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"... none of us can be good enough for Heaven"

Christianity

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1lawecon
Jun 6, 2012, 8:44am Top

One of the posters in an adjacent thread just summarized an oft held theological view as follows:
"in brief...salvation and eternity in Heaven is based upon our righteousness...one sin makes a person guilty of breaking all. And since none of us could be sinless, none of us can be good enough for Heaven. Theoretically, we could be good enough to keep all the law perfectly and earn eternity with God, but practically, no one can."

I wonder how many of you believe either or both the conclusion and the "reasoning" in these statements. As I responded in that other thread, if these statements are believed to be some sort of inference from Jewish doctrines, they aren't. They appear to be a solution to a "problem" that either never arose in Judaism or to which Judaism was an answer (depending on your perspective).

Jews have never believed that anyone - including Moses and Abraham - has been "perfect". Everyone always sins. No Jew has ever claimed that the best of Jews could or would "keep all the law perfectly." True, G-d does not like sin, but there is no implication in Judaism that one sin permanently alienates a person from G-d.

Further, a large part of the Torah tells you what you do to "make up" for sins. It has to do with "making amends" - not just to G-d, and not first to G-d if the sin was harmful to another, "turning away" from the sin, and not repeating it. It is really quite simple - and there is no "I lusted in my heart and therefore I'm damned eternally" doctrine or any such implication. You sin, you repent, you make amends, you go on, and G-d has forgotten the sin.

The other part of this desperate attempt to create a problem, where no problem existed, is, of course Original Sin. Presumably, that doctrine arose because some people actually appeared to be Saints. But, the response goes, of course no "natural man" could ever REALLY be a Saint in G-d's eyes, since Adam and Eve had sinned. If you don't have sins of your own, well then, he'll impute their sin to you. I presume few of you still believe in that doctrine, but if any do I'd truly like to hear your defense - since, again, the Jewish Scriptures say no such thing, and there is not even the implication that Adam and Eve are in Hell for their sins.

2bookishbunny
Jun 6, 2012, 8:56am Top

Is it not a moot point since Jesus died for our sins? Our "worthiness" for Heaven doesn't really figure in when it comes to our admittance. That said, the fact that the whole salvation thing was put into motion tells us (well, me, at least) that we ARE worthy to enter Heaven.

3lawecon
Jun 6, 2012, 9:19am Top

~2

I am not quite sure how necessary Jesus' death was if there was already a system for dealing with sins.

The point of the poster I quoted seems to be that we were all damned under the "old system." But that, clearly was not true, at least according to the rules of the old system and the beliefs of Jews prior to the remarkable revelation that we are all damned - despite 3,000 years of Scripture to the contrary.

Incidentally, the solution you suggest and the one that is usually suggested, also has the disadvantage of its historical and spacial particularity. If Jesus died for our sins, and it is necessary to "believe upon him" to take advantage of this "get out of jail free" card, how about all of those persons who died before his time, who lived outside of Palestine and never heard of him or who otherwise could not have "believed upon him?"

It certainly won't do to say that there are different rules for them, since if there are, then Jesus' sacrifice seems unnecessary. G-d could have, simply, retained the old and different rules that allowed for salvation without a belief upon Jesus. From that perspective, Jesus' coming appears to be a tightening of the old rules.

4bookishbunny
Jun 6, 2012, 10:34am Top

"Incidentally, the solution you suggest and the one that is usually suggested, also has the disadvantage of its historical and spacial particularity. If Jesus died for our sins, and it is necessary to "believe upon him" to take advantage of this "get out of jail free" card, how about all of those persons who died before his time, who lived outside of Palestine and never heard of him or who otherwise could not have "believed upon him?"

It is a point that has been and will be argued until the end, I suppose, and with good reason. I, personally, and for the very reason you state, read that Jesus died for ALL sinners, not just believers, and, since God is not bound by time, that covers all people in all times. Obviously, if we have a loving and compassionate God, he would take factors such as culpability, cultural barriers, etc. into account.

I agree that being damned for eternity does not reflect the Jewish tradition of Hell, which, if I am understanding it correctly, has a relatively short purification period (12 months max) for the wicked and unrighteous.

5Osbaldistone
Jun 6, 2012, 12:06pm Top

>1 lawecon:
Just a few comments related to your post:

1. Just to add to and agree with what you stated - The Torah goes to great lengths to describe the ritual one goes through, sacrifices one makes, and actions one takes to become pure again after sin and/or coming into contact with the impure. Much like Catholic confession, asking forgiveness, and carrying out ritual and/or making amends to be cleaned of sin.

2. The idea of Original Sin may not be Torah, but Torah contains many references to the punishment for sin passing down several generations, not just to the original sinner (pardon the pun). So it's not such a stretch for early Christian theology to see the Original Sin of Adam and Eve carrying down through the generations.

Os.

6johnthefireman
Jun 6, 2012, 12:25pm Top

Some contemporary interpretations of original sin set it in terms of the apparent alienation of humankind from God, self, neighbour and even nature. Different generations have tried to articulate that in the language and imagery of their era.

7lawecon
Edited: Jun 9, 2012, 9:24am Top

~4

"I agree that being damned for eternity does not reflect the Jewish tradition of Hell, which, if I am understanding it correctly, has a relatively short purification period (12 months max) for the wicked and unrighteous."

Yes, that is true of the views of some groups in late Second Temple Judaism. In many earlier and other groups the view was either than there was no after life (probably a minority view) or that the unrighteous simply wouldn't be resurrected when the Messiah came.

Hardly anyone, perhaps no one (?), believed that everyone or most everyone was damned or that it was impossible to become undamned once one started to head in that direction. Judaism seems to be predominately about CHOICE, and for there to be a choice there have to be consequences connected with the character of particular and continuing choices.

8lawecon
Jun 6, 2012, 10:29pm Top

~5

"The idea of Original Sin may not be Torah, but Torah contains many references to the punishment for sin passing down several generations, not just to the original sinner (pardon the pun). So it's not such a stretch for early Christian theology to see the Original Sin of Adam and Eve carrying down through the generations."

The difference is, I think, that Jews have always been transfixed on the role of family. It is not a stretch at all to imagine, particularly in the sort of nonurban societies that most Jews lived in most of the time, that families either had good or bad habits and traditions. "The sins of the fathers are visited on the children," as you say, sometimes for multiple generations, isn't, therefore, just a spiteful G-d cursing a particular lineage. It is the lineage cursing itself. David, for instance, became corrupted by power. His children were also corrupted by power.

I think it is a bit of a stretch, however, to transplant the notion that there are good and bad people and good and bad families to the notion that all of mankind is eternally damned.

9johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 12:16am Top

>8 lawecon: Is it akin to the (reported) Native American saying that when making a decision one should look at its effects on 7 generations to come?

Original sin may also be seen in terms of social and institutional sin. I may not be responsible personally for global warming or the madness of nuclear weapons, but as a member of society I do share a responsibility for them. Or the white South Africans who may not personally have lifted a finger in favour of apartheid but who nevertheless enjoyed its fruits.

But as you say, these analyses do not necessarily lead to the concept of being eternally damned.

10Osbaldistone
Jun 7, 2012, 1:17am Top

>8 lawecon: I think it is a bit of a stretch, however, to transplant the notion that there are good and bad people and good and bad families to the notion that all of mankind is eternally damned.

I do as well. However, I have trouble with the idea that there good and bad people generally. I think these are the extremes of a spectrum of human behaviour ruled by the mix of nature v nuture (and God seems to have a hand in both...hmmm). I don't see the "mankind is eternally damned", but must consider the posibility (since it is a position held by some very wise and thoughtful Christians) that some men/women are damned for all eternity.

This does not sit well with me, but I try to get beyond the 'it feels right' v 'if feels wrong' approach to my faith and pray for guidance as I read, listen, and struggle with conversations like this one. I still have trouble with the notion that some unimanginable, eternal horror is waiting for us as a deterrent or because God has run out of options with some of us. I have trouble aligning everything I know about God (through the Gospel and through my own faith journey, bumping into many wise and faithful people) with the creation of a Hell where Satan has his way with God's human refuse. lawecon said some believe that "the unrighteous simply wouldn't be resurrected when the Messiah came", which comes closer to this God, who is actively, aggressively, and patiently holding out a lifeline (lifelines?) for the salvation of ALL sinners (all mankind). But I must consider the possibility that a God with such a power and alpha-to-omega view of creation, when He gets angry (and the Bible says he does), might consider punishment that is beyond by comprehension (see my post-script to this post).

Don't know where I heard it, but someone once said "The Catholic Church teaches that there most definitely is a Hell, but only an insane person would believe that there's anyone in it."

Os.

PS - trying NOT to hijack the post, but this seems to flow naturally from what's been said before about salvation and Hell. All my life I've considered the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made as his tortuous death on the cross when he didn't have to. It never dawned on me until recently (and I'm getting late in my middle-age) that this side of the cross might not be the sacrifice that was truly one that only Christ could have made. Let's face it, many regular humans were voluntarily martyred before and after Christ in much the same way. The Romans were perhaps the most barbaric, in the primary modern sense of the word, 'civilized' people up to that point in human history, often putting hundreds on crosses in a matter of days.

But the accretion of sin upon sin, failure upon failure in the human story over the millenia brought God to the point of taking drastic action (once again). In this case, the Son, the feminine of God, the shepherd, offered to step in front of God's wrath to protect His children (much as even a mother hen would do without hesitation). To die on the cross so as to then face and receive the full force of God's wrath (the earth split open; he descended into Hell), leaving His children with the promise of salvation despite all the failures...that seems like the ultimate sacrifice that only Christ could possibly have volunteered to do, and only Christ could have survived. That may be the immediate future that Christ saw when he asked that this cup be taken away. And then the Holy Spirit is sent to be with us as we learn what to do with this salvation stemming solely from Grace. And without that sacrifice, a God casting mankind into a Hell doesn't seem so far fetched.

Probably another thread. Hope I didn't hijack this one.

11johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 1:33am Top

>10 Osbaldistone: Os, there has been at least one thread in the last year or so where the issue of hell was discussed in some detail. Many shared your view - that there might indeed be a hell, but there probably aren't many people in it. God's wish is for everyone to be with God for eternity. Free will leaves the possibility that someone might consciously and deliberately choose to refuse that option - but not just by routine sinning, nor through ignorance, nor through being born into a cultural milieu where one is a Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu, nor through a principled decision to be an atheist or agnostic, nor indeed by laziness and complacency, nor by not believing in (or "on" to use the jargon of that brand of Christianity) Christ, not being "born again", not being "saved". The salvation offered by the Christ is for all, not just for those who jump through a set of hoops.

And I agree with you that the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ is not the only one. We are all called to be Christ-like. What of Maximilian Kolbe and Brother Damian, to mention but a couple of well-known recent Catholic examples? "No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, New Jerusalem Bible), with the implication in the following verses as well as throughout the NT that "friends" is a very broad category which includes strangers and enemies. And of course not every sacrifice leads to death. Many, many people have made huge sacrifices in their lives for the good of others.

12fuzzi
Jun 8, 2012, 12:46pm Top

(10) Os wrote: I have trouble aligning everything I know about God (through the Gospel and through my own faith journey, bumping into many wise and faithful people) with the creation of a Hell where Satan has his way with God's human refuse.

Satan does not have his way in Hell, that's out of someone's imagination.

Satan is not in Hell right now, as we type. He may have been expelled from Heaven, but still has access and power over the earth. When he offered the world to Jesus (Matthew 4), he really could do that, as he is the prince of this world and the powers of the air, demons/devils.

Satan will never go to Hell, but he will wind up in the Lake of Fire on the last day, judgement time. He'll be in the same situation as those who have rejected God.

Christ, indeed, gave us the ultimate sacrifice. As He is God, it certainly would make sense that giving people an option besides the Hell they are destined for is the act of a loving and patient God.

13JGL53
Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 1:23pm Top

> 12 "Satan does not have his way in Hell, that's out of someone's imagination...Satan is not in Hell right now, as we type. He may have been expelled from Heaven, but still has access and power over the earth. When he offered the world to Jesus (Matthew 4), he really could do that, as he is the prince of this world and the powers of the air, demons/devils...Satan will never go to Hell, but he will wind up in the Lake of Fire on the last day, judgement time. He'll be in the same situation as those who have rejected God...Christ, indeed, gave us the ultimate sacrifice. As He is God, it certainly would make sense that giving people an option besides the Hell they are destined for is the act of a loving and patient God."

And this entertaining drama is why the bible continues to be the #1 best seller in the world.

Arthur C. Clarke, eat your heart out.

Oh, wait, he's in hell now.

Never mind.

14nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 1:52pm Top

>13 JGL53:: Not sure where that came from, since the judgment of the soul belongs to God alone, not to any human being.

So I have no idea whether Arthur C. Clarke will be damned or saved, though my fervent hope is that he (and all) will be saved.

15Arctic-Stranger
Jun 8, 2012, 1:44pm Top

As to original sin, I had a 15 year mother in my office once, trying to get money to pay for drugs. She had her baby with her. The girl could not even construct a coherent lie to try to scam me. (She needed money because her paycheck was stolen, and she gave it to a friend who needed it more, who stole it from her.)

I looked at the mother and looked at the daughter, already a toddler, and I understood about sins being passed on the seventh generation.

16JGL53
Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 4:25pm Top

> 15

"....and I understood about sins being passed on the seventh generation."

Or to sum up in three words: cause(s) and effect(s).

172wonderY
Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 11:43am Top

I listened to an audio book last year, and Lucifer is a character. He challenges the protagonist something along the line of "Where do you think hell is? Hell is where a child is being tortured by it's parent."

The book is Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda.

18JGL53
Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 2:14pm Top

> 17

IOW, Hell is other people. Fer sure.

But, then, what about, e.g., a tsunami that smashes 230,000 men, women, children and fetuses to death - or when babies are born with types of birth defects so severe that they shortly die - in pain, after months of agony?

Both of these are also Hell.

So while I open a beer let's hear the fancy apologetic exegesis of this type of hell.

19johnthefireman
Jun 13, 2012, 2:21pm Top

>18 JGL53: Aren't you just referring to things which happen naturally as a result of the way our universe and world have evolved? What has that got to do with hell? But the beer sounds good...

20Arctic-Stranger
Jun 13, 2012, 2:25pm Top

I just racked some IPA homebrew into the secondary. You guys are welcome to come over in four weeks when it is ready.

21ambrithill
Jun 14, 2012, 7:22am Top

Just a question--if you do not believe in hell, do you believe in heaven?

222wonderY
Jun 14, 2012, 11:56am Top

>18 JGL53: Well, as you mocked in another thread, I made the point that our being out of right relationship with God has twisted the entire creation.

Do your actions not have repercussions in the larger world?

Gimme one of those cold ones.

23JGL53
Edited: Jun 14, 2012, 12:56pm Top

> 22 "...in another thread, I made the point that our being out of right relationship with God has twisted the entire creation..."

- God must be pretty torn up about all that. Reckon he's committed suicide and that is why there has been no reliable reports of his appearance in about 2k? (sorry mormons, I said RELIABLE.)

> 22 "...Do your actions not have repercussions in the larger world?.."

- Uh, if you mean by larger world this world, well, duh.

If you mean some supposed transcendent reality wherein the departed soul will be rewarded or punished after bodily death - that theory seems rather implausible. Your evidence for such?

24Osbaldistone
Jun 14, 2012, 12:56pm Top

>22 2wonderY: Do your actions not have repercussions in the larger world?

maybe so, maybe no (see butterfly effect)

Specifically speaking about an action (singular), can't say. Statistically speaking about actions (plural), probably, but whether the repercussions are good or bad, can't say (even if I knew what the repercussions are, which is unlikely). God can turn all things to His purposes.

Some hypothetical questions simply for extreme examples of how we cannot know (yes, I know some scripture seems to answer some of these questions) - Judas actions would seem to have been evil, but they were used by God for His purposes in bringing about our salvation. So, Judas did good, right? Jesus warned him - "Woe to the one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed" (he did not say "damned is the one"). Jesus also said that he was going (to the cross) "as it has been determined". Did Judas make the choice to to carry out his role in what was necessary despite being warned what horror awaited him, or did he act "as it has been determined". Did he act as needed because he was in a right relation with God? Does he go to heaven because he sacrificed himself to bring about God's purposes?

If none of us can be good enough for Heaven, can any of us be bad enough not to have salvation open to us?

Os.

25JGL53
Edited: Jun 14, 2012, 1:30pm Top

> 24 "...Some hypothetical questions simply for extreme examples of how we cannot know (yes, I know some scripture seems to answer some of these questions) - Judas actions would seem to have been evil, but they were used by God for His purposes in bringing about our salvation. So, Judas did good, right? Jesus warned him - "Woe to the one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed" (he did not say "damned is the one"). Jesus also said that he was going (to the cross) "as it has been determined". Did Judas make the choice to carry out his role in what was necessary despite being warned what horror awaited him, or did he act "as it has been determined". Did he act as needed because he was in a right relation with God? Does he go to heaven because he sacrificed himself to bring about God's purposes?...."

If any of this 'supernatural" conspiracy theory could actually be shown to be true then I would be prepared to possibly entertain Holocaust denialism, the moon landings as hoaxes, creationism in 6,000 years - with evolution being a scientist-created hoax, and the serious possibility that Jackie Kennedy hired Oswald to whack JFK. Plus extraterrestrial shape-shifters are really among us (possibly both Rmoney and Obama).

26Osbaldistone
Jun 14, 2012, 2:01pm Top

>25 JGL53:
Curious - you read hypothetical questions and see conspiracy theory. First, questions can only lead one there if one assumes that the one posting the questions expects certain answers. I asked the questions because I felt pondering these questions would open up paths of thought related to the question in post 22.
Second, I presumed an acceptance of the NT story as necessary for these questions to have any meaning. If you don't accept the story (even for a hypothetical discussion), then, of course, you may as well ignore the questions and pass on to the next topic, as I don't see how they would make any more sense than your paragraph of hypotheticals.

Os.

27Osbaldistone
Jun 14, 2012, 2:04pm Top

>23 JGL53: that theory seems rather implausible. Your evidence for such?

No evidence - faith. In the absence of faith, you may as well keep moving. Nothing to see here.

Os.

28ambrithill
Jun 14, 2012, 2:26pm Top

>25 JGL53: If something is supernatural, how would you suggest proving that it happened in a natural realm?

29Osbaldistone
Jun 14, 2012, 2:32pm Top

>28 ambrithill: (and 25)
Science is incapable of discovering anything about the metaphysical. That is not what it is for. Science has nothing to say about God (though some try to do so anyway). God is not in the equations of science, and that is just as God meant for it to be.

Religion really has nothing to say about atoms or planetary motion or DNA (though some try to do so anyway). That is not what it is for.

Science is about how the universe works. Religion (or is it theology) is about why.

Both are quite valuable to us humans, and each can be a wondrous blessing from God.

Os.

30jburlinson
Jun 14, 2012, 2:34pm Top

> 1. The other part of this desperate attempt to create a problem, where no problem existed, is, of course Original Sin.

Or, it could be that "original sin" is a very real problem. Recent research suggests that evolutionary success and brain size is linked to socialization -- Encephalization is not a universal macroevolutionary phenomenon in mammals but is associated with sociality

Here's a quote from Dr. Susanne Shultz, of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, co-author of the article: "This study overturns the long-held belief that brain size has increased across all mammals. Instead, groups of highly social species have undergone much more rapid increases than more solitary species. This suggests that the cooperation and coordination needed for group living can be challenging and over time some mammals have evolved larger brains to be able to cope with the demands of socializing."

For humans, one of the most socialized of all mammals, the dissonance resulting from urges that would tend to ensure individual survival (e.g. kill all competitors and threats etc.) with the necessities of "group living" would naturally be experienced subjectively as a deep-seated sense of conflict, shame, guilt, and so forth.

31Osbaldistone
Jun 14, 2012, 2:38pm Top

>30 jburlinson: would naturally be experienced subjectively as a deep-seated sense of conflict, shame, guilt, and so forth.

And/or result in authors like Machiavelli and Ayn Rand. ;-)

Os.

32lawecon
Jun 14, 2012, 2:43pm Top

~20

If something has no effect on or manifestation in a "natural realm" why should anyone be concerned with it? Unless you live in the supernatural and are just visiting.

33JGL53
Edited: Jun 14, 2012, 3:49pm Top

> 27

So in effect it's a language game played only by the players - by definition.

Would that all your fellow players were of your opinion.

Unfortunately billions of them are not.

And there's the rub.

It's analogous to scientologists - if they just minded their own business and didn't bother other people, then no problem. But they are compelled by some inner demon to continue to offer "free psychological tests" to the credulous. And the world slowly becomes that much more crap-brained.

To paraphrase a well-known aphorism: All that is needed for the forces of insanity to triumph is for enough sane people to do nothing and remain silent.

34JGL53
Edited: Jun 14, 2012, 3:52pm Top

> 28

Good question. I have no idea. I leave it up to the faithful. So far, historically and in the present day, all the faithful seem to have are threats - believe as I do or go to hell - or actual violence - believe as I do or I will kill you. Or argument based in false logic, both formal and informal. Or appeals to emotion. Or appeals to self-interest. Or appeals to pragmatism. Or the every popular - god speaks to me, and I speak to you, Q.E.D. just listen up and don't ask questions.

So, I suppose I do ask the impossible of the faithful.

Sorry.

35ambrithill
Jun 14, 2012, 3:59pm Top

>34 JGL53: I think that is part of the problem in these discussions, those who believe and those who do not cannot possible prove, or disprove, supernatural events, it is completely a matter of faith and personal belief. However, let me say that while I believe that not believing in Jesus does result in people going to hell, that is only my belief and everyone else has the right to believe as they wish. My only point is to present the option to people, and what they do with it is between them and God. Only God truly knows the answer to what happens after death, and if there is no God, then I'm guessing there is no after-life as well.

36johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 14, 2012, 4:04pm Top

<>33 JGL53: Well, this is the Christianity thread, where there is an assumption that most people are on board with the basic stuff, not the "Attack and ridicule religion" thread (aka "Let's Talk About Religion"), although I have to say the latter is doing better than its predecessor so far.

>34 JGL53: So far, historically and in the present day, all the faithful seem to have...

I think you meant to say "some of the faithful".

37Osbaldistone
Jun 14, 2012, 4:09pm Top

>36 johnthefireman:
Actually, he meant "all that the faithful seem to have..." not "all of the faithful seem to have...". One small missing word makes all the difference.

Os.

38lawecon
Edited: Jun 14, 2012, 7:01pm Top

~35

" I think that is part of the problem in these discussions, those who believe and those who do not cannot possible prove, or disprove, supernatural events, it is completely a matter of faith and personal belief."

"Supernatural events" are those that occur outside nature (whatever that is). Events that are asserted to occur in the world around us are subject to ordinary standards of evidence. You can't convince people that you are really Napoleon by intoning "well, it is my belief".

"However, let me say that while I believe that not believing in Jesus does result in people going to hell, that is only my belief and everyone else has the right to believe as they wish."

However, let me say that one will suffer eternally if babies are not sacrifice by being thrown into blast furnaces. But that, of course, is only my belief. Put differently, there are arguments and then there are silly evasions.

39ambrithill
Jun 15, 2012, 7:36am Top

>38 lawecon:

"there are arguments and then there are silly evasions."

With this thought in mind, can you prove that God exists, or doesn't exist, for that matter, or that Jesus is not God? Christianity is an act of faith in the supernatural, not trying to prove the supernatural.

40lawecon
Jun 15, 2012, 9:33am Top

~39

"Christianity is an act of faith in the supernatural, not trying to prove the supernatural."

Yes, I am sure that is true of your religious views. Many others, however, view religion as just another domain of human knowledge. You postulate a hypothesis, you determine the implications of that hypothesis for the world around you. You test those implications.

It must be nice, however, to have a hermetically sealed place in life impervious to any experience and logic with a warning sign at the gate "Criticism and reason stop here. You are not wanted." Very peaceful, I'm sure.

(Incidentally, your continual use of the term "prove" is a bit disturbing. You may "prove" something in mathematics, but in your knowledge of the world you can only speculate, test, and have your speculation survive the test(s).)

41ambrithill
Jun 15, 2012, 11:50am Top

>40 lawecon: I do believe you are putting words in my mouth. Never have I said that criticism and reason should not be listened to or not wanted. It also appears that you live in a hermetically sealed world that does not allow for the supernatural or a God who is greater than we can understand, a world where there appears to be no accountability to a higher power. And to your last point, "speculate" your answers to the questions in 39, please.

42jburlinson
Jun 15, 2012, 1:44pm Top

> 40. Many others, however, view religion as just another domain of human knowledge. You postulate a hypothesis, you determine the implications of that hypothesis for the world around you. You test those implications.

I won't argue that this is perhaps the view of "many others", but it seems quite deficient when it comes to considering religion, in that it appears to leave out interior states of being (e.g. joy, bliss, exaltation, despair, just to name a few) altogether. These things may be worthy subjects of hypothesis, but they, themselves, are not hypotheses that are "postulated" by the subject.

43robin_b
Edited: Jun 15, 2012, 6:57pm Top

>42 jburlinson:: Religion has no monopoly on "interior states of being (e.g. joy, bliss, exaltation, despair, just to name a few)" or what we usually term as emotions, so their inclusion in the debate would appear to be redundant.

44JGL53
Edited: Jun 15, 2012, 7:36pm Top

> 43

Yes, but rather than redundant I would say religious concepts are more accurately described as supererogatory to the subject of emotions and/or interior states of being.

E.g., if one has a feeling of bliss or a feeling of interconnectedness or even identity with all of reality, the default position is that such is a little understood natural occurrence.

Use of chemicals such as LSD, THC and ketomine, etc. can certainly induce an interior state of being that feels anything but mundane. But to make a jump to jesus - so to speak - to explain the presence of any supermundane brain state is no more warranted than to explain fire by referencing some spirit fire-demons allegedly present in all wood.



45Osbaldistone
Jun 15, 2012, 11:46pm Top

>43 robin_b:
Yes, but using collaborative epistemologies, Richard Stallman suggested a scheme for evaluating fully realized implications of lossless communication at the time. Though along these same lines, this approach is less fragile than yours. Reality aside, you shuld investigate how your heuristic might behave in theory.

Os.

46lawecon
Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 12:41am Top

~41

I am sorry, I don't want to put words into your mouth. So, tell me, what would you count as "proof" that your religious ideas are false. I am certain that you had in mind something, since you seem to be quite put-out by the assessment that your religious views are hermetically sealed.

As to your wanting me to speculate on whether there is a G-d or whether Jesus was G-d, I am sorry but I can't speculate about the existence of either a G-d that you can't in principle describe or the G-dness of a historical man, unless and until you can tell me what you mean by "G-d." You see, the question of whether something exists presumes that one can identify that something if one were to, e.g., meet it on the road to Damascus.

But, of course, I must agree with you that it is just plain ridiculous to maintain that that if one can't, in principle, describe what it is that one believes in, one should be silent, since one then would have nothing coherent to say. It is surely ridiculous, despite the fact that, I believe, there was a certain book that ended with such counsel.

Finally, in some sense I do believe in accountability to a higher power, but then, "higher" doesn't mean unimaginably great, it just means greater.

47lawecon
Jun 16, 2012, 12:39am Top

~42

Yes, and how would I, or anyone else, go about determining whether you were really experiencing joy, bliss, exaltation, despair, etc., or that such states were causally connected to your religious beliefs, practices, rituals, etc if these "states of being" were entirely "interior"? See, e.g., The Concept of Mind

Or must I just believe it is so if you say so? See, e.g., hermetically sealed.

48ambrithill
Jun 16, 2012, 6:58am Top

>46 lawecon: & 47 Actually, I did not have something in mind, I just wanted to try to understand your line of thinking. And I am not put-out at all by your assessment of my being hermetically sealed nor am I surprised by it.

Christianity is like many other things in life, it is hard to explain the full depths of it to someone who has never experienced it. For example, I have no real concept of the depths of loss that happens when someone loses a parent or a child because I have never had either occur in my life. I have some ideas, some thoughts, and some opinions, but I still cannot fully comprehend what someone goes through when these losses occur. But that does not mean that those who have suffered these losses are "hermetically sealed" in their beliefs about their loss. It just means they have an experience I do not have. And, yes, the esxperience of having Jesus as a personal savior does go beyond my ability to describe. And while I am sure you will see this as a shallow answer let me just say that for me it is not about trying to win a debate because winning a debate has only temporal consequences. No, for me it is simply stating what I believe in, hopefully in a coherent and logical way (as much as that is possible when talking about things involving the supernatural) so that it might cause someone to look more into Jesus and His claims and discover for themselves that He is real and that He has died for their sins.

49lawecon
Jun 16, 2012, 9:34am Top

~48

I think we are talking past one another. "Hermetically sealed" is a term (like the more conventional "reinforced dogmatism") that refers to the logical status of an intellectual doctrine. To me, the following sorts of propositions assert an intellectual doctrine:

There is a G-d.
This G-d is concerned with mankind.
This G-d has defined sins.
This G-d is offended by sins.
This G-d will judge individuals according to their sins.
This G-d created a path to avoid adverse judgments through "believing on" Jesus.
The Bible is literally and word-for-word "the words of G-d." The truth of each assertion in it is thus unquestionable.

These propositions are not about feelings. They are assertions of fact. They are either true or false. Please read posts Nos. 77 and 84 here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/138269

Now the problem I'm having in this conversations with you is that every time I start talking about the logic of and evidence for or against any of the above propositions, you start talking about what you feel.

Feelings, of course, are important in the appropriate place, but they are entirely irrelevant to what is and what isn't in the world. The above propositions are either about the world or they are just babble.

To say that you "know" with absolute certainty that the above propositions are in fact true, but to then refer others to your feelings (which, the way you are defining feelings, are not intersubjectively observable) is logically a hermetically sealed position. Nothing could ever shake your "feeling" of absolute certainty, because your position doesn't rest on what humans can debate, reasonable about and cite to evidence about.

There have been many such hermetically sealed positions in history. Most of them have turned out to be a disaster for the person holding them and for those that come into the power of that person.

50jburlinson
Jun 16, 2012, 1:30pm Top

> 47. Or must I just believe it is so if you say so?

Let's examine the evidence. On the one hand, you have my personal testimony that it is so, and, assuming you're operating in good faith, you have no reason to doubt that I am perfectly sincere in what I'm saying.

On the other hand, you have no evidence whatsoever that it is not so, and you have no conceivable means of adducing evidence that it is not so. All you have is your a priori assumptions and convictions.

You be the judge.

51jburlinson
Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 4:29pm Top

> 43. Religion has no monopoly on "interior states of being

True enough, and I made no such claim. These states are essential elements in religious experience, but they can certainly manifest outside an overtly religious context. My only point is that such states, emotions if you will, are not characterized by the simplistic definition of the "domain of human knowledge" provided in # 40: "You postulate a hypothesis, you determine the implications of that hypothesis for the world around you. You test those implications. "

Or do you believe that emotions themselves are hyptheses?

52lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 12:21am Top

~50

> 47. Or must I just believe it is so if you say so?

Let's examine the evidence. On the one hand, you have my personal testimony that it is so, and, assuming you're operating in good faith, you have no reason to doubt that I am perfectly sincere in what I'm saying.

On the other hand, you have no evidence whatsoever that it is not so, and you have no conceivable means of adducing evidence that it is not so. All you have is your a priori assumptions and convictions.

You be the judge.

=============================

Thank you, You have illustrated a hermetically sealed view much better than I could. As you say, there is absolutely no way that I or anyone else could ever judge the propositions on which you rely, and there is no circumstance under which those propositions could be determined to be false. Your axioms, your claims, are perfectly sealed and protected against all evidence and logic.

But as I've said several times now in this thread, and numerous times among these threads, this is not an unusual way to ground one views. There have been many other such systems:

"The will of the Fuehrer is the will of G-d. The Race and the Blood demand obedience!"
Wilhelm Schmoller

"Only through obedience to the Thoughts of Mao and his Party can we hope for the Justice and perfection of full communism."

53Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 2:55am Top

>52 lawecon:
It's the fruits. It's always the fruits. If the result of even a hermetically sealed view are such as that of William Schmoller, then I deny that this view is from God (unless God had some mysterious purpose in instilling such a view in Herr Schmoller). The statement about Mao, on the other hand, may well have been perfectly true. Just not palatable for most of the world.

You are right when you imply that some hermetically sealed 'Christian' views lead to disasters. I contend that, even if they are held by committed, honest Christians, they are not truly what God or Christ intended (unless God had some mysterious purpose in instilling such a view in the Christian in question). Thus, it is possible for the Church to give rise to a Girolamo Savonarola (who was apparently even scarier than he looked).

However, since man has come up with no way to test the meta-physical or the supernatural (pretty much by definition, not testable by scientific methods), the existance of what you define as a hermetically sealed view simply sits there.

But I don't see that the person whose personal experience has led them to faith in such a view is obligated to provide 'proof', nor to provide the logic of or the evidence for or against. For this person, it just is. As I've stated before, this is an internal event that has led the person here. And, yes, I will admit that one risks madness and possibly following Satan rather than Christ if they do not continually and prayerfully pursue continuing, increasing understanding through God, Christ, and the HS.

The consequences of being wrong are great. The risks are real. Thus one could easily decide to turn away from the internal event(s) which led them here, and often people do. I am struggling with just such a choice right now (which seems to be driving an uncharacteristic period of 'both feet' involvement in topics in this group) . I believe that the millions who have not turned away are powerful testemony to the Truth available from these internal, meta-physical events.

Os.

54Osbaldistone
Jun 17, 2012, 3:40am Top

>44 JGL53:
Then again, if one wakes up locked in a container and out a peephole can only see the windows of a long train immediately adjacent going past at 40 mph, the default position is that the train is moving. To make the jump that such an observation means that the container is moving at 40 mph is no more warranted than to explain the movement of the sun across the sky by referencing some god driving a flaming chariot.

The container is, however, traveling at 40 mph past the stationary train, regardless of the 'default position'.

55ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 6:45am Top

>49 lawecon:
"Now the problem I'm having in this conversations with you is that every time I start talking about the logic of and evidence for or against any of the above propositions, you start talking about what you feel."

I understand that due to my wording that you might think I was talking about feelings, but what I was really talking about was the knowledge about those feelings, nor can I gain that knowledge by listening to someone else expressing their feelings on the subject. Christianity is the same. Unless you experience Jesus you will never fully understand what believers are talking about, and that's okay. As I stated previously (in a slightly different manner), my intentions are not to "prove" something to you or anyone else, or to win a debate, but only to try to get poeple to look into Jesus for themselves. I truly believe that C.S. Lewis had it correct when he said that we have to accept Jesus as either being Lord, a liar, or a lunatic.

56lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 8:08am Top

~53

"However, since man has come up with no way to test the meta-physical or the supernatural (pretty much by definition, not testable by scientific methods), the existance of what you define as a hermetically sealed view simply sits there.

But I don't see that the person whose personal experience has led them to faith in such a view is obligated to provide 'proof', nor to provide the logic of or the evidence for or against. For this person, it just is. As I've stated before, this is an internal event that has led the person here. And, yes, I will admit that one risks madness and possibly following Satan rather than Christ if they do not continually and prayerfully pursue continuing, increasing understanding through God, Christ, and the HS."

I think that you want to have it "both ways." You can't. If a view is, as you say, "metaphysical" (a term I tend to shy away from because of its historical associations in philosophy) then there is no way to escape from where one has found oneself. If the view is not purely metaphysical, then there is something - some evidence, some logic - that will cause its rejection.

In the former case you MUST act according to the Absolute Truth you have discovered. It is a moral imperative. All those who disagree are IN ERROR and run a significant risk of harming themselves and others. Your benevolent will requires action on behalf of all "true" human beings. (Arguably, the Nazis were similarly benevolent, it was just that they conceived of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, etc. as vermin, rather than "true men.")

In the latter case, action may be reserved or less extreme, because all that has been arrived at is propositions that have been corroborated but not "proven." (That is, as we have discussed before, you have come to really realize that only mathematical and logical conclusions can be "proven," given their premises, and propositions about the world can only be corroborated. There is still the possibility that you may be wrong about the way things work, and, if that proves ultimately to be the case, you would like not to have done the maximum harm in the interim.)

57lawecon
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 8:30am Top

~55

Again, you are perfectly expressing a hermetically sealed view - as did jburlinson above. You have Ultimate Knowledge because of your "relationship" with Jesus. Nothing, nothing at all, could lead you to determine that such Ultimate Knowledge is really Error. The only thing you Can Do is act upon your Ultimate Knowledge. Your will is enslaved. It must be if you are a moral person. The logic of the situation demands it.

Since what you Know is Absolutely True, all else is Error. All that stands in the way of the triumph of Ultimate Truth must be eliminated.

Thus reasoned the Marxist Leninists, the Nazis, the leaders of the Inquisition, the True Crusaders and every other man and woman who has tried to destroy human civilization. It is comforting to imagine that these people were evil. In a manner, they are evil. But fundamentally (term used advisedly http://www.shelfari.com/groups/29350/discussions/74005/Fundamentalism) they were (and are) just Knowers.

And, incidentally, I do not believe that Jesus was either a liar or a lunatic. He was simply a man who made a mistake about where he was located in history - who believed that the End Times and Judgment were literally "just around the corner." Given the signs of Apocalypse that were clearly evident in his time, it was not a particularly wrongheaded error.

The same assessment cannot, however, be rendered for many of those who believe themselves to be his followers.

58ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 9:59am Top

>57 lawecon: Three points:

1. Again, placing words in my mouth. I have never said that all I don't believe is error. There are many aspects of my belief that I have changed my opinion on, therefore, I could never say that I know the absolute truth. Besides, to say that what I "know is Absolutely True, all else is error," would be calling myself omniscient, which I would never do. I can say that I believe that Jesus is the Absolute Truth and I am still growing (through grace) in my knowledge of that Truth. As Paul said in Philippians 3:12-15:

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

I certainly have never claimed to have arrived, I am just trying to press forward.

2. If Jesus was was just mistaken, as you suggest, what did He mean when He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58)? (I suppose you might say, "How do we know He really said it?" but if that is the case, just humor me and tell me what it means, from a Jewish perspective, if He did say it.)

3. This definition of fundamentalism (from the web-site you gave)--

"fundamentalists are arrogant because they perceive anyone who doubts their ideology as evil, or at least radically stupid and ignorant."

--seems much more in line with the way non-believers describe believers. I have been called ignorant on more than one occassion on LT because of my beliefs,as I am sure others have. But can you give me an example of believers calling unbelievers stupid or ignorant, or evil, for that matter? So I think, perhaps, this was not the best reference that you could have come up with.

59fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 10:30am Top

(53) This is a very good post and explanation. Thank you.

60AsYouKnow_Bob
Jun 17, 2012, 10:46am Top

But can you give me an example of believers calling unbelievers stupid or ignorant, or evil, for that matter?

Well, lawecon himself does it all the time. To quote him more-or-less at random:
Now the thing that should concern you, Atomic, but doesn't because you are as intellectually lazy and impractical as the theists posting to this group, is that many many people - many more than you and all your cliched bumpersticker thinking friends put together - not only think that there is a G_d, but they believe themselves to be taking his advice.

And joansknight isn't hesitant about calling unbelievers evil - or, at least, doomed to hell.

61fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 10:52am Top

I didn't realize that lawecon was a 'believer', a Christian?

62AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 11:17am Top

Yes, this is the "Christianity" group, but people of other traditions can also considerer themselves to be "believers". Ambrithill's question was to lawecon, so it's pertinent here.

If ambrithill was asking specifically about Christian believers "calling unbelievers stupid or ignorant, or evil, for that matter", then I could cite other LTers -- but they aren't right here in this thread -- and some of whom have been banned.

63fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 11:23am Top

I thought the context was 'fundamental' Christians. Some can be jerks, just as all different types of people can be jerks.

64AsYouKnow_Bob
Jun 17, 2012, 11:33am Top

Well, the question was But can you give me an example of believers calling unbelievers stupid or ignorant, or evil, for that matter?, so I thought the context was "believers".

There's also the point that 'fundamental' Christians are only one flavor of "fundamentalists".

65ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 11:43am Top

Sorry, I should have been more specific. I was indeed referring to Christian believers. I do not think that saying someone is doomed to hell is the same thing as calling someone evil, unless you take it in the context of Romans 3:23, which says that none of us are good, so in that case, we could all be considered evil. The point that I was trying to make, and apaprently failed in doing so, is that Isee many more examples of Christians being called ignorant and stupid by non-Christians than I see the other way around.

66AsYouKnow_Bob
Jun 17, 2012, 12:05pm Top

Oh. OK, then.

67johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 12:17pm Top

Bob, I'm not one who thinks that unbelievers are going to hell. But I do find it curious that people who don't believe in hell make so much of the fact that some religious people say they're going there. If you think hell is just an imaginary construct within a religious system which you don't believe in, what's the problem? If a Muslim tells me I'm going to hell because I'm an infidel it is really quite irrelevant to me; I would have thought it would be the same for an atheist who is fingered by a fundamentalist Christian.

68AsYouKnow_Bob
Jun 17, 2012, 12:20pm Top

If you think hell is just an imaginary construct within a religious system which you don't believe in, what's the problem?

On a personal level, sure, absolutely; my problem is that many of these same people are working hard to gain even more control of my country's public policies.

69johnthefireman
Jun 17, 2012, 12:29pm Top

>68 AsYouKnow_Bob: Agreed. And most Christians (and yes, I do believe it is "most") are as opposed as you are to any sort of theocracy, and to the way religion is being used by political parties, usually right wing ones. It's one of the many areas where atheists can find common ground with mainstream religious people.

70AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 12:43pm Top

(John, I'm so glad you're here.) Agreed.

There's a guy in my neighborhood who has this as a bumper sticker on his car

71johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 12:49pm Top

>70 AsYouKnow_Bob: My opinion of people who have bumper stickers in general is about the same as someone who would have this particular one. There's no denying that there is a visible, vocal and influential Christian lobby which favours a theocracy. Those of us who favour a liberal and secular democracy won't beat them while atheists are wasting their energy attacking Christianity per se instead of opposing the actual issue of theocracy.

Edited to add: I'm also glad that you are here. There are moderate voices on both sides of the religious divide!

72jburlinson
Jun 17, 2012, 2:14pm Top

> 56. only mathematical and logical conclusions can be "proven," given their premises,

Not so.

The Omega Man: He shattered mathematics with a single number. And that was just for starters

"The fact that randomness is everywhere has deep consequences, says John Casti, a mathematician at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico and the Vienna University of Technology. It means that a few bits of maths may follow from each other, but for most mathematical situations those connections won't exist. And if you can't make connections, you can't solve or prove things."

73fuzzi
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 3:30pm Top

(69) and common ground with Bible believers: I want the government out of my life as much as possible!

FYI: I believe the term 'theocracy' refers to God running the government, being the ruler as in OT times before King Saul, not to a government run by religious people, like the Vatican State...what would that be called, anyway?

74jburlinson
Jun 17, 2012, 3:29pm Top

> 73. Not me. I like driving on paved roads.

75nathanielcampbell
Jun 17, 2012, 3:37pm Top

>73 fuzzi:: While that may be one technical meaning of "theocracy", in modern usage it refers to a government run on religious laws and principles -- Iran, for example, is considered a "theocracy".

76fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 3:49pm Top

And that is not going to happen here, just look at how 'religious' the government is, and the court rulings against any reference to 'god'.

77johnthefireman
Jun 17, 2012, 3:51pm Top

>73 fuzzi: I imagine the Vatican State would be considered a theocracy. I wouldn't like to live there. But as Nathaniel says in >75 nathanielcampbell:, I'm using theocracy broadly.

fuzzi, I don't understand the link you're making between wanting the government out of your life, and not wanting a government that is dominated by religious ideology or agendas. Like jburlinson in >74 jburlinson:, I've got no problem with government per se. I suppose I'm probably one of the few posters here who has lived under both "no government" and theocratic government (as well as a few other labels such as totalitarian government, police state, fragile state, military dictatorship, one-party state and, thankfully, good old parliamentary democracy as well), so I've had a chance to compare some of the possible options.

78jburlinson
Jun 17, 2012, 3:56pm Top

79fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 3:57pm Top

A so-called Theocracy would tell everyone how to believe, correct?

I like my freedom to worship God as I choose IF I choose!

Anyone disagree?

80AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 5:53pm Top

Anyone disagree?

Well, not so much folks on Library Thing... but there are people who do. Some people think that some citizens should be denied equal rights because their religion is against equality.

Look at the recent primaries: Santorum wanted to ban contraception; vowed he would ban what he thought was pornography; thought that women shouldn't get prenatal care because they might use the knowledge to make decisions that Santorum didn't approve of...

...theocrats certainly exist in America.

81Osbaldistone
Jun 17, 2012, 5:58pm Top

>56 lawecon: If a view is, as you say, "metaphysical" (a term I tend to shy away from because of its historical associations in philosophy) then there is no way to escape from where one has found oneself...
In the former case you MUST act according to the Absolute Truth you have discovered. It is a moral imperative. All those who disagree are IN ERROR and run a significant risk of harming themselves and others. Your benevolent will requires action on behalf of all "true" human beings.


You want to establish an either or, based on how you think it all works, but you end up with two alternatives that do no fit where I am. The closest is this one (repeated above), so I'll start from there.

I would say that, in the former case which you see as the case I was making in my post, I should act according to the understanding I have reached so far (I have not "discovered" anything. I use the phrase "internal event" for a reason; and "Absolute Truth" has no meaning in my faith journey as I've described it in many previous posts). To act thusly is a moral imperitive which I fail at as often as I succeed. But my understanding at this stage in my faith journey is that I have a grasp on a sliver or two of what God is. Others have a grasp on one or more other slivers. What we understand from this sometimes overlaps, sometimes seems to conflict (so I seek more understanding), sometimes seem unrelated. I have no reason to believe that God does/has/can not reveal Himself through Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc., nor through agnostics, scientists of all stripes, and athiests. All things are used by God for His purposes. For some reason, you want me to be driven to become some kind of benevolent dictator about my faith, taking action on behalf of all "true" human beings to prevent those IN ERROR from harming themselves or others. But my faith does not demand that of me. It simply demands that I do justice, seek kindness, walk humbly with my God, and, in doing these things, seek continually increasing understanding and to the extent that a limited human such as myself can, allow others to see what is going on with me on my journey. I am happy to share what I can with anyone, and am happy for them to share their faith journey with me, since by such engagement, God may well further reveal Himself to me and to the other. That's about it. I play fair, share my toys, smile as much as I can and try to make others smile as well. But that's just an outcrop of where God has led me so far.

This moral imperitive to act to stop those IN ERROR from significant risk of harming themselves and others (simply because they are in a different place on their journey) is foreign to everything I've learned thus far. I'm not sure why you want this to be the only alternative to the purely logical and rational arrival at a view of creation, but I reject it for myself, as it cannot fit with where I am. It may well fit for you or for others. Might further revelation change my mind and lead me to this action on behalf of all "true" human beings you mention? I doubt it, as that would be counter to everything that I've encountered so far. But, of course, it's possible, since Absolute Truth remains out there in God's hands rather than mine.

Os.

82lawecon
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 6:09pm Top

~58

"If Jesus was was just mistaken, as you suggest, what did He mean when He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58)? (I suppose you might say, "How do we know He really said it?" but if that is the case, just humor me and tell me what it means, from a Jewish perspective, if He did say it.)"

I would suspect that if he said it, he was repeating a well known name of G-d - it is the name that G-d gave Abraham when Abraham asked G-d for his name at the burning bush. "I am that I am". Of course G-d was before Abraham.

Why do you assume that Jesus was referring to himself? Have you looked at the Greek to assure yourself that this is what it says?

""fundamentalists are arrogant because they perceive anyone who doubts their ideology as evil, or at least radically stupid and ignorant."

..seems much more in line with the way non-believers describe believers. I have been called ignorant on more than one occassion on LT because of my beliefs,as I am sure others have. But can you give me an example of believers calling unbelievers stupid or ignorant, or evil, for that matter? So I think, perhaps, this was not the best reference that you could have come up with."

No, I think it is exactly accurate. You have done so yourself. Haven't you told the other posters to this Forum repeatedly that True Knowledge is to Know Jesus, and to Know Jesus as you know Jesus, they must be Born Again. Haven't you said that those who do not Know Jesus by being Born Again are ignorant, or, if they refuse Jesus willfully, that they are evil? Would you like me to find the posts, or do you recall saying that now?

83lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 6:06pm Top

~66

"Oh. OK, then."

Sorry, Bob, not everything can be twisted so it is a club to use in your little vendetta. But keep trying. It is very amusing to watch you twist and turn.

84fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 6:08pm Top

(80) All which are an example of someone in government wanting to impose his own beliefs on others. It is a tendency not limited to people who attend a place of worship.

I don't need a nanny, I'm a big girl now, thank you. ;)

85Osbaldistone
Jun 17, 2012, 6:11pm Top

>80 AsYouKnow_Bob: Look at the recent primaries: Santorum wanted to ban contraception; vowed he would ban what he thought was pornography; thought that women shouldn't get prenatal care because they might use the knowledge to make decisions that Santorum didn't approve of...
...theocrats certainly exist in America.


Maybe so, but I suspect Santorum would want to govern the personal choices of others regardless of his faith. Some people are built that way. Some consider themselves religious (and may well be), some are not at all religious. I've seen the same phenomenon in the workplace, where someone is determined to require or outlaw certain work related activities because of some perceived harm or because they imagine such harm might happen. Either way, it's easier (and more personally satisfying) to demand compliance with some new rule than to be the mentor/manager one is supposed to be. Put them in the religious sphere and they would do the same for belief and behaviour; put them in the political sphere, and they would do the same. Granted, it's often easier to get away with it when hiding behind theology. Losing faith in a politician comes much easier for most of us than in a spiritual leader/mentor.

Os.

86lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 6:15pm Top

"Maybe so, but I suspect Santorum would want to govern the personal choices of others regardless of his faith. Some people are built that way. Some consider themselves religious (and may well be), some are not at all religious."

I am not quite certain what distinction you are drawing here. Would you not consider Maoist China or Nazi Germany as theocracies? IMHO that is exactly what they were - the god was simply a human being.

87Osbaldistone
Jun 17, 2012, 6:24pm Top

>86 lawecon:
You could argue this, I suppose, but then you could argue that a gov't that is determined to rule in a way that tilts the scales towards producers of consumer products is a theocracy - the god is simply property/possessions. To some extent, but from a different direction, you support my point - Santorum and his ilk are the result of a need for control, regardless of the god they serve.

Os.

88jburlinson
Jun 17, 2012, 6:30pm Top

> 86. Would you not consider Maoist China or Nazi Germany as theocracies?

Sure, if you're willing to take the dictionary definition of "theocracy" and tear it up into little pieces, stomp on the shreds and then set them on fire.

89Osbaldistone
Jun 17, 2012, 6:38pm Top

>88 jburlinson:
Glad my dictionary is online! :-)

90fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 7:31pm Top

>73 fuzzi:: While that may be one technical meaning of "theocracy", in modern usage it refers to a government run on religious laws and principles -- Iran, for example, is considered a "theocracy"
...
(86) Would you not consider Maoist China or Nazi Germany as theocracies? IMHO that is exactly what they were - the god was simply a human being.


From the Oxford online dictionary:

Religion
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods:
ideas about the relationship between science and religion
count noun a particular system of faith and worship:
the world’s great religions
count noun a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion:
consumerism is the new religion


See that? a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion

Sounds a bit like Nazis or Mao's followers.

91Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 7:37pm Top

>90 fuzzi: See that? a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion. Sounds a bit like Nazis or Mao's followers.

And most LT members, I'm afraid. :)

If Jesus asked me to go and sell all my books, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Him, I'd like to think I'd do it, but to be honest, I know first I'd make darn sure it's really Him!

Os.

92fuzzi
Jun 17, 2012, 7:45pm Top

Os, me too...

93ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 8:38pm Top

>82 lawecon: I would be glad for you to find those posts because I do not recall calling anyone ignorant or evil. I have said that I believe if someone does not believe in Jesus they will go to hell, but that is exactly how I, and millions more, interpret Scripture, so it is not really me saying it, but me saying what I believe Scripture to be saying. I am not even sure that I have said that someone must be born again, even though it is what Jesus said.

"Why do you assume that Jesus was referring to himself?"

Why do you assume that He wasn't?

94ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 8:43pm Top

Also >82 lawecon: "Have you looked at the Greek to assure yourself that this is what it says?"

Nope, can't say that I have. I have never claimed to be a Greek scholar, or even have the ability to read Greek. However, I think a story from the life of John Bunyan expresses my belief about the accuracy of the Bible quite well:

Another story… concerns Bunyan’s encounter on the road near Cambridge with another university man, who asked him how he, not having the original Scriptures, dared to preach. Bunyan was nothing if not quick on his feet, and so he answered the scholar with a question: “Do you, sir, have the originals–the actual copies of the books written by the prophets and apostles?”

“No,” the scholar replied, “but I have what I know to be true copies of the originals.”

Perhaps there was the hint of a smile in Bunyan’s reply. “And I,” he said, “believe the English Bible to be a true copy also.” At a loss for words, the university man turned and went on his way.

95JGL53
Jun 17, 2012, 8:50pm Top

> 94

If you ever want to explore what's REALLY going on in that brain of yours I would recommend this book:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Believing-Brain-Conspiracies---How-Construct/dp/080509...

96jburlinson
Jun 17, 2012, 8:51pm Top

> 82. Why do you assume that Jesus was referring to himself? Have you looked at the Greek to assure yourself that this is what it says?

Because it was his rejoinder to the question asked in the preceding verse: So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"

To whom do you think he was referring? Or should I say, "Σε ποιον πιστεύετε ότι αναφερόταν"​

97richardbsmith
Jun 17, 2012, 8:53pm Top

It is interesting how we can read the same text and come away with such different interpretations and understandings.

I am a Christian, but I find the scriptures so full of inconsistencies at so many levels that it makes no sense even to discuss inerrancy or concepts such as an English Bible being a true copy.

Others read the same texts and find no inconsistencies and can support a belief in inerrancy.

98ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 9:13pm Top

>95 JGL53: I can promise you that NO book can explain what goes on in my mind. :-)

99ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 9:19pm Top

>95 JGL53: After reading the synopsis of the book on Amazon and finding this phrase, "Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow, " could it not be argued that is exactly what the author of the book has done?

100jburlinson
Jun 17, 2012, 9:25pm Top

> 99. Also the author of post # 95?

101lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 9:29pm Top

~93

""Why do you assume that Jesus was referring to himself?"

Why do you assume that He wasn't?"

I didn't say he wasn't. I just pointed out that this was the way G-d referred to Himself in a well known story from the Torah. I suppose it is possible that Jesus thought he was G-d and that this was just an oblique way of so stating, but I tend to give Jesus more credit than that.....

102lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 9:39pm Top

~94

""Also >82 lawecon: "Have you looked at the Greek to assure yourself that this is what it says?""

"Nope, can't say that I have. I have never claimed to be a Greek scholar, or even have the ability to read Greek. However, I think a story from the life of John Bunyan expresses my belief about the accuracy of the Bible quite well: "

Here we go again. We are discussing the correct interpretation of a NT verse, and, all at once, you ignore that issue and start talking about "the accuracy of the Bible." As I said in a previous post, you can't meaningfully discuss whether G-d exists unless you know what G-d is like. Similarly, you can't meaningfully discuss whether the Bible is accurate unless you know what it is saying. "Accuracy" has to do with a correspondence between things. Yet you are not at all interested in learning what it is saying, just in what you would like to believe it is saying.

"Perhaps there was the hint of a smile in Bunyan’s reply. “And I,” he said, “believe the English Bible to be a true copy also.” At a loss for words, the university man turned and went on his way."

Yes, I know, the HS explains it to you. fuzzi has already told us at great length. But aren't you the same person who was just telling us in post #58 that you had no certain knowledge but were still trying to improve your understanding? I guess your certainty sort of comes and goes.....?

103lawecon
Jun 17, 2012, 9:41pm Top

~97

"Others read the same texts and find no inconsistencies and can support a belief in inerrancy."

I think that probably the more accurate term is "insist on" rather than "support".

104ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 10:01pm Top

>101 lawecon: If Jesus was referring to Himself, as the context clearly shows, then it goes back to the Lord, liar, or lunatic argument. So the question is still there, was He speaking about Himself or not, and if so, what did He mean?

105ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 10:05pm Top

>102 lawecon:

"Here we go again. We are discussing the correct interpretation of a NT verse, and, all at once, you ignore that issue and start talking about "the accuracy of the Bible." "

If the Bible is not accurate then what is the point in trying to reach a correct interpretation? If it is accurate then that is the issue.

106ambrithill
Jun 17, 2012, 10:06pm Top

>97 richardbsmith: Could your last statement not be applicable to your beliefs? It certainly appears that way.

107fuzzi
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 10:44pm Top

(94) Well quoted.

(105) If the Bible is not accurate then what is the point in trying to reach a correct interpretation? If it is accurate then that is the issue.

That is the issue, isn't it?

108richardbsmith
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 10:58pm Top

105) If the Bible is not accurate then what is the point in trying to reach a correct interpretation? If it is accurate then that is the issue.

That is the issue, isn't it?


I do not think I agree with anything in those statements.

Inerrant accuracy is not a prerequisite for scripture to have a point that justifies study and interpretation.

And if it were true that complete accuracy was essential for scripture to be worthy of study and interpretation, that in itself would not establish that it is accurate.

One cannot establish the standard of factual accuracy has been met based on the need for accuracy.

109lawecon
Edited: Jun 17, 2012, 11:20pm Top

~104
As I said, I have a better opinion of Jesus than to believe that he was claiming to be G-d. It is entirely discordant with his background, just as are many elements of so-called "Christianity".

Of course, if he were Greek, the notion of a god coming down to earth and pretending to be human would be a common idea going back hundreds of years.

So let me answer your question this way: if the text is accurately transmitted and if jburlinson's interpretation is correct, then it was written by a mad man or a liar - which, of course, does not mean that Jesus was either mad or a liar. Many false accounts exist of what people say or think. In fact, you have just been maintaining that I have misrepresented what you have said and what you think.

110johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 12:20am Top

>107 fuzzi:, 108 I agree with Richard. The bible is a series of texts written by men who were part of the Jewish and then Christian faith community which the 4th century Christian community defined as scripture (not out of the blue, of course, but based on the fact that these texts had a tradition of usage). The bible that we have today has been pieced together from many sometimes conflicting fragments of documents; it has been translated and re-translated, copied and recopied (before the days of the printing press); it was written in and for cultures and contexts which we don't fully understand. So no, accuracy is not the issue. The issue is that we as a faith community need to use all the gifts God has given us to try to interpret this library of old texts in a meaningful way. We believe they are inspired by God and that they are an authentic and authoritative source of revelation for Christians. We also believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, helps the Church to interpret them.

Edited to add: I've just written in the "Literally true..." thread:

when scripture is being interpreted to discern universal teaching (as opposed to private devotion), the Holy Spirit is mediated through the Church, the community of believers, rather than an individual. This brings together tradition along with biblical exegesis and all the other tools which God has given us. It also provides a consensus which is designed to minimise the opportunities for a single nutter to go off in his or her own direction.

111StormRaven
Jun 18, 2012, 12:23am Top

I was really talking about was the knowledge about those feelings, nor can I gain that knowledge by listening to someone else expressing their feelings on the subject. Christianity is the same. Unless you experience Jesus you will never fully understand what believers are talking about, and that's okay.

Yes, unless you get that funny magical feeling in your tummy, you will never feel like magic is real.

112ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 12:27am Top

> 108 I did not say inerrant accuracy. If the Bible is not accurate, then why study it? If it is only accurate in part, how do we know which part? That is the dilemma in my mind.

> 110 Would the texts be authentic and authoritative if they were inaccutate?

113StormRaven
Jun 18, 2012, 12:28am Top

All which are an example of someone in government wanting to impose his own beliefs on others. It is a tendency not limited to people who attend a place of worship.

Pedantic point: Santorum is not currently in government. He was voted out of office a couple years ago. Probably because his constituents recognized him as a loon.

Second point: Do you really think that theocrats would be people who were sitting in church and not in government?

114ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 12:29am Top

>109 lawecon: let me surprise you and say that I agree with you. However, for me, I believe the Bible to be correct in recording what Jesus said, so that leads me back to the Lord, liar, or lunatic argument, in which case I also agree with you that Jesus was neither a liar or a lunatic, thus leaving, for me, only one choice. Jesus is Lord!

115JGL53
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 12:42am Top

> 112

Do you have even the slightest idea how the bible originated - how it was put together?

Would you even care?

Hint - the story does NOT go that it came down from heaven riding on a shaft of brilliant light.

116johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 1:04am Top

>112 ambrithill: I'm not sure what you mean by inaccurate. Did God create the earth/universe in seven days? No. Does the creation story have truth about who God is and who we are? Yes. So is it accurate? Well, it depends what you mean by "accurate". How do we know which part is which? By using the tools God has given us, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in continuity with the tradition of God's Church, the community of Christians, to interpret it.

117ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 6:55am Top

>115 JGL53: Yes, I do know how the Bible was "put together." Do you? Tell me the criteria that was used in the making of the canon, please.

118ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 7:01am Top

>116 johnthefireman: I personally do believe God formed the world in six days, but leaving that aside, other than to say, using your phrasing, if it only has "truth about who God is and who we are," how do you know that other parts of the Bible aren't the same? Say for instance, the story of Jesus paying the ransom for our sin, or that there will be an after-life, or numerous other things. How do you pick and choose? It certainly cannot be based on science because science will never be able to explain how Jesus dying on the cross did anything to help someone two thousand years later. This is not trying to be antogonist (even though it could be read that way), but I truly do not understand how someone decides that some parts of the Bible is true and other parts just relate some truth without being true. The big dilemma for me in doing that is this, how do you decide which is which.

119lawecon
Jun 18, 2012, 7:26am Top

~110

All of which explains why I have great respect for Catholics, particularly for those who are or should be a member of the Priesthood.

120johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 7:34am Top

>118 ambrithill: The big dilemma for me in doing that is this, how do you decide which is which

Two thousand years of scholarship, study, wisdom, debate, prayer, discernment and tradition within a faith community. I don't necessarily mean just the Catholic Church (although I think that is a good example and it is my own Church). But the Christian community as a whole, geographically, denominationally and through the entire period of Christian history, guided by the Holy Spirit, is in a pretty good position to "decide which is which".

121lawecon
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 7:44am Top

~114

"let me surprise you and say that I agree with you. However, for me, I believe the Bible to be correct in recording what Jesus said.."

Just out of curiousity, and since we've been at this same place several times before, but I keep getting what I interpret to be an evasive answer:

You do realize that the phrase "the Bible IS correct in recording what Jesus said" is a statement about the historical truth of a text, presumably subject to all the same criteria for ascertaining the correctness of that statement as one would apply in determining the correctness of the statement "the Iliad IS accurate in portraying what went on at Troy."

No one who asserted merely that "I BELIEVE that the Iliad is correct in portraying what went on at Troy (although I have no evidence for that belief and am firm in rejecting any evidence to the contrary)" would be credited as having said anything about the truth or falsehood of the assertion that "the Iliad is a true account of what went on at Troy." Such a declaration is merely a statement about the believer's mental state, not about the historical accuracy of the statement about the Iliad and Troy.

You do realize that distinction, don't you? I have to ask because what should be a simple and direct question about a text somehow leads to what I interpret as a purely emotional outburst of "Jesus is Lord!" which outburst is entirely inappropriate in discussing a dry subject like the accuracy of a purportedly historical text.

122ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 8:37am Top

>120 johnthefireman: Based on your answer, I would still have the same beliefs I do now, simply because the Christian community, all the way back to the early church fathers, appear to me to agree with most of my beliefs about scripture. I realize that there are always exceptions, but as I read through church history (mostly protestant, I admit) I see very little doubt about the reliability of scripture, including the creation account. Of course I believe the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the best answer, and will continue to ask for His guidance in understanding scripture.

123ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 8:46am Top

>121 lawecon: Jesus is Lord was not an emotional outburst at all. By your own statements you agree that Jesus was neither a liar or a lunatic, so when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Therefore the conclusion, Jesus is Lord.

Of course I realize the distinction. So that would lead me to ask you what evidence you have that Jesus did not say those words in John 8:58? This appears to be the question that is still not being answered. Oh, and the one where you were going to give examples of my calling people ignorant and evil, still waiting on that as well.

124StormRaven
Jun 18, 2012, 9:48am Top

Jesus is Lord was not an emotional outburst at all. By your own statements you agree that Jesus was neither a liar or a lunatic, so when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

"Liar, lunatic, or lord" are not the only possibilities.

125StormRaven
Jun 18, 2012, 9:48am Top

118: I personally do believe God formed the world in six days

Well, now we know not to take anything you say seriously ever again.

126ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 10:14am Top

>124 StormRaven: What the other possibilities?

127johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 11:02am Top

>122 ambrithill: Obviously during the pre-scientific age Christians thought the biblical creation account was accurate, just as everybody else did, but since the dawning of the scientific age I suspect you'll find that Christians who take the creation account literally are in the minority, albeit not, apparently, in the USA.

128StormRaven
Jun 18, 2012, 11:08am Top

126: Well, let's see, assuming for the sake of argument that the Bible is an accurate transcript of what Jesus said, he could have simply been mistaken. In that case he's not 'lord', but he's not a liar or lunatic either.

Or, more likely, the Biblical Jesus could be a composite character and the actual person(s) he is based on could have said entirely different things (there are some parts of the New Testament that are known to be additions that were added later, and thus could not have been quotes, such as John 8:7 and 8:11, Luke 22:20, and so on).

129faceinbook
Jun 18, 2012, 11:22am Top

>84 fuzzi:
So given that you don't feel that the government needs to stick it's nose into the issue of contraceptives, porn or women's choice issues. It is safe to assume that neither should homosexual's be denied the right to marriage ?
I seem to have gotten a different impression on another thread. Marriage is a social institution which when defined biblically is not available to homosexuals and I do believe that a great many people who are "grown up" enough to have no problem with allowing others to decide for themselves this issue as well as those mentioned above. Or are there exclusions to what the Church should stay out of in so far as government goes ?

>112 ambrithill:
The Bible is studied because it is NOT accurate. If it was, wouldn't it be much like a math problem ? Once solved and that is that.....the answer. The only reason one studies the Bible and other religious texts is because they are tools to guide one to an understanding. In the big picture.....if you think of all of the details pulled from the Bible that have been adhered to as literal...they have, for the most part been divisive. While the entire "sprititual" message of the Bible is meant to unite.
Back to the math comparison....was terrible at math....didn't like numbers, still don't. One of the reasons was from a young age on I struggled with those things called "story problems".... this train is going at such and such speed, the other train is traveling east to west....how many minutes before they crash...that type of thing. I wanted to know the names of the trains, why the one would be traveling from east to west...starting where and ending where ? If the first train was going at such a speed was it indeed going to fast...what would happen if it slowed down for some reason or the brakes went out. Never did get those dang problems solved. For some reason religion is easier for me...it isn't in the details, the big picture is all that matters. This doesn't mean that as I age and society transforms itself around me that my understanding doesn't need adjusting....hence I read various religious texts. Or question those who seem to have a better understanding of the spiritual.

Why is it we get so caught up in the details ? Just asking ? Cause if all details were put aside...if we were to work on our own trancendence (which I feel is what most religion is about....rising above the ego, seeing a bigger picture and acknowledgeing that we are not all that knowledgeable about the "Great Mystery" or whatever you want to call it) it is really very simple.

Those who claim to be nonbeliever's on these threads may very well be in better standing with the Creator than I am. How would I be the judge of that ? It is their understanding of good and evil, their ability to overlook the self and see a greater picture and then, what they choose to do about it, that matters. Not if or how they believe. Doesn't matter how they get there. It is getting there that counts.

As for heaven and hell.....Since life is a circle and not a straight line proposition...I believe we visit both at various times. The closer we get to an understanding that allows us to trancend the more we see of heaven......the bigger the ego, the more restrictive the view, the hotter it gets.

130johnthefireman
Jun 18, 2012, 11:29am Top

>129 faceinbook: I wanted to know the names of the trains

Now THAT I can identify with! As a railwayman, I would also want to know what had gone wrong with the system of train control to allow two trains to be heading towards each other on the same track anyway...

131faceinbook
Jun 18, 2012, 11:46am Top

>130 johnthefireman: LOL For something called a "story" problem, the stories were often pretty dang weak !

132lawecon
Jun 18, 2012, 11:52am Top

~123

"Of course I realize the distinction. So that would lead me to ask you what evidence you have that Jesus did not say those words in John 8:58? This appears to be the question that is still not being answered."

Jesus was a Jew. He more or less consistently said and did things that Jews do. As a Jew, Jesus would have never claimed to be G-d. The only people who claimed to be G-d during his period were Pagans. You obviously don't understand how great of a sin it is to confuse men and G-d in Judaism (or Islam). It is, in a sense, the greatest sin.

"Oh, and the one where you were going to give examples of my calling people ignorant and evil, still waiting on that as well."

Yes, I know, you never intend the clear implications of what you say. Inferences are nothing in the face of a benevolent will.

133JGL53
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 12:56pm Top

> 118: " I personally do believe God formed the world in six days..."

"Well, now we know not to take anything you say seriously ever again."

Indeed, indeed. The Big G created the world in six days or six days ago or in Planck time or whatever. Yeeeaaahhhh.

I think I'll move on from this ring now and see what else the circus has to offer.

134Osbaldistone
Jun 18, 2012, 2:05pm Top

>132 lawecon: Jesus was a Jew. He more or less consistently said and did things that Jews do. As a Jew, Jesus would have never claimed to be G-d. The only people who claimed to be G-d during his period were Pagans. You obviously don't understand how great of a sin it is to confuse men and G-d in Judaism (or Islam). It is, in a sense, the greatest sin.

In using this argument to show that certain statements attributed to Jesus are false, you are assuming other statements/actions attributed to Jesus are accurate - as evidenced by your conclusion that Jesus "consistently said and did things that Jews do." You only accept the part of the written record that supports your conclusion that you can only acccept that part of the written record.

Os.

135Osbaldistone
Jun 18, 2012, 2:07pm Top

>133 JGL53:
I'm sure we will all miss your constructive, informative, and insightful comments.

Os.

136jburlinson
Jun 18, 2012, 3:00pm Top

> 132. Jesus was a Jew. He more or less consistently said and did things that Jews do.

You make some mighty definitive pronouncements about a person whose historicity you've elsewhere questioned in these threads.

You can't really have it both ways, you know. Either we don't know enough (or anything) about the historical Jesus because the gospels are fragmentary, contradictory and/or bogus, or we take the gospels at enough face value to start making pronouncements about what Jesus "more or less consistently said and did". We can't do both, now can we?

137ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 4:11pm Top

> 133 "Well, now we know not to take anything you say seriously ever again."

Because you disagree with one thing I said, you now thng nothing I say is worth listening to. Sounds kind of narrow-mnded and intolerant to me.

138ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 4:12pm Top

>133 JGL53:

I think I'll move on from this ring now and see what else the circus has to offer.

So you are moving to the circus that believes that NOTHING went BANG and made EVERYTHING. Enjoy!

139ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 4:17pm Top

>128 StormRaven: To say that Jesus was just mistaken when He claimed to be God (which is the original premise) makes no sense whatsoever. If He claimed to be God and was not, mistaken just doesn't fit. Liar fits, lunatic fits, but mistaken does not. Of course, being God fits as well. Any other options you want to try.

And if Jesus said other things than what is recorded, which implies that what He said was not recorded, then there is no point in trying to follow the teachings of Jesus since they were not recorded.

140ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 4:19pm Top

>132 lawecon: You were the one who said you could provide examples of me calling people ignorant and evil. That has very clear implications, therefore, I am still waiting to see those examples. Or could you have possibly been wrong, maybe confusing me with someone else? It is okay to say that you were wrong, or at least admit to being mistaken.

141jburlinson
Jun 18, 2012, 4:32pm Top

> 140. It is okay to say that you were wrong, or at least admit to being mistaken.

That would be like the sun standing still at the battle of Gibeon.

142StormRaven
Jun 18, 2012, 5:10pm Top

137: No. Because your standard for evaluating reality is so clearly broken that you simply cannot be considered reliable on anything. The level of delusion required to believe in six day creation is staggering.

143StormRaven
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 5:13pm Top

If He claimed to be God and was not, mistaken just doesn't fit. Liar fits, lunatic fits, but mistaken does not.

So, anyone who claims something that is incorrect is necessarily a liar or a lunatic? Your grasp on reality is getting more tenuous by the post.

It is quite possible that (assuming Jesus did exist and the claims made in the New Testament are an accurate transcription of what was said), that Jesus believed himself to be God based on the exact same sort of evidence that you (and apparently fuzzi) believe yourself to be moved by the holy spirit. Are you a liar or a lunatic?

144Osbaldistone
Jun 18, 2012, 5:28pm Top

>132 lawecon: The only people who claimed to be G-d during his period were Pagans. You obviously don't understand how great of a sin it is to confuse men and G-d in Judaism (or Islam). It is, in a sense, the greatest sin.

Hmm...

Genesis 18 (NIV): 1 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my Lord, do not pass your servant by.

This text would appear to document "the greatest sin" by Abraham (for confusing three men for God) or by the scribe(s) who "obviously don't understand how great of a sin it is to confuse men and G-d in Judaism". Either way, this text from Torah seems to be leading many astray and into comitting "the greatest sin". Unless, of course, God actually can and does appear as a man (or men) when S/He deems it wise.

Os.

145Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 5:33pm Top

>144 Osbaldistone: (and 132)

Ooops. I should have included this example as well.

Genesis 32 (NIV): 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
...
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,f because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”


This text would appear to document "the greatest sin" by the scribe(s) who "obviously don't understand how great of a sin it is to confuse men and G-d in Judaism". Either way, this text from Torah seems to be leading many astray and into comitting "the greatest sin". Unless, of course, God actually can and does appear as a man (or men) when S/He deems it wise.

Os.

146lawecon
Jun 18, 2012, 6:09pm Top

~144

We've been over this passage before Os. I am starting to feel somewhat intemperate about your conveniently short memory.

147nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 7:24pm Top

Jumping over a whole bunch of stuff (and leaving aside the fact that allegorical rather than literal readings of Genesis 1-2 have been with us since the early and patristic Church -- see e.g. Irenaeus and Augustine), I want to do something that apparently nobody has wanted to do with John 8:58, despite numerous calls and counter-calls for it: look at the Greek. So:

εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβ​
(Jesus said to them: Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was/came into being, I am.)

So the phrase Jesus (is reported to have) used here for "I am" is "ἐγὼ εἰμί" -- the pronoun "I" and the first person singular present active indicative form of the Greek word "to be".

For comparison to Greek expressions of this concept, let us look at how Exodus 3:14 appears in the Septuagint:

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς μωυσῆν ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν· καὶ ε​ἶπεν οὕτως ἐρεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς ισραηλ ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέν​
(And God said to Moses, I am who is/is being. And he said, So you way to the children/sons of Israel, he who is/is being has sent me to you.)

On the one hand, the phrase Jesus uses (ἐγὼ εἰμί) is identical to the phrase God uses in Exodus, but only to the first part (I am), not the second (ὁ ὤν -- who is/is being -- the verb form ὤν is a participle rather than a finite verb). On the other hand, it is that second part (ὁ ὤν) that Moses is to use in declaring his mission to the Israelites.

It seems to me that, if Jesus was a careful a man as lawecon seems to think he was (leaving aside the repeated confusion over whether lawecon thinks there is or is not sufficient evidence to make such judgments), if he wanted simply to state that God "is" before Abraham, he would have said, "Before Abraham was, he who is/is being" (i.e. *πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ὁ ὤν). ​He didn't; instead, he used a charged phrase (ἐγὼ εἰμί) without any caveat that the first person singular verb did not, as it would in every other context, apply to himself.

Indeed, the context of John's gospel supports reading this as an intentional statement by Jesus of his identity with the God of Israel. After all, the prologue of the gospel explicitly identifies Jesus with the Logos that "was God" in the beginning (Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν​

For lawecon's assertion (i.e. that Jesus was not making a claim about himself but simply about the God "who am") to hold, then, we would have to assume that John's gospel intentionally constructs a narrative to make claims for Jesus that he never made for himself.

148ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 9:29pm Top

142 almost as delusional as..how do you think everything got here? I don't remember you saying.

149ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 9:32pm Top

143 so exactly when did either of us claim to be God?

150ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 9:42pm Top

142 why is it that you think it is okay to call people delusional who believe differently than you? What part of that is not narrow minded and intolerable? I thought that was pretty much the definition of intolerance.

151jburlinson
Jun 18, 2012, 9:55pm Top

> 150. Don't get too upset. The poster of # 142 once, on a different thread of a different group, tried to defend J.R.R. Tolkien when he claimed that Middle-Earth is the real world.

One man's delusion is another man's meat and potatoes.

152lawecon
Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 11:36pm Top

~147

"For lawecon's assertion (i.e. that Jesus was not making a claim about himself but simply about the God "who am") to hold, then, we would have to assume that John's gospel intentionally constructs a narrative to make claims for Jesus that he never made for himself"

While I "have faith" that the last assessment is correct. (That is, I have as much evidence as ambrithill has for his assertions.) I do not recall making "an assertion" about what the passage means.

What I initially asked ambrithill was how he knew what this passage meant, given its obvious relationship to G_d's description of himself.

I later, after jburlinson's clarifications of the Greek, also responded to "how I knew" that Jesus had not made such a statement. At least I have some reasons, beyond, ah, pure "faith".........

For someone who is so careful in commenting on an exchange you have a curious laxity as to reading the particulars of the exchange.

153jburlinson
Jun 18, 2012, 11:48pm Top

> 152. I later, after jburlinson's clarifications of the Greek, also responded to "how I knew" that Jesus had not made such a statement. At least I have some reasons, beyond, ah, pure "faith"........

Are you referring to # 132? The argument in that post is a little on the tenuous side:
a. Jesus was a Jew.
b. Other Jews wouldn't have said they were God.
Therefore, c: Jesus couldn't have said he was God.

Are you still hanging your hat on that?

154ambrithill
Jun 18, 2012, 11:53pm Top

>152 lawecon: Actually, I believe I asked you what the passage meant (see 58).

155Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 19, 2012, 2:23am Top

>146 lawecon: We've been over this passage before Os. I am starting to feel somewhat intemperate about your conveniently short memory.

1,000 apologies if I’ve made you feel “somewhat intemperate”. I feel just terrible about that, and will adjust my behaviour accordingly.

Apparently, you completely missed my point. I even included the or by the scribe(s) who "obviously don't understand how great of a sin it is to confuse men and G-d in Judaism part just for you (since my conveniently long memory told me that you’d object to suggesting that Abraham actually saw three men and believed them to be God). The last time (that I know of) you posted regarding this passage, you wrote off the suggestion of human behaviour by God because the text was the result of (and I'll do my best to paraphrase, using my conveniently long memory) scribal conflation of two different texts or stories. If confusing men with God is "the greatest sin" then this conflation is that; thus, the scribal reference in my comment.

Unfortunately, your conveniently short memory allowed you to believe that I had agreed with your stated opinion regarding this passage. More importantly, though, is your expectation that if you've "been over this passage before", I am obligated to accept your reading of the text and not raise it up again, even in another context. Sorry, but no, I won't hand you that power, thank you. My Bible says that Abraham met three men and recognized them as God. I'm willing to accept that it's possible that this is a scribal conflation, but I'm also willing to accept that it’s possible that God can appear on Earth as three men if He so chooses, which I also already said in my original post (I’m sure it would help you to go back and refresh your memory).

Os.

ETA
So, lawecon, just ignore the example I gave in 144 (since you don't accept the story as possibly valid), and use the one I provided in 145 for your construcive response (since you've not "been over this passage before", as best I can remember).

156johnthefireman
Jun 19, 2012, 6:52am Top

A new take on theocracy? Or, more accurately, secularism and the established church.

Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland independence warning (BBC)

157lawecon
Edited: Jun 19, 2012, 9:03am Top

~155

I don't know what more there was or is to say, Os, at least between us on this topic. You think that Abraham had three visitors and that they were G-d. (I suppose that from the perspective of a belief system where G-d was one man and is three beings this is plausible. But not from the perspective that G-d is one being and not a man.)

I think, on the basis of the strangeness of the text, and the vast amount of other text indicating that G-d is not three men, that the redactors of the text did a poor job.

That seems to be a pretty irreconcilable difference in interpretation. And, as I said, I don't see the point of you bringing up the matter again other than to reiterate your three beings and God is man theses, which, of course, I don't buy into. But whatever (walks away)......

158StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 11:42am Top

148: I didn't. But not knowing exactly how everything got here does not preclude knowing that six day creation is contradicted by the known facts. For six day creation to be true, then geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and every other discipline of science has to be not only wrong, but entirely and fundamentally wrong.

159StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 11:43am Top

150: Are you intolerant of people who assert that basic physics is wrong?

160StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 11:43am Top

151: I don't recall ever doing that. Perhaps you could illuminate us.

161eclecticdodo
Jun 19, 2012, 12:48pm Top

>158 StormRaven: "For six day creation to be true, then geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and every other discipline of science has to be not only wrong, but entirely and fundamentally wrong."

Or there would have to be a being so powerful he could over-rule the fundamental laws of nature and who existed before everything else. I wonder what we could call such an all powerful, eternal being? Oh yes, God...

162Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 19, 2012, 12:56pm Top

>157 lawecon:
You are, of course, free to ignore my point so you can make your point and walk away. But, perhaps, you'll look at last post again, note it's purpose, and realilze that this has nothing to do with whether the passage is history or a scribal error, but the consequences of those possibilities as far as the 'sin' of confusing men with God you referred to.

Failing that, perhaps you will look at my post 145 (to which you've never responded), where I use a completely different passage from OT so you won't be blinded by your aversion to the first example passage.

Failing that, I guess I must assume you will not see my point, and walk away.

Os.

163nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 19, 2012, 2:13pm Top

>161 eclecticdodo:: It's not that God couldn't over-rule the laws of nature. It's that the physical evidence overwhelmingly shows that the universe is ~14 billion years old, the oldest organic lifeforms on earth existed more than a billion years ago, the dinosaurs lived on earth between 50 and 250 millions years ago, and the oldest hominids appeared 3-6 million years ago (depending on how you define the category "hominid"); and that (genetic) evolution is the main biological mechanism for producing change over time.

Let me put it another way. If God did, in fact, create the world in six 24-hour days about six to eight thousand years ago, shouldn't the physical evidence corroborate this? Yet, the physical evidence demonstrates the world is far older than six to eight thousand years and that the various stages of creation detailed in Genesis 1 took place over millions and billions of years, not six days. Why would God create the world with evidence so overwhelmingly contradictory?

The best answer to that question both scientifically and theologically is that the creation account of Genesis 1-2 should be read non-literally, i.e. figuratively or allegorically. This in no way denies that Genesis is true; it simply states the truth of Genesis is hidden beneath the letter (which Paul tells us is a frequent feature of God's revelation to the Jews, e.g. Colossians 2, most of Hebrews, and the allegory of Hagar and Sarah in Galatians 4, to name just a few) -- that is, the truth of Genesis is about God's relationship to us and our relationship to him.

This is the truly crucial point: there is no theological reason to declare a strictly literal reading of Genesis 1 as the one and only truth. In fact, the idea that a literal reading of Scripture can be both contradictory and downright false is a key feature of Christian exegesis of the Hebrew scriptures; for (as might be noticed from lawecon's frequent posts on this), the way Christians understand the application of Old Testament texts to Jesus is usually quite the opposite from the original surface meaning of those texts as understood by the Jews.

A very good explanation of how this works can be found in the writings of Origen (c. 185-254), a highly influential (if sometimes controversial) early Christian theologian. The Classics of Western Spirituality has put out an accessible and very reasonably-priced volume of his selected writings (Origen: An Exortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, and Selected Works) that includes Book IV of his book "On First Principles", in which he explains this idea very clearly. Because we are dealing here with the idea that a literal reading of Genesis 1 is clearly contradictory to the overwhelming physical evidence--and we are thus faced with the apparent dichotomy of choosing between Scripture and science--I will quote from "On First Principles", Book IV, Chapter 2, Section 9 (titled "That Many by Not Understanding the Scriptures Spiritually and by Badly Understanding Them Fall into Heresies" and found on pp. 178-188 of the aforementioned volume):
But if in all parts of this garment, that is, the narrative, the logical coherence of the Law had been kept and its order preserved, because we should have a continuous way of understanding, we should not believe that there was anything shut up within the sacred Scriptures in addition to what is disclosed on first appearance. For this reason the divine wisdom has arranged for there to be certain stumbling blocks or interruptions of the narrative meaning, by inserting in its midst certain impossibilities and contradictions, so that the very interruption of the narrative might oppose the reader, as it were, with certain obstacles thrown in the way. By them wisdom denies a way and an access to the common understanding; and when we are shut out and hurled back, it calls us back to the beginning of another way, so that by gaining a higher and loftier road through entering a narrow footpath it may open for us the immense breadth of divine knowledge.
   (...)
All these things, as we have said, the Holy Spirit arranged so that from them, since what first appears cannot be true or useful, we might be called back to examine the truth to be sought more deeply and to be investigated more diligently, and might seek a meaning worthy of God in the Scriptures, which we believe were inspired by God.
This idea--that Scripture contains a multitude of divine mysteries hidden beneath the letter, and that it uses contradictions in the literal meaning to urge us on to grow in our understanding of these divine mysteries--has been an essential component Christian approaches to Scripture from the very beginnings (cf. Paul's use of allegory mentioned above). Furthermore, this understanding of Scripture as containing and revealing many levels of divine mystery, each deeper level prepared for us as we grow deeper and thus higher in our faith, allows us to approach Genesis 1 not as an anvil with which to hammer the rational observations of science into irrational fears but as a garden prepared for us in which we might grow from the mustard seeds of the literal surface meaning into the great bushes of divine mystery and faith, providing shelter for the birds of rational observation and faith alike.

164jburlinson
Jun 19, 2012, 1:57pm Top

> 163. What you're describing sounds much like the multiple levels of a video game. Which might explain why so many people end up ragequitting.

165Osbaldistone
Jun 19, 2012, 2:53pm Top

>164 jburlinson:
And also why so many others can never quit.

Os.

166eclecticdodo
Jun 19, 2012, 3:32pm Top

>163 nathanielcampbell: FYI, I agree with pretty much everything you've said (I'll admit I got a bit lost in Origen). I'm inclined towards an allegorical reading too.

One could however contend that since the laws of nature could have been suspended/bypassed/whatever you want to call it, that would render the geological and fossil record incomparable to today's understanding of science/nature, including the dating process.

My argument is more that God is capable of working any way He wants to. Nothing is impossible to Him. Although some ideas are rather more probable based on the current evidence.

167ambrithill
Jun 19, 2012, 6:58pm Top

If Genesis 1-2 were the only places that mention creation it would be easier for me to accept it as allegory. However, throughout Scripture Creator is one of the descriptions of God, as well as Jesus being described as the Creator in the NT. Again, for me, it goes back to how do we know which attributes of God are just allegory and not real if we start declining to accept what Scripture says. I have read what Origen says, as well as others which I happen to disagree with. But I have also read many who do believe in the biblical account of creation, including some modern day scholars. I will also say that for me it takes less faith to say that God created everything than it does to believe that everything came from nothing. Besides all of the "missing links" missing from the evolution of humans, how does one even begin to say that all life, which would have to include plant life, came from the same place? Did grass decide to become a tree, or a flower? That requires more faith that I have.

168nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 9:15am Top

>167 ambrithill:: Reading Genesis 1-2 as allegory does not mean that we reject the idea of God as Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Quite the opposite, in fact; the allegorical understanding that I am arguing for affirms God's creation of the world, but in a way that synthesizes the knowledge and evidence we have through our own rational observations of that creation.

I firmly believe that God created everything -- but he created and used things like gravitation, nuclear fission and fusion, and biological evolution to do it. There's absolutely no need to set up the false dichotomy between Scripture and science: the only reason to believe that they must contradict is ideological (either "young earth" creationism, as it were, or materialist atheism). Your objection to evolution ("missing links" and "how does one even begin to say that all life, which would have to include plant life, came from the same place?") simply requires us to have the faith that God guided these processes: after all, it is the faith in the Creator God that says "that all life, which would have to include plant life, comes from the same place" -- for that "same place" is (1) God as the origin of all being and (2) the building blocks of organic life that God set in motion more than a billion years ago.

(Full disclosure: my wife is both a faithful Christian and an evolutionary geneticist, while I'm a historical theologian. I can wax rhapsodic about the theology involved here; but to get the answers on the nitty-gritty of evolution, I'd have to defer to her. Alas, she thinks I waste too much time on LT as it is...)

169Osbaldistone
Jun 19, 2012, 8:34pm Top

>167 ambrithill: ambrithill, I too believe that God created the heavens and the earth. To say that Genesis 1 is allegory is not to say God is not the creator. It is simply to say that the purpose of Genesis 1 is not to teach the details of how the creation works. I believe He created the universe by creating what humans undestand as the laws of physics (most of which likely remain to be discovered) from which arise galaxies, novas, planetary motion, humans, plate tectonics, evolution, chemistry, atoms, cheese, nuclear reactions, radioactivity, radio waves, light waves, rabbits, iPods, etc., etc., etc. It all works and it all fits together and it is possibly the most amazing and complex thing about God that humans have yet discovered. On top of all that, physicists are pretty sure there are multiple universes, where the same laws may or may not apply. Holy cow! God's creation is mind-boggling, and we don't even know the extent of it yet.

A God who created the amazing range of life on Earth by designing, creating, and setting in motion something as beautiful and complex and adaptable as evolution is a far greater God in my view than a God who simply uses that power to pop things into existence as He feels like it (not that that wouldn't be a jaw-dropper in itself). To me, it's comperable to a person who creates a machine that can produce other machines that can act independently to produce statues of George Washington, Venus, Martin Luther King, etc. Yes, the sculptors who carve such statues are incredibly talented, but the inventor of the machine has, in my view, produced a much more awe inspiring creation (as has the God who designed, created and set into motion the universe that gave rise to those sculptors).

The point - One can believe in the repeated claim made by scripture that God is the creator without having to reject so much that we have learned about His creation by using the blessing of our minds and the scientific insights that our minds have been blessed with.

Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2

Os.

170fuzzi
Jun 19, 2012, 9:18pm Top

1. I am a young earth creation believer. There is much evidence that this world is only about 7000 years old, and any number of researched books, written by scientists, to support that idea.

2. I also take the Bible literally. If God said He created the world in 6 days, I believe it.

3. Throughout the Bible the belief in a 6 day creation is reiterated.

4. My Saviour said it, and that settles it for me. Matthew 19:4 - And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female...

Mark 10:6 -But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.


And from John, chapter 1:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.


171ambrithill
Jun 19, 2012, 9:23pm Top

168 my wife has the same view of my time spent here.

172ambrithill
Jun 19, 2012, 9:26pm Top

168 & 169 I believe God created all of those things you mentioned instead of using those things to create.

173StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 10:48pm Top

There is much evidence that this world is only about 7000 years old, and any number of researched books, written by scientists, to support that idea.

If by "much" you mean zero, you'd be right.

174StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 10:57pm Top

I will also say that for me it takes less faith to say that God created everything than it does to believe that everything came from nothing.

Well, it's a good thing that modern physicists don't believe everything came from nothing then. When someone says something like "how can you believe everything came from nothing" it tells me that they don't know much of anything about cosmology.

But leaving that aside, how do you know what can or cannot come from "nothing"? Have you ever studied a "nothing"? Do you know what happens when you have a nothing?

Besides all of the "missing links" missing from the evolution of humans

You mean the very few "missing links" Anyone who thinks there are lots of missing links in the hominid fossil record is decades behind the times.

how does one even begin to say that all life, which would have to include plant life, came from the same place? Did grass decide to become a tree, or a flower?

Nothing "decides" to become something else in evolution. The process is unguided and unconscious. Not only that, nothing changes into something else, things are what they are. They then have offspring, and that offspring is slightly different than they are (as you are slightly different than your parents). Those offspring that are better adapted to a particular survival strategy prosper and those that are not do not. Some offspring have attributes that make them better at one thing, and their descendants evolve in that direction. Other offspring are better at something else, and their offspring evolve into something else. Evolution is change across generations, not volitional change within generations.

175StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 11:01pm Top

161: Or there would have to be a being so powerful he could over-rule the fundamental laws of nature and who existed before everything else.

In other words, geology, physics, biology, chemistry and every other discipline of science would have to be not only wrong, but entirely and fundamentally wrong.

Here's a question: what evidence is there that such a being actually did over-rule the fundamental laws of nature, or that such a being existed before everything else?

176ambrithill
Jun 19, 2012, 11:20pm Top

>174 StormRaven: So you are telling me that scientists no longer hold to the big bang theory? What is your explanation for how everything began, what was the root cause?

"Anyone who thinks there are lots of missing links in the hominid fossil record is decades behind the times."

You mean like the records that include Nebraska man?

"But leaving that aside, how do you know what can or cannot come from "nothing"? Have you ever studied a "nothing"? Do you know what happens when you have a nothing?"

I will gladly defer to your expertise on nothing, so please explain.

177jburlinson
Jun 19, 2012, 11:23pm Top

> 175. what evidence is there that such a being actually did over-rule the fundamental laws of nature, or that such a being existed before everything else?

Because they found his discarded gum wrappers?

178johnthefireman
Jun 19, 2012, 11:55pm Top

>168 nathanielcampbell:, 169 Well put, both of you. This is the mainstream Christian position outside of the USA, I would say.

>170 fuzzi:, 173 It's rare that I agree with StormRaven, but fuzzi, there is no evidence whatsoever that the earth was created only 7,000 years ago, and there are no peer-reviewed books written by serious and credible scientists supporting that view.

>170 fuzzi: Throughout the Bible the belief in a 6 day creation is reiterated

Of course it is, because the entire period covered by the biblical authors is during the pre-scientific age. The faith community uses the knowledge available to it at the time and interprets the divine in the light of that knowledge. Or to put it another way, God reveals Godself in a way which the community receiving the revelation can relate to; later communities need to take that into account when trying to understand revelation.

179StormRaven
Jun 19, 2012, 11:57pm Top

So you are telling me that scientists no longer hold to the big bang theory?

They do. But "something from nothing" is not part of the big bang theory. The fact that you think it is simply illustrates that you don't know what you are talking about.

You mean like the records that include Nebraska man?

So you're going to hang your hat upon a fossil that was discovered in 1922 and immediately dismissed by the scientific community (when it was discovered, Henry Osborn described it as a "figment of the imagination of no scientific value"). It was discredited as a hominid in 1925. In other words, "Nebraska man" was never part of the hominid fossil record, and never has been treated as such by paleoanthropologists. Citing this as some sort of evidence of the paucity of the hominid fossil record displays an almost shocking level of ignorance, especially since the field has advanced somewhat substantially in the last 90 years with dozens of fossil discoveries and numerous hominid species identified.

I will gladly defer to your expertise on nothing, so please explain.

You're the one that is certain that something cannot come from nothing. How do you know that? Have you ever studied nothing to find out one way or the other? How do you know "nothing" is a stable condition?

180ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 7:28am Top

>179 StormRaven: I agree that Nebraska man has been discredited, but why was it ever given an credence to begin with? You say that there are fews gaps in the fossil record, so could you please list the fossil record that has only a few gaps.

Also, if evolution is simply a survival strategy, why do some things, such as monkeys, still exist? Obviously, according to evolution, humans are up the chain from monkeys, so why didn't they all evolve? And comparing my differences to my parents is hardly tantamount to proving an "unguided and unconscious" process. They knew exactly what they were doing, and besides that, it was a combination process, not an evolutionary process that brought about the differences. And one more question, why, if evolution is a survival strategy did things such as eyes ever develop? How could the process ever have need for something that did not exist, unless there was some guidance behind the process?

181StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 9:02am Top

I agree that Nebraska man has been discredited, but why was it ever given an credence to begin with?

It wasn't given any scientific credence at all. A geologist and a rancher made some claims about a fossil they found on the rancher's property. Scientists were suspicious of the fossil, and, as I noted before, dismissed it immediately. Further investigation by scientists discredited it as a hominid within three years of its discovery.

Nebraska Man was touted by a popular magazine that heralded it as evidence of U.S. pride: we had our own hominid ancestor fossil. It was a jingoistic piece of sensationalism. But what most creationists don't seem to realize is that a hominid fossil in the U.S. would be akin to bunnies in the Precambian - if Nebraska Man were a real fossil hominid that would be much more effective at discrediting our understanding of evolution than the fact that Nebraska Man was not.

You say that there are fews gaps in the fossil record, so could you please list the fossil record that has only a few gaps.

The hominid fossil record currently includes: Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Orrorin tugenensis, Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Kenyanthropus platyops, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus sediba, Australopithecus aethiopicus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo georgicus, Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo floresiensis.

Also, if evolution is simply a survival strategy, why do some things, such as monkeys, still exist? Obviously, according to evolution, humans are up the chain from monkeys, so why didn't they all evolve?

That's a little like asking "If white North Americans came from Europe, why do white Europeans still exist?" Its a moronic question. Evolution favors those with superior survival strategies, but there isn't just a single survival strategy. Humans adapted to life on open savanna, while our genetic relatives, like chimpanzees, adapted to life in forested areas.

You also seem to be laboring under the misconception that evolution is some sort of "ladder" or "chain" that creatures climb and that some are "farther up" than others. This is a fundamental misconception. Evolution is the process by which creatures become better adapted to survive. There is no "up" or "down" in evolution. There is merely successful survival adaptations and unsuccessful ones. If an environment changes, then what was previously a successful adaptation may be a hindrance, and what might have been an unsuccessful one in some circumstances might be a useful one in others.

And comparing my differences to my parents is hardly tantamount to proving an "unguided and unconscious" process. They knew exactly what they were doing, and besides that, it was a combination process, not an evolutionary process that brought about the differences.

The problem is becoming clear: you have no idea at all what evolution is. Your parents may have known they were having a child, but they didn't know what attributes you would have when born. The average human has hundreds of mutations. Most are trivial and/or meaningless. But you might be stronger, or faster, or have some other changed attribute that would make you better adapted to survival in a particular way. They had no input at all into that, which happened entirely unconsciously, and was entirely unguided. The "combination process" is part of evolution. Without sex and DNA combinations, evolution would not work as well.

And one more question, why, if evolution is a survival strategy did things such as eyes ever develop? How could the process ever have need for something that did not exist, unless there was some guidance behind the process?

Likely because a random mutation happened to result in light receptors at some point, and this gave the creature that possessed them an advantage over its competition and passed that advantage on to its offspring. Later, another mutation further refined this, with each advantageous mutation progressively adding to the usefulness of the eye and giving its bearer an advantage over its competition. Less desirable mutations hamper the competitiveness of those with them, and they struggle to pass those genes on because their chances of survival are diminished. As best we can tell, eyes have evolved not once, but several times, because being able to sense light and darkness and eventually see is such a huge advantage.

The funny thing here is that even if you were right on all of these thing you claim (which you are not, you simply have a very poor grasp of what evolution is, how it works, and what evidence there is to support it), none of this would support the idea of six day creation. Tear all of evolutionary theory down and you still have nothing at all that supports the six day creation myth.

182ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 9:27am Top

I agree that "being able to sense light and darkness and eventually see is such a huge advantage" but that still does not answer the question of why whatever creature's (for lack of a better word) DNA would have ever felt the need to discern light and darkness if they had never been able to do so before.

You list 20 fossils recorded. That seems a few by most definitions (even though few technically only means between 3-15), and certainly seems like a few if it to cover the amount of change that has supposedly taken place in the development of humans.

"Tear all of evolutionary theory down and you still have nothing at all that supports the six day creation myth."

I disagree, but even if this were true, then this would be where faith comes in, and as I said earlier, no more faith than is required to believe that everything came from nothing. And while I do believe the six day creation story, it is not the principal issue of the Bible. Getting right with God is, and I believe that is something which all of us need to do.

183faceinbook
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 9:44am Top

>170 fuzzi:
"1. I am a young earth creation believer. There is much evidence that this world is only about 7000 years old, and any number of researched books, written by scientists, to support that idea. "

Please send a few links to support this theory !
Scientific links....not religious. Would love to read them.

184StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 9:56am Top

I agree that "being able to sense light and darkness and eventually see is such a huge advantage" but that still does not answer the question of why whatever creature's (for lack of a better word) DNA would have ever felt the need to discern light and darkness if they had never been able to do so before.

DNA doesn't "feel the need". Mutations happen. Some are junk. Some are useful. The theory of evolution by natural selection demonstrates that those mutations that are advantageous will be favored in survival, and will be passed on.

You keep trying to attribute agency to the evolutionary process, like someone "decides" to inherit characteristics. Did you decide to have your current natural hair color? Did you decide to be able to digest lactose? Did you decide to be as tall as you are? Or have feet the size your feet are? "Evolution" is not an agent. It is a description of a process.

You list 20 fossils recorded. That seems a few by most definitions (even though few technically only means between 3-15), and certainly seems like a few if it to cover the amount of change that has supposedly taken place in the development of humans.

That's 20 fossil hominids that have been identified. Many of those hominids (such as homo neanderthalis) are represented by dozens of individual fossils. Human development (as opposed to general primate development), covers only a few million years - the last common ancestor between humans and chimpanzees is estimated to have existed around six million years ago.

As an aside, I should point out that this is another reason why the "why are there still monkeys" question is moronic. Humans didn't evolve from monkeys. We didn't even evolve from chimpanzees or gorillas (which aren't monkeys, but are instead primates, like us). Humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor. (Which is yet another reason why talking about the up and down on a mythical "evolutionary ladder" is also silly. We did not evolve from chimpanzees or other apes. We evolved alongside them from common ancestors.)

So, twenty hominid fossils (not including homo sapiens sapiens) spread out over six million years equals a little more than three hominid species per million years. That doesn't really seem like all that "few" any more now does it? The difference between humans and chimpanzees is trivial - a few percent of DNA. The difference between us and the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees is similarly trivial. The actual amount of change over the last six million years, in DNA terms, has been quite small.

I disagree, but even if this were true, then this would be where faith comes in, and as I said earlier, no more faith than is required to believe that everything came from nothing. And while I do believe the six day creation story, it is not the principal issue of the Bible. Getting right with God is, and I believe that is something which all of us need to do.

What evidence do you have that supports six day creation? Criticizing the current theories of science is not support for six day creation.

Also, as I said before, no scientific theory is built on the idea that something comes from nothing. Not even the big bang theory says this. You really need to actually go out and learn what big bang theory says before you embarrass yourself more by waving your "something from nothing" claim around. Spreading around misinformation about science as a consequence of your own ignorance is hardly going to serve you well to "get right with God".

185ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 10:02am Top

184 "Evolution" is not an agent. It is a description of a process .

Then please inform me how this process actually began, and since you do not like my version of the big bang, please explain how it actually worked.

And yes, 20 does still to seem to be a very small number of examples, for the amount of change that occurred.

"Criticizing the current theories of science is not support for six day creation." Never said that it was. I said that both require faith, and I would add, especially when it comes to the "beginning" of all things.

186StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 10:25am Top

Then please inform me how this process actually began,

So, you want someone on the internet to give you a course in basic biology? Exactly what are you asking for here? How evolution happens? Abiogenesis? How mutations occur? I would suggest you consult one of a number of basic biology texts on the subject.

The basic answer is this: evolution as a process begins when there are self-replicating molecules that mutate from replication to replication.

and since you do not like my version of the big bang, please explain how it actually worked.

And also a course on cosmology? The basic error you are making in your assessment of big bang theory is that you somehow think that it encompasses the idea that something came from nothing. But the theory only goes back to the Planck time, an infinitesimally small period after expansion began. Current theories don't extend further than the Planck time because the evidence for what happened prior to that is simply not currently available. When a scientist doesn't have a basis for drawing a conclusion about something, they say "we don't know".

Now, there are a pile of theories based upon partial evidence for what might have happened prior to the Planck time - deflationary universes, multiverses, and so on. But they are all currently tentative, and none of them include the idea that something came from nothing. The closest you get to that idea is Laurence Krauss' theory concerning how a universe could have been produced by the closest thing to nothing that we know of and can make predictions concerning - a quantum vacuum (a condition in which all matter, energy, space, time, and everything else is removed except the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics are still in effect). I would suggest that you consult some books on cosmology and educate yourself.

And yes, 20 does still to seem to be a very small number of examples, for the amount of change that occurred.

How much change do you think occurred, and what rubric are you using to determine is it was a lot for six million years and twenty species, or only a little? What analytic method are you using to make this assessment other than pulling it out of your ass?

Hominidae species are rare. We only have five currently living now (humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans). Hominids are even rarer. We only have one currently living. Why would you think that twenty would be "small number" of hominid species?

I said that both require faith, and I would add, especially when it comes to the "beginning" of all things.

Actually, the scientific view doesn't require "faith". That's because the scientific view is grounded in evidence. It seems that the reason you think that science requires "faith" is that you never bothered to actually learn any.

The problem with six day creation is that it is unsupported by any evidence at all. There are almost certainly things that are accepted in scientific circles that will turn out to have been wrong once further investigation is conducted. But that doesn't put it on equal footing with mythological explanations. Just because science may not be 100% correct in its current assessment does not mean that all other explanations are equally likely.

As an analogy: suppose I have a German Shepard. One person says "it is a dog". Another says "it is a giraffe". A third says "it is a refrigerator." None of them are completely correct, but you'd agree that the person who said it is a dog is more correct than either of the others, and the person who said it is a refrigerator is completely off-base. Science says it is a dog. Six day creationism is the equivalent of calling a German Shepard a refrigerator, and saying that because science can only say it is a dog that your interpretation is just as likely.

187ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 10:23am Top

A simple question, "How did it all begin?" It appears that your answer is that scientists do not know, so how do you know that God did not begin everything? Of course this would include theistic evolution from your point of view, but are you willing to admit that even this is a possibility?

188StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 10:38am Top

186: No one knows. That's the point. And science doesn't say "something came from nothing", which is what you keep trying claim it says. But not knowing means not knowing, and filling in "God" in those gaps is unwarranted. Doing so is called the "God of the gaps" theory, and it is a foolish thing for the religious to do, because what happens when those gaps are filled in? Did your God get smaller?

The problem with theistic evolution is that there is zero evidence for it. The problem with "God started it" is that there is zero evidence for that claim too. The problem with "what happened before the Planck time" is that it is a meaningless question in some ways, because time drops out of the picture when you go back to it - time appears to be a function of space, which develops during the big bang. Causality as we understand it does not function then, and so all claims about how things "started" fall apart.

Further, theistic evolution is not six day creation, which you have previously stated you believe in. If you want to fill in God prior to the Planck time and say he kicked it off, then bully for you. But that's very different than claiming that creation took place in six days a few thousand years ago. Deism is unsupported by any evidence (in many ways intentionally so), but it doesn't require the wholesale rejection of most of the body of knowledge developed by science. If you want to claim that God started abiogenesis, then it is your responsibility to provide evidence for that claim. If you want to say that God guided the evolutionary process, then it is also your responsibility to provide evidence for that claim. And I'll point out now that the argument from personal incredulity is not evidence, and is in fact a logical fallacy.

One final thing I will point out is that the theory of evolution by natural selection does not include anything about the origins of the universe or the origins of life. Those a separate fields of scientific study. The origin of the universe is part of cosmology, the origin of life is abiogenesis. Both have uncertainties and unknowns, but in neither case is the God hypothesis supported by any evidence.

189Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 11:40am Top

>187 ambrithill:
I appreciate StormRaven spending so much time doing a solid job of summarizing our current understanding of cosmology, evolution, etc. That way I can just jump in here and say that:

Nothing StormRaven has said suggests that God did not begin everything. We just don't know, in terms of cosmology, when that beginning, the beginning of all time and all things, occurred. In fact, I find the relatively new concept of the Big Bang supported mostly by research conducted in my lifetime to be a perfectly reasonable explanation of what Genesis meant by (3-4000 years ago to a nomadic/agrarian tribe) And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. But if we are ever able to learn what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang, we would see that Genesis 1 may have meant something even more ancient and wondrous.

If StormRaven were asked to explain what he has been explaining, but to a nomadic tribe of (English speaking) hunter/gatherers with no prior contact with any outside culture, we all know that explicitly describing the Big Bang, DNA, natural selection, genetic variations/mutations, etc. would be a total failure. He knows that as well, and would, instead, simplify the description into something like:
1. In the beginning, all that existed to create the universe was held in the hand of the Creator. And the Creator decided to begin and the Creator cast all stuff into the void and [in accordance with the Creator's laws which guide the Universe, even until today and until the end of days] light and darkness appeared, with a Bang!!!.

2. Soon, in accordance with the Creator's plan, some of the stuff began to cool and form dust. And the dust began to collect into objects. Some were large enough to become stars (like our sun, which is a start that is very close to us); some were only large enough to become planets (which are those wandering 'stars' we see in the night sky). Earth is one of those planets. And some of those planets were caught by other planets and became moons (like the Moon that circles the Earth).

3. At first, all of these objects were very hot, and glowed with light from the heat. The larger objects (the stars) remained hot and continued to give off light. The smaller objects like the Earth, while they were still hot, nothing could live there. But air and clouds were held to the Earth as the Earth cooled, and the air and clouds were called sky.

4. Then, as the Earth continued to cool, water began to collect on the cooled ground, and collected into streams and seas, and the dry land appeared.

5. The seas were full of 'stuff' that came from the beginning, and the heat and the cooling caused that stuff to form many different kinds of rocks, sand, dust, water, and other liquids. And these new substances sometimes combined in the sea to form more new substances. And after a very long time, all of this combining, and all of these changes, resulted in the rise of plants in the sea. And as these plants grew and changed over generation after generation unending, some seeds were carried by the wind onto the land, and more new plants appeared and over generation after generation unending, they covered the dry land.

6. And the great variety of stuff in the seas gave rise to small creatures that found the plants in the sea to be good food. And the seas teemed with life, even to the point that some creatures found that they could eat better if they stretched up on the shore to feed. And creatures then began to live on the shore, and invaded the land, and found food in the plants that covered the dry land. And over generations after generation unending, these creatures became masters of living on the dry land - in the air, in the trees, on the ground, and under the ground.

7. And God wanted a creature that was more like Him, so he selected a creature that walked on two legs; and God placed a part of Himself in that creature and the creature became aware of God and all of God's creation; and the creature no longer only thought of eating and sleeping and surviving. The creature began to think of more wonderful things that God's blessings allowed her to do - speech, music, stories, poems, tools, husbandry, and studying the heavens to learn when to plant and when to reap. And the creature realized that these gifts made her life wonderful and she and her mate praised God for choosing them for this gift. And this new Creature-who-knows-God had all of the plants of the Earth from which to select her food. And she and her mate walked humbly and contentedly in the presence of God. And these first Creatures-who-knew-God are your ancestors, who tought the generations to know and to honor God.
That's pretty much as complex as you could tell it, and pretty much in the order StormRaven would tell it given what we have learned about God's creation so far. If we were to tell the story again after another 200 years of study, there might be some changes.

Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2

The idea that it is God's plan that much of creation fails and goes extinct, while some survive and thrive is much like our own experience with God - He has a plan, and we may or may not follow it, and we may or may not even know that we are following it. And some will fail and some will succeed and thrive.

Os.

ETA the text in brackets under step 1

190StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 12:09pm Top

189: Actually, no, I wouldn't summarize it like that at all. Your "summary' assumes that your audience is not sufficiently intelligent to understand the actual explanations, and must have a facile one handed to them. We don't teach elementary school students that kind of version in school. We teach them the actual answers, as best we know them, without cloaking them in a mythological shroud. Why would we treat adults as stupid just because they don't have the prior benefit of education?

Among other things, I would leave out any reference to a "creator" or "God", because there is no evidence that such a being was involved in any way with any of the development of our universe.

191johnthefireman
Jun 20, 2012, 12:10pm Top

Thanks, StormRaven (never thought I would say that!) and Os.

Let me put it another way. If you create a theory out of thin air it is very likely that you will be able to find a few things in history which coincidentally fit that theory, and you can conveniently ignore all those which don't (cf Erich von Daniken and his Chariots of the Gods).

Evolution, cosmology and all the other relevant branches of science, on the other hand, take all the available evidence first and the theory is then formed to fit the evidence. As new evidence comes to light, the theory is refined, modified, discarded if necessary.

Creationists have taken the Erich von Daniken approach - create a theory and then clutch at straws to find a few things which can be shoehorned to fit that theory, ignoring the bulk of evidence. But as Os and other "mainstream" Christians have pointed out, it's simply not necessary. The bible is not a science textbook. It is God revealing Godself to humanity and humanity trying to understand God through language and culture which the society of that time would understand. We need to interrogate the text in a way which is appropriate to our own situation, using the knowledge and tools which God has made available to us.

192Osbaldistone
Jun 20, 2012, 12:53pm Top

>190 StormRaven:
Sorry, StormRaven. I knew I was putting words in your mouth, and even had second thoughts. But you had done such yoeman's work up to that point that I felt like I was stealing your work by writing such a summary without attribution. Not knowing what you think about a Creator God, I should have presumed so much. It was admittedly clumsy of me.

I do, however, disagree with you about such a story presuming the audience is stupid. It is a story that provides the germ of what is known, which could be useful before before the scientific details would be generally understood and accepted, probably by teaching the children of the original audience. I have no experience in teaching current scientific thinking to a people who only know of a universe ruled by various gods and demons, so I may be mistaken in my assumption that getting to a 'modern' scientific understanding might take a generation or two, if the people are willing to allow it.

Nevertheless, I believe God knows what his children are ready for in His revelations, and simply meant to suggest that, that being the case, He may have revealed the vast workings of the universe in a very simple way that we, today, would consider childlike, but which may have fit well, and served God's purposes well, within the culture in which it was being revealed. His doing so in no way would then eliminate the validity of what His people later learned about His creation, likely even by His inspiration.

Again, sorry for co-opting your views.

Os.

193fuzzi
Jun 20, 2012, 1:08pm Top

(178) Actually, john, there is much evidence out there, but due to bias by the 'mainstream' scientific community, most studies and articles never make it to peer review.

Here's an interesting article, if you are interested in reading about the process of 'peer review', and why Creationist type articles are rarely if ever published:

http://creation.com/creationism-science-and-peer-review

Given the above, it should be clear that the failure of creationist scientists to get their work published in mainstream peer-reviewed journals has nothing at all to do with the quality or validity of their research. It is for these reasons that creationist scientists generally do not bother submitting papers that directly support a creationist interpretation of the natural world. Any such papers would be dismissed out of hand as being unworthy simply on the basis that they advocate a creationist interpretation. The quality of the research, the soundness of the arguments presented, and the validity of the logical conclusions would not even be considered. Thus, creationist scientists have created their own peer-reviewed journals and forums, such as the Journal of Creation, Creation Research Society Quarterly and the International Conference on Creationism. The review process in these forums is no rubber stamp, and just because a particular article advocates a creationist position does not mean it is guaranteed publication. Submitted articles are tightly scrutinized, and many are rejected due to methodological and other flaws or because they do not reach the required high standard.

I was on the 'evolution' side for 40 years before I discovered there was scientific evidence that supports the young earth beliefs.

Peer review papers or not, I'm sticking with what God's word says.

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? - 1 Corinthians 1:19-20


I'll believe His word and His wisdom over the wisdom of this world, any day.

194StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 1:36pm Top

Actually, john, there is much evidence out there, but due to bias by the 'mainstream' scientific community, most studies and articles never make it to peer review.

They never make it to peer review because they aren't based on any evidence. Because they are shoddy science. Because they are rejected by the editors of the various publications as lacking merit. The "creationist journals" that are touted in your quote are full of disastrously bad articles that are nonsense. The very worst thing that happened to creationists is that their material got published in them for everyone to see just how awful their work truly is.

You might find interesting the story of one of the former contributors to one of the journals your quote cited: Glenn R. Morton. A salient quote:

"Nothing that young-earth creationists had taught me about geology turned out to be true. I took a poll of my ICR graduate friends who have worked in the oil industry. I asked them one question. "From your oil industry experience, did any fact that you were taught at ICR, which challenged current geological thinking, turn out in the long run to be true? ,"

That is a very simple question. One man, Steve Robertson, who worked for Shell grew real silent on the phone, sighed and softly said 'No!' A very close friend that I had hired at Arco, after hearing the question, exclaimed, "Wait a minute. There has to be one!" But he could not name one. I can not name one. No one else could either.
"

And here is an article from Discover magazine about the International Conference on Creationism: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/realitybase/2008/08/18/annual-creationism-conf...

Just a glance at the "peer review" criteria tells you they aren't actually doing science, or engaging in any kind of realistic peer review.

195faceinbook
Jun 20, 2012, 1:30pm Top

>193 fuzzi:
The link you posted was from a religious site.

"I was on the 'evolution' side for 40 years before I discovered there was scientific evidence that supports the young earth beliefs."

Again...what it is the evidence ? The link was more about discrimination that any specific evidence. Sorry, but people are not going to buy the fact that dinasours had saddles and humans existed along side them. Too much evidence to the contrary.

Is this a "take side" issue ? It seems more like a practical vs magical thinking stance. One can not simply dismiss science by saying that opposing science is being kept from being printed. The study of evolution is world wide and spans all religions. The earth is not exclusive to Christians. Creationists are a minority amongst those who study the evolution of this planet.

One of the Native American tribes believed the world was conceived and carried around on the back of a turtle. They have since evovled from that way of thinking but keep the story alive as it is imaginative and speaks of their history as a culture. It is interesting to note that most tribes differed in their creation story based on where they were located geographically. As with the turtle back story, most of their creation stories are now taken for what they are....a way to explain that which they could not explain. Perhaps the same can be held true of the story of creation in the bible. We have all evolved from tribal life. Telling stories was an art form for many cultures and most often stories dealt with that which we could not explain. As scienctific researce has evolved we need to move on, not that we lose the stories, they are part of our culture but we no longer need them to define that which science has now discovered.

If you believe that God made the world in six days and did it exactly as described, I would say that any Native of the Ojibewa Tribe is free to hold firm to the fact that the Creator conceived the world on the back of a turtle. Wonder how that would work for them ? When questioned as to the implausability of that premise, the answer may very well be that the researce on this has not been allowed to be printed. Sounds kind of fishy ?

196StormRaven
Jun 20, 2012, 1:48pm Top

I will point out that the "Journal of Creation" is a creature of Creation Ministries International, an organization headed up by Ken Hamm, whose record regarding science is, well, dubious at best.

Creation Ministries International is also the progenitor of the website Answers in Genesis. Just to give everyone an idea of how credible an organization Creation Ministries International is with respect to science, every scientific claim made in Answers in Genesis has been refuted. Hamm, like Kent Hovind, Henry Morris, and pretty much every other proponent of creationism, can't get published in peer reviewed science journals because he is demonstrably wrong.

197johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 1:53pm Top

>195 faceinbook: Creationists are a minority amongst those who study the evolution of this planet.

And amongst Christians.

the world was conceived and carried around on the back of a turtle... the researce on this has not been allowed to be printed

Not true - Terry Pratchett has bravely published it!

198Osbaldistone
Jun 20, 2012, 3:16pm Top

A comment which followed the Discover magazine article that i liked:

"Evolution is not an affront to god, it is his paintbrush."
Somewhat related to what I said in the 2nd para. of my post 169. Is an artist any less marvelous because she uses a brush instead of her fingers?

Os.

199eclecticdodo
Jun 20, 2012, 3:42pm Top

Let me start by saying I DON'T KNOW how God created. To be honest, I can't even make up my mind what I think is the most likely of options.

However, it seems to me that God, being an all knowing and logically consistent God,would have used an organised process to create. Just as a man building complicated machinery will begin by fashioning each of the components, and slowly putting them into more and more complex sub-systems, before finally uniting them in a whole, so God would use logical processes to create. He would begin with the fundamental particles, combining them into atoms, making them into molecules, combining molecules into simple life, and becoming more and more complex. Life, the universe, and everything.

Knowing, or having theories, about what processes He used, in no way undermines the most important bit - that He created. I don't see it as a choice between science and creation, but that creation is the "what?" (God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them), science seeks to examine the "how?".

200jburlinson
Jun 20, 2012, 3:42pm Top

> 181. That's a little like asking "If white North Americans came from Europe, why do white Europeans still exist?" Its a moronic question. Evolution favors those with superior survival strategies, but there isn't just a single survival strategy. Humans adapted to life on open savanna, while our genetic relatives, like chimpanzees, adapted to life in forested areas.

It's not really on topic, but I wonder how the statement above would have been materially changed if the statement "Its a moronic question" was left out?

My guess is that the substance or content of your message wouldn't have been any different at all, but two things would be missing:
(1). The little thrill you got when you were able to call someone a moron, something you would probably not have done if this were a face-to-face conversation.
(2). The reaction of your reader(s), which was probably to discount your message by a certain percentage (possibly up to 100%) because of the personal invective. So whatever educational value your comment might have had lost some or all of its force. My guess is that providing educational value was likely very low on your priority list, though, so it probably doesn't matter much to you. The little thrill was the important part.

201Osbaldistone
Jun 20, 2012, 3:52pm Top

>200 jburlinson:

I have to admit that when I came to that phrase, I immediately thought something like "what a waste to risk derailing interesting and well-mannered discourse while adding nothing of substance to the post", though I must admit my immediate thought was probably not so clearly laid out.

Why, when crafting a reply to a post, is "I disagree for this reason" or "I think you are mistaken for this reason" so unsatisfying and "I disagree, you moron" is so irrestistable?

Os.

202StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 4:07pm Top

200-201: The reason I said it is because it is a moronic question. It floats around the creationist sphere like Ken Hamm's "were you there?" silliness. There are a few catch phrases that are parroted by creationists without any real understanding of how stupid they are, and that's one of them, along with the "it takes faith to believe something came from nothing" line. Creationists think these are incisive biting questions, not realizing that they are questions that were produced by fourth rate minds (like, for example, Ken Hamm) that do nothing but illustrate that the person parroting them (usually having gotten them from a creationist website or pamphlet) really doesn't have any kind of understanding of the science they are criticizing.

Pointing out that it is a moronic question is mostly flagging it to say "Creationists, don't use this. It makes you look stupid."

203jburlinson
Jun 20, 2012, 4:07pm Top

> 201. Why, when crafting a reply to a post, is "I disagree for this reason" or "I think you are mistaken for this reason" so unsatisfying and "I disagree, you moron" is so irrestistable?

It's irresistible because it meets a need of the person who says it. The more often it happens and/or the stronger the language used, the greater the need, I would think. It sounds pretty elementary, but there it is. It certainly has little to do with the person to whom it's being said, although it probably can't help but make the person feel bad, at least to some extent.

All in all, it's a learning opportunity whenever it happens, I suppose. Not that we often take advantage of our opportunities.

204jburlinson
Jun 20, 2012, 4:10pm Top

> 202. Thanks for clarifying. You've pretty much confirmed what I was thinking.

205StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 4:14pm Top

You've pretty much confirmed what I was thinking.

I doubt it.

206jburlinson
Jun 20, 2012, 4:17pm Top

> 205. I doubt it.

...in doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom. -- J.R.R. Tolkien

207StormRaven
Jun 20, 2012, 4:26pm Top

206: To put it another way, "if humans came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys" is a question so outlandishly beyond the pale as to be akin to asking "why are white people smarter than black people". Not only is the question built on a faulty premise, it is disingenuous and compounds the error by being incredibly stupid.

But I suppose you'd respond to someone asking you why white people are smarter than black people without calling attention to the fact that the question itself is moronic.

208jburlinson
Jun 20, 2012, 4:41pm Top

> 207. I suppose you'd respond to someone asking you why white people are smarter than black people without calling attention to the fact that the question itself is moronic.

If I cared anything at all about actually educating someone I certainly wouldn't call them a moron. Why would I want to alienate them if there's a chance they might be open to changing their mind?

209fuzzi
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 6:33pm Top

Calling someone a moron not only closes any chance of civil discourse, but it reveals a pettiness in the person doing the name calling.

Children call each other names until they are taught better. Once they become adults, some apparently have not learned to communicate in a mature/adult manner, or maybe they just have chosen to ignore simple courtesy.

210faceinbook
Jun 20, 2012, 6:59pm Top

>209 fuzzi:
We agree on this !

211Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 7:51pm Top

>202 StormRaven: Pointing out that it is a moronic question is mostly flagging it to say "Creationists, don't use this. It makes you look stupid."

And if you said that instead, it would at least have the veneer, if not the reality, of being constructive, and, if it was me, it would cause me to re-read my post to see why it might have made me look stupid. Now that's constructive.

Os.

212lawecon
Jun 20, 2012, 7:55pm Top

~187

"A simple question, "How did it all begin?" It appears that your answer is that scientists do not know, so how do you know that God did not begin everything?"

Good question, how do you know that Satan isn't really making you imagine the world around you? It "could be," couldn't it? You wife, your friends, your children, even yourself, all a delusion. "Might" that not be the case?

213Osbaldistone
Jun 20, 2012, 8:05pm Top

>212 lawecon:
There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. - Shakespeare, Hamlet 1.5

Os.

214ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 8:50pm Top

>187 ambrithill: I was definitely not promoting the God of the gaps theory. I was simply wanting to know if you were willing to admit that God could be the possible answer to the beginning of everything since you do not the answer. It appears that you are totally biased against that possibility, as is much of science. Any with any good investigation into anything, bias can play a huge role in determining the outcome. And while it is true that I am biased in favor of God creating everything, at least I can say that my bias is based on religious conviction.

215ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 8:52pm Top

>212 lawecon: It could be, it could even be that lawecon himself if responsible for this entire world. However, all of those seem highly unlikely. My point is, as stated in 214, that stormraven, and others, at least to admit their bias in dealing with trying to find the answer about the beginning.

216StormRaven
Jun 20, 2012, 8:57pm Top

211: The key point here is that "If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?" isn't ambrithill's question. It is a question he has parroted from some creationist website somewhere. The creationist advocates don't come up with their own material, they just copy stuff from other places and then regurgitate it. Pointing out that it is a moronic question isn't actually calling ambrithill a moron, any more than saying that a quote you provided from, say, Adam Sandler is stupid would be calling you stupid.

The point here is that ambrithill knows this. He knows that he didn't come up with the question, and that he's just spouting material that he got elsewhere, material that he was probably told was an insightful and cutting attack upon the science of evolution. The problem is that in that regard, ambrithill was lied to. It is a clumsy question. A stupid question. And a question that is easily answered.

I'll note that as intended the question "If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys" isn't really intended as a question at all. It is intended to bring the anti-creationists to their knees with its sharpness. It is supposed to be unanswerable, like Ken Hamm's often intoned "Were you there?" line. The reality is, however, that the question is simply insipid and easily answered.

217StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 9:04pm Top

I was definitely not promoting the God of the gaps theory.

Well you certainly haven't offered any other coherent theory. Or any other theory at all.

I was simply wanting to know if you were willing to admit that God could be the possible answer to the beginning of everything since you do not the answer.

It is possible. It is also possible that we are living in a giant virtual reality simulation and are actually just brains in a vat. It is possible that the world materialized out of nothing last Thursday, and all your prior memories were created at the same instant. It is also possible that invisible pink unicorns are always right behind you. None of these "possibilities" are likely, because none of them have any evidence supporting them.

It appears that you are totally biased against that possibility, as is much of science.

No. I, like science, am biased in favor of evidence. If someone were to provide actual evidence of divine intervention, then that would be convincing. Thus far, none has been forthcoming.

(Also, I'm not sure how saying "we don't know" is a bias against the possibility of divine intervention. It is a statement of reality. The only ones with a bias are the ones inserting their God into places where we have no information and insisting that somehow that is warranted).

218fuzzi
Jun 20, 2012, 9:20pm Top

(210) Woo!

219ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 9:21pm Top

>217 StormRaven: "(Also, I'm not sure how saying "we don't know" is a bias against the possibility of divine intervention. It is a statement of reality. The only ones with a bias are the ones inserting their God into places where we have no information and insisting that somehow that is warranted)."

I believe that it is derived from your own comment:

"But not knowing means not knowing, and filling in "God" in those gaps is unwarranted."

Why is it that whenever you are willing to admit God as a possibility you add snide comments--"t is possible. It is also possible that we are living in a giant virtual reality simulation and are actually just brains in a vat. It is possible that the world materialized out of nothing last Thursday, and all your prior memories were created at the same instant. It is also possible that invisible pink unicorns are always right behind you. None of these "possibilities" are likely, because none of them have any evidence supporting them."

Why would a simple "yes" or "no" be insufficient. I believe it is because you are not actually willing to admit God as the possibility but you are just trying to patronize those who do believe in Creationism.

You also said, "Well you certainly haven't offered any other coherent theory. Or any other theory at all." So you must be saying Creationism is a fact, if it is not a theory. Nah. I probably shouldn't have said that, but as I have said before, I am still in the process of growing into being what God would have me be.

220JGL53
Jun 20, 2012, 9:45pm Top

Love the moron. Hate the moronity.

221lawecon
Jun 20, 2012, 10:08pm Top

~215

Now, now ambrithill, there you go again, forgetting what has just recently been said to you. I have already stated my biases. Did you forget already? If so, here it is again: http://www.shelfari.com/groups/29350/about

Let me summarize, since I don't want to tax your time or reading abilities: I detest fundamentalism, dogmatism, people who turn off their minds and then want others to admire their ignorance and "faith." I detest those values in politics, in religion, in social relationships. I have very strong biases, and, frankly, I am proud of them.

222Osbaldistone
Jun 20, 2012, 10:13pm Top

>216 StormRaven:
I'm guessing you accidentally referenced the wrong post here. For one, 211 said nothing about anyone calling anyone a moron.

Os.

223ambrithill
Jun 20, 2012, 10:15pm Top

>221 lawecon: As well you should be, just as I am proud of my bias in believing that Jesus is the Son of God and my Redeemer. At least we can agree that admitting our biases is a good thing, or at least a thing we both do anyway.

224StormRaven
Edited: Jun 20, 2012, 10:34pm Top

Why is it that whenever you are willing to admit God as a possibility you add snide comments

Because God as a possibility is no more supported by evidence than any of the possibilities you say are "snide comments". I should point out that the "brain in a vat experiencing a virtual reality simulation" is a real philosophical problem, and is a question discussed by serious philosophers.

Why would a simple "yes" or "no" be insufficient. I believe it is because you are not actually willing to admit God as the possibility but you are just trying to patronize those who do believe in Creationism.

Creationism is different than the possibility that God is lurking somewhere prior to the Planck time, a point that you consistently seem to miss. Six day creationism is lunacy, unsupported by and contradictory to the available evidence. Deism (the "watchmaker God" hypothesis that you have raised here and there) is unsupported by evidence, but it isn't contradictory to it.

So you must be saying Creationism is a fact, if it is not a theory.

A theory doesn't grow up to become a fact. Gravity is a theory. Electricity is a theory. We used atomic theory to build Fat Man and Little Boy. Atomic theory isn't going to one day mature and become "atomic fact".

But what you have offered is neither theory, nor fact, nor even a hypothesis. Creationism is a myth supported by zero evidence.

Nah. I probably shouldn't have said that, but as I have said before, I am still in the process of growing into being what God would have me be.

If there is a God, he probably doesn't want you being an ignorant know-nothing who doesn't understand basic science.

225jburlinson
Jun 20, 2012, 11:28pm Top

> 216. Pointing out that it is a moronic question isn't actually calling ambrithill a moron, any more than saying that a quote you provided from, say, Adam Sandler is stupid would be calling you stupid.

Oh come on! You're equivocating now. You know perfectly well you were calling him a moron. Just like you'd be calling me stupid if I approvingly quoted Adam Sandler and you said, "that's a stupid thing to say."

"Stupid is as stupid does." - F. Gump.

226johnthefireman
Jun 20, 2012, 11:45pm Top

>207 StormRaven: akin to asking "why are white people smarter than black people". Not only is the question built on a faulty premise, it is disingenuous and compounds the error by being incredibly stupid.

That's a question I was frequently asked by white South Africans, who knew that I had lived in "black" Africa and spoke "black" languages, so they thought I might know the answer. If I thought there was any hope in engaging fruitfully with them, I tried to answer and point out that it is based on a faulty premise. If not, I changed the subject and/or walked away. I didn't call any of them a moron (at least not to their face). What would that have achieved, except perhaps the rejoinder "fokken engelsman is kak" (although admittedly I often got that rejoinder automatically from Afrikaaners)?

227lawecon
Jun 21, 2012, 12:06am Top

~223

Yes, I understand completely ambrithill. Completely.......

228lawecon
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 12:10am Top

~225

"Oh come on! You're equivocating now. You know perfectly well you were calling him a moron. Just like you'd be calling me stupid if I approvingly quoted Adam Sandler and you said, "that's a stupid thing to say.""

The game of TOS
and you'll go far.
The game of TOS
and you'll go far.
The game of TOS
and you'll go far.
Play the game of
TOS!! (A Milton Bradley™ product)

229Osbaldistone
Jun 21, 2012, 1:14am Top

>228 lawecon:
TOS? I searched and found these, but can't figure out which one fits. A little translation help, please. Might be a fun game.

The Other Side
Type Of Service
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Top of the Stack
Transactions on Storage
Time of Sale
Title of Show (musical)
Tramiel Operating System (Atari ST/TT operating system)
Time On Station
Trusted Operating System
Transfer Orbit Stage
Tape Operating System (IBM)
Tip of the Spear
Techniques, Ouvriers et de Service (French: Technical and Service Workers)
Top of Steel
Taken on Strength
Traffic Operations System
Top Of Slab (concrete)
Transfer of Sovereignty (Baghdad, Iraq)
Teacher Over Shoulder (chat)
Trucial Oman Scouts (Unite Arab Emirates)
Time on Stream
Tender of Service
Tromso, Norway - Tromso/Langes (Airport Code)
Total Outstanding Shares (Canada)
Type Of Shipment
Tennessee Orthopaedic Society
Taux d'Onde Stationnaire (French: Standing Wave Ratio)
Time Of Search
Training Objective Statement
Tunnels et Ouvrages Souterrains (French: Tunnels and Underground Structures; journal)
Tactical Operations Squadron (USAF)
Tactical Oceanographic Summary
Teller Operations Specialist (banks)
Terminal Oriented System
Turbine Overspeed (aero engines)
Tone Operated Squelch (two-way radio)
Terminal Oriented Software
Testing Operations System
Tactical Operator Station
Top of Shelf
Track on Search
Transparent Optical Switch
Transition Operational State
Transmission Optimization System
TIROS (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) Operational Satellite (US NOAA)
Take-Off-Structure (electric substation structure)
Tactical Operations Support (US TSWG)
Tactical Operations System
Talend Open Studio (software)
Tales of Suspense (comic)
Tales of Symphonia (video game)
Temple of Set
Temporarily Out of Service
Temporarily Out of Stock
The Obesity Society (est. 1982; Silver Spring, MD)
The Objective Standard
The Oceanography Society
The Old Schoolhouse (magazine)
The Operating System
The Opposite Sex
The Organic Standard (journal)
Terminate on Sight (G-Unit album)
Terminate on Site
Terms Of Service
Terminal Operating System
Terminal Operation System
Toshiba Corporation (stock symbol; Japan)

230johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 1:42am Top

>229 Osbaldistone: I think lawecon is referring to LT's (that's "LibraryThing's") Terms of Service, which say you can attack an idea but not a person. Many posters are extremely good at attacking a person in such a way that technically it is not a breach of the ToS (Terms of Service). It's perhaps a good example of the letter of the law taking precedence over the spirit of the law.

231Osbaldistone
Jun 21, 2012, 1:52am Top

>230 johnthefireman:
Ahh. So it is a fun game. ;-)

Os.

232lawecon
Jun 21, 2012, 2:23am Top

Well, it is a game, and, as John says, it is a game that a lot of people seem to like to play. (There are also red flags if you don't quite get the equivocations right.)

233johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 3:09am Top

My eye has just been caught by a BBC science article, Dark matter tracks could give earliest view of Universe. Obviously it's been simplified for a mass audience, but it gives a hint of the complexity of cosmology with which one has to engage if one wants to say anything sensible about the age of the universe and the mechanisms by which it came into being and developed. I got a degree in physics nearly 40 years ago and I don't even pretend to understand the latest stuff. The simplistic quotes on creationist websites don't even begin to address the issues, I'm afraid.

234StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 6:50am Top

225: Clutch your pearls a little tighter. You might want to fan yourself with your hand and talk about having the vapors while you are at it.

235sirfurboy
Jun 21, 2012, 7:22am Top

> 224 "But what you have offered is neither theory, nor fact, nor even a hypothesis"

I know what you are saying. And yet, I think we can put together a hypothesis for creationism - albeit an untestable one. As it is untestable, it is no better than a thought experiment, and if one is to hold to it as a matter of belief, their reasons for doing so will be unrelated to the evidence.

Let me explain: Creationism posits a 6 day creation by the hand of God as understood from a literal understanding of the creation hymn of Genesis. To hold to this view, one must believe that God revealed to Moses the exact manner in which he created the world, and the exact timescale, and that it wasMoses who recorded this faitfully in the narrative we now have in Genesis.

But if God created the world in 6 days, and told us so, then why did he make it look so old? Why does all the evidence show that the wolrd and the Universe are much much older than this?

If we look at a dendrochronology tree ring record, we find petrified wood that has rings that would suggest the trees are older than the date of creation. Why? Well to believe in creation, one must assume that God made the Earth look old. That is, by divine act, he created a world in 6 days but the trees had rings, Adam had a tummy button, rocks appeared millions of years old etc.

Now we could hypothesise a God who is capable of doing this for sure, and what we now have is a world that cannot be distinguished from one millions of years old because God has made it look that way. That is, presumably as an act of faith, God has created a world that the evidence shows as old, but the creationis believer will believe by faith is actually much younger.

But if this world is created to look that way as a test of faith, creationists are doing something quite illegitimate in trying to offer evidences of a young Earth. They are suggesting that God has made a mistake. In fact they are suggesting two mistakes; they argue that God was wrong to hide the true young age of the Earth from the non believer, and they argue that he has made a mistake in hiding all the evidence of the young Earth.

If one is to be consistent about the creation hypothesis, then what we have is, in fact, a belief about the manner of creation based on the creation hymn in spite of the evidence - because the evidence is fabricated. That is certainly a hypothesis, but by definition it is untestable. It is not scientific - it is faith. It can never be scientific, because it cannot, by its own definition, be subject to empirical testing.

236ambrithill
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 7:45am Top

>235 sirfurboy: I agree with that summation. I do not believe that I have tried to say that creationism could be scientifically proven, just trying to get others to admit that God is potentially the answer for the beginning. And I think everyone who has any inkling of believing the Genesis account thinks God created Adam and Eve as adults, therefore with age.

Edited to change nuimber.

237ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 7:48am Top

>224 StormRaven: A theory doesn't grow up to become a fact. Gravity is a theory. Electricity is a theory. We used atomic theory to build Fat Man and Little Boy. Atomic theory isn't going to one day mature and become "atomic fact".

Isn't it interesting that every other theory that you list can be tested and proven over and over again. So when you can prove evolution as the beginning of life over and over again then it would be a fair comparison. Until then, it is just a statement of faith, just like my statement of faith in creationism, which I admit I cannot do it over and over again to prove.

238johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 7:58am Top

>237 ambrithill: ambrithill, gravity, electricity and atomic theory are all part of the same physics that has theories about the formation of the universe rather more than 7,000 years ago. Similarly evolution is part of a whole range of things, including biology and genetics, which all point to the same conclusion. Geology also militates against creationism. They are not stand-alone theories, and they work. Creationism doesn't work. Not only that, but it's a minority view even amongst Christians.

239StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 8:14am Top

deleted

240StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 8:20am Top

Isn't it interesting that every other theory that you list can be tested and proven over and over again. So when you can prove evolution as the beginning of life over and over again then it would be a fair comparison.

First off, as you have been told before on more than one occassion, the theory of evolution says nothing about the beginning of life. The first step you need to take is to find out what the science actually says before trying to argue about it. Every post you make you reveal that you are entirely lacking in the basic knowledge on these subjects that one would expect from an eighth grade student. In many cases, you are lacking in the knowledge one would expect from much younger school age children.

Second, the validity of the theory of evolution has been demonstrated many times, both experimentally and through forensic investigation. Creationism fails this test.

Third, that atomic theory you say has been tested and proven over and over again? It contradicts six day creationism. The theory of gravity? Contradicts six day creationism. Geology? Contradicts six day creationism. And so on. The scientific theories you admit are testable and provable contradict your pet theory. But I'm going to guess that you didn't know that.

Until then, it is just a statement of faith, just like my statement of faith in creationism, which I admit I cannot do it over and over again to prove.

The problem with saying they are "just a statement of faith" is that the theory of evolution, the science being used to investigate abiogenesis, and the cosmology that includes the big bang theory are supported by ample evidence. These theories are used to make predictions, those predictions are investigated, and time and again, those investigations have shown the predictions to be true. Creationism has no such confirming evidence. Creationism can't even be used to make predictions that can be investigated, since most of it relies upon special pleadings and assertions that the universe worked somehow differently in an unprovable and undemonstrable way. The few testable assertions made by creationists to support their claims have been investigated and all have been demonstrated to be untrue.

Saying that accepting the picture of the world provided by science is "just a statement of faith" simply shows the speaker to be completely ignorant of the science. You may want to rectify that situation.

241StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:13am Top

And yet, I think we can put together a hypothesis for creationism - albeit an untestable one.

An untestable hypothesis isn't really a hypothesis.

Now we could hypothesise a God who is capable of doing this for sure, and what we now have is a world that cannot be distinguished from one millions of years old because God has made it look that way.

Yes. And if you accept that then you have to accept that the possibility that the universe was created last Thursday is just as likely.

242ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:20am Top

>241 StormRaven: "An untestable hypothesis isn't really a hypothesis."

I agree, which is why my view of the origins of the universe is just as valid as yours.

243StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 8:25am Top

241: I agree, which is why my view of the origins of the universe is just as valid as yours.

If you think the big bang theory hasn't been tested, well, you are not only ignorant on the subject, but shockingly so. You are a good example of the anti-intellectualism that Asimov spoke about with his famous quote:

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

The fact that you are clearly ignorant of the science supporting the 14.5 billion year old age of the universe, the theory of evolution by natural selection, and pretty much every other part of science does not make your view of the origins of the universe "just as valid". It just makes you capable of embarrassing yourself in public.

244ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:25am Top

>240 StormRaven: "Third, that atomic theory you say has been tested and proven over and over again? It contradicts six day creationism. The theory of gravity? Contradicts six day creationism. Geology? Contradicts six day creationism. And so on. The scientific theories you admit are testable and provable contradict your pet theory. But I'm going to guess that you didn't know that."

Actually they don't. However, as soon as you can show me how "life" actually began, not through some untestable theory, then we might be able to have a discussion. (And no, I am not going to call you names and try to belittle you because I personally do not believe it accomplishes anything).

245ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:26am Top

>243 StormRaven: If standing up for the God of the Bible is embarrassing myself then I gladly do so.

246johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 8:30am Top

>244 ambrithill: ambrithill, I'm not calling you any names, but you don't appear to be responding to any of the points which I've made recently. Obviously you and I disagree on this. I look at science and see a pretty coherent set of evidence-based theories which explain things and are both testable and useful, and I see no reason to try to force the Genesis story to be something which it isn't.

247StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:31am Top

Actually they don't.

Actually, they do. That's why, for example, so many creationist apologist try to argue that atomic theory is somehow wrong. One of the ways we know that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old is radiometric dating, which is part of atomic theory. One of the ways we know the age of the sun is rooted in atomic theory. If creationism is correct, then atomic theory is wrong, and we cannot build nuclear power plants, atomic bombs, or use radiation therapy.

However, as soon as you can show me how "life" actually began, not through some untestable theory, then we might be able to have a discussion.

Go find a book about abiogenesis and read it. One not written by a creationist. You might then have the level of knowledge of a high school student. Right now you are too uneducated on the topic to actually discuss it.

248johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 8:32am Top

>245 ambrithill: standing up for the God of the Bible

Please don't make creationism into a litmus test for standing up for one's faith. The majority of Christians don't accept creationism; are you implying that they are not standing up for the God of the bible? And one might argue that there are rather more important things in the bible that one might choose to stand up for - peace, justice, loving one's neighbour, to name but a few.

249johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 8:35am Top

>244 ambrithill: show me how "life" actually began

I'm no expert and maybe StormRaven or someone else can answer, but I seem to recall reading about experiments where a high voltage is passed through a mixture of gases such as might have been found on the early earth, and it produced some of the precursor chemicals for life. Or is that not the case?

250StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:40am Top

294: Those experiments form the basis for the study of abiogenesis. The original ones were based on a faulty understanding of what the early atmosphere was like, but later ones have corrected that. Basically, if you take mixtures of fairly common chemicals plus energy you get organic molecules, which turn out to be fairly commonly found off Earth as well as on it.

The link they are working on now is how to go from amino acids to replicating structures. But it is a difficult problem. Nature took a billion years to accomplish this, we hope to figure it out in less time.

251ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:41am Top

>246 johnthefireman: Sorry, guess I got caught up in other discussions.

"it gives a hint of the complexity of cosmology with which one has to engage if one wants to say anything sensible about the age of the universe and the mechanisms by which it came into being and developed."

I agree that I do not have that depth of knowledge, and I would argue that probably no one else here on LT does either, even though I could be wrong about that. I suppose my overall point is not trying to prove someone else wrong but simply trying to get the possibility of God as the beginning of life into the conversation.

"it's a minority view even amongst Christians."

I am not sure that is an accurate statement or how one could even show it be accurate, but it really does not matter. It is kind of equivalent to lawecon saying most Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. For those who did believe that, nothing could change their mind, not even torture and death (which, by the way, is a very valid argument that they did not just make this stuff up, as some suppose). I have seen nothing that convinces me to not accept God at His word, nor is it likely that I will. Does that make me close-minded? Probably. Does it make me ignorant, as some suggest? Hardly, as there have been, and continue to be, many people who are much more intelligent than I who still believe in creationism.

252StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:41am Top

If standing up for the God of the Bible is embarrassing myself then I gladly do so.

You're not. You are standing up for ignorance and anti-intellectualism. You are standing up for a dramatically minority view of the meaning of Genesis among Christians. You are actually standing against most of your coreligionists on this.

253ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:42am Top

>249 johnthefireman: When they have one of these experimetns that bring life from non-life, then it will be worth discussing.

254ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:44am Top

>252 StormRaven: "You're not. You are standing up for ignorance and anti-intellectualism. You are standing up for a dramatically minority view of the meaning of Genesis among Christians. You are actually standing against most of your coreligionists on this."

Again, how do you know this? When was a world-wide survey taken on this subject? Or is that just an assumption you are making?

255sirfurboy
Jun 21, 2012, 8:44am Top

>241 StormRaven:

At the danger of quibbling over words, a hypothesis is a word derived from the greek for a supposition, that is merely an explanation proposed for something. "Scientific hypothesis" is a term that requires testability. I was quite clear to say that this hypothesis would not be scientific.

It's just a word mind.

As to having to accept that the world could have been created last Thursday: yes - neither a biblical creation nor creation last Thursday are testable, but each could be equally likely of being true. As I said, if one is to hold to a creationist position for the 6 days creation, they must base that belief on something quite apart from the evidence for the creation. In this case it would be a belief in plenary inspiration of the Bible (rather literally taken on that point too), and a belief that the creation account must be taken as literal history (despite the fact it is obviously better classed as "revelation", as the writer of the creation hymn could not have witnessed it).

I make no comment about the plausibility of those beliefs other than to say, anyone arguing for or against creationism is rather wasting their time, when those beliefs are, in fact, the core of the disagreement.

>236 ambrithill:/237

I think you missed my point. Whilst you can hold to a belief in a 6 day creation, and no one can prove your wrong, the actual evidence points to the world and universe being much much older. The scientific theories do indeed make testable predictions that have been tested with great success. Any reasonable person looking at the evidence in the absence of the Bible account would reasonably infer from the evidence that life evolved on Earth broadly as we now understand it did.

If you tell someone who does not believe in God or the inspiration of scripture that the world was created from nothing in 6 days 6,500 years ago, you have ti understand that they will find the suggestion absurd in much the same way as you might find it absurd if someone told you they believed that Belgium does not exist, and all the evidence we have for the existence of Belgium is a fabrication of the Walloon Bay conspiracy to keep Herring fishermen out of their waters.

Your reason for believeing the creation account is not because the evidence tells you that is true, nor because the evidence shows evolution is wrong. You believe in creation because you believe God has told you it was this way.

That being the case, if you want people to agree with you, you should try to show them why you believe in a living personal God. If they come to believe in the same God, maybe they will agree with you on the creation story (although most Christians don't I suspect).

If the only evidence you can propose to people as to why God exists is because evolution could not have happened, I would surmise your faith is rather a shaky one.

256StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:44am Top

I agree that I do not have that depth of knowledge, and I would argue that probably no one else here on LT does either, even though I could be wrong about that.

Well, among the people you are arguing against are a physicist and a man married to a biologist. You are arguing against people who have spent a great deal of time studying these sorts of things, and who have looked at and evaluated the claims made by the creationists you seem to be so fond of quoting (unattributed quotes, but clearly quotes). You might want to consider that the level of education among the typical LTer is much higher than you seem to have heretofore assumed.

257johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 8:45am Top

>251 ambrithill: I don't think it is anything like believing whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. That's merely a question of believing whether something that Jesus said about himself (or his followers said) is true or not. This is about science and hard evidence, about an understanding of the universe which can be tested, replicated and which works in a million different ways in science and technology every day. It has nothing to do with belief.

258StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:46am Top

249: As I said before, if I have a German Shepard and three people look at it, the one who says it is a dog is closer to the right answer than the one who calls it a refrigerator.

The experiments call it a dog. Creationists are talking about refrigerators.

259StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:50am Top

This is about science and hard evidence, about an understanding of the universe which can be tested, replicated and which works in a million different ways in science and technology every day. It has nothing to do with belief.

Very true. One of the most fallacious statements out there is "do you believe in evolution?" Evolution is not a question of belief. It is a question of whether the evidence supports the theory or not. I accept evolution as true because the evidence supports this conclusion. If the evidence were different, I would accept a different conclusion.

260johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 8:50am Top

>254 ambrithill: When was a world-wide survey taken on this subject?

Obviously not. But when you take a look at the teaching of some of the largest worldwide churches (including my own Catholic Church), look at Christian literature over a long period (apart from a spate of very recent publications by creationists, mostly from the evangelical wing of the church), take a glance at figures like Origen and Augustine, set it in the context of biblical exegesis and the more developed Christian theologies, well, it seems to me there is little doubt that you are part of a small, but very visible and vocal, minority.

261ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:51am Top

>255 sirfurboy: "That being the case, if you want people to agree with you, you should try to show them why you believe in a living personal God."

I agree, which is why i am simply trying to get people to acknowledge God as one possibility for the beginning of life. If God is completely out of the picture or deemed to have never existed, it makes it extremely difficult to have a discussion about God with anyone. And of course, the easiest thing for me to say in this regard is this, "I know that Jesus lives because He lives inside my heart." However, I am sure there will be those who mock this statement as well.

"If the only evidence you can propose to people as to why God exists is because evolution could not have happened, I would surmise your faith is rather a shaky one."

This is actually the reverse of my thinking. I do not believe in evolution because I believe God exists, and not only exists, but created the world and still has a personal relationship with people today.

262StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:52am Top

Again, how do you know this?

Because numerous studies have been done surveying the beliefs of people in the world, and outside of the United States, young Earth six day creationism is a distinctly minority view.

263StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:54am Top

If the only evidence you can propose to people as to why God exists is because evolution could not have happened, I would surmise your faith is rather a shaky one.

In my experience, most young Earth creationists have very weak faith. Loud and vocal faith, but weak.

264ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:55am Top

I have not seen one shred of evidence that shows macro-evolution to be true. How is it that one species can become another? Do I believe in micro-evolution? Sure, which is the kind that is mentioned when discussing the changes between me and my parents, yet it is used to try and reinforce macro-evolution. That appears to be a "bait-and-switch" tactic.

265StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 8:55am Top

I do not believe in evolution because I believe God exists

So it isn't a question of all those non-problems you tried to bring up with science. It is just that you want to believe it.

266ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:56am Top

>263 StormRaven: "In my experience, most young Earth creationists have very weak faith. Loud and vocal faith, but weak."

Just out of curiousity, what do you see that makes them appear to have a weak faith?

267johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 8:57am Top

>261 ambrithill: But ambrithill, some of the people who are disagreeing with you on this have no doubt about the existence of God, and indeed are prepared to see God as the initiator in some way or other of the whole process. I'm one of them. But I (probably "we", but let me not speak on behalf of others) do not agree that the bible is a science text book trying to explain how this came about; indeed I would say that this devalues the bible, which is trying to teach us different lessons about God and humanity. Neither do I agree that "evolution" is a matter of belief. Neither do I agree that there is any conflict between science and religion.

268StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 9:03am Top

264: There is plenty of evidence for macroevolution. Ring species, for example, are clear evidence of speciation, which is the thing you claim cannot happen. Also, here are just a few of the hundreds of articles on macroevolution published every year.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/307/5716/1728.short

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/303/5655/207.short

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2410878?uid=3739584&uid=2&uid=4&am...

Once again, the reason that you haven't seen a "shred of evidence" for macroevolution is that you are ignorant on the subject. Personal incredulity is not a valid argument.

269ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:03am Top

>267 johnthefireman: I know, and I still think that we are brothers in Christ. I suppose the main point is to acknolwedge God, because if there is no God, then the rest is just a moot point. And I have noticed that those who are not Christians in this discussion (and yes, that is just my assumption, and I could be completely wrong, and hope I am) are not even willing to concede the possibility of God without being flippant about it.

I also agree that the Bible is not a science book, nor does it claim to be, but I do not believe that using the Bible to explain the beginning of life devalues the Bible.

270StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 9:04am Top

266: Because so many of them have their faith crumble when they realize that they have been lied to by those touting young Earth creationism. Their faith is propped up by nothing more than disinformation and ignorance.

271ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:12am Top

>268 StormRaven: The three quotes below are from your second link. Could you explain how "patchy and incomplete," "whole groups missing," and "perhaps" is hard scientific evidence?

This narrative would be accepted by most palaeontologists, and yet the fossil record is patchy and incomplete, especially the terrestrial record.

New discoveries tend to fill gaps in an incomplete fossil record, but how well does this reflect former reality? Undoubtedly, whole groups of soft-bodied organisms are missing from the fossil record and will never be found.

Perhaps the sea acts as a giant Petri dish in which species diversity has long been density-dependent (Benton 2001), or it could equally be that the logistic curves for marine diversification are an artefact of the coarse sampling level (families or genera) and would reduce to damped exponential curves at the species level

272johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 9:15am Top

>269 ambrithill: ambrithill, I think if you are trying to get atheists to acknowledge the possibility of God, you'll fail. There have been many threads about it. At the most some will acknowledge that it is a possibility, but since they cannot see any evidence for it, they argue that it is such an unlikely possibility that it is not worth paying attention to when there is a much more likely possibility in their view.

However, with all due respect, if you are trying to use creationism as a vehicle for that task, you really have backed a loser. Creationism is so patently false to both most Christians and most atheists (and almost everybody else), that it actually militates against your desire to demonstrate that there is a God.

273ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:14am Top

>266 ambrithill: If someone's faith is built on only one point then I am not surprised to see it crumble. But, have you seen evidence of those who do still believe in Creationism having a weak faith? That was the intent of the original question.

274ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:18am Top

>272 johnthefireman: I had no intention of even bringing up creationism, but I suppose I did way back in 118 in an answer to one of your posts and then it just took off.

275ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:20am Top

>229 Osbaldistone: Os, you left off my favorite TOS: Star Trek: TOS.

276ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:25am Top

I think the main point goes all the way back to C.S. Lewis' argument that Jesus was either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic, but through very circular reasoning, this question was simply discarded.

277johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 9:28am Top

>274 ambrithill: Oh hell, am I the one who started this off? My apologies to everyone for spawning yet another fruitless thread on creationism! Looking back to my post >116 johnthefireman: I see I was just trying to give what I thought was a fairly straightforward example of a biblical text that was not intended to be taken literally but demonstrated a different kind of truth. With hindsight that was rather naive of me.

278StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 9:39am Top

271: Could you explain how "patchy and incomplete," "whole groups missing," and "perhaps" is hard scientific evidence?

The problem is that you are looking at one of the strengths of science: the willingness to say "we don't know" when there is no evidence and interpreting it as a weakness. You, on the other hand, seem willing to take "there is no evidence" and fill in your preferred answer without any rational basis for doing so.

But it is interesting that you focused on the supposedly missing data rather than, say, the more than a million tests conducted by the writers of the paper. The standard you claimed was that there was "not a shred of evidence" for macroevolution. Could you explain why a million tests is not evidence?

I'll also point out that the quotes you provided aren't actually in the paper Abiotic Forcing of Plankton Evolution in the Cenozoic, which is what the second link leads to. Perhaps you meant a different link?

279StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 9:29am Top

276: The question was discarded because those are not the only possibilities. Lewis is a popular Christian writer, but he wasn't very skilled at his apologetics.

280lawecon
Jun 21, 2012, 9:33am Top

~251

You seem to have all sorts of things mixed up here. Let me see if I can help.

"I am not sure that is an accurate statement or how one could even show it be accurate, but it really does not matter. It is kind of equivalent to lawecon saying most Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah."

What I have said on that topic is not any sort of "equivocation" (you might want to look up the definition of that term), it is a recitation of well established facts. There is really no record, outside, of course, of the proselytizing cult books compiled many years later, that "most Jews" were even aware of Jesus' ministry and crucifixion. He was a David Koresh sort of figure without the mass press. He lived, he preached, he gathered a small group of followers, he ran afoul of the corrupt imperial authorities and he was executed. The story of many of his day.

He was far from unique. There were numerous other people around his time who claimed to be Messiahs or who challenged Roman rule and who were executed for their trouble. We also know of them, but their cults were not successful in growing into a mass religion that was subsequently adopted by the rulers of the Empire.

Those are facts. They may not be facts you like, but they are facts.

" For those who did believe that, nothing could change their mind, not even torture and death (which, by the way, is a very valid argument that they did not just make this stuff up, as some suppose)."

Here seems to be the heart of your confusion.

As for the "martyrs" for Christianity, they also were not unique. Every historical group has martyrs. Other rabbis of a few decades after Jesus was executed were themselves executed by such delightful techniques as having their skins ripped off in inch long strips. Martyrs tells you something only about belief, not about truth or falsity. Many people, see, e.g., the Nazis and Maoists, have truly and sincerely believed, and given their lives for their (completely false) beliefs. This says nothing other than there are a lot of credulous and generally not too bright people who want a cause to which they can attach their lives and aren't particular about the cause.

Further, you have again mischaracterized the argument. No one has maintained that anyone sat down and thought up a pack of lies that was then sold as Christianity, and that this R. Ron Hubbard of an earlier day was then called upon to give his life for his pack of lies.

What is often maintained is that an evangelical heterodox rabbi (one of many, since Judaism was an evangelical religion prior to Constantine and his successors) was executed by the hated Romans for what his followers deemed to be insufficient cause. The small cult that had followed him in life became incensed and started telling everyone of his virtue and the injustice that had been done to him. As such "causes" do, things were then added to the story of the courageous rabbi who stood up to the Romans and was treated unjustly. They were added over time by this person and by that person, here and there. The myth grew. It really grew when Paul decided to take this cause to the Gentiles. The Gentiles, of course, knew nothing specifically about Jesus and only a little about what Jews believed. They thus, quite naturally, did what Gentiles did in this age, they started confusing a righteous man who had been wronged with a god come down to correct mankind. Eventually you ended up with the Son of G-d who had redeemed the world through his crucifixion (as the evangelical hymn goes "although he could have called 1,000 angels to destroy the world and set him free").

Those are the claims, not that Paul or anyone else was an earlier day Ron Hubbard who invented a religion, but that Christianity was based on an early injustice that morphed into a street legend, into numerous different but unrelated cults, and then, with the intervention of the political authorities, into an official state religion.


" I have seen nothing that convinces me to not accept God at His word, nor is it likely that I will. Does that make me close-minded? Probably."

There is really no "probably" about it. You have told us that there is no evidence that could be presented to you that would cause you to change your fundamental beliefs. Further, you don't see anything wrong about having beliefs that are impervious to evidence or argument.

"Does it make me ignorant, as some suggest? Hardly,"as there have been, and continue to be, many people who are much more intelligent than I who still believe in creationism."

Here, again, is a fundamental confusion about basic categories. "Intelligence" is only remotely related to knowledge about a particular subject area. Someone can be very intelligent and completely honest and yet believe really off the wall things about an area outside of his area of expertise. Of course, an aspect of honesty is usually a willingness to critically examine one's beliefs. There are also people who are very intelligent and completely intellectually dishonest, for whatever their motivations.

281lawecon
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 9:39am Top

~254

">252 StormRaven: "You're not. You are standing up for ignorance and anti-intellectualism. You are standing up for a dramatically minority view of the meaning of Genesis among Christians. You are actually standing against most of your coreligionists on this."

Again, how do you know this? When was a world-wide survey taken on this subject? Or is that just an assumption you are making?"

No, it is not a conclusion that requires a world wide survey nor is it an assumption. It is a reasonable conclusion about your beliefs and the basis for those beliefs based on what you yourself have repeatedly told us about your beliefs.

282StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 9:44am Top

Do I believe in micro-evolution? Sure, which is the kind that is mentioned when discussing the changes between me and my parents, yet it is used to try and reinforce macro-evolution. That appears to be a "bait-and-switch" tactic.

I will point out that this is quite rich coming from someone who keeps flopping back and forth between asserting that six day creationism is true and that somehow a deistic God can be filled in prior to the Planck time. Scientists are not switching arguments midstream, you just don't understand their arguments. You, on the other hand, appear to happily flip between arguments as long as it suits your rhetorical purposes.

283ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:47am Top

>278 StormRaven: My apologies. you are correc that it was not from the article in the second link. It was actually from an article that was attached to the second link:
The origins of modern biodiversity on land Phil Trans R Soc B 27 November 2010: 3667-3679.

This is due in part to the fact that I did not have access to the other link.

I find it quite interesting that when you cannot answer a question it all of the sudden becomes a strength of science but if I cannot answer a question to your satisfaction I am a moron.

284ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:48am Top

>282 StormRaven: not flip-flopping, just seeing if you were willing to admit God as a real possibility under any circumstances, which obviously you are not.

285ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 9:53am Top

>280 lawecon: I'm sorry lawecon, I really was not trying to stir you up. However, I must say that I disagree with your statement, "He was far from unique." If that is the case, why are people not still worshipping the other guys?

You also said, "He lived, he preached, he gathered a small group of followers, he ran afoul of the corrupt imperial authorities and he was executed." Of course, I believe you left off the most important part, that He was resurrected. I am aware that you probably do not believe this, and that is your choice, but could you tell me why ten of His disciples were willing to die for something they knew to be a lie? And not just die, but to be tortured and go through painful deaths. Any one of them could have simply said that it was a lie and avoided all of this.

286StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 10:09am Top

My apologies. you are correc that it was not from the article in the second link. It was actually from an article that was attached to the second link

So you criticize the science in the article I linked to without reading it and by referencing an supposed weaknesses of an entirely different unrelated article?

This is due in part to the fact that I did not have access to the other link.

Registration is free.

I find it quite interesting that when you cannot answer a question it all of the sudden becomes a strength of science but if I cannot answer a question to your satisfaction I am a moron.

Saying "we don't know" is a strength. That leads to further investigation. As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, "if you aren't at the drawing board, you aren't making discoveries".

Saying "we don't know, therefore God" is the answer of an imbecile. Being ignorant and opining on a subject you are ignorant about is the endeavor of a fool.

287StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 10:08am Top

284: not flip-flopping, just seeing if you were willing to admit God as a real possibility under any circumstances, which obviously you are not.

It is flip-flopping.

I told you the circumstances under which I would accept God as a possibility: if there were any evidence supporting the concept. Until there is, "God" as a real possibility in the process of evolution or cosmology is no more likely than everything you see being a virtual reality simulation, or that the world was created by a capricious alien last Thursday. The key here is that all explanations unsupported by evidence are on equal footing. You want to privilege your preferred evidenceless explanation without any basis for doing so.

288ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 10:10am Top

>286 StormRaven: You are certainly good at name-calling, I will admit that.

289lawecon
Jun 21, 2012, 10:11am Top

~285

">280 lawecon: I'm sorry lawecon, I really was not trying to stir you up. However, I must say that I disagree with your statement, "He was far from unique." If that is the case, why are people not still worshipping the other guys?

See immediately above on belief vs. truth and falsehood. Apparently this is a very difficult distinction for you.

"You also said, "He lived, he preached, he gathered a small group of followers, he ran afoul of the corrupt imperial authorities and he was executed." Of course, I believe you left off the most important part, that He was resurrected."

As I've said and can easily illustrate from Biblical and nonBiblical sources, there were people resurrected before, at the time of and after Jesus. How does this, then, set him apart?

290StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 10:12am Top

Of course, I believe you left off the most important part, that He was resurrected. I am aware that you probably do not believe this, and that is your choice, but could you tell me why ten of His disciples were willing to die for something they knew to be a lie?

Why were David Koresh's followers willing to die for their faith in him by being burned to death? Why were John Jones' followers willing to commit suicide at his command?

The willingness of the followers of a charismatic leader to die for their cause is not evidence of the truth of that cause.

291StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 10:37am Top

288: Stop making unwarranted leaps and filling in "we don't know" with 'God" and you won't look so silly when doing so.

You can avoid being ignorant by picking up some basic textbooks on the subject you are opining about. Given your proudly anti-intellectual stance here, I doubt you will. Just as a note: proudly waving your ignorance is unlikely to impress anyone. If there is a God, I would suggest that he wouldn't be particularly impressed by people who are ignorant and choose to remain so.

By the way, what creationist website are you cribbing from?

292StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 10:59am Top

Because it is Eratosthenes Day, I'll make an analogy. Eratothenes used some fairly simple methods to determine the Earth was a sphere and to calculate the circumference of the Earth about 2200 years ago. By figuring out the lengths of shadows cast by sticks in Cyrene and Alexandria on June 21 and the distance between the two cities, he was able to come up with a figure of 40,000 kilometers for the circumference of the Earth.

The creationist criticisms of science would be the equivalent of saying that because Eratothenes didn't walk all the way around the world, he couldn't figure out the right answer, and therefore, the Earth is actually flat. Or that because he didn't get the exact right answer (the "true" circumference differs by a few percent), his answer is completely useless and it is just as likely that the Earth is actually five hundred billion kilometers in circumference.

Six day creationism is not just stupid, it is colossally stupid.

293ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 11:15am Top

>291 StormRaven: Believe it or not, I am not looking at any website, just using the ol' noggin.

294ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 11:17am Top

>290 StormRaven: There is a difference in believing what someone said and having eye witnesses who are willing to die.

>289 lawecon: The thing that sets Him apart is that He is still being worshipped 2000 years later.

295johnthefireman
Jun 21, 2012, 11:28am Top

>294 ambrithill: ambrithill, speaking as one who does believe in Jesus the Christ, I don't think the fact that people were willing to die for him is unique, nor is it one of the persuasive arguments that he is the Christ. Soldiers are willing to die for their mates (or even their country). Mothers sacrifice themselves to save their children. Buddhist monks are burning themselves to death almost daily. It really proves nothing except that people have strong beliefs (or feelings or whatever) for which they are willing to die.

I do think the fact that Christianity is still going strong 2,000 years later is more persuasive. In that respect it joins a relatively small number of long-standing, large and geographically widespread religious traditions. I know there are explanations based purely on social and political dynamics, but even granting that those played a role, nevertheless this is the one which has survived, not the other itinerant Jewish rabbis.

None of that has anything to do with creationism, however, simply about who and what Jesus is.

296StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 11:30am Top

293: I seriously doubt that, since every argument you are making has been proffered dozens of times by creationist apologists. I seriously doubt you just happened to come up with the tired phrases like "If humans evolved from monkeys why are there still monkeys" and "it takes more faith to believe something came from nothing" and "I believe in microevolution but not macroevolution" completely on your own, just happening to replicate the arguments used by creationist apologists for years.

So who are you getting your arguments from? Ken Hamm? Kent (or Eric) Hovind? Someone else?

297StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 11:31am Top

294: There is a difference in believing what someone said and having eye witnesses who are willing to die.

1. Eye witness testimony is one of the most unreliable forms of evidence.
2. Jesus is not unique in having eye witnesses assert having seen him do miracles and then being willing to die.

298StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 11:33am Top

deleted

299ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 12:36pm Top

>296 StormRaven: There is one thing that I admit to complete ignorance on and that is why do atheists and evolutions (non-theistic) evangelize? I understand why Christians and people of other religions do so, but I see no purpose in the evangelizing of the message to get people to believe that this life is all there is. If that's the case, then what difference does it make whether I or anyone else believes it or not. If it is to show your superior intellect, then that is a mighty selfish motive, not to mention not really amazing since you consider the other people to be moronic and uneducated and know less than an 8th grader. If that makes you feel better about yourself, have at it.

300ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 12:38pm Top

>295 johnthefireman: and 297 It is true that there have been others willing to die for others, but it seems amazingly against the odds that 11 out of 11 were willing to die and be tortured, and that 10 of them did so without even one of them admitting that they were simply perpetrating a lie. Also, if they were perpetrating a lie, what advantage did they gain?

301StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 12:49pm Top

299: There is one thing that I admit to complete ignorance on and that is why do atheists and evolutions (non-theistic) evangelize?

It is interesting that you describe defending science as "evangelizing". But to answer your question, one reason is that people like Ken Hamm, with the assistance of people like you, have made numerous attempts to bastardize science education by trying to adulterate it with counterfactual superstitious nonsense. Creationist advocates spread disinformation and lies and want the public schools to do the same.

And they are supported by people like you who buy their arguments because you are lacking in basic science education. Your questions, your claims, your arguments, they all display a level of ignorance on the topic of evolution, cosmology, and the rest of the body of knowledge we call science that is profoundly shocking. Your posts have shown time and again that far from "questioning" science, you are simply uneducated in the field and misunderstand it.

The Hamms, Hovinds, and Comforts of the world want you to be ignorant so they can feed you a collection of lies without being challenged. Creationism is unsupported by any evidence, and anyone who actually looks at the evidence figures this out almost immediately. Do you enjoy being ignorant and trumpeting that ignorance for all to see? If so, then they have gotten exactly what they want.

302StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 12:50pm Top

It is true that there have been others willing to die for others, but it seems amazingly against the odds that 11 out of 11 were willing to die and be tortured, and that 10 of them did so without even one of them admitting that they were simply perpetrating a lie.

Why? This has happened dozens of times over. Jesus' followers were not exceptional in this regard. An argument from personal incredulity isn't a very convincing argument.

303fuzzi
Jun 21, 2012, 1:13pm Top

My, my, what a busy thread...some 80 posts in the last 13 hours.

(245) ambrithill wrote >243 StormRaven: If standing up for the God of the Bible is embarrassing myself then I gladly do so.

Amen.

(248) johnthefireman wrote The majority of Christians don't accept creationism; are you implying that they are not standing up for the God of the bible?

Yes.

And one might argue that there are rather more important things in the bible that one might choose to stand up for - peace, justice, loving one's neighbour, to name but a few.

How about the importance of believing God when He said that His word is truth, instead of picking out and discarding what you don't like from the Bible? Judges 21:25

304StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 2:14pm Top

How about the importance of believing God when He said that His word is truth, instead of picking out and discarding what you don't like from the Bible?

I have no dog in this fight, but literalism isn't the only way to read Genesis, and reading it allegorically is not "picking out and discarding what you don't like". Truth be told, reading Genesis literally is a very recent phenomenon confined to a few sects of Christianity. If anything, the insistence on a literal reading of portions of the Bible like Genesis has probably done more to undermine the public acceptance of Christianity than anything any atheist could have done. If you insist that people must accept things that are demonstrably untrue as part of the faith, you are likely to lose a lot of possible believers.

And you must have a very small and insecure God if he wants you to remain ignorant of the reality around you. Or a deceptive one who has planted lots of false evidence. I'm not sure which is a worse option. Your call.

305Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 2:46pm Top

FWIW, many in discussions like this tend to get the term 'information' confused with the term 'fact'; [the term 'fact' confused with the term 'knowledge';] the terms 'fact' [and/or 'knowledge'] confused with the term 'truth'; and the term 'truth' confused with the term 'wisdom'.

I bring this up because I have to go back to this thought occasionally to check myself and why I think I'm right about something, and I highly recommend it.

What reminded me of this is fuzzi's statement at the end of post 303 - How about the importance of believing God when He said that His word is truth. Overlooking the fact (and I mean fact) that the written word (which I think is what fuzzi is talking about) was written by humans, not by God, and, therefore has all the risk of errors that any human endeavor has, it would seem that, in this context, fuzzi is using the word 'truth' when she means 'fact'. Truth can be found in the written word whether or not that word is factual (I find this quite freeing when seeking revelation in the Bible). There are many poems, short stories, and novels that are powerful 'truth tellers'.

Thus, I agree with the importance of believing that God's word is truth, but I do not agree that the words written down by humans in trying to relate their experience of that truth is necessarily 'fact'. Often they are intentionally not factual, because the truths they are trying to reveal are best related in parables, metaphors, and poetry. And, as I've related many times on some of these threads, no one has a complete view of God.

This understanding of the Bible is very freeing - it allows me to appreciate the revelations regarding the creation that science has to offer, while continuing to pursue ongoing revelation from God from the Bible and other forms of witness (other wisdom writings, personal contact with people whom God has touched, etc).

I suspect that the problem fuzzi will have with the view I've espoused will also, at least in part, be due to the 'fact' that fuzzi believes that, when the Bible refers to 'God's Word', she hears 'Bible'. But when these words were written down by the humans to whom God revealed such truths, there was no Bible. God's Word meant the Word that God revealed to them and which they are trying to relate to others within the limits of human written language. And a spectacularly successful job it is, as I continue to find 'truth' in these words whenever I return to them. Sometime, I find 'facts' as well, but they are rarely as important or necessary to my continuting journey as the 'truths' that I find.

Os.

Just another note to reinforce my point (I've never been accused of being too brief): I often speak to young children about God. When I do, I frequently create a story to get a difficult idea across in a short timespan (they're not terribly patient, you know; unlike us adults). These stories, I surely hope, relay 'truth' to these young minds, even when they contain few if any facts. Am I lying? Should they reject the message? I certainly hope not. I hope they can rely on my word as 'truth'.

When my children were small, they learned about Santa. Among other things, Santa taught them that Christmas was about Jesus. Now, years later, they know that Santa does not exist (at least, not as a magical elf who drops down the chimney), but they know that they received 'truth'. How can I say this? Because I've asked them.

~~~~~~~~~~
ETA the text in bracket in the first paragraph. I knew it seemed incomplete when I wrote it. Sorry.

306jburlinson
Jun 21, 2012, 2:52pm Top

> 280. He was far from unique. There were numerous other people around his time who claimed to be Messiahs or who challenged Roman rule and who were executed for their trouble. We also know of them, but their cults were not successful in growing into a mass religion that was subsequently adopted by the rulers of the Empire.

So it sounds like he was unique after all -- since his cult did grow into a mass religion etc.

There's another singular thing about him. This is post # 305 (unless someone beats me to the punch) of a thread among many dozens of threads on an internet group among many hundreds (thousands? tens of thousands?) of internet threads about him. All these internet threads are but a fraction of the many millions of books, articles, essays, etc. written about him. All these millions of writings are just a fraction of the hundreds of millions of conversations/arguments etc. about him.

All of this interest simply cannot be explained away by pointing at Constantine. It is entirely generated by the figure of Jesus, one of the unlikeliest people in the world to have gained celebrity even outside his little backwater of a little backwater of the Roman empire.

307nathanielcampbell
Jun 21, 2012, 2:52pm Top

>264 ambrithill:: "I have not seen one shred of evidence that shows macro-evolution to be true."

Well, you could read my wife's dissertation -- her experiments on hybrid sterility between two different species of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans) only worked the way they did because the two species share a common ancestor. If they hadn't evolved from a common ancestor, the various hybrid rescue and lethal male rescue genes she studied wouldn't work the way they do.

And both she and I are faithful Christians who believe God created the universe.

308Osbaldistone
Jun 21, 2012, 2:53pm Top

>305 Osbaldistone:
Not trying to derail the current discussion. Just a little extra to explain why I think the first paragraph is an important tool.

We are inundated with information, quite a bit of which is not factual. Even when we have a good handle on what are the facts, it takes considerable effort on our part to turn that into knowledge. But, having knowledge does not prevent us from missing the truth. Besides, sometimes, relaying facts and knowledge is complicated and time consuming, when relaying the truth can be accomplished with a well crafted tale or metaphor, or simply in the way we live our lives in full view of others. And then, having a handle on the truth, as valuable as that is, pales in comparison to gaining the wisdom to hold on to that truth while pursuing more, to piece together the truths we gain into a coherent whole, and to be able to live a life that exemplifies those truths.

Os.

309Osbaldistone
Jun 21, 2012, 3:04pm Top

>264 ambrithill:: "I have not seen one shred of evidence that shows macro-evolution to be true."

May I recommend Francis Collins' The Language of God. The former director of the Human Genome Project shows how DNA provides clear evidence for evolution while showing how it does not conflict with the Bible, but enhances it. This work gives a good case for rejecting atheism, agnosticim, intelligent design, and young-earth creationism. It is quite accessible to anyone with a basic High School science education. And it comes from someone who has worked closely with many scientists and Christians (and, of course, both).

Os.

310StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 3:25pm Top

This work gives a good case for rejecting atheism, agnosticim, intelligent design, and young-earth creationism.

Maybe. On the other hand, the majority of people who actually work in the field are nonbelievers, so its probably not all that good of a case for rejecting atheism or agnosticism. Someone may be able to reconcile their faith with the reality of the science, but the science doesn't give any particular reason to believe either.

311Osbaldistone
Jun 21, 2012, 3:44pm Top

>310 StormRaven:
I'm not sure how much this means if you've not read his work.

There are many determined believers and non-believers who would not allow arguments to the contrary to interfere. That, to me, says more about them than the arguments. What is important in Collins work, to me, is that he was a scientist and athiest first, but was open enough to consider arguments to the contrary, and pursued a rational assessment of the existance of God in the course of his work. He was in no way trying to reconcile his faith with the reality of science.

Os.

312nathanielcampbell
Jun 21, 2012, 3:51pm Top

>310 StormRaven:: Actually, according to this Pew Research Center study from 2009, only 41% of scientists claimed not to believe in God or a higher power; 33% believed in God, while another 18 % believed in a higher power.

It's nonsensical stereotypes like the one you perpetuate here that contribute to the distrust of science amongst some Christians, making it that much harder to demonstrate to them that there is no conflict between their faith and the evidence of science. I should know -- both my wife (an evolutionary biologist) and I (a historical theologian) have worked to counter such fundamental misconceptions.

313johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 4:15pm Top

>303 fuzzi: The majority of Christians don't accept creationism; are you implying that they are not standing up for the God of the bible?

Yes.


fuzzi, with all due respect, this is what I find very difficult in having a conversation with you. Disagreeing is one thing. As ambrithill said a few posts back, we can still be brothers and sisters in Christ even though we disagree. But your position seems to be that anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of Christianity is a back-slider (you have used different terms in different threads, but I think that's a fair description). You don't seem to be open to the possibility that Christians who disagree with you are as sincere, committed, prayerful, open to God's Holy Spirit, standing up for the God of the bible, etc as you are, but they simply interpret it differently than you do.

Edited to add: And nobody is "picking out and discarding what {they} don't like from the Bible". As Os and others have said so eloquently, we affirm "the importance of believing God when He said that His word is truth". Again, we simply differ from you in our understanding of what that statement means.

314jburlinson
Jun 21, 2012, 4:27pm Top

> 311. What is important in Collins work, to me, is that he was a scientist and athiest first, but was open enough to consider arguments to the contrary, and pursued a rational assessment of the existance of God in the course of his work. He was in no way trying to reconcile his faith with the reality of science.

If I recall this book correctly, Collins' faith was not the result of a rational assessment but was a subjective response to a frozen waterfall, wasn't it?

Which, let me hasten to add, in no way invalidates his conviction, in my opinion. It's just that the genesis of his faith was an aesthetic/emotional (spiritual?) experience.

315nathanielcampbell
Jun 21, 2012, 4:29pm Top

>303 fuzzi: and 313: I have stood up for you in the past, fuzzi, but now I can no longer do so. By declaring not only me and my wife, but also John, Tim, and most Christians in the world to be at minimum bad Christians and more likely false Christians who deny the Bible, you have placed yourself outside of Christian charity. Your blindness to the non-literal truth of the Bible is difficult but forgiveable; but your condemnation of the good faith of others is not. You have set yourself in judgment; I pray that the Lord will be merciful when he judges you for it.

316StormRaven
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 4:59pm Top

It's nonsensical stereotypes like the one you perpetuate here

Yes, saying things like:

"Someone may be able to reconcile their faith with the reality of the science, but the science doesn't give any particular reason to believe either."

Is certainly perpetuating a nonsensical stereotype. As you noted elsewhere, the science didn't persuade Collins one way or the other. A frozen waterfall did.

Note that although only 41% of scientists profess no belief in a higher power, only 17% of the population in general do. It seems that being involved in the sciences is likely to erode your faith, or at least be attractive to people without faith. Also note that I said in response to a suggestion that a book about DNA would provide a basis for rejecting atheism and agnosticism:

"On the other hand, the majority of people who actually work in the field are nonbelievers"

That same survey you cite shows that only 32% of people working in biology and medicine believe in God. In other words, the majority of people in that field are nonbelievers.

there is no conflict between their faith and the evidence of science

If your faith incorporates a 7,000 year old Earth and six day creation, yes, there is.

317jburlinson
Jun 21, 2012, 4:51pm Top

>315 nathanielcampbell:. By declaring not only me and my wife, but also John, Tim, and most Christians in the world to be at minimum bad Christians and more likely false Christians who deny the Bible...

I'm not 100% sure that fuzzi is declaring such people bad or false Christians as much as she's stating that they(we?) are mistaken about the literal inerrancy of the Bible.

Here's why I'm not sure. In the past, fuzzi, and others, have claimed that all someone needs to do to be saved is to profess belief in Jesus Christ. Many passages from scripture have been provided to support that claim.

All of the people you mentioned do, as far as I can tell, profess belief in Jesus Christ. I know you do. Me too.

So, I would suppose that fuzzi accepts that we are good Christians and are on the road to salvation, or, as she put it on another thread, we're in God's hand and nobody can remove us from God's hand.

And yet, she seems so insistent on the necessity of reading the Bible literally. The implication seems to be that those people who don't do so, don't really believe in Jesus Christ.

But reading the Bible in a certain way seems to me like performing a "good work," which she and others have said is irrelevant to salvation.

So I'm a little confused, but on the whole pretty sure that fuzzi isn't really outside of Christian charity.

Of course, she can correct me if I'm wrong.

318lawecon
Jun 21, 2012, 5:07pm Top

~299

">296 StormRaven: There is one thing that I admit to complete ignorance on and that is why do atheists and evolutions (non-theistic) evangelize? I understand why Christians and people of other religions do so, but I see no purpose in the evangelizing of the message to get people to believe that this life is all there is. "

I know at this point that you can't tell the difference between me an an atheist, so let me give you one simple answer.

Anyone who is familiar with any significant amount of history knows that belief systems that are impervious to evidence or argument, in which the believer claims special knowledge that separates him from the rest of humanity, usually breed tyranny, war and the downfall of civilization. My answer is, thus, that I evangelize against people with such views because those views are dangerous. They are dangerous to my prosperity, they are dangerous to my physical existence, they are dangerous to my children, they are dangerous to the survival of remnants of the civilization in which I live. That seems to me to be a much better reason to evangelize than belief in some mythical Hell where those who don't believe just as I believe will burn eternally.

As I've indicated repeatedly in this thread and other related threads, you don't have to believe in the affirmative things I believe in. I really don't care whether or not you are a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim. I do care a lot about whether you are a dangerous person who is out to destroy civilization to further his "faith." I oppose that sort of person whether they are a Nazi or a Maoist or a purported religious person. I oppose them because the label doesn't matter when the substance is basically the same.

319nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 6:35pm Top

>316 StormRaven:: "That same survey you cite shows that only 32% of people working in biology and medicine believe in God. In other words, the majority of people in that field are nonbelievers."

Your statement is only accurate if you ignore the additional 18% who said they believe in a higher power. Only 41% (a minority, not a majority) said they were nonbelievers.

"Someone may be able to reconcile their faith with the reality of the science, but the science doesn't give any particular reason to believe either."

I admit that such a statement is neither nonsensical nor stereotypical and I apologize for overstating the case on that one -- my charge was about the survey data on whether a majority of scientists are nonbelievers, not about the limits of scientific epistemology.

320StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 6:55pm Top

319: Your 41% figure refers to scientists in general. I was referring to the figures broken down by discipline when I brought up the 32% figure, which applies to biologists and medical professionals. When I referred to "people in the field" I meant people in the life sciences, which drops down to 32%. I don't really think you can include "higher power" people in the "religious belief" category, because that can cover such a wide range of beliefs ranging from deism to agnosticism. If you want to do that, then the "don't knows" need to be added to the non-believing side to be consistent, which tips the scales the other way for physicists.

One thing that is interesting is that the younger group was the most religious, but the lower range was 18 years old. How many 18 year old scientists are there? And how many people between the ages of 18 and 34 can credibly be called "scientists". Most people in the sciences are done with their degrees until they are at least in their mid-twenties if not older. Who is being surveyed that they need categories younger than that?

Ah, here we go. The survey was of members of AAAS. Which appears to have no particular standards for joining. So saying that it represents the views of "scientists" appears to be stretching the truth quite a bit.

321nathanielcampbell
Jun 21, 2012, 7:29pm Top

>320 StormRaven:: Look at the data table at the bottom of the page: it shows that, in the field "Biological and Medical", 32% believe in God, 19% believe in a higher power, and 41% believe in neither. Unless you are using an idiosyncratic definition of "nonbeliever", then the finding still stands: only 41% in the field "biological and medical" are "nonbelievers".

If you can find data to back up your claim that the "majority" of biologists are nonbelievers, I'd be happy to continue this discussion. But at this point, the only hard data that has been offered disputes your claim.

(As does my personal experience with biologists, but there you go.)

322jburlinson
Jun 21, 2012, 7:40pm Top


Survey: Most doctors believe in God, afterlife


"In the survey of 1,044 doctors nationwide, 76 percent said they believe in God, 59 percent said they believe in some sort of afterlife, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine."

323ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 7:58pm Top

>318 lawecon: "I oppose that sort of person whether they are a Nazi or a Maoist or a purported religious person. I oppose them because the label doesn't matter when the substance is basically the same."

So you believe Christians who believe the Bible are the same as a Nazi??

324ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:00pm Top

>320 StormRaven: So 1 out of 3 do believe in a higher power? That seems pretty high considering you think anyone that believes that has a screw loose.

325ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:03pm Top

>317 jburlinson: Not trying to speak for fuzzi, but at least in my opinion that comment would mean that there is a disagreement in the understanding of Scripture, but hey, that has been going on almost since the beginning of the Church, and it always will because we are imperfect humans. And as for myself, if you are right about Jesus the rest is incidental.

326ambrithill
Jun 21, 2012, 8:09pm Top

>302 StormRaven: Could you name examples, please.

327lawecon
Jun 21, 2012, 9:06pm Top

~322

""In the survey of 1,044 doctors nationwide, 76 percent said they believe in God, 59 percent said they believe in some sort of afterlife, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine."

Well, that the overwhelming majority of doctors believe in G-d is hardly surprising. After all, most must have mirrors in their houses.

328lawecon
Edited: Jun 21, 2012, 11:55pm Top

#323

I believe that Christians, or anyone else, who mold their life around a series of fundamentally (pun intended) untested and untestable propositions, around unconditional worship of a man or an object, and who believe that they have a deep inner insight not shared with the unwashed are fundamentally the same.

They are disconnected to reality, easily manipulated by some Great Leader or Party, impervious to contrary evidence, and fodder for war, for revolution, for crimes that they think of as "the will of _____" and for which they take no responsibility.

So, if your sort of Christianity fits into that box, then yes, you are much like a Nazi.

329StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 9:45pm Top

321: And 7% "don't know". That's not a believer no matter how you define it. But as I said in my last post, the survey wasn't actually of scientists. It was of the members of the AAAS, which can (and almost certainly does) include, say undergraduates in their first year of college who may or may not complete their studies in the sciences. As the field gets older (and presumably the respondents became more educated in their field) religious belief drops sharply.

And that supposition coincides perfectly with the survey of "greater" scientists that used membership in the NAS as a proxy for being a "greater" scientist. In that study, 60% of scientists polled using random sampling (probably a more reliable method than that used by the Pew survey) expressed disbelief or doubt about the existence of God, while among "greater" scientists, the percentage expressing belief dropped to 7%, while those expressing doubt or agnosticism was only 20%.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

330fuzzi
Jun 21, 2012, 10:13pm Top

(313) johnthefireman replied fuzzi, with all due respect, this is what I find very difficult in having a conversation with you. Disagreeing is one thing. As ambrithill said a few posts back, we can still be brothers and sisters in Christ even though we disagree. But your position seems to be that anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of Christianity is a back-slider (you have used different terms in different threads, but I think that's a fair description). You don't seem to be open to the possibility that Christians who disagree with you are as sincere, committed, prayerful, open to God's Holy Spirit, standing up for the God of the bible, etc as you are, but they simply interpret it differently than you do.

john, you are generalizing my position and adding an editorial of what you think I believe. I never said that people who believe differently from what I believe are not sincere or committed, prayerful, etc.

The Lord has said that His word is truth, is pure and is therefore without error, so then those who reject numerous passages describing God creating the world and all in it, are denying God's words. Rejecting some of the Bible, my friend, is picking and choosing to believe what you want to believe, and not believing what God wrote.

As you must be aware of, there is an entire chapter in Psalms about God's word, Psalm 119. In this chapter there are over 170 verses praising God for His word. Obviously, God's word is very important to Him as well as should be to His followers.

Jesus Christ and the apostles reiterate the truth of God's words, not just the general message in the Bible. Repeatedly throughout the scriptures the importance of reading and studying God's word is emphasized.

God wrote that His word, the book of the law, the word of The Lord, the scriptures, are not only true and pure, but He promised to preserve them FOREVER. I believe in His promise and therefore take the word(s) of God, the Bible, literally.

If you or others here take offense, well, I am truly sorry to hear that, as I wish no ill nor do I intend to upset anyone.

However, regarding God said it, that settles it, no matter what others may say or believe.

Luke 4:4
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.


331StormRaven
Jun 21, 2012, 10:20pm Top

However, regarding God said it, that settles it, no matter what others may say or believe.

It is always fun to see someone parrot Ken Hamm.

332lawecon
Jun 22, 2012, 12:05am Top

~330

Beginning to figure it out by now, John? If not, think along the lines of "I am not a brother to everyone who calls themselves a Christian, any more than lawecon is a brother to anyone who calls himself a Jew." Since certain people like to quote the NT:

"15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. .... 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

333johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 12:13am Top

>330 fuzzi: However, regarding God said it, that settles it, no matter what others may say or believe

But you don't accept that what I understand God to have said is different to what you understand God to have said? And that both are only human attempts to understand what God has said?

you are generalizing my position and adding an editorial of what you think I believe

My apologies, fuzzi, if I have misrepresented or misunderstood you, but my comment on what I understand to be your position is based on many of your posts on many threads. Maybe you haven't noticed the implications of some of your comments, even if unintended?

If you and I find it so difficult to understand what each one is writing when we are both able to interrogate each other's position in real time, and when we both speak the same language (albeit quite different dialects thereof on different sides of the pond), and when what we are reading is the undisputed real text, complete not in fragments, in its original language not a translation, isn't that a microcosm of how difficult it is truly to understand the ancient text of the bible? And please don't tell me God helps you to understand it correctly, because I can say exactly the same - God helps both of us.

334Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 1:16am Top

>314 jburlinson: If I recall this book correctly, Collins' faith was not the result of a rational assessment but was a subjective response to a frozen waterfall, wasn't it?

Well, it's been three years since I read it, and I don't recall a waterfall, but I read a couple of paragraphs, before posting 311, where he described why he began to look into the existence of God as a legitimate, rational pursuit. And that's what I was referring to in 311. I wasn't referring to what ultimately led to his belief, which I couldn't find in a quick scan of the first chapter, but here are a couple of quotes which were the basis of my comment in 311.
After being unable to answer the question "What do you believe", and realizing he had not arrived at disbelief by any rational inquiry, Collins writes: At first, I was confident that a full investigation of the rational basis for faith would deny the merits of belief, and reaffirm my athiesm.

Later he writes: My athiesim now lay in ruins...Agnosticism...now loomed like the great cop-out it often is. Faith in God now seemed more rational that disbelief.
Again, if there was a "waterfall moment", I missed it in my quick scan.

Os.

335fuzzi
Jun 22, 2012, 7:57am Top

(333) I wrote: However, regarding God said it, that settles it, no matter what others may say or believe

johnthefireman answered: But you don't accept that what I understand God to have said is different to what you understand God to have said? And that both are only human attempts to understand what God has said?

In the Bible there are things that can be hard to understand, and we have to rely upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us comprehend what God wants us to do.

Do I understand everything in the Bible? NO! That would make me God, Who I am certainly NOT! What I do understand is based upon my reading of the text and through God's guidance. If what I believe is not what God is saying, then I pray for Him to enlighten me. He will do that, in His time, His way, according to His will.

I can say with certainty that a person must be 'born again' in order to go to Heaven, but the other things we discuss here such as when the earth was created (by God) are not as important. After all, salvation is the key thing we need to know, for it is what Christ came for, to give us the opportunity to be with Him for all eternity. Other doctrines are important, but not as crucial for the good of our eternal souls.

And please don't tell me God helps you to understand it correctly, because I can say exactly the same - God helps both of us.

I am sorry, but that is what I believe, john, based upon my study and prayer.

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. - 1 John 2:27

That's my understanding of the scriptures, that God will reveal His truth to all through His word, so that's what I believe.

336johnthefireman
Jun 22, 2012, 8:11am Top

>335 fuzzi: I give up...

337lawecon
Jun 22, 2012, 8:50am Top

~336

As you should have done long ago had you not been excessively transfixed on the labels people attach to themselves.

338faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 9:32am Top

>336 johnthefireman:
Yep. One does get to that point. However, it is fair to say that when confronted with the possibility of having lawmakers in office who adhere so rigidly to their interpretation of their religion, or anything else for that matter, it is alarming.
Though fuzzi denys doing so.....we all pick and choose what we adhere to in so far as the Bible goes. No two people are ever going to understand things in exactly the same manner.....so when you decide something to be the biblical truth, I am deciding that it doesn't exactly mean what you think it does. Most amazing thing about this process is that, my belief, tells me that this is the way it is supposed to be, otherwise we would have no growth, spiritual or otherwise....we would all be cookie cutter Christians or Muslims or Buddists or what ever. My understanding does not bring me any closer to the Creator or "salvation" than that of a Christian's, a Muslim's or a Buddist's, only my actions can do that, one of which should be humility. Which kind of speaks against the idea that God would have given me and those who think like me the only way to "salvation" or "understanding" or what ever you want to call it.

As for the "born again" thing. Always thought that meant that any time something is revealed to me or I come to a better understanding of what it means to be "here", I am born again. Impossible to be "born again" only once unless nothing around us changes. If life changes around us we need to adjust our understanding. Which requires that we be "born again".

Having said that...in all honesty...I don't know if I am right or wrong. Can only guess... this admission is an attitude that is missing in fundamental thought processes.

339ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 10:05am Top

>338 faceinbook: Actually fuzzi did admit that she could be wrong and that if she is that she is praying God will enlighten her. I do not see that as a haughty attitude, but a humble spirit willing to be led where God leads her. One of the questions that I have that arises from this conversation is if you truly believe something, anything, are you just supposed to say that you could be wrong everytime you mention it? I believe that healthy grass is green. Do I need to say I could be wrong everytime I mention green grass? Or that my house is blue? While these definitely do not hold the significance that believing correctly about God holds, and that is not my point, why should someone have to apologize (in either sense of the word) everytime they say something?

340nathanielcampbell
Jun 22, 2012, 10:10am Top

>339 ambrithill:: God has been speaking very loudly and very clearly through the overwhelming evidences of the natural sciences -- but fuzzi won't listen.

341faceinbook
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 10:29am Top

>339 ambrithill:
No one does not have to admit that one may be wrong everytime you mention it. However, we are not talking about grass or blue houses. Religion is a far different subject than the concrete examples you just gave. The problem comes in when you state that you are correct to the exclusion of all others. The Bible is not the only way to God. At least to my way of thinking. I do not appreciate being told I am damned if this is my belief OR pitied because I am clueless. And I especially do not want to be judged based on someone else's religious belief.

Fuzzi can believe in little green men if she chooses to......but when she makes that choice, she lets herself open for a lot of conversation about the non existance of little green men. Ignoring science is much the same. You can state that your belief system tells you that the earth is only 7000 years old and that the earth was created in six days....fine but taking it one more step and saying that you get your information from the Bible , the Bible is the only way to God , God brought you to that understanding and all who do not believe are damned, is going to bring out a bit of flack .

342ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 10:35am Top

> 341 If you do not believe what the Bible teaches why do you get upset if you disagree with what someone says. If someone from another religion tells me that my beliefs are wrong, it does not get me all worked up, so I wonder why it does for those who do not believe the Bible.

P.S. I am not referring to petty name calling as some on LT like to do, but about personal beliefs.

343ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 10:37am Top

>341 faceinbook: Also, remember, it was not fuzzi who came up with the idea that Jesus is the only way. Those words were spoken by Jesus, if you believe the Bible. And if you do not believe the Bible, then again, why worry?

344Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 10:50am Top

>341 faceinbook: but taking it one more step and saying that you get your information from the Bible , the Bible is the only way to God , God brought you to that understanding and all who do not believe are damned, is going to bring out a bit of flack.

Fortunately, fuzzi said in post 335 that If what I believe is not what God is saying, then I pray for Him to enlighten me. He will do that, in His time, His way, according to His will. So, she is clearly ready to change that position as she grows in her understanding. I'm sure she recognizes that His way may well include the insights shared in this thread. So, perhaps, some of this discussion will contribute to a different and/or deeper understanding of scripture and, perhaps, a different and/or deeper understanding of the ways God reveals Himself to all of us, in His time, His way, according to His will.

Os.

345Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 11:08am Top

>343 ambrithill: Also, remember, it was not fuzzi who came up with the idea that Jesus is the only way. Those words were spoken by Jesus, if you believe the Bible. And if you do not believe the Bible, then again, why worry?

This is why some have said on this thread that we all pick and choose. I don't know about you personally, ambrithill, but I do know that most who read this and hear Jesus speaking to every human on Earth will then read the passage where Jesus says to go and sell all you own, give to the poor, and follow me, and believe that Jesus was talking to the rich man, but didn't mean all humans on the Earth. You decide which applies to everyone and which applies to certain people. You have to make that call based on prayerful consideration of scripture and the wisdom of "the cloud of witnesses" of which you are a part.

I happen to believe, from decades of pondering this particular scripture in light of others and in light of my slowly growing understanding of God, that Jesus meant what he said, knowing that he was talking to followers who were part of a particular religious and cultural society, and it is true for them, as it is true for me and, I believe, most of Western culture. But that does not preclude God, who, as fuzzi said, reveals Himself "in His time, His way, according to His will", from providing a different path, a different revelation, to someone in an Asian religious and cultural society; one that works and is clearly understood within the framework of the world in which they are raised.

Please don't miss my point that, yes, for me and for many (certainly most, if not all of the people I know), Jesus is the only way. I can find no other lighted path for myself, and can witness to no other. I am wired for this as, I believe, are most of the people posting on this thread. And Jesus knew this when he said what he said.

Os.

346ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 11:26am Top

>345 Osbaldistone: I could agree with this if John 14 was the only place that Jesus said this. In John 6:41-58 Jesus says the same thing, just not quite as bluntly, and He is not speaking to His followers.

And please accept that I am not saying that I am right simply because I think I am right. I am trying to gain a better understanding of Scripture and have been doing so for many years, yet I know that there are still many things I cannot explain, including the question about those from other cultures and nations who have never the name of Jesus. Fortunately, God will deal with that, so I do not have to.

347JGL53
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 11:44am Top

> 1 - 346

OTOH, maybe the mormons are right.

It can't be proven that they are not, can it - just like atheists can't prove there's no god, right?

If it's all about faith, then one faith is as seemingly grounded in truth as the next.

OK then.

348Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 11:49am Top

>346 ambrithill:
Sorry, I should have left out the phrase "followers who were part of", because my point was the particular religious and cultural society to whom he was speaking, which is also the case in John 6:41-58 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him..., and in virtually all of his words. Yes, he spoke to the Roman centurion, but the centurion had come to Jesus, and demonstrated a faith greater than the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking.

But, I'm not saying Jesus isn't the way for anyone outside of Middle-Eastern or Western culture; just that I don't see Jesus' words precluding God from revealing Himself in other ways to other people, as needed, to give them the opportunity for the joy of salvation.

Os.

349Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 11:51am Top

>345 Osbaldistone:
I need to add one more thing to the ideas in my post 345.

In addition ot God's ability to reveal Himself in different ways to different peoples, He also reveals Himself in different ways, and at different times to different Christians. Because we are each wired a bit differently, and are at different places on our journeys, and because of God's myriad purposes, God's Word is revealed to some of us through the literal reading of the BIble; to some through a more varied reading, to include literal, metaphorical, poetical, even mythical; to some, through both the witness of the Bible, and the witness of others, from Augustine and Origen to that wise old lady in my Sunday School class. Thank God for being so much more 'flexible' than we are.

In my work as an environmental engineer, I saw people who would take all the data and other information they could get their hands on, wrestle it into a coherent and thorough picture of the problem, and find a great solution to offer the client. But ask them to make a recommendation with only a brief review of the available information, and they would stop dead in their tracks. I also saw people who would grab some of the more pertinent bits of information, and a few summaries of the available data, and then, based on experience and intuition, weed out options until a fine solution was in hand. But ask them to take all of the data and relevent information and create a comprehensive model of the problem before considering any options, and they would be stopped in their tracks. Both were able to serve the need, based on how they were wired. Both were equally valuable, but the projects where their skills were best used were quite different. Even better, the intuition people would often see that a thorough analysis of the data was needed before they could continue, and, and would turn to the skills of the detail people to provide the needed insight. And the detail people would run their decisions regarding rejected and selected solutions by the intuition people to get a greater degree of comfort that the results of their analyses made sense to someone with a different way of looking at it. We could not have been successful without both, but when one didn't recognize the value of the other, but only saw how they "didn't do it right", we had trouble, and it took some efforts to overcome these barriers. I hope the point of this in the context of my first paragraph is clear, because I'm not sure how to explain it. If not, sorry for wasting your time.

Os.

350ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 11:56am Top

>347 JGL53: perhaps you do not know of many of the fallacies of Mormonism, particularly in the Book of Mormon, such as supposedly quoting the NT hundreds of years before it was written. And while I totally disagree with Mormon theology I will give them credit for being extremely good and moral people.

351ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 11:59am Top

>349 Osbaldistone: You have made your point very clear and I certainly do not see it as a waste of time. I also agree, per your example, that if we as Christians could learn to work together despite our differences it would be a much greater thing.

352faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 12:16pm Top

"341 If you do not believe what the Bible teaches why do you get upset if you disagree with what someone says. If someone from another religion tells me that my beliefs are wrong, it does not get me all worked up, so I wonder why it does for those who do not believe the Bible."

">343 ambrithill: Also, remember, it was not fuzzi who came up with the idea that Jesus is the only way. Those words were spoken by Jesus, if you believe the Bible. And if you do not believe the Bible, then again, why worry?"

Because, as was made clear in a number of posts, the Bible is used to discriminate and cast judgement. Fuzzi had a long rambling post about gay marriage, sodomy and beastiality. Also about eating blood/not eating blood and buying hamburger that has no blood in it ??? I don't care what she believes but she is interpreting parts of the Bible and using her personal interpretation to clump a group of people into something "bad".

Never said I don't believe in the Bible....have used the Bible for guidence plenty of times. Just think that Christ wasn't saying that he, physically speaking, was the only way. My interpretation is different. The example of his life and his teachings are the "way". If you read through enough religious texts, the message is pretty much the same.
My interpretation does not include judging anyone else's life style as "ungodly". Not my business.

Guess it sounds like "picking" on fuzzi....but when someone "ignores" and states that they are going to ignore what they don't want to hear , then contend that they are ascribing to a belief system without hearing evidence to the contrary, their assertions will come under attack. Happens ! She is a minority on these threads as most poster's do not take the OT literally and many do not feel that the NT was meant to be taken as such either. Would argue that neither does fuzzi or she would be building alters and sacrificing lambs now and again.

For those who struggle with their personal interpretations ...... it is often difficult to understand those who seem to have it figured out as the line between literal and figurative becomes very blurred even coming from the literalists.

People usually get worked up for a reason. I respect fuzzi's faith but I do not want it to influence the law of the land. She can live her life within the guidelines she sets for herself.
unfortunately when some individuals feel that they have it all figured out, they feel compelled to make sure that everyone live according to what they think as "the way". There has been a recent push by fundamental Christians to influnce the government of this country. So people are a bit on edge about the whole deal.
I believe they have a right to be.

353ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 12:23pm Top

>352 faceinbook: Fair enough. My only thought on this is why no one seems to mind if people on the other side (hate to label as liberals) want to influence the government to their way of thinking.

354fuzzi
Jun 22, 2012, 12:25pm Top

I respect fuzzi's faith but I do not want it to influence the law of the land.

Thank you. Would you be surprised if I said that I don't want the government to dictate how to believe to me, or to others?

As far as influencing the law of the land, the basis of British and 'American' law is what we find in the Bible. No, neither of those is a 'Christian' country, but those who came to America from Britain brought their faith and their laws with them, and those basic beliefs were used by the founding fathers to create the laws of the land, and to design how the government should be run.

355faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 12:43pm Top

>354 fuzzi:
You are comparing apples to oranges. Liberals are more inclined to "live and let live" or "there is room for everyone" Conservatives are more about defining what is right and wrong and applying it to everyone. Conversely the same individuals who do not want government involved in one's personal lives would be those who would like to see the government continue to dictate who can marry, if a woman has a choice regrading abortion or contraception all faith based issues that do not affect them on a personal level but most certainly will do so for others.

Liberals would like to see the government stay out of the personal lives of others. My faith should not dictate whether the neighbor woman has contraceptive coverage on her health care plan. Nor whether my neighbors are a married gay couple. None of my feeling on these issues has anything to do with religion what so ever. Not my business.

Guess the issue is governments role in our society and if religion should play a part in it. Our founding fathers felt NOT !

356faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 12:47pm Top

>354 fuzzi:
We've been over that before and that is not true. Our founding fathers did not form our government based on religious beliefs. They had just come from countries that did that and it wasn't working all that well for them. I think quite the opposite is true. They wanted a government separate from the church.

This is why, and I am sorry if you feel "picked on" when some posters jump on your posts. I know we went through this same converstation before and you are wrong...just plain wrong about this. You can insist that you are correct and continue to post as such but you will be jumped on now and again.

357fuzzi
Jun 22, 2012, 12:53pm Top

(355) I'm sorry, faceinbook, but I'm going to have to disagree with your take on liberals not wanting to get into our personal lives.

In the last four years in the USA we've had a tremendous growth in government, including regulations (remember those light bulb laws?), and I consider that as an infringement into my personal life. If I want to use an incandescent bulb, so what? Why force the manufacturers to switch from producing incandescent to fluorescent bulbs, which cost more and pollute our landfills more? That's just one example of government getting involved where it needs to stay out.

For example, if you want to have wild orgies in your house at night, why would I care? When the government decides to force me to approve of your orgies that I dig in my heels and object...that's forcing me to approve something that goes against my faith.

P.S. A lot of conservatives want to make laws too ("Patriot Act" etc.), so they're really not much (if at all) different from liberals...

358ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 12:55pm Top

>355 faceinbook: Except for liberals think they have the right to say how much tax others should pay, which companies can do what kind of work, what kind of light bulb others should use, and on and on. It may be a different type of influence, but do not say that the liberals just want people to live and let live. That is being extremely naive.

359nathanielcampbell
Jun 22, 2012, 12:56pm Top

>355 faceinbook:: "Liberals would like to see the government stay out of the personal lives of others."

Except when they're telling us what we can and cannot feed our children at McDonald's and how big of a soda we're allowed to drink. :-)

>354 fuzzi: (fuzzi): "Would you be surprised if I said that I don't want the government to dictate how to believe to me, or to others? "

Do you believe that public school science teachers should be required to teach non-scientifically based theories instead of evolution in their classroom?

360faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 1:15pm Top

Oops...should have said Liberal's would like to see the government stay out of people's lives when it comes to moral issues....took a blast on that one.

>357 fuzzi:"For example, if you want to have wild orgies in your house at night, why would I care? When the government decides to force me to approve of your orgies that I dig in my heels and object...that's forcing me to approve something that goes against my faith. "

Nobody is asking for your approval....they are only asking that if they want to conduct orgies it not be made unlawful. Again, you are using an extreme here......gay marriage. Why not ?

>359 nathanielcampbell:
"Except when they're telling us what we can and cannot feed our children at McDonald's and how big of a soda we're allowed to drink. :-)"

You are absolutely correct. It is just unfortunate that so many people seem to show an extreme lack of self governing. When our country is faced with a health care crisis where over one third of it's young people are over weight and good many of those over weight children have diabetes, how does one fix this ? It is costing us a great deal of our wealth to care for those who can not or will not care for themselves. Personally I don't care if the government taxes soda or fast food...doesn't bother me a bit. If they looked at taxing vegetables, fruits or meats, I may have different opinion but they can do what ever they want with the extras....not something I need. I am rather tired of paying for other people's poor decisions when it comes to their health ! Matter of perspective I guess and way off subject.

361ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 1:27pm Top

>360 faceinbook: "I am rather tired of paying for other people's poor decisions when it comes to their health."

Would that include government paying for abortions, birth control pills, clean needles, and such as that? Also, isn't that the government making a choice about morality?

362jburlinson
Jun 22, 2012, 1:31pm Top

> 334. if there was a "waterfall moment", I missed it in my quick scan.

here's the passage I was thinking of.

"Lewis was right. I had to make a choice. A full year had passed since I decided to believe in some sort of God, and now I was being called to account. On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains during my first trip west of the Mississippi, the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ. (p. 225)

Once again, I by no means want to discount the quality or validity of this emotional/aesthetic experience. It's of the essence as regards our spirituality, IMO.

363faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 1:37pm Top

>361 ambrithill:
Since I can not divorce myself from the society in which I live, I guess I would choose to pay for the cheapest option. abortions or birth control pills are a lot cheaper than a pregnancy. Clean needles are cheaper than another Aides patient.

Morality ? No. The government isn't making a choice about morality. The government is being fiscally responsible.

364nathanielcampbell
Jun 22, 2012, 1:39pm Top

>363 faceinbook:: "The government isn't making a choice about morality."

If the child in the womb is, in fact, a human being, then yes, the government is making a choice about morality, i.e. declaring the killing of that human being lawful. But then, given the President's drone kill-list, I don't think he's particularly worried about killing innocent people.

(I know, that last statement was a bit snarky and rhetorical, but...)

365jburlinson
Jun 22, 2012, 1:48pm Top

> 346. In John 6:41-58 Jesus says the same thing, just not quite as bluntly, and He is not speaking to His followers.

It's interesting that you bring up this passage, since it's very clear that the language used by Jesus here is not to be taken literally, although I suppose the doctrine of transubstantiation is an attempt to do so. Whatever meaning it has can only be achieved through interpretation of figurative language.

Using more figurative language, that interpretive process is part of God's speech act.

366faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 1:54pm Top

>364 nathanielcampbell:
You are basing you opinion on your belief system. There are two differing thoughts as to when life becomes viable.
Having said that, the government is NOT making a choice about morality. Nobody is making that choice other than the person having the abortion. The government is allowing that person to have a choice based on her own set of morals. Since it is cheaper than taking care of a pregnancy, or providing for an unwanted child, the government is being fiscally responsible. Has nothing to do with the "morals" of the government at all.

367nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 2:27pm Top

>366 faceinbook:: So if, after five years of caring for a child with Down's Syndrome, I decide the fiscal burden is too great, I can kill the child if I make the moral decision that they are not, in fact, a human being?

You would answer, "No," because the government would say that such a killing is illegal. When killing is wrong, the government steps in and makes it illegal. By not making abortion illegal, the government is de facto declaring abortion not to be wrong -- and that is a moral choice.

I understand very well that it's not, in fact, nearly so cut and dried as that; when my wife and I lost our first child at the end of the first trimester to a miscarriage, I was forced to evaluate in very painful, difficult, and complex terms the nature of life and death in utero. The quandry both moral and legal is that abortion is about life and death, which means the laws and choices we make have black-and-white, high-stakes consequences. If the fetus is not, in fact, a human life, then there's nothing morally wrong with abortion. If the fetus is, however, a human life, and the government does nothing to prevent its willful murder, then not only have the individuals who killed the child sinned, but the system itself has engaged in what moral theologians call "institutional" or "systemic" sin, and a very grave one at that.

I don't have a good answer to this question because the moral issues involved are both very black-and-white and very complex and muddled at the same time. Legalized abortion might very well be legalized murder; but prohibitions against abortion might very well set up systemic injustices against women, especially those who already suffer from other areas of injustice such as racial, financial, sexism, etc. Furthermore, the status of human life in the womb is extraordinarily complex (though this is why some moral theologians, such as many Catholics, argue for "erring on the side of caution", as it were, and assuming an early beginning to life rather than risking the error of setting it too late and therefore being responsible for the intentional murder of a human life) -- and science cannot be the only method to an answer because there is much more to human life than the biological organism.

But to pretend that abortion isn't a moral issue is simply not an acceptable rejoinder. It is a moral issue and there are moral consequences: the problem is weighing the various issues and consequences to come up with as a just a systemic answer as possible, given the precondition that no completely just solution is available.

368faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 2:50pm Top

>367 nathanielcampbell:
Didn't say that abortion wasn't a moral issue. It is very much a moral issue. However since we all should be responsible for our own moral compass, the government shouldn't make laws limiting one's choice based on any one particular moral compass.

369jburlinson
Jun 22, 2012, 2:53pm Top

> 367. But to pretend that abortion isn't a moral issue is simply not an acceptable rejoinder. It is a moral issue and there are moral consequences

Not only is abortion a moral issue, but discussing abortion is also a moral issue. Each time anyone makes a statement about it (or anything else), a moral choice is being made and there will be consequences, both intended and unintended.

370nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 3:02pm Top

>368 faceinbook:: "the government shouldn't make laws limiting one's choice based on any one particular moral compass. "

Except they do all the time. They enforced one moral compass over another when they outlawed polygamy (which Mormons at the time believed was moral), or when they outlawed segregation in private businesses (which many white Southerners at the time believed was moral and necessary), or when they outlaw the use of cocaine and heroin (who am I to tell a person that their recreational drug use is immoral?).

This is the trouble with the "government shouldn't make laws about morality" argument -- a significant amount of the government's laws are based on specific moral views. The discussion, then, shouldn't be whether secular laws are made based on specific moral views, but rather, which moral views should be used in lawmaking.

371StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 4:20pm Top

339: Actually fuzzi did admit that she could be wrong and that if she is that she is praying God will enlighten her.

And yet, despite all the evidence to the contrary, both you and fuzzi seem to think that the "correct" interpretation of the Bible means that the Earth is 7,000 years old and was created in six days. That's not "humble". That's the very definition of arrogance. Ignorant arrogance.

372StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 4:21pm Top

As far as influencing the law of the land, the basis of British and 'American' law is what we find in the Bible.

Umm, no it isn't. Try studying the history of the British common law and parliamentary democracy. Neither are rooted in the Bible.

373StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 4:24pm Top

If the child in the womb is, in fact, a human being, then yes, the government is making a choice about morality, i.e. declaring the killing of that human being lawful.

Until the later part of the 19th century, most Christians didn't think that a fetus in the womb was necessarily a human being, following Aquinas' thinking on the subject.

374nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 5:25pm Top

>373 StormRaven:: Good Lord, where to start with that nugget of specious wisdom?

Are you claiming that all Christians (including the Protestants who repudiated that whole scholastic theology thing) believed in lockstep with Aquinas? What about the 1200 years of Christians who lived before Aquinas?

But let's walk through the argument anyway. We need to distinguish two aspects of what Aquinas taught: (1) when did the human fetus receive its soul, thus becoming a human being? and (2) is abortion a sin? We'll tackle these in reverse order, for the answer to number 2 is really easy (you can find a more complete discussion of this whole thing here: http://www2.franciscan.edu/plee/aquinas_on_human_ensoulment.htm )

(2) Is abortion a sin? Aquinas mentions abortion in three places in his writings, only one of which is consequential in determining whether abortion is a sin. In ST IIa, IIae, q. 64, a 8 (on accidental homicide), Aquinas determines that if a man strikes a pregnant woman "does something unlawful", and that if the blow is fatal to the fetus, the man is guilty of homicide. Indeed, Aquinas is in agreement with most Christian writers throughout the history of Christianity (going all the way back to the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache, for example) in univocally condemning voluntary abortion as wrong.

(1) When did the human fetus receive its soul, thus becoming a human being? To understand Aquinas' views on ensoulment (aka "quickening"), one must also understand the Aristotelian view he took of human generation, which privileges the male seed as containing the generative power, makes the female inherently weaker and inferior, and finally understands human generation to involve "climbing the ladder", as it were, through each successive level of existential complexity (vegetative, sensitive, non-rational animal, etc.) before becoming fully human. Thus, Aquinas ultimately agrees with Aristotle's idea that the rational soul is infused at 40 days for males, and at 90 days for females. However, he still considers it wrong to terminate the pregnancy even before then, though he mitigates the level of seriousness of the sin if the termination is before ensoulment.

That being said, let's recognize that Aquinas is not, in fact, the end-all and be-all of Christian theology. We could look, for example, to the writings of Hildegard of Bingen not only to see what Christians were thinking before Aquinas (!) but also to see what a woman might have to say -- a woman, I should mention, who will soon be declared a Doctor of the Church, thus placing her theological authority on equal ground with the Aquinas you so love to misrepresent. In studying her ideas on conception and ensoulment as articulated in Hildegard's book Causae et Curae, Barbara Newman offered the following summary in Sister of Wisdom:
The demonized physiology of desire is consistent with Hildegard's assertion that the devil poisoned Adam's seed when he corrupted Eve with lust. (...) Consciously or not, Hildegard transferred arachic taboos about the impurity of menstrual blood to the corresponding male fluid, which Galen and Constantine the African had described as "pure and warm." For Hildegard, on the contrary, the semen was cold and tainted, whereas the maternal blood had a warming, wholesome influence on the fetus. As the embryo grows in the womb, it is gradually though never wholly purified of its initial taint, until in the second month the soul enters the body "like a warm, impetuous wind" and makes itself at home there "like a silkworm in its cocoon." In the first month the budding fetal members are only separated by indentations, like the clay cracked in the heat of the sun; but after quickening they begin to unfold like the petals of a flower. (Newman, pp. 135-6)
So while it is true that even Hildegard did not envision ensoulment at the precise moment of conception, it is also true that Christian theologians envisioned ensoulment as fairly early in the nine-month gestation, and that they nigh-on-universally have condemned abortion as wrong from the very start.

In the last century and a half or so, as we have learned more about embryology, we have found that old models for understanding embryonic development were wrong and thus have had to revise our notions of ensoulment. Since the science cannot provide evidence now of when quickening occurs, some moral theologians have thought it best (as I said in an earlier post) to err on the side of caution and postulate ensoulment from the start. Others have looked at the relatively high incidence of first-month miscarriages (my wife's miscarriage at the end of the first trimester was statistically unusually late) and been more circumspect. Again, as I said above, it's a difficult area of morality because there are a lot of complex factors that play into it.

But can we at least agree not to reduce the complexities of historical theology to one-sentence absurdities about Aquinas?

375jburlinson
Jun 22, 2012, 5:55pm Top

> 374. thus have had to revise our notions of ensoulment

Wouldn't it be more precise to say we need to revise our notions of embodiment, since the soul, according to Acquinas, is immortal.

376StormRaven
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 6:19pm Top

374: In your rush to clutch you pearls to your chest and be all shocked and talk about "nuance" you failed to notice that I said most Christians. Not all. Which would encompass Catholics and those protestants (like Anglicans) who still held his thinking in high regard. So I guess you aren't all that good at "nuance" yourself. The fact that there are other strains of thought does not invalidate my point at all.

And you didn't notice that I didn't say that Aquinas said abortion wasn't a sin, but that a fetus was not necessarily a human being. Which in your whiny post you say is exactly what Aquinas said. So you reading comprehension seems to have been affected by your attack of the vapors. When you say I am putting out absurdities about Aquinas, I can only surmise that you mean "accurately stating what Aquinas thought about the subject", since you seem to agree with me that Aquinas said a fetus as not necessarily a human being.

But go clutch your pearls some more and whine a lot. It makes your arguments so much more convincing. Of course, posts like your #374 are why I don't take you seriously, since you (a) almost never pay attention to what you are responding to, and (b) are perpetually offended claiming that people aren't being "nuanced" when in fact, you completely misread their posts and misrepresented them. In short, your responses are almost always uninformed and dishonest.

377fuzzi
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 6:44pm Top

(359) I believe that evolution (pond slime to man) should be taught for what it is, a theory, instead of pretending that we know absolutely what happened (supposedly) "millions and millions of years ago"...

Uh oh, it's become an 'abortion' thread. Katy, bar the door!

378Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 6:54pm Top

>362 jburlinson:
Jburlinson, thanks for the reference. I think I missed it because it was wrapped in a CS Lewis sandwich and I was skipping over his refrences to Lewis.

But it would be safe to say that the result of the waterfall moment would have been quite different (and probably uninteresting) if Collins had not been prepared by the results of his rational investigation of the question of God - he unknowingly invited God into his rational life.

Collins had what I consider to be the enviable experience of both using his scientific training and experience to study and inform himself regarding creation, and the God given epiphany experience that will never be forgotten. Both of these can be tremendous support when doubt or darkness invades.

Os.

379StormRaven
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 7:04pm Top

377: It's a good thing that that is exactly how evolution is taught. Students are taught the theory of evolution. Alongside the theory of relativity, the theory of gravity, the theory of electricity, atomic theory and numerous other theories. And along the way they are taught the facts that provide the foundations for all of those theories. And I should point out that the theory of evolution is better supported than most of the other theories I mentioned.

Meanwhile, you like to pretend you know absolutely what happened thousands of years ago based upon nothing but a book of myths, so you can stop pretending that you have any humility at all. Just ignorant arrogance.

380ambrithill
Jun 22, 2012, 7:05pm Top

>366 faceinbook: So you think that as long as it is cheaper then that is how the government should act? So does that make you in favor of the death penalty?

381nathanielcampbell
Jun 22, 2012, 7:07pm Top

>376 StormRaven:: Apparently it now qualifies as "whining" when an expert points out that what "most Christians" thought for 1900 years was not "following Aquinas", for the simple fact that Aquinas wasn't around for the first 1200 of those years. Oh never mind ... the complexities of the historical development of Christian philosophy and theology are not something you have ever showed the slightest interest in comprehending.

382Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 7:11pm Top

Warning! Severe risk of hijacking the thread follows. Perhaps you shouldn't read this if you have limited ability to resist the need to respond to provocative posts. Of course, the thread wasn't about abortion in the first place, so I'm not sure I can hijack it. So...

>367 nathanielcampbell: some moral theologians, such as many Catholics, argue for "erring on the side of caution", as it were, and assuming an early beginning to life rather than risking the error of setting it too late and therefore being responsible for the intentional murder of a human life

It is for such reasons as this that I am amazed at the high percentage of support in the US for the death penalty among those who are strongly against abortion. Erring on the side of caution would, it seems to me, require the end of the death penalty (which I think the Catholic Church has called for - good on them), as evidenced by the number of convicts released from death row thanks to the new DNA technology not available at trial. The only reason they lived long enough to be exonerated was the almost unbearably slow appeal system. How many human lives have we intentionally murdered simply because we did not have the technology needed to truly discern guilt from innocence? And what is the next scientific tool that will come along to improve our ability to discern? Will it come soon enough for the next innocent person to receive the death penalty?

Of course, I guess if you don't agree that evolution has been well supported by 150 years of scientific inquiry, then DNA evidence is clearly meaningless, and we've been releasing murderers from death row.

Os.

383Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 7:29pm Top

>379 StormRaven:
Sorry, but the pedant in me has to correct you. It's the electromagnetic theory, not the theory of electricity.

It used to be the theory of electricity when electricity was thought to be a separate force from magnetism (yes, you guessed it - there was a theory of magnetism back then, too). But the reliable march of knowledge of God's creation, driven by the scientific method, caused scientists to reconsider their ideas of electricity and magnetism (with some kicking and screaming, but reconsider they did), and thus was born the electromagnetic theory. Just in time to bring on the personal computer and the iPhone. Hoorah!

But, of course, if you don't agree that the scientific method has been well supported by the results of hundreds of years of rigorous testing, then the electromagnetic theory (and its predecessors) is clearly meaningless, and we've been imagining this online conversation seemingly driven by PCs and iPhones. What an imagination we all have.

Os.

ETA, I'm sorry. I try to avoid snarky (and encourage others to do the same), but I can't resist it's first cousin, sarcasm. My apologies for giving free reign to my weakness.

ETA (again) I should have also given credit for the PC and iPhone to quantum theory (wow! there's another one).

384StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 7:21pm Top

380: The death penalty is actually much more expensive than holding a prisoner for life. So if the rule is "least expensive option", then the death penalty should be abolished. Oddly, it is most popular in states that are more religious than the norm in the U.S.

385StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 7:23pm Top

383: Very true. I'm glad that electromagnetic theory is taught in schools. Theories are so useful!

Unless you are someone like fuzzi. Then theories are just guesses.

386Osbaldistone
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 7:27pm Top

>383 Osbaldistone:
Well, I hate to even say this, but I suspect the death penalty would be the cheaper option if we got rid of that pesky appeals process and let Rick Perry (TX governor and record holder for approving executions, for those not from around here) get them into the execution chamber as quickly as possible.

Also, I suspect, consistent with my original observation, that you'll find that the states that support the death penalty the most are the states with the most aggressive anti-abortion activity. But that's just my intuition talking - no stats to support it.

Os.

387StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 7:29pm Top

386: Oh definitely. The most anti-abortion states tend to be those in which the populace self-identifies as religious. And those states are, by and large, the most ardent proponents of (and appliers of ) the death penalty.

388AsYouKnow_Bob
Jun 22, 2012, 7:41pm Top

#357: In the last four years in the USA we've had a tremendous growth in government, including regulations (remember those light bulb laws?), and I consider that as an infringement into my personal life. If I want to use an incandescent bulb, so what? Why force the manufacturers to switch from producing incandescent to fluorescent bulbs, which cost more and pollute our landfills more? That's just one example of government getting involved where it needs to stay out.

Not to derail, but this is another right-wing lie: The ‘‘Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007’’ was of course signed into law by Bush the Lesser.

And you can still use incandescent bulbs....

389Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 7:54pm Top

>357 fuzzi: and 388
And the majority of the growth in federal spending has been mandatory increases in Social Security, Medicaire, etc. (which the Administration cannot limit), and extensions of unemployment benefits passed by the current congress. Even with these barriers to reducing spending, the per-capita spending growth rate under Obama is the lowest since the Nixon-Ford administration, except for the Clinton administration.

The federal government is smaller today than it was at the end of the first George Bush's administration, having been reduced during the Clinton administration and then expanded during the second George Bush's admininistration (though not enough to offset the reduction during the Clinton administration).

Os.

390nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 9:18pm Top

>382 Osbaldistone:-387: Os is right that the Roman Catholic Church is opposed to the death penalty; and for the record, I oppose it too. (Though I would point out that the greater discongruity is on the "liberal" side that's okay with killing the innocent fetus but not with killing the guilty murderer.)

391Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 9:57pm Top

>390 nathanielcampbell:
No argument here. I think killing in any form is difficult to align with Christ's teachings. Of course, so are many practices common among Christians and non-Christians.

Os.

392faceinbook
Jun 22, 2012, 10:56pm Top

>390 nathanielcampbell:

If the church is so concerned about the death of innocent fetus', one would think they would make it easier for women to not find themselves in a position to have to consider an abortion. This, however, is not the case. The very idea of a group of men interpreting the words of another group of men, then making rules and mandates based on those interpretations to be applied in situations they have never nor ever will experience doesn't make a lick of sense. The fact that it has gone on for as long as it has is amazing.

393Osbaldistone
Jun 22, 2012, 11:00pm Top

>392 faceinbook:
Pedant alert!!

The plural is 'fetuses'

Normally, I don't get picky on groups boards like this, since we all type fast, and proofing is limited, but I just can't pronounce that spelling, and I'm afraid it might occur more than once on this thread. Please don't take it as any intent to insult or embarass.

Os.
Editorial services offered at very competitive rates! :-)

394StormRaven
Jun 22, 2012, 11:54pm Top

335: 1 John 2:27

I wonder if fuzzi realizes that this was actually written by men, not God.

395jburlinson
Jun 23, 2012, 12:35am Top

Liberals would like to see the government stay out of the personal lives of others.

Does anyone know anybody who would self-identify as both politically liberal and also evangelical, fundamentalist Christian?

396johnthefireman
Jun 23, 2012, 1:27am Top

>338 faceinbook: my belief, tells me that this is the way it is supposed to be, otherwise we would have no growth, spiritual or otherwise

Agreed.

>339 ambrithill: if you truly believe something, anything, are you just supposed to say that you could be wrong everytime you mention it?

Of course you're supposed to mention it, and argue in favour of it. But I would venture to suggest that you're not supposed to imply that anybody who disagrees with you is not a Christian, or not committed enough, or a back-slider, or any of the other things which have come up in various posts by "born again" Christians in various threads.

397johnthefireman
Jun 23, 2012, 1:32am Top

>395 jburlinson: This may be controversial or incorrect, but I think there's a perception elsewhere in the world that you don't have liberals in the USA, you only have conservatives (called Democrats) and ultra-conservatives (called Republicans). US politics is perceived as far to the right of most European countries. You certainly have nothing comparable to the traditional British Labour Party, or even the Liberal Democrats. Communist parties still pick up a few votes in most European countries. Of course our pride and joy is the Monster Raving Looney Party, which also still picks up votes.

398Osbaldistone
Jun 23, 2012, 2:10am Top

>397 johnthefireman:
On another group thread a year or so ago (can't recall where, though), someone posted a link to an extensive questionaire designed to place you on the spectrum of fiscally liberal/conservative and socially liberal/conservative. It's located here. A few questions seem perhaps more relevent to the US, but most seem pretty general.

The product is a graph which places a dot where you fall and shows dots for several well known folks, living and dead, for comparison. My recollection was that most who took the test felt it placed them about right. Such a test could 'normalize' the meaning of liberal between cultures and countries, I suspect.

I'd love to see the results of this for the group posting here. It would probably help us understand each other a lot better without having to make too many assumptions based on often quickly written posts.

I'll go out on a limb and say that I placed about dead center of the liberal/libertarian quadrant (Economic -5/Social -5.2). Seems about right to me.

Os.

399ambrithill
Jun 23, 2012, 5:15am Top

>366 faceinbook: "You are basing you opinion on your belief system. There are two differing thoughts as to when life becomes viable."

I agree that there are differing opinions about when life becomes viable, but almost all agree that a 20 week old fetus is capable of surviving outside of the womb, yet abortion is still legal beyond that time. Why is that?

"Having said that, the government is NOT making a choice about morality. Nobody is making that choice other than the person having the abortion. The government is allowing that person to have a choice based on her own set of morals. Since it is cheaper than taking care of a pregnancy, or providing for an unwanted child, the government is being fiscally responsible. Has nothing to do with the "morals" of the government at all."

Would that same logic apply for someone who decided to kill someone else? If one adult decides, based on their own set of morals, to kill another adult, should the government allow that person to have a choice based on her own set of morals? Or what if someone is in a coma and sucking up medicare dollars to pay the bills, is it okay to shoot them?

400johnthefireman
Jun 23, 2012, 7:46am Top

>398 Osbaldistone: On that website I find myself firmly to the left (-8.00) and libertarian (-5.74). Fun, but I always find it difficult to answer such questionnaires as I always want to say, "Yes, but..." or, "It depends..."

401lawecon
Edited: Jun 23, 2012, 8:11am Top

~397-398

Most of the discourse about "liberals," "conservatives," "libertarians," "socialists," etc. is very confused and muddled. There are nothing close to uniform definitions for these terms and what issue relationships they may have shift continually.

Here is a little quiz, however, that I've found somewhat helpful over the years: You take four political values DEFINED AS STATED BELOW (nevermind if you don't like the definitions - the terms are placeholders for the definitions, this is not an exercise in essentialism) and you rank these values. You also say whether there are values that are very close in that ranking such that there are situations where they might be stated in reverse order or whether there are "gaps" in the ranking, such that the values before the gap are so much higher in the ranking that they are effectively in a separate values universe. Here are the values and definitions:

Peace - an absence of large scale or persistent warfare,such that the society is not constantly dominated by concerns over "national security"

Freedom - "individual liberty defined traditionally, that is, individuals have a large "private sphere" of discretion that is simply none of the business of society or the state

Equality - defined principally in terms of income or wealth equality, but also containing other "social justice" connotations

Justice - defined in formal terms, justice before the law, blind justice, other equivalent formulations.
Liberty - defined as national independence or, in some cases, the right to secede.

Certain ranks are associated with certain historically identifiable ideologies. And, in any case, you end up knowing a great deal more about what you're talking about and what the other guy is talking about than you do through tossing around the above trigger terms.

402StormRaven
Jun 23, 2012, 1:08pm Top

I agree that there are differing opinions about when life becomes viable, but almost all agree that a 20 week old fetus is capable of surviving outside of the womb, yet abortion is still legal beyond that time. Why is that?

First off, a fetus after twenty weeks may be able to survive outside the womb. This is not a certainty.

Second, abortions (in the U.S.) that take place after 20 weeks are very rare (amounting to less than 2% of all abortions). Abortions that late are often performed because of threats to the life or health of the mother (which are the only allowable reasons for late term abortions in many states), and sometimes because of threats to the mental health of the mother. Several states ban abortion entirely after 24 weeks.

403faceinbook
Jun 23, 2012, 1:30pm Top

"I agree that there are differing opinions about when life becomes viable, but almost all agree that a 20 week old fetus is capable of surviving outside of the womb, yet abortion is still legal beyond that time. Why is that?"

Wasn't going to continue in the abortion frey but I wonder how many people who claim that a fetus can survive at 20 weeks realize what it takes to keep the fetus alive at 20 weeks. My grandson was born at 23 weeks....he weighted a little less that two pounds. His lungs were only capable of sustaining him because my daughter in law was given steriods to help him develop faster. Her life and his were in danger...they made the decision to keep the baby any way. Derek (my grandson) had six bowel surgeries in the first three months of his life. He coded in the ICU three times. His lungs are now much better but he was on oxygen for the first two years of his life. He required multiple therapy sessions for physical developement and speech developement.
He is now six years old and they have main streamed him at school this year.

My son just finished paying off some of the remaining medical bills from Derek's first five years (pneumonia and hospitalizations) Derek's older brother who is 16....went without a lot of parenting for a few years...their time was taken up with caring for Derek's many needs

He is a beautiful child but to say that he would have lived without intervention is a stretch ! I do applaud their decision to continue the pregnancy. However.
The key word in the above sentence is DECISION. It was a difficult six years and I can not imagine what it would have been like for all of them if they hadn't had the choice. If they felt trapped.

Not sure what Derek's little life was like for him those first months ..... he was four months inpatient. But, as a grandma, I can tell you that seeing him wheeled away for yet another bowel surgery when he wasn't but the size of the doctors hand was heartbreaking.
It turned out well...he is catching up....it doesn't always turn out so well. Babies died often during Dereks stay in the NICU. 20 weeks is a stretch !

Putting an entire family through emotional and financial hell without giving them a choice should not be an option.

404Osbaldistone
Jun 23, 2012, 1:35pm Top

>400 johnthefireman:
Yes, there were several where I wanted to rephrase the question, or allow more choices.

Os.

405JGL53
Edited: Jun 23, 2012, 11:22pm Top

When the issue of abortion is brought up I generally can't help but think of the big picture situation, e.g. that north of forty million abortions are performed worldwide, year after year after year after year.

So there must have been billions and billions performed in just the last 500 years alone.

That is one hell of a lot of souls sent back to heaven for a redo, assuming the ensoulment theory is correct. And let's remember that such is a "mere" theory, i.e., with not a lot of evidence like, e.g., evolution or atomic theory or the germ theory of disease or the big bang.

So god apparently has his hands full warding off all the incoming fetus souls. I guess he must have a BIG immaterial tennis racket.

Also, it seems that there's nearly as many abortions in countries wherein it is illegal than those wherein it is legal. As an example - even though abortion is illegal in Mexico and legal in the U.S. and even though the majority of Mexicans, unlike, U.S. citizens, are devout catholics who know damn well abortion is taught by the R.C.C. to be a mortal sin, and even though the U.S. population is much greater than Mexico - I seem to recall reading studies that revealed there are more abortions each year in Mexico compared to the U.S., both in per capita and in actual numbers.

Seems to me abortion is one of those controversial human activities that fall into the category of "intractable" - meaning the government even backed by the majority of people must be effed in their respective heads to even dream of controlling it. Might as well dream the war on drugs or the war on prostitution will be won someday.

I think the problem is that 99 per cent of people totally buy into that libertarian idea of doing what you damn well want when you want to do it IF it is none of anyone's else's damn business - AS APPLIED TO THE EACH OF THE 99 PER CENT OF PEOPLE INDIVIDUALLY. I.e., many people may think it is no problem if the shitte falls on THE OTHER GUY'S HEAD - so it's a kind of "narcissistic libertarianism", so to speak.

406jburlinson
Edited: Jun 23, 2012, 2:35pm Top

> 398, 400. Just as I feared -- anarcho-syndicalist.

Economic Left/Right: -7.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.72

ETA an "n" to "syndicalist". I'm so anarchic, I won't even spell korrectly.

407fuzzi
Jun 23, 2012, 2:52pm Top

(398)

Economic Left/Right: 1.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.05


Some of the questions were phrased in a way that reminded me of the proverbial "Have you stopped beating your wife?" query...

408johnthefireman
Jun 23, 2012, 3:53pm Top

>405 JGL53: I think the problem is that 99 per cent of people totally buy into that libertarian idea of doing what you damn well want when you want to do it IF it is none of anyone's else's damn business

That's one interpretation. Another is that the majority of people follow their conscience.

>407 fuzzi: fuzzi, yours is significantly different from me, Os and jburlinson, who are closer together.

409fuzzi
Jun 23, 2012, 3:59pm Top

That's probably because I *am* different! ;)

410Osbaldistone
Jun 23, 2012, 4:07pm Top

>409 fuzzi:
vive la différence

How boring would this thread be if it were just me, jburlinson, and johnthefireman talking.

Os.

411lawecon
Jun 23, 2012, 8:19pm Top

~409

I presume that this is some sort of humor, since in the Reading The Bible Through In A Year thread you fundamentalists were glorying in how you all thought alike on virtually every topic. Had something to do with being among the born again, as I recall.

412johnthefireman
Jun 24, 2012, 12:43am Top

Talking of socialists...

Rowan Williams pours scorn on David Cameron's 'big society' (Guardian)

The archbishop of Canterbury has denounced David Cameron's "big society", saying that it comes across as aspirational waffle that was "designed to conceal a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable".

413faceinbook
Jun 24, 2012, 7:55am Top

>408 johnthefireman:
Not sure people can even define what it is they want....what kind of thought process do people go through when they are assessing our problems ?

http://news.yahoo.com/most-americans-oppose-health-law-provisions-040810861.html

We do not want to be "mandated" to carry coverage...Do people realize that they then have to pay for those who don't pay or are they counting on being the one's who are not going to pay for insurance ? Interesting thing is that some say the healthcare plan did not go far enough....again, what is it that the government is allowed to do about that ? Cost control ? Mandated pay scale for top healthcare workers ? One starts to wonder if people just "hear" something and then go make up a sign and start to protest...
Probably a bit off subject but when it comes to taking tests such as the one above I would venture to guess that the results for a single person would not remain constant month to month or year to year depending on what is going on around them.
Rather than focusing on whether or not sex education belongs in school or if the students should be allowed to pray, we ought to be demanding that public schools include classes designed to promote critical thinking. From an early age on.

414fuzzi
Jun 24, 2012, 9:00am Top

(413) I found the public schools my children attended to be woefully inadequate in the area of encouraging the students to THINK. I took on that responsibility myself, and it shows. Neither of them spout off what the headlines scream, but read and research for themselves.

I believe teaching 'how to think' is the best gift we can give our children...well, aside from unconditional love.

415lawecon
Jun 24, 2012, 11:26am Top

" I found the public schools my children attended to be woefully inadequate in the area of encouraging the students to THINK. I took on that responsibility myself,..."

ROTFL

416faceinbook
Jun 24, 2012, 11:52am Top

>414 fuzzi:
Schools usually don't need to teach children HOW to think so much as to ALLOW them to think. Too often teacher's are on a script and if a child tends to think outside of the box, it is not encouraged. This starts in grade school, by the time a child is in high school they pretty much know the routine and stop questioning or exploring ideas. In fact, very often children can think things through much faster than adults...their minds are not as cluttered....it just isn't something that is encouraged. Critical thinking leads to all kinds of questions, most of which, teachers don't want to deal with. Maybe they simply do not, in our educational system, have the time.

417Osbaldistone
Jun 24, 2012, 5:10pm Top

>413 faceinbook: we ought to be demanding that public schools include classes designed to promote critical thinking. From an early age on.

AMEN!!

>414 fuzzi: I believe teaching 'how to think' is the best gift we can give our children...well, aside from unconditional love.

and AMEN!!

418jburlinson
Jun 24, 2012, 7:32pm Top

> 414. I believe teaching 'how to think' is the best gift we can give our children...well, aside from unconditional love.

The test of "how to think" comes when children start to think differently from their parents. If they think the same as their parents, they probably haven't learned how to think.

Then, the unconditional love gets tested when the gift of "how to think" results in children thinking differently than their parents.

419nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 24, 2012, 8:34pm Top

>418 jburlinson:: I agree ... I mean, I disagree .. argh! ;-)

Edited to clarify that j and I are not, as far as I know, related by blood or marriage.

420lawecon
Jun 24, 2012, 8:23pm Top

~419

I didn't realize that you and burlinson were father and son.

421nathanielcampbell
Jun 24, 2012, 8:33pm Top

>420 lawecon:: It was more a statement on what qualifies as critical thinking than any implication of paternity.

422Osbaldistone
Jun 24, 2012, 9:46pm Top

>418 jburlinson: Then, the unconditional love gets tested when the gift of "how to think" results in children thinking differently than their parents.

I've stopped talking politics or religion with my Dad. I have always (that I can remember) been more liberal than he, but he's gone pretty far right in his old age, and doesn't want to hear opinions that "make him feel bad", and it does neither of us any good to butt heads. Besides, he usually ends up saying something that challenges my own unconditional love. He usually seems unfazed - I guess he's had more practice.

Os.

423johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 3:41am Top

Back to the left-right thing, I saw a beautiful quote from the well-known Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo in this morning's Guardian:

"I have to tell you, this is my favourite thing about being raised in Africa; we don't do labels very well, we don't do this, 'Oh, you're a Democrat; oh, you're a Republican.' Because we live in the real world."


I've argued on several threads that the left-right dynamic does not mean much in Africa, but it's nice to see that someone famous agrees with me.

424johnthefireman
Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 4:38am Top

Going back to the bible literalism strand which permeates this and so many other threads, I was just glancing at a chapter on hermeneutics in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary by Raymond Brown (who I think is generally regarded as one of the great modern biblical scholars) and Sandra Schneiders, and I thought this might be of interest:

Although we shall be concerned with the meaning of written biblical texts, it is important to realise that initially neither Israel nor the Christian community was a "religion of the book". A set of experiences regarded as a divine deliverance from Egypt, the selection of a people, the formation of a covenant, and the promise of a land gave identity to Israel before there were written accounts that became the Torah or Pentateuch. A community came to believe in God's eschatological presence and action in Jesus before there were written Gospels {...} When "books" describing the religious experience did come into existence, some of them quickly became a highly formative factor in the life, practice and thought respectively of Israel and of the church. Note the word "some", because certain writings achieved sacred status as witnesses to revelation more quickly than did others {, ...} part of a canon-defining process that extended over centuries. In Christianity a "rule of faith" {...} at times judged whcih works would be accepted as further Scripture. After the 4th cent. and a relatively finalized NT canon, the written Christian Bible reached a new status in authority for church belief. Even then one can argue that hermeneutics of the "book" never became as directly determinative before 1500 as it did after the Reformation or especially as it has become in the last centuries in fundamentalist strains of American Protestantism.

425lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 8:25am Top

~424

Yes, isn't it amazing that the "need" for a canon of "true" scriptures didn't come about until one religion was adopted as "official" by the empire authorities for purposes of political unity? The other religion then, of course, had to have their "One True Book" as well to remain competitive.

But as I'm sure Tim and Lunar will point out, this church authority and that church authority (using "church" rather than "Church" since there was also no one Christianity at that time) made up lists of their favorites before that time. So laws, edicts, troops and executions surely had nothing at all to do with the formation of The Canon.

426Osbaldistone
Jun 25, 2012, 1:41pm Top

>425 lawecon: Yes, isn't it amazing that the "need" for a canon of "true" scriptures didn't come about until one religion was adopted as "official" by the empire authorities for purposes of political unity? The other religion then, of course, had to have their "One True Book" as well to remain competitive.

John's quote (post 426) did not indicate that the formation of a Jewish canon was in the same approximate time-frame as that of Christianity, but simply that the process for both took place over centuries. It is my understanding of Jewish history that the canon of the "Jewish Bible" was established in the 1st century CE, a couple of hundred years before the Christian canon established the OT and the NT, and, based on my limited knowledge of both during the 1st century CE, too early to have been a reaction to Christians establishing scripture or canon.

Os.

427lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 5:47pm Top

~426

"John's quote (post 426) did not indicate that the formation of a Jewish canon was in the same approximate time-frame as that of Christianity, but simply that the process for both took place over centuries. It is my understanding of Jewish history that the canon of the "Jewish Bible" was established in the 1st century CE, a couple of hundred years before the Christian canon established the OT and the NT, and, based on my limited knowledge of both during the 1st century CE, too early to have been a reaction to Christians establishing scripture or canon."

I believe that this is incorrect. The Torah, the Psalms and some of the major Prophets were probably
accorded a "higher status" by most Jews by sometime around the mid-4th Century BCE. However, the rest of the canon wasn't established until much later, and probably not until sometime in the 4th Century CE. Further, and more important, it wasn't really conceived of as a "canon," certainly not as a single "book." It was just authoritative writings with which all Jews should be familiar vs. more obscure books that weren't necessarily authoritative.

Further, and I'm sure our resident experts on Christian history will correct me here, I don't think that the formation of the Christian canon took place over centuries. There was a jumble of books and other writings for somewhere from two to three hundred years , and then, more or less suddenly, there wasn't. During that two or three hundred years different local authorities had different opinions about what was authoritative, and, of course, different Christian sects (later labelled heresies) had rather radical differences of opinion. The only thing that seems to have put an end to this situation was the intervention of a political authority which demanded uniformity if you wanted to continue to live.

428nathanielcampbell
Jun 25, 2012, 7:03pm Top

>427 lawecon:: There was a jumble of books and other writings for somewhere from two to three hundred years , and then, more or less suddenly, there wasn't.

Not exactly. Once the writings that eventually became the "New Testament" had been written (i.e. early 2nd century), they quickly became the writings (Gospels and Letters) that pretty much all (or at least most) Christian communities used in their catechesis and liturgies. There were, of course, quite a few other gospels, letters (e.g. those of Ignatius or the one of Barnabas), and the occasional visionary work (Shepherd of Hermas and of course the Apocalypse of John) that were used by some but not all communities.

When the 4th century councils were faced with dealing with a variety of heterodox beliefs, one of the ways they established orthodoxy was by confirming the list of which writings were "canonical" and which weren't -- the deciding factor was universal vs. partial usage and thus universal (read orthodox) vs. partial (read heterodox) theology. And there were stringent debates about some of the more popular but still not quite universal ones, like the letters of Ignatius and the Shepherd of Hermas -- and of course the one that "squeaked by", the Apocalypse of John.

The whole host of other writings now called "apocryphal"--and especially the juicy ones that sell books these days--were never even considered because they were only used by small or tiny minorities of Christian communities. And at this point, I'm pretty sure I'll start sounding like lawecon when he reminded us of how few Jews really believed in spirits floating around dead bodies.

429lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 7:45pm Top

~428

"Not exactly. Once the writings that eventually became the "New Testament" had been written (i.e. early 2nd century), they quickly became the writings (Gospels and Letters) that pretty much all (or at least most) Christian communities used in their catechesis and liturgies. There were, of course, quite a few other gospels, letters (e.g. those of Ignatius or the one of Barnabas), and the occasional visionary work (Shepherd of Hermas and of course the Apocalypse of John) that were used by some but not all communities.

When the 4th century councils were faced with dealing with a variety of heterodox beliefs, one of the ways they established orthodoxy was by confirming the list of which writings were "canonical" and which weren't --"

I am not quite sure what is different between what you are saying (at least up to the point quoted above) and what I have said, although you, quite predictably, attribute the causative factors in separating the sheep from the goats to endogenous influences and I, quite predictably, attribute them to exogenous influences.

Hence, you say " the deciding factor was universal vs. partial usage and thus universal (read orthodox) vs. partial (read heterodox) theology...." where I would maintain that the deciding factor was which sect was most subservient to the will of the Emperor and thus which sect became "Orthodox" and remained alive.

430ambrithill
Jun 25, 2012, 8:13pm Top

To put it simply, the canon was created to make sure that not just any belief stated by any person could be accepted as being acceptable by the vast majority of the Church.

431lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 8:27pm Top

~430

You mean like the eccentric and de minimus view that the literal meaning of the English translation of the Canon is the "word for word word of G-d".

432nathanielcampbell
Jun 25, 2012, 8:27pm Top

>429 lawecon:: "I would maintain that the deciding factor was which sect was most subservient to the will of the Emperor and thus which sect became "Orthodox" and remained alive."

The area of debated dogma/doctrine that bore most heavily on the question of accepted writings was with the Gnostics -- the majority chunk of the "apocryphal" gospels, etc. that make conspiracy theorists salivate are from the gnostic sects. The reason is that most gnostics did not accept the authority of the Hebrew scriptures, which they dismissed as the false revelation of an evil demiurge. This, of course, meant that they frequently didn't accept any of the writings that most other Christian communities did (the future New Testament) because they (especially Paul) relied so heavily at times on the fulfillment or exegesis of Hebrew scriptures. Indeed, one of the first "canon" lists to be drawn up was that of Marcion (d. c. 160, if I recall correctly), whose gnostic impetus for it was to repudiate Hebrew scripture.

The thing is, the gnostic debate was a second and third century one -- by the time Constantine got around to legalizing Christianity in the 4th century, it was a dead horse. In many ways, the 4th century councils were late to the game when it came to sifting the wheat and chaff of authoritative Christian writings, because the heavy work was done by the 3rd century theologians (led, at least in what writings on the matter survive, by Irenaeus).

But if you want to suppose that Constantine and his successors were the real movers and shakers (and that Christianity just kind of sat on its hands for the first few centuries, waiting for an emperor to take notice so they could turn on the sycophancy), there's not much I can do to disabuse you of your invincible ignorance.

433lawecon
Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 8:54pm Top

~432

Yept, the usual evasion. First we attribute the establishment of the canon to the councils, then, when pushed on the criteria they used (other than just majority voting of whoever had made it to the council) we start citing earlier authors who made up lists (which, apparently, no one paid any attention to).

But concentrate now, I am not saying that anyone sat on their hands. The heretics also made up lists of authoritative books. The question is whose lists ended up being orthodox. The answer to that question is not in terms of majority rule by all Christians or even of all Bishops. It was not some grand democratic scheme or Darwin writ culturally. Rather, it was someone with troops, crosses and other instruments of your very painful death or financial ruin looking over your shoulder. G-d incarnate, as the Emperor would have described himself in more honest days.

434nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 9:12pm Top

>433 lawecon:: "Rather, it was someone with troops, crosses and other instruments of your very painful death or financial ruin looking over your shoulder."

You seem to be having trouble with this whole comprehension thing again, so I will spell it out one more time. Nobody used an army to create the canon of scripture. It was created by the common use of the majority of Christians. Yes, Marcion drew up a list in the 2nd century because, as a gnostic (what you called a "heretic" in your post), he did need a (metaphorical) weapon to yield against the larger majority of Christian communities who were reading texts he didn't want them to read.

So I will say this one last time, and maybe this time you will understand. The writings that became the New Testament were the ones that the vast majority of Christians from the 2nd century forwards used in their liturgy and catechesis. The writings that were left "out" of the New Testament were the ones that only a few Christians used. By the 4th century, many of the "apocryphal" writings had, in fact, fallen into almost complete disuse because most Christians realized that they didn't teach the same Christianity that the universally accepted writings did.

What debates there were in the 4th century were mainly over writings that to this day are considered orthodox -- thus the works found in Early Christian Writings ed. A. Louth, e.g. the Letters of Ignatius, the Epistles of Barnabas, and the Didache; or the Shepherd of Hermas (which was highly influential in certain circles throughout the Middle Ages). Ultimately, however, these writings were determined not to have the same apostolic authority as those that were used universally and eventually accepted in the "canon".

Crucially, however, NONE of these debates had anything to do with appeasing the Roman Emperor. Christians didn't go around in those early centuries torturing or killing heretics -- if you were getting tortured or killed, it was by one of the pre-Constantinian emperors in the latter half of the 3rd and the early 4th centuries -- and then, not all the time (there was a middle period, called "The Little Peace", of 2 or 3 decades when there were not large-scale persecutions).

The idea that Christianity was established in the first few centuries by the sword is simply not true. You're making that one up -- unless, of course, you're one of those conspiracy theorists who have kept the coffers filled of those publishing houses specializing in "apocryphal" writings.

435lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 9:45pm Top

~434

"So I will say this one last time, and maybe this time you will understand. The writings that became the New Testament were the ones that the vast majority of Christians from the 2nd century forwards used in their liturgy and catechesis. The writings that were left "out" of the New Testament were the ones that only a few Christians used. By the 4th century, many of the "apocryphal" writings had, in fact, fallen into almost complete disuse because most Christians realized that they didn't teach the same Christianity that the universally accepted writings did."

Excellent. So you can cite me to that survey data on which you are relying, along with the statistical error and sampling error coefficients in the footnotes? I know that you must have that study, since you have stated the above historical claims several times now, and you surely can't just be stating these conclusive facts just on "faith". Can you?

436nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 10:01pm Top

>435 lawecon:: "So you can cite me to that survey data on which you are relying, along with the statistical error and sampling error coefficients in the footnotes? "

Just as soon as you provide me with similar survey data with statistical error and sampling error coefficients on how many Jews at the time of Jesus and in the centuries thereafter believed in the survival of a spirit after the death of its body.

Surely you can't just be stating your conclusive facts on "faith". Can you?

We're talking about ancient history and you're asking for polling data -- and yet you claim Christians are the ones out of touch with reality.

(But if you'd like, you can read the following article about it: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm )

437lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 10:19pm Top

~434

"So I will say this one last time, and maybe this time you will understand. The writings that became the New Testament were the ones that the vast majority of Christians from the 2nd century forwards used in their liturgy and catechesis. The writings that were left "out" of the New Testament were the ones that only a few Christians used. By the 4th century, many of the "apocryphal" writings had, in fact, fallen into almost complete disuse because most Christians realized that they didn't teach the same Christianity that the universally accepted writings did."

Excellent. So you can cite me to that survey data on which you are relying, along with the statistical error and sampling error coefficients in the footnotes? I know that you must have that study, since you have stated the above historical claims several times now, and you surely can't just be stating these conclusive facts just on "faith". Can you?

"if you were getting tortured or killed, it was by one of the pre-Constantinian emperors in the latter half of the 3rd and the early 4th centuries -- and then, not all the time (there was a middle period, called "The Little Peace", of 2 or 3 decades when there were not large-scale persecutions)."

Yes, indeed, Constantine and his successors were famous for not torturing or killing or exiling any one for religious reasons or otherwise. (You do realize that failure to endorse the official faith was treason, don't you?) They were well know for their benevolence. (Maybe in another space-time continuum.) Constantine was a real sweet guy

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iv.vi.iii.lxiv.html?ighlight=constantine...

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jews-romanlaw.asp and

http://www.heretication.info/_heretics.html and

"The era of persecution within the Church began with the first Oecumenical Council, which was called and enforced by Constantine. This Council presents the first instance of a subscription to a creed, and the first instance of banishment for refusing to subscribe. Arius and two Egyptian bishops, who agreed with him, were banished to Illyria. During the violent Arian controversies, which shook the empire between the first and second Oecumenical Councils (325–381), both parties when in power freely exercised persecution by imprisonment, deposition, and exile. The Arians were as intolerant as the orthodox. The practice furnished the basis for a theory and public law.

"The penal legislation against heresy was inaugurated by Theodosius the Great after the final triumph of the Nicene Creed in the second Oecumenical Council. He promulgated during his reign (379–395) no less than fifteen severe edicts against heretics, especially those who dissented from the doctrine of the Trinity. They were deprived of the right of public worship, excluded from public offices, and exposed, in some cases, to capital punishment.1000 His rival and colleague, Maximus, put the theory into full practice, and shed the first blood of heretics by causing Priscillian, a Spanish bishop of Manichaean tendency, with six adherents, to be tortured, condemned, and executed by the sword."

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc8.iv.xvi.iii.html?highlight=justinian,edict,a...

But you're right. With statements like those of yours quoted above, this discussion is becoming downright silly. Your faith overcomes you.

438lawecon
Jun 25, 2012, 10:24pm Top

~436

"We're talking about ancient history and you're asking for polling data -- and yet you claim Christians are the ones out of touch with reality."

Well, you told me several times that:

"So I will say this one last time, and maybe this time you will understand. The writings that became the New Testament were the ones that the vast majority of Christians from the 2nd century forwards used in their liturgy and catechesis. The writings that were left "out" of the New Testament were the ones that only a few Christians used."

Silly me, I thought you had a factual or historical basis for such a claim other than an apologetic for a particular Christian sect. It sure sounded like a series of very definite historical claims, but I guess I must not have read it right.

"(But if you'd like, you can read the following article about it: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm )"

Ah, an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia on the formation of the orthodox Canon. Well that proves it.

And if I give you a series of Jewish sources on how Jesus was a false prophet would that also prove those allegations?

Really sad.

439nathanielcampbell
Jun 25, 2012, 10:26pm Top

>437 lawecon:: I withdraw what was a hasty and overreaching generalization to the effect that the post-Constantinian church did not employ force to fight heretics.

On the other hand, you have yet to demonstrate how it was that the pre-Constantinian church also enforced orthodoxy by sucking up to the emperors. As the very quotes you provide in 437 show, the post-Constantinian persecutions were about matters of doctrine other than the canon of scripture.

That, of course, is because by the time of the post-Constantinian church, the heretically controversial part of the canonicity issues had already been deteremined. Nobody killed anybody else over The Shepherd of Hermas. They may, however, have killed each other over the precise relationship between the Father and the Son and the Son's divinity and humanity. I'll grant you that.

The problem here is that your claim has consistently been that the canon of the New Testament was determined by the force of imperial arms, despite the lack of evidence to support your claim.

440nathanielcampbell
Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 10:37pm Top

>438 lawecon:: Silly me, here I thought the way to answer these questions was googling. After all, that was the advice you gave someone else recently:

lawecon:
You know, if you're really interested in questions like this, you don't have to depend on what the NT says about Judaism or what your pastor says. You can actually look it up for yourself. See, e.g., http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/cycle/death.htm (which took me all of 10 seconds on a Google search to locate). That is, of course, if you actually want to know, rather than just "believe."
Apparently, when lawecon gives us random url's to read about Judaism, we are supposed to trust him. But when Christians offer information about Christianity, it's "propaganda". Right....

But if the Catholic Church is too biased a source on the history of Christianity, perhaps you might examine James Kugel and Rowan Greer's Early Biblical Interpretation, which will give you the same picture of the development of the canon that I have given.

(And I'll save you the wiki lookup: Kugel is chair of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar Ilan University in Israel and the Harry M. Starr Professor Emeritus of Classical and Modern Hebrew Literature at Harvard University; and Greer is an Episcopalian Professor Emeritus at Yale Divinity School).

441johnthefireman
Jun 26, 2012, 12:24am Top

>427 lawecon: I'm sure our resident experts on Christian history

I doubt whether you'll find one on LT who is more of an expert than Raymond Brown! He's done a fair bit of study on Judaism of the biblical period too.

>431 lawecon: the eccentric and de minimus view that the literal meaning of the English translation of the Canon is the "word for word word of G-d"

Brown appears to be saying that this is a modern view, post-1500 and "especially... the last centuries in fundamentalist strains of American Protestantism".

442lawecon
Jun 26, 2012, 12:30am Top

~440

Thank you for the references, well, the sort of references.

Now let me ask you what I asked Tim the last time he did this sort of thing. Since I have several of Kugel's books, give me the specific titles and page numbers.

I don't have Greer's volume, and, of course, I would never expect an Episcopalian Professor (whatever that is) to maintain that the sort of Christianity that ultimately won out due to the intervention of the Empire was the True form, but I would also like the page references in that volume. Believe me, I'll go find a copy.

443lawecon
Jun 26, 2012, 12:35am Top

~441

Well, actually John, in case you missed the context, the first reference (in post 427) was to those two forum participants who continually claim to be resident experts on Christian history aka Tim and Arctic, not to Raymond Brown.

The reference in 431 was also to those forum participants who, like the one in the post referenced in 431, tell us that the canon was compiled to separate the Truth from Heresy and then espouse a view which for most Christians most places would be heretical.

Maybe smilie faces would help?

444johnthefireman
Jun 26, 2012, 12:51am Top

>443 lawecon: No, I've never really seen the point of those smiley faces. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm one of those who believe that the English language contains all the tools necessary to express a position without resorting to children's pictures!

445jburlinson
Jun 26, 2012, 12:56am Top

> 443. Maybe smilie faces would help?

They would if they were unaccompanied by verbiage.

446lawecon
Jun 26, 2012, 8:21am Top

~443

Well, in general I agree, but either you did not understand what I said or I am not understanding what you responded. So something more appears to be needed.

447atdCross
Jun 26, 2012, 10:38pm Top

lawecom: "Further, a large part of the Torah tells you what you do to 'make up' for sins. It has to do with 'making amends'..."

Although I am not Jewish, I need to ask, does the Torah really teach that "making amends", whether to God or other people one has transgressed against, is sufficient and effectual to "make up for sins" (atonement) and, thereby "make up for sins (i.e. obtain the divine forgiveness/favor)?

My reading of the a Torah shows that the "sheding of blood" is the essential determinative, the sufficient and effectual means whereby atonement is made for transgression. That is not to suggest that amendment (i.e. repentance) is not a required, but that it is required as a condition for blood atonement to be effectual (Leviticus 17:11).

One may amend all his ways but unless blood sacrifice is made, forgiveness is impossible and that person is cut of from the community of Israel. As such, I respectfully submit that it seems to me the assertion above does not accurately reflect the teachings of the Torah.

448JGL53
Edited: Jun 27, 2012, 12:39pm Top

> 447

Blood? It's not just for breakfast any more? It says such and such about blood in the sacred scriptures, thus ends the debate? Unh unh.

I don't think it would be a TOS violation if I pointed out that your level of moral thinking is as primitive as it gets - I mean, regarding the last 50,000 years of human cultural evolution. I.e., who the heck can guess what was going through the average troglodyte’s mind 200,000 years ago?

We all should give a pint of blood every three months - that's a blood sacrifice that makes sense, as you could well contribute to saving someone's life.

Other than that I don't think it is healthy to focus on blood particularly, especially not to the point of obsession. Blood is not magic. And that's a scientific fact.

Can I get a "Amen!" somebody?

449lawecon
Jun 27, 2012, 2:06pm Top

~447

I think you need to reread.

The "shedding of blood" is a special case out of many, and even that is subdivided into cases where those offering the sacrifice shared in the resulting meal and those where there was no resulting meal. You should realize, among many other points that you apparently don't realize, that slaughter and the eating of meat were not an everyday event in Biblical times.

450atdCross
Jun 28, 2012, 12:11am Top

lawecon, as far as you understand Torah, what special case (is it one case or many?) would that be and how is that case subdivided?

I can agree it may not have been a rite that was practiced everday, but it does seem to have been a rite to be practiced everyday and only in the Temple in Jerusalem by divine command . Or am I misunderstanding texts like Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:3-8?

451lawecon
Edited: Jun 28, 2012, 10:22am Top

~450

This is a very complex topic. I suggest you do some study on it from Jewish sources, rather than Christian sources that have a stake in a particular reinterpretation of Judaism or from a cold reading of Torah, when, frankly, you don't have the background to read Torah.

In very brief summary, animal sacrifice was only appropriate when one had offended G-d or during certain Jewish holidays.

Many Jewish laws have to do with the situation where a person has offended another person or property of another person. In such cases, sacrifice is not appropriate.

Further, sacrifice was not about blood. The blood represented life - which is why it must be washed from and drawn out of any meat that is eaten. Sacrifice was about terminating a life as a sign of how very serious an offense had been.

Jews do not terminate life, even animal life, with impunity. However, as G-d had ceded control over animals to humans, the humans then had some discretion about how to dispose of animals.

In certain instances, the sacrifice was also so that the sinner could reconcile with G-d by sharing a meat meal with G-d. Again, a meat meal was the rare exception, not the rule, in those times.

452jburlinson
Jun 28, 2012, 12:29pm Top

> 451. frankly, you don't have the background to read Torah.

The only background needed to read anything is basic competence with the requisite linguistic symbols.

The reader does not take a pledge of allegiance to consider only what the writer might have had or probably had in mind. Although it can be interesting and fun (to some) to consider the so-called original intent, it is not requisite, nor is it even possible. It's just a case of estimating historical probabilities through a process that inevitably leaves out certain variables.

By putting something down on paper (or in the blogosphere), the writer opens a Pandora's box filled with all kinds of odd things that only increase in number as the years and centuries roll on.

453lawecon
Edited: Jun 28, 2012, 12:51pm Top

~452

"The only background needed to read anything is basic competence with the requisite linguistic symbols."

Yes, I would expect that to be your attitude.

Here, read this and give me your considered reaction Foundations of Economic Analysis

454jburlinson
Jun 28, 2012, 1:21pm Top

> 453. Here, read this and give me your considered reaction Foundations of Economic Analysis

My initial reaction is that it appears to be a LibraryThing work main page of a moderately popular book (for an academic text) with very high approval ratings, on average. The page displays all of the strengths and some of the weaknesses of LT (e.g., the complete title of the work is abbreviated, presumably due to space limitations.) The strengths of the LT system certainly outweigh the weaknesses, IMO.

On further examination, I notice that you own this book (1 of 56 members), but that you are not a "recent adder." This leads me to infer that you've had a copy for some time, indicating either that you hold it in some esteem or that you don't regularly weed your library. It's possible that you don't own a copy at all, but that you have at one time owned or read the book and have added it to your virtual library, which is a something of a no-no in LT world, although many people, including yours truly, do the same.

The assumption that you esteem the book is strengthened by your recommending it to me, although that could have been only because you consider it either a difficult work, or at least a work that can not be easily understood by a know-nothing like me.

The fact that you have not written a review of the book makes it difficult to arrive at any more considered opinion on the subject of whether or not you like it. But, then, nobody has reviewed the book, even though it gets a consensus 5 stars. This leads me to infer that this is one of those books that people think they ought to like or respect, but that they either don't really understand or are intimidated by somehow, in that they feel inadequate to put their opinion of it out there for public scrutiny.

The title and the tags lead me to a strong disinclination to obtain a copy for the purposes of reading.

455johnthefireman
Jun 28, 2012, 1:24pm Top

>454 jburlinson: Thanks, Sherlock!

456Osbaldistone
Jun 28, 2012, 6:36pm Top


Sorry, for the late response, Lawecon. I've been traveling (job hunting, still).

My comment about 1st century CE for the Jewish canon called the Hebrew Bible is from MyJewishHistory.com, which claims to be "the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education". I'm willing to go with this and stand by my comment. As far as there being anything called a Jewish canon, I know that, as has been said many times on this group and this thread, neither Judaism nor Christianity are heterogeneous in many aspects of belief and practice, so the fact that some do not accept the term 'canon' is fine by me.

As far as your second comment, I think it's a matter of symantecs really, as to what one considers the activities constituting formation of the canon. Bu, my purpose was simply a comparison of the time-frame over which Christian canon and Jewish canon each went from numerous books (biblion) to, supposedly, one Bible made up of many books (biblia). There seems no basis for suggesting the formation of a Hebrew canon was a reaction to or was influenced by the formation of a Christian canon.

Os.

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