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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2011, 02:24:32 pm »
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It's a fair answer, but not really what I'm going after...

It's not really answering my question, because you're applying a heuristic (scripture) to analyze whether experiences are legit or not.  My question would be in how you'd develop that heuristic, and wouldn't apply once you've decided that heuristic is sound.

You're going to have to just answer it in the raw A or B form above, because otherwise we'll be talking about totally different things, that just happen to be relevant to the same process.
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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2011, 03:35:21 pm »
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I'll try again...in A and B form

My concern is about situations in which the same methodology would result in two different outcomes between Person A and Person B, but Person A believes his own outcome, despite not doubting the sincerity of Person B's claim that the same methodology resulted in his different interpretation.  Get me?

This is really hard for me because I want to establish the quality grade difference between A and B.  If you insist in saying the quality of A and B is indistinguishable, then I am at a loss because it has never been my experience to have a matter of spiritual importance to be unsolvable.

So I can’t really speak to generic A and B situations, because A and B have always been distinctly different, at least they have since my first experience in Oct 1992.  

As to how I would approach the problem of A and B prior to Oct 1992, then I would have to answer that prior to 1992, A and B were NOT experiences to choose between.  Rather I was simply being told viewpoint A was true, with A being Armstrongism which my girlfriend (now wife) believed in.  And my solution to the problem was to take B (the bible) and compare it to A.  I didn’t assume B was inerrant,  rather since A was claiming it was in agreement with B, I could at least judge the validity of the claim that A=B by comparing A to B.  And I didn’t get farther than an hour into that comparison when it was clear to me that A did not equal B, which meant A was a liar because its claim that A=B was false, and then things unfolded very quickly, within a span of a couple of minuets, and  my spiritual eye-opening “experience” began with the spiritual perception that there were spiritual forces driving A and B and that they were on different sides of the battle and they weren’t battling over peanuts but rather were fighting a battle over eternal souls.  

It was the ability to spiritual perceive this spiritual battle that caused me, right then and there, to believe the couple of chapters of Galatians I had been reading.  And then the spiritual insight panned over to my life and the multiple events separated by years in my life (how I used to watch Armstrong’s TV program in my early teens, how I met a friend in college who was a member of Armstrong’s church, how through him I had met my girlfriend who had prompted me to look into this thing) that brought me to this point of belief. And when I enquired to myself if all these events were engineered for the purpose to bring me to believe n Christ, God poured out his spirit into my heart and answered the question himself, “Yes that is the reason why, now go and tell them the truth.”  And basically sent me to them to show them that B didn’t equal A.

Now, you and probably a lot of the other nonbelievers on this forum, since you’re not under the spiritual influence of A, can easily see that A does not equal B. (which is why I have so few scriptural disagreements with nonbelievers on this forum).  But for those who are under the spiritual influences that are telling them A = B, they are blinder than blind can be.  They no longer can see because they are deceived.  For example, to you it is easy to see that 4 does not equal 5, but to them, they can’t see the difference between 4 and 5 because they are under a spiritual deception that is telling them 4=5.  As Jesus said, it is better to be admittedly blind than claiming you can see when you can’t.  Because a blind man knows he is blind and asks for help (e.g. you yourself are asking how to distinguish A from B), but a blind person deceived into believing he can see is quite dangerous because he is convinced that 4=5 and is therefore beyond the help of those who can indeed see and who are trying to help him understand 4 does not equal 5.

And when youre confronted with such spiritual deception, it can be quite frustrating – it took 18 months before my girlfriend left her church.  And what won her was the fact that her church study guides were corrupting 4 to appear as 5.  When she read the bible without her church’s study guides, she could see clearly.  What I would do is sit her down and have her take a whole book of the NT, e.g. Hebrews, and read it to me and explain each verse to me as she read them.  I could sit back and not say a single word (I know that is hard to believe)  to her and allow her to completely own the conversation.  And she could see just fine that the number 5 was actually a 5.  But after she finished Hebrews, I could say, “I agree with you that it is a 5, but look, your church says it is actually a 4.”  And because of the fear instilled her that the only unforgivable sin was to leave Armstrongism, she would draw back and allow herself to be convinced by her study “guides” that it was actually a 4 and not the 5 she had perceived through her own reading.

But after 18 months of her seeing the difference between what she read on her own and what she was being told, she understood that if she couldn’t see on her own, then there was no way for her to judge who was telling the truth.  So she had to learn to trust that the bible was meant for individuals to understand, that it was written to the masses.

So, the only thing I can tell you is:  you have to trust your own eyes and don’t follow any guides.  For there are MANY unbelievers on this forum that have much better eyesight than those who claim they can see.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 03:38:16 pm by jmfcst »Logged

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« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2011, 05:39:48 pm »
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That's a very sincere, thoughtful response, but you just elaborated on your previous explanation using the letters A and B.  I was talking about specific things with A and B, that is, varying experiences based on the same methodological approach; one being your experience (A) and one somebody else's (B).  You're confounding things by including a heuristic (validating experience using the Bible), originating from your methodological approach as B, and then making pre-existing beliefs A.  Those are just totally different things than I'm talking about.  Moreover, you presumably would only reach a heuristic like that (accepting the Bible as evidently true text) based on some methodological approach (empiricism or whatever), so it essentially begs the question, since the question is about methodological approach.  I'm not trying to be obtuse, but an answer is only meaningful to the question if it directly answers the question.

Basically, it is: If someone else, using your methodology (although perhaps not heuristics which come out of that methodology), comes to a different conclusion, why would you (if you would) accept your experience over theirs without agnosticism?  This seems ludicrous to me.

I promise, even if I'm being unintentionally obtuse, I'm confident what I'm saying makes sense Tongue.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 05:45:07 pm by Alcon »Logged

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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2011, 05:49:15 pm »
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Basically, it is: If someone else, using your methodology (although perhaps not heuristics which come out of that methodology), comes to a different conclusion, why would you (if you would) accept your experience over theirs without agnosticism?  This seems ludicrous to me.

can you restate that using smaller words?  i've had 1.5 beers, which is a lot for me, even though I am 190 pounds, so I am not in any mood to fake having a vocabulary

also, if you could try to give me a hard-coded example, instead of using abstract A and B examples, it might help me understand where you're coming from
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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
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« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2011, 06:41:13 pm »
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Basically, it is: If someone else, using your methodology (although perhaps not heuristics which come out of that methodology), comes to a different conclusion, why would you (if you would) accept your experience over theirs without agnosticism?  This seems ludicrous to me.

can you restate that using smaller words?  i've had 1.5 beers, which is a lot for me, even though I am 190 pounds, so I am not in any mood to fake having a vocabulary

also, if you could try to give me a hard-coded example, instead of using abstract A and B examples, it might help me understand where you're coming from

Haha, I totally understand.  Let me try tomorrow, hopefully less sleep-deprived, and able to actually translate abstract to concrete examples.  I know most people work better when starting at concrete and moving to abstract, but alas that's not how my brain works Tongue
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 06:43:49 pm by Alcon »Logged

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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2011, 06:44:13 pm »
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As a Catholic, I do find it bizarre when people are using Bible quotes (often with very little eye for the spirit of the text in casu, which frequently could be unearthed by even a very casual lecture) as if they are the logical final point of a discussion. I'd be tempted to say that they should be the beginning of a disussionn, theological or otherwise. But this is, I suppose, very beside the question.

Also surprising is how many American evangelicals seem to deem it important to stress they only came towards a position of belief trough some sort of epiphany. I can't see how an epiphany is necessary after the ultimate epiphany of the Holy Scripture.
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« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2011, 07:54:07 pm »
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Basically, it is: If someone else, using your methodology (although perhaps not heuristics which come out of that methodology), comes to a different conclusion, why would you (if you would) accept your experience over theirs without agnosticism?  This seems ludicrous to me.

can you restate that using smaller words?  i've had 1.5 beers, which is a lot for me, even though I am 190 pounds, so I am not in any mood to fake having a vocabulary

also, if you could try to give me a hard-coded example, instead of using abstract A and B examples, it might help me understand where you're coming from

Haha, I totally understand.  Let me try tomorrow, hopefully less sleep-deprived, and able to actually translate abstract to concrete examples.  I know most people work better when starting at concrete and moving to abstract, but alas that's not how my brain works Tongue

I think I know what Alcon is trying to ask, and if it isn't what he wants to ask I'm still going to give my interpretation anyways because I'd be interested in hearing jmfcst's response.

Ok, here goes...

Jmfcst had a religious experience that he believed to be of a Christian nature, and so he has compared his experience to what is written in the scriptures and has determined that it truly was. From there he studies scripture further and comes to have a certain interpretation of it.

Billy Joe Bob Junior the Fourth, who I henceforth shall refer to as Stan just to confuse you, also had a religious experience that he believed to be of a Christian nature, and so he compared his experience to what was written in the scriptures and determined that it truly was. From there he studies scripture further and comes to have a certain interpretation of it.

However, if you were to compare the two experiences as described by these two men, they would sound very different. Also, their interpretations of scripture that too would be quite different, and in fact would be contradictory in many places. Obviously, they both can't be right, and the differences are so great that one or both of them might doubt that the source of their experience was truly of a Christian nature. Yet both of their interpretations are rather self-consistent across the scriptures, and both have arguments for their case that are rather convincing.

This leaves us with questions - is there a way to see if either of them are right? Could one or both of them be using their experience to interpret scripture rather than the other way around without realizing it? After all, even if what the Bible says is true you could still come to incorrect conclusions if you look at it the wrong way. So in such a situation where the other guy's interpretation is radically different from yours due to a different experience would you A) dismiss his experience as one from a bad spirit, B) voice doubts but not outright say that his experience was one from a bad spirit since you can't be sure, C) be completely agnostic on the subject and express no doubts, D) openly accept his experience even though it's different and lead to a different conclusion even if you think the conclusion is wrong because you think he's at least right in spirit or something like that, or E) something I didn't think of. (I suppose it could be any of these depending on the individual details of the case, but for the sake of the example I again express that the result is that there are many differences)

Also, just as an extra question to jmfcst since he believes in bad spirits that try to throw you off course: would you say there are such bad spirits that try to point people to the Bible but also try to make sure they interpret it wrong?
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« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2011, 08:49:44 am »

Alcon, I'm not sure what you're getting at.  

I reject Scientology because it is made up totally out of thin air a few decades ago.  I reject Islam because it also was made up out of thin air around 620AD and conflicts with human recorded history.

what else is there to judge it by?


Do you understand my question about A and B above?  That's an instance in which I've removed all variables (like whether you think texts are historically valid), and just left the basic question.  I can clarify if you want, but that is what I'm asking.

But I don't see this as extraordinary. Some people went to Nazi Germany and experienced the building of a great society for the future. Some people went there and experienced a horrible dictatorship constituting a menace to the world. I would argue that the latter experience was more correct. And I could take a gazillion other examples.

I sense that I'm probably missing something in your reasoning which is why I'd like for you to elaborate a bit more.

...

Perhaps an important point of clarification is that I have one very good reason to dismiss the experience of someone else - they're not me. I don't expect my experience to have any value in their reasoning and likewise I'm not going to weigh their experience in my own reasoning.

I think your example is exactly my point.  Why would someone accept their own experience, and not question their experience when confronted by someone who they assume to be lucid and rational?  If there is a strong chance that psychology and/or incidental experiential difference accounts for the difference in perception, how is some (a lot I'd think) agnosticism not inevitable?

I mean, think about that in terms of the example you just gave, and how ludicrous it would be to deny others' experiences (granted, it would be hard not to see those experiences first-hand yourself, but even still.)  I just do not think that people behave that way -- except sometimes selectively, like with religion.

No, it's not that. It's just that you're oddly vehement about this. And insistent about its importance. So, you know, a case of finding words that fit. Those don't, actually, thus your seemingly genuine state of bemusement. Or if they do fit, they don't fit very well. But better than anything else I could think of at the time.

...

That would make slightly more sense, yeah. But, again, why bother to resolve logically your argument? It doesn't seem important to me. You seem to find it very important, which is interesting. Why?

I find it interesting because others' practices confuse me, and the discussion is intellectually stimulating.  You're on a web site where people spend pages upon pages picking over Census data and precinct results.  You find it remarkable that I'd be interested in the means by which people observe existence? Tongue

Maybe we just fundamentally disagree here? If I experience apartheid as horrible and someone else experiences it as great, why would I care about their experience?

I'm still a little confused by what you mean. I agree with you that in an objective sense the epistemological value of an experience is pretty low. But to me that isn't really in contradiction to faith - only to certain ways of using experiences that I've outlined above.
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« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2011, 09:53:00 am »
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Jmfcst had a religious experience that he believed to be of a Christian nature, and so he has compared his experience to what is written in the scriptures and has determined that it truly was. From there he studies scripture further and comes to have a certain interpretation of it.

Billy Joe Bob Junior the Fourth, who I henceforth shall refer to as Stan just to confuse you, also had a religious experience that he believed to be of a Christian nature, and so he compared his experience to what was written in the scriptures and determined that it truly was. From there he studies scripture further and comes to have a certain interpretation of it.

However, if you were to compare the two experiences as described by these two men, they would sound very different. Also, their interpretations of scripture that too would be quite different, and in fact would be contradictory in many places. Obviously, they both can't be right, and the differences are so great that one or both of them might doubt that the source of their experience was truly of a Christian nature. Yet both of their interpretations are rather self-consistent across the scriptures, and both have arguments for their case that are rather convincing.

Is this a hypothetical, or are you thinking of something in particular?  In the non-salvational areas (timing of rapture, view of godhead, etc), I would agree there is room for disagreement  But in foundational issues concerning salvation (sin, faith, repentance, love, etc), I don’t know of any example that has come before this forum in the last 10 years where both sides of the argument are self-consistent across scripture.

So, you’ll have to give a specific example.

---

Here is an example of someone I disagree with on some nonsalvational issues, yet still accept him as someone who is saved.  Before watching this video, I new nothing about Kurt Warner being a Christian and basically I disliked him as a player – didn’t like the Rams style of play, and HATED his coach Dick Vermeil (due to cowboy-eagle rivalry days).

When I first started watching the video in the below thread, I thought Kurt was just rambling a bunch of nonsense, but as I continued to watch the video, what emerged from behind the views I disagreed with was a true testimony:


Did he say he believed Jesus and the Father were "two separate beings"?!

I have always thought the wording of the Trinity Doctrine, "three persons", was a very very poor choice of words that has confused many Christians, like Kurt Warner, and led Muslims and Jews to believe Christianity isn't monotheistic.

The simple truth of Christianity is that God manifested himself in human flesh, and the identity of that "being" inside of that flesh was the one and only Supreme Being, God.  And it is in complete agreement with the bible to claim that the being inside of the flesh we know as Jesus Christ, was none other than God the Father.

I figured his theological views would draw your attention jmfcst, but the whole spiritual ramblings while doodling God/Jesus was somewhat amusing/borderline crazy...Not necessarily bad crazy but the type of crazy you see when you combine John Madden, religion and a telestrator.

I actually stopped watching when I heard him claim two separate beings.

but i'll tune back in when i have a chance and listen to all of it.

just watched it.  I think he, like all of us, are kinda blow away with trying to wrap our minds around God coming to earth in the form of a man

...but now that I've seen the whole video, I think it was pretty cool and praiseworthy.  Maybe a little eccentric and slightly misguided, but Kurt Warner makes a good witness for Jesus Christ.

 
So, I didn’t accept Kurt Warner as saved due to the fact I agreed/disagreed with him on non-salvational issues, rather I accepted him because I recognized the grace of Jesus Christ within his life.

About the same thing happened at the Jerusalem council – they concluded everything Paul had been teaching was correct, but they only accepted his ministry when they recognized the grace given to Paul:

Gal 2:9 “James, Peter, and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.

I just want to go on the record to state that correct doctrine does not necessarily equate to being the real deal.  It is possible to be 100% right but still miss the boat, and it is possible to be wrong (at least in nonsalvational disputable matters) and still be saved.


But, as far as salvational matters go, I do not think you’re going to be able to come up with an example where you think both sides are in agreement with scripture.   So I think your ChristianA vs ChristianB hypothetical is just that – hypothetical.

(don’t misread the tone of my disagreement.  It is NOT hostile, I think it is a worthwhile thread, I just think you’re trying to create a puzzle that really doesn’t exist)
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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2011, 10:24:42 am »
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As a Catholic, I do find it bizarre when people are using Bible as if they are the logical final point of a discussion. I'd be tempted to say that they should be the beginning of a disussionn, theological or otherwise. But this is, I suppose, very beside the question.

But, doesn’t the NT itself quote scripture as proof of a given point? Example:

Gal 3:10 “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written [in Deut. 27:26]: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’”

If you agree the bible is the canon (i.e. standard) of the Christian faith,  surely you agree we should attempt to be in agreement with it.   Right?

---

As a Catholic, I do find it bizarre when people are using Bible quotes (often with very little eye for the spirit of the text in casu, which frequently could be unearthed by even a very casual lecture)

Please speak up anytime you think something is taken out of context.

---

Also surprising is how many American evangelicals seem to deem it important to stress they only came towards a position of belief trough some sort of epiphany. I can't see how an epiphany is necessary after the ultimate epiphany of the Holy Scripture.

Are you attempting to say the NT itself is a replacement for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2011, 10:31:20 am »
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You remembered a post of mine/conversation of ours from 2+ years ago?

Kudos.  I really need more fish oil/omega 3 in my diet.
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« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2011, 10:37:33 am »
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You remembered a post of mine/conversation of ours from 2+ years ago?

Kudos.  I really need more fish oil/omega 3 in my diet.

well, to be honest, it was Kurt Warner's testimony that made it memorable to me.  but at least you're in there somewhere...


Navin: I know this is our first date but, do you think the next
time you make love to your boyfriend, you could think of me?

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Navin: I'd just be happy to be in there somewhere.

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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

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« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2011, 10:41:02 am »
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What is Kurt Warner doing nowadays...glad he's off the field, the dude always got the better of the Eagles when it counted (ie not his days with the Giants).
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« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2011, 10:42:52 am »
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What is Kurt Warner doing nowadays...glad he's off the field, the dude always got the better of the Eagles when it counted (ie not his days with the Giants).

He's an analyst for NFL network.  And.. I heard he was a contestant on dancing with the stars.
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« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2011, 10:47:29 am »
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What is Kurt Warner doing nowadays...glad he's off the field, the dude always got the better of the Eagles when it counted (ie not his days with the Giants).

He's an analyst for NFL network.  And.. I heard he was a contestant on dancing with the stars.

Ah.  Don't watch DWTS (i believe thats the abbrevation used)...and rarely watch NFL network.  Decent enough guy. 
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« Reply #40 on: May 02, 2011, 10:57:29 am »
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Jmfcst had a religious experience that he believed to be of a Christian nature, and so he has compared his experience to what is written in the scriptures and has determined that it truly was. From there he studies scripture further and comes to have a certain interpretation of it.

Billy Joe Bob Junior the Fourth, who I henceforth shall refer to as Stan just to confuse you, also had a religious experience that he believed to be of a Christian nature, and so he compared his experience to what was written in the scriptures and determined that it truly was. From there he studies scripture further and comes to have a certain interpretation of it.

However, if you were to compare the two experiences as described by these two men, they would sound very different. Also, their interpretations of scripture that too would be quite different, and in fact would be contradictory in many places. Obviously, they both can't be right, and the differences are so great that one or both of them might doubt that the source of their experience was truly of a Christian nature. Yet both of their interpretations are rather self-consistent across the scriptures, and both have arguments for their case that are rather convincing.

Is this a hypothetical, or are you thinking of something in particular?  In the non-salvational areas (timing of rapture, view of godhead, etc), I would agree there is room for disagreement  But in foundational issues concerning salvation (sin, faith, repentance, love, etc), I don’t know of any example that has come before this forum in the last 10 years where both sides of the argument are self-consistent across scripture.

So, you’ll have to give a specific example.

It's a broad hypothetical, not necessarily speaking to one particular part of the Bible, so I don't have a specific example to give. The point of focus is supposed to be on both people claiming to have had a religious experience and not necessarily on the particulars of their disagreements, but rather the fact that they had radical disagreements.

Anyways, the rest of your answer sufficiently answer the first question I think, though Alcon will have to comment since it was him asking originally. If you would could you give your opinion on the second one I asked?
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« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2011, 10:59:56 am »
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Deu 6:5    Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Mat 22:37    Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
Mat 22:38    This is the first and greatest commandment.
Mat 22:39    And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Mat 22:40    All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

In my opinion, this completely debunks the opinions of those who would "bash" others based on race, religion, or sexuality.  Even if God himself (And I don't pretend to know the mind of God) disapproves of certain acts, it has been commanded that we Love him, and our neighbors.


And... To address the issue of an epiphany, here's a site that might explain..

http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/experience_god_directly.html


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« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2011, 11:30:38 am »
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If you would could you give your opinion on the second one I asked?

was this the 2nd question:

Also, just as an extra question to jmfcst since he believes in bad spirits that try to throw you off course: would you say there are such bad spirits that try to point people to the Bible but also try to make sure they interpret it wrong?

I think this question is answered by the original deception:

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Eve is not the one who brought up the word of God, rather it was the serpent. Also, the devil attempted to use misuse scripture when he tempted Jesus Christ in the desert.

mat 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
   and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’(Psalm 91:11,12)”


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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
jmfcst
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« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2011, 08:14:19 pm »
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Dibble,

Not that it is conclusive or anything, but do you see how the part of my testimony concerning being made aware of the battle of spiritual forces behind the deception of Armstrongism is yet another area where my testimony is exactly in line with scripture?  

That’s not to say my doctrine is exactly in line with scripture, for my doctrine has some elements of my own influence (my own study, my own knowledge of scripture, etc, etc)…but my testimony was not a product of anything I purposely set out to do, and certainly wasn’t a product of my knowledge of scripture at the time, rather it was a revelation that was given to me.  Which is why my doctrine isn’t perfect, but the revelation given to me is.

That’s not to say my testimony includes every facet of scripture; it doesn’t (e.g. I didn’t speak in tongues).  But every facet of my testimony is included within scripture, and, obviously, there are many facets of my testimony I haven’t even discovered yet.  And even the facets of scripture my testimony lacks (e.g. not speaking in tongues), the lacking of some facets is in itself backed up by scripture:

1Cor 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.”

Obviously, the answer to this rhetorical line of questioning is “No”.  All Christians are not apostles, all are not prophets, all are not teachers, all are not miracle workers, all do not have the gifts of healing, all do not speak in tongues, all do not interpret someone else speaking in tongues…rather God has distributed his different gifts to different members of the body of Christ so that together they may function as one complete body.


So, as there are differing gifts, there are differing experiences.  Just because someone doesn’t have the same experience I did, that doesn’t mean their experience is less real. They may not have needed my experience, and I may not have needed theirs.  My experience happened the way it did do due to the commission God had planned out for me – to go and witness to my friends entangled in Armstrongism.

In fact, after being given my commission, I attempted not to go through with it – I didn’t want to have to go tell my friends since college that they were deceived.  I had been over to their houses many times and had eaten dinner with their parents.  And my girlfriend and I had decided a couple of days before my conversion not to contact each other until I had looked into their church (we were falling in love and so she slammed on the brakes and said it wasn’t right for her to date outside of the church, and since I already knew a lot of members of her church, I said I would check it out, but wanted to do so without her influence so that I could be convinced on my own accord…I didn’t want to be half way convinced, marry her, and then us get a divorce due to religious differences…it was a strangely heavy conversation after only a couple of months of dating…….so we agreed to stop dating while I looked into it).

I think it was a Wednesday night when I was saved (10/28/92), and we had decided a couple of days before that not to talk to each other until after I looked into it.  And I didn’t call her the night I was saved, rather I thought I perform my duty my writing her a letter and explaining what happened.  I was working on a draft of that letter when one or two days after I was saved, I got a letter from her saying she was too confounded and thought it be best we didn’t speak to each other again.   Which was fine with me because I didn’t want to do what God told me to do, and I said to myself, “Well, I know God told me to go tell them the truth, but this letter from her got me off the hook easy, I don’t have to call her again…problem solved.”  

I had a great remainder of the week and weekend and immersed myself in scripture, enjoying my new life and my relationship with God.  Then I get home from work the following Monday and she had left a message on my answering machine explaining that she felt bad about the way she had cut me off and how she would like to get together and study.  So, we had a “conversation” on the phone that night, and of course, I spilled the beans COMPLETELY.  Her roommate also went to that church as was dating one of my good friends from that church and she was pulled into the phone conversation…needless to say, it was only a matter of hours before my main circle of friends thought I had not only gone completely crazy, but also was quite taken back by my testimony.  And so it began.

But the neatest thing about the manner in which God went about saving me, was that not only did he save me, but he used my future wife (Michelle) to do so, the girl whom just one year before I couldn’t understand why I felt such a common destiny with her soul the instant I laid eyes on her.  The one I would chastise myself for being infatuated with, the one I would say to myself, “What's wrong with you jmfcst, you don’t even know this girl, Michelle? Who is she anyways? Look at her.  Look at you.  You don’t believe in soul mates or love at first sight.  You’re a dude’s dude and there are at least a couple of hundred millions girls in the world you would like to date.  Shake it off.   Forget about her.”

But I couldn’t shake her off, and I would spend the next year making sure everything in Michelle’s life went smoothly as I could make it, from her transition moving from Buffalo to Houston, to having other guys check up on her for me.  I would set up whole get-togethers with the gang and made sure she was invited and had a ticket to whatever event we were going to.  And I made sure my date was the hottest and had the most going for her out of the bunch and arranged the seating so that Michelle would be sitting by me and my date so that she would know I was way out of her league.  I wrote her  a whole series of love letters, odd because I didn’t write love letters to any other girl,  but never mailed a one; instead I kept them knowing some day she would read them.  Well, I say love letters, they were more like love-hate letters telling her she was a one huge thorn in my side, but that I loved her, and hated her for loving her.

Until about a year after I first met her, we ending up at a pool party (the kind of pool party you mingle at, not the kind you swim at) at a chartered public pool and neither of us had a date with us.  And I was very angry, at her and myself, because I wanted to ask her out but was pissed that I couldn’t explain my infatuation with her and ended up being extremely rude to her at the party – we each bounced around different friends as we worked our way towards each other and once we came together and exchanged greetings I small-talked with her for a couple of seconds and then did the following;

Me:  “So, when did you get here?” (knowing exactly the instant she walked into the party)
Michelle:  “oh, about 20 minutes ago.”
Me:  “Oh, you’ve been here 20 minutes?”....[changing my tone to a blow off tone] “I’ve only noticed you for ten.” (and I left her standing there and walked right past her)


Ha!  Not a smooth move, but I didn’t intend it to be smooth.  I was pissed for finally stumbling onto a girl I couldn’t forget.  She was taken aback by my rudeness and would comment afterward to several people at the party, “What the heck is wrong with Jay, he was so rude to me just now?!”  I would end up calling her a couple of nights later and asking her out, and giving her the pile of letters about two months after that – which is what prompted her to slam on the brakes to stop her fall with someone outside of her church.  But, I still use that line to this day on her, “Oh, you’ve been here 20 minutes?....I’ve only noticed you for ten.”  It always makes her roll her eyes – she doesn’t like weird behavior – or at least has never been able to comprehend it.

But because God placed that deep connection within me regarding her, she’s always been defined in my eyes as the focus God brought into my life in order to lead me to believe in Christ.  So, not only did God save me, he also gave me a wife (or maybe he knew a woman was the best way to get my attention).  God caught me by trickery, which is also scriptural.  And because she is defined that way to me, there is nothing she nor I could ever do to ever change her definition, for she was defined to me before she ever looked my way.  

1Cor 12:14 “What I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!

He used a woman to save a womanizer who walked all over women, and allowed me to wonder for a year why I had such a strong sense that my destiny involved her, when it was Christ using her to attract me to himself all along.  That was one sly and amazing trick God played on me.  I am glad my God has a sense of humor, for his humor always includes blessings.

Also, google “I caught you by trickery."  You’ll find a bunch of antichristian sites attempting to use the verse to discredit Christianity.  Like this one:

http://www.answering-christianity.com/bassam_zawadi/was_paul_a_deciever.htm

They don’t even understand the verse.


« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 08:22:47 pm by jmfcst »Logged

Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
jmfcst
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« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2011, 08:42:48 pm »
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another example of God using trickery (and no pun intended between this story and the story about my wife):

Ex 3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
 4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

Moses' was simply going about his business, doing what he normally does, when his attention was caught by something he couldn't understand, something he didn't think was possible.  And when Moses turned aside to confront this "strangeness" he couldnt comprehend, he found God.  Moses thought his attention was captured by a burning bush, but it was really God that was capturing his attention.

"crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!”

---

Here is another site, a "Christian" one this time, using Paul's "trickery" comment against him to show that you're only to live by the letters in red:

http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/Recommended-Reading/eden-on-false-apostle.html

what a goober of a site, lol
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 08:44:24 pm by jmfcst »Logged

Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
jmfcst
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« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2011, 08:51:13 pm »
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Here is another site, a "Christian" one this time, using Paul's "trickery" comment against him to show that you're only to live by the letters in red:

http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/Recommended-Reading/eden-on-false-apostle.html

what a goober of a site, lol

wow, that entire "Christian" site is dedicated to trashing Paul....Now, here is a perfect example for Alcon to test and remove me completely from the picture:

Paul vs. www.jesuswordsonly.com

you should be able to use to your own "eyesight" to see which one is telling the truth and which one is full of beans.
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
jmfcst
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« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2011, 08:59:38 pm »
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here's the creditials of the author of that site:

Quote
The author is a California litigation attorney, in practice for twenty-nine years. In school, he studied Classical Greek and Latin and achieved designation as a Classical Language Scholar. He is also fluent in Spanish and Italian. He graduated law school cum laude in 1981, and was on the board of Law Review.

The author became a Christian at age 15 at a campout of Faith Bible Church on a visit to Florida. Back home in New York City, he was baptized in a Baptist church, and attended a Baptist church for several years. Later, in Los Angeles, he joined the Christian Church for several years and then for 15 years he belonged to a conservative Presbyterian Church. At each church in California, he served as legal advisor. In 1998-2001, the author served as a self-funded missionary abroad in Costa Rica with his wife. They served in an outreach to the very poor in a community known as Las Tablas. In this period, the author was exposed to the Assembly of God/Church of God, and fellowshipped regularly with them. As the author also explains, this is where a sub-group created a home church where Jesus was the Pastor and sole teacher. (For this experience, see Jesus on Church Structure.) Now back in California, the author first attended a Messianic congregation, but now currently fellowships at an Assembly of God church.

A true scholar and prolific author, the author approaches his extensive treatises on spiritual faith from a truly unique perspective. As an accomplished attorney for many years, he advances each quest-to-substantiate through exhaustive research, meticulous analysis, thorough presentation of opposing points-of-view, and indisputable verifications in defining his own interpretations of Christianity and the Bible. In the end, he presents a faithful answer, providing an incomparable bottom-line truth of what is conveyed in the inspired Bible.


i need some popcorn...and a beer
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2011, 10:23:47 pm »
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Dibble,

Not that it is conclusive or anything, but do you see how the part of my testimony concerning being made aware of the battle of spiritual forces behind the deception of Armstrongism is yet another area where my testimony is exactly in line with scripture?

Not quite sure which testimony you're talking about, so I can't say I really care whether it's in line with scripture or not. It really isn't relevant anyways - whatever experience you had only pertains to you, and is not demonstrably true to others such as myself. From my perspective your claims are not so much different in nature than any other claim to a supernatural experience, and that you have a way to describe whatever testimony it might be in such a way that it might be consistent with your preferred religious text isn't really interesting since people do that all that time.

For the rest of it... tl;dr.
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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2011, 12:09:14 am »
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For the rest of it... tl;dr.

guess I was talking to myself then...that's ok.  got nothing better to do in Boston.
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Grad Students are the Worst
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« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2011, 10:48:29 pm »
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I'm a little confused by the side debate with jmfcst, and I don't see any response to Dibble's paraphrase, so I'm going to cut in back here:

Maybe we just fundamentally disagree here? If I experience apartheid as horrible and someone else experiences it as great, why would I care about their experience?

...Because you can accept both experiences in your decision-making process, while not having to compromise your overall conclusion.  This is a obviously not analogous, though.  Different results using the same methodology indicates one of two things: One, that application of the methodology has some level of subjectivity involved, which is grounds for some agnosticism.  Two, that the input is different, at which point you can evaluate the new information, as long as the source seems legit.  I think your South Africa example falls into the trap of assuming that #2 is impossible or impractical.  Which would make it completely OK to support Hitler on the basis you haven't seen Jews suffer with your own eyes, I guess?  This seems both logically arbitrary and dangerous to me.

(I haven't thought through this argument 100% formally, but I'm quite sure I disagree with your stuff on the modal logic behind empiricism, if you want to call it that.)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 10:55:15 pm by Alcon »Logged

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