Have you had a revelation, Patrick. Only if that were true. Take care, friend!
Faith is not science. Faith is not scientific. It doesn’t follow the rules of science. It isn’t objective, it isn’t repeatable and it isn’t falsifiable. This is why it is possible for all religions to be right, even if they don’t agree with each other on the nature of God and the details of how God interacts with the world. More likely they are all wrong to some degree. I believe in Christianity, because as an atheist I was free to choose what religion I liked, and I like Christianity the most. I don’t know if its right, and I don’t care, and neither does God. I worship God the creator of the universe, and I believe (based on both objective and subjective evidence) that God chose to walk among us in the form of a man and spread His message of love, meaning, and salvation to all humans.
I don’t think Jews or Muslims are wrong, I just don’t believe what they believe. And since we are not talking about science that is not a problem. If I were to suddenly believe that DNA is made of amino acids, I would be insane and justifiably held in contempt by my fellow biologists. Science has found beyond any doubt that DNA is not made of amino acids. But to repeat, faith is not science so it is governed by totally different rules.
The real question is about science being the only path to truth. For many questions about the natural world it is. What is the chemical composition of DNA?, what are things made of?, how do molecules fit together?, how does electricity work?. Faith is not useful here.
But there are vast parts of what is real that are outside of scientific enquiry, and always have been and always will be. This reality has always been well known among scientists, although it is not accepted by a great many pseudoscientists and militant anti-theists. Some of these outside-of-science questions are why questions, like why is Avogadro’s number and Planck’s constants what they are? Chemists and physicists will tell you those questions don’t matter and have no answer.
Other why questions, like why is there a universe and why are people often kind to each other clearly do matter, and therefore some antitheists have concluded that these must be scientifically approachable questions. They aren’t, but it is a matter of faith for religious atheists that they must be, so they will make up answers in the most entertainingly non scientific way, and are amusingly oblivious of the irony of their descent into religious dogma to prove a point with no basis in evidentiary based facts.
So, to sum up, all religions that uphold the existence of a Creator God are simultaneously true, even if they don’t agree with each other on details. This would not be possible under the rules of science, but faith does not follow the rules of science. This does not make faith untrue, because large areas of knowledge of reality are outside of the rules of the scientific method and cannot be approached by them.
See, it isn’t that hard.
You are correct. The only road to God is through the Eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Hi Benjamin, perhaps if you would take the time to ponder over what you wrote in your opening comment on, “The Civil War in Christian Theology,” you would come to the conclusion that—a reconciliation of the relevant core ideas taught in the major world religions and in the different Christian denominations is what is definitely required here. To avoid any confusion, I am not advocating a coming together between world religions, but rather… a reconciliation of truth. For that reason, having a solid philosophical foundation of how the world works is the basis of where to begin this reconciliation.
“Philosophy has two important aims. First, it tries to give a person a unified view of the universe in which he lives. Second, it seeks to sharpen a person’s ability to think clearly and precisely” (World Book Encyclopedia - Philosophy).
Of course philosophy gives us this unified view of the universe by virtue of the acquired evidence it has amassed through the systematic and investigative inquiry procedures of the various sciences it has assigned to the task. Furthermore, philosophy’s objective to sharpen a person’s ability to think clearly and precisely is accomplished by way of its critical thinking methodology—the methods, principles, and rules that regulate the discipline.
Therefore, since you recognize (as you clearly pointed out) that, “modern Christian theology…is a jumble of opposing and confusing theories,” and that, “each one holds truth yet each one also harbors views that twist scripture to suit itself,” you should realize that this is the reconciliation of the relevant core ideas that I was referring to. We’ll leave out the views that twist the scriptures.
I agree with your statement that, “There are many ways to interpret the Bible, and yet only one way can be correct.” This is because I believe what you meant to say is that the Bible can be interpreted in different ways that make different truth claims. In certain instances these truth claims contradict modern scientific truth claims. This is why there can be only one truth between these contradictory truth claims. Am I right to suggest that this is what you meant to say here?
You said, referring to Dawkins and Ham, “These people cannot be reasoned with. Nothing positive can be gained from mixing with them.” It’s definitely true that you cannot convince someone of something that goes contrary to what they believe. This is especially true when their worldview is not based on solid facts. It can also be very frustrating and aggravating in trying to convince someone who has his/her mind set in false realities. Sure, those false realities are real enough to them, subjectively—but they are not real in the objective world. Just as there are many patients that roam around within psychiatric hospitals in pajamas and nightgowns that believe in all kinds of false realities, one can imagine how difficult it would be to try and convince them otherwise from their false beliefs. This holds true among the “normal” population as well—It can be just as difficult to convince them otherwise from their false realities. Especially as it becomes personal once we invoke—but… you’re not thinking rationally, or, you’re not reasoning correctly, or still, your logic is faulty. Alternatively, the only positive thing I see that can be gained from any such exchange is a sharpening of one’s own skills in communicating philosophical and theological ideas and confirming to oneself his or her rational integrity as an intellectual person.
As for Dawkins and Ham that, “These people cannot be reasoned with,” it all depends on who the person is, and with whom he is doing the reasoning with. I’ll leave it to you to consider and visualize who might be wearing the metaphorical pajamas.
Over 500 people saw Jesus after his resurrection. Could this be a hallucination? Five hundred people at the same time. I doubt it. Therefore, Jesus was the Messiah whom God the Father raised from the dead.
How do you know? Were you there? Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the Ken Ham retort. I hope that you are having a pleasant day today.
Shame on you for using Ken Ham. I wonder if he eats Green Eggs and Ham. It is always good to hear from you, Patrick. I wish you would change your mind; however, I am a two point Calvinist and a two point Arminian. Therefore, it is your right to choose. By the way, do you like Green Eggs and Ham? I want to thank you for the pleasant day. I hope you have one too.
Post Scriptum: I am in my Edward Miller mood! Perhaps I should call myself Sam I AM!
And the Gospel of John says Jesus actually taught Jews to drink human blood.
This is quite unlikely … and shows that the author who wrote about the 500 people may very well have gotten it wrong or exaggerated what actually happened.
These are the hazards of taking everything in the Bible literally. Once something is wrong … all havoc breaks out. It’s much better to have a non-literal view, and develop TRUTHS from what might not be reliable enough to be facts.
Anybody who thinks that what is written in the gospel of John teaches us to “drink human blood” has an undeveloped view of scripture in the extreme. Jesus’ teaching on that is a very different level from quibbling over expressed numbers of witnesses.
What do you think James would have thought about the blood communion?
. . . James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
. . . my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
But that we write unto them, that they abstain
- from pollutions of idols, and
- from fornication, and
- from things strangled, and
- from blood.
For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
James had just FOUR (4) exceptions that gentiles had to honor. And he spoke these things in the presence of Paul. One of them was BLOOD.
But in John, which I propose was written by converts of the Pauline community:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
I am that bread of life. . . .
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. . . .
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
According to John, Mervin, there were many, many people who heard Jesus talk about drinking his blood.
It’s total fantasy. It doesn’t even make any sense. Why would anyone have to drink blood to find salvation?
All these references, and you left out the very ones that could have helped you understand what is going on here!
From Matthew 26, also in Mark 14, … see Luke 22
Take and eat this bread … it is my body … drink this cup – it is my blood; do this all in remembrance of me. And the cup was filled with the fruit of the vine, incidentally. Not literal blood. In all of some two thousand years of church history I’ve never been aware of anybody who was confused about this.
The original hearers didn’t know what to make of it, but that doesn’t mean they accepted it then as his teaching. Quite the opposite --many didn’t accept Jesus at all, and probably because they didn’t know how to take it. But just because somebody says “surely you don’t mean …!” that doesn’t mean they are seriously entertaining the idea. They may just be pressing Jesus for more explanation, if they are even still interested at all. Just like Nicodemus who we can be sure did not in any way think people would literally be birthed again even though those were his words. That was his way of telling Jesus, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I seriously doubt that loyal believers would put words like that in Jesus’ mouth if he hadn’t actually taught that.
Would you like to explain why, after 1000 years of Moses telling everyone NOT to consume blood… that God would have Jesus choose the one symbol that was without a doubt not allowed: BLOOD?
Theologically there is nothing about blood that is necessary.
There is nothing about consuming God’s body that is necessary.
This was a pagan ritual that was co-opted by the Pauline community …
Well, speaking of pagan symbols, from the point of view of Christ’s contemporaries (not to mention his own disciples) there was nothing ‘theologically necessary’ about him dying on a cross either. Peter tried hard to get that through to him, but to no avail. The whole last week was a nightmarish string of horrors for Jesus’ followers. And nothing is a bigger offense, pagan or otherwise, than the cross itself. And Jesus went straight to that, and nailed it, so to speak.
And their world turned upside down (or got uprighted for the first time might be a better way to put it). After the Spirit came with power and all Jesus’ prior and present words began to sink in, the son dawned on them and they began to realize what this new Jewish Messiah really had done. Redefined “Kingship”. Redefined (relocated, rather) “temple”, and all its associated blood sacrifice systems. And made them realize that God’s presence wasn’t (any more) about all those former temple-life regulations.
So does this explain why God chose this “abominable” practice as a symbol? Maybe not. But it isn’t any more abominable than a torture/execution device like the cross, and He turned that into quite a symbol. It may be a way of saying … here’s the worst of what you all had to offer me, and my love prevailed.
Technically, this is incorrect. In Phoenician theology, intentional sacrifice could GLORIFY a man into becoming divine.
Melqart create Tyre and became a god by self-sacrifice. And one of the Hamilcars in the Carthaginian war against Greeks sacrificed himself to obtain divine favor for his army; afterwards, every year, Carthage celebrated his newly achieved divinity.
The only religion that I’ve heard of that links consuming blood (bull’s blood) with salvation was some pagan/mystery practice in Anatolia (where Paul founded many congregations).
I agree 100% with you, Mervin. I am afraid my eyes are hurting me again. I must go to the doctor again tomorrow. I will be back with my friends Thursday. I believe George must be a vampire. He always talks about literal blood. Jesus uses the term in a symbolic way! It represents the blood of Christ. Now I believe that the Holy Spirit indwells the communion; however, he is Spirit and has no blood. He blesses us through the communion. I am going to support you with a few likes.
Then somebody forgot to mention this to Jesus’ disciples. Peter sure was clueless about it. And it isn’t as if others hadn’t had prior opportunities to pick up on those kinds of themes either. I understand that other Jewish heroes or would-be messiahs had been crucified by the Romans. And we have trouble remembering their names now.
I guess you could argue that Jesus’ disciples later decided that would be a great theme to try out and so made up all the resurrection stories. Atheists are happy to take that way out, doing all the obligatory historical/mental calisthenics to then make the subsequent biblical narrative and history go away. You’re not going that route are you, George?
Thank you for your support, Henry! I do hope, though, that this isn’t so much about winning arguments as about having a productive exchange. George is asking good questions, making challenges that are forcing me to think. I hope the exchange is reciprocal in that regard, and that my own spirit isn’t overly argumentative as I am sometimes prone to be.
I hope your eyes get the rest they need.
My understanding of these verses is that in the same way that bread & wine are physical sustenance
Jesus flesh and blood sacrifice are our spiritual sustenance.
Just as necessary for physical life as the consumption of food and drink - is the acceptance of Jesus flesh & blood given on the cross for spiritual and eternal life.
Edited to add:
I think we can safely say he wasn’t advocating canabalism - not least by the fact that not once, either before or after the resurrection, did the disciples go and take a bite out of Jesus’ arm, nor did they attempt to catch and keep any of his blood. If Jesus literally meant
Then not one person is going to heaven, and his whole incarnation was a waste of time.
I wish to thank you, Mervin. You have said some wise things.
nice to see someone getting to the truth of the matter not getting bogged down in the materialistic thinking. Considering that the whole of the jewish story is about stopping to sacrifice humans to make God happy people should also figure that Jesus died to allow us to be happy again by showing us how to reconcile with God.
We gone far away from the original question here and evolution in particular so I am amazed this has not been banned yet. However when it comes to the truth in the Christian faith it comes back to the coherence of the worldview that you have in your religion. There is a brilliant video about this requirement of coherence by Sarah Clifton https://vimeo.com/35613555. to me no other religion offers that logical coherence - but then I do not believe in miraculous miracles but see the miracle in the normal