist on the board sees fit to contradict your claim. So far, all the theists posting seems alright with letting it pass.

quote:
WIf He chooses not to heal somebody, it's not like He's let us down. He simply knows better.
It's not just that God choose not to heal Kara. It's that he made her sick, and then chose not to heal her. It's dishonest to leave that first part out, but only Ron has had the honesty to deal with it.

quote:
If you were trying to "prove" that prayer doesn't work, you're going about it the wrong way.
Wonderful! Then why don't you explain the right way to do prove that prayer doesn't work. I'm eager to hear it.

quote:
This life isn't just a joy ride--it's a learning experience.
Wonderful! Explain to us what Kara Neumann learned in the last four days of her life. Explain to us all the wonderful things she learned in her life in 2010.

When an omnipotent God watches a mosquito he made infect an infant with malaria (which God also made), and that infant dies, what kind of learning experience are you claiming that child had?

I predict no theist will have the honesty to give straightforward answers to any of these questions.

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Ron Lambert
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I would disagree both with what Scott R said, and with what kmboots said.

The Bible is still ESSENTIALLY the Word of God, because He inspired the people who wrote it, even though they expressed what was revealed to them in human language and in human concepts.

Anyone who has studied the inconsistencies of eyewitnesses to any event, knows the natural variation that can occur. But by comparing witness with witness, commonalities can be determined, and a fairly reliable overview can be established, that can with profit be used in court. So with the Bible. With such a multitude of witnesses, we can compare one to another, and allow the plainer statements to explain or amplify the more ambiguous statements, enough so that we can be quite certain what is the true teaching of God's Word regarding any doctrine.

Only those who are not really seeking for truth will seize upon texts that seem to support their pre-conceived views, taking them completely out of context and not considering those other texts that would shed a much different light on things. The Bible is plain enough when studied in a conscientious, scholarly sound manner, that such people are without excuse.

kmboots, I do not agree with anyone who would suggest that there are degrees of inspiration in the Bible. "ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED BY GOD...." (2 Timothy 3:16; NASB)

The only writing we have in the Bible that is represented as having been written by God Himself is the Ten Commandments (and perhaps the writing on the wall at Belshazzar's feast--though that might have been done by an angel). Everything else--even when the prophets are quoting God--is given according to the recollection of the prophet. The same is also true of the sermons of Jesus, quoted in the gospels, and in some editions of the Bible printed in red. Thoughtful consideration will inevitably lead to the conclusion that the sermons and teachings of Jesus as quoted, are really summaries, not actual word-for-word transcripts.

An exception might be the apocalyptic prophecies, such as the visions of Daniel and Revelation, where the prophet does not necessarily undersand what He is being shown, and is writing down as good a description as he can of what he has seen and heard in the visions. It does appear that in most of Revelation, John was actually taking dictation from the Lord. (See for example Rev. 2:1, first part.)

As for the Psalms, and wisdom literature (such as Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, etc.), those are still inspired by God no less than any of the prophets or the apostles. Consider Psalms 22. This Psalm reveals to us the very thoughts that Jesus Christ would think while He was dying on the Cross--a thousand years before the event. The things mentioned in Psalms 22 never happened to King David. Note especially verses 17, 18: "...they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." Compare the gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Bible itself nowhere makes any distinction in degrees of inspiration contained in the Bible. The narratives of Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch, the historical chronicles--all are presented as being part of the "Word of God," on an equal footing with the prophets and Psalms.

Again, as stated by the Apostle Paul: "ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED BY GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;" (2 Timothy 3:16; NASB)

[ February 05, 2011, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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Ron Lambert
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swbarnes2, look at it this way. Originally God did seek to supervise every detail of our lives, guarding us so that no bad thing could ever happen to us--EXCEPT for what we might freely choose.

After the sin of man caused a separation between our species and our Creator, we in effect told God to "Back off," and not "breathe down our neck," so to speak. So in respect for our freewill, God has backed off, and does not "breathe down our neck."

The result is this: "...time and chance happen to them all." (Ecclesiastes 9:11; NRSV) This is who reign over us now. When we hold God off at arm's length, Time and Chance rules over us all. At times, under certain circumstances, God can still intervene. But it requres a SPECIAL intervention for Him to do this.

If you do not like the way this present life is run, then turn over your life to God, and trust Him to straighten out the universe, so that ultimately--sooner or later--life will again become free of pain and death or sorrow, the way God originally meant for it to be. There is no other way this can be done. Our only two choices are the rule of Time and Chance, or faith in God to make all things right.

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