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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/01/09 01:19:05 PM 
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I appreciate your post. I still disagree (obviously) but I still appreciate it. And I should point out that when I raise an objection to a claim that you make, I raise it not in an attempt to show you how smart I am or to try to poke holes in your beliefs. I try to approach discussions like this with the assumption that I am no smarter or knowledgeable than those with whom I'm participating (and you've shown in this discussion that your knowledge of the Bible is superior to mine). And so, when I raise a question I do so with the presumption that you've either wrestled with the question yourself and can give an answer or that you can wrestle with the question and give an answer. Like I said before, I'm just trying to understand your thinking.

As far as your belief in the perfection of the Commandments, let me put it like this. I can comfortably concede that you're probably right that if the 10 Commandments were followed universally, the world would be a better place. I'll even include a belief in God, keeping the Sabbath and the rules against graven images. If we're just assessing things in terms of their utility, it's not a hard sell at all.

Having a god is useful because some people, not all people, need a kind of supervising authority to keep them from doing wrong. When you talk morality with a Christian at university, for example, they're pretty likely to quote Dostoevsky when he wrote that "if there is no immortality, all is permitted." What they fail to grasp is that Dostoevsky was a novelist and the person who said it was just a character in his story (and not a particularly bright one at that!) Still, the truth of the quotation is in the fact that some people really do think this way and therefore the concept of God is, without question, useful for those people. For example, some of Dostoevsky's future countrymen came to delight in seeing what evil they could do to prisoners precisely because they believed that there was no god to punish them in the afterlife. It's obvious then that things would have been better for at least a few people if these men believed in God. Likewise, I don't think it's a good idea for us to be working every day of the week. And so a day of rest, and especially one that is to be spent with family and friends, is probably a very good idea. And I very much like the idea that graven images should be forbidden. I really don't think it's good that I can go into almost any Black church, for example, and find a big ol' picture of a lily white Jesus with flowing hair (and probably blue eyes) with either a group of white disciples or with his white mother. Historical inaccuracy aside, I think that it's fairly obvious that raising a Black child with the idea that this picture is an accurate representation of a man that is either God or God's son in this particular country in this particular time can have very bad effects. (And if someone disagrees, then they should probably listen to Rass Kass' first album.) The usefulness of the rest of the Commandments are, I think, self-evident. (With the possible exception of coveting. I don't know that it's necessarily a bad thing to want something that someone else has.)

So that's all well and good. I just don't see how any of this makes the Bible true. See, where I part ways with you is your belief that, because of the objective usefulness of these laws, they were divinely inspired. I mean, you point out that the Chinese claimed that they were looking outside of themselves for their moral beliefs and this is true. But were they actually doing this? Earlier you claimed that part of God's covenant with the Hebrews was that they were to bring God's Law to the rest of mankind. If that's true then they were God's means of disseminating the Law. And if that's true then the Chinese most likely did not get their laws by looking outside of themselves and up to God because there's no evidence that they had contact with the Hebrews. Therefore, I think both of us would then have to agree that just because someone sincerely believes that they are looking up for the answers doesn't mean they actually are. Now if your worldview is true then it's possible that they looked within and found God's Law. The Bible says that God wrote His Law on the hearts of man. But I don't think that you need to believe the Bible is true to believe that people have an innate sense of morality. The Darwinian account leads to that exact same view. (In fact, I'd argue that it accounts for the results of certain psychological experiments better than the Christian account.) Furthermore, if it's possible to look within and derive God's Law then what's the point of God's covenant with the Hebrews in the first place? Basically, I don't see how the supposed perfection of the 10 Commandments necessitates even a belief in God, let alone a complex belief system such as Judaism or Christianity.

And as far as selfishness goes, I could make an argument that believing that you have a close and personal relationship with the creator of the universe is much more egotistical and selfish than believing that you are merely one individual among billions who inhabit a tiny spec of dust in a quiet corner of a vast vast vast universe. The belief that humanity is special is, after all, derived not from science but from religion. And as far as the selfishness of science goes (ie satisfying the curiosity of whether or not life exists or existed on Mars) I really don't see what the problem is. I mean, with regard to whether it's selfish or not you'd have no argument from much of the scientific community. Physicist Leonard Susskind even goes as far as to call this kind of science "selfish science." But I don't see what's wrong with that. I'd consider my music, for example, to be very much a selfish exercise. I write rhymes and make beats not because I think it will improve society or open people's minds but because I like to do it. And I'd assume that your participation in this discussion has something to do with your desire to witness for your god. But I'd also assume that it has something to do with the fact that this topic is very interesting and fun to discuss. I really don't see the problem with some degree of selfishness on some issues.

And obviously our society is not perfect. Some of us use anti-depressants and heinous crimes are committed. Okay. But were the Hebrews perfect? Was Israel perfect? Many of her rulers were supposed to be prophets of God and yet her people were just as imperfect as people are today. You mentioned David earlier. He committed adultery and sent innocent men to die because of his lust. As a non-believer, I've done some awful things but none as awful as this. So I just don't see how our imperfection is supposed to be a point against science or secular philosophy or secular society given that theocratic and Bible based societies were also imperfect. And even according to your own belief system, imperfection is part of human nature.

Now, with regard to the idea universal truth, I conceded this point up front. If you want to argue that the Bible provides a basic philosophical framework in which to assess our problems, you'll have no argument from me. (I might disagree with the truth of that framework but not that it provides one.) My problem is that I think that our most pressing problems are economic and require a technical economic answer. And so I think that Keynes and Smith have much more to say to us than do Christ or Moses. Again, that doesn't mean that the Bible has no answers. It just means the Bible is not relevant to every discussion and specifically the discussion of our most pressing problems. Again, the Bible was written thousands of years ago and it shows.

But regardless of what the Bible's relevance is, I've very much enjoyed this discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/02/09 06:54:19 AM 
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Yall need a beer summit or something ;) really tho, this has been an interesting read!

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/02/09 08:13:32 AM 
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Big Doug wrote:
I appreciate your post. I still disagree (obviously) but I still appreciate it. And I should point out that when I raise an objection to a claim that you make, I raise it not in an attempt to show you how smart I am or to try to poke holes in your beliefs. I try to approach discussions like this with the assumption that I am no smarter or knowledgeable than those with whom I'm participating (and you've shown in this discussion that your knowledge of the Bible is superior to mine). And so, when I raise a question I do so with the presumption that you've either wrestled with the question yourself and can give an answer or that you can wrestle with the question and give an answer. Like I said before, I'm just trying to understand your thinking.

As far as your belief in the perfection of the Commandments, let me put it like this. I can comfortably concede that you're probably right that if the 10 Commandments were followed universally, the world would be a better place. I'll even include a belief in God, keeping the Sabbath and the rules against graven images. If we're just assessing things in terms of their utility, it's not a hard sell at all.

Having a god is useful because some people, not all people, need a kind of supervising authority to keep them from doing wrong. When you talk morality with a Christian at university, for example, they're pretty likely to quote Dostoevsky when he wrote that "if there is no immortality, all is permitted." What they fail to grasp is that Dostoevsky was a novelist and the person who said it was just a character in his story (and not a particularly bright one at that!) Still, the truth of the quotation is in the fact that some people really do think this way and therefore the concept of God is, without question, useful for those people. For example, some of Dostoevsky's future countrymen came to delight in seeing what evil they could do to prisoners precisely because they believed that there was no god to punish them in the afterlife. It's obvious then that things would have been better for at least a few people if these men believed in God. Likewise, I don't think it's a good idea for us to be working every day of the week. And so a day of rest, and especially one that is to be spent with family and friends, is probably a very good idea. And I very much like the idea that graven images should be forbidden. I really don't think it's good that I can go into almost any Black church, for example, and find a big ol' picture of a lily white Jesus with flowing hair (and probably blue eyes) with either a group of white disciples or with his white mother. Historical inaccuracy aside, I think that it's fairly obvious that raising a Black child with the idea that this picture is an accurate representation of a man that is either God or God's son in this particular country in this particular time can have very bad effects. (And if someone disagrees, then they should probably listen to Rass Kass' first album.) The usefulness of the rest of the Commandments are, I think, self-evident. (With the possible exception of coveting. I don't know that it's necessarily a bad thing to want something that someone else has.)

So that's all well and good. I just don't see how any of this makes the Bible true. See, where I part ways with you is your belief that, because of the objective usefulness of these laws, they were divinely inspired. I mean, you point out that the Chinese claimed that they were looking outside of themselves for their moral beliefs and this is true. But were they actually doing this? Earlier you claimed that part of God's covenant with the Hebrews was that they were to bring God's Law to the rest of mankind. If that's true then they were God's means of disseminating the Law. And if that's true then the Chinese most likely did not get their laws by looking outside of themselves and up to God because there's no evidence that they had contact with the Hebrews. Therefore, I think both of us would then have to agree that just because someone sincerely believes that they are looking up for the answers doesn't mean they actually are. Now if your worldview is true then it's possible that they looked within and found God's Law. The Bible says that God wrote His Law on the hearts of man. But I don't think that you need to believe the Bible is true to believe that people have an innate sense of morality. The Darwinian account leads to that exact same view. (In fact, I'd argue that it accounts for the results of certain psychological experiments better than the Christian account.) Furthermore, if it's possible to look within and derive God's Law then what's the point of God's covenant with the Hebrews in the first place? Basically, I don't see how the supposed perfection of the 10 Commandments necessitates even a belief in God, let alone a complex belief system such as Judaism or Christianity.

And as far as selfishness goes, I could make an argument that believing that you have a close and personal relationship with the creator of the universe is much more egotistical and selfish than believing that you are merely one individual among billions who inhabit a tiny spec of dust in a quiet corner of a vast vast vast universe. The belief that humanity is special is, after all, derived not from science but from religion. And as far as the selfishness of science goes (ie satisfying the curiosity of whether or not life exists or existed on Mars) I really don't see what the problem is. I mean, with regard to whether it's selfish or not you'd have no argument from much of the scientific community. Physicist Leonard Susskind even goes as far as to call this kind of science "selfish science." But I don't see what's wrong with that. I'd consider my music, for example, to be very much a selfish exercise. I write rhymes and make beats not because I think it will improve society or open people's minds but because I like to do it. And I'd assume that your participation in this discussion has something to do with your desire to witness for your god. But I'd also assume that it has something to do with the fact that this topic is very interesting and fun to discuss. I really don't see the problem with some degree of selfishness on some issues.

And obviously our society is not perfect. Some of us use anti-depressants and heinous crimes are committed. Okay. But were the Hebrews perfect? Was Israel perfect? Many of her rulers were supposed to be prophets of God and yet her people were just as imperfect as people are today. You mentioned David earlier. He committed adultery and sent innocent men to die because of his lust. As a non-believer, I've done some awful things but none as awful as this. So I just don't see how our imperfection is supposed to be a point against science or secular philosophy or secular society given that theocratic and Bible based societies were also imperfect. And even according to your own belief system, imperfection is part of human nature.

Now, with regard to the idea universal truth, I conceded this point up front. If you want to argue that the Bible provides a basic philosophical framework in which to assess our problems, you'll have no argument from me. (I might disagree with the truth of that framework but not that it provides one.) My problem is that I think that our most pressing problems are economic and require a technical economic answer. And so I think that Keynes and Smith have much more to say to us than do Christ or Moses. Again, that doesn't mean that the Bible has no answers. It just means the Bible is not relevant to every discussion and specifically the discussion of our most pressing problems. Again, the Bible was written thousands of years ago and it shows.

But regardless of what the Bible's relevance is, I've very much enjoyed this discussion.


Peace



God went on to strip the Hebrews of their priestly duties for their imperfections, hence the Son...Hence their is neither Jew or Gentile, slave or free, because the Hebrews have failed in their duties to assist...Even now, they are in bed with the most heinous of nations.

Do you use our tax dollars to make your beats? They use our tax dollars for flying to the moon, building space stations and flying to Mars. The example you gave is not even on the same spectrum. You do not impose laws on or levy taxes from others to finance your endeavors. That's selfish...

I do not talk Christianity with Christians because Christians took it a step further than the Hebrews. Hebrews decided to ignore their priestly duties and the Christians corrupt a very simple idea and make it complex and stupid. A belief in God is not a complex system; all that it requires is:

16"(A)Wash yourselves, (B)make yourselves clean;
(C)Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight
(D)Cease to do evil,
17Learn to do good;
(E)Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
(F)Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
"Let Us Reason"
18"Come now, and (G)let us reason together,"
Says the LORD,
"(H)Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

What is complex about this? Nothing. It is written, the abovementioned, is pure and undefiled religion. The problems with Christians, they pursue justice and do good based on the principles of self-preservation, while destroying everybody else. They do not want to reason, they want to condemn or, at the least, coerce assimilation.

Part of the economy's problem is the welfare state, a state of affairs where people are reckless with their lives. The Bill Cosby proclamation to Black people, but more universal. It cost the state of Nebraska $220 a day for one child in an Enhanced Treatment group home; do the math, if I keep the child for six months, I would be able to send for adults to the University of Lincoln for that same cost. Fornication and having children out of wedlock and not parenting these children as they need is a great burden on the state. 75% of these youths continue needing services and most likely will end up in jail, in which we pay for as well...However, I do not blame the orphans for their parents lack of self-control and obedience. Look at Health and Human services budget for children, a budget that can be reduced if the bibles principle of love, parenting and discipline was enforced. I can use the Bible to help the current state of the economy. Seriously, I do not know where you live, but research children behavioral health and the per diem rates. Spare the rod hate the child--Bible If you want to talk economic recovery, then it begins with a commitment to parenting and child-rearing, very much Bible ideas.

What about the Bibles views on agriculture? A renewed sense of Agriculture and caring for the earth is also a very Bible idea; remember, about letting the animals and land rest for a year, to restore and recover. Seriously, I am not kidding, the very things I do in life are Bible principles. And when professors in my Master's program respond to my proposals by saying, "You have things that cannot be taught in a classroom." then say it is to God's glory because I learned it via His inspiration. So I have mentioned two ways of helping the economy using the Bible. And I can go on...How about when the Bible says turn your weapons into plows. In other words, invest in farming, not military...would that help the world today? No Doubt!

I've offered two remedies for the economy using the Bible. In previous post, I called for more community supported agriculture, because if communities are growing a need resource together, then that community will grow closer together because of said supported ag, which then makes it harder to kill, steal, or rob from a neighbor. The Bible has answers.

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/02/09 04:59:18 PM 
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Some points:

Free$peech wrote:
God went on to strip the Hebrews of their priestly duties for their imperfections, hence the Son...Hence their is neither Jew or Gentile, slave or free, because the Hebrews have failed in their duties to assist...Even now, they are in bed with the most heinous of nations.


If this is a response to my argument that, according to your previous statement concerning God's covenant with the Hebrews, the Chinese could not have really been looking up for the answers then I don't see how this addresses the point. Christ came several hundred years after Confucius.

Free$peech wrote:
Do you use our tax dollars to make your beats? They use our tax dollars for flying to the moon, building space stations and flying to Mars. The example you gave is not even on the same spectrum. You do not impose laws on or levy taxes from others to finance your endeavors. That's selfish...


To be fair, you never mentioned taxes in the statement to which I was responding. You wrote:

You can study all the rocks you want and can make guesses forever to the age of the world; you can fly into outer space and re-create the Big Bang all you want, but the question will always remain, how did you improve the human condition?

See, I was right. Nothing about taxes. Incidentally, a few friends of mine do indeed get paid by a government funded non-profit here in Oxnard to make beats, some of which will be used to teach kids about writing through hip-hop. And there's a lot of art, especially classical music and visual art, that is subsidized by the government.

Furthermore, it can be argued that even selfish science, by providing us with a more accurate understanding of how the world works, does indeed have practical benefits for everyone, even those not particularly interested in science. General relativity, for example, came about as an attempt by theoretical physicists (most notably Einstein) to understand how the universe works. But it has plenty of practical applications. You can't really develop a good satellite, for example, without knowing that time on the surface of the earth is not the same as time in the earth's orbit. And I don't think I need to tell you how important satellites are these days. And don't get me started on a rant on how important observational cosmology is to our very survival.

Besides, I'd argue that attempting to gain an understanding of our universe through science is an end in itself. (But then again, you've already stated your position that anything less than certainty "satisfies nothing.")

Free$peech wrote:
What is complex about this? Nothing. It is written, the abovementioned, is pure and undefiled religion.


So far, in this thread you've espoused a belief in a god that came up with a perfect set of specific rules for living, had a covenant with a particular desert tribe to disseminate said rules, that occasionally destroys people and societies for arrogance and various other transgressions, that has a son that was crucified and resurrected, that occasionally tells us about the future in holy books, etc. And man, I've got several Bibles at my house. They range from about 700 to 1,000 pages long. I'd call this a complex belief system. If you want to disagree with the term complex then we're really just arguing semantics.

More importantly, I don't see how a passage from Isaiah is supposed to be a response to my question. I asked how you go from accepting the validity and even perfection of the 10 Commandments to accepting the validity of the holy book in which they occur. You responded by quoting Isaiah, but that doesn't answer the question of why it, and the rest of the Bible should be accepted in the first place.

With regard to your points about the welfare state, I don't see how this is supposed to support your claim that the Bible has answers. You really don't need to read any book to come to the conclusion that bad parenting or neglect increases the probability that a child will, at some point in their life, be institutionalized. It's kind of obvious. To use a different example, the Bible pointing out that the sky is blue wouldn't persuade me that it's a good source for answers to scientific questions. Furthermore, it's only tangentially related to our current economic downturn, which started in the housing and financial sectors and wasn't really related to how state governments delivered services. Besides, I don't know what a Bible based solution to that problem would even look like, let alone if it could be effective (or more effective than say sex-education, condom distribution and increased access to family planning to cut down on unwanted pregnancies and counseling for new mothers that do take pregnancies to term).

With regard to your ideas about agriculture, they've come up before and I'd be interested in knowing in more detail what exactly you're advocating. When you say community based farming I just get this image in my head of those old hippie communes. I don't think I know enough about what it is you're in favor of to weigh in on it one way or another. But I think that warrants a separate thread.


Peace

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/02/09 05:00:16 PM 
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domel wrote:
Yall need a beer summit or something ;) really tho, this has been an interesting read!


Holding a beer summit is my preferred solution to any given dispute, incidentally.

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/03/09 07:33:27 AM 
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What does the bible say about lending and borrowing? The borrower is slave to its lender; who does America borrow money from? Mostly China and Saudi Arabia, are we slaves; just keep watching how practical the Bible is...China is proposing a new monetary global system and America is absolutely worried, because creating a system the doesn't operate on the dollar will bankrupt America. Poor America, the borrower is slave to the lender. Machiavelli, I may not be able to out-power you, but maybe I will be able to destroy your systems. That's obvious right, that's logical right...You don't need a Bible to tell you this right? RIGHT! God is simple and logical!

Improving the human condition? "We help kids"...Is that self serving, no! We have been talking enough and I think this discussion has earned for you not to be playing devil's advocate...Sending rovers to Mars and watching the moons of Jupiter is stupid despite your eloquence.


Quote:
If this is a response to my argument that, according to your previous statement concerning God's covenant with the Hebrews, the Chinese could not have really been looking up for the answers then I don't see how this addresses the point. Christ came several hundred years after Confucius.


One of the most renown students of Confucius spoke of a heavenly mandate, and I did not say the Chinese people, I said, one of Confucius' students. Your response, I believe is where I think the complexity of your thought processes oversteps dealing with what is written; instead I think you interpret and dissect for the possible devil in the details--there is none. This is simple...The Bible, within the context of the Bible, is a relative story from beginning to end. What you find in Revelations, you can find in the Torah. Therefore, I trust the whole book for answers.

It seems that if we agreed that there was a god, then you would prefer that God to be complex, not simple. That if you could define you perfect God, the laymen would not easily understand him, because God should be like Einstein or Darwin...Cause these scientist should set the standard for any supposedly wise God.

Read the book of Proverbs lately, very logical solutions for parenting, borrowing and lending, treatment of the poor, anger, drinking, etc. etc. etc. All of which, combined, have a profound affect on the economy.

To bad that logic these days is discredited because it is logic and that God is done away with because he is logical. Answers are in the Bible.

Also, I never heard God say that if you find righteousness by some other means than his 10 commandments, that you will be condemned to hell. He will search the heart of men, and if their is goodness there, like it is in your heart, when you help those kids, then your disbelief would be covered by your love for children that need your help and get it.

Some of your questions were not answered and some of your statements not dealt with, because I feel you propose the same underlying argument despite different coating.

Peace

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/03/09 04:12:52 PM 
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Have not had the time to read everything yall posted on here. But I do agree that the Bible has the solution and answer to everything and anything life can throw at us in any shape form or fashion.


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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/03/09 04:51:41 PM 
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It seems we've managed to talk ourselves back to the original topic.

So let me ask you this. What would a Bible based plan to address the problems with our financial sector, for example, look like? See, it occurs to me that you're really not talking about answers to our problems when you say that the Bible has answers. The Bible rightfully condemns greed, for example, but that condemnation doesn't explain how we fix a modern financial system that has already been devastated by greed. That's a technical question requiring a technical answer.

To use a different example, suppose that I crash my car and I ask you how I can fix it. Saying "you should have driven more carefully" doesn't really help me to solve my problem. I already know that I should have been more careful and I'm living with the consequences of that. What I'd be looking for is how to get my car fixed. That's a technical question requiring a technical answer.

It occurs to me that we've been talking about two different things. When I think about America's problems, I think of them as requiring a more technical answer than the Bible is equipped to give. You seem to focus on the underlying errors that led us here and focus on what the Bible says about those. That's fine. I'm not going to argue that following Biblical principles would not have kept us out of trouble in the first place. I'm not even saying that Biblical principles couldn't inform the solution to our problems. But you've got to see that we're talking about two different things. Saying we shouldn't have been greedy is not the same as saying how we can deal with the consequences of greed. Saying a debtor becomes a slave to their lender doesn't help to explain how we get out of debt. Etc.

Some other points and responses:

Free$peech wrote:
China is proposing a new monetary global system and America is absolutely worried, because creating a system the doesn't operate on the dollar will bankrupt America.


I was ready to type out a lengthy and devastating rebuttal to this paragraph but it occurs to me that you might have in mind something different than what I think you're referring to. And I'd rather like to avoid rebutting a point you weren't making. So please link me to what you're referring to. (But it might be better to make that a new topic out of that, since I'm sure folks would like to weigh in on the future of US and Chinese relations without wading through my bullshit.)

Free$peech wrote:
One of the most renown students of Confucius spoke of a heavenly mandate, and I did not say the Chinese people, I said, one of Confucius' students. Your response, I believe is where I think the complexity of your thought processes oversteps dealing with what is written; instead I think you interpret and dissect for the possible devil in the details--there is none.


I know you didn't say the Chinese. I said the Chinese, referring to Confucius, his followers and the people who developed the tradition from which they drew. I could write all that out. But I'd just prefer to write...the Chinese.

And no, there's nothing all that complicated about my thought process. I was just highlighting what I saw as a contradiction in two of your assertions. Let me go back to the two statements that started this. There's this:

God's covenant with the Hebrew people included God's wrath against those that offended the Hebrews. The Hebrews were to be the teachers of the world, teaching the world the Moral Law and any nation or tribe that sought to undermine that was utterly destroyed. Nations feared the Hebrews because of their God, He would reach out His outstretched arms and smite Hebrews' enemies.

and this:

Confucious and other great thinkers tapped into God's universality when they propose constructionist theories, like a Golden Rule. One of Confucius early followers spoke of a heavenly mandate, an external criteria of sorts for the human nature. We can debate all day of whether or not we should attached a God to the mandate, but why? As far as we are concerned, we will not agree. I just find the use of the word heavenly as striking...It leads me to assume, they looked up for answers rather than look around and within man for answers, do you disagree?

My point was that if your first contention is true, that God chose the Hebrews as His means of distributing His Laws, then it doesn't make any sense to say that Confucius tapped into "God's universality"...unless you also want to also admit that God's covenant with the Hebrews was an essentially pointless exercise in favoritism, since God's "universality" is available to everyone. I just think that your statement about Confucius really pulls into focus the absurdity of God's supposed covenant with the Hebrews. After all, why would God charge a tribe with the special duty of teaching something that every culture seems to have been able to do without their help? And why would God give said tribe special privileges and responsibilities for this pointless duty?

So nah, I don't think I'm over-thinking this. I think you're not doing enough thinking. I mean, you keep talking about logic but it occurs to me that you're just not applying rigorous enough logic to your own statements.

Free$peech wrote:
Also, I never heard God say that if you find righteousness by some other means than his 10 commandments, that you will be condemned to hell. He will search the heart of men, and if their is goodness there, like it is in your heart, when you help those kids, then your disbelief would be covered by your love for children that need your help and get it.


I've never heard God say anything.

But the Bible says that "...whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3:29). In John it says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16) and conversely that "...but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son" (John 3:18). So there you go. I think that's clear enough. I get the hint. Though it's nice that you don't think I should be condemned.

And finally, with regard to possible gods, I think that's better left for a new thread. I'll just say briefly that if there is a god that is personal and responsible for the creation of the universe then it is necessarily an extremely complex being of unfathomable power and intelligence. And there's no logic to the position that a creator god like the god of the Bible can be both personal and simple. Hell, people aren't simple. Even so-called simple life like bacteria aren't simple! But again, that'd probably be a good topic for a new thread. I've taken this thread on enough tangents as it is.


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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/03/09 09:00:08 PM 
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Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
Charles Mingus



so stop borrowing is not a plan? Our financial has been devastated by lending and borrowing, so stop lending and borrowing, but again, that is too simple. You have a technical question requiring a technical answer, that's through your worldview, but through my own worldview, there's nothing technical about that question.

socioecohistory.wordpress.com/.../china-backs-russias-call-for-new-world-reserve-currency/

I think the Bible gives you blessings and curses, reasons and reasons not to, generalizations and specifics. Maybe you want to put a band-aid on the financial problem by offering some solutions with a million loopholes, but to truly fix it, you must stop the practice of lending and borrowing. This is simple. Your economist and bankers offer the answers, borrow more! A dog that returns to his own vomit. My wife and I are on the fast track out of debt, and once we get out of it, we will never turn back to it. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Proverbs 22:26-27 says, "Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you."

Proverbs 17:18 says: "A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor."

But the Bible does command against usury and Ezekiel 18 goes so far as to call usury an abomination. Biblical scholars differ as to whether usury in the Bible refers to excessive interest, or any amount of interest. Several verses in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy require lenders to not charge any interest whatsoever.

Deuteronomy 15:1-2 "At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. You must cancel debt sounds like a command. So what we have borrowed ourselves into oblivion, but do we keep digging our own graves? Like the smoker who's warned by his doctor to stop smoking for the possibility of furthering damaging his lungs. You say, "Stop smoking is too simple, the doctor needs to be more technical. And I'll say the doctor has said enough. There's no reason to show him pictures of his blackened lungs, or to talk about the chemicals in cigarettes and how those chemicals are cancer causing agents; all that is needed is, "Stop!..."

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/03/09 09:12:52 PM 
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HOAXone wrote:
Have not had the time to read everything yall posted on here. But I do agree that the Bible has the solution and answer to everything and anything life can throw at us in any shape form or fashion.


Can you give an example of how the Bible remains applicable?

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/04/09 10:00:34 AM 
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Free$peech wrote:
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
Charles Mingus


That's a nice quote but you're still quite obviously wrong. If your god exists then logic would demand that he is incredibly complex, just as you are.

As far as this goes:

Free$peech wrote:
so stop borrowing is not a plan? Our financial has been devastated by lending and borrowing, so stop lending and borrowing, but again, that is too simple. You have a technical question requiring a technical answer, that's through your worldview, but through my own worldview, there's nothing technical about that question.


Well then your worldview is wrong. "Stop borrowing" is not really a plan. It should probably be a component of a plan. But it's not a plan in itself. It's a strategy to guard against acquiring more debt in the future, sure, but it's not a strategy for dealing with the debt you already have. Just as "drive carefully" is a plan that helps guard against future damage to your car but says nothing about the damage that your car's already sustained. Furthermore, sometimes (kind of counterintuitively) it's better to borrow if your goal is long-term debt reduction. (At least if you're the federal government.)

And I don't really think it was lending and borrowing that got us here per se. I think it was more to do with bad lending practices. So it's not that banks were lending that was the problem, it was subprime mortgages, the securitization of those mortgages, credit default swaps, overleveraging at hedge funds etc. But lending itself wasn't the problem. Canada's banks lend money just like ours but they didn't face this kind of crisis because they had sensible rules to govern those banks.

And to return to your point about China:

Free$peech wrote:
What does the bible say about lending and borrowing? The borrower is slave to its lender; who does America borrow money from? Mostly China and Saudi Arabia, are we slaves; just keep watching how practical the Bible is...China is proposing a new monetary global system and America is absolutely worried, because creating a system the doesn't operate on the dollar will bankrupt America. Poor America, the borrower is slave to the lender. Machiavelli, I may not be able to out-power you, but maybe I will be able to destroy your systems. That's obvious right, that's logical right...You don't need a Bible to tell you this right? RIGHT! God is simple and logical!


It looks like you were referring to the same thing I was thinking about. And so let me just add this. No one was really proposing an entirely new monetary system. Some people are in favor changing the policies of the IMF so that international markets do not rely so heavily on the dollar as a reserve currency (and some Chinese think their currency should be included as part of the basket of currencies the IMF uses). And no one is arguing that we should completely stop using the dollar as a reserve currency if you'd bother to read the proposal. Furthermore, this essay does not present the position of "China". Rather, it presents the position of some economists in the Chinese government. (In fact, China's concerns are primarily about the value of the dollar. If it were more stable, they would probably prefer the current system since devaluing the yuan is really the Chinese national pastime.)

And on what grounds do you claim that changing the reserve currency will "bankrupt" us? I mean, if debt is so bad then if anything, the dollar losing its status as the main reserve currency will actually benefit us. It will make it more expensive for us to borrow money and it will make our exports cheaper for foreigners to buy. We can be the new Asian tigers! (Also, dollar holdings are going to keep decreasing anyway, regardless of the preferred policy of Chinese or Russian economists.)

But nah, the biggest problem with what your saying is that you're arguing that China wants to bankrupt the US. That this is all part of some grand plan. In other words, China is loaning us absurd amounts of money with the hopes of destroying our economy, which would mean that if they succeeded then they (the Chinese) would 1.) not get their money back and 2.) lose hundreds of millions of consumers on whom their economy depends and 3.) possibly destabilize the entire world market (and maybe even global security). Maybe that's right. I can't read minds so I can't know for sure. But that seems like obviously the wrong interpretation of what's going on. There's just no basis for that kind of thinking. Again, I think you're obviously a thoughtful person but you're obviously not doing enough thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/05/09 09:36:51 PM 
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You seem to want, if there's a God, a God that answers every question: "What came first the chicken or the egg? Why did the chick cross the road? How old is the earth?" And if he doesn't answer every question--laffer curve and Keynesian economics--then God is irrelevant and inapplicable. However, like a leader with no action, no answers from man, and the advocates of man's understanding, for a crumbling world they have full control over. Nothing man does works, but God's answers definitely doesn't work, because he doesn't provide answers that encourages the Republicants and Demorats and Independonts to act as one in justice and peace. If I get a million fan mail asking me about 48 Laws of power, it would be foolish of me to answer everyone; instead, I'll give a general response that may or may not answer every question, but it is enough of a response to satisfy each fan

Turn your weapons into plows, which will lead to cutting the military budget and increasing ag investment, but that is not an answer in improving the human condition; because that is too logical.

I bet some Jewish people are glad they utilized God's answers during the bubonic plague:

Quote:
Or maybe you think you already eat healthy. But whose way of “healthy” are you following? God’s, or someone else’s? Consider the Jewish people. When they followed God’s health plan to the “T”, given to them by Moses in extreme detail in Leviticus, they thrived, even when civilizations around them collapsed. When the Bubonic Plague ravished Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, the Jewish people escaped its grip. This plague was so devastating that England lost nearly half of its population, and it returned repeatedly over the next 250 years. Here’s what Michael D. Jacobson, D.O., a former U.S. Army flight surgeon and family practitioner had to say about the Jewish people’s health during this devastating time: (Taken from the Maker’s Diet p. 39)

“People concluded that it was the Jews who were responsible for the plague, since they were the only ones who were not dying.
The truth is that, hundreds of years prior to the discovery of bacteria, the Jews were protecting themselves from the deadly Yersinia pestis microbe by practicing cleanliness and good hygiene…more than three thousand years before man discovered bacteria, the Creator had given detailed instructions that, if followed, would prevent the spread of such a deadly communicable disease.”

And we’re worried about swine flu.

Not only did the Jews follow the incredibly precise hygiene laws given to them by God, (including avoiding touching dead bodies, keeping corposes far from their homes, proper disposal of waste, cleaning their hands, utensils and clothing in running water, and rules for sexual conduct) but they drew their water from fresh springs, instead of drinking from the city wells. In contrast with their cleanliness, the average European of that time bathed once a month, and changed clothes once a year! Rotten food, rats, and other animals were rampant in their homes. (Modern science now blames rats for the spread of the Bubonic Plague.) At the time, European doctors recommended the following treatments for curing the Bubonic Plague: causing bleeding near the heart, avoiding sleeping on your back, shutting all the windows in your house (it was thought that the Plague was spread through the air) and staying as cool as possible. It was also recommended not to bathe, as opening up the pores of the body was supposed to let in the infection.http://soulpants.wordpress.co ... st-people/


Your profound technical question cannot be answered by simply saying, "Go fix your car! And, if you do not know how to fix it, then find someone that knows how to." And, yeah, it would of been better if you didnt crash it at all, but now that you have, go fix it. And now that "you" have devastated the economy, go fix that as well. The Bible says not to be greedy...But how do we fix a financial system already devastated by greed? A little leaven spoils the dough, so u can either try and pick out the leaven or throw away the whole dough, answer each fan; instead, bye bye Babylon, the greedy and corrupt.

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/05/09 11:28:03 PM 
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Honestly, and I mean you no disrespect by this, I'm thinking that if you can read what I've written in this thread and then somehow come to the conclusion that my position is that the Bible is "irrelevant" or "inapplicable" then maybe it's not a good idea for me to continue explaining my position. And if you're going to completely ignore the obvious point of an analogy I use just to take a jab at me (I'm referring to your "go fix your car" comment) then it might be a waste of time for me to try to make points with you (or rebut yours). It seems to me that, right now, you're either not reading my posts, not understanding them, or just ascribing beliefs to me that you know I don't hold. And if you're not going to approach this discussion thoughtfully and honestly, then I don't see the point in continuing it.

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/07/09 12:21:40 PM 
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I do not think you can separate The Scriptures from the God that inspired it, and seeing how every book pertains to God and his prophecies, then I am under the assumption that if you do not accept his revelations, then you also doubt him. You have even brought God's character under judgment by bringing up Numbers 31; so please be specific, where did I go astray and stop dealing with your positions?

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/07/09 12:38:10 PM 
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[quote="Free$peech]I bet some Jewish people are glad they utilized God's answers during the bubonic plague:

Quote:
Or maybe you think you already eat healthy. But whose way of “healthy” are you following? God’s, or someone else’s? Consider the Jewish people. When they followed God’s health plan to the “T”, given to them by Moses in extreme detail in Leviticus, they thrived, even when civilizations around them collapsed. When the Bubonic Plague ravished Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, the Jewish people escaped its grip. This plague was so devastating that England lost nearly half of its population, and it returned repeatedly over the next 250 years. Here’s what Michael D. Jacobson, D.O., a former U.S. Army flight surgeon and family practitioner had to say about the Jewish people’s health during this devastating time: (Taken from the Maker’s Diet p. 39)

“People concluded that it was the Jews who were responsible for the plague, since they were the only ones who were not dying.
The truth is that, hundreds of years prior to the discovery of bacteria, the Jews were protecting themselves from the deadly Yersinia pestis microbe by practicing cleanliness and good hygiene…more than three thousand years before man discovered bacteria, the Creator had given detailed instructions that, if followed, would prevent the spread of such a deadly communicable disease.”

And we’re worried about swine flu.

Not only did the Jews follow the incredibly precise hygiene laws given to them by God, (including avoiding touching dead bodies, keeping corposes far from their homes, proper disposal of waste, cleaning their hands, utensils and clothing in running water, and rules for sexual conduct) but they drew their water from fresh springs, instead of drinking from the city wells. In contrast with their cleanliness, the average European of that time bathed once a month, and changed clothes once a year! Rotten food, rats, and other animals were rampant in their homes. (Modern science now blames rats for the spread of the Bubonic Plague.) At the time, European doctors recommended the following treatments for curing the Bubonic Plague: causing bleeding near the heart, avoiding sleeping on your back, shutting all the windows in your house (it was thought that the Plague was spread through the air) and staying as cool as possible. It was also recommended not to bathe, as opening up the pores of the body was supposed to let in the infection.http://soulpants.wordpress.co ... st-people/
[/quote]

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/07/09 11:01:21 PM 
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Okay. Fair enough. I sort of understand where you're coming from now.

Free$peech wrote:
I do not think you can separate The Scriptures from the God that inspired it, and seeing how every book pertains to God and his prophecies, then I am under the assumption that if you do not accept his revelations, then you also doubt him.


First of all, I don't doubt Him. That's too weak an expression. I flat out, don't believe in Him. But I don't think that's all that relevant. See, I think you're confusing two different things a.) accepting that the Bible is the revealed Word of God and b.) accepting that the Bible has advice for how we should live and make decisions. If you accept a then you will accept b. But you can accept b without accepting a. And if you accept b but not a then the Bible would sometimes be applicable and relevant and sometimes not. Sometimes it would be true. Sometimes it would not be true.

See, it's true that if you're a nonbeliever, you don't look at what's written in the Bible as revelation from God. But that disbelief doesn't mean that you have to dismiss what is supposed to have been revealed. It just means you read it and analyze it as you would any other ancient work of science, history, literature, philosophy etc. It means that you assess it on the merits. And, with regard to the Bible, I think that a lot of it is indeed useful. You brought up rules regarding cleanliness. That's a perfect example. I think a lot of the rules in Leviticus are repugnant. I've already given you one example of what I think is a bad rule in Leviticus. But I think that it's also fair to say that some of the Levitical rules regarding cleanliness, especially regarding disposal of waste and washing one's hands, will probably limit the spread of infectious disease.

Again, to go back to Confucius. I think a lot of what he says is true and useful. I'm sure most people who have read him agree with that. But you don't need to accept the whole of his belief system or even his ethical system to accept that. I mean, you can be a pacifist and still find Sun Tzu useful. You can be a conservative and find Saul Alinsky useful. And you can be a non-believer and find the Bible useful.

And again, my position in this thread has been that 1.) the Bible is not always useful and 2.) our problems are an area where the Bible is not useful.

With all this in mind, I think this statement is obviously an unfair description of my position:

"You seem to want, if there's a God, a God that answers every question: "What came first the chicken or the egg? Why did the chick cross the road? How old is the earth?" And if he doesn't answer every question--laffer curve and Keynesian economics--then God is irrelevant and inapplicable."

Do you see what I mean?

Free$peech wrote:
You have even brought God's character under judgment by bringing up Numbers 31


Eh...not really. It's my contention that the portrayal of God in Numbers 31 is, by anyone's standard of morality, cruel and unjust. I just don't know how any reasonable person could come to the conclusion that such a portrayal is accurate if they also believe that God is good and just. I mean, I don't really believe in God at all. And I tend not to question the character of entities that I do not believe to exist. But that's neither here nor there. The point of bringing up was to ask how you grapple with it, as a lot of Christians and Jews that I know have trouble wrestling with these kinds of passages. But you apparently are fine with just assuming that God has a morally sufficient reason for everything He does and sort of move on. I find that reasoning to be circular but if that's okay for you then that's okay for you.

Again, I still really don't understand why you believe. Anyways, it's been a pretty good discussion I'd say.


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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/08/09 04:45:02 AM 
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Define faith, your definition and Webster's def...

And, do you have faith in anything?

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/08/09 09:39:28 AM 
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No problem.

Merriam-Webster wrote:
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>


So obviously, there are a lot of different connotations to the word faith. I suppose the one that you seem to want to discuss would be a belief in things that have not or cannot be proven (2b).

Now, if you're asking me whether I believe in some things that cannot or have not been proven, I would have to say, yes. A belief that one's senses are accurate, for example, is really an assumption that we have to take on faith, as there's no way to prove that they are correct without assuming the very thing you're trying to prove. And you obviously can't prove that the scientific method is valid scientifically, as you would be using the method you're attempting to vindicate. With this in mind, naturalism (which is sort of kind of my worldview) is very much something that we have to take on faith.

I've actually had this kind of discussion with several of my fellow disbelievers. Basically, I don't think you can necessarily chastise someone for taking some things on faith, as there are plenty of things that EVERYONE has to take on faith, such as a belief in the five senses. And so I really don't begrudge a person for say, an a priori belief in a god and especially a deist god. Now if you want to attach said god to a belief system, I suppose that's a different story.

Is that what you were looking for?


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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/08/09 10:35:20 PM 
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Your patience is astounding!

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 Post subject: Re: What is God's answer(s) to America's problems?
PostPosted: 09/09/09 12:35:11 AM 
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Faith is the variable unaccounted for, a game changer.

Complete trust in something that is unknown to science, what exactly is the variable unaccounted for? Which is a stupid question for a scientist to ask...It is unaccounted for. And they know this. Therefore, a scientist also knows, beholden to science, that there is a possibility that God exist. Which also means there's a possibility His answers exist. And considering all I have seen in my 34 years of life, nothing causes me to doubt his existence.

But, faith does not mean the discussion is not worth having, the tendency in very liberal circles. I respect that...and honor your position with the same enduring patience you have shown me.

With that said, lets pick up on this established proof that what is unseen, like senses; means, possibly, that the criteria of the scientist must include, an established fact that the unseen is indeed possible. And they can say this with complete confidence and with absolute sincerity: An existing God is possible.

There is a possibility that at some point, due to human nature, I think we stopped seeking the unseen when our senses, or our five basic pleasures, were satisfied. A possibility...If God is unseen, and considering man's drive to satisfy mere pleasures, then God is also possibly unknown, at this time. A scientist could not scientifically say that a God does not exist, less he's also willing to say that all variables are accounted for, which is unscientific.

So then, let me re-introduce this seemingly basic need to know everything, like how old is the earth and knowing that there are volcanic eruptions on one of the moons of Jupiter--Information accounted for, and so what? How does this information help the human condition, and would spending more time considering the unknown be more beneficial to man? And, when it is not beneficial to humanity, we have to consider its purpose and its vanity.

Children, mothers and fathers, and neighborhoods are getting hit with bombs here on earth. Not to discredit the scientist's question, I just feel like there's a better question, a more simple and logical question to ask and research. How many children would die if America collapsed? And could God's standards protect some like it protected the Jews during the Bubonic plague?

Considering America's ways, is it to anyone's surprise, it will collapse? The question, should America's ways or the unaccounted for be blamed for all the children that will die during her collapse, I think it is a combination of both. My God has standards, you know?

In all fairness, yes the death of children causes me distress, but, in allegiance to my God, I believe that's the consequence for not honoring thy Father. My God cannot be cruel. Instead, we just suffer from a lack of obedience, a lack of obedience that began soon after the origins of man. That during this time period, it was normal to believe ones self to be a god; being a god was more common than being a scientist. These gods controlled territories that they sometimes compared their land and rule to the heavens and themselves to the Most High God--perhaps this led to the destruction of territories that had these kinds of arrogant gods in place. Perhaps Baal-Peor, Midians of Numbers 31 paid that price.

Where these gods are on the hierarchy usually rubs my God, the Most High, the wrong way, if the gods believed themselves equal to, or, worse yet, surpassing Him, that would cause my God to discipline those gods and their territory.

Therefore, the death of those children in numbers 31 cannot break my allegiance to the Unknown, my God. Similarly to how you disciplined me for saying the unknown is more entitled to/worthy of our attention: My underlying statement made by asking the question leading this thread. However, the burden of proof comes from the man of faith or the scientist, therefore I digress...

But, as a scientist, there is a possibility that I am right; and there is no proof that my faith is misplaced. I know I am right. That the unseen and unknown is possible and possibly at play...But I also know that I can no more force you to heed my answers than you forcing me to heed your answers. I am loyal but not unfair. I will work on getting you proof...possibly through the means of Elijah.

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