with a little copy/paste here, maybe i can offer a clear response:
My 'God has to be willing to die for those he loves' was because i'm just one measly human in the scheme of things, and god would have to be more 'valiant' or whatever you'd call it to be bigger than a noble human's spirit.
Certainly God COULD be "cold and uncaring"(living in the tipi, i observed to my husband 'whew! god sure knew how to invent the purest brittlest cold!' - nature of itself is impartial, unmerciful, impersonal); had there been no bible that stated the promise that all men would come to know of Him, i might've thought my belief a delusion, my hope unfounded. But it promises also He'll be with each person, so i have reason to believe based on promises kept, and not just my imagination.
Re: "...the fact that Jesus promised a happy eternity hardly is proof of its validity." This is where faith comes in. My husband says he'll love me forever, and because he's stayed allied with me, I can trust his words. So, if I can trust his, all the more I can trust that of my creator.
"I could just as easily argue for the existence of the Greek gods by a similar rationale." Perhaps they do exist, and that's why God said not to have any gods above HIM. ? Still, if they promised everlasting life/heaven to their followers, i have heard nothing of it; have they made any promises that came true? has anyone given their life as payment for the rest of us? and then been returned to their 'home' in heaven?
Is it possible that I just got lucky with the swordfish? Perhaps. But how likely would the lobster have been then? Like, one time, I was walking in the woods, stepped from behind a tree, and a doe nearly ran into me. Months later, I reflected on how 'likely' that would've been when I was AGAIN nearly knocked over by a doe - this time in a clearing! Sure. coincidental. in one person's life. But what are the 'chances' that so many (and there have been MANY more with me) 'coincidences' could happen to so MANY people ALL the time? When a person is accused of murder, the opportunity, the motive, and the tool are linked together to build the fact there was intent behind it (or probability of intent). See what I'm getting at?
Who or what is "SETI" (she ignorantly asks).
Perhaps the nature of the universe does NOT seem to require a creator, but I would think evidence of a creator would require at least a universe. :) maybe it does go both ways. :) and, certainly, at least imho, nature alone does not indicate an afterlife; it is faith in promises kept to me which builds my trust that there is. which is pretty miraculous, given i wasn't always on this wavelength.
Re: "Does anything in the cosmos other than the Bible even HINT about the "fact" that Jesus was the son of God?" Actually, there's a book called 'the true meaning of astrology' which shows the sphinx was the oldest 'key' to the astrological signs which we typically think of as starting with aquarius and ending with sagittarius; it suggests it begins with virgo (the virgin birth) and ends with leo (the lion of judah), telling the whole redemption story, including the very stars' names in the constellation. i will have to dust that clipping off, too, rather than try to remember all right here and make a huger post than i already have. IF you're interested. if not, it's moot!
You ask "then why believe it?" (if nothing in the cosmos hints about Jesus...). i don't really look to the cosmos, nor even the purest brittle cold, for my relationship with my creator, so whether or not i 'believe' the cosmos i'm not sure applies here. the bible says they'll stumble on the stone or the stone will pin them down (or something like that - we either stumble upon Him or he makes ways to get our attention when we least want him too - it's easier on US if we CHOOSE to, but sounds like he figures it worth his effort even if he has to do 'all the work'...).
I work with what I've got,too; i think it's a healthier balance to 'work as if god didn't exist or help; trust that he does and will'.
Re: your having "plenty of time to mull this over, seeing as I'm only 18"; with all due respect, what little bird told you you have plenty of time in a world where fatal accidents claim young lives every day?
Re: do you need 'conclusions' and 'reasons' to love someone or want to get to know them? i think love is one of the things that transcend reason, sometimes.
i am glad you do not base your own beliefs on what i say or don't say; i'm just a very imperfect human. i'm making my own journal of 'reasons' which i'm sure would be a big 'yawn' to someone else. too bad so many see god as having no humor or fun or pleasure, even though he invented it and everything. but read for yourself, and you're right to take mine with a grain of salt, i'm far from being an 'eyewitness' to his historic events 'back then'. but i also wouldn't wanna live in a world that is based solely on 'reason' of what exists, erasing 'intuition', 'the heart', and 'possibility'. :)
wake up, all! this post is finished! anyone for brie and triscuits? i need some coffee myself.