Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A world of endless grey mud

I'm the Jolly Nihilist, and I approve the implications of this message.
Let us further our descent into the buzzing despair...

I deny the existence of truth with respect to moral issues.

It is thus not true that raping little girls for fun is morally wrong.

there is no clear way to discern what facts might be relevant in judging an action virtuous or wicked.

Their ages notwithstanding.

Are facts of happiness and suffering relevant to moral concerns? Possibly, but that has not been proved, and I see no way it possibly could be

So we must carry on without, and be jolly.

Existence is meaningless and all our actions, in the final analysis, have no enduring consequence.

So whether you're a Democratic activist or a pædophile, it makes no difference. At all.

The cosmos cares nothing for us—as a species or as individuals—and, as such, there is no reason to attach great significance to our silly doings.

I've replaced God with "the cosmos", and neither one cares, so... screw it.

However, our brains are sufficiently evolved to grasp some truths, however tentatively: truths of science, history and mathematics come to mind.

At least, I think they are sufficiently evolved for that.
And I must be very tentative about thinking that our brains are sufficiently evolved to grasp some truths. That might not be true.
Which means it might not be true that there are no moral truths. And it might not be true that I'm jolly, or that I'm a nihilist, or that evolution occurred, or that evidence is a useful guide to truth. But it's NOT tentative that I'm confused, b/c I'm sure enough about these things to make all these dogmatic assertions. Everything is unsure except where I declare certainty to exist.

Second, given the fortunate happenstance of our species' evolution

Which use of "fortunate" shows that I cannot live consistently with the portrait I've just painted.
What I meant was that I'm glad our species has evolved so I can express this utter despair. There is no purpose nor fortune, so pardon me for misspeaking.

Human rights…civil rights…natural rights…these are invented ideas, with no known scientific basis.

Thus they can be discarded at will and whim unless there is a mighty power around to keep the rights we've made up from being discarded.
But we could have evolved in such a way to consider that raping little girls or murdering Jews and Gypsies is a fundamental human right. It didn't happen to turn out that way, but heck, why not?

Luckily, as citizens of the United States, rights were invented for us and spelled out in our Constitution.

There I go with that "luckily" talk again. You'll have to pardon me, since this is rather depressing.
It's my own invented right to talk myself out of suffocating under this stinking muck I talk up so much.

Because our government operates thereunder, these rights always shall be protected (unless they are amended away or a tyrannical government

And either way is neither right nor wrong. So it really doesn't matter.

I advocate abortion rights without restriction.

B/c it's neither more right nor more wrong to kiss a baby than to jab a scalpel into her hypothalamus and dismember her.

I advocate the immediate termination of the Iraq debacle.

B/c it's neither more right nor more wrong to bomb innocent civilians than it is to rescue them from a dictator.
Wait, did I say that right...?


(Edited "evolution" to "evidence". Oops.)

37 comments:

John Morales said...

Rhology, quoting snippets and disingenuosly pontificating is so pathetic... isn't it enough that there is significance and meaning to participants of the life experience? As always, when you parody your perception of atheists' thinking, you give yourself away.

Your need for teleological reassurance is not universal amongst humans - it's no more rational than fear of the dark.

Rhology said...

Meh, I quoted probably more than half of the words in his comment. Did you count them?

Anonymous said...

I like chocolate milk.

bc said...

I like tacos

Anonymous said...

The simple fact that you are wasting your time arguing about this shows that you obviously "need" something in your life. Whether that is faith or justification..this still shows what I (being a non Christian) believe to be true ... Nihilists do not exist.

I do find this all amusing though... keep up the good work.

Kyle said...

Spot on! This post drew out the lurkers. You must've hit a nerve.

Atheism is not satisfying and it is only wishful thinking and fairytales to make yourself feel good about a world that accidently barfed you into existence from the primordial goo just to live briefly and then die. Doesn't mean it is false, but it sure isn't satisfying.

John Morales said...

Rhology, JN's comment was 497 words excluding his salutation, of which you quoted 193.

I of course referred to his narrative, which you've robbed of context and relevance - for example, your first quoted snippet is the second clause of a point he's making, and by leaving out the first you've removed its relevance.

But, even taking those snippets as they stand, I judge that your responses merit the term disingenuous. Let's see:

"I deny the existence of truth with respect to moral issues.

It is thus not true that raping little girls for fun is morally wrong.

Well, no. As JN and others have previously explained, there is no inconsistency in holding moral beliefs without assuming morality is objective.

"there is no clear way to discern what facts might be relevant in judging an action virtuous or wicked."

Their ages notwithstanding.

Glib, but another non-sequitur.
Rhology, you're always on about the rape of "little girls", and here you make a strange implication - in what sense would the ages of the participants be relevant to determining if rape is wrong? Isn't rape rape, whether of a little girl or an old man?

"Are facts of happiness and suffering relevant to moral concerns? Possibly, but that has not been proved, and I see no way it possibly could be"

So we must carry on without, and be jolly.

It's a fallacy to attempt to disprove an argument by appealing to its consequences.

"Existence is meaningless and all our actions, in the final analysis, have no enduring consequence."

So whether you're a Democratic activist or a pædophile, it makes no difference. At all.

On any reading, your "At all" is totally misrepresenting his point.
Context, Rhology, context is the key.
I've bolded out the qualifiers, since you blithely ignore their import.

...

Enough - I think I've written enough to justify my opinion, as expressed in my first comment.

John Morales said...

Kyle, I judge your comment to be argumentum ad consequentiam.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

No long reply required...just a few brief points:

I. The statement "your worldview fills me with despair" is not equivalent to the statement "your worldview is false." Perhaps, when faced with the unfeeling, uncaring cosmos, the most appropriate reaction is despair.

II. However, I am not in a state of depression or despair. Although I call myself The Jolly Nihilist largely because I find the appellation amusing, it is also correct in its description of me. Philosophically, I am a nihilist. In my life, I am happy. I recognize that my time as a living organism on this planet is fleeting; when I die, I shall slip into non-existence. As such, I wring as much enjoyment from this life as I possibly can. Insofar as I have been successful in so doing, I am happy, nay, jolly. And, even though I cannot declare child rape objectively immoral in a grand cosmic sense, I can declare such behavior, from my standpoint, deplorable and reprehensible. And that, for me, is plenty. As to your suggestion that humans might have evolved to believe that rape, murder and mayhem are virtuous, even natural rights, given what we know about natural selection and Darwinian evolution, such a hypothetical is extremely unlikely. It is hard to imagine the Darwinian survival benefit of such comportment, for individuals or societies.

III. It is NOT necessary to be tentative in concluding humans can grasp some truths. Our ability to do this is manifest and beyond argumentation. It is true that John McCain is a US senator representing Arizona. It is true that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It is true that, in the United States, Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25. It is true that Nebraska is part of the United States. It is true that Earth is a planet that is capable of sustaining living things. Again, these truths are manifest and beyond sane argumentation. Human cognitive abilities are limited and are flawed, but we are not bereft of truth. We simply lack an evidential basis for objective moral judgments. In the absence of objective morality, each individual crafts his own, based upon his intellect and instincts.

IV. Although you are correct that, rather than using "fortunate" or "luckily," I probably should have said "I am glad" or "I am happy," given the context of the sentences in question, I think my meaning was clear. "The fortunate happenstance of our species' evolution" means I am glad our species evolved. "Luckily, as citizens of the United States, rights were invented for us" means I am glad such rights were invented. Even if I am guilty of language imprecision, these instances surely are misdemeanors.

I think that about covers it. The quotes—if not your commentary—fairly represent my ideas, however despairing they might strike you as being.

Rintintin said...

Hi Rho - speaking of mud (or more accurately, fossils that got trapped in the mud) I have written my review of Gee - I decided to choose the handle Dr Funkenstein for my blog rather than RTT - was listening to a bit of Parliament/Funkadelic and liked the idea :)

you can find it

here

feel free to cross link a post to it if you like and/or pass comment

Rintintin said...

"Atheism is not satisfying and it is only wishful thinking and fairytales to make yourself feel good"

I'm assuming you weren't being ironic here Kyle :)

personally I find the whole 900-year old people, all the animals on a wooden boat and so on a bit more difficult to believe than anything I accept as correct

"about a world that accidently barfed you into existence from the primordial goo just to live briefly and then die. Doesn't mean it is false, but it sure isn't satisfying."

I think this is fairly pertinent - how nice it feels has no bearing on how true it is.

Kyle said...

John,

Rintintin got my point (I think). I did not say that because atheism is unsatisfying it is false.

The point Rho has been making repeatedly is that if you believe in Atheism, you *ought* to act like it but so often atheists don't. Since atheists frequently act contrary to their worldview, others try to gently (or sometimes no so gently) point it out. This is an internal critique of Atheism. If I admit Atheism is true and then certain things follow, why don't atheists act consistently with the logical outworking of their own views? From Christianity, the reason is atheists are creatures in rebellion against their God and they use Atheism as a concealment for their evil.

Kyle said...

Rintintin,

"personally I find the whole 900-year old people, all the animals on a wooden boat and so on a bit more difficult to believe than anything I accept as correct"

The God of Christianity makes all other aspects of Christianity believable. Divorced from the Creator, the miracles of scripture are not believable. But, allow God into the equation and then what is so hard to believe?

Please think seriously about this question. Why would Noah's ark or 900 year old poeple be hard to believe given that the living God created the universe?

I could honestly respect an atheist who said, "I could see how the miracles could happen if the living God were real. I am just unsure about the existence of TGOTB." Simple and honest. Why reject things within Christianity based on Atheism? Christianity is a packaged deal. You can accept the whole deal or reject it. If TGOTB exists, then you have miracles, angels, demons, heaven, hell, salvation, etc. If not, back to the goo with you.

Rintintin said...

Please think seriously about this question. Why would Noah's ark or 900 year old poeple be hard to believe given that the living God created the universe?

because it bears no resemblance to reality, and from what we know of how the world operates.

the bible makes it seem like the world runs like a cartoon - no different to bugs bunny being able to talk. I simply dont think the world is anything like a cartoon.

biblical models of nature also have absolutely no predictive power whatsoever, whereas the regular ol' scientific ones do.

I could honestly respect an atheist who said, "I could see how the miracles could happen if the living God were real. I am just unsure about the existence of TGOTB."

But I could say the same for absolutely anything - anything becomes believable if you just posit some grand invisible magic man in the sky with unlimited power then work from there. again, the world just becomes like a cartoonist would make it up - but from what I can tell the world doesn't work anything like that. have a hunt around on google and you can dig up an incredible number of non-biblical examples of the supernatural from the past and present - they are no less ludicrous than the biblical ones, yet many bible believers would join me in dismissing them.

John Morales said...

Kyle,

Rintintin got my point (I think).(1) I did not say that because atheism is unsatisfying it is false.(2)

1. Implying I didn't?
2. So why make the point, then, if not to imply this sentiment?

The point Rho has been making repeatedly is that if you believe in Atheism, you *ought* to act like it but so often atheists don't.(1) Since atheists frequently act contrary to their worldview, others try to gently (or sometimes no so gently) point it out.(2) This is an internal critique of Atheism.(3)

1. Look, when you observe the way self-identifed atheists believe and behave, and it does not match your expectations of the way you think they should behave, have you considered it could be you're misunderstanding us?
2. Again, we act contrary to what you think we should, and that makes you think we're inconsistent?
3. When a hypothesis does not match empirical evidence, a rational person considers that hypothesis flawed.

If I admit Atheism is true and then certain things follow (1), why don't atheists act consistently with the logical outworking of their own views?(2)

0. 2 does not follow from 1.
1. Atheism (at least mine) is not a positive claim - it's a claim that I don't see any need to postulate deities to explain anything.
2. A repetition of the previous claims, already addressed.

From Christianity, the reason is atheists are creatures in rebellion against their God and they use Atheism as a concealment for their evil.

Illustrating the point nicely - no, I am not in "rebellion" about your imaginary friend.

John Morales said...

Kyle, I fear I've been overterse and thus unclear.

To clarify: Point 0 is because what you admit is not relevant to how atheists behave.

Phinehas said...

"...they are no less ludicrous than the biblical ones, yet many bible believers would join me in dismissing them."

Well that's because they're not in the Bible.

The difference between the "Invisible magic man in the sky" and TGOTB is a book that has endured generations, its connection with history (ie, the people in the Bible weren't made up but actually existed), and disciples who have suffered to the point of death because of him, among other reasons I'm probably forgetting. I doubt one would find many members of the church of the FSM dying for their "beliefs", anyway.

Of course, none of that proves whether or not it's all true on its own, but I just think it all creates a compelling argument. And IF the God of the Bible is true and he shortened peoples' lifespan from 900 years to more around 100, and he caused a great flood, and he sent his son to conquer death, why would any of that be so unbelievable? IF TGOTB is true? It just sounds like you've made up your mind before approaching the text.

Slightly unrelated, I'm not quite sure I understand the quote, "biblical models of nature also have absolutely no predictive power whatsoever, whereas the regular ol' scientific ones do." Could you explain this a little more? I'm interested, is all.

Rhology said...

My point in this post has been threefold:
1) To show that this nihilism, if true, is horrible. It is existentially impossible for a human to live by. The JN demonstrates this in the way he acts.
2) To show that this nihilism, if true, doesn't matter. There is no reason to do ANYthg, let alone seek for truth, let alone seek to know whether nihilism is true. Might as well eat, drink, and be merry. Might as well spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Might as well argue against the truth of nihilism. So what?
3) To expose the inconsistencies in the JN's worldview and statements (to say nothing of his actions). To y'all atheists and to me, an inconsistency in an argument is an excellent sign of the failure of that argument.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

But you never demonstrated any genuine inconsistencies or behavioral contradictions on my part. You pointed out two instances of imprecise language, but I acknowledged your correction and clarified the misapprehension. Other than that, I do not see any mortal wound you inflicted.

* I acknowledge the cosmos is bereft of objective moral standards.

* I acknowledge, in the final analysis, each human life is without enduring meaning and without enduring consequence.

* I acknowledge, as it pertains to objective morals, nobody "ought" to do anything and nobody "ought not" to do anything. The cosmos does not care if you are a rapist or a slave liberator.

Nihilism, however, IS a livable philosophical position. It is also consistent with happiness and jolliness. I am a jolly nihilist, after all. And I am jolly even though I recognize my life to be ultimately meaningless...a cosmic accident without particular purpose. I can experience joy and pleasure, and I seek such experiences. I can have a delicious lunch and then take a vigorous jog.

And that's plenty. That is all I need.

Paul C said...

It's worth remembering that when Rhology says:

To show that this nihilism, if true, is horrible

he means that the idea of a cosmos without meaning, without objective morals, is horrible to him - it fills him with fear. He's admitted to this fear, but is unable to explain it - he's just scared, and that's what his religious beliefs are based on. Like a child, when those beliefs are challenged, he puts his fingers in his ears and repeats the same phrases over and over.

It's also worth bearing in mind that when Rhology says:

It is existentially impossible for a human to live by

he means that it's existentialy impossible for him to live by. Rhology is intensely solipsistic; he cannot conceive of people thinking differently from him, of not living in fear. He projects his own fear onto all of us, and as a result his apologetic is limited by his fundamental inability to place himself in the shoes of others.

Paul C said...

Slightly unrelated, I'm not quite sure I understand the quote, "biblical models of nature also have absolutely no predictive power whatsoever, whereas the regular ol' scientific ones do.

Phinehas, I wouldn't go so far as saying that biblical models of nature have no predictive power whatsoever - I think they do have predictive power, but only if you have a pre-modern view of the world, e.g. you're a herdsman in the Galilee. You cannot accurately make predictions about how the world works based on what the bible tells you about the world.

Take, for example, the Fall. The Christian model for the development of morality is that man learnt the difference between good and evil by eating a piece of fruit. As far as I can tell, that doesn't really explain anything at all, let alone make predictions about how humans make moral judgments, how morality has developed over time, and so on.

Maybe you disagree, in which case I'd be interested to hear about some biblical models that you think are predictive?

Rhology said...

Paul C, aka my shrink,

I thank you for your concern about my "fear", but that is not what I refer to when I say "it is horrible".
You don't fear God, right? B/c He doesn't exist, right?
In the same way, I don't fear the implications of this worldview being true in real life, b/c it is not true.

It's also worth bearing in mind that when Rhology says:
It is existentially impossible for a human to live by
he means that it's existentialy impossible for him to live by.


Wrong again. One of the points of my post was that the JN can't and doesn't live by it either.
Neither can or do you. You display it every time you make a moral statement, every time you argue that your position is true.

You cannot accurately make predictions about how the world works based on what the bible tells you about the world.

Not even a little bit?
Not even one way?

Take, for example, the Fall

Good idea.

The Christian model for the development of morality is that man learnt the difference between good and evil by eating a piece of fruit.

Wrong again. [sigh]
This is part of the hard part of dealing with questions like these. Atheists are very, very frequently too ignorant of biblical theology in order to make accurate critiques of that theology. Paul C will go on to make a judgment based on a faulty premise.
Adam and Eve knew it was wrong ALREADY to eat the fruit, to disobey God, before they ate the fruit, so that's not it.

As for what is predictive, the Fall of Man doctrine predicts that man will deny the true God most of the time (which we do see), will very often act with hostility to other people, will bring up food from the earth only after work, sometimes hard work, will treat the environment often harshly.

That's just off the top of my head.
Of course, we Christians know and recognise that the world is God's world and is as the Bible describes it.

let alone make predictions about how humans make moral judgments, how morality has developed over time, and so on.

That people would ignore God's command much/most of the time?
That people would take on their own desires and wills into account greater than God's commands as far as forming their morality?
Sounds pretty predictive to me...


Anyway,
Peace,
Rhology

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Rhology,

Please cite an instance in which I make a clear, unequivocal claim to moral fact—a claim that could not be reasonably interpreted as a mere statement of opinion. Nihilists reject objective moral facts, but certainly may hold moral opinions. Where do I make an unmistakable claim of moral fact?

Rhology said...

"I deny the existence of truth with respect to moral issues."

Rhology said...

From here:

For example, according to Old Testament writings, Yahweh is homophobic. I find that completely reprehensible. Yahweh’s moral views on homosexuality are 100% opposed to my permissive views on homosexual activity. I certainly am not going to worship an entity that possesses moral opinions that I find hateful and repellent, especially when said entity will damn people to eternal torture merely for living in a manner that is inconsistent with its moral whims. I have no desire to subject myself to such a deity, even on the tiny chance it does exist.

Paul C said...

One of the points of my post was that the JN can't and doesn't live by it either. Neither can or do you. You display it every time you make a moral statement, every time you argue that your position is true.

Any moral statements I make are subjective. You have never denied that this is the case; you only argue that you find subjective moral statements inadequate - which ironically is a subjective moral statement on your part. So we can live quite happily by our positions, as JN has said, with subjective morals; it's you that can't manage it.

This is part of the hard part of dealing with questions like these. Atheists are very, very frequently too ignorant of biblical theology in order to make accurate critiques of that theology.

This is a bizarre accusation considering a) how specific the Bible is, and b) that this is theology at the most basic level. Genesis 3:22 states: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil", clearly indicating that, prior to eating the fruit of the tree, Adam and Eve did not know good and evil. My premise is far from faulty, and so my point stands.

As for what is predictive, the Fall of Man doctrine predicts that man will deny the true God most of the time (which we do see), will very often act with hostility to other people, will bring up food from the earth only after work, sometimes hard work, will treat the environment often harshly. That people would ignore God's command much/most of the time? That people would take on their own desires and wills into account greater than God's commands as far as forming their morality?

These are not predictions, they're merely observations and opinions. Perhaps you could explain in what way the doctrine of the Fall makes these "predictions", otherwise people might accuse you of making completely unsubstantiated assertions.

Anonymous said...

Rho says under the heading Bewitched "Atheism is the belief that one knows everything and that all humans are actually machines with no freewill whatsoever ... -Rhology, 03June2008." Rho says this because he has made up what other people think and since Rho is always right, it must be what they actually think. Rho knows he is right because what he believes is true. Rho doesn't understand that he can't believe his way to truth or that ascribing motivations to others doesn't mean you understand their motivation. Rho doesn't know that the rest of us don't have to know a great many things to know that 'God did it' isn't a satisfactory answer or that we aren't machines puttering along without decisions just because Rho thinks we think we are. Good grief Rho, try listening to what people are saying instead of telling us what we must be thinking.

Kyle said...

"Perhaps you could explain in what way the doctrine of the Fall makes these "predictions", otherwise people might accuse you of making completely unsubstantiated assertions."

I'll help Rho out here, his fingers are probably getting tired. :)

Paul,
Please read the following passage from Romans and if you have questions let Rho or I know. This is a condensed explanation of the sinfulness of Man which is a result of the Fall. Paul (the Apostle) wrote this using quotations from the Old Testament. This is a prediction in the sense that it describes all mankind past, present, and future. It 'predicts' that future people, such as us, will be sinful. You might want to read it several times because it is at the heart of the Gospel and is a major doctrine we reference over and over.

Romans 3:9-18 (OT quotes in CAPS).
"What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE." "THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING," "THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS";
"WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS"; "THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN." "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES."

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin."

Kyle said...

Dear Anonymous who didn't actually read far enough into the 'Bewitched' post to realize that Rhology was using sarcasm:

"Good grief Rho, try listening to what people are saying instead of telling us what we must be thinking."

You forgot to take your own advice. Were you holding Rho to a higher standard than yourself? How very typical and yet God will judge us by the standards we hold others to. Tsk. Tsk.

Paul C said...

It 'predicts' that future people, such as us, will be sinful.

I'm really glad that you put 'predicts' into quote marks, because that's not a prediction. If humans are in fact inherently sinful, then it is not a prediction to say that humans are sinful, it's merely an observation (within Paul's framework of understanding the world, naturally). So thanks, but this has only confirmed that the doctrine of the Fall makes no predictions, as per Rintintin's original point about biblical models.

Paul C said...

p.s. Since I don't believe in sin, I don't believe that man is inherently sinful, so even the basic premise of this 'prediction' is invalid from my perspective. I thought I'd add that because one of the very few things I object to about Christianity is its pathologically misanthropic view of humanity. We're a pretty poor show, but there's really no need to get on such a downer about it.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Right then. So I have not made any claims to moral fact.

When I say, "I deny the existence of truth with respect to moral issues," I mean that there is no such thing as an objective moral judgment--no factually correct moral standards. I do not recognize any objective moral standards because, on evidentialism, there is no clear evidence to indicate which actions might be moral and which might be immoral. There is no mechanism to separate the relevant facts from the irrelevant facts.

As for your other excerpt, I will use boldfacing to add emphasis:

For example, according to Old Testament writings, Yahweh is homophobic. I find that completely reprehensible. Yahweh’s moral views on homosexuality are 100% opposed to my permissive views on homosexual activity. I certainly am not going to worship an entity that possesses moral opinions that I find hateful and repellent, especially when said entity will damn people to eternal torture merely for living in a manner that is inconsistent with its moral whims. I have no desire to subject myself to such a deity, even on the tiny chance it does exist.

I was expressing the incompatibility of my opinions with Yahweh's supposed opinions.

Kyle said...

"I'm really glad that you put 'predicts' into quote marks, because that's not a prediction."

Paul,
I think that a charitable understanding of what Rho meant was that since the scope of the doctrine of the Fall is all people, everywhere, at all times, then it is predictive of future people. Not that the doctrine 'prophesies' that certain things will happen. That was why I added quotes. The difference is semantic. If over time people stopped being sinful as described by the doctrine, then the doctrine would be demonstrated false. Since future people continue to be sinful, in a their behavior was predicted by the doctrine of the Fall.

Kyle said...

"We're a pretty poor show, but there's really no need to get on such a downer about it."

Personally, I was amazed at how hard the bible is on sin. People didn't seem THAT bad to me until I started getting a better picture of God. When I compare myself to God, then I start to see how evil I am. Apart from that comparison, the bible can come across pretty harsh. If you balance the Fall with the other side of the Gospel which is salvation, then the Fall makes a lot more sense. The Fall and Hell are hard to grasp for believers who already trust God, it is much harder for unbelievers who aren't even sure God is real, or if He exists, if He is even good.

Rintintin said...

"If you balance the Fall with the other side of the Gospel which is salvation, then the Fall makes a lot more sense."

This is what i can't understand - why even give us the opportunity to make a mess of it in the first place?

God doesn't want us to do bad things. So he gives A+E no capacity to understand good and bad, places a tree that he doesn't want them to eat from right in the exact location they live, then is angered when they did something bad even though they had no way to actually know what good and bad were.

It's a bit like saying 'my friend is an alcoholic with terrible decision making abilities. I don't want him to drink. So I'll just put this litre of vodka on his bedside table right within easy reach for him'

Baffling on so many levels.

Rintintin said...

oops, left a bit off the end.

'It's a bit like saying 'my friend is an alcoholic with terrible decision making abilities. I don't want him to drink. So I'll just put this litre of vodka on his bedside table right within easy reach for him, then go crazy when he drinks it'

Paul C said...

I think that a charitable understanding of what Rho meant was that since the scope of the doctrine of the Fall is all people, everywhere, at all times, then it is predictive of future people. Not that the doctrine 'prophesies' that certain things will happen.

Then it is not a prediction, merely an observation. The doctrine is that people are inherently sinful, and the only prediction is that - well, people are inherently sinful. That's an observation, not prediction.

If you balance the Fall with the other side of the Gospel which is salvation, then the Fall makes a lot more sense.

No, it doesn't.