What Would You Consider Your "Intellectual Reasons" for a Godly Belief?

(Mitchell W McKain) #21

It is also rather nasty and creepy. Children with old sinners crammed inside them? Sounds positively demonic. Horror movie stuff.

No… Jesus corrects this suggestion of Nicodemus (in jest) by explaining that being born again does not mean any such thing. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”

I think the problem there is the trivial legalistic requirements you are imagining for salvation. You should read Matthew 19 again, salvation is NOT by getting it right as if by works, salvation is by the grace of God!

Your apocatastasis sounds like an annihilation of free will. Not to mention a terrible burden on the living… with no escape from evil people ever because those guys just keep getting sent back – hell on earth from that deranged way of doing things. And you think that kind of insanity is going to help people change for the better any more than we see improvements in people from going to prison?

(Shawn T Murphy) #22

Dear Mitchell,
This is an intellectual thread, not an emotional one. Yes, the only way to achieve the kingdom of God is through Jesus, but this does not mean that Matthew 5 can be forgotten. Works alone cannot get you to Heaven, but you cannot get there without them.

What is your intellectual argument that explains the Grace of God for the billions that have lived without knowing Jesus - the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, and even the atheists? Is it fair that just because you had a Christian upbringing that you are saved, and the billions who did not perish? The Restoration of All Things is the only way I can intellectually justify being Christian, and at the same time justify the horrific lives that some people must live.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #23

There are Christians here who do manage to address that - even if it is just to recognize that we are all alike in the hands of a loving God regardless of which of those clubs we fancy ourselves to be members of. And we invoke God’s grace without needing to embrace extra-scriptural notions such as reincarnation. If that is one of your intellectual requirements to make sense of Matthew 5, then I propose you need to do some more study. The sermon on the mount is an important passage to take in - and I have many times. Never once has reincarnation been needed to make sense of it.

(GJDS) #24

The subject matter, “Intellectual reasons for Godly beliefs,” covers such a vast area of human existence that I hesitated at first, but this response may be a useful contribution to the discussion, as it mentions revelation, reason and goodness.

Theology is defined as the science of religion and the usage of the term includes the way arguments may be constructed ( via speculative philosophy), on matters pertaining to particular conceptions of God. The following summary is fairly typical …“theology may deal with dogmatic ascertains, or may be natural theology, or consist of arguments about God. Such activities include writings ranging from those discussing the Trinity (e.g. Athanasius and Gregory of Nyssen), dogmatic discussions such as of Aquinas, to the 20th-century theologians, such as Karl Barth. Theologians have endeavoured to construct theology as a science that radically differed from the natural and the human sciences because its ultimate subject, God, was not accessible to empirical investigation. Aquinas included in his theological system five proofs for the existence of God. Barth considered God’s freedom and revelation (communication of himself), as providing the understanding of God. In this way Barth believes one may avoid the danger of approaching God as an object of investigation”.

The problems of proofs for God’s existence have been discussed. When considering revelation, however a number of difficulties emerge. Even if it is agreed that we avoid considering God as an object for empirical investigation, we cannot reason that revelation may be within a range of phenomena that are human potentialities or of the human senses. We have ruled out objective-based activities such as found in the natural sciences. Revelation cannot be defined in a way that philosophy or science may argue and consider within the ideas of reason.

In making negative statements about the capabilities of human beings I need to show that my arguments are reasonable. It is not necessary for reason to be total in that an argument is absolute, but it is necessary for that which is reasoned to be coherent, reasonable, and believably true. Those aspects of reason and knowledge that are intuitive (and indeed all knowledge), are usually subjected to tests of falsification (theoretical) and verification (practical) in the sciences, and to criteria of reason in philosophical discussion. In my argument, reason needs to sustain the reasonableness of life, the goodness of life and the continuation of life. This is a matter for reason. It is not possible to reason goodness in life. It is possible for a person to consider the possibility of good in life, and this is usually through experience ( à posteriori) .

For revelation to be valid, the person being revealed unto needs to be able to respond, to reason, and to consider the revelation within his (context of) life. The meaning of God, which includes that of love and concern for all humanity, is provided by revelation and needs to be completely comprehensible. Since I understand all human life and reason to be within the freedom of birth, freedom of life, and freedom of thought (intent), revelation is also understood within freedom. The unreasonable part of the human condition is lack of freedom that finds its ultimate unreasonable condition in death.

It may be argued that the basis for revelation is self-awareness-life and in that reason springs spontaneously from self-life-awareness - the synthesis of coherent knowledge is a product of reason, and is not revelation. This argument may be developed into a major premise that equates revelation of the meaning of God with a meaning of, and within, self-awareness-life. Briefly, such meaning is the goodness that God provides to life. This goodness is completely so and is synonymous with the Holy Spirit. Reason may respond to revelation rather than synthesise an idea of revelation. In general I believe reason responds via the ideal. This should not to be confused with idealism. Any reasonable person may respond to revelation in this manner. Some may communicate this ideal in almost illiterate ways, while others may communicate this ideal with great elegance. The response of reason, nonetheless, is of the same content (meaning), that can be summarised by the love that fills the heart, soul and mind of the person, in response to the revelation of God. This ideal, the response of reason to revelation, is consistent with life-awareness-self and is thus life-giving. Such a response includes the response to the Word of God, which provides an increased awareness of God and includes the goodness that results in life from God. Such a response is due to the Holy Spirit guiding reason rather than a scholastic analysis of words, even if these words are found in the Bible. Freedom is the framework for the possibilities of goodness to reason on an individual level (thus singular and multiple possibilities) and on the social level (thus general possibilities). Revelation of God is reasonable as reason spontaneously responds to revelation (is not coerced), is founded within the goodness of life from God, and is comprehended within such goodness.

(Shawn T Murphy) #25

Dear Mervin,
Both you and @mitchellmckain address only one aspect of my point. I have found no logical explanation that strings together all requirements that Jesus describes:

  • Not one will be lost! ( Luke 15:4-5 ) and even the Prodigal Son will be celebrated when he finally comes home ( Luke 15:11-32 ) AND
  • We must repay our debts to the last farthing ( Matt 5:21-26 ) and become perfect as God created us ( Matthew 5:43-48 ). We need to learn to love our neighbors and eventually our enemies before we have become perfect. AND
  • While the only way to gain eternal life is by believing that Jesus is the King of Heaven. ( John 3:15 )

For me, Christianity today has no logical theory that solves all three of these conditions simultaneously. Just because the Apocatastasis was declared anathema in 543 AD does not mean reincarnation or dualism is extra-scriptural, it just means that doctrine forces Christians to look for other explanations to the biblical references to reincarnation, of which there are many, including the second coming of Elijah (Mal. 4:5, Matt. 16:13-14 and 17:10-13, Mark 9:11-13, Mark 6:14-16, John 1:19-21).

(Mervin Bitikofer) #26

Orthodox Christianity has done “just fine” threading its way among plausible understandings of all these things with no need for recourse to such ideas as reincarnation. Not that all these things are completely logically demonstrable by such traditions (theirs or yours). But faith, trust, and obedience are to carry us across the gap where understanding and logic fall short. [And if you imagine that your logic alone does not fall short, then I can only continue to note that you have not demonstrated that on either scriptural or scientific or logical grounds.]

First of all, there are plenty of flavors of universalism that do just fine without any need to invoke reincarnation. Second, I think you may be missing one of the main points of that parable. The prodigal is saved, yes - but that was only the lead-up to the real challenge: Can the older brother (who imagines he is already righteous and either needs no salvation or thinks he has already attained it) be saved? That is the open question left at the end of the parable. And of course we all believe (we must hope!) he will be. But it is telling that it is only this latter case where Jesus stops the story up short, leaving the outcome in doubt. That was the thrust of the parable directly pointed at the religious elites who were busy complaining about Jesus’ social life with sinners.

Again - these things can be “accounted for” (to the extent that we actually account for anything) in the eschaton, trusting that all things are righted in the end. Reincarnation doesn’t work here either. If I can’t accomplish perfection in the life I have now, then I won’t be accomplishing it no matter how many more lives you give me either. In fact, I’ll just be using those additional (still physical and fallen) lives to rack up even more debt that would now need to be repaid. Reincarnation makes this all worse, and just doesn’t get you there. Christ does.

I can go along with that. Though I shudder to think what all extraneous stuff you are probably packing into some of those words. But yes - it is all about Christ. We can all gather together within that!

(Tim) #27

We have to take into consideration that Jesus was not teaching Christians. Jesus did teach truth to his disciples who would one day spread the Gospel. The majority of his public teachings though were to followers of Judaism, and two main denominations Pharisees and Sadducees. Also some of the teachings were directed to the future of OT “saints”, who not according to the Law, but had no knowledge of the future cross, would enter into the future kingdom of heaven.

Jesus was not teaching any religious doctrine for us to emulate per se. He was taking what they could understand and was preparing them for a totally new direction in thought. What Jesus accomplished on the cross would radically change the way his generation would view the OT covenant and Law. If he was actually gathering humans into a kingdom it was the end of the OT gathering. This kingdom was presented to God upon his immediate resurrection. His teachings were not necessarily Christian doctrine, but the transition from the OT to the NT. Christian doctrine started out fairly simple and practical and was not supposed to be an extension of the OT. The OT “kingdom”* was finished, and his disciples would be free to start gathering the NT “kingdom”. That some of the old practices would try to work there way into the new, is unavoidable. That is the nature of humanity when it comes to tradition and change. The Christian doctrine also had influence from all of the Gentile philosophy and religious traditions, because the NT would now encompass all of the Gentile nations and all of their traditional practices as well. Heretical views were not so much as humans privately interpreting scripture, as it was the leaving behind all of human tradition and understanding for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite all efforts, some human traditions were incorporated into the church. Does not mean they were all correct, or inspired by God.

  • *types of governments on earth were starting to change. God’s government was not neccessarily a temporal government nor religion. God’s chosen people have always had a desire to be more relatable to the world around them.

(Mitchell W McKain) #28

Uh yeah it does. Certainly without works dictated by some religion monger. The point made in the gospels and James is that grace is not independent of faith which is not independent of works. They reflect each other. But for a man utterly paralyzed in bed and capable of no works at all, this does not mean that salvation is no longer available to him just because he cannot do the works you think are necessary.

Just because I think the Bible is the word of God, Christianity a work of God, and Jesus God Himself, doesn’t mean that I think God is confined to the Bible, God is the property of Christianity, let alone that Jesus is a password into heaven. Quite the contrary, I have suggested that it would be a terrific irony if atheists turned out to be God’s chosen people in the modern era, because of the way they emphasize doing what is right for its own sake, which I think means having the law of God written on our hearts. I am an absolute vocal opponent of the Gnostic gospel of salvation by sound doctrine and believing/knowing the right things.

The fact that you think such things are so necessary is confirmation of what I suspected. I follow the teaching of Paul in Romans 10 which says that any way of saying who goes to heaven and who goes to hell is legalism – a righteous based on law – and the exact opposite of faith. Faith is giving salvation up into the hands of God and doing what is right for its own sake instead of looking for rewards.

But I didn’t have a Christian upbringing. LOL AND I don’t consider being Christian to be any kind of advantage. I am not Christian because I think this earns me salvation – criticizing that attitude of entitlement is my most constant refrain! I am Christian (believe the teachings of Christianity), as I believe in evolution and abiogenesis, simply because I think these things are correct – and THAT IS ALL! But frankly, hell is FULL of people who were RIGHT! Being right has got nothing to do with it.

(Dominik Kowalski) #29

cracks knuckles Let´s get to work!

Up until 12 months ago I always thought that I have never really lost the Christian faith that I learned of in elementary school or in the confirmation lessons. Well, looking back, the way I though about some things leaves me with embarassment now, the way I thought about Christianity at the age of 16 was merely childish and contained of little more than wishful thinking while knowing deep down that what I believed is probably not true. This is why I consider it a conversion from Agnosticism or even weak (and certainly unhappy) atheism what happened two years ago. I have stated elsewhere several times that the German church suffers from the decades of Bultmann theology which dominated it in the 20th century which resulted in the todays, at least in the public church, support of fideism, or what I would call “Existentialism with a little bit of God”. This is by the way also why I´m currently becoming catholic and why I am not really a friend of the bishops in the western european protestant denominations.

Two thing happened in that order:
First, while reading here every blogpost offered, I focused on NT history. I won´t go into too much detail here, since we worked through that so many times. By all the standards I judged it rational to hold on to christian teachings because under the scopes of critical history they hold up and I summarized for myself, that if a completely agnostic person was to be confronted with the evidence for either side, he would have to give a notch to the historicity of the resurrection, which is the central christian claim. Great I thought. We have a rational basis in terms of history for the believes. That was already a lot more than I ever expected. I credit Gary Habermas for this and will always be thankful for his work. Today I especially enjoy Richard Bauckham, as well as Larry Hurtado, the late great Martin Hengel, John P. Meier, Daniel Wallace, Brant Pirtre and bit of Dale Alisson.
Then I went on to philosophy, what could human reasoning tell us about God and can we make a good claim? Well, two interesting things happened. First, rational reason turned for me into conviction that on logical ground Theism has too be true, at the same time I started to reject most philosophers positions offered here. For example, apart from a few things like the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, I can´t really find much in Alvin Plantinga. The same goes with William Lane Craig, whom I like to classify as a world-class philosopher with the wrong argument, namely the kalam cosmological one. Over time I found Ed Fesers blog which resulted in me having every of his books ever published on the philosophy of religion on my shelf within a few months and it led me to adapt the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy and its proofs for the existence of God which I became convinced to be valid. I will lay it out a bit here, for example the Aristotelian proof.
First it has to be said, “what does proof mean here?” A philosophical proof is if the premise leads logically to a conclusion and only one possible conclusion exists. If two conclusions are possible in a philosophical line of arguments, then it is mere evidence.
Aristotle (and later Thomas in his first way) argues for an unmoved mover. The premise is that change occurs and, because nothing can come from nothing, the potential of a change in state has to be intrinsic in one thing. But in order for change to occur, another thing has to actualize the potential of another thing to change. This sounds pretty heavy, but is very easy when understood. My cup of coffee has the potential to become cold, but the cold air surrounding it has to actualize that potential and make it cold, it wouldn´t happen on its own. Let´s take instrumentalization into consideration. The stick actualizes the potential of the stone to move, because my neurons actualize the potential of my muscles to flex while the atoms actualize the potential of the neurons to spread the electrical signal in the first place. We get into a hierarchichal series which requires a first cause in order to give another thing the potential to exist in the first place. This is also where much confusion is put into the place for the reader and I judge the paltry state of academic philosophy to be guilty of this, because those philosophers like to tear down strawman, namely that Aristotle either argues that “Everything has a cause. God is the cause” or for a beginning of time for which God is responsible, which is the Kalam cosmological argument Craig is defending, while Aristotle believed in an eternal universe and Aquinas vehemently refused to argue for a beginning of time, because philosophy can´t get us there. No, the argument for the unmoved mover works in a finite universe as well as in an infinite multiverse, because temporal serieses ( Series per accidens) aren´t interesting while the hierarchy (Series per se) is the crucial point. And here we have to have an unmoved mover. Why? Like I already stated, in order to have causal power in a series, this power has to be rooted in one thing. Consider for exampe that you want to put books on a shelf, the shelf on two brackets, but instead of nailing the brackets to the wall, you just let go, which results in the whole construct collapsing.
Remember now that change and causality are systems about act and potency. The first cause has to be pure actuality, because if it would have any potentials, those would need another thing which underlies it in order to actualize those potentials. So the first cause is pure actuality and unchanging. Because it can´t change it is immaterial , infinite and eternal. It has to be perfect and thus all good, albeit not in the moral sense as we would describe good for now. It is also only one thing and doesn´t contain out of different parts, because these would once again underlie it, which wouldn´t make it the first cause. Now it gets interesting: All the potentials of e.g. material things exist in an abstract or virtual way within the first cause, which requires an intellect and thus makes it personal. Because it has every potential known within t and the causal power to actualize every potential, it is omniscient and omnipotent. It can also be only one, because in order to exist more than one first cause, there have to be ways to distinguish it. But because the first cause is purely actual and has no potency to change, there would be no way to distinguish it, which makes it one. We have arrived at an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good, personal, immaterial, infinite and eternal being. This is what we call God.
Now, of course this isn´t the whole picture, because if it were, then revelation wouldn´t be necessary. But we have rationally come to the conclusion, that God has to exist. Now can the seeking person go on with a solid basis in his hand.
This is a mere comment, so don´t expect further elaboration, since St. Aquinas spent hundres upon hundreds of pages arguing for his ways, defending it against every possible critical objection and giving arguments for the divine attributes. I am only giving a broad picture of the first way. Because reading takes too much time, if you are interested give the Podacst Pints with Aquinas a chance to learn about it.

So normally I would end it here. But I mentioned that I have found Atheism to be the least plausible explanation and even if I were somehow to loose my faith in the Christian religion, Atheism is certainly no option anymore. To explain it we have to shortly dive into the “Rationalistic proof for the existence of God”, defended by the likes of Leibniz .
In order for science to work, it has to make some metaphysical presuppositions. That causality exists and that the universe is rationally built and that we are able to explore it for example. The second presupposition can be summed up in the Principal of sufficient reason (PSR), that every thing has an explanation for its existence and its attributes, either within itself or through methods requiring other things. But the explanation exists. Edward Feser showed in his latest book Aristotle´s Revenge in which way modern science presupposes Aristotlelian metaphysics but for this point I need another of his books, namely Five Proofs for the existence of God. He argues, as well as Leibniz did, that this principle of sufficient reason leads to (classical) theism (It is by the way no surprise that all the arch rationalists were theists). If a thing has the explanation for its existence through other things, it is contingent. But as we have seen with above, those serieses of contingent things have to end in a necessary thing, a thing that has the explanation for its own existence within itself, in order to have their existence explained and giving the PSR, this explanation has to exist at every time. “At every time” is important, because remember that we don´t argue for a benning cause, but for an explanation why anything exists at any given time. If the thing is necessary it can explain the existence of any contingent (able to change) thing at any given time. But for something to be necessary it has to be purely actual and thus this argument converges with the argument for the first cause.
Admittedly, this is a very short version and I didn´t make it to make a full defense of the rationalistic proof. These are found on p. 153-176 in Fesers book. What I want to show is why I judge atheism to be deeply flawed and inplausible. For that let´s have a look at the PSR itself.
The PSR is presupposed by science, because if things happened uncaused or don´t have an explanation in principle, what would be the point of science? It couldn´t work. It´s also counterintuitive. Noone here denies that e.g. physic and mathematics are finding real principles in nature which enable us to alter our environment, for example with the development of technology. Also we don´t experience things to appear out of nothing (No quantum physics hasn´t shown that it happens, for more information please read “What Is Physics?” by Quantum Field Theorist Nigel Cundy. He´s a great, and while being a physics professor, also literate in the deep philosophy, which makes people like him rarer than unicorns). If it would happen it would also go against what science expects or rather presupposes. Every scientific discovery and every moment that nothing pops into existence for absolutely no reason in principle is a data point in favour of the PSR. However, as the Rationalists have shown, PSR leads to theism. So what would atheism mean in this context? Atheism would mean that there are brute facts, which don´t have an explanation wfor its existence or attribute in principle. If that were the case, one cannot asssume that of something unintelligible an intelligible, rational series could arise, like the ones we find in logics. It would also mean, that what we meant to have found in science is not a real picture of how the universe is at all. If the PSR fails, then things within the universe are unintelligible, which goes contrary to what science and human reasoning assumes, which ultimately means, that our mental faculties aren´t reliable. The real problem now becomes that we have landed within a vicious circle. Because if my mental faculties aren´t reliable, then I have no reason to suppose that my conclusions are correct, which means that the atheistic position and thus the denial of the PSR gives birth to the skepticism against its own position. If naturalism were ultimately true, we would find out by accident, since rational reasoning won´t come to that conclusion.

Boy, this took a long time and I only gave a splitter of what I have found within A-T-philosophy, but these are my rational reasons for my conviction that Theism is true, history led me to Christianity. However this position is controversial, especially among evangelicals, since most of them aren´t big fans of givig philosophical arguments for God. But I think if you are in a discussion with people who want real rational reasons, you won´t get any better. So do with it what you want! If you´re further interested maybe find other arguments more convincing, but like I said, since this is only a comment on Biologos, I can´t give the reasonings and defenses of any more arguments, especially because even those two I wrote about here have been argued for in way greater forms, especially the first cause.


(Dominik Kowalski) #30

And as a quick information on philosophical reasoning: An argument is valid, when the premises in the argument have logical follow ups, ergo it doesn´t commit a non-sequitar fallacy. An argument is sound, if the premise is correct, so if an argument is both sound and valid, it is automatically true. Depending on the premises given, more than one conclusions are possible.

(Shawn T Murphy) #31

You just made my point very well Mitchell. I see no logical reason why God would create this universe knowing that 90% of His creation would end up in Hell. This is the core message that separates religions and people as I originally stated. With so many religions and manmade doctrines, how does anyone have a fair chance in one short lifetime?

The works I quoted in Matthew 5 can be done by anyone, regardless of physical condition. When you are restrained in traction you can either love the one who put you there or hate them - forgive them or blame them, for example.

It is not what you put into your mouth that makes you unclean, but what comes out of it. (Matthew 15:11)

(Mitchell W McKain) #32

Incorrect. We have a fundamental disagreement here.
You: Have to be Christian or do the right things to be saved -> therefore need reincarnation.
Me: Being Christians has nothing to do with being saved -> no such need for reincarnation.

Because it has NOTHING to do with following the right religion or believing in the right doctrines!!!

I dispute reincarnation because I think it is wrong. PERIOD. It absolutely does not mean that people are going to hell if they believe such things!

These things are taught in most religions, so why do you think they have to hear the Christian version in order for them to have any hope of being saved? Oh you don’t believe that? Then why do you make such a premise for your argument in support of reincarnation. Answer: you have just decided to believe in reincarnation and will grasp at any irrational argument to support it.

(Shawn T Murphy) #33

Quite to the contrary, it is irrational, in my opinion, that Christianity denies reincarnation and that any scientist would deny the possibility of it. The evidence to reincarnation, and past lives is growing everyday. I did not come to this belief by wishful thinking, but by studying the evidence - biblical, philosophical and scientific.
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Tim) #34

If one accepts re-incarnation why did God/Jesus even point out there is a hell (a place where humans are after their physical bodies die)?

(Shawn T Murphy) #35

Dear Tim,
The theory of the Apocatastasis goes simply like this. God cast Lucifer and 1/3 of Heaven’s angels into Hell, then He created the material universe to provide a restoration path back to Heaven. Until Jesus, every soul returned to Hell after death. Jesus’ victory over Lucifer allowed Jesus to open the path back to Heaven, enabling those who had worked their way to highest level of Hell to follow Jesus back to Heaven. Now, when a person dies, their soul goes to the lower regions of Heaven and prepares for their next life. The process continues until we become perfect, as God created us, and retake our original home in Heaven.
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Tim) #36

I understand the Greek version, it is in their mythology. Re-incarnation is an aspect of Hindu tradition. They both deal with the same concept. Are you saying the two should be syncretized into Christianity?

I do not think there was access to hell like the Greeks claim. Besides the fact that it makes God out to be on the same footing as every other physical being. I think the only redemption for hell was Jesus’ obedience in God’s plan. We do not go to hell, now. There is no need to. Not that we are all going to heaven, but before Christ there was no place in heaven to go. Nor did people before Christ “need” to stay there after God’s plan was completed. Of course if we claim that was not God’s plan then why were the claims of the gospel made. What is the sense of the Good News or gospel?

Hinduism does not need a hell, there is just life after life till one gets it right. People who reject God still go to hell, like they have since the first human died rejecting God. That did not change. The only thing that changed was where those who accept God were now allowed to go.

(Mark D.) #37

Well as someone who has lost his faith in a literal God, I’ve never thought of atheism as an explanation for anything. It would be nice to have knowledge about how everything began or at least how life and our form of consciousness arose. But what progress science has made seems like the best we have for answers so far, and those answers don’t rely on God one way or the other. I don’t see how the suggestion that God made it so can possibly shed any light on a how-question.

I reject both the idea that God created everything (man included) and the idea that man created God. I think the cosmos has gotten itself to the state in which we find it by means we do not entirely understand yet. Somehow the inorganic/organic threshold was crossed by means we cannot yet replicate and possibly never will. Life has given rise to consciousness in many creatures but of a most unusual kind in our case. Given our kind of consciousness we perceive ourselves as having a particular nature or identity but that too we can’t yet entirely explain. In addition to self awareness many of us also have an awareness of another consciousness but, unlike with each other, we can’t point to a body to associate with that consciousness. Some assume it exists outside space and time. I assume it exists in the same field of consciousness which has produced my conscious mind and sense of who I am. I agree that it is important to our pursuit of meaning and fulfillment and that it isn’t something we just make up. But I see no reason to believe it predates the cosmos and is its creator.

(Shawn T Murphy) #38

Dear Tim,
No, what I said is that reincarnation (The Restoration of All Things) was taught in Christianity until the 6th century AD. It was taught by the most prolific and influential Christian scholar. I am asking modern Christians to rediscover their roots and at least, test the theory.
Best Wishes, Shawn

(GJDS) #39

I get the impression that your basis is that we do not know (or perhaps we cannot know).

My feeling is that we reason with some assumptions (implicit or explicit). My assumption (which is difficult to argue rigorously) is that because we can identify the good (with variable accuracy) and make choices on this, reason is compelled to seek an explanation, which inevitably takes us to a theistic outlook.

(GJDS) #40

…. is not reincarnation - it is the new heaven and new earth.