I’d like to burn some very typical straw men. Hopefully, in the debate over Christianity, these unnecessary issues can be avoided.
Creation - Neither Genesis nor any of the scriptures demands that the earth and universe is only 6- to 10- thousand years old. The Hebrew word for “day” (yom) could mean long periods of time. The words “there was morning and there was evening, the first day” could be translated “there was beginning and ending, the first (yom)”.
(BTW, the narrative moves to the surface of the earth in Genesis 1:2. While stars were certainly already in existence, their light was not visible on the surface of the earth until the opaque early atmosphere cleared).
Adam and Eve – While scripture does indicate they were specially created, there are gaps in the biblical genealogies that could place Adam and Eve back 60- to 90-thousand years. This would also predict increasing discovery of a common DNA originating between east Africa and the Mesopotamia.
(BTW, the word for “rib” means “side”. The story of Eve’s creation could mean God created her from Adam for symbolic purposes. I speculate a biopsy, of sorts, from the side, with a few million variations to the DNA producing a female. )
Talking Snakes - A boa constrictor with vocal cords is not in view here. That image comes largely from medieval art. The “serpent” in the garden was intelligent and used for evil. One can only speculate what sort of being it was (perhaps one no longer extant).
The Flood – The fact that a great flood is found in various cultures indicates that it happened. Two questions emerge: which account is most accurate and whether the flood was global or local.
I’m of the opinion that the flood was regional rather than global for several reasons. First, while the flood was universal in effect, it was only regional in extent due to human’s not having moved much beyond the Mesopotamia at the time. A global flood was unnecessary.
Secondly, language like “under all the heavens”, “all the earth”, etc. are most likely from the perspective of the observer, i.e. a flood from horizon to horizon. “Mountains” could be translated “hills” with rain and water “covering” (or running over) them rather than submerging them.
Thirdly, this would mean there were not polar bears and penguins, etc. on the ark, but only animals indigenous to the region and of special relation to man.
Fourthly, a global flood would have torn the ark to pieces, no matter how well built. And it certainly would not have landed anywhere near its original location.
Fifthly, the scripture itself said a “large wind” was used in the evaporation process. Such a wind would have virtually no effect in a global flood.
Finally, if the flood were only regional why not just have Noah, his family, and whatever animals needed, hike out of the area and be safe? Why a big specifically-built ark? I think because God often operates via symbols teaching important truths or significance, i.e. salvation in Christ or deliverance through troubled waters (trials).
Use of Metaphor – The scriptures use metaphor and other literary devices. One need only utilize common exegetical analysis and context to determine what any author meant as literal or metaphorical (and on a case-by-case basis).
Inerrancy – If there are consequential or factual errors in the Bible that does not mean Christianity is false. However, I find it remarkable how well the Bible holds up to scrutiny and that there are plausible answers to discrepancies. Personally, I hold to the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.
Hell – is not a place of torture (external) but of torment (internal). There are many descriptions of hell in the scriptures. The “fire” is most likely not the chemical combustion we’re familiar with. It, combined with all the other descriptions, reduces to separation from God and the judgment of God.
This does not make hell more tolerable (that’s not possible). But it does dispel hillbilly theology that has poor souls swatting flames for eternity! Christ depicted conversation taking place “in the flames”. No person could have a conversation while on fire! On our familiar planet, one is in mindless torture if burning.
It is, however, a profound tragedy to be eternally separated from God. It is a “spiritual chaos” one enters when the intact “self” survives the physical body. There are indications that some kind of body could exist in hell.
Heaven – is a remarkably physical place. It is not ethereal or immaterial. It is a combination of a “new heaven and new earth”. We will live on earth in physical bodies that are “spiritual” which nonetheless have access to one another and continued exploration of the universe without many of the limits of current bodies affected by entropy, etc. Christ’s resurrected body could be touched and he ate food, etc. This describes the redeemed, resurrected body.
This is not to be confused with an intermediary state which is not physical. At death, one goes either into the very presence of God to await the resurrection of the body, or in a state of chaos to await final judgment.
“God will not allow anything to happen in your life that you can’t handle” – False! Scripturally, there are plenty of things that happen that one cannot handle! Devastating things! The accurate teaching is that nothing will happen that God’s grace will not get one through.
“You must become like children” - Christ said to “humble yourself like a little child”. It does not mean to be naïve, ignorant, gullible, or irrational.
Pascal’s Wager – This is not an argument for God nor necessarily addressed to atheists. Pascal used a popular gambling motif to shake the French laity out of spiritual complacency and to at least move them in the direction of God.
Further, the Wager, as it is commonly used, is not allowed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. He said if Christ was not risen, then the jig is up! Christianity is false! He did not say believe it anyway “just in case” or because it provides a positive way of life.
I hope these internal considerations provide food for thought.
HOW TO BUILD A CONTINUOUS UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITY.
Turn off your TV. Leave your house. Know your neighbors, Look around when you are walking; Greet people; Sit up on your stoop; Plant flowers; Play together; Buy interesting things from interesting local merchants; Share what you have when it is interesting to someone else to have together with you; never tell a dog what to do while seeing where it goes and what it does naturally that it knows how to do and that it loves; Go to the park with anyone, child or adult, who loves them; Garden together with everyone doing what they know how to do that no one is needing to help each other with; Support teachers to say what is interesting to them now that they know about complete at neighborhood schools; If it breaks do not replace it and understand that life as useless or understand invention; Have pot lucks which are meals and people that can be seen together; Know about the continuable interests of a particular elder and what elders are intentioned for in your life; Make your environment an experience with completion by picking up what is not interesting to see such as litter; Understand idea and inspiration to you and say good and entertaining stories aloud spontaneously; Dance anywhere you have the interest; Talk and listen to only the people that you can see and only when they are looking at you; Listen to the birds and understand their song to vocabulary experienced as "nice to say"; Ask a good question; Let in the light by open your shades of all kinds; Sing together songs that you go around with naturally never needing to refer to sheet paper; Turn off the music unless everyone is interested in an area where it can be provided without vibration; have only music agency that can understand your interest span again and again and not streaming from a network understanding interest in reverse; Understand or listen so that you do not experience anger or do what you can not continue to or what is unacceptable; Say what you know about how life understands together being a diplomat toward the complete resolve of conflict; Seek to understand continuously aware to what is true about what you see and are experiencing; Learn from new experiences and do something different that is useful within how your are composed when uncomfortable angles are placed; Know that no one is silent athough many are not heard. Life that is not heard in the area of separation and conflict while being provided to peace is caused to know each sight and communication to the experience of united truth across uncountable sets of united circumstances at unity with the life that is composed to say about it. As a result of life that is not speaking and is not allowed to be heard to ears, when what is seen and being said at an area of life interested in using itself together is not at unity with always truth there is a causation of necessary change immediately. Those changes are able to be talked about as well and understood completely within what is a global priority for harmony.
FINALLY! An almost entirely lucid post, which seems to include some actual good advice! You must be back on your meds, congrats!
Gosh, I do now know why they invented paragraphing.
I'll take almost coherent sentences over proper paragraphing any day. What's funny, is that someone posts a sentence to him/her/it, and he/she/it feels compelled to write a page - it's almost Pavlovian.
Relating to Pavlov: What pavlov knows is that you are understanding classical conditioning when you are caused to experience yourself doing something different by the beeps and bells of the technology that you understand to use. Move to the experience of interest and you understand your existence out of the belief that there is something you need to provide to someone. With what you are understanding to be telling, giving, doing and saying being extinguished by God as no longer useful in adding a next related interest to an area that is in the unexamined toilet bowl.
-- and he's back to bodily functions again!
Relating to paragraphs: It is able to be interesting to have an answer to along with why is it that you understand to be sending a message that can look like this:
i dnt kw a f'kg thin abt graves&gravity...u?!:()_
Unseen: Who is your "they" and why are you understanding from them about how to do and say.
"Abandon this man, separated circumstances and understand yourself to a repositioning, he can never use hydrocortizone again!"
Safe is no sleigh ride.
Yeah, Unseen! What he said (whatever that was.)! No more hydrocortizone for you!
We had one of those TV sets when I was a kid! It ended up with a hole in the side from the repeated smackings. I suppose that means we had a Holey TV Set.
@The Wholey TV Set
After reading your postings for a while, I realized what you are doing. You are using Brion Gyson's "cut-up technique" whereby well-constructed sentences are cut up randomly and then rearranged into new sentences:
If true, that seems like a great deal of effort for such a tiny payoff, but I did sense some kind of underlying pattern, however obscure.
Ahh, the price of attention --