Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Contradiction, Omnipotence, and Divine Power

John at Secular Outpost wrote: 


"if I have all power, then the simple answer is that I used the power of omnipotence to get it done."
That will not do as an answer if the task is to draw a triangle with 4 sides. Some of us seriously doubt that it makes sense to speak of a person causing things to exist without a body or brain, outside of space and time. To say "God does it by his power of omnipotence" is not useful here. Even omnipotent beings cannot do things which are conceptually impossible.

VR: But doesn't this just question-beggingly delimit just what can cause what? If there is some logical contradiction in God causing something without a body or a brain, that would be one thing. Of course, omnipotence is typically defined as the power to do anything that doesn't involve a contradiction, so the triangle with four sides case would be ruled out by definition.

255 comments:

1 – 200 of 255   Newer›   Newest»
Gyan said...

There is no such thing called "the power of omnipotence". Translating the word "omnipotence", the term means
the power of all-power-I don't think it is meaningful.

BenYachov said...

Omnipotence means having all powers.

There is no power to make a triangle four sides thus it is no part of omnipotence.

Another way of saying it is God can do anything but a four sided Triangle doesn't describe anything.

It describes nothing & adds new meaning the phrase there is nothing that God cannot do.

Steve Lovell said...

Thanks Ben, you've expressed that nice and succinctly.

How do you deal with the "Power to Sin". Is there such a power? Does God have it?

Papalinton said...

What a terrific and erudite response at Secular Outpost to Wintery Knight's unsubstantiated spiel.

Ben says: "Another way of saying it is God can do anything but a four sided Triangle doesn't describe anything."

Exactly. The concept of a four-sided triangle is what best describes the characteristics of a god any god devised by human imagination. The word god doesn't describe anything. So the question is, what kind of god do people imagine is out there? A formless unbodied nonphysical non-human entity or a human-like embodied entity replete with elephant head and one missing tusk? Both are claimed by their devotees to be omnipotent, omniscient, and possessor of Divine power etc.

So who's right? The billion catholics or the billion Hindus. Or which of the Christianities has it right? The billion catholics who say their god is an impersonal classical god while a billion Protestants claim their god is a theistic personalist god?

Really quite bizarre that this supernaturalist superstition and the magician stuff of omnipotence is still touted as sophisticated philosophy in the 21stC.
Professor Peter Boghossian best summarizes this persistent credulous pathology:
"What nearly all *sophisticated* believers do is simultaneously deceive themselves while alternating between two stances: they absolutely don't believe in *that* - of course he didn't walk on water - while voicing unflappable conviction about *this* - the world was created by a higher power. When defending epistemically, they characterize the belief as not literally requiring the existence of a Special Person ("God loves us" means "Love is important", "Love prevails in the end", etc) but then as soon as they have satisfied the epistemic challenge, they reframe the belief more literally ("God loves us" means "There is a Special Person who loves us".)

Dr Reppert's: "But doesn't this just question-beggingly delimit just what can cause what? If there is some logical contradiction in God causing something without a body or a brain, that would be one thing. Of course, omnipotence is typically defined as the power to do anything that doesn't involve a contradiction, so the triangle with four sides case would be ruled out by definition." simply smacks of the kind of equivocation between the two stances that Prof Boghossian outlines above. Once Victor has resolved the epistemic conundrum of the relationship between omnipotence and the four-sided triangle in his mind, he reverts to archetypal form, Of Course! my christian God can do anything .... if and when He so chooses, even if it seems glaringly a logical contradiction because HIS reasons are not our reasons and we are incapable of knowing the mind of God. Therein lies the great mystery of god.

Sheesh! Give us a break.

Papalinton said...

Wow! Off topic but how's this for a first in progress.
READ THIS AMAZING STORY

B. Prokop said...

Numquid Deo est quicquam difficile?

Ape in a Cape said...

Linton,

>>The concept of a four-sided triangle is what best describes the characteristics of a god any god devised by human imagination.<<

One doesn't have to be a believer to know that this statement is multiply confused. A four-sided triangle is a logical impossibility – something incapable of being instantiated in any possible world or even conceived of within the imagination. While folk may dispute the existence of God, one can only state that the concept of such a being is logically impossible on pain of irrationality.

In fairness to you, I don't think you intentionally messed up but you should probably rethink that line if you want to be taken seriously.

Ape.

Rasmus Møller said...

Steve Lovell,

God does not have the "power" to pervert His Goodness, to be wrong, to be less than He is.

To lack power is not in any sensible way powerful.

C.S.Lewis in Mere Christianity:
Nevertheless, we must remember that God did not create evil. But God created everything, right? Yes, but evil is not a thing. Evil is real, but it is not a real thing. For example, you might have a weak leg, but it is not the leg itself that is evil, but the weakness. The weakness (evil) is not a thing, but a condition. Thus, God did not create evil; He allows it. Lewis explains that "evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things - resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself."

Walter said...

A four sided geometric shape which contains only three angles adding up to 180° bruises the mind in the same manner as does belief in one singular god who exists eternally as three separate persons.

In other words, the god of Christian orthodoxy is already the conceptual equivalent of a four-sided triangle. How can four be three or three be one?

goliah said...

By leaving out the idea of Divine Omniscience or perfect wisdom, omnipototence can appear to be little more than tyranny. But if the purpose for the use of that power was a moral and sustainable creation, those ends mankind is unable to realize for itself, the only contradiction that remains is when will such a process begin? http://www.energon.org.uk

B. Prokop said...

goliah,

It's not so much omniscience or perfect wisdom as omnibenevolence. That's why I consider Isaiah's theophany to be one of the "turning points" of Divine Revelation. The seraphim declare God to be "holy". This is something new in Mankind's understanding of God. Previous conceptions of the All-highest (such as Zeus) could conceive of him being all-powerful, but all-good was definitely not front and center in describing the gods of paganism. (True, there are some intimations of such an idea emerging in works such as The Oresteia, but certainly not in Homer.) But "Holy"? This has to be revealed to us.

Saint John, of course, gives us the most complete expression of this in declaring God to be Love, and not just "loving".

Which brings us to Walter's question. How can God "be" Love if He is not Triune? It is essential that God be both a community and a unity. Were God to be some sort of Unitarian being, He would indeed be a monster - a tyrant. After all, God is supposed to be self-sufficient. How then could He be Love in the absence of creation, unless the differing Persons of the Trinity are there to love each other? Otherwise, we would either have an infinitely powerful being in love with himself, or a being dependent on something external to himself for self-fulfillment.

BenYachov said...

Steve

>How do you deal with the "Power to Sin". Is there such a power? Does God have it?

To sin is to set your will against God's Will. How can God do that? How can God Will and Will against his Will?

It's like asking can the Divine Nature ride a bike?

Short answer it's not the sort of thing that "bike riding makes any sense when applied to it."

So no the Divine Nature can't ride a bike & God is still Omnipotent.

BenYachov said...

>A four sided geometric shape which contains only three angles adding up to 180° bruises the mind in the same manner as does belief in one singular god who exists eternally as three separate persons.

It's not even remotely like that. Since such a shape is a clear contradiction. God is ultimately unknowable in nature. We can know stuff about God but not what he is.

The Trinity is like explaining a tetrahedron to a two dimensional flatlander being.

A tetrahedron is a 3D object of four flat side and three sided triangles.

The flatlander thinks it's a contradiction and that a tetrahedron is some sort of triangle/Square?

At best you can give him a 2D analog of a tetrahedron but he could never concieve of it like we can.

We can have analogies of the Trinity but in principle we can never concieve it anymore than a flatlander can concieve of a tetrahedron as an actual 3D object.

Mind you this is also an analogy.

The Trinity isn't literally some type of 4D object compatible to us.

BenYachov said...

Walter

The doctrine of the Trinity can't be a logical contradiction since the doctrine at no point claims God is "A" & "Not A" at the same time & in the same sense.

What it does claim may be incomprehensible (otherwise it would be false not being a true mystery) but in no conceivable universe can it be a logical contradiction.

BenYachov said...

BTW for any of you RPG/AD&D nerds out there wondering what a tetrahedron looks like?

It's the four sided dice.

BenYachov said...

What would a 2D analog of a tetrahedron look like?

Take a triangle & tri-sect it with three equal line segments starting in each angle and meeting in the center.

BenYachov said...

@Walter

>singular god who exists eternally as three separate persons

This is incorrect.

It's One God subsisting in three really distinct but not separate Persons.

Or

Three really distinct but not seperate Divine Persons/Relations subsisting in the One God or One Divine Nature.

The term "separate" implies real physical composition in God. But since God is because of the divine simplicity lacking physical and metaphysical composition you can't say any of the divine relations are "seperate" persons.

You are mis-stateing the doctrine dude.

You know I am not into that. But now you know.

Cheers.

The Grammar of the Trinity will be in force at all times.

Walter said...


The doctrine of the Trinity can't be a logical contradiction since the doctrine at no point claims God is "A" & "Not A" at the same time & in the same sense.


One is not three and three is not one.

BenYachov said...

Also the praise "singular God" is wrong as well.

"Singular" implies number as if God was one instance a thing.

"One God" refers to "One" in the negative sense of "not many" or "unity" or "lack of composition".

Not as a single instance of something that implies there can be more than one.

Aquinas says that can't exist in God. Because there is no number in God.

So you got a long way to go Walter before you understand what it is you don't believe in.

I'll help you.

BenYachov said...

>One is not three and three is not one.

It's One in One sense and Three in a different Sense.

To have a contradiction it must be One in One sense and Three in the same sense.

Sorry Walter but you can't have a logical contradiction in the doctrine of the Trinity in any sense.

You must accept it.

BenYachov said...

The law of contradiction says you can't have "A" & "Not A" at the same time in the same sense.

The Trinity doesn't do this in any sense.

You would have to change the doctrine & then you would be arguing a Straw man.

B. Prokop said...

"One is not three and three is not one."

But, Walter, no orthodox Christian is saying that. One God; three Persons. No three Gods or one Person. Your objection misses the mark.

William said...

LOL and happy all hallow's eve.

im-skeptical said...

"We can have analogies of the Trinity but in principle we can never concieve it anymore than a flatlander can concieve of a tetrahedron as an actual 3D object."

So divine simplicity isn't what it sounds like. It's actually complicated. And there's nothing illogical about something that is supposed to be as simple as it gets, but is actually too complex for us mere humans to understand. Take my word for it - it all makes sense (as long as you don't try to think about it).

B. Prokop said...

In all of history, there has been nothing as beautiful or as elegant as the Doctrine of the Trinity. It is not a human thought, since we, unaided, could never have conceived of it. It is pure revelation.

The Father expresses His divine thought. Being God, His very thought (the Logos) is Himself God - God, the Son. As the Creed states, "God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God." The Son sees the Father and loves Him, and the Father in turn loves the Son. ("God is Love.") Being God, their mutual love is itself God (God, the Holy Spirit).

Thus, at the very core and foundation of Reality Itself is Love, and community. This explains the origin of "objective morality" - when we attempt to live for ourselves, when we do not put the interests of others ahead of our own, when we do not bear one another's burdens, when we do not look to the needs of "the least of these", we swim against the very tide of the Universe, of the source of our being.

Three Persons; one God. One does not equal three, nor does three equal one.

Walter said...


In all of history, there has been nothing as beautiful or as elegant as the Doctrine of the Trinity. It is not a human thought, since we, unaided, could never have conceived of it. It is pure revelation.


I could not disagree more. This doctrine appears highly inelegant and conceptually incoherent, and seems to be nothing more than a theological kludge concocted by ancient bishops in an attempt to "solve" the dilemma of how to affirm Jesus and the Holy Ghost as divine eternally existing beings whilst simultaneously adhering to Jewish monotheism.

B. Prokop said...

Disagreement noted.

BenYachov said...

So much fuzzy thinking Walter.


>I could not disagree more. This doctrine appears highly inelegant and conceptually incoherent,

Rather your clear misunderstanding of the doctrine is highly inelegant and conceptually incoherent.
The Actual Doctrine itself is the opposite. That is self-evident even if no Triune God is admited to exist.


It would help if you would object to the doctrine that we believe not the one you wished we believed or the inarticulate version you learned from fundamentalists who reject Apostolic Tradition and Church.


>and seems to be nothing more than a theological kludge concocted by ancient bishops in an attempt to "solve" the dilemma of how to affirm Jesus and the Holy Ghost as divine eternally existing beings whilst simultaneously adhering to Jewish monotheism.

You are begging the question since you assume there is no divine revelation & when you do you assume scripture alone is the revelation without Tradition & Church.

The ancient Christians where primitive Catholics not Protestant Fundamentalists. Those are the brute facts.

BenYachov said...

>So divine simplicity isn't what it sounds like. It's actually complicated.

The doctrine is complicated God is physically and metaphysically simple.

Interesting sophistry here.

And there's nothing illogical about something that is supposed to be as simple as it gets,

A Harte/Hawking State could be said to be materially simple but that doesn't mean Stephen Hawkings equations to discribe it are simple.

Wow Skep your are a f***ing idiot as pure usual.


>but is actually too complex for us mere humans to understand. Take my word for it - it all makes sense (as long as you don't try to think about it).

You sound like a Young Earther mocking evolution by saying "Apes give birth to other Apes not humans" & you are about half as smart.

Give it a rest jerkoff the grownups are talking.

Papalinton said...

I go down the comments here and read carefully the words written by the apologists. Four descriptors stand out in stark relief: contortion, convolution, deformation and entanglement.

Each comment is symptomatic of the syndrome Prof Peter Boghossian so astutely and with great erudition notes:
"What nearly all *sophisticated* believers do is simultaneously deceive themselves while alternating between two stances: they absolutely don't believe in *that* - of course he didn't walk on water - while voicing unflappable conviction about *this* - the world was created by a higher power. When defending epistemically, they characterize the belief as not literally requiring the existence of a Special Person ("God loves us" means "Love is important", "Love prevails in the end", etc) but then as soon as they have satisfied the epistemic challenge, they reframe the belief more literally ("God loves us" means "There is a Special Person who loves us.")"

Note:
Yachov: "It's One in One sense and Three in a different Sense. To have a contradiction it must be One in One sense and Three in the same sense." Where's the sense here?
Prokop: "The Father expresses His divine thought. Being God, His very thought (the Logos) is Himself God - God, the Son. As the Creed states, "God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God." The Son sees the Father and loves Him, and the Father in turn loves the Son. ("God is Love.") Being God, their mutual love is itself God (God, the Holy Spirit)." Straight from the Catholic 'How-to' manual.
Prokop: Thus, at the very core and foundation of Reality Itself is Love, and community." Just as Boghossian illustrates.

Finally, 'Three Persons; one God. One does not equal three, nor does three equal one." The last time I looked up the newly published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) this is described as a Multiple Personality Disorder, or more correctly, a Dissociative identity disorder (DID). And you couldn't get a more dissociative character than the christian God, together with personality traits and abominable deeds peppered throughout the Old Testament.

Walter said...


Rather your clear misunderstanding of the doctrine is highly inelegant and conceptually incoherent.
The Actual Doctrine itself is the opposite. That is self-evident even if no Triune God is admited to exist.


You say that I clearly misunderstand the doctrine, but what does it mean to misunderstand that which cannot be truly understood by anyone? Every conceptual model of the trinity ultimately flirts too closely with either modalism or tritheism. The only successful defense is to play the mystery card, and the mysterian must admit that neither s/he nor anyone else understands the doctrine either. So if you affirm that is a mystery, then you are basically stating that you can't understand it either, you're just better at parroting the creeds than I am.

B. Prokop said...

For the record, I believe without reservation that Jesus did indeed literally walk on water, that He was literally born of a Virgin, that He literally rose bodily from the dead and is alive today, that God literally created the world and made us in His image, and that that He is Love, literally. I have no need to alternate between any "stances" - no "this" or "that" for me, thank you.

B. Prokop said...

"what does it mean to misunderstand that which cannot be truly understood by anyone?"

Valid point, Walter, and I agree absolutely that God is utterly beyond our comprehension. But I don't think the explanation of the doctrine that I provided a few postings back flirts in the least with either modalism or tritheism.

But as for not being able to understand or comprehend God, why should that be a problem? Is a newborn baby able to comprehend plate tectonics? Is an ant capable of comprehending the New York Transit Authority? Is a bacterium or a virus equipped to comprehend the human circulatory system? Yet all of these examples fall infinitely short of the unbridgeable gap between ourselves and the Holy Trinity. (Unbridgeable, that is, from our end. He found it easy enough to bridge in the Incarnation.)

Walter said...

But as for not being able to understand or comprehend God, why should that be a problem?

It is not a problem, it is exactly what you should expect to be the case if an infinite being truly does exist. The problem is that the mysterious and ultimately incomprehensible doctrine of the Trinity can only be accepted on the basis of religious authority, and therein lies the problem for one who cannot accept that a human institution really speaks for this infinite being.

BenYachov said...

@Walter

You are disappointing me. I expect this level of obtuseness from Skep but I would think you are a little more sophisticated then to whine "I don't understand this because I find it too complicated thus it must not be true". So are Darwinism and Quantum physics false in your weird conception of the universe because of a possible lack of understanding of these concepts?

Give me a break. You are being lazy and it does not suit. Paps & Skep are lost causes you should know better.

>You say that I clearly misunderstand the doctrine, but what does it mean to misunderstand that which cannot be truly understood by anyone?

You are making Skep's mistake here. You are equivocating between ultimately not being to understand what God is as God(a concept universal to Classic Theism not just Triune Theism, Islam, Judaism, Tao, Ayn Sof etc) with understanding the objective content of the doctrine and it's implications. I am accusing you of not knowing the objective content etc & I am correct since no Trinitarian can claim the Trinity is some type of 3=1 absurd claim. That is comically ignorant & you know how merciless I am toward the theologically ignorant who pretend to know what they are talking about. So take your lumps on the knuckles . BenYachov is talking out the ruler. Even the Nuns of old wince at his cruelty. But I am a lovable villain! ;-)

> Every conceptual model of the trinity ultimately flirts too closely with either modalism or tritheism.

The Trinity is a negative doctrine historically so you are already not contemplating the correct doctrine & complaining about it for failing to live up to claims it does not make. Modalism comes from conceiving of the divine relations/persons as logically distinct only as if they where just mere divine attributes and not real distinct opposing relations whose real distinction exists in some mysterious inconceivable way. Tri-theism postulates the persons and relations as really physically and metaphysically distinct from one to another as to make multiple instances of a thing (i.e. many gods).

The Trinity is Mysterious and really distinct opposing relations/persons that are not really distinct in any physical or metaphysical way. This brings the actual mystery content of the doctrine into sharp focus and it has nothing to do with making the number 3= the number 1 or any type of logical contradiction. Thought it is ultimately inconceivable in itself.

>The only successful defense is to play the mystery card, and the mysterian must admit that neither s/he nor anyone else understands the doctrine either.

Here again you confuse understanding the doctrine's actual content vs understanding what God really is as God.

>So if you affirm that is a mystery, then you are basically stating that you can't understand it either, you're just better at parroting the creeds than I am.

Rather I understand actual Trinitarian philosophical & doctrinal theology content and you understand a mere straw man(3=1) not even close.

Lastly a mystery is not defined as something was can know absolutely nothing about but something we cannot really understand fully. But there are always deeps one can go to greater understanding.

So my criticisms of your knowledge of the doctrine of the Trinity remain valid. You should try to understand better what it is you don't believe in. Because where I am sitting you have not obtained that even at the basic level.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

So the Trinity simply put is Relative Persons/Relations subsisting in Absolute Essence(&vice versa)& thus the Godhead is beyond being either purely relative or absolute.

The Essence is absolutely simple in the physical and metaphysical sense.

The Persons/relations are really distinct one to another in opposition in some mysterious inconceivable fashion but not separate by virtual of them not being really distinct in either a physical or metaphysical fashion.

Thus the mystery is what is this real distinction that is neither physical or metaphysical and what does it mean & what are it's further implications when we think of God?


PS the divine attributes are not distinct from each other physically or metaphysically but there is no mysterious real distinction between them because they are attributes not Persons/relations/hyposasis.

How is this hard? You just have to put in the learning time.

Walter said...


So my criticisms of your knowledge of the doctrine of the Trinity remain valid. You should try to understand better what it is you don't believe in. Because where I am sitting you have not obtained that even at the basic level.


My basic understanding of the doctrine is thus:

The Father is God
The Son is God
The HS is God
The Father is not the Son
The Father is not the HS
The Son is not the Father
The Son is not the HS
The HS is not the Father
The HS is not the Son
There exists only one God

Makes as much sense to me as a four-sided triangle, and as I have already mentioned to Bob, the only reason to affirm such a metaphysical mess is if you accept the authority of the humans who thought this up.

BenYachov said...

PSS.

A real physical distinct is the physical division of a substance.

To cut something in half is one example.

A metaphysical distinction means something contains some type of potency that can be made actual.

The soul is physically simple a Harte/Hawking state in physics might be said to be physically simple but the soul united to a body can change & thus actualize potencies.

A Harte/Hawking State can produce Wave Functions that collapse to make universes so it has potency that is made actual.

Thus neither the human soul or a Harte Hawking state can be said to be metaphysically simple like God who is Pure Act that contains no potency.

Still not hard.

Happy Halloween!

BenYachov said...

>Makes as much sense to me as a four-sided triangle, and as I have already mentioned to Bob, the only reason to affirm such a metaphysical mess is if you accept the authority of the humans who thought this up.

This objection of yours is as asinine as the Young Earth Creationist ranting Humans & Apes have common descent from a common ancestor via Evolution. Yet Humans only give birth to other humans and Apes only give birth to other Apes. Thus Apes can only have Ape ancestors and Humans only Human ones therefore it is a contradiction to say they have a common ancestor & Evolution is just this godless nonsense made up by scientific Atheists and troublemakers & it's as stupid as a four-sides triangle too.

Walter even in a godless or non-Triune god universe your objection is irreducibly foolish and lame.

Sorry but those are the breaks.

BenYachov said...

>The problem is that the mysterious and ultimately incomprehensible doctrine of the Trinity can only be accepted on the basis of religious authority, and therein lies the problem for one who cannot accept that a human institution really speaks for this infinite being.

A human institution can't speak for this Infinite Being but the Divine Being can freely choose from all eternity to create an institution containing humans He guides via special divine providence to teach this doctrine He has revealed.

Also you objection isn't the Trinity or some erroneous belief it teaches 3=1. You object to the existence of divine revelation and God appointed Authority.

Which is fine but your objection isn't really the Trinity.

That is how it is.

BenYachov said...

Lastly your understanding

The Father is God etc...etc.

That is a simple formulation like "Humans have common descent with Apes" but you have to go into details otherwise the dumbass YEC "objection" I formulated would be valid.

And we both know Theistic Evolutionist and Deistic Evolutionist that the hypothetical YEC is full of crap here.

B. Prokop said...

" the only reason to affirm [the Doctrine of the Trinity] is if you accept the authority of the humans who thought this up."

Again, as in the thread above this one, close but no cigar. Here is my own take on the situation:

1. The Doctrine of the Trinity is direct divine revelation (not "thought up" by anybody).

2. The Doctrine has been handed down to the present generation through competent authority (Apostolic Succession).

3. As St. Paul wrote (and I am paraphrasing here), no one can believe unless they have heard, and no one can hear unless there is someone to tell them.

So, yes. You are 100% correct that "accept[ing] the authority" of others is essential. But where is the problem here? I see none. I was not alive in the First Century. Unless one accept the word of competent authority, are you saying that I can only know things that are happening today, and only those that are right in front of my nose? Likewise with revelation. It was not given to me, but to others, who were instructed to "pass the word along". Are you saying that they should have kept it to themselves?

So ultimately your problem is not with the Doctrine of the Trinity, but with the principle of Apostolic Succession (or perhaps with the possibility of revelation itself?).

BenYachov said...

Now I have to find an acceptable & original Zombie flick or Lovecraft themed horror movie to watch for Halloween.

There is little I can add so I must go. I'll answer more much later or leave it to Bob.

Cheers.

I am putting away the ruler. Your knuckles are safe now Walter.

:-)

Walter said...

. You object to the existence of divine revelation...

I will answer you and Bob at the same time. I do not object to the potential existence of direct, primary divine revelation (although I consider such to be highly unlikely since my own conception of God closely mirrors that of Aristotle's indifferent Prime Mover), what deists refuse to accept are secondhand claims of revelation and appeals to authority that are rooted in such unverifiable claims.

BenYachov said...

But then your objection is NOT the doctrine of the Trinity as it is in itself nor some phantom 3=1 logically absurd doctrine?

You see progress toward understanding what it is you really don't believe in.

Glad I could help.

Bye. Don't let the Vampires bite.

im-skeptical said...

Ben

"I am accusing you of not knowing the objective content etc & I am correct since no Trinitarian can claim the Trinity is some type of 3=1 absurd claim."

So Jesus was not a Trinitatian:


"Why callest me good? There is none good but one, that is God" (Matthew 19:17)

"... for my Father is greater than I ..." (John 14:28)

"My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." (John 7:16)

"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (Mark 13:32)

Cale B.T. said...

In Matthew 19:17, Jesus is saying "Don't you know what you are saying?" to his interlocutor, rather than denying his goodness.

As for John 14:28, keep in mind what the Athanasian creed says:

For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

With Matthew 26:39, I think that this passage is a worry for monothelititism , but not anybody else.

im-skeptical said...

Cale B.T.

None of those passages are a problem for those who find a way to explain them away, as the church has done. That's what is so great about the bible. You can get whatever meaning you want from it. But it says what it says.

Cale B.T. said...

You made a claim that certain passages in Scripture contradicted the Trinity.

I attempted to give an answer to some of them.

Please either refute my answers, or admit you were wrong in thinking that those particular passages present a challenge to Trinitarianism.

im-skeptical said...

Cale B.T.

I make the claim that by his own words, Jesus does not claim to be that same as God. It is perfectly clear that whoever wrote the gospels was not schooled in the doctrine of the trinity, or they would have been more careful to avoid having Jesus describe himself as being different from god, as certain more modern translations have attempted to do.

The answers you provided are nothing more than possible ways of interpreting the words, but in every case, you have to deny the literal meaning and supply an alternative that is more consistent with the dogma of the church. But if you had never heard of the trinity, you wouldn't read it that way. And the original authors never heard of the trinity doctrine.

BenYachov said...

Well Cale took up some of the slack in explaining the verses.

Now let me pick on Skept some more for being in idiot. Paps I will ignore because he is too frikin easy.


>I make the claim that by his own words, Jesus does not claim to be that same as God. It is perfectly clear that whoever wrote the gospels was not schooled in the doctrine of the trinity, or they would have been more careful to avoid having Jesus describe himself as being different from god, as certain more modern translations have attempted to do.

An Atheist who believes in the Reformation doctrines of Perspecuity, Private Interpretation and Sola Scriptura? Why?

How quant! Of course if I challenged Skept to show me where those doctrines which he is implicitly assuming as his interpretive lens are clearly taught in the Scripture(answer is nowhere) it would be entertaining to watch him flail in his ignorance.

(I doubt he even knows of any of the verses Protestant try to use?)


>The answers you provided are nothing more than possible ways of interpreting the words,

So what? The Bible is not perspicuous & that concept is not clearly taught in the Bible. Nor is it to be interpreted by individuals apart from the Church and Tradition.


>but in every case, you have to deny the literal meaning and supply an alternative that is more consistent with the dogma of the church.

The Bible isn't always literal or do you think When YHWH tells the Faithful he will enfold them in his wings he is confessing to be a giant chicken?

As for literal proclamations of Jesus identifying who he is as God "Before Abraham was IAM" verses like this are found all over the texts. So Jesus uses the Sacred Name of God(I AM or YHWH) to refer to himself? Because the Jews tried to stone him after he said that for trying to make himself equal to God.

>But if you had never heard of the trinity, you wouldn't read it that way. And the original authors never heard of the trinity doctrine.

So Skep you are making an Argument here any Catholic & or Eastern Orthodox would make himself against the Perspecuity heresy, Private interpretation heresy and Sola Scriptura heresy?

Why? You are an Atheist why are you putting on the hat of a Protestant apologist? Do you think you can convince me Protestantism doctrines of Bible are true then undermine my faith by showing them how they fail?

Yeh I don't believe in them in the first place! Showing me they are bogus is something I assume.

Wow you really have Richard Dawkins head shoved up your bum? This one size fits all, treat all believers like Protestants or Fundies anti-relgious polemic is your sole skill set. Much like that idiot Dawkins.

Truely Pathetic!

You are so mercifully lacking in the ravages of intelligence.

Cale B.T. said...

I think your line of argumentation is predicated on a misunderstanding. When Trinitarians claim that "the Son is God" they're not claiming that the statement "God is the Son" is an exhaustive statement of what God is. So, if you can go and find certain passages in Scripture which say different things about the Father than they do the Son, this in no way refutes the Trinity.

"It is perfectly clear that whoever wrote the gospels was not schooled in the doctrine of the trinity, or they would have been more careful to avoid having Jesus describe himself as being different from god, as certain more modern translations have attempted to do."

John's Gospel opens "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

As I noted above, the Word is God, but "the Word" is not an exhaustive description of what God is. Do you see the distinction?

To be continued...

BenYachov said...

OTOH if we are talking literal those verses are literally what an Incarnate God-Man with two natures one fully human and one divine with a divine will and a subordinate human will would say.

Cale B.T. said...

@Ben Yachov. For Halloween, I would recommend watching the 1945 horror classic "The Dead of Night".

B. Prokop said...

I watched It, The Terror from Beyond Space at church. (We've got a great, bazillion inch flat screen there in one of the class rooms, and about a dozen of us came to watch the film and laugh and point out the ridiculous parts of it all the way through, as in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Great fun!

Walter said...

@Son of James

But then your objection is NOT the doctrine of the Trinity as it is in itself nor some phantom 3=1 logically absurd doctrine?

You see progress toward understanding what it is you really don't believe in.


I am quite aware of what I don't believe, and if I reaffirmed a belief in the revelation and resurrection of Jesus tomorrow, my Christology would be staunchly unitarian. I simply do not believe in a metaphysically simple, ultimate first cause that just happens to contain three distinct streams of consciousness within itself (I am sure Yachov will object to my grammar here). I believe that if such a mind does truly exist, it is far more likely to be unipersonal. As far as Bob's protestation that such a being could not understand love, that is not a major problem for me because the intelligent first cause that I tentatively believe in appears to evince a pitiless indifference to the joys and sorrows of mankind.

B. Prokop said...

"As far as Bob's protestation that such a being could not understand love, that is not a major problem for me because the intelligent first cause that I tentatively believe in appears to evince a pitiless indifference to the joys and sorrows of mankind."

Well stated, Walter, and I applaud you for clarity of exposition! You've also laid out in stark detail the vast chasm between Christianity and Unitarianism and/or Deism. For me, the statement God = Love (but not Love = God !) is core. It's one of the dozen or so absolutely bedrock foundations of my Faith.

And as I've stated multiple times already, this is a Truth that is unknowable by unaided reason - it had to be revealed to us.

And before Ben jumps all over on me about the Truths of the Catholic Faith being knowable by reason, that's only after they've first been revealed. Only then can one, using reason alone, come to an "Oh, yes - of course!" conclusion. But not before.

(Analogy: My digestive system can process food all by itself, but only after I've been fed.)

BenYachov said...

Why would I jump on you Bob? Aquinas says it injures the Faith to try to Prove God is a Trinity by reason alone.
The Trinity must be revealed then we can use reason to understand the revelation but we require the Church and Tradition as well We are good bro.

>I simply do not believe in a metaphysically simple, ultimate first cause that just happens to contain three distinct streams of consciousness within itself (I am sure Yachov will object to my grammar here).

Then whatever it is you think you don't believe in it is not the Trinity but a Straw Man.

Sorry you don't know what it is you don't believe in & being a Unitarian is no excuse for willfully being ignorant.

I am a Trinitarian & I do understand Unitarianism. I certainly don't advocate not knowing what it is.

Sorry.

Walter said...

Yachov,

You don't understand the Trinity either. No person does, whether it turns out to be true or not. You may be better versed in philosophical attempts to explicate the inexplicable, but you don't truly understand it, you just believe it based on authority of your religious institution.

Sorry, them's the facts

B. Prokop said...

I know that Saint Augustine wrote a treatise on the Trinity, but have never read it. Has anyone on this forum ever done so? Is it worth reading? I understand that it is his most difficult (?and longest? book.

I have read City of God, Confessions (more than 40 years ago), and his Sermons (highest recommendation!).

I'm just not sure I want to take on another gigantic theological work right now. I'm still working my way through a 3000 (!!!) page long commentary on the Gospels by St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

"An Atheist who believes in the Reformation doctrines of Perspecuity, Private Interpretation and Sola Scriptura? Why?

How quant! Of course if I challenged Skept to show me where those doctrines which he is implicitly assuming as his interpretive lens are clearly taught in the Scripture(answer is nowhere) it would be entertaining to watch him flail in his ignorance."

I am not a protestant, but they had very good reason for rejecting some of the Catholic dogma. At least in that respect, I agree. Your rejection of perspicuity is tantamount to a rejection of parsimony.

When Jesus makes a statement like "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me", it takes some real mental gymnastics to interpret that as being consistent with the trinity doctrine. I'm sure the church has managed to come up with some tortured explanation, but I don't buy it.

"Yeh I don't believe in them in the first place! Showing me they are bogus is something I assume."

You are quite right about that. It was all made up after the fact. But the gospels were made up before the doctrine of the trinity, and therefore, they don't reflect that doctrine.

B. Prokop said...

When people cite "The Father is greater than I" as some sort of refutation of Trinitarian doctrine, I have to laugh. Scripture plainly states that Christ "emptied Himself" when He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, taking upon the lowly status of a "servant" (some translations even say "slave" - the Vulgate has "Christo Iesu, qui cum in forma Dei esset non rapinam arbitratus est esse se aequalem Deo, sed semet ipsum exinanivit formam servi accipiens in similitudinem hominum factus, et habitu inventus ut homo"). (See: Philippians 2:6-8) So it is very clear; Christ is referring to His then-present emptied status when He said those words, and not to His eternal divinity. No contradiction there!

As to "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me", I have to answer "Of course it is!" Christ is the Logos, the Word of God. Whose Word? The Father's. Basic Trinitarian doctrine. The Father expresses Himself. This expression (the Word) is also God (God the Son). The Son (Jesus) speaks the Father's doctrine, as the passage states. No contradiction there!

B. Prokop said...

That should have read, "taking upon Himself". The typo demon is again active today!

BenYachov said...

@Walter

>You don't understand the Trinity either.

I understand the doctrine of the Trinity and it's implications. You don't & that is an obvious fact. I don't understand God as God & nobody does except Jesus for obvious reasons.

Again you are making Skept's mistake of equivocating between knowing God as God vs knowing this doctrine about God.

You don't know the doctrine Mr. the Number three equals the Number One.

Those are the breaks.

>No person does, whether it turns out to be true or not. You may be better versed in philosophical attempts to explicate the inexplicable, but you don't truly understand it, you just believe it based on authority of your religious institution.

>Sorry, them's the facts

Your "facts" are trivial since even you admit as a Deist that God is incomprehensible as God. I don't dispute that.

But you clearly don't understand the doctrine of the Trinity. You should just man up & admit it.

So I know more theology then you do? I'm not better than you as a person just better at understanding the doctrine.

So think will ya?


Skept writes:

>I am not a protestant, but they had very good reason for rejecting some of the Catholic dogma.

Think of your stupidity here skept. For you Christianity in general is wrong across the board & you are saying Protestantism is the less wrong of a complete falsehood?

That is like me saying Shia Islam is a wronger form of Islam than Sunni.

Islam is just wrong IMHO. Muhammed was not a Prophet in my view arguing over which Imam was his true successor is trivial.

At best I might argue one had a better natural historical claim on the office then the other but I don't believe God was involved.

I certainly know better then to argue with a Sunni saying he is wrong because his version of Islam contradicts the "more correct" version of Shia.

Arguing the Protestant view just means you are an idiot.

You should be arguing the Atheist view. Try it sometime.

>When Jesus makes a statement like "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me", it takes some real mental gymnastics to interpret that as being consistent with the trinity doctrine.

Not at all it is perfectly consistant with a Chacedonian view of the Incarnation. Sure it's a problem if you are a Sabellian modalist which I believe is another heresy you are channeling here along with Protestantism.

Geez moron argue as an Atheist or stop wasting my time.

>You are quite right about that. It was all made up after the fact.

Which is the thing you should be arguing not the incompatiblity of Jesus' words with Protestantism, Sabellianism and other non-Catholic schools of thought.

im-skeptical said...

Cale B.T.

"As I noted above, the Word is God, but "the Word" is not an exhaustive description of what God is. Do you see the distinction?"

Of course I see the distinction. That was never the issue. Walter hit the nail on the head. The church invents dogma for various reasons, many of which were more political in nature than anything else. The thinking Catholic is faced with deciding whether to accept the dogma as truth, or to recognize it for what it is.

It was not until the fifth century that a long-running struggle was decided (by political means) between the Arius doctrine and the Athanasius doctrine, with the adoption of the trinity dogma. The Athanasius creed says "We worship one God in Trinity ...", in the tradition of various pagan trinities.

BenYachov said...

>It was not until the fifth century that a long-running struggle was decided (by political means) between the Arius doctrine and the Athanasius doctrine, with the adoption of the trinity dogma.

Note all pre-Nicea Church Fathers.

The Didache

"After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. . . . If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Didache 7:1 [A.D. 70]).



Ignatius of Antioch

"[T]o the Church at Ephesus in Asia . . . chosen through true suffering by the will of the Father in Jesus Christ our God" (Letter to the Ephesians 1 [A.D. 110]).

"For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit" (ibid., 18:2).



Justin Martyr

"We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the mystery which lies therein" (First Apology 13:5–6 [A.D. 151]).



Theophilus of Antioch

"It is the attribute of God, of the most high and almighty and of the living God, not only to be everywhere, but also to see and hear all; for he can in no way be contained in a place. . . . The three days before the luminaries were created are types of the Trinity: God, his Word, and his Wisdom" (To Autolycus 2:15 [A.D. 181]).



Irenaeus

"For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, the Father Almighty . . . and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit" (Against Heresies 1:10:1 [A.D. 189]).



Tertullian

"We do indeed believe that there is only one God, but we believe that under this dispensation, or, as we say, oikonomia, there is also a Son of this one only God, his Word, who proceeded from him and through whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made. . . . We believe he was sent down by the Father, in accord with his own promise, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. . . . This rule of faith has been present since the beginning of the gospel, before even the earlier heretics" (Against Praxeas 2 [A.D. 216]).

"And at the same time the mystery of the oikonomia is safeguarded, for the unity is distributed in a Trinity. Placed in order, the three are the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in being, but in form; not in power, but in kind; of one being, however, and one condition and one power, because he is one God of whom degrees and forms and kinds are taken into account in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (ibid.).

BenYachov said...

continue:

"Keep always in mind the rule of faith which I profess and by which I bear witness that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and then you will understand what is meant by it. Observe now that I say the Father is other [distinct], the Son is other, and the Spirit is other. This statement is wrongly understood by every uneducated or perversely disposed individual, as if it meant diversity and implied by that diversity a separation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (ibid., 9).

"Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent persons, who are yet distinct one from another. These three are, one essence, not one person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are one’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of being not singularity of number" (ibid., 25).



Origen

"For we do not hold that which the heretics imagine: that some part of the being of God was converted into the Son, or that the Son was procreated by the Father from non-existent substances, that is, from a being outside himself, so that there was a time when he [the Son] did not exist" (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:4:1 [A.D. 225]).

"No, rejecting every suggestion of corporeality, we hold that the Word and the Wisdom was begotten out of the invisible and incorporeal God, without anything corporal being acted upon . . . the expression which we employ, however that there was never a time when he did not exist is to be taken with a certain allowance. For these very words ‘when’ and ‘never’ are terms of temporal significance, while whatever is said of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is to be understood as transcending all time, all ages" (ibid.).

"For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds every sense in which not only temporal but even eternal may be understood. It is all other things, indeed, which are outside the Trinity, which are to be measured by time and ages" (ibid.).



Hippolytus

"The Word alone of this God is from God himself, wherefore also the Word is God, being the being of God. Now the world was made from nothing, wherefore it is not God" (Refutation of All Heresies 10:29 [A.D. 228]).



BenYachov said...

Still more:

Novatian

"For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth him to be the Son of God only, but also the son of man; nor does it only say, the son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of him as the Son of God. So that being of both, he is both, lest if he should be one only, he could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that he must be believed to be God who is of God. . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God" (Treatise on the Trinity 11 [A.D. 235]).



Pope Dionysius

"Next, then, I may properly turn to those who divide and cut apart and destroy the most sacred proclamation of the Church of God, making of it [the Trinity], as it were, three powers, distinct substances, and three godheads. . . . [Some heretics] proclaim that there are in some way three gods, when they divide the sacred unity into three substances foreign to each other and completely separate" (Letter to Dionysius of Alexandria 1 [A.D. 262]).

"Therefore, the divine Trinity must be gathered up and brought together in one, a summit, as it were, I mean the omnipotent God of the universe. . . . It is blasphemy, then, and not a common one but the worst, to say that the Son is in any way a handiwork [creature]. . . . But if the Son came into being [was created], there was a time when these attributes did not exist; and, consequently, there was a time when God was without them, which is utterly absurd" (ibid., 1–2).

"Neither, then, may we divide into three godheads the wonderful and divine unity. . . . Rather, we must believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Christ Jesus, his Son; and in the Holy Spirit; and that the Word is united to the God of the universe. ‘For,’ he says, ‘The Father and I are one,’ and ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me’" (ibid., 3).



Gregory the Wonderworker

"There is one God. . . . There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity; nor anything superinduced, as if at some former period it was non-existent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides ever" (Declaration of Faith [A.D. 265]).

Now Skept the Stupid is just channeling his inner Jehovah's witness.

Will you argue like a real Atheist you brain dead twit?

BenYachov said...

Some more just for fun from the 2nd and 3rd centuries.



Tatian the Syrian

"We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man" (Address to the Greeks 21 [A.D. 170]).



Melito of Sardis

"It is no way necessary in dealing with persons of intelligence to adduce the actions of Christ after his baptism as proof that his soul and his body, his human nature, were like ours, real and not phantasmal. The activities of Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the deity hidden in his flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, he gave positive indications of his two natures: of his deity, by the miracles during the three years following after his baptism, of his humanity, in the thirty years which came before his baptism, during which, by reason of his condition according to the flesh, he concealed the signs of his deity, although he was the true God existing before the ages" (Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai’s The Guide 13 [A.D. 177]).



Irenaeus

"For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, Father Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them; and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who announced through the prophets the dispensations and the comings, and the birth from a Virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming from heaven in the glory of the Father to reestablish all things; and the raising up again of all flesh of all humanity, in order that to Jesus Christ our Lord and God and Savior and King, in accord with the approval of the invisible Father, every knee shall bend of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth . . . " (Against Heresies 1:10:1 [A.D. 189]).

"Nevertheless, what cannot be said of anyone else who ever lived, that he is himself in his own right God and Lord . . . may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth" (ibid., 3:19:1).



Clement of Alexandria

"The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning—for he was in God—and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone is both God and man, and the source of all our good things" (Exhortation to the Greeks 1:7:1 [A.D. 190]).

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

All of that doesn't change the fact that the trinity doctrine wasn't adopted by the church until the fifth century. Yes, as I said, there were advocates before that, but you have proved nothing. In the church, the matter was decided by which group had majority power. Prior to the adoption of the trinitarian Athanasius doctrine, it was the Arians who held sway. The non-trinitarian Arian doctrine continued to survive in parts of the remnants of the Roman empire, particularly in Germany, for some years afterward, until eventually being suppressed by the Catholic church. It then re-emerged in the protestant reformation.

B. Prokop said...

"Prior to the adoption of the trinitarian Athanasius doctrine, it was the Arians who held sway."

Huh?!? The Arians were never part of the Church. They were an early rival religion to Christianity, which for a short time faded out in the 5th Century. But not long afterwards they came roaring back with a (quite literal) vengeance, in the form of Mohammedanism. Its most recent incarnation is Mormonism. Arianism and Gnosticism have from the beginning been the greatest enemies of the Church, and have never for an instant "held sway" over it. By professing Arianism, one automatically expels himself from the Church in the moment of so doing.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

Constantine was baptized an an Arian after his death by his friend Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia.

Walter said...


But you clearly don't understand the doctrine of the Trinity. You should just man up & admit it.


I understand it in the same superficial sense that a vast number of pewsitting Christian believers would. Your objection seems to be that I am not conversant with the philosophical language that has been deployed through the centuries in an vain attempt to explain something that cannot be explained. If your comments are just to show that you know philosophy better than I do, then here's an accolade: You the man,Yachov!

Now if you are trying to make the claim that I cannot reject a revealed mystery without first understanding as much about the mysterious doctrine as I possibly can, then I call bullshit -- all I have to do is reject the source of the putative revelation itself.

B. Prokop said...

"Constantine was baptized an an Arian after his death by his friend Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia."

That does not (and did not) make Arians Christians. In one form or another, Arianism (alongside Gnosticism, its evil twin) has been, down through the centuries, Christianity's deadliest enemy, its greatest foe. (Like Tolkien's "Shadow", it takes another form and grows again.)

Contemporary atheism does not pose 1/100th of the threat to the True Faith as presented by either of these damnable heresies.

im-skeptical said...

"That does not (and did not) make Arians Christians."

It does nor make them Christians by current church dogma. But there is no denying that they were part of the church. Eusebius was in fact a bishop in the church, and I'm certain he would have taken issue with you on whether he was a Christian. This just goes to show the power of dogmatic belief. You can now claim that Arianism has ALWAYS been an enemy of Christianity. Had they remained a majority in the church, you'd now be saying the same about those damn trinitarians.

BenYachov said...

>I understand it in the same superficial sense that a vast number of pewsitting Christian believers would.

Then you are no better than the vast number of people who have a superficial understanding of the scientific evolutionary doctrine of descent who might be moved by the silly YEC argument I put forth earlier.

>Your objection seems to be that I am not conversant with the philosophical language that has been deployed through the centuries in an vain attempt to explain something that cannot be explained.

No it's that you don't understand the doctrine's actual content. The doctrine of the Trinity can be explained & we can understand something about God but not fully understand it.


>Now if you are trying to make the claim that I cannot reject a revealed mystery without first understanding as much about the mysterious doctrine as I possibly can, then I call bullshit -- all I have to do is reject the source of the putative revelation itself.

I can become an Atheist tomorrow and my criticism here would not change. I would still tell you that you don't understand the doctrine.

3=1 sorry no.

BenYachov said...

Skept

>ll of that doesn't change the fact that the trinity doctrine wasn't adopted by the church until the fifth century.

the councils of Nicaea & Constantinople that settled the Deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit and equality with the Father where in the Fourth Century.

They at best where the first exercises of the extraordinary magisterial authority on the matter.

The ordinary magisterial authority taught the Trinity before that.

Get off the stage your performance is just sad.

Read a history book besides Dan Brown.

Walter said...

I would still tell you that you don't understand the doctrine.

Okay. My understanding of the doctrine is that three distinct persons comprise one God. Is this unorthodox or just not stated with enough philosophical precision?

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

"Read a history book besides Dan Brown."

The history of the development of trinitarian dogma is long and complex. One doesn't need Dan Brown to make an interesting story of it. It is fascinating to read through the pronouncements of the various church councils over time, and how some of the dogmas and creeds came into being over the course of the history of the church. But it shouldn't be done through the lens of established dogmatic belief.

BenYachov said...

>My understanding of the doctrine is that three distinct persons comprise one God.

@Walter


>Is this unorthodox or just not stated with enough philosophical precision.

It's ambiguous enough be given an orthodox interpretation & also to be gravely misinterpreted.

The doctrine "comprises" of the elements of the three distinct persons in one God. True.

God is not a "composition" of three persons in one God as that would violate the divine simplicity.

Three distinct Persons subsisting in one God is more accurate.

B. Prokop said...

As for the development of doctrine, this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Indeed, the whole issue is one of those phony "heads I win; tails you lose" sort of arguments that atheists love to put forward. First they'll blast religion for "not advancing, not progressing", and for being tied to "ancient doctrines". Then in the very next breath, they'll complain that doctrine is refined and reinterpreted in various councils, etc.

Like I said, you lose either way. The whole issue is bogus.

Papalinton said...

"But you clearly don't understand the doctrine of the Trinity. You should just man up & admit it."

'You just don't understand' .... How many has this old canard been trotted out as a defense of the Christian mytheme?

followed closely by:
"You lack detailed familiarity with the culture, history and theology of my religion."
"This is a separate issue [no understanding vis-á-vis lack detailed familiarity], and is often true enough, though the response to that is like replying to someone who points out Star Trek is fiction by saying, "You wouldn't say that if you had the detailed and rich experience of being a Trekkie that I have, which is, of course, absurd." Prof Peter Boghossian. I could not have put it any clearer myself.

The 'don't understand' apologetical defensive line of argument is both unconvincing and unimpressive. It is essentially conceding defeat.

The irony of that argument is that believers confusedly attempt to convince themselves that atheists, most of whom were ardent believers in a Jesus-god earlier in their lives, were 'not really true believers' or were 'always atheistic at heart'. They conveniently forget, slough from their mind, which is an emotional psychological strategy for minimizing their level of cognitive dissonance, that most atheists do understand and are most familiar with the details of whichever system of belief they were inculcated with. The key to the misconstrual is that believers cannot reconcile that atheists lived, learned, thought, taught and proselytized the faith before rejecting it outright because it simply did not comport in reality to a pursuit of truth. This is best illustrated in the insightful observation of Gary Gutting, "The Stone", New York Times, September 14, 2011:

Your religious beliefs typically depend on the community in which you were raised or live. The spiritual experiences of people in ancient Greece, medieval Japan or 21st century Saudi Arabia do not lead to belief in Christianity. It seems, therefore, that religious belief very likely tracks not truth but social conditioning."

Atheists, for the most part, comprehend, understand, acknowledge and have put into practice this distinction by moving onto far better and more sophisticated and reliable forms of explanatory power than religious belief.




Papalinton said...

Bob: "As for the development of doctrine, this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Indeed, the whole issue is one of those phony "heads I win; tails you lose" sort of arguments that atheists love to put forward. First they'll blast religion for "not advancing, not progressing", and for being tied to "ancient doctrines". Then in the very next breath, they'll complain that doctrine is refined and reinterpreted in various councils, etc."

The irony of it all is that it literally is a 'heads I win, tails you lose' argument. Nothing is clearer than that observation. And religion is not about advancing or progressing. It never has been. It's about changing, usually in direct and begrudging response to meeting community demands and expectations. It is about re-interpreting the re-interpretation of the interpretation of the original apologetical interpretation of the same ole', same ole' book and phantasy. This is not advancing or progressing. Nothing theologically new is brought to the table of knowledge for consideration. And yes, this theological process is moribundly bound, tied and gagged to 'ancient doctrines'. Period. The change in attitude to divorce did not occur because of new revelations from God. The change in attitude towards gay marriage is not occurring due to new revelations of Divine origin. The change in attitude towards slavery was not a product of Divine Pronouncement or new theological research. These were all the result of good honest decent folk realizing that they must take a radically different path to truth than through Church doctrine and dogma if the change was to be effected.

Steve Lovell said...

Hi Ben,

I found your comment on the "power to sin" helpful. Thanks.

Unlike God, I do have the ability to will and do things that are against my own better judgement. Obviously this is an imperfection, so I don't think it detracts from God's greatness to say He can't do such things. But it strikes me as not quite being a truism that God cannot will what is against His will.

None of this strikes me as greatly problematic for God's omnipotence, only for certain definitions of it. Personally, I've never found a definition with which I'm entirely comfortable. I'm happy to leave the idea as mostly intuitive and solve the paradoxes and leave it at that. But if a good definition can be found, so much the better.

Best,

Steve

BenYachov said...

Glad if I could have been some service to you Steve.

B. Prokop said...

"I do have the ability to will and do things that are against my own better judgment."

I agree. But by so willing, you are still not willing against your will, regardless of what your "judgment" might be. So just as "God cannot will what is against His will," neither can you (or me).

B. Prokop said...

... or perhaps we just have differing definitions of the term "will".

For instance, I am trying to watch my weight (aren't we all?). So my judgment tells me to forego a second helping of whatever's for dinner. But my will nevertheless plops another serving onto my plate (and into my mouth), in spite of my (better) judgment.

So I am willing against my judgment, but not against my will.

Steve Lovell said...

Well, however one describes it, it seems like there is something here that I can do, and which God can't do.

The more interesting question is not about the definition of "will" but of "power". Is being susceptible to such failings a "power"? I'd happily say "no" but would like the response to be a principled one rather than mere intuition.

frances said...

Can God tell a lie? If not, why not?

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

>Well, however one describes it, it seems like there is something here that I can do, and which God can't do.

That is, there is “nothing” that God cannot do, but there is nothing you can do.

It’s trivial IMHO, in that you can cause yourself to be diminished because you are changeable where as it is incoherent to speak of that which is Perfection Itself and Unchanged Changer becoming imperfect and changing.


>The more interesting question is not about the definition of "will" but of "power". Is being susceptible to such failings a "power"? I'd happily say "no" but would like the response to be a principled one rather than mere intuition.

Well God not being able to sin & I being able to sin as an example of me being able to "do something" God cannot? My evaluation:

That is like me saying I can do a sports feat Bruce Jenner cannot do. I cannot win a Gold metal ever in my life after he has won at least one. That in principle can’t make me a better Athlete than him now can it? So I can sin but God cannot sin. That doesn’t in anyway make me “more powerful” than God.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

>Can God tell a lie? If not, why not?

No he can't lie. God is by nature Truth Itself. It is incoherent speaking of Truth being a Lie.

B. Prokop said...

"It seems like there is something here that I can do, and which God can't do."

I would phrase it differently: "There is something here that I can do, and which God won't do.

Does that help?

im-skeptical said...

If god has no moral agency, then he can't sin. But he can give us Adolph Hitler, and cancer, and other forms of pain and suffering. But he also gives us pretty sunsets. That's why we say he's good. But we also say he's all-powerful. Isn't there something he could do to reduce suffering just a little bit? He must know how. He knows everything. Doesn't he love his creatures enough to make our existence just a little bit better?

BenYachov said...

>I would phrase it differently: "There is something here that I can do, and which God won't do.

Of course we both use "can't" or "won't" in a loose sense.

Aquinas said it is better to say "the Thing just cannot be done" then to say "God cannot do it".

It cannot be done that Truth can be Truth and a lie at the same time.

It cannot be done that Perfection can be imperfection.

It cannot be done that one can Will and Will against what one has Willed at the same time in the same sense.

Cheers.

B. Prokop said...

Not bad, Ben! I think you've settled this.

BenYachov said...

@Skept

Since yours is an honest civilized & intelligent question I will treat you accordingly till further notice.

>But we also say he's all-powerful. Isn't there something he could do to reduce suffering just a little bit?

He could but it is not coherent given His nature to conceive of Him as someone or something obligated to do so & if He did He should be given the praise we give those who do good for us that they are not obligated to have done.

>He must know how. He knows everything. Doesn't he love his creatures enough to make our existence just a little bit better?

Buy virtue of the fact He created us from nothing is in itself an act of infinite love since we cannot create ourselves. By virtue of the Incarnation & sufficient Divine Grace He gives us the opportunity to know Him which is Goodness Itself directly. Which he didn’t have to do. But he is not obligated to keep us from temporal suffering or misusing our free will to reject grace.

im-skeptical said...

"it is not coherent given His nature to conceive of Him as someone or something obligated to do so"

To say that he's not obligated is fine, but if he's also loving, wouldn't that imply some kind of obligation? We humans certainly feel an obligation to care and provide for the well-being of those we love. But this god seems indifferent.

BenYachov said...

>To say that he's not obligated is fine, but if he's also loving, wouldn't that imply some kind of obligation? We humans certainly feel an obligation to care and provide for the well-being of those we love.

God's love is an Act of Will from all eternity not an emotion. So he doesn't have feelings that move him. It's incoherent to see him as sentimental like a human being would be.

>But this god seems indifferent.

If He were truly indifferent we simply would not exist & He wouldn't answer any prayers at all and he wouldn't have offered us the Beatific Vision by Grace.

But He is not going to act like an all powerful Theistic Personalist God who is some type of moral agent which I would say with Brian Davies to date no successful Theodicy can justify his inaction because God is not a Theistic Personalist so called deity.

Now I must stop before I use foul language to express my hatred for the theistic personalist concept of God.;-)

Cheers.

im-skeptical said...

May I suggest, then that if god is not personal, we don't attribute personal characteristics to him. Love is an emotion. Why say he is loving, and then get mad when people see this as a personal characteristic?

BenYachov said...

>May I suggest, then that if god is not personal,

God is not unequivocally personal like human is but God does have intellect and will & thus is personal. If God graced you with some divine visitation(i.e. speak to you like with Moses or a private revelation like Sister Faustina) His interactions with you from your perspective might seem like an encounter with a disembodied human person but God is more than that.

>we don't attribute personal characteristics to him.

Not in an unequivocal sense only by way of analogy.

>Love is an emotion.

No love it to will the good toward someone or something also to desire it for Good.

Emotions the changing passions and sensations of the human mind are rooted in that act of will and flow from it.

Strip from me all feelings of sentiment for my wife and children you are still left with a will that wills their ultimate good as their end.

>Why say he is loving, and then get mad when people see this as a personal characteristic?

He has willed us good for creating us & offering us salvation.

I only get mad when people try to turn God into a glorified human which reduces him to an idol. Also it ironically renders the Incarnation pathetically redundant.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

edit:love is to will the good...etc

im-skeptical said...

"love is to will the good"

But then (as if utterly indifferent) leave us to suffer when he has the power to prevent it. Or is it leave us to our own devices? If all humans made the correct moral choices, would there then be no suffering?

B. Prokop said...

"If all humans made the correct moral choices, would there then be no suffering?"

Some (mostly Protestant) Christians believe this. I do not. In my opinion, suffering and loss are hardwired into the very nature of Reality Itself, and would have been part of Creation even had there been no fall, no original sin.

BenYachov said...

>But then (as if utterly indifferent) leave us to suffer when he has the power to prevent it.

Well there is no Theistic Personalist "god" with a moral obligation to stop it.

He has done the three main good things, created us, gave us grace so we might by that grace have the Beatific Vision.

In a godless universe we are at the mercy of blind nature that doesn't
care if we live or die & can't offer us Beatific Vision.

>Or is it leave us to our own devices?

God will answer our prayers for help according to his will or not.

>If all humans made the correct moral choices, would there then be no suffering?

If we where un-fallen maybe mere temporal suffering wouldn't be a big deal to us assuming we where subjected to it?

If we made good choices that would reduce a lot of suffering.

But it would require an act of Divine Providence to keep us from all temporal suffering which we are not owed.

frances said...

Ben,

"God is by nature Truth itself". Sorry, I don't understand what this means. Explain please.

Frances

im-skeptical said...

The fall. Now there's something that really makes no sense.

Our progenitors (having been created with the curiosity of inquisitive minds) are beguiled into partaking of the temptation that was deliberately placed before them. Was it sin? If they made a knowing choice to disobey, why wouldn't they choose the other tree, that promised eternal life? But if they were deceived, it was innocent. Why should all of humanity suffer the consequences?

B. Prokop said...

It's an allegory, Skep. It's a pictorial representation of truths that are evident just by looking around. Rocks do what they're supposed to do. So do trees. Heck, even my dog does what she's supposed to do. In all the universe, only Man acts contrary to his nature. The story in Genesis illustrates this perfectly in a few short words, and more profoundly than bookshelves of psychology texts. (Not that there's anything wrong with psychology texts.)

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

The story about the fruit is an allegory, but original sin is not? You say suffering and loss were not part of creation but exist as a consequence of man's sinful nature. Just as a dog behaves in accordance with his nature, so do we. Whose fault is that?

B. Prokop said...

"so do we"

We most certainly do not! And this is not a conclusion arrived at by deductive, but rather by inductive reasoning. We constantly observe evidence of Man's failure to live according to his nature (the "Law written in our hearts"). I've often said (and still do) that the fall of man is the easiest doctrine in all of Christianity to prove - just look around.

So yes, original sin is not an allegory, it is demonstrable fact.

Walter said...

I've often said (and still do) that the fall of man is the easiest doctrine in all of Christianity to prove - just look around.

That man has a selfish side is easy to prove. That man fell from a state of utopian perfection, not so much.

B. Prokop said...

"That man fell from a state of utopian perfection, not so much."

But it is simplicity itself to demonstrate that there is a state of utopian perfection from which to fall. From there it is a matter of explaining why we are not in such a state. In an atheist universe, we ought to be there, because things have no reason to behave other than as they should.

(This by the way, all by itself, I regard as a "slam dunk" refutation of atheism. It's my stock answer to the juvenile query, "If there is a God, then why is there evil in the world?" Answer: In the absence of God, how is its existence explainable? It's not!)

The distance between our current situation and said utopian perfection is the fall.

im-skeptical said...

Let me see if I understand this position. Gog made use to be god. That's our nature. And everything in the world acts according to its nature except for the one creation of his that is the most important to him. We act badly anyway, against our nature. So what makes us act that way? It seems if god wanted us to be good, he could have done a better job. I'm sorry. It just doesn't make sense.

im-skeptical said...

Correction: God made us to be good.

B. Prokop said...

" It seems if god wanted us to be good, he could have done a better job."

Skep, Skep, Skep...

You know the answer to this one, so why are you pretending ignorance? FREE WILL. It is a logical impossibility to have loving, sentient beings (which is what God wanted) who are also robots. In order for "success" to be at all meaningful, there has to be a possibility of failure. Unfortunately in our case, we decided to act against our better instincts, and (allegorically) bit into that apple.

Walter said...

But it is simplicity itself to demonstrate that there is a state of utopian perfection from which to fall.

There is no evidence that humans were ever "sinless." I daresay that the opposite is true. If we were never sinless at any point in history, then we never fell from perfection. Are you instead making the claim that Fall is something that happens over and over again in the life of every single individual? If so, then I must agree with Skep that humans, if designed, appear to be designed to "fall."

B. Prokop said...

"Are you instead making the claim that Fall is something that happens over and over again in the life of every single individual?"

No, I am in no way saying that. I hope my statements didn't come across as implying that. I very much believe in a "corporate" fall, which we inherit at birth. (I didn't make this up - it's standard Catholic doctrine. If you want something "innovative" here, you're not gonna get it.) The author of Hebrews makes the interesting statement: "Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him." In the same manner, we all were "in the loins" of Adam at the fall, and participated in his sin.

B. Prokop said...

And now I am off to an early bedtime. I must wake up in the middle of the night in order for my equipment to be set up before sunrise tomorrow, to observe a solar eclipse which will already be in progress as the sun rises. From Maryland I will catch only the last 30 minutes of the event. To see the whole thing, you'd have to be in the middle of the Atlantic. But 30 minutes is better than zero!

Good night!

Walter said...

I very much believe in a "corporate" fall, which we inherit at birth.

This means that you and I, having inherited the curse of sin for Adam's failure, are guaranteed to fail and subsequently condemned for that failure. There is something pretty ugly about being measured against an impossible standard of moral perfection, then being condemned to hell for not meeting an impossible standard.

im-skeptical said...

"we all were "in the loins" of Adam at the fall, and participated in his sin. "

So if original sin wasn't simply an allegory, what was this sin, and why should I pay for it?

BenYachov said...

>There is no evidence that humans were ever "sinless."

Genesis is an allegory of how the first man & woman fell from grace. But there was a first man and woman.

Two sinless people is not a lot.

BenYachov said...

>So if original sin wasn't simply an allegory, what was this sin, and why should I pay for it?

That is an intelligent question & I seem to remember answering others about it & or letting my wife do it years ago.

But I've forgotten and I am too tired to look it up. But if I get around to it I'll get back to ya.

But for the record I just want to say this is a good question.

BenYachov said...

Off the top of my head Adam was the Father & representative of the whole human race so when he lost original innocence humans where born in a mere natural state deprived of the sanctify grace needed for the beatific vision.

I'll have to look up the rest but I've been so immersed in natural theology, trinitarian theology, Mysticism, & Philosophy that I need to do some revising.

Even I can't remember everything.

BenYachov said...

>There is something pretty ugly about being measured against an impossible standard of moral perfection, then being condemned to hell for not meeting an impossible standard.

My spider senses tell me there is some type of Protestant concepts here but honestly I'm too tired & I already spanked Walter on the Trinity I don't want to over do it.

Papalinton said...

Ben: "God is not unequivocally personal like human is but God does have intellect and will & thus is personal."

Evidence? Proof, fact, anything , please. Thinking God doesn't prove God. What we do know are the unassailable facts about religions and religious faith?

"Religion is essentially social, in both senses of the word. It is an activity that humans do together; it is created, maintained and perpetuated by human group behaviour. It is also social in the sense that it extends that sociality beyond the human world, to a (putative) real of non-human agents who also interact with us socially. An essential characteristic, perhaps the defining characteristic, of social relationships if order." [Eller] That is, social relationships have built into them a quality of deference and respect: there are things that higher-ups can do that lower-downs cannot, and inferiors should submit to superiors. Social relationships thus depend on boundaries, and it is no surprise that religion ultimately depends on these social boundaries too, and that if lower humans defer to higher humans that social deference is extended to beings and unseen forces higher than they especially the 'ultimate high' ones [You know, satans, devils, evil spirits, seraphim, nephilim, angels with wings, gods and all manner of things that go bump in the night.

And as Eller astutely and intellectually notes, "In thinking about religion, the most basic of all boundaries has often been regarded as the one between the sacred and the profane - between what humans must [compulsorily] treat with respect and reverence and what they treat casually or indifferently."

Durkheim [from his book, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life] explains, 'This division of the world into two domains, one containing all that is sacred and the other all that is profane - such is the distinctive trait of religious thought" [1965, p.52]
Durkheim also noted that this distinction, this bifurcation of 'reality', is 'absolute', and the sacred "is, par excellence, that which the profane must not and cannot touch with impunity".

What happens when this most elemental of all boundaries is crossed? The sacred is corrupted, and the profane is endangered, and all of existence is put in jeopardy. [Oooooh! I'm scared]

Eller goes on: "Science, not being of the sacred, must in this binary view be of the profane. But science does not stay on its side of the chasm; even worse, science does not recognise the presence of the chasm at all. Science goes wherever it will, asks whatever it will, finds whatever it will. Science even deigns to study religion - something for which religion never asked and which it does not welcome. Religion, from the religious perspective, is about acceptance, commitment, and respect - not poking and questioning. The breach of any boundary is a threat to the system that depends on the boundary. When the protective boundary of the skin is breached, harm usually ensues. Science breaches all boundaries, to bravely go, as the classic science fiction program puts it, where no one has gone before."

Welcome to the battle of minds and scientifically-informed philosophy, boys. And I hope your unseen, unknowable magical friend in the sky is ready to take on the countervailing forces of reason, logic and commonsense, because the millennia-old boundaries have been flattened.

BenYachov said...


Original Sin from the CE.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm#V

BenYachov said...

>Evidence? Proof, fact, anything , please. Thinking God doesn't prove God. What we do know are the unassailable facts about religions and religious faith?

I'm in the explaining the concept phase. The types of proof & at which stage is something else.

Wow Paps you are an idiot.

Papalinton said...

Corrigendum:
"... It is also social in the sense that it extends that sociality beyond the human world, to a (putative) real of non-human agents who also interact with us socially. "

should read

" .. It is also social in the sense that it extends that sociality beyond the human world, to a (putative) realm of non-human agents who also interact with us socially."

Papalinton said...

Further corrigenda:

"An essential characteristic, perhaps the defining characteristic, of social relationships if order." [Eller] "
should read
"An essential characteristic, perhaps the defining characteristic, of social relationships is order." [Eller] "


What happens when this most elemental of all boundaries is crossed? The sacred is corrupted, and the profane is endangered, and all of existence is put in jeopardy. [Oooooh! I'm scared]

should read

"What happens when this most elemental of all boundaries is crossed? The sacred is corrupted, and the profane is endangered, and all of existence is put in jeopardy." [Oooooh! I'm scared]

Walter said...

My spider senses tell me there is some type of Protestant concepts here

And we know how much you hate Protestantism. Better to be a godless materialist than a believer in sola scriptura and theistic personalism, eh?

BenYachov said...

>And we know how much you hate Protestantism.

I hate error and therefore I hate Protestantism as far as it contains error. OTOH I truly love the Good in Protestantism and I am the first to admit there is unique good in it. I owe to many a Protestant for getting me enthusiastic about Jesus.

Scott Hahn once said "What is the difference between the Catholic rebel & the Protestant? Simple the Protestant has the virtue of integrity."

But that being said what your language on original sin does suggest some type of total depravity doctrine which I strongly object too.


>Better to be a godless materialist than a believer in sola scriptura and theistic personalism, eh?

In one sense there is no difference. Error is error. OTOH a baptized person even if they hold false doctrines has Grace.

A false belief about God can be better then no belief in God at all. OTOH some false beliefs about God might lead to Atheism anyway.

Theistic Personalism is a problem. People spend their time trying to morally justify God's not eliminating evil in their lives right away. When it is better to see that God is the sort of thing that can be coherently see as oweing anything to them.

For me Brian Davies helped save my faith. God doesn't owe me anything & now I am free to simply love him for his own sake as Goodness Itself.

I just got off the phone with my older Cousin. He is like big brother to me. He will be praying for me to give up my anger issues.

I think it is time. Anger is fun but the cost is becoming too high.

BenYachov said...

edit:God isn't the sort of thing that can be coherently see as oweing anything to them.

BenYachov said...

BTW does anyone know what Paps is banging on about?

Lapa Pinton said...

Well, I certainly know what I’m banging on about.

The Microsoft Word thesaurus informs me that “battering” is a synonym for “banging”. And I (and others) have certainly battered your fish of [supernaturalistic] superstition with the pure flour of truth and reason!!!!! You can’t just execute us for starting the discussion now!!!!!

Comte wrote

“ The human understanding, slow in its advance, could not step at once from the theological into the positive philosophy.”

The Feserite scholasticism which you tout, Yachov, is nothing more than a callow and deeply negative (as opposed to positivistic) metaphor. I don’t know how you even try to defend Thomism, given the embarrassing words spoken by Lawrence Feingold, without a scintilla of shame:

“I had the great good fortune to study Art History with Norris K. Smith, a truly remarkable professor at Washington University...”

http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/lawrence-feingold-std-stl/

Compare this apologetical statement with the scientifically informed philosophy of [Jerry] Coyne:

As we all know, pies are one of America’s greatest contributions to world cuisine (and don’t mention the French tartes, which, although often superb, are not PIES, while the best British pies are the savory ones, like Melton Mowbray pork pie). Our other great contribution is barbecue.

It’s done. Over. The mytheme is being and has been replaced by ideas with far greater explanatory scope, no?Ditch the myth.

Sheesh!

The apologetical efforts which you have proferred for your particular branch of woo are ultimately apologeticalising in nature. And how exactly do you know that among the billions [upon billions] beliefs yours is correct? I’m not engaging in mischevious malicious persiflage: The inability to distinguish between metaphor and fact is a hallmark of those beholden to supernaturalistic superstition. Of course the whole grubby little discussion over theological minutiae is rendered moot by the words of Peter Boghossian (the publisher of my latest favourite tract)

“If there is a god maybe it rewards those who don't believe on the basis of insufficient evidence--and punishes those who do.”

Consider this news story with the very apt title "The Church of None of This Is Real": http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gregory-linton/teacher-chod-the-church-o_b_3976591.html

Sheesh!

Lapa Pinton said...

Correction:
The quote by Lawrence Feingold

"I had the great good fortune to study Art History with Norris K. Smith, a truly remarkable professor at Washington University...”

Should actually read
"Happily the ruminants for whom the abundance of grass at their disposal shelters them from carnivores!" and was actually written by Etienne Gilson.

Did you ever notice, that social change is afoot. And that you can't spell wookie without "woo"? As my favorite Sith, [Darth Plagiarist] once remarked "The climate begins to shift, Darth Sidious. The body politic begins to show signs of contagion. The reemergence of anger, hatred, and fear signal a loss of faith in the Force."

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Wookieepedia:Quote_of_the_Day/Archive/Darth_Plagueis

Steve Lovell said...

Hi Ben,

Personally, I'm hoping that when you say your cousin is "like big brother" to you, you've have omitted the small word "a". ;-)

Putting aside my pedantry, it's an encouragement to hear about his prayers for you. My own prayer life is fairly ropey, but I'll try to remember to pray for you too!

I'm interested to know if there are any specific books by Brian Davies that you'd recommend. I've not read much by him, but I've enjoyed the little I have read.

Back on topic ...

Quite a few of the responses on the topic of Omnipotence have said that certain things don't fall under God's omnipotence because they are incompatible with certain aspects of His Nature (Truth and Goodness so far). But I don't think we want to say that God's omnipotence consists in His having all powers the exercising of which is consistent with His Nature. If we did, I think we'd open the possibility of many things being omnipotent in the sense of having all powers the exercising of which is consistent with their nature.

Lumps of inorganic matter may be omnipotent in that sense. No?

B. Prokop said...

Wotta morning!

Nine of my astronomy club members showed up at Alpha Ridge Park before sunrise this morning to view a solar eclipse-in-progress. We arrived to ominously overcast skies, then watched them miraculously clear just minutes before sunup - all but a pesky band of thick cloud perversely hanging about the exact spot over which the sun was to rise. They never did go away, so we missed the first five minutes or so of the show, as we waited and waited for the sun to finally break free into the open sky.

But once it did - spectacular!!! The moon covered about 25% of the sun's surface by that time, and there were three scattered groups of sunspots visible as well. We all watched the moon slowly slide off the face of the sun, revealing yet another prominent cluster of sunspots - an added treat!

It was all over by shortly after 7 AM, and home for coffee!

As the Psalmist writes, "The Heavens declare the Glory of God!"

frances said...

But it is simplicity itself to demonstrate that there is a state of utopian perfection from which to fall. From there it is a matter of explaining why we are not in such a state. In an atheist universe, we ought to be there, because things have no reason to behave other than as they should.

(This by the way, all by itself, I regard as a "slam dunk" refutation of atheism. It's my stock answer to the juvenile query, "If there is a God, then why is there evil in the world?" Answer: In the absence of God, how is its existence explainable? It's not!)


Why would things behave as they "should" (whatever that means) in an atheist universe?

frances said...

FREE WILL. It is a logical impossibility to have loving, sentient beings (which is what God wanted) who are also robots. In order for "success" to be at all meaningful, there has to be a possibility of failure.

No it's not. Have you never seen Spielburg's "AI"?

BenYachov said...

>I'm interested to know if there are any specific books by Brian Davies that you'd recommend. I've not read much by him, but I've enjoyed the little I have read.

Aquinas on God and Evil.

The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil.*

Cheers man.

BenYachov said...

Lapa,

You forget this must all be understood in light of the Sith Code and modification of it given by Darth Revan.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

But this can only be understood in light of the addition of Darth Revan.

This is the way of the Dark Side all things end in death.

This is in contrast to the weak Jedi Code which says there is no Death there is only the Force.

So I think it is obvious that I don't need to explain how this not only vindicates Feser's woo apologetics in terms of the existence of God & that he really has a white beard but also destroys liberal economic theory in favor of a modified distributionism and capitalism.


Jerry Coyne is just a weak minded Dark Jedi. He is not a True Sith. He knows nothing of the dark side!

That should be obvious!

:-)

B. Prokop said...

Nerd alert!

im-skeptical said...

"Why would things behave as they "should" (whatever that means) in an atheist universe?"

There is no "atheist universe". The universe is what it is, including all of us, whatever we believe. There is no way the universe "should be", except as dictated by the forces of nature. The same is true of the way we behave.

Can you deny that you are a product of your genetics, your environment, your upbringing, your learning, your experiences? How "should" you behave? If you have a god whispering in your ear, he can tell you. But atheists don't.

Don't confuse that for lacking ethics. I have no reason to believe that theistic morality is in any way better than the atheist's.

B. Prokop said...

There is no "atheist universe".

You got that one right!

frances said...

There is no 'atheist universe'

You will understand, im-skeptical, that the phrase was B. Prokop's, not mine. I was simply trying to find out what on earth the reasoning was behind his claim. He has chosen not to defend his rather odd assertion, so I assume he has no reason.

im-skeptical said...

frances - Of course.

Crude said...
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Crude said...
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Crude said...

No it's not. Have you never seen Spielburg's "AI"?

Science, ladies and gentlemen.

Also, time travel is possible. See: X-men, days of future past.

frances said...

Also, time travel is possible. See: X-men, days of future past.

Crude,
You've missed the point. B. Prokop didn't say that it was factually impossible to make sentient, loving robots (which I would not have disagreed with). He said that it was logically impossible. It has to be logically impossible for his purposes so that he can fall back on the theist's favourite Get Out of Jail Free gambit: "not being able to do what is logically impossible is not incompatible with God's omnipotence".

JSYK, I agree that if God existed it would not be incompatible with his omnipotence if he couldn't do what was logically impossible. But the theist's determination to shoe-horn every inconvenient fact into an "anything else would be logically impossible" claim is just a sign of their desperation.

B. Prokop said...

It's rather funny how atheists so often use the term "desperation" when the people they are attributing it to don't feel the slightest bit of it. I, for one, truly feel no desperation at all - none, and can only wonder at the use of the word. A bit of projection, perhaps?

Regardless of why they like the word so much, it is a shot very wide of the mark. I stand over here, and watch them fire all their ammo in some other direction.

I can't imagine why I should feel "desperate" when never has a single tenet of my Faith been successfully challenged by the unbelievers. Heck, challenged? They haven't even understood them (they're perpetually debating either strawmen, or else somebody else's beliefs), let alone brought forth an alternative that is even remotely plausible.

im-skeptical said...

Omniscience is logically incompatible with free will. Either god knows what will happen or he doesn't. If he doesn't, he is not omniscient. If he does, then our actions are predetermined, since we have no real choice but to fulfill that destiny that is already known to him.

B. Prokop said...

Skep, I could use your reasoning to conclude that if I am observing a person engaged in some activity (say, raking leaves), then I am determining his actions merely by being aware of them. But that is self evidently not the case. My knowledge of his leaf raking does not affect his doing so in the slightest.

Now, I can affect his raking by walking over there and interacting with him. But as long as I stand off and out of his sight, I can have knowledge of his activity, but no determining effect on it.

In a similar manner, God's knowledge of our actions does not necessitate His controlling them. There is no cause and effect relationship between what God knows I am going to do, and my doing it. Free will is thus logically compatible with omniscience.

BenYachov said...

Foreknowledge doesn't equal predetermined therefore no free will.

Suppose God told your that you would choose X at time Y & you could change your mind if you want too?

But then he would still infallibly foresee you freely choosing wither or not you not choose X at time Y.

Your choice remains free & self-determined however the mechanism for that happens which is a mystery.

im-skeptical said...

If god knows exactly what I will choose, then I can't choose otherwise.

oozzielionel said...

IM:
It may be a bit more precise to say, "If God knows exactly what I will choose, then I won't choose otherwise."
This is the concept of foreknowledge.
and
"If God determined my choice, then I cant' choose otherwise."
This is sovereign decree.

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

>If god knows exactly what I will choose, then I can't choose otherwise.

Trivial. If you freely choose X at time Y logically your can't NOT choose X at time Y after having already chosen X freely.

If there is no God but there is some form of free will and Time Travel.

If I travel into the future and see you choose X at Time Y.

How does my traveling forward in time & learning some future choice you will make cause you to choose it?

True I could tell you & still travel forward in time to see if this knowledge causes you to choose differently.

Because you might choose Not X or you might choose X anyway because you want X or you might choose to believe in the error that you have no choice but to choose X.

But if I went forward in time with my TARDIS & learned of the revised choice I still would NOT be the cause of the New choice.

Sorry but omniscience is compatible with free will after all.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"If god knows exactly what I will choose, then I can't choose otherwise."

You are mistaking a diachronic relation, which moreover does *not* exist, with a causal relation.

B. Prokop said...

"If God knows exactly what I will choose, then I can't choose otherwise."

Change "can't" to "won't" and you are correct. Leave your statement as it stands, and it is easily disprovable illogic (as I demonstrated with my leaf raking example).

im-skeptical said...

At time P, I have not yet chosen what to do.

At time X, I make the choice to do A instead of B.

At time P, the omniscient god knows that I will choose A at time X.

At time P, my future choice is already determined.

At time X, if I choose B, god is not omniscient. But I can't choose B. God already knows that I choose A. What choice do I have? In fact, the same can be said of every choice I make in my entire lifetime. When the moment comes to choose, it is already predestined. There is no doubt what my choice will be. You can say that the choice is freely made, but it is an illusion. The choice is already known and determined. This was so even before I was born.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeprical:

This is useless, because you do not pay attention to what people say, but here goes:

"At time P, the omniscient god knows that I will choose A at time X."

This is false, because there is not such time P, for God is not *in* time -- go read St. Augustine. God knows for all eternity that I choose A at X, *because* I have chosen X. Of course, given the convertibility of transcendentals and God's nature, me choosing A at X and God knowing that I choose A at X are just different aspects of the same reality.

note: the conception of free will you are working with is also problematic, but it takes more to see why it is so, and why the correct conception does not collapse into compatibilism.

frances said...

I can't imagine why I should feel "desperate" when never has a single tenet of my Faith been successfully challenged by the unbelievers. Heck, challenged? They haven't even understood them (they're perpetually debating either strawmen, or else somebody else's beliefs), let alone brought forth an alternative that is even remotely plausible.

Prokop,
This would be a lot more impressive if it weren't coming from someone who has just made the rookie error of describing something which in no way contains any self-contradiction as being a logical impossibility. This would lead anyone with any degree of philosophical ability to conclude that your cheerful mien in the face of atheist attacks has less to do with their arguments failing than it has to do with you being too lacking in philosophical smarts to know when you've been roundly refuted.
If I'm wrong, prove me so. Show how being sentient and loving is necessarily inconsistent with being a robot. If you can't, then you owe skep an apology and a more reasoned response to his earlier post.

oozzielionel said...


A robot can be programmed to pet a dog while reciting the encyclopedia while being neither sentient nor loving.

B. Prokop said...

As Grodrigues wrote, I also know this is useless, but here goes anyway:

Skep, read T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton (part one of the Four Quartets). If after doing so, you do not realize why your "argument" is totally bogus, then I am afraid there truly is no hope for you.

BenYachov said...

@Skept

You where doing so well now you are devolving back into Gnuism.

Classic Theists believe in an A-Temporal Divinity.

Only Theistic Personalist super gay* deities exist in Time & are the only eligible "gods" in your scenario.

*Again naturally by "gay" I still don't mean homosexual.

I mean "gay" as in driving an electric car & trying to pick up chick.

Even nerd babes aren't going to look twice at you.

Electric cars!!!! That just screams beta or delta male!

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Are you all right? (Sometimes I worry about you.)

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

I'll read it.

But let me say that grodrigues' objection does nothing to solve the problem. If god exists outside of time, that's fine (I never thought otherwise). He sees everything - all of time, including time P and time X - laid out before him at once. But it makes no difference to me. When I experience time P, this god still knows what I will do at time X, and when I experience time X, I still have no choice, because it has all been played out already in god's view, it was already known what I would "choose", and I have absolutely no power to change that. The very notion that all of time exists at once for god, is tantamount to saying that it is all predestined.

But let me read 'Burnt Norton'. maybe my view will change.

Crude said...

frances,

You've missed the point.

The point was that you answered a claim about the impossibility of a robot who is loving, sentient, etc, with a goddamn movie by Spielburg.

'Of course it's possible. Look at this fictional sci-fi/fantasy movie.' is a dumb move. Don't do that. It, how would you put it... smacks of desperation? No, not desperation. Ignorance.

BenYachov said...

>Are you all right? (Sometimes I worry about you.)

I'm just weird.

B. Prokop said...

S'ok, then. Stay weird, bro.

BenYachov said...

@Skept

No you played it out freely from start to finish and God just happens from his perspective to see it all at once.

If Moi at time Y sees you choose to do X at time Y then how does my seeing you cause you to do X?

How does either knowledge of it or viewing it from some vantage point cause it apart from your free will?

(Of course you are using the term "predestined" in an equivocal manner. One mistake at a time)

So what are you saying? If there is no type of God but if there was such a thing as a time machine there would be no free will?

That doesn't make any sense?

Of course the real question is if you knew the future of your choices could you change it?

I would say yes but then God would still infallibly know what your different choice under those circumstances would be & you would still freely make them even if he knows them.

frances said...

A robot can be programmed to pet a dog while reciting the encyclopedia while being neither sentient nor loving.

Ay me! Another person who doesn't know the meaning of "logical impossibility". You are hard going, you guys. The issue is not whether it is possible for a robot to do any number of things while being neither sentient nor loving. Obviously that's possible. The issue is whether it's IMpossible for a robot to be sentient and loving. Not just impossible as a matter of fact (which it is, at present anyway) but necessarily impossible I.e. could not be true in any conceivable universe.
It's impossible as a matter of scientific fact for my iPad to sprout wings and fly around the room. But it's not a logical impossibility.

Syllabus said...

You've missed the point. B. Prokop didn't say that it was factually impossible to make sentient, loving robots (which I would not have disagreed with). He said that it was logically impossible. It has to be logically impossible for his purposes so that he can fall back on the theist's favourite Get Out of Jail Free gambit: "not being able to do what is logically impossible is not incompatible with God's omnipotence".

You're missing the point. The argument is that there is no possible world in which the conditions "there are loving, sentient robots" (where loving means "capable of choosing to will the good of an object exterior to the self") and "these robots have no capability to choose not-love" hold simultaneously. It's a simple disjunct.

Of course, this uses a very specific definition of "loving", which you may or may not accept. But that's not the issue. The issue is internal consistency, and the view definitely is internally consistent.

frances said...

Of course, this uses a very specific definition of "loving", which you may or may not accept. But that's not the issue. The issue is internal consistency, and the view definitely is internally consistent.

Do you mean "internally inconsistent",Syllabus?

I don't accept your highly artificial definition of "loving". If you are going to use words like Humpty Dumpty did (to mean whatever you want them to mean) then I daresay it is possible to create any number of logical impossibilities, or indeed to make any number of apparent logical impossibilities turn into logical possibilities. ("It's not a logical impossibility to have a square circle - not when you use my definition of circle as 'four-sided plane figure!'").
However, you do at least understand what a logical impossibility actually is, so to that extent, you're ahead of the other theists who've posted.
But I can't help thinking what an incurable old romantic you must be. What a tender moment your Significant Other has to look forward to when they open the card that reads:"to the one I have chosen to will the good of" (maybe that should be "for" but anyway, I'll bet there won't be a dry eye in the house when s/ he reads it)

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

"How does either knowledge of it or viewing it from some vantage point cause it apart from your free will?"

I didn't say that knowledge of it implies causation. I say that a-priori knowledge of it implies that the die is cast (for whatever reason). If at time X, it is already known with certainty that I will choose A, I am not free to choose B, because that contradicts what is already known with certainty.

"So what are you saying? If there is no type of God but if there was such a thing as a time machine there would be no free will?

That doesn't make any sense?"

No, it doesn't?

Syllabus said...

I don't accept your highly artificial definition of "loving". If you are going to use words like Humpty Dumpty did (to mean whatever you want them to mean) then I daresay it is possible to create any number of logical impossibilities, or indeed to make any number of apparent logical impossibilities turn into logical possibilities. ("It's not a logical impossibility to have a square circle - not when you use my definition of circle as 'four-sided plane figure!'").

Here's the thing: you're conceiving of 'love' in a certain sense, probably having to do with the emotion of love. Well and good, that's one of the meanings of the word. Thing is, in this context, theists in general and Christians in particular often aren't using the word 'love' in that sense. In the emotive sense of 'love' obviously you can program people to have feelings of love and have no choice about it. That's simply trivially true.

Simply as a point of logic, too, that's not a highly artificial notion of the word 'love'. It's one that dates at least back to the Scholastics. There are multiple senses of the word. You don't like it, fine. But when I say that God made the world such that 'love' is possible, I don't mean that God created the world such that everybody in the world will have loving feelings - philios or eros -a good thing, no doubt, but rather that God created a world such that it is possible for people to choose or not to perform actions which result in the good of their objects - agape. So your criticism is an equivocation. If you persist in channeling Hume, fine, but at least recognize that you're arguing at right angles to those of us not using your definition.

But I can't help thinking what an incurable old romantic you must be. What a tender moment your Significant Other has to look forward to when they open the card that reads:"to the one I have chosen to will the good of" (maybe that should be "for" but anyway, I'll bet there won't be a dry eye in the house when s/ he reads it)

Attack the position, not the man. Otherwise, you're just using emotional bluster.

frances said...

The point was that you answered a claim about the impossibility of a robot who is loving, sentient, etc, with a goddamn movie by Spielburg.

Sorry, Crude it won't wash. It was not a simple claim of impossibility, the whole point was that it was a claim about logical impossibility. It was perfectly valid for me to draw attention to a work of fiction which centred on the premise of a sentient, loving robot, because it proved that whether or not such a thing was actually possible, it had at least to be an internally consistent concept or the film would simply be unimaginable. Spielberg could never have made a film about a square circle or a married bachelor, no matter how good the SFX.

In your heart of hearts, I believe you know you got this wrong, but you think that you are saving face by sticking to your guns and fudging the issue about "logic" being the key point in the question.

Steve Lovell said...

Skep,

To be honest, if your argument for determinism works, then God's omniscience isn't doing much work. Replace

(1) God knows that agent A will do X at time T

with

(1') It is the case that agent A will do X at time T

or to make it more obvious

(1'') It is the case, and even was the case yesterday, that agent A will do X at time T

If there is a problem here it is with future truths not God's knowledge of them. That should make you suspicious of the arguments. Though they are fun to think about!

BenYachov said...

>I didn't say that knowledge of it implies causation.

Then you are not arguing God's foreknowledge somehow does away with free will.

>If at time X, it is already known with certainty that I will choose A, I am not free to choose B, because that contradicts what is already known with certainty.

What does this have to do with you freely doing it or not? If you actually choose X in the future at time Y then you cannot have not chosen X.

>"So what are you saying? If there is no type of God but if there was such a thing as a time machine there would be no free will?

>That doesn't make any sense?"

>No, it doesn't?

Why? It's simple enough. I take my TARDIS go to the future & see that at time Y you choose X. I don't bother telling you and when you get to the future at time Y you choose X.

How does me knowing this cancel your free will?

It doesn't.

im-skeptical said...

Steve,

"To be honest, if your argument for determinism works, then God's omniscience isn't doing much work."

Good point. You may be exactly right. If (1) or (1') or (1'') is true for some known X at any time T, then there is determinism. I make no claims about causality. But if god is omniscient, then there is no free will (or there is determinism). That's not a logical problem. The problem is if you believe both that god is omniscient, and that there is free will.

On the other hand, if you say there is no future truth, or there is no known X for time T (even to god), then there may be free will. It still doesn't disprove determinism, because god might not be omniscient.

BenYachov said...

I think Skep is really arguing the old philosophical question independent of God's existence.

Can you change your future & in what sense?

Is the future logically as fixed as the past?

If in the future it is actually true you will choose X at time Y then you logically can't have not chosen X.

This is logically true regardless of God's existence or not.

So it doesn't matter if God sees you choosing X, or The Doctor in the TARDIS, or a blind godless universe.

BenYachov said...

OTOH it is better to say if you actually choose X at Y then actually you could not have actually not chosen X at Y.

B. Prokop said...

Skep,

I believe what you are describing is called "Open Theism" (somebody please correct me if I am wrong). This idea states that God's omniscience means that He knows all that there is to know. But since the future hasn't yet happened (according to Open Theism), there is nothing about it to know. Therefore it is no denial of omniscience to say that God does not know what there is nothing to know of.

BenYachov said...

>The problem is if you believe both that god is omniscient, and that there is free will.

But you already admitted there is no causal connection between you choosing X at Y & God knowing about it from all eternity.

You are still the one freely doing the choosing. God & nothing else is making you do it but your will moved by your intellect.

B. Prokop said...

I probably need to add that, although I find the idea of Open Theism (or, at least, my understanding of it) intriguing, I am in no way an adherent of it.

Don't want anyone to get the wrong impression.

oozzielionel said...

@ Frances:
Are you trying to say that "impossible" and "unimaginable" are synonyms?

I can only say, "Impossible and unimaginable!"

Syllabus said...

Are you trying to say that "impossible" and "unimaginable" are synonyms?

As far as logical possibility and impossibility, he is on to something - while they are not synonyms, the one implies the other. If you doubt this, I invite you to imagine a sky both blue and not blue at once.

oozzielionel said...

"As Troy stepped from his spacecraft, he was amazed at the color of the sky. It was both blue and not blue. He would look into it later but it was almost certainly due to pulsating colors of the oceans covering most of the planet combined with the high density of the atmosphere."

not that hard

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

I don't know how you get open theism from "He sees everything - all of time, including time P and time X - laid out before him at once."

Crude said...

Frances,

Sorry, Crude it won't wash.

I agree it won't. Whether you'll admit your example fails is another thing entirely. ;)

It was not a simple claim of impossibility, the whole point was that it was a claim about logical impossibility. It was perfectly valid for me to draw attention to a work of fiction which centred on the premise of a sentient, loving robot, because it proved that whether or not such a thing was actually possible, it had at least to be an internally consistent concept or the film would simply be unimaginable.

Frances, think this through. The movie does nothing to show 'logical possibility' related to what Bob is saying - it was a complete work of fiction. 'Logical consistency' wasn't necessary. More importantly, Bob's declaration - right or wrong, whether he can argue for it or not - deals expressly with subjective realities. A movie deals with third person demonstrations, at best.

Like I said: you may as well have told us, 'Of course time travel is possible. Look at this X-men flick, it has time travel. Because a good guide to logical consistency is whether or not a movie has been made about the topic.'

In your heart of hearts, I believe you know you got this wrong,

You're accidentally providing a good argument for why intuition should always be second guessed. ;) You screwed up, Frances. You cited a goddamn fictional work as evidence that such and such is logically possible.

Here's a followup move for you: "Square circles are possible. I read a Cthulhu mythos fanfic which talked about some dimension that was filled with them, and to look upon them drove visitors mad. The fact that they wrote about such things shows they're possible after all."

B. Prokop said...

Skep, I'm not am open theist. I am merely bringing up that open theists believe that there is nothing to know about the future, and therefore an omniscient God lacks no knowledge if He knows nothing about that of which there is nothing to be known.

I know, I know, what a convoluted sentence! It has to be read carefully.

B. Prokop said...

"whether he can argue for it or not"

Oh, I can... with one hand tied behind my back, Crude. It's just that I've pegged Frances as a Linton clone, i.e., impervious to reason and on the web solely to spread Darkness Visible. I choose ("Free Will" in action!) to ignore his postings.

I've lifted my self-imposed ban on Skep for the duration, because he's actually engaging in a discussion here, and doing quite well.

Crude said...

Bob,

Oh, I can... with one hand tied behind my back, Crude. It's just that I've pegged Frances as a Linton clone, i.e., impervious to reason and on the web solely to spread Darkness Visible. I choose ("Free Will" in action!) to ignore his postings.

I think it's way too early for that. Frances is actually trying to argue. He's being cocky, but hell, I of all people better be tolerant of a certain amount of cockiness.

But I think he's mistaken here. I don't think the logical possibility of robots being sentient and loving is demonstrated by a movie. 'Sentient' is subjective, and I think 'loving' as you meant it necessarily involves a subjective component. You don't 'see' these things in a movie, or anywhere else. The closest you get is mechanical action, and maybe symbol/explanation - 'This robot really is sentient, he really is loving!' But 'demonstrated', it ain't.

Crude said...

Maybe a counter-example would help here.

It's commonly maintained that it is logically impossible to change the past. I don't think this is a controversial statement.

And yet, we have the movie Back to the Future. Is someone seriously going to argue that we've demonstrated the logical possibility of time travel and changing the past because of the existence of this movie? Even if you maintain that such and such IS logically possible, the movie's existence itself is just not pulling this off.

BenYachov said...

>I've lifted my self-imposed ban on Skep for the duration, because he's actually engaging in a discussion here, and doing quite well.

I concur.

frances said...

You're accidentally providing a good argument for why intuition should always be second guessed. ;) You screwed up, Frances. You cited a goddamn fictional work as evidence that such and such is logically possible.

Any fictional work about x will be evidence that x is at least a logical possibility, provided that x actually appears in the work. Unless your fanfic work includes a full description of these square circles or better still, an image, the square circles themselves do not appear in the fiction, they are merely referred to.
In AI the robot child, David, is a fully imagined character who we see and understand. There is nothing self-contradictory about him. If you genuinely can't tell the difference between David and a square circle then I have nothing more to say to you.

B. Prokop said...

I've just begun re-reading Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain (which I read for the first time more than 40 years ago on, I believe, the recommendation of Joe Sheffer), and found this passage, which I think is rather apropos of the current thread (emphasis added):

... the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely arbitrary reason that we simply do not want it. We will to separate ourselves from that love. We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it, simply because it does not please us to be loved. Perhaps the inner motive is the that the fact of being loved disinterestedly reminds us that we all need love from others, and depend upon the charity of others to carry on our own lives. And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation.

The poet Charles Williams wrote the same sentiment as follows:

This abides – that the everlasting house the soul discovers
is always another’s; we must lose our own ends;
we must always live in the habitation of our lovers,
my friend’s shelter for me, mine for him.


To do otherwise is to embrace what I have termed elsewhere on this website, Hell's Own Governing Constitution.

BenYachov said...

Francis stop being a Gnu. Just admit you where not being serious when you cited a fictional movie as evidence Robots could do whatever....

Because fiction is not science or philosophy. Wow Gnus are really intellectually inferior because they just can't own their simple mistakes.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"But let me say that grodrigues' objection does nothing to solve the problem. If god exists outside of time, that's fine (I never thought otherwise). He sees everything - all of time, including time P and time X - laid out before him at once. But it makes no difference to me. When I experience time P, this god still knows what I will do at time X, and when I experience time X, I still have no choice, because it has all been played out already in god's view, it was already known what I would "choose", and I have absolutely no power to change that. The very notion that all of time exists at once for god, is tantamount to saying that it is all predestined."

As predicted it is in one ear, out the other.

The inference is from

(A) at t_0 God already knows that X will choose A at t_1

to

(B) X cannot choose other than X at t_1.

To which I *repeat* what I have stated before:

(1) Depending on what one means by alternative possibilities, Free Will is not to be conceived as the possibility to choose between different alternatives.

(2) (A) is meaningless whichever way you dice it; it is not true that today God knows what I will do tomorrow, because God's knowledge is a-temporal. And if God's knowledge is a-temporal, the inference to (2) is simply invalid. To say that "it has all been played out already in god's view" is just to betray misunderstanding. There is no "already" in God's knowledge; knowing a-temporally is not the same as "at all times" or "today" or whatever other temporal terms you care to use. And since it *is* the alleged diachronic relation between God's knowledge of X choosing and the act of X choosing A that is doing the work, this particular argument has no hopes of getting off the ground.

In particular, (B) simply does *NOT* follow from God's a-temporal knowledge. Rather, what is true is that because X at t_1 chooses A, God knows a-temporaly that at t_1 X chooses A. If at t_1, X chooses B, then God knows a-temporaly that at t_1 X chooses B. But God knowing whether X chooses A or B at t_1, does not imply that X cannot choose A or B. It does follow that X cannot choose other than what X chooses, but this is hardly problematic.

The knowledge of God of future contingents (*), even when the future contingent is a Freely Willed choice, does nothing to either impinge the contingency or the freely willed nature of the choice.

(*) As already been pointed this is denied by open theists, on the grounds that future contingents are not real and thus there is nothing to know in the first place, but explicitly affirmed by virtually all in the classical tradition.

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