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How can I respond to the following Christian “apologetic”......
Posted: 02 October 2013 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
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LilySmith - 02 October 2013 10:05 AM


Yes it’s fair and equal, God does not show favoritism among men.  The acceptance of Christ is for anyone who will.  It is not by reason, but by faith.

Except for the passages that say it is about works. I’m not going to quote anything because all of us here know that is a long running debate. My confusion about just how to get Christ into my heart starts with conflicts like that, right there in the gospels and extend to the 30,000 Christian sects.

You defined our differences best with this:

LilySmith - 01 October 2013 02:26 PM

The Apostle John puts it a bit more forcefully, “…, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, … ”  1 John 5

A completely circular argument. Something that should be an historical artifact, but somehow hangs on. It only makes sense if you first accept that God is special and needs no further explanation. That makes me wonder why it needs to be said in the first place. If God’s testimony is in fact greater, wouldn’t those who received it be able to simply pass it on and those who heard it hear the greatness? Wouldn’t someone who was claiming to have heard God’s testimony but actually lying be easily found out based on the lack of greatness of what they were reporting?

Any response to this, and you have given many, reduces the power of God, until he becomes a dottering old man named Slartibartfast who likes to create fjords. Either that or you rely on something hidden from view that you claim to see. This turns religion into a secret that is whispered between pre-teen girls in the school hallways that makes them feel special. When you find out what the secret is, you find out it is nothing special all, but you can choose to act like it is and be on the inside of the group, or say it isn’t and remain an outsider.

I wish it was only that benign. But once you allow someone to claim special knowledge without question it is only a step or two to that unreal knowledge weilding real power. When kings, generals and presidents are not questioned for basing their decisions on nothing, they can do anything. And they have. There are not any complicated dots to connect to see this.

If God’s testimony was all the wonderful things you say it is then I would be fine with it. But it’s not. When it’s not, you have said several times that it isn’t really God’s testimony, that those are false Christians and false testimony. That’s the world I would expect if God didn’t exist or was completely incapable of interacting with people in any coherent or consistent way, in other words, not the God of the Bible or any other religion.

When I look at the world that is, and see people acting as I expect, I see the need for asking people to provide evidence for things like going to war or working 70 hours a week. I listen to the testimony that is greater because it is testable and empirically verified with repeated experiment or validated evidence. If God exists and I meet him, I will thank him for allowing me to born in a time and place where reason was the law of the land and He was unnecessary. I expect he’ll be somewhere with some pretty awesome golf courses.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
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PLaClair - 02 October 2013 11:00 AM

For anyone who may not have followed Ms. Smith’s post # 101, here’s a translation:

“It’s OK to reshape the universe in your mind, re-invent reality in your mind and believe any nonsense you like. If that leads you to my religion, you’re with God. If not, sorry, but you’re doomed to hell.”

Look all you want. That’s all she said.

I’m thinking about starting a thread in the Philosophy forum about the ethics of belief. LilySmith is a prime example of the problems inherent in believing things without evidence.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
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DarronS - 02 October 2013 11:41 AM

I’m thinking about starting a thread in the Philosophy forum about the ethics of belief. LilySmith is a prime example of the problems inherent in believing things without evidence.

I will look for it, Darron. We spend far too much of our time trying to engage people like Ms. Smith, when we have important matters to discuss in the promotion of Humanist values and ideals.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
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PLaClair - 02 October 2013 02:30 PM
DarronS - 02 October 2013 11:41 AM

I’m thinking about starting a thread in the Philosophy forum about the ethics of belief. LilySmith is a prime example of the problems inherent in believing things without evidence.

I will look for it, Darron. We spend far too much of our time trying to engage people like Ms. Smith, when we have important matters to discuss in the promotion of Humanist values and ideals.

You’re right. I’m taking your cue and will be done with LilySmith. Her arguments are vacuous, circular and factually incorrect. Time to move on to important topics.

You have to admit, though, LilySmith did a good job of exposing the futility of trying to have a rational discussion with a Christian apologist.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
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Lausten - 02 October 2013 10:34 AM
DarronS - 02 October 2013 10:18 AM
LilySmith - 02 October 2013 09:51 AM

Within our universe is space-time which is affected by velocity and gravity.  Time passes differently depending on where you are in the universe.

Citation please. This is the opposite of current cosmological theory, so I’d like to see where you got that. In any case, it is irrelevant to time passage on Earth.

My guess would be she is referring to the theory or relativity but misunderstanding it. Time does not change based on your location, unless you want to count the edge or a black hole, which is very rare, and your experience of the difference in time wouldn’t last long before you were torn apart by the gravity. Also, travelling at very high speeds “slows down” time for you. A few astronauts are a few seconds younger than they would be if they hadn’t flown in a spaceship. This can only be experienced forward, travelling back in time is not even theoretically possible yet. (I’m sure someone out there disagrees with that). That’s pretty much it. Quite different from your statement.

“The laws of nature are such that time itself (i.e. spacetime) will bend due to differences in either gravity or velocity – each of which affects time in different ways.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

“Einstein’s idea is that without reference to the frame, there is no fixed time interval between two events, no ‘actual’ duration between them… Einstein illustrated his idea using two observers, one on a moving train in the middle of the train, and a second observer standing on the embankment next to the train tracks. If the observer sitting in the middle of the rapidly moving train receives signals simultaneously from lightning flashes at the front and back of the train, then in his reference frame the two lightning strikes were simultaneous. But the strikes were not simultaneous in a frame fixed to an observer on the ground. This outside observer will say that the flash from the back had farther to travel because the observer on the train was moving away from the flash. If one flash had farther to travel, then it must have left before the other one, assuming that both flashes moved at the same speed. Therefore, the lightning struck the back of the train before the lightning struck the front of the train in the reference frame fixed to the tracks.

“Let’s assume that a number of observers are moving with various constant speeds in various directions. Consider the inertial frame of reference in which each observer is at rest in his or her own frame. Which of these observers will agree on their time measurements? Only observers with zero relative speed will agree. Observers with different relative speeds will not, even if they agree on how to define the second and agree on some event occurring at time zero (the origin of the time axis). If two observers are moving relative to each other, but each makes judgments from a reference frame fixed to themselves, then the assigned times to the event will disagree more, the faster their relative speed. All observers will be observing the same objective reality, the same event in the same spacetime, but their different frames of reference will require disagreement about how spacetime divides up into its space part and its time part.

“This relativity of time to reference frame implies that there be no such thing as The Past in the sense of a past independent of reference frame. This is because a past event in one reference frame might not be past in another reference frame. However, this frame relativity usually isn’t very important except when high speeds or high gravitational fields are involved.”

“According to general relativity, gravitational differences affect time by dilating it. Observers in a less intense gravitational potential find that clocks in a more intense gravitational potential run slow relative to their own clocks. People live longer in basements than in attics, all other things being equal. Basement flashlights will be shifted toward the red end of the visible spectrum compared to the flashlights in attics. This effect is known as the gravitational red shift. Even the speed of light is slower in the presence of higher gravity.”

http://www.iep.utm.edu/time-sup/#H15

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Posted: 02 October 2013 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
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LilySmith - 02 October 2013 09:51 AM
StephenLawrence - 02 October 2013 07:54 AM

Yes, note Lily doesn’t answer, she knows this is a showstopper.

But this might really change Lily’s mind and we need to care about this. It could be a good experience for her or a bad one.

I gave DarronS my thoughts on this the last time he brought it up.  He, of course, dismissed them out of hand.  That’s why I didn’t bother with it again. 

His question: “Natural disasters and death predate mankind by billions of years. Were the early single-cell life forms sinful? When do you think natural disasters and death began?”

Some things to note.  Our universe is created to be temporal.  It will pass away.  Within our universe is space-time which is affected by velocity and gravity.  Time passes differently depending on where you are in the universe.  “Billions of years” is relative.  We measure time by our position on earth at this point in the expansion of the universe since the big bang.  My point is that the passage of time is not constant, and from God’s perspective there is no passage of time.  He is eternal and outside the temporal universe in which time exists.

The Bible teaches that because of man’s sin, man dies.  It never says death is only a result of sin.  It never says that animals die because of man’s sin.  What it does say is that man was created and placed in a Garden.  No one knows where this garden is.  In it is the tree of life which would give man eternal life.  With the sin of man, he was cast out of this perfect place and not allowed to have eternal life.  Man was cast out and into this world, which was created as we see it now.

Your assumption is that God couldn’t have created this world until Adam sinned.  But that’s simply an assumption.  The Bible teaches that God planned man’s redemption from sin before this world was ever created and before man sinned.  Why couldn’t God have created this world at any time to fulfill his plan of allowing man to sin, be subject to a corrupt world, and be redeemed at the appropriate time.

The promise of God to man is that at the restoration of all things, this earth will be brought into the eternal kingdom of God and made new.  But there’s no indication that this earth was made eternal, and then became temporal with the fall of man.  That’s simply beyond what the text says.  It’s an assumption.

By eating the fruit of knowledge and not eating from the tree of life, God changed the DNA of all living things from being immortal to becoming mortal?  Why does a mayfly live about 13 hours and a turtle may live 100 years? Is the mayfly more guilty of sin than a turtle?
Your lifespan, except for accidental death, is already programmed into your DNA. By your logic, Lily, god already punishes all newborns living things with a limited lifespan which is already coded in their DNA.  Did animals other than man also commit sins of eating from the tree of knowledge or tree of life?

Lily, you want so hard to believe that man is the embodiment of god that you dismiss all the knowledge of science about genetics.
Can’t you see the utter hubris in your beliefs.  Man is just an animal and it’s DNA is constructed in similar form and function in all living things that propagate by sexual means, IOW, mixing male and female chromosomes to produce variety and have a better chance of survival for some mixtures.

This is contrary to your claim that man is doomed because he disobeyed God. Nature is trying very hard to make us all survive and live longer.  There is your dichotomy. God has punished us with limited lifespan, but Nature tries hard to extend it, through variety and refinement of our DNA.  How is it possible that man’s lifespan is longer now than in the past?
Thus we have a war between your God and Nature itself. Do you see the contradiction?

Oh, I forgot, 200,000 years ago people were reputed to live 700 years, then when lifespans became matters of record, the average age turned out to be about 45 years, but lo, today we are living longer again. Perhaps god has forgiven man’s sins and is allowing us to live longer, BECAUSE we ate from the tree of knowledge resulting in the development of medicines through man’s continuing search for knowledge.

[ Edited: 02 October 2013 03:29 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 October 2013 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
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Darron,
Don’t confuse Jesus with God and God with the creator of the universe. Christianity is only about belief and belief is self centered on ever lasting life. 

If LilySmith for example really believed that Jesus was God. Would she not be in Israel right now at the tomb of Jesus? Ten to one she will deny that that is the tomb of Jesus without looking at the facts. Why? Because the tomb interferes with her beliefs. 
Simcha Jacobovici
The lost tomb of Jesus.

http://www.simchajtv.com/category/jesus-archeology/

I saw the same thing when the ark was found. The Christians could care less.

That said,
LilySmith may be correct in her belief.
I do not believe in God. Yet, you can not convince me that my grandparents are not in heaven with God. Something from my childhood. When I die, I will turn to star dust, because there is not such place as heaven.

In writing this post I have to use spell checker for half the words. This is because at a young age I was taught on a phonic alphabet and I have tried and tried to learn the English spelling but my mind will not let me and I believe religion works in the mind in the same manner.

If that is the case, then LilySmith is correct if that was what she was taught at a young age. I am not saying she is right. I am just saying that for all logic and reason we may be dealing with the structure of the mind.

I can close my eyes and see grandmother in heaven, yet I can not see me in heaven. I know what your thinking, or hell.
Now, take the Christians, and ask yourself why the lack in the tomb and the ark?  Or anything else found outside of the bible. Is it not like what I am experiencing with my grandparents?

People who were taught at an early age cannot reject religion without a problem.
If this is the case, then LilySmith can not be wrong for what the human mind controls. It is just part of being human.

With only 2% of the population being atheist, there are too many people in the world who are religious at a time when reason and logic should show the numbers in reversal.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
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Mike,
IMO, you are correct.  This is a function of the “mirror neural network” in the brain and it learns from its surroundings and experiences. This is closely associated with emotional response produced by chemicals in the brain and once these mirror images are fixed by repetition, it is very difficult to reprogram this neural network.

Optical illusions are a perfect example of recognizing something which is not really there. However when we break down the illusion it becomes clear how and why the brain was so fooled.
I always liked this one : http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Cool+Optical+Illusion+Ever&Form=IQFRDR#view=detail&id=74FD30E970050B9513EBB355A9A3C9CD2D708E39&selectedIndex=93

And so it is with religious people; from birth on they are exposed to an environment which fixes their emotional responses. We have limited means of processing information, but if we are never shown the illusionary function of the brain, no religious person will ever understand the true nature of “how things work”.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
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LilySmith - 02 October 2013 09:51 AM

The Bible teaches that because of man’s sin, man dies.  It never says death is only a result of sin.  It never says that animals die because of man’s sin.

What about the natural disasters that pre-date man?

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Posted: 02 October 2013 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
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LilySmith - 02 October 2013 09:51 AM

The Bible teaches that because of man’s sin, man dies. 

I suppose it’s worth checking whether it does. Can you point me to the relevant passages Lily.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
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LilySmith - 02 October 2013 03:04 PM

“The laws of nature are such that time itself (i.e. spacetime) will bend due to differences in either gravity or velocity – each of which affects time in different ways.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

Here you show your willful ignorance. You stated earlier that time changes depending on one’s position in the universe. Now you are citing time dilation, which is a function of velocity, not position. This is not a subtle distinction.

And, as Stephen noted, you still have not addressed the natural disasters that predate mankind.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
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And oddly even a rock is a dying object (half-life).  What sin did the rock commit? It did not disobey any of God’s laws, or did it?

[ Edited: 02 October 2013 06:31 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 October 2013 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]
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DarronS - 02 October 2013 06:15 PM
LilySmith - 02 October 2013 03:04 PM

“The laws of nature are such that time itself (i.e. spacetime) will bend due to differences in either gravity or velocity – each of which affects time in different ways.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

Here you show your willful ignorance. You stated earlier that time changes depending on one’s position in the universe. Now you are citing time dilation, which is a function of velocity, not position. This is not a subtle distinction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

In the theory of relativity, time dilation is an actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from gravitational masses.

Bold emphasis by me.

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Posted: 02 October 2013 11:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]
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LilySmith - 02 October 2013 09:51 AM

Within our universe is space-time which is affected by velocity and gravity.  Time passes differently depending on where you are in the universe.  “Billions of years” is relative.  We measure time by our position on earth at this point in the expansion of the universe since the big bang. 

Yes, that is all true. But in no way it supports your ideas, you cannot talk away the time passed on earth and in the universe, the time we and all those sinful bacteria live in.

LilySmith - 02 October 2013 09:51 AM

My point is that the passage of time is not constant, and from God’s perspective there is no passage of time.  He is eternal and outside the temporal universe in which time exists.

How do you know God lives outside time? How can some entity outside time interact with events in the universe? Where is the support for your idea in science? Where in the bible you find that God lives outside spacetime?

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Posted: 03 October 2013 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]
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GdB - 02 October 2013 11:21 PM

But in no way it supports your ideas, you cannot talk away the time passed on earth and in the universe, the time we and all those sinful bacteria live in.

No Christian is claiming that bacteria die because they sinned.  That’s a red herring. The question is, can God create a world where natural disasters occur and organism and plants have temporary lives and then die even though MAN has not sinned?  I see no reason that he can’t.  The charge was that God created a fallen world billions of years before man sinned.  My point was that the billions of years is from man’s perspective, not God’s, and that God knew before the world was created that man would sin and he even planned his redemption. 

How do you know God lives outside time? How can some entity outside time interact with events in the universe? Where is the support for your idea in science? Where in the bible you find that God lives outside spacetime?

The Bible teaches that God created the universe, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” and the space-time that exists within it.  That’s why in the “beginning” God created the heavens and the earth.  But God transcends the universe and all its laws, including time.  Since he is the Creator of it and the one who sustains it, he can certainly interact with his creation whenever he pleases.  Thousands of years before science understood our universe had a beginning and will have an end, the Bible proclaimed it by faith.

“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.  They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.  But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”  Psalm 102:25-27

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