Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Self-identification


One of the reasons I blog is because of the almost-endless amazement I'm provided from the various interlocutors who stop by. They are appreciated, but sometimes their brainless assertions get a little on my nerves, I have to admit.

Take this most recent example. Multiple atheists have been insisting that they get to identify that which is Christianity, that which I believe, those who are Christians, and that which makes a person a Christian. And somehow, they get to be the ultimate arbiter of what counts as a satisfying definition of Christianity and Christians.

They would probably do well to remember where they are and to whom they're talking. Is this LiberalMilquetoastChristianity.com or EmergentsLoveAllThatStuff.com? Are they debating ecumenists here? Haha, anyone who knows me will know that doesn't really describe me very well, for better or for worse. Which strategy leads to the question - are these interlocutors unable or afraid to engage the actual issues at hand? For what reason do they refuse to engage ME rather than calling upon me to explain the conduct of people with whom I claim no common cause? Do I ask them to make agnostics make up their mind about which side they want to take? Do I tell them that their positions are no good unless they are on record specifically and explicitly naming every single deity ever imagined by the mind of man as well as the One that actually lives and then stating "No, I don't believe in that one", up to however many thousands that would be?

Or do I tell them that they're actually not atheists? Yes, they may say they disbelieve in any deity. But all of a sudden, b/c I say so, they DON'T actually believe that. Neither do any atheists. Rather, I attribute to them all of the beliefs of Phred Felps and deal with them that way. When they argue, "There's no evidence that God exists", do I respond with, "But you're a freaky quasi-Christian cult who does NOT speak the truth in love as the Bible says you should do"?

Paul C is the most recently guilty of such:
The difference being that you're defining Christian as "anybody who agrees with my specific theology"

Quote me doing so.
But "Christian" does have a specific meaning. Biblically, which is the only standard I care to use (b/c it's the only one that makes sense), "Christian" is someone who believes a specific set of propositions AND who has been born again by the Spirit of God.
A good list of those propositions includes:
-The Trinity of God
-The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
-His Blood Atonement
-His Bodily Resurrection
-Personal and Imminent Return of Christ
-Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
-Personality of Satan
-Justification by grace alone thru faith alone
-The Reality of Heaven and Hell

That ain't bad; it can depend on a number of factors, but in some people's case such as Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama, the Maharesh Yogi, Gauthama Buddha, and Robin Meyers, etc, we don't have to wonder. Their respective and disparate viewpoints are not anywhere close to the "edge".

So, at the end of the day, do these interlocutors want to engage ME (for whatever that may or may not be worth) or not? When the field of battle is full of charred straw with half-burned pieces of paper with "The 'Christianity' I prefer to beat down" written thereon floating around, will any reader conclude that the unattractive guy still chilling on the sideline named Rhology ever had to lift a finger to defend his own position?

28 comments:

Lucian said...

Uhm, ... You don't (to the top of my disgust) believe in the Virgin Birth either (In the Virgin Conception, yes; in the Virgin Birth not).

Rhology said...

What?
Do you think I somehow believe that Joseph somehow had marital relations with Mary in the middle of her birth?
As if either of those doctrines are affected whether or not Mary's hymen were physically intact before and directly after Christ's birth. What if she broke the hymen when she fell off a donkey when she was 7 yrs old?

Just another bizarre insertion from my favorite non-sequitur-er.

agnostiChicagOkie said...

Your propositional approach is severe enough to make one wonder whether it would be possible to prove Jesus of Nazareth was really a Christian. I do not recall him expressly affirming all of those propositions, which seems odd if he was hoping to reveal a new covenant to humankind.

Rhology said...

Neither did He ever say the word "Trinity". Or "atonement", etc.
Of course, no one is claiming that Jesus was a Christian. A Christian, as I explained, is one who is born again. Christ was not.
An alternative definition of "Christian" is "one who follows Christ"; Christ can't very well do that.

But perhaps you mean that the Bible doesn't teach these doctrines or doesn't teach that they are essential to the faith it is expressing. What would be your argument for that?

Paul C said...

Multiple atheists have been insisting that they get to identify that which is Christianity, that which I believe, those who are Christians, and that which makes a person a Christian.

I can't speak for any of the other atheists, but I have never argued that I get to identify that which is Christian. In fact, I have argued almost the opposite - I have no way of identifying who is a Christian or not except their own claims to be a Christian. So far you have not provided any alternative means by which I can tell that - the only way I could possibly know if somebody subscribed to the list of propositions here is if they tell me.

p.s. Can you provide us with some evidence that Robin Meyers does not subscribe to that list of propositions, and has not been born again?

p.p.s. Where did you get that list of propositions from? And how do I know that you're a Real Christian (TM) and that the list is correct?

sixstrung said...

Paul C,
You're on record as having said:
"it is fundamentally impossible to know anything with certainty"

Further, you claim:
"As far as I'm concerned, nobody has a monopoly on reality, and to claim otherwise is simply arrogance."

So it comes as no surprise to see you dragging up the same questions repeatedly, all the while claiming that we're dodging your questions. You have clearly demonstrated that you don't believe your own rule for determining what someone believes (i.e., they are what they say they are) because you don't really believe that Rho is a Muslim (though he claimed he was). When I presented you with an alternative rule, you predictably responded with more questions. When Rho presented a clearer definition of what a Christian is, you again predictably responded with more questions.

I say "predictably", because your stated epistemology is logically self-defeating (how can you know with certainty that "it is fundamentally impossible to know anything with certainty"?). You claim that your epistemology "can account for intelligent discourse". That apparently has some boundaries, and they are starting to show. Your stated epistemology dictates that no answer that is provided to you will be sufficient to answer any of your questions. Thus, we have your argumentum ad nauseum.

My hope is that others will see it for what it is.

Paul C said...

What I was in turn accusing you and JM of was the logical fallacy of false attribution, which correlates to a Type I error (or false positive). That is, Robin Meyers and/or Arthur Shelton really aren't Christians but you claim that they are.

I don't claim that they're Christian - they claim that they're Christian. I have no reason to disbelieve them - as opposed to Rhology, who has given me plenty of reasons to disbelieve that he is Muslim, notably his assertion that he explicitly rejects the core, fundamental beliefs of Islam.

I can accept Rhology's claim that he rejects the core beliefs of Islam because he is the person whose beliefs are being discussed, and I accept what he is telling me about his own beliefs. I cannot accept Rhology's claim that somebody else rejects the core beliefs of Christianity without evidence that they actually reject those beliefs, since he is not entitled to speak on their behalf about their beliefs.

Rhology does not have magic psychic abilities which allow him to look into Meyers' minds and determine what he believes - he has access to exactly the same evidence that I do, which is a) their claims and b) their actions. The problem is that Rhology denies that somebody's claims to be a Christian are not an acceptable guide to whether they are a Christian - he specifically uses the case of Meyers.

That's fine by me, but it leaves us with their actions as the only way to judge whether somebody is Christian. Yet neither you or Rhology accept that somebody's actions are a useful guide to their beliefs - Rhology accepts that atheists can carry out actions which appear to be good, and you have successfully argued that Christians can carry out actions which appear to be bad (for example, Shelton). So neither words or actions are of no use in deciding who is Christian or not.

Your final argument is that the Bible offers a guide to who is Christian or not. On the surface this appears to make sense, but suffers from serious problems. In Rhology's words, "Christian" is someone who believes a specific set of propositions AND who has been born again by the Spirit of God. I still don't have those magic powers that Rhology has which enables him to look into people's minds (or God's mind), so I cannot tell who has been born again.

This leaves us with belief in that specific set of propositions. As I understand it, there is disagreement between Christians about which of those beliefs are "core", so it doesn't really help me - an outsider - to decide. However if - for the sake of this discussion - we accept this as a guide to who is a Christian and who is not, then I am perfectly entitled to ask for evidence that both Meyers and Shelton do in fact reject those propositions. This is not an argument ad nauseum - I am simply following the discussion exactly where you and Rhology have taken it.

(As an aside: it also seems strange that Rhology's initial objection to Meyers did not mention those propositions at all.)

Lucian said...

No, she didn't fell of a donkey, but it's clear You were dropped on your head right after You were born.

Rhology said...

Lucian,

I hardly even know what to make of you. You're on the wrong side AGAIN. You think Paul C's points, if true, don't blow up your position too?
Go ahead and make an argument that "Mary's hymen were not intact after Christ was born" is equivalent to "I deny the Virgin Birth of Christ", too.


Paul C lied:
I have never argued that I get to identify that which is Christian.

That's just flatly, obviously wrong. Anyone can read what you've written - it's out there for all to see.
Unless of course you're not certain you wrote that. You *could* be wrong. And even if you did write that, you can't be certain it was really you then either.
Man, it stinks to think like you!

I have no way of identifying who is a Christian or not except their own claims to be a Christian.

Which is why my "I'm a Muslim" schtick effectively dispenses with that point.
Could it be that just saying you're ____ doesn't make you a ____ if you bear no resemblance to the essential nature of what makes a ____ a ____?


Can you provide us with some evidence that Robin Meyers does not subscribe to that list of propositions, and has not been born again?

Meyers denies the biblical categories of "sin" that make the atonement necessary.
If there's no sin, there's no need for salvation (by grace thru faith or otherwise). Neither is there a Savior.


Where did you get that list of propositions from?

Copied some of the "What We Believe"s from my church's website to make it quick and easy for me.
Fundamentally, from the Bible and spending a few minutes in thought on each, asking whether it is essential or not. Or a lot of minutes.

And how do I know that you're a Real Christian (TM) and that the list is correct?

You don't, b/c you're an outsider.
You can either take my word for it and respond to ME or you can go talk to someone else who claims to be a Christian and respond to their beliefs if you want.
I'm sure Meyers would really appreciate it if you showed up and tried to get him to defend MY freaky, fundy, evil conservative Calvinistic beliefs. Why don't you try that and see how far you get? If you get 10% of the word count and less than 2 more profanities than I've used, I'd be pretty surprised.



sixstrung said:
all the while claiming that we're dodging your questions.

Well, he can't be certain we're dodging his questions. ;-)


Paul C said:

I don't claim that they're Christian - they claim that they're Christian.

And *I* claim I'm a Muslim. Here we go again...

notably his assertion that he explicitly rejects the core, fundamental beliefs of Islam.

The parallel with Meyers is lost on Paul C. Predictably.

Rhology does not have magic psychic abilities which allow him to look into Meyers' minds and determine what he believes

True. I have taken upon myself the cumbersome and apparently entirely unnecessary task of reading and listening to Meyers to know what he believes.

he has access to exactly the same evidence that I do

As does the college dropout versus the guy on the President's List. One of us uses the evidence and one ignores it in an epistemology-induced stupor.

so I cannot tell who has been born again.

the Bible provides general criteria for knowing, but it's an uncertain task.
that's why I said "AND" rather than "OR".
Once again, we both have access to the same linguistic resources (ie, knowing "and" from "or") but one of us makes use of them and the other doesn't b/c, gosh darn it, he's got a point to make!

it also seems strange that Rhology's initial objection to Meyers did not mention those propositions at all.)

What, do I have to dredge up a person's entire worldview from scratch every time I critique them anew?
Maybe you could do a little digging yourself!
Or you could take my word for it, since I HAVE actually done so and had experience with the man and his church, and stop acting like a child.

Peace,
Rhology

sixstrung said...

Paul C,
I'd like to try to get at what I perceive to be the central issue in your statements. Sidestepping the issues with your epistemology for the moment, it seems that you're frustrated because we can't supply you with a universal rule for determining whether or not someone is a Christian. Rho's definition of a Christian (to which I also subscribe) includes being "born again by the Spirit of God." This is an issue pertaining to a person's heart. We can compare a person's stated beliefs and actions against the standard set forth in The Bible (and are in fact instructed to do so for those in the church (1 Corinthians 5:12)), but at the end of the day, only God knows a person's heart (Proverbs 17:3).

This is not a problem unique to Christianity, but rather one that applies to all humanity: we are all capable of duplicity. If you are able to come up with some method of determining what lies in a man's heart, then by all means patent it. You'd make a fortune, because the polygraph test hasn't been doing so well.

Again, one wonders what utility is provided to you in being able to determine whether someone else is a Christian, other than to set up a straw man. Rho has pointed this out on numerous occasions, but I'll reiterate here: You don't get to converse with EveryChristian on this blog...only a very few. If you want to get the thoughts/opinions of other Christians, you'll have to go to the trouble of actually talking with them. So how does the issue of whether or not Shelton and Meyers are Christians specifically impact your discussion with us?

NAL said...

Rho:
That's just flatly, obviously wrong. Anyone can read what you've written - it's out there for all to see.

When Rho says that without links or without an actual quote, be very suspicious.

Rho:
Which is why my "I'm a Muslim" schtick effectively dispenses with that point.

Not quite. In your case, Paul C had reasons to believe you aren't a Muslim. If all he had to go on was your claim, then he might have believed you. Oh wait, he explained this in a comment after the one you quoted.

sixstrung:
When I presented you with an alternative rule, you predictably responded with more questions.

The nerve! It wasn't like your alternative rule was question begging.

sixstrung:
(how can you know with certainty that "it is fundamentally impossible to know anything with certainty"?)

A thought provoking point. Is a skeptic skeptical of skepticism? What's you PhD going to be in?

Rhology said...

When Rho says that without links or without an actual quote, be very suspicious.

As if I haven't made it clear to what I refer.
As if the entire context of this discussion doesn't span the last 3 posts. As if the constant use of the word "Meyers" isn't enough.
I'm not at all confident that other readers are nearly as intellectually lazy as you give them credit for being, NAL.


Paul C had reasons to believe you aren't a Muslim.

And he has reasons to believe that Meyers isn't a Christian. But I can't make him take those reasons into account.
One should be very suspicious when an interlocutor, once responded-to, doesn't respond to the point but rather just repeats himself multiple times.

A thought provoking point. Is a skeptic skeptical of skepticism?

Indeed it is.
One would hope he is skeptical thereof, lest he be guilty of special pleading.
But then, the horror! Now his worldview is self-refuting!
Scylla and Caribbean-dis! Or Charybdis. Either way.
This is one of those times when I'm glad I'm a Christian and don't have to navigate those straits.

sixstrung said...

Nal,
"The nerve! It wasn't like your alternative rule was question begging."

Was it? I won't deny the criticism, but because I'm here to learn, please elaborate.

Regardless, Paul fails to stick to his own epistemology when he asks:

"Oh, you might be absolutely certain that your particular interpretation isn't a moving target - but how do I know that your interpretation as (sic) the correct one?"

As Paul himself has stated:
"it is fundamentally impossible to know anything with certainty", so he's demanding from my response a certainty that his own epistemology won't allow.

Nal asks,
"What's you (sic) PhD going to be in?"

Management Information Systems. Thanks for asking. What's your area of study/vocation?

NAL said...

Sixstrung:
... please elaborate.
...
The answer is simple: test their words and actions against the Word of God (aka The Bible).


You're not really testing against the Bible, you're testing against an interpretation of the Bible. Different people interpret the Bible in different ways. Hence, the test may yield different results depending on the interpretation. Hardly an objective test.

What is the point of arguing that someone whose interpretation differs from yours, is not a Christian?

I suspect that Rho did not include all the propositions that he would require a person to believe to be considered a Christian in his book. I suspect something about evolution may have been omitted.

/EE, Communications Theory.
/Had some dealing with people from the National Severe Storms Lab in Norman.

AgnostiChicagOkie said...

I did not mean to imply that the Bible does not teach those doctrines, merely that Jesus himself did not teach all of them. As I said, it seems odd that the founder of Christianity did not lay down all these allegedly essential doctrines himself. You may claim that he did, but I do not think the gospels bear that out.

Rhology said...

NAL said:

You're not really testing against the Bible, you're testing against an interpretation of the Bible

I interpret those words to mean that you, one minute ago, fell to your knees and repented of your sins and trusted in the Lord Jesus for salvation. How wonderful!
Then you had some sweet potato fries with hollandaise sauce afterwards. I don't know about that sauce, but welcome to the family, brother.

On a more serious note, here's some notes on what should be a self-explanatory answer to that objection.
Offer an argument that it's an invalid interp, NAL, instead of inconsistently spraying your Skepticism Firehose. Why not turn it on yourself once in a while to see what it makes of your own position?

Honestly, this kind of comment is a signal that the argument is not going well for the employer thereof. Gives me a warm glow inside, actually...

Different people interpret the Bible in different ways

Different people interp the fossil record in diff ways too. Does that mean it's OK for me to interp it as evidence of Young Earth Creationism? If not, why not? And isn't that the same argument you're using?

What is the point of arguing that someone whose interpretation differs from yours, is not a Christian?

Maybe b/c "Christianity" is define-able. If it's not, then it's not "Christianity". It's "whatever".
If you really believed this, you'd change your blog's name to "the whatever whatever". But you reserve the right to define your own beliefs, just as I do mine.
This is a double-edged sword; it does the same thing to your position as it does to mine.

I suspect that Rho did not include all the propositions that he would require a person to believe to be considered a Christian in his book. I suspect something about evolution may have been omitted.

There's a difference between propositions that must be believed and those that must not be refused upon correction from God's Word.
To believe in Jesus does not necessarily entail a ton of propositions, but only a few. But once one starts learning, one must believe those propositions when given the opportunity to, else that person does not hold to a Christian position.'
But actually no, I don't consider someone who holds to ToE to be necessarily non-Christian. They are inconsistent, sure, but inconsistency in certain beliefs is not a damnable offense.


AgnostiChicagOkie said:
I did not mean to imply that the Bible does not teach those doctrines, merely that Jesus himself did not teach all of them.

Oh, OK. Granted, then.

As I said, it seems odd that the founder of Christianity did not lay down all these allegedly essential doctrines himself.

But we don't believe that Jesus was the ONLY founder of Christianity. God is. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Scripture, which contains the doctrines you object to.

Peace,
Rhology

NAL said...

Rho:
Different people interp the fossil record in diff ways too. Does that mean it's OK for me to interp it as evidence of Young Earth Creationism?

Sure. The fossil record is evidence and evidence must be interpreted. All interpretations are subjective. The likelihood that the interpretation of the evidence supports a hypothesis is then determined.

Rho:
And isn't that the same argument you're using?

My argument is that you don't have an objective basis to determine who is and who is not a Christian.

Rho:
Maybe b/c "Christianity" is define-able. ... But you reserve the right to define your own beliefs, just as I do mine.

Then Robin Meyers has the right to define his own beliefs too. But you have no objective basis for defining "Christianity" for anyone else.

Rhology said...

You know, Christianity is not like atheism. I can see how you'd say that about your position, but mine is a revealed religion.

You continue to neglect the points re: I'm a Muslim. So just answer this:

You meet someone in an airport. He tells you he believes that Jesus is a complete myth and that he didn't actually exist. There is no god. Material is all there is. Nothing in the Old Testament actually occurred, and Paul wasn't real either.

Is he a Christian or not?
Why or why not?

Paul C said...

Well, it's certainly good to see that when I lay out my position as clearly as possible, neither Rhology or Sixstrung actually addresses the points I make. Rhology simply falls back on his standard approach when he doesn't have an answer - feeble humour and endless repetition of tangential points - while Sixstrung actually changes the subject completely. I'm not going to pretend that this means that I "win" the argument, because it doesn't. Although it would be nice to see one of you actually address the points I raise, I don't expect to see that any time soon. In any case Rhology actually argues my point for me. When I ask how I knew that he was a Real Christian (TM) and that his list was correct, he replies:

You don't, b/c you're an outsider.

That's my point in a nutshell. You believe that, as an outsider, I actually can't know who is a Real Christian (TM) or not; so all you leave me with is whether an individual calls themselves Christian or not. Well done - you've successfully argued my point.

Paul C said...

So how does the issue of whether or not Shelton and Meyers are Christians specifically impact your discussion with us??

Really simple answer: just like Shelton and Meyers, you use your religion as a prop for your existing socially-determined concerns, seeking to give them an "objective" basis through couching them in religious terms.

You'll notice that Meyer's raises Rhology's wrath because he's a "liberal" rather than because he's a Satanist. I would guess that Rhology didn't have to modify many (if any) of his existing political views when he became a Christian - that he found a faith group that suited his politics. I may be wrong.

What I don't understand is how Rhology - and possibly you, to a lesser extent - can throw around the accusations that Meyers is somehow corrupting the message, while Real Christianity (TM) remains pure. To an outsider, Rhology and Meyers look exactly the same - people using religious language to describe political views.

All I'm hoping for is a little bit of self-awareness on your part. What do you think about this? Can you even consider the possibility that your religious faith - while being perfectly valid in itself - is a mirror rather than a spyglass?

Dr Funkenstein said...

Can you even consider the possibility that your religious faith - while being perfectly valid in itself - is a mirror rather than a spyglass?

This is a good point, something I noticed on the thread about waterboarding as a means of extracting confessions/intelligence info - to me it very much had the angle of 'I [Rhology] believe it is acceptable, therefore there must be some biblical way to justify it' as opposed to 'it's justified in the bible, therefore I [Rhology] will agree it is acceptable under my view of the world'.

it's a little like this insight from George Bernard Shaw:

“No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means”

Rhology said...

Paul C said:

I would guess that Rhology didn't have to modify many (if any) of his existing political views when he became a Christian - that he found a faith group that suited his politics.

1) Yes, you're very wrong. When I was saved I was a Democrat like my parents are.
2) Not that it would matter - this has no bearing on whether Christianity (or right-wing politics in general) is true or not.
3) If one were actually to read the post on Meyers (I know, it's apparently alot to ask), they'd notice that almost none of my points relate to politics at all. Rather, they were theological in nature, and that was my intention all along.
4) Do try not to make the mistake of mixing politics and theology. They are not identical, nor is the use of the word "liberal" identical between the two arenas.
5) I find politics generally insufferable. Just FYI.

the accusations that Meyers is somehow corrupting the message, while Real Christianity (TM) remains pure

It might be b/c you seem to be incurably obtuse - is CHristianity definable or not?

To an outsider, Rhology and Meyers look exactly the same - people using religious language to describe political views.

And you and I use philosophical language and employ argumentation to try to prove our points.
To an outsider, you and I are the same! Might as well call us by the same label. We're both Hindus.

DF said:
“No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means”

Make the argument that I have done so, Dr Funk.
That's just "argument" by throwaway "pithy" quote that is self-reinforcing. Quote me misusing the biblical text, then show how I"m wrong by presenting your counter-exegesis. Back up your assertions.

Peace,
Rhology

Paul C said...

As I said, I may be wrong - it often happens. I do find it funny that you say that you were a Democrat when you were saved, implying that you aren't now - presumably you believe that Jesus would have had the same political views as you? However as per your instruction I'll try not to mix politics and theology - Christians never do, after all.

Unfortunately I see that you don't have an answer to my actual question - what a surprise, that's never happened before! - so let's move on.

It might be b/c you seem to be incurably obtuse - is CHristianity definable or not?

To an outsider it appears that Christianity is the set of all people calling themselves Christian, so it's definable in that sense. There are certainly some key beliefs at the centre of Christianity, but you all define them slightly differently, so it makes very little odds - apart from the one about following Christ, which is the only real category shaper here.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Make the argument that I have done so, Dr Funk.
That's just "argument" by throwaway "pithy" quote that is self-reinforcing. Quote me misusing the biblical text, then show how I"m wrong by presenting your counter-exegesis. Back up your assertions.


I gave an example above the quote (I like quotes, since they add a little humour into proceedings). I might be wrong, or course, that's just the way that thread came across to me. I believe it was here in this combox, so any newcomers can have a browse and make their own mind up. Although, I'd agree that many liberal Christian claims are just as guilty of it in the sense that it's what they want to believe rather than what the bible actually says - eg Genesis being figurative rather than literal and suchlike

Rhology said...

Paul C said:
you believe that Jesus would have had the same political views as you?

Better said, if Jesus were on earth during this time period, my views correspond pretty closely to what His would, yes. And precisely how much to care about and be involved in political action is a disputed point among Christians, but I think that my stance of "politics takes a lower priority" corresponds to Christ's example while He was on earth as well.


However as per your instruction I'll try not to mix politics and theology - Christians never do, after all.

Didn't say they don't. Of all stripes, they do, even the liberal "Christians" do.
It just doesn't interest ME a lot. I'm sure there are other blogs where conservative Christians take a lot of political discussion. Vox Day, though he's heterodox, is a good place to start.

I think I did miss this question, and it was accidental this time:
Can you even consider the possibility that your religious faith - while being perfectly valid in itself - is a mirror rather than a spyglass?

Yes, I can and have.


To an outsider it appears that Christianity is the set of all people calling themselves Christian, so it's definable in that sense.

There you go again with the "calling themselves Christian". Seriously, you need to figure out a different way to say it. Ie, you need a different standard.

apart from the one about following Christ, which is the only real category shaper here.

And there you go again setting up our worldview for us. What is your argument for that? Who gave you that authority? The Pope? the same guy who gave you the authority to make moral claims about other people's actions?



Dr Funk said:
I believe it was here in this combox, so any newcomers can have a browse and make their own mind up

Yes, they certainly can.

it's what they want to believe rather than what the bible actually says - eg Genesis being figurative rather than literal and suchlike

I'd agree with you there. Liberalism is less Christian than Romanism.

Peace,
Rhology

Karla said...

I am finding that the God or Christianity that atheist are against is not the real God or Christianity at all, it is some misguided idea of Him and Christianity that has somehow come to them through their experience or by what other non-believers say about us. However, I think the way to change this is to be open with what we do believe first before setting up an argument against what they believe. For if we haven't defined our terms we are only setting up straw man arguments that serve no good purpose. Love is the greatest apologetic and I think when Christians are able to articulate why they believe what they believe they are more apt to be able to so in love.

Paul C said...

Better said, if Jesus were on earth during this time period, my views correspond pretty closely to what His would, yes.

I love the idea that you think that your political views would be so in tune with a first century Galilean Jew; however that's probably a dead end in terms of this discussion.

Yes, I can and have.

And would it be fairly safe to assume that you concluded without any doubt at all that it's a spyglass?

There you go again with the "calling themselves Christian". Seriously, you need to figure out a different way to say it. Ie, you need a different standard.

Why do I need a different way to say it? Sixstrung and yourself have successfully argued that there is no other standard that I as an outsider can use to tell who is a Christian or not. So unless you've got something else that you haven't shared with us yet, I'll stick with this approach.

And there you go again setting up our worldview for us.

Uh, no. Here's a clue; the fact that you follow Jesus as the Christ is in the name of your religion. I'm not sure how that demonstrates that I am "setting up" your worldview for you.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Curiously, seeing as waterboarding was brought up, this article has just appeared in Vanity Fair via Pharyngula - the atheist writer Christopher Hitchens being subjected to the tretament in question (of his own volition I should add). Quite an interesting read, and I believe there is a video for anyone who really wants to see what the practice entails.