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Friday, February 26, 2010

"So That They Are Without Excuse"

Talk to most any of the usual "Christians" today, and you will see them resort to Romans 1:20, assuming they know anything biblically at all.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without excuse".

There's their "proof". Now, let myself, or Ex-Android or Corky, or perhaps even Byker Bob, say, "What proof? Where is the undeniable proof of God so that I am without excuse?"

"The bible says so! God says so!" They will probably shout.

Circular reasoning, tautology, at the best. But is Paul actually saying that every person on this earth today is "without excuse"?

Well, if you back up to verse 17, you see that the "just shall live by faith". You gotta think about this for a second. If Gods' power is so evident that we are without excuse, why in the world would we have to live by faith? Faith in what? Faith that God will save us? But if we know without excuse there exists a God, then we know that by simple acceptance, there is no doubt we will be "saved'. No faith required.

besides, according to the usual christian teaching, before we "accepted Christ", we ourselves were "ungodly and unrighteous, and held truth in unrighteousness".

That is, while we were still "sinners", we "held truth in unrighteousness", but once we "accept Christ', we must live in faith?

Obviously, by that reasoning, to 'accept Christ", you must be dumbed down, unable to know what was obvious when you were a "sinner".

Of course the good "Christian" folks use this argument to condemn homosexuals. God revealed himself to those "queers", and they're going to hell unless they stop their perverted ways!

That's not my statement. That's the "good ol' "Christian" statement. And like all such statements, it's wrong.

So what exactly was Paul talking about? Why not take a look at Romans 1:19:

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it to unto them".

"Them"? Who's "them"? God hasn't showed anything to me. I'm sure Corky or Ex-Android would say the same thing. I haven't been shown the first bit of evidence so that I'm without excuse.

Obviously Paul was referring to a certain group of people, and since he was a Pharisee, and since he was talking about revelations, we can simply look to Deuteronomy 4:35: "Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God..."

To whom was it showed? Obviously, ancient Israel. Who else? Look through the rest of that chapter, you see it was only ancient Israel.

For further confirmation, look at Amos 3:2 "You only(Israel) have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore i will punish you for all your iniquities".

Simple enough. Paul was talking about ancient Israel.


Byker Bob said...

Interesting. I used to ask myself a hypothetical question. What if there were no "teachers" on either side of the equation? No Bible-based preachers, and no teachers of scientism? In fact, what if I had been born on the proverbial desert island with no available input other than what came to me via my five senses? What would be my conclusions?

Of course, that leads to reinventing the wheel, since we do have an abundance of texts at this point in human evolution, mankind having learned to record and preserve his thoughts approximately 10,000 years ago. We recognize the value of this cumulative experience, but people often become partisan or polarized in their thinking, formulate agendas, and then take all available opportunities to get in their "commercials" to influence our thought processes.

Seems to me that it's almost better to ask the question, "Who is trying to influence me, and what is in it for them?" In analyzing this, I need to know whether such people are looking out for my best interests, whether they are looking to exploit me in ways that become toxic to my long term well-being, or perhaps somewhat of a symbiosis of both.

Because I do not want to allow a new set of oppressors into my life (think of the final words of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again!"), I'm inclined towards a one on one relationship with the deity, thus taking personal responsibility for my own destiny.

Since Einstein, we've had better opportunities to investigate many of the "invisible things" than perhaps any other humans in mankind's history. And, they are quite incredible! For many of us, the more we know, the more that knowledge tends to raise questions. Thus, there are always things unanswered. Bible aside, I no longer know how one could avoid postulating a creator, or God, and wondering what His expectations of us might be.


Ralph said...

My main point is that truth is consistent with truth. It is a natural urge to take sides on any issue, but we most likle ywill never be on the right side in all cases.

I love Godel's theoem in this regard, because it takes all the conclusions regarding truth(Big "T") and says, "can't get there". Or, "judge not that ye be not judged', which is basically Paul's conclusion regarding the chapter discussed above(Romans 2:1).

Corky said...

Paul is referring to the same thing that I read a while back on a Jewish website.

The argument was that Jesus could not be the messiah because God doesn't prove his covenants by performing miracles like Jesus supposedly did.

Instead, God spoke directly to all the people at once as a whole nation from Mt. Sinai, "so that Israel is without excuse" concerning the covenant.

However, God did not speak to Israel directly - to all the people at once - concerning Jesus being the messiah.

That's one of the main reasons the Jews don't accept Jesus as the messiah - he wasn't announced to be the messiah by God. Doing so in secret to some shepherds tending their flock doesn't count as an announcement.

The voice from Mt. Sinai that frightened the people is the kind of announcement the Jews expect.

Why don't the vast majority of Jews return to Palestine? Because God has not instructed them to return yet.

Not that God ever will, but that's what the Jews expect. It's because that's the way God does things in their scriptures.

Anyway, Paul is assuming that God really did speak to the people from Sinai after the exodus from Egypt. Paul didn't know that in this present day that archeologists would find no evidence even of an exodus, much less a voice from Mt. Sinai.

Ralph said...

Excellent poinnts, Corky. Thanks.

Paul was merely writing from the OT perspective. He believed there was such a revelation at Sinai, and, as you say, they were "without excuse".

You also bring out an important point for now: many Jews do not support zionism or the present nation of israel because they are waiting for that thuderous announcement from God.

In fact, from the strict OT perspective, it might be considered blasphemous for any human to decide that s/he can establish a kingdom of God.

That, BTW, would apply to both christian and Zionist faith.

Corky said...

Yes Ralph, that does apply to both Christians and Zionists.

The "Son of Man" predicted to show up and reign on the earth in the New Testament and in the book of Enoch has failed to make the appointed "this generation" appearance.

The Watchtower Society is about to implode because of trying to make the 1914 generation stretch another few years by inventing what they call an "overlapping generation".

The cult false prophets never give up, do they?

Ralph said...

Corky, again good stuff. The JWs have tried to get me to join them after dicovering my beliefs, but I keep pointing out to them that there is simply no evidence whatever that they, or any religious group, can claim to be "elect". Even by their own teachings! I asked one guy what he thought of this. he answered that he was waiting for an answer from headquarters! Where have I heard that before?

Ralph said...

BTW Corky, love the avatar! That dog is cool!

Corky said...

When my wife saw the avatar she said, "that's you", so I've used it ever since.

The only intelligent "person" on the animated Family Guy show.

The Painful Truth said...

Corkey said...
The Watchtower Society is about to implode because of trying to make the 1914 generation stretch another few years by inventing what they call an "overlapping generation".

What is going on in that group? A overdue split?

Corky said...

I think the JW's split has already happened and people are leaving in droves. The overlapping generation theory is not going over very well at all.

Since, for them, leaving the Watch Tower Society is the same as leaving all friends and family, most will stay anyway.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Ralph said...

I read recently, it may have been in "Time" magazine, that the JWs have the largest number of "passing through' members. They don't stay too long.

I think, however, that they are probably going through the same phase of the old WCG crowd.

To me, that's just evolution. The times, they are a changin'.

I believe what is happening now is a transition, the next step toward integrated de-centralization.

I also think that's really what terrorism is all about, since all wars are generally fought with the latest technologies.

Check out articles on "4th generation war".