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Hello Kirby,

I appreciate your questions. I hope my (and others') responses bless you and enlighten you to the truth of who Jesus really is...

...Isn't it interesting though that out of all the famous people, so called prophets, gods, religious leaders, religions, beliefs...the entire globe's calendar is based on the birth of Jesus Christ?...

Hi, Chad. I've been insanely busy and didn't get around to looking at this till today. As ever, I appreciate your candor and friendliness. I will definitely look forward to reading your recommendations.

Just as an aside, it is a matter of some geopolitical interest that the secular modern world generally dates years by the benchmark of the Crucifixion. But not any more so than the fact we mark that time using Arabic numerals developed my Muslims, that (in English, anyway) the days of the week are named after pagan gods and icons, or that we divide circles in to 360 degrees of angle as developed either by the Persians or the Babylonians, and that all navigation around the globe is governed by reference to Greenwich – which remained pagan well into the first millennium.

But your mentioning of time does cause something to occur to me. I think it would be more impressive (to me) if Jesus had started a countdown calendar instead of just a marking calendar. Now, I know that he is thought to have done something like this. But his promise to return in earthly form and the many prophesies of when that is supposed to happen (even if one of them is correct – so many have failed to pan out, at any rate), is hardly a practical calendar, no cut-and-dried plain English (or Aramaic) date for the end of the world.

Such things are possible. One of my favorite examples is Halley and his amazing comet. Using the mathematical principles developed by his friend Newton to explain gravitational mechanics, Halley correlated several separate historical accounts of “different” comets through the ages and determined in 1705 they were all one-and-the-same celestial traveler. He then predicted that the 76-year period comet would again return in 1758, which turned out to be SIXTEEN YEARS after his own death.

Sorry to seemingly drift so far off the “ask God sincerely to make His presence known…” angle, but there was (obviously) nothing supernatural about Halley. Yet he was able to offer “prophesy” you could hang your hat on. I am open to experiencing some such awareness of God and/or Jesus, and maybe it will occur to me as I read your recommendations. But I wanted to explain my standing criteria. It’s going to probably have to as clear and convincing as the comet.


:)
 
Member
it's ok because I see atheists just like Christians, because they need to play dress up instead of being a plain boring human.

Hwhu? I do, indeed, like to play dressup, Humblepie, as you can tell by the neat-o selfie I use for my profile pic. But atheist isn't a disguise. It's simply an accurate measure of my level of belief in a deity: zero. Also, while there are those who claim to be Christians who "wear" a faith they don't actually possess for strictly social reasons, I would guess that some number, and probably a large majority, of self identifying Christians do actually believe in God, and specifically a Christian God.

Also, what's boring about being human (other than, y'know, certain other humans in particular)?
 
Member
Hello Kirby,

I appreciate your questions...

...For the Curious Unbeliever
Skeptic's Instructions for Reading

Ethics & Science
Animals that prove Creation
...


Hi, Chad.

I have had a chance to read all the material you called to my attention – thank you.

I think I grasp the general points of the most-commonly-agreed-upon Christian doctrine.

I think you know, as well, that a well-read skeptic ( even one who takes into account the social, historical, literary and cultural context in which the Bible was written ) can, though is not obliged to, produce chapter, verse, and correlations of scripture which, as far as the skeptic is concerned, run quite contrary to any and all of the ideals you ascribe to those very same chapters and verses.

Let’s just stipulate that, in the most friendly of conversations, we could go back and forth ad nauseum over a “correct” reading of scripture. I’m convinced you and I could spend an age just tug-o-warring over a single line in Genesis – and if you’re ever up for it, I would love to get down into those weeds – but I am sincere about visiting here to learn from you, and not to teach you. So I won’t initiate such debates unless you have the time and inclination.

COMPLETELY aside from that, I thought you should know there is a well-documented natural history of the monotremes (the platypus and echidna). They are bizarre and wonderful, but, as with each and every earthly organism, are accounted for in the theory of evolution by natural selection. Many devotees of special Creation make a fatal (in dialectical terms) mistake when arguing against people who accept evolution. People who don’t fully grasp evolution don’t understand that we evolutionists (I hate that word – I’m only as much an “evolutionist” as I am a “gravitationalist” and an “electromagnetist”) cheat. We cheat. Which is to say, we are always doing what we accuse Christian apologists of doing: we move the goal posts. That’s just how we are. We have to modify our theory of evolution to accommodate any new piece of data we observe and confirm in the world around us. To us, this is a plus, a strength. But it does mean that the theory of evolution someone like you criticized yesterday may not be the same as the state-of-the-art version of the theory you face today. You may not be okay with that, but (believe me) “evolutionists” like me glory in the very lively “evolution” of this well proven, and improving, theory.

Anyway, on behalf of my cousin the platypus, I offer you this to check out (or not) at your leisure:

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/monotremefr.html

Sorry I’ve gotten so far off track. I think I’ve come up with two rephrasings of my original question here that might get a little more to the point I’m interested in. PURELY hypothetical… I swear this is not meant as a “gotchya” question… I am just very interested in having your thoughts.

Would you remain a Christian of you ever learned that, somehow, God and or Jesus never existed?

I know that may, on its surface, seem nonsensical, as being a Christian (for most, and I assume for you) depends materially on a personal relationship with Jesus. Just as faithful Jews (generally) can only comprehend their faith in terms of Covenantal Law – a contractual bond with the living God.

Here’s one more way I can phrase it, and then I’ll leave it at this. Assume that, all humans being sinners and imperfect, upon your death, you discover that some aspect of your knowledge of and relationship to Jesus was mistaken, and definitely incorrect. Yes, I know, that through His Grace and mercy we ASSUME He would not hold this against you… but perhaps that would be a feature of this imaginary flaw I’m assigning to you.

The point is: you die, and you find out that because of this misunderstanding, you are consigned to Hell (and that can mean whatever we’d like to agree upon: lake of fire, being eternally cut off and hidden from His presence, whatever).

If you FIND yourself in Hell, despite having lived, by your lights, according to God’s will as best you could… would you remain a Christian?

I can think of a lot of reasons for and against. (And we both know where, ultimately, I would come down on the matter.)

I think it’s an interesting question. (Please tell me if I’m wrong.) On the one hand, there is something noble in the idea of cleaving unto the tenets of Christian faith even when one has learned that those convictions were imperfect and have earned one a ticket to damnation – something noble in being willing to suffer eternal torment because of your commitment to your understanding of God and his will. On the other hand, if one HAS been sent to Hell and persists in their misguided belief, it demonstrates a stiff-necked unrepentance that would, in this light, warrant damnation.

If it seems as nonsensical as a 4-sided triangle, I understand. But I was curious what you think.

Kirby
 
Loyal
One thing I would mention here. It isn't our job to convert anyone to Christianity.
Yes we should evangelize, yes we should share the gospel. Yes we should tell people about Jesus.
But in the end, some will accept it, and other won't.

It isn't our job to make anyone accept it. Either they do, or they don't. That's between them and God.
It's just our job to share the gospel.
 
Member
...It isn't our job to convert anyone to Christianity...It's just our job to share the gospel.


Totally understood, B-A-C. Please don’t think my repeatedly visiting here (I read a lot of the commentary and I chime in with a question once every couple of months) without conversion gives me no sense of triumph, “Ha, ha! See?! They couldn’t convert me AGAIN, so that makes me even MORE convinced I’m right to not believe.”

I (usually) believe Christians when they describe the conviction behind their faith. My credulity in their honesty diminishes when their “faith” entails leading megachurches and televised revivals with vast streams of revenue. But here at Talk Jesus I generally take everyone at their word.

And I don’t think I suffer a willful rejection of belief in the existence of God or gods – at least I try to avoid such presuppositional rejection. And I don’t think I hold God, if he does exist, to too high a standard of evidence to convince me.

I think Paul the Apostle was honest in his faith. According to his testimony, he received clear, unambiguous, direct, personal revelation from Christ.

It’s just, for me, until God sees fit to provide me with some small version of that direct-yet-undeniable revelation, I am left to inquire the world around me for cause to believe on my own. It could be a lack of genius or imagination on my part, but so far, I haven’t come across anything compelling… or (frankly) even very intriguing.
 
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