1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Proponent of Rational Faith

Discussion in 'Are you new to ReligiousForums.com?' started by Axe Elf, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    It's interesting that you keyed on that word, because I actually waffled a couple of times between "apprehend" and "comprehend" before settling on "apprehend." I went that way because, like you said, it seems obvious that we could never comprehend Objective Truth--but I wanted to make the point that we probably can't even apprehend Objective Truth completely or directly. I don't think we will ever even be AWARE of some aspects of Objective Truth, let alone comprehend them.

    I guess I don't feel the need to introduce "non-rational" to the rational/irrational dichotomy. But then I don't necessarily discard the "irrational" out of hand either, at least in the sense that it applies to ways of knowing that are not rational. Personal experience, for instance, is technically an irrational way of gaining knowledge, because we can't always trust our perceptions--but personal experience still forms the basis for religious beliefs in a lot of people. Maybe you would soften that by calling personal experience "non-rational," but I have no qualms with just calling it irrational, while recognizing its value as such.

    So to answer your question, I would only resort to an understanding based on non-rational (or irrational) terms if there was no rational alternative, and I would not esteem that understanding to be as close of an approximation to Objective Truth as an understanding that was reached through rational means.
     
  2. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    Deeje, I'm not sure that you and I are on a level playing field here. It seems like we may not always agree on the same rules of rational discourse. For instance, I put forward a reasonable inductive argument to explain how the major world religions could have all been originally based in legitimate experiences of the same God. Your response that everyone WOULD experience and understand God in exactly the same way, if it wasn't for the devil, does not really rise to the level of a rational argument. And since this is a thread for discussing rational faith, I'm afraid I'm going to have to recuse myself from further participation in the discussion if you won't agree to play by the same rules as me.

    For now, I will do what I can to clean things up here, but I'll let you have the last word if my terms are not agreeable to you.

    Ok, now, do you not think that the Bible was written as a guide? People who can already see the way don't need guides. Christ may have been a healer, but that doesn't mean that becoming a Christian means you automatically know everything. We're all born ignorant--blind, if you will--to the Word, and you won't learn it by osmosis, you have to study it. Even Jesus Himself didn't automatically know the Scriptures--He was born as "blind" as the rest of us in that respect. He spent a lot of time studying the Scriptures in the synagogue before He started teaching others how to interpret them.

    See, this kind of smacks of an argument that I hear religious people make so often:

    1. God said we would be hated for telling the truth.
    2. I am hated.

    3. Therefore, I must be telling the truth.

    It's not EXACTLY like that, but it kind of has that flavor to me, like maybe:

    1. Jesus was simple and that was good enough.
    2. My understanding is simple.

    3. My understanding is good enough.

    Of course deep thinkers are not put off by the simple message that Christ preached--for many of them, it may be the best thing they've ever heard! But if they're satisfied without trying to understand anything deeper than the gospel message, then they're not really what I would call "deep thinkers."

    But yeah, I agree with your final statement--the Bible can be as deep as your comprehension can fathom--that's what I was saying all along. The Bible is a simple guide for those with a need to understand simply, and the Bible is a quite complex guide for those with a need to delve into it. It's almost like you did a complete 180 here from your previous stance that the Bible was nothing but simple.

    Since you seem to be one to readily accept the authority of the Bible, let's forget for the moment what I believe, and just look at what the Bible says about predestination. I listed some of these verses in a previous post, but I will reprint for your convenience.

    Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. --Psalm 139:16

    The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose--even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil. --Proverbs 16:4

    A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. --Proverbs 16:9

    The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him]. --Proverbs 16:33

    Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand. --Proverbs 19:21

    Man's steps are ordered by the Lord. How then can a man understand his way? --Proverbs 20:24

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. --Jeremiah 1:5

    O Lord [pleads Jeremiah in the name of the people], I know that [the determination of] the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his best] to direct his [own] steps. --Jeremiah 10:23

    All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me]. --John 6:37

    No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day. --John 6:44

    And He said, This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him [unless he is enabled to do so] by the Father. --John 6:65

    Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You choose and cause to come near, that he may dwell in Your courts! --Psalm 65:4a

    This Jesus, when delivered up according to the definite and fixed purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and put out of the way [killing Him] by the hands of lawless and wicked men. --Acts 2:23

    For in this city there actually met and plotted together against Your holy Child and Servant Jesus, Whom You consecrated by anointing, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and peoples of Israel, to carry out all that Your hand and Your will and purpose had predestined (predetermined) should occur. --Acts 4:27-28

    And when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified (praised and gave thanks for) the Word of God; and as many as were destined (appointed and ordained) to eternal life believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Jesus as the Christ and their Savior). --Acts 13:48

    We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being]. --Romans 8:28-30

    And not only that, but this too: Rebecca conceived [two sons under exactly the same circumstances] by our forefather Isaac, and the children were yet unborn and had so far done nothing either good or evil. Even so, in order further to carry out God's purpose of selection (election, choice), which depends not on works or what men can do, but on Him Who calls [them], it was said to her that the elder [son] should serve the younger [son]. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (held in relative disregard in comparison with My feeling for Jacob). What shall we conclude then? Is there injustice upon God's part? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion (pity) on whom I will have compassion. So then [God's gift] is not a question of human will and human effort, but of God's mercy. [It depends not on one's own willingness nor on his strenuous exertion as in running a race, but on God's having mercy on him.] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over. So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens (makes stubborn and unyielding the heart of) whomever He wills. You will say to me, Why then does He still find fault and blame us [for sinning]? For who can resist and withstand His will? But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use? --Romans 9:10-21

    But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart [even] before I was born and had called me by His grace (His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased --Galations 1:15

    Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] --Ephesians 1:4-5

    [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. In Him we also were made [God's] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, --Ephesians 1:10-11

    For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. --Ephesians 2:10

    [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. --Phillippians 2:13

    The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is going to come up out of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and proceed to go to perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been recorded in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they look at the beast, because he [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is [yet] to come. --Revelation 17:8

    (All citations are from the Amplified Bible.)

    Due to length limits, I have had to continue my response in the next post...
     
    #42 Axe Elf, Mar 7, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  3. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    Does a passage about a golden calf ring a bell? It's in Exodus 32, if you need a refresher.

    Um, again, no. Most of the Epistles were letters written to original Christian churches that were getting off the straight and narrow, so to speak. If you mean even MORE "original" than that, as in the disciples, then again, I don't think that Thomas, who doubted, or Judas, who betrayed, or Peter, who denied, all saw things exactly the same way.


    I'm not sure what you were TRYING to do here, but what you've basically done is quote a passage from Paul which proves my point that some original Christians were being corrupted by errant and even heretical beliefs. All Christians do not see all things in the same way--not even the original ones--and that's ok.

    But Paul is not addressing simple dogmas of personal choice like whether or not to eat meat on Friday here, he's talking about a distortion of the gospel message that Jesus is the Christ--something that's pretty basic to the overall development of Christianity as a whole. Denying that Jesus is the Christ is NOT ok in Christianity.


    Yeah, sorry, I'm going to have to stop short of calling Jesus a racist based on legitimate criticism of Israel. But neither God nor Jesus blamed the Jews for killing Him. Do you know who REALLY killed Jesus? You did. I did. Everyone who lets Jesus take their bullet for them killed Jesus. And if that's too metaphorical for you, do you remember this verse I quoted above regarding predestination?

    "This Jesus, when delivered up according to the definite and fixed purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and put out of the way [killing Him] by the hands of lawless and wicked men." --Acts 2:23

    The Bible--God's Word--had the chance here to say that Jesus was crucified by the hands of the Jews or something of that nature, if the intention was to include Jesus' death in the list of Israel's sins--but no, it only pins the crucifixion on lawless and wicked men.

    Like I said, you and I.
     
  4. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    14,650
    Ratings:
    +8,307
    Religion:
    Christian JW
    Perhaps we can start off with your first premise.....?

    Lets get a definition of "rational" before we go any further....

    .....according to Merrian Websters...

    "Rational.....means...

    1 a : having reason or understanding

    b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable

    • a rational explanation
    • rational behavior"
    Is your definition of "rational" the same as mine? My views are very 'reasonable' according to my understanding of the scriptures. I do not get my beliefs from Christendom...but from the Bible, as you claim to....we are reading the same words but getting a very different understanding. Why is that, do you think?
    Whose ideas are more or less "rational" or "reasonable"...and in whose opinion? :shrug:

    If it wasn't for the intervention of the devil in Eden, humans would never have known evil....or hatred or malice or even have turned to the worship of false gods. If there had been no introduction of sin, by the exercise of their free will, then Christ would never have needed to come into the world as flesh and blood to offer his life for us.....and we would not be having this conversation......so yes, all humans would have been taught by one God to serve him his way. How is that not rational?

    Absolutely.....but we need a guide to be able to understand and interpret it correctly.
    The example of Philip the Evangelizer is a case in point...He was directed by an angel to go to a certain desert road where he heard a military commander in a chariot reading the scriptures......"Philip ran alongside and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: “Do you actually know what you are reading?31 He said: “Really, how could I ever do so unless someone guided me?So he urged Philip to get on and sit down with him."

    Phillip then explained the meaning of the passage that the man was reading. He was a Jewish proselyte returning from worship at Jerusalem, but lacked understanding. God provided a human guide, as he has done all through history. Was Philip an independent Christian expounding on his own ideas about Isaiah's prophesy, or was he teaching what all other Christians were teaching about Jesus?

    How did the apostles gain their understanding of scripture? They were raised in the Jewish faith, but the Pharisees had corrupted the meanings of so many things. Without Jesus' instruction, the apostles would not have understood much at all...in fact even after three and a half years of constant companionship with Jesus, there were still things they didn't understand about the nature of the kingdom...like how and when it would "come".

    When the circumcision issue came up.....was each Christian left to decide for themselves what to do? No! The body of elders in Jerusalem prayed about the matter and the holy spirit guided the whole group. (Acts 15:1-29) They then sent a directive to all the congregations by letter, so that unity would be maintained within the entire body.

    So just as God provided men to guide his nation in worship after they left Egypt, he also provided men to guide the ones who became apostles and disciples of his son. No one was free to put their own interpretation on anything.
    The fractured mess that Christendom finds herself in today is proof that this is divisive, not unifying. Jesus said that he and his disciples would be "one" in the same way that he and his Father were "one". (John 17:20-22) It is a unity of thought and purpose that was to promote full harmony among all believers. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

    Those enlightened by the word do need guides to help them make their way through the maze of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. If we are to believe every person who says "I think" about a Bible passage.... then how would we ever come to a knowledge of the truth? :facepalm:

    Yes, Jesus was not made fully aware of his pre-human existence until his baptism.....after which he spent 40 days in the wilderness, communing with his father and getting prepared for the biggest challenge of his life. But as a perfect human specimen, he was sharp mentally, and untouched by sin physically or spiritually.....hence his time at the temple with the teachers questioning them and astounding them with his understanding was recorded for our benefit. (He gave his Mom and Dad a bit of a scare though. Luke 2:41-52)

    And yes, the Bible does require study...deep study for those who have an appetite for it.....but no matter how spiritual or intelligent we may think we are.....no one can come to the truth on their own. There has to be, of necessity, a brotherhood that shares your beliefs. Christians were to be both preachers and teachers of God's word. No one can be a Christian in isolation. All must believe in unity. (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 John 8-11)

    Those who have no brotherhood with whom they can meet regularly, cannot fulfill the admonition of the apostle Paul. (Hebrews 10:24-25) They were to do this "all the more so" as they beheld the "day drawing near". What "day" is that? How near is it, in your opinion?
     
    #44 Deeje, Mar 7, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    14,650
    Ratings:
    +8,307
    Religion:
    Christian JW
    I will not address all of these but some will suffice for the exercise.

    The Amplified Bible is not a very accurate translation IMO....it exhibits bias in its translation......perhaps a variety of translations might help or even just use Strongs....?

    Strongs Concordance renders Psalm 139:16.....
    "Your eyes H5869 have seen H7200 my unformed H1564 substance; H1564
    And in Your book H5612 were all H3605 written H3789
    The days H3117 that were ordained H3335 for me,
    When as yet there was not one H259 of them."


    When you examine the original words and their meanings, something becomes clear. The word "ordained" is actually a mistranslation here, (just as the wording in the scripture you quoted gives the wrong impression.)

    But when you examine the meaning, you can see when license has been taken to give the wrong idea.

    The Hebrew word is "yatsar" (rendered "ordained") and it means primarily.....

    "to form, fashion, frame

    (Qal) to form, fashion

    1. of human activity
    2. of divine activity
      1. of creation
        1. of original creation
        2. of individuals at conception
        3. of Israel as a people"
    There is no real meaning of something that was "foreordained" or "pre-destined" with regard to David in this verse. What David wrote was that before he was fully formed (when he was just an embryo like all others) God had all his anatomical parts planned, as if written in a book. The days when they were "formed" or "fashioned" were predetermined because the development of an embryo follows a definite pattern for all human babies.


    So what is Jeremiah saying here? Wasn't this simply God choosing Jeremiah, like John the Baptist, for a specific role in his purpose? Jeremiah was destined to be a prophet. This does not apply to all, but only to the very few who were chosen in this way.

    Again we have Jesus Christ whose death was prophesied, long before he was born, in order to redeem mankind. Was Jesus sacrifice "a definite and fixed purpose and settled plan" of God? Of course it was. But God does not foreordain individuals unless he specifically says so. Humans have free will so God will not pre-determine what each individual will do within the scope of his purpose. At the end when there are only sheep or goats standing before Jesus, not one of them hasn't chosen their own course of their own free will. We determine whether we are sheep or goats by our own choices....otherwise free will is a delusion.....God deliberately creates some of us to fail. Why would he do that?

    Again, there is no predetermined number of Gentiles who will gain everlasting life. Gentiles as a group were always going to be part of God's purpose as he promised Abraham that "all the nations" would be blessed by the seed that would come through that lineage. A great many were going to benefit from Jesus' sacrifice. Some would go to heaven, but not all. God's plans for this earth will still be carried out. (Revelation 21:2-4; Isaiah 55:11)

    God can see and use his foreknowledge to determine the personality traits in the DNA of any individual, and decide to use the talents or strengths of any one he chooses. The zealous Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus was a man of great faith and determination in his former path, even in his vicious persecution of the Christians, which he lived to regret....he was a very religious man. That zeal for God's worship was simply misdirected....Jesus specially chose Saul to become an apostle (though not one of the 12.) His assignment as Paul, was to the Gentiles....and he received his training directly from Jesus, not from the other apostles. (Galatians 1:1; Galatians1:13-19)

    So without the pre-planted ideas, what is this scripture saying?

    "10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

    God foreordained the kingdom arrangement and the "good works" that it would accomplish. This is what was prepared by God beforehand, not the individuals who would make up that body.

    None of these scriptures is alluding to pre-destination unless you believe that free will does not exist.

    The apostle Peter said...."Certainly if after escaping from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they get involved again with these very things and are overcome, their final state has become worse for them than the first. 21 It would have been better for them not to have accurately known the path of righteousness than after knowing it to turn away from the holy commandment they had received. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)

    It would never be better for a person to hear and acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and then fall away to sin if that person can do nothing else because of pre-destination. How can the dog return to its own vomit if vomit was all it was ever going to eat? Why bathe the pig that was only going to jump back in the mud? :shrug:

    I certainly believe that my arguments are as "rational" to me as yours are to you. I see no pre-destination in the scriptures you provided......you may not agree.
     
  6. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    14,650
    Ratings:
    +8,307
    Religion:
    Christian JW
    Ummm...the golden calf incident was after Israel had agreed to abide by God's laws but then when Moses was taking too long up in the mountain, they fell to doing what was common in Egypt. Idol worship. They called the idol "Jehovah" but I don't think God was too impressed....do you? What did God do to the offenders? Read Exodus 32:25-28.

    Please don't confuse the individual imperfections of Christ's followers with the clear teachings of the Christ.
    Thomas was naturally skeptical because he wasn't with the others who had already seen the resurrected Jesus.
    Peter said that Jesus was resurrected "in the spirit" meaning that his fleshly body was no longer in existence...the tomb was empty. The bodies that Jesus materialized after his resurrection were not always recognized. For Thomas, Jesus produced the wounds so as to convince him. No other mention is made of Jesus with wounds which would have been visible since he was brutally treated before his death.

    It was prophesied that one of Jesus' close companions would betray him, but at the outset even Jesus did not know which one. Only when Judas' heart became wicked did Jesus become alerted to who it was. (Luke 22:3; John 13:18; Psalm 41:19)

    Peter was impetuous by nature and often spoke rashly. He was an imperfect human who needed to learn by his mistakes. Jesus' entrusting him with the 'keys of the kingdom' demonstrated complete confidence in him.

    If the epistles were written to those ones who were drifting off the path, then it was done with a view to getting them back on track.....that is logical, isn't it? That means that all were expected to walk the same path.

    Its not OK...where did Jesus ever say it was OK? There was one gospel and no one was permitted to corrupt its message. Unity is what identifies true Christianity...not division. The holy spirit does not teach different things to different people...how is that rational?

    Yes, 'a distortion of the gospel message' took place many centuries ago....men started to introduce doctrines from outside of Christ's teachings, as it was foretold. This happened so long ago that most people would not know true Christian teachings today, if it jumped up and bit them.

    The apostle Paul wrote...."I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30 and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves." That is exactly what happened.

    Who were the "lawless and wicked men" who put Jesus to death? Not the ones who drove the nails, but the ones who blackmailed Pilate into doing their dirty work for them. He found him innocent, but the Jews threatened to bring a charge of treason against Pilate if he did not accede to their wishes. In an effort to save his political career, Pilate threw in a flogging just to appease them. He knew that they were murdering an innocent man.

    When Jesus asked his Father to forgive the men who impaled him "for they know not what they do" he was not talking about the Jewish leaders who had orchestrated the whole ugly scenario....he asked God to forgive the Roman soldiers who were just doing their job. He had already issued a proclamation against the Jewish leaders. (Matthew 23:37-39) For that final act of murder, God abandoned them as his people. (Matthew 21:42-45) They have never had peace since.

    But Jesus had already condemned the Scribes and Pharisees as wicked and lawless. Read Matthew 23. He could not have been more scathing in his condemnation.

    Your rationale is looking a little thin IMO.....
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    12,524
    Ratings:
    +8,349
    Religion:
    Love, Light, and Life
    The challenge with this is though is even if in speaking to the Western mind heavily rooted in dualistic thought, especially so because of the Western traditional theistic view of God which has God wholly transcendent and other to Creation, is that to realize the true nature of Divinity, you have to also make it wholly immanent. One cannot speak of the Infinite, and have it be other to everything. There cannot be a hole or a gap where the Infinite is absent, because if so it's no longer Infinite. Nor can one speak of God as nothing other than Creation itself and have it be Infinite in Being. Dualistic conceptions, whether those be dualism or monism (which is a subtle form of duality), have to be transcended in order to Realize the divine nature of all Reality, both the immanent and the transcendent. I love this quote from Meister Eckhart which captures this paradox perfectly. "I pray God make me free of God that I may know God is His unconditioned being". In other words, trying to define Reality in boxes only ends up a projection of our own minds.

    However, that said, and to your point, we do have to be able to say something about God in order to point to God, taking great care not to define God, using words fluidly, rather than concretely. Metaphors taken as facts become dead metaphors, descriptors rather than pointers. As I heard a wise soul say recently, "In order for someone to see God everywhere, they first have to be able see God somewhere". And I think a dualistic view of God has its place, but we should be speaking in those terms with our fingers crossed lightly behind our backs. ;)

    When I speak of Truth with a capital T, I point out that that is not a propositional truth, but the Source of all perceptions of Truth in the form of relative truths. It is the distinction between the Absolute and the relative. You can't speak of the Absolute in relative terms, except only as fingers pointing at the moon, in terms of metaphor to take God and make him something our relative minds can look at. Knowing God on the other hand requires going beyond our minds, falling into the Ocean with our bodies, rather than imagining it with our minds from afar drawing inspiration from our ideas. Experience replaces faith.

    You can have internally logical and rational belief systems which contradict other logical and rational belief systems. These systems have relative, practical value to the needs of those who it makes sense to based upon the context they are embedded within. While it may be held as, and experienced as "objectively" real by someone, it is ultimately a relative truth based on the context, not Ultimate Truth itself. When that is encountered, there really isn't anything that can be said about it other than Truth. Belief systems are a bottom-up creation of the human mind, not a top-down Revelation of Spirit which speaks without words.

    One of the things I like to say is that questions of theism vs atheism become moot at a certain point. The nature of the Absolute is paradoxical. Does God exist or not exist? Both can be understood as true. God is the Face we put upon the experience of Ultimate Reality, and it is both true and not-true at the same time, and it is neither true, nor not-true as well. Is "God beyond God", still God? Both yes, and no. Those are questions of the human mind in how we hold the experience of that Ocean.
     
    #47 Windwalker, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  8. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    12,524
    Ratings:
    +8,349
    Religion:
    Love, Light, and Life
    I would say that without experience, you will only have the perception afforded us through our rational frameworks. Experience itself transcends thoughts about it after the fact. For instance, a story I like to tell goes back to when I was starting to learn about Integral Theory, which is a meta-theory, a post-postmodernist understanding. It's a very powerful and useful framework of understanding I could share sometime if you're interested. I had spend a couple years digging into it, finding it helped to bring together all these disparate thoughts and observations about these questions I'd been chewing on for years. It was really, tremendously helpful for me. But, there was a missing component. And that was a meditation practice. When I started doing that, I took to it like a duck to water, going in deep and fast. It was honestly only a matter a weeks before I emerged and made this comment to my partner. I told her, "All these theories I've been studying and immersing myself within now look like two-dimensional stick figures compared to this multidimensional, multifaceted, vibrant, colorful reality. It's like getting a second brain to put on top of my normal brain. It changes how all of this is understood!"

    So, I honestly, through experience... as well as logical arguments, would say that without experience, you only have a very limited perspective of Truth. This is not to say there isn't value in systems. There certainly is! However, it's "just a theory" without experience to place into those frameworks. I just thought of a quote I'd like to share from Sri Aurobindo from the Life Divine. I'll highlight what stands out to me that illustrates my point:

    "It is necessary, therefore, that advancing Knowledge should base herself on a clear, pure and disciplined intellect. It is necessary, too, that she should correct her errors sometimes by a return to the restraint of sensible fact, the concrete realities of the physical world. The touch of Earth is always reinvigorating to the son of Earth, even when he seeks a supraphysical Knowledge. It may even be said that the supraphysical can only be really mastered in its fullness – to its heights we can always search– when we keep our feet firmly on the physical. “Earth is His footing,” says the Upanishad whenever it images the Self that manifests in the universe. And it is certainly the fact the wider we extend and the surer we make our knowledge of the physical world, the wider and surer becomes our foundation for the higher knowledge, even for the highest, even for the Brahmavidya.

    "In emerging, therefore, out of the materialistic period of human Knowledge we must be careful that we do not rashly condemn what we are leaving or throw away even one tittle of its gains, before we can summon perceptions and powers that are well grasped and secure, to occupy their place. Rather we shall observe with respect and wonder the work that Atheism has done for the Divine and admire the services that Agnosticism has rendered in preparing the illimitable increase of knowledge. In our world error is continually the handmaid and pathfinder of Truth; for error is really a half-truth that stumbles because of its limitations; often it is Truth that wears a disguise in order to arrive unobserved near to its goal. Well, if it could always be, as it has been in the great period we are leaving, the faithful handmaid, severe, conscientious, clean-handed, luminous within its limits, a half-truth and not a reckless and presumptuous aberration."
    Belief systems are necessary, but not the end in themselves. They are supports for experience, in order to help translate experience into understanding. Without experience, it's just speculation dependent on the context that the frameworks are created within, such as magical systems, mythic systems, rational systems, transrational systems, and so forth. Truth becomes a reflection of the system itself to itself. With experience, belief systems become like the clothing you put on at the beginning of the day, and take off at night when you Rest.
     
    #48 Windwalker, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  9. InChrist

    InChrist Free4ever

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    9,185
    Ratings:
    +2,509
    Welcome, hope you enjoy your discussions here.
     
  10. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    Good idea.

    I would say that my working definition of "rational" is closer to the one I got when I Googled the word, "based on or in accordance with reason or logic," and especially in the more formal sense suggested by logic. I would contrast it with "reasonable" as a stricter, more reliable term. "Reasonable" just means there is a reason for something. "Rational" means something has been demonstrated logically.

    For instance, when you hear that the more churches there are in a city, the more crime there tends to be in that city, it seems reasonable that churches could cause crime. But that's not rational, because it's based on the fallacy that correlation implies causation. The rational belief is that a higher number of churches and a higher number of crimes are directly correlated with each other because they are both directly correlated with higher populations.

    If one doesn't believe in doctors and their child gets sick, they may pray for the child's healing. If the child gets better, then it seems reasonable to the parent that their prayer had an effect, but that's not a rational explanation. The rational explanation is that sometimes sick people just get better through the effective functioning of their immune system.

    So that's what I mean by "rational." I don't think we are vastly different here; I just hold "rational" to a higher standard than "reasonable."

    It's partially because of what I've been saying all along--that different people interpret things differently. That includes their interpretations of their experiences of God (blind men experiencing an elephant), as well as their interpretations of other people's experiences of God (blind men learning about an elephant from the blind men who experienced it).

    It's also partially because I hold myself to the standard of maintaining rational beliefs and interpretations, while for you, reasonable beliefs and interpretations seem to suffice.

    Well, let's see. There is demonstrable evidence that human beings attend to, perceive, and interpret the same thing in different ways. There is demonstrable evidence that a message passed orally through several people is inevitably changed, sometimes significantly, even when the participants are trying very hard to be good stewards of the message. So it seems "rational" to me to suggest that these processes could account for the development of the various major religions (and denominations thereof) from various legitimate experiences of the Divine. It may not be true, but it's a rational explanation.

    On the other hand, it may seem "reasonable" to you to suggest that everyone would experience God in the same way, if it wasn't for the devil confusing them--but that is not a rational explanation. That would be like me suggesting that the reason the message gets corrupted in a game of "Telephone" is because the devil confuses the minds of the players, blinding them to the true message. I'd love to see someone try to publish THAT thesis in a peer-reviewed journal.

    So I'm going to lay you whatever odds you like that if we polled 100 logicians, scientists and other masters of formal reasoning, that my explanation would be overwhelmingly viewed as more reasonable AND more rational, in their opinions. I would expect a final tally of something like 98 to 2 (as there are always those who don't understand the question, or accidentally vote for the wrong alternative).

    The Garden of Eden myth is intended to help us understand how we are fundamentally separated from God by our human nature of selfishness (self-importance)--wanting to be our own gods. I hope you're not suggesting here that the Garden of Eden was a real place, or that Adam and Eve were real people, because that's not rational to begin with. But then you're arguing that you would have been right if that allegory had turned out differently--that if the devil hadn't interfered, we would all understand God in the same way, and since we don't all understand God in the same way, that proves that the devil interfered--and you're asking me how that's not rational? Heck, it's not even reasonable. So there's nothing more I can say about that.

    Philip the Evangelizer huh. lol I hadn't realized you were a Jehovah's Witness before. That explains all this desperation to maintain the "my interpretation of the elephant is the only true interpretation of the elephant" perspective.

    In the passage you've cited, the man in the chariot reading scriptures wondered who the prophet Isaiah was speaking about in a passage that predicted a betrayal and death, so Philip was able to let the guy know that Isaiah was talking about Jesus. That's a pretty central tenet to Christianity, so it would be very surprising for any Christian to give a different answer. It's not like the guy was confused about whether he needed to be circumcised or not to convert to Christianity. If that had been his question, there would have been more likelihood for variance in answers from various Christians of the day (because of, you know, the devil).

    This seems very different from your previous position that the Bible's message is so simple that even a child can grasp it. Here you seem to be suggesting that 12 adult men were having trouble grasping just the concepts that Jesus put forward in the Gospels after constant companionship with Jesus Himself for three and a half years. The inconsistency seems irrational, but I do appreciate your support for my position that some of the differences among interpretations of scripture are due to its complexity.

    Darn these space limitations...
     
  11. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    Now this is a really good topic for this discussion. Gentiles were wondering if they needed to be circumcised after their conversion, and contentious factions were forming on both sides of the debate. Fortunately the men were in charge of deciding this one, so they were able to wisely rule against the requirement of adult circumcision as a requisite for salvation. But people were accustomed to obeying the other Old Testament laws about eating meat that had been offered to idols, or from animals who had been strangled, or tasting blood, and so on. The council didn't want to cause a big uproar of questioning the entire Law by saying that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised, so they said go ahead and keep observing the other requirements of the Law.

    But this was done to keep the peace--it did not mean that "no one was free to put their own interpretation on anything." In fact, the same guy who carried the decision of the council that the Gentiles didn't need to be circumcised, but that everyone should continue observing the rest of the Law as usual to Antioch and Syria and Cilicia (Paul), also wrote 1 Corinthians 8, in which he says that mature Christians understand that it doesn't matter if you eat meat offered to idols or not (one of the things they specifically told people to continue to avoid in the Acts passage), but if you're in the presence of a Christian of weaker understanding, then you should avoid it for their sake so that you don't cause them to stumble.

    This is kind of what I was talking about before--the Bible is written as a guide for all, the weaker Christians and the more advanced Christians, and it's ok if they don't all understand everything in the same way. If you feel you need to honor God by abstaining from the meat of animals offered to idols, then do so. If you understand that it's just a silly ritual and the meat is still good, go for it. It's actually expressed even more explicitly earlier in the book, in the 2nd chapter of 1 Corinthians. There, Paul talks about his initial talks with the Corinthians as being limited to the gospel message of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, but he goes on to say...

    "Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden)" --1 Corinthians 2:6a (Amplified Bible)

    So it is understood that not all Christians have the same level of knowledge. There are basic rules, and there is higher wisdom--and part of the higher wisdom is that a lot of the basic rules don't really matter. One of my favorite verses of all time comes from the end of this chapter:

    "But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]." --1 Corinthians 2:15 (Amplified Bible)

    Jesus also said " And I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be [they will become] one flock under one Shepherd." --John 10:16 (Amplified Bible)

    Full harmony, of course, doesn't mean everyone sings the same note. Harmony means that all the notes being sung fit together well. People singing about avoiding meat offered to idols should be singing right alongside the people singing about eating such meat without clashing, and so on.

    Yes, the variations in experiences of God and the interpretations of those experiences can be divisive, especially for those who insist that their own experiences and interpretations are the only true ones. But God has a plan of unification, as expressed here. I see that as a unification of ALL believers, across all denominations and across all religions. Everyone who is truly seeking God will eventually become one flock under one Shepherd in the meadows of heaven.

    The rules of logic provide one such yardstick. As humans, we have the capacity to think rationally about "I think" statements, rather than just accepting them blindly or rejecting them out of hand. So that's one way.

    Another is in the way you've suggested--to have a guide--but I would eschew all human guides in favor of the one the Lord has provided to every seeker, the Holy Spirit.

    "Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]." --1 Corinthians 2:10-13 (Amplified Bible)

    So all your trust in the guidance of men seems to be misplaced, in light of the Bible's exhortation to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in interpreting scripture instead.

    As we have just discovered, as long as you have the Holy Spirit, you don't need a brotherhood to help you understand (but you might not be led to understand everything in exactly the same way as everyone else).

    It sounds like they are talking about the day of judgement, as the passage talks about being made righteous by Jesus' sacrifice, rather than by the sacrifices offered at altar. MY day of judgement probably isn't far off, as I've had some problems with my heart in the last few years. I have no idea how near your day of judgement is, and of course no one knows how long we have until the end of the Earth--but the sun has enough hydrogen to burn for another 5 billion years, so I'm guessing the Earth has a little time left.
     
  12. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Oh, you wanted me to take this seriously, din't you... I'm sorry; I just can't.

    First of all, criticism of ANY Biblical translation from a Jehovah's Witness is kind of like President Trump criticizing misogynists. The New World Translation is the first Bible to ever be specifically translated by a given sect in order to change things they didn't agree with in the original texts to be more in line with their own dogmas. It's widely recognized as perhaps THE most biased translation in existence. So let's not cast aspersions upon a translation that incorporates shades of meaning from the original languages, like you would find in Strong's, into the text itself.

    But then you say, "Maybe we'd better consult Strong's" only to say that Strong's mistranslated the word "ordained"! And if that wasn't bad enough, you're going to try to twist this whole verse into praising God for letting David develop as a fetus in the definite pattern that God had planned for all human fetuses to develop??

    Yeah, 'nuff said...

    Well of course it doesn't apply to everyone; the destiny to become a prophet applies only to the very few who are chosed to be prophets. But other people are destined to become firemen and astronauts and ballerinas and such--everyone has their own destiny appointed by God. This verse just demonstrates one example of that.

    And He specifically says so, in those verses I posted.

    Having free will and choosing one's own salvation is one of those basic things that the Bible uses to speak to people at that basic level of understanding. But when the Bible speaks to more mature Christians, it imparts a higher level of understanding. In this case, that understanding is that we do not have free will. This is true both logically and scripturally, despite your irrational claims to the contrary. If you are still confused on the matter, I suggest you review the verses I posted. They are quite clear. I especially recommend the lengthier passage from Romans 9 for your review, as it specifically addresses your final concern about why God would create some people for destruction and others for salvation.

    Again, your mere denial of what the passage clearly states is less than convincing.

    The verse has nothing to do with Paul's training, it has to do with Paul giving himself as an example of one who had been predestined to salvation from before his birth.

    "Without the pre-planted ideas?" Why would you want to remove ideas that God has "pre-planted" in the text? In the Amplified Bible, these connotations that existed in the original languages, but which may be lost in simple word-for-word translations, are included in parentheses and brackets. They aren't there to change the meaning, but to enhance it. And then you even removed words that were NOT in parentheses or brackets, such as the word "predestined," which you replaced with "prepared beforehand."

    This is obviously intellectually dishonest, in the same way that the New World Translation was intellectually dishonest by changing the original texts to accommodate Jehovah's Witness dogma, rather than changing their dogmas to accommodate the original scriptures. And not only is it intellectually dishonest, but what you're left with no longer makes any sense--what does it mean to walk in good works, for instance, rather than walking in paths prepared by God?

    I just can't use rational arguments to combat such irrationality.

    Well of course I don't believe that free will exists. I could not rationally hold to that belief in light of my understanding that there are a few dozen scriptures that deny it.

    We have spent quite a bit of time establishing that the Bible is written both in simple terms for people who cannot understand it in any other way, as well as in advanced and complex terms for people with the capacity for higher understanding. As such, it has to speak to people who believe that they do have free will--since that's the illusion that our limited perspective leads us to believe. I don't see any harm in letting people think that they are choosing to avoid negative behaviors to honor God, when in fact they couldn't do anything else if they wanted to.

    Obviously I don't agree, and I have pointed out to you where your beliefs are not rational. It's up to you what to do with that knowledge. I'm not sure I would be as proud of being stuck at the more basic level of belief in free will as you are, but to each his own.
     
  13. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    Nope, God was not impressed, but that's not important to my point--which was to counter your statement that all of the original Israelites believed in the same way and followed the same modes of worship because God dictated most of their actions on a daily basis. In that regard, my comment stands--all of the original Israelites did NOT believe nor worship in the same way.

    I would never confuse the individual imperfections of Christ's followers with the clear teachings of Christ. In fact, it is the individual imperfections of Christ's followers that we are talking about--it is those imperfections that cause us all to experience God in different ways, and to interpret our own experiences and the experiences of others in different ways, leading to different denominations and religions from legitimate experiences of the same God.

    So we don't need to deal with each of these individual cases, as long as you agree that even the most original Christians that existed still interpreted things differently based on their own individual imperfections--and it seems that you do agree to that, so on to the next...

    We covered this above, regarding the avoidance or eating of meat offered to idols. It was described as being okay no matter which way you chose to honor God. You are correct that no one is allowed to corrupt the gospel that God came in human form to fulfill the consequence of our separation from God, but beyond that basic tenet, there is a lot of room for a lot of different interpretations in a lot of different areas--and most of them are not critical to salvation.

    How is it rational that the Holy Spirit could teach different things to different people? Because different people are--yep, you guessed it--different. It only stands to reason that they would understand things differently. That's not only rational, it's specifically stated in that passage from the second chapter of 1 Corinthians

    Oh, and the Jehovah's Witnesses are the "true Christian teachings"? Then why did it take them until 1930 or so for the denomination to appear? And why is it based in an initial denomination that split into three other denominations besides Jehovah's Witnesses? (Obviously, because each of the other three also feel that they are the guardians of the "true Christian teachings".)

    I think it would be rational for you to consider that perhaps the whole Jehovah's Witness movement, with its intentionally-altered scriptures to which no other denomination on Earth subscribes, may be one of these wolves come to draw away disciples after themselves, rather than the unified flock from which they are being lured.

    But again, the idea is yours to do with as you see fit.

    I do not agree with your anti-Semitism as expressed in your conviction that God abandoned the Jews because they were the ones who killed Jesus. I don't believe your position is rationally justified, and as such, I can no longer discuss it with you.

    But I will say that I find it to be one of your more distasteful positions.

    Your opinion matters not. Rational arguments are all that can sway me, and you have not produced a single one of any consequence in all of this blather. Again, I offer you the privilege of the last word, but I can't see anything of value to the discussion of rational faith coming from such irrational thinking.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. sayak83

    sayak83 Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    10,316
    Ratings:
    +10,498
    Religion:
    Pluralist Hindu
    I see you got Deeje-ed in the welcome thread itself. ;):D
    I have a question though... what do make of the Revelation book. It's not very rational imo. Every 2nd day here a new poster come along claiming yet another crazy interpretation of that book. Does not help much regarding the image of Christianity as a rational faith. So, maybe you can help there?
     
  15. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    12,524
    Ratings:
    +8,349
    Religion:
    Love, Light, and Life
    All I can say, is I like this guy a lot. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    14,650
    Ratings:
    +8,307
    Religion:
    Christian JW
    How do people know that their experience is from God? The devil gives people "experiences" too. He masquerades as "an angel of light"...so how do you tell? The Master Deceiver is good at his craft.....why do you think people have so many religious choices? Yet Jesus said that there are only two kinds of worship in this world...true and false. We have to use the Bible to determine which is which.

    It is not just "what" I believe, but "who". I would never rely on just myself because that was a vital part of identifying genuine Christianity....all would hold their beliefs in common, with no divisions, (1 Corinthians 1:10)....having one mind and one set of beliefs.....having only one teacher....Jesus.

    LOL....what peers would you rely on? Jesus said that there are only "wheat and weeds" in the world....he knows the difference, but do we? Would we know what true Christianity was about if it wasn't for Jesus' description of the real wheat as opposed to the weeds or fake Christians?

    Since when has it ever been a numbers game with God? His people have always been an oppressed and hated minority. (would the devil allow it to be any other way?) Relying on the learned ones for your opinions can lead you down the wrong path, like it did the Jews....the so-called "experts" can simply be self-deluded and full of their own faulty opinions. Jesus said he would be "with" his disciples in the work that he assigned for them to do as these last days draw to a close. What work did Jesus give them? (Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19-20)
     
  17. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    14,650
    Ratings:
    +8,307
    Religion:
    Christian JW
    If Adam and his wife were not real people and the garden of Eden was not a real place, then Jesus entry into this world to sacrifice his life, makes no sense. Explain how Jesus' life was a "ransom" if there was no alienation from God in the way it was explained in Genesis? Jesus said that Adam and his wife were real, drawing on the declaration that God made to them in Eden. (Matthew 19:3-6; Genesis 2:24)

    Things are not always what they seem. What the apostles failed to grasp was the spiritual nature of the Kingdom.
    The Jews had an expectation of the Messiah as a powerful leader, coming to liberate them and establish his kingdom on earth. When he told them he was going to be killed, it fought with everything they had been taught to believe. Why do you think they asked him as he was departing from them...."Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6) A disappearing Messiah was confusing. He told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the "helper" to reveal all. And when the holy spirit was poured out on 120 disciples gathered in an upper room, they received their anointing and the whole truth sank in. They were to be part of a heavenly kingdom, not an earthly one....however they were going to rule over earthly subjects.

    The truth is always revealed at the right time.
    Looks like a brush off. If God offered them a covenant relationship and told them to obey his commandments, and the first thing they do when no one is watching is to revert to idolatry, then why did God punish them? Was it not because they chose to do something that he said was abhorrent? They were not free to dance around an idol that they called "Jehovah" and have fun participating in what he condemned. The ones who fell to doing that were executed. What does that tell you? All had to follow the same laws and practices. What followed was a Law that never allowed Israel to determine their own religious festivals ever again.
     
  18. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    14,650
    Ratings:
    +8,307
    Religion:
    Christian JW
    If you are familiar with the prophesies in Daniel you will know that they pertain to the "time of the end".
    We believe that we entered this period in 1914 and that the International Bible Students Assn. was the beginnings of a people who were to be cleansed and refined during this time. (Daniel 12:9-10)
    We changed our name to "Jehovah's Witnesses" in 1931, but men had been stirring spiritually since the closing days of the 19th century. The process of cleansing and refining meant thoroughly investigating Christendom's doctrines in the light of the Bible and weeding out what did not belong. It took a lot of time, effort and prayer to reach proper conclusions. If there was a cleansing, whitening and refining to be done at this time, then obviously there was a great need for this cleansing to be done. Christendom hasn't changed a thing.

    I was not born a JW. I chose to become one after two solid years of study. I walked out of Christendom which were anything but a unified flock and joined those who produced the fruits. If you don't believe that JW's teach the truth and act in a Christian manner in this world, then you are free to find an international brotherhood who fulfills the criteria in a better way. My guess is that you will choose to be a church on one, like so many others who can't find what they are looking for....so they create their own belief system assuming that God requires nothing more....all the best with that.

    I am amused by the accusation of "intentionally altered scripture"....I studied the KJV when I became a Witness....It was the only Bible I had. I have seen no intentionally altered scripture in The NWT. Can you provide examples? Or do you have to rely on others to do that for you? The Amplified Bible doesn't leave anyone to just read the scripture...it supplied the meaning for you....but of course you are not swayed by their commentary one bit, are you? Pot...meet kettle.

    If Jesus can castigate the Jews for their wickedness, then I have no problem doing the same.
    When Jesus judged them he said....“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent to her—how often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you did not want it. 38 Look! Your house is abandoned to you. 39 For I say to you, you will by no means see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name!’”

    Tell me in the last 2,000 years if the Jews as a people have ever "blessed the name" of Jesus Christ? They can't even mention God's name! In order for anyone to convert to Judaism, they had to come into God's nation and live like consecrated Jews. They had to be part of his arrangement.

    Even those who acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, refuse to call themselves "Christians" but instead refer to themselves as "Messianic Jews".

    Actually, it was the Jews trying to force circumcision on the Gentiles that brought this matter to the elders in Jerusalem. It was creating contention and had to be resolved because division was not permitted to disrupt the peace. Since Gentiles were not converting to Judaism, there was no requirement for circumcision....only Abraham's descendants were in a covenant of circumcision.

    The things ruled on by the elders were common practices among the Gentiles, so they were told to carefully keep themselves from those things....eating meat sacrificed to idols, eating unbled meat, sexual immorality, and the consumption of blood.This was for the benefit of the Gentiles because returning to their former practices was spiritually dangerous. I believe you have that all backwards.

    How is it rendered in other translations without any commentary?

    ESV..."15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one."

    NASB..."But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one."

    ASV..."But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man."

    NWT..."However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man."

    Strongs renders the Greek word "anakrinō" as "appraises". As you said, it literally means ..."properly, to scrutinize, i.e. (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine:—ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search."

    But does it mean that you have to eat garbage to know that it stinks? Or can we take God at his word and simply avoid all the things he tells us to avoid? A spiritual person does not need to push boundaries....they simply need to obey God in everything. Simple.
     
  19. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    BOOM! goes the dynamite...

    That's just too funny. I TOLD you that your irrational thinking would lead you to make arguments of that very sort, and then you actually turned around and DID it! I love it when a plan comes together.

    There's just so much that's hilarious here... maybe some day if I get bored I'll come back and dissect it, but for now, I think we're done.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  20. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2018
    Messages:
    2,395
    Ratings:
    +1,623
    Religion:
    zen Xian
    Deeje-ed huh? So he's a known commodity... Somebody coulda WARNED me, for Pete's sake!

    Yeah, I don't know that there's much I CAN make of Revelation, because, as you pointed out, it's not really rational itself--more like a sustained dreamstate of allegory, metaphor and enigma. But it gives us fun things to think about, like the Bride of Christ, the second death, and 666, to name a few. Don't forget that whenever you hear anyone say anything like, "This is what the Bible says..." not just about Revelation, but about anything, what they are really saying is, "This is what I think the Bible says." If you have good reason to trust their opinion, then you might explore and/or adopt their perspective, but if it sounds like nonsense to you, it probably is.

    And do you really think that Christianity has the image of a rational faith--at least to people who are not believers? From my experience, I would say otherwise, but I could be wrong. Or maybe you were just talking about it seeming "rational" to believers...?
     
Loading...