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Bling

Contradictions in the bible

590 posts in this topic

Why would Jesus' "enemies" want His love? Who did the initial labeling? You didn't get what I wrote. Read my previous post carefully. Jesus' salvation is always available.

It's the nature of living in this world. You have your free will dont you? Do you feel you're the only one suffering? Did Jesus directly cause your horrors? You always have the choice to turn things around and call on Jesus. Isn't it time to ask for a deeper answer to enter your mind?

Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Jesus preached to others for them to love their enemies, the same applies to him also, I will not follow a hypocrite.

I know I am not the only one suffering. Why is it so important that I follow jesus to you? It it ego?

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IamsSon

It did not serve at all. Your statement,

Actually, it worked quite well as I intended it.
was untruthful
Not at all.

.

Please see my post #422, third paragraph.
OK, so we're still basically talking about your personal preference nothing more.
I didn't comment on the originality of your statement, only its inadequacy as a justification.
You may disagree with the statement, but it is a valid justification. Creation, humans included, is here to fulfill a specific purpose, the creator's specific purpose, and what the creation thinks or agrees with has no bearing.

The consensus position assists us in determining whether or not I truly die when I die or whether I continue on living in some manner of torment for not believing in your God, and as I noted I think the answer to that has very significant implications on the character of God. If you believe we just die, I think it's fair to note that interpretation is a minority position. And why do we have positions to begin with? Because the supposed word of the supposed God as represented in the Bible is unclear on the question, as it is on many things. Do you find the idea of mortal souls utterly unsupportable by the Bible? Do you find the idea of eternal torment of some degree after death utterly unsupportable by the Bible?

Frankly, I think it has much more to do with the fact that humans are interpreting it. I would
If we must get all pedantic, do you feel that 'freedom' is a binary value, you either have it or you don't? You are just as free to go to your mailbox as you are to break in and rob your neighbor's house? If someone robs you at gunpoint and threatens your money or your life, that's the word you'd choose, 'free', you were free to not give him your money? To ask a question that starts with the phrase "How free were you to...x" is a meaningless construction?
I thought we were talking about free will, not freedom. I believe we have a great deal of free will. PA and I have discussed free will/predestination before and I think have realized that the issue is not that clear cut, that what the Bible describes is much more complex. Even in your example, I think the answer is not simple; there are multiple layers: am I as "free" to go to the mailbox as I am to go next door and kill my neighbor? Am I physically able to do either of these things? Do I have a moral compunction that would make me feel bad or regret either of these things? Even if there are physical limitations, or moral compunctions, do I feel that I would prevented from taking either of these actions by an outside force?
I'd argue that he cannot do anything he wants to his creation and still be considered 'good'. Depending on what you think he does with non-saved people after he dies, he may already have lost his claim on that adjective actually.
God's goodness is not dependent on our opinion or approval. God is not bound by human morality or values. I understand this rankles us because, after all, we are humans, we are intelligent and have feelings, and we are immensely important to ourselves. Edited by IamsSon
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Frankly, I think it has much more to do with the fact that humans are interpreting it. I would

Hi IamsSon, I think something got cut out on your reply there. Frankly, I think it has mostly to do with the fact that humans are writing it and compiling it, in addition to interpreting.

I thought we were talking about free will, not freedom. I believe we have a great deal of free will. PA and I have discussed free will/predestination before and I think have realized that the issue is not that clear cut, that what the Bible describes is much more complex. Even in your example, I think the answer is not simple; there are multiple layers: am I as "free" to go to the mailbox as I am to go next door and kill my neighbor? Am I physically able to do either of these things? Do I have a moral compunction that would make me feel bad or regret either of these things? Even if there are physical limitations, or moral compunctions, do I feel that I would prevented from taking either of these actions by an outside force?

Fair enough, I understand your point concerning free will. I was just noting how 'free' this decision really is; God's threats of punishment affects, for different usages of 'free' I agree, the 'freedom' I have to make the decision to or not to become a Christian. I was thinking about this also, from the standpoint that it would be a freer decision if God just said, 'you can believe in me if you want but I'm not going to promise anything good or bad if you don't', that would be a 'free' decision, I'm free to come to the conclusion that I want based on what I believe to be true, untainted by a reward or punishment. But contrary to that, if there is no incentive or disincentive, on what basis do we make many of our choices at all? Although I don't know offhand to what extent that we make decisions about what is true based on rewards and punishments, unlike decisions to actually take actions. Agreed, complex stuff.

God's goodness is not dependent on our opinion or approval. God is not bound by human morality or values. I understand this rankles us because, after all, we are humans, we are intelligent and have feelings, and we are immensely important to ourselves.

I fully realize that God is not bound by human's opinions. He is however bound by the human definition of 'good' if we are to term him as such, for that is the only definition of 'good' we have to go on and that we can comprehend. I have no argument with the idea that God does not always do good things, as that is entirely consistent with the word 'good' as we have defined it (although it is not consistent with the word 'God' as He has defined it). Although I hear the argument, 'he's God and can do anything he wants to' a lot, that is not usually the sum total of the argument, it usually also includes, 'and it was good that he did' heinous thing 'X'.

I'm not familiar with any conception of any god who is 'bound' by our values, they are all by definition superior to us at least in power. If we were talking about another god, Zeus or Loki or something, ordering the slaughter of the Amalekites, what else would you need to know about those gods in order to term that action 'good'? Do you think the idea of an evil god or an evil supreme being (I'm not sure myself about that latter one) to be coherent? I think this ultimately is bordering against something that PA and I were discussing: I don't think Christians 'know' that the fate of the Amalekites was 'good', they trust that it was. But to me there is a gigantic difference between 'know' and 'trust', in that if you say you trust something you are implicitly saying you don't know it.

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I'm not familiar with any conception of any god who is 'bound' by our values, they are all by definition superior to us at least in power. If we were talking about another god, Zeus or Loki or something, ordering the slaughter of the Amalekites, what else would you need to know about those gods in order to term that action 'good'? Do you think the idea of an evil god or an evil supreme being (I'm not sure myself about that latter one) to be coherent? I think this ultimately is bordering against something that PA and I were discussing: I don't think Christians 'know' that the fate of the Amalekites was 'good', they trust that it was. But to me there is a gigantic difference between 'know' and 'trust', in that if you say you trust something you are implicitly saying you don't know it.

Therein lies one of the problems with discussions like this: the English language. You can just as easily say that you "trust" something because you have prior "knowledge" of experience with it. Such as: I trust that my desk chair will hold me up because I know that it has held me up before. Or: I trust my best friend with my life.

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Hi IamsSon, I think something got cut out on your reply there.

I apologize. I began to write another sentence and then decided my point was better made as it was, but I thought I deleted those words. Oh, well.
Frankly, I think it has mostly to do with the fact that humans are writing it and compiling it, in addition to interpreting.
Obviously we're going to disagree here, since I hold that Scripture is inspired by God, not just a human creation.
Fair enough, I understand your point concerning free will. I was just noting how 'free' this decision really is; God's threats of punishment affects, for different usages of 'free' I agree, the 'freedom' I have to make the decision to or not to become a Christian. I was thinking about this also, from the standpoint that it would be a freer decision if God just said, 'you can believe in me if you want but I'm not going to promise anything good or bad if you don't', that would be a 'free' decision, I'm free to come to the conclusion that I want based on what I believe to be true, untainted by a reward or punishment. But contrary to that, if there is no incentive or disincentive, on what basis do we make many of our choices at all? Although I don't know offhand to what extent that we make decisions about what is true based on rewards and punishments, unlike decisions to actually take actions. Agreed, complex stuff.
You hit on the only point I would have made: how exactly do we make any other decision? We obviously see a benefit--or more of a benefit, or even less of a detriment--to one option than the other(s). Do I have a cookie, or do I have five grapes? Today, I may choose the grapes because my mind is focusing on the juiciness, but next week, I might choose the cookie because I am more interested in the chocolate chips, or because I do not want to risk the juice staining my clothes. How much do our cultural values, family traditions, metabolic status, social status, time of day, this morning's routine, etc. affect how we determine which option is "best" much less what we more overtly see as a reward or a punishment?

I fully realize that God is not bound by human's opinions. He is however bound by the human definition of 'good' if we are to term him as such, for that is the only definition of 'good' we have to go on and that we can comprehend. I have no argument with the idea that God does not always do good things, as that is entirely consistent with the word 'good' as we have defined it (although it is not consistent with the word 'God' as He has defined it). Although I hear the argument, 'he's God and can do anything he wants to' a lot, that is not usually the sum total of the argument, it usually also includes, 'and it was good that he did' heinous thing 'X'.

The thing is, the definition of "good" is not necessarily cut-and-dried either. I've used the example before, but when my son was a year old, I had to hold him down so that he could get a vaccine shot. From the perspective of my then one-year-old, what I did was BAD, BAD, BAD! Instead of protecting him, I actually held him down so someone could hurt him. My now twenty-year-old son doesn't even have a memory of this betrayal, but he knows it was the right thing to do. If I had not held him down he could have moved and caused a real injury, and the vaccine, as painful as it was may well have prevented a life-altering illness.
I'm not familiar with any conception of any god who is 'bound' by our values, they are all by definition superior to us at least in power. If we were talking about another god, Zeus or Loki or something, ordering the slaughter of the Amalekites, what else would you need to know about those gods in order to term that action 'good'? Do you think the idea of an evil god or an evil supreme being (I'm not sure myself about that latter one) to be coherent? I think this ultimately is bordering against something that PA and I were discussing: I don't think Christians 'know' that the fate of the Amalekites was 'good', they trust that it was. But to me there is a gigantic difference between 'know' and 'trust', in that if you say you trust something you are implicitly saying you don't know it.

Again, I don't think a "surface" answer will do justice to that question. Was it "good" for the Amalekites? I don't think anyone would argue that being annihilated was good for the ones actually being killed. But was it "good" for them from the point of being deserved and just? Well, there you start seeing that it was. Was it good for Israel? Yes, it was. But it was also "good" for other peoples in the area, if for no other reason than because it would have made them wonder if their god was as powerful as the God of the Israelites and maybe they would have turned to Him.

Beyond all that, though, as I have maintained, Creation is here to meet the Creator's purpose, and we are not fully read into what His purpose is, so He may see how it was good even if we can't, much like my one-year-old could not see why it was good for me to hold him down while someone gave him a painful shot and no amount of explanation would have done any good because he would not have been capable of understanding.

Edited by IamsSon
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IamsSon

Not at all.

You misstated the rights of human artists in their works. That is not a religious issue, it is a factual matter and you got it wrong.

OK, so we're still basically talking about your personal preference nothing more.

The paragraph you allude to lacks any expression of preference.

Creation, humans included, is here to fulfill a specific purpose, the creator's specific purpose, and what the creation thinks or agrees with has no bearing.

Perhaps so. What I deny is your authority to speak on God's behalf. If you state your own opinion, then that's just what we all do here. However, you are incompetent to state as a fact whether or not the thinking or agreement of creatures ever bears upon God's purposes.

Incompetent "speaking for God" is important for the thread, because often the "contradictions in the Bible" are disagreements only among Bible readers, or important to religious questions only if some readers rather than other readers are correct about how a passage should be interpreted. For example, are some Christians correct to consider Daniel a prophetic work, or are the compilers of the Jewish canon correct to exclude it from the prophetic works of their religious tradition, as many Christians agree they should?

Obviously, if the Jewish canon compilers and like-minded Christians are correct, then the book is literary, and the issue of contradictions is moot. Contradictions may still exist, but contradiction is a bona fide literary device. However, if the prophecy-oriented readers are correct, then strict consistency, both internally and with other prophetic works, is vital.

Edited by eight bits

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Do you consider non-believers to more evil than rapists, murderers and extortionists? Do you consider condemning non-believers to be more important than feeding the starving?

No, I do not consider non-believers to be more evil than rapists/murders/extortionists. However, sin is sin, and according to God the punishment for sin is death. Therefore, unless a person receives the gift of life through Jesus, then they are condemned to death, whether they be rapists or murderers or extortionists or Joey Bloggs from down the road.

As to the second part of your question, I repeat - we humans have enough food to feed everyone, if we were just willing to stop hoarding what we have and letting it rot. If we gave our unneeded food to the starving in the Third World, the problem of hunger would not exist in the world. Comparing this to condemning "non-believers" (which I mentioned in my last post to Liquid Gardens, is not at all an accurate statement, we are condemned for sin, not for not believing) is incorrect. At the very least, we can feed humanity ourselves, if we weren't so greedy.

On a final note, I notice you neatly sidestepped what I said and did not answer my question. I'll repeat it - So you believe that some people like rapists, murderers, extortionists, etc, do deserve God's punishment if God exists. So you agree in principle that our actions (if God exists) should lead to condemnation in some situations. I wonder, what is your criteria for being "good enough" to avoid this condemnation.

Edited by Paranoid Android
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How about something more in line with the morality that he has supposedly written into the heart of everyone, including atheists? Eternal suffering, punishing people for not believing the correct ideas, the Amalekites, purposeful plagues, why does my god-given morality give off all the alarms at these actions? Because they have absolutely no correlation to anything we call 'good' in this reality, most of those we clearly and correctly call evil, or at best apathetic. It's odd that God would behave in ways that are the exact opposite of what we call good under any other circumstances. I would guess you would have no problem terming these actions as, at the least. 'not good' if it was Satan or a God from another mythos committing them.

1- I don't believe in eternal suffering as a punishment so that argument doesn't work with me. You'll have to ask that question to another Christian who does believe in eternal punishment for sin.

2- Punishing people for "not believing" is an over-simplification. People are punished for sin. But by believing in Jesus (more correctly by believing he paid that punishment for us) we are saved from that punishment. I can understand how you may perceive that to be akin to being punished for not believing but it is wrong in a theological sense to put it that way.

3- The Amelakites/plagues/etc - were done in order to achieve God's purposes in upholding the covenant God made with the Hebrews in Genesis 12. If these actions were done by Satan I would say they weren't good because Satan does not work towards "good". If they were committed by a God in another mythos I would not necessarily say it was not good, depending on the context of why it was done.

Fair enough, I understand your point concerning free will. I was just noting how 'free' this decision really is; God's threats of punishment affects, for different usages of 'free' I agree, the 'freedom' I have to make the decision to or not to become a Christian. I was thinking about this also, from the standpoint that it would be a freer decision if God just said, 'you can believe in me if you want but I'm not going to promise anything good or bad if you don't', that would be a 'free' decision, I'm free to come to the conclusion that I want based on what I believe to be true, untainted by a reward or punishment. But contrary to that, if there is no incentive or disincentive, on what basis do we make many of our choices at all? Although I don't know offhand to what extent that we make decisions about what is true based on rewards and punishments, unlike decisions to actually take actions. Agreed, complex stuff.

There's a further issue to consider in this comment, LG. If the freedom we are talking about is expressed in terms of being able to freely choose one path or another without consequence, then what is essentially being said is that Christianity is not the only way. Which is a perfectly fine point of view for a non-Christian. However, in the context of atrocities committed by God (as was discussed in a previous post), from a Christian point of view, what we're really saying is that Jesus died a torturous death on the cross for absolutely nothing! God, the loving father, sent his son into this world to die on the cross, only to then say "you know that thing about being tortured to death? It wasn't really necessary, I've decided that any other path is also acceptable to me". The only way I can view the crucifixion and death of Jesus as a "loving" act is that there was absolutely no other way. Otherwise, God is a monster who just tortured his only son for absolutely zero reason. Edited by Paranoid Android
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On a final note, I notice you neatly sidestepped what I said and did not answer my question. I'll repeat it - So you believe that some people like rapists, murderers, extortionists, etc, do deserve God's punishment if God exists. So you agree in principle that our actions (if God exists) should lead to condemnation in some situations. I wonder, what is your criteria for being "good enough" to avoid this condemnation.

The point I was making is that judgment on rapists, murderers and extortionists should take precedence over non-believers.

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The point I was making is that judgment on rapists, murderers and extortionists should take precedence over non-believers.

So, you agree that if God exists, then judgement on certain types of people is warranted. What is your criteria for deciding this, what is your criteria for saying that these people are "bad enough", and what is your criteria for saying others are "good enough" to avoid it?

* And as I pointed out, people are not being judged for being non-believers. They are judged for sin. It's just that those who have accepted Jesus' death as sufficient payment for that sin are exempt from the condemnation. I see why you may perceive it as being judged for not believing, but it is a theologically inaccurate point. It would be more theologically accurate to argue that people are saved because they believed, rather than condemned because they didn't.

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2- Punishing people for "not believing" is an over-simplification. People are punished for sin. But by believing in Jesus (more correctly by believing he paid that punishment for us) we are saved from that punishment. I can understand how you may perceive that to be akin to being punished for not believing but it is wrong in a theological sense to put it that way.

I wouldn't say it's an oversimplificiation, the difference is language. People are punished for not believing but what you do is wrap it up and say people are punished for sinning (generally) which makes it ok and more palatable to you. It really is akin to being punished for non-belief and I don't understand the logical leaps that you make to try and deny that.

However, I do have two questions. (I'd likely just have stayed an observer otherwise.)

First off is related to that specific part of what you said that I quoted. Belief in Jesus 'saves' us from the 'punishment'. Isn't that akin to a get out of jail free card? You could do the worst things imaginable, but if you believe in Jesus before you die than it doesn't matter, god wats to be best buds with you as if you were mother Theresa. Doesn't that mae the whole concept of punishment moot?

Second, is why did jesus have to ;'sacrifice' himself to allow that payment? It all seems rather showy to me. surely god (all power child murdering, loving control freak that he is) could have done it in another way. So why mae such a spectacle of it?

And third (yes i said there were two) what about all the millions of people that existed before jesus (and ones that never heard of him) are they all instantly condemned? After all how could they be 'saved' by something that didn't exist for them?

It would be more theologically accurate to argue that people are saved because they believed, rather than condemned because they didn't.

As a last point, again that's down to language and it's rather telling. Your preference is to see it as believers are rewarded rather than non-believers punished... even though that's exactly what's going on.

Edited by shadowhive

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The thing is, the definition of "good" is not necessarily cut-and-dried either. I've used the example before, but when my son was a year old, I had to hold him down so that he could get a vaccine shot. From the perspective of my then one-year-old, what I did was BAD, BAD, BAD! Instead of protecting him, I actually held him down so someone could hurt him. My now twenty-year-old son doesn't even have a memory of this betrayal, but he knows it was the right thing to do. If I had not held him down he could have moved and caused a real injury, and the vaccine, as painful as it was may well have prevented a life-altering illness.

Again, I don't think a "surface" answer will do justice to that question. Was it "good" for the Amalekites? I don't think anyone would argue that being annihilated was good for the ones actually being killed. But was it "good" for them from the point of being deserved and just? Well, there you start seeing that it was. Was it good for Israel? Yes, it was. But it was also "good" for other peoples in the area, if for no other reason than because it would have made them wonder if their god was as powerful as the God of the Israelites and maybe they would have turned to Him.

Beyond all that, though, as I have maintained, Creation is here to meet the Creator's purpose, and we are not fully read into what His purpose is, so He may see how it was good even if we can't, much like my one-year-old could not see why it was good for me to hold him down while someone gave him a painful shot and no amount of explanation would have done any good because he would not have been capable of understanding.

I think where our roads diverge is: "But was it "good" for them from the point of being deserved and just? Well, there you start seeing that it was." No, I don't at all see that it was. I do understand the point you are making about holding down your son, it's a good analogy and consistent with how I've always thought Christians think about topics like the Amalekites, but I think it is a little flawed. You are holding down your son for his own good, but as you stated, the Amalekites death obviously was not good for them. This doesn't seem to be only punishment for purposeful sinning, he specifically calls out for infants and animals to be slaughtered too. Off-hand I can only think of one scenario where it would be 'just' to exterminate an entire people for the good of other people, and that would be in some bizarre case where if we did not exterminate a certain group, all of humanity would die (a very odd contagious disease or something, it's so out-there that I'm having trouble even imagining realistic scenarios); obviously even that example completely falls apart if we have the power of God. As far as the good of convincing other people how powerful he was and therefore they might follow him, it's kind of a sick way to accomplish that for a being who can accomplish that same thing an endless number of ways, since he is all-powerful and knows for each person in these other tribes another non-violent incentive of the same effect.

I'm not knocking you here, I appreciate the response, and you are just saying all you can say. I agree that the term 'good' is not clear-cut, but I don't think it's without meaning or referent either, and you are unfortunately stuck trying to argue the case, 'a genocide can be good'. I'm still pretty comfortable taking the opposite position on that one. I guess, were I a Christian, I would wonder if that was actually a test, to see if I would trust what men have written about him over what is supposedly my god-given morality, especially since what is written in this case is entirely contrary to God's supposed nature; no one would be batting an eyelash nor wondering why God wasn't more bloodthirsty in the OT if the Amalekites account wasn't in there. But for all I know it may be unbiblical for anyone to trust their hearts/sense of morality over the Bible, so in that sense in my hypothetical, it may be wrong to even term me a Christian.

I know what you're saying that it may be beyond our comprehension why it is good, but I'm still stuck with the case that he's didn't just do something that I don't comprehend, he did something that is the opposite of what we all understand as good. It seems he either could not think of another way to accomplish the same 'good' in another way, or that he can just do what he wants because he is the creator period; neither reflects well on him or his character. To me of course, I'm not saying he's wholly evil, he is good in some ways, and apparently is going to be very good to the elect.

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I wouldn't say it's an oversimplificiation, the difference is language. People are punished for not believing but what you do is wrap it up and say people are punished for sinning (generally) which makes it ok and more palatable to you. It really is akin to being punished for non-belief and I don't understand the logical leaps that you make to try and deny that.

It would be more correct to say that people are saved from condemnation because of their belief, as opposed to being condemned for their non-belief. They aren't condemned for non-belief, they are condemned because of sin. I can see how you would arrive at the conclusion that non-believers are condemned because of non-belief, but it is an entirely theologically inaccurate view. Not liking that answer doesn't make it less logical.

However, I do have two questions. (I'd likely just have stayed an observer otherwise.)

First off is related to that specific part of what you said that I quoted. Belief in Jesus 'saves' us from the 'punishment'. Isn't that akin to a get out of jail free card? You could do the worst things imaginable, but if you believe in Jesus before you die than it doesn't matter, god wats to be best buds with you as if you were mother Theresa. Doesn't that mae the whole concept of punishment moot?

If the person truly repents of their crimes, then a person could hypothetically do the worst things imaginable and then be forgiven. However, repentance is not simply saying "sorry" as many people seem to take it. It is a conscious decision to say "what I did was wrong, I am sorry for that, and I will endeavour in the future to no longer act like that, but instead I will turn 180 degrees and do the opposite. Where once I hurt someone, now I will help them". Repentance is shown through action. One cannot simply say "sorry" then continue acting as they did before - they aren't truly sorry then, are they? More likely they are sorry they got caught, or afraid of consequences. Not the same thing as repentance.

Second, is why did jesus have to ;'sacrifice' himself to allow that payment? It all seems rather showy to me. surely god (all power child murdering, loving control freak that he is) could have done it in another way. So why mae such a spectacle of it?

The punishment for sin is death. Only death can pay for it. So Jesus came down to earth as a human being, and being that he was God he was the only human who was able to live a sinless life. Thus when he died (unjustly crucified) he died sinless, and for the rest of us if we put our faith in Jesus, then the punishment that Jesus took, he took that in our place.

Could God have done it another way? Not without showing us how serious sin is!

And third (yes i said there were two) what about all the millions of people that existed before jesus (and ones that never heard of him) are they all instantly condemned? After all how could they be 'saved' by something that didn't exist for them?

For those who have never heard of Jesus, the biblical answer is ambiguous. The Bible does not speak about them. It speaks of only two types of people - those who heard and believed, and those who heard and did not believe. It does not speak of those who have not heard at all. Therefore we are left to hypothesise an answer based on other scriptures not directly related to the topic. And unfortunately several points of view can be argued for. Answering "I don't know" is the most truthful answer one can give. However, in my opinion, I believe that when these people die and meet God they will be given the choice of whether to follow God, and God who knows their heart will know whether these people would have chosen to follow him in life or not.

As to those who died before Jesus was born, the Bible speaks of Jesus' blood being an atonement for all time, retrospectively covering the sins of those who died in the past. The Hebrews/Jews who followed God had their method of salvation, but it was only temporary and a shadow, and could not save them if Jesus had not been born and died. As to all the other nations - those who had heard about the God of the Hebrews and chose not to follow him, probably they are doomed. Those who had not heard about the Hebrew God, the same thing goes for them as those who have not heard of Jesus today. I don't know, but I suspect God will know their hearts and give them the choice after death, and know whether each individual would have chosen to follow God during life.

Edited by Paranoid Android
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It would be more correct to say that people are saved from condemnation because of their belief, as opposed to being condemned for their non-belief. They aren't condemned for non-belief, they are condemned because of sin. I can see how you would arrive at the conclusion that non-believers are condemned because of non-belief, but it is an entirely theologically inaccurate view. Not liking that answer doesn't make it less logical.

Like I say, it's language. At the end of theday they're being condemned for their 'sin' of non-belief. Now that IS saying they're being condmned for their non-belief. Regardless of how much you try and 'pretty it up' that's exactly what you're saying.

It's a bit like the Titanic sinking. You're in a lifeboat and there's adequete room for others to join you. Yet instead of feeling sorry for those drowning an freezing to death, you take comfort in that you're alive on that little boat, ignoring the horrors of those around you dying. Because at the end of the day you got to live.

If the person truly repents of their crimes, then a person could hypothetically do the worst things imaginable and then be forgiven. However, repentance is not simply saying "sorry" as many people seem to take it. It is a conscious decision to say "what I did was wrong, I am sorry for that, and I will endeavour in the future to no longer act like that, but instead I will turn 180 degrees and do the opposite. Where once I hurt someone, now I will help them". Repentance is shown through action. One cannot simply say "sorry" then continue acting as they did before - they aren't truly sorry then, are they? More likely they are sorry they got caught, or afraid of consequences. Not the same thing as repentance.

Ok, there's a very big hole in that. Sure that works in the example I provided, that's true and it works in a number of other things too. The problem is that only works where the 'sin' has a victim. In that case repentance works much like the justice system. they serve the time, but if they do it again, they're put back in because they didn't change at all.

However the trick is that a number of sins are 'victimless'. How does one go about repenting (for example) for feeling an emotion? A number of emotions (anger, envy, pride, lust, love) are listed as sins. If that emotion takes over then it can lead to situations where there's obvious victims (ie murdering while angry or raping while lustful) and in situations like that you have something clear and obvious to repent for. But what about feeling any one of those emotions? They are listed as sins unanimously and yet they are victimless. You can't say you won't feel those emotions again, because (no matter how devout) you are still a human and you will feel those emotions at some point (even if only fleetingly). So what then?

The punishment for sin is death. Only death can pay for it. So Jesus came down to earth as a human being, and being that he was God he was the only human who was able to live a sinless life. Thus when he died (unjustly crucified) he died sinless, and for the rest of us if we put our faith in Jesus, then the punishment that Jesus took, he took that in our place.

Could God have done it another way? Not without showing us how serious sin is!

Ah, you hit on a point there which leads me to another question. you say yourself his cruifixtion was unjust. Yet it was, no doubt, showy. People today still talk about it. Christians the world over have crucifixes of their own (personally I see that as rather bad taste). So the question is would it have still covered it if he'd lived to old age and died of natural causes? Did his death had to be done in an unjust way for it to take effect?

For those who have never heard of Jesus, the biblical answer is ambiguous. The Bible does not speak about them. It speaks of only two types of people - those who heard and believed, and those who heard and did not believe. It does not speak of those who have not heard at all. Therefore we are left to hypothesise an answer based on other scriptures not directly related to the topic. And unfortunately several points of view can be argued for. Answering "I don't know" is the most truthful answer one can give. However, in my opinion, I believe that when these people die and meet God they will be given the choice of whether to follow God, and God who knows their heart will know whether these people would have chosen to follow him in life or not.

As to those who died before Jesus was born, the Bible speaks of Jesus' blood being an atonement for all time, retrospectively covering the sins of those who died in the past. The Hebrews/Jews who followed God had their method of salvation, but it was only temporary and a shadow, and could not save them if Jesus had not been born and died. As to all the other nations - those who had heard about the God of the Hebrews and chose not to follow him, probably they are doomed. Those who had not heard about the Hebrew God, the same thing goes for them as those who have not heard of Jesus today. I don't know, but I suspect God will know their hearts and give them the choice after death, and know whether each individual would have chosen to follow God during life.

I guess it wouldn't take into account the third category of people. That's most likely down to the writers not knowing they were other people in the world (In the Americas/Australia etc). Obviously, they couldn't know that those people existed, so wouldn't take them into account. (Which, of course makes the text a little suspect, since if it's g'god breathed' god would surely know of those people even though the authors did not.)

The last sentence of the first part strikes me as rather curious. Why? Because those people are given a chance before god. But other non-christians aren't? A lot of people would reconsider their position on god if they had the chance to 'meet him' in such a setting. After all a lot of people are pushed from christianity or put off the idea of god because of how believers act and asuch a meeting would change minds. So why not give them a chance too?

Why is the most important thing is always chosing to follow god? Why aren't people judged based on their actions? Isn't that a rather arbitary way of choosing who will be 'saved'?

Edited by shadowhive

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Like I say, it's language. At the end of theday they're being condemned for their 'sin' of non-belief. Now that IS saying they're being condmned for their non-belief. Regardless of how much you try and 'pretty it up' that's exactly what you're saying.

It's a bit like the Titanic sinking. You're in a lifeboat and there's adequete room for others to join you. Yet instead of feeling sorry for those drowning an freezing to death, you take comfort in that you're alive on that little boat, ignoring the horrors of those around you dying. Because at the end of the day you got to live.

I see it as a small but crucial difference. Sin (all sin) condemns us. Non-belief in and of itself does not condemn us. We are already condemned. Belief saves us. As I said, a small but crucial difference, in my opinion.

Ok, there's a very big hole in that. Sure that works in the example I provided, that's true and it works in a number of other things too. The problem is that only works where the 'sin' has a victim. In that case repentance works much like the justice system. they serve the time, but if they do it again, they're put back in because they didn't change at all.

However the trick is that a number of sins are 'victimless'. How does one go about repenting (for example) for feeling an emotion? A number of emotions (anger, envy, pride, lust, love) are listed as sins. If that emotion takes over then it can lead to situations where there's obvious victims (ie murdering while angry or raping while lustful) and in situations like that you have something clear and obvious to repent for. But what about feeling any one of those emotions? They are listed as sins unanimously and yet they are victimless. You can't say you won't feel those emotions again, because (no matter how devout) you are still a human and you will feel those emotions at some point (even if only fleetingly). So what then?

We can try. We can train ourselves to react with kindness instead of anger, or refrain from lust. There's a big difference between looking at a woman and thinking "wow, she's cute" to then thinking "wow, she's cute and I'd really like to have sex with her". And certainly there's a difference between thinking a woman is cute and then searching for that woman on porn sites.

Ah, you hit on a point there which leads me to another question. you say yourself his cruifixtion was unjust. Yet it was, no doubt, showy. People today still talk about it. Christians the world over have crucifixes of their own (personally I see that as rather bad taste). So the question is would it have still covered it if he'd lived to old age and died of natural causes? Did his death had to be done in an unjust way for it to take effect?

I doubt Christianity would have spread if Jesus had simply died of old age. Jesus' teachings were bound to get him killed one way or another simply because he trod on so many toes. Too many people had too much power to lose and so they orchestrated a way to get rid of Jesus.

I guess it wouldn't take into account the third category of people. That's most likely down to the writers not knowing they were other people in the world (In the Americas/Australia etc). Obviously, they couldn't know that those people existed, so wouldn't take them into account. (Which, of course makes the text a little suspect, since if it's g'god breathed' god would surely know of those people even though the authors did not.)

The last sentence of the first part strikes me as rather curious. Why? Because those people are given a chance before god. But other non-christians aren't? A lot of people would reconsider their position on god if they had the chance to 'meet him' in such a setting. After all a lot of people are pushed from christianity or put off the idea of god because of how believers act and asuch a meeting would change minds. So why not give them a chance too?

Which is why I qualified my statement by saying that God would know their hearts as to whether they would have followed him when they were alive if they had heard about him. But as I said, this is my opinion, and while supported by the Bible one could support the exact opposite idea as well because the Bible just doesn't address the question of those who have not heard of Jesus.

Why is the most important thing is always chosing to follow god? Why aren't people judged based on their actions? Isn't that a rather arbitary way of choosing who will be 'saved'?

We are all judged by our actions, and found to be lacking. If it wasn't for Jesus no one would be saved, because no one is good enough to reach God on their own. By choosing Jesus we accept that we are judged guilty for our actions, and accept Jesus' sacrifice as payment of that debt we owe God. If you haven't accepted Jesus then you have to pay the penalty on your own, which means death. It's not arbitrary at all.
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I see it as a small but crucial difference. Sin (all sin) condemns us. Non-belief in and of itself does not condemn us. We are already condemned. Belief saves us. As I said, a small but crucial difference, in my opinion.

That sounds rather odd. Non-belief doesn't in and of itself condemn us.... yet belief saves us. Which means (to turn it slightly) that non-belief condemns us and belief does not.

I don't see the difference really. The only difference truly seems to be a matter of wording. The level of denial involved in maintaining the wording.

We can try. We can train ourselves to react with kindness instead of anger, or refrain from lust. There's a big difference between looking at a woman and thinking "wow, she's cute" to then thinking "wow, she's cute and I'd really like to have sex with her". And certainly there's a difference between thinking a woman is cute and then searching for that woman on porn sites.

There's a difference between reacting and feeling. Sure, you can train yourself to react with kindness instead of anger, but that doesn't mean you'll never not feel angry. You can't purge your emotions completely and it always sounds dangerous to try.

Lust has always puzzled me. Looking at those three things what seems wrong with them? Nothing really (although the last one is unrealistic). I don't see anything wrong with having sex (and certainly nothing wrong with thinking about it). Now if you'd said "wow, she's cute and I'd like to rape her' then yeah, that presents a problem. But lust in and of itself seems puzzling to me to list as a sin (then again the same could be said about half of them or more).

I doubt Christianity would have spread if Jesus had simply died of old age. Jesus' teachings were bound to get him killed one way or another simply because he trod on so many toes. Too many people had too much power to lose and so they orchestrated a way to get rid of Jesus.

To me it seemed he trod on too many toes for the express purpose of getting enemies powerful enough to kill him. Then he becomes a symbol, a martyr. You say as much yourself. He's worth more to christianity as someone unjustly executed, than he would have been living until a natural death.

Which is why I qualified my statement by saying that God would know their hearts as to whether they would have followed him when they were alive if they had heard about him. But as I said, this is my opinion, and while supported by the Bible one could support the exact opposite idea as well because the Bible just doesn't address the question of those who have not heard of Jesus.

Like I said, it's no surprise it doesn't address it because the writers were genuinely ignorant of the possibility (and if it ever was written it would likely have been among the pieces that got discarded).

We are all judged by our actions, and found to be lacking. If it wasn't for Jesus no one would be saved, because no one is good enough to reach God on their own. By choosing Jesus we accept that we are judged guilty for our actions, and accept Jesus' sacrifice as payment of that debt we owe God. If you haven't accepted Jesus then you have to pay the penalty on your own, which means death. It's not arbitrary at all.

The problem with that is we are all judged to be sinners from birth. Indeed, the sheer volume and number of sins ensures we are always found lacking. We are, in essence, set up to fail.

It sounds incredibily arbitary. Why?

Let's say there were a christian and a non-christian. Apart from that belief, they lead their lives in exactly the same way. They do the same things. They make the same mistakes and they help people in the same way. Now what you are saying is that, at the end of the day god looks at these identical people and instead of treating them in the same way he treats one better than the other just for belief. The belief is all that matters and that, to me, seems incredibly artitary.

You see, there's another thing that I find odd. It's part of christian teaching to help others, to be kind, to love thy neighbour etc. So that means you (and other christians) are helping others for one reason: god says so. And that you're also helping people so at the end of the day, you can go to heaven. Now that's odd to me for two reasons. First, you're only doing those things because god said so. You're not doing it out of genuine concern for others, but because you're told to. Second, every good deed is ultimately self serving because it's towards the goal of getting to heaven. So the motivation for doing any form of good is becomes rather suspect. (And, of course there's the negative motivation that people do good out of fear of going to hell/being killed.)

Now, that presents a problem. Non-christians that do good deeds aren't motivated by the promise of heaven or fear of hell. They don't do good because they're commanded to. Yet the good they do is devalued instantly. That strikes me as odd, because surely it should be the other way around.

You know i'm a non-believer. I have, thus far, not seen anything that would convince me to believe. Certainly this system is one of the big reasons I don't believe. Anything that rigs the system so we're doomed to fail from the get go doesn't seem like something I'd want to get involved with. I ask these things mostly to try and understand the mindset of the believer, because it comes across as genuinely baffling to me why people believe these things. And, not only that, believe that god is 'good' even though what he does half the time is 'bad'. Case in point of the example made a few posts back about genocide. Genocide is a bad thing.... but if god does it? Hurray! It's good. Slaughtering babies? Under normal circumstances bad without question, but if it's god doing it, it's something worthy of praise. I just find the logic of it all baffling.

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And third (yes i said there were two) what about all the millions of people that existed before jesus (and ones that never heard of him) are they all instantly condemned? After all how could they be 'saved' by something that didn't exist for them?

There's actually a Christian tradition for this that isn't explicitly stated in the Bible (though some passages kind of hint at it). Basically Jesus is crucified and thus dies, and like all other men descends into Hell, but he then conquers death with his resurrection and allows the souls of the just to enter Heaven.

For more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell

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That sounds rather odd. Non-belief doesn't in and of itself condemn us.... yet belief saves us. Which means (to turn it slightly) that non-belief condemns us and belief does not.

I don't see the difference really. The only difference truly seems to be a matter of wording. The level of denial involved in maintaining the wording.

It is simply a case that I feel it is theologically incorrect to say non-belief condemns us. As I said, I understand how you arrive at your point of view, I just think it is incorrect logic. It has nothing to do with denial.

There's a difference between reacting and feeling. Sure, you can train yourself to react with kindness instead of anger, but that doesn't mean you'll never not feel angry. You can't purge your emotions completely and it always sounds dangerous to try.

I'm not advocating that we purge our emotions, I'm advocating that we train ourselves to react instinctively with a positive feeling rather than negative.

Lust has always puzzled me. Looking at those three things what seems wrong with them? Nothing really (although the last one is unrealistic). I don't see anything wrong with having sex (and certainly nothing wrong with thinking about it). Now if you'd said "wow, she's cute and I'd like to rape her' then yeah, that presents a problem. But lust in and of itself seems puzzling to me to list as a sin (then again the same could be said about half of them or more).

Lust can lead to premarital sex, which is wrong according to Christianity and the Bible. Sex in the context of marriage is a beautiful thing, and in fact in that kind of a relationship lust would actually be encouraged. But outside of that context, thinking lustfully about another person is wrong. It's committing adultery in your heart. I know you don't agree with that, I'm simply sharing what I believe.

To me it seemed he trod on too many toes for the express purpose of getting enemies powerful enough to kill him. Then he becomes a symbol, a martyr. You say as much yourself. He's worth more to christianity as someone unjustly executed, than he would have been living until a natural death.

I don't see anything wrong with this.

Like I said, it's no surprise it doesn't address it because the writers were genuinely ignorant of the possibility (and if it ever was written it would likely have been among the pieces that got discarded).

That is simply untrue. Even at its most popular time during the writing of the New Testament texts, the word of God had not reached every single person in their region, and the people did know of other cultures to whom the word of Christianity had not spread (Silk Road, anyone). Remember, the New Testament texts were written primarily as personal letters to individuals or churches. It didn't deal with the hypothetical scenario of those who hadn't heard, they were addressed to specific people with specific issues. I have to say your hypothesis that it doesn't deal with those who don't hear the word because they couldn't conceive a world with more nations in it is just plain incorrect.

The problem with that is we are all judged to be sinners from birth. Indeed, the sheer volume and number of sins ensures we are always found lacking. We are, in essence, set up to fail.

It sounds incredibily arbitary. Why?

Let's say there were a christian and a non-christian. Apart from that belief, they lead their lives in exactly the same way. They do the same things. They make the same mistakes and they help people in the same way. Now what you are saying is that, at the end of the day god looks at these identical people and instead of treating them in the same way he treats one better than the other just for belief. The belief is all that matters and that, to me, seems incredibly artitary.

First, we are not sinners right from birth. We are born sinless with the capacity to sin, then at some point we develop the cognitive ability to choose to go our way or God's way. At some point we go our way instead of God's way, and that is our first sin. Some people call this the "Age of Accountability", and some even put a specific age to it (I've heard people say 7 years old), though I wouldn't so dogmatically say a specific age for everyone - we all grow cognitively at different rates.

That said, when we do sin for that first time, we break that relationship with God. That relationship can never be mended. Because of our sin, we cannot ever get right with God again. I can devote my life to helping the poor, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and anything else. But these works we do cannot ever mend that relationship with God. Your two people, the Christian and the non-Christian, if they live their life exactly the same, then assuming they both lived good lives ("good" by human standards - if they both lived equally bad lives, then the question would naturally be raised as to whether this Christian really was a Christian, but that would be for God to decide) then the difference is that one chose to accept Jesus' death as payment for their sin, the other did not. Thus when they both meet God, one has paid their penalty, the other still needs to do so.

You see, there's another thing that I find odd. It's part of christian teaching to help others, to be kind, to love thy neighbour etc. So that means you (and other christians) are helping others for one reason: god says so. And that you're also helping people so at the end of the day, you can go to heaven. Now that's odd to me for two reasons. First, you're only doing those things because god said so. You're not doing it out of genuine concern for others, but because you're told to. Second, every good deed is ultimately self serving because it's towards the goal of getting to heaven. So the motivation for doing any form of good is becomes rather suspect. (And, of course there's the negative motivation that people do good out of fear of going to hell/being killed.)

Now, that presents a problem. Non-christians that do good deeds aren't motivated by the promise of heaven or fear of hell. They don't do good because they're commanded to. Yet the good they do is devalued instantly. That strikes me as odd, because surely it should be the other way around.

You are making one awfully big assumption here - that the only reason Christians do good deeds is the promise of reward. I contest this assumption, for I know it to be false.

You know i'm a non-believer. I have, thus far, not seen anything that would convince me to believe. Certainly this system is one of the big reasons I don't believe. Anything that rigs the system so we're doomed to fail from the get go doesn't seem like something I'd want to get involved with. I ask these things mostly to try and understand the mindset of the believer, because it comes across as genuinely baffling to me why people believe these things. And, not only that, believe that god is 'good' even though what he does half the time is 'bad'. Case in point of the example made a few posts back about genocide. Genocide is a bad thing.... but if god does it? Hurray! It's good. Slaughtering babies? Under normal circumstances bad without question, but if it's god doing it, it's something worthy of praise. I just find the logic of it all baffling.

These things that God has done, I wouldn't necessarily call them "good" or "worthy of praise". However, they were God's actions in meting out punishment to those who (for various reasons) rebelled against God and/or cursed his people, Israel. Thus the actions were not praiseworthy, but they were necessary.

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Why is it shocking that decisions have consequences?

Yes, you are free to choose not to commune with God, but there are consequences that go with that choice. You are already dying, if you choose not to accept His gift, which is life, then the obvious consequence is death.

You are confusing free will with freedom from consequences.

All things were created by God, for his pleasure. Humans are a creation. If God is all ominpotent and omniscient, then God knew when he created Man that man would sin. He also therefore knew when he created Lucifer, that Lucifer would sin. He therefore created sin.

How is anything just when the Creator creates a life form that he knows will fail, and then creates a punishment for that failure...where exactly does Free Will play any part in any of Creation then?

And please people, I absolutely loath the question: if god is all powerful, can he create a rock to heavy for him to lift! This is NOT that kind of a question. This is a logical question which deserves a logical answer;

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All things were created by God, for his pleasure. Humans are a creation. If God is all ominpotent and omniscient, then God knew when he created Man that man would sin. He also therefore knew when he created Lucifer, that Lucifer would sin. He therefore created sin.

How is anything just when the Creator creates a life form that he knows will fail, and then creates a punishment for that failure...where exactly does Free Will play any part in any of Creation then?

And please people, I absolutely loath the question: if god is all powerful, can he create a rock to heavy for him to lift! This is NOT that kind of a question. This is a logical question which deserves a logical answer;

Indeed God created a world in which he knew sin would exist. It's not like God was confused when the first of us sinned and said "aww, crud, I need a Plan B. Umm, hey Jesus, how do you feel about crucifixion"? It was part of his plan. And the Bible does go into some detail on God's sovereignty over life, and the predestined outcome of life. However, in a spirit realm (where God exists) I personally believe that free will and predestination can coexist. We choose how we live our life, and because we choose what we chose that is what was destined to be.

Those are my thoughts on the matter, anyway :)

~ PA

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am supporter of the theory that bible hold many contradictions

but life is created to " catch people in act " if you want to put a criminal in prison

before he even commit anything .. it'll be injustice .

it's only logical that punshiment or reward comes AFTER the good deed ..or bad deed

so this whole god knew people would sin theory .. really hold no ground even in logic sense

apply the same analogy above to god's work and you'd get the same result .. it's only logic to give people choice

before you go on and put them in eternal bliss or damnation

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joc

This is NOT that kind of a question.

It's hard to be confident about that, once it has been established that self-reference is possible within the system. That is, the rub in the question you hate is defining the required rock by reference to the means by which the rock would come about. If the system supports any self-reference, then it will have lots of it, and not always as obvious as the self-reference you happened to notice.

God did not create the possibility of this world. This is a possible world, and if the Creator premise is granted, then it is a possible word of which God became aware.

So, at that moment of awareness,

... God knew when he (became aware of the possibility of creating) Man that man would sin.

So, God can either bring this world into existence or else he can forever refrain from bringing this word into existence, because of sin.

We are almost home: Is existence a good thing? If not, then whatever God creates will be a mixture of good and not-good, and we are done. If yes, then unless God creates this world despite its sin, then God will have punished it by denying it a good thing because of its behavior. And by the way, since not to create this world he must never ever create this world, then the punishment is everlasting, and so infinite, punishment for what will be a finite amount of sin.

Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. It IS that kind of question. The invidious self- reference has been shifted from what he can do to why he does things and with what data. That is, the difficulty is to account for him reasoning about his preferences and goals, subject to "omni-" constraints about the preferences and goals (omniscient, omni-good and omni-just).

Edited by eight bits

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It is simply a case that I feel it is theologically incorrect to say non-belief condemns us. As I said, I understand how you arrive at your point of view, I just think it is incorrect logic. It has nothing to do with denial.

You know what I hear there? 'It's theologically incorrect that non-belief condemns us... but not beliving condemns us'. I do not see any difference and I don't know why you're acting as if there is.

I'm not advocating that we purge our emotions, I'm advocating that we train ourselves to react instinctively with a positive feeling rather than negative.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing. However you have to be careful that it doesn't lead to another. That's one of my big problems with the teaching.It's not the feeling of anger or lust that's the problem, it's the action/reaction to it that is. Yet the teaching is that feeling it is just as bad as doing it.

Lust can lead to premarital sex, which is wrong according to Christianity and the Bible. Sex in the context of marriage is a beautiful thing, and in fact in that kind of a relationship lust would actually be encouraged. But outside of that context, thinking lustfully about another person is wrong. It's committing adultery in your heart. I know you don't agree with that, I'm simply sharing what I believe.

That just sounds like insanity.

Sex between two consenting people can be a beautiful thing, but one of the big problems is that christianity making se outside marriage a dirty thing. Which is problematic, unhealthy and, quite frankly, unhelpful.

I don't see anything wrong with this.

That is simply untrue. Even at its most popular time during the writing of the New Testament texts, the word of God had not reached every single person in their region, and the people did know of other cultures to whom the word of Christianity had not spread (Silk Road, anyone). Remember, the New Testament texts were written primarily as personal letters to individuals or churches. It didn't deal with the hypothetical scenario of those who hadn't heard, they were addressed to specific people with specific issues. I have to say your hypothesis that it doesn't deal with those who don't hear the word because they couldn't conceive a world with more nations in it is just plain incorrect.

Aalright then. However I do have problems with how they handled other issues and how they actually ended up defeating several things in the process (women's rights for example).

First, we are not sinners right from birth. We are born sinless with the capacity to sin, then at some point we develop the cognitive ability to choose to go our way or God's way. At some point we go our way instead of God's way, and that is our first sin. Some people call this the "Age of Accountability", and some even put a specific age to it (I've heard people say 7 years old), though I wouldn't so dogmatically say a specific age for everyone - we all grow cognitively at different rates.

That said, when we do sin for that first time, we break that relationship with God. That relationship can never be mended. Because of our sin, we cannot ever get right with God again. I can devote my life to helping the poor, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and anything else. But these works we do cannot ever mend that relationship with God. Your two people, the Christian and the non-Christian, if they live their life exactly the same, then assuming they both lived good lives ("good" by human standards - if they both lived equally bad lives, then the question would naturally be raised as to whether this Christian really was a Christian, but that would be for God to decide) then the difference is that one chose to accept Jesus' death as payment for their sin, the other did not. Thus when they both meet God, one has paid their penalty, the other still needs to do so.

The problem i have with that is that we are all human and we should al have the ability to go 'our way'. We have our own lives and we need to make our own way in the world. By saying that choosing to go 'our way' is the first sin just seems absurd and a trap. What else are we supposed to do? Not do anything until we've checked our bibles first? That in and of itself is problematic because you need a scertai level of reading ability to read the bible, which may come after the 'age of accountability'.

You see that, to me, just sounds absurd. That's the eequivelent of being friends with someone and the first mistake you make (even a minor one) destroys the relationship forever. Or a parent that tosses a child out for the first mistake they make. Why is god so absurdly touchy that the slightest thing 'breaks' thee relationship? And why would you want a relationship with something that gets offended by pretty much everything we do?

Why should there be such a harsh penalty in the first place?

You are making one awfully big assumption here - that the only reason Christians do good deeds is the promise of reward. I contest this assumption, for I know it to be false.

Not just the promise of a reward but there's also the command from god to do good deeds. Christians have an incentive for doing good, as well as a punishment for being 'bad' and commands to do those things.

These things that God has done, I wouldn't necessarily call them "good" or "worthy of praise". However, they were God's actions in meting out punishment to those who (for various reasons) rebelled against God and/or cursed his people, Israel. Thus the actions were not praiseworthy, but they were necessary.

Were they really necessary? One does have to wonder. I certainly question if there's ever a time to purposely slaughter children and call it 'necessary'. But the trick is, because god did it you can't even manage to think like that. God does it and it's acceptable because it's god. You may not label it as good (which i guess is something) but you still label it as necessary and that's still a problem. Why? Because the intentional murder of children is a very big 'bad' thing in any and all other circumstances. Such an act is barbaric, evil, cruel. Yet what word do you choose? None of those. You choose 'necessary'. And that comes off as extremely cold and makes me severely question your morality.

Edited by shadowhive

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I think where our roads diverge is: "But was it "good" for them from the point of being deserved and just? Well, there you start seeing that it was." No, I don't at all see that it was. I do understand the point you are making about holding down your son, it's a good analogy and consistent with how I've always thought Christians think about topics like the Amalekites, but I think it is a little flawed. You are holding down your son for his own good, but as you stated, the Amalekites death obviously was not good for them. This doesn't seem to be only punishment for purposeful sinning, he specifically calls out for infants and animals to be slaughtered too. Off-hand I can only think of one scenario where it would be 'just' to exterminate an entire people for the good of other people, and that would be in some bizarre case where if we did not exterminate a certain group, all of humanity would die (a very odd contagious disease or something, it's so out-there that I'm having trouble even imagining realistic scenarios); obviously even that example completely falls apart if we have the power of God. As far as the good of convincing other people how powerful he was and therefore they might follow him, it's kind of a sick way to accomplish that for a being who can accomplish that same thing an endless number of ways, since he is all-powerful and knows for each person in these other tribes another non-violent incentive of the same effect.

I maintain that just like my son was incapable of understanding why I did what I did, and now doesn't even remember it, we are too focused on what happens, and are unable to take an eternal perspective, which is the perspective God has.
I'm not knocking you here, I appreciate the response, and you are just saying all you can say. I agree that the term 'good' is not clear-cut, but I don't think it's without meaning or referent either, and you are unfortunately stuck trying to argue the case, 'a genocide can be good'. I'm still pretty comfortable taking the opposite position on that one. I guess, were I a Christian, I would wonder if that was actually a test, to see if I would trust what men have written about him over what is supposedly my god-given morality, especially since what is written in this case is entirely contrary to God's supposed nature; no one would be batting an eyelash nor wondering why God wasn't more bloodthirsty in the OT if the Amalekites account wasn't in there. But for all I know it may be unbiblical for anyone to trust their hearts/sense of morality over the Bible, so in that sense in my hypothetical, it may be wrong to even term me a Christian.
The thing is I don't see my morality being at play here, nor God's nature. I understand that I do not have God's perspective on history and the purpose of Creation. So, just like my son could not understand that what i was doing was for his benefit, humans are probably incapable of understanding how God's actions are beneficial from an eternal perspective. I have a very clear grasp that what God does IS good even if it doesn't seem that way to me. The time I spent unemployed/underemployed struggling to keep my house, pay my insurance, provide for my family was in no way pleasant and it was very hard for me to thank God for it, but even then, when I took my emotions out of it, I understood that God was in charge and that His purpose was being fulfilled in my and my family's life and that it was good because it was in some way necessary to prepare me to be the person I need to be to do the work He has prepared for me.

As to God's goodness, I think the only thing which is at stake here is an incorrect understanding of God's nature; one which is very obviously not supported by the Bible. The idea that God's goodness means He wants to shower us with butterfly kisses and pamper us while acting like our personal genie with unlimited wishes may be one a great number of Christians subscribe to, but it is not at all what we see in the Bible. God's goodness has an eternal perspective, when humanity's experience "Under the Sun" (that is, within the constraints of space/time) is merely a speck in the immensity of eternity. Again, just as my son could only see betrayal and pain at the moment of his vaccination, and now 19 years later doesn't even have a memory and his view of my love for him is not greatly affected, if at all, by that event, the pain and suffering of thousands of years of human history and the 50 to 80 years of individual life spent on Earth, will be nothing more than that vaccine is to my son now.

I know what you're saying that it may be beyond our comprehension why it is good, but I'm still stuck with the case that he's didn't just do something that I don't comprehend, he did something that is the opposite of what we all understand as good. It seems he either could not think of another way to accomplish the same 'good' in another way, or that he can just do what he wants because he is the creator period; neither reflects well on him or his character. To me of course, I'm not saying he's wholly evil, he is good in some ways, and apparently is going to be very good to the elect.
And I maintain that our perspective, which is limited to the 80 or so years we have of life on earth prevents us from understanding the goodness of God's actions. Edited by IamsSon

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So, God can either bring this world into existence or else he can forever refrain from bringing this word into existence, because of sin.

Drive by!

Or, and there should be another OR here; he creates without sin.......

Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

Pardon my skepticism here, I have a hard time believing that the creator of all can be in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. You know that whole speaking and creating and making it so kind of thing.

Carry on.

Edited by Copasetic
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