Heuristics and When Ones Values Are Out Of Sync With Ones Thinking

In response to the my Article "Jesus Appeared To Other People, Why Can't He Appear To Me?" One of our christian guests commented....
"He will come down and visit with you, except you live your life as though you don't want Him to."

I must be committing Spiritual Suicide!
Lets think about that for a minute. Lets unpack it and lay it out for examination. One way to do that is by using the fundamental critical thinking skills that we should all have learned in school. I think of them as the seven dwarves
- Who
- What
- Where
- When
- Why
- How
- How Much or Scope

By applying the Seven Dwarves or Seven Critical Questions using a brainstorming technique, we have a nice easy to remember tool for unpacking and analyzing complicated concepts. Since a rigorous application of them to this comment would take too much time, I've opted to just pick some common sense critical questions to get us started. They are the following. If any of you can think of any more, please contribute them in the comments.

* Who are you? Who originated that information?
* What do you have to go on? What are some precedents?
* Where did you get that information? Where will or did it happen?
* When did you get that information? When was the origin of that information?
* Why do you say that? Why would that be true? Why should I care?
* How do you know? Are you in a position to know? How do you figure? How does that follow?
* How Much, How often, what is the Scope, and to what degree?

and a couple of words that can be thought of as JUICY TIDBITS are
* Would and
* Should.
When you see these words, you should think "Fish in a barrel" or "Low Hanging Fruit" because they require support, and the data-driven debater can easily dismantle or support a "would" or a "should".

The Position To Know And Agnosticism
Now lets decompose the comment.
1. He will come down
2. and visit with you,
3. except you live your life
4. as though you don't want Him to.

1. He will come down
Really? The commenter is in a position to know?
Lets rephrase that into a question.
Here are the seven dwarves applid to this claim but then I just pick some that I feel would do the job for brevity.
- Who will come down?
- What will come down?
- Where will he come down?
- When will he come down?
- Why will he come down? Is there some principle that would warrant it?
- How will he come down?
- How Much will He come down, to what degree, what is the scope or the upper and lower bounds of His Visit? Will he permit me to video tape it at a Football Game or will it be too subtle for me to recognize?

Will He come down? Why would he come down? Why should he come down?

When has he come down in the past that is not recorded in The Bible? Christianitiy is in some serious need of CROSS-CHECKING. How do you know? Do you presume to know the mind of God?

This statement has some hidden dependencies.
1a. It depends on the commenter being in a position to know what God will do and I know that can't be right with as many times as I get told that I can't predict or know or tell God what to do.

1b. It depends on God wanting to come down, and we know that no-one is in a position to know why God would want to come down because no-one knows the mind of God and being God he's free to change his mind anytime he likes.

1c. It depends on there being a principle in place that would warrant God Coming down. This is the foundation for my rebuttal.

2. and visit with you,
2a. It depends on the commenter being in a position to know and we know that he's not.

2b. It depends on presuming that God would come down and that he would visit with me if he did come down and that I would recognize it if he did. We can't say that he would come down, and we can't say that he would visit me if he did come down and we can't say I'd recognize a visit because we are not in a position to know any of that.

3. except you live your life
3a. Again, the commenter is not in position to know. I have a good job, and the respect of my peers. My moral center is a reasonable one, with several facets, which include such things as "Utility", "Logic" and "The well being of others". I know that my moral scheme and the Christians both have problems but over all they are compatible. To say something like this is a Judgement based on lack of information. I would love it if Jesus appeared to me right now so that I could turn this rebuttal into an endorsement for Jesus, but If I finish it, you'll know he didn't.

4. as though you don't want Him to.
4a. the commenter is not thinking this through.
Protesters are protesting for change. They protest for reasons such as they want some outcome that is being prevented by those in a position to bring it about. I am a protester. I want God to change his strategy to be more in line with how I think because as it is now it doesn't make sense to me and I don't get it and I don't think I ever will. Its true that I thought I got it at one time, but I came to realize that considering there is such a concept as Luck or Chance, and there is a concept of God, it seemed to me that God had the same characteristics of Luck or Chance.

Since I think my understanding of God was a misinterpretation of Chance, and since there is nothing yet to refute that viewpoint, then I am on a one way trip to Spiritual Suicide. God and all of you Christians reading this should think I'm committing spiritual suicide therefore so should the commenter.

So what is the principle that warrants a visit from God?
How to Respond to Expressions of Suicidal Intent

In a situation when someone expresses an intention to commit suicide, you should try not to get upset or embarrassed. Keep yourself calm and encourage the person to explain more in detail why and how he/she intends to commit suicide.

The principle is that Suicide is bad, those that want to commit suicide are not well, and the expression of suicidal tendencies warrants intervention appropriate to dispell it.

That is important enough for him to come down and intervene.

So the key point in this article is that I have noticed that in most cases where a Christian CAN use a Heuristic or a "pre-packaged" argument to rebut an atheist they WILL.
And usually when you unpack it you can find where it does not syncoronize with what their values should be according to what the commonly accepted characteristics of a Christian are.

In this case, the commenter has alluded that my spiritual suicidal tendency is not important enough for God to come down and intervene. The commenter might as well have said that ones suicidal tendencies are not important enough to warrant intervention.

I can only say, "non-sense" to that.

23 comments:

Logismous Kathairountes said...

The number of incorrect assumptions in your rebuttal is amazing, and it shows a basic lack of understanding of Christian doctrine. My claim is not a pre-packaged response, nor is it out of accord with Christian doctrine. I tell you what I tell you out of both personal experience and much study. But let me point out a few things:

In fact, I do know the mind of God. That I wouldn't dare to claim this is the first major assumption you make. According to Christian doctrine, God reveals certain truths to Christians by means of His Spirit. Look up 1 Corinthians chapter 2, where Paul makes a clear claim that Christians are in an epistemologically privileged position. A few key points are 'God has revealed it to us by His Spirit', 'we have the mind of Christ', and 'The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.'

So whether or not you agree with me, you have to admit that it's not unreasonable for me, as a Christian, to claim that I know something about God that you don't. I am in a position to know (1a) what God will do and (1b) what God wants - Or at least you're in no position to refute me on epistemological grounds.

As for (1c), in fact, Christian doctrine is that the entire human race is continually committing spiritual suicide. It's called 'sin'. You are committing suicide, and I was too (and I still do on occasion). In fact, we have all committed spiritual suicide already: We are dead. See Colossians 2:13 "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ."

This is what we call 'the Gospel': That our sin did warrant God's coming down and visiting us, and that He also died for us to save us from that sin, and that He Himself is available to anybody who repents of their sin and turns and follows Him. In fact, for me to say that He will be with you if you repent and follow Him (or that He won't be with you if you don't - Which is what I claimed) is really the most simple and basic of Christian teachings. It's sunday school stuff, really not the stuff of debate between serious intellectuals. Oh well...

As for (2) - While it's true that I can't make the claim unless I'm in a position to know, I can make the claim regardless of whether or not you would recognize His visit. Think about it: If I claim that A is true, then the truth or falsity of A does not rest on whether or not you recognize that A is true - Unless, of course, A depends on you recognizing A - But Jesus can visit you without you recognizing Him. In fact, He's probably very close to you right now, but you can't perceive Him. Why do you assume that you would recognize Him if He actually visited you?

(3) - I'm sorry, but you think that Jesus Christ should decide whether or not to visit you based on the respect of your peers? Really? Why do you assume that He should care what they think, or what job you have, or how 'reasonable' your 'moral center' is? Why would you assume that the respect of your peers has anything at all to do with the claim I made?

Furthermore, why do you assume that I have no information about you? In fact, Christian doctrine gives me some information about your life, from which to formulate a judgement. Since you fall under the category of 'all': Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

If you really think that you're a morally good person, then your moral scheme is absolutely incompatible with Christian doctrine.

As for (4) - Where do I start? The God of Christianity has precious little in common with Luck or Chance. Luck did not come down to Earth to die for your sins.

But to get to the meat of (4) - You seem to want Jesus to show Himself to you so that you can get some objective evidence of His existence and nature. You want to video tape Him at a football game. But He makes the rules. These days, He only appears to those who repent of their sin and follow Him, and even to us, usually not visually - But always in a palpable way. There will come a day when He will provide objective evidence of His existence and nature. Your wish has been heard, and He will oblige you - The word 'Apocalypse' is Greek for 'unveiling' or 'revelation'. It refers to the time when Jesus will reveal Himself, at the end of the world. By then it will be too late, so please! Seek Him while He can still be found.

There are so many other things that I really wish I had time to tell you, but the one thing I really want to say to you is this: Your spiritual suicide is important enough for Him to invervene. He came down. He intervened, and it cost Him His life. You can have His forgiveness. He will visit you. If you sincerely repent of your sins and truly follow Him, I guarantee that you will meet Him.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Logismous,
There's a lot I'd like to address in your comment too, but I'll stick to the point.

did you know that I was a Christian for over 30 years?
I'm kind of apostate-lee.

so when you say
Your spiritual suicide is important enough for Him to invervene. He came down. He intervened, and it cost Him His life. You can have His forgiveness. He will visit you. If you sincerely repent of your sins and truly follow Him, I guarantee that you will meet Him.
But he never came. We are still back at square one.

God has not made any effort to convince me that he's real. If he had I'd be a Christian. I don't put my hand in fire because I believe it will burn me. I believe in fire.

But according to another christian called Lvka, you don't know the bible, but I do, and I know that if it accurately reflects real world states then since I was saved once I'm always saved so I can say and do anything I want because I've got "fire insurance".
;-)

Jim Turner said...

Logismous K said "These days, He only appears to those who repent of their sin and follow Him, and even to us, usually not visually - But always in a palpable way."

That's just not true! It is the deadening silence of God Almighty that drives so many of us ex-Christians and almost-ex-Christians crazy.

Many people claim to have a very palpable sense of their God or spiritual views. Why should we accept yours?

Logismous K also said "If you sincerely repent of your sins and truly follow Him, I guarantee that you will meet Him."

Through what good fortune do you posses this ability to sincerely repent and truly follow Jesus? Why do others lack it? Is it something that you already possessed, such as excellent character or insight?

Some very sincere people just do not see any divine stamp upon any particular religion. They just see the accidents of history, the desire of men to control other men, and ancient superstitions run amok.

People can't repent of something they don't acknowledge. So, please, tell us through what good fortune do you have this insight?

- Jim

MH said...

I had been a completely believing "saved" christian from 8 until 24, heart and soul.

He never visited, never chatted, never whispered, never appeared, because he never existed.

God didnt make us, we made God so we wouldnt have to face the darkness.

The cracks in the lie started early, but young minds are rigged to believe their parents moreso than adult minds so it wasnt until much later that I could reconsider.

(Probably shouldnt listen to the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack when writing these, its causing my responses to be too dramatic ;)

Lee Randolph said...

Just to be clear logismous,
your position is that

The principle that Suicide is bad, those that want to commit suicide are not well, and the expression of suicidal tendencies warrants intervention appropriate to dispell it

does not apply to God because he already took an action 2000 years ago that is recorded in documents of poor quality and that the 66% of the people in the world that don't buy it are toast, and you are okay with that?

It doesn't tug at your sinful heart just a little bit as being even a teeny weeny bit callous?

I suppose if it did, it would make you weak and unworthy, or do I have a misconception?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Logismous,

In fact, I do know the mind of God. That I wouldn't dare to claim this is the first major assumption you make. According to Christian doctrine, God reveals certain truths to Christians by means of His Spirit.
Thats a dangerous claim to make considering that it is not in evidence to the rest of us and if you are really convinced of this and your peers are convinced they have this power as well, then you should not listen to reason should you? Even if it contradicts what it is you think you know.

So whether or not you agree with me, you have to admit that it's not unreasonable for me, as a Christian, to claim that I know something about God that you don't.

yes it is unreasonable in light of the fact that your particular denomination has some fundamental differences with quite a few others and you all claim to have this "inner knowing" and the fact that I used to be a Christian convinced I had "inner knowing" until I realized it was just cognitive bias.

Two that come to mind are "wishful thinking" and the "base rate bias". You can find them on wikipedia under "list of cognitive biases".

This is what we call 'the Gospel': That our sin did warrant God's coming down and visiting us, and that He also died for us to save us from that sin, and that He Himself is available to anybody who repents of their sin and turns and follows Him.
The problem with that is that it is based on an interpretation of a man that thought adam was real. Even Jesus did not clearly state he was God and whatever he said about god indwelling in him is a common Jewish belief that each of us has a part of god inside. I got that from a rabii.

So that whole "Jesus was human sacrifice to appease yahweh" is based on highly dubious quality information.

Why do you assume that you would recognize Him if He actually visited you?
Because it is a commonly accepted principle to clearly present oneself in an encounter unless the intent is to hide. Or are you going to "special plead" that principle away too?

If you really think that you're a morally good person, then your moral scheme is absolutely incompatible with Christian doctrine.
and your moral scheme is divorced from reality. Look at statistics for peoples behavior, or failing that just look around you at the degree of cooperation that it takes to keep a society together. If we were all lawless, and uncooperative it would be anarchy. The interaction of self-interested agents is sufficient for morality and kindness to emerge. You want to see proof, look up the "christmas truce" of world war 1.

Logismous Kathairountes said...

Ah-ha! Now here's what I expected when I left the original comment! I expected a bunch of people to say, "Nuh-uh! I was a Bible-Believing Christian who sincerely sought Christ, and He never showed Himself to me. Either I was abandoned, or there is no God!" Now that we've really got that in the mix, I feel like we're more on track.

This is a funny thing about philosophy. Nobody can reason in a vacuum - Axioms are required, such as definitions, common notions, or postulates, before you can make even a single proposition. In an argument, there must be some evidence that is accepted by everybody involved before discussion can even really begin.

Without evidence that's in common between the people having the discussion, all you can do is point out logical inconsistencies in each other's positions. I'm willing to do that, since it seems to be where we are now, and it'll probably be lots of fun, but not now. I'll wait until later - This is more important:

I've presented some evidence: I claim that I have experienced God and that I know Him. I've also put forward a proposition: If you seek Him truly, if you repent and follow Him, He will come and be with you.

You guys have presented some evidence: You say you've repented and followed Him, and He never dwelt with you or made Himself known to you in any way. Then you put forward a proposition: He does not exist.

I can't accept your proposition because of my evidence: If I know He has dwelt with one person (me), then He must exist.

You can't accept my proposition because of your evidence: If you know you repented and followed Him and He didn't dwell with you, then He must not come and dwell with all who repent and follow Him.

You and I are at an impasse. To you I have to say: Gather more evidence. More evidence can't hurt, can it? Meanwhile, I'll gather more evidence too, by continuing to repent my sins and follow Him. And He, I'm sure, will continue to prove Himself to me.

It's like we're in a ship, and I'm up on the crow's nest with a telescope and you're down on the deck. I say, "Land ho!" You say, "I can't see it! There's no land there!" I say, "Come up here and look!" You say, "I've been up there and I've looked and there's no land!" So I say, "I'm looking at it right now. Come up and look with me!"

But for those who haven't tried the experiment, those who have never really, genuinely sought after God, I have something very, very important to say:

It makes the point a little more strongly in the original Greek, BUT: Luke 17:20-21 says, "Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

All I can do is say, "Here it is!" and all the atheists can do is say, "No it's not!" But you will never, ever, ever find God by looking at anybody other than yourself. That is what this passage claims. He has hidden Himself and His kingdom from the 'careful observation' of the Pharisees, who were the scientists and philosophers of that time and place.

The clear claim of Christian doctrine is that you will not find Him by listening to what I have to say about Him. If you think that by means of listening to what other people say about God, and by careful observation, you have proven that He doesn't exist - Then the thing that you have proven nonexistent is not the Jesus who spoke these words. He told us that you wouldn't find Him that way.

Do the experiment yourself.

I'm going to write another post to poke holes in their arguments, because this one is too long already.

Logismous Kathairountes said...

To Lee #1:

You have related your personal experience. There's nothing I can say to refute that. I can tell you about my own experience, but that doesn't amount to an argument. You're right: We're at square one.

We can talk about the "once saved always saved" versus "faith without works is dead" debate if you really want, but I think it would be a tangent to the real discussion. My personal position is that it's a false dichotomy brought about by an incorrect conception of the nature of time.

To Jim:

I say that you should not blindly accept my spiritual views. In fact, I say that even if somebody proves using rigorous reasoning and unimpeachable logic that God exists, you should not believe them unless you have had some experience of God yourself. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4 that "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power".

I'm telling you that the Spirit's power is available to you if you would repent and follow Him.

Your question assumes that my choice to follow Him was determined by some outside circumstance, such as my good fortune, ability, excellent character, or insight. This assumption that you make is not one that I agree with. Rather, I believe that I made the choice freely, and that my choice was not determined by any outside circumstance.

To Lee #2:

Yes, let us be clear.

That is not my position.

My position is that:

The principle that suicide is bad and warrants intervention
DOES NOT apply to God
BECAUSE He is the creator and is not obligated to help us in any way
HOWEVER, He did act on this principle despite the fact that He didn't have to
His action was to send His Son to die on the cross for our sins
(YES, 2000 years ago. NO, the documents are in fact of exceptionally high quality. YES, many people have not heard the Gospel or have not believed it. NO, I do not claim to know exactly who is toast and who is not. BUT, you certainly will be toast if you do not A. Repent and B. Follow Him)
No, His action does not seem to me to be callous, in that I do not consider a person who dies to save another person's life to be acting in a callous way towards that person.
If I thought it was callous, it would be because I didn't understand the seriousness of what it means for God to die.
You have many misconceptions. Hopefully I have just now corrected several of them that have to do with what I personally believe about God.

Lee, your third comment has several really fun points, so I think I'll dedicate a seperate comment to it.

Logismous Kathairountes said...

To Lee again:

So, I claim to have the mind of Christ. You attempt to refute this by saying that it's dangerous because I would be disregarding reason.

It's only dangerous for me to believe this if it's NOT TRUE. If it is true, then I'm in a pretty good position, because I have access to the source of all truth.

So we've got to address whether it's true or not before we can talk about whether it's dangerous or not for me to believe it falsely. Your argument is backwards: It assumes that my claim is false, and then informs me of the possible danger of believing such a false claim. I already know that it's dangerous to think you can talk to God when you really can't, thank you. Just because it would be dangerous if it was false doesn't have anything to do with whether or not it's false.

Let me mention a few more things that I would have thought were obvious:

1) Two people can know the same person, and listen to that person give the same speech, and then disagree about what the speech meant. That is to say, just because two people both have the same source of information, doesn't mean that they'll necessarily agree about that information. If Christians disagree about things, it's not because we're not all listening to the same Holy Spirit, but because we each misunderstand Him in different ways. We actually claim that none of us understands Him well enough.

2) I have absolutely had enough with this silly atheist myth that says that Jesus never claimed to be God. In John 8:58 Jesus says "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I am." Ask your rabbi friend what that means. Look up Exodus 3:14. To call Himself 'I AM' is to claim to be God. The people he was talking to understood this. They immediately picked up rocks to stone Him to death for blasphemy.

3) I believe that the Holy Spirit is always with me, whether I can feel it or not. It's not that His intent is to hide, but that I'm not able to see Him the way He wants to show Himself to me. Sure, He could appear in a flash of blinding light with a big brown beard and a purple robe, but I think that I would end up less enlightened about His true nature if He did that than if He did what He does, which often results in my not seeing Him at all. If I saw Him that way, it would deceive me. In the same way, I believe that He could very well be near to you, and you wouldn't be able to see Him.

4) If you want to repair a house, do you look at the blueprint, or at the house as it is? You look at the blueprint, even though it's divorced from reality. The whole POINT of fixing the house is that the blueprint is divorced from the reality of the house! How could you possibly derive a morality from looking at how people currently act? It would be like trying to figure out what program a computer was supposed to be running before the computer got smashed into a million pieces with a hammer!

I've enjoyed sparring with you guys, and I wish you all well! I may have time to return to this thread, and I may not. But one last comment before I go to bed: I really do think that you would all do well to learn a little better the doctrine of the religion that you purport to debunk. Seriously, most of your arguments against Christianity are nothing more than misunderstandings of it. I'm saying most of the time, not all of the time - But yeah. Most of the time, if you understood Christian doctrine, you wouldn't object to it the way you do.

PS Sorry these are all 3 so long.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Logismous,
thanks for the thoughtful dialog.
I need some time to type in my thoughts
Please come back and look at comments even if you don't have the time to respond.

I know how precious time is and how priorities change.

But for now
we are still at square one because you don't seem to get one very important fact that most of this depends on.

I think You are absolutely right at the beginning of your post when you talk about [paraphrased] defining terms.

But then you don't follow through because you seem to think that the terms are defined by whatever it is you agree to.

Seriously, most of your arguments against Christianity are nothing more than misunderstandings of it. I'm saying most of the time, not all of the time - But yeah. Most of the time, if you understood Christian doctrine, you wouldn't object to it the way you do.
What denomination are you? You must be saying that we don't understand YOUR brand of christianity.

Your frame of reference is too narrow. I am sure you are holding back some commitments or beliefs that are not consistent with other denominations and conveniently avoiding discussing them.

I threw in the "once saved always saved" not because I want to debate it but as an example. It is clear you don't buy it. Why not?

What makes you the authority?

In my view, the fundamental flaw and strength in christianity is its ambiguity. Ambiguity is the key to its longevity, and the key to unraveling it for the unbeliever.

in the interest of saving time and not going off on a tangent, right now I'm thinking that I'll only address the relationship between, the suicide principle, God, you and me.

talk to you later, please check back.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi logismous,
in summary what I'm saying is that since you can only cross-check what you know with yourself, then it is unreasonable to expect anyone else to understand it.

and it puts the blame on the victim of "lack of salvation" because they "didn't do it right".

did you look up that list of cognitive biases? What you are suggesting is that we all should let our cognitive biases run free.

Fire and Japan have survived the restriction on my cognitive biases. If god is real, I'm surprised he's not as robust as fire and Japan.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi logismous,
as promised here is the rebuttal to the suicide problem.

lets define the problem. The problem is that we have sound principle that does not apply equally to sentient beings.
What categories of sentient beings does it apply to?

Dogs
Should it apply to dogs EVEN THOUGH they are not the creator and are not obligated to help in any way? No because they probably can't understand, however a dog will sense when its owner is sad or depressed and give attention. I've seen it at least a hundred times. So a Dog can be said to volunteer an investment even though they have limited resources.

Apes
Should it apply to Apes EVEN THOUGH they are not the creator and are not obligated to help in any way? No because they probably can't understand, however Apes will sense when another primate is "sad" and give attention. I've seen it many times in documentaries. So an Ape can be said to volunteer an investment even though they have limited resources.

Humans
Should it apply to Humans EVEN THOUGH they are not the creator and are not obligated to help in any way? Yes because they understand and it can be argued that they have a moral imperitive to intervene. And Humans more than likely will try to intervene, I've seen it lots of times when I was a personal responsibilities facilitator so a Human can be said to volunteer an investment and even be morally obligated even though they have limited resources.

Humans of Different Cultures
Should it apply to Humans across cultures? Yes because they understand and it can be argued that they have a moral imperitive to intervene. And Humans more than likely will try to intervene, I've seen it lots of times when I was a personal responsibilities facilitator so a Human can be said to volunteer an investment and even be morally obligated even across cultures even though they have limited resources.

But
The principle that suicide is bad and warrants intervention
DOES NOT apply to God
BECAUSE He is the creator and is not obligated to help us in any way EVEN THOUGH HE HAS INFINITE RESOURCES.

The precedent set by lesser beings is that intervention by investment of available resources is given whether warranted or not.

According to precedent I would have predicted that a higher order being would follow the precedent. Silly me.

So I would have expected that intervention is warranted on three grounds,
1. That lesser beings are willing to invest some of thier limited resources for some reason
2. That Humans are willing to to invest some of thier limited resources for some reason
3. That Humans expect intervention of each other on Moral Grounds.

To say that none of these apply to God because he is the creator doesn't follow.
What does being the creator have to do with anything? Why does being the Creator absolve God of any moral imperitive or any intervention for compassion sake?

This is a classic case of Special Pleading, and a case of the "Base Rate" Cognitiv Bias (aka ignoring available statistical data in favor of particulars).

BUT WAIT!
HOWEVER, He did act on this principle despite the fact that He didn't have to
His action was to send His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

DIE ... FOR ... SIN
That has a familiar form, where have i seen that before
oh yes,
DIE ... TO ... APPEASE ... A .... GOD

WIKIPEDIA:
Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing of an animal as part of a religion. It is practised by many religions as a means of appeasing a god or gods or changing the course of nature.

WIKIPEDIA:
Human sacrifice is the act of killing human beings as part of a religious ritual (ritual killing). Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals (animal sacrifice) and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practiced in various cultures throughout history. Victims were typically ritually killed in a manner that is supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased, for example as a propitiatory offering, or as a retainer sacrifice when the King servants die in order to continue to serve their master in the next life.


So not only does God not have a moral imperative to intervene in our spiritual suicide, he made a son, who was supposed to be himself in human form to serve as a human sacrifice to appease himself,
He does not have any additional moral imperative NOT TO PERFORM HUMAN SACRIFICES while human beings do.

Heck, I've seen animals put down because they've killed a human and they are just ignorant beasts.

If I thought it was callous, it would be because I didn't understand the seriousness of what it means for God to die.
My goodness! Is God Dead?
Lets look at the scope here.
* God infinite being, incapable of dying, infinite resources,
* human not infinite being, very capable of dying, doesn't have infinite resources

Seems a bit out of balance.

So your Value system as far as I can figure goes like this:
Not intervening in spiritual suicide is warranted if it has already been taken care of by a human sacrifice thousands of years ago.

So, if the rest of us find this hard to believe, then you believe it is fair that we should be destroyed.

Or do I have another misconception?

RichD said...

Hello Lee, Logismous,
I think I'll jump in, and most likely surprise you once again.

I think a key thing that comes up in all of this, and never really takes off, is as follows.

You, Lee, say you were once a Christian and lost your faith, so youobviously understand Christian doctrine. I think we could rule that part out of further discussions, even though I don't recall ever claiming this about you. Logis also claims to understand christian doctrine but not the same as lee, apparently(maybe that's apparentLee).

Logis added this that should clear everthing up If Christians disagree about things, it's not because we're not all listening to the same Holy Spirit, but because we each misunderstand Him in different ways. We actually claim that none of us understands Him well enough.

So obviousLee, noone knows anything about God. Or did I miss something, because Logis also said she/he knows God because of the spirit that is always misunderstood differently by everone. There that ought to clear things up.

So in reality we have a bunch of denominations of Christianity because they all have a different misunderstanding of the doctrine of Christ and they form their own groups based on these misunderstandings. Once saved always saved, saved by faith, saved by grace, saved by works, saved by faith and works, and so on. Which is exactLee what Lee, and others, are confused about. how can anyone say they understand the doctrine of Christ if all Christendom claims to not understand it "well enough"?

I agree that we don't understand everything about doctrine, but can't we get enough understanding to come to a consensus about the PRIMARY tenant of the gospel, Salvation?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Richd
I am surprised and happy to see you.
you made me laugh!
you don't know how much I suffer having a suffix as a name. I suppose its my cross to bear....
;-)

Would you mind if I featured your comment as an article? I want to highlight the following
* your Attitude
* you are a christian
* That you and I have some deep and wide disagreements but we still maintain our good humor
* The disagreements between christians support my claim that at their core, Christians are agnostic with a bias for God,
* and your question about at least agreeing on the tenet of salvation.

I have another article on "value system conflicts" almost ready to go, but I would like to "honor" you as a featured guest. I almost did it without discussing it with you but I didn't want you to think I was mocking you.

RichD said...

Hi Lee,

I suppose its my cross to bear

There are worse. :)

Would you mind if I featured your comment as an article?

Please feel free to do so. Even though you don't have to ask I appreciate that you do. It sounds like the article should prove interesting and I look forward to your thoughts on those things you list. I really do find it astonishing that Christians don't seem to realize that it's a problem for people to believe they are following Christ when they can't agree on such basic things. Certainly a God would not want such confusion among his followers. It just plain doesn't make sense. I can't remember where it is said but I am pretty sure the bible says something along the lines of a house divided cannot stand and will fall. Well if Christianity is that house and it is divided, the rest should follow.

I will do my best to make time to participate in those articles. Things have been pretty crazy lately.

Logismous Kathairountes said...

Lee,

Sorry it's been so long. I'll understand if you don't have the time to continue this thread after such a long absense on my part.

I really just want to respond to what I see as a real and serious misunderstanding of Christian doctrine on your part. (And what I'm claiming here, right now, in this comment, is common to all denominations. It's simple Sunday-school stuff.)

You said:

To say that none of these apply to God because he is the creator doesn't follow.
What does being the creator have to do with anything? Why does being the Creator absolve God of any moral imperitive or any intervention for compassion sake?

Problem (1) is that you persist in not recognizing my claim that He did intervene, and that the intervention is sufficient (in fact, beyond sufficient) to satisfy any moral imperative that could possibly hold on God. IF He was responsible to help us, THEN Christ's death on the cross would have been sufficient to discharge that responsibility.

As for problem (2), I think I'll waste less time and space if I use a parable:

Let's say that there's a computer. The computer was built by a man. There are many programs running on the computer, and all of the programs use logic. The man also uses logic.

The man sets a rule for his computer: Thou shalt conserve hard drive space. It's a universal rule, in that it applies equally to all programs.

You are a program, and you are saying something like,
"--I am under a moral imperative to conserve hard drive space.
--I use logic to understand this.
--Therefore everything that uses logic is under the same moral imperative.
--The man who built the computer also uses logic.
--Therefore he ought to be under the same moral imperative as I am, not to waste hard drive space.
--But those programs who believe in the man do not accept that he would be under this moral imperative.
--Therefore, there is no man who built the computer."

(Have you seen Tron? I'm kinda counting on you having seen Tron.)

And I'm another program, who thinks that you're being ridiculous. Us programs are obligated to obey the man because we are programs in his computer. He does not have to obey the rules he sets for us. He probably doesn't even have a hard drive!

Basically, I'm questioning two of your assumptions:
A) That the application of moral imperatives has anything to do with sentience.
B) That the creator of everything that is ought to follow any of the rules that He created to govern His creation.
Ooh, and a third C) That the concept of 'ought' can apply at all to the creator of everything, where 'everything' includes even the concept of 'ought'.

The Christian claim is NOT that all beings are obligated to obey all the laws that they understand, but rather that God gets to make the rules for the Universe because He is the source of the Universe.

Lee Randolph said...

HI logismous,
just a note to say thanks for coming back and that I'm working on a response.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Logismous,
(And what I'm claiming here, right now, in this comment, is common to all denominations. It's simple Sunday-school stuff.)
awesome, then I can get "the most bang for the buck" with my rebuttal.

Problem (1) is that you persist in not recognizing my claim that He did intervene, and that the intervention is sufficient (in fact, beyond sufficient) to satisfy any moral imperative that could possibly hold on God. IF He was responsible to help us, THEN Christ's death on the cross would have been sufficient to discharge that responsibility.
Okay, I'll stipulate for arguments sake the he did intervene, and the intervention is sufficient TO SATISFY ANY MORAL IMPERATIVE THAT COULD POSSIBLY HOLD ON GOD.

Now lets assess its effectiveness. At least 60% of the world are not christians after 2000 years. So he saved us but most of us are still going to hell. That is a terrible return on investment. Christianity is in business to make christians. Using gods methodology, its only 30% effective. Compare that to Microsoft, whose product is at over 90% adoption and is not the best by any means, and maybe you see the problem.

If you don't see the problem, then suppose you ask me to send you the answer to a riddle that you really want to know and I have the answer to. And I send it in a language you don't understand. How effective, and how smart is that?

So then the intervention is sufficient TO SATISFY ANY MORAL IMPERATIVE THAT COULD POSSIBLY HOLD ON GOD but its not sufficient to effectively carry out the mission of Christianity so its value is in in the bottom third if we use confessing christians as a measurement.

He met the requirement but it wasn't very effective. So what's the point? Didn't God know that all that Drama was not going to be as effective as convincing people that Japan or fire or Windows Operating System exists?

You use a great analogy. I'll paraphrase it.
"God makes a rule that we should conserve harddrive space. But then God doesn't support the goal to conserve harddrive space."

He does not have to obey the rules he sets for us.
Great analogy, because it gets exactly to my point. Now tell me what is the sense in making a rule to conserve harddrive space and then not working to meet that goal?
What is the sense in making rules and not supporting them?
What is the sense in taking actions that are not effective?

What is the sense of telling my kids not to smoke, and then I do it in front of them?

--Therefore, there is no man who built the computer."
Therefore it is NOT LIKELY that there is a COMPETENT man who built the computer WHO WOULD NOT FOLLOW HIS OWN PRINCIPLES because we can see from real world states that inefficient use of resources and inconsistency in supporting goals across all categories in the world results in poor outcomes.

So describe God to me. Is he all knowing? Is he all powerful?
Does the characteristic "does not support goals that he sets" fall into that description? And how do you support your answer?
Does the characteristic "Gods methodology is only 35% effective on the product he produced" fit in that description?

DrMark said...

30% say they know Jesus. 30% are lying or deceived or they know Jesus. 70% do not know Him.
I know my next door neighbor. I am lying or deceived or I know my next door neighbor. 99+% do not know my next door neighbor.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi DrMark,
Thats a pretty cryptic comment but I'll try to work with it. I think I understand what you are getting at even if you seem to share a lack of value for principles of communication with your maker.

so is your point, that we SHOULD ALL KNOW YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR?

Or is your point that it is irrelevant that we all know your next door neighbor?

If its irrelevant, then why do you mention it?

assuming its relevant...

Why should we all know your next door neighbor? Why should we care if you know your next door neighbor or not?

What is my investment in that knowledge?
What should my investment be in that knowledge?
Why should I care?

If I should care or If I am responsible for that knowledge, then there should be some way for me to verify which claim represents a real world state otherwise I am agnostic about it but responsible for the knowledge anyway.

Should I hold you responsible for knowledge that you cannot verify?
You cannot verify quantum theory, but then again there is really no investment in that knowledge for either of us (presumably), however you are responsible for not running traffic lights, and if I say you ran one this morning and you have to pay a fine, but you can't remember doing it, then you have a right to know where that stop light was don't you?

DrMark said...

Just wanted to see if the emphasis to the response would be "my neighbor" or "Jesus." If you replace "your neighbor" with "Jesus" in the response, the answers to the questions are obvious. That is why this whole blog exists.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi DrMark,
Thats what I thought you were doing so now lets look at it a little closer....
I know [JESUS]. I am lying or deceived or I know [JESUS]. 99+% do not know [JESUS].

I still don't get it.
can you put it in a nice, easy to understand statement for me please?

DrMark said...

Sorry to confuse you. The replacements were for your sentences and your questions. I thought that was obvious since I had not yet put forth any questions. I also thought it was obvious since I said replace "your neighbor" (not "my neighbor") with Jesus. But methinks you already got that. Having fun?