Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday Psalm: 10 -- God Gives Courage

Virtudes, de Rafael, na Stanza della Segnatura...Image via Wikipedia
Psalm 10 - A Prayer for Justice

    Why are you so far away, O Lord?
      Why do you hide yourself when we are in trouble?
 2 The wicked are proud and persecute the poor;
      catch them in the traps they have made.

 3 The wicked are proud of their evil desires;
      the greedy curse and reject the Lord.
 4 The wicked do not care about the Lord;
      in their pride they think that God doesn't matter.

 5 The wicked succeed in everything.
      They cannot understand God's judgments;
      they sneer at their enemies.
 6 They say to themselves,
         We will never fail;
      we will never be in trouble.
 
 7 Their speech is filled with curses, lies, and threats;
      they are quick to speak hateful, evil words.

 8 They hide themselves in the villages,
      waiting to murder innocent people.
   They spy on their helpless victims;
    9 they wait in their hiding place like lions.
   They lie in wait for the poor;
      they catch them in their traps and drag them away.

 10 The helpless victims lie crushed;
      brute strength has defeated them.
 11 The wicked say to themselves,
         God doesn't care!
      He has closed his eyes and will never see me!

 12 O Lord, punish those wicked people!
      Remember those who are suffering!
 13 How can the wicked despise God
      and say to themselves,
         He will not punish me?

 14 But you do see; you take notice of trouble and suffering
      and are always ready to help.
   The helpless commit themselves to you;
      you have always helped the needy.

 15 Break the power of wicked and evil people;
      punish them for the wrong they have done
      until they do it no more.

 16 The Lord is king forever and ever.
      Those who worship other gods
      will vanish from his land.

 17 You will listen, O Lord, to the prayers of the lowly;
      you will give them courage.
 18 You will hear the cries of the oppressed and the orphans;
      you will judge in their favor,
      so that mortal men may cause terror no more.

History is pressing on to its fulfillment -- the kingdom reign of God in Christ. So, lean in, and press on!
Enhanced by Zemanta

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

it is up to us to punish the evil and the wicked. they prosper only because we allow them. God has given us the ability to tell good from evil and the ability to punish those who choose evil. we just don't seem to have the courage to do it these days.

Anonymous said...

And what makes you think your superstitious nonsense has any more validity than any other cult's?
SDC

RkBall said...

Anon Anon -- interesting comment. Certainly fits with Romans 13:4. I shall now quote it several times to make SDC's head explode:


New International Version (©1984)
For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

New Living Translation (©2007)
The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.

English Standard Version (©2001)
for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

RkBall said...

International Standard Version (©2008)
For they are God's servants working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for it is not without reason that they bear the sword. Indeed, they are God's servants to administer punishment to anyone who does wrong.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
For he is the Minister of God to you for good. But if you have done evil, be afraid, for he does not wear the sword for nothing, for he is the Minister of God and a furious avenger to those who do evil.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The government is God's servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God's servant, an avenger to execute God's anger on anyone who does what is wrong.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.

American King James Version
For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil.

American Standard Version
for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.

Bible in Basic English
For he is the servant of God to you for good. But if you do evil, have fear; for the sword is not in his hand for nothing: he is God's servant, making God's punishment come on the evil-doer.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For he is God's minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God's minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

Darby Bible Translation
for it is God's minister to thee for good. But if thou practisest evil, fear; for it bears not the sword in vain; for it is God's minister, an avenger for wrath to him that does evil.

English Revised Version
for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.

Webster's Bible Translation
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou doest that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Weymouth New Testament
For he is God's servant for your benefit. But if you do what is wrong, be afraid. He does not wear the sword to no purpose: he is God's servant--an administrator to inflict punishment upon evil-doers.

World English Bible
for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.

Young's Literal Translation
for of God it is a ministrant to thee for good; and if that which is evil thou mayest do, be fearing, for not in vain doth it bear the sword; for of God it is a ministrant, an avenger for wrath to him who is doing that which is evil.

RkBall said...

SDC: You juz pickin' for a fight.

Tag-team -- over to you, Joe.

Joe said...

"And what makes you think your superstitious nonsense has any more validity than any other cult's?"

EVIDENCE dear boy EVIDENCE!

RkBall said...

And, I'll add, "discernment". The ability to distinguish, differentiate.

Joe said...

So Richard, are you saying that when SDC found foot prints in his butter he lacked discernment when he concluded he had an elephant in his refrigerator? ;-)

Anonymous said...

"Evidence", Joe? Where is this "evidence" you speak of? Your little magic book contradicts itself so many times in so many ways that only a fool would accept its word on ANYTHING, so Richard may as well be quoting Hardy Boys books.
SDC

RkBall said...

The Ball Bounces believes in Jesus; SDC believes in the Hardy Boys. Works for me.

Anonymous said...

The difference, Richard, is that I can RECOGNIZE fiction when I read it.

RkBall said...

Can you, indeed?!

Anonymous said...

Most definitely; I can also recognize fairy tales pieced together from other fairy tales, and I can recognize when two stories don't give the same sequence of events. Have you ever wondered why some parts of your little magic book have "Mary and Joseph" travelling to Bethlehem to account for themselves in a census ordered by Quirinius, and other parts have "Herod the Great" ordering a massacre at the same time, when Quirinius didn't take power until 10 years AFTER Herod had already died? The people that wrote these fairy tales didn't care about reality, just so long as they could gain some more converts for their superstition.
SDC
SDC

RkBall said...

"Have you ever wondered why some parts of your little magic book have "Mary and Joseph" travelling to Bethlehem to account for themselves in a census ordered by Quirinius, and other parts have "Herod the Great" ordering a massacre at the same time, when Quirinius didn't take power until 10 years AFTER Herod had already died?"

No.

What are your sources for this factoid you have offered?

Anonymous said...

Luke 2:2 (out of your own little magic book) claims that your cult leader's parents had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted as part of a census ordered by Quirinius ("Cyrenius", in the Greek), the Roman governor of what was the province of Syria; the trouble is, we KNOW that Quirinius wasn't appointed as governor of Syria (and therefore couldn't have ordered a census) until 6 CE. This raises some serious problems for other parts of your little magic book, including the whole of Matthew, which makes the claim that this cult leader was "born in the time of Herod", and that Herod ordered the massacre of anyone under the age of 2 (Matthew 2). The problem here is that Herod DIED in 4 BCE, so that leaves your superstition with 3 possible options; either a) Quirinius was able to travel back in time to order his census; b) Herod was able to come back to life 10 years after dying, in order to order the "massacre of the innocents"; or c) the con-men who wrote your little magic book didn't know or didn't care about reality, just so long as they could write a story that might bring in converts who didn't know any better.
SDC

RkBall said...

Fine and good. But you didn't answer my question -- what are your sources?

Anonymous said...

Your little magic book for your superstition's claims, and well-known published HISTORY for the historical facts of Quirinius' governorship and Herod's death; all of these are easily researched online or in any history book dealing with the time and place.
SDC

RkBall said...

History, in caps, is not a source. Josephus, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Josephus mentions both of these characters in passing, but much more information on both of them is available from other ancient and modern scholars, like Tacitus, Syme, Gruen, and others. We know that Quirinius was appointed to governor after a period of succesful fighting in Galatia (northern Asia Minor), and was awarded a triumphal procession for his work. As Herod was one of the major figures of the time, you can fill a library with information about his reign and the time of his death.
SDC

RkBall said...

"Luke 2:2 (out of your own little magic book) claims that your cult leader's parents had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted as part of a census ordered by Quirinius".

Luke 2:2 makes no such claim.

Anonymous said...

Luke 2:1-6 says that this was the reason for them being in Bethlehem, and Luke 2:2 specifies that Quirinius was the governor that ordered this census; are you REALLY going to try to split that hair?
SDC

Anonymous said...

And I notice that you haven't approved my earlier post outlining how we know these things; any particular reason? :-)

RkBall said...

"Luke 2:2 specifies that Quirinius was the governor that ordered this census"

No, it doesn't.

But, I like the idea that you are reading Scripture!

Joe said...

I rather doubt the SDC is reading Scripture Richard. It is far more likely that he is on some anti-Christian web site that attempts to prove Christianity is flawed. I caught him once before regarding leprosy.

That being said poor old SDC is trying to beat us up with the old Paper Pope routine. I've tried to explain to him before that the Bible is historical but not always history. For instance we know that Luke never talked to Jesus whilst Jesus walked the earth as a man. Luke therefore did the next best thing he talked to people who did know Jesus. In fact if you are at all linguistically inclined you can see the language style change in Luke's narrative as he uses one person's after another's account of events. I have no way of knowing which source Luke relied on for the census account but like all eye witness accounts it may be true in total but not true in every detail. Not that the person telling the story is making things up but rather the person telling the story honestly mixed up the details.

I had a discussion with a fellow from Quebec that swore on a stack of Bibles that the FLQ induced War Measures Act was brought about by Joe Clark. We had a lively discussion as I tried to tell him the PM at the time was PET. Had I like Luke not known about the event from first hand experience I would have taken him at his word and recounted that Joe Clark was the PM that brought in the War Measures Act.

Does mixed possibly erroneous accounts diminish the veracity of the Bible? According to any criminal lawyer NO. In fact it enhances its credibility! How? If every account is the same then there is collusion going on and the story is probably false. If there is variation in narrative it is more likely the story is true because no one is trying to hide something by lying about it.

BTW the disparity between Luke and Matthew is not something recently discovered. Tertullian wrote about it circa Anno Domini 200.

However Richard I fear that SDC is once again trying to mount a strawman argument in order to get us off onto some worthless tangent. If you or I were to solely base our Christianity on the Bible then we would have a very very thin faith indeed. In fact the evidence I base my faith on comes from experience much of which coincides with events or accounts written of in the Bible. I may not have seen Jesus feed the masses with a few loaves and fishes but I have seen Him multiply the spaghetti in a poor man's bowl sufficiently to feed the poor man, his large family and his many friends.

Anon1152 said...

"God has given us the ability to tell good from evil and the ability to punish those who choose evil."

Ability to punish, certainly. Though I thought that Christ said that "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..." (John 8:7). I think that's good advice. Though the call to remove the beam in your own eye before dealing with the mote in your brother's eye is probably better and more realistic. None of us (save a few Biblical exceptions) is completely without sin.


I have reservations about the claim that God has "given us the ability to tell good from evil." I like RKBall's recent use of many many different translations of the same passage. But I hope you'll all forgive me if I only refer to the original King James English:


NOW the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and thy sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
(Genesis 3:1-7)

[...]

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil..." (Genesis 3:22).


Yes, God made the tree of knowledge. But he told Adam and Eve not to eat of it. They did eat. The serpent (prince of lies?) said that they would know good and evil and be as gods. This seems to be true, if you take God's word for it. God says later that indeed "man is become as one of us, to know good and evil"

So perhaps we should thank the serpent for knowing good and evil. I'm not sure where it says that God gave us the ability to distinguish between the two, however. I like Hobbes's take on this, though I am curious to know what RKBall's view is. Hobbes writes that: "having both eaten, they did indeed take upon them God's office, which is judicature of good and evil, but acquired no new ability to distinguish between them aright" (Leviathan, Part II, Chapter XX, paragraph 17).

This seems to be our curse. We know about good and evil. And (most of us) care. But certainty about the difference between the two is another matter entirely. Christ's advice (whoever is without sin cast the first stone, judge not lest ye be judged, deal with the beam in your own eye... and so on) seems to be good advice given the evidence. It's certainly a good starting point.

Anon1152 said...

I also worry about the claim that "they [the wicked] prosper only because we allow them."

I'll agree that we are able to fight injustice, and that we should... but... does this statement not deny God's power? Does it not deny the Biblical history?

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made him" (Genesis 7:5-7).

The rest, as they say, is history. Well... it depends on the "they" you ask. But I hope you get my point.

Anonymous said...

So, to split that hair even FINER, it specifies that Quirinius was governor WHEN this census was held; this still doesn't let tyour cult off the hook (trident?) of the 3 options I mentioned earlier; either he travelled back in time to do this, Herod rose from the dead to do the things he's claimed as doing, or the con-men who wrote your fairy tales down didn't know or didn't care about the truth, just so long as they could spin out a somewhat-believable story for gullible sheep who had no way of finding out the truth to begin with, being illiterate.
SDC

RkBall said...

"And I notice that you haven't approved my earlier post outlining how we know these things; any particular reason? :-)"

I've posted everything I've seen. Blogger sometimes does weird things.

RkBall said...

"Yes, God made the tree of knowledge."

I think the key to this passage is to realize that it is not the tree of knowledge but the tree of knowing good and evil, in the experiential sense. Adam and Eve had experienced good, but didn't know it because they had nothing to compare or contrast it with. With a fallen creation, and fallen human natures, and with God in a sense vacated from the scene, and the attendant onrushing in of disorder and chaos and death and disease and destruction, we now know good and evil. Good is primarily experience through a realization and appropriation of the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ on the cross, where God used an act of evil to accomplish his good purposes.

RkBall said...

"I also worry about the claim that "they [the wicked] prosper only because we allow them."

There is a sense this is true. One reason the US has a drug culture is because drug use is joked about on late-night TV. It is not uniformly condemned by society. In Singapore, there is death penalty for drug smuggling. The softer/kinder we are on sin and wickedness, the more it prospers.

RkBall said...

"So, to split that hair even FINER,"

I'm not splitting hairs. You declared twice that Luke said that Quirinius ordered a census. Luke says no such thing.

Using your approach, from this point on I can only regard everything you say as magical utterances to be dismissed with mockery.

Or, do you want a different standard to be used to judge your writings than Luke's?

RkBall said...

"this still doesn't let tyour cult off the hook (trident?) of the 3 options I mentioned earlier; either he travelled back in time to do this, Herod rose from the dead to do the things he's claimed as doing, or the con-men who wrote your fairy tales down didn't know or didn't care about the truth"

You are thinking and writing like a fundamentalist. I can see several other options, but they require nuance and a certain amount of mental flexibility. I have to take the dogs for a walk now...

Anonymous said...

As Quirinius was following the orders of Augustus, he certainly WAS responsible for this census, and you're not about to fob off the obvious contradiction in your fairy tales that easily. I'm not about to treat your superstition any differently than that of the muslims, the mormons, the scientologists, the raelians, or any OTHER insane cult, no matter how long they've been around, nor how long they've been able to con people.
SDC

RkBall said...

SDC: I discovered this morning that Mail has been moving your posts, and your posts only, into the Junk Mail folder. Now do you believe there is a God?!

RkBall said...

Joe -- SDC was clearly wrong in saying that Q. ordered the census. Using his methodology, we should dismiss everything he has written as fairy tales. Apparently, this does not sit well with him. He wants to be taken seriously and treated with respect. Maybe Luke wants the same?

Anonymous said...

No, Richard, that isn't any evidence for your imaginary "god" (if it happened), any more than finding your car keys under a sofa cushion is; have you figured out which of the three options I've laid out for you is most likely to be true yet? And, Quirinius ordered the census in Syria as part of his delegated authority from Augustus; are you really that dense?

RkBall said...

"Quirinius ordered the census in Syria as part of his delegated authority from Augustus; are you really that dense?"

SDC. That is not the point. You twice stated that Luke said Quirinius ordered the census. He (Luke) did not. What part of He. did. not. don't you get? Quirinius may well have "ordered" the census already ordered by Augustus, but Luke did not say he did - you did.

Now, you are rudely calling me dense for having pointed out your error -- all the while I was engaging in a friendly discussion with you.

I hope you will appreciate why I do not plan to respond any further to your comments in this thread.

RkBall said...

Joe: Here are some suggested lines for mitigating the Herod/Q. dilemma that SDC has so kindly pointed out to us.

1. The word "first". Luke clearly knew of the census of 6 AD as he refers to it in Acts 5 where it is referred to simply as "the census". He is apparently directing our attention to a prior one. This weakens SDC's black/white binary position.

2. The words used by Luke to describe Q's role and position. He does not actually say he was Governor but that he was governing, i.e., he had a responsible role of some kind. That Q. was in favor with Augustus and mucking about the area at this time is historically known. It is not too much to suggest that Augustus may have put him in charge of a census. This further weakens SDC's position.

3. The first reader. The person to whom Luke was writing his gospel -- Theophilis -- would have known of the main census of 6 AD. The fact that Luke uses the word first, which can mean before or prior, suggests Luke is indicating the one he is referring to was prior. This weakens SDC's position.

4. The sources for Luke's gospel. Internal evidence clearly indicates that the women followers of Jesus, including Jesus mother, were important eyewitness sources for Luke's material. Given that Luke likely "got" his gospel from Jesus' mother, we have to assume that Mary had some cogent idea of why she was in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth, and what had brought her there. This strengthens the rational reasons why we should believe that Luke just might have known what he was talking about. This further weakens SDC's epistemic certainty.

So, what begins as a binary black/white slam-dunk accusation against Luke's accuracy ends in nuance and ambiguity.

A final resolution may have to wait until we get a chance to ask Luke himself, which I now fully plan to do -- all thanks to our friend SDC.

Anonymous said...

And if you're happy twisting logic and reason so you can believe in a self-evident fairy tale, then it's clear that you would rather lie to yourself than use any intelligence you might have to try to find out the truth. Just as with any other cult member, your superstition comes down to "my little magic book must be true, because my little magic book says my little magic book is true". The fact that EVERY superstition makes the same claim, all with no more evidence than yours, must be irrelevant, right, Richard?
And you've 1)forgotten that we have evidence for only ONE census near this time, 2)that Quirinius wasn't even in the area when Herod was actually alive, 3)same problem as 1, and 4) that this fairy tale STILL contradicts the account given in Matthew; if this cult leader's parents were actually in Bethlehem for a census (when requiring someone to travel back to their place of birth for the 6CE census makes no sense), this still shows Matthew up as afairy tale, as Herod wouldn't hav ebeen alive to do the things that are claimed, remember?
It's a pretty clear and rational choice, given that believers of all superstitions will happily lie about all manner of things in order to say that their cult is "the one true religion", isn't it?

Joe said...

At the risk of sounding crude, SDC must have some very sore buttocks from all the goads he is receiving. He must be receiving the goads because his posting shows he is kicking against them.

SDC said...

Not at all, Joe, I'm just pointing out that your superstition is just as full of nonsense and made-up BS as any other is, and therefore, not to be taken any more seriously; none of your fairy tales were written by "eyewitnesses", as they contradict each other on all manner of things, and those stories build on each other,repeatedly adding stories of "miracles" to try to "juice the sale". The ORIGINAL tale that your cult told (in Mark; everything after 16:8) didn't even have this cult leader reappear after his supposed "resurrection", it was just left that the body was gone (which was just what would happen if someone had stolen the body so it could be buried in accordance with jewish law). Between reality and mysticism, you and Richard have obviously latched onto mysticism, while I see no reason to believe anything that isn't supported by evidence.

Joe said...

Poor old SDC. He has been goaded so often he is delusional. He thinks he can refute Christianity with his inane little arguments. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

Sorry there old boy but far greater minds than yours have tried and failed. Not to mention which I can never imagine why one would want to refute Christianity.

I can see refuting Scientism/Secular Humanism and its monstrous history. I can see refuting Islam and Hinduism and their horrendous practices but exactly what is the issue with Christianity. What is wrong with a belief system that based on evidence shows the universe was designed and built by a Being far beyond our ken. What is wrong with a belief system that holds because that Being created us we are accountable to Him in our dealings with His creation? What is wrong with an accountability that requires we Love one another, take care of the weak, treat everyone equally, all the while doing our best to avoid practicing evil?

Would we be in a better state if we held to Darwinist beliefs where it is all right to kill the weak and the helpless as part of our evolution? Would we be better off trying to transform our society into some sort of paradise where the entitled rule the great unwashed? Would we be better off in a society where we lack the perspective of eternity and are held captive by the latest 'scientifically' induced panic?

No thanks SDC. If you want to live in that human induced hell then please feel free. As for me and my family: We shall serve Yahweh.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you obviously haven't bothered to actually THINK about your nonsense blood sacrifice cult, and what it would actually entail if it were true, and that's completely ASIDE from the fact that there isn't a shred of evidence to suggest that it might be true. I fully agree that other superstitions are insane nonsense, but you are so tied up in your cult that you haven't bothered to apply the same criticisms to YOUR cult.
To your other "point", one might ask "what is wrong with imagining that the universe was created by refrigerator pixies beyond our ken?" Unless you value knowing whether or not what you believe is true, nothing, I suppose, except for the fact that I DO care about whether or not what I believe is true; and it is that which puts your superstition in exactly the same pile of utter BS that every other superstition is also in. And what gave you the (false) idea that believing in observable scientific fact means that we should "kill the weak" or such similar nonsense? If you'd like to see how much immoral baggage your cult carries along with it, we can start on that anytime you'd like.
SDC

RkBall said...

Note to Joe and SDC: I was in China and China for some inscrutable reason blocks Blogspot. Was unable to post your posts for a few days. Sorry about that.

Anon1152 said...

China? Were you... evangelizing?

Great word: "from Old French evangile, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek euangelion ‘good news,’"

I understand that your understanding of good news and my understanding of good news might be different. Nevertheless. I am curious. I recently heard a lecture by William Lane Craig (it might have been from years ago, it was on his website) where he said he was going to China....

Anon1152 said...

Speaking of "good news"...

This seems like the sort of moment where God will say "well, I have good news and I have bad news..."

Anon1152 said...

I just responded to this post because I saw a response in my inbox...

I have wanted to respond to a number of things (or respond to a number of responses). One thing that prevented me was this:

"One reason the US has a drug culture is because drug use is joked about on late-night TV. "

That stopped me. Not because I have nothing to say. Perhaps because I don't know where to begin. Perhaps because this seems to be a joke. Perhaps you'd agree... but for very different reasons.

If the TV jokes are "one reason the US has a drug culture"... it is only one of many. And this one you identify cannot possibly be important. Or at least... the joking and the problem you identify are not necessarily connected in the way you suggest.

You can find many jokes about God and Christianity and Religion on late night TV. Is that the reason why the USA has "a religion problem"?

That is, a problem with the use of religion akin to the problem with the use of drugs?

*

I apologize for picking out one sentence and pouncing on it. Though I think that's what you've done with much of what I have said.

I think I had a point about our need to be wary of judging and punishing others, especially if we have not taken a good look at ourselves first. And if we are all sinners... then we should be all the more wary after taking a look...

And I made reference to some biblical passages that I have pondered for some time... and will continue to ponder for some time...

Did you disagree with them?

You spent more time on SDC's biblical reference.

I'm a tad jealous. (As sinful as that may be).

Anon1152 said...

Joe said: "Would we be in a better state if we held to Darwinist beliefs where it is all right to kill the weak and the helpless as part of our evolution? "

This is a trick question. The obvious answer is "no". But this is not a belief of "Darwinism" that you describe.

At the very least, a belief in evolution is not incompatible with a repudiation of the "right to kill the weak and helpless".

-anon1152


P.S.
I'd like to see any evidence to show that this is Darwin's belief. (That's not a rhetorical question. I would like to see what passages of Darwin you have in mind. I have seen passages that might suggest this... though nothing to suggest that Darwin was making this recommendation... though I have much more Darwin to read before I can say anything about his beliefs with enough confidence to avoid long parentheses like this).

RkBall said...

Anon1152: "I'll agree that we are able to fight injustice, and that we should... but... does this statement not deny God's power? Does it not deny the Biblical history?"

God can act directly or act indirectly. The business-as-usual model is Romans 13:4 which states that God has ordained human governing authorities and given them the task of punishing evil and rewarding righteousness.


New International Version (©1984)
For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

New Living Translation (©2007)
The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.

English Standard Version (©2001)
for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

International Standard Version (©2008)
For they are God's servants working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for it is not without reason that they bear the sword. Indeed, they are God's servants to administer punishment to anyone who does wrong.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
For he is the Minister of God to you for good. But if you have done evil, be afraid, for he does not wear the sword for nothing, for he is the Minister of God and a furious avenger to those who do evil.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The government is God's servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God's servant, an avenger to execute God's anger on anyone who does what is wrong.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.

American King James Version
For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil.

American Standard Version
for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.

RkBall said...

"China? Were you... evangelizing?"

Hi Anon1152. Alas, no. I was on a stop-over on the way down to Singapore where I am teaching software engineering seminars. I did leave a few gospel tracks around -- the parable of the prodigal son/waiting father.

RkBall said...

Anon 1152: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..." (John 8:7).

We probably need to differentiate between personal vs. corporate punishment. As individual Christians, we should not judge in the sense of condemn persons for their sinful behaviours, since we are sinners too. So, it has a lot to do with attitude.

However, at the level of regulating society, evil doers need to be punished. Law without enforcement is dead.

RkBall said...

"None of us (save a few Biblical exceptions) is completely without sin."

Anon1152: There is only one Man who was completely without sin. Trust me on this one!

Anon1152 said...

"God can act directly or indirectly." OK. And I know that I'm not supposed to put God to the test. But I can't help but think more direct action on the part of God--the sort of direct intervention seen in the Bible--would lead to fewer atheists and agnostics in the world today. Why doesn't God act directly? (I can't help but think of that perennial question: "What does God need with a starship?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkT1-N0VqUc )

I realize that's not fair. You could say that God is there for us, not for himself... There are many ways to approach the question. Still. Given human fallibility, I think that the phrase "let God sort them out" is something that should NOT be preceded by "kill them". If God can sort them out, and if he has all the time in the world, why not say "don't kill them, and let God sort all of us out... later"?

Anon1152 said...

"The business-as-usual model is Romans 13:4 which states that God has ordained human governing authorities and given them the task of punishing evil and rewarding righteousness."

Romans 13:4 seems to justify the actions of existing governments, whatever they may be. Yes. God has given governing authorities the task of punishing evil etc. But we all know that they do not always perform that task. The question is not whether or not evil should be punished and righteousness rewarded. The question is whether or not current governments are doing that... and of course a more fundamental question is: what exactly is evil or good in any particular case.

As for "business as usual"... that's not something I associate with Jesus. I thought he came to shake things up, so to speak.

Anon1152 said...

"We probably need to differentiate between personal vs. corporate punishment. As individual Christians, we should not judge in the sense of condemn persons for their sinful behaviours, since we are sinners too. So, it has a lot to do with attitude."
"However, at the level of regulating society, evil doers need to be punished. Law without enforcement is dead."

Corporate punishment? As in... punishment of a "corporation" (a group of people understood as a single entity)? Group punishment is forbidden (or... at the very least... frowned upon) by international law. And one of my favourite biblical lines is Deuteronomy 24:16. "[E]very man shall be put to death for his own sin" (not this sins of others).

I think I'm not understanding what you mean by "corporate punishment" however. If you are referring to punishment carried out by a society as a whole (which would fit with the claim that "at the level of regulating society, evil doers need to be punishment. Law without enforcement is dead")... that's fine. But... that sounds like a secular argument.

Anon1152 said...

"Anon1152: There is only one Man who was completely without sin. Trust me on this one!"

I thought there were more. What about Mary? Or... Enoch?... Of course... I suppose there is "original sin"... OK. I give up.

Anonymous said...

"There is only one Man who was completely without sin. Trust me on this one!"

What does Elvis have to do with this, and can you prove your assertions?
SDC

RkBall said...

"But I can't help but think more direct action on the part of God--the sort of direct intervention seen in the Bible--would lead to fewer atheists and agnostics in the world today. Why doesn't God act directly? "

Anon: you've hit upon a great apologetical question -- the "hiddenness of God". My view is that if God were more obviously apparent, he would be obligated to punish our wickedness -- his withdrawal is an act of mercy whereby he can justly forgo punishment for at least a season. Secondly, he wants us to freely choose whether to love and obey him or not. The apostles make it clear that when the Big Reveal happens, and Christ returns, he will be obligated to annihilate all opposition to his righteous reign, and it is the mercy of God that delays his coming to allow us time to repent.

RkBall said...

"As for "business as usual"... that's not something I associate with Jesus. I thought he came to shake things up, so to speak."

Anon1152: Well, he did say "render unto Caesar..." so at least to some extent it was still business as usual.

The Big Shakeup will happen at the time of the Big Reveal, at which point one might say it's "game-over".

Joe said...

"But I can't help but think more direct action on the part of God--the sort of direct intervention seen in the Bible"

No malice intended Annon but there are a few aspects int your posting that requires answering. First of all, the idea that God revealed Himself more often in Biblical times or at least in a more obvious manner can not be justified or verified. When reading the bible it is easy to think that Moses and Noah were on a first name basis and not hundreds if not thousands of years removed from each other. Even the last writings in the Old Covenant are hundreds of years older than the earliest writings in the New Testament.

Secondly the Bible was written by believers, not unbelievers. Yes believers recognize the workings of God in the small things as well as the great things while unbelievers don't believe in God no matter what. God could turn SDC into a Halloween pumpkin and SDC would still say God is nothing but a fairy tale.

Finally we have to realize that God's existence is not dependent on our believing in Him. He said I AM that I AM to Moses and in that one statement removed us from the equation entirely. Whether every person in the world believes in Him or no one believes in Him it does not matter to Him. We are here at His leisure for His pleasure. For His own reasons some are believers and some are non believers.

BTW that believing/unbelieving thingy is what we call Grace. By Grace we believe. A non believer simply has not received the same Grace as one who believes. That doesn't mean that we believers look down on the unbelievers like many unbelievers look down on believers. Rather we pray for them that a miracle may occur and the unbeliever may become a believer.

Anon1152 said...

Render unto Caesar, yes. But I thought that "render unto God" was the more important part. And notwithstanding the second coming, I don't recall him saying "render unto God... later". Though I personally would prefer that. I'm a procrastinator.

Anon1152 said...

"No malice intended Annon but there are a few aspects int your posting that requires answering."

No offense is taken. I don't post to not-be-responded to.

*

"First of all, the idea that God revealed Himself more often in Biblical times or at least in a more obvious manner can not be justified or verified."

To be honest, I'm not sure that much of the Bible can be verified at all. Yes, some things can be verified. But... it's easier to verify something like Hezekiah's tunnel than it is to verify a Global flood, or to verify that the earth is less than 10 000 years old.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "When reading the bible it is easy to think that Moses and Noah were on a first name basis and not hundreds if not thousands of years removed from each other."

My point was not about Moses and Noah being on a first name basis with each other (though I'm not sure that this was your point either). My point was about biblical figures like them having conversations with God. God would appear in person. Or in the form of talking burning (but not being consumed by the burning) bushes. That doesn't seem to happen as much these days. Of course, many people claim that God talks to them personally. But... most of them seem less-than-credible. And I have every reason to disbelieve all (or at least, the vast majority) of the people today who say that God speaks to them.

"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5).

"And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect" (Mark 13:21-22).

Anon1152 said...

"Finally we have to realize that God's existence is not dependent on our believing in Him. He said I AM that I AM to Moses and in that one statement removed us from the equation entirely. Whether every person in the world believes in Him or no one believes in Him it does not matter to Him. We are here at His leisure for His pleasure. For His own reasons some are believers and some are non believers."

How does him saying "I AM that I AM" to Moses remove us from the equation? Popeye the sailor-man told me "me ams what me ams and that's all that me ams" ... or words to that effect... and those words had no effect. The pre-Exodus words seem to be more effective at "removing us from the equation". If you believe the words, that is...

I just went back to Genesis 3... with it's I AM THAT I AM line... which seems to suggest that we are in the equation. God tells Moses to do stuff. Moses asks what do I say when they ask the name of the guy who sent me?. God says... "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, IAM hath sent me unto you". As I understand it (or... misunderstand it) those words are not removing man from the equation... the words are injecting God into the equation.

Maybe we are not too far apart on this point... I might accept that "I AM THAT I AM" means that we are *removable* from the equation. But we were removable *before* the statement, not removed by the statement.

That said... nothing in the Bible (that I have seen thus far) suggests that human belief in God "does not matter to Him." If our belief in God didn't matter... why would the first commandment BE the first commandment? Why not the 10th? Why not leave it out entirely if he didn't care????????

Anon1152 said...

"BTW that believing/unbelieving thingy is what we call Grace. By Grace we believe. A non believer simply has not received the same Grace as one who believes. That doesn't mean that we believers look down on the unbelievers like many unbelievers look down on believers. Rather we pray for them that a miracle may occur and the unbeliever may become a believer."

OK... I have to ask if this is compatible with what RkBall said earlier (to me). He wrote:

"Anon: you've hit upon a great apologetical question -- the "hiddenness of God". My view is that if God were more obviously apparent, he would be obligated to punish our wickedness -- his withdrawal is an act of mercy whereby he can justly forgo punishment for at least a season. Secondly, he wants us to freely choose whether to love and obey him or not. The apostles make it clear that when the Big Reveal happens, and Christ returns, he will be obligated to annihilate all opposition to his righteous reign, and it is the mercy of God that delays his coming to allow us time to repent."

Is there a tension between the statement: "he [God] wants us to freely choose whether to love or obey him or not" and the statement "A non believer simply has not received the same Grace as one who believes"?

I'm assuming here that Grace comes from God. And I'm assuming a connection between belief and loving/obeying. So I realize that I may be muddling some things here. And I realize at least some of the hairs that might need to be split. But, though I might not understand everything going on here, I do believe quite strongly that there is a tension between your claims, and RkBall's claims (as quoted here).

RkBall said...

"I just went back to Genesis 3... with it's I AM THAT I AM line."

Genesis 3?!

RkBall said...

"Is there a tension between the statement: "he [God] wants us to freely choose whether to love or obey him or not" and the statement "A non believer simply has not received the same Grace as one who believes"?"

Anon1152: The Bible is chock full of tensions and apparent paradoxes. Divine election vs. free will is one of the main ones.

Does a man choose God or does God choose the man? Correct answer? "Yes".

Does a man press into the kingdom of God or does the kingdom of God break into a man? Correct answer: "Yes".

Is God a unity or a trinity? Correct answer: yes.

Is God a God of love or a God of wrath? Correct answer: yes.

Is God immanent or transcendent? Correct answer: yes.

Has any man seen God at any time? No.
Has any man seen Christ? Yes.
Is Christ God in the flesh? Yes.
Has any man seen God at any time? No

Is the cross the defeat of God or the victory of God? Correct answer: yes.

Is the cross an example of the worst evil or the greatest goodness? Correct answer: yes.

Does the resurrection of Christ assure man's salvation or man's condemnation? Correct answer: yes.

Anon1152 said...

"Genesis 3?!"

Whoops. Exodus 3.

Sorry about that.

RkBall said...

Exodus 3. OK. Now you're talking like a pro!

Anonymous said...

"believers recognize the workings of God in the small things as well as the great things while unbelievers don't believe in God no matter what"

Joe, you can just as easily say that "believers of any cult imagine that their chosen "gods" prefer to imagine seeing the workings of those "gods" in practically anything, without any rational reason for doing so, while unbelievers need more than "trust me, my invisible magic man in the sky did that" to believe such guano." Evidence matters, but your illogical "faith" is no more evidence for the truth of your cult than the "faith" of amuslim is evidence for the truth of their cult, or the "faith" of a scientologist is evidence for the truth of their cult.
SDC

Joe said...

I'm dreadfully busy but as soon as I can I will further respond to Annon 1152.

As for SDC well when his favourite cult starts admitting their mistakes, errors and messes it'll be a first. Right now all they do is take yesterdays 'proven fact' and shove it in the corner and hope everyone forgets about it. At least Christianity lets you test and see. Scientism... meh not so much.

BTW What ever happened to Lucy or that bit of animal skull that suddenly became prehistoric humanity?

Anonymous said...

Joe, the difference between science and your cult is that science is ALLOWED to make mistakes, because that's how we learn things; when new facts are discovered, science has to be able to account for those facts, and it can't simply do what your cult does and say "oh, well, you simply wouldn't understand". Your cult, on the other hand, has to STICK with its mistakes, because to do otherwise shows that it's claims that it "knows" things by "revelation" isn't worth the hot air that those claims are spoken with. Your little magic book contradicts itself on all manner of things under the sun. Now, can you give me any example of your cult "testing" its claims? Up until relatively recently, the only thing your cult was known for was "believe or else I'll kill you", which is no more convincing when your cult does it than when the muslims do it. Finally, what bit of nonsense are you alluding to re. "Lucy"? These are the remains of a female a.afarensis, one of the offshoots of the same hominid family that resulted in h.sapiens, not that I expect religious lunatics to research scientific findings.
SDC

Joe said...

You see Annon 1152 the difficulty you have is that in your 'visualization of God, your God is too small.

To use a poor analogy let us assume that you were a genius robotics designer. You come up with a brilliant robot that lacks the ability to recognize you. Does that robots inability have any effect on you since you know that the reason the robot doesn't recognize you is because you didn't give it the right computer chip to recognize you? Of course not. The robot is your creation and you can do with it what ever you want including changing its program to begin to recognize you.

Did you notice that I said begin. In saying that I meant that the longer the robot recognizes you the better the robot becomes at recognizing you. Kind of like a baby learning to walk.

However just as time progresses a child becomes more and more proficient at walking so too as time goes by your robot becomes better at recognizing you. Did I not say you were a creative genius? Not only did you create robots that recognize you or don't recognize you but you set varying degrees of recognizing you or not recognizing you amongst your robots. Robot Richard recognizes you completely whilst Robot SDC can't recognize the sun coming up in the morning. So not only did you create a bunch of robots some of which are much better at recognizing you than others you go one step farther. You now give your robots the ability to decide whether to recognize you or not.

BTW I don't particularly subscribe the the "Hidden God" theory. I more subscribe to the "Blind Man" theory. Those who can't recognize God are blind while those who can recognize God are sighted. God hasn't changed one bit. A man born blind might argue with a sighted man about there is a great blazing ball in the sky that gives us heat since he has never seen the sun. The sighted man can see the sun.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for your laughable scenario, Joe, you can only CLAIM the existence of your imaginary "designer", you can't demonstrate it. Furthermore, since every other cult also points to the same sort of things you do as "proof" for the existence of THEIR imaginary "gods" you still have no way of even demonstrating that your particular imaginary invisible magic man in the sky is any more "real" than theirs are.
SDC

Joe said...

How are those two big buckets of nothing workin' for ya SDC? Any sign life yet? Oh too soon? Then how about a functioning universe? Too soon for that too? OK then surely you are reaching a singularity aren't you? Well come on, you demand demonstration from me so I demand demonstration from you! As the old boxer once said, "Put up or shut up".

Anonymous said...

The universe is unfolding exactly according to the laws of nature, Joe, no imaginary invisible magic man in the sky required at all; now, you claimed that you can "test" your cult, and I'm still waiting for an explanation of how exactly you intend to do so. After that, you can try to demonstrate that a) an invisible magic man in the sky exists in the first place; and b) that said imaginary invisible magic man in the sky is the one described by your specific cult, as opposed to the thousands of other imaginary invisible magic meen (and women) in the sky that religious lunatics have claimed to speak for.
SDC

Joe said...

And one of those laws SDC is that something does not spontaneously come from nothing. Are you too slow to pick up on that VERY BROAD point?

Yes there are natural laws and what's more there is a LAW GIVER. Of course someone born blind like you just can't see that... Now why would that be???? Oh I know you were born BLIND! Tragically you choose to remain so and seek to spread you blindness to sighted men! Pitiful really.

Anonymous said...

Water is wet, mass attracts mass, and the speed of light is around 300 million metres/second; none of those require your imaginary invisible magic man, Joe, they just ARE; exactly how many universes have you seen being born that you can make an assertion that any of this is evidence for an invisible magic man in the sky, let alone the particular invisible magic man in the sky that your cult claims to exist? I've been waiting for evidence for months now, and I've seen you make truckloads of assertions, but you haven't offered even a single scrap of actual evidence for anything yet.

Joe said...

Golly that SDC is so 'scientific' I wonder why he didn't mention Planck's constant in his list of physical attributes? Could it be that he is not nearly as smart as he loves to think he is? After all the greatest constant in the physical universe is SOMETHING DOES NOT COME FROM NOTHING!!!!!

That SDC; always looking for evidence and being completely incapable of recognizing it. Kind of like trying to figure out the time differential of items in different gravitational fields and not being able to do the math.

Kind of like thinking he can walk in front of a dog only to realize that he just walked in front of a Greyhound....BUS!

To paraphrase a line from an old movie, "Evidence! You can't handle the evidence!" That we are here is all the evidence sane men need to know that we are the product of a vastly superior BEING.

I guess ole SDC reminds me of a football player I watched decades ago. He has a clear run to the end zone at the 50 yard line. He has a clear run to the end zone at the 30 yard line. He has a clear run to the end zone at the 10 yard line. The fans are cheering! The stadium is going insane! SDC runs into the goalpost on the goal line knocks himself out and fumbles the ball. In true scientific manner the league there after moves the goal post.

Ah well the good book says that "A fool says in his heart there is no God" Nowhere is that more evident than SDC's screeds.

Anon1152 said...

"BTW What ever happened to Lucy or that bit of animal skull that suddenly became prehistoric humanity?"

- Lucy is still around (well, what's left of her anyway). If you mean the species australopithecus afarensis, it went extinct three or four million years ago. It wasn't "humanity". But prehistoric (and historic, and modern) humans and australopithecus had a common ancestor.

Anon1152 said...

"Does mixed possibly erroneous accounts diminish the veracity of the Bible? According to any criminal lawyer NO."

- I think it depends on the case, the witnesses, and whether or not the witnesses are there for the crown or for the defence attorney.

Anon1152 said...

"You see Annon 1152 the difficulty you have is that in your 'visualization of God, your God is too small."

- I haven't made explicit my conception of God. I don't really have one. God is (or at least has become) a very vague concept.

I've listened to a lot of William Lane Craig lately, so I'll use a few ideas I've picked up from him (and have heard elsewhere over the years)...

If God is the creator of the universe, that caused the universe, and exists outside of space and time and created space and time and is non physical... then how can we (who are physical finite beings trapped within four dimensional space time) know anything specific about God at all?

Anonymous said...

And what makes you think that "something came from nothing", Joe, other than your little magic book of fairy tales? As it stands now, we simply don't KNOW what state the universe existed in before its current state, and there is nothing to suggest that the universe doesn't "rebound" over and over again. However, you are so wrapped up in your bronze age mythology that you simply can't see anything but your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, just as a witch doctor can't see anything but his imaginary "volcano god".
SDC

Joe said...

"If God is the creator of the universe, that caused the universe, and exists outside of space and time and created space and time and is non physical... then how can we (who are physical finite beings trapped within four dimensional space time) know anything specific about God at all?"

As I said before your God is too small. The fact is that the physical universe as we know it is within God. We can no more be separate from Him than a woolen blanket can be separate from wool. How can we know anything about Him? We can observe His handiwork both in the rules He has established and the rules He, on occasion, supersedes. Through simple observation we can safely reach the conclusion that doing things His way is vastly superior and vastly more successful than trying to do things our way. A society that honours God is a much more civil society than a society that ignores God. A family that honours God is a much more stable family than a family that ignores God. An individual that honours God is much more fulfilled than an individual that ignores God.

Joe said...

Poor old SDC; his reasoning is diminishing by the second.

Let's take a moment here and recap SDC.

Scientism is the one saying that something came from nothing. I heard those very words expressed on the Science Channel a few months back as they were describing the origin of the universe.

Christianity has NEVER said that something came from nothing. Christianity has ALWAYS held that the universe came from the Will, Mind and Presence of the ETERNAL I AM.

You are the one arguing that something came from nothing for no reason which is why Richard and I sent you those two big buckets of nothing so you could do your little experiment, remember?

If you can not reconcile the 'something from nothing for no reason' nonsense with reality then it is you that needs to change your position.

My position is logical even if incredible.

Your position is nonsense beyond credulity.

Anonymous said...

"A society that honours God is a much more civil society than a society that ignores God."

Which explains why the more atheist a given society is, the lower its rates of rape, robbery, and homicide, right, Joe? Take a look at the Scandinavian countries and see how quickly your hypothesis falls apart on you.
SDC

Joe said...

The Scandinavian culture is very much based on Christianity. Compare that to the 'scientific' cultures of Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Communist China etc.

Anon1152 said...

"As I said before your God is too small."

And as I said before, I haven't made my concept of God explicit, and I'm not sure that I have one. What I said relied on what I've heard from William Lane Craig (or at least, most recently from him... I've come across similar ideas before... and I apologize to Craig and anyone else if I have horribly mangled their views).

I think locating God beyond space and time, as the cause of space and time and existence, makes him... big. The definition I offered (as a definition, not my definition specifically) is of a big God... and the definition as such does not say how big God is. It just says... how small he is not. But I digress.

*

"The fact is that the physical universe as we know it is within God. We can no more be separate from Him than a woolen blanket can be separate from wool."

This sounds pantheistic. I'm not necessarily against that. But I'm not sure about your analogy. If God is to Wool as the rest of the universe (including humanity) is to a woolen blanket (or vice versa) then that sounds pantheistic. It also sounds incompatible with the belief that we are made "in the image of God". Genesis doesn't say we are made OF God. It says we are made in God's image, out of stuff (earth) created by God.

I'm also not sure about how this fits with what you said earlier, about how God "removed us from the equation entirely". Can wool remove itself from the woolen sweater, or vice versa?

If your analogy was just about inseparability... I still see a problem, given that we are (as you acknowledge) separable from God. At times you say that this separation can only happen if we separate ourselves from God. At other times... it sounds as if God has more to do with it. E.g., "A non believer simply has not received the same Grace as one who believes."

*

I think I have to side with SDC (at 8:22pm)... Though perhaps for different reasons. You (Joe) said that "Through simple observation we can safely reach the conclusion that doing things His way is vastly superior and vastly more successful than trying to do things our way."

"Simple observation" is misleading. Knowing what God's way is (or knowing if there is a God with or without a way) is not simply observed. And what is generally thought to be allowed or demanded by God has changed a great deal across different times and/or different spaces.

Anonymous said...

The Scandinavians are one of the most atheist groups in the world, fool, and your obfuscation doesn't change that one bit; as for Russia (the vast majority of whom even today are Eastern Orthodox), germany (again, the overwhelming majority of whom are Catholic and Lutheran) and the Chinese (again, the majority of whom follow some form of Buddhism, Confucianism or local beliefs), your claim still holds no water at all. When you are willing to ignore verifiable reality so you can believe in your superstition, it's obvious that you simply don't CARE if what you believe is true or not, so you're happy to tell yourself "it must be magic", and stop looking for the truth of the matter.

Joe said...

Once again Annon 1152 your visualization of God is too small. To say that the universe is made of God by God does not in anyway limit the elevation of God beyond His creation. Much the same as an author. Just because while writing a book the author has a whole storyline running through his head he doesn't stop living a live in reality.

As for your suspicion of 'simple observation'. Remember at its root science is 'simple observation'. Oh yeah its priests have tried to mystify the whole scientific process but in truth the grandest theories are successes or failures based on simple observation. The big bang theory shall forevermore remain a theory because we can not make a simple observation of the big bang itself.

Anonymous said...

"Christianity has NEVER said that something came from nothing."

That is EXACTLY the claim your cult makes when it says that everything was created by your imaginary magical being, but you'd realize that if you had an IQ exceeding that of a kumquat.
SDC

Joe said...

Well SDC let's put this to a vote. As a Christian I have never been taught, or read that we Christians are supposed to believe something came from nothing. I simply ask Richard if he has ever heard or read a Christian's words saying that a Christian believes something came from nothing. I know very well that some scientists believe that something came from nothing and I have heard them express that opinion often. I have even heard non scientist, advocates of scientism such as yourself advocate that something came from nothing, but I have never heard a Christian say that except to ridicule the adherents of scientism.

Joe said...

BTW SDC you can try to eliminate Yahweh all you want and I get a real chuckle out of your mental machinations as you try to deny the inevitable. You remind me of the guy denying the bullet even as it speeds, supersonic, toward the back of you head. Of course there is no bullet! I can't hear it or see it or feel.....ow.

RkBall said...

I think the Christian says that God created the material universe out of nothing, in the sense that none of it existed before he spoke it into existence.

RkBall said...

Joe -- I think you just posted. It's 12:08pm here in Singapore. I reckon it's about 10:08 pm where you are?

Anonymous said...

Well, Joe, it appears to be 2 vs. 1; now, how about that method of "testing" your cult that you claimed earlier? If there's one thing that I would personally find convincing, it's a genuine test, so let's hear it.
SDC

RkBall said...

Joe's point is that "nothing" has no creative abilities. The universe comes from God who created matter out of nothing.

Anonymous said...

In other words, your imaginary "god" is simply a bald assertion, no different than the witch doctor and his imaginary "volcano god", or the ancient Greeks and "Apollo", or the Mayans and "Quetzlcoatl". Without EVIDENCE (which is where this claimed "test" of Joe's comes in), there is no more reason to believe your myths over any others.
SDC

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"