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Here's the reason why many cannot believe in Christianity

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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 5:54:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:02:56 PM PST
evangelist says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 5:59:41 PM PST
No more or less impossible than the talking animals, pillars of fire, revelations to Mohammed, gods of thunder and war, or any other belief system man has created since we climbed down from the treetops.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:10:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:22:19 PM PST
As a species, humans waste so much time, energy and money on something that is obviously man made. All the god belief systems for the last 5,000 years are man made. It is a psychological crutch that a quite a large proportion of the population in various countries wish to maintain. Children are spoon fed it from infancy which thus perpetuates the myth to another generation. End of story.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:36:31 PM PST
M. Galishoff says:
Jason

What I am going to say in reply is abstract and I hope it does not sound like an evasion. I have found that much of the misunderstanding about God and His Will and Hie Sovereignty and the Doctrines of Election and Predestination have to do with a very difficult understanding of the difference between our time and God's time (eternity). Secondly, there are two ways in which the prefix "pre" can be used. The first is temporal -- "pre" means it happens before in our linear progressive time. The second use of "pre" is in logical order and not in temporal order. For example, A must logically come before B in a sequence such as the alphabet - abcdefg.... There is no time component to the alphabet or to numbers 1,2,3,4 ....

One has to be careful, in the second example, to be aware if a term applies temporally or logically or both. Many doctrines and theological terms (and words in the original languages in Scripture) are logical prefixes but the word in English can mean either logical or temporal.

In the first instance, God exists in a time we cannot fathom. Eternity has been called "the eternal present" where God experiences everything (in our past, present and future) AS IF it were in the present. This concept, IMO, cannot capture the entirety of it as we are three dimensional beings living in linear, fragmented (into units) progressive time. For us the past is memory (history), the present fleeting and the future anticipation as we experience it (physics aside). So how can we come to understand God's time? What does before and after mean in God's time? What does the prefix mean in God's time? I don;t know anyone who can truly answer the question other than God. So it is a mystery and we must remember this when discussing these things.

I believe that terms such as predestination and predetermination are to be understood logically when we are speaking of God. It is hard to do as we apply the terms to things that we ordinarily associate with temporal events such as John was born before Jane. But if we use the logical cause and effect analysis we can see how even temporal things have a logical prefix. My father had to exist before I was born. This is logical and also, of necessity of our being creatures, temporal as well.

So when we try to conceive of an all-knowing, all powerful, Holy and absolutely Sovereign God predestining or predetermining something -- the prefix is a loaded one as God sees and knows the beginning, the middle and the end (and what is outside of time itself) all at once and is Sovereign over it.

One way you statement is at odds with our position is that the Sovereign Will of God does not efface the will of man much less man's moral agency. God may limit that will and our choices yet we do choose. God uses our choices to effect his will. How this all fits together, because of the issue of eternity, is a mystery. However, God's Sovereignty and man's moral agency and capacity to choose are clearly and unambiguously upheld in Scripture. How God does this? Ask Him.

And in this context a concept of dynamic election was developed by Karl Barth who conceives of God having elected, electing and will elect me. His time and eternity surrounds our time. Deep stuff. God is not a man.

God has 3 wills: decretive, preceptive and disposition. The first is that God wills something to pass and because He is Sovereign it comes to be and nothing can change it. The preceptive will is what God reveals His will to be. AN example is "Do not murder, Do not steal etc. We can disobey this precetive will and we do - people murder and steal yet God prohibits it. If God decreed it then it could not happen. The dispositional will is what makes God pleased and displeased. God wills that none are lost and die yet many are. This means that God does not decree nor prohibit men from falling into perdition. It means that God is not pleased that such happens.

So you said "If nothing I do on earth affects my afterlife, there is no need for me to behave morally in any way."

The answer simply is what you do on earth profoundly affects your afterlife. Therefore, you should seek God's Kingdom and Spiritual regeneration such that you can be forgiven, adopted and set on the right path. The problem is that many people do not seek God and sin with impunity and this sin without forgiveness is deserved of punishment.

God is wonderful, He provides everything we need and sets our hearts and desires upon Him and not sin and forgives us when we slip. But if one rejects God then what hope is there?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:40:27 PM PST
Astrocat says:
evangelist, yeah, I kind of expected that. Obviously, to you, if one leaves the church, having seen it for what it really is, that person could never have been a "true" Christian. Obviously I don't agree.

The virgin birth is a carry-over from lots of other, earlier mythologies, and was adopted by Christians when they had decided that Jesus was "God" in incarnation, and so he obviously had to have had a more auspicious conception. His mother couldn't possibly have had sexual intercourse! That's why it's so ridiculous, and it certainly is absolutely impossible.

As to Corinthians and all the rest, why is it that Christians always seem to think all it takes is reading the Bible and "hallelujah! I see the light". Not even.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:47:14 PM PST
This seems to argue against the idea that the saved are pre-determined, either logically or temporally. Logically, salvation follows acceptance of God's word and a confession of faith. As you point out, for humans this logical flow of events happens to be fixed temporally as well. If God has already decided who He will give salvation to, regardless of whether they profess a belief or not, then professing a belief is pretty pointless. Your fate is already determined.

Further, how does one have any indication of whether you are "elected"? This line of reasoning seems to me to say it is quite plausible that you go to church every Sunday, tithe 10% of your income, care for the needy, and pray every day, and still get left out...all because God made that decision before the foundations of the world were even laid. The idea of a being who knows your every move before you make it is logically irreconcilable with free will. If one can perfectly predict every movement of a system, that system is constrained in some way and it is not free. Just as one can write a computer program that will spit out a random number, but with perfect knowledge of the computer system, you could predict the number with absolute accuracy. It makes no difference if the computer spits out the number and adds the sentence "I selected this number of my own free will".

The other half of this, by the way, is that the argument I presented is a false one. There is no need to believe in God to be moral. Plenty of atheists are living out there right now, peacefully going about their business, paying their taxes, donating to charity, letting people into the flow of traffic...It's empathy, not faith, that creates moral systems.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:48:31 PM PST
And even then, there's often a lack of bible reading. I imagine if most mainstream Christians sat down and read the bible cover to cover, they'd be fairly shocked at some of what is in there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:50:43 PM PST
Astrocat says:
I wonder, Jason. The ability and the willingness to pull the wool over our own eyes seems to be a prominent failing in the human race.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 8:49:14 PM PST
M, and obedience, as Jesus or Great God and Saviour affirms, "If you wish to enter into Life, then Keep the commandments", for even if one has ALL FAITH in Jesus, but does not love others, it is useless. (Matthew 19:17, Romans 2;13, 1 Corinthians 13:2, Revelation 2:23, James 2:24). Peace always in the Most Precious Blood of Jesus our Great God and Saviour

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 12:01:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 16, 2013 3:12:25 AM PST
Nancy, we don't pull the wool over our own eyes, the wool is placed there by our parents and yanked firmly down by society in general.

What hope does a young developing mind have in a world created to enslave it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 12:03:18 AM PST
>>.....for even if one has ALL FAITH in Jesus, but does not love others, it is useless.<<

Well, that just about counts out everyone who believes in it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 1:41:38 AM PST
M. Galishoff says:
Jason

I had answered these questions above. Salvation follows acceptance of God's Word in saving faith but regeneration precedes faith. ANd you are correct, there are many tares among the wheat.

To answer your question of how one knows they are saved I refer you to The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2: Volume 2: Religious Affections (The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series)

There is a difference between morality and ethics. Morality derives from the Gr word meaning what most people do and find acceptable. Ethics is immutable and derives from what God declares acceptable. Being a moral person does not necessarily equal faithful obedience to God as morals and ethics are defined by man and God respectively.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 2:50:32 AM PST
M. Galishoff says:
Matthew

But where does the desire to do these works come from in the person? If natural man is fallen how can he desire what pleases God? The will does what the person desires.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:10:30 AM PST
BV says:
Nancy - "now I look back and find it difficult to remember how I could have been so gullible"

It seems like anyone can say they're a Christian and you'll believe them. Now THAT's gullible!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:11:51 AM PST
BV says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:19:07 AM PST
BV says:
Buck - "the wool is placed there by our parents and yanked firmly down by society in general"

Most of the "wool" is from the big corporations and the government. Putting poison on our supermarket shelves (or in your water) and telling us it's OK to eat and drink, all for the sake of profit.

God is the only one you can believe these days.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:43:29 AM PST
>>God is the only one you can believe these days.<<

Not as He is currently spewed forth from the mouth of the zealots.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:43:42 AM PST
M. Galishoff says:
Jason:

J: " Logically, salvation follows acceptance of God's word and a confession of faith."

M: basically yes (see below) this is true but things come before this logically. For example, God must first desire to save someone then God must will (choose) to save someone, then God must develop a plan to save someone and implement that plan. If God decides to save no one then there is no hope despite faith. This is just elemental - nothing deep or hidden here. Now the plan of salvation is where there is some dispute between reformed Christians and other Christians as to its content and workings. We believe that God must choose specific people and not groups of people and that He this plan is a decree and must come to pass. If it is not a decree then it is theoretically possible that no one would accept God's offer and Christ could have died for no body. That would give the creature power over God which is unacceptable.

J: " Logically, salvation follows acceptance of God's word and a confession of faith.:

M: Salvation does not follow a simple confession of faith. The faith must be genuine (correct knowledge, assent and trust) and done out of contrition (a genuine understanding that one has sinned against God and His Holiness and a love of God) and not attrition (fear of punishment). I mentioned God's plan of salvation above. That plan includes regeneration - God taking the heart of stone and turning it into flesh. Elsewhere, the OT refers to circumcision of the heart and writing the "law" directly upon the heart. All three of these declarations of God in the OT prophesy are acts of the Holy Spirit and God says He will do it. Only the regenerate heart can profess faith and repent with contrition and desire God and the things of God as "the deer pants after water." That is why we believe regeneration must proceed faith. God must change the heart before true faith and repentance can happen. It is not only explicit in Scripture but also consistent with the Doctrine of Original Sin..

J: " If God has already decided who He will give salvation to, regardless of whether they profess a belief or not, then professing a belief is pretty pointless. Your fate is already determined."

M: Although this seems to the natural mind to be the logical conclusion it is refuted by Scripture and the Word of God that affirms human moral agency and God's Sovereignty. As I stated in my long post, I can try to understand it in terms of time and eternity but it is truly a mystery hidden from us likely because we are unable to conceive it given our limitations but certainly because God has not revealed all the details. To speculate further would be risky. We do not believe in fate. The fates are things Homer wrote about in the Iliad. We believe in Lordship - God is in control. There is a difference. Fate is indifferent whereas God is a person who loves and cares for His creation and for His Holiness. How God manages His perfect Justice, Righteousness, Mercy, Love and Grace is demonstrated in His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. All must be completely satisfied, perfect and without conflict. How He manages this in the minutia is a mystery but we are told the plan and that it is the way it all works out.

J: "Further, how does one have any indication of whether you are "elected"?"

M: I had referred you to The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2: Volume 2: Religious Affections (The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series). You or anyone else besides God cannot know about another person. However, you can know about yourself only when you come to saving faith and have the Spirit or you die. In the former you love Jesus Christ as the Word of God proclaims. If you really love Jesus everything else comes into place -- all your affections turn towards God and away from the world. Truly, you seek God above all other things.

J: "This line of reasoning seems to me to say it is quite plausible that you go to church every Sunday, tithe 10% of your income, care for the needy, and pray every day, and still get left out...all because God made that decision before the foundations of the world were even laid."

M: This is possible but these things do not constitute saving faith as they could be just lip service. Regeneration is the absolute requirement - all else follows. A false professor can imitate all the acts of religion but not have God in their heart. They can do it for self interest such as social, political, business and attrition reasons. The visible Church is a mixed body of wheat and tares. Focus on regeneration of the heart and you will see what I am talking about. Forget appearances.

J: "God made that decision before the foundations of the world were even laid."

M: What does this really mean. What does "before time" really mean other than a metaphor? Remember eternity surrounds time. Humans make choices. God is in control and Sovereign over those choices - the choices are real and not puppet choices. Again, there is a mystery to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:51:13 AM PST
So, where would find a good example of what God's ethics are? I'm REALLY hoping you tell me it's the Old Testament when he lays down the law.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 4:58:07 AM PST
Try this Jason:

"The Quelle Gospel"
http://www.religioustolerance.org/gosp_q3.htm

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 5:05:46 AM PST
Well, it's never been a great mystery that church leaders have bent their respective religious texts into all kinds of strange doctrines in order to maintain power. It is unsurprising to me that they would have added the long list of "moral behaviors" that this article says were missing from the original gospel.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 5:34:59 AM PST
BV says:
Buck - "Not as He is currently spewed forth from the mouth of the zealots."

That's why we read the Bible - to disprove the zealots!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 6:15:35 AM PST
Acts5v29 says:
Good afternoon evangelist,

The point being made is that "born-again" was to remove the reliance on one's ancestry - that is, being a "son of Abraham" as was the common phrase -rather than refering to an infusion of spirit. I understand that there has been a popular use of "born again" for some christian groups, but it is not really anything to do with Jesus' meaning - just a name they call themselves. For the sake of not mis-representing our Heavenly Father - as it tends to have become both a Christian goal at the expense of forgetting our father's purpose - it is not a phrase I use.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 6:26:33 AM PST
Astrocat says:
This is true, Buck, and what gets engraved into those young minds can be difficult to erase. I am eternally grateful to my parents for giving me the freedom - in fact encouraging me - to think for myself. My mother was a Methodist Youth Fellowship counselor, and I enjoyed many wonderful hours as a kind of mascot for those young people. We went camping, and often sang around the piano until the early morning as my mother played the old songs. But no one ever demanded that I "believe" anything, so I was completely free to choose for myself. The longer I live the more I realize how much I have to thank them for.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 6:27:50 AM PST
Astrocat says:
BV, I don't see it that way - obviously. To me, if a person says "I'm a Muslim", or "I'm a Jew", or "I'm a Christian", or whatever, why shouldn't I accept that, take them at their word. In their minds that's how they identify themselves, and that's good enough for me.
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