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Is Atheism Irrational? NYTimes Opinion Piece


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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

at least provide the link to Behe you d####e

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

at least provide the link to Behe you d####e

I didn't see any links provided for the flying spaghetti monster points that were brought up. Glad to see you are consistent in your criticisms and not acting biased against someone that BELIEVES differently than you.

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I can see where this is going, this is one of those threads where people gang up on one person for having a different opinion, and they will all scream ban this person until it happens. Then they can all go back to agreeing with each other and slapping hands, until the next trouble maker with a different opinion comes along!

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I can see where this is going, this is one of those threads where people gang up on one person for having a different opinion, and they will all scream ban this person until it happens. Then they can all go back to agreeing with each other and slapping hands, until the next trouble maker with a different opinion comes along!

Oh shut up. Please see several of the religious posters in here for examples of how not to be a martyr.
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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

at least provide the link to Behe you d####e

I didn't see any links provided for the flying spaghetti monster points that were brought up.

Were the FSM posts plagiarized without crediting the original source in any way, shape, or form?

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Plagiarized

If I had written that, I wouldn't want to get the credit either.

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

at least provide the link to Behe you d####e

I didn't see any links provided for the flying spaghetti monster points that were brought up.
Were the FSM posts plagiarized without crediting the original source in any way, shape, or form?

ememinence oof

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Replace the elephant with a human man. Now please explain why the intelligent designer gave him nipples... and a foreskin that the designer then demands be cut off and discarded...

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Replace the elephant with a human man. Now please explain the intelligent designer that gave him nipples... and a foreskin that the designer then demands be cut off and discarded...

I'm having a serious case of deja vu on your post...

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Replace the elephant with a human man. Now please explain the intelligent designer that gave him nipples... and a foreskin that the designer then demands be cut off and discarded...

I'm having a serious case of deja vu on your post...
Can't help it. It's a real zinger! :pickle:
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So much in here I want to chime in on, but I think the real key to the thread was the discussion of the use of the n word. Groundbreaking stuff here.

And Em, as one of the most fundamentalist posters here, I implore you to stay out of here. This had turned into a good thread when I backed away and I suggest you do the same.

People having an honest discussion about God is a wonderful thing, no matter where they are at in their beliefs.

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So much in here I want to chime in on, but I think the real key to the thread was the discussion of the use of the n word. Groundbreaking stuff here.

And Em, as one of the most fundamentalist posters here, I implore you to stay out of here. This had turned into a good thread when I backed away and I suggest you do the same.

People having an honest discussion about God is a wonderful thing, no matter where they are at in their beliefs.

Jayrod a good discussion is when they all agree with each other? Thats what it was before I came in here

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Complexity does not necessitate design. If it did, who designed the designer, because surely some entity capable of designing an elephant would need to be more complex than said elephant. In your assumption, the creator did not need to be designed because he's god, right? So, you broke your own logic. This elementary school defense of intelligent design doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. Honestly, I thought you were smarter than this.

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Complexity does not necessitate design. If it did, who designed the designer, because surely some entity capable of designing an elephant would need to be more complex than said elephant. In your assumption, the creator did not need to be designed because he's god, right? So, you broke your own logic. This elementary school defense of intelligent design doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. Honestly, I thought you were smarter than this.

The "argument from design" is a bad argument because evolution demonstrates that you can get complex things without anybody intentionally designing them.

That said, I'm pretty confident the bolded part is wrong, or at least in serious doubt. Computer scientists apparently think that we're only a few decades away from being able to build AI that is itself more intelligent than any human. Wouldn't such a thing violate the claim that complexity only moves in one direction? If your counter is that AI is just a bunch of 1s and 0s -- pretty simple actually -- how about when those 1s and 0s designs a space station on its own?

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So much in here I want to chime in on, but I think the real key to the thread was the discussion of the use of the n word. Groundbreaking stuff here.

And Em, as one of the most fundamentalist posters here, I implore you to stay out of here. This had turned into a good thread when I backed away and I suggest you do the same.

People having an honest discussion about God is a wonderful thing, no matter where they are at in their beliefs.

You're maybe not quite as much of a fundamentalist as you give yourself credit for ;)

Jayrod should be invited to elaborate here. What do fundamentalist Christians believe and how do they define inerrancy? And where do they begin to draw the line between a biblical historical event and a literary device used to make a theological point?

For example, I would say that Herod the Great passing and his son taking over his position at Jerusalem and then being fired and replaced by Rome, leading to a Roman census in Judea is a historical chain of events. Herod's slaughter of the innocents is not historical but a literary device commonly used by the author of Matthew to show ties to OT prophecy. Jesus' 40 days in the desert to be tempted; literary device, not historical. As is cursing fig trees, sending demon spirits into 2000 pigs and having them rush into the sea, 30 pieces of silver, Pilate releasing Barabbas as the scape goat. and the list goes on.

King Nebuchadnezzar invading Jerusalem... King Cyrus; both historical. Adam and Eve tempted by a talking serpent...

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^^^ Innerrancy would state that you take the genre for what it is. Poetry is different than history is different than prophesy is different than wisdom etc. Where many evangelicals disagree (the term fundamentalist is a loaded term and relatively unhelpful if we are discussing doctrine) is whether Genesis can be taken as allegory or if it has to be taken as history. Can you allow for Midrash or theologizing in the Gospels or are they pure history and you need to find a way to make them all fit together?

Strict biblical Innerancy is not literalism. Literalism is a straw man which very few actually hold. Even the most conservative evangelicals use historical, literary and theological analysis in their hermeneutic.

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^^^ Innerrancy would state that you take the genre for what it is. Poetry is different than history is different than prophesy is different than wisdom etc. Where many evangelicals disagree (the term fundamentalist is a loaded term and relatively unhelpful if we are discussing doctrine) is whether Genesis can be taken as allegory or if it has to be taken as history. Can you allow for Midrash or theologizing in the Gospels or are they pure history and you need to find a way to make them all fit together?

Strict biblical Innerancy is not literalism. Literalism is a straw man which very few actually hold. Even the most conservative evangelicals use historical, literary and theological analysis in their hermeneutic.

:goodposting:

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Complexity does not necessitate design. If it did, who designed the designer, because surely some entity capable of designing an elephant would need to be more complex than said elephant. In your assumption, the creator did not need to be designed because he's god, right? So, you broke your own logic. This elementary school defense of intelligent design doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. Honestly, I thought you were smarter than this.

The "argument from design" is a bad argument because evolution demonstrates that you can get complex things without anybody intentionally designing them.

That said, I'm pretty confident the bolded part is wrong, or at least in serious doubt. Computer scientists apparently think that we're only a few decades away from being able to build AI that is itself more intelligent than any human. Wouldn't such a thing violate the claim that complexity only moves in one direction? If your counter is that AI is just a bunch of 1s and 0s -- pretty simple actually -- how about when those 1s and 0s designs a space station on its own?

First of all, that was the point of my post. The logic that complexity demands design is flawed, and the example I give is a proof of that flaw. The original author suggests that an elephant must be designed due to it's complexity, which implies that anything highly complex must have been designed. Since the purposed designer of the elephant would be a god, an entirely complex being who's mystery exceeds our current understanding, given the original suggestion, it implies that the god also necessitated design as the god could not have arisen randomly, god is just too complex.

Anyways, I love futurology and know a bunch about AI/singularity/etc, so here is some about that aspect:

Yes, AI will be developed that exceeds human intelligence. But, it will be developed by LOTS of people over LOTS of time. And once AI gets to be, say, a slightly below average human intelligence, humans will have very little to do with improving it. Because you can copy that intelligence a trillion times, and now you've got the equivalent of a trillion below average humans working on making the AI better than the average human. So, next they get it to where it is as smart as the smartest humans. And processing power of the hardware improves. And all of a sudden you've got a quadrillion AIs all working on improving AI and they're all as smart as Einstein. From there, things quickly escalate to where we have this thing way beyond us, and it mostly self assembled.

So, at whatever point there exists an AI smart enough to design and build an elephant, said AI will have been itself designed by humans and by other lesser AIs (which were initially designed by humans too). And that AI will be vastly more complex than said elephant. It did not just spring into existence. In a way, it will have evolved, which is proving my original point... no one power designed the OP's elephant.

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There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

Complexity does not necessitate design. If it did, who designed the designer, because surely some entity capable of designing an elephant would need to be more complex than said elephant. In your assumption, the creator did not need to be designed because he's god, right? So, you broke your own logic. This elementary school defense of intelligent design doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. Honestly, I thought you were smarter than this.

The "argument from design" is a bad argument because evolution demonstrates that you can get complex things without anybody intentionally designing them.

That said, I'm pretty confident the bolded part is wrong, or at least in serious doubt. Computer scientists apparently think that we're only a few decades away from being able to build AI that is itself more intelligent than any human. Wouldn't such a thing violate the claim that complexity only moves in one direction? If your counter is that AI is just a bunch of 1s and 0s -- pretty simple actually -- how about when those 1s and 0s designs a space station on its own?

And, of course its wrong, but it is consistent with the logic forwarded by the original author. Logic that I deem flawed and incorrect.

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Can you allow for Midrash or theologizing in the Gospels or are they pure history and you need to find a way to make them all fit together?

Strict biblical Innerancy is not literalism. Literalism is a straw man which very few actually hold. Even the most conservative evangelicals use historical, literary and theological analysis in their hermeneutic.

1. The believer needs to answer this question for himself. I believe the gospel of Mark is the first written gospel narrative and was intended as midrash, not a historical bio of Jesus. As such, I certainly allow for midrash and theologizing. But I am not a fundamentalist/evangelical. I've seen folks try to fit them together with poor results.

2. Granted. And all you say is true, but I think you may be straying from the point just a bit (straw man?). Where does the fundamentalist rack and stack the literary and theological devices from historical truth? i.e. did Jesus literally die a physical death and was physically resurrected in a supernatural fashion? Or is his passion/resurrection theology?

No, inerrancy is not literalism (the earth sits on its pillars is certainly not literal). Inerrancy, to me, means the Bible is without error, the infallible word of God. To be inerrant, to me, the Bible needs to be in harmony with itself. Not on every literal detail, but certainly in the reporting of an event that is intended to be historically accurate.

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Where do 'fundamentalists' divide literal history from some other genre? Actual fundamentalists will take a pretty hardline stance on just about everything (Jonah, literal 6 day creation etc). Conservative evangelicals are more open to some of the OT and Gospels being creative history (mainly because 'historical' meant something very different in those times to what it means to us now). Then more liberal Protestants basically reject innerancy and interact with Scripture as a wonderful historical religious book but may not even believe Jesus was divine, may not hold some basic tenants of historic doctrine.

I contend the Evangelical view is most consistent with a majority of church history while allowing for and learning from literary criticism, historical and archeological research, comparative linguistics etc. But it also breeds a bunch of minor squabbles because it has more room for interpretation.

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

If you find the answer to this question in all the varied instances please let me know.

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

To draw us closer to the Holy Spirit? To actively seek relationship with God? It's funny. I can give you a list of things it isn't (that a lot of folks think it should be). I can give you a list of things it is. But I believe when we speak to intended goal, that's up to the individual reading it. I've realized (just recently) that if I read the Bible with a purpose, it reads much different than if I read it as an intellectual exercise.

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

To draw us closer to the Holy Spirit? To actively seek relationship with God? It's funny. I can give you a list of things it isn't (that a lot of folks think it should be). I can give you a list of things it is. But I believe when we speak to intended goal, that's up to the individual reading it. I've realized (just recently) that if I read the Bible with a purpose, it reads much different than if I read it as an intellectual exercise.

What does that say about God's communication to mankind? "Here you go, make of it what you will.. there are no right or wrong answers." ?

If a man reads the Bible with his own presuppositions, I suppose he could get out of it whatever he wants. That's why each differing sect can find biblical support for doctrine, even if opposing sects find such doctrine heresy. Again, what is God's intention? Or is it just a hodge podge of the writings of man?

Based on your comments, is it fair to say that you believe inerrancy is defined, then, in the eyes of the individual reader?

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

To draw us closer to the Holy Spirit? To actively seek relationship with God? It's funny. I can give you a list of things it isn't (that a lot of folks think it should be). I can give you a list of things it is. But I believe when we speak to intended goal, that's up to the individual reading it. I've realized (just recently) that if I read the Bible with a purpose, it reads much different than if I read it as an intellectual exercise.

What does that say about God's communication to mankind? "Here you go, make of it what you will.. there are no right or wrong answers." ?

If a man reads the Bible with his own presuppositions, I suppose he could get out of it whatever he wants. That's why each differing sect can find biblical support for doctrine, even if opposing sects find such doctrine heresy. Again, what is God's intention? Or is it just a hodge podge of the writings of man?

Based on your comments, is it fair to say that you believe inerrancy is defined, then, in the eyes of the individual reader?

I believe this is why the Bible is just one of the three things we are told to be doing in seeking relationship with God. Reading the Bible, being in fellowship with others and praying all work together. This is what I was sorta alluding to with my "reading with a purpose" comment. If an individual approaches their Bible readings with the "me first" attitude, the bold will happen every time. Guaranteed. If we approach it with the Holy Spirit in our hearts, I'm confident the messages we need to learn will be loud and clear. The Bible isn't an answer book in and of itself IMO.

"Inerrancy of the Bible" to me is the inerrancy in the overall message. It's remarkably consistent with respect to the price of sin, our devotion to God, our love for fellow mankind, etc. I don't subscribe to literal truth. I can't. Nor do I think it's reasonable to assume that since the Gospels don't match perfectly that everything in the Bible is false either. Seems a lazy approach to me.

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Suggested game plan going forward:

1. we all put popsecret on ignore

2. continue fruitful discussion without needless distractions

Who's with me?

That is what I love about ignore, the trash takes itself out

Not always. Putting you on ignore just means you will post the same thing as Eminence (or maybe create another alias).

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

To draw us closer to the Holy Spirit? To actively seek relationship with God? It's funny. I can give you a list of things it isn't (that a lot of folks think it should be). I can give you a list of things it is. But I believe when we speak to intended goal, that's up to the individual reading it. I've realized (just recently) that if I read the Bible with a purpose, it reads much different than if I read it as an intellectual exercise.

What does that say about God's communication to mankind? "Here you go, make of it what you will.. there are no right or wrong answers." ?

If a man reads the Bible with his own presuppositions, I suppose he could get out of it whatever he wants. That's why each differing sect can find biblical support for doctrine, even if opposing sects find such doctrine heresy. Again, what is God's intention? Or is it just a hodge podge of the writings of man?

Based on your comments, is it fair to say that you believe inerrancy is defined, then, in the eyes of the individual reader?

I wouldn't say this and don't think anyone who believes in the Bible would.

I think the complexity of spiritual things leads a person to think answer A is right and answer B is wrong while someone else thinks the opposite. But then, the reality is that it is some kind of blended answer C that doesn't really make any sense to any of us.

If the Bible is true, then there is a spiritual realm/dimension that is both separate and connected to our physical world and God operates beyond all of it. And if that is true, then the attempts of ancient man to understand and explain these spiritual things will be confusing to us and lead to varying explanations which seem at odds but very well may not be. If that makes any sense....

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

To draw us closer to the Holy Spirit? To actively seek relationship with God? It's funny. I can give you a list of things it isn't (that a lot of folks think it should be). I can give you a list of things it is. But I believe when we speak to intended goal, that's up to the individual reading it. I've realized (just recently) that if I read the Bible with a purpose, it reads much different than if I read it as an intellectual exercise.

What does that say about God's communication to mankind? "Here you go, make of it what you will.. there are no right or wrong answers." ?

If a man reads the Bible with his own presuppositions, I suppose he could get out of it whatever he wants. That's why each differing sect can find biblical support for doctrine, even if opposing sects find such doctrine heresy. Again, what is God's intention? Or is it just a hodge podge of the writings of man?

Based on your comments, is it fair to say that you believe inerrancy is defined, then, in the eyes of the individual reader?

I wouldn't say this and don't think anyone who believes in the Bible would.

I think the complexity of spiritual things leads a person to think answer A is right and answer B is wrong while someone else thinks the opposite. But then, the reality is that it is some kind of blended answer C that doesn't really make any sense to any of us.

If the Bible is true, then there is a spiritual realm/dimension that is both separate and connected to our physical world and God operates beyond all of it. And if that is true, then the attempts of ancient man to understand and explain these spiritual things will be confusing to us and lead to varying explanations which seem at odds but very well may not be. If that makes any sense....

Why would you listen to ancient man's (or any man's) explanation if you yourself can't make sense of it (is confusing and at odds)?

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Maybe loving God and loving your neighbor being the two most important commandments is really the base of everything, and all of our arguments about infra vs supra, election, genre of literature and the exact nature of Christ are silly to a loving God who told us "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" and that he died for the sins "of the whole world" and in the end he will redeem all things to himself. :shrug:

Can one love both God and his neighbor without believing that God sent his son to die a horrible death for the atonement of sins? If loving God and your neighbor, the two most important commands, are all that is needed, why would God have to "die for the sins of the whole world"? The former is reasonable but when you start talking about the latter, the can of worms starts to rumble.

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Maybe loving God and loving your neighbor being the two most important commandments is really the base of everything

I think we can all agree with this (after edits. i.e. the whole point of this thread is to debate the part I struck out.)

The "golden rule" is at the foundation of any modern, civilized society. Whether you get that from religion or secular humanism is up to you.

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I believe this is why the Bible is just one of the three things we are told to be doing in seeking relationship with God. Reading the Bible, being in fellowship with others and praying all work together. This is what I was sorta alluding to with my "reading with a purpose" comment. If an individual approaches their Bible readings with the "me first" attitude, the bold will happen every time. Guaranteed. If we approach it with the Holy Spirit in our hearts, I'm confident the messages we need to learn will be loud and clear. The Bible isn't an answer book in and of itself IMO.

"Inerrancy of the Bible" to me is the inerrancy in the overall message. It's remarkably consistent with respect to the price of sin, our devotion to God, our love for fellow mankind, etc. I don't subscribe to literal truth. I can't. Nor do I think it's reasonable to assume that since the Gospels don't match perfectly that everything in the Bible is false either. Seems a lazy approach to me.

This is a very protestant thing to say. Just about every other faith community also uses the testimony of their church in interpreting scripture and would include it in your first sentence. But we probably don't need to get into my issues with sola scriptura today.

I should probably be clearer as I'm not suggesting we use our churches to guide us. We are called to be in fellowship with them as we are all part of the body of Christ. I'm not sure the church is where we are to derive our beliefs, rather we are to be there to support one another as brothers/sisters in Christ. Personally, I don't discuss much theology while at church. I am there to be support and supported by fellow believers. I'm not there to be taught theology by them. I leave that to Bible study and prayer. Occasionally, I will engage in theological discussion, but it's not my primary reason for being there. From a theological perspective, I do enjoy the other POVs presented, but I don't generally use them as a significant factor in coming to my conclusions.

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I believe this is why the Bible is just one of the three things we are told to be doing in seeking relationship with God. Reading the Bible, being in fellowship with others and praying all work together. This is what I was sorta alluding to with my "reading with a purpose" comment. If an individual approaches their Bible readings with the "me first" attitude, the bold will happen every time. Guaranteed. If we approach it with the Holy Spirit in our hearts, I'm confident the messages we need to learn will be loud and clear. The Bible isn't an answer book in and of itself IMO.

"Inerrancy of the Bible" to me is the inerrancy in the overall message. It's remarkably consistent with respect to the price of sin, our devotion to God, our love for fellow mankind, etc. I don't subscribe to literal truth. I can't. Nor do I think it's reasonable to assume that since the Gospels don't match perfectly that everything in the Bible is false either. Seems a lazy approach to me.

This is a very protestant thing to say. Just about every other faith community also uses the testimony of their church in interpreting scripture and would include it in your first sentence. But we probably don't need to get into my issues with sola scriptura today.

I should probably be clearer as I'm not suggesting we use our churches to guide us. We are called to be in fellowship with them as we are all part of the body of Christ. I'm not sure the church is where we are to derive our beliefs, rather we are to be there to support one another as brothers/sisters in Christ. Personally, I don't discuss much theology while at church. I am there to be support and supported by fellow believers. I'm not there to be taught theology by them. I leave that to Bible study and prayer. Occasionally, I will engage in theological discussion, but it's not my primary reason for being there. From a theological perspective, I do enjoy the other POVs presented, but I don't generally use them as a significant factor in coming to my conclusions.

If we aren't supposed to use the church to guide us, I assume you think we should use the bible instead.

Where do you think we got the bible?

Bad choice of words I suppose. Perhaps "direct us" or "push us" or "pull us". In other words, we don't look to the church for our answers. We look to God. Brothers/Sisters in Christ are necessary for support, but ultimately direction comes from God. We were created social creatures, thus the necessity for a social support system (the church). Though I don't think the church is the only way to get that support. I grew more in my faith by going to a weekly Bible study with friends and colleagues than I ever did in any church I attended. Hope that makes better sense.

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The point is people can and should be nice to each other, regardless of what religion they follow or if they follow no religion at all. IMO, the golden rule is a man-made construct that makes a lot of sense if you want people to live in harmony.

To Joe's point, don't let other "rules" trump the golden rule. i.e. if your neighbor happens to be gay, you should still treat him/her like you would want to be treated. Unfortunately, I do think that gets lost a lot of times, and sometimes it's caused by religious dogma that doesn't make sense in the modern world.

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The point is people can and should be nice to each other, regardless of what religion they follow or if they follow no religion at all. IMO, the golden rule is a man-made construct that makes a lot of sense if you want people to live in harmony.

To Joe's point, don't let other "rules" trump the golden rule. i.e. if your neighbor happens to be gay, you should still treat him/her like you would want to be treated. Unfortunately, I do think that gets lost a lot of times, and sometimes it's caused by religious dogma that doesn't make sense in the modern world.

Caused by or used as an excuse for? I think both exist, but the former is much less prevalent than the latter and fear of the unknown/different is usually the driver.

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The point is people can and should be nice to each other, regardless of what religion they follow or if they follow no religion at all. IMO, the golden rule is a man-made construct that makes a lot of sense if you want people to live in harmony.

To Joe's point, don't let other "rules" trump the golden rule. i.e. if your neighbor happens to be gay, you should still treat him/her like you would want to be treated. Unfortunately, I do think that gets lost a lot of times, and sometimes it's caused by religious dogma that doesn't make sense in the modern world.

In Christianity, all other commandments flow from loving God and loving people. There is no commandment or duty of a Christian that is counter to either of those things. If someone is acting in an unloving way toward any person, be they gay, straight, Muslim or whatever, they are not doing what Christ told them to do.

This is a huge pet peeve with my regarding the church involving themselves in the gay marriage legal debate. In fact Paul in Corinthians is explicit that the church is not to be preoccupied with the morality of outsiders. He is far more concerned with actual Christians upholding what they claim to believe. This runs directly contrary to many Christian's stances regarding the 'culture wars'.

1 Cor 5

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you.[d]

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Maybe loving God and loving your neighbor being the two most important commandments is really the base of everything

I think we can all agree with this (after edits. i.e. the whole point of this thread is to debate the part I struck out.)

The "golden rule" is at the foundation of any modern, civilized society. Whether you get that from religion or secular humanism is up to you.

I've always felt that this was the take away and pretty much discarded the rest. Even the bits with wine and harlots were pretty tame ;)

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The point is people can and should be nice to each other, regardless of what religion they follow or if they follow no religion at all. IMO, the golden rule is a man-made construct that makes a lot of sense if you want people to live in harmony.

To Joe's point, don't let other "rules" trump the golden rule. i.e. if your neighbor happens to be gay, you should still treat him/her like you would want to be treated. Unfortunately, I do think that gets lost a lot of times, and sometimes it's caused by religious dogma that doesn't make sense in the modern world.

In Christianity, all other commandments flow from loving God and loving people. There is no commandment or duty of a Christian that is counter to either of those things. If someone is acting in an unloving way toward any person, be they gay, straight, Muslim or whatever, they are not doing what Christ told them to do.

This is a huge pet peeve with my regarding the church involving themselves in the gay marriage legal debate. In fact Paul in Corinthians is explicit that the church is not to be preoccupied with the morality of outsiders. He is far more concerned with actual Christians upholding what they claim to believe. This runs directly contrary to many Christian's stances regarding the 'culture wars'.

1 Cor 5

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you.[d]

Again :goodposting:

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^^^ You have a strongly Evangelical understanding of innerancy then. That's what we were taught in seminary. The bible does not fail at its intended goal. The issue is what's 'intended.'

Indeed, what is its intended goal?

To draw us closer to the Holy Spirit? To actively seek relationship with God? It's funny. I can give you a list of things it isn't (that a lot of folks think it should be). I can give you a list of things it is. But I believe when we speak to intended goal, that's up to the individual reading it. I've realized (just recently) that if I read the Bible with a purpose, it reads much different than if I read it as an intellectual exercise.

What does that say about God's communication to mankind? "Here you go, make of it what you will.. there are no right or wrong answers." ?

If a man reads the Bible with his own presuppositions, I suppose he could get out of it whatever he wants. That's why each differing sect can find biblical support for doctrine, even if opposing sects find such doctrine heresy. Again, what is God's intention? Or is it just a hodge podge of the writings of man?

Based on your comments, is it fair to say that you believe inerrancy is defined, then, in the eyes of the individual reader?

I wouldn't say this and don't think anyone who believes in the Bible would.

I think the complexity of spiritual things leads a person to think answer A is right and answer B is wrong while someone else thinks the opposite. But then, the reality is that it is some kind of blended answer C that doesn't really make any sense to any of us.

If the Bible is true, then there is a spiritual realm/dimension that is both separate and connected to our physical world and God operates beyond all of it. And if that is true, then the attempts of ancient man to understand and explain these spiritual things will be confusing to us and lead to varying explanations which seem at odds but very well may not be. If that makes any sense....

Why would you listen to ancient man's (or any man's) explanation if you yourself can't make sense of it (is confusing and at odds)?

Wha?
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If the Bible is true, then there is a spiritual realm/dimension that is both separate and connected to our physical world and God operates beyond all of it. And if that is true, then the attempts of ancient man to understand and explain these spiritual things will be confusing to us and lead to varying explanations which seem at odds but very well may not be. If that makes any sense....

The attempts of ancient man to understand and explain spiritual things will be confusing and lead to varying explanations...

This statement is more likely to be true if:

1. God inspired these men to interpret and reveal his message to man.

or

2. Men wrote their thoughts down and various writings were collected, merged, redacted, interpolated, voted on and published by the victors of orthodoxy.

#2 seems more likely especially when you consider the power and influence a "Holy Spirit" would have (in which case #1 would be more likely) and when you consider passages such as John 17:20-23:

“My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.

-- My bolding.

Jesus prayed for the complete unity of his disciples and for all those who believe in Jesus. This prayer did not last even a decade or two after Jesus died, if you believe Paul's letters were actually written between ~AD 40-60. Just think of all the other believing sects that were deemed heretics and eventually banished by the catholic church.

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If the Bible is true, then there is a spiritual realm/dimension that is both separate and connected to our physical world and God operates beyond all of it. And if that is true, then the attempts of ancient man to understand and explain these spiritual things will be confusing to us and lead to varying explanations which seem at odds but very well may not be. If that makes any sense....

The attempts of ancient man to understand and explain spiritual things will be confusing and lead to varying explanations...

This statement is more likely to be true if:

1. God inspired these men to interpret and reveal his message to man.

or

2. Men wrote their thoughts down and various writings were collected, merged, redacted, interpolated, voted on and published by the victors of orthodoxy.

#2 seems more likely especially when you consider the power and influence a "Holy Spirit" would have (in which case #1 would be more likely) and when you consider passages such as John 17:20-23:

“My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.

-- My bolding.

Jesus prayed for the complete unity of his disciples and for all those who believe in Jesus. This prayer did not last even a decade or two after Jesus died, if you believe Paul's letters were actually written between ~AD 40-60. Just think of all the other believing sects that were deemed heretics and eventually banished by the catholic church.

If you believe #1 to be true, any thoughts on why God would choose to reveal his message to mankind and then go completely silent for the last 2,000 years?

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If the Bible is true, then there is a spiritual realm/dimension that is both separate and connected to our physical world and God operates beyond all of it. And if that is true, then the attempts of ancient man to understand and explain these spiritual things will be confusing to us and lead to varying explanations which seem at odds but very well may not be. If that makes any sense....

The attempts of ancient man to understand and explain spiritual things will be confusing and lead to varying explanations...

This statement is more likely to be true if:

1. God inspired these men to interpret and reveal his message to man.

or

2. Men wrote their thoughts down and various writings were collected, merged, redacted, interpolated, voted on and published by the victors of orthodoxy.

#2 seems more likely especially when you consider the power and influence a "Holy Spirit" would have (in which case #1 would be more likely) and when you consider passages such as John 17:20-23:

“My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.

-- My bolding.

Jesus prayed for the complete unity of his disciples and for all those who believe in Jesus. This prayer did not last even a decade or two after Jesus died, if you believe Paul's letters were actually written between ~AD 40-60. Just think of all the other believing sects that were deemed heretics and eventually banished by the catholic church.

If you believe #1 to be true, any thoughts on why God would choose to reveal his message to mankind and then go completely silent for the last 2,000 years?

I imagine that those who believe #1 to be true also do not believe that God has been completely silent for the last 2k years.

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