Where is God?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Blake Bowden, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    I read an interesting question the other day....

    "If God still exists, then why is he not active like he was in the Bible and other sacred writings? The Bible characters walked, talked, and had a intimate relationship with God, and today God is silent. What happened?"

  2. HKTidwell

    HKTidwell Premium Member

    Is he silent or are we not listening?

    If you look at the bible there are times when He is quiet. Beliefs are a funny thing, even though I read all different things I'm comfortable with my belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. However I walk my spiritual beliefs at a different pace then many others. I'm not the person who stands on the street corner telling others how they are hell bound, or passing out pamplets. I think that if people see my actions as a reflection of my beliefs then they will ask and I will respond. I happen to believe I communicate daily with my God. Is he talking to me as in a dialogue no, but my conscience allows me to know when I'm doing right and wrong. Not sure if this makes sense.
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  3. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

    Perfect sense.

    I think though, Blake, that you are assuming that the Bible is the literal truth. These individuals in the Bible might have talked to God, but maybe they did it in an internal manner? Or maybe in the scriptures "talking to God" was an allegory for something else. I think that your original statement depends on the individual one has with their interpretation of the divine. God endowed us with the ability to be rational thinkers, so in that sense we are at least communicating with a portion of God, if not that, them with the spark that he gave us.
  4. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

    G_d; Jesus; Holy Spirit all are one, in three persons.
    I hope this helps! If it is off the topic? please remove it.

    There are a number of voices claiming that the accounts of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament are simply myths and were the result of the writers borrowing stories from pagan mythology, such as the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, and Mithras. The claim is that these mythological figures are essentially the same story as what the New Testament ascribes to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As Dan Brown claims in, The Da Vinci Code, “Nothing in Christianity is original.”

    However, once the facts are examined, these claims are proven false. To discover the truth about these particular claims and others like them, it is important to: (1) unearth the history behind their assertions, (2) examine the actual historical portrayals of the false gods being compared to Christ, (3) expose the logical fallacies that the authors are making, and (4) look at why the New Testament Gospels can be trusted as accurately depicting the true and historical Jesus Christ.

    First, the claims of Jesus as a myth or an exaggeration originated in the writings of 19th century liberal German theologians. Their claim was essentially that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of the widespread worship of dying and rising fertility gods in various places—Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Osiris in Egypt. None of these works ever advanced in the realm of academia and religious thought because their assertions were investigated by theologians and scholars and determined to be completely false and baseless. It has only been in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the internet and mass distribution of information that has no historical foundation or accountability.

    This leads us to the next area of investigation—do the mythological gods of antiquity really mirror the person of Jesus Christ? As an example, the Zeitgeist movie makes these claims about the Egyptian god Horus:

    • He was born on December 25th of a virgin - Isis Mary
    • A star in the East proclaimed his arrival
    • Three kings came to adore the new-born “savior”
    • He became a child prodigy teacher at age 12
    • At age 30 he was “baptized” and began a “ministry”
    • Horus had twelve “disciples”
    • Horus was betrayed
    • He was crucified
    • He was buried for three days
    • He was resurrected after three days

    However, when the actual writings about Horus are competently examined, this is what we find:

    • Horus was born to Isis; there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary.” Moreover, Mary is our anglicized form of her real name ‘Miryam’ or Miriam. “Mary” was not even used in the original texts of Scripture.
    • Isis was not a virgin; she was the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris.
    • Horus was born during month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), not December 25. Further, there is no mention in the Bible as to Christ’s actual birth date.
    • There is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. The Bible never states the actual number of magi that came to see Christ.
    • Horus is not a “savior” in any shape or form; he did not die for anyone.
    • There are no accounts of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12.
    • Horus was not “baptized.” The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water he was placed into.
    • Horus did not have a “ministry.”
    • Horus did not have 12 disciples. According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four semi-gods that were followers and some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.
    • There is no account of Horus being betrayed by a friend.
    • Horus did not die by crucifixion. There are various accounts of Horus’ death, but none of them involve crucifixion.
    • There is no account of Horus being buried for three days.
    • Horus was not resurrected. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and going to be the lord of the underworld.

    So when compared side by side, Jesus and Horus bear little, if any, resemblance to one another. Another popular comparison done by those claiming that Jesus Christ is a myth is with Jesus and Mithras. All the above claims of Horus are applied to Mithras (e.g. born of a virgin, being crucified, rising in three days, etc.). But what does history say about Mithras?

    • He was born out of a solid rock and not from any woman.
    • He battled first with the sun and then a primeval bull, thought to be the first act of creation. Mithras killed the bull, which then became the ground of life for the human race.
    • Mithras birth was celebrated on December 25, along with Winter solstice.
    • There is no mention of him as being a great teacher.
    • There is no mention of Mithras having 12 disciples. The idea that Mithras had 12 disciples may have come from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by twelve signs of the Zodiac.
    • Mithras had no bodily resurrection. The myth is told that Mithras completed his earthly mission then was taken to paradise in a chariot, alive and well. The early Christian writer Tertullian did write about Mithras believers re-enacting resurrection scenes, but he wrote about this occurring well after New Testament times, so if any copycatting was done, it was the cult of Mithras copying from Christianity.

    More examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus as portrayed in the Bible is thoroughly unique. The claimed similarities are greatly exaggerated. Further, while belief in Horus, Mithras, and others pre-dated Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings about these religions is dated to the third and fourth centuries A.D. It is illogical and unhistorical to claim the pre-Christian beliefs in these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to the post-Christian beliefs in these groups (of which there is record). It is more historically valid to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions copying Christian beliefs about Jesus and placing those attributes on their own gods/saviors/founders in an attempt to stop the rapid growth of Christianity.

    This leads us to the next area to examine: the logical fallacies committed by those claiming that Christianity borrowed from pagan mystery religions. Two fallacies in particular are obvious— the fallacy of the false cause and the terminological fallacy. If one thing precedes another, it does not mean that the first caused the second. This is the fallacy of the false cause. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Claiming such a thing would be like saying the TV series Star Trek caused the NASA Space Shuttle program.

    The terminological fallacy occurs when terms are redefined to prove a point, when in fact such terms do not mean the same thing when compared to their source. So for example, the Zeitgeist movie says that Horus “began his ministry,” but Horus had no actual ministry – nothing like that of Christ’s ministry. Those claiming Mithras and Jesus are the same talk about the “baptism” that initiated prospects into the Mithras cult, but what was it actually? The Mithras priests (using a ritual also performed by followers of Attis) would suspend a bull over a pit, place those wanting to join the cult into the pit, slit the bull’s stomach, which then covered the initiates in blood. Such a thing has no resemblance whatsoever to Christian baptism—a person going under water (symbolizing the death of Christ) and then coming back out of the water (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection). But advocates of the mythological Jesus position deceptively use the same term to describe both in hopes of linking the two together.

    The last issue to examine on this subject is the truthfulness of the New Testament itself. While much has been written on this topic, no work from antiquity has more evidence with respect to historical veracity than the New Testament. The New Testament has more writers (nine), better writers, and earlier writers than any other document from that era. Further, history testifies to the fact that these writers went to their deaths for claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. While some may die for a lie they think is true, no person dies for a lie they know to be false. Think about it—if someone was about to crucify you upside down, as happened to the Apostle Peter, and all you had to do to save your life was renounce a lie you had knowingly been living, what would you do?

    In addition, history has shown that it takes at least two generations to pass before myth can enter into a historical account. Why? Because eyewitnesses can refute error put in print. Those living at the time could refute the errors of the author and expose the work as being false. All the Gospels of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses, with some of Paul’s epistles being written as early as 50 A.D. That early dating acts as a key protective mechanism against any falsehoods being accepted and circulated.

    Finally, the New Testament attests to the fact that the portrayal of Jesus was not mistaken for that of any other god. When faced with Paul’s teaching, the elite thinkers of Athens said this: “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean" (Acts 17:18-20). Clearly, if the accounts of Jesus were simply rehashing stories of other gods, the Athenians would not have referred to them at “new” teaching. If dying and rising gods were plentiful in the first century why, when the apostle Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead in Acts 17, did the Epicureans and Stoics not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?

    In conclusion, the claims that Jesus is nothing more than a myth, a copy of mythological gods, originated from authors whose works have been discounted by academia, commit logical fallacies that undermine their veracity, and cannot compare to the New Testament Gospels which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels disappear when they are compared with the original historical texts. Similarities between Jesus and the various mythological gods can only be argued for by employing selective and misleading descriptions.

    Jesus Christ stands unique in history, with His voice rising above all false gods and continuing to ask the question that ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
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  5. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    i wish either Zeitgeist or the apologetic above this post had listed references.
  6. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

    I’m not quite sure what you are asking?
  7. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    the facts about horus, where did either of them find this information?
  8. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

  9. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    the language describing Horus and the associated gods seems very familiar to a Christian, and to take it out of context and put quotations around it, as if the writers of either what you posted, or what ZG had in the video, knew that it was a stretch.

    either way:

    this is from the "Ritual of the Dead" that was pieced together from various sarcophagi:

    Herod (yes, the one you're thinking of) wrote in Euterpe (Orus = Horus):

    in what is called Ritual of the Dead 2:

    i'm not really arguing one side or the other, i just wish they had referenced it in both instances. i also understand how easy it is to compare Horus to Jesus, or even better Horus and his associated Gods/followers (namely, Thoth).

    there are many things that Horus did that Jesus did in his life. ZG presented it to their audience (which is typically someone very open to being skeptical of Christianity) knowing that the "stretches" (irony in the " ") would be accepted rather than debated.
  10. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

  11. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

    God was more active in the past, but so was man. As Bro Tidwell pointed out, faith is the cornerstone of Christianity's difference from its predecessors.

    Everything was more ritualistic, invocational and meant to be interactive. Everything had t be in place to approach God.

    I guarantee you religions that have held to the oldest rituals don't ask why God isn't active, or ask much less - because they still interact on that physical level and believe in As Above, So Below.

    There are a great number of people who work through spirits, ancestors and aspects of God to communicate. Christianity puts those trappings aside.
  12. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

    Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

    This reminds me of the science versus religion discussion and how some argue to totally separate the two (on both sides).

    I don't think it is a problem for Christianity that the "plot", "themes" or "characters" are familiar to other cultures - their religions, myths or even secular events. Just as I don't think Science is a problem for Christianity.

    I have a few problems with the idea the story is wholly unique and never told in ay form before.
    1) I have never heard anyone claim any story is absolutely unique, much less Christianity. It's ok to believe that, but to try to make an academic stab out of would be an impressive feat. Story structure has been thoroughly run through the ringer since Aristotle's "Poetics" Frequently Asked Reference Questions
    2) If it doesn't resonate it doesn't work. I tell people in my storytelling workshops that if a story doesn't resonate with an audience, the story fails. Even scientists can't escape this cycle - trying to break away from preceding models and theories.
    Catholic and Anglican churches have probably launched the biggest "evangelical mission" campaigns lasting centuries in different parts of the world. Even they have recognized (more than they use to openly) that inculturation and bonding with the local culture and stories is more effective and human than the prior attempts (which were either blind or forceful).

    If you have to go into a culture and blindly explain why Jesus is needed from absolute scratch, you'll be there forever.

    You'll find to this day, translations of the Bible into various languages incorporate those languages (obviously) - and most languages include indigenous references to their "gods" or "spirits". But there are also overt attempts to connect to existing cosmology. Esu/Ellegua was translated as the Devil for the Yoruba. In Brazil, the Yoruba disapora often depict him as the devil without any attempt to say he is actually Satan. Most are familiar with Africans and diaspora using Saints as syncretic connections. There is also reverse syncretizing where Churches have historically adopted local images, characters and customs. As soon as you start translating, you start inculturating Christianity.

    The veneration of Mary became more concrete at a council in Ephesus, where a temple to Diana stood.
    We all know the image of Guadalupe in Latin America - where the basilica is erected over a place dedicated to the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.

    I think Christianity would be hurt in the ability to spread its message if the message and story were wholly and absolutely unique (something which one of the most cited versus of the Bible contradicts Ecc 1:9).

    Nobody would understand what you were talking about or what the point was.

    By the way - I also believe the people who absolutely believe the story ifs fictional or wholly based on other myths are also off base.

    Frankly, it would have been appropriate for Jesus to be aware of other people's beliefs and sensitivities and communicate in that way with him. Which is why he used parables.

    If he only spoke with unique stories, cosmologies and beliefs - his story would have fell flat. Nobody would have been able to connect their desires or needs with his message.
  13. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    can you expound on this one?

    in catholicism, we have the confession, and all of the rites that can take place during mass. other religions have their own rituals.

    the ancient religions had the equivalent of "bible studies" as well, too, that were very informal.

    well, it doesn't say that those methods don't work anymore, but that they are inherently evil. the bible has much to say on necromancy, etc.
  14. ChrisJones

    ChrisJones Registered User

    I think the answer to this question can be found in Hebrews 1:1-2 then 2 Timothy 2:15.

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  15. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

    I have always said that when I go I want my list of questions in my coat pocket ... ! so when I stand before the Great White Thrown... ! I can take out my list and say Lord I have some things I don't understand... ! I think at that point will be the only time you get all your questions answer.. !
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  16. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

    faith is the cornerstone of Christianity's difference from its predecessors.

    I'm rusty at citing scripture, but the idea of cleanliness being internal as opposed to external. The law being in the heart. A covenant of grace instead of ritual compliance. Circumcision aint necessary. I believe its all covered in Romans. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, I just didn't express it well and may not be.

    Catholicism is much more ritualistic (physical) than many protestant denominations. And Catholics are much more likely to venerate Saints, see Apparitions and have icons (right word?) that manifest evidence of the supernatural.

    I think the message is mixed on that. Lazarus was dead when Jesus spoke to him. Many modern messages on it are mixed between its impossible versus its evil. As I read the Endor story, the spirit was actually called and cursed the person who called them not for necromancy, but because that person disobeyed God on a very specific command. And, of course, as a protestant I was raised to view Saint veneration as necromancy and evil (I'm not sold on it).

    I detailed the conflicts in more detail years ago and may still have that somewhere if there's interest. But here's one book to consider: Amazon.com: Israel's Beneficent Dead: Ancestor Cult and Necromancy in Ancient Israelite Religion and Tradition (9781575060088): Brian B. Schmidt: Books

    Saint veneration didn't come out of nowhere - many Jews did the same over many periods of their history. Sometimes condoned, sometimes not. In the Jewish context, ritual cleanliness was a constant requirement practically, so communication with the dead would have been as unclean as touching the dead. Like divination, the full context seems to strike me as to "why" and "how" you are approaching the contact - through God or through Baal. Jewish priests regularly divined and were blessed by it (Was it the story of Joseph with the divining dreams?) - but we are constantly told it is evil.

    I have full respect for Saint veneration (and as an Episcopal am just a step form Catholicism), but they are dead and people are communicating with them. In my mind, the differentiation of others who communicate with the dead becomes extremely semantical (or presumptive of other systems).
  17. Payne

    Payne Registered User

    The Gospel of Thomas According to Jessika

    77. Jesus said,

    "I Am Is a Light over All. I Am Is the All.

    The I Am goes out from me and unto me the I Am returns.

    Split a piece of wood and the I Am is there.

    Lift up a stone and you will find The I Am is there."

    I other words God is everywhere...
  18. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

    Our Father, who art in Heaven........

    Hopefully, He is in our Hearts as well. If He is in our hearts, then He is everywhere we are.
  19. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

    If God is merely in the sky, then there is no actual God. Any "god" who is always somewhere else and never right here, right now, is not a god at all. Any "god" who is not right here, right now in every single right here right now, is such an insignificant "god" that we can dispense with it.
  20. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

    God is right where he has always been, and, in my estimation, the same percentage of people are diligently searching for him as there has always been.

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