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Old 09-07-2019, 08:17 AM   #1
awareness
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Default Nuclear Testimony

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Hello,

I have been mentally out of the LC for a little over a year now, and found this forum about half a year after that, and have been lurking pretty much ever since. But background first.

My parents came from a very conservative Mennonite family, and as such I was born in Mexico. We moved once to Canada when I was about 4, back to Mexico at 6, and then back to Canada since then. Churches were changed even more often, and as a result the first 10 or so years of my life were dominated by various Christian denominations and organizations, until finally my parents found something different.

The Local Church felt so fresh, so full of excitement and life, and I was hooked. I went to all the Young People conferences, SSOTís and meetings for most of my teenage life, and served in the childrenís meetings for a long time too. In all honesty I saw nothing wrong with most of it, the teachings, the practices, the beliefs, Witness Lee, etc.

As I grew older, small things began bothering me about the LC. An example that stands out to me is the denial of the existence and legitimacy of mental illness during a YP conference from someone I thought I respected. How much women were suppressed also bothered me quite a bit. This was never more directly addressed then when a sister shared to the point of tears her frustration with her peers in university. Her issue was that they wanted careers and postponed marriage for it. I cannot imagine the amount of self loathing and indoctrination it takes to have such a skewed and strong view on how a woman should live her life, it blew me away.

Regardless, I managed to sweep these concerns under the rug, I mean if it is God ordained, its God ordained right? I was mostly content and there was no reason to upset that.
The real strain arrived when it came to faith in a God itself.

Science has throughout my childhood been something I was fascinated with, I ate it up as a middle/high schooler. Even now despite being an engineering student I enjoy learner more about the natural world. As Iím sure some of you can relate, this often conflicted with a literal interpretation of the Bible, especially creation. I managed to postpone what would eventually happen with stopgaps like the ďgap theoryĒ with regards to the age of the Earth, among other things. The doubts I had still remained relatively weak, but the cracks were there.

I still remember that night vividly. I was browsing the internet and fell down an internet rabbit-hole on the validity of the Bible scientifically and based off of historical record. The openness that the subject matter was discussed with was something I had never encountered before, but I couldnít stop reading. It sort of shocked the sort of jaded way that I had always looked at the bible away. The whole book, creation, Noahís flood, Moses, treatment of women, of other cultures, it all looked so different. Really looking at it and seeing how it fit into our modern understanding of how the universe and life began, stuff that I was aware of but would always mentally try to blend in with the Biblical account, it just made so much more sense standalone.

I donít know if any of you have had that experience, but the damn really broke that fast. I went in with few but nagging doubts and near absolute faith in the LC and then later going to bed with my entire worldview broken and shattered into a million pieces. I was physically sick for several days after, but after I felt so liberated. No anxiety over whether I was living the ďSpiritĒ all the time. No more concern over some of my high school friends spending eternity in hellfire. I donít really know how to say it but the world just felt so fresh and vibrant without being pigeonholed into a Biblical worldview.

Its been over a year since then, and I have yet to find a reason to change my mind. I feel that Iím less likely to judge others that I previously would have, Iím still not a terribly adventurous person, but I feel more willing to get out of my comfort zone and to get to know people from all sorts of backgrounds and places.

Until I found this forum about 6 months ago, I maintained in my mind that if Christianity contained any validity, that the LC was its truest and most valid form, but after finding out about its history and controversies, and becoming further disillusioned with its practices and principles even that concept has shattered for me.

I still attend Sunday meetings every now and then to stay in touch with certain people, and I plan on making a full break eventually when I feel brave enough, but for now I am happy.

I understand this forums general perspective and attitude towards atheism, so I will most likely just be chilling in Alternative Views out of respect for the main forum. Hopefully I can be of some contribution to the discussions that happen there and perhaps even here.

For the record, I still respect those who maintain their faith, and even recognize that for many it gives them purpose and can be a positive force in their lives, and as far as I can see, this is a pretty great community. And who knows, Iím young, Iím only 19, thereís a lot of life yet ahead and my views could change long term, but for now I feel Iíve made the intellectually honest decision and am content.

Thanks for this community and for reading,

Nuclear
Goodness you young whippersnapper, it took me til my thirties to come to similar conclusions.

Thanks for your introduction. Looking forward to discussions on AltV's.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Nuclear's Testimony

If you're curious about arguments for Christianity versus Atheism you should check out this book which does a great job of summarizing Christian apologetic arguments:
https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Have-Eno...gateway&sr=8-3

Interestingly, one of the co-authors who has recently passed away, Norman Geisler, was involved in critiquing the writings of Witness Lee.

The other co-author has a youtube channel with videos of him visiting college campuses and answering questions from students skeptical about Christianity:
https://www.youtube.com/user/TurekVi...rt=p&flow=grid

It's unfortunate but not surprising that the local churches have little or no apologetics resources, but there are actually a lot of good reasons to believe in Christianity that are out there.
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Old 09-07-2019, 01:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Nuclear's Testimony

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If you're curious about arguments for Christianity versus Atheism you should check out this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Have-Eno...gateway&sr=8-3

Interestingly, one of the co-authors who has recently passed away, Norman Geisler was involved in critquing the writings of Witness Lee.

The other co-author has a youtube channel with videos of him visiting college campuses and answering questions from students skeptical about Christianity:
https://www.youtube.com/user/TurekVi...rt=p&flow=grid

It's unfortunate but not surprising that the local churches have little or no apologetics resources, but there are actually a lot of good reasons to believe in Christianity that are out there.
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Atheists don't have faith - not the faith as in "contending for the faith." That's what makes them an atheist.

Actually, a real in life atheist doesn't even know they are atheist. They live life without even considering needing supernatural answers.

And being one that is caught up in supernatural answers I understand. Life is complex enough already, without invisible otherworldliness added to it.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Nuclear's Testimony

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I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Atheists don't have faith - not the faith as in "contending for the faith." That's what makes them an atheist.

Actually, a real in life atheist doesn't even know they are atheist. They live life without even considering needing supernatural answers.
There are many kinds of atheists. The book title perhaps refers to positive atheists who will take the extra step to assert that there is no God. What you described is agnostic or weak atheism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negati...sitive_atheism

Even then the book will make the argument that the evidence for Christianity is so overwhelming, it takes faith to ignore.
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Old 09-07-2019, 03:54 PM   #5
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There are many kinds of atheists. The book title perhaps refers to positive atheists who will take the extra step to assert that there is no God. What you described is agnostic or weak atheism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negati...sitive_atheism

Even then the book will make the argument that the evidence for Christianity is so overwhelming, it takes faith to ignore.
When in Florida I had a long term friend who was an atheist, only he didn't bother with any of it. He had no interest in any religion or lack thereof. He made no profession in any of it, including atheism. He said he had no need for it.

Yet oddly, I suppose, in his life, actions, words, etc., he was more Christian than most Christians I've known.

I think you're talking about the New Atheists, like Dawkins.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Nuclear's Testimony

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If you're curious about arguments for Christianity versus Atheism you should check out this book which does a great job of summarizing Christian apologetic arguments:
https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Have-Eno...gateway&sr=8-3

Interestingly, one of the co-authors who has recently passed away, Norman Geisler, was involved in critiquing the writings of Witness Lee.

The other co-author has a youtube channel with videos of him visiting college campuses and answering questions from students skeptical about Christianity:
https://www.youtube.com/user/TurekVi...rt=p&flow=grid

It's unfortunate but not surprising that the local churches have little or no apologetics resources, but there are actually a lot of good reasons to believe in Christianity that are out there.
I appreciate the resources that you've provided, but I have encountered Tureks' apologetics before, in fact one of my roommates has a copy of "Stealing from God" which I have read some of.

I found I disagreed with him on several issues, such as his explanation for eternal punishment, and what I feel is a great misunderstanding on what materialism means, among others. I plan to read more as its been a while and I admit my memory of the specifics elude me, but it failed to change my mind then, I don't think it would now.

I like what Awareness said on the subject of atheism, that for a lot of us religion, spirituality, the supernatural, God, etc. doesn't cross my mind most of the time, and I feel no desire for anything supernatural in my life or a need for it. As far as I have seen, every event in my life and leading up to it has been better explained supernaturally than it could have been naturally.

Not to mention finding out the why and the how directly rather than relying on faith is so much more gratifying and beautiful in my opinion. If you've ever seen Bill Nye in a debate, he gets so excited over the aspects of the universe that we don't understand, when you would think that this is something that would stumble him. But its not like that, its a chance for discovery, for learning and growth, and filling it with a convenient supernatural explanation without really looking into it feels so lazy and pale in comparison.

Something doesn't require a purpose, or a creator to be beautiful. It simply is, and its marvelous.

Sorry I'm a little long winded, I don't really have that many people in my personal life I can discuss this stuff with, it just feels good to speak honestly.
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:33 PM   #7
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Hi Nuclear,

I am a scientist myself. I got my PhD in Chemical Engineering and am currently working as a scientist. I can at least understand your questions about the accuracy or veracity of biblical accounts. Recently, I found very interesting series of youtube videos that provided a strong discussion in support of biblical account of creation, contributed by prominent scientists. Here is the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jrw...ruU7I8saDogw3o

I hope this helps.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:03 PM   #8
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If you've ever seen Bill Nye in a debate, he gets so excited over the aspects of the universe that we don't understand, . . .
The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is also a resource for joy in the cosmos. He has a show call StarTalk on National Geographic. I've seen most of them. He's a total joy. He also did a follow up on Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980 PBS) called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a milestone documentary, also on National Geographic. He often has Bill Nye the science guy on his shows. StarTalk most often ends with Nye speaking of the wonders of science and nature.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:59 AM   #9
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Hi Nuclear,

I am a scientist myself. I got my PhD in Chemical Engineering and am currently working as a scientist.
And we know that how? You could be a troll Bible believer ; a young earther plant ; so forth and so on.

I came out of a Christian cult. I know how Christians lie to support their convictions. Even some early church father advocated it.

Anyway, watching your youtube link it's obvious that's it's Christian believers presenting the videos, not balanced by scientists.

From what I've seen so far they are creationists, and Intelligent Designer's.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: Nuclear's Testimony

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Hi Nuclear,

I am a scientist myself. I got my PhD in Chemical Engineering and am currently working as a scientist. I can at least understand your questions about the accuracy or veracity of biblical accounts. Recently, I found very interesting series of youtube videos that provided a strong discussion in support of biblical account of creation, contributed by prominent scientists. Here is the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jrw...ruU7I8saDogw3o

I hope this helps.
Its unfortunate that these scientists come from the Institute of Creation Research, or the ICF for short. Ultimately they are an apologetics organization attempting to use science as a front to legitimize their "research." In reality their findings and conclusions are rejected by the greater scientific community and only provide unaccredited programs for students in, you guessed it: Christian apologetics and creation research.

Its a dishonest form of acquiring knowledge. One goes into research with a conflict of interest, data will be cherry picked, and any conclusions reached are forced into a biblical worldview regardless of what the actual conclusion is.

I prefer going into this sort of thing without any pre-set conclusions in mind, and if the data points toward creationism or a God, then so be it. It simply hasn't yet.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:07 AM   #11
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Its unfortunate that these scientists come from the Institute of Creation Research, or the ICF for short. Ultimately they are an apologetics organization attempting to use science as a front to legitimize their "research."
It's the 17th c. and 18th c. modern day "Gap Theory," ; G.H. Pember to local churchers, but there were others earlier than Pember that pushed the gap theory.

Back then geologists revealed that the earth is much older than Biblical tradition held ; James Ussher clocking the Bible back to creation on Sunday October 23, 4004 BC.

So inerrant Bible believers knee-jerked, and in order to prove the Bible true, cooked a gap between Gen 1:1 and 1:2, and claimed the geologists were discovering that earlier creation.

I watched the youtube : Origins "Evolution's flaws," and that is exactly what they were doing.

While the truth is, the Bible manuscripts reveal that the Bible is far from inerrant. It also comes out of the bronze and iron ages, when they were completely ignorant of all the Scientific Revolution has discovered.

So these Origin Christians on youtube are being made ignorant by holding to the ancient Bible writings. And doing so more than imply that to be a Bible believing Christian requires that you be ignorant ... like the many non-educated early primitive Christians.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:19 PM   #12
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Hi Nuclear,
I am a scientist myself. I got my PhD in Chemical Engineering and am currently working as a scientist...
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And we know that how? You could be a troll Bible believer; a young earther plant ; so forth and so on.
We know the same way that we know that our new friend Nuclear is not an atheistic, Bible bashing troll, or awareness' alter-ego....we simple read what they post and take them at their word. Sorry Harold, alternative views to your alternative views are more than welcomed over here, and nobody deserves the troll tag after only one post. Down boy!
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:09 PM   #13
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We know the same way that we know that our new friend Nuclear is not an atheistic, Bible bashing troll, or awareness' alter-ego....we simple read what they post and take them at their word. Sorry Harold, alternative views to your alternative views are more than welcomed over here, and nobody deserves the troll tag after only one post. Down boy!
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Hahahaha .... not fair. You know more about Unregistered than I can know. But do you know if he or she is actually a scientist?

The link provided was obviously biased, and not the view of other scientists, as claimed.

But okay, let's give Unregistered the benefit of the doubt ... and see if he or she comes out to provide credentials ... if we can trust that.

There's plenty of "experts" on the web, presenting fake credentials. Maybe that doesn't happen on LCD and AltV's. Cuz we hold a higher standard than the open web. We've got Untohim vetting who posts.

And thanks for the compliment, of Nuclear being my alter ego.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: Nuclear's Testimony

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Hi Nuclear,

I am a scientist myself. I got my PhD in Chemical Engineering and am currently working as a scientist. I can at least understand your questions about the accuracy or veracity of biblical accounts. Recently, I found very interesting series of youtube videos that provided a strong discussion in support of biblical account of creation, contributed by prominent scientists. Here is the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jrw...ruU7I8saDogw3o

I hope this helps.
I watched the first 5 1/2 minutes, to the point where one of these "prominent scientists" said that pattern-matching shows us intelligent design. This is like a total insult to my intelligence. I'd rather read Dawkins (whom I disagree with).

How does pattern matching show intelligent design? It's intuitive, he says. No, it is not. It is 'intuitive' if you WANT to believe that God made it and ALREADY believe that God did it. But it's in no way objective evidence, much less proof, for intelligent design. So these two "prominent scientists" are having fun reassuring themselves and their already-believing audience. But the fact that they fall back on such a transparently weak trope is "evidence" to me that me that they've little to nothing in the bank. They've got their own custom TV studio and little or nothing to say. I just wasted 5 1/2 minutes.

Fortunately for me I'm already a believer. But if I was on the fence I'd probably say, "Forget these people." Really. It's embarrassing.

When I was a kid I took baths (today I take showers), and when I'd pull the rubber stopper, all the soapy water would start to move to the drain. Inevitably a 'funnel' would appear. Like a swirling cylinder of air in the midst of the water, right above the drain-spout. Fascinating. I'd wave my hand through it, and it would disappear into random air bubbles. Then it would spontaneously re-appear! Now, here was a structure, an actual physical structure - who designed it? The water molecules did, trying to follow gravity's pull, and escape down the drain. They spontaneously self-organized to move more water faster out of the tub and down the drain. No different from a hurricane or a tornado funnel -- it's called a "self-organizing dissipative structure", where an energy gradient forms a temporary physical structure.

Seeing form, and structure, and saying somehow this "proves" or "shows" an intelligent designer is just poor argumentation. I might have followed this up until about 5th or 6th grade.

I believe because I choose to believe. I want to believe. But I don't pretend my choice is somehow superior to someone else's. To me, people who feel uncomfortable that others have made choices different from theirs show a fundamental weakness in their own decision-making. People don't have to think exactly the way I do for them to be "okay" in my book. No, sorry - if you can't learn from others, how can you teach others? I as a Christian was told by Jesus to take the "last place" and that seems rather appropriate here. People remember what Christians have done to non-Christians over the past 2,000 years, and yes, that includes the last 40-odd years in the LC too. A little humility is in order.

Earlier on another thread I wrote that I saw "God's smile" in a fern. Should I be threatened if Richard Dawkins does not?
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:47 AM   #15
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Earlier on another thread I wrote that I saw "God's smile" in a fern. Should I be threatened if Richard Dawkins does not?
But intelligent design must be true, cuz Jesus shows up on toast. Check out Cheese Jesus :

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C...h=517&dpr=1.13
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:38 PM   #16
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I need to go back to that one. When I read 30 years ago it seemed above my pay grade! What was his purpose for writing The Abolition of Man?
I can't say, But given he accepts the Tao, I think he's advocating universal values.

Give it another read. Might be below your pay grade now. And let me know what you think. From what I've read it's his most debated book.

I know Christians love Lewis. I understand. But his private life didn't reveal what Christians would expect from him by what he seems in his writings, and preachings.

We owe some of his books -- Narnia and the like - to J.R.R.Tolkien, who convinced Clive Christianity is a mythological system, using the same symbols, archetypes, and motifs, as olden ones. Maybe it was him that introduced Clive to the Tao ... I don't know.

Whether that's true or not, it opened Clive up. It's perchance why we like him. He uses it to speak to our inner needs.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:06 AM   #17
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I prefer going into this sort of thing without any pre-set conclusions in mind, and if the data points toward creationism or a God, then so be it. It simply hasn't yet.
I'm not interested in the Creation/Evolution debate, same with Noah's Ark and "Where were the dinosaurs"? The universe is what it is, including both a Bible and dino bones, among other things. Whether God exists or not doesn't seem provable either way.

Instead, here's I hang my proverbial hat, for lack of a better term. God, and a benevolent and kind and powerful God, personally interested in me, seems like a better lot than "chance" or "fate" or whathaveyou. But again, not something that I can make conversation about with others, so whether "God" really exists, and cares, is not something I can push in public discourse.

But here's where I stand: did Jesus exist? Clearly he believed in God. "He trusted in God, let Him (God the Father) save him (Jesus) now". (Matt 27:43; cf Psa 22:8).

But did Jesus actually exist? Or is it all just a story, fabricated out of thin air, concocted from dreams? A historical will o'the wisp? To me, that's where the rubber meets the road. Or doesn't.

I'll answer it this way: Did Julius Caesar exist? Did George Washington? How do you know? Witnesses. Records. Accounts. Was Caesar's "Gallic Wars" a fabrication of later centuries, or a true (ish) contemporary account, i.e. a 'witness'? Did Washington really cross the Delaware river that cold icy night? We 'know' things because of the interlocking witnesses. Multiple reinforcing testimonial cross-referents, as it were. They're established, more-or-less, as 'facts' when we get enough trustworthy (verifiable) voices saying that it was so.

So with Jesus' life there are several gospels. The fact that they don't always agree strengthens the witness for me. Did Judas hang himself or burst his bowels open in the field? Can't be both. But the fact that there are disparate voices tells me that there are multiple, separate, independent witnesses. The gospels were written apart, yet still they show remarkable conformity given that. So we have multiple, convergent testimonies of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Then what of Paul? Did he exist? He writes that he knew the Twelve. And the "Acts" by Luke confirms this. Did Peter, James, John, exist? Seems to be a lot of witnessing here. Very, very hard for me to imagine that someone made all this up long after the fact. Then we have Polycarp, who says he saw John. Was he a liar, too? Or a forgery? Then we have Irenaeus, Clement... multiple witnesses, very early. Didache.. the very early documents pile up.

Something had to have happened back there, for all this to have arisen. We 'know' that there was a Jerusalem with a temple and so forth. Suddenly there are all these Christians, saying Jesus rose from the dead! True or not?

I don't know. But I believe. If Jesus didn't exist I would wish that he had. If he didn't raise from the dead I would wish His Spirit were with us. So I believe, and confess, and go on acting "as if" because that's what is most real to me. It's possible that all these 'witnesses' (Gk: martyrs) were as fogged by wishful thinking as I am... mass, independent yet convergent delusions of some sort, stretching over decades. (But there are a LOT of early witnesses...)

Btw, the fact that the Jews' writings don't witness to Jesus doesn't mean anything - actually it's an argument from silence. The Jews didn't acknowledge anything they didn't agree with. If you were a 'minim' you were outcast and never mentioned. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who everyone knows existed, (independently corroborated) didn't get mentioned by the Jewish writers because he was a 'minim' - a traitor to their nation. So the Jews not mentioning someone in their histories is quite reasonable.

Probably something happened back there in the desert. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead on the third day, then I'm wasting my time. But so be it.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:16 PM   #18
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Instead, here's I hang my proverbial hat, for lack of a better term. God, and a benevolent and kind and powerful God, personally interested in me, seems like a better lot than "chance" or "fate" or whathaveyou. But again, not something that I can make conversation about with others, so whether "God" really exists, and cares, is not something I can push in public discourse.
I've given this some thought in this way as well, it would be nice to have someone on my side, someone benevolent, caring and powerful, or at least the perception of it. I played with the idea of a God who basically set off the whole thing, but having him being one who cares is not something I see, so its not a notion that I'm gonna spend any time on personally. So yea, its not really worth debating or even discussing.

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But here's where I stand: did Jesus exist? Clearly he believed in God. "He trusted in God, let Him (God the Father) save him (Jesus) now". (Matt 27:43; cf Psa 22:8).

But did Jesus actually exist? Or is it all just a story, fabricated out of thin air, concocted from dreams? A historical will o'the wisp? To me, that's where the rubber meets the road. Or doesn't.

I'll answer it this way: Did Julius Caesar exist? Did George Washington? How do you know? Witnesses. Records. Accounts. Was Caesar's "Gallic Wars" a fabrication of later centuries, or a true (ish) contemporary account, i.e. a 'witness'? Did Washington really cross the Delaware river that cold icy night? We 'know' things because of the interlocking witnesses. Multiple reinforcing testimonial cross-referents, as it were. They're established, more-or-less, as 'facts' when we get enough trustworthy (verifiable) voices saying that it was so.

So with Jesus' life there are several gospels. The fact that they don't always agree strengthens the witness for me. Did Judas hang himself or burst his bowels open in the field? Can't be both. But the fact that there are disparate voices tells me that there are multiple, separate, independent witnesses. The gospels were written apart, yet still they show remarkable conformity given that. So we have multiple, convergent testimonies of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Then what of Paul? Did he exist? He writes that he knew the Twelve. And the "Acts" by Luke confirms this. Did Peter, James, John, exist? Seems to be a lot of witnessing here. Very, very hard for me to imagine that someone made all this up long after the fact. Then we have Polycarp, who says he saw John. Was he a liar, too? Or a forgery? Then we have Irenaeus, Clement... multiple witnesses, very early. Didache.. the very early documents pile up.

Something had to have happened back there, for all this to have arisen. We 'know' that there was a Jerusalem with a temple and so forth. Suddenly there are all these Christians, saying Jesus rose from the dead! True or not?
This I feel is one of the most historically interesting aspects of Bible scholarship, and I for one am woefully un-knowledgeable regarding the subject.

Whereas the old testament for the most part can be dissected and regarded as accurate or not using scientific study, archaeology, etc, its more of an account of Christian mythology then anything else. It sets a pretty solid foundation for the Christian worldview and understanding a lot of what exactly that entails. However from a historical perspective (at least to my very limited knowledge) suspect in its accuracy.

I believe a man named Jesus existed, and that in many circles he became a much followed and revered prophet sort of figure. And I believe the general structure and account of his life: rising as a very influential speaker, his baptism, rebuking of the general Christian establishment of the time, and death. Beyond that, and especially the supernatural and divinely related is myth and legend to me.

But that's why I kinda want to get into Biblical scholarship, if for no other reason than an intense curiosity for it. Who were the authors of the gospel, and what/who were their sources? Were the accounts of resurrection first hand, or the result of embellishment by oral retelling? Did he have any impacts in other areas of the world or was his arc an entirely isolated event at the time? And so, so much more.

As far as I've heard Asimov's Guide to the Bible is a really good place to start for some amateur scholarship, lauded by Christians, atheists and agnostics alike, so I'll see if I can get a copy of that, and if you have any extra suggestions, I'd be super interested in those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
We know the same way that we know that our new friend Nuclear is not an atheistic, Bible bashing troll, or awareness' alter-ego
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I hope that what I've said isn't regarded as Bible-bashing, and I feel like immediately going to that sort of label is really counter-productive to conversation and open thought on the subject. The Bible has been undoubtedly the highest-impact collection of works on the modern history of humanity. Everything from language, scholarship, the rise and fall of empires and their belief systems has been touched by its reach. Its influence reaches to every individual that has ever been in contact with Christianity, which constitutes many, many people. Its an important work and should be treated as such. However non of this necessitates that any of it be divinely inspired, moral or true, and it is my hope that discussing the Bible in all of these aspects isn't seen as an attack on it, but rather objective analysis (to the best that any of us can be objective).
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:18 AM   #19
awareness
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Default Re: Nuclear Testimony

I brought this from the open forum. Hope I got the formatting right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron
I think the poster Trapped also expressed frustration on this forum at having 'conversations' with a silent God.

In my case, post-LC, I tried a number of other groups. Some were extremely fundamentalist - women wore head coverings, didn't speak in church, etc. Eventually I just wasn't getting better. My anxieties, frustrations, inadequacies, shame, just wouldn't go away. I was a shame-based and fear-based human being trying to pretend that I was 'godly' and it was so miserable!

Eventually I just quit. I actually got into science. I wasn't militantly atheist, or even openly atheist, but certainly I became agnostic. Just wasn't in the mood to pretend any more. Life is too short. If God doesn't want to talk with me, I'm not going to talk with God.

But eventually, God came back into my life. It's pretty amazing to me, looking back. Little by little I just became 'aware' of God. I don't know how to put it. God's presence came back.

It's a journey, I guess. Anyway, I don't judge anyone, wherever they are in their journey today. Theirs is just as real to them as mine is, to me. But I recommend people like Dawkins and Hitchens and anyone who tries to think. Ravi Zacharius is actually pretty good. Another one I like is Neils Bohr the physicist. There are a lot of good thinkers out there. You can really learn a lot.

But I'd like to come back to Nuclear's testimony. And about learning to think critically.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuclear
Science has throughout my childhood been something I was fascinated with, I ate it up as a middle/high schooler. Even now despite being an engineering student I enjoy learner more about the natural world. As Iím sure some of you can relate, this often conflicted with a literal interpretation of the Bible, especially creation. I managed to postpone what would eventually happen with stopgaps like the ďgap theoryĒ with regards to the age of the Earth, among other things. The doubts I had still remained relatively weak, but the cracks were there.

I still remember that night vividly. I was browsing the internet and fell down an internet rabbit-hole on the validity of the Bible scientifically and based off of historical record. The openness that the subject matter was discussed with was something I had never encountered before, but I couldnít stop reading. It sort of shocked the sort of jaded way that I had always looked at the bible away. The whole book, creation, Noahís flood, Moses, treatment of women, of other cultures, it all looked so different. Really looking at it and seeing how it fit into our modern understanding of how the universe and life began, stuff that I was aware of but would always mentally try to blend in with the Biblical account, it just made so much more sense standalone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aron
I donít know if any of you have had that experience, but the dam really broke that fast. I went in with few but nagging doubts and near absolute faith in the LC and then later going to bed with my entire worldview broken and shattered into a million pieces. I was physically sick for several days after, but after I felt so liberated.
I've shared this before, that my anecdotal observation is that the LC loses young people in droves, not merely to purchasing LSM materials and going to LSM-sanctioned meetings, but to Christian faith. And I believe this is because they repress critical thought. They avoid problem-solving. Just call "O Lord Jesus" three times and all your problems will disappear. When I was there, we were specifically told not to think. "Just exercise your spirit, brother" meant, Loudly repeat whatever ministry snippet was in front of us. Suppress, avoid, deny. Suppress, avoid, deny. "Let's all call on the Lord"...

This leaves the young ones quite unprepared for life, which for many of us involves trying to think. You know, actually facing things. And being around others who think critically. Even when one does, in the LC (going to college for example) religion is not included. "The Ministry is always right" is the default non-thought mode. One papers over and ignores the 'cracks' in the thought-world system, and puts nagging unanswered questions into the closet, where they don't truly shut up, ever. Eventually, one day the person decides to face things and pretty much right away they realize it's all a sham. It's a make-believe system with no true objective basis that they can find. And so out they go.
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