Wow, I'm happy to see such a pleasant response, Killer AK, I usually am not so lucky.
First of all, GSH literally said not to keep derailing this topic in this direction but what the hay. I find this far more interesting than the rant about a hypothetical BZ3. I'll try to answer the questions you raised but do forgive the fact that my knowledge is quite limited in some areas. I used to have a Bible, it's around here somewhere I'm sure, Lord only knows
where it might've ended up.
-->I can't really comment here because i believe your missing the other half of this paragraph in defining these people. That whole last sentence seemed like a quote from Richard Dawkins. I have only really met Atheists claiming to be satanists where as listed in Wikipedia there's 9 or so factions of it all. Which are Satanists and DO exercise certain beliefs, including the belief in Satan himself.
I was probably thinking of Dawkins when I typed that out but to be honest I haven't been really keeping up with him. I suppose I did leave that paragraph somewhat unfinished but that's because of an honest gap in my own knowledge, I just don't feel comfortable stepping too far into hypothesis on some things so I left it at what I could reasonably say for certain.
--> Actually I found I had a lot in common with the Satanists I met with the exception of one point. They were Atheists Only in my books. The one thing I admired about them though is that unlike Atheists they admit they have power regardless if it's power of the mind, or by objects or deeds. It's still faith based.
Needless of course with Christian ideology I question why they would call themselves Satanists only to cause confusion. They should have called themselves light bulbs or something else.
Heh, I'm glad to hear that! I live by the philosophy that most people are good people until proven otherwise. I think a good name for this brand of Satanists might be "Luciferian" or something, since Lucifer comes from Greek and means "shining one", supposedly the name of Satan before he was cast out (though some will argue he was Samael, which makes better sense since it matches other angelic names and angels weren't from Greece, last I heard). I think Luciferian fits well with the idea of Satan-as-the-good guy, even if it's being used as a metaphor and not genuinely, it also fits with your light bulb thing (even if that was a joke).
--> God gave four curses in the bible at the Garden of Eden story. One to Man, One to Woman, One to the Snake, and One to the Devil. How would you bridge that to what you just said?
You've stumped me there, I do not recall this being a part of the story. Not that I'm not familiar with it, oh no, I've heard it all too many
times is all. I've heard interpretations ranging from the Tree of knowledge being Satan and eating the fruit of the tree being an unsavoury euphemism
... to interpretations where the story is purely metaphorical and represents ancient man leaving it's tribal culture to discover technology and the world beyond only to start countless centuries of war and sin and suffering in the process.
I remember two of the curses, women being cursed with painful childbirth (real unfair, God) and the snake being cursed with a lack of legs and having to eat nothing but ash for all its days (is that right? it's a very odd curse if so). Both of these things have fairly well documented scientific explanations (some snakes still have their legs! they're just completely useless) but I'll not touch on that since I don't know your personal view on evolution. I like to think that when it is said God created all the things on Earth it is referring to the creation of a single cell from which all life did evolve. The current Pope holds a similar view IIRC, Pope Francis is a cool dude. One of the first Popes in a very long time who has tried to live his life by the teachings of Christ, a very noble man.
--> You might enjoy a study between bibles versions. I ended up a KJV only person for a lot of years but realized it's more what the KJV was translated off of that being the Textus Receptus. You learn a lot of history in that, including stuff you don't want to know.
I'll look that up! The last time I heard anyone talking about different versions of the Bible they were translating an originally Latin part of the new testament into Hebrew to try to prove Jesus predicted Barrack Obama being the devil. Needless to say I haven't been to truting of different versions of the Bible since that
headscratcher but I'll check this one out.
--> Christians who are into the study of the stars, know about the similarities between the different religions. The problem here is the whole redemption story was told in the stars. And according to Christian beliefs it was corrupted by the devil seeing the things of God are a mockery to the devil. And I could get into bible verses at this point. Needless to say Christianity would always say that this has always been around since the beginning...and it's every other religion that copied Christianity-Judaism.
That being set aside for the moment but still on topic Christians and Jews never claimed to be the oldest religion. We as in the guys I hung around always thought the Babylonian Religion was the oldest. but even though that religion wasn't the oldest per-se because other cultures had religions that are said to date older. The reason being is that the Babylonians had an amalgamation of a whole bunch of beliefs that predate the noahs ark flood. Some people call their religion Paganism, but I always thought of it something a little more different.
My mother, formerly a Mormon, believes that all religions are imperfect but still mostly correct versions of the same idea of the worlds beyond. Much of what I believe in comes from her and I'm thankful for that, I'm fortunate to have had such a positive figure in my life, I know many families aren't as lucky. The idea that it's been the same religion from the beginning, when primitive humans were drawing their history on the cave walls and praising the spirits of the wind and sea and night has always just resonated with me. The names of the players change but the story remains the same.
Paganism is a very general term, it comes from Greek and meant "the religion of the woods" referring to what "savages" beyond Greece worshiped. In modern times it has pretty well come to refer to any faith with multiple gods, from the Nordic religion to the ancient Greeks themselves.
The Noahs Ark story has some interesting history behind it, some historians think it was actually a romanticized account of the flooding of the Black Sea! We're given the rough dimensions of the boat in cubits, after all, so it's safe to say there wasn't room for all
the world's animals, it could certainly have fit the local fauna from the now sunken valley, though. Regardless as to whether or not you believe it was a real event I do hope you're implying you believe the 6000-year-old-Earth story is hogwash. It was a Catholic priest that made that prediction centuries ago, using incomplete information and living in a time when the Earth was still flat. The Universe is too magnificent to believe it's only been around 6000 years.
Human civilization? Sure, that's a very close estimate and makes some sense, but no way the Earth is that young, not when we know with all certainty that the stars in in the night sky are millions of lightyears beyond us. At the very best you could say that when God created the universe, he made it act as though it had always
been there. If that's the case though, then what's the difference to us?
--> The problem is people associating Christianity to justify their war. In times past. It was more a culture things, and to legitimize it they Christianized it. I have never been able to find a compromise between the two as of yet. On the one hand a dude like Hitler had to be stopped. On the other hand "Do violence to no man". And how do you know the politicians are telling you the truth? Really tough topic.
Sadly, even within the Bible itself we see war frequently glorified, especially the old testament where Hebrew scholars felt the need to record their conquests within their holy scripture. Like it or not, this was a book written by fallible humans. Their soldiers go off to war, to r*pe and pillage a neighboring city-state, and when they come back victorious they believe it had been God's will that they succeeded rather than the very simple equation of better weapons and more warriors versus a small and feeble peasant army. So they record it in the book as God's will, and future generations are left to hang their heads in shame. Many modern Judaist/Hebrew scholars believe that much of the old testament records a very dark time in their history, a time when God had abandoned them and left them to wallow in their foolish sins.
Hitler set out to rid Europe of the Jews, originally by deporting them en masse, but when no one would take them he decide it best to just exterminate. This was a very dark time in history, terrifying to know it was less than a century ago that Christians saw Jews as evil Jesus-hating heretics. They weren't even seen as the same race, it was very much an issue of them being thought of as alien in both faith and heritage. I'd like to think that the world has learned but it hasn't, there are still people who think like the Nazis did, people who will praise a game like Bioshock Infinite as being a perfect representation of how whites are the master race, completely ignorant of the satire in the game.
I'm not sure what the real answer to violence is but I know I don't believe in a Hell, not even for Hitler. I can't reconcile in my mind the idea of a place where punishment is eternal, it is no consolation for those wronged to know that anyone is suffering endlessly in a realm where pain has lost all meaning. If there is an afterlife waiting for us I have no doubt there'd be judgment as well but that judgement should come in having to seek out the forgiveness of each and every other soul that you wronged in life. If there is a hell, I will tell you now that God can strike me down into it for the rest of all existence because I WILL NOT be content to spend eternity in the clouds, I WILL NOT enter into the Grand Designer's loving embrace, and I WILL NOT accept ANY final reward if I know that EVEN A SINGLE SOUL
is cursed to spend eternity in a nightmare from which they cannot wake. No one is passed redemption, anyone who believes so doesn't understand the meaning of the word faith.
There cannot be a Hell, there cannot be a Satan, and there cannot exist a battle between good and evil. These are human concepts that originated in our own inability to comprehend the divine, they are stories intended to comfort us when we feel wronged, to tell us that the reason bad things happen is because there is a dark force that wills it upon us. I know in my heart, though, that there is no comfort for me in thinking that an all-loving God could punish it's own children for exercising the free will it gave them.
This is what I believe to be the truth. I don't expect anyone to agree, I merely hold hope that someone else will understand.
P.S. This was supposed to be a fun little discussion but now I've gone and made myself all sad. Honestly, if GSH moves this I won't complain, I think I wanna talk about something else now.