CHRISTIAN POWNAGE 101

Rich_Rodriguez's picture

I want to tell you a story of a recent debate I had. The debate was with a local fundamentalist Christian pastor. Before the debate, I learned a thing or two about the approach this pastor usually takes. I learned that he never really intended to have a real debate with me and was going to rely heavily on an appeal to ignorance and faith. He intended to ridicule me while I gave serious concise arguments by simply parrying them with faith. So, in light of this new evidence I presented the following introduction to the debate.

(Opening statement)

Rich: “I have FAITH that Christianity is completely and unequivocally false!!” --- I have just completely destroyed your religion and I am sorry but understand it was bound to happen. What will you do now that I have completely dismantled any argument you could possibly use in defense of your religion? Well I hope it all works out for you and thank you for coming.” (Gathers notes and proceeds to leave the building).

*An odd rustling of chairs and whispers permeates through the church. The congregation (now in shock) struggles frantically to come to grips with what has just transpired. About half way down the aisle I hear the pastor’s voice as he speaks very angrily into the mic*

Pastor:” WHERE ARE YOU GOING!” ; “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

(Still with my back towards the angry pastor)

Rich: “The debate is over; I have just proved your religion false”.

Pastor: “Simply stating that you have faith my religion is false proves absolutely nothing!”

(I stop in my tracks, turn and now armed with a mischievous grin from ear to ear say:

Rich: “Well sir, now that we have established that faith proves absolutely nothing---let’s have a debate.”

(I then proceeded to kick the living shit out of every one of his arguments with a real sense of pity for the old bastard. He really never recovered from the first 30 seconds of the debate.)

Other variants:

This technique comes in handy if you think you will have a subject that is easily baited into a trap like this. If you get no response, you can try several variants on this same theme. It’s important to give the audience enough time to process your statement of faith. It is also important that the message be communicated as loudly and clearly as possible (within reason that is). If you get no response try returning to the podium and saying something like this:

Now how many of you think I have completely dismantled your religion with that statement of faith? Did I sway you in the least? Really look into your heart or hearts and tell me what it is telling you?

(This is mumbo jumbo Xian talk, obviously the heart does not speak but they don’t know that).

Are your views any different now that they were 30 seconds ago? No, they are not are they? - Simply stating that I have faith your religion is false proved absolutely nothing. So as you have just seen, with your own feelings and emotions bearing witness - just how unpersuasive and meaningless an appeal to faith really is. Simply declaring faith proves absolutely nothing! So now that we have exposed this most illogical fallacy, let’s have a debate without faith.

 I AM not GOD ? Are you

 I AM not GOD ? Are you sure ? ...."What's My Mutha Fuckin Name then ?"  Smile

Let's research this briefly, Well yeah okay, not according to some of the dictionary, but you will find me somewhere in there. Stupid dictionary anyhow !

Sorry the G-O-D word/title/name is the one I am stuck with for now.

ALL IS GOD, so how how can we not be god ? http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:god&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

Here from, HuH?, http://www.zoofence.org/define03.html

"GOD: Obviously, this is an impossible word to define. After all, to "define" a thing means putting boundaries around it, and God is Infinity, the very absence of boundaries. Further, being Infinite, God is by definition (!) beyond the capacity of our egoic minds ("I am me, and you aren't&quotEye-wink to understand. That is, despite our protestations to the contrary, most of us perceive God as being "out there" (or "up there", even "in here&quotEye-wink, as somewhere or something other than ourselves. And that's the problem! In Truth, there is no such thing as a "God out there" because there is no such thing as "out there". Once again, being Infinite, God is everywhere and no where, everything and no thing. God is our very Self which itself is The Very Self. Thus, at TZF we often say: There is no God but God, and God is All There Is. (more)

No pronouns suffice for the proper noun God because God fits into no word or words. In fact, "God" isn't even God's name. God, being Infinite, does not have a name, need a name, or want a name; or, we might as well say, all words are God's name. After all, from the perspective of an Infinite Being, there are no others; so, of what use is a name? The only function our names and their pronouns serve is to enable us to distinguish ourselves from one another. To God, there is no such thing as "distinguish oneself from one another". Still, we make do with the tools our minds can grasp."

SEE, I'd say we are both right ! What's a mutha too do !

The Bible of course contains no "definition" of God, but alot of B.S. ,and some wisdom too, "The Kingdom of God is Within You" ! Yup whatever god is that's us .....

Here I am also, now you all know this to be true ! "a man of such superior qualities that he seems like a deity to other people; "he was a god among men"" Cool

So there, now what ?!, you GOD as me .... Sealed

....Atheism arises from the error of theism, so for now I claim to be an atheist regarding religon, and God has no need for belief, and therefore god is an atheist, because GOD simply IS, or ALL.  ( ? wtf ? ! ) 

Some say I make their head hurt?, shezzz ouch , have mercy on me too !  Cry , beer burrp ....

Kory, I wanted to respond

Kory, I wanted to respond to a couple of things you said:

 

1.  ? Shakespeare's works are not authoritative because they are art. The pieta isn't authoritative either, but perhaps it's inspired... though not on the same level as the Bible... maybe I'm missing your meaning.

 

My meaning here was that the Bible may not be reduced to the level of art by Christians.  To do so would violate the religious principles of those same Christians.  Ergo, one cannot get around, say, the scientific difficulties involved in, say, the first chapter of Genesis by saying "It's a poem."  A poem it may well be, in terms of structure, but given the Papal habit of upholding the idea that *every* *word* of the Bible is effectively uttered by God Himself, to dismiss the meaning of Genesis chapter 1 with "It's a poem" amounts to calling God a liar.  In this manner, a principled Catholic (...following Papal teaching...) is very like a Fundamentalist, in terms of the literalness to which one's hermeneutics are, in conscience, bound.

 

As an aside, I do *not* mean to say that Catholics subscribe to the Protestant teaching of sola scriptura.  *That* certainly would be nonsense!  (I'm sure that both of us can Google "Council of Trent.&quotEye-wink

 

2. As for the verses, I can only reiterate: this simply should not have happened, if God indeed was watching over the creation of the Bible.  Perhaps you will see more of what I'm getting at as our discussion continues.  These few verses are not, by any means, the only such problems in the Bible; they are nothing more than within easy reach.  (And we haven't even touched Tradition or the Magisterium, yet!)

 

3. You said that whether or not Papal teaching becomes a part of the Tradition "... depends on how the teaching is given. Encyclicals, for example, are not infallible, but are excellent instruments for teaching the faithful."  I reply: it is precisely *because* they "are excellent instruments for teaching the faithful" that they enter the historical life of the Church...and this life *is* Tradition.  In effect, you proved my point, and thus, it does *not* matter "how the teaching was given," aside from the one issue of whether it was indeed given by the Magisterium.

The moral theologian Bernard Haring, in "The Law Of Christ," volume II, takes up the topic of "The decisions of the Holy See and more particularly those of the sacred congregations....."  I think that it is safe to say that Haring does *not* have infallible pronouncements, whether Papal or conciliar, in view in this discussion (pp. 51-52.)  Haring goes on to say "It is a grave* sin to rebel against a doctrinal decision by refusal to assent to it, even though the refusal is only in the mind. (p. 52.) {* = For those who are not in the know: a "grave sin" is a sin so serious that those who commit it risk eternal damnation.}  In short: accept everything you're told, or--literally--go to Hell.  Pope John Paul II, during one of his trips to the United States, said something very much in the same vein: "It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a "good Catholic" and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the Bishops of the United States and elsewhere."

So...if the Pope teaches it, you must accept it.  It really is that simple.  The same thing goes for the teaching of the bishops, particularly in an Ecumenical Council, whether or not those Bishops, or the Pope, have any intention of teaching infallibly.

Not only that, but even the meaning of the statements cannot be changed: " If anyone shall have said that there may ever be attributed to the doctrines proposed by the Church a sense which is different from the sense which the Church has once understood and now understands: let him be anathema." First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith,  Surely, this would apply as much to the understanding of Scripture as to the understanding of doctrine.  Indeed, the two are scarcely different.  The question of whether or not a given idea "has been taught infallibly" is...well...academic.

Remember this when we get into various teachings given by Popes, Councils, and saints.

Conor

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

 

DeathMonkeyGod: "Correct,

DeathMonkeyGod: "Correct, however ['faith in God'] requires an implicit assumption of their own correctness, which is never justified with any unequivocal, objective and externally verifiable evidence. This isn't to say that they are wrong. But it does mean it is valid for one to question its accuracy."

That's a very specific kind of evidence. Those with "internal" evidence do indeed assume God exists. But sure, people are certainly welcome to question their accuracy.

- Kory

literal vs contextual interpretation & Sacred Tradition

Hey Conor,

Thanks for your reply. I think, before we move forward, we need to come to common grounds on what the Catholic Church teaches.

Conor: "the Bible may not be reduced to the level of art by Christians."

I agree... The Bible can't be reduced to nothing more than casual art. But, if God is metaphorically painting a picture in the text, then, in this case, His art is authoritative... So I'll have to correct my reasoning against Shakespeare not being authoritative; perhaps it is the author's intent behind his work, not the type of work he produces. I often, too quickly, dismiss or devalue art.

Conor: "A poem it may well be, in terms of structure, but given the Papal habit of upholding the idea that *every* *word* of the Bible is effectively uttered by God Himself, to dismiss the meaning of Genesis chapter 1 with "It's a poem" amounts to calling God a liar."

It sounds to me as though you are saying God cannot use poetry. It would be ludicrous to demand that God only use timeless and literal language. Or perhaps you believe each word must be able to stand by itself as truth. This is a non-Catholic, fundamentalist approach to the Bible... or maybe even they aren't that literal (word-for-word)!?

If the Bible were to use the expression, "raining cats and dogs" (and it was in common use when written) I grant you that some spin-off groups would nonetheless believe cats and dogs actually fell from the clouds. But, an accurate interpretation requires understanding of language use of the time. So, though every word uttered is from God, none of them have the intended meaning unless you allow them to be read as a sentence, a verse, a paragraph, a chapter, and a book with the understanding of the audience's interpretation. (I realize the original text didn't have verses, chapters, nor even well defined ends of sentences, but I think my point is clear.)

Also, (I should note the obvious that) the one who was inspired to write Genesis was not present for the creation of the Universe. All that humanity need know is the main point, and that's what God provided. You and I can say "Big Bang" and "Evolution" and instantly volumes of information are brought to mind. Going into specific details of that which doesn't matter (spiritually speaking) would detract from the Bible.

Lastly, I agree that, as you brought up, the "meaning" of Genesis chapter 1 cannot be dismissed. What is the meaning? Though some Christians demand what amounts to cats and dogs literally falling from the sky, all faiths agree that all of this means that there is one almighty God who is the sole creator of the Universe. Whether He did it in 6 Earth days or 6 Heaven days Eye-wink, though fun to debate, is irrelevent in determining the meaning. So, how one arrives at that meaning doesn't much matter (if at all). ... all the more, I would surmise, in an area that, as you said, is poetic.

Conor: "As for the verses, I can only reiterate: this simply should not have happened"

I'm infering that you are reafirming that the verses you cited are invalid, despite my explanations, based on the popes having said everything in the Bible is true. I thought I had explained, reasonably well, how each verse, in context (which is the only correct way to read anything), is true. Ultimately, if you can (or can be led to) understand the meaning of the verses, hasn't God succeeded and then, should not the verses be written in no other way. Using a Catholic approach to the Bible, you will see there is no flaw in the verses you cited.

Conor: "it is precisely *because* [encyclicals] "are excellent instruments for teaching the faithful" that they enter the historical life of the Church...and this life *is* Tradition."

Wrong, the "historical life of the church" in not Tradition. This is a common misconception. There is Sacred Tradition with a capital 'T' which is doctrinal and then common traditions. The Magisterium has a role in deciding authoritatively which truths are a part of Sacred Tradition. But, what you're talking about sounds like heritage or maybe tradition (lower case 't') if you're talking about how the documents are preserved from generation to generation. Though we may treasure and keep historical record of what popes write and say that doesn't automatically qualify it as truth, and certainly not anywhere near the level of Sacred Tradition... Now, none of this really matters to our discussion because I've agreed with the papal references you've made. But, there is a distinction between what is required belief and what is not. It absolutely does matter how a teaching is given.

Conor: "Haring goes on to say "It is a grave* sin to rebel against a doctrinal decision by refusal to assent to it, even though the refusal is only in the mind.""
Conor (quoting JPII): ""It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a "good Catholic" and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the Bishops of the United States and elsewhere.""

I wholeheartedly agree. See the CCC:2089 (http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c1a1.htm) for further affirmation. Notice Haring says "doctrinal decision" (emphasis added) and the pope cites "dissent from the Magisterium". Neither of them are talking about disagreeing about non-doctrinal matters of the faith. However, since obedience is a virtue, it would be good practice to not assert your own non-doctrinal view to those above; though there is no issue with holding such a contrary view.

Conor: "So...if the Pope teaches it, you must accept it. It really is that simple. The same thing goes for the teaching of the bishops, particularly in an Ecumenical Council, whether or not those Bishops, or the Pope, have any intention of teaching infallibly."

So again, even though it doesn't pertain to our current discussion, it is possible to legitimately disagree with some things a pope might say, though not a declaration ex cathedra nor decisions of an Ecumenical Council.

Conor: "Not only that, but even the meaning of the statements cannot be changed"

For doctrine, I agree! And even for non-doctrine, you shouldn't put words into someone else's mouth; that's rude! Eye-wink

Conor: "Surely, this would apply as much to the understanding of Scripture as to the understanding of doctrine."

Not so much. The Catholic Church doesn't govern specific interpretations for each verse of Scripture. Much less (as in, not at all) scientific understandings of scripture. Perhaps the spiritual understanding of some parts of scripture may change over time. I think this is especially evident with things yet to come. I should hope we have a better spiritual (and, as a matter of fleeting interest, even scientific I suppose) understanding of what is written of the end times while they're happening... but what do I know!

Conor: "Remember this when we get into various teachings given by Popes, Councils, and saints."

Unless you agree with what I've stated above, I would say we're not ready to tackle such topics. One cannot effectively locate flaws in the Catholic position without first understanding the Catholic position. There is a fine line between what is and isn't recognized as belonging to the Deposit of Faith. Since even I can reference things said/done/written by popes, bishops, and saints which are (often times later concluded to be) contrary to doctrine, our conversation wouldn't serve a purpose.

- Kory

Conversion

Why are christians constantly trying to convert the non-believers? Just leave the athiests alone. We are not trying to convert anyone, hell we get persecuted by christians for our beliefs. We are not trying to prove the existence of any higher being, and actually with physics we can prove higher existence of things beyond our 'world' (world - n. the place that we live and co-exist, commonly known as earth). Read a book once in a while. And as far as solace goes, why do we need comfort in something? Life sucks sometimes, god's solace doesn't mean shit to any of us.

nigelTheBold's picture

Contextual sense

Kory wrote: "Using a Catholic approach to the Bible, you will see there is no flaw in the verses you cited."

So, those "erroneous" statements in the Bible make sense for tribesmen of 2000 years ago? And so, what appears to be an error today, wasn't 2000 years ago?

This is a dangerous defence, in that you are implicitly claiming the "truths" in the Bible were written for one specific set of people, using their language, their modes of storytelling, their common history. This defence essentially reframes the Bible as accurate only within a specific historic setting.

This line of reasoning leads to the simple question: what other parts of the Bible are true only in the context of Hebrew tribesmen 2000 years ago?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

your argument

If faith cannot be a valid argument, than how can your faith that Christianity is false prove your point?

nigelTheBold's picture

Flawed definition of "faith"

J-Kon wrote:

If faith cannot be a valid argument, than how can your faith that Christianity is false prove your point?

That's the entire point of the OP. His point with his dramatics wasn't to disprove Christian doctrine. It was to short-circuit rhetoric, and keep the concept of "faith" out of the debate. Once you resort to faith to win your argument, you are no longer debating. You are simply repeating dogmatic rhetoric.

Unfortunately, many Christians resort to dogmaticsm when confronted with facts. Even Christians who are open-minded on other topics often turn dogmatic when confronted with facts contradictory to their fath-- for instance, with evolution, for all of the creationists, or the fact that the phophesy of Christ's return did not occur in the Biblically-stated time.

In any case, I believe your definition of faith is incorrect. Faith is belief in something you cannot prove. You have to believe in something first. Atheism is a distinct lack of belief, sometimes due to lack of evidence, sometimes simply because the entire idea of God is just too absurd to believe, sometimes without reason at all. It isn't faith. It's the exact opposite of faith.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

  so xlint nigelTheBold ,

  so xlint nigelTheBold , love that ending too, "It isn't faith. It's the exact opposite of faith."

"I AM GOD AS YOU" let's all go home now .... the debate is over ! ( I wish )  

ok here's where i get

ok here's where i get preachy...

 

woo hoo, you pwned a fundamentalist preacher. here's the problem, most Christians aren't like that, however most atheists are. I, like most Christians, use faith as a personal way to answer the existential questions that I can't answer with science and math. However every atheist I know has to tell me why believing in a higher power is foolish. This doesn't make you make you better than me, it just makes you the same as the preacher you condemned. With one exception. The preacher speaks to those who want to hear his message. You just imposed your beliefs on an entire congregation...

 

the fact of the matter is, there are some things in this world that I don't think can be explained by science and I think some things are to big to be considered coincidence. Who are you to tell me that what I think and feel is wrong?

 

for a group of people who claim to be so logically minded, you guys sure can be ignorant

 

P.S. the spaghetti monster argument is getting kind of stale, don't you think

 

 

Can Ya Prove it?

Can anyone prove that evolution actually happened? I doubt it. I bet theres some proof that it did happen but theres also proof that God exist too.

So peace to ya'll,

Joke

P.S. So if ya'll are rational thinkers that means no love right? Maybe thats why....

P.P.S Since ya'll probably already figured out .... I'm a Christian(proud just like ya'll). And to make ya'll feel worse ya'll make me believe in him even more.

Can someone prove evolution to me?

I can prove God exists.

How many Christians have converted to atheist? I can answer. None because they weren't really Christians in the first place. I don't think I would because it sound so unappealing.  How do  go though the day with nothing to look forward to. I bet you get this all the time.

 

 

Why atheists dislike using the word "faith"

Kory wrote:
daretoknow, I think I see where you're coming from, but you're taking me out of context. I actually explicitly defined faith at the beginning of the paragraph you are responding to. The examples I use later in the paragraph utilized that definition, even if poorly so... Here's the definition I gave and then, so you don't have to rely on me, dictionary.com's version below it: - "If you are stating [something/anything] as fact without any ability to prove it, then it is with faith." - 2. belief that is not based on proof. But, still, I disagree that a positive position is required to yield faith. While, naturally, I don't have an active faith in my disbelief of something that I'm still unaware of (such as purple pixies), if that thing is brought to my attention and I come to a conclusion (that they don't exist) without proof to back up my conclusion, then I have made a statement of faith. If I'm so inclined, I may even act on my belief and create a website (like RRS's) to convince others of my belief (evangelization). Bottom line - the idea of god(s) is, unarguably, something Atheists are aware of, and their active denial of god(s) is positively a position of faith. Finally... I really didn't expect to get hung up on the idea that Atheists are "faithful" (3rd post on the topic now). I guess the word does have a stigma from the context of Atheism, as can be seen by dictionary.com clearly not shying away from relating "faith" to Christianity in 3 of its 9 definitions for the primary entry. But please accept my apology if I have been offensive and understand I'm not trying insult your intelligence by bluring the lines in an attempt to make you think you're Christian. Eye-wink heh... was it working!? Eye-wink - Kory

I think the stigma is understandable since any time it's used by religious person to describe an atheist, it's meant to get to false conclusion that atheism is a religion.

Also, no logical person would say that we have faith in our non-belief of unicorns or faith in our non-belief of leprechauns unless there was an ulterior motive. The burden of proof is on the one making the claim of existence.

All that without getting into the fact that asking someone for proof of non-existence is an illogical request

Joke wrote:
Can anyone prove that evolution actually happened? I doubt it. I bet theres some proof that it did happen but theres also proof that God exist too.

So peace to ya'll,

Joke

P.S. So if ya'll are rational thinkers that means no love right? Maybe thats why....

P.P.S Since ya'll probably already figured out .... I'm a Christian(proud just like ya'll). And to make ya'll feel worse ya'll make me believe in him even more.

Can someone prove evolution to me?

I can prove God exists.

How many Christians have converted to atheist? I can answer. None because they weren't really Christians in the first place. I don't think I would because it sound so unappealing.  How do  go though the day with nothing to look forward to. I bet you get this all the time.

If you want proof, read the many scientific journals, articles, books, and studies on the subject. Of course, what you really want is not discourse, but discord. Nice try trolling.

Love

sandwiches's picture

Why atheists dislike using the word "faith"

Kory wrote:
daretoknow, I think I see where you're coming from, but you're taking me out of context. I actually explicitly defined faith at the beginning of the paragraph you are responding to. The examples I use later in the paragraph utilized that definition, even if poorly so... Here's the definition I gave and then, so you don't have to rely on me, dictionary.com's version below it: - "If you are stating [something/anything] as fact without any ability to prove it, then it is with faith." - 2. belief that is not based on proof. But, still, I disagree that a positive position is required to yield faith. While, naturally, I don't have an active faith in my disbelief of something that I'm still unaware of (such as purple pixies), if that thing is brought to my attention and I come to a conclusion (that they don't exist) without proof to back up my conclusion, then I have made a statement of faith. If I'm so inclined, I may even act on my belief and create a website (like RRS's) to convince others of my belief (evangelization). Bottom line - the idea of god(s) is, unarguably, something Atheists are aware of, and their active denial of god(s) is positively a position of faith. Finally... I really didn't expect to get hung up on the idea that Atheists are "faithful" (3rd post on the topic now). I guess the word does have a stigma from the context of Atheism, as can be seen by dictionary.com clearly not shying away from relating "faith" to Christianity in 3 of its 9 definitions for the primary entry. But please accept my apology if I have been offensive and understand I'm not trying insult your intelligence by bluring the lines in an attempt to make you think you're Christian. Eye-wink heh... was it working!? Eye-wink - Kory

I think the stigma is understandable since any time it's used by religious person to describe an atheist, it's meant to get to false conclusion that atheism is a religion.

Also, no logical person would say that we have faith in our non-belief of unicorns or faith in our non-belief of leprechauns unless there was an ulterior motive. The burden of proof is on the one making the claim of existence.

All that without getting into the fact that asking someone for proof of non-existence is an illogical request

Joke wrote:
Can anyone prove that evolution actually happened? I doubt it. I bet theres some proof that it did happen but theres also proof that God exist too.

So peace to ya'll,

Joke

P.S. So if ya'll are rational thinkers that means no love right? Maybe thats why....

P.P.S Since ya'll probably already figured out .... I'm a Christian(proud just like ya'll). And to make ya'll feel worse ya'll make me believe in him even more.

Can someone prove evolution to me?

I can prove God exists.

How many Christians have converted to atheist? I can answer. None because they weren't really Christians in the first place. I don't think I would because it sound so unappealing.  How do  go though the day with nothing to look forward to. I bet you get this all the time.

If you want proof, read the many scientific journals, articles, books, and studies on the subject. Of course, what you really want is not discourse, but discord. Nice try trolling.

Love

 

Edit: Sorry about the double post. I didn't see the other one go through; so, I registered and reposted my response. The first one can be deleted.

Conor Wilson wrote:Kory

Conor Wilson wrote:

Kory wrote:

I don't see an issue with a person of any faith (existence/non-existence of a god/gods) having the desire to discuss their beliefs with others. The problem comes when people are either forcing their views on others or are only interested in winning a debate, especially through the use of satire.

 

My $0.02:  I wholeheartedly agree. 

 

Kory wrote:

Likewise, the author of this article probably did more harm than good in trying to convert Christians in his debate.

 

My $0.02: Here, I disagree.  What Rich did was arrange for a public debate, (...which is perfectly legitimate...) research his opponent (...for which, I know of no reason for an objection...) and turn the tables on said opponent in said debate.  My point was that if conversion is a legitimate goal for Christians, then deconversion is a legitimate goal for atheists.  Please note that, so far as I know, nobody was forced to come to the debate, and nobody was forced to debate him unwillingly.  Rich harassed...absolutely nobody.  The situation that I was talking about was not even comparable to the debate Rich described.  And if he got someone to do some serious thinking...Rich may well have done them a favor.

 

Kory wrote:

But the main reason for my reply is because of your signature where you argue that faith should fear reason. First, your rebuttal to the Pope's quote shows your lack of understanding of the Catholic position.

 

My $0.02: Here, I wonder whether *you* understand *me.*  In the first place, I gave no "argument."  I did indeed make a smart aside, but I don't see that as being the same thing.  Second, my "understanding" of the Pope's position is that, in the considered opinion of His Holiness, reason, properly employed, provides no obstacle to faith.  What part of this, if any needs correction, and why?

 

Kory wrote:

Second, in light of this article's point that atheists are quite faithful, I'm surprised you'd admit that your faith should fear reason.

 

My $0.02:  Kory...honestly...what on earth are you talking about?  Atheists don't have faith; that's a huge part of what makes us atheists.  And I nowhere said anything about *my* faith; the remark was about the faith of those who believe in God.  (I suppose you could be referring to the faith I *used* *to* *have* in Catholic Christianity, but then I wouldn't be able to make sense out of your reply.)

 

Kory wrote:

Does all faith contradict reason? I suspect the author would proclaim that his faith is the only faith that doesn't.

My $0.02: I would say that faith does indeed contradict reason.  And I understand that Pius, were he here, would disagree.  At one time, I would have been happy to believe in God and the Catholic Church with the understanding that reason and evidence should not expressly contradict the Catholic faith.  But I studied the Catholic religion for a while, and I could not avoid noticing that the Bible was a mess, the Tradition was a mess, and Magisterial teaching was a mess.  Worse, when I looked outside of Catholicism, an all-too familiar pattern emerged: Eastern Orthodox Tradition is a mess, the history of Protestantism, including Anglicanism, is a mess, the Book of Mormon is a mess, the teaching of the line of prophets in Salt Lake City is a mess, the Koran is a mess.  It doesn't take a genius to see that there is something fundamentally wrong with all of this.  Atheism, in my opinion, provides a beautifully simple explanation of *all* of these messes.  Simply put: no "true faith" exists; all of them are wrong, because God is a figment, and not a reality.

 

Lastly, Kory wrote:

as a closing thought, if a single true faith exists, then it seems objective reasoning should lead us toward that faith.

 

My $0.02: Yes.  Precisely.  And that is what led me here.

 

Conor

______________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

 

I am a Christian.  I'm not Catholic, not Church of Christ or any other denomination.  I merely believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God and that he died for our sins.  My faith is constantly growing and evolving based on my life experiences and what I deem is absolute truth.  I just wanted to give you some background information on me before I jump in.

I really enjoyed reading most of the posts in this thread.  I've known many athiests and to be honest have been friends with some of them.  Mainly because we know what each other believes, have talked about it, and have decided not to bring it up again because it is a very powerful topic and would much rather enjoy each others friendship than break it apart and accomplish nothing in the process.  I can live with this because I believe that all I have to do is talk to someone about my beliefs and God via the Holy Spirit will do the rest.  I have no need for harassing people.

Getting back to the post that I have quoted here, I love the fundamental idea of finding a single true faith that exists and is supported by reason.  That would certainly make things much easier and would make everyone happy.  Can you imagine!  The problem there is why would there be a single true faith that is supported by reason.  Every faith has a form of god, supreme being, or enhanced sense of enlightenment.  All of which are above anything that reason in this world could explain, so it would be a paradox to search for a faith that is supported by reason.  I feel the Pope would have been better spoken if he said, "Faith has no need to fear reason", but alas I'm not the Pope's PR guy. 

I leave you with this.  I love music!  Love music!!  And my all time favorite type of music is ska.  I don't know something about the horns and drums and just how electric it is.  Being a Christian, I sometimes listen to Christian music and I came across the song by the Supertones.  If you like ska/punk give it a listen.  If not read the lyrics.  If you're athiest read it again.  It pretty much somes up how I feel and how I live.  It puts me at ease that I don't know everything and don't have to know everything.  I would much rather have my God in control of everything and leading me.  In the end, I know this isn't going to change anyone's mind in regards to becoming a Christian but it may spark some interest.  Feel free to email me at justinleland@gmail.com if you want to talk about anything.  I'm a big sports fan too Eye-wink  Well without futher ado here is the song.  Hope I didn't waste too much of your time.

OC Supertones - Wilderness

The rain falls on the righteous and the wicked
Mine is not to reason why this is
In this I rest in this I find my refuge
That my thoughts and ways are not His
I spend my life on looking up the answers
It’s rare that I can’t find a reason why
But reasons fail at children without mothers
His plan is more than I can know

Have you ever held in doubt
What this life is all about
Have you questioned all these things that seem important to us
Do you really wanna know
Or are you a little scared
You’re afraid that God is not really exactly what you’d have Him be
What should I hold to and what should I do
How do I know if anything’s true
I’m somewhere in-between Canaan and Egypt
A place called the wilderness

I’m not one who always trusts their feelings
I don’t believe in what you’d call blind faith
But faith that you can do all that you promised
And you said it all works for good
It’s safe to say I don’t see the big picture
I can’t see the forest for the trees
And if five hundred lives
Were mine to get to know
You all could be spent on just this

God do you really understand what it’s like to be a man
Have You ever felt the weight of loving all the things you Hate
Have You struggled have you worried
How can You sympathize

I have spoken too soon put my hand over my mouth
I can’t contend with You
Your ways are so much higher
And we pass through the fire that Christ endured before us
When You were in the wilderness
 

 

  to you all ,  ..... that

  to you all ,

  ..... that Jesus dude character said in an old book, where this Jesus  wrote  nothing ???? 

 , basically ...... 

I AM GOD AS YOU, one with the WHATEVER , you know the "father"    > thingy <     ...... 

WOW,  freak out !  G AWE D   , geezzzzzzzzz       Yeah,  WOW WOW WOW !  So now I must do Dogma ! What a joke of a god religious people do ,  " said ? " Jesus ..... an ATHEIST idea , obviously ...... 

If your are religious , your are my stupid enemy said ?????????? JESUS !!!!!!!!!!!

I must love you more ! .....  Love (understand) the Enemy !  ~~~ yeah jesus !

Kory, I wanted to say a few things...

1. I'm sorry that I'm always taking so long to reply.   Suffice to say, I'm not one of the faster posters around here.

 

2. Re: the issue of doctrinal decisions.  I never envisioned any other decisions.  Think about it: if the Catholic Church changes its own rules on fasting...so what?  Why should anyone think that that is an argument against Catholic Christianity?  On the other hand, I should stress here: a decision, whether by the Pope alone, or by a Council does *not* have to be infallible in order to be a *doctrinal* decision.  (As an aside, I wonder: are you, perhaps, referring to *dogmatic* decisions, which by definition, *are* infallible?)  So, to summarize, doctrinal decisions may not be rejected or disputed by Catholics, whether or not those decisions are "infallible," (i.e., it does not matter whether they are *dogma* or not.)

 

3. Re: Tradition.  Sorry, but Tradition most certainly *is* the life of the Church.  It really cannot be defined any more precisely than this, and this is one of its more frustrating aspects.  The reason that this is so is the fact that any other attempted definition fails.  For example, if we were to say that Tradition is the sum total of dogmatic decisions made by Popes and Councils, then that reduces Tradition to a series of written texts.  The problem with this is twofold: first, that Tradition is supposedly the *unwritten* Word of God, so that our definition of Tradition is contradicted, and second, that having turned Tradition into text...we now have what basically amounts to a continual extension of the Bible.  *That* contradicts the closing of the Biblical canon.  Moreover, this putative definition of Tradition leaves out the teachings of the Saints.  Granted, Catholics do not put those on quite the same level, but they are hardly irrelevant to Catholic Tradition.  (As another aside, perhaps you thought that I was confusing Sacred Tradition with, say, rules about fasting or the vernacular in the Mass?  I assure you, I was not doing so.)

 

4. I  found a quote that I was missing earlier!  And it was, again, from Providentissimus Deus, by Pope Leo XIII.  It is as follows:

 

"For all the books which the church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true."

 

I wish to call your attention to several aspects of this.

 

A. This is a Papal teaching.  Even if it isn't infallible, Catholics may not contradict this.

 

B. This is specifically a *doctrinal* teaching.  We are not talking about fish on Fridays, here.

 

C. We *are* talking about the content of the Bible, and the question in view is basically whether or not Catholics may understand the Bible to contain error of some sort, as long as it is still considered true in matters of salvation.

 

D. The answer that Pope Leo XIII gives to the question above is a firm, and absolute, "No."  Catholics are thus obligated, out of obedience to the Pope, to agree that *no* error of *any* kind exists in the Bible.

 

E. Thus, my remarks in earlier posts to the effect that Catholics are in conscience bound  by their own religious principles to be Fundamentalists, at least in the sense of refusing to admit the existence of *any* error within the Bible.  I also reiterate: I do *not* say that Catholics believe in sola scriptura.  I add further: I recognize that the Catholic Bible is a bit larger, and thus a bit different in its contents, than the Protestant Bible.  My remark about Catholics being obligated in principle to be Fundamentalists is entirely confined to the one issue of rejecting any kind of error in the Bible.

 

Hopefully, this will clarify my earlier posts.

 

Conor

_________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

Kory, another thought just hit me...

One thing that has been discussed is whether or not the first chapters of Genesis are to be taken in a literal way.  I ask: isn't a literal reading of Genesis ultimately unavoidable?  Please consider the following:

 

1. The center of the Christian religion, regardless of Protestant, Catholic, or other variation, is the Paschal Mystery of Christ, which is to say, the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  (Oh...in case you're wondering...I'm *not* going to take up here the topic of the historical existence of Jesus; that can be dealt with by people on this site who are far more knowledgeable than myself.)

 

2. This Paschal Mystery is the source of salvation for all Christians.  For Catholics, individual people come into contact with this Mystery, and thus, start on the road to salvation, by the Sacraments.  The very first such Sacrament is Holy Baptism (the "gateway to the sacraments.&quotEye-wink

 

3. Why be baptized?  Simple: because of Original Sin.  Where does original sin come from?  It comes from the disobedience of the first human beings, to whom we may refer as "Adam" and "Eve," whether or not they called each other by those names.

 

So...if Adam and Eve were not, at least on some level, *historical* individuals...then there is no original sin.  If there is no original sin, Baptism is a beautiful ceremony which does...nothing.  But, per Christian doctrine, Christ died to bring us back into contact with God.  If there is no original sin, then that contact is not lost in the first place, and thus...Christ died for nothing.  In short, if Adam and Eve are not somehow historical human beings...Christianity...*all* of Christianity...is fundamentally false at its core.  Fundamentalists (even without a Catholic understanding of Baptism, yet!) seem to understand this, hence their insistence upon the literal truth of the opening chapters of the Bible.  Given all of this...and given the things I wrote about Providentissimus Deus in my previous post...it would seem that Catholics are all the more obligated to believe the Bible literally, and (for lack of a better way to put it,) inerrantly.

 

I await your reply.

 

Conor

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

Justin, obviously, I'm *not* a Christian...

...not anymore, at any rate.

 

I enjoyed your post, although I'm a little bewildered as to why you would post that here.  I suppose that, by way of reply, I can say that when I was a Christian, I accumulated a *lot* of Christian music, which I still have.  I even, on rare occasions, still enjoy some of it.  Once the religious doctrine part (...which I now regard as unsupportable...) is taken away, there is often a very positive message buried underneath that, and I like positive messages in the music I listen to.  I've never been a fan of the OC Supertones, but my CD collection (...the religious part, anyway...) has artists ranging from Amy Grant to Jeremy Camp to...oh...let's see...Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, the St. Louis Jesuits, Bryan Duncan, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Steve Camp...and I'm sure that there are more, but the names don't come to mind, right away.  I'm not big on ska, (although I do like the secular song "The Impression That I Get" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.)

 

Anyway...my recommendation is that, since this thread is about various discussions spinning out of Rich Rodriguez's debate, maybe you could start a new thread with discussions like this.  I don't think that there's any harm done, but a discussion of music seems to me a little "left field" of where everyone else on the thread is.

 

Conor

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

sandwiches's picture

Kory, on the Bible

Kory wrote:
Conor: "A poem it may well be, in terms of structure, but given the Papal habit of upholding the idea that *every* *word* of the Bible is effectively uttered by God Himself, to dismiss the meaning of Genesis chapter 1 with "It's a poem" amounts to calling God a liar." It sounds to me as though you are saying God cannot use poetry. It would be ludicrous to demand that God only use timeless and literal language. Or perhaps you believe each word must be able to stand by itself as truth. This is a non-Catholic, fundamentalist approach to the Bible... or maybe even they aren't that literal (word-for-word)!? If the Bible were to use the expression, "raining cats and dogs" (and it was in common use when written) I grant you that some spin-off groups would nonetheless believe cats and dogs actually fell from the clouds. But, an accurate interpretation requires understanding of language use of the time. So, though every word uttered is from God, none of them have the intended meaning unless you allow them to be read as a sentence, a verse, a paragraph, a chapter, and a book with the understanding of the audience's interpretation. (I realize the original text didn't have verses, chapters, nor even well defined ends of sentences, but I think my point is clear.) Also, (I should note the obvious that) the one who was inspired to write Genesis was not present for the creation of the Universe. All that humanity need know is the main point, and that's what God provided. You and I can say "Big Bang" and "Evolution" and instantly volumes of information are brought to mind. Going into specific details of that which doesn't matter (spiritually speaking) would detract from the Bible. Lastly, I agree that, as you brought up, the "meaning" of Genesis chapter 1 cannot be dismissed. What is the meaning? Though some Christians demand what amounts to cats and dogs literally falling from the sky, all faiths agree that all of this means that there is one almighty God who is the sole creator of the Universe. Whether He did it in 6 Earth days or 6 Heaven days Eye-wink, though fun to debate, is irrelevent in determining the meaning. So, how one arrives at that meaning doesn't much matter (if at all). ... all the more, I would surmise, in an area that, as you said, is poetic.

 

Kory, it's all well and good that God may have used poetry and metaphor when inspiring the writers of the Bible . However, all this does it put into further question the validity of the Bible.

Because the Bible verses are either:

a) Literal. They mean exactly what it's said. In which case there is many a great error in the Bible.

b) Metaphorical or poetic. They mean something other than what the exact meanings of the words are. In which case the Bible is all based on interpretation and no one can know what it truly means.

Either way, using the Bible as base for your beliefs means starting with a very flimsy foundation.

Saying "Genesis is or could be a poem" is interpretation and we really don't know what it was meant to be. And to say that the main point of that chapter is merely to show that God created the universe not necessarily how, not only is completely subjective, but you will find a great amount of people who will disagree with you within Christianity. All that an interpretation would do is show your prior convictions.

I think most people want something a little bit more concrete than a poem with completely open interpretations to base their beliefs on.

Left field? LEFT FIELD!!!

Conor Wilson wrote:

...not anymore, at any rate.

 

I enjoyed your post, although I'm a little bewildered as to why you would post that here.  I suppose that, by way of reply, I can say that when I was a Christian, I accumulated a *lot* of Christian music, which I still have.  I even, on rare occasions, still enjoy some of it.  Once the religious doctrine part (...which I now regard as unsupportable...) is taken away, there is often a very positive message buried underneath that, and I like positive messages in the music I listen to.  I've never been a fan of the OC Supertones, but my CD collection (...the religious part, anyway...) has artists ranging from Amy Grant to Jeremy Camp to...oh...let's see...Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, the St. Louis Jesuits, Bryan Duncan, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Steve Camp...and I'm sure that there are more, but the names don't come to mind, right away.  I'm not big on ska, (although I do like the secular song "The Impression That I Get" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.)

 

Anyway...my recommendation is that, since this thread is about various discussions spinning out of Rich Rodriguez's debate, maybe you could start a new thread with discussions like this.  I don't think that there's any harm done, but a discussion of music seems to me a little "left field" of where everyone else on the thread is.

 

Conor

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

 

I played centerfield I'll have you know! Smiling  Anyway, my post wasn't to hijack this thread and turn it into a post on music.  I was sharing my views on the previous topic you guys had been talking about; the correlation between faith and reason.  The song was just a way of summing up my beliefs and sharing them with the group.  I hope at the very least your read all the lyrics of the song especially, "I spend my life on looking up the answers, It's rare that I can't find a reason why.  But reasons fail, at children without mothers, his plan is more than I can know."  Similar to this artist, I too have spent quite a bit of my life asking the same questions and fighting to disprove that which I believe in.  I've come several conclusions and since it seems like so many here like and enjoy lists, I too shall make one.

Justin's Conclusions:

 

1.  The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible.  We can read in Psalms 14:1 "There is no where any argument to prove it.  He who disbelieves this truth is one spoken of as one devoid of understanding.

2.  God is real.  While I do not have God in front of me, or Jesus for that matter, to pull out and show you, ("Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed." John 20:29) I certainly have enough evidence for me, as well as anyone else who is able to step back from their pride, to see that a higher being must exist. 

     Evidence:

        a. The building block of life, the cell.  Oh yes I'm using science to prove my point that God exists.  There's a table turner.  Moving along, "Cells",quoting Biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, "are systems of horrendous, irreducible complexity inhabit the cell. The resulting realization that life was designed by an intelligence is a shock to us in the twentieth century who have gotten used to thinking of life as the result of simple natural laws. But other centuries have had their shocks, and there is no reason to suppose that we should escape them."  Basically summing this up, cells are ridiculously complex and to think it was formed by "natural process" is asinine. 

        b.  The first time I held my baby nephew I was amazed.  Everything on him was perfect and flawless.  Thinking now of people saying that he and I both decended from something else and that we weren't created by a supreme being is also silly.  I'll quote another Dr.  A long quote but very powerful.  Dr. Lee Spetner states,

"In this chapter I'll bring several examples of evolution, [i.e., instances alleged to be examples of evolution] particularly mutations, and show that information is not increased . . . But in all the reading I've done in the life-sciences literature, I've never found a mutation that added information.'

'All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it.'

'The NDT [neo-Darwinian theory] is supposed to explain how the information of life has been built up by evolution. The essential biological difference between a human and a bacterium is in the information they contain. All other biological differences follow from that. The human genome has much more information than does the bacterial genome. Information cannot be built up by mutations that lose it."  Spetner, as well as numerous others in his field, have come to the conclusion that mutations do not work as a mechanism to fuel the evolutionary process. So if we didn't evolve from bacteria, viruses, a monkey where did we come from?  The only LOGICAL solution is a big bang!..............Are we freakin serious?  People would rather believe that the cosmos in all it's glory happened to bang together and out popped humans billions of years down the line?  In this situation, I'd venture to say for any reasonable person, it is far easier to swallow that perhaps we were created by someone and not just an evolved accident.

 

             c.  Last one I promise.  Similar to b. in that it takes the same priciples I applied to humanity and applies it to nature.  The classic quote, "I've seen the effects of the wind but I've never seen the wind."  How can you look at everything in nature and not believe in a supreme being?  Are the blue skys, green grass, deep oceans, still lakes; are all of these just by chance?  Are we really lucky that not only we were accidently created but that all of this was accidently created here for us to love and enjoy?  Come now.  Certainly a reasonable man can see this.  Right?

 

3.  There will always be people who MUST see in order to believe.  For you, I'm sorry.  Your life will always be spent questioning everything that was made for us to enjoy instead of enjoying it.  I always know that whenever I tell people about me or my beliefs, I am more than likely going to be ridiculed but that's okay.  I can only hope that at some point in life those people will one day be able to feel what and how I do.

 

Three points.  Not too much to them but there you go.  I want you all to know one thing.  I'm with most of you guys.  I am out to prove religion false.  Religion is man made.  Faith in God is not.  I love that one picture I saw on here.  I can't remember who's it was but the title was "The World Without Religion" and showed the Twin Towers still standing in NYC.  I couldn't agree more.  Do we really think Muhammad or Jahveh wanted to bomb those buildings?

 

As always, if you want to discuss anything futher and don't feel it is right for this thread email me at justinleland@gmail.com.  We can talk more about music heh sorry Conor. ; - )  Also Conor, what was the defining moment that made you decide to no longer believe in God?

 

 

Kergillian's picture

Rich: &ldquo;Well sir, now

Rich: “Well sir, now that we have established that faith proves absolutely nothing---let’s have a debate.”

  Debate about what ? 

  Debate about what ?  please not more 'G awe D' crap ..... ummm well okay , I suppose we must , but this shit is getting really old , like me ..... it ain't as much fun as is use to be ..... actually religion has always pissed me off ..... stop it , stop it ! Can't we just chase the girls now ...... or whatever you love .....   'God Cosmos' doesn't seem to much care, but I sure do .....       

bzeurunkl's picture

"That's kinda the point

"That's kinda the point here, your faith cancels out with the faith of someone you would be debating Christianity with,...

 

So, then, absolute proof exists in nothing more than mere contradiction?

 

Damn!  This is gonna be EASY!

 

Eye-wink

 

Did it occur to you that mere contradiction results in nothing more than equllibrium?  And wins you nothing more than a return to "square one?"

 

Just wondering.

 

BZeurunkl

 

 

sandwiches's picture

bzeurunkl wrote:"That's

bzeurunkl wrote:

"That's kinda the point here, your faith cancels out with the faith of someone you would be debating Christianity with,...

So, then, absolute proof exists in nothing more than mere contradiction?

Damn!  This is gonna be EASY!

Eye-wink

Did it occur to you that mere contradiction results in nothing more than equllibrium?  And wins you nothing more than a return to "square one?"

Just wondering.

BZeurunkl

That's the point. Their faith no more proves the existence of God than his faith that He doesn't exist.

sandwiches's picture

Justin, here's why you're wrong.

JustinLeland wrote:
Justin's Conclusions:

 1.  The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible.  We can read in Psalms 14:1 "There is no where any argument to prove it.  He who disbelieves this truth is one spoken of as one devoid of understanding.

The only thing that quoting the Bible proves is that there are words written in the Bible to quote

JustinLeland wrote:
2.  God is real.  While I do not have God in front of me, or Jesus for that matter, to pull out and show you, ("Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed." John 20:29) I certainly have enough evidence for me, as well as anyone else who is able to step back from their pride, to see that a higher being must exist.

So, are you saying that only people who are too proud don't believe in God? Seems like an ad hominem fallacy to make it seem like "If you're cool and wise, you'll believe in God."

Again, quoting the Bible does nothing.

JustinLeland wrote:
Evidence:

        a. The building block of life, the cell.  Oh yes I'm using science to prove my point that God exists.  There's a table turner.  Moving along, "Cells",quoting Biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, "are systems of horrendous, irreducible complexity inhabit the cell. The resulting realization that life was designed by an intelligence is a shock to us in the twentieth century who have gotten used to thinking of life as the result of simple natural laws. But other centuries have had their shocks, and there is no reason to suppose that we should escape them."  Basically summing this up, cells are ridiculously complex and to think it was formed by "natural process" is asinine.

Heres the articles refuting Behe's laughable irreducible complexity  argument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html

Essentially, almost every "irreducibly complex" system Behe's mentioned has been found currently in nature functioning at a much reduced complexity.

For example, out of the 42 parts of a flagellum, 40 have known current uses in nature.

That's an argument from ignorance. Basically the same as saying, "it's too complex to be explained right now, so God must have created it."

JustinLeland wrote:
b.  The first time I held my baby nephew I was amazed.  Everything on him was perfect and flawless.  Thinking now of people saying that he and I both decended from something else and that we weren't created by a supreme being is also silly.  I'll quote another Dr.  A long quote but very powerful.  Dr. Lee Spetner states,

"In this chapter I'll bring several examples of evolution, [i.e., instances alleged to be examples of evolution] particularly mutations, and show that information is not increased . . . But in all the reading I've done in the life-sciences literature, I've never found a mutation that added information.'

'All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it.'

It seems like Dr. Lee Spetner doesn't understand genetics is is purposefully being dishonest.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html

JustinLeland wrote:
'The NDT [neo-Darwinian theory] is supposed to explain how the information of life has been built up by evolution. The essential biological difference between a human and a bacterium is in the information they contain. All other biological differences follow from that. The human genome has much more information than does the bacterial genome. Information cannot be built up by mutations that lose it."  Spetner, as well as numerous others in his field, have come to the conclusion that mutations do not work as a mechanism to fuel the evolutionary process. So if we didn't evolve from bacteria, viruses, a monkey where did we come from?  The only LOGICAL solution is a big bang!..............Are we freakin serious?  People would rather believe that the cosmos in all it's glory happened to bang together and out popped humans billions of years down the line?  In this situation, I'd venture to say for any reasonable person, it is far easier to swallow that perhaps we were created by someone and not just an evolved accident.

Just to blow your little snake oil theory out of the water, the amoeba genome is over 231 times larger than the human genome. So, is the amoeba, therefore, more complex and the apex of creation? Can an amoeba evolve into anything else since it doesn't need to create new genetic information?

JustinLeland wrote:
c.  Last one I promise.  Similar to b. in that it takes the same priciples I applied to humanity and applies it to nature.  The classic quote, "I've seen the effects of the wind but I've never seen the wind."  How can you look at everything in nature and not believe in a supreme being?  Are the blue skys, green grass, deep oceans, still lakes; are all of these just by chance?  Are we really lucky that not only we were accidently created but that all of this was accidently created here for us to love and enjoy?  Come now.  Certainly a reasonable man can see this.  Right?

A small detail you're missing here: The wind analogy is a rather simplistic one in that you can measure wind speed, you can see what wind is made of, and you can do repeatable and verifiable experiments using wind. Wind is a quantifiable, qualifiable, and demonstrable thing, God isn't.

JustinLeland wrote:
3.  There will always be people who MUST see in order to believe.  For you, I'm sorry.  Your life will always be spent questioning everything that was made for us to enjoy instead of enjoying it.  I always know that whenever I tell people about me or my beliefs, I am more than likely going to be ridiculed but that's okay.  I can only hope that at some point in life those people will one day be able to feel what and how I do.

I'm sorry you don't care to blindly believe in a book and what some other people tell you. I'm sorry you didn't grow out of your childhood fantasies. I'm sorry that you live your life without questioning your beliefs and reality. I guess ignorance truly is bliss. Maybe one day your eyes will be opened. Maybe one day you'll realize that you don't have to be scared of those feelings of doubt in your heart and simply question your beliefs because you know there's nothing but wishful thinking behind them.

 

A little miscellany for Justin...

1.  I would refute your post, but sandwiches seems to have already done so,

and probably much better than I would have.  (However, see below

concering Mr. Behe.)

 

2. As for "a reasonable man" seeing the universe as evidence of God...well

...that's what convinced me of theism, and kept me believing in the existence

of God for many years.  But the corollary (sp?) to that is obvious: if God does

indeed exist, and has indeed revealed Himself/Herself/Itself/Themselves to

humanity, then at least one religion out there must be the truth.  In turn, if

that is true, then the claims that that religion makes will in turn be true.  So,

if Evangelicalism, say, was "God's special religion," then the Bible really would

be errorless.  To find errors in the Bible, then, is proof that Evangelicalism is

*not* true.  Similarly, if Roman Catholicism is God's favorite religion, then we

should see the Popes and Ecumenical Councils actually being infallible, and the

Tradition actually being constant.  You could go on and on like this through all

of the extant (and dead) religions.  Every one that I have looked at has failed,

sooner or later.  BTW, this is *not* an arrogant claim of knowing God's thoughts;

it is the exceedingly humble action of taking these religions seriously when they

make their claims.  Those claims are either true or false.  If they are seen to be

false (and I am satisfied that they are,) well then...they're false, and that is that.

Game over.   This is the type of thought process which I went through with

respect to Evangelicalism (which I have never believed,) Roman Catholicism

(in which I was raised, and for which I studied theology,) and the Church of

Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (of which, I was very briefly a member.)  As you

can see, Justin, there was no "moment" when I decided to no longer believe; it

was...well...an evolution in my thinking about religion.  Even after abandoning the

Latter-Day Saints, I still did not "jump the fence," so to speak, to immediate

atheism.  Instead, I was involved in a long process of continuing to look for

a basis for belief, failing, admitting that failure, and reading a lot.  (Names like

Dawkins, Harris, and Dennet figured prominently in the reading list.)  Even

then, I still, for not very interesting reasons, figured that I could not abandon

belief in God's existence altogether.  But I must have been closer to that

break than I figured; my encounter with this website was the final "push"

that I needed.

 

3. Do I need to see to believe? Certainly not in any literal sense; I had no

problem, for many years, swallowing whole doctrines like the Trinity, the

inspiration of the Bible, transubstantiation, etc.  None of these things are

things which are visible, or even testable in any direct way.  All I could do

at the time was take seriously the things people told me, believed them,

and then try to make sense of things--within doctrinal boundaries--when

difficulties were encountered.  The one difficulty that proved fatal to my

Catholicism, and which in retrospect seems to have set me on a course

which ultimately led here, concerned the salvation of non-Catholics.  Without

trying to bore you with the details, one Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) said

that non-Catholics *could,* at least potentially, be saved without ever

becoming Catholics.  I later encountered another Ecumenical Council (Florence)

which taught the exact opposite.  So...if I believe Vatican II...I by definition

dissent from Florence, thus committing the mortal sins of disbelief, disobedience

to Christ's Church, and heresy, thus essentially sentencing myself to Hell.  But

if I believe Florence...I do the exact same thing in reverse.  In short...I was

damned (literally!) if I did, and damned if I didn't.  What happens to God's

goodness and mercy, then?  That's not a God who is trying to authoritatively

teach His people...that's a malevolent cosmic entity, who casts nearly everyone

into Hell...just because He can, while holding out the possiblity of salvation, not

really as a carrot, but more as a sick joke.  Once I made the damned-if-I-did-and-damned

-if-I-didn't realization, I found that I could never really return to Catholicism.  In

time, I also found that logic is somewhat ruthless in its nature; doctrines are

doctrines, and facts are facts, and when the doctrines don't stand up to the

facts, the doctrines are seen through for the falsehoods that they are.  In this way,

logic very nearly forbade me to believe anything strongly, as it might, and as

far as I investigated, always did, collapse under the weight of reality.  That is

where I am at, right now.  That is why I am an atheist.  God, if He existed, 

ought to be able to do better than this shoddy record of soap-bubble religions

which can be beautiful to look at, but which cannot tolerate the "touch," if you

will, of reason and investigation.  It seems that the best that can be done in

favor of any religion (yours included) is to rationalize away evidence of

falsehood.  And among religions, the only things that really change are the

details of how and where the collapse happens.  Note that the *fact* of the

collapse does *not* change!  Maybe it's because the Bible opposes the

Protestant doctrine of sola fide (for which, consult James 2:24Eye-wink or maybe it's

because the Sacred Tradition *does* change (as noted above with respect

to the salvation of non-Catholics,) or maybe it's because racism really was

preached, and officially prophesied, as Church doctrine, (which the Church

of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints no longer admits as true...as if that

somehow changes the historical record of what happened when,  or the

doctrine of how "prophecy" for the whole Church is to be identified.)  If this

happens often enough to you, as it certainly did for me, you stop thinking,

"Where is God's will in this matter?" and start thinking, "Not this s--t again!"

 

4. As for Mr. Behe...don't ever rely upon him as an expert.  Professor

Dawkins, in his book "The God Delusion" cites a 2005 case in

Pennsylvania in which Behe denied that the immune system could

have evolved through natural selection...and then simply labeled as

"not good enough" over fifty peer-reviewed papers, as well as some

textbooks, which...well...proved him wrong.  Behe does not pursue

science; he simply has contempt for it, especially when science has

the temerity to tell him that his religious beliefs are wrong.  He is

no authority to be quoted, or otherwise relied upon.

 

Sorry about the rambling.  I do sometimes make the mistake of

trying to answer too many questions all at once.  But I hope that

I gave you a somewhat adequate reply.

 

Conor

__________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

  Thanks you all, I do read

  Thanks you all, I do read you. Just wanted to add,

NOTE , the first line in the bible says "when god began creating",  ?  WOW, what a goofy comic book this will be  .... geezzz, even the first line is a great joke ...... as if there was a beginning ..... giggles  ..... religion is funny, then it gets so dangerous, .... OUCH , poor murdered wise "atheist" story character jesus ..... the bits of wisdom don't make the bullshit true in any book or philosophy ....


 

using reason to understand context...

It's been a while since I've visited...  so I'm catching up on some old posts.  Maybe somebody has already responded to this post more rationally than I will, so I'll try to keep it brief.

nigelTheBold:
"... statements in the Bible make sense for tribesmen of 2000 years ago? And so, what appears to be an error today, wasn't 2000 years ago?"

Are you referring to the things that appear to be error today due to our lack of contextual understanding?  It wasn't error then and so, in context, still isn't.  Humanity has this incredible ability to use reason and can learn what was meant by something said or done by people of different cultures.  (I really do believe it's an incredible ability; I wasn't saying that with malice)  The bible versus I discussed with Conor, as I've explained, made sense in context and, consequently, deliver their intended meaning in 2008 just as they did then.

nigelTheBold:
"This is a dangerous defence, in that you are implicitly claiming the "truths" in the Bible were written for one specific set of people, using their language, their modes of storytelling, their common history."

I didn't intend to imply that at all.  The Bible was written for all people. You and I can still benefit from and understand the meaning of a 2000 year old parable that uses outdated customs, if read in context.  People 2000 years from now will too.  There are people that can't rationally look at things from another culture's perspective though...  to them the Bible may be dangerous.  Interestingly, the Bible talks about this (Acts 8:27-).  If a person doesn't intend to study the languages, styles/modes, or history, drawing a conclusion is irrational.  Wouldn't you agree?

nigelTheBold:
"This defence essentially reframes the Bible as accurate only within a specific historic setting."

Reframes?  The Bible has always been intended to be read in context.  Within context, the meaning is the same then as it is now.  The Bible, like many books, is written to deliver a message.

- Kory

flawed definition of atheism

nigelTheBold:
"In any case, I believe your definition of faith is incorrect. Faith is belief in something you cannot prove. You have to believe in something first."

I agree with most of your "Flawed definition of faith" post, including your definition of faith in the last paragraph.  Except I think you inappropriately hang meaning on the word "in".  There was one rational responder earlier in this thread that dismissed the "belief in" issue extremely well.  Uh... DeathMunkyGod... first post on the second page.

The remainder of the last paragraph is used to give your definition of Atheism. Dictionary.com defines atheism not as lack of belief, but rather "the doctrine or belief that there is no God."  You drive the point home at the end by explaining why Atheists choose to wholeheartedly believe that they are correct in denying that (even a slim possibility of) a supernatural being exists; all of them examples of the "without proof" requirement of faith:

nigelTheBold:
"sometimes due to lack of evidence, sometimes simply because the entire idea of God is just too absurd to believe, sometimes without reason at all."

Anyway, everybody seems to get so upset over this for some reason.  It's just a word, but I guess it's so loaded.  Maybe you're afraid you'll liken yourself to one of those more obscure "Christian" groups that do their really awkward "faith" things and somehow get disproportional attention in the media.  I promise, I'm not going to say, "See! You're one of them!"  My only point, going back to my original post, is that it doesn't make sense to fear "faith".  We all have beliefs that we can't prove.  It's human nature.  I'm not trying to convert anyone or criticize anyone's beliefs or anything like that.  And I'm sorry for Christians who have offended any of you, intentionally or otherwise.  Doing so is obviously wrong.  Your beliefs are yours and mine are mine.  But they all are built upon faith.

- Kory

Hey Conor

Hey Conor,

Thanks for your reply.  I too must apologize for taking so long to reply.  But I'm glad I finally made my way back to the site.

It's been so long that I don't know if I can effectively pick up where we left of on our discussion.

After skimming through some of our posts, I think we were discussing whether or not papal bulls are Sacred Tradition, which they are not.  But I'll reply to your post and get to that...

Conor: "2. Re: the issue of doctrinal decisions."

I don't think I disagree with anything you said here.

Conor: "3. Re: Tradition.  Sorry, but Tradition most certainly *is* the life of the Church."

The Catechism's definition of Tradition can be found here (http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/glossary.htm#t).  It's wordier than I am if you can believe that, so I didn't post it.  I wouldn't summarize it as "the life of the Church", but that's beside the point.  I suppose one might refer to Sacred Tradition as the unwritten word of God or an extension of the Bible, but these definitions aren't perfect as you've stated.  What fascinates me is the thought that, though some things have always been true, there is a specific time in history that God, through the Church, decides to reveal them as infallible.  Some of these truths would have, I suppose, detracted from the message of the Bible, but they're no less true.  My point being, Sacred Scripture has it's purpose, as does Sacred Tradition.

Conor: "4. I  found a quote that I was missing earlier!"

As with the other quote you provided from Providentissimus Deus, I agree with Pope Leo XIII.  I think last time at about this point I contested a statement about all papal writing being infallible.  I didn't intend for it to go too far off topic, but, just to clear things up, here's what  newadvent (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm) has to say:

"It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible. For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions. The merely argumentative and justificatory statements embodied in definitive judgments, however true and authoritative they may be, are not covered by the guarantee of infallibility which attaches to the strictly definitive sentences"

However, I understand that they do carry an imprimatur, which means the Church approves the message as being free from error on matters of Church doctrine and morals.  They can still contain other errors.  ... but, for our discussion, let's assume these specific quotes you have provided were preceded by a statement declaring their infallibility.  I'll also mention that infallibility goes beyond authoritative since I think we were getting hung up there.  ...or maybe just I was... But, as far as I know, an authoritative decision can later be changed...  though that'd be interesting...

Conor: "E. Thus, my remarks in earlier posts to the effect that Catholics are in conscience bound  by their own religious principles to be Fundamentalists, at least in the sense of refusing to admit the existence of *any* error within the Bible.  I also reiterate: I do *not* say that Catholics believe in sola scriptura.  I add further: I recognize that the Catholic Bible is a bit larger, and thus a bit different in its contents, than the Protestant Bible.  My remark about Catholics being obligated in principle to be Fundamentalists is entirely confined to the one issue of rejecting any kind of error in the Bible."

Here I must take a bit of my own medicine.  Just as some Atheists have an issue with the word "faith", so too do some Catholics object to having a "fundamentalist" approach to the Bible because of the common use of the word.  Technically though, by dictionary.com's 3rd definition, yeah.  But just as Atheists don't want to have their faith in Atheism seen as an organized religion, so too should Catholics not be seen as Protestant Fundamentalists, because, as you've pointed out, both examples have their differences.  Eye-wink  So, if you want to call Catholic Biblical understanding as fundamentalist in nature, I'll know what you mean.

Anyway, I foresee an issue with what "*any* error" might include.  Error free doesn't mean each statement must be capable of standing alone in any context.  A comment about a sunset in a poem is error free while a comment about a sunset in a science paper is incorrect.  It doesn't make sense to apply a technical standard to the Bible even if, at times, you can.  But, as I recall, we already agreed it isn't a text book.  It's purpose is to deliver a message.

- Kory

I'm impressed

Hi again Conor,

Conor: "The center of the Christian religion, regardless of Protestant, Catholic, or other variation, is the Paschal Mystery of Christ..."

Twice today I have been impressed by your understanding of the faith.  I think before you may have mentioned that you used to be Catholic.  If I didn't believe it before, I do now.  Eye-wink

Conor: "In short, if Adam and Eve are not somehow historical human beings...Christianity...*all* of Christianity...is fundamentally false at its core."

As I am sure you are well aware, we (Catholics) still believe in original sin.  I think you and I had previously discussed the poetic nature of Genesis.  It seems like you're working this back toward saying it must be taken literally despite this.  Nonetheless, as a poem, I see no problem with applying what Leo XIII wrote to Genesis to arrive at the truths that are being revealed.  Putting it into Leo's sentence:

"[Genesis was] written wholly and entirely, with all [its] parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true."

The Holy Ghost inspired a poem that explains, among other things, man's fall from grace.

I should mention there are Catholics all across the board on the details of these events and they are not out of line provided that, yes, they acknowledge some sort of "Adam & Eve".  I personally suspect there was some form of God-guided evolution.  Other Catholics like a more or a less literal approach.  Who knows!  More importantly, what difference does it make?  I suspect we'll find out when we die and we can say, "Ah, neat!"

One other thought; Imagine you were God and you wanted your creatures to have a basic understanding of how you constructed the Universe.  I wonder how you'd deliver it.  No offense, but my impression is that your book would be HUGE and boring (if comprehensible at all).  Personally, I like His style.  Short and sweet.

- Kory

Hey sanwiches,sandwiches

Hey sanwiches,

sandwiches wrote:
Because the Bible verses are either:

a) Literal. They mean exactly what it's said. In which case there is many a great error in the Bible.

b) Metaphorical or poetic. They mean something other than what the exact meanings of the words are. In which case the Bible is all based on interpretation and no one can know what it truly means.

Either way, using the Bible as base for your beliefs means starting with a very flimsy foundation.

I agree!  Fortunately, Catholics do not rely on the Bible alone.  Instead, the Church is the foundation for the Bible.

sandwiches wrote:
Saying "Genesis is or could be a poem" is interpretation and we really don't know what it was meant to be. And to say that the main point of that chapter is merely to show that God created the universe not necessarily how, not only is completely subjective, but you will find a great amount of people who will disagree with you within Christianity. All that an interpretation would do is show your prior convictions.

Absolutely.  So the question comes down to, who's interpretation do you trust?  (Or others just get frustrated and dismiss the whole thing).

sandwiches wrote:
I think most people want something a little bit more concrete than a poem with completely open interpretations to base their beliefs on.

You're absolutely right.  And the bible talks about this sort of thing in a number of places.  Enter the Church.  The Church provides all the concrete that is necessary.  For the reasons you mention, I won't ever be able to fully understand why anyone would join any Christian faith besides Catholicism.  No other denomination has apostolic succession and the authority to define what the meaning is.  But I suppose even that has somehow become a matter of interpretation.  Eye-wink  However, I don't think things are quite as unclear as you make them sound.  But then, you do have 1000's of "Christian" denominations to prove your point.

I wonder, if God had made things so concrete such that none could deny His existence, would we have any choice whether or not to love Him?  Can love exist without choice?  I dunno...  Instead, it seems we must use intellect to challenge religion until we find something that stands up to reason.  Then I suppose it's a leap of faith...  or maybe a request for faith.

- Kory

sandwiches's picture

Kory

Kory wrote:

You're absolutely right.  And the bible talks about this sort of thing in a number of places.  Enter the Church.  The Church provides all the concrete that is necessary.  For the reasons you mention, I won't ever be able to fully understand why anyone would join any Christian faith besides Catholicism.  No other denomination has apostolic succession and the authority to define what the meaning is.  But I suppose even that has somehow become a matter of interpretation.  Eye-wink  However, I don't think things are quite as unclear as you make them sound.  But then, you do have 1000's of "Christian" denominations to prove your point.

I wonder, if God had made things so concrete such that none could deny His existence, would we have any choice whether or not to love Him?  Can love exist without choice?  I dunno...  Instead, it seems we must use intellect to challenge religion until we find something that stands up to reason.  Then I suppose it's a leap of faith...  or maybe a request for faith.

- Kory

How can the authority and veracity of the Church be verified demonstrably and independently?

 

Is a person's belief or faith diminished if that faith can be tested, demonstrated, and verified empirically or scientifically?

Is the love of father for his child any less strong, valid, or meaningful if he has genetic evidence knowing that that child is his?

This reminds me of the argument I've heard for pain and suffering that basically states that it's all part of a divine plan or that we're being tested.

 

Hey sandwiches,Thanks for

Hey sandwiches,

Thanks for your reply.

sandwiches: "How can the authority and veracity of the Church be verified demonstrably and independently?"

Well, my original reply was in the context of your statement regarding the multitude of interpretations for various parts of the Bible within Christianity.  If your starting from the premise that the bible is just, for better or worse, the most influential book of all time and doesn't hold truth, then I don't suspect you would be able to independently see the authority or veracity of the Church.  But my point was that I agree with your frustration concerning the determination of a concrete idea from the Bible.  It is unfortunate how divided Christianity is since the Bible is quite clear about appointing Peter as the head of His Church on Earth.  Authoritative decisions and succession is also clearly demonstrated.  It would be much easier to debate the inerrancy of the Bible if we had a single source to rely upon for the meaning.

sandwiches: "Is a person's belief or faith diminished if that faith can be tested, demonstrated, and verified empirically or scientifically?"

Belief would probably increase rather than be diminished, but I suppose proof would nullify faith (by definition of faith).  Given that there is no proof, I would still say that faith should be tested and demonstrated.  But, generally, the faithful aren't looking for proof, and using scientific technique isn't typically the method used to test. 

sandwiches: "Is the love of father for his child any less strong, valid, or meaningful if he has genetic evidence knowing that that child is his?"

Well, I think the "father's love" is more analogous to God's love for humanity...  But I also think a child would love his father irrespective of proof of their relationship, so your point is made.  The difference is that there is still a choice to love.  A child can rebel against his father even with that proof, since the child will justify his actions (even if he is objectively wrong).  My question was whether or not a reasonable human is able to rebel against (the Christian) God if he had proof for that relationship (and all that that implies).  To which the answer is absolutely not since doing so is unjustifiable and would be like choosing suicide.  When given the choice to breathe or die, we "choose" to breathe not because, gee whiz, we just love breathing so much, but rather because we have to.  You'd probably say it's not even a choice.  On the other hand, a father has a choice to be a father or not without consequence of death.  It is easier to identify a father as loving if he makes many great sacrifices for his child.  For example, taking responsibility for a child that has been genetically proven to not be his. There is no logic for sacrifice except to account for it as an act of love.  It is the choice to sacrifice that reveals genuine love.  Choice gives us the ability to Love.  Without proof of God's existence, we are able to choose to exercise genuine love for Him. What, then, is God's motive to prove His existence and how could we benefit?

sandwiches: "This reminds me of the argument I've heard for pain and suffering that basically states that it's all part of a divine plan or that we're being tested."

Naw...  I don't know that I entirely agree with that argument, if at all.  As you may know, Catholic theology teaches suffering is a result of sin.  Not on an individual basis like karma, but rather, since sin exists in this world (for which we are all responsible), there is pain.  I suspect God allows suffering because all suffering is an opportunity to better understand love.  To explain... When my brother died, my family witnessed the pain of loss in each other.  I think my mom, who, since before I was born, has been atheist, couldn't understand how a loving God would allow such a thing to happen.  Ironically, since, at 6 years old, I recognized her grief and frustration more than anyone else's in my family, it was the obviousness of her love for my brother that impressed upon me the power of love.  I say ironically, because this understanding of love was key in the development of my faith.  Sure, my father was the one who took me to Church, but my mother's suffering is what gave it meaning.  Anyway, I don't think I'm a masochist Eye-wink, but I do believe the old adage that, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger."  I have come to see how pain reminds us that we are all reliant on one another, and most of all, upon God (even if we don't always recognize it).  I think God allows suffering because, maybe... just maybe, when we are in our greatest suffering we will, at least for a moment, reject sin, the cause of pain, and turn to Him, the source of mercy.

- Kory

Kory, we seem to have an issue about the literalness of Genesis

While I stand by my comment that a principled Catholic practically speaking, *should* be like a Fundamentalist in regard to the literalness of the first few chapters of Genesis, (out of obedience to the Popes, who traditionally have had few to no doubts about the accuracy of Genesis *as* *history,*) I would like to entertain, for a moment, your idea that the first couple of chapters of Genesis are *not* to be taken literally.

 

Suppose that Genesis is indeed poetry, not history.  Have you given any thought as to the impact of that upon your beliefs?  If Genesis, chapters 1 through 3 are *not* literal, then you could say, of your own religion, that:

     The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus, who is God the Son, who died to

     bring you salvation from original sin....

          ...which is not a real sin, in any fashion, but is only a poetic sin...

          ...committed by a nonliteral couple...

          ...in a mythical garden.

 

Think, Kory; if the original sin from which Christ saves us is only a "poetic sin," (...whatever that is supposed to mean...) and in any event, is not a real, literal event at the dawn of humanity...then what, exactly, did Christ save us from?  Is the Sacrament of Baptism...more poetry?  Is Christ Himself a metaphor?  In order to claim that the Catholic religion is *true,* doesn't there need to be some sort of connection to reality?  Don't you see that the claim that Genesis is not to be taken literally damages the Catholic religion *at* *its* *very* *core?*  And all this is without taking into account the special authority of the Popes, who are believed by Catholics to have received this authority from Christ Himself--not to mention the special protection of the Holy Spirit which is supposed to prevent the Popes from teaching error.  If Genesis is not to be taken literally, then quite a  number of Popes were teaching error.  Forgive my bluntness, but was the Holy Spirit on vacation, then?  Why did the Holy Spirit wait until the modern era to inform His Church that Genesis was not literal?  And why did He wait until *after* science had demonstrated that a literal interpretation was not possible to reconcile with the evidence which the planet itself has furnished?  Can't you see that this looks a whole lot less like the "divine protection of the Church from error" and a whole lot more like a fast shuffle, done in order to pretend that an otherwise honest mistake was really an infallible truth of God all along?  And since the past Popes may be ignored on their teachings about Genesis, may the current one be ignored on, oh, say...sexual morality?  I understand clearly the distinction between infallible and noninfallible; I do not think that *you* understand the irrelevance of such a distinction, given that the Popes demand both belief and obedience--please read this carefully--even when they are not speaking "infallibly."

So, to summarize;

1. The Popes *have* taught that the events in Genesis occurred more or less

     as described.

2. No Pope's teaching is to be ignored or disregarded.  This is true whether or not

     the Pope in question is speaking infallibly.

3. Reducing Genesis not only does not solve the problem; it creats new problems.

     Under a Genesis-is-not-literal understanding, Jesus died for nothing.

 

Conor

____________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

 

Truths within poetry

Hey Conor,

Thanks for your reply.  I think you've seriously misunderstood me on a number of issues.  Most notably, it seems you have inferred that I believe poetry restricts all truth.  I'll go backwards through your post:

Conor: "3. Reducing Genesis not only does not solve the problem; it creates new problems.  Under a Genesis-is-not-literal understanding, Jesus died for nothing."

I don't see how I've "reduced" Genesis in anything I've written.   I have certainly not said, nor even implied (IMHO), that Jesus died for nothing.  There is, undeniably, original sin, and I think Genesis delivers this message very well.  Please let me know what I wrote that indicated I didn't believe in original sin so I don't confuse anyone in future posts.

Conor: "2. No Pope's teaching is to be ignored or disregarded.  This is true whether or not the Pope in question is speaking infallibly."

As I've stated before, I don't disagree that a "teaching" is not to be ignored or disregarded.  I only argued the difference between infallibility and other teaching.  Many critics misunderstand that some teachings can change.  As for the teachings we've discussed, while I'm not sure if they were delivered with the weight of infallibility, once again I state, for our discussion it is irrelevant since I entirely agree with their statements that you've cited.  If I go back on agreeing with those statements, you've got me!

Conor: "1. The Popes *have* taught that the events in Genesis occurred more or less as described."

I'd say perhaps even more than "more or less", but sure.

Conor: [long paragraph following presumptions of original sin not existing, then branching into papal infallibility.]

I agree it would be a grave error to eliminate original sin.  As for the remainder about the Holy Spirit being on vacation or whatever; bluntness forgiven, but certainly you know divine guidance is reserved specifically for infallible teaching.  That's what makes infallible teaching so special.  I wonder why you'd try to relate it to other actions of the pope.  Further, the Church certainly hasn't waited until the modern era to acknowledge allegory in the Bible (see writings of St. Augustine http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Bible-Science/PSCF3-88Young.html). I think, given your understanding of the Church, you are even more out of line to suggest God "waited" to reveal something that isn't even a matter of theology.  Certainly you must be aware that the popes do not, and have not ever, infallibly taught science.  You then use this confusion to invent scandal by suggesting sloppy cover-ups and invalid teachings.

Conor: "I would like to entertain, for a moment, your idea that the first couple of chapters of Genesis are *not* to be taken literally."

To clarify, I have said that a Catholic is within bounds to take Genesis "literally" to the point of the 6-Earth-day creation of the Universe.  I have also said one is within bounds to apply evolution and the big bang to Genesis as long as they acknowledge God as the creator and guide behind it.  I fall more towards the later, but both, it seems, cannot be simultaneously correct.  My "idea" of Genesis may or may not be correct, but whether or not it is correct is insignificant beyond what I can express in writing.  A person's idea of one or the other is purely a matter of interest and has no impact on their individual (spiritual) existence.  Likewise, the Church has, and will not, adopt either position; it is not the role of the Church to do so.  Good thing too, because popular opinions in Science change all the time.  It is naive to think all our modern theories are dead on.  It is much more reasonable to expect many theories to drastically change within our generation.  The planet will continue to furnish evidence that surprises us, and, as a rational thinker, you must know this well.  The Church sticks to its theological teachings, which have remained constant.  If scientific evidence surfaces to make a 6-day creation "undeniable" amongst scientists, my opinion would likely change as well, but my Catholic faith will be completely unaffected by the issue.

The Church understands, and teaches from the context, that Genesis provides the truth necessary to deliver His message for the sake of our spiritual well being, not for the sake of beefing up our science archives.

- Kory

sandwiches's picture

One question.

I think we're going around in circle but I have one question:

Do you believe that 100% of the Bible is literal truth?

Kory wrote:DeathMonkeyGod:

Kory wrote:

DeathMonkeyGod: "Correct, however ['faith in God'] requires an implicit assumption of their own correctness, which is never justified with any unequivocal, objective and externally verifiable evidence. This isn't to say that they are wrong. But it does mean it is valid for one to question its accuracy."

That's a very specific kind of evidence. Those with "internal" evidence do indeed assume God exists. But sure, people are certainly welcome to question their accuracy.

 

"internal" evidence, a.k.a. subjective evidence is a true oxymoron.  There is no such thing and the two concepts contradict each other to the point of being irreconcileable.  Basically of COURSE I will be able to construct an argument that is good enough to prove something true to myself only.  But it's worthless as evidence of anything at all if it is not good enough to prove that same thing to everyone else.

 

To be extra clear, subjective evidence is any evidence that is good enough to prove or strongly suggest something to the subject, a.k.a. the person deriving, seeking, or interpreting the evidence, or evidence that is asserted to be good enough to prove something to a specific subject.  There's a reason why I require such a specific kind of evidence.  It's the only kind of evidence that's worth anything.  If the evidence is not unequivocal then it could be used to support more than one conclusion, how do you choose which it supports?  If the evidence is not objective then how do you know it's any good for proving something to someone else?  How do you even know that the conclusions we draw from subjective evidence is true?  It could just be compelling enough to convince us since we don't know everything, it becomes an argument from ignorance.  If the evidence is not externally verifiable then how do you prove that it wasn't your own mind playing tricks?  With evidence that is unequivocal we eliminate the need to determine what conclusion out of the set of conclusions the evidence supports the evidence actually supports, we just know.  With evidence that is objective we don't have to worry about the circumstances within the life of the person to whom it is presented, the facts themselves should be sufficient to make the point rather than a persons circumstances or mental and or emotional state.  With evidence that is externally verifiable we can be certain that what we remember is in fact the truth, and not just us misunderstanding something, misremembering something, or even just halucinating something.  (FYI visual halucinations can and do happen to healthy people, it's rare, but it happens.  Auditory halucinations are much more common, it's almost a certainty that every healthy person will experience at least one auditory halucination in their life time.  Halucinations can be induced by exhaustion or stress just to name two possible causes.).

But here is the thing.

But heres the thing,

Eddison who is one of the greatest inventors  and minds in history once said that we know a millionth of a percentage of all that is to be known, of all knowledge. In fact we think we know a lot but in reality humanity, in all its infinite wisdom, has made a complete and utter hash of everything its tried to work out and put its hands to. We have no idea how to sustain a planet, how to live and love amongst one another or even run an economy. We've done it our own way, thought we had the answers and made a mess. So when i read this guy boasting and bragging how he got one over a Pastor, we see this same process all over again. A simple, proud and not very wise human being who thinks he has the answers to everything whose own life deep down is probably a bit of a mess and in need of divine help or a saviour. So when he in his infinite wisdom and understanding of things decalres there cannot be a God please take it with a pinch of salt. All this man has done is used a not very intelligent play of words to get one over another human being.

 

What about with Mormons

I love the finesse of this, but how does one a Mormon who doesn't have "faith" his religion is true, but states unequivocably, "I know my church is true"? I can lay out 50 ways the founder of this church lied, but it doesn't do a thing to change their mind. They've prayed about it. The Holy Whatsit has witnessed to them it's true. End of argument and all reason because their invisible friend told them their church was true. Help?

Xian "logic" is toast, whether thay take the bait or not.

What makes your "faith" a more valid argument than faith of those that claim Elvis is alive?

You have just taken the bait of your own irrational thinking and willingly bit yourself in the a** at the same time.  Priceless.

Sapient's picture

Vlad wrote:What makes your

Vlad wrote:

What makes your "faith" a more valid argument than faith of those that claim Elvis is alive?

You have just taken the bait of your own irrational thinking and willingly bit yourself in the a** at the same time.  Priceless.

Knock Knock, Mcfly, are you in there?

His "faith" argument was designed to be purposefully weak, so that it could be exposed as such.  But if you didn't get it, there's no way you're going to get what I just said.  I'm surprised you are able to use a computer.

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

Wow. I was laughing, and am

Wow. I was laughing, and am quite impressed. =)

 

I'm also... amazed about the Christian (or person of other faith) trying to argue against the "faith" put forth by the author of this story. The point (um, which I'm sure most of you got) wasn't that he has FAITH that Christianity is not true. His point was that faith is not valid justification for the truth of something. He used their terminology/reasoning against them, mainly because faith is universally applicable.

wasting lives?

As long a christianity/{insert religion here} makes room in the world for wars, childhood indoctrination, racism, chauvenism (against women and homosexuals), child abuse, ignorance, intolerance, obstruction to the scientific progress of the species, and so on, it wll be necessary to keep pressing the rationality argument. The sooner the religious accept that religion (based on fairytales and lies) has no right to determine the progress of man, the sooner we can bridge the gap between societies and work together towards a more sustainable and happier future.