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Comments by Rayy

Go to: Former Evangelical Minister Has a New Message: Jesus Hearts Darwin

Rayy's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Rayy

The Jews in Jesus' time did not believe in eternal punishment. The Jews today do not believe in eternal punishment.

What Americans believe and Evangelical Europeans believe is not necessarily what is believed in other parts of the world. The oldest, and original church in the world, the Eastern Orthodox, does not believe in eternal punishment and accepts evolution.

The Bible is instructional not a set of instructions. It does not work as set of instructions. Jesus made that plain.

The Name Adam is also a word that is used to represent mankind. Evolution does not contradict the Bible. Much of the Bible was never intended to be read literally; certainly not the creation story.

As you all keep pointing out, it makes no sense, so why do you insist on reading it literally yourselves; you are intelligent people?

Much of your criticism of religion I agree with, and I criticise you for thinking about religion on the literalists own terms. Get thinking. As one of your colleges said it's the deaf shouting at the deaf.

Rayy

Wed, 12 Dec 2007 14:28:00 UTC | #93209

Go to: Former Evangelical Minister Has a New Message: Jesus Hearts Darwin

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The Christianity you criticise here is not universal or historical. Your understanding of Christians and the Bible is fundamentalist. You see it the same way as Christian Fundamentalists do, literally. I too criticise Fundamentalism and see it as mistaken.

You can find Christian traditions going back 2000 years that do not see Adam and Eve or the 6/7 day creation as literal. The same traditions do not accept eternal burning in Hell torment. They also accept evolution as the means of creation. The group that have the most consistent position here as far as I can tell is the Easter Orthodox Church. Unchanged for centuries.

As a UK Anglican most of the people I know accept evolution and as far as I can tell so do most of our clergy.

You have a very narrow understanding of what Christianity is. My other posts show where I am coming from.

Rayy

Tue, 11 Dec 2007 08:26:00 UTC | #92541

Go to: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticizes popular atheist writers

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Hi, Augustus Osari.

Thanks for your comments, I'll try and address your questions.

You say; 'the realm of existence requires that first some set of laws that allows all things to exist'. You illustrate your point well by saying a framework is required. I agree. Stating with the big bang it's reasonable to assume that the universe has a common structure. It's likely that any aliens we may encounter evolving through common laws would have many common features to ourselves. I might be reasonable in trying to find God that he would share in his make up some of those elements; perhaps iron as its so common, but it rusts; so maybe gold, as it seems more pure. Clearly rubbish. As you say for something to be, it needs a structure. I would not expect science to find God; I would not even bother to look. I'll come back to a structure that might be associated with God later.

Our universe provides structure that has evolved our bodies and enabled consciousness that allows us to experience life. It has also given us a structure for language, structure for social interaction and as discussed an appreciation of beauty as well as its likely survival function. Life as experienced is often chaotic, even though supported by reliable functions. Expressed another way physics and chemistry are neat and tidy compared to the social sciences; these are messy, people get in the way. To clarify your question, I mean life as experienced.

I'll move on to look at what I think is one of our universal characteristics; it's the sense of fair play. May be it has a genetic foundation as it appears so quickly in children. We all here the insistent cry 'It's not fair, it's not fair'. And it's easily corrupted when children blatantly try to take advantage of it. 'It's not fair' is connected to the call to love your neighbour as yourself; compassion and empathy. We all want to be treated fairly, love your neighbour as yourself is universal; acted upon it is the basis for a structure of morality. It is not owned by anyone, believers and atheists share it. Moral courage is universal, but in short supply.

Returning to the 'God of gold' and anthropomorphism. Put on an agnostic hat for a moment. What characteristics would you have if you had manages somehow to create a system like our universe that supported conscious life. I suggest that as a product of that universe you might have great difficulty in making a definition; it would be beyond your capability. You may decide it had some sort of structure independent of its creation and some sort of relationship with its creation. You would be very well aware of your limitations. That limitation is something religious people are also well aware of. So you see, you will not get a religious person to define God as you can with a material or process. It's the wrong question. The answer to how you find God then is through the structure of a moral route. It does not require high intelligence, or higher education and it is universally available and it is very simple. Love your neighbour as yourself; its very easy to say and difficult to do. You find God as you do it.

I hope this explains to some extent why debate between religious people and atheists is often seen as the deaf shouting to the deaf.

Rayy

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 05:05:00 UTC | #77977

Go to: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticizes popular atheist writers

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Hi octopus,

In answer to your question about mental capacity in afterlife, my guess is that in some form or other it is a sense of self. Might be in a similar way to the consciousness that you and I experience now. This raises the question of mental illness such as Alzheimer's. I have no idea what the answer to that is. As a Christian I believe all life is sacred. On a personal level all I feel is that at when I die I have a home to go to; beyond that I am not particularly interested. It's another form of tomorrow; I'm more interested in now, where you and I are.

Its fun to speculate, how about if there is a backup hard-drive in heaven with our lives on it that has a repair programme run on it when our consciousness gets installed on it. Any better ideas,? None existence is an excuse, as I have an Atheist friend who believes in the afterlife.
Rayy

Sun, 21 Oct 2007 07:00:00 UTC | #76572

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Thank you brainsys for your last comments.

I rather think cavemen and woman where rather astute, as we would not be here otherwise.

I cringe with embarrassment that I live in the same camp as those who claim creation science. I share your concern about the corruption of the scientific process. I agree with you that science is our best bet at understanding our surroundings. I have great difficulty discussing the subject with my fundamentalist friends.

The origin of Christian Fundamentalism started with the genuine desire to protect the integrity of the Faith. Unfortunately they do this by insisting on reading it literally; as do some Atheists. Literalism curiously is a relatively modern phenomenon; 19th Century, I think. Driving this approach, I think is a deep sense of insecurity. This is kept at bay by holding tight to a closed ideology that is quite fragile.

I have an Atheist friend who believes firmly in the afterlife. He also complains bitterly at the loss of Christian values in our society. I do agree that we can only pass our quest for knowledge and truth through our kids. And I would add through our social structures too.

I also reject the concept of a God who fills the gaps when we do not know how something works. You make a very interesting point when you introduce the idea that God might be discovered with something rather new and remarkable that works. I shall not forget that.

I'll look now at the other points you have made; the maleness of God and the issue of war. You say 'Gone is the white haired bearded guy of the great Renaissance paintings'. Do Atheists really believe that Christians ever though of God in that way? Way back in the Old Testament God was likened to the wind; unseen, everywhere, uncontrollable but having effect. Images of God are imperfect symbols. The scientific formulae, is the way we make sense of things we can't see. The words we read are symbols that contain meaning. The problem with the picture is that you need to know what the original audience thought it meant before passing judgement. Images of God have changed because the culture has changed around them.

I agree about the OT bloke and your other comments in that paragraph; I'll try and make some sense of them. The Jews are well aware they use anthropomorphic symbols for God. For instance they see the Creation story as myth. Gen. 3. 'And they heard the voice of God walking in the garden'. This is a clear indication not to take it literally. If you ask a Jew what God's character is like he will include male and female characteristics. As humans we have no option other than to be anthropomorphic in our thinking. Which is why religious people say he is beyond our knowing. Any attempt to define God places limits upon it. And here appears a limitation of language, as we have no respectful version of it.

Your comment about the fundamental paradox of the universal God also being the Jewish war God is revealing. You say. 'That takes some pretty sophisticated theology to solve.' Religion does not have its roots in theology; those roots are in events. There is a long and a short way to dig into this. Briefly there has been what might be seen as an evolution of religion. Strangely progress has been made when a society is being wrecked by violence. Quite independently Buddha, Confucius and the OT prophets by fits and starts all came to the same conclusion. 'Love your neighbour as yourself', show compassion, have empathy for others, and abandon egotism. I would add this involves opening yourself to being hurt. Try it and you will find yourself very vulnerable. People who do this are sometimes rather surprised when God comes along and finds them.

So a rather crude answer to you paradox comment is that as the Jewish God came to be seen as more ethical, so he also came to be seen as universal. The OT is littered with demands for social justice; with dire threats of punishment if they did not mend their ways.

Fri, 19 Oct 2007 08:14:00 UTC | #76252

Go to: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticizes popular atheist writers

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Thanks brainsys for you comments.

I like your inversion of God made in mans image. What is that image like, is it male/female, does it have arms and legs, does it have sex? You say God then Physics. How has Physics replaced God? Does Atheism place limits on what science may question and explain? Does Atheism limit the imagination?

Thanks Eric Blair for your comments.

I certainly do not believe things because 'it says so' in the Bible, or anywhere else. Doubt is essential for growth. Any belief has to be tested or it's a waste of time. It involves doing as well as thinking. What I have found is that as I attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ I have come to trust what he said and, more importantly did. You have a new work colleague dumped on you. Is your first reaction like mine, am I going to get on with this guy and most importantly, can I trust him? I find I can trust Jesus.

What might I do if I was a non-believer? I would be less honest, give in to anger more easily, probably seek revenge, and certainly done some things that I nearly did with unforeseen consequences that would have emerged later. Specifically I have found when tempted; that if I really want to resist (there is a tipping point with temptation, as you know); through prayer I find a strength from outside myself that helps me to say no. You may be a better person than I and not need help.

I've examined the possibility that this nothing but a psychological effect. But over a long time I've come to the conclusion that it is more than a mechanism. What is the problem with things that are not rational? Life is not rational; beauty is not rational. Can you reduce everything to a rational explanation?

Thanks for your comments Corylus

This is interesting I do not assume that God is needed in order to notice beauty and feel wonder. My sense of beauty and wonder is usually like yours, simply because things merely are as you say beautiful and wonderful. There are special moments, not very often, when I feel a presence. My response is to say thank you for the gift of life. I sense that presence has power, awareness and intent. I feel at home and comfortable in my skin, I belong. I do believe that our sense of wonder and beauty is a pointer that can prompt the question, is there anything else?

Thanks Dr Benway for your comments.

Do you think people's sense of beauty is conditioned by environment and temperament?

Tue, 16 Oct 2007 14:30:00 UTC | #75557

Go to: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticizes popular atheist writers

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Tue, 16 Oct 2007 14:27:00 UTC | #75555

Go to: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticizes popular atheist writers

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I've just read Rowan Williams comments about writers such as Richard Dawkins misunderstanding of religious beliefs. This has led me to your web site; most interesting. I've just read the first chapter of 'The God Delusion'. I am one of those people who fall into Weinberg's category of believing in a 'supernatural creator that is appropriate to worship'.

Reading Dawkins quote from Carl Sagan; as a Christian my response is that the universe as revealed by modern science does draw forth reverence and awe and I expect it to continue to do so. None of my Christian friends say God is little and want him to stay that way. I do not deny that Sagan's comments apply to some religious people but it does not apply to all. Consider this; I'm not sure the sense of awe and reverence was any less before the development of modern science, but it certainly adds a new dimension to it. Science has extended our senses, wonderful.

I like Dawkins' question in his second paragraph, 'Why the same emotion should have led my chaplain in one direction and me in another is not an easy question to answer.' It can be very easy to say it's just a delusion.

I have no problem with Darwin's view that 'all was produced by laws acting around us'. I see no reason why evolution cannot be part of a creation process. Creation is not magic, nor is it design. The theory of evolution is elegant and powerful, why should it not be part of the process of creation? Why should we not thank our creator for our existence; for that is an aspect of worship? We are ourselves highly creative animals and it seems to me that we are beginning to have an influence in the process of evolution. Can we control that process?

Where does our sense of beauty come from? Something that never ceases to fill me with a sense of awe and wonder is how a collection of molecules (you and I), can become aware and experience life in all its wonder; we seem to be more than the sum of our parts? How does the Atheist answer these questions?

Mon, 15 Oct 2007 12:43:00 UTC | #75250