The Believers Reasoning Scheme

A fallacy is an argument (aka pattern of reasoning, reasoning scheme, argument scheme) that appears valid but upon analysis is shown to be invalid or misapplied. The phrase "Anything is possible" is an example of one of those reasoning schemes that seems valid but is not. Anything is not possible. This article will discuss why an appeal to possibility should be considered for refutation on its face. It will then go on to discuss the effects this fallacy has in a dialogue. Finally it will discuss the process of sound reasoning, and introduce the phenomenon I call the Believers Reasoning Scheme.

Anything Is NOT Possible.
It is not possible for pigs to fly.
It is not possible for there to exist a married bachelor.
It is not possible for me to cut my left hand off with the edge of my right hand.

A person could sit for hours and think up a lot of things that are impossible if they gave it some thought. But under certain conditions is all of the above possible? At the point we introduce conditions then we are in the realm of plausible and implausible. At this point we introduce the word "Because".

"Because, Because, Because, Because, Because...."
It is not possible for pigs to fly because they don't have wings. But if we put a pig on an airplane then a pig can fly. A pig is flying because it is on an airplane.

When we examine what those conditions are we determine if the statement "pigs can fly" under Condition A is plausible. At that point we have to determine if Condition A is plausible. Is it possible that pigs can fly in an airplane? Yes. The airplane makes it plausible. Is it possible that pigs can fly in a boat ? No, it is not very plausible. There is nothing about a boat to suggest that it can fly or that it would change the state of our pig. The flight of our pig depends on the plausibility added by Condition A as a premise or proposition.

Appeal To Possibility, aka Argument From Ignorance
So how is this relevant? The following is only meant to be an example to demonstrate a point, not to resurrect the Problem of Evil.
Atheist: The God of the Bible doesn’t exist because if it did there would be no Evil.
Believer: Isn't it possible that God has reasons that we don't understand and the problem of Evil is really only a problem of perspective?

At this point, the fallacy is in the appeal to possibility and the course of the argument could take any number of turns. But lets analyze it and see what is going on in there.


Does It "Fit" With Existing Knowledge?
The proper course for this dialogue would be that the Atheist should provide a list of reasons why the idea of Evil is inconsistent with a God that is supposed to be all-good. Reasons would be given by the Atheist, and the Believer would either agree or disagree based on her own reasons. At that point the Believer would analyze the Atheist reasons and see if they 'fit' with existing knowledge and evidence that the Believer knows about and/or has committed to.  But in the case of our example there is no prompting for reasons. We can infer that the reasons are understood by the Believer because this is an old argument and the Believer has probably encountered it before. Instead the Believers' reply is a Critical Question.

Questions Control A Conversation (Nance).
When a question is proposed in dialogue it has the potential effect of shifting the burden of proof. Questions can be used properly in a genuine expression of doubt, but it can also be used improperly if the goal is to avoid defending or refuting a claim (Walton). If the Atheist 'takes the bait', then this question becomes a "Red Herring" whether the Believer intended it or not. A "Red Herring" is an attempt to hide the weakness of a position by drawing attention away from the real issue to a side issue (Damer, 183). At this point in the Problem of Evil dialogue we are chasing the scent of the Red Herring, barking off down the field at irresolvable "possibilities".

But The Characteristics Of A Possibility Make It Inherently Weak.
Under certain conditions, such as lack of evidence, if the affirmative is possible, the negative may also be possible. The question may be a valid expression of doubt or it may have an unexpressed premise. And in the case that there is an unexpressed premise behind the question, the question can be treated like a claim. The hidden premise in this case is the claim that God does have reasons we don't understand and that is why the Atheist perceives a Problem of Evil.

Shifting The Burdon Of Proof
Believer: Isn't it possible that God has reasons that we don't understand and the problem of Evil is really only a problem of perspective?
Atheist: No. Because it is just as possible that God doesn't have reasons that we don't understand. Would it be more likely that God has reasons we don't understand?

At this point the burden of proof has been properly shifted back to the Believer and now the Believer is in the uncomfortable position of producing reasons why it is possible that God has reasons we don't understand or accept your rebuttal. Of course the Believer could cry foul by asserting that you have answered a question with a question and insist that you defend it, but in that case the conversation has gotten back on course with the Atheist providing the reasons for the initial claim about the Problem of Evil. At this point in either case, the Believer must confront the Atheists premises and reason together or quit the conversation.

Reasoning Is A Process
Reasoning is a process which requires evidence and/or data that is used to gain knowledge or make decisions. A valid conclusion depends on an hierarchy of logical relationships that depend on plausibility. A conclusion is supported by premises that are supported by warrants that are backed by data (Toulmin).

So if the Believer is to claim it is possible that God has reasons we don't understand they should meet their obligation to show why it is plausible.

The Believers Reasoning Scheme.
The following is not intended to resurrect the Problem of Evil, it is only used as an example of where I perceive the process of reasoning breaks down for the Believer in most of the dialogues I have participated in. Below is a template of a common form of Christian Argument. The Reasoning Scheme of the Believer is a linked argument at the point where the conclusion of the sub-argument (in curly braces) is used to support the backing of the main argument. In fact it may be possible to plug many argument conclusions from Believers in many religions into the conclusion and they will fail.

Conclusion: There is only a perceived problem of Evil because of the following.
Premise1: We can't know the mind of God.
Warrant1: Because he is All-powerful, All-good, All-knowing, Present in all places etc. and we are not.
Backing1: The Bible tells us this.
{Sub-Argument:
Conclusion1.a (support for Backing1): The Bible is valid
Warrant1.a: because the bible is the word of god
Data1.a: The bible says it is the word of God.
}
Data1: Scripture in the Bible

The Circular Form Of The Believers Reasoning Scheme
In the case above, Backing1 (Backing1: The Bible tells us this) depends on circular reasoning of Conclusion1.a (The Bible is valid); therefore it is a faulty premise. The only way to defend this premise is with corroborating evidence on why the Bible contains valid data useful to support the conclusion that "we can't know the mind of God".

This argument depends on the Bible like the Pig depends on the Airplane. But this Pig is going in a circle in a boat, so it won't fly. It has been my experience that the Believer will try all sorts of tactics to avoid letting you get back to this point. It has been my experience that this sub-argument is the premise for most Believers arguments so I look for it and press them on it. In fact it is the fundamental principal that supports my blog; QuIRP: Quality Information Is Religions' Problem

Sometimes The "Appeal To Possibility" Refutes Itself
Under certain circumstances the appeal to possibility refutes itself, and the premise that uses the Bible to support most reasoning that I have ever seen about God is faulty because it is built on the circular reasoning that the Bible gives us useful information (knowledge) about God. This includes some of the Classic Philosophical Arguments for God.

The Tactic Of Critical Questioning
The tactic of Critical Questioning can be used as a Red Herring to divert the dialogue away from the real issues or it can legitimately be used as an expression of doubt intended to press an issue for backing. However, in my opinion, unfortunately, proper Critical Questioning is too slow to be useful in an internet forum so sometimes you have go straight to the point.

Believers Value Faith More Than Good Reasoning Technique
But it is plausible that it won't matter to the Believer that their arguments are not based on sound reason. One example of this is in an Article in Biblical Archeology Review titled "Losing Faith: How Scholarship Affects Scholars". Two of the four scholars had come to realize that up to this point there is no corroboration for the bible and seem to have opted for a purely emotional commitment.

Why Is This Important? What's The Harm?
Opting for a purely emotional commitment moves the standard for belief from being based on a large degree of objective truth to a large degree of subjective truth. A belief based on emotion will allow you to pick what you want to believe out of the Bible and label the rest as 'metaphor'.

By Accepting The Believers Reasoning Scheme, Anyone Is Implicitly Justified in Believing Anything That Suits Them.
For example, people will believe in God but they won't believe in "winged insects that walk on all fours" (Lev. 11:20-23). Using the Believers reasoning scheme, they should believe in four legged insects. Using the Believers reasoning scheme, they should believe that there was a time when there was only one language as it says in the story of the Tower of Babel (Gen.11:6-9). Using the Believers Reasoning Scheme, they should believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible and learn the original language it was written in so they can meet their obligation to understand it.

History Has Shown What Can Happen When A World View Is Not Based On Sound Reason. 
One current example among many in the past and present is that there are millions of people that are suffering from diseases that could be helped through stem cell research and cloning. Another is the attempt to keep homosexuals from having equal rights by justifying it with the Bible, as the Believer has done in the past for women and blacks. And last but not least, young and old earth creationists and Intelligent Design proponents have tried to corrupt one of the most demonstrably useful philosophies ever devised, the scientific method.

REFERENCES
Damer, T. Edward. 2004. Attacking Faulty Reasoning. 5th ed. Belmont, California. Wadsworth Publishing

Nance, jef. 2001. Conquering Deception. Missouri. Irvin Benham Group.

Randolph, Lee. 2007. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Built on a Faulty Premise. Debunking Christianity. http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/03/judaism-christianity-and-islam-are.html

Shanks, Hershel. 2006. Losing Faith: How Scholarship Affects Scholars. Biblical Archeology Review. http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/bswbba3302f3.html

The Bible, New American Standard.

Toulmin, Stephen. 2003. The Uses of Argument. 2 Edition. New York, New York. Cambridge University Press

Walton, Douglas N. 2006. Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation. New York. Cambridge University Press.

First posted on 4/7/07

30 comments:

One Wave said...

OK, I said I'd be off all weekend and I'm peekinig in. It's not a sin, I didn't lie, I just change my mind for one brief moment...OK?!

I'm taking your hint, not that you wrote all that for me so I'll skip the "possibilities" focus over at the resurrection post, and I see you are using the Toulmin model which I think is very good at organizing all the facts.

So you want a real debate? :O)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
I was really hoping you all would see the error of your ways and ask John if you could join us in trying to make the world a better place.
;-)

Anonymous said...

Lee, I don't understand everything you are saying but as far as faith being reasonable, there is, in the spiritual realm, an unreasonable component to it which has to do with the desire to express love towards those who hate and are antagonistic towards one. This desire does not come out of blind compulsion or a need to assert moral/spiritual superiority, but out of the awareness and empathy of having been enlightened and saved myself and coming to recognize that God doesn't love us inspite of my weakness, but because I am weak and in need of His love.

As far as the notion of all things being possible, a believer has great freedom, but not all things are constructive (I wouldn't desire or value that a little pig to be traumatized by suddenly being airborn or endure the cabin pressure on an airflight, and please, Lee, do not cut your hand! :-).

As a believer, my scheme is to increase my capacity to love beyond my narrow, territorial boundaries - trust me when I say that this is a miracle. I finally realized that He really likes the way He created me and you guys and the only job I really have is to express faith in acts of love.

As far as the arguments of believers in validating their faith based on the Bible alone: The word of God is intended to be manifested in our lives - the word becomes flesh. Without the outward expression and practice of God's love, my faith is dead. My life is intended to reflect the love and mercy I've received from Him. I cannot be entrusted with the Bible alone because I have a habit of grabbing formulas, schemes and legal/moral codes with the intent of bypassing God altogether and become self-righteous(I have authority issues and forgiveness and trust do not come easily for me). Without love, scripture can be easily manipulated to become a tool of abusiveness.

So, for me, the "anything is possible" has to do with God teaching me to love people I never dreamed I could. That is the mountain that is being moved in my heart.

Since faith is expressed in love, I really have no argument for non-believers other than to say that I acknowledge and understand that your perspective is very real and exists. It doesn't mean that you are disqualified from God's love or from being loved by believers!

I have no ulterior motive other than interior love that begs to be expressed. While I may find you guys loveable, I acknowledge that God loves you perfectly and infinitely better than I ever could. I just want you to know that.

Anon 1035

Thanks, Lee!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1035,
I appreciate the sentiment. You are very kind.

as far as faith being reasonable, there is, in the spiritual realm, an unreasonable component …but out of the awareness and empathy of having been enlightened and saved myself ….
There is research going on now that shows that there are algorithms for altruism that span across cultures. But they aren't the kind of algorithms for behavior that can be explained by a revelation or gift from god because they are very rudimentary.
I recognize the emotional aspect of it. But I would suggest to you that people are hardwired for certain altruistic behaviors. This research is going on now at
http://moral.wjh.harvard.edu/
Some people are deficient in these areas, they are called Sociopaths and Psychopaths. They have regions of their brains that don't work like the majority of brains do. This points to a correlation between regions in the brain and rudimentary algorithms for altruism that have been derived through natural selection.


As far as the notion of all things being possible, a believer has great freedom, but not all things are constructive …
As a believer, my scheme is to increase my capacity to love beyond my narrow, territorial boundaries - trust me when I say that this is a miracle….

There are principles in Game theory that show there are situations and circumstances where altruism and cooperation (loving your neighbor as you love yourself) generate the most successful outcome. They show that, depending on the consequences, sometimes the most successful outcome that can be obtained is through mutual cooperation. Look up the prisoners dilemma for an introduction to this theory. There are also theories of the origin of pet domestication that show that animals are likely to have hung around humans for protection, and food waste. This would have been mutually beneficial because the animals are protected from predators, but can be used for food or can produce food, such as milk or eggs. This is kind of non-altruistic cooperation between humans and animals, but it seems to be a biological need that is fulfilled naturally. I love my dogs. They love me. I think this is a happy circumstance of evolution.

… The word of God is intended to be manifested in our lives - the word becomes flesh. Without the outward expression and practice of God's love, my faith is dead. … Without love, scripture can be easily manipulated to become a tool of abusiveness.
I agree with you. But I can show you that god and the bible are not the only sources of love. Types of Love seem to have rational basis. They can be explained through natural relationships. And some of them make sense, for example the union of a man, and a woman, the child that may ensue and the adoption of pets. And so what if your faith is dead? The world goes on, the relationships are still there. God doesn't make people moral, people make people moral, I think you would agree with that. If you don't, then explain to me how there are Christians doing immoral things. When you are standing on the ground, it is okay to let go of the rope ( the ground being reason and god being the rope). I guess what I am saying to believers is that you will have a more successful outcome for yourselves and the rest of us if you will put your faith in sound reason instead of a god of which no one can agree on the details.

So, for me, the "anything is possible" has to do with God teaching me to love people I never dreamed I could. That is the mountain that is being moved in my heart.
As I keep saying to believers collectively, I don't think you give yourselves enough credit.

The truth is out there, you just have to get your nose out one book and put it in many others. You should open your eyes, your ears and your mind and trust your judgment. Use your head to weigh the positives and negatives of issues, figure out what the most successful outcome for a group would be and figure out how to help bring it about. This is love my friend, and it is based on reason.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee!

I enjoy hearing about all the scientific discovery that we are making about God's creation! I just don't agree with some of the scrutinizing and potentially condemning aspects of our discovery.

For instance, brain studies do show the areas that might cause a person to act in sociopathic or pyschopathic ways - however, how did that person's brain become damaged? I once read an article that detailed a study done with 3 persons. Two were set apart and acted as though they were maliciously gossiping about the other who was alone. The victim's perception and distress of being singled out showed up on the brain scan in diminished activity in the area that perceives pain.

From my own personal experience, I know I have had my mind renewed - I haven't spent my life being altruistic before.

Now, I know it seems reasonable and often a romantic notion to glorify humanity acting as our own agents on this Earth alone, but in truth, given enough of a threat to our territorial boundaries, we have a habit of justifying acting out in some pretty outrageous ways - and by so called reasonable people (and yes, some Christians).

I can turn my other cheek towards those who may find it reasonable to attack me if I have something of infinite value to turn my cheek toward. If I love God more than I hate my enemy, then I am in the faith and I have something more worthy to obtain than getting involved in the mistreatment of this world - to override fight or flight. Without the spirit, I perish.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Anon.
Why is it that it still not does not come down to a decision on your part to behave that way?
Haven't you decided to behave in a way that god would approve of?
And aren't you voluntarily acting on that decision?
And as to your rhetorical question about 'how did that persons brain get damaged', why don't you tell me some ways it might have gotten damaged since you brought it up.
In your first sentence, you brought up 'potentially condemning and scrutinizing aspects'. What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Hi again Lee! Wow - we're up pretty late!

Thanks for the questions - they are thoughtful ones.

I wish I could decide to behave in divine nature but the truth is, it doesn't come naturally for me. You mentioned, if I decided to behave in a way that God would "approve" of. Now, it is not by my approved behavior that I am loved - I am loved because I don't act in divine nature - that is God's loving rescue towards me - the gift of divine spirit. Am I still being delivered? Yes! Am I still tempted and given to human nature -absolutely! I wish I could say that I were self-propelled in righteousness but in fact, I am not. So, I am not self-righteous but adopted into a Way that is divinely inspired. Again, I recognize and acknowledge the basis for your perspective.

About the "how did that persons brain get damaged" - I apologize I didn't make it very clear that I was giving an account of an article about research that was done to study the damaging effects of mistreatment upon the human brain as an example of how one might experience brain damage.

About potentially condemning and scrutinizing aspects of our discoveries - this goes in tandem with the above referenced but could be explained (possibly) in another way:

A popular question is posed: is the glass half empty or half full? God sees the whole glass, both the emptiness and the fullness, and responds, overflowing, with love. I suppose that is the way I perceive the difference between God's Way and the world's way. A lot of times, we just study and examine glasses and make a judgement of whether it is an indication of either a positive or negative outlook. But God's purpose is to love, regardless.

I don't know about you, but as stimulating as conversing here is, my brain is really tired now. I'd love to stay and chat, but best be off to bed for the night - Good night -take care, Lee! 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon. 1035,
good night, happy easter, and good luck with your dogs!
take care.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lee! I accept your kind sentiments and counter with a blessing of Easter Love! :-) 1035

One Wave said...

Lee,
I agree with you that most Christians are not prepared to think logically and to really deal with hard questions. I think all Christians would do well, including myself, to learn to present information in a logical, deductive form.

There are Christians who do this well, Francis Schaeffer was one, too bad he couldn't have had an O.T. life span. There are others. N.T. Wright is another one. I would encourage all Christians to get their hands on anything written by N.T. Wright and carefully consider his views.

I think we Christians do need to look at the history of the Church with open eyes and see that many mistakes have been made in light of the whole of God's revelation and that people of every race and creed have also made mistakes. I am not ashamed of the legacy of the early Christian Church anymore than you would be ashamed of the legacy of Atheism and its good and bad influences in history.

About possiblitiy...I understand what you are saying. I do believe that there are real possibilities based on the understanding that we are in a period of time, we don't have the whole scheme of history laid out before us. We have facts and those facts are subject to interpretation. If you were to pick apart every ancient document and scrutinize it in the same manner that the N.T. scripture have been scrutinized, it would be interesting to see what conclusions would be drawn as to our knowledge of the ancient world.

I'd love to hear your opinion about this question.

Which came first, a chemical reaction in the brain or an event that triggered a chemical reaction in the brain to bring about a natural altruism?

One Wave said...

And, I forget to tell you that I do join you in making the world a better place but I'm pretty sure I can still believe in God to do that. :)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
I hope you had a good easter.

Which came first, a chemical reaction in the brain or an event that triggered a chemical reaction in the brain to bring about a natural altruism?

My opinion is that from the perspective of the history of organisms, the reactions came first, building from more simple to complex as time when on.

And, I forget to tell you that I do join you in making the world a better place but I'm pretty sure I can still believe in God to do that. :)
Whew! I'm glad YOU can. I don't know about some others, but just a couple of quick questions.
Does that world include homosexuals? I presume you are a woman, so remember, your rights had to be fought for by women thinking outside "the book". The man who wrote the article below didn't have a choice to be a man, and probably didn't pick his sexual orientation. http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/23613.html
What could make him think that anyone can? Did you pick your sexual orientation? Are you attracted to women? To me homosexuality is like color blindness. It is a result of those chemicals developing in a way outside the average.

I plugged one of the claims from the article into the BRS and here is what I come up with.
Conclusion: " However, in all of this God is not the source of homosexuality. The devil is. He is the one who caused the imbalance in mortals, the planet and the soul." (Grant Swank, http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/23613.html)
Premise1: "homosexuality is the result of The Fall. God did not and does not create homosexuals" (Grant Swank, http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/23613.html)
Warrant1: Homosexuality is an abomination to god.
Backing1: The Bible tells us this.
{Conclusion1.a (support for Backing1): The Bible is valid
Warrant1.a: because the bible is the word of god
Data1.a: The bible says it is the word of God.}
Data1: Scripture in the Bible


Just as I suspected, it fails. You don't think like HIM do you?

And do you believe that the rights of 300 cells in a in a frozen state from donors trump the rights of a child with leukemia, or with burns or impaired vision?
http://www.stemcellresearchfoundation.org/About/FAQ.htm#5

Anonymous said...

At 4 weeks old, a human has all of it's brain neurons it will ever make. It's a human as soon as the sperm meets the egg, because its a living cell.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee!

"To me, homosexuality is like color blindness. It is a result of those chemicals developing in a way outside the average".

Did I note a bias? Outside the average??? Often, people take offense at such comments.

I offer a personal exchange of experience in the realm of sexuality - not homo but hetero (which, in regards to immorality, is no doubt a much more populated arena but more I suspect, more universally accepted and less targeted by the religious).

I have in the past, been successful in meeting the everchanging and ever increasing demands of acceptance in pursuit of sexual gratification only to be rewarded with abusive intimacy and being objectified. I was systematically being devalued, and gradually becoming starved spiritually which drove me further towards risk taking behaviors. I was suffering - the gospel offers salvation, not punishment for the likes of people like me, but I had no other standard of love by which to compare until, of course, well, you can guess - God!

Look, I love people who engage in homosexuality, but I know that, like me, some are mistreated and used in order to gain fleeting closeness and others I know (and love!) are more asexual and abstain from relationships altogether - I don't consider this as immoral. I have feelings of protectiveness for them, the same as others who suffer in other ways.

It is good to note that Jesus warned there would be more mercy for the residents of Sodom and Gomorrha (who, if I am correct, suffered from hostile, aggressive and violent sexuality - I believe this is the reference by which homosexuality is defined scripturally) than those who practiced religious hypocrisy, so I know that when I see the brethren persecuting sinners,they are not acting in faith.

Jesus loves people - He loves homosexuals and heterosexuals - but He loves us all first as sinners - in other words, He doesn't desire to enable any of us to stay apart from what He has to offer - which is pure, 100 proof unadulterated love - no ulterior motives, no good-on-the-outside, but-ugly-and-destructive-upon intimacy, etc. etc..

I had to suffer quite a bit before I relingquished myself for adoption by God. I admit, my natural ways appeared right and attractive initially, but I had to perish a bit before I desired to search for a different foundation and expression of love and human closeness.

God doesn't condemn sinners (in Revelation Jesus mentions those who won't INHERIT the kingdom of heaven and in the gospels He tells us He doesn't come to condemn!) - it's just that those who are bonded and successful in worldly ways do not always desire to disengage and avail themselves for adoption by God.

Thanks!
Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1121,
At 4 weeks old, a human has all of it's brain neurons it will ever make.
Would you site a source for this please so I can check it out? Off the top of my head I would say you are mistaken. If that is true, how does a brain get any bigger?

and that doesn't answer the question. Do 300 hundred cells trump the rights of people with leukemia, burns and vision impairment?

Hi 1035,
Did I note a bias? Outside the average??? Often, people take offense at such comments.
Nice try at an ad hominem, 'poisoning the well'. I will exercise the principle of charity and assume that you were just teasing me rather than seriously alleging that I am biased.
Consider this, and please show me where I am wrong.
Is it true that the majority of men are not homosexual? If that is true doesn't it follow that the average mans preference is not homosexual? Then does it not follow that a man that is homosexual would fall outside the average in terms of sexual preferences of men?

I offer a personal exchange of experience in the realm of sexuality ... less targeted by the religious).
I have in the past, ...of course, well, you can guess - God!
Look, I love people who ...I have feelings of protectiveness for them, the same as others who suffer in other ways.
It is good to note that Jesus warned ...when I see the brethren persecuting sinners,they are not acting in faith.


1035, I see you talking about you. In talking with you, and, unless I am mistaken, you have said that you are not representative of most Christians. In fact If i remember right, I commented on the fact that you seem to have personalized your religion. Good for you. I see you exercising independent thinking, getting away from dogma. We can work with that. But in talking about Jesus loving homosexuals it avoids the issues of what is happening today in the news, in the courts, etc as a real result of religious dogma. If the faithful are wrongly persecuting, as you seem to say, I say that is a result of the emotional commitment, and the lack of standards based on reason that come with it. Your disapproval of their actions helps prove my point.

Anonymous said...

Hi again, Lee!

Poisoning the well? Ouch! When you bring it to light like that, it sounds painful! I apologize, Lee and I mean that sincerely - you do not deserve poisoned water. Salvation is a process for me, so thanks for that.

About those who persecute other people - the whole idea of Christ is that we're supposed to personalize faith and learn a Way to relate to Him so we can better relate to others. Obviously, as seen in Exhibit A in the latter exchange, some have smaller levels of faith than others :-( (which is really only venomous when one does not embrace their own mustard seed smallness - vipers/sons of Hell are the ones with small faith parading as though they possess big faith - not fun!).

So many in religion are into idolotry - that is because they have not rightly divided the words and influence in scripture. I love even them - it isn't faith, but it is a form of suffering to remain involved in the world! I don't want to persecute them any more than I do those involved in hurtful sexual relationships. But, as you may recall, in Revelation, in one of the letters to the 7 churches, Jesus addresses a group of believers in the city where Satan lives (spiritually, I understand this to mean that they have been infected with the surrounding influence of pride). When Jesus lowers the nets, He really lowers them - in other words, if some living in pride are only willing to speak out and defend the name of Jesus during times of others' persecution, they have lived out their faith to the best of their ability. For me, this is humbling and I love Y'shua for that.

My posts are personalized - since you mentioned it, I'm not sure if my writing here is rightly suited. I still enjoy visiting and reading the expressions of deep rooted conviction and concern. Jesus said to run hot or cold and that is what I find here. Thanks, Lee!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi 1035,
I'm happy to visit with you!
take care.

Anonymous said...

Leea: about having all of your neurons 4 weeks into birth, I'm in anatomy class and we just watched a PBS movie on it and read it in the book.
It's a person as soon as the sperm meets the egg.

Lee Randolph said...

Thats not really the same thing as citing a source where I can find the information.

I'm looking it up. And you still haven't answered the question.

Anonymous said...

Your brain doesn't get "bigger". More connections are made between neurons but it doesn't get bigger. The neurons move to the places they are needed as coded in the DNA, quite an amazing thing, definetaly something that can't happen by accident.

One Wave said...

Lee,
To answer your question about homosexuals and fetal cells...

Well, it seems to me that whichever side of the fence I am on, belief in a creator or belief in random evolution, the world does not belong to me and it is not my place or my desire to decide who is worthy or able to live in it.

Because I believe in the God of the Bible I do believe that being homosexual is not His perfect design. That said, in our family there are many different lifestyles and one of them is a trans-sexual, homosexual relationship that has actually been more beautiful than most heterosexual marriages I see. I don't understand all that happens in a person's mind or body to bring about the feelings that are associated with this lifestyle but I certainly don't hate or belittle a person because of their life choices. I love my relatives and have a lot of respect for the people they are. They are also respectful of us. I'm not sure why a better world would not include all types of people?? Well, except those who hurt others.

I think it's imperative to note that when God gave his opinion about homosexuality, He was speaking to a people who were chosen to be a testimony to His glory. He did not command the whole world to follow His rules, only Israel and those who would choose to live in Israel.

Of course a better world includes everyone who truly wants to make it better with kindness, compassion, joy, laughter, gentleness and all that. I don't think that means we all have to agree and that we may need to draw some boundaries for our personal lives, but we all do that in our families and friendships with people of like mind when the need arises.

God will work out with each person what He will. Personal matters are between the person and God.


About fetal cells. Goodness, this is a hot topic. I personally think it's a sick thing to create life in order to use it for personal gain. This is controversial for sure, but I choose not to vaccinate my children for several reasons, one of them being that some cultures for vaccines are grown on fetal tissue. Good grief, how could I sleep at night knowing that someone was denied a chance to live because I had an illness...not I. I choose to educate myself on diseases and how to treat them then make sure I am diligent to practice good hygiene. We have not had an illness to speak of beyond a common cold in over 5 years.

Suffering is part of life. I don't like it, but it's there and I think the shallow nature of people today is partly due to the selfish perspective that life should all go our way and we should not have to suffer. I don't think people HAVE to suffer, and certainly never should at the hands of another person, but pain and suffering do create an empathy and an awareness of others. My family is suffering through a rather traumatic event right now and we are growing from it.

It's terrible that there is Leukemia and every other disease but are we ALL willing to stop making plastic, stop using our cars, stop eating meat from cows treated with antibiotics and drinking milk from the same? How about the fuel it takes to transport the wonderful organic food from coast to coast? There was an interesting article in Time magazine about that a few weeks ago...buying locally vs. buying transported organic... Are we all willing to stop doing the things that created the perfect environment for disease to thrive in? I would say we are a bunch of selfish people who look for ways to cover up our mistakes and are willing to take the life of something or someone to do that.

There's my rant.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
something you said in another post about losing your content while posting, this happened to Chris as well. I use a text editor and then cut and paste it into the comment window to avoid that.

I'm not sure why a better world would not include all types of people??
A better world would. Some of them in it should stop trying to legislate morality.

He did not command the whole world to follow His rules, only Israel and those who would choose to live in Israel.
So this only applies to Jews and Christians? If all people accept Jesus then it would apply to all people. Lev. 18:22 says Homosexuality is an abomination to God. That’s a little stronger postion than you seem to take.

that we may need to draw some boundaries for our personal lives
Do you really care what your neighbors or your family do with their genitalia? Do you really think this is worthy of death? Do you think it is worthy of more that a seconds reflection on your part? Some people make a really big deal out of it.

Personal matters are between the person and God.
Lev.20:13 sounds like the death sentence to me. 1 Cor. 6:9-10 sounds like that no matter what you do, abstain or not, a homosexual is not getting into heaven. They were born with no possibility to get into heaven. Score one for predestination. Again you seem to be at odds in your position with the bible.

I personally think it's a sick thing to create life in order to use it for personal gain
Stop eating. You are eating the result of a killing in every plant and animal you digest. 300 cells in a petrie dish from left over donors is just raw material for stem cells. It must be sick to throw them away as well. What is life? A blood cell? A stem cell? Is Basil life? The next time you have some basil in your Italian food or stop by mcdonalds, think about how sick you are.

This is controversial for sure, but I choose not to vaccinate my children for several reasons, one of them being that some cultures for vaccines are grown on fetal tissue.
I urge you to rethink that. I know doctors with very strong feelings about that. They say that it is reckless negligence not to vaccinate and should be unlawful.

Suffering is part of life. I don't like it, but it's there and I think the shallow nature of people today is partly due to the selfish perspective that life should all go our way and we should not have to suffer.
This must be Christians you are talking about because Atheists must necessarily recognize that its all boils down to chance cause that’s all there is. If you think about the phrases, "sometimes the answer is no" "everything happens in gods time" thats kind of what they are saying

It's terrible that there is Leukemia and every other disease but are we ALL willing to stop making plastic..…How about the fuel it takes to transport the wonderful ..…Are we all willing to stop doing the things that created the perfect environment for disease to thrive in.. we are a bunch of selfish people … willing to take the life of something or someone to do that.
It sounds like you are saying that we created the environment for disease like leukemia to exist. I don’t think this is true. Sanitation has gotten better for example and is credited by a consensus of experts as being one of the biggest factors in our average longevity, medicine and vaccinations another. I will not deny that there are problems associated with the things you listed but I think you are conflating some issues here.

When you say "rant" it sounds as if you have some very strong feelings about your comments. It sounds like there is some potential for "Cognitive Dissonance" in you.

One of the things that happened when I started looking to see what Atheists had to say, and investigating their claims, was that they had been there, done that and got the 'no pain, no gain' t-shirt. I realized that I was just one of many that had 'woken up'. Why do you come here? To help us? Or for some other reason?

I get the feeling from some people that they are wrestling with something other than atheism. Take it from me and Jacob, if you wrestle with God, you can beat him.

One Wave said...

Lee,
Thank you for the tip about cutting and pasting. I do that at home sometimes but I'm staying in friend's home and I don't know how to use an Apple very well, I'm afraid I'll push the wrong buttons or click on the wrong icon.

Yes, I was full of vinegar last night and I do get very emotional about human life!

You were very good to pick up on my comment about not killing anything. I was wondering if anyone would notice, I was going to post an edit to say that I would not choose to use any human tissue that was specifically harvested for my benefit from a living cell or group of cells either in the form of a body or pre-body, but I decided to wait and see if I needed to. I eat meat, although I look for ways to use less, and I also eat eggs.

I stand corrected.

I agree about legislating morality. The problem with this is that we don't all come from the same moral base. If some men think it's OK to have relations with boys under the age of 18, wouldn't it be legislating morality to make that against the law? Who DOES decide? (forgive my use of bold print, I don't know how to use those tags or I would use italic.)

Leviticus is a book of laws written for the Hebrews and any foreigners living with them, to follow. 1 Peter 4:17 puts this concept into form: "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"
There may be a reference that I don't know where God destroys a city or a group of people without sending someone to warn them, but from what I remember reading, God only judged nations or destroyed them when they were unrepentant or they were against Israel. I have been surprised at how many times God did not use violence but chose to confuse people into fleeing.
I'm rambling now. My point being, yes, I think it's clear that God does not like homosexuality in and of itself. He also told the Israelites to stone thieves, adulterers, slanderers, and many more acts that were not what He intended for us.

I think that tracing the threads of judgment throughout the Bible shows that although God does judge, and He does so harshly sometimes, His mercy is more prevalent. I don't think that His judgment is strictly reserved for those who profess to have faith in Christ or for Israel, but I am sure that He judges those who are claiming to live for Him first. And yes, if all people accept Jesus as the promised savior and grow in the grace and knowledge of Him, then His laws would apply to all people. I have to reiterate what I have said in at least one other place, the laws of God should not have to be laws. I believe we were created with the knowledge of what is right from the beginning and that it was lost as time went on and many people chose to go away from God. There was a huge difference in me when I met God. A new world opened up.

Some examples of personal boundaries for me would be;
no smoking in my house, no unchecked bad language in my house, no telling my children what they should believe and belittling them if they don't agree with the person's views, respect appropriate physical contact in my home etc. I don't go through life with a checklist of things that are offensive to me. What is offensive to me is when I make a reasonable request for an action to stop and it is ignored. That's only in my home or if it pertains to my property or family. I would be very uncomfortable if either a heterosexual couple or homosexual couple were to be inappropriately physical with each other in my home in front of others. Do you know what I mean by that?
I am not convinced that people are born homosexual. They may be, but I don't know enough to have a firm position.
I think all sin, sin being anything contrary to God's original creation, is punishable by death.
I can honestly say that if I were God I would have done away with people long ago and not started over. Not because I don't love people, but because the pain involved in relationships is real and hard and I am more self centered than God.

I realize that some people make a big deal out of it. This is what God has commanded those who call themselves His to do:"...But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

James 1:27 "This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

I don't see anything about condemning our fellow man for his sin.

Lev. and 1 Corinthians both list quite a few different things that would disqualify a person from being in God's' kingdom. That does not mean it's my place to judge them. That is God's affair. I would not be qualified to be in God's kingdom if there was no one to cover for me. I have no qualms with God's position. He has not told me to judge or to condemn, only to love and to encourage fellow believers to live a life that they have chosen to live to please God.

Stem cells...who were the donors?


Let me revise my statement here about what is sick. Even if a person believes in evolution it goes against every shred of decency to take a human life that has begun and purposely end it for the benefit of another person. There is a scientific description of life, right? A seed is not alive. A germinated seed is alive is it not? I cannot bring myself to throw away or trample on a new shoot of a plant or to pull them up because they are crowding other plants. If I need to do it, I feel a bit guilty, a new life was beginning and I cut it short. I don't think it is sick to step on plant shoots or to eat plants, but I do think it is sick, literally sick, to cut short the life of an organism that we all know has the full potential to grow into a human being.

Does a stem cell grow into a person? Does a blood cell? No, only a fertilized egg cell will grow into a full person and that is the only logical conclusion is it not?

Yes, there are doctors who say it should be unlawful to not vaccinate. I don't want to turn this into a vax, no vax thread so if you are interested in learning more I would encourage you to do so. Taking Anatomy/Physiology, Biology and Nutrition courses in college opened my eyes to how the immune system works, it's incredible and the balance of "chemicals" in our bodies is amazingly fragile.

Actually, in reference to suffering and life going our way, I was generalizing. And yes, I think it's obvious that we have created an environment where disease thrives.

Car emissions, are they good for us to breath? I mean, are they not just "not bad for us" but are they beneficial?

Refined sugar, this makes the ph level of our blood turn acidic which is exactly the environment that cancer needs to grow rapidly. It also plays havoc with our insulin levels making our organs work extra hard.

We eat denatured food. I just can't understand how beings who evolved from the earth, supposedly, would choose to live so diametrically opposed to that earth.

Disease cannot thrive in an organism that is healthy. Health is the over all proper functioning of all of the organisms' parts. In order to have that proper level of functioning, the organism must have the right balance of enzymes, amino acids, hormones, minerals, vitamins, etc..

I know my post sounded inflammatory, I don't usually talk in those terms. I am not hopeless, I don't think we are all going to die tomorrow or that the earth is on it's last leg.

My point was that I have seen a few people here write thing like; if God is real He would tell us how to make medicine that would heal our diseases, if God is real He would give us better bodies, if God is real He would....fill in the blank.

If the Bible is true, IF God did make the world, IF God is real then He did it all right and people, thinking that we can be independent of God, have chosen to act and create in ways that have not been beneficial to us. Is there any logical reason to eat denatured food? I can't see it.

Lee, I don't know what Cognitive Dissonance is, I am not a philosopher. Yes, I do have strong feelings about these issues because it is these same issues that people blame God for when they are so obviously the responsibility of people.

I came here originally to gain some insight into the mind of an Atheist. I didn't want to argue, I wanted to hear your (collective) side and present mine and see where the differenced stem from or how a person can one day believe, claiming to have actually experienced God in their lives, and then not believe.

I am not wrestling with Atheism, I am wrestling with the fact that many here have called Christians across the board ignorant, when I have yet to see some real answers to questions. I have been most impressed with Prup and yourself. You have both been the most respectful and willing to answer questions.

I have been wondering what the point of having a site like this is if the members are more interested in patting each other on the back than engaging in challenging conversation. I'm not a formal debate behind a podium person..I am a sit down with a table full of books and lets dig over good coffee person and I think I am in the wrong place. I find it helpful to sharpen my own convictions and beliefs when I am challenged to confront them, defend them and solidify them. Or the opposite could happen and I may need to change some of my previously held notions as long as they do not compromise the character of God.

I appreciate your sentiment about wrestling with God but I do not see God as my enemy. There are many things in the Bible I don't understand and many things throughout history that don't make sense to me, but I am sure as sure can be that God exists and He is good.

If my input or questions are inappropriate I understand and I will bow out. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions I've asked you and for presenting your views of the resurrection, it has caused me to dig again and to stay fresh instead of going with the flow of mainstream Christianity.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
In my opinion, nothing you have done is inappropriate.
I hope you won't bow out, we need people like you to keep us on our toes and hold us accountable. Maybe if there were more like you to challenge us, then the things that make you think we are back-patting might stop.
I appreciate your kind words towards Prup and I,. Thank you.
I do like to debate though I've never done it formally, and I prefer a strict form because it minimizes the irrelevant stuff.

A quick read of your last comment left me with the impression that it was pretty subjective. I can't say anything pertitnent against that because it would just be my opinion. Everybodys got those!

I think you and I have come to a point on this thread that we could make a doctorate out of this if we keep challenging each other to look stuff up. I know it is important to find new information, but we have to draw the line somewhere.
I’m not going to change you and you are not going to change me.

If you are interested in new ideas and seeing how the Atheist thinks, stick around. Chime in, you don't always have to answer back. I'm to the point that I have to pick and choose what I respond to so I don't get in a bind.

You have a lot of good points and it is obvious that you think for yourself. I have enjoyed the challenge.
But, I’m ready to move on to the next topic if you are!

If not, I made a commitment to defend my articles so I will do it when asked.

Lee Randolph said...

oooooops I thought I was commenting on the resurrection thread!
anyway, I guess it goes for this one too, ....
The article was not about stem cells and lifestyle choices, it just used them as an example.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Lee, but were you comparing human life to a leaf? It might be just me but I see quite a difference there.

Lee Randolph said...

yea, the leaf is kinda weak but i was rushing through the response. It does have a relationship in the fact the plant is alive and when we eat we are taking parts off of it. The plant is a bad analogy for the zygote , blastocyst, embryo stages that I was talking about when I said 300 cells. But it was an attempt at a reducing her argument to the absurd, which as it turns out was not her position because she had a mistake in her post.
false alarm!

One Wave said...

Lee,
We can move on. I agree that we will not change each other, but I do think that it can be beneficial at times to see an argument through because I firmly believe, and have experienced, that in the end it comes down to who's research or opinions are being trusted and the beginning point of reference is.

And I agree with you that we certainly could earn a doctorate if we continued! Not a bad idea to become so knowledgable in an area by self directed learning that it could count as a doctorate. Like you, I don't have the time but since I obligated myself I didn't want to let it drop.

Thanks, see you on other topics. :)

semidemiurge said...

At 4 weeks the embryo is.....

~5mm long

neurons are just starting their explosive growth phase

No synapses have formed yet

Andre said...

Wow! I love this post.