evidence for earth's age

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Rexlion, Aug 6, 2023.

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  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I think it is a serious mistake for believers, disciples of Jesus Christ, to imagine that all of Jesus' teaching on earth was aimed at getting his hearers, and those of us today and in the future, who heed his words, into heaven when we die. The church, which Jesus Christ envisioned is intended to bring life, (as Jesus described it), to the human race right now, in the present, not just some time in the bye and bye in eternity after death of the flesh. Unless we define what Jesus called 'death' differently than mearly the cessation of the functions of the body it is difficult to explain what Jesus could possibly have meant by this:

    "And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” and

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.” and

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."

    Because even the most ardently literalist, Bible believing fundamentalist has to admit that every disciple of Jesus Christ will suffer the inevitable disfunctioning of the body, which WE CALL 'death'. If this disfunctionality and final demise of the flesh constitutes the 'death' that Jesus Christ said his disciples would never see, then we believers in the truth of Christ's words in the scripture have a SERIOUS problem. Either Christ meant that we won't really die, (by OUR definition of the word death), or Jesus of Nazareth lied, - because every one of those who heard his words and even utterly believed them, have since suffered the terminal disfunctioning of their earthly bodies which we call 'death'. None of them are sstill walking around in their bodies on earth today, not even Jesus.

    The church is here on earth as salt and light to bring about the betterment of the human race, as yeast proves and utterly permeates dough - silenly and imperceptively, as seeds germinate in the dark earth, as great trees slowly develop from tiny seeds. This is ALL about God's kingdom growing on Earth, where change can take place, not in heaven where everything is already perfect. Jesus Christ himself saw 'death'. That is the natural way of things for the flesh. Every one of us will follow the way he went in similar fashion. What this tells us is not that Jesus Christ lied, but that what WE call 'death' is not death as HE defined it. What Adam, (the human race) fears about death, is not the 'death' that God warns 'mankind' of in Genesis 2:17. That involves separation from God, the only source of life, and also incidentally separation from each other, and in the story it happens the very day God said it would. Death of the body is mearly release from the constraint of material existence. Death of the spirit is separation from God, the very source of life.

    So, yes, becoming a Christian, believing in Jesus, getting saved, receiving 'life', becoming salt and light to the world - is todays task for Christ's church. It's what we are actually here for and what constitutes 'life' as Jesus seems to have defined it. It's never been about 'getting into heaven', everyone will be going the same way and there are many mansions there for us all. Christ has seen to that.
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2023
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Tonight I read that the Big Bang was first hypothesized by a Christian. A RC priest named George Lemaître put forth the idea in the late 1920s. The RCC embraced it readily. But the bulk of the scientific community, including the evolutionists, fought the Big Bang concept, tooth and nail.

    Now, of course, there's plenty of evidence showing the likelihood of the Big Bang some 4.5 billion years ago. The secular scientists have finally come around to a scientific theory that the Christian community got right before they did. :D
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    In previous posts in this thread, I have put forth my belief and understanding of the Bible, in support of young-earth creation. But in post # 31 I wrote, "It may be conceded that we do not know the exact length of each "day" of God's creation. But make no mistake, the religion of evolution goes much, much further, because it denies God as the Creator of the earth, the universe, the specific plants, the specific animals, and--most significantly--man." To expand on this, I would like to point out the reasoning behind old-earth creationism, for some people may reasonably interpret Genesis in a way which is compatible with old-earth theory. It goes something like this:

    Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.


    Some have pointed out the original Hebrew verbiage allows for the possibility of an indeterminate passage of time being indicated in these two verses. And science can envision a very long passage of time during which the universe was expanding from, but still rather close to, the point of origin. The Hebrew for verse 2b (the Spirit of God moved upon...) evokes an image of an eagle with wings outstretched as it guards its nest. That language also has a strong transition as it proceeds into verse 2, where the 'point of view' changes to that of 'on the earth, looking upward.'

    Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    How could there be light, yet no specific lights visible in the sky until verse 14? Science shows that earth's atmosphere at first was probably extremely thick, so thick that no light could penetrate (similar to the atmosphere of Venus); yet at some point most of this thickening was stripped off, by (at the least) a close-passing object, which led to a translucent atmosphere which let in diffused light but which still blocked the view of the sun and stars.

    Science also points to a cataclysmic event in which the earth was struck by a large body, and this collision would have thown a large amount of water and matter out of earth's gravitational pull, while it deposited heavy metals on the fledgling planet and formed the moon. This could be the mechanism by which God caused dry land to appear (verse 6), while the translucent cloudy sky rained upon the earth and began to clear the atmosphere, resulting in a better-lit environment supportive of the plants God was about to create. As He created the plants (v.12), He also caused the sun to appear through the clouds to feed them (photosynthesis).

    When the plants were established, God then created all of the various kinds of animals. The fossil record appears to point to a virtual 'explosion' of very diverse life forms within a relatively short time period, which contradicts the evolutionists' theory of slow, gradual introduction of new species.

    Of course, our Lord only gives us a 'rough sketch' of all the different animals He created, as we merely see mention of birds, whales, cattle, etc. But naturally, we can be sure that God created bipedal homonids among all the other animals. (Not man; not yet.)

    How long did God take to make all of these things? Some say that the Hebrew word for "day" has 4 different possible meanings, one of which is just 'an indeterminate passage of time.' We can know that God has "all the time in the world" to make everything, and indeed He made time itself, so it's not as if He had to hurry. The universe is very finely tuned, such that if any of a thousand factors were varied by just a tiny fraction, life on earth as we know it could not exist. (Even the angle at which the heavenly body struck earth, the amount of material stripped off, the resulting distance from earth of the moon which formed therefrom, and several other related things all had to have happened just so or else we would not be here today; scientists who calculated the odds of all these things found such a degree of necessary precision in that event, they had to stop investigating or else face the fact of divine causation.)

    Finally, the old-earth creationists say, the earth was prepared for the creation of man. The creation by God of two specific individuals (Adam and Eve) is accepted by them, and they believe that this took place in the relatively recent past (a matter of mere thousands of years). There are differences of opinion among them as to whether this event happened 6,000 years ago or a bit longer (say, 10,000 years), but generally they do not accept a date tens or hundreds of thousands (let alone millions) of years in the past. I don't see how those who lean toward a longer time period can get around the generation-count problem, though (see the genealogy in Luke 3).

    In all of the above, we see a rationale which allows for the planet called earth to be a billion or so years old, but which preserves belief in Genesis as a factual, literal statement of God's creation of every living thing (so many of which have since become extinct as this planet 'runs down' like an old clock spring).

    - - - - - - -

    Now, as to the question of whether death existed on earth prior to Adam, I must admit that scripture is not fully clear. To me, scripture strongly suggests there was no death. But it has been pointed out by some of you that the death spoken of may have been applicable only to humanity and that plants & animals could have died. I feel that in the Garden of Eden there was no death. Genesis 1:31 says, And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Did God make a world in which things died, and call it 'good'? Is death 'good'?

    But today someone close to me pointed out something I'd never noticed before: in Gen. 2:8 we read that God made the Garden after the world was created, and the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden... (v. 15). I can appreciate the possibility that, although death had no place or foothold in Eden, death might have been taking place elsewhere on earth. It was only after Adam's sin that he and Eve were removed from Eden and, concurrently, they were subject to death (which I still think was both spiritual and physical... I don't think God only meant one or the other in His warning to Adam).
     
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Before we read any further I would like to point out that (1) Evolutionary theory with all its evidence and reasoning is not a religion, just as acceptance of a heliocentric solar system is not a 'religious' concept. (2) Some people who are convinced that God was not the creator of the earth also believe that evolutionary theory, and what's taken as evidence for it, confirms their atheism BUT evolutionary theory has no comment to make regarding the existence of God or the methods God may be using to produce and sustain His material creation. Statements concerning the origins of mankind that emanate from scientific evolutionary quarters simply state facts as they are seen. Those facts are not stated in denial of anything written in the Bible and denial of the features of a story many thousands of years old was not the reason for their existence. They exist because it is believed that the facts are truly facts and that they truly support the theory.

    In truth, for the most part, they actually do. It is not the fault of those facts and the theory they seem to support, that a literal interpretation of the ancient story becomes increasingly untenable for educated modern mankind. It is not an attack upon the notion of the existence of a creator God. It is responsible though for the unravelling of some naive notions of the nature and behaviour of that Creator, forcing a re-evaluation of the truth of the rather inept religious interpretations of some of the traditionally inspired writings concerning that Creator's existence and purposes. I feel this to be no bad thing in the overall pursuit of truth.
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. indeed! Truth is truth whoever happens to stumble upon it.
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  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This is characteristically fact-free. Lemaitre would not have been able to propose the hypotheses he did, had he been a young-earth literalist (a view the Catholic Church as a whole had already rejected at that point). His work was also being done alongside, and in dialogue with, that of other scientists who weren’t believers at all. His commitment to science was the key factor in his work.
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Macroevolutionary theory necessarily implies that all living creatures evolved on their own through natural selection. It is a scientifically untestable, unprovable theory, yet adherents believe it (have faith in it). The natural conclusion of macroevolutionary theory is that man evolved from simians rathar than being specifically and specially created by God in His image. I suppose one could be a believer in macroevolution while also being deist who believes that God created the world and then simply stood back, "hands off," to let "nature" run its course, however such a deist would be disbelieving the Bible's statement that God created every living creature, the statement that God created man 'in His image', as well as the Bible-wide implication of our caretaking Creator: that God cares deeply, about and for, His creation (He even provides for the sparrows, and He is "the Lord our provider"). Thus, deism is a faith separate from true Christianity. Likewise, since believing in macroevolution requires some amount of faith in science and in a theory that denies the God of the Bible (the God whose traits are described therein), belief in macroevolution can be likened to a 'faith-based practice' which is anti-Christian at its core.

    While it might be an overstep to call macroevolution a "religion" (despite its being basically a faith in unprovable concepts and in insufficient physical evidence, much like any religion is), it is not at all an exaggeration to say that faith in macroevolutionary theory is incompatible with genuine faith in the trinitarian God who revealed Himself through His written word, the Bible.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Methinks you're definitely on a roll. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Now we see in a glass darkly.

    Your argument, that one who accepts the theory of Macroevolution, must either be an atheist, or a deist, but not a Christian is flawed. It is flawed because it requires me to accept that only a literal acceptance of the Holy Writ is part of the qualification for being a Christian, and that is not so. Jürgen Moltmann, argued that God continues to be involved in creation as Creator, not as the retired Creator now serving as Janitor to the Universe.

    The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God, and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity#Jesus

    Now there are many ways of expressing what a Christian is, but I kind of like 'those who have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back'.

    One of the things that God gave me was a brain. Sometimes that might be a mixed blessing because a brain can also get you into a whole lot of trouble, yet nonetheless, it can be quite handy as well and probably gets you out of more trouble than it gets you into. One of the things that is not required for following Jesus is the suspension of rational thought. There is no sign in the narthex of my church that asks me to hang my brain here in order to worship Jesus.

    It may well turn out that Macroevolution is not correct, or at least not the whole truth. It is however a reasonable proposition that does not require me to abandon Christianity, and indeed perhaps in the footsteps of Moltmann argues for the ongoing creative action of God in Creation.
     
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  10. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    If the earth is young, when did Abrams descendants become as numerous as the stars? (if indeed you could count them).

    He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Gen 15:5
     
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Believing that certain provable facts support a theory is not a question of 'faith' it is the application of reasoned judgment. ( faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. ) Nothing in that statement in scripture contradicts correctly understood scripture. It only contradicts erroneous pagan notions of how God created the world. Macroevolutionary theory does not 'imply' anything other than plants and creatures, life on earth, has developed over an extended period of time to become the way they are today and this development process is probably a universal law. (A universal law that God may have put in place from the beginning). Everywhere that life in the universe is possible, it may be presumed, it will be there.

    This principle or universal law in no way contradicts the notion that a creator of the universe and all it consists of, exists. Atheists ASSUME that life evolving through natural selection contradicts the idea of a creator, but in fact it doesn't. It just contradicts the naive notion that God got his hands dirty making animals and men out of mud, like a human potter, because the Bible tells us so in an ancient story. They obviously also have a very naive and simplistic concept of the nature of the God who created and sustains the universe.
    There is the possibility though that God took mankind already existing but in an animal state without the spirit of God, and gave them conscious thought and an ability to communicate with their creator by inspiration. In other words - God spoke the word and the universe was made. God breathed in man and gave him 'LIFE'.
    There is no need to assume a 'hands off' stance on God's part. Evolution is still probably going on and it could be following the will of God, for all we know. There is no essential reason why God could not replace mankind as the dominant life form on planet earth. We could get 'out evolved' by other intelligent species, and that might be the judgement of God.
    Christianity as a religion is essentially a belief in the atonement of Jesus Christ, along with other tenets of the Nicene creed. The Nicene creed was never written to address a belief in evolution. It had not occurred to anyone at the time that a reasoned judgment that God might use natural selection and occasional catastrophic interventions to cause changes in the fauna and flora on earth, according to his will, to label the theory a heresy. Only modern day Young Earth Creationists have tried to go that far.
    Macroevolution, as such would be an observable effect, if true, (given sufficient time for observation), not a religion. Religions are belief or recognition of or an awakened sense of a higher unseen controlling power or powers, with the emotion and morality connected with such; rites or worship; systems of such belief or worship; devoted fidelity; monastic life or a monastic order. I doubt that a rational intellectual acceptance of evolution by natural selection falls into the category of 'religion' at all. It is merely the acceptance as a truth, that the development of life on earth has progressed from simple to complex, rather than being established as complex virtually overnight, or in 6 earth days. I fail to see how such a rational conclusion can be heretical just as I refuse to accept the church's rejection of the theory of the heliocentricity of the solar system as remotely rational.

    The Bible is a complete LIBRARY of books, not all of which even try to be scientifically accurate. Not all of which are to be understood literally but were clearly actually originally intended to be interpreted figuratively, parabolically, allegorically, allusively, anagogically or even ironically. Jesus must have used all of these figures of speech in his communications with his audiences. The Bible says so. The Bible, in a literary sense, does exactly the same as did Jesus Christ in his teaching style, which should be no surprise to any true bible believer, because Christ is himself The Word spoken by God - himself.
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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2023
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  12. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It’s worth noting in order to avoid equivocation that there is the fact of evolution and the theory of evolution, just as there is the fact of gravity as well as the theory of gravity. Facts are things that can be objectively observed, hypotheses are attempts to explain how such facts came to be, and theories are hypotheses whose predictions have been corroborated many times over with no disconfirming evidence. It is as unlikely that scientists in the future will determine evolution itself to be nonfactual as it is that they will determine gravity to be so. But the mechanism that explains how evolution or gravity works can always be refined, revised, or discarded in favor of a simpler theory in the light of new evidence. This has happened many times in the history of science with regard to theories of gravitation, without the reality of gravity itself being questioned. Evolution is a much more recent discovery, but the same distinction applies. A complete discarding of the existing framework seems unlikely in the case of the theory of evolution, given just how well supported it is by multiple and independent lines of evidence, but it is at least conceivable. There are no dogmas in science. But it is the theory that would be superseded in that instance; the fact that it has occurred is independent of science itself and would still remain objectively ascertainable.

    It’s also worth noting that “science” can’t say that there is no (personal) God or divine intervention in the supposedly “closed” system of the universe. This would certainly count as a “miracle,” or a deviation, however slight, from an inferred law of nature. Granting that such events are possible, as a matter of statistics they are nevertheless extremely unlikely. I’m 99.99999% sure that the next time I throw a baseball in the air it will follow a parabolic path back to the ground exactly as Newton’s law of gravitation predicts, but I can’t prove that or treat it as a fact until it actually happens. Natural laws are thus mathematically expressible as probabilities. As a result, when it comes to miracles the scientific method simply cannot coherently be employed to say that the least likely event is also the most probable explanation.
     
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    False. There is no "fact of macroevolution." Only microevolution is demonstrably factual. The leap from the one to the other is a matter of assumptions and beliefs based on incorrect interpretation of factual evidence.

    BTW, have you considered changing your 'religion' descriptor to a more accurate one?

    I'm just going by what you wrote. A person who doesn't believe that Jesus literally died to make atonement for that person's sins, is not a Christian. Perhaps "Non-Christian attending TEC" would be more apropos. Or maybe "Pseudo-Christian." (I changed my descriptor at your behest, after all.)
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, no, that's not quite what I wrote. My "argument" is that belief in macroevolution and belief in the Trinitarian God who revealed Himself in the Bible are conflicting beliefs. This allows for the fact that a genuine Christian might be confused, conflicted, double-minded, or cluelessly unaware of his illogic. :)

    I'm glad you said that! It is so true. If you will examine the tenets of macroevolutionary theory, you may (eventually) come to realize that they describe a mechanism for the introduction of life on earth as a great, great sequence of happy accidents and 'natural selections' which occurred entirely apart from a Creator and entirely free of intelligent design. I challenge you to pick up any good, well-regarded (by scientists) book which teaches the theory, because what I have stated in the previous sentence is what the "experts" say about it.
     
  15. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Unless you’re willing to assume that the plants and animals in each new layer of the fossil record were specially created after the ones in the previous layer went extinct - for which there is zero evidence - since life isn’t spontaneously generated, the only alternative is that the plants and animals whose fossils are found in each layer were the descendants of the ones whose fossils are found in the preceding layers. The inherent rationality of this inference is not affected by your refusal to accept it. Forensic science has just as much right to be called science as experimental science. Having been forensically established, evolution is indeed a fact, whether you personally accept it or not. I’m sorry if this screws up your worldview, but believing what is false cannot ultimately be useful or helpful.

    You genuinely seem to not understand what the Theory of Evolution actually is or what it entails, or what the various lines of evidence are that support it and how they work. It would probably be best if you were to discard everything you think you know about it, and start over from scratch while relying on reputable sources for your information. The universe as it really exists is a far more fascinating place than the pseudoscientific caricature of it that religious fundamentalism presents, and studying actual science is a far more fruitful and satisfying endeavour than trying to make the world fit the artificial and arbitrary strictures of prefabricated, premodern dogma. Why anyone would want to be mentally trapped in such backwardness mystifies me.
     
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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If only the theory of macroevolution rested entirely upon provable facts, rather than (as it does) largely upon suppositions and guesswork, you would be correct.

    To the contrary, the theory implies much more than that. Implicit within the theory is the belief that no Creator was behind the development process.

    Quite simply, no. God made Adam "out of the dust of the earth." He 'started from scratch' and did not borrow some neanderthal. Really, have you not read the book?

    :rofl::biglaugh:That really takes the cake!! Stop and think: if macroevolution "is still going on," where are the new life forms? The fossil record shows a plethora of new creatures all in a geologically short period, and then <poof!> it basically stops! What we see in recent geologic history up to today are extinctions, and micro-devolutionary changes which reflect losses or corruptions of genetic material.

    :jawdrop: Oh my Lord, this is so ridiculous! God created all of it-- the entire universe-- for us. For humanity, specifically! For the people who would be His 'children', people whom He would love and cherish, people who could love Him and glorify Him. People whom He created "in His image." There is no way on earth that human beings will be "out-evolved." Read Revelation! We have been given a glimpse at "the rest of the story" for humanity, and it does not include being replaced by some other form of life!
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The "fossil layers" evidence of what you speak is a theoretical construct that does not bear out in actuality. Sure, I learned that stuff about the layers in high school and again in college (3 higher ed degrees, btw), but what they didn't teach in college was the fact that this perfect pattern of progressive, successive layers of higher-and-higher life forms is not what the earth's geologic layers actually display.

    Secular schools have a secular agenda which has been set by the wealthy donors. They will present the facts selectively to the advantage of their narrative and they leave out facts which are unfavorable to it. If you want a balanced view of facts, you'll have to dig for it (figuratively speaking).
     
  18. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Like I’ve already said, the issue isn’t the science, it’s the fact that you’re committed to a ridiculous conspiracy theory that’s colored by your political views.

    So what you’re in essence telling me, is that if I don’t believe a story about a man who was made out of dirt, and then kicked out of a paradisiacal garden that can be located on no map, because a talking snake convinced his wife to eat a fruit that would confer knowledge so profound that it would be incompatible with immortality, to be literal history, that I then have no right to attend gatherings in which the moral example of Jesus is upheld as the paragon of virtue, and his life and deeds are remembered. That’s insane if anything is, and it’s nonsense like that that discredits Christianity in the eyes of younger people especially, who might otherwise be attracted to it for its moral and spiritual focus and heritage. Fundamentalism will destroy Christianity if it’s allowed to be the only face of it that people see.
     
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  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    There's nothing political about this. My political views are irrelevant. It's all too common for people on the left to play the "conspiracy theory" card any time it's convenient. It's a cheap cop-out.

    Look, everyone saw you say that you don't believe in the atonement of Christ's death for your sins. Without that firm belief, you're an unsaved sinner who's posing as a Christian on a Christian forum.

    What makes one a Christian is acknowledging that one is completely lost in sin, and wholeheartedly believing that Christ died and rose so that the one who trusts in the efficacy of His atoning/redeeming suffering and death-- trusting for complete and sole remission of their sin-guilt and trusting not in one's own contributory efforts at self-justification-- will be saved. To be "saved" is to be spiritually remade and reborn by the power of God; it is to receive the indwelling Holy Spirit (His Presence is hard to miss, He is awesome!) as our helper and our guarantor of eternal life; it is to be put into right relationship with God as one of His children (adopted into His family and made a joint heir with Jesus).

    It's not about head knowledge. It's about coming to a childlike faith, a simple and complete trust in what Jesus did for you. It's knowing that, without utter dependence upon the life's blood Jesus shed and the mortal life Jesus voluntarily gave so that you could be reconciled to God, you have no hope whatsoever. Being a Christian is throwing yourself totally on the mercy of God and believing (while still in this life) that His undeserved favor is being extended to you, thanks to Jesus' labor of love for you on the cross.

    I know we're most often at loggerheads. I know you don't like me. That's okay. But know this: I wouldn't have written this message were it not for the love God has for you... the love He wanted me to express on His behalf just now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2023
  20. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Acerbics cleaned up, and thread closed. Enjoy the blissful calm, everyone.
     
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