Greetings! I am just going to come out and say that I am what you might call I crazy, die hard, delusional Jesus freak, though I do not discourage any discussion about how wrong I am. That is essentially why I am here. I have somewhat become addicted to looking into religious discussion and anything and everything related to it. I want to acquire as much knowledge as I can, and I think this is an excellent place to do so. I am not here to offend anyone and I would love to be able to stay in this community for a while. I don't kow how accepting you guys are of outsiders, but judging by what I have seen on this site so far, most of you are pretty open. So, without further adieu, I would simply like to state how intrigued I am by atheism! From a theological perspective, you and I are polar opposites! I mean to the ends of the earth OPPOSITE. I as a christian believe what I have read in the book of Proverbs: that fear of God is the beginnig of wisdom. With that, my entire life is constantly in pursuit of God and this wisdom! I don't fear him because He is evil, but because He is all powerful. Surely this makes sense? If an all powerful God did exist, it would be foolish not to be afraid of Him. I read somewhere in the quote of the day section, that the beginning of wisdom is the "conquering of fear". Obviously this quote was intended to directly oppose the verse from Proverbs, but I am curious nonetheless whether all or most of the atheist community agrees with this. This would have intriguing implications! Does your life center upon eliminating fear? Fear of the imaginary God, fear of man, fear of death? Do you strive to live a fearless life in the sense that you don't allow fear to control your actions? I would too if there were no God. But instead I WANT fear to control my every thought! I am completely aware of how foolish that is, but I am completely okay with that too!
I want to get on the same page with you here. We are all human beings. We are all more or less equally able to think logically. I believe that the pivotal point from where all logic flows is whether or not God exists. Let me start by saying that if God does not exist, then I would completely agree nearly atheist based ideology-everything that has anything to do with the secular world view, I would LIVE by. Now assume for a moment that you were on the same side as I am, all evidence aside. There is a God. He is the perfect King. Everyone loves Him and everyong respects Him and admires His wisdom. Everyone also fears Him, for if they are on the wrong side of the law, He can justly punish them. Who would respect a Ruler who was a pushover and didn't care about justice? Now, if this God was perfect in the absolute sense, would it not be logical to dedicate your life to trying to be like Him? And if you weren't afraid of Him, would you be able to do that? I just want to try to clarify that if what I believe is true, then I am following the logical course of action by allowing this fear/love combination to take over my life. Do you agree with me? Yes? Then the pivotal point I established earlier must be real, and all ideology flows in two general directions starting from whether you believe God is real or not. No? Then lets continue.
If you disagree with me, then twe have arrived at a second pivotal point in our differences. First being whether you believe in God, and the second (being on the belief side) whether you want to follow this God or not. What do you guys think about these pivotal points? Which one is more important?
because I didn't come primarily to debate God's existence. I said I was open to debate, I love the challenge of defending against your arguments, but I really wanted to gain insight into the atheist ideology and see if what I thought about it was correct. I thought I asserted that pretty well. But since all that you guy's seem to care about is why I believe in God, I am going to explain exactly why I believe. I did learn quite a bit from your challenges against God's existence though. Thank you all! :D
Oh and I would say I'm anxious to offer it to you, but I know it won't mean anything to the highyl evolved skepticism of the atheist mind, thats why I never really intended to bother to begin with. I don't want to keep you waiting so I'll give you this of what I have so far:
Alright! Time to get to the good stuff. I greatly admire you’re points Evey! And Nelson, this will be more or less an answer to your post as well, if that’s okay? Let me begin by answering your first question :D
God wants us to become fools to men in pursuit of Him. But does that make us fools? On the contrary! Nowhere in the Bible does it demand we be ignorant to logic and reason! In fact, the Bible encourages us to be skeptical and to go out and test what we read for its validity. By doing this, we will appear foolish to men. But we are not to fear men! So in reality, God is testing our willingness to adhere to reason in spite of being called foolish and persecuted, all while knowing that if we are wrong, we are the most foolish of all. Interesting, no? :D [and I’m not an evolutionist-creationist]
But this has nothing to do with why I believe in God. So here we go:
Neslon’s three questions were essentially all the same question, so all of my answers essentially answered all three of his questions. Anywho, let me start with the Bible and how it reconciles with extra-biblical evidence.
1. Sodom and Gomorrah- http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a007.html
There is quite powerful evidence that these cities existed near the dead sea and were destroyed by brimstone and fire.
2. The Flood- sorry for the lazy copy and pasted argument, but hey, the evidence is there. The layer of sedimentary rock, fossilized marine life atop mountain ranges, etc.
3. The Philistine-Israelite Battle/Goliath- http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Archaeology/goliathinsc...
Not much, but worth mentioning.
4. The star of Bethlehem- The star was demonstrated to be an actual historical event. It was the temporary lining up of Venus and Jupiter, coming into the closest contact with each other in history to form the biggest and brightest star in the sky. The star possessed all nine characteristics of the Bethlehem star described in the Bible. This is demonstrated in much more detail in the Bethlehem star presentation that I mentioned earlier. It is truly astonishing.
5. Extra-Biblical accounts of Jesus - http://carm.org/non-biblical-accounts-new-testament-events-andor-pe...
Josephus and Tacitus are the most famous, but there are many more.
This is all I could come up with for now. I am aware that none of this provides proof of God’s existence or biblical accuracy. But I think it is all worth considering. Now onward to prophecy!
I’m going to start with my absolute favorite! Nebuchadnezzar’s dream! :D
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. Then, a large stone came and crushed the feet of iron and clay and became a mountain. Each portion of the statue represents a great civilization in human history, all of which (except the first) came AFTER the prediction. The link above astoundingly relates each civilization to its corresponding body part. I understand that you may still be skeptical, but let me ask you this- can you predict ONE fact about the next 3 great civilizations of man? A different fact for each one. And not something petty and self-fulfilling. Additionally, I’d like to add this piece of thought. Isn’t it funny that just around the time that the Greeks revolutionized language and the romans revolutionized transportation, this Jesus figure emerged and began spreading His message?
On the last point:
"Isn’t it funny that just around the time that the Greeks revolutionized language and the romans revolutionized transportation, this Jesus figure emerged and began spreading His message?"
I would say that it is interesting, not funny. At a time when literacy was spreading throughout a newly invented network of highways, pop-culture was born, anti-establishment diatribe began to flow, and some beatnik with a catchy tune became the first one-hit-wonder with a lyric that would become the biggest cliche of all time. In retrospect, I have to admit that it is funny after all. We might as well ascribe divine purpose to the Beatles for having been fortunate enough to be the first long-hairs on the Ed Sullivan show.
Just because a lot of people believe something doesn't validate it. Lots of people believe in Allah and say that he is the same as the Christian god. So is that an exception, but Jesus isn't?
There were many who claimed to be the messiah. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_messiah_claimants
What makes you say "obviously full of it". Again you are just pronouncing your own bias, without backing up what you say.
On Sodom and Gomorrah:
I haven't found any academic articles on archaeological research into the site but, just for the sake of playing, let's look at the narrative article that you yourself linked to.
"There is ample evidence of subterranean deposits of a petroleum-based substance called bitumen, similar to asphalt, in the region south of theDead Sea. Such material normally contains a high percentage of sulfur. It has been postulated by geologist Frederick Clapp that pressure from anearthquake could have caused the bitumen deposits to be forced out of the earth through a fault line. As it gushed out of the earth it could have been ignited by a spark or surface fire. It would then fall to earth as a burning, fiery mass."
I can understand how witnesses at the time could view this hail of a burning, fiery mass as being fire and brimstone reigned down by some diety. I can't, however, understand how a modern mind could cling to such superstitious poppycock, especially given the presence of subterranean deposits of bitumen.