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Re: Jesus and the Mustard Seed

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  • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
    Heinz, You wrote:
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 20, 2008
      Heinz,

      You wrote:

      << The verse actually says: "It is like a grain of mustard seed which
      a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree"
      Not LIKE a tree, but "became a tree." This is another problem as
      mustard seeds do not grow to become trees. >>

      You then wrote:

      << I have read this post and Rob's, but this is the sort of wordplay
      I encounter often. If this book of Books is truly divine it does not
      need you to reword and rework it to make it more palatable to reason.
      >>

      But unfortunately what is actually happening here is the reverse. You
      are taking a modern definition of "tree" based on a modern approach
      to taxonomy and complaining that an ancient book errs because it does
      not use the word in this modern sense.

      You continued:

      << It should be obviously true. >>

      If the Bible were "obviously true," then what need would there be for
      it in the first place? Why would God bother with revelation if
      everything he was going to say was already obvious to us? No, the
      whole point of revelation is to convey truth to us that in some cases
      at least, for some of us at least, is far from obvious.

      You wrote:

      << Had these verses about the mustard seed appeared in the Book of
      Mormon rather than the Bible, you Christians would rail against it,
      and rightfully so. >>

      Actually, I don't criticize the Book of Mormon on the basis of such
      picayune problems or difficulties. So I do not operate by a double
      standard.

      In Christ's service,
      Rob Bowman
      Executive Director
      Institute for Religious Research
      Online: http://www.irr.org
    • Paul Leonard
      Your problem is a simple one. Rob and I see and believe what is said, even though we disagree on other points of belief. You are not focused on the message,
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 20, 2008
        Your problem is a simple one.

        Rob and I see and believe what is said, even though we disagree on other points of belief.

        You are not focused on the message, rather on the words. You know what Jesus meant, but that is not all that is necessary to benefit from what he said..

        Simply put, NOW you have:

        No Belief
        No Faith, not even the size of a mustard grain
        No hope.

        All you can do is nit pick the words because you no longer believe in the message or the messenger.

        Your opinion of what the "book" should be like, and how obvious anything should be, is simply YOUR opinion. Rob and I both can look at it without the necessity of trying to find fault, to allow us to ignore what the "book" says as you now do; rather we can examine it to find a better guide to our life than our own opinion.

        The only thing you seem to believe in, is your own opinion, in effect becoming your own "God".
         
        That is sad.

        --- On Fri, 9/19/08, Heinz Schmitz <christian_skeptic@...> wrote:
        From: Heinz Schmitz <christian_skeptic@...>
        Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Jesus and the Mustard Seed
        To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, September 19, 2008, 10:23 AM

        --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard
        <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote:
        >
        > Planted in a field, Orchids aren't
        >
        > A vegetable, Orchids are not
        >
        > Grows very large and like a tree, Orchids do not.

        The verse actually says: "It is like a grain of mustard seed which a
        man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree"
        Not LIKE a tree, but "became a tree." This is another problem as
        mustard seeds do not grow to become trees.
        I have read this post and Rob's, but this is the sort of wordplay I
        encounter often. If this book of Books is truly divine it does not
        need you to reword and rework it to make it more palatable to reason.
        It should be obviously true. The words of a god who created all plant-
        life should have rephrased this sentence in the Bible, and an
        omniscient deity should have anticipated future arguments against it.
        I just finished listening to a very good Mormon speaker defend his
        beliefs against attacks by Evangelicals, and he resorted to many of
        the same tactics that you all do. Many may not find my present
        worldview desirable, but I am just holding your God to a higher
        standard, not the same standard as LDS beliefs. Had these verses
        about the mustard seed appeared in the Book of Mormon rather than
        the Bible, you Christians would rail against it, and rightfully so.

      • Heinz Schmitz
        ... which ... wordplay ... not ... reason. ... You ... does ... Reply: This type of argumentation provides a defense of every holy book and religion in the
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 22, 2008
          --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Robert M. Bowman, Jr."
          <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:

          > << The verse actually says: "It is like a grain of mustard seed
          which
          > a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree"
          > Not LIKE a tree, but "became a tree." This is another problem as
          > mustard seeds do not grow to become trees. >>
          >
          > You then wrote:
          >
          > << I have read this post and Rob's, but this is the sort of
          wordplay
          > I encounter often. If this book of Books is truly divine it does
          not
          > need you to reword and rework it to make it more palatable to
          reason.
          > >>
          >
          > But unfortunately what is actually happening here is the reverse.
          You
          > are taking a modern definition of "tree" based on a modern approach
          > to taxonomy and complaining that an ancient book errs because it
          does
          > not use the word in this modern sense.
          >

          Reply: This type of argumentation provides a defense of every holy
          book and religion in the world - it actually works against everything
          you as an apologist works for. This defense does not even need to
          isolate itself to obvious difficulties with geography or taxonomy.
          For instance you have a done a lot of work on the trinity. Perhaps
          you are taking a modern definition of "God" based on a modern
          approach to Theology and not reflecting the very loose use of it in
          the ancient world.

          > You continued:
          >
          > << It should be obviously true. >>
          >
          > If the Bible were "obviously true," then what need would there be
          for
          > it in the first place?

          Reply: This response has me scratching my head in confusion.

          Why would God bother with revelation if
          > everything he was going to say was already obvious to us?

          Reply: That is not what I meant. If God were going to give us a holy
          book, then the words in it should be apparently true, obviously true,
          and we should acquire this absolute truth after reading it. Its
          perfection and superiority should resonate with everyone.

          >
          > You wrote:
          >
          > << Had these verses about the mustard seed appeared in the Book of
          > Mormon rather than the Bible, you Christians would rail against it,
          > and rightfully so. >>
          >
          > Actually, I don't criticize the Book of Mormon on the basis of such
          > picayune problems or difficulties. So I do not operate by a double
          > standard.
          >

          Reply: I was not indicating YOU in particular, but many Christians
          do, which you well know.
        • Heinz Schmitz
          ... other points of belief. ... what Jesus meant, but that is not all that is necessary to benefit from what he said.. ... If the words are incorrect, how can
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 22, 2008
            --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard
            <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
            >
            > Your problem is a simple one.
            >
            > Rob and I see and believe what is said, even though we disagree on
            other points of belief.
            >
            > You are not focused on the message, rather on the words. You know
            what Jesus meant, but that is not all that is necessary to benefit
            from what he said..
            >

            If the words are incorrect, how can I trust the message? On another
            note, since you and Rob focus on the message, how is it you come to
            two differing conclusions? Again, how can I trust the message?

            > Simply put, NOW you have:
            >
            > No Belief
            > No Faith, not even the size of a mustard grain
            > No hope.
            >

            If your faith. hope and belief is in an irrational and fractured
            religion then I have a leg up on you.


            > Your opinion of what the "book" should be like, and how obvious
            anything should be, is simply YOUR opinion. Rob and I both can look
            at it without the necessity of trying to find fault, to allow us to
            ignore what the "book" says as you now do; rather we can examine it
            to find a better guide to our life than our own opinion.

            I don't think it is necessarily a good guide, and oftentimes it is a
            detriment to us leading a better life.

            >
            > The only thing you seem to believe in, is your own opinion, in
            effect becoming your own "God".
            >
            > That is sad.
            >

            I get that a lot. It seems Christians have to always look at my views
            in a religious sense, knowing full well that bringing me down to
            their own level makes it easier to mock. When you say such things it
            leads me to acknowledge that you really do not give much honor to
            religion.
          • Paul Leonard
            Hi, First my comment about being sad for you was not meant as a put down, rather an expression of concern. ... what Jesus meant, but that is not all that is
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 22, 2008
              Hi,

              First my comment about being sad for you was not meant as a put down, rather an expression of concern.

              Now below:

              --- On Mon, 9/22/08, Heinz Schmitz <christian_skeptic@...> wrote:


              >
              > You are not focused on the message, rather on the words. You know
              what Jesus meant, but that is not all that is necessary to benefit
              from what he said..
              >

              If the words are incorrect, how can I trust the message? On another
              note, since you and Rob focus on the message, how is it you come to
              two differing conclusions? Again, how can I trust the message?

              A.P. You are assuming they are incorrect according to the standard you have set. I have no problem with them at all.

              > Simply put, NOW you have:
              >
              > No Belief
              > No Faith, not even the size of a mustard grain
              > No hope.
              >

              If your faith. hope and belief is in an irrational and fractured
              religion then I have a leg up on you.

              A.P. But it isn't.

              Now if you are correct, you still have no advantage. You have no hope beyond this life and that will be the end of it.

              > Your opinion of what the "book" should be like, and how obvious
              anything should be, is simply YOUR opinion. Rob and I both can look
              at it without the necessity of trying to find fault, to allow us to
              ignore what the "book" says as you now do; rather we can examine it
              to find a better guide to our life than our own opinion.

              I don't think it is necessarily a good guide, and oftentimes it is a
              detriment to us leading a better life. 

              A.P. Not a chance. I will agree that those who mis-apply it lead a worse life or cause others to do so, but from a life time of experience I have a better life for following it. Tried the other way once, what a mistake.

              >
              > The only thing you seem to believe in, is your own opinion, in
              effect becoming your own "God".
              >
              > That is sad.
              >

              I get that a lot. It seems Christians have to always look at my views
              in a religious sense, knowing full well that bringing me down to
              their own level makes it easier to mock. When you say such things it
              leads me to acknowledge that you really do not give much honor to
              religion. 

              A.P. A meaning less reply as it is subjective.

              I thought you were a critical thinker? Consider your words; we think of it in a religious sense??? Well I guess when a religious subject is being discussed that is normal and should be expected.

              You make yourself a god as YOUR opinion is primary to you. Then any human who agrees with you, thus "man" is now the god, as no ones view/opinion, etc is higher.

              Right now the only life or hope you have is in man. You do not believe in any God or a higher being that CAN or WILL help you or at best is disinterested, as you have nothing to share about any belief in a "divine" being that is of any value. Your point is to tear down not build up. Dropping down to your position leaves everyone on a downer, as you are now and have been,  since you lost your faith. It isn't God's fault what happened in your life.

              As a believer I am hopeful. As a non believer you are hopeless. Who is more depressed or frustrated?
               

            • Heinz Schmitz
              ... wrote: Dropping down to your position leaves everyone on a downer, as you are now and have been,  since you lost your faith. It
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 23, 2008
                --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard
                <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
                Dropping down to your position leaves everyone on a downer, as you
                are now and have been,  since you lost your faith. It isn't God's
                fault what happened in your life.

                Reply: Nothing "happened in my life" (i.e. I was depressed or down
                and out), the evidence simply led me away from religion.

                As a believer I am hopeful. As a non believer you are hopeless. Who
                is more depressed or frustrated?
                >  

                Reply: I am neither depressed nor frustrated. I am actually the
                happiest I have ever been. You will find though that many Christians
                of any stripe suffer from depression. This is something i found
                unnerving as a Christian. Too many of my brothers were comitting
                suicide.

                Also, untold numbers of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and others have
                suffered horrible guilt and depression because of their
                perceived "abomination" status.

                Then you look at verses like Matthew 7:13, 14 and verses 21-23 and
                you realize that even you don't really have a hope. The best you can
                look forward to is a crapshoot.
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