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In this thread, I'll be picking up comments made on OTHER threads and responding to them here. My goal is to NOT derail the other threads. If I can make a comment on the original thread without going off-topic, I'll do that. But if my comment detracts or distracts from what's actually being discussed, I'll reply here. Although this is not a doctrinal thread per-se, I think this is the best place for me to do this. And again, my goal is to NOT derail other threads. Thanks.

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On another thread, Allan wrote:

Of course the million dollar question could be...are you 'saved' ....maybe there should be a 'renouncing prayer' that goes along the lines of.."Heavenly Father, I just don't believe anymore so on the off chance I got 'saved' at a particular moment in time I would like to officially renounce any salvation that may have occurred and allow me to take my place again in the mass of the unwashed human civilization..in Jesus ( who was just another unqualified supposed holy man )name, amen I wonder really if a lot of 'renouncers' somewhere deep down in their pscyche still take comfort from the fact that..."hey, even if I'm wrong on this God/bible denying thing..at least I know I'm saved " ??

...just wondering

I think Allan raises a very fair question, one that deserves an honest answer.

Here’s the challenge, as I see it. According to TWI, sonship is an inside job that cannot be renounced. I can’t renounce being a son of God anymore than I can renounce being my father’s son. [More accurately, I can renounce it all I want, but I can’t undo it].

So if TWI is correct, I’m saved, and there’s not a thing I can do about it. I can renounce Christianity as a fairy tale (and I do) and it would not change the fact that when the trumpet sounds, I’ll be right next to the rest of you, praising away.

You want to know if I take comfort in that?

Well, no, not really. I am no more comforted by Christianity’s heaven than I am worried about Islam’s hell. I believe both fates are equally imaginary. Do you lie awake at night worried that maybe the Norse had it right and Odin is going to be really, really mad at you? Neither do I. In the same way, I take no comfort in what I once believed. I recognize that the particular brand of Christianity that I followed had no more chance of being right than Catholicism, no more chance of being right than the Watchtower Society, no more chance of being right than the Mormons.

I will say this: If I’m wrong now, as an atheist, then I hope I was right before, because that wouldbe comforting. But if I’m wrong now and I was wrong then, well, wow, so what? I lose twice. But at least I’m being honest with myself and not believing “just in case.”

Wierwille used Pascal’s Wager in his teaching: “If we’re wrong, we have nothing to lose. If we’re right, we have everything to gain. Unbelievers have nothing to gain and everything to lose.”

Pascal’s Wager, of course, has a fallacy you could orbit a galaxy around: It only makes sense if there are only two choices. It does not acknowledge that Christians and atheists could both be wrong and destined for Allah’s hell.

So to answer your question, Allan, no, I do not take comfort in “knowing” that I’m “saved.” I’m not saved. Neither are you. We are fortunate enough to have beaten the odds against our existence, to have this one shot at experiencing this wonderful, beautiful thing called life. I don’t know what will happen when I die. Lot's of things, I suppose. All I know is, they won’t involve me.

Edited by Raf

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I eat for nourishment. I drink in moderation. I'm merry because I have no reason not to be.

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I guess that's why you eat, drink and are merry ?? :beer:/>

In case this is where you were going:

The notion of "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" is often associated with the philosophy of Epicureanism, though I admit in my own head I pictured something more akin to Hedonism when I heard that phrase.

Hedonism is a selfish, inconsiderate and frankly dangerous way to go through life. Seeking pleasure for the sake of pleasure is not wise. Perhaps I am not defining the term properly, but whatever. I don't want to get bogged down in definitions.

I will say this: Eat healthy, for a long and healthy life. Drink in moderation, enjoy the pleasures of life without endangering yourself or anyone around you. Be merry. Because why not? But in addition, be sober, be considerate, be mindful. We are alive for a brief amount of time, but in that time we can and will have an effect on those around us and those who will succeed us.

We are more likely to be environmentally minded, not because we worship nature, but because we don't expect a magic janitor is going to come along someday to clean up our mess. That is certainly neither Epicurean nor hedonistic.

Just some thoughts.

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From Steve L's thread on Speaking in Tongues (and not appropriate for the Questioning SIT thread), Steve wrote:

You reject evidence of the supernatural, Raf, not because there isn't any, but because one of your presuppositions is that the supernatural does not exist. You automatically invalidate any evidence that goes against your presupposition.

This is not true. I want to be abundantly clear. THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE.

"You reject evidence of the supernatural, Raf, not because there isn't any..."

Actually, yes, I reject evidence of the supernatural because there isn't any. Claims are not evidence. There are many claims. There is no evidence. If you'd like to produce evidence, or point me to where someone else has done so, I'd be more than happy to check it out. In fact, the JREF will pay $1 million for it. Not a joke. There isn't any.

"...but because one of your presuppositions is that the supernatural does not exist."

Actually, this is not a presupposition. It is a post-supposition, otherwise known as a conclusion (tentative, in this case, open to receiving more evidence). Dismissing someone's conclusion as a presupposition is a clever way of accusing someone of intellectual dishonesty without actually calling him a liar. I prefer the direct approach. If you think I'm being intellectually dishonest, just say so. I won't hit the report button. I pinky swear. MY presupposition, for 40 years, was that the supernatural DOES exist. You don't get to erase that because I changed my mind AFTER considering where the evidence leads. See, when you change your mind AFTER considering the evidence, that's not a "presupposition," by definition.

"You automatically invalidate any evidence that goes against your presupposition."

Let's test that theory. Show me evidence that is not merely a claim, and we'll see whether I invalidate it "automatically," as opposed to giving it due consideration, weighing the validity, checking out what can be checked out, and reaching a (tentative) conclusion.

Edited by Raf

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From Steve L's thread on Speaking in Tongues (and not appropriate for the Questioning SIT thread), Steve wrote:

You reject evidence of the supernatural, Raf, not because there isn't any, but because one of your presuppositions is that the supernatural does not exist. You automatically invalidate any evidence that goes against your presupposition.

This is not true. I want to be abundantly clear. THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE.

"You reject evidence of the supernatural, Raf, not because there isn't any..."

Actually, yes, I reject evidence of the supernatural because there isn't any. Claims are not evidence. There are many claims. There is no evidence. If you'd like to produce evidence, or point me to where someone else has done so, I'd be more than happy to check it out. In fact, the JREF will pay $1 million for it. Not a joke. There isn't any.

"...but because one of your presuppositions is that the supernatural does not exist."

Actually, this is not a presupposition. It is a post-supposition, otherwise known as a conclusion (tentative, in this case, open to receiving more evidence). Dismissing someone's conclusion as a presupposition is a clever way of accusing someone of intellectual dishonesty without actually calling him a liar. I prefer the direct approach. If you think I'm being intellectually dishonest, just say so. I won't hit the report button. I pinky swear. MY presupposition, for 40 years, was that the supernatural DOES exist. You don't get to erase that because I changed my mind AFTER considering where the evidence leads. See, when you change your mind AFTER considering the evidence, that's not a "presupposition," by definition.

"You automatically invalidate any evidence that goes against your presupposition."

Let's test that theory. Show me evidence that is not merely a claim, and we'll see whether I invalidate it "automatically," as opposed to giving it due consideration, weighing the validity, checking out what can be checked out, and reaching a (tentative) conclusion.

The problem with what most people think is evidence is that it's usually just an interpretation of events based on presupposition. For example:

John Doe is driving along an interstate in blinding snow on treacherous ice. He thinks he sees something ahead, hits the brakes, spins around a couple of times and ends up in the right-hand lane, facing the right way, with no damage other than spilled coffee.

For some, this would be "evidence" of divine intervention. Although I know a guy who would credit his amazing injury-free experience to space aliens.

The significance of this experience might be interpreted as "evidence" of whatever John Doe already believes, whether it is angels, aliens, or magic(k)

Prayer is another example of something that is presented as "evidence" - John Doe prays that something comes to pass, it comes to pass - voila! Prayer "works"; forget the numerous times John prayed and didn't see what he prayed for come to pass

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The problem with what most people think is evidence is that it's usually just an interpretation of events based on presupposition. For example:

And maybe the problem with anything that actually is evidence, is that it can't be interpreted or explained by "normal" means or measurement.

For example:

You can't see the road because of blizzard conditions, so you end up following the road by following the telephone poles and the wires between them.

It's slow going, but you eventually get to where you're going safely.

You return home a few days later (when the weather and the roads have cleared) by the same route.

Except that you realize there are NO poles nor any telephone wires of any kind along the way. They were never there.

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And maybe the problem with anything that actually is evidence, is that it can't be interpreted or explained by "normal" means or measurement.

For example:

You can't see the road because of blizzard conditions, so you end up following the road by following the telephone poles and the wires between them.

It's slow going, but you eventually get to where you're going safely.

You return home a few days later (when the weather and the roads have cleared) by the same route.

Except that you realize there are NO poles nor any telephone wires of any kind along the way. They were never there.

Maybe.

But I don't think we're talking about the same thing. In your example, assuming that the State Department of Roads or the telephone company hadn't for some reason taken down all the poles in the intervening few days, something out of the ordinary had happened, but the percentage of stories purporting to indicate supernatural occurences that contain no elements that are anything more than mundale approaches 100%. (In my experience - your mileage may vary)

Even in your hypothetical, the Christian would credit God; the UFO enthusiast, aliens; and Gardnerians, magick. All citing the fact of the missing poles as "evidence" of God, aliens or magick.

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Even in your hypothetical,

It wasn't hypothetical. It happened. January of '78.

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So I assume you can tell us exactly where this road is, where it led from and to, the names of the streets, the date of the blizzard, etc? I mean, you should be able to document every element of the story except for the fact that you saw the nonexistent poles.

The more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required to believe it. You'll forgive me if I don't just take your word for it. I mean, Muslims have similar miracle stories, as do ESP mediums, UFO enthusiasts, Bigfoot hunters, etc.

What may be evidence to you is merely a claim to anyone else, a claim that requires evidence if you expect anyone to believe it. Plenty of witnesses attest to, well, unbelievable things all the time. We dismiss most without investigation because the claims are so absurd.

Nice story, and you don't need to prove it to anyone. Don't get me wrong. But if you want me to BELIEVE it, well...

Edited by Raf

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What may be evidence to you is merely a claim to anyone else, a claim that requires evidence if you expect anyone to believe it.

Even what he thinks is evidence to him (outside of any need to prove it to anyone else), even if the poles really were (or appeared to be) there to guide him home and were later disappeared (or were never really there) is only evidence that something apparently unexplainable happened. Even if "normal" evidence (witnesses, photos, Edward Snowden) were provided, who says that it was God? Or UFOs? Or Magick?

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I remember the blizzard of '78. I was living in a rural area. Not far from me was a major highway that connected two large cities. It completely disappeared in the storm. There was no visual evidence it even existed. Even the truckers were forced to hole-up in local truck stops and couldn't go anywhere for 3 days. They waited for the Army Corps Of Engineers to arrive and carve out a road with heavy equipment. Years later, when thinking about the incident, I found myself wondering why no one followed the power lines. I'm thinking they might have been set back several hundreds of feet or maybe they didn't even run through that area at the time. I haven't been back there for almost 40 years to see what it looks like today. The mind is a funny thing. It can play strange tricks on you.

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...is only evidence that something apparently unexplainable happened. Even if "normal" evidence (witnesses, photos, Edward Snowden) were provided, who says that it was God?

Which is precisely why I said this:

"And maybe the problem with anything that actually is evidence, is that it can't be interpreted or explained by 'normal' means or measurement."

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I remember the blizzard of '78. I was living in a rural area. Not far from me was a major highway that connected two large cities. It completely disappeared in the storm. There was no visual evidence it even existed. Even the truckers were forced to hole-up in local truck stops and couldn't go anywhere for 3 days. They waited for the Army Corps Of Engineers to arrive and carve out a road with heavy equipment. Years later, when thinking about the incident, I found myself wondering why no one followed the power lines. I'm thinking they might have been set back several hundreds of feet or maybe they didn't even run through that area at the time. I haven't been back there for almost 40 years to see what it looks like today. The mind is a funny thing. It can play strange tricks on you.

And so it was around HQ. The rescue trip (by snow machine) was to Don & Wanda W's house (Don was not there.)

The event (and incident) were known by quite a few at the time, but some of the details weren't common knowledge.

Edited by TLC

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So I assume you can tell us exactly where this road is, where it led from and to, the names of the streets, the date of the blizzard, etc? I mean, you should be able to document every element of the story except for the fact that you saw the nonexistent poles.

The more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required to believe it. You'll forgive me if I don't just take your word for it. I mean, Muslims have similar miracle stories, as do ESP mediums, UFO enthusiasts, Bigfoot hunters, etc.

What may be evidence to you is merely a claim to anyone else, a claim that requires evidence if you expect anyone to believe it. Plenty of witnesses attest to, well, unbelievable things all the time. We dismiss most without investigation because the claims are so absurd.

Nice story, and you don't need to prove it to anyone. Don't get me wrong. But if you want me to BELIEVE it, well...

I actually don't expect anyone to believe it, Raf. But yeah, it's the road with a couple of sweeping curves to the northeast coming out of New Knoxville, which I had to go look the name of. It's the Moulton Angle Rd., which changes to Center Rd. at the intersection with Cook. Exact date would have to be looked up to, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Rt. 29 had a 30ft. snowdrift across it in front of Hoge Lumber, but four wheel vehicles (with chains) and Backhoe couldn't much make it to the end of Wierwille Rd. and 29. Maybe somebody is clever enough to figure out if and where power lines existed in the area at the time. (Have at it, if you're so inclined, as I am not.)

The point was (and is), that no amount of evidence would suffice. After all, it is written in scripture, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

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I stopped reading after the first sentence, TLC. As long as you don't cite the incident as evidence of anything, I have no quarrel with the story.

Peace.

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"No amount of evidence would suffice" is a rather convenient way of absolving yourself of the responsibility to produce evidence to substantiate your claim.

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"No amount of evidence would suffice" is a rather convenient way of absolving yourself of the responsibility to produce evidence to substantiate your claim.

If you are honest, and look at what I first said, as well as why I said it, I'm a bit taken back that you would think I had any more duty or responsibility to produce any more evidence or recounting of the facts more than I did, or that I was in some illusive and less respectable way running away from validating that it was not some "hypothetical" scenario. I took it as far as seemed to be reasonably prudent or necessary to back up my previous post and the reality that I think exists for it.

Edited by TLC

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And I'm a little taken aback that you would presume "no amount of evidence would suffice," which is an insult. This is what I mean elsewhere when I say that unbelievers can not possibly disrespect the Bible more than the Bible disrespects unbelievers.

If you don't want to prove your claim, you don't have to. If you don't want me to believe your claim, then by all means, don't prove it. But don't assault my character by falsely asserting there is no amount of evidence I would accept. That position is haughty and arrogant as hell, whether it came to you or whether it's a scriptural citation.

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But don't assault my character by falsely asserting there is no amount of evidence I would accept.

Okay then, me bad. It was a generalized statement (though, a scripturally based one) that I happen to believe. That doesn't mean that I have the right or liberty to throw it out there in front of you (or anyone else) that perceives it as either an assault or an insult. But, I can assure you that it was not in my thinking that you should take it personally, or that you would see it the way that you do. My apologies.

Edited by TLC

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Posting my thoughts on the difference between soul and spirit, from Tom G's thread in doctrinal.

I don't think soul and spirit are the same, Biblically. But I also think they are invented concepts entirely, and that is why it is so difficult to distinguish between them. It's like comparing the nutritional qualities of lembas bread and pumpkin pasties. They don't exist in real life, so you can say anything you want about either of them.

I suspect "soul" was the ancients' way of saying "consciousness," and they did not quite understand that the "soul" is nothing more than a function of the body. The notion of a soul as distinct from the body appears to be a later development. You don't see it through most of the Old Testament.

Will expand on my thoughts if anyone is interested and/or if I've said something factually/historically incorrect and I am corrected. But my basic position is that neither the soul nor the spirit exist. We are what we are.

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(snip)

I suspect "soul" was the ancients' way of saying "consciousness," and they did not quite understand that the "soul" is nothing more than a function of the body. The notion of a soul as distinct from the body appears to be a later development.

(snip)

But my basic position is that neither the soul nor the spirit exist. We are what we are.

Just to clarify, since your phrasing got peculiar there...

Your basic position is that the "soul" is the "consciousness", and does not exist beyond that as something thought of

as uniquely "soul", correct?

(Otherwise, it sounded like you were saying you don't believe in "consciousness".)

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