8 Things Jesus Never said

Jesus said a lot of things throughout the Bible, but there are also a lot of things he didn’t. Here are eight things Jesus never said (From chururchleaders.com).

1. “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”

Jesus never gave prerequisites for encountering his love. Regardless of your past, the love of Christ is available for anyone who is willing to accept it. Nobody is too flawed for forgiveness and eternal salvation.

2. “Follow me, and I will bring you fame and fortune.”

Jesus never promises fame or fortune, yet these are also not things he opposes if used for his glory. If your reasoning for seeking a relationship with God is materially focused, you may want to evaluate what god you’re really yearning for.

3. “Everything will go according to your plans.”

Many of us pray to Jesus thinking that everything we ask of Him is going to be answered in our timing. The reality is that not all prayers will be answered, but that Jesus does have the power to fulfill any prayer that is asked of him. He’s that BIG! Just because a prayer isn’t answered in your timing does not mean your prayer has been ignored. God hears all, knows all and knows what’s best for each of us as individuals. Take a step back and trust in God, his timing and his will.

4. “I will bless you if you pray hard enough.”

The blessing of prayer is in prayer itself. Communication and dialogue between our heavenly father and us is more fulfilling than anything else we can ask for. Jesus isn’t a magic genie, and if your prayers seem more like wishes than heart-felt conversations, you may want to re-think how your foundation of faith is being built.

5. “Life is going to be without rough patches.”

So many people think that just because they believe in Jesus means everything is going to be flawless and perfect. This really isn’t the case at all. You may have a relationship with Jesus, but this doesn’t mean life is going to stop moving forward, tough circumstances are going to cease to exist, and rough times will never be a possibility. Even though Jesus never said life would be easy, he did say he would be there for you in your times of need. The message of The Gospel isn’t that life will be perfect, but that in its imperfection we have a perfect and flawless Savior.

6. “I will answer prayers on your time.”

Although God is faithful in his answering of prayer, we cannot expect him to answer every prayer to our exact measurements. Faith is trusting God even when things don’t make sense, and that includes a prayer that we feel may be unanswered or at the wrong time. Faith is trusting in God’s timing, not ours.

7. “You’re too far gone to be saved.”

Nobody is too far traveled from having a relationship with God. No matter where life has brought you, you always have the opportunity to look next to you and see the open arms of Jesus. The forgiveness and love that He offers is not something we can run from, nor become too dirty to accept.

8. “You deserve to have nice things.”

Jesus never said you deserve a huge house, nice car, big paycheck and a sweet job. In fact, everything in the Gospel points to simplicity rather than luxury. This isn’t to say that you’re not allowed to have nice things but that Jesus didn’t promise you are going to be given them. God’s plan for each of our lives is different, and we need to understand that not everyone is going to make the same amount of money, drive the same types of cars or even live in the same type of housing.

What we need to understand is that Jesus did say we need to love our neighbors, help those who are in need, and that the widow and homeless deserve to be loved as Christ loved the church.You don’t deserve to have nice things, but you do get to experience the love of Christ, and that is worth more than anything this world can offer.

http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/246459-8-things-jesus-never-said.html

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161 thoughts on “8 Things Jesus Never said

  1. Is Unbelief Culpable?
    by William Lane Craig

    I find that contemporary atheists take great umbrage at the biblical claim that God holds people to be morally culpable for their unbelief. They want to maintain their unbelief in God without accepting the responsibility for it. This attitude enables them to reject God with impunity.

    Now we can agree that a person cannot be held morally responsible for failing to discharge a duty of which he is uninformed. So the entire question is: are people sufficiently informed to be held morally responsible for failing to believe in God? The biblical answer to that question is unequivocal. First, God has provided a revelation of Himself in nature that is sufficiently clear for all cognitively normal persons to know that God exists. Paul writes to the Roman church:

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom. 1. 18-21).

    In Paul’s view God’s properties, His eternal power and deity, are clearly revealed in creation, so that people who fail to believe in an eternal, powerful Creator of the world are without excuse. Indeed, Paul says that they actually do know that God exists, but they suppress this truth because of their unrighteousness. As result they become so clouded in their thinking that they may actually deceive themselves into thinking that they are open-minded inquirers honestly pursuing the truth. The human capacity for rationalization and self-deception, I’m sure we’ve all observed, is very great, indeed, and in the biblical view atheists are prey to it.

    Second, wholly apart from God’s revelation in nature is the inner witness which the Holy Spirit bears to the great truths of the Gospel, including, I should say, the fact that God exists. Anyone who fails to believe in God by the end of his lifetime does so only by a stubborn resistance to the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing that person to a knowledge of God. On the biblical view people are not like innocent, lost lambs wandering helplessly without a guide. Rather they are determined rebels whose wills are set against God and who must be subdued by God’s Spirit.

    The difference, then, between God and Santa Claus, is that (i) there is good evidence in support of God’s existence which is evident to all, and (ii) there is an objective witness of God’s Spirit which warrants belief in Christian truths. Of course, the unbeliever will deny that there is such evidence and such a witness of the Spirit. Fine; we Christians disagree with them about that. We think they’re mistaken. That’s why we engage them in dialogue, to show them that the evidence is sufficient and that their objections are weak.

    On the biblical view, unbelief is a choice. It is a choice to resist the force of the evidence and the drawing of God’s Holy Spirit. The unbeliever is like someone dying of a fatal disease who refuses to believe the medical evidence concerning the efficacy of a proffered cure and who rejects the testimony of his doctor to it and who, as a result, suffers the consequence of his own stubbornness. He has no one to blame but himself.

    Atheists and agnostics are not like dogs. They are persons created in the image of God, endowed with freedom of the will, and pursued by a loving Heavenly Father who yearns to reconcile them with Himself. Their unbelief is culpable because it is maintained in the face of the evidence and in defiance of the Holy Spirit.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-unbelief-culpable#ixzz3QI7PxMzQ

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    • This article confuses the heck out of me, can somebody clear up a few points

      “They want to maintain their unbelief in God without accepting the responsibility for it.”
      How do you accept responsibility for unbelief in God?

      “are people sufficiently informed to be held morally responsible for failing to believe in God? ”
      What is sufficiently informed? And what moral responsibility is there ?

      “The biblical answer to that question is unequivocal”
      How does a biblical answer apply to an atheist / unbeliever ? OR is this article just for Christians ?

      “In Paul’s view God’s properties,…….”
      As above why would Paul’s view apply to an atheist.

      “The human capacity for rationalization and self-deception, I’m sure we’ve all observed, is very great, indeed, and in the biblical view atheists are prey to it.”
      So atheists are responsible because humans are created with some serious flaws?

      “Rather they are determined rebels whose wills are set against God”
      How? Can you give an example of this?

      “…, to show them that the evidence is sufficient and that their objections are weak.”
      Is anything in the above passage supposed to do this or did that happen on a different occasion?

      “…refuses to believe the medical evidence concerning the efficacy of a proffered cure”
      Medical cures can take years of rigorous testing before they are used by humans is there similar for God. IF medial science is the standard we are supposed to use can anybody show me the years of scientific study that demonstrates the existence of the Christian God ?

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      • “How do you accept responsibility for unbelief in God?”

        By acknowledging that ‘unbelief in God’ is deliberate. That’s the whole crux of the article, I think.

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      • “By acknowledging that ‘unbelief in God’ is deliberate”

        OK I can see how that would work. I would, probably, call myself a deliberate unbeliever (depending on how that was defined).

        But does that mean everybody who doesn’t believe does so deliberately?

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      • “But does that mean everybody who doesn’t believe does so deliberately?”

        No, of course not, ye of many names. 🙂

        I do not think that a child can deliberately choose to believe or disbelieve, not until it is capable of deep rational thought and has undergone normal cognitive and moral development so that it can think through things in the same way as an adult can. And I agree with Strewth’s comments on ‘The wealthy woman and Heaven’ thread: “Whether we consciously choose belief or unbelief, or whether the brain is hard-wired for belief or unbelief, doesn’t take into account the development and changes that the brain undergoes in the first years of life. It may develop wiring for trust, optimism etc, or it may develop wiring for mistrust , pessimism, etc. We can’t generalise, and what is true for one individual may be false for another.”

        From the biblical viewpoint, God is just and loving, and only He can know who has deliberately rejected the Light that has come into the world, and who has not deliberately done so. But, there is a law of the universe that “whoever turns from the light shall become blind, and whoever steels his heart against the truth shall find his heart hardened and shall thus be held morally responsible. If you turn from the light and seek to abide in darkness you will not perceive truth and the consequence is to “believe a lie and be damned.”

        The men who are the champions of unbelief, such men as Voltaire, Paine and Ingersoll, are unbelievers because they did not wish to believe. Their moral condition was such that they could justify their course of life only by refusing to believe on Christ. They sought the darkness, and as a result, finally they became so blinded that they could not believe. That is the self-inflicted consequence of God’s universal law.

        There is life in the truth of God when it is received into the heart and becomes the law of life. His commandment is truth. Christ says: “My words are spirit and they are life”…….. Biblical Commentary by B.W. Johnson titled, ‘The Cause of Unbelief”

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      • Hi Monica,

        Two isn’t really “many” 🙂

        You’re right about kids but I’d also think that there a plenty of adults who just don’t think about the topic in very much depth at all.

        For example if you meet somebody and asked
        “Do you believe in God” and they said “no”
        You ask “Why” and they reply “Dunno never really thought about it” would you describe them as a deliberate unbeliever ?

        RE – From the biblical viewpoint,

        That really doesn’t mean too much to me. You might as well say from the Harry Potter viewpoint. But I take it you’re quoting it because it’s your viewpoint as well as the biblical viewpoint ?

        If that’s the case then you seem to be both agreeing with Strewth when he says “We can’t generalise, and what is true for one individual may be false for another.”

        While at the same time you’re agreeing with B.W. Johnson who seems to be generalising from Voltaire, Paine and Ingersoll to all unbelievers.

        So which is it are all unbelievers the same or individuals who see things differently?

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      • “While at the same time you’re agreeing with B.W. Johnson who seems to be generalising from Voltaire, Paine and Ingersoll to all unbelievers. So which is it are all unbelievers the same or individuals who see things differently?”

        Yes, I agree that B.W. Johnson is generalising here and that I felt uncomfortable including it, but I also agree with him in principle re God’s universal law that ‘unbelief’ is sin and sin leads to (spiritual) death, hence salvation comes only to those who come to belief and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

        The ‘unbelief’ part is sin and applies to everyone BUT the process that leads us to unbelief is different for all; mostly it’s a deliberate rejection of God, but not always, so it would be unwise for a Christian to generalise.

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  2. Pingback: Praying is surrendering in all circumstances | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

      • All people are accountable to God, whether or not they have heard about Him or the Bible, Stu.

        It has to be this way if God is indeed real and we are His creation. We have to play by His rules/His law of the universe. So, supposing God is real, then the Bible, which is not the Church (man-made religious structures) or a collection of stories/myths, but God’s actual word to us delivered through imperfect vessels, is one of he means by which God speaks to His creation and lets us know what He expects of us.

        Even if one has never heard of the Bible or God, He tells us (through his mouthpiece, the apostle Paul “that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

        In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known”……. Got Questions Org

        On the other hand, if God does not exist then the Gospel of Christ is the result of a nutter suffering from delusions of grandeur.

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      • “All people are accountable to God, whether or not they have heard about Him or the Bible, Stu.”

        How can you be held accountable to something you’ve never heard of?

        “He tells us (through his mouthpiece, the apostle Paul…”

        If you haven’t heard of the bible or had access to it, then God (and Paul) have told you nothing.

        “In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God.”

        Really? What about people in the Amazon who have had no contact with the outside world?

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      • “Stu, Did you actually read what Mon wrote?”

        Yes. If you’d read my response you’d see evidence of that fact by my use of quotation marks to identify which bits of Mon’s post I was responding to, with my questions and responses immediately following.

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      • I don’t know if you took account of this from Mon
        Even if one has never heard of the Bible or God, He tells us (through his mouthpiece, the apostle Paul “that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

        In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known”…

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      • OK so the bible says that ““God has clearly revealed Himself in nature”

        And apparently the people who have never read the bible or heard of Paul are supposed to be able to look at a tree and say to themselves:
        “I’ll betcha there’s a god that did that. And not just any God he’ be the Christian God – the trinity, the three in one, father, son and spirit who became man, suffered and died for my sins. Yeah that’s the God for me. I’ll start worshipping him right away.”

        And of course if they look at the said same tree and don’t immediately click that it was the Christian God wot put that tree there then they are sinfully rejecting God because of their rebellious nature.

        Makes complete sense doesn’t it.

        Especially as the self same Bryan who seems to endorse this viewpoint is the same guy who also endorses the notion that the “way human brains are wired seems to make it impossible for someone to actually be a true atheist ”

        Seems that if you buy everything this blog is trying to sell you then you’d have to believe that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think” while at the same time “we all reject this knowledge of God”

        Seems according to the faithworks blog nowadays we are hard-wired to both believe and reject God simultaneously.

        Makes perfect sense. Well as much sense as holding people who’ve never heard of the bible to the standards as espoused in the bible.

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      • “I don’t know if you took account of this from Mon”

        I did. And I directly addressed both the bit about Paul and the bit that says “in reality it’s not that some people have never heard of God”, when it’s demonstrably true that some people have never heard of Paul, the Bible or the Christian God.

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      • How has the Christian God clearly revealed himself in nature and in the hearts of people in the Amazon who have had no contact with the outside world? Name one place ever at anytime that spontaneously became Christian without knowlege from elsewhere?

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      • Name one place ever at anytime that spontaneously became Christian without knowlege from elsewhere?

        I’ve heard stories relating to that. Once in Sri Lanka, from a friend who said he had personally experienced it

        How has the Christian God clearly revealed himself in nature and in the hearts of people in the Amazon who have had no contact with the outside world?

        Nature exists in the Amazon Stu. So does God.

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      • “I’ve heard stories relating to that. ”

        I’ve heard stories about this couple on honeymoon driving through the forest when the car ran out of petrol and he said “I saw a farmhouse a little while back, I’ll walk there and get some petrol you lock the doors and stay in the car………”

        Urban myths these kinda stories are called.

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      • “I’ve heard stories relating to that.”

        That’s hardly the basis for accepting that the stories are real.

        “Nature exists in the Amazon Stu. So does God.”

        That’s not what I asked. I asked how the Christian God has revealed himself to people in the Amazon who had no experience of the outside world. How would someone like that recognise a God as the Christian one?

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      • “I’ve heard stories relating to that.”

        That’s hardly the basis for accepting that the stories are real.

        I guess it comes down to trusting the stories of those who tell them. In this case, I totally trust the man in Sri Lanka who told me this story. I’m a cynical journalist and not that easily deceived I think.

        I asked how the Christian God has revealed himself to people in the Amazon who had no experience of the outside world. How would someone like that recognise a God as the Christian one?

        And do you think that is impossible? I don’t.

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      • Sorry, think I responded to the wrong thread…

        “I totally trust the man in Sri Lanka who told me this story.”

        I have no doubt people who experience certain things are convinced that those experiences are real. If your friend in Sri Lanka had a similar experience relating to Shiva, Allah or Baal would you trust that experience was just as real?

        “And do you think that is impossible?”

        No. Extemely improbable. But again, this doesn’t answer the question I asked. Which was how?

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      • “If God exists it’s not improbable.”

        Of course. If wishful thinking was real nothing would be impossible or improbable.

        “And it wasn’t Shiva or all the rest. It was Jesus.”

        So, special pleading then?

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      • As I said Stu, you don’t want to believe it so you won’t. It’s just outside your scope to even consider it might be true.

        Special pleading? No. Fact. This guy had no experience or real knowledge of Christianity – he was a staunch Buddhist – yet he claims God’s intervention changed his mind and heart.
        His personal experience is his testimony.

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      • Thousands of Muslims are converting to Christianity after reportedly encountering Jesus in dreams or visions.

        “Karima*, a Muslim, dreamed she was in a car when it crashed. She was knocked out, but when she opened her eyes (in her dream), she saw that Jesus was the driver. “Come to me,” He told her, “I am with you. I love you.” That experience led her to seek out a Christian church, where she responded to the gospel.

        Omar had been locked up and tortured for years in a jail cell in a nation ruled by a dictator. One night a messenger visited him in a dream, telling him he would be set free. Within days he was released from prison and traveled to America where newfound friends reached out to him. When he was given a book with a picture of Jesus on the cover, his eyes lit up. “I know him,” he said. “He came to me in a dream.”

        Yasmin was fearful and anxious. She cried out to Allah, asking him to help her, but she remained unchanged. One night while visiting friends in the U.S., she was awakened from her darkness with an epiphany. “Walking around the house of my friend,” she now explains in broken English, “suddenly I felt that I was blind, [but] now I can see.”
        hat terminology, though cliché to most believers, was foreign to Yasmin, who was born in an Islamic nation and was never exposed to “Christianese.”

        “It was very obvious,” she recalls, describing it as a feeling as if something literally changed inside her head. “I felt that it was Jesus who did something to me.”

        She later learned her sister—a Christian still living in her home country—was praying for her. Yasmin received a Bible, was baptized and began to grow with her new church family. (Her sister, now in ministry, has also had supernatural encounters, saying that she’s heard the voice of God seven times, “like a man beside me, talking to me. Whatever He says to me, it happens to me,” she describes.)

        Testimonies of dreams and other encounters with Jesus can’t always be verified because by definition spiritual experiences are personal. Further, in countries where owning a Bible is illegal, Muslim converts are subject to persecution and even death, so their stories are not always documented. But believers who work among Muslims tell of life-changing conversions resulting from dreams. Like martyrs from antiquity until today, believers who have had profound, unexplainable encounters often develop profound, unshakeable faith.

        Still, if converting to Christianity comes with such high stakes, what is it about these dreams that compels Muslims to forsake their religion and embrace Jesus?

        “I think because it’s a direct communication from God.””

        http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/evangelism-missions/14442-when-musiims-see-jesus

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      • “Special pleading? No. Fact. This guy had no experience or real knowledge of Christianity.”

        Did this guy you know live in pre colonial Ceylon? With no possible access to information about the Christian God?

        Feel free to ignore this question again: “If your friend in Sri Lanka had a similar experience relating to Shiva, Allah or Baal would you trust that experience was just as real?”

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      • Feel free to ignore this question again: “If your friend in Sri Lanka had a similar experience relating to Shiva, Allah or Baal would you trust that experience was just as real?”

        The question is pointless Stu. He didn’t have an experience of Shiva etc. What you are asking is akin to “If black was white would you call it yellow>”

        You just can’t consider that the story may be true can you?

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      • I’ve just asked you to consider the same story with a different god. You said that was pointless, when what you mean is that it is pointless because it doesn’t confirm you bias that religious experiences are only true if they confirm your own religious bias

        Why would I consider a hypothetical? It wasn’t Shiva. It was Jesus.
        I think your bias is showing Stu, rather than mine.

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      • “You just can’t consider that the story may be true can you?”

        I’ve just asked you to consider the same story with a different god. You said that was pointless, when what you mean is that it is pointless because it doesn’t confirm you bias that religious experiences are only true if they confirm your own religious bias. So in short, this guy didn’t live in a isolated part of the world with no access to knowlege of Christianity, he didn’t spontaneously obtain knowledge and belief in Jesus in the absence of influence by others, and no, you wouldn’t have trusted his religious experience if it had been about Shiva. Special pleading.

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      • “Why would I consider a hypothetical?”

        Why wouldn’t you? People have religious experiences about Shiva and other gods every day. On what basis do you reject those experiences?

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      • A word of encouragement for us via email this morning. Talk about perfect timing!

        “As we continue to press through the scorn of others, the unbelief and discouragement, we will begin to learn that God takes the foolish to confound the wise, the weak to confound the strong.”

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      • OK so a guy you know converted to Christianity.

        I have no problem buying that story at all.

        What I’m having a problem with is missionaries and the like. Why were they even needed. I’m kinda wondering why when the first missionaries landed on foreign shores weren’t they greeted by the existing Christians who were already there – God having revealed himself and all.

        I’m wondering why they were even needed in the first place. Why is it after that first Good Friday didn’t folk wake up all over the world just saying “It’s a beautiful morning, like the first morning, and although I’ve never even heard of the guy before I’ll betcha Jesus died for my sins. Must start worshipping him immediately”

        So why is that when the Christian missionaries first set foot on foreign soils why didn’t they find other Christians already there waiting for them ???????

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      • “God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

        Kinda makes you wonder why he needs missionaries and Christian folk to witness and the like.

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      • “Do they?”

        Yes, does that surprise you?

        “Because the story of the bloke I met is not a hypothetical.”

        Why is this relevant? I’ll rephrase the question so you can ignore it in a different way. Someone you trust has a religious experience that does not relate to the Christian God and tells you their story. Would you reject their testimony and, if so, on what basis?

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      • You’re being deliberately obtuse Stu.
        The story is relevant because you said firstly indicated it was impossible, and then improbable.

        I’m not ignoring your question. It’s hypothetical. Give me a real example if you like.

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      • “You’re being deliberately obtuse Stu.”

        I’m open to how you think that is the case.

        “The story is relevant because you said firstly indicated it was impossible, and then improbable.”

        No what I actually said was “if wishful thinking was real nothing would be impossible or improbable”, and that statement wasn’t specific to your story.

        “I’m not ignoring your question. It’s hypothetical.”

        If you haven’t answered my question then you’ve ignored it, hypothetical or not. What’s wrong with a hypothetical question in any case?

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      • I’m open to how you think that is the case.

        Seriously?

        No what I actually said was “if wishful thinking was real nothing would be impossible or improbable”, and that statement wasn’t specific to your story.

        Now that’s being obtuse.

        What’s wrong with a hypothetical question in any case?

        It’s not a hypothetical case.

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      • Seriously?”

        Yep. Focus on the how part of my offer.

        “Now that’s being obtuse.”

        Again, how?

        “It’s not a hypothetical case.”

        How is the following not a hypothetical case: “Someone you trust has a religious experience that does not relate to the Christian God and tells you their story. Would you reject their testimony and, if so, on what basis?”

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      • God knows whether or not a person who has never had the opportunity to know Him, would receive or reject Him if they’d been told about Jesus Christ, since He and He alone knows the person’s heart.

        So, say we have two people who had never met a Christian missionary and were never introduced to the Bible. There’s Stu, an in-the-buff Amazonian Indian and Paddy, a feathery head-hunter from the jungles of New Guinea. Well, God knows that Stu would have accepted Him if he had had the opportunity, but that Paddy would not have accepted Him even if he had been given the opportunity to hear the Gospel preached and been given a Bible.

        God alone will be the judge.

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      • Here is my my question:

        “Someone you trust has a religious experience that does not relate to the Christian God and tells you their story. Would you reject their testimony and, if so, on what basis?”

        Here are Bryan’s contradictory responses to the same above question:

        Byran #1: “It’s not a hypothetical case.”

        Bryan # 2: “Again Stu, you’re asking a hypothetical.”

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      • Stu. Let’s try some clear thinking shall we?

        What sort of religious experience is this “someone” claiming to have? How well do I know and trust this person? What do they tell me in their testimony? etc etc

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      • “There’s Stu, an in-the-buff Amazonian Indian and Paddy, a feathery head-hunter from the jungles of New Guinea.”

        Monica, fantastic stereotypical descriptions of indigenous peoples. It’s like reading a recently defrosted, unreconstructed Steve Rogers posting on the interwebby thing for the first time.

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      • Hey Monica,

        So as I understand it you’re saying that the notion that people just spontaneously convert to Christ without any outside information (like from the bible) is just bunkum it doesn’t happen.

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      • Oh lighten up Stu,

        it was tongue-in-cheek. Who mentioned the Amazon in the first place? You!

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      • “Stu. Let’s try some clear thinking shall we?”

        Yep. Let’s start with you not making contradictory responses to the same question.

        “What sort of religious experience is this “someone” claiming to have? How well do I know and trust this person? What do they tell me in their testimony? etc etc”

        How do these additions to the hypothetical assist clear thinking? It is a simple question, asked over and over. Answer it or ignore it again.

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      • “Oh lighten up Stu,it was tongue-in-cheek.”

        So was the black face act on Hey Hey it’s Saturday a few years ago.

        “Who mentioned the Amazon in the first place? You!”

        Who mentioned New Guinea in the first place and added some 1950s racial stereotypes! You!

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      • Mon’s no racist Stu.
        Besides it’s a fact that some Amazonian tribes walked naked. And that some New Guinean tribes were headhunters. Or do you want to rewrite history to fit in with the PC chardonnay socialists?

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      • “Or do you want to rewrite history to fit in with the PC chardonnay socialists?”

        Watch out Bryan, your News Ltd is showing!

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      • “I can’t answer the question without more information.”

        Why not? I suggested a scenario using your mate as an example, but with a different God. Your responses were that this was simultaneously hypothetical and not hypothetical.

        “I don’t work for News Ltd Stu.”

        I know. But it shows anyway.

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      • Maybe you can take the journalist out of News Ltd without taking News Ltd out of the journalist ………..

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      • Maybe. But I’ve worked at many other media organisations. News Ltd was just a part of my journey.
        The News Ltd experience was not all bad or all good. Like any organisation it sometimes had great editors and other times not so great. Same with Fairfax, the ABC, Channel Nine, Channel 10 and other places I’ve worked. .

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      • “No, my example was not hypothetical. Yours was.”

        Yes. So what’s your answer to the question? I anticipate your continued avoidance of what is a very simple query.

        “What shows? That I don’t work for News Ltd. Thank goodness for that!!!”

        No. It shows that you can take the journo out of the Murdoch, but never the Murdoch out of the journo.

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      • It shows that you can take the journo out of the Murdoch, but never the Murdoch out of the journo.

        Bubba/Paddy already said that Stu. Try to think of something original.

        I told you, I can’t answer the question unless you give me more information about your hypothetical. It seems beyond you mate.

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      • “Bubba/Paddy already said that Stu. Try to think of something original.”

        Bubba is a most excellent contributor to this blog, I am honoured to have accidentally had the same idea he did.

        “I told you, I can’t answer the question unless you give me more information about your hypothetical.”

        And I answered you. Why do you need to complicate a simple question? It basically comes down to this: on what basis do you reject a religious belief or experience contrary to those of your own?

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      • Give me a real example Stu.

        on what basis do you reject a religious belief or experience contrary to those of your own?

        Who says I do? If somebody claims to have had a ‘religious’ experience about the Flying Spaghetti Monster I’d be suspicious of the reality of that experience. But so would you I hope.

        Let me ask you a question. Do you think ANY “religious’ experience can be genuine?

        And I’m glad you and Bubba/Paddy are having a love fest (just because you agree with each other)

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      • Do you think ANY “religious’ experience can be genuine?

        What do you mean by genuine ?

        I think that a range of supernatural experiences – including religious ones – can be genuine. IF by genuine you mean that there is a genuine belief in that experience by somebody.

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      • “Give me a real example Stu.”

        No. The the hypothetical I’ve posed is both simple and adequate.

        “Who says I do?”

        Presumedly you have religious beliefs that are incompatible or contradictory with other mainstream religions? If so, on what basis do reject those other faith claims?

        “…the Flying Spaghetti Monster I’d be suspicious of the reality of that experience.”

        I gave you a mainstream alternative to the FSM. But you still refused to consider that alternative.

        “Let me ask you a question.”

        A bit unfair given your refusal to answer mine, despite repeated requests.

        “Do you think ANY “religious’ experience can be genuine?”

        Yes. But unlikely to be based in reality.

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      • Well I’ll say this again (perhaps listen this time Stu). You have not given me enough information to answer your hypothetical despite repeated requests. You obviously don’t really want an answer.
        God you’re sounding like Tony Abbott.

        on what basis do reject those other faith claims?

        Well you can’t be a Christian And a Buddhist And a Muslim. And an atheist and a Hindu and etc etc. You probably get the idea. As an atheist I wouldn’t expect you to also be a Catholic.

        And further to your answer Do you think ANY “religious’ experience can be genuine?”

        Yes. But unlikely to be based in reality.

        When you say Yes can you give me an example?

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      • “You have not given me enough information to answer your hypothetical…”

        I’ve clarified the question and given you additional information and you still won’t answer.

        “God you’re sounding like Tony Abbott.”

        No need to get nasty! 😉

        “Well you can’t be a Christian And a Buddhist And a Muslim.”

        I agree, but this doesn’t answer the question “on what basis do you reject those other faith claims?”

        “When you say Yes can you give me an example?”

        Sure. I have no reason to automatically assume that you, Mon and your Sri Lankan mate with his conversion aren’t being genuine when you claim to have had religious experiences. I just don’t accept them as being based in reality.

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      • “Ok so you don’t think any ‘religious experience’ can be real. Is that right?”

        More correctly, my position is any experience of the supernatural is so unlikely to be based in reality as to be not worthy of my acceptance.

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      • Not worthy of your acceptance? Now you’re sounding like Julie Bishop
        I think yours is a roundabout way of saying you don’t personally believe any religious experience can be genuine. Or real.
        It’s the standard and rather sad atheist position

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      • “I think yours is a roundabout way of saying you don’t personally believe any religious experience can be genuine. Or real.”

        Maybe that’s because you can’t understand that someone can be genuine and factually incorrect at the same time.

        “It’s the standard and rather sad atheist position.”

        Strawman.

        So that’s a no to answering my question.

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      • So that’s a no to answering my question.

        No, I asked for more information and you can’t give it. The ball’s firmly in your court Stu.

        Maybe that’s because you can’t understand that someone can be genuine and factually incorrect at the same time.

        No I understand the concept. It just took you a while to admit you personally don’t believe any “religious” experience can be real.

        It’s a sad little life without miracles mate.

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      • “No, I asked for more information and you can’t give it.”

        No. I said I won’t, because the question is reasonable as it stands.

        “It just took you a while to admit you personally don’t believe any “religious” experience can be real.”

        It took a while? Admit? I identified as an atheist ages ago, so why would you suddenly think I’d accept religious faith claims as reality based?

        “It’s a sad little life without miracles mate.”

        “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” – Douglas Adams

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      • The question is not reasonable Stu. It lacks substance and you just can’t add any info too it can you?
        Pretty transparent mate. ( just like Tony Abbott, Julie, etc)
        And anyway when I answer one of your questions to get all uppity and claim it’s not really answer
        Poor Doug Adams, bless his soul, was a brilliant man who now knows the truth.

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      • “The question is not reasonable Stu. It lacks substance and you just can’t add any info too it can you?”

        Demonstrate how the question lacks substance. I predict you can’t.

        “And anyway when I answer one of your questions to get all uppity and claim it’s not really answer.”

        When did you answer a question I actually asked? Try this one: Is someone who has a religious experience based on mainstream Hindu beliefs having an experience based in reality or not?

        “Poor Doug Adams, bless his soul, was a brilliant man who now knows the truth.”

        What an appalling, self righteous thing to say about a man who can’t respond for himself.

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      • The question lacks substance because it doesn’t contain enough information. Clear enough?

        Try this one: Is someone who has a religious experience based on mainstream Hindu beliefs having an experience based in reality or not?

        I don’t know. I wasn’t (hypothetically) there.

        “Poor Doug Adams, bless his soul, was a brilliant man who now knows the truth.”

        What an appalling, self righteous thing to say about a man who can’t respond for himself.

        Point out why this is appalling or self righteous Stu. Why would Doug Adams not know the truth after he died? I guess that’s a disturbing thought for an atheist but I’ll ask anyway.

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      • “The question lacks substance because it doesn’t contain enough information. Clear enough?”

        The question is clear enough for a rational person who wants to answer.

        “I don’t know. I wasn’t (hypothetically) there.”

        Cool. You can’t deal with hypothetical questions.

        “Point out why this is appalling or self righteous Stu.”

        Because he can’t answer for himself. Because the wisdoms of a greater mind than yours or mine is arbitrary dismissed because you baselessly assert “he knows the truth now”. Because of your use of the words “poor soul”.

        “Why would Doug Adams not know the truth after he died?”

        How would know anything after he died? Tell me something you knew before you were born.

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      • I wouldn’t imagine making an appalling statement about Doug Adams. I actually interviewed him a couple of times and found him to be an engaging, erudite and funny bloke. I have admiration for him.
        So at least on those couple of encounters I probably know him a little better than you do.

        However Douglas does know NOW whether he was right in his atheism or not. That’s not appalling. That’s just fact.

        It’s something we will all find out eventually. I can see why you find that thought disturbing Stu. A bit confronting isn’t it?

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      • “So at least on those couple of encounters I probably know him a little better than you do.”

        Point?

        “However Douglas does know NOW whether he was right in his atheism or not. That’s not appalling. That’s just fact.”

        Facts can be demonstrated. Demonstrate something Douglas “knows” post mortem.

        “I can see why you find that thought disturbing Stu. A bit confronting isn’t it?”

        You see wrong. And no.

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      • Point? Well it’s a relevant point about my affection for the guy. Did you ever talk with him? Know anything about him apart from what you’ve read?

        Facts can be demonstrated. Demonstrate something Douglas “knows” post mortem.

        Well that’s something you and I will both know eventually. When either of us die (and we both will), we will work out instantly whether we were right or wrong about God.

        “I can see why you find that thought disturbing Stu. A bit confronting isn’t it?”

        You see wrong. And no.

        OK. If you say so.
        What do you think happens when you die? Nothingness?

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      • “Well it’s a relevant point about my affection for the guy.”

        How was your affection for Douglas relevant to my quote of his?

        “Well that’s something you and I will both know eventually.”

        Do you can’t demonstrate it. Thought so.

        “What do you think happens when you die?”

        The same as everyone else. What were you conscious of before you were born?

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      • You accused me of being appalling about someone I’ve actually talked to and liked. You got it wrong Sunshine.

        I can’t demonstrate that you and I will die?

        Can you disprove that on the point of death we will both learn something about our viewpoints in this life?

        Nope. You can’t. Stu, I guess you hope for nothingness. It’s your best chance at the moment.

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      • “You accused me of being appalling about someone I’ve actually talked to and liked.”

        Apparently you believe Douglas is currently simultaneously both conscious and unable speak for himself, requiring you to tell me what he now currently knows. Appalling, Cupcake.

        “I can’t demonstrate that you and I will die?”

        I asked you to “Demonstrate something Douglas “knows” post mortem.” Not what you said.

        “Can you disprove that on the point of death we will both learn something about our viewpoints in this life?”

        At the point of death or after death? Tell me something someone you knew learned after they died.

        “Stu, I guess you hope for nothingness. It’s your best chance at the moment.”

        How incredibly self righteous of you (again).

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      • “Oh dear, the truth has made you angry. Is it not worthy of your acceptance?”

        The truth (based on facts and evidence) is always worthy of acceptance. Not much in the way of truth coming through from you.

        “And you call me self righteous!!!”

        If the shoe fits, just own it Bryan!

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      • “Still angry and arrogant I see Stu.”

        You only “see” things that confirm what you already believe. I guess that’s why you think that dead people change their views to exactly your viewpoint after they die and that I should suspend critical thought and accept such a baseless assertion without question. Have you ever thought of starting a museum in Kentucky?

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      • “Nope. I never said that Stu. You really do jump to some strange conclusions.”

        Bryan: “Poor Doug Adams, bless his soul, was a brilliant man who now knows the truth.”

        Are you saying that you had no version of the “truth” in mind when you made that statement?

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      • I’ll make it clearer. Douglas Adams would have known whether his atheist views were correct after his last breath on the planet.

        Now I really have to do some work so I’ll catch you later in the day if you wish.

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      • “Douglas Adams would have known whether his atheist views were correct after his last breath on the planet.”

        How would he known that? You are presuming he was conscious in some way after his death.

        And, as usual, you didn’t answer my question: “Are you saying that you had no version of the “truth” in mind when you made that statement?”

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      • You are presuming he was conscious in some way after his death.

        I believe he would be aware of the truth

        Are you saying that you had no version of the “truth” in mind when you made that statement?”

        The basic truth I believe in is that we don’t just fade into nothingness after we die.

        I don’t believe At the end of our lives we lose everything – I don’t believe that loves, discoveries and experiences are instantly voided.

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      • Good ol Sam Parnia – his pictures hidden on the ceiling study should be just about ready to publish too…….

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      • “The basic truth I believe in is that we don’t just fade into nothingness after we die.”

        Do you think “truths” are things that can be simply asserted or things that can be demonstrated?

        “I don’t believe At the end of our lives we lose everything – I don’t believe that loves, discoveries and experiences are instantly voided.”

        I don’t understand how you see death (as a permanent unconsciousness) as a loss of “loves, discoveries and experiences”. These are things one has gained that can be demonstrated. They are simply impermanent and I don’t see this as a bad thing.

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      • Do you think “truths” are things that can be simply asserted or things that can be demonstrated?

        If I understand your question correctly Stu, yes I think truths can be demonstrated.

        I don’t understand how you see death (as a permanent unconsciousness) as a loss of “loves, discoveries and experiences”. These are things one has gained that can be demonstrated. They are simply impermanent and I don’t see this as a bad thing.

        I don’t see death as a permanent unconsciousness. That’s where we differ.

        Even if you set aside religious conviction, there are compelling reasons to believe in life after death.

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      • “If I understand your question correctly Stu, yes I think truths can be demonstrated.”

        Both the question and context are very simple. Support your statement that: “I don’t see death as a permanent unconsciousness” with something other than mere assertion.

        “Even if you set aside religious conviction, there are compelling reasons to believe in life after death.”

        Are there any “compelling reasons” that can be backed up with facts or evidence?

        Why is permanent consciousness, if true, something worth desiring in any case?

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      • Support your statement that: “I don’t see death as a permanent unconsciousness”

        Support YOUR statement that death IS a permanent unconsciousness.
        With something other than mere assertion.

        The clearest empirical evidence we have for life after death are near-death experiences. Patients were clinically dead; their hearts stopped. Yet tens of thousands of such people around the world report that consciousness and experience continued even when their body ceased functioning.
        Many reported being drawn through a tunnel and seeing a bright light. They often experienced “life review.” In many cases, they encountered deceased relatives and friends. Frequently they were in the presence of a celestial being.

        The implication of such reports can be alarming to atheists. That’s why they try to explain it away. As I’m sure you will try.

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      • As I understand it there’s lots of rational explanation for NDE. That study of Parnia’s with the hidden pictures should be pretty definitive. We’ll just have to wait until he publishes the results 😉

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      • “Support YOUR statement that death IS a permanent unconsciousness. With something other than mere assertion.”

        You are the one making the positive claim, the onus is on you to back it up. And if you read my responses carefully, you’ll find my position is that permanent unconsciousness is the most likely explanation. Happy to explain why, but can start with Ockham’s Razor.

        “The implication of such reports can be alarming to atheists. That’s why they try to explain it away. As I’m sure you will try.”

        I find reports of near deaths experiences both unalarming and unsurprising and its a non sequitur to suggest that they support a permanent consciousness theory. But this is a strawman, I was never talking about near death, I was talking about actual death.

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      • OK I’ll say it again.
        The clearest empirical evidence we have for life after death are near-death experiences. Patients were clinically dead; their hearts stopped. Yet tens of thousands of such people around the world report that consciousness and experience continued even when their body ceased functioning.
        Many reported being drawn through a tunnel and seeing a bright light. They often experienced “life review.” In many cases, they encountered deceased relatives and friends. Frequently they were in the presence of a celestial being.

        you’ll find my position is that permanent unconsciousness is the most likely explanation. Happy to explain why

        Go ahead!

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      • How would you be able to tell precisely when the person in question experienced the light / tunnel etc.

        It’s not as though the paramedics / medical staff are constantly interviewing the patient. It’s after they come to that they tell the story of what they experienced. They may have experienced the visions while unconscious but sill alive – how would you tell?

        How do you objectively measure that ?

        And many people don’t come to (much like Packer) with fantastic stories of lights or tunnels.

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      • Bryan I think you were right in summing up Stus posts. He’s one of the three but I think the last one is the most likely

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      • “OK I’ll say it again.The clearest empirical evidence we have for life after death are near-death experiences.”

        And I’ll repeat: near death is not actual death. There is zero empirical evidence to support the theory that near death experiences are evidence of the existence of an afterlife.

        “you’ll find my position is that permanent unconsciousness is the most likely explanation. Happy to explain why. Go ahead!”

        Ockham’s Razor. The simplest explanation is always the best. Postulation of unnecessary and more complicated assumptions do not help us explain reality. Postulating the existence of an afterlife is unnecessary, additionally complicated in that it begs more questions (ie what celestial beings) and without empirical evidence.

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      • Stated as: “When there are two competing explanations for an event, the simpler one is more likely.”

        Ockham’s Razor
        This argument is a principle that skeptics often misuse to try to force alternate explanations to paranormal ones, even if those explanations involve false accusations or do not fit the facts. Originally, it began as a principle in physics having to do with parsimony, but somehow got twisted into a mantra for invalidating paranormal claims…

        First of all, Occam’s Razor, termed by 14th Century logician and friar William of Occam, refers to a concept that states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” It was not intended to be used to evaluate claims of the paranormal as skeptics today use it for.

        http://www.skepticsfieldguide.net/2008/06/name-that-fallacy-ockhams-razor.html

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      • AND from Dinesh D’Souza (and yes Stu I do agree with the words)

        Atheists like to think of themselves as the party of reason, advancing views that are based only on facts and evidence. Here we see that when it comes to life after death, the atheist claim to knowledge constitutes a kind of false advertising. In reality, the atheist is in the same position of ignorance as the believer. Yet the religious believer doesn’t claim to be a champion of reason and is content to hold his position based on faith. The atheist is a victim of what may be called the “Dawkins Delusion”: he too holds a faith-based position while deceiving himself into thinking that his rejection of life after death is wholly based on the evidence.
        Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2009/Life-After-Death-The-Atheist-Delusion.aspx?p=6#Yis4MRS0LiXjMFgT.99

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      • “Stated as: “When there are two competing explanations for an event, the simpler one is more likely.””

        Death being the event, why is an afterlife a simpler explanation than permanent unconsciousness?

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      • Why is nothingness a simpler or more credible explanation. What evidence do you have Stu?

        Cmon mate, show some evidence. Apart from the silly “it’s a simpler explanation and I agree with it”

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      • “Why is nothingness a simpler or more credible explanation.”

        Permanent extinguishment of consciousness is the simpler hypothesis because the assumption of an afterlife asks more questions than it answers. Unless, of course, you like to tell us all the details about how it works based on facts and evidence. It more credible because can do tests/view evidence about consciousness such as what happens when we drink beer or have permanent brain damage.

        “What evidence do you have Stu?”

        You’re making a positive claim, I’m taking a position based on what’s more probable. The onus is on you to provide evidence of an afterlife (not near death experiences).

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      • You are also making a positive claim Stu.
        You and I both know that neither of us can provide empirical evidence of afterlife. Neither can you provide empirical evidence that there is no afterlife.
        Both positions are a matter of faith, although the issue of which is more probable is debatable.

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      • “Both positions are a matter of faith”

        If that were true, everything would be a matter of faith. Some odds can be calculated to a very high degree of certainty.

        “although the issue of which is more probable is debatable.”

        Like I said, we already know some things about the permanent loss of aspects of consciousness. This and the realisation that a concept of an afterlife is unnecessary push the odds in favour of there not being one.

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      • “the realisation that a concept of an afterlife is unnecessary push the odds in favour of there not being one” But you have no evidence of that.”

        But we have evidence about consciousness, which I have given you. That’s part one. I’ll rephrase part two: I have never been given a reason that makes the existence of an afterlife necessary. Do you have one?

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      • “Evidence of a high degree of certainty on this subject?”

        I’d say, based on what we know about consciousness, a reasonable degree.

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      • Q “I have never been given a reason that makes the existence of an afterlife necessary. Do you have one?”

        A “Yes”

        Do go on…

        “That’s not evidence.”

        Why is what we can demonstrate about consciousness “not evidence “?

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      • “That’s not evidence that there is no afterlife Stu.”

        It’s evidence about consciousness and how it can be permanently extinguished. So, why is an afterlife necessary?

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      • One expert claims he has definitive evidence to confirm once and for all that there is indeed life after death.

        The answer, Professor Robert Lanza says, lies in quantum physics – specifically the theory of biocentrism. The scientist, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, says the evidence lies in the idea that the concept of death is a mere figment of our consciousness.

        Professor Lanza says biocentrism explains that the universe only exists because of an individual’s consciousness of it – essentially life and biology are central to reality, which in turn creates the universe; the universe itself does not create life. The same applies to the concepts of space and time, which Professor Lanza describes as “simply tools of the mind”.

        In a message posted on the scientist’s website,http://www.robertlanza.com/ he explains that with this theory in mind, the concept of death as we know it is “cannot exist in any real sense” as there are no true boundaries by which to define it. Essentially, the idea of dying is something we have long been taught to accept, but in reality it just exists in our minds.

        Professor Lanza says biocentrism is similar to the idea of parallel universes – a concept hypothesised by theoretical physicists. In much the same way as everything that could possibly happen is speculated to be occurring all at once across multiple universes, he says that once we begin to question our preconceived concepts of time and consciousness, the alternatives are huge and could alter the way we think about the world in a way not seen since the 15th century’s “flat earth” debate.

        He goes on to use the so-called double-slit experiment as proof that the behaviour of a particle can be altered by a person’s perception of it. In the experiment, when scientists watch a particle pass through a multi-holed barrier, the particle acts like a bullet travelling through a single slit. When the article is not watched, however, the particle moves through the holes like a wave.

        Scientists argue that the double-slit experiment proves that particles can act as two separate entities at the same time, challenging long-established ideas of time and perception.

        Although the idea is rather complicated, Professor Lanza says it can be explained far more simply using colours. Essentially, the sky may be perceived as blue, but if the cells in our brain were changed to make the sky look green, was the sky every truly blue or was that just our perception?

        In terms of how this affects life after death, Professor Lanza explains that, when we die, our life becomes a “perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse”. He added: “Life is an adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking. When we die, we do so not in the random billiard-ball-matrix but in the inescapable-life-matrix.”

        .

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      • The neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, said in Newsweek in 2012 that his experience convinced him that his consciousness (the soul, or the self) exists somehow separate from or outside the mind and can travel to other dimensions on its own. “This world of consciousness beyond the body,” he wrote, “is the true new frontier, not just of science but of humankind itself”

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      • All that it quite interesting, and I look forward to developments in scientific understanding of consciousness and multiverse theory.

        But I’d still like to know the reason you have for thinking the afterlife is necessary.

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      • “The question is not about why you or I would find an afterlife necessary. That doesn’t alter the reality or unreality of an afterlife Stu. It either exists or it doesn’t”

        I’m just responding to your claim that you think it is necessary and asking you why.

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      • “Our views on the next life significantly influence this one. Any response?”

        Sorry been offline a couple of days. I don’t see your response as demonstrating necessity. A plane needs wings to fly the are a necessary part of flying for this type of vehicle. All our views influence our lives, it doesn’t make our views necessary.

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    • Stu, as I understand it, the church decrees a harsher punishment for one who has had access to scripture and rejects it, than one who has never had such access. I don’t know the biblical quote to justify that, other than Luke 12:48

      “But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

      And the numerous quotes that the Christian God is merciful and just.

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      • “the church decrees a harsher punishment for one who has had access to scripture and rejects it, than one who has never had such access.”

        I guess what I’d like to know is, given our access to “scripture” of many faiths, past and present, how do particular individuals justify punishment of another for not making the same choice they have made? And what possible justification could there be for punishing someone for not having access to a particular version of scripture?

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      • Stu, some say this applies only to the ‘Christian’ God. But anyway, if there is only one God, that must be the One? Regardless of what language or name is used?

        Akhenaten appears to be the pioneer of a monotheistic religion that later became Judaism. Aten was not the sun – the sun was a symbol of the One God.

        Moses was son-in-law to Jethro, priest of Jehovah, the local Storm God of Mt. Horeb. Moses saw Jehovah as the One God, as Egypt had been teaching. Previously Israelites had recognised many gods of different lands and peoples.

        Egypt
        Excerpts of the hymn-poem to Aten

        From the middle of the text:

        How manifold it is, pakker!
        They are hidden from the face (of man).
        O sole god, like whom there is no other!
        Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
        Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
        Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
        And what is on high, flying with its wings.

        The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
        Thou settest every man in his place,
        Thou suppliest their necessities:
        Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
        Their tongues are separate in speech,
        And their natures as well;
        Their skins are distinguished,
        As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
        Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,
        Thou bringest forth as thou desirest
        To maintain the people (of Egypt)
        According as thou madest them for thyself,
        The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
        The lord of every land, rising for them,
        The Aton of the day, great of majesty.[5]

        From the last part of the text, translated by Miriam Lichtheim:

        You are in my heart,
        There is no other who knows you,
        Only your son, Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re [Akhenaten],
        Whom you have taught your ways and your might.
        earth come from your hand as you made them.
        When you have dawned they live.
        When you set they die;
        You yourself are lifetime, one lives by you.
        All eyes are on beauty until you set.
        All labor ceases when you rest in the west;
        When you rise you stir [everyone] for the King,
        Every leg is on the move since you founded the earth.
        You rouse them for your son who came from your body.
        The King who lives by Maat, the Lord of the Two Lands,
        Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re,
        The Son of Re who lives by Maat. the Lord of crowns,
        Akhenatrn, great in his lifetime;
        (And) the great Queen whom he loves, the Lady of the Two Lands,
        Nefer-nefru-Aten Nefertiti, living forever.[6]

        Compare Psalm 104
        O Lord My God, You Are Very Great

        http://www.esvbible.org/Psalm+104/

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    • If a person has never heard of Jesus or the Bible, and is therefore not aware of his sinful state and not able to make a decision for salvation, it would not be unreasonable to assume that person is covered by Christ’s death, would it? After all, God loves us.

      I know the Bible says we are all sinful and deserving of God’s justice, but He is a merciful God, and I fully expect to see Heaven jammed-packed with those who have never had the opportunities that we’ve had. He cuts through the outer facade; the masks we wear, and goes straight to the heart. His judgment is perfect.

      Like

    • “So as I understand it you’re saying that the notion that people just spontaneously convert to Christ without any outside information (like from the bible) is just bunkum it doesn’t happen.”

      Hi Paddy,

      The thing is, most do not seek out God, and of the ones that do, not all receive revelation knowledge directly from God and so, they need to be taught about salvation through Jesus Christ by others. Every Christian has their own opinion, as does ‘Got Answers Org’. As for me, no, I would never say that it’s bunkum that no one can spontaneously convert to Christ without any outside information, because that’s a question only God can answer and we cannot presume to know definitively or generalise like that. I’ve read numerous testimonials where Jesus has spoken to people who have never heard of Him in their dreams, and then somewhere down the track they’ve fortuitously had a chance meeting with a committed Christian who was able to lead them to conversion to Christ. The two seem to go hand-in-hand, direct spiritual revelation of God/Jesus Christ, and chance meetings (or more likely, God-ordained meetings) with Christians who God works through to lead them to conversion.

      But I would never say that its impossible Patrick because of my spiritual encounters. I mean, if God can get through a blockhead like mine, then He can draw anyone to Him. Just read the Bible and see how often He sovereignly appeared to the prophets of old in dreams, visions, trances, burning bushes; even spoke to one through a donkey! 🙂

      There isn’t an answer to everything. I wish there was! But please, don’t close your heart off to God. I still have this hope that one day you will believe—-He loves you so much!

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      • That sounds like the flawed fallible human is much better able to make the conversion than the perfect omnipotent God – why would that be ?

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    • Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”
      ― Stephen Colbert

      Like

      • Oh indeed some people get so afraid of the world that they just can’t face it as it is and make up elaborate stories about supernatural protectors and fantasy worlds. A kind of Walter Mitty thing, just on a grander scale. Better to just accept the world as it is. We should just appreciate the beautiful garden without dreaming up the fairies (with due reference to Adams.).

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      • “Atheism is not a mental problem, but a moral problem. It is not that a person cannot believe in God, but that he won’t believe in God”. Psalm 14 “…The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

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      • I think it’s interesting to know that atheists make up about 4 per cent of the world’s population. In population terms, it’s an aberration, Some angry teenage boys with a teenage grudge about God just never grow up.

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      • “Some angry teenage boys with a teenage grudge about God just never grow up.”

        And yet, it breaks my heart. It really does. Squeeze them, and see what comes out. Without fail, it’s a palpable, what I can only describe as ‘contempt’. I’d even go so far as to say it’s ‘hatred’ towards the ‘Christian’ God and His followers. They rage! It’s sad.

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      • The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

        The wise man says it to the world
        Anon

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      • And On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported another survey:

        “Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020″

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      • The report by by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

        Some interesting methodology there. Considering the link between religion and privation (Gallup) let’s hope they’re wrong 🙂 Be terrible if global living standards took a step backwards.

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  3. Hard to find a spot to reply to something way up the page, on conversion experiences.

    “For at least the last 3,000 years, people from every region of the world have experienced something extraordinary and transformational – the mystical experience.

    During a mystical experience, there exists a simple unity, a pure consciousness, or non-duality of observer and observed. In addition to oneness, the defining features of mystical experience include feelings of sacredness, peace, and bliss; a sense of transcending time and space; and an intuitive conviction that the experience is a source of objective truth about reality.1

    The effects of mystical experiences are of enormous value to both experiencers and humanity. On a personal level, mystical experience leads to sudden and lasting positive changes in an experiencer’s character and values.2 And on a global scale, mystical experiences lie at or near the foundation of religions generally and thus even of civilization itself. Indeed, the mystical roots of conscious experience reveal a deep human identity, transcending all national, racial, personal, and theological differences.3 It is therefore vital to further our understanding of these important, transformative experiences.”

    This doesn’t only apply to ‘Jesus’ experiences. It can be relate to other religions, or to unspecified belief.

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