Sunday, March 22, 2015

C. S. Lewis on Science and Miracles

CSL “If the laws of Nature are necessary truths, no miracle can break them: but then no miracle needs to break them. It is with them as with the laws of arithmetic. If I put six pennies into a drawer on Monday and six more on Tuesday, the laws decree that… I shall find twelve pennies there on Wednesday. But if the drawer has been robbed I may in fact find only two. Something will have been broken (the lock of the drawer or the laws of England) but the laws of arithmetic will not have been broken. The new situation created by the thief will illustrate the laws of arithmetic just as well as the original situation. But if God comes to work miracles, He comes “like a thief in the night.” Miracle is, from the point of view of the scientist, a form of doctoring, tampering, (if you like) cheating. It introduces a new factor into the situation, namely supernatural force, which the scientist had not reckoned on. He calculates what will happen, or what must have happened on a past occasion, in the belief that the situation, at that point of space and time, is or was A. But if supernatural force has been added, then the situation really is or was AB. And no one knows better than the scientist that AB cannot yield the same result as A. The necessary truth of the laws, far from making it impossible that miracles should occur, makes it certain that if the Supernatural is operating they must occur. For if the natural situation by itself, and the natural situation plus something else, yielded only the same result, it would be then that we should be faced with a lawless and unsystematic universe… This perhaps helps to make a little clearer what the laws of Nature really are… They produce no events: they state the pattern to which every event… must conform, just as the rules of arithmetic state the pattern to which all transactions with money must conform…The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern… The reason (some) find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality. And they are sure that all reality must be interrelated and consistent. I agree with them. But I think they have mistaken a partial system within reality, namely Nature, for the whole…The great complex event called Nature, and the new particular event introduced into it by the miracle, are related by their common origin in God… By definition, miracles must of course interrupt the usual course of Nature; but if they are real they must, in the very act of so doing, assert all the more the unity and self-consistency of total reality at some deeper level."

It seems to me that you cannot argue that science rules out miracles without begging the question and assuming the causal closure of the physical. The laws of nature tell us what will happen if God doesn't interfere, but it is part of the very idea of a miracle that God does interfere.

50 comments:

John Moore said...

It's great how Lewis talks about the supernatural as a "new factor" that is "added." He writes that a miracle is not "suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern."

This seems to be in harmony with my suggestion that the supernatural is like extra energy entering our universe from some higher-dimensional universe, as previously discussed on this blog here and here.

By the way, I'm fine with the idea that science merely assumes causal closure but cannot prove it. Science may prove that a particular event is not a miracle (by predicting it and repeating it), but science cannot prove that no events are miracles.

B. Prokop said...

"The reason (some) find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality."

Lewis certainly hit the nail on the head with that one! Case in point: In a thread below this one, a frequent poster to this website suggested that I needed to "step outside [my] little box." If it weren't so tragic, I would have found this quite humorous, because it is the materialist who has confined himself to a "little box", and one one rather stuffy and confining at that. It is the materialist who limits himself to the restrictive borders of created nature, who deprives himself of the free air of the spiritual realm which surrounds and sustains this little universe of ours. (The 14th Century mystic Julian of Norwich had a vision of the created world as a hazelnut: ""And in þis he shewed me a lytil thyng þe quantite of a hasyl nott. lyeng in þe pawme of my hand as it had semed. and it was as rownde as eny ball. I loked þer upon wt þe eye of my vnderstondyng. and I þought what may þis be. and it was answered generally thus. It is all þat is made." (my emphasis))

So of course if you deny from the start any possibility of the miraculous, then your conclusion will be that miracles do not occur. (Duh!) Yet the materialist never seems to getting around to explaining why miracles cannot occur. They simply say they can't, and seem to think that is "using reason".

In the same thread below, I was told "the actual resurrection of a genuinely dead guy is impossible". No proof, no logic, no explanation - just the bald, unsupported assertion. And without the faintest hint of shame, or awareness of the irony of it all, he calls Christians "gullible"!

Jesu, ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

"The reason (some) find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality."

The real reason some find it intolerable is because these supposed events are never observed. Therefore, it is unreasonable to suppose that they exist. They occur only in the stories that gullible people believe. But not one time in all of history has there been any reliable report of such an event.

cl said...

The real reason some find it intolerable is because these supposed events are never observed.

No, jackass, these "supposed" events ARE observed. I have observed a handful of questionable ones, but one really, really good one - which I pointed your way. Your reaction? Paltry, irrational denial. That's the thing with people like you: you pride yourselves on some supposed "rationalism" but you can't even fart your way out of a paper bag with it. It's false as can be, and cowardly: all you have to do is say, "Nah, those events don't occur, cl is a liar" or whatever, then draw a line in the sand and turn off your brain. You're a fundy too!

But not one time in all of history has there been any reliable report of such an event.

Right, right... typical atheist BS. Let me translate that for you: "Out of all the reliable reports in history I choose not to believe any because it would tear down the house of pretend rational cards I live in."

You're welcome :)

B. Prokop said...

There's one quite revealing point in the Craig-Parsons debate (HERE) where Parsons complains that a video camera hadn't been set up at the Tomb (!), and the Resurrection thereby recorded. But then he goes on to admit that even such a recording wouldn't convince him, because "Steven Spielberg" could have faked it for the Apostles. Craig challenges Parsons at this point, asking him if a filming of the event wouldn't be enough evidence for Parsons, what would be? Parsons candidly answers that no amount of evidence would convince him.

Other than the Eucharistic Sacrament at the Mass, I myself have personally never witnessed a miracle. But why should I? By their very definition, such things are the rarest of the rare, and we should not expect to see them. (Nor, actually, should we desire to. From my reading of the Lives of the Saints, such witnessing is generally accompanied by great suffering and often martyrdom.)

Jezu, ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

My apologies for omitting the start time of the relevant debate segment. It begins at approximately 1:37:00 into the video.

cl said...

Bob,

"Parsons candidly answers that no amount of evidence would convince him."

At least he's honest. The ones that irk me are the ones like im-skeptical, who put up all this verbal puffery about "evidence" and "rationalism" but are really as 100% closed-minded as the "fundies" they chastise.

im-skeptical said...

I don't care what Parsons or anyone else says. I can be convinced by evidence. Go ahead and show me good evidence of a miracle. When I see the evidence, then I'll be just as convinced as you are.

im-skeptical said...

An by the way, cl - I didn't call you a liar. Originally, when you claimed to have things flying around in your living room, you admitted that you didn't actually see it. I postulated that you were mistaken or fooled into believing that these events had happened. However, now that you are changing your story and claiming that you observed it, I can say without reservation that you are a liar.

B. Prokop said...

Now before a certain poster accuses me of being "dishonest", Parsons does (quite insincerely) imagine a fantastical series of events that he might consider sufficient evidence. but immediately after Craig challenges him on this, Parsons does not deny that even then, he would conclude that either he's hallucinating, or that everything is a hallucination (he says this at 1:40:28).

Parsons's problem (and that of others) is that he seems incapable of recognizing that he has poisoned the well with his unexamined prior assumptions. If you start out by assuming the miraculous is impossible, then it ought to be no surprise when you conclude that miracles do not occur. Duh!

Such "reasoning" can in no way be labeled skepticism. It is indeed the very opposite of such. True skepticism would be to approach (for example) the Resurrection with the attitude of "What happened here?" and dispassionately examine all the alternative explanations without assigning any probability figures to each. Clearly identify the weak and strong points of each, and if the only "weak point" to the idea that the Resurrection actually happened is "such things don't happen", then all you've done is demonstrate the circularity of your reasoning.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Lewis certainly hit the nail on the head with that one! Case in point: In a thread below this one, a frequent poster to this website suggested that I needed to "step outside [my] little box." If it weren't so tragic, I would have found this quite humorous, because it is the materialist who has confined himself to a "little box", and one rather stuffy and confining at that."

cl: "No, jackass, these "supposed" events ARE observed."

Ghost story -- this event, from my own life, is one reason I can never limit my world-view to the "rather stuffy and confining" little (mental) box on offer by the naturalists. If naturalism were the truth about the nature of reality, I wouldn't be alive today.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

Well. Your story is certainly of more import than my own. But here goes anyway.

Several (somewhere around 12 to 15) years ago, my wife and I had left for work one morning (we carpooled together), leaving our younger daughter behind, who would shortly be off to her own job. On the way to work I stopped for gas, approximately 2 miles from home. While filling the tank, I heard, as clearly as though she were standing right next to me, our daughter say, "I want my cat!" Not a voice "inside my head" mind you, but exactly like you'd hear someone talking to you in conversation.

This rattled me sufficiently, that (over my wife's objections that we'd be late) I drove back to the house. And there we find our daughter outside in the yard frantically calling for our house cat, who had somehow gotten out through the front door at about the precise time that I heard her voice - from 2 miles away. (We eventually found Pete and returned him to the indoors. And yes, we were late for work that day.)

Apologies for the banality of this story, but just try and explain it from a purely materialistic worldview.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

cl said...

Go ahead and show me good evidence of a miracle. When I see the evidence, then I'll be just as convinced as you are.

And why should I believe that when you're too lazy to unpack the term "good evidence?"

cl said...

Bob / Ilion

Here's the one im-skeptical handwaved away:

http://www.thewarfareismental.net/b/2009/08/13/the-video-game-incident-the-immaterial-consciousness-hypothesis/

cl said...

Just caught this:

Originally, when you claimed to have things flying around in your living room, you admitted that you didn't actually see it. I postulated that you were mistaken or fooled into believing that these events had happened. However, now that you are changing your story and claiming that you observed it, I can say without reservation that you are a liar.

You kiddin' me? The story never changed, and that's why I call you a jackass: YOU'RE the one who is so damn intellectually lazy that you imagine up crap like that to ease the cognitive dissonance that results from data which challenge your dearly-held materialist worldview. I have said the same thing from the beginning and the post has not changed. Go read it again, since you clearly don't remember it.

you admitted that you didn't actually see it.

Bullshit. You either produce that evidence or apologize because now you're slandering me. Practice real critical thinking and dump the stupid Gnu gig already.

im-skeptical said...

"You either produce that evidence or apologize because now you're slandering me."

cl, YOU are a LIAR. You made that admission in Victor's blog when I questioned you about it. No apologies from me, you little twerp.

cl said...

You made that admission in Victor's blog when I questioned you about it. No apologies from me, you little twerp.

Bullshit. Produce this evidence. You're supposed to be all rational, PRODUCE what you claim and quit being a poser. The whole point of the story - SINCE DAY ONE - was that ALL THREE WITNESSES ***SAW*** this event.

You.

JACKASS.

Now, deal with reality and quit making evasive little weiner moves to save gnu face

B. Prokop said...

I'm afraid we've wandered somewhat from the subject matter here. None of these three stories are, by any stretch of the definition, miracles. What they are is evidence for something other than a woodenly materialist universe. (Obviously, no material force alerted Ilion's father to his plight, and nothing material caused my daughter's voice to travel an extraordinary distance, so I could hear it 2 miles away.)

But what none of these stories can claim is that they are either part and parcel of the Incarnation/Resurrection narrative; nor do they shed any light on it. And this is not some idiosyncratic requirement on my part. Name a bona fide miracle that does not fit that description... //waiting//... Thought so. There aren't any.

So as far as today goes, unless a purported "miracle" tells us something new about Salvation, I guarantee you the story is either bogus or (as in the case of the above stories), simply evidence that the observable universe is not all there is.

Examples of genuine miracles in the recent past would include the apparitions at Fatima, the uncountable healings at Lourdes, or the 1981 healing of Maureen Digan from Lymphedima after praying at the tomb of Saint Faustina Kowalska.

In the interests of avoiding confusion, we ought to try keeping the two subjects separate. (I know, I'm to fault here too.)

Jezu, ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

"Jezu, ufam tobie!"

What these three stories illustrate (quite perfectly) is how blind to reality you become when you live in your little Jesus box.

B. Prokop said...

Really? Kindly tell me how my story relates to Jesus. I myself just said it has nothing whatsoever to do with Him.

And now you say that it does? Most interesting.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

Oh, and by the way. Jezu, ufam tobie! is not for your benefit - it's for mine. Just as when I have a bumper sticker on my car in favor of some cause or other that I may be promoting (even if it's just for my beloved Baltimore Orioles), I tend to drive far more courteously than I might otherwise, and be more forgiving of others' egregiously awful driving habits, because I do not wish to reflect badly upon my advertized cause. In like manner, placing Jezu, ufam tobie! at the end of my postings reminds me that every word I write just might reflect on my Faith.

So no, it's not there to impress you, but rather to admonish me.

(But I'm still glad that you noticed.)

im-skeptical said...

"Oh, and by the way. Jezu, ufam tobie! is not for your benefit - it's for mine."

I didn't think it was for me. But it does reveal precisely why your mind is closed to reality. It tells me that you are in your little Jesus box, and terrified to take a little peek outside.

B. Prokop said...

Hmm... Let's see. As to who's in a "box", I can listen to Dame Julian of Norwich (an intellect who towers above anyone who has ever contributed a line to this website), or I can go along with Skep.

But in the end, it does not matter. Declaring that someone you disagree with is "in a box" is no more an argument than is calling him a liar. It is actually evidence for an absence of having faith in one's own argument.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

cl said...

It tells me that you are in your little Jesus box, and terrified to take a little peek outside.

Man, you just don't get it. It is YOUR worldview that is more akin to a "closed box" than ours. YOU are the one who draws a line in the sand and simply handwaves away the countless records of events that don't fit into your pre-accepted paradigm. You puff and you posture about how you're so open to the evidence but in reality you're so closed off to reality you won't even THINK. Literally.

You'd rather slander other people as liars than even attempt to assess a report critically. You're a straight poser im-skeptical, and you should be called out for it.

Can't explain an incident on your paltry materialist worldview? No problem, simply say the evidence isn't "good enough" and denounce your interlocutor as a liar. Then run around and taunt others for being the "closed-minded" ones locked in little boxes.

Totally pathetic. Stay locked in your little box where nothing can ever violate the laws of physics, poser!

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

Interesting perspective on being in a box (in the penultimate paragraph).

Jezu, ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

"You'd rather slander other people as liars than even attempt to assess a report critically. You're a straight poser im-skeptical, and you should be called out for it."

It isn't slander if it's true. You told me you didn't actually see the objects move. That was before I made my comment in your blog. Now you're denying it. That makes you a liar.

im-skeptical said...

OK, I took the time to find it. Here is where you admit that you didn't see it.

It says: "Nobody "saw" it, we all heard it. We were all looking at the TV, then heard a weird, electric "zap" sound, then we all saw the games, instantaneously in a different place."

cl said...

You told me you didn't actually see the objects move.

Ah, now it all makes sense: you're so bad at critical thinking and reading that you omitted some very crucial punctuation from what I wrote two years ago in order to make it look like I said something I did not. Wow, you take 'em right from the Dawkins / Cult of Gnu playbook: don't tackle what your opponent says head-on, rather, distort what they say, call them a liar and get out of jail free because you know your paltry worldview can't account for all the facts.

Yes, I wrote:

Nobody "saw" it, we all heard it. We were all looking at the TV, then heard a weird, electric "zap" sound, then we all saw the games, instantaneously in a different place.

You see those quote marks, genius? Yes, I said nobody "SAW" it -- note the use of quote marks -- because it happened SO FAST there was NO VISIBLE TRAJECTORY, you JACKASS. We were all in the room. No room for tricks.

See, you're TRYING to make it sound like we weren't present and that there was room for trickery, but that's a dishonest reading of my words. We all "SAW" the event in the sense that we were all present throughout all points-in-time-X during the entire event.

Now, apologize for calling me a liar, since the only way you can make that claim is by distorting what I said. Read the comment: it CLEARLY states that we were ALL THREE PRESENT. Nobody left the room, which would be required for a trick to be played.

Now, quit being such a poser and tackle this thing like a true skeptic, not a gnu atheist wannabe. Go ahead and tell us something besides a bunch of chickenshit dodgery

B. Prokop said...

I'm genuinely interested, Skep. How do you explain my story? (Forget cl's for the moment.) Now remember, not only am I not claiming that it was any kind of "miracle", I positively deny that it was anything of the sort.

That being cleared up, how do you square what unquestionably occurred with pure materialism?

im-skeptical said...

"Now, quit being such a poser and tackle this thing like a true skeptic, not a gnu atheist wannabe. Go ahead and tell us something besides a bunch of chickenshit dodgery"

You've been caught in a lie (and still desperately trying to walk back your own statement). Now where's your apology for the accusations of slander? Here's some skepticism for you: I am skeptical that you even knew what was going on that night. After all, you were in a drunken stupor. I am skeptical that you can provide an accurate description of the events. And being in your little Jesus box, when things didn't end up the way your inebriated mind expected, rather than trying to reconstruct what really happened, you attributed it to a supernatural event.

im-skeptical said...

"how do you square what unquestionably occurred with pure materialism?"

The first thing to note is that something occurred, but exactly what it was is not beyond question. The mind can play trick on us, and don't dismiss this - it happens all the time.

We have a tendency to see faces in rocks or clouds. We link sensory data to something we know. That's how we make sense of things, and it works reasonably well, but it is not foolproof by any means. Perhaps you heard a voice and you automatically associated that sound with your daughter. Stranger things have happened. It could have been someone that sounded rather like your daughter, and she may have been talking about a cat.

Another thing to understand is that memory of events is not what we think. It's not like a recording that can be faithfully replayed. It is subject to alteration. It changes as our understanding or beliefs about the event change. It is subject to suggestion. We fill in details or even change them, and then "remember" those details as if they actually happened. So your recollection of this event does not entail that that it is a completely accurate account of what happened.

B. Prokop said...

Ah, but it's not only my memory in play here. My wife (now deceased) remembered the story well, and would repeat it now and then at social occasions. My daughter (still alive, of course) remembers the cat running out the front door and our timely return home. Now I am the only one to have heard the voice, but I can recall the tiniest details about the incident. It was at a Sunoco station (now a "Good to Go"), last pump in on the left side, driving our Volvo S80 (which I gave away about 5 years ago), no other cars at the station (so no one nearby to be talking), early winter but I was already wearing my heavy grey coat (long since tossed) and light gloves, overcast sky and a bit of wind. Very unlikely to the point of unbelievable that my memory, so clear in such miniscula, would be faulty about the Main Event.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

But I am glad that you bring up the issue of memory. It is often used as an argument against the accuracy of the Gospel narratives. "How," the reasoning goes, "can any possible eyewitness remember the events of 30 years ago?" (given the oft-presumed date for the writing of the Gospels *)

Well. I'm here to tell you that I remember with crystal clarity events far older than that. I can see like it was yesterday the day in 1960 when my father took my older and me to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona to see John F. Kennedy arrive by airplane. That's more than 50 years ago! Right this moment, as I type these words, I can see him walking from the airplane into the terminal. We were standing on the roof (one could do such things back in those pre-security days). I remember being more interested in the training facility for firefighters on the opposite side of the runway than I was in seeing JFK. (Hey, I was just a kid!)

Now if I can recall that day so well, just think about what detail I'd remember had I witnessed a miracle! I imagine that I'd be able to give a pretty accurate account.

* I'm allowing (for now), solely for the sake of argument, a relatively late dating of the Gospels. I personally think there's good and sufficient reason to believe they were composed far earlier than it is fashionable amongst some scholars to say they were - most likely between A.D. 40 and 60, with the entire New Testament (except Revelation) complete prior to A.D. 70.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

"I remember with crystal clarity"

It doesn't mean that those memories are accurate. Many people have been imprisoned for chimes of which they were innocent, based on the testimony of people who were dead certain about what they saw.

Which brings me to the gospels. If those memories were so clear, why don't the gospels tell the same story? Four different gospels, four different stories.

B. Prokop said...

It's a bit much to characterize them as "four different stories", don't you think? Besides, I am quite certain that if they matched up word for word, you (without the least bit of shame) would be accusing the Evangelists of collusion. (Admit it, you would be.)

Heads I win, tails you lose, right?

Jezu, ufam tobie!

Victor Reppert said...

Bob: For the record Keith Parsons does NOT say that no evidence would convince him. Quite the contrary, he gives what he thinks would have been a convincing scenario. See his scenario at 1:39. It's based on this passage by N. R. Hanson:

'Next Tuesday morning, just after breakfast, all of us in this one world will be knocked to our knees by a percussive and ear-shattering thunderclap. Snow swirls, leaves drom from trees, the earthe heaves and buckles, buildings topple and towers tumble.
The sky is ablaze with an eerie silvery light, and just then, as all the people of this world look up, the heavens open, and the clouds pull apart, revealing an unbelievably radiant and immense Zeus-like figure towering over us like a hundred Everests.
He frowns darkly as lighting plays over the features of his Michelangelod face, and then he points down, at me, and explains for every man, woman and child to hear, "I've had quite enough of your too-clever logic chopping and word-watching in matters of theology. Be assured, Hanson, that i most certainly do exist!" '

Once, after reading a paper Keith wrote arguing against miracles way back in 1985, I asked Keith what would kind of evidence he would find convincing. He answered by saying "If the galaxies in the Virgo cluster were to spell out the words "Turn or Burn, Parsons This Means You, I'd turn."

cl said...

You've been caught in a lie

False. You make false accusations of "lie" because you're a disingenuous gnu atheist who learn his tricks from Dawkins, i.e., don't address what your opponent ACTUALLY said, rather, distort it and dodge!!

After all, you were in a drunken stupor.

Right. 2 light beers = drunken stupor. You are, like, the smartest, most rational person I know!

cl said...

Oh, look people, im-skeptical is going to make it *LOOK* like he/she knows how to think critically. Let's see...

We have a tendency to see faces in rocks or clouds. We link sensory data to something we know. That's how we make sense of things, and it works reasonably well, but it is not foolproof by any means. Perhaps you heard a voice and you automatically associated that sound with your daughter. Stranger things have happened. It could have been someone that sounded rather like your daughter, and she may have been talking about a cat.

A voice? Are you freaking serious? There were no voices in the story. So it's clear to me that you're not even trying there. On to the next...

So your recollection of this event does not entail that that it is a completely accurate account of what happened.

Oh, now THERE is a confident, well-thought-out, intelligent reply. Yes, im-skeptical, we're all aware that memories can be shaky.

Thing is, we have THREE people who, to this day, agree on the events exactly as I wrote them.

So, what's next? We're all lying? All drunk? All mistaken?

It's got to be one of those, because we know what you won't do -- and that's be a person of his or her word.

You see, skeppy, you're not about evidence or rational inquiry. You're about playing "tease the Christians" and it shows.

Fake. Poser.

im-skeptical said...

"Fake. Poser."

Time to take your lithium pill. That's a good boy.

Papalinton said...

"Once, after reading a paper Keith wrote arguing against miracles way back in 1985, I asked Keith what would kind of evidence he would find convincing. He answered by saying "If the galaxies in the Virgo cluster were to spell out the words "Turn or Burn, Parsons This Means You, I'd turn."

I'd find that convincing. Anything less than that from a purported omni-max agent would be intellectual wank.

Victor Reppert said...

Well, you'll get the chance to see that when it's time for you to stand before God.

im-skeptical said...

"Well, you'll get the chance to see that when it's time for you to stand before God."

And now we see the REAL reason people believe. They're scared of the consequences of not believing. They've been told all their lives that if they don't believe, they'll burn in hell for all eternity. (And of course, some have developed a version of this narrative that is slightly more intellectually palatable.)

So now you want to perpetuate the lie by threatening non-believers with the same story that has caused you to spend your life in fear. How shameful.

Papalinton said...

"Well, you'll get the chance to see that when it's time for you to stand before God."

But which one? There are thousands of them.

This is not philosophy Victor. This is unmitigated and unqualified theological wank. Just as you don't lose any sleep thinking about standing in judgement before Allah or Ganesha at end times, you will appreciate why it is [on second thoughts, I don't think you have the intellectual capacity] that I don't and will never lose any sleep whatsoever with your injudicious threat of my standing before your conjured phantasm.

You see Victor, I have grown up mentally, matured philosophically, intellectually, psychologically and emotionally. I cannot fear a circumstance which is purely a figment of one's imagination.

Your fear is not my fear. Your fear is not only unsound and irrational, but sophistic and unscientific.

B. Prokop said...

"But which one? There are thousands of them."

Wrong, Linton. There is only one God... there are (I agree) thousands of gods. Huge difference.

Jezu, ufam tobie!

Papalinton said...

I love it. The only distinguishing characteristic between your god and the all the others is a capitalised letter. And apparently to you this capitalised letter makes the huge difference. Well, I have some bad news for you. All the other gods claim that same characteristic, Ganesha, Allah, Siva, etc etc etc etc etc etc X a thousand. In fact I don't know of any God that hasn't claimed a capitalised name for itself.

But then some people do live in an infantilised world where Daddy makes all the difference.

Papalinton said...

I love it. The only distinguishing characteristic between your god and all the others is a capitalised letter. And apparently to you this capitalised letter makes the huge difference. Well, I have some bad news for you. All the other gods claim that very same characteristic, Ganesha, Allah, Shiva, etc etc etc etc etc etc X a thousand. In fact I don't know of any God whosoever that has not claimed a capitalised name for itself. It is ...... common as muck.

But then some people do live in an infantilised world where Daddy makes all the difference.

Victor Reppert said...

I knew you guys would go ballistic when I mentioned standing before God. But did I say anything about Hell? Hell, no! On my own view people will have to stand before God. At that point people who want Parsons-type evidence will get it. That is the long and the short of what my statement means.

As someone who is eschatologically agnostic, I am not threatening anyone. I have some universalist sympathies myself, and I think I have the right to hope it's true, but I don't think I can affirm it.

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2011/05/hoping-for-universalism.html

Ilíon said...

^ Perhaps, in the Great Story, these rabid God-haters are essentially just "redshirts".

Ilíon said...

Perhaps the reason that they continuously deny their own reality is that they really are not real, after all.