Okay since I'm not willing to waste more time on this discussion and it's only marginally related to the topic here, I'll pick out some quotes to debunk further, popular criticisms of Christianity for the benefit of those interested and then show how arguing with people like you is pointless:
-[The Bible is] full of contradictions & was written by different people at different times who had their own different agendas; there has been many different versions of it, each claiming to be correct, as well as sacred books that later got excluded from it.
The Bible is just a reference to the canon of Holy Scripture; it includes books written by different authors in different time periods and in different languages (Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek), whose exact compilation was determined in different ways at different times. For the apostles the Bible was essentially the Septuagint, which is an ancient Greek translation of what is today considered the Old Testament; after witnessing Jesus Christ's teachings and acts as well as His death and resurrection (especially the latter) the apostles started spreading His teachings further, despite the state starting to persecute them for it (all the apostles were eventually tortured and killed by the state at different times). This is because they could not discard what they had witnessed and were thus compelled to believe and filled by the Holy Spirit to carry out this work despite the extreme hardships it brought to them (many of them were actually wealthy and had a comfortable life before).
The Church was already being formed before this happened, with even Bishops being already present in these very early days (e.g. Acts 1:20) and Ecumenical Councils, as tools to resolve disputes over theology and doctrine, being reported on in the Bible itself as well (Acts 15:6-29); this is why the Church has proceeded to use this ecclesiastic structure and Ecumenical Councils to make decisions in the most important matters of the Faith. After the Apostles died, people were worried that their oral teachings might become corrupted over time, so they proceeded to write them down in what is today known as the Gospels and, together with some other writings of the apostles and other authors, became the New Testament.
Since there were people who were trying, for various reasons, to influence the developing Church by publishing their own "gospels" and other writings they claimed to be Holy, the Church engaged in lots of debates and discussions and came together in Ecumenical Councils to determine which works were truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and thus should be part of the canon of Scripture; they did this by looking at the teachings of the apostles and the Septuagint to see what kind of world view was being presented there. By formalizing and systematizing the teachings, the theology was born out (concretized), which allowed a clear derivation of the Christian metaphysics and thus allowed to more easily see which writings deviated from it and were thus false; the last book of what we today know as the Bible was written in the late first century; it is in the 4th century that the Orthodox Christian canon was proposed for the first time and it was formalized in the 6th century. This shows why Protestantism is false: it is the tradition of the Church
, that determined the canon of Scripture, so you can't discard the tradition of the Church, which gave you the Bible, based on the Bible (the Protestant "sola scriptura" doctrine)...people didn't walk around with what we today know as Bibles in the first half of the first millennium because that collection wasn't even compiled yet.
So, this should also make it obvious why any talk of "contradictions" is useless...the Church spent a great deal of time (half a millennium) carefully compiling the Bible and made sure that there are no real contradictions in it; I spent a lot of time looking at supposed contradictions, but they all disappear once you read some actually competent commentary, based on the Church Father's teachings, on it and understand the proper interpretation (plus, a lot of it simply comes from the fact that some people think the Bible was written in English, when in fact the languages used are much older and more limited, making a proper interpretation often not trivial).
In order to spread and preserve the teachings, the Bible was, of course, copied many times; since people back then didn't have computers with error-correcting hard-drives and printers that print the same file in exactly the same way every time, variations started appearing due to mistakes made by the scribes who were hired to copy texts (which was pretty expensive back then). Today we know of around 6000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament alone, with millions of pages in total and around 200,000 variations between them. This amounts to, on average, one scribal error every ~10 pages (in the vast majority of cases a spelling error), which is probably far better than your average high school senior today could manage (if they even know how to write by hand anymore). However, the Church was aware of this and obviously discarded the lowest-quality manuscripts. As for the question of how much the variations impact doctrinal elements of Scripture, even liberal, anti-Christian scholars like Bart Ehrmann admit that they don't.
Regarding Orthodoxy and the alleged Platonic influence: I already pointed out to you that many Greek philosophical terms which are used by the Church Fathers to derive the Christian theology and metaphysics from the Gospels and Septuagint have a different meaning than in Platonic or even Aristotelian writings; assuming that a word must always have the exact same meaning in every context in called the word-concept fallacy. The Church Fathers have defined all the relevant terms (see, e.g. St. John of Damascus' "An exact exposition of the Orthodox Faith") and this alone debunks such smears. If anything, it is Roman Catholicism that is Platonic as most of them worship the "absolutely simple divine essence", which is a far more impersonal, Platonic understanding of God than we have: for us God is personal. The One True God is The Father and He, being nominally God, rules together eternally with His Only Begotten Son (His Word / Logos) and His Spirit, who share equally in His Essence and His Actions in the universe and are thus also divine (God in the qualitative sense). That is nothing like Platonism. The Church Fathers even talk about this: read St. Basil's "Adress to young men on the right use of Greek literature" (tertullian.org/fathers/basil_litterature01.htm).
Some of the rest I've tried to put in a more useful order...these are just some more debunkings and examples of fallacies on your part:
First, to answer your objection about my showing the contradiction of relativism:
- why should "universal", as present or occurring everywhere; existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions be mutually exclusive with "relative", as considered in relation to something else; comparative?
Because "being in relation to something else" means it is dependant on that other thing and therefore subject to change if the other thing changes, which means it cannot be "operative under all conditions". Thus, "universal" is mutually exclusive with "relative" and my statements hold. Just for reference for others I'll repost them, since this is the core of the issue:
"everything is relative & ever changing" is the universal truth.
So if everything is relative, which by definition means it can't be universal, how can that assertion, which necessarily must be part of "everything", be universal?
Also, as I've pointed out above already, if "everything is ever changing", why doesn't this assertion, which necessarily must be part of "everything", change?
- our logic, valid or faulty, is limited to our knowledge (or lack of it) based on science that discovers new things all the time.
False. Your attempt at applying
logic may be faulty or valid, but logic itself is merely a set of axioms, based on which we can reason within the world. It can be condensed down to the three laws of thought:
1) The Law of Identity - Whatever is, is. (also known as "A thing is always itself")
2) The Law of Non-Contradiction - Nothing can both be and not be. (also known as "contradictory propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense")
3) The Law of Excluded Middle - Everything must either be or not be. (also known as "Every judgement is either true or false")
Without these three laws you cannot even reason at all. Even a simple rejection of them (e.g. "I reject the laws of logic") is rendered completely meaningless, because without other people assuming that you assert the laws of logic the statement can mean anything at all, including it's inverse (i.e. that you don't actually reject the laws of logic), because only by taking the Law of Identity as axiomatic will the words be attached to the meaning assigned to them in the current cultural and linguistic context, only by taking the Law of Non-Contradiction as axiomatic can this statement not mean its inverse (acceptance of the laws of logic) and only by taking the Law of Excluded Middle as axiomatic can there not be some arbitrary "middle ground" interpretation, leaving everyone to wonder which "mode of truth" you are actually implying.
As for tying logic to science: that is a fallacy (petitio principii, AKA begging the question), because science itself depends on logic. Without logic you obviously can't do science, and there are a lot more presuppositions that science requires, such as assumptions of regularity in the world, assumptions that the outer world you observe actually correlates with your perceptions of it and many more. This is why science cannot be used to derive logic or epistemic sources; you need an already-in-place world view within which you can then do science.
Furthermore, science is limited to the natural, the physical...matter and energy. It cannot investigate the metaphysical, because the metaphysical cannot be perceived by our natural senses. Think about numbers, for example: the number "7" can be displayed on a screen or written on a piece of paper; but is that really the number "7" itself? Of course not! If it was then I could forever destroy that number by burning the piece of paper and no one could use it in maths anymore. That's obviously not the case. The number is also not in our brains, since our brains differ from one another and are made up of different atoms and yet the number 7 remains exactly
the same, no matter which human makes use of it and many humans who have done maths have died and their brains rotted and yet the number is still here (and would be, even if all humans died tomorrow). That's because things like numbers and logic (and also God) are metaphysical
, not physical and thus cannot be investigated through science. They are a fundamental, universal part of the world we live in; they are "universals".
- relativity & universal standards r not relevant in this context. "Learn truth from facts"; what have worked for Russia may never work for China & vice versa.
Of course they are relevant...in order to compare across categories, in this case your value system and theirs, you need to have a universal standard by which to evaluate both. If you were consistent in your relativism you wouldn't judge me or the Chinese at all because you would have no idea what would be good or bad for them or me, because our "truths" would be entirely independent from yours. As to "learn truth from facts": that is extremely limited as I've already laid out above after my explanation of what logic is. In Empiricism you hit a well known problem, that Empiricists still haven't been able to solve (and never will): the Problem of Induction:
Imagine a turkey is kept by a farmer and is able to reason and experience as we do. The turkey lives for years under the farmer's care and observes being fed and protected from predators every single day of his life, without fail. If the turkey were now to scientifically speculate on the course of the rest of his life, he would rationally and logically be able to reach the conclusion that this almost paradisical state of affairs will continue for the rest of his life until he dies a natural death. There is no reason why he should think otherwise, because this is all he has observed so far. Of course we, knowing a greater context, would have reason to be sceptical of that conclusion since we know that farmers like to keep turkeys until they get fat and then kill them to sell just before Thanks-Giving, for example. But the turkey doesn't know that.
This is just an easy way to demonstrate the limitations of science...not only is science limited to the physical but there is no way that you will ever know whether your current theory will be falsified with new data tomorrow or next year or in 100 years, because you can't ever be certain that you now know the full context. Even modern theories, like General Relativity (which, btw. falsified Newton's Laws in the sense that it updated them, even though for hundreds of years people thought those laws were solid) or the Standard Cosmological Model aren't safe...the latter is recently coming under fire due to a series of experiments using different methodology that are discordant with it and the former is not fully compatible with Quantum Physics. Even without these examples, however, in a hypothetical world where all scientific theories are compatible and no evidence has been found to falsify any of them they could still all be false without the people "believing in them" knowing it. And "believing in science" or scientific theories is rather unscientific to begin with...yet many "objective, science-oriented" atheists do just that.
- by being flexible & able to change by absorbing what is useful makes it better suited & longer lasting
By definition something that is ever-changing cannot be "long lasting"...this should be obvious.
- changes come at various rates/cycles.
That doesn't matter; even at a very low rate of change, if the basic principle is that everything changes, the basic principle must also change eventually, which is self-contradicting and thus shows that "eternal change" cannot be the basic principle.
- by comparison: those who r free from an organised religion achieved better results as opposed to those who r not.
You have a completely arbitrary moral system based on a completely self-contradicting world view, which means you have no valid basis to call something better than something else (especially since, in order to do that, you would need a universal standard of comparison
, which you reject as a relativist). Also, as always, instead of showing actual proof, even of the scientific kind, you just arbitrarily claim it since you seem to think that everyone else just needs to take your incoherent drivel as axiomatic. Meanwhile, it is well established (e.g. see here mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)62799-7/pdf) that religion has a positive impact on health (in that article, which is a review of many studies and meta-analyses, they even recommend clinicians to rely on "chaplains" to address patients' spiritual needs).
- I don't need to have any particular worldview to form an unbiased/objective opinion on anything
Yes you do. Your world view is your epistemic source (your "interpretative framework", if you like), without which you can't have any knowledge. Your world view (some variation of relativism) is completely incoherent, which is why your argumentation is completely incoherent; you literally think, as you've even explicitly demonstrated multiple times, that you can just make up axioms arbitrarily without needing to justify them and then you expect everyone else to go along with it.
- I may be more objective than others like u, & that is enough in itself.
That's nice, dear. Another one of your "axioms", I take it.
- he led it after having his "visions" under the influence of what he has read, & it wasn't the Koran or the Old Testament- I don't care what any1 says about it.
Correct; he read a heretic's pamphlet. Had he actually read the Old and New Testament and understood them he wouldn't have committed genocide. This is why it was false to claim Christianity was responsible. And I suppose that your "I don't care what any1 says about it" means that we're dealing with yet another one of your axioms here, right?
- I hope u'll realize it urself 1 day. A believer doesn't need any proof, nor do I need to waste my time on it.
So you can't prove how my world view is incoherent. No surprise there.
- secular & clerical rulers shared power over people/subjects since the time immemorial. Some rulers were high priests/living gods & defenders of the faith as well.
This is, at best, the fallacy of division. Even if I were to grant your generalized statement it still doesn't make your assertion true with respect to the specific case.
Two weeks ago, in a speech of his own at the Kremlin, the Patriarch declared in Putin’s presence that the Church is now the equal of the state for the first time in Russian history;.."Equal" means there's no difference in power they posess.
First of all, this was last year, not two weeks ago. Second, if you check what Patriarch Kirill actually said, it's "We are offered the opportunity to discuss various issues that concern our people, our society, and, of course, our Church," (talking about the Church interacting with the state) and "And I would even dare say that for the first time in Russia's history, such a relationship has established itself between the Church and the state."...so this has nothing to do with sharing any power or having the same power in some other way, but merely that the state is listening to their opinions more.
- a good example of relativism: what is sinful to some is fine for others & vice versa.
And yet you judge me and billions of other people by calling us "weak-minded"...if you actually were consistent (as consistent as one can be in your world view, at least, since you'll never have a stable epistemic basis) then you wouldn't do that.
In conclusion: Not only have you shown yourself to be a relativist, which I demonstrated to be a deeply self-contradicting world view, but you don't even understand what logic is and think that you can get all your answers from science (that is, when you're not just making them up as "axioms"). As a result it is not surprising that you're making little sense in your argumentation and commit one fallacy after the next. Your overall argumentation is basically Sophistry and serves only to manipulate those who encounter it, not to arrive at the truth. This is actually what e.g. Germanic pagans used to practise intentionally because they thought it was part of what they considered to be "magic"...manipulating the world and especially the minds around oneself for ones own advantage (which is, btw., also the Darwinian view of rhetoric and conversation...that's not a coincidence). It is evident that you are unwilling to reconsider your position and you have in multiple cases made the exact same point again, even though I had refuted you with proof before. This, as well as the generally low quality answers you give, can be considered as part of a Gish Gallop tactic designed to waste my time.
Your actions here, therefore, whether this is how you view it or not, can be considered a kind of pagan ritual, which I'm frankly not willing to be part of any longer. Ironically it is precisely Western atheists, who often claim to be rational, objective, science-based and utterly non-religious, who tend to behave this way. This is also the root of most of the issues in the West today; why do you think the media just keeps lying so openly and intentionally? Why do Western academics claim that there are no biological differences between men and women? Why are your politicians, especially, driven entirely by greed and drenched in sin? Because they all reject the very concept of Truth, which is Jesus Christ; because they even hate Truth, Beauty and the Good. It is the same sickness afflicting you that is rotting in the West. In the end you are simply rejecting God and returning to your pagan roots. For anyone interested in a much more elaborate analysis of the West's development and decline from an Orthodox perspective in English, you can find and read (or listen to on youtube to) Father Seraphim Rose's "Orthodox Survival Guide".
And now for the bit that ties it into this thread's actual topic:
- whose truth? there'll be many groups claiming to profess it.
The Truth. There is only one...this is the whole point. Without acceptance of a universal truth there will always be revolution.
socialism with Chinese characteristics
Socialism of whatever kind is still a revolutionary ideology and always will be, because it's completely arbitrary and ultimately based on a similar kind of relativistic world view you are promoting; that's why it only holds on to power through fear and oppression. People seek meaning and purpose in life and the atheistic, socialistic elites in China can't give them any; that's why the people are turning to religions or practices like Falun Gong despite being persecuted for it.
True stability only comes with an acceptance of the truth. That's why the (Orthodox) Byzantine Empire was the longest lasting empire on the planet to date, despite having been riddled occasionally with heretics and back-stabbed by the West (Fourth Crusade) as well as bearing the brunt of the Muslim horde's assaults. Its downfall was multifactorial and had to do, among many other issues, but not least, with a growing faithlessness and ethnic pride, particularly among Greeks. The downfall of the current Chinese regime will have a much simpler explanation.