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“Evil” does not exist?
Posted: 06 August 2013 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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First, my apologies for drawing this so far off the initial subject of “Evil”.

I appreciate Scott Mayers’ clarifications and generous assumptions about my intended meaning?  Not sure yet if it is deserved.

Lois,  “Intuition is a supernatural concept.”!?

When I use Intuition it is as a counterbalance to Reason.  I am usually thinking in terms of my admittedly laymen’s understanding of Left and Right brain functions.  Very broadly speaking:  Linear, sequencial, time based, rational processing from the left.  holistic, integrated, creative, metaphorical, intuitive, non-time based processing on the right.

The above is influenced by the very informed testimony of Jill Bolte Taylor, (http://blog.ted.com/2008/03/12/jill_bolte_tayl/).

Lois - “...It’s intuition that’s probably false.  Intuition is a supernatural concept. It has no use except as a possible beginning of scientific research if it happens to make sense.  Without objective evidence behind it it has no more worth than a mere guess or daydream. We’d all like to think our ideas are the result of some inexplicable mix of knowledge we are unaware of that has a magical validity. There is nothing magical or valid about it.  It is no more valid than a dream. And it probably makes no more sense. Intuition is usually claimed after the fact, when something appears to be valid.  Nobody claims intuition or a failed idea.”

You sound exactly like a fundamentalist Baptist.  The only way to truth is Science? Sorry, doesn’t fly.  You can learn about things, and systems, map out relationships etc.  But, your dismissal of all things “intuitive”, as having no use if it doesn’t lead to scientific research?  This by proxy rules out metaphor, art, poetry, and yes even religious contemplation.  All things subjective.  The more adamant you get about this “dogma’ the more “evil” it seems to me.

I’m using “evil” here in the sense of leading away from an increased fidelity of comprehension.

[ Edited: 06 August 2013 12:30 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 06 August 2013 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Lois,
Sorry for my paranoia…it just happened to be the case that I felt insulted by another person’s misinterpretation on how I particularly use it in another thread. When I use it, it is not in its metaphysical sense. If I remember correctly, Myer-Briggs personality assessments use it as such:

Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come “out of nowhere”.[1]:2 They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in the underlying theory and principles which are manifested in the data.  [n.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator]

I value both ways and in fact in the two tests I’ve done over the years, this was indicated by the fact that in the two tests I scored with differing results: one sensing and the other intuition. I value both on logical grounds but I do clearly understand what the issue is that you’re presenting. In my view, I think of thought or memories itself as part of the input system along with all other senses. It is in respect to a computer model that treats memory as a peripheral. The “Von Neuman” model brought the memory of computers into the intrinsic part of the system, but in logical terms, it is still a type of peripheral. It’s in this respect that I consider any information you use as premises for your conscious active manipulation (logic) that I see ‘intuition’ as merely your capacity to use your memory without always resorting to its origins.
 

Lily,

A God would obviously have the power to do lessor than magnificent tricks than miracles present. So, sure, he could require men to pass on his word rather than magically make Bibles appear. But then you’d still have to accept that how you learn about your beliefs is strictly still through human authority. There is no escaping this fact. If humans are corrupt, how do you know that your Bible hasn’t been created by men in order to deceive or control you? Even with the best of contextual morality presented, how do you know that perhaps secular, non-religious people created the scriptures because they realized precisely the same problem of the moral questions? How do you know that the intent was to purposely divorce the moral imperfection of mankind with a different authority? The practical use of religion has a lot of power because political personalities of the past and present can psychologically use it as a tool to (even sincerely) help curb bad behavior.

I understand where you are coming from and so do most other skeptics (if not all). It’s not that we don’t see the problem of removing absolution of morality from the world; it is that for most skeptics, we feel that honesty, regardless of its bad aftertaste has its own virtue, even if that doesn’t hold without absolute moral conviction or certainty.

You are correct to recognize that it is the laws that we create that we must default to. That was my point earlier. This means that even laws are superficial in that they don’t have any absolute true meaning to moral superiority. This is unfortunate for us. But what else are we supposed to do? We can’t just give up and allow ourselves to be acceptable to behavior that we don’t like just because our ideas of morality have no real natural substance. We can still classify things as “good” or “evil” even if they don’t really have a foundation. Some things that are considered “good” to one person or group will often be “bad” to others. And so our ideas of them will likely shift regularly. But if you suggest or create ideas of morality that favor everyone, you can competitively use reason to try to persuade everyone to convene to these ideas based on their own selfish desires for preservation. For example, we may agree that if we allow ourselves to selfishly harm others for their behaviors, this same respect would have to be acceptably tolerable to assure it is okay that others do the same to you. Obviously, for selfish reasons of preservation, this is not an acceptable proposition. So we create the law, “No person shall have a right to harm another person.” And then we create a means to threaten those who act out against such a law. It doesn’t actually mean that any person who actually breaks the law is an innately bad or evil person. But for our relative agreement in creating such a law, we can still classify them as such for practical reasons.

[ Edited: 06 August 2013 10:50 AM by Scott Mayers ]
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Posted: 06 August 2013 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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LillySmith - “How would you describe free will without it being supernatural?”

I’d describe it as the infinite “freedom” of God expressed in the “finite” as us.

LillySmith - “God actually allows us to have.”

Any limitation that we experience in our “freedom” is due to natural conditions set up by the inertia of our previous actions, thoughts and inactions. This is malleable.  We can improve our freedom or dig a deeper hole.

The preceding two assertions are based on my conviction that God/The Entirety, being the Emergent property of Infinite Potential; The primordial “Self”;  Expresses infinitely as creation.  Seamlessly.

If we anthropomorphize about the Singularity, we project our finite, otherness onto it.  This digs the hole deeper. Turn it around and the sky is the limit.

Good and Evil are strong words.  Worthy of the enormity of the potential they represent.

This is how I would talk of “free will” in non-supernatural terms.

[ Edited: 06 August 2013 02:02 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 07 August 2013 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Scott Mayers - 06 August 2013 10:48 AM

But then you’d still have to accept that how you learn about your beliefs is strictly still through human authority. There is no escaping this fact.

My faith is that the teachings come from God through man, but God is the authority, not man.  In this way it is God who must keep the teachings from becoming corrupt and the one who must reveal them to those who seek for His truth.  It’s interesting that you should mention how it can be used as a tool to help curb bad behavior.  I believe the founding fathers saw this as the role of Christianity in the new country they were building.  If the people had within them the teachings of Christ, the theory went, then a lesser amount of law would be necessary to govern such a people and they could enjoy greater freedom.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”  John Adams

Christianity, however, is more than just moral teachings.  It is an entire set of beliefs concerning the relationship between God and man and it is set in the prophesy of the Hebrew Scriptures.  The more you dig and the more you learn, the more complex and incredible it becomes.  I don’t believe any man could have set out three thousand years ago to make such an amazing story that has seen so much of its narrative remain relevant. 

I don’t believe it would be honest to remove absolute morality from the world.  I think that would be devastating.  The difference for me is that I do believe in God, and I do believe He gave man absolute morality.  To deny God and enslave mankind to the pursuit of his own lusts will leave man in a terrible state of existence.  This too the bible foretells.  This is also what the founding fathers understood as they designed the US Constitution and set of laws we live by.  When you leave man to his unbridled passions, you will need strong laws and an oppressive government to maintain any semblance of civility.

I think in the end people who believe as you do and people who believe as I do will simply have to part ways and live according to our own beliefs.  I don’t want to live in the kind of world you envision.  I don’t want to live in a society where people can justify horrendous behavior through the veil of reason.  In the antebellum South, men reasoned why slavery was actually good for the slaves.  In Greek society, they reasoned why pedestry was acceptable.  In ancient Rome, they justified raising up children, both male and female, to prostitution.  Man can justify anything if he has no absolute moral code, and his law will simply reflect his unbridled passions.

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Posted: 07 August 2013 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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brmckay - 06 August 2013 01:34 PM

I’d describe it as the infinite “freedom” of God expressed in the “finite” as us.

Thank you. smile

Any limitation that we experience in our “freedom” is due to natural conditions set up by the inertia of our previous actions, thoughts and inactions. This is malleable.  We can improve our freedom or dig a deeper hole.

The preceding two assertions are based on my conviction that God/The Entirety, being the Emergent property of Infinite Potential; The primordial “Self”;  Expresses infinitely as creation.  Seamlessly.

I think understand.  You believe that all of creation is made from God/The Entirety.  Creatio ex deo.  And so you must look within to become one with all of creation, ridding yourself of self and becoming one with creation as a whole.  Am I close?

My belief as a Christian is different in that I believe God created this world from what is not seen—creatio ex nihilo—and that the Creator is separate and distinct from His creation.  And so we must look outside ourselves to God to find truth through his revelations to us.

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Posted: 07 August 2013 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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LilySmith - 07 August 2013 12:43 PM
Scott Mayers - 06 August 2013 10:48 AM

But then you’d still have to accept that how you learn about your beliefs is strictly still through human authority. There is no escaping this fact.

My faith is that the teachings come from God through man, but God is the authority, not man.  In this way it is God who must keep the teachings from becoming corrupt and the one who must reveal them to those who seek for His truth.  It’s interesting that you should mention how it can be used as a tool to help curb bad behavior.  I believe the founding fathers saw this as the role of Christianity in the new country they were building.  If the people had within them the teachings of Christ, the theory went, then a lesser amount of law would be necessary to govern such a people and they could enjoy greater freedom.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”  John Adams

Christianity, however, is more than just moral teachings.  It is an entire set of beliefs concerning the relationship between God and man and it is set in the prophesy of the Hebrew Scriptures.  The more you dig and the more you learn, the more complex and incredible it becomes.  I don’t believe any man could have set out three thousand years ago to make such an amazing story that has seen so much of its narrative remain relevant. 

I don’t believe it would be honest to remove absolute morality from the world.  I think that would be devastating.  The difference for me is that I do believe in God, and I do believe He gave man absolute morality.  To deny God and enslave mankind to the pursuit of his own lusts will leave man in a terrible state of existence.  This too the bible foretells.  This is also what the founding fathers understood as they designed the US Constitution and set of laws we live by.  When you leave man to his unbridled passions, you will need strong laws and an oppressive government to maintain any semblance of civility.

I think in the end people who believe as you do and people who believe as I do will simply have to part ways and live according to our own beliefs.  I don’t want to live in the kind of world you envision.  I don’t want to live in a society where people can justify horrendous behavior through the veil of reason.  In the antebellum South, men reasoned why slavery was actually good for the slaves.  In Greek society, they reasoned why pedestry was acceptable.  In ancient Rome, they justified raising up children, both male and female, to prostitution.  Man can justify anything if he has no absolute moral code, and his law will simply reflect his unbridled passions.

I understand your anxiety. I already pointed out how regardless of how you look at it, it is still man(kind) who sets the authority whether it is in a religious or non-religious society. Imagine for the moment that I had a definite proof that no God exists in my pocket. Now here is the dilemma for me. I can offer the proof but I am certain that if I were to ask you if you wanted to see it, you would turn it down,...not because you would be stupid to do so, but to preserve your potential mental state should you discover this as true. Also, it might not even be wise for me to offer because it puts myself in danger by being the bearer of the bad news and if you sincerely suspected the possible validity of such a proof, you might feel as you claimed above and so would have a big motive to try to ‘shut me up’ for the sake of others learning such a possible truth. I understand that truth and logic can have a downside. But it is not because of the truth of it, it is because of the practical considerations that you even recognize is problematic.

    What do you suggest?  Which way is better for the sake of humanity and why? Think of the possibility that should you believe that we should continue keeping out the actual reasoned (logic) truth based in any form of skepticism. How would you feel if your society became dominated with a different religion than Christianity? Say, for Islam, instead. Or Hinduism. Would you propose keeping whichever religion has the majority political persuasion? Or, ... what about a National religion?...patriotism to the max for some particular culture, not your own?

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Posted: 07 August 2013 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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LillySmith - “I think understand.  You believe that all of creation is made from God/The Entirety.  Creatio ex deo.  And so you must look within to become one with all of creation, ridding yourself of self and becoming one with creation as a whole.  Am I close?

My belief as a Christian is different in that I believe God created this world from what is not seen—creatio ex nihilo—and that the Creator is separate and distinct from His creation.  And so we must look outside ourselves to God to find truth through his revelations to us.”

Not “made from”, but rather, “not different from”. 

The “I Am” emergent from the essential Infinity, as the infinitude of “Otherness”, remains unchanged.  God. The Entirety.

The confusion of identity that we experience as “self” in relation to “other”, living in this hall of mirrors, extended in time, is what you would call “sin”.  I call it ignorance.

If God is outside of Creation, a shadow is cast, suddenly there is a Devil in the mix.  What sustains this?

“I and the Father are one.”  Means you and me.  Not just Jesus of Nazareth.

When he says, “None come to the Father but by me.”, this is the “I Am”, the singularity of “Self”, the Christ.  Not the carpenter.

[ Edited: 07 August 2013 04:32 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 07 August 2013 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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brmckay - 07 August 2013 02:42 PM

LillySmith - “I think understand.  You believe that all of creation is made from God/The Entirety.  Creatio ex deo.  And so you must look within to become one with all of creation, ridding yourself of self and becoming one with creation as a whole.  Am I close?

My belief as a Christian is different in that I believe God created this world from what is not seen—creatio ex nihilo—and that the Creator is separate and distinct from His creation.  And so we must look outside ourselves to God to find truth through his revelations to us.

Not “made from”, but rather, “not different from”. 

The “I Am” emergent from the essential Infinity, as the infinitude of “Otherness”, remains unchanged.  God. The Entirety.

The confusion of identity that we experience as “self” in relation to “other”, living in this hall of mirrors, extended in time, is what you would call “sin”.  I call it ignorance.

If God is outside of Creation, a shadow is cast, suddenly there is a Devil in the mix.  What sustains this?

“I and the Father are one.”  Means you and me.  Not just Jesus of Nazareth.

When he says, “None come to the Father but by me.”, this is the “I Am”, the singularity of “Self”, the Christ.  Not the carpenter.

You’re behaving rhetorically poetic which eliminates specific understanding. While this method certainly appeals to more people due to the fact that they are each capable of interpreting things in their own minds, it remains obscure (abstract) enough to appeal to anyone who prefers to think that you are talking directly to them. If you desire clarity, use full sentences and definitions that you and only you uniquely mean (unless you just enjoy people applauding your poetry for something even if it doesn’t match your meaning.)

The “I am” was actually a response that Joseph received when he asked the invisible voice he thought was speaking to him and asked, not “what is your name?” meaning that he was curious to have a label to call what he understood was the one and only god. He asked it in light of the reality of the metro-political environment of people who declare various gods in existence. When he asked, “What is your name?”, he was asking which god is speaking to me? God responded with, “I am who I am”, meaning it is irrelevant to which god I really am. All that was relevant was that he was the God of Abraham, the only valid one for whom he is the only one he should be thinking of.

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Posted: 07 August 2013 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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The simple point that I’m trying to make on this forum, is that Reason and Intuition* are two sides of the same coin.

Both Science and Religion, ripen to maturity with the understanding of this. IMO
———-
* The meaning of Intuition being used here, will remain vaguely defined.  But, basicly, the essential, complement of Reason.  There are, of course, Sanskrit terms for all of this, but what good would that do us?

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Posted: 07 August 2013 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Scott Mayers - “You’re behaving rhetorically poetic which eliminates specific understanding. While this method certainly appeals to more people due to the fact that they are each capable of interpreting things in their own minds, it remains obscure (abstract) enough to appeal to anyone who prefers to think that you are talking directly to them. If you desire clarity, use full sentences and definitions that you and only you uniquely mean (unless you just enjoy people applauding your poetry for something even if it doesn’t match your meaning.)”

Yes, this is very reasonable advice.

My hopes generally, are to excite an “Intuitive” comprehension. I know this is anathema to the protocol here, but it’s the only way I know, and the best I have to offer.

Thank you though, for your thoughtful commentary.  I’ll give it a rest for awhile.

[ Edited: 07 August 2013 04:48 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 07 August 2013 08:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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brmckay - 07 August 2013 04:17 PM

Scott Mayers - “You’re behaving rhetorically poetic which eliminates specific understanding. While this method certainly appeals to more people due to the fact that they are each capable of interpreting things in their own minds, it remains obscure (abstract) enough to appeal to anyone who prefers to think that you are talking directly to them. If you desire clarity, use full sentences and definitions that you and only you uniquely mean (unless you just enjoy people applauding your poetry for something even if it doesn’t match your meaning.)”

Yes, this is very reasonable advice.

My hopes generally, are to excite an “Intuitive” comprehension. I know this is anathema to the protocol here, but it’s the only way I know, and the best I have to offer.

Thank you though, for your thoughtful commentary.  I’ll give it a rest for awhile.

You’re welcome. It takes time to adjust to different personalities and audiences.

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Posted: 08 August 2013 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Scott Mayers - 07 August 2013 01:59 PM

Imagine for the moment that I had a definite proof that no God exists in my pocket.

The reality is, however, that you have no such proof.  You continue to talk as if that proof exists, but it is only your faith that you rely on.  What if you’re wrong and what you see as truth and logic are simply your own biases and conclusions based on insufficient knowledge?  If God does exists then your logic is simply your own justification of your personal desires which will be wholly inadequate as a moral foundation for a society.  Our country, according to our founders, is based on the moral teachings of Christ.  You now want to continue to yank that from beneath our society and replace it with what you think is better.  Although reason is certainly a good thing, how many people base their decisions in life solely on reason?  Although science is a worthy pursuit and was historically financed and furthered by Christianity, how many people are scientists and will base their decisions on science alone?  Not many I would say.  Without a clear morality for a society, it will fail to prosper even with logic and science—both of which are easily corruptible by self serving men.

There is no “actual reasoned truth.”  You don’t have it.  All you have is your own preference and faith.  When you actually have proof that God does not exist, then we can talk about what comes next.  You are trying to cause society to become dominated by something other than the Christian faith, and you may very well succeed.  It is happening in Europe as we speak.  You will have to contend with Islam like you have never had to contend with Christianity, because the two faith are very different despite what those with little knowledge of either religion suppose.  Hinduism will not be your problem in my opinion.  My Christian faith will remain what it is, since my hope was never in a Utopia in this world.  I suspect that those who now envision rebuilding American society on secularism, science and humanism will quickly lose their way and become wholly inadequate in dealing with the problems and challenges that no doubt will arise.

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Posted: 08 August 2013 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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LilySmith - 08 August 2013 12:50 PM

Without a clear morality for a society, it will fail to prosper even with logic and science—both of which are easily corruptible by self serving men.

As is religion.

There is no “actual reasoned truth.”  You don’t have it.  All you have is your own preference and faith.  When you actually have proof that God does not exist, then we can talk about what comes next.

Can you prove I don’t have an invisible pink unicorn in my backyard protecting my house from burglars and tornadoes?

If you believe something without evidence you are free to believe anything you wish, no matter how preposterous, such as a supernatural creator of the universe sending his only son to die for our sins. On how many other planets has this happened? How many times has Jesus died for other species’ sins?

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Posted: 08 August 2013 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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brmckay - 07 August 2013 02:42 PM

Not “made from”, but rather, “not different from”. 

I note the correction.

The “I Am” emergent from the essential Infinity, as the infinitude of “Otherness”, remains unchanged.  God. The Entirety.

Or, the I Am is a God separate and distinct from this temporal creation.

The confusion of identity that we experience as “self” in relation to “other”, living in this hall of mirrors, extended in time, is what you would call “sin”.  I call it ignorance.

Unless we are each individuals with our own will, and this is not a hall of mirrors, but a reality in which we each reveal our hearts in the actions we pursue.  When the temporal ends, the eternal will be seen and each one; each self, will be judged for it’s worthiness to enter the eternal existence of I Am.

If God is outside of Creation, a shadow is cast, suddenly there is a Devil in the mix.  What sustains this?

All that exists is allowed by God to exist for His purpose.  Satan gives us choice.  God is good.  Satan is evil.  Man has free will and can chose between the two paths.  In doing so in the temporal, he reveals himself to all creation and God’s judgments will be seen as just when he judges who will enter the eternal.

“I and the Father are one.”  Means you and me.  Not just Jesus of Nazareth.

We are included if in fact we are one with God and his Christ in purpose and heart, not in what we are “not different from.”

When he says, “None come to the Father but by me.”, this is the “I Am”, the singularity of “Self”, the Christ.  Not the carpenter.

He is speaking of himself as the High Priest of God who justified those who believe in Him through his death and resurrection for the cleansing of man’s sins.  This is evident in the teachings of the text in its context.

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Posted: 08 August 2013 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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DarronS - 08 August 2013 12:57 PM

If you believe something without evidence you are free to believe anything you wish, no matter how preposterous, such as a supernatural creator of the universe sending his only son to die for our sins.

What is your evidence that there is no God?  What is your evidence that he did not justify man through his Anointed One?  You too can believe whatever you wish without evidence, and you do.  Like mine, your stance is by faith.

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