jrazz wrote on 2/17/2006, 2:33 PM
If there is god and eternal life, non believers will get it too. God ( if there is one ) will understand why non believers do not believe, or at why they reserve judgement.

Where did you get this information from?

j razz
MH_Stevens wrote on 2/17/2006, 4:30 PM
We only know anything via our senses and all we know of is this physical universe we live in. We can if we wish extrapolate what we see today back to a great force (God) who unleashed this physical world at what is commonly referred to as the big bang. The bad news is that there is no evidence of any sort what so ever that God also made a spiritual world. All the promises by Jesus and the many other religion entepeneurs were designed to deceive that there was something to come later so you didn't question what you had now. All religions are control mechanisms.

Now let us accept God at face value, be thankful for what we have from this existence and remember what Brian said in "Life of Brian", you have to work it out for yourself.

Coursedesign wrote on 2/17/2006, 5:12 PM
All the promises by Jesus and the many other religion entrepeneurs... you have to work it out for yourself.

I don't disagree that religion has been used to control people. That's why you see a cross at the top of many royal crowns, to boost their political power.

The hiearchy was God-The King-The Rest of the People.

I remember seeing one church that had over its entrance "Fear God and Obey the King".

The crowns that kings used to wear were images of the golden auras the old kings once had, the illumined ones who were chosen for their connection with the Divine.

Now it's a just a metal likeness..., and the kings inherit their positions regardless of merits.

The good news in all of this is that we don't have to "work it out all by ourselves." We can choose to "stand on the shoulders of giants."

If we make a poor choice of giant, we find ourselves sinking.

If we make a good choice, we find that we can verify for ourselves why millions of people thought there was something worthwhile beyond what we can perceive with the most common five senses.

We do have more senses beyond the five, and they are active in most people, but they are not aware that these senses are active, so they disregard them.

Much of what Jesus said can be verified by any individual, and ditto for what has been said by the carriers of wisdom and divinity in many other cultures.

Very worthwhile, but this is of course only my finding.
jrazz wrote on 2/17/2006, 5:30 PM
All religions are control mechanisms.

Again, from what source does this come?

It would appear (my opinion) that a lot of what is making up this thread is mere speculation and opinions. No one on here has a definitive conclusion that can convince one whom belives in God that He does not exist and no one on here has a definitive conclusion that can convince the skeptic that God does exist. Furthermore, it is not man's job to convince, according to scripture (the Christian Bible), it is God's. If you do not believe, it is b/c God never intended for you to believe (again, according to the Christian Bible). So, there is no possibility that one who does not believe will ever believe unless God wanted him to believe. It is not up to man to be capable of believing; it is up to God (again, according to the Christian Bible). It is man's responsibility to believe regardless. If they do not believe, they are destined to hell (I will stop putting according to the Christian Bible as I think you get the point). Again, this predisposed position, is not our choice, it is God's. He chooses who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. Unfair you ask? We all have the faculties that make us capable of believing, but we are all predisposed to do one or the other. We are responsible for our actions. In Scripture, it is posed as our duty to believe. It is not an option, it is a command. If you don't, you will go to Hell. If you do believe (involving Christ and not just a belief in God) you will be rewarded for your obedience to his command of belief. The reason we are all held accountable for believing/ not believing is b/c of our responsibility to believe and our physical capabilities that permit belief. I could go on but there are many great resources out there that cover just this. John Owen "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ", D. A. Carson "How Long Oh Lord?", John Piper "A Response to J. I. Packer on the Antinomy of Man", R. C. Sproul, Lee Tankersley (, Bruce Ware & Thomas Schreiner "Still Sovereign", and let's not forget, John, Paul, the author of Hebrews, Peter, etc. and the countless examples of God's sovereignty over all things, including people, in the Old Testament.

Again, if you don't believe, it is not b/c you somehow trumped God and got one over on Him, it is b/c you were never meant to believe in Him b/c He didn't choose for you to. If you believe, it is b/c God gave you the heart to believe. If you don't, it is b/c He never planned for you to believe.

As you can tell, I am biased b/c I believe and those who don't believe are biased b/c they don't believe.

My goal in this post was not to offend, but to inform. I know that some will not take it the way it was intended, but that goes with anything written, spoken, or recounted. If nothing else, take a look at the resources if you truly want to look more into this issue of belief.

j razz
Spot|DSE wrote on 2/17/2006, 5:42 PM
that a lot of what is making up this thread is mere speculation and opinions.

As it is with all organized religion. Always has been, always will be. This is why it's a highly personal subject designed to divide rather than unify. Religion is the number one cause of wars. Religion is the number one cause of suicide, if the CDC is to be believed. Religion is the number one cause of divisive factions within families, societies, and communities.
Religion is entirely about "us" vs "them" and that's what I see in this thread as well.
The sad thing is, not one person in this thread knows what they are talking about. They might have faith in something, they might believe fervently in one side of the discussion more than the other, they might have a "burning of the bosom," whatever you might call it. But regardless of any of those feelings, beliefs, experiences, positions, attributes, lessons, devotion, etc,'s still all just circumspection unless someone can say they've sat and met with whatever diety they believe in, and have had long face to face conversations. Even then, it's subject to interpolation based on an individual's perception of the conversation. Believe what you want to believe, have faith in that which you choose to place your faith. But recognize that there will always be those that side with you, against you, above you, or beneath you, and none of those positions is right or wrong.
They just are. To take any other position puts someone in the role of judgement, If you are a true believer in the bible, no one has that right except one.
And you surely ain't gonna find that one in a Vegas forum.

Lili wrote on 2/17/2006, 6:00 PM
So well said - spot on!
MH_Stevens wrote on 2/17/2006, 6:14 PM
Spot, I had placed my money that you would not risk getting your hands dirty here but I was wrong; we tempted him in.

What you say is wise and in the sense of a moderator which in a way you are here, but I do think you were wrong to say "The sad thing is, not one person in this thread knows what they are talking about." You are a busy man and I suspect you have not had time to read all this thread; there are many posts here that echo your own sentiment, mine included.

jrazz wrote on 2/17/2006, 6:35 PM
not one person in this thread knows what they are talking about. They might have faith in something, they might believe...

Here I am speaking for someone; Spot, feel free to correct me here. What I understood his post to mean is that no one knows in the sense of empirical evidence. No one on this earth that is alive has ever seen "God". So, w/o the empirical evidence, no one does know. In the context of his post, he goes on to say what is quoted above, which is true. We have faith, or we don't. We have belief in something or we don't. But no one has seen God, and no one can give proof empirical proof to the end that there is a God.

Context is king!

j razz
Coursedesign wrote on 2/17/2006, 7:30 PM
To me it is very much the same thing with music.

Can anyone prove that music is wonderful?

In terms of senses involved, we normally think of music as being perceived with the sense of hearing.

So why do all of us hearing people have such a different perception of music?

There must be something else also, besides the hearing of sound frequencies.

But we can't prove it, we can't explain it, and we can't demonstrate it to somebody else.

It can only be personally perceived, and even that only when the time is right.

Just like the other subject in this thread. :O)

Btw, the word "music" came from the Greek word "musike", meaning "the art of the muse", i.e. something inspired by "the Muses", the gods with a delegated responsibility for music and the other arts.

So music was considered to have a divine origin, continuously inspired by God's helpers.

This idea is also in other cultures that are not known to have had any contact with Western civilization (such as it is :O).

MH_Stevens wrote on 2/17/2006, 8:57 PM
My uncle Tom who was my mentor when I was a lad taught me words were for the masses, mathematics for the thinking people and music for the Angles.


Dan Sherman wrote on 2/18/2006, 5:10 AM
Can this end now?
Can those on both sides just agree to disagree?
Personal belief is a matter of faith.
A matter or the heart/soul----not the head.
Always has been.
Always will be.
Well, ---

Timpolo wrote on 2/18/2006, 5:15 AM
But we have not started onto politics yet. :)
Serena wrote on 2/18/2006, 5:30 AM
Perhaps when Spot said "designed to divide", perhaps that wasn't quite what he intended (but this is a guess!). The difficulty with most people and religion is that it attracts a lot of people who want certainty: "the Good Book says". This then provides people with a mechanism for controlling others (for their own good). But all religious texts, particularly those that have passed through multiple translations, contain apparent contradictions and uncertainties that invite alternative interpretations. So some group who reckon their interpretation is really the word of God start up another branch and proclaim that all others are on the path to hell. And if the groups get big enough they try to settle the matter with force. Or by taking over the government and using that slightly more subtle power. The Pilgrim Fathers had some experience of that, and previously they had been involved with Cromwell and the English Republic. And the Reformation. If you can find a group who don't accept some of your prime beliefs, then total war is thought justified. Even when basically the beliefs are the same.
Many people lose their faith because sooner or later they find unbelievable the stories they were told as a child. Some people find satisfaction in believing the plainly unbelievable (faith), but many others need something with a bit more credibility and with universal application.
So should one think it is worthwhile holding a belief in the existence and relevance of God, and that for this to be true then God must have some fairly astounding properties, then any thought of comprehending God will be wildly inadequate. The idea that God is made in the image of man (as many seem to think) or vice versa, is not very clever. So any idea of God must be personal and will be unconvincing to any sceptical listener; that doesn't mean it isn't personally real and of substantial value in guiding that individual on a way of life. Such a personal belief is not one of certainty, because it includes the knowledge that any entity with the proscribed powers is beyond understanding. You might have some insights, but they're unprovable and mostly not based on personal experience.
That people have got together to write a book, whether the Bible or the Koran (or whatever the Mormons call theirs), doesn't make it a book written by God. Quoting from it convinces only those that already share the beliefs of the preacher.
May the force be with you. So long as you don't use it against others.
Dan Sherman wrote on 2/18/2006, 5:46 AM
This is the thread that never ends,
Yes it goes on an on my friend.

Look what it's EVOLVED into!!!
It's alive!!!! (scream!)
Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/18/2006, 11:54 AM

... not one person in this thread knows what they are talking about.

Douglas, I take exception that statement.

Lili wrote on 2/18/2006, 2:09 PM
There was an emphasis on the word "knows" I noticed - so I don't think he meant it in the usual sense. There is plain knowing and then there is knowing, in italics. I believe Spot meant it in the sense that we have faith, but we don't really KNOW as in "proof" of anything. He didn't phrase it quite the way he meant it - geesh why am I letting myself be sucked into this anyway??? must have too much time on my hands today! Surely this is THE END of this thread!
TheHappyFriar wrote on 2/18/2006, 3:19 PM
i'll extend the thread one more post. :)

There's one thing I DO know... the belive in creation by God (or aliens or god's or whatever) is what the USA is built upon. The United States Declaration of Independence specificly states "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

If we decided to throw out even the idea that there is a God or "creator" then that statement is no longer true. Evolution is based on variety. Everything is not equal. That would mean that people are not equal and that slavery was ok because african's could very well be a sub-species not worth more then manual labor, the native americans (from south america to canada) deserved to be mercercly slaughtered for being in in the "way" of progress and that Hitler was correct that Jews should be removed from the superior German people.

If saying "hey, there COULD be a god" gives people the legal right to live and have freedom then I'm all for it. For as many people use religion to cause divides just as many use religion to brong people together. Just like humanity can use science as an excuse to exterminate a people, it can also save a people.

after all, made by a creator or by random accident, we all have free will to do whatever we want. And, eigther way, it's by the hands of man good/bad things happen, with God watching over us, martians, or absolutitly nothing.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/18/2006, 6:50 PM
alright - I don't like getting into these threads but I've done some research on the subject and have to say my bit..... Sorry to sony forum admins and everyone else, but I just read so many un-informed statments in here.

Evolution has never ever been able to be reproduced in any way, shape, or form. In fact spontaneous mutation has never EVER created anytyhing - in all scentific studies - mutation has only subtracted from available protiens and dna.

The probability of the chance formation of a hypothetical functional ‘simple’ cell, given all the ingredients, is acknowledged to be worse than 1 in 10 to the 57800th power. This is a chance of 1 in a number with 57,800 zeros. It would take 11 full pages of magazine type to print this number.

the probability of the formation of just one of the many proteins on which life depends is comparable to that of the solar system packed full of blind people randomly shuffling Rubik’s cubes all arriving at the solution at the same time—and this is the chance of getting only one of the 400 or more proteins of the hypothetical minimum cell proposed by the evolutionists. (real world ‘simple’ bacteria have about 2,000 proteins and are incredibly complex in comparison).

The way that fossils are preserved points very strongly to something of a giant flood washing over the earth. Ex. Trees that are commonly found going through “millions of years” of soil. Animals are all found within a certain number of layers.

The measuring of radio isotopes to determine the age of different items as well as layers of sediment, often will read layers in opposing orders, “younger” below “older”.

The "science" of today just says - nope - I don't accept this - I believe that it's rubbish. True science should look for answers and be wiling to allow it to change beliefs it currently holds.

BTW - over 200+ scriptures from dozens of different writers came true in Jesus Christ - and it was asked early on why we have to be "perfected" I don't know if it was entirely answered. - Because of sin. God will not allow Sin into heaven and without the atonement that Jesus offered by dying on a cross not guilty of any crime and without sin, He has provided a way to get into heaven by simply accepting him as your savior (it really is that simple) - try it - I dare ya :)


If you're offended by this, I'm sorry - not that I've seen too many appologies by other folks for offensive statements to christanity - but maybe I just missed them - there are an awful lot of posts here.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/18/2006, 6:59 PM
This is why it's a highly personal subject designed to divide rather than unify. Religion is the number one cause of wars. Religion is the number one cause of suicide, if the CDC is to be believed. Religion is the number one cause of divisive factions within families, societies, and communities.

That's true and sad (at least in regards to Christianity - it shouldn't be - we are told to Love more than just about anything else in the Bible. and so we should. Mind you - some people will take our beliefs as offensive and not accept them, want to fight us about them, or want to kill us about them. Many times Christianity has been used as a false front because it was the predominant religion in a nation (look at the crusades for pete sake) I hold no ill will towards anyone here, and I try (not always instantly successful) to not get mad at or quickly forgive and forget when people do things to anger me/that anger me. I don't even expect the same treatment from others (unless they too are christians) just like I shouldn't get upset at a blind man for walking into me and steping on my foot then accidentally hitting me in the nutz with his cane (sorry got a little carried away) because he doesn't know.

PeterWright wrote on 2/18/2006, 8:14 PM
I'm happy for you to believe the way you do, but you must acknowledge that this view is based on the acceptance of one extremely selective set of writings from a middle eastern culture, and uses these same writings to prove itself. This is not intended in any way to be offensive to Christianity, just to remind that there are many different ways of tapping in to the infinite. I have found that Christians are generally good people, but they don't own God.

The simplistic God OR evolution dichotomy is a misunderstanding based on a particular literal interpretation of those writings. For me, both are true and both are awe inspiring.

You say "True science should look for answers and be willing to allow it to change beliefs it currently holds." Yes, this IS exactly what Science does and what religion generally does NOT do. Darwin acknowledged that later discoveries may modify his theories, and they have, but not in a way to change the overall process he discovered.
Now, are you willing to change the beliefs you currently hold? I am.
Remember, beliefs are simply thoughts that we hang on to when we don’t KNOW.

If you start quoting huge numbers as the probability of cellular formation, don’t forget that the probability of God suddenly creating the universe is a lot larger. Naturally, the exact origin of our universe is difficult to know, but the process of which we are all currently an expression is something wonderful to contemplate.

And remember, the biggest threat to our life currently is posed by people's reaction to differing beliefs. They are given far too much importance.

Yours with reverence

FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/18/2006, 9:38 PM
Peter - I appreciate your kindness (this will be the last I say on this subject as highly flammable subjects are not what I like to post on here)

but you must acknowledge that this view is based on the acceptance of one extremely selective set of writings from a middle eastern culture - Yes - a selective section of writings comprised of thousands of years of different authors that has never been disproven and in fact has been proven time and again - no other man has fullfilled the prophecies of Jesus Christ - and no man ever will save one, and that is He. too many things in that book are proven time and again for one to dismiss it.

"I have found that Christians are generally good people, but they don't own God." - How right you are, He owns us... all of us... and He can do with us as He pleases, and He pleases to let us choose Him and eternal life in heaven over death and pain, but He does give us the choice, just as He gave Adam and Eve the choice (those turkeys got us into this whole mess in the first place :-) )

"Darwin acknowledged that later discoveries may modify his theories" - Darwin later said that he was wrong, of course no-one ever hears that do they? - don't ask me to quote my source off the top of my head, but if I dig a while I may find it.

"And remember, the biggest threat to our life currently is posed by people's reaction to differing beliefs" - I have nothing against differing beliefs I am saddened by the fact that those who don't accept christ will not be able to call on his forgiveness when God sits in judgement over us and we can not measure up to his standards w/o the mercy we recieve by accepting Christ. Their hatred for me and for all of us, is sad - but certainly not what christ wants, and not what God wants, God Loves us - that's why he let his son be die so that he could be with us. Though he doesn't want robots saying (robot voice)praise Jesus, All Hail the King of Kings(end robot voice). He wants genuine chosen love from a person who chooses to love Him, and when he decides that it's time to end all this nonsense here on earth - He will do it, he won't have some bunch of folks killing people here and there - by blowing up trucks etc...

Sin is the problem - God made rules - man broke the rules - God gave them a chance to redeem themselves. When it come to an end - there won't be any question - God will wipe everyone who has not chosen to follow him off the face of the earth in what people think will be a great battle (it won't be - the Bible says that just the sheer brightness of God will (poof) destroy everyone that stands in oposition to him - he doesn't mess around with taking some turkey and suicide bombing folks that He would rather see come to know Jesus Christ at their savior.

don’t forget that the probability of God suddenly creating the universe is a lot larger. - Well, I don't think that you can put that into a measure of probablity however - since it's happened it's far more likely than evolution (which hasn't) ;-)

Just so you guys know - The big bang is not exactly possible according to the laws of physics.... oh, I suppose you want to know why? - because the universe is accelerating faster and faster. Gravity is greatest where density is highest - and the center of the universe will have the highest density according to that law. However according to the red shift as measured on super novas of stars extremely far off (otherwise the red shift wouldn't be measureable) the universe is accellerating rather than slowing down - and for those that haven't connected the dots (no offense - some just aren't minded for this stuff) when gravity is pulling on something and an explosive force pushes it away - the fastest movement available to that (whatever it is) is at the moment of explosion)

Now why it's so hard for someone to accept a book written by 60+ different authors over thousands of years, that doesn't contradict itself and has never been proven wrong (only right, over and over again) - I just do not understand. No other religion in the world can say that - none - but that's not good enough - because of some reason or another, I'm just sorry for all those that reject it, because it's only cutting of their nose to spite their faces.

I'm not saying that Darwin is a Heritic, and I'm Certainly not saying that everything he says is wrong - however I do not believe that evolution is any less a religion than Christianity, I think it requires more faith though. Just my opinion.

I'm sorry I went into it here guys - i know it's not the place - I'll stop now - forgive me if I've offended - but I appreciate your wilingness to read (unless of course you just skpped over this post, then screwyou - AHH JUST KIDDIN!!! - hope that came across as funny )


B.Verlik wrote on 2/18/2006, 10:29 PM
I have to admit......I laughed.
but I guess I'm going to have to burn in hell for all eternity for being the bad person I am. I'm too free minded to accept any religion, when obviously, they all work. It's simply the power of belief. It works best when you're in the right frame of mind and attitude and it still works when your not, just not as well. That's simple to say, but not so simple to understand.
As far as contradictions go, "Thou shalt not kill"...yet I'm going to be wiped off the face of the earth by HE himself. (Sorry, but I saw that one right away.)
If Religion works well for you and you aren't going to try to kill or hurt me because I refuse to believe it, I'm okay with that. But the power of belief is strong and has the same effect as people kidnapped into cults. So, it kind of scares me. When man gets involved with any kind of Beliefs and a substantial amount of time goes by, then the Beliefs usually take a slight path, that's not so pure.
Belief is SO strong, that a hypnotized man, if told a lit match is being held under his skin, will actually develop a burn blister. It's Very Strong Stuff, Belief.

Coursedesign wrote on 2/18/2006, 11:23 PM
The first person I met in my life that I thought had a connection to what we call "God" was a Christian.

I was 18 and had been through massive amounts of Bible study with very good teachers, and had talked with many good priests, but I never felt that any of them had a special connection, until I met this man in a corridor at a military base where I was stationed temporarily.

He was an evangelical Christian, but he was living the message of Christ. I say "but" because there are so many evangelical Christians who are making it their mission in life to convert other people whether they want it or no, at gunpoint if necessary, and it is my personal belief that Jesus would have smacked them good for taking his name in vain. The world has enough pharisees...

This man was content with just living as a good example, and he was absolutely radiant. He had a direct impact on people around him, not dependent on words. Some would call it a mystical experience, with a very inspirational and uplifting value.

Since then I have met maybe 7 or 8 people of his caliber, of various denominations, including both Christians and others.

The part that I find the most difficult to understand about people who take everything in any translation and version of the Bible literally is how they choose to disregard the major contradictions.

Dave, I trust you are a vegetarian? God says very clearly in Genesis that we are specifically given plants to eat, and that we are not to eat the animals.

And if somebody hits you on the cheek, do you a) turn the other cheek like in the NT, or b) pay back with an eye for an eye like in the OT?

And surely you don't drink wine or any other intoxicants forbidden according to the Old Testament? Come to think of it, Jesus drank wine, so he should have been immediately stoned by the public instead of being crucified at government expense! What a rascal, disobeying God's command like that!

There are perhaps a hundred more direct contradictions, and at a first glance it appears that Christians would be much better off to just follow the teachings of their [presumed] teacher, rather than to try to follow also the teachers he said were absolutely wrong!

Perhaps those who want to cherry pick the teachings they like the best from the Old and New Testaments respectively should be called "Biblians" instead?

The stories around the birth of Jesus indicate clearly that he could not have been born even in the vicinity of December. This is confirmed by descriptions of what the shepherds were doing at the time, and there are multiple indications that JC was born in April instead.

Darwin said that the misunderstanding about evolution was the "survival of the fittest." It was instead survival of the most adaptable.

Last I heard, the big bang theory had been officially superseded by initially expanding universes that later implode and start over again. Nobody is breaking any laws of physics, not even the Creator of those laws.

I think it is very very very presumptious to say that God could only have created the world a certain way, for example without an evolution timeline.

As I said earlier, I don't believe that the world is changing based on new unexpected things, i.e. "the random view" of at least early evolution enthusiasts.

I think the world is growing according to its nature, and that this nature was inherent in it from the very beginning, like a tiny oak seed grows into a huge oak tree in a predictable way. It is not going to suddenly change to growing into a large brussel sprout in response to an environmental change (I choose here to disregard what has been happening to wild animals slurping up hormone-changing chemical pesticides and toxic pharmaceutical waste products flushed out into nature without purification).

What makes our God so limited that he couldn't possibly have created a growing creation? Why must we assume that he created each critter like a piece on a static chessboard a few thousand years ago?

Why couldn't God have created an organism that changed as it grew? I.e. evolution.

It makes no sense to me that God would speak to anyone in this creation, whether talking to Moses, or telling Pat Robertson after he's finished watching "Will and Grace" that he should ask for a foreign head of state to be assassinated.

I think in the former case, Moses was talking to what we call an angel, and Pat Robertson was either talking to himself, or talking to what we call a demon who said "I am God, obey me," which he instantly believed because he felt greatly pumped up by seeming to have a direct connection with the big guy.

In some other religions they talk about "God with form" and "God without form".

The first is for those who want to talk to God (as the idea of the sum of all good, without the limitations of minor gods/angels/etc.). Works great.

The second is for those who can live without this because they think that God is beyond human form (and man wasn't created in the image of God, but in the image of the gods, i.e. the angels, etc., that we depict in human form because their subtle bodies have the same form as our human subtle bodies that create the form of our flesh bodies, like a mold). Works great, too.

Let each person find his own happiness, and let each person just be an example to others. Sometimes that will be a good example, and sometimes it will be a bad example. So be it, because there is no way to prove beyond reasonable doubt that one single concept about God or the world is the only truth possible.

So, tolerance please, and remember that Jesus chose to work with the publicans ("barkeepers"), rather than with the pharisees ("scriptural scholars"), because the latter were pathologically unable to learn anything new.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/19/2006, 9:47 AM
I enjoyed reading your response coursedesign. I'm very happy that you have at least some understanding of the Bible. I wasn't going to go back but this response was good, very good, and I wanted to clarify a couple of things to you.

about the evangelical christian part - I know - there are a lot of them that are very zelous about converting you. I believe it's because they do not want to see those people (the ones they have at gunpoint :) ) go to hell, and so they try, but they try so hard they push them away rather then pull them close. St. Fransis of acici said preach the gospel always, if necessary use words - I think that in majority of our lives that's a very wise way to follow - but you mustn't be afraid to speak

There is a lot of evidence that wine of the time of JC was not what we call wine today, it was in fact a very non-alcoholic (unless it goes bad) grape drink of sorts.

I know that JC wasn't born in December - I have known for some time that there are a lot of things that most christians believe because it's tradition that has been passed down and never actually investigated. in fact - he was born in bethlehem - but he was almost 3 when the wise men came to deliver the gifts. This doesn't contradict the bible - it only contradicts common held beliefs. I know a archeolgist/scholar who uses the bible as a timeline to find places of biblical importance - he recieves death threats etc... from people who are so wound up in commonly held belief, that even though the Bible would suggest something different - they are outraged at his attempts to dispell what they believe because because they are so rooted in their tradition and aren't rooted in their bibles.

I was 18 and had been through massive amounts of Bible study with very good teachers - ok - I'm a bit jealous, that's something I never had, but I'm catching up :-)

"Dave, I trust you are a vegetarian? God says very clearly in Genesis that we are specifically given plants to eat, and that we are not to eat the animals." - The NT superseeds the OT - it in fact does not contradict it but says that we are no longer under "the law" - God told Peter no to reject unclean meats - and in fact once sin entered the picture back in genesis - the rules set forth in the Garden of Eden became null and void (for lack of a better term) and people went on w/o any laws from God until the 10 commandments were given to Moses.

"And if somebody hits you on the cheek, do you a) turn the other cheek like in the NT, or b) pay back with an eye for an eye like in the OT?" - Again - since the OT is the OT is superceded by the NT - it's a mute point - (theoretically I would turn the other cheek - and not deck him in the face ;-) but I'd have to tell you once it happens (however I was insulted as a child for being fat in mass quantity and pushed around etc... - I didn't fight back - I just ignored them - so maybe that helps to answer your question?

I think it is very very very presumptious to say that God could only have created the world a certain way, for example without an evolution timeline. - I never said that - and I completely agree that it's presumptious infact wrong to say that God could only have done it a certain way, what I said is that He *did* do it a certain way.

Now I'd be happy to continue this discussion offline - feel free to email me - but this is not the place for it - I already got sucked in once - I will only reply to emails on this subject now - no matter what anyone says to get me back in :).

Nice talkin with you Coursedesign