I have put some thought to what would convert me to any religion – and I have broken this into two parts part i) Conclusive and part ii) Not Conclusive
Conclusive – prove me with conclusive evidence that matches this criteria, and I would convert to any religion that supports the existence of God right away.
a) Verify, specific prophecies that could not have been contrived.
Answer: How do you prove what was manufactured and what is real?
For example if the bible says that on the first day of the first month 2010 the pillars of the earth will shake, and part of the new world will be lost to the sea, and then on the 1st January 2010 an earthquake causes the California to fall into the sea – I will convert on the spot. However the following conditions apply:
Answer: I should not ask, but can’t help, are you serious about this? I don’t believe for one moment that you would not think of an excuse to wriggle out of that commitment even if I somehow managed to make an exact replication of your demand.
1) If the prophecy is vague, unclear or garbled like Nostodarmous or a horoscope – this does not count. It must be detailed in meaning and language.
Answer: Since the Bible is the final authority, not me, I’ll let the Bible talk about the issue of prophecy.
A.) There are false prophets who will be able to trick people into believing them
B.) There are true prophets. You need an understanding of Biblical principles of discernment to understand this. This is not hidden but you have to refer to the Bible.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. 21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? 23 And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!
Matthew 24: 24-25 24 For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
2) If the prophecy is trivial – this doesn’t count. Anyone can predict a flood, plague, drought – the prophecy must describe something unlikely, surprising or unique.
Answer: This is either a deliberate distortion of what the Bible says or a massive misunderstanding of what the Bible gives as an example. Try reading the Bible without being biased against it, even if you pretend for a moment that you are objective.
3) If the prophecy is self fulfilling, i.e. if the mere fact that prophecy exists causes it to become true, for example the Jewish people returned to their homeland in Israel because the bible said that they would – this is not a prediction, this is an instruction which people followed, because they had a belief in the bible. The prophecy can not be one that people could stage.
Answer: I love that you give this example. This is brilliant as it shows how little atheists understand when such rules are applied.
a.) Israel was without a homeland for almost 2000 years
b.) The fact is the UN agreed that Israel should have a homeland which is a miracle in itself.
c.) Israel was nearly annihilated on several occasions throughout its history; this proves first the opposition to God that exists in this world and is an attempt to destroy God’s promises to Abraham.
d.) The fact that Israel has been preserved proves that God is faithful
e.) Nazis and the British did not make it easy for Israel to return to their homeland, if you remember from our recent history, ships loaded with Jews heading for Palestine were forbidden to dock in Israel by the then British rulers.
f.) It took the death of 6 million Jews for the world to allow the creation of Israel
So please don’t cheapen this achievement. In fact if you look at the 6 day war in Israel that involved all the surrounding nations ganging up against Israel, and on top of that you will find that America was no help to Jews, this in itself is a remarkable proof that God looks after his people.
4) If the prophecy predicts an event that already happened and the writing of the prophecy itself can not be shown to have preceded the event , if the prophecy predicts an event, and the happening of that event can not be independently verified. For example Christian apologists claim that Jesus fulfilled many old testament prophecies but the authors of the new testament obviously had access to the old testament prophecies – so they do not count.
Answer: Again, this shows how biased against the Bible you are. This is either ignorant or not knowing information such as:
a.) Apostles could not artificially manufacture the birth place of Jesus.
b.) The death of Christ is taken away from anyone’s hands otherwise even the Roman army would have had to be involved in the conspiracy.
c.) He was hung on a cross. This kind of execution did not exist when this was prophesised.
d.) If you read Isaiah 53 you will find that Jesus was not looked at with favour, his face was distorted due to beatings and he was killed for our sins. The fact is this happened on Passover and this is the holiday that symbolises the redemption of Israel. You will find more of such precise details, not wishy washy stuff as you suggest.
Genuine divine Bible prophecy
Prophecy is foretelling an event in such detail before it happens so as to necessarily require divine guidance. The Bible is a book containing hundreds of detailed prophecies. There are, for example, well over 60 distinct predictions in regard to our divine Saviour Jesus Christ. Here is a sample of just 10 prophecies that foretold the crucifixion of Christ. Not only were the predictions made 1000 years before Christ came from heaven to earth, but they were made over 500 years before crucifixion was first used anywhere in the world as a form of capital punishment! Crucifixion didn’t exist when the prophecies were made.
A scientist picked out 48 such prophecies and determined that the probability of one man randomly fulfilling them all is 1 in 10 to the exponent of 157. That is one followed by 157 zeros! Your chances of winning a typical lottery jackpot is about 1 in 108. (100,000,000) Yet, Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies!
For more information go to post on this blog listing many more such incidences: https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/bible-prophecy-about-jesus-2/
5) Finally if the prophecy is only one in a thousand failures, anyone can throw up random prophecies and eventually one will come true – there has to be several to prove the reliability of the source (i.e. the bible). These conditions are reasonable and are only what be expected from any prophet that has genuine gift.
Answer: Refer to answer 4 and you will find consistency and accuracy in one place.
b) Scientific knowledge in holy books that was not available at the time of writing.
If the bible or any other religious text contains some piece of scientific knowledge that the people of the time could not have possibly have known, but is now known to be true – this would be highly convincing to me. However, it is not conclusive, as the Greeks did predict atoms etc (I might add that the greeks did this independently of religious dogma). Therefore it must be something that is so counter intuitive that the odds against guessing it would be staggering. For example what if Jesus has said something like this “my disciples, I decree that energy, is mass multiplied by the speed of gods light and multiplied unto itself.” Of course the people at the time would have been baffled, but just think how many souls would have been saved by such scientific knowledge (by the logic of the religious, god created everything, so he created science – why would he want his prophets to communicate something that would be useful to save lives). Just like the point a above such statements would need to be independently verified, and proved to have been part of the original text included in the bible.
Answer: This is wrong on a few counts;
a.) You demand proof. You and I are creatures and don’t have rights that we can demand, we have rights that we are given. However, there is plenty of evidence of both God’s existence and his involvement in his creation.
b.) Your proof would have confused the hearers of the time and would serve no purpose other than to convince future generations. This could have been a significant problem for many millions who lived before the time this scientific discovery would have been made. And God is not a God of confusion.
c.) Christianity, and the Bible in particular, is not a scientific handbook, despite the popular belief that it is. It deals with the salvation of humankind but if you want an intriguing fact, the Bible does say that the Earth is hung on nothing in the book of Job.
I will include some more taken Answers in Genesis web page, this is by Physicist Dr Jason Lisle
Original document is from :
In this chapter, we will explore some passages of Scripture which touch upon the topics of astronomy and astrophysics. It is interesting that many of the Bible’s statements about astronomy went against the generally accepted teachings of the time. Undoubtedly, many of these verses would have seemed counterintuitive, and may have been difficult to believe when they were first written. However, modern science has confirmed what the Bible has taught. As in all things, the Bible is absolutely correct when it teaches about the universe.
The Earth Is Round
The Bible indicates that the earth is round. Consider Isaiah 40:22 which mentions the “circle of the earth.” This description is certainly fitting—particularly when the earth is viewed from space; the earth always appears as a circle since it is round.
Another verse that indicates the spherical nature of our planet is Job 26:10. This verse teaches that God has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness. This boundary between light and darkness (day and night) is called the “terminator” since the light stops or “terminates” there. Someone standing on the terminator would be experiencing either a sunrise or a sunset; they are going from day to night or from night to day. The terminator is always a circle, because the earth is round.
One of the great delights of observing the moon through a small telescope is to look at its terminator, especially during the first or third quarter phases when the terminator is directly down the middle of the moon. The craters are most easily seen at this boundary since the sun is at a low angle and casts very long shadows there. The moon looks particularly three-dimensional when viewed through a telescope during these phases; it is clear that the moon is a sphere—not a flat disk (see photo below).
For the earth, the terminator occurs not on a cratered rocky surface, but primarily on water (since the earth’s surface is 70 percent water). Job 26:10 suggests a “God’s eye” view of the earth. This biblical passage would be nonsense if the earth were flat, since there would be no true terminator; there is no line to “step over” that separates the day from night on a flat surface. Either it is day everywhere or night everywhere on a hypothetical “flat earth.” However, the earth does indeed have a boundary between light and darkness which is always a circle since the earth is round.
Curiously, many astronomy textbooks credit Pythagoras (c. 570–500 B.C.) with being the first person to assert that the earth is round.1 However, the biblical passages are older than this. Isaiah is generally acknowledged to have been written in the 700s B.C. and Job is thought to have been written around 2000 B.C. The secular astronomers before the time of Pythagoras must have thought the Bible was wrong about its teaching of a round earth, yet the Bible was exactly right. It was the secular science of the day that needed to be corrected.
The Earth Floats In Space
A very interesting verse to consider is Job 26:7 which states that God “hangs the earth on nothing.” This might evoke an image of God hanging the earth like a Christmas tree ornament, but hanging it on empty space. This verse expresses (in a poetic way) the fact that the earth is unsupported by any other object—something quite unnatural for the ancient writers to imagine. Indeed, the earth does float in space. We now have pictures of the earth taken from space that show it floating in the cosmic void. The earth literally hangs on nothing, just as the Bible teaches.
The Expansion of the Universe
The Bible indicates in several places that the universe has been “stretched out” or expanded. For example, Isaiah 40:22 teaches that God “stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” This would suggest that the universe has actually increased in size since its creation. God has stretched it out. He has expanded it (and is perhaps still expanding it). This verse must have seemed very strange when it was first written. The universe certainly doesn’t look as if it is expanding. After all, if you look at the night sky tonight, it will appear about the same size as it did the previous night, and the night before that. Ancient star maps appear virtually identical to the night sky today. Could the universe really have been expanded? It must have been hard to believe at the time.
In fact, secular scientists once believed that the universe was eternal and unchanging. The idea of an expanding universe would have been considered nonsense to most scientists of the past. It must have been tempting for Christians to reject what the Bible teaches about the expansion of the universe. Perhaps some Christians tried to “reinterpret” Isaiah 40:22, and read it in an unnatural way so that they wouldn’t have to believe in an expanding universe. When the world believes one thing, and the Bible teaches another, it is always tempting to think that God got the details wrong, but God is never wrong.
Most astronomers today believe that the universe is expanding. This expansion is a very natural result of the physics that Einstein discovered—general relativity. Moreover, there is observational evidence that the universe is indeed expanding. In the 1920s, astronomers discovered that virtually all clusters of galaxies appear to be moving away from all other clusters (see creation in-depth box at the bottom); this indicates that the entire universe is expanding.
This effect can be illustrated with points on a balloon. As the balloon is inflated, all points move farther away from each other (see illustration at left). If the entire universe were being stretched out, the galaxies would all be moving away; and that is exactly what they appear to be doing. It is interesting that the Bible recorded the notion of an expanding universe thousands of years before secular science came to accept the idea.
Conservation of mass-energy
A very important concept in physics is the conservation of energy. This principle states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. There are a lot of different kinds of energy; heat, light, sound, and electricity are all forms of energy. We can change one type of energy into another and we can move energy from one place to another, but the total quantity of energy in the universe is constant and cannot be changed.
There is also a conservation principle of mass. Mass is the property of an object to resist a change in its motion. Things that possess a lot of mass are very heavy; things with little mass are light. We can move mass from place to place, and transform one kind of mass into another (by a chemical reaction for example), but, just like energy, mass cannot be created nor destroyed. So both mass and energy are conserved. In fact, Einstein was able to demonstrate that all energy possesses an equivalent mass, and vice versa. To put it another way, mass and energy are really the same thing manifesting in different ways. This is the meaning of Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2. We can combine these principles into the conservation of mass-energy. Colloquially speaking, the amount of “stuff” in the universe is constant.
Conservation of mass-energy is exactly what we would expect on the basis of Scripture. First, the Bible indicates that no new material can come into existence. This is indicated in John 1:3 and Genesis 2:2. John 1:3 states that all things were made by God, and nothing has come into existence apart from Him. Furthermore, God ended His work of creation by the seventh day of the creation week, according to Genesis 2:2. Since only God can bring new things into existence from nothing, and since God ended His work of creation by the seventh day, no new material will come into existence today.
Second, the Bible suggests that nothing will cease to exist. This is because God is upholding all things by His sustaining power (Hebrews 1:3) and by Him all things consist (Colossians 1:17). Neither matter nor energy will cease to exist, because God is sustaining them, and since nothing new will come into existence, we can conclude that the amount of material in the universe is constant. Of course, the Bible makes room for miracles—supernatural interventions by God, but miracles (by definition) do not conform to the laws of physics; they are exceptions by their very nature. The universe itself obeys the law of conservation of mass-energy.
The number of the stars
The Bible often uses the “stars of heaven” to represent an extremely large quantity. Genesis 22:17 teaches that God would multiply Abraham’s descendants “as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore.” Genesis 32:12 makes it clear that this represents a number which is uncountable by humans: “the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.”2 These are excellent analogies. Clearly the sand of the sea and the stars in the universe cannot be counted exactly by humans, though of course, they can be roughly estimated. Interestingly, the two quantities come out to about the same order of magnitude: 1022, or ten billion trillion, give or take a factor of ten or so.3 (For other verses using stars as an illustration of large numbers, see Deuteronomy 1:10 and 10:22.)
It was not always believed that the stars were so numerous. The astronomer Claudius Ptolemy (A.D. 150) cataloged 1,022 stars in his work The Almagest.4 Many astronomers believed that these were the only stars that existed, even though Ptolemy never claimed that his catalogue was exhaustive.5 Of course, there are many more stars than this number. The total number of stars that can be distinctly seen (from both hemispheres under ideal, dark sky conditions) with the unaided eye is around 10,000. The precise number depends on how good one’s vision is.
Today, with the help of modern science, we have an even greater appreciation of just how innumerable the stars are. Powerful telescopes allow us to see stars much too distant and faint to be seen without optical aid. Even binoculars reveal countless multitudes of stars that cannot be seen by the unaided eye. It is estimated that our galaxy alone contains over 100 billion stars. Astronomers believe that there are more galaxies in the visible universe than there are stars in our own. Each of these galaxies would have hundreds of millions to trillions of stars. Modern science certainly confirms Genesis 22:17.
The Ordinances of Heaven and Earth
The Bible teaches that the universe obeys physical laws—“the ordinances of heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 33:25). The universe is neither haphazard nor arbitrary; nature conforms to logical, mathematical relationships set in place by the Lord.
The laws of physics and chemistry are examples of these ordinances of heaven and earth. The clockwork precision of the planets as they orbit the sun is due to their strict obedience to God’s ordinances. The stars and planets are never late nor are they early. They do not fail to appear in their proper place at the proper time (Isaiah 40:26).
The laws of nature are consistent and logical, because the Creator is consistent and logical. We can trust that the same physics which worked yesterday will also work today. This principle is foundational to the scientific process. The very reason that science is possible is because the universe consistently obeys simple mathematical formulae. Furthermore, God created our minds with an impressive (though finite) ability to interpret the data around us, and draw logical conclusions. We are therefore able to discover (at least to some extent) the ordinances of the universe by observation, experimentation, and logical reasoning. Once we understand the nature of these physical laws, we can use them to make accurate predictions about the future—such as computing the positions of the planets in advance.
Both earth and the rest of the physical universe (“heaven and earth”) obey the laws of nature. Many ancient cultures believed that the universe beyond earth was the realm of the gods. Indeed, the planets were often worshiped as gods. In reality, the planets are simply created objects which obey the same laws of nature which we can study on earth. In an incredible leap of insight, the biblical creationist Isaac Newton realized that the moon orbits the earth because the moon is pulled by earth’s gravity. The moon “falls” just like any other object; earth’s gravity deflects the moon’s path through space (see the in-depth box below). Since the moon has a tangential (perpendicular to the line from the earth to itself) velocity, it falls “around” the earth rather than straight down. Newton also realized that the planets orbit the sun for the same reason; the sun’s gravity keeps them in their orbit. The planets and stars are not gods; they are mere creations (Genesis 1:14–19) in nature which obey the Lord’s ordinances.
Astronomy confirms the Bible
|Galaxy Centaurus A (Image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope)|
|Trifid Nebula M20|
Today, the reliability of the Bible is being increasingly attacked. Can we really trust the Bible in our modern age of technology and science? As we have seen, science is not an enemy of the Bible. On the contrary, modern science has been able to confirm much of what the Bible teaches about astronomy. Many of the biblical teachings which would have been difficult to believe in the past (such as an expanding universe) are now accepted in science textbooks. This is an important lesson to learn. Ideas in secular science can change from time to time, but the Bible has demonstrated itself to be consistently true without the need for change.
Although much of secular astronomy has come to line up with the Bible, there are still a number of differences. What are we to do when the current consensus among scientists is at odds with the teachings of Scripture? Have we learned the lesson of history? Are we going to reject (or modify our “interpretation” of) the straightforward teachings of Scripture in light of the latest secular scientific claims? Or shall we trust that the Bible will prevail again as it always has in the past?
It may help to remember that our modern age is just another point in history. Future generations (should the Lord delay His return) will no doubt look back at our time as we look back to cultures of the past. Will students in some future classroom look back with amusement at some of the “scientific” beliefs and misunderstandings of our time, the same way we smile at the scientific mistakes of ancient cultures? Will they learn about the “Great Folly”—the nearly universal belief in the big bang and molecules-to-man evolution which reigned during the 20th and early 21st centuries? Perhaps future Christians will wonder at the rampant compromise so prevalent in our time: Why did Christians of the past compromise with the secular ideas of the big bang and billions of years?
In the next chapters, we will explore points of disagreement between the straightforward teachings of the Bible and the current opinions of the majority of astronomers. If the Bible really is the Word of God, as it claims to be, then it cannot fail. Inevitably, the secular opinion will collapse, and the Bible will again be vindicated in each of these points of disagreement.
The Hubble Law: What Does it Mean?
Nearly all galaxies in the universe are “redshifted.” That means that the wavelengths of the light they emit have been increased. The light has been stretched out since it was emitted—it is shifted toward the red end of the spectrum (since red light has a longer wavelength than blue).
There are several ways in which light can be redshifted. Motion is one way; this is called the “Doppler effect.” When a car passes by, its sound changes pitch because the sound waves are either compressed or stretched out depending on whether the car is approaching or moving away.
Likewise, the wavelength of light is changed when the source is moving. The effect is not as easy to see with light as it is to hear with sound. Since the speed of light is so much greater than the speed of sound, objects must be moving very fast in order to see the Doppler effect.
Gravity can also affect the wavelength of light. Strong gravitational fields slow the passage of time in accordance with Einstein’s relativity. This means that light emitted near a massive object will be redshifted. Expansion of the universe can also cause light to be redshifted. As the universe expands, any light traveling within it will also be stretched out along with the universe. The longer the light has been traveling, the more redshifted it will be.
Astronomers can determine the distances to galaxies, and are also able to determine the redshifts of those galaxies. Observations have shown that the redshift of a galaxy is proportional to its distance from our galaxy. The more distant a galaxy is, the more its light is shifted toward the red; this is called the “Hubble law.” Most astronomers believe that expansion of the universe is the most likely cause for the redshifts, because it would naturally lead to this result: more distant galaxies would be more redshifted because their light has been traveling longer and has thus been expanded by a greater amount. The “Hubble law” is the evidence—distant galaxies show greater redshifts than nearby galaxies. The interpretation is that universal expansion has caused these redshifts.
Recently, some astronomers have questioned this interpretation. Might there be another cause of these redshifts? This is certainly possible. However, there are some good reasons to think that universal expansion is the correct interpretation of the Hubble law. First of all, a static universe is nearly impossible according to general relativity. The laws of physics indicate that the universe must either be expanding or collapsing, so we would expect the universe to be expanding (or possibly collapsing) on the basis of known physics—even if we had no observations of redshifts at all. Secondly, other known ways of producing redshifts would not necessarily produce a Hubble law relation. Expansion of the universe naturally produces the result that more distant galaxies are more redshifted—all on the basis of known physics. I would suggest that expansion of the universe is the best explanation of the data at the moment, though other interpretations are possible.
An expanding universe does not necessarily support the big bang. Just because the universe is apparently expanding does not mean that it was ever infinitely small; nor does this indicate that a big bang caused the expansion. It is also important to note that the big bang did not predict any such expansion. On the contrary, the big bang was invented to explain such expansion within the framework of naturalism. The Bible, however, did refer to an expanding universe—long before secular astronomers came to accept that idea.
The Law of Gravity
Consider the law of gravitational attraction: F = GMm/r2.
Here, the force of gravity (F) on an object of mass (m) produced by a nearby mass (M) at a distance (r) is related by this simple equation. The parameter (G) is the gravitational constant of the universe; it sets the overall strength of gravity. G is a very tiny number, which is why gravity is weaker than the three other known fundamental forces (electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force). If creation were not true—if the universe had no designer—then why should gravity obey such a simple, logical formula? For that matter, why should gravity obey any formula at all? The law of gravity suggests a law-giver; it is consistent with creation.
Of course, many of the laws of nature can be derived mathematically from other laws. For example, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion can be derived from Newton’s laws of gravity and motion (classical physics). And (it is thought that) the reason gravity works the way it does is because mass “curves spacetime.” Essentially, space and time are treated as a “fabric” which is distorted by the presence of mass; the mass curves spacetime, and then spacetime tells the mass how to move. Many laws of nature depend on other laws which depend on still others, and so on. Ultimately, there must be a foundational set of principles which exist for no other reason than that God has so decreed. Ultimately, the fundamental laws of nature require a law-giver.
- Snow, The Dynamic Universe, p. 44; W. Hartmann and C. Impey, Astronomy: The Cosmic Journey (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1994), 5th edition, p. 44; T. Snow and K. Brownsberger, Universe: Origins and Evolution (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997), p. 46. Back
- Of course, God can count the number of stars, and in fact does so according to Psalm 147:4. God has a name for every star, even though human beings cannot even count the number of stars. Back
- The order of magnitude of the estimate can vary slightly depending on the exact assumptions involved in the calculation. Back
- Hartmann and Impey, Astronomy: The Cosmic Journey, p. 52. Back
- D. Faulkner, Universe by Design (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004), p. 15. Back
c) Miraculous occurrences especially if brought about by prayer.
For example if cities condemned by preachers as sinful tended to explode in flames. If glowing lights or auroras appeared around believers to protect them from harm. Or if atheists and only atheists got struck down by lightening – this would be compelling proof to me that there is a god. However, it doesn’t have to be so dramatic, even minor miracles would do if it could be proved that they were invoked by prayer. Jesus told the Christians that they should be able to work miracles via the use of prayer – so this should be easy to prove, I have a genetic disease – pray for that to be healed, and I will believe you and convert.
a.) If this was to be the case you would be dead too.
b.) You misunderstand the meaning of miracle. By definition, this is something that happens rarely otherwise it will stop being a miracle by its own definition.
c.) Miracles have purpose. They are not simply a form of God’s exhibitionism which is very disrespectful both to God and to those who worship God.
d.) There are plenty of people who have commented on miracles, including me to you, yet you refuse to believe. Why should God consider your request, read Luke 16 and see what Jesus said about people that demand signs:
Luke 16:27 And he said, I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them. 30 And he said, No, father Abraham, but if one should go to them from the dead, they would repent. 31 And he said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead.
d) Any direct manifestation of the divine
I am not that hard to convert to, if god talks to me directly, I would believe in him. Mosses has many conversations with God, so why doesn’t god speak to individuals in the same way today. If god did speak to me directly using human language (i.e. my mother tongue English) – I would believe instantly.
a.) You could always use another explanation to rationalise this event so no I don’t agree.
b.) That is not how it works. The Bible specifically says “Seek and you will find”, not to expect and it will fall down from the sky.
c.) See the example above (Last part of answer d)
e) Alien’s that believe in God
I know this is a bit odd, but if one day we met a bunch of intelligent Alien’s that we could communicate with, and they had a similar story of god, then this would be convincing. It does raise some issues though for theist’s – does Jesus have to be recreated in biology of that Alien species and die for them and be resurrected… may be… if this is documented anywhere, and the human race discovers this – I think I might convert.
Answer: Whilst there are a few issues with this, they are only very limited. First of all from your previous comments you claim that there are no aliens so this would be therefore a futile exercise.
a.) Aliens may not have succumbed to sin so no need to die again
b.) We don’t know if there are any aliens
c.) There would always be “plausible” explanations as to why they had an identical story, something about DNA or the same kind of evolution etc.
ii) Not Conclusive stuff – show me any of these points below and I might not convert straight away but I would certainly re-consider my notion of atheism, and look into the religion further.
Answer: This is your responsibility not mine. I’m called to preach not to convert or persuade – that is the work of God. This is what the Bible teaches and anything to the contrary is in opposition to the Bible.
a) A genuinely flawless and consistent holy book – to meet this criteria, the text must be without error or self contradiction. A book of such perfection is humanly possible, so therefore it is not totally convincing, but it would non the less be impressive enough for me to have reasonable doubt in my atheism.
Answer: Look at the Bible closely and you will find that it meets your criteria specifically.
b) A religion without internal disputes or factions – it seems reasonable to me that if there was a god who was supreme, and created man by design, he would be able to give us the instructions in the holy book that could only be interpreted in one conclusive way – thereby preventing dispute wars etc. Therefore if a religion was true, no factions or sects would exist within it – and all members of that religion would speak with one voice regarding ethical and theological issues.
Answer: This is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, so by definition is impossible. You are asking the Bible to contradict itself. Human nature demands that we bring our evil with us wherever we go. Being a Christian does not make you perfect; we are redeemed sinners not perfect in every/any way.
c) If you can show me a religion that has never taken part in or performed atrocities – if a religion preaches peace, and all its followers have in acted this instruction – then this would be compelling – and a good reason for me to convert.
Answer: As per the answer above, don’t confuse sinful human nature with God’s perfect instructions. Also don’t forget that we have a great capacity for murder and love. Whilst they may be contradictory on the surface, they also show a complexity of human nature. We are in a war between good and evil and it is happening all around us. What we see is the strong oppressing the weak, using any means to justify their actions. This is called cunning, deceit and trickery, but note for every copy that imitates the original only proves that there is a faithful and good original. Let me illustrate, some 15 years ago I was in Brighton in a bank when a young looking stranger approached me to sell me a brand new Rolex watch. I refused knowing that this was too good to be true and nobody sells a real Rolex for £45 but that did not stop me from believing that there are genuine real Rolex watches that cost thousands of pounds. Otherwise I would look silly if I made such claim.
[“For the avoidance of doubt the following things would not convince me to convert, to date all the evidence I have seen falls within this category:”]
1) Speaking in tongues of other pseudo miracles (faints etc) – anything that can be explained by the power of suggestion, peer pressure, illusion, placebo effect etc, most definatley does not count, as it makes my bullshit detector go off the scale.
Answer: I would not be persuaded with these either as I am very much against TV evangelists; this is not how God works in the Bible.
2) Courageous acts of kindness or braveness to not count either. Biblical miracles are not about the circumstantial – they make a clear difference between what is physically possible and what is not – i.e. booming voices from the sky, parting of seas – show me evidence of the same and I would more than likely convert etc.
Answer: Again you demand proofs that are historical not testable in a laboratory, so this will not pass as a genuine attempt to discover. These are only active according to the Bible as a last resort i.e. God is not a cosmic exhibitionist. Where there is a genuine need he may act.
3) Seeing pictures of the virgin Mary in rocks, or statues crying bloody tears or milk is not impressive.
4) Nor is faith healing. Working up people into a highly suggestible and manipulability state does not count either – any showman or good salesman can do this.
Answer: Agree, but note that we could not be dismissive of healings either. You would have to have proof to the contrary which I would guess you do not have.
5) If someone could heal severed limbs without medical science – i.e. by just touching the person – that would be convincing, and I would convert, probably on the spot.
Answer: As per above answer to question 4.
6) Conversion stores, do not count – I am not interested in people who converted from being a non-believer to a believer, because they interpreted god speaking to them in some bizarre sequence of events – i.e. circumstantial visions, dreams and the such like.
Answer: So you have your own criteria that you want to impose on God, and nothing else can be used by God. Is that not hypocritical and deliberately ignoring the possibility of God working in a normal way?
7) The bible code does not count either – sceptics have used the same techniques to ‘predict’ fictional accounts in works of fiction like Moby Dick and such like – this is pseudo science.
Answer: I don’t believe in the “Bible code” and neither do many Christians which is related to Cabala which is used by the Jewish sect and not accepted by majority of Jews either.
[“Intelligent design – is not evidence, and was not even used as evidence until it evolution gained popularity, and religious people twisted it to their own ends. I am familiar with evolution and my understanding of it is similar to those who work in the field professionally – study evolution in great detail first with an open mind, before debating this with me.”]
So I’m supposed to take your word for it? You’ve got to be kidding me. I have studied this subject for years, not just a few months but I would not show such arrogance to demand others conform to my view just because I was with the majority. As I said to you before, there is plenty of information on this blog so look at it and then you are free to challenge it. There is nothing hidden here.
Defend the word