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So, just why should be believe this whole "Bible" thing, and are atheists right in their extremely common accusation that "Religion" has no proof behind it? Warning: TL;DR causing.
Posted by TLhikan on Mar 24th, 2012
Well, obviously I think that the answer to the second question is "flak no!", but you can't just say that and have a whole article, partially because there are actually two questions up in the summary, and partially because no one believe things I tell them.
Anyhow, it's a great debate of our times and a lot of other people's times' too: Does God exist, and can we prove it if he does?
Well obviously a sentient spambot highschool student isn't going to settle this debate in a singe article on a sight that ultimately is for people venting their frustration on why their favorite video games aren't like they should be in those people's heads in the most creative and resource-intensive way possible.
But no harm in trying, right?
Anyway, how do we know there is a God? Well first of, we have to start with a few presuppositions (things both sides of the debate have to agree on if they want the debate to be possible):
1. We exist, our world exists, and we are capable of making rational observations about that world.
Should be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised.
2. The consequences of God existing or not have no bearing on the question of whether he does.
If he does, then he does, and the question "why is there so much bad stuff in the world?" or "But Christians are responsible for stuff like the Salem Witch trials or The Crusades or Joel Osteen!" doesn't really have anything to do with it. Not that it's not a good question, it's just not pertinent to this discussion. The same goes for "If there is no God, why should we act morally?".
3. Someone is right, and someone is wrong.
Our point in this is to find out which one it is, not "put our opinions foreword and agree to disagree". We already agree that we disagree and for most of us, our opinions are pretty flakking forward.
4. TLhikan likes to rant and get off topic.
It makes the article easier and more fun to read.
Now, on to the what I've been ostensibly leading up to.
Any question of "does God exist" by definition brings us the question of "which one?" Their are a lot of them, and they are not all the same by far. So for the purpose of this article, I'm going with the one in the Bible, for reasons that may or may not become clear as this article progresses.
We know that there is a God from two sources: Nature, and what God has revealed about himself, which we call "The Bible".
What does Nature tell us? Well, it tells us that their is no rational and scientific explanation for how it got there (here? blargh grammar) by itself. It tells us that life is cannot arise from non-life, nor gain new genetic information. It tells us that this universe is incredibly complex, and that it is literally impossible to have arisen by random processes, both because of probability, and because those random processes don't actually work in the first place. It tells us that someone had to have made this.
In other words, looking at nature, we see that God in some form must exist, but the classic questions that I said earlier wouldn't be an issue in this come up. Why so much suffering? Is this creator(s) angry, powerless, uncaring, dualistic? Do we have to please him/her/it/them?
This is where all religions save one (and my you are going to protest the exclusion of the one) fail, because they make assumptions. They say "well, I think God is like this (and the "this" is often "us"), and if we do this that or the other thing we can please him/her/it/them and go to a nice place after we die.
Most non-religious or nominally religions people thing that that is all all religion works: If there's a god, we make our tradition-based guesses on what he/she/it/them's like, so who can tell who's right?
Ah, but we forget something: If a supreme being or beings exist, might it be that he/she/you should get the picture by now actually care what we as humans thing of him/her/yadda yadda yadda?
That is where the Bible comes in.
Now, you may be saying to yourself "Why the Bible? Plenty of books and people claim to speak for God!".
Well first off, that's another question that really deserves it's own article, but I hope to weave a theme into this one that it has to be the God of the Bible or it just doesn't make sense.
Well first and foremost, we have this guy called Jesus. We know he existed; aside from the four biographies we have of him written by eye witnesses, people like Pliny and Josephus mention him. Not bad for a guys who never walked outside of a backwater Roman province.
And we know that he had followers, and that he was crucified for treason against the Roman Government, and that three days as reckoned by first-century Jews those followers started claiming that not only was that dead guy the Messiah of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of the tons of prophecies in that Old Tesament, he was also God and as it turns out, no longer a dead guy.
And although there was only eleven of those guys at the start, the empire that ruled the world was incapable of suppressing that message no matter how many of those eleven were beheaded or stoned or crucified or boiled in oil or all four, they and hundreds more went to their graves saying with their last breath that that guy, Jesus, had risen from the dead and that what he had done by doing that and dying in the first place answers all of those questions we have.
So it should come to no surprise that a few of those guys wrote down what they had seen, because it was kind of a big deal and it didn't take long for people to start getting it wrong and adding all sorts of weird stuff for Dan Brown to write books about millennia (shut up Google Chrome that's how it's spelled) later.
So, we have two of those eleven I mentioned, one doctor who interviewed a lot of people, and Jesus's right-hand man's apprentice who only shows up like twice in the actual story writing detailed accounts of his life that are simultaneously not contradictory and possessive of unique literary styles and themes that the four authors did not collaborate much on their "Gospels".
Interesting fact, the most likely dates for the writing of the Gospels based on manuscripts and people quoting them and such are as follows: Matthew: Between A.D. 50 and 70, Mark: A.D. 55 to 70, Luke: Before A.D. 62, John: Between A.D. 70 and A.D. 90something.
Anyhow, looking into those gospels, we see that Jesus actually claimed to be the God of the Jewish Old Testament. He claimed the authority to forgive people's sins, to speak on his own authority, to be greater than Moses and Abraham, and his enemies, the self-righteous and legalistic Pharisees understood this. That's why they wanted him killed; he was a blasphemer, and could try to lead the people in a revolution against Rome.
When asked "What sign do you give us that you have the authority to do and stay stuff like this?"(I'm paraphrasing), Jesus told them "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again". We know that he's actually taking about his own body. Jesus is saying that if you want to test him, do see if these claims of deity have any merit to them, then kill him and he'll come back in three days.
And they did.
Jesus died, very, very painfully, and for a lot of movements, that would have been the end. It certainly looked like it for a while.
Then Jesus rose from the dead.
His tomb was empty. He showed up to people. Not just one and not just once, but to hundreds, several times. He ate with people, he talked to people, and then he went up to heaven.
If it's not clear yet, then this whole debate rests on that question. Jesus rising from the head. Both sides can and should explore all the other arguments both ways, but Jesus Christ's rising from the dead is the last hill the Christian dies on.
There are of course many objections and arguments people bring to the table as to what could have happened that Easter Morning.
Did the disciples bribe the guards? No, these where professional Roman Soldiers backed by the very wealth Jewish elite; what did a bunch of fishermen who hadn't even been fishing for three years and had had a thief in charge of their treasury for that time have to offer.
Maybe Jesus just fainted? Mate, if I explained to you the physical damage being beaten, scourged, crucified, stabbed, and embalmed entailed, then you might puke. Anyone who went through that would be dead, not in the position to roll a several-ton stone away, fight off a squad of professional soldiers, and appear later passing himself off as having rose from the dead.
Was it all a hallucination? Hallucination's don't work that way, among large groups of undrugged people. And even drugged people don't have coherent and recurring hallucinations for no reason (other than the drug thing).
Did the women go to the wrong tomb, then the Disciples went to that same wrong tomb, then again to the same wrong tomb, and the Pharisees also go to the same wrong tomb when trying to disprove them? Do I even have to answer that one?
So, Jesus rose from the dead. That could have meant a lot of things, but it's a good idea to assume that it meant what he said it meant: Jesus was the God of the Old Testament.
So the God of the Old Testament had to exist.
That is why I believe in Christianity. No matter what any atheist says their is proof of God's existence and saying otherwise doesn't make it so. Christianity is true, and I could go on for flakking paragraphs exploring more and more proof, but that one is the one you have to deal with my atheist friend.
But why should we care? Why should I try to convince you that God exists? Why should you try to convince me he doesn't?
I'd be quite interested in hearing the answer to the second question, but the first is simple.
Jesus rose from the dead. But first he had to die.
Why? Why die? He was and is God after all, what does he have to die for?
Well, it's all my fault.
Yours too, but I hate to seem like I'm pointing fingers.
You see, God created our first parents like him: Good. Perfect. Sinless. Holy.
The whole world was that way, and for the only time in human existence, we had a real choice: God, or an apple/mango/purple grenade (ok, we don't know what it was). But it was bad, and it was the only commandment they had: Don't eat it.
They ate it.
They chose to disobey God, and in doing so, they chose that every single one of their ancestors, you, me, Mother Teresa, the Pope, George Washington, Gandhi, everybody would disobey God, would be born as rebels, would give God the middle finger before we even had fingers, would deserve to be punished forever.
That is what I deserve. I deserve to go to hell. Me. TLhikan (which isn't my real name). God is (or was, as you'll see) mad as flak at me and I earned every bit of it.
God is perfectly just, and cannot let wrong go unpunished (and really, do we want him to?). So someone had to pay. Someone had to bear his wrath, and it was supposed to be me and you.
But God is inexplicably kind and merciful and gracious, so he chose a different option. He chose, rather than punish everybody, he would save some of them.
He chose to die instead.
Because only God could make the sacrifice. Only God could achieve his own standard (perfection). So God made it.
When Jesus died, he had all the "sin" on my account transferred to him and all of his righteousness put in it's place.
That is why being a Christian matters, why believing in God matters, why I bother to spend an evening on a website dedicated to messing with our favorite video games to type several thousand words only about seven people will read.
So is their proof that their is a God? Yes. Do you believe it? Maybe. Is it important?
Nothing is more important.