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How much do looks matter for Christians?


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#91    SpiritTraveler

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:06 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 12 February 2013 - 09:39 AM, said:

The phrase "good people" is an entirely subjective phrase, and rests on the supposition that mankind is able to (or should be) "good enough" to reach God on our own.  What if this is an incorrect assumption?  I believe it to be incorrect.  

So also is "flimsy evidence" a subjective comment.  To me, it is not flimsy at all.  And to answer your post, yes I agree, he could just reach down and save us from that cliff.  However, we still retain the Right to choose to accept that hand and God will honour that wish instead of forcibly grabbing us and pulling us up (arguments of predestination aside, which is a topic worthy of its own thread).



That reminds me of something Christ says in the Bible. He says that he is standing at your door waiting to be invited in.

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#92    SpiritTraveler

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:18 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 February 2013 - 04:40 AM, said:

Because the paintings were being composed by Europeans, and it was more appealing to the eye to paint a white Jesus.

As for the God being white with a grey beard, I don't know where the imagery originally came from.  I suppose it's the archetypal father-figure look.  God has no form though, so any depiction of him as a bearded white fella is just imagery.



True. I kinda like the strong fatherly look for God. But yes, it's true that we don't know what he looks like and this does confuse me a little because God said that he created us in his likeness, but god is pure Light.

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#93    SpiritTraveler

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:46 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 February 2013 - 05:07 AM, said:

Most people haven't looked at the evidence.  Some have and still arrive at the belief that it is false.  Others examine the evidence and arrive at the belief that it is true.  I guarantee you most people (even people who grew up in Christian homes) have never read the Bible except at church, and then only so far as their minister asked them to.  Take myself, for example, I didn't grow up in a Christian family.  I only turned to Christ when I was 19-20 years old.  I've been a Christian for approximately thirteen years.  In that time I have taken the time to study my beliefs in detail.  Last year, I ran the adult Bible Study group at my church (maybe I'll continue this year as well, I haven't considered it much).  I encouraged those in my group to do their own study and research, but some of these guys have been in Christian families their whole entire lives and still don't really know about whatever book or topic we're studying each week.

The term "faith" is often abused.  Your final paragraph is a perfect example of such abuse.  The evidence is flimsy by necessity so that we must come to God by "faith"?  That is not accurate at all.  Though it is often quoted as such, the word "faith" in biblical contexts is not "believing in the absence of evidence" (or the more hardcore "believing in spite of evidence to the contrary").  This may be a modern usage of the term, as if faith and belief are synonymous. But in biblical contexts, the word faith is better thought of in terms of "trust".  I trust that what the Bible saying is true, and I trust to the extent that it affects the way I live and interact with the world.

There's a well-known analogy of a tightrope walker named Blondin, who stretched a rope across the Niagara Falls and pushed a wheelbarrow full of bricks across.  He asked the assembled crowd if they believed that he could push the barrow over with a human being inside.  The crowd cheered, saying that he was the Amazing Blondin and could do anything.  "So who wants to volunteer to get in the barrow"?  There's little historical information about what happened next.  Some websites say no one stood forward, some say that one person put up their hand, some websites say that the question wasn't asked to the crowd at all but to a Reporter who was interviewing him.  The details aren't really important.  The concept being presented is what is important - saying that Blondin could do anything, and having faith enough to step forward and get in that wheelbarrow is entirely different.  And it is this "faith" that is being referred to in the Bible.  It is not the faith of someone simply believing without evidence.

~ Regards, PA


I disagree. Jesus did say in the Bible: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed..  - John 20:29

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#94    SpiritTraveler

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:51 AM

View Posteuroninja, on 11 February 2013 - 09:39 AM, said:

You are very much forgiven. I was scratching my head there for a second while asking myself what I've done to offend you. Oh well, misunderstanding. :blush:

Thank you euroninga.  Misunderstandings do happen. Peace :)

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#95    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:03 AM

View PostSpiritTraveler, on 13 February 2013 - 08:06 AM, said:

That reminds me of something Christ says in the Bible. He says that he is standing at your door waiting to be invited in.
The passage you refer to is Revelation 3:20.  It was in the context of a letter written to the church at Laodicea, which according to verse16 are neither cold nor hot, just lukewarm.  Their apathy was suffocating them, and so the call in verse 20 that he is there knocking was a church-wide call to change their attitude.  Instead of doing actions that were apathetic, take a proactive approach to their beliefs, show love to others, bring them the message of God (evangelise).

This passage is often used by evangelists in modern day to say that Jesus is at the door of your heart, knocking.  All you need to do is open the door.  Rather the passage was addressed to people who already believed, but were simply apathetic in their application of that belief.


View PostSpiritTraveler, on 13 February 2013 - 08:46 AM, said:

I disagree. Jesus did say in the Bible: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed..  - John 20:29
Yes, Jesus did say this.  Nowhere does it refer to "faith", though. He just says those who accept Jesus without seeing him in the flesh are "blessed".

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#96    Zaphod222

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:10 AM

Do you people also worry if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is black, white, or pink-striped?

If not, why not?

What is the friggin difference?

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." (Salman Rushdie)

#97    White Crane Feather

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

View Posteuroninja, on 13 February 2013 - 03:59 AM, said:

Your talking about a different god. Jesus Christ/God/Holy Spirit has guidelines. They're in the Bible. Our worldly good deeds aren't enough.


Do you really want to know or is your mind already made up? If you're filled with many ideas there will be no room to pour. Sometimes something out of the ordinary happens to eject those other ideas. The Holy Spirit is always here for the sincere. A person should look at his life, be realistic about his situation, pray for guidance and keep Jesus Christ in his mind. It's habit forming and it's a good thing until the Holy Spirit shows His grace.

I would say out of the ordinary pretty much defines my experiences. I am and always been ( even when I thought I was an atheist) a spiritual person. I have spent a great deal of time in meditation and prayer. I have a back ground in native American spirituallity. There is no reason for the rest of us to worship a man from the middle east as god. Not that the bible isn't a wonderul spiritual anothology, but there is no smoking gun that puts its words above all other spiritual teachings. Yes I have read and continue to read the bible along with other works.

I have surrenderd myself to the great spirit is ways most people cannot even comprehend, never once have I felt the need for a medium. Some Christians think that people cannot connect with the divine without Jesus and the bible, yet every non Christian culture has their own stories, personalities, and miricles. When Christians brought their views to my ancestors ( native Americans) ( along with disease an murder by the way), my ancestors could not understand this focus on who is right or wrong and how come Christians bear their spiritual beliefs in a totalitarian format. It was completely foreign to them.... And it remains that way. No, there are many of us that do not need Jesus. My faith and trust rests in the great spirit. No book, no man, no woman, no nothing will come between myself and the spirit, there is simply no need.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#98    White Crane Feather

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

View PostZaphod222, on 13 February 2013 - 10:10 AM, said:

Do you people also worry if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is black, white, or pink-striped?

If not, why not?

What is the friggin difference?
I would think that it had a redish color unless the sauce is made with yellow heirlooms. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

The friggin difference is that the FSBM is the largest straw man concocted by a group of people claiming to be more logical than another. If you don't see the contridiction then I'm afraid all these good people are haveing a discussion that is way over your head, and the real actually educated atheists are face palming every time you open up with tired immature comments.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#99    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

View PostZaphod222, on 13 February 2013 - 10:10 AM, said:

Do you people also worry if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is black, white, or pink-striped?

If not, why not?

What is the friggin difference?
The difference is that the majority of historians accept that there most likely was a person named Jesus who began the movement later known as Christianity.  In contrast, the FSM can be traced to a physics lecturer protesting the Evolution/Intelligent Design in 2005, whose words were later picked up and turned into an internet meme via bloggers and such.

That's a pretty big difference.  While the FSM meme might work in a discussion about religion in the classroom, it's illogical to extend that to claim no difference between this and a person who most historians agree was a real flesh-and-blood human being.

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#100    White Crane Feather

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 February 2013 - 04:48 AM, said:

And it is your Right to follow what you think is right.  Everyone must live their own journey.  And hey, if I turn out to be wrong, then I'm wrong.  I still wouldn't change my life from what it is for my beliefs have given me far more than just the promise of heaven.

~ PA
And I would not expect you to. I guess the only thing i try to acomplish in these discussions is to try and soften the heart of Christians a bit. being honest, I guess it bugs me a bit that respectable people think I will suffer spiritual death ( or in some cases hell), because I do not believe what they do. A pet peive I guess. I certainly don't think that about them. I'm not terribly emotional about it, but Christian dogma is hurtful, ends friendships, separates people and communities, and has prooven to be down right dangerous in the wrong minds, so I guess I feel obligated to speak up. Do you think christianity will ever open up and be truely tolerant of others as a whole?

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#101    Zaphod222

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 13 February 2013 - 12:59 PM, said:

I would think that it had a redish color unless the sauce is made with yellow heirlooms. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

The friggin difference is that the FSBM is the largest straw man concocted by a group of people claiming to be more logical than another. If you don't see the contridiction then I'm afraid all these good people are haveing a discussion that is way over your head, and the real actually educated atheists are face palming every time you open up with tired immature comments.


Oh really now. Please do explain the "contradiction".
In what way exactly is your belief in Jesus, the virgin-born human-god halfbreed, whose flesh you claim to eat in church occasionally, more rational than the Flying Spaghetti monster?

I am all ears.

Edited by Zaphod222, 13 February 2013 - 01:27 PM.

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#102    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:34 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 13 February 2013 - 01:12 PM, said:

And I would not expect you to. I guess the only thing i try to acomplish in these discussions is to try and soften the heart of Christians a bit. being honest, I guess it bugs me a bit that respectable people think I will suffer spiritual death ( or in some cases hell), because I do not believe what they do. A pet peive I guess. I certainly don't think that about them. I'm not terribly emotional about it, but Christian dogma is hurtful, ends friendships, separates people and communities, and has prooven to be down right dangerous in the wrong minds, so I guess I feel obligated to speak up. Do you think christianity will ever open up and be truely tolerant of others as a whole?
It depends on what you mean by "truly tolerant".  I think it is tolerant already (at least it is where I live), but if you mean it in terms of accepting other worldviews as an equally correct path to God/heaven, then I doubt you'll ever get that.  The central point of Christianity is that Jesus suffered and died in order that we may be saved.  If I were to say another path will also lead to heaven, what I am really saying is that Jesus did not need to die.  That God sent his only son to suffer in this world just because he could.  The suffering had no real purpose because God made other ways to reach heaven also.

A God who would make his son suffer and die to give us one way into heaven, but then offer alternative ways into heaven. to me that God is a monster.  The only way I can understand the sacrifice of Jesus to be a loving act is if there is no other way but the Cross, an ultimate action with an ultimate result.

Edited by Paranoid Android, 13 February 2013 - 01:57 PM.

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#103    slaughtr

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

Alot of you all are talking gibberish and saying the same thing over and over again. Apparently looks matter when you have some people to be devought but were slave master's and killers of native american's.Then there is the quote "with liberty and justice for all",hardly so before speaking about anything religious remember the history of war in the world from leader's who were so called christians. Not to mock anybody's religion but grab a grip of yourself.


#104    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:12 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 February 2013 - 05:07 AM, said:

Most people haven't looked at the evidence.  Some have and still arrive at the belief that it is false.  Others examine the evidence and arrive at the belief that it is true.  I guarantee you most people (even people who grew up in Christian homes) have never read the Bible except at church, and then only so far as their minister asked them to.  Take myself, for example, I didn't grow up in a Christian family.  I only turned to Christ when I was 19-20 years old.  I've been a Christian for approximately thirteen years.  In that time I have taken the time to study my beliefs in detail.  Last year, I ran the adult Bible Study group at my church (maybe I'll continue this year as well, I haven't considered it much).  I encouraged those in my group to do their own study and research, but some of these guys have been in Christian families their whole entire lives and still don't really know about whatever book or topic we're studying each week.

The term "faith" is often abused.  Your final paragraph is a perfect example of such abuse.  The evidence is flimsy by necessity so that we must come to God by "faith"?  That is not accurate at all.  Though it is often quoted as such, the word "faith" in biblical contexts is not "believing in the absence of evidence" (or the more hardcore "believing in spite of evidence to the contrary").  This may be a modern usage of the term, as if faith and belief are synonymous. But in biblical contexts, the word faith is better thought of in terms of "trust".  I trust that what the Bible saying is true, and I trust to the extent that it affects the way I live and interact with the world.

I disagree, I am certainly not 'abusing' the definition of 'faith', and you provide the reasoning:  many Christians have not read the bible yet still speak of 'faith', so there is no reason to narrowly define it as PA's or the biblical version.  Have you considered what 'faith' means to Christians who don't study the bible, which you agree is a large set, and considered that they possibly don't mean it in the sense of the biblical or PA definition?  I've had multiple conversations with Christians, and I'd seriously doubt it would be difficult to find examples, who use faith indeed in much the sense of 'believing in spite of the absence of evidence' (although I wouldn't put it so black and white, I do think Christians have 'evidence' but that it is very insufficient to conclude, 'the Christian God exists').  Perhaps many of these Christians are not as educated about 'Christianity' as you are, but that doesn't change what 'faith' means in the context of their belief.  

As a matter of fact, 'God wants us to have faith' is pretty much the number one response I've heard to the question, 'If God actually exists and wants us to believe in him, why doesn't he make his existence obvious'.  Obviously that's anecdotal data so it deserves a big grain of salt, but face it, God has done a great job at hiding his existence.  I don't think that's accidental, and again, I thought was already addressed by Christian theology.  Why does God hide his existence from a theological standpoint if we all supposedly do not require any type of 'believing in spite of the lack of evidence' in order to conclude solely using reason that he exists?  If we cannot conclusively get to his existence solely using reason and evidence, then what is your name for the whatever it is (faith, trust, hope) that does get you to that conclusion when added to the evidence that does exist?

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There's a well-known analogy of a tightrope walker named Blondin, who stretched a rope across the Niagara Falls and pushed a wheelbarrow full of bricks across.  He asked the assembled crowd if they believed that he could push the barrow over with a human being inside.  The crowd cheered, saying that he was the Amazing Blondin and could do anything.  "So who wants to volunteer to get in the barrow"?  There's little historical information about what happened next.  Some websites say no one stood forward, some say that one person put up their hand, some websites say that the question wasn't asked to the crowd at all but to a Reporter who was interviewing him.  The details aren't really important.  The concept being presented is what is important - saying that Blondin could do anything, and having faith enough to step forward and get in that wheelbarrow is entirely different.  And it is this "faith" that is being referred to in the Bible.  It is not the faith of someone simply believing without evidence.

Interesting analogy, I'll have to think about that one some more.  At first blush, I'd say where the analogy breaks down is that apparently people do not actually believe that Blondin can do anything, if they did there'd be no reason not to get in the wheelbarrow. Unless your point is that yes that Blondin can do anything, but they don't 'trust' him to not let them fall from the wheelbarrow for whatever reason, something that Blondin must then be doing purposely since he can do anything.  I don't think this carries over well to God.  If you really believe that God exists, there's no reason to not get in the 'wheelbarrow'; God by his nature does not lie and is good and certainly has the power to keep you from falling.  The only reason not to get in the wheelbarrow that I can think of offhand has to with people doubting that God would not lie or is not good or doesn't have this power, and if you remove those attributes, it raises the question whether the people actually do believe in 'God' in the first place; if they believe God lies, then they don't believe in 'God'.  Thought-provoking example nonetheless.

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#105    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 13 February 2013 - 04:12 PM, said:

I disagree, I am certainly not 'abusing' the definition of 'faith', and you provide the reasoning:  many Christians have not read the bible yet still speak of 'faith', so there is no reason to narrowly define it as PA's or the biblical version.  Have you considered what 'faith' means to Christians who don't study the bible, which you agree is a large set, and considered that they possibly don't mean it in the sense of the biblical or PA definition?  I've had multiple conversations with Christians, and I'd seriously doubt it would be difficult to find examples, who use faith indeed in much the sense of 'believing in spite of the absence of evidence' (although I wouldn't put it so black and white, I do think Christians have 'evidence' but that it is very insufficient to conclude, 'the Christian God exists').  Perhaps many of these Christians are not as educated about 'Christianity' as you are, but that doesn't change what 'faith' means in the context of their belief.  

As a matter of fact, 'God wants us to have faith' is pretty much the number one response I've heard to the question, 'If God actually exists and wants us to believe in him, why doesn't he make his existence obvious'.  Obviously that's anecdotal data so it deserves a big grain of salt, but face it, God has done a great job at hiding his existence.  I don't think that's accidental, and again, I thought was already addressed by Christian theology.  Why does God hide his existence from a theological standpoint if we all supposedly do not require any type of 'believing in spite of the lack of evidence' in order to conclude solely using reason that he exists?  If we cannot conclusively get to his existence solely using reason and evidence, then what is your name for the whatever it is (faith, trust, hope) that does get you to that conclusion when added to the evidence that does exist?
To be honest, I don't care how other Christians use the word "faith".  To me, the only correct definition of faith is the one provided within the Bible.  And that definition is inevitably linked to the concept of Trust.  If someone wants to define Faith with a non-biblical understanding, that is their choice.  But they are wrong to do so.


View PostLiquid Gardens, on 13 February 2013 - 04:12 PM, said:

Interesting analogy, I'll have to think about that one some more.  At first blush, I'd say where the analogy breaks down is that apparently people do not actually believe that Blondin can do anything, if they did there'd be no reason not to get in the wheelbarrow. Unless your point is that yes that Blondin can do anything, but they don't 'trust' him to not let them fall from the wheelbarrow for whatever reason, something that Blondin must then be doing purposely since he can do anything.  I don't think this carries over well to God.  If you really believe that God exists, there's no reason to not get in the 'wheelbarrow'; God by his nature does not lie and is good and certainly has the power to keep you from falling.  The only reason not to get in the wheelbarrow that I can think of offhand has to with people doubting that God would not lie or is not good or doesn't have this power, and if you remove those attributes, it raises the question whether the people actually do believe in 'God' in the first place; if they believe God lies, then they don't believe in 'God'.  Thought-provoking example nonetheless.
The point is that one can talk the talk as much as they like.  They can praise Blondin and tell him he's the best in the world and can easily push a person across the Falls in a wheelbarrow.  But paying lip-service like this is not faith.  True faith is having the conviction in your beliefs to stand up and get into that wheelbarrow.  The analogy was to show what Faith really is.  Faith is not mouthing words of belief in God.  Anyone can say "I have faith in God".  But true faith, biblical faith, is not just your words, but the conviction of your beliefs to stand up and allow that conviction to change the way you act in the world.  That is biblical faith, and as I said above, if someone wants to change that definition to suit themselves, that is a choice they can make but they would be wrong to do so.

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