Christians: What's Your Best Evidence?

TheJollyNihilist
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Christians: What's Your Best Evidence?

Carl Sagan famously declared that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This profound truth is a key that frees us from religion’s shackles, since each faith lacks the requisite evidence to substantiate its fantastical claims. Sagan’s oft-quoted observation is self-evident, given humankind’s abundant, demonstrable fallibility. With that in mind, ten simple requests for the Christian faithful follow.

1. Present extraordinary evidence for Jesus' bodily resurrection.

2. Present extraordinary evidence that Jesus was born asexually (of a virgin).

3. Present extraordinary evidence that some Biblical characters, such as Adam and Noah, lived in excess of 900 years.

4. Present extraordinary evidence that immaterial “souls” haunt our carcasses.

5. Present extraordinary evidence that human consciousness survives death, passing to another world of some sort.

6. Present extraordinary evidence that Yahweh exists, to the exclusion of other god characters.

7. Present extraordinary evidence that there was a cataclysmic flood as described by the Bible.

8. Present extraordinary evidence that evolution—the cornerstone of modern biology—fundamentally is incorrect.

9. Present extraordinary evidence that “miracles” are possible, let alone actually have occurred.

10. Present extraordinary evidence that serpents and donkeys can speak in human language, whether by Yahweh’s help or of their own linguistic ingenuity.

Note: I recognize that Christianity is a “wide tent,” as it were. Christians’ beliefs vary widely on the issues I have raised. As such, respond only to those beliefs which apply to you. If, for example, you disbelieve in Jesus’ asexual birth, certainly you are not obligated to defend it.

The road to truth is paved with evidence.


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<Christian>

<Christian>

The Bible says it happend, and the Bible is the word of God, so it happend. Here is the proof:

(pastes a dozen or so scripture quotes)

God Bless

</Christian>

 Undecided


Krehlic
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*Krehlic puts on his rose

*Krehlic puts on his rose colored Christian goggles*

1. God did it. The Bible says so.

2. God did it. The Bible says so.

3. God did it. The Bible says so.

4. God did it. The Bible says so.

5. God did it. The Bible says so.

6. God did it. The Bible says so.

7. God did it. The Bible says so.

8. God did it. The Bible says so.

9. God did it. The Bible says so.

10. God did it. The Bible says so.

Duh.

God is outside of nature and omnipotent. Where have you been?

I don't care what you say. I KNOW I'm right.

 

Woah, that was pretty easy. Maybe I should go back to being a Christian.

...nah.

 

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Then there's the typical

Then there's the typical lazy response:

 "Who said I had to prove these things to you?  That's not why I'm here."

 Oh, I loooove that one.

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine


rowdyyates2u
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More of this "present me

More of this "present me with some extraordinary evidence" nonsense.

You know, in our courts today, evidence is presented and one jury, for example, is deadlocked (they can't make a decision and a mistrial is declared) and the next jury in the defendant's trial decides that the exact same evidence is sufficient and the defendant is found guilty.

There is no absolute evidence - do you understand - just as there is no ABSOLUTE evidence that I love my three little daughters.

You'll just have to take it my word for it that I love my three little girls. 

 


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It is impossible for you to

It is impossible for you to prove that you love your three daughters, but there is plenty of evidence that it's true.  Like the way you look at them, the way you act around them, and the way you care for them.  Of course, this could all just be misleading and you are really just playing a joke on us.  Highly unlikely, but I suppose its possible.

The difference with religion however, is that there isn't ANY evidence.  There really isn't anything out there that should make any logical person even go hmmmmmmm.  There may not be an absolute proof, but there also isn't any evidence either, and that's the difference.

Of course I do believe that we can prove that Yahweh doesn't exist because he is self contradictory by definition.  Kind of in the same way that we can prove there is no such thing as a square circle. 

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan


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rowdyyates2u wrote: More

rowdyyates2u wrote:


More of this "present me with some extraordinary evidence" nonsense.

You know, in our courts today, evidence is presented and one jury, for example, is deadlocked (they can't make a decision and a mistrial is declared) and the next jury in the defendant's trial decides that the exact same evidence is sufficient and the defendant is found guilty.



We are not talking about legal evidence, we are talking about scientific evidence.  The way the courts work, and the way science works is very different (Which is very unfortunate to any innocent person who "accidentally" gets put away).

Quote:


There is no absolute evidence - do you understand - just as there is no ABSOLUTE evidence that I love my three little daughters.

You'll just have to take it my word for it that I love my three little girls.


We are not talking about ABSOLUTE evidence, we are talking about extraordinary evidence.  As for loving your daughters, we don't need extraordinary evidence since loving your own children isn't an extraordinary event.  Virtually all parents love there kids, so taking your word for it is good enough.  But the points that are above ARE extraordinary, and that is why you need extraordinary evidence.


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I love this post. This is

I love this post. This is the kind of question that shows theists for what they really are. In my experience, this kind of "put up or shut up" question generally gets one of four responses:

1) Dead silence.

2) Capitulation without acceptance ("You're right, but this is a matter of faith, so I still believe it.)

3) Anger

4) One last ditch attempt at deflection.

We see a fine example of deflection in the previous post... "There is no evidence, but it's not necessary. Just look at courts to see why." Of course, the deflection is from scientific knowledge to civil disputes. The funny thing is, no matter how much you explain to the theist that their answer is not an answer at all, they'll stand by it. That's what you get when you believe that faith is a virtue... blind loyalty in the face of extraordinary evidence to the contrary.

 

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The classic jump to

The classic jump to ABSOLUTE  evidence, or proof. Arrrgh!

Nothing is ever established with absolutely 100% proof except tautologies, ie A = B, where B = A, the same thing by another name. 

Nothing can be absolutely ruled out, except contradictions.

I see so often persistent failure to grasp the idea of dealing with degrees of likelihood, weighing the strength of evidence, making sure as many plausible alternatives have also been weighed, and so on.

Instead we get "You can't absolutely prove God doesn't exist" or similar.... 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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I do not intend to give any

I do not intend to give any evidence for the first, second, or third challenge, because it is rather useless in this context. Our Lord's Resurrection and virgin birth are a matter of faith, and not naturally provable. I could merely show they were probable, but that is not what we want to see, of course.

I can however offer some proofs for at least 4, 5, part of 6, and 9.

As for 8, my own position as Catholic does not reject evolution so the point is moot.

As for 10, again, this is something not naturally demonstrable.

 

Quote:

4. Present extraordinary evidence that immaterial “souls” haunt our carcasses.

A soul in general is the principle of life in a living thing. Any living thing has a soul because this is what causes life in a thing. A human being has a rational soul which thinks. This is also called a mind.

Quote:

5. Present extraordinary evidence that human consciousness survives death, passing to another world of some sort.

The human mind does not rely on matter for its existence. This is evident from the fact that the human mind can know all bodies. But if the mind were purely material, it would only know a particular type of body - as the case with an eye only knowing colors and light. But the mind does know all bodies. Hence, the mind's ability to know is independent of the body.

Also, the mind has universal concepts which are not merely particular. This is proven from the fact that man knows the number two, or the like, apart from individual matter.

Lastly, the mind, if it were a material organ of knowledge, would be impaired in its operation by the greater intelligibility of a thing known, as in the case of a material sense organ. But this is found to be the opposite, that as objects are more knowable, they are clearly more knowable to the mind. Hence, the mind is not dependent upon matter for its existence.

Quote:

6. Present extraordinary evidence that Yahweh exists, to the exclusion of other god characters.

First, you are beginning with Revelation, which is impossible naturally speaking. We do not naturally know what God is by our natural reason.

Second, we can know that a certain principle created all things. This is evident, for one, from the fact that there are things in motion - changing. But what is in motion cannot be actually in motion without being acted upon by another mover which acts upon it. And no thing is the cause of its own motion, for this would be logically impossible. So, every thing that is in motion is moved by another. But this cannot have proceeded backward infinitely because no thing would be in motion, for things are in motion only in so far as they are set in motion by a mover. Hence, it is necessary to posit that an unmoved mover exists.

Third, it is clear that this being can be called "God," if the ordinary use of the term can at all be applied to any thing. This is clear because the term indicates the cause of all things or the ruler of all things. But the unmoved mover is clearly the most eminent of any of these sorts of principles. Hence, the name applies most properly to the unmoved mover.

Fourth, from knowledge of the properties of the unmoved mover itself, we can eliminate many other candidates who cannot meet the criteria.

Fifth, Christian and Jewish Revelation clearly identifies its God with the First Cause of all things. Thus, it is possible to call this being the "Christian" God.

 

Quote:

9. Present extraordinary evidence that “miracles” are possible, let alone actually have occurred. 

The fact that a miracle is possible would be logically deductible from the fact that God exists and by His will causes things. A miracle would merely be His will intervening in the ordinary course of events.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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I love the dishonesty

I love the dishonesty inherent in StMichael. We ask him for evidence for miracles, so what does he do? DOes he present a case file of a miracle occuring? Does he submit to us a peer reviewed paper on miracles and their evidence in the natural world? No. Of course not.

What does he do? He tells us the definition of miracles. =/

Typical. Way to be the human dictionary, Michael - seriously I congratulate you on your vocabulary skills.  Now, for the love of Pete, where is the damned evidence?

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StMichael, the "unmoved

StMichael, the "unmoved mover" argument is based off an ancient, incorrect understand of basic physics. Have you ever heard of Newton's First Law of Motion?


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StMichael doesn't need hard

StMichael doesn't need hard evidence. All he needs to know is what makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside and that everything that doesn't agree with that feeling is a lie.

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There has been alot of very

There has been alot of very intelligent people down through the ages - including many in the year 2007 - who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the Scriptures provide all of the evidence they need to affirm their beliefs. 

And alot of people believe it's alot of hogwash. 

I guess we're all gonna find out one way or the other, aren't we.l 


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Rob:   Like I said, it's

Rob:

 

Like I said, it's alot of nonsense.

If I can't "prove" that I love my own daughters (ALL I can do is provide alot of "evidence&quotEye-wink, then how on earth could I possibly prove that a man, who was crucified over 2,000 years ago arose fron the dead 3 days later, was exactly who He said He was - the Son of God..???!!!

It's absolute nonsense.

 


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Piper2000A:   Correct me

Piper2000A:

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't science deal with the "natural" world..??

 

If God and Christ exist outside the natural world, then how could science POSSIBLY prove or disprove the existence of God...??

It's like me asking you to draw a 5 sided triangle - it's a contradiction of terms.

 

 

 


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It's sad, rowdy, that you

It's sad, rowdy, that you can make it so close to rational thought and then fall flat at the last instant.

Yes, science deals with the natural world.  By "natural" we mean, "everything that we can verify as existing."

If God and Christ exist outside of the natural world, then that logically means "God and Christ's existence is unverifiable."

It is like asking you to draw a five sided triangle.  Exactly.  So how is it that you know five sided triangles don't exist, but you believe god does?

That's illogical.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Rook_Hawkins wrote: I love

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I love the dishonesty inherent in StMichael. We ask him for evidence for miracles, so what does he do? DOes he present a case file of a miracle occuring? Does he submit to us a peer reviewed paper on miracles and their evidence in the natural world? No. Of course not.

What does he do? He tells us the definition of miracles. =/

Typical. Way to be the human dictionary, Michael - seriously I congratulate you on your vocabulary skills. Now, for the love of Pete, where is the damned evidence?

Echo.

I really and truly am open to Christians' evidence. If they literally could support their assertions, I would reconsider my stance. But, to this point, no solid evidence has been provided to me.

If, for example, praying to Jesus resulted in an amputee's limb regrowing, I would consider that great evidence.

If, for example, a grieving family praying to Jesus resulted in a dead loved one coming back to life, I would consider that great evidence.

If, for example, somebody said "If I'm lying may Jesus strike me dead" and it actually happened, I would consider that great evidence.

That's evidence, and that's what Christians lack.

The road to truth is paved with evidence.


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St. Michael: In regard to

St. Michael:

In regard to the soul, you might find this essay informative: http://mycaseagainstgod.blogspot.com/2006/12/my-case-against-god-classic-soul.html

The evidence just does not support the soul notion.

With regard to God as an ultimate cause, I think that argument is bankrupt. Any God capable of creating a wondrously complex universe must itself be very, very complex. As such, it too would need a creator to account for its manifest complexity.

The "everything needs a cause" argument cannot be applied selectively, or else it becomes logically impermissible. Cheers.

The road to truth is paved with evidence.


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rowdyyates2u

rowdyyates2u wrote:


Piper2000A:


Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't science deal with the "natural" world..??



Doesn't the existence of god deal with the "natural" world?

Quote:


If God and Christ exist outside the natural world, then how could science POSSIBLY prove or disprove the existence of God...??



The bible cleary shows God and Jesus working inside the natural world.  If God or Jesus exists, then at least some of these events should be provable.  Also, do you not think a universe created by a supernatural being would be very different then one that wasn't?

And why believe in something without any evidence?  Then how is the Christian position any stronger, or makes any more sense then the Muslim position, or the Hindu position, or the Scientologist's position?  We have no problem saying that all of these positions are mostly nonsense (especially Scientology).

Trying to tell me (or most atheists) that the Christian position has to be taken on faith, is like someone saying that the evil galactic emperor Xenu took millions of people to Earth, on board spaceships that looked exactly like DC-8s, and then blew them up in volcanoes (some of which don't actually exist) with low-yield atom bombs, and then telling you to take it on faith.

Now tell me, how is that any different (or any less rediculous) then trying to tell me that an omnipotent God, needed to create a son, impregnated a virgin, that son was able to cure sickness, raise the dead, treat the blind with magic, and after being put to death, was able to come back from the dead three days later, and then magically ascended to heaven.  And that's only some parts of gospels, not to mention all the other weird and bizarre stuff in both the Old and New Testaments.

Quote:


It's like me asking you to draw a 5 sided triangle - it's a contradiction of terms.





Interesting analogy.  I find the idea of a supernatural, omnipresent, omnipowerful, onmiscient, all-loving god (who would create a universe like this, without evidence) just as contradictory as your 5 sided triangle.


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Christ's existence has been

Christ's existence has been verified. by most scholars.

Without Christ, Christians would have a very difficult - if not impossible - time believing in the existence of GOD.

I stand by my original statement - science deals with the natural world - the world where the laws of science apply - the world where 16 ounces weighs a pound - a world where 2 + 2 = 4  etc etc etc.

 

The world of Christ is one where a "man" was seen walking on water - a world where a man performed miracles - a world where a man died and days later arose from the dead.

 


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rowdyyates2u

rowdyyates2u wrote:

Christ's existence has been verified. by most scholars.

 No scholar in the history of humanity has been able to verify Christs existence.

Quote:
Without Christ, Christians would have a very difficult - if not impossible - time believing in the existence of GOD.

 Ever wonder why there is such a thing as Apostates?

Quote:
The world of Christ is one where a "man" was seen walking on water - a world where a man performed miracles - a world where a man died and days later arose from the dead. 

 Okay, find me a peer-reviewed essay so we can all benefit from your evidence.  Otherwise, stop making incredulous assertions.

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In the spirit of this

In the spirit of this thread, I also invite Christians to kiss their own elbows.


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Noone else actually broke it

Noone else actually broke it down, so I will. What the hell. Last post until Tuesday. Sticking out tongue

StMichael wrote:

I do not intend to give any evidence for the first, second, or third challenge, because it is rather useless in this context. Our Lord's Resurrection and virgin birth are a matter of faith, and not naturally provable. I could merely show they were probable, but that is not what we want to see, of course.

Moving on...

StMichael wrote:

I can however offer some proofs for at least 4, 5, part of 6, and 9.

As for 8, my own position as Catholic does not reject evolution so the point is moot.

Some bitch(exclamation, not an insult). I'd like to recruit you to start talking to other theists. One of their biggest problems is disregaring evolution. Any little bit of rationality added to insanity helps.

StMichael wrote:

As for 10, again, this is something not naturally demonstrable.

So you won't cover 1, 2, 3, 8, or 10. Fair enough.

StMichael wrote:

 

Quote:

4. Present extraordinary evidence that immaterial “souls” haunt our carcasses.

A soul in general is the principle of life in a living thing. Any living thing has a soul because this is what causes life in a thing. A human being has a rational soul which thinks. This is also called a mind.

So a bacteria has a soul? A virus? A mosquito? Are they then covered by the commandments? Or are we supposed to be racist by nature?

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

5. Present extraordinary evidence that human consciousness survives death, passing to another world of some sort.

The human mind does not rely on matter for its existence. This is evident from the fact that the human mind can know all bodies. But if the mind were purely material, it would only know a particular type of body - as the case with an eye only knowing colors and light. But the mind does know all bodies. Hence, the mind's ability to know is independent of the body.

Also, the mind has universal concepts which are not merely particular. This is proven from the fact that man knows the number two, or the like, apart from individual matter.

Lastly, the mind, if it were a material organ of knowledge, would be impaired in its operation by the greater intelligibility of a thing known, as in the case of a material sense organ. But this is found to be the opposite, that as objects are more knowable, they are clearly more knowable to the mind. Hence, the mind is not dependent upon matter for its existence.

Interesting stuff, but the whole point of the topic was asking for evidence. This isn't evidence. It's conjecture.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

6. Present extraordinary evidence that Yahweh exists, to the exclusion of other god characters.

First, you are beginning with Revelation, which is impossible naturally speaking. We do not naturally know what God is by our natural reason.

No offense, but I didn't really understand what you were trying to say here. Moving on..

StMichael wrote:

Second, we can know that a certain principle created all things.

You are merely asserting the same thing you've asserted in at least 2 other topics at this point. Which was fine in those topics. But this one is specifically dealing with evidence. Myself and others have already indicated that there is no evidence here. So I'm going to skip past the majority of the argument you're about to invoke as pre-refuted. However, I will touch on one thing as an aside that I haven't brought up before.

StMichael wrote:
And no thing is the cause of its own motion, for this would be logically impossible.

So I am not responsible for my own movement? God makes me walk around the world?

StMichael wrote:

 

Quote:

9. Present extraordinary evidence that “miracles” are possible, let alone actually have occurred. 

The fact that a miracle is possible would be logically deductible from the fact that God exists and by His will causes things. A miracle would merely be His will intervening in the ordinary course of events.

I'm sorry, but neither logical nor illogical discourse is evidence. It is merely conjecture.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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rowdyyates2u

rowdyyates2u wrote:


Christ's existence has been verified. by most scholars.



Show your evidence, because the earliest secular evidence (and this evidence is refuted) we have for his existence is from a man name Flavius Josephus, in a work called the Antiquities of the Jews, which was written sometime around 94CE (Rook, is this correct or do you know of anything more previous then that?). In Antiquities, he makes two references to a Jesus Christ:

The first one, known as the Testimonium Flavinum:

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." Book 18, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.

However, there is a lot of problems with this one, firstly, it "looks" like it was added in. You could take out this entire paragraph, and the book would flow just fine. Secondly, in the entire book, he makes it very clear that he is a Jew, yet here he names Jeses as the Christ, and that the prophets foretold his coming. Needless to say, this is very bizarre for a Jew to claim, and yet still call himself a Jew. And of course the most damning evidence, is that no one quotes this paragraph (which clearly states who he is) until about the 4th century, even those who were trying to prove his existence don't use it till then.

Then second time he is mentioned, is a bit more bizarre:

"And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest." Book 20, Chapter 9, Paragraph 1

Now, this line "Jesus, who was called Christ" is quoted before the 4th century, so it is likely (or at least possible) that this is an origional line. However there is two problems here. For starters, Christus (the document was originally written in Greek) means "Annointed", so it may simply refer to the fact that at the end of the paragraph, the Jesus in this story was "annointed" as a high priest. And of course, the Jesus in this story is completely different from the Jesus in the gospels. This Jesus has a brother named James, who was stoned to death, that Jesus's father's name was Damneus, and that Jesus became a high priest. Needless to say, it is highly unlikely that this is the same Jesus from the gospels, because with the exception of James as being named as Jesus's brother (see Mark 6:3, but both Jesus and James were very common names back then, so this is probably just a co-incedence, and Mark says nothing about James being stoned to death), none of this appears in any of the gospels, even the gnostic ones.

And this is the earliest, and best, evidence that scholars usually claim when they are trying to prove the existence of Jesus. If you can give me better prove, I honestly would LOVE to see it. And I'm not being sarcastic either, I honestly would like to see actual evidence for Jesus, whether historical or otherwise, as I think it would be a major discovery.

Quote:


Without Christ, Christians would have a very difficult - if not impossible - time believing in the existence of GOD.



I couldn't agree more.

Quote:


I stand by my original statement - science deals with the natural world - the world where the laws of science apply - the world where 16 ounces weighs a pound - a world where 2 + 2 = 4 etc etc etc.


The world of Christ is one where a "man" was seen walking on water - a world where a man performed miracles - a world where a man died and days later arose from the dead.




Ok, so if I told you that some guy (let's call him Betty-Sue) went to Mars, and returned, but it all happened supernaturally, and that you had to take my word on faith, would you honestly believe me? Or would you want some type of extraordinary evidence (like a Mars rock) for proof?

Even though these events (whether Jesus or Betty-Sue) are supernatural in nature, they happened in a natural world, and that is why there should be proof. Granted, you wouldn't be able to explain HOW an event happened, you should still be able to explain (somehow) that it DID happen. Also, don't you think that if a man went around Jeruselum, curing people, walking on water, raising the dead, at least someone would have written about him? But of course, there is NO contemporary evidence for the existence of Jesus, or anything like this happening.

Also, this just goes back to the point, if there is no evidence for it happening, why believe in it? You must have had some reason to believe in it in the first place (whether or not because your parents taught you, or the bible said so), if this reason is no longer good enough, then why still believe? As Richard Dawkins has said:

"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."


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Except that my feelings

Except that my feelings have nothing to do with it. If you knew anything about what Catholics believe, you would see your statement as inaccurate. Belief is an intellectual act, not a "warm and fuzzy feeling." Nor is belief based in a feeling. In fact, this is inevitably the path only to error, whether in religion, or mathematics, or anything else. It is Protestantism that had no other way to justify its claims that eventually resorted to an irrational method of belief. Not us.

Finally, "an object at rest tends to stay at rest," and if there was no mover, no "unbalanced force," there would be no motion in things.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

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StMichael wrote: Except

StMichael wrote:


Except that my feelings have nothing to do with it. If you knew anything about what Catholics believe, you would see your statement as inaccurate. Belief is an intellectual act, not a "warm and fuzzy feeling." Nor is belief based in a feeling. In fact, this is inevitably the path only to error, whether in religion, or mathematics, or anything else. It is Protestantism that had no other way to justify its claims that eventually resorted to an irrational method of belief. Not us.



Funny, when I was an Anglican, I thought that Catholics were the ones with irrational methods of belief.  Oh the irony.

Anyways, with most things, you are right, belief is generally an intellectual act.  But I think you would agree, that many people do believe somethings not because they actually make sense, but because they WANT it to make sense (ie. self-denial).  The question that you should ask yourself, is are you one of those people?  Do you believe in God because the evidence makes sense, or because you WANT it to make sense?  If you do think the evidence makes sense (indeed, if there is actual evidence), then show it, because that is what this entire thread is about.

Quote:


Finally, "an object at rest tends to stay at rest," and if there was no mover, no "unbalanced force," there would be no motion in things.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


Wow, here's a tired old argument.  The problem with this one, is that it makes the assumption that things weren't moving in the begining, or that something had to get the big bang started.  And even if you do accept the fact that something got the big bang started (or that there was even anything before the big bang), it doesn't actually prove that there was a God, it only means that there was some unknown event in the universe that we can't yet explain (this is no one entails sentience).  With that said, the boundary principle states that there simply wasn't anything before the big bang, that going farther back in time is similar to travelling up north.  You can keep travelling north until you hit the north pole, in which case there simply is no more north to travel to, just like you can go back in time until you reach the big bang, in which case there simply is no more "back in time" to go to.  Since we know that the big bang included movement (obviously, otherwise the universe wouldn't be expanding), we can safely say that things have always been in motion.  Therefore no supernatural being is needed to start it.


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Quote: The problem with

Quote:

The problem with this one, is that it makes the assumption that things weren't moving in the begining, or that something had to get the big bang started.

Frankly, it has very little to do with the Big Bang at all. I think it is probable that God directly caused the Big Bang, but that is not necessary at all to the argument whether or not He did. The argument merely shows that motion does not exist without a mover. If this is accepted, there can be no alternative but to conclude that an unmoved mover exists which caused the universe to move in the first place.

Quote:
 

 And even if you do accept the fact that something got the big bang started (or that there was even anything before the big bang), it doesn't actually prove that there was a God, it only means that there was some unknown event in the universe that we can't yet explain (this is no one entails sentience).

Actually, it does. But let's not get there just yet. 

Quote:
 

  Since we know that the big bang included movement (obviously, otherwise the universe wouldn't be expanding), we can safely say that things have always been in motion.  Therefore no supernatural being is needed to start it.

? If one cannot go backward beyond the Big Bang, it would seem fairly obvious to me that it shows a clear beginning of time in the universe. Which is exactly Catholic doctrine on the beginning of the world. However, this is not connected to the argument I am making. I am merely indicating, not a temporal priority (which is irrelevant, really, in God's case because He is outside of time), but a logical one. Things are only in motion in so far as they are moved by a mover. This requires a mover.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

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A Follow-Up

In case anybody is interested, I made this follow-up post on my blog yesterday:

Responding To My Critics

Since posting “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence” on this blog and some message boards I frequent, I’ve monitored Christians’ responses. To this point, very little evidence has been presented—certainly none of an extraordinary nature. Mostly, it’s just been conjecture and rhetoric, capable of convincing only those who actively wish to be convinced. For those who, like me, have high standards of evidence, atheism remains the obvious default position with regard to Yahweh and his fan club.

 

This post will address the three most common “objections” that have been raised with regard to my original list of questions. The first objection, if you want to call it that, relates to proof via historical documents. Some Christians have informed me that the Bible serves as extraordinary evidence for all ten items on my list. The second objection asserts that I misunderstand religion by trying to impose evidence standards on it. These Christians tell me that religion is supported by faith, not evidence; as such, so say these people, religious claims need not have evidence. The final objection is that none of the claims on my list actually is extraordinary. As such, extraordinary evidence is not needed.

 

The easiest of these dragons to slay is the historical document objection. The Bible cannot serve as extraordinary evidence for biblical claims because the Bible, in fact, is what is being called into question! It is downright extraordinary to claim that the Bible is perfect in every way and completely infallible. Thus, anybody making the inerrancy claim must support it with evidence of a most extraordinary nature. I have seen no evidence—ordinary or extraordinary—that the Bible is unfailingly reliable. The Bible is perfectly analogous to the Quran, the Book of Mormon and L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics because each one asserts a monopoly on Truth, yet none is able to support that lofty claim with evidence. Perhaps the most convincing evidence against biblical perfection is the fact that, as Sam Harris observed, there isn’t a single sentence in the Bible that couldn’t have been written by a first century man or woman. In any event, claiming the existence of a perfect book is extraordinary; there’s no way I’m going to grant such a fantastical assertion without overwhelming substantiation.

 

Similarly bankrupt is the notion that religious assertions need not have evidence. The problem with separating religion as a unique sphere of knowledge is the fact that each religion makes truth-claims. Either Jesus rose from the dead, or Jesus did not. Either that serpent spoke in human language, or it did not. Either Mary gave birth as a virgin, or she did not. These are factual issues, with factual answers. I was careful to avoid philosophical questions in composing my list because I didn’t want anything to be subjective—unable to be phrased as a factual proposition. So, while a question such as “What does God want from me?” might be considered immune to evidence-based analysis, my list has no such immunity. If Christians, purely based on “faith,” accept the resurrection, or talking serpent or virgin birth, then they are accepting truth-claims without evidence. That is irrational. Every truth-claim demands supporting evidence. If none can be provided, the truth-claim should be tentatively rejected, while waiting for evidence to materialize. This is the proper process for every sphere of knowledge, from biology to archaeology to theology.

 

Finally, on one Christian message board, a respondent made the following counterargument: Over the course of time, an overwhelming majority of humans has believed in a deity. Therefore, belief in a deity is quite ordinary, not extraordinary. Ergo, Christian claims (including the ten I listed in my original post) are ordinary ones, not requiring extraordinary corroboration. What follows is my reply to that respondent. He has not yet directly responded to that post.

 

I have discovered why you are unable to grasp my point about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. You see, you are conflating two wildly dissimilar things: Belief in God and Existence of God.

 

Belief in God is ordinary and common, but it's also not a truth-claim. Existence of God is extraordinary, since such an entity (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent) never empirically has been proved to exist anywhere in the cosmos. Indeed, the cosmos does not contain a single instance of omniscience, omnipotence or omnibenevolence by itself, much less all three at once in a single Superbeing.

 

You keep harping on widespread belief, which, again I say, has nothing to do with actual truth. For example, you probably dismiss Islam, despite the fact that one billion people currently follow that faith, many quite devoutly. Could one billion people be flat wrong? Christianity is not followed by the majority of the Earth's population; so, convincing as it might be, it's not that convincing.

 

Perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of religions are mutually exclusive, making your "lump sum" God-belief argument suspicious at best. Equating Yahweh, Enlil, Ninlil and Zeus is no way to defend the existence of God. Rather, pick your favorite God character and present some evidence.

 

People are easily deceived, confounded and confused. That's why I look upon every extraordinary claim with harsh skepticism. If the evidence for Christianity is so overwhelming that billions upon billions of people have been completely convinced ... please present that evidence to me. The whole point of this post is to serve as a receptacle in which evidence can be deposited. Present the best evidence you have, and I'll consider it in earnest. I promise.

 

Remember that 100 billion people who hold a belief on the basis of bad evidence are less convincing than a single person who holds a belief on the basis of solid evidence. A numbers game will not convince me until I see the evidence that rallied billions behind some particular faith.

 

Atheism is a positive claim only inasmuch as harsh skepticism toward Invisible Garden Banshees represents a positive claim. With regard to God and I.G.B., I presume non-existence until presented with evidence of a tremendously convincing nature.

Discuss....

The road to truth is paved with evidence.


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Supporting an article of

Supporting an article of faith, such as the inspired character of Sacred Scripture or the nature of the Trinity, is quite different from supporting what is a truth that can be naturally known through philosophy and logic, namely, that God exists, that the human soul is immortal, and the like. The first can never be demonstrated according to natural principles of inquiry. It can only be shown from supernatural principles of inquiry based on faith. Wherefrom comes faith's justification? Faith's justification comes from a two-fold level of relative certainty stemming from, first, a lack of contradiction with naturally known truth (such as truths of physics, philosophy, logic, ect), and second from evidence that God Himself is thus revealing Himself through use of extraordinary evidence (miracles, prophecies, and such like things only able to be performed by God). The second general category of truths stemming from natural reason, however, are provable, with certainty, from principles that are naturally known to us. Thus, the existence of God can be clearly demonstrated from the movement and nature of the universe. The existence of God is not something that falls under a category of supernaturally revealed truth, but of naturally known truth.

It is perfectly acceptable to claim that religion should not be believed unless there is a reason to believe its claims, other than merely subjective personal experience or feeling. Thus, it becomes our task to rationally search for the claims to the truth of the religion and to weigh what it claims with what we naturally know. For, if God exists and created us, He clearly created us with minds and intends us to use them to discover Himself.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

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StMichael

StMichael wrote:


Quote:


The problem with this one, is that it makes the assumption that things weren't moving in the begining, or that something had to get the big bang started.


Frankly, it has very little to do with the Big Bang at all. I think it is probable that God directly caused the Big Bang, but that is not necessary at all to the argument whether or not He did. The argument merely shows that motion does not exist without a mover. If this is accepted, there can be no alternative but to conclude that an unmoved mover exists which caused the universe to move in the first place.


You say it doesn't have anything to do with the big bang, but you make it clear both after this line, and in previous posts, that it has everything to do with the big bang. And as I was saying before, the argument would only hold any water it there was a time when there was no movement. Tell me what this time is, because it simply doesn't exist.

Quote:

Quote:


And even if you do accept the fact that something got the big bang started (or that there was even anything before the big bang), it doesn't actually prove that there was a God, it only means that there was some unknown event in the universe that we can't yet explain (this is no one entails sentience).


Actually, it does. But let's not get there just yet.


Ok, then show me how, because all you have really done, is said that there is something that doesn't make sense, and that proves God. That's pseudoscience, and it's just nonsense. Not only have you not explained what happened, you haven't made any connection to a sentient entity.

Quote:


Quote:


Since we know that the big bang included movement (obviously, otherwise the universe wouldn't be expanding), we can safely say that things have always been in motion. Therefore no supernatural being is needed to start it.


? If one cannot go backward beyond the Big Bang, it would seem fairly obvious to me that it shows a clear beginning of time in the universe. Which is exactly Catholic doctrine on the beginning of the world. However, this is not connected to the argument I am making. I am merely indicating, not a temporal priority (which is irrelevant, really, in God's case because He is outside of time), but a logical one. Things are only in motion in so far as they are moved by a mover. This requires a mover.



Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


You mention the notion that God is outside of time, but you miss something here. The notion that the entire universe (as a whole, past, present, and future) exists outside of time (we only view the universe through the view point of time). The universe (as a whole) existing outside of time also deals away with the notion of a begining (it would be like trying to find the start and end of a dot). I think you need to start asking yourself, if a God could exist this way, why can't the universe exist that way? You need to show something that definitively shows sentience, and you haven't.

As for your so-called logical point, you still seem to be forgetting the point I made, and that is the universe has always been in motion. Your unseen mover is only needed if there was a time when there wasn't any motion, but that time never existed, so your mover doesn't need to exist either.


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I do not refer to the Big

I do not refer to the Big Bang in my proof nor in my argument for the Prime Mover. I bring it up only in connection to your arguments in which you assume that I am arguing that some being must have caused the Big Bang. He might have, but it is irrelevant to the argument.

 Further, I would argue that it would make sense if there was a time when the universe was not in motion, but that is not argued by the proof. Even if the universe was always in motion, it still logically requires an unmoved mover to sustain this motion (as what is in motion is either moved by another or self-moved, and the latter is impossible).

 

Quote:

...all you have really done, is said that there is something that doesn't make sense, and that proves God.

 

 No, I have said that we must logically posit from necessity that an unmoved mover must exist because the universe is in motion.

 

Quote:

...you haven't made any connection to a sentient entity.

 

We will after we move past the simple starting point that an unmoved mover must necessarily exist.

 

Quote:

You mention the notion that God is outside of time, but you miss something here. The notion that the entire universe (as a whole, past, present, and future) exists outside of time (we only view the universe through the view point of time).

Arguing that time exists outside of time is not cogent.

Quote:
 

The universe (as a whole) existing outside of time also deals away with the notion of a begining (it would be like trying to find the start and end of a dot).

I am not arguing for a temporal beginning. I am arguing for a logical priority of cause and effect in the order of motion in the universe. A cause of motion is not necessarily temporally prior to its effect.

 

Quote:

I think you need to start asking yourself, if a God could exist this way, why can't the universe exist that way?

Because the universe is in motion. Hence, the only option is that it is moved by another (because nothing is the source of its own motion in the same respect in the same way, as I've shown).

 

Quote:

As for your so-called logical point, you still seem to be forgetting the point I made, and that is the universe has always been in motion. Your unseen mover is only needed if there was a time when there wasn't any motion, but that time never existed, so your mover doesn't need to exist either.

Doesn't require time at all. Logical priority is all that is necessary. All that is necessary is that the unmoved mover sustains the existence of motion in the universe. It could logically have done so from all eternity, but it nevertheless requires that an unmoved mover exists in either case.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

 

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Ok, I'm going to make this

Ok, I'm going to make this very simple.  I want you to explain exactly why you think "an unmoved mover sustains the existence of motion in the universe."  Because you are asserting something as true without putting any evidence forward.


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Without time, he cannot

Without time, he cannot demonstrate that the "first mover" is necessarily sentient.


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StMichael wrote: Even if

StMichael wrote:

Even if the universe was always in motion, it still logically requires an unmoved mover to sustain this motion (as what is in motion is either moved by another or self-moved, and the latter is impossible).

This is explicitly wrong scientifically, and invalid logically. There is nothing illogical about 'self-moved', whatever that may mean, and it isn't what we know from science anyway.

When a star collapses under the gravitational force of its own substance, could that not be called 'self-moved'?

When a rocket accelerates under the action of expelling some of its own substance, is that not 'self-moved'? 

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No, it is not self-moved.

No, it is not self-moved. It is moved by its gravitational field. A self-mover is one who is moved by itself in the same respect/time in the same way. But this is logically impossible. The self-moved mover must move some part of its own and use that part to move the part that moved it, moving the whole. It wouldn't work, ever.

Further, I am not at the "sentient being" part of any proof yet, so hold your horses.

Further, the Prime Mover is outside of time, and hence the motion in the universe must be eternally created by the Mover. 

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

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StMichael wrote: No, it is

StMichael wrote:

No, it is not self-moved. It is moved by its gravitational field. A self-mover is one who is moved by itself in the same respect/time in the same way. But this is logically impossible. The self-moved mover must move some part of its own and use that part to move the part that moved it, moving the whole. It wouldn't work, ever.

Further, I am not at the "sentient being" part of any proof yet, so hold your horses.

Further, the Prime Mover is outside of time, and hence the motion in the universe must be eternally created by the Mover.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

Let's try this again, because you seem to be ignoring this:

Explain why you think "an unmoved mover sustains the existence of motion in the universe."

Just to let you know, I'm not trying to be a complete a-hole by asking this again, I'm am asking this again because you continually try to assert this claim, without giving any real reasoning behind this, and despite the fact that the point is mute in a universe where movement has always existed (unless you think God, or an unmoved mover, is needed to sustain movement, which is what your claim above sounds like).

It's also interesting that the unmoved mover argument was originally (or its the earlist that I can think of) made by Aristotle, and had nothing to do with the Christianity, or even monotheism.


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St. Michael, Another way

St. Michael,

Another way to voice the question before you is this:

Logic begins with an intuitive statement.  Your statement that an unmoved mover is necessary for the universe is not intuitive in any sense of the word.

Please provide the intuitive statment that leads you to this conclusion.  This must be something that is self-evident.

(Also, do you know the answer to my questions about the Catholic position on limbo?  I have no idea where to go to find this information out.  Catholic dogma is far from my strong suit.)

 

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Quote: Explain why you

Quote:
Explain why you think "an unmoved mover sustains the existence of motion in the universe."

Well, as I said, the unmoved mover is the cause of the existence of all things, not just in so far as they move, but in so far as they are actually existent. This follows from His nature as subsistent being itself (which follows from His character as pure act without potency). Other things cannot have being outside of His being (as He is subsistent being itself), and thus must participate in His act of being in order to exist.

 

Quote:

despite the fact that the point is mute in a universe where movement has always existed

Which is impossible in the sense that motion requires a mover. Unless there is an unmoved mover, motion cannot exist in things at all. It is concievable that motion like this existed from all time, but not without an unmoved mover as its efficent cause.

 

Quote:

It's also interesting that the unmoved mover argument was originally (or its the earlist that I can think of) made by Aristotle, and had nothing to do with the Christianity, or even monotheism.

Yes, it is. The pagans had natural knowledge of God, as had any number of pagans and others before Christ. But I wouldn't say it had nothing to do with monotheism, as Aristotle was essentially a monotheist.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

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StMichael wrote: Well, as

StMichael wrote:


Well, as I said, the unmoved mover is the cause of the existence of all things, not just in so far as they move, but in so far as they are actually existent. This follows from His nature as subsistent being itself (which follows from His character as pure act without potency). Other things cannot have being outside of His being (as He is subsistent being itself), and thus must participate in His act of being in order to exist.


So in other words, you are saying for something to exist, it must be created by something that can support its own existence (God, Allah, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc.).  And that God can support His own existence because He has an inherent capacity for coming into being.  Correct?

I want to make that I am understanding you correctly, because there is a huge problem with the logic behind this (I actually mentioned it before, but I want to make sure this is what you are saying before I say it again).

StMichael wrote:

Which is impossible in the sense that motion requires a mover. Unless there is an unmoved mover, motion cannot exist in things at all.


Yet again, you have asserted that without an unmoved mover, motion cannot exist.  Show your evidence for this (or at least your logic for it).

Also, listen to what you have said here:

StMichael wrote:

It is concievable that motion like this existed from all time, but not without an unmoved mover as its efficent cause."


Think about this.  If something has existed for all time, then there is no need for a cause.  It is entirely without cause, it simply exists.  Which is the point I'm trying to get across to you.

StMichael wrote:

Yes, it is. The pagans had natural knowledge of God, as had any number of pagans and others before Christ. But I wouldn't say it had nothing to do with monotheism, as Aristotle was essentially a monotheist.


Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


I'm afraid I can't find any information that talks about Aristotle's religious beliefs, either saying his beliefs were monotheisitic or polytheistic, so I will need you to show your proof for this.


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Piper2000ca wrote: I'm

Piper2000ca wrote:
I'm afraid I can't find any information that talks about Aristotle's religious beliefs, either saying his beliefs were monotheisitic or polytheistic, so I will need you to show your proof for this.

Aristotle, like Plato, believed in a transcendent supreme entity, because the Olypian gods failed to have any attributes that made them any better than humans. It's probably accurate to call him a monotheist, as the way that he defines gods basicly excludes other gods, but the StMichael's association with the Christian god is pure revisionism. As far as I know, there is nothing linking early Christians with Aristotle's theology.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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rexlunae

rexlunae wrote:
Piper2000ca wrote:
I'm afraid I can't find any information that talks about Aristotle's religious beliefs, either saying his beliefs were monotheisitic or polytheistic, so I will need you to show your proof for this.
Aristotle, like Plato, believed in a transcendent supreme entity, because the Olypian gods failed to have any attributes that made them any better than humans. It's probably accurate to call him a monotheist, as the way that he defines gods basicly excludes other gods, but the StMichael's association with the Christian god is pure revisionism. As far as I know, there is nothing linking early Christians with Aristotle's theology.

Good enough for me.  Thanks. 


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Quote: StMichael's

Quote:

StMichael's association with the Christian god is pure revisionism. As far as I know, there is nothing linking early Christians with Aristotle's theology.

I never said that Aristotle's God was, as he concieved it, identical with the Christian God (as obviously Christianity did not exist). I would, however, argue that it was identical in reality with the Christian God. 

 

God is necessary being, whose existence is identical with His essence. So, yes. But we don't have to move from this principle forward. The fact that things are in motion indicates an unmoved mover, where the universe cannot satisfy as an unmoved mover because it is in motion. Only an unmoved mover can do so.

The only way in which the universe could have existed perpetually is if it existed as a dependent cause upon God. Even if it existed forever, it would still not be an absolutely necessarily existing thing. Compare if I had light from a sun that existed perpetually. The light does not have a necessary and independent existence from the sun. The light exists only because the sun exists. In a same way, it would be possible to say that the universe existed perpetually, but it would always require an necessary cause.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael

StMichael wrote:


Quote:


StMichael's association with the Christian god is pure revisionism. As far as I know, there is nothing linking early Christians with Aristotle's theology.



I never said that Aristotle's God was, as he concieved it, identical with the Christian God (as obviously Christianity did not exist). I would, however, argue that it was identical in reality with the Christian God.


I'm afraid I don't know much about Aristotle and his beliefs, so I will let rexlunae or someone else more qualified to argue this point if they think it needs to be argued.

StMichael wrote:

God is necessary being, whose existence is identical with His essence.


So God has to exist because existence is identical to the meaning of a God?  This sounds a bit like the ontological argument.  Perhaps this isn't what you are trying to say here, but that's what it sounds like.  So if you don't mind, can you please clarify this?

StMichael wrote:

So, yes. But we don't have to move from this principle forward. The fact that things are in motion indicates an unmoved mover, where the universe cannot satisfy as an unmoved mover because it is in motion. Only an unmoved mover can do so.


Wow.  Every single time I, or somebody else, counters your argument, you simply restate your argument as if it was undeniable fact.  That's just incredible.

StMichael wrote:

The only way in which the universe could have existed perpetually is if it existed as a dependent cause upon God.


If that was true, then God could not have existed perpetually unless He was created by another God (and so forth ad infinitum).

StMichael wrote:

Even if it existed forever, it would still not be an absolutely necessarily existing thing. Compare if I had light from a sun that existed perpetually. The light does not have a necessary and independent existence from the sun. The light exists only because the sun exists. In a same way, it would be possible to say that the universe existed perpetually, but it would always require an necessary cause.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


I think what you are mistaking here, is that I'm not claiming that the universe existed forever, as I've said before, the universe (as a whole) exists outside of time (in the same fashion that you say God is outside of time).  Time is a property that is inside of the universe.  I gave the analogy in another forum that the properties of something inside a box, are not necessarily the properties of the box itself.


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OK, personally I'm sick of

OK, personally I'm sick of this "unmoved mover".

StMichael wrote:

God is necessary being, whose existence is identical with His essence. So, yes. But we don't have to move from this principle forward. The fact that things are in motion indicates an unmoved mover, where the universe cannot satisfy as an unmoved mover because it is in motion. Only an unmoved mover can do so.

The only way in which the universe could have existed perpetually is if it existed as a dependent cause upon God. Even if it existed forever, it would still not be an absolutely necessarily existing thing. Compare if I had light from a sun that existed perpetually. The light does not have a necessary and independent existence from the sun. The light exists only because the sun exists. In a same way, it would be possible to say that the universe existed perpetually, but it would always require an necessary cause.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

The "unmoved mover" principle is, basically, a rare type of bad hypotheses fallacy. Physically, any object is "in motion" RELATIVE TO A SPECIFIC ENTITY if its parameters, that can be noticed, measured and calculated from that entity are changing. From this point of view, the entity from which the process is observed is simply A WITNESS.

The error you're committing here is to presume that to every physical point there must be a point of reference. It is true if you wish to actually measure/calculate the effect, but not necessary for the process to actually happen (for example, didn't the laws of thermal energy work before Kelvin calculated his 0 degrees ?). Remember that most reference points are taken mostly at random, possibly the most convenient reference point there was when there was need of it.

Therefore... your "unmoved mover" is simply a witness. Your bad hypotheses fallacy (a.k.a. in this particular case "the journalist's fallacy&quotEye-wink: always assuming a real witness, even though one may not necessarily exist.

Want proof of motion without a witness, or a reference point? Simple experiment: take two balls of metal, charged with electricity, same sign. First off, look at them. You will see that they repulse one another. Next, don't look at them. They will continue to repulse one another. They can do that with or without you (or anyone/thing) actually being a witness of the process. (PS: obviously, I'm being a bit ironic here)

Furthermore, accepting the "principle" is in itself a paradox. Nobody can stop me from asking myself "What was there BEFORE this principle, as we imagine it?" Causality is, unfortunately, a "must-have" of our Universe. We know of nothing (in an objective way) that has no cause, like a sudden blob of matter appearing 12 miles east of NY, without no cause at all. Can we temporalize the event? At least in theory, yes... Can we observe the event? No. It just happens, and, unfortunately, nothing like that happened that I know of.

In the Bible, God behaves, takes action, is jealous, has feelings, ALL pointing towards the conclusion that God (or at least part of it) is a causal being. Had he been non-causal, then any of our actions would not constitute premises for His actions and states of emotion (and therefore our attitude towards Him wouldn't matter much). Furthermore, God also has a temporal lining of feelings and actions, thus making him not only subject to causality, but denying his atemporal status. Therefore, imagining that particular God as a principle is AT LEAST illogical.

PS: Please don't make me quote anything on the last paragraph. These facts have been heavily debated here at RRS, they will appear in my book as well, when I finish and release it.

PS2: Light does exist in absence of the Sun. My monitor is blinding me with it right as we speak. What exactly did you mean with your example?

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Rigor_OMortis wrote:

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

OK, personally I'm sick of this "unmoved mover".

 

You and I both Smiling

By the way, excellent post. 


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Quote: StMichael wrote:

Quote:

StMichael wrote:
God is necessary being, whose existence is identical with His essence.

So God has to exist because existence is identical to the meaning of a God?  This sounds a bit like the ontological argument.  Perhaps this isn't what you are trying to say here, but that's what it sounds like.  So if you don't mind, can you please clarify this?

It has nothing to do with the ontological argument. In context, I was referring to what God is and why He is thus necessary. As He is the Prime Mover, He is without motion, change, or potency in any degree. Any division in what He is is likewise a potency. So, God is utterly simple and non-complex. Even what He is does not differ from how He is. Contrast this picture of what constitutes an unmoved mover with the universe. The universe cannot exist in this manner because it is in motion and hence dependent on a mover underlying its motion.

 

Quote:

Wow.  Every single time I, or somebody else, counters your argument, you simply restate your argument as if it was undeniable fact.  That's just incredible.

OK, then. How does motion begin in a thing without a mover?

Quote:
 


If that was true, then God could not have existed perpetually unless He was created by another God (and so forth ad infinitum).

No, because God is unmoved. My premise is merely that things that are in motion require movers. The universe is in motion and requires an unmoved mover. God is unmoved and hence needs no ulterior mover.

Quote:

 

I think what you are mistaking here, is that I'm not claiming that the universe existed forever, as I've said before, the universe (as a whole) exists outside of time (in the same fashion that you say God is outside of time). 

 Show me how the universe is outside of time. Every thing in the material universe is a body, of some sort. As a body, everything in the universe is in time, as time is merely determined by bodies in motion. The whole is the sum of its parts. Unless the universe is composed of some non-material entity, the universe as a whole is not outside of time.

 

Quote:

Physically, any object is "in motion" RELATIVE TO A SPECIFIC ENTITY if its parameters, that can be noticed, measured and calculated from that entity are changing.

It does not matter, as the object still is in motion. Relative motion counts regardless, because it is clearly evident to us that things are in a state of motion and change. As long as things are in change, even merely relative change, this proves that case that an unmover mover follows. It doesn't matter what variety of motion exists, because every motion requires a mover.

 

Quote:

The error you're committing here is to presume that to every physical point there must be a point of reference.

I am not. Things are in motion, regardless of how relative said motion is. Even if things are in motion through time, this counts as motion. Even if things are not themselves in motion, but merely my reference point is in motion, or such concepts of reference are meaningless, something is being moved, something is changing. This is all that is necessary to posit that an unmoved mover is necessary. Further, your error is to assume, later, that my unmoved mover is a stable physical reference, which is false. Every physical action necessitates a reaction, and thus the unmoved mover must necessarily be non-physical if it is to be unmoved.

 

Quote:


Want proof of motion without a witness, or a reference point? Simple experiment: take two balls of metal, charged with electricity, same sign. First off, look at them. You will see that they repulse one another. Next, don't look at them. They will continue to repulse one another. They can do that with or without you (or anyone/thing) actually being a witness of the process. (PS: obviously, I'm being a bit ironic here)

I see no reason why this impacts my argument for an unmoved mover. I am not arguing for an absolute frame of reference. Further, your argument is fallacious on the grounds that God could be witnessing the process. You have not definitively proven that God can't be witnessing the process, so you can't rule that out. But, as I pointed out, this is totally irrelevant to any unmoved mover argument. I was just pointing out the bad logic.

Quote:
 

 Nobody can stop me from asking myself "What was there BEFORE this principle, as we imagine it?" Causality is, unfortunately, a "must-have" of our Universe.

I was not arguing for an absolute first cause (I could, but I am not). I was arguing for an absolute first mover. If motion exists in a thing, it necessitates that a mover exists to move this thing and give it the initial momentum that it possesses. It is a basic rule of physics that a things cannot have motion unless given motion by a mover. An unmoved mover is necessary to explain how motion exists in things now.

 

Quote:

In the Bible, God behaves, takes action, is jealous, has feelings, ALL pointing towards the conclusion that God (or at least part of it) is a causal being.

Sacred Scripture uses allegory to explain God and His actions to us. But I don't see how this is relevant anyway.

Quote:
 

Had he been non-causal, then any of our actions would not constitute premises for His actions and states of emotion (and therefore our attitude towards Him wouldn't matter much). Furthermore, God also has a temporal lining of feelings and actions, thus making him not only subject to causality, but denying his atemporal status. Therefore, imagining that particular God as a principle is AT LEAST illogical.

Unless of course your reading of what Scripture says is false, which I believe is clear. Sacred Scripture speaks in analogies and figurative language. For example, God is depicted as creating the world in 6 stages in Genesis, when His creative act would create the world in a instant. The division is an analogy that helps us to understand the act of His creation (further, Scripture even clarifies this later).

I don't understand what you mean by "casual" as the phrase seems to have a specific meaning in your usage. It seems that you mean that God "can be affected" by outside factors, which is obviously false. Both from what reason tells us and from what Scripture clearly indicates elsewhere about God. God does not change. He eternally is. His decisions and thinking occurs purely outside of time in an eternal "now" that is proper to God, not in time. 

 

Quote:

PS2: Light does exist in absence of the Sun. My monitor is blinding me with it right as we speak. What exactly did you mean with your example?

I didn't say that light itself was caused by the sun. But that the light of the sun is dependent on the sun for its existence. In the same way, the world could be argued to have existed from eternity, but it would likewise hold a similar relation in view of God - God would necessarily be its eternal source. This is because the universe does not possess a necessary existence - things in the universe clearly change, becoming generated and corrupted, and the universe is in motion in many ways, changing, and thus displaying that it requires an unmoved mover.

 

 Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

 

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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Just to humor you,

Just to humor you, StMichael, with this silly Unmoved Mover nonsense...

Would you consider that a object that was not moving as a whole, but contained some internal components that were moving, like a watch lying on the table, does not count as unmoved?

To cause something else to move, does a mover have to move at least part of itself, even if it doesn't move as a whole?

So could an 'unmoved mover' move something without at least moving some part of itself?

If some entity is totally un-moved, ie not even moving internally, how can it be anything more than a inert lump?

If moving internally doesn't count, then surely a car on the road is moving itself? What about a fireworks rocket - it is not moving internally, but it surely moves under the influence of its own substance? 

 

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Quote: Would you consider

Quote:

Would you consider that a object that was not moving as a whole, but contained some internal components that were moving, like a watch lying on the table, does not count as unmoved?

It is not unmoved, because its parts are moving.

Quote:
 

To cause something else to move, does a mover have to move at least part of itself, even if it doesn't move as a whole?

Only in material bodies. Further, it will move as a whole because the part moves. It might not "change locations" or something like that, but the whole changes when the part changes, because the whole is dependent upon the part in this case.

Quote:
 

So could an 'unmoved mover' move something without at least moving some part of itself?

An unmoved mover is absolutely unmoved in any part. In fact, it cannot have parts at all because it must be utterly simple and without any division.

Quote:
 

If some entity is totally un-moved, ie not even moving internally, how can it be anything more than a inert lump?

That only assumes material bodies. Which is why the Prime Mover must be immaterial. Every body that is acted upon necessitates an equal and opposite reaction. There must be at least one immaterial unmoved mover which causes motion in material bodies.

Quote:
 

If moving internally doesn't count, then surely a car on the road is moving itself? What about a fireworks rocket - it is not moving internally, but it surely moves under the influence of its own substance?

This is motion proceeding from its own parts. It is only self-moved in an accidental sense. I would point out, however, that these might be natural movements (proceeding from the substantial nature of the thing), but that these are likewise dependent. For example, the car moves itself only in an accidental sense, because somebody designed the car, and filled the tank with gas, and began the reaction which proceeds without further intervention. Also, in the rocket, this proceeds from the reaction in the propellant. But someone is necessary to design and manufacture the rocket and to set the reaction in motion.  

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: It has

StMichael wrote:


It has nothing to do with the ontological argument. In context, I was referring to what God is and why He is thus necessary. As He is the Prime Mover, He is without motion, change, or potency in any degree. Any division in what He is is likewise a potency. So, God is utterly simple and non-complex. Even what He is does not differ from how He is. Contrast this picture of what constitutes an unmoved mover with the universe. The universe cannot exist in this manner because it is in motion and hence dependent on a mover underlying its motion.


God is simple and non-complex? God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is supposed to be able to alter and affect every little particle in the universe, no matter how massive or minute. And he's supposed to be simple? Out of all the contradictory things you have said, I think that takes the cake.

As for the univere being in motion, that isn't quite true. Only what is contained inside the universe is in motion (due to time being a property of what is inside the universe), the universe as a whole exists outside of time, so as a whole, the universe is without motion. Which is also why it doesn't need a mover.

Quote:

OK, then. How does motion begin in a thing without a mover?


The question is irrelevant, because you are assuming that motion in the universe had a begining in a temporal sense. If something had no begining (as we would think of it), then you don't need something to begin it.

Quote:

No, because God is unmoved. My premise is merely that things that are in motion require movers. The universe is in motion and requires an unmoved mover. God is unmoved and hence needs no ulterior mover.


As I have said above, the universe as a whole is outside of time, and thus, is not in motion (which is why no mover is required).

Quote:

Show me how the universe is outside of time. Every thing in the material universe is a body, of some sort. As a body, everything in the universe is in time, as time is merely determined by bodies in motion. The whole is the sum of its parts. Unless the universe is composed of some non-material entity, the universe as a whole is not outside of time.


As for showing that the universe is outside of time, this comes from something in theoretical physics called the no-boundary proposal (I suggest you read Stephen Hawkings "A Brief History of Time" for an excellent description of it). In the no-boundary proposal, time is divided into two aspects, real time (as in real/simple numbers, like 1, 2, pi, etc.), and imaginary time (as in imaginary/complex numbers like the square-root of -1). As you go farther back in real time, imaginary time becomes greater, until you get to the moment of the big-bang, and there is no real time, only imaginary time (or complex time, which I think is a much better term). What happens here (and you actually lead into this when you say the whole is the sum of its parts), is that when complex time and real time are added together, they cancel each other out. This of course can be shown mathematically, but that math is far beyond my personal mathematical understanding. As I said before, for a better description of the no-boundary proposal (or Hartle-Hawking state), I suggest you read "A Brief History of Time." And yes, this is theoretical physics, and is thus just a theory. But on the same note, saying a god that exists outside of time created the universe is just as theoretical. The difference is that we can see the universe, we cannot see god (which is why I think the no-boundary proposal is much more likely then a theistic proposal).


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Rigor_OMortis

Rigor_OMortis wrote:
Causality is, unfortunately, a "must-have" of our Universe. We know of nothing (in an objective way) that has no cause, like a sudden blob of matter appearing 12 miles east of NY, without no cause at all.
Yes.

Quantum physics appears to be truly stochastic. No matter what experiments are tried, it keeps looking noncausal. Quantum tunneling is exactly what you described (a blob appearing suddenly somewhere with no identifiable cause), but at a much smaller scale.

We observe causility at ordinary levels of precision, because all these random varioations happen at such a small scale that we observe them, and because, although they appear random, they still have an ordinary probability distribution function (PDF). Since they have an ordinary PDF, the multitudes of quantum events average out via the Central Limit Theorem to appear as causaility at the level we observe.

The universe might actually be fundamentally noncausal, which of course blows all these antiquated arguments from first principles out the door independent of the coherence of infinte regression.

God had no time to create time.