Were humans created with a sinful nature?

I see. Thanks; are you using a ‘two model’ terminology to make a point?

That is not what Vinnie was saying and this claim is absurd in the extreme.

We know what Vinnie meant because we have read James and know what was said in that book of the Bible… that “faith without works is dead.” Not a single word in James about Christianity being something you can’t analyze intellectually.

Since there are graduate degrees in theology and Biblical studies the claim is just absurd. Again I am reminded of creationists, who frankly just don’t want there to be a scientific explanation of the origin of the species. It seems that you don’t want Christianity to be something you can analyze intellectually, dissect, and study it. Or why would you say something so contrary to the plain evidence of the last 2000 years?

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When I make a mistake, I’m quite happy to admit and learn from it. I’d rather be corrected here in an anonymous forum than in front of a group of other people.

If scripture was clear, why is there so much disagreement about its interpretation between academics and church leaders, who have spent decades trying to understand it.

Younsaid he requires for us tl be patient. Patient for what?

There are other points, but the main one for these discussions is the theological issue that YECism has with its ‘perfect’ creation argument against good science, old earth and preexisting death. The first creation was subjected to futility… by design, from before it was created and before death and sin occurred.

Who said anything about scripture being clear? Not me. Nor did I say there was no differences from other fields of study like science. I certainly think there are, and have spoken about them in many places like here and here and here. And I have little doubt that someone used to science like I am might find religion difficult by comparison. I do. With a masters degree in physics and a master degree from a theological seminary, I am well aware of those differences. How about you Anthony? Have you done any intellectual analysis in academia on some some subject? What was it (might help us understand what sort of intellectual analysis you are trained in)?

Pretty much everything. But we have to work hard and do our part and not sit on our hands all the time, expecting him to dispense what we want like a vending machine. If we don’t, of course we can expect issues and shouldn’t be blaming him!

Part of the reason is so that we will learn the difference between what we want and what we really need. What we really need is him himself. Do a search in a Bible app or an online Bible source about “wait for the Lord” and ‘patience’ or ‘patient’. He is patient with us!!

Huh. Just saw this:

July 13 - 365PROMISES

Anthony, I’d like to try to answer this in terms of what I’ve come to understand about the position espoused here combined with my own take on things as a non Christian.

I don’t think it necessary to believe we were created with that design feature in mind in order to find value in the Christian worldview. Being science literate I think most of the Christians on this site would be willing to allow that humans evolved from a common ancestor with all other life on the planet. Life is essentially a self organizing process so ‘our nature’ includes emotional, defensive and aggressive responses which are part of our common heritage with most of the life on this planet. So the Christian message can be thought of as involving a call to rise above the more destructive elements of our nature and to channel instead the voice what is envisioned/conceptualized as God (more often in the person of Jesus). You suggest that salvation is there to sweeten the deal, and I’ve certainly heard plenty of Christians say as much. But it isn’t a necessary belief and I know some here who don’t look at it that way.

To my way of thinking an afterlife is not to be had. Though lately I’ve begun to question one assumption I’ve always held as rock solid, that consciousness is a biological process arising in the brain in the same way digestion arises in the GI tract. But the new book Iain McGilchrist is coming out with challenges that assumption. This is a short teaser video which gives a sense of the argument.

This matters because I do take the question of what gives rise to God belief seriously even though I don’t find God or gods generally as person-like beings with special powers at all likely and I frankly don’t think there was any divine hand in in creation whatsoever, a POV I don’t share with any of my friends at this site. The sense I make of it is that there is something intrinsic to our consciousness which makes God belief tempting and potentially useful. Essentially I think our minds produce an enduring sense of self without our focused participation. Perhaps the utility of God belief is as a way of tapping into the intuitive/creative parts of our mind. I don’t think it is necessary or universally sufficient but it may have helped us to get where we are today. I don’t agree with my fellow atheists who glibly dismiss God belief as a failed explanatory principle. That can be true for some but I prefer not to judge a tree by its lowest lying, poorest fruit.

Yes I agree - the creation was declared good as it fulfilled its purpose (perfect in that qualified sense). I think that there is one model that God created from nothing as a gift. The new earth and heaven are yet to be and this too will perfectly fulfil its purpose.

I think you misunderstood my point. Its not only that religious texts like the bible aren’t clear. The problem is that you have no mechanism for determining what probably corresponds to reality and what is superstitious nonsense. How you you test whether any of the supernatural claims of the bible are likely true or not?

Based on the logic in some of your posts, I find that hard to believe

If you must know, I’m an actuary

I’m not sure what you’re saying there, exactly – I think maybe you’re using ‘model’ somewhat differently than I. What I meant by model is a conceptual model – there are two creations in it. (I could have said ‘plan’, to the dismay of any Arminians among us :slightly_smiling_face:, but that’s a whole 'nother topic). You could still say that model is a gift to us, though.

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Yes I agree. I think you can find many things of value in Christianity. But for the purposes of this post, I’m more interested in what is true than what is useful.

Please can you explain what you mean? My point in this post didn’t depend on whether we can gain salvation or not?

Consciousness is not yet well understood and I’m not a metaphysical naturalist. So I agree with your sentiments that we should keep an open mind.

Are you an pantheist?

How so?

Based on the logic in your posts, I find that easy to believe. It was becoming more and more obvious that you had little understanding of real science. Instead it was a name you had plastered over your philosophy of naturalism probably because the religion of your childhood taught you that these were the same thing. But surely you must realize that the religion of your childhood is very poor source for understanding what science is.

Being an actuary seems like a good fit for an atheist to me. Isn’t it all about going for the best bet according to the numbers? Reminds me of Pascal’s wager which something I refute here and here.

Of course. Science and naturalism are not the same thing at all. But the facts are easy to verify for someone who really wants to know. Just as it is pretty easy to find the scientific research I have participated in.

So what is science then… really?

Science is an activity which follows procedural ideals in which your subjective beliefs are irrelevant. That is why people from all over the world in different cultures and religions have been able to take part in the work of science. These procedural ideals are…

  1. procedural honesty is achieved by testing hypotheses and accepting the results.
  2. procedural objectivity is achieved by giving the results of science in the form of written procedures which anyone can follow to get the same result no matter what you may want or believe.

Following these procedural ideals gives one a reasonable expectation that others should accept the results of science.

The methodology you have been using is that of rhetoric, which is the dominant methodology of human civilization, used in religion, politics, courts of law, and in the marketplace. To be sure it uses the principles of logic. But logic will only take you from premises you choose to accept to the conclusions which follow from them. And thus it can be used to support nearly anything – you just search for the premises which give you the conclusion you want.

A deft use of rhetoric is a poor measure of whether one is a good scientist. That has more to do with good lawyers, politicians, salesmen, and preachers. Rhetoric is a good tool for debate but has no place in the work of scientific inquiry. And I don’t have that much interest in debate, no more than I have much interest in politics, sales, or preaching. Rhetoric may be an important tool for running the world and most of its activities but it is a very poor tool for getting at the truth. And I get particularly impatient with the dishonest tactics frequently used in rhetoric which displays very little interest in the truth.

…might be because God is. The relationship of mind and matter and the notion of panpsychism could be because of something quantum mechanics might be hinting at, and that is that the fundamental reality of the universe is information. The mind of God fits that bill quite nicely. Panpsychism is just a futile attempt to keep God out of the equation, be it an actuarial one or one in junior high math.

Its hard to understand your drivel, but I’ll try…

That may be true, but I still know more about evolution than you do.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here? I subscribe to methodological naturalism. Your sarcasm suggests that you reject such a position, which would be weird for someone who describes themselves as a scientist?

Huh? Why do you think an atheist would care if you refuted an argument to believe in god? LOL! Or are you expecting me to be impressed by it?

I don’t understand what part of my posts you are objecting to. Don’t you know what a deductive argument is? In the OP of each of my topics, I effectively said “if I make these assumptions, then this is my conclusion because…” and then invited others to criticize it. If you disagree with my assumptions or logic, then of course you will disagree with my conclusions. Have you never used a mathematical model before? If you did, then you should understand this concept very well. Ive tried to explain this more than once, but you seem to be struggling to get it. Instead you accuse me of creating straw-man arguments? LOL!

That is what I meant. Intellectual knowledge doesn’t save anyone. And babies and children who die young, people who never heard and possibly some mentally handicapped people can’t get past this initial step. I find it dubious that one’s salivation is predicated on them, in this life, making that first intellectual step and accepting some Christian ideology in order to avoid hell.

Furthermore, you can have a personal relationship with God without knowing or accepting Christian doctrine. It might be in another faith. Or maybe you only understand a small piece of God through the natural world and you latch onto it even though you don’t know it. To me, God is the transcendent yet imminent creator of the universe. There are more ways to having a relationship with the creator of the universe than through knowledge of his 1-4 year incarnation.

As I have said a few times on this forum, not only do some never hear but are born in a geographical location where enculturation makes it harder to accept the gospel message. To You g Jewish people in a concentration camp, Christianity may be associated with the third reich. To some scientists it may be associated with absurdly bad fundamentalist ideology that thinks the earth is 6,000 years old. To a historian it might be the presentation by many that the Bible must all be true or none of it can be accepted.

For me, God cares more about how we treat one another than what doctrines we espouse. Parts of Him can be known and loved by the Christian, the Jew, the Muslim, the Mormon, the Jehovah’s witness, the Buddhist and even quite possibly the atheist. I have no idea what is in people’s hearts or what the situation in their life, their upbringing and enculturation, but I strongly believe a Christianity which makes a knowledge of historical events a required first step for salvation is intellectually bankrupt. It is a great first step and we were commissioned to preach it to everyone for sure, but I can’t make a knowledge of historical events necessary for salvation. This is not to say many Christians don’t believe this or come across as believing this. They do. But certainly not all of us. Here is a link to some Papal statements on Islam from
The Church:


Certainly too many to just sit and read but perusing a few gives you a glimpse of the Church and Islam. I share many of those sentiments. I don’t doubt for a second that most Muslims worship the same God as Christians. Oddly enough, it’s probably a lot different than what many pew warmers think, but they are encouraging to me.

Well, I personally don’t believe we can be certain of anything. Philosophical skeptics left their mark on me. I still agree with Hume that there is no logical necessity involved in cause and effect. I believe that science is very good at discovering truth based on its methodology and predictive track record. But this does not mean it’s knowledge is absolutely certain or it provides the only method of knowing about the world nor are any of us going to live our lives solely by the “facts” of science. We all tend to desire certainty and indubitable knowledge because we are post-Enlightenment products and view the world in this fashion. For me it was what I deem an experience with God. Feeling his love and forgiveness is life-changing and to be honest, no amount of intellectual sparing can compete with that experience. All this debate is paltry in comparison. “Words. Words led out into battle against other words.” How can words ever compare to a genuine experience with the Creator of the universe? There is ultimately no proving Christianity. Just defending it to make it more palatable and to remove speed bumps and stumbling blocks. We are to spread the Gospel and it’s power doesn’t depend on God’s followers being able to prove it’s legitimacy. Thinking that is to lack faith in God. It’s not one of the many doors in life, it’s the hinge by which all doors work. Of course, some present a poor Gospel: “99% of the world will suffer unspeakable pain and torture in hell because they don’t believe what I believe.” They have turned the gospel, good news, into the complete opposite. It’s very bad news and a verse dealing with a millstone comes to mind for me.

They are most definitely real. I’d say The New Testament is pretty clear on the big picture of Jesus. But yes, some it is vague because it is mistakenly pushed and used as an encyclopedia of theological
And historical knowledge. It was written by men in a specific historical context and cultures and world views from 2,000-3500 years ago. God didnt sit down and write a book from a heavenly perspective. He used the thinking and mindset of the times to communicate with people. Personally, my model of inspiration is softer. I think he just nudged the authors this way or that way because on the face of it, the Bible looks purely human.

Why do I think the Bible is reliable and what do I mean by that? The primary purpose of the Bible is salvific. It’s purpose is to bring people to God through a knowledge of his Son. Given that reading it has helped the Church witness to billions of people who have been saved by its centra message, and that it’s the most widely read, most widely studied, most talked about and most printed work of all time, I’d say it has success in regards to its intended purpose. It is also meant to push us to do good deeds and live charitable. I believe this has happened as well, though none of this is to gloss over all the horrors of Christian history.

The Bible serves God’s intended purpose and that was definitely not leaving us an inflow vile encyclopedia of historical and theological knowledge. Nor was it giving us something that. Gives us all indubitable religious certainty.

Free will is all I can offer. The world is diverse and many people come from different cultures and will often get something different out of the Book. To me, there was always some diversity in the early church probably until closer to the middle ages. After the Protestant reformation with sola scripture and inerrant type thinking, the diversity bloomed again. For me, I think Christians have been too slow to recognize that there are different theologies in the Bible. They just latch on to verses that support what they believe (predestination vs free will, Arminianism vs Calvinism, end times beliefs, salvation and everything else). In addition, since the Bible is the most widely dispersed and widely studied and read book in the world, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is diversity in its interpretation on some key issues. The only ones that really matters to me are the incarnation of Jesus and the push to love your follow man. I don’t expect to gain secret knowledge of what the after life will be like from the Bible, I just share in the hope of its authors. I don’t follow all of its commands as no one should but some of it I read and it connects with me on a deep spiritual level. All the difficulties and cultured statements aside, there is a lot of God’s love expressed throughout the Bible. I certainly don’t profess to have all or most of the answers. I will stand by my statement that the fundamentalist portrait of Jesus is intellectually bankrupts. I feel the same way about Calvinism and sola scripture. It’s clear to me today that the most competent exegetes are allowing science and biblical criticism to influence their judgements on what the Bible is actually teaching. Yep, interpretation of parts of the Bible is subservient to these “secular” industries and modern conceptions of morality as created by fallen and sinful humans. I’m sure they will say they are just discovering “what the Bible originally meant to teach” but this is just ad hoc rationalization.


Oh? That sounds like the claim of an uneducated person. People at university don’t talk that way. The more they learn, the more they know how much they don’t know. They realize the foolishness of any one-dimensional measure because even a topic such as evolution goes in so many different directions. The uneducated person isn’t even aware and so they make such boasts on the basis of the most foolish ideas of what can measure such knowledge. What is yours? The number of Richard Dawkins books you have read? LOL

You know… it is becoming clear that you have a terrible habit of classifying people based only on the fact they disagree with you about something (jumping to absurd conclusions about whether than can be a scientist, have a masters degree in physics and now how much they know about a subject). How can you be so foolish? The more people know and the more they have been trained in the use skepticism the more they are likely to find disagreements with you on all sorts of issues and details. I would hope (though this is rapidly diminishing) that is not according to the even more foolish basis of treating discussions like this as some sort of team sport, where everyone on the opposing team must be assumed to be lacking in whatever virtue you can manage to think of.

How amusing. I describe myself in the same way. I wonder what you think that means.

The explanation of Rational Wiki on methodological naturalism is quite an eye-opener. It seems to be popular claim by creationists and the “Discovery Institute” these days. Nonsensical rhetoric, of course, and enough to probably make both of us wonder if we should avoid the label. But a more seasoned response is simply to realize that all such labels need some clarification as to what we mean by them.

When I use this term for myself I mean that will look for the explanations of things in terms of fixed laws and principles rather than dumping things into the black box of the unknowable will of some being like God. This is to be distinguished from philosophical or metaphysical naturalism where we simply assume that causal connections to beings like God (gods, demons, or spirits) simply do not exist. For a theist it means they think even God prefers to operate in a rational way according to fixed rules and principles rather than by changing whims and arbitrary dictates.

In my experience, most atheists have been more intelligent…

But unfortunately, the average intelligence and education of atheists has been dropping as it becomes more popular. As the crowd moves in a particular direction, that direction becomes more and more a herd mentality.

Indeed and I have used them in the work of scientific inquiry rather than just the work of an actuary. I put a great deal of reliance in mathematical models. For example I was recently explaining to MarkD…

LOL head shaking :roll_eyes:

You do believe, though, that knowledge of something is important?

“I will stand by my statement that the fundamentalist portrait of Jesus is intellectually bankrupts.”

What does a more accurate portrait of Jesus look like? Any thoughts along those lines?

“…on some key issues. The only ones that really matters to me are the incarnation of Jesus and the push to love your follow man.”

It seems that you do have knowledge of and appreciation for the knowledge that God was incarnated and that is important to you. Why is this knowledge important to you? Didn’t you also say that knowledge of any historic information is irrelevant?

Where do you find this “push to love your fellow man”?

“Furthermore, you can have a personal relationship with God without knowing or accepting Christian doctrine…”

Loving your fellow man is essential Christian doctrine. How do you know you can have a personal relationship with God? Why do you think God can be known personally?

I asked you questions the past couple days, but haven’t heard a peep. I consider your answers important for several reasons. You have a keen mind and give these matters a lot of thought so your responses will be informed. I think it is good for you to be pushed a little to keep fresh.

Seems like you don’t understand the difference between an absolute and relative claim. All I said was I know more about evolution than you do. Besides I’m not the one who feels the need to keep boasting about the degrees they have.

No, my deductions about your background have nothing to do with the fact that I disagree with you. It has everything to do with your poor reasoning skills. Where exactly did you get your masters in physics from, assuming you actually do have one? I’m quite sure Its not from a top rated university.

Really? How then did Christ “operate in a rational way according to fixed rules and principles” when he walked on water or rose from the dead? Or do you not believe these claims?

What do you mean?

And how is that supposed to demonstrate your claim?

“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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