Answered prayer vs. random chance or human intervention

July 1, 2008 at 11:40 am 91 comments

The entire problem with answered or unanswered prayers is the vagueness. You can be the sort of person who asserts that every good thing in your life, including your daily meals, is an answered prayer. However, at that point you move into a hazy area where anything, from your father’s work ethic to the happenings of the universe, could be attributed to prayer.

In the world of scientific studies, for finding to have significance, they must rise above the statistical noise. This means that these findings must have a positive percentage above what you would expect from random variation. Unless you go the above mentioned route where ever little thing is a round-about answered prayer, then god never rises above the statistical noise. In other words, 500 people have stage III cancer. The average survival rate is 30%, which means in order for answered prayers of the 500 cancer patients to rise above the statistical noise, god would have to save around 40-50% of them (and even then, that wouldn’t be that impressive). These sort of studies have been done, and god never rises above the noise. So the effects of prayer are either so vague that we can’t notice them, or no more significant than random variation of given events. It’s not that answered prayer isn’t tangible or obvious, it’s never more significant than random chance.

When I look at that, I conclude that it is more likely that god doesn’t exist then that god is meagerly behind mundane everyday events that would occur the same way given random variation with or without a godlike presence. God is either on the sidelines not doing much, or isn’t there at all.

- orDover

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Should an atheist proselytize? A parable of divine guidance

91 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 1, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    This realization is quite possibly the first step I took towards de-conversion. It wasn’t the only reason, and perhaps wasn’t even the strongest reason, but it was the first thing that prompted me to take a closer look at what and why I believed.

  • 2. LorMarie  |  July 1, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    The hardest thing for me is going back over many of the things that I thought was evidence for God. Some of us had to learn the hard way that random chance or wishful thinking is a lot more common than we believe.

  • 3. ED  |  July 1, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Coming from an Assemblies of God background, the word miracle was thrown around as if it was a common occurrence. It wasn’t until I discovered the theological meaning of the word that I began to really observe.
    I found that at 54 years of age I have never seen or experienced a true miracle. By true miracle I am referring to a phenomena that occurs outside of the realm of nature, or within the realm of supernature. Furthermore those who have told me that they have experienced a miracle when their experience is analyzed can be explained without an appeal to the miraculous.

    The placebo effect. The placebo effect does not work on diseases that are not initiated in the mind. Pharmacology uses double blind studies to insure that a drugs perceived effectiveness is not skewed by this phenomena.

    My wife asked me recently if I had prayed for my mother who is suffering from alzhiemers and, if I did, what was my prayer. I told her that my prayer was put up or shut up. Scripture indicates that you said that whatsoever things we ask in your name you will do it. I have believed in you without evidence for a long time. If you wish for that to continue you’d better show me something pretty quick. So far he has been consistent, nothing has happened.

  • 4. Walking Away  |  July 1, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Very well said orDover. Its also one of my many reasons for taking a second look at what I believed about God.

    I always find it interesting to watch a group of Christians praying for something, lets say the homeless people in their community. Nothing changes. But when they ask “what can we do to help?” and bring those people clean socks and blankets…then the “prayer” makes a difference. Its easy to sit around and pray for change, its not so easy to actually do something.

  • 5. John T.  |  July 2, 2008 at 9:00 am

    hello all

    Maybe prayer isnt about receiving anything, maybe its just about centering your mind, kind of like meditation. I think that there is a creator(god), but I dont need it to do anything for me, I think my life is about experience and how I go through those experiences. Perception is everything. As with my favourite saying.

    “Mind over matter, if I dont mind it dont matter.”

  • 6. Ted Goas  |  July 2, 2008 at 9:01 am

    onDover, I couldn’t agree more. And I also like ED’s idea of a placebo effect. I could sit here and talk about coincidence, but the author’s thus far have done a great job covering that.

    I think a huge flaw in answered prayer is that the pray-er is looking for the answer. One can pray to God that a meeting going well. If it does, bam! God answered the prayer. If it didn’t go well, then God is testing the person. Between ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Wait’, there is an answer for every prayer scenario. Maybe prayer is meant just to be comforting.

  • 7. edwinhere  |  July 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    “..if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit..” — George Carlin

  • 8. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I was stopping by to read the posts and just had to share this. I know I will be met with scoffing, or “that’s just coincidence”, etc. but I believe it is often how God answers prayers, yet because it is not “miraculous” we can just blow it all off as nothing:

    On Sunday I was awakened by my son who said “Dad, I hate to tell you this but you have a flat tire.” I got up and sure enough I had a flat rear tire. I know it is really just a small thing, but I started to get upset—“why does this have to happen on a Sunday? I don’t want to have to buy a new tire today, etc. etc.” just stupid stuff like that. I started to take a shower, and then said “Lord, it’s stupid for me to get upset—I’ll just put on the spare and drive to the Firestone place. I know it’s nothing, but could you help me with this?”

    I went out, and with help from my son, took off the flat tire (it had a big nail in it) and put on the spare. I then started driving to where I “thought” the Firestone place was (I had called them earlier). I drove back the other direction, starting to get upset because I KNEW the tire place was on that street. I saw the place, but it was on the wrong side of the road. I went in and it was completely empty of people. The guy was really nice and said “Oh, the other Firestone place you were looking for is one street over”. I had confused streets.

    He had them remove my tire and came back in and said “It’s repairable”, and he gave me cost and labor charge to repair it.
    I waited a while then walked up to the desk. He noticed me waiting there and went out, came in with the keys and said “Your car is ready.” I said “I haven’t filled out the paperwork yet”. He said “It’s ready. Just ask for me the next time you come in.” So I had the tire repaired, balanced, and put on the car for free.

    Sure—it’s easy to say: “Oh, you would have driven to the wrong place, and run into a guy who would not have charged you in the end for the tire anyway”. It’s very easy to say that. Just blow it all off. But why? Why do that? Why not believe that God heard my prayer and influenced the gentleman, because I asked God for help for such a simple thing? I went on my way rejoicing–I avoided getting upset by praying, and in the end had a great laugh about all of it. You can say there is no God and he doesn’t answer prayers. It’s far more rewarding and encouraging to believe he does though!!

  • 9. Obi  |  July 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Joe —

    That’s a wonderful story, mate. But can I ask you something? Why do you think God answered your prayer for help with your tires and he doesn’t answer the prayers of the millions of people praying to stop the genocide in Darfur, eradicate the AIDS epidemic, and other horrific scenes of violence, suffering and pain caused by both nature and man around the world?

    Why did God answer your tire prayer and not others concerning rather serious issues? Oh, and to clarify, please don’t give me an answer tdescribing how he is answering those prayers through the humanitarian efforts of different people intervening in thos disatsers because those efforts are just that — human works, facilitated by humans of all religions, nations, and creeds. I’m asking why God doesn’t miraculously end the genocide or completely heal everyone of AIDS, especially when millions around the world are praying for that exact thing.

    Matthew 18:19-20, “19″Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.“”

  • 10. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    It’s far more rewarding and encouraging to believe he does though!

    I’d say it’s far more rewarding and encouraging to have a firm grasp of reality, but I guess I’m weird like that.

    Seriously, though, I’ve had atheist friends have similar experiences, where they would have sworn God was answering prayers if they weren’t atheists. Case-in-point, an atheist roommate of mine had his first car totalled by an idiot driver who rammed into his car while it was at the shop for a broken windshield wiper motor. He replaced the car, and months later his sister got into a wreck while driving it. Lo and behold, when they took the newly totalled car to the shop where the first one had been wrecked, they discovered that the first car had just been repaired, so they bought it back. Seems like a pretty crazy coincidence… and that’s exactly what it is.

  • 11. Griffin  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Joe: “Why not believe that God heard my prayer and influenced the gentleman, because I asked God for help for such a simple thing? I went on my way rejoicing–I avoided getting upset by praying, and in the end had a great laugh about all of it. You can say there is no God and he doesn’t answer prayers. It’s far more rewarding and encouraging to believe he does though!!”

    Why not? Because praying for something to happen and then having that prayed for even happen doesn’t mean that the prayer caused the event to happen.

    Also, I find it rewarding to think that if I wear my lucky underwear the Steelers will always win. Sometimes when I wear them, they DO win. Does that mean one specific set of plaid boxers in my drawer is magical? No. And however ‘rewarding’ that may be for whatever reason doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to believe in supernatural undergarments.

  • 12. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Obi—-

    Oh, and to clarify, please don’t give me an answer tdescribing how he is answering those prayers through the humanitarian efforts of different people.

    But my whole point was that God did use a “person” to answer my prayer (if He indeed did). See, the problem is once again, you are looking for a massive miracle. You want ALL AIDS patients healed at once, all Darfur sufferers taken care of at once. But you really don’t know what type of miracles ARE taking place.

    And, if I was to say that some people were cured by God of AIDS you would most likely say it was medical coincidence, or due to drugs, not God, etc.—progressively, God is hearing and answering prayers—-how do you know he isn’t? But nothing is good enough for you unless it is a one time, massive miracle.

    Griffin—

    Why not? Because praying for something to happen and then having that prayed for even happen doesn’t mean that the prayer caused the event to happen

    How do you know? Why say that? It shows you have an obvious “bent” towards not acknowledging anything is an answered prayer. If I’m heading to the beach on an extrememly crowded day and say “Lord, help me to get a parking space” and I get one, why can’t that be an answer to prayer? Does God have to part the sea in front of me at the beach, shine a beam of light from the sky and say “Joe, here I am, do you now believe?”

    I believe God is greatly answering prayers concerning Darfur and AIDS–I truly do. Is he answering the way I would want him to? (some massive all at one time miracle that dazzles everyone) No, he isn’t. You ask for something like that, but if a tornado completely levels a School with students inside, and there is no loss of life, and only small injuries, and most of the students were praying (which happened recently), you will say “Oh, it wasn’t an answer to prayer—they would have all escaped anyway”. And if one has an attitude like that, NOTHING can be an answer to prayer except massive miracles. No wonder you say God never answers your prayers—–the answers aren’t good enough for you–even though they are right in front of you.

  • 13. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    LOL—- I’m doing it again. I’m a masochist for sure. I’m getting involved in an argument that absolutely cannot be won. It all comes down to belief. I believe, you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Of course I believe in answerd prayers, and of course you do not. I see answered prayers all over the place, but unless the sea parts, or you win the lottery(although this may have some “prayer breakpoint”–if you win 7 million or more you’ll believe, but if less than that it was all just coincidence) you won’t acknowledge answered prayers. I’m a glutton for punishment I guess.

  • 14. Obi  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Joe —

    Thanks, I didn’t really expect a solid answer to that one, and I guess I was right in my expectation, sadly. I didn’t know that the God you worshiped was so weak that he couldn’t cure everyone of AIDS, and I didn’t know he was so uncaring that he wouldn’t want to cure people of AIDS, especially when he promised to do so if people gathered together to pray for it, and millions are doing so and have been doing so all over the world for years.

    Matthew 19:26, “26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.“”

  • 15. John T.  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Joe

    Of course youre a masochist. We probably all are, at least the ones blogging lmao. Heres one for you.

    “There was a time when religion thought it would explain the Universe, then came Science, they both come up short.”

  • 16. John T.  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Obi

    Heres a twister for you. A person of faith contracts Aids, dies from it and goes to Heaven. Are they not then cured?

  • 17. Griffin  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Joe: “If I’m heading to the beach on an extrememly crowded day and say “Lord, help me to get a parking space” and I get one, why can’t that be an answer to prayer?”

    Because one assumes that the reason you got the parking place is because there was an open parking space. Something that is observable, happens regularly and we all can agree is a common, purely natural and documentable event.

    The other assumes that an all-powerful, unseen and undetectable force contrived the universe to create an open parking place for you because you petitioned that omnipotent force for that parking place to be there (something that could very well be there anyway). We cannot test this. We cannot document this. We can’t even repeat or replicate this because the unseen and undetectable ‘force’ could just have easily heard your prayer and said ‘no’ without any evidence of change in the universe we inhabit.

    If you see a broken glass on wet ground next to a table, do you assume that a full glass fell off the table and broke or do you assume that an unseen gunman shot the glass with a bullet made of ice?

    You’ve set up a system where an ‘answered’ prayer is proof of ‘god’ and an unanswered prayer is explained away as ‘mysterious ways’ or ‘god knowing better’ or some other way cop-out.

    If you understand why I don’t believe in magic underwear, you understand why I don’t believe in god.

  • 18. The de-Convert  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    It would work if you prayed for a parking space and the car that’s currently in the space next to you suddenly disappears or is lifted out of its place and place in the middle of the street and you get the parking space. That’s divine intervention.

    Anyone had that happen to them recently?

  • 19. John T.  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    The de-Convert

    Because there is no proof for god or a creator, does that mean in your mind it cannot be a possibility?

  • 20. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Obi—

    I appreciate your sentiments, I really do. I do believe in God, and I do believe God can do anything. But God has his purposes, and the way he does things. I do not understand it, or pretend to.

    You see, I’ll bet that when the cure for polio was found atheists most likely said “Oh, that wasn’t God answering prayers–that was scientists discovering the cure”. Even though many people were praying for a cure. God most likely will not cure everyone at once of AIDS either. He will use the scientists, and combined knowledge to affect a cure. It will happen, but it will not be attributed to God, because everyone who wants proof wants God to snap his fingers and just end the disease.

    One a young man prays sincerely “God, help me, I’d like to become a doctor one day” he doesn’t suddenly become a doctor overnight. God provides the guidance, the right people and professors, and most importantly the right ethics. Sure, others can become doctors too without praying, that’s for sure. But perhaps they are taking advantage of all the resources that have been provided due to answered prayers by many who yearned for the same things? Who really knows?

    But a cure for polio if not done in the miraculous manner you are asking for is not an answered prayer for you, because it didn’t happen the way you wanted it to. Neither will the answer to the AIDS plague be considered an answer either, because everyone was not simultaneously healed of the disease.

    LeoPardus made a comment “you want it to be true so badly”–and he is wrong. I KNOW it is true. I keep coming back here because I can’t believe you are letting the gift of salvation slip through your fingers. We are so close to the end now—so very close. israel is a nation again, the world can be tracked by computer, satellites are in place so that a man really could be seen by almost the whole world at the same time, terrorism is filling the world with fears, and a huge apostasy is taking place in the world (this blog is just a small portion of what is going on worldwide). And the biggest sign of all are the scoffers—-many of them just as the Bible predicted there would be right before the end.

    I come back here because I sincerely do not want to see anyone face Jesus and have to explain how and why they rejected his offer of free salvation. It is just a thought that is too sad to comprehend. LeoPardus said “you want it all to be true so badly”—but he is wrong. I want what I see and hear on this blog to be untrue so badly. Please reconsider your choices—perhaps there is one who will. Sometimes we can get off the right path for a while—-we just need to be reminded to turn around. To some this will sound condescending—-sorry about that. I don’t mean it to be condescending—to me it is all very real. Please don’t let unbelief keep you from the New Jerusalem—you’ve been invited—all you have to do is receive it and believe.

  • 21. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Didn’t mean to repeat Leo’s quote twice—I didn’t realize I did that until I reread it. Once was good enough.

  • 22. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Joe has pretty much made my argument for me, even though he doesn’t realize it. In all of the examples he gave no difference can be discerned between random events and supernatural intervention.

    I’ll just add, for clarification, that my comment quoted above was regarding using answered prayers as evidence for the existence of the kind of god described by Christians, not about god being at our beck-and-call to grant us wishes.

  • 23. Obi  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Joe —

    You don’t seem to understand. Scientists found the cure for polio because scientists worked for years in labs, researching, testing, researching, testing, on and on to find such a cure. They didn’t find a cure because God “guided” them to it, they found it of their own power as humans. Your claim that God finds cures “through” people is unfounded because (1) This can never be objectively proven, I can just as easily say that Ahura-Mazda was working through those people (2) Because people of all religions, ethnicities and nationalities are involved in such research projects, if it was only Christians doing such things, you may have a point.

    Jesus says himself multiple times throughout the New Testament that What you ask for in prayer will be delivered. He doesn’t say that it may come, he doesn’t say that he will delay such an arrival, he doesn’t say that he well deliver it secretively so as to conceal his work. He stated that what we bind here on Earth will be released by God in heaven. Millions of people pray that God cures all of this in Africa of AIDS, and yet nothing has happened. Nothing.

    As for the rest of your post regarding an invitation, no thanks. The “end” has been near for thousands of years, and in fact it’s 2,000 years overdue. I suggest you read more of the New Testament, especially the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24.

    Matthew 16:27-28 “27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.“”

    Matthew 24:30-31, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other…33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[d]is near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generation[e] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    We see Jesus here clearly promising his disciples that “this generation shall not pass” before he returns in glory to the Earth in the second coming. To further clarify, we also see him previously stating that some of those in his presence “will not taste death” before they see him come back during the second coming. Of course, we know that none of the disciples are alive today, and that they all died millenia ago.

    Your second coming will never come, mate.

  • 24. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I’d like to add that Joe’s reason for being here, or returning here, really turns my stomach. I know he means well, but I do not need his pity, his blessings, his prayers, his good wishes, or his interventions. I do wish he would not be so condescending as to offer those things to us who have made up our minds regarding religion after knowing every single thing he knows, weighing it against reality, and coming to a different conclusion.

  • 25. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I have no problem with the claim that mundane events may be answers to prayer. However, there is no way to be certain it was an answered prayer and not a coincidence, so you can’t use such events as evidence for God. I can start claiming that every mundane event that seems to answer a prayer was answered by Shiva, but that doesn’t make it true, and no Christian would accept it as evidence that Shiva answers prayers.

    Joe:

    One a young man prays sincerely “God, help me, I’d like to become a doctor one day” he doesn’t suddenly become a doctor overnight.

    Why not? Solomon became exceedingly wise overnight after an encounter with God. It doesn’t seem inconsistent that God could give a man incredible medical knowledge and wisdom overnight. But that never happens anymore (or ever, as I now believe).

    We are so close to the end now—so very close.

    Christians have been saying as much for the last 2000 years. They’ve been wrong every time. Even as a Christian I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I heard this.

    We aren’t demanding massive miracles to believe in God. We’re asking for actual miracles. God’s done them before, supposedly, there’s no reason he can’t do them now if he’s real.

  • 26. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Obi—

    You don’t seem to understand. Scientists found the cure for polio because scientists worked for years in labs, researching, testing, researching, testing, on and on to find such a cure.

    I knew you would say such a thing Obi–reread my post. You refuse to accept that God may have used PEOPLE, or a medicinal discovery God led them to, to answer the prayers for a cure.

    Please read these verses from Isaiah:

    In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: “Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.”
    Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:
    “O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
    Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
    “Go, tell Hezekiah: Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD’S temple; I will add fifteen years to your life.
    I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city.”
    Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken and applied to the boil, that he might recover. (Isaiah 38)

    Please note God says “I will heal you”. But he sends Isaiah to put figs one Hezekiah that he might recover. God “heals” Hezekiah by using Isaiah. Could God lead scientists to a cure for Polio also? Of course! God can do fantastic miracles, but most of the time he uses men to answer their own prayers. True, God does do a miracle with the sundial for Hezekiah afterwards, but both the healing with figs, and the sundial are both miracles of God. He used a man to accomplish one of them though.

    I know this won’t be good enough for you though. LOL

  • 27. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Don’t know where the smiley with sunglasses came from—–the reference is from Isaiah 38.

  • 28. The de-Convert  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    8 ) (together) makes sunglasses.

  • 29. The de-Convert  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    John T.

    Because there is no proof for god or a creator, does that mean in your mind it cannot be a possibility?

    I wouldn’t say that there’s absolutely no proof for god or a creator, I would say that I have not personally seen any proof that is conclusive. So, it is a possibility. However, many of us have sought that proof on a personal level, and received no answer.

    Paul

  • 30. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor Occam’s razor

    *explodes*

  • 31. Obi  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Joe —

    Of course it’s not good enough for me, and that’s a good thing. It means I’m thinking. Those scientists are doing the research over long periods of time and of their own volition, mate. That’s very different than having someone go into the doctor’s office with an amputated leg and then coming out with a fully formed leg of flesh and bone because God used the doctor to heal the amputee. The example you gave was an instantaneous miracle healing, researchers do no such thing, as such work takes years and years to pay off — if it ever does — as a cure.

    Not to mention, every prayer isn’t always answered. Again, refer to the verse in Matthew (18:19-20), “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

    As can be seen here, Jesus is extremely clear. He doesn’t mince words. Whatever we pray for, we will recieve. He doesn’t say some things sometime possibly maybe, he says ask for anything and it will be done for us by God in heaven. This means that if people gather together and pray for an instantaneous cure for AIDS administered to all people, that this will happen. It doesn’t mean that God will gently push researchers down the road to the discovery for decades as millions of people die every year, it means that it will be done.

    When Jesus healed people, he did his work instantly, as the people asked with faith, he delivered. When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ dress and pleaded with faith for him to heal her, he didn’t set into motion researchers around the ancient world on a decades-long research study to find a cure for the illness. He immediately healed her, on the spot.

    As I stated before, I can’t possibly see how a good (omnibenevolent) God who can do all things (omnipotent) who states that he will answer his peoples’ prayers as they ask them has not yet delivered on his promises. It makes one wonder whether such a being even exists, eh?

  • 32. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    SnugglyBuffalo—

    Christians have been saying as much for the last 2000 years. They’ve been wrong every time. Even as a Christian I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I heard this.

    The Bible says that men will be saying this exact thing near the end. “Where is the promise of his coming? The world continues the same as it has since the beginning…etc.” But he says that men are “willingly ignorant” when they say this–not just ignorant, but willingly ignorant. Let me point our a few things that have taken place since 1945:

    God said Israel would turn to him in the last days. An attempt is made to destroy the Jews and 6 million of them are killed, Mein Kampf being a treatise of hatred towards God’s people.

    1948: Israel becomes a nation just as predicted in the Old Testament.

    In 1945 a nuclear weapon is detonated. The verses in Revelation that say 1/3 of the earth die all at once from one event is finally possible—never before. Scoffers before then would say “how could 1/3 of the earth die all at once?” But now that is a very real possibility.

    Revelation says that the Anti-Christ will track all men with a mark. This has only been possible since the computer age–but it has become very possible through computers and satellites to track everyone on the earth. Never before.

    It says the Anti-Christ will be seen by all. Not until satellite television could one event be seen around the world simultaneously—not until now. One man COULD be seen all around the world at once.

    The Beasts “image”, which he creates, looks exactly like him–moves like him, says the same things he does. Since the advent of television this is possible. The man could be making a speech, and his “image” on a big screen behind him, and on screens all around the world would do exactly what he is doing. John the Apostle was from the 1st Century—would he know what a giant screen television is? No—he would think the image was alive! But this hasn’t been possible since the 1940’s when Television started to come into existence, and now more than ever!!

    These are just a few things. I know you will scoff–I will bet on it. But these things are very true, and very real. Since 1969 when I read the “Late Great Planet Earth” knowledge has advanced rapidly. The Internet, cell phones, satellites (just a few existed then), and personal computers have made all of these things possible (and knowledge is increasing at such a rapid pace who knows what’s next?). The Late Great Planet Earth spoke of Christ’s return, but now more than ever that return seems imminent. That book was written almost 30 years ago now, and rather thant he signs lessening, they have grown far more numerous.

    Of course, these are just fables to you if you don’t believe. there will always be mockers. Unfortunately, there will be no mockers once all of this has come true.

  • 33. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Obi—

    You are completely ignoring the example though. God said “I will heal you”. He didn’t just zap Hezekiah–he USED Isaiah to lay some figs on the boils to heal him. That was the point. God doesn’t always do miracles the way you are envisioning. He uses people to accomplish his will in many, many cases. God LED Isaiah to use the figs—–why couldn’t he lead scientists to a discovery?? I know–doesn’t fit into your religion–but it could happen.

  • 34. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Revelation says that the Anti-Christ will track all men with a mark. This has only been possible since the computer age–but it has become very possible through computers and satellites to track everyone on the earth. Never before.

    Are you talking about Rev 13:16-17 here? “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

    That requires no more technology than was found in the bronze age. Or Nazi Germany. A piece of cloth. A bracelet. A tattoo

    I find it interesting that words like “everyone” get translated into “everyone on the entire earth.”

    I’d like to know specifically what other verses you refer to about his image being everywhere and just like him, because I can’t recall which ones you’re talking about.

  • 35. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I apologize. I really didn’t mean to get all involved again like this. And to you, I’m just saying a bunch of stupid stuff.

    You guys don’t want to go to the New Jerusalem. And nothing will convince you otherwise. I see this world as a place I’m passing through—-I’ll be as good and kind and helping to others as I possibly can while here, I’ll be honest, and sincere, and do all I can to help the poor and less fortunate while I’m here—–I’ll give as much love as possible, but I can’t consider the place “home”—New Jerusalem is my home and my destiny. A place God has prepared for those who love Him, and yearn for Him. And those who will not respond to that call are like the little girl who said “no” as everyone got in the car to go to Disneyland. She was too happy playing with the mud pies she was making in the gutter. Then, when she learned what she had missed out on due to her lack of wisdom, she wept bitterly. She gave up on Disneyland for mud pies–some give up on Heaven for love of this world, and it’s wisdom. Oh well.

  • 36. Obi  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Joe —

    I’m afraid you lost me, since when do I have a religion again? I’m sure you’d know about me on that level than I do myself. Regardless, you’re ignoring the verse, Joe. I think the actual words of God (Jesus) should take precedence over anything else. I take Jesus’ words at face value and assume that what he says is what he means. Since his promised results have not come to fruition, there are only three possibilities (1) He’s a liar, (2) He doesn’t exist or (3) He never really said what the Gospels state that he did.

    I’m sure that none of those possibilities are very appealing to you, but the least offensive one is number (3). Even though that brings into question the truthfulness of the Gospel, I will provide another example of where Jesus speaks on the power of prayer and how it can cause miraculous changes in the world.

    Matthew 17:20, ” 20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

    And elsewhere, James, the brother of Jesus, mentions it’s power again.

    James 5:16-18, “16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

    Elijah prayed that it wouldn’t rain, and it happened. Eljiah prayed that it would rain, and it happened. Jesus states that if you pray and have faith, what you ask for will happen. People around the world pray for an immediate cure for AIDS and ending of the genocide in Darfur, and it doesn’t happen. I think that you’d agree that his words are more powerful than any excuses that you can bring forth. However, since we do not see the promised results, the only logical conclusions that we can draw are that (1) the God being petitioned to never existed in the first place or (2) Jesus/God is a liar. The latter contradicts the Biblically-revealed nature of God, so the only possible conclusion is that he does not exist.

    G’day, mate.

  • 37. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    You guys don’t want to go to the New Jerusalem.

    How can you still not get this? I would love to believe that there was an afterlife, especially a perfect paradise. But logic and reason prevent me from enjoying that kind of a fantasy. I would love to believe that there is this great loving man name Santa who gives presents to every good child all in one night, but I know it isn’t possible. I’d really love for there to be fairies in my garden that help the flowers grow. I really wish that I could talk to animals, like in the Chronicles of Narnia. WANTING something doesn’t make it real. We who de-converted made a choice to stop believing in evidenceless fairytales, even though we thought they were really cool.

    I really hate that Disneyland analogy you used, only because it just recently happened to me. My family and I were all in the car, waiting to hit the road to Disneyland, and my youngest sister didn’t want to go. She was pouting and proclaiming she would rather stay at Grandma’s. So did we leave her? No. I got out of the car, picked her up, gave her a tickle, and put her in the back seat. No loving parent (or loving big sister) leaves their kid behind like that.

  • 38. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    orDover—-

    Are you talking about Rev 13:16-17 here? “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

    That requires no more technology than was found in the bronze age. Or Nazi Germany. A piece of cloth. A bracelet. A tattoo.

    You’re kidding right? a Tattoo is going to be good enough so that NO ONE can buy or sell? Give me a break. Only a system that can immediately recognize a person’s identity could make a determination whether one could buy or sell. You think that you’re going to walk into a store and show a tattoo? Of course not. You will be scanned somehow—-the scan will tell who you are immediately. if you want to try to deny this obvious piece of information then you are “willingly ignorant” just as the Bible says scoffers are. Right now we use cash—but credit cards are the main way to buy—and they have our information on them. Technology can only get better and better—eventually there will be a way to scan us ourselves for information (the wrist, or the forehead if one possibly is missing limbs).

    If you don’t think another Hitler could arise, but using far greater technology, then you have never heard the phrase “history always repeats itself”. You need to read Revelation as coming from a first century visitor to our time or beyond, who sees “images”—televisions, tanks, helicopters—all of these would seem to be “alive” to him—he would call them “images of the beast”, or “scorpions with stingers in their tails”—he had no idea what these things were—-and he tried to describe them with his own terms.

    I can’t believe that with all of the modern day technology you are aware of that you would scoff at the thought of a dictator taking over who would try to rule the world, and force all to submit to him, or even worship him. Look at North Korea as a tiny example of this—–everywhere you go there are statues of Kim Jong Il–he is reverenced as a “god”—and this is the 21st century. The world is ripe for an “anti-Christ” type figure. Go ahead and mock or deny it, but you don’t have to be a Christian to see that the world is definitely heading in that direction.

  • 39. Joe  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    orDover—

    You give examples and people would have you be so precise. OK—an older kid then. One whom you GIVE the decision or choice of what they want to do. I remember when I was 13 or 14 years old, my Dad asked if we wanted to with he and a friend flying in a Cessna. I was playing Monopoly with a friend, and “insisted” I did not want to go. Finally, my father said “OK, it’s your choice”. He wanted me to go, pleaded with me—-but I insisted I did not want to go.

    About a half hour later, after the game was over, I realized the horribly bad decision I had made. I STILL remember this to this day. And don’t say my Dad was mean—he really tried to get me to go—but it was MY CHOICE—-and I paid for it.

    That was my point. Hope I am precise enough this time.

  • 40. Anonymous  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    By the way (you have to be so careful how you word things) when I say “I STILL remember this”— I mean, I can recall it clearly—not that it is some trauma I’ve never gotten over. LOL

  • 41. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    As a computer scientist, I find the idea that some day we will have technology that no one can fool to be utterly laughable. Just because we have computer chips you need to buy or sell doesn’t mean a VERY lucrative black market won’t arise where you can get a fake chip to allow you to buy and sell.

    I GUARANTEE you that any technology to restrict the rights of all people to buy and sell WILL be cracked, and quite rapidly. Just like enterprising college students making fake IDs to buy alcohol.

    And where does it say anything about tracking people with the mark? I recall it saying you would need the mark to buy or sell, never anything about tracking. Even if it does talk about tracking, we are tracked right now by our credit card and personal check purchases. Computer technology is not required for this.

    In fact, NO technology is required for any of Revelation to come true. We are arguing about a supernatural God, correct? And the antichrist will have supernatural powers, too. So all of the things you say need modern technology to accomplish could have been accomplished supernaturally before these technologies came to be.

  • 42. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Joe-

    Your biggest problem is that you’re working from a completely false premise: that John (or whoever wrote the book) was seeing far into the future. (And assuming you believe the earth is only 6,000 years old like most of your brood, 2,000 years is a very long time.) Why do you make this assumption? To retrofit prophecy? Because that’s all that you’re doing.

    What does the first verse of Revelation say?

    “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.”

    SOON.

    You can get into those arguments of “soon means anything to god, god’s concept of time is different than ours, soon means within a few thousand years” etc etc etc, but as has already been pointed out, Jesus said he would return before those living at the time “taste death.” That leads to the safe assumption that “soon” actually means “soon,” like within 70 years.

    You’re kidding right? a Tattoo is going to be good enough so that NO ONE can buy or sell? Give me a break. Only a system that can immediately recognize a person’s identity could make a determination whether one could buy or sell. You think that you’re going to walk into a store and show a tattoo? Of course not. You will be scanned somehow—-the scan will tell who you are immediately. if you want to try to deny this obvious piece of information then you are “willingly ignorant” just as the Bible says scoffers are.

    I’m working under the sound (ie grounded in evidence) assumption that John was writing about the near future, his own time. In that context, yes, a tattoo would be sufficient to control commerce. You go to the Forum. If you have a certain state-issued tattoo you are permitted to buy and sell. If you don’t, no one will do business with you. How is that unbelievable?

    Is there anyway that you could stop being such an incredible ass? I’m very close to writing you off as a troll. I don’t want to dialog with someone who calls me ignorant and mocks what I have to say.

  • 43. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    You’re kidding right? a Tattoo is going to be good enough so that NO ONE can buy or sell? Give me a break. Only a system that can immediately recognize a person’s identity could make a determination whether one could buy or sell. You think that you’re going to walk into a store and show a tattoo? Of course not. You will be scanned somehow—-the scan will tell who you are immediately. if you want to try to deny this obvious piece of information then you are “willingly ignorant” just as the Bible says scoffers are. Right now we use cash—but credit cards are the main way to buy—and they have our information on them. Technology can only get better and better—eventually there will be a way to scan us ourselves for information

    Seriously, Joe, you had me laughing uproariously here. There really is no way to ensure that absolutely no one without an authentic mark can buy or sell, shy of supernatural power. Computers might do a better job than a tattoo, but that does not make them infallible for the purpose.

  • 44. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    In fact, NO technology is required for any of Revelation to come true. We are arguing about a supernatural God, correct? And the antichrist will have supernatural powers, too. So all of the things you say need modern technology to accomplish could have been accomplished supernaturally before these technologies came to be.

    An excellent point.

  • 45. Anonymous  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    And where does it say anything about tracking people with the mark?

    I find it so hard to have a discussion here, because everyone is so exacting. It says no one can buy or sell—whether I say “tracked” or “profiled” or “monitored”–I am saying the same thing. There will be a scan of some sort set up to monitor/track/profile etc. who can buy and who can sell. Fine—you think it can be cracked. Whatever. I have no idea what that technology will be–an implant? Who knows? All I know is that it will be very sophisticated or could not be used on the whole world.

    So often on this board this type of stuff happens—you use an analogy such as:

    “Life is like going to a Raiders football game. You can fumble on the 20 and fall behind when all the time you thought you were winning”.

    Now—you are trying to make what is called an analogy or maybe an example. But what does the next poster do? Instead of commenting on the analogy they come back with something like:

    “Why do you say Raiders? Do you have something against the Raiders? Or are you trying to make us Raiders fans?”

    You think to yourself—-“I wasn’t make an analogy about the Raiders themselves, the analogy was about football and life—what the heck?” And this literally happens over and over here when Christians present a point. No kidding. I’ve seen comebacks that have nothing to do with what the Chrstian just said at all. You have pulled something FROM the analogy they are making, or trying to make, to try to argue their points. I swear, it really is frustrating.

  • 46. Anonymous  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Seriously, Joe, you had me laughing uproariously here. There really is no way to ensure that absolutely no one without an authentic mark can buy or sell, shy of supernatural power. Computers might do a better job than a tattoo, but that does not make them infallible for the purpose.

    See—there you go again. When it says “No one” it means anyone who has the device (or whatever it is)—Christians and others will be executed for not having it. I never said anything about infallibility. Man is fallible. The fact is a HUGE majority of the world will OBEY—of course there will be hackers and those who “try” (and possibly succeed for a while) to beat the system. But RIGHT NOW you know that most of the world would obey if asked to receive the “mark” (again, who knows what that means?).

    Please try to stick with concept, not the exact wording of what I am saying. The technology is already in place to know far more about everyone than has ever been possible before on the earth—-and you know that to be a fact. If you want to scoff at it fine—-but many intelligent people recognize this for sure, and that is why so many are deeply concerned about our freedoms—with satellites, devices, computers, we are far more under scrutiny than ever before. If you don’t see that then you are truly blind. Man—-I have heard people scoff before, but this is ridiculous—-now you want to argue about technology? Geez!!

  • 47. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I find it so hard to have a discussion here, because everyone is so exacting. It says no one can buy or sell—whether I say “tracked” or “profiled” or “monitored”–I am saying the same thing.

    Saying “buy or sell” is VERY difference from saying “tracked” or “monitored.”

    “Tracking” and “monitoring,” especially when you bring advance technology into it, means watching people’s every move, keeping track of what they are doing at every moment, where they are, what they like to buy, like in SCFI movies or like the extreme measures taken by the Stasi prior to the unification of Germany (think wire taps on everyone who seemed a little bit suspicious).

    You would not have to be tracked or monitored with super-technology to be allowed or disallowed to buy or sell.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the fact that the Roman government took exacting consensuses of their population at regular intervals. In this sense, they kept track of where families lived, who had been born, who had died, who had enough property to vote, etc. Just add one more thing to that list “the ability to buy and sell goods.” It’s not a big stretch. It requires no more technology than was needed for the census.

  • 48. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Then why can’t tattoos work in place of computer chips?

  • 49. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    with satellites, devices, computers, we are far more under scrutiny than ever before

    I don’t disagree with you here. But it is quite a leap to go from this to arguing that the end is near. Even more so to say that the end could only be near if the above were occurring.

    I never said anything about infallibility.

    earlier:

    a Tattoo is going to be good enough so that NO ONE can buy or sell?

    You argued that tattoos weren’t good enough to prevent buying and selling, i.e. tattoos are fallible. You contend that computers ARE good enough “so that NO ONE can buy or sell.” I clearly stated that this is wrong. Now you say that you were never arguing about infallibility in the first place. Quit moving the goalposts.

    I dove into arguments on technology because that is my area of expertise, and you were clearly arguing from a point out of your depth.

  • 50. Anonymous  |  July 2, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Snuggly—

    You say:
    In fact, NO technology is required for any of Revelation to come true. We are arguing about a supernatural God, correct? And the antichrist will have supernatural powers, too. So all of the things you say need modern technology to accomplish could have been accomplished supernaturally before these technologies came to be.

    Then orDover says “An excellent point”.

    You have got to be kidding me right? The Anti-Christ is a “man”. Men use things they have “invented”. You talk about laughing uproariously? You are going to try to argue the point that the Anti-Christ will need nothing of technology to accomplish his goals? He is a man empowered by the devil. He is not some supernatural deity—he will use every means at his disposal.

    Are you so willingly blind that you don’t remember just 60 some years ago when Hitler came to power? He is only a fore-shadowing of the man to come. Hitler had World War 2 type aircraft and technology to work with, but he had actually gotten to the place (if not crushed by the allies) where he had begun to use V type rockets. One can only imagine what he might have been able to accomplish had he not been so devastated by us and the Russians.

    I am truly flabberghasted by your answer—I truly am. Who would you think anti-christ to be? A supernatural demon who works outside the realm of the world? No—he clearly will be a MAN who uses the technology given to him—–and he will want to conquer the world. And he will.

    Scoff at the Bible all you want. But to scoff at the idea of a man arising just like Hitler, who will be able to use existing technology to help him conquer the world is insanity. Of course such a thing could happen. if you don’t believe it, then you would be like the Germans who sat back, not believing it possible that Hitler could rise to such great power, and literally attempt to take over Europe—-using them to accomplish his evil goals. And one of his main goals was to get rid of all the Jews. Have you ever asked yourself why he hated Jews so much? Hey—wait a minute, the Bible says the Jews are God’s earthly people. Why would he want to get rid of all of them? The Bible says when the Jews in the last days turn to God that will be a sign Christ will come back to reign. But if there are no Jews that prophecy cannot be fulfilled. Was there someone behind Hitler, empowering him to hate with such a great hatred?

  • 51. Anonymous  |  July 2, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Just add one more thing to that list “the ability to buy and sell goods.” It’s not a big stretch. It requires no more technology than was needed for the census.

    Ok—you want to argue the Anti-Christ does not need technology–fine. I think it is obvious though, that if a man did arise, as evil as the anti-christ is to be, he would definitely use every mode of technology possible to advance his dream. If he wanted to even “attempt” to keep people from buying or selling, do you think he would resort to tattoos, or to computer technology? If you want to argue he would use tattoos, that’s fine with me. Personally though, I think he would go with computer technology, satellites, etc. to accomplish his goals. But that’s just me. Bill Gates would probably say the anti-christ would go with tattoos also. I’ve never been too bright.

  • 52. The de-Convert  |  July 2, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Even as a Christian, I never quite bought into all the end times teachings. Now reading it, as in the posts above by anonymous, I have to wonder how anyone believes that stuff. Wow!

  • 53. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Joe,

    I find it strange that you’re mocking us for saying that the antichrist will have supernatural powers. He’s given his power directly from “the dragon,” who if you accept is satan, is a supernatural being. He and his other beast friend ARE given supernatural powers according to the Bible:

    “He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.”

    And for the record, I’m not “scoffing” at the idea that some dictator could rise up and take over the world. Yes, that is possible. It’s not probably, but possible. I defy the idea that such a leader would be the “antichrist” and that they would signal the end of the world.

  • 54. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 2, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Quit moving the goalposts. You clearly argued that the end times being near was because of the technology we have available now, among other things. You said this to counter the argument that people have been saying the same thing for the last 2000 years. The people who have been predicting this before didn’t have any less of a reason to believe it was coming “soon” than you do. That’s my point.

    Will the antichrist use all available technologies if he should arise? Yes, there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t, and I have not once said as much, and I resent you claiming I did. I simply pointed out that these technologies are not required for the antichrist to fulfill prophecy. Especially not if the antichrist will be able to perform miracles, which the Bible clearly states he will. There is no reason the antichrist couldn’t have appeared in 200AD and used the technology available then along with supernatural influence to accomplish everything you say he will.

    The only reason Christ’s second coming couldn’t have happened in the last 2000 years is that we have observed that it didn’t happen.

  • 55. orDover  |  July 2, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Ok—you want to argue the Anti-Christ does not need technology–fine. I think it is obvious though, that if a man did arise, as evil as the anti-christ is to be, he would definitely use every mode of technology possible to advance his dream. If he wanted to even “attempt” to keep people from buying or selling, do you think he would resort to tattoos, or to computer technology? If you want to argue he would use tattoos, that’s fine with me. Personally though, I think he would go with computer technology, satellites, etc. to accomplish his goals. But that’s just me. Bill Gates would probably say the anti-christ would go with tattoos also. I’ve never been too bright.

    NO TECHNOLOGY IS REQUIRED TO DO WHAT IT SAYS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION.

    If the antichrist came to power today, he would use technology because that would be easy and efficient, but NO TECHNOLOGY IS REQUIRED TO DO WHAT IT SAYS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION. Today it would be easiest to use technology to keep people from buying and selling good, but in Rome, during the era John was writing about, a tattoo would do the trick.

    I’m going to say it again: NO TECHNOLOGY IS REQUIRED TO DO WHAT IT SAYS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION. No technology is required to give people a mark that prevents them from buying and selling goods in Rome in the 1st century.

  • 56. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 3, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I’ve also been meaning to mention how utterly convenient it is that one of the “signs” of a 2000-year-old prophecy that was said to be coming “soon” is people wondering why it hasn’t happened yet.

  • 57. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 11:14 am

    orDover—-

    I never said Technology is “required” for the Antichrist to appear. I was trying to say that the world is set up for a world dictator like it has never been before—and these advances have taken place over the last 60 years. Yes—the Anti-Christ could have appeared at ANY TIME—I understand that—What I am saying is that many of the things that Revelation state appeared to be mere fantasies only a 100 years ago. An image of the beast that does everything he does? People thought of magical statues, etc., not something as simple as an image on television. Many of the “fantastic” things it mentions could really be reality today. This was what I was trying to say—not that you HAVE TO have technology before the Anti-Christ comes—-it’s that the technology sets the stage more than ever for his appearance.

    And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

    What I was “trying” to state is that “all the world” (as above) will follow the beast. The world has never been so technologically advanced as it is now, for a man, a dictator, to have the power to literally rule the world. If Hitler existed now, and was able to climb the ladder so quickly, as he did in the past, but had today’s technology available to him, who knows what he could have accomplished–it is mind-boggling to even think about.

    Many of the prophetic signs promised in the “last days” are clearly falling into place. Today’s technology puts the proper tools in place for a world dictator. That is really all I was saying.

    The fact that Israel exists, surrounded by many enemies promising to “drive her into the sea”, is one huge sign of the last times. I don’t know when that will happen. It could start tomorrow–it could be another two hundred years. I don’t know.
    But the speed in which the world is advancing (1903-1969–man learns to fly–lands on the moon—thousands of years had past without airplanes–and going to the moon was the height of fantasy to most people) is a clear sign we are drawing much closer. I know mockers laugh at this–that’s OK–they are SUPPOSED TO according to the Bible–they are just doing what was foretold years and years ago. But to believers it is an amazing thing, and fills one with the greatest joy—a day is coming when there really will be no more evil, no more sorrow, and no more cyring. God has promised it, and IT WILL come to passs.

  • 58. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Snuggly—

    You said:

    I’ve also been meaning to mention how utterly convenient it is that one of the “signs” of a 2000-year-old prophecy that was said to be coming “soon” is people wondering why it hasn’t happened yet.

    Peter wrote that 2000 years ago. How was he to know when or how long it would be before Christ returned? Unless you really believe he thought Christ would never return, so KNOWING this would happen said that a sign in the last days would be people asking why it has taken so long for him to return. OK—I’ll give you that—–but it is highly unlikely.

  • 59. orDover  |  July 3, 2008 at 11:32 am

    never said Technology is “required” for the Antichrist to appear. I was trying to say that the world is set up for a world dictator like it has never been before—and these advances have taken place over the last 60 years. Yes—the Anti-Christ could have appeared at ANY TIME—I understand that—What I am saying is that many of the things that Revelation state appeared to be mere fantasies only a 100 years ago. An image of the beast that does everything he does? People thought of magical statues, etc., not something as simple as an image on television. Many of the “fantastic” things it mentions could really be reality today. This was what I was trying to say—not that you HAVE TO have technology before the Anti-Christ comes—-it’s that the technology sets the stage more than ever for his appearance.

    I disagree with you here. The world is less “set up” for a dictator now. The world now consists of several independently strong nations. In the 1st century there were a few scattered strong nations and many small independent villages scattered here and there. That’s a prime set up for a take-over, and it happened many many times. The single largest empire that has ever been established was Genghis Khan in the 13th century. You have the extensive empire of Alexander in 300 BCE, the Roman empire in the 1st century, the Ottoman Turkish empire coming to power in the 14th century. But after that, empires are few and far between. There is Napoleon’s shitty attempts, which lasted only a few years and were very unsuccessful. Actually, if you look at things from a wide historical perspective, what the rise and very rapid fall of Hitler teaches us is that there can’t be large empires built anymore. There are simply too many strong independent countries with the same technology.

    And Israel has been surrounded by enemies forever. Using warring in the middle east as a sign for the end times is pretty weak. According to that mentality it should have come at least 500 years ago.

  • 60. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I agree with orDover. With the rise of nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries, the possibility that the entire world could be taken over by one person is little to none. There are many unions between nations, but there are also checks and balances. Every country is looking to keep it’s own sovereignty, and a single person putting all or even the majority of the world underneath his/her rule is not very likely to happen.

    I also agree with orDover with respect to how those prophecies should have happened years ago. The world now is a much “quieter” place, since it’s been ravaged by massive wars (WWI and II), I feel that the general sentiment is to prevent wars on such a massive scale at any cost; people are tired of war. However, this was not the case a few centuries ago, and a world empire such as the Mongol empire (the largest land empire in history), or the British empire would have been very good candidates for such a takeover.

    In short, it’s not going to happen, mate. Not to mention the fact that Jesus told his disciples that he would return while some of them were still alive, meaning that he’s 2,000 years overdue anyway, and his prophecy has long since failed.

  • 61. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 3, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Scoffers as a sign of Christ’s immanent return makes sense if you actually expect him to return soon.

    If you say “soon” and it takes 2000+ years, then of course there are going to be scoffers. There have been scoffers for 2000+ years now, so I fail to see how that can be reliably used as a sign. You might as well say that a sign of Christ’s return is that gravity will continue working.

  • 62. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    It could start tomorrow–it could be another two hundred years. I don’t know.
    I’m glad you’re able to admit this much. Too many Christians are absolutely certain it will happen in their lifetime, with no real reason to believe such, even from within the context of Christianity.

    Many of the prophetic signs promised in the “last days” are clearly falling into place.

    So far the only prophetic sign you’ve managed to point out is the restoration of Israel as a nation. Everything else you’ve pointed out is speculation as to methods the antichrist could use to fulfill prophecy. And I’m sure 2000 years from now, if Christianity is still around, Christians will be talking about how the technology of the day sets up the rise of the antichrist better than ever before.

  • 63. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    And Israel has been surrounded by enemies forever. Using warring in the middle east as a sign for the end times is pretty weak. According to that mentality it should have come at least 500 years ago.

    Obi—

    Israel had not been a nation for 2000 years. They became one again in 1948. 500 years ago would not have made any sense as God said he would gather all of Israel into their own land once again as a nation.

    Jesus telling some of his disciples that they would not die until he returned in glory is a misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus says with his apostles present:

    Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (matt. 16:23)

    Then, in the very next chapter he is transfigured before them–he is clothed in glory and honor and shining in white. Moses and Elijah are with him. It is the glorified Jesus in front of Peter, John and James. They truly saw him “coming in his kingdom” in the transfiguration. Peter mentions this later as he states that they have not used “cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the coming of the Lord Jesus, but were eyewitnesses of his glory”. He is affirming that he already has seen Christ in his glory.

  • 64. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Here is the complete quotation in case you say that Peter is referring to another event:

    1Peter 2: 16-18
    We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming 9 of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    17
    For he received honor and glory from God the Father 10 when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
    18
    We 11 ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.

    He is talking about the transfiguration—and he saw Christ’s glory while still alive, just as Jesus said some would.

  • 65. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    To further clarify:

    Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (matt. 16:23)—they shall “see him coming in his Kingdom”.

    1Peter 2: 16-18
    We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming 9 of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. —Pete is making known the “power and coming of our Lord Jesus—which he was an eyewitness to.

    This has been a huge misinterpretation of scripture used by atheists for years. Jesus never said the people standing there would not die until they saw him return again—he said that some standing there would not taste death until they had “seen him coming in his kingdom”—-and this is exactly what Peter said they witnessed on the holy mount.

  • 66. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Joe —

    Give more context, mate.

    Matthew 16:27-28, “27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

    Notice how he says coming, that’s a key word here. He will come, as in returning back to Earth. They with Jesus the entire time during the Transfiguration, he never left, so how could he come? The verse also details how he will come, and that is with angels accompanying him. Moses and Elijah are not angels, mate. The verse further clarifies that this is his second coming to end time when it states that he will “reward each person according to what he has done”, as in a Final Judgement. That seems rather clear to me, mate.

    If that isn’t enough for you, there is another passage in Matthew that deals with the end and the second coming.

    Matthew 24:30-35, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other…33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[d]is near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generation[e] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    Notice how he makes the same references to angels and a triumphant return marking his second coming, not his appearance with Moses or Elijah. He also specifies that this generation will not pass away until all of what he is prophesying has happened. That sounds rather specific to me, and it’s clear that he was telling the disciples that the second coming would happen in their lifetimes, when in two different passages it states the same message that “some of them will not taste death” and that the events will “come to pass in this generation”.

    The second coming is 2,000 years overdue, mate. The prophecy has falled flat on its face.

  • 67. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming 9 of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    17
    For he received honor and glory from God the Father 10 when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
    18
    We 11 ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.

    Obi–Please read again—Peter says “we made known to you the power and COMING of our Lord Jesus and were EYEWITNESSES TO HIS MAJESTY. And where did he see Jesus coming and was an eyewitness to his majesty? In the very Holy Mount they went to in the next chapter after Jesus said some would not taste of death until the saw him coming in his Kingdom.

    It is very obvious that when he makes this statement it is the last thing he says before he is transfigured before the three in the very next chapter. Using the verse before his statement to try to disprove all that Peter says is a stretch. Pretty obvious to me, mate.

  • 68. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Obi—

    When he says “this generation” what generation is he referring to? The one he is speaking to, or the one “at that time” (the three words that start your verse above)? He is definitely referring to the generation alive “at that time”—-he is saying that things will happen so quickly, and the signs will fall so rapidly into place, that that generation will not pass until all of the events have happened.

    Again, it is a total misuse and misinterpretation of Scripture–he is referring to a generation that is alive when all the things take place—not the immediate generation he is addressing in his discourse.

  • 69. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Joe —

    Did Peter describe angels? Jesus coming on clouds in the sky? An angel trumpeting to signal Jesus’ return? Was each person rewarded according to what they had done, as in the Final Judgement? If not, then the verses are obviously not talking about the same thing. Peter is speaking of the Transfiguration, while Jesus is clearly speaking of his second coming. Jesus also quite clearly within the passages describing his second coming that “this generation will not pass” and “some here will not taste of death” before the events he is describing, those surrounding and leading to his second coming, came to pass.

    I’m not trying to disprove what Peter said, because he and Jesus are talking about completely different things.

  • 70. John T.  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Joe

    I think its wonderful that the bible does it for you, but dont try and make it sound logical. There are sooooo many blatant contradictions in it I dont even know where to start. Now if feeling saved works for you thats great. Its just the trying to show others the errors of their ways that gets tiresome.

  • 71. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Joe —

    I cannot believe that you’d be so dishonest with yourself as to say something like that. Are you saying that when Jesus said this generation shall not pass when he was speaking in the presence of his disciples that he wasn’t speaking about the generation of the people in his midst?

    Following is the complete definition of this, from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

    1 a (1): the person, thing, or idea that is present or near in place, time, or thought or that has just been mentioned (2): what is stated in the following phrase, clause, or discourse b: this time or place
    2 a: the one nearer or more immediately under observation or discussion b: the one more recently referred to

    Present or near in place, time, and thought. You cannot possibly tell me that when Jesus stated that this generation shall not pass that he meant futurue generations centuries away? That’s a mighty strecth, and goes against every definition of the word, mate.

  • 72. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    John—-
    You said:

    I think its wonderful that the bible does it for you, but dont try and make it sound logical. There are sooooo many blatant contradictions in it I dont even know where to start. Now if feeling saved works for you thats great. Its just the trying to show others the errors of their ways that gets tiresome.

    I would point out to you that Obi began the subject (see end of post 61) by stating something that is simply not true. He is stating something from Scripture himself—so I used Scripture to show that that statement is not correct. It had nothing to do with showing anyone the errors of their ways—it had everything to do with stating that if you are going to use the Bible, or quote something from it, or make a statement that Jesus said something in it, and it isn’t true, I have every right to use it to show the fallacy. But thanks for your thoughts.

  • 73. John T.  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Joe

    But that is the problem. The bible is up for interpretation and it seems everyone has their own. Actually I have read much of it the way Obi is stating it. Does that mean Im right , no, but neither is yours. And thats the problem with a book that has tons of authors. It is not reliable, other than by faith. It has almost no logic to it. Now with that said there is tons of logical statements in it. But as a cohesive whole, not even close.

  • 74. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Obi—

    I do mean exactly that. Jesus said at one point in the Bible “I saw Satan fall from heaven as lightning”. Yet Revelation says he will not be cast out of Heaven until the very end and will descend to the earth in great anger knowing his time is short. Jesus is God—to him a future event is or can be already past. He can speak of a future event as though it is past.

    Read what you quoted again:

    Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.
    In the same way, when you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates.
    Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

    He mentions the fig tree and says to learn a lesson from it. His disciples had asked him when all these should be just before this:

    As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
    Jesus said to them in reply, “See that no one deceives you.
    For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many.
    You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.
    Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place.
    All these are the beginning of the labor pains.

    Jesus mentions all the signs of the end and then says “All these are just the beginning of the labor pains”. Obi–do you really think he would talk of all of the future events, which are just the BEGINNING of labor pains, and then say “this Generation shall not pass until these things happen”?

    Of course not. He is referring by “this generation” to the generation then living—-at the time he is referring to. You very definition in Webster’s allows for it: (see the word “time”):

    the person, thing, or idea that is present or near in place, time, or thought or that has just been mentioned.

    What time is being mentioned? A future time—who is living in that future time– “this generation” that he is speaking of which will see the culmination of all things.

    Stupid example, but valid:
    “Man, in the future there is going to be a generation that is going to use a flying car. And this generation is going to experience marvels, believe me.

  • 75. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Stupid example, but valid:
    “Man, in the future there is going to be a generation that is going to use a flying car. And this generation is going to experience marvels, believe me.

    I meant to end with a question. Which generation is the person referring to when he says “this generation is going to experience marvels, believe me.”? The generation who will use a flying car, or the people he is addressing at the moment? The answer is quite obvious.

  • 76. orDover  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    This sort of desperate, grasping at less than straws apologetics is just mind boggling.

  • 77. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I agree, orDover.

    Joe —

    The very fact that you have to say that Jesus was speaking as a God when he was on Earth as a man speaking to men is rather telling. Jesus, being God, is omniscient. He knows how we think, and it would make sense that he would be clear in his message so as to be unobscured. Thus, we can assume with certainty that what he said is what he meant, unless he was trying to deceive us, which I don’t believe you’d think he would do.

    Your example of a man speaking of flying cars is a fallacious one. Does that paragraph even sound correct to you? That’s an obvious and quite awkward change of tense and frame of reference, which no speaker of any language would do. We can all see that it simply doesn’t sound right. Also, let me define a few words for you:

    this – the person, thing, or idea that is present or near in place, time, or thought or that has just been mentioned

    that – the one farther away or less immediately under observation or discussion

    It’s quite obvious that when Jesus said this generation that he meant the generation of those currently in his midst. Otherwise, he would have said so. You’re seeking to twist the very definition of words in order to fit your argument, and that won’t work.

  • 78. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Obi/orDover—

    PLEASE READ MATTHEW 24 AND SEE WHAT IT SAYS. Jesus explains to the disciples about the signs of the end—he CLEARLY SAYS “But the end is not yet”—he goes on to say there will be wars and rumors of wars, many will rise up in his name saying they are him, there will be earthquakes, and plagues–etc.

    He is DEFINITELY referring to the generation who will see these things come to pass. Why in the heck would talk about all of these things, and say “the end is not yet” (and he is speaking in future tense—read it yourself)—-then turn around
    and tell everyone they would not die until ALL of these things take place.

    That is complete nonsense. Any Biblical scholar, or simple student of the Bible will tell you he is not addressing the generation then living, but is speaking about the generation then living when these things take place. It is so very obvious that ANY commentary will tell you the same thing. if you want to think you are smarter and know more about the Greek tenses than Biblical scholars be my guest. It is just not the case, nor will it ever be. What you are saying is absolutely ridiculous.

  • 79. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    The apostles heard Jesus speak. If they had interpreted what he said the way you interpret it, they would have said “Well, the Lord said that the generation living when he was on the earth would not see death until they saw his return—–why write any of the epistles?” John would have said “The visions I am seeing concerning the future in the book of Revelation cannot be valid, because Jesus said right in front of us that he was going to return before any of the people there had a chance to die.” No one would have done anything, expecting Jesus to return during their lifetimes.

    But that is not the case. Peter, Paul, John—they all heard Jesus say “this generation” and interpreted as being in the future. They all speak of a future date—–Paul even telling the Thessalonians not to listen to men who said the Lord was returning—explaining there must be a huge apostasy first, and the anti-christ’s appearance.

    Believe me, the interpretation you are giving has been attempted many times—but the interpretation is just not valid. Believe what you want though—-You can listen to Greek Scholars, or listen to your interpretation of Merriam Websters dictionary concerning the word “this”. i’ll go with the Greek scholars.

  • 80. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Correction—Paul did not hear Jesus say those words–I meant Peter John and James.

  • 81. SnugglyBuffalo  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Paul even telling the Thessalonians not to listen to men who said the Lord was returning

    I guess we’re all safe to ignore you, then, as the Antichrist hasn’t appeared.

    Why in the heck would talk about all of these things, and say “the end is not yet” (and he is speaking in future tense—read it yourself)—-then turn around
    and tell everyone they would not die until ALL of these things take place.

    Quite frankly, I cannot imagine how you come to this conclusion. It makes perfect sense to predict a future event, and then say that everyone living at the time you make the prediction will see it come to pass.

    You can listen to Greek Scholars, or listen to your interpretation of Merriam Websters dictionary concerning the word “this”.

    So now we need to learn Greek to understand the Bible? What happened to the inerrency of God’s word? Did God just get lazy and didn’t bother to inspire the translator to use the proper wording to keep it from being ambiguous?

    “Jesus didn’t return in their lifetime, so clearly that’s not what he meant.”

  • 82. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Joe —

    There are numerous verses regarding the urgency and immediacy of the second coming that was felt during the early Church. They most definitely interpreted Jesus words correctly; he stated that he was coming within their lifetimes, and they wrote as so.

    1 Corinthians 7:29-31, “What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

    Matthew 10:21-23, ” 21″Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

    Hebrews 10:32-37, “32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

    35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while,
    “He who is coming will come and will not delay.

    Regarding the requirement of a huge apostasy, read this verse in 1st John.

    1 John 2:18-19, ” 18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

    It’s quite explicit that he’s detailing apostates who went out from us, because they did not belong to us. This is a clear-as-day description of a mass apostasy that is being described, and which fulfills the requirement that you mention that Paul outlined. Furthermore, the writer of this passage laces it with mentions of the last hour.

  • 83. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Paul even telling the Thessalonians not to listen to men who said the Lord was returning

    I guess we’re all safe to ignore you, then, as the Antichrist hasn’t appeared.

    Snuggly–

    I was referring to Paul (circa AD 60) telling them that many things had to happen before Jesus would return. It has been almost 2000 years since he told them that. He was simply stating to them that it was way too early at that point to be looking for the return of Christ.

    So now we need to learn Greek to understand the Bible?

    No—I didn’t say that. But it is important to listen to scholars who know Greek who can interpret verb tenses—-or different meanings of one word used. “This generation” could refer to a future generation, the generation then in existence, a specific group of people (the Jews perhaps)–a Greek scholar can interpret the verb tense being used, or the various defintions of the word that can be used. That’s why on difficult passages it can be good to read a few commentaries to see what scholars who know Greek have said. You don’t need a Greek scholar to know that God says he loves the world in John 3:16, but in a difficult passage like the one we are discussing in Matthew, a Greek scholar can definitely help.

  • 84. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Obi—-

    I agree with what you are saying. There is an urgency mentioned about Christ’s return. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is one of the few, or maybe only time he says that they should not be deceived because Christ is NOT coming as quickly as they think he is.

    But one thing to remember—they often say things such as “we are in the last time” or “children, it is the last time”. Peter talks about the scoffers in the “Last Days” who will ask “where is the promise of his coming”? But he then adds “remember, a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and thousand years as one day”. To US, 2000 years is a very long time to be waiting, but to Jesus it has only been a couple of days since he ascended. (not that I think 1000 years is literally one day in “God time” LOL—it’s a reference meaning that a 1000 years is a drop in the bucket to God—it is no time at all).

    So the urgency is in the Scriptures, as the scriptures will be used by all generations of Christians, none knowing exactly when he will come. There is still an urgency though—to be watchful—to look for the signs of his coming. As I mentioned, Israel’s return as a nation, and the huge increase of Islam and terrorism, and the hatred of Israel and threats to destroy her, are extremely important signs of prophecy being fulfilled.

    If you don’t believe, then of course this is all hogwash—granted. But if you are a believer, knowing that time is nothing to God, and the signs are being fulfilled right in front of you, it is a time of great excitement to be alive.

  • 85. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Joe —

    I’m familiar with Peter’s verse. However, he was offering up an excuse to the skeptics of his day to counter scoffers, as you say. His assertion that Jesus meant anything other than what he and all of the other disciples had been constantly repeating throughout the New Testament is unfounded and baseless. Jesus said that the time was near multiple times. Paul said it, multiple times. James said it. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John said it. What reason do I have to take Peter’s word for it over 6 other people and one God?

    I have no reason to believe that Jesus was being willfully ambiguous and misleading by not clarifying what he meant to his disciples, and Peter’s verse is the sole one that makes such an excuse, because all of the others are telling believers to essentially pack their things and be ready to move — Paul even tells believers to cease having sex with their wives to await Jesus’ return.

    James 5:7-9, “ 7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

    It really doesn’t get much clearer than that. Also, even Peter seems confused, and by reading his previous epistle, it becomes clear that he was merely engaging in baseless apologetics.

    1 Peter 4:7, “ 7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

  • 86. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Obi—

    Actually Peter is quoting Moses from Psalm 90:

    For a thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night. (90:4)

    The reason being that God is outside of time. We are like people standing on a parade route—-we only see what is directly in front of us. We see one float at a time, one band at a time pass by. We an remember what has passed by, and see just a bit of what is coming.

    But God is like a person above the parade in a helicopter–he can see the beginning of the parade all the way to the end all at the same time. Time is nothing to Him whatsoever. When He makes a promise it may take two thousand years to be fulfilled–but IT WILL be fulfilled. He tells you what is at the end of the parade, because He knows.

  • 87. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    This topic actually started as Answered Prayer vs. Random Chance. One thing I’ve been wanting to mention regarding prayer is our attitude when we are praying. Many here say that they have asked God to prove himself, and He has not. He has not answered your requests that He show himself. And because He has never answered your prayers, you no longer can believe (I know not everyone has said that—-but a majority have said it played a large part in their deconversion).

    What I find interesting about that is that I can look back on my own prayer life, and my “walk with the Lord” as we Christians like to call it, and see that love for the Lord is what should be the motivating factor of prayer. When I have lived carnally in the past (and I admit this has happened), attempting to be a Christian, and still holding onto things I know in my heart are not right, my prayers are much different. Because of conviction of conscience I approach God for “things”, and complain a lot. “Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you do that? How could you let this happen to me? What are you doing? etc. etc. I am literally demanding that God answer me, or do things the way I want them done. I can remember saying to God “You have power over everything—you have power over billions and billions of dollars. All I need is $30,000.00 grand and I could start all over again. Why won’t you give it to me?? A good father would help his kid out–why won’t you!!??” LOL LOL LOL I actually prayed that prayer a few years back. Like some little kid “demanding” a new bicycle from his father.

    But when I am walking “in the Spirit” (again as we Christians refer to it) my prayers are very much different. I want to please God and love God and do what’s right by God. I don’t care about what I get—–I want what He wants for me, because I know it will be best. My prayers are not about “things”—they are for salvation of family and friends, and for open doors for the Gospel in other countries, and for co-workers who have problems, and that in all of it God might get the glory. What I ask for myself is that he will use me. I ask God for a heart like David (when he was a shepherd), or Daniel, or Joseph, or Job—that I might do all for the glory of God. And in this I draw so much closer to the Lord.

    If we approach God in unbelief, “demanding” answers, how is he possibly going to respond? It is not according to his Word or his promise, or his very nature to do so. I often have to remind myself “Humble yourselves under the Mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in “due time”, casting ALL your cares upon Him, for he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Humbling
    oneself, and realizing that God really does care for us, despite what we feel, despite our doubts, will lead to peace and greater faith. And you will begin to pray for what God wants—-not what you want—what God wants to do in the world, not for what I want God to do for you.

    I know this will most likely be met with scoffing, but I can truly look back, and see how differently I have prayed at times, and how much unbelief resulted in one direction, yet how much joy and faith came from walking and praying in the right way.

  • 88. Obi  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Joe —

    But Jesus was in human form, and he was talking to humans so that they could pass this word on to other humans so that more humans could learn about what exactly Jesus came to Earth for — to preach and teach and save humans. There’s no reason to believe that all of the times Jesus mentions the second coming being immediate and happening within his disciples’ generation and lifetimes that he is speaking in God years, because that would be misleading.

    Matthew 12:40, “40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Using your logic, Jesus shouldn’t have been resurrected three human days after he died, he should be resurrected in about a thousand or so years, give or take a few centuries. But of course, you wouldn’t apply that thousand years is but a day to this verse, but you would apply it to another verse but a few chapters away, for no reason other than to twist clear-cut sentences to make yourself appear right. I find this silly word-bending by apologetics to be extremely dishonest and a cowardly way to hang on to one’s fallacious beliefs. Regardless, I now realize that what I’m doing is an exersise in futility, so I’ll stop. Good day.

  • 89. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    not for what I want God to do for you

    I meant to say “not for what you want God to do for you”

  • 90. Joe  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Obi—

    i’m not saying that at all. I was saying that Peter is referring to Moses Psalm as a reminder not to lose hope like others might do. Don’t start saying as the scoffers do “where is the promise of his coming?” Because to God, time is nothing. A couple of thousand years is virtually nothing to him.

    I wasn’t referring to Jesus talking in the same mode at all. I’m really not sure what you mean about twisting things to appear right. What Peter says regarding God’s sense of time has nothing to do with what Jesus said about the last days at all—-and I wasn’t inferring such at all.

  • 91. A Parker  |  July 4, 2008 at 9:23 am

    So if I ask God for a parking place at the beach, and I’m really walking in the Spirit, I can expect my prayer to be answered, and I’ll get a parking place, but it may take a few thousand years because God’s got a different concept of time?

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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