Thursday, September 29, 2016

Denying the cat

Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Reverend R. J. Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street. The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.-G. K. Chesterton

71 comments:

Cal Metzger said...

Chesterton: " They began with the fact of sin..."

And that's where Chesterton loses my respect. Equivocation.

Joe Hinman said...

if sin is nothing more than a designation then the designation makes it real for those who see it.

Joe Hinman said...

Chesterton lived in a setting where everyone agreed sim was sin. That's the inheritance of Christian understanding, But now we still agree everyone dos mean hateful selfish things but we don't call it sin,. Selfishness is now a virtue. You may not want to call it sin but know its there and most know it;s a problem.

Ilíon said...

"And that's where Chesterton loses my respect. Equivocation."

I'm not so sure there is a huge demand for the "respect" of someone who has heard of certain big words, but doesn't know how to use them properly, yet persists in tossing them about as though they were hand grenades.

Ilíon said...

"If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat."

Perhaps things have changed in the past century (or perhaps Chesterton hadn't seen the implication of atheism even then): *todays* so-called atheists also deny the cat.

B. Prokop said...

Chesterton lived (mostly) in an age far less perverted than our own. Already 40 years old at the outbreak of WWI, he didn't live long enough to see the horrors of Stalinist Terror, WWII, and the Holocaust. It strained his imagination to picture a society that denied the existence of a cat. How would he have responded to our own day, in which the cat skinners are celebrated, and to condemn their cat skinning is labeled hate speech and bigotry?

SteveK said...

"But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street."

Yup.

Ilíon said...

"How would he have responded to our own day, in which the cat skinners are celebrated, and to condemn their cat skinning is labeled hate speech and bigotry?"

It's even more perverse than that -- the very same people:
1) deny there is a cat;
2) assert that it is a matter of indifference whether one does or does not skin a cat;
3) demand that everyone must celebrate the skinning of cats and hold the skinners of cats to be moral exemplars;
4) while insisting that everyone must hold the non-skinning of cats to be retrograde and the non-skinners of cats to be morally suspect.

Cal Metzger said...

Fact: "Six days shall you do work: in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. Every one that shall do any work on this day, shall die."

B. Prokop said...

Oh, dear! The atheist is quoting Scripture at us.

Hmm.. I seem to recall another figure doing the same.

Then the devil took Jesus to the Holy City, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" (Matthew 4:5-6)

However, the text continues to say, "But Jesus said to him, "Again it is written..."

So, in like spirit, I will answer Cal. Again it is written:

And the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath." (Mark 2:24-28)

Ilíon said...

The 'atheist' is not more an atheist than his father, the First Liar, is.

Legion of Logic said...

"It's even more perverse than that -- the very same people:
1) deny there is a cat;
2) assert that it is a matter of indifference whether one does or does not skin a cat;
3) demand that everyone must celebrate the skinning of cats and hold the skinners of cats to be moral exemplars;
4) while insisting that everyone must hold the non-skinning of cats to be retrograde and the non-skinners of cats to be morally suspect."

These days they also might demand that we call the cat a dog.

Legion of Logic said...

"It's even more perverse than that -- the very same people:
1) deny there is a cat;
2) assert that it is a matter of indifference whether one does or does not skin a cat;
3) demand that everyone must celebrate the skinning of cats and hold the skinners of cats to be moral exemplars;
4) while insisting that everyone must hold the non-skinning of cats to be retrograde and the non-skinners of cats to be morally suspect."

These days they also might demand that we call the cat a dog.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: demand that everyone must celebrate the skinning of cats and hold the skinners of cats to be moral exemplars"

Do you demand that everyone that shall do any work on the seventh day shall NOT die?

If so, aren't you demanding that a cat is now a dog?

As long as I'm in the mode of quoting facts, let's all remember what a better writer than this Chesterton fellow, or whoever penned Leviticus or whatnot, had to say about them:

"Facts are simple and facts are straight.
Facts are lazy and facts are late.
Facts all come with points of view.
Facts don't do what I want them to.
Facts just twist the truth around.
Facts are living turned inside out."



SteveK said...

divert, distort, deflect

Never trust the hostile atheist who cites scripture in order to convey truth when in the very next breath they cite scripture in order to ridicule it as bronze-age nonsense.

Legion of Logic said...

"Do you demand that everyone that shall do any work on the seventh day shall NOT die?"

I didn't say what you quoted above this, but if you are using it only as a segue tool to the cat/dog thing I did say, then I would agree that Christians are not commanded to follow the Mosaic law.

B. Prokop said...

"bronze-age nonsense (sic)"

Iron Age, not Bronze Age. And even then, only for the oldest books.

The Bronze Age spanned the years 3300 B.C. to 1200 B.C. The Iron Age which covers the years 1200 B.C to 500 B.C., coincides with the period in which the earliest Hebrew Scriptures were written. But most of the Old Testament was likely set down during the years 400 B.C. to as late as 120 B.C., which are entirely within the "historical age", and therefore have no metal attached to them (as far as naming them).

So none of the Old Testament was written during the Bronze Age, some of it during the Iron Age, but most of it during historical eras - and none of it is "nonsense".

SteveK said...

I think you get my point Bob, but thanks for being uber/ultra accurate.

David Brightly said...

Knowing nothing of the writings of the Rev Campbell, and little of the intellectual climate of 1908, I can't comment. In the light of some recent comments, though, Chesterton's paragraph preceding the one Victor quotes is highly apropos. For those unfamiliar with West London, Hanwell is the Middlesex County Asylum, opened in 1831.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "I didn't say what you quoted above this,..."

Sorry about that -- didn't realize you were quoting someone else.

Legion: "...I would agree that Christians are not commanded to follow the Mosaic law."

If it's a sin to do something one day, and not a sin to the same thing the next day, doesn't that kind of do away with the notion of there being moral facts like Chesterton is talking about?



B. Prokop said...

"thanks for being uber/ultra accurate"

Oh, I knew that wasn't you talking. But I always have to laugh when I hear atheists use the phrase "Bronze Age superstition" (or nonsense, or whatever). They're just demonstrating their breathtaking ignorance.

They're being as accurate as someone calling Columbus an "Atomic Age explorer".

Legion of Logic said...

"If it's a sin to do something one day, and not a sin to the same thing the next day, doesn't that kind of do away with the notion of there being moral facts like Chesterton is talking about?"

Sins are debts. Jesus refers to them as such in Matthew 6:12. And Paul in Romans 4 (among other places) explains how Christ's death paid the debt for us.

If the debt is paid, does the debt remain?

B. Prokop said...

"If it's a sin to do something one day, and not a sin to the same thing the next day"

But that's not the case at all! Nothing has changed. It's still a sin to this day for an observant Jew to do work on the Sabbath. "I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law." (Galatians 5:3) That would include the command quoted by Cal.

But Christians are not observant Jews, and the entire New Testament says we not only don't have to be, but that we ought not to be.

So his notion that anything has changed is simply wrong.

David Brightly said...

Bill Vallicella points out that a sin is a moral failure interpreted as disobedience of God. As such, sins cannot be seen in the street. This may be what Cal sees as equivocation.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "If it's a sin to do something one day, and not a sin to the same thing the next day, doesn't that kind of do away with the notion of there being moral facts like Chesterton is talking about?"
Legion: "Sins are debts."

Take it up with Chesteron; he's the one who said that sins are a kind of fact. From the OP, Chesterton:: " The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes."

So if sins are debts, and not facts, then do you agree that Chesteron's got it wrong?

bmiller said...

@David Brightly,

I don't think you understand Bill Vallicella's argument or especially what Cal meant.

bmiller said...

@Cal,

LL:"Sins are debts."

Cal:"They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes."

"So if sins are debts, and not facts, then do you agree that Chesteron's got it wrong?"

How is this question supposed to make sense?

David Brightly said...

Maybe not. What's your take on what BV says?

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "How is this question supposed to make sense?"

I am trying to make sense of Legion's response -- that's his reframing. Based from this:

Me: "If it's a sin to do something one day, and not a sin to the same thing the next day, doesn't that kind of do away with the notion of there being moral facts like Chesterton is talking about?"
Legion's response: "Sins are debts....If the debt is paid, does the debt remain?"

I'm just trying to get Legion to clarify what he meant.

B. Prokop said...

BV writes, "[Sin] is no more an observable fact than the createdness or divine designedness of the universe are observable facts."

And he is absolutely correct!

All three are observable facts.

SteveK said...

I believe Cal is equating "facts" with physical things whereas Chesterton has a more broad view of the term. That's not equivocation.

bmiller said...

@Cal.

Cal:"I'm just trying to get Legion to clarify what he meant."

OK, This is more clear.

bmiller said...

@David Brightly,

"Maybe not. What's your take on what BV says?"

1) He does not say that Chesterton is equivocating. He merely says Chesterton is wrong according the the definitions BV offers.

2)BV"But is the act of assault sinful? Only if God exists."
I'm not sure BV takes into account that Chesterton was referring to "The ancient masters of religion" who presumably already assumed that God exists. Perhaps BV would agree that if God exists, then moral evil = sin.

From what I've read, Cal is not concerned with the same thing BV is.

bmiller said...

Chesterton was apparently criticizing the followers of Reginald John Campbell who concluded from Campbell's preaching that there was no such thing as sin.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "All three are observable facts."

I keep meaning to link to this on my blog -- William J Murray on Uncommon Descent: The Ubiquitous Miracles Of Our Existence

Legion of Logic said...

Cal,

Why do you believe something cannot be a debt and a fact? I'm wanting to make sure I understand before I potentially fire off a response in the wrong direction.

B. Prokop said...

Cal believes that only things you can touch, measure, photograph, etc., are "facts". Things like debts are immaterial, and therefore do not really exist.

bmiller said...

@B. Prokop,

"Cal believes that only things you can touch, measure, photograph, etc., are "facts". Things like debts are immaterial, and therefore do not really exist."

So if one can't photograph a "fact" they don't exist either?

bmiller said...

@Legion of Logic,

Legion:"Why do you believe something cannot be a debt and a fact? I'm wanting to make sure I understand before I potentially fire off a response in the wrong direction."

Or loan money to him for that matter.

Ilíon said...

"Cal believes that only things you can touch, measure, photograph, etc., are "facts". Things like debts are immaterial, and therefore do not really exist."

... which is totally backward: "things you can touch, measure, photograph, etc." are not facts. Facts are statements.

Legion of Logic said...

"Or loan money to him for that matter."

Haha!

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Why do you believe something cannot be a debt and a fact? I'm wanting to make sure I understand before I potentially fire off a response in the wrong direction."

I like the debt analogy, btw.

Do debts exist, as accounting system between humans? Absolutely.

But debts depend on agreement between two parties.

If I loan you something, and you use it for months, and it breaks, do you owe me a new one, money, or something similar? What if I forget I loaned it to you? What if you loan me something else, and I think we're even, but you think you're still owed a little something more?

So the fact of debts (like Chesterton's notion of sin) exists on one level. But both debts and sin depend on the existence of humans for their existence, and both are negotiable and open to interpretation -- they change depending on who, and when, they are being evaluated.



bmiller said...

@Ilíon,

If Cal thinks that facts exist, then that proposition must be a fact for Cal.
Let's see if he can produce a photograph before we judge.

B. Prokop said...

Progress! Cal is almost there!! He agrees that "facts" cannot exist without a mind. So... if the universe's existence is at all factual, there must be a Mind behind it, bringing it into being, upholding it.

Now where have I heard something like this before? Let me think... Oh, yes! Here it is:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made."

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "If Cal thinks that facts exist, then that proposition must be a fact for Cal."

A minimal set of axioms are necessary for any philosophy. Minimal set of axioms + evidence basically equals modern philosophy.

Do you think that accepting that evidence determines what we know about reality means that one must not accept any necessary axioms? If so, why would you think that?

bmiller said...

@Cal,

You seem to be saying that one of your axioms is that axiom:there are things we can know to be true without physical evidence? Is that correct?

If so, I can't argue with you.

David Brightly said...

Chesterton is a Catholic, knows the Catholic teachings as quoted by BV, and is writing a book called Orthodoxy. So I think we have to credit him with knowing the Catholic meaning of sin. On the point of 'seeing sin in the street' we might let him off by allowing that he equivocates on 'sin' between the technical sense and a looser sense meaning an act of evil without disobedience of God. This may be what Cal meant. He hasn't said anything to clarify his initial comment. But I don't buy it. For Chesterton sin means sin. My guess is that he is so saturated in religion that he has lost sight of the possibility that moral evil need not be disobedience of God, as we might see it today. This idea may be what he finds in Campbell. I'd be surprised if Campbell denies moral evil altogether. Unfortunately, Google Books doesn't let me see inside The New Theology. So it's hard to say. What I do find interesting is that Chesterton makes a rhetorical move from the sin of skinning the cat, which we can't see, pace some commenters here, to the cat itself, which we definitely can.

bmiller said...

@David Brightly,

Sometimes when you post, you don't indicate to whom you are addressing your comments. It's more likely then, that people won't respond without that indication.

My response to you was basically this:
Chesterton was addressing those who already believed in God, so even according to BV's definition, there would be no distinction between "moral evil" and "sin" since the participant in the dispute both agreed that God exists. The distinction that BV introduces would only be relevant if atheists were part of the dispute in question.

It's clear from this passage near the end, that he is addressing those "Christians" whom he considers not part of "Orthodoxy":

Chesterton:"He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do.".

My humble interpretation is as follows regarding someone's "happiness in skinning the cat" (HISTC).
1) Atheists think that a person deriving HISTC is doing evil to the victim, and thus is no God.
2) Christians think that a person deriving HISTC is evil to the victim (sin), thus there is a separation between God and man.
3) New Theologians thought that a person deriving HISTC is somehow doing the will of God, and therefore there is no victim at all.

Shortly thereafter, he says:
"But though moderns deny the existence of sin, I do not think that they have denied the existence of a lunatic asylum."

Which ties in with your mention of the asylum in that vicinity.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "You seem to be saying that one of your axioms is that axiom:there are things we can know to be true without physical evidence? Is that correct?"

Not quite. It's more there are certain things we must assume in order to proceed toward describing reality. They are the same axioms you would agree to -- that you exist, that you are not a brain in a vat, that there is an external reality, and that there are other minds.

Those are basically my axioms. I don't "know" them to be true, but I treat them as axioms in order to proceed.

If you don't agree with my basic axioms, I agree there's no reason for us to argue about anything.

Victor Reppert said...

But in this context he is talking about a concept of sin that both "the strongest skeptics," and "strongest saints" agree on, and make the central point of their argument. Hence it is sin understood as moral evil, and does not require a God to be sinned against.

James Freeman Clarke summarized the New Theology as follows:

In 1885, Clarke outlined his “Five Points of the New Theology,” which summarized commonly held Unitarian beliefs of the late-nineteenth century: “the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the leadership of Jesus, salvation by character, and the continuity of human development in all worlds, or, the progress of mankind onward and upward forever.”
http://www.uuworld.org/articles/clarke-transformed-congregation

It is true that very often atheism is combined with an unjustified confidence in human nature. If after all, humans and only humans can solve human problems, then it would be nice to think that we are not all so screwed up that if God can't save us, we can't save ourselves. A great example would be Karl Marx, who came up with the idea that come the revolution, since it was necessary to teach people to be productive without the profit motive, and vanguard of elite members of the proletariat would assume a dictatorial role in order to perform that teaching role. But once that job was complete (and it was not supposed to last long) the vanguard would voluntarily relinquish power. That, uh, didn't happen.

bmiller said...

@Cal,

Cal:
"bmiller: "You seem to be saying that one of your axioms is that axiom:there are things we can know to be true without physical evidence? Is that correct?"

Not quite......"

I reviewed your list of axioms. It doesn't seem to include the axiom I asked about. You said "not quite" so I wonder if that means you think one or more of your axioms addresses the question in some manner. If so, which one(s) and how?

Otherwise, I'd be interested in why you said "not quite".

bmiller said...

@Victor,

I agree that at the end he changes terms from "sin" to "positive evil". At that point, I think he did so in order to emphasize that whether one was a Christian or an atheist, both agreed on the concept that particular acts were evil.

He accuses the group of "Christians" in question of denying the concept of evil under both definitions (so they are neither atheists nor Christians). Chesterton finds this irrational.

I found R J Campbell's "New Theology" online and his section on "What is Sin" he rebuts those who accuse him of the charge of the non-existence of sin, but can't find the link right now.

I'm interested though. How do you interpet the "skinning the cat" argument?

bmiller said...

Found the section:
"Nature of sin." is the section I was referring to.

http://readcentral.com/massappealnews//chapters/R-J-Campbell/The-New-Theology/005

Cal Metzger said...

Brightly: "This may be what Cal meant. He hasn't said anything to clarify his initial comment."

I thought I clarified things above. I wrote:

Me: :"So the fact of debts (like Chesterton's notion of sin) exists on one level. But both debts and sin depend on the existence of humans for their existence, and both are negotiable and open to interpretation -- they change depending on who, and when, they are being evaluated."

Prior to that, I also wrote: "Do you demand that everyone that shall do any work on the seventh day shall NOT die? / If so, aren't you demanding that a cat is now a dog?"

In other words, if a sin is identifiable (as a cat is), then why is it that what was once a cat (the sin, punishable by death, of working on the seventh day) is no longer a cat?

So, to be clear, I had clarified my initial comment regarding a kind of equivocation in two ways:
1. Confusing the existence of moral systems, which are contingent, with the existence of moral facts;
2. Confusing the idea that sin (morality as dictated by Yawheh) remains both identifiable and static in the same way that cats remain cats.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "I reviewed your list of axioms. It doesn't seem to include the axiom I asked about. You said "not quite" so I wonder if that means you think one or more of your axioms addresses the question in some manner. If so, which one(s) and how? / Otherwise, I'd be interested in why you said "not quite". "

I don't consider what you asked about ("there are things we can know to be true without physical evidence") to be an axiom. I don't claim, for instance, to know that I'm not a brain in a vat, so I admit that my understanding that I'm not a brain in a vat is axiomatic. That's what an axiom is -- a concession that there's no way to verify the thing being assumed.

And I said "not quite" because you said that I can know my axioms to be true, and I think I've been very clear that that is not a claim I am making. It seems like you don't understand what an axiom is in relation to philosophy and epistemology, honestly.

B. Prokop said...

"Confusing the idea that sin (morality as dictated by Yawheh) remains both identifiable and static in the same way that cats remain cats."

As I made crystal clear in my comment above, at September 30, 2016 4:20 PM, morality "as dictated by Yawheh" does remain static "in the same way that cats remain cats", all protestations to the contrary.

Legion of Logic said...

"In other words, if a sin is identifiable (as a cat is), then why is it that what was once a cat (the sin, punishable by death, of working on the seventh day) is no longer a cat?"

A couple thoughts on this, but primarily I'd respond with this analogy: if I went to your bank and utility companies and told them that every cent of money you owed and would owe in the future was to be paid out of an account of mine, that would mean that A) you do not owe anything for your debts because I paid them, and B) your acts still result in the exact same penalties (money owed), it's just that someone else paid the bill so you could not be held responsible.

Christ's death fulfilled the law for sins past and future. The debt is paid, which is why people are not held accountable for the sin penalty. That does not mean that particular actions are suddenly "no longer sins", it just means the slate has been wiped clean for us.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "A couple thoughts on this, but primarily I'd respond with this analogy:..."

While I appreciate the response, I think you can see how this doesn't address the issue I raised. I'd also suggest that as far as morality goes, your analogy really doesn't make sense. Here's what I mean:

Imagine a truly terrible crime committed against someone you love; imagine the parent of the one who committed the crime coming forward, and accepting death in place of their child (who committed the crime). Now imagine hearing that both parent and child are living on an island, having the time of their lives.

This is kind of what Christian morality boils down to, if one is to accept the atonement, etc. And it's shockingly inadequate.

Btw, I kind of agree with a point that Chesterton may have been making, that there is largely moral agreement about some fundamental things. I think this agreement is better understood by studying nature empirically, but I should make clear that I don't think that morality is completely arbitrary -- there are fundamental agreements that (necessarily) arrive as a consequence of social norms.

bmiller said...

@Cal,

"And I said "not quite" because you said that I can know my axioms to be true"

Can you please show me the quote where you understood me to say that? Because I thought all I did was ask you questions regarding axioms after you brought them up.

Just so we remember the main topic, here was the starting point:
bmiller:"If Cal thinks that facts exist, then that proposition must be a fact for Cal.
Let's see if he can produce a photograph before we judge."

Ilíon said...

Cat Metzger: "Imagine a truly terrible crime committed against someone you love; imagine the parent of the one who committed the crime coming forward, and accepting death in place of their child (who committed the crime). Now imagine hearing that both parent and child are living on an island, having the time of their lives."

Imagine a truly terrible crime committed against someone you love. Imagine that a coven of "liberal"/leftist judges decrees that the criminal may not be punished, since to do so would be "retribution" and "we're better than that".

Now, imagine the what the response of this intellectually dishonest fool would be: I'm thinking it would be, "Right on!" especially if the criminal were in one of leftism's "protected classes".

Cat Metzger: "This is kind of what Christian morality boils down to, if one is to accept the atonement, etc. And it's shockingly inadequate."

So says the intellectually dishonest fool who denies that *anything* is immoral.

========
Cat Metzger: "Imagine a truly terrible crime committed against someone you love; imagine the parent of the one who committed the crime coming forward, and accepting death in place of their child (who committed the crime). Now imagine hearing that both parent and child are living on an island, having the time of their lives."

The simple rationale: God's world, his rules.

A deeper rationale: Everyone of us deserves death; moreover, everyone of us is born already infected with that death. That God saves the life of that guilty party over there is of no concern to you, who clutch your sin -- which is Death -- to your breast like a treasure, when if you would simply let go of it, God would also save your life.

Hypocrite! Rather that bitching that someone else gets the Life he does not deserve, let go your own sin and get the life *you* do not deserve.

A yet deeper rationale: *All* immoral acts, all sins, are primarily offenses against God. Only God has the power to remove the sin, to remove the Death.

Ilíon said...

@bmiller, you can expect Cat to keep dancing.

Legion of Logic said...

Cal,

If you are saying that the entire concept of atonement via Christ makes no sense to you, then fair enough.

However, the child/parent analogy doesn't work in context simply because both parent and child are guilty (for different things) within Christian theology. All have sinned. That's why I used the money analogy instead, because God working in Christ as a sinless sacrifice is a singular event - there is nothing one of us can do to truly atone for our own moral failings, let alone others'. We can't impute righteousness...but we can pay others' debts.

Joe Hinman said...

part 2 of my illusion of moral landscapes, against ethical naturalism,

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "And I said "not quite" because you said that I can know my axioms to be true"
bmiller: "Can you please show me the quote where you understood me to say that?"

Sure. You wrote:

bmiller: "You seem to be saying that one of your axioms is that axiom:there are things we can KNOW TO BE TRUE [emphasis mine] without physical evidence? Is that correct? / If so, I can't argue with you."

And that is where I responded, by clarifying, using the "Not quite...", for reasons I have since explained.

David Brightly said...

Thanks to bmiller for the link. Under the heading 'The Nature of Sin' Campbell says,

But when theologians talk of the wrath of God against sin, and the wrong which sin has inflicted upon God, they employ figures of speech which are distinctly misleading. In fact, they do not seem to have a clear idea as to what sin really is. They use vague language about it as though it were some kind of corporate offence against God of which the whole race has been guilty without being able to help it, and which no individual can escape although he is as much to blame as if he could. But sin has never injured God except through man. It is the God within who is injured by it rather than the God without. It is time we had done with the unreal language about the Judge on the great white throne, whose justice must be satisfied before His mercy can operate. The figure contains a truth which everyone knows well enough, but it is not easy to recognise it under this form.

So he is denying the 'disobedience of God' component of the Catholic definition. He goes on to deny the Fall,

What I now wish to insist upon is that it is absolutely impossible for any intelligent man to continue to believe in the Fall as it is literally understood and taught.

More than enough to arouse GKC's ire. And then there's the Socialism.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "However, the child/parent analogy doesn't work in context simply because both parent and child are guilty (for different things) within Christian theology. All have sinned. That's why I used the money analogy instead, because God working in Christ as a sinless sacrifice is a singular event - there is nothing one of us can do to truly atone for our own moral failings, let alone others'. We can't impute righteousness...but we can pay others' debts."

Okay. I don't mean to argue Christian theology with you. It shouldn't surprise you that (adjacent to the atonement) the whole original sin thing, with infants being guilty of moral depravity, etc., doesn't make intuitive or rational moral sense to me either.

But I am also coming to understand that part of the appeal of religious concepts is the combining of existing templates (our innate sense of moral fairness, reciprocity, etc.) with something that violates that template. In this case, I think the atonement serves that purpose. Which just means that I think it works, on a religious level, but not on a rational or intuitive one.

bmiller said...

@Ilíon,

You are going look pretty silly when Cal posts the photo :-)

bmiller said...

@Cal,

Hurry with that photo Cal, I think we're losing Ilíon!

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "Hurry with that photo Cal, I think we're losing Ilíon!"

Honestly, I seldom read Ilion's posts.

Do you think I'm missing something, and if so, what?

bmiller said...

@Cal,

Cal believes that only things you can touch, measure, photograph, etc., are "facts". Things like debts are immaterial, and therefore do not really exist.

Just so we remember the main topic, here was the starting point:
bmiller:"If Cal thinks that facts exist, then that proposition must be a fact for Cal.
Let's see if he can produce a photograph before we judge."

It's easy. Either all facts can be "photographed" or not.
If you believe the proposition is a fact, then it can be "photographed".

So can you produce a photograph of this fact?

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "If Cal thinks that facts exist, then that proposition must be a fact for Cal. Let's see if he can produce a photograph before we judge. / It's easy. Either all facts can be "photographed" or not. If you believe the proposition is a fact, then it can be "photographed". So can you produce a photograph of this fact?"

Okay, this is pretty vapid stuff. The thinking process above seems pretty horrible, and it's certainly not what I've said or argued here, so I leave you to defend what you wrote.

If you can understand and meaningfully react to what I've written, and respond to my questions when I ask them, I would probably bother to respond. But I'm starting to think you just can't do that.

Were you ever going to respond to my question to you, the one that I asked when I thought you were starting to get confused about what I was saying? I asked you, "Do you think that accepting that evidence determines what we know about reality means that one must not accept any necessary axioms? If so, why would you think that?"