setzer777 wrote:Why would you expect that unless you were assuming a very specific God from the start? If you start with the general idea of a creator, there are many possibilities: It doesn't care whether humans believe in it, it only needs a very of small number of humans for its purposes, it doesn't have enough control over the universe to ensure it has enough believers, it's too busy dealing with other things to pay much attention to its human believers or keep up the numbers.
I'm working backwards from the religions that exist. If a religion is true, it's likely to be one of the major ones (if God does in fact exist). Obviously there's the possibility that God exists as you describe, but if that is the case then we will never know so you might as well not bother.
setzer777 wrote:That's a pretty strong contention: "far better supported by logic and evidence". What's your basis for the claim, I mean, how comprehensive a study of major religions have you made to come to that conclusion? I could see saying: "Christianity is the first religion I encountered, and I think it has enough evidence to warrant belief without considering alternatives", but to say that it is "far better supported by logic and evidence" and be justified would take a huge amount of historical/philosophical study of all the religions.
Well, I haven't studied other religions in great detail. But from what I've read, Christianity still makes the most sense. What I meant was, it is far better supported by logic and evidence from my point of view! I can't make that claim objectively (although I think it's true). Christianity is different to a lot of other religions though - it describes events that took place on earth, historically, rather than "I've just received a revelation from God, and here it is..." Jesus claimed to be God, rather than just having received a revelation from him which we have to take completely on trust.
And Christian theology, IMO, hangs together pretty solidly. I'm not saying that there aren't some things which are difficult or even impossible to understand, but on the whole it's remarkably consistent for a book which was written over a couple of thousand years. I don't know if you've looked into theology much but it might be worth doing. I studied a unit called 'Introduction to the Bible', from the Moore Theological College in Sydney (it was a correspondence course) - it was probably the most helpful thing I've ever done with respect to my understanding of the Bible.
Ixtellor wrote:Islam is full of grace as well as the Jewish faith.
Are they? Judaism perhaps, to a limited extent, but you're going to have to back up what you say about Islam. As I understand it, Muslims are still required to earn God's favour by what they do. Perhaps BeerBottle could explain a bit more.
The Great Hippo wrote:Right, except there were significant differences, portions that were completely changed, new portions added in - so on, etc. Can you cite a source that shows that the Dead Sea Scrolls are miraculously closer to our current documentation than what we would expect from a historical document, i.e., proof that a miraculous preservation took place? I imagine this would be a Pretty Big Dealtm if it was true, so.
It's hard to find good resources on the Dead Sea Scrolls. But none of the sources I've read are using the DSS as evidence that the Bible has been heavily edited, indeed most argue the opposite: apparently the scrolls found of Isaiah match up 95% with the proto-masoretic text (the 'canonical' version) and most of the variants are spelling or 'slip of the pen' kind of errors. In fact I could find nothing which claimed that the DSS invalidated the Biblical canon in any way.
The Great Hippo wrote:Historical documentation is always suspect. ... You need to prove that the Bible - the gospels, in particular - are special in some way. That they're 'magical'; that they avoided the process by which all historical documents are rendered suspect. You need to prove that a miracle happened. And I'm not seeing any evidence.
I've given all the evidence I have. The earliest manuscripts we have match up with the later ones. There are lots of copies. I will look into the manuscripts from isolated cultures, but can't promise anything
But I think the fact that the Bible has over ten times as many manuscripts available as other ancient documents counts for something. I also think one can apply other disciplines such as textual criticism to see if there have been edits or variants. Luke and Acts, for example, we believe were written by the same person (in fact I think most theologians call them Luke-Acts). This is because of very similar style... Matthew, Mark and John also have a similar 'voice' and emphasis throughout their gospels.
Any edits would have surely diluted this style down, and yet we find that all of the gospel writers (and NT writers) have a distinct style. It just seems to me that the gospels display a remarkable consistency - both internally and with each other, as well as with the rest of the Biblical canon - to have been edited.
Additionally, if the Bible has been edited, do you think it would have ended up in the state that it did end up in? There are stories, for example, where the disciples don't look good. In fact the picture we get of them is that despite Jesus' best efforts they manage to miss the point on a fairly regular basis. Do you think they would have left those stories in?
The Great Hippo wrote:Except, you know. God didn't actually sacrifice himself. Going "I'm going to kill myself, then resurrect myself, then go back to Heaven where everything rocks forever" doesn't count as a sacrifice. It's a momentary inconvenience.
Depends what you think of as sacrifice. I don't think it's as simple as you make out.
alexh123456789 wrote:This has kind of been talked about, but bears repeating: There is absolutely no (real) evidence that any miracles have ever occurred, that god exists, or that god has talked to somebody
What do you call 'real' evidence? I have already argued that anecdotal evidence cannot be dismissed a priori
alexh123456789 wrote:A religion "resonating" with you or making sense to you doesn't support it either, and neither do passages in religious books which seem to say true or meaningful things.
Why not? If Jesus was indeed the Son of God you would expect him to say true and meaningful things. Which he does, IMO. The miracles he did can't be separated from the message, they were part of it. If what Jesus said was misheard or edited or exaggerated, it seems to me that what we would have is a series of vague, inconsistent platitudes or sayings. If Jesus' teachings make sense, it doesn't prove the miracles but I do think it makes them more likely.
alexh123456789 wrote:If someone witnesses a "miracle" the only reasonable conclusion is that they are hallucinating or seeing some unexplained (but natural) phenomenon. This is why it's essentially impossible to provide evidence of a god: it's always more likely to be a hallucination then something supernatural, and the reasonable conclusion is always against god.
If one person sees a miracle, perhaps. If several people see a miracle, close up, independently, I'd think it was at least worth investigating. Especially if there was a good reason for that miracle having happened - i.e. Jesus claiming that he would be killed and in three days rise again, the prophecies of Isaiah and Daniel, etc. So I guess miracles can't just be evaluated on their own merit, they have to be evaluated in the framework in which they are set.
Anyway, I've rambled on long enough now