The Strongest Argument for God

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Kurieuo
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The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:23 pm

To the Atheist/Agnostic contingent, you saw the title of this thread and clicked. I was just interested to know whether you *sighed*, rolled your eyes, thought "yeah right" or something such? i.e., you were already dismissive before opening this thread?

Nothing wrong with that, but it's just important to note no one ever comes to an argument from the opposing side without any bias. I'd be no different if I saw a thread entitled "Why God Doesn't Exist". I'd just like you to realise that you do have your own bias, even before opening a topic on God's existence.

Yet, we evidently believe there's still some point, right? I mean why else are we all here. My own point, is, I do like a bit of banter, the stimulus and entertainment that these discussions bring. But then, a more serious reason, being a Christian believing what I also am deeply concerned for others who are without Christ in their lives.

It becomes especially concerning seeing family die who I know were quite against God, thinking that they will stand alone before their Maker, and be judged according to His standard. Their own standards of what is right or wrong no longer matter. And they'll have no attorney to defend, no protection, just whole lives laid bare before the One who knows all.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kenny » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:15 pm

Kurieuo wrote:To the Atheist/Agnostic contingent, you saw the title of this thread and clicked. I was just interested to know whether you *sighed*, rolled your eyes, thought "yeah right" or something such? i.e., you were already dismissive before opening this thread?

Nothing wrong with that, but it's just important to note no one ever comes to an argument from the opposing side without any bias. I'd be no different if I saw a thread entitled "Why God Doesn't Exist". I'd just like you to realise that you do have your own bias, even before opening a topic on God's existence.

Yet, we evidently believe there's still some point, right? I mean why else are we all here. My own point, is, I do like a bit of banter, the stimulus and entertainment that these discussions bring. But then, a more serious reason, being a Christian believing what I also am deeply concerned for others who are without Christ in their lives.

It becomes especially concerning seeing family die who I know were quite against God, thinking that they will stand alone before their Maker, and be judged according to His standard. Their own standards of what is right or wrong no longer matter. And they'll have no attorney to defend, no protection, just whole lives laid bare before the One who knows all.

Are you looking for a reply? Or are you just putting your thoughts in print.

Ken

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:17 pm

Both. I mean when you saw the thread, what were your thoughts before opening?
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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby IceMobster » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:38 am

Kurieuo wrote:But then, a more serious reason, being a Christian believing what I also am deeply concerned for others who are without Christ in their lives.

It becomes especially concerning seeing family die who I know were quite against God, thinking that they will stand alone before their Maker, and be judged according to His standard. Their own standards of what is right or wrong no longer matter. And they'll have no attorney to defend, no protection, just whole lives laid bare before the One who knows all.

So, do the people who know of Christianity yet reject it directly go to hell or are they judged first? Say they believe (or start believing) once they talk to God, what then? Is that even possible?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kenny » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:34 am

Kurieuo wrote:Both. I mean when you saw the thread, what were your thoughts before opening?

The topic name wasn't enough to warrant a preconceived judgment from me; I think I just had a big question mark above my head when I opened it.

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:44 am

IceMobster wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:But then, a more serious reason, being a Christian believing what I also am deeply concerned for others who are without Christ in their lives.

It becomes especially concerning seeing family die who I know were quite against God, thinking that they will stand alone before their Maker, and be judged according to His standard. Their own standards of what is right or wrong no longer matter. And they'll have no attorney to defend, no protection, just whole lives laid bare before the One who knows all.

So, do the people who know of Christianity yet reject it directly go to hell or are they judged first? Say they believe (or start believing) once they talk to God, what then? Is that even possible?

Judged. Everyone gets a fair trial.
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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:56 am

To avoid misunderstanding from others, I'll just say even the demons believe. (James 2:9) Yet, then what?

Ok, I lied and will add more. What Scripture, Christ and Apostles make known on many occasions is that God desires the heart of a person. From the heart comes belief, and with belief the mouth would naturally and happily confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10 lays out a sort of relationship between all three). God desires to truly have us, not an empty rational belief, but an authentic trust and desire. That is what I believe Paul means by "with the heart a person believes."

If a hollow belief is what God sought, then I have no doubt our world would be different.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby IceMobster » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:52 am

Kurieuo wrote:Judged. Everyone gets a fair trial.

Kurieuo wrote:To avoid misunderstanding from others, I'll just say even the demons believe. (James 2:9) Yet, then what?

Ok, I lied and will add more. What Scripture, Christ and Apostles make known on many occasions is that God desires the heart of a person. From the heart comes belief, and with belief the mouth would naturally and happily confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10 lays out a sort of relationship between all three). God desires to truly have us, not an empty rational belief, but an authentic trust and desire. That is what I believe Paul means by "with the heart a person believes."

If a hollow belief is what God sought, then I have no doubt our world would be different.

If a person that has never heard about Christianity (what Thomas refers to as ignorantia invincibilis) stands trialed in front of God (ignore the Romans passage saying God's deeds can be seen everywhere and "anywhen" -- forgot which passage it is), will it be judged only on its deeds/works or? Because, if it gets judged by both faith and works, the person will probably end up in hell.
Furthermore, we could put into the same category some Asian whose religion makes more sense to him (simply because he was raised in it, his parents taught him into it). So, when missionaries come or he hears about Christianity from some other source, bias towards his own set of believes or way of thinking will probably outweight any words the missionary has to say.
So, that person knows of Christianity but refuses to believe its truths (or the Truth) it ends up in hell no matter his deeds, correct?

Based on what I have read/heard/know about Christianity the answer to the last question is yes. See, that is a problem I have with Christianity:
God knew there will be those (a majority! since only 1/3 of the planet is Christian -- even so, it is probably less than that since true Christian =/= Christian on paper) who will choose non-Christianity and therefore be doomed...

Of course, the other end of the spectrum -- where God makes it clear what the correct religion is, would also be kinda pointless. <---- it is the same with evil.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGOXMf6yDCU

Fecisti nos ad te, Domine, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te!

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Jac3510 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:24 pm

IceMobster wrote:If a person that has never heard about Christianity (what Thomas refers to as ignorantia invincibilis) stands trialed in front of God (ignore the Romans passage saying God's deeds can be seen everywhere and "anywhen" -- forgot which passage it is), will it be judged only on its deeds/works or? Because, if it gets judged by both faith and works, the person will probably end up in hell.
Furthermore, we could put into the same category some Asian whose religion makes more sense to him (simply because he was raised in it, his parents taught him into it). So, when missionaries come or he hears about Christianity from some other source, bias towards his own set of believes or way of thinking will probably outweight any words the missionary has to say.
So, that person knows of Christianity but refuses to believe its truths (or the Truth) it ends up in hell no matter his deeds, correct?

Actually, you can't ignore that passage (it's in Romans 1, by the way), because never hearing of Christ is not the same thing as being invincibly ignorant. For Thomas, you are culpable for the revelation you have received. A person who is truly ignorant and invincibly so would have no access to the revelation of God--say a person with significant mental defects. To quote him directly on the matter:

    I answer that, Ignorance differs from nescience, in that nescience denotes mere absence of knowledge; wherefore whoever lacks knowledge about anything, can be said to be nescient about it: in which sense Dionysius puts nescience in the angels (Coel. Hier. vii). On the other hand, ignorance denotes privation of knowledge, i.e. lack of knowledge of those things that one has a natural aptitude to know. Some of these we are under an obligation to know, those, to wit, without the knowledge of which we are unable to accomplish a due act rightly. Wherefore all are bound in common to know the articles of faith, and the universal principles of right, and each individual is bound to know matters regarding his duty or state. Meanwhile there are other things which a man may have a natural aptitude to know, yet he is not bound to know them, such as the geometrical theorems, and contingent particulars, except in some individual case. Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called "invincible," because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know.
The problem with Asian religions is that they tend to be idolatrous in nature (whether they think that certain parts of earth, or the creation itself, actually are God(s) or else they worship images of parts of nature as representatives of God). As such, they necessarily deny what they are obligated to know and can, in fact, know about Him. In Paul's words, though the truth of His nature is plain to them, they suppress the truth. They, then, are not invincibly ignorant. Now, you can argue that the moral culpability of some is reduced, that some through the study of their own religion bear the weight of their own sin more than those who are forbidden such study. The sin of the latter would not be invincible and would certainly be of a different nature, but, again, you could argue that their bear a lesser guilt than the leaders whom they follow into darkness. But none of that absolves any of them of their guilt at all.

Just food for thought.

edit:

For follow up, so I don't think your problem with Christianity appropriately represents Christianity, insofar as you are operating from different assumptions and premises than our faith. You may do so, of course, but if your assumptions are wrong and that of Christianity is correct, then you've offered no argument against our position at all. And the general stance you seem to be arguing from--or at least your perception of the Christian position based on your assumed stance--is that human beings are in some ways analogous to consumers, whereby we are offered a suite of products, and if we pick the right one (by study or tradition or revelation or happenstance) we are rewarded with heaven but if we pick the wrong one (for whatever reason) we go to Hell.

But that's not an accurate representation at all. The Christian position starts with an assertion: all human beings sin. None of us have a heart inclined to God. Rather than seeking His will (or even His nature, for that matter), we are more interested in our own wills and seek to construct gods and religions that conform to, support, and promote our own agendas. But those agendas are evil. Yet it is not God who has created us to be evil. It's simply a historical point of fact that we so conduct ourselves. Now God calls all people. Some of those people respond to the revelation He has given. Some don't. Some stifle that correction and insist on their own way, suppressing the truth. Some respond to part of the revelation but then, when God's voice bumps against some deeply held value, they suppress that portion of truth. And so some incorporate more parts of God's voice into their religions or theological and spiritual and some incorporate less. In the end, the ones who are saved are those who respond to the call of God. Specifically, God's final revelation is His Son Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Him are saved. Those who reject Him have rejected God because they have rejected God's voice in preference for their own. As CS Lewis said, God is the kind of God to whom you either say, "Thy will be done," or He says to you, "thy will be done." The latter is a terrifying thought!

We take it on faith, then, that all people are granted sufficient revelation to be saved. I hear many stories, to use an extreme example, of Muslims having visions of Jesus by which they are converted. So the sad fact that most people are not speaks more to human weakness and general wickedness than it does to any supposed lack of justice on God's part.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: The Strongest Argument for God

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:05 pm

IceMobster wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Judged. Everyone gets a fair trial.

Kurieuo wrote:To avoid misunderstanding from others, I'll just say even the demons believe. (James 2:9) Yet, then what?

Ok, I lied and will add more. What Scripture, Christ and Apostles make known on many occasions is that God desires the heart of a person. From the heart comes belief, and with belief the mouth would naturally and happily confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10 lays out a sort of relationship between all three). God desires to truly have us, not an empty rational belief, but an authentic trust and desire. That is what I believe Paul means by "with the heart a person believes."

If a hollow belief is what God sought, then I have no doubt our world would be different.

If a person that has never heard about Christianity (what Thomas refers to as ignorantia invincibilis) stands trialed in front of God (ignore the Romans passage saying God's deeds can be seen everywhere and "anywhen" -- forgot which passage it is), will it be judged only on its deeds/works or? Because, if it gets judged by both faith and works, the person will probably end up in hell.

I don't know if this answers your question in a way you feel in adequate, but I'll detail was we have that has been reveal, which isn't necessarily what I desire the case to be.

In Israel everyone was judged according to God's righteous standard and an earthly expression of such was the Law given to Israel when they promised to walk according to God, their I AM, also often reveal as the Angel of God who is often called Lord. (if you refer to my Trinity thread with commentary on the persons being found in the OT, as well as supporting Jewish theology)

In any case, we see over and over, Israel was unfaithful, and walked away over and over again. Sometimes they'd return, but Scripture presents them as being unfaithful while God remained faithful. God gets "fed up," and says I don't care for your mere sacrifices, meaningless rituals, I desire your heart. You see, Israel was using the sacrificial system setup to show the seriousness of their sin that such results in death (and indeed the not breaking of the bones and other features within such that we now know foreshadowed how Christ, the eternal Lamb who was slain, would be sacrificed). However, they had turned it into vacant ritual that was meaningless, and their hearts were far from God. Consider what is said by the prophet Israel (Israel 1:11-21, also cf. Psalm 51:16-19; Hosea 6:6).

    Isaiah 1: 11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me?” saith the Lord. “I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs or of hegoats.
    12 When you come to appear before Me, who hath required this from your hand, to tread My courts?
    13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me. The new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure. It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
    14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth; they are a trouble unto Me, I am weary of bearing them.
    15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood.
    16 Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes. Cease to do evil,
    17 learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
    18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” saith the Lord. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
    19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land;
    20 but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
    21 How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers.

Given Israel's harlotry, Jeremiah prophesied:

    31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,[a] says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jer 31:31-34)

With Jesus, what He did, we now know the Lord here mentioned. And it is through the Lord's work, that rather than earning "righteousness" through obedience and rituals, such "righteousness" is imputed to us. See many understand "righteousness" as keeping moral laws, yet we are shown in both the Old and New testaments that God's righteousness can also be imputed to us. Therefore, we are transformed into righteous beings via imputation, our iniquities can be forgiven, and our sins are no longer an obstacle to God.

Now, to be judged by God according to God's righteous standard, everyone would no doubt be silent and embarrassed as God plays of our life in front of everyone. In being laid bare, all of us would be silenced, and our own consciences would indeed convict us. So then, God being righteous cannot accept someone who isn't also righteous, and so must give what is due. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and physical death is I see an expression in the natural world of the more serious spiritual death.

To those who the Lord's righteousness has been given and received (and it is available to everyone), such pass from God's judgement that judges the righteousness attained through works. I see Scripture also teaches the Lord (Christ) will still reckon with His own, yet such just won't have "terminal" spiritual consequences.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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