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  1. #1
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    Please pray for this forum!

    Please pray that God will use this forum for His Glory, and that His Word will go forth with purity, clarity, and strength from here. And that we will be united in our faith, fulfilling the Scripture:

    Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

    And remember to Praise God for the gifts of technology He has given us to use in the proclamation of His Gospel.

    Amen!

  2. #2
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    Ecclesiastes 1

    In prayer for Biblewheel:

    Ecclesiastes 1:1(23/Kaf Sof) Cast your bread upon the waters,
    For you will find it after many days.

    2Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
    For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

    3If the clouds are full of rain,
    They empty themselves upon the earth;
    And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
    In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.

    4He who observes the wind will not sow,
    And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

    5As you do not know what is the way of the wind, F10
    Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
    So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

    6In the morning sow your seed,
    And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
    For you do not know which will prosper,
    Either this or that,
    Or whether both alike will be good.

    7Truly the light is sweet,
    And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun;

    8But if a man lives many years
    And rejoices in them all,
    Yet let him remember the days of darkness,
    For they will be many.
    All that is coming is vanity.

  3. #3
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    Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Please pray that God will use this forum for His Glory, and that His Word will go forth with purity, clarity, and strength from here. And that we will be united in our faith, fulfilling the Scripture:

    Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

    And remember to Praise God for the gifts of technology He has given us to use in the proclamation of His Gospel.

    Amen!
    For the readers of this forum I pray:
    Ephesians 1:15 (65) Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
    16 (66) I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
    17 (67) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
    18 (68) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
    19 (69) and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
    20 (70) which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
    21 (71) far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
    Last edited by shalag; 06-25-2007 at 06:14 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by shalag View Post
    For the readers of this forum I pray:
    Ephesians 1:15 (65) Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
    16 (66) I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
    17 (67) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
    18 (68) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
    19 (69) and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
    20 (70) which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
    21 (71) far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
    Lord God - You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. You are the Creator, and you have given us the revelation of your Holy Word. I pray with my sister shalag that you give each member of this forum "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of" You and Your Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, through the power of Your Holy Spirit! Amen!

  5. #5
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    The Spirit of Reconciliation

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Please pray that God will use this forum for His Glory, and that His Word will go forth with purity, clarity, and strength from here. And that we will be united in our faith, fulfilling the Scripture:

    Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

    And remember to Praise God for the gifts of technology He has given us to use in the proclamation of His Gospel.

    Amen!
    Father, by the atoning blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, I ask for the reconciliation of Your body - this body of believers participating in this forum - in Your Holy Spirit. We thank you for the wisdom, the knowledge and the revelation of Your holy Word. We ask forgiveness for and renounce all pride, self-righteousness, arrogance, and striving, and lay all revelation at your feet. We thank You that your Word does not return void but that it shall accomplish that which you please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto YOU have sent it. Father, whether You have revealed these things to us for our own edification, sharing Your intimate presence with us, or whether you use it for edification of Your body, or for Jews or any unbeliever -we give it back into your Hand and we go out with joy and are led forth in peace and instead of the thorn and the brier we offer to You the fruit of the Spirit. We agree that it is good and pleasant that the brethren dwell together in the unity of Your Holy Spirit and we thank you for Your grace to do so.

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, the Name of Jesus, the Name above all Names, the Name at which every knee will bow, those above the earth, those below the earth, and we who are in the earth. Thy kingdom come and we acknowledge that it is even upon us now through Jesus Christ whom we take rest as you establish it in Your fullness. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread - and forgive us our tresspasses - as we forgive our brother(s). Lord Jesus, deliver us from evil - especially the evil mouth, the acid tongue. Your love is not rude, does not boast, and is not proud. All power, and honor, and glory - to You alone. Amen
    Jeremiah 20:9 " But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.

  6. #6
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    A reminder of where I was at five years ago ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    Please pray that God will use this forum for His Glory, and that His Word will go forth with purity, clarity, and strength from here. And that we will be united in our faith, fulfilling the Scripture:

    Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

    And remember to Praise God for the gifts of technology He has given us to use in the proclamation of His Gospel.

    Amen!
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough
    Lord God - You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. You are the Creator, and you have given us the revelation of your Holy Word. I pray with my sister shalag that you give each member of this forum "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of" You and Your Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, through the power of Your Holy Spirit! Amen!
    This is a reminder of where I was at when I opened this forum back in June 2007. I find it fascinating to review my old posts. It gives us a "case study" of how my beliefs changed over time, and why.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    This is a reminder of where I was at when I opened this forum back in June 2007. I find it fascinating to review my old posts. It gives us a "case study" of how my beliefs changed over time, and why.
    Just maybe Richard, you have to start all over again and come to the Bible afresh. Please do not lump the likes of me, jce and Twospirits as belonging to mainstream Christians that are following man-made myths. I know you keep challenging me on why I can make such a claim, but as you have said (as I recall); "you might be right". As one who is prepared to look for stepping stones of agreement, in order to get to the truth, I realize that this could be a very long process.

    It is very difficult to find a basis of agreement, when I have already tried to do this and even compromise to find a way or resolving the age of the earth by looking at the early stages of creation as if paralleled to the way Evolutionists think life evolved. There is a progression of complexity in the creation of life as recorded in Genesis which in the early stages would explain the large periods estimated by dating methods. There might have been steps in Creation that Evolution has gaps for and that man been the last in the line of creation came when all that went before was said by God to be very good. God was preparing the environment for man to live on the earth and so I am open to accept that this could have taken a long time. There might be factors in the history of the earth in the period in which it was said that the earth was void and without form that might be responsible for the appearance of the age of the earth. Our study of these possibilities doe not need to interfere with getting to the truth of the words that are in the scriptures from which the Bible has been handed down.

    I have just written a post after watching Michio Kaku's video; The Universe in a Nutshell. The problem is that we do not have an explanation for the beginning. Without God, we only have science by which to come up with an explanation. I do not see how we can explain the beginning without God. Either matter had to exist without a beginning (which requires the same belief as God existing without any beginning), or else matter or God came into existence. If all matter was created out of God's energy, then in a manner of speaking, "God is all and in all". The one problem in God's creation which God will put right, is the pinnacle of God's creation - man, do not all have the spirit (knowledge, understanding) of God in them. This only comes (these days) from learning about God from His inspired word. God has used people to bring about His purpose and maybe that is still happening in ways we do not see. Maybe we have to work towards establishing these statements I have just made.

    There is a lot of will on this forum by those who hold the promises of God dear (as I do), that you will find God again and see the value in His promises. I finished another post before this one in which I made the statement that "the love of God is far greater that the severity of God". The severity of God is short and temporarily compared to His eternal mercy and love. The positive gain of eternal life, which God is offering, is far greater than anything else anyone could offer you. It might be an "If" for you at the moment, but if God did create the Universe and the earth and life upon it, then it is possible for God to do what He has promised.

    Whether we accept God or not at the beginning of our study, the have the problem of agreeing on what we should understand by the word of God. This means we have to look at everything closely and bring all ideas to the table and see what ideas can be eliminated and which ideas to keep. What we have to do is look at all ways verses can be understood and keep an open mind on certain verses until they are found to agree or are answered by other pars of scripture. I know this has already been done, and others have come to different conclusions. I say, that there are errors in those conclusions and they have not taken all scripture into account or there conclusions have been built up on a series of misunderstandings.

    You were right to question your former beliefs which are taught mainstream christian churches and you know what most of the mainstream churches teach, but somehow you are holding on to ideas that you will not drop and will continue to support and say that this is what the plain and simple truth of the Bible says. I appreciate your challenges which have made me stronger for having to justify those beliefs by reasoning from the world of God. I only want to reason from the word of God to get the best understanding. We can use dictionaries for Hebrew and Greek to help get to an understanding of the words. The one difficulty is getting to the understanding that was in the author's mind and which the author intends us to understand. If the scriptures are inspired by God, then it is what God wants us to understand that we need to know.


    Starting at the beginning we could start off by examining what is meant by the "image of God". God has different sides to His Character. God is a god of love but is also a god who hates. Now why should God hate anything? What is it that God hates? We have to start somewhere and starting at the beginning, and in the Old Testament, God is presented as ONE. Somehow, we need to stay focused as closely as possible on the subject without allowing ourselves to go down side trails.

    Only yesterday I was reminded that Isaac waited 19/20 years for his prayer to be answered when Rebecca could not conceive. Your transition has only been five years from the post in 2007 you refer to. You say that God does not answer prayer; do you think God has blessed this forum as you requested? God does not answer prayer in the way we expect, because most times we ask amiss. Because we do not get immediate answers, we might not think God answers prayers. Many will testify differently and jce has done. When you asked for God to bless this forum, what was your motive? The fact is, this forum is still going and it can help those looking for truth. That is the only reason I am contributing to thos forum I am not looking for personal gain. I want to help others discern the truth from the lies. If that is both our intents, then we should be more in tune with studying the word of God and not worry about a person's credentials. Jesus chose fishermen to become "fishers of men", Jesus did not choose theologians to propound theories. Theories do not save anyone.

    I look forward to more meaningful discussions with you in future, in which avoidance of "throwing stones" should be sought. Let's stick to the arguments and reason from the scriptures we have in order to get the best out of those scriptures we can.

    All the best

    David
    Last edited by David M; 12-03-2012 at 07:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Just maybe Richard, you have to start all over again and come to the Bible afresh. Please do not lump the likes of me, jce and Twospirits as belonging to mainstream Christians that are following man-made myths. I know you keep challenging me on why I can make such a claim, but as you have said (as I recall); "you might be right". As one who is prepared to look for stepping stones of agreement, in order to get to the truth, I realize that this could be a very long process.
    Hey there my friend,

    Great post! Thanks!



    I really appreciate your effort to find "stepping stones of agreement." And yes, it could be a long process, but I think the "fast track" is to accept nothing that cannot be established on reasons that would convince a "rational skeptic." If we don't do that, then we have not way to discern between ourselves and deluded folks who hold entirely unfounded beliefs.

    The first challenge is to discern what you mean by "man made myths." It seems to me that the doctrine of the Bible as "God's inerrant Word" is the primary man-made myth underlying all our discussion. It is a myth that we have received from the believers who came before us, and I've never seen any reason sufficient to convince a rational skeptic. Even the Bible Wheel, which is the strongest evidence I have ever seen suggesting that the Bible was designed by a supernatural agent does not tell us how we are supposed to interpret it or that it is "inerrant" in any way at all. I think these are issues of primary importance.

    What would it mean to "start all over again and come to the Bible afresh"? It feels like I've done that to a large extent. I used to look at the Bible through "believer's eyes" not unlike your own. But now I am able to freely admit what I see and don't try to FORCE the Bible to fit my preconceived "man-made" doctrines.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    It is very difficult to find a basis of agreement, when I have already tried to do this and even compromise to find a way or resolving the age of the earth by looking at the early stages of creation as if paralleled to the way Evolutionists think life evolved. There is a progression of complexity in the creation of life as recorded in Genesis which in the early stages would explain the large periods estimated by dating methods. There might have been steps in Creation that Evolution has gaps for and that man been the last in the line of creation came when all that went before was said by God to be very good. God was preparing the environment for man to live on the earth and so I am open to accept that this could have taken a long time. There might be factors in the history of the earth in the period in which it was said that the earth was void and without form that might be responsible for the appearance of the age of the earth. Our study of these possibilities doe not need to interfere with getting to the truth of the words that are in the scriptures from which the Bible has been handed down.
    I hope you remember that I have allowed for the possibility of God intervening in evolution (though I don't personally believe it). The only rational challenges to evolution that I see are 1) the origin of the first cell and 2) the specific mechanisms that drive it (some scientists don't think the "standard" mechanisms like mutation, natural selection, recombination, etc. are sufficient to explain everything). But the origin of the first cell is not particularly relevant to the topic of evolution per se because evolution is concerned with how that first cell evolved. So even if God created the first cell, it wouldn't change any facts concerning how it evolved thereafter. And disputes over the mechanism doesn't change the fact that evolution has occurred over the span of millions of years.

    So where does the Bible story fit into the science of evolution? It doesn't. The Bible says essentially nothing about how life arose. It says little more than "God did it." So we must look to the natural world for answers. And the answers we find are very compelling and supported by massive amounts of evidence.

    Even if there are "gaps" in evolution, I don't see how that kind of thing would be relevant because the Bible teaches nothing like what really happened. It doesn't teach that animals evolved over millions of years. Therefore, the Bible is largely silent on this issue, but anything it does appear to teach (like Young Earth Creationism) is clearly wrong and should not be believed.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I have just written a post after watching Michio Kaku's video; The Universe in a Nutshell. The problem is that we do not have an explanation for the beginning. Without God, we only have science by which to come up with an explanation. I do not see how we can explain the beginning without God. Either matter had to exist without a beginning (which requires the same belief as God existing without any beginning), or else matter or God came into existence. If all matter was created out of God's energy, then in a manner of speaking, "God is all and in all". The one problem in God's creation which God will put right, is the pinnacle of God's creation - man, do not all have the spirit (knowledge, understanding) of God in them. This only comes (these days) from learning about God from His inspired word. God has used people to bring about His purpose and maybe that is still happening in ways we do not see. Maybe we have to work towards establishing these statements I have just made.
    The focus on "the beginning" seems silly to me. Science is very young. We only discovered Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in the last hundred years! To complain that we don't have all the answers about how the universe arose means nothing to me, and I cannot imagine any justification to use that as a reason to believe "God did it."

    You say you "do not see how we can explain the beginning without God." I think we should explore this, because I don't see how God is any kind of explanation at all because God - if he is defined as omniscient and eternal - is incapable of doing anything. Such a God cannot act because all actions take place in time, and he is supposed to be outside of time, the creator of time. Thus, that concept of God is logically incoherent and cannot give us any kind of "explanation" of anything. And besides, God is just a "man-made concept" - no one has seen him or knows anything about him except what other humans have written in books.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    There is a lot of will on this forum by those who hold the promises of God dear (as I do), that you will find God again and see the value in His promises. I finished another post before this one in which I made the statement that "the love of God is far greater that the severity of God". The severity of God is short and temporarily compared to His eternal mercy and love. The positive gain of eternal life, which God is offering, is far greater than anything else anyone could offer you. It might be an "If" for you at the moment, but if God did create the Universe and the earth and life upon it, then it is possible for God to do what He has promised.
    I am absolutely and totally open to any and all truth, so if you or other members of this forum have a truth you would hope for me to believe, all you need to do is explain why I should believe it is true. Pretty simple, eh?

    Of course, we all know that everyone has different opinions about the Bible and that most areas of dispute are disputed because the Bible is so ambiguous. So it becomes a war of words with no way for anyone to establish the truth. That's why I'm so mystified when I see you and others hold so tenaciously to things that cannot be known with any certainty.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    You were right to question your former beliefs which are taught mainstream christian churches and you know what most of the mainstream churches teach, but somehow you are holding on to ideas that you will not drop and will continue to support and say that this is what the plain and simple truth of the Bible says. I appreciate your challenges which have made me stronger for having to justify those beliefs by reasoning from the world of God. I only want to reason from the word of God to get the best understanding. We can use dictionaries for Hebrew and Greek to help get to an understanding of the words. The one difficulty is getting to the understanding that was in the author's mind and which the author intends us to understand. If the scriptures are inspired by God, then it is what God wants us to understand that we need to know.
    I think there is a persistent misunderstanding here. I never believed anything merely because it was "taught in mainstream christian churches" (though I can't deny those beliefs strongly influenced me). I've always been an independent thinker. And even if I did, how is that different than you strict adherence to the teachings of the Christadelphians? How is that different than anyone else adhering to teachings received from fallible men?

    I think we all would greatly benefit if we started with a "clean slate" with absolutely no assumptions about the Bible. What would we conclude if we read it with no presumption that it was the "inerrant and infallible Word of God"?

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Starting at the beginning we could start off by examining what is meant by the "image of God". God has different sides to His Character. God is a god of love but is also a god who hates. Now why should God hate anything? What is it that God hates? We have to start somewhere and starting at the beginning, and in the Old Testament, God is presented as ONE. Somehow, we need to stay focused as closely as possible on the subject without allowing ourselves to go down side trails.
    That's an interesting place to start. And not a bad idea since we see it in the first chapter of Genesis. But then again, I'm not sure it is good to start with a debate about the Trinity. Is not your mind absolutely closed on this issue? I'm pretty sure you would reject any evidence that contradicts your position, no matter how logical or true or incontrovertible. This means you would find yourself on the receiving end of my wrath for I cannot abide willful rejection of logic and truth, and we both know that would be neither pleasant nor fruitful. You are absolutely committed to a man-made doctrine concerning the nature of Christ no less than the most fervent Trinitarian. The potsherds clash with other potsherds.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Only yesterday I was reminded that Isaac waited 19/20 years for his prayer to be answered when Rebecca could not conceive. Your transition has only been five years from the post in 2007 you refer to. You say that God does not answer prayer; do you think God has blessed this forum as you requested? God does not answer prayer in the way we expect, because most times we ask amiss. Because we do not get immediate answers, we might not think God answers prayers. Many will testify differently and jce has done. When you asked for God to bless this forum, what was your motive? The fact is, this forum is still going and it can help those looking for truth. That is the only reason I am contributing to thos forum I am not looking for personal gain. I want to help others discern the truth from the lies. If that is both our intents, then we should be more in tune with studying the word of God and not worry about a person's credentials. Jesus chose fishermen to become "fishers of men", Jesus did not choose theologians to propound theories. Theories do not save anyone.
    I understand that God could "answer prayer" in subtle ways, but that's not how the Bible presents it. The Bible has God doing great and mighty things as if he really existed as a PERSON active in the universe like you or me. I see no evidence for that idea at all. If God does act, it is in the most inscrutable ways that can never be TRUSTED. For example, the vast majority of people who would trust God to heal their children of deadly diseases would be guilty of child abuse and manslaughter because God cannot be TRUSTED to heal anyone of anything. This is a FACT - not an opinion. It directly contradicts the Biblical teaching that God is trustworthy.

    If God cannot be trusted to do ANYTHING for his people in this life, why should we trust him to save us in the next?

    As for your question if God has blessed this forum - I have no evidence that God has involved himself in it in any way at all. It is here because humans such as myself and my host do what it takes to keep it running.

    What was my motive? I stated it in the prayer: "Please pray that God will use this forum for His Glory, and that His Word will go forth with purity, clarity, and strength from here. And that we will be united in our faith."

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I look forward to more meaningful discussions with you in future, in which avoidance of "throwing stones" should be sought. Let's stick to the arguments and reason from the scriptures we have in order to get the best out of those scriptures we can.
    I agree absolutely!

    But in my defense I must note that the comments you interpret as "stones" were thrown at persistent and repeated errors that seemed entirely irrational and unjustifiable to me.

    Great chatting my friend,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I really appreciate your effort to find "stepping stones of agreement." And yes, it could be a long process, but I think the "fast track" is to accept nothing that cannot be established on reasons that would convince a "rational skeptic." If we don't do that, then we have not way to discern between ourselves and deluded folks who hold entirely unfounded beliefs.
    Starting at Genesis and working through the books of the Bible, what is the first event that we can discuss that you consider could be accepted by a rational skeptic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    The first challenge is to discern what you mean by "man made myths." It seems to me that the doctrine of the Bible as "God's inerrant Word" is the primary man-made myth underlying all our discussion. It is a myth that we have received from the believers who came before us, and I've never seen any reason sufficient to convince a rational skeptic. Even the Bible Wheel, which is the strongest evidence I have ever seen suggesting that the Bible was designed by a supernatural agent does not tell us how we are supposed to interpret it or that it is "inerrant" in any way at all. I think these are issues of primary importance.
    You could also be devizing your own myth to say that God's word, as it was originally inspired, was errant and fallible. I will concede that the Bible as it is now, has man-made errors in it and so we can agree the errors when we think the Bible is in error, otherwise we look for a legitimate interpretation that removes the error. We should not let man-made errors derail the process of finding the truth in the error-free part of the Bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    What would it mean to "start all over again and come to the Bible afresh"? It feels like I've done that to a large extent. I used to look at the Bible through "believer's eyes" not unlike your own. But now I am able to freely admit what I see and don't try to FORCE the Bible to fit my preconceived "man-made" doctrines.
    It is hard to suspend our beliefs totally but we have to try and see what the Bible is saying without jumping to our preconceived conclusions. You might not think you are forcing your preconceived conclusions but I think you might be making the wrong connections. This will only become apparent when engaging in discussion and then we will have to keep each other in check about jumping to conclusions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I hope you remember that I have allowed for the possibility of God intervening in evolution (though I don't personally believe it). The only rational challenges to evolution that I see are 1) the origin of the first cell and 2) the specific mechanisms that drive it (some scientists don't think the "standard" mechanisms like mutation, natural selection, recombination, etc. are sufficient to explain everything). But the origin of the first cell is not particularly relevant to the topic of evolution per se because evolution is concerned with how that first cell evolved. So even if God created the first cell, it wouldn't change any facts concerning how it evolved thereafter. And disputes over the mechanism doesn't change the fact that evolution has occurred over the span of millions of years.
    For the sake of finding the truth in the Bible we can avoid the Creation story and we can accept that man has sinned and take it from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    So where does the Bible story fit into the science of evolution? It doesn't. The Bible says essentially nothing about how life arose. It says little more than "God did it." So we must look to the natural world for answers. And the answers we find are very compelling and supported by massive amounts of evidence.
    As replied already, we can for the sake of finding the truth in God's word avoid the creation and start by accepting man has sinned and take it from there. We have to go on and see what God's purpose is and how He will accomplish it. We can look at the history of Israel and see what we can agree on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    Even if there are "gaps" in evolution, I don't see how that kind of thing would be relevant because the Bible teaches nothing like what really happened. It doesn't teach that animals evolved over millions of years. Therefore, the Bible is largely silent on this issue, but anything it does appear to teach (like Young Earth Creationism) is clearly wrong and should not be believed.
    The creation story is basic and simplistic. The order in which life by way of plants and animals was creation is generally accepted as being in the correct order. I am saying that we do not concentrate on this and find an agreed starting place say after the fall of Adam and Eve and take it from the point that man has sinned. We do not get into real detail until after the Flood and we start with Abraham and the promises made to him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    The focus on "the beginning" seems silly to me. Science is very young. We only discovered Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in the last hundred years! To complain that we don't have all the answers about how the universe arose means nothing to me, and I cannot imagine any justification to use that as a reason to believe "God did it."
    You are putting your faith is science to come up with all the answers. It will not come up with the answers in your lifetime and so what conclusion are you going to come to with the evidence that we have at present. People have had to reach their own conclusions in all generations before the advent of science that was sparked off by Isaac Newton. How do we know if God is not behind the inspiration of the great scientists like Newton and Maxwell? If they did not develop their theories and the mathematics to go with them, at the time they did we would not be where we are today (scientifically speaking) and we would not be having this conversation via the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    You say you "do not see how we can explain the beginning without God." I think we should explore this, because I don't see how God is any kind of explanation at all because God - if he is defined as omniscient and eternal - is incapable of doing anything. Such a God cannot act because all actions take place in time, and he is supposed to be outside of time, the creator of time. Thus, that concept of God is logically incoherent and cannot give us any kind of "explanation" of anything. And besides, God is just a "man-made concept" - no one has seen him or knows anything about him except what other humans have written in books.
    We can look at this, but it will not help us with understanding the Bible. I agree that if we consider God was there at the beginning when matter was created from energy, it tells us nothing about God. There is no need to introduce concepts such as omniscient and omnipresence etc. Those attributes might or might not become apparent until we see what is revealed about God in the Bible and this is what we have to agree on.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I am absolutely and totally open to any and all truth, so if you or other members of this forum have a truth you would hope for me to believe, all you need to do is explain why I should believe it is true. Pretty simple, eh?
    I would hope that as we examine the word of God, the truth will be revealed. It is an exploration together rather than you be told and then you raise objections and your counter argument. I want to avoid this. We have to look at what the Bible says and does not say and try to prevent making assumptions. We have to look for the Bible to provide the answers and avoid forcing conclusions. This is one of the rules that we should work to in order to try and make progress.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    Of course, we all know that everyone has different opinions about the Bible and that most areas of dispute are disputed because the Bible is so ambiguous. So it becomes a war of words with no way for anyone to establish the truth. That's why I'm so mystified when I see you and others hold so tenaciously to things that cannot be known with any certainty.
    This is why we ignore what we have read or been told and we make our own exposition of the verses of the Bible to come to our own conclusions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I think there is a persistent misunderstanding here. I never believed anything merely because it was "taught in mainstream christian churches" (though I can't deny those beliefs strongly influenced me). I've always been an independent thinker. And even if I did, how is that different than you strict adherence to the teachings of the Christadelphians? How is that different than anyone else adhering to teachings received from fallible men?
    First of all, I think I read a post of yours in which you said you did not agree with labels and yet you are insistent on labeling me. It is wrong to label me as this gives you preconceived ideas of what I believe. We must suspend all labels and get to the truth by our own exposition to get to the heart of the meaning. The teaching I have now, I regard as coming from the Bible and not from fallible men. I am accepting the Bible as the inspired word of God and not of men. I have no reason to think the Bible is error-ridden. I accept the Bible has some introduced errors made by men though not done so deliberately. This should make no difference in getting to an understanding of what the authors intended us to understand, provided we do our own exposition of chapters and verses. We take into account, context and the meaning of words in order to get to the truth. If we are diligent in this, we shall expose the man-made errors that have become man-made myths.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I think we all would greatly benefit if we started with a "clean slate" with absolutely no assumptions about the Bible. What would we conclude if we read it with no presumption that it was the "inerrant and infallible Word of God"?
    I agree totally with this approach and that is why we have to set ourselves rules and keep each other in check to ensure we stick to the rules we apply to exposition. What would we conclude if we read the Bible with no presumption that it is errant and fallible? What goes for me must also apply to you also when we engage on this course of exposition.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    That's an interesting place to start. And not a bad idea since we see it in the first chapter of Genesis. But then again, I'm not sure it is good to start with a debate about the Trinity. Is not your mind absolutely closed on this issue? I'm pretty sure you would reject any evidence that contradicts your position, no matter how logical or true or incontrovertible. This means you would find yourself on the receiving end of my wrath for I cannot abide willful rejection of logic and truth, and we both know that would be neither pleasant nor fruitful. You are absolutely committed to a man-made doctrine concerning the nature of Christ no less than the most fervent Trinitarian. The potsherds clash with other potsherds.
    Unfortunately Richard, you are introducing the Trinity in Genesis when there is no need to. Can you see how you are introducing your preconceived ideas do early on? I did not want to preempt any doctrine when starting from after the fall of Adam and Eve. At some point the Trinity might be brought in as an explanation when we come to Jesus, but from the reading of Genesis alone, I see no evidence for suggesting the Trinity. The only messianic verse is that of Gen 3:15 in which we have God telling us about the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. How can you introduce the Trinity at this stage from what is read there?


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I understand that God could "answer prayer" in subtle ways, but that's not how the Bible presents it. The Bible has God doing great and mighty things as if he really existed as a PERSON active in the universe like you or me. I see no evidence for that idea at all. If God does act, it is in the most inscrutable ways that can never be TRUSTED. For example, the vast majority of people who would trust God to heal their children of deadly diseases would be guilty of child abuse and manslaughter because God cannot be TRUSTED to heal anyone of anything. This is a FACT - not an opinion. It directly contradicts the Biblical teaching that God is trustworthy.
    We need to explore this as a separate subject. I do not understand how you see "the Bible presents it". I am wary of some faith healing and yet I cannot rule it out. I question the motives and sincerity of faith healers and so we have to be careful what we believe. The examples we have in the Bible are immediate and lasting. I believe faith that originates in the mind can be a powerful force whether that faith is directed towards God or not. Faith can be like a placebo. This should not be used as an excuse to negate faith in God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    If God cannot be trusted to do ANYTHING for his people in this life, why should we trust him to save us in the next?
    Your reply is negative. I have no doubt that God can be trusted; it is man that I do not trust. I am convinced God is keeping His word and fulfilling His purpose and that those who are friends with God can receive His providential care. We are told; "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much". That is the key to having prayer answered; how righteous are we to expect God to act on our behalf?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    As for your question if God has blessed this forum - I have no evidence that God has involved himself in it in any way at all. It is here because humans such as myself and my host do what it takes to keep it running.
    Discerning between time and chance and the providential care of God is difficult. This forum does nothing to affect the will of God and so God does not have to get involved to support it or prohibit it. There will probably come a time when the technology we have today will be lost in the future as a result of what might take place on earth in the future when God's judgement is poured out on the nations. This is conjecture at this time. The forum will have an influence on those reading it, which can be for the better or the worse according to whose posts are read. If it was against the will of God, then God would cause it to close down, but God is letting man have a free hand at the present time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    What was my motive? I stated it in the prayer: "Please pray that God will use this forum for His Glory, and that His Word will go forth with purity, clarity, and strength from here. And that we will be united in our faith."
    That is a good motive and a good goal to work towards. In your case you have to find some faith again as without God as an explanation, you have no faith.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
    I agree absolutely!

    But in my defense I must note that the comments you interpret as "stones" were thrown at persistent and repeated errors that seemed entirely irrational and unjustifiable to me.
    We can forget any past errors we think have been made and start afresh and tackle any errors we make by keeping each other in check. We can deal with the errors as they arose. We must try to deal with one subject/chapter/verse at a time and not get bogged down in side-trails.

    All the best,

    David
    Last edited by David M; 12-03-2012 at 06:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Starting at Genesis and working through the books of the Bible, what is the first event that we can discuss that you consider could be accepted by a rational skeptic?
    I can't think of anything in the creation chapters that would be acceptable to a rational skeptic. Nothing in the later chapters makes any sense scientifically. There was no global flood and the various languages did not come from God confusing languages at Babel. Most skeptical scholars think that the earliest point real history could begin would be in Genesis 12 with the call of Abram, and I agree. But there's no way to confirm that he really existed.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    The first challenge is to discern what you mean by "man made myths." It seems to me that the doctrine of the Bible as "God's inerrant Word" is the primary man-made myth underlying all our discussion. It is a myth that we have received from the believers who came before us, and I've never seen any reason sufficient to convince a rational skeptic. Even the Bible Wheel, which is the strongest evidence I have ever seen suggesting that the Bible was designed by a supernatural agent does not tell us how we are supposed to interpret it or that it is "inerrant" in any way at all. I think these are issues of primary importance.
    You could also be devizing your own myth to say that God's word, as it was originally inspired, was errant and fallible. I will concede that the Bible as it is now, has man-made errors in it and so we can agree the errors when we think the Bible is in error, otherwise we look for a legitimate interpretation that removes the error. We should not let man-made errors derail the process of finding the truth in the error-free part of the Bible.
    I'm glad we agree that the Bible, as it exists today and as represented by ALL existing manuscripts, contains errors. But there is no reason whatsoever to think there were inerrant originals because many of the errors obviously existed in the original, such as the creation story.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    It is hard to suspend our beliefs totally but we have to try and see what the Bible is saying without jumping to our preconceived conclusions. You might not think you are forcing your preconceived conclusions but I think you might be making the wrong connections. This will only become apparent when engaging in discussion and then we will have to keep each other in check about jumping to conclusions.
    It is the BELIEVERS that have "preconceived conclusions" that are forced by doctrines they've been taught. I am free from all of that so I can see with clear eyes what the Bible actually states. There is absolutely no reason anyone should begin with the idea that the Bible is "God's Word." But that's where believers start. They start with an absolutely unjustified presupposition. I've been stating this fact for a year on this forum now and no one, not one, has presented any reason to think otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    For the sake of finding the truth in the Bible we can avoid the Creation story and we can accept that man has sinned and take it from there.
    Where are we going? What are we trying to determine?

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    As replied already, we can for the sake of finding the truth in God's word avoid the creation and start by accepting man has sinned and take it from there. We have to go on and see what God's purpose is and how He will accomplish it. We can look at the history of Israel and see what we can agree on.
    OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    The creation story is basic and simplistic. The order in which life by way of plants and animals was creation is generally accepted as being in the correct order. I am saying that we do not concentrate on this and find an agreed starting place say after the fall of Adam and Eve and take it from the point that man has sinned. We do not get into real detail until after the Flood and we start with Abraham and the promises made to him.
    There is no "correct order" to the creation story in any literal sense. The earth was not created in the beginning. Light was not created before the sun. Plants were not created before the sun. The birds were not created before the land animals. And there was no "first woman" created from the rib of the "first man." The creation story is totally unbelievable if taken literally. That's why Christians have been debating what it means for so long. The best solution is to accept it more as a literary structure - poetry and figurative language. There is good evidence for this because the seven days form a menorah, which also matches the pattern of the Bible Wheel (see Chapter 3 of the Bible Wheel book):






    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    The focus on "the beginning" seems silly to me. Science is very young. We only discovered Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in the last hundred years! To complain that we don't have all the answers about how the universe arose means nothing to me, and I cannot imagine any justification to use that as a reason to believe "God did it."
    You are putting your faith is science to come up with all the answers. It will not come up with the answers in your lifetime and so what conclusion are you going to come to with the evidence that we have at present. People have had to reach their own conclusions in all generations before the advent of science that was sparked off by Isaac Newton. How do we know if God is not behind the inspiration of the great scientists like Newton and Maxwell? If they did not develop their theories and the mathematics to go with them, at the time they did we would not be where we are today (scientifically speaking) and we would not be having this conversation via the internet.
    It is possible that God could be behind the advancement of science, but I see no reason to think so.

    I am not putting faith in science to come up with all the answers. I doubt science will have "all the answers" in a thousand years, let alone in my lifetime. I would not be surprised if there are questions that science probably will never answer.

    And please refrain from using the creationist canard that says people put "faith in science." You are forced to put your "faith" in your interpretations of the Bible because you have no evidence supporting them. That's diametrically opposed to science which is based on EVIDENCE, not faith. Please stop repeating that falsehood.

    It would be really nice if we could get past these common and erroneous creationist talking points.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    You say you "do not see how we can explain the beginning without God." I think we should explore this, because I don't see how God is any kind of explanation at all because God - if he is defined as omniscient and eternal - is incapable of doing anything. Such a God cannot act because all actions take place in time, and he is supposed to be outside of time, the creator of time. Thus, that concept of God is logically incoherent and cannot give us any kind of "explanation" of anything. And besides, God is just a "man-made concept" - no one has seen him or knows anything about him except what other humans have written in books.
    We can look at this, but it will not help us with understanding the Bible. I agree that if we consider God was there at the beginning when matter was created from energy, it tells us nothing about God. There is no need to introduce concepts such as omniscient and omnipresence etc. Those attributes might or might not become apparent until we see what is revealed about God in the Bible and this is what we have to agree on.
    I agree. Concepts like "omniscience" and "eternal" (in the sense of timeless) are not really biblical anyway. They were introduced by later Christian philosophers. The Bible presents an anthropological God with lots of emotions, irrationality, and limitations (though it contradicts itself elsewhere). So let's stick to the actual Biblical descriptions of God and see where that leads.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I am absolutely and totally open to any and all truth, so if you or other members of this forum have a truth you would hope for me to believe, all you need to do is explain why I should believe it is true. Pretty simple, eh?
    I would hope that as we examine the word of God, the truth will be revealed. It is an exploration together rather than you be told and then you raise objections and your counter argument. I want to avoid this. We have to look at what the Bible says and does not say and try to prevent making assumptions. We have to look for the Bible to provide the answers and avoid forcing conclusions. This is one of the rules that we should work to in order to try and make progress.
    I thin that's a GREAT idea! It's rather tedious and exhausting to keep slapping down assertions.

    Let's clearly identify any assumptions being made.

    A good place to start would be the assumption that the Bible is (or ever was) God's inerrant Word.

    Or if you don't want to go there, then perhaps we should start with how the Bible defines the concept of "God" since we encounter God in the first verse of the Bible. That's probably the best starting point.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Of course, we all know that everyone has different opinions about the Bible and that most areas of dispute are disputed because the Bible is so ambiguous. So it becomes a war of words with no way for anyone to establish the truth. That's why I'm so mystified when I see you and others hold so tenaciously to things that cannot be known with any certainty.
    This is why we ignore what we have read or been told and we make our own exposition of the verses of the Bible to come to our own conclusions.
    How will that help resolve the fact that everyone has different opinions about the Bible?

    Is there any other ancient literature that you feel qualified to interpret without reading what the experts have written? Shakespeare? Homer? The Arabic Koran? Why would we want to limit ourselves to be IGNORANT of all knowledge that went before us?

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I think there is a persistent misunderstanding here. I never believed anything merely because it was "taught in mainstream christian churches" (though I can't deny those beliefs strongly influenced me). I've always been an independent thinker. And even if I did, how is that different than you strict adherence to the teachings of the Christadelphians? How is that different than anyone else adhering to teachings received from fallible men?
    First of all, I think I read a post of yours in which you said you did not agree with labels and yet you are insistent on labeling me. It is wrong to label me as this gives you preconceived ideas of what I believe. We must suspend all labels and get to the truth by our own exposition to get to the heart of the meaning. The teaching I have now, I regard as coming from the Bible and not from fallible men. I am accepting the Bible as the inspired word of God and not of men. I have no reason to think the Bible is error-ridden. I accept the Bible has some introduced errors made by men though not done so deliberately. This should make no difference in getting to an understanding of what the authors intended us to understand, provided we do our own exposition of chapters and verses. We take into account, context and the meaning of words in order to get to the truth. If we are diligent in this, we shall expose the man-made errors that have become man-made myths.
    I am not "labeling" you when I mention the fact that you have adamantly defended all the doctrines of the Christadelphians. You consistently label me as deceived by the teachings of the "mainstream churches" - so what's the difference?

    Your assertion that you have "no reason to believe the Bible is error ridden" suggests that you have never really thought about that with an open mind. I say this because you cannot give any reasons to believe the Bible is not error ridden.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I think we all would greatly benefit if we started with a "clean slate" with absolutely no assumptions about the Bible. What would we conclude if we read it with no presumption that it was the "inerrant and infallible Word of God"?
    I agree totally with this approach and that is why we have to set ourselves rules and keep each other in check to ensure we stick to the rules we apply to exposition. What would we conclude if we read the Bible with no presumption that it is errant and fallible? What goes for me must also apply to you also when we engage on this course of exposition.
    It is impossible to begin "with no presumption that it is errant and fallible" because we already know about many errors it contains, and many errors that would certainly have been contained in the originals.

    And besides, the Bible is a book written by humans, and all books have errors. So the most rational starting point is to assume it contains some errors.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough
    Quote Originally Posted by David M
    Starting at the beginning we could start off by examining what is meant by the "image of God". God has different sides to His Character. God is a god of love but is also a god who hates. Now why should God hate anything? What is it that God hates? We have to start somewhere and starting at the beginning, and in the Old Testament, God is presented as ONE. Somehow, we need to stay focused as closely as possible on the subject without allowing ourselves to go down side trails.
    That's an interesting place to start. And not a bad idea since we see it in the first chapter of Genesis. But then again, I'm not sure it is good to start with a debate about the Trinity. Is not your mind absolutely closed on this issue? I'm pretty sure you would reject any evidence that contradicts your position, no matter how logical or true or incontrovertible. This means you would find yourself on the receiving end of my wrath for I cannot abide willful rejection of logic and truth, and we both know that would be neither pleasant nor fruitful. You are absolutely committed to a man-made doctrine concerning the nature of Christ no less than the most fervent Trinitarian. The potsherds clash with other potsherds.
    Unfortunately Richard, you are introducing the Trinity in Genesis when there is no need to. Can you see how you are introducing your preconceived ideas do early on? I did not want to preempt any doctrine when starting from after the fall of Adam and Eve. At some point the Trinity might be brought in as an explanation when we come to Jesus, but from the reading of Genesis alone, I see no evidence for suggesting the Trinity. The only messianic verse is that of Gen 3:15 in which we have God telling us about the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. How can you introduce the Trinity at this stage from what is read there?
    I did not "introduce the Trinity in Genesis." You did. I was responding to your assertion that "God is presented as ONE." That is obviously in response to the doctrine of the Trinity which you adamantly oppose. That's why I said it probably was not a good place to start.

    Neither the Oneness of God nor the Trinity can be determined by focusing only on Genesis. If the doctrine is taught anywhere in the Bible, it is in the NT.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I understand that God could "answer prayer" in subtle ways, but that's not how the Bible presents it. The Bible has God doing great and mighty things as if he really existed as a PERSON active in the universe like you or me. I see no evidence for that idea at all. If God does act, it is in the most inscrutable ways that can never be TRUSTED. For example, the vast majority of people who would trust God to heal their children of deadly diseases would be guilty of child abuse and manslaughter because God cannot be TRUSTED to heal anyone of anything. This is a FACT - not an opinion. It directly contradicts the Biblical teaching that God is trustworthy.
    We need to explore this as a separate subject. I do not understand how you see "the Bible presents it". I am wary of some faith healing and yet I cannot rule it out. I question the motives and sincerity of faith healers and so we have to be careful what we believe. The examples we have in the Bible are immediate and lasting. I believe faith that originates in the mind can be a powerful force whether that faith is directed towards God or not. Faith can be like a placebo. This should not be used as an excuse to negate faith in God.
    The fact that God does not, as a general rule, answer prayer means that he cannot be trusted to do anything for anyone. Yet the Bible repeatedly asserts God can be trusted. That's why this issue is significant. It has nothing to do with the huckster faith healers. It has to do with the conflict between Reality and what the Bible teaches.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    If God cannot be trusted to do ANYTHING for his people in this life, why should we trust him to save us in the next?
    Your reply is negative. I have no doubt that God can be trusted; it is man that I do not trust. I am convinced God is keeping His word and fulfilling His purpose and that those who are friends with God can receive His providential care. We are told; "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much". That is the key to having prayer answered; how righteous are we to expect God to act on our behalf?
    Your assertion that God can be trusted is like saying that you can fly by flapping your arms. You KNOW it is not true. You KNOW that God cannot be TRUSTED to do anything. Everyone knows this. Suppose your son got appendicitis. Could you literally TRUST God to heal him? OF course not. And you know it. This is an indisputable fact. God cannot be trusted to actually do anything at all. Simple as that.

    I think you are mistaking the idea of "TRUSTING GOD" to actually do something (like heal your son) with your belief that God will do something later (like resurrection) even though he did nothing to stop your son dying from appendicitis.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Discerning between time and chance and the providential care of God is difficult. This forum does nothing to affect the will of God and so God does not have to get involved to support it or prohibit it. There will probably come a time when the technology we have today will be lost in the future as a result of what might take place on earth in the future when God's judgement is poured out on the nations. This is conjecture at this time. The forum will have an influence on those reading it, which can be for the better or the worse according to whose posts are read. If it was against the will of God, then God would cause it to close down, but God is letting man have a free hand at the present time.
    It is difficult to discern between "chance and the providential care" because they are probably the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    That is a good motive and a good goal to work towards. In your case you have to find some faith again as without God as an explanation, you have no faith.
    Faith? Faith in what? Look at the ten thousand contradictory interpretations of the Bible. Why should I believe any of them? And how could anyone have faith in a God who promises to be trustworthy but who has proven that he is absolutely untrustworthy?

    The fact that Christians say that God is trustworthy when they know he is not convinces me that they have been brainwashed with meaningless words. The word TRUSTWORTH means "worthy of trust." God cannot be actually TRUSTED to do anything. Everyone knows this. The truly deluded are jailed when they don't give proper health care to their children because they are "trusting God."

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    We can forget any past errors we think have been made and start afresh and tackle any errors we make by keeping each other in check. We can deal with the errors as they arose. We must try to deal with one subject/chapter/verse at a time and not get bogged down in side-trails.
    Great! Let's do that.

    Looking forward to a new beginning,
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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