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Posted by John Brook on June 27, 2003 16:51:44 UTC

"What do you mean that we cannot explain the fall in terms other than it was originally explained?"

For the same reason one cannot explain physics in terms other than physics itself. For instance, those pictures of the earth sitting on a cushion of empty space might be entertaining, but they do not convey the true meaning of General Relativity. Only the math of GR contains the truth about the math of GR.

"Are we to accept that the world was without malice and evil prior to humanity?"

In a word, yes, and you provided the reason why yourself:

"Obviously this cannot be the case since even parasites appeared perhaps a billion or more years ago, long before the time that a fall could have taken place."

Ah, but you are mistaken! If you think the traditional concept of a fall from grace makes no sense because the influenza virus is evil in the same sense as Osama Bin Laden is evil, then I have no argument with you, as long as you reject the concept altogether. But if you are to accept the concept as defined in Christianity, then you must also accept the Christian doctrine that only beings with free will are capable of sin. Christ did not come to the world to save the lion or the black widow, he came to the world to save the only creatures which, according to Christian doctrine, need to be saved.

"Hence, we are left with no choice but to explain the fall in other terms if the fall is to have any meaning for our scientifically advanced age."

Again, you are mistaken; there are other choices. You may reject Christianity altogether. You may become a Hindu. You may become an atheist. You may come up with your personal religion. There are as many choices as there ever has been. The only choice you don't have is to redefine traditional Christianity and expect to be taken seriously by traditional Christians.

"Is the feeling of being forsaken or the appearance of meaninglessness itself a necessary criteria to our universe?"

I can offer you two explanations. An atheist might say the appearance of meaninglessness is a consequence of the fact that the universe is in fact meaningless. A Christian might say that the appearance of meaninglessness is explained in Christian doctrine. The explanations might be mutually exclusive, or not, but as far as I can tell they are both consistent with their premises.

Of course if you apply the premises of science to Christian doctrine, you get in as much trouble as if you apply the premises of Christianity to science. Scientific evaluation of scripture is just as bogus as scriptural evalution of science.

"all the study of scripture in the world is not going to make you a Christian."

You might as well say that all the study of physics in the world is not going to make you a physicist. That was not my point.

"The message of Christianity was tailored to their needs at the time, and some of those needs were intellectual needs."

I am not adventurous enough to try and guess what the needs of Christ's time were. One blunders too easily by assuming to know too much. But I do know what my intellectual needs are, and I can tell you that Christianity does not even address them, let alone satisfy.

"Had Christianity contradicted those needs, Christianity would have never been successful."

I do not know what it takes for a religion to be successful, but I very much doubt it has anything to do with intellectual needs. The day you see Pastor John Brook on national TV, then you can be sure I discovered how religion works (just kidding)

"Similarly, Christianity must evolve to continue to meeting the needs of each society, including our intellectual needs in a period of advanced science and philosophical understanding."

That statement is in blatant contradiction with the facts. Except for little mismatches in translation, the four Christian gospels say the same thing today as they did when they were originally written. Our advanced science and philosophical understanding have had absolutely no impact on our understanding of Christian doctrine. Evolution theory sheds no light on the meaning of Genesis. Modern cosmology sheds no light on the meaning of the book of revelation. Modern medicine does not help explain how Christ performed miracle cures.

If you say advanced science and philosophical understanding prevent people from accepting Christianity, again I have no issue with you.

"I think you are advocating a form of elitism that has a way of distinguishing which Christians are 'true' and which are 'false'"

In a way I am. But notice I didn't say what the true interpretation of Christianity is, I only said there must be one true interpretation or, better, that there no two contradictory interpretations can both be true.

Likewise, I am not advocating a method to tell true Christians from false ones. Only it seems logical to me that if there are no false Christians, then all it takes to be a Christian is to claim to be one. If Christianity is reduced to an oath of allegiance, then it means absolutely nothing to the person uttering it. One might as well say "I am a visitor from Andromeda" and leave it at that.

"one is in danger of limiting the Christian religion to its own agenda."

More than anything, Christian religion is about limits. If you are a Christian you cannot have four wives, you cannot stone people to death, you cannot doubt that miracles happen, you cannot deny that the world is full of sin.

One can, of course, do and think whatever one wants, including contradict oneself.

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