Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lauding the Bible ('cause that's what I do)

Chris Severn has challenged my belief in the Bible as Word of God. Here's an answer.

The intention of my fake book was of course to infer you shouldn't go around believing everything written in a book of unknown authorship just because you think the book is right on a few things.

Yes, and I wouldn't recommend that either. Didn't you see me rip the Qur'an? ;-)

The bible is sometimes set in real places, sometimes not.

I don't accept that an atheistic worldview provides the preconditions for intelligibility; as such no book is understandable.
On the Xtian worldview where intelligibility is possible, I'd like to know what you refer to here.

Sure you don't (eat your young) :)

[burp]... What, you don't trust me?

The claim that atheists supress the truth is one such claim.

But the Bible is much more trustworthy than an atheist's word; why wouldn't it be rational to trust the more reliable source?

The bible claims a lot of things. Many of them are false.

Like what?

No. The bible just claims to.

1) Borrowing from the biblical worldview again.
2) Indeed, every sentence you write does so.
3) How doesn't it? You can start by interacting with the post linked-to above.

There isn't much useful difference between the Book of Mormon, Bhagavad Gita, Qur'an or the Bible as concerns their claims of reality.

1) Internal consistency.
2) Fulfilled prophecy.
3) Accurate descriptions of reality.
4) For the BG and the BoM, neither provide preconditions for intelligibility, being polytheistic.

The Humanist Manifesto doesn't claim as reality things that can't be demonstrated.

I found a few. Did you even read it before you said that?

-THIRD: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.
-FIFTH: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values.
(CD and I have been talking about this. He has far to go to prove it.)
-it does insist that the way to determine the existence and value of any and all realities is by means of intelligent inquiry and by the assessment of their relations to human needs.
(See my recent discussion with the Jolly Nihilist.)
-SEVENTH: Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant.
(Begging the question - certainly I don't agree with this.)
-We assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking. (emph. added)
-the quest for the good life is still the central task for mankind.
(What is "good" is taken on faith.)

I didn't go thru the whole thing but those examples should suffice.

But, why do you believe all of it, without question, to the exclusion of all other evidence ?

This is a diff question than "Prove it", so I'll answer the exact question.
The God of the Bible has mercifully saved me even though He didn't have to. He changed my life and gave my heart and mind peace and purpose. Every question I'd been asking while I felt so lost and in turmoil, He has answered in a rationally- and spiritually-satisfying way. Finally, I have never encountered a purported contradiction in the Bible that held any water (and I've encountered a LOT of attempts).

What makes you think that the god you believe in had anything to do with the Christian bible?

There is a great deal of internal and external evidence.

What is it about a collection of stories written largely by ignorant goat herders more than 1500 years ago that impresses you so much ?

Some were ignorant.
Others wrote eloquent poetry and were peerless military leaders (David). Others were kings, celebrated worldwide for their wisdom (Solomon). Others were highly-educated Pharisees (Paul). Others were sophisticated advisors to kings (Isaiah and Daniel). Some were brought up as the prince of the most powerful and learned nation on earth (Moses).
Yet others were simple fishermen (Peter and John). Others were indeed goatherders from Nowhere, Israel (Amos). Others were probably-disobedient Jews (author of Esther). Some exposed ruthlessly the flaws of their nation and leaders (the author of Kings and Samuel). Others were more cheerful (the author of Chronicles). Some were traitors to the Jewish nation, converted (Matthew).
It is the variety of authorship and yet the beauty of the consistency of thought that serve also to impress me of this.

Peace,
Rhology

25 comments:

Billy said...

I discover through the wonder of Google that I am not alone in finding Bahnsen's arguments both unconvincing and tedious. This presents a problem for anybody wishing to discuss on your blog, since your key presuppositions in this respect essentially block any rational debate. There doesn't seem to be any way around this.

Rhology said...

With all due respect, Billy, the question is not whether his arguments are convincing or entertaining, but whether they are true.
And the presuppositional difference is not only my fault. It's not my fault, for example, that atheists that post here hold to a worldview that has no ground for intelligibility. That alone can cause great communication difficulties, so I can see what you mean.

Billy said...

"With all due respect, Billy, the question is not whether his arguments are convincing or entertaining, but whether they are true."

The reason that I find his arguments tedious is because they are both untrue and repetitious. The reason that I find them unconvincing is simply because they are untrue.

"It's not my fault, for example, that atheists that post here hold to a worldview that has no ground for intelligibility."

No, they don't. You keep saying that they do, and occasionally you trot out some of Bahnsen's fallacious proclamations, but I still haven't seen a convincing exposition of this supposed "atheist worldview".

What is this worldview, exactly? Please don't link to your previous posts - they are verbose to the point of incomprehensibility - just summarise it in a paragraph or two.

Billy said...

Oh, and by the way, I have read some of Bahnsen's work - thank you for the link to the Stein debate - so I'm not looking for more pointers in that direction; I want to know what you think.

Chris Severn said...

Hi Rhology,

Your other post where you claim an atheistic worldview doesn't provide the preconditions for intelligibility is interesting. Regarding your point that "...[atheists'] presuppositions do not allow for the coming-forth of beliefs that are reliably believed to be true", I have a few points.
1. This doesn't help your position that you know God exists. You could be living in a god-less world, where your beliefs are therefore not reliable. This unreliability is what allows you to believe in God, who doesn't exist.

2. If you're relying on your belief that evidence and rationality aren't what the atheists think it is, as an excuse to be irrational and disregard evidence, then you've constructed a nice little world for yourself that deliberately has shut itself off from opposing viewpoints.

3. I now understand better how you can make claims which seem so ridiculous to me such as "Finally, I have never encountered a purported contradiction in the Bible that held any water".

You're asking for some examples of my claims that the bible is wrong in its claims. There are many, as you've seen. The fact that you seem to have managed to figure out some way of disregarding them shows me that I'm probably going to end up banging my head against a brick wall by bringing them up, so I'll try not to take us too far down that road. I will bring up one though that we've discussed before that doesn't match reality. Noah's flood. When I brought that up before, you sent me to some page that tried to show it was all possible. I've got a lot of problems with that page, but I'll concentrate on just one thing I asked you that I didn't see the page try to answer. Why didn't any other civilisations (Chinese for instance) notice they just died in a flood ? I'm assuming here you believe in a recent flood. When do you actually think the flood happened ? What's the earliest date you'd accept for it ?

You seem to claim that because atheists can't show you where "reason, logic, and intelligibility" come from, and that we can't show you that they are some sort of fundamentals of nature, that whenever we use them we're "borrowing from the Christian worldview". No, we're not. The Christian worldview is that they are God-given. We obviously don't believe that. We believe they work and are self evident. We don't need you to agree for us to believe this.

How about a change of tack. I believe, as an atheist, that reason and logic are great things, and our discussions should use them as a basis. Evidence too. Rhology, do you also believe that reason, logic and evidence are great things that should be used as a basis for discussions ? If we both agree on this, then we can move on, regardless of where we both think these concepts come from. Assuming of course that our concepts match, which is a big assumption...

Moving on, you claim you believe the bible over the other religions' texts due in part because of "Internal consistency" and "Accurate descriptions of reality.". I've talked about this somewhat above. The bible is inconsistent both with itself and reality. I can just about accept that it's possible to bend your brain in convoluted ways to convince yourself that the bible can be made consistent and to match reality. However, to actually believe it so much that you use it as an argument for the authenticity of the bible is really quite a shock to me. I'm lost for words.

As for your comments on the "Humanist Manifesto", I will clarify my statement, to say that it doesn't claim as reality "events" that can't be demonstrated (in comparison to the supposedly historical events of the bible). I'll concede to you that I won't be able to prove to you some of those statements from the Manifesto you reproduced.

Your reasons for believing the bible are nice and warm and fuzzy (mostly). I'm glad your belief in God made you feel good and changed your life. Of course, I don't believe this is proof that your god actually exists. I also take issue with your claim that he "saved [you] even though He didn't have to". The concept that we are retched sinners who deserve hell is abhorent, and similar concepts are used in cults.

I was being a little provocative with my "goat herder" quip. The truth is though that most of the authors of the books of the bible aren't known. Many claim to be written by somebody, but were actually not. Some of the supposed authors didn't actually exist. You claim "the consistency of thought" of the bible is impressive. I don't think it is particuarly consistent of course, but it's not hard to explain why it is as consistent as it is. The books of the bible are only a small snapshot of all the possible books that have been written and could have gone into it. It's not surprising that the less consistent stories/gospels were left out by the people who were trying to create a consistent bible. The gnostic gospels are a particularly interesting example of this.

Cheers,
Chris

Rhology said...

Hi Billy,

The reason that I find them unconvincing is simply because they are untrue.

Oh, OK. I wish I'd known that before I spent all that time listening to them. ;-)

I still haven't seen a convincing exposition of this supposed "atheist worldview".

Wouldn't that be the atheist's job? Why rely on a theist to do it? And if a theist did do so, wouldn't that open the door wide for accusations of misrepresentation?
The atheistic worldview is out in the open, besides. Go grab Dawkins' new book; atheists like Chris Severn here keep telling me to read it so I'll bet it contains some useful nuggets. Or Dennett's new book.


Chris,

Your other post where you claim an atheistic worldview doesn't provide the preconditions for intelligibility is interesting.

Thank you.

This doesn't help your position that you know God exists.

Well, it kind of does in that it cuts down one of the rivals to theism, naturalism.

You could be living in a god-less world, where your beliefs are therefore not reliable.

True, but then one wouldn't reasonably expect to know that, since one's cognitive faculties wouldn't reliably be aimed at discovering that that is the case.

If you're relying on your belief that evidence and rationality aren't what the atheists think it is,

What I'm trying to point out is that evidence and rationality aren't what the atheists think they are by virtue of the atheists' own worldview.
In the biblical worldview, they are useful tools and come from God, Who grounds them. Not so in the atheistic worldview.

The Christian worldview is that they are God-given. We obviously don't believe that.

True.
What I mean by "borrowing" is that you borrow the assumption that they are reliable, even though on your own worldview you have reason not to.

We believe they work and are self evident

1) The arguments I've just made reveal otherwise.
2) Exactly - you **BELIEVE** they work and are self-evident. This is fideism. You're a faithful acolyte of a strange religion, but a religion nonetheless.

do you also believe that reason, logic and evidence are great things that should be used as a basis for discussions ?

Of course, I'm a Christian.
The question has always been: On the atheistic worldview, are reason, logic, and evidence useful for a basis for discussions?

If we both agree on this, then we can move on, regardless of where we both think these concepts come from.

1) The problem is that any usage of them presupposes the biblical worldview. And then you use them to try to attack the biblical worldview. All facts are God's facts and you in your rebellion try to twist some of them to claim He doesn't exist even while using the faculties He gave you to do so.
2) But OK, we can move on to sthg else. On 1 condition - you admit that you have ungrounded *FAITH* in your 1st principle of evidentialism.

What we can do then is an internal critique of each others' worldviews. Now, I've been doing that to atheism all along, and atheistic presuppositions damn the worldview.
If you want to go on the offensive now, that's cool. No fair, however, to take atheistic presupps to attack the biblical worldview. This is to be an *internal* critique - you must presuppose Xtian presupps and then examine Xtianity from the inside, as I've been doing to atheism. I didn't say stuff like "The Bible says there's a God; atheism doesn't. Atheism is wrong." By the same token, saying sthg like "naturalistic science has shown that God is not needed for anythg we can see" begs the question; it has peremptorily ruled God out of the equation, so what would I expect you to conclude?


I'm probably going to end up banging my head against a brick wall by bringing them up

Well, in fairness, I *WILL* continually bring up the fact that, on your own worldview, your cognitive faculties are not reliably aimed at discovering the truth about anythg, which would include discovering contradictions in the Bible.
It's a fundamental question. That's why I think of the defense of the Bible as a 2ndary issue.

Why didn't any other civilisations (Chinese for instance) notice they just died in a flood ?

1) If they all died, how could they "notice"?
2) Flood histories do exist in other ancient sources besides Genesis.

When do you actually think the flood happened ? What's the earliest date you'd accept for it ?

Hmm, good question, not my strong suit actually. I guess for *earliest,* I'd say sthg like 10000 yrs.

The bible is inconsistent both with itself and reality.

Test it using the internal critique model and give me some examples.

the "Humanist Manifesto", I will clarify my statement, to say that it doesn't claim as reality "events" that can't be demonstrated (in comparison to the supposedly historical events of the bible).

Sorry, this isn't accurate either.

-FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
-SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process.
-FOURTH: Humanism recognizes that man's religious culture and civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his natural environment and with his social heritage.
-SEVENTH: Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant. (This assumes w/o proof that a religion is not the product of divine revelation - a historical claim.)

Etc.

I don't believe this is proof that your god actually exists.

You'll notice I didn't present it as such.

The concept that we are retched sinners who deserve hell is abhorent, and similar concepts are used in cults.

1) If cults copycat, that's hardly my problem.
2) Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot certainly "copycatted" (at the very least) from atheistic concepts, so you don't want to be bringing that up.
3) As ChooseDoubt and I have worked out, your objection to hell is simply based on personal preference. Why keep bringing it up? I'm serious - do you disagree with CD or are you just unconsciously borrowing from my worldview yet again?

The truth is though that most of the authors of the books of the bible aren't known.

Sorry, that is just wrong.
Pentateuch: Moses.
Joshua: Joshua.
Judges - 2 Chron - unsure.
Ezra and Nehemiah: Nehemiah.
Esther: unsure
Job: Moses (possibly)
Psalms: David and a few others
Prov, Eccl, Song of Songs: Solomon
Isaiah: Isaiah
Jer and Lamentations: Jeremiah
Ezek: Ezekiel
Daniel: Daniel
Minor Prophets: their namesakes

NT: Every book's author is known except for Hebrews.
James and Jude: It's not 100% certain which James and which Jude are referred to, but it's a choice between 2-4 guys.

Many claim to be written by somebody, but were actually not. Some of the supposed authors didn't actually exist.

Prove it.

but it's not hard to explain why it is as consistent as it is.

Yes, God breathed out all the books.

It's not surprising that the less consistent stories/gospels were left out by the people who were trying to create a consistent bible.

This betrays a woeful ignorance of the way the Canon of Scripture was created, historically speaking.
For one thing, Christians were in no position to get together and collude on such things while running for their lives from Roman soldiers.

The gnostic gospels are a particularly interesting example of this.

Let's play historical pop quiz: Do you know why the Gnostic Gospels were left out?

Peace,
Rhology

Billy said...

"Wouldn't that be the atheist's job?"

Well, no. If atheists aren't proposing that there is an "atheist worldview" - and I'm certainly not - then it's not their job at all.

"And if a theist did do so, wouldn't that open the door wide for accusations of misrepresentation?"

Which, ironically enough, is exactly what Bahnsen does. It seems strange that you're aware of his error but continue to repeat it anyway.

"The atheistic worldview is out in the open, besides."

I've read those books, but none of them refer to - or even describe - the "atheist worldview" that Bahnsen describes.

Rhology said...

You know, that seems to be to be so very, very disingenuous that I can hardly stand it.
Atheism is a worldview.
But OK, fine, for the sake of argument I'll say it's not. The problem is, nobody is just an atheist. They're a secular humanist, an empiricist, a rationalist, a naturalist, a materialist, etc. They have to add sthg to express what they believe.
Just like nobody can really live in full accord with an atheistic worldview and its implications, apparently no one can live with ONLY the atheistic worldview. Look over your shoulder; it's never alone.

Billy said...

"Atheism is a worldview. But OK, fine, for the sake of argument I'll say it's not. The problem is, nobody is just an atheist... They have to add sthg to express what they believe."

Or perhaps the reason that people call themselves "a secular humanist, an empiricist, a rationalist, a naturalist, a materialist, etc" rather than just "an atheist" is because atheism isn't in fact a worldview. This seems to be a possibility which has escaped you.

Rhology said...

Or it could be b/c "atheism" is so all-encompassing that a further qualificatory term is necessary. Kinda like saying "I'm a Protestant" versus "I'm a conservative Southern Baptist with Calvinistic leanings".

Billy said...

No. It's because atheism isn't a worldview.

Still waiting for your exposition of what the "atheist worldview" is, by the way.

Rhology said...

It is a worldview that includes any number of elements, but its permutations all hold in common that belief that a god does not exist.
(Whereas agnosticism would say that it does not believe that a God exists.)

Billy said...

"It is a worldview that includes any number of elements, but its permutations all hold in common that belief that a god does not exist. (Whereas agnosticism would say that it does not believe that a God exists.)"

Your woeful ignorance of the distinction between atheism and agnosticism is astonishing. Leaving that to one side, I would like you to identify any element in the atheist worldview other than the belief that god does not exist.

You see, I think there isn't an "atheist worldview". I think there's an atheist position - as you say, that god does not exist - but that doesn't constitute a worldview in any substantial sense, any more than the position that rain is wet constitutes a worldview.

Feel free to show me wrong.

Chris Severn said...

Rhology,

You admit that you could be living in a god-less world, where your beliefs in God aren't reliable. That's great. You should try examining that possibility more closely.

That's the point of science. Personal perception isn't reliable. That's why we do double-blind experiments, and get those experiments repeated by third parties.

What I'm trying to point out is that evidence and rationality aren't what the atheists think they are by virtue of the atheists' own worldview.

We know what they are. We aren't under any illusion that they're gifts from God.

What I mean by "borrowing" is that you borrow the assumption that they are reliable, even though on your own worldview you have reason not to.

Our reason for trusting them is not the same reason as yours, that's true. To claim that there is no reason for us to trust them is quite wrong. Humans are equipped for a certain reliability of our senses and reasoning ablity, because any of our prospective ancestors who had unreliable faculties got eaten, or starved. We're the ancestors of the successful creatures who were best able to respond correctly to their environment. You don't come as far as we have by living in a dream world. But, we're not perfect. we've figured out where our faculties can be trusted, and when they can't. And that's what let us come so far in our knowledge of the universe.

I claim that you have no reason to trust your cognitive faculties, since you believe you're living in a world of miracles, where events can occur on the whim of a supernatural deity, where he can alter your mind as he likes.

Rhology, when you say "Finally, I have never encountered a purported contradiction in the Bible that held any water", are you using your own rationality for that ? Are you so concerned with the issue of where rationality comes from because you know that using rationality that isn't based on the assumption your god exists will end up not coming to the same conclusions as you ?

Exactly - you **BELIEVE** they work and are self-evident. This is fideism. You're a faithful acolyte of a strange religion, but a religion nonetheless.

Believing that there are chairs in my dining room does not make a religion. Believing that evidence and rationality are very good tools for understanding the world around us does not make a religion.

But OK, we can move on to sthg else. On 1 condition - you admit that you have ungrounded *FAITH* in your 1st principle of evidentialism.

Faith is belief without evidence. I believe evidence is the best way to know things. The alternative is to just invent stuff and pretend it's true. Faith is one of the worst ways to know stuff.

This is to be an *internal* critique - you must presuppose Xtian presupps and then examine Xtianity from the inside.

I agree that if you presuppose that there's a God, that the bible is the word of God and is 100% reliable, and that God can do miracles, and that the biblical logic and rationalism and need for evidence isn't like our "normal" earth logic, then you will be able to consider your world "consistent". I can't argue with that, because there's always an "out" clause. "God did it because he wanted to", or "yeah, it's not rational using atheistic logic, but it is using our logic."

Now, onto the flood. I was thinking you were going to place the time of the flood at around the same time as other creationists, which was about 2500BC. There's written history from that time in other cultures which show they didn't all die in a flood, hence my line of questioning. You're placing the flood at up to 10,000 years ago, so I can't use that to disprove the flood. I know you're not going to trust the geological and genetic evidence, overwhelming as it is, that the world didn't consist of less than a dozen people 10,000 years ago. The evidence of continuous settlement in areas of the world over thousands of years over that period, by people who kept the same culture probably wouldn't convince you either. If you believe that the kangaroos (and all other Aussie animals) travelled from Australia to the ark, and then back again, leaving no evidence of their journey, then I think I won't bother too much more along this line.

your objection to hell is simply based on personal preference. Why keep bringing it up?

Because as well as trying to show that God doesn't exist, I like to show also why I think that Christianity is a bad thing. Yes, my objection to hell is based on my personal preference that people not be scared into joining a religion, and that people not be worried that their non-believing friend or family member is going to be tortured for eternity.

The authors of much of the bible aren't known. There was likely no Solomon or Moses. I don't know who you think wrote the gospels, but if you really think it was the disciples of the same names, you're sadly mistaken.

I'm not going to prove they didn't exist. Can't do it. Why don't you prove they did ? Without using the bible.

On the consistency of the bible, if God really did breath out all the books, then they should be a great deal more consistent. And, why wouldn't he give everbody the level of logic/rationality to be able to see this consistency ? Why did he give atheists the sort of rationality that enables people to build bridges, cars, computers, improve health, understand the universe, and at the same time give another group of people the sort of rationality which makes them believe in the bible?

Regarding the bible and the gnostic gospels, they were left out because they didn't fit with the rest, and some were deemed heretical.. The bible canon was put together slowly by different groups, and evolved into what we see today (even though protestand and catholic bibles are slightly different). It didn't all happen when the Christians were running from the Romans. Some of it happened after Rome became Christian.

Rhology said...

Hey there,

Billy said:
I would like you to identify any element in the atheist worldview other than the belief that god does not exist.

Materialism, naturalism, or humanism, depending on the person you're talking to.

but that doesn't constitute a worldview in any substantial sense

I think this is a bit of a game. Might as well say that "theism" is nothing more than a belief that a divine entity exists. Ask for detail and I'll just stonewall you - "No no, I'm talking about the term THEISM. Nothing more than that is permissible in this discussion!"


Chris Severn said:
That's the point of science. Personal perception isn't reliable.

And of course, science is based on PERSONAL observation of experimentation. Do you see the irony I see now?

get those experiments repeated by third parties.

Who use personal perception in their analysis.

Humans are equipped for a certain reliability of our senses and reasoning ablity, because any of our prospective ancestors who had unreliable faculties got eaten, or starved.

All that that proves is that humans evolved BEHAVIORS to avoid dying. It says nothing about our reasoning abilities and our cognition's aiming at reliably producing true beliefs.

I claim that you have no reason to trust your cognitive faculties, since you believe you're living in a world of miracles

Why would the miraculous make it impossible to trust my cognitive faculties? I have a solid reason to believe that the world is held in place and is kept in usually-reliable operation by a God Who never lies and Who occasionally intervenes to suit His purposes, many of which He has communicated to me.
And I know that logic and reason flow out of Him so I can trust that they are actually reliably aimed at producing true belief, as opposed to the atoms-banging-around world of the naturalist.

he can alter your mind as he likes.

Well, yes, but when He does, He reveals truth MORE clearly.
Contrast that with the naturalist worldview, where we can't even ever be sure we're even thinking or using logic or what logic is.

are you using your own rationality for that ?

Of course.

Are you so concerned with the issue of where rationality comes from because you know that using rationality that isn't based on the assumption your god exists will end up not coming to the same conclusions as you ?

Mmmmm, in a way, yes. The thing that most concerns me is the death of logic and reason in an atheistic worldview. I, for one, enjoy communicating and understanding what other people tell me.

Believing that evidence and rationality are very good tools for understanding the world around us does not make a religion.

Well, that's a just-so statement from you. It has lots of the hallmarks of a religion, so why wouldn't I call it that?
Naturalism has:
-blind faith in its overriding 1st principle (empiricism)
-blind faith in another 1st principle (natural selection) which is often explicitly given the attribute of intelligence and implicitly attributed with volition
-blind faith in an unprovable and unobservable beginning of time, matter, and energy (though each of the options open to it are logically impossible, much like you'd claim for other religions)
-virtually unquestioning obedience to its high priests, the "scientific community"®
-an arbitrary social code of justice and order - separation of ch and st, right to abortion, teach the "truth" in education, squelch opposing voices = good, while teaching "mythology" in science class, saying "under God," praying in public, and censorship = bad.
-a system of monasteries - universities
-and a big mean enemy - Christian theism (and its little, far more violent cousin, Islam)

Faith is belief without evidence.

The problem we're having here is that we use different definitions.
I'd say faith (in this context) is defined as trust for future reliability based on past perceived reliability.
But for you, I obviously don't believe your position has ever had any reliability, so I guess that makes it a little difficult. ;-)

Faith is one of the worst ways to know stuff.

Well, faith, even defined as you did, is what you have in your 1st principles of naturalism and empiricism.

then you will be able to consider your world "consistent".

Good to see that we can at least agree on that.

"yeah, it's not rational using atheistic logic, but it is using our logic."

Well, I'd never say that. I'd say "it's rational using LOGIC, but you atheists are using MY logic and using it badly, so try again."

You're placing the flood at up to 10,000 years ago, so I can't use that to disprove the flood.

That was just my wild guess. I guess it'd be fair to say it's the outer limit. But 2500 BC is fine.

I know you're not going to trust the geological and genetic evidence, overwhelming as it is, that the world didn't consist of less than a dozen people 10,000 years ago

1) According to what? Pitifully limited instruments and methodologies wielded by pitifully limited human beings 5000 years later.
2) You can't observe that, so you're taking it on faith again.
3) God was there, humans weren't. Why should I believe humans when God informed me explicitly how it all went down?

If you believe that the kangaroos (and all other Aussie animals) travelled from Australia to the ark

I actually don't know how that happened, since the Bible doesn't tell me. Maybe they did. Maybe God moved them supernaturally over there. Maybe God intervened to move them fast somehow, or sped up breeding or sthg.

I like to show also why I think that Christianity is a bad thing.

How many times have we been over this? This is nothing more than your personal preference. I keep reminding you of this and you never seem to take it into acct. Why is that?

Yes, my objection to hell is based on my personal preference that people not be scared into joining a religion, and that people not be worried that their non-believing friend or family member is going to be tortured for eternity.

Fine, my personal preference is the opposite. Looks like we're at an impasse over ANY moral question. I don't know about you, but that's not satisfying to me.

The authors of much of the bible aren't known. There was likely no Solomon or Moses. I don't know who you think wrote the gospels, but if you really think it was the disciples of the same names, you're sadly mistaken.

Naked assertion. Where's the argument?

Why don't you prove they did ? Without using the bible.

Who? The authors? Why would I attempt to prove they existed without using the Bible?

if God really did breath out all the books, then they should be a great deal more consistent.

I'll be happy to deal with any "contradictions" you have.
But, and this is a big but, you have to presuppose the Christian worldview to criticise. Atheism has no grounds for intelligibility or discovering contradictions, so we have to be sure that we can actually do so.
So, feel free to do so (this is called an internal critique) and we can talk about that. But I'll call you on any instance when you fail to play by the necessary rules.
I'll note in passing that this is exactly what I do when i critique the naturalist worldview. I don't open my Bible and say "Well, the Bible says there's a God. You're proven wrong!" That's not a valid argument - it's not an internal critique. Rather, I've taken on your worldview and examined it by its own presupps and found it wanting. So now it's your turn.

why wouldn't he give everbody the level of logic/rationality to be able to see this consistency ?

He did. It's not a question of rationality. It's a question of sin. Take a look at John 3 and look closely about how Jesus describes those who love darkness rather than light. 1 Corinthians 2 and 3 are also relevant.

Regarding the bible and the gnostic gospels, they were left out because they didn't fit with the rest, and some were deemed heretical..

Another naked assertion. Where's the argument?

The bible canon was put together slowly by different groups

Who were they? How do you know?

even though protestand and catholic bibles are slightly different

Yes, but the Roman Catholics have it wrong.

Some of it happened after Rome became Christian.

Early Christian writers were already writing about their canons way before that.

Peace,
Rhology

Chris Severn said...

Hi Rhology,
I've been really busy recently, so I apologise I can't give a full reply at the moment, but thought I'd chime in with some points.

You want me to presuppose the Christian worldview in order to talk about inconsistencies. That would never be helpful, as there has to be some reason to decide the Christian worldview is right in the first place.

You have either used something outside the Christian worldview to decide it's right, or, you've just decided to for no apparent reason.

Why would I critique the Christian worldview from inside it ? Why not do it from inside the Islamic worldview ? Scientology, Buddhist, or even the Harry Potter one ? Any one of those if you claim as true and critique from within, you end up with something "consistent" (using different types of "rationality") in the same way as the Christian.

How many times have we been over this? This is nothing more than your personal preference. I keep reminding you of this and you never seem to take it into acct. Why is that?

Because you don't seem to understand the answer. Personal preference is all we have, and it's good (and for good reason) that our personal preferences intersect so much. We don't need to pretend there's anything divine involved.

I (Chris) said:
Yes, my objection to hell is based on my personal preference that people not be scared into joining a religion, and that people not be worried that their non-believing friend or family member is going to be tortured for eternity.

to which Rhology said:

Fine, my personal preference is the opposite.

I am appalled beyond polite words at this statement Rhology.

You disagree with my statements about the gnostic gospels and how the bible was put together. I'm curious to hear your opinion.

Cheers,
Chris

Billy said...

"Materialism, naturalism, or humanism, depending on the person you're talking to."

So your answer is that atheists have quite a wide range of beliefs, which may or may not include these three. I therefore suggest that my original statement stands - that there is an atheist position but NOT an atheist worldview in the sense that you/Bahnsen assert.

"I think this is a bit of a game. Might as well say that "theism" is nothing more than a belief that a divine entity exists. Ask for detail and I'll just stonewall you - "No no, I'm talking about the term THEISM. Nothing more than that is permissible in this discussion!""

I hate to break it to you, but that is what theism is. A belief in a god or gods - no more, no less. I'm not sure why you think that's a game, or how that has any relevance to the question that I asked you.

Rhology said...

Hey Chris,

You want me to presuppose the Christian worldview in order to talk about inconsistencies.

Well, at least theistic. On the atheistic worldview, there are no inconsistencies b/c there is no overriding logic.

as there has to be some reason to decide the Christian worldview is right in the first place.

I agree 100%. The impossibility of the contrary.

You have either used something outside the Christian worldview to decide it's right, or, you've just decided to for no apparent reason.

No, it was for a reason - I wanted to be able to reason and use logic.
*NOT* taking on the Xtian worldview means that I can't reason and I can't use logic, so that's a dealbreaker.

Why would I critique the Christian worldview from inside it ?

B/c then you could actually critique sthg and use logic and reason to do so.

Why not do it from inside the Islamic worldview ? Scientology, Buddhist, or even the Harry Potter one ?

That *IS* what I do, and I commend it to you.

Any one of those if you claim as true and critique from within, you end up with something "consistent" (using different types of "rationality") in the same way as the Christian.

I didn't say I presuppose they're TRUE. I presuppose their PRINCIPLES and say for the sake of argument that they are so, and then examine them.

Personal preference is all we have, and it's good (and for good reason) that our personal preferences intersect so much. We don't need to pretend there's anything divine involved.

If it's all we have, and you get all upset when I say that I prefer a universe where hell exists, then all you can do is express your distaste. Just on an emotional standpoint, that's not compelling. On your worldview, I can't even identify evil as evil, just as "What I don't like," which is virtually worthless.

You disagree with my statements about the gnostic gospels and how the bible was put together

All I see is assertions void of any argumentation. What would you like me to respond to?


Billy,

that there is an atheist position but NOT an atheist worldview in the sense that you/Bahnsen assert.

So, there's an atheist *position* but not a worldview. OK.... so atheism doesn't color ANYthing else in the way you look at the world. that's an interesting thing to say.

A belief in a god or gods - no more, no less.

Which has huge ramifications for all areas of life, indeed, the world.
A WORLDview.

Peace,
Rhology

Chris Severn said...

*NOT* taking on the Xtian worldview means that I can't reason and I can't use logic, so that's a dealbreaker.

Really ? I can reason and use logic. I'm not taking on the Christian worldview. The question I thought we were debating was where it came from. Not whether we can use it. If it does come from God, he isn't mean enough to take it away from us atheists.

Anyway, previously in your response you said I should be at least taking on the theistic worldview. Here, you're saying it's only the Christian worldview that gives you reason and logic. Really ? What about Jewish and Islamic. Their presupposion of a similar God to your own would give them the same wouldn't it ?

In fact, if Harry Potter had in there somewhere an explanation that reason and logic came from the family of hyperdimensional superintelligent shades of the colour blue who created the dimensions in which we live, then you'd have as much reason to believe in Lord Voldemort as you have to believe in God.

If it's all we have, and you get all upset when I say that I prefer a universe where hell exists, then all you can do is express your distaste.

Yes, as can other people express their distaste. I don't know about you, but if I get people who I respect, or enough strangers expressing their distaste at my words or actions, then I consider changing my actions or reconsidering my words. It's part of being a social animal.

Just on an emotional standpoint, that's not compelling. On your worldview, I can't even identify evil as evil, just as "What I don't like," which is virtually worthless.

It's not worthless at all, because people are wired to take actions against what they don't like. And when enough people agree on what they don't like, they can work together to stop it. Social ostracism is one way to limit people doing "evil" things. And, when that doesn't work, people write down what they don't like, and call them laws. They then build jails, and employ a police force. That's what you get in a group that mostly agrees on the things they like, but might have a few bad apples.

When you get a group where its members mostly agree with what they don't like, and a second group where its members agree with each other, but where group A disagrees with group B, that's where you get wars.

This is the way the world works. If there really were one true list of "bad" and "good" things, would the world look like it does ?

Regarding the gospels, I stated how they were put together, you said I was wrong. I asked you how you thought they were put together. What I'd like you to respond to is where you think I'm wrong and what you think is correct.....

Cheers,
Chris

Rhology said...

Chris,

Remember my constant point - BECAUSE atheism has no way to justify reason and logic, you borrow from the theistic worldview to critique it.

If it does come from God, he isn't mean enough to take it away from us atheists.

1) How do you know that?
2) How would it be "mean" not to perform like a circus monkey in front of atheists who demonstrate their hatred of God even though they know good and well God exists (as Romans 1 says)?

Here, you're saying it's only the Christian worldview that gives you reason and logic. Really ? What about Jewish and Islamic.

Yeah, I should be saying "theistic" more often in these cases. I'm trying to get less careless at that. Sorry.

if Harry Potter had in there somewhere an explanation that reason and logic came from the family of hyperdimensional superintelligent shades of the colour blue who created the dimensions in which we live, then you'd have as much reason to believe in Lord Voldemort as you have to believe in God.

Not at all.
1) If this Voldemort differs substantially from the Christian conception, it would be subject to internal critique. It would fail since it would be an alternate conception of a god, but it must conform to The God of the Bible's universe.
2) If this Voldemort does not differ substantially from the Christian conception, but the person for the sake of argument is just changing God's name for the sake of argument, that only proves the Christian point.

I don't know about you, but if I get people who I respect, or enough strangers expressing their distaste at my words or actions, then I consider changing my actions or reconsidering my words. It's part of being a social animal.

OK, but that has nothing to do with the OUGHTNESS of it.
And your distaste extends no farther than you, as opposed to the law of God.

people are wired to take actions against what they don't like.

No argument here, but that's irrelevant.

Social ostracism is one way to limit people doing "evil" things.

Why even use the word "evil" in quotations? You can't get away from it, it seems. It's another demonstration of your borrowing from the Christian worldview, where evil and good exist. You feel it, you know it instinctively, but b/c you hate God you won't admit that's really how it is.

might have a few bad apples.

Which aren't bad at all, just different.
I thought many atheists were social liberals and prided themselves on tolerance of diverse people. Here you're not acting consistently with that, but maybe you don't share those convictions.

If there really were one true list of "bad" and "good" things, would the world look like it does ?

Sure. There really is a list, and the world is like it is.
Why not? What if everyone, though they instinctively knew the list, had a really hard time caring about their obligations in regards to the list?

I asked you how you thought they were put together.

OK, thanks for clarifying.
Short answer - Matthew and John were Jesus' disciples. Mark was Peter's bud. Luke was Paul's bud and did extensive interviewing of eyewitnesses. They felt compelled to write accounts of what happened and to interpret those events for later generations and contemporary readers and churches to be edified. God ordained from eternity past that these guys would write and He superintended the process, breathing out each word, each letter, though He did not erase the influence and flavor of each writer's own pen.

Peace,
Rhology

Chris Severn said...

Hi Rhology,

Remember my constant point - BECAUSE atheism has no way to justify reason and logic, you borrow from the theistic worldview to critique it.


Oh, how can I forget ? But, please remember my constant retort. Bull. We justify reason and logic fine. You just don't like the implications of reality and prefer to believe a comfortable fiction.

1) How do you know that [God doesn't take logic away from atheists]?

Umm, because I can use reason and logic just fine. Atheists are at least as good in the sciences and technology industries as theists.

2) How would it be "mean" not to perform like a circus monkey in front of atheists who demonstrate their hatred of God even though they know good and well God exists (as Romans 1 says)?

Taking logic and reason away from atheists and letting theists use it would be more like a brat kid who wants to take his toys and go home. I don't see how treating people equally is performing like a circus monkey. And, of course Romans is just part of the bible which is just 2000 year old fiction. You're doing yourself an injustice by believing it like you do.

Your response about Harry Potter and Voldemort shows you didn't get my meaning. My point is that INSTEAD of believing the bible, you could believe Harry Potter. Not both at once.

OK, but that has nothing to do with the OUGHTNESS of it.
You ought to do whatever makes you happy. Since you're a social animal, there's a good chance you won't be happy hurting other people. If you did, there's a good chance you won't do it anyway because you'll be stopped by society.

And your distaste extends no farther than you, as opposed to the law of God.

Half right. It extends to society, since we share common distastes. You're right about the God part though, I'm glad to see you're getting it.

Why even use the word "evil" in quotations?

To show you that I know we're using the word in slightly different ways, and to hopefully avoid your predictable response of "borrowing from the Christian worldview". Unfortunately it's one of your common mantras and you like to repeat it as often as possible, so no luck there. My response again is "bull". I know what I and most of society classes as "evil". Let me give you some differences between your God's evil, and mine. Genocide, pedophilia, rape, slavery and eternal torment are things I, and most of my society consider evil. Your God doesn't.

Again, I don't hate God, because I don't believe he exists. You're partially right though. Because if the god of the bible did exist, I would hate him and be compelled to go against him. I wouldn't deny he existed though if I thought he did. I'd either suck up to him like a coward so as to escape his infinite torture, or hopefully I'd be as courageous as CD claims he'd be, and have the fortitude to stand up to the monster.

Now, onto the gospels. You think they were written by the actual disciples and other close people. I didn't really know anyone believe that any more. Even theologians admit they were written 50 years or more after the supposed events took place, basing their gospels on other existing gospels... History isn't my forte though, so I won't enter into much of a debate on this point.

Cheers,
Chris

Rhology said...

Hey Chris,

You say bull, but you never provide a justification for it. I don't see why not to believe it's true.
I can tell that you still don't really get it b/c you make statements like:
Atheists are at least as good in the sciences and technology industries as theists.
It's not about that at all. It's about having a good reason to think the way you think. You don't have one.

My point is that INSTEAD of believing the bible, you could believe Harry Potter. Not both at once.

Right, but I would EXAMINE the Voldemort entity using the same rules as I use to examine any other worldview.

You ought to do whatever makes you happy.

Says who? You? Why should anyone believe you? Why OUGHT someone do whatever makes them happy?

there's a good chance you won't do it anyway because you'll be stopped by society.

Which doesn't speak to the OUGHTNESS of whether society OUGHT TO stop be from doing it. You're confusing IS with OUGHT, a classic fallacy.

It extends to society, since we share common distastes.

Which is a collection of individuals. Statistical consistency = "right". Statistical variance = "wrong".
Thankfully, many people (like William Wilberforce) throughout history have not held to such a bankrupt notion.

Genocide, pedophilia, rape, slavery and eternal torment are things I, and most of my society consider evil. Your God doesn't.

1) God does consider those things evil with the exception of genocide and eternal torment.
2) In those cases, He has the right to kill as He pleases, since all are guilty. It's by His mercy we're not all dead already, and justly so.
3) Why would you say He considers the other things to be right?
4) You name them evil but you can't say why except "I don't like it". Remember I've been over this many times with ChooseDoubt. Why do you disagree with him? Not that he's the Pope or anything, but I'd like to know why.

Because if the god of the bible did exist, I would hate him and be compelled to go against him

John 3.
QED.

You think they were written by the actual disciples and other close people. I didn't really know anyone believe that any more.

OK. Doesn't mean they don't exist.
Stop reading the Jesus Seminar and check some other scholarship.

Even theologians admit they were written 50 years or more after the supposed events took place, basing their gospels on other existing gospels

Um, if they were basing them on "existing gospels", why not think that the gospels we have were the "existing ones"? Hmm?
And yes, clearly history is not your forte here... best to drop this. You're on the wrong side.

Peace,
Rhology

Chris Severn said...

Right, but I would EXAMINE the Voldemort entity using the same rules as I use to examine any other worldview.

You're examining, and instructing me to examine, the bible using only the bible's rules. When you examine my hypothetical "Harry Potter", I want you to examine it using only the "Harry Potter" rules. I don't understand from your comment above whether this is what you're saying. From your previous comments though, it sounds like you'd only examine "Harry Potter" with regards to the bible. If so, you're missing my point. Widely.

Says who? You? Why should anyone believe you? Why OUGHT someone do whatever makes them happy?

Yep, says me. People don't have to believe me. They can believe whatever makes them happy :)

Which doesn't speak to the OUGHTNESS of whether society OUGHT TO stop be from doing it. You're confusing IS with OUGHT, a classic fallacy.

No, although I am using "ought" to mean "what I think provides the greatest happiness".

[Society] is a collection of individuals. Statistical consistency = "right". Statistical variance = "wrong".
Thankfully, many people (like William Wilberforce) throughout history have not held to such a bankrupt notion.


I didn't claim that, if you'll care to go back and look at my quote. My reference to society is that my distaste at things is often shared by the society, and that someone living in society might stop doing things because they know of the distate of that society.

There are indeed things which the statistical consistency of society is wrong about. 80% (or thereabouts) of Americans believe in God for instance.

You claim that God does find pedophilia, rape and slavery evil. I admit I confused Mohamed with God with the "pedophilia" claim, so I'll leave that for now. Rape is condoned in the bible in some controversial passages (Numbers 31:1-54), and definitely shown as not-quite-evil in others (Deuteronomy 22:23-24, Genesis 19:7-8). But slavery ???? Evil ? I'll assume you missed that one, and give you the opportunity to take that one back. Because the bible does not think slavery is evil, to say the least.

You also claim genocide and eternal torment isn't evil, because God can do what he wants. Well, if you believe everything that God does is moral, then that's a circular argument. I have my own morality, which is better than that.

Chris said: Because if the god of the bible did exist, I would hate him and be compelled to go against him.
Rhology said: John 3. QED.


I read John 3. I don't get it. Perhaps you can narrow down to a verse or two ?

Cheers,
Chris

Rhology said...

When you examine my hypothetical "Harry Potter", I want you to examine it using only the "Harry Potter" rules.

Yes, that's what I'd be doing. But we would discover inconsistencies within "reality" if we judged HP by HP. same for Islam, same for atheism, same for Judaism.

People don't have to believe me. They can believe whatever makes them happy :)

OK, done.
Does that not end our conversation (heck, ANY conversation), and that by your own permission?
As a Christian, I can believe that another viewpoint is wrong, and I have standards by which wrongness and rightness can be judged. It's a luxury that you have just surrendered.

although I am using "ought" to mean "what I think provides the greatest happiness".

Cool, I'll quote you on that.
And to some people, genocide and rape provides the greatest happiness. You have no way to say the Holocaust was morally wrong; you'd just have to say it made some people unhappy, but of course once all those pesky Jews, handicapped people, and Gypsies were dead, aggregate happiness would be much much higher. Thus it would be Right according to your worldview.

that is scary.

someone living in society might stop doing things because they know of the distate of that society.

Sounds like might makes right.

Rape is condoned in the bible in some controversial passages (Numbers 31:1-54), and definitely shown as not-quite-evil in others (Deuteronomy 22:23-24, Genesis 19:7-8).

that's just false.
Go ahead and point out to me EXACTLY where in the psgs rape is permitted by God.

But slavery ???? Evil ? I'll assume you missed that one, and give you the opportunity to take that one back.

You just finished telling me that by which you judged good and evil. You have relinquished all ability to call slavery evil.
For the record, God is the source of all good. The slavery of OT Israel is morally right. But I'll bet you won't correctly represent that kind of slavery when you critique it. But go ahead and tell me what's evil about it.

As for John 3, I was referring to the latter part, where Jesus discusses those who hate the light, etc.

Peace,
Rhology

Chris Severn said...

Yes, that's what I'd be doing. But we would discover inconsistencies within "reality" if we judged HP by HP. same for Islam, same for atheism, same for Judaism.

Ha, you're infering Christianity doesn't have inconsistencies. Absurd, the thing contains a heap of them. Inconsistent with reality and itself. And since Christianity is largely Judaism plus an extra book, I find it hard to see how Christianity could have less inconsistencies than it.

Since the only premise atheists make is non-belief in a god, you'll have a hard time finding inconsistencies in that stance. Until you show a god exists of course :)

As a Christian, I can believe that another viewpoint is wrong, and I have standards by which wrongness and rightness can be judged. It's a luxury that you have just surrendered.

I also can believe another viewpoint is wrong, and I have standards by which they can be judged too. And, they're MY standards. I have no-one to blame but myself for when they are found wanting. And I can change them when new evidence comes in, and by examining other people's standards. As I have done in the past.

I know you think this is a bad thing. I think it's a great thing. It means I'm not stuck with 2000 year old prejudices and thinking. I can believe slavery is wrong, without having to pretend there's some loophole in the bible that agrees with me. I can believe genocide is wrong, and that eternal torment is abhorent. I can believe that people should have as much kinky fun as they want with any number of consentual adults of any gender.

I think my standards and judgements are luxurious. They took me a long time to earn, and I think they're of high quality. As opposed to those taken from the bible, which are easily aquired, and of pretty low quality.

It is quite fortunate that Christians have to a large degree gotten over their bible as having the final word on such things, and have allowed secular morality to provide much more guidance. It's what got the world out of the dark ages (although we're not all the way yet...). Let's hope the Muslims start catching up.

to some people, genocide and rape provides the greatest happiness. You have no way to say the Holocaust was morally wrong; ... it would be Right according to your worldview. that is scary.

It is scary that you would think that (and especially that you'd use this as a talking point when previously admitting that you think genocide isn't evil).
I can say it's wrong, exactly like a theist can. Except when I say it, I am saying it. I'm not acting as the mouthpiece for someone else, who's opinions I may or may not agree with.

Go ahead and point out to me EXACTLY where in the psgs rape is permitted by God.

Of course, this one is a classic:
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

If you honestly believe that passage is saying anything other than what it is obviously saying, then I've got a bridge to sell you.

You have relinquished all ability to call slavery evil.
For the record, God is the source of all good. The slavery of OT Israel is morally right. But I'll bet you won't correctly represent that kind of slavery when you critique it. But go ahead and tell me what's evil about it.


I relinquish nothing. Except any claim that my opinion is backed by the creator of the universe. The evil of slavery :
Treating people as property
Denying people their free will
etc.

As for John 3, I was referring to the latter part, where Jesus discusses those who hate the light, etc.
Oh yes, thanks, I missed it first time, and found it by searching for "light". That old chestnut - you do love it.
I don't see what it says about myself though, who doesn't do evil deeds, doesn't love darkness. I do see that because I believeth not that I'm condemned though. Which is nice :)

Cheers,
Chris