Let’s Keep the Big Picture, please

Posted on May 14, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Religion |

Apparently, I ruffled a few feathers with the opening sentence of my last post. Good – at least it gets the dialogue going, but I learned a few things in the process. As I have stated before, I am more interested in discovering why people believe what they believe as opposed to simply arguing about random rants. It has been said that some people determine truth based on what they feel is true as opposed to what they have reasoned to be true and I couldn’t agree with this more. There is a difference between fact and opinion, however, and even when someone reaches a conclusion based on opinion it can be very distant from any definition of truth.

Sometimes it takes a series of questions to get someone to open up and share their views and expose their beliefs for examination and I encourage this type of discussion. Conclusions from faulty logic and presuppositions are easily revealed and flushed out. This saves everyone involved a lot of wasted time arguing about generally insignificant topics instead of focusing on the big picture.

The fact is that everyone who subscribes to any religious belief fits somewhere within a definable structure. It’s easier to pan back a bit to reveal a timeline of various belief systems.

Religious Timeline

Now it may be easy to proclaim “Me likes truth”, but it becomes clear that this statement becomes vacuous when discovering the source of that belief is a self-authenticating text impervious to critical examination.  Like it or not, your religion was created somewhere and modified by someone. Your “truth” is relative to you, but not to the rest of us. Good luck defending it.

So, religious followers out there, I ask you these simple questions:
1.   What religion do you believe, how long have you followed it and how did you come to that conclusion?
2.   Is there anything that could be presented to you that would cause you to change your belief? (and please explain why or why not)

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13 Responses to “Let’s Keep the Big Picture, please”

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I believe there is Something beyond us that exceeds us in strength, intellectual reasoning, and moral reasoning.

Jesus Christ, who was reported to have been God, certainly behaved as a God ought to behave (morally speaking), if that God were to be emptied of It’s glory, and clothed with human flesh. The God of the OT “seemed” to have an Egoistic Love flowing out of him…obsessive, demanding, possessive..

Jesus Christ appeared to have something just as spooky–only, up close, it didn’t look Egoistic at all…it looked like an otherworldly sort of Powerful, but very obviously Altruistic Love, and it was through and through, as I read what was recorded about him.

I have never actually succeeded at “really” following my “religion.” I have tried. The way I have tried (for 22 years, now) is by just practicing the “Forgive and you’ll be forgiven” and “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” and the “Judge not and you will not be judged.” Those are “hard as nails,” I’m sure you’ll agree.

How I came to conclusion as to what I believe:

My whole life went to hell in a hand-basket…nowhere to turn, nowhere to go. I was a demoralized wreck. I Couldn’t “be good.” I wanted to “be good.”

Finally, tired of running my own life and attempting to “be good,” but failing–after tapping every resource, to include geographical change, self-knowledge, self-help stuff, and even turning to medical doctors…I came to the conclusion that, if there is Morality, and if I cannot succeed in following this Morality, THEN, there must be some strong intelligence out there, who not only understands this Morality and is able to practice it, but can help cure me of not being able to understand or, more importantly, to practice it!

One thing would change my beliefs toward God. If I were to stand before that Something behind Morality–if I were to find out it exists, by being invoked or summoned by IT, and IT were to correct me and rebuke me of my “belief,” THEN I would change it.

But, honestly–my “belief” in God (or the Something) appears to CHANGE daily, anyway…you know? I take this to be, not GOD changing, but my growing, developmental awareness of HIM changing.

Once again, great post, George:-)

Thanks for coming back to comment again Kate.
Though credit where credit is due, ZQTX is the author of this post, I have adopted a guest blogger around here to spice things up….

Thanks for revealing your presuppositions ZQTX.

Is the chart true because you believe it to be true? I am sure you understand how circular that would be. No, actually your chart is wrong. Many of those highlighted other religions in the world started AFTER the Bible. A little research would reveal that. Rig Veda Hymns were orally discussed back to, a very generous, 1000 bc. Way after the Bible. What does that mean? Its truth that needs to reveal that the fact it ALL began with the Bible. You’re chart may try to discount that point, but we know better. Its much worse then your chart claims and omits a VERY IMPORTANT fact.

“These Vedas were passed on orally for many generations…Then around 300 B.C. the Vedas were written down in the form we have them today.”

Nice try to sway your core audience but its unnecessary. They already don’t believe. So that merely makes you a cheerleader.

Maybe, just maybe, the light of truth will shine on you even. Or you will scatter, like cockroaches, when the light is turned on. When we see all the other stuff pushed all the way to 300bc the implications are very apparent on that chart of yours.

“Conclusions from faulty logic and presuppositions are easily revealed and flushed out” indeed. Great point. Please reread that one point in light of this new chart revelation. Repent.

There are only 2 questions there, Dan, and you successfully managed to answer neither of them. Good job.

Instead, you’d rather argue about the veracity of the chart and accuse me of being the one with circular reasoning. Nice.

zqtx,

>>There are only 2 questions there, Dan, and you successfully managed to answer neither of them. Good job.

Baby steps. Let’s address one thing at a time. Trying to address everything at once will get things murky.

>>Instead, you’d rather argue about the veracity of the chart and accuse me of being the one with circular reasoning.

Yes, that is a good start. :7)

I tried to keep this relatively simple.

2 questions – that’s it.

If you can’t or don’t wish to answer them, just say so.

zqtx,

>>If you can’t or don’t wish to answer them, just say so.

If you do not wish to address the falsity and your assumptions of charts and other things then…SO.

Ok, ignore the charts…
I assert nothing…

Now will you answer the questions?

Dan, if the chart posted by ZQTX was wrong, and as you say: “Its truth that needs to reveal that the fact it ALL began with the Bible.” What does that mean?

Written language is rather new invention of humanity. Well, new in the light we know modern humans have existed for at least few hundred thousand years. New invention in comparrison to say fire, that was invented before modern humans and even in comparrison to art that we know has existed for thousands of years before written word.

If the Bible was the oldest written source of supernatural, what would that make of it? would the age alone make it reliable? Do you think the Indian people did not worship any gods before the first parts of the Bible were written? Or before the first parts of the Veda were written down? Do you think Stonehenge or the Pyramids were built whitout religious intent? The Egyptians have left us older religious texts than the Bible carved in stone. How can you tell how old is the Norse paganism, wich is still a living religion? It has only been written down by a christian priest in the 13th century, but the rituals have been committed since the bronze age, and we have archeological evidence of that.

Fact of the matter is, that alltough christianity is the largest group of religions and together whith other “religions of the book” judaism, islam and christianity together have as members most of the people in the World today, animistic and ancestorworshipping religions are the oldest ones in the world. Second oldest ones are all the pantheons of mostly agrarian cultures and only most recent entry among the world religions is the monotheistic idea. It really does not matter what was written and when, since this is the religious development path, we know of.

The reasons are also obvious, why cultures move from one to another. Animistic religions are those of the hunter & gatherer societies, where the livelyhood is dependant of the skill and mere chance of small human groups. They give a lot of value to the animal spirits and their willingnes to help out humans.

The ancestor worship is the oldest form of agrarian cultural religions, it is natural, because the ancestors are seen as having influence in the area people have build their farms and buried their parents. It replaces animistic religions, because the surplus of food produced by the agrarian lifestyle produces larger populations. These will eventually conquer all arable land from the hunter & gatherers.

The next religious step is the pantheon, that is a result of early urbanism and specific trades. The potter or the blacksmith is economically not interrested in worshipping the ancestor who gives rain as much as the farmer is. Therefore the artisans develope their own “ancestors” who will serve their needs.

At the same time the nomad had to develope his own god. A god that would be easy to move around along the herd. So, an ivisible god that was everywhere and not only in the temple was needed and hence created. The Mongols had such a god just like the israelite goatherders.

This nomad god is stronger than the ancestor gods or the pantheon gods, not because it is more true, but because it is less tolerant to other gods. Ancestor gods are very local and do not deny that in foreign places ancestors of other people live and rule there. The pantheon of gods is tolerant to other gods, because to accept the idea of many gods does not deny of other gods. The invisble god that is everywhere, however is very intolerant of other gods. It is a god that has moved a lot around and has to exist everywhere, because otherwise people would stop worshipping it when they went to places where other gods ruled. Because nomads move as people they need to keep up the rituals of their own god, because it would be forgotten when people moved somewhere else and worshipped other gods there.

This intolerance of other gods has led to the thought of only one god. It is not a result of some great revelation or even a long philosophical process. It was the political needs of certain type of economical system that led to this development.

The great imperiums of history have willingly assigned to this one god, because its intolerance often gives “casus belli” and also provides more fanatics as cannon fodder. It also makes a perfect source of supreme authority to override all questions of morality when conquering other people.

Rautakyy,

>>Dan, if the chart posted by ZQTX was wrong, and as you say: “Its truth that needs to reveal that the fact it ALL began with the Bible.” What does that mean?

No, its the truth that the chart was wrong and he is making wild assumptions based on it, which gets a false conclusion. Just trying to help him along.

>>If the Bible was the oldest written source of supernatural, what would that make of it?

Well, obviously then it would be the oldest written source of supernatural.

>>would the age alone make it reliable?

Of course not. Your picture shows a pretty old guy and you’re not reliable. :7)

>>Do you think the Indian people did not worship any gods before the first parts of the Bible were written?

I don’t know. Do you? If so, how?

>>Do you think Stonehenge or the Pyramids were built whitout religious intent?

Probably not.

>>Fact of the matter is, that alltough christianity is the largest group of religions and together whith other “religions of the book” judaism, islam and christianity together have as members most of the people in the World today, animistic and ancestorworshipping religions are the oldest ones in the world.

OK your turn. Would the age alone make it reliable? *snicker

>>This intolerance of other gods has led to the thought of only one god.

Nice story but tell me, how do you know that your reasoning about this or ANYTHING is valid?

>>It is not a result of some great revelation or even a long philosophical process. It was the political needs of certain type of economical system that led to this development.

And you KNOW this how?

>>It also makes a perfect source of supreme authority to override all questions of morality when conquering other people.

It also makes a perfect excuse to use a false chart stating as much. So your point is that age of things DOES matter in the grand schemes of your argument? And around we go.

Muhahaha, “pretty old guy”, is that not a very subjective truth? Dan, yes age matters and no it does not. Actually my point was that the age does not matter in comparing the reliability of different religions as such. But it matters a little, in defining how they have been created. It tells us of the grand cheme of chronology, between human culture, economics and the idea of divinity. My claim is that all religions are human inventions. Are they not? Divine inspiration does not turn an act of a man (say writing) to the act of a god. It still is an act of a man. My second claim is that this leads to the natural assumption that all gods defined by religions are human inventions (we can not see them, hear them, smell them, or taste them). My third claim is that this leads to the most propable truth, that no gods exist. And the greatest propability is as much as you can enjoy truth in this world, anything more absolute is just selfbetrayal. The gods are fabrications whith obvious purpose to human culture, and that seems to be the most prominent connection between ALL gods. Hence all supernatural explanations are equally unreliable. That is the big picture.

In archeology it is typical that if the archeologist does not recognize an item he/she finds, that item is attributed to have ritualistic purposes. This guessing sometimes goes wrong. However, we have learned through research that most rituals have had a more mundane purpose originally. It is during generations of certain culture, that common acts turn into rituals, especially when culture changes. So, we can not know wether Indian people had any religious behaviour during their early culture. But comparing the artifacts they have left and the anthropological knowledge, we have of people whith cimilar livelyhood, we may assume a great deal of their possible religion. That is how we can tell about the birth of different religions. That is in the big picture.

My claim about monotheistic god being result of a nomad culture and it being succesful because of agressive behaviour is VALID because that is what the bicg picture of history teaches us. We know that nomads (mongols, jews and arabs) are the first populations to embrace the idea of monotheism and for obvious reasons I allready explained. This is how I know it. Is there historical evidence you could present, that contradicts this?

zqtx,

>>Ok, ignore the charts…
I assert nothing…

Thanks for that. You must like truth also. Its a good thing.

>>Now will you answer the questions?

No need they’re not for me.

You stated: “So, religious followers out there, I ask you these simple questions:”

That is not for me. You see, I’m not a religious follower, I am simply a Christian. Besides your presuppositions and bias is obvious in the previous paragraph.

>>Now it may be easy to proclaim “Me likes truth”, but it becomes clear that this statement becomes vacuous when discovering the source of that belief is a self-authenticating text impervious to critical examination.

vacuous? Really? Is this your “technique” to show sincerity in being inquisitive? *pshaw You’re a joke.

>> Like it or not, your religion was created somewhere and modified by someone. Your “truth” is relative to you, but not to the rest of us. Good luck defending it.

You’re obviously folding your arm and showing an impervious wall in attempting your questioning. Do you actually seek? No, your words do not show that. I am not here to convince, I am here to proclaim the truth.

Now, to throw a bone to you (dog to the vomit?) or give you something that God game me those many years ago and that is GRACE, if this is a discussion about differences of religions that you seek. I will submit this appropriate point, even in light of what rautakyy said, that someone game me many years ago because I had a hang up of the term “religion” which I felt was mostly a destructive term more then anything.

“That is, our religion is from the Creator. It is a result of our hope and trust in God. It is the natural fruit. False religions have stolen from God and not the other way around. False religions have a common denominator and that is there assault on the term “Justification.” They are working toward their salvation. We are working as a result of our salvation…

A religion that is pure in the sight of God is a “discipline” which results and originates, from God. We do these things as a result of being justified. We do these things because God has declared us “not guilty” because of the passive/active obedience of the Messiah being given to us as a gift. His works are what save us. In contrast, the religions of the world who deny justification seek to bring their “religious” efforts to God to “save” them.

Don’t let that word religion, be a hindrance. We as believers have a beautiful religion because it is a fruit which comes from God. It starts with him and ends with him. Like I said; the religion we show is a result of what God did. It is an external response. For example, we love because he first loved us right? The false religions out there have a completely different gospel. As a result they bring their filthy rags and present them to God thinking they are working their way to God. We have been made clean by the word. The false religions make themselves clean.” (Moshe)

“vacuous? Really? Is this your “technique” to show sincerity in being inquisitive? *pshaw You’re a joke.”

Is it not your belief that the bible is the inerrant word of god? Is it not true that you believe the book to be truth because it says so? Maybe that’s a bit confusing for you, so I’ll spell it out slowly and use small words.

1. Is the bible the true word of god?
2. Why?

Joke? This is no joke, my friend. The bible was authored by the dark lord and all that follow it will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. I’m trying to save you from yourself.


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