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Aaron
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I promise I am going to reply. I like the discussion, it's just things are crazy right now. I've got baseball & T-ball games going on all the time. I look forward to the continued back & forth. Also - Robin, I enjoyed your question in the other thread about God & the Bible. I look forward to discussing that one as well.
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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Interesting developments here. I'm off the computer for the weekend. I will respond soon. Thanks!
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I'm glad you agreed, but I would ask you to cite daily or even regular American Christian killings at abortion clinics and especially mosques. I will grant that, unfortunately, some Christians have contradictorily killed in cause of being "pro-life," but that is not and has not been a regular occurrence. I could not name any time Christians have walked into a mosque to kill someone.
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People moved away from a state of ignorance after becoming educated through science and reason. Spoken like a true child of the enlightenment and modernity. ;) It was religious doctrine that the stars and planets revolved around the Earth. At best, it was a religious opinion, not a biblical one, and one that had been around before Christ. The faithful held their position out of ignorance. Galileo was branded a heretic. The actual story of Galileo is a bit more complicated than that with various factors leading to the final conflict. 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. So, this shift away from faith based thinking is a very good thing. So your position is that our current culture is better as religious or faith influences are removed? Current US culture > previous US culture? Current US culture > Indian, South American or African cultures, which place a higher priority on religious ideas? So what? Islam exploded and taught from it's earliest point that Muhammad rode a winged horse to Heaven. True, but compare the situations. How did Islam expand? How did Christian expand? Is a trip to heaven on a horse falsifiable? Is a body permanently resurrected falsifiable? There is nothing I can show a Muslim that would disprove Muhammad's trip. The critics of Christianity could have ended the whole thing if they produced a body. 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. Islam grew among people that were nominally religious and others that were polytheists. Christianity began among deeply religious monotheistic Jews. Those who converted to Islam did so on pain of death or promise of being part of the conquering herd. Those who converted to Christianity did so with the promise of persecution up to death. There was nothing physical, worldly to be gained from conversion apart from relationships with other outcasts. I can understand why the first Muslims followed Muhammad. They weren't really leaving a deep religious connection they had possessed as a people for their entire history. They could use the new faith as a means to conquer lands and people. There was much to be gained from following Islam. I cannot understand why the first Christians followed a martyred Jesus (unless there was something beyond the natural). Deeply, monotheistic Jews shifted to proclaiming a man executed as a Roman criminal as God. In accepting this new faith, they would suffer persecution from the Jewish authorities for starters and later on the entire Roman government. All of this with a very pacifist attitude. Those are very different beginnings. That does not automatically make one true and the other false, but one is easily explained by natural reasons. The other? Not as much. Wiki Answers said there are 33 accounts of resurrection in the Bible but it didn't list them. How many are there then, Aaron? Good question. I've never sat down to count them. However, even if we take the 33 accounts - that means you have 1 every 121 years. That is ignoring the theological placement of the resurrections in the Bible. (That is they occur primarily during the periods when God is revealing more of Himself and His message, especially during the age of the prophets and the time of Christ/early church.) I still don't think that's not very often, but that's not really the point. 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." Yes, but there is no testable way to discuss how many times people would find a sword in the field and claim it to be divine. That seems to be a fairly specific issue and definitely hard to measure. A resurrection is something that can be tested and seen. Seeing something divine in a naturally explainable phenomenon is something that cannot be tested or seen. Apples and oranges. 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. Very true. I apologize for misstating your position. I should have said, "You also believe that reports of resurrections occur more often than someone finds a sword in a field?" But maybe even that is not a fair restatement. But again, my point is that the comparison is not valid. One is an untestable, personal experience attributing divine motives to an action that is easily explained by natural reasons. The other is a falsifiable, public experience that, if true, would only have a supernatural explanation. Would you not agree that those are different things? Do you have a better word to describe the state of the universe before time and space began with The Big Bang? Yes. Nonexistent. ;) Here's my question, if the singularity existed in an eternal state as the singularity, what caused it to explode into the current state of the universe? [I'm not asking this as a means to say the "cause" is God. I'm asking to discern your specific position on this.] Because I already know people make them. So that is that the determining factor for design? Obviously, if we know people design something, then that solves the question for us. But how do we know something is designed if we did not know the process? What if we found something on another planet, what would signal that it was intentionally designed versus naturally, randomly made? Clarify? What are you talking about? 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. But you haven't changed your position on the matter? Louis' orientation is a sin? Two things. No, I have not changed my entire position on the matter. Secondly, I have never believed or said that Louis' orientation is a sin. An "orientation" cannot be sinful. All of us have a orientation to sin, but that does not mean we are in sin because of that inclination. Sin comes when we behave or think in ways that are contrary to the revealed will of God. 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. So ... would I have been wrong if I said that our interaction here had brought no real, positive (from your perspective) change in my behavior or beliefs? Would that make me a fundamentalist? Which is? I already said, "Others are much more honest about where it leads like Nietzsche and Singer." 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. You think they are teaching factual BS yet you think it's "degrading" and "dismissive" to tell them the truth? That's not a fair representation of what I said. I said it is dismissive to say that their pursuing a degree is a waste of time. I have no problem telling a Mormon or an atheist that I disagree with their worldview. I do have a problem with telling them a degree pursued with that belief as a foundation is a waste of time. 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. That's actually not true. There are many people who are former Mormons, many are now Christians. In my Hebrew class, there was a girl who used to be a Mormon. The majority of her family still is. There are people who used to be Muslim and are now Christians, including the son of the founder of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas.
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Christian myths don't appear in history books because they are not historical. As I said, previously Biblical events were in history books. What changed? For starters, academia transitioned from an entirely Christian enterprise to a decidedly anti-Christian realm. Therefore those that wrote history books moved from being Christians to not being Christians. That certainly has a barring on what becomes part of textbooks. 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. [Personal opinion: I don't want a teacher in public school teaching on the resurrection. They should mention Jesus and the birth/growth of Christianity as that is one of the largest influences on Western Civilization. They should mention what Christianity believes about Jesus. They should also talk about the birth and growths of other major religions and the major tenets of them as well, always leaving room for those who hold to those faiths discussed to not feel attacked.] A sword in a field has about as many natural explanations as an empty tomb would have. Again, very true as I have said, but the empty tomb must be considered with the other historical facts surrounding the resurrection claims - followers of Jesus claim to have saw him after his death, even adversaries of the new sect admitted the tomb was empty, Christianity exploded and taught from its earliest point that Jesus was God and was resurrected from the dead. Wrong. According to the Bible, divine resurrections happened for more often than divine swords in fields. So for at least 4,000 years of recorded biblical history, we have nine instances of someone being resurrected (10 if you count Jesus). You wouldn't count 1 occurrence every 400 years as "rare." You also believe that resurrections occur more often than someone finds a sword in a field? That seems a bit of stretch to me. It's eternal so it's like asking where did God come from. God always existed. The singularity always existed. Is that your position on the singularity? That it is eternal. I do not want to waste my time discussing that proposition if you are merely throwing things out there that you do not believe. If you hold to that position, I will gladly discuss that with you. You said, "... as it compares the same to something (a rock) we know is not designed." Explain to me again how we know this? It bears no characteristics of design. Let me ask you a similar (reverse) question, how do you know that a computer is designed? What causes your mind to look at it and assume it is the product of design? As an aside: I'm really not sure where you are going with this argument, as I know for certain you do not believe rocks to be designed. 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. Give 3 short examples of your perspectives and positions that have actually changed from arguments here. From early on, dealing with Louis (and others) on the issue of homosexuality has caused me to re-evaluate the way I speak of related issues and the people involved. With my cultural milieu, it was easy to not think of the issues in terms of individuals on the other side who were created in the image of God and who deserve love and respect. It was easy to simply talk about sin without speaking of grace. It was easy to focus on the sin of those which were "other" and not on the sin of those which are "us." There have been other instances, mainly politically, were I have said something. You or someone else challenged it, so I went and researched it and found out my source for the information was wrong or at least biased in some way. 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. Again, there have been numerous discussions here that have shaped who I am now and have made this man different than the one I was when I first started our interactions. You did not answer my similar question to you. Do you hold the same opinions about the same issues as you did when you first began interacting here? Have you ever heard of Russell, Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, et al. say that? No? Those four? Not that I can recall. But I think part of that is them stopping short on living out their worldview to its logical conclusion. They will hold to a contradiction in order to avoid following naturalistic atheism to its natural end. Others are much more honest about where it leads like Nietzsche and Singer. One can argue which one more rightly deserves the mantle, but one cannot say that no one argues that way or it is some kind of "misinformation from theology school." 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? You are continually missing my point here. I'm not concerned with the field of subject it says on the degree. I'm speaking of the philosophical underpinnings of the degree program and the professors who teach it. Your degree may be in English, but if you learn that from people with a faulty worldview then, if I used your previous standard, I would call it a "waste of time." However, I would not and do not say that. If someone puts forth the effort to obtain a degree from BYU or Atheist U (Yes, I know that's not a real place), I would not call it a waste of time. They have pursued an advanced degree and have better themselves through education. I will disagree with much of what they were taught, but I would not call it a waste of time. That is to degrading and dismissive in my opinion.
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Lots of comments, I don't want to write a book in response so I'll pick out what seems like the most potent arguments. If I miss some that you feel were especially important, please let me know. The point being, only Christians believe their miracles to be historical. No one else does. If that was the case, does that necessitate them being false? Actually members of other religions also believe in the historicity of some Christian miracles, but none of that makes them false or true by itself. There have been numerous instances were history has had to be revised because we learned later that something which seemed impossible was actually the case. Again, none of that speaks directly to the Christian testimony, but it does negate some what your assertion that we should not believe the miracles because they are not in history books. (One could argue that if you go back far enough, you could find history books that did speak of the Resurrection as fact because the realm of academia and text book authors was controlled by Christians. That is no longer the case.) 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. Very much so, I agree. What are some of the other possibilities? Swoon theory, conspiracy theory, hallucinations, wrong tomb theory. Those are the ones I know of off the top of my head. Which one of those explains the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances and the emergence of the Christian faith? The video you linked to is a perfect example of giving numerous possibilities for an entirely natural event. 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. Surely, both can be attributed to deity with no real evidence, but one happens all the time. The other is a bit more rare. So in that state where there is no such thing as time, is the universe eternal? OK so we have the singularity. Where did it come from? That's my question. You side step a little speaking around the issue of time. You are speaking as if someone could be outside the singularity and observe it existing outside of time and therefore be "eternal." There is no outside vantage point, unless you want to allow for the supernatural. That's all that could exist outside of the natural, which was all bound into that one point. But physicists are not arguing those semantics. They are trying to get around a beginning point by proposing all kinds of theories from a Universe Generator, which simply cranks out universes somehow, to all sorts of other wild theories with no real evidence. We can go through all those one by one if you'd like, but it boils down simply to "where did the original singularity come from?" Isn't it the Christian belief that God designed everything from every simple rock, to every snowflake, to every person? The Christian position would be that God designed the processes that naturally create the rocks, snowflakes and humans. The issue of people would move a step farther in that the natural process is used for the making of the human being, but then it enters into a discussion about consciousness and the soul. But the simple answer to your question is: No, I don't pick up a rock and say, "Wow look at this rock God made by hand." Simply because the theist allows for the supernatural does not mean that they do not allow for the natural. We have room for both types of causes and more often than not it will simply be the natural cause. 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? Let me answer the question myself before you start assaulting what you think might be my answer. No, I do not think doubts are sinful. The way my mind works I want answers. I see that as the way God programmed me. I've been through entire periods of doubt in my life. I have doubts on different things on a regular basis. Do some Christians view doubts as sinful? I think they do. Some respond to questions with, "You just need more faith." That never satisfied me. It's why I'm in the field of theology I am in. 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. None have caused me to disregard my faith in Christ. It goes to a larger point that Louis raises, which I'll get to later. I guess I could flip it for you, do you ever doubt your belief system? Do you view Christian arguments and rationale as little more than the rantings and ravings of Joan of Arc in the jail cell? That, my friend, is just sad. I laughed at first but then I thought to myself this might actually be what you think. That's not what I think about rape or even what I accuse Darwinian evolutionists of thinking about rape. That's what many have said themselves. I would not even begin to think anyone would make that type of argument, but they have. Remember the controversy over the book "A Natural History of Rape." To your closing comment, I appreciate clarifying your stance. It's a difference in how we would communicate it. If I used the same standard of "waste of time," I would call degrees from BYU that. But again, I would also do the same to degrees that have their foundation on any other faulty (from my perspective) perspectives be it atheism, naturalism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. But I don't hold to that standard and would not call them such. As to my other blog: feel free to comment. It is a bit different than here. It is more personal and wrote more specifically toward a Christian audience, but I have no problem with you or anyone else commenting there regardless of your perspective. Robin: How long did it take Marshal Applewhite, Jim Jones, or David Koresh to become messiahs? We are talking apples and oranges. People can gather followers who believe them to be a messiah. That's not the issue. A comparable status would be if today, people claimed that Koresh came back to life after that fire and his followers were still preaching him as messiah and they were spreading across the nation despite persecution to the point of death. What's so impossible about infinity? There's an infinity between any two points in space you can name. Actual infinities are everywhere. Those are not actual infinities. Those are probable infinities. Sure you could take any distance and perpetually divide it into halves, but that is not the type of infinite I am speaking of. Think of a hotel with an infinite number of rooms with an infinite number of guests. If one more person came, would they have room? Of course, there is an infinite number of rooms. An actual infinite brings about absurdities. If the universe has had an infinite regress of events as part of the past, then it would have been impossible to arrive at this present moment. It is impossible to count from 0 to infinity. How much more absurd would it be to count down from infinity to 0 (present moment)? Let's assume the atheist defined the Perfect Butler as a butler who can hear any request from anyone anywhere and can instantly fulfill it, who has existence as one of his perfect attributes. Again, I don't want to defend the argument because I don't use it, but ... It's not about how you are I define anything. It's about the issue or being being discussed. When you speak of "being which nothing greater can be conceived" it is different than simply speaking of a perfect island or perfect butler. Anslem argued that the being which you conceive would not be the greatest unless it existed because existence is greater than non-existence. Again, that's as much time as I want to spend on the argument because I don't use it. At best, it's too philosophical, complex and prone to misunderstanding. But since there's nothing else I could possibly use, I have to make my best effort with the mind I've got. Most take that path. Some go the route of giving up. There is nothing within the naturalistic system to say one should not give up all hope of ever knowing anything because there is no real reason to think that our senses and our mind is functioning properly. There is a different way. If our senses and our mind were designed with the purpose of properly receiving and interpreting data, we could trust them much more than we could if we arrived at our present state by a blind, random, purposeless process. Louis: William Lane Craig speaks of the difference for a Christian between knowing and showing. He says the Christian can know Christianity to be true based on revelation, based on the Christian doctrine known as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. However, moving outside of the individual one must transition to showing by use of reason. It is not that I do not accept reason as a means to knowledge. It is that, as you say, reason cannot and does not explain everything. Again, as you say, it has its limits.
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Richard, I'm not sure how much evidence you need for the town of Nazareth existence during the time of Jesus. If you place the same standard of proof on other issues in history, you would eliminate much of our pre-modern history. None of the sources, including the NT, claim that Nazareth was a huge metro area. It was more likely than not a small village. Last year, a house from the time of Jesus was uncovered in Nazareth. I'm also not sure how much evidence of Jesus' life you expect to find, outside of the written sources both Christian and non which mention him. He lived, as you said, as an itinerant rabbi. We have no record of him writing anything. There is the issue of the Christians claiming no body will be discovered. The only evidence we could ever hope for with someone like Jesus would be written records and we have that over and beyond the norm. Cin, you are barking up the wrong tree with that video. I have no problem with Pullman publishing whatever he would like. I've routinely criticized Christians for their reaction (ie over-reaction) to books or movies that purport to give a different view of Jesus. With that being said, I'm not sure why Pullman writing a fictional biography about Jesus is that noteworthy. If it causes an interest in the historicity of Jesus & Christianity, I'm all for it. I'd love to discuss any of the claims he makes in the book. I'd have no problem reading & reviewing the book.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2010 on The Jesus of History at two or three . net
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Good points and good discussion. I will definitely respond to them. I'm enjoying this! I've got three finals next week, so I may or may not get to respond before Wednesday. But I will definitely respond. Talk to you soon
Toggle Commented May 21, 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? But of course. I think Robin's characterization of a typical Atheist/theist conversation was pretty good. But of course. ;) They don't realize it's circular reasoning. Actually, they do. Those Christian philosophers who argue for belief in God based on Scripture are called Presuppositionalists and they argue that everyone, at some point in their worldview, relies on circular reasoning. I do not hold to that form of apologetics. I do believe the Bible is trustworthy, but I would not use it as a means to convince an atheist that he is wrong. I do and will defend its trustworthiness, but I do not say, "You (as a Non-Christian) should believe this because the Bible says it is true." That is a strawman and a mischaracterization of, at least, my argumentation. [I use the Bible as a basis for reason only when speaking to other Christians who accept its authority.] If this stuff was truly history then it would be in history books not religious faith books like the Bible. Speaking of circular reasoning ... The accounts in the Bible are not history because they are not in history books. They are not in history books because they are not history. Therefore, we cannot trust the Bible as history. I will ask you the same thing I asked Robin, how much of this area, ancient literature, history, marks of legendary material, have you actually studied? My point being, it is easy to just say because these things contain the supernatural they must be legendary. But that succumbs to at least the logical fallacy of petitio principii. You are begging the question by saying that anything that contains supernatural must be legendary. Do you know of any example from history of legendary material arising and overtaking the actual historical events in terms of acceptance in only a few years with witnesses to the actual events still living and in the area of the purported events, as the resurrection account of Jesus did? Those who deny that account, must provide an alternative that explains the empty tomb, the disciples (and critics) reporting to have seen him alive, and the emergence of the Christian religion. Those are historical events that have to be explained. I'm not saying that Jesus did rise from the dead or people did see him alive after his death. I'm saying the tomb was empty and people reported seeing him alive. Those along with the origin of Christianity must be explained by other alternative. Why insert a supernatural cause like The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Jehovah, or Allah? See, here is wonder if you even read what I wrote. 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. What explanation do you have for the origin of the universe that avoids the problems I outlined? 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. So you believe that this planet, which is specifically designed (Dawkins uses that terminology) to support our living here, along with all life, including the complexity of human life, which is vastly more complex than any computer, is more akin to a rock than a painting? You will have to explain that to me. You are correct that my analogy could be considered begging the question, by comparing life and our universe to an item which we know is designed, but the same critique could be applied to Robin's analogy, as it compares the same to something we know is not designed. So that leaves us to where we must consider which analogy is more appropriate. I will leave it to you to attempt to convince anyone that a human is more like a rock than a computer or painting. It's our natural instinct to procreate but we often choose not to. Very true, but why is that? Many would contend that it is tied in to the issue of morality. You have not answered the question or addressed my point. Can you explain how evolutionarily mandated morality moves us to "ought?" Evolution can describe how we behave, but it cannot prescribe how we should behave. That is the question of morality - not what we do, but what should we do. E.O. Wilson has done extensive research on animals and how they behave in a social manner. He saw how ants behaved in a social manner and they applied that to humans. Only problem? Those ants never make a choice to behave otherwise. No worker ant decides to overthrowing the queen ant. Humans continually act contrary to the social good or even their own personal good. We have numerous natural instincts like eating and sex. If morality is just another instinct like those, then what judges between all the instincts? Why should I listen to the moral instinct instead of the sex instinct? Why should I listen to the moral instinct instead of the eat instinct? If morality is entirely evolutionary, then what choice do I have and responsibility do I have for those choices? If it is totally a matter of the way I evolved, then I should bare no responsibility for it. I'm merely acting the way evolution has made me. The lion is not responsible for eating the gazelle. Why should the rapest be responsible for following one natural instinct over the other? The people who say this are pulling this out of their butt. They actually have zero knowledge, zero facts, zero evidence.' Two things. Actually, no there is philosophical and logical reasoning behind the idea that God is eternal. Secondly, that has nothing to do with the objection. The theistic argument for a Creator says "Everything that begins to exist has a cause." The question becomes do you agree with that or not? The next premise is "The universe began to exist." Do you agree with that? The last premise is "The universe has a cause?" Do you agree with that? Now the question becomes what could have caused the existence of both time and space? Logically, only something that existed previous outside of both time and space, since they just were caused to exist. What exists outside of time and space? Theist say that something is God. The cute, smarmy atheist response is not to address any of the premises, but rather to ask "Well then, who caused God?" My point is that the postulated God does not require a cause according to premise 1 because he does not begin to exist. He exists eternally outside of time and space. I'm not saying that is a proven fact. I'm stating that is logically the case from the argument and it is consistent with the tenets of monotheistic religions (which again do not make it true in and of itself). 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. When you refute the ones I given, I'll be happy to give you some more. ;) I could discuss the teleological issue and how the 250, at least, variables present in our universe are intricately fine tuned and balanced on a razors edge, just perfect for life to exist. That raises the question of if you are standing in front of an expertly trained firing squad poised to issue execution and you hear them yell "Fire" and you hear the bullets fire, but you find yourself still alive - what would be more logically to assume: all the members of the firing squad just happened to miss or there was some larger reason, a choice, at play behind the actions. It is not that any of this would prove a Creator or anything else. It is simply that it makes it logical acceptable to hold to the premise of a Creator and often the case that it makes it more logical to hold to that premise than to do otherwise. Present your evidence then. I just have a feeling that such a discussion will turn out very close to what Robin caricatured. Once again, we get to my objection from the post. I present argumentation for my beliefs. You reject it as being acceptable, often with little more than an "LOL" or some other quip [Judge]. Then you decide that since I have no evidence, God must not exist [Jury]. It's easy to win discussions that way. That is circular reason at its finest. "I say your evidence is not good enough to be accepted as evidence. I dismiss your claim because you have no acceptable evidence." You have no evidence because I say so. I say your argument is bad because you have no evidence. I'm not living in a glass house. I've never said you have no evidence for your claims. I've said I agree with much of your evidence, but I have a different interpretation of the data. In this discussion here, no positive evidence has been presented for atheism. So how have I displayed the same type of a priori rejection? All that has been done here is the attacking of over-simplified, at best, theistic philosophical arguments. I would love to discuss any of the merits of any of the arguments I've brought up. I'm just waiting on someone to actually respond to them and not their own caricature of my arguments.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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One more note on this previous quote of yours: Personally, I do not believe anything whatsoever that I cannot justify with evidence or logic. On what basis do you trust your senses that gather evidence and your mind that processes logic? If we arrived at our present state through the random process of evolution, why are those things trustworthy? Evolution has as its goal - survival, not truth. Now truth may be an advantage to survival, but it is not a requirement. Nothing in the evolutionary process requires it to result in a being with senses that analyze data accurately or a mind that finds logic correctly, if that is the case, could we not be in a world where that is the case? Is it not more likely that given all the possible outcomes of evolution, that we would inhabit a world were those things did not come out perfectly for us to be able to process both sensual evidence and logic?
Toggle Commented May 18, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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You're just engaging in sophistry there. Actually what I'm pointing out is that people constantly assert things with no evidence given. As you did in your statement and as you do later. But more to your point. I enjoyed your brief representation of an apologetic conversation between "Evangelist" and "Atheist." It was witty, which is often effective. However it often can gloss over huge issues. Soundbites can be very damning, but often times they lack the larger context which gives them meaning. While that conversation may be too close for comfort for many evangelist (I'm not sure how many, but I would agree some), it is not close to accurate for an actual discussion between a Christian philosopher and an Atheist one. For starters the atheist character, which I assume represents yourself, makes numerous assertions themselves with no evidence along with numerous strawmen arguments. I go one by one. Copies of copies of retranslations of copies of hearsay of ancient legends. Too unreliable. What else have you got? Going back to our initial discussion, how much evidence do you have for this assertion? ;) Seriously, how much actual study have you done on this topic? Or more to the point, are you simply reasserting things you have heard other atheists say. Because I can give you much of the actual literary, historical research on the documents of the New Testament. There are very few, even those who are not Christians, who hold to the legendary hypothesis when trying to explain away the Gospel accounts. Even if you discount the Gospels as late and legendary (which they still were written before legend could have crept in and they do not bare the marks of a legend that the later Gnostic Gospels have), you still have to account for Paul's writings, especially books like 1 Corinthians, which even the most liberal and skeptical scholars agree was written by Paul and in the mid first century, which materials tracing back to a few short years, perhaps months, of Jesus' crucifixion. Legends don't happen that fast. Overall, you seem very bright and knowledgeable about a host of topics, but when you begin asserting things about the existence of Jesus, etc. Your rhetoric does not live up to your normal standard of knowledge. The Shroud of Turin... Wow! That's the second line of evidence that your hypothetical evangelist resorts to? I don't know of any credible apologist or Christian philosopher that would ever appeal to the Shroud. I think it's fake myself. Which needn't be supernatural. Again, witty but doesn't address the actual philosophical question. The proposition is: "Every being which begins must have a cause for its beginning." You are right that, in general, nothing requires that to be supernatural. But the actual argumentation comes when that is applied to our universe. All the scientific data we have suggests a finite beginning for our universe, the question becomes what was the cause for it. Many suggest an infinite regress of natural, physical causes, but the idea of the infinite brings philosophical problems that lead to absurdities and actual impossibilities. Then some atheist get cute and think they have asked an impossible question, by saying "What about God, what's His cause?" Of course, God does not violate the proposition because God is said to be eternal, that he does not begin to exist. A rock isn't made by a rockmaker. Are you seriously comparing the intricacies of a rock to a watch, much less the universe? Saying that a mud puddle didn't need a designer does not say anything about a painting, the lack of a designer for a dirt pile does not speak to the same for a laptop. Hey, Perfect Butler, bring me a beer! Nope. Ah, Anselm's Ontological Argument, followed by the same refutation that was given by a Guantalo, a monk, immediately after it's publication. Anslem appreciated the argument (substitute island for butler) and wanted it published along with his argument. I do not and would not use the ontological argument because it is so complicated and abstract. Not many apologists use it today. However, Anselm did have a response. His argument was about a Being that had existence as part of its nature. Any other item you think of differs from the Being in Anselm's argument because it does not possess existence as one of its perfect attributes. My parents, same as you. And their parents before them, and those before them? They had to originate from somewhere. You could argue evolution has brought about our morality, but at best an evolutionary argument on morality is descriptive, not prescriptive. It can argue how we behave, but it cannot argue how we ought to behave. 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? All natural. What else? I'm not sure what argument "Look at the trees!" is supposed to represent, so I cannot really respond and defend it. No, just bad ones. It's not my fault if that's all you've got. If the only arguments that theists and Christians had were the ones you have mischaracterized then I would be right with you. 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. But again, even in this wildly simplified version you did the same thing to which you assert you are not doing. You do not take the time to actually engage the real arguments Christians are making, you rip strawmen to pieces and in doing so claim that no real evidence is presented. It goes back to the formula you quoted from me. Judge: Deciding, a priori, that all the evidence is bad. Jury: Rejecting the argument because there is no good evidence. Again, it is very easy to win arguments if you afford yourself the privilege of being one of the participants in the discussion and being the outside arbitrator who gets to decide both the admissible or credible evidence and the outcome of the discussion.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2010 on Hitchens argument is not great at two or three . net
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So what's the proof? You never present one. I repeatedly demonstrated the claim is self-defeating. What evidence does Hitchens have for his own comment? What proof can he give me to demonstrate the truthfulness of his own statement? He asserts it as fact with no evidence, therefore, according to his own standard, I can dismiss it. Personally, I do not believe anything whatsoever that I cannot justify with evidence or logic. Nice switch there. You added the word "justify" and you added the caveat "or logic." There is a difference there, a subtle difference but a difference none the less. I would say it is more logical to believe that I have lived for 30 years and am not just recently created with a built-in memory. But what factual evidence can I point to that would suggest that to be the case? What evidence can you give for the existence of other minds? We can think that logically it makes sense to believe that our memories are correct and that other individuals have minds just as we do, but there is no evidence that we can look to, hold on to that makes this the case. You seem confident about it. What evidence can you give me that proves that we were all not recently created and implanted with pre-existing memories, thoughts, etc.? What evidence do you have that we aren't really jacked up someone to a computer feeding us all of our experiences a la The Matrix? I suppose you would say logic, but what makes it more logical to believe one over the other? Do you have any substantial evidence to base your "logic" on? The well-known holes and logical fallacies in those arguments, however, do. Please, go on. Demonstrate the logical fallacies in the teleological, ontological, cosmological and moral arguments. Because I can assure you, for all you assert to find in those, I can do the same with the counter-arguments. If you have no evidence, your case may be dismissed. On what evidence do you base that assertion? Besides you miss [and prove] my point, it is not that no evidence has been given, it is that the atheist establishes himself as judge and jury, both deciding as the judge what evidence is admissible, ie none, and then as then as the jury declaring the case to be empty because no evidence was presented. Anyone can do that in any argument to prove anything. Who couldn't win a debate if you got to determine both what constitutes evidence and then the validity of the evidence? The question is about determining both of those issues (What is the evidence? Is the evidence compelling?). Atheist seem to want to jump past those debates and straight to the sentencing phase of the court room. That's not how it works. Neither side gets to simply rule out all of the argumentation of the other side a priori. You would not let me do that, so neither will I let you or Hitchens get away with it either.
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Your points do not address my post, as you must have assumed I was speaking of the New Testament Gospels (but even those do not match the characterizations you give). Why would non and even anti-Christian sources speak of Jesus as being a historical fact, if that was not the case? It is historical idiocy to deny that Jesus lived when more sources wrote about his life, even though he was a traveling rabbi in a small corner of the Roman Empire, than the Roman emperor during his life. There is much evidence to affirm Jesus' existence and his life. The existence of followers of his claiming he rose from the dead with in only a few years of his death is plenty of evidence. Roman letters from leader to leader speak of Christians meeting together and proclaiming Christ as rising from the dead and being God, all within only a few decades of Jesus' life. Also, your data on Nazareth is almost a decade old. Archeology never said that Nazareth did not exist. There was only a lack of evidence that it did. There is a difference. But today, there is evidence in support of the town existing during Jesus' time. There has been a bath house discovered that many of the archeologists have dated back to the time of Jesus. But even prior to that, pottery shards were found and farms were discovered that date back to before the time of Jesus and after his time.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2010 on The Jesus of History at two or three . net
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I don't think there's any reason for you to wish you could praise the President more often--there's only reason for you to wish that he agreed with you more often. Glad to talk with you again Keith. Yes, that is definitely part of it. I do wish he agreed with me more. But I also wish I could praise him more for several reasons. Personally, I like the man. I'm not one who sees him as some crazed, evil man bent on destroying the nation. Secondly, he confesses Christ. I don't know him personally so I have no idea of his walk with Christ, but he says he is a believer so he is my brother in Christ. I do pray for him and that makes me want to praise him more often. Thirdly, perhaps this is a bit selfish, but I don't especially enjoy being called a racist or have political commentators infer that I'm a racist because I disagree with a President who happens to be black. Honestly, I want to praise him as well because of the historic reality of him being the first minority President. I want to live in a nation where every child can realistically dream of becoming President regardless of their personal traits. But it seems to me implicit in your comment that it's a sad fact that we all cannot praise the President of the US. I think that's wrong. My comment was more political in nature. I mean I can come on here and write a blog post about how I think President Obama is a good husband and a wonderful dad, from all I know about him. But that's not really anything of substance and is a personal opinion with no real bearing on news of the day. I simply wanted to be consistent and praise the President for implementing policies and pursuing agendas which I believe to be beneficial to our nation. We disagree on so much else, but that should not prevent me from simply opposing him on everything. If I would support an action if President Bush did it, then I should do the same for President Obama. That is the standard I wish to pursue and exemplify.
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Unfortunately, TypePad deleted a comment I posted with over a dozen links to stories where I defend Pres. Obama or criticized attacks against him. Apparently, miracles are not that rare. I can only speak for myself, but you can search through the archives and see the numerous examples where I am fair to Obama. Do I criticize him? Of course, we disagree politically. But I also defend him when I see others being unfair and dishonest.
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Louis, ever the one for pithy comments. I like it. I disagree. But I like it. OK, could you please explain how you "observe" motivations, as that is entirely impossible. You observe actions and infer or assume motivations. You inference or assumption may be correct, but you cannot observe my motivations or anyone else that differs from you (sexually, politically, religiously, ethically, etc.) I do something that I have personally been accused of never doing (and collective as part of conservatism and Christianity) - praising a decision by President Obama. Your first response is to make a crack about it being a miracle that I'm "trying to be fair." Who's the one being unfair?
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This is a repeat "miracle." What would be a real, previously unseen miracle, would be for you or Cin to not assume the worst motivations for conservative Republican actions. ;)
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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. My point wasn't that they could not be shamed and would not be hypocrites. 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. My point is that we have to understand on what standard would they have been shamed and considered hypocrites. It could not be individual subjective morality. It had to be sin, according to the OT law. This is my conjecture, but it is based on the historical reality of the day. I'm not sure the Pharisees actually ever intended to stone the woman. They knew that the Roman government alone had the power to condemn someone to death. If they had stoned the woman, the Romans would have come down on them and disrupted the set up that they had established and enjoyed. They simply wanted to try to use the Roman government and the OT law as a vice with which to squeeze Jesus into violating one or the other. This discussion has little to do with the miraculous discussions, but it does have everything to do with the topic of the post. If you want to continue the miraculous discussion, you can do so under the new post on miracles. I moved your points from here over there in a comment and responded (besides the responses I gave in the post itself). I apologize for the delay, this has been a busy week: a test, a paper and two quizzes.
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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Cin, I'm moving over the questions of the miraculous to this post. When I get the post up about morality I will move those questions there. Here are your previous questions and responses. I make no distinction between Zeus and Allah who has millions of followers today. Then you cannot really believe the supernatural to be a serious possibility contrary to your statement, if you cannot separate a belief system that has been rejected for hundreds of years versus one that has followers today. Followers does not equal truth, but surely modern acceptance would lend credence to a position or at least make it more reasonable than one that has been summarily rejected by everyone. 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. We have varying degrees of skepticism. Would I be skeptical of the Muslim's claim? Yes, but could I be convinced that a supernatural event occurred? Yes. You have spoken of how you believe the miraculous to be possible, but the only evidence you will accept for believing it personally witnessing one on a massive scale. You say you would hold other natural unbelievable acts to the same standard. Really? If a television station reported on someone making 100 half court shots in a row, would you still be skeptical because you had not personally witnessed it? If a person you trusted said they witnessed it and you could tell they were earnest, would you still disbelieve the report? To put a finer point on it, if you would accept those forms of evidence then you are placing a higher standard on the supernatural. If you do not accept those forms of evidence then you are applying a standard of epistemology which you said you rejected as implausible. 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. Remember, I draw a distinction between the miraculous and the supernatural. I could believe a supernatural act, splitting the moon, and not believe it to be miraculous. That would not place me beyond your burden of proof. As to what I would ask a Muslim to present me as evidence. I would not demand that he reproduce something so dramatic. If a Muslim were to attempt to convince me, they would need to demonstrate some type of support from outside sources. If an act as big as splitting the moon occurred, then other sources should have recorded the event. I would also like to see some type of historical evidence of how the event impacted those who witnessed it. The Muslim apologists should be able to demonstrate that the moon being split is just as plausible as any other explanation, if not more so. I would allow the Muslim to choose whatever miracle they would like to defend from their religion. It does little good to discuss something such as Jesus turning water into wine. How would you verify such an event with any outside sources? A one time small event with a limited audience and impact is going to be very difficult to discuss in any meaningful fashion. 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 make my point here. Using the term "magic" is question begging. Look at those two definitions. Notice two qualifying terms: "believed" and "seemingly." The use of those words indicate a skepticism toward the act being actually supernatural. Besides all that, you understand very well that the term "magic" has a connotation that denotes David Copperfield and the like - illusions that have the appearance of being supernatural, but everyone knows they aren't, it's just a matter of figuring out what the "trick" is. 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? It is no contortion to explain that miracles, by Christian definition, are a particular subset of the supernatural. I provided you with several examples of supernatural acts which the Bible credits to something besides God. The "mealy mouthed gunk" as you referred to it, is an attempt to provide you with a full developed explanation of the supernatural form a Christian perspective. That evidence won't make a difference either. The Mormon would be happy to provide DNA evidence to the contrary. As to the example of the Mormon, it depends. It is a matter of how strong our presuppositions are. Some Mormons have been convinced of the error in their doctrine through things like the DNA evidence. I would point out that some atheists have been convinced in a similar manner. ;) C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel and others would be examples of this.
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The Iraq situation is not over yet: need I point that out? We aren't out, nor has the situation "stabilized." In fact, if anything, violence is growing. I made no judgment on the war. I just pointed out that the current administration is taking credit for a situation they played no role in creating. Can you think of someway that either Obama or Biden deserve credit for what they are terming as "one of the greatest accomplishments of [their] administration?" That's their words not mine. The facts on the ground are that 60 votes are needed to get anything done in the Senate - ANYTHING. How did Reagan, Clinton and Bush manage to get things done in the Senate? Somehow they managed to pursue an agenda and pass legislation. You can simply play the card that you accused others of playing - "It's all the Republicans fault" - as you did right after this point. Were Republicans not opposed to Clinton's policies? Were Democrats not opposed to Reagan and Bush's? We don't live in a monarchy where the President becomes king and can simply pass whatever he would like. I'm sure you were thankful for this previously, as I am now. It balances out. We have separate branches of government for a reason. Yes, Clinton made mistakes, but if Bush was the savior as the Republicans believe, why were things worse at the end of his term than at the beginning? Oh, right, it's all the liberals fault (as is everything in the universe). Louis, these discussions would go much better if you would engage in points I actually make instead of railing against strawmen of the opposition. I never said Bush was "the savior" and most Republicans believe that Bush made plenty of mistakes. I don't really know any that would argue that point. It is a repeated talking point of Obama that he came to office with all of these problems and he is being criticized for not solving them all in one year. That's not the criticism, but even if it is, when you campaign on "hope and change" and how you are going to change everything and you are unable to do so (logically and realistically) it is going to come back and bite you. The criticism is that he has take situations that were handed to him (deficit spending) and made it worse. It is inarguable that President Obama has spent more and placed the nation in more debt. Even if you take out the wars that he inherited, he has multiplied discretionary spending. You can argue that all of the spending was needed, but why were Democrats so critical of Bush's spending. I still find it "interesting" that you combine these issues. They are not linked. What do you find interesting about it? The post was about Biden claiming the war was an Obama success, Gibbs defending the statement saying that candidate Obama brought about the situation, then I simply asked a question related to the political issue du jour - if candidate Obama could force a President of the opposing party to enact his agenda, why would he not force, encourage, etc. members of his own party to vote for his health care bill? I could substitute any of Obama's agenda that he has not yet been able to get through Congress for "health care bill." Closing Gitmo or whatever other issue you want to use. The way you add quotes around "interesting" seem to indicate you see some larger meta-narrative hiding behind my post that explains it all. Myself, I blame the American people - a more spoiled, soft-bellied, ignorant group of whiners I have never encountered. Odd that Christians are often accused of speaking ill of Americans or other groups. I wonder how you would respond if I made such a comment. Only fools and the deluded think our political opinions count for anything. Public opinion soured on illegal immigration reform under Bush and health care reform under Obama, both of which were stopped in Congress even though most wanted them to take place. Seems public opinion worked in those cases. Also, if all those evil "BIG" things rule and control us all, how did Obama get elected by a rather significant margin, unless he is part of the complex. Which is it: Do our political opinions count or is Obama part of the complex?
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Kind of a moot point since we all have an individual sense of morality. It's not a moot point. It is the point. You are reading your own ideas back into that time period, which is very easy to do. I catch myself doing it often. When did the concept of individual morality divorced from a collective/religious grounding develop, as an idea to explain our sense of morality? Whenever it developed, even if you believe it to be a fact, it was not understood or recognized at that time. Which leads to the next point. I thought the Pharisees were human beings. You misunderstand my point here (much the way I misunderstood your joke ;) which was funny by the way). I'm not arguing here that the Pharisees did not possess an "individual morality." I'm stating that the Pharisees did not share your belief in an individual morality, hence their trying to judge everyone else by their standard - their interpretation of the OT law. To say that the Pharisees and Jesus were arguing and referencing an individual sense of morality would be like trying to say that if Jesus mentioned survival they were discussing an evolutionary idea. Even if you believe an idea to be true, you cannot read it back into ancient times and different contexts and say they were using it as a frame of reference. It even would be wrong to assign that concept to a discussion between say Daniel and myself because we do not accept that as being the case so we would not be using it to discuss moral choices.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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Jesus didn't even issue a command. He left it up to them how they would act. Yes, but you ignored my larger point about what "sin" meant in their context. You may believe that everyone possesses individual morality, but I can assure you the Pharisees did not. Their entire system of morality came from the OT law and their interpretation of it. At the beginning of this discussion we talked about the benefits of pursuing a degree in the field of religion. This is one of those benefits - you study the time period in which the Bible was written. You learn about the sects and people that make up the stories. You learn how to read the Scripture and best understand it from the perspective of the writer. I'm not saying that I'm write just because I'm in seminary. Obviously, I can be as wrong as anyone else, but I have learned tools to help me better understand the text. 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. I'm not sure what you don't find reasonable about my explanation of the text. The only context a Jew in first century Jerusalem would have for the word "sin" is the Old Testament. We have to understand the situation in the proper context of its setting. I'm sorry Aaron, but this doesn't count as a genuine miracle. You misunderstand if you think I was asserting this as a miracle. While Christians through the ages will certainly attest to the miraculous nature of being freed from the punishment of sin through Christ's forgiveness, I would not posit it as a miracle in the context we were discussing. I'd like to hear your response to the longer post before we get sidetracked by Pharisees. I attempted to answer many of your questions about miracles in the form of a new post. Hopefully tomorrow after my test I can go back and answer the questions on the miraculous that you asked that I did not address in the post. I'm also working on a post about morality and its origin where we can further discuss those issues. Look for that tomorrow or Tuesday as well.
Toggle Commented Feb 21, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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Cin, I know I did not answer all of your questions from the previous post. Some of them did not fit the context of a post on the subject, but I will attempt to bring those over to the comment section and answer them (if not today, then tomorrow. I have a test Monday morning.)
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"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. What do you think the word "sin" means and more importantly what do you think the word "sin" meant when Jesus used it? The only context for "sin" that Jewish people had in the New Testament era is the Old Testament. 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. If you were to create a similar parable in our day, you could argue that the appeal is to their own sense of morality. That would be an acceptable cultural understanding for our time. It is not one for first century Jerusalem. Read the entire passage in John 8, who is it that brings the woman to Jesus? It is the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Do you think it is at all possible that those who spent their entire life concerned with the law and their own expansions of it, who challenged everyone to live by the standards they established and condemned anyone who did not, would have any other concept of the term "sin?" You pointed out yourself that the OT law speaks of stoning those caught in adultery. That is what the Pharisees said when they brought the women. The entire story is filled with the idea of the law and the concept of grace. They were trying to trap Jesus, as the text said. OT law said to stone those caught in adultery (again I wonder what happened to the man in the situation). However, Israel was not a free country. They did not have the authority to condemn anyone to death (note how the Jewish leaders had to go to Roman ruler Pilate to have Jesus crucified). Much like their question about paying taxes (which provoked the "render unto Caesar" quote) the Pharisees are trying to cause Jesus to either alienate the Jewish people or anger the Roman rulers. Being Jesus, he managed to balance it all - uphold God's standard, demonstrate God's love, hold to God's time table of His own death penalty. No one wanted to be a hypocrite. That's why they dropped their stones. Jesus certainly did call people hypocrites or refer to actions as hypocritical. That is not in dispute. 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. Obviously, something about the situation brought conviction to them about their actions. Many wonder about what Jesus was writing in the dirt (noteworthy as the only time the Bible ever records Jesus writing anything) and they say perhaps he wrote down the sins, according to the OT, of the Pharisees. But we simply do not know. 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. He said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone." This comes immediately after they speak about what the OT law says about her sin (which Jesus recognizes as such). Again, the important thing to understand the meaning of the text in question is not so much our own ideas, but the ideas, concepts and thought patterns of the individuals in the text. 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. On this we can agree. Jesus, being God, had that right and the Pharisees were not seeking to do justice. They were seeking to use the mistake of this young woman to harm Jesus. They were not viewing her as anything but a tool or prop, much as the man involved in the adultery (which again the Pharisees were not concerned with) apparently viewed her, as he was nowhere to be seen to defend her. One also has to wonder exactly how it was that the Pharisees admittedly caught this woman in the act. Were they involved in setting it up? Were they out trolling around at crazy hours peeking through windows? Were they following around women thought to be promiscuous? Seems more likely than not that they were involved in some type of sin during their quest to catch this woman and trap Jesus.
Toggle Commented Feb 21, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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Cin, I'll answer all of your points on miracles and morality in the new threads. You don't have to thank me for having your say, I appreciate the chance for the discussions. But I'll respond to your point about Driscoll here. You misunderstand his, and my, point if you believe us to be ignoring Jesus as a teacher, which he obviously was. The point is that the spiritual roles of Jesus (prophet, priest and king) tend to be emphasized differently by each group of Christians. I do have a point of objection to make. You said this: What is he appealing to? He is appealing to people's individual sense of morality. What do you base this on? Even if you do not accept an objective morality derived from religion, the audience Jesus was speaking to certainly did. He was not appealing to some subjective, individual morality. He was appealing to their knowledge of Old Testament law and also His own teachings on the subject. He was reminding them that they had also disobeyed the law which they were using to accuse this woman (notably they ignored the man involved). Jesus' point here was His point through out His life - all people violate God's law and they need forgiveness for this. Since the One offended is the Origin of this law, only God can grant that forgiveness, which is what Jesus does at the end of the story you cited. He asks the woman where the people who condemned her were at. After she sees that no one is left to condemn her. Jesus tells her that He does not condemn her either and then instructs her to go and sin no more. Yes, Jesus is a teacher, but He is also God as only God can offer forgiveness for violating His law. To only refer to Jesus as a teacher is worse than simply calling Obama a former state representative. Sure, he is that, but he is much more than that as well. Sure, Jesus is a teacher, but that only speaks to a small portion of who He really is.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2010 on Jesus: Prophet, Priest & King at two or three . net
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