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Dilemmas in spite of (or because of) faith.

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Hello. A friendly atheist here. Curious for some opinions from individual Christians. (Not a “gottcha” troll and no pre-conceived reactions. Promise.)

I am generally preoccupied with the nature of existence. For instance, as an atheist/materialist, I guzzle up all I can about the science of how nature works. And, DESPITE being an atheist, I am constantly learning what I can about many religions.

Since I don’t attribute any objective, absolute merit to the laws or ethics pronounced in the scripture or dogma of any faith, I am constantly at work on my own personal understanding of the meanings of these things, and my obligations to them. For me, questions of my duties to my fellow human, the world we share, and the society we build demand my constant attention.

I THINK I would still be preoccupied with these issues even if I were a Christian. And I THINK I would also dwell on several other apparently conflicted issues that would arise from my faith. (The usual ones people cite: the problem of evil, free will v. destiny, apparent inconsistencies among the Gospels, etc.)

My interactions at Talk Jesus have been almost universally pleasant. And I have gotten the impression that many participants here consider some combination of Christian scripture and dogma offers sufficient answers to these conundrums.

So, I have a question: Are there any compelling moral or religious issues which you find are not easily answered by some facet of your Christianity (however you care to define that)? Or does your faith perhaps itself pose any personal dilemmas the solution of which you are unsure or interested in solving?

Thanks so much for any of your thoughts. As ever, I expect they will be excellent.
 
Active
Thanks friendly atheist. This feels like a fox inviting a duck to dinner and asking her to bring some sage and onion.

Here is a sample of my thoughts in no particular order

  • Why do good things happen to bad people?
  • Why does God seem not to act when it would be clearly better for everybody if he did?
  • God commanding genocide in the Old Testament. I still can't accept it.
  • The earth is now in bondage to decay. What was it like before the fall - and how does this match up with the scientific record? In short, I can't conceive of life on earth without death.
  • Why does it have to be so hard?
  • How can I be fully compassionate and attentive to others needs without quickly becoming exhausted?
  • The prayers of vengeance in the Psalms. How does that match forgiveness
  • I am so dismayed at my own failings - why doesn't God give me more strength?
  • I still can't fully comprehend how Jesus' death brings life.
  • Why do so many of us still feel crushing shame in spite of the promise of forgiveness?
  • I'm running out of time here, not questions...

This list might make it seem that I am on the verge of losing my faith. I'm not. I am absolutely convinced of God's love and fully put my trust in his promises.

A few weeks ago, I was asked in some group or other what question I would ask God if I could ask directly. Instinctively, the question I had was, "Why does it have to be so hard?"

I see so much needless suffering around me, and if I had the power that created the universe at my disposal, I would fix it in a trice. But God doesn't.

The answer I keep coming back to - and I know it is an incomplete answer - is that God has not shied away from the suffering we see and experienced. In Jesus he has entered into it, and embraced it fully.
 
Loyal
I see so much needless suffering around me, and if I had the power that created the universe at my disposal, I would fix it in a trice. But God doesn't.
Scripture tells us He put that in our hands and it is us who are not doing enough.
 
Active
I am generally preoccupied with the nature of existence.
Aren't we all.
And I THINK I would also dwell on several other apparently conflicted issues that would arise from my faith.
You see, my faith sees no "apparent" conflicts.

apparent inconsistencies among the Gospels, etc.)
I have seen none, what are they?
conundrums.
Aaah.....conundrums, perhaps you have them. No disrespect but conundrums would indicate some form of bondage to untruth to me.
Or does your faith perhaps itself pose any personal dilemmas the solution of which you are unsure or interested in solving?
Nope!
 
Active
So, I have a question: Are there any compelling moral or religious issues which you find are not easily answered by some facet of your Christianity (however you care to define that)? Or does your faith perhaps itself pose any personal dilemmas the solution of which you are unsure or interested in solving?
Just one. God's existence. How did He come to be?

Evidence points to His existence. Evidence points to us being accretion and a small one in comparison. So a viable answer is that we are incapable of grasping this. But it is still a nagging issue in my mind. God's origin blows my highly intelligent but yet very tiny, brain. My mind then wonders into the insanity of our existence. The fact that we actually exist is insane. We walk, talk, smell, breath, think, have emotions....its all impressive and truly mind blowing when you really sit down and think about it.

There are other hard issues to resolve. You touched on some. But I do believe I have them resolved and can provide a strong defense for God.
 
Member
...This list might make it seem that I am on the verge of losing my faith. I'm not. I am absolutely convinced of God's love and fully put my trust in his promises....
Hello, Hekuran. Thank you for the very thoughtful response.

I suspect you are very much like the sort of Christian I would be if I did believe. And I don’t doubt you are nowhere near losing your faith. I interact with a great many atheists and religious agnostics who refer to the same sort of challenges you mention as reasons WHY they do not believe, and to me the logic does not follow. If I believed there is no amount of practical, earthly challenges which would convince me intellectually to abandon my faith. I would take the existence of such challenges as a mission for me from God to strive to make sense of these apparent dilemmas within the framework of his order.

However, I feel obliged to mention that very quickly I might settle on some very heretical ideas. But I don’t think even then I would “logic” my way to atheism.
 
Member
I have seen none, what are they?
“Aren’t we all…”

In my experience, not really. Which I think is a shame. I think this place would be a lot nicer to live in if more people were.

“…conundrums…indicate some form of bondage to untruth…”

On the contrary. If I perceive some conundrum or dilemma, my solution to which may be a “Christian approach/answer” versus some resolution which rejects a theology, until I commit to one answer or the other, I am categorically avoiding bondage to either. For instance, if I am not convinced of the literal truth of the Resurrection, it does not mean I am necessarily bound to any untruthful alternative.

“…I have seen none, what are they?...”

Here you touch what is, for me, one of the most puzzling aspects of Christian faith. First, I misspoke slightly and I apologize. I should have said, “…the apparent inconsistencies in and LITERAL reading of the Gospels…”

To my thinking, the most extreme example would be the Gospels’ four different accounts of the number and identities of people at the tomb and the chronology of events on the third day.

Taken as police reports from four different eyewitnesses, they are hardly corroborative of each other. But I don’t see this as any sort of failing because I have never read them as police reports of real world events. Instead, I understand them to be four different commentaries on one aspect of the central piece of dogma within Christianity; that there was more import and meaning in the events they describe than any one version presents. For me, even as an atheist, they are rich and profound, but only if they are parable. If they are factual record, their editors did not seem to have their act together.

I hate whenever I hear atheist critics of the Gospels gall out “errors” such as Jesus apparently thinking the mustard seed is the smallest seed (which it is not) or advising people that if they are having trouble with their right eye, they should poke it out. They claim (accurately) that, if this was his approach to temporal, vocational matters, Jesus would have been a flop as a botanist or a physician.

But to me it’s perfectly clear he is not trying to show off his knowledge of botany or medicine. It’s plain as the nose on my face that he is teaching how the greatest state in all creation (salvation and restoration to a pre-fall state) springs from even the tiniest genesis of faith. And that if one seeks some all-important goal (like salvation) one must be prepared to sacrifice certain “sacred cows” one might never have dreamed of doing with out, such as one’s own eye.

I have met Christians who are convinced the Gospels are inerrant factual accounts of the life of Jesus. They explain that, since God is truly omnipotent, its is altogether within his power to have structured reality such that sets of 0, 1, 2 and 3 women were (and were not) all present at the opening of the tomb. And IF God IS omnipotent, I grant this is a real possibility. But it is also a real possibility that an omnipotent God inspired the recording of one intricately complex parable in four distinct versions, and that the events MAY (though not MUST) have only ever existed as parable.

The “atheist me” doesn’t think it matters whether any of the accounts of the resurrection accurately describe exactly what happened. I THINK (and I honestly can’t say for sure… which is why I’m interested in your opinion and those of other believers) it wouldn’t matter to me even if I were Christian.

Thoughts?
 
Loyal
To me... it all comes down to we simply believe what we want to believe. For example one of the passage you are speaking about says
Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb. John says it was "still dark" when she came. ( John 20:1; )
Mark 16:9; says Jesus "first" appeared to Mary Magdalene.

Matt 28:1; Mary Magdalene,... "and" the "other" Mary... (generally taken to be the mother of Jesus - Mark 15:47; )
Is this really discrepency? Is is possible Mary M came earlier than the other Mary? Is it even possible the other Mary left for a while and came back?

Also something else to keep in mind. The "two Mary's" had already came and seen the empty tomb, even reported it to the disciples
before Jesus revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene. ( John 20:2; - John 20:15; ) so this likely wasn't a single event.

This could all be speculation.... but it's what I choose to believe. If you disbelieve the Bible... that's simply what you "choose" to believe.

The mustard seed may not be the smallest seed... but can you think of a smaller seed the disciples would have been familiar with there in Galilee?
They say sometimes Christians take the Bible too literally... maybe atheists are guilty of the same thing? I suspect many of the so called "discrepancies"
are similar... they all can have dozens of explanations.

For instance, if I am not convinced of the literal truth of the Resurrection, it does not mean I am necessarily bound to any untruthful alternative.
To Christians... there is only one truth. Not multiple, alternative truths, not relative truths, not perceived truths... just 'truth". Any truth besides the truth of the Bible
is "an untruthful alternative". as you put it.

that the events MAY (though not MUST) have only ever existed as parable.
1 Cor 15:13; But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1 Cor 15:14; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
1 Cor 15:15; Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
1 Cor 15:16; For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
1 Cor 15:17; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins

All of the Christianity is built on the resurrection of Jesus... if it is a lie, then Christianity is a lie. That's why people spend a lot of time and effort trying to discredit and disprove
the Bible. I honestly have to wonder why it matters so much to them? Why do they not try to discredit the Q'uran, or the Bab's writings? Why not discredit the Star Wars "force"?
It seems far and away the vast majority want to discredit the Bible for some reason. Why does the Bible offend them so much?

I am not angry or offended as I write this... I feel I don't even have a reason to be. If I come across as callous in my writing, it's nothing personally against you. It's just my resolve in what I believe.
 
Active
I see so much needless suffering around me, and if I had the power that created the universe at my disposal, I would fix it in a trice. But God doesn't.
Just a thought to add to your last line in your post. If we just further clarify Jesus's suffering, it kind of does make 'more' sense.

Jesus only needed to die for our sins. But yet God chose to make Him a Lamb to the slaughter Isa 53:7. God was pleased when He was bruised for our iniquities Isa 53:10.

It speaks to me of God being genuine and true. Not 'cheating'. Jesus was 100% in a weak flesh. Jesus was 100% at the mercy of those who hated Him. He could walk on water but at His crucifixion He could no such. Stripped of all power. Abandoned by God. Even forced to say ''if this cup can be taken, please do''.

There are literally only two position we can take. 1. God is unnecessarily wicked. 2. God literally stands back, ties His hands behind His back and allows for true free will to take place.

I believe the latter as I believe God is as good as He is great. His ability to help with suffering is limited by His desire to uphold impartiality and free will. Ironically, being good as free will is good. Albeit entail a balance of good and evil. It is the balance of good an evil that is hard to understand. We can see instances of extreme evil and extreme good. So we know they both exist. We see extreme evil on good people and extreme good on evil people. So we know impartiality exists.

I believe we too need to try take a step back and look at earth and all its happenings in context of God's 'eternal' plans. For example, Job who suffered greatly. Will forever be remembered as the ''man who suffered greatly, yet remained faithful''. For all eternity he will wear this crown.
 
Active
I believe we too need to try take a step back and look at earth and all its happenings in context of God's 'eternal' plans.
I agree, though I think that you have put more emphasis on free will than the Bible does.

I do get frustrated and angry when I focus on the depths of suffering and brokenness in the world, and from this perspective I do question God and his apparent lack of action. When I focus on the person of Jesus, I find myself confessing that God's wisdom and grace is greater than I can comprehend.

I can cheerfully lose arguments all day long about the size of mustard seeds, dinosaur fossils and how many kinds of animal you can carry in an ark. One day I guess I will find out who Cain married, but I am not holding my breath.

Sooner or later every question about faith that really matters comes back to understanding Jesus' work, his life, death and resurrection.
 
Active
The “atheist me” doesn’t think it matters whether any of the accounts of the resurrection accurately describe exactly what happened. I THINK (and I honestly can’t say for sure… which is why I’m interested in your opinion and those of other believers) it wouldn’t matter to me even if I were Christian.

Thoughts?
Knowing who first saw Jesus, or trying to harmonise the differing accounts does not interest me that much.

But the essentials of the story - that the tomb was empty, and that the disciples met Jesus risen from the dead - could not possibly matter more. It is the event that the whole of history revolves around. Without it, my entire faith (worldview, values, hope and motivation) is a delusion.
 
Active
I am categorically avoiding bondage to either. For instance, if I am not convinced of the literal truth of the Resurrection, it does not mean I am necessarily bound to any untruthful alternative.
  • With all due respect, I just want go any further than this because it would just be of no avail, you are who you are , for what ever reason and, I am who I am because I have been saved by grace through faith and Born Again. You obviously have not and have no way of understanding what I am talking about unless you experience what I have experienced. Your attempt to put your objections, in what appears to be in a form of eloquent prose to impress I guess.
  • Again, no disrespect, you have a right to your belief.
  • You can't categorically avoid the bondage I am talking about, because you do not believe and, therefore for, you are in bondage to untruth about the gospel and Christianity.
  • Example, as a believer: there are no inconsistencies with gospel because there is no inconsistency with God. There is only a bondage to your belief in an untruth.
 
Loyal
  • With all due respect, I just want go any further than this because it would just be of no avail, you are who you are , for what ever reason and, I am who I am because I have been saved by grace through faith and Born Again. You obviously have not and have no way of understanding what I am talking about unless you experience what I have experienced. Your attempt to put your objections, in what appears to be in a form of eloquent prose to impress I guess.
  • Again, no disrespect, you have a right to your belief.
  • You can't categorically avoid the bondage I am talking about, because you do not believe and, therefore for, you are in bondage to untruth about the gospel and Christianity.
  • Example, as a believer: there are no inconsistencies with gospel because there is no inconsistency with God. There is only a bondage to your belief in an untruth.
Amen and very well put!
Blessings to you
 
Active
1. I agree, though I think that you have put more emphasis on free will than the Bible does.

2. I do get frustrated and angry when I focus on the depths of suffering and brokenness in the world, and from this perspective I do question God and his apparent lack of action. When I focus on the person of Jesus, I find myself confessing that God's wisdom and grace is greater than I can comprehend.
1. I believe every story in the bible points to free will. It starts with free will in the garden. Then we see Cain who had opportunity and ability to use his hands for evil. As well as being given time to consider his actions and repent.

2. You should get frustrated, so do I and every other good person. Does God? There is ample evidence that He too does.

I have been thinking on this subject and a thought hit me last night. Because of who God is (righteous, holy), the consequence of sin / evil / disobedience has to be eternal separation. Because the consequence is eternal separation, there has to exist true free will. In order for true free will to exist, there has to be opportunity for us to act on true evil and true righteousness. Our hands can be used to heal or kill. Our minds can think of ways to repair a person or break them down. We are literally in a swamp of free will. I can in this instant resort to extreme wickedness.

God does His part. He creates free will. He tells us His will is for us to hate what is evil Rom 12:9. He tells us the eternal consequence of separation from Him if we love the darkness John 3:19. The creation we are, our intelligence level, requires God to deal with us in the manner He does. To have a highly intelligent creation serve Him unconditionally is wicked. That is why we see angels who fell. If they did not fall, they would not have free will. We also see that it is not a case of ''serve God'' unconditionally and He will choose us. It is rather hate what is evil Rom 12:9, James 4:8, we are then after His heart and He will make a plan (Jesus) for us to be with Him.

We need to remember that once all is said and done. We will all stand before God and have a chance to have our say. We also need to understand that on that day, He will have His say. I don't believe He will say a lot. He will be sad to send those who hate him to hell. But it is what is coming. They will be sad because they will grasp how good He is.

The picture I have of us in heaven is this: We will be sitting with God. He will serve us tea and biscuits (the greatest in heaven is the 'least'). We will then discuss all we desire. He will not brainwash us. He will not remove memories. We will sit and rationalize all that has happened, is happening and is going to happen, whilst ....He serves us tea and biscuits.

There is a fog over our minds that has to clear asap. We need to apply ourselves to think more on and try better understand God.
 
Active
I have met Christians who are convinced the Gospels are inerrant factual accounts of the life of Jesus. They explain that, since God is truly omnipotent, its is altogether within his power to have structured reality such that sets of 0, 1, 2 and 3 women were (and were not) all present at the opening of the tomb. And IF God IS omnipotent, I grant this is a real possibility. But it is also a real possibility that an omnipotent God inspired the recording of one intricately complex parable in four distinct versions, and that the events MAY (though not MUST) have only ever existed as parable.

The “atheist me” doesn’t think it matters whether any of the accounts of the resurrection accurately describe exactly what happened. I THINK (and I honestly can’t say for sure… which is why I’m interested in your opinion and those of other believers) it wouldn’t matter to me even if I were Christian.

Thoughts?
I agree the bible is inerrant. We just have to grasp the type of inerrancy.

It is inerrant from God's perspective.

God inspired humans to pen it. There is not a single instance in all of human history where God has mind controlled a human to do exactly as He requested. Inspired, not forced. Much did not need inspiring (outside of Genesis / creation and prophecies). People only needed to truthfully recall and record. God would oversee, not do the typing. Each of us would be guilty of inconsistencies if asked to do the same. What God wants us to take from the gospels is pretty crystal clear.

[LEFT][COLOR=rgb(66, 66, 66)]If we had a chance to sit with those who penned the gospels. What would their reaction be to us asking them '''was it 2 or 3 witnesses ?''. They will quite literally slap us in the face.[/COLOR][/LEFT]

Now the devil comes along. He wants to create doubt. He wants to refute it. He has us focusing on a discussion of inerrancy because God is omniscient and omnipotent.

God is omniscient. God is omnipotent. God is also good. God is also behind free will. God is also not a mind controller. God also considers us as sufficiently reliable reporters. Just because we grasp the dictionary definitions of inerrancy, omniscience and omnipotence, does not result in us now grasping God.

The gospels are testimonies of those who were with Jesus. I truly doubt He needed to give any special inspiration. The only oversight needed would be the exclusion of Judas's account. For obvious reasons.
 
Active
Just to add. We need to grasp that God avoids '''literal management''. To allow for free will. If the bible was glowing, 100% perfect, placed on top of a holy tower in the Vatican, with lightning daily striking it. God would instantly kill room for any other religion and belief. Even atheism.

Having absolutely no doubt that the bible is wrong shifts the focus from where God wants it. God wants us to grasp through experience, revelation, rational thought and meditation on scripture that the bible is the truth.

He wants us to find Him. He is like a rich man looking for a bride.

There is a separate discussion to be had with Jews. As God did have a literal management style with them.
 
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Member
To me... it all comes down to we simply believe what we want to believe...
Hello, B-A-C. Thank you for the clear and thought provoking comments.

First, let me elaborate a bit on some of my own perspectives. When I assert that the Gospels MAY not be factual accounts of real world events in the technical sense, I in no way consider it a form of (or effort to) discrediting them. Indeed, I find a great deal more resonance in the Gospels read as allegory and the (honestly arguable) inconsistency of certain details either fade in importance or, more likely, take on greater significance –– the people who codified the canon seem to have found powerful moral/spiritual/ethical implications between their distinguishing points. Otherwise, why collect more than on most-“accurate” Gospel, but four instead; and furthermore choose NOT to include some forty other gospels, each with its own differing particulars. Reading the four Gospels as metaphor and pondering the nuances of their differences becomes like holding a cut crystal goblet up to the light and being able to see the vastly richer spectra of light the different facets refract, as opposed to judging its merits simply as a glass for water.

Also (I know this sounds nonsensical to many Christians), when I speak of the Gospels or anything in terms of metaphor, allegory and parable, I am neither suggesting nor do I contend they are NOT also describing actual historical events. I simply consider their importance is not predicated on the historical accuracy of any detail. You point out (with excellent scriptural support) that the fact of the resurrection is central to any Christian creed. I understand and don’t deny this. But I think my understanding of a truly omnipotent God is actually more charitable than most (even if I don’t happen to believe in him). For instance: Is it at all possible that God can have saved without the agency of Jesus, the Crucifiction and the Resurrection? Take care before you hasten to answer. Bear in mind, anyone who insists God HAD to save through Jesus is ascribing constraints to his power and, hence, describing him as something less than omnipotent. I am not saying that Jesus was not resurrected and I am not saying that that resurrection does not save. I am saying, if God is omnipotent, then it is within his power to do so through metaphor just as easily as an agonizing Roman state execution.

I seldom cite chapter and verse, but only because it is time consuming and I prefer sharing ideas with my limited time. But, in support of the perspective I am describing, I would highlight all of Mark IV which, to me, is a fairly explicit biblical user’s guide: Jesus works his ministry and redemption through parable.

Finally, I know that atheists often frame Christianity as being based upon a “lie.” I know when you see me use words like “metaphor,” “parable,” etc. etc. some part of you reads “lie,” “lie,” “lie.” And I know the street meaning of the word myth is roughly synonymous with “fabulous lie.” But here (at least) I speak of myths in the more complete sense of the word. That is, myths are narratives that explain and/or inform some aspect of human existence.

Example: “Facts” concerning George Washington.

1. He was the first US president.
2. He commanded the Continental Army during the War of Independence.
3. He was so strong he could throw a stone across the Potomac River and crush a wall nut between his thumb and forefinger.
4. He chopped down a cherry tree as a child and was so honest he admitted it when asked.

These are ALL mythic. However, the first two are historically demonstrable fact. The last two are not. But they ARE all factually based on George Washington. This not to say that one or any of the details attributed to the life of Jesus are “lies” or “just fairytales.” However, there is no question they function as myth has in all cultures: they demonstrate and preserve narratives to explain and instruct one’s way of living. Before you argue against that, think for a moment about how vastly more influential and important Jesus has been to the history of the world than George Washington. Yet the myth of George Washington (which includes both facts AND allegories such as the ones above) is a sophisticated and persistent part of American culture.

It seems (to me) impossible that in 2,000 years no mythic parables about Jesus have developed. One figure with such a universal presence and influence must have accumulated some non-zero amount of symbolic myth. I won’t say he never walked on water or raised the dead or fed the multitudes through miracle, no matter how improbable I think those events are. But I WOULD ask, then, where are the stories of Jesus crushing wall nuts and throwing stones across the River Jordan?

And FINALLY finally (I mean it this time), I don’t work to “discredit” the New Testament any harder than I do the Qur’an or the Jedi Order. And I will actually challenge you on one pedagogical detail: People do not choose to believe what they believe. You can develop beliefs in any number of ways. But until you actually believe in something, you can’t decide to, no matter how much you try. Any more than if you DO believe in something, you cannot decide not to believe in it.

Believe me. >:happy:
 
Member
...You obviously have ... no way of understanding what I am talking about ...

Hi, Born Again 2004. I do not come here to try to impress anyone or object to or dispel anyone’s beliefs. I come here because (as I said) I am preoccupied with the nature of our existence and I am genuinely interested in the ideas of people who share a different worldview from my own. I haven’t formed very many purely original ideas in my understanding of realit, but instead it has evolved over time through interactions like this and I find it generally a positive experience. AND there is always the chance that rubbing elbows with the faithful, I just might “see the light.”

I happen to be a professional wordsmith. So thank you for the high praise of my prose style. Of course, I can “dumb it down” if you are at all intimidated by its (admittedly) stilted airiness, but I am in the habit of only doing this in the voice of some fictional character and, hence, it demands more effort on my part to resist that habit. Also, I am generally paid for it when I do so, and I wouldn’t want any tawdry commercial interest to taint what I had hoped would simply be a sharing and comparison of ideas and beliefs between people interested in such matters.

I am well aware of the nature of belief inspired by personal revelation. You may see, at the close of my response to B-A-C, that I made a tongue-in-cheek nod to the fact no one can CHOOSE to believe or not believe anything. You believe what you believe and you will until you don’t.

As for my insistence that I don’t find myself in “bondage” to any particular concept, I did not intend this as some type of emotionally charged rejection of faith. I was simply explaining, as a point of logic, that it didn’t make sense to me to say I suffer some bondage to any lie. You may call my lack of belief a rejection of faith. But by the same token, then, I also reject all other alternatives. I have zero faith that we live in a purely material universe. I simply have not experienced any compelling evidence to the contrary. So, for now, that is my default position. If you contend this is a form of bondage, we will quickly descend into a tedious argument over things like what the meaning of “is” is. I do not have Christian faith. I own this may consign my immortal soul to eternal torment. The only “bondage” I endure on that score is to some nebulous idea of doubt, or a null hypothesis. Except I feel no attachment to even these empty vessels. I am not AVERSE to faith. I simply do not possess it at the moment. If I am missing how this is slavery of some sort, please explain.

Anyway, if you have read this far, I will impose upon your (discouragingly dismissive) attention for one more thought.

As I asked B-A-C, in your opinion, does God’s omnipotence entail the capacity (whether or not he wants to) to save me despite my failure to accept Christ? Or do you think he is constrained by the necessity of the Resurrection? You and I seem to entertain divergent notions of “omnipotence.” Obviously, you find yours to be consistent with your belief in God. Would you mind please trying to explain what that understanding is?
 
Loyal
Is it at all possible that God can have saved without the agency of Jesus, the Crucifiction and the Resurrection? Take care before you hasten to answer. Bear in mind, anyone who insists God HAD to save through Jesus is ascribing constraints to his power and, hence, describing him as something less than omnipotent
God is God... of course He can do anything. But God also makes the rules. One of the rules is "the wages of sin is death".
if you sin.. you die. In the old testament there were priest and animal sacrifices and scape goats.

So the animals died in our place. The innocent animals paid the price for our sins. There were some problems with this i won't
go into right now. But eventually God sent Jesus to die for us. Some things changed, but most of it didn't.
We still need a priest to offer a sacrifice for us. Our high priest is Jesus. We still needed a death to cover "atone" for our sins.
Jesus Himself was that sacrifice also.

So it's possible God could have done this another way. But it's the way He chose for us. He did it according to the rules He set
forth at the beginning on mankind. While God is God and make or break any rules He wants to, He chose to do it by the rules
He put in place.
 
Loyal
It seems (to me) impossible that in 2,000 years no mythic parables about Jesus have developed.
I see this as evidence of the power of God. Bible hundreds, even thousands of years old have been found. Indeed the dead sea
scrolls from the first and second century. ...and yet when we compare these things to modern day Bible it's amazing how accurate they are.
Even atheists find it amazing how close they are.

If God is truly God. ..and He is truly omnipotent.. He controls the courses of rivers, the creation of stars and galaxies,
He controls the very number of hairs on your head... is it too much for Him to control what goes into the Bible?

You asked if since God was so all powerful and omnipotent, could He have provided salvation another way?
I hope my answer is what you are looking for. But let me turn that question around and ask....
If God is truly so all powerful and omnipotent... is controlling what is in a book to much for Him?

As far as "mythic parables" about Jesus. I almost feel that is another subject. Mormons believe in a Jesus that has sex
with Mary Magdalene. Joehovah's witnesses believe n a Jesus that isn't God at all. Muslim believe in a Jesus called Isa
who wasn't crucified and certainly wasn't resurrected. So there are "myths" about Jesus to be sure.
What separates the myths from the "facts". For me it's the Bible. The written word of God.

If you put faith in a history book written by men about George Washington... why is it harder to put faith
in another history book written about Jesus?
 

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