Saturday, January 07, 2017

Exchange with David Brightly

David Brightly: Science, science, science! Why is it such a bugbear? Does science have to be diminished in order to make room for faith? 

VR: Not if you make a distinction, as you and I both do, between science and scientism. The actual doing of science goes on with no problem without scientism, and the founding fathers of modern science, and some of the best practicioners today, are religious believers.

Suppose we take methodological naturalism to be a voluntary constraint on inquiry that rules out explanation and understanding in terms of persons. Science is then that body of understanding that eschews personhood as an explanatory factor. So there can be no science of world war one, say, and hence scientism is ruled out. Metaphysical naturalism becomes the doctrine that there are no persons other than the likes of us. Science then neither requires nor implies metaphysical naturalism, and there is plenty of space within naturalism for lines of inquiry that lie outside science.

VR: The only thing is that scientific enterprises get funded in ways that others do not.  But we have to ask what the scientific community is trying to accomplish. The scientific community can draw the limits of their own inquiry any way they choose. However, if they put something outside the realm of scientific inquiry, and then make heavy weather out of the fact that science hasn’t produced evidence for it, then we have a problem.  It’s no insult to a metal detector that it can’t find a $100 bill you might have left on the beach.

With this understanding of naturalism isn't it just a bit odd to speak of religious faith and 'faith in naturalism' in the same breath, as Lennox does? I would have thought that if someone's faith in Christ were on a par with my faith in naturalism it would amount to such a meagre, milksop kind of thing as to be not worth having. 

VR: But there are people out there with far more zeal and dedication to atheistic naturalism than a lot of Christians I know have with respect to their faith.  Atheism matters to these people, they want others to embrace it, and they are willing to deny access to positions of scientific or philosophical authority to those who disagree with their naturalism.

Surely the essence of much religion and certainly Christianity is the conviction that personhood lies at the very heart of things. Faith in Christ involves a relation with a person with all the emotional and moral implications that has. Atheists just don't feel this way.


I would agree in the sense that a Christian’s faith is a different kind of thing from faith in naturalism. On the other hand, I think it is epistemologically similar. On the other hand there are epistemological similarities. One considers the reasons for and against, and one commits to naturalism, or some religious view. Because a large part of a person’s life is structured around the decision one makes, it is understandable that people will be slow to reconsider their positions once taken. I do not see any less obstinacy of belief on either side of the issue. 

287 comments:

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B. Prokop said...

Sorry, Stardusty, but your first two counter-arguments boil down to repetition of your objection to miracles - nothing about the Gospels. Just look at your wording:

"a lot of story telling about magical beings
"a fable of bizarre magical events"

So you have a beef with the miraculous. We get it. But all that does is identify your going-in assumptions. You're making no argument against the historicity of the Gospels, other than they contain miracles. (And you haven't even made an argument against the miraculous. All you've done is make an assertion with no supporting reason or evidence.)

And as for your reference to "Gone With the Wind", note that I did not say that the precise time and place settings for the Gospels somehow verified their accuracy. I never made that claim. (I'll gladly make it elsewhere, but it's not part of my argument here.) What I did say is that it is what distinguishes them from myth and fable, which is almost universally never presented with specifics in time and place. You characterized the Gospels as "just like" them. I pointed out how they are different.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" I actually consider the minor inconsistencies between the 4 Gospels to be strong evidence in favor of their historical accuracies. Why? Well, if the Gospels were word for word identical, then why bother having 4 of them? "
They could be non-contradictory without being identical. If 4 people tell a story in their own words and there are no contradictions we can concatenate the content of their words into a single body that is greater than any single story.

If, however, the stories contradict each other at least 1 story is wrong. If these stories are the word of god then god is wrong sometimes.

"Also, these are eyewitness accounts. Every competent police detective knows that if 2 witnesses are too much in agreement with each other, then their stories are likely cooked – the product of collusion."
Which they should be in this case, the collusion of god. So the gospels lack the hallmark of the collusion of god.

" And the interesting thing about every one of the supposed inconsistencies is… (wait for it)… their utter insignificance. None of them involve any major facet of the story being told"
Nope, an exception for divorce is pretty important. The death penalty is pretty important. Affirming the 600 odd commandments yet implicitly contradicting them with his new message of love and forgiveness is pretty important.


January 17, 2017 8:46 PM

B. Prokop said...

RE: The last line of your latest posting.

Um.. aren't you mixing your objections here? None of the things you mentioned are inconsistencies between the four Gospels.

(This is but a "drive by" answer to your comment, before I must rush off this morning. I'll address the remaining points later in the day.)

Joe Hinman said...

Since God can't be impossible by natural law because he's not subject to natural law since he created it, he is only subject to logic."


Ad hoc definition. Defining god into existence is just begging the question.

Look that is an answer of ignorance that you are regurgitating from an atheist website, You have no idea what it means and I've already explained why it is not true.

If god has always existed she did not create herself. The nature of her existence must be inherent in the nature of existence itself. Can existence allow for a god? Is god existentially possible? Line 3. asserts that if we humans can think of god then she must be existentially possible as opposed to an existence that does not allow for a god to have always existed.

why do you think Paul Tillich and the Orthodox church and others call God "The ground of being?" or "being itself." Obviously it's possible since it's not logically contradictory, you must demonstrate why it's a contradiction or you don't have an argument,

Existential possibility does not follow from logical possibility, and 3. is therefore a non-sequitur.

Existential refers to existence so putting possibility after it just means the possibility of existence, you have not demonstrated why it's not possible, obviously its necessary since something can't come from nothing so some aspect of being must be eternal.


" Moreover the whole argument turns on the issue that God can't be a possibility. "

Wrong. Line 3. states that god must be possible. That is a strong claim that the nature of existence must be such to allow for a god that has always existed, which does not follow from mere human thought.

look Genius if you had read the article I put up for you on the CADRE blog you would have seen me exploration that.It's what Hartshorne, God's possibility (non contradiction) becomes necessity since he can't be merely possible, He can only be either necessary or impossible. we already established that, IOW since the concept is not contradictory it is a necessity,

Joe Hinman said...

Donald Wayne Viney and George W. Shields "Charles Hartshorne Theistic and Anti-theistic Arguments," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: a Peer Reviewed Academic Resource. Internet online resource. no date indicated, URL: http://www.iep.utm.edu/hart-t-a/#H1 (accessed 1/15/17).



"Hartshorne considered the empiricist position regarding the ontological argument as the least tenable. The second premise says, colloquially, if God is so much as logically possible, then it must be the case that God exists. Hartshorne calls this “Anselm’s principle,” or more forcefully, “Anselm’s discovery.” The discovery is that God, as unsurpassable, cannot exist with the possibility of not existing. Put differently, contingency of existence is incompatible with deity. Anselm’s formula that God is “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” means, among other things, that any abstract characteristic for which something greater can be conceived cannot properly be attributed to deity."


Donald Wayne Viney
Email: don_viney@yahoo.com
Pittsburg State University
U. S. A.

George W. Shields
Email: George.shields@kysu.edu
Kentucky State University
U. S. A.

Joe Hinman said...

I just answered this what happened to the post?

B. Prokop said...

"If, however, the stories contradict each other at least 1 story is wrong."

Good point, and I agree. However, you also say "They could be non-contradictory without being identical." And I agree again.

However, I know of no non-identical passages in the Gospels that are also contradictory (to each other). Do you?

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "" And the interesting thing about every one of the supposed inconsistencies is… (wait for it)… their utter insignificance. None of them involve any major facet of the story being told"

Except that Jesus went from rising up into a spiritual realm in the first Gospel (Mark), and in later ones we see the story evolve to Jesus being around in a physical way as well.

Or that Jesus evolved from a son of God (meaning, a kind of prophet or messiah), to actually being Yawheh himself, killed by himself, to forgive himself (wait, what?).

Or that Jesus was from Nazareth, I mean Bethlehem (because that's where the Messiah was supposed to originate).

Etc.

Right. No obvious evolution there from one kind of story to another. Nothing to see here folks. Just the same as it always was.

B. Prokop said...

"in the first Gospel (Mark), and in later ones"

The first Gospel to be written was Matthew. And I have that on the Very Highest Authority - Saint Jerome, compiler of the Vulgate, who studied and knew more about the Scriptures than any other man ever to live - ever.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said...

" Obviously it's possible since it's not logically contradictory, "
There there grasshopper, if you think about this long enough eventually you will gain the conceptual capacity to understand your present error.

A thing is logically possibly if it is not logically contradictory. A logical possibility is not the same as an existential possibility and it does not follow that mere logical possibility demands an existential possibility. An idea can be logically possible yet it might be impossible for such an idea to be realized in existence.


Existential possibility does not follow from logical possibility, and 3. is therefore a non-sequitur.

" Existential refers to existence so putting possibility after it just means the possibility of existence, "
No, not in the sense of existence as opposed to absolutely nothing at all. The probability that there is an existence of some sort is 1, owing to my self awareness, it is absolutely impossible that there is a complete lack of any existence of any sort.

But what sort? Must god be an existential possibility merely because a speculation of god is logically consistent? No, that does not follow.

"you have not demonstrated why it's not possible,"
I don't need to, it is your burden to show that a logical possibility necessitates that an concept must have a possible realization in actual existence. You have not met that burden, so the premise of 3. is unsound.



" look Genius if you had read the article I put up for you on the CADRE blog you would have seen me exploration that.It's what Hartshorne, God's possibility (non contradiction) becomes necessity since he can't be merely possible, He can only be either necessary or impossible. we already established that, IOW since the concept is not contradictory it is a necessity,"
Logically, but you have failed to establish that a logical necessity requires a realized possibility.


January 18, 2017 7:57 AM

Joe Hinman said...

Except that Jesus went from rising up into a spiritual realm in the first Gospel (Mark), and in later ones we see the story evolve to Jesus being around in a physical way as well.

false. We don't have Mark's ending so we Luke does show it, Mark does not include the epiphanies because we don't have the ending. Mark might have listed a string of sightings for all you know,

Or that Jesus evolved from a son of God (meaning, a kind of prophet or messiah), to actually being Yawheh himself, killed by himself, to forgive himself (wait, what?).

SOG was a euphemism for Messiah was we also find links to deity of messiah in OT.

Or that Jesus was from Nazareth, I mean Bethlehem (because that's where the Messiah was supposed to originate).

that actually works against your cliam. If Jesus was just made up they would have made up that he grew up in Bethlehem, That they had him grow up in a backwater that was little known indicates he was real.Other wise why have that be his origin?

Finally there can be an evolution or the way a real historical figure is seen, that doesn't prove he's not real.


Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" However, I know of no non-identical passages in the Gospels that are also contradictory (to each other). Do you?"
Yes, and it is of no small matter in our present society of crumbling families and spectrum of social ills that result.

Divorce. In Mosaic law god allowed a writ of divorce, but in the gospels we find that was only because of the hardness of men's hearts. In the one case divorce is simply done away with, in the other case an exception is allowed. These are 2 very different and mutually incompatible ideas. Either no divorce, or sometimes divorce, which is it? Among Christians the debate rages on with no agreement between the opposing apologetic interpretations.


January 18, 2017 10:46 AM

Joe Hinman said...

so Dusty if you have different communities that pull together for different reasons they emphasize different aspects of Jesus' teaching that is not proof there was no Jesus or that they don't have his teachings.I can see how the pharisee community of Pharisee Christians could leave out adultery as the exception and emphasize the idea that the man can't divorce his wife frivolously.That makes more sense than thinking that the other group just made up a exception and tacked it on.

Your assertion that it;s monumentally important is really baggage from a fundamentalist past.

B. Prokop said...

Stardusty,

Once again, I have asked you (or anyone else) to cite passages in the Gospels that are contradictory to each other. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are totally consistent with each other on the issue of divorce. (I don't believe John addresses it.)

Your beef with Mosaic law is a different matter altogether. It's number 4 of your 7 objections. We're still on number 3.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" Once again, I have asked you (or anyone else) to cite passages in the Gospels that are contradictory to each other. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are totally consistent with each other on the issue of divorce. (I don't believe John addresses it.)"
You are the bible expert. I am sure that if you review the relevant texts you will find that in one there is no exception provided for grounds for divorce, yet in another there is, that of infidelity.

You are not certain whether John addresses it or not, so apparently this particular subject is not foremost in your apologetic interests. That's ok, but you lacking that immediate familiarity indicates that your claim to total consistency lacks the research necessary to reasonably make that claim.



January 19, 2017 6:43 AM

B. Prokop said...

You're reading too much into my use of "I don't believe..." I used that phrase, not to indicate any personal ignorance on the issue, but as an acknowledgement that the Gospel of John is an incredibly deep text (probably the richest single piece of literature ever written, in its multiple layers of meaning) and it's entirely possible that the Evangelist had divorce in mind when talking about some other issue entirely, and that I never noticed it.

Just last week, in a sermon preached on John 1:26 ("among you stands one whom you do not know") I learned things about that single line of text that I had never before considered. That's the thing about John. No matter how many times you read him, no matter how intensely you study his Gospel (and no matter how "simple" the passage being read appears), there are still worlds of meaning that you haven't touched on.

And the fact that Mark and Luke make no mention of an exception while Matthew does is not a contradiction. It's simply that Matthew discusses the issue in more detail than the others.

Consider the following sentences:

1. "I own a red car."
2. "I own a red car, but I don't own a blue one."

Do you consider the two to be contradictory?

Legion of Logic said...

B Prokop: "So take your best shot. Show to me why I should not believe the Gospels to be true."

SD: "The gospels are not even consistent between themselves, so much so that Christians go through apologetic mental gymnastics to try to reconcile the various tellings of the same story."

B Prokop: "I know of no non-identical passages in the Gospels that are also contradictory (to each other). Do you?"

SD: "Yes, and it is of no small matter in our present society of crumbling families and spectrum of social ills that result. Divorce."

B Prokop: "Once again, I have asked you (or anyone else) to cite passages in the Gospels that are contradictory to each other. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are totally consistent with each other on the issue of divorce. (I don't believe John addresses it.)"

SD: "That's ok, but you lacking that immediate familiarity indicates that your claim to total consistency lacks the research necessary to reasonably make that claim."

First off, SD, the only claim that B Prokop made is that he is unaware of any contradictory passages in the gospels. In this conversation, the burden of proof is on you to show contradictions, since you claim they exist and he claims to be unaware of them and asks you to show them. It would also be nice to show that you know more than your atheist website references are giving you in matters of Bible contradictions. B Prokop obviously knows far more about the subject than you do.

Second, "I don't believe John addresses it" is not the same as "I'm not sure if John addresses it". In common usage, it's equivalent to "I'm pretty sure John doesn't address it, but I could be wrong." The fact that B Prokop is correct - John indeed does not address it - means that he has far more familiarity with it, and it has yet to be shown that you know enough to make the claim that such contradictions exist.

Legion of Logic said...

You just had to post first, didn't you? :)

Interesting about the possibility of symbolic references to divorce. I'll have to go back and read it with that possibility in mind, and I also retract my "John doesn't address it" and change it to "as far as I know, John doesn't address it".

B. Prokop said...

Legion,

John has an amazing ability to pack 7 or 8 meanings into the (seemingly) simplest of passages. It's no accident that Thomas Aquinas's commentary on John is 631 pages long, while his commentary on Mark is only 349.

By the way (since I've brought it up), Aquinas's four volume commentary on the Gospels ought to be required reading before anyone dares to opine on what they mean. Although they run to 2565 pages total, it's well worth one's time. Every page is pure gold.

SteveK said...

"You are the bible expert."

Said the atheist fundamentalist who knows, just knows, that the bible sez God created the Earff some 6000 years ago.

B. Prokop said...

Steve,

I know, I know. Stardusty claimed I was making things up when I (correctly) told him that a figurative reading of Genesis was tradition since the earliest days of the Church, whilst a woodenly literal interpretation was a relatively recent innovation. Stardusty continued to insist that all Christians have always read The Bible literally until they were forced to do otherwise by scientific discoveries (his ideas, not mine).

Well, St. Jerome (4th Century) insisted that one must read Scripture with author's intent always in mind. In other words, do not impose a literal interpretation upon any biblical passage, unless the human author intended it to be so read.

St. Augustine (again, 4th Century) championed the primacy of allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament over a literal one.

St. Thomas Aquinas (13th Century) in his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, says an allegorical, figurative reading of Genesis is "more rational" than a literal reading, and is therefore to be preferred.

Hmm.. I could go on, but it looks like all the heavy hitters throughout the centuries did not read Scripture literally (unless the passage in question was intended to be read so).

bmiller said...

On the other hand, it wasn't until 1654 when Anglican bishop James Ussher published "Annalium pars posterior..." that the idea of a "6000 year old earth" became a "thing" in Christendom.


“The life of James Ussher, Lord archbishop of Armagh”

B. Prokop said...

And even then, Bishop Ussher's calculations were considered to be more relevant to the calendar than to scriptural interpretation. It was not until the late 19th Century, and for a long time afterward only among a minority subset of American Protestants, that Ussher's calculations were thought of as being literally true. The Catholic Church has never accepted them.

B. Prokop said...

Let's move on to Stardusty's fourth objection. "The Gospels are irreconcilable with Jewish Law." (Per my abbreviated wording of his lengthy objections first posted at January 17, 2017 7:34 AM.)

This is a curious objection, because the issue at hand is whether the Gospel narratives are accurate depictions of real world events. So, even were we to admit solely for the sake of argument that Stardusty is correct here - that the Gospels cannot be reconciled with Jewish Law, just how would that affect in any way whether or not they are historically accurate? It seems irrelevant to the discussion.

But for the record, there exist powerful affirmations of the unity of the Mosaic Law (the Sinai Covenant) and the Gospels. The most detailed of these is just one book away from the Gospels in the New Testament itself - Paul's Letter to the Romans. Another important work on the subject is the Letter to the Hebrews. But perhaps the most interesting work on this subject is Chapter 4 (specifically pages 99-127) of Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth, which is a dialog between the Pope and Rabbi Neusner concerning the complex interrelationship between what Moses commanded and what Jesus preached, especially in the Sermon on the Mount.

So it has been amply demonstrated that there is no conflict between Moses and Jesus. But even if there were, that would in no way mean that the Gospels were unhistorical. The whole objection is simply irrelevant.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" Consider the following sentences:

1. "I own a red car."
2. "I own a red car, but I don't own a blue one."

Do you consider the two to be contradictory?"

Your logic is backwards.
1. "You are not allowed to own a red car"
2. "You are allowed to own a red car if you first and also own a blue car"

My 1. and 2. are contradictory. So is the NT on divorce.


January 19, 2017 7:44 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

B Prokop: "So take your best shot. Show to me why I should not believe the Gospels to be true."
" In this conversation, the burden of proof is on you to show contradictions, "
I did. If folks here are not familiar with the passages then that is unfortunate for them.


January 19, 2017 7:56 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

SteveK said...

" "You are the bible expert."

Said the atheist fundamentalist who knows, just knows, that the bible sez God created the Earff some 6000 years ago."
That was what Newton, Kepler, the Jewish calendar, and many others, perhaps most famously Ussher said.

Catholics have the advantage of having a Pope who can be infallible, change, and go back to being infallible again. So Catholics are free to accept much of science because the Bishop of Rome now says the OT is metaphorical. Others don't agree, rather, clinging to the traditional view of a literal bible.

I don't much care unless they try to slither any of their regressive bible fairy tales into public school science or government policy.


January 19, 2017 9:06 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" So, even were we to admit solely for the sake of argument that Stardusty is correct here - that the Gospels cannot be reconciled with Jewish Law, just how would that affect in any way whether or not they are historically accurate? "
In that case Jesus affirmed the law, yet cannot be reconciled with the law, and is thus self contradictory.


January 19, 2017 8:20 PM

B. Prokop said...

I've still got 3 more of Stardusty's objections to respond to. I'll try to get through them all before this topic scrolls off the bottom of Victor's blog.

Objection Number 5: The miracles of Christ are not proof of His divinity.

Stardusty is correct - they are no such thing. I would prefer St. John's terminology, calling them "signs".

We can distinguish between 3 types of miracles in the Gospels. In the first, one would place those events that deal directly with the Incarnation and Redemption. They're relatively few in number - they are indeed sui generis. Chief among such are Christ's being born of a virgin and His resurrection from the dead.

In the second category are those actions that point to and demonstrate Christ's divinity. Such would be the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, walking on the water, turning water into wine, the calming of the storm, the Transfiguration, the raising of Lazarus, and the institution of the Eucharist. Note that they're not proofs of His Godhead, but rather signs pointing us toward that fact.

The third (and largest) group of Christ's miracles are His healings: "The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." (Matthew 11:5)

One might think these ought to be included in with the second grouping, as signs that point to (but do not prove) Christ's divinity. But they're more than that. They are types, showing us Christ's redemptive work, His healing of our own selves, His power to transform broken lives into sound ones. In one sense, you could think of them as symbolic of God's desire to heal the whole world, to undo the evil worked by Satan and Adam's sin, to cleanse the Augean Stables, to answer Master Samwise's question (in The Return of the King), "Is everything sad going to come untrue?" with a great big "Yes!"

So I (mostly) agree with Stardusty here. The miracles of Christ are not meant to be proofs of Christ being the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity incarnate, but ought rather to be regarded as leading us to that conclusion.

And in any case, they are in no way an argument against the historicity of the Gospels. Stardusty's objection is rather to miracles themselves. He equates any account of the miraculous with untruth. But for there to be any validity to that argument, he must first demonstrate that miracles are impossible, and he has not done that.

Five down, two to go.

B. Prokop said...

Oh, and by the way, the two statements

1. "You are not allowed to own a red car"
2. "You are allowed to own a red car if you first and also own a blue car"

are not at all contradictory. Statement Number 1 simply lacks the additional detail present in Statement Number 2. If you change the wording of the second statement to "You are not allowed to own a red car unless you first and also own a blue car" (to preserve syntactic parallelism) then this becomes clear.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" Oh, and by the way, the two statements

1. "You are not allowed to own a red car"
2. "You are allowed to own a red car if you first and also own a blue car"

are not at all contradictory."
Preposterous. Your logic is broken. Learn how to think.


~R = R & B

False statement. Not the equality you claim it is. The LHS does not equal the RHS.



" Statement Number 1 simply lacks the additional detail present in Statement Number 2. If you change the wording of the second statement to "You are not allowed to own a red car unless you first and also own a blue car" (to preserve syntactic parallelism) then this becomes clear."
What is clear is that you presently lack the logical capacity to understand that a universal declaration with no conditions contradicts a conditional statement.

Those 2 things are contradictory rules. You clearly do not understand this simple matter so I question your reasoning capacity generally.


January 20, 2017 7:05 AM

B. Prokop said...

Objection Number 6: "The Gospels are badly written."

Hmm.. badly written, you say? I find this a curious objection, since:

The Prologue to John's Gospel is considered by most objective literary critics to be one of the most sublime pieces of poetry ever written, from any culture, in any language, by any person - ever.

The 2nd Chapter of Luke's Gospel is so beautiful (especially in a translation like the Douay-Rheims or the King James) that simply hearing it read can bring tears to one's eyes. No belief required, just the beauty of the story.

The dramatic immediacy of Mark's Gospel rivals anything Hemingway ever produced.

The parables of the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, or the Good Samaritan are counted amongst the finest short stories ever composed. Chekhov himself could not have done better.

As to Matthew's account of the temptation in the desert, no less a literary authority than Dostoevsky said, "If there has ever been on Earth a real stupendous miracle, it took place on that day, on the day of the three temptations. The statement of those three questions was itself the miracle. If it were possible to imagine simply for the sake of argument that those three questions of the dread spirit had perished utterly from the books, and that we had to restore them and to invent them anew, and to do so had gathered together all the wise men of the Earth — rulers, chief priests, learned men, philosophers, poets — and had set them the task to invent three questions, such as would not only fit the occasion, but express in three words, three human phrases, the whole future history of the world and of humanity — dost Thou believe that all the wisdom of the earth united could have invented anything in depth and force equal to the three questions which were actually put to Thee then by the wise and mighty spirit in the wilderness? From those questions alone, from the miracle of their statement, we can see that we have here to do not with the fleeting human intelligence, but with the absolute and eternal. For in those three questions the whole subsequent history of mankind is, as it were, brought together into one whole, and foretold, and in them are united all the unsolved historical contradictions of human nature."

Wow. And all that from a "badly written" Gospel. Just imagine what we'd be reading, if only Matthew knew how to write!

The healing of Bartimaeus, the woman at the well, the raising of Lazarus, the story of Martha and Mary, the death of John the Baptist, the Sermon on the Mount.. all, "badly written"? Really?

Only one objection to go!

B. Prokop said...

Looks like we'll just have to agree to disagree about the definition of "contradictory". I stand by my interpretation, and you have yours (which, of course, is wrong). :)

(Bookmark this page - I do not use emoticons lightly!)

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"badly written"? Really?
Yep, especially considering it is supposedly inspired by an omniscient omnipotent being.

There are a few bits and pieces of fairly decent prose. So what? People write well from time to time, there is nothing so special about that, and certainly nothing commensurate with the omniscient omnipotent creator of the universe.

The bible is a hot mess. To try to get something good out of it requires some very deeply shaded rose colored glasses. The idea that it is the word of the omniscient omnipotent almighty is so preposterous that only a person who has a portion of his or her thinking locked in a blindness of irrationality could take the idea seriously.


January 20, 2017 9:59 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

Looks like we'll just have to agree to disagree about the definition of "contradictory".

Dad tells Johnny, "You can have the car if you cut the grass"

Johnny cuts the grass, puts his palm out to dad for the keys to the car.

Dad tells Johnny, "You cannot have the car"

Ask Johnny if dad has contradicted himself.


January 20, 2017 10:02 AM

SteveK said...

Dusty,
1. "You are not allowed to own a red car"
2. "You are allowed to own a red car if you first and also own a blue car"

Not *necessarily* contradictory. You think (1) is unconditional and stands for all time, but it's not explicitly stated that way. Don't blame anyone but yourself.

Legion of Logic said...

"The idea that it is the word of the omniscient omnipotent almighty is so preposterous that only a person who has a portion of his or her thinking locked in a blindness of irrationality could take the idea seriously."

I'll bet it tears you up on those occasional moments when reality pierces your walls of certainty and you realize your opinions aren't facts. People far smarter, less biased, and more knowledgeable than you are devout Christians, and that fact blows your certainty completely out of the water.

One of these days reality might sink on for you. In the meantime, consider the possibility that you are capable of being wrong.

B. Prokop said...

To try to get something good out of it requires...

Hmm.. what does it require? It requires thoughtful, contemplative reading. It requires actually listening to what the author intended, and not trying to shoehorn it into one's preconceived notions of what ought to be there. It requires respect for the text. It requires an open mind and an open heart. It requires silence, silence from within one's own self, silence to hear what the Word is saying to you. (Self-styled "skeptics" are very bad at this last one. Before they finish reading a sentence, their own thoughts are shouting at the top of their lungs, drowning out whatever good they might otherwise get.) It requires patience. It often (i.e., almost always) requires multiple readings, or sometimes setting a passage aside to be taken up at a later, more appropriate time - perhaps even years later. It requires looking within one's self, to acknowledge one's shortcomings and failings, to not assume you already know everything, or know what is best for you. It requires honesty, or at the least the desire for honesty. It requires a realization (and an acceptance) that it's not always about you. It requires a willingness to set expectations aside and discover what's actually there. It requires not just an ability, not just a willingness, but also (and most importantly) a desire to renew one's mind, one's heart, one's spirit, one's very being. It requires a full-body commitment. It requires the reader to be "good soil" (Matthew 11:1-23).

Listen to what the Psalmist says: "Blessed is the man ... whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on his Law meditates day and night."

That is what it requires.

If you approach the Sacred Scriptures like they were a set of instructions, or a users' manual, or a history text, or a science book, or a political tract, you're going to be disappointed. You'll be disappointed in the same way a customer walking into a clothing store is when he finds no power tools there. 'Cause that's not what they are. They are "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)

B. Prokop said...

Which brings me to...

Objection Number 7: The Gospels are "childish" and only believable to the "credulous".

Answer: Not worthy of the dignity of a response.

Sorry, but that's all you're going to get from me on that one. I've now reached the end of your list of objections. The floor is yours; have at it.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

" I'll bet it tears you up on those occasional moments when reality pierces your walls of certainty and you realize your opinions aren't facts."
That statement presupposes a number of falsehoods regarding my thoughts, so you lose that bet.

" People far smarter, less biased, and more knowledgeable than you are devout Christians, and that fact blows your certainty"
Strawman. Certainty is your word, not mine.

The brain is highly segmented. A person can think very clearly in on one subject and be very muddled on another subject.

" One of these days reality might sink on for you. In the meantime, consider the possibility that you are capable of being wrong."
Consider the possibility that I have considered far more possibilities than you have considered me considering.


January 20, 2017 1:03 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" To try to get something good out of it requires...

Hmm.. what does it require? It requires thoughtful, contemplative reading. "
Nope, it requires a credulous mind that is at least in this respect highly irrational.


"It requires actually listening to what the author intended, and not trying to shoehorn it into one's preconceived notions of what ought to be there. It requires respect for the text. "
The text is simply not respectable for a consistently rational thinker.

"It requires an open mind and an open heart. It requires silence, silence from within one's own self, silence to hear what the Word is saying to you. (Self-styled "skeptics" are very bad at this last one. Before they finish reading a sentence, their own thoughts are shouting at the top of their lungs, drowning out whatever good they might otherwise get.) It requires patience. It often (i.e., almost always) requires multiple readings, or sometimes setting a passage aside to be taken up at a later, more appropriate time - perhaps even years later. It requires looking within one's self, to acknowledge one's shortcomings and failings, to not assume you already know everything, or know what is best for you. It requires honesty, or at the least the desire for honesty. It requires a realization (and an acceptance) that it's not always about you. It requires a willingness to set expectations aside and discover what's actually there. It requires not just an ability, not just a willingness, but also (and most importantly) a desire to renew one's mind, one's heart, one's spirit, one's very being. It requires a full-body commitment. It requires the reader to be "good soil" (Matthew 11:1-23)."
Right, a gullible person is good soil for irrational fables dressed up with promises of immortality.


" If you approach the Sacred Scriptures like they were a set of instructions, or a users' manual, or a history text, or a science book, or a political tract, you're going to be disappointed. "
True dat. The bible is indeed disappointing.

"You'll be disappointed in the same way a customer walking into a clothing store is when he finds no power tools there. 'Cause that's not what they are. They are "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)"
Right, the bible is disappointing historically, scientifically, and as a manual for life.


January 20, 2017 1:13 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" Which brings me to...

Objection Number 7: The Gospels are "childish" and only believable to the "credulous".

Answer: Not worthy of the dignity of a response."
I'm sorry you feel that way, but I suppose you have no way to realize what a deeply personal statement that is for me, and it just seems like a throwaway slander to you.

For me "childish" is a very literal term with respect to the bible, and more generally, god. It is something I believed as a child. When I grew to be a man I put away my childish things, one of which was my belief in a magic man in the sky, and another was any respect for the bible.

I was 12, and I have reflected often that this fact of my coming of rational age at 12 is not unrelated to the ancient Jewish traditions of bar and bat mitzvah.

For me personally god is something only a child could believe in.


January 20, 2017 1:19 PM

SteveK said...

If you can't discern an actual contradiction from an apparent contradiction, then your coming of rational age is somewhere in the future.

B. Prokop said...

"put away my ... belief in a magic man in the sky"

And well and good that you did. I don't believe in such a thing either, and neither does any Christian. My faith is in the Lord Jesus, witnessed by the Apostles, attested to by saints and martyrs, proclaimed by the Church throughout the generations, and alive and present to every person in the world - here and now, today. This is the Jesus, who said, "To have seen me is to have seen the Father." You don't need to seek for a "magic man in the sky." It's the wrong place to look, and the wrong thing to be looking for.

As for losing "any respect for The Bible" at age 12, well, allow me to be blunt here. Unless you were some kind of child genius (and your current postings show no indication of your having been such), 12 is way too early to have any competent opinion on the Scriptures. At such an age, barely hitting puberty and having none of the experiences of coming of age and adulthood, not one person in 10 million have what it takes to competently read any piece of literature as rich and complex as The Bible. I'm truly sorry that you closed your mind so early in life.

And as to God being something only a child could believe in, the falsehood of that idea is amply demonstrated by the billions of adults who do believe in Him. Your statement is comparable to saying "No Scotsman could possibly enjoy eating a hamburger" when so many obviously do.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "...not one person in 10 million have what it takes to competently read any piece of literature as rich and complex as The ..."

Koran? Dianetics? Norse Mythology? Deepak Chopra?

Let's all agree that what you deem "rich and complex" isn't persuasive, because we hear the same argument from promoters of other religious tracts.

Here's what's obvious to me: more people have read the Lord of the Rings (I mean, read it, as in started from the beginning, read all the pages, and closed the back cover, and were engaged with the book as the work of a directed intellect) than have EVER engaged with the bible, or koran, in a similar way.

And that's because the bible is actually TERRIBLE as a single, coherent piece of literature. And that's because it's a compilation, written by primitive (to us) men, antholgoized by bureaucrats, copied by scribes, and largely interpreted and read by clerks.

Dawkins gives high praise to some of the turns of phrase largely developed by the King James era translators of the bible. But he is too kind in his assessment of its value as a work of literature. The "book" is a hot mess.



Legion of Logic said...

"Koran? Dianetics? Norse Mythology? Deepak Chopra?"

You left out the very important qualifier when you quoted him - "at that age", which is 12. And any 12 year old who thinks he can understand the Bible correctly - whether it is the word of God or a "hot mess" - and evaluate it is fooling himself. Any 12 year old who thinks he is smarter and more knowledgeable on the subject than Aquinas or Hume or Francis Collins or even Richard Dawkins is fooling himself.

And I say this as someone who was scored at past a 12th grade reading level by age 12 and participated in vety in-depth Bible studies since I was 6. I'd have been an idiot at age 12 to think I was the guy that had things figured out.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Blogger B. Prokop
"put away my ... belief in a magic man in the sky"
" And well and good that you did. I don't believe in such a thing either, and neither does any Christian."
??? Every Christian I have ever known believes just that. God is a man, not a woman or an it. God is a person. God thinks and acts like a superman with unlimited powers. He's making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice. But this magic man does not merely neglect to come down your chimney to give you nice presents if you have been naughty, rather, if you fail to acknowledge him in the correct way he considers that the true criteria of naughty, and he will send you to hell, and torture you with fire so that you live in agony without any hope of relief for all eternity, which is a really long time to be screaming in pain due to continually fresh 3rd degree burns on 100% of the body.

The Christian guy who spoke at the inauguration kept looking up. Did you notice that? Every time he referred to this vicious magic man in the sky he looked up at him up there. I kept thinking "this superstitious fruitcake actually thinks there is a magic man in the sky to look up to and talk to, what a blithering idiot, and he got invited to speak for the president, boy are we in trouble".


" My faith is in the Lord Jesus, witnessed by the Apostles, attested to by saints and martyrs, proclaimed by the Church throughout the generations, and alive and present to every person in the world"
Really? I am a person in the world, I have not noticed anybody living inside of me.

" As for losing "any respect for The Bible" at age 12, well, allow me to be blunt here. Unless you were some kind of child genius (and your current postings show no indication of your having been such), 12 is way too early to have any competent opinion on the Scriptures. "
No, actually, by Jewish tradition 12 or 13 is when a girl or boy becomes a woman or a man. It has often struck me that this age has been recognized for millennia as a time of maturity in rational capacity, and it is indeed the age at which my rational capacity matured enough to put away this childish notion of god.

"At such an age, barely hitting puberty and having none of the experiences of coming of age and adulthood, I'm truly sorry that you closed your mind so early in life."
I am truly sorry you have not yet opened your mind and I suspect you are an old man. I opened my mind at 12, you have not yet opened yours.

" And as to God being something only a child could believe in, the falsehood of that idea is amply demonstrated by the billions of adults who do believe in Him. "
I said for me personally that has been true. The stories are so preposterous that I could believe them only at an age when I would parrot any nonsense told to me by my parents. Once I could think for myself I recognized the absurdity of the bible and then of the god speculation.

The bible is so absurd that a boy of 12 can recognize it as such, which I did.

"'Your statement is comparable to saying "No Scotsman could possibly enjoy eating a hamburger" when so many obviously do."
The no true Scotsman fallacy is often misused by theists and atheists alike. It only applies to attributes of birth or unavoidable circumstance, not of adherence to a doctrine.

It is fallacious to say that no true Scotsman is an atheist, but it is not fallacious to say no true Christian is an atheist.

But I would not want to leave you with the impression that I think I am immune to this flaw of the human character. In some respects I have never grown up either. I think we all retain at least some vestige of our childish ways.

For myself, I strongly associate Christianity with the thinking of a child, because that is the only time in my life when I believed in such things, like ghosts, and magical creatures such as god. Some of us eventually grow out of it, most never do.

January 20, 2017 6:49 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said...

"Koran? Dianetics? Norse Mythology? Deepak Chopra?"
" You left out the very important qualifier when you quoted him - "at that age", which is 12. And any 12 year old who thinks he can understand the Bible correctly - whether it is the word of God or a "hot mess" - and evaluate it is fooling himself. Any 12 year old who thinks he is smarter and more knowledgeable on the subject than Aquinas or Hume or Francis Collins or even Richard Dawkins is fooling himself."
No, actually, recognizing absurdity as such isn't really all that difficult.

By your reasoning a 12 year old should believe both Aquinas and Dawkins, recognizing that he is unable to understand either correctly.

" And I say this as someone who was scored at past a 12th grade reading level by age 12 and participated in vety in-depth Bible studies since I was 6. I'd have been an idiot at age 12 to think I was the guy that had things figured out."
The silly stories of Genesis were pretty easy to spot as nonsense. The thing about how loving god is but yet he is gonna torture most people for eternity was pretty fishy.

I figured that if he is so perfect and he made us the way he wanted but he is mad now about what we are doing when he knew before he was even gonna make us that we were gonna do all this stuff that makes him so mad, I mean gee, that is pretty unfair.

And why did he pick some little tribe in the Mideast and stick his words in a jar in a cave. That did not seem to me to be a good way for this all powerful guy to spread the word.

And what's the big secret? I mean, I knew how to play hide and go seek, but why would this guy play hide and go seek with the whole world? It was kind of mean that he was hiding from me.

I preferred the scientific explanations for how things got here. That made sense to me. Every time I learned more about science it made more and more sense to me.

It still does.


January 21, 2017 12:26 AM

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Any 12 year old who thinks he is smarter and more knowledgeable on the subject than Aquinas or Hume or Francis Collins or even Richard Dawkins is fooling himself."

This is a chief problem with apologists -- an inability to understand the metaphor of The Emperor's Clothes.

The metaphor resonates because it is so apparent how inculcation misleads people into believing things that are silly to those who are not so invested. Which is why a child, a kind of outsider to the whole charade, is usually the first to see things as they are, not how people pretend them to be.

If it were not for the something like the insights of children (an outsider's perspective that allows one to see how things are, not how people pretend them to be), we would be stuck without progress of any kind.

Thank goodness for 12 year olds.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "You left out the very important qualifier when you quoted him - "at that age", which is 12. And any 12 year old who thinks he can understand the Bible correctly - whether it is the word of God or a "hot mess" - and evaluate it is fooling himself."

Well, no. The assessment of the bible being such a splendid work of literature (one that a 12 year old can't appreciate) is the verdict of the adult Prokop, and that assessment is the one I criticized. The Argument from Great Work is, of course, fallacious -- meaning that Christians will (obviously) not accept that same argument if presented for, say, the Koran -- and this claim is often made by Muslim proselytizers, so you should be familiar with it.

You see, fallacies are arguments that we avoid when we want to align our beliefs through the consistent use of logic, sound premises, and evidence. And the argument from Great Work is indeed fallacious.

SteveK said...

We don't rely on the same arguments. That really would be silly - to have the same arguments, yet reject all but one on the basis of those same arguments. What you need to get through your thick skull is that the justification to believe one versus the other is founded upon certain key differences.

B. Prokop said...

"And the argument from Great Work is indeed fallacious."

Indeed it is. But I made no "argument from Great Work". Re-read my posting. What I said is that the 12 year old mature enough to competently judge the Scriptures is rare indeed.

But there's a far greater issue here, which is the matter of expectations and preconceived notions. Almost universally, I find that a person who has "rejected" the Scriptures has done so because they don't match up with their idea of what they ought to be. Stardusty says this himself when he says they aren't "commensurate with the omniscient omnipotent creator of the universe". But what that translates to is, they don't measure up to his idea of what "the omniscient omnipotent creator" ought to have done. What Stardusty has essentially done is set himself up as a judge and arbiter of God. Talk about up is down and black is white!

Speaking for myself, but I am constantly bumping up against things in The Bible that run contrary to my expectations, that challenge me, that force me to reevaluate my preconceptions, that make me uncomfortable, that shine a harsh light on some dark corner of my soul that I'd rather not look into. (Like when a doctor probes an injury, causing the patient to wince with pain. But it's being done for his own good.) As fallen creatures, there is no part of us that isn't tainted by original sin - and that includes our intellect. When we set ourselves up as the standard to which God must conform.. well, that's what got us (collectively) expelled from Eden. Perhaps I ought to once again end my every posting as I used to, with Jezu ufam tobie! It would certainly be appropriate here.

"A hot mess"? Hot indeed it is! Hot like an iron that cauterizes an open wound. Hot like a furnace in which one refines gold. Hot like the sun that illuminates the Earth. (Read Psalm 18 to see how the Law of the Lord is compared to the sun's heat.) And as for "mess", well, that's a rather loaded word. I will enthusiastically agree that it defies our every expectation - as it ought to.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" Stardusty says this himself when he says they aren't "commensurate with the omniscient omnipotent creator of the universe". But what that translates to is, they don't measure up to his idea of what "the omniscient omnipotent creator" ought to have done. What Stardusty has essentially done is set himself up as a judge and arbiter of God. "
You are begging the question by first assuming those works are made by god and then concluding I am not qualified to judge a work of god.

Every book I know of is a work of man. It is rational to infer that the bible is also a work of man unless some extraordinary evidence is provided to justify the extraordinary claim that the bible is a work of god. No such extraordinary evidence of a work of god exists owing to the very ordinary nature of the mythological prose in the bible.



" Speaking for myself, but I am constantly bumping up against things in The Bible that run contrary to my expectations, that challenge me, that force me to reevaluate my preconceptions, that make me uncomfortable, that shine a harsh light on some dark corner of my soul that I'd rather not look into."
Too bad the light has not shown into the dark corner of your gullible credulity. Not trying to be mean, but honestly, I never cease to be amazed at how widespread this problem is in our species.


" (Like when a doctor probes an injury, causing the patient to wince with pain. But it's being done for his own good.) As fallen creatures, there is no part of us that isn't tainted by original sin"
OMG, "original sin". Really? You are not joking, are you?

I know it can sound mean when I say things like "gullible credulity". If we were in the same room you would see in my eyes the empathy and the sense of human solidarity with which I make that sort of characterization.


" - and that includes our intellect. When we set ourselves up as the standard to which God must conform.. well, that's what got us (collectively) expelled from Eden."
OMG, you are actually serious about this original sin thing.

" Perhaps I ought to once again end my every posting as I used to, with Jezu ufam tobie!"
You have an imaginary friend you trust. Sad.


January 21, 2017 9:33 AM

B. Prokop said...

"you are actually serious about this original sin thing"

Deadly serious. As Reinhold Niebuhr said, "The doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith."

(Neibuhr is also the author of the famous Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That was one wise man - no "child" there.)

SteveK said...

Dusty believes that humans ought to live their lives a particular way. Dusty and I agree. Dusty has no reason to justify his belief. Dusty is irrational.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" "you are actually serious about this original sin thing"

Deadly serious. As Reinhold Niebuhr said, "The doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith.""
How absurd.


" (Neibuhr is also the author of the famous Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That was one wise man "
Indeed, more's the pity, the bifurcation of the brain, the multifaceted nature of human thought, that a man capable of such depth of insight would also make such a preposterous claim of empirically verifiable original sin.


January 21, 2017 10:32 AM

Cal Metzger said...

This is rich.

Prokop: "What Stardusty has essentially done is set himself up as a judge and arbiter of God. Talk about up is down and black is white!"

So, Prokop judges that Stardusty isn't competent to evaluate the merit of the stories compiled into the modern bible.

But guess who is? Ohmygod, the suspense is just killing me. I wonder if that person could be, no, wait, could it be...

Prokop: "Speaking for myself, but I am constantly bumping up against things in The Bible that run contrary to my expectations, that challenge me, that force me to reevaluate my preconceptions, that make me uncomfortable, that shine a harsh light on some dark corner of my soul that I'd rather not look into. (Like when a doctor probes an injury, causing the patient to wince with pain. But it's being done for his own good.) As fallen creatures, there is no part of us that isn't tainted by original sin - and that includes our intellect. When we set ourselves up as the standard to which God must conform.. well, that's what got us (collectively) expelled from Eden. Perhaps I ought to once again end my every posting as I used to, with Jezu ufam tobie! It would certainly be appropriate here."

Thank goodness Prokop is humble enough to judge that a) Stardusty isn't competent to assess the value of the bible, but b) that Prokop is humble enough and strong enough to look into the bible and see that it is what he says it is -- specially good! Because he's so, you know, humble in the way he approaches it, unlike that nasty and arrogant Stardusty!

What a joke.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Blogger SteveK said...

" Dusty believes that humans ought to live their lives a particular way. Dusty and I agree. Dusty has no reason to justify his belief. Dusty is irrational."
Indeed, we all are in part.

But which parts, how, and why? On what basis? Where did the basis come from? How did each of us come to be as we are, and how can we find out?

One approach is to consult one or another book of ancient mythology.

Another approach is to form some fundamental postulates of morality from our innate social sensibilities and reason our way through the ramifications.


January 21, 2017 10:35 AM

B. Prokop said...

" it [The Bible] is what he [Prokop] says it is"

Cal, why are you forever putting words into other people's mouths? Especially since you always get them wrong!

I never said The Bible is what I say it is. I never even thought such a thing. Read my posting. I explicitly said the exact reverse of that. Despite your having quoted me verbatim, you appear to have not read where I wrote "I am constantly bumping up against things in The Bible that run contrary to my expectations, that force me to reevaluate my preconceptions." Those are hardly the words of someone saying "The Bible is what I say it is!"

"that a man capable of such depth of insight would also make such a preposterous claim of empirically verifiable original sin"

What you fail to realize, Stardusty, is that Neibuhr possessed such depth of insight, not in spite of his faith, and not even in addition to or alongside his faith, but because of his faith. No bifurcation there at all. Your statement is like saying an automobile runs in spite of the gasoline in its tank.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" What you fail to realize, Stardusty, is that Neibuhr possessed such depth of insight, not in spite of his faith, and not even in addition to or alongside his faith, but because of his faith. No bifurcation there at all."
The notion that biblical original sin doctrine is empirically verifiable is preposterous.

But, one who makes such a preposterous claim might well be capable of otherwise great rationality or insights. Such is the idiot savant nature of religious man.


January 21, 2017 2:06 PM

B. Prokop said...

OK, so you assert (without evidence or argument) that the idea of original sin being empirically verifiable is "preposterous".

Why? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Can you defend it, or do we just have your say-so?

SteveK said...

"Another approach is to form some fundamental postulates of morality from our innate social sensibilities and reason our way through the ramifications."

This doesn't produce an obligation applicable to any human life. What you're suggesting here is one of many, many different ways to live. Your belief is irrational.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" OK, so you assert (without evidence or argument) that the idea of original sin being empirically verifiable is "preposterous".

Why? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Can you defend it, or do we just have your say-so?"
I admit I am somewhat flabbergasted by the question. I mean, you cannot be serious, can you be? Ok, here is one version of this doctrine, feel free to provide a better one.

***Original sin, also called ancestral sin, is the Christian doctrine of humanity's state of sin resulting from the fall of man, stemming from Adam and Eve's rebellion in Eden, namely the sin of disobedience in consuming from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.***

So, by all means, please do provide the empirical verification for Adam and Eve, that garden of Eden, and how this fable is somehow a historical fact.

Really? Adam and Eve, the garden, the tree of knowledge, the talking snake...empirically verifiable???


January 21, 2017 4:04 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

teveK said...

"Another approach is to form some fundamental postulates of morality from our innate social sensibilities and reason our way through the ramifications."

" This doesn't produce an obligation applicable to any human life."
That's correct. It produces a moral opinion of what I and others ought to do.

" What you're suggesting here is one of many, many different ways to live. Your belief is irrational."
So is my love of my wife and children. I'm OK with that.


January 21, 2017 5:04 PM

B. Prokop said...

I see Stardusty is back on his fundamentalist bandwagon. As I said, for his way of reading the Scriptures to be the "correct" one, we'd all have to start looking for lions with some awfully peculiar dentures (Psalm 57:4). Or maybe we'd like to book a table at Chez Wisdom (Proverbs, Chapter 9)? I hear the bread and wine served there have earned the "Best of ..." award.

Give it up, Stardusty. No one takes your penchant for wooden literalism seriously.

SteveK said...

Me: This doesn't produce an obligation applicable to any human life.
Dusty: That's correct.

Me: Your belief is irrational.
Dusty: I'm OK with that.


I think my work is done here. Take note everyone.

B. Prokop said...

Noted. Well done, "Boston Strong" (one of my favorite cities).

bmiller said...

@SteveK,

Thanks. Good to know the self-identified belief system of whom you are engaging.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger SteveK said...

" Me: This doesn't produce an obligation applicable to any human life.
Dusty: That's correct.

Me: Your belief is irrational.
Dusty: I'm OK with that.


I think my work is done here. Take note everyone."

Preposterous hack noted

You are indeed done


January 21, 2017 8:10 PM

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: “Cal, why are you forever putting words into other people's mouths? Especially since you always get them wrong! never said The Bible is what I say it is. I never even thought such a thing!”

What? How can citing other people’s words be ‘putting words into other people's mouths?’ Oh, that’s right, in Prokop Bizzaro Land.

Stardusty: “The Gospels are "childish" and only believable to the "credulous”.”
Prokop: “Answer: Not worthy of the dignity of a response.”
Prokop (further explicating what the bible is): “At such an age, barely hitting puberty and having none of the experiences of coming of age and adulthood, not one person in 10 million have what it takes to competently read any piece of literature as rich and complex as The Bible.

Disputing that the gospels are childish and only believable to the credulous is saying that bible is what you say it is.

Saying that the bible is so rich and complex that not one person in 10 million has what it takes to competently read it is saying what the bible is.

Unless you think you’re not competent to state what the bible is. In which case you should correct your earlier statements.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop, saying that he knows how to correctly read the bible: "I see Stardusty is back on his fundamentalist bandwagon. As I said, for his way of reading the Scriptures to be the "correct" one, we'd all have to start looking for lions with some awfully peculiar dentures (Psalm 57:4). Or maybe we'd like to book a table at Chez Wisdom (Proverbs, Chapter 9)? I hear the bread and wine served there have earned the "Best of ..." award. / Give it up, Stardusty. No one takes your penchant for wooden literalism seriously."

Prokop, not realizing he doesn't even think what he just said above: "I never said The Bible is what I say it is. I never even thought such a thing. ”

Cal Metzger said...

The Original:
Stardusty: "Another approach is to form some fundamental postulates of morality from our innate social sensibilities and reason our way through the ramifications."
stevek: " This doesn't produce an obligation applicable to any human life."
Stardusty: That's correct. It produces a moral opinion of what I and others ought to do."
stevek: " What you're suggesting here is one of many, many different ways to live. Your belief is irrational."
Stardusty: "So is my love of my wife and children. I'm OK with that. "

The stevek version, fobbed off as... what?
SteveK: "This doesn't produce an obligation applicable to any human life.
Dusty: That's correct.
SteveK: Your belief is irrational.
Dusty: I'm OK with that."
Stevke: I think my work is done here. Take note everyone."

In response to the above ridiculous hack, fobbed off as a others also show their merit.

Prokop: "Noted. Well done, "Boston Strong" (one of my favorite cities)."
bmiller: "Thanks. Good to know the self-identified belief system of whom you are engaging."

Yup. Good to know that a dishonest attempt at what -- smearing? -- is applauded by two other apologists, who no doubt pack themselves on their backs over the high ground afforded from their "belief system."

As much as I enjoy reaching his comments, I will now make the case that Stardusty may be wasting his teaching talents on the likes of this trio. The man has talent, and talent should be used where it can do more good.



B. Prokop said...

"I never said The Bible is what I say it is. I never even thought such a thing."

100 percent true - every word of it.

Now I have no intention of continuing a battle over this foolishness. If you wish to believe a falsehood, then that's on your head. If you wish to purposefully misinterpret others' words, then be my guest. I've made myself clear, and there's no need to repeat myself endlessly for the benefit of those who willfully do not comprehend. Not gonna play that game; the floor is yours - have at it.

And now.. I'm off to Sunday Mass.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "The first Gospel to be written was Matthew."

Prokop: "I never said The Bible is what I say it is. I never even thought such a thing."

Not just a scold, but a self-delusional one at that.

B. Prokop said...

"The first Gospel to be written was Matthew."

Those aren't my words. I was citing St. Jerome, as my posting makes abundantly clear. So how is that me saying The Bible is what I say?

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "The first Gospel to be written was Matthew."
Me, quoting Prokop: "The first Gospel to be written was Matthew."
Prokop: "'The first Gospel to be written was Matthew.' Those aren't my words. I was citing St. Jerome, as my posting makes abundantly clear."

???????????????

First off, ''The first Gospel to be written was Matthew" are your words. As in, you wrote them. If you want to say that someone else wrote them, or that perhaps St. Jerome logged onto your account and wrote them for you, then, well, that won't surprise me at this point.

Prokop: "'So how is that me saying The Bible is what I say?"

Because you've been telling us that the bible represents a pinnacle of literature (not one in 10 million can competently read it!) , how it is to be interpreted (not literally, except where you deem it to be literal), how its parts are to be related to one another (Matthew is the first Gospel, a silly assertion that is falsified by the most basic exegesis), etc. That's what it means to assert that your interpretation of what the bible represents, what it contains, which parts are true , etc., is what you say it is. Unless you want to tell us you are really kidding, and you don't know what the bible says.



SteveK said...

Me: Your belief is irrational
Dusty: So is my love of my wife and children. I'm OK with that.

Reads the same to me. Dusty just added one more example he thought was the same. Not my words, his

Cal Metzger said...

SteveK: "Reads the same to me. Dusty just added one more example he thought was the same. Not my words, his"

Then you need to learn to read so as to understand what you read.

SteveK said...

Explain it for me, Cal

Ilíon said...

".. Your statement is like saying an automobile runs in spite of the gasoline in its tank."

More like, "Overall crime is down, in spite of all the criminals in jail or in prison."

Cal Metzger said...

stevek: "Explain it for me, Cal"

Why?

SteveK said...

Because you made the claim. Show me.

Cal Metzger said...

SteveK: "Show me"

Show you what?

SteveK said...

Who's on first?

Legion of Logic said...

Cal: "Yup. Good to know that a dishonest attempt at what -- smearing? -- is applauded by two other apologists, who no doubt pack themselves on their backs over the high ground afforded from their "belief system."

Making up conversations and putting words in the apologists' mouths that they don't believe and would not ever say is one of your most common tactics. Is that tactic only acceptable against theists?

From his writing style, I do think that SD has some good horsepower in his noggin. When you can drop the snark and gratuitous insults, I'd say the same for you. I'd be curious to see you guys in other topics, but I don't think religion is currently either of your areas to shine. The sheer number of incorrect notions proves that.

Ilíon said...

Me: "bmiller reminded Psychotic Dust of a necessary entailment of materialism (**), to wit: that all things -- including his and everyone else's actions and thoughts -- are mechanistically caused by prior physical states."

David Brightly: "And a jolly good thing that would be too. For if not we might well be in danger of thinking and doing all manner of nonsense."

Mr Brightly's assertion is, of course, the polar opposite of the truth. And he knows it is false.

'Atheists' -- every last one of them -- will *always* retreat into irrationality, and indeed, as here, into outright anti-rationality, so as to protect their God-denial from rational evaluation/criticism.

David Brightly said...

Well spotted! No, it's a serious suggestion put forward for rational evaluation by anyone interested in the AFR. Basically, that our minds reason correctly when our brains contain the right clockwork. Another day, perhaps, not halfway down the second page of comments!

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