Ktulu and rogersherrer debate

Ktulu
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Ktulu and rogersherrer debate

Hello rogersherrer

No rush on this, I will let you choose the topic, and go first.  If you want to set any rules let me know. 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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 I know some might not see

 I know some might not see a difference, but I would rather call this a "discussion" than a debate. Having read through a lot of the topics in the debate forum and then some in this one, a discussion seems less competitive and gets to the point easier and quicker. McGrath vs. Dawkins is a perfect example of a theist vs. atheist discussion that I thoroughly enjoyed over a debate or argument. If this is fine with you, I'd like to start it off asap. As for the topic, I think the existence of God is vague enough to hit some great points on many different aspects. If that doesn't work with you, we could also do morality or another topic branching off of a believe in a higher power, it's up to you man.

"Part of the broader task of Christian scholarship is to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women."
-~William Lane Craig~-


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I don't think you can have

I don't think you can have an orthodox debate regarding such a vague and extensive subject.  A discussion is much better suited to cover that.  A short introduction.  I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist, I'm an atheist because god doesn't exist.  I'm an agnostic only because I consider myself open minded enough to realize that a strong atheistic approach would be making as many assumptions as any theistic approach.  My background is in IT and telecom, everything I know regarding theology and philosophy is self taught.  I value intellectual honesty, truth and rationality, and I don't believe in an objective moral frame of reference.  Growing up in Eastern Europe during the Iron Curtain, religion was not a strong presence, I have gone through various stages of belief in spite of that and as I was attempting to answer philosophical questions, just general naval gazing.  

Enough about "I" Smiling let's have a few words about yourself. 

Edit: after re-reading my introductions, I haven't seen that many "I"s since Argus.  Poor form apologize for, me. 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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 haha, that's quite

 haha, that's quite alright. 

 

From birth I was always forced to go to our local Southern Baptist Church, every Sunday morning and Wednesday night my mom would dress me up and run me into the car for the two times in the week that I could not stand. The idea of a God or higher power made perfect sense to me growing up, but not the kind that was being forced down my throat. From a very young age I always called myself an atheist, but not necessarily because I doubted and more so because I despised going to Church and I loved George Carlin stand-ups. Finally at about 6th grade, my mom stopped making me go so I could "make my own decisions". Throughout junior high and high school, I loved pronouncing my non-belief in a town that was so full of religion. I used to call up local Pastors and eat dinner with them just so I could tell them they were wrong, I was extremely dogmatic in my beliefs (or lack thereof). My sophomore year in high school I started going to the morning FCA meetings so I could start arguments and hopefully make some of them believe the way I did. I seemed to be the community atheist, and I loved having the identity of going against the entire town so I could ridicule the idea of a higher power. That all changed at the beginning of my junior year in high school. I started meeting with a local pastor at a baptist church for the same reasons I had met the others: for the sake of arguing and to seem intellectual. We would meet about twice a week, usually for dinner and sometimes over a movie to share our beliefs and "strengthen both of our faith" as he used to call it. Throughout all of this, he was a good friend of mine surprisingly enough to me, but I would have never thought we would have ever agreed on the issue that brought us together. That all changed on an early November morning, where I felt everything come crashing down in my life. The night before my girlfriend of 8 months had broken up with me after professing that she cheated on me after prom, and I was grieving the death of one of my best friends Perry who passed at 17 (8 days before his 18th birthday) due to alcohol poisoning. Perry was always a devout Christian, but was sucked into peer pressure and died very early. I specifically remember that morning waking up after hours of crying my eyes out on my floor and asking myself, "why me?". After going through my closet to find a shirt, I found my bible in the middle of my closet floor from where I had set it down a few nights before. I decided to pick it up and read, wherever the first place I turned to. The sermon on the Mount is where I found myself reading, and it seemed to give me a comfort I had never felt before. That morning I decided to go to the pastor whom I had been visiting's Church and listen in. Even though I was borderline suicidal throughout the worst few weeks of my life, I decided to sit in the back and just listen. For the first time since 2nd grade, I was giving the Christian message an open mind. At around 11:30, I sat there as a confused high schooler and asked the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart. After that sermon, everything that had been killing me felt relieved from my heart. With a Christian faith, I felt that my friend Perry was in a better place because of the life he lived believing in the Lord, and that the girl who had cheated on me was just another girl to me. This might seem silly to everybody on this forum, but it comforted me enough to move on and live my life. Whether or not you want to believe that it was a mass delusion is entirely up to you, but I was confident that the rush I had was not a coincidence or psychological. After that day, I found myself living a much better life as a Christian. I started volunteering, my behavior was immediately improved, and I got involved with the Church that had helped me out so much. After I converted, I found that my life was so much better mentally, socially, and obviously spiritually. 

 

This is my story on how I found the Lord. It may seem silly to you obviously, but it's my conversion and to me is as real as the keyboard I'm typing on right now. Do you have any questions Ktulu? I have some for you that I'd like to ask afterwords. 

"Part of the broader task of Christian scholarship is to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women."
-~William Lane Craig~-


Ktulu
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Your story is very personal,

Your story is very personal, and I I will take the honesty of it at face value.  Thank you for sharing it with me, and I'm sorry to hear about your friend.  One of the things I would like to point out is the way you reason your previous atheistic experience.  I'm going to paraphrase but I believe that you had taken an atheistic stance without thoroughly reasoning your position.  You imply that as an atheist you believed yourself more intellectual, and you wanted others to believe as you have.  The reality is much more banal, and the intellectual quality of my belief is not equated in intelligence, I would say it's a matter of awareness.

The way I would describe my current position is such.  Imagine you notice a group of people gathered at a street corner watching a man doing the pea and three cups trick.  You stand on the sideline and notice that there is a hole in the table where the pea disappears and the whole scam becomes obvious.  I feel as though I am that guy, I don't feel more intelligent than the other members of the crowd, I am just more aware.  I want to let them know that they are wasting their money and time, that they cannot win.  I see religion as just one other irrationality on par with porn stars against vaccinations, homeopathy and the like.  I can see why people would want to believe, but the arguments feel like nails on the blackboard against my rational.  

I have had lows in my life also, I have come out of those without any help from a higher power.  

Shoot with the questions Smiling

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


rogersherrer
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Ktulu wrote:Your story is

Ktulu wrote:

Your story is very personal, and I I will take the honesty of it at face value.  Thank you for sharing it with me, and I'm sorry to hear about your friend.  One of the things I would like to point out is the way you reason your previous atheistic experience.  I'm going to paraphrase but I believe that you had taken an atheistic stance without thoroughly reasoning your position.  You imply that as an atheist you believed yourself more intellectual, and you wanted others to believe as you have.  The reality is much more banal, and the intellectual quality of my belief is not equated in intelligence, I would say it's a matter of awareness.

The way I would describe my current position is such.  Imagine you notice a group of people gathered at a street corner watching a man doing the pea and three cups trick.  You stand on the sideline and notice that there is a hole in the table where the pea disappears and the whole scam becomes obvious.  I feel as though I am that guy, I don't feel more intelligent than the other members of the crowd, I am just more aware.  I want to let them know that they are wasting their money and time, that they cannot win.  I see religion as just one other irrationality on par with porn stars against vaccinations, homeopathy and the like.  I can see why people would want to believe, but the arguments feel like nails on the blackboard against my rational.  

I have had lows in my life also, I have come out of those without any help from a higher power.  

Shoot with the questions Smiling

 

Thank you very much for taking it at face value, it means a lot. As for your pointing out of me being an atheist earlier on, you pretty much hit the nail right on the head. I called myself an atheist not necessarily because I seriously doubted a God, but because the arguments sounded better to me. When it came down to it, I finally realized that the idea of God made so much more sense to me. I fell for the stereotype that atheists are smarter than Christians, and I wanted to be the guy to show that in my town where atheists were about as common as aliens. 

 

Your reasons for atheism make much more sense than mine did, and I understand where you are coming from. Some questions I have are:

 

-Is there anything that could convince you or convert you? What would you have to see to believe? 

-Do you believe that the absence of evidence is always the evidence of absence?

-have you always been an atheist? If not, can you please explain? What has atheism offered you in your life and do you think it has improved it any?

-If everything completely passes out of existence after death, what meaning do you find in life? I'm not arguing yet that atheism makes life meaningless, just curious to hear your interpretation.

-Please give me your opinion on Jesus Christ, regardless if you think he was not the son of God. Do you think he existed? If so, would you consider him a lunatic, a good person, or simply a carpenter that talked a lot?

     I await your answers, as I have many other questions to continue on the discussion. If you have any for me, regardless of what they are, please feel free to ask. Questions really fuel a great discussion in my opinion, I'm excited to get it going!

"Part of the broader task of Christian scholarship is to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women."
-~William Lane Craig~-


Ktulu
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rogersherrer wrote:Your

rogersherrer wrote:

Your reasons for atheism make much more sense than mine did, and I understand where you are coming from. Some questions I have are:

 

-Is there anything that could convince you or convert you? What would you have to see to believe? 

-Do you believe that the absence of evidence is always the evidence of absence?

-have you always been an atheist? If not, can you please explain? What has atheism offered you in your life and do you think it has improved it any?

-If everything completely passes out of existence after death, what meaning do you find in life? I'm not arguing yet that atheism makes life meaningless, just curious to hear your interpretation.

-Please give me your opinion on Jesus Christ, regardless if you think he was not the son of God. Do you think he existed? If so, would you consider him a lunatic, a good person, or simply a carpenter that talked a lot?

     I await your answers, as I have many other questions to continue on the discussion. If you have any for me, regardless of what they are, please feel free to ask. Questions really fuel a great discussion in my opinion, I'm excited to get it going!

Loaded questions Smiling.  I will try to answer short and to the point, if you need elaboration I'll be more than happy to provide it.  

- Conversion to an Abrahamic religion has such a low probability of happening as to be non existent.  The reasons are many but I will cite the numerous interpretations of the deity derived from the old testament as the primary one.  In order for me to be convinced, I would have to experience something outside the realms of physics, and even that would just convince me of a currently unexplained phenomena.  Perhaps a powerful personal experience may potentially turn me into a deist. 

- Not necessarily, and definitely not always, but in most cases it is indeed evidence of absence.  Also extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.  

- I was born an atheist, along with everyone else on the planet.  At an early age I was an atheist because the society I grew up in promoted that sort of thinking, but I have gone through various stages of belief.  I read the bible out of curiosity quite early and found it very boring, as well as very irrational.  I had read Greek mythology a year before, so to me it was just another mythology, though one not quite as "cool".  Eventually I started reading philosophy and I remember being blown away by the Cosmological argument and Zeno's paradox in particular.  It really had me thinking, along with my maturing personality, I started developing a deistic explanation.  A sort of God of the Gaps if you will.  It had taken many forms, I've read the bible again in English when I was 15.  I had gone through a period of pseudo-Christianity, and emotional appeal Christianity, but I was never convinced in the back of my mind so to speak.  I was just sort of trying it on for size, if that makes sense.  Going with it to see if I see the light or whatever.  As I've started reading more physics and science in general, the gaps started to get smaller and smaller.  I have searched for any sign of supernatural and found none.  The best I could come up with for the longest time was Agnosticism.  Up until a few years back I have considered myself an agnostic.  Upon examining my position further, I realized that I don't believe in any current religions, so I must be an Atheist.  And here I stand an Agnostic Atheist.  Smiling

-I'll give you the Jesus thing because the meaning of life thing is very loaded.  I believe the biblical Jesus did not exist.  The story of Jesus is based upon real individuals as well as prior myths.  There must have been at least a handful of such "teachers" walking around near the last decades BC and first decades AD.  Perhaps there was a more prominent Jesus though I don't really think he's relevant except to Christianity, he doesn't answer any questions for me personally.  I guess you can take some good from his teachings, but you can take some good from Cat in the Hat too if you look hard enough.  

-Ah, the meaning of life Smiling 42.  Here is how I see it.  As humans, our subjective interpretation of what constitutes a successful goal achievement, is in constant flux.  By that I mean, the actual process of achievement of such a goal is the actual active engagement, where as the goal is the passively inert.  Life is composed of various degrees of engagement.  Be it emotional, physical, intellectual and so on.  Basically the meaning of life is to engage the environment.  I derive two pet theories from that.

Firstly, a pseudo-taoistic approach for the everyday life.  Since life is engagement, in my opinion, in order to live fully, you have to be engaged fully, or focused fully upon what you do.  For example, if I water the plants, I try to clear my mind of everything else, and do it properly.  When I play with my kids, I leave all else behind and focus fully on that.  ( I have three very young kids, 4 year old and 2 and a half year old twins).  Ultimately in my job, I feel most satisfied when I'm in "the zone", and I get there almost every day.  Where the "craft" just flows naturally.  I mean this in a completely naturalistic way, no supernatural involved. 

Secondly, the environment, or the universe in this case, I imagine it to be as the a two dimensional water surface.  Initially it had a value of zero, perfectly flat.  Everything myself and everyone else does, changes that value, negatively or positively.  Think of it as ripples from a rock hitting the water.  The ripples intersect and sometimes cancel out, sometimes amplify.  In a way our actions are immortal, because the value is changed, future values will be dependent on how we influence it RIGHT NOW.  Even after you die, your body continues to influence the earth you are buried in, or energy released in your cremation.  Your influence on people while you are alive, will dictate to some degree how they engage the environment(universe), even after your passing.  If your influence was strong enough, their actions will carry echoes of your actions even after they in turn have passed.  Just think of the person that invented the wheel.  His/her  actions are causing ripples in this theoretical universe that are amplified by everyone using wheels.

I'll leave it here for the sake of coherency.  I'll ask a few questions in the next post.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ok, I have ranted a bit in

Ok, I have ranted a bit in my previous post, it was getting late and I was falling asleep, make of it what you will.  I have a few questions for you.

Epistemologically, what is your view on reality?

What is your view on science in general and evolution in particular?

What would it take for you to de-convert? 

Why are you a Christian in particular, aside from you having been born in a Christian nation?

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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 haha, rants are perfectly

 haha, rants are perfectly fine, I'll respond to some of those key points soon. One thing I would also like to point out is that if I don't respond right away, please don't think that I've forgotten or have quit. I have a lot on my plate these next few weeks but will always get to this thread eventually, it's number one on my favorites list. Now to your questions:

For your first question can you please be a little more specific on what you mean? I know epistemology to be the philosophical branch of knowledge, so are you asking precisely what my view is of reality? Just trying to make sure I get every detail before giving an answer.

My view on science in general is that it is one of the most important things us humans have in life, it's a fascinating thing that gives us answers to things that we would have never expected to find out about in the past. I think religion and science can go hand in hand and shouldn't be looked at as foes or topics that contradict each other. Science can both falsify or verify claims of religion. When religions make claims about the natural world, they intersect the domain of science and are, in effect, making predictions which scientific investigation can either verify or falsify. There are plenty examples for each, and I can share them if necessary. Folks who think that science and religion are mutually irrelevant need to realize that the cat is already out of the bag; and I daresay there’s little prospect of stuffing it back in. Science and religion have discovered that they have important mutual interests and important contributions to make to each other, and those who don’t like this can choose not to participate in the dialogue, but that’s not going to shut down the dialogue or show it to be meaningless. With that said, I believe that science can't answer everything and shouldn't be looked at as infallible or that it debunks religion. Science encounters metaphysical problems which religions can help to solve. Science has an insatiable thirst for explanation.  But eventually, science reaches the limits of its explanatory ability. For example, in explaining why various things in the universe exist, science ultimately confronts the question of why the universe itself exists. Even if space time is beginning-less and endless, we may still ask why it exists. Here theology can help. Traditional theists conceive of God as a necessary being whose non-existence is impossible, who is the Creator of the contingent world of space and time. Thus, the person who believes in God has the resources to slake science’s thirst for ultimate explanation. I believe both my faith and science to be necessary and relevant in my life, I certainly don't think science is totally mutual to atheism.

As for my views on evolution, it has changed throughout the years. As a teen I believed it to be the obvious answer, but mainly because A it seemed to fit more with my atheistic views and B it was what we learned in class. After converting I became a bit more agnostic on the idea, not throwing it out but certainly not saying it was true. After studying it enough and reading, I would consider myself a theistic evolutionist. Like science in general, believing in evolution certainly does not take away the chance of a God, and in my opinion only raises the chances.

I'm a Christian over others because that was the "religion" that helped me through my troubles, it was definitely the most relevant to me. It was the Bible that saved my life if you will and it made the most sense to me. I've studied other religions a lot throughout high school and college, my uncle converted to Islam right before I converted to Christianity and my best friend was a Mormon. From reading scripture and from my experiences personally, I would say that Christianity was the best answer for my life in a time where answers seemed nonexistent. Through time and wisdom, I realize that Christ makes more and more sense each day. In the words of CS Lewis, I believe in Christianity like I believe in the sun, not necessarily because I can see it, but because by it I see everything. 

I'll respond to your post before the questions ASAP, and please feel free to follow up with questioning. 

"Part of the broader task of Christian scholarship is to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women."
-~William Lane Craig~-


Ktulu
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I'm sorry for being so

I'm sorry for being so vague, I meant how do you believe we perceive reality?  Or knowledge in general.  For example I believe that all knowledge is fundamentally empirical.  

I'm not sure I agree with you regarding science and religion.  I don't mean this as an atheist necessarily.  By science I implied the contemporary definition of science as naturalistic and physical.  Put simply, science is a testable and falsifiable system used to describe the physical and natural world.  Religion is an un-testable, un-falsifiable doctrine used to describe the physical and natural world.  I'm not sure where the two complement or relate at any point.  

Here's where I think we disagree

RS wrote:

Science and religion have discovered that they have important mutual interests and important contributions to make to each other, and those who don’t like this can choose not to participate in the dialogue, but that’s not going to shut down the dialogue or show it to be meaningless. With that said, I believe that science can't answer everything and shouldn't be looked at as infallible or that it debunks religion. Science encounters metaphysical problems which religions can help to solve. Science has an insatiable thirst for explanation.  But eventually, science reaches the limits of its explanatory ability. For example, in explaining why various things in the universe exist, science ultimately confronts the question of why the universe itself exists. Even if space time is beginning-less and endless, we may still ask why it exists. Here theology can help.

I think you are personifying both science and religion.  I'm going to have to ask you to elaborate on the mutual interests. I would love to participate in a such a dialogue, and like/dislike are completely irrelevant.  I'm not sure what you mean by infallible, it is simply the best explanation we currently have, and it is not complete.  The intellectual honest thing to do is to confirm ignorance when faced with an unknown.  Also science doesn't encounter metaphysical problems, science only deals with physical concepts, something beyond physical or beyond natural is a meaningless concept that lacks definition.  You need to clearly define such a concept.  Again you're personifying science as having a thirst for explanation, it is in fact the explanation.  Science doesn't reach the limit of explanatory ability, it reaches the limit of observatory ability.  That last question has nothing to do with science, it is a stickily a philosophical question.

 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Saying that everyone's born an atheist suggests that everyone st

 Sorry it's taken a few days, I hope my tardiness doesn't become repetitive! 

Quote:
I was born an atheist, along with everyone else on the planet.  At an early age I was an atheist because the society I grew up in promoted that sort of thinking, but I have gone through various stages of belief.  I read the bible out of curiosity quite early and found it very boring, as well as very irrational.  I had read Greek mythology a year before, so to me it was just another mythology, though one not quite as "cool".  Eventually I started reading philosophy and I remember being blown away by the Cosmological argument and Zeno's paradox in particular.  It really had me thinking, along with my maturing personality, I started developing a deistic explanation.  A sort of God of the Gaps if you will.  It had taken many forms, I've read the bible again in English when I was 15.  I had gone through a period of pseudo-Christianity, and emotional appeal Christianity, but I was never convinced in the back of my mind so to speak.  I was just sort of trying it on for size, if that makes sense.  Going with it to see if I see the light or whatever.  As I've started reading more physics and science in general, the gaps started to get smaller and smaller.  I have searched for any sign of supernatural and found none.  The best I could come up with for the longest time was Agnosticism.  Up until a few years back I have considered myself an agnostic.  Upon examining my position further, I realized that I don't believe in any current religions, so I must be an Atheist.  And here I stand an Agnostic Atheist.
Saying that Saying you were born an atheist suggests that you started out with the concept of what a God is, and believed that He didn't exist. That's patently silly. "No-one is born a theist" would be less so, though. I hear that statement a lot from non-believers that I was "born as an atheist", if that's the case I was also atheistic to almost everything else in life. Just because we don't have knowledge of God, or germs, or laws, does not mean we deny them does it? Children are born without the knowledge of there being a God. They do not judge that there is categorically no God, as atheism does, nor do they have the capability to know whether or not there is a God. At best, you were born agnostic, but you are not born thinking God does not exist.

Quote:
I'll give you the Jesus thing because the meaning of life thing is very loaded.  I believe the biblical Jesus did not exist.  The story of Jesus is based upon real individuals as well as prior myths.  There must have been at least a handful of such "teachers" walking around near the last decades BC and first decades AD.  Perhaps there was a more prominent Jesus though I don't really think he's relevant except to Christianity, he doesn't answer any questions for me personally.  I guess you can take some good from his teachings, but you can take some good from Cat in the Hat too if you look hard enough.

The historical person Jesus of Nazareth was an amazing individual. New Testament critics have reached something of a consensus that the historical Jesus came on the scene with an unprecedented sense of divine authority, the authority to stand and speak in God's place. That's why the Jewish leadership instigated his crucifixion for the charge of blasphemy. He claimed that in himself the Kingdom of God had come, and as visible demonstrations of this fact he carried out a ministry of miracles and exorcisms. But the supreme confirmation of his claim was his resurrection from the dead. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then it would seem that we have a divine miracle on our hands and, thus, evidence for the existence of God. Like CS Lewis said, you either thought Jesus Christ was a complete nutcase or the son of God, there's nothing between those two that can plausibly be predicted if you agree that Jesus existed. 

Now most people would probably think that the resurrection of Jesus is something you just accept on faith or not. But there are actually three established facts, recognized by the majority of New Testament historians today, which I believe are best explained by the resurrection of Jesus: His empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances and the origin of the disciples' belief in his resurrection. Let's look briefly at each one of these. I first heard these in a William Lane Craig debate awhile back, I can't remember which one it was specifically. I don't want to get into arguing Christ as much as I would a creator, but I thought it fit your post perfectly. Here it is:

Fact #1: Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers on Sunday morning.According to Jacob Kremer, an Austrian scholar who has specialized in the study of the resurrection, "by far most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb." According to D. H. Van Daalen, it is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions. 

Fact #2: On separate occasions different individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. According to Gerd Lüdemann, a prominent German New Testament critic, "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus' death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ." These appearances were witnessed not only by believers, but also by unbelievers, skeptics, and even enemies. 

Fact #3: The original disciples suddenly came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus despite having every predisposition to the contrary. Think of the situation the disciples faced following Jesus' crucifixion:

      1. Their leader was dead, and Jewish Messianic expectations included no idea of a Messiah who, instead of triumphing over Israel's enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal.

      2. Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone's rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.

Nevertheless, the original disciples suddenly came to believe so strongly that God had raised Jesus from the dead that they were willing to die for the truth of that belief. Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University, states, "Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was." N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, "That is why, as an historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him." 

Attempts to explain away these three great facts—like the disciples stole the body or Jesus wasn't really dead—have been universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. The simple fact is that there just is no plausible, naturalistic explanation of these facts. Therefore, it seems to me, the Christian is amply justified in believing that Jesus rose from the dead and was who he claimed to be.  But that entails that God exists. 

Quote:
I'm sorry for being so vague, I meant how do you believe we perceive reality?  Or knowledge in general.  For example I believe that all knowledge is fundamentally empirical.

Reality seems to be a projection to a lot of people, it is as real as any other projection can be. Reality to me is truth, God is truth so therefore to me, God is reality. The creation of God is built around certain truths, laws, or principles. Those truths define the creation and the way it truly operates. Human opinions do not change the reality of the way things operate. Human logic, or human reasoning, may explain things in a completely different way than the Bible, but human logic does not establish reality, it simply attempts to explain it. This is my interpretation on it, I know yours is completely different obviously. The Bible says we are to walk by faith, not by sight. Living by God's truth will change what we see, but living by what we see will not change God's truth. Perhaps discussing faith will dig down further, I would love to talk about it!

Quote:
I think you are personifying both science and religion.  I'm going to have to ask you to elaborate on the mutual interests. I would love to participate in a such a dialogue, and like/dislike are completely irrelevant.  I'm not sure what you mean by infallible, it is simply the best explanation we currently have, and it is not complete.  The intellectual honest thing to do is to confirm ignorance when faced with an unknown.  Also science doesn't encounter metaphysical problems, science only deals with physical concepts, something beyond physical or beyond natural is a meaningless concept that lacks definition.  You need to clearly define such a concept.  Again you're personifying science as having a thirst for explanation, it is in fact the explanation.  Science doesn't reach the limit of explanatory ability, it reaches the limit of observatory ability.  That last question has nothing to do with science, it is a stickily a philosophical question.

When I say science and religion have mutual interests, I simply mean I believe they both strive to answer similar questions. Science is knowledge, and Christianity seeks out to answer questions knowledge cannot answer. When I say science isn't infallible, I'm saying that it should not be the sole method of explaining things. When you say science only deals with physical concepts, that is where my point comes in perfectly. Answering physical concepts, while very important no doubt, does not explain the big picture. When you say I'm personifying science as the thirst for explanation and not THE explanation, I think it can be both. Science answers new things every day, from germs, to cures, to the origin of our species. By answering these big questions, science must have the thirst for explanation, for without that thirst or seeking of answers, what is the point? Those who do not seek will not find, Darwin certainly had the thirst for explanation, as do most scientists (almost everyone I've met, that's for sure). 


I'll rant more later, I'll work on some questioning to keep the discussion moving. Can't wait for your response! No hurry...

"Part of the broader task of Christian scholarship is to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women."
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Hehe, don't worry about

Hehe, don't worry about taking your time.  I have to admit that my first reaction at your response was "He just does not get it!" and then I took a step back and reflected on why I thought that (not to imply that I was correct).  I believe the issue here is the fact that we're talking past ourselves relative to fundamental concepts.  It is as though we're speaking different languages.  I would like to draw on your debate background to consider establishing fundamental consensus on what we're actually discussing.  

First of all, because I don't like waving things out of hand, let me touch on a few things from your reply.  

Atheist = not a theist.  It comes from Greek, where a- is the equivalent of not- or un- in English.  A theist I define as someone that believes in at least one deity.  Notice that the concept of NEGATING or DENYING god doesn't come anywhere in those definitions.  I'm simply not a theist, much like if you don't play golf, you're not DENYING or NEGATING golf, you're just not a golfer... From that I extrapolate that indeed having no knowledge of god makes one an atheist, or not a theist.  I really don't see why everyone is having so much difficulty with this.  All babies are atheists, they may be of a different state of mind as I am, but fundamentally, both myself and a baby are not theists.  I'll consider that closed unless you have more to add.

The Jesus thing... I understand that it is very important to you that you believe, but you have to see it from my perspective.  I don't believe in anything supernatural, or hold a dualistic view of the world.  Working on a gradual progression, we have to first agree that such a thing as divine is a remote probability, before we start discussing Jesus.  I'm not going to be discussing Jesus moving forward because we have nothing to gain from arguing over that.  The best that you can convince me of is that a normal individual, such as you and I, has lived around that time, and said individual was called Jesus.  Don't get offended, but I just don't think it is a very interesting subject.  You believe in him, hence you're a Christian, I'm an atheist.  Let's just drop this subject.  Smiling

Ok, here comes what I had mentioned at the beginning of the reply, fundamental coherency in terms Smiling.  Epistemology.  

RS wrote:

Reality seems to be a projection to a lot of people, it is as real as any other projection can be. Reality to me is truth, God is truth so therefore to me, God is reality. The creation of God is built around certain truths, laws, or principles. Those truths define the creation and the way it truly operates. Human opinions do not change the reality of the way things operate. Human logic, or human reasoning, may explain things in a completely different way than the Bible, but human logic does not establish reality, it simply attempts to explain it. This is my interpretation on it, I know yours is completely different obviously. The Bible says we are to walk by faith, not by sight. Living by God's truth will change what we see, but living by what we see will not change God's truth. Perhaps discussing faith will dig down further, I would love to talk about it!

Well, reality is as real as it gets Smiling Let's step back for a bit.  You say that God is truth, and God is reality.  But that's not rooted on how you GAIN knowledge, that's a formed conclusion.  Let's see how you came about that conclusion shall we? 

Both you and I have five sense, I hope we agree so far.  Both you and I may have less but not more than that.  When we were born, we were both atheists (see above).  You and I, hold completely different views of the world currently, and so, the knowledge we gained, while similar, has to be fundamentally different.  

So how do you explain the world around you? I for one, have an internal narrative based on empirically gained symbols and concepts.  For example when I think, "Beautiful green leaf" I use the symbol leaf, the symbol green and the concept beautiful.  I form it so that I may comprehend it in a way that I can communicate it to others.  My reality may conflict with others' in concepts, but not in symbols.  For example you have to agree that it is a GREEN LEAF, but not that it is BEAUTIFUL.  But concepts are just a complex series of symbols.  They may seem superficially subjective, but they would have an absolute way of equating.  So we may disagree on the concept of BEAUTIFUL, but if we compare what we mean by BEAUTIFUL, we most likely mean different things.  You may mean that it is perfectly symmetrical, where as I would mean that it is whole and has no blemishes.  Point is, FUNDAMENTALLY it is all symbols that we have gained empirically because THAT IS ALL THERE IS!.  Unless you can explain to me a different way of gaining concepts, or a different sense by which to gain such a concept, this whole divinity thing fails.  Think about that really hard.  How did do you know God exists? and don't say it feels right, or you felt it, because FEELING implies senses.  Try and rationalize it to yourself and then communicate it to me.  

Let's break this down so we're both speaking the same language Smiling.

I look forward to your reply and questions.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:Well, reality is

Ktulu wrote:
Well, reality is as real as it gets Smiling Let's step back for a bit.  You say that God is truth, and God is reality.  But that's not rooted on how you GAIN knowledge, that's a formed conclusion.  Let's see how you came about that conclusion shall we? 

Both you and I have five sense, I hope we agree so far.  Both you and I may have less but not more than that.  When we were born, we were both atheists (see above).  You and I, hold completely different views of the world currently, and so, the knowledge we gained, while similar, has to be fundamentally different.  

So how do you explain the world around you? I for one, have an internal narrative based on empirically gained symbols and concepts.  For example when I think, "Beautiful green leaf" I use the symbol leaf, the symbol green and the concept beautiful.  I form it so that I may comprehend it in a way that I can communicate it to others.  My reality may conflict with others' in concepts, but not in symbols.  For example you have to agree that it is a GREEN LEAF, but not that it is BEAUTIFUL.  But concepts are just a complex series of symbols.  They may seem superficially subjective, but they would have an absolute way of equating.  So we may disagree on the concept of BEAUTIFUL, but if we compare what we mean by BEAUTIFUL, we most likely mean different things.  You may mean that it is perfectly symmetrical, where as I would mean that it is whole and has no blemishes.  Point is, FUNDAMENTALLY it is all symbols that we have gained empirically because THAT IS ALL THERE IS!.  Unless you can explain to me a different way of gaining concepts, or a different sense by which to gain such a concept, this whole divinity thing fails.  Think about that really hard.  How did do you know God exists? and don't say it feels right, or you felt it, because FEELING implies senses.  Try and rationalize it to yourself and then communicate it to me.  

Let's break this down so we're both speaking the same language Smiling.

I look forward to your reply and questions.

I'll say it once more (and probably a few more times after it's all said and done), I apologize for my tardy response. Throughout the week I keep telling myself I need to get on here and continue my discussion with Ktulu, but I hope you forgive my hectic schedule of college and working part time. Now onto your argument(s)...

As much as it might surprise you, we agree on 90 percent of what you are saying. The only difference is that the reality you speak of is purely an atheistic one. You may find a green leaf beautiful in the same way I do, but the difference is that I believe that beauty is defined by God. Like I said before, this idea is completely irrational to you because your views on life are completely different than mine, in this case my explanation may seem like a cop-out in terms of a discussion because it seems so easy to say "I believe in what you said, only with God!" I certainly don't define reality from laziness or carelessness, but from the same method I use to describe a lot of things. If we were to argue theistic evolution vs atheistic evolution, I think it would be very redundant due to the fact that we probably believe the exact same kind of evolution (evolving from a common ancestor), but that I believe it was played out by a higher power. If there's anything specific you'd like to point out or discuss, please feel free. If not, I think a discussion on some other key aspects would be appropriate. 

Some things I'd like to discuss with you in detail:

-your rebuttal to arguments such as the teleological argument, cosmological argument, moral law argument, and ontological argument. I would be more than happy to present the arguments in my wording, and also for you to post your own arguments against a God. 

-diving down a bit more on the compatibility of science and religion, my argument coming mostly from the brilliant Scientist and Christian Francis S. Collins.

-To go back to the first request, objective moral values and universal morality. Also, good and bad (right and wrong) done in the name of both religion and non-religion.

-The Universe and cause of the Universe (once again, going back to the first request by examining the cosmological argument).

"Part of the broader task of Christian scholarship is to help create and sustain a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women."
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rogersherrer wrote:As much

rogersherrer wrote:

As much as it might surprise you, we agree on 90 percent of what you are saying. The only difference is that the reality you speak of is purely an atheistic one. You may find a green leaf beautiful in the same way I do, but the difference is that I believe that beauty is defined by God. Like I said before, this idea is completely irrational to you because your views on life are completely different than mine, in this case my explanation may seem like a cop-out in terms of a discussion because it seems so easy to say "I believe in what you said, only with God!" I certainly don't define reality from laziness or carelessness, but from the same method I use to describe a lot of things. If we were to argue theistic evolution vs atheistic evolution, I think it would be very redundant due to the fact that we probably believe the exact same kind of evolution (evolving from a common ancestor), but that I believe it was played out by a higher power. If there's anything specific you'd like to point out or discuss, please feel free. If not, I think a discussion on some other key aspects would be appropriate. 

I was looking for a consensus on fundamental epistemology.  At this level, theism or atheism are meaningless concepts relative to the frame of reference.  The reality I speak of is the only reality.  In that I mean, how you register/conceptualize/interact reality is fundamentally the same for both of us.  Of course our sense will differ in magnitude, but unless you're providing an alternative to how to you register concepts we have no other reality.  So I'm looking for your version of it, when you say that beauty is defined by god, you still need to break that concept down into internalized empirically gained symbols.  Otherwise please explain how the concept "beautiful" strings together in your inner narrative.  For example, when I say beautiful leaf I mean that the leaf is "symmetrical", and that it is "green" and that it has no "blemishes".  These are all symbols, in that they can be directly observed and they are not subjective, they are the underlining alphabet of subjective concepts such as "beautiful".  

I'm just trying to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator.  If we both agree on how we view reality, we can move forward speaking the same language.

Let's start with your version of OA and see if we can incorporate what we were talking about, it may make more sense in context. 

 

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Ktulu wrote:rogersherrer

Ktulu wrote:

rogersherrer wrote:

As much as it might surprise you, we agree on 90 percent of what you are saying. The only difference is that the reality you speak of is purely an atheistic one. You may find a green leaf beautiful in the same way I do, but the difference is that I believe that beauty is defined by God. Like I said before, this idea is completely irrational to you because your views on life are completely different than mine, in this case my explanation may seem like a cop-out in terms of a discussion because it seems so easy to say "I believe in what you said, only with God!" I certainly don't define reality from laziness or carelessness, but from the same method I use to describe a lot of things. If we were to argue theistic evolution vs atheistic evolution, I think it would be very redundant due to the fact that we probably believe the exact same kind of evolution (evolving from a common ancestor), but that I believe it was played out by a higher power. If there's anything specific you'd like to point out or discuss, please feel free. If not, I think a discussion on some other key aspects would be appropriate. 

I was looking for a consensus on fundamental epistemology.  At this level, theism or atheism are meaningless concepts relative to the frame of reference.  The reality I speak of is the only reality.  In that I mean, how you register/conceptualize/interact reality is fundamentally the same for both of us.  Of course our sense will differ in magnitude, but unless you're providing an alternative to how to you register concepts we have no other reality.  So I'm looking for your version of it, when you say that beauty is defined by god, you still need to break that concept down into internalized empirically gained symbols.  Otherwise please explain how the concept "beautiful" strings together in your inner narrative.  For example, when I say beautiful leaf I mean that the leaf is "symmetrical", and that it is "green" and that it has no "blemishes".  These are all symbols, in that they can be directly observed and they are not subjective, they are the underlining alphabet of subjective concepts such as "beautiful".  

I'm just trying to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator.  If we both agree on how we view reality, we can move forward speaking the same language.

Let's start with your version of OA and see if we can incorporate what we were talking about, it may make more sense in context. 

 

In a nutshell, our views of reality are very similar when you take out my faith portion of it, no need to continue on in my opinion.

 

On my version of OA, I'm assuming you are speaking of the Ontological Argument? If we are going to move onto the arguments for and against god, I'd like to start off with the Cosmological argument because I can just paste one of my previous posts on the subject and I think it could lead to a great discussion. (discussion, not debate)

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rogersherrer wrote:In a

rogersherrer wrote:

In a nutshell, our views of reality are very similar when you take out my faith portion of it, no need to continue on in my opinion.

 

On my version of OA, I'm assuming you are speaking of the Ontological Argument? If we are going to move onto the arguments for and against god, I'd like to start off with the Cosmological argument because I can just paste one of my previous posts on the subject and I think it could lead to a great discussion. (discussion, not debate)

Hehe, Smiling I'm afraid that unless we share a paradigm we have already arrive as close to a conclusion as we can get.  First of all, faith, or lack of it has nothing to do with how you perceive reality.  It just is period, how you process that data that differs, how we gain it is identical for us both.  I guess we can agree not to pursue it, but it really lowers the depth to which we can discuss anything. 

Yes by OA I mean ontological argument, by TAG I mean transcendental argument for god.  Along with cosmological arguments they're as intellectual as apologetics get.  

 

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Ktulu wrote:rogersherrer

Ktulu wrote:

rogersherrer wrote:

In a nutshell, our views of reality are very similar when you take out my faith portion of it, no need to continue on in my opinion.

 

On my version of OA, I'm assuming you are speaking of the Ontological Argument? If we are going to move onto the arguments for and against god, I'd like to start off with the Cosmological argument because I can just paste one of my previous posts on the subject and I think it could lead to a great discussion. (discussion, not debate)

Hehe, Smiling I'm afraid that unless we share a paradigm we have already arrive as close to a conclusion as we can get.  First of all, faith, or lack of it has nothing to do with how you perceive reality.  It just is period, how you process that data that differs, how we gain it is identical for us both.  I guess we can agree not to pursue it, but it really lowers the depth to which we can discuss anything. 

Yes by OA I mean ontological argument, by TAG I mean transcendental argument for god.  Along with cosmological arguments they're as intellectual as apologetics get.  

 

So do you mind if we start out with the CA?

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rogersherrer wrote:So do you

rogersherrer wrote:

So do you mind if we start out with the CA?

Not at all, be my guest.


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 For this Kalam CA, I will

 For this Kalam CA, I will use the same basis I used in my "debate" with RedneF. This is a very short and brief version of it, but I want to start off small so we don't talk past each other once more and focus on the specifics.. Starting off with the actual argument:

1.)Everything that begins to exist has a cause of it's existence

2.)The universe began to exist

3.)Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The first premise is coherent enough, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause of it's existence." The infinite regress objection falls apart here because something that has no beginning has no cause, i.e. God. If God never BEGAN to exist or came to be, then he would not fall into this category. Next, the second and third premises are the key. "The began to exist," therefore, "The Universe has a Cause." But, is the second premise true? Entropy throws a wrench into everything because if the universe has existed for an infinite amount of time, with cosmic drift, everything in the Universe would have drifted apart.  Craig's arguments based on the impossibility of an actual infinite-An actual infinite cannot exist.An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. Craig's arguments based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition-A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite.The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite. In essence, the Big Bang idea that the Universe expanded from a single point, provides serious support to the KC argument. The only possible objections are: 

1. Cyclical existence - The Universe expands and collapses, and has done so for all eternity. (We have no evidence for such a thing, and if we did we'd cease to exist)

2. Infinite Multidemensional Reality - There are an infinite amount of parallel universes that are being created at every moment, and they have been doing so for infinity. (Another theory we have no evidence for, but is cool to think about). Based on these, the burden of proof lies with you, the skeptic. The excuse that "naturalistic" causes are all we can accept, flies out the window when the evidence points to one explaination. Ockham's Razor insists that you keep explainations simple, and since available evidence points that way, the conclusion, "The Universe has a Cause" stands.

This is all a nutshell presentation of Craig's thesis. Other objections could probably be raised, which Craig has a knack for answering. If one feels so inclined, one should read Craig's three major published debates on this topic. I'll be awaiting your response and/or questions. I almost added my questions to this introduction of the Kalam CA, but I'll hold them off until you reply. I am awaiting it!

 

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Nothing beats a good 'ole CA

Nothing beats a good 'ole CA to blow peoples minds Smiling.  Where to start...  

Before I start pocking holes in the KCA, I just want to point out that it is a very weak argument.  In that I mean it is purely a thinking exercise that attempts to prove nothing more than a "cause".  This cause could be the Six Dimension Chicken Of Doom, or it could be the 7 Dimension Pendulum of Eternal Heaviness.  Point is, God, as you define it is as far away from the intended proof as anything else I can think of.  

You mentioned good 'ole Ockham's Razor.  Never does this state that the explanation be kept simple, perhaps this is why your CA works for you.  Ockham's Razor is a tool for economizing energy when attempting to find a conclusion.  Basically ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL (this is the important bit), when offered two competing theories, the one that makes the least assumptions has a better chance of being correct.  Let's put this in context... IF (that's a big IF) we agree on EVERYTHING else regarding the current universe, and than we also agree that it has/needs a cause, moving forward the explanation that makes the least naked assertions has a better probability of being correct.

So at this point you say GOD, the omni-x god of the Bible created the universe, and I say that a brane collision created the universe, my theory has an exponentially better probability of being correct because it makes the LEAST amount of naked assertion.  Ockham's Razor saves us a lot of energy by leading us away from a dead end such as GOD.  I hope that's clear, and this is not the critique on KCA btw, this is just to clear a few things. 

Ok so let's begin at the beginning. 

 

1.)Everything that begins to exist has a cause of it's existence

When you say EVERYTHING that begins to exist you are referring to everything within the universe.  The universe is a set of EVERYTHING, but cannot be part of itself (see Russell's Paradox relative to sets).  In other words the universe is not a THING, it is a set of all THINGS, and it is not part of this set.  The second statement becomes a non sequiter and the argument fails.

The other problem with KCA is that in order to conclude GOD, you have to beg the question.  

1.)Everything that begins to exist has a cause of it's existence

2.)The universe began to exist

3.)Therefore, the universe has a cause.

In other words, EVERYTHING that begins to exist, implies that some things do not begin to exist.  In order for you to exclude the set as being GOD (of things that do not begin to exist) you have to allow for more than one thing that do not being to exist.  In other words, if you imply that GOD is the only thing that does not being to exist, the first premise becomes:

EVERYTHING except for GOD begins to exist, and that my friend, is what we call begging the question, because now you're going on to prove that god caused the universe, by using god as part of your argument.  Smiling

I have more, but I like those two objections to KCA

 

 

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This thread died quickly, if

This thread died quickly, if Roger is still around, at least let me know you no longer want to take part in this discussion. 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc