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Let's talk about salvation!

The central point of many religions is the concept of Salvation and many other religions have similar concepts like Enlightenment and Liberation. Why is salvation important if it is important? What do we need saving from? Come and join us in discussion of this fascinating topic!

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  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    TRAINING WHEELS

    Mankind wanted to understand natural phenomena. For instance, the causes of severe weather, and diseases, were beyond man's comprehension.
    Man often reasoned that "supernatural" was the best way to explain the unknown. Gods were born. Cultures developed gods and creation stories. Sun gods seemed appropriate.

    It's as though mankind was learning to ride a (figurative) bicycle, and the best way to survive was with use of training wheels (religion). Science has explained much, so mankind is gradually abandoning belief in the supernatural. Say "bye bye" to the training wheels.

    August 21, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Big questions! We do a good job of hashing them out here.

      August 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Do we hash them out or do we hash them up? Perhaps we make hash of them. Who knew?

      1 · August 23, 2014

  • Ralph Dave W.

    Atheist Dr. William Provine, 2nd Annual Darwin Day Celebration, U of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2/12/98:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will.

    Without free will, moral responsibility seems impossible. But I will argue that moral responsibility is actually based upon the lack of free will.

    See more at https://web.archive.org/web/20130403084121/http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/Archives/1998ProvineAbstract.htm

    August 22, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Hi Dave! Do you agree with Provine's assertion that freewill is a myth?

      August 23, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      Big hug, {Wayne}.

      I agree with that as much as I do with him on the other four points, that is, not at all.

      FYI his statements get quoted on a lot of Christian websites, for quite obvious reasons. Atheists like the assumption that everything results from natural causes because it supports Provine's first point above. Although his points 2 through 4 are less appealing, many atheists can tolerate them (although you seem to have concerns about #4). However even though prominent others including Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, and Jerry Coyne keep arguing we have no free will and that's not such a bad thing, the idea is quite repellent and doesn't help the atheist cause. Hardly anyone wants to be a robot.

      So if you can write a book clearly demonstrating that naturalism does not necessarily destroy the concept of free will, there would be a strong market. It would be your legacy if you could do it at least moderately well. It might even get your picture on a magazine cover.

      August 23, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    Hi Guys! Here's a teaser for my posting in the "Theology in General" discussion. "Foreknowledge" Comments are welcome (I'm here to learn).

    We probably agree that a God could choose whatever kind of world He would create. Now, did God have foreknowledge of the things which would (and still do) take place? Of course He did! He is omniscient...big problem, though, if God knowingly chose actions...

    August 15, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      Big hug {Wayne}.

      “I'm not grasping the concept.”

      That makes two of us—I'm having difficulties understanding what you're saying above too. Could you rephrase each of your sentences to clarify what you are saying and what the intent is? Perhaps you might even provide an example for each?

      August 17, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Dave, I guess we confused each other. My "not grasping" was concerning your description of God's omniscience (time, space, future AFTER it happens). You lost me with that. Thus, the "Monday Morning Quarterback" remark. Are you saying that omniscience does NOT include foreknowledge? I'll see what I can do on my end to minimize vagueness.

      August 20, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    Well here's another winner. Some (especially George?) will enjoy more of my criticism of the Old Testament. In a not so-well-known passage (2 Samuel 21), we find more "wonderful" behavior from King David.

    After a three-year drought/famine, King David asks God about the situation. God answers, that He is angry with (long deceased) King Saul for having slaughtered
    Gibeonites. Apparently, God can't handle this matter directly with Saul (because there is no afterlife???).

    Hundreds of years prior (Joshua 9), a deception led to a peace pact with the Gibeonites. So, of course, all of current Israel should be suffering, since, in the time of Saul's earlier slaughter, Israel had not shown remorse, or something like that.

    David checks with Gibeonite elders about how he might make things right. They want revenge on King Saul. Saul is dead, but David is still able...

    (full posting is in DISCUSSION "Question of Human Suffering")

    August 20, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    Hi guys!

    Just got back from a memorial service for an in-law's mother. Nice event...stories of a well-lived life...pictures of family...some tears. Most everyone there knew three verses of "Amazing Grace". One speaker made it clear that the deceased is "with us...watching us...the veil is thin". Another speaker spoke of Jesus' sacrifice for sin.

    As is often the case, there is significant pressure to perpetuate the faith of departed loved ones. After all, how heartless it would be to turn a back on the emotional connections of a beloved predecessor. There is a real religious obligation there. For me, the beauty of the event was the legacy of friendships, children and grandchildren. It was a great family reunion.

    August 9, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      Big hug, {Wayne}.

      I'm glad you had a good time at the family get together. I really enjoy reunions too. The only problem is, people keep dying so as the years go by you see fewer and fewer of those you know and love. Fortunately Jesus has provided a more than adequate solution to that problem for those who trust him to take care of the sin problem that separates us from God.

      August 9, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Amen, Brother!

      August 9, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    The following is in the "Controversial Passages" discussion..."MERCIFUL MOSES" In Exodus 32, God decides to kill His chosen people, but Moses causes God to change His mind. He does so by reminding God of His previous promises. (Is God forgetful? Oh well.) Moses also tells God something that He apparently didn't previously understand (that Egyptians would make fun of Him). God would also be considered a liar, if He killed the seed of the Patriarchs. Moses appealed to God's ego, so (Exodus 32:14) "Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened."

    It's probably good that God didn't know about Numbers 23:19, where it is clear that God doesn't change His mind.

    Keep in mind that God has already told Moses about the worship of the golden calf (Exodus 32:8). Moses has already successfully appealed to God for mercy. So, what does Moses do upon his return?
    (continued)

    August 8, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      (part 2)
      Kill 3,000 men, of course. We're not told if thousands of (less important) women and children were also slaughtered.

      The deal is that God had a commandment against idols and images. Even that can get confusing. God required Moses to make a brass serpent idol (Numbers 21:8-9). Confused? Anybody?

      August 8, 2014

  • Ralph Dave W.

    M. H. Abrams [book] … Natural Supernaturalism … rooted in the biblical story of our fall from grace and eventual redemption … became the principal motif of 19th century romantic literature and philosophy … a rupture in our relationship with God … in essential respects a fortunate fall … set the stage for eventual redemption … in expelling us from paradise, it forced us to develop ourselves in the world … to experience an appreciation and unquenchable thirst for what was lost … prepared us for a higher redemption … recovery of our original spiritual nature … we do not revert to our original state … progressive rather than regressive redemption

    special affinities with the biblical narrative of the Western tradition … not … an exclusively Western idea … particularly in the two principal Asian religions, Hinduism and Buddhism

    From pp. 2-3 in Embodied Spirituality in a Sacred World By Michael Washburn

    August 5, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      I found the above in a search on the topic of fall and redemption. I condensed it a lot using ellipses […] to separate key phrases to get it into Meetup's 1000 character limit. You can see the whole passage, which I thought was very well written, by plugging one of the longer phrases into Google. The author of the passage is a philosopher (Indiana University in South Bend) who feels that psychology has the ultimate solutions. Personally I think Christianity, when practiced correctly, is the the better solution. On the other hand, I think Washburn eloquently expresses the universality of the problem and how prominent the idea of fall and redemption has been in both Western and Eastern thought.

      1 · August 5, 2014

  • George

    Actually, I just wanted to express my regret for not being able to make it tomorrow: I'm in Atlanta and won't be back in time. However, since I'm on here I thought I'd put in my two cents on the obligations of Christians in regards to immigration and global poverty: at least they've made great efforts over the centuries through missionary work. As flawed as those efforts were they've done a lot of good for a lot of people. I"d pit that record up against that of any of the other major religions or secular organizations for that matter any day.

    1 · August 4, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    I've been told that my life is essentially meaningless, if there is no afterlife. Let's have a look at that concept.

    Children from Honduras are being smuggled into the US. Their parents hope for their escape from danger and from poverty. While this is taking place, many Americans believe that the children's lifespans (of maybe between five to a hundred years) are hardly significant when compared to the eternity that God has designed for them. Who do you suppose can better empathize with the Honduran children's predicament? Is it the person who looks toward an afterlife, or the person who lives exclusively in the "here and now"?

    I contend that Christians have, in a way, sacrificed their earthly lives on an imaginary altar. The significance of our earthly life is demeaned because of something SUPERNATURAL which is going to happen later. This belief in afterlife carries with it additional oddities. Believers adopt unusual behaviors about posthumous concerns.

    (continued)

    July 18, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      Big hug, {Wayne}.

      I don't know how I missed it before, but the idea of your atoms eventually becoming part of a star is similar to the Bible's descriptions of the ultimate fate of the unredeemed—for example, the words fire, flame, furnace, and burn. Being in a star actually sounds like more of a Biblical literalist position on that topic than my view. Could it be that you were you unconsciously prophesying?

      On the other hand, in contrast to the scriptural imagery of eternal fire, stars eventually burn out. However there is the possibility of the atoms from a star subsequently ending up in a black hole. That would correspond to the darkness mentioned in Mt. 8:12, 22:13, 25:30 rather than fire. Interesting.

      August 2, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Dave, Looks like an interesting 18-page PDF. I'll check it out when I can spend some time on the laptop (hard read on the phone). The second one has redirect that doesn't work. My free time is currently taken up with a music project.

      August 3, 2014

  • Ralph Dave W.

    August 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wayne, I remind you that your sins are forgiven.

    1 · July 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Scripture affirms both--a paradox, to be sure.

      July 22, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      Twinkle, twinkle and a big hug, {Wayne}.

      I apologize for the navigation error. I just put it in the proper thread and deleted the one above.

      July 24, 2014

  • John N.

    Since we're talking about salvation, I've posted on THINK., The Critical Thinking and Discussion Forum's Facebook Community page an article I wrote entitled "On Sanctification and Salvation". I believe its assertions are fundamentally relevant to what we're discussing here. Please enjoy (I guess) the read. :-) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Think-The-Critical-Thinking-and-Discussion-Forum/285556011533503?ref_type=bookmark

    1 · July 20, 2014

    • John N.

      ...and I'm stoked that you appreciate the video!

      July 21, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      John,

      Yes, apparently it is not possible to stray too far. According to the legend, an unfortunate guy on a cross had a brief conversation with the guy on the next cross. He was promised immediate paradise. We can get philosophical and say, "Jesus is just a prayer away."

      Mick Jaeger sang,
      "War, children, it's just a shot away. It's just a shot away." So, why not.

      July 21, 2014

  • John N.

    Good day, THINKers of Orange County! Quickly, allow me to introduce myself; my name is John Newton and I am Michael's comrade-in-arms. I administrate the THINK Forum of San Jose'. I enjoy watching your progress and growth as a vibrant THINK Community in SoCal. I wanted to invite you to join THINK's online Facebook Community. Let's cross-pollinate a bit, what? I look forward to getting to know you a bit! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Think-The-Critical-Thinking-and-Discussion-Forum/285556011533503?ref_type=bookmark

    1 · July 17, 2014

    • Ralph Dave W.

      Hi John:

      Thank you for sharing.

      I posted a comment on the THINK Facebook page yesterday and saw your response today.

      1 · July 19, 2014

    • John N.

      Ralph, Wayne, Jacki and Loren, I am pleased to connect with fellow members of the greater THINK Community!

      July 20, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    God is omnipresent??? Apparently that's not enough anymore...I think He needs a website.

    July 12, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    TOO QUIET!

    Children are arriving as illegal immigrants. America's job is to make determinations. Systems are in place which include coaching children to speak of home-country dangers. So how about some Christian compassion?
    If wholesale welcoming is appropriate, then certainly millions (maybe billions) will come. Ask yourself, "How many immigrants am I willing to bring into my own house? Two? Twelve? Thirty-two?"

    If incapable of housing them, will you give up a percentage of personal income to handle the matter? Maybe 20% will cover it for now. 90% might be required later, as our boarders are flooded.

    If a dangerous homeland is reason to grant asylum/visas/green cards/citizenship, consider this...Suppose an unfortunate inner-city mother fears for her child's safety. She wants her child to live in Newport Beach (less gang problem there). Okay?

    There's no more time for philosophical chit chat. What ACTION is acceptable regarding illegals?

    1 · July 10, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Hi Loren!
      Agreed...immigration is very much a political topic. However, I did notice that the Catholic Church is stepping up in some ways. Central Americans typically have a Catholic heritage. But for us...are we "Bad Samaritans" when we turn our backs on less-fortunate illegals? Also, should "suffer the little children to come" apply in this case?

      July 11, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      The RC Church is well known for mixing politics and religion. Not a useful way to approach either discipline. Are the less-fortunate our neighbors according to Scripture? Yes. But we can love them as our neighbors at the same time as we unemotionally consider their immigration status. Jesus said, "suffer the little children to come to *Me*". (Matt 19:14, Luke 18:16-17)

      1 · July 11, 2014

  • Wayne Gray (and J.

    156 year-old man!

    Our amazing biomedical advances are in full evidence now, with a Palestinian man having reached 156 years of age. What's that? You question if it is true? How dare you doubt this story!

    Do you believe that it is possible to live six times as long as that Middle-Eastern man? Some did...

    Gen 5:5. Adam 930
    Gen 5:8. Seth 912
    Gen 5:11 Enosh 905
    Gen 5:14 Kenan 910
    Gen 5:20 Jared 962
    Gen 5:27 Methuselah 969
    Gen 9:29 Noah 950

    Yep, those are obviously true accounts. Imagine the possibilities if those lifespans had continued. Here's one...

    "Almost every living American will hear George Washington speak IN PERSON, as he makes his city-to-city tour over the next five hundred years. He'll be in Irvine on April 11, 2482."
    (It will be nice to see him, before he gets old.)

    June 25, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I don't discount either report out of hand. I ask, "What is the evidence?" I consider the text of Scripture to be reliable. Now where are that middle-eastern man's birth records? If they are reliable, how the heck did he manage it??

      July 5, 2014

    • Wayne Gray (and J.

      Loren,
      Thanks for weighing in. Anybody else out there think it's possible that Bible characters lived to be 900 years old? I'm not playing "gotcha"!

      July 5, 2014

  • Michael S.

    Hi everyone, since I'll be in China during this meetup, Brad will be moderating in my stead. Hope you guys have a good time! Also, it just occurred to me that I'm not sure if I will have access to Meetup.com while I'm in China since a lot of social media sites like Facebook are blocked there. If that turns out to be the case, I'll still be available by email at [masked]. Ciao!

    June 24, 2014

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