Monday, April 09, 2012

Apologetics and Reassurance

Apparently apologetics plays a role in conversions, in spite of what skeptics keep saying. This is the report of one philosophy major convert.

57 comments:

Cole said...

After reading "Mere Apologetics" by Alister McGrath and his explanation of C.S. Lewis's views on beuaty in "The Weight Of Glory" I'm comming back. I can really relate to what C.S. Lewis is saying about beauty. It creates a longing for the transcendent. It does in me anyway. There's also some other things in the book that McGrath calls "pointers" to God. The only part that was weak in my opinion is his treatment of suffering. He seems to deal with human suffering but leaves out animal suffering. Unless I missed it. I'll have to go back and re-read it. Anyway, Be near, oh God, be near!

http://the-holy-god.blogspot.com/2012/04/be-near.html

Shackleman said...

Cole,

May God bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, and give you peace.

B. Prokop said...

Beauty is one of God's prime ways of making us aware of His presence. So also are love, kindness, and reason. He is (paradoxically) perhaps best seen in the poor, the suffering, and the afflicted (Matthew's "the least of these"), and in people's efforts to alleviate these circumstances. He makes Himself known in a stranger's face, especially in the face of someone needing your help. The drug addicted panhandler on the street corner, the lady who can't reach a box of macaroni on a top shelf at the supermarket, the victim of senseless violence and oppression in Syria - all are the Image of Christ. And since the Incarnation, our least, humblest actions - from scrubbing out the toilet to sweeping the floor - is a partaking in the Work of God.

We are swimming in a sea of pointers to God. As the psalmist says, "If I climb up into Heaven, you are there. If I lie down in the depths, you are there."

John W. Loftus said...

Cole is a skeptic when he stays on his meds and a believer when he gets off of them. I hope you're doing well my friend, but you should really get back on them if you've stopped taking them.

John W. Loftus said...

Cole presents yet another problem for God. His belief depends at least in part on going against his doctor(s) prescriptions--on going against science and reason. So, should Cole be reasonable and be sent to hell for his non-belief? Or, should he be unreasonable and be sent to heaven for his belief? That's his choice the choice of every believer in my opinion.

Victor Reppert said...

And you know this how? It is good to know that, among your many other talents, you are also have a physician's license?

Jake Elwood XVI said...

Maybe he has the equivalent of a physicians license?

Sometimes it feels like Loftus is The Master to your Doctor Who.

John W. Loftus said...

Stupid people. Ask my friend Cole himself.

B. Prokop said...

John,

Careful who who label as "stupid people". When you go up against The Faith, you're up against some of the smartest folks in the business. Nearly all the really good writers, scientists, poets, architects, philosophers, artists, astronauts, painters, businessmen, explorers, mathematicians, composers... as well as farmers, shopkeepers, housewives, street sweepers, and long-haul truckers are stacked against you.

This is by no means meant to be an "argument from authority", but as I wrote in another thread on this site:

As for the skeptics' wearyingly repeated demand for "extraordinary evidence" for an "extraordinary claim", I respond thus:

Synonyms for ordinary - normal, commonplace, usual, expected, etc.

Synonyms for extraordinary - abnormal, atypical, not customary, uncommon, etc.

Given the above understanding of the terminology being used, and acknowledging the fact that 99.9% of humanity throughout history would answer the question "Does God exist?" in the affirmative, I see no alternative but to call the atheist's assertion that there is no God as being the extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence. They've put the shoe on the wrong foot!

I've repeated this posting (something I rarely do) to make sure that you've read it. I'm not saying this as a "gotcha" or as some sort of joke. I'm dead serious. In terms of the overwhelming witness of Humanity, it is you guys who are making the extraordinary claim. You'd better be prepared to back it up with some extraordinary evidence. Otherwise, I have no choice but to consider you (and all who think like you) as unhinged from reality. Isn't one of the definitions of insanity when a person thinks everybody else is wrong, and that they're the only person in the world who is right?

John W. Loftus said...

Bob, I was referring to comments attacking how I know what I know about Cole. He himself has repeatedly said this. They should ask him, not whether I'm a physician.

In any case in regards to your claim would you like to defend the existence of the social Trinitarian God (versus an anti-social Trinitarian God) of the Bible (which had a long process of formation and of borrowing material from others) who never began to exist and will never cease to exist (even though everything we experience has a beginning and an end), who never learned any new truths, who does not think (for thinking demands weighing temporal alternatives), who is not free with respect to deciding his own nature, who revealed himself through a poor medium (history) in a poor era (ancient times), who condemns all of humanity for the sins of the first human pair, who commanded genocide, who allows intense suffering in this world (yet does not follow the same moral code he commands believers to follow), whose Son (the 2nd person of the trinity) became incarnate in Jesus (even though no one has ever made sense of a person who is 100% man and 100% divine) to be punished for our sins (even though there is no correlation between punishment and forgiveness) who subsequently bodily arose from the dead (even though the believer in miracles has an almost impossible double-burden of proof here) and now lives embodied forever in a “spiritual” human body to return in the future, who will return to earth in the parousia (even though the NT is clear that the end of all kingdoms and the establishment of God's kingdom was to be in their generation), who sent the 3rd person of the trinity to lead his followers into "all truth" (yet fails in every generation to do this), who will also judge us based upon what conclusions we reach about the existence of this God and what he has done (paralleling the ancient barbaric thought police), and who will reward believers by taking away their freedom and punish the dammed by letting them retain their freedom?

Interesting hypothesis, if so. This is such a large claim. The larger the claim is, the harder it is to defend it.

You see all religionists being in supernatural forces and beings. That is the necessary condition for having a religion. Apologists in one provincial area think they have earned the right to the debate table by virtue of living in this part of the world.

They haven't.

Before you can debate the existence of your supernatural being you must be able to convince other religionists that yours has more warrant than theirs.

Hint: You can't. The reason you can't is because all religionists share the same foundation, faith. It has no method, cannot solve any problems, make any testable predictions, nor can they be verified. When faith is the basis for what you think then anything can be believed.

BenYachov said...

>Cole is a skeptic when he stays on his meds and a believer when he gets off of them. I hope you're doing well my friend, but you should really get back on them if you've stopped taking them.

No his arguments and method of argument(or lack there of) was self-evidently irrational when he was spouting Atheism. He will no doubt kepp shifting back and forth.

I am content to believe God doesn't likely hold his "unbelief" against him due to his affliction.

Basic human decency as well as Christian morality dictate nobody should use him as a political football for their side. He should be encouraged not to stress himself here.

Also your "just so story" that Cole is only "rational" when he spouts Atheism but "off his meds" when he spouts Theism is not scientific or itself a rational statement.

What about when he is spouting Atheism then turns to Goddess worship suddenly?

He should be told to take it easy & people should not meddle with his psyche one way or the other.

John W. Loftus said...

Cole is not a football, I care for him no matter what he believes or why. And I've watched over the years as he agonizes over these issues and has grown more and more educated about them. It's just that when he espouses belief I know he's off his meds and I'd like to caution him that he gets back on them, not because it'll make him a skeptic again, but because those are the doctors orders. I could care less what he believes you see. He's my friend and always will be.

B. Prokop said...

John,

Wow, there’s a lot there in your answer. It would take me pages and pages to answer it properly. Allow me to clarify a few points, and show you where your comments are at least relevant (to me), and where they fall wide of the mark (i.e., you’re arguing with some imaginary strawman).

Trinitarian God – I’ll certainly defend that one. Guilty as charged.

The Bible having a long process of formation – Yes, absolutely. That’s one of its great strengths. By calling that out, I respond "yes, and and that is one of the reasons I regard it as likely to be legitimate, as opposed to something like the Koran that is the product of a single individual."

The Bible borrowing material from others – Again, yes, yes, and yes! In my view, every borrowing discovered is yet another reason for regarding its validity as more probable. I actually go out of my way to learn of such things. You won’t discomfit me by that one!

Who never began to exist and will never cease to exist – Again, ya got me there. I do believe this.

Who never learned any new truths - I can’t respond to this one, because I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at.

Who does not think (for thinking demands weighing temporal alternatives) - Hmmm… If I build a swimming pool, what prevents me from swimming in it? If God creates time, why is He prohibited from experiencing His own creation?

Who is not free with respect to deciding His own nature - C’mon, John, you can do better than that. Next you’re going to be asking whether God can create a rock so massive that He can’t lift it! This is middle school stuff!

Who revealed Himself through a poor medium (history) in a poor era (ancient times) - Nonsensical objection. From the standpoint of any time “x”, some other time “x-y” is always going to be history. And what you seem to regard as a “good” era (now) will inevitably be “ancient times” at some point in the future. So your objection seems to be against any revelation within time at all.

Who condemns all of humanity for the sins of the first human pair - If you’d been reading this website consistently, you’d know that I regard the “Adam and Eve” story as allegory. Same for the “genocide” charge.

Who allows intense suffering in this world - But, John, suffering and evil are a problem only for the atheist, who has no explanation for their existence. I at least know why they’re here.

Whose Son became incarnate in Jesus (even though no one has ever made sense of a person who is 100% man and 100% divine) - But why should we finite beings be expected to understand everything about an infinite God? Be thankful He revealed this much of Himself to us. We never would have figured this out for ourselves.

To be punished for our sins - No problem here.

Who bodily arose from the dead - I regard the case for the historicity of this event to have been decisively made many times over. On historical grounds alone, I am comfortable in my belief in the Resurrection.

Who will return to earth in the parousia - That’s in the future, so I agree with you on this one. Since it hasn’t happened yet, one has to take it on faith.

Who sent the 3rd Person of the Trinity to lead his followers into "all truth" - Yup. It’s called Catholicism.

Who will also judge us based upon what conclusions we reach about the existence of this God and what he has done - Pure strawman here. You’re arguing with some fundamentalist protestant. Your shot is not only wide of the mark – it’s out of the range.

Now at least you know which of your points have value, and which are utterly irrelevant.

John W. Loftus said...

So tell me Ben, how's that working for ya with Scientologists, Muslims, Othodox Jews, Mormons, and so on? You share the same basis as they do. It's called faith. Good luck reasonably settling these differences.

BenYachov said...

>Cole is not a football, I care for him no matter what he believes or why.

If you say so. I hope so.

>It's just that when he espouses belief I know he's off his meds and I'd like to caution him that he gets back on them, not because it'll make him a skeptic again,

That doesn't seem likely, mental illness is not that simplistic. That is more likely your projection on the situation not Cole's reality.

>but because those are the doctors orders. I could care less what he believes you see. He's my friend and always will be.

You don't fill me with any confidence when you say stupid shit like "So, should Cole be reasonable and be sent to hell for his non-belief? Or, should he be unreasonable and be sent to heaven for his belief?:"

What kind of brain dead nonsense is that? As if there aren't non-believers by negation among sane Atheists who follow the Grace God gives them are can be saved?

Stop using the poor man's situation as fodder for you low brow simplistic apologetics. That doesn't fill me with confidence.

BenYachov said...

>So tell me Ben, how's that working for ya with Scientologists, Muslims, Othodox Jews, Mormons, and so on?

How's it working for you? Ya got Free Will Atheists, Idealists, Platonic Atheists, materialists, weak materialists, realists, conceptionalist, Agnostics, Strong Atheists, weak Atheists, negative Atheist and so on?

You share the same faith as they do they all claim to not believe in something.

BenYachov said...

>It's just that when he espouses belief I know he's off his meds and I'd like to caution him that he gets back on them, not because it'll make him a skeptic again,

That doesn't seem likely (i.e. he espouses belief I know he's off his meds,) mental illness is not that simplistic. That is more likely your projection on the situation not Cole's reality.

I'm sure you want him to be on his meds. So do I.

BenYachov said...

I didn't want to give the impression I believed John didn't want Cole to take his meds only for the sake of taking them.

John W. Loftus said...

Ben, my problems are being solved by way of sufficient evidence if they can be solved, whereas yours cannot be solved because faith is the basis for what people of faith accept.

You really need to consider the difference that makes all the difference.

Come on now is what I think really faith?

Here is a superior PBS program showing us how science works. Notice the tentativeness but also the evidence?

Evidence. That's what scientists look for. It's a program that I dare Victor to put on his blog but I already know he won't, because he doesn't want to let his readers see how science works and how it is much different than how religion works. Come on Vic. do it.

John W. Loftus said...

Sorry, the three links don't work so here they are in the order I posted them:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/one-difference-between-science-and.html

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/is-this-faith-really.html

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2011/11/nova-fabric-of-cosmos-universe-or.html

BenYachov said...

Loftus

Your one size fits all contra-Evangelical polemics are meaningless to me. Treating me like an Evangelical Protestant with Rosary beads doesn't interest me. Giving me an ambiguous self-serving definition of Faith not found in the First Vatican Council doesn't interest me.

You scientism equally doesn't interest me & is irrational.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1174

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1184

Your bizzare equivocations on "nothing" don't interest me.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/03/kitcher-and-albert-on-rosenberg-and.html

In short learn some classic philosophy & some useful polemics for it. Then come back and talk to me.

John W. Loftus said...

Ben, I have very little respect for scientifically uninformed philosophy, which by the way, is Vic's kind of philosophy.

BenYachov said...

I have zero respect for philosophically uninformed Gnu Atheists as well or Gnus who believe in Science alone sans philosophy.

Or equivocate between science and philosophy.

So good day. If I stopped believing in God tomorrow you version of Atheism would be too low brow for me.

B. Prokop said...

John, which is it?

You write: "[Victor] doesn't want to let his readers see how science works", which I gather means that people of faith don't know about science (a ludicrous idea, well debunked on this website multiple times). But then you write: "I have very little respect for scientifically uninformed philosophy", which implies that there is such a thing as scientifically informed philosophy.

So which is it? I'm not letting you get away with this "heads I win, tails you lose" nonsense.

And how will you deal with me? A person who is quite scientifically literate (I would wager far more than you), who devours every current science book he can get his hands on (I've recently finished off volumes on quantum mechanics, forestry, meteorology, pollution and environmentalism, astronomy, cosmology, and microorganisms). Who regularly attends lectures at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Space Telescope Science Institute, as well as the Robinson Nature Center. Who is the president of the local astronomy club (see
http://www.howardastro.org/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=4&sid=7b4b011e1c112f75af4a70e701f3c889 for my postings on our website).

Yet (gasp!) I believe in, pray to, and worship, God! But how can that be? In your worldview, people like me (and many others that I know) shouldn't exist.

John W. Loftus said...

Bob, you live in two separate worlds: the world of faith and the wold of science and nev'er the twain shall meet.

I have no hopes of convincing you of this though.

B. Prokop said...

John I love you, but it is you who live in two separate worlds. You have needlessly thrown up a non-existent wall between two realms of the One Truth, whereas I have embraced them both as two facets of the same reality.

Remember, "A house divided against itself cannot stand", and it is you who have divided what ought to be (and is) one. And because of this, it will be your worldview which will ultimately collapse. You rail against an imaginary "God of the Gaps" whom no one believes in, whilst I worship the "God of the Filled In Spaces", who is present everywhere.

John W. Loftus said...

Bob, tell me this and do not lie. Do you seek to disconfirm your faith? You should. As you know, it only takes a small amount of disconfirming evidence to falsify a theory whereas there can always be found a huge amount of confirming evidence for it. Hey, that there actually exists a city today known as Jerusalem which archaeologists have shown pre-dates the life of Jesus confirms he existed and performed miracles, right? But that kind of evidence is negligible and uninteresting when actually testing your faith.

I know people here don't think much of me. But Vic does because he regularly deals with me on my blog and here.

In any case surely you have read the blurbs of my book. Why not seek to read it? Have you?

If I didn't write it I would say the same kinds of things about it as others do.

Check it out. I'll guarantee you that you have not seen the likes of what I wrote in that book anywhere else.

But you'll claim to have considered the opposition and don't need to read my book. Okay. I doubt it very much.

B. Prokop said...

John,

I actually did read your book. I don't comment on it much because I have no desire to get into nastiness and insults, which is how I fear some might take my opinion of it. I prefer a gentlemanly conversation. (Even through I do at times fall off the wagon, if provoked enough - I'm only human. Just stay away from my late wife and my daughters. When someone crosses that line, as did "Ilion" and "Gimli", et.al. a few months back, I'll let them have it with both barrels like the bottom-dwelling scum that they are.)

But since you asked... The fact is, I didn't think much of what you wrote. Compared to the great lights of Christendom, Judaism, Daoism, or Hinduism it seems just so much fluff. All sizzle and no steak. Your going-in premise (that skepticism is the default position) is completely, utterly unjustifiable. You never admit that an atheist's beliefs (and that is what they are) are (or can be) culturally derived, and no more "objective" than those of, say, scientology. You routinely engage in chronological snobbery. You second-guess God, and then berate Him for not behaving like you think He should. You totally fail to see that an argument from music, art, or poetry can be (in the appropriate circumstances) of equal validity to an argument from, say, chemistry. You habitually argue against imaginary strawmen. You read The Bible with a naively wooden literalism, and insist that a believer who does not do so is somehow being dishonest. You are quick to label others as "stupid" or "deluded", but can't imagine such words as applying to yourself. You seem incapable of recognizing that a Christian (or Hindu, or Jew) can have rational reasons for their Faith, or that Faith itself can be in complete accord with reason, science, and all branches of knowledge. You impart imaginary motives to believers, such as fear of death or damnation, and fail to see that most believers are drawn to their beliefs by love of Truth, Beauty, and their fellow human beings. You revel in toting up crimes (real or imagined) against people of Faith, yet obstinately deny or disavow the very real atrocities committed in the name of atheism. You fail to recognize that the Enlightenment and the Scientific Method are products of Christianity, and would most likely not exist as we today know them without the necessary prerequisites of the Faith environment that made them possible. You claim there is some sort of conflict between science and religion, but stick your fingers in your ears every time someone lists off the great men and women of science, or else you casually claim that the facts are irrelevant. You are like the ancient Platonists, who declared that their intellectual constructs were more real than plain reality in front of their noses. You are clueless to the fact that it is religion, and only religion that protects us from the nastiest aspects of human nature.

Yeah, John, I did read your book. Doing so actually strengthened my faith.

And as for "seeking to disconfirm" my faith, that just seems a way of saying that you're looking for a predetermined outcome. Why not ask whether I've critically examined my faith (which I have)? That is a much more objective procedure.

John W. Loftus said...

Well okay then, but again I never said I could convince you otherwise. There are just too many ways to be Christian so I am trying to catch a greased pig. I suppose you would say the same things about all atheist books so at least I'm in good company. The delusion is just that strong.

B. Prokop said...

I'm in good company

And I think that's exactly where we'll have to leave it for today. You're right, in that I've been sitting here trying to think of an atheist line of argument that I genuinely admire, and I'm afraid that I can't think of one. Not one. The problem is that whenever someone honestly, objectively, and rationally evaluates the totality of evidence - scientific, philosophic, historical, artistic - they generally end up as theists of one stripe or another. I have yet to meet a single atheist, either in person or in print, that hasn't spent all his time defeating imaginary strawmen, gotten some critical piece of data completely and fatally wrong, totally misunderstood Christian theology (or displayed colossal, embarrassing ignorance of it), or viewed everything from a highly emotional, personally skewed point of view - and sometimes all at once! Another annoying atheist habit is to equate all Christian thinkers with a caricatured redneck fundamentalist "the Bible Says it, I believe it, that settles it!" evangelical protestant. That would be like me equating all atheists with Leon Trotsky.

John W. Loftus said...

Your problem, unlike mine Bob, is that faith doesn't settle anything. That's why there are so many Christianities and religions around the world. I really do not think you take the fact of religious diversity and dependency seriously. No believer does. That's why any provincial theist can say the metaphysical naturalist is wrong without understanding that we are the position of last resort after we figure out that faith solves nothing.

Just imagine what it would be like convincing a militant Muslim faithful Mormon or Scientologist and you'll catch a glimpse at what it's like convincing you that faith is unjustified.

Cheers.

John W. Loftus said...

Once more Bob, take a good look at this:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/is-this-faith-really.html

John W. Loftus said...

And Bob, while you're at it see several of my recent posts, including this one:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/one-difference-between-science-and.html

But you're beyond hope just as it would be talking with a Scientologist, and you don't even know why it's like talking to one of them. Hint: the problem is faith.

BenYachov said...

Bob's Catholic he should accept your Ad Hoc self-serving non-Catholic definition of "Faith" why?

>There are just too many ways to be Christian so I am trying to catch a greased pig.

The one size fits all polemics of the Gnus is just for Lazy people who don't put in the effort to learn about different would views.

B. Prokop said...

That's why there are so many Christianities and religions around the world. I really do not think you take the fact of religious diversity and dependency seriously.

But there are an equal number of varieties of atheism! Do you really think Carl Sagan's atheism is equivalent to Vladimir Lenin's? There are atheists who define themselves as "not collecting stamps", and those who say you're not a True Atheist unless you actively, confidently, and definitively say there is no God. There are folks who include Buddhists among their ranks, and those who won't accept you as a brother in arms unless you condemn all religions equally. Half the trouble with defining the term is that you can't get two atheists in a room to agree on what they believe/don't believe in.

So the fact of religious diversity troubles me not a whit.

John W. Loftus said...

So the fact of religious diversity troubles me not a whit.

I didn't think so.

Non-believers only have one thing in common. They don' think there is enough evidence to believe. After that, who knows what else they think. And this goes for about 2/3rd of the people on the planet or more whom you would consider non-believers because they don't believe exactly the way you do.

John W. Loftus said...

I've unsubscribed. There's no sense in continuing any further at this point with people who cannot reasonably draw the right conclusions from the evidence and who are not troubled with religious diversity.

B. Prokop said...

It's too bad that Loftus has unsubscribed, 'cause now he won't see this reply. But here goes anyways.

He writes: "Non-believers only have one thing in common. They don't think there is enough evidence to believe. After that, who knows what else they think?"

Allow me to re-phrase that a bit:

"Believers only have one thing in common. They think there is enough evidence to believe. After that, who knows what else they think?"

So please tell me again why I'm supposed to have my undies in a bundle due to religious diversity, whilst John doesn't lose sleep over atheistic diversity?

BeingItself said...

B. Prokop,

Because all you believers believe contradictory stuff. Which means that either most of you are wrong, or all of you are.

Victor Reppert said...

Gosh, I predicted that after what I said last night, that John would get into a unpleasant dispute, and that he would unsubscribe. I'm glad my prophetic powers are still intact, once again proving my divine inspiration. :)

The story just sounds a little too neat for me, and using his case to take a shot at Christianity strikes me as, well, below the belt.

Steven Carr said...

The guy claimed '"Torturing babies is wrong;'

He hasn't read his Craig.

Torturing babies is right, if the Christian god orders it to be done.

Because then it is not even a sin.

John W. Loftus said...

Bob, I said I was unsubscribing. That means I don't get emails that provoke me to waste time responding with everyone of them. I can come and go at my leisure if I see something I haven't responded to rather than engaging in pointless back and forths.

You said, So please tell me again why I'm supposed to have my undies in a bundle due to religious diversity, whilst John doesn't lose sleep over atheistic diversity?

Stupid people.

Epic fail. "You too" Fail.

You fail on a few levels at the same time that it surprises me. It's due to your delusion though, so I can understand. Taks YOUR meds. ;-) <---

Do you understand the basic difference between making a claim and doubting it? No, really Bob, do you? And do you generally understand the difference between an ordinary claim and an extraordinary one?

On the one hand we have a multitude of believers claiming they have the one true religion, most of them certain about their religious truth. And many of them willing to fly planes into buildings based on their certainties if they thought for one moment their god commanded them to do it.

On the other hand there are people who doubt these religious certainties, and who also doubt the truth in general of all of them.

Diversity exists among human beings. That is a fact. It has been a fact and will always be a fact. None of us should be surprised by it in the least.

The difference that makes all of the difference is that religious diversity exists among people who are certain they are right in what they claim to be the case, which involves extraordinary claims. This phenomenon should mitigate their certainties at the very minimum. And at the most it should cause them to doubt like the rest of us.

Because of diversity in general we should maintain the default adult attitude of skepticism. Because of religious diversity we should be even more skeptical of these extraordinary claims.

BenYachov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BenYachov said...

Oh Carr you are such a simple minded Gnu like Loftus.

>Torturing babies is right, if the Christian god orders it to be done.

The Christian God can't order such a thing since torture is inherently and intrinsically evil and His holiness would prevent it.

Just as the Christian God
can't order someone to engage in sodomy since sodomy is intrinsically evil. What you are doing here I suspect is equivocating between killing and torture. Torture is the willful, unlawful, act of inflicting excessive unnecessary excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge.

Killing is extrinsically evil not always intrinsically evil per say. Otherwise you couldn't even execute criminals or defend yourself by killing.

Though all unlawful killing is intrinsically evil by definition it is never unlawful for God to kill anybody.

So if you wish to complain about God having absolute life or death power over us and moral right to take any human life for any reason at will please continue to bitch about it.

But at least get it right Gnu boy.

B. Prokop said...

"There's no sense in continuing any further at this point with people who cannot reasonably draw the right conclusions from the evidence and who are not troubled with religious diversity."

Wow. I'm going to print that one out, just to remind me from time to time of the amazing things people are capable of saying.

1) I am deeply troubled by the fact that many people actually choose to listen to rap "music" (I really am). But to then say that if you are not also troubled by the fact, then there is no point in discussing music with you, is absurd. Because I am troubled by something or other does not give me cause to expect, indeed to demand, that others follow suit.

2) Besides, this is all smoke and mirrors for yet another of the new atheists' favorite "heads I win, tails you lose" tactics. 'Cause I am certain that, were there no religious diversity, then they'd complain about that, condemning the "lock-step" thinking of all believers.

See how that works?
Religious diversity = religion bad.
Religious conformity = religion bad.

How convenient!

John W. Loftus said...

Bob = Really nice guy.

But

Bob = very ignorant guy too.

Hey Vic, care to explain to Bob why he's ignorant here in this case?

He'll listen to you, not me.

Share some logic with him since any logic I share is rejected.

;-)

B. Prokop said...

Oh, I'll be the first to agree that I'm an ignorant guy! But I nevertheless know enough to recognize the ol' have-it-both-ways ploy.

John,

Gimme a heads up the next time you're in the Maryland-D.C. area. I'll gladly sit down and have a beer with you.

Signing off for the rest of the weekend. I'm going to give my "Internet Free Sundays" idea a try for a week or three, and see how I like it!

BenYachov said...

Loftus' "No fair your not a fundamentalist!" shtick is hysterical!

Papalinton said...

Welcome back, Bob, after your self-imposed closeting from the voices of reason and scientific inquiry.

From the tenor of your posts since returning, it seems that reason, logic and evidence have all been left outside the front door.

The operative word in Victor's OP "Apologetics and Reassurance", is the report of 'one', [I'll repeat that], 'one', convert to christian mythicism. I won't mention the now 100s of clergy, ministers, parsons and priests, and yes even one imam, who have joined the ClergyProject.org , following only some 18 months since its establishment. Some of the more conservative estimates of the number of clergy who are either agnostic or atheist are consistent with the normal distribution in the community, that is some 10-15% of all clergy.
The centuries-old sinister entrapment of good, honest and decent people, who have come to realize, through reason and evidence the extent of the fraud, the fatuous and fallacious nature of the existence of god[s], and the attendant dogma, as nothing more than emotional and psychological illusions, has now been circumvented.

These good and decent people who have neither been allowed the option nor the goodwill, decency and grace, to withdraw from such positions of responsibility in the churches, now have a humanist organisation providing a safe haven and assistance to rejoin society in alternative careers and work. This ClergyProject acts as buffer against the hate, anger, ostracizing, blackballing rejection, community denigration, and social exclusion that have invariably been the christian response.

I look forward to the day when society now longer needs to fear the dangers of unbridled and intemperate religion.

B. Prokop said...

"your self-imposed closeting from the voices of reason and scientific inquiry"

Amusing comment, considering I spent much of that time writing an astronomy text (to be published this fall), preparing a course syllabus for a class I will be teaching on the subject at Howard Community College this summer, and reading books on quantum mechanics, forestry, stellar evolution, environmentalism, and soil structure (and, oh yes, works on Soviet history and modern day Siberia). And oh yes, actually doing objective, physical observation with my own two eyes (the heavens) and my own two hands (exploring the structure of the soil in my back garden, and documenting it inch by inch). I guess that doesn't count.

"Reason, logic and evidence" exist outside of the internet, Papalinton!

I guess my honest repudiation on this site a few days ago of some mistaken ideas I had before my "self-imposed closeting from ... scientific inquiry" on the properties of elementary particles does not fit your description of using "reason, logic and evidence". (I can't recall you ever admitting to an error on this website. If you were so wedded to the concepts of evidence and scientific inquiry, you'd be finding yourself in error all the time, like all genuine scientists.)

However, the bright spot in all this is that, after attending your echo chamber, enjoying an atmosphere of hearing nothing but your own thoughts bouncing back at you (God forbid you hear a dissenting word!), is that you have yourself returned to Victor's website. I can only conclude that the Thirst for Reason in your soul is not entirely dead. Deep inside, you know in your heart that you are catching some stray glimpses of the Truth from those on this site that you try so hard to resist.

there's hope for you yet!

Jake Elwood XVI said...

@Bob clearly Papa has the cardinal sin of vainglory.

"I can't recall you ever admitting to an error on this website. If you were so wedded to the concepts of evidence and scientific inquiry, you'd be finding yourself in error all the time, like all genuine scientists."

Bob you would at least be questioning yourself a bit more, wouldn't. It amazes me how vocal some atheist about "Science Reason"when they have no formal training in Science. Now admittedly I don't have that much training in Science either. I was just a Mechanical Engineer before becoming a high school Maths Teacher.

@Papa I remember even in my Engineering degree I had to do a Lit Review for my 4th year thesis. Did you have to do one at teacher's college? I ask because it taught many the benefits of researching quoted articles.

Papa your most frustrating habit is your partiality for opinions about information that agrees with your views. Take for instance your use of a website that had quoted out of context articles from Encyclopaedia Britannica and the New Catholic Encyclopaedia. this would also be supportive of when Bob spoke about never admitting error.

Papa it does make me wonder about a Person who can't admit an error. Are they unable in their minds to see the error or are they blustering through with indignation?

B. Prokop said...

Jake,

I think what Papalinton meant by referring to my 40-day departure from the internet as a "self-imposed closeting from the voices of reason and scientific inquiry" was that I wasn't reading him!

Jake Elwood XVI said...

@Bob

We should not be too harsh on Papa. I think he was inspired by the youthful exuberance form the Atheist convention.

Papalinton said...

Yes, the convention was good. It brought together and recapped much of the latest research and inquiry in science, physics, cosmology; from philosophy, psychology; indeed from many fields of scholarship, mapping the trajectory of knowledge as we go forward. And yes, atheism/agnosticism was a close correlate to the discussion. It is becoming increasingly evident that religion will only be a bit player in the wider social and civil context into the future. Our understanding and appreciation of the quantum of knowledge is now revealing that religion was only ever a place marker, a stopgap explanatory tool until such time that scientific inquiry was in a position to assume the lead role. Of course there is still much work to be done, so many of our fellow beings that must be apprised of the foundational mythological basis for religion, a body of study which was once unquestionably presumed the fundamental truth of human existence. But it is clear that this is not the case. We have reached a tipping point, in the Western world at least, from which religion will inevitably atrophy to a proportion of the community more representative of and consistent with christian truth claims that align with secular humanism.

@ Jake
The article was humorous. The sentiments in the following commentary though reflects pretty much that of the convention about the role of religion in Western society.

And of course we now know there is no impediment to atheists going to heaven. All on the say so of Cardinal George Pell, Arch Bishop of Sydney, [excerpts from the commentary section]:

"According to George Pell on Q&A last week, atheists will avoid Hell and go to Heaven, so long as they lead decent lives. So it seems to me that being an atheist is the most logical position, seeing as you can avoid all the negative aspects of religion (admit it, you'd rather sleep in on Sunday morning), but still reap the benefits without actually doing anything.
Commenter
Derek
Location
Canberra
Date and time
Apr 16, 2012, 12:47PM

George Pell does not appear to have a competent knowledge of scripture. Very embarassing really considering he is a Cardinal!
Commenter
Oscar
Location
Sydney
Date and time
Apr 16, 2012, 11:28PM

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/blogs/godless-gross/the-atheist-jamboree-20120416-1x2lw.html#ixzz1sLmMqmcw

These comments captures the nub of the parlous state of christian belief. When you really drill down deep, judging by these comments, one has to admit that christian theism really is a bit of a dog's breakfast. s Mark Twain so elegantly noted: "Religion is believing what you know ain't so."

B. Prokop said...

I posted this comment elsewhere, but since it pertains to this thread as well, I am re-posting it here:

"Welcome back from your admirable lenten fast."

I'm not so sure about admirable, but it was a wonderful experience, and so mind-clearing that I have decided to do it every Sunday from now on.

Despite Papalinton's laughable characterization of the fast as a "self-imposed closeting from the voices of reason and scientific inquiry", I managed to use the time to finish 38 pages in my forthcoming astronomy textbook, prepare the syllabus for a class in that subject I will be teaching later this year, as well as plough my way through a number of books on subjects as diverse as quantum mechanics and soil structure. I guess that doesn't count as "reason and scientific inquiry".

He says by getting off the net for 40 days, I left the world of "reason, logic and evidence". I find that a very revealing comment. I will explain: One of my pastimes (when I'm not exploring the universe at night) is gardening - especially vegetables and herbs (you know, practical stuff). And even though I own a gas tiller, I still prefer (at my age!) to work the soil by hand; using pitchfork, shovel, rake, and hand-tiller. It takes me 3 days to do what I could accomplish in an hour with the gas tiller. But the rewards far outweigh the extra time and sore muscles. I know every inch of the ground I'm working. I know how many worms live under each square yard. I know where the rocks are, and where the good soil is. And since I have been composting religiously (great word) for years, I now have the type of soil that wars have been fought over. When planting time comes (soon now!), I sow the seeds and jump back to avoid being hit by the sprouting plants.

Genesis tells us that Mankind was put on the Earth to till the soil, and there is much wisdom in those words. I wonder, how many atheists do you find among farmers? (I honestly don't know. Has anyone ever polled them specifically?) I think Papalinton's problem, and probably that of most other atheists, is that they think "reason, logic and evidence" exist in a world of ones and zeros, and have isolated themselves from the Real World.

A few months back I was visiting the University of Colorado, and one day there I passed by a table of the university's atheist society, with copies of books by Dawkins, Hitchens, et.al., worshipfully displayed. I had to stifle a laugh so as not to be rude as I walked by, because an admittedly sinful thought came to me when I saw the students sitting there. I said to myself, "What these kids badly need is to get laid!" But later I thought back on that reaction,, and realized I was probably on to something there.

Several times on this website, one atheist or another has accused Christians of being "isolated". But I genuinely think that it is the atheist who is isolated - isolated, that is, from himself, from his body, from his hands, from the soil, from dirt, from the poor and suffering, from everything except the virtual world of the web and their own thought echoed back to themselves by their fellow travelers.

It's no mystery when we see a person struck down by illness, especially a deadly illness, turning to God. The atheist is quick to attribute this to some mythical "fear of death" or of damnation, but I think the likelier explanation is that the sick person is, for perhaps the first time in his life, to a very heightened degree aware of the true relationship between himself and his body. I believe it was Lewis (though it might have been Tolstoy) who wrote "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body - for the time being."

Because if you get away from your computer screen long enough to pay enough attention to reality, you discover (like the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins) that "The world is charged with the grandeur of God".

BenYachov said...

>George Pell does not appear to have a competent knowledge of scripture.

Which is Paps' Speak for "He doesn't interpret Scripture according to my Fundamentalist Platitudes".

BenYachov said...

>So it seems to me that being an atheist is the most logical position, seeing as you can avoid all the negative aspects of religion (admit it, you'd rather sleep in on Sunday morning), but still reap the benefits without actually doing anything.

No he can't. Persons who truly from no fault of their own don't know God exists and the Catholic Faith is the true faith can be saved following whatever extra-ordinary Grace God gives them.

But persons whose disbelief is vincible (they could know but they refuse to find out) based on a sinful malice toward finding and living according to Truth will not be saved.

This is all pretty Basic. Prooftexting and reading your own self-serving meaning here is just stupid.

Now you all may wish me a happy birthday.