Good evening! We've just flown home from a biblical training tour centered in the eastern Caribbean (Grenada, St. Vincent, and Trinidad). The Caribbean disciples' stamina for learning was impressive (12 classes from Friday evening till Sunday afternoon). All lessons were based on the letter of Titus. Although many of the 200+ who attended have been Christians 10-20 years, for most studying an entire book of the Bible in context was a new, and transformative, experience. All agree that this sort of training is essential if the brothers and sisters are to be mature and solid in their faith. From their comments, as well as the buzz in the fellowship, you could tell that people’s confidence in their ability to handle the Word had taken a big leap since the inception of the program last summer.
I am writing to ask you a quick question. A Christian friend of mine shared his conviction that Daniel was not truly written by Daniel, but was written some time in the second century BC. I would like to know what are the arguments for and against this view, and the same for the traditional view (Daniel wrote it during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar). Can you give me some place where I can find this information? I read your book a long time ago, but do not have it with me (it is in Albania now). And I don't recall it dealing specifically with this idea. Please let me know.
Question:I've been discussing different gods and the Bible with an atheist friend of mine and there were two points which I felt really unsure of.
1. The first was the problem of suffering; I explained the idea that creation was corrupted at the fall of man, but he pointed out that this in no way diminishes God's control over and responsibility for creation- he chose the consequence of Adam's sin and that consequence brought immense suffering to so many; God can therefore not be omnibenevolent.
2. The second point which I found hard to answer was that of determinism and free will. If the universe is entirely deterministic, then we have cannot be held in any way as morally responsible for our actions. Even if you take the view of quantum theory that everything is probabilistic, this still gives our minds no direct control over our actions- they are merely the result of chemical reactions, etc.
3. Lastly, there is one question which I've been pondering and have had difficulty with: surely the truest form of free will would be where we have perfect information- for example two doors, one to heaven and one to hell, and we can make the decision of which door to go through with full knowledge of the result. Or alternatively we all exist in hevaen and can make the decision whether we want to stay. Each of these scenarios seem entirely fair and do not, in my opinion, compromise our free will. I guess my biggest problem is with the fact that God does not make himself fully evident. You can say that there is lots of evidence for God, but a reasonable person could still fully believe that he does not exist while living on earth. Thus, when we describe free will on earth to choose whether or not to be with God, it seems a little unfair to me that we have to make a decision without much evidence. It seem unfair that we even have to make a decision in the first place. It seems to me that it is less of a choice between being with God or not and more a choice over which arguments to believe- and consequently seems unfair that people should be judged and in many cases tortured based on that decision. I hope this problem makes sense.
Many thanks for any light you can shed on any of these three questions!
Question:Hello, I have a couple of questions concerning our souls. If consciousness can be determined to depend on the physical brain, does this mean our consciousness ceases to exist after death? Isn't it obvious that if the brain is damaged in any way that it directly affects our consciousness immediately. Also, if we have souls shouldn't I remember pre-physical experiences prior to my actual birth? Additionally why are we the only beings with souls? If we have souls, surely other coexisting life around us should have souls as well. Currently I feel as if the only sense of living is due to our brain in a strict sense, and that once the mass of nervous matter is gone and eroded that it is the ultimate end with no afterlife. Is the afterlife simply a concept out of fear from death? Emotions as well are to account for hormonal levels and electrical impulses throughout different regions of the brain, there emotions must be purely reliant on biochemical activity. How does this reconcile in any way with the afterlife? Lastly, (this is more of an off topic question) how could have God created me if I am actually the result of reproduction from two other human beings. Thank you.
My college friend started to study the Bible and started really well. In fact, she quit her job (she's a CPA) when she realized it was causing her to sin without us challenging her. But she suddenly sent me a message saying she will no longer attend the service and will not continue to study the Bible. After some probing, she confessed she didn't want to leave the Catholic Church because of "Mother Mary"; saying she is part of our salvation. She even provided this scripture in John 19:26-27 (She added had it not been for us challenging her to read the book of John she would have not known about this). So I asked her where in the scripture does it talk about Mary having to do with our salvation? She answered: Since Mary is Jesus' mother, the actual blood shed was of Mary's. We can't expect to find all the answers in the scriptures, as one of the disciple said, everything God has done cannot be contained in one single book. (paraphrase). How do I help her?
Can you speak on ancient Kemetic religion versus Christianity? Is there any connection between the two? Was one inspired by the other?