Can open, worms everywhere

Days before the body of Jesus went missing from the tomb, Pontius Pilate, a Roman bureaucrat stuck between a rock and a hard place, looked at Jesus standing before him and asked: ”What is truth”.

No answer to the question is recorded, because Jesus probably didn’t give one. He must have thought His life and imminent death were answers enough.

Not that many understood it at the time. Even his disciples were confused. Why did He have to die? Why didn’t he conquer the Romans and establish His kingdom on Earth? Why didn’t He just come to the planet and say, “I love you and if you want, I’ll forgive you and you can live with Me in Heaven when you die.”

It was never going to be that easy. The grace we live in didn’t come cheap.

Jesus claimed without ambiguity that He was the Son of Man. It sounded like blasphemy.

He deliberately set Himself on a collision course with the authorities. He knew it had to end in His execution. He told his disciples that it was the only way.

In the end, he said, he understood his own impending death as a ransom for many. That statement alone made him either crazy or divine. The crowds loved Him. He healed them, taught them . . . loved them. And then he died.

Jesus’ message was simple – the world was in chaos and someone had to pay.

The life and death of Jesus are historical facts. The resurrection is, even to believers, somewhat a matter of faith.
If you’re sure there’s no God and that the laws of the nature are the only things operating in the universe then it is absurd to believe Jesus could have risen from the dead.

The gospel accounts of the resurrection are not particularly poetic. Just the bald statement proclaimed as fact that Jesus had risen.

After the resurrection, we are assured, Jesus’ tomb was empty and he was seen around Jerusalem, sometimes by up to 500 people at a time. People could touch him, he ate food with them, he was not a ghost.
Strangely, after he rose from the dead, Jesus was seen by some, but not by others on the same streets; understood by some, but not by others. Some understood his triumph over death and it changed their lives, others were indifferent to him.

The possibility that the resurrection actually occurred still shakes the world to its foundations.

This week, millions of people will pack churches, stadiums and homes to claim that something that happened 2000-plus years ago has caused them to be resurrected in their lives, resurrected in their marriages, resurrected in their homes, and resurrected in their communities.

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72 thoughts on “Can open, worms everywhere

  1. Sometimes you’ve got to have a little crazy in you to help change the way people think. The deliberateness of being crucified was necessary to ensure his greatest chance at survival. 3 hours on the cross (which may very well have been an “X” shape) and not having his legs broken certainly leaves open the possibility that Jesus could have survived the crucifixion.

    But I agree, it does require faith to believe that Jesus died and was resurrected.

    He brought about some positive changes in religious viewpoints and was a champion of humanity in his actions. I can see that as being worth some celebration.

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    • Except that Jesus was beaten before being crucified, had a crown of thorns put on His head, was also tired, etc. All these contributed to His death.

      Furthermore He was struck with a spear to check whether He was dead or not. The certainty of His death was the separation of blood and water which issued out of His wounds.

      Then He was buried in a tomb without being revived or even His burial preparation being completed (remember that the women who were supposed to prepare the body for burial, had to wait until the Sabbath had passed before continuing preparing His body for full burial).

      Josephus relates an incident where someone was revived after crucifixion and it was a close call after efforts were made to revive the person immediately after he was taken from the cross. The proponents of the Jesus surviving His crucifixion theory would have one believe that Jesus survived His crucifixion after being tortured and closed in a tomb for over a day!

      What is truth? Pilate never bothered to find out. Neither do those who entertain the idea that Jesus survived His own crucifixion unassisted.

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      • For the most significant event in the New Testament, don’t you find it odd that the spear in the side only is mentioned in the Gospel that was written the latest historically? Almost like it was added in to make sure people believed that Jesus had died, as the same Gospel also made the strongest claims of Jesus’ divinity. That point had to be convincingly sold in the telling of the story.

        Sure, a little torture … and those who were torturing him wouldn’t have shown him mercy as he had possibly planted in their minds that he could be the Messiah? Sure they had a job to do in torturing him, but in knowing who he might be, wouldn’t they maybe do their best to take it easy on him while making it look like they are still doing their jobs well?

        And he was placed in a tomb, I don’t believe he was buried.

        And yes, the Sabbath, how convenient that Jesus’ crucifixion just happened to fall directly before it. He may not have even needed revival. Jesus really performed dramatically on the cross to try to emphasize that he died. A little deep meditation in there and it’s possible he seemed to be dead while he really wasn’t.

        The crucifixion Josephus speaks of was likely after more than 3 hours. My impression is that it was a survival from a crucifixion that was of at least a regular length, not one that was done as hastily as Jesus’ seemed to be.

        … and Jesus was alive afterward with the scars to show, and he was physically there. Unless one jumps to supernatural conclusions, it only makes sense that Jesus survived the whole ordeal.

        Be wary of believing what you are told without examining the evidence. Test all things, hold on to what is good.

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      • So what if the gospel which mentions the spear in the side is the last one written? Doesn’t mean a thing.

        If I held a picture in front of say 30 people and ask them to describe 30 items that they find in that picture, I can guarantee you that each person will have a slightly different list, with different people looking at different aspects of the same picture. No two lists will be identical.

        What is truth? The truth is that each gospel writer gave an account of the events of the crucifixion from a slightly different perspective.

        Who says that those who were torturing Jesus knew that He was the Messiah, and just went through the motions? Give me the Bible texts to prove your statement.

        Placed in a tomb or buried? Now that is playing silly buggers with semantics. Because in the language of the Bible, to be placed in a tomb is synonymous with being buried. In the same way that today we speak of convicts in jail as being buried alive.

        Meditation to survive crucifixion? This is the most stupid explanation of the lot. Have you got any Biblical proof to support it? Or historical from ancient Rome? Don’t you find it odd that the apostles were never taught how to use meditation to withstand pain or taught meditation technique to the Christian church as an aid to pain relief?

        Josephus’ account of surviving crucifixions indicates that it was not a light hearted matter to endure and survive such an event, as you would make it out to be. Certainly not something that could be survived by meditation.

        The Bible indicates that Pilate was surprised that Jesus had died so quickly. But the Bible also records that Jesus had not slept for at least 24 hrs, had been tortured, suffered physical, mental and psychological abuse. Can you who mock Jesus’ crucifixion do better?

        Unless we jump to supernatural conclusions? That is the point that the whole New Testament makes about the resurrection of Jesus. It is a supernatural event.

        If you don’t want to believe the Bible, fine! But at least be honest with yourself that your reasons for your unbelief are a complete untruth.

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      • Why wouldn’t Jesus have known about meditation?

        “Regarding Buddhism in Judea, Jesus did not live in a pastoral, ethnically isolated place and time. On the contrary, non-Jewish political and cultural influences permeated Judea, which was an important shipping center for trade between India and the West and the military gateway to invade Egypt via land. Both land and sea trade routes had run through Jerusalem for centuries. Overland routes extending to Persia and western India were especially active after Alexander’s invasion of western India 360 years earlier; most of the routes, whether connecting to wealthy cities in Egypt or in Greece and Rome, came through Jerusalem, where goods for Greece and Rome were shipped via the Mediterranean Sea.

        Sea routes from Bombay and the mouth of the Indus River went through the Persian and Red Gulfs, the distance between the mouths of the Indus and Tigris and Euphrates rivers being only about three hundred miles; much of the trade came up the Gulf of Aquaba and overland up to Jerusalem (actually nearby Jappa) as the shipping point to the Mediterranean.”

        http://www.thezensite.com/non_Zen/Was_Jesus_Buddhist.html

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      • “Jesus certainly studied and preached during his lost years. There is no reason for Jesus to have stopped preaching, especially when as a twelve-year-old he told his mother of his commitment. This almost certainly means that he traveled and evangelized elsewhere, as nonbiblical evidence indicates. Being one of the greatest moral prophets to ever bless humankind, he would not have spent his formative years contented to be a carpenter in his boyhood community, which would have nullified everything about his prophecy as the Messiah, his anointed birth, and his prodigious childhood. For Jesus, this had to be a period of intensive study and contemplation that was guided by some unusual teachers, and probably of evangelizing as well.

        On the point of Jesus being away from Judea during his lost years, there is one suggestive incident in the Bible. When Jesus suddenly emerged from his lost years for his baptism as a twenty-nine-year-old by John the Baptist, the people were amazed to hear him speak. According to Mark 6:2-3 they asked, “How did he come by all this? What is the meaning of this wisdom that has been given him, and of all these wonderful works that are done by his hands? Is this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” This clearly indicates that they had never heard Jesus speak in this manner before. The last question could be interpreted to mean that they did not know how a mere carpenter could speak this way, which suggests he undertook intensive study, and/or that they simply did not recognize him because of a long absence.”

        Jesus could have also influenced Buddhism, as before him the Israelites seem to have done.

        “THE distance to which Israel was carried from their own country in about 721 B.C. was not less than 700 miles in a north and east direction. The Syrian desert, the river Euphrates, the Mesopotamian region, the Tigris, and three ranges of the Kurdistan mountains intervened between Samaria and the new home of Israel in captivity. In this district were the cities and regions of Halah, Habor and the river Gozan, which flowed into the Caspian Sea, as it does today.

        This new home was on the high tablelarids of Media and Armenia, at the head waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Gozan, and other rivers running into the Black and Caspian seas. Hence when the time came for the scattering, as foretold in the Scriptures, they had the choice of going eastward towards Japan and India, westward towards Asia Minor and Graecia, and northward into the land now called Russia. This land was formerly called Scythia, being named after the Israelites who went by that name, according to the Grecian writers especially Herodotus. ”

        http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/israelsexile.html

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      • King Solomon (950 BCE). At that time Israel was well aware of India. In fact, the Bible states1 that the whole world sought the wisdom of Solomon—400 years before Buddha was born.

        In addition, a colony of Jews settled in India about the time of Buddha’s birth. Could it be that Buddha grafted Solomon’s teachings into Jainism, a protest movement against Hinduism, to create his compelling new religion? This could further explain why Buddhism resonates with many westerners. All this is covered in detail in the 2011 book, Buddha & Jesus: Could Solomon Be the Missing Link?

        In the recently released sequel, Wisdom 365: Daily Buddha and Daily Solomon, all of the proverbs of Buddha appear in order as daily readings. For every one of Buddha’s proverbs, a similar proverb (or two) of Solomon’s is shown side-by-side. A fascinating bridge between East and West emerges.

        http://buddha-christ.info/index.html

        http://buddha-christ.info/similarities.html
        Altruism
        The Golden Rule
        Don’t judge others
        Love your enemies
        Overcome hate with love
        More blessed to give than to receive
        Avoid being religious for show

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      • Jesus of Nazareth was a character far different from the sentimental image commonly portrayed today – more likely a highly regarded craftsman than an anonymous small-town tradesman.
        Nor, according to one SBS documentary that showed a few years ago, was his hometown the bucolic backwater we might have always believed.

        It stated Recent archaeological finds have revealed that, in the fields of medicine, engineering, health care and philosophy, the Jews of 2000 years ago were ahead of most of their counterparts in the known world.

        The doctors of Palestine were the first to operate on cataracts in the human eye. They also operated on the human brain and performed tracheotomies on obstructed larynxes.

        An effective anaesthetic called nepenthe was used for operations.

        False teeth – made from the teeth of dead people and animals – had been in use for 500 years by the time Jesus was born.

        The Jews used water-operated mill wheels so sensitive they could be adjusted to crush an olive without breaking the pip.

        Chariot taxis were fitted with a meter that would pop a pebble into an empty box after a certain number of revolutions of the wheels. At the end of the trip, the driver would count the pebbles and calculate the fare.

        Education was compulsory for children from the age of six and every town had a school.

        The study of mathematics and astronomy was common.

        As the documentary seriesreveals, the district of Galilee in Jesus’ day was only a few kilometres from the Greek city of Sepphoris, which was undergoing a massive building program.

        Luxurious Roman villas recently excavated show this was anything but a cultural desert.

        Nazareth was poised on the edge of a thriving metropolis.

        The region was also known as a hotbed of radical politics. Tax revolts, political protests and bandits often challenged the Roman authority.

        Philosophers would gather at the marketplaces of Sepphoris. Jesus must have been exposed to them when he visited the town with his father, Joseph.

        Professor Holland Hendrix, a theologian at Yale University, told the documentary, From Jesus To Christ: The First Christians: “The recent findings force us to re-evaluate Jesus’ social and economic setting.
        Everything now suggests that Jesus was quite close to a thriving and sophisticated urban environment.”

        Professor John Crossan, of De Paul University, Chicago, believes the notion of Jesus as a humble carpenter is misleading.

        “There was no middle class in the ancient world and skilled workers were held in high regard. I do not think that we can class Jesus as a peasant. That would certainly miscast him.”

        The SBS series and most theologians recognise Jesus as a learned Jew. He would have been taught Jewish law by his mother before he went to school and would have been well aware of the the national obsession with the coming Messiah

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    • Yes Phillip George, multiculturalism with its emphasis that truth is relative is wrong. The problem is that it is not your job to usher in a kingdom based on Jesus Christ’s truth.
      He will do so Himself, in His own appointed time and place, without your assistance.
      And we are not sure that even then multiculturalism will disappear anymore than gender differences and identities disappear despite the fact that God said that a man will cleave to his wife and they will become one flesh.

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      • Depends on the picture and what draws focus. Jesus bleeding out would certainly draw focus. It would assure people of an impending death. It is not a minor detail in a Where’s Waldo picture, it is the main focal point.

        Yes, there are differing perspectives between the Gospels, and that is to be expected. But for the main event that supposedly clarifies everything, one would expect that there be more strength in its detail, especially if it was intended to be THE word from God.

        “Who says that those who were torturing Jesus knew that He was the Messiah, and just went through the motions? Give me the Bible texts to prove your statement.” … give me Bible texts to prove that they had no awareness of Jesus’ claims. It is a possibility as there is no confirmation in either direction.

        Why would Jesus teach the apostles meditation should he have used it in playing dead? It was of no use to anyone but himself. You do know that the world record for someone holding their breath is over 10 minutes right? And considering Jesus was so dramatic immediately before supposedly dying certainly raises questions as to how his body would fail so rapidly. Some form of feigning death certainly seems a possibility.

        I can’t recall having heard of convicts in jail being referred to as buried alive. But point is, Jesus wasn’t literally buried.

        And why do you need Biblical proof? There is context that needs to be taken into account outside of the Bible as well. Again, give me Biblical proof of the contrary. With no proof either way, the options are open.

        I’m sure that if Jesus had planned to be crucified, he would have prepared himself for such torture the best he could. If I chose to devote my life to finding a way to survive a crucifixion, maybe I could do the same. People are capable of seemingly miraculous things if they set their mind to it and understand well what they are getting into. Considering Jesus was impressively teaching Old Testament stuff before he was even a teenager, it seems pretty evident that he was no dullard. Pilate surprised at his quick death … you’d think he would have had Jesus’ legs broken just to be sure. Why put so much effort into torturing Jesus just to decide to show him a little mercy in the end? Seems a bit odd.

        How can you claim that my non-supernatural-based ideas are a complete untruth when you have no evidence against them? If you want to believe the claims of the Bible and bypass questionable Biblical evidence, that’s fine, but at least be honest with yourself that you are jumping to big conclusions that defy what we know about existence when the dots can be connected in a way that fits more closely with the reality we are accustomed to.

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      • JasonJshaw,

        “Who says that those who were torturing Jesus knew that He was the Messiah, and just went through the motions? Give me the Bible texts to prove your statement.” … give me Bible texts to prove that they had no awareness of Jesus’ claims. It is a possibility as there is no confirmation in either direction.

        Actually there is Biblical confirmation to support my claims. Luke 23:34 where Jesus says “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” indicates that Jesus treated what was done to Him out of ignorance, because it was out of ignorance.

        Acts 3:17 which speaks about the sufferings of Jesus tells us that it was done out of ignorance on behalf of the rulers of the people.

        There is quite a lot of Biblical support to show that those who participated in Christ’s crucifixion did it out of ignorance. But not just any type of ignorance. One of obstinate type of ignorance where people absolutely refuse to see the evidence before them.

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      • Could Jesus have used some type of meditation to survive His crucifixion? Besides the fact that this was unknown within Judaism at the time, besides the fact that JasonTshaw cannot provide proof thereof let us see what the Scriptures tell us:

        “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

        If Jesus had used any sort of trickery like meditation (which according to your kind He never bothered to teach His disciples) Jesus could never be sympathetic to our problems especially when we have to face trials and sufferings, especially horrible sufferings. He could never be our example in times of sufferings and persecution, as He would have had an unfair advantage over us. But the situation is different isn’t it Jason?

        The Bible again:

        So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts 5:41

        that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. Philippians 3:10

        Fellowship of His sufferings power of His resurrection through conformance through His death? How, if Jesus had cheated death and sufferings through transcendental meditation and other sort of trickery? Does not Jesus’ trickery mean that He had an unfair advantage over us giving us an ideal that we cannot achieve?

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      • DaVinci, you don’t suppose that Jesus forgiving out loud those who were torturing him wouldn’t have any effect on them? Jesus’ forgiveness tended to have significant effect on people. Why would these people be an exception?

        As for meditation, you are aware that prayer is a form of meditation, right? Who’s to say he couldn’t meditate on a deeply focused prayer?

        What do you mean by an ideal we can’t achieve? Jesus’ intent seemed to be bringing about more humanist viewpoints while getting rid of the silliness in the corrupted practice of sacrificing animals to atone for sin. As someone who has studied the Bible and arrived at the conclusion that it is vey unlikely that Jesus was a supernatural being, there were no false ideals that stuck out to me aside from ones that believers tend to hold on to.

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  2. Disciples went from being a frightened scattered bunch of political nobodies to willing to die for their “journalism” and fill the Earth with their reporting! “Journalism” as in testimony, eye witness accounts, or reporting of same.

    Glib I know, but the mainstream “legacy” media is bleeding money in buckets, and dying now because the truth to them is not as intensely important as it was to the “journalists” of the new testament. Long after Fairfax folds as a print media company The Bible will be in current press.

    Multiculturalism is bringing death, decay and civil war to a multi-national franchise of destinations right now, even as we speak, because “multiculturalism” is man shaking his puny intellectual fist, at Heaven, the very throne of God infact, and declaring “we” have a policy that “there was nothing special about Jesus Christ”

    If you can fathom precisely what a deadly situation is,, change. [Noah had few converts, ditto Lot]…Google Rabbi Cahn on Judgment if this story isn’t a “seems like joking” to you.

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      • I would suggest you worship in Holy Spirit and in Truth, the Only Begotten Son of God, regardless of His skin colour Bryan; just a friendly suggestion Bryan. Psalm Two; the Jewish writer King David, seems to suggest all the nations acknowledge the Son of God, exclusively lest they hasten their demise when only a little of His wrath is kindled. King David the prophet of Psalms that is – you know, modern song inspired by the Holy Spirit.

        Of course I say this with prejudice to Muhammad [not praising him at all], and would die in quite a few countries now for saying the same things there, not here. Perhaps you’d hold their jackets.

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      • Here’s simple honest exegesis, the Roman soldiers who spat in Jesus’ face had a multicultural pantheon of small gods to back them up. What people did in their ignorance in times past, God says, he overlooked..or forbear…
        But Pax Romanus had to be destroyed, like Pan Am, like multicultic now.
        Any foundation but Jesus is going down sooner than later.
        Plus its unconstitutional, if not treason, but that just paper law.

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      • The Samaritans were despised in the time of Jesus pbuh. Some lessons to this day are still not learnt, including the relationship you should have with your neighbour.

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      • May I always point to the only begotten Son of God, resurrected from the dead, ascended to heaven, Judge of the Living and the Dead, Creator of Heavens and Earth, Jesus Christ, giver of the Holy Spirit.

        What could be wrong with highlighting the differences between us Dom?

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    • Intriguing what you edited out there Bryan. Anyone who disagrees with gay marriage has to be “hateful”. Any one who disagrees with multi cultic must be “raciss”. Anyone who disagrees with woman bishops must be ‘misogynist’.
      As I say the ‘legacy media’ are losing money in buckets with narratives that deep.

      Its all sort of Lady McBeth denial. Chlorex mantras for the /Student Union core politic. Appearance is everything.

      {Lot’s sons in law must have thought him an old fart social disgrace joke, and to Samson’s captors he was a public spectacle ‘sport’ = one had to read the next chapter to see how it all worked out)
      likewise dabbles here actually seems to think his science is right.

      anyway today’s like the eve of that spit in the face, remember what really happened in pluralistic multic cultic show trial illegitimate justice pax romana day. That mouthful would never have made copy – yet there it is in black and white history.

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      • No PhillipGeorge,

        I don’t think Anyone who disagrees with gay marriage has to be “hateful”. Or that Any one who disagrees with multiculturalism must be “racist”. Or that anyone who disagrees with woman bishops must be ‘misogynist’. I think I’ve made that pretty clear over the years.

        But yes, I think you are all those things at times.

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      • Sorry Brian but I disagree with your comment that disagreeing with “gay” marriage is not seen as hateful. We have seen recently incidents where the gay community has sought to stifle debate on the gay marriage issue. SBS is particularly guilty of this in not allowing advertisements in favour of traditional marriage to be aired, but allows advertisements for websites promoting infidelity to be aired on their programs late at night.

        Furthermore if you remember, Julia Gillard had very negative comments to make about Tony Abbott when he made the comments that his teenage daughters should save sex for marriage. From the reports I read, Julia Gillard made comments giving the impression that TA was misogynist on the issue.

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      • You didn’t read what I said correctly davinci. I said I ddn’t personally believe that anyone who disagrees with gay marriage has to be “hateful”. Or that Any one who disagrees with multiculturalism must be “racist”. Or that anyone who disagrees with woman bishops must be ‘misogynist’.

        Unfortunately some people – including some Christians – are hateful, racist and misogynist.

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  3. Jesus did what he planned to do, with reference to the beliefs of not only the Jewish people, but also those of other spiritual beliefs. Regardless of re-hashings of why and how, and of likely outcomes, I believe he thought he was doing the will of God, so he probably was, when it all boils down.

    He doesn’t seem to have believed he was God himself at that time, but perhaps potentially – and that we could potentially be so too. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”

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    • No? Jesus never believed that He was God Himself?

      Let’s see what the Bible says:

      “No one takes it away from me; I give it up of myself. I have power to give it up, and I have power to take it again. These orders I have from my Father.” John 10:18.

      Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. (Mark 14:63-64).

      “I am who I am” John 8:58. The Jews then sought to kill Him because in using the above words, Jesus was claiming to be Jehovah.

      Then we have Jesus healing people. As part of His healing, He often said “Thy sins be forgiven thee”. The Jewish observers understood this to mean that He was claiming the authority to forgive sins (which only God can do).

      As for the verse quoted by Strewth about doing works greater than Jesus, this does not prove potential godhood. Jesus said these things because He would be going away, first to be crucified, then to heaven, so He didn’t have the time to do “greater” works than He already did. His disciples would have the time to do greater works.

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      • As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”

        Mark 10:17-18

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      • Strewth
        It is also written:

        “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22.

        And then we are told that the young man was sorrowful at being asked to give up his riches and did not follow Jesus. Which prompted Jesus to say that it was easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man the kingdom of God.

        Notice that Jesus considered following Him as the way to enter the Kingdom of God (Which is in harmony with other verses in the Bible which in calling Jesus the Gate, the way, put Him on equality with God as being God).

        So how do we harmonise the verses you just quoted Strewth?

        Pulpit Commentary gives the following explanation:

        Luke 18 Verse 19. – And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. The title “good” was a singular one for the young ruler to have used. It was never used to the most famous rabbis by their pupils. It implied an intense reverence, but nothing more. The young man distinctly did not then believe the Master was Divine, else he had never made the great refusal recorded directly afterwards. “To be a good man is impossible… God alone could have this honour” (Plate, ‘Phaed.,’ 27). “You are looking at me,” said the Master, “as a man: why give me this strange, lofty title? You are looking on me only as an earthly Teacher.” The great Heart-reader was reading the young man’s thoughts, thoughts which soon crystallized, as we shall see, into the refused to do what he, whom he chose to style “good,” directed him to carry out.

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      • It is also written

        No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.
        George Bernard Shaw

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      • In the end what you choose to understand is the gate you take. You can go through the broad gate and continue on or the narrow gate which may uproot your whole life. Jesus asked the young man to come through the narrow gate but he refused.

        Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
        Matthew 7:13

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      • “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.”
        George Bernard Shaw

        Yes. Parrying with scriptural quotes is a useless occupation, when minds of proponents might change, when circumstances can warrant differences, when spurious additions have been written in, when politics of the various times enters, etc.

        It’s not hard to find a biblical quote to support any view. Looking at the overall message of Jesus is safer than any quibbling over individual phrases, I’m certain.

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  4. ‘The possibility that the resurrection actually occurred still shakes the world to its foundations.’ says Bryan in the blog. I’m still scratching my head over that. And I do mean in partticular, ‘the POSSIBILITY’.

    I never hear the matter argued out in politics or in any Government. I dont see debates about it every day on TV or in the Newspapers. I have never seen it being discussed among Islamics or Hindus or Jews.

    Among Atheists, I dont see it being discussed much as a ‘possibility’ in particular. Sure, there are learned debates over the matter among certain groups of Christians from time to time; but among most, there doesnt seem to be any particular argument going on.

    So what am I missing? Sounds to me like a lot of Christian hype.
    Rian.

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      • okay Bryan,
        Point me to where the matter of the ‘possibility’ is a hot topic, other than occasionally between liberal and conservative Christians. In my 79 years I have never heard any other sort of discussion on the matter. To my knowledge, not a single war was ever fought over the question. Sure there were wars between believers and non-believers but over the ‘possibility of the Resurrection???

        As usual, Bryan, you are putting me down, and offering not a single bit of evidence for your contention. Your wriggling out of properly arguing out your case is not effective.

        Anyone else on the List like to give me some evidence, since Bryan is totally unable to?
        Rian.,

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      • Just as a further comment there Bryan,
        Of course there are arguments that go on between Atheists and Christians about the Resurrection. But these are minor events in formal debates or in books from both sides. I’ve read books that deal with it, and have engaged in arguing the matter myself. But I have never heard any doubter or Atheist who was genuinely concerned about the ‘possibility’. Have you?

        And above all, none of these debates ever ‘shakes the world’. Christians, we are told, number approx one third of the population of the world. (and does that mean mainly all the folks who live in so-called Christian countries, and who are not Buddhists, Islamics, Jews or Hindus etc?) I would wonder just what percentage of those same ‘Christians’ genuinely believe in the Resurrection and what it stands for, or even think about it very much, other than at Easter time. There is just no evidence that the rest of the world’s population ever thinks much about it.

        Certainly, the belief in Jesus & the Resurrection has shaped much of the modern Western world, but I never see it being tossed around in Parliaments or in the media (other than purely as just another topic.)

        So explain to me someone just how that ‘possibility’ SHAKES THE WORLD.

        Rian.

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      • C’mon Rian,

        You can’t be serious.

        “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

        Of course the possibility of Jesus’ resurrection shakes the world. It was the centrepoint of time.

        It is the reason that two-plus billion people around the world find some significance in this very day _ Good Friday.

        That’s EXACTLY how this “possibility” shakes the world. To ignore it is just blinkered and facile.

        Look around you old mate.

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      • Rubbish Bryan,
        If some two thirds of the world are not shaken up by it, and can live quite normally without knowing about it, then your case is not demonstrated at all.

        Cant imagine where you are coming from. Just because a whole lot of people, – a large minority to be sure, go to church with special intent at this time of the year, cant be deduced that ‘the world’ is shaken by it. the WORLD is an awfully big entity, you know! Just what on earth do YOU mean by ‘the World’?

        And ‘the centre piece of time’!!!! That is purely a Christian concept. Would Hindus agree? Would Islamics agree? Would Buddhists or Jews agree? Would the Atheists and Agnostics agree? You are talking purely of Theological concepts again. They dont work with dissenters and Atheists, you know.

        I give up this time, Bryan. But I am very disappointed in you. I can only assume that you have just never been confronted before by my sorts of questions and disputes. I thought it was bad enough when you carelessly tried to deflect my points about your use of words about the two kings being ‘afraid of Jesus’. I really believed that you were broad minded enough to get the bigger picture of the way the rest of the world sees things. But no, you appear to be just as biased as the rest of them. You gleefully dismiss any resident Atheists who venture in with their mainly standard arguments etc, but you are not used to any other sorts. Never fear. I shall remain here.

        Cheers for now, Rian.

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      • If the resurrection of Jesus is FACT, then it is the most significant event in history. It is the centrepoint of time.

        The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”

        Clarence W. Hall

        “The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits,’ the pioneer of life,’ He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so.”

        C.S. Lewis

        “The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.”

        Robert Flatt

        “The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.”

        Basil C. Hume

        “We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our guarantee and our substitute by our Father in heaven.


        There is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ.
        Brooke Foss Wescott

        “Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”―
        N.T. Wright

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      • “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”

        Napoleon

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      • N.T. Wright speaks of the resurrection as the beginning of the new creation.

        History matters because human beings matter; human beings matter because creation matters; creation matters because the creator matters. And the creator, according to some of the most ancient Jewish beliefs, grieved so much over creation gone wrong, over humankind in rebellion, over thorns and thistles and dust and death, that he planned from the beginning the way by which he would rescue his world, his creation, his history, from its tragic corruption and decay; the way, therefore, by which he would rescue his image-bearing creatures, the muddled and rebellious human beings, from their doubly tragic fate; the way, therefore, by which he would be most truly himself, would become most truly himself. The story of Jesus of Nazareth offers itself, as Jesus himself had offered his public work and words, his body and blood, as the answer to this multiple problem: the arrival of God’s kingdom precisely in the world of space, time, and matter, the world of injustice and tyranny, of empire and crucifixions. This world is where the kingdom must come, on earth as it is in heaven. What view of creation, what view of justice, would be served by the offer merely of a new spirituality and a one-way ticket out of trouble, an escape from the real world?

        No wonder the Herods, the Caesars and the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They are, after all, staking a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that the tyrants and bullies (including the intellectual tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and deconstruction, are not after all omnipotent. But it is the real world, in Jewish thinking, that the real God made, and still grieves over. It is the real world that, in the earliest stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection, was decisively and forever reclaimed by that event, an event which demanded to be understood, not as a bizarre miracle, but as the beginning of a new creation.

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    • Rian,,
      The first and second century historians including Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Plinius Secundus, and Lucian of Samosata acknowledged the impact this incredible resurrection event had on the people of the time.

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      • Thanks Rob, That’s right. The resurrection of Jesus is more than just a historical event; it’s still having a worldwide impact today. But the most obvious sign of its significance is the way Christ’s resurrection power is transforming the lives of all who believe in Him. This multitude of individuals who have surrendered their lives to Christ make a powerful global impact.

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      • first, Rob,
        none of the guys you mention actually wrote about Christianity during the 1st century. The impact of course was from the BELIEF that people had about Jesus and the Resurrection. To date, we have no reference to Christianity in Roman records and inscriptions that were actually made during the first century. Get your history right, please.

        Bryan,
        You are demonstrating in all of those quotes nothing but opinions. And the conclusions given by Christians are theological ones and nothing else. All very well for Wescott, but if the Resurrection is just so well proven in history, then why arent the historians of the world united as Christian believers? It is still obvious that the evidence for the Resurrection is at very best, circumstantial and of course, highly partisan. One cant really even picture any genuine evidence that could possibly be produced. Still no contemporary evidence or reports exist from the time. It is still true that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.

        The Napoleon quote hardly counts for anything. I’d like to know just what basis he had for his line about millions of men ready to die for Jesus sake. The wars he instigated and fought in are hardly to be seen as inspired by Christian faith. I dont think he is any great example. Just reminded of a line I used in a competition speech some 45 years back. Not immediately relevant, but quoting Buonaparte again.. ‘”Imagination! Imagination rules the world.” It might seem from your quote that he saw Jesus as ruling the world. Cant be both, can it?

        At the moment, I guess there is more indication round the planet,l of the world being shaken by Islam, than by the story of Jesus. Sure, at Easter time, many of the Christian churches are full. But just what proportion of the whole supposed Christian population of the Western world actually attends and genuinely believes. And just loads and loads of Christian church buildings are being deserted and sold. I recall in my childhood, when the old Methodist Churches I attended every Sunday morning and evening, were full to the brim.

        It strikes me over and over, how when it helps their argument, Christians argue that the Christian religion and faith is growing powerfully all the time, with huge numbers of converts etc. And then at other times I read the complaints about how few people are truly Christian today; and how very few really know about their religion. Again and again I read complaints from our resident Christians here about the serious deficit in genuine faith among so called Christians, and the enormous popularity of non-Christian or Pagan influences. Also of course, it is clearly a Secular society that we live in.

        Yes, for believers, Jesus and the Resurrection shake the world. For Muslims, Mohammed and the Koran shake the world. For many others, it would seem that Science is the only thing that shakes the world. Your panegyric on the influence of Christianity is still of faith and not of historical fact.

        And you accuse me of blithely tossing around nothing but opinion!

        Rian.

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      • Rian,

        You fail to get the subtleties of argument again.

        Rob was pointing out that the resurrection of Jesus was an earth-shattering event from the early times.

        Since you ask for my opinion I’ll give it.

        With respect, I think your Aspie mind is somewhat at play here.

        Aspies are known to be literal, black and white thinkers who want or need evidence or proof. Spiritual faith does not require proof.. Aspies are also known to have narrow interests and can obsess about topics of interest to them. Many Aspies report rejecting faith and can’t understand why people have faith. It’s part of the syndrome unfortunelely. Of course, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Some aspies are no doubt Christians.

        The thing is, whether you can comprehend the vast shock waves that the Resurrection of Jesus brings is not important. It doesn’t alter the reality just because you don’t get it.

        God is God of Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, people with Aspergers and gnostics, whether or not they know it.

        He’s also your God, no matter what your opinion on the matter..

        .

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      • And Rian me old mate,
        You seem to be saying that Christianity didn’t have an impact in the early years because no evidence has been found (yet) in Roman records.
        But the gospels and Acts tell the tale. You can’t ignore them
        And then there’s the history you ignore. Paul and the Twelve Apostles traveled extensively establishing communities in major cities and regions throughout the Empire. The first Christian communities outside of Jerusalem appeared in Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and the political center of Rome. The original church communities were founded by apostles and numerous other Christians, soldiers, merchants, and preachers in northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and other places. Over 40 churches were established by 100,many in Asia Minor.

        Cheers

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      • And while your at it Bryan, what’s wrong with Paddy?

        Clearly, he doesn’t read what’s written, nor does he understand what’s being said. Also, he lies, i.e., he misrepresents what a person has said or intimated thereby bringing their character into question. Good news though is that he’s well and truly out of hiding now.

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      • Yep, Easter here on ‘Faithworks’ is the time when all come out of hiding. But who can steal our joy at this hallowed time when the most powerful words I know—“It is finished!” and “He is Risen!” echo in our minds and hearts to fill us with overflowing dunamis power to overcome, amen?

        Yep, the stone’s been rolled away and we now live in the light.

        HAPPY EASTER BRYAN AND ALL!

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      • Bryan,
        Since spiritual faith does not require proof, as you tell me, – then I guess all of the books of Apologetics can be burnt, and the various debates that have taken place on this blog alone which quote facts and evidence are cited, count for absolutely nothing. Dont know then, why Christians for centuries have explored old ruins and read ancient texts in order to accumulate facts, – you just need faith – fullstop.

        I am therefore as indicated by your own words there, perfectly justified in having and propogating my own faith and cannot be criticized for any of it. To some extent I can agree with you that the same ‘God’ is god of all peoples, of all times and of all faith. However, I dont believe that all that is said of the Christian concept is just as true and universal. Anyway, you cant ever be disturbed by Islamics, Jews Hindus Mormons or whoever (or to seek to see them converted) because they need no proof, just as you need no proof. I just have a little niggle as I wonder why you bother about maintaining this blog, at all. You never need to point anyone to the Christian god in particular.

        You are correct as I’ve said before, that Aspies can tend to be black and white in their attitudes, and indeed can be strong Christians of all denominations, as well as atheistic etc. I have no problems in reading or hearing any assessments about individuals like myself, who have AS. I guess that one of our big tasks in life happens to be to challenge old worn out ideas and to seek out facts. Next time I see you quoting facts on this blog, I shall criticize you for it. Spiritual faith does not require proof. I’ll remember that from now on.

        However, you still have not answered my points of fact, any more than Rob has. The quote from Napoleon has been tossed into the mix, and neither you or Rob has explained it. A further point on that gentleman’s comment. – I dont really get any impression from reading history books, that his opinion on Jesus can count for very much. He was a Catholic of course, and from what I recall reading about his Coronation, he was not particularly respectful to his Church or the Pope himself.

        How on earth would he have ever had any experience in warfare or whatever, that would justify his comment about men dying for Jesus sake? His various wars were all between his Christians and other Christians, werent they? Unless maybe its relevance is purely dealing with his beautiful devout Catholic Armies against evil and illegitimate ones of pseudo Christians of Orthodox, and (shudder) Protestant ones? – (Rob, if Bryan cant or wont tackle that one, maybe you’d care to explain to me?)

        No Bryan, I dont want ‘subtleties of argument’. I want honesty and a frankness in dealing with facts. Look I have faith of my own about which I make no claim to be able to prove. As I’ve said before, there are just no ‘facts’ that can prove my preferred acceptance of the teaching of Reincarnation, any more than there are any ‘facts’ that can prove your beliefs about Resurrection, Salvation and Heaven. So my faith is therefore equal to your faith.
        Cheers, Rian.

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      • No Bryan, I dont want ‘subtleties of argument’

        Clearly.

        Look old mate,I believe you genuinely do not or cannot understand. Obviously the faith that Monica and I have, for example, is not blind faith. It’s based on knowledge and experience.

        But in some ways it’s faith that some people just don’t get. I think that perhaps it is especially difficult for you.

        I’ll post something a Christian friend with Aspersers sent to me. Perhaps it will help you understand what I’m saying.

        A lot of the faith life of a person will just go over my head – or feel very foreign to me.
        An analogy: one pilot can see the ground, the trees, and the mountains and steer between them all, or over them, just by looking at them. Another pilot can see nothing except the instrument panel, and has to fly by logic alone, not sight (“If I travel in this direction and stay at that height then I should be safely above the mountains”). Aspies spend a lot of time “flying blind” through social situations. We have to think through social situations because we can’t intuit them. And we are often as much of an emotional mystery to ourselves as other people are to us – I often cannot tell what I feel, and I cannot guess very well what you feel. And I don’t know what to do about it even if I can identify it, and I might find it hard to know why I am feeling that way.

        God created all of us as unique human beings. His purpose is revealed through all of his creation, especially through those of us created in His image. Is it an accident that more kids in this generation are being identified with Asperger’s Disorder and other autism spectrum disorders than in previous generations? I can’t imagine that we’d see so many kids with these conditions unless God has some larger purpose in mind. And I can’t imagine he doesn’t have a plan for the kids and their families to come to know him.

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      • “Obviously the faith that Monica and I have, for example, is not blind faith. It’s based on knowledge and experience.”

        Yes Bryan,

        And, although I see faith as being a gift from God so that none can boast about the measure of their faith, we nonetheless had to go through this process to ‘find God’—-Jeremiah 29:14, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” , declares the LORD:

        excerpt from Francis Frangipane’s book, ‘I WILL BE FOUND BY YOU’

        “The divine pursuit begins with the humbling of self. Until we embrace humility, our natural mind displays itself as a god sitting in the temple of our thought life. We are ruled by the tyranny of fleshly desires, soulish fears, and human ambitions. To advance in God, we must retreat from self.

        Thus, when true meekness emerges in our hearts, it comes to silence the clamor of our fleshly minds. The volume on our self-righteousness mutes; the voice of our fears and inadequacies becomes a whisper. To humble our earthly perspectives and opinions, we must relegate them to a lower priority; they become mere background noise as our focus turns increasingly toward God. No pretense prevails; we come humbling ourselves. We bow on our face before the holy gaze of God. And in His light finally we perceive the darkness of our soul.”

        Are you able to do that Rian?

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      • It’s just a question for you to ponder Rian.

        Please don’t give me an answer. It’s God’s business, not mine.

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      • Bryan,
        Let me tell you a little story that goes back some two years or more ago, and of course early in my tenure in this forum. In a discussion about Hitler and the Nazis, I quoted something that I’d read that I felt was relevant. I said that the Vatican at no time excommunicated Hitler.

        I was immediately corrected, – might have been by PG or Alexie, or maybe even yourself. Anyway I was told that I was wrong, and that in the early 30s some German Bishops issued an excommunication on anyone who went on to join the Nazi party. Well I was most interested to learn this, and immediately acknowledged the information. Technically of course, I hadn’t been wrong. The VATICAN had not excommunicated Hitler, but rather some local Bishops.

        Well, immediately there was something of a general condemnation of me, with the sarcastic comment that ‘Oh isn’t he HUMBLE. See how he has apologized.” Or words to that effect. Well, with my conscientious Aspie ethics, I felt that I had well and truly said just the right thing there. I had not said anything against any person on the blog, so I didn’t need to do any apologizing. But as I make a habit of doing, I endeavoured to acknowledge pretty quickly as I try to do when anyone corrects me with facts in the postings.

        Now what I’ve observed is that if by contrast I make any sort of corrective comment about anything written in this blog, it is usually ignored, or remains inappropriately answered with some covering of a party line put-down that simply says that I cant or wont understand, or I just don’t have the appropriate faith.
        There is one big exception to this rule on the blog of course, and that is our dear Monica.

        This honest lady has been about the only person here who has on occasion politely acknowledged things I’ve said, and has seemed genuinely appreciative of the details I’ve given; and of course this is on the occasions that my comments have been directly on factual matters. It must be understood and remembered, I might point out, that I have never at any time criticized anything that Mon (or any other here) has quoted of a personal revelatory nature. I respect such matters as personal and experiential, and not of the factual or historical nature that can be debated.

        In your latest postings to me, you completely ignored the facts I presented. You were the one who posted the Napoleon quote; and I made a couple of thoroughly legitimate criticisms of it in the form of questions that you or some other might well be able to answer. Instead of that, you just launched into a commentary on my deficiencies in understanding other people and their faith. I honestly cant really see that my querying the relevance of a particular quote is at all inappropriate or offensive to people’s faith. Perhaps in future you will be a little more careful when you cite that Napoleon statement. It is a suspect one.

        It really looks as though in your prioritizing of faith matters, you offend against the issue of everyday factual queries. Am I being something of a fool for trying to be ethical in my postings? You seem to be saying that factual matters don’t really count for much when discussing Christian principles, and yet a lot of your blog writings offer facts about all sorts of things. No wonder that Atheists get cheesed off with Christians for a lot of their ‘faith’ talk. You couldn’t get away with it in a formal debate.

        Still Cheers regardless, Rian. (you haven’t got rid of me yet!)

        PS and thanks everyone for prayers and etc. Just keep in mind that I am on a completely different path from you all. Christianity is not the only path ordained by The God. I read the postings by our friend Dom to appreciate that. R,

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      • Rian,
        On the contrary dear friend,

        I think I’ve been tolerant of your attacks on Christians and Christianity. I have however noticed a lack of your understanding of what Christian faith means and suggested that it may be personally difficult for you to understand. No offence was intended ..just a point that I feel needed to be made when you were so increasingly judgemental about Christians..

        I don’t think you are accustomed to being challenged.

        Yes you do make many interesting points and generally they are acknowledged. If you think they are inappropriately answered then that is your opinion. But just because you don’t like the answer does not mean it has been “innapporpriate”. Or that it lacks the substance of “formal debate” Again just your opinion.

        I have no recollection of the Hitler post you refer to. I feel you are now unnecessarily calling the victim card. Some things you just need go let go of mate.

        You seem to be saying that factual matters don’t really count for much when discussing Christian principles

        No I did not say that. You have misunderstood.

        As for Napoleon and Jesus. Perhaps you should read this:

        Napoleon’s Testimony on Christ

        The nature of Christ’s existence is mysterious, I admit; but this mystery meets the wants of man. Reject it and the world is an explicable riddle; believe it, and the history of our race is satisfactorily explained.

        _________________

        I know men, and I tell you that Jesus is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions, that resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and other religions, the distance of infinity.

        ________________

        I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.

        _________________

        I see in Lycurgus, Numa and Mohammed only legislators who, having the first rank in the state, have sought the best solution of the social problem but I see nothing there which reveals divinity…nothing announces them divine. On the contrary, there are numerous resemblances between them & myself, foibles and errors which ally them to me and to humanity.
        It is not so with Christ. Everything in Him astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. Beside Him and whoever else in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by Himself. His ideals and His sentiments, the truths which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things.
        His birth and the history of His life; the profundity of His doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties, and which is, of those difficulties, the most admirable solution; His Gospel, His apparition, His empire, His march across the ages and the realms, is for me a prodigy, a mystery insoluble, which plunges me into a reverence which I cannot escape, a mystery which is there before my eyes, mystery which I cannot deny or explain. Here I see nothing human. The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, everything is above me, everything remains grand—and of a grandeur which overpowers.

        His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not a man. There is a profound originality, which has created a series of maxims before unknown. Jesus borrowed nothing from our sciences. One can absolutely find nowhere, but in Him alone, the imitation or the example of His life.

        _________________

        I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of my self, Caesar, and Alexander should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant—Jesus—should be able to stretch His hands across the centuries and control the destinies of men and nations.

        _________________
        Napoleon expressed the following thoughts while he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena. There, the conqueror of civilized Europe had time to reflect on the measure of his accomplishments. He called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, “Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?” The count declined to respond. Napoleon countered:

        Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. . . . I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man. . . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me . . . but to do this is was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ

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      • Being a knee-jerk skeptic is as limiting as being a knee-jerk fundamentalist. In both cases, the mind is being conditioned by others

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      • Rian, you know I am in sympathy with much you say. My apologies if I have not posted anything recently in support of your posts. There are two or three reasons for this.

        Sometimes, even while I’m agreeing, I can’t see the subject matter as worth quarrelling over.

        Then there’s the length of posts, the amount of material to read – particularly now when I’m overloaded with an on-line course I’m studying.

        Then there’s the fact that people are getting so confrontational here, not a situation I want to be part of inflaming. Not cowardice, I think, as no-one except you can find me to thump me!

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      • Fascinating, Bryan,

        A few days ago you assessed me as ‘anti-Christian’, while yesterday you indicated that I have made ‘attacks on Christians and Christianity’. I guess the next stage will be when you revert back to quotes of my old nemesis on this blog (welcome back Alexie!) and describe me as an hypocrite, – and ‘whose hypocrisy knows no bounds’. Oh, and don’t forget that I am a ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’, along with a few other delightful terms.

        ‘Not used to being challenged’? Crumbs, loads and loads of times. Doesn’t trouble me. The problem here is that most of the time, I’ve not been confronted by counter evidence. (note the discussion on the numbers of Martyrs under Rome!) Oh and nah, Bryan, no victim card here and in quoting the ‘Hitler’ anecdote I’m not brooding over it in any way. You must observe that I made no complaint there. In typical Aspie fashion I just recounted a factual incident with no emotion. Perhaps that is something you need to learn about us, in considering the Aspie nature and processes. So I’ve never been unable to ‘let go of it, eh’? As it is I find it and the other things I’ve detailed as being rather funny if anything. If it were not so, then I would have stormed out of this blog and left in a huff. As I stated there, you cant get rid of me that easily.

        I cant really identify anything I’ve ever said here that represents ‘attacks on Christians and Christianity’. My words have I think, never been anywhere near as harsh as Christians have directed at their own fellows over the years. (Catholics against Protestants, and vice versa; Evangelicals and Fundies against Liberal Christians and vice versa; oh and all and any of them against those designated as Heretics. I’ve never attacked the notion or the person of Christ, worship, prayer, Christian love. And I have never attacked the principle of Grace, though I certainly have argued over just what it might mean. Catholics and Prots have debated that since the Reformation. You have all banded together to attack dear old Dabbles, and heaven knows he launched many a genuine attack on Christianity.

        Have I ever beaten down or personally insulted any individual Christian on this blog? Hardly, just think about it. One of my many big principles in debate is to play the ball and never the man. Some two years back, when I was copping a lot of absurd flack here, I was certainly disappointed and shocked that supposedly good Christian individuals were blatantly mis-quoting me. I fought back repeatedly showing just how wrong THEIR attacks were. And of course I was not criticizing them as Christians, but rather as guys who were being dishonest.

        As I’ve stated before, it is NEVER my aim to persuade anyone that Christianity is wrong and that they should apostatize out of it. Oh, and as well, look I actually do understand Christianity very thoroughly, in the Catholic version, the Evangelical Reformed version and the Liberal. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with any of them. I can see all too well the inherent weaknesses that lie within each one; but having no desire or urge to dissuade people from their Christianity, I only give voice to particular problems in logic or fact when I’m writing on this blog. But I just have to protest when I read that ‘Spiritual faith does not require evidence’. Naturally I will from time to time state something of my own personal Faith in the process.

        Cheers, and still all the best of goodwill, Rian.
        (I guess you guys just don’t know how best to handle me, do you? But I would appreciate it if you would observe exactly what I say, and not read all sorts of incorrect meanings and intentions into it.)

        PS. This is addressed to Strewth. No worry old friend most dear, I’m out to fight my own battles, and I am well aware that you and I often see eye to eye. I guess that in your own unique path, you may probably be able to empathize more deeply with the Christians than I do. Love/Best wishes, Rian.

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      • Dear Rian,

        It’s not meant to be a “battle” and I wouldn’t want you to think anyone here is your “nemesis”.

        I concur with what Strewth said: I can’t see the subject matter as worth quarrelling over.

        I think, like many here, that you are a nice bloke. And I wouldn’t wish to upset you so because of that I withdraw from the debate.

        Cheers and also with goodwill

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      • But I just have to protest when I read that ‘Spiritual faith does not require evidence’.

        But as I said, you misunderstand and your “protest” is the result of that misunderstanding.
        Faith is built on knowledge and experience. It is not blind faith that I’m talking about.

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      • I don’t want to upset you either Rian. But you seem to be overly-sensitive and confrontational when it comes to criticism or another point of view. I’d urge you gently to be a little more open-minded.

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      • Some do not understand what faith is because they don’t have it. . Faith is not the power of positive thinking. It is not whipping yourself up into believing the unbelievable. Biblical faith is relational and personable. Likewise, we grow in faith as we grow in our knowledge of God. We grow in faith by trusting in His faithfulness and not in ourselves

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      • Bryan/Rob,
        Dont really know why you think I might get upset. I learn a lot from debating, and I enjoy the excitement of the chase in the process. Perhaps what you observe in my postings is this excitement and enthusiasm rather than stress or upset. It may well be part of the performance of the Actor or lecturer in me.

        In regard to the consideration that these things are not worth ‘quarreling over’. Great Scott, I’m not quarreling, I’m just doing what I enjoy doing, – debating. But as I’ve pointed out before, in regard to my contention about the Martyrs under Rome for example, I have imagined that you Christians would want to be telling the truth rather than repeat the old lies and fables about such things. A great deal of my research is on the first few centuries of Christianity, and I shall continue to quote the best modern authorities in such history. I notice that you yourself Bryan, every so often come up with some brand new bit of information about Christianity that contradicts some of the popular old traditions that we’ve grown up with. Since I want to know the historical truth, I’ll be grateful if anyone can counter my comments with better and sounder factual information.

        So Rob, I’m not overly sensitive at all, and I can assure you in my day, I’ve been insulted by experts. I really enjoy this forum, regardless of whether or not the ‘arguments’ go my way. I really do get the impression that most of the time, no-one here is able to answer my contentions. That disappoints me. I wonder then just why on earth we have a discussion forum like this, at all. Just to pat each other on the head, and wish many blessings???? If so, then as I’ve argued before, surely Bryan’s blog should be headed as ‘Evangelical Faithworks’.

        Cheers, Rian

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      • Thanks Karen. I think you are correct. Faith is not about believing the unbelievable.
        But that’s hard for some non=believers to comprehend.

        Faith is sometimes the assertion of possibility over all probabilities; the evidence of things unseen.
        “What is faith for unless it is to believe what you do not see,” asked Saint Augustine.
        Faith is not a fact to be possessed; It is a confidence to be advanced and developed. Any person who has faith at all times both has it and is developing it. There is a direct correlation between having occasions of doubt that raise hard questions and the development of the confidence that the Bible calls faith..
        Professor Sir John Polkinghorne of Cambridge University, one of the world’s most renowned particle physicists, a Fellow of the Royal Society, who became an Anglican minister when he retired from academia. ‘Faith isn’t a question of shutting your eyes, gritting your teeth and believing six impossible things before break-fast because some unquestionable authority has told you to. It’s a search for truth,’ he said.
        ‘Science is great, but it’s not the whole story. It deals with repeatable experience, but we all know that in our personal lives, experiences aren’t repeatable. And you simply couldn’t demonstrate how someone is your friend, or what music is.’
        Moreover, he insists that there is no lack of evidence of God. ‘I believe God reveals his nature in many ways. They’re not demonstrations that knock you down, but they are very striking things about the world that are best understood as the work of God.
        Fanatics have no doubts and despise those who have questions. Prejudice has no doubts and despises those who ask questions. Bigots have no doubts and resents those who have questions. The naive have no doubts and are deeply skeptical of anyone who has questions. Zealots have no doubts and regard anyone with questions as a serious opponent.

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      • It is pride and boasting that stops people from having faith.
        Romans states” Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.”

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      • John Lennox, a professor of mathematics at Oxford University, argues that everyone has “faith” in something—even atheists. Lennox notes that the word faith isn’t just a religious word. It comes from the Latin word fides, which means “trust” or “reliance. Lennox writes, “The irony is that atheism is a ‘faith position,’ and science itself cannot do without faith.”

        Lennox backs up his case by quoting Albert Einstein who once said, “I cannot imagine a scientist without that profound faith [that the universe is comprehensible to our reason].” The contemporary atheist Richard Dawkins once wrote, “An atheist … is someone who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe …” Notice that the atheist believes there is nothing beyond the natural world because he or she can’t actually prove it. The physicist Paul Davies, who is not a Christian, says, “Even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith the existence of law-like order in nature that is at least in part comprehensible to us.” The physicist John Polkinghorne agrees, arguing that the entire study of physics depends on “its faith in the mathematical intelligibility of the universe.”

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    • Bryan I found those quotes from Napoleon about Jesus very interesting. I thought Napoleon was a sceptic but he may have reconsidered his beliefs close to the end of his life,

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  5. Dear Sirs,
    Could you please provide the source of this Napoleon’s quote? I haven’t been able to find it.
    Thank you very much!
    Regards,
    Natasha

    Like

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