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Purdy (2383)

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Bleh - not feeling creative right now. You can check me out on PerlMonks [].

Journal of Purdy (2383)

Tuesday July 23, 2002
08:25 AM


[ #6572 ]
Warning: The following content is WAY off-topic, but for those of you who know me, I rarely talk about Perl anyway. ;) Rest assured that I continue to appreciate and work with Perl, though.

At Sunday School a few days ago, we talked about other religions (for the record, I am a Protestant Christian), mostly Islam and how each religion was trying to convert outsiders into their own fold.

The bigger question that I find myself asking is "Why is one better (or more right) than the other?" I brought up the point that we mostly follow what we believed when we were children, meaning our parents beliefs were our beliefs and someone in class pointed out that it's our own experiences that lead us to our own faith and what we believe as well.

So now I look at my life and it's very easy to see how well that God has blessed me and while I haven't had a divine intervention, I do recall this memory that has stuck with me and further leads me to Believe:

I was pretty young ... maybe 12? I was riding my bike to a friend's house (I remember his first name was Rocky) and crossing a major street. I thought I looked both ways and was looking to my right when I started pedalling and then WHAM! I was thrown to the side of the street - a car had hit the front of the bike, causing it to fly back & me with it.

I wasn't hurt at all and my bike wasn't even hurt, either. I was really shaken by the experience and I remember all that I was thinking about at the time was 'Please don't let my Mom find out - she won't let me ride to my friend's house anymore and they will make fun of me'.

A slight change in some of those variables (speed and time, mostly) and I might not have survived or have been seriously maimed. I believe that God's hand stayed a more serious result and it's that experience that solidifies my beliefs in God, Jesus and all things Christian.


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  • One - feeling blessed has little to do with any religion - some personalise the intervention of a deity more than others but its pretty universal - quite how it would make christian beliefs more relevent than any other I don't know.

    Two - A child in Iran would quite possibly feel exactly the same but replace jesus with Mohammed and Christianity with Islam.

    This means your belief would probably be different according to your upbringing. I mean is there anything about your experiences particular to the christ

    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
    • Answering your post (without digesting the rest yet), as I understand Islam and Christianity, they worship two different Gods. In Christianity, God is worshipped as a Trinity, which is a stark contrast to Islam, where the Qur'an specifically states that God had no son.

      I agree with your statement that my beliefs would be different under different circumstances, but I find it hard to believe that if God were Islam, he would have cared about someone that didn't believe in Him enough to bless his life.


  • One of the wisest things I've heard on this subject has been told to me by a muslim. As you may know, the first of the five Pillars of Islam is the shahada : a muslim must claim his faith by the means of the following sentence : There is no other god than God, and Muhammad is His prophet. The theological importance of the first part of the sentence is enormous : the other religions have the same God -- but different prophets. Muhammad -- from a muslim point of view -- happens to be a better prophet because
    • the other religions have the same God [as Islam]...

      I have heard this argument before. And, interestingly, it's usually atheists who make it.

      Well, it's bogus. I'm sure that from an atheist's point of view, a logical identity relation exists between all religions that have the quality "Num_Gods==1". But that's silly. If anything, an atheist should be more inclined to distinguish between various purported all-being entities, since they're all fictitious!

      In any case, it is fallacious to draw an identity
      • The whole idea of incompatible gods is ridiculous. How can you say 'my god is true and yours is false'. The problem with this is that man is faliable and therefore all religions are flawed by their intepretation by man.

        The other problem with this attitude is that different cultures have the same view of say 'the sun' and use different words for it. For example God being referred to as Allah or JHVH is a language rather than religious issue.

        The characteristics of both God and the sun are also different acc

        @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
        print reverse @JAPH;
        • How can you say 'my god is true and yours is false'.

          That boils down to religious belief. But that's not the issue here.

          God being referred to as Allah or JHVH is a language rather than religious issue.

          Of course; that's also not what's under discussion here.

          God and the sun are also different according to your culture and location.

          You miss the point.

          According to "my" world view, the Earth is flat, and if you sail too far, you'll fall off the edge.

          According to "your" world view, the surface of the
          • Actually, I think the analogy with the blind men and the elephant is bang on. At least for the people of the Book. Consider the history of the three religions (ignoring for the a moment the Shia/Sunni and Protestant/Catholic/Orthodox schisms).

            In each of those three religions God is revealed through the teachings of a prophet (or prophets).

            Moses comes down from the mountain with his tablets of stone and does the whole "The Lord thy God is a jealous bastard, do what he says or get smited, for ye are his cho
            • I think one of the biggest problems is that the words of Mohammed, Jesus and Moses are unreadable by most of the people posting here given that if you are very educated you will have read all three faiths religious texts only in translated form.

              For example if English is your native language then all the scriptures referred to would have to be transposed from one alphabet to another and then translated. The King James Bible - and worse still the Good News Bible are chinese whispers of the original gospels.

              @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
              print reverse @JAPH;
              • Unless you are very well versed in Aramaic, Greek, Ancient Hebrew and Ancient Arabic then you are not in a position to argue over such petty details.

                That brings to the question of what constitutes a religion. One could argue that the true religion (e.g. "true Christianity", "true Islam", etc.) are inscribed in books, and there they sit, available for anyone to learn and accept. Or, one could argue that a religion is the existing, operative, body of belief in a person, or group of people. Given that the
                • But the old gem of 'can god create a boulder so heavy he himself cannot lift it' gives a similar puzzle to God having incompatible characteristics. If god can create something that he then cannot lift, desteroy, etc then what is stopping him from having characteristics that would not be possible in a finite creature but are possible in an infinite omnipotent deity?

                  Whats more the idea of a Jealous and wrathful god is contradictory to a God of mercy and love, yet Islam, Judaism/Zionism and Christianity all s

                  @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
                  print reverse @JAPH;
                  • can god create a boulder so heavy he himself cannot lift it

                    Well, from my personal point of view, that isn't a conundrum, but rather, has a very simple answer: No. Of course, it depends on what one thinks God is; but from my point of view, it is not accurate to say that there is nothing God can't do. God himself (in some revelations, at least) says as much. In particular, God can not do anything which is untrue to his nature. God cannot feel temptation. But that's just my opinion.

                    the same idea that
            • I think the analogy with the blind men and the elephant is bang on.

              I don't see how it can be. It boils down to this: the perspectives given by the blind men are not contradictory. Put together, they form a picture of the whole beast (or at least a part of the beast). That picture is consistent -- an animal with a head, a tail, four legs, etc. This does not work for the various religions' perspectives of the deity.

              Consider the history of the three religions...

              With all due respect, the histories are
      • I'm sure that from an atheist's point of view, a logical identity relation exists between all religions that have the quality "Num_Gods==1".

        I don't know a religion where Num_Gods != 1. All religions present a first cause to all effects; this cause is essentially indivisible. For so-called polytheisms, there's often the "god behind the gods" (the "unknown god" of one of the Epistles -- perhaps II Corinthians -- I'll have to look this up).

        For incompatible characteristics of gods in different religions, I

        • I don't know a religion where Num_Gods != 1.

          Actually, in human history monotheism is a late development. And certainly many polytheistic religions survive.

          An argument could also be made that the nonexistence of God is a religious belief (like your "faith in humanity") no differently than other religions, and that therefore religions in which Num_Gods==0 also exist.

          For so-called polytheisms, there's often the "god behind the gods"

          Even granted your "often", it is not always, and that leaves true poly
      • In any case, it is fallacious to draw an identity between Allah and the Christian god, for the simple reason that they have different, incompatible, characteristics.

        By the same, argument, it seems to be incorrect to refer to the Christian god then. Some people think that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the People of the Book) share a god because of the shared ancestry of the religions. But if you reject that idea, should you not also reject the idea that all Christians share a god because their reli

        • Hmm ... maybe we need to:
          unshift @NAMES_THAT_KILL_THREADS, 'Osama bin Laden';

          Anyone who thinks that Christianity & Islam share the same God is mistaken, as previously stated. From the Qur'an:

          "They do blaspheme who say Allah is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no god except One Alah". Surah 5:73

          I'm not as knowledgable about Judaism (except that they don't accept Jesus as the Son of God, which probably means that they don't accept God as a Trinity, which would also mean that their God != th

          • Okay, bringing up ObL was unnecessarily provocative.

            I'm still not sure that everyone who believes in the Trinity believes in the same god. Is that really the only significant characteristic of God? Other differences in one's view of God don't matter, as long as trinitarianism is there?
            • Well, specifically the Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost - as long as someone else believes in that Trinity, they share the same God as I, as described by the Bible.

              There are other characteristics of God (as jdporter points out below) that some 'sects' of Christianity focus (or distort, imo) on more than others.


        • In principle, yes, I would say that is the case.

          In particular, some "Christian" sects (which I'd rather not name here) contend that, for example, Christ has already Come Again, and is, as we speak, Reigning Over the Earth. Others say that Jesus of Nazareth was not divine, or was not born of a virgin, or did not rise from the dead. Some Christian sects hold that God is not triune. Some hold that all of humanity shall be saved, sooner or later, regardless of anything (including whether or not they Take Je
          • Well, I did say "more like", not "identical to". I was mainly thinking of the shared idea of a God who smites the United States for its sins, though admittedly Falwell doesn't seek to actively help God do the smiting, and is sorrowful rather than joyful about it.

            Still, it was a bit over the top.
  • "Why is one better (or more right) than the other?"

    Well, taking a pragmatic view, how "good" a religion is depends on how well it answers the questions or void(s) people feel in their lives.
    Of course, what these questions/voids are depends very much on cultural structures and values.