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Okay, so every religion has their own different deity, and some have more than one. But many different people follow their own "gods", some of which sound either ridiculous or hilarious. I'm just wondering how many of these "wacky gods" you heard about (or even worship!).

For example, I've heard of people whose god is a purple hippopotamus, or even a dragon. And I bet you there's a cult somewhere that worships the flying spaghetti monster.

One wacky god I admit to kind of worshipping is the little pink elephant in the sky. This cute little elephant showers happiness on the world, usually in the form of gumdrops. When the gumdrops fall, they sugar-coat people's worries and problems, to the point that those problems are practically non-existent. He treats randomness as one of the highest virtues in the world, that which defies logic and reason. He's very elusive, not always being present, but when he smiles down on you, warm fuzzies are imminent.

So yeah... what are some others you've heard of? This just might be the silliest "What is God" discussion in the universe.
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[FONT=Verdana][SIZE=1][COLOR=DimGray]I've heard about this one god who lives in the sky, or space, or another dimension or something. He is not just one god, but also His own Son and Spirit together as one (He's also a "He," by the way, and definitely not a She, or an It. That'd just be ludicrous).

He enjoyed killing tons of people back in the good ol' days in various creative ways (fires, floods, pillars of salt, plagues of all flavors, mysterious forces of a mysterious nature), but he really isn't into that kind of thing anymore. Mainly, He just has His followers kill each other in His name these days.

He can read the minds of believers and non-believers alike, and He is everywhere at all times. If you don't believe in Him, He (in His benevolent wisdom) casts you into a fiery pit of torture and torment for all eternity, despite the fact that He hides Himself from all, and requires the people He created as logical and thinking beings to throw all that away and utilize a funny little thing called "faith."

Also, His creations do absolutely everything in their power to destroy absolutely everything He created.



Silly, right?






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[quote name='Mr. Maul'][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=1][COLOR=DimGray]I've heard about this one god who lives in the sky, or space, or another dimension or something. He is not just one god, but also His own Son and Spirit together as one (He's also a "He," by the way, and definitely not a She, or an It. That'd just be ludicrous).

He enjoyed killing tons of people back in the good ol' days in various creative ways (fires, floods, pillars of salt, plagues of all flavors, mysterious forces of a mysterious nature), but he really isn't into that kind of thing anymore. Mainly, He just has His followers kill each other in His name these days.

He can read the minds of believers and non-believers alike, and He is everywhere at all times. If you don't believe in Him, He (in His benevolent wisdom) casts you into a fiery pit of torture and torment for all eternity, despite the fact that He hides Himself from all, and requires the people He created as logical and thinking beings to throw all that away and utilize a funny little thing called "faith."

Also, His creations do absolutely everything in their power to destroy absolutely everything He created.



Silly, right?






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[SIZE="1"][COLOR="RoyalBlue"]This made me sad.[/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I basically think that all incarnations of a deity are "silly", no matter which source they originate from.

However, to be more specific, I should point out that I always loved studying about the ancient Greek and Roman gods. Part of this is because of the sheer poetry involved with many of their individual stories, but also because I think they illustrate universal moral lessons in an entertaining way. It's almost as though somebody figured that moral lessons were better taught through humor and drama than threats.

I also really love the Aboriginal Dreamtime here in Australia. The Dreamtime stories largely parallel Biblical and other similar moral instruction, but the Dreamtime centers around animals from the Outback. I highly recommend looking up some Dreamtime stories - many of them are funny, beautiful and poetic. They're fantastic for children especially.

It's interesting how most religions emphasize similar virtues, but often through very different vehicles.

[b]Edit:[/b]

I try to avoid debates on religion - not out of some misplaced respect for religious people (or any particular stakeholder) - but largely because they don't ever really achieve anything.

I do want to quote two of Sabre's comments, though. I do not intend to actually respond to them in detail, but I have chosen them because I think they are particularly heinous. That such words can be uttered without further thought given to their implications worries me.[/font]

[quote name='Sabre']God is warning that their nation will be destroyed unless their is a turning away from the things which separate them from Him. He is giving a forewarning that action will have to be taken if they do not turn back to him because an ultimate plan of redemption is unfloding. They can either be part of the revolution or make way, their choice. A bloodthirsty God would have just clicked his fingers, sent meteors flyign and watched the blood flow without even a hitn of warning whatsoever.[/quote]

[font=franklin gothic medium]and...[/font]

[quote name='Sabre']The babies and children killed in this prophetic fulfilment can be seen as a mercy killing, dependent on wether you believe in the doctrine of child salvation, which I do. A child killed and given into the arms of God before he/she is corrputed by their adherence to false gods (which are driven by demonic forces) will stand a better chance of knowing God in the afterlife. God knows better than anyone here how temporary this life is, he is focused on the eternal. I expect Heaven will be full of the children described here, enjoying the fellowship with a loving God.[/quote]

[font=franklin gothic medium]I actually think it's a good idea for somebody as devout as Sabre to read Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I say that not as an attempt to convert him to atheism, but simply because I think this book is a consciousness-raiser.

In the same way, I think it's valuable for atheists to have an understanding of the Bible and religion in general.

On the question of respect, a double-standard does seem to exist. It's fine to question - or even deride - the so-called "wacky" gods. But should you question Yahweh, you will have committed a grave offense.

Holding a private belief - no matter how unusual or improbable it may be - is absolutely fine. And I don't necessarily think that everybody should have to justify what they believe.

But I think that if you go out there and engage in a debate, or if you deride others' beliefs, or if you expect others to explain their rationale - you have the responsibility to do so yourself.

I've always felt this way about debates of any kind. And admittedly, we haven't really seen that happen here yet...but I figured that can be my contribution to this discussion. If others have more to contribute, that's up to them. :catgirl:[/font]
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[COLOR=black]Here I was, just lurking around and seeing if this place has changed much and I get baited out of retirement! Woohoo! [/COLOR]


[COLOR=black][quote name='Mr. Maul'][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=1]I've heard about this one god who lives in the sky, or space, or another dimension or something. He is not just one god, but also His own Son and Spirit together as one (He's also a "He," by the way, and definitely not a She, or an It. That'd just be ludicrous). [/SIZE][/FONT][/quote][/COLOR]

[COLOR=black]God as Christians understand him, lives in Heaven, his spirit dwells upon the earth and both inspires and strengthens those who live on Earth and follow him. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=black]The triune God? Think of a tree, with three branches. One in the same.[/COLOR]

[quote]
[COLOR=black][SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana]He enjoyed killing tons of people back in the good ol' days in various creative ways (fires, floods, pillars of salt, plagues of all flavors, mysterious forces of a mysterious nature), but he really isn't into that kind of thing anymore. Mainly, He just has His followers kill each other in His name these days.[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/quote]

[COLOR=black]God doesn't enjoy killing anyone. You can take things like the plagues and curses out of context and say he enjoys it though. He sent prophets to warn the people that their ways would lead to destruction, he gave them months, even years, to turn away from their sins. God didn't give up on Nineveh, and when his own prophet refused to warn them, he threw that prophet into a whale for three days. In the end, Nineveh heeded Jonah's warning and was spared from God's judgement. Hardly the act of a God who so desires to rain biblical wrath upon the earth.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=black]No Christian with a good understanding of scriptures would use them to defend killing in the name of God. Verses that are used to support such killings are often taken out of context. It is worth noting that every book in the Bible collection has a purpose and it's not always authorative. The book of Ecclesiastes is a good example. It is not demonstrating that life is meaningless, it is the honest observation of Solomon having lived his life and come to that conclusion. The book as a whole makes it clear, but when verses are removed and repeated in isolation their message can often become misconstrued. [/COLOR]

[quote]
[SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana][COLOR=black]He can read the minds of believers and non-believers alike, and He is everywhere at all times. If you don't believe in Him, He (in His benevolent wisdom) casts you into a fiery pit of torture and torment for all eternity, despite the fact that He hides Himself from all, and requires the people He created as logical and thinking beings to throw all that away and utilize a funny little thing called "faith."[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/quote]

[COLOR=black]God is not hiding from us, he has become distant because of our sin and how humanity as a whole turned from him. Nevertheless, he sent Jesus to atone for our sins and bring the world back into a righteous reconcilliation with him. Hell is a last resort. God desires that we come back to him. If he were a bloodthirsty, nasty deity with a penchant for torturing his creations, then Jesus would never have gone to the cross. I doubt we'd be here now.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=black]You'll find that the God of the Bible is actually a very loving, paitent God who is giving us this time that we may get to know him and understand the sacrifice that he made for us. [/COLOR]

[quote]
[COLOR=black][SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana]Also, His creations do absolutely everything in their power to destroy absolutely everything He created. [/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/quote]


[COLOR=black]We have become more materialistic (against scripture) and selfish (against scripture) since the "age of enlightenment" and the teaching that we're nothing more than the result of a catastrophic and accidental galactic space fart.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=black]One of the worst things that you can tell your child is that they were an accident. This is what the atheist movement wants to tell humanity.[/COLOR]

[quote]
[COLOR=black][SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana]Silly, right?[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/quote]

[COLOR=black]Not when you understand the context, and the purpose of Bilbical scripture rather than accepting the caricature it is painted as. ;)[/COLOR]
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[quote name='Sabre']
[COLOR=black]Not when you understand the context, and the purpose of Bilbical scripture rather than accepting the caricature it is painted as. ;)[/COLOR][/QUOTE]
[size=1]

Just doing the math, God killed somewhere in the two millions with his plagues, floods, natural disasters, and "damning" of several people he wasn't a fan of. Satan caused about 10? Maybe?


[b]Read in context:[/b]

[i]1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness.[/i] (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)

[i]2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.[/i] (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

[i]"Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock."[/i] Psalms 137:9 NAB

[i]Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death.[/i] (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

[i]From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces. [/i] (2 Kings 2:23-24 NAB)

[i]Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)
[/i]

[i]Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children.[/i] (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

[i]"The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords."[/i] (Hosea 13:16 NLT)

[i]When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.[/i] (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

[b]In the words of Jesus:[/b]

[i]“He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”[/i] Matthew 15:4-7

Also, Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law. Mark 7:9

Nice guy.

Also I think it's rather wacky to have such an obsession with foreskins and sex lives.



[quote name='taperson'][SIZE="1"][COLOR="RoyalBlue"]Doesn't mean it can't make me sad.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/QUOTE]

Why be sad? The denial of Christian faith and religion isn't proof of a nihilistic world view. There are plenty of other ways to look at the world and the meaning of life.
[/size]
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[quote name='Zen']

[SIZE=1]Just doing the math, God killed somewhere in the two millions with his plagues, floods, natural disasters, and "damning" of several people he wasn't a fan of. Satan caused about 10? Maybe?[/quote][/SIZE]

You could also argue that Satan led humanity into sin and caused them to fall away from God, bringing the death equation in the first place. Remember that God warned Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate of the fruit? Saying that Satan caused only 10 deaths is a little naive, considering that he was a major factor in the fall to begin with.

[quote]
[SIZE=1][B]Read in context:[/B][/SIZE]
[/quote]

You assume I haven't? ;)

[quote]
[SIZE=1][I]1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness.[/I] (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)[/quote][/SIZE]

This is understandable, it's not God simiting you on the spot should you happen to utter a bad word about your parents, it is a warning against such curses and an example of just how powerful they are. Fear not, if you happen to curse your father or mother God gives you time to reconcile and you wont just drop dead, like you would if he was really baying for blood.

[quote]
[SIZE=1][I]2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.[/I] (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)[/quote][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1][SIZE=2]Family was important in those times. It is important now, but Christians will not kill someone who curses their father or mother. We now live in an age of grace where God is the judge who will decide on such matters at the end, again, giving anyone who curses their folks time to reconcile.[/SIZE] [/SIZE]

[quote]
[SIZE=1][I]"Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock."[/I] Psalms 137:9 NAB[/quote][/SIZE]

I knew it, I just knew this one would pop up, and it is vital that the context of this passage is explored. This quote comes form the book of Psalms, a collection of poetry and songs offered up to God by a number of people mostly by King David. These scriptures are meant to be read like someone's prayers, an honest conversation with God in which their true and raw emotions are let out. Therefore, these scriptures are not considered authoritave in the sense that they are commandments from God. Same goes for Proverbs, which is a book of insightful observations and advice, but is not considered by Christians to be set-in-stone commandments from God, to be followed to the letter.

[SIZE=1][quote][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1][I]From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces. [/I](2 Kings 2:23-24 NAB)[/quote][/SIZE]

In the OT times, the prophet was a very important person, he was the mouthpiece of God to an entire nation. He was revered and respected. A prophet would be taken so seriously, had he got some details wrong, he would have been killed by the people. The prophets were Israel's rockstars, slander one and raise the ire of a nation. It is little wonder then that two shearbears came out and took the kids to task for denigrating and insulting the prophet.

Look at the wording of this passage, it is an hiostorical account of an event which actually happened. The Bible does not go on to say something like "God was pleased with the work of the shearbears (a distant relative of Care Bears)" Books like Kings and Judges are historical in nature and are not only recording the events which God took pleasure in or condoned in any fashion. That's like saying the American people were pleased with 9/11 because the event was documented.

[quote]
[SIZE=1][I]Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children.[/I] (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)[/quote][/SIZE]

God is warning that their nation will be destroyed unless their is a turning away from the things which separate them from Him. He is giving a forewarning that action will have to be taken if they do not turn back to him because an ultimate plan of redemption is unfloding. They can either be part of the revolution or make way, their choice. A bloodthirsty God would have just clicked his fingers, sent meteors flyign and watched the blood flow without even a hitn of warning whatsoever.

The babies and children killed in this prophetic fulfilment can be seen as a mercy killing, dependent on wether you believe in the doctrine of child salvation, which I do. A child killed and given into the arms of God before he/she is corrputed by their adherence to false gods (which are driven by demonic forces) will stand a better chance of knowing God in the afterlife. God knows better than anyone here how temporary this life is, he is focused on the eternal. I expect Heaven will be full of the children described here, enjoying the fellowship with a loving God.

[SIZE=1][quote][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1][I]When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.[/I] (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT) [/quote][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1]This is not God endorsing slavery, this is God accepting that slavery will happen in a fallen world and working with it. This passage gives the slave girl some rights. She cannot be sold off to foreigners, she must not be treated as a slave if she marries the son or the father, and he cannot reduce her clothing or food. If she is taken as a wife, then he must be fully comitted to her, and if he is not, she can leave.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=1][B][quote]In the words of Jesus:[/B][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1][I]?He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.?[/I] Matthew 15:4-7 [/SIZE]

[SIZE=1]Also, Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law. Mark 7:9 [/SIZE]
[/quote]

Jesus is criticising them for not holding to the law that they themselves prescribe, he is condemning the action of finding loopholes to circummvent God's laws and he isn't saying that their kids must die now. Jesus knows that God is ushering in the age of grace where he alone will decide on such matters, bringing us full circle.

God hates hypocrisy, especially in the institutions he set up to deliver the light and trith to the world.

[quote]
[SIZE=1]Nice guy.[/quote][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1]He is when you get to know him, rather than the caricature. ;)[/SIZE]

[quote]
[SIZE=1]Also I think it's rather wacky to have such an obsession with foreskins and sex lives.[/quote][/SIZE]

God commanded that the foreskin be cut on the 8th day after birth, is that because God is picky? No, it turns out that on the 8th day after birth the clotting factor in our blood is at it's highest and most effective state. Something the Jewish community coudl not have known back then!

Gentiles (non-Jewish) are not required the be circumcised to follow Christ. We fear not the knife!


[quote]
[SIZE=1]Why be sad? The denial of Christian faith and religion isn't proof of a nihilistic world view. There are plenty of other ways to look at the world and the meaning of life.[/SIZE]
[/quote]

Because Taperson is a Christian and it does make us sad that scriptures is twisted out of context to make God look like a mean kid with a magnifying glass, who wants nothing more than to burn our feelers off. We know a God who is loving, truthful. He is hard, but fair.
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[size=1]

I'm not here to bash a religion, btw.

But it seems pretty wacky that, for a book that is supposed to be the divinely inspired word of God, it needs people to stand up for its merits.

And going by half the things you said, a good, thick chunk of the Holy Bible is "outdated" by today's standards.

For a God to accept or allow anything is for him to endorse it. He's a God.

And for me,the fatal flaw for Judeo-Christian God is that, why create? The fact that God created the world, the heavens, hell, his angels, and humanity and all that, and then just watch it, as bad as it can get, seems very, very irresponsible and malevolent. I'm sure people will use the "works in mysterious ways" line, but it never made any form of logical sense for God to just decide create the universe just for kicks, and then just watch all this horrible stuff happen in it, and still be deemed benevolen.

It's very late, so I'm not quite up to further addressing the debate right this moment, but I will return to it. I leave you with a quote from the great Greek philosopher Epicurus:

[i]
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"[/i]

Forgive me if I use aggressive language, this is, again, by no means me trying to bash or be mean about your religion. I just enjoy the debate, and gaining insight on the reasoning behind believers, and maybe sharing my ideas with them.

Also I'm not an athiest. I'm a Zen Buddhist, which is honestly more of a philosophy, but you could consider me a pantheist I suppose.[/size]
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[quote name='Zen']

[SIZE=1]I'm not here to bash a religion, btw.[/SIZE][/quote]

I didn't think you were. :)

[quote]
[SIZE=1]But it seems pretty wacky that, for a book that is supposed to be the divinely inspired word of God, it needs people to stand up for its merits.[/SIZE][/quote]

[SIZE=1][SIZE=2]Don't you think that in some way it validates it? I mean, if there is a book that is the divine inspired word of God, you'd expect that any enemies of God would attack it's wording and attempt to prove a fatal flaw in it's logic, suggesting that the author was not inspired by God at all. The fact it has withstood the scrutiny applied in various formns througout the ages, not just the recent enlightenment period, says something.[/SIZE] [/SIZE]

[SIZE=1][quote][/SIZE]
[SIZE=1]And going by half the things you said, a good, thick chunk of the Holy Bible is "outdated" by today's standards. [/quote][/SIZE]

No, not outdaded, but every scripture in the Bible has a context and purpose. In the OT the focus was on God delivering the Nation of Israel to a standard of purity so a messiah, saviour of humaity could usher in the current era. In the New Testament we get Christ's teachings and what we, as Christians, should do in this time to spread the salvation message. An overall theme throughout all 66 books is redemption, specifically the redemption of man to God. It is all useful in some way even if some scripture is not intended to be authoritave law.

[quote]
[SIZE=1]For a God to accept or allow anything is for him to endorse it. He's a God. [/SIZE][/quote]

This argument does not stand up when you look at what God is saying through the Bible. It is not a tome filled with his delights, his laws and what he accepts. It has a lot of that, sure, but there are also the scriptures which deal with historical accounts. It does not meant that God accepts what has happened, or enjoys it, the writer of the scripture is only reporting the event. Again, this is like saying that American's endorsed the attacks of 9/11 because they were widely reported in American media.

It's hard for me to explain why we keep historical records in the Bible, some of them serve a purpose such as proving that an event which happened was prophecised beforehand, sometimes by hundreds of years, and the authors wanted the people to know that their prophets called it.

[quote]
[SIZE=1]And for me,the fatal flaw for Judeo-Christian God is that, why create? The fact that God created the world, the heavens, hell, his angels, and humanity and all that, and then just watch it, as bad as it can get, seems very, very irresponsible and malevolent. I'm sure people will use the "works in mysterious ways" line, but it never made any form of logical sense for God to just decide create the universe just for kicks, and then just watch all this horrible stuff happen in it, and still be deemed benevolent.[/SIZE][/quote]

To understand why God created, we need to go back to the beginning, when everything was good. God and man shared a deep bond in Eden, God entrusted the world to the care of man and gave us the huge responsibility of being the guardians of this great world. When sin entered the world, it disgusted God, he was heart-broken by the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and this caused a separation. Nevertheless, God has always desired to reconcile the rift and is seen throuought history to be intimately involved in creation, a guiding hand leading our world to the ultimate redemption where the world will be put right again. God has not lef the world to rot, he didn't make it so he could sit back and watch carnage unfold. As bad as it gets, that is the curse of sin in the world. To see this is to understand the gravity of the situation, how lost we are without Him. In his mercy we will one day share the same kind of bond Adam and Eve had with God, in the kingdom to come, everlasting peace.

[quote]
[SIZE=1]It's very late, so I'm not quite up to further addressing the debate right this moment, but I will return to it. I leave you with a quote from the great Greek philosopher Epicurus:[/SIZE]


[I][SIZE=1]"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. [/SIZE][/I]
[I][SIZE=1]Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. [/SIZE][/I]
[I][SIZE=1]Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? [/SIZE][/I]
[I][SIZE=1]Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"[/SIZE][/I][/quote]

That is a diffculty. I would say God is willing to prevent evil, and is working to abolish it altogether. He desries to reconcile us because he loves us. However, he also desires that we choose him of our own free will and it is that free will that allowed Adam and Eve to take the forbidden fruit and caused the rift. Like a naughty child, humanity is reaping the rewards of it's vice, but it does not mean that God is not benevolent, and that he does not love us. Soemtimes tough love can be the greatest expression of such emotion.

[I][SIZE=1][quote][/SIZE][/I]
[I][SIZE=1]Forgive me if I use aggressive language, this is, again, by no means me trying to bash or be mean about your religion. I just enjoy the debate, and gaining insight on the reasoning behind believers, and maybe sharing my ideas with them.[/[/SIZE][/I]quote]

I enjoy the debate too. It's always quite interesting when I get the chance to share my faith and belief system and see what difficulties people have run into when exporing that faith. I relish the chance to offer up possible solutions to those difficulites. :)

You'll find that I'm quite open minded too. I'm genuinely interested in other's beliefs and what they hold to be sacred and true. As a consequence my religious debates very rarely get nasty, so this should continue to be fun!

[SIZE=1][quote]Also I'm not an athiest. I'm a Zen Buddhist, which is honestly more of a philosophy, but you could consider me a pantheist I suppose.[/quote][/SIZE]

I should have concluded from you name, lol.
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[quote name='Sabre']
God is warning that their nation will be destroyed unless their is a turning away from the things which separate them from Him. He is giving a forewarning that action will have to be taken if they do not turn back to him because an ultimate plan of redemption is unfloding. They can either be part of the revolution or make way, their choice. A bloodthirsty God would have just clicked his fingers, sent meteors flyign and watched the blood flow without even a hitn of warning whatsoever.[/QUOTE]

So a non-bloodthirsty God instead kills an entire nation of people just because they do not follow him.

[QUOTE][B]The babies and children killed in this prophetic fulfilment can be seen as a mercy killing[/B], dependent on wether you believe in the doctrine of child salvation, which I do. A child killed and given into the arms of God before he/she is corrputed by their adherence to false gods (which are driven by demonic forces) will stand a better chance of knowing God in the afterlife. God knows better than anyone here how temporary this life is, he is focused on the eternal. I expect Heaven will be full of the children described here, enjoying the fellowship with a loving God.[/QUOTE]

No. No, it can't. If the children are born into a society and are taught nothing else, why should they be killed? And for a debatably existing being?! That's just ridiculous! Hiding behind 'God' in order to kill innocents is vile and dishonourable! Child salvation my foot! Shame on you!
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[quote name='chibi-master']Shame on you![/QUOTE]

[FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"][SIZE="1"]Hey now, be nice. Sabre and Zen are being rather level-headed and respectful towards one another [and for that, I respect this debate], so why not be the same?

Anyway, as a Christian myself, I am quite interested in reading up on other religions, so I can get a better understanding of them, and better be able to coexist with my fellow man, even if I don't quite agree with some of their principles. So, 'cause of that, I don't really consider other "gods" wacky.

...okay, that's a lie, Cullenism quite scares me. And the sad thing is that I don't know if they're being serious or not. :animedepr[/SIZE][/FONT]
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[quote name='Sabre']

[SIZE=1][SIZE=2]Don't you think that in some way it validates it? I mean, if there is a book that is the divine inspired word of God, you'd expect that any enemies of God would attack it's wording and attempt to prove a fatal flaw in it's logic, suggesting that the author was not inspired by God at all. The fact it has withstood the scrutiny applied in various formns througout the ages, not just the recent enlightenment period, says something.[/SIZE] [/SIZE][/quote]
[size=1]
I really don't believe so to tell you the truth. It's a rather negative view to have of critics of Christianity to call them the "enemies of God". I don't call my teachers who give me a bad grade on a paper my enemy for pointing out the contradictions and problems with my logic or reasoning. The book itself is riddled with hypocritical statements and teachings, like the peaceful, infinitely forgiving God verses the one who killed millions by the flood, or the “mercy killings” of the innocent Egyptian first born children. Or Jesus supposedly representing peace and love, while also stating that “he comes as a sword” for those who question the righteous teachings he presents. I’m by no means a theologian, but I know a good bit about the Bible itself. I also know that it was never an actual book until much later when it was compiled, and then later edited further and further, to go along with the translations that may or may not have been inaccurate. The thing I always liked about Zen teaching is that it doesn’t rely so much on giving an answer to your questions about life and the universe as it does make you answer those questions for yourself through insight and logic. It may guide you here or there, but the answers are always ones found by yourself. Christianity places that answer in a book that is not only thousands of years old, but also one that has been altered countless times, and it seems like a very illogical thing to do.[/size]


[quote]
No, not outdaded, but every scripture in the Bible has a context and purpose. In the OT the focus was on God delivering the Nation of Israel to a standard of purity so a messiah, saviour of humaity could usher in the current era. In the New Testament we get Christ's teachings and what we, as Christians, should do in this time to spread the salvation message. An overall theme throughout all 66 books is redemption, specifically the redemption of man to God. It is all useful in some way even if some scripture is not intended to be authoritave law.[/quote]
[size=1]

From whence came sin? Man created sin? The Devil? But did not God create both? So man must redeem himself in the eyes of God for falling to the sins that God not only ordained as sins, but also, more or less created himself. That seems to border on sadistic.[/size]

[quote]
This argument does not stand up when you look at what God is saying through the Bible. It is not a tome filled with his delights, his laws and what he accepts. It has a lot of that, sure, but there are also the scriptures which deal with historical accounts. It does not meant that God accepts what has happened, or enjoys it, the writer of the scripture is only reporting the event. Again, this is like saying that American's endorsed the attacks of 9/11 because they were widely reported in American media. [/quote]
[size=1]

But we are mortals, and God is the endless omnipresent. Everywhere, all the time, capable of anything. And the difference between God in this scenario, and America in the 9/11 one is that God created the things, and was fully aware of the things, that occured, or created the beings that caused the to occur, and again, was fully aware. America didn't breed, train, or oversee the path and lives of the terrorists who flew the planes into the twin towers. [/size]

[quote]
To understand why God created, we need to go back to the beginning, when everything was good. God and man shared a deep bond in Eden, God entrusted the world to the care of man and gave us the huge responsibility of being the guardians of this great world. When sin entered the world, it disgusted God, he was heart-broken by the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and this caused a separation. Nevertheless, God has always desired to reconcile the rift and is seen throuought history to be intimately involved in creation, a guiding hand leading our world to the ultimate redemption where the world will be put right again. God has not lef the world to rot, he didn't make it so he could sit back and watch carnage unfold. As bad as it gets, that is the curse of sin in the world. To see this is to understand the gravity of the situation, how lost we are without Him. In his mercy we will one day share the same kind of bond Adam and Eve had with God, in the kingdom to come, everlasting peace.[/quote]
[size=1]

What I meant was, why did God bother to create the world and universe to begin with? There was nothing but him, complete and perfect. He created that which would become imperfect, including Satan, the serpent, man, hell, and all other things that would come to signify "imperfection" and evil. Particularly if you are a determinist within Christianity, it becomes a weird dilemma, because that means that not only did God create the things (with all their weaknesses and imperfections), but also KNEW that they would go and do the things they did (and honestly, how can the "all knowing, all seeing" God not know it would happen?).[/size]


[quote]
That is a diffculty. I would say God is willing to prevent evil, and is working to abolish it altogether. He desries to reconcile us because he loves us. However, he also desires that we choose him of our own free will and it is that free will that allowed Adam and Eve to take the forbidden fruit and caused the rift. Like a naughty child, humanity is reaping the rewards of it's vice, but it does not mean that God is not benevolent, and that he does not love us. Soemtimes tough love can be the greatest expression of such emotion.[/quote]

[size=1]
But that doesn't answer where this evil came from. And why would God have a difficult time preventing evil? Working to abolish? He should be capable of aboloshing outright. He's God, he's very capable. So is he no longer omniscient? "Then why call him God?"

Again, the problem with Free Will in Christianity is that, God knows everything. Correct? And if he knows everything, and the outcome of everything, and if he indeed does have a "plan" for everybody, then that must meen that he knows what everyone will do and has done, and there fore, what free will do we have? As well, there is a big difference between choosing something of your free will. If you were faced with "Bow to me and worship me, or be sent to burn in eternal hell fire", there isn't very much "free will" involved. Your only choices are "Do what I say, or suffer for the rest of infinity (which I may or may not send you to early if I so please". God could have easily created the world so that man was unable to stray from his path, but since God didn't, it means that he probably wanted someone to feed his ego with some way. Its like a Tyrant asking his servants "am I awesome", and killing them if they offend him in anyway.[/size]

[quote]

You'll find that I'm quite open minded too. I'm genuinely interested in other's beliefs and what they hold to be sacred and true. As a consequence my religious debates very rarely get nasty, so this should continue to be fun![/quote]
[size=1]

I suppose the answer to that would be "everything and nothing". Buddhism is greatly about duality. I find all things in natural existance to be sacred, as I am part of that existance. But when everything is sacred, nothing is. Nothing is worth worship, but should be treated as sacred.

My particular brand of Zen is called "Soto" sect, as introduced to me by author and Zen Master Brad Warner.[/size]
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[quote name='Sangome'][FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"][SIZE="1"]Hey now, be nice. Sabre and Zen are being rather level-headed and respectful towards one another [and for that, I respect this debate], so why not be the same?[/SIZE][/FONT][/QUOTE]

I'll try, but I refuse to think of killing children because of how they were raised as a "mercy killing".

I love learning about religions from around the world! It's one of the big topics in my Global History class! We're currently learning about Shinto beliefs! It really is very interesting! I think my favorite religion to learn about so far was Hinduism. But I really want to learn about Native American beliefs! ^_^
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I still recommend checking out Aboriginal Dreamtime stories if you are interested in learning about other belief systems (especially those that significantly pre-date monotheistic religions).

For me, another set of religious beliefs that I find interesting are those of ancient Egypt. I think it's fascinating that Pharoahs could come in and completely change the national religion, largely for policy reasons (which makes sense, given that religion was often synonymous with early forms of government).

Chibi, I support the sentiment that says you must be respectful to others in debates (as in, do not personally attack anybody) but I do understand your outrage about the idea of "mercy killing" children. I think it's hard [i]not[/i] to feel some sort of revulsion at this idea.

Having said that, you would probably be aware - if you've studied different religions - that blood sacrifice is one of the most common tenants of [i]most[/i] religions. This is not really as true today (although circumcision is a remnant of earlier blood sacrifice rituals in Judaism) and in some cases outright blood sacrifice has transformed into something symbolic rather than literal (which is, interestingly enough, an indication that the moral zeitgeist is ever-changing as opposed to being completely static).

I don't say that to in any way excuse the notion of killing innocent people as part of a ritual sacrifice, but I do think it's valuable to be aware of the history of this practice. And I do think it's worth pointing out that it is not exclusive to Christianity (nor even to monotheistic religions in general).[/font]
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[quote name='James'][font=franklin gothic medium]I still recommend checking out Aboriginal Dreamtime stories if you are interested in learning about other belief systems (especially those that significantly pre-date monotheistic religions).

For me, another set of religious beliefs that I find interesting are those of ancient Egypt. I think it's fascinating that Pharoahs could come in and completely change the national religion, largely for policy reasons (which makes sense, given that religion was often synonymous with early forms of government).
[/font][/QUOTE]

That's actually been recommended to me before, but i don't know where to find any...

I ADORE ancient Egypt! It has always been something that fascinates me! It's always interesting to learn about the many different gods and such! I really liked reading about Anubis! He's my favorite...:animesmil
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[quote name='chibi-master']That's actually been recommended to me before, but i don't know where to find any...

I ADORE ancient Egypt! It has always been something that fascinates me! It's always interesting to learn about the many different gods and such! I really liked reading about Anubis! He's my favorite...:animesmil[/QUOTE]

[font=franklin gothic medium]Cool - I actually just bought a huge book on ancient Egypt from my bookstore thing at work. I think I could easily have become an Egyptologist! Haha.

Anyway, I can't think of a great resource for Dreamtime off the top of my head, but I'll try to find something good and I'll share the link with everyone here. :catgirl:[/font]
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[quote name='James'][font=franklin gothic medium]Cool - I actually just bought a huge book on ancient Egypt from my bookstore thing at work. I think I could easily have become an Egyptologist! Haha.[/font][/QUOTE]

My Global teacher actually offered me extra credit if I could discover a lost tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh, so... But this is the same guy that offered me extra credit if I reached enlightment when we were studying Buddhism... :[
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[quote name='chibi-master']My Global teacher actually offered me extra credit if I could discover a lost tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh, so... But this is the same guy that offered me extra credit if I reached enlightment when we were studying Buddhism... :[[/QUOTE]

[font=franklin gothic medium]Maybe you can just say you've reached enlightenment. You can walk in one day and proclaim "I'm enlightened!"

Unless there's some kind of enlightenment test, though. Then you're in trouble. :confused:[/font]
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[quote name='James'][font=franklin gothic medium]Maybe you can just say you've reached enlightenment. You can walk in one day and proclaim "I'm enlightened!"

Unless there's some kind of enlightenment test, though. Then you're in trouble. :confused:[/font][/QUOTE]

I just walked right up to him and said, "I have reached enlightenment. The mystical universe thing now demands that I be granted my well-deserved extra credit."

"Well, how do I know you've been enlightened?"

"The Starbucks nearest to your house just closed and you now have to go out of your way to get your morning beverage."

"....."

I had seen him at a Starbucks at one point a couple months earlier. The Starbucks was later closed, but he still kept coming in with his daily cappa-frappa-foofy-puff whatever drink. I got the extra credit.
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[quote name='chibi-master']
I had seen him at a Starbucks at one point a couple months earlier. The Starbucks was later closed, but he still kept coming in with his daily cappa-frappa-foofy-puff whatever drink. I got the extra credit.[/QUOTE]

[font=franklin gothic medium]Haha, that was quick thinking. I don't think I'd have had a good answer for that. :catgirl:

I also think it's kind of funny that your teacher was incredulous when you said you'd achieved enlightenment. Had you said something equally implausible but referenced a different religion, you'd likely have been taken seriously.[/font]
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