On Life

April 5, 2015

Death is a serious problem, mostly for me, but probably for everyone. The sun will collapse and the universe will fade, probably not today, but at some point it will. The resurrection of Christ is the great happy ending to what is wrong with the universe.

There are alternate claims to what’s wrong with the universe and alternate solutions. One could say that there is no problem, that nothing is wrong. One could say that there are many solutions more culturally desirable than a resurrecting God-man. But none could say there was a more creative, bizarre, thorough, world-changing story than the resurrection of Christ.

I’ve devoted my life to story, and you could also say that I have also devoted my life to The Greatest Story Every Told. I can give you one hundred reasons why I believe that story from the philosophical need for it to be true to the eye-witness accounts of scripture to the implausibility of the contrary, but these days I am compelled by the story merits of Jesus’ resurrection.

Story doesn’t have to be much more than a sequence of events artfully given to another. I love the prequel that is the Old Testament. I love the fall of man. I love God coming to Earth as one of us, and not just as one of us but as a baby. I love the parables, the drama, mankind putting God on a false trial and accusing Him of claiming to be God. I love the brutal death of a savior tormented by those He came to save. I love the silence of His dead body in the grave where the universe awaits something… anything. And I love today. Glorious Easter!

If you believe you are dead and you want to live then look no further than Jesus Christ. I find nothing better to do today than to consider Him as my savior. It’s not just true, it’s the best story.

On Unbelief

If the resurrection is true, then it demands a response. Unbelief isn’t a problem. We’re talking about a God who conquered death so He can also conquer unbelief.

In Mark 9:24 a man asks Jesus to heal his demon-posessed son and the man gives a curious response, but it’s one I can completely relate to, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Jesus’ response is not to condemn the man or mock him. Jesus doesn’t give him a rational argument. Jesus heals his son even while the man struggles with unbelief.

Even in your unbelief, you should consider Him.

24 Responses to “On Life”

  1. Gene Says:

    I was raised Catholic… and I has so many moments of disbelief… so many. I went to Catholic school until 8th grade… and I have received all of my sacraments.

    My father passed on March 17th…St. Patrick’s Day three weeks ago today.

    My entire family was there when he passed, yet I could not look and see him take his last breathe…. and when my sister came out of the room crying, and said…”He’s gone…” I felt my world collapse and change forever. I am not the same… Something died with him.

    When I saw his lifeless corpse… I had difficulty believing that he was in heaven… because his body was so empty. It was too terrifying to see the light gone from his body. This warm, loving, Jimmy Stewart type of man who was my Dad… was gone… and I will never see him again.

    And I am struggling with the unbelief that I will be with him again in heaven as I’m not sure…. and I am afraid.

    I then began to think about Jesus’ story… and was it all true? Or did he maybe not die on the cross….and then stumble away from the tomb?

    But that’s hurtful, and I don’t want to offend… Its a choice. Either you believe the tale… or you don’t. Because its only a story… and you can believe it or not I guess.

    I want to believe it. I want my Dad to be with him…and all my relatives…and be happy.

    Anyway. Thanks for your post.

  2. tennapel Says:

    I hear you, Gene. Thanks for posting.

  3. oreoscrumbs Says:

    Gene, I’m so sorry for your loss, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Doubt is natural, especially with what you’re going through. I lost a child nearly 8 years ago, so I can relate. Your dad sounds like a great guy, and I just want to let you know that it’s okay to feel like you do. Let your family help you during this time, and don’t make any life-altering decisions for at least 6 months or more.

    You said you were raised Catholic, so maybe you could talk to the priest about it. I wasn’t, but I attend Mass with my wife, and the priests I’ve met have seemed like the best people to help you work through this. If you’ve become disillusioned with the Catholic faith, try another one.

    People are out there, waiting to help you. They might not know it yet, but they are. You are not alone.

    Doug, thanks for the post. The more I read of your thoughts, the more I like you as a person.

  4. Kevin G Says:

    I have considered Him in my unbelief, but you have to consider *who*, and *what* I am unbelieving in..

    If the resurrection is true, then remember.. we are talking about a God that has conquered “His own construct of death”.

    The story of Jesus is a good one to consider, as it carries a lot of good lessons to learn. (and our society should actually *listen* to them! )

    but His backstory is not one of the most “creative, bizarre, thorough, world-changing stories”.. That might belong to Horus, who came 2000 years earlier, and had many, many similar life events.

    There are others, as back in Jesus’s day, prophets were known by their miracles. Jesus’s story, however, is unarguably the best ‘preserved’.

    His story is certainly one worth dedicating one’s life to, so you have my full support, Doug.

    Although I’d have to question *who* and *what* I’m an unbeliever in.

    (and that questioning is okay. We need to do it. We need to be reminded to believe in each other..)

    • tennapel Says:

      We don’t know that the construct of death is “His own” as if he invented it. A construct must be constructed after all, and it could just flow from his character. Like laws of logic, math absolutes or morality, He could not make something against His character. He could not create a square circle, for instance. He conquered death, because contingent beings who chose death would require a solution that would also be consistent with His character. That would be a brute fact, not a mere construct.

      But saying Jesus has good lessons to learn would also have to include a moral absolute. A good lesson built on top of an arbitrary or optional backstory wouldn’t do, because the good lessons we find helpful are also rooted in his being who he said he was. If he’s not God, then the necessity of the lesson fails in the case of God. The lesson of loving your neighbor is given with the same vigor as “repent” and “I am the only way to salvation”.

      Jesus backstory is unique to Horus, in that Jesus story is true, it intersects with history, while Horus is a legend at best. The details of their story are similar only on a surface level and a study in Horus’ story reveals a grand, sprawling legend. The life of Horus didn’t transform anyone and to parallel the two usually reveals a willing ignorance of Horus’ details, not an ignorance of Christ. This is an internet meme, not a philosophical point to be made.

      Jesus’ story is unique in the documentation of miracles, by varied accounts at different times and those scriptures or letters are just as much a part of the miracle. We have no better preservation of miracle because the preservation is part of what makes Jesus so unique. There have always been competing world views to Jesus, and there always will be. Mankind is in agreement that there is an ultimate problem and everyone will take a pass at a solution, including modernity’s dismissal of Jesus for something more humanist or less miraculous. It’s just another Horus claim.

      You ought to continue to question the who and the what you believe in. I do this even as a Christian, because man’s nature means that even Christians are capable of adding and subtracting from our own religious account.

      As for believing in each other, I don’t follow. Given what we know of each other, I don’t have a high view of believing in each other. Men by definition will let you down. A good Creator who provides salvation for the broken will not… if He’s true.

  5. Kevin G Says:

    good points. this is really all meant to be food for thought. if you would indulge me for a little longer, then here’s a little more..

    >But saying Jesus has good lessons to learn would also have to include a moral absolute.

    Not necessarily. Remember how the bible has been interpreted. The same words have both justified, and banished behaviors. The lessons therein can teach different things, depending upon your orientation.

    We humans try so hard to find absolutes, yet so many of us believe in a “supernatural” God. (one that has not only broken his own rules, but has also changed His Character ;) from Old Testament to New)

    We have this same problem with our own logical and mathematical absolutes. We operate on them as if they are fact, then as new information is learned, we adjust them.

    *are* any of the 10 commandments *actually* absolute? in today’s world, Define steal… Define kill.. Do they really mean the same things when you add technological advancement and different ways of living?

    Jesus’s backstory “might” be similar to Horus..

    –as well as countless other saviors whose backstories have been intentionally rubbed out by historians when the next savior came along. This is also a pattern that has occurred throughout history. There are enough similarities to other figures that predate Jesus that merit more than “internet meme” status. -yet I only present it as food for thought, not as a debate.

    However, in all fairness, The story related in the bible has definitely persevered, and its presentation strikes a chord with humans to this day. Jesus’s story is unique in its saturation with the world.

    >As for believing in each other, I don’t follow

    I think that may just possibly be that I’m including attributes in “believing in each other” that you may not.

    We do this with each other all the time.

    If I decide to help you out, I’d likely do it because I know that you can use it. I believe that you will be helped. I’d think that most Christians follow this as well.. (Unless you are not helped, in which case that would just inform my next action concerning you..)

    I’d think that doing so for simply your own salvation and nothing else would trigger some sort of an alarm in St. Peter’s ear when you show up at the Pearly Gates.. That is.. if you believe that kind of stuff. :D

    • Kevin G Says:

      oops. left something out. I think the Trinity is a very good example of a circle being ‘squared’. ;)

      • tennapel Says:

        You’ll have to unpack that for me too, because I don’t see how it’s a good example at all. The Trinity is a logical, conclusive, real thing while a square circle is an irrational impossibility by definition.

    • Gene Says:

      I have a question too for Doug and Kevin and anyone else reading/ following along.

      And this question has eaten at me since I was enlightened to the various cultures of religion around the world. It happened in collage and a little before… but my question is:

      If all cultures have religion. And they all believe in a God. Is that God the God of Christians. The Jesus story God? Or is it their God? The God they believe in based upon their lore, myths and legends; their stories of faith.

      Like Doug, I am a huge fan. I love your work deeply. You re-inspired my life as an illustrator who did some work for Marvel and Image briefly… my point being…

      I notice that some your characters in the graphic novels that I love, they question faith, and then there are the characters who have blind faith but they aren’t mindless religious zombies (pardon the phrasing please). And there is always an underlying subtext of faith and life beyond Earth.

      Where I am headed with this is.. Is the Christian/ Catholic God the “real” God? And all others are just manifestations of subcultures? Or does God come to all peoples as they need to see him to bring peace and comfort. Which brings me to the primitive cultures in the infant stages and decades of the world’s history and so forth. As like when Mayans sacrificed innocent people to their Gods on an altar by disemboweling them after beheading them… and all the other brutal forms of offerings. Such as ISIS violently killing innocents to prove a point of faith. I have also heard many tell me that hundreds of thousands have been killed in the name of Christianity. And I am just confused.

      Where Jesus offered himself, other cultures offer blood and innocent lives among other things (I don’t want to have to do research for this post, haha) and how is that the same God as mine, or ours or the ‘right’ absolute God?

      I hope I am not blaspheming in this post. I am just asking as I don’t get that aspect of human faith.

      And I ask, because Doug, you know so much and have so much more of a connection to your faith. I just trust your perspective on this subject.

      Anyway…thanks so much for letting me ask the question.

      And it does have a lot to do with my father’s passing. It’s well over a month now… like almost 5 weeks that he passed and I still cannot believe he is gone. I’m in spiritual and emotional pain consistently.

      But thanks for letting me ask.

      Gene

      • tennapel Says:

        Gene, See below”

        “If all cultures have religion. And they all believe in a God. Is that God the God of Christians. The Jesus story God? Or is it their God? The God they believe in based upon their lore, myths and legends; their stories of faith.”

        Different culture’s depictions of God can’t be the same God because they make mutually exclusive claims about God and the mutually exclusive claims are not surface, but go so deep as to be in absolute conflict of each other. No two mutually exclusive claims can both be true. I can’t be both a bachelor and married at the same time and in the same way.

        “I notice that some your characters in the graphic novels that I love, they question faith, and then there are the characters who have blind faith but they aren’t mindless religious zombies (pardon the phrasing please). And there is always an underlying subtext of faith and life beyond Earth.”

        All of my characters are just my attempt at telling the truth. I try to tell the truth about what kind of people we are and about what kinds of laws and God governs the universe. My audience smells the falsity or low artistry of my work when then find it, and they rejoice or find themselves nodding when they hear a truth. The reader generally gets it.

        “Where I am headed with this is.. Is the Christian/ Catholic God the “real” God? And all others are just manifestations of subcultures?”

        I am convinced the Christian God is the real God and I’m still considering the Catholic God. Where they part ways is what makes our religions different. Everyone thinks I’m a Catholic because I love so many Catholics! But I also love tacos and that doesn’t make me a taco. I identify as a protestant, and my Catholic friends don’t have to accept that or endorse that for us to remain dear friends.

        But to answer your question I can’t tell you where all other religions come from. They could be the manifestation of subculture, or manifestation of the devil, or of man’s genetic need for story or any other reason. There are a million ways something can go wrong and only one way it can go right. I’m Plato like that.

        “Or does God come to all peoples as they need to see him to bring peace and comfort.”

        The peace and comfort thing isn’t even in most religions so it doesn’t make sense as a standard. Remember that when you ask if God exists in these other religions you’re including religions where Christians must be beheaded or in India where when a man dies the wife is burned to death. Those are robust religions with many followers and my religion demands I stand in judgment of them while my cultural relativism demands I not judge them. Further, many Christians I know do not experience peace and comfort so using that standard, perhaps even my own religion is false by that standard!

        “Which brings me to the primitive cultures in the infant stages and decades of the world’s history and so forth. As like when Mayans sacrificed innocent people to their Gods on an altar by disemboweling them after beheading them… and all the other brutal forms of offerings. Such as ISIS violently killing innocents to prove a point of faith. I have also heard many tell me that hundreds of thousands have been killed in the name of Christianity. And I am just confused.”

        Well, their goal is to confuse you so they’re getting their way. But a brief review of these supposed murders in the name of Christianity will reveal only their bias and ever shifting standards. Christianity has killed so relative few in the name of Christ which we can properly claim, judge as foul and apologize for, while the secularists have killed their hundreds of millions and they will neither claim them, nor judge them, nor ever ask forgiveness for their world view’s murders. In short, they don’t trot out Christian atrocities because they are interested in applying logic to history, they trot it out to slander all Christians then throw out the standard why applying to themselves. A standard is only a standard when applied to yourself as much as your opponent.

        “Where Jesus offered himself, other cultures offer blood and innocent lives among other things (I don’t want to have to do research for this post, haha) and how is that the same God as mine, or ours or the ‘right’ absolute God?”

        Jesus offering himself is unique in that no other God ever offered his own blood for the sins committed against him. That’s God hanging on the cross and He said that it was not by man’s hand, but being submissive that took him to death. So in the end it wasn’t the Jews or Rome or the Devil who killed God, but it was God who killed God. That’s unique in all of the history of sacrificing X for Y’s shortcomings.

        “I hope I am not blaspheming in this post. I am just asking as I don’t get that aspect of human faith.”

        Your questions are great! Of course my answers will be weaponized against me by a fraudulent culture, but I’d expect no less.

        “And I ask, because Doug, you know so much and have so much more of a connection to your faith. I just trust your perspective on this subject.”

        Gene, you need to understand that I don’t consider myself a person of hyper-connected faith. I consider myself perhaps the worst of sinners. I’m not a great person, my nature is monstrous. If you find anything good in me it is because God has forgiven my monstrosity and made me His son. Your questions at their root are probably near identical to my own. One thing that I perform that most do not is that I not only doubt certain statements about God and religion but I am a consistent doubter in that I also doubt my doubts! One must doubt his own doubts to be a consistent doubter. Be skeptical of one’s own skepticism or you’re not a real skeptic. I question answers but I also question my questions. I always smell a rat when someone only doubts everything outside of themselves then has perfect robust faith in whatever they choose to make up and believe. How that brings them comfort is beyond me.

        “And it does have a lot to do with my father’s passing. It’s well over a month now… like almost 5 weeks that he passed and I still cannot believe he is gone. I’m in spiritual and emotional pain consistently.”

        Gene, may God give you comfort and courage in the absence of your father. It gives testimony to how great your Dad’s presence must have been that you are still so deeply troubled by his passing. You bring honor to his name.

    • tennapel Says:

      Thanks, Kevin G.
      The Bible has many interpretations, so you shouldn’t say, “The way it has been interpreted” as if you have a monolithic, definitive interpretation to make your point. The interpretation you offer is on the outskirts at best. So it would be more accurate to say, “The minority interpretation I’m using to justify my point is…”

      In the case of different actions being wrong at different times goes to the intent of God, not the actions in and of themselves. God justifies certain things, but his nature could never justify disobeying him. So you can obey him by not killing your son, and then you can obey Him by sacrificing Isaac, and just after that moment you can obey Him by NOT sacrificing Isaac. But no matter your interpretation or situation, God will never endorse you disobedience to Him, because that moral law is the absolute on which all other actions (regardless of orientation) hinge.

      Your claim is that God has broken his own rules, but it’s impossible. He cannot change his character, and stating it doesn’t make it so. You’ll have to provide evidence that the Old Testament God has changed his person in the New. Jesus claims he hasn’t removed one iota of scripture. He calls the New Testament the fulfillment of the law… it’s the opposite of what you’ve said.

      The 10 Commandments are absolutes in that they stand regardless of interpretation. You can interpret “do not murder” however you want, you may be right or you may be wrong, but the source being from God is what gives them any weight or power. Technological advancement changes nothing about the ancient morals. Murder is murder. Taking someone’s life using a laser beam is as evil as hitting them over the head with a rock. Taking someone’s royalties by unpaid digital downloads is the same as taking gold coins from under their bed in the ancient world. It really isn’t that hard. We want to make it complicated, I suspect, to try to excuse our behavior today.

      On Jesus being similar to Horus, it is also “similar” to JFK. I can also find similarities between the Christ story and the movie Whale Rider. It doesn’t mean that one stole from the other because I suspect the Christ stories that came both before and after that historical Christ even pay tribute to it, not reveal it as a fraud.

      I don’t believe in conspiracies, so the absence of other Christ figure’s backstories is not evidence. There has been no systematic scrubbing of history and people always have a way of getting around the censors of the world. That is more clearly demonstrated by history than the scrubbing you claim. Mankind didn’t find the Horus story or competing stories as compelling, nor as necessary as the Christ story. The Christ story is the fulfillment of man’s great need, and could be why there has been no compelling stories since. The removal of a need for other stories would obviously happen if the Christ even is the true one. A true one demands no need for new ones. Man’s appetite for the truth has been satisfied and the likely reason for new ones would be because man’s appetite for deception has not been satisfied. I’m speculating here.

      I don’t understand your last point about believing in each other at all. You’ll have to go back and unpack that for me before I can understand you.

      • Kevin G Says:

        >The Bible has many interpretations, so you shouldn’t say, “The way it has been interpreted” as if you have a monolithic, definitive interpretation to make your point.

        If my answer was taken as “monolithic, definitive”, then that definition would be that the monolithic definition *changes*.
        but really.. is the fact that the bible is interpreted many ways a minority opinion? This is the reason for a billion schisms that have happened in the Christian religion, and others. This is why you have “the second baptist church of ” for example..

        >In the case of different actions being wrong at different times goes to the intent of God, not the actions in and of themselves. God justifies certain things, but his nature could never justify disobeying him. So you can obey him by not killing your son, and then you can obey Him by sacrificing Isaac, and just after that moment you can obey Him by NOT sacrificing Isaac. But no matter your interpretation or situation, God will never endorse you disobedience to Him, because that moral law is the absolute on which all other actions (regardless of orientation) hinge.

        I think you made a good point here, but not the one you think.. This speaks to obedience, not law?
        My main point above was to be sure of “who” you are obeying.. Is it God or a mental problem? If “Gods” asks you to violate one of His laws, like the 10 Commandments, then that is a huge catch-22..

        >Your claim is that God has broken his own rules, but it’s impossible. He cannot change his character, and stating it doesn’t make it so.

        This is also a problem of definition, and one of relation, you can’t really say that you know this either.

        God’s definition in the bible and culture is both intentionally obscure, and intentionally defined as infinite.

        By all sense of logic, he could not.. *not change* his character. That would be against his definition.

        >You’ll have to provide evidence that the Old Testament God has changed his person in the New.

        That’s a good point. But not the one you may think. “evidence” as we know it is to have a “reproducible” solution.

        There can be no reproducible “evidence” in our universe to support, test, or disprove a claim regarding a supernatural being, so really,this cannot ever be more than an opinion of mine, yet it also unfortunately reduces even the most valid biblical scholar’s judgement to be on the same level.

        The problem with providing even “non-reproducible evidence” is my main point.. Biblical verses are interpreted in many different ways. It doesn’t matter which bible verse I point out to support my point, none contain a reproducible solution that can be deduced as “right”.

        There is not enough context other than speculation on the story points presented in Christian writings.

        If I said, “because verse x”, then you would simply reply “because interpretation y” which might not be accepted by the 14th protestant church of or even Pope Z.

        Jesus need not remove any scripture for this paradox.

        However.. I don’t want to be seen as avoiding the question, but you will see how any answer is inadequate..

        scripturally, God in the Old Testament is illustrated as vengeful (as demonstrated by the many ways that he killed humans, for example) yet in the New Testament he has had a change of heart, not really doing it much..

        (I’d have to debate the bit in revelation, as there can be no real way of proving that other than pointing at the very same text that says it, or other non-reproducible evidence, such as a vision.. :D)

        >The 10 Commandments are absolutes in that they stand regardless of interpretation. You can interpret “do not murder” however you want, you may be right or you may be wrong,

        In your case of Abraham, correct me if I’m wrong, but in context there, the 10 commandments did not yet exist, right? If God says one thing, and a commandment says another these days, then you have just been given a very confusing set of rules..

        I agree.. given that set of rules, you may be wrong indeed.

        however, you were not really set up for success
        (well.. perhaps one who has spent many years cogitating on the subject might be fine, but the rank and file are going to get thrown. Perhaps this is intentional ;) )

        >Technological advancement changes nothing about the ancient morals. Murder is murder.

        This goes back to absolutes. Our universe is decidedly non-absolute. to say that there is an absolute rule about murder leaves way too many corner cases to consider during responsible conversation. (I’m trying to keep this short! :D )

        >Taking someone’s life using a laser beam is as evil as hitting them over the head with a rock. Taking someone’s royalties by unpaid digital downloads is the same as taking gold coins from under their bed in the ancient world. It really isn’t that hard.

        it is.. because then you would have to define “death”. because nowadays we can thank modern day ambulance crews for “saving” not only people in ways previously unknown, but by doing so they save aggressors from mortal sin! Blood transfusions.. various drugs.. even CPR can turn a
        “dead” person into a live one again.

        One might argue then that this is one way that God does the aggressor a favor these days.. unfortunately, we are back to the “reproducible evidence” problem..

        given enough technology, if you cut off someone’s head, yet keep it alive, then you have not killed. Take that a logical step further, and reproduce every neuron in the brain, have you killed? yes and no? It depends on how you do it then?

        the issue with digital downloads are even worse, as “copying” doesn’t steal anything. it merely renders an agreement you had with a distributor to be moot. You still have it. An agreement between yourself and another person is an entirely different ball of wax..

        It is as different as the definitions of ‘kill’ and ‘murder’.

        >We want to make it complicated, I suspect, to try to excuse our behavior today.

        I’d have to agree that humans like to make things complicated to excuse our behavior.. We both need rules in our lives and we need to break them.

        >On Jesus being similar to Horus, it is also “similar” to JFK. I can also find similarities between the Christ story and the movie Whale Rider.

        You certainly can. This factor alone would be compelling evidence. Virtually all human stories follow similar patterns.
        This is why I brought up the notion of Christ’s story as being an archetype. His archetype predates him.

        >It doesn’t mean that one stole from the other because I suspect the Christ stories that came both before and after that historical Christ even pay tribute to it, not reveal it as a fraud.

        Did I call The Bible a fraud? I don’t think I did..

        >I don’t believe in conspiracies, so the absence of other Christ figure’s backstories is not evidence. There has been no systematic scrubbing of history and people always have a way of getting around the censors of the world. That is more clearly demonstrated by history than the scrubbing you claim.

        I’m an anti-conspiracy as well. its not *that* complicated ;)

        Of course there has been a systematic scrubbing of history. This is such a repeated behavior that we have phrases like “History is written by the victors”.

        Conspiracy? No. More like human nature.. I don’t think any organization or grouping of people does this..

        its more like… Did you win your last argument? Was it a conspiracy? It depends on your orientation to it.

        >The removal of a need for other stories would obviously happen if the Christ even is the true one. A true one demands no need for new ones.

        My speculative response on this is that “true stories” are likely the most repeated. –and therefore subject to the “telephone game”.

        Why? Victims of their own success. Just look at how many elements of the iPhone are now appearing in other phones, despite copyright law. Humans have an inherent need to imitate, and recreate from the parts of other stories.

        My assertion is that Christ’s story is merely one station in the line of this game that gained prominence due to timing, connections, & compelling presentation.
        It is no surprise that Christianity would become prominent after being adopted as the religion of the most powerful nation on earth (at the time, the Roman Empire). That would certainly provide enough horsepower to propagate this particular interpretation a lot moreso than one that hasn’t.

        >I don’t understand your last point about believing in each other at all. You’ll have to go back and unpack that for me before I can
        understand you.

        I might not be able to, as you have already stated that you don’t. ;)

        I see humans believing in each other all the time.. every day. We show how we believe in each other every day.
        If you mean “men believing in men as a God”, then I think we are on 2 different wavelengths, and that would be yet another conversation :D

        >You’ll have to unpack that for me too, because I don’t see how it’s a good example at all. The Trinity is a logical, conclusive, real
        thing while a square circle is an irrational impossibility by definition.

        lol. My take on it that it is a problem of definition. If the lines are blurred, such as being able to say that one is also many, then a circle could certainly suffer from the same fate.

        logically, and rationally though.. This is an issue that confounds even astute believers. Mostly because of its inherent “illogic”

        (If we really wanted one, we could simply apply the same illogic. Square = circle. 2 facets of the same thing. Problem solved (in the same way as the trinity))

  6. Gene Says:

    sorry for the typos…. I’m writing fast and autocorrect is a bitch, lol.

  7. tennapel Says:

    Kevin G,
    It’s not a minority opinion that the Bible is interpreted by many people, but some of the actual interpretations are minority opinions. The reason for a billion schisms among mankind probably has more to do with free individual free will than of Bible interpretation. There is only on correct interpretation of any document, and that is of the intent of the writer. It’s possible that nobody has properly interpreted any text, including this comment, but we can get close if we pay attention to the intent of the writer instead of trying to read our own interpretation into the text.

    “If “Gods” asks you to violate one of His laws, like the 10 Commandments, then that is a huge catch-22..”

    God’s demands are to obey him. The Pharisees claimed to obey the law to the letter, even to the point of disobeying the God they claimed gave them the law. Obedience to God is supposed to be the purpose of the law, not to obey the law over God.

    “God’s definition in the bible and culture is both intentionally obscure, and intentionally defined as infinite.”

    He’s not obscure in that He has the largest, most authoritative document of his word in man’s history. We serve the God who has spoken, and He has told you what you need to know about him, yet we feign ignorance. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult: and left untried.”

    “That’s a good point. But not the one you may think. “evidence” as we know it is to have a “reproducible” solution.”

    I disagree with that definition. You’re dealing with a new definition of evidence, one that was designed to remove a more robust definition that would include God.

    “It doesn’t matter which bible verse I point out to support my point, none contain a reproducible solution that can be deduced as “right”.”

    Sure you can! If the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” it is deduced as right if it is found in God’s word. This book claims the very authority of God, and we have no reason to doubt it given the evidence that points to its veracity.

    “There is not enough context other than speculation on the story points presented in Christian writings.”

    This is a presupposition, not an argument. It can be argued with yet another presupposition, that the Bible properly reflects God’s character. It is speculation that you say it is speculation.

    “If I said, “because verse x”, then you would simply reply “because interpretation y” which might not be accepted by the 14th protestant church of or even Pope Z.”

    But I don’t care what Church Y or Pope Z says of the Bible’s interpretation. The goal in reading the Bible is to understand the author’s intent. Most Christians, scholars and readers of the Bible are in agreement of the vast majority of the Bible. Particularly the salvation parts that are what man really needs to grasp.

    “scripturally, God in the Old Testament is illustrated as vengeful (as demonstrated by the many ways that he killed humans, for example) yet in the New Testament he has had a change of heart, not really doing it much..”

    You will find no serious scholar on the scripture that has found this in the scripture. God kills humans for many reasons in the Old Testament, but you also have a God who kills Annanias and Saphira because they lied about their tithe in the New Testament. You also have a God of the New Testament sending all who reject Christ to hell, which I would argue is infinitely more vengeful than merely killing the body in the Old Testament. The grace shown in the Old Testament is profound when you consider Noah being saved, or Adam spared for his fall. The death involved with all sin is a God who communicates how serious our transgressions are. I can learn from the death of those in the Old Testament and it’s not a reflection of his character changing an attitude toward sin. In fact, because His attitude is so serious about Sin this God slaughtered his son. The relationship of sin to God did not change. But He’s three persons, not a machine, so He can freely respond differently in one age than in another.

    “In your case of Abraham, correct me if I’m wrong, but in context there, the 10 commandments did not yet exist, right? If God says one thing, and a commandment says another these days, then you have just been given a very confusing set of rules..”

    The 10 commandments were always in play, though I’m open to Keeping the Sabbath Holy as not being an absolute. You claim the commandments are confusing, but most who acknowledge them as true aren’t very confused about it. They’re kind of simple. You have to want to get “do not steal” wrong to get it wrong. That’s not a fault of the 10 commandments being confusing.

    “it is.. because then you would have to define “death”. because nowadays we can thank modern day ambulance crews for “saving” not only people in ways previously unknown, but by doing so they save aggressors from mortal sin! Blood transfusions.. various drugs.. even CPR can turn a
    “dead” person into a live one again.”

    This has nothing to do with murder. If it does, I’m not following it.

    “One might argue then that this is one way that God does the aggressor a favor these days.. unfortunately, we are back to the “reproducible evidence” problem.”

    Again, I don’t follow.

    “given enough technology, if you cut off someone’s head, yet keep it alive, then you have not killed. Take that a logical step further, and reproduce every neuron in the brain, have you killed? yes and no? It depends on how you do it then?”

    Ah, but now your turning to science fiction that does not exist to make a point against a commandment that does exist. To murder is to take a life without justification. It doesn’t take a slide rule to figure that one out.

    “the issue with digital downloads are even worse, as “copying” doesn’t steal anything. it merely renders an agreement you had with a distributor to be moot.”

    Known as stealing. It’s why this is done in secret and nobody sends a distributer a letter saying, “Here’s my home address and I’ll be taking files I didn’t pay for which is rendering your agreement moot. The way its done reveals everything.

    “I’d have to agree that humans like to make things complicated to excuse our behavior.. We both need rules in our lives and we need to break them.”

    Give an example of breaking the rule “Do not murder” with no B.S. or obfuscation or you should reverse your comment. Here’s another rule, “Do not molest children.” Have at that one, too. You only feel comfortable breaking rules you don’t think are absolute. Your are a hard core legalist about the rules you believe are objective moral truths.

    “You certainly can. This factor alone would be compelling evidence. Virtually all human stories follow similar patterns.
    This is why I brought up the notion of Christ’s story as being an archetype. His archetype predates him.”

    Nothing predates a God who lives outside of time.

    “Of course there has been a systematic scrubbing of history. This is such a repeated behavior that we have phrases like “History is written by the victors”.”

    If the Bible was written by victors then you’ll find no other victor who cast himself in such a bad light.

    “Why? Victims of their own success. Just look at how many elements of the iPhone are now appearing in other phones, despite copyright law. Humans have an inherent need to imitate, and recreate from the parts of other stories.”

    I own Apple because they are the best products with the best service. The art equipment I use is the most reliable. People imitate things because they are true, not just because they are successful. This is a classic debate between ends and means. In this age of pragmatism, we tend to be blind to means and give to much credit to ends.

    “It is no surprise that Christianity would become prominent after being adopted as the religion of the most powerful nation on earth (at the time, the Roman Empire). That would certainly provide enough horsepower to propagate this particular interpretation a lot moreso than one that hasn’t.”

    But that doesn’t explain why Christians believed before the Roman Empire turned. The early Christians were fed to lions because they were convinced, not because it was successful or popular. There were countless martyrs before Constantine.

    “lol. My take on it that it is a problem of definition. If the lines are blurred, such as being able to say that one is also many, then a circle could certainly suffer from the same fate.”

    Don’t blur the lines, because you don’t have to. Just go sing Silent Night, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity”. My children sing it. God is one, but He is a unique being that is made up of three persons. It would only be a contradiction if it was three Gods also being One God. It’s not.

    This is where the circle square doesn’t compare to the Trinity because both a circle and a square are shapes. The three members of the one God are not the same thing in the same way.

  8. Kevin G Says:

    We might be getting somewhere.. I’m writing less paragraphs..

    Something I want to make sure I don’t leave out, so I will say it first. I do appreciate the back and forth with you on this, Doug. hopefully I have not frustrated you with my differing viewpoint. I do enjoy your art, and do indeed respect your point of view on these things..

    >The reason for a billion schisms among mankind probably has more to do with free individual free will than of Bible interpretation.

    I think you’ve lost *me* there now.. ;)

    >There is only on correct interpretation of any document, and that is of the intent of the writer.

    …which can lead to problems if the writer was unknown.. such as who was the actual writers of the 4 Gospels..

    >but we can get close if we pay attention to the intent of the writer instead of trying to read our own interpretation into the text.

    this exposes a lot of problems when the book one is reading is written by committee.

    >God’s demands are to obey him. The Pharisees claimed to obey the law to the letter, even to the point of disobeying the God they claimed gave them the law. Obedience to God is supposed to be the purpose of the law, not to obey the law over God.

    I suspect this one might be played out between us. :D I can’t go much further than to point out the likelihood of major problems among those who are wanting to follow God’s word vs God’s laws. There is still the problem of “how to hear God’s word..”

    >He’s not obscure in that He has the largest, most authoritative document of his word in man’s history.

    This one has appeared to turn on itself, as now we are talking about a book that is its own reference.
    The Neverhood Chronicles is also the largest, most authoritative document of “Father’s” word. Do you see the parallel?

    >Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult: and left untried.”

    That is a good quote, yet I see it from a non-theist (or rather ex-theist) angle. There is a lot of truth in it. The best quotes are the ones that cross that barrier :D

    >I disagree with that definition. You’re dealing with a new definition of evidence, one that was designed to remove a more robust definition that would include God.

    That would definitely put a big crimp in any of my further responses! :D We’d have to have some sort of common ground or else we wind up talking past one another..

    >Sure you can! If the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    …and if I don’t love myself? (actually I do, but quite a few that might read it don’t)

    >it is deduced as right if it is found in God’s word.

    again with the self-reference.. Proof of God is God’s word, which is written in a book (by men, mind you.. ;) )

    >This book claims the very authority of God, and we have no reason to doubt it given the evidence that points to its veracity.

    Aha! A reason to doubt it could be that the men who wrote it could not be believed in.. Perhaps you should change your position on believing in your fellow man ;)

    “There is not enough context other than speculation on the story points presented in Christian writings.”

    This is a presupposition, not an argument. It can be argued with yet another presupposition, that the Bible properly reflects God’s character. It is speculation that you say it is speculation.

    Fair enough.. I think it might be harder however, to presuppose that fallible man could accurately reflect the character of the Almighty. Heck.. Most of the time we have problems reflecting our own characters to others! :D

    >The 10 commandments were always in play, though I’m open to Keeping the Sabbath Holy as not being an absolute. You claim the commandments are confusing,
    >but most who acknowledge them as true aren’t very confused about it. They’re kind of simple.

    As a former Catholic I have no problems with them at face value. The *implementation* is the rub. Cross-referencing them is right out.

    >This has nothing to do with murder. If it does, I’m not following it.

    Murder requires death to happen + a specific intent.

    >“One might argue then that this is one way that God does the aggressor a favor these days.. unfortunately, we are back to the “reproducible evidence” problem.”
    >Again, I don’t follow.

    if you fail to murder someone, then you may not have broken a commandment. If you strike a blow to me that would have killed me 2000 years ago, then modern technology saves me (which is very possible if attended to fast enough), then a murder was prevented. No Mortal Sin. Intent to murder is not mentioned. However, Matthew 5:28 could probably be repurposed if needed..

    >Ah, but now your turning to science fiction that does not exist to make a point against a commandment that does exist. To murder is to take a life without justification. It doesn’t take a slide rule to figure that one out.

    Actually I raised that point because it is theoretically possible right now. Just not practically so. (there are a bunch of ethical reasons of why this has never been done yet).. We have the anti-rejection drugs… and the recipient would become an immediate quadriplegic. It is not far outside the realm of situations to raise when talking about technology altering biblical meanings..

    >Known as stealing. It’s why this is done in secret and nobody sends a distributer a letter saying, “Here’s my home address and I’ll be taking files I didn’t pay for which is rendering your agreement moot. The way its done reveals everything.

    You mean, in countries that do not include the Netherlands, Russia, Canada, and Switzerland.. therefore those Christians have not violated a commandment. Copying is only stealing in context with copyright law only, not commandments. Matthew 5:28 might need to be tapped here as well, but even *I* would have to call that legalistic.. ;)

    Stealing becomes “stealing” only when it is understood to be so, which means you and I agree on Digital downloads..

    …unless that is, you realize that your digital downloads were never yours to begin with (go re-read the license agreement that you agree to every time you purchase digital music ;) -getting way off track.. sorry :D ).

    >Give an example of breaking the rule “Do not murder” with no B.S. or obfuscation or you should reverse your comment.

    This would be a problem as you have indicated above that you have a problem with “my definition of evidence”. You likely also define B.S. differently. I’m going to defer on this for sanity rules alone.

    >Here’s another rule, “Do not molest children.” Have at that one, too.

    Ok. I’ll bite. That is not a commandment. Pederasty was quite acceptable in bible times. I find the practice absolutely disgusting and deplorable.
    I know where you are going here, and this is usually the point where Hitler is inserted into conversations to make points, yet even he is not an absolute.
    Yet my answer remains the same as with any other question. It depends on your definition of “molest”.

    >You only feel comfortable breaking rules you don’t think are absolute.

    I feel uncomfortable breaking pretty much any rule (well, ok.. perhaps not social ones.), my remark was an observation. Rules are waived for people all the time. This is why The President pardons criminals. This is why *we* forgive each other. We are fallible men.

    >Your are a hard core legalist about the rules you believe are objective moral truths.

    actually I’d have to say I’m more hardcore into reason. Lawyers can tear me a new one as they make emotional points that I never could. :D

    >Nothing predates a God who lives outside of time.

    and *that* would be the most convincing reason why God cannot be approached in reasonable conversation, as God is God because God. Religious thought is more appropriate.

    >If the Bible was written by victors then you’ll find no other victor who cast himself in such a bad light.

    How about the United States? We do this a lot. We do this in official documents even..

    >People imitate things because they are true, not just because they are successful. This is a classic debate between ends and means.

    I’m suspecting we agree here and that I just used a bad example with the iPhone… :D “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” just begs for sequels. All those eyeballs = $$. This is why they are making new Star Wars films :D

    >In this age of pragmatism, we tend to be blind to means and give to much credit to ends.

    Agreed.

    >But that doesn’t explain why Christians believed before the Roman Empire turned. The early Christians were fed to lions because they were convinced, not because it was successful or popular. There were countless martyrs before Constantine.

    I wasn’t trying to answer that question. I wrote that as a further reply to your “none could say there was a more creative, bizarre, thorough, world-changing story than the resurrection of Christ”. I had said that Jesus’s story is unique in its saturation with the world.

    Christians believed before the Roman Empire turned just as anyone would any other religion, really. Though Christianity apparently became well placed at some point to eventually influence decision makers of society. Though I’d bet the Roman Gods were likely replaced via decree of the Emperor, not popularity.

    >Don’t blur the lines, because you don’t have to. Just go sing Silent Night, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity”.

    I think you just did. :D Silent Night was a song written by Franz Gruber. “God in three persons, blessed Trinity” appears to come from a
    song named “Holy, Holy, Holy”, a Christian hymn written by Reginald Heber.

    I don’t recall “The Trinity” being mentioned in the bible itself, only alluded to.

    >God is one, but He is a unique being that is made up of three persons. It would only be a contradiction if it was three Gods also being One God. It’s not.

    John 14:28 has Jesus report that the Father is greater than Himself, which would seem to indicate that he is either a subset, or something different. (I look only to indicate its confusion, not to start up a discussion on it.)

    >This is where the circle square doesn’t compare to the Trinity because both a circle and a square are shapes. The three members of the one God are not the same thing in the same way

    I think this is also a place where our differing woldviews may cause the biggest problem, as a comparison to anything in this universe (a shape, an idea, a thing, etc.) would warrant the same answer.

    Nothing in this universe is like the concept of the Trinity. (well, except duality.. which is what a square/circle would be ;) )

    • tennapel Says:

      Kevin G,
      I love a good back and forth. An argument doesn’t frustrate me nearly as much as anything else in the world! I think these ideas are worth arguing about.

      “I think you’ve lost *me* there now.. ;)”

      I mean that man can do as he pleases, so he can get any number of texts as wrong or as right as he wants. He also doesn’t have to get things wrong to form another denomination, he may just be from a different culture. One guy wants a big screen and a rock band in worship and one guy wants an old pipe organ. That’s not due to different interpretation, it’s due to fashion or preferences, most of them perfectly acceptable and not in conflict with scripture.

      “…which can lead to problems if the writer was unknown.. such as who was the actual writers of the 4 Gospels..”

      Non sequitor. It doesn’t matter if the author is known or not to know his intent. His intent can be perfectly captured in the scripture itself. Look at John 20:31, ‘But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’

      That not only provides a context, but it is packed with a lifetime of teaching. It doesn’t matter of John’s actual name was BillyBob and his name being BillyBob doesn’t change the teaching of the text. Now it WOULD if we found out Nero wrote the book instead of John, but as for John, any name will do. Scholars have a good reason to attribute each book to the authors we’ve traditionally gone with. There were really no other comers.

      And my point stands that the intent of the writer isn’t hard to figure out. There is a right way to read the scripture and that is in context of the writer, and it’s clear by the text.

      By the way, I stand in contradistinction with most Post Modernists on this view because I believe words can actually be understood and that they can have a fixed interpretation, you can know the truth and you can understand the words and communicate them beyond another person’s perception of the world. That doesn’t mean you can’t misread Moby Dick, but it means that it is indeed possible to read it right… the way the author intended.

      “this exposes a lot of problems when the book one is reading is written by committee.”

      Wrongeth. A book written by a body has more credibility because there are checks and balances, unique points of view to build out the single event. It’s important that there was a group of writers, and their harmony suggests God’s ultimate authorship. This also a unique characteristic of the Bible.

      So each of these challenges you bring up are pop-challenges, largely debunked over the last 2,000 years. I’ve spent a good 18 years in textual criticism, and the claims we can rapid-fire shoot against the historicity of scripture remain pretty thing gruel.

      I’ll give you another example of texts written by committee, that have a bias, have a magistrate that oppresses all comers and yet most debunkers of the scriptures believe whole heartedly… Darwinism.

      Like the number of Christian denominations there are even more schools of thought around Darwinism. One believes in one age of the earth, another has a conflicting theory of the Cambrian Explosion, another of evolving morality, but all are “Darwinists” and their variety of doctrine does not debunk the thing they agree upon. It’s the same with every Christian having a different interpretation of the Bible. What is staggering isn’t our differences, it’s that we all believe in a resurrecting God man regardless of education, country of origin, culture etc.

      “I suspect this one might be played out between us. :D I can’t go much further than to point out the likelihood of major problems among those who are wanting to follow God’s word vs God’s laws. There is still the problem of “how to hear God’s word..””

      There isn’t a problem of how to hear God’s word unless a person chooses to have that problem. It’s like saying there is an inherent problem with hearing Melville on Moby Dick. I don’t see the big problem. If people have a problem, it’s usually because of the person not because of Moby Dick. Further, I understand Moby Dick in the same way that I understand the Bible. The entire world may have a problem with understanding Moby Dick as well as the Bible and it tells me nothing of the clarity of those texts until you reference specific texts.

      “This one has appeared to turn on itself, as now we are talking about a book that is its own reference.
      The Neverhood Chronicles is also the largest, most authoritative document of “Father’s” word. Do you see the parallel?”

      Only that all texts just so happen to have a self reference of truth be it explicit or implied. If you read Jaws, it is presented to you as a self-referential truth. You read it and enjoy it because it is claiming something true: that people won’t close down a beach in spite of a man eating shark because they love money or whatever. When I read Origin of Species, it speaks of itself as if finch beaks are actually found in different lengths in different seasons. Is it suspect that a writing like Darwin is presented as authoritative on Darwin?

      I don’t get the problem here. The very first criteria a Bible written by God could have the authority to say is that “This book is true and the inspired word of God”. You can only doubt its circularity if you first presuppose that its false, but then you’ve done the same thing. You’ve said that your presupposition is true, and you’ll never be able to lend yourself more credibility because of the nature of ultimate claims like presuppositions.

      ALL appeals to a highest authority will always be circular like: Science is true because it is true. You can’t prove that laws of logic, science, love, appeals to supernatural authorship are true at the presuppositional level. You will end up using reason, or your perception, or any other number of things that you believe in on faith… and you’ll use them to debunk something grasped by faith. Good luck with that. You must first demonstrate why your presupposition is more reliable or coherent than mine, John’s, Melville’s or Darwin’s for that matter.

      “…and if I don’t love myself? (actually I do, but quite a few that might read it don’t)”

      It’s going to take quite a leap of faith to believe you don’t love yourself. Even Dawkins called his book “The Selfish Gene”. You love yourself at a genetic level, a spiritual level, a cultural level. It’s a waste of my time to even argue about this. Of course we love ourselves.

      “again with the self-reference.. Proof of God is God’s word, which is written in a book (by men, mind you.. ;) )”

      But men also wrote “Empiricism is the only way to find truth”. It is also self-referenced for that theory was written at a desk in an office, not discovered empirically in a laboratory. We do this all the time, and to only disallow God’s word to make the same claim is to show a bias that merely begs the question, it doesn’t provide an argument (because there isn’t one).

      “Aha! A reason to doubt it could be that the men who wrote it could not be believed in.. Perhaps you should change your position on believing in your fellow man ;)”

      That’s compelling. But I’ll always have an easier time believing in my fellow man when he is acting under inspiration of the Holy Spirit!

      “Fair enough.. I think it might be harder however, to presuppose that fallible man could accurately reflect the character of the Almighty.”

      The Bible is one proof that man can accurately reflect the prompting of the Almighty.

      “Heck.. Most of the time we have problems reflecting our own characters to others! :D”

      Again, you have to presuppose that the authors were not under inspiration from God. If they were under the inspiration from God then it would be easy to do.

      “if you fail to murder someone, then you may not have broken a commandment. If you strike a blow to me that would have killed me 2000 years ago, then modern technology saves me (which is very possible if attended to fast enough), then a murder was prevented. No Mortal Sin. Intent to murder is not mentioned. However, Matthew 5:28 could probably be repurposed if needed..”

      Oh, that’s silly. You don’t murder someone if they don’t die. The death penalty in the OT is only mandated if you produce a death body. Attempted manslaughter isn’t murder. I don’t see how anyone could argue anything different. The murder of the victim is what was so horrific, not the will of the murderer. The loss of life demands a punishment.

      In the case of Matt 5:28 it’s one of the more brilliant teachings of Christianity. In case you think that external, bodily murder is the only game in town, know that you will receive a death penalty for internal hatred (or murder) too. It shows how radical God’s opposition to sin goes. It goes beyond the physical world to our intent, our hearts, and mankind is completely screwed, which demands an adequate savior, etc.

      “Actually I raised that point because it is theoretically possible right now. Just not practically so. (there are a bunch of ethical reasons of why this has never been done yet).. We have the anti-rejection drugs… and the recipient would become an immediate quadriplegic. It is not far outside the realm of situations to raise when talking about technology altering biblical meanings..”

      Silly.

      “Stealing becomes “stealing” only when it is understood to be so, which means you and I agree on Digital downloads..”

      Yes, we disagree. Don’t steal my crap.

      “…unless that is, you realize that your digital downloads were never yours to begin with (go re-read the license agreement that you agree to every time you purchase digital music ;) -getting way off track.. sorry :D ).”

      Keep trying to justify your theft. Pay me for my crap. I don’t give you permission to freely download my books from a bit torrent. You choose how to respond to that. I can walk away with your car and say, “I’m not stealing your car because it’s not yours. I’m Native American and we don’t believe in the ownership of molecules.” Post Moderns want to make it hard, but it always benefits the Post Modern which ought to bring one pause.

      “Ok. I’ll bite. That is not a commandment. Pederasty was quite acceptable in bible times. I find the practice absolutely disgusting and deplorable.
      I know where you are going here, and this is usually the point where Hitler is inserted into conversations to make points, yet even he is not an absolute.
      Yet my answer remains the same as with any other question. It depends on your definition of “molest”.”

      My definition of the rule is that you should not have sex with an infant. That is my rule. Now tell me how all rules should be broken, or retract your statement. I specifically picked something you found deplorable because someone else might find lots of things deplorable, rules you think would be need to break… like downloading my freaking books without my consent!

      “I feel uncomfortable breaking pretty much any rule (well, ok.. perhaps not social ones.), my remark was an observation. Rules are waived for people all the time. This is why The President pardons criminals. This is why *we* forgive each other. We are fallible men.”

      Forgiveness is NOT breaking rules! Come on. We forgive BECAUSE you can’t break the rules. If you steal my digital books then you and I have a problem, and you may not be able to pay for the sin, so I can forgive you of the justice owed to me. Employing forgiveness is not a breaking of the rules.

      “and *that* would be the most convincing reason why God cannot be approached in reasonable conversation, as God is God because God. Religious thought is more appropriate.”

      Doesn’t follow. If this God wanted to be approached in reasonable conversation he could be, and it would be a good reason for Him to offer reason to the man ape in the first place.

      “I wasn’t trying to answer that question. I wrote that as a further reply to your “none could say there was a more creative, bizarre, thorough, world-changing story than the resurrection of Christ”. I had said that Jesus’s story is unique in its saturation with the world.”

      The story was unique before saturation was added to it’s uniqueness.

      “Christians believed before the Roman Empire turned just as anyone would any other religion, really. Though Christianity apparently became well placed at some point to eventually influence decision makers of society. Though I’d bet the Roman Gods were likely replaced via decree of the Emperor, not popularity.”

      We can speculate all day on this, but it’s chicken-and-egging. Did the gospel spread because it just so happened to have sprung up in Rome at the right time? Or did God see Rome in history, bring it up to be the hub of the world, then choose that time to kill his son so that Christianity would be blown throughout the world within a generation? You have to go back to our presuppositions to discover which is more believable, because I see God as operating within that time, being lord of that time, being obviously deliberate about it and it working all according to His plan. You might see a giant coincidence. This is like Vince and Jules arguing over miracles. It’s presuppositions.

      “I don’t recall “The Trinity” being mentioned in the bible itself, only alluded to.”

      Sorry about quoting the wrong song… I’m writing these pretty quick as I also spot misspellings and bad grammar. I go for speed over safety.

      “Halt, Robin! Never sacrifice safety for speed.” – Batman, the TV series

      But the Trinity is more than alluded to. It was the sin of blasphemy that got Jesus put on the cross. He claimed to forgive sin, which is only a thing God can do. The Jews understood that claims of the Trinity more than we do… but it’s there in the text. It’s all over the place.

      “John 14:28 has Jesus report that the Father is greater than Himself, which would seem to indicate that he is either a subset, or something different. (I look only to indicate its confusion, not to start up a discussion on it.)”

      One person of the Trinity can be greater than another person. It’s a clarification, not a confusion!

      “Nothing in this universe is like the concept of the Trinity. (well, except duality.. which is what a square/circle would be ;) )”

      A duality is two, and you can’t leave out the Holy Spirit and remain orthodox. People are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Matt. 28:19, and nowhere in the Bible are things done in the name of God as well as in the name of something else… because it implies they are co-equal.

      And a circle-square isn’t a duality, it’s a contradiction.

  9. oreoscrumbs Says:

    This is quite a fascinating debate. I’m not trying to pile on Kevin G, but I agree with Doug on the multiple churches not being different interpretations. Baptists will even joke about how their churches divide and multiply. My favorite is the one about the guy stranded on the desert isle who, when rescued, is asked about the three structures he built: the one in the middle is his home, and the one on the left is his church. The one on the right is the church he used to go to.

    But I digress. To the point of “History is written by the victors,” I’d point to revisionist history, which is the process of historians revising those historical accounts to be factually accurate.

    I also had an issue with this point: “If I said, “because verse x”, then you would simply reply “because interpretation y” which might not be accepted by the 14th protestant church of or even Pope Z.” This is avoiding the question. If that is how this debate unfolds, I’d likely back Kevin G on it, but to pre-determine how the argument will unfold and use that as the basis for not having it is a weakness in his postition. I use argument here in the “x vs. y” definition, not in the “shouting at each other in anger” definitiion. :)

    Gene, I’m no theologian, but I think your question is valid. Obviously adherents to every religion see their supreme being(s) as the one, true God(s). Will living people ever know the definitive answer? Probably not. What I am fairly certain of is this: the Christian God is also the Jewish God and the Muslim God. I have heard that the teachings of Mohammad actually point back to Jesus as the Messiah, but that some of the leaders have, shall we say, misunderstood that. There are also those of the Jewish faith that have accepted Jesus as the Christ. I am admittedly biased, but if these religions are truly worshipping the same God, then they account for the majority of the believers in the world believing in the same supreme being, and Jesus is the nexus to bring them all to eternal life in Heaven.

    If one believes that consensus can be the basis for science, then couldn’t that be used to prove the existence of God? 4+ billion people can’t be wrong, can they?

    • tennapel Says:

      Oreoscrumbs,
      “If one believes that consensus can be the basis for science, then couldn’t that be used to prove the existence of God? 4+ billion people can’t be wrong, can they?”

      I don’t like appeals to billions of people because they really can all be wrong! I would also testify that one can know the One True God here on Earth. You can’t see his face, but you can know him and I don’t mean in a vague, mystical, undefinable sense.

      My Christian faith is a rare religion in that while many world religions are about man reaching out to God, my faith centers on God reaching out to man. It is centered on God being the causative agent who makes it happen. So he can make a robust document that communicates truth like the Bible. It doesn’t mean the Bible is that book but it certainly makes sense that it would be easy for him to do.

      It would also theoretically be easy for him to sustain animals on the ark, resurrect the dead, save me and make it so that I know I’m saved beyond a doubt. It is the knowledge that I’m saved that is the first hand account I can’t deny. Even when I know I’m not worthy, I can’t do it myself, there is no good reason for it, or that I’m a terrible representation of Christ, I still know that fact. It’s similar to how I know my wife loves me even when we fight. It’s just a brute fact.

      So many of the challenges to the Christian faith first come from a place of brute unbelief. But I can disbelieve in anything real if I come from that position and practice unbelief as a discipline. There are people who disbelieve the obvious: we practice thinking airplanes are less safe than stepping into a car or we think sharks will attack us when we swim than feel safe going into a swimming pool where far more deaths occur. We will show willing blindness to the faults of our own political party and make disastrous financial decisions, play the lottery, believe the worst about good people and think the best of terrible celebrities. Mankind’s belief and unbelief is far more on trial than the veracity of the Holy scriptures.

      Francis Schaeffer always said the most offensive thing you can say since modernity is that God is there, He has spoken and that you can know it. So I say God is there, He has spoken and you can know it. BOOM!

    • Kevin G Says:

      Hey Oreoscrumbs..

      >I also had an issue with this point: “If I said, “because verse x”, then you would simply reply “because interpretation y” which might not be accepted by the 14th protestant church of or even Pope Z.” This is avoiding the question.

      eh, it was more to make a point of how interpretation really skews conversations about Christianity, and how people mix and match points with different contexts. Especially in the case where one quotes singular lines of scripture.

      One needs to be mindful of the context of which those single lines are meant, and not use them to rebut any argument about any other line of scripture.

      >but to pre-determine how the argument will unfold and use that as the basis for not having it is a weakness in his postition.

      lol. If anything I guess I wanted to predetermine where I *didn’t* want the argument to go!

      It has already been demonstrated that Christian dogma contains a lot of individual interpretation of what sin is, and what it isn’t.

      This makes things tricky in the light of salvation, as a large part of the Church strives for absolute answers in an environment where it is virtually impossible to refine and address absolutes.

      Those seeking absolutes always find that they have to hedge in light of other information.

  10. oreoscrumbs Says:

    I know it! :) Thanks for sharing it with your audience, and providing an example of bearing witness.

  11. Kevin G Says:

    >I love a good back and forth. An argument doesn’t frustrate me nearly as much as anything else in the world! I think these ideas are worth arguing about.

    Good. Hopefully my observations are seen as just that. (observations) :)

    >Non sequitor. It doesn’t matter if the author is known or not to know his intent.

    it does matter, because then *you* could write new Chapter of the book of John that fits the motif and your words would be just as valid. (and you just made this point as welll with Nero)

    Remember. We are still talking about the context of a self-referencing text. All you’d be doing at that point is following a pattern. My response was to your “There is only on correct interpretation of any document, and that is of the intent of the writer”. My observation is that more people latch onto writings that can be interpreted many ways.

    This is a characteristic of the best kind of drama. (For example, do you know how many people got pissed off when the Star Wars prequels defined how The Force worked? It changed its whole appeal from self-imagined mysticism to become the “Author’s intent”.) I’d like to offer that the bible’s longevity is built around the dilemma of words that can be taken many ways, thus making an eternal search of its truths to be endless, yet rewarding. Heck. Great video games, books, & cult movies happen because of this!

    The fallacy here is created by the very human need (and wiring!) to *fill in gaps* in stories that we read. Science is also an attempt to find absolute truths. But even science is finding out that absolutism does not exist.

    >And my point stands that the intent of the writer isn’t hard to figure out. There is a right way to read the scripture and that is in context of the writer, and it’s clear by the text.

    This answer appears to be written with a bit of intentional blinders. I would totally agree that “*A* point isn’t hard to figure out”, but THE point of a fair amount of scripture has been debated by theologians for millennia. So I’d have to debate the limiting answer of “its clear”. It’s not.

    It gets recast every week in church (each pastor associating it with a particular life event as an addendum usually happens after reading it). MY point is that this very recasting is a strength, not a weakness.

    *A* clarity with scripture is easy to find. Our society really doesn’t want absolutes, because it is too limiting.

    >That doesn’t mean you can’t misread Moby Dick, but it means that it is indeed possible to read it right… the way the author intended.

    I agree with you here, unless that you tell me that Moby Dick was written by several people across history that wrote separate chapters, then a “Moby Dick Council of Nicea” merged what they felt matched the most into the book that you are reading.

    in that case, “what the author intended” depends on the chapter. The book is at best, what the council intended..

    >Wrongeth. A book written by a body has more credibility because there are checks and balances, unique points of view to build out the single event.

    This is too generic to be a real point. A book written by a body of humans suffers from the same issues as a book written by a single human. You told Oreoscrumbs “I don’t like appeals to billions of people because they really can all be wrong!”. I completely agree with this sentiment. The generic statement does not hold up. Did the Council of Nicea use a rigorous method of interpretation, democratically agreed upon? or did a number of members throw potshots at an overlarge interpretation held by a senior member. We can’t know.

    >It’s important that there was a group of writers, and their harmony suggests God’s ultimate authorship.

    the “harmony”, at best would imply “good editing”. This is done in articles written every day. Good editing of disparate books is about making a cohesive compilation. and that is a good way to convey a message.

    “God’s ultimate authorship” would require first a definition of God so that we can make an informed deduction of this. even without the book.

    >This also a unique characteristic of the Bible.

    mmmmm. no. The technical term for the bible is a “compendium”, and that was done in ancient times out of necessity. In the case of the bible, it was compiled in such a way to unify the various “books” that were being collated and read together in various Christian churches. It was done to “get everyone on the same page” (though from what I read they didn’t set out to do it quite so explicitly.. it just happened that way)

    >So each of these challenges you bring up are pop-challenges, largely debunked over the last 2,000 years. I’ve spent a good 18 years in textual criticism, and the claims we can rapid-fire shoot against the historicity of scripture remain pretty thing gruel.

    This answer requires a more thorough investigation of the word “debunked”. Some pretty key “challenges” are so basic as they likely would have existed 2000 years ago as well.

    >I’ll give you another example of texts written by committee, that have a bias, have a magistrate that oppresses all comers and yet most debunkers of the scriptures believe whole heartedly… Darwinism.

    Darwinism, or the scientific validity that was given to Darwin’s deductions?

    I’m sure that his original writings might have been a bit rough, but science has isolated very refined versions of lessons presented by him every day, in combating viruses and bacteria, for example, and linking disparate fossils.. Heck.. even AI has benefited from it.

    Is what we understand about evolution “written by committee”? I would have to say that it is “repeatedly demonstrated and refined” by committee.

    In fact.. I would have to say that the only way you can make a real point to a disparate set of people spanning time and space is to make a point “reproducible”, which has been done with evolution. Have we reproduced an ape evolving into man? its too slow. No, that still remains a deduction, though we have reproduced some shorter term stuff, such as bacteria evolving.

    >Like the number of Christian denominations there are even more schools of thought around Darwinism. One believes in one age of the earth, another has a conflicting theory of the Cambrian Explosion, another of evolving morality…

    er.. um.. ok. perhaps I have misinterpreted your use of “Darwinism”. But if you mean alternate versions of evolution, science settles upon “theory”, which really just indicates an incomplete set of data at hand that make a strang case. They might all have some modicum of truth, or perhaps each is a very possible variation that did not happen. Science seems to have a bit more comfortability with “I don’t know” vs religion, in my opinion.

    >It’s the same with every Christian having a different interpretation of the Bible. What is staggering isn’t our differences, it’s that we all believe in a resurrecting God man regardless of education, country of origin, culture etc.

    not exactly. When I grew up my mother told me that she thought that Adam and Eve and Noah was symbolism, and The New Testament was all correct. I’ve met some Christians who felt that the resurrection was symbolic as well. You might just be talking about an interpretation that “4+ billion people think happened” ;)

    >There isn’t a problem of how to hear God’s word unless a person chooses to have that problem. It’s like saying there is an inherent problem with hearing Melville on Moby Dick.

    let me correct you on this. Its like saying that “there is no problem hearing the underlying connection” in the “compiled books of Moby Dick”. Hearing Melville is easy in comparison. ;)

    >Only that all texts just so happen to have a self reference of truth be it explicit or implied. If you read Jaws, it is presented to you as a self-referential truth.

    …and yet if I read Jaws I might like it because of an angle besides the one of the shark. Stories like that are best because they use real world and then add their non-real-world aspect. It “seats” the story in our psyche. The issue here is not that a self-referencing concept can be written, just that “belief in God” is an example of it.

    This should be taken into account when reading *any* text. In fact, extremely moreso with a text that claims to describe the creator of the universe in which the book exists!

    >When I read Origin of Species, it speaks of itself as if finch beaks are actually found in different lengths in different seasons. Is it suspect that a writing like Darwin is presented as authoritative on Darwin?

    not sure where you are going with this, as the Origin of Species is intended to be a “sketch of conclusions”.

    If someone presents an “authoritative text” on Darwin, then the problem lies with that author’s credibility, not Darwin’s. Darwin’s entire book could be erased from history, and the observations reported would just come up again.

    >The very first criteria a Bible written by God could have the authority to say is that “This book is true and the inspired word of God”.

    >You can only doubt its circularity if you first presuppose that its false, but then you’ve done the same thing.

    >You’ve said that your presupposition is true, and you’ll never be able to lend yourself more credibility because of the nature of ultimate claims like presuppositions.

    my observation of myself and human nature is that we presuppose things to be true, and then determine that it is false upon reflection.

    “Belief” goes a long way to prevent reflection on an extreme base level. This is also a problem with science, as scientists sometimes forget to re-examine the base concept as it relates to the one being investigated.

    about my own relationship to “presupposing something to be true”, it actually makes for a very confusing life. You find “authorities” on everything, only to find out much later that most of them are full of shit. This concept doesn’t get any additional help even if “4+ billion people” believe in it. ;)

    >ALL appeals to a highest authority will always be circular like: Science is true because it is true.

    incorrectamundo. Science is true because it is reproducible. You don’t need a science book to find out that truth. It can be come up with very easily by trial and error.

    >You can’t prove that laws of logic, science, love, appeals to supernatural authorship are true at the presuppositional level.

    There is no need to. Science and logic would rather you presuppose their tenants to to be untrue. presupposing them to be true is going to really screw up your observations.

    My observation of love is that it is human nature to presuppose that feeling to be true. Love can’t be reasoned, as is religion.

    >You will end up using reason, or your perception, or any other number of things that you believe in on faith…

    reason isn’t faith. I keep seeing this comparison when talking to theists. One can have faith in reasoning, but lets hope that the line of reasoning the faithful has is reasonable! ;)

    It is only a description of the minds ability to understand something using any process you choose. “unreasonable” means that one cannot apply any standard. It follows no set pattern.

    I hate flying. I can reason that I will be safe while in it, yet I have a hard time “keeping the faith” during episodes of turbulence. Faith is separate from reason. I don’t have to have any faith in the plane whatsoever to make it to my destination.

    >and you’ll use them to debunk something grasped by faith. Good luck with that.

    I don’t think I’ve “debunked” as here as much as concentrated on examining certain root understandings. If you are looking for me to debunk you will be dissappointed.

    I can’t quite say that a “belief” is an understanding however, as the intention of belief is to take something at its word.

    >You must first demonstrate why your presupposition is more reliable or coherent than mine

    That certainly is a recurring problem. :D How to explain reason to one who is unreasonable… :D By contrast, Faith is easy to explain to the reasonable.

    How would I demonstrate? In the case of faith, my deduction is that all I’d need to do is to hit you on a meaningful emotional level. I admit that I’m not the best at that or I’d be making money writing these responses! :D

    >It’s going to take quite a leap of faith to believe you don’t love yourself…..Of course we love ourselves.

    So you and Dawkins agree. I don’t always agree with him.. However, and I haven’t read the book, I could see how one might love themselves at a genetic level, and not at any level above. Your response does not account for errors of self-delusion. Us humans delude each other, and ourselves so easily…

    >But men also wrote “Empiricism is the only way to find truth”. It is also self-referenced for that theory was written at a desk in an office, not discovered empirically in a laboratory.

    Men also say that “No team is better than (insert your favorite sports team)”. I have faith that Man has the ability to find out (and has found out) the right way to gain knowledge. ;) We learn by doing.

    >That’s compelling. But I’ll always have an easier time believing in my fellow man when he is acting under inspiration of the Holy Spirit!

    and this is another area where I agree with you. However I think our differences here is in “style” ;) You are no more right than I, if you have introspected into your style as much as I have mine..

    >The Bible is one proof that man can accurately reflect the prompting of the Almighty.

    Circular logic, as a spiderman comic book is one proof that accurately reflects the prompting of spiderman. ;)

    seriously though.. The bible steps ahead of spiderman as it talks about a figure intended to be outside the context of our understanding. by any reasoning available to me, I can’t find how you could accurately reflect the character of someone/thing intended to be unknown by definition.

    Again, you have to presuppose that the authors were not under inspiration from God. If they were under the inspiration from God then it would be easy to do.

    > Nice point. This leads back to my original question. *who* are the under the inspiration of? This is meant as a point of reflection, nothing more.

    >Oh, that’s silly. You don’t murder someone if they don’t die. The death penalty in the OT is only mandated if you produce a death body.

    no you don’t get away with a “that’s silly”. if someone else saves who you attempted to murder, they certainly had a hand in your “salvation”!

    >The loss of life demands a punishment.

    Man has indeed determined that punishment must happen if he murders man, but this is likely due to the factor of unpredictability that act has inherent in it. Otherwise, you don’t know who is going to be murdered next. It is good that God is against it.

    yet God has no problem with men killing men, as he did in Numbers 31:17, for example. This is apparently not murder.

    >In the case of Matt 5:28 it’s one of the more brilliant teachings of Christianity. In case you think that external, bodily murder is the only game in town, know that you will receive a death penalty for internal hatred (or murder) too.

    thou shalt kill man by the command of God only, and in thy sorrow shall enjoy it?

    >It shows how radical God’s opposition to sin goes. It goes beyond the physical world to our intent, our hearts, and mankind is completely screwed, which demands an adequate savior, etc.

    yes. This is a radical concept indeed, as it is literally impossible to avoid sinning. The notion that God needed to introduce a “savior” initiates the idea that he has had to change tack. (God introducing another facet of God to save us from God). Yet we never truly understood God, as He is unknowable.. There are more sides that could be introduced later, for example..

    Man wasn’t really set up for success here. ;)

    “Actually I raised that point because it is theoretically possible right now.”
    >Silly.

    any thought-exercise beyond our current actual demonstration is silly? or just that one? I detect some scientific reasoning here, and not faith. Keep it up! ;)

    >Yes, we disagree. Don’t steal my crap.

    using “steal” to define “steal”. No wonder we had so many problems with the Indians..

    >Keep trying to justify your theft. Pay me for my crap. I don’t give you permission to freely download my books from a bit torrent. You choose how to respond to that.

    I was not meaning to say that what you create is not yours.. I was referring to the click-thru contracts when downloading music from a place like the iStore. they basically tell you that you have a license to use it but it is not yours. Basically, if you buy a digital download, it is not yours in the same way as a book is.

    >I can walk away with your car and say, “I’m not stealing your car because it’s not yours.

    on a very philosophical level this could be a different debate, but I think you and I have the same opinion on stealing. It is not a disagreement to point out that prevention of attribution of monies based on copyright law is “copyright law”, not stealing.

    >My definition of the rule is that you should not have sex with an infant. That is my rule. Now tell me how all rules should be broken, or retract your statement. I specifically picked something you found deplorable because someone else might find lots of things deplorable, rules you think would be need to break… like downloading my freaking books without my consent!

    and this is why I brought up the Hitler connotation, as the appearance of an extreme usually heralds a strong desire for an exception to a rule. There are no palatable responses to an un-palatable question..

    I need not “retract” anything because even things I say can have exceptions. Humans need to break rules. Not all of them.. so what gives?

    >Forgiveness is NOT breaking rules! Come on. We forgive BECAUSE you can’t break the rules. If you steal my digital books then you and I have a problem, and you may not be able to pay for the sin, so I can forgive you of the justice owed to me. Employing forgiveness is not a breaking of the rules.

    The concept of forgiveness is an admission that rules don’t always work. Heck. The world operates on a base level on this standard: “It is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask permission.”

    We need to follow rules, and we need to break them. The dilemma in life is how we do it. Tell me that you follow all the rules in your life or retract your statement. ;)

    >Doesn’t follow. If this God wanted to be approached in reasonable conversation he could be, and it would be a good reason for Him to offer reason to the man ape in the first place.

    and yet He punishes us for choosing wrong.. even “reasonably” so.. Remember.. you said above that it is most important that you obey God’s word.

    >The story was unique before saturation was added to it’s uniqueness.

    lack of context. There are texts that came before the bible that exercise similarity.

    >But the Trinity is more than alluded to. It was the sin of blasphemy that got Jesus put on the cross. He claimed to forgive sin, which is only a thing God can do. The Jews understood that claims of the Trinity more than we do… but it’s there in the text. It’s all over the place.

    and that would be a very good definition of the word “allusion”.. ;) Other Christian offshoots don’t agree. They are probably not 4 billion people, however…

    >One person of the Trinity can be greater than another person. It’s a clarification, not a confusion!

    The confusion is not in the definition of “trinity”, but rather that it can even happen at all. We are running back into “presupposition”. I believed it for a while too. but upon reflection, I did what any man-ape was apparently created to do.. ;)

    “Nothing in this universe is like the concept of the Trinity. (well, except duality.. which is what a square/circle would be ;) )”

    A duality is two, and you can’t leave out the Holy Spirit and remain orthodox.

    I know. I should have said “square/triangle/circle”, or perhaps, more aptly, “square/undefined/undefined” :D

    > People are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Matt. 28:19, and nowhere in the Bible are things done in the name of God as well as in the name of something else…

    wait. wasn’t Abraham’s sacrifice done in the name of God?

    And a circle-square isn’t a duality, it’s a contradiction.

    it is too.. you are just not accepting the bent. It totally fits the dictionary definition… er presupposition ;)

    Like I said in previous response.. nothing in this universe can quite represent the trinity due to a lack of definition.

  12. tennapel Says:

    “it does matter, because then *you* could write new Chapter of the book of John that fits the motif and your words would be just as valid. (and you just made this point as welll with Nero)”

    It’s not possible to write a new Chapter of John and pass it off as original, among other reasons, textual critics have a good record of flushing out fake texts. It’s a normal part of the discipline to a degree that you don’t have to know the name of the author because the way he writes is his signature. It’s similar to how an art expert could recognize my work without every knowing my name.

    “My observation is that more people latch onto writings that can be interpreted many ways.”

    Your observation is wrong because any writing can be interpreted as many ways as an individual chooses so people would latch on to all writings equally. Writings don’t need interpretation if we’re using your loose definition. Writings are in more need of contextualization than interpretation and even the most rigid math sentence can be ruined by massive interpretation vs. careful contextualization. Our culture (by the way) loves interpretation and hates context because one puts the ultimate meaning in our personal preferences while the other puts it in an objective source outside of ourselves.

    “I’d like to offer that the bible’s longevity is built around the dilemma of words that can be taken many ways, thus making an eternal search of its truths to be endless, yet rewarding. Heck. Great video games, books, & cult movies happen because of this!”

    This is seriously misguided and falsified by a tacit look at the history of the scriptures. The miracle of Bible is how different the culture of 2015 is from year 75 yet how similar our belief in God, Jesus, the word, historical facts are consistent. It’s because the words can’t be taken many ways that makes me like a first century Christian and he like me. And Math has been around even longer and it’s not because 2 + 2 = 4 can be taken many ways that gives it timelessness, but because it ought to only be taken one way that makes it worth preserving.

    “*A* clarity with scripture is easy to find. Our society really doesn’t want absolutes, because it is too limiting.”

    It’s not the limitation that our society finds repulsive, it’s that it’s hard work, doesn’t coddle the individual, and puts oneself on trial instead of the truth claim. That’s my observation… and it is mine.

    “I agree with you here, unless that you tell me that Moby Dick was written by several people across history that wrote separate chapters, then a “Moby Dick Council of Nicea” merged what they felt matched the most into the book that you are reading.

    in that case, “what the author intended” depends on the chapter. The book is at best, what the council intended..”

    Nonsense. What you’ve described is our Constitution and it is a legally binding document. It’s easy to know what the authors intended and there has been plenty of evidence to know what the Bible’s authors intended. The only people who can’t find the clear intent are the liberal scholars who want to change what the author intended because they don’t like what he intended. But it’s simple to see. It’s even easier to see the modern folks having a real trouble with what the text says so they create obfuscation about the text. Again, just calling them like I see them.

    “The generic statement does not hold up. Did the Council of Nicea use a rigorous method of interpretation, democratically agreed upon? or did a number of members throw potshots at an overlarge interpretation held by a senior member. We can’t know.”

    Now you’re stating the Da Vinci Code instead of what actually happened in Nicea. The Council of Nicea showed rigorous documentation and even had follow up councils by the attendees to confirm what course of events take place. These are called history books. There are no documents that demonstrate what the council did was wrong… that’s the fantasy. That’s the fiction that this generation loves oh so much. The truth is much more boring… that all of the scriptures were widely in use and there was little to no controversy about the parts of scripture that people hate the most… like a resurrecting God man. There were outliers like James or Revelation, but not gospels and the safer books. And yet, I can’t help but think that this is still a false argument you’re making because even if the Bible had the utmost rigor to its authorship I’d be willing to bet that you don’t think the events described happened. So this whole conversation is moot. You don’t disbelieve because of the document’s provenance, you construct these arguments because you don’t believe the statements under any circumstances. Is my observation true? Because that’s largely what I see among unbelievers and perhaps even believers.

    “the “harmony”, at best would imply “good editing”. This is done in articles written every day. Good editing of disparate books is about making a cohesive compilation. and that is a good way to convey a message.”

    That’s a neat statement that is shown to be false by the evidence. There was no editing to manipulate content. That’s easy to say, and it would be easy to prove if it happened… but it didn’t. You (and other armchair skeptics) need to actually study textual criticism before you come to these conclusions. Because the more learned the scholar the less they repeat that the Bible had good editing. It is a fact that the more ignorant someone is of textual criticism the more likely they are to say this.

    This is perhaps my most consistent observation among ignorant people of our time. I know this carpenter and I asked him why he couldn’t believe in Jesus. This guy didn’t graduate high school, couldn’t tell me a single thing about the Bible but he said, “The Bible has been translated so many times that like the telephone game, the content is edited over the years.” I asked him if he had studied any text or document anywhere to come to this conclusion. I asked him if he could tell me how many times the Bible had been translated (Once into Greek or Latin and once into English at the most) and he guessed hundreds of times. My point is that this is a common sentiment thrown around our culture no matter how ignorant. The people who are least likely to make this editing claim are the scholars I study with greatest depth of knowledge about the text.

    ““God’s ultimate authorship” would require first a definition of God so that we can make an informed deduction of this. even without the book.”

    The Creator of everything. Creator is just another word for “God” and I’m fine with that definition.

    “mmmmm. no. The technical term for the bible is a “compendium”, and that was done in ancient times out of necessity. In the case of the bible, it was compiled in such a way to unify the various “books” that were being collated and read together in various Christian churches. It was done to “get everyone on the same page” (though from what I read they didn’t set out to do it quite so explicitly.. it just happened that way)”

    This is entirely made up and has not historical evidence to it. You can’t find it because it’s not there. To ascribe motive of “out of necessity” is so far into fantasy I can’t come up with a counter. There is not evidence to refute and I can’t refute what doesn’t exist. In fact, much of the world who read the bible only had parts of it or scraps of it so the whole wasn’t even necessary. Many Christians around the world only have a scrap of John memorized, and this is adequate for salvation. So the unification and mass manipulation your claim suggests (and this goes far back into all of your conspiratorial claims of why the Bible works) is still false.

    “Darwinism, or the scientific validity that was given to Darwin’s deductions?”

    I believe that is redundant. There are Darwin’s writings, which are interesting, and there is science, which is rigorous. But giving unearned scientific validity to Darwin is Darwinism. That’s where the ism comes from in my view.

    “In fact.. I would have to say that the only way you can make a real point to a disparate set of people spanning time and space is to make a point “reproducible”, which has been done with evolution. Have we reproduced an ape evolving into man? its too slow. No, that still remains a deduction, though we have reproduced some shorter term stuff, such as bacteria evolving.”

    We haven’t seen bacterial evolution if you’re defining it the way I think you are. We see random mutation, we don’t see the creation of new information. But now I’m taking this all way off topic.

    “Science seems to have a bit more comfortability with “I don’t know” vs religion, in my opinion.”

    I disagree. Most religionists are more comfortable with people not knowing if God is true than science does with people not thinking Darwin is true. The church has more skeptics among its pews than the university does of Darwin skeptics. It’s another lazy, pop media statement… this whole, “Science is okay with not knowing.” Clearly, you haven’t met any scientists. They’re human beings, after all.

    “my observation of myself and human nature is that we presuppose things to be true, and then determine that it is false upon reflection.”

    I don’t think most people own up to what’s false upon reflection. Man is kind of tricky, and i have some level of experience on this given I’m a man.

    ““Belief” goes a long way to prevent reflection on an extreme base level. This is also a problem with science, as scientists sometimes forget to re-examine the base concept as it relates to the one being investigated.”

    Well, they’re men too.

    “You find “authorities” on everything, only to find out much later that most of them are full of shit. This concept doesn’t get any additional help even if “4+ billion people” believe in it. ;)”

    Agreed.

    “>ALL appeals to a highest authority will always be circular like: Science is true because it is true.
    incorrectamundo. Science is true because it is reproducible. You don’t need a science book to find out that truth. It can be come up with very easily by trial and error.”

    The science is reproducible is also a new definition of science. I’m okay with the definition, but it wasn’t how science was done for most of science’s history… and it’s not WHY science is true. It’s what science does in a lab.

    “My observation of love is that it is human nature to presuppose that feeling to be true. Love can’t be reasoned, as is religion.”

    Love can be reasoned, as can religion, and science can merely be felt to be true.

    “reason isn’t faith.”

    Maybe not your faith, but reason is a foundation of my faith.

    “and this is another area where I agree with you. However I think our differences here is in “style” ;) You are no more right than I, if you have introspected into your style as much as I have mine..”

    My problem is that I only have access to my own introspection… so we’re all probably the most introspective people we know. I know that I am, but it doesn’t give me any rest on the subject.

    “seriously though.. The bible steps ahead of spiderman as it talks about a figure intended to be outside the context of our understanding. by any reasoning available to me, I can’t find how you could accurately reflect the character of someone/thing intended to be unknown by definition.”

    How do you know his intent in writing these 40 letters is to be unknown by definition? I can’t follow that.

    “Again, you have to presuppose that the authors were not under inspiration from God. If they were under the inspiration from God then it would be easy to do.”

    It also makes sense of the miraculous harmony of the book. The presupposition is also supported by evidence, just not conclusively.

    I gotta get the rest of your response later!

  13. tennapel Says:

    Part II (with apologies, Kevin G)

    “yes. This is a radical concept indeed, as it is literally impossible to
    avoid sinning.”

    It is possible to avoid a sin, it’s just that man never does. Causality vs. Causation.

    “The notion that God needed to introduce a “savior” initiates the idea that he has had to change tack.”

    It does not demonstrate a change of tack. It was his plan all along, so it is merely a fulfillment of the same plan as he always had. It’s like adding wheels to a car after you put in the engine and say, “We used to just put wheels on a car but now that we put in the engine, and the engine is different than a wheel, we are now making a car.” You actually can’t make a car without putting on wheels at one time and putting in the engine at another.

    “(God introducing another facet of God to save us from God).”

    God doesn’t save us from God, he saves us from our own sin. God didn’t make man die nor did he make man sin, man did that.

    “Yet we never truly understood God, as He is unknowable.”

    One cannot fully know the mind of God, that’s true, but just because you can’t fully know my mind doesn’t mean I’m a complete cipher, especially if I give you a 1500 page document describing me, my mind and my ways. But it is true that if you only read the Bible with the goal of making up your own personal interpretation, then God will remain largely unknowable through no fault of his own.

    “and this is why I brought up the Hitler connotation, as the appearance of an extreme usually heralds a strong desire for an exception to a rule. There are no palatable responses to an un-palatable question.”

    I didn’t ask for a palatable response. I asked for a true one. But if we’re going with your standard then I find your “rules are made to be broken” to be unpalatable, so there can be no palatable response.

    “I need not “retract” anything because even things I say can have exceptions.
    Humans need to break rules. Not all of them.. so what gives?”

    I’m breaking your rule that humans need to break rules. I break it by saying humans don’t need to break rules. You’ve set up a self contradicting absolute, and that’s weak logic work when the rule applies to everything but it doesn’t have to be coherent in and of itself. It hoists itself on its own petard.

    “The concept of forgiveness is an admission that rules don’t always work. Heck. The world operates on a base level on this standard: “It is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask permission.””

    Another unpalatable response. There’s nothing here but goo.

    “We need to follow rules, and we need to break them. The dilemma in life is how we do it. Tell me that you follow all the rules in your life or retract your statement. ;)”

    I break rules all the time, but I don’t call them the ideal. I never exegete personal experience because I could find hundreds of rules involving your person that I could break and you’d never find it acceptable. You’d never actually own the moral veracity of your own words. It’s only held as convenience, to be discarded whenever you want to apply a standard for someone else you remove for yourself for no reason at all.

    “and yet He punishes us for choosing wrong.. even “reasonably” so.. Remember.. you said above that it is most important that you obey God’s word.”

    You can’t reasonably do wrong. You can do wrong that the conventions of our culture look past this week, and you will go to jail for it next week. But one man’s reason is another man’s unpalatable argument.

    >The story was unique before saturation was added to it’s uniqueness.

    “and that would be a very good definition of the word “allusion”.. ;) Other Christian offshoots don’t agree. They are probably not 4 billion people, however…”

    There are no Christian offshoots who don’t believe in the Trinity. It’s like saying that I’m a atheist offshoot who believes in the Bible’s God. It doesn’t lend credence to your argument.

    “I know. I should have said “square/triangle/circle”, or perhaps, more aptly,
    “square/undefined/undefined” :D”

    And that is no more helpful because your first square is either defined or undefined. It cannot be bound to the third part of that form if the form is a triangle. Your challenge needs more sauce.

    “wait. wasn’t Abraham’s sacrifice done in the name of God?”

    Perhaps, but if he’s talking about God then he’s talking about the trinity.

    “And a circle-square isn’t a duality, it’s a contradiction.
    it is too.. you are just not accepting the bent. It totally fits the
    dictionary definition… er presupposition ;)”

    Yes, the dictionary is free to be wrong if it too claims a square triangle isn’t a contradiction. That part of the dictionary was probably written by a Post Modern so we’re back to arguing presuppositions again.

    “Like I said in previous response.. nothing in this universe can quite
    represent the trinity due to a lack of definition.”

    The Trinity is well defined and easily believed by rational people everywhere. Some people don’t have a problem with it and some people do, but that’s no fault of the Trinity, and I’m not some genius who figured out what common folk for centuries have managed.

  14. Kevin G Says:

    >I gotta get the rest of your response later!

    This is the biggest problem I have with talking about religion… is that it becomes painfully obvious after a certain amount of discourse has sub beliefs, and sub-sub beliefs, meaning that you can never get to it all before time and life intrudes.. (that alone should be an argument against how “non-simple” all these biblical “beliefs” are, Doug ;) ) I feel the pain here, as far as time is concerned.. :D

    >It’s not possible to write a new Chapter of John and pass it off as original, among other reasons, textual critics have a good record of flushing out fake texts. It’s a normal part of the discipline to a degree that you don’t have to know the name of the author because the way he writes is his signature. It’s similar to how an art expert could recognize my work without every knowing my name.

    Then you should read some of John Shelby Spong’s work. He’s a retired Episcopalian bishop who wrote a book about The Gospel of John, after a whole lot of research, (and of course.. many years in the Church).. He presents a case that the book of John was written by 4 people. The book is called “The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic”

    yet really, I don’t even have to go to him. I can take this from my side of the house. I’m a computer programmer. I deal with patterns every day. I totally agree about the “fingerprinting” method you talk about.. However, My experience tells me a little bit different than what you assert. If I am able to “fingerprint” your drawing style, then I can reproduce it.

    Your point goes only as far as to say that past attempts at reproducing the work of others were at a bit of a disadvantage as they didn’t have the kind of advanced forensics and pattern study that we have these days. Be assured, your drawing style, writing style, and silly walk (if you have one) could be reproduced perfectly with enough study.

    In the case of books in the bible, I would bet that there are wide crazy vacillations in the fingerprinting of a particular section, as they likely have had to incorporate material passed down from others, or transmogrified from other traditions. in view of that, past attempts at editing could be widely successful, as it might be impossible to tell the difference between past sessions of editing.

    >Your observation is wrong because any writing can be interpreted as many ways as an individual chooses so people would latch on to all writings equally.

    Has this conversation turned into a point-by-point defense? There is no need for that. I’m more after “keeping something in mind” than I am about “disproving”. In that light, I’m not looking to win, only to tie. ;)

    Its not likely that “people would latch onto all writings equally” because equal opportunity to all writings do not exist. Then after that, it would not happen as different writings have different styles. Some might not be in fashion, and some might be ahead of their time.

    >Writings don’t need interpretation if we’re using your loose definition. Writings are in more need of contextualization than interpretation and even the most rigid math sentence can be ruined by massive interpretation vs. careful contextualization.

    ….are we actually agreeing here? awesome!

    >Our culture (by the way) loves interpretation and hates context because one puts the ultimate meaning in our personal preferences while the other puts it in an objective source outside of ourselves.

    Agreed here as well, although I’d have to add that those are likely not the only 2 situations that would come up. Humans are very good at munging concepts together into a big ball of craziness.. Its likely a sliding scale.

    “I’d like to offer that the bible’s longevity is built around the dilemma of words that can be taken many ways, thus making an eternal search of its truths to be endless, yet rewarding. Heck. Great video games, books, & cult movies happen because of this!”

    This is seriously misguided and falsified by a tacit look at the history of the scriptures.

    >The miracle of Bible is how different the culture of 2015 is from year 75 yet how similar our belief in God, Jesus, the word, historical facts are consistent.

    There is a fair amount of consistence between 2000 years ago and now. as well as 3000 years ago and now! Just the other day I was reading about a Sumerian transaction receipt being translated. I read in another place where greeks used buy little prayer spells from vendors, and threw them down a well when they used.. many, many things we do today were done 3000.. 4000 years ago, including believing in a savior of some sort.

    >It’s because the words can’t be taken many ways that makes me like a first century Christian and he like me.

    I think this issue can actually be burned down to how you see words than how the bible is. I can do no more than assert how Archetypes have appeared over and over throughout history, and point to how the same documents can be used to both forbid and justify certain acts (like the US Constitution, as another example..) The Bible has no monopoly on being interpereted in many ways. This is a characteristic of virtually *any* popular and well used text. Man in the 1700’s was *exactly* like us. We keep thinking we are different but we aren’t..

    >And Math has been around even longer and it’s not because 2 + 2 = 4 can be taken many ways that gives it timelessness, but because it ought to only be taken one way that makes it worth preserving.

    I’d have to agree with you here.. I’m as interested in preserving the bible as yourself, but I think it is for different reasons..
    (btw in base 3, 2+2 = 11 ;) –but I too have a fondness for preserving our decimal counting system)

    >It’s not the limitation that our society finds repulsive, it’s that it’s hard work, doesn’t coddle the individual, and puts oneself on trial instead of the truth claim. That’s my observation… and it is mine.

    ..and I think we agree here. Hard work, less coddling, and self introspection is just expressed different ways by different people.. It is an awesome lesson. However.. despite all that.. Humans will continue to free themselves from limitation.. and they will usually express the same things, just in different ways..

    “I agree with you here, unless that you tell me that Moby Dick was written by several people across history that wrote separate chapters, then a “Moby Dick Council of Nicea” merged what they felt matched the most into the book that you are reading.

    in that case, “what the author intended” depends on the chapter. The book is at best, what the council intended..”

    >Nonsense. What you’ve described is our Constitution and it is a legally binding document. It’s easy to know what the authors intended and there has been plenty of evidence to know what the Bible’s authors intended.

    What I’ve described was how the various books of the bible was put together by the Council of Nicea, when an order came to create 50 copies of Christian biblical canon. In order to make the copies, decisions on where things started and ended had to be made. Whatever the authors intended for each book became changed at that moment by the permanent addition of the other books that were bound with them. (such as your explanation that Abraham’s sacrifice was to the Trinity and not God.)

    Had some of the rejected gospels been included, then the meaning of the compilation would now be different.

    >The only people who can’t find the clear intent are the liberal scholars who want to change what the author intended because they don’t like what he intended.

    lol. those damn liberals.. That’s where this is going? You don’t need “liberal scholars” to change what the author intended because they don’t like it… Lots of fundamentalist Christians do the same thing! :D

    >But it’s simple to see.

    and yet we can’t get around the inevitable fact that so many people *see* things so differently. Even among the faithful. I’d have to agree that people don’t want to see things simply.. That means having to face the realities that we discover.

    >It’s even easier to see the modern folks having a real trouble with what the text says so they create obfuscation about the text. Again, just calling them like I see them.

    That’s not a *modern* predilection. This has always happened..

    “The generic statement does not hold up. Did the Council of Nicea use a rigorous method of interpretation, democratically agreed upon? or did a number of members throw potshots at an overlarge interpretation held by a senior member. We can’t know.”

    >Now you’re stating the Da Vinci Code instead of what actually happened in Nicea.

    I haven’t seen that movie. I’m anti-conspiracist anyway. Ever since I worked at the Pentagon I have had people telling *me* what I did there. I think I’ve said that before.. apologies. “actual investigation” is not the same as conspiracy.

    >The Council of Nicea showed rigorous documentation and even had follow up councils by the attendees to confirm what course of events take place. These are called history books. There are no documents that demonstrate what the council did was wrong… that’s the fantasy.

    I can’t say that I know either way. I would suspect that not a lot of documentation survives from that period of time. History books, however.. You should know better. Go look at your (or my) daughter’s school history book.. Tell me if you agree what it says. :D

    >That’s the fiction that this generation loves oh so much. The truth is much more boring…

    Agreed wholeheartedly, but its not “this generation”. Its everybody. Are you getting old already? I’m 43 and have to admit lobbing some perjoratives about “millenials”. But really.. really.. We made them.. you and I..

    >that all of the scriptures were widely in use and there was little to no controversy about the parts of scripture that people hate the most…

    I would bet that the bible was quite contraversial when it came out.. This is what would have drawn people to it. It was exciting!

    >like a resurrecting God man.

    Resurrection is a common theme in religious texts.. we went over this..

    >And yet, I can’t help but think that this is still a false argument you’re making because even if the Bible had the utmost rigor to its authorship I’d be willing to bet that you don’t think the events described happened.

    I can’t say. Not enough evidence either way.

    I have my suspicions, but proving them would be like proving the coldest murder case on record. I’m an Agnostic, and happily so.

    I don’t like Atheists because they can’t possibly know what they claim, but I stand with them and take shit with them out of solidarity. and.. of course, because I like arguing. Christians simply wave Agnostics away.. Atheists grab all the headlines, and get all the hate.

    >So this whole conversation is moot. You don’t disbelieve because of the document’s provenance, you construct these arguments because you don’t believe the statements under any circumstances. Is my observation true? Because that’s largely what I see among unbelievers and perhaps even believers.

    Not true. But not false either.

    True Agnostics like myself are just fine with all the questions just hanging out there in the air. They step in the middle of a conversation (like I just did), and say “Have you considered”, or “Do you realize…”

    The truth is that I don’t disbelieve, and I don’t believe. Mulling over an issue is my form of prayer.

    I do believe your statements however, as they resound with me… but the circumstances presented are suspect, so I’d rather do as John Shelby Spong, and treat them as the lessons they are intended to be.

    >That’s a neat statement that is shown to be false by the evidence. There was no editing to manipulate content. That’s easy to say, and it would be easy to prove if it happened… but it didn’t.

    Did… you just state something that was impossible to know like you knew it? :D

    >You (and other armchair skeptics) need to actually study textual criticism before you come to these conclusions.

    Have I come to conclusions? Pointing out why things might not be is not a conclusion. It is conversation.

    >Because the more learned the scholar the less they repeat that the Bible had good editing. It is a fact that the more ignorant someone is of textual criticism the more likely they are to say this.

    oh now you’ve done it again.. you are stating a “fact” about something which you have no way to verify. Don’t worry. I’m not going to try and one-up you here.. Its against my religion ;)

    Let me state really quickly that this is a point where these conversations turn south. The emergence of Hitler comparisons is part of the “investigation phase”. I detect movement into judgement territory now.. If I don’t stop now you are going to be cursing my name and getting riled up. But if you don’t, then kudos. I like the conversation…

    >This guy didn’t graduate high school, couldn’t tell me a single thing about the Bible but he said, “The Bible has been translated so many times that like the telephone game, the content is edited over the years.”

    That observation is not a bad one, as it shows an understanding on how humans communicate.

    >I asked him if he had studied any text or document anywhere to come to this conclusion.

    Did he need to point one out to satisfy your request? Even if he could come up with none, the pattern is a very common one through history. Not all of us (including myself), have a litany of verified “telephone” game texts to whip out when making this observation.

    I asked him if he could tell me how many times the Bible had been translated (Once into Greek or Latin and once into English at the most) and he guessed hundreds of times.

    “the telephone game” does not just refer to contemporary translations, as there are some old copies to check against. It also has to do with how we derive meaning from the very same words.

    >My point is that this is a common sentiment thrown around our culture no matter how ignorant.

    because it is as easy to understand and repeat sentiment. but it is still a valid criticism. I suspect thought that your issue with him might have been that he was using it as cover to actually investigate the bible further due to mental laziness, or listening to others instead of making his own opinions. I get that. But I think that is a separate point.

    >The people who are least likely to make this editing claim are the scholars I study with greatest depth of knowledge about the text.

    Your carpenter friend might respond here that its because those scholars have “drank the kool-aid”. ;) Seeing how a text “really meant” to say something is a valid thing to pursue. We just don’t all feel that way. I’d like to recommend another book here.. It is called “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”. Its about Software development, but is an awesome illustration of siloed study vs “outside the box”

    >The Creator of everything. Creator is just another word for “God” and I’m fine with that definition.

    yet this carries, as you’d say, a presupposition.. That what made everything was intelligent in some way that we can relate to, so any deduction would be incomplete.

    Heck. The creator of everything could be a plant as far as we know.. Unfortunately, even that statement does not have enough context. My point here was that you can’t make an informed deduction without the book telling you what the answer is. With science and logic, you don’t need any book. you merely need to use your noggin.

    “mmmmm. no. The technical term for the bible is a “compendium”, ….”
    >This is entirely made up and has not historical evidence to it.

    is the bible not made up of several books compiled together?

    >You can’t find it because it’s not there. To ascribe motive of “out of necessity” is so far into fantasy I can’t come up with a counter.

    its not to hard. Constantine ordered 50 bibles. They needed to put them together. Some were thrown out. Not fantasy. First Council of Nicea.

    >(and this goes far back into all of your conspiratorial claims of why the Bible works) is still false.

    I have made no conspiratorial claims. Its out on wikipedia.. and in history books before that. Why the accusational tone?

    >But giving unearned scientific validity to Darwin is Darwinism.

    Define “un-earned”. His observations were reproducible. It took a while, but they are.

    “In fact.. I would have to say that the only way you can make a real point to a disparate set of people spanning time and space is to make a point “reproducible”, which has been done with evolution. Have we reproduced an ape evolving into man? its too slow. No, that still remains a deduction, though we have reproduced some shorter term stuff, such as bacteria evolving.”

    >We haven’t seen bacterial evolution if you’re defining it the way I think you are. We see random mutation, we don’t see the creation of new information. But now I’m taking this all way off topic.

    I think you may be overloading the word “mutation” in the same way you bemoaned your carpenter friend overloading “telephone game”.

    One way we have observed evolution is that scientists were growing bacteria, freezing some every so many generations, observed a change, then unfroze earlier generations, and watched that change happen all over again. “Randomness” was removed.”

    it is documented.

    Feel free to google “Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab”, its the first article that pops up.. from NewScientist..

    in my own uneducated observation, randomness is a fundamental part of the universe. and completely misunderstood by most lay people..

    >Most religionists are more comfortable with people not knowing if God is true than science does with people not thinking Darwin is true.

    Good point on this. I forgot how much I didn’t question when I was younger and religious. and I thought that this was my internal Agnostic speaking.. Damn media.. stealing all my thunder :D

    >The church has more skeptics among its pews than the university does of Darwin skeptics.

    well it might just be that darwinism doesn’t conflict with the creation myth. ;) Even Pope Francis says this. Why pit the two against each other?

    >Clearly, you haven’t met any scientists. They’re human beings, after all.

    Clearly you’d know this. as if I haven’t worked with them.. or lived with them.. or were even friends with any. ;)

    I don’t think most people own up to what’s false upon reflection. Man is kind of tricky, and i have some level of experience on this given I’m a man.

    yep. Man is tricky, but he is also *not tricky* He’s both. My observation is that Man is a being that constantly pushes the boundaries. and he constantly pays the price for doing so… :D

    >The science is reproducible is also a new definition of science. I’m okay with the definition, but it wasn’t how science was done for most of science’s history… and it’s not WHY science is true. It’s what science does in a lab.

    …as of the 17th century, yes. before then it was more observational. We didn’t understand how things worked in the time of Aristotle. We were still putting things together. Our knowledge evolved. -heh ;)

    >Maybe not your faith, but reason is a foundation of my faith.

    …and yet you *tell* me so many things, rather than reasonably demonstrate ;)

    >It does not demonstrate a change of tack. It was his plan all along, so it is merely a fulfillment of the same plan as he always had.

    so then is it a good plan? How many men have “fallen into wickedness” knowing no other way?

    >God doesn’t save us from God, he saves us from our own sin. God didn’t make man die nor did he make man sin, man did that.

    not following here. so you are saying that “sinning” was something man invented, and that we need to be “saved” from this thing we came up with? Wouldn’t God have known this would happen?

    >but just because you can’t fully know my mind doesn’t mean I’m a complete cipher, especially if I give you a 1500 page document describing me, my mind and my ways.

    >then God will remain largely unknowable through no fault of his own.

    only if you wrote it down.. knowing how the very medium is problematic. ;)

    >I didn’t ask for a palatable response. I asked for a true one. But if we’re going with your standard then I find your “rules are made to be broken” to be unpalatable, so there can be no palatable response.

    you aren’t going to get an *absolute* out of me if that is what you are looking for… Its against my religion ;)

    “I need not “retract” anything because even things I say can have exceptions.
    Humans need to break rules. Not all of them.. so what gives?”

    >I’m breaking your rule that humans need to break rules.

    there you go again. I made no such rule. I did, however, in that text bite, leave out the words “in my observation”, so, apologies..

    >I break it by saying humans don’t need to break rules.

    why thank you for demonstrating my point! :)

    >You’ve set up a self contradicting absolute.

    …or better known as a “non-absolute” ;)

    >and that’s weak logic work when the rule applies to everything

    I’m getting the idea that you *really* want an absolute here. :D

    >but it doesn’t have to be coherent in and of itself.

    it is definitely not “absolutely” coherent.. :D

    >Another unpalatable response. There’s nothing here but goo.

    I see you are too smart for my “goo”.. Must everything be a declaration? Where is the “reasoning?” :D

    >I break rules all the time, but I don’t call them the ideal.

    thank you again! I don’t call such a situation ideal either. well.. not ideal to the original plan. rules are broken when the plan must change. Even God’s plan had to change, like you said above, when former rules would have been broken. We might just agree here too, I think you just haven’t detected it yet ;)

    >I never exegete personal experience because I could find hundreds of rules involving your person that I could break and you’d never find it acceptable.

    and that is a demonstration of non-absolutism in action! :) I could change the context on any of those hundreds of rules (perhaps by even the day of the week (a man-made construct)) and all the sudden it is acceptable again.)

    >You’d never actually own the moral veracity of your own words. It’s only held as convenience, to be discarded whenever you want to apply a standard for someone else you remove for yourself for no reason at all.

    that is what all humans do right now. you are saying this as if it doesn’t even happen among the devout.. even the *really* devout.

    >You can’t reasonably do wrong. You can do wrong that the conventions of our culture look past this week, and you will go to jail for it next week. But one man’s reason is another man’s unpalatable argument.

    Agreed. which would include copyright law ;)

    >There are no Christian offshoots who don’t believe in the Trinity.

    of course there are. The Jehovah’s Witnesses that come to my door (despite the ‘No Soliciting’ sign, because they “aren’t soliciting” ) comes to mind. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also are Nontrinitarians.

    >And that is no more helpful because your first square is either defined or undefined. It cannot be bound to the third part of that form if the form is a triangle. Your challenge needs more sauce.

    It is dripping in sauce! Had it more sauce you would say that there is no goose! :D

    “wait. wasn’t Abraham’s sacrifice done in the name of God?”
    >Perhaps, but if he’s talking about God then he’s talking about the trinity.

    …in context with the other books that Genesis was bound with, yes. I call that “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” ;)

    >Yes, the dictionary is free to be wrong if it too claims a square triangle isn’t a contradiction. That part of the dictionary was probably written by a Post Modern so we’re back to arguing presuppositions again.

    Damn Liberals.

    >The Trinity is well defined and easily believed by rational people everywhere.

    you mean Trinitarians.. which would not include Jews either..

    >I’m not some genius who figured out what common folk for centuries have managed.

    Fear. That’s my guess.


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