The Problem of Evil: What Can God Do?

Here's a redated post of mine from April '06:

It's time once again to discuss what is known as the bedrock of atheism, the problem of evil. As my springboard let's start with David Hume:
A deity who knows the secret springs of the universe might easily, by particular volitions, turn all accidents to the good of mankind and render the whole world happy, without discovering himself in any operation. A fleet whose purposes were salutary to society might always meet with a fair wind. Good princes enjoy sound health and long life. Persons born to power and authority be framed with good tempers and virtuous dispositions. A few such events as these, regularly and wisely conducted, would change the face of the world, and yet would no more seem to disturb the course of nature or confound human conduct than the present economy of things where the causes are secret and variable and compounded. One wave, a little higher than the rest, by burying Caesar and his fortune in the bottom of the ocean, might have restored liberty to a considerable part of mankind.” [Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Part XI].
Here are some more things God could’ve done: One childhood fatal disease like the Spanish Flu of 1918 could have killed Hitler and prevented WWII. One actual attempt on Hitler’s life by some people, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, could have ended his reign after the war started. A different police officer could have discovered a naked boy who had briefly escaped Jeffrey Dahlmer’s clutches, and upon investigating further could’ve saved that boy’s life. Timothy McVeigh could have had a fatal vehicle crash while driving to Oklahoma, or a crash that would reveal what was inside his truck. McVeigh could also have been killed while in combat before coming back to the states.

A fatal heart attack could’ve been sent to Saddam Hussein before our war with Iraq, stopping it dead in its tracks. The poison that Saddam threw on the Kurds a decade ago could have simply “malfunctioned” by being miraculously neutralized. Sure it would puzzle Saddam, and it would not be explainable by science, but there are a great many things that take place in our world that are not explainable, so this wouldn’t necessarily lead him to believe that the laws of nature were suspended, revealing God behind it all. The same thing could have been done to the Zykon-B gas pellets dropped down into the Auschwitz gas chambers. Even if Nazi's did conclude that God performed a miracle here, what’s the harm done?

Why did God allow the earthquake that sent the tsunami that killed a quarter of a million people in Asia? Did he not have the power to restrain that earthquake? No one would know that he kept it from happening. The same goes for the predicted San Andreas Fault and the earthquake that will send Los Angeles into the Pacific Ocean. No seismic scientist would ever discover God as the reason why it doesn’t do this.

Why couldn’t something have happened to all nine hijackers of those planes on that fatal 9/11 day? One could trip and fall to his death, or a broken limb. Three others could’ve gotten in a car accident on the way. One other could’ve had a heart attack. Still another could have been robbed by a New York pair of thugs and killed (there’s utilitarianism at its best!). Another could have been reminded of something by God that would weaken his will, maybe intense doubts like those who walk down the wedding aisle. Another could have been spotted at security by a different officer, while another’s take-on-bag might have spilled open revealing his knife. And so on. These things would all occur on that morning stopping the terrorist attacks dead on. But none of these things happened, did they? God allowed the destruction of nearly 3500 lives that day even though there were means at his disposal to stop it.

And even if by changing these things in the world God would “eradicate the laws of nature,” which I seriously doubt, the Christian would still have to argue that these things are impossible for God to do. Who says that the laws of nature must be fixed and unalterable, anyway? David Hume first questioned this. The ordering of the world by general laws “seems nowise necessary” to God. If by changing something requires some adjustment that does not accord with any known laws of nature, so what? The Christian claims God can do miracles, then why not a perpetual one that doesn’t affect anything else in his creation?

212 comments:

Robin said...

The thing you must understand is that grace (common or saving) is unmerited favor. Nothing or nobody deserves God's grace so God is never obligated to give grace to His creation. This is the divine prerogative. Since God isn't obligated to show grace then he does nothing wrong by witholding grace and allowing evil and suffering. Since God does nothing wrong then He remains good. Since God is Good then He obviously has a moraly justifiable reason for allowing it even if I don't know what that reason is. Possible explanations are infinite. God's ways are infinitely higher than our ways. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. He's the "Other" or the Holy.

God could, if He so chose to, reveal some of His reasons but I don't think we could ever know all of His reasons.

God owes us nothing.

Rob R said...

One childhood fatal disease like the Spanish Flu of 1918 could have killed Hitler and prevented WWII.


Hitler could have been killed as a little boy and the holocaust still could've happened. It may have been very different in how it happened or it may have happened at another time.

I have a better suggestion. God could have allowed Hitler to grow up to be a Godly compassionate human being, and as a matter of fact, that is precisely what God allowed. Hitler just didn't choose that path for himself. Hitler made the difference in his own life between murderer and humanist.

There was nothing about the boy Adolf Hitler that necessarily led to the monster that he became. If God wound the clock back to the day Hitler was born, changed absolutely nothing and let events move along naturally as they had, things still very well could have turned out differently. That's because he had real true libertarian freedom that played a role in his character development and from that, no guaranteed specific future follows.

There may have been a range of futures that could have followed, but Hitler as a mass murderer is not a feature of all of them.

Larian LeQuella said...

I figure that every time there is a horrible disaster or some unspeakable evil, everyone should be "praising god" for allowing that to happen! It is all part of his glorious plan. We have no free will after all: http://www.daylightatheism.org/2009/08/little-known-bible-verses-xiv.html

And Robin and Rob R... Both of you are starting from the presupposition that god exists... I would contend he doesn't at all, and all the evil in the world is the result of nature and human actions. If there is a god, then he's impotent, cruel, petty, unimaginative, and in all ways about the worst idea the universe came up with... His plan sucks, and his designs are horrid. He may not owe us anyting, but if I were him, I'd be horribly embarassed by his abject failure, and would thik I owed it to myself at least.

deusdiapente said...

[God] does nothing wrong by witholding grace and allowing evil and suffering. Since God does nothing wrong then He remains good.

How can this possibly make sense? God does nothing wrong by allowing evil to exist? If I "allowed" someone to rape someone you loved, would I be doing "nothing wrong"? We shouldn't be wary of "evil" people since they aren't going to go away. What we should really be disturbed by is the indifference of those who claim to be "good".

I fail to see any "greater good" in rape, murder, natural disasters, holocausts, etc. That seems to be an ad hoc excuse to reconcile a supposedly loving god with all of the suffering in the world. And this only takes into account human suffering. I was watching some nature program back in March about penguins. Baby penguins are completely dependent on their parents for food since they still have feathers on their body and can't swim to get their food.

If a baby penguin's parents are killed, then the baby penguin will starve to death. Not only starve to death, but will be attacked by the other penguins to scare it into regurgitating its already digested food so they can eat it. Where is the "greater good" in this scenario? This type of brutality repeats itself hundreds of thousands of times a year in remote areas far removed from any human civilization. Hundreds of thousands of times 10 years ago, 100 years ago, 1,000 years ago, 1 million years ago, 1 billion years ago. There we no humans around 1 billion years ago so what possible "greater good" did suffering provide then?

God seems to have designed the world for maximal suffering. He designed a world where for one living thing to live, another living thing has to die; most of the time die a horribly painful death. Where is the greater good in this scheme?

Walter said...

Or maybe there is a God that is just plain evil. Maybe he just likes kicking over the anthill for his own amusement. After all, as Robin says, "he" owes us nothing.

Jim said...

Not only does Robin start with a presupposition that God exists--she starts with a "definition" of God that allows her to make otherwise incomprehensibly ridiculous trains of logic to the conclusion that "God owes us nothing."

If only it were so easy to win an argument by definition. If prosecuted for a crime--I could just define myself as Jim Tatro who has the property that I cannot do anything illegal. Since I cannot do anything illegal, I must not have broken the law. So I must be released! Wheeeeeee! This winning by definition stuff is fun!

Now I just need to get everyone else to buy into my definition. Christians should be easy as they don't need proof or evidence--just faith.

Regards all,

Jim

Jeff said...

I was just about to say the same thing, Walter.

The easiest answer to the problem of evil is to conclude that God is not loving. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he's mentally unstable - loving one minute, and bloodthirsty the next. It makes sense to me. Then again, I guess worshipping a deranged person isn't really my cup of tea. Oh well.

Rob R said...

I figure that every time there is a horrible disaster or some unspeakable evil, everyone should be "praising god" for allowing that to happen!

Then your criticism presumes theological determinism and only is relevent to some Christian theologies, but not others... and not mine.

And Robin and Rob R... Both of you are starting from the presupposition that god exists... I would contend he doesn't at all,

I don't presume it. I have reasons. But the issue John Loftus is raising doesn't detract from my reasons for believing in God so I'm not going to explain here why I believe God exists off the bat. Instead, I'm going to address the topic he brought up which is a specific reasons for why we should believe that God doesn't exist, which here is that God did not wisely use his foreknowledge. But I challenged the idea that the content of foreknowledge of God has to be what John and so many evangelicals claim it would have to be. I see no reason to believe that Hitler's tragic history was true prior to it's occurance, true even as what is true about the future. If we are serious about the requirements of freedom, then we should believe that many statements about what will be are false even though they may become true.

If there is a god, then he's impotent, cruel, petty, unimaginative, and in all ways about the worst idea the universe came up with...

Well, it's one thing to have a subjective judgement on the issue. It's another to explain why someone who disagrees with it should agree.

Rob R said...

Jeff,

The easiest answer to the problem of evil is to conclude that God is not loving.

Easy for who? The biblical answer to the problem of evil is that God is suffering the effects of evil with us and for us through his plan to eradicate it.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

you said:"The Christian claims God can do miracles, then why not a perpetual one that doesn’t affect anything else in his creation?"

Miracles aren't in questions as much as the understanding of evil and it's purpose. I propose this:

1- If God eradicated evil he would also destroy free will

2- The destruction of free will would be the greatest evil imaginable because

3- By destroying freewill God would destroy mankind in the process.

This whole thing doesn't even deal with my thought that "evil" can't be perceived or known without God (As I always undertake on this subject) but that is aside from the point.

All types of evil (natural and moral) spring from free will choices of free moral agents (men). Man's choices had an effect on creation, weather patterns etc...I believe this line of argumentation is classic Giessler.

What say ye regarding these things?

Walter said...

Harvey says...
1- If God eradicated evil he would also destroy free will

2- The destruction of free will would be the greatest evil imaginable because

3- By destroying freewill God would destroy mankind in the process.


Me...
Must not be any free will in heaven, since man can no longer sin there.

By destroying our free will in heaven God is doing the greatest evil imaginable to us.

feeno said...

What up General

You said "His (God) plan sucks".

Would you want to be in a relationship where you had force yourself on your partner?

I have no way of knowing but I'd bet had God created a bunch of zombie like followers, you Atheists would be blogging about how God's plan sucks because he doesn't let us make any choices.

Evil exists because God wanted a relationship with his creation. In order for that to happen he gave us the power to make those choices.

We all like the idea of making choices yet we don't always like to live with the consequences of those choices.

Thanks for your service to our country. I spent 4 years in USAF, guarding airplanes in Alaska and a communication area in Colo. I never served in time of war tho. Peace be with you and all our soldiers around the globe.

feeno

Gandolf said...

Howdy Feeno

You said ."I have no way of knowing but I'd bet had God created a bunch of zombie like followers, you Atheists would be blogging about how God's plan sucks because he doesn't let us make any choices."

What??... you really have so much faith that humans would honestly soon get sick of living in such a paradise as the garden of Eden was said to be.

Well do we have any real way to show that your faith in this can be said to be based on any real evidence.

But can you please explain a little more why you have come to this conclusion.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Walter,

You said:"Me...Must not be any free will in heaven, since man can no longer sin there."

Good response.

I think ye mave have this one slightly twisted however. Who said there would be no freewill in heaven or no knowledge of sin (eg: "how to sin")?

I certainly agree that scripture recods there would be "no more" of those things along with the suffering that it brings, but that statement doesn't take away any of God's creatures ability to exercise their choice to do wrong.

Interesting.

Robin said...

"If I "allowed" someone to rape someone you loved, would I be doing "nothing wrong"?"

Again you're not God. God's not in the same catagory as humans. He's the Holy Other. God reserves the right to have mercy on whomever He pleases. This is the Divine prerogative. Like I already said nobody deseves God's grace so He is under no obligation to show it and therefore He does nothing wrong by witholding it and allowing evil and suffering. Injustice cannot even arise on God's part for allowing evil and suffering.

Scott said...

Rob Wrote: Easy for who? The biblical answer to the problem of evil is that God is suffering the effects of evil with us and for us through his plan to eradicate it.

Rob, here's the dilemma.

You seem to think God has a plan to eradicate evil. Which implies that God is capable of bringing about some morally acceptable state of affairs where evil does not exist, yet we are not oppressed, robots, etc.

So, for the sake of argument, if this state is within God's abilities, we're asking why he didn't start our with this state of affairs in the first place or bring it about immediately when evil first appeared?

For example, if there is some point in the future where evil will be eradicated, then whatever "purpose" evil served will cease. To say that evil has a necessary role now, which it will not be necessary, say, 1,0000 years from now, seems arbitrary given God's supposed infinite nature.

Does God have a specific number of souls that need to be "built?" If so, what would this number be based on? Surely, God's love would be infinite, which could be expressed to an infinite number of souls. Nor does it seem to be a logical conclusion that God creates souls because he knew they'd want to exist, as there would be an infinite number of beings that which to exist.

If those who are saved will spend an eternal afterlife here on earth, is God waiting for a optimal number of people to repopulate the earth? What factors would God be constrained to? For example, at a minimum, he'd need to create a new way to heat and light the earth as stars (like our sun) eventually run out of fuel and either go supernova or expand into a red giant. While he's at it, why not make a earth that is twice the size or 3 time the size or 10 times? Why have planets with finite capacities and surface areas at all?

In other words, even if you assume God has some kind of "plan", the idea that this plan cannot be implemented right now appears to be based on some arbitrary goals given Gods ability and the kind of changes we know he must be make, as our current solar system is incapable of sustaining an internal existence, etc.

Is there some "magic" number of souls God is waiting for?

Rob R said...

FYI, I think this whole perspective that God had to make us free or had to make us free for the sake of love is mistaken.

It is concievable that there can be loving relationships where free will does not play a absolute role. While free will is still involved to some extent, I still think a counterexample could be found in psychologically healthy mothers. They do not really choose to love their children, it just comes naturally.


However, I think a different claim on the necessity of love could be made, that there was a quality and depth of love that God wanted, that reflected God's type of love only within temporally finite creatures if those creatures had free will. That is the love is determined within God's character, and while God doesn't need libertarian free will for this character trait since he has always existed, we do as our existence began with God. Our self determination needs lfw.

There is also much to be said about other aspects of our existence that are enhanced by free will that would have been different such as our creativity, and our consciousness and other ways that we reflect God such creaturely sovereignty.

Jim said...

Harvey says . . .

1- If God eradicated evil he would also destroy free will

It doesn't seem that this is true.

Why couldn't God have issued one single commandment to the human race:

1. Do whatever you choose to do.

This would eliminate the free will problem, but it also would eliminate the problem of evil because there wouldn't be any "Though shalt nots" to define what evil is.

So it seems possible to have total free will without evil.

If you choose to torture a child:

1. You are exercising your free will to torture, and
2. The child can still exercise his/her free will to cry/get mad/seek revenge later in life (if he/she lives).

Am I missing something?

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

I'm not sure it's ever been conclusively determined that we actually have free will. Free will, in the sense that we can choose what we want, is certainly true. However, free will is not and effect without a cause. There are predispositions, motives, and inclinations that effect why we choose what we do. Christians seem to presume that free will is a rabbit out of a hat, except without the hat or magician; something from nothing. Genetic predispositions, as well and environmental influences and, how former "choices" affect future "choices," combine to make actual free will, if it exist at all, infinitesimal. Using free will as a defense for the problem of evil seems to me as relying on a biblical predisposition since much of our social consensus on free will has been foisted on us by church teaching throughout history.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Zorg,

You said:"Genetic predispositions, as well and environmental influences and, how former "choices" affect future "choices," combine to make actual free will, if it exist at all, infinitesimal."

So what you are saying is that in the atheist world view freewill is only and illusion? Is that what you stand by?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jim,

You said:"So it seems possible to have total free will without evil."

You are absolutely correct and the bible affirms such. However the option to actualize evil is present within freewill also. Once that option is stripped away free will is not truely free will.

Walter said...

Harvey says...I think ye mave have this one slightly twisted however. Who said there would be no freewill in heaven or no knowledge of sin (eg: "how to sin")?

I certainly agree that scripture recods there would be "no more" of those things along with the suffering that it brings, but that statement doesn't take away any of God's creatures ability to exercise their choice to do wrong.


Me...So heaven's inhabitants will have free will but no desire to do that which is considered sinful? Why would God not have set things up like this on earth to begin with? Who is to say that the elect in heaven won't exercise their free will to disobey again? Maybe the elect in heaven will get bored after a few billion years of singing hosannas to Yahweh/Yeshua/Casper and start the rebellion all over again?

Is that not what Satan is supposed to have done? Here is an Angel in the presence of a tri-omnimax God that is stupid enough to think that he can rebel against an omnipotent and omniscient being and win! Satan's sin is not pride, it is stupidity. Perhaps God should have created him smarter?

Rob R said...

I'm not sure it's ever been conclusively determined that we actually have free will.

No, it hasn't, no more than it has ever been conclusively determined that God exists... or doesn't (nor has practically anything else been exhaustively determined). And that need not stop anyone from having confidence for the reasoning they have on those issues.

There are predispositions, motives, and inclinations that effect why we choose what we do.


None of which inconsistent with libertarian free will. Such things may influence the likelyhood of certain free choices, but none of this always leads to a 100 percent likelyhood of just any of our choices. As long as there is a significantly possible alternative choice, we have libertarian freedom.

Christians seem to presume that free will is a rabbit out of a hat, except without the hat or magician

I don't. We are free because the way we are designed combined with certain situations we find ourselves in causes us to face instances where we really may choose one way and we really may refrain from that choice.

Genetic predispositions, as well and environmental influences and, how former "choices" affect future "choices," combine to make actual free will, if it exist at all, infinitesimal.

And yet no social scientist has come up with a calculus for determining exactly what anyone would choose in exactly any situation.

Using free will as a defense for the problem of evil seems to me as relying on a biblical predisposition

The bible almost never explicitly and directly claims we have free will. We are the ones who (rightfully) bring that interpretation to the text, an interpretation that comes naturally from our beliefs about morality and our own subjective experiences of deliberation where we truely believe that we may choose one way and yet we believe that we may choose something else.

Chuck O'Connor said...

The Christian "Free Will" argument just doesn't work for me because much of what we label evil has nothing to do with "Free Will". I think of things like natural disasters. For example, the Asian Tsunami that devastated Southern Thailand and destroyed the lives of hundreds of people was not a consequence of free will. It was caused by an earthquake in the ocean. How does the "Free Will" argument make sense of those deaths?

Scott said...

Rob wrote However, I think a different claim on the necessity of love could be made, that there was a quality and depth of love that God wanted, that reflected God's type of love only within temporally finite creatures if those creatures had free will. That is the love is determined within God's character, and while God doesn't need libertarian free will for this character trait since he has always existed, we do as our existence began with God. Our self determination needs lfw.

You've just attempted to account for the kind of suffering we observe as a necessary result of libertarian freedom, which produces a love with a "quality and depth" that God wanted. While I think there are problems with this kind of account, let's assume it is true for the sake of argument.

However, by claiming that God will eventually "eradicate" evil, what you haven't accounted for is the quantity and duration of suffering we observe.

Unless not a single person has been saved, then God's goal of creating a "kind" of love with a specific "quality and depth" has been reached. Yet, we continue to suffer. How do you account for this?

In other words, you seem to imply the existence of some other goal of God, *beyond* the existence of a particular kind of love, which you have yet to present and has yet to be completed. Otherwise, we're still left with the problem evil that has unnecessarily continued for thousands of years.

For example you might say, in addition to a particular quality of love, God wanted a particular quantity of this love, which is why we continue to suffer. However, unlike quality, it seems much more difficult to present a justification for a particular quantity of this love given God's infinite nature.

If God wanted this kind of love and the existence of it in only one person isn't what God wanted, then it would seem that two people that exhibit this kind of love would be better than one, and three people would be even better, etc.

Given God's supposed infinite nature, is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Yet, you claim God will eventually "eradicate" evil, which would put a cap on just exactly this very thing which God supposedly wants.

How do you account for this?

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"So what you are saying is that in the atheist world view freewill is only and illusion? Is that what you stand by?"

Harvey, this is an example of why debating Christians is little like trying to lasso smoke. Many philosophers throughout history, both theist and atheist have inferred a deterministic universe. In the book, "Why we believe what we believe," Daniel Wegner Professor Department of Psychology Harvard University, ( page 201) Argues that "free will is essentially a trick of the mind - a way that consciousness attempts to own or take responsibility for one's behavior and thoughts."

There are professing Christians who maintain belief in a determinist universe, such as some sects within Calvinism.
I can see how someone who believes in prevenient grace must defend vociferously the notion of absolute free will. But, I cannot imagine any action that you or I have ever committed that was free from prior motivations and dispositions. Even things that you would think was simple caprice have causes that we are simply not aware of.

Daniel Dennett, an avowed atheist believes in free will, so determinism is not simply an atheist position.
My point is simple, using free will as a defense for evil is untenable because our understanding of how free, free is, has not been ultimately answered. And, it appears that the consensus among neuroscientist favor a deterministic universe . Our current presuppositions concerning free will have been imposed by a history of theological necessity.

Peace out! Zorg.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"And yet no social scientist has come up with a calculus for determining exactly what anyone would choose in exactly any situation."

??? No two individuals are genetically identical, have the same environmental experiences and prior "choices" effecting their future options. Anthropologist estimate approx. 160 billion of our species have lived on this planet. None are identical genetically, environmentally, ect.....

"The bible almost never explicitly and directly claims we have free will. We are the ones who (rightfully) bring that interpretation to the text,"

According to who? There are 38,000 sects within the christian faith. Everyone claiming that they rightfully hold the true answer. You guys get together and figure out what is "rightfully" and then get back to us.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Walter,

Concerning man's ability and propensity to rebel you said:"Why would God not have set things up like this on earth to begin with?" (saying that god should have set things up so that man would not choose sin)

Now evangelical theology would "probably" say that this was done according to God's will and soveriegnity of his choice to do so. I am of the camp that although god knew the choice that mad would make, in order for him to eliminate that choice he would have to in the process destroyed freewill and ultimately destroyed the abilities that he gave hsi creation.

I believe you also correctly note this also:"Here is an Angel in the presence of a tri-omnimax God that is stupid enough to think that he can rebel against an omnipotent and omniscient being and win! Satan's sin is not pride, it is stupidity."

I think is was a combination, pride, stupidity and self-exaltation. He was full of himself and that attribute (self-exaltation) is remarkably similar to many aspects of human nature without God.

Also satan and those with him were not extended a "salvation plan". Many believe it's because of the fact that they were holy, in the presence of God himself, and yet choose the same "self-exaltation".

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Zorg,

You said:"But, I cannot imagine any action that you or I have ever committed that was free from prior motivations and dispositions."

That would be good and nobody argues that our past doesn't influence our will, however that's not what freewill is. Freewill is the unfettered ability to make a choice. whether influenced by the past or not, there is no duress in the expression...that's freewill.

The number of choices are aside from the point and the the cricumstances that lead me up to the choice have no bearing on what freewill is. Being able to make a choice is not determinism, it is freedom.

Now what you support is freewill as an illusion, in other words there is something other than ourserves that determine all choices we make. You're is much closer to the evangelical proposition than you care to admit. Change the names for a minute...In evangelical circles it's God that has "predestined" and elected us...in your thoughts it's genes and society that has determined our will...

In either case as you describe and defend it, freewill is ONLY and illusion and you are nothing more than a predetermined genetic code.

There's no SMOKE in that.

feeno said...

W'sup Gandy Man?

I actually said that with my tounge in my cheek. But yes, Adam and Eve got tired of it. They had any and everything they ever needed and that wasn't enough.

Evidence is a funny thing, Prof. Mustard is standing over a body holding a candlestick in the library. Some would say the Prof. beat dude's ass. Some would say he was in the library when the lights went off, he went and got a candlestick when he got back the lights came on and there was a dead guy.

There are still people out there that think O.J. is innocent.

I'd say the evidence tells me O.J. is guilty, there is a God, and I'm on the fence about the Prof.

I'll check in tonight after I watch my old High School put a beat down on a cross-town rival.

Peace out Brown Trout, feeno

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Chuck O,

You said:"It was caused by an earthquake in the ocean. How does the "Free Will" argument make sense of those deaths?

John Loftus in his book, "Why I Became An Atheist" identifies 2 types of evil (p.234)
1- Natural evil
2- moral evil

He goes on to describe William Rowe's argument that natural evil is pointless (gratuitous), could be prevented and therefore makes a case against the existence of God.

I won't argue that whole section here but I will state that the bible clearly teaches that when sin entered the world, everything came along with it that we currently consider evil. ie: that's when pointless suffering began. Therefore, what you specify is only a current condition because of the freewill choice of man.

Rom. 5:12-17~"12-Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13-(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14-Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15-But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16-And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17-For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)"

THAT'S why freewill is important because withiout IT there is no gratuitous suffering and none of the problems we all experience from time to time and observe daily. That's also the importance of Jesus as he is the way out of the condition of sin and the promise that actualization of sin (or the natural evil that sin has produced) will be destroyed.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"Change the names for a minute...In evangelical circles it's God that has "predestined" and elected us...in your thoughts it's genes and society that has determined our will..."

The difference is faith. A belief. Somehow, you are able to experience the cacophony of noise and cognitive dissonance that is our world, and, more important, religion, and see a divine hand. You have just as much evidence for your belief as any of the other 2,400 religions in practice on the planet, right now. Justifications, that they have, that you consider silly, are just as reliable as yours. They all can't be right, but they all can be wrong.

I go back to my original proposition; we simply don't know how free, free is. You are proffering an unsubstantiated assumption. It is not a valid argument to explain why tsunami's kill a quarter of a million people.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"Change the names for a minute...In evangelical circles it's God that has "predestined" and elected us...in your thoughts it's genes and society that has determined our will..."

The difference is faith. A belief. Somehow, you are able to experience the cacophony of noise and cognitive dissonance that is our world, and, more important, religion, and see a divine hand. You have just as much evidence for your belief as any of the other 2,400 religions in practice on the planet, right now. Justifications, that they have, that you consider silly, are just as reliable as yours. They all can't be right, but they all can be wrong.

I go back to my original proposition; we simply don't know how free, free is. You are proffering an unsubstantiated assumption. It is not a valid argument to explain why tsunami's kill a quarter of a million people.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Zorg,

You said:"There are 38,000 sects within the christian faith. Everyone claiming that they rightfully hold the true answer"

There are 14 million atheists who all hold a different variation of nonbelief and answeres tha they hold as more or less true. So now we are to negate arguments based on the diversity of opinion?

Now I wish we could use your "opinion diversity fallacy" for the tax code...There's one tax code and studies have been completed that when ONE tax return was sent to about 100 or more accounting firms, there were almost as many different conclusions as to what was dedcutible or not and what the tax actually was. I know this partially because I depend upon the best tax advice in my occupation and no two firms interpret the code exactly the same in all point. NOW WHAT?

Yea!...No IRS!

Walter said...

@Harvey

You never answered my question of what keeps the elect from rebelling again once they reach heaven?

If they have the same free will as on earth, what keeps the same thing from happening again as you believe happened in the Garden of Eden?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Walter,

You asked:"...what keeps the elect from rebelling again once they reach heaven?"

Nothing but their servitude and choice for God. Compare the differences:

Adam
created sinless
Created with free will
choose sin

Angles
created sinless
created with free will
some chose rebellion (aka:sin)

Mankind since Adam
Borin into sin
created with freewill tainted by sin
Redeemed from the curse of sin by Jesus.
Redeemed (in Heaven) live without sin (sinlessly) eternally.

In God's presence man maintains the possibility of actualizing sin, but that possibility does not become a reality. Why? Man was redeemed from a fallen state whereas Angels and Adam were created in a redemptionless condition...

In other words, man, that will be "saved" will not desire to revert back to a fallen condition to which we are familiar. Ever heard the expression, "Been there, done that." Nonetheless, freewill remains.

Rob R said...

You seem to think God has a plan to eradicate evil.

That is an essential component of the Jewish-Christian theme.

So, for the sake of argument, if this state is within God's abilities, we're asking why he didn't start our with this state of affairs in the first place or bring it about immediately when evil first appeared?

He did start out with this state of affairs. We took it and ruined it.

I don't know why God didn't fix it immediately. But I can't say that I suspect in the slightest that that lack of knowledge amounts to hopeless damaging problem. It may be one of those things that we'll never know, but I have little reason to even think that.


In other words, even if you assume God has some kind of "plan", the idea that this plan cannot be implemented right now appears to be based on some arbitrary goals given Gods ability and the kind of changes we know he must be make

The plan has been implemented from day one starting with the curse on nature and allowance of death. The plan continues today. It's hardly within our scope of knowledge to say that God should've definitely done it another way and not this way, but as it has proceeded, this is a far more majestic and profound plan than a mere snap of the fingures with little in the way of personal relationship.

You've just attempted to account for the kind of suffering we observe as a necessary result of libertarian freedom, which produces a love with a "quality and depth" that God wanted.

Moi? No, I don't think evil was necessary to freedom. I think it was a necessary possibility for the degree and depth of freedom that God gave us combined with the depth of responsibility that God gave us for ourselves and each other.

However, by claiming that God will eventually "eradicate" evil, what you haven't accounted for is the quantity and duration of suffering we observe.

On the one hand, I can't explain a quantity that isn't humanly quantifiable.

on the other, the degree of suffering and loss that we encounter is the mirror side of the degree of sacredness and value it holds. If only God had valued us less and made us value each other a little less, there wouldn't be so much pain and suffering.

Otherwise, we're still left with the problem evil that has unnecessarily continued for thousands of years.

It's just not that big of a problem. The logical problem of evil was about coherence. Here, we don't have inchoherence, we just have a question mark.

Course I do believe that much has to do with the nature of what God created combined with God's commitment to working through nature

Rob R said...

Zorg,

??? No two individuals are genetically identical, have the same environmental experiences and prior "choices" effecting their future options.

That's one possible reason that behavior can't be predicted. And free will is a perfectly good other option. Those of us with other good reasons for holding to it are still free to rationally hold it as determinism remains an unprovable assumption.

According to who?

According to me zorg. You aren't conversing with 38000 sects (not as if there actually were that many significantly different ones. And it certainly is not the case that the authentic Church of Jesus is restricted to denominational boundaries anyway). If you can't converse with someone on an issue just because there are so many different opinions, what are you doing here?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Rob R,

You said:"I don't think evil was necessary to freedom. I think it was a necessary possibility for the degree and depth of freedom that God gave us combined with the depth of responsibility that God gave us for ourselves and each other."

Good job! I like that.

Andre said...

Hello Harvey,

I have a question for you. I listen to Hip-Hop artiste Jay-Z, and he said this in one of his freestyles: "And though I'm not a Christian though I believe in God. But I don't believe in the devil, my beliefs are odd. If we the people was given free will from God, how could he give you free will, without giving you evil."

You can interpret that however you want. But my question is: If God gave you free will, how is that not giving you evil to do? Note that giving you free will was not a choice. So that means you were given evil without a choice also. If I understand you correctly, your point of view is that because we were given free will, evil is manifested. Is that right?

Walter said...

Harvey says...
Adam
created sinless
Created with free will
choose sin

Angles
created sinless
created with free will
some chose rebellion (aka:sin)

Mankind since Adam
Borin into sin
created with freewill tainted by sin
Redeemed from the curse of sin by Jesus.
Redeemed (in Heaven) live without sin (sinlessly) eternally.


How could Adam even know that he was doing wrong since he had not eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, yet?

Why did God turn the serpent loose on a couple of naive humans ill prepared to deal with such a being? Were humans setup to fail from the beginning?

Why is everyone cursed with original sin for something an ancient ancestor did?

Why would redeemed man-- with free will-- behave any different than Adam would? Hard to believe that the 'redeemed' would exist for eternity without ever having the slightest desire to 'sin' again unless they are turned into some kind of automatons.

This is just too surreal.
I feel like I am asking whether blue lightsabres cut better that red ones do.

Rob R said...

why thank you Mr. District Superintendant.

Scott said...

Rob wrote: He did start out with this state of affairs. We took it and ruined it.

First, I don't see how Adam's exercising a necessary possibility of evil would be "ruining" anything, as God must have intentionally allowed such an outcome to occur. As such, it must be part of God's design.

Second, you seem to imply that Adam's situation was somehow equivalent to the "solution" of a "new" earth and "new" bodies earth that God will create when Jesus returns. Yet, evil isn't simply being temporarily removed, it's being eradicated. Unlike Adam and Eve, sin will not be an option.

I wrote: even if you assume God has some kind of "plan", the idea that this plan cannot be implemented right now

The plan has been implemented from day one

While I think it was relatively clear what I meant, I guess it's necessary to clarify my comment further.

God has a plan to eradicate evil, the idea that it could not be eradicated earlier appears to be based on arbitrary goals.

Is this clear enough?

I wrote: You've just attempted to account for the kind of suffering we observe as a necessary result of libertarian freedom, which produces a love with a "quality and depth" that God wanted.

I don't think evil was necessary to freedom. I think it was a necessary possibility

OK, so I can revise to..

You've just attempted to account for the kind of suffering we observe as a necessary possible result of libertarian freedom, which produces a love with a "quality and depth" that God wanted.

Which again, I'll accept for the sake of argument, in regards to the "type" of love God wanted. But, again that only accounts for the type of love.

On the one hand, I can't explain a quantity that isn't humanly quantifiable.

How is it that you can quantify the "kind" of love God wanted, but not the quantity of said love? It seems you've jumped to the conclusion that this isn't possible despite having been given one concrete example in my comment?

Rob wrote: on the other, the degree of suffering and loss that we encounter is the mirror side of the degree of sacredness and value it holds. If only God had valued us less and made us value each other a little less, there wouldn't be so much pain and suffering.

Again, this only addresses the kind of love God wanted. The kind of suffering a person could encounter reflects the kind of value God places on a human being. However, this is not what I'm referring to when I say quantity. Instead, I'm referring to the fact that, despite having realized this kind of love in one individual, God still has not eradicated evil. As such, there must be some other "dimension" to God's goal beyond that which you've presented and accounted for, which I'm calling quantity, for lack of a better word. For the sake of argument, every individual who is born and exercises that freedom increases the quantity of the kind of love God wants.

Scott said...

To clarify, you seem to think God subscribes to the idea that, "all good things must come to an end.", as eradicating evil would remove the freedom required for the continued development of the kind of love God desires - a love which he desires to the extent that it is "worth" all of suffering we observe.

However, given the attributes and actions ascribed to him by Christianity, this saying doesn't seem to apply to God.

For example, one might suggest God is waiting to eradicate evil until for human beings to become extinct due to a natural disaster or some kind of global war? But, should this occur, God could always create more human beings. Or perhaps God is waiting for the universe to end the big freeze / crunch / rip? But, should this occur, God could always create another universe.

In other words, given God's supposed nature, It doesn't *have* to end, but you claim that it will end. This is what I'm referring to by some other dimension of God's goal beyond what you've already presented and accounted for.

If God eradicates evil, he is essentially ending the very thing you claim he wants.

sconnor said...

How could Adam even know that he was doing wrong since he had not eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, yet?

Yes. exactly -- and if there was NO sin in the garden of eden where did that sinful evil serpent come from?

Also, if this magical sin didn't exist before partaking of the fruit how could A&E be punished for supposedly doing something sinful? -- not to mention they didn't posses a moral compass; not knowing that what they were doing was bad or good. Nor did they know that by disobeying god they were going to let evil and unimaginable suffering take a foothold on the rest of god's earthly children.

This is what happens when deluded christians try to use silly myths (pretending that magic and talking snakes and satan disguised as a serpent have a reference in reality) to construct their warped un-real world-view.

Face it harv -- if god could create heaven without vile suffering and free will he also could have created it right here too.

In fact, I suspect, god being god should be able to come up with an infinite amount of possibilities, all accomplishing what he wanted to accomplish including free will, none of which would include the torture, brutalization or the unthinkable suffering of innocent children.

God could have made an infinite amount of worlds, each with an infinite number of incredible and wonderful possibilities at every turn, everyone of them extremely, enjoyable and utterly satisfying, accomplishing what he wanted to accomplish without egregious suffering and evil existing but as we observe here on this cesspool of a planet -- it is NOT the case.

--S.

sconnor said...

robin

Again you're not God. God's not in the same catagory as humans. He's the Holy Other. God reserves the right to have mercy on whomever He pleases. This is the Divine prerogative. Like I already said nobody deseves God's grace so He is under no obligation to show it and therefore He does nothing wrong by witholding it and allowing evil and suffering. Injustice cannot even arise on God's part for allowing evil and suffering.

You do NOT know the will and character of god.

You do NOT have any objective evidence for ANY of your extraordinary christian/god claims.

You do not possess any special knowledge of god or his morals.

You simply attributed your own deluded thoughts and stunted imagination to an imaginary deity.

You're a deluded christian who has fabricated an insanely and fantastic, massive delusion by idiosyncratically interpreting the supposed word of god; the superstitious, spurious words of scripture, and erroneously attributing feelings to your god-character. You are pretending to "know' and have a relationship with a fictional character out of a book that only exists in the confines of your insanely limited mind.

The reality of the situation is we make observations based on the real-life happenings around us. We can agree that it is wrong to give one of our children a deadly disease or to do nothing while that child suffers -- we know that would be cruel, monstrously abusive and morbidly neglectful -- morally repugnant. We have this information. What information do you have -- besides conjecture or assumption -- that god's obligations would go against, said information, especially being a supposed all-loving holy god? I'm asking you to substantiate your position that god's immorality is justified.

When a child suffers, I, as a father, am obligated to ease their suffering, take care of him, love him, which should be second nature, to any father, who loves his child -- which in turn, if a father neglects his child and let's him wallow in pain and anguish -- suffering in unthinkable ways; this father would be held in contempt -- he would be exposed as an abusive, negligent monster. With this analogy in mind, why does your heavenly father, neglect his earthly children, letting them suffer in repulsive, insanely unthinkable, ways? Why and how do you condone his egregious, morbid, negligence?

But using your asinine, default logic, we can't hold a god -- your holy father, in the sky, who, every second, of every day, neglects his earthly children -- to the same moral standards; the only standard we possess to make that determination and a standard supposedly, created and instilled, into our souls, by god? Why is that?

--S.

Rob R said...

First, I don't see how Adam's exercising a necessary possibility of evil would be "ruining" anything, as God must have intentionally allowed such an outcome to occur. As such, it must be part of God's design.

nothing about a necessary possibility means that it is part of the design. That's like complaining about a porche because it can crash since crashing is a necessary possibility due to the fact that it moves.


Second, you seem to imply that Adam's situation was somehow equivalent to the "solution" of a "new" earth and "new" bodies earth that God will create when Jesus returns. Yet, evil isn't simply being temporarily removed, it's being eradicated. Unlike Adam and Eve, sin will not be an option.

Didn't I already discuss this with regard to self determinism? free will on moral issues will have played it's role as many creatures will have developed freely characters with integrity. That is combined with other factors though such as the removal of the sin nature and God's constant presence.

God has a plan to eradicate evil, the idea that it could not be eradicated earlier appears to be based on arbitrary goals.

The plan over all isn't arbitrary and there definitely reasons for some aspects that we simply don't know about.

How is it that you can quantify the "kind" of love God wanted, but not the quantity of said love? It seems you've jumped to the conclusion that this isn't possible despite having been given one concrete example in my comment?

The concept of the kind of love we have is well within our experiential grasp. Of course that quality is experienced and yet retains a degree of ineffability such as almost every other human experience (ex: describe the color blue so a man born from birth blind will recognize it if he were cured without the aid of someone pointing to an object and saying "that's blue").

The quantity of evil is not. no one's keeping track of every single bump, insult, murder etc.

Instead, I'm referring to the fact that, despite having realized this kind of love in one individual,

God isn't looking for the love of one individual. He is looking for the obediance of a family, one where the members also love each other.

As such, there must be some other "dimension" to God's goal beyond that which you've presented and accounted for, which I'm calling quantity, for lack of a better word.

scott, I'm sure there is a quality that I haven't accounted for. I don't have a full explanation for this picture and that doesn't worry me any more than it should anyone else as everyone is in the same boat be they muslims, Buddhists or atheists. But the problem of evil is solved none the less because the incoherence it describes just isn't demonstrably there. Well, it's still there on subjective grounds of course since anyone can decide for themselves that the evil just wasn't worth tolerating as much as it was.

To clarify, you seem to think God subscribes to the idea that, "all good things must come to an end.", as eradicating evil would remove the freedom required for the continued development of the kind of love God desires - a love which he desires to the extent that it is "worth" all of suffering we observe.

the good doesn't come to an end. it comes to a completion where freedom on moral grounds (not freedom on other grounds which will persist) will have played it's role. Self determining love will have been established within God's creation.

Robin said...

"You do NOT have any objective evidence for ANY of your extraordinary christian/god claims."

I think there is some evidence. But I don't think that I need any evidence. Belief in God can be produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties in the appopriate circumstances with or without evidence. I'm just functioning the way God designed me to. (Rationally)

Look at this way. The very claim that everything must be believed only on the basis of sufficient evidence cannot meet its own demand. Take beliefs that we aquire through sensory experience and beliefs that are self evident like the laws of logic and mathematics. On the next rainy day make a list of all your experiential beliefs: the sky is blue, the grass is green, most trees are taller than most grasshoppers….Now add to this all of your logical and mathematical beliefs: 2+2=4,, every proposition is either true or false, all the even numbers that I know of are the sum of two prime numbers. From these propositions try to deduce the conclusion that it’s wrong, always and everywhere, for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence. None of the propositions allowed as evidence have anything at all to do with the conclusion. So, the universal demand, that you assume, for evidence cannot satisfy its own standard. Therefore, by its own criterion it must be irrational.

Reasoning must start somewhere. I have been outfitted with cognitive faculties that produce beliefs I can reason from. The kinds of beliefs that I do and must reason to is a small subset of the kinds of beliefs that I do and must accept without the aid of a proof. I think it’s reasonable to believe that God has created me with cognitive faculties that produce belief in Him when they are functioning properly. That is when they are functioning according to a design plan or the way He designed them to in the appropriate circumstances. It seems to me that God has given me an awareness of Himself that is not dependent on theistic arguments. That doesn’t mean there are no arguments. But I don’t think they are demonstrations. I do think they give us some noncoercive evidence but rational people can rationally reject the arguments. Neither do I believe the arguments are necessary for rational belief. That would also go for religious experience. My properly functioning cognitive faculties can produce belief in God in the appropriate circumstances with or without argument, religious experience, or evidence.

"When a child suffers, I, as a father, am obligated to ease their suffering, take care of him, love him, which should be second nature, to any father, who loves his child -- which in turn, if a father neglects his child and let's him wallow in pain and anguish -- suffering in unthinkable ways; this father would be held in contempt -- he would be exposed as an abusive, negligent monster. With this analogy in mind, why does your heavenly father, neglect his earthly children, letting them suffer in repulsive, insanely unthinkable, ways? Why and how do you condone his egregious, morbid, negligence?"

Again your human analogy fails. You try placing God in the same category as us humans. God is transcendent and in a different category. His ways are infinitely higher than our ways. He alone is God. He alone is the Creator. He has rights and prerogatives that I don't. Grace is unmerrited favor. You cannot deserve to be created. God cannot deserve to be created and placed on this earth and have all your needs met by God.

Again, He's the Holy Other. God reserves the right to have mercy on whomever He pleases. This is the Divine prerogative. Like I already said nobody deseves God's grace so He is under no obligation to show it and therefore He does nothing wrong by witholding it and allowing evil and suffering. Injustice cannot even arise on God's part for allowing evil and suffering. Since God is Good then He obviously has a morally justifiable reason for allowing it even if I don't know what that reason is. Possible explanations are infinite in number.

Robin said...

You also need to make a distinction between God's Sovereign or hidden will and His revealed will like the Bible does. I don't know God's hidden will. It's wrapped up in mystery. The secret things belong to the Lord. I just try and follow God's revealed will.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"There are 14 million atheists who all hold a different variation of nonbelief and answeres tha they hold as more or less true. So now we are to negate arguments based on the diversity of opinion?"

Harvey, you do realize we (atheist) don't claim to be in possession of a divinely inspired book that is infallible, inerrant and immutable. There are just 14 million people like me that think you are in possession of a human book that you BELIEVE to be the final authority of faith and practice. Your belief is common with all the other beliefs who maintain that they have divinely inspired, immutable, infallible, inerrant books.

As far as "diversity opinion fallacy" a book, divinely inspired, and superintended by God himself for the instruction, inspiration, reproof and correction of all whom he would throughout history call, that has as much diversity of opinion as the bible has by those who claim adherency, would cause anyone investigating the claims of any other religion to reject its content as unclear.

" Freewill is the unfettered ability to make a choice."
Once again, you are asserting an opinion based on a theological necessity. You would reject any attempt by another religion to "prove" their case using the very same tactic.

My original proposition that free will may not be as free as it appears still stands.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"Those of us with other good reasons for holding to it are still free to rationally hold it as determinism remains an unprovable assumption."

Correct, just like the notion of free will, is an assumption based theological necessity. Let's go back to my original premise Rob, The explanation of the problem of evil based on an assumption of free will that is contrived by theological necessity is not sufficient to explain the evil. Nothing that you have presented has changed that original proposition.

"According to me zorg. You aren't conversing with 38000 sects"

Which is the reason why debating with christians is like trying to lasso smoke. Theological principles change with the denomination and many times different people within the denomination.

"If you can't converse with someone on an issue just because there are so many different opinions, what are you doing here?"

Since you imply that you do not speak for christianity and so our conversation does not represent anymore than your subjective interpretation, I guess the reason I'm here is to find out what your favorite color is?

Light and Shadow said...

Rob,

After reading Sconnors comment, perhaps using a father analogy would clarify my point further.

You seem to think that, when it comes to children, God, as a father, desires a child to express a kind of love with specific quality and depth. This requires libertarian freedom that can result in the kind of evil we observe. Again, while I think there are problems with this kind of account, I'll accept it for the sake of argument.

But, unless not one person has been saved in the entire history of humanity, it would seem that having one child who exhibits this kind of love does not complete God's plan, as evil has yet to be eradicated. So, as a father, there must be some other goal beyond having a family of one child that loves God in the way he desires.

What is this Goal?

For example, If God is like a father, one logical conclusion might be that having more children who love him the way he desires would be better. So, in my earlier comment, we could map "quantity" to the size of God's family, not the kind of love his children exhibited.

But, if God is our heavenly father, he's not subject to all of the limitations that human fathers experience. As such, the size of his family could be infinite.

God doesn't have to worry about running out of rooms for his children. Nor does he have to worry about having enough food to feed them. And, since his exists outside of time, God could have meaningfull relationships with an infinite number of children.

But, if God will eventually eradicate evil, and evil is a necessary possibility in creating the kind of child God desires, this will ultimately result in limiting the size of God's family. So, even for God, apparently there is too much of a good thing, or having a family that is beyond a particular finite size is not part of God's plan.

Furthermore, Christianity claims God's desire to increase the size of his family (from zero) is what motivated God to created the universe, then create human beings. Given his prior actions, should any event occur that would prematurely limit the size of his family, such as a natural disaster or global war which would cause humanity to become extinct, this would not be a problem for God, as he is clearly willing and capable of taking drastic measures to increase the size of his family.

So, the question becomes, if it's not necessary for God to limit the size of his family, and having a larger family is apparently better, and evil is a necessary possible result of creating the kind of children that God wants, as you claim, then why will God eventually eradicate evil?

In other words, you've attempted to account for why the kind of evil we see exists, but you have yet to account for why God will supposedly eradicate it some specific time in the future (instead of eradicating it much earlier, or not eradicating it at all, etc.)

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Andre,

You asked:"If I understand you correctly, your point of view is that because we were given free will, evil is manifested. Is that right?"

I don't believe that properly represents what I've set forth. God created the possibility of evil through giving us freewill. Man madeevil actual through his choices.

So far as Jay-Z, He is a guru and one that readily says that he IS god. A 5% by fame. So he will have a lot of religious overtones in his rap.

That was some goo dlookin' out though.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Walter,

You need a book to answer your confusion and I'm not writing one on this blog or in this post. Stay tuned to my blog, I'll handle all those type of good Sunday school questions that you render. but you-boy Sconnor renders this that I'll addess:

Face it harv -- if god could create heaven without vile suffering and free will he also could have created it right here too.

The truth is that evil and wrong are deviations from life, peace and fruitful existence not the norm. Angles have always had the choice to do evil and are fully cognizant of what it is, but 2/3rds(as most say) choose not to follow it.

So in essence the choice to do good and right are more desired throughout creation than evil. The bible says even the earth groans for it's delivrance from sin and evil.

I've got computer issues, I'll get back when i can.

Rob R said...

Zorg,

The explanation of the problem of evil based on an assumption of free will that is contrived by theological necessity is not sufficient to explain the evil. Nothing that you have presented has changed that original proposition.

It's not assumed zorg. I already gave you two very powerful non-theological reasons why people believe in free will. I could've sworn you yourself admitted that you were aware that there are atheists who hold to free will.

Which is the reason why debating with christians is like trying to lasso smoke. Theological principles change with the denomination and many times different people within the denomination.

Trying to debate anything with any proponent of any view, atheist, islamic, Hindu, etc is the same way. So if the flexibility of and variety within world views intimidates you, you aren't cut out for this.

Since you imply that you do not speak for christianity

I speak for Christianity on the best terms to the best of my understanding of it to the best of my abilities.

I guess the reason I'm here is to find out what your favorite color is?

Well that has to do with the available options and the context in which we find the range of colors.

Rob R said...

Light and Shadow,

please do be more clear on your Rob's.

There's me and a Robin here.

Jonathan said...

Adam / Eve & Freewill

If there were such a couple and this is the best example of freewill, shouldn’t of God accept the outcome either way? If God accepts that we can make decisions like this, then God, has to accept outcomes God may not like, or don’t get upset when they don’t in God’s way. If then God has a set way then there wouldn’t be any Freewill.

Example I can wrap my arms around is this:

A father makes an offer to his kid who is a sophomore in high school. I will pay for your college 100% only if you tell what your plans are. It doesn’t matter the major as long as you can tell me what you are planning to do you will get the money. The parent knows the child he doesn’t leave it to chance to see what will happen. The idea that Adam / Eve had this free will is nonsense the biblical God want them to do one thing not eat, but when they did, it would of meant God didn’t know what they would do.

What would have happened if they didn't eat from the tree?

On Hitler:

There is some great disconnect regarding Hitler as a mass murderer. Historical Hitler never personally killed anyone. He signed the orders. He didn’t order the poison gas, load the guns, buy the bullets, build the death camps, organize the work schedules, and close the doors to the furnaces. He had help by millions of German Christians who had no problem in performing there set tasks. I understand Hitler is someone one can point to, but there was already a prevailing mindset that enabled Hitler to sign those papers.



Good / Evil

The Christian drags the reasonable into the bipolar world of opposites.
If there is a God why is their evil?
Why does God allow evil in the world?

Who is this “evil’”? Maybe we should go to evil’s house and beat him up! No wail, wouldn’t that be bad?

Or the answer is; there is no evil thus there is no God. So there is nothing to explain.

I personally find it hard to discuss Good / Evil unless you provide some examples.

Example the tsunami Aceh Indonesia is evil. On the other hand living on a geologically active planet is good; even with the earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunami because if earth wasn’t active it would be dead. Is this an example of Good / Evil?

Scott said...

Rob,

Light and shadow and I are the same. I was accidentally signed in under a different Google account.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

" I could've sworn you yourself admitted that you were aware that there are atheists who hold to free will."

No need to swear. I did admit there are atheist who hold a free will position. I also said that there are christians who hold a deterministic position. Talk about cognitive bias, are you willing to embrace an atheist as long as he or she confirms your presupposition on an argument?
If you have settled the argument on free will there are a lot of philosophers is this world waiting to shake your hand, because to date there is no definitive argument that has settled this question.
Theological presuppositions notwithstanding.

"So if the flexibility of and variety within world views intimidates you, you aren't cut out for this."

It's not different world views that bother me. It is those who hold a world view who claim to have the corner on truth through the divinely inspired, clearly articulated and revealed word of God, and yet, you find, there are as many variations of this divine truth as there are people who claim to hold it.

"I speak for Christianity on the best terms to the best of my understanding of it to the best of my abilities."

Just like the other two billion of your fellow christians.... see the prior response once again.

"Well that has to do with the available options and the context in which we find the range of colors."

I like certain shades of yellow. It's so cheery.

Rob R said...

Zorg,


No need to swear. I did admit there are atheist who hold a free will position. I also said that there are christians who hold a deterministic position. Talk about cognitive bias, are you willing to embrace an atheist as long as he or she confirms your presupposition on an argument?
If you have settled the argument on free will there are a lot of philosophers is this world waiting to shake your hand, because to date there is no definitive argument that has settled this question.
Theological presuppositions notwithstanding.


I'll deal with the issues of theological determinism if they are brought up and why I disagree that that position is a good one. And that there are philosophers who disagree with me is hardly a valid appeal to authority when we are discussing precisely the sorts of arguments some of them would raise.

It is those who hold a world view who claim to have the corner on truth

I am going to present and promote the view that I believe is most commendably true. And I'm perfectly aware that my understanding is not findished and I have more to learn. There is no other way to go about discussing these things.

through the divinely inspired,

If you are so convinced that there are no reliable divinely inspired texts, then you equally think that you have the corner of truth on the matter.

Just like the other two billion of your fellow christians.... see the prior response once again.

That's right, and hovering in the generalities and avoiding the specifics as to why one position may be commendable over another gets us nowhere.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"If you are so convinced that there are no reliable divinely inspired texts, then you equally think that you have the corner of truth on the matter."

Logically, they cannot all be right; but they CAN all be wrong.

"And that there are philosophers who disagree with me is hardly a valid appeal to authority when we are discussing precisely the sorts of arguments some of them would raise."

But the point is that we are NOT discussing the sorts of arguments some of them would raise. You are trying to forward the proposition that free will is a sufficient condition to explain evil, when, the existence of free will or, the extent to which humans possess free will, has never been conclusively determined. There are believers who maintain that we are free, there are believers who claim determinism, there are atheist who claim free will, there are atheist who claim a deterministic world view. Claiming that evil exist because of free will is a huge assumption based on unsubstantiated beliefs.

"That's right, and hovering in the generalities and avoiding the specifics as to why one position may be commendable over another gets us nowhere."

Has the last two thousand years gotten Christians any closer to a consensus?

Andre said...

Yep, he is the God MC, he's Jay-Hova.

Anyways Harvey, you said: "I won't argue that whole section here but I will state that the bible clearly teaches that when sin entered the world, everything came along with it that we currently consider evil. ie: that's when pointless suffering began. Therefore, what you specify is only a current condition because of the freewill choice of man."

So how is this not saying that evil is manifested because of free will given to man? And what is the point of "pointless suffering"?

Then you quoted Paul in Rom. 5:12-17. Frankly, you christians need to understand that we non-believers do not think that the authors of the bible were inspired by God. They were not the wisest men who ever live nor did they have the ultimate truth or answers to anything, and therefore they do not have any final say in anything. They do not have any authority in telling me I'm a sinner, evil, or that I'm wrong about my philosophical views. If I read something in the bible and it doesn't make sense, it still doesn't make sense even if the bible says it.

I think the problem here is you guys are trying to take away the blame from God for the way he supposedly created us by saying he gave us libertarian free will and that it was Adam & Eve's fault. But if we were given such freedom, then the story of A&E is not necessary, and just plain silly.

You said: "God created the possibility of evil through giving us freewill. Man madeevil actual through his choices." Again, this is just sugarcoating things. God did not create any "possibility of evil", if he created us good then he must have also created us evil.

But let me ask you one last question though: If man never chooses evil, will evil not still exist? So how can it be then that it is because of free will that there is evil and suffering?

sconnor said...

robin

I think there is some evidence. But I don't think that I need any evidence. Belief in God can be produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties in the appropriate circumstances with or without evidence. I'm just functioning the way God designed me to. (Rationally)

What a load of rationalized crap. You do NOT use reason to believe in god and you most certainly do NOT use reason to justify your supposed knowledge of god's will and character.

You believe in an invisible omni-present personal christian god because of FAITH. Faith meaning -- believing in something that doesn't have objective evidence or is contrary to the supposed evidences (although you say you have evidence -- you simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences and offer up a plethora of subjective evidences, and rationalized conjecture)

This is nothing but a brain malfunction, where you abandon ALL critical thinking skills and the voice of reason, where you willingly, choose to ignore and bury logic, steeping yourself in ignorance -- while claiming you are using your cognitive faculties -- so you can believe, in a whole host of absurd unbelievable propositions.

Your whole god-concept is built upon assumptions, speculation conjecture, coupled with your idiosyncratic interpretation of scripture, which you can NOT prove with objective evidence. All you have is a definition of a god fabricated by primitive superstitious sand dwellers who used god's supposed -- voice as their own -- to give them a bogus senses of authority and a false sense of credibility, which you use to proclaim god's will and character.

Look at this way. The very claim that everything must be believed only on the basis of sufficient evidence cannot meet its own demand. Take beliefs that we aquire through sensory experience and beliefs that are self evident...Reasoning must start somewhere. I have been outfitted with cognitive faculties that produce beliefs I can reason from. The kinds of beliefs that I do and must reason to is a small subset of the kinds of beliefs that I do and must accept without the aid of a proof. I think it’s reasonable to believe that God has created me with cognitive faculties that produce belief in Him when they are functioning properly...My properly functioning cognitive faculties can produce belief in God in the appropriate circumstances with or without argument, religious experience, or evidence.

And then robin offers us this loquacious argument above, that boils down to: Other propositions don't necessarily have evidence either and I'm using my properly functioning cognitive faculties to believe in whatever I want to believe -- therefore my triune personal god exists. More rationalized claptrap.

This argument also can be used to prove the existence of invisible gremlins.

Or better yet, this asinine argument also proves that ALL the claims muslims make about the will and character of Allah are tenable and he actually bequeathed us his final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind in the form of the qur'an.

You are asking us to believe in your preposterous claims, supported on flimsy subjective "proofs", spurious scripture, bloated rationalizations, personal testimony and the rantings of a lunatic, who can not substantiate an iota of what you she's saying with objective evidence. You would have us take your word for it, that your interpretation of scripture is the one and only truth -- Why are your claims credible; why should we believe in a deluded fallible christian that makes extraordinary, interpretive claims, she can't substantiate?

sconnor said...

~continued~

Again your human analogy fails. You try placing God in the same category as us humans. God is transcendent and in a different category. His ways are infinitely higher than our ways. He alone is God. He alone is the Creator. He has rights and prerogatives that I don't. Grace is unmerrited favor. You cannot deserve to be created. God cannot deserve to be created and placed on this earth and have all your needs met by God...Again, He's the Holy Other. God reserves the right to have mercy on whomever He pleases. This is the Divine prerogative. Like I already said nobody deseves God's grace so He is under no obligation to show it and therefore He does nothing wrong by witholding it and allowing evil and suffering. Injustice cannot even arise on God's part for allowing evil and suffering. Since God is Good then He obviously has a morally justifiable reason for allowing it even if I don't know what that reason is. Possible explanations are infinite in number.

I can tell you have a difficult time digesting information. Again, you have NO credible information about god's will and character. You offer us this unreliable portrait of god based on conjecture and bloated rationalizations.

You do NOT know the will and character of god. As of now you are just a lunatic vomiting up your speculative god-concept without providing an iota of objective evidence to substantiate your position.

You also need to make a distinction between God's Sovereign or hidden will and His revealed will like the Bible does. I don't know God's hidden will. It's wrapped up in mystery. The secret things belong to the Lord. I just try and follow God's revealed will.

More speculative assertions about god's will and character that has NO reference in reality and is only the product of your stunted imagination.

You do NOT know god's revealed will either. You have just constructed a massive delusion where you based your outrageous claims on your particular interpretation of dubious scripture and based it on the presupposition that the bible is the word of god -- without ever substantiating any of it with objective evidence.

Again, you do not possess any special knowledge of god or his morals.

You have NO credibility -- you do NOT know god's will or character; outside of bloated rationalized (irrational) reasoning and insane conjecture that you pass off as truth.

"What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof." -- Christopher Hitchens

I said, But using your asinine, default logic, we can't hold a god -- your holy father, in the sky, who, every second, of every day, neglects his earthly children -- to the same moral standards; the only standard we possess to make that determination and a standard supposedly, created and instilled, into our souls, by god? Why is that?

You brush off my argument above by offering us this unsubstantiated portrait of god which is based on nothing more than conjecture and rationalizations -- which in actuality renders your argument impotent.

I humbly submit that if a god exists I do NOT know his character or will and NEITHER do you.

If god exists, our understanding or definition of god would be wholly inferior. A god (an ultimate reality) shouldn't have all the faults of humanity; IT should be far above us at least in equaling the magnitude of the universe. IF there is a god -- IT would have to transcend all thought; IT would have to be something that we can't even begin to imagine, let alone giving IT inept human attributes. Which is why I reiterate -- I humbly submit, If god exists, I do NOT know god; god is unknowable and christians sure as shit don't know god either!

--S.

sconnor said...

Angles have always had the choice to do evil and are fully cognizant of what it is, but 2/3rds(as most say) choose not to follow it.

Bawhahahahahaha, Harv knows the wills and characters of angels now, too. That's craaaaaazy.

What other supernatural entities do you have special information on?

Are leprechauns greedy little bastards who do NOT want to share in their pot-O'-gold?

Do 2/3rds of werewolves have a disdain for what the become when the moon is full, while the other third are perfectly content with their transformation?

--S.

Rob R said...

Logically, they cannot all be right; but they CAN all be wrong.

what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

But the point is that we are NOT discussing the sorts of arguments some of them would raise.

we most certainly are. I mentioned the issue of morality. This a classic philosophical angle on the discussion of free will still discussed by philosophers such as Peter Van Inwagen. I mentioned our subjective experience of free will. This is precisely a philosophical argument.

when, the existence of free will or, the extent to which humans possess free will, has never been conclusively determined.

This is the nature of EVERYTHING that is controversial. That's why they are controversial and hence debated.

Claiming that evil exist because of free will is a huge assumption based on unsubstantiated beliefs.

I substantiated for your two ways besides the fact that it helps with the problem of evil. YEs the very fact that it helps with the problem of evil commends it as well, certainly not to atheists, but it isn't as if the world revolved around that view.

Has the last two thousand years gotten Christians any closer to a consensus?

Besides the widespread agreements that have existed amongst orthodox Christians from catholics to protestants for hundreds of thousands of years? But don't think this is a non-falacious consideration if it is used to brush off a Christian view. The presence of controversy says nothing to the effect of the absence of truth.

Robin said...

"What a load of rationalized crap. You do NOT use reason to believe in god and you most certainly do NOT use reason to justify your supposed knowledge of god's will and character.

You believe in an invisible omni-present personal christian god because of FAITH. Faith meaning -- believing in something that doesn't have objective evidence or is contrary to the supposed evidences (although you say you have evidence -- you simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences and offer up a plethora of subjective evidences, and rationalized conjecture)"


Nope. Like I said. My belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. That is, cognitive faculties that are functioning the way God designed them to. (Rationally)

Faith is defined as a confident trust in God with or without evidence.


"You do NOT know the will and character of god. As of now you are just a lunatic vomiting up your speculative god-concept without providing an iota of objective evidence to substantiate your position."

Like I said, I don't know the hidden or sovereign will of God but I do know His revealed will for my life and it is this:

Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.

And I don't need evidence as I already pointed out my belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties in the appropriate circumstances.

Again, God is in a completely different category than humans. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. He's the Holy Other. Your analogy fails. As God He reserves the right to have mercy on whomever He pleases. Grace (unmerited favor) is undeserved and therefore God is never obligated to give it to anything or anybody. (wether it's common grace or saving grace.) Therefore, God does nothing wrong by witholding grace and allowing evil and suffering.

Gandolf said...

Howdy again feeno! you said...

"W'sup Gandy Man?

I actually said that with my tounge in my cheek. But yes, Adam and Eve got tired of it. They had any and everything they ever needed and that wasn't enough."

Yeah well i guess God with all his wisdom in creating was kinda thoughtful at thinking for allowing for everything we need.

Like not forgetting to be sure to allow for some nasty snake to lead people astray so that all humans can then be punished and forever and be made to feel bad etc for their supposed failings hmmm?.

You still (honestly) feel it was just (only) a matter of Adam and Eve getting tired of things?.

Hi Robin! you said...

"You also need to make a distinction between God's Sovereign or hidden will and His revealed will like the Bible does. I don't know God's hidden will. It's wrapped up in mystery. The secret things belong to the Lord. I just try and follow God's revealed will."

So what you are debating for here is that supposedly these God/s can be thought to be both the knowable or unknowable,depending on if it happens to suit the cause.

So tell me how should one be able to rightly discern that of what is supposed to be thought the knowable over against that what should be thought the unknowable?.

Is reading books etc with words written about what (others say) they think really enough to have so much faith in?.

You say :"I don't know God's hidden will. It's wrapped up in mystery. The secret things belong to the Lord. I just try and follow God's revealed will."

Revealed by whom should that be then? and by what right or suggested specialist skill?

Seems to me some faithful folk like to suggest matters of what supposedly the great unknowable when ever seems to suit,while still wishing to reserve the right to suggest that also when ever it suits it can be said that things can also be known.

It seems to me its almost a lot like taking a ticket in a lottery both ways,so that then one can never ever be told they didnt win.

Kinda cool for faithful folks to be able to suggest being that god/s are all knowing and all powerful etc sometimes we should not expect to really understand things they do etc.But on the other hand if it happens to be what faith book writers have happened to think,then in this case its quite ok ?.

Where and how and with what etc does one decide just where the line should be drawn?

Scott said...

I'd note that, unlike theists, who throw up their hands and says, "it's a mystery", non-theists do not have difficulty explaining both the perceived necessary possibility of evil and the clam that God's will supposedly eventual eradication said evil at some point in the future: Theists want God to exist now, so he can give them purpose and account for mysteries in the present, and they want God save them from evil the future.

While God's supposed role and form has changed from his polytheistic hunter-gather origins, he still remains the default answer to many mysteries we current face. If he, as one God, is going to fulfilling these roles, he must possess great power, knowledge and have created the universe with a specific plan.

However, when he evolved from one of many morally indifferent gods, who grew angry when people melted bee's wax or while watching dogs mate, to a single God, who was the very foundation of morality itself, this presented several problems.

First, we found ourselves in a universe where both "evil" and a God who is in supposedly both in control and completely good existed in parallel. Either we had to come up with a reason for a good God to allow evil or God really wasn't in control. (The God we had envisioned did not exist)

Second, God could no longer create evil, as this too would conflict with his newfound moral nature. Therefore, you must insulate God by claiming he only "allows" for the possibility of evil.

However, while theists claim this "solves" the problem of how both a good God and the evil we observe could exist simultaneously in the present, they still want to free of evil. In fact, this is one of the major benefits of allowing God to exist in parallel with the evil, as it is only if God has always been in complete control, including here in the present, that he can eradicate evil in the future.

So, based on this desire, theists decide that, at some nebulous point on the future, God will eradicate evil. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

But why will God do this if evil is a necessary possibility? As long as theists are going to be free of evil, it's a "mystery" they seem to have no interest in solving, as an "answer" would bring into doubt the reason why evil was necessary possibility in the first place. Which threatens the existence of a good God who is in control, which threatens being saved from evil, etc.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg said...

"what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?"

Res Ipsa Loquitur.

"That's why they are controversial and hence debated."

Why would you use a controversial answer and expect anyone to take you seriously.

"Besides the widespread agreements that have existed amongst orthodox Christians from catholics to protestants for hundreds of thousands of years?"

Are you on medication? The protestant church began Oct.31, 1517. For much of that history protestants believed that catholics were going to hell and catholics believed that protestants were going to hell.... so much for widespread agreement.
Hundreds of thousands of years?

"I substantiated for your two ways besides the fact that it helps with the problem of evil."

I've read this a couple of times and have no idea what you are saying. Please translate.

Rob R said...

zorg,

just want to highlight that I caught my own mistake here when I spoke of consensuses that existed amongst Christians for hundreds of thousands of years.

I ment hundreds to thousands of years.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Andre,

You said:"So how is this not saying that evil is manifested because of free will given to man? And what is the point of "pointless suffering"?",

Because the possibility of evil is not evil in itself.

You said:"Frankly, you christians need to understand that we non-believers do not think that the authors of the bible were inspired by God. They were not the wisest men who ever live nor did they have the ultimate truth or answers to anything, and therefore they do not have any final say in anything."

This has nothing to do with inspiration as there is no pleading to it to make any part of this argument. the scripture aptly and appropriately serves as a basis for Christian understanding. So i relly don't care what you feel is inspired or not-(I mean that nicely)It doesn't matter.

For all the atheists:

In addition to all that's been argued here let me just say this...the atheist proposition of rationalizing the problem of evil is about the MOST STUPID rationalization on earth.

Why? Because for an atheist EVERYTHING including suffering means NOTHING...absolutely NOTHING.

The Christian has a MUCH SUPERIOR position of understanding these sort of issues and the solutions are contained within the knowledge of God.

Answer me...What does an atheist have? Live, suffer, die and ROT in the grave...If I were an atheist, and atheism were true I'd probably kill myself...because there is no hope or purpose outside of a genome, which is predetermined no matter what...

That's STUPIDITY....None of you guys are stupid (at least some) but your worldview is without doubt completely devoid of hope, joy or peace.

Now tell me, since Christians already are aware that freewill made evil possible and that man's choice actualized evil, how does any atheist reconcil evil in the least? What is the purpose of evil for an atheist? How is an atheist benefitted by any suffering at all?

Facts are there can be NO PURPOSE to any suffering in the atheist world view if there is no God. Since we all recognize suffering that we claim to be needless at times, if there is no God what the heck does that mean?

i dare you to reconcile it. Have the nerve to stand and answer from YOUR warped worldview for a change. i will certainly write about this because i want to find out how an atheist reconciles what they see without blaming something that they don't believe exists anyway.

Scott said...

Rob wrote: nothing about a necessary possibility means that it is part of the design. That's like complaining about a porche because it can crash since crashing is a necessary possibility due to the fact that it moves.

The problem with this analogy is that we're not currently capable of designing a car that can detect the wide range of scenarios when the drivers actions would result in a crash with reasonable accuracy and take steps to safely avoid impact.

As finite beings, it's a complex problem for us to solve. However, you can be sure that people are currently working on just this very problem and solutions are being deployed as the technology becomes available and cost effective. For example, even today, cars are designed with computer vision systems that can detect when a car has drifted from a lane and automatically steer the vehicle back in. Radar-based distance systems can keep minimum safe distances when cruise control is active and even apply the break should it detect an impact with the vehicle directly in front of you is about to occur.

Furthermore, it doesn't take an omniscient being to realize that, in designing a vehicle with the ability to travel at high speeds in a particular direction, some directions and speeds will result in a collision with other objects. As such, when a car collides with another object, crumple zones and other structural features help distribute the force of the impact away from occupants. Sensors detect the speed and direction of the collision and dedicated onboard computers deploy safety measures, such as airbags, accordingly.

This doesn't happen by accident. Cars are designed to crash and, in fact, must be designed to perform within specific safety levels during a wide variety of impact types.

So, while a car might not be drivable after a collision, it will have performed as it was designed to do (within the limits of our ability and cost): absorb the impact, often resulting in more damage to the vehicle itself, to reduce the number and level of injuries the occupants may experience.

Of course, instead of trying to predict and avoid an almost infinite number of possible collisions, we could focus on the primary phenomenon that makes impacts destructive: inertia. Should we gain a better understanding of gravity and learn to counteract it's effects, we could render impacts harmless to both the vehicle and occupants. So, even if I "freely" desired to collide into someone's car at high speed, little or no damage or injury would actually occur.

Should we actually manage to create such a system, which would prevent hundreds of thousand of vehicle related injuries and deaths each year, would we have caused God's children to exhibit less depth of love that God desires? By rending collisions immutable, would we have somehow reduced our ability to take "free" actions?

Scott said...

Robin wrote: Faith is defined as a confident trust in God with or without evidence.

Robin,

It seems that, when it comes to God, you follow the idea that one is "innocent until proven guilty." This is an good place to start as it's an effective way to help avoid bias, etc.

However, this breaks down when you claim that any possible actions that God supposedly takes couldn't possibly indicate any wrong doing because of your initial assumption that God was initially innocent.

Clearly, you've constructed a self-affirming belief system out of circular logic.

Robin said...

Scott,

Because my belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way my God designed them to) then I am justified in believing. The burden of proof is on the atheist. Classical foundationalism and evidentialism as epistemologies have collapsed. There's no circularity involved.

Grace (common or saving) is unmerited favor. Nothing or nobody deserves God's grace so God is never obligated to give grace to His creation. This is the divine prerogative. Since God isn't obligated to show grace then he does nothing wrong by witholding grace and allowing evil and suffering. Since God does nothing wrong then He remains good. Since God is Good then He obviously has a moraly justifiable reason for allowing it even if I don't know what that reason is. Possible explanations are infinite. God's ways are infinitely higher than our ways. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. He's the "Holy Other."

sconnor said...

harv

The Christian has a MUCH SUPERIOR position of understanding these sort of issues and the solutions are contained within the knowledge of God.

Answer me...What does an atheist have? Live, suffer, die and ROT in the grave...If I were an atheist, and atheism were true I'd probably kill myself...because there is no hope or purpose outside of a genome, which is predetermined no matter what...



That's easy for me -- I'm only atheistic to your christian dogma and doctrines.

I believe there could be some sort of ultimate reality (an unknowable mystery) and I also believe that there is some sort of afterlife. I just do NOT believe in your personal christian god nor your christians doctrines that are based on someones interpretation of spurious scripture.

I base my belief from the extensive research I've done on NDEs. There is just enough there to keep it interesting. I like to say I have a thread to something concrete but I wouldn't want to be under that concrete, being held by a thread. But I humbly submit I do not delusionally profess it as truth -- my belief in an afterlife is little more than wishful thinking, considering my situation of losing my ten year old son to leukemia.

Anyway, most the NDErs after their experience usually denounce the dogma and doctrine of religion. God or the ultimate reality is all loving, doesn't regard one religion better than another and everyone can experience heaven. This is what the experiencers have shared. In any case in NDEs -- god (the ultimate reality) is not the christian god.

--S.

Jonathan said...

“Now tell me, since Christians already are aware that freewill made evil possible and that man's choice actualized evil, how does any atheist reconcil evil in the least? What is the purpose of evil for an atheist? How is an atheist benefitted by any suffering at all?”

Freewill and God you’re joking aren’t you? The very first act when God interacts with humanity freewill is gone. The very presence of God making the rules, or God likes one group of people over another, free will is simply non-existent. If we had true free will there would be no need for God.

“How does any atheist reconcile evil in the least?”

A so-called atheist doesn’t have too. A so-called atheist doesn’t believe in God, thus good / evil get tossed as well. There is no such as good or evil. It is a crude tool to explain events that for the biblical authors had no better way to understand.

“Answer me...What does an atheist have? Live, suffer, die and ROT in the grave...”

Your life is what you make of it. Suffering be damned.

“Facts are there can be NO PURPOSE to any suffering in the atheist world view if there is no God.”

Christians never caused anyone to suffer? Slavery in the Colonies and in the United States, the conquest of South / Central America by the Christians, lets talk about the burning of heretics and the religious wars during the reformation. Did this have any purpose? Nope.


Arguments like this “the problem with evil” is good for Christians. It distracts from the real question of Adam / Eve, Noah’s flood and many other events in the bible that are not historical. It also distracts the various viewpoints of Christians themselves. If Christianity operated under signal authority we wouldn’t have this debate, then again, we probable wouldn’t have the internet either.

sconnor said...

robin

I said, "What a load of rationalized crap. You do NOT use reason to believe in god and you most certainly do NOT use reason to justify your supposed knowledge of god's will and character.

You believe in an invisible omni-present personal christian god because of FAITH. Faith meaning -- believing in something that doesn't have objective evidence or is contrary to the supposed evidences (although you say you have evidence -- you simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences and offer up a plethora of subjective evidences, and rationalized conjecture)"

Nope. Like I said. My belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. That is, cognitive faculties that are functioning the way God designed them to. (Rationally)

You see the way this works is You offer up a lame argument like the one above then I counter that argument with another argument.

I said Muslims can use the same rationalized B.S. -- they can say, they believe in Allah and they know his will and character because their belief in him is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. That is, cognitive faculties that are functioning the way God designed them to. (Rationally) -- therefor the MIGHTY ALLAH EXISTS.

Can you see how your argument is fallacious? Can you see how this argument is NOTHING but a rationalization that can be used to believe in a whole host of absurd ideas?

Now at this point you need to refute my argument specifically without just repeating the same impotent argument. Evidently you can do that. Hmmmmmmm, I wonder why?

Faith is defined as a confident trust in God with or without evidence.

Mere semantic jambalaya. There are two separate definitions which you insanely commingle to support your warped world-view.

Trust and faith are mutually exclusive.

As far as TRUST is concerned this is different than FAITH. Trust is built up from reliable objective information presented over time that can be easily verified. Trust is confidence based on reliance.

You psychotically try to blend the two definitions by pretending you have confidence in a god -- cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.

The defintion of FAITH: (believing in something that has no evidence) which is wholly unreliable.

You already admitted you do NOT need evidence, therefore you belief in god is based only in faith (believing in something that has no evidence)

If there was objective evidence for your god you wouldn't need faith.

sconnor said...

~continued~

I said, "You do NOT know the will and character of god. As of now you are just a lunatic vomiting up your speculative god-concept without providing an iota of objective evidence to substantiate your position."

Like I said, I don't know the hidden or sovereign will of God but I do know His revealed will for my life and it is this:

Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.

And I don't need evidence as I already pointed out my belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties in the appropriate circumstances.


Which I pointed out to you: this impotent argument can be used to believe in the ALL mighty Allah and a whole host of ridiculous beliefs, which you can NOT argue against -- this speaks volumes.

Again, God is in a completely different category than humans. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. He's the Holy Other. Your analogy fails. As God He reserves the right to have mercy on whomever He pleases. Grace (unmerited favor) is undeserved and therefore God is never obligated to give it to anything or anybody. (wether it's common grace or saving grace.) Therefore, God does nothing wrong by witholding grace and allowing evil and suffering.

Again MORE lunatic babble. You can NOT address the specifics of my arguments so you must keep repeating the same thing over and over again (an eternal crazy-loop) so as to protect your feeble beliefs.

Just because you keep insanely repeating, your beliefs are produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties does NOT mean that they are actually anything more then morbid conjecture and massive delusional rationalizations.

--S.

sconnor said...

robin

Because my belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way my God designed them to) then I am justified in believing. The burden of proof is on the atheist. Classical foundationalism and evidentialism as epistemologies have collapsed. There's no circularity involved.

Grace (common or saving) is unmerited favor. Nothing or nobody deserves God's grace so God is never obligated to give grace to His creation. This is the divine prerogative. Since God isn't obligated to show grace then he does nothing wrong by witholding grace and allowing evil and suffering. Since God does nothing wrong then He remains good. Since God is Good then He obviously has a moraly justifiable reason for allowing it even if I don't know what that reason is. Possible explanations are infinite. God's ways are infinitely higher than our ways. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. He's the "Holy Other."


Incessantly and insanely vomiting up the same impotent argument over and over again (copying and pasting) and NOT addressing our arguments specifically will get you on the fast tract of being banned around here.

--S.

Scott said...

Robin wrote: Because my belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way my God designed them to) then I am justified in believing.

Which is an assertion you've yet to substantiate.

Do you not assume that other people's cognitive faculties are not functioning incorrectly when it comes to their belief in the Hindu God or that Allah is the one true God?

How do you know your faculties are functioning correctly, but theirs is not? They could make the very same claim for the very same reason. How have you determined who's right ? Again, this appears circular in nature.

The burden of proof is on the atheist.

Should I claim there's a tea cup in orbit around the earth this very moment, it would be your responsibility prove that otherwise?

Grace (common or saving) is unmerited favor. Nothing or nobody deserves God's grace so God is never obligated to give grace to His creation.

So, If God, by his very nature, is obligated to do that which is morally right, then what does your claim about God's lack of obligation say about the moral status of giving grace?

Clearly, giving grace must fall outside the realm of morally good, otherwise God would be obligated to give it. So, the question becomes, why would God give anyone grace if doing so is not the morally correct thing to do? Because he's bored and has nothing better to do? Because he's decided Fridays and Tuesdays are "grace days?" Because we say pretty please with sugar on it?

Since God is Good then He obviously has a morally justifiable reason for allowing it even if I don't know what that reason is.

Which is the kind of circular logic I just pointed out. You assume God is good until proven otherwise, but then reject any possible action he supposedly did or did not take as indication of wrong doing on the grounds that you initially assumed he was good.

Or perhaps you think God can do whatever he wants simply because he has no one higher up to report to? God is CEO of the universe, therefore he can do whatever he pleases? This is essentially a version of might makes right.

John W. Loftus said...

Folks, I must admit Robin's answer in the last comment of hers(?) is not an ignorant one even if I think it's wrong for some of the reasons you've just stated.

I may just take it on soon enough in a post by itself. It's Alvin Plantinga's answer and he's no intellectual slouch.

sconnor said...

John

Folks, I must admit Robin's answer in the last comment of hers(?) is not an ignorant one...

Which part?

...even if I think it's wrong for some of the reasons you've just stated.

Ignorant? Maybe not.

Tenable? -- hardly.

I may just take it on soon enough in a post by itself.

Skewer away. Look forward to it.

--S.

sconnor said...

Something else came to mind; Can't we use this same argument -- we believe in what we believe because we are using our properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way robin's God supposedly designed them to) which I am justified in believing. (Rationally)

The whole argument is rendered moot -- completely obsolete.

--S.

Robin said...

"Do you not assume that other people's cognitive faculties are not functioning incorrectly when it comes to their belief in the Hindu God or that Allah is the one true God?

How do you know your faculties are functioning correctly, but theirs is not? They could make the very same claim for the very same reason. How have you determined who's right ? Again, this appears circular in nature."

Scott,


I think that what I'm saying would apply to other forms as theism as well. The topic of this post was the problem of evil though.

Anyway, In the situations with muslims and other theistic belief systems I turn to the historical evidence for the resurrection. I don't think that the evidence proves Jesus rose from the grave but I do think that some forms of Christianity have more going for them than these other belief systems because of the evidence.


I've already explained what I believe about your other points so I'm not going to keep repeating myself.

Robin said...

"Something else came to mind; Can't we use this same argument -- we believe in what we believe because we are using our properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way robin's God supposedly designed them to) which I am justified in believing. (Rationally)"

I never claimed that the atheist was irrational.

Robin said...

I'm just saying that for me belief in God is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. I don't think this makes you irrational. It seems to me that God has given me an awareness of Himself that is not dependent on theistic arguments. That doesn’t mean there are no arguments. But I don’t think they are demonstrations. I do think they give us some noncoercive evidence but rational people can rationally reject the arguments. Neither do I believe the arguments are necessary for rational belief. That would also go for religious experience. My properly functioning cognitive faculties can produce belief in God in the appropriate circumstances with or without argument, religious experience, or evidence.

Rob R said...

Scott, the thing about perfection is that it is subjective value. So you think that a car that requires greater driver responsibility for safety is less perfect than a car where computers and sensors take care of this, I disagree. While one has it's advantages, the other is still perfect for what it is. I don't see the presence of risk as a value decreasing quality. Some qualities are actually worth the risk. If you think nothing is worth risk, then the bottom line is that you just don't value certain things as much.

Of course (and perhaps you said this) no analogy represents a perfect one to one correspondece (if they did, you wouldn't have an analogy but a redundancy) the risk that we have with freedom enables features that we wouldn't otherwise have that are of great value. I've already said this and again, there's nothing you've said that conclusively detracts from this and I'm sure I can't convince you of otherwise because on another account that has already been repeated, this valuing of things is ultimately subjective.

John W. Loftus said...

Robin, what skeptical and/or liberal books have you read? Have you read my book? Have you read any of the ones in the Debunking Christianity Challenge? Have you read any of the ones linked to in the sidebar from evangelicals? Have you considered what one Mormon wrote?

I'm curious because only someone who has not done so could make the case you make here so blithely without a clear understanding of the issues. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Plantinga himself admits that the results of biblical criticism could show him wrong. The problem is that he does not show an awareness of knowing anything much about biblical criticism. He's a philosopher defending as best as he can what he was raised to believe based upon conservative biblical scholarship. Well, the conservatives have finally caught up in some ways to critical scholarship.

Critical scholarship is what we should all try to attain. Critical scholars “are prepared to interpret the text against their own preferences and traditions, in the interest of intellectual honesty.”

Do you disagree with this? Are you prepared to look into these issues in a greater detail with that attitude? This is what my Outsider Test for Faith calls you to do.

Save this comment for future reference. Let it provoke you to do your own investigation of the issues. Read all of the links. Tell me about the books you've read and then proceed to read those books I recommend. Start with Kenton Sparks evangelical book, then read Peter Enns book.

Investigate, don't simply regurgitate these pat answers.

Cheers.

Robin said...

Hey John,

Yea I've read your book and I liked it alot. I think the strongest point is the problem of evil and suffering. I also think that I have answered the problem to my satisfaction.

Plantinga has also admitted that he has made some mistakes on the historical case for the resurrection. In Philosophia Christi, Timothy McGrew and Lydia Mcgrew wrote some criticle analyses of Plantinga's arguments that have rebutted him. Plantinga has backed off some of his earlier ant-evidentialism and acknowledged that some historical arguments for tenents of the Christian faith are quite impressive, Habermas's among them. McGrew has demonstrated that Swinburne's historical argument for Christian theism can evade the dwindling probabilities objection.

While I don't think the facts prove the Bible to be 100% certain,
I do think the facts place the Bible in a better position than these other holy books.

Thanks for the links I will check them out.

Andre said...

Harvey,

You can write about this all you want if you're trying to give false hope and comfort to people, because all you're doing is appealing to peoples emotion.

You are the one who believes in eternal hell fire, punishment or whatever. This tells me that you believe people who have lived a life filled with pain and suffering will also live an everlasting lifetime, after death, again in suffering. Where is your joy, hope, purpose, and peace for these people?

You said, "since Christians already are aware that freewill made evil possible and that man's choice actualized evil,".....

Well, since we non-believers already are aware that your God didn't tell anyone anything, your claim is only based on assumptions, speculations, and unverifiable made up theology.

You said: "Because the possibility of evil is not evil in itself."

This is no different than saying God gave Adam & Eve the choice to eat from the tree of knowledge, so it is their/our fault why there is the possibility for coincidence. If they did not eat the fruit I suppose there wouldn't be coincidences right? Furthermore, now you are saying God gave us the possibility of evil and that he also gave us free will. Which is it? Which came first? Did he create free will? Did he create the possibility of evil just so that a purpose or meaning to life would exist? Did he create evil and suffering just so we would ask him for help and need saving? Does God really have a plan, or did he create a game that we must all play?

That's a lot of questions for you to answers so I'll stop here. If you feel I haven't responded to everything you wanted, I will not do so until you start answering the questions I feel you are not responding to. Also Sconnor and Jonathan already dealt with whatever you may feel I left out.

I'll ask again: If man chooses not to do evil, does evil not still exist?

sconnor said...

robin

I said, "Something else came to mind; Can't we use this same argument -- we believe in what we believe because we are using our properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way robin's God supposedly designed them to) which I am justified in believing. (Rationally)"

I never claimed that the atheist was irrational.

Strawman. I didn't say you were saying atheist were irrational

My argument doesn't contend that you were implying we were irrational. My argument contends that your argument is fallacious because ANYONE can use your argument as a rationalization to believe in a whole host of beliefs -- which renders your rationalized argument obsolete. Do...you...under...stand?

Can you argue to the specifics of my argument?

It seems to me that God has given me an awareness of Himself that is not dependent on theistic arguments.

Bawhahahahahahahahaha, ha, ha, ha, ha......

Mighty outrageous claim you have there -- care to offer us some objective evidence for this claim? Oh, I forgot, you don't/won't give us objective evidence for your claims.

How is that any different than david koresh making the outlandish claim, god has given him an awareness of Himself?

How is that different than a Muslim who make the outlandish claim Allah has given them an awareness of Himself?

How do you know god has given an awareness of himself to you as opposed to you deluding yourself by erroneously attributing emotion, coupled with conjecture and rationalizations to an imaginary deity?

Wow -- how special you are. God picked little ole' you to reveal himself to you -- only god revealing himself to you looks exactly like a person wallowing in massive delusion where they have constructed an imaginary friend. You are certifiable.

Anyway, In the situations with muslims and other theistic belief systems I turn to the historical evidence for the resurrection.

More delusions.

There is NO, zip, NADA, historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

Point is you can NOT offer objective evidence that Jesus was dead and buried for three days; rose from the grave, good as new; the resurrected son of god; savior of mankind, as opposed to stories -- a piece of fiction -- written over decades that relied on oral stories that were embellished and told over and over again about a character named Jesus that could have been based on a fallible human prophet or an amalgamation of several prophets or people and several manufactured stories, myths and legends.

Again ALL you have is a massive delusion steeped in rationalizations, supported fully with the brain malfunction called FAITH, where you abandoned reason (while you insanely maintain your cognitive faculties are intact) so you can believe in the unbelievable.

I presume you believe an angel came to Mary to tell her she was going to be part of the fulfilled prophesy -- correct?

Why do you believe this? Is it because of your properly functioning cognitive faculties (faculties that are functioning the way your God designed them to)?

I presume you don't believe that the arch angel Gabriel came to Muhammad to reveal Allah's final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind?

Why do you believe an angel came to Mary but did NOT come to Muhammad?

Isn't it true that you are ONLY relying on FAITH (believing in something without evidence, all the while you revel in unsubstantial supposed evidences and rationalized conjecture) and you just believe in this nonsense because you WANT to believe in it?

--S.

sconnor said...

robin

~also~

I turn to the historical evidence for the resurrection.

History by its very definition would NOT claim magic, resurrections, talking snakes, scapegoats that magically erases sin, Jewish zombies flying off into the sky etc. were credible.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

Why? Because for an atheist EVERYTHING including suffering means NOTHING...absolutely NOTHING.

The Christian has a MUCH SUPERIOR position of understanding these sort of issues and the solutions are contained within the knowledge of God.


You know I take issue with this. There is F-ing NOTHING that explains why my ten year old got leukemia -- egregiously suffering for months as his own blood poisoned him -- only to die from a massive heart attack.

Just recently another child in my little town also suffered for over a year with leukemia, only to die -- another absolute nightmare.

One of my wife's friends -- a would be grandma -- found out that her grandchild died because the umbilical cord wrapped around the infant's neck.

In this world children will be born with hideous birth defects, who will never laugh or cry, while wallowing in their own waste, suffering for years in a hospital or institution before they die.

To illustrate my point read the profound words of Dostoevsky, who wrote, The Brothers Karamazov: Where Ivan retells a story about a little girl who gets punished for wetting her bed. She is beaten and flogged badly then she is locked in the outhouse in the freezing cold. Her face was smeared with shit and she was made to eat it.

This is a factual story, based on an actual court case.

Ivan points out, that people say, evil is necessary so that humanity can recognize what is good and recounting the story of this little girl he asks, "Can you understand such nonsense, my friend and my brother, my godly and humble novice, can you understand why this nonsense is needed and created? Without it they say, man could not even have lived on earth, for he would not have known good and evil. Who wants to know this DAMNED GOOD AND EVIL AT SUCH A PRICE?" (Emphasis added)

He also delivers another repulsive story of torture about Turkish soldiers cutting out infants from the mothers wombs; they would throw the newly hatched babes into the air catching them on their bayonets. " The main delight comes from doing it before their mothers eyes"

These examples aren't even the most vile unthinkable ways people can suffer. With so many people throughout history, who have suffered in so many abhorrent, revolting ways (ways we can't even imagine), how does one begin to codify or tabulate such unspeakable, agonizing, anguish?

What can possibly account for this?

NOTHING I mean NOTHING explains this shitty miserable cesspool of a world and the unimaginable suffering in it -- not even harv's MUCH SUPERIOR christian understanding, which only boils down to trite pat answers, cruddy platitudes and rationalized conjecture with NO reference in reality.

(as an aside, check out Bart D, Ehrman's excellent book on the subject: God's Problem How The Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question -- Why We Suffer).

--S.

John W. Loftus said...

Robin, you seem to be knowledgable about some things and I commend you for reading and understanding both sides.

But you're wrong! ;-)

Cheers.

Robin said...

"History by its very definition would NOT claim magic, resurrections, talking snakes, scapegoats that magically erases sin, Jewish zombies flying off into the sky etc. were credible."

You seem to dismiss the resurrection a priori because it is a miraculous event. This is what Ehrman does which is reminiscent of David Hume's argument against miracles.

A few things can be said in response to this:

Most Humean-styled philosophical objections to miracles are attempts to mount up the data against miracles in an a priori manner in spite of the factual evidence, so that no facts could actually establish their occurance.

These philosophical objections are also mistaken in not allowing for the real possibility of external intervention in nature.

These philosophical objections generally treat the laws of nature in an almost Newtonian sense as the final word on what may occur. This overlooks newer views of the laws of nature as statistical generalizations and as consistent with quite odd and unexpected occurences.

Strict empericism ignores both the emperical evidence for miracles and the fact that that the strict forms of verificational standards are themselves nonverifiable.

The philosophical approach you take ignores the strong historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

Recent critiques of Hume have clearly shown that that his objections to the miraculous are flawed. Hume failed to distinguish between the intrinsic probability of something like the resurrection, which may be very low, and the probability of the resurrection in light of the evidence we have for it, the improbability of having that evidence if the resurrection didn't happen and the low probabilities of naturalistic alternatives, which taken together could render the probability of the resurrection considerably higher than judgements of its intrinsic probability that fail to take such considerations into account.

"There is NO, zip, NADA, historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus."


This statement simply isn't true. There are a number of historical facts that are agreed upon by the majority of New Testament critics today. A Few of them are:

Jesus died by crucifixion

He was buried

The death of Jesus caused the disciples to despair and lose hope, believing that His life was ended

Although not widely as accepted, many scholors hold that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discoversed to be empty just a few days later

The disciples had experiences they beleved were the literal appearances of the risen Jesus

The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus to bold proclaimers of His death and resurrection

This message was the center of preaching in the early church

This message was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before.

As a result of this teaching, the church was born and grew

James, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faith when he also believed that he had seen the resurrected Jesus.

A few years later, Paul was converted by an experience that he likewise believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

And not all the facts require the use of the Gospels.

John W. Loftus said...

Robin, when it comes to miracles how do you resolve the double burden of proof required? And what say ye to my chapter on the problem of historical evidence?

Robin said...

John,

The best way to go about this is for me to give you scientific evidence for the greatest miracle of all: The comming into existence of everything out of nothing.
Professor of physics at M.I.T. Alan Guth is now on record as stating that those who don't believe in the Big Bang are considered by the scientific community to be crack pots:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cklLtRjIpdg

The comming into existence of our universe establishes that miracles have happened in the past. So, I think we must be open to them.

Secondly, and this will probably seem a little strange to you, but I have experienced what some would consider to be a miracle. I use to be skeptical about this but I bought a book years ago on astral projection. The book gave many different methods on how to achieve astral travel and the one that worked for me was the one where you enter the hypnogogic state (which is the in between state of being awake and asleep). When that is achieved you will then enter into the vibrational state where your whole body begins to vibrate. When I entered this state I then thought to myself "I want to leave my body"
My conciousness then slowly raised up out of my body and I floated up to the ceiling. I then came back down to my body and slowly re-entered my body. I did this years ago and I haven't tried doing it since. So, for me miracles are really no big deal. I realize this experience of mine isn't proof but anybody can do it if they practice at it. There are some good books out there on it. There's even some good web sites. You can experience it for yourself if you don't believe me.

Also, in your book (that I read awhile back by the way) you quote Wes Morriston on the Kalam who has a problem with the causal premiss of the argument because causality is a temporal concept. I would agree with him on this and just say, as Hugh Ross does, that since time is that dimension in which cause and effect take place and our time dimension is one dimensional and since the first cause transcends or one dimension of time then it must exist in at least two dimensions of time. In a two dimensional time plane there are an infinite number of time lines that run in an infinite number of directions so the first cause would have no beginning or end. It would be the first uncaused cause. So, there would be no problem here. Now keep in mind that when our finite minds try to comprehend the infinite we run into problems because we are finite. The infinite cannot be fully comprehended by the finite for obvious reasons. You need to allow that there is a bit of mystery here in comprehending the infinite.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Andre,

Me detects that you don't know what the heck ye be talking about but I'll endulge for a minute. You said:Well, since we non-believers already are aware that your God didn't tell anyone anything, your claim is only based on assumptions, speculations, and unverifiable made up theology.

My theology IS verifiable, my assumptions are rational as Robin is clearly arguing and maintaining and what speciulations there are are logical based on the information available ie: deductive and not merely made up...whereas atheist presuppositions are only against what they don't believe in the first place. I consistently challenge them as you, provide a reason for any suffering at all from the atheistic world view...is it a metaphysical necessessity that we suffer? if so what is the genetic purpose of it? stick with the questions instead of trying to blast the belief...I have an answere for what I ask...you clearly don't?

Then you ask:"Furthermore, now you are saying God gave us the possibility of evil and that he also gave us free will. Which is it?

Can you not read? freewill if truely free will provides the possibility of evil, and sin. So both. Adam had freewill but was sinless until the exercise of his choice. Freewill does not automatically create sin and evil, only the possibility of it. OK???

Then you said:"Which came first? Did he create free will? Did he create the possibility of evil just so that a purpose or meaning to life would exist?

Another problem of atheist belief is that god only wanted communication from man toward him...Freewill was give so that man could relate to other men as well. We serve one another freely based on our wills to do so. freewill is an attribute communicated to us by God. Yes it communicates "a" meaning of life but not the only meaning of life. we serve both god and man and the history of the Christian church proves that. There yet remains no atheist hospitals and atheist social ventures are modern inventions. Most all efforts historically are Christian or began by Christians birth out of the FREEWILL of people to serve and help others.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jonathan,

You said:The very presence of God making the rules, or God likes one group of people over another, free will is simply non-existent. If we had true free will there would be no need for God.

That's because you have no idea what free will is...it's not the abundance of unlimited choices...it's the ABILITY to make an unfettered choice. millions of possibilities are n't necessary to invoke freewill...so you have a faulted presupposition to begin with, therefore you're failure to understand my proposition.

Then you said this and this is the reason NOBODY needs to take you seriously:There is no such as good or evil.

So 1- if your neighbor kills your family, it's not evil?...if you take the child of a family member and cut that child's throat, it's not evil? HOW DUMB CAN YOU BE?

2- Since there is no evil or good, how can my belief in god or God himself be evil under any circumstance?

NO MATTER WHAT god allows or does, is all morally neutral according to you. So just as you can't call him good, you CERTAINLY can't call him evil and you can't claim that my belief in him is bad AT ALL...

Listen, get a point answer the queswtions I pose and you just might learn something...i don't know how, but I'll pray for ya!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

I understand what you're saying,but my position is that we don't have to know all the details in order to acquiest to the plan...that's where my faith comes in at. My faith to believe is small, my faith sometimes in the face of the the evil we see has to grow and become what it needs to be to cope with the evils we observe no matter who those evils fall upon.

So yes, the problem of evil makes one cringe, but on the other hand IF this is all senseless and mindless suffering as the atheist holds, what point is there to make about existence period, and it all means NOTHING. there can be no rationalization of it from a strict materialist point of view.

Now you're agnostic and explain your position and i appreciate that. Send me some infor on "NDE's" that you mention. I'll take an honest and open look especially since you've found a level of comfort.

Thanks.

John W. Loftus said...

Robin, the simplest explanation is to be preferred. A triune God just does not do it for such a being is not a simple one at all. Let me explain it this way: a state of nothingness can be legitimately described as a equilibrium of positive and negative energy. Why isn't this state of affairs to be preferred to your God? And what reason do you have for denying that the last dying act of God was the creation of a quantum fluctuation that led to everything else? That's all we need God for, if we need him at all, a quantum wave fluctuation. And that's all your argument leads us to.

Perhaps you might want to answer my questions, since the REAL reason you believe cannot be what you just wrote. The real reason you believe is because of being raised in a Christian culture. The real reason you believe in Christian (Protestant?) miracles rather than Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or new age miracles is because you were raised in a Christian culture by Christian parents (a guess). Otherwise you would be denying the Christian miracles just like I do.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

We know hume and his problems and i still say, Hume dug his head in the sand and said that miracles were impossible, not simply that they weren't probable...he set them us as an impossibility.

As proof and since you believe and rely heavily upon his writings, define miracle for us?

I've asked this of other atheists on this board before but I've never asked you...take a stab, what is a miracle?

Robin, you've done excellently by the way...I'm learning much from you.

by the way...you're RIGHT! (even against John's declaration-LOL)

John W. Loftus said...

No, Harv, Robin is still wrong! ;-)

A miracle is an event for which there can be no sufficient natural explanation for it's occurrence.

There are many other definitions. This one I threw up off the top of my head.

Robin said...

John,

To be honest, when I read your book it almost lead me to atheism but my experience that I described to you kept me believing until I could solve the problem of evil and suffering that you describe in your book. I believe I've solved the problem. Yes, my solution assumes God exists but this is because your version of the problem assumes God's existence.

I became a Christian because of the passion of an old Baptist preacher that use to preach and talk about the experiences and change he had in his life when God came into his life. It's the same passion you use to have. I've had some experiences of the presence myself.

Nothing cannot be described as anything because it's nothing. It has no properties since it doesn't exist. It's clearly a miracle that this universe came into existence. Nothing producing something really isn't an explanation at all.

I also believe that God has intervened more than just this one time. I just use this one example because it is quite incredible. If God can create this universe out of nothing surely He can raise the dead. But anyway, I'll leave it there.

sconnor said...

robin

I said, "History by its very definition would NOT claim magic, resurrections, talking snakes, scapegoats that magically erases sin, Jewish zombies flying off into the sky etc. were credible."

You seem to dismiss the resurrection a priori because it is a miraculous event. This is what Ehrman does which is reminiscent of David Hume's argument against miracles.....

....and more loquacious regurgitation, which AGAIN is nothing but rationalized nonsenses.

Not to mention a strained strawman. You simply picked another subject -- a 18th century philospoher) and argue against his philosophies.

Do you even read what you regurgitate?

Are you just offering us this pseudo-intellectual drivel because you think it sounds intelligent?

According to your loquacious loopy argument then ALL the miracles in the qur'an are historically accurate; the arch angel who miraculously came down to Muhammad to recite Allah's final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind is historically accurate -- therefor Allah exists and his final testament is true.

This statement simply isn't true. There are a number of historical facts that are agreed upon by the majority of New Testament critics today. A Few of them are:

historical facts LOL!

This message was the center of preaching in the early church

This message was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before.

As a result of this teaching, the church was born and grew


This is NOT objective evidence for the resurrection -- just because a religion was born.

Jesus died by crucifixion He was buried...A few years later, Paul was converted by an experience that he likewise believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

And not all the facts require the use of the Gospels.


Holy shit!?!? Are you kidding me? facts? What color is the sky in your world?

This is simply plot points plucked out of a story.

Seriously, do you even evaluate what you are regurgitating here?

Please provide FACTUAL OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE for the resurrection of Jesus as opposed to relaying what was said in the stories of the gospels.

Again, how are you so certain that the gospels are anything besides fictional embellished stories told over time, portraying a fictional, made up, messiah -- based on a fallible human prophet or an amalgamation of several prophets or people and several manufactured stories, myths and legends?

This is exactly like appealing to the stories of Hercules, plucking out story bullet points and claiming it was FACTUAL.

You are morbidly deluding yourself.

--S.

sconnor said...

A miracle is an event for which there can be no sufficient natural explanation for it's occurrence.

There are many other definitions. This one I threw up off the top of my head.


And to capitalize on John's statement -- A "miracle" (metaphorical usage of the word) can be something that manifest itself contrary to the probabilities. Such as the one in a billion chance of hitting the lottery. One can hit on the lottery but it doesn't mean some god intervened and changed the laws of nature to make it happen nor could anyone prove with objective evidence that it was a "miracle" perpetrated by a divine hand.

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

You say offer evidence outside of the bible...what the heck? Why should the bible be treated differently for literary purposes? Why make a case of special pleading to discount it? Those concepts are what's deluded in this convo.

I mean isn't that the whole object of form criticism? To hold the bible to a naturalistic, uniform standard and not make a pleading to the supernatural? Now you want to switch when it's convenient because the bible in it's historically verifiable literary form DOES NOT support an anti-God and specifically anti0Christian worldview. That's deluded my friend...that's deluded.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

You said a miracle is something that can't be explained by natural means...

With statments like these you acknowledge natural "norms" right? You acknowledge there is a "normal" way things go.

These leads to the first observation that miracles aren't normal eg: they must be by description temporary.

Secondly, since miracles are not normal and are temporary the naturalist assumes that miracles violate natural laws and therefore are a contradiction and improbable...that's y'u-boy's Hume's argument in a nutshell...However when we observe natural law we find there are times when certain natural laws superceed other natural laws...exa: simply a person jumping out of an airplane without support, parachute or otherwise is subject to the law of gravity and falls to a horrible end right?

Same person inside of a properly functioning airplaine goes up (against gravity) and makes his/her destination safely...

What happened? Was their a violation of gravity or natural law since the plane didn't crash? NO. the plan function by a higher set of principles and laws called the laws of aerodynamics and other physical laws that make planes fly...What happend to gravity? the plane still came down, but that law was overridden.

A miracle is a superceeding of natural law, not a reversion of it. Miracles operate by a higher set of principles or laws. That set of principles operate in a non normative manner as it pertains to the laws that we are aware of as to be identifiable.

What makes Christianity unique Sconnor, (because the Quran has no miracles -other than the book itself and possibly a mountain being moved- and no other religion offers miracles as any sort of proof) Miracles have a claim of origination and that is God himself. Nobody else makes the claim so why should we try to make someone else responsible for miracles?

In short John, Humes argument fails because he doesn't make these important distinctions and yours, via Hume's, fails also.

Miracles are not only possible, they occur and have been witnessed throughout the ages. even modern science attests to it with the evidence of the "big-bang" as Robin points out...Only God records to have created something from nothing...no naturalistic law ever discovered can attempt to make that claim.

sconnor said...

robin

The best way to go about this is for me to give you scientific evidence for the greatest miracle of all: The comming into existence of everything out of nothing.
Professor of physics at M.I.T. Alan Guth is now on record as stating that those who don't believe in the Big Bang are considered by the scientific community to be crack pots:


Ah yes -- an appeal to authority taken out of context so you can manipulate the authors intentions.

Basically you exploit Guth's position to supposedly "prove" a creator being caused the universe to come into existence.

OK the big bang happened -- that's a given.

The comming into existence of our universe establishes that miracles have happened in the past. So, I think we must be open to them.

Now -- your conclusion that it was a "miracle" is a hopelessly strained and faulty. You are simply attributing a natural occurrence -- that science doesn't fully understand -- to a divine hand.

At one point in history we didn't know what caused volcanoes to erupt, droughts, tsunamis, rainbows, lightening, tornadoes, hurricanes, aurora borealis, comets, eclipses and on and on and on. Ignorant humans believed demons caused seizures and disease. There were all kinds of supernatural explanations -- including gods and silly superstitions -- for what turned out to be natural phenomenons. Just because science didn't have an explanation to these phenomenon -- at the time -- doesn't mean god performed a miracle.

Additionally, who caused the miracle of your god coming into existence?

Oh -- your god always existed? How do you know? -- you know besides pulling this information out of thin air or relying on spurious scripture?

But continuing on, using your logic -- considering you believe your invisible creator-god always existed -- why is it so difficult for you to comprehend that the building blocks of life have always existed -- in one form or another -- and after eons of time (unimaginable amounts of time) they coalesced into the reality we now know -- without a divine creator?

Furthermore the big bang exploded or quickly expanded but there was a dense hot condition that existed before the explosion which had ALL the building blocks of matter that eventually coalesced into the reality we now know. So it's NOT out of the realm of possibility that the building blocks of life always existed in one for or another -- comprende?

Positing a creator-god performed a miracle is one way of saying, "you don't know". It's a lazy solution to a complex question and ALL you are really doing is substituting one mystery for another.

Point is, we don't know how it ALL came about. There is nothing wrong by admitting, we (or science) doesn't know.

Your whole argument of: something cannot come out of nothing, is rendered useless when you believe your god has always existed. God is a something and you claim that something can't come out of nothing, then where did your god come from?

It is wrong, however (and quite arrogant) to proclaim you know how the universe came about and proclaim it was a divine miracle when you don't have any credible information except what you interpret from rationalized explanations and limited imaginings.

What's more -- even if you could demonstrate (with objective evidence) that a creator god existed (which you can't) you would have to bridge a colossal chasm to demonstrate your creator god-concept was also the one and only christian triune personal god, resurrected savior of mankind -- good luck with that.

sconnor said...

~continued~

~Astral projection as "proof" of god's existence~

This is NOT objective evidence of a god. This is ONLY proof that you had an experience that you attribute to a divine deity. You have no objective evidence this had anything to do with a god as opposed to the more realistic, simple explanation -- it was the theater of your own mind.

Also I noticed you ignored/could not address the argument below, pertaining to your "functioning cognitive faculties argument".

You said, I never claimed that the atheist was irrational.

Strawman. I didn't say you were saying atheist were irrational

My argument doesn't contend that you were implying we were irrational. My argument contends that your argument is fallacious because ANYONE can use your argument as a rationalization to believe in a whole host of beliefs -- which renders your rationalized argument obsolete. Do...you...under...stand?

Well do you? Do you concede this point?

--S.

sconnor said...

harve

Now you're agnostic and explain your position and i appreciate that. Send me some infor on "NDE's" that you mention. I'll take an honest and open look especially since you've found a level of comfort.

I'd say read, read , read.

Start with Raymond Moody's Life after Life. Then read, Hear His Voice by Nancy Clark.

Then I recommend:
On Life After Death by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Closer to the Light by Melvin Morse M.D.
Lessons From the Light by Kenneth Ring PH.D.
My Descent Into Death by Howard Storm
Saved by the Light by Dannion Brinkley

Check out Kevin Williams' NDE testimony and research conclusions at:
http://www.near-death.com/about.html

I personally know Howard Storm and Nancy Clark -- they both live in the Ohio area.

As an aside and apart from NDEs, don't dismiss Bart D. Ehrmans's excellent book -- GOD'S PROBLEM How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer. I highly recommend it.

--S.

Robin said...

" I believe there could be some sort of ultimate reality (an unknowable mystery) and I also believe that there is some sort of afterlife. I just do NOT believe in your personal christian god nor your christians doctrines that are based on someones interpretation of spurious scripture.

I base my belief from the extensive research I've done on NDEs. There is just enough there to keep it interesting. I like to say I have a thread to something concrete but I wouldn't want to be under that concrete, being held by a thread. But I humbly submit I do not delusionally profess it as truth -- my belief in an afterlife is little more than wishful thinking, considering my situation of losing my ten year old son to leukemia."


Hey Sconner,

I've had out of body experiences so I know there is another realm or dimension of reality. I don't practice astral projection now but I was curious about it a few years ago and got a few books on it and tried it out and discovered for myself that it's real. There's alot of good books and websites out there but there's also some that aren't so good. Look into it and try it for yourself if you want to. Anybody can do it. It takes practice but it works if you get the right resources and do it the right way. I can't prove it to you but it can be experienced. They say you create your own reality on the astral plane. I never went that far into it. I just did it to see if it was real. And it is.

Robin said...

Sconner,


No, I don't conceed the point because Reformed Epistemology only works with theism. Not just any old belief.

sconnor said...

harv

I mean isn't that the whole object of form criticism? To hold the bible to a naturalistic, uniform standard and not make a pleading to the supernatural? Now you want to switch when it's convenient because the bible in it's historically verifiable literary form DOES NOT support an anti-God and specifically anti0Christian worldview.

There's nothing about the resurrection that is naturalistic and the stories surrounding it have no credible evidence that they are ANYTHING more then works of fiction.

I want you to present objective evidence that what the gospels say are true without using the gospels as proof -- which is NOTHING but circular reasoning.

But you CAN'T. So you must diverge and rationalize.

Answer this question below specifically:

How are you so certain that the gospels are anything besides fictional embellished stories told over time, portraying a fictional, made up, messiah -- based on a fallible human prophet or an amalgamation of several prophets or people and several manufactured stories, myths and legends?

Waiting........

You say offer evidence outside of the bible...what the heck? Why should the bible be treated differently for literary purposes?

Right harve and the qur'an is a historical document too -- therefore Allah exists and his final revelation

Yes; yes -- harv we know you believe that snakes and donkeys have command of the human language and the sun can stop in the middle of sky for a whole day and staffs can magically turn into snakes, and people can be brought back to life, good as new, after being dead and buried for three days and bread can fall from heaven etc. and ALL this you delusionally profess is historically accurate, when in actuality it has NO reference in reality.

Again explain to me why you believe it is "historically accurate" that Mary was contacted by an angel to tell her of god's prophesy while on the other hand you dismiss the "historical accuracy" of the arch angel Gabriel reciting Allah's final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind.

I've been down this road before with you.

You can NOT answer this without bloated rationalizations and massive diverging.

--S.

Andre said...

OK Harvey, you may be right that I don't know what I'm talking about. But maybe that's because you're not actually dealing with my questions that I think would help me understand what you're talking about, and one's that I also think you don't touch because of the challenge it would pose towards your beliefs. And as long as you don't, this is what I will think, even if you think I don't know what I'm talking about.

You said "that freewill made evil possible and that man's choice actualized evil"

What I would like to know from this is: If free will is suppose to be God's way of giving us total freedom, which stems from his ultimate goodness, and since this produces evil, how will he then eradicate evil, if free will is a necessary gift from God? At this point I don't see how he can stop evil.

I think we should take this one step at a time instead of being all over the place, this way maybe we can get somewhere.

Robin said...

Sconner,

Let me put it to you this way. While I think there are good arguments for God none of them are demonstrations. They can be rationally rejected. But when these arguments are taken together with my experience of God I think they are sufficient for me to have knowledge of God:

(A) The Argument from Intentionality (or Aboutness)

(B) The argument from collections.

(C) The argument From (Natural) numbers

(D) The Argument From Counterfactuals

(E) The Argument from physical constants

(F) The Naive Teleological Argument

(G) Tony Kenny's style of teleological argument

(h) The ontological argument

(J) The argument from positive epistemic status

(K) The Argument from the confluence of proper function and reliability

(L) The Argument from Simplicity

(M) The Argument from induction

(O) The Argument from Reference

(P) The Kripke-Wittgenstein Argument From Plus and Quus (See Supplementary Handout)

(Q) The General Argument from Intuition.

(R) moral arguments

(S) The Argument from Colors and Flavors (Adams and Swinburne)

(T) The argument from Love

(U) The Mozart Argument

(V) The Argument from Play and enjoyment

(W) Arguments from providence and from miracles

(X) C.S. Lewis's Argument from Nostalgia

(Y) The argument from the meaning of life.

Based on these arguments with my experience of God I conclude that I am justified in believig in God.

And as I pointed out above the problem of evil and sufferring has been answered.

sconnor said...

robin

No, I don't conceed the point because Reformed Epistemology only works with theism. Not just any old belief.

Fine -- My argument contends that your argument is fallacious because other THEISTS such as Muslims Hindus and Buddhists etc. (and I suspect to a certain extent anti-theists) can use your argument as a rationalization to believe in a whole host of beliefs, which are contrary to yours -- which renders your rationalized argument obsolete. Do...you...under...stand?

Basically your argument contends: that your supposedly properly functioning brain believes what it wants to believe.

Now do you concede this point?

I've had out of body experiences so I know there is another realm or dimension of reality. I don't practice astral projection now but I was curious about it a few years ago and got a few books on it and tried it out and discovered for myself that it's real...

So you say. The only thing is: this is NOT objective evidence for the existence of a god. I guess it didn't sink in from what I said earlier -- You have no objective evidence this had anything to do with a god as opposed to the more realistic, simple explanation -- it was the theater of your own mind. Or at the very most a higher plain of consciousness. Either way it is entirely subjective in nature; there is NO testable empirical objective data as of yet -- the scientific jury is out on this one.

Again even if you could prove without a doubt that an other dimensional realm and/or a creator god existed you would have to bridge a mega-chasm to demonstrate your creator god-concept was also your christian triune personal god and the claims of christianity were true -- which you can NOT do.

Still waiting for you to specifically address my counter arguments regarding the supposed "historicity of the resurrection" and your "appeal to Alan Guth argument"


--S.

John W. Loftus said...

Robin, what list of arguments would you use to demonstrate that a triune God reveled himself in history by sending his incarnate son to atone for our sins who bodily resurrected from the grave and will return to earth to reward the saints by denying them free will and punish the godless by forcing then to retain it?

And Satan? How do you defend the existence of such a suicidal creature who is dumber than a box of rocks for rebelling against an omnipotent and omniscient God?

Even if what you said above is true you have a very long way to go in order to defend your faith.

Faith. That's what it is. And it sounds just as familiar to me as the Mormon I linked to earlier. Exactly the same BTW.

Robin said...

John,

Although I don't think I need arguments the arguments above along with my experience is enough for me to be warranted in believing in God. I then move to the historical evidence and conclude that it's rational for me to believe that Christ rose from the dead. Again I can't prove He rose. I do take into consideration your arguments and I do think you weaken the historical case but I think the evidence along with my experience gives me enough to be justified in believing. I don't believe this forces you to believe though.

sconnor said...

robin

Robin once again inanely regurgitates a long list (A-Y) of supposed evidences which I suspect she just dug up without really investigating the relevancy of the arguments.

Could it hurt to define and explain why these supposed evidences are relevant to you. This seems like a lazy way out. I could just simply offer the same list (A-Y) and posit they're antithetical to my view without offering a reasonable explanation. Lazy, lazy, lazy!

Whoa -- you really seem confused you've come a long way from this statement: I think there is some evidence. But I don't think that I need any evidence. Belief in God can be produced by properly functioning cognitive.....

Now please, explain why these supposed evidences are relevant to you.

--S.

sconnor said...

Faith. That's what it is. And it sounds just as familiar to me as the Mormon I linked to earlier. Exactly the same BTW.

Yes -- odd, robin hasn't addressed this germane and salient point.

--S.

Rob R said...

Robin, what list of arguments would you use to demonstrate that a triune God reveled himself in history by sending his incarnate son to atone for our sins who bodily resurrected from the grave and will return to earth to reward the saints by denying them free will and punish the godless by forcing then to retain it?

I'm not robin, but I would raise what I believe to be Francis Schaeffer's argument that if a personal God existed, he would contact humans in a revelatory way.

And triunity rests on revelation. It can't be argued from the ground up in it's specific form, but it can be shown that the general form of community within unified entity is a profound statement of what it means to be personal and that it serves as an important explanation as to why God created us in the way that he did and why some of mosaic law is the way that it is placing as much value on the sexual and familial relationships as it does (as Genesis notes, God created man in the image of God-male and female he created them... in other words gender and community reflect God). Also, if God is love, it would make more sense that that love is not a dead abstraction but is born out in the nature of God thus it makes sense that God has a nature that is involved in community.

Others, would point out that the universe exibits 3-ness, that the experience of humans takes place in 3 dimensions, time is split into past, present, and future, The atom is composed of primarily 3 types of particles, human thought moves from thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, The family is composed of a male, female and offspring, pi is roughly 3, a triangle is the one (2 dimensional) geometric shape where both ends of every side touches every side (not so with a square for example where each side only touches two other sides and not the opposite) and in this sense displays both unity and diversity. So arguably, if the universe was created, the creator like 3's and 3's that also display unities.

No, there is no argument for the trinity, but rather it is an elegant concept that serves for great explanatory power within revelation and has affinities with key aspects of the world we live in. In other words, to a significant extent, it makes sense.

Is there an argument to prove the trinity? No. But it's not called a faith for nothing, but it's not as if the need for faith made knowledge of the trinity any different from any other peice of knowledge.

sconnor said...

Robin, what list of arguments would you use to demonstrate that a triune God reveled himself in history by sending his incarnate son to atone for our sins who bodily resurrected from the grave and will return to earth to reward the saints by denying them free will and punish the godless by forcing then to retain it?

Exactly. It would seem Robin's "properly functioning cognitive faculties bridge" crumbles before it can span that chasm into providing objective evidence for a personal christian god and the outrageous interpretive claims of christianity.

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Andre,

I guess you miss the point, freewill is not the cause of evil, it's the vehicle whereby evil was exercised...the choice of man comes from man's heart. The fulcrum rests there, freewill affords the ability to make that choice.

You're seeking to say that God has to be the author of evil because he gave man freewill and if freewill is where evil comes from then...BOOM! God did it...That's not it my friend and that's NOT what I'm saying.

God made it possible...Look at this:

Every car company makes it possible that someone will die in a car accident, someone will run over an innocent bystander...do we blame the car company because someone is run over? I mean when we consider that the car functioned properly how can it or the car company be blamed? What happens when there is a car accident is that a "lack" or "corruption" of something is revealed. It's a lack of knowledge of how to use the car or proper care in the association of the car to the pedestrian or other vehicles...a "corruption" in right judgement.

That's only a similar type of argument to this. Freewill functioned properly and in and of itself DOES NOT create evil, but man used that freewill to actualize what he chose. What man chose displays a corruption of right relationship and fellowship to God. Evil can only exist as there is good to begin with.

"evil exists as a corruption of of something good; it is a privation and does not have essence by itself" ["I'm Glad You Asked" Ken Boa & Larry Moody Wheaton, Victor Books 1999 pg. 129]

With a little help, that's as simple as I can put it my friend.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

There is no fair comparison between the Quran and the Bible, either historically or in the claims made within the material itself. You dramatically overexaggerate any apparent similarities...

I won't list them but you'll not find the chronology of the Quran to be comparable to the biblical record in any instance even though the Quran is much newer(only 1400 years old) You'll not find the eyewitness testimony or independent third party references and illusions to miracles as we find contained within extrabiblical records, and most importantly you will not find anything similar to miracles and God's intervention into happening on earth as we find within the Bible because the Quran teaches the "transcendence" of Allah as he cannot mingle or be touched by humanity...the Bible and biblical records is completely the opposite...so your effort to draw a parrallel is not as effective as you may think it is especially for someone like me who knows the vast differences.

So far as certainty goes, we are confident of the bible's historical reliability based on historical methods of study, obviously you reject the study of history and literary historical critical methods. The bible is repleate with miraculous interventions but those interventions are not the sum total of it and consequently there is no historical evidences to overturn the Bible's miraculous claims either directly or indirectly. Facts are that over 25,000 archaeological finds verify or confirm events, places and people stated within the Bible.

So far as religions of ANE cultures, the biblical record of Judaism and ultimately Christianity is superior to rivals not because of the age of the record but because of the events in relationship to the time recorded, amount of sources used over the length of time collected and a host of other criteria that you claim foul...can't help that.

Also for the record God is an uncaused cause and doesn't need an infinite regress as you allude to in your writing, but that's another story.

Gandolf said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said..."The Christian has a MUCH SUPERIOR position of understanding these sort of issues and the solutions are contained within the knowledge of God.

Answer me...What does an atheist have? Live, suffer, die and ROT in the grave...If I were an atheist, and atheism were true I'd probably kill myself...because there is no hope or purpose outside of a genome, which is predetermined no matter what..."

Hey there Harvey hows it hanging?.

So you are telling us without some god belief you personally wouldnt find much to want to keep living for?.

Without god beliefs you would no longer find any joy in your children.Your wife would no longer seem loving and family and friends etc would seem very pointless?.Things that you observed and leaned about would become worthless and have no good reason to pass on to future generations?.The sights that you saw like sunny days and beaches and gardens with flowers etc etc would all become totally displeasing to thine eyes?.And drinking a cold beer or two or even three on a hot day would become totally tasteless and even sour?.

Hell Harvey when you seem to suggest how totally worthless life for the faithful would become without beliefs,it kind scares me.Sheeze mate if christians are being completely honest that this is how they would actually feel without gods,maybe we need to be ready and be sure to prepare plenty more asylums just in case sometime in the future we might need many more of them.

"That's STUPIDITY....None of you guys are stupid (at least some) but your worldview is without doubt completely devoid of hope, joy or peace."

Hell and you say our worldview is completely devoid of hope,joy or peace.Cant say the peace part is always so obvious at the moment at least,but hell mate does the faith type attitude thats been so prolific in our past really do so much in helping matters?

"Now tell me, since Christians already are aware that freewill made evil possible and that man's choice actualized evil, how does any atheist reconcil evil in the least? What is the purpose of evil for an atheist? How is an atheist benefitted by any suffering at all?"

Your the one Harvey suggesting it has to be evil.I suggest some things can be observed to be good while other things can be observed to be not quite so good,but either way we can hopefully learn to learn from it.

Does our learning sound like it could also be sometimes benefiting to you my friend?.Of course we can still make mistakes and learn of bad things maybe like creating atomic bombs for instance,but we can only hope we learn from bad mistakes also as well hmmmm?.You lot call it evil we call it bad mistakes that we hopefully learn to learn from,is that a good enough reason for a purpose?.

"Facts are there can be NO PURPOSE to any suffering in the atheist world view if there is no God. Since we all recognize suffering that we claim to be needless at times, if there is no God what the heck does that mean?"

Yes Harvey when god/s are said to supposedly be in control of many things then many times it does seem rather needless.It even sometimes seems freaking stupid.

However throw out the god/s theory and though we might not yet be able to explain everything we can still understand better,and we can look and learn and slowly further knowledge which all to often these faith beliefs in our past have tried to curb.

Hopeing to hear back Harvey.By the way still waiting patiently for you to answer something you promised to answer way back in another thread.Reminded you of it more than once too!and you had even reassured me you would.I even suggested you were not going to not answer me! why?, (because i had believed you) had given me your word you would!and i had thought you was a very honest person.

Now you believe Jesus and god is always listening right?....So whats the honest answer?.

Gandolf said...

Hi Robin.

Im just wondering why you have to consider that a out of body experience (must be) thought to be a miracle.

Is it because you know of no other way to explain it at the moment?.

In the past maybe some folks thought it was some kind of miracle that some folks said they had sailed around the world.They might have been thinking hell these guys should have fallen off the edge of the planet.

Until they later learned how it actually worked.

Just because these guys didnt understand how it happened at the time, were these guys actually being so very helpful in thinking and stating (it must be) a miracle?.

Would it have been more honest to admit hmmmmmm? we dont understand this! wonder why/what/how it might be?,or should they maybe have stated its god/s at work people need to believe in them?

Robin said...

"Whoa -- you really seem confused you've come a long way from this statement: I think there is some evidence. But I don't think that I need any evidence. Belief in God can be produced by properly functioning cognitive....."


I still maintain what I said. I think there is evidence. But I don't think I need any evidence. Belief in God can be produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties with or without evidence or argument.

Faith is a confident assurance in God and His promises. It's a confident trust that is produced by properly functioning cognitive fuculties. To quote John Calvin:

True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in His word is true, it is also a deep rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel.

Faith is a firm and certain knowledge of God's love towards me. It's not a blind leap.

Jonathan said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said... HOW DUMB CAN YOU BE?

So 1- if your neighbor kills your family, it's not evil?...if you take the child of a family member and cut that child's throat, it's not evil? HOW DUMB CAN YOU BE?

Good / evil are simplistic views how one should look at the world. When God flooded the world Noah seemed pretty okay with the idea. What if Noah said, “What are you *ucking crazy?” How would of God reacted? What if Abraham told God, “Sacrifice who?” Aren’t these examples of what you would call “evil” or examples of a God that is quite psychotic?

Go here for other great examples in found in the bible
http://www.ffrf.org/timely/abcsbible.php

Let’s use your example, what if my family had been tormenting this “neighbor” for years. Let’s add this “neighbor” has social problems, he is prone for violence. This isn’t not an excuse for the crime, but it isn’t evil either. Acts of violence towards on anther cannot be tolerated. If you label an offender “evil” you’re not solving the problem of why is this person’s behavior is so abnormal.

Lead exposure, crime seem to correlate
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-10-28-lead-crime_N.htm

If people’s behavior can be altered by their environment calling them evil is not answering the question why they were aggressive in the first place. The best practice would be to screen out individuals before they become violent.

2- Since there is no evil or good, how can my belief in god or God himself be evil under any circumstance?

Your beliefs are fine until you force them on others.


NO MATTER WHAT god allows or does, is all morally neutral according to you.

If God says it’s okay to force a father to kill his son, flood the planet, or blast two cities to smithereens, or in countless examples like so…

Exodus 12:29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.

This is the God you think is good.

How the bible describes Gods actions is irrelevant to me. Since I don’t think the bible is the word of God.

A couple examples why I think Good / Evil fall short.


“Todd Bentley” Lakeland story of 13th resurrection from the dead
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLv6C7b6m88

What is this? Good, evil or just plain ridiculous.

Texting to blame for crash that killed 5 teens?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19764563/

Is this evil or just plain stupid.

Troubled Times Bring Mini-Madoffs to Light
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/business/28ponzi.html

Another great example of evil?

Pastor Michael Guglielmucci admits his cancer was a hoax; Videos being removed from YouTube
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Pastor_Michael_Guglielmucci_admits_his_cancer_was_a_hoax%3B_Videos_being_removed_from_YouTube

Maybe this is evil too!

Prosperity theology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology#Prosperity_Gospel_teachers

Are these people Christians?

Brazil's Indians offended by Pope comments
http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1428799220070514

The Pope doesn’t know history, is this an evil statement?

They had welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest as they were "silently longing" for Christianity, he said.

Rob R said...

I would also add that I like other open theists feel that an over emphasis on natural theology, a God who can be arrived at by pure abstract contemplation has not been the best thing for theology. For some theological claims, God has been abstracted to death as the unresponsive timeless impassible unmoved mover of the God of philosophers. Our God is a personal God and cannot be known by mere abstraction but must known primarily through his revealatory historical personal relationship with the church.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Gandolf,

Don't switch the goal post my friend. We're talking about suffering and evil. Of course everyone wants to live for the good such as what you mentioned. But you don't answer the real question: Why should an atheist suffer because in the atheist worldview suffering means nothing? Experiencing evil means nothing and nothing from nothing still leaves nothing.

The Christian worldview is highly equipped to deal with this. I deal with this all the time dealing with families who've lost their loved ones. All you can offer is that "Yea, Joe suffered, had that cancer for years, it ate him up, at least now after all of that he'll rot in the grave...yep, doesn't mean a thing."

Whereas I know Joe has a future and it was part of my job to help prepare him for it...I have hope, you don't and your "belief" won't allow you to.

So far as your 'ultimate question" for me...I'm sorry but i don't understand what you want to know...all I can say is that there is noplace (even hell) that we can go where God does not hear us and is not there...does that answer your inquiry.

Thanks friend.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jonathan,

You can't confuse the JUSTICE of God with evil...that's the mistake that atheists make over and over to call the character of God into question because you realize the utter STUPIDITY of the first argument which was that there IS no such thing as evil...

The deconstructionist needs to do that in order to make morality an abstract or arbitrary concept, only it doesn't work.

People, both theists and nontheists, can identify evil because every society identifies certain concepts of wrong and right. You say it's only a label and to a certain extent I agree on that point. I successfully argue in my posts that the only reason evil can be identified by humanity is because of the OBJECTIVE morality of God. Without HIM, and as you CLEARLY display, there is no right and wrong. Simply put, without the God basis for all morality if someone were to string someone else upside down hanging them from their toenails right now, YOU are in no position to call that action evil.

So far as your other suggestions...Abraham never killed Issac, Why? God sent an angel...Egypt was stricken with death why? They REJECTED FREEDOM for the people and wanted to continue raping women, castrating men and torturing the culture...should we feel sorry that murders finally got the JUSTICE they deserved...That wasn't no "lead poisoning" it was SIN in their hearts...the Canannites the same way, idol worshippers who killed babies indiscriminately, had no compassion for anyone other than themselves and wanted their form of immorality to dominate the world...well BUDDY, the world wasn't theirs to begin with...why do you have a problem when God relclaims HIS property? I could go on and on.

The actions of people IN NO WAY effect or diminish the character and actions of God. So your flawed ministers are nothing exciting to me, I do a lot of writing about that. in fact you PROVE from your observations that there is an objective GOOD to begin with...IF there was no good, then how could the actions of any of the people you name be considered bad, wrong or immoral?

That's the backwards and special pleading of atheism, utterly foolish, special pleading and backwards reasoning that has a basis that no sane person would use in real life...but that's what YOU believe and it's a free country...I'm certainly not mad at ya...

BTW, I don't FORCE nothing on anyone, I only stand for what I know and believe is right. That's what a good Christian does. (aside from that in your view it wouldn't even be 'wrong' IF i did force Christianity upon you, because, after all, there is no such things as good or evil-LOL)

Gandolf said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said..."Gandolf,

Don't switch the goal post my friend. We're talking about suffering and evil. Of course everyone wants to live for the good such as what you mentioned. But you don't answer the real question: Why should an atheist suffer because in the atheist worldview suffering means nothing? Experiencing evil means nothing and nothing from nothing still leaves nothing."

Howdy Harvey, having a great day?.

How am i switching the goal posts?

You had said "What does an atheist have? Live, suffer, die and ROT in the grave"

I feel ive pointed out there is so much more to live for than you try telling us non believers we have,like passing on information to the youth who are our future.

If you with your opinion happen to think these things are really so pointless,i feel thats your problem not mine.Should i need to have to agree with you?.

As a non believer suffering still does have meaning for me, you try imposing on me as a non believer that for non believers it dont.

I say what a load of stupid crock instilled by indoctrination of faith beliefs that really is,because even through people suffering things can still be learned for starters hmmm?.

"Experiencing evil" you keep going on about,like its been proven beyond any doubt that some bad supernatural being exists that is controlling people.

I see people doing bad stuff sure,but how does that prove that something supernatural is involved in this bad.The bible says so?.

Pffffttt!.

You try telling us non believers "Experiencing evil means nothing",how the hell do you come to that conclusion Harvey?.

I`ll call what your evil as bad and say bad things we can learn from also ,how is that simply nothing by your opinion Harvey?.

Because you really hope so!,to make non believers seem like they always lack hmmm?

Good for you Harvey you feed pleoples hopes that might be pointless.Wonderful work Harvey,how helpful are you in stopping folks that suffer through prolification of these faith beliefs that sometimes see folks suiciding like in jonestown.

Oh only peoples hopes of some future after life matter to god people?...Why do you think faith believers have become so disliked by so many these days Harvey? ....No reason they just simply wanna hate us poor believers?

Hell talk about wagering,faithful folks wager with many people lives that they (do have) on this earth,for some hope of hope of a supposed afterlife without any decent proof.

Fine folks hmmmm?...Lovely sorts.

"Whereas I know Joe has a future and it was part of my job to help prepare him for it...I have hope, you don't and your "belief" won't allow you to."

Hell i once as a kid had some hope that maybe id be able to live a normal family life,with hopes of grandparents for my children who could tell stories to them to later pass on to their own children too.

Seemed like it might be a pretty good future at the time.

Sadly some bloody idiots had already felt it was part of their job too to help prepare them,and taught a nasty divisive faith belief that in the end busted the families to pieces.

Still as long as faithful folks have their bloody beliefs and hopes in some supposed future life,thats all that matters right hmmm?

Seen a whole lot of nothing from faith beliefs Harvey thats for sure.Nothing from nothing it was.

P.S dont worry about answering the other question,to be quite honest i now doubt it will help.

Gandolf said...

Harvey says .."BTW, I don't FORCE nothing on anyone, I only stand for what I know and believe is right. That's what a good Christian does. (aside from that in your view it wouldn't even be 'wrong' IF i did force Christianity upon you, because, after all, there is no such things as good or evil-LOL)"

Oh yeah and christians before you never forced beliefs on anyone either huh.Which is how the church i was born into evolved out of the church of England.

If you had been one of those christians you would still find yourself to be totally exempt from the outcomes.

You would have never helped force it, some stupid bastards just simply chose to be born to bloody christians right?

Robin said...

Also Sconner,

I'm not aware of any Muslim developing a model that would include their beliefs having warrant like the Christian faith. The model developed by Plantinga includes specifially the main lines of Christian belief. The model entails the truth of Christian belef. If Christianity is true then it very likely does have warrant.

The question is:

Is it true?

It certainly seems to me to be true.

For more on the model see Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief.

sconnor said...

robin

I still maintain what I said. I think there is evidence. But I don't think I need any evidence. Belief in God can be produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties with or without evidence or argument.

Faith is a confident assurance in God and His promises. It's a confident trust that is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. To quote John Calvin:


You keep repeating the same thing, while you ignore the arguments:

Your definition is mere semantic jambalaya. There are two separate definitions which you insanely commingle to support your warped world-view.

Trust and faith are mutually exclusive.

As far as TRUST is concerned this is different than FAITH. Trust is built up from reliable objective information presented over time that can be easily verified. Trust is confidence based on reliance.

You psychotically try to blend the two definitions by pretending you have "confident trust" in a god -- cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.

The definition of FAITH: (believing in something that has no evidence) which is wholly unreliable.

You belief in god is based only in faith (believing in something that has no evidence) (although you settle for the most pathetic of supposed evidences, which boil down to B.S. rationalizations.

If there was objective evidence for your god you wouldn't need faith.

True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in His word is true, it is also a deep rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel.

Right you believe because you want to believe. Same as a muslim -- funny how their (FAITH) "confident assurance in God and His promises", completely differs from yours?

To bolster my assertion -- FAITH is a deplorable method of obtaining and processing information; consider the devout Muslim: they too have a confident assurance in God and His promises. They too have a confident trust that is produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties but they make extraordinary claims about Allah and his will and character and how he works in their lives and that he gave us, his final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind in the form of the qur'an, which is antithetical to your FAITH beliefs.

Funny how that whole FAITH thing works out. It allows people to believe in a whole host of absurd ideas.

sconnor said...

~continued~

Faith is a firm and certain knowledge of God's love towards me. It's not a blind leap.

Muslims have the same bloated rationalizations you vomited up, yet their beliefs are antithetical to yours -- hmmmmmmm? things that make you go -- hmmmmmmmmmm?

Unbelievable -- you sound like an insane myna bird -- repeating the same nonsense over and over again.

Your definition of FAITH is an illusion.

In actuality you have abandoned reason and have thrown ALL your critical thinking skills out the door so you can believe in a whole host of absurdities, while pretending your properly functioning cognitive faculties are intact which is the the source of your delusion. The personal christian god ONLY lives in the confines of your deluded mind.

You believe in an invisible omni-present personal christian god because of FAITH. Faith meaning -- believing in something that doesn't have objective evidence or is contrary to the supposed evidences (although you say you have evidence -- you simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences such as bloated rationalizations, subjective reasoning and stunted imaginings.

Faith is nothing more than suspending your disbelief, ON PURPOSE, so as to make it fit in your warped, fantasy-filled world-view. You deliberately choose to forgo the reasoning powers your mind possesses and feebly fill in the blanks with subjective flim-flam and bloated, stretched-thin rationalizations, all the while NEVER providing objective evidence for your god-concept. You would have us believe that FAITH is a virtue but it is not. It is not supernatural; it is not spiritual -- it is a CHOICE. A choice steeped in massive delusion -- a construct of your own making, where you believe you have the one and only truth. You CHOOSE to waive your intellectual faculties and throw reasoning out the door, while convincing yourself by pretending that your irrational and insane interpretive claims are perfectly valid.

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Gandolf,

you said:"as a nonbeliever suffering still does have meaning for me..."

OK. What does it mean for you? What purpose does it have?

Then you said:"you feed peoples hopes that might be pointless"

You say this assuming that it's me that is giving the atheist a hopeless worldview of suffering...Gandy, that's what YOU and others like YOU believe...

YOU BELIEVE that life's tribulations and suffering are meaningless and what you don't understand is simply pointless...that's the futility of atheism...I'm not reinventing anything...That's what atheism is reduced to. Like top atheistic champions say, you ROT and it all is meaningless in the end. The only value is what you have while living and obviously evil and suffering is without any point..that's your faith, not mine...

Sorry about your experiences but they aren't mine. I gladly serve the Lord and my life has been made better because of it all the way around.

sconnor said...

robin

I'm not aware of any Muslim developing a model that would include their beliefs having warrant like the Christian faith. The model developed by Plantinga includes specifially the main lines of Christian belief. The model entails the truth of Christian belef. If Christianity is true then it very likely does have warrant.

Come on! There is NOTHING that you offered that could not be used by a muslim. All your rationalized FAITH definitions and rationalized "properly functioning cognitive faculties arguments" are ALL easily applied to the muslim faith.

Do you recall this?
... don't conceed the point because Reformed Epistemology only works with theism.

You seem to be spinning your wheels and back-tracing, in an effort to protect your feeble beliefs

~Which leads us to another argument you ignored~

Fine -- My argument contends that your argument is fallacious because other THEISTS such as Muslims Hindus and Buddhists etc. (and I suspect to a certain extent anti-theists) can use your argument as a rationalization to believe in a whole host of beliefs, which are contrary to yours -- which renders your rationalized argument obsolete. Do...you...under...stand?

The question is:
Is it true?
It certainly seems to me to be true.


Right -- you believe because you want to believe. Other religionist from varying faiths it is true to them also -- nothing profound.

For more on the model see Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief.

I have -- he is just another christian apologist who offers bloated rationalizations in lieu of objective evidence which you gladly lap up and regurgitate here.

--S.

Robin said...

Sconner,

The model is extended to include specifically the Christian faith and it's main teachings. What Muslim has done this?

Besides the Christian faith has some historical evidence for the resurrection. The evidence doesn't prove that Christ rose from the dead but I think it makes the Christian faith more likely to be true than the Muslim faith. It's clearly in a much better position than Islam. It has more going for it.

Also, look up the word faith in a Greek Lexicon to see it's biblical definition. Better yet look at Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Faith is a confident assurance produced in the believer by the Holy Spirit. Trusting in God and His promises. This is Biblical faith.

Scott said...

Rob wrote: So you think that a car that requires greater driver responsibility for safety is less perfect than a car where computers and sensors take care of this, I disagree.

As someone who's primary car is a small, rear wheel drive, 2 seater convertible with a manual transmission, I'm quite aware of the idea of exchanging risk for freedom. However, my comment was intended to point out specific unavoidable aspects of the design process itself.

For example, unlike the universe and human beings, we are certain that cars were designed. We also know the level of knowledge and ability these designers had as we're the designers.

Most importantly, we know cars did not exist before human beings created them. As, such cars could not to anything at all without us having taking action. So, in the process of designing a vehicle which could travel in a particular direction at a particular speed we designed a vehicle that can intersect with other objects resulting in a collision. That this particular ability is one we, as the designer, might find undesirable does not make it somehow not part of the design. Nor does it completely absolve the designer from the effects of such an undesirable action or leave us completely without the ability to reduce the risk should it occur.

The act of designing any particular car frame at all results in a frame that exhibits a particular set of properties under a particular set of conditions, including undesirable outcomes such as collisions. The particular locations of bolts, welds, support beams and alloy compositions can dramatically change how impact forces are transferred to occupants. Again, we know the designers of car frames are aware of this fact because we are the designers. And we know that the particular amount of knowledge required to be aware of these design implications as we know the limits of our own knowledge.

Finally, going beyond a mere knowledge of this implications, we know designers are actively changing their designs to reduce the impact of undesirable outcomes, and the amount of reduction is clearly proportional to the designers ability, resources and knowledge.

Cars are designed to crash, and reduce the amount of injury to the occupants.

If you own a car, it's has several of these features. Nor do I think you would purposely choose to buy a car that doesn't have these features because their absence would somehow make your life more "valuable."

Scott said...

[Continued]

Furthermore, while you may have implied it in your earlier comments, it seems you are now explicitly claiming the kind of freedom required to create the kind of love that God wants requires the possibility of specific levels of risk as a result of choices. And that specific level correlates to the amount of risk we observe. The problem with this is the amount of risk we currently observe is dependent on several factors, of which we have changed drastically over time. And, as my previous comment illustrated, is likely to experience even more drastic changes in the future.

For example, I would not enjoy my life, or the experience of driving my Mazda Miata, less should install roll bars that would protect me should my car turn over during an accident. Nor would the addition of a system that could compensate for the phenomenon of inertia, should I actually run into something under manual control. Yet the level of risk would be dramatically reduced. And such a system would prevent me from being killed or seriously injured by a SUV driven by a drunk driver while driving to the store to get milk or should I get caught in a tornado.

In addition, there are other kinds of "risk" beyond physical suffering. if God and his angels can exist in some non-physical realm, God did not have to create a physical universe that would result in physical suffering. If Satan exists, risk and punishment does not require a physical existence, which has massive implications. Nor does God have to be hidden for us to make undesirable choices.

So, as a *supposed* designer, even if God decided NOT to design undesirable outcomes in such a way to reduce the amount of risk in proportion to his ability, (unlike *known* designers) or designed a specific level of risk to create children that exhibit a particular level of love he desired, we've radically changed that level of risk today and will do so exponentially in the future.

If your claim is true, we must have reduced the kind of love God's children exhibit below that which he desired. And we will continue to do so dramatically in the future.

Last, even if we ignore all of these problems, you still have yet to explain why God would eradicate evil at some point in the future, given that God would have no need to limit the size of his family.

Again, as a non-theist, I have no problem explaining this. Yet you must throw up your hands and claim "it's a mystery".

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

You keep saying that just because others can use a version of the arguments Robin rendered to support their faith therefore the argument is invalid...that's not true in any universe that can be imagined except for yours.

Your multiple argument fallacy is ridiculous and illogical so far as argumentive theories go.

Lawyers in the same court room sometimes use the same argumentation to come to totally different conclusions based on evidences that each sets forth.

Just because opposite cases can be made using a certain criteria does not diminish the validity of the best supported argument.

Christianity meets the criteria of historical criticism much better than other religious systems when all things are considered, therefore Robin's argument remains in tact as she also presents her set of proofs to establish it. You just can't throw it our because you don't like it...wait a minute, i forgot, that's what most atheists do anyway...even NDE'ers.

In your words:
Do...You...Under...Stand?

That's why you haven't got much play after repeating your assertion about 3 to 5 times. Your assertion isn't founded, I just thought you'd get a kick out of knowing that-LOL!!!

sconnor said...

I then move to the historical evidence and conclude that it's rational for me to believe that Christ rose from the dead. Again I can't prove He rose.

Right -- if you could prove that Jesus rose from the dead -- then you WOULD have actual verifiable objective evidence for the historicity of the resurrection. But you don't -- aside from your lame attempt to present made up plot points from the story itself as "proof" which you can NOT substantiate that it is anything but an embellished fictional account.

I do take into consideration your arguments and I do think you weaken the historical case but I think the evidence along with my experience gives me enough to be justified in believing.

You believe because you want to believe the rest is just rationalized claptrap -- plain and simple.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

You keep saying that just because others can use a version of the arguments Robin rendered to support their faith therefore the argument is invalid...that's not true in any universe that can be imagined except for yours.

So you agree -- other faiths can punch in robin's rationalized "FAITH definitions" and rationalized "properly functioning cognitive faculties arguments" and use them to their advantage -- correct?

Your multiple argument fallacy is ridiculous and illogical so far as argumentive theories go.

How so?

Lawyers in the same court room sometimes use the same argumentation to come to totally different conclusions based on evidences that each sets forth.

Relative examples, please?

This is ambiguous rhetoric that does not relate to the specifics of my arguments, nor does it support your argument in ANY way.

Just because opposite cases can be made using a certain criteria does not diminish the validity of the best supported argument.

Examples? Can you be any more vague?

I beg to differ. Robin's arguments are NOTHING but bloated rationalizations that in no way validates her beliefs. (rationalized FAITH definitions and rationalized "properly functioning cognitive faculties arguments")

Therefore when I can demonstrate that her lame arguments can be used to justify a whole host of absurd beliefs (including the muslim faith which is antithetical to her belief system) this clearly portrays her arguments are unreliable.

Christianity meets the criteria of historical criticism much better than other religious systems when all things are considered...

Not explicitly in the case of robin's belief in the resurrection (which we are arguing specifically) nor does it prove -- in anyway -- that the living god is your personal christian god.

therefore Robin's argument remains in tact as she also presents her set of proofs to establish it.

Proofs? She hasn't established any credible objective proofs for her particular god-concept or the resurrection as having ANY reference in reality -- neither have you.

You just can't throw it our because you don't like it...wait a minute, i forgot, that's what most atheists do anyway...even NDE'ers.

Lame generalized accusation which I will use against you to show that it is a fallacious statement at the end of my post.

That's why you haven't got much play after repeating your assertion about 3 to 5 times. Your assertion isn't founded, I just thought you'd get a kick out of knowing that-LOL!!!

You have yet to demonstrate how her bloated rationalized reasonings are ANY more credible then that of a muslim using the same rationalized reasonings (rationalized FAITH definitions and rationalized "properly functioning cognitive faculties arguments")

And until you can do that, my argument stands -- You just can't throw it out because you don't like it...wait a minute, i forgot, that's what most theists do anyway...even deluded christians. Lame!

--S.

Scott said...

Harvey wrote: Christianity meets the criteria of historical criticism much better than other religious systems when all things are considered, therefore Robin's argument remains in tact as she also presents her set of proofs to establish it. You just can't throw it our because you don't like it...

That's like saying, out of all the boats in the harbor, Christianity has the fewest leaks, so it sinks slower than the rest. Yet, in the end, it still sinks to the bottom with the rest.

Furthermore, I could create a least one "religious system" that explains what we observe with far less contradictions and complexity.

Example? God is perfectly good, all knowing and all powerful, but he has a perfectly evil twin brothers. Clearly, this explains what we observe without having to make elaborate explanations as to why a perfectly God allows evil (he has no choice as his evil brother is just as powerful as he is) why some prayers are answered, but others are not, etc.

Of course, you'd probably throw that out because, you guessed it, you wouldn't like it. God would be in eternal battle with his twin brother and evil would never be eradicated.

Andre said...

Harvey,

When a Christian tells me that without God, nothing exists, this then tells me that God is the author of evil. I'm not the one who's really trying to tell you this, it is the believer that I think is telling me this.

Before man existed, did evil exist? I'm sure you would agree that it did. Now think about this: If it did (and I don't think we need to go into how it did at this point), then there is no need to use free will as the reason why evil exist. There is no need to say "God made it possible". That is basically saying he didn't have to make it possible, and if he didn't have to make it possible, then what are you saying. Surely this is not something you would want to be saying.

If evil exist, and God does not give man the ability to partake in it, there would be no way of even knowing about it. But since we know and do partake in it, that means it must be in existence for this to be so. Now the question is, where does this evil come from? If what I say is true, it would seem that free will is independent of evil. Your car company analogy also becomes unnecessary.

You say "Evil can only exist as there is good to begin with." Are you then saying that if God made us purely good, we would be capable of doing evil even without being given free will? You see Harvey, free will is just a term we humans use to describe a state that we "think" we know we're in, and we think that this explains why evil is manifested. For you this is because you believe in your Christian God and that he has a plan. But God having a plan is like saying God planned for evil, and not that it was by his grace he gave us free will. For me the freethinker, it is clear that the bible only tries to explain the problem of evil, but fails. It is also clear that I live in and imperfect universe, so therefore, I cannot expect a life of perfectly what we call good, or purely goodness.

Anyhow, I let you have the last say. I don't have a lot of time to comment as often I would like to, and since you seem to have a few more battles to fight, I'll withdraw. Plus I haven't even read some of the comment in this thread as yet, as well as in the other posts, and I would really like to. But fear not, I'm sure we'll meet again whether on the same topic, or another(or maybe in heaven). Remember, as John has written about, there is a lot more that can be said which we won't be able to mention, due to this method of communicating.

Catch you later bro, and thanks for your time. I'm out.

sconnor said...

harv

Uh oh -- no you didn't. Again, we have been down this road before but you never did address my counter arguments.

I am extremely glad we have this opportunity for you to be exacting in your position and clear up any confusion by addressing my arguments, specifically. I have numbered them for your convenience

There is no fair comparison between the Quran and the Bible, either historically or in the claims made within the material itself. You dramatically overexaggerate any apparent similarities...

1. No I don't -- both the qur'an and the bible do NOT have extra-source objective evidence that supports a supernatural event (miracle). Specifically, in the case of the bible -- there is NO extra-biblical objective historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus nor is there extra-biblical objective historical evidence for the convoluted doctrine of salvation -- NONE.

You'll not find the eyewitness testimony or independent third party references...

2. Eyewitness proofs are inadmissible because you can not provide objective evidence, they were eyewitness as opposed to latter authors claiming eyewitness accounts to give it a false sense of authority and a bogus sense of credibility.

3. Additionally ANY independent third party historian would have written decades after the supposed death of christ and ALL there writings were based on the manufactured, embellished stories being passed on in the oral tradition. The wrote about what they heard; it was ALL based on hearsay -- hardly something that verifies the historicity of the resurrection.

4. Furthermore, what's even more damaging is, there are zero writings from historians from Jesus' time. Not a single scribe, historian or philosopher who lived during the time of Jesus wrote about what surely would have been a monumental piece of history -- what with jesus workin' all those miracles, resurrecting and all. The historians Seneca 4BC. - 65AD and Pliny the Elder 23? - 79AD never mention Jesus. Philo Judaeus, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and historian wrote volumes on the lives of Jews in and around the surrounding area and nothing is mentioned about the miracle-workin' Jesus the Christ. Go figure?

5. There were not ANY eye-witnesses that wrote about Jesus. First Jesus died between 27-30 A.D. Between his death and around 60 A.D. only stories of Jesus were circulated and handed down through the centuries

6. During Jesus' ministry, Jesus nor any of his apostles wrote anything down. For thirty years only the stories were told and embellished. What should be noted is no one signed or dated the manuscripts (Gospels) and we have no original copies. In all cases we have copies of copies of copies, with thousands of mistakes between them. Several different people, some professional scribes and some illiterate scribes would make the copies. These were handwritten and copied and re-copied throughout the centuries, where additional texts were added to push certain agendas during that time period. And of these copies, the authors attributed to the Gospels were just, best guesses by the church. The earliest manuscripts come from Paul and were written between 20 to 40 years after Jesus' death. As you know Paul never knew Jesus and only wrote about what he heard. All the other Gospels came after this and although some claim eyewitness accounts that does not mean they were written by the eyewitnesses.

sconnor said...

~continued~

...and most importantly you will not find anything similar to miracles and God's intervention into happening on earth as we find within the Bible because the Quran teaches the "transcendence" of Allah as he cannot mingle or be touched by humanity...

7. Just because the bible attributed miracles to Yahweh does not mean they have a reference in reality. Still waiting for you to provide objective historical evidence that the resurrection happened and that the convoluted doctrine of salvation has any reference in reality.

8. Also, nothing similar? -- wasn't it allah who intervened on behalf of his people by sending the arch-angel Gabriel down to recite his final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind?

So far as certainty goes, we are confident of the bible's historical reliability based on historical methods of study, obviously you reject the study of history and literary historical critical methods. The bible is repleate with miraculous interventions but those interventions are not the sum total of it and consequently there is no historical evidences to overturn the Bible's miraculous claims either directly or indirectly. Facts are that over 25,000 archaeological finds verify or confirm events, places and people stated within the Bible.

9. That's like saying, a giant ape that wrought havoc in NY City is true because New York City exists.

10. Can you see how you are offering bloated rationalizations, the equivalent of hammering a giant square peg into a tiny round whole? You are force fitting real archaeological finds and some real historical events and erroneously associate them with a supernatural event like the resurrection -- that's fallacious; that's bad form.

11. Bottom line using real people, places and events in your mythology doesn't mean the purported supernatural events took place.

12. Reiterating there is no archaeological evidence for the supernatural resurrection of jesus either. Archaeological evidence is not even a part of the puzzle because the ONLY thing it proves is a plot of land or a structure existed -- it does NOT in any way confirm the stories of the bible are true and it most certainly does not prove supernatural events took place in the bible, nor does it provide objective evidence for the existence of your personal christian god. Archaeological evidence is completely extraneous and does not support ANY of your (or the bibles') extraordinary claims. You know -- serpents with command of the human language, bread falling from gods bakery shop in heaven, the sun stopping in the middle of the sky for entire day jesus coming back to life alive and well, after being dead and buried for three days and so on and so forth.

sconnor said...

~continued~

Also for the record God is an uncaused cause and doesn't need an infinite regress as you allude to in your writing, but that's another story.

13. Why because you say so? Hear -- let me use the same strategic argument: the universe is an uncaused cause. Wow that was easy, now I see why you argue like that.

14. If you posit an argument -- regarding the universe -- that says something can't be created out of nothing -- then it is reasonable to concluded your argument fails miserably when it is pointed out to you god is a SOMETHING and according to your logic something can't come from nothing. You can't have it both ways.

15. Now -- with ALL this in mind, how can you be certain and sit there and profess that SPECIFICALLY the resurrection and the convoluted doctrine of salvation is an objective historical FACT as opposed to you making erroneous strained associations with extraneous archaeological evidence and strained presuppositions that the gospels are accurate first hand testimonies (as opposed to latter writers deceptively claiming eyewitness accounts), when it is clear they are manufactured stories embellished over time?

~As an aside~

And look who got on the train to diverge-ville, again.

I knew you couldn't address this specifically, below -- so you had to play the same game you've played before -- ignore and diverge.

16. Again explain to me why you believe it is "historically accurate" that Mary was contacted by an angel to tell her of god's prophesy while on the other hand you dismiss the "historical accuracy" of the arch angel Gabriel reciting Allah's final revelation of divine guidance and direction for mankind.

Please address ALL my arguments specifically.

--S.

Jonathan said...

"The Problem of Evil: What Can God Do?"

In order for a Christian to defend the biblical God they must defend evil.

I never said there isn’t a right and wrong, I however find these terms as almost bad as good and evil. An example you off is stringing someone from their toenails is not evil, disturbing, but not evil. The notion that humanity can identify its wrongness or rightness of an given subject by the biblical God is B..Bu…Bul.., is incorrect. The very foundation of Europe’s and our legal traditions are based on Roman law, not the bible. Christians over use this claims “we get our morality from the Christian God” way to liberally.

Historical have Christians behaved morally? No. Have Christians even entertained the notion of “loving ones’ neighbor as oneself”? No. The Hebrews themselves were no standard bearers on morality. The Hebrews acted no different than their neighbors.

During this same time the Chinese, Japanese, Indians, the Americas; anyone I missed all had moral and legal systems. In order to have a culture a moral and / or legal system is part of development of that culture. Your claim that humanities morality is from God based on the Christian God is ridiculous. Claiming the Christian God morality is superior to all others is also ridiculous. The only reason that the West has dominated the majority of the planet is more to do with technology than to God.

This is in regards to Christian morality. The very idea that you can justify God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son, regardless if God had sent an angle to stop him, or that God can flood the world, or get annoyed when a tower gets too tall, or killing the first born of those Egyptians, or having a infinitesimal group of people as God’s chosen, your understanding of morality is..ludic…different.

The very notion that you’re God had killed the first born of the Egyptians even the prisoners and animals are downright sadistic. The Old Testament written by a group of sadomasochistic people whose only purpose in life was to be punished by God. In fact the only reason why we know of the other cultures because the Hebrews thought God used them as tools to punish them. The killing of Egyptians sounds what a human would do but not a God.

I read this story from a rabbi, sorry I don’t have actual source.

cont.
As the Egyptians troops hurried after the Hebrews in the Red Sea, God freed the waters that God held in check. The angels jumped for joy as the Egyptians and their horses drowned from the waters of the Red Sea. God turned to the angels with a very stern look and said, “Those are my children too.”
cont-->

Jonathan said...

cont...
I wouldn’t trust the Old Testament as a history book. By its very nature is biased towards the Hebrews. One who is honest enough would have to use multiply sources to understand the area in discussion history.
The OT claims the Canaanites boiled their own children or praying to idols is in it self biased, in consideration of actual historical proof. The Canaanites and other nations of its times used physical representations of their Gods. They were not praying to a piece of stone but to what the stone represented. Since the biblical God knows it is the only God, God would have had enough common sense to realize the Canaanites were praying to God but in a practice they understood.

Canaanite Religion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaanite_religion

...why do you have a problem when God reclaims HIS property? I could go on and on.

Using the bibles logic God gave up this “property” whence God kicked us out of Eden. We are free to choose as we see fit. We are not property of anyone. God kicked us out. Were free! Gods little experiment of humanity tossed in the wild plains of the planet earth. Deal with it.

I think the Christian era started in 313 with Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan legalizing Christianity in the Roman Empire. Do you really think the last 1400 years have been a cake walk? Who has been in control for those years, Christians? Give me examples Christian morality during these years. These sources can be verified unlike the bible. What great example of Christian morality can you offer? Christian’s persecution of Jews, Muslims, and other Christians, heretics burning, the torture, and the lack of compassion towards their enemies. Historically you have no leg to stand on.

Flawed assumption of the superiority of Christian morality from flawed preachers.

In the “real” world you wouldn’t have a flawed accountant, biologist or anything, but in the Christian world you can still get a job and preach a false doctrine and some are very successful at it. Christians would do better in developing a unified theology rather than whine about so-called atheists’ foibles. The very notion that people like Todd Bentley claims of the dead rising because one of his sermons was playing on a monitor on GodTV in the mortuary of the deceased is down right laughable. Who watches TV during a funeral? Don’t you Christians police each doctrinally? How can Peter Popoff sell his holy water? How can Pat Robertson claim in 1972 the “end of the world” would happen in October or November 1982.

The many faces of Benny Hinn
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5582961561140514506#

You then claim some sort of moral superiority or make an assertion I personally get my morals from the Christian God, please. :(

Rob R said...

That this particular ability is one we, as the designer, might find undesirable does not make it somehow not part of the design. Nor does it completely absolve the designer from the effects of such an undesirable action or leave us completely without the ability to reduce the risk should it occur.

No scott, it doesn't absolve the designer. The designer is guilty of taking some completely worth while risks.

I get it that car designers reduce risks. God did the same thing. The risk of death and suffering were added design features to create a context to counteract the risk features of evil, of a creation that forever would be lost.

But the bottom line isn't changing one bit. You subjectively insist that the advantages we have from the risks weren't worth it. It's a subjective judgement and as such, it a problem of evil without the teeth it needs to be a show stopper.

Scott, if I can keep saying this, the discussion hasn't advanced. (And if I can keep saying this, the issue was settled long ago).

Of course your other route is to, as you suggested is that we could've had the advantages without the risk. Well, again, with the unprovable claims. And you could insist that I can't prove my claim, but again, it's the problem of evil that has been asserted as the show stopper. It's enough for the Christian to show that it's just their with inconclusive results and our view remains reasonable.

Robin said...

"Right -- if you could prove that Jesus rose from the dead -- then you WOULD have actual verifiable objective evidence for the historicity of the resurrection. But you don't -- aside from your lame attempt to present made up plot points from the story itself as "proof" which you can NOT substantiate that it is anything but an embellished fictional account."

Sconner,

It's not made up. There is SOME evidence that doesn't rely on the Gospels. The facts are agreed upon by most critics:

Jesus death by crucifixion

The subsequent experiences that the disciples were convinced were literal appearences of the risen Jesus

The corresponding transformation of these men

Paul's conversion experience after what he believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

To name a few.

There's a good book out on this called "Did The Resurrection Happen?"

A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew when he was an atheist.

Again, I don't think that this proves the resurrection happened but I think Christianity is in a better position than Islam.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

"So you agree---other faiths can punch robin's rationalized "Faith definitions" and rationalized "properly functioning cognitive faculties arguments" and use them to their advantage---correct"?

Faith is neither irrational nor abnormal. In fact non-faith goes against our very existence. Example, we make plans for our futures because we believe (have faith) that we will have a future. This is not irrational and has nothing to to with faulted cognitive abilities. It's irrational NOT to make plans and limit onesself to what we see today. Even if one has faith in the wrong things, faith is more representative of the nature of man than atheism is under any point.

You said I was ambiguous in pointing this type of thing out...look at the TAX CODE for example. Many lawyers read the Consititution and do not see the right of the gov't to impose a federal tax system, yet other lawyers looking at the SAME documents conclude there is a right for the gov't to do so. Do any of them have a "cognitive malfunction" NO!

Only the the LOOSER belives the WINNER is somehow deceived into believing what he/she believes is the right position...With this understanding, I see a clear pattern developing and developed amongst most atheists I know.

I'll do the rest of your BOGUS arguments in a minute

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Scott,

Regarding Christianity you said:"Yet in the end it still sinks to the bottom with the rest"

Well, hasn't sunk for over 2000 years so it must be a huge boat, in addition it does something that atheism will never continue to do and that's grow. In fact in a post Christian culture Christianity manages to get more converts to it than atheism does to it's lifeless and hopeless belief system.

Then you said you could create and explain evil with a better religion by stating that God had: "Perfectly evil twin brothers"

This may address questions you have but also creates a pantheon of gods which the bible says doesn't exist, a sibling relationship that implies birth and parentage, which the bible says is not so of God, and retraces thge yin/yang of Budhism. In addition it destroys the eternality of God whatsover. So basically what you'd create is a myth right?

Scott said...

Rob wrote: The risk of death and suffering were added design features to create a context to counteract the risk features of evil, of a creation that forever would be lost.

Lost? Now you seem to be making assuming about the opposite end of the spectrum. If God can redeem anyone at all, there would be no level of actuated risk that he could not redeem. Furthermore, he'd doing it after the fact. That's like sending the car to the body shop and sending the driver to the hospital *after* the collision. Except the mechanic and the doctor can fix any damage since he's omnipotent.

Instead, I'm tailing about proactively reducing the risk of collisions.

Rob wrote: Of course your other route is to, as you suggested is that we could've had the advantages without the risk. Well, again, with the unprovable claims.

Rob, as I've illustrated, we've already reduced risk. And we're only finite beings. So if God selected a particular level of risk, we've changed it. And we're likely to change it exponentially in the future.

Furthermore, there is a contradiction regarding the claim that a particular amount of risk must be "necessary" vs. our free-will, as we are actively using said free-will to significantly reduce the amount of risk that we must necessarly experience.

but again, it's the problem of evil that has been asserted as the show stopper. It's enough for the Christian to show that it's just their with inconclusive results and our view remains reasonable.

In case it's not clear, Christianity claims God designed the universe and the life forms in it. Should this be true, it would have significant implications.

In a response to that claim, I'm applying the null hypothesis to God as a designer in respect to the evil and suffering we have observed in the past, we observe in the present and we will experience in the future. However, it seems clear that he fails due to reasons I've outlined.

This includes how what God supposedly designed differers from the properties of things we *know* are designed, how his actions differs from *known* designers and unavoidable aspects of the process of design and creation itself.

In other words, not only do theists claim that God is a designer, when this in itself is unclear and unsubstantiated, but they base this claim on the idea that, as a designer, he would act unlike designers we do know to exist and design things that are unlike things that are known to be designed.

Nor do we see this value vs. specific level of risk relationship in reality as I've illustrated in several examples.

Finally, If this risk is necessary to create the kind of children that God want's, then why will he remove this risk by eradicating evil? Surely, a infinite God could have an infinite family and have a meaning full relationship with each and every one of them.

Merely saying, "it's a mystery" calls in to question the very reasonableness of your attempt to account for evil.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Andre,

"When a Christian tells me that without god nothing exists, this then tells me that god is the author of evil,"

That's because you are a RADICAL FUNDAMENTALIST when it comes to religious subjects. However you don't do this in other areas of your life. In other words when a company lays off 5,000 employees you don't claim that the company is responsible for the nations high unemployment do you? You make special pleading and literalist assetions to the bible to support your views. Either way your reasoning regarding this leaves a lot to be desired.

you asked:"before man existed did evil exist?"

Now there's some debate about when satan actiually rebelled, but at either rate evil was not ACTUALIZED in the earth until man choose by his own volition to violate the command of God. As I have stated the potential for evil existed, but evil was not in operation in the earth before this event.

You asked:"Are you saying that if God made us purely good, we would be capable of doing evil even without being given freewill?"

Obviously you're from the other side fo the tracks, because I've written nothing that even resembles that. Look, man was created good, holy and without evil. He was given the capacity to make choice. That capacity included the ability to disobey God. That choice was exercised by man's own volition that's when evil entered. It has nothing to do with the created state or condition as man was holy and good. evil is ony the corruption of that goodness and cannot exist by itself.

You said:"freewill is just a term"

Murderer is just a term, rapist is just a term too...according to you they don't mean anything...in fact according to you we all must be living in one big illusion, like the matrix right?

Sheesh!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jonathan,

"The very foundation of Europe's and our legal traditions are based on Roman law not the bible."

You know history, because you later mention Constantine in 313 AD and the effects of his reign on the Roman Empire and the world, but then make a totally ridiculous statement like that. Roman law was redeveloped by CHRISTIANITY and based on biblical jurisprudence. So your's statement is fundamentally correct but uncontextualized. roman law was BIBLICALLY based by the time it reached Europe and of course the West. Only RADICAL God haters deny the Christian underpinnings of modern law and jurisprudence. Either way your argument is not supported by historical evidences.

So far as Egypt was concerned, you said that God's killing of the firstborn was "sadistic".

Facts are that all of egypt deserved to die for rampant immorality, rape and other atrocities not to mention the worship of false gods. They got off easy and all they ahd to do was cover their doorposts and lentils with the same blood of the sacrifical lambs that were lsain and they too would have lived...but like most atheists they refused to believe obey and live...So rephrase the question, who was sadistic...the judge ending pain and suffering by making a judgement and bringnign justice or the person that knows how to excape that judgement but is filled with so much hate and rage that they refuse to even save their own lives? it's the atheist themse song I hear you playing in the background.

So far as historical proof of teh cannanite atrocities, I suppose you think the Cannanites left no evidence in their own writings of their own practices? You think that all we know about them is what's recorded in the bible? So sad.

Finally, as to Christian compassion historically, Christians may have their difficulties historically in responding to the atrocities of the Muslims and pagans of the day, however ATHEISM has NEVER contributed to the betterment of society without mimmicking Christian causes and efforts. every contribution of atheism has been rejected by the world over time...can you say Stahlin?

It's been fun.

Scott said...

Harvey wrote: Well, hasn't sunk for over 2000 years so it must be a huge boat, in addition it does something that atheism will never continue to do and that's grow.

Harvey, In case it's not clear, I'm referring to those of us who reject all religions because none of them seem to float. This is in contrast to saying that, out of all the religions that we have conceived of, the religion with the fewest "holes" must be true.

Furthermore, we can observe atheism continuing to grow.

This may address questions you have but also creates a pantheon of gods which the bible says doesn't exist, a sibling relationship that implies birth and parentage, which the bible says is not so of God, and retraces thge yin/yang of Budhism. In addition it destroys the eternality of God whatsover. So basically what you'd create is a myth right?

You seem to be rejecting the religious system I suggested based on the fact that it's something other than Christianity. This is clearly not valid grounds for rejection.

Also, when you use the term "father" in respect to God, could his not imply that God himself had a father? (parents have parents) Or are you merely using the term "father" in a limited sense to convey the specific relationship between us and God? When I use the term "twin brother" I'm doing the same thing - conveying the equal abilities and opposite alignment between both the good and evil God.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

When i get my computer right, I'm going to move this to an open post on my site and invite your for an ongoing debate since you like to talk so much. If you were a preacher,I'm sure I'd enjoy fellowshipping at your church, but i can see we'd need to pack a sack lunch at your church. hopefully one day that may be a reality. Anywho...

1-You said:"Both the Bible and the Quran do not have extra-source objective evidece that supports a supernatural event (miracle)"

How can one teach what one does not know and how can one lead where one does not go? ie: why would you expect secular historians to record supernatural events? I mean in American history there are many "stories" about God's intervention. In fact in the George Washington archives he records encounters with angles and prophecies. In the history books however we see no mention of these things. Are these things unauthentic when it's proven that they were written with his own hand? Your fallacious argument from SILENCE falls short and proves nothing...ABSOLUTELY nothing no matter how you prop it up. In addition to all of this we have all kinds of secular evidece that supports early Christian belief and those beliefs were static over the years that they were recorded. Yes they testify to the beliefs, but they also confirm that there were no embellishments as your claim is.

In short what you think is a powerful proof, is nothing more than what it is SILENCE and a reasonable response of secular historians. Please don't get something new, you are soooooo predictable.

2- You said:"eyewitness proofs are inadmissible"

You should have told Pookie that when he was given 40 years for that bank robbery...What world are you living in??? Legal scholars such as Dr. Simon Greenleaf have clearly and unequivocably(sic) established the qualifications of the eyewitness of the biblical record as a source EASILY admissable for evidentuary purposes within any court of law. In addition bauckham's argument in "Jesus & The eyewitnesses" is impeccable and puts radical positions and assertions such as your to shame. So your cognitive dissodence is no more than a temper tantrum beginning to show through.

3-You said:"All these writings were based on manufactured, embellished stories just passed on in the oral tradition."

FIRST, There is NO PROOF to support your assertion and what proof we find overturns what you assert. Secondly, there is no consideration to how alternate god concepts were treated within 1 Century Judaism, which would NOT have been favorable to Christianity IF Christianity were not true and witnessed by individuals held within esteem within the community, Third, When paul spoke some 20 to 30 years after jesus death he relayed traditions and teaching that were ALREADY settled within the early Church. This was one of the ways they identified his teaching to be authentic by the way. Fourth, historians can easily identify variations and when variations began by reading texts and various sources from the time frames. When it comes to Christianity we have a remarkable occurrance of a uniform and consistent set of "essential" beliefs that existed pre nicea. Fifth, is the evidence of Papias whic I'll mention later.

In short your arguments are ineffective.

pt. 2 on the way

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

You said:"no writings from historians from Jesus time"

There we go with that ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE FALLACY again. Proves NOTHING.

As stated though, what did Papias state was the preferred method of transferring and receiving information in his day of about 80 AD? Simply put the value was placed on a "in person" account given by a living witness. In that case validity of the story was questioned and inflection was received to place context to the story. Without knowing any of this, how would teh roman state or secular historian know that Christianity was different from Judaism in the beginning? Why would it have stuck out as a world religion when it was born? secular historians treat Christianity as we would expect them to especially 325 AD. That's not a mystery.

Let me ask you this, without doing a google or any other search right now, Do you know Bishop C.H. Mason or do you know bishop G.T. Haywood? These were religious leaders within the last 100 years and influence multiple millions in America today. Have you heard of them before now? Have you gone to the school and pulled a history book on American history? You'll not find them named. Does that mean they didn't exist or had no impact on society?

Since you major in fallacies from SILENCE. I suggest you develop another strategy, it's too easy to destroy.

Then so far as "original copies' go you at least admit that they were "copies" right? what were they copies of? THIN AIR??? Secondly, how can these "copies" be criticized as being inaccurate unless YOU have the originals in your back pocket? What you do is SPECULATE that things are wrong but you obviously admit at the same time that there were originals and that the originals at one time existed.

You said:"The earliest manuscripts come from Pail and were written between 20 to 40 years after Jesus death"

Paul never produced or presented a copy or version of the gospels or a Pauline bible, so i don't know what you're saying and maybe you didn't mean that so that's fine. What you do graciously point out though is that Paul wrote early 20 to 30 (you say 40)years after Jesus death and presents a fully developed creed in 1 Cor. 11 and 15. In the kind of 1st century religious and literary environment that this was, those ffacts become compelling truth that Paul's beliefs and statements as well as early Christian statements were unenbellished.

You asked:"wasn't it allah who interviened on behalf of his people by sending the arch-angel Gabriel down to receite his final revelation of divine guidence and direction for mankind"

That's the point God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world to himself 2Cor.5:19. Jesus wasn't an angel he was God. Hebrews 1:13 repeating Ps. 110:1.

end pt. 2

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

5-You said: "using real people, places and events in your mythology doesn't mean the purported supernatural events took place."

So the people and events were real just not the supernatural events because why? SILENCE!!! once again a failure and fallacious argument. You can go to www.dunamis2.wordpress.com and go to the article titled "Resurrection A historical Fact" and then we can critique the resurrection there. you may also want to bruch up on current arguments too, SILENCE isn't golden.

6-Then you boldly declare: "the universe is an uncaused cause"

That would be good IF IT WEREN'T FOR THE EVIDENCE that the universe had a beginning. Science also says that IF anything had a beginning, IT also by virtue of scientific knowledge must also have a cause. It's called the law of causality. So your mumbojumbo doesn't even fit that materialistic universe yet alone anything about God. God is a spirit, an immaterial reality and an uncreated and uncaused cause.

Now so far as your "showstopper" of the contrast between Gabriel's message to mary and Muhammad it's obvious why only ONE of these appearances is authentic and the other invalid:

1- both groups Muslims and Christians hold to the OT scriptures right? The OT in no way mentions Muhammad or salvation through islam or any of the islamic Shahaddah. Secondly, it (the OT) does however mention that the "seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head" Gen. 3:15 and that a child born of a virgin would be the deliverer or Messiah. Isaiah 7:14 etc. Then Daniel gives a vision of the Messiah in no rendering do we find muhammad or anything Islamic mentioned.

This means that IF God through gabriel gave a message of salvation to Muhammad then it was a message NOT based on the OT. It was a new message. The Quran states that's it's the same message of Abraham, but it's NOT.

So we can reasonably conclude that gabriel was NOT the messages and the message of Islam IS NOT from god based on what is fulfilled in the OT scriptures...SIMPLE ENOUGH?

Whatever comparison you make can EASILY be overturned when it comes to this any any apparent similarity is only that apparrent and easily overcame not because the New Testament says so, but because the scpritures of the OT confirms as much.

As always, you're so much fun and quite a hoot!

Later

Cory said...

Harvey said Don't switch the goal post my friend. We're talking about suffering and evil. Of course everyone wants to live for the good such as what you mentioned. But you don't answer the real question: Why should an atheist suffer because in the atheist worldview suffering means nothing? Experiencing evil means nothing and nothing from nothing still leaves nothing.

The Christian worldview is highly equipped to deal with this. I deal with this all the time dealing with families who've lost their loved ones. All you can offer is that "Yea, Joe suffered, had that cancer for years, it ate him up, at least now after all of that he'll rot in the grave...yep, doesn't mean a thing."

Whereas I know Joe has a future and it was part of my job to help prepare him for it...I have hope, you don't and your "belief" won't allow you to.

So far as your 'ultimate question" for me...I'm sorry but i don't understand what you want to know...all I can say is that there is noplace (even hell) that we can go where God does not hear us and is not there...does that answer your inquiry.


This is the crux of Christianity for many people. They want to find some reason for the horrible things experienced in life. The truth is that there is no meaning. There is no meaning in anything. Harvey, just because you want to believe that Joe will live happily ever after in an ethereal Disneyland, doesn't make it so. If believing in a god makes you happy, then by all means enjoy it while it lasts. Life is short, and if giving praise and spending your life preaching gives you pleasure then I commend you for pursuing what brings you joy.

But as for me personally, I could not be so intellectually dishonest with myself and live with it. You have nothing but a fervent hope that what you believe is true. And were any of the nonsense that you spout found to be true, I still would not worship the horrible monster you call father. You not only believe in a god that demanded the killing of innocent children, but you also worship him!

I am not an atheist because I wanted to be. I am an atheist because it is the truth, and I could not close my eyes to it.

Robin said...

"You have yet to demonstrate how her bloated rationalized reasonings are ANY more credible then that of a muslim using the same rationalized reasonings (rationalized FAITH definitions and rationalized "properly functioning cognitive faculties arguments")"

Sconner,

The model developed by Plantinga entails the truth of Christianity. If Christianity is true then it very likely has warrant. I cannot prove to you that Christianity is true. But I do think that my experience of the Holy Spirit plus the arguments for God and the evidences for the resurrection are sufficient for me to be justified in believing it. The arguments and evidence by themselves can be rationaly rejected.

Faith is a confident assurance produced in the believer by the Holy Spirit. Trusting in God and His promises.

Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

And for those who have never studied the arguments and evidences they can be rational and justified in believing in God if their cognitive faculties are functioning properly in the appropriate cicumstances according to a design plan successively aimed at the production of true beliefs.

For more on this see:

Warrant And Proper Function

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Cory,

Thanks and I appreciate your honesty. That's what atheism really is.

sconnor said...

harv

why would you expect secular historians to record supernatural events?

Great then we agree there is NO objective historical evidence for the resurrection or convoluted doctrine of salvation.

So when you eluded that there was extra biblical third party evidence for miracles you were either mistaken or confused?

You said, You'll not find the eyewitness testimony or independent third party references and illusions to miracles as we find contained within extrabiblical records...

In addition to all of this we have all kinds of secular evidece that supports early Christian belief and those beliefs were static over the years that they were recorded.

Whoop-D-do. You have evidence for a movement. We also have secular evidence for the growth of ALL the major religions that supports their beliefs.

Yes they testify to the beliefs, but they also confirm that there were no embellishments as your claim is.

Obviously you settle for apologists "scholarly investigation".

Real critical textual criticism shows that Luke and mostly Matthew borrowed heavily from Mark. John borrowed somewhat from Mark and possibly from Matthew and Luke. Thomas was apocryphal, but the majority of the sayings in Thomas agree with Mark and later with Luke and Mathew.

Modern critical scholars pretty much agree that the Pauline Epistles were written by paul. But Paul (The biggest chunk of the New Testament) was never an eyewitness to Jesus aside from his supposed magical meeting in Damascus and only wrote about what he heard.

Because of the excessive plagiarizing, we see evidential evolution of embellishment, -- over time -- as the stories are told and re-told. Each writer would embellish varying aspects to the story to suit their societal values and issues of the day. It is with this evidence and the other evidence I offered in in my arguments 3-6. It is an undeniable fact of textual criticism -- the gospels were embellished. I'm sure you have read ALL of Ehrman who has outline major discrepancies, inconsistencies and embellishments. I know -- you just DON'T want to acknowledge these embellishments.

You should have told Pookie that when he was given 40 years for that bank robbery...What world are you living in???

Are you kidding me? You are evidently living in a world where your legal knowledge is severely lacking. If ALL they had on Pookie was some guy who said he saw it without ANY supporting objective evidence -- Pookie wouldn't be looking at those bars. Legally, it is solid evidence that puts people behind bars.

Manufactured accusations are the ones to look out for. If someone made an accusation that you were stealing from the offertory baskets -- would you admit you pocketed the money and freely allow yourself to be punished or would you ask for objective evidence for the infraction, solid evidence apart from what someone said they saw?

Regardless, legally speaking, supposed eyewitness testimony is impotent evidence without corroborating objective evidence.

sconnor said...

~continued~

~Dr. Simon Greenleaf~

Bwahahahahahahaha.

Greenleaf is NOT a biblical scholar, he is a 19 century lawyer who was also zealous christian apologists. His conclusions are weak and strained. His opinion is untenable when it comes to matters of christian evidence and the embellishments of the New Testament He doesn't carry any weight in this discussion

Greenleaf has been repeatedly debunked for his strained and faulty conclusions and he takes the biased position the biblical accounts are absolute fact regardless of the evidence. (especially considering modern criticism) Just because he was confused and decided to manipulate his findings to support his warped beliefs doesn't make him a credible authority.

Finally you completely ignored the specifics of my argument: show objective evidence that they were true eyewitnesses of the events as opposed to latter authors claiming eyewitness accounts to give it a false sense of authority and a bogus sense of credibility.

Waiting...........

I said:"All these writings were based on manufactured, embellished stories just passed on in the oral tradition."

FIRST, There is NO PROOF to support your assertion and what proof we find overturns what you assert.

Oddly enough you skipped the first portion of my argument which clarifies we were talking about independent third party historians and then you skipped over the last part that argues they have NO credibility because they were Not first hand eyewitnesses of the ANY of the events in question(ie. the resurrection) and they only wrote about what they had heard. Independent third party historians have NO credibility because it was ALL based on hearsay -- oral stories told over and over again.

Additionally I have presented evidence for embellishments, above and in numbers 3-6. I would also like to submit that is perfectly reasonable to conclude oral stories told over years would be embellished, considering fallible humans have a proclivity to that sort of story telling.

sconnor said...

~continued~

Consider George Washington (since you used that example before). We have tons of verifiable objective evidence for his existence but people still embellished -- painting a mythologized portrait of the person.

He never chopped down a cherry tree, he never said, I can not tell a lie, his teeth weren't made of wood, he did not wear wigs, nor did he throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River.
President Washington has been elevated to a hero-legend of American folk tales. With heroic paintings depicting a majestic almost non-human entity, that conveys a mystical quality and down plays the real man. The painting of Washington crossing the Delaware depicts a confident, unflinching, courageous, man without any doubts, in a heroic stance, but the boats that were used to cross the Delaware in that point in history, were made so, everyone would stand, and Washington had many reservations about going to war. People think of Washington as a military genius, bringing together all of America to fight, out maneuvering the British army with ingenious, never thought of tactics, when in reality America didn't congeal as a mass army, part of America wanted British rule or nothing to to with the war, and these new maneuvers, were simply tactics used out of necessity and his overall record as a commanding officer in the war was not that great. We have erected massive monuments to the man, portraying him as super-human and people through out history, have embellished and turned Washington into an icon -- the father of our country-- of mythical proportions forever etched into the American psyche. This is what happened to your Jesus character.

My main argument is NOT that Jesus never existed (although his existence is questionable) -- my main argument is you have no way of directly verifying with objective evidence, the gospels are anything besides fictional embellished stories told over time, portraying a fictional, made up, messiah -- based on a fallible human prophet or an amalgamation of several prophets or people and several manufactured stories, myths and legends.

Considering how Washington was embellished it doesn't take a leap of faith to come to the conclusion that a mythical Jesus was also manufactured.

You lay claim to the resurrection and resulting doctrine of salvation -- I want you to supply direct objective evidence that this has a reference in reality as opposed to deceptive embellishments to construct a mythologized Jesus. But you can NOT.

sconnor said...

~continued~

Secondly, there is no consideration to how alternate god concepts were treated within 1 Century Judaism, which would NOT have been favorable to Christianity IF Christianity were not true and witnessed by individuals held within esteem within the community,

What does that prove?

Third, When paul spoke some 20 to 30 years after jesus death he relayed traditions and teaching that were ALREADY settled within the early Church. This was one of the ways they identified his teaching to be authentic by the way.

Yeah -- so? It still doesn't prove the validity of what was said or that it was ANY thing more than manufactured stories, embellished over time.

Fourth, historians can easily identify variations and when variations began by reading texts and various sources from the time frames. When it comes to Christianity we have a remarkable occurrance of a uniform and consistent set of "essential" beliefs that existed pre nicea. Fifth, is the evidence of Papias whic I'll mention later.

Yeah -- beliefs based on fictional stories.

Again, hardly something that verifies the specifically the historicity of the resurrection.

I said:"no writings from historians from Jesus time"

There we go with that ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE FALLACY again. Proves NOTHING.

You posited there were third party historians.

You said, You'll not find the eyewitness testimony or independent third party references and illusions to miracles as we find contained within extrabiblical records...

I provided evidence that there were NONE from the time of Jesus.

It is a germane and salient argument if you contend the christian faith is true because people supposedly relayed accurate information about the supposed resurrection of the messiah. It is unfathomable that this monumental miracle happened and NOT ONE historian from Jesus' time took note of it. Which tells me the event didn't happen and stories of messiahs told decades after the supposed event were manufactured, embellished and eventually caught on -- to form the true christian church -- several of them!

sconnor said...

~continued~

~The existence of Bishop C.H. Mason bishop G.T. Haywood~

So what -- they didn't claim to be the metaphysical, resurrected, son of god. My contention that Jesus never existed is only cursory to my MAIN argument that you have NO objective evidence for the resurrection.

Then so far as "original copies' go you at least admit that they were "copies" right? what were they copies of? THIN AIR???

No -- they were copies from other copies from other copies that do not exist anymore but before that they were stories told and retold over time. Hardly a credible source of historical fact.

Secondly, how can these "copies" be criticized as being inaccurate unless YOU have the originals in your back pocket? What you do is SPECULATE that things are wrong but you obviously admit at the same time that there were originals and that the originals at one time existed.

Yes to be sure there is an amount of speculation. But the copies we have, do have discrepancies, mistakes and embellishments from newer copies compared with older copies. You would have to be intellectually dishonest not to conclude that there is sure to be more mistakes, discrepancies and embellishments as we go back in time. Not to mention we have evidence for fallible humans to have a proclivity to embellish their stories (Washington as one example). Furthermore when you take into account NONE of Jesus' supposed apostles wrote anything down and the stories were passed on by fallible humans through the oral tradition, over the years -- it's not a stretch of the imagination to conclude the Jesus stories were embellished to push certain agendas of the time.

What's more -- it's telling that you just simply ignored; skipped over my evidence in my arguments 3-6 which establishes why I contend the story of Jesus was a piece of fiction embellished over time.

Just close your eyes and pretend like it's not there.

Again, please present direct objective evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Not indirect supposed evidences.

sconnor said...

~continued~

those ffacts become compelling truth that Paul's beliefs and statements as well as early Christian statements were unenbellished.

Uh -- no. Paul NEVER knew Jesus so ANYTHING he wrote about was based on hearsay or he made it up. NOTHING to point to the historicity of Jesus Nor does it provide objective evidence for Jesus' resurrection.

That's the point God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world to himself 2Cor.5:19. Jesus wasn't an angel he was God. Hebrews 1:13 repeating Ps. 110:1.

Ha -- Jesus being god is debatable.

Jesus never claimed he was god. The verses you can quote are few and mostly come from the idiosyncratic John and are always quoted out of context with layers of interpretation piled upon them, while never considering the real, simplified explanation. When Jesus says, "I and the Father are one", contextually, he means that they are on the same page -- that they are of one mind, trying to accomplish the same goals, not in any metaphysical sense, where they are two beings, magically, bonded together as one god. Likewise, when Jesus says, "If you have seen me you have seen my Father", the simple more accurate explanation is, he letting everyone know that his actions are in accord with god's will and is not declaring he, himself, was god.

Here are some contradictory, schizophrenic verses that show jesus was NOT god.

Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 16:19
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

John 8:40
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God.

John 14:28
My Father is greater than I.

John 20:17
I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

1 Corinthians 11:3
The head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 15:28
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Colossians 3:1
Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

sconnor said...

~continued~

I said: "using real people, places and events in your mythology doesn't mean the purported supernatural events took place."

So the people and events were real just not the supernatural events because why? SILENCE!!! once again a failure and fallacious argument. You can go to www.dunamis2.wordpress.com and go to the article titled "Resurrection A historical Fact" and then we can critique the resurrection there. you may also want to bruch up on current arguments too, SILENCE isn't golden.

You argument posits that archaeological evidence supports the miracles in the bible. You said: The bible is repleate with miraculous interventions but those interventions are not the sum total of it and consequently there is no historical evidences to overturn the Bible's miraculous claims either directly or indirectly. Facts are that over 25,000 archaeological finds verify or confirm events, places and people stated within the Bible.

This is an illogical leap where you associate archaeological evidence with the fictional stories and then you declare the fictionalized miracle has a reference in reality.

My argument contends that archaeological evidence do NOT substantiate the miraculous event.

I am also not saying the people and events were real either. My position is some of the stories may have a reference in reality. Like there is a place called Jerusalem -- that doesn't mean the events told in the stories actually took place there -- get it?

The only thing fallacious is you associating some archaeological finds with a fictionalized account and declaring it really happened because the story tellers used a real town or mentioned a real person that could be verified.

Again NOT one archaeological find verifies the resurrection.

Again you completly ignored number twelve because explain quite clerly my position.

You misrepresent my position by saying: So the people and events were real just not the supernatural events because why?

Any of the archaeological evidence you purport to have, could prove that certain events or people may have existed, but that is the extent of it. You take the illogical leap by presenting these innocuous events as some sort of proof that the other unverified events in the bible are true -- that's fallacious.

You have constructed a fantasy world for yourself by presenting strained supposed evidences and stretched thin rationalized notions to support you belief in the resurrection.

You have absolutely NO DIRECT, objective historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

sconnor said...

~continued~

That would be good IF IT WEREN'T FOR THE EVIDENCE that the universe had a beginning. Science also says that IF anything had a beginning, IT also by virtue of scientific knowledge must also have a cause. It's called the law of causality. So your mumbojumbo doesn't even fit that materialistic universe yet alone anything about God.

Your NOT catching on to the concept. Yes -- the big bang happened and it created the universe but there existed the building blocks of the universe (dense hot condition of elementary matter) that were present before the big bang.

Why is it so difficult to conclude that the dense hot condition of elementary matter always existed?

God is a spirit, an immaterial reality and an uncreated and uncaused cause.

Repeating the same ole' thing but changing some of the words doesn't make it anymore true.

Here -- I'll yield to Sam Harris:

"As many critics of religion have pointed out, the notion of a Creator poses an immediate problem of an infinite regress. If God created the universe, what created God? To insert an inscrutable God at the origin of the universe explains absolutely nothing. And to say that God, by definition, is uncreated, simply begs the question. (Why can't I say that the universe, by definition, is uncreated?) Any being capable of creating our world promises to be very complex himself. As the biologist Richard Dawkins has observed with untiring eloquence, the only natural process we know of that could produce a being capable of designing things is evolution." -- Sam Harris

1- both groups Muslims and Christians hold to the OT scriptures right? The OT in no way mentions Muhammad or salvation through islam or any of the islamic Shahaddah. Secondly, it (the OT) does however mention that the "seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head" Gen. 3:15 and that a child born of a virgin would be the deliverer or Messiah. Isaiah 7:14 etc. Then Daniel gives a vision of the Messiah in no rendering do we find muhammad or anything Islamic mentioned.

Hmmmmmmm isn't this an argument from silence?

Doesn't matter if the OT didn't reference the the arch angel giving the final revelation from Allah. Furthermore the NT was embellished to take into account those supposed references to Mary. How difficult could it have been for those NT writers to tell the story of Jesus so it would conform to the supposed prophesy of the OT?

You simply have a double standard when it comes to your supernatural events having a reference in reality as opposed to other religions -- no matter how you rationalize them.

--S.

sconnor said...

robin

It's not made up. There is SOME evidence that doesn't rely on the Gospels. The facts are agreed upon by most critics:

Jesus death by crucifixion


What objective evidence do you have for Jesus' crucifixion outside of the gospels?

The subsequent experiences that the disciples were convinced were literal appearences of the risen Jesus

Show me the evidence outside the bible that the experiences the disciples had of the risen Jesus has any reference in reality.

The corresponding transformation of these men

Show me the evidence. Or how does someone transforming prove anything?

Paul's conversion experience after what he believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

There's NO objective evidence for this outside the bible -- you're off your rocker.

To name a few.

To name none.

There's a good book out on this called "Did The Resurrection Happen?"

A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew when he was an atheist.


Um -- I'm trying to garner your beliefs. I want to know what makes you believe -- I can NOT debate these guys. Exercise your mind and tell me what you think.

Again, I don't think that this proves the resurrection happened...

And again if you could prove the resurrection happened you would have actual verifiable objective evidence for its historicity.

So, admittedly, you are not relying on evidence for the resurrection and the subsequent remedy for sin; you know this doesn't prove anything -- you just believe because you want to believe.

...but I think Christianity is in a better position than Islam.

Both are based on delusional reasoning that have no reference in reality.

--S.

Gandolf said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said..."Gandolf,

you said:"as a nonbeliever suffering still does have meaning for me..."

OK. What does it mean for you? What purpose does it have?"

Howdy Harvey

I wont bother saying too much until you come back to me and explain.

For starters

If nobody showed any suffering in this world, how do you propose we would ever be able to know they actually had something wrong with them! that hopefully we could look further into moving quickly into finding ways of trying to remedy?

Thats not even one good reason for suffering Harv?

Lets see,if we had a world where people get sick get hurt etc but never ever feel or show anything.Hmmmmm what intelligent design that would be to help us to be sure to be prompt in getting on in making sure we try to get onto doing something about it.

People would get cancers year in and year out and we would be none the wiser and these poor folks would simply quietly die from it,why would we think anything of it?

Maybe those that had more feelings and showed suffering were the ones better equipped for survival Harv.People were able to realize they had something wrong that they needed help for,and these people then lived more often and so passed their genes on.

"YOU BELIEVE that life's tribulations and suffering are meaningless and what you don't understand is simply pointless...that's the futility of atheism..."

I see Harv i see,yes its just that simple.Of course you`d know wouldnt ya.

Gandolf said...

Harvey said ...."Sorry about your experiences but they aren't mine. I gladly serve the Lord and my life has been made better because of it all the way around."

Thats pretty much what faith overall amounts to in a nutshell huh Harvey.A very selfish way of thinking.

As long as im happy thats all that matters!.

And then Faithful folk bleat and sob and say woe is me im being persecuted!, when they feel people are being mean and disliking them.

Go figure!

Thankfully their ancient guru`s remembered to also add prophecies in the books they wrote,saying hey joe in the latter days people will really start hating you.

Go figure!.Was it really such a hard thing to see coming?.Did it really take a bloody prophet to see it?.

Im sure what with folks families getting stoned to death becoming quite common and often back in them days,the idea of people starting to dislike them wasnt such a hard prophesy to make was it Harv?

Damm sure even some retards could understand it easily!.

That is unless they were faithful as well.

Gandolf said...

Harvey says...."Sorry about your experiences but they aren't mine. I gladly serve the Lord and my life has been made better because of it all the way around."

Yeah right Harv, and a member of the Taleban probably feels much the same way huh?

Who gives a Fuck about anyone else!.As long as im happy :)

We should really enjoy having Christians in this world,they are happy.Who else matters?

Jonathan said...

Hello District Supt. Harvey Burnett:

Roman law was redeveloped by CHRISTIANITY and based on biblical jurisprudence.

The law of Rome escaped this influence to a large extent, because much of it was compiled before Christianity was recognized by the public authorities..

Towards the end of the page…

In the Roman law there is hardly any reference to Scripture. And that is not surprising, since the spirit of Roman legislation, even under the Christian emperors, was heathen, and the emperor — the principle voluntas — was conceived of as the supreme and ultimate source of legislation.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09066a.htm

This is just a sampling.

Constantine accepted Christianity but he still was the Emperor of Rome. He stopped the persecutions of Christians there were other Christians who were still being persecuted for being heretical. Example is Marcionism.

If you have any articles that states your position please send a reply.

Only RADICAL God haters…

sound of brakes screeching

I can’t hate for what doesn’t exist. Beside what is the difference between hating God and Radically hating God? Is their a difference?

I don’t think Christianity is any closer to God than the Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek or Roman religious practices.

cover their doorposts and lentils with the same blood of the sacrificial lambs

Huh?

Other than the bible can you provide sources that God had cast down God’s judgment on the Egyptians or the Canaanites?

Going by the bibles own logic the Egyptians and Israelites were from the same source Adam / Eve, couldn’t God have spread the good news of social cohesion? What kind of statement does God make when God joins in the blood letting? This makes perfect sense to you? If two of your family members are fighting do you make popcorn, pull up some chairs and watch? Do you join in, or do you separate the two. The bible paints God as some sort of blood thirsty buffoon.

however ATHEISM has NEVER contributed to the betterment of society without mimicking Christian causes and efforts.

*Christians are always correcting the mistakes that they should have not committed in the first place.

*Ministry Watch, Wall watchers are perfect examples of how Christians misuse their money and need other Christians to correct their mistakes.

*Where Is Atheism When Bad Things Happen?
http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/2007/04/18/where-is-atheism-when-bad-things-happen/

Atheism doesn’t offer an explanation but only says, if it says anything at all to be skeptical of outrageous claims.

So-called atheists are easy targets. It like you need to have these “debates” in order for Christians to prove to their flocks they are doing something with their donation money.

And if Christians actually had some “” people like Benny Hinn, Peter Popoff, and Todd Bentley would never get their ministries of the ground. I would think Christians would have some sort of system that would peer-review their doctrine. But how many Christians give away their money to people I have just mention?

Stealing Sheep: The Church's Hidden Problems
http://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Sheep-Churchs-Problems-Transfer/dp/0830822798

Regarding Stalin he was a freaking nut case who should have never been given any power. The same nutcases who accepted his authority without any reservations. Russia’s was backward compared to Europe and never developed the complicated and tedious development of their legal system. Russia had always been a command society, they just changed commanders. The problem with is Russia was a Christian nation prior and during the revolution. The monarchy and the religious intuitions themselves were part of the reason of Russia’s internal instabilities in maintaining order.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

"Jesus never claimed he was god."

Yea, and the moon is CHARTRUSE too...Jesus said,

I and my father are ONE...

In the beginning was the word and the word WAS God...

Jesus said, before Abraham was, I Am...

Jesus received worship, claimed that he was not only the Messiah but also God to Caiphas repeating Daniel 7:14 which was a picture of the JUDGE or God himself.

Further the NT is repleate with what the church though about HIM, saying that he was God through many doxologies contained within the NT, further he shares the attributes of God all throughout scripture, receives worship, Thomas calls him "My Lord and My God"...He sits on the throne OF God with God in judgement in the last day etc...

Your assertions show and prove that you don't know the NT or the gospels. I'm doing this off the top of my head not even with a bible or a open bible program.

Jesus made certain open clear and positive claim to be God.

sconnor said...

robin

The model developed by Plantinga entails the truth of Christianity.

From what you presented here: Specifically, your "faith argument" and your "cognitive faculties are functioning properly argument" can easily be applied to another faith while getting different belief results.

This is why this argument is impotent. Just because you say it is for a christian model -- doesn't mean your "faith argument" and your "cognitive faculties are functioning properly argument" can't be used to "prove" other faith beliefs.

Now can you tell me specifically why your same weak arguments: your "faith argument" and your "cognitive faculties are functioning properly argument" can NOT be used for other faiths.

Waiting....................

If Christianity is true then it very likely has warrant. I cannot prove to you that Christianity is true.

I know you can't prove christianity is true. It doesn't have ANY objective evidence for it's resurrection and salvation claims.

But I do think that my experience of the Holy Spirit...

Which is NOTHING more than you falsely attributing emotion to an invisible holy ghostie and rationalizing a divine hand has something to do with it.

...plus the arguments for God and the evidences for the resurrection are sufficient for me to be justified in believing it.

I know they're sufficient for you -- that's because you simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences by over rationalizing. Again you believe because you want to believe.

There is not one shred of objective evidence for the resurrection or the convoluted doctrine of salvation -- NONE.

The arguments and evidence by themselves can be rationaly rejected.

Duly noted

I'm still waiting for you to present the objective evidence from the following post:

Jesus death by crucifixion

What objective evidence do you have for Jesus' crucifixion outside of the gospels?

The subsequent experiences that the disciples were convinced were literal appearences of the risen Jesus

Show me the evidence outside the bible that the experiences the disciples had of the risen Jesus has any reference in reality.

The corresponding transformation of these men

Show me the evidence. Or how does someone transforming prove anything?

Paul's conversion experience after what he believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

There's NO objective evidence for this outside the bible -- you're off your rocker.

To name a few.

To name none.

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

"Greenleaf has been repeatedly debunked for his strained and faulty conclusions and he takes the biased position the biblical accounts are absolute fact regardless of the evidence."

Obviously not by you though sconnor...as you tell Robin, "I wanna know what YOU think" as if that provides some greater credibility when all you reguirgitate is other atheist bablings and rantings...no credibiklity sconnor...NONE!

In addition, the criteria that was used was not to reargue the validity of the testament it was to argue the structure and the admissability of the material. It passed all tests then as it does now and his findings have not been debunjked by anyone especially anyone that you're reading from I'm confident to say that.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

"Oddly enough you skipped the first portion of my argument which clarifies we were talking about independent third party historians and then you skipped over the last part that argues they have NO credibility because they were Not first hand eyewitnesses of the ANY of the events in question(ie. the resurrection) and they only wrote about what they had heard."

Oddly you have no idea about evidentury(sic) findings and eyewitness accounts...In fact an expert witness can be someone who NEVER saw anything for themselves...people are convicted on this type of evidence everyday, simply put, you're like a fish out of water...kinda choked up there aren't ya Sconnor?

so far as historical studies are concerned ther's more of that type of evidence for events in history than any first hand accounts...you just refuse to accept how historical studies are done because you have NO CLUE.

look at this and learn something if you can:

"When contrasted to many of the most popular historical writings which have been taken seriously by modern historians, the bible stands head and shoulders above most if not all writings of antiquity. Some of those writings include writings of historians such as Livy who records events from 59 BC to 17 AD, however MSS’s date from 4th Century (only 27 copies), Tacitus who records events from 56 AD to 120 AD, however MSS’s date from the 9th Century (3 copies many lost volumes) Seutonius who records events from 69 AD to 140 AD, however MSS’s date from 9th Century (200+ copies) Thucydides who records events from 460 BC to 400 BC, however MSS’s date from 1st Century (20 copies) and Herodotus who records events from 484 BC to 425 BC however MSS’s date from 1st Century (75 copies){2} Most of these books are undisputed as providing accurate historical information whereby the past is viewed, and although scant and sometimes lost in their original forms, most are yet supported by diligent historical study"~ http://dunamis2.wordpress.com/cat-died/

Your expression shows a radical and highly irrational view of all views opposing yours...very unreasonable to say the least...but what more can I say of person who hates something that they don't even believe exists in the first place.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

sconnor,

"Your NOT catching on to the concept. Yes -- the big bang happened and it created the universe but there existed the building blocks of the universe (dense hot condition of elementary matter) that were present before the big bang.

You're not catching the concept, dense hot condition would have to be caused by an INTELLIGENCE at least as great to cause the condition. What you're saying even violates your precios god called science. If science is how you learn you haven't learned too much...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

Yeah -- so? It still doesn't prove the validity of what was said or that it was ANY thing more than manufactured stories, embellished over time.

Doesn't have to, only have to prove that your assertion is false and unsupported and that's what it proves...they fought a WAR over this sort of thing previously that set the stage for this...heard of the Macabees?

This wasn't the environment to get traction spreading false theories of God worship. 1st century had a strict montheistic attitude, that's what we learn from historical study instead of simple assertions because they sound good...

in additionIt is unfathomable that this monumental miracle happened and NOT ONE historian from Jesus' time took note of it. Which tells me the event didn't happen and stories of messiahs told decades after the supposed event were manufactured, embellished and eventually caught on -- to form the true christian church -- several of them!

so you heard of Mason or not? he must not have lived because not ONE secular historian has placed his name in an history book...FOOLISH reasoning...got some swamp land in Arizona for a premium price if you'd like to buy???

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

sconnor,

No -- they were copies from other copies from other copies that do not exist anymore but before that they were stories told and retold over time. Hardly a credible source of historical fact.,

YEA RIGHT! This only further proves you have no regard for how this was done or that you simply have no clue...get a life sconnor, I'm beginning to think you be an ad-hoc-er

you said:But the copies we have, do have discrepancies, mistakes and embellishments from newer copies compared with older copies.

Yea, you and Ehrman are a riot...less than 1% of variants meann anything at all and NONE and I mean NONE of the variants have to do with doctrine of Christian teaching on essentials...only orthopraxy IF that...

repeating arguments that are worn out and tired and PROVEN false only makes you look more desperate to find some reason to continue the foolishness of unbelief...good job!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

My argument contends that archaeological evidence do NOT substantiate the miraculous event...I am also not saying the people and events were real either.

No kidding Sherlock...that's because you're a historical minimalist wich is another CRIME in and of itself...totally unreasonable...

Evidence ABOUNDS for the resurrection INCLUDING but not limited to that eyewitness accounting that IS ADMISSABLE in any court as evidence confirming the events...then there are even hostile confirmations of the same from non-Christian sources...you're living in a fog Sconnor...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

sconnor,

Consider George Washington (since you used that example before). We have tons of verifiable objective evidence for his existence but people still embellished -- painting a mythologized portrait of the person,

but his own writings CAN'T be embellished...well maybe in your world they would be, but not in a rational person's world...OK maybe he simply lied...oK...sconnor, OK

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

sconnor,

"Great then we agree there is NO objective historical evidence for the resurrection or convoluted doctrine of salvation."

No but we can agree that you BURY your head in the sand and pretend that what objective evidence that does exist is not really there or means something else or any number of rationalizations to make you feel better about your unbelief...

you said:Real critical textual criticism shows that Luke and mostly Matthew borrowed heavily from Mark.

Maybe real criticism says maybe they saw and witnessed teh SAME or similar events...whatever was written in duplicate only confirms the facts that existed...what the john hay???

You need another 3 HOURs to straighten out another of your many confusions...

sconnor said...

harv

Obviously not by you though sconnor...as you tell Robin, "I wanna know what YOU think" as if that provides some greater credibility when all you reguirgitate is other atheist bablings and rantings...no credibiklity sconnor...NONE!

She just name-dropped without paraphrasing what their arguments were.

We could name-drop all day long but that wouldn't accomplish anything. I could give you five names and you could give me five name ans so on and so forth, without ever establishing what they were arguing.

In addition, the criteria that was used was not to reargue the validity of the testament it was to argue the structure and the admissability of the material. It passed all tests then as it does now and his findings have not been debunjked by anyone especially anyone that you're reading from I'm confident to say that.

And I'm confident that he in NO way can provide direct objective evidence for the resurrection or the claims of salvation.

Why don't you show me how he provides direct objective evidence for the resurrection and the claims of salvation.

Yea, and the moon is CHARTRUSE too...

COLORS OF THE MOON

~Jesus was god argument~

Did you even read my entire argument?

You offered up, I and my father are ONE...

When I already argued a more simplified explanation.

Also I noticed you conveniently ignored ALL the contradictory verses I supplied that showed that Jesus didn't think he was god.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

In fact an expert witness can be someone who NEVER saw anything for themselves...

You are playing fast and loose with the definitions. An "expert witness" is not the same as an eyewitness.

Again eyewitness testimony must be corroborated with objective evidence just like in the offertory example I supplied.

You're not catching the concept, dense hot condition would have to be caused by an INTELLIGENCE at least as great to cause the condition. What you're saying even violates your precios god called science. If science is how you learn you haven't learned too much...

So good we agree there was something before the big bang. remember you said: That would be good IF IT WEREN'T FOR THE EVIDENCE that the universe had a beginning.

So you are catching on -- there was something (elementary matter) before the big bang.

Now you are back to something had to create that something (elementary matter)

would have to be caused by an INTELLIGENCE at least as great to cause the condition. What you're saying even violates your precios god called science. If science is how you learn you haven't learned too much...

Again, using your argument -- what caused your complex god? If you can posit he always existed, then that assertion refutes your previous argument, even when you rationalize god is supposedly a spirit, an immaterial reality.

so you heard of Mason or not? he must not have lived because not ONE secular historian has placed his name in an history book...

Why? -- did he perform miracles and did he rise from the dead after being buried for three days? Or did he do ANYTHING that was regarded as the MOST monumental piece of history equivalent to the supposed resurrection that secured the salvation of mankind?

Regardless, your messiah, the one who tromped around the desert for 30 years performing ALL sorts of miracles, including the monumental event of being resurrected to SAVE MANKIND was NOT noted by ANY historian of the time. That's damning evidence even if you want to turn a blind eye to it.

YEA RIGHT! This only further proves you have no regard for how this was done

No -- I know exactly how it was done.

Stories were handed down through the oral tradition for years. Oral stories are unreliable as shown by the proclivity of fallible humans to make mistakes, lie to push agendas, and embellish. Paul ran with these manufactured stories 30-40 years after christ's supposed death, which were based on NOTHING more then hearsay. The other gospels were embellished and borrowed heavily from each other and were written 40-100 years later by people who were not witnesses to jesus' life but claimed eyewitness testimony to give their writings a bogus sense of credibility. The remaining copies we have are riddled with discrepancies, embellishments and mistakes which puts the reliability of the NT in question. I also contend the miracles (specifically the resurrection) were added to feed into the superstitious people of the day, which you contend really happened, without providing ANY direct objective evidence. You don't have objective evidence for the resurrection you have a rationalized god-concept that was constructed by bronze age men.

sconnor said...

~continued~

~Considering Ehrman~

I know, I know REAL biblical scholarship rattles your cage.

And what's with the overabundance of these remarks, below? They do NOTHING to further your case.

simply put, you're like a fish out of water...kinda choked up there aren't ya Sconnor?

because you have NO CLUE.

but what more can I say of person who hates something that they don't even believe exists in the first place.

FOOLISH reasoning...

you simply have no clue...get a life sconnor


~and let's explore this quote, below, further~

but what more can I say of person who hates something that they don't even believe exists in the first place.

I don't hate something I know nothing of.

I contend there is some sort of ultimate reality but essentially god is unknowable. So I can't hate what's unknowable.

You do NOT know the will and character of god, either -- you only rationalize you do, by idiosyncratically interpreting the spurious words of scripture.

Like I have said before, If god exists, our understanding or definition of god would be wholly inferior. A god (an ultimate reality) shouldn't have all the faults of humanity; IT should be far above us at least in equaling the magnitude of the universe. IF there is a god -- IT would have to transcend all thought; IT would have to be something that we can't even begin to imagine, let alone giving IT inept human attributes. Which is why I reiterate -- I humbly submit, If god exists, I do NOT know god; god is unknowable and christians sure as crap don't know god either!

Again as always, if god exists, then god knows, exactly, where to find me -- he can tell me, exactly, and concisely, everything he needs me to know, himself -- this way, I can be absolutely certain, what god wants from me, and I don't have to rely on some fallible, deluded christian, that makes extraordinary, interpretive claims, he can NOT substantiate.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

Evidence ABOUNDS for the resurrection INCLUDING but not limited to that eyewitness accounting that IS ADMISSABLE in any court as evidence confirming the events...

Fine -- then that stellar legal approach (albeit erroneous) and using your logic -- the personal eyewitness testimony of Muhammad is admissible also.

...AND Joseph Smith's eyewitness testimony is admissible.

...And ALL the NDE'rs who who were first hand eyewitnesses to the light of god who came back and revealed your beliefs are antithetical to the god they witnessed.

Yeah -- personal eyewitness testimony is staggering evidence. (sarcasm)

Evidence ABOUNDS for the resurrection...

You and robin keep repeating that but so far you have NOT been able to offer ANY direct objective evidence for the resurrection.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

but his own writings CAN'T be embellished...well maybe in your world they would be, but not in a rational person's world...OK maybe he simply lied...oK...sconnor, OK

Yes, yes, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he did indeed embellish, considering the fallible human's proclivity to do so. But what's more important is other people embellished Washington into the mythologized character we know today.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

No kidding Sherlock...that's because you're a historical minimalist which is another CRIME in and of itself...totally unreasonable...

You have NO way of knowing what were real events and what were fictionalized stories, unless you have verifiable direct objective evidence of said event. You have NOT presented ANY direct objective evidence of the resurrection -- NO rationalizations needed.

~and more remarks below, that do nothing to further your arguments -- seriously?~

you're living in a fog Sconnor...

sconnor said...

harv

"...He sits on the throne OF God with God in judgement in the last day etc...

Oh I also forgot...

Funny, how your gospels keep contradicting themselves.

These were verses you just ignored, too.

Mark 16:19
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:1
Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.


There seems to be two seperate thrones -- a throne for both god and Jesus.

Maybe god has two thrones? -- one of which Jesus sits in.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

Some of those writings include writings of historians such as Livy who records events from 59 BC to 17 AD, however MSS’s date from 4th Century (only 27 copies),

OK this Livy guy -- can you tell me exactly what he wrote about Jesus?

Furthermore, All the credible historians you mentioed or could mention -- Tacitus, Suetonius and Pliny the younger (or the lesser known historians, Mara Bar-Serapion 73AD, Ignatius 50AD - 98AD., Polycarp 69AD - 155AD, Clement of Rome 160AD Tertullian 160AD - ?AD, Clement of Alexandria 215AD, Origen 185AD - 232AD, Hippolytus 236AD, and Cyprian 254AD) -- all wrote, well after Jesus' supposed death. Josephus was the earliest born, about seven to ten years after Jesus died and wrote his books 40-50 years later. This means they ONLY wrote about the mythical jesus -- some 40-100+ years later, based solely on hearsay. They do not in any way confirm the Biblical accounts or the historicity of Jesus.

Most of these books are undisputed as providing accurate historical information whereby the past is viewed, and although scant and sometimes lost in their original forms, most are yet supported by diligent historical study"~

Most of these books?

What you are NOT comprehending is: While the historians give relatively accurate information from the events of their specific time and culture, whatever writings they authored that may have referenced Jesus of the bible are NOT at ALL reliable because they are based SOLELY on HEARSAY -- on the embellished stories that had been told over the centuries.

That would be like if you or I were to write about Jesus today. We could give relatively accurate historical information from our specific time but whatever we say about Jesus is ALL based on hearsay and is rendered completely unreliable.

You are associating their accurate accounting of the history of their time with the decades old, centuries old, hearsay of Jesus' time and claiming they have an accurate historical assessment of Jesus' life -- that's fallacious.

In other words, while the historical accuracy from their time is tenable the hearsay references to Jesus are NOT.

Again these 3rd party historians offer NO objective evidence for the historicity of the resurrection.

--S.

sconnor said...

harv

~furthermore~

If you can argue that there are 3rd party historians that you think is substantive and important enough to support your position of the miracle of the resurrected son of god, then it is reasonable to conclude that if counter-evidence is presented that is antithetical to your argument such as there are NO 3rd party historians from Jesus' time, then your initial argument is rendered useless.

If it's so important to have third person historians, then why is NOT important to have third person historians from Jesus' time?

So -- ALL you have is specious 3rd party historians that wrote decades and centuries after Jesus' supposed death which may or may not have referenced the Jesus of the bible, based SOLELY on hearsay (stories they heard, not the historical accounts of their time); coupled with ABSOLUTELY NO 3rd party historians, from Jesus' time who should have acknowledged what would certainly have been the MOST noteworthy, MONUMENTAL PIECE OF HISTORY -- the Resurrection of Christ the Savior of Mankind -- but NOT even a word.

--S.

Jonathan said...

"the problem of evil" What can God do?"

I think this is interesting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil

1.If a perfectly good god exists, then there is no evil in the world.
2.There is evil in the world.
3. Therefore, a perfectly good god does not exist.

1. God exists
2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good
3. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils.
4. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence.
5. An omnipotent being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.
6. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.
7. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.
8. Evil exists (logical contradiction).

To: District Supt. Harvey Burnett

Arguing whether or not Evil exits, or if God caused evil or didn't, or the resurrection happen or didn't is moot.

Do you think its possible that we as a species can be benevolent to one anther?

Can we do this without special pleadings to God?

Put it is way, taking in examining the US only from a figure between 1 to 100 how evil are we as a nation. What kind of tool(s) would you use to reach a figure?

Is it possible to be evil at all? If not? How much can we lower our "evil index"?

I think aruging whether Evil is a problem for God is pointless, I think it would be better use of our time to rid ourselves of Evil then the endless circular debates.