1. Hmmm . . .
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    28 Dec '08 07:111 edit
    Jaywill wrote the following in another thread, and it triggered a line of questioning that I have been considering:

    Jaywill: “If some impressionable mind is caused to disbelieve in Christ and thus perish because I taught them to disbelieve the Bible, their blood could be my head.”

    Now, the question is this (and this could be applied to some other religions as well, I think): Does it matter why a person does or does not believe in Christ?

    What if what Jaywill—or anybody else—believes about the bible is wrong? Does God just want people to believe Jaywill (or whoever)?

    What exactly is an “unimpressionable mind”? A mind that is not impressed by reason or experience? Do evangelists try to impress impressionable minds or unimpressionable minds?

    If the reasons that a person is exposed to, for example, are so irrational that no reasonable person could accept them, who is it that bears whatever condemnation results from disbelief? Suppose that person’s reasoning capability is such that she could not honestly accept the reasons given, even if someone else might? Does God take such things into account?

    If a person has been so conditioned, enculturated and, essentially, programmed from youth to believe—so that, even if occasionally questioned, such belief is as reinforced akin to a post-hypnotic suggestion—is such a belief as efficacious for salvation as one arrived at freely through reason and experience?

    Many parents seem dedicated to inculcating belief in their children as strongly as possible, lest those children one day lose their belief. How does something like that jibe with claims that God wants people to freely choose him?

    Would God accept someone who actually has been hypnotized to believe in him (and accept Christ as “lord and savior” ), while rejecting someone who did not believe on rational grounds?

    Would God want anyone—at least anyone who has reached the “age of reason”—to accept him without, or in spite of, good reason?

    Many Christians on here seem to take the view that “if you don’t believe, then you’re not saved”—with absolutely no regard for the reasons or nature of a conclusion to disbelief. Does that mean that the nature and reasons for their belief is irrelevant as well?

    Can there be any “bad” (unjustified) reasons for believing? Can there be any “good” (justified) reasons for disbelieving? Does God care? Does God prefer an ill-informed believing to a well-informed disbelieving? Does God prefer a dishonest, deluded or self-deceptive believing to an honest disbelieving?

    If someone makes a claim about God (or Jesus, or the Bible) that seems to some of us unreasonable, does God not want such claims to be challenged?

    _____________________________________________________

    Some theists seem to take a kind of smug and self-righteous comfort in believing that anyone who challenges their reasons-for-belief is simply perversely guided by hidden agendas, deceitful motivations, sinful desires. Some seem incapable of entertaining the notion that their beliefs—whether or not ultimately correct—might be based on ill-formed considerations that ought to be rejected by anyone who recognizes them as such.

    I do not think that whatever I could apply the “G-word” to is anything like what many theists on here claim that God is.

    Are not some theists really claiming that what I should believe is—them? What they say the scriptures say? What they claim “God” is?

    __________________________________________________________

    Well, that ought to be a sufficient range of questions to fuel some discussion.
  2. Standard memberblack beetle
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    28 Dec '08 11:48
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Jaywill wrote the following in another thread, and it triggered a line of questioning that I have been considering:

    Jaywill: “If some impressionable mind is caused to disbelieve in Christ and thus perish because I taught them to disbelieve the Bible, their blood could be my head.”

    Now, the question is this (and this could be applied to some other reli ...[text shortened]... _____________

    Well, that ought to be a sufficient range of questions to fuel some discussion.
    Discussion seems to me meaningless. It is enough for the individual to realise that s/he must not conceive in her/ his mind any arbitrary conceptions regarding "god"
  3. Donationrwingett
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    28 Dec '08 11:55
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Jaywill wrote the following in another thread, and it triggered a line of questioning that I have been considering:

    Jaywill: “If some impressionable mind is caused to disbelieve in Christ and thus perish because I taught them to disbelieve the Bible, their blood could be my head.”

    Now, the question is this (and this could be applied to some other reli ...[text shortened]... _____________

    Well, that ought to be a sufficient range of questions to fuel some discussion.
    This is essentially a variation on Pascal's Wager, whereby christians claim they risk nothing by believing and everything by not. Part of the reason why this is a bad argument is that they unjustifiably assume that their own particular set of beliefs are necessarily the right ones. They're not. It may be that there is a god who is pleased by honest debate and who views blind faith as being abhorrent. In that scenario Jaywill is leading impressionable minds to perdition. With all the innumerable religious systems that human minds have concocted over the centuries, there is no reason to assume that any one of them is correct.
  4. Joined
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    28 Dec '08 11:571 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Jaywill wrote the following in another thread, and it triggered a line of questioning that I have been considering:

    Jaywill: “If some impressionable mind is caused to disbelieve in Christ and thus perish because I taught them to disbelieve the Bible, their blood could be my head.”

    Now, the question is this (and this could be applied to some other reli ...[text shortened]... _____________

    Well, that ought to be a sufficient range of questions to fuel some discussion.
    Interesting questions and lots too!

    I believe salvation is a matter of faith leading to spiritual rebirth. Not of adherence to dogma, brainwashing or compliance with religious technicalities, such has the sacrament etc. Jesus said, "Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God". Salvation is spiritual not cognitive.

    Faith is not the same thing as believing, although they go hand in hand; believing comes through faith, faith is God given and is the enabler, the supernatural energy of belief if you like. This theme runs through the whole bible and is summed up in "without faith it is impossibe to please god". Because without faith it is impossible to believe God no matter what your background, education, dissability or religion. Faith works out through belief and is witnessed in good works in the name of Jesus.

    Believing in the common sense, is a more cognitive activity steming initially from knowledge or information of the Gospel. In Romans 10 it says: "How can they call on him whom they have not believed - how can they believe without hearing - and faith comes by hearing the word of God". So, to believe "in your heart", is to be convinced to your core, and is faith enabled, and results in a change of mind (believing) and behaviour, together with the courage and conviction to profess the name of Jesus in face of unbelief, scorne and cynicism.

    All our minds are impressionable surely. How else would we learn and adapt? But we should confident in the Lord: 2 Tim 2:19, Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are his. And, let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Jesus warned against causing any of his "children" to fall in Matthew 18.

    "The Lord knows them that are his". The key is to be "known" by the Lord, rather than to claim to know him for whatever reason or background. That is the important diffrence between religious assosiation and re-birth.

    Final point: I don't believe that anyone comes to God of thier own free will. (All have turned awayand are rotten to the core Rom 3:12) We are all called by God, in that calling is a measure of faith and we may choose not to come.

    I'm sure that hasn't addressed all your points vistesd, but hopefully it will add something to the debate.
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    28 Dec '08 15:091 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Jaywill wrote the following in another thread, and it triggered a line of questioning that I have been considering:

    Jaywill: “If some impressionable mind is caused to disbelieve in Christ and thus perish because I taught them to disbelieve the Bible, their blood could be my head.”

    Now, the question is this (and this could be applied to some other reli ...[text shortened]... _____________

    Well, that ought to be a sufficient range of questions to fuel some discussion.
    "What if what Jaywill—or anybody else—believes about the bible is wrong? Does God just want people to believe Jaywill (or whoever)?"

    Everybody, believes something, about what the Bible teaches, that is wrong.
    Understanding the truth about what the Bible teaches is acquired by the application of its' principles and precepts on the inner man.
    God wants us to believe Him and no one else.



    "What exactly is an “unimpressionable mind”? A mind that is not impressed by reason or experience? Do evangelists try to impress impressionable minds or unimpressionable minds?"

    Imo, an "unimpressionable" mind, is one that makes decisions based on reason and experience. I believe that only someone interested in self aggrandizement would pursue the impressionable.



    "If the reasons that a person is exposed to, for example, are so irrational that no reasonable person could accept them, who is it that bears whatever condemnation results from disbelief? Suppose that person’s reasoning capability is such that she could not honestly accept the reasons given, even if someone else might? Does God take such things into account?"

    If I understand what you mean, God will judge each individuals motive, and whether that person responded in "faith" based on the knowledge of the truth that person possesses.



    "If a person has been so conditioned, enculturated and, essentially, programmed from youth to believe—so that, even if occasionally questioned, such belief is as reinforced akin to a post-hypnotic suggestion—is such a belief as efficacious for salvation as one arrived at freely through reason and experience?"

    Aren't we all programed and conditioned to one degree or another? We spend or lives doing just that.
    But there are millions, billions of human beings that are unaware of their own conditioning. Such people are subject to false belief because they are unable or unwilling to examine the facts of their existence, and how and why they think and believe the way they do.

    The last part of your question is, I think, the point. We must all arrive at a decision based on reason. I can only speculate as to how God will judge those who "believe" without reason. I'm just glad it's not up to me.


    I'm out of time at the moment, but I will reply to the rest as soon as I can.
  6. weedhopper
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    28 Dec '08 18:15
    Since we are supposed to come to Jesus with innocence and wonder, like a child, I would say no, that "why" one believes becomes less important. But I'd need to do some research to be sure.
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    28 Dec '08 19:10
    Originally posted by rwingett
    This is essentially a variation on Pascal's Wager, whereby christians claim they risk nothing by believing and everything by not. Part of the reason why this is a bad argument is that they unjustifiably assume that their own particular set of beliefs are necessarily the right ones. They're not. It may be that there is a god who is pleased by honest debate a ...[text shortened]... ve concocted over the centuries, there is no reason to assume that any one of them is correct.
    its not just a matter of considering whether Christianity is correct, its simply a matter of considering the alternatives, for i think it was Conan Doyle who stated, that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?', thus in my own search after having read and questioned and listened to the alternatives i have found nothing that is even remotely superior nor have i ever heard a plausible alternative from any atheistic source, for they do not have one, just ask them, therefore this is my reason why, the alternatives are either doubt and confusion or certainty and solidity, for any truth is better than indefinite doubt.
  8. Donationrwingett
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    28 Dec '08 19:20
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    its not just a matter of considering whether Christianity is correct, its simply a matter of considering the alternatives, for i think it was Conan Doyle who stated, that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?', thus in my own search after having read and questioned and listened to the altern ...[text shortened]... r doubt and confusion or certainty and solidity, for any truth is better than indefinite doubt.
    "...for any truth is better than indefinite doubt."

    That's certainly a revealing statement. You'll grasp at anything that appears to provide you with truth, certainty and solidity. Never mind whether it's actually true or not. As long as it seems true, it's good enough for you. You're like a child who just wants their parent to reassure them that everything is going to be alright.
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    28 Dec '08 20:231 edit
    Originally posted by PinkFloyd
    Since we are supposed to come to Jesus with innocence and wonder, like a child, I would say no, that "why" one believes becomes less important. But I'd need to do some research to be sure.
    It's an interesting one isn't it. From the christianity viewpoint (and accepting others may have different perspectives), one thing is for sure, Jesus never demonstrated or gave any examples of rejecting people who came to him for help, but did look at thier heart and motivation.

    Examples amoungst others would be the rich young ruler who had everything, Jesus asked to sell everything he had. The woman with the blood infirmity who touched his cloak in faith and in desperation for healing, who took power out from him. The centurian who came to him in faith, and who he sent home to find his servant healed. The thief on the cross who in faith cried out on his death bed.

    Jesus is interested meeting people where they are, in thier problems, thier issues and their heartaches and in leading them into truth of himself. Not in the bondage or dogmas of the religious establishment.
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    28 Dec '08 22:46
    Originally posted by PinkFloyd
    Since we are supposed to come to Jesus with innocence and wonder, like a child, I would say no, that "why" one believes becomes less important. But I'd need to do some research to be sure.
    If we are to come to Jesus as a child, then 'why' would be the first thing off our lips, same as a child. 😉

    "Why" is absolutely essential in any spirituality. If anyone cannot answer the 'why' of a given spiritual belief or practice then they are not going to engage in that spiritual belief or practice. The reasoning of others will not matter if one cannot find their own reasoning.
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    28 Dec '08 23:214 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Jaywill wrote the following in another thread, and it triggered a line of questioning that I have been considering:

    Jaywill: “If some impressionable mind is caused to disbelieve in Christ and thus perish because I taught them to disbelieve the Bible, their blood could be my head.”

    Now, the question is this (and this could be applied to some other reli ...[text shortened]... _____________

    Well, that ought to be a sufficient range of questions to fuel some discussion.
    From the Christian perspective we are provided by Christ a parable which attempts to explore the mechanisms of belief/disbelief via the parable of the sower and the seed. The seed is represented as the "word" of God. Some flatly reject "the seed" altogether because they do not understand it. Christ attributes this to peoples hearts waxing gross or their ears are dull of hearing etc. However, some accept the "seed" for a time but allow riches/cares of the world come in and choke the new growth out much like a vine would. Still others accept it for a time but forsake it due to persecution and without root the seed withers and dies. However some receive the seed on "good" ground as they hear it, understand it, and withstands persecutions/tribulations/doubt and it begins to produce "fruit". This can be found in Matthew 13.

    So from Christ's analysis, the condition of ones "heart" seems to have a great deal to do with whether or not the "seed" produces fruit. In other words, does your faith produce the desired goal?

    Now as for determining who is saved and who is not, I do not trouble myself in assessing this. All I do is point to what I know is the "right" way to go in terms of morals/beliefs/faith etc. We all have this even if we say we don't know but, at the same time, refuse to believe that any one person may have the answers. As for myself, I point to Christ as the salvation for everyone whether they may have known him or not. For example, those who died before he came to earth such as Abraham, Moses, etc, I believe were ultimately saved by the cross. So whet of those who have never heard the gospel after Christ came? What of those deceived not to believe? Only God knows such answers.

    As for indoctrination, the Bible says that we should teach children to go in the way they should go and they will not depart from it. So does this mean that children will posses the same faith that their parents instill in them no matter the religion in question? No, however, it increases their chances. When it is all said and done the children will some day be "tested" in terms of whether the "seed" produces fruit. Now is this fair to other children devoid of being taught the truth? All I can say is that nothing is fair. It is as fair as a mother who chooses to abuse drugs during her pregnancy only to see her child suffer intellectually from it the rest of their life. It is as fair as a child who is abused continually and then grows up and does the same to their offspring. Like it or not, the fate and welfare of a soul brought into this world is largely determined by the choices the parents make. Is this fair? No, but it is the way it is.
  12. Donationrwingett
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    29 Dec '08 02:48
    Originally posted by whodey
    From the Christian perspective we are provided by Christ a parable which attempts to explore the mechanisms of belief/disbelief via the parable of the sower and the seed. The seed is represented as the "word" of God. Some flatly reject "the seed" altogether because they do not understand it. Christ attributes this to peoples hearts waxing gross or their e ...[text shortened]... the choices the parents make. Is this fair? No, but it is the way it is.
    Does Jesus not say, in Matthew 25:31-46, that eternal life is reserved for those who fed, clothed, and welcomed the least among us? While eternal punishment and eternal fire are reserved for those who did not do those things? It seems quite clear that works and not faith are the criteria for salvation. It doesn't matter what you claim to believe, but how you live your life that matters.
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    29 Dec '08 03:16
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Does Jesus not say, in Matthew 25:31-46, that eternal life is reserved for those who fed, clothed, and welcomed the least among us? While eternal punishment and eternal fire are reserved for those who did not do those things? It seems quite clear that works and not faith are the criteria for salvation. It doesn't matter what you claim to believe, but how you live your life that matters.
    Tell that to the thief on the cross who died next to Jesus. Of course, you could argue that he did "good" works before he was caught as a thief I suppose, but that is a bit of a stretch.

    To say that those who go to eternal punishment do not do "good" works is a far cry from saying that ALL those who never did a "good" work never go to heaven.
  14. Hmmm . . .
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    29 Dec '08 04:52
    Originally posted by Badwater
    If we are to come to Jesus as a child, then 'why' would be the first thing off our lips, same as a child. 😉

    "Why" is absolutely essential in any spirituality. If anyone cannot answer the 'why' of a given spiritual belief or practice then they are not going to engage in that spiritual belief or practice. The reasoning of others will not matter if one cannot find their own reasoning.
    If we are to come to Jesus as a child, then 'why' would be the first thing off our lips, same as a child.

    Despite the wink, I think this is a valid point. When people talk of the faith of a child, that could mean childlike acceptance, childlike gullibility, or childlike questioning and ongoing exploration—depending, perhaps on the age of the child.

    Why should continuing inquiry be considered unfaithful by anyone?

    As for your other comments, I of course agree.
  15. Hmmm . . .
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    29 Dec '08 05:11
    Originally posted by divegeester
    Interesting questions and lots too!

    I believe salvation is a matter of faith leading to spiritual rebirth. Not of adherence to dogma, brainwashing or compliance with religious technicalities, such has the sacrament etc. Jesus said, "Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God". Salvation is spiritual not cognitive.

    Faith is ...[text shortened]... sed all your points vistesd, but hopefully it will add something to the debate.
    Well, in a sense, it was one question, asked from a number of angles.

    I agree that faith and belief (in the conventional, cognitive sense) are not the same thing. That conventional, cognitive sense was not necessarily the meaning of “belief” when the Bible was translated into English. But I use the word “belief” strictly in that sense.

    However one acquires belief, it seems to me that some belief must precede faith: one cannot place trust in what one finds no reason to believe.

    I do not see any epistemic warrant for admitting the supernatural category: that is, I don’t think that appeals to the supernatural have any explanatory value. Suppose one actually has an experience of the supernatural (some revelatory experience, let’s say): that person still needs to make sense of it for themselves. They may draw on other sources to form an explanation, but they still have to do that. Neither the force nor the content of the experience can be decisive, or else nobody would ever be fooled by a mirage.
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