"It may be a stretch to predict just yet that Norway's five million citizens are turning back to God en masse." Anybody who knows the history of the christianization of Scandinavia, a process which never even came close to being completed, will understand this for the ridiculous statement it is.
I'd like to take this opportunity to applaud the United States Army for doing the right thing.
It's looking increasing likely that atheism will one day soon take over as the majority religion in the United States. When that day comes and Christians become a minority, hopefully they will finally understand why it's so important to protect minority rights and the true meaning behind the words "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
Lurker wrote: Unless you've got something further to add or need more clarification, I'm done.
Hey Lurker, I know I give you a hard time, but just wanted to say that I do appreciate the things you write. Your posts are high quality and genuinely get me to think. I'll remember this discussion for a long time. Thanks so much.
Lurker wrote: I can't fault you for lack of creativity.
Even if that were accurate, it's nothing more than a cop out in avoidance of the real issue, faith. That'd be like me saying that until my dog gets a job, I'm going to beat him everyday not for being unemployed, but for the last time he peed on the carpet or whatever. It's a sick thing to do, and while I'm no lawyer I doubt such an argument would carry much weight when I end up getting picked up on animal cruelty charges. However, this is the same God who ordered genocide and human sacrifice as well as condoned slavery and rewarded rape, so I shouldn't be surprised. Ha!
Lurker wrote: Name someone who is sinless in the sight of God with the sole exception of unbelief and you may have an argument.
Thank you for the reminder, Lurker. This is the part where I really get myself into trouble with some of you folks, but...
Here's the bottom line: When you come down to it, unbelief is really the only transgression that can condemn a sinner to Hell.
When you boil down the Gospel message, that's the conclusion you're left with. Name any other transgressions and I'll tell you that if there'd been faith it would've been covered by the blood of Christ.
All other sins are beside the point. Faith is the sine qua non as in Hebrews 11.6: "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
Lurker wrote: You, Mike, are the first cause of your unbelief.
No, lack of faith is the cause of unbelief, and God is the cause of lack of faith. Therefore God is the cause of unbelief.
If A implies B and B implies C then A implies C. That's basic logic, my friend.
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is "the author and perfecter of faith" and Romans 12:3 says that "God has allotted to each a measure of faith." These verses clearly teach that faith is not something that we do or a presence of mind that we develop, but that faith is a gift from God.
Because God is the cause of unbelief, he's punishing for something that he himself caused, which by definition is unjust.
Michael Hranek wrote: 66 Books 3 Languages 3 Continents 40 some authors 1600 years Supernatural Corroboration!
If you think that's proof, you've got a lot to learn. That'd be like me saying Bill Gates is the Messiah because Microsoft developed the most recent version of the Windows operating system with a distributed team of one thousand software engineers on three different continents using three different programming languages to produce five million source lines of code in five years. From comparing my studies of scripture to my use of Microsoft software, I'd say the Bible has some serious bugs, just like Windows. Amen!
Lurker wrote: If God isn't first cause of your unbelief, then who is?
I'll not only write the check, I'll make it a blank check!
God is an unjust monster regardless of the first cause of unbelief and regardless of whether the atonement is limited or general. The only difference is that if the atonement was general, I'd be likening God to a rapist instead of a dog beater, as in the limited atonement.
I don't know why you keep bringing up the subject of the first cause of sin, so why don't you just make your point if there's one to be made, because I have no idea what you're hinting at.
John UK wrote: If you think that life is purposeless, what do you tell them to prevent them ending it early?
It's Christian churches that ought have their parishioners on suicide watch with all the escapism in their doctrine. Humanism is a life affirming philosophy which places actual value on kindness, compassion and the real work that's done in this world, not on blind sycophancy of debunked ideas under threat of torture.
The highest calling is the advancement of humanity and the protection of life.
Lurker wrote: If God didn't make you reject Him, then who did?
Even if God does cause the non-elect not to believe, it doesn't help your argument. In fact it only makes God more guilty by making Him the author of their sin.
I'm sorry my friend, but you're not making much sense. Maybe you should take some time away from the keyboard to think things over. I won't fault you for that.
foreknows wrote: Your dog does the "job" he is created for and has the abilities to do so.
No, he doesn't. My dog just sits around the house being lazy. I want him out working as a rescue dog, search dog, herding dog, hunting dog, guard dog or police dog. I also want my dog to automatically know all the skills required for the job all on his own without any instruction (1 Thessalonians 4:8, Acts 1:1-2.)
Lurker wrote: the God you deny even exists, made you reject Him?
No, I'm not saying God made anybody reject him. I'm saying God requires the non-elect to perform a task of which they're incapable and inflicts punishment mercilessly for failure to comply. So how is God any different from the dog beater in my analogy?
Andrew Six wrote: Does all that help clear up the paradox?
No, that only confirms the paradox. It exposes a major problem with the teachings of scripture.
Let's say I issue a command to my dog to get a job (Mark 1:15); I'm tired of supporting him. He's my dog and as my property he's obligated to obey (Ecclesiastes 12:13.) I've made no provision for my dog's employment. As a dog he's incapable of securing employment on his own (John 6:44.) When I return home from work at the end of every day I beat my dog mercilessly (II Thessalonians 1:9) for his failure to find gainful employment while laughing like a mad man (Proverbs 1:26.)
Now everybody with common decency knows I'd be a sick malevolent freak if I did that and police would be locking me up for animal cruelty. Yet somehow when you substitute "God" for "dog owner," decency, logic, and common sense go out the window for you Christians.
John UK wrote: But when you find that you are unable to do that, you might care to cry out to God to enable you, to quicken you, to enlighten you, and grant you faith and repentance. If you are serious about it, he WILL do all these things FOR you.
Isn't even the crying out for salvation and understanding of one's own inability a gift from God? If it were otherwise, men could take credit for their own salvation. Because of this I see it as a paradox still.
John UK wrote: Therefore it is not for others to change your mind, but for you to repent. And you are incapable of doing that without the Spirit of God working in your heart; for it is only him that can change your mind on these crucial and eternal issues. But also know that the Bible says that "God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent", and that includes your very self. So please know that God holds you alone responsible for what you have just read.
That's as ridiculous (and malevolent) as me saying, "I expect my pet dog to earn himself a living even though I don't ever give him the opportunity to earn himself a living." And considering the doctrine of Hell, "until my dog starts providing for himself, I'm going to beat him every night when I get home from work."
Be warned wrote: Of what value is truth to an atheist, when he rejects the very person who said he is the truth?!
Of what value is truth to the Christian when he rejects the necessity of evidence and contents himself with the words of a dubious authority figure?
Be warned wrote: PM is only here to undermine the faith of others. Why would you have any sympathy for someone prepared to do the devils work?
I carefully read all the messages on these discussions with special attention to those directed to me. I'm fully prepared for the possibility that somebody may prove me wrong. As a matter of fact, I'd much rather have somebody change my mind than I would change the mind of somebody else, because the man who has his mind changed from error to truth is the one who benefits.