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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

By now if you are a regular or even semi-reader of the Apologia Christi blog you could easily come to the conclusion that I do not have much interest into eschatology. Rather than get heated over an issue in the church that tends to cause nothing but strife and division*, the only conviction I have in the matter is this: "One day Christ will return and fulfill His promise to save His beloved. Satan will be defeated once and for all. Redemption and justification will be finalized. And lastly, we will forever be in the midst of our Heavely Creator." The details of when, how, where, and what countries will be involved are perochial matters that I would rather wait to find out than to speculate and cause unnecessary division.

Do not get me wrong, though. I do believe particular views sound more convincing than others and I am open to hearing their arguments and the evidence for the view they take. One such view I find pretty convincing, though not exhaustive enough to completely persuade me is the amillenialist view put forth by Kim Riddlebarger.

Today marks the day (pun intended) that Kim Riddlebarger releases his new book entitled, "Man of Sin." Here is the description given by Riddlebarger:

"In my book, The Man of Sin, I attempt to make the case that the church has faced many "antichrists" from the days of the apostles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).

I also contend that the beast from the land is imperial Rome (Revelation 13:1-10) and the beast from the sea is the emperor cult in Asia Minor (Revelation 13:11-18) when John was given the vision we now know as the Book of Revelation, about A. D. 95. The dragon empowers the state and its leader (the false prophet) to turn on all those who confess "Jesus is Lord." To confess "Jesus is Lord" is to simultaneously confess that "Caesar isn't!"

John implies that what is represented by the beast (a satanically energized state waging war on the church) will reoccur throughout the course of this age (Revelation 17:9-18), and will finally culminate in a great apostasy and out-pouring of evil at the end of this age (Revelation 20:7-10), when Satan is released from the Abyss, only to go to his final destruction.

Paul's discussion of the "man of sin" (lawlessness) in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, fits with this as well. Paul speaks of someone in the church (the temple of God--which I believe is not a reference to the temple in Jerusalem, either in AD 70 or in the future), who proclaims himself God, demands worship, and deceives many through Satanic power. Paul likewise ties this to a final apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3). While image of a deceiver in the church surely fits with the papacy (which is an antichrist institution), Paul ties the revelation of this particular individual to the time of the end (2:8). The appearance of the man of sin and the final apostasy are harbingers of the end."
Instead of boosting the opening day ticket sales of the new movie "Omen", divert your money into a better investment by purchasing Kim Riddlebargers new book, "Man of Sin." I bought it this morning, and I am enjoying every page.



Footnote: *Division alone is not inherently bad. Take for instance the division Christ made with the Pharisitical teachings. The division I mentioned here pertains to unnecessary and non-productive change. In otherwords, Christ was not the reason for the change, but man's convention drived the split.

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Cross-blogged at Apologia Christi

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20 comments:

Looks like an interesting read.

Thanks

6-6-06. This is fun, but in a make-fun-of-the-superstitious-people kind of way. Of course, there's no such thing as gods, demons, angels, ghosts, et cetera.

Layman, I'm sure for those who are even slightly interested in this topic the book will far exceed their expectations. Riddlebarger presents some really good material here.

Freethinker,
What grounds your belief that God, demons, and angels do not exist?

AC, that would be the same grounds of my (dis)belief in unicorns, leprechauns, and Santa Claus.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Freethinker,
Again I ask, that grounding would be what? In other words, what is the best evidence you have that supports your claim?

Concepts like gods, demons, angels, ghosts, unicorns, leprechauns, and Santa Claus don't really exist because they are mythological creatures. If they were real, couldn't you take a picure?

Of course, the statement that gods, demons, etc. are mythological is simply restating the same argument you stated before. But I do find it interesting that you think something has to be able to have a picture taken of it before its real. So, you don't believe in love? You don't believe in the laws of logic? Both of those are things that most people would admit exist, but aren't the types of things that can be photographed.

What I find interesting is the notion that nothing existed until Johann Zahn invented the camera.

BK ~ Of course not. Love, laws, logic are abstract concepts, not "creatures."

Do you belive in unicorns? If not, what is the best evidence you have that supports your claim?

Layman ~ The world is much older than the 150 or so years since photography! There are other avenues of evidence.

So you define real as being able to take a picture of it. It has to be able to be seen or touched.

I'm wondering, do you believe you have thoughts? When surgeons operate on patients heads, do they have to remove the thoughts out of the way to reach their objective? No, this is just philosophical naturalism at it's worst. But you wouldn't deny that you have thoughts. They are immaterial, yet they exist.

What about right and wrong, do you believe they don't exist? You cannot photograph "good" or "bad." By your own measure ethics and morals are illusiory. However, you know you don't live this way.

Do you believe Math is real? When someone draws the number 5, they are using something called a token. This merely represents the actual number. But the number itself is not capable of being physically accessed. Based on your definition of real, how do you make sense of this?

There are many things that exist that cannot not be photographed. Can you take a picture of "love?" Of course not, but I seriously doubt you think love is mythological.

I'll grant there are better reason's someone would deny the existence of God (although ultimately I think they fail to the evidence for Him), but to reject God on grounds that he cannot be photographed seems counterintuitive to the MANY things that exist, which are not able to be captured on film.

What say you?

Hmm. I thought there might be "other avenues of evidence" other than taking a picture of something.

Because that is the case, I cannot take very seriously your statement that we be able to take pictures of something for it to really exist.

Freethinker, certainly you understand that God -- as described in the Bible -- is not a creature, don't you? The one time that he made an appearance on earth in the flesh was 2,000 years ago when there weren't any cameras.

Second, I never argue that unicorns don't exist -- I just acknowledge that there is no evidence for their existence and no one seriously believes that unicorns exist. But God is a different story. There is much evidence that he exists even if -- like dark matter in physics -- we have not been able to directly perceive Him. Rather, we know of His existence through the signs that He has left.

One of the signs, and one that I find quite convincing, is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived on this earth about 2,000 years ago, preached that he was God incarnate, performed many miracles, was crucified, died and was buried, but on the third day he self-volitionally rose again from the dead and appeared to many people after his death. Quite a strong case for God -- unicorns have nothing on that. :)

AC and Layman ~ Looks like we all agree that concepts like thought, love, morality, and math are very real. But you both avoided my question:

Do you believe in unicorns? If not, what is the best evidence you have that supports your claim?

I suspect your answers would mirror mine for not believing in any mythological creatures.

There are different degrees of evidence for claims made, and the more extraordinary the claim (Magical little green folk at the end of the rainbow? Colorful flying horse-like animals with a pointy horn? An invisible man that lives in the sky?), the more extraordinary evidence is required!

I'm sure you apply this reasoning to most things. Otherwise, you'd fall for anything!

FT,

I think you misunderstood me. I said nothing about concepts. I merely agreed with you that there are other avenues for proving that something exists beyond the present ability to take a picture of it.

I have never had any reason to believe in Unicorns. So yes, obviously I have not fallen for "anything."

And it may help you to know that argument by contempt is not all that persuasive. In fact, it is not an argument at all. It is an insult. There are many reasons people believe in God, and they are not reasons that lend themselves to belief in unicorns. This should be obvious because billions of people believe in God yet no one believes in unicorns.

To feign ignorance of the arguments for God's existence and to pretend they are the same as those for unicorns just comes across as petty. Either you know of these arguments and are ignoring them or you are really one ignorant freethinker.

Here are many of the nonexperiential ones.

FreeThinker said...
BK ~ Of course not. Love, laws, logic are abstract concepts, not "creatures."

Do you belive in unicorns? If not, what is the best evidence you have that supports your claim?

Layman ~ The world is much older than the 150 or so years since photography! There are other avenues



>>>hey guess what? God's not a creature either. So why do we need evidence?

Freethinker said:Do you believe in unicorns? If not, what is the best evidence you have that supports your claim?

I suspect your answers would mirror mine for not believing in any mythological creatures.

There are different degrees of evidence for claims made, and the more extraordinary the claim (Magical little green folk at the end of the rainbow? Colorful flying horse-like animals with a pointy horn? An invisible man that lives in the sky?), the more extraordinary evidence is required!

I'm sure you apply this reasoning to most things. Otherwise, you'd fall for anything!

2:22 PM

>>> trying to compare God to items in the universe is like trying to measuer c speed with a speedometer. You can't do it becasue it's the constant by which all speed is measured. God is the basic framework of reality, "he" will always be off scale.

when you show me scientific data to prove that we are not brains in vats, or buttlerflys dreaming we are men, then I'll listen to you. Until then you don't know what you are you are talking about.

666 = Nero Cesar.

It's not a date, get over it.

freethinker (or basically anything but) - First of all, just to get a jist of what these bloggers are talking about is that they think there is good archaeological, historical, and textual EVIDENCE (and there is plenty) to believe that Jesus more or less said and did the things preserved in the New Testament. Based on that evidence, we examine Jesus' deeds, his teachings, his claims, his sacrifice, and his final victory and we Christians think it gives his words authority. He claimed to be representing one true God that created everything and whom has plans and expectations for us. Christians know what Jesus did, so they trust when he says that an underlying sentience exists that meant for us to do something. So first evidence, then trust(faith). Plus most of the arguments against God end up making very little sense. Arguing the existence of God is like arguing if things happen for a reason or not. No one can really give any physical evidence that life has one true meaning or none at all, so why believe either if you can't see tangible proof for either? Yet I'm sure when it comes to one true meaning to life you don't believe in one, at least in one that really makes any sense in context. What evidence is there for thinking there is no God? None really. I myself am a psych major with a focus in evolutionary psychology, so playing that tired old "evolution disproves God" argument that makes no sense won't work with me. God lies outside of the physically verifiable, but he's left a message on people's lives and on history that has convinced billions of people and, believe it or not, many of them have been more knowledgeable intelligent than you or I.

Plus what humanity will never know is infinite and that will always be the case. There are so many things that very well could exist, but we haven't seen them yet or we couldn't understand if we saw them or they are things that cannot be seen in this life. Do you believe the big bang happened? You can't see it or take a picture. Do you believe Jesus existed? You can't see him or take a picture. Do you believe in the possibility of other dimensions? You can't take a picture or see those. Your criteria is sadly inadequate to seek truth in life and cutting yourself off to only the things you can see shows how arrogant many people have become.

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