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Old 10-28-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA The same could be said of art; that art is illogical, unscientific and invalid.
But I get what you're saying.

FYI I believe that only commercial art is supported by (economic) logic.
Then again, I don't consider commercial art as true art.
Is it art? I know a fair bit about it, having studied it since a sojurn in art college where I developed a deep - seated antipathy towards commercial art which (in the absence of winning the Art Lottery which allows the assembler of bricks and pickler of dismembered cows to write their own cheques) was considered the only way of making a living in it. So I know a lot about Art but I have no idea what I like.

Rather like music, one man's meat.. I tend to see it as a sort of evolved way of communicating ideas about aspirations and the way we see the world, just as a Cro - magnon carved the beasts he hunted on cave walls and music and dance is a sort of social bonding thing having moved on from the hunting dance with twangng bowstring accompaniment. While logic and indeed science can be applied to music and art, that's not what it's about, though it might tell us the primitive origins of what it's about (it isn't about God or the devil for that matter) but a lesson to be learned (I suggest) is those artists or composers who pared away all the man - made additions and accretions to fnd what Reality lay at the heart of it. With the result that they ended up with nothing.

The man - made accretions are what it's all about. And it's reason that can tell us that and reason that tells us that it's pointless to apply reason to things which are not based on reason, but on human instincts and preferences. And that's all it needs to be, for me.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:05 PM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
To believe scripture, you first must believe that it is inspired by God.
I kinda agree. The important question for me has to do with whether or not it's REASONABLE to believe. Truth will not be contradictory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
This means that it says exactly what God wants it to say.
Again, I somewhat agree. We don't have the original writings, therefore, it's logical to presume that small errors do exist. However, as far as we now know, the errors that have apparently been identified are not of such a magnitude so as to effect the basic points articulated in scripture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Second, you have to believe in the goodness of God.
Disagree. If it's REASONABLE to believe that the Bible is true it naturally follows that it would be reasonable to believe what the Bible informs us about God's nature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
You are trusting that He did not lie to you in the Bible.
No, I'm judging that it's reasonable to believe God didn't lie because the Bible is not contradictory and the Bible states that God cannot lie. Why should anyone believe that God lies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
In order to use the Bible to prove God's innate goodness you must trust that the Bible is not a lie, which presumes God's goodness.
Again, I view this as more of a question as to whether or not it's reasonable to believe it. Is there REASON to believe that it's false?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
You can't assume what you are trying to prove.
I note that very often, people use the term 'prove' when they are actually referencing persuasion. Persuasion is an individual choice. Presenting adequate and reasonable proof does not guarantee persuasion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
My point here is that without some other assumption, regardless of the basis, you cannot reconcile God's actions as recorded in scripture. This is precisely what makes Christianity a faith. At some point you just have to accept a set of assumptions with no real evidence.
Is there ANY world view that doesn't require faith?

I also see a distinct difference between blind faith and REASONABLE faith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I understand this is a traditional interpretation of these stories, at least for certain schools of theology, but it is not supported by the text.

Jonah 1:1-2
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
Jonah 3:1-4
1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”

Nowhere in the text is Jonah commanded to preach repentance, only judgment. In fact Jonah is angry that God made a liar of him. God changed his mind and Jonah resented it.
Jonah 4
2 And he prayed to the LORD and said, "O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.

While the text does not provide any SPECIFIC reference made by Jonah with respect to repentance, it's apparent that he had previously anticipated that they would repent and that God would relent - which is precisely what happened. While not inferred specifically in the text, I think it quite probable that Jonah's anger was the result of God's showing mercy to what he considered to be a pagan 'low life' culture. This was most probably due to the pride he felt towards his own culture and heritage. Basically, he appears to have had a superiority complex.

We should also note the character traits that Jonah attributes to God of being gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster. Quite different from the picture you seem to be intent on painting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
If we move to Moses and Pharaoh...

Exodus 9:12
12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.
Exodus 10:1-2,16-20,27
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. 19 And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea.[b] Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.

Exodus 14:8
8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.]

In several of these places, your inerrant word of God states that Pharaoh repented and recognized his sin, and God intentionally forced him out of repentance just so he could display his strength.
I've never denied that the term "hardening of the heart" appears in scripture and that it is directly attributed to God's actions in this instance. However, you are apparently inferring from this that Pharaoh's limited free will was suspended. This would appear to contradict other portions of scripture that describe how God accommodates man's limited free will. If I'm to be convinced that your view is accurate you would need to provide some cross-referencing support. Otherwise, it would appear to me that you're simply choosing to take certain small portions of scripture out of context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
In one instance God is willing to suspend his judgment, even though he did not call for repentance, and in the other God intentionally tortured a nation, killing innocent children to flex his muscles. If this is not capricious and arbitrary, I don't know what is.
Whether or not God audibly called for Nineveh to repent is somewhat debatable. As stated, Jonah anticipated that they would repent.

God cannot logically be judged as acting "capriciously" or "arbitrarily" in this instance. As far as I'm aware, there is nothing in a fully contextual sense of scripture that would deny the personal responsibility of the individual. The Bible affirms that sin is something that we do. There is simply no contextual support for the notion of a 'puppet master' God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Does the Bible define exactly when killing is murder and when it is not? Where can I find this distinction in scripture?
We find accounts of killing and murder throughout scripture. As far as I'm aware, the difference between the two is quite obvious. I can't think of any exceptions to this right off hand, but I'm certainly willing to entertain any accounts that you know of that would appear to call this into question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
To be honest, I would love to get further into this one, but I think it is going to have to be in a separate post. This one is getting unmanageably big. This is actually one of the things that frighten me the most about Christians being involved in any public policy. The fact that you could excuse this behavior with a straight face and a clear conscience is truly terrifying. This is why one of my major complaints about religion is that is makes good people endorse and practice horrific behavior. If you are willing to dig into this further, let me know and I'll start a new thread.
Sure, I'm open to discuss this. Atheism doesn't get a free pass. There have been millions murdered as a direct result of atheistic philosophy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
So God made Elijah a murderer, but its ok because God said to... Is there any way to objectively validate these claims?
The Bible affirms over and over that the power of the sword is given to the state. When the state determines that a person is to be executed, should we hold the executioner accountable as a murderer? Isn't the executioner merely an instrument of the state?

If God is sovereign, and God chose to use his chosen prophet (Elijah in this case) as the instrument of execution, should we conclude that God's prophet is a murderer? Apparently yes, according to you.

Sorry, I just don't find your reasoning here to be consistent with a contextual understanding of scripture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
For instance, you don't want to assume the Inquisition was initiated by the Holy Spirit, even though the practitioners would have claimed to be doing the will of God?
Is it REASONABLE to believe that the inquisitors were inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
What I was taught was that if someone claims that God told them to do something that was inconsistent with the moral principles in the Bible, it was not the Holy Spirit.
Agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
However you have admitted that murder is not inconsistent with God's morality, so how does one know which murders are right and which are wrong?
I've never "admitted" any such thing. Why won't you answer my question: If God is sovereign and we are all going to die, how can we logically conclude that God "murders" anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Worse yet, it appears that you want to say that I have to trust your judgment about which murders are Godly and which are not, since as a non-Christian, the Holy Spirit will not speak to me.
Whether or not you choose to accept any of my views is certainly up to you. I believe that there is only one true interpretation of scripture. Christians have a duty to try and get to that one true interpretation. Obviously, this isn't always easy.

Why are you under the impression that the Holy Spirit will not speak to you as a non-Christian?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
This goes back to the original issue of assuming God is good. Would a good God command an immoral behavior, even if he knew people would disobey him? That comes awfully close to lying. Are Christians supposed to follow the moral principle of the law, namely that disobedience is a heinous crime worthy of death, or not?
The short answer is that the BASIC PRINCIPLE still applies. Namely, that disobedience in children should be taken much more seriously in today's culture than it is. The PRINCIPLE still applies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
You have kind of a repeated theme here regarding death and evil. I am not attempting to address the "problem of evil", that is an entirely separate issue. I am not concerned with why a good God allows evil to exist. I am also not concerned with God's sovereignty, merely his consistency.
The "problem of evil" is not only a problem for Christians. All coherent world views need to provide a coherent answer. In my view, Christianity provides the most coherent answer.

In this instance, I think that it would be perfectly on topic with respect to our discussion for you to answer my question as to why God allows any evil...particularly in light of the fact that you have repeatedly tried to impugn God's character by inferring that he incites murder and rape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I am concerned with why a good God, when giving divine instruction to his people on how to live morally, does not prohibit things that the modern Church believes to be immoral. Not only does he not prohibit them, he actively makes provision for them. Either God was personally endorsing behavior He condemned, the law was not given by God, God's standard of morality changed or modern Christianity is wrong to believe that these actions are immoral. Which is it?
Until or unless you can demonstrate or reasonably explain how your suppositions are to be logically inferred from a contextual understanding of scripture, your closing question must be considered as a non sequitur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I also don't dispute that in your worldview God has absolute authority over who lives and who dies. If God wanted to strike down an entire nation, or certain competitor's prophets, so be it. But by committing these acts through people, whom he has commanded NOT to do these things, He destroys the absolute nature of the morality He is imposing. Morality is no longer absolute, but subject to the whim of an unquestionable dictator. The 10 commandments should say, "Thou shalt not murder, unless I tell you to." Which seems not very absolute to me...
Would you agree that true murder is directly related to a premeditation on the part of the perpetrator? Would you agree that this is primarily what separates the act of 'killing' from the act of 'murder?'

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I understand what you are saying about the law. My point is just because the Mosiac Law is not in force for Christians, the principles behind those laws concerning what is moral and immoral behavior should still hold true. I understand that there appears to be no great moral truth behind the command not to boil a kid in its mothers milk, but the prohibitions against homosexuality appear to be interpreted as representation of an underlying moral principle: homosexuality is wrong. My contention is that if God's morality is absolute, all the underlying principles expressed in the Mosaic Law must still hold. This is why modern Christianity does not believe homosexuals must be executed, but that homosexuality is still morally wrong.
We don't need to go back to the mosaic law in order to find prohibitions against the PRACTICE of homosexuality. There is New Testament precedent for this.

Again I ask, where are Christians commanded to condemn homosexuals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
The last piece of your post circles back to the 2 commandment idea again. My contention is still that without extra support, those two commandments cannot be used as an absolute morality that condemns polygamy or homosexuality. The reason is that without specifying exactly which concept of God you are to love (which requires the entire Bible, and generally a mountain of commentaries to boot...) there is nothing related to either of these issues. There are members of the Metro Community Church, practitioners of Islam, and Mormons who may fulfill these two commandments as written, and yet you would still condemn them as being outside of Gods absolute moral law. This goes back to my contention that even if there is an absolute revealed morality, it certainly cannot be logically inferred from only the two commands that Jesus mentioned.
I never intended to infer that the knowledge of the two great commandments is all that's necessary in order to be fully informed about God's objective moral law. It doesn't cancel them out nor replace them but merely summarizes them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Lastly I want to address this:

If the existence of God and the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible were to be objectively, logically, and empirically proven, then it would not be arrogant to assert its truth.
You seem to have a knack for positing an absurd premise and then proceeding to follow it up with questions or assertions that cannot logically follow.

IYO, is there ANY world view that can be "objectively, logically and empirically proven" to be true?

Would you agree that truth is by it's very nature exclusory?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Until such proof exists, it is arrogant to assume that your one specific understanding of one specific denomination of one specific religion is the absolute truth, and everyone that disagrees with you is wrong.
An obvious non sequitur with respect to your opening premise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
On a side note, would it be possible to split this into a couple of discussions? These posts are huge. Maybe we could split the discussion into something like these:
"Does Christianity define a logically consistent absolute morality?"
"Can an objective morality be defined by 'love the Lord your God.. and love your neighbor as yourself', and what would it look like?"
"Can a good God command evil actions and still be considered good?"
"Can a non-believer understand Christian morality, or must he simply take Christian's word about what is moral or not?"
Just trying to control the massive post sizes...
I'm all in favor of doing anything to keep this to a much more concise format. Feel free to break this up into any bits and pieces that you would prefer.

I only ask that you pay particular attention with respect to answering my questions. I've tried to answer yours. If there are any that I've missed, please bring them to my attention.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:39 PM
 
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Default Circular reasoning, scripture and the goodness of God

Ok, so I am going to try to break this into separate posts and I probably won't get everything addressed tonight, so I'm not intentionally ignoring stuff, just don't want to stay up all night.

So we were discussing absolute morality, and ended up looking at how we can know that the morality embodied by God is "good". Your answer was:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Sure, I'm willing to elaborate. BTW, I don't believe that God is good due to some a priori assumption. I believe it to be revealed as such in scripture and therefore logical to accept as true...and no, this doesn't mean that I'm applying circular reasoning.
My point was that relying on scripture as proof that God is good is problematic, because we have no way of verifying if scripture is true, other than relying on the goodness of God (i.e. that he won't lie to us).
With the background in place, lets discuss...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
I kinda agree. The important question for me has to do with whether or not it's REASONABLE to believe. Truth will not be contradictory.
I kind of agree here. I can work with the assumption that the full, entire truth is not contradictory ( I am not sure I can categorically state this, I haven't thought about it enough). But imperfect understandings of the truth can contradict. Take, for example, the wave/particle duality. Under certain circumstances light behaves like a wave, under others, a particle. Both are true, but neither explanation is complete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Again, I somewhat agree. We don't have the original writings, therefore, it's logical to presume that small errors do exist. However, as far as we now know, the errors that have apparently been identified are not of such a magnitude so as to effect the basic points articulated in scripture.
My point is an attempt to sidestep this issue, simply because this is yet another rabbit trail to chase. What I meant is it is safe to assume that, if the Christian view of the scriptures is correct, the Bible contains precisely what God wants it to contain. It has lost none of its truth, moral authority or inspiration in translation or to clerical error.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Disagree. If it's REASONABLE to believe that the Bible is true it naturally follows that it would be reasonable to believe what the Bible informs us about God's nature.

No, I'm judging that it's reasonable to believe God didn't lie because the Bible is not contradictory and the Bible states that God cannot lie. Why should anyone believe that God lies?

Again, I view this as more of a question as to whether or not it's reasonable to believe it. Is there REASON to believe that it's false?
I lumped these responses together because I think these can be sort of rolled together. You appear to be saying that the internal consistency of the Bible is evidence of its truth. Logically speaking, this doesn't hold water. Deepak Chopra may have an internally consistent, systematic spiritualism that contradicts Christian teaching. Is it true as well? Obviously this is not enought to establish truth.

Lets go one step further. Let's assume that the Bible is inspired by God in the sense I defined above. Assume that the Bible contains precisely what God wants it to contain and it has lost none of its truth, moral authority or inspiration in translation or to clerical error. This gets us closer to believing the Bible is true, but even if it is inspired, The only way we can know it is true is if we know God does not ever lie.

You ask why would one believe God would lie. Well, first off, why not? Remember the reason we are assuming God wouldn't lie is because that is inconsistent with scripture. But scripture is only valid if God doesn't lie. Secondly, the concept of a god who lies is not unheard of. Many cultures contain a trickster god like Loki, or Coyote, or Anansi. These Gods were not seen as evil, merely devious and capricious. What evidence do we have, apart from scripture, that the Judeo-Christian God is not a trickster god?

The final point is one you have seen a million times here on CD. That is I never need a reason to believe something is false, I need a reason to believe it is true. Logically, you are making the claim that scripture is true. Even if I posit the existence of God, and his inspiration of scripture, I still have no reason to believe it is true unless I believe God will not deceive me. The only reason to believe this is if scripture is true, which end up being a circular definition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
I note that very often, people use the term 'prove' when they are actually referencing persuasion. Persuasion is an individual choice. Presenting adequate and reasonable proof does not guarantee persuasion.
Adequate and reasonable apply to evidence. I am using prove in the logical or mathematical sense of the word, not the evidentiary one. My only point is that it is illogical to use scripture to prove the goodness, or more specifically the honesty of God, since it must be assumed.

It doesn't bother me that you assume it, but you need to recognize it as an a priori assumption, an axiom if you will.

Believe it or not, this is not an Atheist thing. When I was a Christian, I tried very hard to come to a logically consistent understanding of God. This is why over time I drifted from a 3 point psuedo-Calvinist, to a full-on 5 pointer. The emphasis on the sovregnty of God allowed me to accept the illogic as part of God's sovereign plan. Even then, I tried to be very clear to myself which parts of my faith could be reached through logic, and where I had to take a blind leap. This didn't make me an Atheist (my de-conversion was really unrelated), it just meant I was being honest with myself. I hope that I will never discourage that sort of honesty, even if I disagree with the conclusion.

NoCapo
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:57 PM
 
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Default absolute morality in two commandments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
We don't need to go back to the mosaic law in order to find prohibitions against the PRACTICE of homosexuality. There is New Testament precedent for this.

Again I ask, where are Christians commanded to condemn homosexuals?
Again I answer, I am not referring to how Christians are to treat homosexuals or polygamists.

I have not claimed the Bible gives any instruction in the New Testament on how believers are to treat homosexuals .I have claimed, and you are agreeing with me, that condemnations of homosexuality is one of the great moral principles carried throughout the OT and NT.

But, this is pointless to discuss, because I was using this example to deal with your claim that the entirety of God's absolute moral law could be derived from the "two great commandments"

From previously in this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Originally Posted by NoCapo
On a related note, I am not sure that I have ever seen a full definition of an absolute morality by any of its adherents. I certainly didn't have one when I was a believer. It is interesting to me that I was so willing to declare an absolute unchanging morality, when I couldn't define exactly what it was that was absolute. This is one of the reasons so many of us non-theists (and even deists) are hesitant to adhere to an absolute, transcendent morality; no one has as of yet defined a consistent, comprehensive one to follow.
Jesus basically reduced them to two. Seems pretty straight-forward to me.
This was the statement I was trying to refute, however it appears that you didn't mean that statement to be an actual answer to my question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
I never intended to infer that the knowledge of the two great commandments is all that's necessary in order to be fully informed about God's objective moral law. It doesn't cancel them out nor replace them but merely summarizes them.
If this is the case, then we have no argument and have been talking in circles for quite some time. In fact, this was the point I have been trying to make for several posts.

We are however back to the original question, can you fully define the absolute moral framework of God, or does it remain something nebulous, to be interpreted differently by different people? Like I said originally, I am not sure that I have ever seen a full definition of an absolute morality by any of its adherents.

The closest I can come, would be something like "Do what God has commanded and conform to the moral principles revealed by the behavior of God as recorded in scripture", but I am not convinced that this would sufficient to arrive at God's objective morality.

The tie-in to the rest of the discussion is that if our understanding of God's objective morality is contingent on our understanding of his character and the moral principles he embodies, we need to examine these aspects of scripture carefully.

Well, I have to turn in for the night, but I'll try and address some of the other issues tomorrow.

NoCapo
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:46 AM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
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Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
First, in regards to the varying cosmological models. As I've said, I don't know which, if any, of the theories of cosmology are true. There are some that posit an infinite universe, and some that don't. I'm only discussing ones which include the Big Bang, which seems fairly well established at this point.

Obviously there is not a consensus. While the cyclical theory is new, (at least this version of it,) there are well respected scientist in leading institutions who maintain it is correct. It is growing in support.

To me there obviously are scientific reasons to presume the universe always existed, and logical reasons as well. I had assumed, perhaps wrongly, that was well understood. At any rate, neither I nor Hawking's nor anyone else has certain proof regarding which is the correct model, and I personally don't have a belief about which is correct.

From your writings, you claim to be able to read my mind and have determined I am not keeping an open mind on the subject. Even after I explained that I don't know which of the models is correct, you demanded more reasons to explain why I don't think the universe must have had a begining. Do you want me to explain to you what the Cyclical model is? Surely, you can google that on your own. Do you want me to describe the underlying basis for why we believe the Big Bang and the Big Crunch is possible? Surely you can google that as well.

I'm going to completely honest with you here. I don't plan on spending the time and effort necessary to reduce the logic behind the Cyclical model to a log post for you. If you want to know more, you are going to have to do some of the heavy lifting yourself. If you have a reason to believe the cyclical model, published in both science and nature magazine, is unreasonable, then lay out your reasoning for me. Because I don't plan on waisting the time explaining the theories to you.


To the First Cause argument. There is no logical reason to believe that the necessity of a "cause" is determined by our ability to observe a phenomena. Whether or not you describe it as an "effect," it either exists or it doesn't exist. Things that exist either require a cause or they don't, and that is not dependent on our ability to observe them.

Accordingly, unless you can demonstrate the logic behind requiring causes for things that exist that we can observe, but not for things that exist that we can not observe, I maintain the position that the first cause and the universe are on equal footing. Either both required a primary cause, (making the argument incoherent) or neither required a primary cause, (making the primary cause unnecessary.) A special pleading based on observability has no basis in logic.
I guess it's easy to end up getting somewhat lost in discussions such as these which take place over periods of weeks. If we go back to the beginning of our discourse I opened by questioning the logical coherency of atheism. You opined that atheism is logical and coherent. Accordingly, I've been probing and asking questions in an effort to understand your view on this.

In terms of "heavy lifting," I certainly feel as though I've done my share. You've offered to explain your view and I tried to ask questions with the purpose of perhaps making it easier for you with respect to making a concise and clear articulation. I'll just sum it up by saying that I don't find your apparent view of the possible chance/eternally existing universe to be convincing - it all comes across to me as incoherent and illogical. I've clearly articulated my view in my own words and tried in all honestly to provide reasonable responses to your questions and assertions without throwing the old "google this" and "google that" into the discussion. Is it too much for me to ask that you might accord me the same courtesy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
To your Nazi Example, and I'm running out of time here:

As stated previously, I am a weak rule based utilitarian, not an act based utilitarian. Accordingly, as logic would tell you, that would not be considered moral.
Are you going to answer my question? Does your view of morality agree with the view that genocide is acceptable as long as it is perceived as doing the most good for the greatest number of people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
Theist Morality:

Recall, this is what we agreed to:

But now it appears you are retreating from that position:

From your discussion with NoCapo, you no longer claim to believe that the 10 commandments are moral absolutes.

So do you still claim the 10 commandments morally absolute commands or not?

If the answer is no, not all of the 10 commandments are moral absolutes, then by your own definition you have failed. You explicitly listed them as part of God's moral code, and now you are admitting that they are not all moral absolutes.

If it is yes, the 10 commandments are absolute, then I would like further explaination of which principles are absolute, which are not, and why.
What does my discussion with NoCapo have to do with our discussion here?

You've drawn a completely absurd conclusion to my statements. I haven't retreated from my previous assertions with respect to the existence of the Ten Commandments and why I view them as providing a basis for moral objectivity.
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I just want to be sure I'm following you. Have you abandoned the position that the 10 Commandments are a fixed common code of moral absolutes?
No.
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:20 AM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
My point was that relying on scripture as proof that God is good is problematic, because we have no way of verifying if scripture is true, other than relying on the goodness of God (i.e. that he won't lie to us).
I would agree that the Bible is open to scrutiny and the possibility of it being falsified. As far as I know, it hasn't been falsified but I'm willing to approach this with an open mind. Is there any reason to believe that the Bible is logically contradictory or that it has been established to be false? In other words, what sort of "verification" would you be looking for?

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I kind of agree here. I can work with the assumption that the full, entire truth is not contradictory ( I am not sure I can categorically state this, I haven't thought about it enough). But imperfect understandings of the truth can contradict. Take, for example, the wave/particle duality. Under certain circumstances light behaves like a wave, under others, a particle. Both are true, but neither explanation is complete.
You seem to be asserting that it is sometimes difficult to determine that which is in fact actually true. is that your assertion?

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
My point is an attempt to sidestep this issue, simply because this is yet another rabbit trail to chase. What I meant is it is safe to assume that, if the Christian view of the scriptures is correct, the Bible contains precisely what God wants it to contain. It has lost none of its truth, moral authority or inspiration in translation or to clerical error.
Agreed.

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I lumped these responses together because I think these can be sort of rolled together. You appear to be saying that the internal consistency of the Bible is evidence of its truth. Logically speaking, this doesn't hold water. Deepak Chopra may have an internally consistent, systematic spiritualism that contradicts Christian teaching. Is it true as well? Obviously this is not enough to establish truth.
Is there REASON to believe Deepak Chopra's hermeneutical assessment of scripture?

As I've stated, if the Bible is true then, logically, there can only be one true interpretation. If one reasonably believes that Chopra's view is true, they should probably go with it. Would that automatically mean that Chopra's view is true and that the orthodox view is false? Logically, they cannot both be true.

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Lets go one step further. Let's assume that the Bible is inspired by God in the sense I defined above. Assume that the Bible contains precisely what God wants it to contain and it has lost none of its truth, moral authority or inspiration in translation or to clerical error. This gets us closer to believing the Bible is true, but even if it is inspired, The only way we can know it is true is if we know God does not ever lie.
How would a mere assumption get us closer to a REASONABLE belief that scripture is true? I don't deny that Christianity involves faith. However, what would stop one from seeking to inject as much reason as possible into the process of forming certain beliefs and assumptions?

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
You ask why would one believe God would lie. Well, first off, why not?
That would be why I'm asking the question. As I read and study the Bible and attempt to stay abreast of all the latest info concerning issues pertaining to the Christian world view, I presently see no REASON to believe that God lies.

Do you have REASON to believe that God lies?

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Remember the reason we are assuming God wouldn't lie is because that is inconsistent with scripture. But scripture is only valid if God doesn't lie. Secondly, the concept of a god who lies is not unheard of. Many cultures contain a trickster god like Loki, or Coyote, or Anansi. These Gods were not seen as evil, merely devious and capricious. What evidence do we have, apart from scripture, that the Judeo-Christian God is not a trickster god?
You appear to be describing circular reasoning. Where did I ever infer or assert that we should believe the Bible simply because of what's in the Bible? There are certain logical conclusions that can reasonably be arrived at by simply reading it. As well, there is what I consider to be very significant historical and archeological evidence that appears to affirm it's authenticity. As well, there is also the concept of natural theology - the fact that we don't need a Bible in order to reason our way to the existence of a Being that appears to comport with the God that is described in scripture.

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
The final point is one you have seen a million times here on CD. That is I never need a reason to believe something is false, I need a reason to believe it is true. Logically, you are making the claim that scripture is true. Even if I posit the existence of God, and his inspiration of scripture, I still have no reason to believe it is true unless I believe God will not deceive me. The only reason to believe this is if scripture is true, which end up being a circular definition.
Obviously, I didn't invent the Bible. I see no reason to doubt it's authenticity. So, yes, I'm of the current opinion that scripture is true. However, I do try to keep an open mind. I ask again: Is there reason to doubt it's authenticity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Adequate and reasonable apply to evidence. I am using prove in the logical or mathematical sense of the word, not the evidentiary one. My only point is that it is illogical to use scripture to prove the goodness, or more specifically the honesty of God, since it must be assumed.
I don't deny that certain aspects must be "assumed" or accepted by faith. I would ask again: Do you know of any world view that doesn't require faith?

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
It doesn't bother me that you assume it, but you need to recognize it as an a priori assumption, an axiom if you will.
Agreed, there are certain assumptions in the Christian world view. I absolutely disagree that they are conclusively a priori assumptions.

As I stated, there is a distinct difference between blind faith and reasonable faith.

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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Believe it or not, this is not an Atheist thing. When I was a Christian, I tried very hard to come to a logically consistent understanding of God. This is why over time I drifted from a 3 point psuedo-Calvinist, to a full-on 5 pointer. The emphasis on the sovregnty of God allowed me to accept the illogic as part of God's sovereign plan. Even then, I tried to be very clear to myself which parts of my faith could be reached through logic, and where I had to take a blind leap. This didn't make me an Atheist (my de-conversion was really unrelated), it just meant I was being honest with myself. I hope that I will never discourage that sort of honesty, even if I disagree with the conclusion.
May I ask what "illogic" it was that you felt you were being forced to accept?
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: OKC
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Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
I guess it's easy to end up getting somewhat lost in discussions such as these which take place over periods of weeks. If we go back to the beginning of our discourse I opened by questioning the logical coherency of atheism. You opined that atheism is logical and coherent. Accordingly, I've been probing and asking questions in an effort to understand your view on this.

In terms of "heavy lifting," I certainly feel as though I've done my share. You've offered to explain your view and I tried to ask questions with the purpose of perhaps making it easier for you with respect to making a concise and clear articulation. I'll just sum it up by saying that I don't find your apparent view of the possible chance/eternally existing universe to be convincing - it all comes across to me as incoherent and illogical. I've clearly articulated my view in my own words and tried in all honestly to provide reasonable responses to your questions and assertions without throwing the old "google this" and "google that" into the discussion. Is it too much for me to ask that you might accord me the same courtesy?
I accept that you don't find an eternally existing universe as coherent and logical, even though you find the possibility of an eternally existing god is coherent and logical. I view this as a special pleading from the rules of logic based on observablity. (If something is observable it had to have a cause, but for some unstated reason, you believe that rule of logic does not apply to things that exist that we can not observe.)

Here is a summary of a version of cyclical theory, as per your request:

1. Cyclical Theories of an Infinite Universe - Why do we believe the Universe had a starting point? Because we have observed evidenced that all of the matter in the universe had a common origin at a single point in time. Thus working backward from that, we developed the Big Bang theory.

But what caused the Big Bang? No one is certain, but there are several theories. I personally don't find any of the theories convincing, given the amount of evidence we now have. But regardless, some of those theories state that time and matter started at the Big Bang, either because of colliding universes in a mulitiverse, or because there was some fundamental principle that makes a vacuum unstable.

Other theories suggest that the universe always existed, and the Big Bang was not the first event that ever occurred. The cyclical model, for example, suggest that the universe is involved in a cycle of Big Bangs that occur trillions of years apart.

One version of the Cyclical theory goes something like this: It supposes that the rate of the universe's growth is increasing. As the universe continues to grow at a faster and faster pace, at some point in the future it will cause the matter in the universe to rip apart. They call this the Big Rip. After it is ripped apart it will slowly contract again, (the Big Crunch) until it results in another big bang.

Again, I am not claiming that the cyclical model of the universe is correct, only that it is one of a number of theories which suggest an that there was never a beginning to everything. It is based on logical conclusions drawn from the available evidence, even if it turns out to be incorrect.

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Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
Are you going to answer my question? Does your view of morality agree with the view that genocide is acceptable as long as it is perceived as doing the most good for the greatest number of people?
As I stated previously, no, my view of morality does not agree that genocide is acceptable as long as it is perceived as doing the most good for the greatest number of people.

As I also stated previously, I am a weak rule-rule based utilitarian, not an act utilitarian. Thus actions are moral when they conform to the rules that lead to the greatest good.

In the case of genocide, a rule that allowed it would lead to more genocides of different groups based on their lessor genetic quality. The end result would lead to only one human being left alive. Since that is not in the greatest good, genocide would not be moral according to rule based utilitarianism.

Now I've answered two of your questions without asking one. So I hope you'll allow me this question:

In your view is genocide itself absolutely immoral, or it genocide permissible if one believes that God ordered them to commit it, and thus not absolute?





Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
What does my discussion with NoCapo have to do with our discussion here?

You've drawn a completely absurd conclusion to my statements. I haven't retreated from my previous assertions with respect to the existence of the Ten Commandments and why I view them as providing a basis for moral objectivity.
You discussion with NoCapo is relevant because you illuminate your moral position in both. Assuming you are arguing honestly, which I assume you are, then the information you tell him should apply to our discussion as well.

I think it is a good idea to only ask two questions per post, to keep the conversation manageable, otherwise one party could end up dominating the discussion by questions.

So I'll only ask this one more; Is keep the Sabbath, i.e. sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, a morally absolute requirement?
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Regarding Moses and Jonah, let me sum up what I understand your arguments to be. If something is not is scripture, but must be inferred to keep your worldview consistent, it should be inferred. If something is specifically stated, but must be ignored to keep your worldview consistent, then it must be ignored. In the story of Moses, it clearly says in plain language that God chose to disallow repentance in order to visit harm on a nation to show off.

I have worked very hard not to take the incidents of of the context in which they were written. By your own admission, in the first case, God was merciful, and in the second case, God forced Pharaoh to not repent, thus condemning innocent people to misery and death, which is gives a contradictory picture of God.

The only way you are able to reconcile these is to say that the plain language of the Bible does not mean what it says, but must be understood "contextually" within you're entire interpretation of scripture. I agree that context is important, but usually context is about not using a scripture in a way that does not agree with the scripture that surrounds it, it's context.

Remember my point is that the Bible portrays God in inconsistent ways, thus making the divination of God's character a subjective exercise. You appear to be confirming this, since you do not rely on the plain language of scripture.


Regarding the issue of murder in the Bible, I can agree with you that premeditation is a reasonable way to distinguish murder from killing. This doesn't help much becasue we still have numerous accounts of God ordering the premeditated killing of large numbers of people, men, women, and children. We also have accounts of men who God evidently gave the authority to speak for him, doing the same. In these cases I don't find the distinction obvious at all. I tend to believe that genocide and slaughter is wrong no matter who does it.

You appear to be claiming that since God is sovereign, any command by him to commit murder automatically moves the murder into the justifiable homicide category. The problem with this is no one has the means to verify God's command to another person, not me, not you. The only thing we have to go on is the claims of the person "moved by the Spirit".

In answer to your question, "Is it REASONABLE to believe that the inquisitors were inspired by the Holy Spirit?" I would say that it is as reasonable as believing that God commanded Moses and Joshua to slaughter entire towns, and as reasonable as beleiving that the Holy Spirit was leading Elijah to kill the prophets of Baal.

My point in all this was once you take it upon yourself to approve or deny someone else's experience with the Holy Spirit, you have moved from the objective to the subjective again.

Beyond this, we still have the issue of God murdering. If we define murder, and an unjust premeditated killing, then we have to establish whether God can be unjust. I believe that scripture, take at face value shows exactly this, then God can murder.
To get around this you have to first assume that God is just. The only way we can determine which kinds of death are just or unjust is to have an objective definition of these terms that does not depend on God. Then we can apply them to God and see if he qualifies. This goes for all deaths (old age, disasters, murder,etc...). If morality is objective, then we should have an objective definition of justice. If God's revealed morality is subjective, then justice will depend entirely on what He does, i.e. nothing he does can ever be unjust.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
The short answer is that the BASIC PRINCIPLE still applies. Namely, that disobedience in children should be taken much more seriously in today's culture than it is. The PRINCIPLE still applies.
But the principle that it deserves death is not to be retained. How do you detrimine which moral principles still apply and which do not? It appears very subjective to me...



Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
The "problem of evil" is not only a problem for Christians. All coherent world views need to provide a coherent answer. In my view, Christianity provides the most coherent answer.

In this instance, I think that it would be perfectly on topic with respect to our discussion for you to answer my question as to why God allows any evil...particularly in light of the fact that you have repeatedly tried to impugn God's character by inferring that he incites murder and rape.
Let me make sure we are on the same page here. "The problem of Evil" referrs to the specific theological question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient. As a theist you need to be able to answer this, as an Atheist I do not, since I do not believe in any deity. This is for you to answer, not me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
IYO, is there ANY world view that can be "objectively, logically and empirically proven" to be true?
To be honest, I am not sure. I do think that a world view that rejects things that cannot be logically proven, empirically measured, or reasonably inferred from logic, measurement, and repeatable observation is the most likely to be true. Any world view that embraces something fundamentally unfalsifiable is categorically unable to be logically and reasonable believed, and must be accepted of faith alone.

The whole thurst of my points here is to show that in all of these cases, you objective morality is arrived at through a subjective interpretation process. I am not sure that a valid objective morality can be derived this way. Even if there is an objective morality, there is no objective evidence why it is yours.

This all goes back to the original claim that God's revealed morality is absolute and objective. My problem is you can not articulate what that morality actually is, you can not prove this morality on objective grounds, and even trying to tie it to the character of God involves a very subjective process of reconciling conflicting descriptions of God's character. The whole process is anything but objective. Call it revealed, call it transcendent, call it any thing but objective.

NoCapo
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tigetmax24 View Post
What does my discussion with NoCapo have to do with our discussion here?
Well, if the conversations can't be linked, you ought to start a new thread.
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