All Sins are Created Equal—Or Are They?

hen I was a quasi-religious person I remember going to a church in a town in Eastern Iowa. In this church they had their own political quarrels and topics. The regular “who did what and when and how” and all the normal scandals you’d associate with any kind of small town organization.  One thing in particular stands out to me when I look back upon those days of church going. There was a woman that was very active in the church, about her mid 30’s or so. She was obviously very devout and enjoyed leading singing during services, which is no big deal right? Well one day I noticed she was no longer leading services. She wasn’t up there the next week or the week after that. Finally I asked someone, “why isn’t such-and-such leading singing anymore? She was good at it, and enjoyed it.”  The response was that she was guilty of something that the church group did not approve of-she had had a kid out of wedlock and had yet to marry.  Every week her son would sit in the front row and enjoy her mother leading the group in singing, but now he was relegated to the back of the church along with the other children. He was about 4 or 5, definitely been around long enough for them to know about it.  I guess the group thought enough was enough of this vile sinner and cast her down from her high post.

The reason I bring this story up is because we often hear of the forgiveness of the lord and the powers of compassion he has when we look at the Christian dogma.  However, when we look at Christian scripture we see several passages that claim that all sins are equally wrong and if this is the case, we have a problem.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

So we return to our story of the church goer that was very excited to lead the church in prayer, but had broken one of the rules of the church.   If all sins are equal and god is forgiving, should she not be subject to the same reprieve as any other sinner? Let us compound this question and compare the sins to a supposedly “worse” sin of that or murder.  There are several reformed murders and criminals in our society that claim to have found god and become quite devout. Often times there are even religious leaders or activists that had troubles in the past but have since reconciled with their specific church groups. I wonder what this group would think of allowing a murderer to become their new Pastor? A thief? A coveter of….goats or something? The answer is surely to be no, especially if they would not allow a woman out of wedlock to even lead their church in prayer.

Now at first this sounds like a criticism of that specific church for not adhering to “good” principals, but it goes further than that. The way I see it the church has three ways to deal with this situation, and all other situations pertaining to the Christian faith for other churches.

First, they can stick to their guns and remove anyone that does not live a completely biblical life from their position of respect. Murderer, you’re out. Thief? You’re out too. Looked at the pastors’ daughter with covetous eyes? Back to the back row of pews for you.  Worked on a Sunday? Friends with atheists? Used the lords name in vain? Get outta town. So you can see the problem there, they wouldn’t have anyone qualified to be in the church since all sins are equal and everyone is a sinner.  It’s not very productive, but it’s consistent with the dogma of the faith.  Otherwise they have to let everyone in because Jesus has forgiven their sins, correct?  There should be no differentiation between the murder and the housewife jealous of the Jones’ new SUV.

Second, they can break the rules and lay claim that some sins are worse than others. Stole from the supermarket when you were 20? That’s alright; you’ve repented so you can hold a post. Had a kid out of wedlock? These things happen, go right in. However, as noted by scripture this is breaking the rules. It seems like a more realistic approach to the rules, as we all know; there are several criminals and less scrupulous people that run religious organizations today.  The problem with this is that its breaking scriptural rules. How can you lay claim to be a religious organization and then toss out most of the scripture pertaining to sin and the penalties there of?  You can’t without admitting that at least in some part the scriptures aren’t true and that the rules of day to day life take place over Bronze Age mythology.  This is actually the path that most churches use today; else we wouldn’t have any church goers.  Often appeals to Jesus are made to except everyone from judgment, but why some and not others?  Everyone would be sitting down in the back row like in the example with the singing lady above, so they have a tacit, and inconsistent, understanding that some sins aren’t THAT bad and we can skip over some parts of the bible we don’t like.

The last, and best option, is to look at the scripture, look at daily life and conclude that none of those things really makes any sense.  You had a kid out of wedlock? So what, as long as you are happy and can sustain the family there is no reason for anyone to poke their nose in at all.  Stolen things in the past? You’ve done a horrible thing, but as long as you own up to you mistakes and never do them again there shouldn’t be any beef once you’ve repaid your debt to society and the victims. We aren’t going to issue a maximum punishment for every single transgression because all crimes are not equal as sins are supposedly to be. We deal with these things in the methods we have today here and now and not in some superstitious rule book where we tally up your faults and render judgment on what you can do in your spare time.  When we look at the other two options the only consistent and really fair thing we can do is to dismiss the scripture for what it is, unrealistic and invasive rules that prohibit anything approaching a normal human life.  In the example above a woman has experienced more suffering because of some action she did that was arbitrarily decided by people much older than her to be unfit for leadership in their group.  If the group was to be truly consistent, they should cast her from the church all together because she is a sinner, and thusly on par with someone like Adolf Hitler or Jarod Laughner, unless Jesus saves people like that too.  This is a shining example of why this arbitrary morality shown in scriptures has to be refuted at every step.

So next time someone begins to discuss how much of a sinner each individual is, remember, that even within religious groups there is judging, inconsistency, and downright meanness based on individual members’ interpretation of certain rules.  Remind them that if all sins are supposedly equal,  why haven’t they thrown themselves in jail or banished themselves from their church group.  If they belief in the bible be sure to remind them what is written in Galatians 5:19-21

“fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like . . . “those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Galatians 5:19-21

In short, they’re just as screwed as anyone else, Jesus or not.

Jason K.

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35 comments on “All Sins are Created Equal—Or Are They?

  1. Mike says:

    Jason, based upon the arguments (or lack thereof) that I have seen you post, I understand completely why you et al refuse to publically debate your position. It is much easier for you sit behind the closed environment of this forum and sip kool-aid with the peanut gallery, than to publically make a fool of yourself. If I had no scientific evidence to back up my beliefs, I believe I would stay away from public forums as well.
    Like the majority of your posts, you do greatly err not knowing what you are talking about; which should come as no surprise to you or anyone else on this forum, since you all hate religion and all that goes with it. The reason that you err, is because of your denominational background, which I have pointed out numerous times, and which continues to goes unnoticed. It is DENOMINATIONALISM that you hate, not the true religion of the Bible. And to that I heartily agree, I too, as does God hate denominationalism. The fact is, that it IS a big deal that this woman was leading singing, she had no authority from God to do so, but then again, the denomination you were attending had not authority from God to even exist. When people throw out the authority of God, then anything and everything does occur – such as the examples you gave.
    As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now here’s the rest of the story.” If you would study the Bible, you might come up with a different understanding of religion, and not make a fool of yourself. You quoted James 2:10; but you failed to quote the other passages that go along with it to help make sense of it all. Proper Hermeneutics, will help in understanding the Scriptures. Your mis-understanding of sin, forgiveness and repentance is typical – even denominationalists do not understand it properly. Sin is defined by the Scriptures as “transgression (breaking of) the Law” (1 John 3:4). I know that you believe in “law” because you stated: “Stolen things in the past? You’ve done a horrible thing, but as long as you own up to you mistakes and never do them again there shouldn’t be any beef once you’ve repaid your debt to society and the victims.”
    So you do understand law, transgression of law, repentance AND forgiveness. But being the blind leading the blind, it’s only valid in the context of your dream world. Like your belief system, “Christian dogma” requires the transgressor to make amends for the wrong done, then and only then can forgiveness be given (Luke 17:3). Can God forgive Hitler, or even Jeffery Dahmer? Absolutely. He forgave the Apostle Paul who was a murderer, and He forgave Jeffery Dahmer as well, because like Paul, he repented – which is something that Hitler did not do.
    While appreciate your “three ways” of dealing with these situations, you have a problem, because again you are failing to seek the total authority of God in the matter. That is the one and only way to get it right, and that is why men fail to get it right, and why individual like you hate religion, because of the hypocrisy. But it’s not God’s fault, nor is it religion’s fault, it is the fault of individuals trying to do it their way.
    And you are correct about one thing, the number of those getting it right will be few, the majority will chose not to get it right (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23). Just like Noah, with billions upon the earth in his day, only 8 made it. Only 8 chose God’s authority. Yes, there is judging, because we are commanded to judge (John 7:24). What you fail to understand about the one true religion of the Bible, is that sins are all equal, ALL sin can banish one from their right to a heavenly home conditioned upon their failure or refusal to repent of sin. Once one has become a child of God, they are granted the ability to ask for forgiveness each and every time they sin, so that that sin can be wiped of the slate (1 John 1:7). It is those sins that Christians refuse to repent of, that can cause banishment from the church – but again, banishment is commanded by God as a tool of correction, just as jail time, or time outs.
    So your quote of Galatians 5:19-21 can be coupled with 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and Romans 1:24-32 as well as 1 Timothy 1:9-10 to show that there are unrepented of sins that will keep men and women out of heaven. But the key to proper hermeneutics is “repentance” is a requirement for sin to be wiped off our slate. Just as you admitted concerning the thief – that as long as he made restitution for his crime (sin), then everything would be all right.
    Mock denominational Christianity, Judaism, New Ageism, Islam, Hinduism, et al, all you want, I’ll be right there with you, because they hold no value to the world whatsoever. What it all comes down to, is your failure to disprove the existence of God. Once that is proved, your house of cards will fail to stand. I’m ready to defend my position, are you ready and can you defend yours?

  2. jastiger says:

    First, paragraph breaks are your friend, Mike.

    Before I go any further I’d request you go ahead and google “No True Scotsman Fallacy” and then return here. Done that? Ok good, so that takes care of about 9/10ths of your post.

    As for the rest of it, you are using the bible to prove the bible to prove the bible, and just in case there is any lingering doubt, we’ll go ahead and reference the bible to help us understand the rest of what the bible has to say. Every single thing you say, quote, and advocate stems from your personal interpretation of this book. The point isn’t for me to disprove god, but for me to show how interpreting rules from an old book and attempting to apply them to others is incredibly wrong.

    As for debating in public, I am not sure I’d want to debate you in public because I am very sure you would return to placing the burden of proof on everyone but yourself and retreating to biblical rhetoric at every opportunity. If your posts are any resemblance of your public debating skills I am not interested in a debate because I am not interested in bashing my head against a wall.

    • Dan Reed says:

      For the sake of this discussion, A is the existence of God. Mike – you know deep down in your heart of hearts, A is true. Jason – you are completely convinced with the entirety of your logical mind and critical thinking that A is false. Then there are those that do not know whether A is true or false. Instead in their minds A = Unknown or Impossible to Know. We all can agree however that A cannot be both true AND false.

      With anything that is unknown there is no truth or falacy until evidence is discovered which proves the issue one way or the other. If there were it would not be unknown, would not be a debatable issue. This proves that the truth or falacy of whether there is a god is impossible to know with 100% certainty.
      God cannot be measured, cannot be touched, cannot be seen, and cannot be heard. Ok, so he/it(since God if true – is certainly NOT human but for the purposes of this I will refer to God as “he”) allegedly inspired a book that has lasted since humanity first began it’s oral traditions. He showed himself to a select number of humans, and allegedly showed himself in the form of Jesus to many more. There are so many things in this world where it is hard to believe they just came into existance without a creator. This does not make it true. It cannot be proven, or has not YET been proven. Any idea that cannot be determined by an independant, external, non-participant reviewer as being true or false will never conclude, will never be “answered” during discourse or debate. The only thing debate does is highlight the ideas and the opinions on each side of Issue A. That is better handled in a written discussion forum where a permanent record can be kept, searchable for people to view and to judge for themselves until that day, if and when it comes, Issue A is proven one way or the other. The most likely way for that to happen however, is not through debate, but through coordination of inquiry, fact finding, finding points of agreement, discarding contention – or through hearing the trumpet call as written in the Bible.

      Last thought – Mike, the stuff you’re posting here makes you sound as crazy as I think you are. It also makes me question your intelligence when I previously held a little respect for you. If you were to open your mind and actually listen to what is being said and respond to that, instead of letting your mind drivel make it’s way to your posts you may actually have something to contribute.

      Just like art, if something such as the Bible(Mike’s one and ultimate “Proof” that A is true) is open to interpretation, is there a way to prove which interpretation is correct? If A is true, God didn’t do a very good job with his good book did he? Then again, it was the human error factor that was involved in the process that left it open to interpretation, am I right? Or did God intentionally make it ambiguous in order to lead people astray? I’m trying to wrap my head around this – if you can respond with something insightful for a change, I would be appreciative of it.

      • jastiger says:

        I am not 100% convinced that A is not true. Being an atheist does not preclude belief in a deity ala deism. I argue against the method by which people approach this supposed deity. As of yet there is no evidence to support the existence of such a being, let alone a specific interpretation that carried with it things like sin, goodness, and omnipotence.

        • Mike says:

          Jason, yet you believe in evolution, the big bang, etc. without any proof. Sounds hypocritical to me. But then again, maybe you need to bash your head against the wall in order to reason through it.

    • Mike says:

      Like usual Jason, the fingers point back at you as the scotsman, not me. And like everyone else who is unable to defend their position, you use lame excuses. But again, I understand you bashing your head against the wall, it probably requires that everyday so that you are able to understand a portion of the things this world has to offer.
      As a wise old man once said, “I’ll even debate you with half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair.”

  3. Mike says:

    Dan, you are correct, the whole debate is creationism vs. evolutionism. I can prove the existence of God without the Bible. I only reason that I brought the Bible into the mix in this discussion is because Jason brought it into the discussion.
    NO, the Bible is NOT open to private interpretation (2 Peter 20-21). And Yes, there is a way for everyone to understand it in exactly the same way. But since you and Jason are not educated enough to understand a big word such as Hermeneutics (look it up), then it would be difficult to explain to you, and Jason has done enough head bashing as it is.
    I understand perfectly your low view of debating, as with Jason, and others, you have no evidence to prove you case, therefore its better that the public not see your stand for what it truly is, a sham. Debate was once a very useful tool for individuals of differing views to come together and present the evidence of their case before others, and when reason won the day, then those with the false view gradually faded away. But today, being reminded of this, those with the weak case mock debating, say there is no point to it, it will prove nothing more than one person is a better debater than the other. Poppy cock! It is me who should not want to debate the clueless head bashers. But if my debating skills and intelligence are as wanting as you all suppose, then why not meet to make a spectacle of me? Why? Because it is apparent that the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.

    • Dan Reed says:

      Dan, you are correct, the whole debate is creationism vs. evolutionism.

      No it’s not. Remember A? A is either true or A is false, I threw that out there and you skirt it by saying the debate is something else.

      I can prove the existence of God without the Bible.

      Where is your proof? I’d really like to see it.

      I only reason that I brought the Bible into the mix in this discussion is because Jason brought it into the discussion. NO, the Bible is NOT open to private interpretation (2 Peter 20-21).

      YES, it actually is.

      The passage reads, “20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

      This means that the scripture was not interpreted by those that wrote it. This has absolutely nothing to do with what the READER interprets….nor the interpreter’s own interpretations.

      And Yes, there is a way for everyone to understand it in exactly the same way.

      Is that so? Enlighten us?

      But since you and Jason are not educated enough to understand a big word such as Hermeneutics (look it up), then it would be difficult to explain to you, and Jason has done enough head bashing as it is.

      Insult followed by more skirting of the issue. Also, I don’t know many people who would off the top of their head be able to discuss Hermeneutics, at least those with lives outside of an internet blog.

      I understand perfectly your low view of debating, as with Jason, and others, you have no evidence to prove you case, therefore its better that the public not see your stand for what it truly is, a sham.

      Debating evolution vs creationism in itself is a ridiculous pastime in my opinion.

      If you are coming from the unproved position that A is True, then it could be said that B, which we will say is creationism – is more likely to be considered True. However if you are coming from the unproved position that A is False or that A is not equal to True, then it could be said you are more likely to have the viewpoint of an alternative explanation for creation, C – which we will say is Evolution.

      However, what would happen if A turned out to be True? Would this prove that C is false? Would this necessarily prove B true? If A is false, and you’re dead the next day, does it matter whether B was true or C was true? From my point of view I’m just saying that this whole debate of creationism vs evolution hinges on A being true or false, and until that is cleared up, it is unlikely that any clear resolution or proof can be made for either side.

      Debate was once a very useful tool for individuals of differing views to come together and present the evidence of their case before others, and when reason won the day, then those with the false view gradually faded away. But today, being reminded of this, those with the weak case mock debating, say there is no point to it, it will prove nothing more than one person is a better debater than the other. Poppy cock! It is me who should not want to debate the clueless head bashers. But if my debating skills and intelligence are as wanting as you all suppose, then why not meet to make a spectacle of me? Why? Because it is apparent that the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.

      All this from someone that holds no logical or critical thinking skills, yet continues to extol the virtue of their own intelligence and debating skills without actually responding to points or providing his own proofs. Show that you can actually debate first, then challenge someone to a debate. Right now you’re just offering to waste people’s time.

  4. Mike says:

    Yes Dan, I skirt the issue just as much as you and everyone else on this post. I have given my proof and tried to provide evidence, but it has been totally ignored. Just like what is going on here, you are the first to throw out insult, so when I throw it back, you are unable to take it. I’m just playing the same game that all of you are playing – no evidence for what you say, insults, skirting issues, etc. If you want to get serious, then, I’ll get serious as well. Just remember, this is ya’lls post, it is you who are putting information out there that has no standing – no evidence, no support for what you are saying. What I’m doing is pointing that out, and trying to get you and Jason and others to prove what you are saying, not just throw out assertions and assumptions.
    This why I know that you cannot defend your position, because you can’t and won’t answer anything I’ve posted. It is YOU who are skirting the issue, and not using logic or critical thinking skills. But I’m ready anytime to start some type of logical dialogue, if you are. I’ve been waiting for over a year for someone who would speak logically and rationally, and stop skirting everything. Let’s see if you are the one who will stop the cycle.

    • Dan Reed says:

      This cycle won’t stop because we are speaking to someone who is not rational….You. We can refute the things you say, and frequently do, yet you refuse to defend what it is you say here. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong, and I don’t see that in you. When the ultimate proof to your theories and ideas is faith alone – it cannot be debated. The cycle will continue to spin as long as you continue to ignore that your points are more often than not built solely on a foundation of faith(in God, in the Bible), and not in reason.

  5. Mike says:

    Dan, sorry for the delay in answering you, I have been out of town on a speaking tour.
    Soooooooo, all my evidence is built “solely” upon faith. Can you prove that?? Not just accusations, actual proof.
    Come to think of it, if it is true that what I believe is built upon faith, I guess we are BOTH in the same boat – as you too have a “faith” position. Maybe not in the same way as mine, but it is still “faith.”
    Again, you skirt the issue, and are unwilling to have a actual and rational discussion, by throwing out assumptions, accusations, and the like, rather than giving it a try and seeing if your assumptions are correct. I’m willing, but apparently you don’t have enough “faith” in your theory to defend it.
    Remember, we are BOTH looking at this from the same vantage point – You see me as irrational, and unable to competently discuss our differences – likewise, I see you in exactly the same way. To move on, all we need do is decide to give it a try and see if the other lives up to our assumptions. Again, want to give it a try?

  6. jastiger says:

    Can you show how your point of view is based not on faith but in evidence?

    • Mike says:

      Yes I can, if you are willing to have a rational discussion.

      • Dan says:

        I don’t know of any tangible evidence, no circumstantial evidence, no credible eye-witness testimony, or physical evidence to suggest that there is a god. Likewise I have no evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt there is not a god. This is why I call myself an Agnostic. I know enough to know that I don’t know. I don’t fool myself with the “faith” that it takes to believe there is a god up there answering prayers or not at his whim. I also am not so conceited that I take it on faith that there is no god, despite a lack of evidence for one.
        I know that both evolution and Creationism both have gaping holes that rely solely on “faith”.
        What I see is that life is always changing, and we are wrong to say with certainty that man derived from Apes when we don’t have hard evidence to prove it, and we are wrong to say that God created humanity when we have no hard evidence to prove it. We can measure and record the change we see in life today. Just like modern weather forecasting, we will build upon our knowledge by keeping track from this point on, knowing we cannot know for sure what happened with complete certainty before we began recording and getting better and better at forecasting what will happen, and modeling what may have happened. Evolution by Natural Selection is the only thing that makes sense to me. Life that survives moves on, adapts, changes to its environment.

        Here is an excerpt from an article at Straight.com located at http://www.straight.com/article-118354/documented-proof-of-darwins-natural-selection.

        “Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life presents not a single case of evolution by natural selection. Instead, it was, in Darwin’s words, “one long argument”.
        It was a theory with no hard science, no firsthand observation, to back it up. It was a work of exposition and logic. What Darwin had going for him, though, was a fine command of plain language and a body of evidence developed over more than two decades of investigation, observation, and reflection.
        Darwin’s quarry was the deeply entrenched conviction that each of the Earth’s myriad life forms was created by divine intervention only a few thousand years ago. Darwin argued that the living things of the world had evolved from, at most, a handful of ancestors of almost unimaginable antiquity.
        Darwin wasn’t alone in this heresy, but what distinguished his argument was the contention that evolution occurred by a process of minute variation in type and form, caused by natural factors that constantly “selected” those heritable traits in animals and plants that favour advantage and survival.
        Evolution occurred at a glacial pace but it occurred nonetheless, and it was still going on, “daily and hourly”, in life all around us, Darwin insisted. That was his resolution of the great mystery. God, maybe, but not necessarily. And, ultimately, it meant there was no reason to imagine that humanity was at the centre of any divine plan after all.
        For the time, this was a very dangerous idea.”

        I encourage you to read the entire article, it is very interesting. From what I can tell, and I am no expert, so please correct me if I am wrong, but those that take a stance that Creationism is the explanation for life, believe in evolution by divine intervention. Those that are evolutionists believe in Evolution by Natural Selection (not necessarily that man derived from Apes). Those that are Fundamentalists believe God created the Earth and all creatures in it no more than 4-6 thousand years ago.

        I believe in Evolution by Natural Selection, whether God had a hand in that is the question. So at the core of this debate is whether God exists or not, which we know cannot be solved based on evidence we have at our disposal today.

        So Mike, I understand what you’re saying. I also understand it is pointless to debate what it is you’re attempting to debate with no evidence to prove that there is a god. Or do you have evidence I am not aware of?

        • Mike says:

          Ok Dan, is this the beginning of a rational discussion between the two of us? I’m just trying to understand your post.
          You are correct, the debate is whether God exists or not, whether you are Agnostic or pure Atheististic. I’m just trying to figure out where we go from here.

          • Dan says:

            Mike – in a perfect world, this would go no further, this is where it would end or better yet – it would not even have gotten to this point. What atheists, or skeptics – are so up in arms about is that every day religious people are telling them what is moral and what is not moral based on beliefs that they do not share. They are being told what they can or cannot do based on a religious world view that they do not share. Yet – there is no proof, no tangible, physical evidence, to prove that your god exists and that you and only those like you know the whole truth, based on faith.

            Most atheists are good people. They live moral lives. They don’t wish to “convert” theists to their beliefs, because they aren’t “beliefs” in the original sense of the term, it is more like disbelief. Their eyes have been opened at one time in their life, no matter the road they travelled to get to that point. Skeptics are just as good as you, yet they aren’t tied down by the chains of your faith. They question, they seek answers. Many skeptics do get angry, then coldly and publicly ridicule religious people who hold onto their faith without reason. In many cases it is completely justified, however it does nothing to convince anyone of anything, other than foment more arguing, more useless rhetoric. Many religious people get defensive and rightly so, they are being attacked. Their entire world view is being challenged and that is something that strikes directly at the core.

            You will read this and yet you will not listen, you will not really take in the words. There will be no understanding because in your mind you are already formulating an argument, refuting what is being said in your mind before you even take a moment to truly read what is being written. This is what protects you, protects the weak-minded. They cannot bear to believe that God does not exist because if he does not then we are just chance quarks in a world full of chance and that this LIFE we have now and what we do with it NOW is what matters most.

            Frankly Mike, there is nothing more I can say right now.

  7. Dan says:

    Mike…from a previous post…

    my response in bold.

    Mike – “I only reason that I brought the Bible into the mix in this discussion is because Jason brought it into the discussion. NO, the Bible is NOT open to private interpretation (2 Peter 20-21).”

    YES, it actually is.

    The passage reads, “20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

    This means that the scripture was not interpreted by those that wrote it. This has absolutely nothing to do with what the READER interprets….nor the interpreter’s own interpretations.

    I would say this is evidenced by the extremes some groups go to such as the Westboro Baptist Church. Are they interpreting the scriptures the same way you would? Or the same way I would?

    This is WHAT critical thinking is. Not taking what you read in the bible for fact, but questioning it’s validity! If you don’t do so, I respect that – it is a part of your faith. Don’t claim to call it reason.

    • Mike says:

      Dan, I applaude you in your understanding of 1 Peter 1:20-21, most people don’t, which is why I used it in the why most use it. It is abolutely true that we must interpret the Scriptures, but it must be done so in an honest way, and through proper hermeneutics. One must continue to refine their interpretion until they find no contradictions in their understanding, which is what the majority fail or refuse to do – such as the Westboro idiots.
      They are hypocrites to the core, who don’t even follow what they “believe” the Bible teaches. On one hand the believe the Bible teaches original sin, and then they protest against people who can’t know how to do good (according to their mis-intrepretation of the Scriptures).
      Critical thinking has nothing to do with destroying the credibility of a thing, but everything to do with challenging it’s credibility, and then if found to be credibable, being honest enough to admitting it. You can call into question all day long that I fail to reason just because I believe there is a God, and that He created the universe in 6 literal 24-hour days less than 8000 years ago. I also call into question your ability to reason as well. But that’s the great thing about our nation, we can have differences, and agree to discuss why we have them.
      Just as you are claiming the ability to reason, I also am claiming the same – whether you recognize it or not.

      • Dan says:

        Mike, I do not doubt your ability to reason, within a certain framework. However, your worldview may blind you from being reasonable. I am saying your ability to reason when it comes to your core beliefs is strong within that mindset. The fact that the centerpoint of that entire system – that God exists cannot be proven, is what shows me it is unreasonable.

        I am confused about your statement, “On one hand the believe the bible teaches original sin, and then they protest against people who can’t know how to do good”.

        What do you mean by this? If I jumped to conclusions you are saying that Mr. Snyder, whose son’s funeral was protested at by the Westboro Baptist church and was the focal point of the lawsuit and news coverage, cannot know how to do good? Or are you referring to homosexuals, and that they cannot know how to do good?

  8. Mike says:

    Dan, I appreciate your candor, I really do, but you argue like most people – criticizing my stand, and supporting that very same stand for yourself. That’s being a hypocrite don’t you think? It’s ok for you to stand firm in your belief system, because only your belief system is reasonable, logical – but my belief system that doesn’t agree with your is irrational and illogical.
    I understand where Skeptics, Agnostics and Athiests are coming from – I was there once. But I opened my mind, searched the evidence and found I was wrong. The Bible itself which I believe is the Word of God, demands that we search the evidence, so that we won’t be swayed by irrational thinking. There is evidence that proves that God’s exists – whether you or anyone one else believes it. There is tons of evidence that only the irrational will deny. Talk about banging your head against the wall. I have nothing to gain by remaining on this site, my only reason was to accept the challenge for debate that this group gave to a denominational preacher two years ago – and who refused to debate this group. But it appears that this group is unable to debate, or really doesn’t want to debate – they just want their name in the paper to gain new members – but enough of that.

    Concerning your question about “original sin” and this may be a long drawn out explanation, more than you may want, but here it is.

    The Westboro Baptists who are not Christians, but Claim to be, believe in Calvin’s doctrine of original sin. This doctrine teaches that all people are born sinners, and because they are born sinners because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, that not one person on earth can know how to do one good thing. All they can do is evil – that is except for the people that God pre-chose in eternity. Those people (Westboro Baptists, and all other denominations), believe that God pre-chose them to do good, and to be saved. So that point that I was trying to make is their hypocrisy in their false believe system – If a person is not pre-chosen by God – not a Westboro Baptist – then they are sinners, can’t know that there is anything good, or what good is all about – so why protest them? They don’t have a clue.
    Of course original sin is not taught in the Bible, neither is the Catholic, Bapist, Methodist, Lutheran or any other denominational church – but men mis-interpret the Bible and cause confusion which in turn causes skepticism. I hope that helps.

    • jastiger says:

      What evidence do you have that the bible is the inerrant word if god ?

    • Dan says:

      “Dan, I appreciate your candor, I really do, but you argue like most people – criticizing my stand, and supporting that very same stand for yourself. That’s being a hypocrite don’t you think? It’s ok for you to stand firm in your belief system, because only your belief system is reasonable, logical – but my belief system that doesn’t agree with your is irrational and illogical.”

      Textbook example of putting words in my mouth. I don’t think your belief system is irrational or illogical within it’s own framework. You truly believe in what you say – which takes faith, and there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is taking your framework and making other people fit into it. People will disagree with you when it comes to what they think is right and wrong – based on their own moral framework. I disagree that our stands are the same… I do think your stand shows a lack of reason. You think things through up to the point where faith is the proof. Take that faith away, think for a moment, “what if…this was false” when using faith as a proof, and your eyes may be opened again.

      “I understand where Skeptics, Agnostics and Athiests are coming from – I was there once. But I opened my mind, searched the evidence and found I was wrong. The Bible itself which I believe is the Word of God, demands that we search the evidence, so that we won’t be swayed by irrational thinking. There is evidence that proves that God’s exists – whether you or anyone one else believes it. There is tons of evidence that only the irrational will deny. Talk about banging your head against the wall. I have nothing to gain by remaining on this site, my only reason was to accept the challenge for debate that this group gave to a denominational preacher two years ago – and who refused to debate this group. But it appears that this group is unable to debate, or really doesn’t want to debate – they just want their name in the paper to gain new members – but enough of that.”

      Show me the proof and I will believe. I don’t believe you have that proof, because as you know I don’t believe that it exists yet – if it ever will. I also know you certainly have not made an effort to actually provide any proof. But here is your chance to convert me, show me the proof you claim exists.

  9. Susana says:

    You have what God said mixed up with what people do.
    Since I was saved many years ago one thing i always did was look only to god and not to what others do.
    This is why you left Christianity because you look at people’s faults and not at God’s provision.

    • jastiger says:

      That flies in the face of reason thoug, Susana. You’re saying that if a bunch fo people do bad things and say “God said to do it” they are all wrong, but if they go and do a bunch of good things and say “God said to do it” they are right. Why do people that do bad things get an exemption from God but those things you happen to agree with are OK?

      Also you’ll notice there are some biblical quotes up there. What do you say to those?

    • Dan says:

      Susana, your insight, while appreciated is unfortunately wrong. I did not leave Christianity because of people’s faults, I left christianity because of Christianity’s faults. There is no reasonable, rational way to prove that god even exists or if he exists that it’s the Christian God that exists. Evidence always gets up to a certain point and then takes a leap of blind faith to connect the dots. That leap is easy to take for many – especially today, because that leap is sold with love. I’m not buying it, sorry.

  10. Mike says:

    Sorry ya’ll for being absent, I’ve been traveling that past few weeks and haven’t had the time to reply.
    Dan, when you or anyone else is ready to have a rational discussion – just between two of us – then I’ll be ready to provide the evidence for the existence of God WITHOUT faith having anything to do with it. It will be logical evidence.
    Susana, I must agree with Jason, the majority of people who CLAIM to be Christians, have a misunderstanding of what the Bible really says about it. Which is why Jason, Dan et al, are confused.
    The Bible no where teaches that God talks to people today. So it is the case that people in the wrong do not get a “pass” for they will answer for their wrong doing. As for people doing good – the only way that we can know what is “good” is through the Scriptures – and I know that Jason and Dan disagree with that because their faith system teaches that there is no right or wrong.

    • Dan says:

      “I know that Jason and Dan disagree with that because their faith system teaches that there is no right or wrong.”

      I for one have no established faith system as you seem to indicate here, nothing akin to organized religion. We know what is right or wrong based on our own set of morals, that were TAUGHT to us by our parents, culture, experiences.

      You are saying the “ONLY” way to know what is “good” is through the Scriptures. This is another unprovable assumption on your part that you take on faith. Just an example of the MANY you bring here.

      You want to debate me alone, I say debate me publicly – here. Yet I think you’re afraid I or someone else might tear your best apart. Bring it, or don’t – the choice is yours.

  11. Mike says:

    Dan,

    Faith = trust, confidence in something (New Websters Dictionary). It doesn’t have to revolve around religion. You trust or have confidence in the theory of evolution, that there is no right or wrong, that truth is subjective, etc. I on the other hand trust or have confidence in the opposite based solely upon logical evidence. From that logical evidence, I then trust or have confidence in what the Master Designer has said.
    The argument that we are facing is “Does God exist?” IF not, then we all might as well go on our way living by our own set of standards, and not saying anything about the standards of others. But IF God does exist, then it is our duty to find out what “God” is the right God, and what God expects of us if anything.
    The best way to have a rational “debate” or discussion, is for two individuals to agree to a proposition, and some ground rules so that it is fair for both sides. I have been willing to discuss with anyone “here” or publicly, but no one has been willing as of yet.
    I’m glad to hear that you are willing to do so. Let the two of us then, agree on a proposition and rules for our discussion, and then we can let the fun begin. It certainly has not be me who is afraid of debating, as I have been the one for two years who have been trying to get someone to do so.

    How about this proposition?

    RESOLVED: I know that God (that is the God of the New Testament) does not exist.
    Agree: Dan
    Deny: Mike

    RESOLVED: I know that God (that is the God of the New Testament) does exist.
    Agree: Mike
    Deny: Dan

    Each of us will have two opportunities prove our case, and then two opportunies to deny the others case.

    After the first proposition is complete (2 proving and 2 denying), the floor will be open to comments by others, then we will proceed to the second proposition.

    What say you?

    • jastiger says:

      What logical evidence. You have yet to supply any sort of logical evidence that can be examined. Every time you retreat to scripture and to ideology. Please, before you do any kind of formal debate, tell us what logically consistent evidence you have for belief in a Christian god?

      Also I think you are equivocating on the word faith. I have “faith” my computer will turn on when I push the power button. That is different than me thinking it will make me a pizza when I hit the same button-there is no evidence for the latter. Please explain further.

  12. Mike says:

    Jason,

    First of all, I have never retreated to Scripture when giving evidence for the case of God. Ideology, Yes, but so do you and everyone else. The logical evidence will be revealed in the debate. I’m not going to waste my time with irrational discussions that get no where. I throw out evidence and then you or someone else muddies the waters with a bunch of websites that prove nothing. I would appreciate your allowing Dan and I to have a discussion on this site – that is if he is still willing to do so. Once it has begun, you all will see the evidence. And if I end up having no evidence (as you all expect I don’t), then it will be proved that I’m an idiot.

    As for “faith.” Your argument is again irrational. Faith (trust or confidence) is built on EVIDENCE! There is no evidence that your computer or my computer or anyone elses computer will make a pizza – though there is EVIDENCE that your computer, my computer or anyone elses computer can cause a pizza to be delivered to my home when I, you or anyone else orders one.
    Savvy?

    • jastiger says:

      The only evidence I recall seeing from you Mike has to do exclusively with scripture. I remember I think it was me that asked you why you don’t believe in Thor or Mithra or any of those guys and you said they were false because the Bible said so. That is retreating to scripture. What evidence do you have that the Christian god is the correct god, that the other sects are incorrect, and that evolution is false?

      But not when you push the button. That is a red herring good sir.

      • Mike says:

        Jason, that is simply not true. You must be thinking of someone else. We never had that discussion.

        • JasonK says:

          Oh? I was pretty sure it was you. It’s definitely the only response I’ve seen from you is to retreat into scripture each time.

  13. Dan says:

    “I would appreciate your allowing Dan and I to have a discussion on this site – that is if he is still willing to do so. Once it has begun, you all will see the evidence. And if I end up having no evidence (as you all expect I don’t), then it will be proved that I’m an idiot.”

    Yes, my apologies – I took the kids to Florida for vacation, got rained out the whole time – thunder, lightning, tornados, the whole works. It was “gods” will though, right? =)

    As for proving you are an idiot, that is not my intention, but instead my goal is to show you the truth, the fault in your critical thinking, your misplaced belief, your blind faith WITHOUT evidence.

    “As for “faith.” Your argument is again irrational. Faith (trust or confidence) is built on EVIDENCE! There is no evidence that your computer or my computer or anyone elses computer will make a pizza”

    Jason’s argument was sound, you didn’t seem to grasp his point. You are right that there is no evidence than any computer will make a pizza, just as there is no evidence that there is a god in heaven and that the bible is his word. Yet you believe one is true, but not the other. You don’t seem to grasp the fact that what you believe is just as ludicrous to people who have opened their eyes to the truth as a computer making a pizza. Mike – you have nothing…but blind faith, which is faith with no evidence. I am hoping you will see it in the days, weeks, or months ahead. If not, I’ll try to enjoy our debate without being too insulting.

  14. Mike says:

    Thanks Dan.

    No it was not God’s will – didn’t have anything to do with it.

    I guess we are likeminded – you believe (trust, faith), that my belief (trust, faith) is misplaced, irrational and without evidence, and I believe (trust, faith) that your belief (trust, faith) is misplace, irrational and without evidence. It is also my goal to show you the truth, and the fault in your cricital thinking – so Dan, we are on the same page so far.

    As for Jason’s argument – I understood totally the point he was trying to make, yet it was a false argument. Its conclusion was false, therefore its premise was false.

    I really look forward to our debate – So when do you want to begin? Are the resolutions satisfactory to you? Is there anything you would like to add or delete? Also, would Jason be willing to starting a new thread that would be dedicated to this debate between the two of us? Let me know. I look forward to seeing your evidence, as I am sure you look forward to seeing mine.

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