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Discussion with Edward (3)

Hi Edward!
 
I am again late, but I did do some research which might be of help in our discussion. I again appreciate your points and will now add some point of my own.

 Edwards' comments are followed by my mine in larger fonts.

 

   I should first clarify a couple of points that you may have misunderstood: -My reference to Australian Aborigines and northern Europeans was only to illustrate the vast physical differences that separate the two and suggest that they are very unlikely to be both descendants of the same couple, especially since there's a vast ocean between them. I do not think that any race is superior to any other, and there are many, many different races. -I mentioned the world's racial diversity precisely to illustrate the same point, that we cannot all be the offspring of only two people, just like the Mississauga rattlesnake  and the Australian taipan snake are unlikely to descend from just one couple of snakes.
 
These comments leave confused. Why would they not be offspring of the same parents. . No matter how you try to look at it, if you go back enough there can only be two parents. How else could it be?  

   I do not believe that there is a clean cut line between us and those ancient humanoids, and that is precisely my point, that those humanoids did gradually evolve into what we are today. This explanation, especially given the scientific grounds to back it up, makes a lot of sense to me, and of course it would prove the Adam and Eve story to be false.

I do not know how much evolution God allowed in the past and how much special creation took place in the eons behind us. If Jesus Christ said that there was a special creation of man and woman at the beginning of this creation, that is good enough for me. That is much easier for me to believe than to accept the idea that a series of accidents created man and woman physically perfectly designed for one another, one inseminating and the other bearing; totally designed to complement each other psychologically. The whole idea that accidents would create male and female physiology different, yet totally ready for it's own part in procreation, is to me nothing short of absurd. Everything in man and woman is magnificent in design and beauty. Nothing will not produce something so stunning---unless you have an amount of faith that puts Christians' faith to shame.

   As far as I knew, the bible was a complete account of the history of the Universe, from its beginning, right into the Christian era. I did not know that the bible even made room for the possibility of previous creations; however, you're much more knowledgeable than me on this so I won't argue that point.
   As for the dinosaurs, I would think that if anything, they were not mentioned because those who wrote the bible had no idea that these creatures ever existed and I think that that's the reason for all the other inconsistencies. The writers, even though they did their best, could only write in accordance to what they knew of the world and the universe at the time.

I cannot comment for sure, but in relation to creation Genesis 1:21 mentions "big reptiles." The words used are "Taninim Gedolin" and not "Nahash" relating to snakes. Could the "Taninin Gedolin" category not include the dinosaurs as well?  You may also find interesting that when clean and unclean animals are listed in Leviticus 11, in verse 18 the bird "Tishemet" is listed among the birds. Later, in Verse 30 it is listed among the reptiles. Could it refer to an Archaeopteryx kind of creature? Might it not be the Archaeopteryx? Just a thought...

   Now, when it comes to all the other unexplainable issues (The incest thing, the different languages, etc, etc.),  there is always a very simple (and extremely simple) explanation: God. I agree that God would explain absolutely any question you might have (And is the one explanation Albert Einstein always stayed away from) but is it the correct explanation?...Primitive men used the same explanation to account for all the natural phenomena that occurred (lightening, hail, tornadoes, etc.). It doesn't explain where God came from, though. If we can accept that God always existed, then we could just as easily accept that the Universe always existed. I think that the "God" explanation for everything grossly undermines our ability to reason and, as I said before, it would render all scientific efforts a waste of time. If that was the case, we would still be living in caves.

I see no reason why we cannot reason, with God remaining in the picture. Why give us intelligence and not expect us to use it? You can choose to believe that all there is is the universe, if you choose to do so. In such case you, in a sense, believe in a God/universe, as the universe becomes the essence within which is inherent the ability to create. You in a way become  a pantheist who holds that there is an eternal spirit within the universe that is responsible for all that is or evolves within it, but has no interest in humans nor human affairs.  I prefer to believe in a God with an intent in mind, a Being that has purpose and that does all with purpose. Unlike Pantheists, I believe that God brought this brilliant creature call mankind about, because He has a great purpose for it and that that purpose has been revealed in scripture.

   When it comes to the real world we live in today, I just can't picture a God who refuses to make direct contact with us. He supposedly made the last contact some 2000 years ago (conveniently enough, it's beyond us to prove the veracity of any of its claims, since it's been such a long time). I also can't picture a God who, being all powerful, stands still watching so many things that are so ridiculously unfair in this world. This is especially evident in the poorest third world countries. It could hardly be argued that it's those poor people's own fault (especially those starved, dying children who didn't even get a chance to commit any sins yet and did not get to choose their birthplace).

Valid points. Regarding the first, though, it's not fair to hold that the events surrounding Jesus Christ are not provable. We have four separate accounts from different sources (The Gospels), various letters from people who lived and witnessed His works (The Epistles), the Book of Acts written by a Doctor/Historian who based his accounts on thorough interviews with people who knew Christ, and finally the accounts of  a man (Paul' Epistles) who killed and persecuted Christians before his conversion and who personally saw and spoke with Christ after His resurrection. Is that not enough? What about the fact that all of His apostles were willing to die to witness for Christ and His resurrection -- and eleven did. Is that not enough?

Is there suffering in the world? Yes, too much. Are there innocent ones suffering in the world? You bet. It all began in the Garden when men chose to ask God to butt out and chose the way of Satan instead. God did butt out and will continue to do so until the return of Christ. Then, and only then, will mankind experience the opposite way and its results. Read the book of Isaiah and see what's ahead. According to the Bible this is Satan's world --by our choice -- God's Kingdom is not yet here, but it might not be too far ahead. What you see in this world is the end result of thousands of years of sin and self-will on our part. What you see is the end result of a philosophy of stubborn rebellion against God and His ways. We are reaping what we have been sawing for thousands of years and our children are reaping with us. Thank God we are promised that the end of this hell is ahead of us. Please read Revelation 21: 1-4 and see what's ahead. The end of anguish is yet ahead. 

  

   I do agree that a belief in God can have some good psychological effects on people, most notably the peace of mind that comes from "knowing" that there is a reward beyond this physical life (heaven).   It could also act as a deterrent to people who might otherwise be reckless, criminal, etc.

I personally believe in the resurrection from the dead. Christ was resurrected to give us reassurance that the resurrection is possible and sure. It is the hope that led many to their death and it is God's promise. This is the reason why Christ came, died and was resurrected. It's part of a magnificent package that is awaiting the teeming multitudes--including you when your time comes.

I wish you all the best.

Michael
   


Discussion with Edward (2)

Hi Edward.
Sorry for my late response. I have been exceptionally busy. Like you, I do
not get excited about debates. In fact I see them as  a waste of time. I am responding to your honest concerns hoping that, maybe, I may have something worth considering. I will address them below.

(Edwards comments are in small font mine follow in larger font.)

  From my modest knowledge of the Bible I can draw a few inconsistencies: I understand the Bible states that God created the Universe, and then He created only two people: Adam and Eve. This makes no sense because God would not allow incest to take place, yet incest would've been the only way to avoid extinction.

GOD DID ALLOW INCEST TO TAKE PLACE FOR A BRIEF PERIOD OF TIME AND, BEING ALL POWERFUL, HE COULD HAVE  PREVENTED ANY PHYSICAL DEGENERACY AS WE KNOW THEM TODAY. IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE THAT AT THE BEGINNING THAT POSSIBILITY HAD NOT YET EVOLVED.

It also contrasts with the world's racial diversity, each race having very specific traits which are very consistent with the environment their ancestors lived in, and some having lived in complete isolation from the rest. Can we honestly say that northern europeans and australian aborigines both descend from Adam and Eve?...not likely.
 

ARE THERE NOT A MULTITUDE OF FELINES AND DOGS? WHY NOT HUMANS. ABORIGINES THAT ARE EDUCATED LIKE ANY OF US ACT, THINK AND BEHAVE LIKE ANY OTHER HUMAN, BECAUSE THEY ARE TOTALLY HUMAN.
 

The discovery of the remains of individuals, from those who are not yet quite human, right up to well developed human beings. I consider this to be very tangible evidence to negate the Adam and Eve story.


THERE ARE HUMANOIDS, BUT BELIEVING THAT THERE IS A NICE CLEAN CUT LINE BETWEEN US AND THEM MEANS NOT BEING AWARE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT ACCOMPANY THIS IDEA. I SUGGEST THAT YOU LINK WITH THE "CREATION RESEARCH FOUNDATION" FOR THE OTHER SIDE. THE BIBLE NOWHERE SAYS THAT THERE WAS NO LIFE BEFORE THE  GENESIS CREATION. ISAIAH 14:12-15 INDICATES THAT LUCIFER MAY HAVE ACTUALLY RESIDED ON THE EARTH BEFORE HIS REBELLION. CHRIST TELLS US THAT HE WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS CAST DOWN TO THE EARTH. (LUKE 10:18). THIS HAPPENED BEFORE THE CREATION DESCRIBED IN GENESIS. IT IS FASCINATING THAT IN GENESIS 1: 1-2 WHERE IT SAYS THAT "THE EARTH WAS EMPTY AND VOID" THE WORD 'WAS" IS ELSEWHERE ALSO TRANSLATED "BECAME" THUS MUCH HAPPENED BEFORE V.1-2 AND THE BIBLE GIVES US ONLY A GLIMPSE. GEOLOGY TAKES CARE OF THE REST.

 
If the story was true, there would be only one language, or at least a few very similar languages.


AS I UNDERSTAND IT, MANY LANGUAGES ARE TRACEABLE TO A COMMON SOURCE, BUT I AM NOT AN EXPERT. WHEN GOD CONFUSED THE LANGUAGES AT BABEL HE MIGHT HAVE DONE A VERY GOOD JOB.

The Bible, as far as I know, never mentions some creatures whose existence has been proven, such as the dinosaurs. If Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of time, then such mighty creatures would've made an impact and would've had their place in the Bible. It could be argued that these
people were created after the dinosaur era, but I don't think there's any biblical
account for millions of years gone by before mankind.


AGAIN, THE BIBLE DEALS WITH OUR CREATION NOT PREVIOUS ONES.
 
 There are as well many stories in the bible which bear striking similarities with events in science fiction or even fairy tales: The story of Samson and Delilah, the story of Moses parting the sea, the story of the arc (I can't imagine Noah actually preserving some nasty creatures like the komodo
dragon or the australian taipan snake). These things don't happen in modern times when people are more informed and a  lot less naive.


IF THERE IS A MIGHTY GOD, WOULD THE ABOVE EVENTS OFFER ANY CHALLENGE? IS BELIEVING THAT YOU AND I CAME OUT OF A LONG LINE OF ACCIDENTS ANY LESS AMAZING? IS BELIEVING THAT THE MIGHTY ATOM, CAPABLE OF ORGANIZING ITSELF IN AN ENDLESS MULTITUDE OF WAYS, HAS NO CREATOR, LESS SCIENCE FICTION?

 
The Trinity is another dichotomy: There is only one God, yet God has a Son. The Father sent his son to earth to die for us and save us from our sins (?). Now, Jesus was born roughly 2000 years ago. Does that mean that God did not have a son before that?...if the son of God is also a God, then there are two
Gods, right?, unless Jesus is not a God. If the wholly spirit is also a God then we have three Gods...Does it make sense to you?...to believe that these three entities are not independent but part of a higher entity borders on the absurd!

 
THIS IS AN AREA I USUALLY LEAVE ALONE. THAT JESUS WAS GOD, THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND BECAUSE THE SCRIPTURES ARE ENOUGH FOR ME. THAT THERE IS A HOLY SPIRIT THAT GOD USES TO CREATE AND SUSTAIN I ALSO DO NOT DOUBT. THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS CENTRAL IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF TRULY CONVERTED CHRISTIANS ID CENTRAL TO THE NEW TESTAMENT.THERE ARE MANY VIEWS ON THE TRINITY, SOME OFFERING SIMILAR ARGUMENTS AS YOUR OWN, AND THEY ARE CHRISTIANS. SOME DAY I'LL ASK THE GREAT ONE AND I'LL KNOW FOR SURE.

These are just a few points that I can think of from what little I know about the Bible. There are many, many other "pieces of evidence" that have nothing to do with the bible, but rather with the physical and human world we live in. I find our reality totally consistent with the absence of a God, as hard as
it might be to admit.
 

 I should remind you that, as I said before, this kind of debate is extremely rare in my life because my views usually spark anger and outrage. However, this really is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Have yourself a happy new year.

Best Regards, 
Ed.
 


                                                Discussion with Ed (1)

Michael wrote:

Hi Ed,
 
 Thanks for your sincere and kind response. I checked the web sites included and here is why I believe my entry should stand:

 
1. As my web site (God and the Greatest Minds) emphasizes, Einstein clearly emphasized that he believed in "Spinoza's God," thus declaring himself a Pantheist. Even Steven Jay Gould admitted that Einstein was a Pantheist who, when placed on a continuum, would almost border the "personal" God idea. Some Pantheists, of course, border on atheists. My readings on Spinoza do not smack of either atheism oror agnosticism. He was simply a pantheist.

2. I emphasized in my entry that Einstein was a Pantheist and that he  did not believe in a "personal" God. I also added that he did not believe that God had any concerns for the affairs of man nor for an afterlife. Thus, I believe, I presented a fair and balanced view of his ideas.

3. I put little trust on what others say about Einstein. I base my views on what he "officially," stated not what Einstein privately might have said to anyone. I do so even if secondary sources imply that atheists or agnostics are believers. I have received one such quote on what Darwin said his death bed, that is that he recanted agnosticism and became a believer. I attach no value to it. I appreciate your views. In my dealings with atheists and agnostics I often find not a problem with the existence of God but His pseudo-representatives, that is religions. I have to agree with them that all too often religion has been a pathetically weak and often disgraceful witness for a loving God.


 I disagree that the Bible is in contrast with science. I have "studied" Bible almost every day for about 33 years, and I feel very saddened to read the amount of ignorance that exists about the Book. I feel especially saddened by the propagation of non-biblical ideas by religionists that dare  to erroneously represent God and His Word and teach that the universe was created 6000 or so years ago, according to the Bible.  The Bible does not say or imply anywhere that the earth was created thousands of years ago. It simply says "In the Beginning". How people can conclude that this happened thousands of years ago is beyond me. In fact, all related scriptures make evident that what is described in later verses is a "re-creation" not the first creation.

There are many other examples of distortion and ignorance that are being propagated which have no biblical foundation but that perpetuate strange ideas.

That God exists I have no doubt. That He has spoken to mankind is totally evident every time He speaks in the Scriptures, every time I ponder about the depth and "revolutionary" power of the Ten Commandments, every time I read about His insistence on moral behavior and His hatred for evil, every time I read about His love for the weak and the needy and, lastly, every time I reflect on the transforming teachings of Christ. I have no need of human witnesses such as Einstein, or any other brilliant mind, though it  interesting to know about their ideas as well.

Perhaps what you need is set aside your "justified" feelings about religion and allow your mind to give "God" a chance through an objective study of His Word. The problem is not that God does not answer, as you said in your first note. The problem is that we don't answer Him. He has spoken loud and clear but do we want to listen? Listening to the God of the Bible implies a transformation that I believe very few who pay lip service to religion have truly embraced, as the historical and social evidence clearly indicates.
 

Thanks again for the opportunity to share ideas. I always appreciate dialoguing with sincere, non-fanatical people.
 

May you have a terrific new year.

Michael


 

EDWARD'S FIRST LETTER

Sorry to inform you that by most accounts and by the nature of his
work, Albert Einstein was indeed an atheist, as are most of world's
brightest minds.

   The concept of the existence of a God (Gods) inevitably collides with
all attempts to make sense of the universe, past and present, and also
creates undue pain as a result of the frustration generated by believing
in (and expecting some sort of feedback from) something that does not
exist. It is also an excellent tool for some people to subdue, abuse,
exploit and deceive others.

   It is, however, much easier (and comfortable) to be part of the
billions who believe.


   Edward