A Defense of the Christian Message

Discussion in 'Community' started by maluscanis, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. maluscanis macrumors member

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    #1
    It's long (10 minutes of reading) but it is well worth reading for the religion skeptics out there. Please consider visiting this link, especially if you wish to make informed statements about Christianity.

    Ravi Zacharias' Address to the United Nations' Prayer Breakfast 10 September 2002

    http://www.gospelcom.net/rzim/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=13


    Voice your opinions about the article.
     
  2. professor macrumors newbie

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    #2
    I recommend some reading that's even longer:
    "Why I Am Not a Christian" by Bertrand Russell.
     
  3. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    It's on my shelf, waiting for me to have time to read it...should be fun.
     
  4. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

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    #4
    i also recommend" the gospel according to jesus" by stephen mitchell.

    quite a different take on the subject.

    his translations of the tao is also fantastic.
     
  5. medea macrumors 68030

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    #5
    also fun reading, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity by Hyam Maccoby.....
     
  6. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #6
    Abandon all help, all philosophies for the enlightenment of God's being.

    That is what I see the moral of his speach to be. And I think it is folly.

    He quotes a psychologist at the end of his life, depressed, and on the brink of suicide who has renounced his philosophies of life. He takes this as a signal that psychology has failed us, that we need to prescribe to a set of objective morals imposed by a higher power. While I agree that there is an issue with accountability, psychology does not teach you to abandon accountability and find external intities to blame for your woes. Rather, it teaches you to identify the source of your woes, wether it be internal or external, and ask "Why?" Why do I feel bad? Why do I act the way I do?

    God is not a replacement for psychology, and by accepting the merits of psychology you in no way abandon the notions of objective moralality or God. For each quote of a hopeless psychologist you could find hundreds that proudly proclaim the successes and merits of their work and those its helped. And the same could be said about the other philosophies he treads upon.

    He never proves his point. Even if rasicm or murder and our averance as a society to the prinicipals behind these entities somehow proves there are objective moral values (I don't believe it does), he never proves his second assumption: that if objective moral values exist, God must as well. How could he prove that point? What reasoning could he provide to link the two?

    As with most philosophers trying to prove the existance or necessity of God, this man uses sloppy techniques and improper logic to prove his points. In the end, his recommendation is to accept Jesus Christ in your life. I would add: but not to the exclusion of reason.

    What it boils down to is faith. There is no proof, no infallible logic that proves God's necessity or utter being. You need to have faith. And if that faith is so large that it excludes the teachings of scientific research and knowledge from your mind, I would argue that its a bad thing.

    Taft
     
  7. maluscanis thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    You have some great thoughts here...there are a few comments I would like to make.

    "He never proves his point. Even if rasicm or murder and our averance as a society to the prinicipals behind these entities somehow proves there are objective moral values (I don't believe it does), he never proves his second assumption: that if objective moral values exist, God must as well. How could he prove that point? What reasoning could he provide to link the two?"

    - Well actually, his second point is quite logical and is understood to be in philosophical arenas, which is probably why he didn't offer a defense in this lecture. The logic behind the idea is that if there is good and bad, then there is an objective moral law on which to base good and bad, and if there is a moral law there must also be a moral law positor because the moral law cannot come from nothing. In the theistic worldview, God is definitely capable of such an act. However, Atheistic philosophers have yet to give a logical, reasonable explanation for an absolute moral law, one that we are obliged to obey. It just doesn't make sense in this worldview.


    Please remember, nobody will ever be able to prove any of this absolutely, unless God comes down for an interview with Barabara on 20/20. The take home message is that any worldview must give a logical response to all of life's question (moral, philosophical, & scientifically) and more importantly, it must make sense to us existentially (ie. experientially). In other words, it must make sense to me on all fronts, if it is correct. Does Christianity? Does atheism?

    Ravi's point concerning the talk-show was a simple one: it was that are you willing to say that racism, rape, cold-blooded and torturous murder are not absolutely wrong in all cases. If you believe that they are absolutely wrong, then you've have a logic problem if your worldview is atheistic - this was his point. He never said that this somehow proved christianity, only that our unwillingness to give up absolute morality points to an objective moral law, which point to some God-like power. In other words, he is arguing for a theistic framework, which includes Christianity and others.

    You wrote, "What it boils down to is faith. There is no proof, no infallible logic that proves God's necessity or utter being. You need to have faith." I agree with you there, almost. But I would rephrase it slightly.

    I would say "There is no way to absolutely prove God's existense and there are philosophical, scientific, and existential grounds that we must never compromise ... But it does boil down to faith."

    I would ask you to consider Christ's worldview but NEVER at the exclusion of reason.

    Oh by the way, he was not quoting a pyschologist. That was his life story and he was relaying a personal experience - that Christ's teachings have helped him find answers and meaning in a world where he had not found them before.

    Simon
     
  8. markomarko macrumors member

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    #8
    Kierkegaard suggests that being a Knight of Faith requires one to abandon reason. Reason, he suggests, cannot comprehend the absolute. Abraham had to be willing to slay Isaac to be a Knight of Faith, to enter into an absolute (faithful) relationship with the absolute (god).

    He's my favorite philosopher. Check him out at http://www.mindspring.com/~telos/etext/fear.htm
     
  9. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #9
    First, I don't know that there is a objective moral law. A general consensus of opinion--not fact--does not a law make. At least in any scientific sense.

    Second, your assertion that given a moral law does exists, a higher power must have created it makes a huge assumption: that a higher power is responsible for the creation of all things. Couldn't the process of evolution have created the "law"? You make the assumption that the law is not just objective but created external to man. Couldn't some stucture of our being make us generally agree about what is good and bad? And how do you explain those people who think that racism isn't bad and that murder is not wrong? If they don't feel the same way as us, does the law simply not apply to them, or are they aware of the objetive moral presence and just turn a blind eye to it?

    Lots of impossible to answer questions.

    I'm not saying that I don't believe a higher power exist, just that I don't think any logic exercise can justify or otherwise prove his existance to a wider audience. If thats what you think in your head, great. But it isn't infallible logic.

    Yes he was...
    He was using this as a dig against psychology and atheism as condoning a lack of personal responsibility and using a single persons statements as a general statement against psychology. He does it in an amicable voice, but it is a dig nonetheless.

    Taft
     
  10. Megaquad macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    This thread is gay. You should stop all this nonsense because these things often become holy wars of large scale..
    I could flame on and reply to all this but I will just make a statement.

    In bible, what jesus says, his principles are very clear. And for a christian who studied religion and literature, your questions and statements are easy to answer.
    Once he was asked why is he telling all that through comparations and stories, he said that those to who it is been revealed can interpret and understand meaning of bible and his words, while some others, they read and it is "empty" to them, they dont get it.

    Ask and you will receive, ask that you want that secret to be revealed to you and it will be.

    If you dont believe in that,then there is no point in continuing this discussion from scientifical, world view, because bible and christianity are based on belief on what is reffered as supernatural (supernatural happenings connected to christianity are not rare, and are happening everywhere, from "stigmatas" - (jesus' wounds and a cross on the chest appears on people) to gift of speaking languages and miraculous healings.
     
  11. vniow macrumors G4

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    #11

    Wrong thread.
     
  12. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #12
    Ha.:D Good show.

    I hadn't seen that thread.

    Taft
     
  13. Groovsonic macrumors regular

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    #13
    Heres the deal:

    I am a Christian. I believe 100% in what The Bible says. I totally trust in Jesus as my Lord.

    I wish everyone did.

    But here is the thing: If you don't want to believe, you won't believe. If I called on God to send fire from heaven right in front of you, If you don't want to believe, you will explain it away as some illusion. You could witness someone being healed of an awful disease, and if you didn't want to believe it, you would figure some way to explain it away.

    I know you can say that it could work both ways. No one can make you believe anything.

    The truth is that God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. If you don't want to believe it, thats sad and unfortunate, but in the end, it's up to you to choose to believe it or not. No amount of philisophy or pshycology can determine what you really believe.

    What I want to know is, why do so many people spend so much time writing so many books trying to debunk Christianity? Even if you don't believe it, why would you try to shake peoples faith? Whats the point? If there is no God, what do you care what people believe?
     
  14. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #14
    For the same reason people try to get the pagans and atheists to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, preaching at them and telling them they are going to hell.

    Some people (on both sides) just don't respect people's opinions and beliefs.

    Taft
     
  15. Megaquad macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    You said they are going to hell, christianity doesn't say that for as many "cases" as you think..
     
  16. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #16
    I don't really understand what you meant here. Carification?

    Taft
     
  17. Perci Mac macrumors member

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    #17
    And also, why do people spend so much time trying to shove religion down other people's throats? I see much more of that, then I see people trying to shake people's faith.
     
  18. Groovsonic macrumors regular

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    #18

    Well, you have the right to say whatever you want, but where do you see this "cramming"? Is this on a personal level, or an institutional thing? I'm only 20, but I don't really recall having anyone cram any religion down my throat.

    I think alot of people take the wrong approach. Why would you go around slamming what other people believe? Instead, explain why what you think is better. This applies to alot of areas, when you are trying to share a viewpoint. If I were selling... umm...Computers, I would say how much better OS X is than Windows. I would say why Macs are better. I wouldn't go telling people how much windows sucks. That tells them nothing about macs, it just makes people defensive about what they use now. (by the way, this is not to imply religion is something to be sold...)

    This is my favorite quote about Christianity: Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
     
  19. frozenstar macrumors regular

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    #19
    God's son died for me? Wow, that's nice of him. Did he also die for the billions of Asians that lived in isolation for hundreds of years who knew nothing of Christ? What about the Native Americans? What about the rest of Earth's population who had never been exposed to the New Testament until recent times?

    Wait, wait... I think I understand... Had my mother converted to Christianity a week before I was born, then, and only then, would Jesus Christ have died for me. Right, got it now.

    I'm agnostic. I admit that we simply can't know who or what is responsible for the creation of the universe. Neither science, nor religion, nor art can answer that question.

    I apologize for offending christians and any others. I just can't help being blunt about the obvious.
     
  20. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

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    #20
    taft didn't say who was going to hell. he was referencing some religious zealots who tell other people they are going to hell. and that DOES happen.

    but you are right, christianity these days emphasizes the merciful nature of god. that was not always the case though. and that is how i see him, merciful, forgiving, etc.. yet another reason why i don't think that only christians or only catholics (i'm catholic) are saved... ie, jesus died for everyone.
     
  21. frozenstar macrumors regular

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    #21
    So, if Jesus Christ (who was Jewish) died for Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Pagans, and Atheists, then please tell me.... what the heck is the point of Christianity?
     
  22. scem0 macrumors 604

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    #22
    what does Jesus' supposed sacrifice have anything to do with
    'the point of christianity'? Im not christian and I usually argue
    against the christians but that doesn't make much sense. ;)
     
  23. frozenstar macrumors regular

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    #23
    I'm not Christian so I'm not 100% on this, but isn't one of the central premises of Christianity that Jesus died for everyone else's sins? This leads me back to my question... If Jesus died for everyone, not just Christians, then why be Christian? I don't know how you're interpreting it, but the question makes perfect sense to me.
     
  24. Groovsonic macrumors regular

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    #24
    Yes, Jesus died for you. Yes, he died for the billions of people that live and have lived in isolation who did not and do not know about Christ. Jesus died for everyone.

    God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not persish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16, paraphrased)

    I realize you do not currently believe in God, but I do. God is Good, and if he is good, then he is just. If he is just, then do you really think he would automatically send billions of people to hell that have never even heard of Jesus? Not according to the Bible.

    I really don't understand the point of the thing about your mother... What does when you were born or what your mother believed have to do with Jesus having died for you?
     
  25. Groovsonic macrumors regular

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    #25
    (Sorry to double post)

    Yes, Jesus died for everyone. It is, however, up to the individual to believe and accept his forgiveness. I, as a Christian, know that when I die, I will be with Him forever. If I choose to reject Jesus' forgiveness, than I have made the choice to reject being with Him forever. God gave everyone free will. He honors our decision. We all make a choice.
     

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