Reasons for Joy; In Gentleness, and Respect.

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Messages - Michael Sorentino

I agree with the first point. It does seem that finite minds would have no way of grasping an infinite Hell. So you are spot on here!

But on 2, I'm not following you here. We find the word Hades only 10 times, and the word Gehenna only 12 times total in the entire New Testament. Hades is in reference to the grave, or the waiting place until the judgment, with Gehenna being Hell, which was only meant for Satan and the fallen angels but people who are condemned will go there too. So really, that means Hell(proper, as to differentiate between the KJV and other versions that translate Hades as Hell, allowing a false ambiguity) is mentioned in the New Testament just 12 times, and some of those are pretty much repeats, as they are occasions that are mentioned often by two if not three gospels, or are found in the writings of Paul.

This means Jesus rarely spoke of Hell, and definitely never gave any in-depth idea of what it would be like apart from the idea of fire and such, though this doesn't really tell us much. This is not to say that it is not important to keep in mind, but rather, should not be what consumes us, and should not get in the way or hinder our developing relationship and knowledge of God.

This is a great question, and something I have wondered as well. I also take a figurative approach to Hell, in so far as it is surely not limited to fire and such, and not necessarily fire and such. I'm am sure it is much worse, and that this is the only way God could try to get us to understand, because if He were to say only that it is separation from Him, this is something we could not comprehend due to His omnipresence in this world.

The early church's doctrine of Hell usually comes from Paul. Hell is actually not net, nor is Heaven, but these do not happen until after the second coming. There is a temporary place, not purgatory though, where people go when they die. The righteous go to be with God, while the wicked do not. This is where the rich man and Lazarus parable comes in. The idea of a new creation, which Hell seems to be a part of, will be very physical, as the Bible teaches that everyone will be given new bodies, but not everyone will be in the heaven.

Many Christians get their idea of Hell from Dante's Inferno and medieval literature on the subject. This was often used to scare people into being good. There is a long story here dealing with the concept of purgatory and stuff, but that isn't biblical, so its very, very difficult to justify it. I don't buy it.

You are very right to point out that Revelation uses lots of imagery, and should be interpreted in that way. Jesus often used rabbinic hyperbole when speaking of Hell, and should be taken in context.

But I caution those who want to know more about Hell, or even Heaven for that matter. There really isn't a whole lot said about either in the Bible. The only thing it really talks about is how Heaven is the New Jerusalem, where we will be resurrected in physical, but more spiritually oriented body, and be present with God. This will not occur until the second coming and judgment. The idea of annihilation is not biblical, at least that I am aware of. This is the idea that the damned are destroyed, and cease to exist at all in any manner. We are shown that Hell is eternal, like Heaven. But this is really about it. So my caution is this, I think there is a reason so little is mentioned. I think God did not want us to focus on Hell nor Heaven, but focus on Him and the church and seeking and saving the lost.

Apologetics and Theology / What was I thinking?!
« on: April 14, 2010, 12:51:21 pm »
rsmartin wrote: Michael, your responses to Composer--the diversionary nit-picking and personal attacks--are the exact type of response Christians always give when they have no answer. Christians can't handle the bold statements of the one who does not accept their specific God, who proves Christian statements to be wrong or cowardly.

Though I believe composer was the one who originally used the personal attack, it cuts both ways.

Composer is very well-intentioned it seems, as he is really doing the same things Christians claim to do, viz. speak the Truth. It just so happens that these "Truths" are contradictory, and hence the discussions!

Some quick words of advice:

  • Check out for some other good discussions. Luke will post his resources as well, so you can get the info first hand, rather than having to hope for honesty.
  • Check out, it is some academics who discuss similar issues.
  • Read Craig's articles, and if you are a student, check out JSTOR for other articles that you can read through. This is where you will become knowledgeable on these topics.
  • When you do post, and are shown to be wrong or wish to retract a statement, do so publicly. It is necessary for making any ground towards any amount of agreement.
  • Finally, READ READ READ. There is VAST literature for both sides. Here is Luke's list of books to read, though there are many, many more.(I'm working on a list of my own)"

Kalam Cosmological Argument / Anyone Make Sense of This?
« on: April 14, 2010, 12:32:06 pm »
I would say try to avoid too much conversation with people of that manner to be honest. "Kalame" has been around for a very long time now, and Craig's version is the best that has been put forth, and you can't simply do any hand waving like this to get rid of it. He obviously doesn't realize this, as he represents in his spelling, and would not accept it even if it was cogent(which it is, but one can get around it by saying A-thoery is false and B-theory is true).

Paul says in Titus not to argue about foolish controversies, and to reject factious men. I think that the person you were corresponding with has not only parked his car on the atheist side, but pulled the parking brake, removed the wheels, and even pulled the engine out as well.

God Bless and continue talking about this stuff, you will find someone who is receptive.

Kalam Cosmological Argument / Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum
« on: February 09, 2010, 07:41:18 am »
I'm not personally a physicist, but I try to stay updated on current topics. I search through JSTOR's article "library" once a week and read the newest ones in topics of interest to me, which are usually philosophy, physics, biology, and sociology. At least that way I can keep up with people in a conversation or if discussing ideas online.

Kalam Cosmological Argument / Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum
« on: February 08, 2010, 10:35:24 pm »
I believe it still holds true. At least, I haven't read otherwise. Usually I only read about how the universe cause itself(Smith), so they don't even seem to try to attack the idea of an actual infinite, but rather they avoid it.

I will keep an eye out though and post if I read any articles that discuss this.

Apologetics and Theology / Which version of the Bible should I read?
« on: February 02, 2010, 06:24:15 am »
For New Testament, try to find an interlinear version with Greek and then two english versions. This will have word for word Greek translated as well as another version of english in each margin.

And to be honest, the KJV is terrible when it comes to NT translation, at least compared to many others that have been published since the 17th Century. SO if you want the "nice, pretty" words, I guess try a NKJV, although I haven't personally read this. I would say focus more on accuracy of the original words rather than ease of reading and stuff. Plus, can be used to compare readings and stuff.

Apologetics and Theology / Nativity story
« on: January 22, 2010, 07:23:12 pm »
Well, that would depend on who you attribute the deaths too. I woud say that man did it, not God. So then it could still work. It's all a matter of opinion and how you view it. But I hold to a strong sense of free will, and even given maximal power, He can't make someone freely do something, since that's a logical impossibility.


   But isn't saving one better than saving none? I'm not going to try to explain why He did what He did, I don't know the mind of God.


   As for confusion, the Bible never guaranteed perfect understanding. And like you said, humans can't always be trusted. I know what I believe, I was just laying out the options to choose from based on the evidence outside of the Bible. It's stupid to try to legitimize the bible with itself, so you use outside corroborating sources.


   And coine was how my iPod corrected it for some reason.


   And my bible is the zondervan one from mounce and mounce.



   I agree that the virgin birth can't really be discussed historically. The only evidence for it would be if the resurrection really happened and that the Christian God existed. And obviously those are up for debate.


Apologetics and Theology / Nativity story
« on: January 22, 2010, 03:33:34 pm »
That would work. But then Josephus is wrong about the census. Fulmer and other scholars believe that Quirinius was put in charge at some point for the celebration of the empires anniversary. And he would have been in a position to do so. Or simply Luke was mistaken about the position that he held, as he was procurator at the time, but not governor.

As for Josephus evidence, he said that Herod died during a lunar eclipse before a certain time in the Jewish calendar. But the 4 BC death has always received criticism because it was not a full an eclipse, which occurred in 9 BC, 8 BC and 1 BC. Also, some hold that Herod's death was too close to the Passover and that was not what Josephus had said.

Also, the War of Veras, which supposedly resulted from a major uprising at Passover after Herod's death, has no evidence of occurring in  BC, but rather it appears that a war did brake out in 1 BC.

Apologetics and Theology / Nativity story
« on: January 22, 2010, 03:07:48 pm »
Composer wrote:
Quote from: soremi
BTW: You failed also to apologise for misreading the text that the innocent children were NOT few and exclusively in Bethlehem but included many others also in the surrounding coastal regions. (Matt. 2:16) KJV story book

Well. I guess the original language that the book was first written in wasn't good enough for you, so you resorted to the KJV (although the is a revised KJV now that is at least a little more correct). I even gave you the Greek so you could have a website translate if you wanted. Districts is much different than coasts. Not to mention Bethlehem was only about 10 miles form the dead sea, with the city of Bethany between an Jerusalem about 8 miles north. So "to the coasts" would probably include the city of Bethany, and given that Jerusalem is closer to Bethlehem than the Dead Sea, it would only make sense that the surrounding area would include Jerusalem.
I don't speak Greek, nor Hebrew nor Aramaic. Do you speak and understand all three?
Other than your arrogance, what are your language & other qualifications to demean others that can not?
Are you insinuating that your God only wants those who speak several languages to gain accurate insight for salvation. i.e. Only the rich and/or educated can apply and the poor and illiterate must heed what their rich &/OR educated masters tell them to believe? (Really?)
That must explain why your story book Jesus picked mostly dumb fishermen who are easily duped!
As you suggested, let us now examine the Greek to English ' Word for Word ' translation by the trinitarian Dr. J.J. Griesbach -
Matthew 2:16 Then Herod seeing that he was mocked by the wise-men, was enraged much; and sending forth he slew all the boys the in Bethleem and in all the borders of her, from two years and under, according to the time which he exactly learnt from the wise-men.
NB: ALL the borders indicating a substantial expanse around Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:17 Then was fulfilled the word spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

Matthew 2:18 A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and weeping and mourning great; . . . . (Mat. 2:16-18) EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT (Left Hand side/LHS) Greek to English ' Word for Word ' Interlinear.

NB: Mourning great!
Get that!
Not a little bit of mourning for a few apparently insignificant handful of innocent babes, except of course its own self in this alleged trinitarian form of a ' person ' disguised as a babe Jesus that it had all the time in the world to protect at the expense of others?
Even if 1 other innocent child were destroyed then your God's hypocrisy and selfish act to protect its own is disgusting and shameful.
soremi wrote:  And surely this would have been mentioned in the account, if not by Josephus as well.
More of your empty speculation.
soremi wrote:    So that would seem to make the translation you give incorrect on account of geography, not to mention translation, as the Greek word for "coast" would be "akth," which is never mentioned at all in the texts, so please don't tell me to read it correctly. And I offer for you to read a more accurate version, like the NASB or NIV, or even the actual Greek itself.
So you put translations into the ' inspired category do you? '
That ALL translators are as divinely inspired to translate as those allegedly divinely inspired to write the Originals? (Really?)
WHY all the confusion between translations then by ' scholars & experts ' that simply can't unanimously agree?

soremi wrote:  And either there was no "massacre" of said babies or it was not substantial,
Oh dear!, alleged 2000 years of so called divine teachings and you still don't know and are confused as to whether this account is true? (How many others are you also unsure about?)
1 Cor. 14:33 KJV story book is obviously a lie also!
soremi wrote:  otherwise Josephus most likely would have mentioned it when speaking of Herod and the census that was called for. So to say that there was a widespread massacre of babies is unhistorical. The only explanation, due to the lack of any mention outside of the Gospel, is that there was none. Which is much more tenable than the position that you hold.
Meaning you simply remain still confused whether this event even transpired after allegedly 2000 years of your trinitarian God's alleged ' non-confusing teachings? ' (LOL!)

Thanks for your comments all be they arrogant, presumptuous and your arguments faulty!

I apologize if I cam off as arrogant, that was not my intention. My intention was to attempt to use a more correct translation, which there are many of. I am a student of Greek and have talked with some of my friends who studied Coine Greek in college as well, and own a Greek interlinear Bible with the KJV in one margin and the NASB in the other, with the Greek and translated English word under the corresponding Greek word in the middle. So I was simply showing the inaccuracy of the KJV.

As for the borders issue, Jerusalem was about 5 miles from Bethlehem, so if they were going to include Jerusalem in the killings, then they would have said so, as it was a much bigger city than Bethlehem. Same goes for Bethany. So it seems to me, that the borders or districts or environs could not have stretched more than 5 miles north or east, and there was nothing but farmland south and west. Most scholars hold that between 3 and 12 children would have been killed, but they don't know how many people were truly living in the region that this occurred in, so they can't know for sure.

I am not sure where the inspired idea came in. I am not sure how the whole inspired thing works, so I don't really have an opinion on it. All I know is that there are less and more accurate translations available, just as there are less valid and more valid scholars as well. But the goal is to find the best ones to use either way.

And I guess my confusion comes in mainly when God gets blamed for human's mistakes and stuff. He didn't do it, we did.

As for Josephus mentioning a massacre of babies, why would a historian of such renown not mention the story of hundreds or thousands of infants being killed? He discussed crucifixions and executions of single men, but wouldn't mention such a heinous thing as an infant slaughter? That doesn't make any sense to me, unless it was very minimal and almost unknown except to those involved.

And I do believe that Herod had baby boys put to death to try to kill the "King of the Jews," as this fits into his personality that we see from other actions of his. But I don't think it was a widespread massacre. My point was to simply show that saying there was no massacre is much more tenable than that there was a major one.

And again, apologizes for the apparent attitude, I should have put better thought into my phrasing as to not come off as arrogant.

Apologetics and Theology / Nativity story
« on: January 22, 2010, 02:40:29 pm »
Herod's death in 1 B.C. is a great minority position as far as I can find.  Josephus puts the census at between 6-7 A.D. So either it doesn't fix anything, or just demonstrates how little we can really now about the past.
Well, it is a fairly minority stance right now, but it does make sense of all of the other dates that don't seem to fit perfectly otherwise, and that's not including the birth or anything, but also the reign of Herod Antipas and even the fall of Jerusalem and the reign of Augustine. As for Josephus' census, there would have been a census in 2 AD and 7 AD as well, since that would be every five years. So really, that still fits, it just isn't the census Luke would have been referring too.

Not to mention, Luke is very accurate in the rest of his writings on both dates, cities, and people. So it's not like he was a terrible historian, so we have no grounds to simply say that he must be wrong. If anything, that would give us more confidence in him to may tip the scales.

But I agree, it is so hard to pinpoint dates in those times since they all had different calendars and it was all about the 43rd year of so and so, and they corresponded certain with other things. So maybe its not something we can know, but Herod dying in 1BC really seems to make sense of more facts that are known to have happened than him dying in 4 BC, at least to me.

Apologetics and Theology / Nativity story
« on: January 21, 2010, 08:32:36 pm »
Snakeystew wrote:

The only thing I could say is that Cain's heart wasn't in it and Abel's was, not necessarily that vegetation didn't make a good offering

With all due respect but that doesn't make any difference to a genuinely loving individual. I love my kids equally. One put a lot of effort in, the other just gave me some magazine freebie. As a matter of morality, we just say thank you. We can certainly then sit there wondering if we did something wrong or whether there are just more important things in our loved ones minds. In either case it is entirely inconsequential.

Thing is of course, Cain made an offering, (first), of his own free will - which instantly shows effort. What did he get for it? Insult.

My point was that Cain still killed Him out of jealousy and God didn't make him kill him.

Certainly - do not think that my statements in any way whatsoever condone Cain's actions.

You have to admit Cain could have let out his frustration in a much better way than murdering his brother.

Well that's a personal thing. I'm quite good at controlling my emotions. I know people - in fact I spend a lot of my time with people - that simply cannot. If you know them well enough, you should know exactly how to handle each individual in a manner that avoids such outcomes.

So God didn't sell the dynamite really, more came up with it at most, and we don't usually blame the creator of dynamite (who intended for it to be used for reasons other than killing people) guilty of the deaths of people it was used improperly to kill

Well perhaps not, perhaps - should we sell some dynamite to a terrorist, we can't be held liable for his actions. But then that is dependant upon our knowledge of what the dynamite would be used for. I submit that if you knew that the dynamite was going to be used to slaughter countless other people, then you are just as guilty for the crime as the terrorist himself.

I will allow human ignorance - that we sell knives to an individual that stabs people with them, or sell aerosols to kids that sniff them and die. I will not allow it with regards to omniscient beings. He specifically knew that his response would cause evil, would cause slaughter. It was fully avoidable had he have, just like loving humans, just said thanks and got over it. It's not like he needed either anymore than the other. Banana / dead cow.. it's inconsequential.



Seriously?  I'm going to start blaming misspelled words on my pencil

Oh, if only it was relevant.

I couldn't tell you why He didn't just accept it. I was just speculating based on what my experience says and what others have said. Maybe someday we'll know though...

And I guess the only response to the fact that He knew what would happen is free will. Cain had the ability to choose to do so or not to do so. And that's more of just a hand waving response, as an omniscient being, having middle knowledge, would have known what he would do anyways. But I guess its the fact that he still had a choice and made the wrong one.

As for the creator of dynamite, I'm sure he knew that there was some maniac out there that would use his invention as a weapon, but he obviously felt that the benefits outweighed the negatives. So maybe God had other reasons for this as well, and knew that more good would come about due to it. Again, speculation, but it is a possibility, especially given that He is omniscient.

Apologetics and Theology / Nativity story
« on: January 21, 2010, 07:43:49 pm »
Actually, W. E. Fulmer has shown that Herod the Great probably died in 1 BC, making the birth of Jesus closer to 3 BC, which makes perfect sense as this would allow Herod to conduct his baby killing and Joseph take the baby and its mother to Egypt and return fairly soon afterwards when Herod died. Also, check this out:
To be a citizen of Rome was a prized possession and people wanted some kind of
credentials to vouch for the title (cf. Acts 22:25-28).  These were recorded in the archives of their native cities (A.N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, 1963, 147).  The registrations were checked and  adjusted as to present circumstances every five years.  And we have clear  evidence that Augustus had official censuses in 28 and 8 B.C. (Res Gestae  II.8).  The next five year period brings us to 3 B.C.  And these registrations  required provincials to be "registered at his native city" (Sherwin-White,  148).  3 B.C. was not only a regular census year, but also coincided with the  
Oath of Allegiance to Augustus.
This eliminates the gap, and even seems to make sense of the rest of what was going on a the time. Josephus seems to acknowledge this by speaking of an oath that would have been to name Caesar "Father of our Country" and that some of the Jewish leaders refused to sign around this time. Caesar was given this title in 2 BC, making a major "census" and oath taking likely in 3 BC, or the supposed date of Jesus birth.

This would put Herod's death in 1 BC, as affirmed by Filmer, and the magi finding Jesus as a 15 month old baby, making it reasonable that Herod would kill males under the age of two.

But what about Quirinius? Because this dating would make Saturninus governor. Justin Martyr and said that Quirinius was procurator at this time of Judea and Syria, which would put him in charge if Saturninus went to Rome to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Rome, and it would put him in charge of carrying out the census either way.

Hopefully this fixes some of the problems tcampen presented.

As is typical of crackpot creationists, Plaisted isn't even an expert in the field he is expounding on.  He is a computer science professor.
Plaisted first majored in mathematics, and that was simply all he was using here, that is, numbers and what they had to be. So if they are wrong, they are wrong. But the math is correct for those numbers. That was my only point. I don't want to say he is an expert on evolution and stuff, but I think he can weigh in on the numbers aspect, though not much else.

In fact, recent evidence points to as many as 100 new mutations per fertilized egg in the human population!

I believe that he would agree with this, as he says most mutations happen in the "junk" part of DNA and have no real bearing on aiding or helping the species.

And I will check out Crows stuff, thanks for the post.

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