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  1. Today
  2. Ehhhh... I quote: "Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality" and especially "although metaphysics as a philosophical enterprise is highly hypothetical, it also has practical application in most other branches of philosophy, science, and now also information technology"... "Ontology", "Identity and change" being "Central questions"...
  3. Yesterday
  4. Whenever religion is under discussion, there is a mountain of invisible assumptions. One of my favorites. "God gives us free will." No. God does no such thing. Free will is not given. It is asserted. Or discovered. Or seized. Free will is not a gift. It's a choice. "What is my purpose in life?" Seriously? People want an outside agency, to tell them, what their purpose is?" Why? It is up to the individual, to decide their purpose for themselves. Or learn to live with out it. I have lived with some wonderful cats. They were happy, most of the time. They loved and were loved in return. They enjoyed their food, their play, their exercise and their sleep. By my standards, they had successful lives. Then they died, as all flesh does. Did they need a purpose? No. As Atheists, we like to do our own thinking. But oh -- those invisible religious assumptions. It's so easy to slip back into a religious mind set -- and never see it. Why are we here? Basic biology. We were brought about by natural process. Much like the Universe. "God" is not an answer. "God" answers nothing.
  5. I think that sometimes questions about one thing can inadvertantly lead to answers about another, and sometimes the answer for metaphysical inquiries might not be knowable at the time they are asked but later are shown(because it was asked and investigated) to have natural, reasonable non metaphysical cause. I can't help but consider the ever diminished 'god of the gaps' and Bill O'Reilly spouting about the unexplained things like the tide and not knowing how it works...
  6. The examples that you cite are not meta-physics. They are philosophy. The utility of philosophy -- rhymes with futility ---- should have it's own thread. In my opinion, meta-physics should only be resorted to, when regular physics -- such as prune juice and fiber -- fail. Seriously. When the non-believer says that, the Creation story in Genesis is silly -- what is the standard response? Oh yeah? Then where did everything come from?" Meta-physics. An affliction and a waste of time. "You ask -- ""Why are we here?" I'm here, because my parents had sex.
  7. This is not entirely true. If we look at historically the most important meta-physical question: Why are we here? What is our purpose? et cetera... There is a lot of empirical research and evidence that supports some answers: - we should support our environment; - we should have some practical goal to work towards; - we should take good care of ourselves and the environment; - et cetera...
  8. Last week
  9. I prefer a default of don't care. Life is too short, for arguments about meta-physics. Even the questions are meaningless. In the end, it's about faith and belief. There is no arguing with either.
  10. Not knowing, or being unable to know, leaves the default of either untrue or don't care...for me. I can't know, given current info, whether exodus really happened as claimed. Therefor i reject the claim. A claim is not true until disproven...it is true when proven, to me.
  11. Along the way, I have asked myself some basic questions. What do I know? What do I actually know? What do I only think that I know? What do I believe? Why do I believe this? How sure am I, about what I believe? Results have varied. The story of Noah and the Great Flood? Profoundly ludicrous, with impossibilities built up over absurdities. The story of Exodus? The evidence for it is weak to none. It's a major Bible Book. Something that important should have tons of evidence to back it up. Thousands of Hebrew slaves in Egypt. The Egyptian Army, drowned in the Red Sea. All the first born of Egypt, dead. All those people, wandering about in the desert for 40 years. It would have taken two weeks following the coast line. Where is the evidence? Christians and Jews have been digging up the Middle East for centuries, looking for evidence. Examining the extensive Egyptian archives. They found, nothing. So far, we have only been discussing history. Now we come to the Supernatural elements of the story. You believe. I actually get that. I have no response to belief. Except one. With my lack of belief, I find the story to be implausible, improbable and unlikely. I can not pretend objectivity. There are limits on my knowledge. My past mistakes are beyond cataloging. For all that, I do have a strong sense of things, based on what I do know and understand. In the end, my sense of things tells me that nothing in Exodus is based on reality. To be clear, this is in the context of all the other Bible history, that I simply can not take seriously. If I were obsessed with being right and winning arguments, this would be a problem for me. Happily, I don't need my friends -- or my enemies -- to agree with me on such matters. Does God need defending? No. In the end, God either is or is not. I hold that belief, non-belief and dis-belief are all equally meaningless. No doubt, you have a different perspective. So be it.
  12. Was your title something like "Conqueror of Heaven neener neener"?
  13. I think it is interesting how the Bible is handled, studied, and understood. We are talking about about a book that claims to be "God breathed" (theopenustos) and yet was written by primitive men in primitive societies with a fraction of the understanding of science and physics is exists currently. Very few, if any, of these biblical writers would have been counted as scholars by any kind postmodern standards, except maybe Paul, possibly Luke. Another thing is that we don't know exactly what they were looking at when they were writing, and in fact a lot of the questions that come up in the Bible studies that I attend are good questions but fall into the "unknowable" category. And I agree with you brother, that "I don't know" is a better answer than a lot of the religious filibustering I've heard to try to prove "inerrancy", which if I understand it correctly only applies to "original autographs" which conveniently enough are unavailable; what kind of chicanery is that? Not only is this antiquated collection of books written void of actual scientific facts in a lot of cases, but it is also written from the perspective of one who does not seem understand what he is seeing and writing about. And you would think that these writers would attempt to portray themselves and their nation in a much better light, and at least attempt to provide justification for their actions instead of just owning their failures. The presumptions and presuppositions that we carry with us when we read this are going to affect how we process it. To me the power, authority, inerrancy, and infallability is in its honest and accurate illustrations of the range of human experience and emotion, and God and his attributes. If we try to understand the presumption and presuppositions of the biblical writers we gain context, instead we look at the angry, wrathful, violent say we want no part of it. Also, if a person really reads it they find things upside down and backwards at times like, I thought this was the good one and that was the bad one. People handle the Bible and try assign dates to the narratives and decide when described events occurred and if they occurred when can't even tell for sure what genre of literature they are reading. The Bible is not an easy book at all. Many times it gives you a story and you have to figure out why it is there. Sometimes you get the answers to questions but not the question. This is a book that you can't just read a few times and you got it, its a lifetime of mediation on spiritual, moral, emotional and human conditions. Regardless, "never happened, no Moses, no Ten Plagues", etc is not something that I believe is "knowable," or that any of us can make any claims for certain one way or the other.
  14. If the Exodus story were the only thing in the Bible; I would have to say -- maybe. The supernatural elements seem unlikely at best -- but alright. Maybe. Is Exodus the only improbable element in the Bible? The Creation account in Genesis: The Sun and Moon show up on the fourth day. What was the Earth doing for the first three days, without the Sun? The Stars were installed on the fourth day. An afterthought. "He made the stars also." Seriously? "He made the stars also"? Billions of galaxies. Billions of stars in each galaxy. Pretty little sparkly things, stuck in the firmament -- to decorate the night sky. The firmament? The glass like thing with windows, that lets in the rain? No. Cosmology has come a long way since then. The people who wrote Genesis didn't know where the Sun goes at night. They had no concept of what the stars are. They had no idea that the Sun is a star. The Creation of Earth was a six day process. The rest of the Cosmos -- "He made the stars also" -- were just flashed into existence? An afterthought? After that, it seems petty to note that plant life shows up on the third day. According to Christian Bible authorities, The Creation began at 4004 Before the Common Era. Jewish authorities have dates for everything that happened in the Bible, on the Jewish calendar. On that calendar, this is the year, 5779. The light from distant stars, billions of light years away, is only now arriving. The Garden of Eden story? No. Still, an "A" for effort to the Young Earth Creationists -- for trying to make Scripture conform to Reality. How if Adam had cut down a tree in the Garden -- it would have had rings. If he had dug into the ground, he would have found fossils. At best, we have a twisted trickster God who made the Earth about six thousand years ago, to seem old. The story of the Great Flood? We have written records from China and India that are older than that. No mention of the flood. Almost as though it never happened. Let's take the story at face value. It rained and rained and the oceans overflowed and covered the entire world in salt water. It didn't just destroy all animal life. It destroyed all plant life. No more oxygen carbon cycle. The world was killed and made lifeless. Where did the animals go? There was nothing, anywhere, to sustain them. No food for the predators. No food for the plant eaters. Just the endless bog going off in all directions. Imagine the stink of rotting flesh and vegetation. What does Noah do? An animal sacrifice. Like they have genetic diversity to spare. All the other issues -- how big was this boat that had two of every "kind" and seven of some? Do you know how much food and water it takes to sustain one elephant? Or one lion? A lot. Besides eating and drinking, all the animals would be pissing and **ting. Think of the tons of manure. Actual tons. Think of the methane gas. One window for ventilation. I could keep going. Enough. The Tower of Babel? Again, we have written records from China and India that are older than that. The Empire State Building in New York City, is taller than anything the ancients could have hoped to build. The current world has taller buildings. We never did reach Heaven, as God had feared. Not even the Moon landings. Even the probes we sent to Mars and the outer Solar system, never crashed into the Firmament, much less Heaven. Must I keep going? No. Based on the historical accuracy of the Bible -- there was no Exodus and there was no Mosses.
  15. Thanks man on the welcome back. I'm not trying to convince you of anything or change your beliefs, I know where you stand and respect that. I am curious at how you can so confidently dismiss the "exodus" story with so little stand on for it or against it. Did you just decide it wasn't true and that this where your confidence comes from?
  16. The importance of a claim, dictates the quality of evidence, required for that claim. If you want to tell me what you had for lunch, I will take your word for it. No proof required. If you want to tell me what you believe, regarding the Bible, that is also fine. No proof required. Your beliefs are your beliefs. I can accept and respect that. No proof required. If you want to influence my beliefs regarding the Bible; show me something. In my view, the Bible is mythology. Ludicrous mythology, not to be taken seriously as history. I'm not looking for an argument. I'm not looking to change your views. If you want to change my views -- I need evidence. I am prepared to change my views regarding the Bible -- and God -- if presented with compelling evidence. Arguments are not evidence. Scripture is not evidence. Assertions are not evidence. I want to be clear on that point. Assertions made without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. That brings us to the topic of God. I am Agnostic. In the total absence of objective, verifiable, information about God -- I don't actually know whether or not God exists. Nobody else knows either, regardless of belief. I am also an Atheist. In the total absence of objective, verifiable, information about God -- I don't believe that God exists. In truth, I don't know what it would take, to get me to believe. I can only tell you that it has not happened yet. I am also an Apatheist. In the total absence of objective, verifiable, information about God -- I don't care whether or not God exists. To be clear, what I'm not is an Anti-Theist. The beliefs of others are not my concern, and I am not here to vex anyone. Welcome back to the board. I hope you find your return enjoyable.
  17. I would say that the Bible is a book that is theological literature that is based on history. Sometimes more theological, sometimes more literary. Can I prove what happen that happened before I existed? No. I would say that I choose to believe or disbelieve things that I cannot prove. But then again, I've done things and had experiences that I cannot prove happened. So maybe that is not the "check mate" it is supposed to be. Do you think you are presupposing that if something is true that there has to be proof? Is it possible for something to be true that cannot be proved? Is it possible to prove that something happened that actually didn't happen? Your statements are very concrete, " never happened, no Moses, no Ten Plagues", etc. How do you say that with such confidence? It seems to me that "bold assertion" is the one that goes against the Scriptures and the centuries of tradition based on those events.
  18. Hey all, It looks like some new people here or possibly people have just changed there names. I haven' been around here much in the last couple years but I'm still around. In case you are curious, I'm still doing the motorcycle chaplain ministry, still in the San Diego area, still an officer in Warriors of the Cross motorcycle club, I still to HVAC and refrigeration work, and Im still trying to finish my masters degree. We have BBQ's in the San Diego area to try to promote unity among motorcycle clubs. These started off to allow a place for all the Christian bikers (club and independent) to be able to fellowship without the baggage and structure of a church type organization. We were calling it "Christian Unity" but changed it to just "Unity" because it naturally expanded and we didn't want to limit it but just wanted a good vibe of fellowship. Since 2013 we have been having church services in Harley dealers. We got it started, we were approached by a Harley dealer we did not push our way in which I thought was cool. Currently in San Diego there are two different dealers doing this, one of the second Sunday and one on the fourth Sunday. Some of the guys would like to do it every Sunday, but most of us would rather be riding instead of in a building. You can have that same sweet spirit of fellowship. Some of you guys were here when I started in May 2002. I had been involved in church, mostly Assemblies of God, from the time I was really young, and I started riding motorcycles about the same time. My relationship with God through Jesus Christ has always been important to me though it has changed and morphed over the years. I learned about the ULC from other bikers. Turns out back in the day, bikers would get ordained by the ULC so when their brother were incarcerated, they could get in to visit because visits from clergy were protected. So, 2002 I was ordained by the ULC, then 2004 I resigned that and was ordained by the UCFM because I wanted something more exclusively Christian, but still participated in this forum. Then 2010 I resigned the UCFM and was Licensed by the Assemblies of God, 2012 Ordained by the Assemblies of God. In 2015 I resigned the Assemblies of God because it wasn't the fit I was looking for. Sometime around then I had my ULC credential reinstated. Then last year in our motorcycle club we started our own ministry credentialing program for our members. I do the hermeneutics portion of that training. Regarding mechanical work, I have left the management world. I was a HVAC Manager when I first joined here. 2003 I became a Service Manager. 2013 I became a General Manager. Then after 22 years at that company I left to be Service Manager at a smaller company that worked on bigger equipment. 2018 I left that company, now I am a union Senior HVACR tech for the City of San Diego. All of these resignations (ministry and work) were not forced but were decisions I made because I just wasn't feeling it anymore, I'm on good terms with all of them. In 2006 I earned a certificate in biblical counselling, in 2008 I earned my BA in biblical ministry. 2009 I started working on a masters degree. I started off the MA in Missiology program, then changed to the Master of Divinity program, then changed to the MA in Leadership Studies program, and finally in February I changed again to MA in Biblical Studies New Testament Concentration. Lots of changing, losing time, getting extensions, re-enrolling, etc. I am acutely aware that I just need to finish. I am currently debating where to write a capstone paper or a thesis. I like the capstone idea because its a ministry strategy paper for implementing what I have learned in graduate school, and also measuring the effectiveness. That is where I am leaning right now because of the practicality of it. Although I do want to write a thesis dealing with hermeneutics of the book of Revelation. If I do the thesis then I will have classwork that I have done that wont count towards my degree. Not sure what (if anything academically) is next. Currently I'm an MA candidate in Biblical Studies (New Testament), and I'm in a class called "The Bible as Literature: Theory and Methodology". The Biblical Studies program seems more who I am. It seems I always have a Bible open in front of me, referring to exegetical commentaries, and checking against interlinear Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The classes on ministry and leadership I have had I was always suspect of how the "proof text" they were using was handled, and didn't always agree with the conclusion. Some people approach the Bible as if it were an outline with attached proof texts; I would argue that it definitely is NOT that. If I ever finish my masters and decide to go on to a doctorate, it will probably be a Dth. I say that because the Dmin is loaded with ministry coursework and presupposition, the Phd requires a couple years of theological language study on top of the required biblical language study. The Dth is a pure research degree based on more of a European model and more focused with out all the extra stuff. I plan on being around here more. As I have said before, some of the best ministry training I have had was participating in these forums here. I learned more here about how to communicate, and respectfully debate than anywhere else. I know I have annoyed people and a lot of people were very patient with me, and others not so much..lol. I do encourage others that I minister with to join and participate in discussions with people to do not see things the same way they do and do not agree with them. A lot of people like to surround themselves with people that agree with them. I do not think that is a biblical principle. I think having a core group of like minded people is good, but cloistering and shadow boxing with imaginary opponents does not appeal to me. I like people who can show me the weakness of my logic and expose my subjectivity, biases, and presuppositions. I guess that catches you up with me these days.
  19. As you say. What we leave behind is interpreted by the future. Again, I think the Buddha is a prime example. How would Buddha feel, if he came back to modern day Burma? He could witness Buddhist monks, committing violence -- and mass murder -- in the name of his teachings. In fairness, living religions all undergo change over time. I can't imagine what the Jews of 2,000 years ago -- the time of the 2nd Temple, would make of modern Orthodox Judaism -- much less the Reform movement. We can only speculate, what would happen, if the historic Jesus came back -- and found 40,000 flavors of Christianity waiting for him. (Hi, Dan ) There is also the Pagan and Neo-Pagan world. I doubt the Goddess worshipers of 10,000 years ago, would recognize much. So yes, things change. The founders have nothing to say about it.
  20. What one insists upon in life is often overturned by future generations. That is how heros and g/God's are made.
  21. In his lifetime, the Buddha insisted that he was not a god. It is ironic, that Hinduism has claimed Buddha, as an incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu.
  22. Earlier
  23. Tibetan Buddhism is an exception. I have taken initiation to Medicine Buddha and White Tara. Still, there is no "worship" as practiced in most Theistic religion.
  24. Buddhist started out without a g/God. Now they come in different denominations.
  25. From a Skeptic's blog -- a look at the Skeptics in Unitarian Univeralism. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2019/05/unitarians-are-mostly-skeptics/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=BRSS&utm_campaign=Nonreligious&utm_content=459 I found the article interesting. I am not a member of the church and I have no axes to grind.
  26. I've always thought it was interesting how people talk about all of the alleged prophesies in the Old Testament that Jesus has allegedly fulfilled. What prophesies do you find to be the most compelling annieSTTER?
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