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Devon Gisbert

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What happens after we die?

People will often wonder, well what happens after we die? Everyone has asked this question at least once in their life it would be foolish to deny that. And it's funny because, well I mean it's pretty self explanatory we die, there's a big funeral (most of the time) people come and mourn over your body then they dig a hole and put you in it. We have SEEN what happens to people when they die and we can go to the nearest grave yard and have a whole post death stake-out.
But if that's the case then why is it that we ask that question? Why is it that seeing what happens after we die isn't enough for us? We know what happens after we die, yet when the philosopher, the teacher, the artist, the scientist, and the homeless man the lays there head down at night they wonder. Is this all there is, is this all I'm good for, just this life and then I vanish?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says "He has made everything beautiful in it's time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

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    Jun 12 2012: ..
    Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

    Millions have believed this over the millennia, many died rather than deny it. Consider long & hard, being dead takes a very very long time. Atheism will be long forgotten & You will still be dead.

    :-)
    • Jun 12 2012: Peter, There are several references to reincarnation in the Bible. Did you know that?

      What do you think about reincarnation?
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        Jun 12 2012: daniel, I would like to know where in the bible it says that...Is that something you've read for yourself or something you've heard by ear?
        • Jun 13 2012: Devon,

          Luke 9:19 is one place.

          Reincarnation makes perfect sense actually. Even in the Christian world view. Just think of all the children who die long before they can have any idea of life after death etc. They get another chance. As well as the people who don't "make it" the first time around. And furthermore ... any good Christian could never leave his brethren here to suffer on earth while he or she is having a wonderful time up in heaven.... that would be like saying ... let my neighbor starve to death... I'm at least having a good time... I have what I need... I've made it into heaven... It's there own fault that they wound up in hell....

          Sounds pretty immoral doesn't it ?

          No, a soul in heaven would always want to come back to earthly existence to help his other fellow men along the path.
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        Jun 12 2012: If you are referring to the second coming of Christ and our union with him being raised into new and glorified bodies, it's different than what most would consider reincarnation..just be careful not to be decieved by people who try to twist what the word says. Also I understand people could mistake the (die to ones self and be reborn in Christ) for reincarnation but its nothing like that. We as Christians are called to die to our sinful nature here on Earth to love God with all our heart mind soul and strength and in the process begin to live holy lives, that doesn't mean we have to be the pope lol, it means to not be mastered by anything the world throws at us.
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        Jun 13 2012: Hi Devon.
        "Luke 19:9 (KJV)
        And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham."
        I must assume that you are saying that the father of Zacchæus is the reincarnated Abraham?
        This is a stretch at best. The whole Jewish nation are sons of Abraham in this sense.

        "Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
        And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"

        There is no reincarnation in the bible. This is it, once round, no second chance.

        Of course we are concerned about folks going to Hell. We try to persuade folks here & now. Mostly we get told to B-off, sometimes we get jail, often we get killed. People don't want to hear, & are very adept at telling us how foolish we are. I weep over them, but I don't intend joining them in their foolishness.
        EDIT
        "Luke 9:19 (KJV)
        They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say , Elias; and others say , that one of the old prophets is risen again."
        Sorry, got your scripture wrong. It shows however how folks can interpret scripture to suit their bias. Actually I think the first fits better; is it by any chance another "proof text"?
        9:19 is too obviously a resurrection, which is completely different from reincarnation.

        :-)
        • Jun 13 2012: Peter,

          I can't imagine going to school,... failing in math, ....and never getting a second chance... but rather condemned to contemplate the ... " phi " ... for all eternity.

          It makes no sense to me...

          Your telling me...

          A young child that has never done math, never heard of math, has not even a mind mature enough to do math .... will follow along with me into that eternal hell fire of punishment for not understanding .... .... .... his math...?

          I think you get my point...
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          Jun 13 2012: daniel, don't worry. bronze age doesn't make sense in a modern western nation. Its clearly nonsense.

          We don't do blood sacrifices and scape goating any more.

          You can not argue that a deity that sets things us so its creations may suffer eternally is omni benevolent. Defining whatever your god is said to have done or says as moral, no matter how repulsive, does not make it so unless you switch your brain and ethical sensibilities off.
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        Jun 13 2012: Hi Daniel.
        I'm not saying I understand it, or even agree with it. I'm the messenger. I do trust Jesus however, he has earned my respect. We will be judged according to our opportunity. Even in the farthest backwood we can look at the world around us and infer a creator God.
        Most however will winge at the unfairness of it all & end up in Hell. If God had any sense He would do it our way, trouble is when 8 billion people are all telling you how to do your job, who do you listen to?
        Me; I have no intention of looking a gift horse in the mouth. I can ask questions in eternity, although I suspect it will make perfect sense when I get there.

        :-)
        • Jun 13 2012: Peter,

          What do you think about Luke 9:19, 20 ?
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          Jun 13 2012: Dear Peter,
          You are "the messenger" of what? Continually telling us that if we do not believe as you do, we will go to hell? How is that beneficial to humankind?

          You write..." I do trust Jesus however, he has earned my respect. We will be judged according to our opportunity."

          You further write..."If God had any sense He would do it our way, trouble is when 8 billion people are all telling you how to do your job, who do you listen to?"

          You say you trust Jesus, who has earned your respect and we will be judged accordingly.
          Then you say if god had any sense he would do it our way, and "he" is listening to the directions of 8 billion people to do "his" job!

          Peter, you seem like a lovely, kind person, and are you ever really paying attention to what you write?
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          Jun 13 2012: Peter we can examine this belief you have and find this hypothetical entity unfair, immoral and evil without ignoring that there is no reasonable evidence to believe any of it is the truth.

          You can also believe in it but acknowledge this is a god of blood sacrifices, murder and evil beyond human capabilities. What human would eternally torture their worse enemy.

          If Jesus is god its not much of a sacrifice. He is god. Is aware of creating the universe. Knows with certainty he will shortly be in heaven. He suffers some human pain for a blink in terms of his existence.

          He is also an actor in this macabre set up

          An all powerful, all loving god would not or could not set up this type of scenario you believe in. It is so obviously bronze age and axial age human conceived.

          If you believe the bible Jesus said some nice things. Others had said some of the most important things before him - Rabbi Hilel, Confucious etc.

          Even with the breakthoughs comapred to other Judiasm, it is still still behind modern secular values. And instead of just forgiving a blood sacrifice is needed. The NT still supports slavery. Its so much a product of its time not absolute morality.

          At the least he was also a apocalyptic preacher encouraging people to stop thinking of the future.

          At the worse he is player in an evil cosmic set up not deserving of respect by most moral standards.

          Thank the gods this evil overlord is as likely to be real as any other god or goddess.
        • Jun 13 2012: Peter,

          For me .. Logic and belief have to meet as one... If they don't meet .. at least within reason, then it cannot be a part of my "belief system" I would guess that this is the biggest problem with most people today and their controversy with the bible.. Often, logic cannot find a place in the religious picture of the world.... But I say it must. The physical world is logical. The spirit world is also logical.
          There is no reason what so ever that the two worlds cannot meet. And if they don't .. then you have to re-examine either your logic or your beliefs.... and its a cop out to see things any other way .. even if the consequences mean going to hell .... or heaven ... or some place in between..
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        Jun 13 2012: Hi Colleen

        Good to see you again. I mention Hell here as it is germane to the subject; & I also want to warn people. It certainly isn't my favourite subject; my sights are on Heaven. If you remember my warped sarcasm, I think what I wrote will make more sense.

        Obey. I think you protest too much. Every opportunity is used to slag-off God. I have no answer to that.

        Daniel. Sorry I got the scripture wrong; see edit to previous comment.
        I agree things should be logical. For me it works like this.
        The universe seems to require an intelligent creator. There is a book that claims to have been authored by this creator. It records the complete history of the Jewish nation from start to finish. History is passing exactly as foretold. The Jews are exactly where they should be.
        Today's world is exactly as foretold. Archeology verifies the truth of the bible. The bible tells us of the spiritual battle between good & evil, which we all experience. In short, the truth of the bible is logical.
        The world is in rebellion against God, so it would seem logical that there should be spiritual confusion & anger against God's people. History verifies this; from burning Christians to gassing Jews, we've had our moments.
        When my dear daughter was a little girl she was always in a stomp about something. Why didn't we do this, why did we do that, why wasn't she allowed the other. Thinking back, I was exactly the same. It is said that if you need to know something, ask a teenager; 'cause they know everything. We are God's children, we often get in a stomp; that too is logical.

        :-)
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          Jun 13 2012: Peter,
          Hell may be "germane to the subject" in your perception, and it is not in my perception, so it is tiring to be "warned" about your beliefs.

          Whenever you are reminded of your contradictions, you often say it is your sarcasm, sense of humor, you're simply having a little fun, etc. etc. You could have just as much fun writing things that were not contradictions, if you chose to do so. If you engaged in meaningful conversations, perhaps TED wouldn't remove so many of your comments...that could be even more fun for you!

          I don't percieve that the "world is in rebellion against God" Peter. I see a world of people evolving, who want to think, feel, and make decisions based on their own explorations, rather than from threats and warnings.
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          Jun 13 2012: Peter there are countless books which present a creator of the universe and that all beings should worship this god or multiple gods, and in fact there is no archaeological evidence of any of the old testament stories, Jewish archaeologists have been given every opportunity to prove the exodus story true and yet time and time again find no evidence.
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          Jun 14 2012: Peter,

          I'm not protesting anything, just pointing out that Yahweh as bibledefined is an evil entity. Eternal damnation is evil. My understanding is you believe in a god, the creator and judge over some sort of hell, perhaps even worship it.

          Its a bit rich to call highlighting the unpopular bits of the bible central to this belief slagging. If this was some other god I guess you might think it was nasty. How is eternal torment not over the top.

          I do find this particular god belief objectionable for the reasons outlined. My arguments seem reasonably sound.

          Don't worry, I feel the same way about the jewish, muslim, mormon etc interpretations of the same god.

          Just because Christians are taught their version of god is all loving and good does't make it so.

          Actually I not rebelling against your god. I'm just point out some of the unpopular details about this most likely imaginary entity. I don't believe this or any I've heard have been shown to exist. Although some are less fantastical than others.

          You see this as rebellion. I see it as an intellectual discussion about human ideas. You give it too much credit to think we are rebelling. You rebel against real tyrants. You just debate ideas and beliefs. Please reflect in this. Try step outside your programmed assumptions.

          I'd have to believe in this authority figure and defy it to be in rebellion.

          By your logic you are rebelling against Allah and every other god you don't believe in. That is pushing the English language a bit far. Just another false statement/belief.

          Not everyone agrees the universe needs an intelligent creator. I guess you assume the creator didn't need an intelligent creator. Another fallacy.

          My understanding is archaeology, biology, history and science in general do not support any of the supernatural claims in the bible.

          I frame it as growing up and becoming more knowledgeable about the universe and our place in it and leaving the fables of our human childhood behind
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          Jun 15 2012: Peter, just on the rebelling thing.
          Its not rebelling if you simply don't believe it.
          I'd suggest a lack of belief is not rebelling.

          Believing in not really a choice.
          I simply don't believe in gods and goddesses just like you don't believe in other gods and goddesses. You can not force your self to believe in these or santa claus.

          Its the same with an afterlife. It might be nice if death wasn't final, but while I'm not 100% sure about all these things I'm a long way from believing in heaven and hell.
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        Jun 14 2012: Stewart.

        The net is full of archeological evidence for the bible; just google it. Eg
        http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/archaeological-and-external-evidence
        You don't have to accept it, but it is there.

        :-)
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          Jun 18 2012: Hi Peter,

          The authors of the bible lived in the real world. Nothing strange about real places and historical figures being part of the tapestry.

          That does not mean genesis 1 creation occurred or the conflicting genesis 2 creation occurred, Or that Adam, Abraham, Noah even existed.

          They have found stone tools in the region over a million years old. Some scholars suggest Yahweh was originally part of the Canaanite pantheon alongside Baal. As the Israelites developed a distinct identity they believed their god was superior to the others. Some parts of the OT read consistently with this interpretation. There is archaeological evidence that the Jews worshipped other fertility gods alongside Yahweh - figurines etc. Again kind of parallels parts of the bible. Monotheism is thought to have crystallised during the Babylonian period.

          No evidence for the exodus as far as I know. Egypt attacked the lands a few times. There was an exodus after the Christian Roman Empire banned Jews from their empire around 600 AD. Poor Jews have had a hard time since Christianity became a power the last 1600 years or so. While it wasn't all plain sailing under Muslim rule Jews were able to live in the area under the Ottomans and were the majority population in Jerusalem mid 19th century.

          Fascinating perspective from history and archaeology.

          Not sure if archaeology and history is helping your cause much other than to confirm Judea and Israel were kingdoms for a time, along with Babylonian, Greek, Asyrian, Roman, Persian, Ottoman, British control of the land at times.
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        Jun 14 2012: Hi Obey.
        Let's turn this around. I don't believe Allah exists, but I believe the whole concept of Allah is destructive. Ditto many other imaginary gods. I do not find it necessary to engage with Muslims, or Hare Christnia, Mormons, or others to point out their error. As far as I know, very few people do. Have you engaged any Muslims on 9/11?
        Typically the Christian god is singled out. Jesus Christ is the Christian God. What has he done to attract such vitriol ? I put it to you that it is because He is real, while the rest aren't. If not, what is your explanation?

        :-)
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          Jun 14 2012: My goodness Peter,
          You demonstrate your prejudice, and you are NOT following the teachings of the bible, which you claim are the "one and only".

          You write..." I do not find it necessary to engage with Muslims, or Hare Christnia, Mormons, or others to point out their error. As far as I know, very few people do."

          I have engaged with people of many backgrounds my whole life because even though I do not practice a religion, I learned as a child in bible study, to "Love thy neighbor". Perhaps you missed those parts of the Bible Peter.

          The topic here is: "What happens after we die?"
          Based on my experience of being "out there" because of a near death experience, there was NO seperation because of religious beliefs. It was WONDERFUL!
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          Jun 14 2012: Why would you engage a muslim on 9/11 peter? sounds like a giant stereotyping that islam was responsible for 9/11. The reason why Christianity is so attacked it because of many reasons, like in my other post about evolution you have the creationists who are rampant about the truth being taught in schools, you have idiots like Kent Hovind and his half wit son eric poisoning the minds of people, also the majority of us are from the western world, I rarely see a muslim let alone to one. Also almost everyone in the western world has read the bible and so they know what it says and the absurdities in it. Though I put it to you that it is hard to find someone at random in the western world who has read the Quran from cover to cover. Also here's a nice little story I heard. A history student was studying mythologies and had the sudden realization, mythologies are actually past religions and that modern religions are just myths that people still believe.
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          Jun 15 2012: Peter, I consider the comments on TED as they come up.

          I haven't seen too many from a Muslim perspective but would comment equally.
          Not sure whether more cruelty, murder, intolerance and other crimes against human rights have been committed in the name of the Christian or Muslim versions of god.
          Some aspects of modern Islam are of great concern to me. Muslims not impacting others adversely because of their beliefs are welcome to their religion, just like Christians, Buddhists etc. Similarly if they start discussing things on TED I might have something to comment.

          RE: JC is the Christian God. If you believe Jesus is God and nothing to do with the creator of the universe outlined on the old testament, not the God of the Abraham, Moses, the ten commandments, the flood, then some of my recent comments were off base and I apologise.

          I thought most Christians saw some link between Jesus and the Father/Yahweh/God outlined in the old Testament. I recall you mention God and the flood, before JC was born etc etc so assumed the God of the old testement was also par tof your god.

          If only the words and actions of Jesus are important, then you only need the gospels.

          That means you can avoid the bit in the new testament supporting slavery.

          However, I guess hell is still part the picture you believe in regarding what happens after we die. That's still immoral by most standards. Eternal torture simply because there wasn't enough evidence to believe or you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          Jesus is still part of this immoral set up. No way to the Father except through him. Who is this Father. Is he not your god too?` There seems to be some interesting reasoning here. It's a bit rich to divorce your version of the Christian God from the old testament.

          Actually I'm not attacking Jesus the person. He died a long time ago. He wasn't a mass murderer. Probably a guru of some sort. I'm just challenging Christian beliefs raised on TED, particularly the hell doctrine
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        Jun 14 2012: Dont you guys get it...it's not about condemning anybody, daniel said it himself, a soul in heaven would always want to come back to earthly existence to help his other fellow man along the path. But thats not biblical, we had our help through Jesus Christ all we have now is today to tell people and so we do.. not to condemn them or judge them, we ourselves were at one point being told. We do it out of love for our fellow man. God is the judge

        And Obey to your comment on his sacrifice and reducing it to something thats not much of anything, try living a perfect life and innocently having your flesh ripped off your back to the point where people cant recognize you on top of being whipped and beaten, put in a crown of thorns and having it thrusted into your skull all for the people that hate you... and then get back to me. You and colleen both are quick to point out what I say and pass it off as judgemental or biased and yet Colleen says nothing of what you have to say Obey even though its offensive.

        And to address the animal thing. The sacrifice of animals was under the old covenant until Jesus came as the perfect lamb to be sacrificed and not just to kill animals obey, but for our sins for the foolish and stupid things that we did....no blame is to go to God for this and who are we to question that when we know so little even though we think we know so much. His thoughts aren’t our thoughts obey and robi hillel and confucious didnt die and come back to life for the salvation of man so theres really no comparison.

        And to put that luke 9:19 thing to bed if you actually read the whole thing they were talking about Jesus.

        And peter I appreciate your words but I have a friend who is a muslim convert and is on fire for God he loves God with all his heart and is currently a missionary reaching out to thousands and would not have been so if it werent for someone who had reached out to him...so with that statement you made on muslims, I disagree
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          Jun 15 2012: Devon, Crucifying any human being, or even an animal is a horrible act. I guess the Romans crucified many people. Lots of cultures have had cruel and usual ways of punishing people - stoning for example. I'm actually against the death penalty.

          My understanding is some people claim Jesus is God. God is an immortal being. So immortal God in human form got crucified. Its a very different perspective.

          I actually also think it is an evil scenario where someone is made to pay for the crimes of others. A God who sets up this system judging humans to eternal punishment is an immoral god. We wouldnt accept parents judging and punishing their children that way.

          I guess I'm bouncing up against some fairly rigid paradigms. You focus on the sacrifice and don't see what an evil set up it is. According to Christian doctrine as I understand it I will be going to hell simply because I don't believe the stories, or the Muslim ones, or the Buddhist ones, or the Hindu ones, or the Jains, Sihks etc.

          I guess you might be offended because this religious belief may be a core belief you are committed to. It defines you and is part of you in a way. So pointing out some of the issues with this belief may indirectly feel like I'm pointing out issues with you.

          Devon, I guess you have read bits of the bible.
          The bible asserts god killed everyone but Noah's family.
          God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. What sort of god does that.
          The kind of god that uses his own son for a blood sacrifice.
          What sort of entity tortures souls for eternity.
          The animal sacrifices were part of this gods programme.
          Do you simply ignore these bits. Do you rationalise them away.
          Why are you offended when I point out how cruel this is?
          Would you agree with me if I was talking about the Aztec god?

          I believe part of the issue is that we have grown up in a better society than the one in which these beliefs developed and were recorded. Parts of the bible are offensive to our values. Hence the squirm factor.
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          Jun 15 2012: Devon,
          In your previous comment, you write..."Colleen says nothing of what you have to say Obey even though its offensive".

          I do not find Obey's comments to be offensive. You apparently see them as offensive because he does not agree with you.

          Anyone who does not agree with you on this thread Devon, you say is not understanding, is not getting it, is foolish, rebelling against god, etc., while your preaching about your god and your beliefs apparently is ok for you. The topic you started is "what happens after we die". You seem to be defending your god, your beliefs, and preaching, rather than addressing the topic question.

          See, that's what leads me to believe that you started this thread to promote your own beliefs, and that is a misuse of TED, in my humble perception.
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          Jun 15 2012: Rock ON Colleen!
          I used to get angry when the lurking TED editors would delete postings but I totally get it now. I haven't even been contributing on this thread because i have lived with enough rabid religious fundamentalist and tire of their circular arguments. This is my one and only posting here. The facilitator here clearly is not interested in what anyone else has to say.
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        Jun 14 2012: 1 Corinthians 2: 6-14

        “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
        “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him”[b] —
        but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
        The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
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          Jun 15 2012: I apologise if my reference to Muslims came across as nasty. My point was to ask why Jesus Christ is singled out for such animosity; he surely is the most loving & caring of all religious leaders. I too have Muslim friends; they are God's children & entitled to as much love as anyone else.

          Sorry folks.

          :-)
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          Jun 15 2012: Devon,

          Firstly within the bible hypothesis:
          How does this quote negate or neutralise the other assertions in the bible that indicate a tribal god that helped the Jews against other peoples, flooded the whole world killing everyone, and sends non believers to hell etc.

          Are you saying humans don't have the wisdom to assess the Christian scenario in regards to morality?

          Are you saying I don't have a spirit because I see no core difference between Christianity and other apparently man made religions?

          From a rationale perspective:
          Firstly, there is no reason I know off to believe any of the supernatural claims in the bible. Why should I believe any of this.
          You first need to demonstrate this god exists and the bible is accurate.

          Secondly its not that much different to the Koran or other religious texts.

          Thirdly, even if it were true this god is a monster that puts even the the worse human mass murders to shame. They may kill millions sending them to oblivion or the judgement of some god. This god tortures billions for eternity.

          From outside the bubble - the get of jail Jesus card does not make the whole scenario okay. It seems you are basically saying that god is god, he made the rules, so we have to follow them. He could forgive us non believers as he is all powerful, but he chooses not to. You are basically saying whatever god says or does is okay as he is god.

          I don't know if you take the bible literally Devon. If you do are okay with a deity that:
          - never said a word against slavery?
          - supposedly that committed global genocide via a flood?
          - A deity that required animal sacrifices for centuries?
          - An all powerful, all knowing deity, immaterial, outside time and space that created us knowing I would not believe due to lack of evidence and send me to hell?
          - That personally kill hundreds of thousands via plagues etc and ordered millions killed?

          If you give any credence to the bible it is outrageous to call this deity all loving. I won't say what it lks lik
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        Jun 15 2012: Hi Obey
        I can't get in where I should; but you asked about Jesus, Yahweh, etc. I'll come clean; if all I had to go on was the Old Testament, it is unlikely I'd be a Christian. You major on all the bad stuff in the OT. Each point has a rebuttal on the net which you could access at will, so it's a bit pointless going over them here.
        Jesus is Yahweh is the creator; the buck stops with Him. He has the power over life & death; He allows us to disagree with Him, but that's a bit pointless. This being created us & came into our world to show us His true persona. He allowed us to murder Him, just so that we could be reconciled. We can't work it out in our strength. It has to be spiritually discerned; our attitude must be right. Would you believe it; we have to give the Lord of the universe an even break. That's the only way.

        :-)
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          Jun 15 2012: Right, so humans develop over 200,000 years and then your god (Jesus) finally decides after 198000 that that was enough of us dying by our teeth, famine etc. And the best way to tell the world is to appeal to a bunch of illiterate Israelites.And for the being who created created everything the best way to remove sin was by sacrificing himself on cross. Sure why not appeal to the Chinese who are civilized and can read and write, no it's far better to appear to the illiterate. And why not leave something a bit more permanent and memorable like a giant volcano of love and rainbows, but no human sacrifice, Christianity one of the few last cults of human sacrfice
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          Jun 15 2012: Thanks Peter. That is clearer. I understand the Jesus part 2000 years is central to Christian belief. I note that Jesus is Yahweh. I guess if you believe it all you don't have much of a choice. Accept JC or hell.

          Its nice god gave us a way to avoid hell after he created us with free will. Sad that he doesn't seem to exist for some or is replaced by others for many through no fault of their own.

          You may believe there is a compelling rationale for your particular interpretation but it is not there for many others such as me, or others are trapped in other cultural religions.

          I guess the Jews saw some positives in being Yahwehs chosen people as well as having not much choice culturally - if you broke the rules you got stoned.

          My comments do focus on the negatives a lot. Partly because people say god is love but in reality you have an entity that made us and can kill us or punish us at will. It is a divine dictator. God made us so it can do as it pleases.

          I could go on about the consolations and genuine human or cultural reasons for belief also, helping the por.

          It is also positioned as all our fault going back to Adam. He disobeyed god. God knew what would happen. He made us. First time we break the rules we are cast our of Eden. Again what if the first time a child disobeyed a parent and was thrown out on the street (and torture them when they die for ever)

          I guess I don't get how people with an open mind can excuse this part of the god story.

          I guess the JC part you focus on gives you an opportunity to avoid eternal damnation. A man dying to save others is noble. But what you are saying is this man is god and set up the universe in way that we needed saving. People focus on JC saved us from our sin, saved us from hell. They ignore that this person made hell and the rules that put us there, and made us so that we can not save ourselves. From outside it is a little twisted.

          Anyway, I appreciate the calm response. I hope you can see the dark side of this god.
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          Jun 15 2012: If I could also clarify one thing. I believe Jesus probably existed, That he was an ordinary human. That he brought a particular perspective to Judaism.

          I doubt his message was intended for non Jews. Yes there are some verses that can imply this. (What do Jews thinks happen after they die. What do they think happens to non Jews? ). Anyway I think he was talking mainly to Jews. If you read past the gospels it seems his followers also had this debate after he died.

          This message included some positives - the golden rule etc. There is an element that makes me think he believed end times were coming soon. Asking people to leave there families etc, This apolocalyptic part is not so good. He also said the law still stands. Funny how this was ignored for gentiles. The law is nasty.

          Anyway, I don't think he was an evil person if the supernatural parts of the bible are ignored.

          He had some positive teachings mixed in there. He may have died for his beliefs. He may have thought he was the son of god.

          If he is the god of hell, the flood also - not so good.
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        Jun 16 2012: Hi Obey
        You've got me having another look at the OT. Found this which might help you understand my stance.

        http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=old%20testament%20atrocities&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CGcQtwIwAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dk2kSST8O93Y%26list%3DFLOS4V0nopuZ1ak6Tvl4DJlQ%26index%3D187%26feature%3Dplpp_video&ei=CpfbT-rEG8SP0AWd3ZGECw&usg=AFQjCNEJmx_ZurriyzvK2hYzXmqgsSGe4w

        Wow, that's some address!

        The gospel is meant for all. In the OT anyone was welcomed into the faith. In the NT Peter was put in charge of reaching non-Jews, while Paul (Richard Dawkins of the NT :)) concentrated on the Jews.

        :-)
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          Jun 17 2012: Hi Peter,

          I understand that at some point after JC died his followers decided to let gentiles join. My recall is they kind of made it up as they went at some point deciding the law would still apply to Christian Jews but not to non Jewish Christians who converted. Good news indeed because that meant gentiles didn't need to be circumcised.

          JC preaching seemed to be primarily focused on Jews and Jewish territory.

          When reading the bible without christian dogma in mind, and knowing the order in which the books were actually written down, you get an interesting picture.

          My understanding is the earliest recorded documents of the new testament were the letters of Paul. The gospels were written later. I guess they were oral stories that developed about the life of Jesus. Open to a lot of manipulation to retro fit the developing doctrine.

          The universal love across ethnic lines first came from Pauls writings. I guess after the jews largely rejected the christian sect

          In Mark, Jesus almost turned away a non Israeli until she admitted her inferiority.

          The sermon on the mount isn't in the earliest. Who knows maybe it was made up and included in the gospels written later. There are contradictions and changing focus to fit. The later parts of Mark (earliest gospel) seem to be added much later I guess to fit devmts.

          JC might have though he was the Messiah, but that does not mean he thought he was god.

          I guess the rise of Christianity was due more to Paul than to Jesus.

          If you step outside the established Christian mindset you can see how the bible fits Jesus being an apocalyptic Jewish preacher with some focus on helping the poor. He wasn't the first of either of these. He may have upset the authorities and been crucified. I guess his body disappeared.

          Paul etc then developed christian teachings and actually started writing stuff down first in letters, later the gospels. Not all included in bible. e.g. Thomas, Judas, Philip etc. Bits added to Mark later etc etc
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          Jun 17 2012: Obey have you ever heard of the Roman God Mithras or his older name Mithra? He was born of a virgin, son of a god, savior of humanity, could cleanse you of sin, had twelve apostles, ate a last meal and died for our sins. Sound familiar?
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          Jun 18 2012: Hi Stewart

          I have heard of Mithra, Mitra, Mithras first in Conan comics. Later as a historical god.

          Virgin or miraculous births seem to be a relatively common theme before Jesus.

          Zoroaster's mother was a virgin when she conceived Zoroaster by a shaft of light. Zoroaster performed numerous miracles, winning over a king to his religion

          Some stories say Buddha entered the womb of his mother through her side in the form of a white elephant.

          The Greco Roman gods also impregnated a few humans but in the mundane way.

          Lots of other similarities as well with the other religions in the region.

          Genesis reflects Mesopotamian myths. The Epic of Gilgamesh parallels the stories of the Garden of Eden and Noah's Flood.

          There is even a myth where Zeus unleashes a deluge to wash everything clean - but not globally.

          In some Hindu traditions Manu, the progenitor of mankind, and first king to rule this earth, saved mankind from the universal flood.

          In the bible the primeval dragon is subdued by Yahweh at the outset of creation. In the Babylonian Creation Epic, the god Marduk defeats the sea monster.In Canaanite mythology Baal defeats a dragonlike monster too.

          These other religious stories would have infused the Hebrew oral histories and teachings.

          On the topic of what happens after we die an afterlife is also a common theme. The Egyptians believed those failing judgement would be tortured and then devoured into oblivion. The Babylonian netherworld etc.

          Reading other religious teachings the similarities in language and ideas is fascinating.

          I guess some Christians simply see this as the work of the devil when historically the precede or are contemporary to the development of the OT and NT.

          I see parallels today where the less dogmatic are influenced by the religious beliefs they are exposed too and build these into their spiritual world view on life and the afterlife.
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        Jun 17 2012: Hi Obey.
        With you on the circumcision , brings tears to the eyes.
        Sure, Paul was instrumental in getting things going, after spending his time killing & jailing Christians. Only a face to face with Jesus changed him. It would be like Dawkins taking over from Billy Graham. Folks would be very interested in what he had to say/write.

        The rough dates of th NT books are her :-
        http://www.freebeginning.com/new_testament_dates/index.html
        I guess all we really know is that the whole thing was done & dusted within the lifetime of many eye witnesses, which to me adds credibility.
        In the end, there are three ways of looking at history.
        1) To bolster an existing hope.
        2) To rationally try to discern the truth.
        3) To bolster an existing skepticism.
        I guess we both struggle with 2).

        :-)
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          Jun 18 2012: Agree Peter, Jesus must have had a profound impact on those around him. This over time has led to one of the great religious traditions in human history.

          Not to belittle this but I guess Muhammad must have had a similar impact. And Buddha. And Confucius. I guess all religions and sects popular and less so were started by men (and a few women e.g. Christian Science).

          There were also others instrumental in the growth of the major traditions we have today.

          Paul, Constantine, Martin Luther, Henry VIII (for the wrong reasons, and yet we have the Anglican church) etc.

          Great summary of the dates. Thank you. Just as a layperson, when I read the bible it makes sense that Mark was written first and the others referred to this and elaborated further.

          My guess is they didn't think about documenting the life of Jesus until well after his death. Also, no one though to pull it all together into the new testament compilation until much later. I do wonder why the gospels of Philip, Thomas, Judas etc were not included. Perhaps too inconsistent with the others.

          While in many ways it is a great achievement that the bible has been consistent for more or less 1600 years, I think the Muslims were more effective with the Koran, perhaps learning from the power of having a book.

          I agree with that many of the books after the gospel could have been written while eye witnesses lived. They would have been pretty old AD90 with the latest books.

          30 to 50 years AD for the early gospels is a long time for oral traditions and the Jesus sect to develop some doctrines etc and lay the foundations for the church it was to become.

          The other gospels have a different take e.g. one states that Jesus was born a normal man then filled with the spirit of god.

          From my perspective you have a lot of faith that what is in the gospels happened as stated. Even the gospels written after Mark conflict in places. Seems flimsy that all the miracles just in bible no other sources. Some big claims too.
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          Jun 18 2012: Hi Peter. Post ramble I had a few more thoughts.

          It is a bit of a leap of faith for me to believe it happened as stated and that the human authors interpretations are correct.

          Lets say it is all more or less be true in terms of miracles and events as recorded in the gospels excluding the bits that internally conflict e.g. one book says a young man another says an angel etc.

          It still does not prove Jesus is God or that Yahweh exists and all the stories and human interpretations before and after Jesus are correct. Creation. Life after death - Heaven/Hell. These are some pretty big claims that I suggest haven't met a reasonable burden of proof.

          It could all be true, but it seems such an inefficient and unconvincing process even if JC did rise from the dead and appear to a few hundred people. Its a big world. And they only started writing it down 30-50 years later. We don't even know the authors. No other compelling sources. I know some counter arguments, but it does not seem a very divinely inspired approach to me.

          I'm also sceptical of the claims of Joseph Smith, but many people are Mormons today. Same with Ron Hubbard and Scientology. The followers of Jim Jones committed suicide and there were eye witnesses around the time these guys lived. From outside all these humans have an amazing ability to believe what they want and make up a rationale.

          Maybe my mind is closed a bit but I'd hope if there were evidence that any religion was correct it would be clearer and I would be convinced. Bible verses saying we know in our heart are just rationalisations to me. I was a born again Christian for years, speaking in tongues, cast out demons etc the whole time there was no real evidence for a god. Just human psychology and experiences that any religious or non religious person can get in the right circumstances. I wanted to believe, but in the end needed more than the explanations offered for big specific claims. Later on I realised the same was true for all religions
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          Jun 18 2012: Obey don't even say you're skeptical of mormonism and scientology, we know enough to take the next step and say they're fakes and frauds and James Randi who knew Hubbard has a great talk on how twisted Hubbard was.
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        Jun 19 2012: Hey Obey.
        If you really believe there is no evidence for the bible, then don't touch it with a barge pole. I wouldn't. I however, see lots of evidence, & He is around most days. I'm guessing something bad went down for you; maybe not. This won't convince you either, but it is interesting :-

        http://www.cross.tv/55631

        :-)
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          Jun 21 2012: Nothing bad. Just realised there was no evidence for any gods or goddesses, and that religious experience is most likely in our heads.

          Is this evidence of god all around really evidence, or are you projecting your beliefs? Would it convince someone open minded but who required reasonable proof not just some sort of internal coherence.

          If you believe god made the trees, then is seeing trees proof of god. Confirmation bias, perhaps?

          I find it useful to understand the bible. It is part of our history, our culture. About 1 billion people have beliefs related to the different versions of the bible. And these beliefs impact all of us, believers and non believer, as well as for the intellectual understanding.

          If you could read it while suspending your faith belief you would see how parts of it seem so human, so non divine. How did the authors know what god was doing all the time in the old testament? Why no sermon on the mount in Mark? There is no way to distinguish this from many other religious texts. You believe the eye witness in a book that was written decades after, and compiled centuries after, and ignore the gospels written at the same time but not included. I guess Mormons believe their book. Muslims theirs etc.
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      Jun 13 2012: And billions have believed other things that also don't meet the burden of proof.

      The bible doesn't seem to be right on anything much so I wouldn't trust it in this regards either.

      You might as well be quoting the Koran or any other old religious text and be equally wrong.
      • Comment deleted

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          Jun 15 2012: Yes, I guess they are both nearly equivalent in how well they represent reality.

          You can probably guess what sort of score I'd give both in terms of portraying the actual universe, how it got started and ended up looking like how it does today with with etc.

          I suspect the Koran has been doctored less than the New Testament e.g. the later parts of Mathew have not been found it the earliest surviving documents. ALthough this does not materially change the level of accuracy in regards to how well it does (or does not) portrays reality.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 15 2012: Adriaan,

          WAIT A MINUTE ADRIAAN !! The human mind has not changed in a million years..? Aren't you stretching things a bit far there...??

          ... and furthermore .... "Two very different, distinct realities" ....??

          I've always been of the understanding that the word "reality" encompasses just "one" reality .... Or did something get past me...?

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