Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Testing Buddhism

It’s the best way to: transform yourself; find lasting happiness; clear your mind; find inner peace and relaxation; reduce stress and normalize blood pressure; develop awareness, ethics, mindfulness, insight and wisdom; find meaning to what would otherwise be a senseless life; understand the true nature of reality; be more understanding of others; improve relationships; be calmer when strong emotions arise; be kinder to ourselves and others; be more caring, and skillful; be freed from difficulties and problems; attain a state of purity and perfection; end one’s suffering; and gain insight into the true nature of life. These benefits have been attributed to Buddhist practices such as meditation.

It’s estimated that about 10% of the world’s population is Buddhist. This increases to at least 50% in Mongolia and Laos, at least 70% in Sri Lanka and Bhutan, at least 80% in Myanmar, and at least 90% in Thailand and Cambodia. However, the Buddhist population of China has been estimated at 20-80%, which is a huge uncertainty. The Buddhist faith is atheistic, although polytheism is also evident in many countries. In this way Buddhism is different to Christianity. But is Buddhism consistent with the message of the Bible? Is it one of the ways to salvation and spiritual liberation?

True or false?

The Bible contains three clear tests for determining whether a belief, teaching or philosophy is true or false. To be true it must pass each of the three tests.

The Jesus test

This test states that, “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist … This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 Jn. 4:2-3, 6 NIV). The question to be answered in this test is: What does it say about Jesus Christ? Is it consistent with Christ’s unique birth, divine and human nature, sinless life, sacrificial death, resurrection, and second coming (1 Jn. 4:1-3)?

The gospel test

The Bible warns about those promoting a different gospel, “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal.1:9). The question to be answered in this test is: What is its gospel? In other words: what is the core belief or hope? The Bible says that the root cause of all our problems is that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s requirements—resulting in death. The only means of rescue is salvation by repentance of sin and faith in the work of Christ. ‘Different gospels’ are those that differ from this. They either add to it or take away from it. There is a warning against adding to or taking away from the words of the Bible (Rev. 22:18-19).

The fruit test

Jesus Christ warned, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them” (Mt. 7:15-20). The question to be answered in this test is: What kind of fruit is evident? In other words, what type of attitudes and behavior does it encourage? Is the divine nature or the sinful nature most evident (Gal. 5:19-23)?

I have previously summarized Buddhism. These tests will now be used to assess the Buddhist faith.

buddhism 8 400pxTesting the Buddhist faith

The Jesus test

Buddhism is a religion of the mind, which advocates present moment awareness, inner purity, ethical conduct, freedom from the problem of change, impermanence and suffering, and reliance upon one’s own experience and discernment on the Eightfold path as the teacher and guide, rather than an external authority (such as God) other than the dharma (teachings of Buddha).

Buddha found enlightenment in mediation. This is achieved by human effort, not through belief in any god. Buddha didn’t claim deity and didn’t attribute his teachings to any deity. So his teachings are not theistic. Instead they are a human system of self-discipline. Buddhism does not involve the worship of gods nor require a belief in gods. Buddha believed that if the world was created by a God, there would be no suffering. One doctrine agreed upon by all branches of modern Buddhism is that “this world is not created and ruled by a god”. In this sense, Buddhism is atheistic.

Buddhism applies the law of cause and effect to people’s lives (karma). But the Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies (heavens) proclaim the work of His (God’s) hands” (Ps. 19:1). The heavens that David saw were the sun, moon and stars. He realized that they were made (created) by God. So the Bible applies the law of cause and effect to all creation, not just to people’s lives. According to the law of cause and effect, creation (including the sun, moon and stars) demands a creator and the design (of the universe) demands a designer. By looking at our universe, anyone can know that there is a Creator God. Creation shows that God is intelligent and powerful. The Bible’s message to those who reject this knowledge is: “They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky (including the sun, moon and stars). Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Rom. 1:19-20 NLT).

More evidence of the Creator God is the fact that each person has a knowledge of right and wrong through their conscience. For those who are ignorant of God’s moral laws the Bible says: “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right” (Rom. 2:15NLT).

The two main ways that God reveals himself to people who haven’t heard about Jesus are creation and conscience (Rom. 1:19-20; 2:15). The conscience proves that they are all sinners because they don’t always follow their conscience. The Bible says they will be judged according to their response to the revelation of God in creation and to their guilty conscience. However, as mentioned above, Buddhists generally believe that “this world is not created and ruled by a god”.

The Bible also says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good” (Ps. 14:1NIV; 53:1). Also, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him (God); in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (Ps. 10:4). And “fools mock You (God) all day long” (Ps. 74:22). So it’s foolish to deny the existence of God. And it’s foolish to feel no need for God and live as if He never existed. This means that the Buddhist belief that the world is not created and ruled by a god is foolish!

Jesus isn’t mentioned in any of the numerous Buddhist scriptures and none of their gods is like Jesus. So, Buddhism says nothing directly about Jesus Christ. But Buddhists may think that Jesus was a holy man, or a guru (teacher). However, they wouldn’t see Jesus as the only way to God. At best, He would be one guru amongst the many gurus that they follow.

Except in matters of ethics and moral conduct, there is very little in common between the teachings of Jesus and the main teachings of Buddhism. So, Buddhism clearly fails the Jesus test. Buddhists don’t believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God whose sacrificial death (crucifixion) and resurrection solved the problem of humanity’s sinfulness. They don’t believe that Jesus came to the earth as a substitute to take the punishment that we all deserve.

But what about the supernatural beings believed by Buddha and in Mahayana Buddhism? These are gods with a small “g”. Although they are like superhumans their power is limited. They are not all powerful. Although Buddha was a polytheist, he focused on suffering rather than on a god. See the Appendix for the what the Bible says about polytheism. As these gods aren’t relevant to Buddhist practice, they are generally discarded by Buddhists in western countries. Some Buddhists also believe in a non-personal god who is evident in acts of love, compassion, and kindness.

The gospel test

The ultimate goal of Buddhist religious life is liberation from the cycle of birth and death (endless rebirth) and to escape from suffering. We will look at each of these in turn. One goal is liberation from suffering, fear and danger. The means of achieving this is to exert great effort to follow Buddhist teachings. If our sufferings are like a disease, then the teachings are like medicine, Buddha is like a doctor and Buddhist monks and nuns are like nurses. For example, Buddha taught that desire is the root of suffering and ignorance is the root of all evil. So he taught his followers to be detached and not to desire anything.

The Bible describes where the world came from, what has gone wrong in it, and what God is doing to set it right. It has four parts: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. Suffering begins with the entrance of evil in part two and suffering ends with the judgement of evil in part four. So suffering is not permanent. The Bible says that sin (rebellion against God) is the source of our suffering and pain (Gen. 3:16-19; Rom. 6:23). This is the opposite of Buddhism which says that both we and our world are basically good (this claim is debatable or unreliable, see comments below).

Our body responds with pain when it is subject to injury or illness. This is a normal reaction. It’s an indicator that lets us know something is wrong. Painlessness is the root cause of the damage leprosy (Hansen’s disease) patients incur. Although pain is something that none of us want; none of us can live a normal life without it.

From the beginning of time God has warned humanity about the relationship between sin (disobeying God’s will / word / laws) and the pain and death that are a result of it. Whether innocent or guilty, the reason for pain and death is sin. Sometimes it is the direct result of our own sin; sometimes it’s the indirect result of the cumulative sinfulness of the world. So Buddha made a poor diagnosis; He tried to fix a symptom (suffering) while he was ignorant of the root cause (sin)!

When God called Moses, He said: “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt … I have heard them crying out … and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them … So now go. I am sending you … I will be with you” (Ex. 3:7-12). After this, Moses rescued the Israelites from their suffering in Egypt. Likewise, God has seen humanity’s suffering and sent Jesus Christ to rescue us from our sin and suffering. The Bible says “Surely He (Jesus) took up our pain and bore our suffering … He was crushed for our iniquities (sins) (Isa. 53:4-5; Mt. 8:17). And God also sees our suffering today and is concerned for us!

The Christian gospel may be summarized as: “Because of His infinite mercy, God sent His Son (Jesus) to earth to save people so they could live right. He was the sacrifice which would permit God to blot out all our sins, and enable us to be clean so that we could dwell eternally with our holy God. Jesus died for the sins of humanity”. But Buddhism is based on salvation by works.

The other Buddhist goal is liberation from the seemingly endless cycle of birth and death (rebirth). There are two problems with this goal: the problem being addressed and the solution that is offered.

The Bible shows that humanity is the special creation of God, created in God’s image with both a material body and an immaterial soul and spirit. People are distinct and unique from all other creatures—angels and the animal kingdom. The Bible teaches that at death, while a person’s body is mortal (it decays and returns to dust) their soul and spirit continue to either a place of torment for those who reject Christ or paradise (heaven) in God’s presence for those who have trusted in the Savior. Both categories of people will be resurrected, one to eternal judgment and the other to eternal life with a glorified body (Jn. 5:25-29). The Bible says, “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27). This makes it clear that humanity only dies once and is then judged on the life they have lived. One is not born again in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, and its opportunities to improve one’s karma. The Bible never mentions people having a second chance at life or coming back as different people or animals. As Larry Norman sang, “you live once and you die once, with no re-incarnate (rebirth) episodes”.

We have seen that the idea of rebirth is a false teaching. On the other hand, the Christian faith addresses the problem of sin (rejection of God’s revelation in creation and in Jesus Christ) and its consequences. We will now look at the solution being offered.

Because a Buddhist’s place of birth and their status in the next life is believed to be based on rebirth and karma, good works and striving to keep the rules of Buddhism play an important role in a Buddhist’s way of life. A Buddhist tries to follow many rules to live a moral life. Yes, good works do please God, but only the good works and the good and sinless life of Jesus. The Bible says that it was Jesus’ good work (sacrifice) on the cross that will get us salvation and liberation!

Our good works are not good enough. Larry Norman also sang, “you can’t hitchhike to heaven or get there by just being good”. The Bible says that most of the work of salvation is done by God and not by us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

Paul told Christians, “why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires” (Col. 1:20-23NLT). Paul is saying that Christianity is not a religion of rules. Taboos fail in their purpose. They are futile. They do not restrain evil. God wants us to avoid such human religious systems. We cannot control the sinful nature by rules. Following strict rules, like in Buddhism, is worthless because it fails to control sinful desires.

A Buddhist’s salvation is never guaranteed; they don’t know how much meditation they need to do or how many lives they will live before reaching nirvana (Buddhist heaven). By contrast, the Christian’s salvation is sure and confident. God’s promises are never broken, and we can rely on scripture when it declares that faith in Jesus saves (Acts 16:31) and we can rest confidently in this assurance (1 Jn. 5:13). Our forgiveness and salvation are completely based on the work of Christ on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and not on any of our deeds because we have a sinful nature (Rom. 7:18).

Some Buddhists are zealous and devout, but salvation is dependent on the object of one’s zeal and devotion and not on the zeal itself. Their focus/object is Buddhist teachings, which we have shown to be false. Like Judah in Jeremiah’s time, Buddhists are “trusting in deceptive words that are worthless” (Jer. 7:8). In Judah’s case, the deceptive words spoken by the false prophets were that God wouldn’t destroy Jerusalem because He wouldn’t allow the Jewish temple to be destroyed. This superstitious belief was stated repetitively, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” (Jer. 7:4), which reminds me of the repetitive nature of Buddhist mantras. But repetition doesn’t increase the truthfulness of a statement! In Buddhism’s case, the deceptive words come from Buddhist teachings which are false. Because of false prophets, Judah followed “other gods” (Jer. 7:9) apart from the real God, while because of Buddhist teachings, Buddhists follow many “other gods”.

So, Buddhism fails the gospel test.

shrine 2 400pxThe fruit test

Buddhism is often said to be a tolerant religion. But Laos is included in the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. It was ranked 24, between Palestinian Territories and Brunei. Christians make up about 2% of the population in Laos. There is some freedom for Christians to meet in more developed areas, but in the rural regions many find themselves harassed, isolated and even imprisoned. Buddhism plays a big part in society and is central to Lao culture. Christianity is seen as something foreign and a threat to their way of life. Believers must be very careful when living out their faith. Building new churches is almost impossible as you need government approval and extensive amounts of paperwork must be submitted. Worshipping or reading the Bible in illegal places can result in jail time, fines or violent punishment. Since their homes are so small, trying to worship in secret is impossible. If someone converts to Christianity their spouse can threaten divorce, and their families can cut them off from their inheritance. Because of the negative views of Christianity, believers are often limited when accessing resources. They can be denied employment and acceptance into schools.

Myanmar was ranked 28 in the World Watch List, between Jordan and Tunisia. Christians and other minorities have been under attack from government forces for many years. Pressure comes from both radical Buddhist groups and the government. Buddhism is the majority religion, and could be used to instigate nationalism and further marginalize every other religion. The Buddhist majority have put in place attempts to try and curb the spread of Islam. Christians are also viewed with suspicion. The government promotes Buddhism over Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Minority populations that adhere to these and other faiths are denied building permits, banned from proselytizing and pressured to convert to the majority faith. Religious groups must register with the government, and Myanmar’s citizens must list their faith on official documents. Myanmar’s constitution provides for limited religious freedom, but individual laws and government officials actively restrict it. Also, in 2014 the U.S. State Department named Myanmar amongst eight “Countries of Particular Concern” that severely violate religious freedom rights within their borders. For example, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights has called the current Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” of Muslims and Hindus.

Bhutan was ranked 30 in the World Watch List, between Tunisia and Malaysia. Christianity is seen as a foreign and dangerous religion. No congregation has ever been allowed to build a church. All Christian fellowship remains underground. Christians are monitored and their meetings can be threatened and closed. Many Christians have not been issued with an electronic identity card. They therefore cannot access government services like healthcare. They cannot travel, enrol at a school or apply for jobs. This puts immense pressure on the struggling underground church.

Sri Lanka was ranked 45 in the World Watch List, between United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. In Sri Lanka the idea of Buddhist supremacy is on the rise. Dangerous attitudes continue to grow, especially in rural areas. Buddhist monks regularly attack believers. Pastors feel unequipped to face persecution and are left traumatized and unsure. Christians are exposed to acts of extreme violence and discrimination. If believers want to worship, they can only do so in registered houses. They are regularly visited by angry mobs and Buddhist monks. There was even discussion of a new law to make converting people illegal. School is difficult for Christian children. Religious education is compulsory, but due to the lack of Christian teachers, most kids are left attending Buddhist classes. If they do not want to, they are punished and even fined. They are subject to harassment, bullying and bad grades. Some children are even denied entry to a school because of their faith. Christians are often prevented from accessing wells or electricity. They’re treated like second class citizens. The pressure to deny Jesus is relentless. Christian businesses are often boycotted and families’ livelihoods suffer.

Although it’s difficult to assess attitudes and behavior objectively, these reports mention persecution of religious minorities and a lack of religious freedom in some Buddhist countries.

Buddha taught that there would be no social classes (like castes) in the Buddhist monastic order. They would be like a humanistic society. However, when Buddha created the monastic order he divided society into two social classes, a practice that Buddhism intended to do away with!

What type of attitudes and behavior do you think Buddhism encourages?

Summary

We have tested Buddhism against three tests from the Bible. It clearly failed two tests (about Jesus and the gospel) and the results of the third test are debatable. This means it’s a false teaching, which is the product of human imagination, and which isn’t consistent with the message of the Bible. So, Buddhists don’t worship the same God as Christians.

Appendix: What the Bible says about polytheism

Buddhism arose in northeastern India in about the 5th century BC when their religion was polytheistic. During this period, the deities of Babylon, and Greece were also polytheistic. In fact, this was probably a characteristic of all the Gentile nations at that time. It was also characteristic of previous nations (such as Egypt and Phoenicia) and following nations (such as the Roman Empire).

What does the Bible say about such polytheistic religions?
– About 2000BC Abraham left the polytheistic religion in Ur of the Chaldeans (in Mesopotamia) to live in the land of Canaan and to follow the monotheistic God who created the universe.
– About 1750BC when Jacob left Paddan Aram (in upper Mesopotamia), his wife Rachael stole her father’s polytheistic household gods (Gen. 31:19, 30, 32, 35). When he arrived back in Canaan, Jacob buried all their foreign polytheistic gods (Gen. 35:2-4).
– About 1450BC when the Israelites left Egypt in the exodus, God told them to stop practicing the polytheistic religion of the Egyptians and gave them commands on how to follow the true monotheistic God.
– About 1500BC when the Israelites conquered and settled in Canaan, God warned them not to follow the polytheistic religion of the Canaanites and the surrounding nations.
– Between 1380BC and 1050BC the Israelites forsook the God that brought them out of Egypt and followed the polytheistic religion of the peoples around them (Jud. 2:10-13). They intermarried with these peoples and served their polytheistic gods (Jud. 3:5-6). Consequently, the Israelites were punished by God and brought back to serving the true monotheistic God by a series of judges.
– Between 930BC and 722BC Israel was divided into two kingdoms and the northern kingdom followed the polytheistic religion of the peoples around them. Prophets such as Elijah and Elisha warned them of the consequences of following these false religions. They were punished by God when they were conquered by the Assyrian Empire.
– Between 700BC and 586BC, the southern kingdom of Israel (Judah) often followed the polytheistic religion of the peoples around them. Prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah warned them of the consequences of following these false religions. They were punished by God when they were conquered by the Babylonian Empire.
– the 70-year exile in Babylon decimated the nation of Israel and seemed to cure those who returned to Judah from following polytheistic religions. But it took over 900 years for them to learn this lesson!
– In the 1st century AD, the New Testament apostles, such as Peter and Paul, preached against the polytheistic religion of the Roman Empire.

Since 2000BC God has distinguished Himself from polytheistic religions. By reading the Bible we can see repeated warnings against polytheistic religions. These warnings were given over a period of more than 1,500 years. Why not check this for yourself by reading the Bible?

Paul said that polytheistic gods are not real gods (Acts 19:26). He knew that they “cannot see or hear or eat or smell” (Dt. 4:28; Dan. 5:23; Rev. 9:20). And that they are the work of Satan and his demons (2 Cor. 6:15-16; Rev. 9:20).

The clearest biblical arguments against polytheism are the numerous commands against idolatry. When the Thessalonians became followers of Christ, they “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us (believers) from the coming wrath” (1 Th. 1:9-10). The God who was living and true is contrasted against idols that were dead and false gods. They had learnt that God “doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs—for He has no needs” (Acts 17:24-25NLT). The Corinthians were told to separate from idol worship (2 Cor. 6:16-17). John repeats this message that Christians should “keep yourselves from idols” (1 Jn. 5:21). The true God is said to be God the Father or God the Son (Jesus), while idols are false gods.

Paul described the state of the Corinthians before they became Christians as “you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols” (1 Cor. 12:2NLT). Their idols were lifeless! But how were they being “led astray and swept along”? The Bible says that idolatry is associated with demon worship (Rev. 9:20). And it’s the work of Satan (2 Cor. 6:15-16). So they were being led astray and swept along by Satan and his demons! That’s why Paul “was greatly distressed to see that the city (of Athens) was full of idols” (Acts 17:16).

So, the Bible forbids the worship of idols, angels, celestial objects, and items in nature. The Bible’s clear and consistent denunciation of idolatry is a conclusive argument against polytheism.

Written, August 2017

Also see: Basic Buddhism
Testing Hinduism
Testing Islam
Recognizing false teachers

Advertisements

95 responses

  1. Hello and thank you for a good read. I thought I might respond and provide a little constructive criticism. I hope you can accept it in the spirit of discussion with love and respect as that is how I am writing to you.

    I would put forward that Jesus was a Buddhist he reformed a backward and destructive religion similar to what Islam is today. Much of the old testament is filled with violence and genocide the likes of which would keep today’s UN war crimes tribunals busy for an eternity. Had Jesus not come to the earth we would be living in a very different world. Most practitioners of the Buddha dharma recognise him as a great Bhodistava, a highly realised being. Many people theorise that Jesus spent much of his life in the East learning and mastering some of the traditions before his return in his early thirties. Of course, proof of this is hard to find, except for a few theories and his basic teachings that in many very powerful ways totally parallel the Buddha dharma. This in some way answers the question of where he was for the biggest part of his life. It is really a shame that he had only a few years to teach, we all would have benefited greatly had he had even a slightly larger fraction of the 40 plus years that the historical Buddha had.

    The Buddha did not say that people and the world are basically good. He said that the world is neutral or nondualistic. This line of thinking is well beyond the traditional stories of good and evil. This is the root of all disagreements between the Buddha dharma and the traditional Christian teachings. This idea is very hard for Monotheists to swallow as all of their ideologies are based on dualism. Non-dual teachings bring us together and unite us instead of separating us into ever growing groups of people, that continue to fight and destroy all that we build.

    The Buddha was not ignorant of the cause of suffering. He said very clearly that it is a result of our disturbing emotions (anger jealousy etc), clinging to things that are impermanent, and a basic ignorance of how we and the universe really function. When we understand or realise our place in all that happens our suffering will end. This empowers us to find our own way and prove to ourselves, with the given the tools of Buddha, with out faith

    What the Buddha dharma teaches us in the laboratory of meditation can be directly observed and measured by each and every individual in an empirical way. Yes, it is true that we do not know how long it will take before we are liberated from samsara but one notices very quickly the many benefits of a meditation practice in one’s life. I for one am often moved to tears often when I find something that I have really internalized or actually realised. This process of discovery for me is far more powerful than any amount of “faith” that I was told to have in god. Science today is just beginning to come to terms with the accuracy that the Buddha dharma describes the world in which we live. Some early practitioners of the Buddha dharma actually even described some parts of Quantum Physics. I firmly believe that they are both describing the same thing albeit with two different languages.

    I have a few questions for you if you don’t mind.
    If Jesus solved the problem of human sin why are we still killing each other? From my perspective, this is far from solved.
    How can we rely on the Christian scriptures as you have said when we have no proof only faith of their authenticity? Faith is in no way empirical evidence of the divine origin of the texts.
    Why are so many Christians preoccupied with demonising the Buddha dharma? I admit that the Buddha dharma arguably may not be perfectly applied in the world given your astute examples of Burma and others, but one also must see that the Buddha dharma has never caused any great wars or major problems in this world, that cannot be said for any of the three Abrahamic faiths.

    Thank you once again for your time and your response.

    QP

    September 1, 2017 at 3:37 am

    • Thanks for the comment.
      I am busy at present, but hope to write a reply in the next few weeks.

      September 4, 2017 at 5:23 am

      • Thank you for responding. I am not sure why but so many christians here on WP who discuss Buddhism will not respond to a well thought out and kind argument. Thanks again have an amazing week. QP

        September 4, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    • Thanks for the comment of 1 September QP. I will make a series of replies.
      The claim that “Jesus was a Buddhist” doesn’t make sense to me. The core of His message was that He was the divine God (the Son of God who was equal with God) who came to sacrifice His life so that people can be released from a world of sin and suffering so they can be with God eternally. This seems totally different to what Buddhism teaches. One of the beliefs of Buddhism is atheism – that “this world is not created and ruled by a god”. Wikipedia says, “Christianity is at its core monotheistic and relies on a God as a Creator, Buddhism is generally non-theistic and rejects the notion of a Creator God which provides divine values for the world”. Because there is no historical evidence to support this claim about Jesus being a Buddhist and I am not aware of any historians that support it, I think it’s speculation. You say “many people theorise”. I agree. But I prefer to deal with things that are more reliable.

      September 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      • Yes, Jesus was a Buddhist,

        What you call the core of Jesus’ teachings is from my point of view the way that the church used his teachings to control access of the masses to the church hierarchy throughout history. The gospel of Matthew If you want to talk to god you need to go through the church and while you are there, please donate…

        What I see as the core of his teaching are things like “loving your enemies” Mathew 5:44 and “Love your neighbour as yourself” Mathew 22:39. His equanimity in view of love is the very basis of the Buddhas teachings of compassion for all.

        How about the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you Luke 6:31. This, my friend, is Karma plane and simple. What you put out there is what you get back.

        Heck man, I could even say that Jesus was the first reincarnated human. And accepting him means that one is born again, and then after death, one has a new existence in heaven with a new body but the same soul. All I have to say here is that it is a shame that we stop at three lives, why only three?

        As you said Jesus came to release us from a world of sin and suffering, the Buddha did not talk much about sin; but suffering was one of his key teachings.

        As for the Monotheism, I agree Christianity is monotheistic, and the Buddha Dharma is not mono or dual anything. This is what makes it so hard for some of us to understand, we have a dualistic language and culture and way of thinking especially here in the west. This makes it almost impossible to comprehend, but we try anyway.

        In science and the Buddha Dharma, we start with speculation or hypotheses and then in the laboratory of the mind and meditation prove or disprove all. And that is what I call dependability.

        QP

        September 24, 2017 at 6:42 am

    • On 1 September QP said, “The Buddha did not say that people and the world are basically good”. I must have obtained this statement from a Buddhist website. It may have been this one:
      “ It’s about your basic goodness … both you and your world are basically good. With all its ups and downs, this world of ours works. It warms us; it feeds us; it offers us color, sound, and touch. We don’t have to struggle against our world. It is neither for us nor against us. It is a simple, vivid world of direct experience we can investigate, care for, enjoy, make love to.
      We are basically good as well, confused as we may be. In Buddhism, our true nature has many names, such as buddhanature, ordinary mind, sugatagarbha, Vajradhara, or just plain buddha — fundamental awakeness. The thing is, we can’t solidify, identify, or conceptualize it in any way. Then it’s just the same old game we’re stuck in now. We do not own this basic goodness. It is not inside of us, it is not outside of us, it is beyond the reach of conventional mind. It is empty of all form, yet everything we experience is its manifestation. It is nothing and the source of everything — how do you wrap your mind around that? All you can do is look directly, relax, and let go.”
      This quotation doesn’t make sense to me. Also, I note that the first noble truth says that “All of life is marked by suffering. So, I can see why you say “The Buddha did not say that people and the world are basically good”. I will add a comment in my post indicating that my statement is debatable or unreliable.

      September 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      • (Reply to George’s comment of 22 September)
        Dear George,

        I would like to tell you a little about my perspective so you have some basis for comparison. I am a student of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism, specifically of the Karma Kagyu transmission. I know and hope you do too that the three main schools of Buddhism, Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana have some very different views of not only how Buddhism is practised but taught as well. Now even with all their differences, they certainly share the common goal of the liberation or realization of MIND or enlightenment. One school is not in any way better than the others they are just better for one individual or another based on his or her specific circumstances. Ok, thats that.

        I can understand how your quote does not make much sense to you. The author tends to mix what I would call the ultimate and the relative understanding of the Buddha’s teachings. This is like mixing the general theory of relativity and Quantum Physics. They both are trying to explain the same thing but not only does one build on the other, but one might not mix well to the understanding of the masses. One could get very deep into philosophy here but that should suffice. In Vajrayana Buddha Dharma there is no good and bad because these concepts are dualistic in their very nature. Our teachings point us past the Mahayana view of the middle way between good and bad to a non-dual understanding of the universe. Think scientifically here, you do an experiment and have some results. These results are not good or bad to the scientist they simply are results that are found, to point in one direction or another.

        As to suffering, suffering has nothing to do with people being good or bad, even the most respected, highly moral, or “good” person on earth will suffer all three sufferings. Because even the very best this world has to offer us pales in comparison to enlightenment.

        Thank you for getting back to me,

        QP

        September 24, 2017 at 6:09 am

    • On 1 September QP said that “the Buddha was not ignorant of the cause of suffering” and then gives a list of symptoms “disturbing emotions (anger jealousy etc), clinging to things that are impermanent, and a basic ignorance of how we and the universe really function”. But what is the ultimate cause of these symptoms?

      September 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      • The ultimate cause is our ignorance, or not understanding of the causes of suffering. It’s the ego who always wins out over others and only works in self serving ways. When we work past this “I” there is an “us” then it all makes sense. When we realize our interconnectedness we cannot hurt another without seeing how it hurts us as well. We then begin to think differently and start to understand karma and treat each other well. We should help and serve each other instead of hurting everyone. Is this not what Jesus was talking about in Mark 10:44-45. He and Shantideva would get along very well, why can’t we? Which leads me to the unanswered question, if Jesus and Buddha have so much in common, why do Christians trash us so much?

        QP

        September 24, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    • On 1 September QP asked “If Jesus solved the problem of human sin why are we still killing each other?” The answer is timing. According to the Bible, we won’t stop killing each other until Jesus returns to rule over the earth. You may ask, why the delay? It’s because He is delaying His judgement – “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Pt. 3:9).

      September 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      • In the meantime the suffering grows at an exponential rate, our penchant for power and pain must wait for Jesus to come back. Too bad he did not do the job right the first time.
        The Buddha dharma teaches us how to end suffering in the here and now, no need to wait anything, just now.
        It’s a really different perspective from the Bible. Instead of followers we are doers and equals to the Buddha as we all share his nature. If he can do it so can we.

        QP

        September 24, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    • On 1 September QP asked, “How can we rely on the Christian scriptures as you have said when we have no proof only faith of their authenticity?” Please read my post on “Can we trust our Bibles”. It concludes that our Bibles are very close to the original because early manuscripts have been preserved, scholars have reconstructed the original text and languages have been translated accurately. Because of this and the numerous manuscripts that have been preserved, the Christian Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today.

      September 24, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      • Dear George, be that as it may citing the Bible as proof of its self is a non sequitur. It’s like asking the murderer if he did it and using that as the only evidence in court. I don’t doubt the Bible was written, or even has some truth, but it is in of itself not proof of god or the divinity of Jesus.

        QP

        September 24, 2017 at 10:30 pm

  2. Thanks QP.
    By the way, I would appreciate any corrections or suggestions for improvement on my post on Basic Buddhism. The aim was to summarize the core beliefs, which was a challenge given the apparent diversity of beliefs in Buddhism.
    It would be best to make any comments you may have below that post rather than this one.
    Thanks again for the feedback.

    September 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    • Actually, George thank you for being open-minded, honest, and for allowing an open forum on your site. These qualities are hard to find in the Christian world today. I would be happy to read and comment on your page of Basic Buddhism in a little while, thanks for asking me. I am very interested in your response to my responses, and to the answer of the question as to why Christians seem to so strongly demonise the Buddha Dharma in the way that they do? Is something we have said or done? Or is it that when Christians take a good hard look at the Buddha Dharma they find not only nothing wrong but start to doubt their faith? Thats just my ideas…

      QP

      September 24, 2017 at 7:04 am

      • On 24 September QP asks, “why (do) Christians seem to so strongly demonise the Buddha Dharma in the way that they do?” And BH asks, “Why do Christians have a pre-occupation with attacking other faiths”? Why not just let people “recognize the truth that you expound”?
        Of the 379 posts on my blog (on 29 September 2017), 32 (8%) are on the topic of “error” and about 13 (3%) of these are assessments of other faiths. Christians are concerned about the truth. We don’t want to devote our lives to something that is false and futile. The Bible tells us, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). God calls on us to disbelieve as well as believe, to be critical of teaching, and to measure all teaching by the Bible. We can find out whether to approve or disapprove of any given teaching by comparing it to biblical text. The Bible is the ultimate standard for truth.
        Christians are also told to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). This means that it isn’t enough just to be concerned about the truth. There is also a need to communicate in a loving and respectful way. I must admit Christians often fail by not engaging with others in a loving and respectful way.

        October 1, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      • In search of the truth, this is alone the first point in which we should unite, it could form the basis of a constructive dialogue. The word dharma could be translated as “the way things are”, or the basic truth. We as Buddhists find truth within ourselves for ourselves we do not need to read it in a book, we search within with confidence for truth. Once one has even the slightest of glimpses one can only be deeply moved. Of course much is written in many books with commentaries of commentaries and almost more cannons than Napoleon, there are simply too many to mention. The Tripitaka is but only one. If you would like to know my favourites then try Nagarjuna, Tilopa or the Third Karmapa, they are very inspiring, Nagarjuna’s logic and philosophy are second to none while the third Karmapa’s and Tilopa’s pointing out instructions or Mahamudra is so beautifully and easily written. The Buddha had 40 years to teach, to summarize it all in one book would be impossible, the eastern civilizations were amazingly rich and cultured in comparison to the western and middle eastern peoples. Anyways what was written were instructions how to find it, not the truth itself. The truth as Buddhists speak of is beyond all concepts, language, or words. It cannot be expressed in any way only hinted or pointed at. We as Buddhist do not need any faith whatsoever once we realize the one taste of all phenomena. The Buddha did not want students or followers he wanted colleagues and contemporaries who understood just as he did. He never commanded anything he recommended or pointed out the results of our actions, he gave us the tools to find the truth for ourselves and then asked us to share it with those who are or have openness. Openness is key here, Buddhism cannot be forced on someone, it would be impossible to force someone to recognize the true nature of their mind. This is why I ask you why you try to convince us with your scriptures that we are wrong and you are right. How could this ever work? Should not the truth when exposed, read, or published in any Chrisitan text speak for its self? Please also be aware buddhistronin and I did not mean to single you out, I believe we meant all Christians, in general, seem to go out of their way single out other religions and prove their own superiority especially here on WordPress, why is this so?

        QP

        October 5, 2017 at 5:01 am

      • Thanks for the comment on 5 October QP.
        I find it difficult to understand your logic. You say “We as Buddhists find truth within ourselves for ourselves, we do not need to read it in a book”. Yet the “instructions how to find it (truth)” came from a book.
        With regard to religious books, it’s the quality that counts more than the quantity. As the Bible is a message from the God who created the universe, it trumps all products of the human mind.
        And then you say that Buddhist truth is so mystical that it “is beyond all concepts, language, or words. It cannot be expressed in any way only hinted or pointed at”. This sounds complex and illusive (Correction: this is a typo, I meant “elusive”)! Whereas truth in the Bible is simple enough to be read by anyone.
        You ask, “Should not the truth when exposed, read, or published in any Christian text speak for its self?” Yes it does. But most people reject it. For example, everyone can see the beauty and complexity of life and the universe, but few consider the Creator.
        You ask, why do Christians assume that Christianity is superior to other religions when they promote Christianity on WordPress? All religions make exclusive claims that are not negotiable. None of them are identical. Have you read the New Testament? I would expect something from the Creator of the universe to have more authority than something from a human being. Maybe the reason is that Christians are concerned for people’s eternal welfare.

        October 5, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      • Good Day George,

        I am enjoying your questions, and the back and forth, thank you. To answer your question about not needing a book one must only look as far as the Buddha himself. There was no book for him to read about Buddhism when he sat and meditated under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India and reached enlightenment. So if he could do it why not me as well? This is the confident understanding we have in Vajrayana Buddhism, the Buddha was a man, I am a man; If he can do it so can I. Anything that was written is only a nice to have, but are very helpful. The writings of the great sages and Bhoddisatwas are in no way inferior to those of the Bible. The ancient cultures of India, China and the like are in no way inferior to our western Greco\Roman roots. One may even argue they were superior, they at least had a lot of contact between each of them. Back to the Bible, God did not write the Bible, men clearly did, as an intermediary. I would once again say that citing the Bible as proof of god amounts to nothing more than hearsay. But if you ask me today and say that some guy saw a burning bush and chiselled out 10 laws from God on a stone tablet, I would want to know what drugs he was on to have such a hallucination. I can accept that these men were inspired to do it and in turn inspired many others to do good things. And this is the same for the Buddhists who wrote the teachings of the Buddha after his death. Many were inspired for the last 2600 years to write and many are still inspired today and keep writing and meditating with meaningful results. Buddhism simply keeps growing and yes slowly changing with the times and adapting to a more modern understanding of itself. Hence why I choose to write about the abundantly clear connections between Quantum Physics and Buddhism. But very clearly Buddhism clearly asks us to look within ourselves in meditation to find the truth. If you have never had the courage to do so yourself, you can never understand the deep wisdom that the Buddha came to know. The first step is to meditate as the Buddha did. I am often at a loss for words how profound I find the Buddha-dharma to be.

        Complex and ilusive or did you mean elusive? There is a big difference here. (An elusive fairy is one you can’t catch, but an illusive one was never really there at all. It was just an illusion!)
        It is so simple, some even say that enlightenment is closer to us than our skin we just can not see it because we are so distracted by our emotions, wants, and egos. Remove these with the practice of meditation and wise compassionate activity and we benefit not only ourselves but all beings big and small. Meditate and doing good things to make people happy that’s not so complex, ilusive, or elusive. Some people need and actually like the philosophical and seemingly complex teachings. They are to be used as a way to deeply internalise and not only understand but realise the simple truths that we so easily overlook. Some thinkers need to think really hard some of us just need to learn a lesson the hard way, either way, the Buddha’s many teachings will help us in all situations. And it’s not just good enough to read the book it must be really internalised and practised. There is nothing worse than the hypocrisy of the Sunday Christian who goes home from church and beats his wife or rapes the resources of another’s country on Monday. Buddhism is the same here, without meaningful action, the best meditation will have only limited effect. The others are many and I am only one, it just makes sense that I should do something to help them as well.

        Why do most people reject the Christian teachings? Very good question. The answer is likely in the delivery, for example, “I am right, it says so right here in the good book, and you are going to hell if you don’t believe as well”. “Don’t shove that down my throat.” nothing has changed since the crusades. There is not one ounce of compassion or wisdom in this approach. It causes divisions where none previously were, it causes people to close up and move away, and what good is that?

        “Creator” this is really amazing, one might interpret the Buddha’s teachings as to say that we are the creators of all. For example, what good is an object (creation) without a subject ( us ) to enjoy it? If we lived in an only objective universe or only a universe with only subjects what good would that be? Our consciousness or “mind” as many Buddhists are now saying creates not only our concepts of like and don’t like, red and blue, or big and small, but that our consciousness slows down the basic quantum particles enough that our limited filters of the eyes, ears, skin, nose, tongue and brain can interpret it as what we might call reality or at the very least a collective hallucination. That might be a little too deep for some, this is more Vajrayana. If it’s too much then you can take the Theravada teachings instead. But this leads to a more important point about complexity or simplicity. It is said that the Buddha gave 84000 teachings, that’s a lot, eh? But he did not want and advised against one using them all. This is a take what you can, for now, improve your life and if you can the lives of those around you, and in the future take some more, in bite-sized chunks. Compare it to a pharmacy if you like. The doctor would never send you to the pharmacy with a prescription for one of everything, would he? Certainly not and the pharmacist would not even fill that prescription. But the Lama can say to the practitioner try this teaching for several weeks and see if it makes your anger better and come back and let me know and we can then deal with your jealousy. 🙂

        All religions make exclusive claims that are not negotiable. If you see the buddha-dharma in this way then you are misinformed, Buddhism makes no such claims. If science was to prove that something in Buddhism is not true then the science needs not be accepted and Buddhism should be open to change. Luckily for Buddhists today the great minds of today such as Einstein and Tesla had a deep understanding and respect for the Buddha-dharma. Buddhism passes the test of time and science.

        Have I read the New Testament? Yes and not only that but the entire book from Genisis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. And I find nothing in the book that qualifies as proof of its own existence or the existence of a god. This is simply not logical. If you, however, have a personal experience of god that has in some way or another lead you to believe otherwise, I accept that you have found the truth for yourself and am happy for you. If you simply need something to believe in and find Christianity acceptable this is also good, as long as you use this for good deeds that further our human development, as this is exactly what Buddhism teaches us to do. What I read and understood in the Old Testament was nothing more than genocide and its divine justification. Granted the new Testament changed most of this but not all of it. And I can completely agree that Jesus was an extraordinary being the likes of which we could use many times more here on earth. Buddhists are very concerned with the welfare of ALL BEINGS (red and yellow black and white) and not just people, we do after all share this planet with many many others, not just mankind. This is true unselfishness without ego.

        Namaste George

        QP

        October 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

      • Thanks for the comment on 8 October QP.
        I agree that Buddha didn’t need a book and likewise the God who created the univcrse didn’t need a book. But Buddha and God aren’t comparable. They are in different categories, one is a creation and the other is a Creator. One is dead and the other is alive. Although neither wrote books, many books have been written about them. But God caused special books to be written in a way that Buddha never did (see below).
        QP says, “God did not write the Bible, men clearly did, as an intermediary”. This is correct. In Old Testament times God communicated to people via the prophets and in New Testament times He communicated via Jesus and the apostles. Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter wrote, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable … Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things (own mind). For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:19-21). So the Holy Spirit helped the authors write the words. But it wasn’t just dictated mechanically, because each author used their own style. In this way, the Bible is a message from the God who created the universe, and so it has more authority than any product of the human mind.
        QP says, “I would once again say that citing the Bible as proof of god amounts to nothing more than hearsay”. I didn’t claim to prove the existence of God from the Bible. Instead, I would say that the existence of God is the most logical explanation of the existence and complex nature of the universe, the existence and complex nature of life, and the existence of the human conscience (innate sense of right and wrong). So, there’s lots of other evidence available.
        I apologise for the typo, it should have been “elusive”, not “illusive”. I have added a corrective note to my post.
        QP says, “Why do most people reject the Christian teachings? Very good question. The answer is likely in the delivery”. Let’s test this with Jesus. As Jesus was divine, the delivery of His message to fellow Jews must have been perfect. But Jesus was rejected in His hometown (Mk. 6:3; Lk. 4:28-29); and in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum where He did many miracles (Lk. 10:13-15); and in the region of the Gadarenes (Mt. 8:34). Many of His followers deserted Him (Jn. 6:66). And the Jewish religious leaders condemned Him to death. This shows that Jesus Christ’s teachings were rejected by many people. If that’s what happened to Jesus Christ, then the message about Jesus will also be rejected today. And the reason will be humanity’s sinful rebellion against God, and not the style of delivery.
        QP says, that Buddhism makes no exclusive claims. But if this is true, then it would be no different to Hinduism! Or to any other philosophy or religion.
        QP says, “Have I read the New Testament? Yes and not only that but the entire book from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. And I find nothing in the book that qualifies as proof of its own existence or the existence of a god. This is simply not logical.” Your opinion is not surprising. Paul wrote, “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Many things (including presuppositions) can hide the message of the Bible.

        October 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      • Dear George, I hope you and your family/friends are very well. Sorry for the late reply I have been sick, oh well anyway I sincerely hope that you are enjoying our friendly exchange of ideas as much as I am.
        The Buddha and Jesus (and or the complete holy trinity) are most certainly comparable. So let’s see how I arrive at that. Jesus brings Salvation if we believe in him. And he promises us eternal life with him in heaven. Ok cool, Google defines salvation as:
        noun
        1.
        preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.
        “they try to sell it to us as economic salvation”
        synonyms: lifeline, preservation, conservation, means of escape
        “she clung to that conviction, knowing it was her salvation”
        2.
        THEOLOGY
        deliverance from sin and its consequences, believed by Christians to be brought about by faith in Christ.
        “the Christian gospel of salvation for all mankind”
        synonyms: redemption, deliverance, saving, help, reclamation
        “we are here to bring you to salvation by way of repentance”

        George, the Buddha brings us an end or means to escape the suffering caused by our negative karmic actions and he empowers all to be of service to all beings. Sounds like salvation to me. He delivers us from bad behaviour or karma (sin ) and it’s consequences (suffering ). Once freed from samsara, we are free forever, all future lives are free from samsara as well. After we no longer suffer we are tasked to help others. Mate, how can this not be the same thing at its essence?

        The Promise is the same, only the delivery is different. Faith in the unseen or unknown from Jesus or god (only through Jesus) or a practical path of good actions and beneficial living for all from the Buddha with nothing to believe in we have only to try. I would argue that Buddhism offers us the fastest and most immediate way to better our world for the benefit of all. I am not worried about any hell after death, am I worried about my fellow humans who are living in hell this very moment, the here and now is what we need to be concerned with. While all Buddhists are not perfect this is far better than the killing and religious wars we have had since Moses and co. invaded and tried to ethnically cleanse the promised land of unbelievers and the troubles have never stopped since then. However, I must say that Christian beliefs can be put to some extremely good uses. Schools, hospitals, and charities of all sorts to name a few. Most Christians live a very good life of service to the poor for example, but some think it’s fine to bomb the unbelievers.

        As for god, god is nothing more than an idea like enlightenment both are the goal in one way or another. Christians wish to abide with god in their afterlife. And Buddhists seek to calm and abide in meditation and the all knowing truth that unites all beings. And yes one could use the word the “Devine” equally to both. Both are hard to explain and quite difficult to grasp. But nevertheless, they are both lofty but worthwhile ideals.

        “Buddhism would be no different than Hinduism or any other religion or philosophy” Well Buddhism and Hinduism share some similar beliefs and roots. But they are not the same thing, or we would have the same name for it and we would not be discussing this point. Buddhism is not really a religion it’s more of a philosophy that has religious overtones and it picks up where science leaves off because it is unafraid to talk about the universe in a spiritual way. Being similar to Hinduism does not mean we are better or worse, your argument is once again a non-sequitur, and my dear friend, no explanation mark was needed as two rational adults attempt to have a civilized conversation. Remember big dogs don’t need to bark. That also goes for the hellfire and brimstone your going to hell if you don’t believe the good book literally. If it is so good some people really go out of your way to convince me of the obvious. And it sounds too good to be true.

        Once again I ask you what evidence do you have of the divinity of the Bible? Other than what is already said in the Bible. Does Christianity pass the science test? This would at least be fair to the other religions, note I would not think that it is a good idea for Christianity to have to pass the Buddha test, that would be just crass. Is the god of Abraham alive? Can you prove it to a 5 sigma level? Could you even prove it in a court of law? Could you do it please without Calling me a follower of the devil and could you please use sound logic? Or is this “Instead, I would say that the existence of God is the most logical explanation of the existence and complex nature of the universe, the existence and complex nature of life, and the existence of the human conscience (innate sense of right and wrong). So, there’s lots of other evidence available.” already your Trump card? 😉 It is very well thought out and partly plausible. What is this evidence you have spoken of I would like to learn about it? Some would that science is coming close to explaining the wonderful complexities of life and Buddhism explains the suchness of human consciousness or mind. This is also very reasonable don’t you think? They make an amazing team.

        Once again using the Bible as proof of its self is simply illogical. For example, “hear ye hear ye, I am the great spaghetti monster who was boiled for your sins. Trust me because I say so and look I wrote it in this big book” ??? Really, I don’t think so. This rationale is simply insulting to our intelligence as rational well-educated individuals.
        Creator
        noun
        a person or thing that brings something into existence.
        “James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming”
        synonyms: writer, author, composer, designer, deviser, maker, inventor, producer, developer; More
        used as a name for God.
        noun: Creator; noun: the Creator
        synonyms: God, the Lord, the Almighty, the Master of the Universe; one’s Maker
        “the Sabbath is kept to honour the Creator”

        I had to laugh and think of my childhood watching “HeMan” the master of the universe. Through quiet contemplation and meditation, the Buddha took control of his disturbing emotions and his karma. He created or brought into existence the conditions to end his cycle of samsara or suffering. And then turned his efforts to help others end their suffering by creating conditions of compassion and wisdom in all he met and inspiring them to do the same for all others. This is also creation making the Buddha a creator as well.
        “If” god is the creator and we are made in his image then we are creators as well his equals.

        You have also mentioned gods perfection in all he does. Ok so what about this. if we really were made in gods image Genesis 1:27 and yet we still are sinners, one can draw two conclusions 1. god who is perfect made a mistake or 2. god is also a sinner like us and therefore imperfect. When Christ came to fix or redeem us was god trying to fix his error? How can something so imperfect and sinful as man come from such perfection from a Christian perspective? The Buddha would have us know that we are perfect we just can’t see it because of the veils of ignorance and our disturbing emotions.

        Namaste George, the divine in me sees the divine in you.

        QP

        October 19, 2017 at 6:19 am

      • Thanks for the comment on 28 October QP and I apologise for the delay with this reply.

        QP says, “I am not worried about any hell after death, I am worried about my fellow humans who are living in hell this very moment, the here and now is what we need to be concerned with”. The Bible says that we should be concerned about both our eternal destiny and our life now. It’s not a choice between one or the other. You are taking a big risk by ignoring your eternal destiny. The main reason that Jesus came was to provide a safe eternal destiny for those who trust in His act of salvation. Jesus talked about “eternal punishment” and “eternal life” (Mt. 25:46). The Bible says that humans live eternally, death is not the end of our existence (it could be one of the ways they are made in the image and likeness of God, Gen. 1:26-27).

        QP says, “god is nothing more than an idea like enlightenment both are the goal in one way or another”. This is a poor summary of the God of the Bible. God is not only the end, but the beginning as well. He’s the source and ultimate cause of the universe. He also sustains the universe.

        QP doubts my statement that “Instead, I would say that the existence of God is the most logical explanation of the existence and complex nature of the universe, the existence and complex nature of life, and the existence of the human conscience (innate sense of right and wrong). So, there’s lots of other evidence available.” I will choose one part of this statement, the “complex nature of the universe”. There are two main ways to explain this observation.
        Option 1:
        – matter/energy came from nothing.
        – matter/energy created the laws of the universe.
        – The order and complexity of the universe came from an explosion of this matter/energy and the operation of these laws. This included producing life and producing the information stored in DNA codes.
        Hypothetical “dark matter” and “dark energy” is proposed to explain the observed behaviour of the universe (otherwise it can’t be explained by the current laws of physics).
        Option 2:
        – An all-powerful God designed and created matter/energy, and the laws of the universe, and the order and complexity of the universe. This included producing life and producing the information stored in DNA codes.
        Both options involve miracles. Ockham’s razor says that the simplest explanation is preferred because it involves fewer assumptions. Therefore, option 2 is preferred because it’s simpler.
        A similar argument can be made for the origin of life, the origin of gender and the origin of morals (or conscience).

        QP asks, “Once again I ask you what evidence do you have of the divinity of the Bible? Other than what is already said in the Bible.” How about the miraculous history of the nation of Israel (see below)?

        QP asks, “Is the god of Abraham alive? Can you prove it to a 5 sigma level? Could you even prove it in a court of law?”. About 2000 BC, God promised Abraham that his descendants would be a nation that would occupy Palestine. This was fulfilled about 1,000 years later during the reign of king Solomon (970-930BC). But they were driven from the land by 586BC because they were unfaithful. And Palestine was ruled by other nations up to AD 1947. In the time of Isaiah (about 700BC), God promised that after the exile the nation would be restored in Palestine. But there was no evidence of this being fulfilled until over 2,500 years after the exile. So, the history of the nation of Israel proves that “the God of Abraham is alive”. Two promises that He made were fulfilled, one after a period of about 1,000 years and the other after a period of over 2,500 years. I know of no other god or prophet doing something like this. By the way, we are dealing with history here, not statistics (5 sigma level).

        QP says, “Once again using the Bible as proof of its self is simply illogical”. An equivalent question to you could be, “Can you disprove the existence of God by only using the Bible?”. The Bible is a collection of 66 ancient documents written over a period of at least 1,500 years by 40 different authors. But it has an amazing unity. The New Testament was written by at least nine independent authors. The authors all present different perspectives, but they all proclaim the same one true God, and the same one way of salvation—Jesus Christ. And the statements made by each author can provide independent proof of statements made by the others. That’s how historical facts are determined from historical records.

        All religious and philosophical systems start with presuppositions. For example, my presupposition is that the Bible is God’s written word and so it is the ultimate authority on whatever it teaches. The real tests are: is it self-consistent and is it consistent with the real world? So what do these tests show?
        Is the Bible self-consistent? Yes, the Bible is consistent in the claims it makes about itself. And it doesn’t disclaim divine inspiration.
        Is the Bible consistent with the real world? The biblical framework is the only one that provides the foundation for science (the universe is orderly because it was made by a God of order), voluntary will (being made in the image of God, people are free to make choices), logic (the universe was made by a God of order who operates consistently throughout the universe), and morality (the Bible provides an objective basis for right and wrong). This foundation is lacking in most other religious and philosophical systems.

        QP says, “’If’ god is the creator and we are made in his image then we are creators as well his equals”. Yes humans are creative, but we don’t have the same power as God. Can we create matter/energy (from nothing)? Can we create life from chemicals? God is in charge of the universe (Eph. 1:20-22), whereas we have much smaller responsibilities (Ps. 8:6-8). And we can’t even fulfil these (Heb. 2:8). So, we are not equal with God.

        QP says, “You have also mentioned gods perfection in all he does. Ok so what about this. if we really were made in gods image Genesis 1:27 and yet we still are sinners, one can draw two conclusions 1. god who is perfect made a mistake or 2. god is also a sinner like us and therefore imperfect. When Christ came to fix or redeem us was god trying to fix his error? How can something so imperfect and sinful as man come from such perfection from a Christian perspective?”. The answer is that God gave humans the freedom to make choices, they are not His robots (it could be one of the ways they are made in the image and likeness of God, Gen. 1:26-27). As God knew that people would rebel against Him, He also had a plan of salvation through Jesus. Adam and Eve were not sinners until they decided to disobey God. After this time in history the universe was and is not as it was originally created by God. That’s why it’s wrong to blame God for the state of the world today. Yes, God is perfect, but the world is no longer perfect (Rom. 8:20-22). But its perfection will be restored in a coming day. In the meantime, we can be a part of this new creation by being reconciled with God (2 Cor. 5:17-21). That’s why Paul urged people to “Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). The message of the Bible is a marvellous exchange, “God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus took the penalty of our sin (rebellion), so that we could receive His righteousness (be made perfect before God).

        QP says, “it sounds too good to be true”. But the benefits of a belief are independent of the truth of a belief. And skepticism towards all beliefs that promise good benefits is irrational. So, these aren’t the real reasons for unbelief. Yes, goodness is one of the characteristics of God. And the Bible has a message of good news. And based on history, God can be trusted to keep His promises.

        October 29, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      • (Comment on comment by George on 29 October)
        Dear George, once more I hope all those you love are well and healthy.
        It is abundantly clear to me that you do not understand the very basic concepts of the Buddha’s non-dual teachings. It’s ok and this is not a problem while you have found what you need in the extremely dualistic teachings of the Bible. However, this is the reason why you should not be taking punches at something you cannot fathom or grasp in its most simplest essence. This is the plague christians bring to the world, their complete and total intolerance for truth that is different from their own. No dialogue can exist or come forth from such an illogical worldview that presupposes it’s own superiority over that of others. consistent is the very reason why we have so much war and destruction in our world. Thank you, jesus for the wars we love you for all those you have slain for us in your name, so that we can be the masters of this tiny speck of blue in the centre of the universe.

        George, I have one final comment for you, please let us test the divinity of the Bible and modern values and morals. I have selected 6 verses to help us see how the bible’s divine wisdom that can help us lead better and more fulfilled lives in the name of god the father, the son, and the holy ghost. Let’s consider and examine this good news and call it the Humanity and Compassion Test.

        1. 1 Timothy 2:12, says: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent.” When we stand in front of a woman Judge and she passes a sentence do we get to ignore it as she is a woman and I am I man? Is a woman President out of the question biblically speaking? How should a mother or a woman teacher discipline or direct male children? Is this scripture an example of god’s compassion and humanity? How should the Queen of England and women like Margret Thatcher and Oprah Winfrey interpret this?

        2. 1 Samuel 15:3: “This is what the Lord Almighty says … ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” Does god give us permission to commit genocide in situations where he deems it acceptable? How should this scripture help us find peace and stability for all in this world? What shall we say to the violence and utter destruction this poses should this be a model for us to use in future conflicts? How should one balance this with “thou shall not kill”? Is this what you are talking about when you speak of the bible’s congruency with itself over the time it was written?

        3. How about Psalm 137, which puts an interesting spin on revenge: “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us / He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” This finds god at odds with Gandhi and his “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” When would such revenge stop, and how on earth should this make anyone happy? Reading stuff like this really makes me sick.

        4. This might be a repeat of #1 but I want to know after reading Genisis 16-21 and Exodus 20-21 When I can have my slaves, wives, and concubines? Are the Mormons correct and did the wrong side in the eyes of god lose the civil war in the US? Does gods divine plan for man include servants and whores who are at my disposal if I believe in him?

        5 Exodus 35:2 – ” For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.” When shall we start the execution of all the Mcdonalds and Burger King employees who have to work on Sunday? Do we do anything with the boss who is at home but required them to work? Once again why all the killing?

        6. Luke 14:26, ” If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” I am not even sure what to say here except that my Sunday school teacher ever so slightly and skillfully passed over this one.

        7. Numbers 5:11-31 – ” 11 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure- then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt. ‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD. Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, ‘If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband’ here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath, may the LORD cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away.’ Then the woman is to say, ‘Amen. So be it.’ The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering. The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the LORD and bring it to the altar. The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, and she will become accursed among her people. If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children. This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband, or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the LORD and is to apply this entire law to her. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.”
        Wow, what is this? Drink this poison and if you live you were innocent and when you die, you die because of your sins? How is this Love? Where is the wisdom here? How many women would be left standing today if we still did this?

        8. Leviticus 21:17-24 – “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy.’ ” So Moses told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites. So I take it that there is no handicapped entrance ramp to the temple, only an exit. If there is a handicapped entrance to a church, is the church in violation of the holy scriptures of god? Is this how we express compassion and wisdom to those of us who are less fortunate than ourselves?

        So these questions are an attempt to qualify the divinity of the holy scriptures and god’s plan for us here his servants on earth. Or is this just an absurd plan from psychopathic tyrant hellbent on destruction and control. I find no love, no compassion, and no humanity in these “holy” words of some supposed god that will condemn me to hell if I don’t believe in him, how is that for unconditional love? In fact, I find only great understanding after reading this and similar scriptures in the Quoran and the Torah, of the great plague that began in the middle east and now is infecting the whole world with violence and death as Christian and Muslim pit their versions of god against one another much like you, have pitted the supposed words of god against the Buddha Dharma. This is not a message of love in any way shape or form, this is not self consistant with a message of love and good news. Result FAIL!

        Now in response to your last message, how about option 3: The universe is conscious of itself and we are the result of it. How is this for simplicity?

        How could god make christ if they were one and the same along with the holy spirit? This is illogical but typical for all your arguments.

        Asking me to disprove the existence of god using the bible is ridiculous and once more exemplifies your complete ineptitude in presenting a logical argument.

        Consider the words of the Buddha: “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
        Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
        Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
        Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
        Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations.
        But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Simple and logical, take that to the bank. This is a call from 2600 years ago to prove scientifically all that we believe in. And a call to action for the betterment of mankind in a meaningful and respectful way. So much cannot be said for the religions of the middle east, especially or including the bible.

        Nameste George, even though you cannot see the divine in anything other than your self, the rest of us see it in you. Please chat back when you are ready to be logical, tolerant, and open with the rest of us. Until then stop telling us how wrong we are until you see how wrong you are as well. I believe this was best explained by Mathew in chapter seven verse 5 “You hypocrite, first, take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

        QP

        October 30, 2017 at 12:10 am

      • Dear George,

        after much thought, I think I finally have the answer to the question I have been asking you. The question that as of yet remains unanswered. For those reading late in the conversation please allow me to restate the question.

        “Why do so many Christians seek out to demonize and discredit the Buddha and his Dharma in such violent and irreverent ways?”

        I really believe it is because Christians and their faith are inherently threatened by the simple, truthfully beautiful, and elegant manner in which the essence of the Buddha’s teachings coalesce with life and all living beings in the most meaningful of ways. And while the teachings of Jesus come very close to explaining this understanding or realisation, they are simply an afterthought, widening, or reiteration of the all-encompassing quintessential love of the Buddha-dharma.

        So it seems that Buddhism is a much bigger threat than even those teachings parallel to the Bible, such as those of Mohammed and the Hebrew texts. As long as Christians attack and vilify the Buddha Dharma they will continue missing the point and lose out on the chance of true peaceful coexistence with their fellow beings. It is actually very sad to be so close but yet so far away.

        Dear George,

        May you and all Christians be full of happiness and the cause of happiness.

        May you and all Christians be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.

        May you and all Christians experience happiness that is completely free from all suffering.

        And may you and all Christians dwell and remain in the great equanimity free and completely without any attachment and aversion.

        Nameste George, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and your readers.

        QP

        November 8, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      • Thanks for the comment of 30 October QP.

        QP blames Christianity as “the very reason why we have so much war and destruction in our world”. As Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament, that is where we need to look to see what it teaches on this subject. Please let me know of any verses in this part of the Bible that encourage Christians to warfare, because I am not aware of any. So please don’t blame Christianity for warfare. That’s like blaming God for the problems in the world.

        QP quotes eight passages from the Bible for testing against “modern values and morals”. I have written a post on how to understand the Bible. And I have applied this to 1 Samuel 15:1-3 (passage #2 above). This includes consideration of the text, the historical-cultural context and the literary context. There are two main divisions in the Bible – the part dealing with the Old Covenant (up to AD 30) and the part dealing with the New Covenant (after AD 30). Jesus overlaps these covenants as He lived under the old one but also taught about the new one.

        Because, “Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given” (Rom. 10:4), even Jews are no longer under the law of Moses (Gal. 3:23-25). Jesus ended “the (Old Testament) system of law with its commandments and regulations” (Eph. 2:15). He fulfilled the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets by accomplishing their purpose (Mt. 5:17). Because Jesus never sinned and was the only one who obeyed the law, He was able to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. This means that God’s justice is met while at the same time He can show mercy to sinners. So, these laws were for the people of Israel (Jews) living under the Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant the people of God (Christians) are no longer an ethnic group, but people from all nations.

        Looking at the passages, numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 were written to Israelites living under the Old Covenant. This historical context means that they are not relevant to Christians living under the New Covenant. Therefore, they are also not relevant to “modern values and morals”. See my exegesis of passage #2. If you want to compare them with something, then it should be with other nations of that era. Otherwise you are comparing apples against oranges and not like against like.

        Looking at the other two passages (numbers 1 and 6). The context of 1 Timothy 2:12 (“I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly”) is that Paul is writing to Timothy with instructions for the church at Ephesus. It is preceded by instructions on corporate prayer (2:1-10) and followed by instructions on church leadership (3:1-13). So, the topic being addressed in 1 Timothy 2:12 is teaching scripture and listening to teachers of scripture in a corporate church setting. It has nothing to do with the behaviour of female judges, presidents, mothers, school teachers, queens, prime ministers, or talk show hosts.

        When a large crowd followed Jesus He said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26-27). This could be a hyperbole (an obvious exaggeration) meaning that one must love Jesus even more that one’s immediate family and one’s own life. Or the word “hate” could have a particular meaning. Either way, it’s a rhetorical technique to get their attention. And then He explains His statement (v.27-33). He was looking for followers who were willing to live devotedly and passionately for Him, and even die for Him if necessary. So He describes the cost of true discipleship. No consideration of family ties or self-centredness must ever be allowed to deflect a disciple from a pathway of full obedience to Christ. Christians are to love Him supremely, more than their family and more than their own lives. His followers are required to reset their priorities and put God first. Jesus is teaching about the cost of following Him, “So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own” (Lk. 14:33).

        A similar thought is given in, “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine” (Mt. 10:37). By comparing with Luke 14:26, we see that in this context, the word “hate” could mean “to love less than”. And this could be the particular meaning that Jesus intended. Also note, “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity” (Jn. 12:25).

        QP gives a third way to explain the complex nature of the universe as “The universe is conscious of itself and we are the result of it. How is this for simplicity?”. It seems simple, but is it reasonable? Like option 1, it doesn’t explain the cause of the universe (the universe can’t create itself). According to the Cambridge dictionary, the adjective “conscious” means to be “awake, thinking, and knowing what is happening around you”. For example, “She’s out of the operating theatre, but she’s not fully conscious yet”. So, it’s usually applied to living creatures with a mind and nervous system. The Bible describes human beings as being comprised of spirit, soul and body (1 Th. 5:23). It is the spirit which distinguishes us from animals; they do not have such an eternal spirit. As the soul is comprised of the mind, will and emotions, it’s a characteristic of living creatures. To say the universe is conscious seems to be a contradiction to me. How can non-living matter, like rocks, sand, dust and dead things, be awake, thinking and knowing what is happening around it? How can it have a mind, will and emotions? I know that some people speculate about whether the universe is conscious. Whatever they mean, it’s nothing like the dictionary definition. Instead they are making up their own definition. But I would rather trust in something that is robust and reliable instead of speculative ideas.

        QP asks, “How could god make christ if they were one and the same along with the holy spirit? This is illogical”. The Bible treats the members of the trinity as separate persons although they share the same being (each being called “God”). The verse being referred to is, “God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:21). This describes how people can become friends (reconciled) with God. It’s through what Jesus did. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong (Jesus), so we could be put right with God. How did God make Christ to be an offering for our sin? By planning His death as a criminal although He was innocent of any crime. And planning His suffering to be a substitute penalty for the sins of humanity. So, it doesn’t mean that God created Christ, because they both exist eternally and so are uncreated.

        Jesus also explained His relationship with God the Father as, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to (God) the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). He is the only way to heaven and the only way to God the Father. There is no other way to heaven or to God. And He is the only source of all truth. And He is the only source of physical and spiritual life. The latter is deliverance from sin, suffering and death to a life of freedom in eternity. In this verse He was urging the disciples to follow Him. Through the Bible it still urges people to follow Him today. This message inspired the disciples to declare this good news to the world. Jesus died to take the punishment of our sins and rose from the dead to give us new life. We can have this new life if we believe this and confess our sins to God. That’s the best news because it’s about our eternal destiny. Our sin is like cancer – it’s bad news. And Jesus is the cure for our sins. If we don’t accept that Jesus paid for our sins, then we’ll have to pay for our sins for ever. And I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that.

        November 10, 2017 at 6:51 am

      • Dear George
        I hope all is well in your end of the world and that your plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming perfectly together along with your family for this holiday season.

        I am beginning to ask myself if you ever directly answer a question without quoting the Bible or if you are interested in a conversation or dialogue or just want to show off your amazing grasp of the Bible just in case god is reading this blog? And I don’t mean to sound insulting here but I feel like I am in a church not having a discussion. I mean this with all due respect as I am here for dialogue, to ask, to learn and to share, not to be told that I am going to burn in hell. I have asked several questions and I feel I only have god’s answer when I am interested in what George has to say. Is there any room for consensus or agreement or are you the only one who knows the truth?

        As to your comments thank you, please allow me to address some of them. Christianity is only one of the causes of the world’s problems I blamed Christianity but Judaism, and Islam should share in this. This constant battle of my prophet or my book is better, more authoritative, more accurate than yours etc. this is what is killing this world. Sorry if you felt singled out but believe me the blame is not yours alone.
        If Christianity cannot come to a consensus or understanding with the Buddha dharma there is no hope for the other “people of the book”. I find this sad very sad.
        Now I did quote you a verse from the Bible that I believe empowers Christianity to wage war and 1 Samuel 15:3 sounds like war to me. And “if” god really did inspire these scriptures then he IS THE PROBLEM. It is also irrelevant what part of the bible this comes from when it is the holy inspired truth. If this scripture is no longer valid or void because it is part of the Old Testament then your argument for the validity, authenticity, or divine authority of the whole bible is very questionable. How does this work? Do we now have Synod of George and those that think like him who now get to say that part of the bible is no longer valid and we like this part instead? If so then Islam seems to have the most uncorrupted book. If Jesus ended the old testament system how did we end up with all the crusades? Perhaps we need some new prophet to come forth again and end all this religious violence we have now. Lord knows we need it because as long and Jews, Muslims, and Christians are fighting none of us will ever know peace. If the bible cannot inspire us to “be peace” then it is no longer relevant to human beings and should be discarded in the anals of history.

        Your comments on the use of the word hate in the new testament are interesting. But “could be a hyperbole” sounds like you are really out on a limb and grasping for something to hold onto. Could that have a particular meaning as well? How much license does one have in interpreting this book? How much licence for interpretation has been used over the years version after version synod after synod, you must get my drift here, don’t you? This does not bode well for the bible’s divine authenticity. My critical and logical western mind has a real tough time swallowing this and this is a fail in my books.

        The next one is my favourite. “the universe cannot create itself” Finally we agree on something. This is not what I said, but since you did the same must also apply to god. How does she exist? She could not create herself either, could she? Now to the real issue here is the Universe conscious? Why not? This is what Quantum mechanics are seemingly saying without all the religious dogma. You know George what if me saying the universe is like you saying god? The Hindus would say Atman and Muslims Allah. Many words but its the same darn thing. When I say mind, you say soul. The word mind is less offensive to Buddhists, by that, I mean less of a Sunday term as we do not wish to confuse anyone who is already confused. Did you know that the ancient Indians likely had as many words for mind, awareness, consciousness, and mindfulness just like the Inuit have for snow? These guys had a lot of time and they really studied this they even called it Adhyatma Vidya (Skt.) or the science of mind. Generation after generation of scholars, gurus, and yogis studied debated and meditated this science. Even an entire university in Nalanda was devoted to its study until some book thumping terrorists came by with their truth and ideas and they burned the place down and killed all the gurus and students. This is where ideas of superiority and divisive divinity leads us to.

        I thank you for worrying about my soul George but I don’t have one. I have an awakened mind and I am beginning to know how it fits in peaceful and productive ways with all those beings around me. This is true beauty and meaning for me.

        Nameste George be well

        November 15, 2017 at 6:18 am

      • Thanks for your comment on 8 Nov QP.

        This blogpost compared the teachings of Buddha against the teachings of the God who created the universe and who continues to sustain it. Simplicity isn’t a virtue of a religion or philosophy if it demonstrated to be inconsistent with the teachings of God in the Bible.

        The message of the Bible is simple. It explains the past, the present and the future. And it tells us what to do and how to live. God created a perfect universe where there was no sin. But people rebelled (disobeyed) against God bringing sin, pain, suffering and death into the world. Our world is different to what God originally intended. We live in the time period between the fall (into sin) and the restoration. But God sent Jesus to take the punishment for sin by dying for us. God is the greatest example of love. Those who accept His rescue plan become part of His new creation where there will be no sin. This gives lasting joy and love. Those who don’t accept His rescue plan, will pay the penalty for their rebellion against the God who sustained them through life on earth. This gives lasting pain and regret. Which option will you choose?

        November 19, 2017 at 4:30 am

      • Thanks for your comment on 15 November QP.

        QP says, “I have asked several questions and I feel I only have god’s answer when I am interested in what George has to say”. When I am asked a question, I endeavor to provide the best answer. God is infinite, eternal (in the past and the future), everywhere (omnipresent), all-knowing (omniscient) and all-powerful (omnipotent). I have none of these characteristics. So, God’s answer is always better than any that I can give without considering God. That’s why it’s best to align one’s answer’s and one’s life with God.

        QP asks, “are you the only one who knows the truth?” Of course not. But I know the source of all truth. And so do lots of other people. God is holy, righteous, just, benevolent, gracious, merciful, and has integrity. The God who created the world and sustains it is the source of all truth. Because He is trustworthy, let’s trust His message in the Bible.

        QP says that Christianity is one of the causes of the world’s problems and believes that 1 Samuel 15:3 empowers Christianity to wage war. Here is the passage where this verse occurs in the Bible, “One day Samuel said to Saul, ‘It was the Lord who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys’” (1 Sam. 15:1-3). See my exegesis of this passage.

        This is a message to Saul the king of Israel who lived about 1030BC. Christianity began when the Holy Spirit indwelt believers on the day of Pentecost in about AD30. The portion of the Bible that describes early Christianity (Acts to Revelation) was written after AD30. The message in 1 Samuel 15 was written to Israelites living in the land of Israel over 1,000 years before Christianity began. I don’t see how this event in Jewish history is relevant to Christianity – it isn’t mentioned in the New Testament. It’s more relevant to Jews than to Christians.

        Saul also offered animal sacrifices (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:8-10). Does this mean that Christians should offer animal sacrifices to God? Of course not. Christians follow the new covenant, not the old one which was made with the Israelites. That’s why the Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. We need to take into account who the text is written to. This is basic biblical hermeneutics (principles of interpretation) and exegesis (interpretation of a specific text).

        QP says, “If Jesus ended the old testament system how did we end up with all the crusades?”

        From about AD 200, the land of Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey was inhabited primarily by Christians. But once Islam became powerful, Muslims invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported, and even murdered the Christians living in those lands. Besides conquering the Middle East, the Muslims aggressively conquered portions of Europe, northern Africa and Spain. The march on Europe was stopped in what is now France by Charles Martel in 732, at the Battle of Tours (Poitiers). And by 732 they swept over Persia into India. This all happened within 100 years of the death of Muhammad in 632. This conquest was unparalleled in human history. The initial Islamic jihad captured four of the five centres of Christianity at that time. These are now in the Islam world. The largest of these former Christian centres was Constantinople.

        And Christians didn’t respond for 450 years. The first crusade was a response to an appeal from the Byzantine Empire and a threat to Christian residents of Palestine and to pilgrims visiting Palestine and to the destruction of churches in Palestine. The aim was to allow pilgrimages to Palestine. The Crusades were a defensive action that was delayed and small scale. This was a limited military action in response to a series of massive military actions. There was no attempt to recover any of the other lands that had been conquered.

        In response, the Roman Catholic Church and “Christian” kings/emperors from Europe ordered the crusades (AD 1095 to 1230) to liberate the land of Palestine so that pilgrimages could be made once again. Although the Crusades were primarily pilgrimages rather than military operations, the actions that many so-called Christians took in the crusades were deplorable. They did some terrible things. There is no biblical justification for conquering lands, murdering civilians, and destroying cities in the name of Jesus Christ.

        Christianity doesn’t have the idea of a holy war. Fighting wasn’t something that got you into heaven. And Jesus said His kingdom wasn’t maintained by military might – “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).

        Christians don’t always live according to the Bible. And Christendom is comprised of unbelievers as well as believers. I don’t think we can blame Christianity as taught in the Bible for the actions of these people who lived over 800 years ago. And for the actions of everyone who claims to be Christian. But if there had been no opposition to Muslim aggression, we may all be living in a Muslim county today.

        QP refers to “this religious violence we have now”. I am not aware of any Christians behaving violently today. Can you please give an example?

        QP criticizes my explanation of the word “hate” in Luke 14:26. He says, “How much license does one have in interpreting this book?” There is no license in interpreting the Bible because the meaning is usually given by the context. In this case Jesus gives an illustration about a man who builds a house without counting the cost and finds that he cannot follow through with what he set out to do (v.28-30). The point of the passage is to count the cost of following Jesus. In order to be a disciple, we must be willing to give up everything for Jesus. Therefore, if our parents will not follow Jesus, or if they disown us for being Christians, we must still choose Him over them. It is in this sense that we are “hating” our family members who reject the Lord or reject us because of the Lord. God requires total commitment from His followers, to the point of not being diverted by any natural family members who reject Jesus. The cost of following Jesus is that we must be prepared to put everything else second.

        QP asks how can God exist if something can’t create itself. The answer to this question is that God is in a different category to everything else. God is eternal and so had no beginning.

        QP proposes that the “universe” is equivalent to “God”. This seems like a version of pantheism to me. I can’t see how the universe can be personal, holy, righteous, just, benevolent, gracious, and merciful. God is everywhere, but He is not everything. The Bible forbids the worship of anything except God and calls it idolatry.

        November 19, 2017 at 4:43 am

      • Dear George, once again your argument is simply illogical. You say that god created a perfect universe. lol, this simply cannot be. If this said universe was perfect then it is completely impossible that man could rebel and sin. What on earth or in this universe would we have to rebel against if it all was perfect? This presumption of yours is not realistic. Are we to believe the Lucifer was walking around one day in a perfect heaven and accidentally fell through some hole in a cloud and fell to earth? Some perfection, full of holes. And then to top it off we are to believe and trust in him and his so-called rescue plan, to fix his messed up first attempt at perfection and wait in pain and suffering for his second attempt. The Buddha Dharma teaches us that we can end suffering now, no waiting needed. We must only learn to be responsible for our own actions and live up to their results good or bad equally. It’s too easy to blame the devil or some outside evil for all the wrong in this world but to accept our own responsibility is much more difficult pill to swallow. But its results require no waiting and represent in my opinion the best chance for change in this godforsaken world.

        Dear George if god is all-powerful and omniscient it seems very perverse that all beings have to suffer and wait in this hell that he created for us for millennia in order to experience his so-called benevolence, grace and mercy and his second chance to fix it. I really mean this, it is sick to torture untold billions of beings here in hell if you have the power to fix it now, this is not in any way shape or form mercy no matter what the bible says. The only two conclusions that are possible is that he is sick and perverse or he cannot fix this because he did not make it in the first place.

        George, you seem like a very learned man likely you have a theology degree or have attended seminary school, but why do you not understand logic?

        You claim yourself that the writings in 1. Samuel 15: 1-3 are irrelevant because of the passage of time and the coming of Jesus. If the bible is the true and correct inspired word of god what power do you have to declare it non-pertinet? The entire book is the inspired word of god or none of it at all, there is no room to interpret this any other way.

        Your comment on the crusades are a powerful statement for the violence that has come forth from the believers of the bible and koran. Belief in one all-powerful god leads all humans to also believe that they are also all powerful and all knowing and empowered from this false god to go out and kill anyone who disagrees with their version of their perverted teachings. This is the deep and disturbing sickness that is destroying our world. The Buddha Dharma teaches us that we are all connected and that what we do to others we are actually doing to ourselves. Only when we realise the interconnectedness of all beings will we stop killing ourselves.

        If there is no license in interpreting the bible we must then see the meddling of man in early years of the church when the Catholics redid or rewrote the bible. The words of which now serve to enslave and control man at the behest of the church’s powerful control. You may also not interpret the bible to say that the old testament is no longer valid. The Buddha Dharma is free to all meditation can be done by anyone anywhere there is nothing controlling it. One needn’t believe anything that seems self-serving, illogical, or damaging to anyone or anything.
        In our world history there are many different versions or accounts of god or the divine there is likely much truth in all of them not only in one. I happened to stumble upon an interesting lecture on youtube the other day that in my opinion passes perfectly to our discussion. George if you have a free 51 min of spare time have a listen to what Alan Watts a respected philosopher, writer and speaker has to say about what we have been discussing. It can be found here. youtube.com/watch?v=GbO0t3srgE4 I am interested to hear what you or anyone else might have to say about this, thank you once again for your openness and your forum for discussion. It is truly a gift to speak with you.

        Nameste,
        QP

        November 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

      • Thanks for your comments on 20 November QP.

        Unfortunately, your statements about the Bible seem to be based on your presuppositions. There needs to be a lot more exegesis and a lot less eisegesis if you want to understand what the Bible says and how it applies today. For example, I have already stated that the Old Testament was written to Jews, while the New was written to Christians, and the Old Testament is the precursor of the New Testament, but you don’t seem to understand this statement.

        QP asks, what did Adam and Eve have to rebel against in a perfect world? Their sin was that they wanted to be like God and because of this they disobeyed God (Gen. 3:5-6).

        Once again QP criticizes God because of the suffering in the world. I have already answered this point in detail above. God often delays judgment so that more people will repent and turn to Him. God is both merciful and just. If there was instant judgement, there would be no mercy. QP’s ideas of what God is like are different to the reality described in the Bible. Likewise, Alan Watts discussed a god of his own imagination.

        QP blames religion for violence. But that’s not broad enough. Human nature is the source of violence. And Buddhists have also been involved in violence. There has been ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and some Zen Buddhists supported Japanese aggression in the 19th century.

        QP alleges that “the Catholics redid or rewrote the bible”. I would like to know specifically what passages you are referring to here. Can you name the chapter and verses? What evidence can you give?

        QP claims that “there is likely much truth in all of them (religions) not only in one”. But what do you do with the contradictory aspects? If they weren’t different, they would be the same. It’s more likely that they are either all wrong or only one is right. And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). So Jesus is the only way. If Jesus is really divine, then He has more credentials to speak on eternal (spiritual) life than anyone. He is the only virgin-born, miracle- working, sinless, resurrected Son of God! You may not like the idea of Jesus being the only way (and there being one right religion), but if He truly is the Son of God and said He was the only way to salvation—can you afford to ignore His claim? If Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is the one right religion. If Jesus did not rise, then Christianity is false, and possibly some other religion is true (1 Cor. 15:14-17). That’s the most important issue. All the others are secondary in comparison.

        Alan Watts seemed to speak like a guru who was his own authority. But he falsely claimed that the Scriptural canon was decided by the Roman Catholic church. The New Testament clearly tells us that the apostles were identifying scripture as it was being written (2 Pt. 3:14-16). That’s in the first century AD. The New Testament books were being distributed by the apostles to the various churches to be read (Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:16; 1 Th. 5:27; 2 Th. 2:2; 3:14). That’s in the first century AD. By the time the apostles died (in the first century AD) , the New Testament had been written and its books were known. The Muratorian Fragment (AD 170) and several of the early fathers have left us a list of books that were identified as belonging to the New Testament. The main criteria for the New Testament canon was that it was comprised of books written in the first century AD by the apostles and their associates, and whose doctrine was consistent with each other. The church didn’t need to wait until AD 382 to decide which books satisfied these criteria. They already knew this over 200 years earlier. The apostles and their associates were the authority, not the Roman Catholic church which began hundreds of years later. So the authority of Scripture is based on the authority of the apostles and their associates and not on the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

        Watts imposes his presuppositions on the Bible. He believes that Jesus was a mystic who experienced cosmic consciousness to come into union with God. Watts is a pantheist who believes that we are all divine. He bases this on John 10:34-36, which says, “Jesus replied, ‘It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world”.

        This passage refers to Psalm 82:6 where unjust human judges are called “gods” because they represented God in a theocratic kingdom. It doesn’t imply that they were divine (because they were corrupt and mortal). Since Scripture called human beings “gods” simply because God commissioned them, how much more may the “Son of God” be called by a divine title? If the judges can be called “gods” in Scripture, how much more is this term appropriate for the genuine Son of God who God sent into the world and who is divine (holy and immortal)? So Jesus had every right to claim equality with God.

        Watts also believed that Jesus was similar to other gurus who had experienced mystical episodes. But this belief is wrong. Jesus rose from the dead, while the other mystics are still dead. Jesus had power over death, but the other mystics didn’t. And that’s a radical difference.

        Watts seems to be attempting religious syncretism between Christianity and eastern religions to create a religion of his own making. But in this process he discards the core aspects of Christianity (the divinity and resurrection of Jesus). So what’s left is essentially eastern mysticism.

        Unfortunately, Watts died an alcoholic. So he’s not an example of a guru that I would follow.

        November 28, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      • (Reply to George’s comment on 21 November)
        Dear George

        I am sorry, you did not take me up on the offer of working together.

        Anyway, George Eisegesis is not necessarily applicable here. for several reasons. 1. Are we qualified to “interpret the WORD OF GOD? 2. There are way too many authors of the Bible all of them lived over 1000’s of years and all have a slightly different spin on the events. Personally, I think if it really is the WORD OF GOD it does not matter who what or when GOD SAYS do this and it should be done. You seem to think we can or are able to interpret this. I think it is our interpretation that is the problem we take all this way too literally…. this Precursor idea does not in any way mean that the old is less than the new. I completely understand what is being said here. It is your logic that is left wanting. You seem to be saying now that there are actually two words of god now. One for the Jews and one for the Gentiles, but that is quite different from what you first argued. Hence the aforementioned comment on circular logic.

        Next Point the bible’s Heaven cannot be perfect. If it was there would have been no sin. Sin is the glaring imperfection and it happened in gods perfect creation, not so perfect eh? Once again this is a question of logic or lack of it.

        You know I could go on and on here but I won’t, I would like to turn this bus around and drive in a new direction if I may.

        George, the Buddha taught us to look within to study and meditate on the mind. So did Jesus in Luke 17:21 “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” George, you feel the kingdom inside you, don’t you? So do I, I just call it something different but the experience is the same don’t lose yourself in all the dogma and your Churchianity. (The Church tries to fit Christ into it, not the Church into Christ [Swami Vivekananda]) But in order to find something that which is within you, you need to meditate contemplate or whatever else you want to call it.
        Jesus taught us to meditate as well in Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. This can only be a meditation retreat if you ask me.
        Let me share with you some eastern wisdom if you will,
        “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Where goest thou to seek for the Kingdom of God, asks Jesus of Nazareth, when it is there, within you? Cleanse the spirit, and it is there. It is already yours. How can you get what is not yours? It is yours by right. You are the heirs of immortality, sons of the Eternal Father.[Source] https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_4/Lectures_and_Discourses/Christ,_the_Messenger
        It is my particular fancy that the same Buddha became Christ. Buddha prophesied, “I will come again in five hundred years”, and Christ came here in five hundred years. These are the two Lights of the whole human nature. Two men have been produced, Buddha and Christ; these are the two giants, huge gigantic personalities, two Gods. Between them, they divide the whole world. Wherever there is the least knowledge in the world, people bow down either to Buddha or Christ. It would be very hard to produce more like them, but I hope there will be. Mohammed came five hundred years after, five hundred years after came Luther with his Protestant wave, and this is five hundred years after that again. It is a great thing in a few thousand years to produce two such men as Jesus and Buddha. Are not two such enough? Christ and Buddha were Gods, the others were prophets. Study the life of these two and see the manifestation of power in them — calm and non – resisting, poor beggars owning nothing, without a cent in their pockets, despised all their lives, called heretic and fool — and think of the immense spiritual power they have wielded over humanity. [Source] https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_8/Notes_Of_Class_Talks_And_Lectures/Notes_Of_Class_Talks
        ‘Christianity considered the human person (Man), to be a sinner, a worm, and that is why it could not understand the message of potential divinity implied in his (Jesus’) saying, ‘I and my father are one’. (Swami Vivekananda)

        The trouble that the church has with eastern wisdom is that it is absolutely too easy to understand and to do, and they lose their means of control and income source. Too bad for us we have been lied to. ‘… the universal message of Jesus which comprises the ideas of the indwelling divinity, of divine grace, universal ethics and spiritual realization was distorted by the Christian Church through fettering it in cast-iron dogmas of innate vileness of human nature, ‘the scape-goat’ and ‘the atonement’, physical resurrection and the second advent, earthly kingdom and the imminence of the Day of Judgment which are purely tribal in their scope.’ [Swami Ranganathananda]
        There is no need to go to church if I can lock myself in the closet and meditate to find god.

        George, there is room here for the both of us if you will let it.

        QP

        December 2, 2017 at 6:57 am

      • Dear George, if you celebrate Advent I wish you a joyous start to the holy season. Here are some selected holy scriptures and writings from the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Truth. I hope you might find them as enlightening as I have.

        (3) Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

        (5) Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”

        (24)‘…There is light within a person of light, and it lights up the whole universe; If it does not shine, there is darkness.’ In other words, one either discovers the light within that illuminates ‘the whole universe’ or lives in darkness, within and without.”

        (39) Jesus said, “The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge (gnosis) and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You, however, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”

        (91) They said to him, “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.” 
He said to them, “You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before you, and you do not know how to read this moment.”

        (102) Jesus said, “Woe to the Pharisees, for they are like a dog sleeping in the manger of oxen, for neither does he eat nor does he let the oxen eat.”

        (109) Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a man who had a hidden treasure in his field without knowing it. And after he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know (about the treasure). He inherited the field and sold it. And the one who bought it went ploughing and found the treasure. He began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.”

        (113) His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” 
 “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is’ or ‘there it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.”

        THREE MARYS

        Three Marys walked with the lord:
        His mother, his sister, and Mary of Magdala,
        his companion.

        His sister and mother and companion
        were Mary.

        SEEING

        It is impossible to see anything in the real realm
        unless you become it.

        Not so in the world. You see the sun without being the sun,
        see sky and earth but are not them.

        This is the truth of the world.

        In the other truth, you are what you see.

        If you see spirit, you are spirit.

        If you look at the anointed, you are the anointed.

        If you see the father, you will be father.

        In this world, you see everything but yourself,
        but there, you look at yourself and are what you see.

        The story of the Gospel of Mary is a simple one. Since the first six pages are lost, the gospel opens in the middle of a scene portraying a discussion between the Savior and his disciples set after the resurrection. The Savior is answering their questions about the end of the material world and the nature of sin. He teaches them that at present all things, whether material or spiritual, are interwoven with each other. In the end, that will not be so. Each nature will return to its own root, its own original state and destiny. But meanwhile, the nature of sin is tied to the nature of life this mixed world. People sin because they do not recognize their own spiritual nature and, instead, love the lower nature that deceives them and leads to disease and death. Salvation is achieved by discovering within oneself the true spiritual nature of humanity and overcoming the deceptive entrapments of the bodily passions and the world. The Savior concludes this teaching with a warning against those who would delude the disciples into following some heroic leader or a set of rules and laws. Instead, they are to seek the child of true Humanity within themselves and gain inward peace. After commissioning them to go forth and preach the gospel, the Savior departs.

        LIGHT AND DARKNESS

        Light and darkness, life and death, on the right and left,
        these are children, they are inseparably together.

        But the good are not good, the wicked not wicked,
        life not life, death not death.

        Each element fades to an original source.

        But those who live above the world cannot fade.

        They are eternal.

        NAMES

        The names of earthly things are illusory.

        We stray from the real to the unreal.

        If you hear the word “god,” you miss the real
        and hear the unreal.

        Father, son, holy spirit, life, light, resurrection, church.

        These words are not real. They are unreal
        but refer to the real, and are heard in the world.

        They fool us. If those names were in the eternal realm,
        they would never be heard on earth.

        They were not assigned to us here.

        Their end dwells in the eternal realm.

        It is easy to see why the early church sought to exclude these from our known bible as we have it today. Had they not done so you would be practising Buddhism without knowing it. Such a shame eh?

        http://gnosis.org/library.html

        QP

        December 4, 2017 at 5:47 am

      • Hi George happy advent to you. I just wanted to share with you that the Catholic Church is changing the Bible again. Pope Francis wants Lord’s Prayer changed
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-42279427

        Maybe he has a point but should this be allowed to happen to the holy and god inspired word?

        QP

        December 8, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      • Hi George do you have snow where you live? I do strange how something so cold can make one so warm as the holidays are neigh. I hope you are well and still thinking and sharing. I stumbled upon this today https://julianperegrin.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/the-unknown-elephant/ and immediately thought of you. Have a good read and may you and you loved ones be well

        QP

        December 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      • Thanks for your comments QP on 2, 4, 8, 11 and 15 December.

        We have discussed many topics. But it’s the most important one that counts – “Christ died for our sins … He was buried, and He was raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

        Jesus died (an historical fact):
        – Jesus died by crucifixion.
        – Roman soldiers don’t take the bodies of criminals off a cross until they are dead. That’s why they broke the legs of those crucified with Jesus (Jn. 19:31-34).
        – Bodies don’t get placed in sealed tombs unless they are dead.
        – Bodies don’t get embalmed unless they are dead (Jn. 19:39-40).
        – Joseph of Arimethea, who buried Christ, was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin (supreme court). He was too well known for the account to be fictional.

        Jesus rose back to life (an historical fact):
        – No-one could find a dead body – in the tomb or elsewhere.
        – The Jews (hostile witnesses) acknowledged that the tomb was empty. The Jewish religious leaders tried to explain the empty tomb by spreading a rumor that the disciples had stolen the body (Mt. 28:11-15). But the disciples had no motive for doing this as they were persecuted and killed because of their preaching on the resurrection. Why would they go through all this for a deliberate lie?
        – The empty tomb was discovered by women. If the empty tomb story was a legend, then the more reliable male disciples (according to the custom of that time) would have been made the first to discover the empty tomb.
        – Twelve separate occurrences are recorded in the Bible of Jesus interacting with people after His resurrection. Six are recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7. The disciples had several interactions with the risen Christ. Jesus provided them a breakfast of bread and fish after they fished overnight (Jn. 21:9-14).
        – Over 500 people witnessed Jesus alive at the same time. And they weren’t all hallucinating!
        – The disciples record eating and drinking with Jesus, as well as touching Him. This cannot be done with hallucinations. And hallucinations can’t explain the empty tomb.
        – The disciples were martyred for their Christian faith. But they wouldn’t give their lives for something they knew to be a lie. Therefore, the resurrection account wasn’t a lie.
        – Early Christians were persecuted and martyred for believing Christ’s resurrection. They could deny it and live. But they didn’t.
        – Christ’s resurrection is the main explanation of the origin and the growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire despite persecution. The Christian church was established and grew as a result of the disciples preaching about the resurrection of Christ. Most movements die after their founder dies (Acts 5:33-39). But Christianity started and grew after its founder died.

        Jesus died for our sins (the reason for Christ’s death and resurrection):
        – Death is punishment for rebellion against God.
        – All people die because they are sinful.
        – Because Jesus was the unique sinless Son of God, He was the only one who didn’t deserve to die.
        – Christ’s death was payment for the sins of humanity. It was vicarious (taking the place of others; like a substitute).

        So history affirms that Jesus rose from the dead. We can trust the teachings of Jesus because He rose from the dead. No other religious leader has done that. And no other person or scholar or scholar or skeptic can claim that. Who would you believe?

        December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

      • Dear George

        The whole point here is the while the Bible has many correct historical facts it is at best a work of factual fiction. Not everything is true and as you have admitted not everything is applicable to today’s life and world. (The Old Testament or more than half of the book) And the Bible has once been, by Jesus, improved upon and could be improved upon yet again today. It has been 2000 years since the last update. I get a Facebook update every week because even they want to remain up to date and relevant. Anything that can be improved upon was NOT from the very beginning PERFECT or the work of an infallible omniscient all powerful being. Not is it proof of such beings existence. These doubts are too big to use to tell everyone else that they are wrong about their beliefs. Other religious writings far older such as the Vedas are over 7000 years old have many scientific facts, wisdoms, and historical facts that are written and also proven. Your bible does not stand up to your own bible test because of your circular logic and own admissions. The Bible was never meant to be used as a tool to judge and condemn other religions. By it’s own admission only god himself can be a judge Matthew 7:1-3. This is what I am doing, judging you and your beliefs because you have judged me and the beliefs of many other religions. Nobody can win this my friend. Who do I believe, certainly not you. The end.

        QP

        December 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm

  3. Pingback: mid-week apologetics booster (9-7-2017) – 1 Peter 4:12-16

  4. quantumpreceptor gave a very thoughtful response as he usually does but for some reason didn’t receive any response in kind by you. He is very knowledgeable and respectful in his comments.

    Why do Christians have a pre-occupation with attacking other faiths. What is worse is that they even attack other Christians that do not believe exactly as you do. Why can you not simply state why you believe what you believe and if you have any faith in it you would know that people would recognize the truth that you expound. All you accomplish with attacking others is turning reasonable people away from your faith.

    The first problem with what you are doing is that you have absolutely no understanding of the faiths you criticize. Many of your statements are just false. It is a very difficult equation logically to determine if something is false by comparing it to ideas that are false.

    You mention the diversity of beliefs in Buddhism but you do not acknowledge the diversity of beliefs in Christianity. Which brings me to another issue, why do so many Christians have no knowledge of their own history. At the time of Christs death there were numerous different Christian sects that had very diverse understanding of who and what Christ was and his relationship to god. The Gnostics are one example. They were all persicuted and attacked for their beliefs by the Roman Catholics until there was almost no record of them left. Ah but for those darn Dead Sea and Nag Hamadi scrolls! Bible believing Christians will say that Catholics are evil idol worshipers and are not really Christians. Yet they seem to have no understanding of the history of the bible and that the Roman Catholics are the ones who put the books of the bible together at the Synod of Hippo. That seems a bit contradictory don’t you think?

    Morman, Jehova Witness and 7th day Adventist would pass the test that you just gave to Buddhism. Somehow I am going to guess that even though they pass the test you will deny that they are Christians as well.

    Wouldn’t it be a better approach to acknowledge the similarities in our moral outlook and leave it at that. That we too are on a spiritual journey just like yourself. We Buddhist follow something called the five precepts: To refrain from, killing. stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxicating substances. Do those sound familiar to you? If you open your mind a little maybe you would see that we are really more alike than different.

    Lastly if you are going to post something attacking another faith at least have the courage and faith in your own beliefs to answer the comments people make. Good luck on your spiritual journey! May god give you wisdom.

    September 18, 2017 at 1:40 am

    • Thanks for the comment on 18 September BH.
      BH says “you have absolutely no understanding of the faiths you criticize”. I do admit that I don’t understand all aspects of other faiths. All I can do is to read what they say about themselves. Some faiths like Buddhism are so diverse that they contain a range of viewpoints. So, I try to look for the core beliefs.
      When you state, “Many of your statements are just false”, what is your standard for truth? My standard is the Bible because it’s a message from God.
      BH mentions the “diversity of beliefs in Christianity”. That is true and it’s why I rely on the Bible as an objective source of Christian belief. Is there any single book (like the Tripitaka) I should be looking at to understand Buddhism?
      I would be interested to know why you think that Mormanism and Jehovah Witnesses would pass the Jesus test.
      BH says “Wouldn’t it be a better approach to acknowledge the similarities in our moral outlook and leave it at that”? As mentioned above “Except in matters of ethics and moral conduct, there is very little in common between the teachings of Jesus and the main teachings of Buddhism. This similarity of ethics and moral conduct applies to many religions”.

      October 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm

  5. (Comment on BH comment of 18 Sep)
    Hey, Ronin, wow, you took some of the words right out of my mouth. Thanks for the defence I appreciate it. And thanks for the compliment, I think we might have a lot in common not only the Buddha Dharma.

    You seem to have hit the nail on the head here when you say that this criticism turns people away, I could not agree more. I wish more Christians would\could be more honest with themselves and practise the humility of Christ in this matter.

    And as you can see George did get back to me. Let’s see where this goes, who knows eh?

    QP

    September 24, 2017 at 7:13 am

    • Thanks for the comments.
      Just letting you know that I’m mostly offline this week, & can’t reply until after that.

      September 24, 2017 at 9:58 pm

  6. Thanks QP for the comment on the core of Jesus’ teachings on 24 September. I prefer to stay with the historical record, which says that one of the main reasons that Jesus came was:
    – “to save the world” (Jn. 3:17) and “to be the Savior of the world” (Lk. 2:11; 1 Jn. 4:14).
    – to “save those who are lost” (Lk. 19:10) and to “save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).
    – to die “to forgive the sins of many” (Mt. 26:28) and “to take away our sins” (1 Jn. 3:5). Jesus said that the purpose of His coming into the world was to die; “this (to die) is the very reason I came” (Jn. 12:27).
    – “to give His life (die) a ransom (payment for release from captivity; deliver from punishment for sin) for many” (Mt 20:28, Mk. 10:45).
    – “as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man (Jesus) must be lifted up (crucified), so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life” (Jn. 3:14-15).
    Contrary to popular belief, Jesus didn’t come to restore social justice or world peace. He didn’t even come to give us a good example for how to live morally upright lives. Instead, He came to die for sinners like us.
    Paul says that Jesus came to restore our relationship with God the Father. “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood (death) of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation (hell). For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son (Jesus). So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Rom. 5:8-11).
    So, Jesus Christ came into the world to make it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven when we die. I haven’t seen anything like this in Buddhism. I have already said, “Except in matters of ethics and moral conduct, there is very little in common between the teachings of Jesus and the main teachings of Buddhism”. This similarity of ethics and moral conduct applies to many religions.

    October 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm

  7. On 24 September QP said that according to Buddhism the ultimate cause of suffering is our selfish ego. But the Bible says that sin (rebellion against God) and Satan (Eph. 6:13) are the ultimate cause of suffering. Sinful people cause some suffering directly (lying, anger, divorce, drugs, crime). Corporate systems of sin can cause many to suffer (Isa. 1:1-9). And because of sin this earth is corrupted, deteriorating, painful and evil (Gen. 3:14-19; 4:1-15; Rom.8:20-22).
    QP also said that “When we work past this ‘I’” and “realize our interconnectedness” we begin to think and behave differently and “help and serve each other instead of hurting everyone”. This implies we can do this all by ourselves, without outside help. But the Bible gives a different solution to suffering. It’s the promise of eternal life in heaven where there is no suffering (Rev. 21:4). And it’s obtained by putting our trust in the payment for sin God provided through Christ’s death on the cross (Jn. 3:16-18; Acts 10:38-43). In this case, the outside help is supernatural (divine). While a Buddhist meditates their way to nirvana, a Christian confesses and repents their way to heaven.
    QP also quoted Mark 10:44-45. The context of this passage is that James and John requested a position of prestige and power in Christ’s coming kingdom (v.37). But Jesus said that it was not for Him to grant because it would be determined by their faithfulness to Him (v. 40). Of course, admission to the kingdom is by grace through faith. Jesus then gave them a lesson in humility by saying that greatness in Christ’s kingdom is marked by service (v.41-45). “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life (die) as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:43-45). Jesus is the greatest example of sacrificial love for His followers. That is how they are to live after they have confessed and repented of their sinfulness (Col. 3:1-17).

    October 1, 2017 at 2:34 pm

  8. On 24 September QP claims that Buddhism can end suffering now and is critical of Jesus for not doing this when He was on earth. God’s plan was to offer salvation to all nations, not just the Jews. If Jesus ended suffering during His first visit to earth, then the non-Jewish nations would be condemned to eternal punishment. Instead of this, God’s plan ensured that more people would be saved from hell. When suffering ends, there will be no more opportunity to avoid the consequences of our sin. Eternal suffering is more important than temporal suffering. Christianity claims to end eternal suffering, while Buddhism claims to end temporal suffering.

    October 1, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    • Dear George if god loves us why must we wait in torment and suffering for him to returen when he and his all powerful ways could have offered all nations not just the Jews salvation right from the very begining? He could have done it, right?

      Why the need to condem us to anything in the light of god’s love and great compassion? Dear god please stop messing with us and just make things right, if you can

      Buddhism is also an end to eternal suffering as the teachings of the Buddha Dharma lead to enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a temporary thing it has no end.

      QP

      November 8, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      • On 8 November QP said, God “could have offered all nations not just the Jews salvation right from the very beginning”. But the Jews rebelled against God and were driven from their land. And later they urged the Romans to crucify Jesus. If God had given this opportunity to “all nations”, then the result would probably have been the same – they would have been judged for their behavior and they would have crucified Jesus. The Jews were like a pilot model (or test case) for all humanity.

        QP asks, “if god loves us why must we wait in torment and suffering for him to return”? Why didn’t He offer “salvation right from the very beginning”? Why didn’t God forgive humanity soon after they fell into sin?

        God’s means of forgiveness was for Jesus to come and die for the sins of humanity. The answer to this question depends on the character of God. God is not only benevolent (loving), gracious and merciful. He is also holy, righteous and just. Because of His justice, God has to judge rebellion and sin before He can show love.

        God is also persistent. He withholds judgment and offers salvation and grace over long periods of time. God often delays judgment so that people will repent and turn to Him (Rom. 2:4; 2 Pt. 3:15). It seems that God warned Noah’s generation for 120 years about the coming flood (Gen. 6:3; 1 Pt. 3:20). Also, He was patient with Israel even though they repeatedly rebelled against Him. And Christ’s second coming is delayed because God doesn’t want “anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Pt. 3:9). So God is persistent in His love and this leads to more people being saved. If God had offered His salvation earlier in history, fewer people would be saved to heaven.

        “God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this (sent Jesus to die) to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25-26). God sent Jesus to demonstrate His justice (as well as His love). God could have shown justice by punishing all sinners with hell. But He didn’t do this. Instead, “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him (Jesus)” (Jn. 3:17).

        QP also asks, “Why the need to condemn us to anything (like suffering) in the light of god’s love and great compassion”? God made people who can choose and love, not robots who are unable to choose and love. God wanted to have a loving relationship with us. And before they sinned Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect, unbroken relationship with God. Because people are made in this way, they have chosen to rebel against God. In this state, they can’t have a loving relationship with God. That’s why there is suffering. But for those who accept God’s rescue plan, this is only temporary. So, God isn’t “messing with us” – we made the mess ourselves. Today, most people are living as though God doesn’t exist and we reap the consequences.

        November 21, 2017 at 5:16 am

  9. On 24 September QP claims that “citing the Bible as proof of its self is a non sequitur”. This means that “it does not follow” or it’s not logical. The original objection was about the authenticity of the Bible, which I answered by saying that “the Christian Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today”. The new objection relates to the “proof of God” and the “divinity of Jesus”. These are big topics. I didn’t claim to prove the existence of God from the Bible. Instead, I would say that God is the most logical explanation of the existence and complex nature of the universe, the existence and complex nature of life, and the existence of the human conscience (innate sense of right and wrong). So, I agree that the Bible “is of itself not proof of God” – there’s lots of other evidence. However, the best evidence of the nature of Jesus is the historical record in the Bible. To investigate the “divinity of Jesus” one should study the most reliable ancient text about Him. Of course, one’s conclusion will depend on whether they have an open mind or not.

    October 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    • Hi George I am curious if there is lots of other evidence that is not in the bible could you please point me in the right direction to find it?

      QP

      November 9, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      • QP asked, “if there is lots of other evidence (of the existence of God) that is not in the bible could you please point me in the right direction to find it?”. The other evidence of the existence of God that I mentioned was: the existence and complex nature of the universe, the existence and complex nature of life, and the existence of the human conscience (innate sense of right and wrong). Look up any articles on the source or origin of these and see if they answer the question or not and see how many miracles they require.

        For example, an article by Stephen Hawking on “The origin of the universe” says that the origin was due to “the spontaneous quantum creation of the universe (which) would be a bit like the formation of bubbles of steam in boiling water”. And at the more popular level the Khan Academy says, “In the beginning, as far as we know, there was nothing. Suddenly, from a single point, all the energy in the universe burst forth”. These sound like miracles to me.

        On the other hand, an article by Dr Gregory Ganssle of Yale University provides evidence that:
        – The existence of the universe is better explained by the existence of God, and
        – The existence of objective moral values is better explained by the existence of God.

        November 19, 2017 at 5:51 am

      • Dear George This evidence you speak of can be interpreted in many different ways, not just yours. But thank you for your help.

        QP

        November 20, 2017 at 4:41 am

      • The comment by QP on 20 November has been moved to the post “Evidence of God’s existence”.

        November 20, 2017 at 8:27 am

  10. (Comment on comment by George on 1 October)
    First of all lets make clear that I am not criticizing Christianity here. You are criticizing Buddhism. You and many other Christians engage in not only attacking other faiths but also attacking each other. I am responding to the attacks on Buddhism, other faiths, and other Christians.

    As QP has pointed out you start from an unsustainable point when your only argument is, “it says in the Bible”. Because of your attachment to the Bible I would assume you are a Bible believing Christian vs a Catholic, am I right? If that is the case that makes the “it says in the Bible” argument more tenuous.

    You do realize, I hope, that the Bible was not originally one book. It is a collection of different books written by different authors that were later put together in one book. The collection of books was agreed upon at the Synod of Hippo. The point here is that they were agreed upon by men. There were a multitude of books available at that time that could have been selected but those men selected some and discounted others. They had a motivation to do so. They wanted to do as you do and ensure that only their interpretation of Christianity would be known to future generations. Furthermore much to the dismay of many Bible believing Christians, that think Catholics are evil Idolaters, it was the Roman Catholics and Orthodox churches that first put this collection of books together as the Bible that we know.

    At the time of Christs death there were a variety of different “Christian” groups that had very different views on Christ, his divinity, and his relationship to God. After the discovery of the Dead Sea and Nag Hammadi scrolls we now have a collection of other books that represented some of these peoples beliefs. The reason these were hidden away was that the Roman Catholics persecuted these other groups and killed them off and destroyed their writings so they would not be around to compete with their Christian world view. If it wasn’t for this persecution we would have even more Christian denominations then we have today.

    So historically the book that you keep using as the authority for all anyone one knows may not be the correct ones. That is unless you agree that those evil idol worshiping Catholics were inspired by God. But then if they were inspired by god that would mean that there use of idols and their interpretation of the Sacrament must be true also.

    Furthermore there were many interpretations of the Trinity at the time of Christs death. One being that they (God, the son, and the holy ghost) are all one, which most Catholics and Bible believing Christians believe. Another that they were all separate personages which the present day LDS Church believes. You know the funny thing is that pesky history can be troubling at times. Because once again it was the Roman Catholics that at the Council of Nicaea established the version that you most likely adhere to, which is that they are all one. Once again they had to decide and come of with the Nicene Creed because there were differing opinions as to what made up the God head. They then made everyone repeat it every Sunday to ensure no one would think other wise.

    So the point here is that you really should not criticize other Christian groups when their beliefs may end up being every bit as or more valid then your own. The only reason that one view is much more predominant is that the power of the Roman empire was behind eradicating all the others. So simply put you are on historically shaky grounds criticizing other Christian groups with the claim that only your view is true, correct, or original.

    How much more so is it incorrect for you to criticize other religions. If you are having difficulty with the facts of Christianity how can you possibly expect to provide a concise synopsis of religions you have no understanding of. Ask yourself an honest question. Do you really think you can understand a religion with which you have no knowledge, connection to, or understanding of by just reading a couple of Wikipedia pages?

    The reason that I mentioned that Mormons and Jehovah Witness passed your your Jesus test is:

    They both believe in Christ
    The both believe in the Bible
    The both believe in the Trinity although they have different interpretations of it.

    The reason that I mentioned them is if you are a Bible believing Christian you will surly deny that they are not Christians due to their interpretation of the Trinity.

    As I said in the beginning I am not attacking Christianity at all, I am in fact defending it. They difference is I will defend all of the different Christian denominations including yours. While you on the other hand will attack all others and claim that only yours is the true, correct, and original one. Most Buddhist and I would even extrapolate that to most religions respect the teachings of Christ. It would be nice if Christians could respect each other and those of other religions and the people that follow them as well. You do not have to sacrifice your own beliefs, just simply show respect.

    October 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    • Thanks for the reply on 1 October BH. I will divide my comments into three parts.

      One of your concerns relates to my “attachment to the Bible” and using “it says in the Bible” as my authority.

      You state that the canon was “agreed upon by men” and “the collection of books was agreed upon at the Synod of Hippo”. You also claim that the books in the canon “may not be the correct ones”.

      As it was “Roman Catholics and Orthodox churches that first put this collection of books together as the Bible that we know”, you state that if I accept the New Testament canon, then I need to accept the Roman Catholic faith because they selected the books in the canon.

      In the first century AD, the Apostle Peter regarded the Pauline epistles as Scripture (2 Pt. 3:16). The scriptural quotes of early Christian writers (patristics) dating from the second through the fourth century show that the early church had a working knowledge of the New Testament Scriptures. So portions of our present New Testament were in circulation, as early as the latter part of the first century. These books were used in the early church and confirmed as being the canon by church councils such as the Synod of Hippo in 393.

      The main criteria for the New Testament canon was that it was comprised of books written in the first century AD by the apostles and their associates, and whose doctrine was consistent. This ruled out most of the apochryphal New Testament writings as they were written after the first century AD. It also ruled out other religious books, such as Gnosticism and Marcionism, because their teaching was inconsistent with the canon.

      So the New Testament canon was already being used by Christians during the second through the fourth century AD. But when heretics wanted to add extra books to the canon, the church met to confirm the canon and so declare that the extra writings were not canonical.

      Because I accept the New Testament canon doesn’t mean that I necessarily accept all that the church believed in AD 393 or all that the Roman Catholic church teaches today. The canon is the standard, not the Roman Catholic church.

      For example, I use a plumber to maintain my water system, regardless of their religious faith. And I use a Bible that has been influenced by the results of textural scholarship by non-Christians, without accepting their religious (or secular) faith. Just because I accept something that a person (or a group) does, doesn’t mean that I accept everything that they believe or do.

      October 2, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      • I would like to make a comment on the “Book of Enoch” and the “gnostic gospels” referred to by BH on 3 October.

        BH wrote, “The Book of Enoch was one of the books found with the dead sea scrolls and was not included in the Bible. It was written during that time period and thought to be an inspired book by many but was not included in the cannon.

        “R. H. Charles was the leading expert on the subject (The Book of Enoch) in the early part of the 20th century. He argued the book of Enoch was written over a period of years. The latest portions were written in 64 B.C.E.”

        “As far as the Gnostic gospels are concerned dating them is some what dubious because the originals that they were copied from were most likely destroyed. So it is impossible to date the originals.

        “You can proclaim your faith in the accepted cannon, that is fine, but because of all these other historical facts that question if those books were the only books accepted by Christ’s Apostles you can’t use it for what you are basing your critique on. There is no way of knowing other than your faith”.

        The “Book of Enoch” is pseudoepigraphal (books written in the names of ancient heros) as it claims to be by a biblical character (but this is unfounded). It was not included in either the Hebrew or Christian biblical canons. If the Jews didn’t accept it as canonical, then neither should we. It’s not even in the Deuterocanonical Apocrypha. If the Christians didn’t accept it as canonical, then neither should we. A Jewish scholar called it “mystical speculation about Enoch”. And it contradicts scripture.

        The book of Enoch was never referred to by Jesus or any of the New Testament writers as scripture. It is commonly misunderstood that the content of the Bible developed over time. But the New Testament clearly tells us that the apostles were identifying scripture as it was being written (2 Pt. 3:14-16). The New Testament books were being distributed by the apostles to the various churches to be read (Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:16; 1 Th. 5:27; 2 Th. 2:2; 3:14). By the time the apostles died, the New Testament had been written and its books were known. The Muratorian Fragment (AD 170) and several of the early fathers have left us a list of books that were identified as belonging to the New Testament. The book of Enoch was never included. Although a few early church fathers highly valued the book of Enoch, they never referred to it as scripture. It might be inspiring, but it is not inspired by God.

        Oard says, “the gnostic gospels were well known to the early church fathers, especially Irenaeus (AD 115-202), who wrote “Against heresies”. He refuted the heresies in these alternate gospels. They were written by the gnostics in the first few centuries after Christ. The gnostics believed they had secret knowledge that was only for certain elites. These gospels were unmasked as obvious forgeries, being written well after the time of Jesus and the Apostles, and completely inconsistent with Hebrew scripture and all the writings of Paul and the eye witnesses of Jesus. It goes to show what many people will believe what they want to believe with little or no regard for the truth.”

        Today Christians read other books beside the Bible. But this doesn’t make the other books canonical. The same applied to Jews – they read other books beside the Old Testament. But that didn’t make these other books (such as the Book of Enoch) canonical.

        Where are “all these other historical facts that question if those books (the canon) were the only books accepted by Christ’s Apostles”? They don’t exist. There is no evidence that the book of Enoch was accepted as scripture by the apostles. And there is no evidence that the gnostic gospels were accepted as scripture by the early Christians. So, we can know what is in the canon because of authorship and usage, which is based on scholarship and not faith.

        November 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    • On 1 October BH also commented about a variety in Christian views on Christ and “many interpretations of the Trinity”. As the Bible is my authority, my beliefs on Christ and the trinity are based on what the Bible says, not on what was decided by any particular group or the Council of Nicaea.

      Because there were other Christian religious writings besides the New Testament canon and because there were other Christian beliefs besides those given in the canon, BH seems to claim that the canon is unreliable. BH also expresses this objection by claiming that criticizing other Christian groups (by comparing them against the canon) is on “historically shaky grounds”.

      But the extra writings and the different beliefs were usually added to the rest of the biblical canon. The problem with this is that they are inconsistent with the rest of the biblical canon. I prefer to follow a canon that is consistent, not one that is inconsistent. And I prefer to follow beliefs that are consistent with the canon, not inconsistent with it.

      October 2, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      • Dear George,
        if your beliefs on christ are based on what the Bible says, and not on what was decided at the council of Nicaea, how can you say that the Bible is authentic and factual according to history when in fact what the Bible says was in part decided at the council of Nicaea?

        Your arguement is not logical.

        QP

        November 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      • Dear George,

        have you personaly read and studied these other books or extra writing in order to determine their authenticity yourself or do you have faith in man and trust that he had no other alterior motives in including or dismissing said sacred and inspired texts from god?

        QP

        November 8, 2017 at 11:23 pm

      • On 8 November QP asks, “how can you say that the Bible is authentic and factual according to history when in fact what the Bible says was in part decided at the council of Nicaea?”

        The main topic considered at Nicaea was whether Jesus was human or divine. Is he a created being (just a human being) or equal with God (divine)?

        Let’s look at the historical evidence. The Bible says, “In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He (Jesus) existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him (Jesus), and nothing was created except through Him” (Jn. 1:1-3).

        “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He (Jesus) existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him (Jesus) God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He (Jesus) made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him (Jesus) and for Him. He (Jesus) existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together” (Col. 1:15-17).

        “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors (Jews) through the prophets. And now in these final days, He (God) has spoken to us through His Son (Jesus). God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He (God) created the universe. The Son (Jesus) radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He (Jesus) sustains everything by the mighty power of His (Jesus) command” (Heb. 1:1-3).

        From these three passages about Jesus, it’s clear that Jesus is divine, and not just a human being. These were written at least 200 years before the Council of Nicaea. That’s what the historical record says. The fact that Jesus was divine means that He was greater than any other person who ever lived. And it is dangerous to ignore the good news about Him in the Bible.

        Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be divine (Lk. 22:67-71). And He said, “unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24).

        The Council of Nicaea upheld the doctrine of Christ’s true divinity, rejecting Arius’s heresy. The council did not invent this doctrine. Rather, it only recognized what the Bible already taught over 200 years earlier. Therefore, the Bible is authentic and factual in itself. And it’s meaning doesn’t rely on the findings of the Council of Nicaea. It just happens that in this case, the finding was consistent with what the Bible clearly teaches. It seems logical to me.

        November 17, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      • On 8 November QP asks, “have you personaly read and studied these other books or extra writing in order to determine their authenticity yourself or do you have faith in man and trust that he had no other alterior motives in including or dismissing said sacred and inspired texts from god”.

        No, I haven’t studied many of these extra-canonical books. I trust Christians in the first few centuries of the church to be able to distinguish the truly canonical from the false. After all, they lived in the era when these books were written, so they are more qualified than anyone today. To test their judgment I have just read “The gospel of Thomas”. This is a disjointed collection of 114 sayings. Many of them have obviously been derived from the gospels in the Bible. But some are strange (see below). In this case I agree with the early Christians, this book isn’t inspired by God.

        (11) Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?”

        (18) The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”
        Jesus said, “Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death.”

        (22) Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, “These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”
        They said to him, “Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?”
        Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.”

        (80) Jesus said, “He who has recognized the world has found the body, but he who has found the body is superior to the world.”

        (105) Jesus said, “He who knows the father and the mother will be called the son of a harlot.”

        (112) Jesus said, “Woe to the flesh that depends on the soul; woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.”

        (114) Simon Peter said to him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.”
        Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

        November 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    • On 1 October BH also says, “how can you possibly expect to provide a concise synopsis of religions you have no understanding of? … Do you really think you can understand a religion with which you have no knowledge, connection to, or understanding of by just reading a couple of Wikipedia pages?”

      Because of the internet, information about any religion (written by its adherents) is readily available today. For example, I have written a summary of the core beliefs of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. And you commented that it was “A very well written synopsis of Buddhism in general”! And if anyone says that I have written something that is incorrect or suggests an improvement, I’m willing to correct and improve the text (I did this once after a comment by QP). By the way, I research more than “a couple of Wikipedia pages”. Wikipedia is a secondary source, whereas I usually seek primary sources.

      October 2, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      • (Reply to comments by George on 2 October)
        George

        Let me start by restating that I am not attacking Christianity or even the standard Bible for that matter. You began this debate by attacking Buddhism, other faiths, and other versions of Christianity. I have told you I respect the teachings of Jesus. What I am questioning is your methodology and your knowledge in order to make the argument that you make. When you write a blog to the general public you cannot reasonably expect to make a group of authoritative statements and then go unchallenged.

        “Because of the internet, information about any religion (written by its adherents) is readily available today. For example, I have written a summary of the core beliefs of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. And you commented that it was “A very well written synopsis of Buddhism in general”.

        Let me turn this around a bit. If I read a few or even several websites that explained the basic tenets of Christianity do you think that would qualify me to be an Christian apologist? You did write a good overview of Buddhism in your other post on basic Buddhist beliefs. You should be proud of that. But just because you collected an outline of basic Buddhist beliefs does not mean that you have any understanding of what they mean. Also in your other post you were just outlining the basic ideas of Buddhism while not attacking or questioning the truth of what Buddhist believe. It was a good honest post as I have already commented. This post was very different. Nobody would fault you if you contrasted the two faiths. You could say “The Buddha was an Enlightened man who taught the way to end suffering”. And “My Christian denomination believes that Christ was actually the son of God.” And just leave it at that. That is educational because you are not making any claim that yours is true and the other is not. Leave that up to the person reading your post.

        As far as the Bible is concerned I am not saying that your version is incorrect. I am saying that if you take faith out of it and look at it from a historical point of view you have no way of knowing that those particular books were the only ones that were correct because of the existence of the other books that were not included.

        Because of this you can not use what it says as your only evidence of it’s truth or correctness. You yourself say:

        “The main criteria for the New Testament canon was that it was comprised of books written in the first century AD by the apostles and their associates, and whose doctrine was consistent.”

        What was the doctrine in consistent with? The beliefs or doctrine of the people that put it together, The Roman Catholics! Most Bible believing Christians believe that it is the inspired word of god.

        “And I use a Bible that has been influenced by the results of textural scholarship by non-Christians, without accepting their religious (or secular) faith.”

        How can the Bible that you use be the inspired word of God if the men how put it together were not inspired?

        The Book of Enoch was one of the books found with the dead sea scrolls and was not included in the Bible. It was written during that time period and thought to be an inspired book by many but was not included in the cannon.

        “R. H. Charles was the leading expert on the subject (The Book of Enoch) in the early part of the 20th century. He argued the book of Enoch was written over a period of years. The latest portions were written in 64 B.C.E.”

        As far as the Gnostic gospels are concerned dating them is some what dubious because the originals that they were copied from were most likely destroyed. So it is impossible to date the originals.

        You can proclaim your faith in the accepted cannon, that is fine, but because of all these other historical facts that question if those books were the only books accepted be Christs Apostles you can’t use it for what you are basing your critique on. There is no way of knowing other than your faith. You cannot compare the truth of one faith to another based on only your faith in what you believe. This especially applies when you are questioning other faiths. It is kind of like Christians claiming that those who practice Wicca are devil worshipers when there is no devil in the Wicca religion. The figure known as the devil to Christians is not part of Wicca so it is by default that they can not be devil worshipers.

        George I know that your heart is in the right place when you write this type of post. Please realize that only a practitioner of a particular faith can verify the validity of a certain faith. Because in the end it is just that faith.

        I hope that you can see that QP and myself do not want to attack you in any way. We just, like many other followers of other faiths, want you to stop attacking us and our faith.

        October 3, 2017 at 12:12 am

      • I would like to make a comment on the “Book of Enoch” and the “gnostic gospels” referred to by BH on 3 October.

        BH wrote, “The Book of Enoch was one of the books found with the dead sea scrolls and was not included in the Bible. It was written during that time period and thought to be an inspired book by many but was not included in the cannon.

        “R. H. Charles was the leading expert on the subject (The Book of Enoch) in the early part of the 20th century. He argued the book of Enoch was written over a period of years. The latest portions were written in 64 B.C.E.”

        “As far as the Gnostic gospels are concerned dating them is some what dubious because the originals that they were copied from were most likely destroyed. So it is impossible to date the originals.

        “You can proclaim your faith in the accepted cannon, that is fine, but because of all these other historical facts that question if those books were the only books accepted by Christ’s Apostles you can’t use it for what you are basing your critique on. There is no way of knowing other than your faith”.

        The “Book of Enoch” is pseudoepigraphal (books written in the names of ancient heros) as it claims to be by a biblical character (but this is unfounded). It was not included in either the Hebrew or Christian biblical canons. If the Jews didn’t accept it as canonical, then neither should we. It’s not even in the Deuterocanonical Apocrypha. If the Christians didn’t accept it as canonical, then neither should we. A Jewish scholar called it “mystical speculation about Enoch”. And it contradicts scripture.

        The book of Enoch was never referred to by Jesus or any of the New Testament writers as scripture. It is commonly misunderstood that the content of the Bible developed over time. But the New Testament clearly tells us that the apostles were identifying scripture as it was being written (2 Pt. 3:14-16). The New Testament books were being distributed by the apostles to the various churches to be read (Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:16; 1 Th. 5:27; 2 Th. 2:2; 3:14). By the time the apostles died, the New Testament had been written and its books were known. The Muratorian Fragment (AD 170) and several of the early fathers have left us a list of books that were identified as belonging to the New Testament. The book of Enoch was never included. Although a few early church fathers highly valued the book of Enoch, they never referred to it as scripture. It might be inspiring, but it is not inspired by God.

        Oard says, “the gnostic gospels were well known to the early church fathers, especially Irenaeus (AD 115-202), who wrote “Against heresies”. He refuted the heresies in these alternate gospels. They were written by the gnostics in the first few centuries after Christ. The gnostics believed they had secret knowledge that was only for certain elites. These gospels were unmasked as obvious forgeries, being written well after the time of Jesus and the Apostles, and completely inconsistent with Hebrew scripture and all the writings of Paul and the eye witnesses of Jesus. It goes to show what many people will believe what they want to believe with little or no regard for the truth.”

        Today Christians read other books beside the Bible. But this doesn’t make the other books canonical. The same applied to Jews – they read other books beside the Old Testament. But that didn’t make these other books (such as the Book of Enoch) canonical.

        Where are “all these other historical facts that question if those books (the canon) were the only books accepted by Christ’s Apostles”? They don’t exist. There is no evidence that the book of Enoch was accepted as scripture by the apostles. And there is no evidence that the gnostic gospels were accepted as scripture by the early Christians. So, we can know what is in the canon because of authorship and usage, which is based on scholarship and not faith.

        November 19, 2017 at 5:10 am

  11. Thanks for the comment on 3 October BH.
    I’m glad you “respect the teachings of Jesus”. What about the fact that He made everything at the beginning of time (Jn. 1:1-3)?

    I stated that “The main criteria for the New Testament canon was that it was comprised of books written in the first century AD by the apostles and their associates, and whose doctrine was consistent.”

    BH asks, “What was the doctrine consistent with? The beliefs or doctrine of the people that put it together, The Roman Catholics!”. By “consistent”, I meant that each book was consistent with the other books. It would be confusing if this wasn’t the case. This means being consistent with the teaching of the apostles and their associates. They were the authority and not any other group of people.

    BH asks, “How can the Bible that you use be the inspired word of God if the men who put it together were not inspired?”. I was referring to textural scholars who study ancient biblical manuscripts to reconstruct the original text (autograph). Like language translation, it’s a technical skill that doesn’t require inspiration from God. The inspiration happened when the authors wrote the original text. The Bible came to us through the following steps: inspiration, preservation, scholarship, and translation.

    It’s not surprising that there are other religious books around between the first and fourth centuries AD. This is probably the case in all eras. The New Testament warns about false teachers (Acts 20:28-30; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Tim. 1:3-6; 4:1-7; 6:3-5; 2 Pt. 2:1-22; 1 Jn. 4:1-6).

    I find it puzzling when people today question the composition of the New Testament canon. Who would you trust: people living in the first few centuries AD when the canon was compiled or people living about 1,600-1,900 years afterwards (including R. H. Charles)? Surely those living in that era would have much more information available to make this decision, whereas we only have fragmentary historical records. And they would be aware of many more “other religious books” than we will discover.

    Also, with regard to your objections about the canon, the same question could be asked of any ancient philosophy or religion. For example, if we looked at Buddhism from the same historical point of view we have no way of knowing that the particular books that comprise the canon of a branch of Buddhism were the only ones that were correct because of the existence of other Buddhist books that were not included! So historically the books that a Buddhist uses as their authority may not be the correct ones. This approach would put any philosophy or religion that originated in the ancient world (such as Judiasm, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam etc.) into doubt.

    BH seems to be asking me to base my Christian faith on a mixture of canonical and non-canonical books. But how can one derive a non-contradictory faith from contradictory sources? This only works if parts of the books are selectively ignored or if contradictions are viewed as being unimportant compared to areas of agreement.

    October 3, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    • Dear George if what you say is true then the contradictions between the Bible and the Buddha Dharma are not important in comparision to their areas of agreement.

      QP

      November 8, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      • On 8 November, QP said “if what you say is true then the contradictions between the Bible and the Buddha Dharma are not important in comparison to their areas of agreement”.

        What I said was, “BH seems to be asking me to base my Christian faith on a mixture of canonical and non-canonical books. But how can one derive a non-contradictory faith from contradictory sources? This only works if parts of the books are selectively ignored or if contradictions are viewed as being unimportant compared to areas of agreement”.

        You seem to have misunderstood what I meant, or I may not have been clear. I was making a negative statement, not a positive one. I was not advocating ignoring contradictions. And so I was not implying that “the contradictions between the Bible and the Buddha Dharma are not important in comparison to their areas of agreement”.

        November 20, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      • Dear George if this is what you mean then how do you explain your earlier statements about ignoring some violent parts of the Old Testament because they contradict the teachings of Jesus? Especially since you have derived your faith on the old and new testaments have you not?

        QP

        November 20, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      • On 8 November, QP said” if this is what you mean then how do you explain your earlier statements about ignoring some violent parts of the Old Testament because they contradict the teachings of Jesus? Especially since you have derived your faith on the old and new testaments have you not?”

        See my exegesis of 1 Samuel 15:1-3 as an example of understanding the Old Testament and how it can apply today.

        December 13, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      • I found this I thought you might be interested.

        https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/4555546/posts/8681

        December 15, 2017 at 6:40 am

  12. (Reply to comments by George on 3 October)
    George

    I am not asking you to base your faith on anything. Only you can decide what to base your faith on. That has been part of the point through out. It is up to each person where to put their faith, in what or in whom. Christian faith and Buddhist faith are different. Christians have faith in what the bible says. A Buddhists faith comes from each persons own direct experience. I am not saying one is better than the other only that they are different.

    Once again I am not doubting your cannon. I am just trying to point out that if you do not have the faith that you do and just look at historically how it came about there is room for error. I am not saying that there was error. Do you see what I mean? You look at the Bible from a position of faith so it is hard for you to be objective because that then may make you question your faith. I do not want you to question your faith George. I am glad that you have it. My and QP’s points have just been to try to show you that you cannot convince someone else of the correctness or truth in something when you are basing it just on your own faith. Especially when the other people you are trying to convince do not share your faith.

    For Buddhist the various books attributed to the Buddha are not thought to be divinely inspired. They are an outline or guide to the practice. When we learn a new Buddhist teaching were are taught to question it, ponder it, meditate on it, until we can prove to ourselves that it is true. We have the freedom to question and it is not a requirement in to believe anything that we cannot prove to ourselves. So when we see and prove the truth of the teaching to ourselves it is a very powerful and faith building experience.

    I do have to give it to you George after a little bit of a rough start with the post you have been a very respectful debater. I really appreciate that as I am sure others do. It is not often that we can have a respectful discussion with Christians. I often wonder what Jesus would think of those others and how they handle themselves. I am sure he would approve of you.

    October 4, 2017 at 1:30 am

    • (Reply to comments by BH on 4 October)
      Thanks for the discussion BH, you have also been respectful.

      What you call “faith”, I prefer to call a “worldview”. A worldview is an overall view of the world (a paradigm, or way of thinking). We all have a worldview that drives our attitudes, opinions and behavior. A worldview is comprised of assumptions, axioms, presuppositions and premises. Some current worldviews are:
      – Christianity: there is a God who created the universe and life and who offers salvation through Jesus Christ; God has revealed Himself to humanity through the Bible; truth is absolute.
      – Secularism (Naturalism): there is no God; the material world is all that exists.
      – Postmodernism: there are no objective truths and moral standards; truth is relative (my truth is as good as your truth).
      – Pluralism: all worldviews are equally valid; there are many paths to salvation.

      I prefer to base my worldview on something that is objective and unchangeable (such as historical records) and not something that is subjective and changeable (such as feelings or personal experience). I believe the Christian worldview (as documented in the Bible) offers the most coherent answers to questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. If the Bible is not true, there are probably no significant implications, but if it is true, the consequences are enormous..

      October 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      • (Reply to comments by George on 4 October)
        George,

        I understand that what you follow is what you prefer and that is fine. Buddhist faith is not a world view. If you have a scientist he starts with a hypothesis. He then tries to determine a way to verify if his hypothesis is correct and devises experiments to prove it. When the experiments prove that his hypothesis was correct he knows that it is true. The next time he does a similar experiment he has faith in the in the outcome based on the truth of his previous experiment.

        The hypothesis is the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings) the Buddhist practice is the experiment. The Prajna or wisdom is the truth that you find when you know the hypothesis is true.

        It is a real faith George and with each and everything that you can prove to be true your faith goes stronger. So much so that I am absolutely 100% sure of the truth of the Dharma and nothing or nobody can shake that even a little.

        October 4, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      • Thanks for the comment BH.
        With regard to your comment posted 1:30am on 4 October, I thought that “room for error” is a tough criterion for worldviews. There is probably room for error in any philosophical and religious worldview when it is examined by another worldview.

        I don’t understand why the “Buddhist faith is not a world view”. You use the illustration of a scientist. Most western scientists today have a naturalistic worldview (or faith) because that is what is taught in the education systems in this part of the world (it’s the prevailing worldview). This means that their hypotheses (or experiments) are not neutral, but assume naturalism. Naturalism is not tested in any experiment, it’s an assumption (or worldview). It sounds like after your hypothesis of the Dharma was proven to be true, that became your faith (or worldview). Therefore, if you look at any other hypothesis (like Christianity) it will be tested against the Dharma and found to be deficient. We all view the world through the “glasses” of our faith (or worldview). That’s why you say, “I am absolutely 100% sure of the truth of the Dharma and nothing or nobody can shake that even a little”. Would a miracle make you test another hypothesis with an open mind? I think life is a miracle. After all, scientists can’t even create a living cell from chemicals!

        October 5, 2017 at 8:35 pm

  13. (Reply to comments by George on 5 October)
    “There is probably room for error in any philosophical and religious worldview when it is examined by another worldview.”

    You are 100% correct. And this is why it is perilous to try to say one religion is better or more correct than another. I would say that Buddhism could be called a world view. I do not agree that Faith is a world view.

    “faith
    noun

    1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something: “this restores one’s faith in politicians” synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction, optimism, … more antonyms: mistrust
    2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”

    I found it interesting that when I looked this up I think that it covers us both. In Buddhism we have complete trust or faith in the teachings because we can prove their correctness to ourselves, on our own. That was why I used the example of science. Don’t you have faith that tomorrow when you wake up the Sun will rise? Of course you do because you have experienced this over and over for yourself and you know it is true. Buddhist faith is like that George.

    Christian faith is like number 2. A strong belief in God because you inherently feel a connection to him and feel that he speaks to you. So one is not better than the other they are just different. I am sure that you have just as much faith in what you believe as I do.

    “Therefore, if you look at any other hypothesis (like Christianity) it will be tested against the Dharma and found to be deficient”

    Not true! I have found the Dharma is true for me. I have not found Christianity to be true for me. But my point all along George is that Christianity is true for you and that is great!

    “Would a miracle make you test another hypothesis with an open mind”

    Yes and that , for me, is the Beauty of Buddhism. The Buddha has taught that if you can prove that something is true to yourself even if it is something that he did not teach then it is true. We are looking for truth where ever we may find it. The whole goal of Buddhism is to understand reality as it really is. So if something is true, it is true.

    “I think life is a miracle. After all, scientists can’t even create a living cell from chemicals!”

    I agree. Life truly is a miracle and personally I do not think that man will ever have the power create it. That is because the power than animates life is already in everything and can not be created from nothing.

    Take care George!

    October 6, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    • Thanks for the comment on 6 October BH.
      You say that “it is perilous to try to say one religion is better or more correct than another”. This implies there is no objective way to test religions or philosophies. As all religions and philosophies rely on presuppositions (assumptions, axioms, premises), these presuppositions can be tested. For example, are they self-consistent and are they consistent with the real world?

      I disagree with your definition of Christian faith. It’s not “based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof”. Instead it’s based on historical facts recorded in the Bible. For example, the resurrection of Christ is an essential part of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 15:12–19), but it is also a fact of history. Christ is the Lord of the universe, and the Bible is accurate on everything it touches, not just faith and morality, but history, science and geography also. The Bible contains eyewitness accounts; that’s what the best historians or forensic detectives/scientists look for. After all, it was written by God (who created life and the universe).

      It’s not how much faith you have that counts. Instead it’s what you place your faith in that counts. Is it trustworthy or not?

      You say, “I have not found Christianity to be true for me”. As you have already mentioned the diversity of beliefs in Christianity, I would be more interested to know if you have found the message in the Bible to be true or not.

      I’m concerned about your idea that truth is relative rather than absolute. That a particular truth (like Christianity) is OK for person A (like me), but not for person B (like you). This is dangerous. For example, you may passionately disbelieve in the law of gravity. But what will happen if you step over a cliff without any other support? You will fall because physical laws like gravity are absolute, and not relative. The Bible says that spiritual laws are also absolute, and not relative. For example, Jesus is the only way to God and to salvation for everyone, and not just for some people (Jn. 14:6).

      I see you agree that life is a miracle. Consequently, can you test the hypothesis that the God of the Bible created this life? After all, Paul told the philosophers in Athens, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs—for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need” (Acts 17:24-25).

      October 9, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    • Dear George,

      One of the beautiful things about Buddhism is that it does not presuppose its superiority over any other worldview or faith. In fact, as Ronin has said it only asks us to question and prove it to ourselves. This is genius and keeps us humble enough to respect and live alongside all other beings in a respectful and compassionate way.

      QP

      November 8, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      • Thanks QP for sharing what you like about Buddhism.

        Here’s what I like about Christianity. It deals with the most important issues and questions of life. The past, the present and the future. Origins and destinies. How to live and how to die. Our most important problem. Our purpose. Love, freedom, security, hope, joy and peace. Eternity with God. It’s good news that changes everything. And it’s based on the most important person who ever lived. The best hero.

        One of the beautiful things about Christianity is that Jesus has done everything for us. This means we don’t have to strive to do anything to please God. Salvation depends on acknowledging and confessing one’s sin. It’s a gift from God (Eph. 2:8). And it’s not difficult to understand or accept.

        Christianity is unique because:
        – God reached out to us, whereas other religions involve people reaching up to God and looking for the meaning of life.
        – It’s a relationship with God (initiated and maintained by God) and not a list of rules and regulations.
        – It’s based on the Bible, which is the written word of God.
        – Its leader (Jesus) rose from the dead and performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity. Christians serve a living God, whereas most other religious leaders are dead.

        November 23, 2017 at 7:45 am

      • Dear George, now we are talking. With the exception of the one superfluous Bible reference, this is the first time you have thoughtfully and clearly stated your wonderful opinion in a respectful, clear, and loving way. Thank you so much. Now that we have arrived at meaningful dialogue, do you think it would be useful to highlight the areas we agree on and unite behind them for the benefit of our respective communities instead of wasting our time trying to prove each other wrong? I truly believe we must start with ourselves if we want to make a difference in this world. It should not be so hard we are already mostly there.

        QP

        November 28, 2017 at 6:34 am

  14. (Reply to comments by George on 9 October)
    George,

    Thank you for this conversation. It is the longest most respectful conversation that I have ever had with anyone of the Christian faith.

    “You say that “it is perilous to try to say one religion is better or more correct than another”. This implies there is no objective way to test religions or philosophies”
    It is perilous because all religions have a component of faith. The only real difference is how that faith is derived. You can I suppose test some of the tenets of the religion I suppose but you can not objectively test faith.

    “As all religions and philosophies rely on presuppositions (assumptions, axioms, premises), these presuppositions can be tested. For example, are they self-consistent and are they consistent with the real world?”
    As I have explained that Buddhist faith is based on exactly that. We are supposed to question and test for ourselves the truth of anything. This is were I have to tread carefully George because I do not mean any disrespect to you or your faith. But you are making the statement so I feel I have to at least reply. Can you honestly say that Christians “test” the Bible to determine it’s spiritual or historical accuracy?

    “I disagree with your definition of Christian faith. It’s not “based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof”. Instead it’s based on historical facts recorded in the Bible. For example, the resurrection of Christ is an essential part of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 15:12–19), but it is also a fact of history.”
    George please take this in the spirit that I mean it. Christians have faith in the Bible but I do not believe that that faith is based on scientific or historical facts. If we were to question established historians I believe their response would be something similar to this:

    While there is much evidence that a man Jesus of Nazareth lived. There is absolutely no historical evidence that he was the son of God or that he performed the many miracles mentioned in the Bible.

    “the Bible is accurate on everything it touches, not just faith and morality, but history, science and geography also ”
    George while there are a very small number of scientist that believe there must be “intelligent design” a even smaller number of scientist think that the one behind the intelligent design was the God of the Bible.

    “I’m concerned about your idea that truth is relative rather than absolute. That a particular truth (like Christianity) is OK for person A (like me), but not for person B (like you). ”
    I never said that George. In fact I said the opposite. Truth is the truth no matter where that truth comes from. Something is true because you can prove that it is so. Can you prove that the world was created in six days? Does the science that you mention prove that this notion is true? You believe it George because you have faith in its truth not because it is scientifically provable.

    Buddhism and science are very compatible as QP has already told you. If you are interested there have been a few good books written on the subject. My two favorites are “The Tao of Physics” and “The Dance of the Wu Li Masters”. Scientist studying Quantum Physics are just recently rediscovering what the Buddha taught over 2500 years ago.

    ” I would be more interested to know if you have found the message in the Bible to be true or not.” “After all, it was written by God (who created life and the universe).”
    George I personally have found the Bible to be a beautifully written book. I have read it multiple times. There is very much wisdom in the Bible about how we should live our lives. This is especially true with the new testament. I think it would be very difficult both historically and scientifically to prove that God was the one who actually wrote the Bible.

    “I see you agree that life is a miracle. Consequently, can you test the hypothesis that the God of the Bible created this life?”
    I would have to say at this point in time that is not possible. Since science has not determined how life was created there really is no way to prove your hypothesis that it was God who created it. The truth be said there is no current scientific proof that God exists at all. At this point George we kind of find ourselves in the same boat. Buddhism teaches that everything in the universe has always been here and always will be. There was no beginning. Since most current scientist believe in the Big Bang as the beginning of the universe I guess we can’t prove our hypothesis either. But then again George that is what a hypothesis is, a theory that has not been proven yet. So we both still have a chance there! 🙂

    “After all, Paul told the philosophers in Athens…”
    We have already went over this. You cannot use quotes from the Bible to prove the truth of the Bible. It is circular logic.

    Even using the fact that the Apostles wrote some of the books in the new testament in no way confirms the accuracy or truth of them. Saying that twelve people who lived 2000 years ago believed in them so we should as well is not a very scientific method. If it is a scientific method of testing then we should be able to apply it to other similar things. There were 11 witnesses (twelve including Smith) to the gold tablets that Joseph Smith translated into the book of Mormon. In fact they even signed their name to a document that said so which actually is more than can be said for the books of the new testament (there is still much argument with scholars over who wrote which books). So can we derive from this document that the Golden tablets or the Book of Mormon are true?

    George as I have said many times I am not criticizing your religion or your faith in it. I think it is great that you have found a faith that you are comfortable with. I am critical of your method of comparing one faith to another using quotes from the Bible as proof that the other faiths are untrue. If this is a scientific method then I could use quotes from the Buddhist Sutras or from the Quran to prove that the Bible is incorrect. You would not believe in this method because you have no “faith” in those books. We (Buddhist) do not believe in the Bible as you do so we can not accept it as an authority to disprove our faiths.

    Take care George!

    October 10, 2017 at 12:27 am

    • Thanks for the comment on 10 October BH.
      BH says, “The only real difference (between religions) is how that faith is derived. You can I suppose test some of the tenets of the religion I suppose but you can not objectively test faith”. Yes, even though we use it all the time, faith itself is subjective. But one’s presuppositions can be tested. Also, the key aspects of a philosophy or religion can be tested for self-consistency and consistency with the real world. For example, some of the presuppositions of Christianity might be:
      – God exists; being the ultimate cause of what exists.
      – God is personal and interacts with His creation by revealing Himself to us in the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16).
      – There is absolute truth outside and beyond us. And God is the source of all truth.
      – The universe is orderly because it was made by a God of order.

      BH asks, “Can you honestly say that Christians ‘test’ the Bible to determine its spiritual or historical accuracy?” Christians continually “test” the spiritual accuracy of the Bible because they endeavour to live by its spiritual principles. It’s their spiritual guide for everyday life. But most Christians don’t “test” the historical accuracy of the Bible because they are not historians or archaeologists. Because of the age and number of manuscripts available, the Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today. So the text we have today is believed to be an accurate representation of the autographs. But confirming ancient history is more difficult because of the fragmentary evidence and the influence of presuppositions (such as timing). For example, in 2009 archaeologists found a clay seal inscribed “Belonging to Hezekiah, (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah”. It was found in a collapsed 10th century BC royal building in the Ophel in Jerusalem and features a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols symbolizing life. According to the Bible, King Hezekiah reigned from about 715 to about 697BC. Hezekiah is also mentioned in Assyrian documents and his water supply tunnel was discovered in Jerusalem in 1880. All these findings are consistent with the Biblical record.

      BH says, “There is absolutely no historical evidence that he (Jesus) was the son of God or that he performed the many miracles mentioned in the Bible”. According to a Roman and a Jewish historian:
      – Jesus was a Jewish man named Jesus and Christ (in Greek, meaning “the chosen one”; the equivalent Hebrew name is “Messiah”) who lived in Judea. For Jews, the word “Messiah” was equivalent to the phrase “Son of God” (Mt. 26:63). So for Jews, the word “Christ” was equivalent to the phrase “Son of God”.
      – Jesus had a brother named James.
      – Jesus had a reputation for doing unusual works (possibly miracles)
      – Jesus won over both Jews and Greeks (but most of this happened after His death).
      – Jesus was sentenced by Pilate to be executed by crucifixion during Tiberius’s reign. The Jewish leadership pressured Pilate to condemn Jesus in this way.
      – Christianity and Christians came out of Christ’s ministry.
      – Both Jewish and Roman leaders were hostile towards Jesus and Christians.

      BH says, few scientists “think that the one behind the intelligent design (of creation) was the God of the Bible”. Yes, most scientists believe that everything was created from nothing in a big bang and that life was generated spontaneously from non-life. But what do we observe? An ordered world (evidence of design), not a disordered one (evidence of an explosion). And a world where life always comes from life. The presuppositions of science can’t explain the origin of life because this is the area of historical (or forensic) science, not operational science. So what the scientists believe doesn’t match what they observe!

      BH disagrees with my interpretation that he believes truth is relative and not absolute. My statement was based on, “I have found the Dharma is true for me. I have not found Christianity to be true for me. But my point all along George is that Christianity is true for you and that is great!” That is why I wrote, “I’m concerned about your idea that truth is relative rather than absolute. That a particular truth (like Christianity) is OK for person A (like me), but not for person B (like you)”. But if my inference is wrong, I apologise.

      BH says, “Something is true because you can prove that it is so”.
      We don’t have to prove something to be correct for it to be true. Truth is quality that exists independent of our understanding or evidence.

      BH asks, “Can you prove that the world was created in six days? Does the science that you mention prove that this notion is true?” As this is the area of historical (or forensic) science, not operational science, it’s impossible to do an experiment to prove how the world was created. But any model of creation can be tested against what is observed. So let’s see how two models compare to the evidence:
      – The Bible says that the universe and life were created supernaturally over six days and that “Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good!” (Gen. 1:31). This matches the order and complexity of the universe and life. But, because of certain events in its early history, it didn’t stay “very good”!
      – The big-bang model says that the universe and life were created over billions of years from an explosion. But this doesn’t match the order and complexity of the universe and life. People like us don’t come from explosions!

      BH says, “I think it would be very difficult both historically and scientifically to prove that God was the one who actually wrote the Bible”.
      The books of the Bible were written by about 40 different authors over a period of about 1,500 years. Yet it has incredible unity which binds the books together and it does not contradict itself. And many of its predictions have been fulfilled. This is consistent with it being inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16-27; 2 Pt. 1:20-21). How could someone know that God was not involved?

      BH says, “there is no current scientific proof that God exists at all”.
      This is not surprising because science only deals with the physical world and not the spiritual world.

      I see you believe that “the hypothesis that the God of the Bible created this life” is as good as any other hypothesis about the origin of life and the universe because there is no way to prove which hypothesis is correct.

      BH says, “Even using the fact that the Apostles wrote some of the books in the new testament in no way confirms the accuracy or truth of them”.
      Because of the age (the manuscripts are closer to the original autograph than for other ancient texts) and number (there are more manuscripts than for other ancient texts) of biblical manuscripts available, the Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today. This means that we have accurate translations of the autographs. The books of the New Testament are based on eyewitness reports, which are best for historical accounts. Since the New Testament documents were written within 30 years of the events they record, other eyewitnesses would still be around to correct errors or exaggerations. Copies of biblical manuscripts throughout history show that the New Testament has been transmitted accurately. There are minor differences in manuscripts, called variants, but none of these variants impact or change key Christian beliefs or claims.
      With regard to the Old Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) provided textual critics with ancient manuscripts against which they can compare the accepted text for accuracy of content. As there were only minor differences between the book of Isaiah in the DSS (dated about 100BC) and in the Masoretic text (dated in the 10th century AD), the Jewish scribes had faithfully copied this text over this thousand-year period. As these texts were nearly identical, the DSS provide evidence that the Old Testament had been accurately and carefully preserved.

      BH says, “Saying that twelve people who lived 2000 years ago believed in them (the New Testament books) so we should as well is not a very scientific method”.
      As operational science can’t deal with the past, I would say it was a historical method, not a scientific one. As each case would need to be assessed on its own merits, I wouldn’t accept the Book of Mormon even though it may be similar in some ways to the New Testament.

      BH says, “I am critical of your method of comparing one faith to another using quotes from the Bible as proof that the other faiths are untrue”.
      But truth is absolute and not relative. And the religions of the world differ from one another (otherwise they would not be distinct). Therefore, either one is true or none of them are true (because otherwise they are contradictory).

      BH says, “You cannot use quotes from the Bible to prove the truth of the Bible. It is circular logic”.
      I have shown that the Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today. And this was done by not using quotes from itself. Therefore, it’s reasonable to quote from such a source.

      October 11, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      • (Reply to comments by George on 11 October)
        George

        The first line is taken a little out of context. You are missing the very first line which sets the context up.

        “It is perilous because all religions have a component of faith. The only real difference is how that faith is derived. You can I suppose test some of the tenets of the religion I suppose but you can not objectively test faith.”

        I am specifically referring to faith here and not the religions themselves.

        “I have shown that the Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today.”

        George with all due respect you have not shown that the Bible is one of the most reliable text. Just because men have copied it correctly does not mean that what it contains is true or reliable. It just means that it is consistent with the original source. I do have to point out that it was the old testament that you were referring to and not the new. The Bible is made up of both. It is also somewhat subjective to say that “As these texts were nearly identical” as if it wasn’t a matter of interpretation as to weather those differences mattered.

        George I have to tread carefully here. My intent is not to say that Christianity is untrue or that the Bible itself is untrue. That would be disrespectful to you. I am only concerned with how you are evaluating other religions and your methodology. But you keep making statements about the Bibles accuracy that are based on your own faith and one particular interpretation not historical or scholarly fact. This is why when we started this conversation instead of attacking Christianity in any way I was pointing out that there were more than one interpretation of Christ, his teachings, and his relationship to God at the time of his death. What that means is that one particular group cannot really claim theirs as the only true understanding. To many historians, archeologist and scholars the Bible has many contradictions. The Bible is interpreted by many groups differently. So saying that there is only one understanding or interpretation is just not accurate. So as a way to demonstrate I will go back to one of those differences I mentioned earlier, the Trinity. There were some groups of Christians (and still are) that view God, Christ, and the holy spirit as separate beings. If I am correct George you do not believe in this interpretation. So to kind of show that each individuals understanding of the Bible is based on their or their denominations interpretation of the Bible in reference to any particular topic. So here are several quotes from the Bible that if you read them and do not interpret them through your own denominations lens they clearly say that God the Father and his Son Jesus were separate. Jesus himself is referring to himself and God as being separate in each one of them. To say that is not what he is saying is in my opinion linguistically impossible. It would certainly twist reason. To show that this is a matter of interpretation I would like for you to explain how they do not say that they are separate without referencing other passages. The reason I am saying that is, is that I can list out three times as many of these that support the idea that they are separate. Because of space I did not want to list them all. So it really makes no logical sense that you can refute these by just listing a number of other quotes that you interpret as saying that God, Jesus, and the holy spirit are one. If you choose to give a list of quotes that support your interpretation then effectively all you have done is prove an inconsistency.

        Mark 10:18

        And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God.

        Mark 13:32

        But of that day and that hour knowesth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

        Mark 15:34

        And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

        St, John 5:19

        The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.

        St. John 5:26

        For the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.

        St John 7:16

        Jesus answered them, and said, my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

        St. John 7:17

        If any man will do his will , he shall know of the doctrine, weather it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

        George I am still not trying to say that you or your interpretation is wrong. What I am saying is there is room for more than one interpretation and only you through your faith can decide what is right. The truth is absolute but no ones interpretation of the Bible is absolute.

        Well at least you can see that I do own a Bible and have read it.! Take care George!

        October 11, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      • Thanks for the comment on 11 October BH.
        BH says, “I do have to point out that it was the old testament that you were referring to and not the new. The Bible is made up of both”.
        I apologise for the ambiguity. I made a statement about the New Testament, “Because of the age and number of manuscripts available, the Bible is one of the most reliable ancient texts that are available today. So the text we have today is believed to be an accurate representation of the autographs”. And then gave an example of archaeology confirming the existence of a character mentioned in the Old Testament (king Hezekiah’s seal).

        BH says, “It is also somewhat subjective to say that ‘As these texts were nearly identical’ as if it wasn’t a matter of interpretation as to whether those differences mattered”.
        This related to my statement that, “As these texts were nearly identical, the DSS provide evidence that the Old Testament had been accurately and carefully preserved”.
        This is based on investigations by textural scholars. For example, James C VanderKam Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame says, “The differences between the Judean Desert texts (DSS) and the Masoretic text (which forms the basis of the modern Hebrew Bible) are indeed numerous though frequently very slight, often ones that do not affect the meaning of the text for most purposes (e.g., spelling changes, omission or addition of a conjunction)”.

        BH says, “To many historians, archeologist and scholars the Bible has many contradictions”.
        I am aware of this, but I understand that these apparent contradictions can be harmonized. If you know of any that are not able to be resolved, please let me know. By the way, different eyewitnesses will not give identical accounts of the same event unless there has been collusion.

        BH says “The Bible is interpreted by many groups differently. So saying that there is only one understanding or interpretation is just not accurate.”
        That is true and it’s why I rely on the Bible as an objective source of Christian belief. The main message of the Bible is clear and it is stated repetitively. It’s not ambiguous. Jesus came to reconcile humanity with God and to ultimately restore His creation. If we don’t personally accept that He took the penalty that we deserved, we face eternal punishment in hell. I don’t want you (or anyone) to face a future like that!

        BH states that some Christians believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are “separate beings” and quotes seven Bible verses that seem to support this.
        The answer is that they are separate (distinct) persons, but one essence (being). Each of the verses quoted refer to God the Father and Jesus Christ as separate persons.

        BH says, “George with all due respect you have not shown that the Bible is one of the most reliable text. Just because men have copied it correctly does not mean that what it contains is true or reliable”.
        You are right, I meant we have accurate translations of the autographs and mentioned this twice in my comment of 11 October.

        Let’s look at two people who investigated whether the Bible is “true or reliable” with an open mind.
        Lee Strobel trained at Yale Law School and was an avowed atheist. He was a legal journalist for 14 years. After his wife’s conversion, he began investigating the Biblical claims about Christ. After a nearly two-year investigation, he became a Christian at the age of 29 years. Since then he has written many books defending Christianity, including “The case for Christ”.
        Warner Wallace was a homicide detective. He was an atheist, but reading the gospels changed his life. After he saw that they were accurate eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus, he became a Christian. He stresses that as detectives need to be open minded by avoiding presuppositions, so should we. And the highest standard for prosecution is “beyond a reasonable doubt”, not “beyond every possible doubt”. This is because they are dealing with history, not observational science or mathematics. Wallace writes a blog called “Cold case Christianity”.

        It’s not enough to have read the Bible. That will be a lame excuse when we stand before God after our life on earth ends. We have all rebelled against God’s revelation in creation, conscience and Christ. This is a powerful (shown in creation) and loving (shown in Jesus) God. That’s why we need to respond to this warning in the Bible:
        “This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son (Jesus), so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish (in hell) but have eternal life (in heaven). God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son” (Jn. 3:16-18).

        October 14, 2017 at 7:33 pm

  15. (Comment on comment by George on 14 October)
    “BH states that some Christians believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are “separate beings” and quotes seven Bible verses that seem to support this.
    The answer is that they are separate (distinct) persons, but one essence (being). Each of the verses quoted refer to God the Father and Jesus Christ as separate persons.”

    So George you are saying that they are “but one essence (being)” in other words one “being”. “BH states that some Christians believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are “separate beings”and quotes seven Bible verses that seem to support this.” The distinction is that you say one being and others say three separate beings. And these verses do not “seem” to show this, they emphatically show this.

    Definition of Trinity
    the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead according to Christian dogma

    Definition of godhead
    1 :divine nature or essence
    2 God

    The definition above agrees with you George, Jesus , the holy ghost, and God are one being called God. The problem is that the Bible does not.

    Mark 13:32

    But of that day and that hour knowesth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

    If you take this sentence apart man, the son (Jesus), and the angels do not know the hour. Only the father knows the hour (they are separate otherwise they would both know). If they are the same being this is impossible. If they were the same being Jesus and the father would know what the Angels and man do not. The Bible says that they are separate beings not one. Bible believing Christians want to take the Bible literally until they get to passages that cause them a problem. There is no amount of linguistic gymnastics that you can do to make this statement mean that god and Jesus are one being.

    “It’s not enough to have read the Bible. That will be a lame excuse when we stand before God after our life on earth ends. We have all rebelled against God’s revelation in creation, conscience and Christ. This is a powerful (shown in creation) and loving (shown in Jesus) God. That’s why we need to respond to this warning in the Bible:
    “This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son (Jesus), so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish (in hell) but have eternal life (in heaven). God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son” (Jn. 3:16-18).”

    This was a bit depressing George. I had hoestly enjoyed our conversation up to this point. Since I first responded to your blog I have tried my best to be respectful to you and of your faith. I have not attacked Christianity directly at all even though you have openly attacked my faith. All I have been trying to point out to you is that your method of evaluating other faiths was flawed because it relied on the fact that you are presupposing that yours is not only the only correct faith but the only correct version of Christianity. That is why they are called “faiths” George. There currently is no way to prove one over another. Any logical thinking individual can see the truth in that. You yourself believing does not prove anything no matter how much you believe!

    So as a last desperate attempt to prove yourself you have to resort to using the bible in a poorly veiled threat to my soul. Well George I do not believe in your god, your Jesus, or your Bible. I am a Buddhist and I do not have a soul. So losing it is not much of a threat.

    We seemed to be having a real discussion up to this point. I am not sure why it had to change. The sad thing is that when christians like yourself engage in attacking other faiths you are not changing anyone’s minds. The ones that applaud you are bible believing christians like yourself (who most likly attack other people as well), so all you are doing is preaching to the choir. All this accomplishes is turning off the rest of the world especially those that might have thought about becoming christian. This is exactly what people do not like about Christians and Christianity. The problem with christians is that they cannot stop quoting the bible long enough to learn how Jesus actually lived and acted. They choose to attack all those different then themselves instead of following his lead and spending time with and caring about the money changers and prostitutes (people very much unlike himself). They believe in the bible so much that they elevate themselves to actually being god and have the right to judge others. I do not need a lame excuse when I stand before your god because that will never happen for me. But what about you George and all the others that attack people the way you do. What lame excuse will you have when god asks you “who gave you the right to turn so many people away from him”?

    Its a sad day George.

    October 15, 2017 at 1:45 am

    • Thanks for the comment BH.
      As I am offline for most of the next two weeks, I will reply after that. Thanks for your patience.

      October 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    • Thanks for the comment on 15 October BH and I apologise for the delay with this reply.

      With regard to the trinity BH says, “you say one being and others say three separate beings”. It’s what the Bible says that counts, not what I or someone else may say. In exegesis, its dangerous to interpret a verse without considering its context and what the Bible says elsewhere on the topic. The Bible is an integrated book, not isolated verses.

      The Bible says that Jesus is God (Rom. 9:5). He is the exact representation of God’s being (Jn. 14:9, Heb. 1:3).
      “Anyone who has seen me (Jesus) has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).
      “The Son (Jesus) is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His (God’s) being, sustaining all things by His (Jesus’) powerful word” (Heb. 1:3NIV).
      “The Son (Jesus) radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He (Jesus) sustains everything by the mighty power of His (Jesus) command” (Heb. 1:3NLT).

      The Bible also says that Jesus is equal with God the Father:
      “I (Jesus) and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30).
      “I (Jesus) am in the Father, and the Father is in me (Jesus)” (Jn. 10:38, 14:10-11).
      “He (Jesus) was God” and so Jesus had “equality with God” (Phil. 2:6).

      The God of the Bible is monotheistic, not tri-theistic. Trying to understand the trinity is like Job trying to understand God. God said that Job was speaking “ignorant words” or “words without knowledge” (Job 38:2). Job was ignorant about God. After a revelation of God’s wisdom, power, providence and sovereignty in nature (Job 39-41), Job repented of his pride and acknowledged “surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (Job. 42:1-6). When Job was trying to understand God, he was talking about things he knew nothing about. Likewise, when we are discussing the trinity, we are discussing things we know very little about. We don’t understand God’s power (it’s infinite). We don’t understand God’s goodness (it’s perfect). And we don’t understand God’s composition (one being but three persons).

      Here’s a verse that shows that Jesus is both the same as God and separate from God in some way, “In the beginning (of time) the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God” (Jn. 1:1). It is perplexing to us because this mystery is beyond our human experience. As an ant is ignorant of the universe, we are ignorant of the unseen spiritual world (except for what is revealed in the Bible). After all, we can’t assume that the unseen spiritual world is like our physical world.

      When Jesus said He didn’t know when He would return to earth to set us His kingdom (Mk. 13:32), it shows that He wasn’t always omniscient. Whereas, on another occasion He was omniscient (Jn. 1:48). This could be an example of a divine power that He gave up when He came to earth – “He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave” (Phil. 2:7). Also, see my blogpost for another possible explanation of Mt. 24:36; Mark 13:32.

      BH says, “There currently is no way to prove one (religious faith) over another”. But they can be compared with each other. This shows contradictions between different religious. So, either they are all in error or only one is truthful.

      By the way, how do you know that you don’t have an eternal destiny (a soul that lives for ever)? And how do you know that you will never stand before God? Do you have supernatural knowledge or is it because Buddha says so? But Jesus is much greater than Buddha. Buddha is dead, whereas Jesus resurrected back to life after He was crucified. And Jesus demonstrated His deity by doing many miracles.

      Paul said that Jesus “is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead” and “everyone who believes in Him (Jesus) will have their sins forgiven through His name” (Acts 10:42-43). So the dead will be judged when they stand before God (Jesus).

      October 28, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      • (Comment on comment by George on 28 October)
        George

        You still dont get it. All you do is repeat bible quotes that if I really had the desire and the energy I could use the very same bible to refute them.

        From the begining of our discourse I have never tried to covert you or change your mind about your faith. I have not attacked your faith. But since this conversation started you have attacked my faith and the faiths of others over and over again.

        I know you cannot seem to grasp this idea George but you cannot “prove” you faith to someone else. It is up to the individual through their own reasoning to prove their faith to themselves. If I was Muslum I could do the very same thing as you and use quotes from the Koran to prove to you the truth of the Koran and of Islam. Will that prove it to you George? They beleive their holy book is inspired by god just as you do George. You can come up with any argument you like and quote bible verses all day but it will not change their mind.
        You cannot prove god.

        What you are doing is ignorant George. There is absolutely no scientific proof that Jesus was anything more than a man.There is no way to prove that he rose from the dead except the claims of his own followers. Yet you bash everyone elses faith making claims about the truth of your faith other than quoting a book that MEN wrote.

        I know that I do not have a eternal soul because I can prove it to myself. It is not because the Buddha says so. Name me one thing in all the universe George that you can prove, without a bible verse, that lasts for ever. There is nothing.

        All QP have been trying to show you is that you cannot compare the truth of your faith to anothers. Why is that so hard to get.

        As far as answering to your god how are you goinng to answer him when he wants you to explain to him what gave you the right to cause so many others to turn away from him with your ignorance.

        The problem is that this whole thing started on a false premise. You do not want to know anything about any other faith or anyone else. You just want to use your bible to brow beat everyone. Well I truely hope you are right George because if you are not it might just be you that spend eternity in your hell.

        October 28, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      • “Bible, Creation of the World and Story of First Man Not True, Claims Israeli Newspaper”
        By Cristina Silva On 10/29/17 at 8:39 PM

        The Bible and its stories about the first man and the creation of the world are not true because there is no physical evidence to back it up, according to a new lengthy investigation from one of Israel’s top newspapers. Spanning roughly 5,000 words the article from left leaning Haaretz compares accounts in the Bible, from ancients Jews fleeing Egypt to descriptions of King David, and dismisses them all as fables.

        “Is the Bible a True Story,” the headline asks. “Despite feverish searching with Scripture in one hand and cutting-edge technology in the other, evidence backing the Bible remains elusive.”

        It goes on: “No evidence of the events described in the Book of Genesis has ever been found. No city walls have been found at Jericho, from the appropriate era, that could have been toppled by Joshua or otherwise. The stone palace uncovered at the foot of Temple Mount in Jerusalem could attest that King David had been there; or it might belong to another era entirely, depending who you ask.”

        Researchers have long questioned the authenticity of the Bible’s version of human history, often struggling to find evidence of, say, Noah’s ark or even the possibility of Eve and Adam, the first woman and man. Young-Earth creationism, for example, directly fails science’s demands for coherence and hypothesis testing.

        The mounting evidence against the Bible means fewer Americans than ever before are trusting scripture as gospel. Only 35 percent of Americans read the holy book at least once a week, while 45 percent seldom or never do, a Pew Research Center report in April found. About 36 percent of Christians said the Bible should not be taken literally, while 40 percent say it is the word of God. In all, only 24 percent of Americans said the holy book was “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,” a Gallup poll conducted in May concluded.

        “This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism. Meanwhile, about half of Americans — a proportion largely unchanged over the years — fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally,” the poll said. “From the mid-1970s through 1984, close to 40% of Americans considered the Bible the literal word of God, but this has been declining ever since, along with a shrinking percentage of self-identified Christians in the U.S. Meanwhile, the percentage defining the Bible as mere stories has doubled, with much of that change occurring in the past three years.”

        Well George it appears that not everyone is as sure of the Bibles authenticity as you have been trying to claim.
        So suddenly there are other claims that maybe the Bible isn’t so true based on archeology and science. So ho do you counter that argument George, by saying the Bible says so??

        October 31, 2017 at 12:50 am

      • Thanks for the comment on 28 October BH.

        BH says he could use the Bible to refute bible quotes. He implies that the Bible is contradictory. But the only case he has presented in all his comments relates to the trinity, which I have answered in some detail. The main points were that the Bible is an integrated book, not isolated verses. And because we are finite, we don’t understand God’s composition (one being but three persons).

        BH says “you cannot ‘prove’ your faith to someone else. It is up to the individual through their own reasoning to prove their faith to themselves”. But I can explain my faith to someone else. Then they can evaluate its presuppositions and teachings using tests such as self-consistency and consistency with the real world. Any faith or philosophy can be tested in this way.

        BH says, “You cannot prove god”. Likewise, you cannot prove that God doesn’t exist. But we can see the evidence of God’s handiwork in the complexity and fine-tuning of nature, in the genetic language in the DNA code, in the uniformity of the laws of nature, as the ultimate source of life, as the ultimate source of gender, as the ultimate source of objective moral values, and as the ultimate source (cause) of the universe. There is no other more likely explanation of these characteristics of our world. So, it’s reasonable to believe that God exists.

        For example, the ultimate cause of the universe can be explained as follows:
        – Whatever begins to exist requires a cause.
        – The universe (space, time, matter/energy) began to exist.
        – Therefore, the universe requires a cause.
        So, whatever caused the universe to appear is not physical (outside space), is eternal and timeless (outside time), and is immaterial (outside matter/energy). The cause is a supernatural (because it creates nature) mind (a non-material entity that can cause a response) with immense power. The Bible says, “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen” (Heb. 11:3).

        BH says that there is “no scientific proof that Jesus was anything more than a man”. That is true because science deals with the present, not the past. But there is historical (eye-witness) proof that Jesus was more than a man. And there is historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. And history is the discipline that deals with the past, not science.

        BH says that the Bible is “a book that MEN wrote”. But if you read the books in the Bible you will see that it claims to be written under the inspiration of the God who created the universe (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pt. 1:19-21). So it’s God’s words (in the original text).

        BH says “I know that I do not have a eternal soul because I can prove it to myself”, but doesn’t give any proof.

        BH asks, “Name me one thing in all the universe that you can prove, without a bible verse, that lasts for ever”. According to the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy, the collection of mass and energy is conserved within a closed system. If we assume that the present is the key to the future and that the universe is a closed system, then the collection of mass and energy in the universe “lasts for ever”.

        BH says, “you cannot compare the truth of your faith to anothers”. This depends on whether you think truth is objective (absolute) or subjective (relative). My presupposition is that truth is objective. This is based on my observation of physical laws (like gravity). They are absolute and not relative. The truth of a belief depends on the truth of its presuppositions and the truth of its claims (or key teachings). These can be evaluated for self-consistency and consistency with the real world.

        The differences between our comments reflects our worldviews and presuppositions: mine includes the Bible, whereas yours excludes the Bible. John wrote,” Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about His Son (Jesus). All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about His Son (Jesus)” (1 Jn. 5:9-10). He’s saying that it’s unreasonable to disbelieve God when we regularly accept the words of fellow human beings. This is equivalent to calling God a liar. And this is serious for unbelievers if the Bible is right. That’s why it’s important to consider the presuppositions and teaching of the Bible.

        November 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      • Thanks for the comment of 31 October BH.

        This is an example of biased journalism from Newsweek magazine. The original article by Nir Hasson says that some archeologists believe that archaeology supports the Bible (the maximalist view) and some believe that it doesn’t (the minimalist view). But Cristina Silva only mentions the latter. Hasson presents evidence (or lack of evidence) that supports both the maximalist view and the minimalist view. So, the original article is more balanced than Silva indicates. If possible, it’s good to check the primary source.

        Silva also leaves out the following statement from the heading “But there are some surprising anomalies”.

        She then dismisses the Bible up to the time of David as being comprised of fables. But when Hasson answers the question “Did the Bible really happen?”, he says, “So far, what discoveries there are, tend to indicate that at the least, the timelines are off”. So, he is not as dogmatic as Silva.

        An example of the difference in timing is the statement that “No city walls have been found at Jericho, from the appropriate era, that could have been toppled by Joshua”. Note the qualification that I have highlighted. Beside the fact that mudbrick walls would be eroded, they are not saying there are no walls, just that they don’t think the timing matches (there is a 4% difference in elapsed time). This is not surprising given the uncertainty in dating archaeological findings and the influence of one’s presuppositions on these dates. And such dates are always subject to revision.

        Here’s Jericho’s walls as found by Watzinger (1911), Kenyon (1958) and Nigro and Marchetti (1997). The lower wall (black) bounded a sloped rampart (yellow) and fallen mudbricks (red) were evident. There had been a mudbrick parapet wall above the retaining wall and a mudbrick wall at the crest of the embankment.



        The lack of “physical evidence” is a straw man argument with regard to the Israelites because they lived in tents and nomadic people don’t leave relics of buildings for archaeologists to discover. Hasson uses a subheading, “Invisible nomads”. Because nomads leave no evidence, they are invisible to archaeologists.

        Finally, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Especially with regard to the topic of ancient history. They are assuming that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. But this presupposition isn’t always true like the journalist is assuming it to be.

        November 14, 2017 at 3:58 pm

  16. I enjoyed your post. I have recently written a short post <1000 words on impermanence that you may be interested in.

    November 5, 2017 at 4:22 am

  17. (Comment on comment by George on 9 November)
    George says: “BH says he could use the Bible to refute bible quotes. He implies that the Bible is contradictory. But the only case he has presented in all his comments relates to the trinity, which I have answered in some detail. The main points were that the Bible is an integrated book, not isolated verses. And because we are finite, we don’t understand God’s composition (one being but three persons).”

    As I have repeatedly stated I am refuting your methodology in attacking other religions not claiming your religion is false. I gave you 7 verses that anyone with a elementary school level education in the English language would say after reading them that they are referring to separate beings. Your answer is “And because we are finite, we don’t understand God’s composition (one being but three persons)”.

    No George this has nothing to do with us not understanding God. We understand the English language just fine and understand what those verses say. You are giving these verses a meaning that they don’t say, one being but three persons. You can argue that these verses say “one being but three persons” all you want but it is just in your imagination because no where in them do those words appear.

    This has been one of the problems with this discussion from the beginning. You like to make statements as fact that just are not fact at all. When you do not have an answer for what i give your answer is that you just do not answer.

    George says: “But I can explain my faith to someone else. Then they can evaluate its presuppositions and teachings using tests such as self-consistency and consistency with the real world. Any faith or philosophy can be tested in this way.”

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is what QP and myself have been trying to get you to do all along. It is the crux of this discussion. You can explain your faith and let others decide. That is precisely what you SHOULD be doing instead of attacking others faiths. As far as testing you can apply these test you speak of but you have to do it with an open mind. Read the Tao of Physics or the Dancing Wu Li Masters. These are books written by Physicist that detail how much of the Buddhist and Hindu faith correspond to Quantum Physics. Where does Jona living in the belly of a fish, The world being created in 6 days, Noah collecting two of every creature and putting them on one boat or a man coming back from the dead fit into modern science or the tests that you speak of?

    George says: “BH says, “You cannot prove god”. Likewise, you cannot prove that God doesn’t exist. But we can see the evidence of God’s handiwork in the complexity and fine-tuning of nature, in the genetic language in the DNA code, in the uniformity of the laws of nature, as the ultimate source of life, as the ultimate source of gender, as the ultimate source of objective moral values, and as the ultimate source (cause) of the universe. There is no other more likely explanation of these characteristics of our world. So, it’s reasonable to believe that God exists.”

    Here you go again George. My statement is that “you cannot prove that god exists”. This is 100% true George. You cannot. Maybe someone else will be able to one day but YOU cannot. Your answer is an example of what I mentioned above. Just because Nature and DNA are complicated in no way does that mean that god must of created them. That is just your “opinion” George which differs greatly from fact. You can say that god is one of the possible explanations in the multitude of explanations that exist. There is no proof that god created anything and that is a fact!

    George says:”For example, the ultimate cause of the universe can be explained as follows:
    – Whatever begins to exist requires a cause.
    – The universe (space, time, matter/energy) began to exist.
    – Therefore, the universe requires a cause.
    So, whatever caused the universe to appear is not physical (outside space), is eternal and timeless (outside time), and is immaterial (outside matter/energy). The cause is a supernatural (because it creates nature) mind (a non-material entity that can cause a response) with immense power.”

    Your first statement is straight out of the Buddhas teaching “Whatever begins to exist requires a cause”. If you read the two books I mentioned above you will see that scientist question if “time” exists at all. “So, whatever caused the universe to appear is not physical (outside space)” Here you go again George making a statement as if it were fact when there is no facts backing it up. There is no proof that the universe had a beginning. The big bang is a theory George. I am sure when you are trying to argue that the world was created in 6 days that you use that very fact to support your argument. One of the possibilities is that the universe is infinite and has always and will always exist. Right now there are many theories of where the universe came from and if or how it began. I am sure that if you query most scientists The world being created in 6 days will probably not be on the top of the list.

    George says:”But there is historical (eye-witness) proof that Jesus was more than a man. And there is historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. And history is the discipline that deals with the past, not science.”

    A group of people who have a vested interest in something being true are not generally accepted as being non-biased witnesses. I already gave you the example of the 13 witnesses to the tablets that the book of Mormon was translated from. There account would actually hold up better in a court of law because they actually signed their names. You keep referring to the autographs in the books of the bible that just do not exist.

    George says:”BH asks, “Name me one thing in all the universe that you can prove, without a bible verse, that lasts for ever”. According to the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy, the collection of mass and energy is conserved within a closed system. If we assume that the present is the key to the future and that the universe is a closed system, then the collection of mass and energy in the universe “lasts for ever”. ”

    George there are so any things in the bible that cannot be proven by science or that science disproves. But when you are stuck you want to use science to get you out of your pickle. “According to the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy, the collection of mass and energy is conserved within a closed system” George there is not absolute proof that the universe is finite. “If we assume that the present is the key to the future and that the universe is a closed system, then the collection of mass and energy in the universe “lasts for ever”. Now you are using an assumption as proof of something. What if we assume that the universe is infinite then your argument falls apart. Secondly I asked you to name “one” thing, that is singular George not a collection, that lasts forever without using a bible verse. The truth is George you cannot do it because there isn’t anything. So you still have not answered that question George. This is the pattern that you follow. When you cannot defend your argument you just skip over that inconvenient detail and choose not to answer.

    Since there is noting that exists forever in one state in all of the universe I can prove to myself that I do not have a soul. Because under your definition a soul will exist forever.

    George says: “BH says, “you cannot compare the truth of your faith to another”. This depends on whether you think truth is objective (absolute) or subjective (relative). My presupposition is that truth is objective. This is based on my observation of physical laws (like gravity). They are absolute and not relative. The truth of a belief depends on the truth of its presuppositions and the truth of its claims (or key teachings). These can be evaluated for self-consistency and consistency with the real world.”

    Truth is absolute George. The problem is that with what you have faith in, it is not provable. “This is based on my observation of physical laws (like gravity). They are absolute and not relative.” I would think that Einstien would argue against you on this one George. “The truth of a belief depends on the truth of its presuppositions and the truth of its claims (or key teachings)” Do I need to bring up Jona or the Ark or maybe the Horns that knocked down the walls or Jericho? Or maybe turning water into wine, walking on water, or bringing people back from the dead? Are these those “truth of its claims (or key teachings)” that you are talking about George?

    George says:”The differences between our comments reflects our worldviews and presuppositions: mine includes the Bible, whereas yours excludes the Bible.”

    This 100% correct and back to the main point QP and I are trying to make to you. Your world view includes the Bible I think it is based on it. Mine is not and that is exactly why you cannot use the Bible to prove the truth of the Bible. You are only proving it to yourself George because you presuppose that the Bible is true. But what you just cannot seem to understand is that a Muslim presupposes the Koran to be true, a Mormon presupposes the Book of Mormon to be true, and a Jew presupposes the Torah to be true. They can all use their books to argue that their books are true just like you George.

    George says: “God has testified about His Son (Jesus)” (1 Jn. 5:9-10). He’s saying that it’s unreasonable to disbelieve God when we regularly accept the words of fellow human beings. This is equivalent to calling God a liar. And this is serious for unbelievers if the Bible is right.”

    To be accurate George some men have written in a book about his son Jesus. That is the only thing that you can prove. Even that has it’s problems. You keep mentioning the eye witness accounts. Mark was not an eyewitness of Christs life but was a diciple of Peter. Luke was not an eyewitness to Christs life but was a companion of Paul who was ……wait for it…….also not an eyewitness to Christs life. So the is kind of second hand, second hand information. Since these people can be proven to not be eyewitnesses then I guess we would have to be consistent and admit they there is no way to prove the truth or the authenticity of these books. Sorry George You have to throw out at least two books of the Bible just based on that!

    November 10, 2017 at 1:18 am

    • Thanks for the comment on 10 November BH.

      BH used seven verses about the trinity to claim that the trinity is comprised of three separate beings, which is different to the traditional explanation that the trinity is one being but three persons. Why the difference? He uses a biased sample that leaves out verses that imply that the trinity is one being. A biased sample gives a biased interpretation. We can’t find the truth if we ignore some of the evidence.

      The Bible teaches that there is only one God (monotheism) (Dt. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4; 1 Tim. 2:5). Nevertheless, it is clear in the Bible that the Father is God (e.g., 1 Cor 1:3; 1 Cor 8:6; Phil. 1:2), Jesus is God (e.g., John 1:1-3; Col 1:15-20; Tit. 2:13), and the Holy Spirit is God (e.g., Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 3:16). When these verses are considered along with the others, it’s clear that the trinity is one being but three persons. There is one God who exists as three persons. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are different persons (or minds), but these three minds all exist as one being—God. And all three persons of the godhead are associated together on an equal basis in the Bible (Mt. 3:13-17; 28:19; Eph. 3:14-21; 1 Pt. 1:2; 2 Cor. 13:14; 2 Th. 2;13).

      One of the principles of biblical hermeneutics is to use the Bible to help interpret itself (use Scripture to interpret Scripture). To interpret a passage without taking into account other passages that deal with the same topic can cause a poor interpretation. Ask, what other passages are related to the subject of this passage and how do they affect the understanding of this passage? We can practice this principle by using a Bible with cross-references in the margin.

      Since the Bible is the Word of God and God cannot lie or contradict Himself (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18), then one passage will never contradict another passage. If we incorrectly interpret a given passage, by studying other passages on the same topic, we can recognise our error. Human beings are fallible, but our mistakes of interpretation do not mean that the Bible is flawed. Usually it is our flawed interpretation that is the problem.

      BH asks where miracles reported in the Bible fit into modern science or the test of consistency with the real world? The miracles described in the Bible are historical events that seem to contradict the laws that govern the universe. By “modern science” I assume you mean the laws that govern the physical universe. The believers in miracles accept them because they have evidence for them (in the Bible), while the disbelievers in miracles deny them because they have a doctrine against them.

      The Bible says that God created a physical world (the universe) and a non-physical (spiritual) world. He created the laws of the physical world (science) and the laws of the spiritual world (which are unknown to us). Science works in the physical world. Naturalistic science knows nothing about the spiritual world and rejects the possibility of it interacting with the physical world.

      Science has flowered since the Reformation, when the Bible’s authority was rediscovered. Science requires that our thoughts should be rational, the universe is orderly, that humanity can investigate the world, and that results should be reported honestly. The Bible explains that: we are made in the image of a rational God (Gen. 1:26–27), God is a God of order not of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), God gave humanity dominion over creation (Gen. 1:28), and He commanded honesty (Ex. 20:16). The findings of science are related to how God sustains the universe (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3).

      Miracles can be considered to be additions (not violations) to the “laws of nature”. They are caused by supernatural (spiritual) forces. Since science is confined to the “laws of nature”, it can’t explain miracles. A naturalist only considers physical (natural) causes. If a miracle occurs they would say it was inexplicable, whereas a theist would say it was due to a non-physical (supernatural or spiritual) cause.

      There are many things in science that are accepted though we do not understand their mechanisms (such as the properties of subatomic particles). So, just because we don’t understand something does not mean that it can’t be.

      Natural law is a description of the way God acts regularly in and through creation (Ps. 104:10–14), whereas a miracle is the way God acts on special occasions. So, the miracles reported in the Bible don’t “fit into modern science” because of the definition of science. Are miracles consistent with the real world? Many people would say no because they haven’t seen a miracle. This is to be expected if miracles only occur on special occasions. Others would say yes based on biblical history.

      BH says, “Just because Nature and DNA are complicated in no way does that mean that god must of created them.,, You can say that god is one of the possible explanations in the multitude of explanations that exist. There is no proof that god created anything and that is a fact!”

      If there are other explanations of the cause of the complex information coded in the order of the nucleotides in the DNA molecule I would like to know one. It certainly can’t come from random processes or mutations. And it needs to be more intelligent than the human brain because we don’t understand how it works. Each nucleotide includes a particular nucleobase (adenine, thymine, guanine, or cytosine). Similar to how the order of letters in the alphabet can be used to form a word, the order of nucleotides in a DNA sequence forms genes, which in the language of the cell, tells cells how to make proteins. The human genome contains about 3 billion paired nucleotides. So each cell has 6 billion nucleotides.

      BH disbelieves my statement,” The universe (space, time, matter/energy) began to exist”. He says, “There is no proof that the universe had a beginning”. Modern cosmologists attempt to answer questions about the origin of the universe with the Big Bang theory. They say that the Big Bang marked the origin of the universe, the beginning of its expansion from a singularity, a single point that was infinitely small, infinitely hot, and infinitely dense. Before the Big Bang, there was no time or space. But they don’t know the cause of the big bang itself. Yes, the Big Bang is a theory, but it’s the main one used today.

      BH says, “One of the possibilities is that the universe is infinite and has always and will always exist (it is eternal)”. Scientists don’t know whether the universe is finite or infinite. And although the universe may last forever, the mathematical properties of eternity show that it must have had a beginning. But elsewhere in his comment on 10 November BH said that nothing lasts for ever and used this as a basis for saying that people don’t have an eternal soul. It’s contradictory to say that the universe may always exist and nothing lasts for ever in the same comment.

      BH doubts the historical (eye-witness) evidence that Jesus was more than a man and that He rose from the dead. He believes that the witnesses were biased. But everyone is biased in some way. The important issue is whether their bias is right or wrong. He quotes the example of 13 Morman witnesses. But the apostles were killed because of their conviction that the resurrection was a real event. They would have changed their story to save their lives if this was a lie. Lies don’t transform people’s lives. Did the Mormons maintain their witness up to martyrdom? No they didn’t, their witness wasn’t tested in this way.

      BH says, “You keep referring to the autographs in the books of the bible that just do not exist”. In this context, an autograph is “a manuscript in an author’s own handwriting”. It’s the original manuscript (text), not a signature. As with all ancient documents, the original text (autograph) is no longer available, but copies are available.

      BH says, “there are so many things in the bible that cannot be proven by science or that science disproves”. This is a poor statement. As science only deals with the present, it can’t prove anything about the past. History is the discipline that you should be appealing to, not science. We can’t do an experiment to prove anything about the past. If you are referring to miracles, I have already discussed these earlier in this comment.

      BH asked me to “Name me one thing in all the universe that you can prove, without a bible verse, that lasts for ever”. When I answered using a law of science, BH said, “when you are stuck you want to use science to get you out of your pickle”. This criticism seems unfair. As requested, I answered the question “without a bible verse”.

      BH is critical of the assumption of a finite universe. But astronomers can only see a finite universe. So, there is no observational evidence of an infinite universe. So, BH relies on the assumption of an infinite universe to counter my example of something that lasts forever.

      Then BH claims that “there is noting that exists forever in one state in all of the universe”, but doesn’t give any evidence to support the claim. Is it a presupposition, like that of an infinite universe? This is his explanation for why people don’t have a soul. But a soul is a spiritual entity, not a physical one.

      When I said that physical laws (like gravity) are absolute and not relative, I meant that they appear to apply uniformly across the universe.

      BH doubts the presuppositions and the truth of the claims (or key teachings) of the Bible. His main reason seems to be that miracles are not consistent with the real world. I have addressed this topic earlier in this comment.

      BH says that a Christian presupposes that the Bible is true and “a Muslim presupposes the Koran to be true, a Mormon presupposes the Book of Mormon to be true, and a Jew presupposes the Torah to be true”. He thinks that these religions all use circular arguments (by assuming what they say is true). But he omits Buddhism in this list. Does he think that Buddhists are different to these religions? Doesn’t he presuppose the teachings of Buddha to be true? But using his approach this is circular reasoning. Everyone has presuppositions. It’s arrogant to think otherwise. The issue is which presupposition is the best.

      BH disputes my claim about “eye witness accounts” in the Bible. Matthew and John were eyewitnesses because they were disciples of Jesus for about 2.5 years. John Mark was a close associate of Simon Peter (1 Pt. 5:13). His material would have come from the preaching of Peter (some is reported in Acts). So he is like a reporter documenting an interview with an eyewitness. Papias (~AD125) records John’s claim (~AD90) that Mark recorded accurately all of Peter’s teachings about Jesus and compiled them into a single document.

      Luke was a companion of Paul (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Phile. 24) and wrote the books of Luke and Acts. He wrote, “many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught” (Lk. 1:1-4). Luke was a reporter who investigated and documented “eyewitness reports”. He also travelled with Paul and so was an eyewitness of Paul’s second and third missionary journeys and Paul’s journey to Rome. So Luke was an eyewitness of many of the events he recorded in the book of Acts.

      Paul wrote several books of the New Testament and was an eyewitness of events in the early church.

      BH’s dismissal of “second hand information” is very weak. Most eye witness accounts that we come across today are from by a reporter who has interviewed one or more eyewitnesses.

      November 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

      • George said “He uses a biased sample that leaves out verses that imply that the trinity is one being.” In reference to the 7 verses that said that the trinity was not one being.

        Well George you have claimed that there is no contradiction in the bible. If you have multiple verses that clearly say that the trinity is three separate beings and then you have multiple verses that say that the trinity is one being that is the epitome of contradiction! You can’t have it both ways George! Nice try!

        George says “The Bible teaches that there is only one God”

        This is why the Christians had to tie themselves in a knot trying to explain That God had a son. It is simple logic that if God had a Son he would also be a god. That doesn’t sound very Monotheistic now does it? That is why they had to come up with the Trinity in the first place. The Jews of the time would not accept a polytheistic religion like Christianity. I do not have my Bible with me right now but we will get back to the concept of the bible teaching only one god when I do.

        George says: “BH relies on the assumption of an infinite universe to counter my example of something that lasts forever.”

        If you want to follow science George the Universe is not a “thing” It is a collection of “things” In fact the term universe is just a word it is not the “thing” itself. In Buddhist thought the universe represents all things. It is not a thing in and of itself that contains everything.

        George says “BH claims that “there is noting that exists forever in one state in all of the universe”, but doesn’t give any evidence to support the claim.”

        Naming something that is “in” the universe was your job George. I can not name anything that lasts forever because their isn’t anything. Any “thing” that exists only exists for a period. Nothing on earth lasts for ever including the earth itself. At some point it will come to an end. Even the Sun will someday burn it self out George. So once again George name one “thing” not a collection of things that lasts forever George?

        George says: ” He thinks that these religions all use circular arguments (by assuming what they say is true). But he omits Buddhism in this list. Does he think that Buddhists are different to these religions?”

        No George Buddhist are no different in the sense that the feel that their faith is true. The difference is that they, unlike you George, do not think that all other religions are false. That is what started this discussion. You cannot just state why you believe in your religion you instead feel the need to state that all other religions are not true. Why do you need to negate the other faiths to try to prove the truth of yours?

        George says “The issue is which presupposition is the best.”

        This is the point here George. Each faith is “best” to the people who follow that particular faith. If you could scientifically prove your religion to be the only true one all of the other religions in the world would not exist. There would only be Georges version of Christianity.

        George says “BH disputes my claim about “eye witness accounts” in the Bible.”

        George you are the one who claimed they were eyewitness accounts. If you are an eyewitness then that means that you saw or experienced the event. “Mark was not an eyewitness of Christs life but was a disciple of Peter. Luke was not an eyewitness to Christs life but was a companion of Paul who was.also not an eyewitness to Christs life.”

        So now you want to define what “eyewitness” means George! A reporter is not an eyewitness. Can a reporter come into a courtroom and testify against a criminal that they committed a crime because somebody else told them that the criminal committed the crime? Of course not! That is called hearsay George. In the case of Luke it was third hand information because Paul was not a witness to Christs life either. You cannot make your own definitions of commonly used words George. Eyewitness means just that, you saw it with your own eyes.

        George says “BH’s dismissal of “second hand information” is very weak”

        No George your claim that someone (Luke) who hears some information from another Paul, who also has heard the information from others qualifies as an eyewitness account is “VERY WEAK”!

        November 30, 2017 at 4:25 am

  18. George,

    There seems to be some miscommunication here. Let me again state my purpose in responding to your post. I have no intention of trying to convince you that your religion is false. I am happy that you have such faith in your religion and your bible. I am also not trying to say that the bible is false. Only you can decide your faith in your religion and your bible, no one else can.

    What I am disputing is that you openly attack other religions and then try to use the bible as proof as to why those religions are false. So I have over many many posts been trying to get you to see that no good comes out of attacking the faiths of others. Also that your method of doing so is completely flawed. You will not convert others to Christianity in fact you will most likely drive more people away. Since you will not just accept this logical premise I have tried repeatedly to offer you examples of how the bible is interpreted differently by different people and Christians sects. I have also offered the idea that there are many more christian books then the ones that show up in the bible.

    The purpose of giving you these examples is to show you that religions are a matter of faith. There is no way to prove scientifically that yours is the only true one. The fact that there are even such diverse beliefs among christian sects proves that the bible is not as clear and consistent as you would like to claim.

    The one thing that you have been consistent in George is making claims that you cannot support and ignoring questions put to you that you cannot answer. You make claims that because the universe is so complex it is evidence that god created it. Well that is not evidence George. Just because it is complex does not mean that there is only one possible answer.

    You say that the new testament was written by first hand account but I gave you examples “Mark was not an eyewitness of Christs life but was a disciple of Peter. Luke was not an eyewitness to Christs life but was a companion of Paul who was ……wait for it…….also not an eyewitness to Christs life.” But you will not respond to this.

    I gave you 7 bible verses where in plain English it says that the Father, son, and holy ghosts were separate. You ignore this fact and claim otherwise.

    You make claims that in the bible it says that Christ created everything and then use quotes that ” The Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God” (Jn. 1:1)” George the bible didn’t say that. You inserted “jesus” in quotes after “the Word”. No where in the Bible does it actually say Jesus=Word. That is just your interpretation and you try to not only pass it off as fact but try to use it as proof of your point!

    You say that the bible is accepted as historical but when I provide and article where they are questioning the accuracy of the bible you just say that it is biased.

    You may be able to use this quote or that quote out of the bible to prove to other Christians that you interpretation of the bible is correct. But what your missing is that you cannot use it to prove to non-Christians that Christianity is or the bible is true. It does not prove anything. I have given you plenty of proof that:

    1) There are multiple christian groups that have different beliefs and different interpretations of the bible.

    2) That you cannot use the logic that because the bible says something that another religion is false. If this logic was true you could use the Koran or the Book of Mormon to prove that your beliefs are false. So it is no proof at all.

    Why can you just no concede that due to the fact that there are other interpretations of Christianity and the bible other than your own that you should not be attacking other faiths using your interpretation of these things as proof that these other faiths are false? Don’t you see that you are doing more harm than good?

    November 21, 2017 at 12:32 am

  19. George,

    You say that the bible is consistent. I brought up before the different views on the trinity and you, like usual, can back in an authoritative way proclaiming that the bible clear teaches the trinity but that I just did not understand it. Well here is a write up by a fellow Christian that uses the bible to disprove the notion of the trinity and gives 74 reasons why, oddly taken right from …………wait for it…………………the bible! His name is Michael A. Barber, in fact he has written a whole book on it! Funny George I thought that this argument was settled? I guess there is more than one interpretation of the Bible isn’t there.

    Is the Trinity Taught in the Bible?
    Aug 10, 2017

    In 1550 AD, in England, Joan Bocher was sentenced and burned to death. Her crime? The Encyclopædia Britannica (1964) says: “She was condemned for open blasphemy in denying the Trinity, the one offence which all the church had regarded as unforgivable ever since the struggle with Arianism.”
    On October 27th, 1553 AD, Michael Servetus, a medical practitioner, was burned at the stake at Geneva, Switzerland, for denying the doctrine of the Trinity.

    burned-at-stake

    In 1693 AD a pamphlet attacking the Trinity was burned by order of the House of Lords, and the following year its printer and author were prosecuted.
    In 1697 AD Thomas Aikenhead, an 18 year old student, was charged with denying the Trinity and hanged at Edinburgh, Scotland.
    In 1711 AD Sir Isaac Newton’s friend, William Whiston (translator of the works of Jewish historian Josephus), lost his professorship at Cambridge for denying the Trinity.
    An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture, detailing Sir Isaac Newton’s condemnation of the Trinity teaching, was first published in 1754, twenty-seven years after Newton’s death, due to the controversies surrounding the doctrine and the church’s treatment of those who denied it.

    What is it about the doctrine of the Trinity that has created such extreme examples of religious intolerance? Moreover, what was it that the above people, and others like them, saw in this teaching that impelled them to deny it at such great cost?

    The following questions help to identify clearly the issues involved in this article’s title. By examining these questions, and consulting the cited scriptures, the nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as taught in the Bible, will become clear.

    Advocates of the Trinity doctrine believe that the words of Jesus at John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” refer to the teaching that Jesus is God. But how does John 10:30 harmonise with John 17:22, where Jesus says, “in order that they [that is, the disciples] may be one just as we are one”?
    In what sense, then, are the Father and the Son “one”?
    The Greek language has three words that correspond to the English word “one” using three genders, (1) masculine, (2) feminine, and (3) neuter. If the oneness of the Father and the Son was a reference to the “persons of the godhead,” which gender would be used in this context: masculine, feminine, or neuter?
    Which gender is used for “one” at John 10:30 and at John 17:22 in the Greek text of the inspired scriptures?
    What did Jesus mean when he said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father”?—John 14:9.
    How does the above scripture harmonise with Hebrews 1:3, where Jesus is referred to as the “exact likeness” of his Father (Today’s English Version)?
    How do some believe that the following scriptures — as read from the Authorised (King James) Version — support the Trinity: Philippians 2:6; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 5:7?
    Why do most other Bible versions not agree with the above renderings?
    The discovery of the Sinaitic manuscript (held at The British Library, but sometimes on view at the British Museum) shows how a “later hand” corrupted 1 Timothy 3:16 to read “he” rather than “who” — completely altering the sense of the verse. Would a sincere Bible student agree with the original, or with the corrupted version?
    Which version does the King James (AV) translation use?

    What did Jesus mean by his words “Abraham your father rejoiced greatly at the prospect of seeing my day”? — John 8:56.
    Why did the Jews then reply to Jesus, “You are not yet fifty years old, and still you have seen Abraham?” — John 8:57.
    What was the meaning of Jesus’ response in verse 58, “Before Abraham was, I am”? (King James)
    Is the expression translated “I am” in this verse the equivalent of the expression found at Exodus 3:14?

    Why do the following versions render John 8:58 thus:

    “I have existed before Abraham was born.”
    Moffatt, Schonfield, and An American Translation
    “Before Abraham came to be, I was.”
    Stage
    “Before there was an Abraham, I was already there!”
    Pfaefflin
    “Before Abraham was born, I was.”
    George M. Lansa, from the Syriac Peshitta
    “Before Abraham existed, I was existing.”
    ‘Sacred Bible’, Catholic Bible Center
    How does the authoritative work on Biblical Greek Moulton’s Grammar of New Testament Greek (Vol. III, page 62) explain the use of the Perfective Present (“I have been”) at John 8:58 where the Greek word EI.MI’ is used?
    When John the Baptist used the same Greek word (EI.MI’) at John 3:28, how does the context demonstrate that the Good News Translation rendering of “I have been sent ahead of him,” is superior to “I am sent before him” (Authorised Version)?
    Consequently, was Jesus not referring to the fact of his having existed since before the time of Abraham?
    Although Trinitarians claim there is a connection between what Jesus said at John 8:58 and what Jehovah said at Exodus 3:14, how does an examination of the original inspired language text reveal otherwise?
    Whilst the Hebrew term at Exodus 3:14 (EH.YEH’) is rendered “I am” in some translations, why is it that in every other instance of the rendering of this term in the Bible, these same Bible versions correctly translate it using the future tense: “I will be”?
    When Jehovah used the same expression, EH.YEH’, in Exodus 3:12, “certainly I will be with thee,” why do translations correctly use the future tense for verse 12, but choose the present tense when the same word is used in verse 14?
    Is it not clear that, in Exodus 3:14, Jehovah is referring to his future purposes, whereas at John 8:58, Jesus is referring to his past, his prehuman existence during the time of Abraham?

    In Daniel 7:13, 14, who is it that is referred to as the “Ancient of Days,” and also, who is the “son of man” who was given “dominion and glory”?
    Who granted the “son of man” this “dominion and glory”?
    Was the vision of an earthly, or a heavenly scene?
    Why was the Holy Spirit not mentioned?

    In Psalm 110:1, two “lords” are referred to (Authorised Version). What is the identify of each “lord”?
    How can God and Christ be “coequal” when Jesus said that his Father was greater than he is?—John 14:28.
    At Proverbs 8:22, 23, who is the “Creator” and who is the one “created” as the beginning of God’s works?
    Does the above scripture harmonise with Colossians 1:15, 16 and Revelation 3:14 concerning Jesus’ being the first of God’s creation?

    Mark 13:32 says that “no-one knows” the day or the hour of God’s coming judgement, not even the son “but only the Father.” How is this possible if Jesus is God?
    Further, why is it that the Holy Spirit does not know the day or hour?
    The 144,000 bear the name of the Father and the Son on their forehead, why not also the name of the Holy Spirit?—Revelation 14:1.
    Just before the disciple Stephen was stoned to death, he saw a vision of Christ standing at God’s right hand. Why didn’t he also see the Holy Spirit?—Acts 7:56.
    How did Jesus cause the disciples to receive Holy Spirit by blowing upon them?—John 20:22 (see Genesis 1:2).
    Does the use of a masculine pronoun (“he”) by itself prove that something is a person?—Joshua 24:27; Luke 7:35; Romans 5:14, 21; Revelation 16:7.
    Are Jesus, or his father Jehovah, ever referred to in the Bible by the impersonal pronoun “it”?—John 1:32; John 14:17; Romans 8:26.
    When the Bible uses the expression “the Holy Spirit said,” does this mean that the Holy Spirit is a person?
    Why, then, does Acts 4:25 say “the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David thy servant, didst say…”?
    When someone uses the expression “look what it says here in the newspaper,” do we conclude that the newspaper is literally speaking?
    As God’s Word is produced by his Holy Spirit, is it not clear that the “speaking” is done whenever we read his Word?
    When the Bible uses the expression “the Holy Spirit said,” who else in fact sometimes does the actual speaking? — Acts 19:6; 21:4.

    Which scriptures show that Jesus Christ was subject to his Father before his coming to earth, upon his coming to earth and lastly, after returning to heaven?
    The Bible repeatedly says that Jehovah is one God. How is this possible if he consists of three persons?
    Is Jesus also this one God?
    Does this “one God” consist of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the “three persons in one God”?
    Why, then, did Paul speak of the one who is one God as being “the Father”? — 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6.
    Also, why, in the above scripture, is the “one God” separate and distinct from the “one Lord,” Jesus Christ?

    Why does Jesus refer to the Father as “my God” even after his return to heaven, if Jesus is said to be God? — Revelation 3:2, 12.
    Why does the much-used expression “God the son” not occur even once throughout the Bible?

    Though some translations use John 1:1 to support the Trinity, why do the following versions render it thus:
    “The Logos [Word] was Divine.”
    Dr. James Moffatt
    “The Word was Divine.”
    Smith-Goodspeed
    “The Word was itself of Divine Being.”
    Stage
    “And God [=of Divine Being] the Word was.”
    Menge
    “And God of a sort the Word was.”
    Thimme
    From a biblical perspective, can a human be called a god? — Psalm 82:1, 6; Acts 28:6.
    Can an angel be called a god?— Psalm 8:5.
    Can Satan be called a god? — 2 Corinthians 4:4.
    If the Hebrew word for God (E.LO.HIM’) can be used to mean something less than a god (for example, “great,” “mighty”), why is it so unusual that Christ is referred to as an E.LO.HIM’ at John 1:1 (using the Greek THE.OS’)? — Genesis 23:6; 30:8; Deuteronomy 28:32; 1 Samuel 14:15; Job 41:25 (v.17 in the Masoretic Text); Psalm 29:1; 36:6; 50:1; 82:1; 89:6; Ezekiel 17:13.
    What reason does Bible Translator William Barclay give for the absence of the definite article [“the”] before the “Word” at John 1:1?
    How does John 1:1 harmonise with John 1:18, where “the only-begotten god,” Jesus, is described as being in the bosom position with the Father?
    How does the above understanding further harmonise with Jesus’ statements explaining that he has not originated anything, but speaks only what his Father taught him to speak? — John 5:19, 30; 8:28.

    If Jesus and his apostles had taught the Trinity, why did unbelieving Jews, who bitterly and passionately opposed Christianity, not attack a doctrine that to them would have been abhorrent?
    If the Father and the Son are both said to be co-eternal and co-equal, why are there many references to the subordination of the Son to the Father (John 5:19, 30; 7:28; 8:28, 42; 12:49; 14:28; Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 15:28; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 3:14, etc.) but no references to the subordination of the Father to the Son?
    Why, when a certain ruler called Jesus “Good Teacher,” did Jesus refuse the title, saying that “nobody is good, except one, God”? — Mark 10:17, 18.
    At Matthew 4:1, Jesus is spoken of as being “tempted by the Devil.” But how could Jesus be tempted to be disloyal to God if he was God?
    When the apostle Paul described Jesus’ sacrifice as a “ransom” at 1 Timothy 2:6, he used the Greek term anti’lutron for “ransom.” However, the word for ransom is simply lu’tron (for example, as used at Matthew 20:28). What do Greek scholars say about the term anti’lutron?
    As Jesus’ sacrifice bought back (repurchased) what Adam had lost (for example, Jesus himself is referred to as the “last Adam” at 1 Corinthians 15:45), if Jesus was God, how could he be the equivalent of the man Adam?
    How can Jesus be “co-eternal” with the Father if he is at the same time referred to as the “only-begotten Son”? — John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9.
    Why did the Roman soldier say of Jesus “certainly this was God’s Son” if the disciples had taught that Jesus was God? — Matthew 27:54.
    Who is the “one mediator between God and men”? — 1 Timothy 2:5.
    Trinitarians point to Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is called “Mighty God” in support of their teaching. But, although the expression “Mighty God” is here applied to Jesus, inasmuch as he is certainly the powerful “only-begotten god” (John 1:18), why is it that the Father is the only one to whom the expression Almighty God is used? — Genesis 17:1; Exodus 6:3; Job 34:10; Ezekiel 10:5.
    If Jesus was God, to whom did he ascend according to his own words to Mary Magdalene: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”? — John 20:17, RS, Catholic edition.
    What reason did Jesus give for his “going to the Father” at John 14:28?
    If Jesus himself taught that “the Father is greater than” the Son, how can the Son be co-equal with the Father, as the Trinity doctrine teaches? — John 14:28.
    At John 5:18, the Jews (in this case, the Pharisees) accused Jesus of “making himself equal with God.” Did the Pharisees accuse Jesus of claiming to be God?
    Jesus made a reply to the above accusation when he said: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (Authorised Version). How does this statement completely refute the claim of Jesus being “equal with God”?
    As Trinitarians sometimes use John 5:18 in support of their teaching, which of the following should be more important to Christians: the accusation of the Pharisees, or the response of the Lord Jesus Christ?

    Click here for the US Amazon edition.

    This book endeavours to provide a comprehensive answer to the question of the Trinity dogma. Although theologians and Christian writers have provided abundant material to define and explain the teaching of the Trinity, this volume covers the major scriptures that support the doctrine and provides new light on their meaning using the immediate and remote context of each passage, and including references to a number of Bible Versions and to the original language manuscripts.

    Bible students rely on Bible translations when studying God’s Word, in contrast with the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts from which all modern-day translations are produced. This book reveals that scriptures which support the teaching of the Trinity in some Bible versions are incorrectly translated. The student can be forgiven for readily accepting the Trinity when his or her own Bible translation clearly teaches it! Such is the power of the Bible (see Hebrews 4:12), that translations have taken on the status that the original manuscripts by the Bible writers held. However, no translation today can successfully claim to be “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Consequently, throughout this book, appeal is made to Bible manuscripts and accredited collections to verify the true sense of a passage of text.

    The finest scholarship on biblical manuscripts and on Hebrew and Greek language syntax and word morphology is introduced and quoted throughout this work, demonstrating effectively that the linguistic and contextual considerations for each passage of scripture are in agreement in their refutation of the Trinitarian view.

    November 22, 2017 at 1:01 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s