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57 minutes ago, deathbat96777 said:

To add to my previous post in terms of other religions or viewpoints, I sometimes wrestle with the idea of open theism. Is God an all knowing, all encompassing God, or are there some things he just doesn't know? Take free will, for instance. If God transcends time, then clearly He has the ability to know if we'll choose Him or not if he pre-exists in the future. If it's up to us to decide, then how does he know? If it's our choice and not His, then that brings the argument of open theism into play. There's also a lot of philosophy out there that brings God's morality into question if He is willing to allow such cruel suffering but do nothing to stop it. If He is all powerful, can He be all good, and if He's all powerful, can He still be all knowing? Are there some things God can't do? I personally know in my heart that I believe some of these answers to clearly be "yes" and "no" seeing as I'm a Christian and not an open theist, but it is a doctrine I feel drawn by at times because it seems like more of a rational explanation for God, especially if  you look at more Calvinistic doctrine. For those of you that are Christians like myself, what do you think?

I do believe He's all knowing and he allows us free will but he can still see the potential outcomes. He might be able to see alternate futures and realities. 

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I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks about stuff like that. It blows my mind that there could be alternate futures and realities haha.

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3 hours ago, deathbat96777 said:

To add to my previous post in terms of other religions or viewpoints, I sometimes wrestle with the idea of open theism. Is God an all knowing, all encompassing God, or are there some things he just doesn't know? Take free will, for instance. If God transcends time, then clearly He has the ability to know if we'll choose Him or not if he pre-exists in the future. If it's up to us to decide, then how does he know? If it's our choice and not His, then that brings the argument of open theism into play. There's also a lot of philosophy out there that brings God's morality into question if He is willing to allow such cruel suffering but do nothing to stop it. If He is all powerful, can He be all good, and if He's all powerful, can He still be all knowing? Are there some things God can't do? I personally know in my heart that I believe some of these answers to clearly be "yes" and "no" seeing as I'm a Christian and not an open theist, but it is a doctrine I feel drawn by at times because it seems like more of a rational explanation for God, especially if  you look at more Calvinistic doctrine. For those of you that are Christians like myself, what do you think?

Sorry 'bout earlier, I'll do better to make sure the thread doesn't get shut down.

In regards to why God allows suffering to exist, first I'll remention the story of Joel. Anyone here can google it, but it was a clear indicator of one thing: God wants us to believe in him freely, even if it means being put to suffer. Suffering sucks, but it's nonetheless a tool God uses on occasion when trying to get people to turn towards Him, or even just to challenge us while seeing if we still believe in Him regardless.

The concept is simple: God has no reason to actually end suffering on Earth. It's not even his fault that suffering exists as well as persists on Earth. After all, it was humanity that sinned which turned His paradise into a cesspool of corruption. If God really wanted to, he could've eliminated humanity a long time ago, and he wouldn't have been in the wrong either. Yet God gave us a second chance through Jesus Christ, so now we must endure the world that we shaped before we are judged at the end of our lives.

Personally though, I don't see pain as innately evil. Pain as well as suffering helps keep us humble, reminding us that humanity failed a long time ago to keep the paradise we had, and therefore we must work harder to make strides in our lives. I mean, how do people get better at sports for instance? Because it's free of pain? I think not, and I believe that pain can be shaped to work towards something positive, whether physical or mental. Hardships can help strengthen us so that we can face bigger challenges in the future, so long as we don't crack under the pressure.

Also, I'm not a fan of open theism. It's nothing more than an attempt by humanity to try explaining the unexplainable. We are not expected to completely understand why God does things the way he does. Instead, we are asked merely to obey him. It's definitely not a popular idea, but there are several things that we cannot explain, like why God decides to exist in the form of Trinity for instance. And to be kinda frank, it'll always be impossible for humans with finite comprehension of the universe to understand how a being of infinite power as well as understanding would think.

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3 hours ago, Trident77 said:

In regards to why God allows suffering to exist, first I'll remention the story of Joel. Anyone here can google it, but it was a clear indicator of one thing: God wants us to believe in him freely, even if it means being put to suffer. Suffering sucks, but it's nonetheless a tool God uses on occasion when trying to get people to turn towards Him, or even just to challenge us while seeing if we still believe in Him regardless.

The concept is simple: God has no reason to actually end suffering on Earth. It's not even his fault that suffering exists as well as persists on Earth. After all, it was humanity that sinned which turned His paradise into a cesspool of corruption. If God really wanted to, he could've eliminated humanity a long time ago, and he wouldn't have been in the wrong either. Yet God gave us a second chance through Jesus Christ, so now we must endure the world that we shaped before we are judged at the end of our lives.

Personally though, I don't see pain as innately evil. Pain as well as suffering helps keep us humble, reminding us that humanity failed a long time ago to keep the paradise we had, and therefore we must work harder to make strides in our lives. I mean, how do people get better at sports for instance? Because it's free of pain? I think not, and I believe that pain can be shaped to work towards something positive, whether physical or mental. Hardships can help strengthen us so that we can face bigger challenges in the future, so long as we don't crack under the pressure.

I can follow this idea loosely. The idea that God 'tests' people and their faith I understand is a corner stone of religion. You must have faith, and to have faith, you need to believe without proof, and that's what faith is.

My question to this philosophy though is; if He did exist, why does he sometimes just outright kill good people? Having lost my own mother to cancer, who was, to me at least, a shining beacon of everything good in this world, and having lost my partner's mother to an anyuerism, who again was one of the nicest people I've ever met, both at a fairly young age,  I fail to see how this is 'challenging' us. Yes, you could argue it's God challenging me and my partner (which is an odd thing to do since we're both atheists!) but how does it 'challenge' the people who died? Causing somebody to suffer and see if they keep their faith I understand; killing somebody I don't. They can't keep their faith if they've passed away.

But also, things like cancer are not shaped by us; that suffering persists on Earth because of how human beings work biologically. So, if an intelligent creator created us, surely it IS his fault that that kind of suffering exists on Earth? I can understand the idea that humans causing each other to suffer is not his fault, if you believe in him, but I don't understand how illnesses and diseases fit in to that.

Obviously, this is a very touchy subject for me, because we're talking about the loss of somebody I was really, very close to, and the most painful and difficult time of my life, but I feel it's a question I have to ask, because it's another angle I don't feel I fully understand at the moment.

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17 minutes ago, Veevleigh said:

I can follow this idea loosely. The idea that God 'tests' people and their faith I understand is a corner stone of religion. You must have faith, and to have faith, you need to believe without proof, and that's what faith is.

My question to this philosophy though is; if He did exist, why does he sometimes just outright kill good people? Having lost my own mother to cancer, who was, to me at least, a shining beacon of everything good in this world, and having lost my partner's mother to an anyuerism, who again was one of the nicest people I've ever met, both at a fairly young age,  I fail to see how this is 'challenging' us. Yes, you could argue it's God challenging me and my partner (which is an odd thing to do since we're both atheists!) but how does it 'challenge' the people who died? Causing somebody to suffer and see if they keep their faith I understand; killing somebody I don't. They can't keep their faith if they've passed away.

God doesn't "outright kill people." For starters, there's a huge difference between the concepts of "killing" as well as "murdering," but God doesn't "outright kill good people." I'm sorry to hear about your mother, but she didn't die because of God, she died because of cancer. Cancer came from sin infesting in God's original paradise upon Adam & Eve's terrible choice, turning it into the cesspool we have now. That's pretty simple. And as for the others, well, maybe it was just their time. Everyone will die; there's no avoiding that. The question is when as well as what did you do in your time on Earth.

Dying is not "being challenged," it's the end of a cycle yet the beginning of a new one.

25 minutes ago, Veevleigh said:

But also, things like cancer are not shaped by us; that suffering persists on Earth because of how human beings work biologically. So, if an intelligent creator created us, surely it IS his fault that that kind of suffering exists on Earth? I can understand the idea that humans causing each other to suffer is not his fault, if you believe in him, but I don't understand how illnesses and diseases fit in to that.

Obviously, this is a very touchy subject for me, because we're talking about the loss of somebody I was really, very close to, and the most painful and difficult time of my life, but I feel it's a question I have to ask, because it's another angle I don't feel I fully understand at the moment.

Let me put it to you this way: A child breaks his toy by violently throwing it down a staircase, despite the parents telling the child not to ever throw the toy from the staircase. When the parents finds out, the child is grounded with the remains of the toy stored in their room as a reminder of their misdeed. Now the child eventually fixes the toy, thinking they'll get a reprieve for fixing it. But when the parents refuse to unground him, the child gets mad because they claim they fixed it. The problem? The child is missing the point. He broke the toy in the first place because he volunteerly chose to disobey a rule, and the toy, despite being fixed, doesn't look anything like it did before. It still looks damaged. Functional, but damaged, and proof the child is more than capable of refusing to obey rules in the future.

Humans broke God's paradise. Humans introduced sin, which led to unleashing terrible things like cancer which led to your mother's death. Yet God is not responsible for any of it. People trying to pass even a hint of blame on God for things like cancer are looking for a scapegoat. Sorry to sound brutal about this, but you're blaming God for something He didn't do. He didn't give your mother cancer, and even if she lived through it she would eventually still die, just like everyone here will die one day. It's inevitable, yet some people still get mad at God as well as blame Him when the time comes.

I've lost my grandfather to lung cancer, so I know how you feel about losing someone to a terrible disease, but blaming God is the wrong way to go about doing this. And if you still can't understand that, then we have nothing further to discuss.

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Wow.... for a violent game this topic is pretty... hot Im suprised

And Im perfectly fine with it as long as no one mentions sexuality in any bad way. Then I will go on full reporting force.

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3 hours ago, Trident77 said:

God doesn't "outright kill people." For starters, there's a huge difference between the concepts of "killing" as well as "murdering," but God doesn't "outright kill good people." I'm sorry to hear about your mother, but she didn't die because of God, she died because of cancer. Cancer came from sin infesting in God's original paradise upon Adam & Eve's terrible choice, turning it into the cesspool we have now. That's pretty simple. And as for the others, well, maybe it was just their time. Everyone will die; there's no avoiding that. The question is when as well as what did you do in your time on Earth.

Dying is not "being challenged," it's the end of a cycle yet the beginning of a new one.

Let me put it to you this way: A child breaks his toy by violently throwing it down a staircase, despite the parents telling the child not to ever throw the toy from the staircase. When the parents finds out, the child is grounded with the remains of the toy stored in their room as a reminder of their misdeed. Now the child eventually fixes the toy, thinking they'll get a reprieve for fixing it. But when the parents refuse to unground him, the child gets mad because they claim they fixed it. The problem? The child is missing the point. He broke the toy in the first place because he volunteerly chose to disobey a rule, and the toy, despite being fixed, doesn't look anything like it did before. It still looks damaged. Functional, but damaged, and proof the child is more than capable of refusing to obey rules in the future.

Humans broke God's paradise. Humans introduced sin, which led to unleashing terrible things like cancer which led to your mother's death. Yet God is not responsible for any of it. People trying to pass even a hint of blame on God for things like cancer are looking for a scapegoat. Sorry to sound brutal about this, but you're blaming God for something He didn't do. He didn't give your mother cancer, and even if she lived through it she would eventually still die, just like everyone here will die one day. It's inevitable, yet some people still get mad at God as well as blame Him when the time comes.

I've lost my grandfather to lung cancer, so I know how you feel about losing someone to a terrible disease, but blaming God is the wrong way to go about doing this. And if you still can't understand that, then we have nothing further to discuss.

Oh, I don't blame God, because I don't believe in him. As I said before, I'm an atheist. But these questions are just my curiosity to help me understand a religious point of view.

As I see it then, from your explanation, it's like a criminal blaming the police for his being imprisoned, when it was his choice to commit a crime?

I understand that approach, to an extent, but I still feel from the point of view of the story, God is still allowing us to suffer for something that our ancestors did tens of thousands of years ago, right? At which point it's more like blaming the police for an unjust imprisonment, from my point of view.

Or are you saying the corruption Adam and Eve introduced is outside of God's hands? That he couldn't stop it, even if he wanted to? I understand that point of view too, and that makes more sense to me from a 'not blaming God' point of view.

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these lil anthills seem so important dont they. oh especially when compared to the strata of protozoa beneath. does the "diverse group of unicellular organisms" wonder what the insect kingdom does with its life and remains? ....what makes us look like the ants?  XD

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Not trying to be mean and I don’t think it’s mean but I’m the game my friend was Jason and I was Tiffany and she said go get your bible we’re studying and I said we’re bible sisters she said yes and I got my bible and she started reading 

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Gaming is actually a great area for Bible study. I used to play with a guy on PS4 that was of the Muslim faith and we would have in depth discussions about comparative religion studies. We learned so much about each other and come to find out, he was so admirable of my own religions sacred text The Bible that he had actually made a Bible community which I try and visit from time to time. If any of you guys would ever be interested in doing a Bible study over PS4, my username on there is the same as on here. 

 

Getting back on topic, I figured I would leave you guys with a new discussion point in my absence (I will be coming back full time on April 13th. btw) in the form of "The Dawkins Scale". For those of you unfamiliar with the Dawkins scale, it's a scale that goes from 1 to 7 in determining where you stand on the theoretical possibility of God existing or not. "1" would be that you know God exists, "7" would be that you know God doesn't exist, for instance, and everything else would fall somewhere inbetween, with a 2 being you can't prove God exists but choose to live inclined that he does (think Pascal's wager type scenario, or a basic assumption of very strong faith) and a 5 would be considered agnostic atheist, a 3 could potentially be seen as agnostic theist, etc. 

 

GW481H390

I personally see myself as a very strong 2. I think it would be very arrogant for me to boast a completely solid 1, but there are times in my life where I would go as far as to meet in the middle and argue a very strong 1.5, but never a 1. Hope you guys enjoy picking this apart and seeing where you align. Look forward to hearing back from you on April 13th (which is when I hope and pray the new update will arrive)

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@deathbat96777 Good to know you're still doing well. I'll leave the debating until April when you're back, but I'll think on what you've posted until then. To be frank though, I consider myself a solid 1, but I'll wait until you're fully back to discuss why.

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8 hours ago, deathbat96777 said:

Getting back on topic, I figured I would leave you guys with a new discussion point in my absence (I will be coming back full time on April 13th. btw) in the form of "The Dawkins Scale".

I personally see myself as a very strong 2. I think it would be very arrogant for me to boast a completely solid 1, but there are times in my life where I would go as far as to meet in the middle and argue a very strong 1.5, but never a 1. Hope you guys enjoy picking this apart and seeing where you align. Look forward to hearing back from you on April 13th (which is when I hope and pray the new update will arrive)

Good to hear from you and hope to see you back here in April. Or should I say Hi happy April 13th! ? - Because chances are you will be reading this once you're back on the forum proper in April...

Anyway, onto your main biblical point. I am firstly not a devout Christian but I do have a deep sense of everything must have come from something and all of this must have a purpose. I will not and do not believe humanity will ever or should ever understand the meaning of life or the exact reason for or start of reality and everything that falls between it. What I do know is that nothing lasts forever. Fantastic statues and buildings get worn down and collapse with age, every life form from the smallest microbe to the largest mammal or tree eventually dies. I'd like to believe that there is an afterlife or next stage waiting for us on our deathbeds and that good actions are paid off and terrible deeds come with a tally of consequences... Yes I am a firm believer in the concept of heaven and hell. As for God presiding over the creation and destruction of everything that is, has been and will be, I believe he or what we describe as God is real. Something can't come from nothing, God must be the catalyst for reality and life as we know it. I am a firm believer in this, so I stand between 1 and 2.  I can't prove that the God represented in the bible is real, but I know God in whatever form he is must exist beyond us.

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Thought I'd share this here, it's a lengthy debate between two atheists on the historicity of Christ. It's absolutely worth watching if you're interested by the topic. Just keep in mind it's around two and a half hours so watch it when you have the time.

https://youtu.be/GzjYmpwbHEA

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I don't have much time to debate as of now (gotta get some chores done I've been putting off due to procrastination), but like I said before, I'll explain why I'm a solid 1 on the Dawkins scale.

For Christians, faith in God as well as believing in Jesus Christ is crucial to being saved. But that also comes with being able to whole-heartedly believe in him, which means 100% without doubts. Having doubts ultimately jeopardizes this faith, which means IMO the goal of Christians everywhere is to reach a solid 1 on the Dawkins scale rather than "I'm pretty sure he exists, but not 100%."

This is why belief in the Bible as not only being the authentic word of God, but also as a piece of historical evidence, is important. One must not have blind faith in Christ, rather we can look through the Bible to see what happened in the past. There is more evidence popping up nowadays of events in the Bible having actually occured, and multiple "dead sea scrolls" have popped in the past proving the Bible's teachings are still accurate compared to Bibles from the past (granted you get weird translations like the King James variant, but there's many accurate ones out there like the English Standard Version).

Ultimately, this school of belief means coming into conflict with other religions since you're essentially telling others they're wrong, but then again the majority of religions out there adopt this view of "I'm right, you're wrong," so it's not really uncommon to begin with. What's important is to understand there is a difference between "tolerance" as well as "acceptance." You do not have to accept someone's belief, but you can tolerate they have different opinions from your own.

 

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What would be your rebuttal to someone who's slanted theologically completely the other direction? Like, say, a strong 6 or 7, meaning either a strong atheist or a full blown "I know there's no God." 

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10 minutes ago, deathbat96777 said:

What would be your rebuttal to someone who's slanted theologically completely the other direction? Like, say, a strong 6 or 7, meaning either a strong atheist or a full blown "I know there's no God." 

A dawkin scale of 7 runs into a lot of problems. Remember earlier how I talked about how it's important not to have blind faith in something, rather its best to find evidence that it exists? A 7 means an atheist "knowing" there is no God, yet not having any actual proof to confirm this.

Charles Darwin himself acknowledged this issue in his writings, something that confirms he wasn't an atheist at all (moreso agnostic). The issue is that a solid 7 relies on blind faith as well as personal conviction that something doesn't exist. But that is a faulty line of belief. For instance, I can believe that poverty doesn't exist, and not think of it at all while filing it away in the back of my mind, but that doesn't mean poverty will cease to exist just because I don't want it to exist. That's roughly what a 7 has to deal with. A 7 doesn't believe God exists, but without definitive proof it boils down to "God doesn't exist because I don't want him to exist."

At best, an atheist would have remain as a 6 to avoid this issue, acknowledging that they can't actually prove God doesn't exist, they just choose to believe there is evidence somewhere out there that disproves God's existence.

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Interesting. To add to your defense of people accusing the Bible of "endorsing slavery", here's some excerpts from a book I've been reading. 

"The norms given in the Book of the Covenant (Exod. 20-23) reveal, when compared with related law-books of the ancient Near East, radical alterations to legal practice. In the evaluation of offences against property, in the treatment of slaves, in the fixing of punishment for indirect offences, and in the rejection of punishment by mutilation, the value of human life is recognized as incomparably greater than all material values. The dominant feature throughout is respect for the rights of everything that has a human face; and this means that views which predominate universally elsewhere have been abandoned, and new principles introduced into legal practice. Ultimately that is possible only because of the profundity of insight hitherto undreamt of into the nobility of man, which is now recognized as a binding consideration for moral conduct. Hence in Israel even the rights of the lowliest foreigner are placed under the protection of God; and if he is also dependent, without full legal rights, to oppress him is like oppressing the widow and the orphan, a transgression worthy of punishment, which calls forth God's avenging retribution." - Walther Eichrdot, "Theology of the Old Testament", as pulled from "Is God A Moral Monster?", p. 133 

"A mistake critics make is associating servanthood in the Old Testament with antebellum (prewar) slavery in the South - like the kind of scenario Douglass described. By contrast, Hebrew (debt) servanthood could be compared to similar conditions in colonial America. Paying fares for passage to America was too costly for many individuals to affor.d So they'd contract themselves out, working in the households - often in apprentice-like positions - until they paid back their debts. One-half to two-thirds of white immigrants to Britain's colonies were indentured servants. Likewise, an Israelite strapped for shekels might become an indentured servant to pay off his debt to a "boss" or "employer" ('adon). Calling him a "master" is often way too strong a term, just as the term 'ebed ("servant, employee") typically shouldn't be translated "slave." John Godlingay comments that "there is nothing inherently lowly or undignified about being an 'ebed'." Indeed, it is an honorable, dignified term. Even when the terms buy, sell, or acquire are used of servants/employees, they don't mean the person in question is "just property". Think of a sports player today who gets "traded" to another team, to which be "belongs". Yes, teams have "owners," but we're hardly talking about slavery here! Rather, these are formal contractual agreements, which is what we find in Old Testament servanthood/employee arrangements. One example of this contracted employer/employee relationship was Jacob's working for Laban for seven years so that he might marry his daughter Rachel. In Israel, becoming a voluntary servant was commonly a starvation-prevention measure; a person had no collateral other than himself, which meant either service or death. While most people worked in the family business, servants would contribute to it as domestic workers. Contrary to the critics, this servanthood wasn't much different experientially from paid employment in a cash economy like ours." - Paul Copan, "Is God A Moral Monster?", p. 125

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Discussions on religion are usually places that I try to avoid for many reasons, but I guess I can jump in on this.

I guess I'll start by saying that I am a Satanist, though I publically state that I'm an atheist since it less likely to cause any unnecessary arguments on what is and is not Satanism. That being said, I am an atheistic Satanist, i.e. I don't view Satan as a literal deity to be revered but more as a avatar of individualism and self empowerment. I have read the Satanic Bible by LeVey, so I'm not some punk who makes this claim to seem edgy. I am what I call a "solo Satanist" as I don't associate with either major sects of atheistic Satanism. I am a Satanist by birthright, and it's never going to change.  That being said, I don't enjoy talking about religion or politics in general. Live life as you wish, but don't tread on others who are keeping to themselves lest you be treaded on in return. And our current sociopolitical climate irritates me.

My reasons for not believing in the God of the Bible, nor any other deity, is simply because I fail to see any plausibility of one existing giving what we as a species have learned about not only ourselves but our planet, our solar system, and the universe as whole. And about a year ago, I pondered on the meaning of life, our place on this planet, and our place in the universe as a whole, and it has ultimately rendered me incapable of ever accepting the existence of a omnipotent deity. However, I enjoy learning about mythical beings, such as the Roman pantheon or the Japanese Shinto pantheon, purely for entertainment.

I guess this is more so an announcement of one of the probably few Satanists here on the forum. So, yeah. There is one Satanist here on the forum! Yay variety.

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On 2/23/2018 at 10:10 AM, deathbat96777 said:

As i'm sure a lot of you are well aware, I'm a Christian and I like to read the Bible and discuss theology and religion in general. Would you guys be interested in making this thread into an open discussion about spirituality, religion, etc? I feel like it would lead to some really good, healthy discussion and I think it would be a lot of fun to see where you guys are at with it and what you believe. 

Pretty cool, I myself am a Christian. Was raised in a somewhat split home. My mother's side was Episcopal (think Protestant Catholics) and my father's side was Free Will Baptist. I am glad that the green light has been given to have this thread. As a Christian, who lost his parents my senior year in high school, I had many times of questions, doubts, etc. Still have my moments, as everyone does (we aren't perfect like Jesus after all) but the birth of my daughter reinvigorated my soul searching, praying, etc. I find it hard to pick any one denomination in Christianity (Protestant) I am more of a spiritual christian going by the book as best I can, through debate and discussion, research of history etc. as opposed to a religious, church going type. We go from time to time, as it is always good to have studies and  flesh things out from a stand point you might not have seen or thought of. Anyways thanks for the thread and hope to have some good discussions on here.

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On 4/5/2018 at 2:45 PM, deathbat96777 said:

Interesting. To add to your defense of people accusing the Bible of "endorsing slavery", here's some excerpts from a book I've been reading. 

"The norms given in the Book of the Covenant (Exod. 20-23) reveal, when compared with related law-books of the ancient Near East, radical alterations to legal practice. In the evaluation of offences against property, in the treatment of slaves, in the fixing of punishment for indirect offences, and in the rejection of punishment by mutilation, the value of human life is recognized as incomparably greater than all material values. The dominant feature throughout is respect for the rights of everything that has a human face; and this means that views which predominate universally elsewhere have been abandoned, and new principles introduced into legal practice. Ultimately that is possible only because of the profundity of insight hitherto undreamt of into the nobility of man, which is now recognized as a binding consideration for moral conduct. Hence in Israel even the rights of the lowliest foreigner are placed under the protection of God; and if he is also dependent, without full legal rights, to oppress him is like oppressing the widow and the orphan, a transgression worthy of punishment, which calls forth God's avenging retribution." - Walther Eichrdot, "Theology of the Old Testament", as pulled from "Is God A Moral Monster?", p. 133 

"A mistake critics make is associating servanthood in the Old Testament with antebellum (prewar) slavery in the South - like the kind of scenario Douglass described. By contrast, Hebrew (debt) servanthood could be compared to similar conditions in colonial America. Paying fares for passage to America was too costly for many individuals to affor.d So they'd contract themselves out, working in the households - often in apprentice-like positions - until they paid back their debts. One-half to two-thirds of white immigrants to Britain's colonies were indentured servants. Likewise, an Israelite strapped for shekels might become an indentured servant to pay off his debt to a "boss" or "employer" ('adon). Calling him a "master" is often way too strong a term, just as the term 'ebed ("servant, employee") typically shouldn't be translated "slave." John Godlingay comments that "there is nothing inherently lowly or undignified about being an 'ebed'." Indeed, it is an honorable, dignified term. Even when the terms buy, sell, or acquire are used of servants/employees, they don't mean the person in question is "just property". Think of a sports player today who gets "traded" to another team, to which be "belongs". Yes, teams have "owners," but we're hardly talking about slavery here! Rather, these are formal contractual agreements, which is what we find in Old Testament servanthood/employee arrangements. One example of this contracted employer/employee relationship was Jacob's working for Laban for seven years so that he might marry his daughter Rachel. In Israel, becoming a voluntary servant was commonly a starvation-prevention measure; a person had no collateral other than himself, which meant either service or death. While most people worked in the family business, servants would contribute to it as domestic workers. Contrary to the critics, this servanthood wasn't much different experientially from paid employment in a cash economy like ours." - Paul Copan, "Is God A Moral Monster?", p. 125

Excellent points.

Damn, sorry for the double post.

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What do you guys think of Apocalyptic literature? Things such as Revelation, Enoch, Book of Jasher, etc. Have any of you read them, and what do you think of them even if just from a literary standpoint? I find them very entertaining and a great sense of mystery. 

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50 minutes ago, deathbat96777 said:

What do you guys think of Apocalyptic literature? Things such as Revelation, Enoch, Book of Jasher, etc. Have any of you read them, and what do you think of them even if just from a literary standpoint? I find them very entertaining and a great sense of mystery. 

It's hard to say. The original book of Jasher was lost a long time ago, and many forgeries have popped up in the past, not to mention the book isn't considered an actual part of the bible (rather it was mentioned as a seperate historical documentatioin of things happened in the past, albiet there were presumed to be inconsistencies if God refused to have this book be part of the bible). The book of Enoch is treated as interesting, yet there are inconsistencies with what it says compared to what historically happened. Like the original book of Jasher, it probably was lost with several fakes trying to claim authenticity.

Honestly, I only really trust the book of Revelation, being that it's an actual book considered canon to the Bible. And on that subject, I haven't really studied the book of Revelation either. I'll have to do some reading in the future on that subject.

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