Challenge Match: adjensen vs Druid42: The Second Coming

page: 1
11

log in

join

posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 10:58 AM
link   
The topic for this debate is "The Second Coming of Christ is a real event that may soon be upon us."

By agreement of both fighters, this topic carries the stipulation "that Christian claims as regards Christ's divinity and existence are correct, to avoid the debate being on that, rather than on the Second Coming."

adjensen will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
Druid42 will be arguing the "Con" position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

The ATS character limit will limit the length of debate posts. Multiple posts per round are not permitted.

Editing of posts is strictly forbidden. For reasons of time, mod edits should not be expected except in critical situations. Requests for critical edits (affecting visibility of post or function of links for example) should be U2U'd to the moderator who posted this debate thread.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images and must have no more than 3 references. Video and audio files are NOT allowed.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post. Each individual post may contain up to 10 sentences of external source material, totaled from all external sources. Be cognizant of what you quote as excess sentences will be removed prior to judging.

Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference but there is a maximum of 3 individual links per reference, then further links from that domain count as a new reference. Excess quotes and excess links will be removed before judging.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

There will be no time limit for responding, however if a debater believes he will take more than a day or two to respond, it would be courteous to let the opponent know in advance that you still intend to continue when able.

Judging will be done by a volunteer panel of fighters.

All AboveTopSecret.com Terms and Conditions Apply at all times in all debate formats.




posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 12:19 PM
link   
First of all, I would like to thank The Vagabond for setting this up, and my esteemed opponent Druid42, one of the most prolific debaters on ATS, for accepting my opening challenge. As this is my first debate, I'm sure to goof up, but here we go


My position for this debate is: The Second Coming of Christ is a real event that may soon be upon us.

Since he ascended 40 days after his resurrection, Christians have kept a wary eye open for Christ's return. Early Christians, in fact, were so certain that his return was so imminent that they needed to be reassured by the Apostles when they started dying off and their Lord had not come back. Since then, there has hardly been a time that a prophet here, a mystic there, hasn't predicted the return.

But for generation after generation, the one constant seems to be "not yet." For some, that has turned into "never will," or at least "not in my lifetime." However, I believe that, not only is Christ's return an actual event, but that we may be moving into those "end times" that have been foreseen for millennia.

In this opening statement, we'll take a quick look at what the Second Coming is believed to be, some theological views over the centuries, supposed signs to watch for, and what supports my belief that it may be here before we know it. I hope to flesh out these points in subsequent statements.

The Second Coming is an Eschatological world view - it is an anticipation of the future, an apocalyptic end of the world proclamation. It declares that, at the end of time, Christ will return, subject the living and the dead to judgement, and establish a kingdom of supreme justice that will remain forever. In a real sense, it is the only true "happily ever after."

As noted, early Christians viewed Christ's return as imminent (given the persecution of the Church in the First Century, this is understandable,) but Peter wrote:


The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)


In other words, the time of the Lord will come, but not while there is work to be done. The Church eventually codified Christ's return into the Nicene Creed, with the words "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end". Attend any Catholic Mass and you will hear attestation to the Second Coming, recited by the faithful.

An important belief to note in the latter day development of Eschatology is Dispensationalism, popularized by the 19th Century Bible scholar Charles Scofield. Dispensationalism, which divides Biblical history into ages, each of which has a theological meaning, is the source for End Times concepts such as the Tribulation and the Rapture.

So, we have a vital component of Christian theology, which seems, by definition, to disappoint its awaiters. But that same text that proclaims it also gives us its signs, though they are as frustrating as they are vague. Before Christ's return, there will be wars, rumours of wars. Famines and earthquakes. Israel will be restored.

Paul is not noted for his prophetic abilities, but he did talk about the end times:


But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV)


Christ himself said:


"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (Mt 24:9-11 NIV)


All of these are fairly generic, and one can see how early Christians, and everyone up the line, might have supposed that Jesus' return was just around the corner.

However, I suggest that all of these generic predictions are of no consequence, until they are notable, and they have not become notable until recently. In other words, Paul's statement that people would be lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, would not be notable in his time (since they already were that way) but they would be notable in ours, as we are coming out of a period of piety into a period of hedonism.

Finally, I think that it is important to recognize that Christ's return would not be arbitrary - God would not "wake up one day and decide it is over". Rather, the Second Coming would be reliant on actual "end times" situations, and I believe that we may be seeing that today, in the many ways that we are reaching a tipping point, particularly as regards Earth's climate.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 10:04 PM
link   
In accordance with debate protocol, I'd like to thank my opponent, adjensen, for his willingness to debate what is sure to be a controversial subject. My appreciation goes out to The Vagabond for arranging this debate, and my thanks to all those who read this.

Throughout the course of this debate, I'd like for several factors concerning the return of the "Messiah", aka Jesus, to be examined in depth, and also perhaps give a bit of insight to the mentality of the people that consider such an event to be possible.

It all evolves around hope. It depends upon the fact that people are incapable of making spiritual decisions on their own, and in turn, seek guidance from those charlatans who wish to propagate the myth of a being who will return to the earth someday to "redeem" them.

Where does your hope lie? Is it within humanities ability to improve themselves, or a supernatural deity that promised to return to earth someday? Will you wait for the change, or be the change?

This debate, I foresee, will delve deeper into the human psyche than originally intended, and reveal aspects about ourselves we didn't realize until now.

The return of Jesus is a religious meme, and to date, a very powerful one. What is that power? First, let us examine what a meme is.


A meme ( /ˈmiːm/; meem)[1] is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.[3]


It is well accepted that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and he gave the ultimate sacrifice, his own life, in order that the rest of mankind could be saved from their sins, the "original sin". Very few know what that actually means.

Most are tricked into a religious ceremony in which they repent, and are miraculously "better" people, with a "get into heaven free" card. That is so far from the original message.

With such delusions in place, I'll begin to explain what the real meaning is, and even though it may not be palatable for most people's world view, I'd like, for the duration of this debate, to present other possibilities to an otherwise confusing and often mis-interpreted meme that actually defines the future of mankind quite adequately.

To achieve that goal, my opponent and I will address many different aspects of a "Second Coming."


Luke 17:21 King James Version (KJV) 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.


Eschatology requires an individual to perceive and address all aspects of the end of times. To merely grip upon one aspect leaves one unsatisfied, surely.

Is the end of time coming? Perhaps, and I'll be sympathetic to the point of proving my position. Do we need to confess our sins to a "messiah", who is soon to return? I think rather not. There could be another explanation, and that's where I'll conclude my opening.

Socratic Question #1: Does the "Anti-Christ" precede the return of the "Messiah?" Why are such anti-types important in our understanding of how religion works?

Socratic Question #2: With all the evil in the world, do you have a logistical problem with space requirements required to provide housing for all the souls, whether just or unjust? Over time, the human record has produced far more "evil" people than "righteous" ones. It would appear a hypothetical "hell" would be far more inhabited than a hypothetical "heaven".

Socratic Question #3: Is the imagery presented in the Canonical book of Revelations real, or allegorical?



posted on Jul, 29 2012 @ 10:28 PM
link   
Response to Q1: The term "Antichrist" has been hijacked by dispensationalists, applying it to an individual, while scriptural references seems to apply it to a frame of mind - simply a person who disputes Christ. This can, of course, be applied to multiple persons, or a single one.


Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18 NIV)

An anti-Christ is a necessary definition, as it differentiates between someone who doesn't know about Christianity, or knows doesn't believe, and those who actively oppose it.

Response to Q2: I'm sorry, but I'm likely misunderstanding your question, as it appears to question the physical restraints of hell. As creation cannot contain its creator, it is clear that God's realm is not constrained by the physical laws that we observe in our reality. Hell can contain whatever it is required to hold.

Response to Q3: Revelation is typical of a style of literature that was popular in the time it was written, an apocalyptic view of the future. However, it is very clear that many elements of the book refer to issues of relevance for John and his audience, so I tend towards it being an address to an audience, intended to make a specific point. I do not discount the prophetic visions as being real, particularly where they are supported by other, non-connected passages.

--

One of the primary reasons most Jews cite for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah is that, in their minds, he clearly didn't do what the Messiah was prophesied to do - namely restoring the Kingdom of Israel. Instead of kicking the Romans out and reestablishing the throne, he made blasphemous claims, was arrested and died. Messiahs don't do that.

Jewish Christians, however, saw it in another light - that of the "suffering servant" describing in the prophecy of Isaiah, who delivered Israel not a political freedom, but a spiritual one. All the nations would be blessed through Abraham's descendants, as was promised to him. And at the end of it all, Christ would return to establish the Kingdom of God, in the Second Coming.

There are a number of interpretations of how the Kingdom of God will be established, but we have some ideas of what it will be. It will be eternal and it will be physical, so the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden likely represents a reasonable picture of humans living in complete harmony with each other, with our world, and with God. Original sin, which I view as a label attached to the qualities of human nature that prevent us from achieving that harmony, are not a part of the Kingdom, so it is an infinitely just reality, free from greed, hatred and all those negatives attributes that separate us from God and each other.

One of the key reasons that we believe that the Kingdom points to a physical place, established in the future, is because of the core Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead. A Jewish concept, Christ made it clear that there would be a real restoration of his followers into real bodies. Paul describes it as the "putting on of incorruptibility", much like one might put on a coat -- we are "robed in Christ" and the corrupt is made perfect. But since bodies cannot exist in a purely spiritual realm, it is evident that this resurrection must take place in our material reality.

When we look at Revelation 21, one can't help but hope, indeed, that this will be our future.


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4 NIV]

However, as Peter noted, hope does not mean lethargy, and God's plans are his plans, not ours. While believers would welcome the Second Coming, it is only a minority that might promote inaction in the belief that our efforts are futile, or with the expectation that God will just "save our bacon." To that end, even in the worst of times, Christians continue their work in the world.

--

Socratic Q1 - Is humanity immortal? Is there something that allows for our continued existence for all time?

Socratic Q2 - Do the laws of physics, and our observations of the universe, define our universe as immortal, or will there come a time when reality itself will collapse into nothingness?

Socratic Q3 - Christ spoke of God's "will", and Christians of all flavours believe in God's will, but what is it, and how is it believed to be achieved?



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 06:58 AM
link   


Socratic Q1 - Is humanity immortal? Is there something that allows for our continued existence for all time?


There is no concrete evidence that a human being is immortal, in the physical sense. Clearly, human beings have a birth, live a short life, and then die. The grouping of individuals into a collective called humanity would also fit that definition. "Eternal Life" would be a definition that would appear to include an existence beyond death, provided upon the Messiah's return, but we'll find later that such a convenient term is rife with simple logistical problems.



Socratic Q2 - Do the laws of physics, and our observations of the universe, define our universe as immortal, or will there come a time when reality itself will collapse into nothingness?


I prefer to use the term "reality" to define our perceptions of what we experience. We have built instruments that verify our theories, helping to explain the nature of the multiverse, but by doing so, we often ask more questions in the process. Current thinking tends to promote an expanding universe, but without a proper frame of reference, it could also explain a contracting one as well. Either theory represents a dynamic nature to observable background radiation, and the recent discovery of the "Higgs Boson" helps us even further to explain how matter is held together in this universe. Without being able to explain the nature of reality fully, the best answer I'll propose is that there is a cyclic nature to the universe, but we have no idea as of yet where we are in that process. "Nothingness" would denote a situation where all subatomic particles cease movement, and are evenly distributed throughout the known universe, a condition that is hardly feasible due the very large number of active stars we have been able to see residing in other galaxies.



Socratic Q3 - Christ spoke of God's "will", and Christians of all flavours believe in God's will, but what is it, and how is it believed to be achieved?


In the broadest sense, God's will is unfathomable to our mortal minds. We can only see evidence of it through the teachings of the Prophets, and through the interpretations of modern Theologists. Given the fact that human perceptions tend to be flawed, and that there is no single universally accepted religion, I'll posit for the sake of this debate that we have no way to accurately determine the nature of God's intentions. That said, I'll go a bit further and say that it would appear to be a state of living harmony for all humankind, and to return to the rules that were previously given, and such an event would only be achievable through the advent of a supernatural return of his messenger, with the ultimate reward being "everlasting life."


King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.


Here is a prime example of a logical inconsistency, the inclusion of the word "all". All would mean everyone, agreed?


According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. "Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations."
Source



There is a huge disparity in what to actually believe in. If "all" should come to repentance before Christ's return, then he will never return, because there are too many religions which state something different. The Christians of the world are actually a minority when compared to all the other religions combined.

With a world population of over 6.7 billion, and only 33% are going to be saved during the second coming, it appears that the word "all" is not as encompassing as it should be. (I realize my data is a bit dated, so I'll allow a few percentage points either way.)

I think the major problem with believing in the second coming is the fact that Christianity has been commercialized into a packaged once a week ritual. For one hour or so of listening to a person who has all the answers, a fellow human leading a particular denomination, there's more of a religious social structure than a true belief in what were precipitated to be God's Laws. The real message of God's Love has been perturbed over the centuries into a profitable money making ponzai scheme. As long as mankind is running the show, there is no room for a Saviour to return, as such an event would ruin their lavish lifestyle.

There are no Socratic questions this round.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 10:39 AM
link   
I believe that the key concept in that passage from 2 Peter is not "all", but rather "not willing", translated elsewhere as "not wanting", because it speaks to the fundamental nature of God's relationship with humanity. The argument that this passage implies that the Second Coming is on hold until EVERYONE is saved is an invalid one, because there were people in Peter's time who had died without being saved, so if that were the case, the 2 Peter 3:9 is nonsensical, as it is impossible to fulfill.

However, emphasizing "not wanting" shows that, as God is infinitely loving, he doesn't WANT anyone to perish, but as he is infinitely just, he will not impose his will on anyone and leave the decision of whether someone wants to accept his grace in their hands. It is the work of Christians to spread the message and allow people to make an informed decision about accepting him.

Which brings us to the question of when, for lack of a better notion, "God's patience runs out". Will there be a time of diminishing returns for salvation? I'm not sure -- clearly, the passage in Peter states that we get every fair chance, but there is nothing there that draws a line in the sand as to what "fair" means.

But it isn't a big leap to say that, if there is an age that might herald that line, we are approaching it. Christianity is on the decline, due in no small part to the behaviour of many in the church, who discarded the religion in all but name long ago. When mainstream religions debate discarding core Christian beliefs in an effort to fit into a post-Christian age, do we not see the signs?

Recognizing that "anti-Christ" is not some horror movie cliche, but a person who actively opposes Christ, are we not seeing a tremendous rise in the number of anti-Christs? The New Atheists do not merely promote non-belief, they call for the destruction of religion -- Richard Dawkins equates religious education with child abuse. Spend a few minutes browsing on Youtube, and you will find thousands of videos demanding that the "evil that is Christianity must die." Christians respond, but the bleak intellectual arguments and elitism of these evangelical atheists appears to be having no small impact on the upcoming generation, many of whose parents, overworked and overwhelmed, turned them over to the media for installation of values.

As I noted earlier, generic signs of the end times have little value unless they are notable. Proclamations of an immoral and corrupt society would draw yawns in 1st Century Rome, but if we look at the depraved society that seems to be emerging from the values of greed, hedonism and arrogance so common today, the prevalence of random and horrific violence, disdain for the dignity of life and intentional collapse of the family stands in stark contrast to any period of the last thousand years.

I suggest, also, that the phrase "rumors of wars" in Mark 13:7 may refer to a time when people are far more AWARE of war -- a hundred years ago, most conflicts were unknown outside of their locale, today, we are inundated with every battle, escalation, potential conflict and riot. The media and Internet saturate us with negative news about our world and our future, a newly notable fulfillment of Mark 13:7.

Similarly, if one was to take a non-literal reading of the claim that there would be "famines and earthquakes" and see, rather than specific phenomenon, the more general "public unrest and natural destruction", we can see that our age becomes notable, in both areas. Part of this is a heightened awareness of the world in which we live, but there is hard evidence that there are more destructive natural events occurring, and more political dissent than ever before.

That said, neither earthquakes nor famines are on the increase, but in the case of the latter, our reliance on technology, our globally interwoven economy, the potentially looming water crisis, and the proportion of producers to consumers makes a large scale famine, even in affluent countries like the US, quite likely in the near term. Add in potential terrorist induced pandemics, drug resistant bacteria, chemical weapons of mass destruction and other hazards unique to our times, and it seems that hundreds of millions of lives hang in a fragile balance.

So, if we are to take prophetic signs of the end from Daniel, Jesus, Paul and John, we can not only see their fulfillment in our time, but we can differentiate between our time and any other in Christian history, as regards notability of the phenomenon.

--

Socratic Q1: Is God's will achieved by his imposition of it on an unwilling mankind, or brought about through the actions of mankind?

Socratic Q2: Has man's technology trumped evolution, to the point that natural selection no longer plays any part in the advancement of humanity as a species? We seem to be at a spiritual dead end, are we at an evolutionary one, as well?



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 08:58 PM
link   


Socratic Q1: Is God's will achieved by his imposition of it on an unwilling mankind, or brought about through the actions of mankind?

Clearly, God's will would be immutable if we accept the definition of God as a supreme being. I'll suppose that it's the same supreme being presenting itself differently for different cultures. Historically, mankind has always chosen their own freewill over that of the direction of God, but of course we are limiting that thought to Judaism, of which Christianity is a branch of. Then, we must address the "original sin", in which the first human creations of God lived in peace and harmony with Nature and God. I won't say it was God's will to intend the first human creations to disobey, but rather it was a permutation of possibilities. The scriptures do not denote the length of time that Adam and Eve spent in the Garden of Eden, and without that reference, it may have been an eternal existence, one corrupted by time, and an eventual possibility anyway. To accept the former proposition would denote an inferior being, one without foresight to future events, and to accept the latter would be to admit that humankind has the ability to create their own reality.


Socratic Q2: Has man's technology trumped evolution, to the point that natural selection no longer plays any part in the advancement of humanity as a species? We seem to be at a spiritual dead end, are we at an evolutionary one, as well?

Technology has only post-phoned evolution. We are still only one solar eruption, one asteroid impact, one volcanic eruption away from extinction as a species. Our bio-sphere surrounding our planet, including our magnetosphere, protects us and keeps us safe. It's a delicate balance. Evolution will then once again take over, as evidenced by the fossil record, and life will continue in some form or another after the sixth extinction event. Evolution and natural selection will re-assert themselves as biological processes IF humans are eradicated.


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

As stated, there will be worse than a global catastrophe before the end of times. Both heaven and earth get destroyed. There are consequences to the Second Coming. Everything is wiped away. Even the sea.

Well, since the earth is covered in 75% water, what happens to all that water? It's here where we reach another logical inconsistency.

I can suppose a hundred scientific principles to evaporate and displace that much water, but none of them are sound.

What I'd like to posit is that this rendition by John is an allegorical reference, and as such, not a real event, but a rather illusionary one. At the time of writing, John was exiled on an island, and had plenty of time to create well thought out stories. I'll even go out on a limb for the sake of this debate, and posit that he was using alliterations, and that the sea is actually referring to the people of the earth, and agree with my opponent that John envisioned the spiritual "dead end" of humanity. I will emphasize that it is a spiritual dead end, not a literal one. If you re-read scripture, and replace sea with people, well, you can see it's not literally a sea they are referring to. The same would apply to Jesus, when he spoke in Parables. The Apostle John was trained by Jesus, during his 33 years here before he sacrificed his life.

Eternal Life is the promise for accepting Jesus as your Saviour, and the Second Coming revolves around a set number of people being saved. Previously presented was a logistical problem misunderstood by my opponent. I'll try to clarify:
With a current population of 6.7 billion (give or take), and only 33% (the percentage of Christians in the world) of those going to the "New Jerusalem" which descends upon the earth, and having the dimensions of a cube, 2500 miles per side, with twelve gates to enter by, where do all the real people go? If the "New Jerusalem" which descends from heaven in Revelation 21 is a real object, it literally covers the continental United States. My point is that it could not contain 6.7 billion people in physical form. Without a translation into a spiritual body, there's simply not enough room. With reality being defined as our perceptions of the nature around us, the same terms would not apply to a reality in which we are in a form currently inaccessible by our perceptions. If you change reality, you change the premise of the Second Coming, and it becomes a spiritual event, not a physical and real event.


John 14:2 King James Version (KJV) 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.


His father's house could only refer to the "New Jerusalem", again denoting a limited space.

What happened to the 67%?



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 10:53 PM
link   
I don't think that we have enough information to determine the population of the future Kingdom of God. On the one hand, evangelicals point to Christ's admonition of "the narrow way" and the likelihood that the number saved will be much smaller than the number of those who claim to be Christian. Reformed have their "predestined" Elect, while the Catholics have purgatory as the doorway, which theologically can allow entrance to pretty much anyone who shared the ideals of Christ, whether they knew him or not. A priest once told me that the only people who go to Hell are those who know Christ and thoughtfully reject him, though I haven't dug into my copy of the Catechism to see whether that's valid or not.

In addition, the notion of the "new heaven and earth" is a wholly remade planet, not just the giant cube that is the New Jerusalem, so I don't think that the physical constraints of where to put everyone are of much concern. I suspect that "the sea was no more" may well refer to the sea that the beast and dragon emerge from in Rev. 13, though it may also mean the sea, as we know it, and which the Israelites never had much love of.

--

Thus far, we have seen what the Kingdom of God is thought to be, the ultimate fulfillment of the Promise to Abraham, and the harmonization of people, the world and God. Then we looked at a myriad of signs that were prophesied to be indicative of the end times, and found that the concept of notability made them more appropriate today than ever. Finally, we will now look at the "why" we may be nearing the end.

When I was a kid, I read a short story in one of my Dad's SF pulps, about a guy who made a time machine or something, and went all the way to the end. Untold millions or billions of years into the future, he found a dead Earth, withering under a dying sun, and man long forgotten (still some robots running around, as I recall, though, lol) I asked my Dad about that, and he explained the concepts of entropy and the eventual end of life on earth. It was humbling to think about all of this, gone.

But will God allow it to go that way? Not by scripture:


In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: (2 Timothy 4:1)


As I noted earlier, the Nicene Creed includes the line "will judge the living and the dead", and it is vitally important in the assessment of when the Second Coming can happen. Clearly, it has to happen while there are still people living, or else "the living" cannot be judged. So this is a fairly clear indication that an event that would eliminate the human race would, by necessity, be preceded by the Second Coming.

However, I think it not necessarily even involve the wiping out of the human race, merely a cataclysm that would be a reasonable breaking point. This could be economic, political, environmental or medical. We have already seen a global economic crisis, beginning in 2008 and continuing through today, a result of the globally interconnected marketplace that never existed to the extent that it does now. Forty years ago, few knew what the currency of Greece was, today people watch their retirement accounts drain as a result of Greek economic malfeasance.

We spoke of famine in the last post, but it is crucial to understand the fragility of our systems. With almost 80% of the US population in urban areas, and industry estimates of three days worth of supplies in urban grocery stores, panic and public unrest may be quick in coming in case of disruption of transportation.

Another example would be climate change - like most complex systems that have feedback mechanisms, global warming, regardless of its cause, may rapidly spiral out of control, resulting in a runaway greenhouse effect, as seen on the planet Venus. Although some efforts have been made to reduce carbon output, they are neither sufficient nor universal, and that has nothing to do with hope, but rather with people's unwillingness to inconvenience themselves for the benefit of others.

These, and other scenarios, may represent near futures that are tipping points which trigger Christ's return and the establishment of his kingdom.

But, in the case of the end all, be all…

There is a theory that the universe cycles, that there is expansion, contraction, expansion and so forth. However, recent observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope have demonstrated that the universe does not cycle -- if it did, we would either be in a state of contraction, or of expansion which is slowing, while, in fact, the universe is expanding at an increasing rate, meaning that it will never retract. I discuss this future end of the universe here.

One thing came to me as I was writing that, though. It gives every impression that we live in a disposable universe.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:44 PM
link   
Let's examine for a moment a few other aspects of the Second Coming that I wanted to address. While I would agree with my opponent's position that all the signs are in place for such an event to occur, people have been expecting the Messiah to appear since the Old Testament times. The Messiah that appeared named Jesus Christ, who was crucified, and allegedly rose again after three days, promised to return, and bring the Kingdom of God to earth. Such a statement has been taken seriously by many for over two thousand years, and in fact, he so impressed humanity by his message that we actually agreed to reset the modern calendar, accepting terms such as Before Christ (BC), and Anno Domini, The year of our Lord (AD). Even modern conventions, having rejected the religious connotations of BC and AD, use Before Common Era (BCE), and Common Era (CE), to denote periods in history that still align to the momentous event of his birth. Such an event has polarized people to either believe, or reject such claims as real and possible.

Why is the Second Coming needed? Perhaps humanity needs some discipline, with scripture stating he will rule with a rod of iron. Perhaps it's a unique opportunity for God to test individuals. Regardless, if such an event were to occur, it would change humanity permanently. What compels a person to adhere to their faith? Can't life be just as fulfilling without placing your trust in a supreme being? I'll ask those questions rhetorically, as they have no immediate answer.

What do we do with Eternal Life? Dropping aside the Dispensationalist's views that there will be a huge battle between good and evil, with good triumphing in the end, there remains the question of what we are going to do for eternity. Surely, it's not to worship God or the Son? The term Heaven can be used loosely, because earlier I suggested the old heaven and earth are wiped away. More accurately, it would appear that God is going to dwell on the earth with mankind, with a quite a few folks in the "outer darkness".

In Christianity, the outer darkness is a place referred to three times in the Gospel of Matthew (8:12, 22:13, and 25:30) into which a person may be "cast out", and where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth". Generally, the outer darkness is thought to be hell; however, many Christians associate the outer darkness more generally as a place of separation from God
I bolded that text to make the point that we perhaps we are currently living in the "outer darkness". Again, I am strengthening my position that the Second Coming is not a real physical event, but rather a subtle spiritual one. It could be rationalized that the Second Coming is an event that happens individually, and that people "accept Jesus into their heart", and become "born again". That denotes a strong spiritual relationship with their beliefs, and on a deeply personal level. Death would then be the "Salvation" finally rewarded. Perhaps, even, Eternal Life is boring after a few eons, and people choose to go back to help others. Such thoughts are well beyond the parameters of this debate.

I often question the true Philosophy of Jesus. Regardless of how modern Christianity interprets his words, I find myself pondering the message he brought to us. I think one of the most popular aspects of Christianity was that Jesus presented himself with dignity, and had the audacity to speak out against the repression and persecution seen in those times. One of the least popular aspects of Christianity is that you "must" accept Jesus, or burn in hell, or suffer eternal damnation. Again, I'll suffer the fact that the real message has been misconstrued over the ages, and that simple parables yield fascinating paradigms about the Kingdom of God.

I see no harm with concept of "Love thy neighbor":

the Pharisees, the chief religious sect of that day, asked Him about the greatest commandment in the Law (See Matthew 22:36-40). These religious leaders had made almost an art form of classifying all the various laws and giving them relative degrees of importance, so in asking Jesus this question, their aim was to test Him. His answer stunned them: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.


Love is an Emotion. Love is expressed by God in sending his Son in the first place. I think Love will also play a vital role in the Second Coming as well. However, Love is not a real tangible object, nor will the Second Coming be a real physical event. A slow understanding on the path of Enlightenment, perhaps. It may be that humans merely need to learn to Love.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 10:17 PM
link   
I would like to thank the Vagabond for hosting, our esteemed judges, and my well fought opponent, Druid42, for a very enjoyable debate. It has been a learning experience, indeed, and I'll be back!

Due to an error on my part, the links in my second statement were broken and couldn't be repaired. Here, for the record, is the first: Christianity is on the decline and the second: debate discarding core Christian beliefs. My apologies for the error in the original post.

--

In this debate, we have seen the Second Coming in two potential manifestations, one physical and still pending, the other spiritual and already come. However, I think that some of the claims of my opponent, while valid, represent the First Coming of Christ, and the remainder are speculations that lack basis in Judeo-Christian scripture and beliefs.

For example, a clear refutation of reincarnation, backed by a affirmation of the Second Coming, can be found in the New Testament:


Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV)


At its core, the Bible is a story - the story of God and his people, and at the core of that story is promise. The promise of God to his people, and the promise of the people to God. And while the Bible is rife with tales of people abandoning their promises (and the results of those actions,) as is the history of the past 2,000 years, we count on the fact that God never breaks his promises.

There is the covenant with Noah, that God would never again destroy all life on Earth. The covenant with Abraham, that all the nations would be blessed through him. The covenant with Moses, that the people who followed the Law were the Chosen People. His covenant with David, which established the royal line to rule Israel. And finally, the Covenant of Christ, which grants forgiveness and eternal life to all who accept it.

Further, God has promised, in multiple places in the Bible, that Christ will return to establish a new age, the Kingdom of God. We have seen that this Kingdom was "foreseen" in the New Testament, so it cannot be something that existed, either as a physical OR spiritual thing, prior to, say, 90AD, when the Gospel of John was thought to be written.

So there is one promise left to be fulfilled, and, as God keeps his promises, we can be confident that Christ will come again, to judge the living and the dead. That act will fulfill all five of the covenants listed above.

But when?


When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood? Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” (Revelation 6:9-11 NIV)

This passage follows a form of Psalm, called a Psalm of Lament… the martyrs are complaining to God, but are assured that when all is ready, when the final martyr dies for their faith, justice will be done. God's promises are kept.

Are these times soon to be upon us? Surely the signs, spoken of in prophecy so long ago, are in full fruition, and we have seen how the uniqueness of our time makes the generic and vague notable and salient like never before. The fragile state of the world; in its environment that may be on the verge of unrecoverable disaster due to a greenhouse effect; in its complex and corrupt global economy that collects wealth in a minuscule fraction of the populace, borne on the shoulders of billions who are one paycheck away from starvation; in its societal decay, rotting from the core, with values drawn from the glorification of violence, sexual immorality and indifference to life.

Scripture tells us that Christ will wait, while there are souls to save. It also tells us, when Christianity has lost to evil, to look for his return. That day seems near.


“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)

There is a host of prophets, mystics, and out and out loons over the centuries who have said "this is the day" or "it will happen on" and been met with disappointment. I will not fall into that trap, preferring merely to say "The Second Coming of Christ is a real event that may soon be upon us."

I stockpile no food, I make no prayers for a cataclysmic event that will kill millions, I spend no hours scrying over scripture for any little hint of the end, but I cannot help but see the signs.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:22 PM
link   
Truly, my opponent is a great man of faith, well educated, and firm on his beliefs.

My original goal was to show that the Second Coming was a religious meme, one designated by the current Evangelists populating the airwaves on any given Sunday morning, and that their goal was driven by greed and wealth. While that may be true, I see through my opponent that the whole world is not corrupt, that there are people like him who still stand for solid values. My goal of exposing Christianity as a religious fraud was not realized in this debate, but I am not disappointed. I was able to glean wisdom from the perspectives my opponent provided, and with that, I can sleep tonight with knowing we were able to disagree.

I'll state that I'm still disturbed by the lack of consistency in religion, so many different explanations, and little absolution save for adhering to a belief that you are comfortable with.

Christianity has it's flaws, and my opponent was able to accept that, and in doing so, changed my perspective slightly. For that reason, I congratulate my opponent for his dedication to this debate, and for presenting himself in a rational and respectable manner. His performance should be an example for future debates.

In closing, I'd like to thank The Vagabond for hosting this event, my opponent for providing several valid points, and for the readers for taking the time to contemplate what you have just read.

"For when the wind whispers change, and there are those who listen, that change will not be in vain."

Thank all of you for reading.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 07:58 AM
link   
I am going to deviate just a tad from the official judging protocol and just lay it all out on the line.


adjensen in my opinion won, and here is why.

Druid: even though I agreed with the CON position, and I always have agreed with it, you fell into a trap that I fell into a few years ago while debating Schrodinger's Dog. You let yourself start to agree too much with the PRO position to the point that your whole line of thinking started to (at least in my opinion) mirror it, and almost parrot it. Yes while you maintained that it was a spiritual and not a physical thing, your opponent worked that into his argument and negated that advantage.

However... had you stuck on point and stuck to your guns just a bit more you would have come out on top.

I would however like to thank both debaters for their time and their highly entertaining debate, I was hanging on ever sentence of both fighters...

- Jen (Vkey08)



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 12:45 PM
link   
I actually had to read this debate several times. My religious beliefs kept rising to the fore. But as a judge, I felt I had to suspend my tenets and follow with a neutral eye.

For that reason, I must choose Druid42 the winner. Well spoken, and a continuity of practical applications carried you through.

adjensen, you were extremely eloquent. I kept looking towards your posts. But I felt you didn't define the allegory versus the prophetic as much as I would like.

To you both, you have set the example for me. I am humbled to be a judge in such a well written debate.

Thank you and a thanks to Vagabond for chairing this.

beez



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 01:50 PM
link   
Great job by both members. This is not a topic I have studied much in the past so I thought it was interesting coming from a "fresh" stand point. I've seen that both judges have posted already from MyATS, but I have not read their posts before making mine.

Both had strong introductions with background information and laying down the base of their claims.

Both members also had many good points and references throughout the debate and finished very strongly.

I have to cast my vote for adjensen, though it was not an easy choice at all. I actually went back and forth a few times in my mind.

I felt he did well explaining both his side of the debate and responding to Druid42's posts and questions and changing strategy accordingly. Druid42 did the same but in my mind adjenson edged him out slightly.

Great job again to both members. It was a great way to kick up the debate forum again.

enjoies



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 06:37 PM
link   
I would like to congratulate adjensen on his win.

He was a tough opponent, and I'll admit to making a few debate errors, but that's the point of formal debate: Only one person can win. What I've learned from this debate, I'll compile as reference to future debates, and hone my debating skills.

It was also a very difficult topic. There were no "cut and dry" facts to present, and it boiled down to a matter of presentation. I left the debate with more than what I entered it with, and for that reason alone, it was a successful debate, IMO.

There's also the matter of setting a precedent. Member judging has been an iffy subject, but I think collectively we have shown that such a method is feasible and quite plausible. I think the judges acted accordingly, and gave their honest opinions without bias, and for that, they need commended as well.

I personally am quite satisfied with the outcome. adjensen got his first debate win with an honest ruling, and the three member panel proved to be a success.

The most important outcome is that the debates are rolling again. To me, that is a reward in and of itself.

(Note: It appears this thread is open posting now for everyone with "fighter" status, so please feel free to leave comments!)



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 09:17 PM
link   
I'd once again like to thank you, Druid42, for a spirited debate, and to the judges for helpful constructive criticism. I believe that you were a bit handcuffed by the presupposition that Christ existed, and was divine, but I'm not sure how the subject would have not come back to "proving" that without it being given, and that would have been less interesting, so thank you for accepting the handicap.

I attempted to compensate by avoiding the inevitable Evangelical arguments of "He's God, he can do whatever he wants" and "That's what the Bible says, so there" as best I could. Personally, I prefer reasoned thinking, rather than emotional appeals. I really thought my "here's how the Universe ends" cross-post would have had more impact
When I messaged you that I "had an angle", that's what it was.

I'm thankful for the victory, but I can see a lot of places where I can improve. All too often, I fall in love with the narrative and take way too long to make my point :-) Your graph, which took less characters than one of my shorter sentences, made the point as well as any verbage.

Observation for future debaters: 5,000 characters is not a lot of space when you have many points to make! That's the number one thing that I learned.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:53 PM
link   
reply to post by adjensen
 


I'm glad to see we both got something from the debate, and are able to walk away as friends. I would not hesitate in the future to participate in another debate with you, on any topic. I like your style, and your demeanor.

I agree, the 5000 character limit was very challenging. Three of my posts had only 1 character left AFTER intense editing. That was a challenge in itself.

However, we part from the debate as friends, each with a newfound respect, and that really is the best outcome we could've hoped for. I'd like to think we've set an example, and I believe we have.





top topics
 
11

log in

join