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View Full Version : What Specific Questions Do You Have About Other Beliefs?


Matt_the_Hed
04-09-2010, 07:54 AM
Here is a place to learn more. This is meant to be a Q&A not a debate. Please only respond to questions about your beliefs as opposed to your opinions about other beliefs. For example I want to hear questions about being Muslim answered by a Muslim.

Jitterbug
04-09-2010, 08:45 AM
What do Christians think of the other Virgin-Birth / Resurrection Gods in pre-Jesus history that are so similar to the story of Jesus?

Cam-Dog
04-09-2010, 02:57 PM
Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs from what I know are never mentioned in any/most religions so how do you guys explain them?

Jitterbug
04-09-2010, 02:59 PM
Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs from what I know are never mentioned in any/most religions so how do you guys explain them?

I think that's more a question for a creationist. Most Christians believe in dinosaurs.

Nipples
04-10-2010, 03:44 AM
How do people think that following a Zombie Jew is acceptable and not crazy?

Natural Eraser
04-10-2010, 08:24 AM
If God loves all humans, why does it matter what you believe in? If you was kind a lived a good life wouldn't you get to heaven anyway? I wouldn't believe in a god who sent someone to eternal agony just because they didn't believe in him. Another thing: If you kill for your country in a war, do you then go to heaven? It breaks one of the ten commandments, but sometimes you don't have a choice...

Jitterbug
04-10-2010, 09:53 AM
If God is loves all humans, why does it matter what you believe in? If you was kind a lived a good life wouldn't you get to heaven anyway? I wouldn't believe in a god who sent someone to eternal agony just because they didn't believe in him. Another thing: If you kill for your country in a war, do you then go to heaven? It breaks one of the ten commandments, but sometimes you don't have a choice...

That is actually one of the things that first got me to start questioning belief. I was dismayed that so many people insisted that anyone around them that didn't believe in Jesus was going to burn for eternity in hell. It is such an egotistical and arrogant viewpoint. And honestly, if God really does feel that way - then fuck him (sorry to be blunt.) He's a dick and I'd rather chill with Satan, because if God is judging people so harshly for such stupid reasons, then I'd bet ole Satan got the short end of the stick in their argument! He might be a pretty cool guy after all!! lol

Farva
04-10-2010, 06:56 PM
I'm going to attempt to answer these questions the best way I can. For the record, I used to be a youth pastor but have had a crisis of faith if you will. I was raised in the Christian (non-denominational) beliefs, and will do my best.

What do Christians think of the other Virgin-Birth / Resurrection Gods in pre-Jesus history that are so similar to the story of Jesus?

In all honestly, I'm not that familiar with any stories like that that date back before Christ. If you're talking about the Roman or Greek mythologies, then there's so many different gods and demi-gods that it's hard to make a comparison. I'd be very interested in what stories you've heard of.

Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs from what I know are never mentioned in any/most religions so how do you guys explain them?

I've heard some pastors talk about the dinosoars. This is a bit of a round-about, but bear with me. The Bible says that God created the earth in six days (resting on the seventh). It also states, later in the old testament, that to God a day in heaven is like a thousand years on earth. Some people believe that It took God Six thousand years (or roughly thereabout) to create the earth. When he did, he created Adam and Eve in a perfect garden. Their command was to subdue the earth (meaning that outside the garden, life was not that ideal). Some preachings I've heard are that Dinosaurs roamed the earth during this period of the creation of the Garden. While man (the last thing created) was being formed and then while he walked in the Garden with God, while Eve was formed, all of this took thousands of "earth years". This is the time period of the Dinosaurs.

How do people think that following a Zombie Jew is acceptable and not crazy?

The premise is that if God can create an entire earth with all it's complexities, breathing life itself into man, then He's more than capable of raising someone from the dead. Why do people follow him, I'll try to answer that in the next question.

If God loves all humans, why does it matter what you believe in? If you was kind a lived a good life wouldn't you get to heaven anyway? I wouldn't believe in a god who sent someone to eternal agony just because they didn't believe in him. Another thing: If you kill for your country in a war, do you then go to heaven? It breaks one of the ten commandments, but sometimes you don't have a choice...

The idea is that God loves us and created us with the desire to be with him forever. He gave dominion over the earth to Adam and Eve. They inturn, gave that dominion and authority to Satan when they sinned. Through childbirth, man multiplied, always born into sin. In the old testament, man was to walk with God. Cain and Able spoke directly to God during their sacrifices. When Noah built his ark, he was the last "good person" on earth. At this point, God was sorry for making mankind, but due to his love for us, spared us via Noah and his ark. The old testament is a history of the creation of the nation of Israel. They were handed down rules to follow. Things that would set them apart from those around them. (The Ten Commandments).

During this period of time, sacrifice was used to atone for sin. If you consider how a lamb or a calf was valued back then, it was truly a sacrifice on that persons part, and showed a repentence for what they had done. In God's eyes, the sin of that person was transfered by blood to the animal and that person was made right in Gods eyes.

With the birth of Christ "God's Son", God had sent a perfect sacrifice. Jesus lived a pure life, without sin. So when he gave himself up on the cross, it was a transfer of sin, by blood, onto him. This is why Jesus said "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me". During this time the sin of all the world was upon him, and God was unable to look upon him.

Later in the new testament, it talks about Jesus taking the keys of hell and overcoming the power of death. Some people believe that he spent this time in hell, being punished for our sin. After the third day, he rose again. Having overcome hell and death, he took the authority over the earth back from Satan and gave it back to mankind. "All authority has been given unto me, and I give it unto you."

Ok, with those beliefs hopefully cleared up, the answer to your questions. People will follow a zombie-jew because he sacrificed himself for them. If he's not dead, they're not following the wishes of someone who no longer exists.

As for killing during a war and breaking the Ten Commandments. When Jesus died on the cross, he became the ultimate sacrifice. When you'd commit a sin prior to this, you needed to atone with a sacrifice in Gods eyes. Now, the requirement is that you accept what was already done for you and it's all well and good. It's not that God despises you if you lived a good life, but didn't accept Christ. He dispises the sin in your life (everyone's sinned at some point or another). If you accept the sacrifice, then your sin is washed from you and you may enter heaven (which is where the presence of God dwells). "Hell was created for the Devil and his angels", it was never intended for man.

I know that's a lot, and will probably generate more questions than answers, but I did my best. If someone else has a better explanation or clarification, please correct me.

Nipples
04-10-2010, 10:20 PM
So a "perfect" and just being (god) creates an imperfect creature (man), and being "omniscient" (of which he should be able to see the future sufferings of man and realize that maybe its not worth creating them in the first place) decides that the only way to forgive our finite sins (of which will lead us to infinite suffering) is to sacrifice one of his "only" sons so that we may believe in him and be forgiven (which, despite our actions, belief is more important that our actions)?!!?

Huh?

Nipples
04-10-2010, 10:24 PM
Oh... and a random bible quote of the day to teach us a little something about forgiveness:



The Angel of Death

That night the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpses of the dead. 2 Kings 19:35

Cam-Dog
04-10-2010, 10:44 PM
Yes, I already feel like a better person having read that Nipples.
:-/

Farva
04-13-2010, 11:51 AM
So a "perfect" and just being (god) creates an imperfect creature (man), and being "omniscient" (of which he should be able to see the future sufferings of man and realize that maybe its not worth creating them in the first place) decides that the only way to forgive our finite sins (of which will lead us to infinite suffering) is to sacrifice one of his "only" sons so that we may believe in him and be forgiven (which, despite our actions, belief is more important that our actions)?!!?

Huh?

Believe me. I'm not telling you what to belive, or what you should believe. I'm just trying to get you to understand what other believe.

Nipples
04-14-2010, 12:29 AM
Believe me. I'm not telling you what to belive, or what you should believe. I'm just trying to get you to understand what other believe.


After 12 years of schooling infused with religion (as well as independent study) I understand what they believe. I have read completely through the Bible twice (KJV and NIV) as well as the many times I have looked up and reread things. I just don't understand HOW they can believe something of which I see as inconsistent, imperfect, contradicting, illogical, and plain old silly at times.

There has also been too many times have I heard people defend their beliefs with "faith" because they have nothing else that can back anything they have tried to preach to me (don't take this the wrong way as I am not accusing anyone here of preaching , this is TS damnit ;) and this is purely a friendly discussion). It just makes no sense to me.

Matt_the_Hed
04-15-2010, 08:30 AM
What do Christians think of the other Virgin-Birth / Resurrection Gods in pre-Jesus history that are so similar to the story of Jesus?

While I have looked at other creation and flood accounts (The Enuma Elish, a Babylonian account that you should read Jit it references Tiamat and The Gilgamesh Epic) I haven't interacted with other resurrection or virgin birth accounts.

There are however other notable miraculous birth's through out the Bible prior to Christ.

Matt_the_Hed
04-15-2010, 08:39 AM
How do people think that following a Zombie Jew is acceptable and not crazy?

Well there is a difference between being resurrected from the dead and being Undead. Second, it usually isn't viewed as acceptable.

Matt_the_Hed
04-15-2010, 08:59 AM
If God loves all humans, why does it matter what you believe in? If you was kind a lived a good life wouldn't you get to heaven anyway? I wouldn't believe in a god who sent someone to eternal agony just because they didn't believe in him. Another thing: If you kill for your country in a war, do you then go to heaven? It breaks one of the ten commandments, but sometimes you don't have a choice...

God created us for a relationship with Him. Simply believing your wife exists doesn't make for much a relationship. He wouldn't be much of a God if He's just supposed sit in heaven pining away for us like some 13 year old girl hoping we are going to call on Friday night.

There are certain biblical principles that apply to your question about serving in the military.
having served in the Navy this is a question I have addressed my self.

Principle one is the idea that God himself establishes all authority in Heaven and on Earth. As followers of Christ we are called to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's". There are functions of being a citizen that are necessary, i.e. being a solider.

Principle two is spoken from silence. There is an interaction between Jesus and two centurions who are asking him questions. Keep in mind these centurions are the soldiers of the occupying force in Israel at the time, Rome. Jesus never tells them not to stop being soldiers or even to switch sides.

Principle three is the translation of the commandment. Does it say though shall not kill or though shalt not murder? Is there a difference. I would contend that we are commanded not to murder, take life on our own authority. God is the author and giver of life, it is not for us to take away, however He has put people in authority and laws and systems of justice in place. There are times when killing is necessarily, like times of war or even to protect society from a man holding a gun to a hostages head.

Matt_the_Hed
04-15-2010, 09:10 AM
I was dismayed that so many people insisted that anyone around them that didn't believe in Jesus was going to burn for eternity in hell. It is such an egotistical and arrogant viewpoint.

It's only arrogant and egotistical if it is the individual that believes they are better than someone else because of their beliefs. The very core of my belief tells me that I am no better than anyone else.

I would argue it is egotistical for a created being to demand the Creator to conform to our standards.

The very nature of God is transcendent, out side of us. To apply our standards or even perspective doesn't work. The relationship is one of Creator and Created. How bizarre would it be if something we created, no matter how complex, dictated to us how we should interact? God doesn't just exceed us He is entirely different. Our level of sophistication should be a clue into how great God is.

Jitterbug
04-15-2010, 09:27 AM
But Hed, humans have dictated their relationship with God since the very beginning! Look at the differences in Christian beliefs over the centuries and you will see that it has radically conformed itself to the society around it in order to survive. If preachers were still insisting that all women shut their mouths and wore cloth over as much skin as possible then the church would have been crushed during the women's civil liberty campaigns. The church will change itself to suit mankind, and when asked how this is possible, people say that it is God's will. This is the sort of circular logic that drives me INSANE!!

The Bible has clearly laid out many laws that we no longer follow. Let's explore this a little.

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (Timothy 2:11-12)

Now, I'm not interested in how we would say that this passage doesn't mean what we think it means. We'll get to that in a minute. Christians used this as an example of why women were subordinate to men for YEARS! YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS! Clearly, the bible SAYS that women are subordinate to men, so that is what we shall believe. Then came Women's Lib, and this idea went in the toilet. Society changed, and the church had to change as well. It took a look at the world around it and realized that it couldn't survive if it didn't alter itself to meet the demands of the people around it. Ta-Dah! God changed his mind.

How do current Christians explain these sorts of alterations to their principles? Simple. They say that God influenced mankind to change their ways. Thus, our societies' evolution is predicated by God's Will, meaning that - I suppose - he's becoming a bit mellower with age.

Herein lies my biggest issue with Christianity (and religion as a whole.) There is always a crazy, circular logic explanation for whatever evidence is presented that might force the faithful to reconsider their beliefs. To say that God changed his mind about women and influenced mankind is to say that EVERY alteration in society is a result of God. Thus, the priests raping children is a result of God. War is a result of God. Hate is a result of God. And any evolution of society must, ultimately, be forcing us in the direction that God intended. So, it would then be fair to say that the dropping numbers in the faithful throughout the country is also an act of God. YIKES! Makes my head spin,

Matt_the_Hed
04-15-2010, 11:58 AM
I think you are building a huge argument based on textual criticism and making huge leaps to include raping children. That has never been viewed as acceptable. Not referring to your Timothy passage but there are lots of accounts of acts in the Bible that are examples of what not to do. It's like a newspaper in the sense while it's true that the crime was committed it doesn't mean go out and commit this crime.

Religion is by definition a manmade construct to understand and relate to God. There are always those who will twist and warp the construction to their own ends. When those efforts are squashed or denounced that doesn't change the truth it simply removes an obstacle to the truth.

If we are going to discuss things out of the Bible it fair to say that anyone can quote it and use it to their own ends. Satan quotes scripture to Jesus when he tempted him in the desert. That's the birth place of the Protestant Reformation. Taking the Bible out of the hands of people who weren't using correctly and putting it in the hands of the people so they could read for themselves. This is also huge part of our intellectual heritage, the people needed to be able to read for this to matter.

There is an interesting lecture on the TED website about an author who decided to live "Biblically" for a year. He wrote down every directive in the Bible and tried to follow it literally for a year. Look it up its pretty funny and interesting.

The Bible isn't to be read literally, entirely. It is a book made up of 66 other individually authored works. Most of the Old Testament made a transition from being oral records to written ones, meaning that the ones who penned them didn't necessarily author them. But regardless they are books of different genres, and they need to be read in light of those genres. Some are historical some are poetic while others (much of the New Testament) are letters written to groups of people in different locations.

If you went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a paperback with Fabio on the cover you and I wouldn't be friends anymore, first of all, second of all you would know exactly what you were in for, right. Can you say the same for the Bible? Not with out a hermeneutic or a way of understanding it. We have hermeneutics for everything on our society, from movies (what time of year they come out, to who is starring in them) to coffee.

The truth of God doesn't evolve with society. How we live in that truth in our time changes(i.e. technology) We meet that challenge by not just citing verses but learning what the whole counsel of God teaches throughout the Bible. For instance your verse from Timothy has a specific context and goes all the way back to Genesis. The context is basically who can teach the people of God about God. It doesn't have anything to do with teaching other things. It goes back to the first sin, which was not Eve's but rather Adam's. Adam was instructed to not eat of the fruit and it was his responsibility to convey that to Eve, and to make sure it didn't happen. It is Adam's silence that is the first sin. Paul later would refer to Christ as the second Adam, as one's disobedience brought death to all, so would One's obedience bring life to all. It's not the second Eve. What has been viewed and miss-taught as favoritism and sexism is really an admonishment to fulfill the role we were originally given.

This however is predicated that there is a difference between man and woman and that those differences were designed for different (not better or more important) roles.

This is predicated on the belief that we were created and created with a design by an intelligent creator, outside of ourselves.

It's not circular but it is intertwined and very difficult to address on a line by line manner.

Matt_the_Hed
04-15-2010, 12:03 PM
I don't know/understand much about Hinduism, any one willing to enlighten me?

Jitterbug
04-15-2010, 04:49 PM
Granted, the leap to raping kids was an antagonizing thing to write, but there was a thought there that I didn't follow through with. My point was that if the alteration of Religion in our society is a reflection of God's desire, then the backlash that the church is feeling due to the Pedophile Priests is also a reflection of his wishes. As people become disheartened with the people that 'supposedly' represent God, perhaps it is God himself trying to say, "These people don't represent me. Stop listening to them." And perhaps, what he wants to see is the dissolution of organized religion and the adoption of free thought and communities built upon the desire to love one another purely for the fact that we are all brothers, not because we believe exactly the same things.

As the internet begins to connect more and more people across the world, and international business begins to meld our corporate "governments," we will be forced to give up the things that we use to draw such ignorant definitions, such as: "I believe in THIS God." "Well, I think you're wrong and I believe in THIS God."

Nipples
04-16-2010, 12:56 AM
I don't know/understand much about Hinduism, any one willing to enlighten me?

I have a few Hindu friends and, from what I can tell, it is a broad/free conceptual "umbrella" of beliefs. Depending on what/how you were brought up is the main influence on your traditions, but overall it is a hugely diverse system of thought and beliefs that encompass everything from monotheism to polytheism and even atheism. Some accept one god, or gods, or none, or even just plain old "chosen ones" to worship.

Karmic law is a major tenant, of which is the control bound to free will and destiny, which will ultimately affect your imminent reincarnation life after life. These lives are lived by some with hopes to be born again to fully experience all sensations of an expendable life while others do their best to escape Samara (the cycle of life/death/rebirth) in order to finally unite with the cosmic spirit of the universe.

There is truly a LOT to learn in regards to Hinduism. A good starting point if you are truly interested would be to pick/look up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. This is a very sacred Hindu scripture of which is said to be taught by Krishna (the manifestation of GOD himself) and will give you a look a little deeper into Hinduism beliefs.


Hmmm, for being a skinny Polish ninja I sure knew more about Hinduism than I thought.

Qwaint
04-16-2010, 12:42 PM
I find it amazing how people pick and chose which parts of the Bible to follow and believe in. It's a book of "the words of the Lord" first written by many authors, a long long time ago, in a pretty much dead language. It has since then been modernized and translated over and over.
Here follows something I like to bring out whenever christians use the book to hate people.


"Why Can't I Own a Canadian?

October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging."


Shamelessly copied from http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

Matt_the_Hed
04-18-2010, 04:29 AM
My point was that if the alteration of Religion in our society is a reflection of God's desire, then the backlash that the church is feeling due to the Pedophile Priests is also a reflection of his wishes. As people become disheartened with the people that 'supposedly' represent God, perhaps it is God himself trying to say, "These people don't represent me. Stop listening to them." And perhaps, what he wants to see is the dissolution of organized religion and the adoption of free thought and communities built upon the desire to love one another purely for the fact that we are all brothers, not because we believe exactly the same things. __________________

That is a more helpful response, thank you. If we operate with the understanding that religeon is a manmade orginzed system of practices centered around beliefs, then there should be a constant evolution of that religeon as it comes closer and closer to actually, truthfully reflecting those beliefs. I believe that you are right in saying that there are those who shouldn't be listened to and they prove it every day. Your line about these people don't represent me don't listen to them
Is spot on. But that also means that there is the possibility that there are some who do represent Him and should be listened to. This is the pursuit of truth, which we all should be engeged in. I was thankful for the responses to the thread about assumptions. I believe that you personally are one who has come to your conclusions out of pursuit of truth, not simply a knee jerk reaction to false teachers.

One of the core teachings of the Bible is that we are all brothers and that as children of God we all hold the same status, require the same repsect and are all bearers of His image. This status does not change based on our beliefs. I believe you reflect God as much as I do. Therefore I must treat you this way.

The fundamental problem with your last part, which sounds great ( no sarcasm), is us. Regardless of what you believe we all know we are flawed. It is my beliefs that help me rise above those flaws and love more people as brothers than I am capable on my own.

Matt_the_Hed
04-18-2010, 04:30 AM
Nipples thank you for your response!

Matt_the_Hed
04-18-2010, 04:35 AM
Qwaint, I'm not sure if you are asking something or just criticizing.

Qwaint
04-18-2010, 10:35 AM
Qwaint, I'm not sure if you are asking something or just criticizing.


No, I'm not asking anything, I did copy/paste a thoughtworthy letter sent to a radioshow host.