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Switch to Forum Live View When proselytizers clash
5 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2008 - 11:17PM #81
Seraphim
Posts: 504
"Why should I engage you about Elder Porphyrios, or the other Saints? As I stated, nothing about him shows that the mythical stories about Jesus are true. Neither do any of your other Saints. You can point to holy men in every religion who believe the mythical stories from their religion are true. "

You have quite obviously missed the point of my bringing him and others like him up, though I have tried to be clear about that as I know how to be....you keep short circuiting back to stories you are already predisposed to discount...so obviously I've failed to communicate effectively. Forgive me my ineptness, perhaps it is better to let this issue rest in peace for the time being. It might well be you just need a conversation with someone better studied on the points you question.

You also said, "You are the one trying to convince me that your religion is true"

Really, and here I was thinking you were the one trying so hard to convince me that my religion is not true.

Anyway, in closing I would ask at least the courtesy not to assign my or other's disagreements with you on these points to deliberate lying and intellectual dishonesty.  Because I do not accept your foundational premises (or you mine) does not make either of us or others like us dishonest...rather we see and approach these questions differently and thus come to different conclusions.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 12:51AM #82
BillWitt
Posts: 2,622
[QUOTE=Seraphim;880919]  You have quite obviously miss the point of my bringing him and others like him up, though I have tried to be clear about that as I know how to be....you keep short circuiting back to stories you are already predisposed to discount...so obviously I've failed to communicate effectively.  [/QUOTE]

What was your point in bringing up Elder Porphyrios, and the other Saints?  You never really clarified this.  Oh, by the way, before Porphyrios came up in our conversation, I already know about him.  Some years ago I read a English translation of a biography about him, written by a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church he belonged to in Greece.  Very interesting and pious life.   I didn't mention this because I could not determine what connection this had with anything being discuss at the time. The discussion of Porphyrios would have been just a distraction from what you were trying to show was true.  It didn't serve as evidence for anything being discussed, and it certainly didn't show the stories about Jesus were true.   

[QUOTE=Seraphim;880919]  It might well be you just need a conversation with someone better studied on the points you question.  [/QUOTE]

This is probably true.  And of course I have had conversations with people more knowledgeable..  I have had some very long and interesting conversation with several retired Ordained Ministers I know, as well as several  Professors of Theology, and we all come to a  far different conclusion than you, based on the evidence available.   Remember, faith is based on faith, and on faith alone, and not on evidence.  That is why it is called faith.  When you examine the evidence, your conclusions might be far different than your conclusions based on faith.  Of course, to convince other your religion is true, you must provide them with evidence to show that it is.  Their faith beliefs are far different than yours.

[QUOTE=Seraphim;880919]  But I would ask at least courtesy not to assign my or other's disagreements with you on these points to deliberate lying and intellectual dishonesty.  [/QUOTE]

Oh, I've never considered you to be deliberately lying.  Misinformed and/or misled, yes.  But lying, no.  However, the "intellectual dishonesty" of the Church is another matter entirely.  You can find some rather lengthy articles written by retired Ministers about the "sin of silence" they were required to follow as Ministers of their Church, and the "little white lies" they needed to tell so their followers would not question the beliefs and doctrines of their Church.  Many Ministers are required to sign an agreement stating that they will not discuss, promote, or provide members with information which might lead their followers to question the beliefs as established by their Church.  Many Ministers are very aware of the information I provided in my Posts, but this information seldom gets down to the people sitting in the pews.

As Gilly said in her Post, just enjoy your faith, but don't try to convince others it is true.  It is no more true than their's.
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." - -Isaac Asimov
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 1:59AM #83
Seraphim
Posts: 504
without trying to reopen this can...the point about Elder Porphyrios and others like him is that they could not be who they were or do the things they did if Gospels were false...if they were just pretty stories that did not touch upon and express a real encounter with a real Christ with real power and so forth and so on then Elder Porphyrios could have been nothing more than merely pious...but since he was much more, the evidence of his life points beyond him.  I thought I had explained this at least three times maybe more.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 3:14AM #84
BillWitt
Posts: 2,622
[QUOTE=Seraphim;881194]  without trying to reopen this can...the point about Elder Porphyrios and others like him is that they could not be who they were or do the things they did if Gospels were false.[/QUOTE]

Why couldn't they do these things if the Gospels were false?  Many holy people from other religions have been reported to have done things much like this.  Does this make the mythology in their religion true???  Did they get a real power from their Gods?  Again, you are expressing that they got their power from an encounter with the real Christ.  This is a belief you have because of your faith, and others do not have this belief.  Try again. 

Of course Seraphim, I have already provided cold hard evidence that the Gospel stories are NOT factually true.  No matter what you present, it does not change the fact that the Gospel stories are not factually true.  So far, you have not provided any acceptable evidence to show that even any one part of these stories are true.  How many times do I have to explain this to you.  If Porphyrios did do these things, then he did them without the Gospels being factually true.
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." - -Isaac Asimov
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 7:32AM #85
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
Seraphim, it does not have to shake your faith to admit that their is no evidence. Just be fair to yourself and other religions. Realize as Bill and I have pointed out that every single religion points to reports by members of the religion of encounters with Gods or miracles as "proof" that their Gods exist and are powerful.

Be consistent. If it is true for your religion, it is true for everyone's religion, eh? All those things with the Greek gods must have happened just as reported.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 6:07PM #86
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,660

gillyflower wrote:

Seraphim, it does not have to shake your faith to admit that their is no evidence. Just be fair to yourself and other religions. Realize as Bill and I have pointed out that every single religion points to reports by members of the religion of encounters with Gods or miracles as "proof" that their Gods exist and are powerful.

Be consistent. If it is true for your religion, it is true for everyone's religion, eh? All those things with the Greek gods must have happened just as reported.

Excellent point. And it is true they must have happened as reported.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 10:42PM #87
Seraphim
Posts: 504

Seraphim, it does not have to shake your faith to admit that their is no evidence.



It doesn't...but then I do not concede that there is no evidence. I concede only that others see things differently than I do and that the things I find convincing may not affect them the same way.

There is another reason my faith isn't shaken...and it is that I realize there are a lot of people in the world smarter than me, better read than me, more faithful than me, etc. etc.  It doesn't matter that one person with a hobby horse argument rides it better than my attempts at rebutal...well thought out, well crafted rebutals exist.  It is sufficient for me to know they do exist and that there are wise and faithful persons out there who are more than qualified to speak at length on any question raised in this forum.  Since I never wanted an argument nor need or even care much for forensic type proofs of anything...especially things theological...I've got no reason to chase such things down...except perhaps for the sake of pride or ego or the need to justify myself before others...motives that are not good in my book.

You see I used to do this kind of thing all the time years ago and win or lose its bootless...its just soul deadening. Indeed I find the very idea of trying to convince people one way or the other about my faith distasteful.  I do like to share about it...but proving it...no. It's like playing tug of war with a baby.  Someone might well "win" but the baby isn't going to be the better for the contest.  But given my ego...I do get sucked in from time to time.

The faith simply does not rise or fall with what minutia I may know or my skills at argument.

But I agree there is a strong experiential component that is not subject to conventional proofs. Though I also believe there is a lot out there that makes for good ordinary arguments as well...regardless of whether I'm the one to make them.

Finally, given what I believe, I don't believe God is helpless to gain anyone's attention. If He is who I understand Him to be or anywhere close He knows how to gain the ear of even those most opposed to Him...witness Saul of Tarsus...or St. Mary of Egypt, or St. Moses the Black. He forces no one, and when they are ready, if they want He helps them find the way to Him even if the journey is long.  Just from my own example, from the time I first bumped into Orthodoxy nearly 30 years ago when it infuriated me to the present day when I can imagine wanting no other other faith wish I had been more open to it earlier, I still see the breadcrumb trail of grace that led from then to now. That was my journey, other's have theirs. I am a part of some's but not a part of other's and I cannot resent it if I am not heard or believed, and I cannot take credit for it where I am heard and am believed. But each journey has to continue at its own pace in its next step from where we are...not where we were or where we wish to be.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 11:25PM #88
Heretic_for_Christ
Posts: 5,488
A few weeks ago, I fell into the easy trap of stereotyping and making group generalizations, and I inflicted my anger at Seraphim, unfairly lumping him in with Protestant fundamentalists. Even that group-generalization is unfair, but at least I confine it to religious topics -- the area that is defined, exactly, by their fundamentalism.

If someone said, "Blacks are..." or "Jews are...." or "Women are...." or "Americans are...." any characterization that follows is false because it is a group-generalization that does NOT apply across the board. So too with "Christians are...."

Protestant fundamentalism is bibliolatry. Bibliolaters use the Bible to prove and disprove all their beliefs; faith is actually nowhere to be found in their rhetoric because they regard their beliefs as proven by scripture. Where there is proof, there is no need for faith.

I mention this now because I see that Seraphim has stated clearly that he is not interested in trying to prove anything to anyone. That is worth noting -- that attitude is very different from the attitude of bibliolaters, who offend my rationality by trying to prove what is intrinsically unprovable. Maybe I resent that because it implies that I am some kind of nitwit who cannot recognize the facts when they are presented. Or maybe I resent it because it represents stereotyping and group-generalizations -- there are Christians and there are non-Christians, saved and unsaved, friends of God and enemies of God.

The opposite of fundamentalism is the militantly atheistic insistence that people should not believe anything in the absence of objective evidence. Hence, my beliefs are deemed "irrational" by those people, because I cannot offer proof or evidence that what I believe is real.

Seraphim, speaking from the perspective of Orthodox Christianity, and I, speaking from the perspective of no religious affiliation of any kind, have quite different views about God. But that's okay. We are not trying to prove anything to each other, not trying to "convert" each other. We have (after I got past my misdirected initial hostility) exchanged some interesting thoughts.

All of which is to say, spiritual aliveness is found only in individuals, not in group-generalizations. Christianity is not just Protestant fundamentalism.
I prayed for deliverance from the hard world of facts and logic to the happy land where fantasy and prejudice reign. But God spake unto me, saying, "No, keep telling the truth," and to that end afflicted me with severe Trenchant Mouth. So I'm sorry for making cutting remarks, but it's the will of God.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 11:42PM #89
Seraphim
Posts: 504
Dear HfC,

You wrote: "all of which is to say, spiritual aliveness is found only in individuals,"

This is profound and I believe, exactly so. There is no such thing as faith apart from one who has faith, no such thing as beauty absent one who can see beauty, no love apart from one who loves... You can't put these things in a box, boil them in a test tube, or measure them in a gas spectrometer..but they are very real...yet only found "incarnate" as it were in a person and are known in the person...but knowing a person is a very different thing than merely knowing about them.

Anyway, thank you for your kind words.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2008 - 12:26PM #90
BillWitt
Posts: 2,622
[QUOTE=Seraphim;882885]  It doesn't matter that one person with a hobby horse argument rides it better than my attempts at rebutal...well thought out, well crafted rebutals exist. [/QUOTE]

I would hardy call them "hobby horse arguments".  They are very clear, precise, short, to the point, and cannot be refuted.  There is nothing wobbly about them.  They are very solid, and cannot be dismissed.   

You are wrong about "well thought out, well crafted rebuttals exist."  There are none, period.  You will find attempts to refute them in many books written by apologist, but for anyone who knows the subject matter and is well trained in critical reasoning, their rebuttals are just big jokes.  They are only good for a good laugh.  Some of them, like the contradiction between Mat. 1:16 and Luke 3:23, the Church has been trying to resolve for almost 2,000 years and they have never been successful, nor will they ever be. 

What I presented, also points out the "sin of silence" well practiced by the Church.  You seemed to unaware of the false statements, and the contradictions I pointed out.  I've talked to people who have been Christians for over 30 years, go to Bible study groups weekly, have been group leaders of these groups for years, and all this time they have been unaware of even the contradiction between Mat. 1:16 and Luke 3:23.  The Church is aware of these, but the Church invokes the "sin of silence" and does not tell their followers.  When it comes to any information which might lead followers to question their faith, "if they don't ask - don't tell", and if do ask, tell a "little white lie" if needed.  The "sin of silence" is also responsible for you not knowing other information I provided in my Posts.  The Clergy knows almost all of what I presented, but they invoke the "sin of silence" and do not pass it down to the people in the pews.  You may not like this, but this practice is well know in the Church.         

The Church tells their followers there are rebuttals, but this is one of the "little white lies" told by the Church, so their followers will not question their faith. Most followers will just buy this hook-line-and-sinker, and will not question it further.  As long as things like this remain in the confines of the "closed" environment of the Church, where followers are trained not to question but to just accept, the Church can get away with this.  They have for over a thousand years.  Once they enter the public arena, and they are discussed openly and honestly, the Church is in hot water.

Now, if you can find a "well thought out, well crafted rebuttal" from yourself, or one you have obtained from someone else, go right ahead.  I've been ripping these to shreds for many years.
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." - -Isaac Asimov
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