Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Craig-Parsons debate 1998



This is Jeffrey Lowder's summary of the Craig-Parsons debate, which I always use in my History of World Religions class.
>
> SUMMARY OF THE CRAIG-PARSONS DEBATE,
> "WHY I AM/AM NOT A CHRISTIAN"
>
> This debate took place on June 15, 1998 at Prestonwood Baptist Church
> in Dallas, Texas. Organizers of the debate estimated the size of the
> audience at over 4,200 people. Audiotapes and videotapes of the
> debate are available; to order, call or write:
>
> Prestonwood Baptist Church
> 1572 Hillcrest Road
> Dallas, TX 75248
> (972) 960-9191 ext 195
>
> and request "The Great Debate of 98". Audiotapes cost $6 and
> videotapes cost $12; prices include shipping and handling.
>
> I did NOT include the Q&A period in this summary. I don't consider
> that part of
> the formal debate.
>
> CRAIG'S OPENING STATEMENT
>
> Craig noted that the debate topic was personal; therefore, Craig
> would be giving reasons why *he* is a Christian. His reasons were
> as follows:
>
> A. Cosmology
> -- Discovery of cosmic background radiation meant the end of the
> steady-state cosmology.
> -- The big bang theory is true. Quotes Stephen Hawking: virtually
> everyone accepts big bang cosmology.
> -- Thus, the universe began to exist. By the nature of the case,
> the universe was caused to exist by a personal Creator.
>
> B. Hopelessness of atheism
> -- Everything seemed pointless if this life is all there is.
> -- Prior to his conversion to Christianity: Craig was experiencing
> angst or existential despair.
> -- Jean Paul Sartre: life is absurd without immortality.
> -- If there is no immortality, life is without meaning, value or
> purpose:
> --- Life would be without meaning because it would not matter how
> you live.
> --- Life would be without value because right and wrong would
> not matter.
> --- Life would be without purpose because the purposes we invent

> for our lives are futile.
>
> C. Resurrection of Jesus
> 1. Empty Tomb
> 2. Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 3. Origin of the Christian Faith
>
> D. Presence of God
> -- When Craig yielded his life to God, he felt a tremendous infusion
>
> of joy into his life.
> -- God became a living reality to Craig.
> -- In the absence of overwhelming arguments for atheism, Craig is
> rational in believing in God on the basis of his experience.
>
> PARSON'S OPENING STATEMENT
>
> Parsons began by emphasizing that he was not participating in the
> debate in an attempt to deconvert anyone. His goals in the debate
> were two-fold. His first goal, what he called his "weak aim", was
> to show that skepticism about Christianity is justified. His second
> goal, what he called his "strong aim", was to show that the evidence
> does not support the central claim of Christianity, the Resurrection.
> Parsons does NOT claim that it is irrational for Christians to
> believe in the Resurrection.
>
> I. Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> A. Christianity Is Not Good
> 1. Numerous atrocities in the Bible (e.g., 2 Kings 2; 1 Samuel
> 15)
> 2. Dark side of Christian history (e.g., persecutions, crusades,
> witch hunts, religious wars, Christian anti-semitism, defense
> of slavery, hatred of homosexuality, etc.)
> 3. Doctrine of Hell
>
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The
> claim that the Resurrection happened is about as
> extraordinary
> as a claim can get. But the evidence for that claim is not
> good.
> 2. This is not based upon some a priori bias against the
> miraculous.
> Rather, even theists must agree that miracles are initially
> implausible.
> 3. General problems with the evidence for the Resurrection:
> 3.1. The reports are anonymous; not written by
> eyewitnesses.
> 3.2. The reports were written 40 years or later after the
> events they describe.
> 3.3. The reports were based upon oral tradition. Human
> memory is unreliable.
> 3.4. The reports have a definite bias and theological
> purpose.
> 3.5. The reports contain identifiable, fictitious literary
> forms.
> 3.6. The reports are inconsistent with one another except
> where
> plagiarism is involved.
> 3.7. The reports are at odds with known facts.
> 3.8. There is no independent confirmation of the reports.
> 3.9. The reports are unlikely in the extreme.
>
> II. Response to Craig's Arguments for Christianity
> C. Resurrection
> 1. Empty Tomb
> 1.1. 1 Corinthians 15 does not support the empty tomb. The
> fact
> that Paul recited an ancient formula no more supports the
> historicity of the empty tomb legend, than singing about
> John Brown's body implies knowledge of where John Brown
> was
> buried.
> 1.2. The fact that women discovered the empty tomb is
> unsurprising
> and does not raise the credibility of the story.
> 1.3. Quotes John Shelby Spong: the discovery of an empty tomp
> would not have produced an Easter faith.
>
> 2. The Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 2.1. The early date of the formula in 1 Cor 15 is irrelevant.
> Legends can and do spread immediately in the presence of
> eyewitnesses.
> 2.2. No details in Paul's testimony.
> 2.3. No mention of an empty tomb.
> 2.4. No place or date for the alleged Resurrection.
> 2.5. No independent confirmation of the alleged appearance to
> the 500. Surely the gospels would have reported it.
> 2.6. Paul did not specifty whether appearances were physical or
> visionary. The Greek text is ambiguous on this point.
> 2.7. We don't know the reliability of the witnesses.
> 2.8. Paul was NOT a credible witness. Paul states (2 Cor 12)
> he was subject to visions.
>
> 3. Origin of the Christian Faith
> 3.1. Jesus was heretical.
> 3.2. Jesus' teachings were apocalyptic.
> 3.3. Paradigm shifts do not require supernatural intervention.
> If Craig disagrees, then what are his criteria for
> determining when a paradigm shift does require
> supernatural
> intervention? At what point do concepts become so alien
> that it would require a miracle to shift from one to the
> other?
>
> CRAIG'S FIRST REBUTTAL
>
> I. Reasons for Being a Christian
> C. Resurrection
> 1. Empty Tomb
> 1.2. Women's testimony was unreliable in New Testament times.
> The women didn't wash and dispose of the body. That was
> done by Joseph of Arimathea.
>
> 2. Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 2.1. Not genre of legend. Legend concerns how a story that is
> transmitted by oral tradition can be completely
> transformed.
> A.N. Sherwin-White said that cannot happen in less than
> 40 years. Not talking about lies, fabrications, hoaxes,
> etc.
> 2.2. Multiple attestation.
> 2.3. Appearances were not hallucinations. The appearances were
> physical and numerous. The witnesses were not
> psychologically disposed to believe a Resurrection had
> occurred. Hallucinations would have led to the belief
> that Jesus had been assumed into heaven, not that He was
> Resurrected. Hallucinations cannot explain the empty
> tomb.
>
> 3. Origin of the Christian faith.
> 3.1. Skeptics deny the authenticity of Jesus' predictions of
> His own Resurrection. This is inconsistent. If you
> accept the authenticity of the predictions, you've got to
> accept the historicity of the empty tomb and appearances
> because the passages which support them are better
> attested.
>
> II. Parsons Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> A. Christianity Is Not Good
> 1. God, as the author and giver of life, has the right to take
> life.
> 2.1. On balance, Christianity has done considerable good.
> 2.2. Jesus wouldn't have committed atrocities. Craig is
> defending
> Jesus in the debate, not the record of the Christian
> church.
> 3. Hell is not a result of God's will; Hell is a result of
> human
> choices. God's desire is that everyone come to know the
> truth.
>
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1. No justification for the principle that "extraordinary claims
> require extraordinary evidence". As Thomas Sherock pointed
> out,
> it doesn't take "extraordinary evidence" to prove someone is
> alive or to prove someone is dead. And to prove the
> Resurrection,
> one need only prove that Jesus was alive, then he was dead,
> and then he came back to life. The shred of truth in
> Parson's principle is this: ad hoc explanations should be
> avoided. But the Resurrection is not an ad hoc explanation
> given the religio-historical context in which the event
> happened.
> 3. The gospels are historically more reliable than other books
> of ancient history. Skepticism towards the gospels is the
> result of a philosophical bias. The degree of skepticism
> which is applied to the New Testament is far greater than the
> degree of skepticism which is applied to other ancient books.
>
> PARSONS'S FIRST REBUTTAL
>
> I. Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> A. Christianity Is Not Good
> 1. Does God have the right to be a homicidal maniac? Consider a
> thought experiment in which we create sentient robots. Does
> the fact that we created the sentient robots give us the right
> to kill them?
> 2.1. Christianity is not the greatest good.
> 2.2. Christianity is supposed to be the answer.
> 3.1. You would have to be a lunatic to *freely* choose Hell.
> Lunatics deserve treatment, not condemnation.
> 3.2. Why such a horrible punishment? What sort of free will is
> this? To say that we have free will to choose heaven or
> hell is like saying that someone with a gun to their head
> has free will whether to obey the gunmen.
>
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1.1. The principle is common sense.
> 1.2. Bayesian confirmation theory proves principle.
> 3. More is expected of the gospels than other books. No one
> bases their eternal destinies on Tacitus, Suetonius, or
> Homer.
>
> II. Craig's Reasons for Being a Christian
> B. Hopelessness of Atheism
> 1. Did Bertrand Russell, Spinoza, or Einstein live meaningless
> lives?
>
> C. Resurrection
> 2. Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 2.1. Do not deny that people had experiences which they
> took for an appearance of the resurrected Jesus.
> 2.2. Experiences could have been hallucinations. 1/8 - 2/3
> of human beings have waking hallucinations.
> Hallucinations seem very real to the people who have
> them. Consider Whitley Streiber, author of _Communion_.
> 2.3. Extreme loss can cause hallucinations.
> 2.4. Genre of UFO stories is the same genre as the New
> Testament
> reports of the Resurrection. Cites _Watch the Skies_.
> UFO legends accumulated in the presence of eyewitnesses.
> 2.5. Legends CAN grow in short periods of time, despite the
> presence of eyewitnesses.
> 2.6. Memory is fallible.
>
> 3. Origin of the Christian Faith
> 3.1. Jesus challenged the orthodox. He was heretical. Jesus
> lived in a period of time that had apocalyptic expectations.
> No barrier to paradigm shift to here.
>
> D. Presence of God
> 1. What about atheistic experiences? Many atheists have had
> experiences of honestly, openly, earnestly searching for God,
> and not finding. If Craig denies that my experience is
> genuine, I'll just reassert it again. I have just as much
> right to appeal to experience as Craig does.
>
> CRAIG'S SECOND REBUTTAL
>
> I. Parsons's Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> A. Christianity Is Not Good
> 1. God is the Creator and has the right to take human life.
> 2.1. Parsons has the burden of proof.
> 2.2. Jesus wouldn't have committed atrocities.
> 3.1. Demands of God's justice must be met. God cannot blink at
> sin. Sin must be punished.
>
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1.1. Not an argument. If Parsons has to appeal to "common sense"
> to support his principle, then he must not have a substantive
> argument for it.
> 1.2. There is nothing improbable about *God* raising Jesus from
> the dead.
> 2. Not at all. To be sure, a naturalistic resurrection is
> improbable. But a theistic Resurrection is probable.
> 3. Irrelevant. Doesn't affect their credibility.
>
> II. Craig's Reasons for Being a Christian
> A. Evidence for a Creator
> - nothing said about this by Dr. Parsons
> - personal creator is relevant to the probability of the
> Resurrection
> B. Hopelessness of Atheism
> 1. Russell himself said that life is meaningless. [applause]
>
> C. Resurrection
> 1. Empty Tomb
> 1.2. Women's testimony was unreliable.
> 1.4. Found in old source.
> 1.5. Lacks signs of legendary development.
> 1.6. Earliest Jewish polemic presupposes the empty tomb.
>
> 2. Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 2.3. The appearances were not hallucinations. Hallucinations
> cannot explain the physicality of the appearances, the
> number of the appearances, or the empty tomb.
>
> 3. Origin of the Christian Faith
> 3.2. Jews would have expected translation, not Resurrection.
>
> D. Presence of God.
> 1.1. Doesn't invalidate Craig's experiences.
> 1.2. Jesus said, "Seek and you will find." I encourage Dr.
> Parsons to keep searching for God. [strong applause]
>
> PARSONS'S SECOND REBUTTAL
>
> I. Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> A. Christianity Is Not Good
> 1.1. Moral intuition
> 1.2. Thought experiment about sentient robots.
> 3. Why must sin be punished? What good does it do for Hitler
> and Stalin to be suffering right now? Punishment is for
> deterrence. Purely retributive punishment is barbarous.
>
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1. Bayesian confirmation theory. Must evaluate prior
> probabilities. How is the Resurrection hypothesis NOT ad hoc,
> but the UFO hypothesis ad hoc?
>
> II. Craig's Reasons for Being a Christian
> A. Cosmology.
> 1. Irrelevant to Christianity. If Craig wants to debate me
> on theism vs. atheism, I would be happy to do so at a later
> time.
> B. Hopeless of Atheism
> 1. Out of context quote. Bertrand Russell said that life is
> meaningful. Friendship makes life meaningful.
> C. Resurrection
> 1. Empty Tomb
> 1.4. According to NT scholar Reginald Fuller, the oldest empty
> tomb tradition is the discovery by Mary Magdalene. Who
> was Mary Magdalene? Why sould we trust her?
> 2. Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 2.2. Could have been hallucinations. Hallucinations seem very
> real and physical.
> 3. Origin of the Christian Faith
> ????
> D. Presence of God
> 1.1. Craig offers his experiences as apologetic. Why should I
> take his experiences any more seriously than any other
> experience of the miraculous?
> 1.2. I sought and did not find. Jesus was wrong.
>
> "CROSSFIRE" PERIOD
>
> ANDERSON: Isn't the empty tomb a legend?
>
> CRAIG: Parsons grants the experiences. Legends don't accrue that
> quickly.
>
> PARSONS: Christians created and promoted legends about Darwin's alleged
> deathbed conversions in the presence of hostile and vocal eyewitnesses.
>
> CRAIG: Not genre. 2 generations is too short. Besides, this is not a
> central issue. Parsons admits the disciples had an experience.
>
> PARSONS: Sure it could have been hallucinations. Hallucinations seem
> very real. Alienation, loss, and depression all lead to hallucinations.
> Risen Elvis. Must remember context. Apocalyptic expectations. Given
> these expectations, why are hallucinations so improbable?
>
> CRAIG: The disciples had Jewish expectations. Hallucinations can't
> project what is not in the mind. They would have hallucinated
> translation.
>
> PARSONS: Quoted John Shelby Spong. Couldn't there have been an
> initial experience of a hallucination, then they reflected on this
> experience, and eventually the best sense he could make of it was
> that Jesus rose from the dead? Paradigm shift.
>
> CRAIG: I offered a cumulative case. Concerning the possibility of a
> paradigm shift, the Resurrection is an un-Jewish way of thinking.
> Also, can't find any hallucination that fits the Resurrection model
> in all aspects. Finally, I'm not prepared to grant the experiences
> were hallucinations.
>
> ANDERSON: What would constitute extraordinary evidence in the first
> century?
>
> PARSONS: Difficult to achieve in ancient times. That's not a problem
> for me; that's a problem for those who promote the miraculous.
> Quotes T.H. Huxley's essay on the miraculous.
>
> CRAIG: Must take miracles on a case-by-case basis. "Extraordinary
> claims require extraordinary evidence" is an a priori bias against
> the supernatural. There isn't any evidence that would convince you
> of the Resurrection. You said that you would event reject
> videotapes of the stone rolling away.
>
> PARSONS: In court cases, we make decisions about the probability of
> the testimony of witnesses. There is no appeal to the supernatural
> in court cases. This is not a bias against the supernatural. This
> is how we live our daily lives.
>
> CRAIG: No amount of evidence would convince you.
>
> PARSONS: [paraphrasing N.R. Hanson] A Spielbergian display would
> convince me.
>
> CRAIG: You wouldn't have assumed you had a hallucination?
> [extremely strong laughter and applause]
>
> PARSONS: Everyone would have had the experience. It wouldn't be
> just me claiming to have the experience.
>
> CRAIG: Why believe, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary
> evidence?" I can't think of any argument for that principle. I agree
> that we should be skeptical of ad hoc explanations. But the
> Resurrection is NOT an ad hoc explanation.
>
> PARSONS: If the Resurrection is NOT an ad hoc explanation, then
> you have just contradicted your claim that the Resurrection was an
> un-Jewish way of thinking. If there Resurrection is NOT an ad hoc
> explanation, then there should have been an expectation of Jesus'
> Resurrection in the minds of the disciples.
>
> ======================================================================
> CRAIG'S THIRD REBUTTAL
>
> I. Parsons's Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1. Significant religio-historical context makes supernatural
> explanation of the Resurrection not ad hoc.
> II. Craig's Reasons for Being a Christian
> A. Cosmology
> 1. Parsons never disputed the evidence.
> 2. Relevant to the evidence for the Resurrection.
> C. Resurrection
> 1. Empty Tomb
> 1.4. Others could check out what Mary Magdalene said. Early
> Christianity originated in the city in which Jesus was
> buried.
> 2. Post-Resurrection Appearances
> 2.3. Appearances were not hallucinations. Hallucinations is
> not a complete hypothesis. Cannot explain the empty tomb.
> 3. Origin of the Christian Faith
> 3.1. Skeptics denied Jesus' predictions.
> 3.2. Jews would have expected translation.
> D. Presence of God
> 1. Read the New Testament and check it out for yourself.
>
> PARSONS' THIRD REBUTTAL
>
> I. Reasons for Not Being a Christian
> B. Christianity Is Not True
> 1. Quoted Sherlock Holmes: eliminate the impossible and whatever
> is left is the answer. Must evaluate prior probabilities.
> II. Craig's Reasons for Being a Christian
> A. Cosmology.
> 1. Irrelevant. Many people, including Jews and Muslims, believe
> in a personal Creator but are not Christians. Parsons would
> be happy to debate Craig on the existence of God some other
> time.
> C. Resurrection
> 1.2. Why wouldn't the discovery of the empty tomb be the final
> insult? Acts 13 says Jesus was buried by those who crucified
> him. How do we know she went to the right tomb? Sherlock
> Holmes said, "eliminate the impossible."

35 comments:

Jason said...

{wry g} Not exactly a stellar showing on either side; but, fwiw, on the balance I'd have to give a solid edge to Parsons on this one.

(Um... good job. Sort of. {amused chuckle!})

David said...

Victor,

Just a suggestion--you might consider posting a short excerpt of your article to begin with. Then if visitors want to read the rest, they can click on a link to see the entire text.

That makes it easier for people to skim through your latest posts. By the way, I'm really enjoying your blog.

Victor Reppert said...

So Jason, (or anyone else) do you really think that Parsons makes the hallucination theory plausible?

A Well Informed Guy said...

No.

Jason said...

Not really; there are other issues involved, not being sufficiently taken into account.

(I _did_ say "not exactly a stellar showing on _either_ side"... {g} Judging a solid edge to one side is still only an edge, and stays within the overall judgment. For what it's worth, I would probably have a lot more commentary on Keith's than on WLC's. At least, the commentary sheet I started writing up yesterday, for kicks, is trending that way. {s!} But I'm still not past opening comments.)

Btw, I'm pretty sure blogger allows users to upload .html documents into a folder, which can then be linked to from your journal posts. That would neatly solve the problem of macroposts like Jeff's debate report (or {ahem} stupidly long commentary letters I might send... {self-critical g!})

Unfortunately, I've slept several dozen times since I last had a blogger account. (... ... oh, yeah, actually I _do_ still have one... been a while since I put priority for updating it any... editing, 'work' work, blah-blah...) So I don't quite remember how it works. Anyone else familiar with what I'm talking about?

Steven Carr said...

'Prior to his conversion to Christianity: Craig was experiencing angst or existential despair.'

At what age was Craig baptised? :-)

Craig says he converted to Christianity as a teenage boy.

Teenage boys suffering angst or existential despair? How unusual!

Does Victor think Stephen in Acts 'hallucinated' when he stood in Jerusalem and saw Jesus sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven?

Did Paul 'hallucinate' when he saw a man from Macedonia in a trance? Or was there a real person there with him?

Steven Carr said...

Craig says 'Sin must be punished.'

I thought sin had to be forgiven.

slaveofone said...

Carr brings up some good points. However, I must point out that I also experienced existential despair as a teen. I was baptised at 19. The years from 16-19 were horrendous as I tried to authenticate my existence through experience.

I kept journals at that time. The entries turned into long lists--sometimes several pages--of nothing but things I had never done before but did on that day. But each experience and each new activity ended and was ultimately meaningless. The lists got longer and longer in each entry. As the pointlessness of it began to occur to me, I started planning things to do to authenticate my existence the next day or week in advance to cover. Look to the future since the present was unbearable. But it was all meaningless. I began ending every single entry with the same phrase "today I weep, I'm all alone" meaning there was nothing greater outside of me and in myself I was hopeless and futile. It's all documented and dated.

Alethes Ginosko said...

Steve Carr said: I thought sin had to be forgiven.


No, that's just it Steve. Biblically, the wage of sin is death. There must be blood for sin. But we are given forgiveness...free of charge so to speak.

Steven Carr said...

So Craig is right to say that sin must be punished, but it is also true that sin doesn't have to be punished?

Is Craig committing a logical fallact , similar to saying 'If a man has a wife, then he must be married'?

Steven Carr said...

Existential angst or the doctrine of utter depravity?

What a choice Craig puts to his audience!

Craig said 'God is the Creator and has the right to take human life.'

There is no need to worry when there is a being that has a legal right to kill you whenever it feels like doing so.

Alethes Ginosko said...

Stace said:So Craig is right to say that sin must be punished, but it is also true that sin doesn't have to be punished?

Is Craig committing a logical fallact , similar to saying 'If a man has a wife, then he must be married'?

where exactly in my post (or in Craig's text) did you read that sin doesn't have to be punished?

maybe i missed it

Steven Carr said...

So which sins will be forgiven and what will be the punishment for them?

Alethes Ginosko said...

so,...you weren't going to answer my question?

Anonymous said...

C'mon Carr, pull yer act together.

Jason said...

At the risk of encouraging him ({sigh} it wouldn't be so bad, except he's shown virtually no intention over the past year or so, of trying to have a serious discussion _with_ his opponents): Steven _does_ have a point. He isn't putting it very well, but it's there.

In his own way, he did in fact answer your question, Alethes; leaving you open to answer along the line I suspect you're prepping for: sin must be punished, so Jesus voluntarily bears the punishment instead of us.

If that's where you're planning to go, then I can pre-empt Steven's own reply by answering (as a penitent Christian defending trinitarian orthodoxy): this sort of theology is incoherent, including in ethicality. Steven will be right (including ethically right) to reject it, _if_ that's where you are going.

He won't be able to give a sophisticated answer to why he'd be right to reject it, but "unfair is still unfair" would do. Even if he only replied along that line in order to be contentious, he'd still be right to do it. (The mere contentiousness wouldn't be right, but the abuse would not abolish the propriety of the reply.)

So: where _were_ you going to go?

Jason

Alethes Ginosko said...

you are correct in assumption of my position. However, to go a little deeper I think this has more to do with purpose and one's teleology.

If one is a Christian or is arguing for Christianity Biblically, then the purpose of all things is the glory of God.

1) God creates man

2) God establishes the shedding of blood as the punishment for disobedience while also establishing substitutionary shedding of blood. (the killing of animals for Adam & Eve's disobedience as a substitutionary shedding of blood)

3) Man being fallen to his own selfishness cannot adhere completely to God's standard & cannot completely obey.

4) God establishes one substitutionary blood shed that is for all eternity and will not be repeated (i.e., Jesus)

I do not expect any of this to be _fair_ necessarily. But in my opinion it _is_ fair. That fact of the matter is God doesn't need to be fair to us. He owes human beings _nothing_. The main idea that I think needs to be put across is that the purpose of ALL of this and everything in existence is for God and Him alone.

I am, nonetheless, interested in how this is incoherent and unethical theology.

Jason said...

Alethes,

One clarification I wish I had made in my previous post, was that I do _not_ in fact consider the bearing of punishment for another, to be _in itself_ ethically incoherent. Far from it--though again, the intention is what makes the difference. I do in fact accept that God bearing our punishment for and/or with us, is a true (including ethical) doctrine.

What that _means_, however, I find so commonly connected to technical heresy (inadvertently, of course), that I go on guard whenever I see someone approaching the position. Especially when the approach seems to be from a direction exemplified by the positions taken by WLC in his debate here with KP (as reported by Jim anyway; and I've read enough WLC to recognize the basic accuracy of Jim's summary report along this line.) Keith was right to be pinging against WLC's account of God's ethicality (among some other things); and this was why I called the bout (so to speak) in favor of Keith by a solid edge. (Victor posted this originally back in Oct 2005, which is also when my first couple of posts above date back to. Victor has a copy of the commentary sheet I said I was writing; it ended being 108K in length, i.e. far too long to feasibly post on the boards in any fashion.)



{{you are correct in assumption of my position.}}

More of an inference to a conclusion of probability than an assumption, actually. {s} (I'm familiar with the position; and the data up to that point did fit together in that direction, so far as the data went. I couldn't be entirely sure, of course.)

{{However, to go a little deeper I think this has more to do with purpose and one's teleology.}}

A promising line of defense, at least!--one I'm not prepared to disagree with, either.


{{If one is a Christian or is arguing for Christianity Biblically, then the purpose of all things is the glory of God.}}

Basically true, I agree. What this _means_, however, can implicitly or explicitly involve a technical fault (even if inadvertently).


{{(the killing of animals for Adam & Eve's disobedience as a substitutionary shedding of blood)}}

A sacrifice which is _NOT_ to be understood as being effective _in itself_ (per se).

Also, the goal of the sacrifice is being ignored at this point; or subsumed under a mere 'glory-of-God-whatever-that-means' rubric. Israel was notorious for this, and was occasionally reprimanded by God through the prophets along this line--sometimes in the strongest possible terms. We're supposed to be doing better than this; _they_ were supposed to be doing better than this, and could have done better (and sometimes _did_ do better than this, according to the story).

The sacrifices were supposed to be a tangible enaction of _repentence_ on the part of the people, and their reaching toward God for purposes of _reconciliation_; but it has to take place primarily in the heart, or else God considers the visible sign to be worse than useless. This is why Jesus said, if we are bringing our approach-offering to the Temple, and we have not reconciled with our brother, _leave_ the sacrifice at the Temple and go reconcile with our brother, _then_ come back and offer the sacrifice.

I don't think we're supposed to ignore the basic point of this saying, even though the sacrifices have been replaced and are being fulfilled in God-as-Christ. The principle is intimately connected with the saying (repeated more than once iirc) about how we are _not_ going to be forgiven our sins, if we do not forgive others. (Or, put positively, as in the Lord's Prayer, "forgive us our sins, as we forgive others.")


{{Man being fallen to his own selfishness cannot adhere completely to God's standard & cannot completely obey.}}

Certainly! More to the point, we are told that even if we _could_ completely obey, it wouldn't be sufficient. This isn't supposed to be ideally a doctrine of works which just happens not to be attainable by us (so of course the work cannot work). If God isn't reaching to us, there isn't going to be any reconciliation.

This is why when St. Paul uses the word, there are two forms; the first, which may be translated conciliation, is a _down_-movement, i.e. by God. The other, which may be translated reconciliation, is a down-up movement, recognizing our own contribution, but also still recognizing the necessity of enaction by God.

Moreover, we are clearly told that God is always reaching _first_ toward atonement with us. God doesn't even wait for us to repent, before acting Himself toward our reconciliation! The Incarnation itself exemplifies this grace; rather against Jewish expectations, btw--the common rabbinic teaching was (and in some circles still is, iirc) that if Israel would only succeed in perfectly repenting even to the smallest degree, _then_ God will send Messiah to save them. But _this_ is grace: not that we have loved God, but that God loves us and gives His own life for us _while we are still rebels against Him_.

Not that I suppose you are denying this; but it's absolutely crucial (in more ways than one, including literally {g!}) to take this into account when discussing what you're discussing.


{{God establishes one substitutionary blood shed that is for all eternity and will not be repeated (i.e., Jesus)}}

More to the point, God shows us that He sacrifices _Himself_ for our sakes. It happens once in history, where we can see it (though being historical there are natural limitations about who can see it and when, which is one reason our witness to the event is both fair and important). But it also happens from (as far as I can tell, even _as_) the foundation of the world.

I mention this to head off an accidental heresy which occasionally happens here: it's easy to slip into the notion of God doing one thing and Jesus doing another thing (even if it's in co-operation with God, as we ourselves are called to do.)

But this is simply ignoring the point to the sacrifices before the Son Incarnate, as well as the various complex relationships between them and the sacrifice of God Himself for our sake. Put another way, it involves actually ignoring the purpose and teleology. (Calling it 'for God's glory' doesn't work; that's only changing the label of description, and setting aside the content of meaning. It isn't wrong, exactly, but neither is it useful.)


{{I do not expect any of this to be _fair_ necessarily.}}

Okay, _NOW_ we're starting to get into the implicit heresy part.

Who cares whether you think it happens to be fair, if at the same time you claim that God doesn't have to be fair? It's worse than a pre-emptive dodge out of potential criticisms of "but it isn't fair!" Essentially, it's a denial that God _is_, in His own self-existence, an active interpersonal unity.

This is why I said I criticise it as being incoherent theology. It wasn't the doctrine of God bearing our punishment in some fashion with and/or for us, that I was pinging against, per se (always assuming, in your favor, that you _did_ mean 'God' by 'Jesus'). But I recognized in advance what that doctrine was being linked to: that God's fairness is not something intrinsic to His own necessary self-existence (consequently to the existence of everything else as well).

That doctrine may still be supernaturalistic theism; so is (conventional) Judaism and Islam. But it isn't trinitarianism.

And even speaking as a man who is supposed to be penitient _against_ _my_ unfairness, and _for_ fairness, to God and to others (including to enemies of God and myself)--the claim simply disconnects my repentence from anything essentially to do _with_ God as He is. Not to say that we now have the apparent result of a man being _more_ fair (expected in principle and even occasionally accomplished practice) than the One Who is Good, even God!

Plus, at the very simplest level, it ought to be reasonably clear (though apparently it isn't for many people, including numerous Christian scholars of otherwise critical mein, who then go on to _teach_ this to people who are trusting them), that one cannot be prepared to jettison the notion of God's necessary fairness without in proportion severing all connection of the doctrine to ethicality. A non-fair ethicality is a notion too absurd for words; though I have certainly met enough Christians who are quite satisfied with the absurdity--so long as they can be on the side of the unfairness and/or the unfairness is in _their_ favor somehow.


(And _then_ they they don't understand, when unbelievers treat _them_ and their doctrine as some kind of evil to be avoided and opposed at all cost--even at the cost of coherency and fairness on their _own_ part. The unbelievers well learn the lesson being taught to them by the Christians who do this... and may have _become_ unbelievers to escape it.)

Thus, as I put it ("as a penitent Christian defending trinitarian orthodoxy"): this sort of theology is incoherent, including in ethicality.

Again, even at the simplest possible level (setting aside the complexities of whether a doctrine is trinitarian orthodoxy or not): the moment you claim fairness is some kind of option which God could refuse to enact and still be God, you render the theology immediately non-ethical. Steven will be right (including ethically right) to reject it.


{{[God] owes human beings _nothing_.}}

Not in the sense of meeting a requirement or standard superceding Himself, that's true. (It would be a different kind of technical heresy to go that route.)

But He _does_ 'owe' us, and gives us, everything that true love freely gives; _including_ fulfillment of justice. That's part and parcel of being Who He is, even in His own eternally active self-existence. It's the kind of owing that isn't under the Law, although law (which is a shadow of the good) _is_ part of its expression. I cannot be _following_ God in giving to God what I owe Him, if He does not first pay out Himself (so to speak) for _my_ sake. I wouldn't even _exist_ if He did not do that, and continually do that, for me!

Now, He certainly doesn't do that 'for me' in the sense of being 'for' something more fundamental than Himself, in congruence with that. (Especially not 'for me' as though He is intrinsically dependent on _me_ somehow!) He does it because He _is_ love: an active interpersonal relationship Himself. (God self-begetting, God self-begotten, God proceeding, each a distinct Person in relationship with the others, but _one_ in the personal substance.) This is what it means, for God to do things for His glory. That includes acting toward all fulfillment of fairness, by the way. If He didn't do that, He would be breaching His own self-existence, and would cease to exist--along with you, me, and everything else past, present and future. Obviously, we're still here; so I can trust Him not to simply disavow His fairness, even if He has to delay its fulfillment across some span of our natural time--even so, He does not wait to begin avenging, but proceeds with all speed (though the result may tarry). Including against _me_, when that's necessary. That is my _hope_ as a penitent Christian, that God _will not_ set aside His fairness, even when that has to be _against_ my sin. There would be no reconciliation otherwise; nor any righteousness. (The word translated thus into English from Greek _means_ 'fair-togetherness', btw.)


{{The main idea that I think needs to be put across is that the purpose of ALL of this and everything in existence is for God and Him alone.}}

Unless there is more to that description, though, there is nothing to distinguish such a 'god' from being an occasionally generous (for his own self-amusement) version of Darkseid the Destroyer. Sheer power level makes not the slightest whit of difference to the principle involved here: Satan would still be Satan even if he was omnipotent. His problem isn't sheerly rebellion against higher power.

Of course, I also recognize that part of the point to such declarations is to emphasize that (in technical parlance) we're talking about the Independent Fact; it's an affirmation that God is the ultimate ground (and cause) of existence (_including_ His own, btw). The buck stops there. (Which is why _He_ is the one to pay the check, so to speak. {s!}) I emphatically affirm that and refuse to deny it.

I also refuse to deny, however, that God _is_ self-giving love; which includes refusing to deny that God _is_ fair, and _will_ accomplish fairness.

And that makes all the difference in the world. (Also all the difference _out_ of 'the world'. {g})


Jason Pratt

Alethes Ginosko said...

(Jason's text in bold, mine is ordinary text)

A sacrifice which is _NOT_ to be understood as being effective _in itself_ (per se).

Also, the goal of the sacrifice is being ignored at this point; or subsumed under a mere 'glory-of-God-whatever-that-means' rubric. Israel was notorious for this, and was occasionally reprimanded bby God through the prophets along this line--sometimes in the strongest possible terms. We're supposed to be doing better than this; _they_ were supposed to be doing better than this, and could have done better (and sometimes _did_ do better than this, according to the story).

The sacrifices were supposed to be a tangible enaction of _repentence_ on the part of the people, and their reaching toward God for purposes of _reconciliation_; but it has to take place primarily in the heart, or else God considers the visible sign to be worse than useless. This is why Jesus said, if we are bringing our approach-offering to the Temple, and we have not reconciled with our brother, _leave_ the sacrifice at the Temple and go reconcile with our brother, _then_ come back and offer the sacrifice.

I don't think we're supposed to ignore the basic point of this saying, even though the sacrifices have been replaced and are being fulfilled in God-as-Christ. The principle is intimately connected with the saying (repeated more than once iirc) about how we are _not_ going to be forgiven our sins, if we do not forgive others. (Or, put positively, as in the Lord's Prayer, "forgive us our sins, as we forgive others.")


Indeed, I agree that a chnage in heart is required for atonement and not merely the act of blood shed. However, my main point in saying what I did was to put forward that God was the one that introduced the system of atonement by substitution and blood.

Moreover, we are clearly told that God is always reaching _first_ toward atonement with us. God doesn't even wait for us to repent, before acting Himself toward our reconciliation! The Incarnation itself exemplifies this grace; rather against Jewish expectations, btw--the common rabbinic teaching was (and in some circles still is, iirc) that if Israel would only succeed in perfectly repenting even to the smallest degree, _then_ God will send Messiah to save them. But _this_ is grace: not that we have loved God, but that God loves us and gives His own life for us _while we are still rebels against Him_.

Not that I suppose you are denying this; but it's absolutely crucial (in more ways than one, including literally {g!}) to take this into account when discussing what you're discussing.


Correct, i do not deny this.

Okay, _NOW_ we're starting to get into the implicit heresy part.

Who cares whether you think it happens to be fair, if at the same time you claim that God doesn't have to be fair? It's worse than a pre-emptive dodge out of potential criticisms of "but it isn't fair!" Essentially, it's a denial that God _is_, in His own self-existence, an active interpersonal unity.

Again, even at the simplest possible level (setting aside the complexities of whether a doctrine is trinitarian orthodoxy or not): the moment you claim fairness is some kind of option which God could refuse to enact and still be God, you render the theology immediately non-ethical. Steven will be right (including ethically right) to reject it.


I do believe that God is 100% fair and just as it is claimed in scripture. However, I also think that a human's concept of fairness may differ geatly from God's. It can be exchanged in thought by humans for deservedness. And in my opinion we deserve nothing except death for our various sins.

But He _does_ 'owe' us, and gives us, everything that true love freely gives; _including_ fulfillment of justice

Maybe it is a lacking in my own understanding, but I still do not think God owes humans anything. I do think He owes us justice, fairness, grace, etc. He gives these freely out of love. He does not keep His promises because He owes it to us to do this. He keeps His promises because it is His nature as God.

Matt said...

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http://videointrigue.blogspot.com/2006/07/ufo-video-footage-creating-crop-circle.html

Edward T. Babinski said...

I've just read Jason's comments praising some of Parson's arguments, and defending Steven Carr's arguments, as well as admitting possible "unethicality" in some notions of the atonement/Trinity?

Well spoken, Jason. I have no idea what you've been reading these past few years, or with whom you've been conversing, but I suspect subtle changes are in the works in your unconscious. You just seem like a kinder and gentler Jason, and I hope I can respond in kinder and gentle kind below as well.

Here's some questions...

Have you gotten very deeply into the concept of how God allegedly "became sin for us" on the cross, and hence God detested Himself causing, it seems, a rift in the very "Trinity" itself, rejecting itself? I know, it sounds weird to me too. Just wondering if you'd encountered that view much and what you might have to say about it.

Speaking of theology in general, much of it just seems sketchy. I mean, who can prove the atonement, or prove just how truly meaningful it is to kill the first of your flock and bleed it in such and such a way, and burn up specific organs so that "Yahweh can smell the soothing aroma?" If you love the analogy and reading such stuff fine. But is there a way to make everyone love such imagery and ideas? Probably not, because we can't even get everyone to enjoy the same music.

Or who can prove that one must place one's hands on a live scape-goat and then make it run into the desert still alive so as to carry away the people's "sins?"

Or who can prove that a scape-dove is needed to drive away skin diseases like leprosy and also drive away mold and mildew stains on leather or on the walls of one's house?

That goes double for the view that Jesus died for the sins of the world, all the past sins, and all the sins of the two thousand years since he died, as well as dying for the sin of crucifying God's own son, the sin of crucifying God, which seems to raise the question of "infinite regress" since what could you possibly have left to sacrifice in order to be forgiven for the "sin" of killing God? Maybe you'd have to just keep killing divine savior after divine savior, killing God after God, to be forgiven for the previous one you killed. The way out of such an infinite regress appears to be direct forgiveness, not based on sacrificing anything at all.

But then if God can directly forgive, what's the point of so many metaphors by the priestly class for so many centuries that imply God cannot directly forgive? And why the bleeding on the cross if direct forgiveness was the point all along? Why did Jesus bother to teach the Lord's Prayer, "Father forgive us as we forgive our debtors?" Sounds pretty direct in terms of God's forgiveness, as do also some prophetic teachings in the O.T.

But the priests had a different view of forgiveness, playing up the necessity of SACRIFICE, of which they got to keep a portion, just as priests keep the collection today and clergy try to get parishioners to "tithe."

And what about "the Trinity?" Is it proven simply by citing some Scriptures, whose truth (and also whose true interpretation) is simply assumed to be inspired?

And what if a person just doesn't "feel" or "intuit" that such religious dogmas and doctrines make all that much sense to them any more? Does that mean that person is damned? Again, what proof do you have that they are? Or is the proof again in this case, circular?






Sometimes I think there's just as much of a gap between atheists and theists as there is between different brands of theists (at least some of the more conservative theists seem to think so, finding plenty of reasons to doubt their brethren's salvation). And particularly a large gap between those theists who rely on what they call "inspired divine special revelation," and those who believe in more general forms of revelation instead of a singular "holy book" and singular intepretation of that book.

Jason said...

{{I've just read Jason's comments praising some of Parson's arguments, and defending Steven Carr's arguments, as well as admitting possible "unethicality" in some notions of the atonement/Trinity?}}

I wasn't questioning the "ethicality" of "the Trinity". On the contrary, I was saying that WLC wasn't being trinitarian enough, and it was screwing with the ethics of his theology. (An EOx respondent would probably have agreed with me on that.)


{{You just seem like a kinder and gentler Jason}}

Not really.

{{I suspect subtle changes are in the works in your unconscious.}}

Not really. {g}

You could've been getting this kind of thing from me for years, Ed, if you'd bothered to pay closer attention. I've mentioned _this_ before, too, more than once, including our most recent incident crossing paths here on Victor's journal (where you tried to condescendingly compliment Victor and myself on having more open minds.) I've been giving Steven Carr compliments and various benefits of the doubt, wherever I feasibly could, ever since he started showing up on Victor's site. I've been doing the same for Richard Carrier, Jeff Lowder, Jim Lippard and Keith Parsons, since _before_ there were such things as web journals. (Heck, I was just called a lackey of Jeff Lowder the other day!--something that amused me no end.)

I've been _trying_ to do the same for you, since I first met you; but you're _so_ gung-ho on being oppositional, that you leave me less leeway than anyone else I know. And then you completely ignore or misread when I _do_ manage to find to room to try saying something mitigating in your favor. (Much like Steven Carr, come to think of it...)

If I oppose you on points, it's because I believe your points aren't good ones. That's just as true about what I was doing with Keith Parsons recently, too. (By 'recently' in this case, I mean my exchanges with him on Victor's journal in the past couple of months. None of my previous comments on this thread are particularly recent.) I'm usually _happy_ when I can find places to agree with a sceptic, though, even in their rejection of something nominally on my own side of the aisle. (Heck, there are times I'm glad to find a way to call credit for a sceptic even when he's opposing something I myself believe!) If you haven't been getting any of that, it's because you've been insisting on broadcasting at max volume on an opposing frequency no matter _what_ I happen to be saying (either at the moment or ever), even if it means contradicting yourself between one paragraph or sentence and the next--so long as you can be opposing my belief somehow.


So, no, this isn't new. (Except that I may be getting more skilled at doing the same thing I've always been doing. {shrug})


{{I have no idea what you've been reading these past few years}}

Nothing you'd consider proper reading material, I imagine. (My reading has been down the past few years anyway whilst trying to work on other projects. I spent most of my limited reading time last year chewing through Edersheim and Hemer, for instance, when not trying to keep up on volumes of _Theology Today_ and _First Things_. Anything else either has no relevance to our topics, or runs along that line.)


{{I hope I can respond in kinder and gentle kind below as well.}}

Well, let's see... patronizing and implicative assumptions that I must be becoming less orthodox, woo-hoo; attempts at condescending theological shock tactics; and sailing off into the topical blue in complete non-regard of whatever I myself have been saying (recently or ever).

Pretty much par for the course, I'd say.


{{Have you gotten very deeply into the concept of how God allegedly "became sin for us" on the cross}}

Did that back in 2000 (or maybe 99); though as it happens the topic crossed my mind again yesterday (7/21/06) while in contemplation.

It was also (though tacitly) a topic in my comments above, too. I've been talking about it for years.


{{hence God detested Himself causing, it seems, a rift in the very "Trinity" itself, rejecting itself?}}

In his same epistles, Paul stresses that God accepted Jesus, not just the sacrifice of Jesus. While I personally go somewhat deeper than the typical theological interpretation of the meaning of God 'making him who knew no sin to be sin over us', the typical theological interpretation _is_ correct enough (so far as it goes): Paul is using rhetorical force to describe the importance of the One Who knows no sin being hung above us as a rebel. (That would be a bit weak an interpretation for _me_, but it isn't exactly wrong.)

Consequently, even if we're talking about Arianism or something like that, Jesus being hung over us (that's what the Greek implies, though I don't find it translated that way typically in English) as sin, for our sakes, "that we may be becoming God's fair-togetherness _in Him_" (as the rest of that verse says), cannot mean what you're trying to make it mean; the whole point of the immediate surrounding context is to be ambassadors for Christ so that God may be entreating others through us, for Christ's sake, "Be conciliated to God!" (as Paul puts the exhortation.)

All of which follows a passage where Paul is clearly stating, along the same theme, that in Christ God was accepting and paying the cost of our transgressions Himself, in order to reconcile all creation to Himself.

This is essentially the same thing I was saying earlier in my comments here, too.

Not only is it something I can say as a trinitarian theist, it's something I insist on specifically _as_ a trinitarian theist; moreover, it's something I would be _expecting to happen historically_, specifically because I'm a trinitarian theist (even if I didn't think it's happened already.)

(I certainly don't intend for you to accept it as a notion simply because Paul wrote it, of course; but since you brought up the quote, I think I'm allowed to discuss the surrounding contexts.)


{{Just wondering if you'd encountered that view}}

It's a common and standard anti-trinitarian objection in the field, and has been for something like 1900 years; frequently presented as support to the even-more-common and standard anti-trinitarian objection from the 'lama sabachthani'. Which I'd be surprised to discover you didn't know already (this being a common and standard objection, I mean.)


At this point, you start haring off into (what I will suppose to be) some kind of reply to Alethes, since it has nothing to do with what _I_ was claiming. However, since a bit of it overlaps some things he and I had been talking about, I'll do a couple of replies for the sake of _his_ possible curiosity.


{{which seems to raise the question of "infinite regress" since what could you possibly have left to sacrifice in order to be forgiven for the "sin" of killing God?}}

For what it's worth, this kind of thing _is_ the proper answer against trying to treat the sacrifice of Jesus as being a sort of magical patch-up ritual, the way the OT sacrifices tended to be treated. (It may also be part of the point of the Hebraist in his epistle, though I think in the main he's talking about something a little different on this topic.)


{{And why the bleeding on the cross if direct forgiveness was the point all along?}}

The forgiveness itself is subordinate to (and aimed toward) the goal of reconciliation, which is a composite cooperative action between man and God. The sacrifice on the cross has this reconciliation mainly in view, with forgiveness of rebellion being an important corollary (St. Paul writes a lot about this)--and the forgiveness itself isn't always the sort of thing theologians tend to make it out to be.

(Note: I don't see how to go into this without several hundred pages worth of prior prep, though. Which means I don't blame sceptics for picking at it, per se. Nor for being unsatisfied when I say that a lot of prior work has to be done _before_ getting to this topic.)

Jason Pratt

Jason said...

Hey, Alethes! (Until Ed emailed me, I didn't realize there were further comments here. Sorry.)

Aleth's quotes will be in double-fancy brackets {{like this}}.

{{However, my main point in saying what I did was to put forward that God was the one that introduced the system of atonement by substitution and blood.}}

That God was the one Who introduced the system, I'm certainly willing to agree.

That the atonement was done _by_ the substitution and blood, I think I would have to disagree. (And did so previously, in essence.)

That God makes atonement by the shedding of His own blood Incarnate, I'm entirely willing to agree. We probably mean something significantly different by 'atonement', though.


{{I do believe that God is 100% fair and just as it is claimed in scripture.}}

On the same page together here for a moment, anyway! {s!}

{{However, I also think that a human's concept of fairness may differ geatly from God's.}}

Agreed--because we are sinners, and therefore act unfairly; attempting to justify the unfairness, too.

{{It can be exchanged in thought by humans for deservedness.}}

Here I would say the problem isn't so much that fairness can be exchanged in thought by humans for deservedness, but that humans frequently come up with notions of deservedness which have nothing to do with fair-togetherness (i.e. the word in Greek which is typically translated 'righteousness' in English.)

{{And in my opinion we deserve nothing except death for our various sins.}}

Then we shall either get what we deserve, or we shall not. Getting what we deserve means justice has been fulfilled. If we deserve _nothing_ but death, yet we receive something _other_ than death, then we are not receiving what we deserve; and so a schism is proposed in the justice of God: no longer 100% fair and just.

Humans have a bad habit of trying to claim God is unjust (especially when it looks to be in our own favor somehow), or that He sets aside His justice leaving it permanently unfulfilled (ditto)--either of which is the same as saying God is not 100% just. (Or fair, either. I don't consider these to be different from one another, and have yet to see a coherent theological defense for their supposed difference.)


My main problem along this line, then, is not variances over meanings and content of deservedness (after all, as a penitent Christian I submit to death from God for my sins, sharing in the death of Christ by which God makes atonement with me.) It's that at the end of the day, the kind of theology you're talking about ends up proposing that God is not inherently just (for if He enacts injustice, or even 'merely' sets aside His justice to be permanently unfulfilled, then He is doing that which is not essential to His own self-existence.)

At this point, I am usually pointed toward scriptures defending the notion that God doesn't have to be fair or just... {sigh}{s} (Not infrequently by the same person who recently affirmed God is 100% just by appeal _to_ scriptural authority. I hope we can pre-empt that, in this case...?)


{{Maybe it is a lacking in my own understanding, but I still do not think God owes humans anything.}}

It isn't the kind of "owing" you're worrying that I'm meaning, for what it's worth. {s} That's why I put that 'owe' in so-to-speak quotes.

I agree, He keeps His promises because it is His nature as God; but when I say that, I'm speaking as a trinitarian theist, in consideration of God's self-existant character and characteristics. His unique and self-existant nature as God is to _be_ true love, in a union of interpersonal relationships.

I truly love certain people; so I know what it means to 'owe' them something that comes only from my love, not from any ethical claim they may have in a balance sheet (though that can happen, too, in appeal to an ethicality higher than myself). Not that my love comes independently from my self, of course; I am not God. It all comes from Him in the first instance (though some of it may, and I even hope _does_, come from Him in mediation through His beloved creation which He loves); but it remains my choice whether to give it freely or not. Once I give it freely... well, so long as I _do_ give it freely, then I know what it is to 'owe' that love to my beloved, in the way God means. It isn't about owing in the way the world means.

Again, granted, the subordinate owing happens in regard to me, too, because I am a derivative creature beneath a higher standard, which God is not--though in a way He may share even this with us thanks to His willing Incarnation {shrug}--but it isn't the kind of owing I'm talking about when I speak of God owing something. I agree, the owing of something from being beneath a higher standard, is _not_ to be considered an attribute of God in His own nature; and I know you're rightly trying to avoid claiming that. But neither is it what I'm talking about.


Jason Pratt

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Mike D said...

It is amazing how a debate of the resurrection transformed into a study of penal substitutionary atonement with an invitation to consider Islam! Now, I am too late to comment about the debate. Victor lent me the tape a couple of weeks ago. Parsons started strong but lost his poise in the question/answer time. In the end, the hallucination theory proved weak and unconvincing. Craig did a very good job of disarming the "exceptional claims require exceptional evidence" fallacy.

Steven's question about hallucination is interesting. His definition of hallucination seems to be any visualization of any "spiritual" or "immaterial" entity. Most of us would define hallucination a little more tightly as imagining something that wasn't there.

There is a secret debate in evangelical Christianity about whether penal substitutionary atonement is the best biblical understanding and whether it is still a culturally viable explanation. It is still the favored explanation of the gospel. The alternative can be represented by John Elderidge's "Wild At Heart" evaluated here: http://www.churchofthegoodshepherd.info/WAHcritique.htm
Instead of a gospel where the guilt of sin is atoned for in Christ's substitutionary death, the gospel is the healing of a wound. The nature and purpose of the atonement is not a uniform doctrine among Christians. I have not given enough time to Jason's posts to fully understand them but I suspect he reflects something in this direction.

Jason said...

Mike: {{It is amazing how a debate of the resurrection transformed into a study of penal substitutionary atonement with an invitation to consider Islam!}}

{chuckle!} Not to mention the UFOs making crop-circles

Yes, most of this really should be broken out to its own thread, with a new refocus back on the debate itself. (e.g. did WLC or KP make a good or poor point here or there?) I deeply wish I had the original material, so a full transcript could be written up and posted somewhere for Victor to link to. I can comment somewhat loosely (if extensively) on the material as _reported_, but there are gaps.

That being said: the 1998 CP debate was about a lot more than the Res, and the topicality here reflects something people generally care about more than the Res, I think. It's a topic that _was_ brought up in the debate, at some length. (Which I suppose is why Victor has kept the comments attached during redatings, even though they quickly have nothing to do with the debate _itself_ per se.)


I do think the healing of a wound is part of a correct understanding of redemption and atonement, and of Christ's sacrifice, although that wasn't my main contention. There are a lot of things happening in regard to salvation.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Thanks Jason,
My saying about things working on "your unconscious" is simply how I perceive ideas act. We don't "get" them all at once, though sometimes sleeping on an idea may help us come up with new connections the next day. Heck, I've even awoken with a melody in my head, and then wrote a whole song around it. The brain-mind works in its own silent way over time.

For instance, I've mentioned Christian philosophers before on Vic's website whose brain-minds changed from advocating substance dualism to a form of monism. Philosophical views change, even theological ones. Most people who continue reading widely and meeting lots of people also seem to mellow with time. (Though I'm not sure about Jerry Falwell in that respect, Billy Graham's views have mellowed to a degree over time according to a recent interview I read. He started out in fact a closet anti-Semite (the evangelist whom the young Graham most admired and who was his mentor was a raving anti-Semite, and Graham himself went off against "the Jews" on the Nixon tapes, but apologized years later when the tapes were revealled. I'm just using that one example to show that minds change over time, not that the particular example I cited means anything. Graham I believe doesn't talk about hell like he used to and in his interview recently said something about not knowing who was going to heaven, implying people of other religions might also be in heaven. I'd have to check his exact words. It didn't read like he was repeating something he'd always believed, but that his views had mellowed. He also softened on the creationism question. He was formerly a hard young-earth creationist. Graham's best friend and fellow evangelist of course changed far more than Graham did, Chuck Templeton. But it took Graham 80+ years to get where he is today.

I didn't find your replies to my questions to be answers of the sort I could find meaning in. But I don't mean to suggest that your reply was not meaningful to you. I'm just no longer into citing the writings of Paul as the final authority on God and God's ways, or citing analogies as if they proved something. For every analogy that allegedly proves something, someone can invent a counter analogy. Analogies like metaphors are cheap.

My question was about Jesus becoming "sin" for us, and it seems relevant to animal sacrifices too. God has the need for death, the spilling of blood? I don't see such a need in God and find it difficult to imagine such a need in God. And then for God to bleed his own son whom Christians also hold to BE God, is just too much symathetic magic and weird turmoil in the Godhead. As well as being quite an egotistical boost for humanity. We caused God to hate Himself and demand the death of Himself, before God could ever forgive us one sin.

Neither is the life in the blood. Our conscious life that we all consider the most precious is primarily in the brain and nervous system.

And what about the way the Gospels say, "not a bone was broken." Maybe an ancient Hebrew cared about such things. But it really doesn't matter to me, because I am not ancient Hebrew and don't see any magical necessity in breaking or not breaking someone's bones as part of a sacrifice to God. Does God really care if a bone was broken? What about blood spilled? If Jesus had died in an electric chair instead of on a cross bleeding profusely, we'd all still be in our sins?

My argument comes down to not seeing things the way the ancient Hebrews did with all their "formulas" for pleasing God. Neither do I feel as the ancient Hebrews did when it came to their love of kingships and of royal pomp and circumstance in the ancient Near Eastern fashion.

HOW DOES THE PHILOSOPHER IN YOU TRULY REACT TO SUCH QUESTIONS?

QUOTATIONS

No sooner do you begin to plough your way through the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Numbers, with their interminable lists of how to gild and feed the temple priests, how to deal with rashes, hair loss, infections, moles, warts, dandruff, athlete’s foot, psychic friends… than you come to excruciatingly detailed explanations of how to sacrifice turtle doves, rams, he-goats, sheep, and all bleating things that go on all fours, and what to do with their entrails, outrails, fat, slime, feathers, fur, and goo…

Stan Cox, “Confessions of a Bible Hater,” The Door, #146, March/April 1996
____________________________

NASAL ADDICTIONS OF THE GODS
The ancients routinely gathered together the finest of their flock and the finest of their crops, and set them aflame so that the smoke would rise to heaven and appease a particular god or gain their blessed attention. According to The Epic of Gilgamesh (an ancient Babylonian tale that featured the story of a worldwide flood), the gods had been denied their sacrifices during the time the world was flooded, so they all gathered round eagerly to get a whiff of the first animals sacrificed after the flood. A similar scene appears at the end of the flood tale in the Hebrew Bible. Noah holds a huge barbecue after leaving the ark, sacrificing “two of every clean animal” to the Lord. The Bible author added, “…and the Lord smelled the soothing aroma.” (Gen. 8:21--a similar phrase is found elsewhere in the Bible as well, see Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:17, 3:5; Num. 15:13,24; 29:28). “Smelled the soothing aroma?” What a pretty piece of anthropomorphism to attribute to God. As if the creator of the universe needed to be “soothed” by the “aroma” of barbecued beef.

Question: Why did Noah have to murder those animals? Didn’t the Lord get his fill of “smelling the soothing aromas” of countless critters He sacrificed to Himself via the Flood? If you reply, “It’s because charbroiled critters, not drowned ones, have the ‘smell’ whose ‘aroma’ is ‘soothing,’” then I have another question. Why wasn’t Jesus charbroiled so the Lord could “smell the soothing aroma?” (Please don’t tell me after Jesus died he got a little singed in hell.)

Those Bible verses about God “smelling the soothing aroma” do make you wonder though, whether God still lusts after the scent of burnt animals. Today, if He did, He’d probably have to settle for a barstool at a steak house with Zeus, Odin, Marduk and Baal by His side, chatting about the good old days, all sneaking a whiff of that old “soothing” stuff.

Course, maybe God’s addiction to sacrificial death just kept getting worse, from flaming farm animals, to His son, and now He’s probably addicted to “smelling the soothing aroma” of whole planets filled with living creatures exploding into cosmic fireballs. Wait, isn’t that mentioned in the book of Revelation? Quick! Call the Pope to arrange an intervention, we have to get God into rehab! And tell Outback to double my order.

E.T.B. [See also William K. Gilders, Blood Ritual in the Hebrew Bible: Meaning and Power (John Hopkins Univ. Press, 2004)]

Jason said...

{{My saying about things working on "your unconscious" is simply how I perceive ideas act. We don't "get" them all at once, though sometimes sleeping on an idea may help us come up with new connections the next day.}}

I’m well aware of that sort of thing, I assure you (and, not to belabor the current point, I always have been--though you’ve always treated me as though I must be dirt-ignorant of such things). Someone who dreams and writes as much as I do is always watching for subconscious cues to work from; including for the purpose of understanding where there might be icebergs I need to deal more consciously with (to borrow a metaphor from one of your private letters a few years ago.)

Consequently, when I say there’s no difference really, I really _do_ mean there’s no difference. I can say this with certainty, because I make the effort to pay attention to what I write and think over the years.


{{Most people who continue reading widely and meeting lots of people also seem to mellow with time.}}

Considering that roughly 90% of the things I like to do involve appreciating material that couldn’t be labelled ‘Christian’ (and in many cases would be certainly labelled ‘anti-Christian’ to some degree)--which again has _always_ been true in my life (and which I’ve told you before, though you always seem to forget it)--I’d say I’m already about as mellow as I’m going to be from _that_ direction. {wry g} In my own experience, I actually get mellower the more I contemplate Christian theology. (e.g., whatever Warhammer40K is, it ain’t mellow. But then, neither is it really Christian theology, either. The new ‘Dark Crusade’ expansion was just released, and I’m geeking about playing the Necrons... {ggg})

In any case, I have never once seen any evidence of _you_ mellowing at all. You’re just as merely contentious and oppositional now as you’ve always been since I’ve known you--and that includes in your previous letter. (Did you spend even a single solitary moment bothering to discuss _what_ I was praising and defending? Did you even bother to mention the content of it at all? Nope... it didn’t mean anything to you, other than as perhaps evidence of weakness, for you to try to exploit for what might be called ‘evangelical’ reasons.)


{{Graham I believe doesn't talk about hell like he used to and in his interview recently said something about not knowing who was going to heaven, implying people of other religions might also be in heaven. I'd have to check his exact words. It didn't read like he was repeating something he'd always believed, but that his views had mellowed.}}

This is true; but it’s also observable from the actual content of things he has publicly said, comparing them to each other. Given his position, he might or might not consider it prudent to draw attention to differences in his belief on this, compared to years past. I fully expect he’s conscious of it, though.

However, at the risk of belaboring the point, you could have been picking up on this from me for years. When you’ve asked me things along this line, _I’VE TOLD YOU_. Repeatedly. One might even say monotonously. The one thing I’ve ever written you which might excusably be taken a different way, was the “Can <<>> Shall” essay--but that was an analysis of _Lewis_, not _me_. (Granted, I’ve gotten better at being able to defend this school of theology over the years, but I was always on its side even when I had to keep quiet about it because I didn’t feel competent yet to speak on it.)


{{I'm just no longer into citing the writings of Paul as the final authority on God and God's ways}}

Excuse me. You asked if I had ever bothered to think on what Paul meant about such-n-such, and I answered your question, in line with an analysis of the textual characteristics. I made absolutely no appeal to Paul’s authority, especially to you.

This is an example of what I’ve been talking about, btw. Where, in anything I have ever written to you, including that portion, have I _EVER_ appealed to St. Paul as being the final authority on God and God’s ways? The answer I gave you is the same answer I would have given you if I was an atheist, insofar as analysis of the text goes.

Your reply is to cariacature me and my answer as though I was one of those hardline total verbal plenary inerrantists, which I have (once again, at tedious length of repetition) NEVER HAVE BEEN.

{{..., or citing analogies as if they proved something.}}

Well, you must be talking about something other than the answer I gave to your question (which was, as I recall, about something Paul wrote--what did you think the answer was going to be about??!); since I never cited an analogy there as if it proved anything. (And again, at tiresome repetition, I work very hard at ensuring any analogy I use is for purposes of illustration only, not offered as a way of proving something. I am highly aware of the fallacy of argument from analogy.) For that matter, there isn’t even much metaphor in that portion from Paul. (Jesus was quite literally hung up in the air as a rebel against God and man. That’s what a crucifixion involved. {shrug})

{{I didn't find your replies to my questions to be answers of the sort I could find meaning in.}}

Normally I would be inclined to say “don’t worry about it”. (Just as I wrote _IN YOUR FAVOR_: “I don't see how to go into this without several hundred pages worth of prior prep, though. Which means I don't blame sceptics for picking at it, per se. Nor for being unsatisfied when I say that a lot of prior work has to be done _before_ getting to this topic.”)

But if you went into the answer figuring I must be answering a particular way, then that might go pretty far in explaining why my reply didn’t have a meaning you could find. (But based on past experience, I expect you never intended to for me to actually answer it. You only expected me to be discomfited by it, or vaguely impressed in my unconscious or something.)

{{God has the need for death, the spilling of blood?}}

That’s fine to address to Alethes, since he was the one making that contention. Had you been actually paying attention, you would have seen me disputing that God has a need for blood sacrifices.

Which is why I said, in my reply to you, “At this point, you start haring off into (what I will suppose to be) some kind of reply to Alethes, since it has nothing to do with what _I_ was claiming.” Also, in regard to what you said, I wrote, “For what it's worth, this kind of thing _is_ the proper answer against trying to treat the sacrifice of Jesus as being a sort of magical patch-up ritual, the way the OT sacrifices tended to be treated.”

You never even noticed I agreed with you on that, did you?

This is why I tend to treat you more harshly than I do other sceptics. You’re too busy being contentious against me, to even notice when I agree you did something right. I even used much the same phraseology you did.

(That being said, I usually recommend people ignore the distinctions in the Persons when trying to come to terms with the point to the sacrifice, and concentrate on the importance of the single unity. God let Himself be unjustly sentenced to a death by maximum torture, and followed through with it completely to the end. The reconciliation He’s trying to enact thereby shouldn’t be treated as magic, sympathetic or otherwise--but sympathy and even literally ‘com-passion’ is an important element to the conciliation on His part.)

{{As well as being quite an egotistical boost for humanity. We caused God to hate Himself and demand the death of Himself, before God could ever forgive us one sin.}}

Except that we’ve never treated it as being some kind of egotistical boost we’re supposed to be proud of. (That would, admittedly, be diabolical--which is why I include it as an element of demonic psychology in my fiction, btw.) If I (or St. Paul) declare that I would rather be accursed from God, than that anyone should be lost, that’s one thing. But God Himself _did_ die the death, rather than that anyone should be lost.

And even by story contexts, God was forgiving sin before that point. But forgiveness is more than a legal pardon. Where sin involves a breakdown in the personal interaction, forgiveness has to have reconciliation of the relationship in view. One of the extremely normal complaints is: if God is real, then He has set up some kind of situation where innocents routinely suffer for the sake of the guilty. And naturally, we don’t like it. This is why a lot of people abandon the notion of a loving God.

But if God also sets Himself up to get zorched by a particular application of the general situation, then He’s taking responsibility and paying for the sinners and the situations He allows to happen. (Moreover, He’s showing us that He doesn’t just share the cost of this world Himself one time; He bears it eternally, even though as a particular matter He only does it once in our history. The Son shows us the Father willingly choosing to bear our pains with us.)

That would be important to _me_, anyway, as a factor in reconciling with God. Not least because it _is_ an important factor to me when my own suffering is extremely bad. God isn’t just telling me to shut up and bear it and trust Him anyway. He’s sharing that yoke with me instead. (I would still think it was important in principle, though, even if I didn’t also frequently have to put it into practice.)


{{And what about the way the Gospels say, "not a bone was broken." Maybe an ancient Hebrew cared about such things. But it really doesn't matter to me, because I am not ancient Hebrew and don't see any magical necessity in breaking or not breaking someone's bones as part of a sacrifice to God.}}

(One would like to think you’d remember this, by the way, the next time you feel inclined to dismiss the Gospel texts as inventions for a Greek pagan audience... but from long experience, I’m not expecting it.)

As far as I can tell, the lack of bone-breaking shouldn’t be pressed too far in the first place--if they nailed His feet, it would have been through the heel bones, and depending on where they struck through the wrists the same would have been true. Second, while it’s popular to connect Christ as an archetype of the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, the bones of which are not to be broken (and I have no idea why that was supposed to be important), I wouldn’t press _that_ too far, either, since after all the paschal lamb is hardly beaten, scourged and then crucified for several hours in order to kill it for the sacrifice.

At the end of the day, the main importance seems to be that His death before the coup de grace (sparing Him from crucifragium normally given before the spear thrust) is only important insofar as it might point toward David’s Suffering Servant prophecy having been fulfilled (from Ps 34:20). And even then, I agree, it isn’t as though this can mean much of anything (other than as something which might just as easily be mistaken for coincidence) when witnessing to a Gentile who isn’t already paying serious religious attention to Judaism and its scriptures and curious to see if prophecies attached to the Messiah have been fulfilled.


{{If Jesus had died in an electric chair instead of on a cross bleeding profusely, we'd all still be in our sins?}}

Of course not. For someone who was lecturing me on broad reading mellowing someone out, you’re remarkably obtuse. I don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate the importance of a king in a pagan epic shedding blood for the sake of his enemies (not that this happens with any frequency, to say the least, but kings do shed blood for the sake of their people, allies, family, etc.), so why can’t you appreciate something of the same significance here?


{{Neither is the life in the blood. Our conscious life that we all consider the most precious is primarily in the brain and nervous system.}}

Whereas, on the other hand, if God resolved to suffer death where it could be seen, in a way that all known natural creatures, then it would have to be a natural death, and that kind of life is certainly in the blood for a human.


{{My argument comes down to not seeing things the way the ancient Hebrews did with all their "formulas" for pleasing God [etc.].}}

I’d say your broad reading curriculum has signally failed in some things, then. In any case, your lack of sympathy with their feelings means exactly as much against their being right to express truths of God that way, as your solidarity with their feelings (if you were broad-mind/brained enough to have any) would count in favor of them being right: absolutely nothing, one way or the other.


{{HOW DOES THE PHILOSOPHER IN YOU TRULY REACT TO SUCH QUESTIONS? }}

My first ‘reaction’ is to snort and remember that when you asked me a question about what I thought concerning something from St. Paul, and I answered it, you dismissed my reply on grounds that don’t apply to me. Meaning I have no more reason to take such questions seriously from you than I ever did.

And I haven’t answered this time with any real hope that you’ll bother to pay attention to what I’m actually saying. But other people reading this thread (which is apparently going to be redated every semester) might really want to know what I _think_ about such questions, so I’ve answered them as responsibly as I briefly can.

Meanwhile, the Philosopher in me sees no pertinent reason to ‘react’ to the subsequent quote spam, other than to notice that it isn’t especially philosophical. (Or broad minded, either. Or mellow.)

JRP

PS: I’ve got to prep to be out of town through Friday, so by the time I get back this will have likely gone off the bottom of Victor’s main screen again; but I’ll probably check in again next semester. {s}

Mariano said...

Being careful to no fall into an ad hominem, I found it very disquieting that Parsons quotes Martin Heidegger to support his contention that a finite life is more meaningful than an infinite one. I suppose that being a Nazi sympathizer, as Heidegger was, would certainly count as somehow meaningful since the movement certainly had it own particular effect on millions of people.
I’m not exactly certain what to make of the “My life span (finite or infinite) is more meaningful than yours” argument. But I though to comment that Parsons argued that a finite one is more meaningful because each moment is precious since it is going, going and finally gone. Thus, we must do what we can while we can.
Fair enough.
However, it is perhaps because it is finite that it is ultimately fleeting and ultimately meaningless.
On the other hand, an infinite life may be said to have more meaning since each passing moment will have eternal consequences of some sort. Perhaps it is because of its infinite repercussions that an infinite life has more meaning both immediately and ultimately.

Anonymous said...

I attended this debate at Prestonwood Baptist Church. Overall, it was an interesting event, and both speakers made salient arguments and counter-arguments. Predictably, the time and contextual limitations of such a venue yield somewhat shallow information in appealing to a non-specialist audience. Parsons' Ingersollian tone and "argument by outrage" seemed a bit tweaky in contrast to Craig's more relaxed and slick style. I could not help roll my eyes at both debaters when Parsons asked Craig if he had ever read the works of John Shelby Spong (as if to say, "Even Christian bishops don't believe this stuff literally") only to have Craig reply that he had not read Spong's works because he had read all the scholars that Spong based his books on, causing the Craig-supporters in the audience to cheer with glee. Whereas Parsons almost always addressed Craig's arguments each time around, Craig frequently ignored several of Parsons' points that he should have answered. Parsons should have done some more homework about several points and talked about the plausibility of mass hallucination in such a collectivist social society, etc. Craig seemed more polished and charismatic with the audience than Parsons, though Craig's arguments were not really better. Craig's citing of pessimistic existentialism to buttress the Christian argument that life and human behavior only have meaning if we are immortal is laughably lame. Sans immortality, we may lack "ultimate" meaning, but just what is "ultimate" meaning. I'll take kindness over a punch in the mouth any day of the week (unless i'm doing a boxing workout!)

Anonymous said...

I think everyone should not be so hard on Mr. Parsons. Given the parameters of the debate and Craig's strawman characterization of skeptics of Christianity, Parsons did a satisfactory job of rising to the challenge, though I think his lackluster performance belies a lack of preparation and a thorough understanding of the pettiness of the debate format, as well as concealing a darker truth. Shortly before the debate, he drank some iced tea that was provided to him by the church staff compliments of Mr. Craig. Collegial hospitality, you might think? No. Craig's people put a few drops of antifreeze in Parson's beverage causing him to have violent diarrhea throughout the debate. Craig put little notes on the lectern that read, "When you're sliding into first, and you're pants are about to burst, diarrhea, diarrhea. When you're sliding into third and you feel a big fat turd . . . when you're sliding into home, with your pants full of brown foam, diarrhea." Craig was only implementing psychological warfare on Parsons, as Parsons had a bout of fecal disaster on the little league field as a youngster, and had it not been for that emotionally scarring precedent and the baseball-themed notes, he could have carried the debate with ease. These are the kind of sick and degrading tactics that Craig uses to paralyze his opponents and keep the money rolling in from his mindless fans. Even sicker than that, after the debate when poor Parsons went to change pants in the church men's room, Ol' Craig goes in there and takes the doody-soiled Dockers Parsons threw in the garbage, and Craig shed his own underwear and put on those greasy pants, lay down on the tile bathroom floor and writhed around in seething pleasure, laughing diabolically at the fruition of his evil plan. I wasn't surprised at the debacle, as I have known Craig for over 16 years and have always wondered about why he has so many dozens of pairs of fecal-encrusted pants in his lincoln continental and a long history of infamous "debates" with upstanding men like Parsons who have never taken any pleasure in wearing poopy-pants or inducing loose stools in other debaters. Its no shock that Craig owns the patent rights for Olestra and other fat substitute products that cause the Hershey squirts. Besides that, Parsons' inability to demonstrate that it is reasonable to believe that an evolution in thought occurred from the generic resurrection kerygma of the Pauline literature to the empty tomb narratives that were subsequently embellished by each succeeding Gospel and later New Testament epistles.

Concerned Citizen said...

Parsons is a pathological kleptomaniac. And Craig? Craig is a stone-cold killer. Parsons robbed me and then Craig tried to murder me.

Orenthal James Simpson said...

Concerned Citizen, that may very well be the case, but your comment has no bearing on the substance of what those master-debaters brought to the table, unless you think it prudent to resort to a fallacious ad hominem attack, as mariano so adroitly pointed out. I mean, I've never stolen anything in my life, much less killed anyone, and my arguments are completely flimsy.

Anonymous said...

Eye in the Sky by Alan Parsons' Project:


Dont think sorrys easily said
Dont try turning tables instead
Youve taken lots of chances before
But Im not gonna give anymore
Dont ask me
Thats how it goes
Cause part of me knows what youre thinkin

Dont say words youre gonna regret
Dont let the fire rush to your head
Ive heard the accusation before
And I aint gonna take any more
Believe me
The sun in your eyes
Made some of the lies worth believing

Chorus:
I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I dont need to see any more
To know that
I can read your mind, I can read your mind

Dont leave false illusions behind
Dont cry cause I aint chnaging my mind
So find another fool like before
Cause I aint gonna live anymore believing
Some of the lies while all of the signs are deceiving

Anonymous said...

Craig has really got a world of his work cut out for him here from the very beginning, as disheveled and vapid as his whiskey-soaked appearance proved his arguments to be. In episode 109 of the original tv series KNIGHT RIDER (aired November 19, 1982, titled "Truth Doesn't Rust," the otherwise sophisticated and brilliant Devon Miles incorrectly cites Zeno of Citium as being associated with paradoxes (he cites the irresistible force versus immovable object example), ideas in reality associated with Zeno of Elea who lived 150 years earlier than his later namesake from Citium!!! I think it downright incompetent of Craig to utilize Steven E. De Souza (who wrote the relevant Knight Rider episode) as a reliable philosophical-biographical source as he so often does in his writings. Parsons doesn't even like Edward Mulhare or David Hasselhoff for that matter, and does not see any evidentiary value in Craig's emphatic observation that the disembodied voice of K.I.T.T. ("Knight Industries Two Thousand") was provided by William Daniels who later played the part of an embodied character on the tv sitcom "Boy Meets World" that starred "The Wonder Years"'s Fred Savage's little brother Ben and that smokin' hot little bitch Topanga, and not to mention William Russ who also played Crockett's old partner "Evan" on Miami Vice, and the alleged implications for the subject of this debate!!! Yes, "My Mother the Car" featured an old car as the vessel for the reincarnated / reinmachinated formerly living car owner's mother, but the parallels with the resurrection of Christ are not clear here, despite Craig's grandstanding and special pleading, unless Jesus can be seen as a docetic android animated by the Holy Spirit by reverse osmotic ectoplasmic reticulation, which is far from certain. Parsons could have done a lot better in this debate, but he won by default because Craig forfeited any coherence by elevating Glen A. Larson to Metatron.