Reasonable Doubt That God Is Intentionally Mysterious

[Revised Dec. 11 to provide the "moral of the story" and provide information about "A Code of Conduct for Reasonable Discussants" to enhance clarity.]
Referencing the same article Doctrinal Disagreement to the Glory of God that John did here from the "Parchment and Pen" Blog I want to provide a rejoinder to the theological pile of rhetoric that God is deliberately mysterious and that is why christians can't agree on doctrine.

Heres a little "parable" to illustrate the flaw in the principle that argument depends on. Puzzle lovers, get your pencils out. The solution is embedded in the text of the rest of the article. Give yourself a chance to figure it out before you expand the article.

A steel tower went up in a neighborhood with the following sign on it.
herkiv lmkl zspxeki. hs rsx gsqi amxlmr jmjxc biix.

People debated day and night about what the sign could mean. Then one day people heard a blood curdling scream to find a person dead and badly burned next to the tower. One of the results of the investigation turned up that the sign was encrypted to read "Danger High Voltage. Do not come within fifty feet." The person was at fault because they did not take the time to figure out that each of the letters was offset by five positions. The person died before it could be figured out that the alphabet started at W and ended at V.

Now is it clear why Gods mystery is a silly principle to adhere to?

It was irresponsible and silly not to make the sign easy to understand.
Anything important that should be imparted to another should be clearly stated.

Therefore, it would follow that the supreme intellect in the universe would not do something as irresponsible and silly as making his instruction ambiguous, then it would naturally follow that anything important that needed to be imparted to us attributed to the supreme intellect in the universe that was ambiguous could not really be from the supreme intellect in the universe, and that would mean the bible is man-made and subject to all the problems inherent to man-made texts.

In day to day life as in the study of Argumentation and Informal Logic the Principle of Clarity is essential and is one of a set of rules in a "Code of Conduct for Reasonable Discussants" developed by Frans H. Van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst and published in their book A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach.


"Discussants may not use any formulations that are
insufficiently clear or confusingly ambiguous, and
they may not deliberately misinterpret the other
party’s formulations."

80 comments:

James said...

Crystal! Thank you :D

Alan said...

Not at all. God has declared clearly how to live.

In Christ
Alan

Lee Randolph said...

Ok alan,
Are you saved by faith or works and do have to be baptised and if you are is baptism as an infant good enough?

richdurrant said...

It doesn't make any sense to me that an individual who wanted to save all would be intentionally mysterious so almost no one could figure out how to be saved. It doesn't fit a benevolent person. I would say maybe space in heaven is limited, except for that many mansion reference by Christ. Hmmmm, curious?

Oh Hi Lee

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
Nice to see you again. I don't see in principle why the master of the infinite would need to limit how many get to heaven or why he would need to be so cryptic about it.

Its a bit counter-intuitive isn't it? Even the manager of the infinite hotel has a method of squeezing one more in.

exapologist said...

I rarely agree with Nietzsche, but I agree with him on the point you raise here. Here's how he puts the problem:

"A god who is all-knowing and all-powerful and who does not even make sure his creatures understand his intention – could that be a god of goodness? Who allows countless doubts and dubieties to persist, for thousands of years, as though the salvation of mankind were unaffected by them, and who on the other hand holds out the prospect of frightful consequences if any mistake is made as to the nature of truth? Would he not be a cruel god if he possessed the truth and could behold mankind miserably tormenting itself over the truth? – But perhaps he I a god of goodness notwithstanding – and merely could express himself more clearly! Did he perhaps lack intelligence to do so? Or the eloquence? So much the worse! For then he was perhaps also in error as to that which he calls his “truth”, and is himself not so far from being the “poor deluded devil”! Must he not then endure almost the torments of Hell to have to see his creature suffer so, and go on suffering even more through all eternity, for the sake of knowledge of him, and not be able to help and counsel them, except in the manner of a deaf man making all kinds of ambiguous signs when the most fearful danger is about to befall on his child or dog?"

richdurrant said...

All through the OT God directs his "people" through a prophet. Then he comes in the flesh for the NT to lead his people. Now he doesn't need to work the same way. No more revelation, it's kind of like Forest Gump, "that's all I have to say about that."
Why the change? Why not do the same thing now that he has done throughout the bible and lead us through a prophet with direct revelation? Isn't that what an unchanging God would do?

richdurrant said...

I agree that there would be no limit to those who could enter his kingdom. Which is why a mysterious God who is absent in our current day doesn't hold water with me. It doesn't fit with the characteristics claimed about God.

Lee Randolph said...

I think he should have just let jesus live through the crucifixion and then let him live forever as our teacher, certifying new apostles and prophets every year in a graduation ceremony and send through out the world to spread the good news and his glory.

Thats what I would have done, but without the crucifixion. No muss no fuss, all christianity all the time 24/7. that would go a long way to discouraging all these other silly people making up new religions and such.

Jason said...

Whether or not God is mysterious doesn't "debunk Christianity". What gives?

Michael Ejercito said...


Thats what I would have done, but without the crucifixion. No muss no fuss, all christianity all the time 24/7. that would go a long way to discouraging all these other silly people making up new religions and such.

Without Jesus rising from the dead, He would be considered nothing more than a long-haired Jewish preacher.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I believe that One without any ulterior motive who is innocent but powerful does confound our territorial understanding - such a nature does seem mysterious.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Lee wrote, "One of the results of the investigation turned up that the sign was encrypted to read "Danger High Voltage. Do not come within fifty feet."

Wonder if the person who came close to the tower of the cryptic message experienced a different kind of death - one of pridefulness - which upon initial confrontation seems dangerous, but actually brought the person to a new life. Wonder if the tower were not an empty tomb but a building filled with those who had entered and were beckoning and actually stepping out and inviting those outside to enter in?

This tower parable seems in alignment with what Y'shua was warning us about - whitewashed and "empty tomb" religious practices. These are idolotrous and ought to be debunked. I do believe drawing close to idolotry does render one lifeless.

Lee Randolph said...

you are all avoiding the point that mystery is incompatible with understanding.

How does mystery contribute to our understanding of God, Jesus, Christianity or anything else for that matter? It doesn't, admit it.

How can you have a relationship with something you don't understand? You can't. Admit it.

richdurrant said...

Hi Lee,
I am also interested to learn the answer to you're question. While I can understand some mysteries, that is different then being mysterious. If you are mysterious, then you would not be understood. In essence we are on the same page here. I suspect you won't get an answer, mostly because I don't believe there is one.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rich,
Are you trying to profit (pun intended) from this dialogue? I see you with your fishing cap on waiting for someone to take the bait.
;-)

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Your parable begins with a presupposition that the person approaching the tower is drawing towards a destructive force rather than a life giving one.

I doubt that mystery and understanding are incompatible - I believe the threshold of discovery lies in recognizing the unknown and pursuing it. There are some of course, who recognize the unknown and perceive it as a threat and respond with fight or flight.

Lee Randolph said...

hmm, mmm
On what grounds do you doubt that mystery and understanding are incompatible? Can you explain to me in simple terms how they can be compatible please, I think my soul depends on it.

The tower is benign. It saves lives too. It is the communications tower for the Emergency Medical Technicians in the ambulances, the Firefighters and law enforcement. It was irresponsible for the erectors of the tower not to post a sign that was easy to understand.

Consider the dead guy an atheist that has a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that the tower installer would deliberately make the sign hard to understand.

Doesn't god give life and take it away? Doesn't he save those that can be saved and in a best case 'separate' from those that can't and in a worst case cast them into a pit of fire?

The reason the dead guy was burned was to create an allusion to being burned in hell.

Or are you one of those "christians" that think a literal Hell is just an illusion?
;-)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi mmm,
I'm back to comment on the rest of your comment.
I believe the threshold of discovery lies in recognizing the unknown and pursuing it. There are some of course, who recognize the unknown and perceive it as a threat and respond with fight or flight.
After a time of pursuing a mystery if the pursuit turns out to be fruitless then it is reasonable to break it off and expend those resources somewhere else. This is a commonly accepted pattern of behavior. I'd say that there are at least thirty theological problems that have never been ironed out including the reality of the trinity (Right Jason?) and after almost two thousand years I think we could reasonably expect at least that to be resolved.

When pursuing a mystery, relatively incontrovertible evidence sure does come in handy in understanding it, or do I have a misconception?

Oh and my compliments on that nice little heuristic you have there about the fight or flight. Its a rhetorical shortcut to put the blame back on the seeker and allow you to dismiss the argument out of hand.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

hi Lee!

You asked me to expand a bit on my explanation of mystery and understanding as being compatible. Perhaps "revelatory" is a better term to use. I think a love of discovery, learning and gathering insight and foresight are all part of faith.

You wrote; "it's a rhetorical shortcut to put the blame on the seeker" - Thanks for sharing your perspective. I doubt that observing and acknowledging a trend is the same thing as assigning blame or indictment - but I understand that perspective nonetheless - it's not uncommon to operate in ways that incite offense/defensive thinking.

I hope this comment was not too mysterious.

Take care, Lee!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi mmm,
you take care too, and If i don't talk to you again before then, I hope you have a great holiday!

In fact I hope you all have a great holiday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jason said...

It should be noted that every reference to a "mystery" in Scripture is followed by a revealing of said mystery.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

You are too sweet - best holiday wishes to you too, Lee!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
but that doesn't help us sort out the matrix of theological mysteries including the one about the trinity now does it?

I'm sure you know there is no trinity as do I but how does one go about convincing someone about the truth of that? How does one go about tickling that inner guide, that spiritual intuition to wake up and pay attention and get back on track? How do we get past the deceit that is so prevalent in so many churches? You need to be baptized here, you don't there, infant baptism counts, infant baptism doesn't, now theres a purgatory, now there isn't, women can be preachers here, they can't over there, 'once saved always saved' over here, you can lose it over there (I was saved so even though I am atheist I get into heaven anyway that's why I'm so belligerent ;-) ), theres an unforgivable sin over here but theres not over there, Hell is a lake of fire over here, but is only just 'separation' from god over there, I could go on but those are just what come to mind at the moment.

So you understand the mechanisms behind how Jesus could take on all our sin and be held up like a lamb for sacrifice to save us all? So, is sin something transferable, something we can trade? Or was he just paying our punitive debt so we wouldn't all have to be killed all over again like a toddler being drowned in a 40 day flood?

These things are an Enigma (pinky in mouth). That is what I mean by mystery.

You want me to tell you how to get to carnegie hall? Practice, practice, practice. Does that help you get there? no, but it sure is funny, and it has value as humor. The bible is not funny and it evidently doesn't have any value in understanding what god wants or how to be a proper christian.

That is pretty counter-intuitive for a being that loved us so much he gave his only son so that we may not perish but have eternal life. The devil is in the details. The Calvinists say one thing, the catholics say another, the protestants say another and the christadelphians say another, etc.

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

You wrote:

"[You can't] have a relationship with something you don't understand[.] Admit it!"

I can't understand my wife, but I do have a relationship with her, at least most of the time. I never understood my parents (of course I did, but we are debating here), but I managed to relate to them rather well. And the dog next to me is utterly confounding, and yet we do have a relationship. I even relate to people whose language -- like Portuguese - precludes me from understanding them. And I do not understand what it is to have Muscular Dystrophy, but I did have a relationship with a young man who did; at least, I tried to relate to what I could not -- at least fully -- understand.

I also don't understand most of the mysteries of the cosmos, but I still have a relationship to the earth, stars and everything around me. I don't understand calculus, trig or physics, but I manage to catch a baseball launched from a batter's bat some 350 feet away from my position in center-field; I relate to what I do not understand when it comes to the physics and mathematics of sports.

Lastly, I don't understand the binary world which is this medium, but I do have a relationship to it, at least one on a par with those kids who don't understand their iPods but relate to that interface quite ably.

Am I missing something here?

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

Lee Randolph said...

Hi bill,
yes you are missing the point of the entire article. You picked one statement out of a comment and are ignoring the most important parts. You seem to be trying to equivocate the meaning of relationship to draw attention away from the all mighty allegedly loving us enough to know the number of the hairs on our head yet mixing up our understanding of him like he supposedly did to the languages at babel because we were becoming too powerful. Getting close to being like them, whoever them is. Maybe we are getting close to being like god again and that is why he confuses our understanding of him. yea, thats it, we are close to being godlike. Right.......

Even if I stipulate that I was wrong about "you cant have a relationship with something you can't understand" it still would not weaken my case that a perfect being (or any being) deliberately trying to be ambiguous is irresponsible and silly. I imagine that if you called up the help desk for your telephone or cable and they were deliberately ambiguous that you would think it was irresponsible, silly and completely incompatible with resolving this issue.

but I won't stipulate. My rejoinder to most of your examples is that I'll bet you a beer that you know almost all of the following well enough to make pretty accurate predictions about them and none of them are perfect all powerful beings that supposedly have your fate in their hands and none of them know what you are going to do before you do it and none of them are deliberately ambiguous with you in the hopes that you will love them more or gain understanding about them and none of them offer you an eternal reward. (ahh, don't you just love the sound of that? ETERNAL REWARD, can I get an amen?) In this way you can have a relationship with them. You share common ground with all of them so you have an understanding implicit in your existence. But unless you want to tell me what 'made in gods image' means, you can't say that you share common ground with a perfect being, not even an angel can.

and if you want to say that you don't understand binary but you have a relationship to computers and ipods, don't fool yourself. You are not relating one iota in binary to any of them. You USE computers and Ipods, but I don't think you want to say you use god, even though I think you all do and don't realize it. I think all christians use god to try to tip the balance in their favor. I watched it when my airplane was landing the last time I flew in a storm.

As you are buying up christmas presents for your loved ones, having a relationship with god, and commemorating his birthday, and humbling yourself in between wondering what you're going to get for christmas, think about the people in the world that are suffering (Darfur) and all the people that are praying for them, and thank god its them and not you.

akakiwibear said...

Hi Lee, once again your argument reverts in principle to the Argument of Evil, but that aside.

Your proposition is that God is not intentionally mysterious.
There are two aspects – mystery about God (and there clearly is) and mystery about God’s message which I would argue there is not.

So what is your proposition? At heart it seems to me it is that one cannot argue that God is deliberately mysterious in His message about how to live and one cannot use that as a defence for multiple interpretations of His message. I am sure you would not argue that God has not been mysterious in His revelations about Himself or the afterlife.

As I don’t want to deal with your analogy which I think is weak and misleading - have I paraphrased your proposition correctly?

If so, I have to agree with your proposition, there is "Reasonable Doubt That God Is Intentionally Mysterious"

With regard to mystery about God’s message one should be careful to distinguish between mystery created by man (or even confusion deliberately created by the cohort on DC) and the simple clarity of God’s core message of Christianity.

The message has not been revealed in its completeness, in one hit, in this day and age. Looking back that may present to some observers with the opportunity to create confusion but if one takes the common sense approach that the message was revealed in stages to cultures in a way that fitted into the context of the culture at the time and that the subsequent revelations superseded the earlier ones – then there is no mystery about the simplicity of God’s Christian message.

To argue that God’s deliberate mystery renders the message obscure is in my view a cop out. I don’t see evidence of God’s deliberate mystery – now I am sure Lee and others will be tempted to rush in with examples of texts that are ambiguous or even contradictory my reply will be to go back to the common sense guide above and look to the actual source of the confusion.

Some of the eastern religions, like Taoism, have a stance on their seminal texts that is far more mature than that frequently aired here in the Christian context. They see the texts for what they are, words written by people as part of God's universal revelation – the bible is no different, it should not be taken as the inerrant and literal word of God – as with the easterns we need to read the theologians and philosophers if we wish to delve below what they view as the simple “public” level of the revelation and get in to the deep stuff.

All I all Lee, for once I agree with you there is indeed “"Reasonable Doubt That God Is Intentionally Mysterious" .

Sala kahle - peace

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwibear,
I hoped that anyone reading the parable would say to themselves, "boy, not making that sign clear enough sure was a dumb thing to do", and then to extrapolate from that the idea that anything important that should be imparted to another should be clearly stated.

Then, since this blog is about debunking christianity, it would follow that the supreme intellect in the universe would not do something dumb like that, then it would naturally follow that anything attributed to the supreme intellect in the universe that was dumb like that could not really be from the supreme intellect in the universe, and that would mean the bible is man made, which would mean that god is man made.

how does the article revert back to the problem of evil? I spiced up my comment to Bill Gnade with an allusion to the problem of evil, but that was just a dash of salt on the side and, in my view, irrelevant to my argument.

and once again your argument hinges on a non-literal interpretation of the bible and surely you know that guys like me are going to say "who is qualified to interpret?". Once you take it into metaphor land, then it becomes even more mysterious because it is even more subjective, and while it may be crystal clear to you, it won't be to others, and typically the truth is crystal clear to most people or its not the truth. Like for example if i say that hitting your hand with a hammer will hurt, its an important safety tip, everyone understands what it means and almost no one will argue with that, but if you say that "god made man in his image" it sounds important but what does that mean?

richdurrant said...

hi again,
no I wasn't trying to prophet from the dialog, but I was trying to start something:) I think it's a good topic. In fact I'll take you up on one part, what does made in his image mean. This is a clear difference, I believe, between Christians and mormons. If you were to see God, he would look like us in the sense of having a body of flesh and bone. I suppose you could say that a spirit, like some faiths believe God to be, could fit the bill. However, if God came here, Christ, and had a body, died and was resurrected, and told his diciples not to be afraid of him because a spirit hath not flesh and bone, would it not then follow that God has a body? To me it makes sense that he does and it fits with the "image" reference. There are other explanations but this fits best to me.
(I can put my fishing hat back up now, it's ice fishing season anyway.)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
Propheteer all you want. I wish we'd get more cross-denominational debating going on here.

So hop on my back and ride me like a rodeo star. ;-)

What do Mormon prophets have to say to clear up any of this ambiguity?

richdurrant said...

OK, but remember you asked for it ;)
I gave you the image one, I'll be interested in responses on that one. I follow suit with aka in that I think the gospel message is clear. The bible was written for us to have a record of God dealing with his children. There clearly are issues we face today that, while the bible can give us help, we need someone who communicates directly with God to give us guidance and answers that fit our time. Why would this same loving God leave us to make a mess of his gospel by being silent? Answer is he wouldn't if he is who he says. Unless you want a different problem to start with, or are curious about others, I did start with God's image because you mentioned it.

Kevin Smith said...

If we accept the idea that the Bible is allegory, the "mystery" surrounding Christ is easy to understand. Joseph of Arimathea is an allegoric representation of the 1st Century historian Josephus who hid Christian involvement in the Jewish revolt of 66 AD. Thus Joseph's "tomb" appears empty while Christ warns others not to expose the truth. Josephus, who was supposedly adopted into the family of Emperor Vespasian, would also have had the clout to silence the tacit Tacitus and the tranquil Suetonious.

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

I bid you well. Thanks for replying to me.

I am not sure you can convincingly suggest that I misunderstand the entire article, for the simple reason that I do understand it. I am not one quick to assert that God is intentionally obscure, or, more aptly, conveniently obscure when it comes to difficult things pertinent to Him. My comment was directed solely to what you said in this thread.

To the contrary, there is no equivocation at all on my part. In my binary system and iPod analogies, I do indeed have a "relationship" (your word) with something I do not understand. Your introduction here of the word "use" -- that I "use" computers -- is far more suggestive of equivocation. I do indeed have relationships despite living in a cloud of mystery. You might counter that you did not mean "relationship" -- an ambiguous and broad term, I admit -- and that would be fine. But as it is, you challenged me (a reader) to admit that I can't have a relationship with something I don't understand, and I've answered that I can admit no such thing.

I simply wanted to make sure I understood your comment. I will not quibble with you about the main idea here. The answer as given regarding God's conspicuousness is not the sort of answer I might give.
____________________

May I quibble, though, with something else you said?

You wrote:

'Even if I stipulate that I was wrong about "you cant have a relationship with something you can't understand" it still would not weaken my case that a perfect being (or any being) deliberately trying to be ambiguous is irresponsible and silly.'

Can I disagree with you here? I for one am often purposely ambiguous. When I believe someone is asking me a question with the intent of pigeon-holing me, then I do indeed deliberately act ambiguously. Does that make me silly and irresponsible? Not at all. It makes me wise, shrewd, cunning, perceptive. It means I will not throw my pearls before swine. Moreover, when a bully or thug comes my way, ambiguity is often a legitimate defense. So too when an abusive husband intent on wounding his wife is misled by my ambiguity about whether I've seen his wife lately (especially if I know she is trembling in fear as she hides upstairs with my wife). There is nothing irresponsible or silly about willful ambiguity in matters of personal or interpersonal defense.

So then, I guess I could indeed argue that a god could choose to be ambiguous and would NOT be silly if he did so.

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

goprairie said...

Even that dog referenced in earlier comments communitcates with you. Tells you by whining when it's hungry, wags its tail and eats if you put down the right sort of meaty thing, just looks at you or pushes it away with its nose if you give it a wedge of iceberg lettuce. A dog communicates when it wants to go outside and where it wants to sleep and when it wants company and when it wants to play and makes itself pretty easy to have a relationship with. A god who was truly all powerful and all loving would find some way, I agree, to make itself a little more clear and obvious to us, especially if beleiving it was truly relevant to an eternal and pleasant life. The fact that no god makes itself apparent to us in a clear and consistent and understandable way means there is no god. Or if there is, that god is not the benevolent loving one of Christianity.

Lee Randolph said...

you goprairie!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Kevin,
touche,
you apparently think its mysterious too and from you tone I take it you are a christian?

However right you may be, your comment sounds like a conspiracy theory to me, and how is that compatible with understanding?

Now I'm on a "principle of clarity" kick so i'll say, it "it violates the principle of clarity".

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
I agree with you and I'm glad to see that "precedent" seems to be a valid reasoning scheme with you. Lord knows it works in a lot of cases.

So, do you happen to know any modern day prophets? And if you do, what kinds have things have they said or done to qualify them as Prophets?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
I gave you the image one, I'll be interested in responses on that one.
I don't think any christian will take you up on that because (if they're savvy, in pirate speak) they know instinctively that the arguments they use to criticize you with can logically be used by you to turn the tables on them in exactly the same way.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
I am not sure you can convincingly suggest that I misunderstand the entire article, for the simple reason that I do understand it.
well, my bad. I just assumed since you didn't mention anything about the core concept of the article that you didn't understand it. I guess you were just attempting a red herring then?

In my binary system and iPod analogies, I do indeed have a "relationship" (your word) with something I do not understand.
I hope your ipod is not as whiney as mine, always bitching about me not talking to it and complaining that I'm always wanting to put my plug in its hole when I want. Its madening.
(oh, that was a reduction to the abserd, but I'm sure you know what that is and know the latin name.)

Is your relationship to God like your relationship to you're Ipod, you're dog, you're wife?

Your introduction here of the word "use" -- that I "use" computers -- is far more suggestive of equivocation.
Nice attempt to turn the tables, but from the outset, if you didn't get it, my contects for relationship was in the form of a mutual understanding, and should have been understood in the contects when talking about God. What other kind of relationship is there when we are talking about God but a personal one? A Give and take. A place that I use to work on my reading comprehinsion is doing LSAT prep tests. It really helps.

May I quibble, though, with something else you said?
heck yea! Lets continue to consumate our binary relationship and quibble in bits.

I for one am often purposely ambiguous. When I believe someone is asking me a question with the intent of pigeon-holing me, then I do indeed deliberately act ambiguously. Does that make me silly and irresponsible? Not at all. It makes me wise, shrewd, cunning, perceptive. It means I will not throw my pearls before swine.
Are we talking about you? How is this analogy relevant. Lets replace references to Bill with "God" and see how it turns out.
God for one is often purposely ambiguous. When God believes someone is asking him a question with the intent of pigeon-holing him, then gpd does indeed deliberately act ambiguously. Does that make god silly and irresponsible? Not at all. It makes god wise, shrewd, cunning, perceptive. It means god will not throw his pearls before swine.
hmmmmm, doesn't quite make any sense. Why? Because Bills not God, and Bills concerns are not Gods. Unless Bill really is God then I'm in trouble.

Moreover, when a bully or thug comes Gods way, ambiguity is often a legitimate defense. So too when an abusive husband intent on wounding his wife is misled by Gods ambiguity about whether God's seen his wife lately (especially if God knows she is trembling in fear as she hides upstairs with Gods wife). There is nothing irresponsible or silly about willful ambiguity in matters of personal or interpersonal defense.

So then, I guess I could indeed argue that a god could choose to be ambiguous and would NOT be silly if he did so.

Hmmmmm, just doesn't have the relevance to my article. I'm sorry Bill I'll have to say that your analogy was a fallacy.

See, the key here is importance. What is important to god is that none shall perish (his words, not mine) so the principle of clarity should come into play.

Or do you disagree with the principle of clarity? Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

Yikes! I am confounded again! It seems I can get nothing straight.

Please, let me try again.

As you must know, I've not yet said a thing about the article proper. I was -- and have been -- merely quibbling with you about your comments. And this is what you said in your first comment to me:

'Even if I stipulate that I was wrong about "you cant have a relationship with something you can't understand" it still would not weaken my case that a perfect being (or any being) deliberately trying to be ambiguous is irresponsible and silly.'

Hence, my analogy was in fact perfectly apt. You said "any being;" I replied that, since I am a being, I do indeed act intentionally ambiguous at times -- and I am entirely justified for doing so.

So, you may indeed emend your initial comment; you may say that you only meant "God" when you referred to a "being." I am fine with that. But to suggest I've committed a fallacy is simply wrong.

Now, if you want to engage me about the article proper -- a thing upon which I've yet to opine -- that is fine. But please realize that my comments have thus far been confined to what you've said in the comments thread.

Be well!

Bill Gnade

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
By the way, just out of curiosity, did you attempt the puzzle?

Now, if you want to engage me about the article proper -- a thing upon which I've yet to opine -- that is fine. But please realize that my comments have thus far been confined to what you've said in the comments thread.
OH! What a novel concept! Comment on the blog article instead of presenting a red herring?! Brilliant! Pure Genius!

I have to admit I enjoy the dialogue in any case. Arf, Arf.

I'm waiting with bated breath. (pant, pant)

So the readers digest version goes like this in case you missed it.

Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

I am tempted to think you don't really want me to comment on the article proper. Of course, I am only tempted. But you are not being particularly hospitable. Which is fine; I am not complaining. I have experienced far less hospitable environs.

I was simply puzzled by some of the things you said in your comments. Surely I've not strayed out of bounds, have I? Besides, you accused me of committing a fallacy. And I just showed you why your accusation was erroneous.

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

Lee Randolph said...

okay bill,
your right.

"'Even if I stipulate that I was wrong about "you cant have a relationship with something you can't understand" it still would not weaken my case that a perfect being (or any being) deliberately trying to be ambiguous is irresponsible and silly.'

I should not have added "(or any being)" because of my oversight of considering all aspects of contects. But you should have had been savvy (in a piratey way) enough to realize that I was talking about a relationship to god and just threw that in there in a "fit of passion" and realized how irrelevant it was to the article.

So now, can we move on? Can we get some closure?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
I am tempted to think you don't really want me to comment on the article proper. Of course, I am only tempted. But you are not being particularly hospitable. Which is fine; I am not complaining.
Why don't you show me to be the omni-incompetent commenter that I am?

focus.
Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?

John W. Loftus said...

I see Gnade is over here now stirring up trouble. He's met his match here too! ;-)

Focus Bill, focus. ;-)

akakiwibear said...

Lee, you should accept support when comes your way, even from me, or perhaps especially from me as it is rare – we seem to be on the same side on your "Reasonable Doubt That God Is Intentionally Mysterious". I was hoping to elicit a fundamentalist response, but alas all I got was you …

I do find your preoccupation with the Argument of Evil as interesting and see it as a pillar of your position. Your “how does the article revert back to the problem of evil?” strikes me as a setup question! … but what the heck … the implicit “how could a good God present unclear messages that could lead to harm” seems obvious to me.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
I regret to say that I was wrong about being wrong.

So then, I guess I could indeed argue that a god could choose to be ambiguous and would NOT be silly if he did so.
using your analogy to support this conclusion is a non-sequitur for the same reasons that I mentioned before. That Gods concerns are not Bills concerns. It still qualifies as a fallacy.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwibear,
I get it. But in that context then most un-met expectations where God is concerned would lead to harm, so then most arguments critical of God would qualify as PoE arguments ?

If thats true then it should not be a surprise if I have a preoccupation with the PoE.

But you don't really support my position now do you because the premise in both cases leads to a different conclusion. I say it leads to no god and you say it leads to a non-literalist view of the bible or do I have a misconception?

Lee Randolph said...

hi akakiwibear,
I forgot to ask. Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?

richdurrant said...

You are right about no one taking me up. Most will just shake their head and think how lost I am.
I think I should add here, once again, just how critical clarity should be to one who would want all to be saved. It's essential to the whole entire gospel message!
As for your othe question, Yes Gordon B Hinckley is the current Prophet. Most commonly referred to as the pres. What qualifies one to be a prophet? He was asked and accepted the calling and quides the church. I could link to some of his talks he has given recently. He hasn't forseen the end of humanity:) I have sent you before to see the difference there is in the afterlife/judgment doctrine, which you liked better.
Here's one for the season. Even though we celebrate christmas, we believe Christ was actually born in the spring. We celebrate because it's another time to focus on Christ. It seems like I just read somewhere that some scholars think the spring birth fits scripture better. When I'm on a real computer,not my axim (with which I have quite the relationship that bytes), I'll try some linking a bit, or byte.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
so he's not like the classic prophet like an isaiah or moses then? Has anything happened regarding him that could be considered "supernatural"? Or is he more Pope-ish?

Most likely I will be offline through the weekend. If so, I'll see you all then.

akakiwibear said...

Lee, we can agree on the premise but not the conclusion. But what actually is your conclusion, you say:
I say it leads to no god and you say it leads to a non-literalist view of the bible

In appear to reject my conclusion of a non-literalist bible so you appear to accept a literalist bible which enables you to draw your next conclusion that there is no God.

Did I get it wrong? The alternative is that you accept a non-literalist bible BUT STILL draw the same conclusion about God without the same basis for it.

Which is it?

Sala kahale - peace

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwibear,
you are ignoring qualifiers. you know there is more to my position than that. This is a false dichotomy you are trying to force me into.

My main beef with god is that in order to believe in him you have to accept that he can violate completely sound principles and still be considered perfect.

While I think one has to accept a literal interpretation to avoid scattering into a multitude of subjective metaphorical interpretations that are obviously egregious by thier nature, that really has little to do my core set of arguments. My core set of arguments revolves around god violating sound principles. Some of them you and have discussed at length.

So once again, Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?

Have you seen my latest article on the 21st century christian witch hunts in Nigeria? They got that out of the bible you know. They have a misunderstanding don't they? or do they? If the bible did not have passages referring to how to treat witches, this probably wouldn't be happening.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
This article is starting to stink from all the red herrings I've been chasing because thats all there was to pick from and I had the time. But now, I'm ready to move on so if no one tackles the core concept of the article which is
"Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?" I'm going to work on my latest biological bases for behavior article.

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

You offer to readers the following question as representative of the very heart of your argument here:

'Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?'

OK. I'll bite.

Answer: No.

Question: Do you, Lee Randolph, think that the principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance is a perfect principle?

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

Kevin Smith said...

Lee,

I know conspiracy theories are not popular among serious scholars, but I have a great deal of evidence in support of my view. Below are two examples of the parallels I have found that indicate that the writings of Josephus are allegorically related to the Gospel accounts. Note that the matching details are rather uncommon and unlikely to be found together by chance.

Matthew 27: 57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.
58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.
59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

From Life of Josephus:

And when I (Josephus) was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealins, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician's hands, while the third recovered.
(Also see 2 Samuel Chapter 14 for the Thecoa/Tekoa parallel.)

Mark 15:16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.
17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
18 And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!"
19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.

From Wars of the Jews:

This Simon, during the siege of Jerusalem, was in the upper city; but when the Roman army was gotten within the walls, and were laying the city waste, he then took the most faithful of his friends with him, and among them some that were stone-cutters, with those iron tools which belonged to their occupation, and as great a quantity of provisions as would suffice them for a long time, and let himself and all them down into a certain subterraneous cavern that was not visible above ground. Now, so far as had been digged of old, they went onward along it without disturbance; but where they met with solid earth, they dug a mine under ground, and this in hopes that they should be able to proceed so far as to rise from under ground in a safe place, and by that means escape. But when they came to make the experiment, they were disappointed of their hope; for the miners could make but small progress, and that with difficulty also; insomuch that their provisions, though they distributed them by measure, began to fail them. And now Simon, thinking he might be able to astonish and elude the Romans, put on a white frock, and buttoned upon him a purple cloak, and appeared out of the ground in the place where the temple had formerly been. At the first, indeed, those that saw him were greatly astonished, and stood still where they were; but afterward they came nearer to him, and asked him who he was. Now Simon would not tell them, but bid them call for their captain; and when they ran to call him, Terentius Rufus who was left to command the army there, came to Simon, and learned of him the whole truth, and kept him in bonds, and let Caesar know that he was taken. (Wars of the Jews Book 7 Chapter 2)

Don’t you think that, at the very least, this deserves further study?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Kevin,
no offense but I am totally the wrong one to debate biblical scholarship and theology with because I think it is mostly just tail chasing rhetoric. Once I decided long ago to look at christianity the same way I looked at the world and make a living and entertain myself which is through observation, inference and evidence, I realized that since the bible can be traced back to canaanite folklore, and the israelites are related to the canaanites, I chalk it all up to Near Eastern folklore and am now concentrating on flogging christianity with the sound principles that it violates and cognitive science to show that the likelihood that there is any supernatural correlation with our "self" is poor.

anyway, its another red herring.

But sure it deserves study. Go for it. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEARN AS MUCH ABOUT THE BIBLE AS YOU CAN. GO TO THE ORIGINAL TEXTS. CUT THROUGH THE REDACTION. GET TO THE ORIGIN.

been there done that, got the "no pain no gain" with the bloody jesus t-shirt. I don't wear it much anymore.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
I'm glad you're back and commented about the main idea.

Since I know you are an educated man, I thought you might say no.

Answer: No.

Question: Do you, Lee Randolph, think that the principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance is a perfect principle?

I don't know if its a perfect principle or not. And I don't think it is relevant whether it is or not. But I do know that it works well enough for practical purposes and until someone can show that it is generally a poor principle I think it will remain in good standing in high regard. It has set a precedent of working fine and lasting a long time.

I think if God had used the principle of clarity on what to do with witches, we wouldn't have any witch hunts at least in my beloved twenty first century of which I eagerly looked forward too since I was that latch-key kid watching star trek after school.

So now, do you agree that god did not exercise the principle of clarity in the bible and it has resulted in the splintering of christianity into bits some of which are incompatible?

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

I am glad you're glad to have me here. And I am glad to be here. Thanks.

Here's the question you have posited as central:

'Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?'

Since you were about to run off and work on something else, I said that I would bite on your question. My answer to your question was a simple no.

Immediately afterwards, I asked you if the 'principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance' was a perfect principle. My question was a simple yes or no sort of question.

Your answer is that you don't know if the principle is perfect or not; and you don't believe discerning whether it is perfect is relevant here.

OK. But if it is not relevant here, then why do you ask us about the principle being flawed? For if the principle is not perfect, then it is flawed. And if you do not know whether it is perfect, then you do not know if it is not flawed. Hence, you've asked us a question that is confusing at best and meaningless at worst.

So, I will not answer your next question about God because we have yet to get a decent answer about your first question. You are asking US whether we think it is a flawed principle to be clear. But you have not shown yourself that you believe the principle is not flawed. Besides, my question to you here has not been answered by you in a particularly clear manner, which suggests that you don't think the principle is something to which you need adhere at all costs.

Do you think the principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance is a perfect principle? It really is a yes or no answer that I am seeking. Of course, you are always entitled to defend your yes or your no, but your "I don't know" is not really an answer. And, as you know, this principle is important, since our goal is clarity.

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
I challenge the premise that if a principle is not perfect it must be flawed. By your definition then all principles will be flawed. And that is simply not the case. This the Black and white fallacy.

Nice attempt to avoid the conclusion that naturally follows the premise that god the perfect being decided not to use the principle of clarity in the creation of scripture.

If he were there he would have, because it follows that if there is a christitan god then the principles of logic resulted as a side effect when he created the universe and the relationships between the objects that naturally followed. In that case logic is good. It is so good that guys like W.L. Craig use it to defend the faith. Maybe its a slippery slope but I'll say it anyway,
if you say that a principle is flawed if its not perfect, then you'd have to say that reknowned apologists are using flawed principles to defend the faith.

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

I apologize for committing a fallacy, but only if I did indeed commit a fallacy.

You used the word "flawed." The opposite of flawed is "not-flawed," that is, "perfect." I asked you if you think that the principle of clarity you are arguing from is not flawed. This is hardly extreme, which is what the black-and-white fallacy implies. A thing can't be perfect and be partly-flawed; a thing can't be partly-flawed and not flawed. But a thing can be white and partly white; a gray thing is both black and white. So I am not interested in gray areas, but in clear ones, ones free from flaws: You either believe the principle is flawed, or it isn't. Remember, these are your terms I am using; you introduced the word flawed.

You claim I am being evasive, but I am not avoiding anything. It seems that you are doing the avoiding. Why? Because your first response to my question was that you did not know whether or not the principle was perfect and that such a question was irrelevant anyway. Now, in this response, you DO know:

'I challenge the premise that if a principle is not perfect it must be flawed. By your definition then all principles will be flawed. And that is simply not the case.'

Actually, it is not my definition at all. It is yours. You are asking us to answer a question whether we think the principle of clarity is flawed. But you can't answer your own question. Is it flawed, or not? If it isn't, then it is perfect, flawless, without fault or blemish.

Indeed, I might very well be saying that all principles are flawed; that IS a slippery slope (your phrase), isn't it? For if you state that these principles are indeed perfect, then you have to ask yourself how such perfection came about. You also have to ask whether perfect principles lead us to infallibility; but since no one is infallible, then we either do not have perfect principles or we do not know those principles perfectly. If we do not know them perfectly, then we are indeed errant and fallible; hence, your initial question is most likely meaningless.

In your initial question -- the one you claim is THE central point here -- you are implying that you DO know this principle of clarity perfectly. Why? Because from this presumed position of clarity to which you hold, you KNOW God contradicts the very perfect principle you know so well. You sit in judgment on God (or the idea of God): God does not adhere to a rule you believe He must obey. You dismiss Him. You see your own position as right. You obey the rule at all times. Or so you imply.

So, this is what I've noticed so far (please correct me if I'm wrong). You cannot answer your first question if you do not know whether the principle is flawed or not. And you have not been particularly clear here yourself. But you have to be clear, don't you, since you believe this to be a matter of importance?

Lastly, I would say that your CENTRAL question comes very close to committing the fallacy of the complex question and/or the fallacy of slanting.

Now, if you want to talk about God, I am game. Let me ask you this: How MUST an omniscient God behave?

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

John W. Loftus said...

How MUST an omniscient God behave?

You realize that whatever you say in answer to this question is telling us how an omniscient God must behave, right?

But I say that an omniscient God should be able to understand us as human beings such that he would be able to communicate with us better than he did in the Bible. There is no doubt in my mind that an omniscient God could've communicated in such a way that the Church as an institution would not have santioned killing people who didn't believe like they did in the Inquisition and witch hunts (which killed innocent people). And there is no justification for such a God not to have unequivacably condemed slavery either. If your response is that he has higher purposes that we simply cannot understand, then such a God should know that since we cannot understand him we would also reject him. And yet this is what I find you defending. That an omniscient God has acted contrary to his expressed desires that we accept him.

goprairie said...

"how an omniscient God must behave"

To me, any answer anyone can come up with for why an omniscient and loving God would not communicate with us better is simply LESS LIKELY than that there is just no god.

'God' does not communicate with us because 'God' is an invention of the human mind. Originally useful to explain the world around us that science could not explain yet.

Any cliams that individuals now have of 'God' communicating with them can be explained by meditational states, self-inmduced trancelike states, and schizophrenia-like brain chemistry.

Most people claim no communication from God whatsoever at all.

Any 'answered prayers' can be explained by statistical chance and coincidence, the placebp or effect, or self-fullfilling behavior.

Yet people continue to pray and chalk up the tiniest of manufactured or false evidence as proof it worked and therfore there is a listening God.

So we have to live in a world dominated by customs and laws and rules based on religions made up out of whole mind cloth. Religions made up long ago or those watered down versions people cling to because they have been forced by logic to give up parts of them.

Because there are emotional benefits to holding such soft fuzzy beleifs. Until people understand those benefits and how to meet those needs with understanding of science and statistics and interactions with other people and interactions with nature, we are stuck with it.

At least this site gives credibility, reassurance, and confidence to those of us trying to make our way through a world clutter up witih false religions and their beleivers.

goprairie said...

sorry, hadn't gone back to main page to realize you opened a new thread on this - so i put this comemnt there too - so responses should go there?

Lee Randolph said...

Hullo, Bill, knock, knock,
For if the principle is not perfect, then it is flawed.
uh...you said that.
then you said the following
Actually, it is not my definition at all. It is yours.
Bill, are you guh-nodding off in the middle of your comments? If you said it, that means its your definition.

In any case,
Whether the principle is perfect or not is irrelevant. It is not an object, it is a concept, and in any case, perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Perfection is not an object either.

So anyway, like I was saying, and thanks for the term, you are being evasive.

It is simple. And john states it clearly, so I won't state it again.

Thanks John!

so now bill, I said
"Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?"
and you said
No
so does that mean that you think t he principle of clarity is a perfect principle? It sure does look like it. And thats nice cause if thats how you want to look at it I'll stipulate that with you for the sake of argument.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi goprairie,
thanks for the sentiment about the site. I think it would be appropriate if you would post it on the main article. I think your comment warrants being posted again.
thanks for your participation.

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

Who introduced "flawed" here? Did I? No, you did. Moreover, who here said, "I don't know if its [sic] a perfect principle or not. And I don't think it is relevant whether it is or not." Did I? No, you did. And who here between the two of us was the first to use the word "definition?" Was I? No, you were.

So, since you introduced these ideas of flawed/not-flawed (the positive implies the negative), then we are talking about YOUR definition. Not mine.

But that is a small, small point.

The larger point is that I have dealt squarely -- right on the head -- with your question. I have not avoided a thing. But you have. And you're still doing it. You even note that John W. Loftus steps in here and says things clearly in your stead. And yet John starts talking about evil, and I've NOT EVEN MENTIONED EVIL. So how is John's reply even clear, let alone helpful, if it is not even on topic?

So, this is your final statement, right?

LEE: Whether or not the principle is flawed, is irrelevant.

Well, if it is irrelevant, then why have you asked us here whether we think the principle of clarity is flawed?

Peace to you, and good luck,

Bill Gnade

Lee Randolph said...

HI bill,
For if the principle is not perfect, then it is flawed.
lets put this in an argument form
P: the principle is not perfect.
C: it is flawed.

or we can rephrase your statement like this so you can recognize that it is a definition:
Flawed Principle: One that is not perfect.

So, since you introduced these ideas of flawed/not-flawed (the positive implies the negative), then we are talking about YOUR definition. Not mine.

we are talking about your interpretation of one of my comments. You seem to be the only one hung on up on this "not flawed" means "perfect" thing. Maybe it is your apparent inability to grasp a colloquial usage of the term "flawed"? Maybe we should ask The Language Guy You seem to be the only one having a hard time getting it.

so,
I see we have a misunderstanding.
You seem to be thinking that I am asking if the principle of clarity is flawed or not. let me "Toulminize" it for you.

the principle of clarity should be applied to matters of importance and instruction.

The warrant or principle is because ambiguity in matters of importance and instruction undermines the effectiveness of communicating those matters.


This is why it is irrelevant if the principle of clarity is perfect or not.

so when i ask
'Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?'
I'm really asking
"do you think it is inappropriate to use the principle of clarity to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance."

Is that better? I don't think the meaning has changed but I rephrased it to take out the offending word "flawed".
Those LSAT prep books are not very expensive and they are fun to boot.

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

In your earliest efforts to assist lowly-old me, you offered the following as the "Reader's Digest" version of your argument (of course, I very much need the condensed version):

'Do you think that it is a flawed principle to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance?'

So you see, I was thinking that you were asking me whether "flawed" modified "principle" since that is the only thing "flawed" could modify in your question: you were asking if I thought the principle was flawed.

Now, when I challenge you about the word "flawed," you upbraid me for not knowing that you were using the word "flawed" in a "colloquial" sense. Of course, you wrote several comments to me telling me that the use of the word was irrelevant anyway. So you can see why I needed so much assistance.

Of course, since this condensed version is about clarity, I would have expected that you would exemplify the very thing you believe God has not been -- clear. Especially since you directed each of us with the following guidelines at the beginning of this essay (an addendum, I know, but it is yours):

'Discussants may not use any formulations that are insufficiently clear or confusingly ambiguous, and they may not deliberately misinterpret the other party’s formulations.'

Now I was for a time very much in a fog, since you, our gracious host, used a word -- flawed -- that is not clear at all. "Flawed" does not mean what it means, or, at least what I think it means. No, it means something colloquial, something vague and informal; a sort of ambiguous and casual word. This ambiguous word's antonym is NOT "not-flawed," it is something equally vague, though only in a negative sense.

Again, of course, I remain bewildered. You asserted that this issue of flawed/non-flawed is irrelevant, and yet it is relevant enough for you to put in "argument form."

Ahh, yes, the "Language Guy." Not much of a master of linguistics, is he? But his relevance here, as you know, is a red-herring. (Or is it a veiled ad hominem? Do you think I LOST something in my interactions with that man? Hardly. The Language Guy was hoisted by his own petard, I am afraid to say. But I will let readers make up their own minds.) Truly, I am honored that you would search the internet for some trace of my inadequacies (if you had just asked, I could've given you a whole list).

All this to say that I am glad you have rephrased your question; doing so has helped me get my head out of the fog. But the first question was really a lousy question. And you should take no offense at my stating this, since we all post some very lousy things from time to time.

Now, to answer your new question: Yes, yes I do.

Alas, after all is said and done, I hope you see that I have done exactly what you told me to do; I've been very obedient. Do you remember what you told me to do?

You told me to "focus."

Sage advice, I think.

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

Chris said...

"See, the key here is importance. What is important to god is that none shall perish (his words, not mine) so the principle of clarity should come into play."

Lee,

A faulty presupposition here. It seems that your reading of the bible is that the term "none shall perish" is a statement of God's intent for us in this present system, or this dispensation if you prefer. God makes no such promises, in fact quite the opposite is the case regarding our present lives. The wages of sin, we are told, are death. With few exceptions, we will all die before eternal life is bestowed upon us. It is after the resurrection, whether to life or judgment, that God desires that none shall perish but have eternal life.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Bill,
I'm sorry that I haven't been as clear as you expected. But honestly as I pointed out it does not seem to have been a problem for anyone else. I have exercised due care and diligence to try to express myself as clearly as I am humanly able. If I you expect to me to be as clear as God, well, that presumably is a high standard to live up to, but we all know we fall short, but I have to say that I think I have been more clear than god has.

In any case, no need to be flattered. When I searched for your name in google, as I do for most people I dialogue with, the language guy link was the third one and I read it along with the other two.

You have an Andy Rooney attack in there too called that droll man which your readers to you to task for.

But now I notice that since you are admittedly out of the fog, you still haven't expressed your opinion about whether god should have used the principle of clarity to preserve the integrity of his church for example.

But in any case, I'm sorry but your complimentary argument session for this topic has expired. I won't argue with you anymore until you've paid for my premium argument clinic. I won't argue anymore unless you've paid. You can pay using paypal and this link. When John has notified me of your contribution, then I'll continue to participate.
thank you for your patronage.

Lee Randolph said...

In case anyone is interested, here is link to my other half-heartedly maintained blog where I post snippets regarding informal logic including van eemeren and grootendorsts "rules for a critical discussion".
CasualLogically

Lee Randolph said...

HI Chris,
I'm not sure I follow you, but my intention was that "none shall perish" means that "none are supposed to "be punished" unless they disobey god".

Bill Gnade said...

Dear Lee Randolph,

Actually, Lee, I do not expect you to be as clear as God, I was only hoping that you'd be as clear as you expected others to be, including God.

(BTW, the link to the Monty Python clip does not seem to be working, at least for me. Thanks for the effort, though. I do love Monty Python.)

Also, Lee, is your name really Lee? Or are you Russ? Or is Russ the real Lee? I am confused.

In fact, Lee, only ONE reader took me to task about my Andy Rooney piece back in October, before I ever visited here (I think), and his name was Russ. Russ, as you know, was featured this week at DC; he also made comments at Exposing Atheism regarding John W. Loftus' book (which is how Mr. Loftus came to feature Russ at DC). So I find it amazing that I should have stumbled into your thread here, especially with you dropping the word "omni-incompetent" and then referring to my Rooney essay; I DID call Rooney omni-incompetent, didn't I? Russ came to my website and talked about his PhD-endowed brothers; he was going to talk to them to see if my ideas made sense. Of course, he never returned to report to me what his brothers decided. Over at Exposing Atheism, Russ mentions his brothers again, only this time he adds that he was on a PhD track but didn't get that far. Wow. (I note too that no one has visited my Andy Rooney essay in days.)

So I see that there is at least some sort of connection between Russ, you and this website. Amazing.

Alas, Lee, I retract my earlier statement. I am not sure I am out of the fog at all!

Finally Lee, you should have at least noted that I did in fact reply to your revised question. Apparently you don't think enough of either that question or my reply -- or both -- to make further comment.

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

John W. Loftus said...

Bill, it's ludicrous to suggest that Lee writes as someone else. You are close to being banned for being intellectually dishonest. I've reached the same conclusions as Russ did. No I am not Russ!

Lee Randolph said...

HI Bill,
I'm arguing in my spare time.
I apologize, I missed your answer among all those other words.

so to refresh my memory, I revised my question for clarity and asked
"do you think it is inappropriate to use the principle of clarity to clearly state your position and instruction on matters of importance."

and you said that yes you do.

would you mind elaborating?

Lee Randolph said...

HI bill,
about the russ thing, I comment using my real name. If you google me you can find me on the Non-sequitur and the fallacy files mostly and other sites centering on critical thinking, informal logic and philosophy. I don't have a need to use a pseudonym...yet.

I grazed through your site, chewing on bits here and there after you started commenting on Spong.

richdurrant said...

Sorry this is late Lee but just an interesting story that ties in to your questions to me about prophets.In fact you may have already forgotten completely by now. Just a food for thought (pun intended) link.http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/89
http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/246893/

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
thanks I'll check it out. Glad you repsonded, and if I don't talk to you before then, I hope you have a great holiday.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
I checked out your documents and I had to stop shortly after i read this gem.
" 7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.


tobacco for bruises and sick cattle?
Strong drink to wash with?
This is a revelation from god? In 1833?

You want to say that the evils of strong drink and tobacco were unknown until then?

No offense rich, but give me a break.

Your prophet could have beat Pasteur and Koch to "Germ Theory" as long as they were prophesying along health lines. Must have escaped them somehow because it happened only about 50 years later.

Not god but humans.

Here's a little bit of what was going on in science in the 19th century
* 1801 - Thomas Young: double-slit experiment showing wave-particle duality
* 1820 - Hans Christian Ørsted discovers the connection of electricity and magnetism
* 1843 - James Prescott Joule measures the equivalence between mechanical work and heat, resulting in the law of conservation of energy
* 1845 - Christian Doppler demonstrates the Doppler shift
* 1851 - Léon Foucault uses Foucault pendulum is to demonstrate the rotation of the earth
* 1859 - Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species showing that evolution occurs by natural selection
* 1861 - Louis Pasteur disproves the theory of spontaneous generation
* 1863 - Gregor Mendel's pea plant experiments (Mendel's laws of inheritance)
* 1887 - Heinrich Hertz discovers the photoelectric effect
* 1887 - Michelson and Morley: Michelson-Morley experiment, showing that the speed of light is invariant
* 1896 - Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
* 1897 - Joseph John Thomson discovers the electron

and in medicine

# 1800 - Humphry Davy announces the anaesthetic properties of nitrous oxide
# 1816 - Rene Laennec invents the stethoscope
# 1818 - British obstetrician James Blundell performs the first successful human blood transfusion.
# 1842 - Crawford Long performs the first surgical operation using anaesthesia with ether
# 1847 - Ignaz Semmelweis discovers how to prevent puerperal fever, childbed fever, a blood infection passed to women during childbirth by their doctors. The fever killed one-third of mothers in some hospitals of the time.
# 1849 - Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman to gain a medical degree
# 1867 - Lister publishes Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, based partly on Pasteur's work.
# 1870 - Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch establish the germ theory of disease
# 1879 - first vaccine for cholera
# 1881 - Louis Pasteur develops an anthrax vaccine
# 1882 - Louis Pasteur develops a rabies vaccine
# 1890 - Emil von Behring discovers antitoxins and uses them to develop tetanus and diphtheria vaccines
# 1895 - Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers medical use of X-rays in medical imaging.