If we evolved and religion evolved - what’s actually true and how would we know?

The only quality that leads to eternal life is faith in Jesus, and even that is a gift, not a ‘works righteousness’, do it yourself, that you are espousing.

Did you mean to say there that you find it hard to believe a first rate mind would have done that? [Double negatives … we warn our students not to avoid staying away from those!]

I know nothing about him - for all I know he does have a first-rate mind. Such things don’t inoculate anybody from being influenced by all manner of cognitive biases.

addendum: [yeah - I read your original words too hastily. The mis-reading was all mine. Sorry.]


Or unexamined presuppositions. You can have a powerful computer, but if it’s garbage in, it’s garbage out.

Wot evva. I don’t obviously. But I know it when I see it. A first rate mind that has therefore ruthlessly examined its presuppositions. We’ll see.

I think there is truth in both of these and error (or at least a potential for misleading people) also. In both of these there is question that unravels them.

First the error/problem in what Ani99 says: How much ethical fiber does it take? Jesus says, “You must be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” There is no room at all for sin in heaven. None. Zero. Sin is degenerative and it will consume everything of value within you. So how can you bring any of it into heaven. It is impossible.

Now the error/problem in what Dale says: What is faith in Jesus? Talk? A statement of belief? Identifying with some ideological group? Knowing the secret handshake password? No. No. No. and No. So just as the problem with Ani99 statement was the missing word “perfect”, it is Dale’s addition of the word “only” which makes his words fall on their face. There is nothing “only” about an authentic faith in Jesus. Faith without works is dead – if it is just empty words which doesn’t alter your entire mode of being, then it is nothing at all – pure garbage.

So it is quite true what Ani99 says when we add the word “perfect” – perfect ethical fiber is the deciding factor – that is indeed what it takes. And it is quite true what Dale says (without the “only”), that what leads to eternal life is faith in Jesus. “But how do you know?,” asks the rich man in Matthew 19. “Where is my assurance – my guarantee that I have done enough?” That would be in the garbage can where he discarded his faith. Faith isn’t about assurances that you have done enough. Read Romans 10. Faith doesn’t ask that question, but goes over blindly into doing what is right always without limit and without looking for a payback. The law of God has to be written on your heart.


The thief on the cross may disagree. True faith necessitates a changed heart. Should life continue, what you say is not pure garbage, but you appear to eliminate the reality of ‘deathbed conversions’.

So you think he was lying when he said, “Do you not fear God, since we are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds.” You seem to have the two thieves confused.

Exactly! And therein is the transformation of your entire mode of being.

If life continues and it is only what you say, then yes it is empty words and pure garbage.

??? The question remains the same: “what is a faith in Jesus?” Pascal’s wager? No, that is the rich man in Matthew 19. That is NOT a changed heart!

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If the thief had been mute?

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What about the other guy?

No one, with extremely rare exceptions (prophets) can have perfect ethical fiber. Everyone can make a mistake. After all the word “sin” in the Bible comes from the Greek “amartia”, which literally means “missing the mark”.

From what I am seeing this is not what it is about. The argument is made that “when we accept Jesus as our Savior, God forgives all our sins: past, present, and future.”
Hebrews 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

God is said to be ready to forgive any sin when the person confesses their sin to a priest (acting on God’s behalf). So they are still a sinner, but their forgiveness is contingent upon their confession. So once they accept Jesus as their savior, their sin does not separate the sinner from fellowship with the Father because Christianity says Jesus has paid for that sin. And to get that payment assured the sin has only to be confessed. So where is the “perfect”?

By the way that Paul talks you can sin again, no problem, you just got to confess it / earn up to it. This is Mickey Mouse in my book. There is also no real definition between sin and transgressions. A person, who commits a violent crime is still only a sinner. And on confession it is wiped clean. It does not take into account that a person, who commits a violent crime, has no conscience and no empathy.

This is where a lot of people lose their faith because the matter of taking Jesus as savior doesn’t really change anything. It lumps the sheep in with the wolves. And it doesn’t account for the crimes other than they have to admit to them.

A person doesn’t have to be perfect. Forgiveness of sins (note: not transgressions), comes not only with confession, but also a change of heart / remorse AND with a wanting to make amends. That is to say the person doesn’t have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to make amends. If there is only confession then there is nothing perfect anyway.

The problem arises because the Romans had a lot to do with creating the Christian faith and they did it for their own reasons.

That doesn’t require taking Jesus as a savior. It is the same for anyone of any religion.

A changed heart means loving Jesus. You can’t know who God really is without him.

He was an insulter and a mocker.

I don’t think that’s what he’s saying, do you?
6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Good book to assess Romans is Beverly Gaventa, “When in Romans”–also the “New View on Paul” (see also Scot McKnight). Paul is Jewish, and realizes from the beginning, we’ve had to rely on grace (only obtained from real repentance; admitting you did something wrong isn’t that). That’s his argument, not that we don’t have to own up and admit something.
I have a lot to say to Paul myself when we get to Heaven. However, these 2 sources helped me a lot.

Agree. Thanks.

And? Where is he now?

Romans 6:5-10 (NIV2011)
5 For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Paul tells us that people are freed from the power of sin when they repent from their old ways and turn to Jesus so their old self is crucified with Jesus on the4 cross through baptism, and resurrected with Jesus into new life with God.

We turn from faith in ourselves and our world to the right relationship in Jesus and God through grace and the Holy Spirit when we accept God’s forgiveness and put out trust in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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He also was not speaking the truth to himself.

…see if you can deduce the answer, rationally:

O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?
    Who may dwell on Your holy mountain?

He who walks with integrity and practices righteousness,
    who speaks the truth in his heart.

The perfection Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5:28 is not about making mistakes – it is about sin. And sin is not about disobedience or breaking rules. Sin consists of self-destructive habits.

But even so… it is still correct that nobody is without sin (even the prophets). And that is the whole point! That is ultimately what is behind Dale’s objection and my endorsement of that objection. He goes too far, but he is still making a valid point. It is simply not enough to simply look at your neighbors and think since you are better than they are then you must be ok. That is how the Pharisees were thinking and Jesus had nothing but condemnation for them. That was the whole point of the parable in Luke 18:

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other

Far more important than how we compare to others is our willingness to see our sin and repent. Because we all have sin, and it is a spiritual killer.

Jesus demonstrated that God is willing to forgive sins at the drop of a hat – and all this to do about needing some fancy song and dance is all nonsense. The problem was never getting God to forgive us the problem is the sin which remains like a degenerative illness destroying us. Thus Jesus constantly said… “your sins are forgiven, so go and sin no more.”

So why the song and dance with confessions to a priest and Jesus on a cross? It is because cheap forgiveness ends up doing more harm than good when it comes to what is really important part and that is getting rid of the sin that is killing us in the first place. It like taking aspirin for a cancer.

That is the end of a long and difficult process of sanctification by the work of God upon us, slicing our sins out of our body, mind, and spirit.

In the sense of making no mistakes? No we do not. Quite the contrary. Mistakes are how we learn. But the self-destructive habits of sin actually prevent us from learning from our mistakes.

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So what? Where is he now?

Not up to the challenge? It’s not that difficult. :slightly_smiling_face:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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