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milessinclair

Is Christianity Tenable - a course for Christians

I am looking to run a "course" / discussion forum in the real world in conjunction with an evangelical pastor.

The purpose is not to look at christianity from the outside and point out how stupid it is - but to try and get inside and explore if it actually makes sense, even on its own terms.

The topics so far are:

    Do we really deserve punishment?

    How does God’s Justice compare with Modern and Primitive Human Justice?

    Is it possible for Vicarious Sacrifice to be moral?

    How do Christians live with “Triple guilt”
    Do you really believe that your sin directly causes Jesus to be beaten and killed?

    Do you disagree with God on anything?
    Is it possible that those Christians with whom you fundamentally disagree might be right?

    How does God resolve Free Will / Temptation in Heaven
    Why didn’t he do that in the first place?

    Origin of Sin in evolved world
    When did stealing a banana stop being natural animal behaviour and start being a “sin”

    If it is not possible to choose to believe, how is it Just to be judged according to whether we believe?



To those that know me, these questions will appear familiar - but the pastor thought they were valid and interesting enough to raise with his congregation.

Are there other questions that we may want to consider?

m
Pukon_the_Treen

One of the big dichotomies for me is the whole issue of free will.  I'll just post some stuff I put on the BBC board recently:

I do not find ‘the problem of evil’ a particularly useful anti-theistic argument, because they can just play the free will card and walk off smelling of roses. My problem comes when their God apparently wants to remain aloof from human suffering in order to generously allow us free will, but also wants be the stern father figure dealing out justice.

You either do one or the other. You either say to yourself “my children are adults now; it is not my role to punish them or protect them, they must make their own way” (as most human parents are at some point forced to do), or you say “these people are accountable to me; I shall reward those who obey me and punish those who do not” as most human despots do. You can’t do both as God apparently attempts to do. Well, obviously God can do both if He wishes, because He is God, but I don’t think it’s particularly laudable, useful or consistent.

Do we have free will or don’t we? If we have free will then I understand God’s reluctance to save us from danger, but we should also be free to choose our own lives free from coercion, punishment or control.

To put it a bit more graphically, with the threat of severe punishment for disobedience, then God's much-vaunted 'free will' becomes nothing more than the free will one might experience if someone were holding a gun to your head issuing orders.  Sure, you have the 'freedom' to disobey, but if they then punish you for exercising that right then in what way is it freedom?

Of course, with Christ's sacrifice in place the analogy gets a bit more complicated … God's free will is like a man holding a gun to your head issuing orders, but when you disobey, he shoots himself, comes back to life, levels the gun at you again and says “see what I just did for you?  Now say thank you, or I'll shoot you properly”.
Silver

A few points:


If you can make a whole universe which could have a trillion civilisations in it, why would you give a damn about any particular one of them? Why would you want the worship of it's beings?


If you can make a trillion people with a snap of your fingers, why would you want to resurrect billions of dead people?


How can there be any free will if we are told that god will torture us forever if we don't do what he and Jesus says?


Does god still feel any guilt over murdering over 30,000,000 men, women, children and babies in a worldwide flood? (Genesis 9, he makes a rainbow as a promise not to do it again.)


Are god and Satan really friends? (Job 1 and 2)


The ascension never happened. The last 12 verses of Mark are known to be a late addition. The story in Luke came from the later Acts. Nothing in Matthew or John. John, written several decades after the crucifixion tells us in so many words that Jesus lived a long and productive live afterwards (and presumably died a mortal death - why not?), and the gospel was written late enough that the author would know. If Jesus was born of a woman instead of appearing fully formed age 30 to do his mission, why would he not die a normal death too?
Silver

Would you trust a book with so many errors:


http://www.answering-christianity.com/101_bible_contradictions.htm
milessinclair

Hi Silver

Thanks for that

m
Conspiracist

"To put it a bit more graphically, with the threat of severe punishment for disobedience, then God's much-vaunted 'free will' becomes nothing more than the free will one might experience if someone were holding a gun to your head issuing orders.  Sure, you have the 'freedom' to disobey, but if they then punish you for exercising that right then in what way is it freedom?"

A solicitor friend of mine remains livid about the changes that were made to the police caution and the right to silence, moving from "you do not have to say anything" to, effectively, "you do not have to say anything but, if you don't, the fact of your silence can be used against you"*. As he is fond of pointing out, a right that you get punished for exercising is no right at all.



*Yes, I know that isn't the actual wording, but it's what it boils down to.

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