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Peter Carr (24/12/2010 08:09)
I would place The Nativity on a par with Mel Gibson's The Passion - excellent!
Peter Carr (24/12/2010 08:12)
RF said, "I suppose I left the church because it did not engage with moderately intelligent people on a serious and honest level."
Where does that leave the whole idea of faith?
RF (Guest) (25/12/2010 21:12)
Andrea 23/12:You cannot brush off the point about an absent census, or Herod's order to kill, by pointing out that you are not an historian. No evidence of a census or killing, at that time, has been found by historians. If there had been such a census or killing it surely would have been established by historians. Academic historians can vary in their researches but none of them have come up with anything in this regard and therefore the only rational view to take is that the nativity story is... well a story. Fabricated. And once the roof comes off, the walls also begin to crumble and eventually tumble.
Moving on to the crucification I wonder what evidence you have for the crucification of Jesus other that bible sources. It is true that the Romans did crucify people.Perhaps I am at the beginning of a learning curve regarding Jesus and his crucifiction and if so that is good.
With regards to the church I had this in mind: To look at the bible, see its problems and issues, as well as its beauty, and ask those that profess faith to shed some light on what I saw as almost insurmountable problems.
It is a fact that we are animals; we are related to monkeys;few people give a .... about these animals yet it is the human animal that goes to Heaven; the rest get oblivion.For goodness sake.
There are many absolute contradictions in the bible.That being the case the bible is in serious trouble.Forget mystery or interpretation, absolute is absolute.
If one surrenders to religion, and believes it, then yes one might feel very good in terms of the mind and body. Christians sometimes express how wonderful they feel. I have to say what does that really mean for truth when put alongside terror, rape, gassing, cruelty to 'lower' animals.........
I mentioned aliens a few weeks back. Are they in the image of God? With their strange ears and digestive systems where are they in the pecking order in relation to humans. Arrogant humans.
University research has shed much light on the bible and it does not look good for those that champion it. But that is maybe for another time.
Finally I had not planned to make a contribution today but there again what better day is there for discussing these matters? I still feel a touch bad about it though.
Penny Lee (25/12/2010 22:49)
I did not brush off the point of the census. All I said was that I couldn't make any comment as I did not have the information necessary. Would you rather that I waffle some explanation rather than just say I simply didn't know what historical records did or didn't show? I agree it is highly likely that a census would be recorded but historical records aren't always preserved for later generations to view. There are people today who try to deny the holocaust despite all the evidence available, and we're only talking 70 years ago, so what would happen if the evidence hadn't survived to prove them wrong? There are, apparently, astrological records from eastern asia to confirm the extra bright star at that time but just like any other evidence which supports the event, it gets ignored or denied.
As for Jesus' death, there is plenty of evidence in written records from many sources, as well as historical sites. Even the koran, which wasn't written until 400 years after the completion of the New Testament, cannot deny the existence and importance of Jesus but reduces Him to a prophet and agrees He was crucified but try to claim he survived it and died a natural death some time later. (Nobody survived crucifixion, especially when their limbs were broken to hasten death for convenience).
I cannot explain much of what is in the Bible because I do not possess any more insight than any other human being. I can only use my normal human understanding like anyone else but I understand the most crucial parts, such as what is necessary for my salvation, and it is simple enough for even a child to understand. This is where so many 'intelligent' people fall down as they want it to be exclusive to those of greater understanding and therefore only available to an elite group.
I don't believe we are animals. Unlike animals, we have a soul and a conscience, and are answerable for what we do. The Bible clearly tells us we are created in God's image and were given control over animals. Do you really think animals and humans are on a par? If so, then I presume you are vegetarian as surely it would horrify you to eat another animal like yourself. If you have no problems eating meat then logically you could also eat human meat!
I'm not sure I understand what you are saying when you refer to the "terror, rape, gassing, cruelty to 'lower' animals". To whom do you refer? - other humans? If so, then they are not 'lower animals'. They are of the same value to God as any human being, even if other groups consider them lower. That's the whole point of God's love -he loves everyone equally, he died to ransom everybody and he wants everybody to come to him. It's we who reject God, not the other way round.
I've no idea whether or not there are any aliens so I cannot answer any questions about that possibility. The only one statement in the Bible which a few think might refer to aliens is when Jesus says "there are others who are not of this flock" but some reckon he was talking about the gentiles (ie: non-Jews) and since they are also included in his gift of salvation it doesn't give me any concern.
God's purposes will march on regardless of University research, secular groups or any other factor which tries to stop it. I don't place any of my faith in anyone else because they came into the world, and will go out of it, the same way as anyone else. I prefer to place my faith in the eternal and all-powerful God who will never let me down, lie to me, or want my destruction.
Finally, I have no problem about you making a contribution to this site today or any other day of the year so no need to feel bad about it!
Hope you had a lovely Christmas regardless of how you chose to spend it.
RF (Guest) (26/12/2010 16:59)
Para 2 - there is not plenty of evidence. There is no evidence, other than the bible. At least that is my current and very firm understanding. What has been offered as evidence other than the bible? Even if there had been alternative evidence what would that actually prove about divinity? I am hoping that you can come up with evidence because It would be interesting and thought provoking. Tatty Catholic relics do not count.
The Koran? Please.
Para 3 Curious.Some pick and mix but no recognition of the significance of absolute contradictions. If there are absolute contradictions then the 'whole' is shaky, especially as the 'whole' is incredible in the first place.As there are absolute contradictions it confirms that God's word is imperfect and if that is the case.....
Para 4 Please get used to the idea that we are animals.I cannot imagine that you are denying evolution. Can some other members of the Highlands and Islands please support me on this? Or do you all consider Adam and Eve to be the way to go? Please do not abstain from 'voting'.
Para 7 In the main,when not politically interfered with, university research sets out to try and understand the world by means of objective research. Having said that I do not agree with everything I was told there.
Andrea have a good 2011. I really want that. Continue to work hard, play hard and happy researching.
Pawlo (26/12/2010 17:39)
I'm unsure as to what you want from some of us on here. Do you hope we will renounce our faith and come to a place of disbelief as you have? I see clearly that you doubt the authority of scripture and that is up to you, but I and most others on here will disagree. I and many others would make sense of the world from scripture not the other way around. this is where we clearly differ. The word became flesh and I trust the word, you do not trust the word and hence do not believe.
I don't believe we are animals either and evolution is nonsense.
That is my vote, and nothing can move me, I stand firm.
I hope you have a good new year also. You too Andrea.
Penny Lee (26/12/2010 19:38)
This is getting silly. You are expecting us to come up with some cast-iron proof of what we believe. It's not going to happen and, even if it did, you still wouldn't believe it, would you? You know that and so do we and I prefer to spend my limited time to try to explain what I believe and why to those who are genuinely interested rather than just trying to win an argument. There are an awful lot of unanswered questions, and complete contradictions, such as the 'Big Bang' being completely impossible scientifically, in evolution yet you seem happy to accept the main theory, yet you completely reject the whole idea of God since we can't answer all your questions about Him and His creation.
You can search yourself for "evidence for Jesus" but you've already made up your own mind that there's no credible evidence so, again, it's probably a waste of time.
What's with the "koran, please". Obviously, I don't pay any heed to this book but my point was that, 400 years after Jesus' death, it would have been ridiculous to deny His existence and importance since it was beyond doubt. Again, why would our very calendar be started again if it was just a fable? To my knowledge, this has never happened before or since so it must have been a very significant event to justify that!
I confirm I am denying evolution. I can accept minor changes as people and animals adapt to their environment but I just cannot accept that one species can change into another. Again, it goes against all the laws of nature and the scientific rule that like always gives rise to like. The very origins of life on earth also contradicts the scientific rule that order never comes out of chaos.To say that these changes take so incredibly long to occur is a cop-out. To my logical mind, creation is far more believable than evolution. The idea that gases came together and brought forth life is a major sticking point for me. Where did these gases come from? What started off the process? Perhaps you have answers to these questions and many more that I could ask! I'm sure you don't have the answers (and neither does anyone else) but you still believe in evolution. Well, that's how I feel about God. I don't have al the answers either but I have enough to believe in Him. Perhaps you can also point out some of the 'absolute contradictions' to which you refer to in the Bible. Perhaps I would be unable to give an appropriate answer but I haven't yet come across one which causes me to doubt.
For the record, yes I believe in Adam and Eve because I believe the Bible in its entirety and, as you correctly state, if something as fundamental as this was wrong then why would I place any credibility on the rest?
Finally, Christianity requires faith so if we already had all the answers then why would we need faith?
A good New Year to you, and also to Paul and the rest of you.
Brian Ross (26/12/2010 23:33)
Paul makes a valid point when he suggests that you seem to be out to cleverly argue some disciples of Jesus into the state of unbelief in which you appear to be content to exist!
Andrea also makes the point that we are never going to convince, by argument and/or evidence, someone who has already made up his mind (in spite of your protestations to the contrary, I am convinced that this is the case!).
I find your reference to 'aliens' to be very interesting! Perhaps you will find some words of the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, to be equally interesting. Speaking at the National Science Academy’s first conference on the possibility of alien life, he stated that we may never resolve some of the greatest mysteries of the universe (yes, Andrea isn't the only one to use that term!). He compared (I would emphasise that word, if the site permitted me to do so - over to you, Colin!!) human beings to fish that swim through oceans and rivers without any idea of the properties of the water in which they exist. He said "Some aspects of reality - a unified theory of physics, or a full understanding of human consciousness - might elude us, simply because they're beyond human brains, just as surely as Einstein's ideas would baffle a chimpanzee." Indeed, he went on to state that "In theory, there could be another entire universe less than a millimetre away from us (on my screen the space between words as I type is app.2 mm), but we are oblivious to it because that millimetere is measured in a fourth spatial dimension, and we are imprisoned in three" and, concerning 'aliens', that "They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognise them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology. I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains."
Stephen Hawking, and others, actually postulate as many as eleven dimensions, including two time dimensions! If you take the time to read "The Universe in a Nutshell", you may understand why someone like me quickly equates his 'other' time dimension with what, theologically speaking, I would refer to as 'eternity'!
I am currently fascinated by the relationship (as far as I am able to understand it!) between physical time and eternity. However, I agree with Lord Rees that there is less than a millimetre separating the two! (Okay - he wasn't speaking in precisely the same terms as I am, but you get my drift!). If you access my blog at
and go to Nov.30th, you will find a few of my thoughts there - thoughts that have some relevance to this particular discussion!)
I may have quoted this to you before because, outwith the Word of God, it is one of my favourite quotations. It is by the English Bard who, in the tragedy of the same name, has his character Hamlet state that "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."(Act 1, sc 5).
Confucius, also, says that "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"! Perhaps Andrea is the one on this forum who is displaying real knowledge by having the courage to state what she does not know! Having said that, her analogy of the Holocaust is quite inspired! With regard to the crucifixion of Jesus, may I point you in the direction of Josephus, et al?
So, there you are! I haven't even quoted from the Bible (since you reject such quotations out of hand!). I merely wish to show you that there is plenty of valid academic argument to support the efficacy of that sacred Book. However, as my late granny - a woman of much 'home-spun phiosophy' - would have pointed out: "Convince a man against his will; he's of the same opinion still!", and "There's nane sae blin' as them as wilnae see!" (trans. There are none as blind as those who refuse to see!).
I wish you well in 2011. May this be the year when your spiritual eyes are opened and, like the disbelieving Thomas, you fall on your knees before the risen Christ, and echo those words: "My Lord, and my God."!
RF doing some agreeing (Guest) (27/12/2010 17:57)
Thank you for your thoughful and interesting contribution.
My thoughts about your piece are as follows:
Opening sentence - 'cleverly' seems to hint at trickery but I might be wrong. For the record I am not trying to be 'clever'.
It is true that I have made my mind up, and with a great deal of confidence, but only after a decade of effort. However I take an interest in what continues to be said by Christians in the hope that I can do a Saul Paul.
I have no argument with you regarding your use of Rees/Hawking but in a sense it indicates to me that the Christian breeze of confidence 'cut and dried, we have the meaning of life' is smug, conceited and so very unlikely. However your take on it is noted.
I am very aware of the current state of human ignorance, despite its great advances in some areas. The more we know the more we ought to be aware of how little we know. Quite.
I was aware of Josephus and I now wish I had made reference to that in my last contribution. He says very little about Jesus - a smallish paragraph - and nothing about some other big playing Christians. It looks dodgy to me and some of it may well be second hand. It does not excite me.The evidence for Christian dogma remains sparse. But yes there is always a few words by Josephus and bible testimony.
Your take on Andrea's reference to the Holocaust leaves me diplomatically speechless. They deny despite a mass of evidence but I was referring to a lack of objective evidence [ok virtually none] concerning earlier - long before WW2 - Christian testimony.
I agree that there is none so blind as those that cannot see.
I agree with Andrea that it is getting a bit silly. I have said my piece over the last few months and now must go. Afterall it is a Christians Together site not Christians v earnest disbelievers, other than perhaps the occasional piece that might be of interest.I have said enough. I do nor wish to be discourteous.
Penny Lee (27/12/2010 19:50)
I presumed you would have understood my point in mentioning the denial of the holocaust. Of course it is a ridiculous notion when we have all the evidence still with us but how about in 500 years time if all evidence is lost by then? Those still denying it would probably be taken seriously as no-one could prove otherwise. Can you not conceive that this is what may be happening with Jesus?
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