Is There A God Or Supreme Being?


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Do you Believe in the Existence of God or a supreme being?  

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yes, the forum has matured quite a bit since the lows of a few years ago. keep up the respect!

back to topic :)

if the editions of the Bible were so accurate.. why is it so hard to locate some of the historic events that took place? is it not human nature that oral stories become obscured and exaggerated? many oral cultures include details that are no longer valid, yet the overall picture is somewhat similar. even in written cultures, there may be changes. there are instances in classical chinese literature where the description goes "and with one mighty swipe, the great swordsman obliterated the army".. (pretty hard to do considering all the crazy cg effects we're seeing today in the movies.) which probably arises from two parties clashed and one emerged victorious, and the leader of the victorious had tremendous strength and skill as well as luck and help. all i am saying is the events that were recorded, the moral of the story may have remained the same, but the events tend to be skewed by the narrator. after all, history is recorded from the perspective of the recorder. imagine how different the texts would be had some of the events in history turned out opposite? suppose the revolutionaries did not win and the british did not loose waterloo and the revolutionary war? what would have our founding fathers be written as? would they have been labeled as rebels and traitors in the history books? anyone ever play the game where u tell a person at the front of the queue something and ask them to pass it down one by one and then the last person tells what he thinks was said?

all i'm saying is that the Bible contains many historical references from which the understanding of human morals is derived from. that i believe, could be the best example of the word of God, for those who believe so. the moral behind the story and what we learn from it is of greatest importance. but the historical references may have been obscured after so many years. after all, many parts of the new testament were written after death of Christ. and there must have been time lapses for events that occured prior to the date of the dead sea scrolls.. it is still written by man.

Edited by steve s
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I think that if you believe in God and that he was able to create the heavens, earth, ect., then it is

not hard to believe our modern day Bible is the true inspired word from God.

I personally believe in the Bible and the God it talks about that created the universe as we know it.

For the same God to put a Bible in my hands that is accurate to his teachings is pretty simplistic.

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This is really a good topic. And I think I concur with you steves. When someone writes, ‘with one swoop of his sword, he destroyed the entire army’, we don’t take that to be literal. When I read something like that, it means to me that the general defeated the army efficiently and quickly. It is a literary device or method of writing. I don’t think the author meant it to be understood literally. These kinds of literary methods were used in writing the Bible as well. I think some of the misunderstandings found in the bible can be precisely pinpointed to this. One person sees it as literal, the other sees it as a figure of speech. Case in point, the seven days of creation. Some interpret that as literal 24 hour days, other sees the 7 days as a poetic device, each day meaning an era (or thousands/ hundreds of thousands of years). I am very open to that interpretation.

You raised another good point about history. What exactly do we mean by history? Is any kind of historic accounts truly objective? Can there be ANY history written that is not subjective to some degree? You alluded to different perspectives of the same event. I agree, I don’t think you can have pure objective history written by one person and I don’t think historians think so either. In science, there is the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which states that you cannot simultaneously know the location of an atom and its direction of movement because the very act of reading it would alter its result. In the same manner, a person who records history, by the very fact of recording it has his/her preconceptions and will write and record accordingly, thereby affecting what is written.

A current case in point. Who has an accurate and complete history of the Iraq war? American historians? Iraqi historians? There are some Americans who would write in support of the war and they would have a certain bent. There are some Americans who do NOT support the war and would write with a certain bent. The answer to the question of how one put together history is that you have to put together all the different accounts, understand the perspectives of the writers and tried to put together what happened. AND don’t forget this last factor, you as the person interpreting all this come with a set of preconceptions as well.

All of this to say a few things:

1. Just as ALL history is written/recorded with some subjectivity and we don’t discount those writings, we should not discount the Bible on this similar grounds, namely it was written by people who followed Jesus.

2. The best way to reconstruct history is to look at the different perspective of all writers at that time to put together (as close as possible) the bigger picture. Some people ask why there are four accounts/gospels of the life of Jesus. I think four gospels written by four people of different backgrounds gives stronger support to the life of Jesus, his central teachings, his life, and who he was, what he stood for.

3. The original historians/writers of the New Testament were mostly or nearly all of Jewish heritage. Mainstream Jewish belief, at the time of Jesus (and today), was NOT empathetic to the teachings of Jesus (to put it mildly). So, you have authors who were persecuted and died for their beliefs and writings. Not that this alone proves anything but we should give some thought as to why people would write/record a controversial piece of history and put their life on the line. One of the reasons that people do that is because there is a bigger cause behind why they wrote. I submit to you that if a German person during the time of WWII wrote a critical piece of the Third Reich, we should seriously consider what he had to say. From a sociological point of view, the writings of the New Testament is a very critical piece on both the political structure (Roman power) and the external and hypocritical religious practices of that day (written about the Jewish faith and I emphasize here, BY Jewish authors). Some argue that it was anti-semitic. I ask this: if a German historian wrote a critical piece against his own German culture/government is it anti-German?

Getting a bit tangential here. But, any comments?

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Just to get back to this....

Summary and Conclusion

For the past several years it has been claimed by Ron Wyatt that he has discovered Noah's ark. The site he claims to have "discovered," however, was originally discovered in 1959 by a Turkish captain. While the Durupinar site is about the right length for Noah's ark, it is, in addition, too wide to be Noah's ark. Wyatt has claimed that the "boat-shapedness" of this formation can only be explained by its being Noah's ark, but both Shea and Morris have offered other plausible explanations. Likewise, Wyatt has argued that the standing stones he has found are anchors, while Terian is aware of similar stones outside the Durupinar site area that were pagan cultic stones later converted by Christians for Christian purposes.

http://www.tentmaker.org/WAR/HasNoahsArkBeenFound1.html

Scientific Analysis

It has been claimed by Wyatt that the chemical analysis he has had done prove that the Durupinar site is a decomposed wooden boat. His evidence is two lab reports which show that the carbon percentages are different within the formation (4.95%) and outside the formation (1.88%). He says these tests "positively prove it to be composed of very ancient wood and metal" (p. 12 no. 3, pp. 7-8, and his charts on pp. 27-28).' What Wyatt does not tell his readers is that both of these carbon percentages fall within the normal bounds of soil and does not show evidence of wood.

According to Morris the rocks in this formation were once molten, cooling to become an "ophiolite belt," meaning the Durupinar site contains rocks and dirt that have been altered due to the molten process.2 It is this phenomenon that has elevated the carbon percentage of the Durupinar site's soil. This same chemical process is also responsible for deceiving Wyatt into believing he has found "metal brackets and rust." According to Morris the site has many manganese nodules which are high in iron, which by the unknowing could be mistaken for iron.3

Previous explorers of the site concluded that since the Durupinar site did not contain wood, petrified or otherwise, it must be only an unusual natural rock formation. Wyatt, on the other hand, claims that the Durupinar site contains "train-loads" of petrified wood (p. 13, no. 5). The problem, according to Wyatt, is that the "petrified wood" of the Durupinar site is different from any other petrified wood. It has no growth rings.

Since his petrified wood has no growth rings, he concludes that the Durupinar site proves that trees before the flood had no growth rings {pp. 15-16, 73). To strengthen his point, Wyatt uses a quote about a tree identified as Sigillaria as "proof" that pre-flood trees had no growth rings (pp. 15).

Sigillaria, like much of the pre-flood flora and fauna are not known in the post-flood world. Scientists have, however cataloged over 200 species of petrified trees, many of them related to trees of today, and these trees all have growth rings.4 Harold Coffin writes, "Wyatt refers to extinct giant club mosses that do not have growth rings as evidence that preflood trees do not have growth rings. The giant club moss, Sigillata, could be compared with papaya, or banana or other fast-growing trees with pulpy wood. Yes, it does not have growth rings but that is not evidence for preflood conifers or deciduous trees. They do have good growth rings. I have spent years studying petrified trees in various areas of North America, in Patigonia [sic], and in Australia. They have growth rings if they are trees that normally are expected to have rings."5 The lack of growth rings, in what Wyatt thinks is wood, is evidence that the Durupinar "boat" is not made of wood.

Wyatt claims that his results with radar scan "showed what can only be identified as a keel, keelsons and bulkheads from a boat of tremendous size" (p. 18). Others have attempted to reduplicate Wyatt's results with radar scans without success. Tom Fenner, of the Geophysical Survey Systems Inc. (GSSI) also mentioned by Wyatt (pp. 17-18), says, "In 1987 I performed an extensive GPR [ground-penetrating radar] study in an attempt to characterize any shallow subsurface features in the boat-shaped formation at the site. . . .A great deal of effort was put into repeating the radar measurements acquired in 1986 by Wyatt and Fasold....After numerous attempts over a period of one and a half days we were unable to duplicate their radar records in any way... I was never convinced the site was the remains of Noah's Ark. In fact the more time I spent on the site, the more skeptical I became."6

John Baumgardner, a creationist and geophysicist, was an early supporter of the Durupinar site being Noah's ark. Since then he has had the opportunity to evaluate the site by performing his own tests. Instead of proving the formation to be Noah's ark, he discovered additional evidence that it is a natural formation. Baumgardner's seismic tests found an outcropping of stone that runs below the surface and diagonally through the formation, which shows that the Durupinar site is really a relatively shallow phenomenon not consistent with any type of man-made structure. "Although formerly convinced that this formation was probably the remains of the ark, Dr. Baumgardner now believes there is less than a 10 per cent chance that anything man made is present."7

To further examine the Durupinar site, Wyatt has also used what he calls a "molecular frequency generator." According to Wyatt this "new type of metal detector" discovered "a distinct linear subsurface pattern" or "striations" on which "metal readings were positive while the spaces between were totally negative" (p. 17). These "striations" supposedly reveal the outline of the ark's structure. The reader should know that a "molecular frequency generator" is an upscale dowsing rod, (i.e., sticks used for "witching" for water). In this case, brass rods are supposed to be able to detect metal. Dr. Baumgardner attempted to use a metal detector to double-check the molecular frequency generator with no success.8 Dowsing has no scientific basis, therefore, I have no confidence in dowsing.

Summary and Conclusion: Is the Durupinar Site Noah's Ark?

The Durupinar site is an intriguing phenomenon that was discovered in 1959 by a Turkish army captain. It lies within the ancient Urartu territory, as one would expect of Noah's ark, and it is even roughly the same length as one would expect the ark to be.

On the other hand, the Durupinar site is not the width of the ark as specified by the biblical account, nor does it fit the Bible's description of the ark's resting place--as one of the higher elevations in its region. In addition, Wyatt s characterization of the small difference of the carbon content within and without the formation is proof only of his lack of geological training, as is his attempt to rewrite all geological understanding to explain why his "pre-flood" wood has no growth rings. His reports of the results of his subsurface radar have been disputed, even by sympathetic scientists who have attempted them.

In short, Wyatt's "train-load" of evidence falls far short of his claims. He does not even show his readers the train, much less, the train-load of evidence. The Durupinar site is undoubtedly a natural formation. Noah's ark has yet to be found.

http://www.tentmaker.org/WAR/HasNoahsArkBeenFound2.html

And finally, about the pointless reference to a "converted" atheist (any idea how many believers/priests lose faith without articles being written on them?)

A scientific theory stands or falls according to how well it is supported by the facts, not according to who believes it.

Got any more?

I'll just got ahead and link another page, this one a nice explanation of how the improbability of life arising on its own is irrelevant (and wrong) http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/

How can anyone (and many people do - even in this thread) say that they cant imagine how life could start without devine intervention....when they havent studied the matter at all (or have zero qualifications on the matter)

Because you dont know or understand something doesnt mean it didnt happen or could be possible.

Edited by JCviggen
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....when they havent studied the matter at all (or have zero qualifications on the matter)

Because you dont know or understand something doesnt mean it didnt happen or could be possible.

I know this quote is a little out context of your paragraph... but the same can be said for both sides...

All a believer can do is share with you, and pray for god to work in your life, you make up your mind after that. As was already said," If I'm wrong I'ved lost a lifetime, and if you are wrong you will have lost an eternity."

And remember, it isn't just the bible you refrence to for your evidence. Look at a believer... someone who has truely accepted and given all control over to jesus. His/her testimony will be proof. The deeds and blessings god has done in their life is evidence. I admit I did not truley give my life to the lord at first and I strayed, but recently I have given all to the will of Jesus and I have had an amazing month.

Re 3:20

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

2Co 5:17

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"

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In short, Wyatt's "train-load" of evidence falls far short of his claims. He does not even show his readers the train, much less, the train-load of evidence. The Durupinar site is undoubtedly a natural formation. Noah's ark has yet to be found.

My faith in God does not rest on whether what they found was Noah's ark or not. Nor does it rest on whether the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus. Nor whether the Usury/Burial Box of James, brother of Jesus was real or not. I give very little attention (and weight) to these so called evidence. These to me are rabbit's trails and tangents.

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This is true, I only brought it up since some people seemed to think the Ark "has been found" which is a load of crock. I also dont think the "well it cant hurt to believe, its a win-win situation" approach is all that noble.

I dont have a problem with anybody believing, as long as they dont try to get scientific about it or intolerant about it.

There are varying levels of religious people, but as you can see with the Ark thing some will believe just about anything when it suits their belief ("clinging to" seems appropriate) somewhat comparable with the organisation in the U.S. that still solidly believes the earth is flat (they even have their own magazine)

So some people simple accept nothing no matter how sensible, thats all i'm going for here :)

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This is true, I only brought it up since some people seemed to think the Ark "has been found" which is a load of crock. I also dont think the "well it cant hurt to believe, its a win-win situation" approach is all that noble.

I dont have a problem with anybody believing, as long as they dont try to get scientific about it or intolerant about it.

Hey JCviggen, we agree on more things than I thought. :D

1. Noah's Ark => irrelevant.

2. 'Well it can't hurt to believe, its a win-win situation'. I've never been a strong proponent of what is classically known as Pascal's Wager. Posted a number of times in various forms in this thread already. (Pascal is that brilliant mathematician whom we named some triangle formula after.) I've never thought that was a good argument and have never suggested it. First of all, it is pretty weak on its own. Pascal used it as a conclusion after running through a number of his arguments for the existence of God. And honestly, do you think God (who knows all things) would welcome this kind of 'just to be safe' reason? I don't think so, I'm a parent and I don't think I would accept that kind of 'just in case' motive for his actions from my 10 year old son. I want more than that. As well, if you believe the heart of that wager argument, namely, to cover your bases, then you should probably pay homage to Allah, go and burn incense at the Buddhist temple, and read Scientology to cover ALL your bases, because it begs the question, which God?

Edited by whitev70r
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2. 'Well it can't hurt to believe, its a win-win situation'. I've never been a strong proponent of what is classically known as Pascal's Wager. Posted a number of times in various forms in this thread already. (Pascal is that brilliant mathematician whom we named some triangle formula after.) I've never thought that was a good argument and have never suggested it. First of all, it is pretty weak on its own. Pascal used it as a conclusion after running through a number of his arguments for the existence of God. And honestly, do you think God (who knows all things) would welcome this kind of 'just to be safe' reason? I don't think so, I'm a parent and I don't think I would accept that kind of 'just in case' motive for his actions from my 10 year old son. I want more than that.

The "wager" quote is something to get the wheels turning in peoples heads, or to get them to relate to and talk about. It is similar to the questions of "Do you belive in good and evil?","Do you believe in a heaven or a hell?" "Do you believe in God and the Devil?" or "If you died right now would you go to heaven or hell? Why?"

These are some of the ways to initiate a conversation to possibly share your testimony and Jesus with someone. My faith is not based on "odds" It is a personal relationship with Jesus.

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let me pose another perspective..

if the only way to salvation after life is belief in God and the relationship with Jesus.. then I guess it is not so hard to understand why many of those who do believe so that there is/are no other deities and cannot accept otherwise? which is all the more frustration when a person of non-christian belief tries to explain to a devote christian (or even evangelical)? is this a reasonable conclusion?

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let me pose another perspective..

if the only way to salvation after life is belief in God and the relationship with Jesus.. then I guess it is not so hard to understand why many of those who do believe so that there is/are no other deities and cannot accept otherwise? which is all the more frustration when a person of non-christian belief tries to explain to a devote christian (or even evangelical)? is this a reasonable conclusion?

I'm not quite getting ya, the middle part is a bit confusing. Can you rephrase your question?

Are you trying to say that it is frustrating to talk about God to Christians becuz Christians believe that Jesus is the ONLY way? If this is what you are trying to say, then may I add that the Christian faith is not the only faith that believes that it is the only way to God. Muslims, Buddhist, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and all major world religions all claim exclusivity. In fact, even Atheists think they are the only ones who are right.

There is a 20/20 show on Heaven tonight, that should be interesting.

Edited by whitev70r
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it's a broader sense, applicable to every religion.. yeah, i wasn't very clear. if one is to reach salvation by only believing in a certain way, then allowing other deities is contradictary to that belief. then i guess it's not so hard to understand why it can become difficult to argue with a devote believer.

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