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Source: (consider it) Thread: Healthy scepticism or ...
Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Yes, Martin, it does happen today too, and it has happened over the last 2000 years. Check out the recorded saints! I myself have been given a vision - not because I am anything special, but because it was necessary.

You're a good man too Raptor Eye NFN [Biased] Can you recommend a recorded saint for me please? My patron of Tours I admire. Francis. Aspects of Augustine. We need a thread on Official Saints that stand the test of time.

I'm happy for you, but not for myself in your claim.
quote:

The pendulum has always swung one way and the other, toward religion and away from it, according to the pull of the world against that of the desire to carry out the will of God for the good of all. The latter can only be done in isolation with limited effect. Christianity is about co-operation, working together to utilise all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Amen brother. Show me.
quote:

You hold great store by good works, rightly so where they are the fruit of the spirit. Good works do not express worship of Christ unless they are carried out through love of God and the love of other people, and not through self interest.

Then they aren't good works.

All good works are self serving. But as the pagan Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said I think, we should do them like breathing.

[ 13. December 2016, 21:53: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Thanks for being more explicit. It really makes a difference.

You and your bloody graciousness.
I think I'm done here.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
You hold great store by good works, rightly so where they are the fruit of the spirit. Good works do not express worship of Christ unless they are carried out through love of God and the love of other people, and not through self interest.

Then they aren't good works.

All good works are self serving. But as the pagan Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said I think, we should do them like breathing.

Possibly another thread, but if you folks mean what I think you mean - that the good deeds done by the nonChristian are inherently sinful - this is pious nonsense, among the worst sort.
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Martin60
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# 368

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Eutychus man. Brother. Don't you know me for my 'puckish' sense of humour?

no... you too? When I first read Raptor Eye's response I wanted to rage "BULLSHIT!". But I thought I'd try logic. Good works is as good works does.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eutychus man. Brother. Don't you know me for my 'puckish' sense of humour?

Since your PM box is full, in response to your PM.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Martin60
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Sorry Eutychus.

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Love wins

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
You're a good man too Raptor Eye NFN [Biased] Can you recommend a recorded saint for me please? My patron of Tours I admire. Francis. Aspects of Augustine. We need a thread on Official Saints that stand the test of time.

I'm happy for you, but not for myself in your claim.

The saints you've mentioned are good enough Martin.

Please don't be troubled by my claim. It troubled me, at the time, but as I said it was necessary - which is perhaps the only basis for visions, miracles, etc.

I'll open a new thread on good works, based on what you and 'no prophet' have said.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Martin60
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# 368

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Eeee Raptor Eye. I cannot imagine what a personal, untransferable, uncommunicable, yet necessary miracle is. I can never know. I can never experience such a thing. I could only experience a no-holds barred, scientifically attested miracle, my favourite being the one of the daytime in the middle of the night at the old Man City ground in Second Coming. SCIS repenting would be a good one. I can't think of a miracle of healing that could work, apart from one of the absolutely scientifically impossible ones that, interestingly, are never claimed. And if such did happen, which would jam the media globally, then what? Anything less would be a non-event, unless it was the start of an epidemic. Like global parthenogenesis in Darwin's Radio.

You had an experience that if I and Richard Dawkins had been party to, before, during and after, centred on you, we would have to interpret as supernatural. It would remove all doubt.

But as I wasn't there, like glossolalia, it's useless to me. Actually worse than useless.

I'm serious here. Such happened to you, but there is no proof whatsoever. What kind of God does that?

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Love wins

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eeee Raptor Eye. I cannot imagine what a personal, untransferable, uncommunicable, yet necessary miracle is. I can never know. I can never experience such a thing. I could only experience a no-holds barred, scientifically attested miracle, my favourite being the one of the daytime in the middle of the night at the old Man City ground in Second Coming. SCIS repenting would be a good one. I can't think of a miracle of healing that could work, apart from one of the absolutely scientifically impossible ones that, interestingly, are never claimed. And if such did happen, which would jam the media globally, then what? Anything less would be a non-event, unless it was the start of an epidemic. Like global parthenogenesis in Darwin's Radio.

You had an experience that if I and Richard Dawkins had been party to, before, during and after, centred on you, we would have to interpret as supernatural. It would remove all doubt.

But as I wasn't there, like glossolalia, it's useless to me. Actually worse than useless.

I'm serious here. Such happened to you, but there is no proof whatsoever. What kind of God does that?

God is active within relationship Martin. The proof is in the pudding. Without the event, my path would have been very different, and I would not be speaking to you today.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Martin60
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I'd have frozen to death if I hadn't laughed Raptor Eye. I thank God in His provisions for us both. I'll continue to take Pascal's wager that we'll see beyond the dark glass.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
God is active within relationship Martin. The proof is in the pudding. Without the event, my path would have been very different, and I would not be speaking to you today.

Raptor Eye. Do you mean that God is active within relationship with each of us? As opposed to in interpersonal relationships with other humans? I imagine you must mean the former. I have no proof of that, but I believe it as I demonstrate by prayer and in my declaration of belief of the normative work of the Holy Ghost
(It, He, She convicts, guides, regenerates, glorifies, testifies, reveals, leads, sanctifies, empowers, fills, teaches, witnesses, fruits, distributes, anoints, washes, refreshes, unites, guarantees, frees, seals, quickens, reveals, speaks ...). Where I experience those things and more I acknowledge that as proof of the pudding, yes. I'm extremely grateful for connections, realisations, understandings, perspectives in His provision and am not sceptical of that.

Where do we differ? You had an event which you ascribe to divine intervention that I could not even if I experienced the same event, even if it would convert Richard Dawkins? That's just a trivial dispositional difference. The Spirit unites us despite that.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Thanks for being more explicit. It really makes a difference.


Unintendedly offensive attempt at humour removed.

I should have left it at "You are most gracious Eutychus." which was my thought.

Might I ask your consideration of unfinished business? I understand if not. My tone is ... brisk.
quote:

quote:

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
After His resurrection a handful more, if that, experienced anything claim-worthy.

That we know of.

Which is a lot (Brit. understatement) more than happens nowadays.
quote:

quote:

Nowadays? In your or anyone else's experience? From the C2nd on?

Nothing.

How can you be so sure? Who knows what has happened in this big wide world that believers have had the common sense to obey Jesus about and keep schtum? "Things of which it is not permitted to speak."

Not the believers I've known for 40 years. And the believers at Lourdes and the believers all over the Internet and the believers publishing before that in the likes of Colin Urquart or Jack Deere etc, etc, etc. If believers would only keep schtum that would be great.
quote:

quote:

How does that deny God?

It denies God the faculty of acting as he wishes if you say he's never done anything like that since. Whether it matters if he actually has for the solidity of our personal faith is another question entirely.

God does not wish other than He acts.
quote:

quote:

If one wants to claim qualitative equality with them, then ones shadow will be healing, prison doors will be opening.

It's you that's chasing windmills here, at least as far as I'm concerned. I don't believe these things are eschatalogical imperatives. I'm not a proponent of "kingdom now" theology. But I think they can happen. That they don't most of the time is no different from Jesus not healing everyone at the pool of Bethesda.

Can you quantify most?
quote:

quote:

Not doing and claiming everything and anything else (including what ordinary people regard as witchcraft) but and pretending that that is the same.

Again, don't mix up actual happenings, claims, and interpretation of happenings. Those are three very different things.

Not to me. They are all part of the same distraction.



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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Not the believers I've known for 40 years. And the believers at Lourdes and the believers all over the Internet and the believers publishing before that in the likes of Colin Urquart or Jack Deere etc, etc, etc. If believers would only keep schtum that would be great.

The problem with these people is that God continuing to intervene supernaturally is an eschatological imperative, or otherwise foundational to their faith (or, in some cases, whether they can make a fast buck out of claiming such). The answer to that, inasmuch as there is one, is better teaching, in short focusing on fruit rather than gifts, and the occasional exposé.

Not simply to say "that's all finished now".
quote:
Can you quantify most?
No, but even once would be enough to overturn your theory of cessationism.

[ 17. December 2016, 17:31: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Not the believers I've known for 40 years. And the believers at Lourdes and the believers all over the Internet and the believers publishing before that in the likes of Colin Urquart or Jack Deere etc, etc, etc. If believers would only keep schtum that would be great.

The problem with these people is that God continuing to intervene supernaturally is an eschatological imperative, or otherwise foundational to their faith (or, in some cases, whether they can make a fast buck out of claiming such). The answer to that, inasmuch as there is one, is better teaching, in short focusing on fruit rather than gifts, and the occasional exposé.

Not simply to say "that's all finished now".
quote:
Can you quantify most?
No, but even once would be enough to overturn your theory of cessationism.

Thank you Eutychus. Aye, God must be doing all this intervention to justify our faith. When I shook my head at a small group, a woman vastly deserving of sympathy and a lot more besides said, "What's the point then?". A question you have asked more than once I recall. Her desperate circumstances needed miracles on all fronts and therefore they could happen and had to be constantly prayed for. They will NEVER happen. If they did it would be world stopping on its axis news.

I agree, once would be enough. Daytime in the middle of the night at Maine Road, anything that would have Dawkins on his knees, yes please, as soon as you like Lord. Till then cessationism is a theory on a par with evolution and quantum.

For you, me, Raptor Eye, Lamb Chopped, everybody who is invincibly convinced that they have experienced divine intervention despite the fact that they manifestly haven't.

The clergy, the (95%) guys at the front, are (95%) not educated. Period. Critically. Where it counts. The ABoC met an agnostic bloke on a plane he'd encountered before elsewhere this year and that was a miracle, "not a coincidence" (I've heard "God incidents" claimed from the front), because the first time they didn't get on and the second time they did.

No it wasn't.

This from a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Not ENOUGH? God forbid! I've asked it before and forgot the answer, where is the theology of suffering? Of Syria? Of ISIS? Of cancer? Of the Holocaust? Of dementia? Of injustice? Of onchocerciasis? Of bipolar? Of ... name it? Of meaninglessness? Of irreducibly incomprehensible complexity? Of total ignorance?

Ah well, time to make the tea.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
From the edge
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
God must be doing all this intervention to justify our faith.

I never said such a thing.
quote:
When I shook my head at a small group, a woman vastly deserving of sympathy and a lot more besides said, "What's the point then?". A question you have asked more than once I recall. Her desperate circumstances needed miracles on all fronts and therefore they could happen and had to be constantly prayed for.
And I say to you again, who are you to judge another man's servant? Why shake your head? She has to work through and be accountable for her faith, not yours. Her intellectual and existential struggles, and how she sees God answer them/rationalises it, are for her conscience to decide.

The Gypsies I know are forever telling me stories of miraculous healings. Do I shake my head at them? No. Do I encourage them in it? No.

quote:
I agree, once would be enough. Daytime in the middle of the night at Maine Road, anything that would have Dawkins on his knees, yes please, as soon as you like Lord.
You only have to open your Bible to know it wouldn't work. It wouldn't work "even if someone was raised from the dead". "Seeking signs" doesn't work. That doesn't mean there never are any.

quote:
The ABoC met an agnostic bloke on a plane he'd encountered before elsewhere this year and that was a miracle, "not a coincidence" (I've heard "God incidents" claimed from the front)
At the risk of disappointing you, I experience God-incidences from time to time. I do my best to explain them away as cognitive bias but it doesn't always work. The way I perceive it, sometimes God is in the randomness. Rarely might I talk it up into a miracle, though.

I still have a problem with your "attenuation" theory. I could see some logic in just Jesus doing miracles, but if they still happened after he left, e.g. in Acts, then there's no real reason I can see for them ceasing altogether. I just don't see them as an eschatological imperative. Do we come to Jesus just to get free bread to eat?
quote:
where is the theology of suffering?
In a nutshell, suffering comes along with the human condition of being cut off from God. God is at work from within history to bring a final end to suffering. He does so thanks to the victory of his Son over evil at the cross. He acts by his Spirit, primarily through those born of the Spirit, to that end. Any exceptional miracles along the way are not so much indications of the Kingdom being just around the corner, i.e. the more the merrier, as prophetic signs that one day it will come in fulness. And so we pray "your Kingdom come" and "deliver us from evil". That's as far as I've got.

--------------------
One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


For you, me, Raptor Eye, Lamb Chopped, everybody who is invincibly convinced that they have experienced divine intervention despite the fact that they manifestly haven't.

Would you please stop tempting me to say "Fuck off!" in Purgatory? You manifestly cannot know what my experiences have been, and to make dogmatic statements about how wrong I am, it really pisses me off.

I am not attempting to convince you that the miracle I was involved in (either one, actually) is real; in return I'd appreciate it if you would stop flatly contradicting me in spite of the fact that you weren't there.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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You could actually tell us what the experiences are so that we can evaluate them.

I'm starting to get a little fed up with people telling me they've had experiences that convince them of God's existence and intervention but not being willing to expand on them and actually tell what happened.

If that cap doesn't fit you LC, then could you post a link to a post where you've described the experiences you are alluding to here?

Two things I ask from the people who claim they've had convincing experiences.

1. what actually bloody well happened;
2. some kind of consistent theology that explains why other people have had life shit on them until it kills them with not the slightest sign of divine giving of a shit.

Until then I take these claims with a massive shovel of salt. Been disappointed too many times.

[ 17. December 2016, 19:36: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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lilBuddha
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Healthy Scepticism = I am not certain what you believe is true.

Personally, I view miracles in the same way I view accounts of Nessie. And I do not think this is a snarky comment. When being presented with accounts of the improbable, a greater degree of proof should back the claim.

The more I learn about how the human brain works, the more I distrust accounts of the incredible.*
I will not tell you that you cannot believe in miracles, but I will say that I am highly sceptical.

*And actually observed in myself and the people I encounter.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:

If that cap doesn't fit you LC, then could you post a link to a post where you've described the experiences you are alluding to here?

Yeah, being a very private person myself, I would not force this issue. And I do not think any account by another person would change your mind anyway.

However, it is maddening when people become cross that one not accept their word as bond. Even if one believes the teller believes, this does not constitute proof.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Yeah, I appreciate that, but you can't have your cake and eat it. You've got some data to present, then present it, but this vague "I've had experiences" guff seems to me to be simple moral blackmail - "believe me, else you're calling me a liar, and that's mean."

You're right an experience on its own won't go far to convince me. That's why I put point 2 up as well. I mean, if you've been - let's pick a possibility at random - healed of terminal cancer, then you must, surely, have given a lot of thought to the question "if God shows his care for me by healing me in this way, why does he apparently not care about the other millions of people who die when they get this diagnosis?"

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:

Until then I take these claims with a massive shovel of salt. Been disappointed too many times.

It is fair (and perhaps healthy and skeptical) to apply salt by the shovel-full (or given the weather, by the large yellow truck-load). That's a little different from Martin's flat "they manifestly haven't".
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I mean, if you've been - let's pick a possibility at random - healed of terminal cancer, then you must, surely, have given a lot of thought to the question "if God shows his care for me by healing me in this way, why does he apparently not care about the other millions of people who die when they get this diagnosis?"

But for me this problem goes all the way back to the NT and the pool of Bethesda. How do you think all the rest of the "multitude" felt when just one got healed?

I don't have a really straightforward explanation for why God might heal some and not others, even in the NT, let alone today. And even for the beneficiaries - what a bummer for Lazarus having to go through dying, twice.

So either you throw out the NT or you grapple with the fact that things might have been that way, theodicy and all - and might still be.

[ 17. December 2016, 20:32: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
You could actually tell us what the experiences are so that we can evaluate them.

I'm starting to get a little fed up with people telling me they've had experiences that convince them of God's existence and intervention but not being willing to expand on them and actually tell what happened.


Did you see the earlier post where I did share, as you requested? I posted the link. You didn't acknowledge.

It is not for anyone to post about personal experiences and have them disrespected, and to be insulted by people who would prefer to think that we are deluded rather than to consider that the experiences might possibly be genuine, and that thoughtful discernment has been applied. Hence the reluctance to share.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


For you, me, Raptor Eye, Lamb Chopped, everybody who is invincibly convinced that they have experienced divine intervention despite the fact that they manifestly haven't.

Would you please stop tempting me to say "Fuck off!" in Purgatory? You manifestly cannot know what my experiences have been, and to make dogmatic statements about how wrong I am, it really pisses me off.


Ditto. I'll respond to your posts tomorrow, Martin.

--------------------
Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Did you see the earlier post where I did share, as you requested? I posted the link.

Point of order - what link? I can't find one, or I've misunderstood you.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Barnabas62
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Me too. I went through all the Raptor Eye recent posts in this thread and am also mystified.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Raptor Eye
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Sorry, my bad, it was on the 'no such thing as an atheist' thread. The story is in All Saints.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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RA - I recall challenging you on another thread and you saying you'd see what you could do. I don't read every thread; if you did respond then a PM might have been a good idea. Anyway, link?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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No bother; found it. I had missed it, and to that extent I owe you an apology.

I read your post in All Saints. This is not your fault, but it just makes it worse. For some reason God will reveal himself to you, but not to me. Do you know what I sometimes think? I sometimes think there's been a colossal cosmic mistake. The Calvinists are right; the elect have been preselected from eternity, I'm not one of them, and by some weird mistake nevertheless I'm drawn to the idea of God. But he's not interested in me, because I'm on the fry list.

That's the sort of dark thought that haunts me. That God is silent because I either the universe or I have fucked up and it's sunk, lost, without hope. God has turned his face away from me and will never turn back, because I'm not destined to be one of his. I was never meant to be interested in God; I was meant to be an atheist. And something went wrong, which makes me play at belief. But it's just that; I'm the uncoordinated nerd who not only wants to be on the football team, he's not realised that he's not on it, and that's why the coach is ignoring him.

Bugger. Never meant to put this here. Tear me apart; you can do no more than has been already done.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
For some reason God will reveal himself to you, but not to me. Do you know what I sometimes think? I sometimes think there's been a colossal cosmic mistake. The Calvinists are right; the elect have been preselected from eternity, I'm not one of them, and by some weird mistake nevertheless I'm drawn to the idea of God. But he's not interested in me, because I'm on the fry list.

Karl, I am one of the people who are aware of direct contact with God, but that doesn't make me holier than those who don't have this experience. I think things are like this because otherwise I couldn't cope.

Moo

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See you later, alligator.

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Lamb Chopped
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Karl: I have posted this stuff several times (and mostly been met with an echoing silence for it), but I'm not going trawling through 19000 posts to find it for you. I'm still recovering from the car accident.

So I'll repeat it.

The first has to do with the birth of my child, and no, I'll not repeat it here because it directly impinges on the medical history of someone not myself. So blow this one off if you like. For anyone else, suffice it to say that the kid should not be here.

The second has to do with the life of my husband, who was interned in a Vietnamese prison camp for three years and escaped on the eve of his execution. And this was a classic "voice from God, walls (okay, fences) falling down" type of miracle--in other words, precisely the kind least believed by Westerners. I have had the testimony from both hostile and friendly witnesses in the camp. I also have the fact that he is still here.

To put it briefly, he and another prisoner attempted escape and were recaptured in hours--retrieved, tortured, and sentenced to death. We don't know what became of the other prisoner. Mr. Lamb was chained and his feet put in stocks inside a solitary cell created by cutting a kind of porthole-type door in a conex (metal storage container previously used for guns) that had been itself been set down in the center of the camp where it was under surveillance 24/7 (gun tower as well as ordinary guards walking around).

He spent 2-3 days there before beginning a rather extraordinary smart-ass conversation with God that ended with his feet free (though not his hands, not yet), the conex door left unlocked, the guards strangely inattentive (wot no dinner brought by tonight?) and a straight walk* out of camp--past guardhouse, past dogs, past everybody, past freaking FALLEN DOWN FENCE (and probable minefield, we can't be sure of that bit)--into the nearest village (still chained) where someone met at random at night just happened to have the correct tools to remove case hardened steel--where several other extremely odd things happened that would identify said individual and place him/her at risk, so I won't go into it--and where he actually met THE COMMANDER OF THE CAMP (while still dressed in his prison clothes) and the guy took no more notice of his own escaped prisoner but to ask him for help with his motorcycle problem.

From there he made his way to safety across Vietnam with no shoes, no decent clothes, no food, and no FREAKING ID PAPERS (this last on a bus filled with guards from the very same camp, yes). Who also took no notice of him.

And then into the future, which in his case meant being taken by the scruff of the neck and shoved into ordained ministry, just as he had promised back in that conex--though he did his damndest to wriggle out of it.

* I lie here, it wasn't a straight walk at all, as it involves several episodes of Mr. Lamb getting cocky (did I mention he's a smartass?) and telling the Lord he could handle it alone from here on out--each of which promptly ended in comic disaster (like pitching arse over teakettle into an old bomb crater with mud at the bottom, and no way to climb out with hands still chained in an inward facing position). Really, the whole freaking story told properly resembles a cross between the story of St. Peter's escape and the Three Stooges.

The story in no way reflects glory on Mr. Lamb--if anything, you end by marveling at his idiocy--but DOES demonstrate God's endless patience and reprehensible sense of humor.

Mr. Lamb did hear, some time afterward, that the guards went through that camp top to bottom trying to find the accomplice(s) who had obviously rescued Mr. Lamb, as there wasn't a chance in hell he could have escape otherwise. They also told the prisoners that Mr. Lamb had been shot trying to escape--which story was shot all to hell when a visitor to the camp let slip the fact that he was alive (my husband had (in his less than infinite wisdom) decided to do a preaching tour through the South, and somebody carried that news back to the camp). One of my in-laws (God bless him/her) shoved Mr. Lamb on a refugee boat to get him out of Vietnam, which he was busily making too hot to hold him. Idiot.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
You could actually tell us what the experiences are so that we can evaluate them.

I'm starting to get a little fed up with people telling me they've had experiences that convince them of God's existence and intervention but not being willing to expand on them and actually tell what happened.

If that cap doesn't fit you LC, then could you post a link to a post where you've described the experiences you are alluding to here?

Two things I ask from the people who claim they've had convincing experiences.

1. what actually bloody well happened;
2. some kind of consistent theology that explains why other people have had life shit on them until it kills them with not the slightest sign of divine giving of a shit.

Until then I take these claims with a massive shovel of salt. Been disappointed too many times.

Okay, you've had 1. At least as much of 1 as is not going to endanger the lives of people involved in the story, some of whom still live there.

As for 2, why the hell are you asking me? Ask God. I have no fucking idea why God would choose to save Mr. Lamb and leave his far more deserving brother behind in the camp system, for what, 10 years? until he was on the verge of circulatory collapse. Scratch that, I have an idea, but no proof, and speculation isn't what you want anyway.

Similarly I have no idea why God allowed James (his own freaking apostle!) to be killed and then got Peter out of jail with an all-bells-and-whistles style escape. Two apostles, two imprisonments, same time, very different result.

Why? I don't fucking know. God knows. I'm not idiot enough to try to answer what he has chosen not to answer.

I'm just grateful that in two cases he has chosen to do what he did. And completely clueless about why in other cases he did not. Some of which cases affect me deeply. In case you think I'm some sort of favored person who gets what she wants. Like, hell no.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
No bother; found it. I had missed it, and to that extent I owe you an apology.

I read your post in All Saints. This is not your fault, but it just makes it worse. For some reason God will reveal himself to you, but not to me.

For those still struggling to find the post in question, here it is.

Raptor Eye, if I can switch sides for a moment here, I can believe your story but it is not in the same category as turning water into wine or raising the dead. Neither are stories (of which I have some near-first-hand experience) of healthy babies being born over and against doctors' depressing prognoses. Not to dismiss them, but they are not in the same law-of-physics-breaking category as a resurrection three days after death.

(However, I still wouldn't rule the possibility of the latter category out completely today. But I'd say the odds on it occurring are inversely proportional to the presence of theology teaching that it should occur.)*

Karl, if I may I think the problem is wanting someone else's faith experience. To go back to my earlier image borrowed from Adrian Plass, the challenge is what we each have in our briefcases, not what we would like.

The worth of what's in them is not tied to the kind of miraculous occurrence we're talking about here. As Lamb Chopped correctly points out, I don't think it's orthodox to believe that Peter, walker on water, healer via shadows, etc. was somehow a better saint than John the Baptist - who it would seem failed to witness any of Jesus' miracles, lost his following because of them, and ended up being decapitated in jail on someone else's whim.

There is however (and sadly) no shortage of churches where one is made to feel inferior if one has not had this kind of experience. But I think your problem is with them rather than with the Bible narratives.

Blessed are those that have not seen and yet believe [Votive]

==

*Bethelised contacts of ours recently prayed for, nay, declared the resurrection of a beautiful young mother of five of their acquaintance who died more or less overnight from viral meningitis a few weeks ago. I almost started a Hell thread to establish the cut-off point in terms of ugliness, social standing, age (and dare I say it race?) beyond which praying for resurrections was non-U, but refrained.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Do you know what I sometimes think? I sometimes think there's been a colossal cosmic mistake. The Calvinists are right

Oh and to lighten the tone a bit here...

A Calvinist, an Arminian and a Pentecostal die and find themselves in Hell.

The Calvinist looks around him and says "oh dear, I mustn't have been one of the elect after all".

The Arminian surveys the scene and says "oh dear, I must have fallen from grace and lost my salvation".

The Pentecostal screws his eyes tight shut and shouts "I REFUSE this!!!".

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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hatless

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In such stories there is, I think, always also a decision, conscious or not, to interpret the story as being about a sense of gift. The driver walks away from the terrible car crash feeling saved, wondering what to do with the rest of life, and doesn't ask why the terrible crash happened to him in the first place.

I would say that I have a sense of life as a gift. It is amazing that I am here. Some people's stories just have better script writers.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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lilBuddha
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Stories.
A friend of mine tells the best, most grand stories. Of things he's read, of people he has met and things he has experienced. Having read, met and experienced some of those same things, I can not but conclude that he lives in a far brighter, grander world than I, even though to the perception of most we walk in the same one.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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Interesting that a lot of therapy is about narratives, and beginning with a mutilated narrative, and hoping to fill in the gaps. Of course, there are dangers here that the filling in is fiction. Ah, but is it all fiction? Not really. We can use the 'as if' method.

[ 18. December 2016, 13:12: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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no path

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Raptor Eye. Do you mean that God is active within relationship with each of us? As opposed to in interpersonal relationships with other humans? I imagine you must mean the former. I have no proof of that, but I believe it as I demonstrate by prayer and in my declaration of belief of the normative work of the Holy Ghost
(It, He, She convicts, guides, regenerates, glorifies, testifies, reveals, leads, sanctifies, empowers, fills, teaches, witnesses, fruits, distributes, anoints, washes, refreshes, unites, guarantees, frees, seals, quickens, reveals, speaks ...). Where I experience those things and more I acknowledge that as proof of the pudding, yes. I'm extremely grateful for connections, realisations, understandings, perspectives in His provision and am not sceptical of that.

Where do we differ? You had an event which you ascribe to divine intervention that I could not even if I experienced the same event, even if it would convert Richard Dawkins? That's just a trivial dispositional difference. The Spirit unites us despite that.

Perhaps we differ in the limitations we put upon God Martin? I only limit God to the extent that everything that comes from God is good, not evil. Evil is the corruption of the good. It is good that some people are healed, that some experience miracles, that some experience God's closeness. Why then would God not actively participate in these events so that they happen today? Because I or you don't think it fair?

And yet clearly some of us are convinced that events have happened to them. It is fair enough to challenge, but it is not fair enough to declare out of hand that they do or did not happen.

As to whether God is active in relationship with each of us? Yes, if we will accept it. Is God active within interpersonal relationships between us and other humans? I believe so. Why not? The nature of God is relationship.

The latest Richard Rohr book 'The Divine Dance' comes close to how I experience God. It's worth a read.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
No bother; found it. I had missed it, and to that extent I owe you an apology.

I read your post in All Saints. This is not your fault, but it just makes it worse. For some reason God will reveal himself to you, but not to me. Do you know what I sometimes think? I sometimes think there's been a colossal cosmic mistake. The Calvinists are right; the elect have been preselected from eternity, I'm not one of them, and by some weird mistake nevertheless I'm drawn to the idea of God. But he's not interested in me, because I'm on the fry list.

That's the sort of dark thought that haunts me. That God is silent because I either the universe or I have fucked up and it's sunk, lost, without hope. God has turned his face away from me and will never turn back, because I'm not destined to be one of his. I was never meant to be interested in God; I was meant to be an atheist. And something went wrong, which makes me play at belief. But it's just that; I'm the uncoordinated nerd who not only wants to be on the football team, he's not realised that he's not on it, and that's why the coach is ignoring him.

Bugger. Never meant to put this here. Tear me apart; you can do no more than has been already done.

You're loved by God as much as I am or anyone else is Karl. I hope that you know that in your heart. It is all we need to know, and to allow for.

You asked for my story on the earlier thread, and I gave it in good faith hoping that you would find it helpful. You didn't. I'm sorry. I am seriously considering some time away from the Ship.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
God must be doing all this intervention to justify our faith.

I never said such a thing.

I wasn't in any way saying that you did but I apologize for the appearance of that to you. I was badly encapsulating how people in general believe. We believe that miracles are all happening in private, in secret (as you say, the beneficiaries of the real miracles are all keeping schtum) and in Angola and South Korea and therefore that we can expect the same despite no one we know ever letting on about the real wheat but just going on about the chaff. Just keep believing despite there being no actual evidence at all, nothing that could stand up in court or a laboratory, nothing that would make Dawkins a believer. That's how we operate credulously, full of cognitive bias, of experiential reasoning. Been there, done that.
quote:

quote:

When I shook my head at a small group, a woman vastly deserving of sympathy and a lot more besides said, "What's the point then?". A question you have asked more than once I recall. Her desperate circumstances needed miracles on all fronts and therefore they could happen and had to be constantly prayed for.

And I say to you again, who are you to judge another man's servant? Why shake your head? She has to work through and be accountable for her faith, not yours. Her intellectual and existential struggles, and how she sees God answer them/rationalises it, are for her conscience to decide.

The Gypsies I know are forever telling me stories of miraculous healings. Do I shake my head at them? No. Do I encourage them in it? No.

Who's judging? What has conscience got to do with it? This was in a group with four couples each with a 'problem' child. One normal young lad with a neurotic father, three adolescent girls, one with 'mild', two with severe mental health issues one of who's Father (not the Linda Blair – Regan one) has slowest, now severe, inexorable, terminal MS. While we're wating for the miracles and praying our guts out (which is essential, it is for me, till I'm gutted, all prayed out) what else can we do? As waiting for a miracle is only slightly worse than waiting for the NHS, I recommended that we held these things in common, that now we all knew and that the whole church should and implied that they were all shared resposibilities. I related how I'd maxed out my credit card getting private psychological counselling (i.e. from a clinician, not an aromatherapist) for a close family member and it did a world of good. Funnily enough two of the middle class couples availed themselves of such non-miraculous but surprisingly effective help in creating headspace and hope. One of the other parents received two private offers of help.

We are Christ's arms and wallets now after all.
quote:

quote:

I agree, once would be enough. Daytime in the middle of the night at Maine Road, anything that would have Dawkins on his knees, yes please, as soon as you like Lord.

You only have to open your Bible to know it wouldn't work. It wouldn't work "even if someone was raised from the dead". "Seeking signs" doesn't work. That doesn't mean there never are any.

Well said. The Maine Road Miracle would be completely wrongly interpreted by everyone. Blessed are the cheesemakers after all. So they'd have to be less than that. And they are always less than an amputee getting a limb back – even Jesus didn't do that, although He could make eyes pop back after a couple of goes, the withered arm is on its way to that; lepers being made whole, paraplegics walking, the terminally deranged healed as if they had never been traumatized. There are NEVER any like those. You know, proper miracles. So the ones that there can be must be less. Must be ambiguous. But still nonetheless miraculous. What makes a bad back easing off a miracle apart from the sufferer's relief?
quote:

quote:

The ABoC met an agnostic bloke on a plane he'd encountered before elsewhere this year and that was a miracle, "not a coincidence" (I've heard "God incidents" claimed from the front)

At the risk of disappointing you, I experience God-incidences from time to time. I do my best to explain them away as cognitive bias but it doesn't always work. The way I perceive it, sometimes God is in the randomness. Rarely might I talk it up into a miracle, though.

I've had them too. Got one that still stops me in my tracks. The dog in the night. And another I didn't question that went of for days not long before in my cultic 'Auf wiedersehen, Pet' days. I could make money with it and the dog on the circus, sorry circuit. The randomness is in God I'd say. Always. And I WANT to say and NEED to say that I'm ENCOURAGED by you. And I am. That given the unbridgable gulf of disposition between us, we are finding a way. I don't know what that is yet. But there HAS to be one, in Christ, despite our different universes. I've been moved in your direction on pacifism as you'll have seen recently.
quote:

I still have a problem with your "attenuation" theory. I could see some logic in just Jesus doing miracles, but if they still happened after he left, e.g. in Acts, then there's no real reason I can see for them ceasing altogether. I just don't see them as an eschatological imperative. Do we come to Jesus just to get free bread to eat?

The rapid, exponential attenuation is a fact of the texts and Christian experience since. The half life seems pretty steep. From zero to hero for a three and a half year period, sustained at that level for months in Peter (NOT James, NOT Stephen) a little in Philip maybe, then the rarer peaks for the next thirty years around Paul, then nothing. In my dispositional view and many here. Your milage will vary. I see nothing in church history whatsoever. You may. That's unbridgably dispositional, we are invincibly ignorant of each others epistemology.
quote:

quote:

where is the theology of suffering?

In a nutshell, suffering comes along with the human condition of being cut off from God. God is at work from within history to bring a final end to suffering. He does so thanks to the victory of his Son over evil at the cross. He acts by his Spirit, primarily through those born of the Spirit, to that end. Any exceptional miracles along the way are not so much indications of the Kingdom being just around the corner, i.e. the more the merrier, as prophetic signs that one day it will come in fulness. And so we pray "your Kingdom come" and "deliver us from evil". That's as far as I've got.

I'll amen to that. How were we cut off by the way?

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Love wins

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Lamb Chopped
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Eutychus, death was involved (doctor said so). That's as far as I can go with the details of that particular story, which nobody needs to credit. But it was past the level of "unlikely birth."

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Eutychus
From the edge
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
nothing that could stand up in court or a laboratory, nothing that would make Dawkins a believer.

But miracles aren't how we believe anyway. Did you miss that bit? It's in the Bible. They wouldn't believe even if somebody rose from the dead. And they didn't.
quote:
Funnily enough two of the middle class couples availed themselves of such non-miraculous but surprisingly effective help in creating headspace and hope.
I agree that it is the height of hypocrisy to go on about healing and resort to other methods oneself. Our family history is marked by a more-charismatic-than-thou family who looked down on us for using paracetamol for the kids, were eager to attend and publicise a healing meeting, but wouldn't take their small child suffering terribly from eczema to it 'because they wouldn't want her to go through that kind of circus'.
quote:
We are Christ's arms and wallets now after all.
And yet, and yet, over dinner Mrs Eutychus and I have complied our shortlist of what we consider good first-hand experiences of healing.

Mostly what the French call bobologie (minor medical issues/injuries), no limb regrowth.

Often, like Nathan, not implemented in line with out preferences (a serious burn on my wife's hand healed without a trace thanks to an secret Catholic saint's prayer passed down through her au pair family line). But there nonetheless. And many others of similar magnitude in our immediate entourage. But I repeat, we simply don't make a fuss about these things.
quote:
I've had them too. Got one that still stops me in my tracks.
AHA.
quote:
The rapid, exponential attenuation is a fact of the texts and Christian experience since. The half life seems pretty steep.
OK, I prefer "half-life" to "none at all". If you think about it there weren't that many to start with. How many individual cases in the NT (I'm sure Power Healing has a list). Less than 100 at a guess. I suppose if you see the Incarnation as a massive stone dropped into a pond, of which healing was explicitly prophesied to be a sign, there could be ripples spreading outwards.

Which would be enough to account for the testimonies offered by various people here without dismissing them out of hand (you may not have noticed the Hell thread has been revived, by the way).
quote:
How were we cut off by the way?
See here and get back to me.

[ 18. December 2016, 18:35: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

Posts: 16985 | From: 528491 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
[QB]
We believe that miracles are all happening in private, in secret (as you say, the beneficiaries of the real miracles are all keeping schtum) and in Angola and South Korea and therefore that we can expect the same despite no one we know ever letting on about the real wheat but just going on about the chaff. Just keep believing despite there being no actual evidence at all, nothing that could stand up in court or a laboratory, nothing that would make Dawkins a believer. That's how we operate credulously, full of cognitive bias, of experiential reasoning. Been there, done that.

You know, I'm done here. I've wasted my time. I'm going to go take my pain meds and lie down.

I have nothing left to say to you.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 19956 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Eutychus, death was involved (doctor said so). That's as far as I can go with the details of that particular story, which nobody needs to credit. But it was past the level of "unlikely birth."

Past the level of "he stinketh, for he hath been dead three days"? I doubt it.

Speaking as one who has prayed, faithlessly, over the fast-cooling body of a dead child, and opted not to when it was that child's mum's turn, in the same hospital, with the bereaved father-just-turned-widower in attendance, just a few years later.

[x-post]

[ 18. December 2016, 18:35: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

Posts: 16985 | From: 528491 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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I'm an idiot for even mentioning what i cannot give all the details for. Erase, delete, forget it.

But the other one..

Seriously, i feel like i laid a great big turd in the middle of the thread and everyone's carefully walking around it. Will nobody have the guts to address it?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 19956 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Well, I've been out all day. Been to the Deep in Hull with the kids to see the fish.

I think, LC, and RE, that all I can say is yes, you've told me the story. And it's proved what someone said upthread - that I'm seeming to want to believe on someone else's faith, and it just won't work. Not your fault, either of you. There are two reactions I can have; two responses. I can take it at face value, and question why God is so absent from my experience, or I can find various "ah yes, but...". And indeed, like a quantum superimposition I can do both at the same time. Neither really helps me; my own experience remains atheistic. My challenge was a mistake, because it resolved nothing. Forgive me.

This is out of place in Purg. I've derailed this thread enough with my own faith crises.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17444 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
hatless

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# 3365

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'm an idiot for even mentioning what i cannot give all the details for. Erase, delete, forget it.

But the other one..

Seriously, i feel like i laid a great big turd in the middle of the thread and everyone's carefully walking around it. Will nobody have the guts to address it?

There are many stories from wartime of unlikely escapes, of guards cutting their usual route short that night, of the soldier checking papers who gets off the carriage just before he gets to the escaper, of the remote house that is empty and has clothes and food in it, and so on. Because when the guards did their job properly, when the ID was checked, when there was no safe house, then the story is not told, and probably the story teller is dead.

For Mr Lamb and those who love him, it must feel great. But some are shot, some recaptured, some die in the camps, and of course there's the whole business of being caught in the first place. There's a news story today that says Anne Franck was probably not betrayed by a neighbour, but caught because of a search for coupon fraud, or some routine thing. People get shot by bullets that pass through tiny holes. We don't call that miraculous. People get hit and killed by bullets fired in the air at weddings in countries where this is the fashion. How unlucky is that! Why fasten on long-odds good fortune, when there is at least as much long-odds misfortune?

It's good to feel life is a gift. It's good to feel you've been given a purpose, called, equipped. I feel all these things, not because I had a lucky turn of events, not because it was so improbable that my parents met, or that sperm and egg did their thing, but just because life is amazing, I am unique (just like everyone else), and no one else can live my live my life.

I'm not, to be honest, very impressed by the interventionist God, who seems to me to be trapped in everlasting time, and stuck outside the world, nose against heaven's window, just occasionally reaching in to do a few questionable tweaks. I'm impressed by a God in the natural and probabilistic world, whose presence is not indicated by infelicitous events, but by the reliable character of the world, and whose presence as an actor within the world is entangled with the humans he makes room for and gives freedom to by his grace. And I find it more important to ask how I must respond to God in the ordinary, than to wait for some flashy wonder to happen near me.

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My crazy theology in novel form

Posts: 4483 | From: Stinkers | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Will nobody have the guts to address it?

What do you want us to say?

If it's dismissed or rationalised, then you will call us to Hell.

If it's accepted, then what good does that do?

It could be seen as justification for my working theory that God occasionally does do extraordinary things, but that isn't going to convince Karl; why should it? It didn't happen to him. And you might yell at me, but I could rationalise it. It doesn't require a law-of-physics-breaking intervention by God.

And while I don't agree with his tone, I think hatless is right to argue that we should be focusing on mundanity rather than the extraordinary in our day-to-day faith. The usual result is more often John the Baptist than Peter.

Like I said earlier, in a lot of ways it would be easier to cope with if there were no escaped Peter, no multitude left behind unhealed at Bethesda, but those problems are right there in Scripture.

I believe this kind of stuff can happen, but I wouldn't like to have it as the lynchpin in my faith. Blessed is he who has not seen and yet believes.

There is no theological legitimacy for holding out the prospect of such things as a certainty to those who believe.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

Posts: 16985 | From: 528491 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'm an idiot for even mentioning what i cannot give all the details for. Erase, delete, forget it.

But the other one..

Seriously, i feel like i laid a great big turd in the middle of the thread and everyone's carefully walking around it. Will nobody have the guts to address it?

Hey, see my reply in Hell.

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Love wins

Posts: 16587 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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ETA: [before crosspost, to Eutychus:]

Why the fuck should I call you to Hell?

I don't in fact expect most of you to believe it. Perhaps any of you, who knows. And I don't expect to be hurt if that's the case, either. My own grandparents who knew us couldn't believe it. What then should I expect of you?

I posted the story because I'm tired of hearing people say or imply "Such things don't happen, witness the fact that nobody I know or trust ever tells such a story." (Yeah, I flatter myself that I might have a smidgen of credibility with some of you. Or once did.)

So I've told the story. That's enough. I've told it, you all have heard it, and you can process it however you want to. I was pissed with Martin, not for doubting me, but for blowing me off. I don't see any of you blowing me off here. Right?

The story is just one more tiny bit of data to push around the chessboard here. Do as you like with it. Just don't blow me off.

[ 18. December 2016, 22:07: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 19956 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged



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