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Feedback #18

Names and e-mail addresses have been witheld to protect the guilty. If you recognise your letter here, and wish to have your name and address displayed, feel free to contact me.

Received: 8/10/99

I personaly would like to thank you for your site, although you are a non-believer in the coming events that will utterly change your entire life---even your existance..... your site has led me to other information that I was unaware of.... I probably have a few that you should post as well.  I do have to admit, there are a lot of wild and crazy ideas out there,  some I even get a chuckle out of myself.  But for the most part--- living in this crazy world today---  all you have to do is read the Bible to know that we are the generation that will live to see the end of the world ( or at least the end to what we consider our way of life )  Personally,  I feel like any one who so much as watches the news or picks up the paper and really pays attention to the headlines, will also come to understand-- why this way we are living MUST come to an end.  The Lord has a much better plan for us all.

Thanks for your message. I can understand how you feel - after all, I believed the very same things for many years. I was convinced that we were definitely living in the last generation, just a few years from the end of the age. Of course, as I studied a little more, I came to realize that every generation of Christians from the time of the early Church appears to have believed the same thing. They all could point to specific signs and events that they were sure heralded the end of all things.

I began to see that these things were not really in the Bible, but rather in our interpretation of the text. For example, many believers are of the opinion that the Bible predicts a one-world government, and a cashless society. However, I doubt that many of them have actually taken the time to find out where these things are written in the Bible. The short answer is that they are not. They are merely interpretations that some sects of Christianity put on a few selected verses, usually taken out of context.

Anyway, I respect your right to believe the things you do, just as you seem to respect my right to not believe in them. I wish you all the best for the future.

Received: 7/29/99

Thank you for your views on christianity, and I respect your conclussion on why you became an agnostic. BUT I beleive it is unfair to make this comment

    "I finally began to recognize my own arguments applied by Mormons to the Book of Mormon, and by Muslims to the Koran. There was no difference"

about the Koran " yes! I am a muslim that has taken an interest in your views for the sake of knowledge, you have shown sections out of the Bible and the Book of morman and reffered to history to come to your conclussion, you have NO evidence shown here to make that statement about the Koran.

As a matter of interest to you, over 80% of athiests and agnostics are from christian upbrinings, and you have proven why!

Thank you for your time in reading this mail.

I rarely mention the Koran, because I know comparatively little about it, at least when compared to how much I know about the Bible and the Book of Mormon. However, I have read the Koran (in English, of course ;-) several times, and I found nothing therein that would indicate that it came from the Mind of God.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I found the Koran to be confused, repetitive and largely dependant on Jewish and Christian mythology.

However, if you feel that you can advance some proof of its divinity, then feel free to share it with me. I never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Received: 7/24/99

Very good site you have here! Some good work and writings. I thought you might find interesting a site which refutes 143 contradictions. I found the refutations to be mostly added qualifiers to explain away the problems. If the Bible is inerrant it should not need creative qualifiers to alter the verses into a more understandable form. Some refutations are workable because some of the contradictions are weak but most of the contradictions are valid in my opinion. I know some of my personal favorite contradictions were addressed here but not very well. I'm sure you will find many of your favorites here too. You may notice that it is a woman who does the refuting in some of these. Interesting in that a woman is not supposed to have authority over men in these issues according to the inspired Paul. In any case I hope you will enjoy these rationalizations-they are funny and annoying at the same time. http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~werdna/contradictions/cindex.html  

Thanks for the tip.  

You are quite right - many of these rationalizations are quite weak. For example, in trying to reconcile the problem of the variant birth narratives, the author claims that Luke simply did not record the flight to Egypt, which supposedly occurred after the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and the return to Nazareth. Had this person even bothered to open a Bible, they would quickly have found that this solution does not work. Luke specifically states that the family returned to Nazareth immediately after their visit to the Temple (Luke 2:39).  

I still hold that the Bible makes much more sense when we allow it to simply speak for itself. For example, it is quite obvious that there are two completely different birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. Rather than try to invent artificial solutions to his problem, it makes more sense to try and find the reasons why such a contradiction would exist. In this case, it seems that the authors of Matthew and Luke were aware of the popular opinion that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and thus contrived to have Jesus born in that city. They happened to choose two completely different stories for this purpose, however, most likely because they never dreamed that their books would one day appear n the same collection (assuming that they were even aware of each other).  

Received: 7/20/99

I was browsing through several sites on atheism/agnosticism, when I came across yours. I read the page entitled "My Story". Your story is mine also, almost word for word, including the Baptist upbringing. It is inspiring to know that one is not alone in the struggle for reality. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put your story and yours and others ideas on the web.

Received: 7/19/99

Thank you for providing such an insightful and valuable service to the world with your annotated Book of Mormon.  You raise many pertenant and relevant questions about the validity and soundness of the LDS faith.  Keep up the good work.

Received: 7/15/99

I have seen your site and I am impressed with the amount of attention you have put to it.  I don't wish to debate with you.  Only to pass along some information.  It seems that your history and mine are very similar.  I used to believe as you do.  I do not think you would feel the same way though if you had the same experiences that I have had.  You see my problems began when I tried to find out why the jew does not believe in Jesus.  If you every find yourself curious enough, you might enjoy this study.  Be careful though.  Looking at this topic through the eyes of a jew, may cause you to change your web site.

May Adoni bless you and keep you.  May he make his face shine on you. And may you find the peace that Yeshuah's blood purchased.

I would be interested to know how this would change my mind. Can you tell me a little more about it?

Received: 7/19/99

It's so refereshing to see your site. An attempt to present truth without the baggage of having to study! The obvious pride you take in avoiding leaning the languages of the texts you criticisze is marvelously freeing. WOW! What liberation to criticize without knowing what you are talking about. Great! Wish I'd thought of that. Have any of you told your employers this new innovation in human thought? Just think, they could pay you for knowing nothing. Intellectual and economic freedom. This is revolutionary.

Ah, Sarcasm. The last resort of the ignorant. Let's see, in this here passage, you accuse me, as near as I can tell, of not learning the language of the texts that I criticize. Now, I'm sure you would have provided examples of how this makes my analysis incomplete. So, let's have a look at those examples, then. Hmm...don't seem to be any. Oh well, I'm sure it's just a minor oversight on your part. On to the next...

(Just for the record, by the way, I did take a few semesters of New Testament Greek at Bible College).

The other freedom you indulge in is the absolute use of generalities. One might get the impression from you who proclaim you do not need to know the language of the texts you criticize or the historical setting or the (fill in the blank) that you in fact have something to say or perhaps worth hearing. Then you spring the surprise and use generalities casting uninformed doubt on the entire vocabulary of those languages you proudly state you do not need to know. Astounding. In the end, you put this on the internet for everyone in the world to see. This is the ultimate liberation that from shame, concern for reputation or personal dignity or doing one's homework or (fill in the blank). The capacity to take pride in knowing nothing is admirable. All the work, disappointment, and pain most of us could avoid in adopting your avante garde stance. How could hubris (that's a Greek word, oh, never mind) be sinful since it's worked so well for you?

Let's see, in this passage, I am accused of...well something, I guess, but it's not at all clear what that might be. Near as I can make out, you accuse me of not learning the language of the texts I deal with (which, by the way you had already mentioned - try not to repeat yourself), and also of not learning the historical context of the passages that I exegete. Of this, I'm sure, you must have provided some examples, so let's have a look at them....Well, still don't seem to be any.

Once more, I assume, just a minor oversight, since I am quite sure that someone with your obvious intelligence and erudition would know that making unsubstantiated accusations makes one seem a little foolish.

Such rawness of nerve, of just "putting it out there", leaves me of less stature on this issue breathless. The last time I saw that was in a 2 year old; in an adult it was Bill Clinton one January day last year and before Bill, Ted Kennedy on 7/18/69.

You are doing so well. I implore you to keep it up because you make the task so easy just ask Josh MacDowell.

May the God you don't believe in bless you. And may He see in your efforts the humor I've seen.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Come again anytime.

Received: 7/19/99 (in response to above)

So you did take some Greek. Then pray tell, why you do not mention the same in the articles wherein you go to great lengths to state one does need the languages to understand the text. And why have you not at least in the articles used what you have learned? Is there a problem here? Given your position, by extensiuon, one need not know the history nor anything else about the era in which the text was written to understand it. The question arises as to why use secndary sources or worse when there is a better option, the "best evidence?"

The point of my humor was to show the fallacy of your approach, your presumptions, not to critique your examples directly. It is an exercise in futility given your suppositions. The ultimate ignorace is to not to use what you have or is it deception. It is deception when you present that anyone who can simply read English can understand what are very complex textual/historical/social/cultural issues.

The comments I made are not simply dismissable by your labeling, which is simply a propaganda technique. The criticism stands for you and those who believe your technique is hermeneutically sound.

Actually, I am not surprised at your reaction. Given your unsound methodology of not using all the tools avaialable in undersanding an ancient document in what you admit are problematic passages, why should you give a contemporary any better treatment? Again, you've found a method for understanding ancient difficult complex issues without studying and you're apparently happy with this; so, how very freeing it must be for you. And then you put it on the net apparently expecting accolades for doing so because when humorously critiqued you react like this. WOW! What is it you do not get?

Then the whole endeavor starts making sense when you reveal that you attended a Bible college. Which one was it? What indeed happened?

Please point out where I "go to great lengths to state one does need the languages to understand the text". I really have no idea what you are talking about.

I think you will find that where occasion demands a deeper understanding of the original languages I have stated so. I'm really not sure what your point is.

Also, you still have not given any examples of places where my reasoning is insufficient. It is all very well and good to complain about the "fallacy of my approach" and so on, but unless you can actually point to concrete examples of where my assumptions invalidate my arguments, we are never going to get anywhere.

Not to be difficult, but I don't have a lot of time to spend on pointless debates. I am going to have to ask you to either put up or shut up. Please pick one example anywhere from my pages, and explain what it is that you are talking about.

Received: 7/14/99

I see you have listed many future dates in your web page:
http://www.primenet.com/~heuvelc/skeptic/predictions.htm The Doomsday List
How about listing the past date of April 26 1986, the day starting the Chornobyl disaster, as a satisfied prophecy?

In fact, look twice at theword.htm. You may find it has some satisfying non-mystical interpretations to explain religions!

Please examine my few pages, where I present these novel ideas. -- "Glenn Scheper Knows!" -- Homepage of Glenn Scheper. Links to over 46 thousand christian, gnostic, mystery, prophecy, revelation, and end-times web pages.

http://www.hughes.net/~scheper/prophecy.htm -- "Biblical Prophecies correlated with Modern Objects" -- Showing first that Ezekiel's beasts, lightnings, wings and wheels are an automobile engine. Shows too how the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster fulfills Gog and Magog, the Armageddon event.

http://www.hughes.net/~scheper/theword.htm -- "The Word of God; The Production of Christ." -- A radical epistemology sufficient to usher in an epoch: the Word of God as sex-magic autofellatio. You will be amazed how much support can be adduced to the idea.

I read your page with some interest, but I have to say that I cannot follow your logic. In several places, you use passages taken from the Bible (specifically the Book of Daniel) in a manner which suggests that you are unaware of the context that surrounds these passages, and gives them meaning. I would suggest that you consult a good, liberal commentary on Daniel to find out what these dreams and visions actually mean. Try this link for starters.  

Received: 7/14/99

If you truly don't believe why go through the trouble of building this web site and asking all of these questions? 

I never claimed to have "all the answers". I freely acknowledge that there are many questions that I cannot answer. However, I do point out that Christianity and the Bible have no answers either.

You shouldn't have to debate and ask questions and get reassurance from others if you are certain you have all of the answers.  Instead of questioning believers or God you should question your need for answers. 

Why should I "question my need for answers"? It is a basic human impulse to ask "why". My four year old son does it all the time, and he can't even spell "epistemology". Perhaps you should question your need to find answers in a book written by mere men that is thousands of years out of date.

I've been where you are now and I've only been a Christian for a few months so I'm not an expert on the Bible.  What I can tell you is without faith you have nothing.  There is no amount of human knowledge, reasoning, or science that can bring about faith. 

Quite true. But then, there is no amount of faith that can cure an infection, nor allow the blind to see and the deaf to hear, nor allow infertile couples to have children, nor allow men to walk on the face of the Moon, nor allow robots to roam the paths between Giant Jupiter and her Moons. Do you see my point? Religion has done nothing to better humankind's quality of life - only Science can perform these wonders.

It is something that only comes when you are at the end of your rope and have no one to turn to but God.  And God Is Always Faithful.

You may want to tell that to the 1,500 victims of the Titanic, men, women, children and helpless infants, who went to their deaths begging for God's help. Did he simply choose not to hear? Was it all part of his cruel plan? Did he enjoy watching innocent people suffer and die horribly? Or, did these earnest prayers simply fly out into the void, never to connect with an intelligent mind. I prefer the latter.

I know the concept of sending some one to hell for not believing is hard to accept or understand, but We Make The Choice.  God can not force us to believe.  God can not force us to behave.  But God is willing to save us from ourselves.  If we reject God even when we know better we must deal with the consequences.  God Does Not Want Us To Go To Hell.  

If God did not want to send us to Hell, then he would not have made such a place. Or, are you arguing that God is not all-powerful? The concept of Hell is without doubt one of the most reprehensible, morally inexcusable and infantile concepts that should never have seen the light of day. Were I God, I would be extremely angry if anyone accused me of such a heinous thought.

I know you won't believe it, but you are endangering your soul,  and I suspect that do you know better.  But as I said before knowledge is not enough.  I'll give you a hint.  Look at the course human beings are on and tell me what you see?  Wars, famine, poverty, the possibility of nuclear destruction.  Now tell me what is the solution?

Beside actually feeding the starving and employing the poor (or did that part not occur to you?) the solution in many cases is to abolish religion. All over the world, religious hatred and intolerance are responsible for untold suffering and misery. Other religious groups with enormous influence over the poor will forbid them to use contraception, because it violates some mystical (that is, mythical) command of God. I assure you, God had nothing at all to do with it, and could not care less if a woman uses birth control or not.

If you are going to suggest that all we need to stave off nuclear holocaust, fight famine and enrich the poor is Jesus, then I'm afraid that you are hopelessly naive.

Received: 7/21/99 (in response to above)

You say you never claimed to have all of the answers and yet you are certain the Bible and Christianity don't have any?

It depends on what the questions are. If the questions involve our ultimate origins, and the origin of this Cosmos, then the Bible has no answers - only myths. If, on the other hand, the question is "how should we behave toward our fellow man?" then the Bible does have answers - unfortunately, mostly the wrong ones. The Bible teaches genocide, murder, slavery, denigration of women, death to homosexuals and non-believers, intolerance and hate.

One of the few points of sanity in the morass of Biblical "ethics" was Jesus' statement that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, and do unto others as we would have done to us. This is the only sound basis of any system of humanist ethics. However, these very same principles were taught for hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. They are certainly not unique to Christianity.

If the Bible is out of date why do millions of people everyday turn to it for answers?  Something in that book must make sense to them.  If it were so without merit it would have tossed aside years ago.

So, you are of the opinion then that the Koran is the one true Word of God? After all, it has been read, revered and diligently memorized for almost 1,400 years now. "If it were so without merit it would have been tossed aside years ago."

Yes, science can be a good thing, but I was referring to spiritual needs.  I believe in science, but I also believe
in a God who has given us the gift of reason so that we can walk on the moon.  I believe in evolution, but not without God.  Science can not address the problem of sin.  Science may give us the ability to feed the world, but it can not compel us to do it; nor is food for the body enough.  Our souls need to be nourished as well.  Science has given us the power to destroy the planet.  It can not compel us to love each other, nor can it atone for our sins. 

Quite correct - but then that is not the provenance of Science, nor has it ever been. Science is nothing more than a search for answers. It is also a highly successful method of determining truth from falsehood. But Science has nothing to say about morality, nor ethics, nor love nor hate. It is neutral in all these domains. These questions can only be addressed by a system of ethics that places humans, not god, as the primary focus of human concerns. No one will save us. Not god, nor the angels, nor even the aliens. We must strive to save ourselves, for that is all we can do.

The Bible does not say, if you believe in God you will not suffer.  "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I
will have compassion on whom I have compassion,"(Romans 9:15)To say that God is faithful is to say that God never breaks a promise.  If God intends for someone to live they will live.  How do you know it was not their time to die? I can't always get what I want, but if I trust God I will get what I need.  If I pray to be healed and the sickness is not taken away I still know my prayer has been answered. God may choose to heal my spirit instead of my body or use me as an example to help others.  And besides this, there is more to us then just a body.  Even if I die I know I will be better off because I will be with God.

Has it ever occurred to you that you would get precisely the same set of results if you simply didn't pray? How does praying make any difference at all, if the outcome is precisely the same, anyway?

And it is true if you push God to the limit by refusing to listen to Him He will turn His back on you, but not forever; never forever.  If it were forever He would not have sacrificed His Son for our sake.  Now matter how long you have turned your back on God, if you give Him a chance He will hear you and accept you.  

"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him,"(John 3:16:17). 

How do you know that God sacrificed his Son for us? How do you he even has a son? After all, the Koran, which, as we have already seen, is God's own truth by your own test of logic, teaches that God has no son. How are we to tell which is the truth? Or, are they both wrong?

Hell is the complete an utter separation of human beings from their creator, from all that is good.  Unfortunately human beings are not only prone to sin, but refuse to recognize the fact that they are sinners, which keeps us separated from God and is the path to hell. 

Incorrect. I am a non-believer because I see no evidence for the existence of God. Since God has not chosen to reveal himself, it follows that he cannot send anyone to Damnation for failing to believe. If he were to do so, he cannot be Just, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

Everyone has done wrong at some point in his or her life. That is what God is judging us for.  If we accept Jesus God will withhold His judgment.  If we don't God will judge us. And He has the right to judge us because He is our creator. If you have children you don't just let them run wild.  If they misbehave one way or another you punish them.  But God understands that to some extant human beings can't help but sin.  We know what is right, but we don't do it.  God has shown mercy on us by taking responsibility for our sins, otherwise we would all perish.  The only thing God asks in return is that we do our best not to make a habit of sinning.

Curious that he was unable to make a creation that would lean the other way, towards good. Or, perhaps, the whole thing is a fairy tale. There is no such thing as sin. There is only that which harms society, and that which benefits it. I am free to perform any actions that I wish, provided that such actions do not intrude upon the rights and happiness of others. Christians prefer to label everything that they find uncomfortable and threatening as "sin", while in reality the sin exists only in their own imaginations.

What more do you want?  God sacrificed His on Son as that we would not have to suffer in hell.  As human beings we have free will.  We can either accept this free gift or ignore it.  If we choose to ignore it we must accept the consequences.  This does not mean that God is not all powerful.  He could have just as easily destroyed the world and started over, but He didn't because He loves us.             

Apart from the notion of eternal Damnation, this concept of a propitiatory sacrifice must rank as one of the most insane, as well as one of the most immoral points of doctrine ever foisted upon a gullible mankind. In order to put it in perspective - suppose I had an argument with a friend. Suppose that later I offer to kill my only son in order to restore our friendship. He would try his bet to get me committed to the nearest mental hospital. And yet, we think nothing of ascribing such a heinous concept to our Divine Father.

Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself.  Now more then ever the Churches are picking up the pieces when government programs(at least where I live) are being cut.  Go to any soup kitchen or shelter and you'll see the Church caring for the poor and providing them with health care.  People are not starving because there isn't enough food to eat.  They are starving because we have turned our backs on each other.     

All over the world, religious hatred and intolerance are responsible for untold suffering and misery. Other religious groups with enormous influence over the poor will forbid them to use contraception, because it violates some mystical (that is, mythical) command of God. I assure you, God had nothing at all to do with it, and could not care less if a woman uses birth control or not.

Any Church that teaches people to hate others, for any reason is teaching false doctrine.  I can't speak for other religious groups, but yes, Christians have persecuted others, especially Jews.  But, those people were either mislead or were not true Christians.  It is sin that causes people to mistreat each other not religion.  Any true Christian who has taken the time to understand knows that without the Jews Christianity would not exist and the two groups are eternally tied to each other. 

As for contraception each person has to make up his or her own mind, but the point behind not using contraception;
whether it's the pill, condoms, or abortion is the belief that all life is sacred.  Any group that encourages the poor to have children must take responsibility for helping those families economically or in some other way.  There many Christian groups who help single mothers in need and we need more of them.  Any group that engages in or condones the bombing of abortion clinics or the killing of abortion doctors is wrong. 

Yes, and I am more then suggesting that all we need is Jesus.  I am stating that as fact.  Without Him everything we do is in vain.

I beg to differ. I know many people who are far happier without religion, myself included. Different strokes.

Received: 7/13/99

I cant help but feel your pain. So many are misslead and dont know the truth. I have read YOUR STORY. I to have been raise in a christian home and am definatly blessed to have been so placed by God. I guess the first question I would have for you is through all of this I see no proof or way by which you came to know  or think there is no God.

It's really not a matter of finding proof that there is no God - rather, it was discovering that there is no proof that God does exist. I was familiar with all the arguments of Christian apologists. I simply came to realize that any of these arguments could easily be applied to any other religion. None of them had real, objective proof.  

Most of the time, believers argue that they have "experienced" God in some way, and that they therefore know that He exists. I, too, have had many such experiences in my time. Unfortunately, I came to realize that these experiences don't actually mean anything. In the first place, all believers of all faiths have exactly the same experiences. If such feelings really did come from God, it seems that he doesn't really care which religion you belong to. Secondly, how do we know that these feelings of the Divine actually come from a supernatural being, and not simply from our own minds. The answer, of course, is that we don't. We have no way to distinguish between an alleged visitation from on high, and a simple psychological phenomenon.  

In the end, I simply realized that there was no good evidence that God existed, and that Christianity was the one true religion. So I simply stopped pretending that it was.  

It is very clear to me that you do not understand the bible. I belive that you truly do believe there is a God. If you didnt why whould you spend all your time trying to disprove there is no God? Upon further review of your page I think the thing that was lacking in your walk with the Lord was the Spirit relm. You Have some stuff in your questions for the Church, that are probably legitamate and mabee only God knows the answer. But the real truth is that most of the questions for the church, you cant understand because you arent walking in the Spirit. Ecclesiastes 9: 5-6 says only about there being no life to your  FLESH, after death. Curt, I love you with a Godly love and I will pray that God will Reveal himself to you in a way that you will be sure to know there is a God. God will reveal himself to you in a dream. You will see a cow running in a field, when you have this dream let me know.

It really depends on what you mean by "understand the Bible". From my own experience, I have a far better understanding of the Bible than most Christians do. I am willing to bet that the vast majority of Christians have not even read the Bible through once. I have - more times than I can count.  

I suspect, however, that what you mean is that I don't believe it is the Word of God. In that sense, you are correct. But, I do not believe that the Bible is divinely inspired because I find no proof for this position, and plenty of evidence that it cannot be true. The Bible is just like any other book - it has good parts and bad parts, some parts that are accurate, and others that are not. In many cases, the prejudices, bigotry, intolerance and foolish thinking of its authors is very evident from its pages. And, of course, the Bible contradicts itself time and again. This is hard to understand if the book were given at one time by God, but it makes perfect sense if we understand that the Bible was written over the course of many centuries, by men who had no knowledge of each other, and held very different opinions about God, Life and Religion.  

As to why I spend most of my time trying to disprove the existence of God, I think you will find this is not true. I spend more time proving that the Bible cannot be the Word of God, and that Christians do not have a monopoly on truth. I actually have comparatively little to say about the matter of God's existence in my pages, because personally I think the question is irrelevant.  

I am, however, opposed to Fundamentalist Christianity, because it is dangerous, and, left unchecked, could easily lead us back into the Dark Ages. I do not wish to have anyone else deciding what I can or cannot do in my home, or what I can and cannot read, or what thoughts I may or may not think. Further, I refuse to have my children taught that a Creation myth thousands of years out of date is somehow more accurate than centuries of scientific progress. You will quickly find that what Fundamentalist Christians want is not the right to worship freely - they already have that, but rather they wish to force the rest of us to think like they do. I refuse to do that.  

As for my not being able to understand the "hard questions" for the Church because I do not have the Spirit, I say it is a bunch of hooey. What you actually mean to say is that I am not on one the blinkered masses who will believe anything that their Pastor/Preacher/Sunday School Teacher/Guru tells them to. This is what you mean by being "in the Spirit". I reserve the right to think for myself. If there are questions that the Church cannot answer, my being in the Spirit or not is completely irrelevant. It means that the Church cannot answer these questions, because to do so would expose their base of lies and hypocrisy, plain and simple.  

Received: 7/19/99 (in response to above)

Actually their is proof. Do you believe in Science? If you believe in anything that Science teaches then you must believe in the word of God. You see true science is based on seeing somting happen, If you have no proof of something happening by sight than you cant call it fact. Well there is written proof that Jesus came and walked on this earth and healed people. If you dont believe in the bible what about the Dead Sea scrolls? Also how do you explain the fact that some people can heal and others cant? Also are we from monkeys? Or how did we come about?            

I'll try to answer your points one by one.  

Do I believe in science? It depends what you mean by "believe". I trust that Science, rightly executed, will in time provide answers for most, if not all of the "big questions". I have this "belief" because science has shown itself to be reliable in the past. I know that we do not yet have complete knowledge, and I also know that there are areas where we may in time need to rethink some of our theories, but in the end we will get there.  

And, I must contradict you one point. There is no proof that Jesus "lived and walked on this earth" as you claim. The only documents that actually mention this man are the New Testament gospels. We have no idea who wrote them, and they appear to have originated some time after the events that they portray. Why should I trust them?  

Do you believe in Zeus, Medusa, the Minotaur, and all the other fantastic beasts and gods that Homer talks of in the "Odyssey"? If not, why not? And, why should I believe the Gospels when they are really no more credible than Homer's poem?  

Outside of the New Testament, there are almost no references at all to Jesus in the first Century AD. While I personally believe that he was a real person, there is very little proof for this point. By the way, I'm not sure why you bring up the Dead Sea Scrolls, since they never mention Jesus (or the New Testament) at all.   As to why some people can heal, and others can't, I must point out that there has never been a single, documented case of real healing. Many of the "healings" practiced by the so-called "faith healers" are either simple scams, involve psycho-somatic illnesses or were never diagnosed as diseases in the first place. In addition, medical science is well aware that some terminal diseases (such as some forms of Cancer) have a small but measurable rate of spontaneous remission. This means that they will occasionally disappear all by themselves, for no obvious reason, even when the patient has not sought the services of a "faith healer". I'm afraid that healings are no proof of anything but believer's gullibility.  

"Are we from monkeys?" No. Humans and apes share a common ancestor, but we did not evolve from each other, just as you are not descended from your cousins. The fact of common descent is amply proven by a number of different sources, such as the fact that we share an identical cytochrome-c sequence with chimpanzees, and also share a number of transcription errors in our DNA with apes and other primates.  

We don't yet know where we ultimately came from. There are several current theories, but as yet none has sufficient evidence to stand out from the crowd. But, I can assure you that a millennia-old Creation Myth borrowed from the ancient Babylonians is not going to get us any closer to the answer.  

Im sorry about the fact that you have been hurt and let down by people. Im not sure who it is but I truly feel that someone has really let you down. You are so true about the fact that many Christians havent even read their word thru once. God really convicted me of that about a year ago. And I have really made an effort. Let me even take the word thing a bit further I will bet you that many pastors havent even read it thru. I cant disprove you in many areas because I havent studied, nearly as much as you. I know you hate appologetics and I want to say that I dont appologize for anything.  So, now that you know that we can understand that I am an ignorant, non-appologizing person. :-)  Curt I see some of the things you are saying and It upsets me. The way you slam the Bible, the way you flippently resolve that there is no God, and it hurts. The sad thing is that I cant totaly defend the Bible. I do believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. I will tell you this that it will take people like you to get people like me stired up to dig even deeper, and find the truth. I have no doubt whether or not God is real, and wether you will admit it or not. I know you believe that there is a God. Curt, there is a revival coming to America, when it comes no man will be void of the power of God. I will be digging to find more to share with you. By the way what is the one thing that you think is the biggest falacy of God, the Bible, or Christianity?

Well, I appreciate your concern but the fact is that I was never "hurt" by anyone. I stopped believing in Christianity because it no longer made sense to do so, and for no other reason. I finally realized that I had no better proof for my religion than any other.  

There is nothing wrong with believing for the sake of belief. If you get something out of it, if it makes you happier, and gives you a purpose in life, the by all means go ahead. The only thing that I ask is that you always keep in mind that not everyone is like you. Some people have different needs and wants, and different ways of viewing the world. Never assume that what you find reasonable and worthy of belief will apply to everyone else.  

As hard as it is for you to understand, you have to realize that there are those of us who find life without belief in God to be far more satisfying. We are still spiritual people in our own ways. We have a profound reverence and awe for nature and her power, but we do not feel the need to imbue her with human qualities and worship her as a god. We do not feel the need to give a name and shape to the Unknown and call it Our Father. We are quite content to let the mysterious and the mystical remain. We are satisfied that there never will be answers to all of our questions, but nevertheless look forward to the discovery. We are happy. We are content. We are fulfilled more now than we ever were in the strictures of a stifling, stultifying, senescent mythology.  

Received: 7/21/99 (in response to above)

If you believe in Science then you must believe in the Bible. Everything the that science believes in and basis its belief in, is exemplified by the bible. There is plenty of proof that many Scientific things have come to pass that were in the Bible long befor they happened.  

You really need to start providing some examples if you exect me to believe you. What scienitific principles are recorded in the Bible long before they were known?

Second To believe there is no proof who wrote the New Testiment is denial. We do know who wrote the New Testamet. As far as the time when they were written, since the Apostles wrote the New Testament, it would have be after Jesus time. Have you ever heard of Josephus? He wrote about the life of Jesus, and he was a Roman Historian, not a Christian.  

Actually, the gospels are anonymous. Not one of them names an author. Their present names were assigned by Church tradition long after the books themselves were written. We really have no idea who actually wrote them.

I am familiar with Josephus. The only problem is that "Antiquities" was written after 70AD - more than forty years after Jesus died. Josephus himself was not even born when Jesus was supposedly alive. How does his testimony count for anything? The only thing we can say is that by 70 AD the sect of Christianity was in existence, from whom Josephus probably got his information. Unfortunately, we have no idea how true it is.

You should also be aware that most scholars are of the opinion that the longer passage of Josephus concerning Jesus (known as the Testimonium Flavium) is probably a later Christian forgery. There are a number of reasons for this conclusion, which you may want to look up.

I do not disbelieve in Zeus, Medusa, the Minotaur. One thing we must not forget is that Homer was not a believer of Christ. You can not serve two masters. So I believe he and all the other Greek gods were of Satan.  

How do you know that the myths of Jesus are also not of Satan?

You can't arbitrarily dismiss the Greek Gods as inventions of the Devil without any proof. You should realize that Muslims says exactly the same thing about your conception of God or Jesus. How would you counter that conclusion?

As far as the Dead Sea Scrolls Im not sure what articles you have read but mabee you should recheck. Most of the New Testament was confirmed and even partially paralleled. But you are right about one thing It may have never mentioned The New Testament, come on Curt think about it was the New Testiment in sirculation at that Time?  

That is exactly my point. I'm really not sure what you are talking about. Are you saying that the Essene religion was similar in many ways to Christianity? If so, I agree with you. However, most scholars suspect that the reason for this is that Christianity itself was an offshoot of Essenism.

How could the DSS parallel the New Testament if it was not yet in existence?

Again you are in denial there have been many noted cases of healings and I even have a video of a tumor on the side of a mans face shrinking and disapering, being healed by the power of God. I would be glad to send it to you.

Do you have a doctor's testimony to go along with it? How about the opinion of a professional magician? Why a magician you ask? Simply because most of the faith healers out there are charlatans, performers of tricks. They have been exposed time and time again, sometimes even on national TV, and yet the gullible still flock to them.

I will say it again - there is not one documented case of an incurable disease being healed by Divine power. Not one. James Randi, a professional magician, has offered a prize of more than one million dollars to anyone who can prove that they have supernormal powers, and this includes the so-called faith healers. And yet, not one of these supposed miracle workers have come forward to claim the prize. They won't even come near Randi. Why not? Because it was he who exposed Peter Popoff on national TV, as he was receiving messages from "God" through a tiny radio receiver in his ear. It was Randi who exposed VW Grant, who "healed" people that he had paid to be on his stage, people who were never sick to begin with. And the list goes on. James Randi has a book called "The Faith Healers" which is quite an eye-opener. You really should read it.

This is why I am very suspicious of any supposed "healing", even if it is captured on TV. Experience has shown that the vast majority of these faith healers are liars, deceivers, extortionists, nothing more than filthy con-men who prey on the weak and the needy.  

Im glad to hear that you dont think we evolved from monkeys. Although the Chromosome-C thing is a good point what you must realize is that The same God that created you and me created monkeys, fish, cows, lions, bear and isnt it amazing that we all have eyes, and a mouth, and even a brian(no matter how big or small). I will agree that the monkey does have a lot more similarities to humans than any other animal. 

Im sorry that you dont think we know where we came from but I am positive of where we came from.  

Correction: you believe that you know where we came from. You don't "know". The fact is that evolutionary science is supported by a massive amount of evidence, from all areas of science. There really is no doubt at all that all life had a common ancestor. This fact is written large in the rocks, and in our bodies. Everything that we know of genetics and micro-biology affirms the fact that we are just one part of the huge spreading tree that is life on this earth.

We may not yet know the exact tempo and mechanisms that drive this process. We also are even less sure of how the very first spark of life arose. Who knows, maybe we will one day find out that a god did indeed create the first tiny microbe, and guided our evolution since then. But that still would make not one whit of difference to the fact of common descent.

Im glad that you are happy. Although, you even in your short explination of what you "believe"? "dont believe"? Showed that you do believe in a higher power. Be it Mother Nature, or the unknown. So do you follow any sertain religeon? You yourself have contradicted yourself even within a 2 paragraph e-mail. Therefore should I disqualify everything you have ever said? No, You have some good questions and make some great points.

Actually, I don't think that either Nature or the Unknown qualify as "higher powers". At best, they can be said to be symbols, nothing more. So, I really don't believe in a "higher power".

It really makes no difference if I contradict myself - I never claimed to be divinely inspired. The Bible, on the other hand, does so make this claim. (Or, at least it is claimed by its believers). However, the presence of numerous contradictions within its pages proves that the Biblical authors, like myself, were mere men, none of us more inspired than the others.

Received: 7/13/99

I was looking at your page and in some senses you seem to agree with the Bible and in other places you have tried to prove it wrong. So do you or dont you support the Bible???

It depends what you mean by "support the Bible". If you mean do I believe that it is the Divinely inspired Word of God, then I do not. On the other hand, I recognize that their are parts of the Bible that are historically accurate. Basically, I believe that the Bible is a book like any other - it has some good parts, and some bad parts, some parts that are correct, and some that are not.

And exactly what is it that Agnostic's believe? I have not heard of the religion of Agnostic so I would greatly apreciate it if you could send me a brief description of this religion.

Agnosticism is actually a statement about knowledge, specifically knowledge of transcendent things. As an agnostic, I hold that questions about whether God exists or not are ultimately meaningless, because we logically cannot detect a being that lies completely outside the purview of the natural world. Therefore, I am also an atheist: I lack a belief in God, because I see no evidence that he exists.

Received: 7/12/99

"Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterwards did more grievously afflict by the way of the Red Sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations.

It is within this region that we find many names from Jesus' ministry - Capernaum, Cana, Genneserat, Bethsaida and, of course, Galilee."

How did you interpret Galilee of the nations to mean Galilee?

True. Most modern translations do not have "Galilee" in Isaiah 9:1, but rather a phrase such as "circuit of the nations". In context, however, Isaiah was talking about the invasion of the Northernmost towns of Israel (see 9:7 ff, and the next few chapters of Isaiah). Zebulon and Naphtali both bordered on Galilee in Isaiah's time.

Also, Isaiah 9:1 was mentioned by the author of Matthew in connection with Jesus' ministry in Galilee (see Matt 4:12 ff).

Received: 7/8/99

Well, it's Thursday, and boy is my face red. I've just come back from my mountain retreat just like her wisdom Eileen told me to, and I seem to have missed the monstrous wave of death. As I type, I notice that everyone else must've gone to their mountain retreats too, and have very quickly rebuilt society in all it's heathen glory... or maybe the aliens rebuilt it all for us, that's it! Those wise and powerful aliens. Too bad they didn't fix anything up or such. Maybe Eileen will have more wisdom and words of praise for the aliens. I'll just shoot over to her page... mmm hasn't been updated. Oh well. I live to serve and believe.

It's too bad, I thought that Ms. Lake had such an original idea and all. NOBODY has used that pole-shifting thing in like... weeks.

It's sad, really. Eileen is a rare find - a complete nutcase who is nevertheless proudly confident of her loopy predictions. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Received: 7/7/99

Re: Eileen Lakes

I've been waiting for this one to fail for quite a while, as it's among the most loony of the predictions on your list. Looking forward to your witty rejoinder.

Eileen definitely is a rare find. Completely off her rocker, and wonderfully entertaining at the same time. Who else could come up with a gem like "And the artificial telepathy is to own jointly to each other connecting together between the memory of human's brain and another one with neutrino." I'm not even sure where to begin unraveling that thought.

Received: 7/6/99

I really enjoyed perusing your list of failed prophecies. It was most amusing and really scary when you take into account so many people WANT these various scenarios to occur. Many of my coworkers fully expect Jesus to return at any time...can you believe this!!! They think that I AM THE NUT....we live in such interesting times. Just wait until the end of this year:-)

Sadly, I suspect that the situation will be very little changed at the end of this year. True, there are going to be thousands more failed prophecies, but if history is anything to go by, that will make very little difference to the people who still insist on predicting the end of the world.

Received: 7/4/99

I feel deeply sorry for your rejection of Jesus Christ. The Devil has his subtle ways of deceiving "intellectuals"  and I hope you will see the traps he laid for you for what they  are ; deception and nothing more.

So are you saying that there is an inverse relationship between intellectualism and belief in Jesus? If so, doesn't this worry you at all?

Received: 6/27/99

I predict that this world will end approximately 5 billion years from today :) It may become uninhabitable sooner.

Cool page. Come visit me at www.churchoftomorrow.org

You do realize that I'm going to write you up as "failed" if you turn out to be wrong... ;-)

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