Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Can Faith Be Proven?

Awhile back Apostle Pack gave it his best shot at proving God's existence with his bombastic and self assured outdated, badly restated, greatly glitterated , memorized but not studied, copied and plagarized from creationist lit long ago negated but nicely mistated.   His presentation was obliterated by Aron Ra leaving anyone with an interest in knowing if Dave knows what he is taking about, which he doesn't.

I have never seen a creationist argument out of a need to prove religious truths scientifically and with the scientific method, as they twist and manipulate it or don't even understand it, succeed.  The conclusion is already believed and the "facts" are used to prove what they already know and can't not know to be true because it is religion, which cannot be proven to begin with but dare not be denied.

 Religion is a function of faith not facts and as time goes on and on, the facts tend to obliterate that which used to be understood by faith.  Science well done has not once reverted back to faith.  Faith issues have often had to yield to scientific inquiry done well with good conclusions about the truth of a matter settling the matter with more details yet and always to follow over time. Is faith really just believing what deep inside you know or suspect probably isn't actually so?

"Ignor-ance is not only what you don't know, it's what you won't know"

Growing up Presbyterian,  no one said and not once did I ever hear a sermon on "prove me now herewith and see if..." or "Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good." They really had no big issues that needed that kind of attention. Is that really possible with issues of faith?  If I had, I would have wondered just how do you do that anyway.  Oh I know that archaeologists have tried to prove this or that event in the Bible but haven't done all that well and often these days, the opposite has been shown to be more the case. Cosmologist has show us just how insignificant egocentric humans are and those who do the hard work and study of human origins have laid the Adam and Eve myth to rest long long ago for those not threatened by the facts. 

Everything religious is taken on faith is it not?   "He that comes to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS...."   Faith, as expressed in scripture leaves facts out of the mix.  Is that not the formula we find in Hebrews 11?

"Now faith is the substance of what we hope for . The evidence of things not seen."

Is that not the same as saying ...

"Now faith is the substance of what we hope is true. The evidence of things for which we have no evidence"?

In WCG I was assured I could "prove" God's laws of tithing by doing it and seeing if the windows of heaven did not open up.  Ummm......and ummmm.

There is not one conversation in the OT that I can prove in any real sense ever was actually spoken n by the person or even god that is said to have spoken it. There is not one person in the OT I can actually proved ever really existed.  I suspect the Priests of that God got together and said,  "Let's say this" or "Let's command that."   Well trained  archaeologists with everything to lose say no to Moses, Abraham, Solomon and possibly even David and that "we exaggerate and the Old Testament, as you call it, is a small cultic people giving themselves a large pedigree while in captivity."
(Israel  Finkelstein  Author of The Bible Unearthed, to me personally  sitting at a picnic table at Tel Megiddo where he is the lead archaeologist)

Who knew what God said at creation?  Who wrote down or knew the exact conversation Abraham had with Isaac alone before almost sacrificing him?  Who knew the words of Jesus, alone in the Garden with sleeping disciples or what Pilate's wife told him in private?  Who wrote down or knew the exact words of the long winded speeches of Stephen or of Jesus at the last Passover of which the other Gospels knew nothing?  Are these not what some author imagined they would say so he said they said it for effect?  It was a common writing style of the day. 

I can't prove that God actually said what I have been told all my life "He" said. And while it's right there in the Bible, surely we can't think that settles it really?  Maybe most do.  I can't. 

Does not "Prove me now herewith" and "Prove all things" really mean if you try really hard enough, you can reach the same conclusions and beliefs we already have come to for you in religion?  Is not this cart before the horse and formula for "Well, it sure didn't work for us" and being the reason so many lose their faith, like that's a bad thing.

Did not Paul say "Let us all speak the same thing," not the same right thing but "that there be no division in the body."  Is that the way to prove what is real?  

 It is God's privilege to conceal things and the king's privilege to discover them.
Proverbs 25:2

Aside from it being not just the privilege of the King but of everyone, what if the conclusions drawn thousands of years later are not what were expected of the King thousands of years ago?

Can you prove faith or any religious thought or belief?
 That's not the nature of Faith or Religion is it?
Just asking....

(And I'm not "trying to destroy your faith" and try really hard not dismiss Aron's  Epilogue to Dave's arrogant attempt to prove what he so badly didn't by noticing he has long hair.  There is not a COG minister or writer who could stand up to his grasp of "the facts")

I personally  believe, based on fact and hope perhaps, that humans are hard wired to be spiritual in their thinking. We have a sense of wonder and find ways to respect all we see around us and can't explain or couldn't at one time.  I still find awe and wonder in weather but unlike Bob Thiel, do not find it caused by the gods or their way of "trying to get our attention."  I find it to be high and low pressure facts. 

 To me, religion is what others, like a Dave Pack, Rod Meridith, Gerald Flurry  and all the other one man truth dispensers hope I'll believe of them. It is what others pour into your head. What to believe, where to be, how much to give, what thoughts to think. 

 Spirituality is an inside job and organizations hate those who have spiritual perspectives.  The spiritual are like cats who can neither be organized or herded into their seats.  Dogs, who pray, pay, obey and stay populate organizations. They fetch, sit, roll over and beg for more.  

Never thinking or ever really being able to come to proper conclusion about the absurdities their trainers like Dave Pack dish out because religious ideas can't really be proven and must be taken on some kind of faith until they no longer can be and the damage is done...


Dennis Diehl said...

Bob Thiel divines the truth by the voice of God and tales woven by the dreams in his head not to mention believing what he needs to believe based on generic phrases he hears during religious rituals. That's the formula for delusional thinking and mental illness is it not?

Byker Bob said...

It's all well and good to debunk the charlatan ministers of Armstrongism. We should do that! It is our responsibility. But, faith is an individual matter. And, I dare say that it required decades of existence as an agnostic or atheist (my time of personal purification) before I was able to appreciate the missing ingredients which God can bring to the table.

Perspective is everything. As a young school boy, a friend and I, from the living room of his house, saw another student carrying his guitar into the school for his music lesson. I remarked, "Boy, that's not going to last long at all! Hank is going to grow to hate that guitar!" My friend just shook his head, and stated "Well, I play guitar, and I like it!" Over several years, I realized that I did not really hate the guitar. What I did hate was the WCG phariseeism that my parents applied to what might have otherwise been a beautiful adventure with an awesome musical instrument (I'm sure that any long-term readers can fill in the blanks).

The fact is, there are some really awesome people who have had a completely different experience with Christianity than most of us here. Their faith has been a completely different influence than the debauched totalitarianism we were confronted with in Armstrongism. Of course there is a certain magnetism at play with such individuals as Aron Ra. But he's not the only example of what might be possible. For every charismatic Aron Ra type, there is also a John Schneider, Lorenzo Lamas, or Stephen Baldwin who have very valid experiences to share. You don't have to give up belief to repair the damages inflicted by Armstrongism. Unfortunately, that's become one of the WCG survivor cliches, but it ends up being one of the continuing ways in which Armstrongism has power over us, and even robs us.


Gerald Bronkar said...

Another awesome post Dennis! Aron Ra is a very impressive spokesman for sanity. He totally exposes Dave Pack for the fraud he is. It is amazing that so many still have such strong beliefs for which there is no evidence.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Dennis please explain the existence of the universe, where the laws of physics and chemistry come from, and why the 35 fundamental constants like the electric charge of a electron are just right for the creation of life and the stars.
Have you noticed how God manipulated the outcome of WW2, giving half of Europe to the commies to discredit communism. This meant among other things, the worst winter in 70 years to keep the Nazis out of Moscow in order to speed up the Russian advance. Gods fingerprints are all over human history. Why for instance is Australia a Anglo-Saxon possession in a overcrowded Asia. Japs live in shoe boxes, but Australians have room to spare. Which reminds me folks, if you live in a small house, don't fart. I think Confucius said that.

Black Ops Mikey said...

"prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing": so I tithed.

One day I was outside.

A thunder storm blew in.

It rained.

I was soaked.

I stopped tithing.

There's only so much blessings any of us can receive.

And here's a cut and paste to show Future Faking:


Miller Jones said...

I agree with you that we are "hard wired to be spiritual" in our thinking. And I loved your statement: "The spiritual are like cats who can neither be organized or herded into their seats." I wish that more folks within the Armstrong COG culture (and within the realm of "organized" Christianity in general) could come to see this truth.
Unfortunately, it seems that a great many folks are content to simply go through the motions and conform to the expectations of others. Genuine spirituality is very nonconformist in nature, and rituals aren't of any value UNLESS they are FELT by the individual engaging in them.
Moreover, if we could wave a magic wand and do away with organized religion, I don't believe that the problem would be solved. New leaders would immediately arise and formulate new teachings and rituals which others would then accept and adopt.
As you conclude in your post, the only real remedy is very individualistic in nature. If there were enough "cats" in the world, it wouldn't matter which church you did or didn't attend!

Sweetblood777 said...

"A little girl went to her mom and asked her, 'Mom, where did we come from?' Her mom said, 'A long time ago, Adam and Eve had children and their children had children and we come from those children.'

A couple of days later the little girl went to her dad and asked him, 'Dad, where did we come from?' He said, 'A billion years ago, there were apes, gorillas and monkeys and we come from those apes, gorillas and monkeys.' She went running to her mom very distraught and said, 'Mom, Dad said we came from apes, gorillas and monkeys!' Her mom said, 'I told you about my side of the family, he told you about his side of the family.'"

Thought: If Elohim does not exist then this site is totally unnecessary, as there is no right or wrong, and one man's abuse could be another's pleasure.

Dennis Diehl said...

Anon 9:54 That's your job to prove to yourself after due diligence and genuine study into the topics of interest. Fine tuning does not mean there has to be a magical fine tuner. Evolution is quite capable of tweeking and tuning over billions of years and has.

Funny but irrelevant comment sweet blood. Humor deflects from addressing the facts for some. For others it is attack and insults

Dennis Diehl said...

ps no modern humans came from chimps(apes) gorillas, orangs or monkeys. Those are cousins and we share a common ancestor 5-6 million years back.

Dennis Diehl said...

Emotional experiences, which we are also wired to experience it seems are not the pathway to scientific realities however.

Dennis Diehl said...

That Elohim does or does not exist is irrelevant to the worth of this site

Black Ops Mikey said...

The handwriting is on the wall. AronRa has presented detailed factual material that does far too much damage to all of Armstrongism. Pandora's box has been opened and the lies of Armstrongism have been exposed. At the same time, there's no hope at the bottom of the box for Armstrongism because the box is now empty.

At this point, the damage is done and the best Armstrongism can muster at this point is, "Well, that's one opinion, but I disagree". Based on what? It's wishful thinking with none of the exceptional evidence their worthless opinions would require for anyone to take seriously.

As it is, Armstrongism hasn't even bothered to answer the question of British Israelism and hopes that the devastation that the evidence has been done will be completely ignored because they have no answer.

Beyond that, it's really bad that Herbert Armstrong was caught and the preponderance of the evidence is that he committed incest with his daughter for a decade at the start of his ministry. Not even Mohammed did that. If he had been caught in Texas at the time, he would have been EXECUTED! EXECUTED! Do you apologists have that? EXECUTED! And in any other state, he'd be executed in prison by inmates who may be felons, but they have standards.

It's very clear that the Armstrongists don't even have morals and standards that rise to the level of the average felon in prison.

Miller Jones said...

Statements like "Scientific evidence proves/disproves the existence of God" are stupid! And, I agree with Dennis about the relevance of the answer to the question of whether or not God exists to the value of this site. In fact, the presence of alternative view points always enriches the commentary on any topic.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone think of a cat as being Spiritual? It is unlikely that animals are spiritual. The Bible is written by human beings that had a degree of intelligence even thousands of years ago. They recognized that human life had what is defined as spirit. There was a recognition that the spirit in man could be good or evil, but there was a difficulty in determining what was good and what was evil.
Who was perfect enough to be the standard of the desired goodness? The bible story answers this question when it starts with an Eternal Spiritual Being that is the beginning of the created order. This Eternal Being was viewed as having a superior mind and power necessary to bring a harmonious unity for perfection in human life. The Bible is a story that has purpose and hope beyond this human existence. A life built on this purpose and hope is a lot more rewarding than trying correct religious nonsense and demanding answers for question for scriptural problems. The Bible does have a lot of good information for building a relationship with the spiritual part of life.
I personally view is that true Christian faith is built on recorded experiences that contribute to the ongoing spiritual growth and maturity of those who desire to reflect the perfection revealed in the person called Jesus Christ. This of course is the product of living 60 of my 85+ years in harmony with what I read in the scriptures.

Byker Bob said...

I wonder if there would be as many WCG-induced atheists today if Herbert W. Armstrong hadn't taught that God would be using krautsourcing to punish the US and BC.


nck said...

"Thought: If Elohim does not exist then this site is totally unnecessary, as there is no right or wrong, and one man's abuse could be another's pleasure."

Well sweetblood. I am all with you with the merits of Christianity.

However from the earliest of times societies have recognized that certain behavior should be restricted in order to preserve the group. Certain powers were even delegated to individuals to enforce those implicit truths if necessary.

Some of those rules are still around but today not essential for group survival. For instance the ancient sacrement of marriage is a very nice artifact but not a necessity today. It becomes even more apparant when people from other cultures move to modern societies. They obviously hold dear that which works in the desert with enemies all around but is stifling for goalsetting mars travellers. I'm not saying the one is better than the other. Just saying some thinks work and some things are obsolete from a scientific view. Until of course we find ourselves in a period beyond a thermonuclear war. Then we better start trusting the stars for direction again instead of Navsat.


Miller Jones said...

AB, you wrote: "Why would anyone think of a cat as being Spiritual? It is unlikely that animals are spiritual." You then go on to suggest that you believe in the Bible. What about roaring lions, leviathans, lambs, goats and cherubim (with the faces of a lion, ox and eagle)? Does any of that sound spiritual?

Jim Baldwin said...

From a recent book:

"Faith is pretending to know something you don't know."

"Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known." Montaigne

Jim Baldwin

Sweetblood777 said...

Dennis, the fact that you posted so many times on this topic, indicates to me, that this is an emotional issue for you.

I sense deep emotional disturbances within you to the point that even a joke offended you.

Whatever one speaks, writes, thinks, etc., is only their opinion. This person that you are so fond of, is entitled to his opinion as well as anyone else, me included. It is obvious that you put much weight on his opinion, which explains your reaction.

To me and perhaps others, he is a damn idiot.

DennisCDiehl said...

AB noted:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Why would anyone think of a cat as being Spiritual? It is unlikely that animals are spiritual.

It's a common analogy AB between the non compliance aspects of cat behaviors such as "you can't herd cats" and the obedience and desire to please of most dogs. Cat's aren't really spiritual nor dogs religious.

DennisCDiehl said...

Blogger Byker Bob said...
I wonder if there would be as many WCG-induced atheists today if.."

BB you often seem to think that outgrowing the Sunday School version of the Bible or becoming skeptical, agnostic or atheist is just a function of having had the Armstrong experience.

When critical thinking and acting on the accumulated doubts that come by soaking in the scriptures over decades , as required by many churches, hits, growing up to reality comes a calling. It is not more a function of having been in WCG than any other church. It is how outgrowing myth and outdated thinking works.

Anonymous said...

I speak for many when I say that all this intellectualising is water off a ducks back, since our prayers are being answered. Just wondering, what are you people going to say when the prophesied 10 nation United States of Europe emerges overnight? Will you say the it is a coincidence, and will Dennis claim that it's natures natural 'fine tuning?'

Yes, Herbie was morally challenged, but so was Balaam.

Byker Bob said...

Maybe, Dennis. But, I've written before about the pronounced differences between atheists who reached their life conclusions through dispassionate scientific processes, and those who took a detour through the WCG (or Mormonism) to reach somewhat similar conclusions. Some, with time, can even partially emulate the dispassionate and cautiously measured demeanor of the science-atheists for the sake of presentation or discussion. But the dominance of the topic in their conversations and in their lives tells quite a different tale. Something's burning.


Glenn said...

Anon 8:02, you (or other anons on this site) post fairly frequently about answered prayers being the proof that God exists. I am curious as to what are some of the specific
answered prayers that you have experienced. Will you list a few for us please?

Martha said...

Dennis, thank you for sharing. I needed this today. Your comment about cats and dogs made me laugh out loud.

Most As Bereans Did readers probably see me as staunchly evangelical, but I actually disagree with my evangelical church on a good number of topics. I'm slowly learning when to keep my mouth shut. Did I mention I'm learning slowly?

I recently made the mistake of disclosing that I do not buy into Young Earth Creationism. This cat is about fed up with all the dogs who are suddenly spamming her with Ken Ham videos.

DennisCDiehl said...

This is part II of what I assume is a 'just in time for Easter" article on what most mainstream biblical scholars have come to recognize.


Jim Baldwin said...

Glenn asked about allegedly answered prayers.

Anon 8:02 should look up anecdotal and the research. Yes, I know, Anon's experience will be considered by him to be special.

Also, "36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction" by Rebecca Goldstein should also be considered, especially the 9th argument in the appendix.

Jim Baldwin

Dennis Diehl said...

Faith can not be proven. Nothing religious can be proven. Booklets like Seven Proofs God Exists or You Can Prove Jesus Rose From the Dead are useless. Those are matters if Faith and believing what you think might actually not be so.

Anonymous said...

I left the COGs and gave up the bible and still I can't deny far too many "coincidences" with regard to answered prayer. I have no doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the bible say that God does not hear sinners? Yet I am a "sinner" by Bible definition. I no longer keep the Sabbath but I still get answered prayers. I don't believe in BI but I still get answered prayers. Nobody here would believe it, but I know its true. If you don't believe it you won't try it and you won't experience it. And no scholar or skeptic can ever disprove it. You have to experience it. I know way more than enough math to compute probabilities. The rest here are probably in denial.

Anonymous said...

"Aron Ra is a very impressive spokesman for sanity. He totally exposes Dave Pack for the fraud he is."

Maybe so, but it should be child's play to debunk the guy because wacko packo is so far gone at this point he's self-debunking. To know him is to debunk him.

Anonymous said...

"Faith can not be proven."

Atheism cannot be proven.

Anonymous said...

"Just wondering, what are you people going to say when the prophesied 10 nation United States of Europe emerges overnight?"

Poop my pants. But there is no reason to think that will happen.

Anonymous said...

In science you can only prove things by experiment or observation. If you refuse to look in Galileo's telescope, you will never see the evidence. Faith is like that too. If you refuse to try prayer (which might require obedience at some level to work) you will never see the evidence the prayer works. I did it; I proved it. But the skeptic refuses to look in the telescope of prayer, or refuses to admit he deserves no answer.

Anonymous said...

If you ask girls on dates and never get a date, does that mean that nobody ever gets dates? Maybe the problem is you. Prayer too.

Jim Baldwin said...

One of the anons posted:
"Atheism cannot be proven."

That statement is made by one who is ignorant of the term.

Atheism is the lack of belief in any of the gods men have created including the Christian God.

I am an atheist. I can assure you I don't believe in God. Just ask me.

Jim Baldwin.