Another Response To Pascal's Wager

34 comments:

  1. Jeff, you need to listen to this CAREFULLY. And then listen to this again, CAREFULLY. And then, listen to it again, CAREFULLY. And try to be objective in your listening.

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  2. Conclusion:
    A very "mixed up kid" as the saying goes.

    He prefers to accept the fact he will never have a chance of immortality and "Everlasting joy". So yet another rather radical and foolish, 'Christopher Hitchin'. Soon to be raised and publicly humiliated before Almighty God and His "Beloved son".

    Seen in passing.
    "In the face of overwhelming force, surrender is pragmatism, not cowardice. When a mugger has a gun to your head, you give them your wallet."

    I suppose the practicalities of this goes over the heads of 'dyed in the wool' atheists, and as to those whom St. Paul described as 'false brethren'.

    For as the Psalmist well points out:
    "The fool has said in his heart there is no God"

    Meanwhile the wise will 'hedge their bets' even if not being fully convinced of everything, that will come later for those who are sincere in their search for the Truth.
    "Lord I believe, please help my unbelief"
    Amen!



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    1. So, Jeff, are you saying God is a mugger? And that after taking your wallet, what? You then trust him to open the door to Wonderland and conduct you in?

      You can mock or not as you see fit, but I think you are showing nothing but wishful thinking. And even if you don't appreciate this analogy I read today, others here may:
      "I would like to believe I have a billion dollars and won’t have to work for the rest of my life, but having a realistic view of my finances makes things much less stressful for me than the frustration I’d encounter if I believed the lie. That’s what atheism is for me. I don’t just believe it because it’s the ideal way for the world to be, because in some ways…if I were to pick and choose what I wanted the world to be like, I’d be living in a different world (and with a different number in my bank account, on top of World Peace). But that world is not real, and pretending it is gives me a deeper pain. The least pain, for me, is in living according to the truth — at least, on this question. If there is a lie I still believe, it’s that we really can find better versions of ourselves, that we can construct better moral codes, and that we can eventually going to live in a more desirable world."

      (from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/barrierbreaker/atheist-misses-god/ ).

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    2. Jeff, those that "hedge their bets" over belief, are reducing their faith to an insurance policy level. Much better, and more honest, to be a down-to-earth reasoning searcher for truth, than a head-in-the-clouds bet-hedger. "I believe, help my unbelief" doesn`t make sense. You could ask, "I`d LIKE to believe (but I don`t yet), please help my unbelief". Where are you, Jeff, not quite sure, hedging your bet? Frightened that death might be the end?

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    3. The needle-sharp point that I wanted to agree with was "In the face of overwhelming force, surrender is pragmatism"

      So with the analogy given, why lose one's life (ie. immortality) for the sake of refusing to submit to an "overwhelming force" and why not be wise and pragmatic and 'Hedge your bets' and save your life..for all eternity {;o;}

      For as I stated above:
      "Even if not being fully convinced of everything, that will come later for those who are sincere in their search for the Truth.

      "Lord I believe, please help my unbelief"

      That answers the 'problem' of the gentleman's insistence that anyone who 'hedged their bets' would be classed as being a liar before God for merely trying to be wise and sensible turn to God and be saved.

      Again:
      "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye"
      Romans 14:1 (KJV)





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    4. Jeff, surrender may be pragmatism, but viewing the wielder of such overwhelming force as benevolent may be Stockholm Syndrome.

      But the problem is you haven't convinced us of the existence of this overwhelming force. The real analogy is closer to "Jeff tells me there's a mugger standing there with a gun that I can't see, but I'll be safe if I give my wallet to Jeff to pass on".

      As for "being fully convinced" by a sincere search for the Truth, you're forgetting that that is what got us to where we are.

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    5. "But the problem is you haven't convinced us of the existence of this overwhelming force."

      Well for the sake of argument accept that there is.

      Which then anyone knows, it would be futile to resist, for they would be bringing about their own downfall by such foolish arrogance, and their sheer stupidity.

      "As for "being fully convinced" by a sincere search for the Truth, you're forgetting that that is what got us to where we are."

      Yes!
      Exactly!
      A deadly and pointless trip into the 'dark side' along a very broad road that leads only to corruption, death, and final destruction.

      With no hope of salvation or immortality, having not bothered to wisely 'insure' yourself on the off chance it actually is available after all.

      Which is also known I believe, as 'shooting oneself in the foot'
      Or 'Scoring an own goal".....{;o;}

      As the unwise virgins found out to their cost:

      "When the end comes, the kingdom of heaven will be like ten bridesmaids. They took their oil lamps and went to meet the groom.

      2 Five of them were foolish, and five *were wise*.

      3 The foolish bridesmaids took their lamps, but they didn't take any extra oil.

      4 The wise bridesmaids, however, took along extra oil for their lamps.
      [An excellent insurance and wise 'hedged' bet]
      5 Since the groom was late, all the bridesmaids became drowsy and fell asleep.

      6 “At midnight someone shouted, ‘The groom is here! Come to meet him!' 7 Then all the bridesmaids woke up and got their lamps ready.

      8 “The foolish ones said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil. Our lamps are going out.'

      9 “But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘We can't do that. There won't be enough for both of us. Go! Find someone to sell you some oil.'

      10 “While they were buying oil, the groom arrived. The bridesmaids who were ready went with him into the wedding hall, and the door was shut.

      11 “Later the other bridesmaids arrived and said, ‘Sir, sir, open the door for us!'

      12 “But he answered them, ‘I don't even know who you are!'
      13 “So stay awake, because you don't know the day or the hour.
      Matt 25:1-13 (GW)

      Take note then folks, be like the WISE, [and well 'insured' and suitably 'hedged']and replenish the 'oil' in your own lamps before it is too late and door is permanently closed to all of you doubters also.





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    6. OK, got it: Be like the WISE virgins and live in a story with a convenient happy ending rather than in reality. But definitely don't be like the UNWISE virgins, who also lived in a story, but found it had an inconvenient and unhappy ending.

      Sorry, though, I don't know how to live in a story. But, like you, I am able to supply human authored quotes. What of this: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”

      Just for the sake of argument, you should consider https://xkcd.com/1432/
      Don't forget the alt text - the boat sounds like it would suit you right down to the ground...

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    7. Jeff, you seem to regard the desire to live forever as a moral virtue in itself, and the calm acceptance of human mortality as a sin. I find this extremely puzzling. Wanting to live forever doesn't make a person good, and feeling no desire to live forever doesn't make a person bad.

      A lot of people seem to find the idea of eternal life appealing, but others (including myself) doubt whether eternal life would actually have any meaning, and therefore any happiness. The desire to live forever stems from the natural and ancient fear of death; the view that living forever would be devoid of meaning, and thus happiness, is a rationally and philosophically worked-out view. Either way, there is no morality involved.

      You seem to be getting two things confused in your mind: the *desire* for the reward you believe God is offering, and the *behaviour* you believe God requires in order to gain that reward. The required behaviour might be deemed either moral or immoral, but the desire for the reward cannot.

      Here's the really important point: I think it's unlikely that anyone will live forever, including me, but I don't use that as an excuse to live immorally. It's very important to me to live a moral life, but I don't do it for a reward at the end. I accept the natural and inevitable phenomenon of death.

      If a person concludes that eternal life would lack meaning and pleasure (the view I incline to) and that death is nothing to be scared of, then neither the bribe of eternal life nor the threat of eternal death has any power. And here's the crucial bit: *that doesn't affect a person's moral thinking or behaviour in any way at all*.

      Finally, if a person doesn't want to live forever, why should you even care? Why does it bother you? In an earlier comment you suggested that rejecting the "gift of salvation" was offensive to God. But I don't think that makes sense, and let me explain why.

      I don't think it makes sense to say that an all-powerful, all-knowing being can be 'offended' in the sense that humans can be offended. Offence is a human emotion which results from things like vulnerability, fear, a need for acceptance and so on. An all-powerful God clearly wouldn't experience these things. So saying that God is capable of feeling 'offended' in the sense of 'emotionally hurt' is projecting human feelings on to God. It's not like a human being offering another person a gift and being hurt when the other person rejects it - unless you believe that God is somehow vulnerable enough to experience the exact same emotions that we do.

      Also, the very phrase 'gift of salvation' assumes that 'salvation' from death is desirable. You're assuming everyone should leap at the chance of eternal life, but why? What's so scary about death? And if someone doesn't find eternal life appealing, why would either you or God care?

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  3. You sound like a great guy Jeff I’m sure people will be queuing up to spend eternity with you! A few questions: what age will kingdom Jeff be? Will he have free will in the kingdom? What about earthly Jeff’s memories, will he have those? What if kingdom Jeff remembers something sinful earthly Jeff did? Seems the only way would be to wipe kingdom Jeff’s mind

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  4. 1.
    Very doubtful A.
    As only a "Few" are destined to be saved from this present dispensation.

    2. I should think as the saved will become "as the Angels in heaven to die no more" thus they will be in like appearance as they, which are as young men. Mark 16:5.

    3. At least as much freedom as God's heavenly messengers, the Angels.
    Although we are informed we shall live and reign on the earth.

    4. It appears Christ retained his memories after his resurrection.

    5. Once pure in mind and heart and freed from our corrupted flesh, the former things which may have stirred our unlawful desires and lusts will no longer have any effect or excite in what was done in our old sinful and fleshly bodies.


    "3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “God lives with humans! God will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won't be any more death. There won't be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.”
    Rev 21:2-4 (GW)

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    1. So you won’t be Jeff any more...hope you enjoy your new robot programming

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  5. Jeff,

    All this talk of "insurance" and "hedging bets" is ridiculous. It is wishful thinking taken to extremes, and serves only as an example (and a warning) to others of the effects of religious thinking.

    You are in effect saying something along the lines of, "Imagine there is a god who will one day grant eternal life to everyone who happens to be wearing bright orange socks on that day - therefore I will always wear bright orange socks every day, and go about warning everyone who doesn't wear bright orange socks of their impending doom".

    This is insanity. It is also no more ridiculous than the claims you are making about a god that will apparently reward you for your particular set of beliefs.

    But suppose there is no such god that will reward me for wearing bright orange socks. Having to wear bright orange socks all my life would be unnecessarily limiting (and perhaps even uncomfortable or boring for some people) and might result in people thinking I'm a bit strange and extremist. My constant threats of doom upon everyone not wearing bright orange socks would also be quite nasty, and a horrible way to spend my years. What a waste of a life!

    Your answer on another thread was effectively that you happened to enjoy wearing bright orange socks, and thus you haven't wasted anything. But you don't speak for everyone, and there are aspects of life I find more enjoyable without any socks on, even orange ones. I am also free to accept people into my life who wear other socks, odd socks, or no socks. Further, I no longer need to fear being disfellowshipped simply for admitting I have no reason to believe there ever was an orange-sock-loving-sky-genie. I'll believe in said genie only if evidence presents itself, but in the meantime I'll follow the evidence that's actually there and focus on a life beyond pretend magic socks.

    BUT, what if the orange-sock-loving-sky-genie does exist, and plans to shoot dead anyone who is not wearing bright orange socks on a given day in the near future? Should I wear my bright orange socks just in case? If all bright-orange-sock-wearers were rewarded with slavery to the killer, did they really win?

    Meanwhile, your continual talk of bet hedging ignores the equally (un)likely possibility of a god that would punish you for your beliefs.

    For every hypothetical scenario where you get rewarded for some set of beliefs, there is at least one (possibly more) scenario where you would be punished for holding the exact same beliefs. Likewise, for every hypothetical scenario where you imagine unbelievers will be punished, there is at least one (possibly more) alternative scenario where unbelievers would instead be rewarded. The existence of a god that would punish any particular group of people is no more likely than the existence of a god that would reward that same group. It's all completely arbitrary and make-believe. There is no way to hedge bets that increases your probability of being saved. The probability (so far as this line of reasoning goes) would be exactly the same regardless of how you slice it.

    And even then there is no reason to assume there ever was a reward, or punishment, or salvation, or a god, to begin with!

    We don't get to invent reality by appealing to imaginary bright-orange-sock-loving-genies and then behaving as if orange socks are magic.

    Meanwhile we've got blue-sock prophets, red-sock prophets, green-sock prophets, yellow-sock prophets, and every other colour imaginable, and yet none of them have any evidence of a coloured-sock-loving-genie.

    All we atheists are doing is pointing out this complete lack of evidence and telling everyone to wear whatever damn socks they feel like, or even no socks at all, because none of them have ever been demonstrated to be magic. They're just socks - made by people!

    But Jeff, just in case, I hope you're wearing bright orange socks. You wouldn't want your bets to be insufficiently hedged!

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  6. "All this talk of "insurance" and "hedging bets" is ridiculous."

    I doubt you will thinking that on your judgment day...

    BTW, Is your home insured, Steve, you know, just in case....{;o;}




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    1. I have very good evidence that insurers pay out on claims. If I didn't, I wouldn't pay for it.

      How is this not clear?

      Hey Jeff, I'll offer you infinite insurance at half the price of your current insurer. In the event of a claim, I'll pay you after you die. Interested? Feeling lucky?

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    2. Jeff, I assume you are a Christadelphian. They taught me that baptism saves but only if the person being baptised actually believes the right set of doctrines. So what is the insurance policy - are you saying its OK to just pretend to believe? What do you think will happen to me - I have been baptised by immersion but don't even pretend to believe Christadelphian dogma any more - am I insured and will it pay out? Is it possible to insure oneself with another provider?

      I ask as I wonder to what extent Christadelphians still claim a monopoly on salvation, which is black and white, you are in 'the truth' or out. If you are in you might be lucky if you out you are doomed. There was no room for hedging bets or insurance, the judge would surely know if you did not believe and are only hedging bets.

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    3. Jeff,
      20 years or so ago, one of the Christadelphians I know of had his house burn down. He didn't "believe" in insurance, so didn't have any. So he lost the lot. In case you want to track him down, I can tell you that he is one of the three speakers who spoke at this years "Prophecy Day" at Rugby.
      Whilst I am here, what is your take on Christadelphians who "invest" in the stock market? Is it gambling? Is it OK?
      Also, why, in the light of Luke 12:22-31, why do they pay in to pension schemes? Why not just spend it on Jaguars and fishing tackle and wait for the Lord to provide?

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    4. "What do you think will happen to me - I have been baptised by immersion but don't even pretend to believe Christadelphian dogma any more "

      Then sadly Jacobus, you will be bringing about your demise for rejecting Christ and Almighty God's offer of life eternal.

      And will only heap upon yourself the promised consequences for running away from your responsibilities and unfaithfulness to Almighty God and His "Beloved Son".

      Remembering.
      "28 If two or three witnesses accused someone of rejecting Moses' Teachings, that person was shown no mercy as he was executed.

      29 What do you think a person who shows no respect for the Son of God deserves?

      That person looks at the blood of the promise (the blood that made him holy) as no different from other people's blood, and he insults the Spirit that God gave us out of his kindness.
      He deserves a much worse punishment.

      30 We know the God who said, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back.”

      God also said,
      “The Lord will judge his people.”
      31 Falling into the hands of the living God is a terrifying thing."
      Heb 10:28-31 (GW)

      So be wise and repent now, while there is still time for you to do so. You have nothing to lose, but EVERYTHING to gain for all eternity.

      "19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you wanders from the truth, someone can bring that person back. 20 Realize that whoever brings a sinner back from the error of his ways will save him from death, and many sins will be forgiven"
      James 5:19-20 (GW)

      "- am I insured and will it pay out? Is it possible to insure oneself with another provider?"

      No, and the 'insurance policy' offered by Almighty God pays out even if you live...

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    5. Ok Thanks for answering my question. I worship at an Anglican church now after leaving CDs about 20 years ago, so also claim to follow 1C apostolic church. In fact its part of our creeds. "I believe in one holy...and apostolic church".

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    6. But sadly, Jacobus, the Anglican church does not follow the 1C Apostolic "Doctrines and practises" they allow divorce and remarriages, marriages to heathens, unbelievers, etc, also allowing uncovered women to speak, preach and usurp man's God given authority in the church assemblies, which St. Paul reminds us is forbidden by the commanded of the Lord.

      They also allow same-sexual relationships amongst their own clergy, would you believe?

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    7. We do and rightly so in my opinion. I guess you left the CDs because even they were not hard enough for you. I left because they are way to cold and hard edged for me. Gospel of Christ is for everyone.

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    8. I left them because they refused Christ's teaching in practice, that divorce is not permissible for his followers, and such remarriages are adulterous, along with their allowing unlawful marriages with unbelievers/aliens.

      As I knew that a "God-speed" would also indict myself along with such disobedient brethren & sisters, I had no choice but to leave them in their iniquity.

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    9. Jeff,
      You left them, but what of your wife and children? How did it work out for them? Did they join you on your one man path to eternal life or make different choices?

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    10. I stated:
      "They also allow same-sexual relationships amongst their own clergy, would you believe?"

      Jacobus Arminius replied:
      "We do and rightly so in my opinion."

      But not in the Apostolic opinions of Christ endorsed St. Paul, or St. Peter.

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    11. "Jeff,
      You left them, but what of your wife and children? How did it work out for them? Did they join you on your one man path to eternal life or make different choices?"

      They sadly also forsook the Truth and found the commands of Christ and his personally ordained Apostles too hard to bear.
      "These are hard sayings who can bear them"

      One son ended up a 'DEAD' drunk.

      The other an Atheist.

      A wife who wanted the "Enjoy the pleasures of sin for season" and so has lived for 25+ years in a wicked adulterous relationship with an unbeliever young enough to be son.

      A son in law who has just divorced his sister wife and gone off with another woman.

      And a daughter who has turned to the "dark side" and fellowships with an adulterous wayward mother.

      "By their fruits shall you know them" just as Christ prophesied.

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    12. Jeff,

      'But not in the Apostolic opinions of Christ endorsed St. Paul, or St. Peter.' It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that this is your view. You are probably equally unsurprised that myself and others in the Church of England take a different view. Debating it on this site would be pointless, it is debated to death elsewhere.

      I wish you well Jeff, its years since I left the CDs, there is no chance of my ever being persuaded to go back to that religion or its unique theology. I am also sure you will not be moved, and I personally am fine with that, so I think its goodbye.

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    13. Jeff, like others here I continue to find your remarks disquieting, in particular the lack of realisation of how terrible it sounds that you are living your own dream life and are content to cut off anyone else who disagrees with you.

      Since you like throwing verses about judgement at everyone else (including those of us who don't even believe in that judgement), I'd suggest you consider it too. Your scriptures talk about the requirement for leaders to manage their household well and control their children. They talk about training up a child so they will never depart from the way. They talk about the judgement coming on those who have made a child to sin. If you are in fact wrong in any of your interpretations of scripture and your exclusivity has caused harm to your family or those around you, you should be worried. Immediately after your final verse from Matthew 7, Jesus made it clear that there would be some people who are confident they are following him, but that he never knew. People who deceived themselves. Why does that have to be everyone else? Why can't it be you? And that is why your application of the verse fails: You are judging others based on your interpretation, but it is by no means clear that your interpretation is valid.

      Obviously I do not agree with those verses - but do you? Now let's try a few verses before: "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." That is one principle which I see value in (and is not unique to Jesus). If I read correctly, it seems that your exclusive teaching has led you to force your daughter to choose between her mother and her father, which is contrary to this principle. Speaking not as a Christian but as a human, this is hardly an act that I would consider kind or loving, no matter how much you believe it to be your duty.

      I have no particular wish to judge you, and I do not expect Jesus to judge you or any of us. But it is not clear to me that the Jesus of the Bible would approve of your actions in the way you so clearly expect. One more verse:
      "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:13, ESV)

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    14. “Jeff, like others here I continue to find your remarks disquieting, in particular the lack of realisation of how terrible it sounds that you are living your own dream life"

      Because I have chosen to show a way of life that can be conducive to a life in the Truth, which some of you seem to think is quite boring, a waste of time, and a miserable existence.

      Well I have proved differently. It can be a very exciting life, full of natural [Apostolic] pleasures, boating & fishing, plenty of fresh air, regular exercise, good food, and a healthy well balanced life-style.
      And that is just the start.

      Looking forward with anticipatory joy to a place in the coming kingdom of God.

      Reigning as an immortal over the nations for the first 1,000 years, then another glorious resurrection, and then the world filled with immortal beings who experience "Everlasting Joy" for ever and ever.
      That will be another fulfilled 'dream' God willing.

      "and are content to cut off anyone else who disagrees with you."

      If they disagree with Apostolic doctrines, then certainly Jon.

      Or if they are denying Christ and have left the Truth to "Enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season".

      Then the faithful are commanded to withdraw from all who have absconded from their responsibilities in the Truth and continue to deny Christ in their lives.

      "6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us."
      2 Thess 3:6 (ASV)

      The faithful cannot refuse such given instruction, as we cannot refuse "Do not kill" or "Do not steal".

      Along with:
      "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person".

      My family have chosen a life of sin over these past 27 years.
      Christ will judge them accordingly.

      I just stated the facts when ask about their attitude towards the Truth.

      In fact my son has stated to me, that my wife has confessed to him.
      "I know Dad is right, but I just cannot live up to it".



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    15. Jeff, by splitting my sentence in half you completely missed my meaning. I don't have a problem with you living the good life as you see it, whether or not it would appeal to me. I do have a problem with the amount of collateral damage left in your wake (some directly related to your exclusive stance?), and the fact that you don't appear to care about it or consider taking any responsibility for it. That everything is someone else's fault, and nothing is Jeff's fault because Jeff is always right.

      I notice you completely ignored the rest of my comment. There are verses recommending justice, and there are verses recommending mercy. How do you determine which ones to apply when? Also, do you ever consider that your interpretation might be wrong? (don't bother citing verses on this until you have explained why the verses I pointed you to don't apply).

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  7. What struck a chord with me the most was when he said that the believer is, in a small way, helping to obstruct human progress. Religion may be an individual choice but it's a choice that has a wider, potentially very harmful impact on family, community and global society.

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  8. "20 years or so ago, one of the Christadelphians I know of had his house burn down. He didn't "believe" in insurance, so didn't have any."

    There you are then, Joseph, hope you gents take a heed to a lesson taught in 'all' other ways...{;o;}

    Instead of 'Pascal's Wager' how about 'Atheist's Achilles Heel'?

    I guess he must have owned his home without any mortgage.

    And he doesn't drive a motor vehicle then?

    "Whilst I am here, what is your take on Christadelphians who "invest" in the stock market?"

    Risky business, but no actual Apostolic instructions forbidding it.
    "For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children."
    2 Cor 12:14 (KJV)

    "Is it gambling? Is it OK?"

    I'd say it's up to each individual's conscience, yet Christ did give the parable of the lazy servant who should have at least put his single talent in the bank to have gained some interest for his master.

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  9. "Jeff, I assume you are a Christadelphian."

    1st Century Apostolic Traditionalist, Jacobus...

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    1. Jeff, you might want to re-title, as your initials are . . .

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  10. You can still be a believer and be just as good in this life as anyone else...look at lewis Hamilton the best driver in the world...

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