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Well, no. I'm just trying to figure out what you are talking about. If you can't provide an explanation fine, but then don't expect people to take you seriously when you say there are "other valid ways to explore and know reality." That's also the first time I've ever been accused of being "mired in rationalism." Did you mean that as a compliment? I suppose that's better than being mired in irrational-ism. Moving on then...
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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"I only make the observation that there are other valid ways to explore and know reality than rationalism or revelationism." Fair enough. Can you provide a specific example that involves no reasoning at all? It just seems to me love is a description of an emotion. It is not a method to explore reality. That's my point.
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"Why should I just accept your assertion that rational tools (like Cin enumerated) are the only means of discerning and having a relationship with reality?" You shouldn't. I just don't see how you can explain realities like physics, biology, mathematics, history, etc. better with love than with logic and reason. If one can investigate reality solely with an emotion like love, do you think one can do the same with other emotions like hate, angst, frustration, fear, etc.? I mean for me, love is a good way to describe how I feel about the people closest to. I'd not call it a good way to acquire knowledge. Louis, can you provide an example of using love as a way of exploring reality that doesn't involve another person? Or, does "reality" only involve other people? "Reality" is inclusive of a lot of things IMHO. "Indeed, I do think you rationalists are bloodless: not literally, as you would assume, but poetically, metaphorically." I think I'm as passionate as the next person. No one has ever described me as bloodless before, either poetically or metaphorically. Marcel Proust was a very rational person. Do you describe him the same way?
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"Love is also not a way of knowing or investigating reality. Another bloodless reaction from the rationalist camp. Please provide evidence for your assertion. Well, I'd use logic and reason to investigate and know realities like physics, biology, mathematics, history, etc. I think that's a superior epistemology for exploring the world we live in. I wouldn't use love to know or investigate quantum mechanics, for example. It's not the way to do that. You described my answer as "bloodless." I'm not sure what you were expecting or how I could have provided an answer you'd be happy with.
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"I said it is dismissive to say that their pursuing a degree is a waste of time." What you actually said is, and I quote, "I will disagree with much of what they were taught, but I would not call it a waste of time." You are not talking about a difference of opinion here. It is a flat fact the Jesus didn't come to America, correct? If someone is learning something that you KNOW for a fact is not true, why isn't studying a falsehood a waste of time? "That's actually not true. There are many people who are former Mormons, many are now Christians." It is true. If someone has already made up their mind that Jesus came to America, there is no way one can reason with them about that. When I say religious, I'm speaking about devout followers like yourself. There is no argument that can be made that would convince you that Jesus wasn't resurrected and is not divine. You can't be reasoned with about that because you won't allow it. Also, why don't you mention the former Christians who have turned away from Christianity? Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a former Muslim turned atheist. Non-believers are growing in number faster than Christianity in the United States. "In fact, if you look back at Copernicus and his developing and publishing his heliocentric theory, you find that he received support from both Rome and the new Protestant churches. That doesn't fit the Enlightenment narrative of evil, anti-science church vs. progress focused science." No, it was Christian doctrine and heliocentrism was heresy according to the church. That's just a fact. A fact you need to learn to accept no matter how much it conflicts with what you have been taught about that history. In fact, it was only on May 22, 500 years late, that the church finally gave in and buried Copernicus as a hero. He was buried in an unmarked grave before. I give the church credit for doing this but it is a bit late, no? "So your position is that our current culture is better as religious or faith influences are removed?" When faith conflicts with fact, like creationism vs. evolution, yes, we are better for it if things like creationism are removed. Creationism is a lie and lies should not be propagated. "Is a trip to heaven on a horse falsifiable? Is a body permanently resurrected falsifiable?" [boggles] Neither are falsifiable. Neither are verifiable. Never mind permanently resurrected, just show me a temporarily resurrected person. LOL! "My point is that an explanation for the empty tomb has to explain it along with the reports of post resurrection appearances and the development and growth of the Christian faith." First, the rapid development and growth of Christianity means absolutely jack squat. "How long did it take Marshal Applewhite, Jim Jones, or David Koresh to become messiahs? Or to take an even more legendary figure, the John Frum cargo cult sprang up during World War II, and there are still cultists awaiting his return to this day in Vanuatu." - Robin Lionheart Second, the only people who believe the reports of Jesus' resurrection are a matter of history are Christians themselves. Don't conflate your religious beliefs with history. "I still don't think that's not very often, but that's not really the point." 1 resurrection every 121 years? Did you factor in the hundreds or thousands of saints raised at once in Matthew 27:51-53? That makes the ratio what? 1 resurrection per year? Seems pretty commonplace. Too bad they don't actually happen outside of your fictional, I mean "holy" book. Come on Aaron, are you going to tell me you believe in every single one of these resurrections? Did they all have witnesses too? "Seeing something divine in a naturally explainable phenomenon is something that cannot be tested or seen. Apples and oranges." ROTFLMAO! An empty tomb is the perfect description of "Seeing something divine in a naturally explainable phenomenon." That was the very point I made with the Joan of Arc clip. "The other is a falsifiable, public experience that, if true, would only have a supernatural explanation." Like seeing the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow. :) "...if the singularity existed in an eternal state as the singularity, what caused it to explode into the current state of the universe?" Unknown. But I know it wasn't a case of something coming from nothing. "What if we found something on another planet, what would signal that it was intentionally designed versus naturally, randomly made?" I don't know. But you said that you did know. You said, "It (a rock) bears no characteristics of design." I asked you first. Please enlighten me as to exactly what characteristics of design you are referring to? How do you actually know it wasn't designed. How do you know snowflakes are not designed? They all have structures and they are all unique. You said that you know these things weren't designed. I just want to know how you know this? "The issue of a rock being intentionally designed. It seems as if we are operating on the idea that I believe that to be the case." You asked me, "I'm wondering why you are trying to attribute an opinion to me and cause me to defend it when I do not hold to it." Again, I asked if it was true that Christians believed everything is designed by god, from sunsets, to rocks, to snowflakes to people. You answered that only some things are designed by god. Other things are natural processes. I'm wondering how you can tell the difference. Then I asked if you've really thought this stuff through. "Sin comes when we behave or think in ways that are contrary to the revealed will of God." Like Louis when he acts upon his homosexuality? "I believe that nihilism, an elimination of free will and a devaluation of human life to being on par with other life is the logical conclusion of atheistic naturalism." [shrug] Again: That, my friend, is just sad. I laughed at first but then I thought to myself this might actually be what you think. When I think about that, it's depressing.
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"For starters, academia transitioned from an entirely Christian enterprise to a decidedly anti-Christian realm. Secondly, the Enlightenment succeeded in dividing faith and reason, religion and science, for the majority of the populace when previously no such division was present. That removed ideas and events that were considered religious from textbooks which were considered scientific. " People moved away from a state of ignorance after becoming educated through science and reason. It was religious doctrine that the stars and planets revolved around the Earth. Science showed that no, the Earth actually revolved around the Sun. The faithful held their position out of ignorance. Galileo was branded a heretic. Since the enlightenment, it is Secularism that has grown the most and influenced Western civilization the most, including The United States. Creationists essentially learn the equivalent of the stars orbiting the Earth. Sad! So, this shift away from faith based thinking is a very good thing. "Christianity exploded and taught from its earliest point that Jesus was God and was resurrected from the dead." So what? Islam exploded and taught from it's earliest point that Muhammad rode a winged horse to Heaven. Both of these things sound crazy. "So for at least 4,000 years of recorded biblical history, we have nine instances of someone being resurrected (10 if you count Jesus)." Well no, that's only what a quick Google search turned up. I thought there was one where a whole cemetery full of people got raised. You'd know more about that then I. Was it Matthew 27:51-53 or some other mass resurrection of a bunch of people at once? Wiki Answers said there are 33 accounts of resurrection in the Bible but it didn't list them. How many are there then, Aaron? Anyway, ya, it does seem like a common occurrence in Christian mythology. There are examples of resurrections in many other religions as well. "You also believe that resurrections occur more often than someone finds a sword in a field? That seems a bit of stretch to me." Oh, to be sure! However, you neglected to mention that the sword in the field was viewed as a sign from god by Joan of Arc in "The Messenger." It would be kind of stupid to actually hold a position that finding a sword in a field is more common place than a resurrection, something that I believe has never happened even once. Just to make it clear, I think what you wrote about my beliefs is quite stupid and I actually do not believe what you attributed to me. On the contrary, that means I believe in at least 9 fewer resurrections than you do. :) It all comes down to the interpretation. One can interpret an empty tomb as evidence of a resurrection just as easily as Joan interpreted a sword in a field as a divine sign. And, who knows? Maybe that really happened and maybe it was. Same with your > than or = to 9 resurrections. "Is that your position on the singularity? That it is eternal." Do you have a better word to describe the state of the universe before time and space began with The Big Bang? "It (a rock) bears no characteristics of design." Please enlighten me as to exactly what characteristics of design you are referring to? How do you actually know it wasn't designed. How do you know snowflakes are not designed? They all have structures and they are all unique. You said that you know these things weren't designed. I just want to know how you know this? "Let me ask you a similar (reverse) question, how do you know that a computer is designed?" Because I already know people make them. "I'm wondering why you are trying to attribute an opinion to me and cause me to defend it when I do not hold to it." Clarify? What are you talking about? I only asked questions. "...on the issue of homosexuality has caused me to re-evaluate the way I speak of related issues and the people involved." But you haven't changed your position on the matter? Louis' orientation is a sin? "I think back to our discussion on the burning building and the embryos. It did not change my opinion, but made me think through my position more clearly and thoroughly." Okay. You and Seeker are different in that respect. I remember that talk as well. "Do you hold the same opinions about the same issues as you did when you first began interacting here?" Aaron, when I first came here I thought of myself as an agnostic. You Christians made an atheist out of me LOL! The process of actually writing down my thoughts in the form of reasoned argument functioned a lot like a crucible where impurities were burned away and my beliefs became crystallized. "But I think part of that is them stopping short on living out their worldview to its logical conclusion." Which is? (This should be entertaining) "I would not call it a waste of time. That is to degrading and dismissive in my opinion." I asked, "So, would you call Mormons studying Jesus' exploits in America "a waste of time?" No?" and that's your answer? You think they are teaching factual BS yet you think it's "degrading" and "dismissive" to tell them the truth? For you, I think it would be more degrading and dismissive not to to tell them the truth, "In point of fact, Jesus didn't come to America." Why respect their delusion or ignorance? Is pointing out reality "degrading" and "dismissive?" I think you'd be doing them a favor. Of course, if they are devout Mormons, there's almost no chance you'd get through to them anyway. You can't reason with someone's religion.
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"...but it does negate some what your assertion that we should not believe the miracles because they are not in history books." That's not my assertion. You should paraphrase me like this instead: Christian myths don't appear in history books because they are not historical. The same applies to Greek myth. However, just because Greek myths are not in history books is not a reason to disbelieve in Zeus. The same applies to your god as well. "But you will have to admit that is a bit more going on with a empty tomb and a proclaimed resurrection than someone finding a sword in the field and accrediting it to God." Tell me why I have to admit this again? A sword in a field has about as many natural explanations as an empty tomb would have. And, I see no difference between a resurrection claim and a divine intervention claim. What makes one more likely than the other? "Surely, both can be attributed to deity with no real evidence, but one happens all the time. The other is a bit more rare." Wrong. According to the Bible, divine resurrections happened for more often than divine swords in fields. A quick Googe turns up: The widow's son by Elijah (1 Kings 17:21-24) The Shunammite's son by Elisha (2 Kings 4:32-35). A man whose body had been placed in Elisha's tomb (2 Kings 13:20-21). Lazarus by Jesus Christ (John 11:43-44). The widow’s son by Jesus. (Luke 7:12-17) A number of people at the moment of the death of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:51-53) The daughter of Jairus by Jesus (Mk 5:39-40) Eutychus raised back to life through Paul after he fell out of a third-floor window (Acts 20:9-12). Tabitha by Peter (Acts 9:36-43) "OK so we have the singularity. Where did it come from? That's my question." It's eternal so it's like asking where did God come from. God always existed. The singularity always existed. "You are speaking as if someone could be outside the singularity and observe it existing outside of time and therefore be "eternal." Nope. With a singularity there is no such thing as space either. There is no "outside." "Outside" does not exist. Time does not exist. Isn't it true that in this state the universe is eternal, i.e. it has no beginning or end? "We have room for both types of causes and more often than not it will simply be the natural cause." You said, "... as it compares the same to something (a rock) we know is not designed." Explain to me again how we know this? You are just pulling things out of your butt again, methinks. :) "I do think about the arguments given here. Some are really well thought out. Some have challenged my perspective on issues. Some have caused me to rethink my positions." Give 3 short examples of your perspectives and positions that have actually changed from arguments here. "I would not even begin to think anyone would make that type of argument, but they have." Have you ever heard of Russell, Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, et al. say that? No? It's just sounds like misinformation that you might learn in theology school. "But again, I would also do the same (call a waste of time) to degrees that have their foundation on any other faulty (from my perspective) perspectives be it atheism, naturalism, Islam, Buddhism, etc." Well, first, they don't give out degrees for atheism or naturalism, as far as I'm aware of, so that kind of makes you calling them a "waste of time" a moot point, yes? Second, atheism and naturalism are not religions like Islam and Buddhism. Christianity, since it is a religion like Islam and Buddhism, fits better. "But I don't hold to that standard and would not call them such." So, would you call Mormons studying Jesus' exploits in America "a waste of time?" No?
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"I was merely trying to illuminate why you guys continue to argue to no avail: your methods of investigating and knowing reality are so different as to be mutually exclusive." Well, that's the thing. Faith is not a method of knowing or investigating reality. Faith is simply believing something without compelling evidence. Faith is just the opposite of what you said. Why do theists even bother with the pretense of rationality instead of just admitting, "I have no evidence for my beliefs, I just know it in my heart." I might also add that one can also just know in their heart that Allah is God or that Jesus came to America. "For instance, can you rationally prove why you love someone? Rationalism has its limits too." Love is also not a way of knowing or investigating reality.
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I'd like to know what your wife thinks about this law. If I remember correctly, she is Hispanic/Latina. That's all. No further comments from me.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2010 on Arizona Senate Bill 1070 Redux at two or three . net
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What do you say to people who think that it's revealed knowledge that gays are morally repugnant and shouldn't be treated as the equals of heterosexuals? Don't pretend like these are separate but equal avenues to knowledge. At least with rationality, you can argue the point. That's not so with revelation.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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"They (religious myths) are not in history books because they are not history." Exactly so. I don't want to single out Christianity here. This applies to the Koran, The Book of Mormon, The Iliad, etc., as well. They can weave history into myth. For example, the existence of Troy as a city is factual. However, only a devote of ancient Greek religion would truly believe the gods took sides in the war largely because Paris thought Helen, a mortal, was more beautiful then Hera or Athena. The point being, only Christians believe their miracles to be historical. No one else does. Only Mormons believe their accounts of Jesus in America to be historical. No one else does. "You are begging the question by saying that anything that contains supernatural must be legendary." Straw man. I said no such thing. "Those who deny that account, must provide an alternative that explains the empty tomb..." I was spot on. :) Didn't I just say, "I assume you'll go with the teleological argument once more and then argue how Jesus' resurrection is historical fact, etc, etc, etc." Even if we assume that Jesus' tomb was empty, what does that prove? That Jesus was resurrected? That is one possibility but there are other possibilities as well. Aaron, please check this out: Sword in a Field That's the point I'm trying to make. As far as debating the nuts and bolts of the historicity of the claim, I'm not really that interested in the subject matter. I did read an argument by William Lane Craig about this as well as a rebuttal. You may find this more interesting than I did: Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story "I agreed that a supernatural cause does not and should not be considered for every event. I am speaking of only one specific example - the universe." Why is this an exception? You know your physics right? What did the big bang come from? The universe, everything, was compressed into a singularity right? In that state, time didn't exist. Space didn't exist. You know, the whole space time thing from Einstein? That didn't exist. So in that state where there is no such thing as time, is the universe eternal? "... as it compares the same to something (a rock) we know is not designed." Do we really KNOW that Aaron? Isn't it the Christian belief that God designed everything from every simple rock, to every snowflake, to every person. If God didn't design that rock, who did? An atheist would say, no one. How would a Christian answer? Sometimes I get the feeling that you view these logical conundrums as little tests of faith that non-believers throw at you. Do you really think hard enough about these points for them to raise any questions in your mind or do you think any doubting God is sinful? If you think that your doubting God is sinful, isn't that itself kind of a circular rational for not having doubts about your God. Any discussion with such a person would be pointless. What could they learn except nothing? I mean, Paley's watchmaker analogy is just plain bad. Do you recognize it as such or do you think it's just super? "It's our natural instinct to procreate but we often choose not to. Very true, but why is that?" Why? Personal reasons. Some people just don't want to have a baby so they use birth control. We talked about this. Remember our last discussion about Hume and "is" "ought?" I refer you to that. "E.O. Wilson has done extensive research on animals..." Isn't he the pastor who was touring with Hitchens? He's not an authority if you are presenting him as such. "If morality is just another instinct like those, then what judges between all the instincts?" Aaron, do me a favor. Can you provide a synopsis of my position about morality that I painstakingly laid out for you the last time we spoke? What is my position and how does it compare to what you present here? Do I really hold that "morality is just another instinct" or is that a caricature? "The lion is not responsible for eating the gazelle. Why should the rapest be responsible for following one natural instinct over the other?" That, my friend, is just sad. I laughed at first but then I thought to myself this might actually be what you think. When I think about that, it's depressing. "When you refute the ones I given, I'll be happy to give you some more. ;) " In my view, you haven't provided any evidence that is worth refuting. So far it's the empty tomb argument. Again, so what? What about the sword in the field? Explain that! LOL! "Then you decide that since I have no evidence, God must not exist [Jury]." Nope, just that it's very improbable. Remember what we talked about? This makes the sentences after the one I quoted "blah, blah, blah." "I'm not living in a glass house." You ARE throwing stones when you chastise Robin for using a straw man. You've done it as well. So have I. [mumbles]: But not as often as you. :) "I've never said you have no evidence for your claims. I've said I agree with much of your evidence..." I have no evidence. No data. That's why I DON'T assert the non-existence of God or even the supernatural, for that matter. You, however, assert that God does exist. That's your claim. Is it not? I made no claim about that because it's a poor argument to do so. I mean, "What can be asserted with no evidence can be dismissed with no evidence." ****************** Separate topic: since we last spoke, I've thought about what I said to you about how your going to seminary is a waste of time. In retrospect, it would be easy to take it the wrong way. I was not trying to be insulting. It's what I honestly think. To clarify, I am not impugning the rigor of your degree. I'm sure it's a lot of studying and hard work. I say you are wasting your time in the same way you would think a Mormon who is rigorously studying The Book of Mormon and Jesus' exploits in North America is a waste of time. I question the whole premise of such an education as you would a Mormon's. I read the post about it on your blog and you made it seem like I was questioning the rigor of your degree and not the premise of it. I refrained from commenting there because it seemed to me the blog is more for personal thoughts than a place to discuss or debate. I do that here. :) Anyway, if you think I missed some of your points, it wasn't intentional. These posts get real long real fast so I do try to be discerning. If I missed anything that you think is important, let me know and I'll respond.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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Mind if I jump in here with a comment? It's been a while. I think Robin's characterization of a typical Atheist/theist conversation was pretty good. We here at 2or3 should be able to recognize these recurring themes as we've had countless similar discussion over the years. Atheist: "Why should I believe a god exists?" Evangelist: "OK, well, the Bible..." Exactly, evangelists often resort to scripture to prove their point because they assume it's the word of God. Therefore, it's true. They don't realize it's circular reasoning. http://thebeattitude.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/bible-circular-logic.jpg Atheist: "Copies of copies of retranslations of copies of hearsay of ancient legends. Too unreliable. What else have you got?" And this one Aaron and I talk about a lot. Only Christians believe this. If this stuff was truly history then it would be in history books not religious faith books like the Bible. Muslims feel the same way about their own holy books. So, what else have you got? :) "Evangelist: "Every effect has a cause..." Atheist: "Which needn't be supernatural." Yup! Why insert a supernatural cause like The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Jehovah, or Allah? "Evangelist: "A watch is made by a watchmaker..." Atheist: "A rock isn't made by a rockmaker."" Again, this is dead on. Aaron talks about laptops and paintings which we know are manufactured products. It doesn't lend a lot of weight to the supernatural FSM/Jehovah/Allah designer argument at all. If morality is an evolutionary instinct, why do we often struggle to do the "right' thing? Shouldn't it be easy to be good? Wouldn't it come as natural as eating, if it was an evolutionary instinct? If it is an evolutionary instinct that we all share, why do some humans act in ways that are horribly contradictory to the instinct, while others seem to follow it virtually all of the time? LOL! No! Remember we've talked about this so often and I'm sure I'll make the same point again and again in the future. It's our natural instinct to procreate but we often choose not to. "Of course, God does not violate the proposition because God is said to be eternal, that he does not begin to exist." The people who say this are pulling this out of their butt. They actually have zero knowledge, zero facts, zero evidence. It's nice that they say it, but that is all they do. They just say it without basis. Nothing more. "All of the arguments you refuted were weak and bad, but those are not the arguments that actual philosophers present as evidence and argumentation for God." Well, provide some then. I assume you'll go with the teleological argument once more and then argue how Jesus' resurrection is historical fact, etc, etc, etc. "...you rip strawmen to pieces and in doing so claim that no real evidence is presented." Aaron, you've often done this to me. I just don't think that people who live in glass houses should throw stones. Present your evidence then. I just have a feeling that such a discussion will turn out very close to what Robin caricatured.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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Not only is it amusing Louis, but he mucks it up too. At first the ball is analogous with god. Daniel asks, "does the ball (God) exist?" Then Daniel flips it with the dogs master (the ball thrower) as analogous to god. For example, Daniel says, "Master/pet :: God/beloved human." With respect to the image, it's quite retarded because to make it truly analogous, the dog should be questioning the existence of an invisible master whom he can't see, smell, touch, or feel. That, at least, makes more sense. Daniel also says, "(because he's doubted the one thing that gives life meaning, that is, playing with his Master)." No dog would be stupid enough to doubt the existence of a master who it can see, smell, hear and feel. It's a very stupid dog who has faith in a master who it can't sense in any way.
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That's because it's ridiculous.
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He looks very happy. I think it makes no difference to him.
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Actually, Jesus is about as historical as Achilles. Maybe there was a figure that the legends are based off of but no one seriously takes the legends themselves as being historical except Christians. Aaron, I recommend that you read, "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ" by Philip Pullman. Check this out... Philip Pullman answers a question on the shocking title of his new book.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2010 on The Jesus of History at two or three . net
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I don't get it. Is it supposed to be like someone pretended to throw a ball and the dog didn't fall for it?
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My point was you asserting that Jesus was appealing to something, subjective, individual morality, which did not exist in the minds of anyone in the story. Doesn't matter. They are human beings. They have an individual sense of morality. (I'm not arguing here that the Pharisees did not possess an "individual morality." - Aaron) Jesus obviously appealed to that and each had to make a choice whether or not to cast stones. They decided not to because they didn't want to be hypocrites. They didn't want to be sinners throwing stones at someone for sinning. Perhaps some or all of them were also guilty of sins that were punishable by being stoned. It was pure self interest on their part.
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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"I'm stating that the Pharisees did not share your belief in an individual morality..." Ya, they had their own sense of morality that's different than mine. They had different ideas of what sin meant and they judged everyone else by that standard. That's very cool. Very nice. They could obviously be shamed though, right? If some had cast stones, they would still be called hypocrites. So, your point is moot. I don't see why it matters or even how it pertains at all to anything I've said.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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"Yes, but you ignored my larger point about what "sin" meant in their context." Kind of a moot point since we all have an individual sense of morality. "You may believe that everyone possesses individual morality, but I can assure you the Pharisees did not." I thought the Pharisees were human beings. "You misunderstand if you think I was asserting this as a miracle." And you completely misunderstood a joke. I'll explain, no problem. Think of it like this. If we agree on something, that's almost a miracle. Do you understand now? Never mind.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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"The concept of individual morality is so far removed from their thought process at that time that it is impossible for you to read that back into Jesus' words and their thoughts." It's obvious we ALL have individual morality, Aaron. Pharisees 2000 years ago are no exception. It's part of being human. The tool that Jesus brilliantly used to get his way in this matter was shame. He shamed the Pharisees into not casting any stones. He didn't make an appeal to any objective morality at all. He didn't say don't stone her because it's wrong to do so. He appealed to the Pharisees as individuals. Any one of them could have decided to throw stones if they chose to. Jesus didn't even issue a command. He left it up to them how they would act. "Seeing that nothing in the record gives us the motivations for their walking away, it is difficult to read into it exactly why they left. " When Jesus utters one sentence, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" and then they all drop their stones, it's clear as day why they did so. It's because they didn't want to be hypocrites. They didn't want to be sinners throwing stones at someone for sinning. Perhaps some or all of them were also guilty of sins that were punishable by being stoned. It was pure self interest on their part and from reading the text, I'm pretty sure Jesus knew a lot about the nature of the Pharisees to manipulate them. I'd love to get a second opinion about my reading because, even though you don't agree, you haven't come up with any reasonable alternatives. Hehe, to me they sound a lot like the people on Wall Street. If only Obama could deal with them that effectively. Unfortunately, today's Pharisees call the shots. "On this we can agree." [that according to the story, Jesus believed he had the right to condemn or forgive the adulteress] I'm sorry Aaron, but this doesn't count as a genuine miracle. Though, it's close to a mass resurrection or turning water into wine. :) I'd like to hear your response to the longer post before we get sidetracked by Pharisees.
Toggle Commented Feb 21, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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"He was not appealing to some subjective, individual morality." I think it's clear Jesus is doing just that. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." He didn't say, don't stone her because it's wrong to do so. That would have been an appeal to an objective morality. Instead, he basically dared them to throw stones. Jesus left it up to each and every individual to make a moral decision as to whether or not he/she would be a hypocrite for casting stones. No one wanted to be a hypocrite. That's why they dropped their stones. It was out of self interest that they did so, not because it was objectively right or wrong. "He was appealing to their knowledge of Old Testament law and also His own teachings on the subject." If Jesus was appealing to the knowledge of Old Testament law then they would have stoned her for adultery since that's what the law was. I think that the reason Jesus prevented them from stoning her was because he believed only he had the right to condemn or forgive the woman.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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Sure, but let me first tie the morality part to the original topic of this thread, the role of Jesus as prophet, priest and king. As I said at the beginning, Mark Driscoll didn't give credit to Jesus as a teacher of morals. Case in point, there is a story of Jesus coming upon a scene where a prostitute was about to be stoned and he says something like, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." What is he appealing to? He is appealing to people's individual sense of morality. The people in the crowd drop their stones, according to the story, after they realize that they are not "without sin" and they would be HYPOCRITES if they stoned this woman. This is what is known as a "teachable moment." When Jesus made this moral appeal, he didn't do so as a prophet, priest or king. I think Jesus was a teacher here and if this story is indicative of the way Jesus behaved, then "teacher" was his main role. I also note that Jesus left it up to each and every individual to make a moral decision as to whether or not he/she would be a hypocrite for casting stones. So, to tie this in with some of our discussion, don't cast stones at other people for being skeptical when you yourself share much of the same skepticism about supernatural beings. If there are 10,0000 gods that atheists are skeptical about, that means there are 9,999 gods that Muslims and Christians are skeptical about. That also means we agree on 99.99 of gods. It's just that Muslims and Christians don't judge that .01 percent by the same standards as the other 99.99%. Between a claim like splitting the moon or stopping the sun in the middle of the sky... Muslims think the former is a matter of history but are skeptical of the latter while Christians think the latter is a matter of history but are skeptical of the former. Since I hold no religious bias (non-religious), I'm skeptical of both of these claims for common sense indicates they are both quite far fetched. I think if Muslims applied their common sense to the splitting of the moon they'd conclude that it's very improbable. The same goes for Christians stopping the sun in the sky. Okay, Aaron. Thanks for letting me have my say here. I'll comment on both of the new threads.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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Aaron, before I begin, please do me a favor and answer this... What do you think about God's decree that rape victims should marry their rapists? Do you agree with this or not? Objectively, is this right or is it wrong? I've asked you several times already. "So you would create no distinction between the supernatural that no one believes in (Greek gods) and the supernatural that has followers today?" Correct. You are biased toward your own religion so I'll talk about a religion you don't believe in so that way you can see my points clearly. So, correct. I make no distinction between Zeus and Allah who has millions of followers today. "No I understand your point, but when you say that some fact of reality disproves the Christian God..." ...and when did I say that? "You believe, based on testimonies of others, that certain cities exists that you've never been to, that events happen in history to which you did not personally witness, etc." Yes, you do the same thing. You'd want to see for yourself that Muhammad split the moon despite the "historicity" of this event. Since you'd be skeptical about the splitting of the moon, A Muslim would blindly accuse you of having a "standard of evidence beyond what anyone could produce." You should reply to him that splitting the moon seems quite improbable to you so you need more evidence than just his "historical" scriptures. You should also tell him that the existence of Moscow, which I assume you've never been to, is much more probable than the splitting of the moon. It also has better evidence supporting it's existence and therefore you are far more inclined to believe that Moscow exists than Muhammad splitting the moon. "You also I believe, I hope, that you are having this conversation with another individual, another mind, and not some robot, computer program, dream of yours or synthetic Matrix reality. You could never prove that anyone outside of yourself has a mind or that you are not living in an eternal dream state, yet you believe this not to be the case with no real, conclusive evidence." Ya, it's called induction. It's a form of reasoning. I have no first hand evidence that you have a heart beating in your chest but I can still reasonably assume that you do. I have no evidence that the sun will come up tomorrow but I can reasonably assume it will. However, I can't reasonably assume that the moon was split. "You place an undue standard on the supernatural that you do not place on other things, which is unfair because you have admitted that the supernatural was possible." Sometimes, and this is where I get frustrated sometimes, I have to repeat things to you before you acknowledge them. We've been over this. Earlier you asked, "Can you think of anything beyond the supernatural where you request to personally experience it before you will allow that it is possible?" I answered, "Sure, a basketball player who makes 1000 full court shots in a row. That's not supernatural but it's so improbable that I would be skeptical of reports." I also said "it's normal to apply the burden of proof to far fetched claims." This goes for both natural and supernatural claims. Also, I don't believe I am unduly applying the burden of proof to a claim like splitting the moon or stopping the sun in the sky. "It is impossible to have a philosophical discussion about the supernatural when you do not accept philosophical and rational arguments for it - only personally witnessing it on a massive scale." Again, take as an example the miraculous claim that Muhammad split the moon. If a Muslim was trying to convince you about this occurrence with all the documentation and fervor at his disposal, you'd be so skeptical that you'd want to see it or something as grandiose before you'd believe in miracles outside of a Christian context. Heck, you may even say that miracles outside of a Christian context are IMPOSSIBLE. This would effectively put you beyond my level of skepticism since I at least hold that Muhammad splitting the moon is possible though VERY improbable. Same with Jesus stopping the sun in the sky. "...do you agree with W.K. Clifford when he says that it is wrong, always and everywhere, for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence?" No. Who? Anyway, Clifford needs to account for things we have no evidence for yet still believe. For example, that the sun will rise tomorrow. The Sun and Earth are simply following the laws of physics so we can assign a high probability to this future event, though it's not certain. We can also assume that gravity will still continue to work and we won't float out into space as we sleep. We can't however, assume Muhammad split the moon despite the "evidence." "Something caused dinosaurs to die out. Something was so catastrophic that it killed them out rather quickly. Yet here we are still in this super hostile environment living life." Exactly. And we could all die tomorrow, just like the Dino---BOOOOM!! Oh nooo!! Arrrghh! "Supernatural = magic. Not in the least except in your own mind. Magic is a term to describe illusions and tricks" It could be in my own mind but it could also be in the dictionary. Did you consider that!?! Ha! From Webster's... 1 a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces 2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source You are equivocating if you take my definition of magic to be sleight of hand. Use the context. If I say supernatural = magic, I clearly don't mean the "tricks and illusions" definition. So when I say "supernatural = magic" I am using the word properly. "As you said boiling babies should be seen as objectively wrong, what makes this the case? Simply personal choice, societal choice, evolutionary instincts?" No. Hmmmm... Critique my thought process, Aaron. You agree with me that 2 + 2 = 4, correct? And 2 + 2 = 4 would be true even without human beings, correct? But would boiling babies for pleasure still be wrong without human beings? I don't know. Without people it's almost like asking if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? The obvious answer is, yes. But when you consider that... "The production of sound requires 3 things: A source, a medium, and a receiver. The source, through vibrations called "compression" and "rarefraction", creates a series of pressure waves that vary in frequency and amplitude. These pressure waves propagate through various mediums including water, air and solids. The receiver collects and converts these pressure waves into electrical impulses. If you remove any of the 3 requirements for sound, there is no sound." - Wiki Perhaps it's the same with morality. Humans are a necessary component of morality. No people, no morality. But, assume the boiling babies for pleasure IS objectively true just like 2 + 2 = 4. Now, what makes 2 + 2 = 4 objectively true is not dependent upon any of the things you mentioned (choice, society, instinct). It's ALSO not dependent upon Allah or any other god(s). Allah can't make 2 + 2 = 5. Right? The objective nature of 2 + 2 = 4 puts it beyond the power of any gods (yours too) to change. So, the answer to your question is none of the above and not God. "What makes this the case?" you ask? It just is. Why does 2 + 2 = 4? Because it just does. I love trying to piece this stuff together. :) "...what gives you the power to judge their actions - if morality is simply a matter of the individual, society or evolution." If all morality was completely subjective, then nothing. If all morality was completely objective then I guess the same thing that gives me the power to judge someone who says that 2 + 2 = 5 is wrong. However, as I've repeated, I think morality is some combination of the two. Morality is so much more mushier than mathematics, don't you agree? Whereas the truth of 2 + 2 = 4 transcends all culture, morality does not, correct? "There is a reason that consistent evolutionists and naturalists assert that morality is subjective, even though it seems self-evident that it is not." This is tearing down a straw man and does not represent my view about morality, which you should know by now. I think you view naturalism as synonymous with moral relativism. I think this is a canard. I respectfully ask that you focus on what I've actually presented in this discussion and not some straw man. It's easy to debate a straw man. :) "I wanted to make sure you understood that your assertion has no grounds in Scripture." Riddle me this, Batman. How did you get that I made an assertion from a question I asked you? I did hear this from somewhere. Is it a Church doctrine? Puritan? Anyway, you didn't answer my question, "What is objectively wrong about "doggy style" if both people are into it?" Or, is there nothing wrong with this sexual position? "...so there you would have events that qualify as supernatural, yet not miraculous." Keep up with the contortions, because we're still waiting for some examples. I try to provide examples in my answers for clarity. Why do you give me all this mealy mouthed gunk in your replies? For example you said, "Scripture records events that are supernatural but are not miraculous because they are not attributed to God." Well, that kind of begs the question, if these miracles are NOT attributable to God then who are they attributable to? Whoever it is, they must have supernatural powers by definition. Keep in mind that a true miracle is something that can't normally happen like the sun stopping in the sky, resurrections, splitting the moon, regrowth of amputated limbs, virgin births, walking on water, etc. Seeing the image of Jesus on a piece of toast is not a true miracle. Oh, and BTW, you neglected to mention any real supernatural events scripture records that are not considered miraculous. "You also seem to be applying Humian reasons for why you reject miracles or the supernatural as probable." I agree with #1 and the conclusion. I don't think I agree with #2 as the word "rare" implies that a miracle happened at least once. I think the probability is low that one real miracle has ever occurred. I don't know about #3 either as the sun often rises yet there is no hard evidence that it will rise again. I don't know about #4 because sometimes there is no hard evidence available to base a belief on. For example, the belief that gravity won't shut off and we all float awaaaaayyy... Hopefully you will allow this to stand as my statement instead of referring back to my earlier misstatements and poor word choice. Supernatural events can and do occur in a variety of settings, but the miraculous can only occur within Christianity because they speak strictly to the God of Christianity. Miracles, as Christians define them, could not possibly occur outside of Christianity. All right. Based on that statement, please provide examples of real supernatural events outside of a Christian context. I do hold you to these words though, "It would be hypocritical of me to say that the supernatural could only exist within the confines of the Bible." The reason is because you are absolutely correct about that. "To the Mormon I would point out that DNA evidence has discounted the claims of American Indians being the lost tribes of Israel." That evidence won't make a difference either. The Mormon would be happy to provide DNA evidence to the contrary. Or, they will just deny. I've experienced this mental dissonance from believers first hand. No matter what you do, it will be useless. For example, there are creationists who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old because that's the sum of years from the genealogies in scripture beginning with Adam and Eve. I've shown these people videos of tree rings totaling more than 11,000 years. They STILL don't accept it despite simple and totally observable evidence. Evidence even a child would understand. They even agree that 1 tree ring equals a year. But they say that it's just God's way of testing their faith when I present them with the facts. That's not rational. It's delusional. "...a non-Christian can witness something supernatural that does not point to God." By sheer coincidence, I happen to be a non-Christian. What truly supernatural event do you think I can witness that does not point to the God you believe in? "It's not hypocritical to say that I believe my belief system to be true and pervasive." No one said that. You actually said, "I said it would be hypocritical to be skeptical that the supernatural occurs outside of Christianity" Let's just put that to the test. Please provide some examples of legitimate supernatural occurrences outside of Christianity that you are NOT skeptical about.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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