Can I Formally Ask a Priest to Excommunicate Me?

doctoro
doctoro's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Can I Formally Ask a Priest to Excommunicate Me?

Something I've always wondered.

I was "confirmed" in the Catholic religion against my will -- since my parents forced me to.

I am not a Catholic now, and when I go to my friends' Catholic weddings and events, I refuse to pray or accept "communion".

Would I be able to go to a Catholic Church and ask for an excommunication? What do you think a priest would say? Do you think he would even do it? Would he need to draw up some formal papers?

And could I have some Catholic ritual to excommunicate me? Afterwards, I'd have a hell of a party!


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
No. You are already

No. You are already excommunicated according to the Code of Canon Law, "Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3." One could not be further censured.  

I regret your decision to leave the Church and I pray that someday you will return.

Yours In Christ, Eternal wisdom,

StMichael

PS - I still recommend speaking to that priest. I encourage you to tell him whatever difficulties you have with the Catholic faith and I am sure that he would be happy to oblige.

 

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


ImmaculateDeception
ImmaculateDeception's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: 2006-11-08
User is offlineOffline
You know, I've often

You know, I've often wondered the same thing since I'm in the same situation.  My mom had me chirstened a catholic with no intention of actually taking me to church.  She said she did it "just in case"....in case of apocolypse, I guess.

As far as my religion practicing family tells me, if you're christened then you're always "catholic", whether or not you practice.  Doesn't make alot of sense to me, but as far religion goes, that wouldn't be the first thing.

My best guess for reversing the x-tian hex would be to undertake the blasphemy challenge.  In order to be excommunicated, you would have to be guilty of heresy.  Film yourself commiting the ultimate sin, tape it and mail it to the vatican.  Sit back and watch the red tape take care of itself.

 

Or, you could change your name to Galileo and hope for some kind of clerical error.

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine


Thandarr
Posts: 117
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Immaculate Deception

Immaculate Deception wrote:

Or, you could change your name to Galileo and hope for some kind of clerical error.

--
Sorry, that won't work.  Pope John Paul II rehabilitated Galileo in 1984.  http://www.cas.muohio.edu/~marcumsd/p111/lectures/grehab.htmAnd some say the Catholic Church doesn't keep up with the times.Thandarr


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Wow, this is incredibly

Wow, this is incredibly naive. One is excommunicated by heresy latae sententiae. The same is true of schism and apostasy. In all these cases, nothing needs to be said by the Church as they automatically impose the penalty.

Quote:

You know, I've often wondered the same thing since I'm in the same situation.  My mom had me chirstened a catholic with no intention of actually taking me to church.  She said she did it "just in case"....in case of apocolypse, I guess.

Sadly, this is common. However, it is very reprehensible on the part of your mother. Grace is not the same as magic. I am glad, however, that she had a modicum of sense in seeing that she could at least give you initial sanctifying grace in baptism.

Quote:

As far as my religion practicing family tells me, if you're christened then you're always "catholic", whether or not you practice.  Doesn't make alot of sense to me, but as far religion goes, that wouldn't be the first thing.

Baptism is said to impart a sacramental 'character.' This gives the soul the ability to act as a child of God, recieving grace in the sacraments and participating as a member of the body of Christ. In a certain sense, you are always a Catholic because you are always baptised. However, every sin (including unbelief) cuts one off from the mystical body of Christ, and excommunication cuts one off from both the mystical and earthly body.

Quote:

My best guess for reversing the x-tian hex would be to undertake the blasphemy challenge. 

Seems unfair to call it a hex. However, the Blasphemy Challenge does not remove anything in the way of sacramental characters.

Quote:

In order to be excommunicated, you would have to be guilty of heresy.  Film yourself commiting the ultimate sin, tape it and mail it to the vatican.  Sit back and watch the red tape take care of itself.

I doubt anyone would care that you sent them this sort of thing; they get bunches every day undoubtedly.

However, I would likewise point out that the excommunication in this case is latae sententiae, or automatic. You don't have to do anything. You are automatically excommunicated also not as a heretic, but as an apostate. They are different things. A heretic is one who essentially denies only part of the Catholic faith while keeping the rest. An apostate abandons the Catholic faith. I would assume you are the latter.

My prayers and my heart goes out to you. I entrust you to Our Lady, Queen of All Hearts that she might lead you back into her Son's Church.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

PS - I likewise recommend talking to a priest about these concerns, as I can pretty much ensure that he can answer your questions sufficently. I also ensure that you are not the first person to have difficulties with the faith; answers exist, you just need to ask the questions to the right people. In fact, take the next step and read the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" which explains a great deal of the reasons for our beliefs.  

 

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


ImmaculateDeception
ImmaculateDeception's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: 2006-11-08
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: Wow, this

StMichael wrote:

Wow, this is incredibly naive. One is excommunicated by heresy latae sententiae. The same is true of schism and apostasy. In all these cases, nothing needs to be said by the Church as they automatically impose the penalty.

Quote:

You know, I've often wondered the same thing since I'm in the same situation.  My mom had me chirstened a catholic with no intention of actually taking me to church.  She said she did it "just in case"....in case of apocolypse, I guess.

Sadly, this is common. However, it is very reprehensible on the part of your mother. Grace is not the same as magic. I am glad, however, that she had a modicum of sense in seeing that she could at least give you initial sanctifying grace in baptism.

Quote:

As far as my religion practicing family tells me, if you're christened then you're always "catholic", whether or not you practice.  Doesn't make alot of sense to me, but as far religion goes, that wouldn't be the first thing.

Baptism is said to impart a sacramental 'character.' This gives the soul the ability to act as a child of God, recieving grace in the sacraments and participating as a member of the body of Christ. In a certain sense, you are always a Catholic because you are always baptised. However, every sin (including unbelief) cuts one off from the mystical body of Christ, and excommunication cuts one off from both the mystical and earthly body.

Quote:

My best guess for reversing the x-tian hex would be to undertake the blasphemy challenge. 

Seems unfair to call it a hex. However, the Blasphemy Challenge does not remove anything in the way of sacramental characters.

Quote:

In order to be excommunicated, you would have to be guilty of heresy.  Film yourself commiting the ultimate sin, tape it and mail it to the vatican.  Sit back and watch the red tape take care of itself.

I doubt anyone would care that you sent them this sort of thing; they get bunches every day undoubtedly.

However, I would likewise point out that the excommunication in this case is latae sententiae, or automatic. You don't have to do anything. You are automatically excommunicated also not as a heretic, but as an apostate. They are different things. A heretic is one who essentially denies only part of the Catholic faith while keeping the rest. An apostate abandons the Catholic faith. I would assume you are the latter.

My prayers and my heart goes out to you. I entrust you to Our Lady, Queen of All Hearts that she might lead you back into her Son's Church.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

PS - I likewise recommend talking to a priest about these concerns, as I can pretty much ensure that he can answer your questions sufficently. I also ensure that you are not the first person to have difficulties with the faith; answers exist, you just need to ask the questions to the right people. In fact, take the next step and read the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" which explains a great deal of the reasons for our beliefs.  

Sorry for the confusion, St.Michael, but I probably should have enclosed a picture of my tounge firmly buried in my cheek with that last post, because I assure you that's where it was while I was typing it.  I really don't want to reverse my christening, because as far as I'm concerned, the whole thing was basically some guy in a dress pouring water on my head.  It holds no meaning to me.

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine


ImmaculateDeception
ImmaculateDeception's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: 2006-11-08
User is offlineOffline
Thandarr wrote: Immaculate

Thandarr wrote:

Immaculate Deception wrote:

Or, you could change your name to Galileo and hope for some kind of clerical error.

--
Sorry, that won't work.  Pope John Paul II rehabilitated Galileo in 1984.  http://www.cas.muohio.edu/~marcumsd/p111/lectures/grehab.htmAnd some say the Catholic Church doesn't keep up with the times.Thandarr
Yeah, I actually knew that at the time (although, I thought it was 1991.  I never was good with dates.)  I know, it was a poor attempt at humour.

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
I actually never was

I actually never was baptised, so according to some I'd be going to hell anyway unless I got it done (not gonna happen!) Between that and doing the Blasphemy Challenge, I guess I'm pretty much fucked! :ROTF:

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Good reason to avoid hell

Good reason to avoid hell and be baptised, then.

Yours In Christ,

StMichael


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
By that reasoning you

By that reasoning you should wear garlic to avoid being attacked by vampires, and keep your closet locked and check under the bed at night to avoid being killed by the boogeyman.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


ImmaculateDeception
ImmaculateDeception's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: 2006-11-08
User is offlineOffline
MattShizzle wrote: By that

MattShizzle wrote:

By that reasoning you should wear garlic to avoid being attacked by vampires, and keep your closet locked and check under the bed at night to avoid being killed by the boogeyman.

pwned 

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
No, you just said that you

No, you just said that you were "f***ed" in which case that gives you more than enough reason to not be "f***ed" by having recourse to baptism.

Further, vampires and the bogeyman are not of the same category as God. Vampires and the bogeyman are natural creatures whose existence is not verifiable (which is the only way, as natural material creatures, that they can be). God is knowable as the necessary cause of the universe. Even further, the Christian religion, while being based on faith, deals with things whose existence is neither provable or disprovable by natural reason, but which are accepted by faith because God has revealed them (and thus they are believed on His authority).

 

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.


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
Actually vampires/ the

Actually vampires/ the boogeyman are neither provable nor disprovable. Certainly can't prove they exist, and I know you can't prove they don't. And you can accept them on faith because they were revealed through childrens stories/horror novels/books/etc. Faith is just another word for wishful thinking.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Bogeymen and vampires are

Bogeymen and vampires are empirically disprovable because they claim to merely corporeal creatures. We have no evidence from investigation of science that they exist.

We could accept their existence on faith, but it would be blind and irrational faith. Christianity does not hold that this is a good idea or at all what is required of Christians. In fact, as Saint Augustine said, "nothing is believed that is not deemed worthy of believing." We only can have faith in something if (1) it does not contradict what natural reason tells us and (2) the authority revealing is trustworthy. In the case of Christian/Catholic religious faith, we believe in things that are not contradicting of what we know naturally and which we believe because God Himself reveals them (and God cannot contradict Himself).

Lastly, God's existence is not an article of faith. It is presumed by faith, true, but not something that is only believed on revelation. We can know God exists by our natural reason, without the aid of Revelation.

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.


Ivan_Ivanov
Ivan_Ivanov's picture
Posts: 126
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
doctoro wrote: Would I be

doctoro wrote:
Would I be able to go to a Catholic Church and ask for an excommunication?

You would, and what is more you have to, unless you don't mind beeing listed as a Catholic even tough you aren't one.

The process isn't as easy as St. Micheal would have you believe. You have to write a formal letter of apostasy, or you'll still be listed as a member of the church.

How this is handled from there pretty much depends on your local priests. Where I'm from they have a nasty habit of evading and delaying the requests for as long as they can, you see apostasy doesn't look good in the statistics.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
That is not correct.

That is not correct. Excommunication latae sententiae cuts the person off from all communion with the Catholic Church (one could still return, but all sacramental participation and communion the Body of Christ is cut off). There is no need for a formal letter declaring your apostasy to be excommunicated. Latae sententiae needs no formal ratification; it happens regardless of external declaration.

There is a difference, however, between being listed as a parishoner at a parish and being excommunicated. You can still be in the parish register at a particular parish but you can also at the same time be excommunicated. Further, the Church does not "number you" in statistics. Frankly, the way a parish counts its statistics often is by weekly Mass attendance, and even then it is according to the priests' estimation of how many "families" attend. Almost always, the statistics are rather vague. The Diocese does not need specific statistics, nor does it make claims off of these particular findings. If it needs to census in a more accurate way, it hires a firm to do so (according to methods that do not address the parish register). Even further, if you mean to remove your sacramental records from the Diocese, that would be impossible as the Church never destroys them. These, however, are strictly confidential (the Church uses them for example to ascertain validity of marriages, validity of baptisms, as a prerequisite to ordination, and in evaluation prior to entry into a monastic or religious community).  

 

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.


Ivan_Ivanov
Ivan_Ivanov's picture
Posts: 126
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: That is

StMichael wrote:

That is not correct. Excommunication latae sententiae cuts the person off from all communion with the Catholic Church (one could still return, but all sacramental participation and communion the Body of Christ is cut off).

Yeah, but the point is you're not excommuncated until you give a formal letter of apostasy, and the best part is that even then they will not always excommunicate you. 

 

Quote:
There is no need for a formal letter declaring your apostasy to be excommunicated. Latae sententiae needs no formal ratification; it happens regardless of external declaration.

That may be the law, but it has nothing to do with how it looks in practice. You could engage in blasphemy, heresy and whatnot, and chances are you will not be excommuncated.

There are people having trouble beeing excommunicated even after they file a letter of apostasy.

But I do take back what I said about statistics


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
Well, for one thing the idea

Well, for one thing the idea of "God" does actually contradict what "natural reason" tells me, especially the god of the Bible. And OK, the Tooth Fairy isn't a purely natural being. SHouldn't you believe in the Tooth Fairy so she doesn't make your teeth fall out? And of course there's the countless number of Gods (including those that nobody ever invented) you DON'T believe in! If you are wrong, won't Quetzlcoatl be pissed?

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Excommunication latae

Excommunication latae sententiae is automatic upon fulfilling the excommunicatable offence. There is no official decree needed upon the already promulgated Code of Canon Law. All that needs to be done is that one leaves the Church and they really and truly leave the Church, with a concurrent sentence of excommunication latae sententiae.

I quote the Code so that there is ABSOLUTELY no ambiguity in this:

Can. 1314 Generally, a penalty is ferendae sententiae, so that it does not bind the guilty party until after it has been imposed; if the law or precept expressly establishes it, however, a penalty is latae sententiae, so that it is incurred ipso facto when the delict is committed.

The only conditions in which this would not apply is:

Can. 1323 The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:

1/ a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age;

2/ a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance;

3/ a person who acted due to physical force or a chance occurrence which the person could not foresee or, if foreseen, avoid;

4/ a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;

5/ a person who acted with due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;

6/ a person who lacked the use of reason, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 1324, §1, n. 2 and 1325;

7/ a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present.

 

Quote:

Well, for one thing the idea of "God" does actually contradict what "natural reason" tells me, especially the god of the Bible.

Show me.

Quote:
 

And OK, the Tooth Fairy isn't a purely natural being. SHouldn't you believe in the Tooth Fairy so she doesn't make your teeth fall out?

Show me the Tooth Fairy. 'She' is clearly contrary to reason. 'She' is openly acknowledged as a fiction invented very recently (in the past hundred years alone). 'She,' according to her definition, is a natural being which possesses magical powers who flies into children's bedrooms and, taking their teeth which have fallen out, replaces the tooth with a gift. A clear test exists to determine her existence which can relatively easily be carried out: to place a fallen out tooth under a pillow and observe the results. Likewise, people openly admit acting as the 'tooth fairy.'

God does not fall into this category as He, while not being testable according to the same empirical standard (because He is not a body in the same way that a tooth fairy is). Rather, the existence of God is proven only because we can know that a first cause exists which is the cause of the observable universe and all things within it. We do not begin with a concept of what God is because we do not have an intuitive knowledge of what He is. The only way in which we can discover His existence is because we are effects His action in creating the universe.

 

Quote:

And of course there's the countless number of Gods (including those that nobody ever invented) you DON'T believe in! If you are wrong, won't Quetzlcoatl be pissed?

 

Except that they are not able to be proven in the way that God is. Further, I do not have to use faith to believe in God or in any other god, but only my natural reason to discover that He exists. The truth of belief is another category of truth and 'that God exists' is a proposition which does not fall into it, except incidentally.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

PS - It doesn't matter anyway. You ought to return to the Church.

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


Ivan_Ivanov
Ivan_Ivanov's picture
Posts: 126
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
StMichael

StMichael wrote:
Excommunication latae sententiae is automatic upon fulfilling the excommunicatable offence. There is no official decree needed upon the already promulgated Code of Canon Law. All that needs to be done is that one leaves the Church and they really and truly leave the Church, with a concurrent sentence of excommunication latae sententiae.

 Pay attention: I know the law, but the law doesn't work the way it is written.

The form of excommunication you describe simply doesn't happen. You will not be barred from any sacrament, chances are you'll have a Catholic funeral, unless you file a formal letter of apostasy.

There were instances when priests attempted to ignore, delay, or deny formal requests of excommunication, so please don't tell me how it's automatic.

And one little technical question: even if the law actually worked the way it was written, how are they supposed to excommunicate you if they don't even know you're an unbeliever?


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
It is true that the Church

It is true that the Church cannot know whether you are in a state of apostasy, heresy, or whatnot. Just the same, you remain excommunicated and the Church imposes the penalty regardless. It requires nobody to say it or even know about it for the penality to be imposed.

 

Quote:

The form of excommunication you describe simply doesn't happen. You will not be barred from any sacrament, chances are you'll have a Catholic funeral, unless you file a formal letter of apostasy.

You will not be barred from the sacraments unless you tell the priests. But it should not make any difference as you are not soliciting them anyway (you should as they are means of God's grace).

If you give them a declaration, you basically just tell the priest, "I am excommunicated," and it just makes it public knowledge so that the priest can impose the penality in the sacraments.

Quote:

There were instances when priests attempted to ignore, delay, or deny formal requests of excommunication, so please don't tell me how it's automatic.

It is automatic in the eyes of the Church. I would probably ignore a request for excommunication if you sent one to me because it is silly and nonsensical as well as unnecessary. Further, the priest probably has your eternal welfare in mind and is trying to get you to change your mind. There is nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't change the fact that you were already excommunicated in the first place.

Quote:

And one little technical question: even if the law actually worked the way it was written, how are they supposed to excommunicate you if they don't even know you're an unbeliever?

Well, first, the Church has no jurisidiction over people who are not Catholic (unbelievers). Only if someone is a Catholic can they can excommunicate them. Second, the law applies to the Church's power of the keys. The law applies the penalty in such a way that it applies according to the Church's power regardless of the individual declaration or knowledge of the excommunicable offense. The Church formally declares that an latae sententiae excommunication has been incurred, not that a sentence has been imposed (as in the case of those silly ladies who pretended to ordain each other recently; they incurred a latae sententiae excommunication due to simulating the actions of a cleric and they were merely declared to be in a state of excommunication).

The practical way in which this would be relevant would be the sacrament of confession. If you confessed a particular offense, such as having procured an abortion, which is punished by a latae sententiae excommunication, the priest needs to have recourse to a higher authority in order to remit the excommunication. Some of these offenses are reserved to the bishop of the penitent, or to the Pope for forgiveness (such as desecration of the Blessed Sacrament) and require him to remit the excommunication. Any priest or bishop can remit any offense, however, in the danger of death of the penitent (being granted extraordinary jurisdiction in this case). 

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.


Thandarr
Posts: 117
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Excommunication

St. Michael:

 

I was raised in the Catholic church, and I'm sure the nuns covered this, but I wasn't listening.  What does it mean to be "excommunicated"? 

For some reason I was thinking it was just exclusion from the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of communion, but I realize that is probably wrong.

If that's it, just exclusion from the sacraments, what's the point when dealing with people who have left the Church.  I mean, most self-identified atheists aren't likely to want to go to communion or get baptized [actually, wouldn't you have to be baptized first in order to be excommunicated?] or . . . let's see, there were seven . . . or go to confession, or any of the other sacraments.  I mean, it's not like shunning in the Amish tradition or anything.  It just means you can't get the sacraments.

I guess it also means God can't let you into heaven even if he wants to.

So in the case of those who can't continue to believe the fundamental principles of the Catholic church, what's the point?  If someone doesn't believe in the teachings of the Church, how likely is it that s/he'd want to receive sacraments?

If so, isn't the right response that there's no need to bother with the paperwork involved in getting excommunicated?  Just don't go to church.

Thandarr

 

P.S.  I admire your persistence, St.Michael.  I don't think you're convincing anyone but you're obviously putting a lot of time into it.  I'm sure I don't have any arguments against the Church that you couldn't answer to your own satisfaction.  Most of the people on this board are far more well informed than I am.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
 Excommunication, strictly

 Excommunication, strictly speaking, means "out of communion" or "outside of communication [with]." Excommunication is where the Church places somebody outside of communion with the Body of Christ. It chiefly involves a denial of the sacraments (other than Penance, of course, by which you are readmitted to communion). The old ritual of excommunication says, "We exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church, and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church." The Church, by the power of the keys, judges somebody guilty of a crime and cuts them off from communion with Christ's body spiritually and physically. The Church used to forbid association with the excommunicated (in fact, this still holds true, with somewhat different circumstances); the spiritual effect of excommunication is the lack of grace by the sacraments.

 

 

Quote:

I guess it also means God can't let you into heaven even if he wants to.

Well, that is a different matter. In excommunication, the Church judges somebody guilty of hellfire and cuts them off in order that they do penance. Arguably, in almost every case where people died in a state of excommunication when they were impenitent, it would be the natural consequence that they went to hell. However, of course there are exceptions. If one repents, one does not merit hell (recall Dante's Purgatorio, where the excommunicates who repented at the last moment are admitted to heaven after a long period of purgation). Also, if one had invinicible ignorance, God judges the sin according to the intent of the sinner. However, in any case, it won't presumably go well.

Quote:

So in the case of those who can't continue to believe the fundamental principles of the Catholic church, what's the point? 

That depends what you mean. If you mean, "Why would someone who does not believe what the Catholic Church teaches continue to remain in sacramental communion," (which I believe is the meaning of that statement) then there is no reason why one ought to do so, and furthermore I would say that I have a positive obligation as your Catholic priest (which I am not, btw) to prevent you from committing sacrilege by recieving them.

However, that doesn't mean that you oughtn't to recieve the Sacraments, which I believe is necessary to salvation. Smiling

Quote:
 

If someone doesn't believe in the teachings of the Church, how likely is it that s/he'd want to receive sacraments?

It might be. But it would be misguided.

Quote:

If so, isn't the right response that there's no need to bother with the paperwork involved in getting excommunicated?  Just don't go to church.

I suppose that is the best response as an atheist. However, again, you should go to church. (btw, refer to my writings earlier about how there is no paperwork in being latae sententiae excommunicated)

 

Quote:

P.S.  I admire your persistence, St.Michael.  I don't think you're convincing anyone but you're obviously putting a lot of time into it.  I'm sure I don't have any arguments against the Church that you couldn't answer to your own satisfaction.  Most of the people on this board are far more well informed than I am.

I hope that I can show people that Catholicism/Christianity is not contrary to reason. In fact, it is a dogmatic truth of the Catholic religion that it is not.

I also hope not just to answer objections from others to my own satisfaction, but to yours. If you have an objection, please, voice it and I will try to answer it in a way you find satisfactory.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

PS - You are all in my prayers. May the prayers of Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, and Our Holy Father Dominic bring you to God.

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


olivergringold
olivergringold's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: 2006-12-28
User is offlineOffline
If you claim to be

If you claim to be constantly praying for us, aren't you, in effect, asking God to make an exception to his singular rule that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit are to be forever damned?  We committed, of our own free will, the one irrevocable sin.  Even if all you're praying for is that we end our ways and turn our lives around, you're just asking that we go to hell and waste our time before we get there!  If you're hoping for us to go to heaven, then you're placing those very hopes ABOVE the faith you hold in your singular and infallible Lord God.

Furthermore, you claim that you are able to deduce God (by which I mean the single and specific Catholic God, as opposed to the hundreds of equally likely and equally proveable competing Gods) without faith, and that you can believe in God by reason.  But why God as opposed to singularity?  Or as opposed to colliding membranes with differing mathematical constants?  Or a circulation of light and energy which stretches beyond our three dimensions causing what, to our minds, appears to be a universe when, in fact, we are simply a by-product of a nothingness taking place on a grander scale?

When pointing to the singular defining moment which brought our universe into existence, all of these seem reasonable.  God even less so when all the evidence against ID and a young universe is placed on the table.  So tell me, definitively and comprehensively, how you were able to deduce the existence of the Catholic God by reason alone.

"No end justifies the means of lying."
-Penn Jillette


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
First, the Catholic Church

First, the Catholic Church has always prayed for heretics, schismatics, apostates, sinners, and for the conversion of all pagans from the moment it was founded by Christ. Now is no exception.

Second, you have not committed any irrevocable sin and I am praying for your conversion. It was you who read the Scriptures the way you wanted to, not me. The Catholic Church and Sacred Tradition have taught that the particular passage in Matthew does not apply in the sense that you do.

Third,

Quote:
...you claim that you are able to deduce God (by which I mean the single and specific Catholic God, as opposed to the hundreds of equally likely and equally proveable competing Gods) without faith, and that you can believe in God by reason.  But why God as opposed to singularity?

First, there are no "equally provable gods." I hope to show how that is apparent in a second. Further, I do not "believe in God by reason," I know that God exists by use of my intellect (without God's special aid and revelation); it is not a matter of faith. 

The absolute beginning of motion (change, not local motion/movement of place) in the universe is necessary to posit that the universe exists now. In this, we notice that, in the world, there are things in motion (by motion, I mean a mix of potency and actuality - things are changing). Whatever is in motion is only set in motion by a mover. Nothing can move itself in the same way and in the same respect. Whatever is in motion, is thus put in motion by another. If these things in motion are in motion, they must have been put into motion by another. This could not go on ad infinitum as there would be no first mover, and hence no subsequent movers (because these movers move only insofar as they are moved by the first mover). Hence, it is necessary to arrive at an unmoved mover, put into motion by no other, which we call God.

The first cause cannot be any material cause, because a material cause contains a division and potency in, for example, its mathematical divisibility. A material body cannot be purely actual, and hence cannot be the first cause. Also, as is clear from the above, a body is only in motion if put into motion by another. But we must posit that the Prime Mover is not in motion. Hence, God is not a body. Lastly, as the most noble of beings, we can see that animate bodies are more noble than inanimate bodies. But they are noble only insofar as they are animate/are moved by souls, not as bodies. Hence, God is immaterial and not a body.

 How does this show that God is the Prime Mover? First, because Christianity/Judaism explicitly defines its God as the same as the First Cause. Second, because the term "god" points toward a cause of things and the First Cause possesses this in the highest and most proper degree. Third, every other god concieved by man does not fulfill the conditions required to be the first cause (assuredly all polytheistic, pagan gods, because they do not posit that God is One, which would be apparent from the nature of the First Cause; Protestantism and Judaism being the only clear exceptions, Islam not applicable for different reasons).

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.


Thandarr
Posts: 117
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Objections to Catholicism

Okay, first I'm really out of my league here.  Most of these atheists know far more theology than your average Christian and a whole lot more than I do.  But you're not your average Christian. You're studying for the priesthood, isn't that right?

But see, I'm not an atheist either.  In fact, I'm just as intrigued with atheists' fervor as I am with Christians'.  I'm not an atheist for the simple reason that I have "proof" of the existence of the supernatural.  The problem is my proof is completely subjective.  I do not expect anyone else to believe it, and if someone else told me of the identical experience I'd take it with a grain of salt.  In other words, I wouldn't believe me if I were someone else.

My "proof" is an intense, content-free mystical experience that I had without any cause whatsoever.  The only "message" was "I'm here."  Nobody else should take it from me.

Anyway, basic story, I grew up Catholic, was--in spite of good intentions--the worst altar boy in the history of Christendom (I was surprised I didn't get written up in New Advent), and went to Catholic schools where I did poorly until about my senior year.  In college I began to doubt what I'd been taught and gradually drifted to what I call "orthodox" atheism (kind of like most of these people here).  A good Catholic girl married me anyway.  Then in my mid 20's I had this experience described above.  I tried to go back to the Catholic Church to find God.  I tried for years.  He just wasn't there.

I made the greatest mistake of anyone struggling with doubt.  I read some of a book.  You guys need to put this book on the Index.  It was called the Holy Bible.  The more I read the more astounded I was.  It seemed to me indeed miraculous that this book could have commanded the hearts and minds of people for thousands of years.  It was dull and repetitive and weird.  The ethics of the Bible were nothing like what the nuns taught.  God is portrayed as, well, a dope.  He is vindictive and foolish and vain.  He looks for a fit mate for Adam among the animals.  He creates a giant flood and then realizes he screwed up.  He confounds languages because he's afraid that people will build a tower to heaven.  He would have wiped out the Hebrews, but he's afraid it'll make him look like a weak and impotent God, so he lets them live, but from time to time he lets them get beat in wars and carted off to slavery.

Well, okay, that's the Old Testament God.  How about the New Testament God?  What about Jesus?  Doesn't he make up for Jehovah and then some?  Well, he's certainly more friendly than Jehovah, but he still can't hold his temper, insults the local religious leaders in a way that I think would be more appropriate one human being to another but is just sadistic if one of them is omniscient.  He also gives remarkably bad advice about preparing for the future.  He says he'll be back in the lifetimes of his hearers and establish the Kingdom of God, but he doesn't.  His parables sometimes make sense, but sometimes don't.  He gives some of the worst moral advice in history--turn the other cheek.

Well, as a Catholic I should have known better than to read the Bible.  That's what the priests are for, right?  They can explain it to me.  But then I considered the history of the Church, starting when you took over the Roman state, murdered the Pagans, established Christianity at swordpoint, and took about a century and a half to run the most successful empire in history into the ground.  Then you initiated the Middle Ages.  Popes were secular rulers and acted like them.  You know the history.

And today, the Church remains on the wrong side of morality on many points.  The Church opposes stem cell research.  The Church prohibits the use of condoms which could save many lives.  The Church continues to impose the completely unrealistic celebacy (that gives you all the time to make these posts) on its priests.  Most will muddle through anyway, but some will be unable to live up to that ridiculously high standard.  Nowadays half the Parish priests don't speak English.  You had to import them from foreign countries because Americans for the most part won't accept the strictures of the priesthood.

Look, St. Michael!  I really tried.  I gave it a genuine shot.  I prayed the rosary.  I made Mass every weekend for a long time.  I ate fish on Fridays during Lent.  Sorry, but I just didn't get it.  That spirit--the one that said "I'm here" to me so many years ago--wasn't at church.  That spirit was somewhere else.

I'm not going to claim to have found that divine spirit, but I've felt myself closer to the spirit turning inward.  I know I'm making up my own religion here.  I know everyone else who has made up a religion has been--well--suspect I guess.  But I don't try to talk anyone else into the "Thandarr had a mystical experience" religion.

So why do I hang around with all these atheists?  I don't know, really. They're interesting. They're right about a lot of things. Maybe my mystical experience was nothing more than a mini-stroke.  But I don't think so.

Thandarr


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
It will take a bit more

It will take a bit more than a couple sentences to adequately answer you, and I don't have much time, but I hope to answer your questions as much as possible (if not today, with more clarification after your response).

I don't know what your mystical experience was about nor can I claim to really know about it much. God could have been attempting to bring you to Himself again after atheism, and thus accomplished His purpose by giving you a clear answer to your questions. However, it is clear that we ought not to base our faith or our reason in our mystical experiences (whatever they may be), because mystical experiences are very untrustworthy even spiritually. And, if God wishes to impart a grace or consolation, it is accomplished by Him immediately without us having to determine the source of the experience. I do not want to discount your experience at all, but I merely want to caution about trusting them in general (as, for example, the Devil sometimes works such things to decieve). However, I will assume, as the case may be, that God wished by this special gift to draw you back to Himself, which it seems He rather has, even though I believe it to be a misguided response.

The Scriptures are not on the Index (as it doesn't exist anymore), nor ought they ever be. The Scriptures are foundational to Catholicism as well as Protestantism. The Catholic Church encourages (by enriching the reading of Scripture with indulgences, and by encouraging it in its documents) and in fact mandates (in Mass and the other liturgies) its faithful to recieve the Scripture. Saint Jerome: "Ignorance of the Scriptures are ignorance of Christ."

However, Scriptures are not an isolated event. God did not plop a book into our laps from the sky. Rather, He used human people to write a book under His inspiration and used human people to spread His message. Grace always perfect nature, never destroying what is there naturally. God uses human agents. The Revelation of God is not static, in a book or document. The Revelation of God is a message, with the message existing historically in Christ and His Apostles, in their writings, and in their successors' teachings. God did not come to write a book when He chose to take flesh of the Virgin Mary, but to found a Church. Christ never is depicted as having written any document. Rather, He gave to His Apostles the promise, "the Spirit will lead you into all truth," and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against [my Church]," and "you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." The point is not to ignore what your conscience tells you when reading the Scriptures, but to read them in the spirit with which they were written, as well as the Spirit with a capital "S." God gave this Spirit to His Church. Even the eunuch asked St. Philip, "How can I understand unless someone explain it to me?"

Even in Protestant religion, one needs a minister of God's word and preacher of the Gospel as an intermediary between God and man. The difference is that Christ established them with His own Spirit and they act in His name on earth in all ways, "giving them the power to forgive sins," not just to teach, but to sanctify and cleanse.   

What is the history of the Church? The history of the Church was never one of conversion by the sword or by killing pagans. Christ did not come with an earthly kingdom, nor did His followers. The pagan emperor was converted by God and allowed tolerance of a religion that merely wanted its own independence of the state. For all the years of Christian existence up to then, Christians had never offered resistance to their pagan oppressors, but rather rendered unto Ceasar what was his, and to God what was His (which was often the price of their own blood for their beliefs). The tolerance did not result in a commandeering of the state for conversion of others. Pagans continued to exist for years after the conversion of the state to Christianity and only died out for lack of any interest in their religion. It is likewise never mentioned that no true Christian ever stepped forward to protest what would have been, if we accept the Protestant thesis, an imposition of false Christianity.

The Church is often likewise neglected in the ages before this. The earliest Christians, like Justin Martyr, or Irenaeus, or Ignatius of Antioch (who personally knew Saint John the Apostle and Mary) most certainly rejected most, if not all, positions held by the Protestants. They were Catholics and they held Catholic doctrine, disciple, and sacraments. They believed virtually the same things we hold today.

Saint Ignatius is one of the first sources we have to speak of the primacy of the Pope as head of the Church:


"Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

"You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force" (ibid., 3:1).  

Likewise, no one regarded any of these sayings as odd or in conflict with Christianity. Even before this, Pope St. Clement I (in 80 AD) had said similar things about the Pope of Rome, as did Hermas (in 80).

Euseubius, the "father" of Church history, writing on the advent of Constantine's decree of tolerance, likewise witnessed to the Catholic doctrine of earlier ages and to the Catholics of his own day. If you could, I encourage you to read this wonderful document.

The Middle Ages in terms of the intellectual death of the period was due to the Roman Empire's collapse, which was inevitable due to internal forces and fractioning. The invasion of Rome by the Vandals marked the end of the Empire. However, the Church did not cause it and in fact was the agent by which learning and knowledge was preserved during this time. The independence of the Pope from the control of secular rulers by the existence of the Papal States ensured that learning could again exist as the Church could be the foundation on which Western civilization was rebuilt. Without the learning of Saint Benedict's monasteries, knowledge would very likely have been lost in the West forever. The Church was likewise the cause by which we emerged from this period of loss. The monasteries preserved and created a stable foundation on which the world could build. They created learning in cathedral chapter schools and in the public training the monks offered in the arts. One only need read Saint Anselm to understand the learning of the period was being cultured. Later, the mendicant friars, the Dominicans in particular, founded the university system as we know it today. This began to flourish into the Renaissance and into the modern period. The advent of Protestantism came shortly thereafter, but that is enough of a history.

The Church has always upheld morality in every age, even when it was viewed as unpopular. However, the Church was always right. Looking back to slavery, the Church objected to the treatement of slaves in the New World and, by the influence of pens like that of Bartholomew de las Casas, eventually condemned the treatment such slaves were shown. The people of the time did not like such a ruling, yet today we find the Church's toleration of slavery in the least a barbaric proposition.

Today the Church upholds certain principles which ensure the right of human beings to life from conception until natural death. What can we say after such horrors as Nazi eugenics and the other theories driving the Holocaust? Human life is merely a means to an end? Stem cell research is not opposed by the Church; killing babies to obtain stems cells is. And now, we have apparently discovered that amniotic cells are exactly the same without having to kill anyone. Too bad we didn't kill babies.

Condoms and contraceptives were predicted by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae to bring about a number of consequences, of which we see the effects today:

"Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards."

"Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires...."

"...careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. ...they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife...."

We need to only look at the Communist China's "One Child" policy to see the ramifications of the last prediction.

In the end, I ask you, where does the Spirit lie? We do not come to Christ on our own powers, for we are born not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God! Christ established His one Church, washing it in His own blood and cleansing it from every stain and impurity by the water and the word so that it might be holy and without blemish. He founded His Church upon the Rock of Peter and his successors, not upon my own will, but upon the Spirit who guides His Church. And this is the great sacrament of our salvation. And let the wife love her husband and submit to him.

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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael

StMichael wrote:

The absolute beginning of motion (change, not local motion/movement of place) in the universe is necessary to posit that the universe exists now.

I think it's safe to assume that the universe exists now, as there is a fair amount of evidence to support its existence. However, I don't think it is nearly as obvious that there was a beginning to the motion of the universe. Why couldn't the universe have come into being in motion?

StMichael wrote:

In this, we notice that, in the world, there are things in motion (by motion, I mean a mix of potency and actuality - things are changing). Whatever is in motion is only set in motion by a mover. Nothing can move itself in the same way and in the same respect. Whatever is in motion, is thus put in motion by another. If these things in motion are in motion, they must have been put into motion by another. This could not go on ad infinitum as there would be no first mover, and hence no subsequent movers (because these movers move only insofar as they are moved by the first mover). Hence, it is necessary to arrive at an unmoved mover, put into motion by no other, which we call God.

The first cause cannot be any material cause, because a material cause contains a division and potency in, for example, its mathematical divisibility. A material body cannot be purely actual, and hence cannot be the first cause. Also, as is clear from the above, a body is only in motion if put into motion by another. But we must posit that the Prime Mover is not in motion. Hence, God is not a body.

All right, I think that's enough to get the point. This is a very old argument, and a classic one, owing it's origin to Aristotle. Of course, Aristotle wouldn't have been referring to the Christian god as we know it today (to the extent that you can know a figment of someone else's imagination) when he wrote about this, but the idea has been coopted by Christians.

Certainly, as gods-of-the-gaps go, the unmoved mover is in a much more stable gap then the designer of life, because the questions involved are harder. However, it is a mistake to assume that no physical phenominon can account for the fact that the universe is moving. For instance, vacuum fluctuations cause two particles to be created, and when created, they are in motion.

Clearly, very little is fully understood and widely accepted by scientists about the origin of the universe, but to assume that it was born motionless is a mere stab in the dark, and certainly not something the ancient Greeks could have proven with evidence. But rather then make up fake answers to these questions, I think it is much more reasonable to wait for science to produce good answers. It may never happen, but why pretend to know in the mean time? The belief in the unmoved mover, without evidence, and with only an a priori argument from millenia ago is in fact a leap of faith, not an exercise of "natural reason".

Even ignoring this problem, it's another long leap of faith from the unmoved mover to the Christian god, as described in the Bible.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
The basic problem is that

The basic problem is that you misunderstand the idea of 'motion' as I use it in the proof. Motion is the movement from potency to acutality in the absolute sense, not limited to material, "local" motion.

Quote:
 

Why couldn't the universe have come into being in motion?

The universe needs to come into being. Thus, it needs a first mover to "move" it from the state of possible existence to actual existence.

I would also point out that there is no necessity for the proposition that, if matter in the universe was eternal, that it would not need an agent to move it. The universe would require a moving agent for matter even if the moving matter in the universe was eternal.

Quote:

Of course, Aristotle wouldn't have been referring to the Christian god as we know it today (to the extent that you can know a figment of someone else's imagination) when he wrote about this, but the idea has been coopted by Christians.

Aristotle discovered the Christian God. I object to the fact that you have to interject and call Him, "a figment of someone else's imagination." You can argue that is so, but it is purely unnecessary and begs the question if you do so here.

Quote:

Certainly, as gods-of-the-gaps go, the unmoved mover is in a much more stable gap then the designer of life, because the questions involved are harder.

It is not a god-of-the-gaps argument at all. Again, the problem is the assumption of motion as purely physical (which, I admit, is the colloquial usage in English).

Quote:
 

However, it is a mistake to assume that no physical phenominon can account for the fact that the universe is moving. For instance, vacuum fluctuations cause two particles to be created, and when created, they are in motion.

Except that vacuum fluctuations require a vacuum to exist in. And a vacuum is not truly a vacuum where it exists in space. Space has being, even if it is devoid of matter.

Quote:

But rather then make up fake answers to these questions, I think it is much more reasonable to wait for science to produce good answers. It may never happen, but why pretend to know in the mean time? The belief in the unmoved mover, without evidence, and with only an a priori argument from millenia ago is in fact a leap of faith, not an exercise of "natural reason".

Except that science can never answer a metaphysical question about the origin and dependence of being itself. That is proper to metaphysics.

Further, the argument is not "a priori" at all. The term "a priori" indicates that the proof proceeds from the cause to the effect. The proof proceeds the other way around, "a posteriori," or from effect to prove the cause.

Further, it is not a "leap of faith" at all. It has nothing to do with faith. It demonstrates that it is logically necessary to posit an necessary prime cause/mover of the universe.

Quote:

Even ignoring this problem, it's another long leap of faith from the unmoved mover to the Christian god, as described in the Bible.

It is not a long way to move in this direction. There are many reasons, but I wish to merely point out that the Christian and Jewish religions identify their God with the first cause of the universe explicitly many places in Sacred Scripture, as well as by official teaching of the Catholic Church. I quote the book of Sirach: "But the Lord hath made all things, and to the godly he hath given wisdom" (43:37).

 

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.


Thandarr
Posts: 117
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
St. Michael:  It's too bad

St. Michael:

 It's too bad you didn't have time to write a detailed response.  Wink  Seriously, this seem like a very detailed response.

I don't know what your mystical experience was about nor can I claim to really know about it much.

It's hard to explain, really.  It was an intense, profound feeling of a presence.  It is interesting to me that both you and the atheists agree that it might not be trustworthy.  I know that the intensity of a feeling is not a clue to its validity, but it is very difficult to dismiss this as unreal.

Taken literally [meaning that everything in scripture is a report of fact], the scriptures are indefensible.  That's why not only modern Catholics but apparently even pretty early Catholics didn't interpret the scriptures that way.

But taken "spiritually" the scriptures are incomprehensible.  They have to have more meaning than you can get from the printed word.  But what other meaning do I add to them?  Unless I decide to take dogma as a starting point and see if I can force what I read into scripture into that format, it is hard to figure out what the value is.  If I do that, I hardly need the scriptures to help me reach that point.

I suspect you know about the Christian emperors' persecution of pagans.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Classical_Paganism  I don't think the church can escape its responsibilty for those persecutions.  Temples were destroyed and churches were built on their sites.

I don't think the Church was notable for its objection to slavery, but we can go back further.  The scriptures aren't notable for their objection to slavery either.  In fact, many times when slavery comes up in the Bible it's treated like normal life.  Paul even tells slaves to obey their masters, doesn't he?  If the Bible is the word of God, the guiding source of morality, why didn't it mention that the practice of slavery was evil?

Nobody suggests "killing babies" to obtain stem cells unless you take the Catholic version that a conjoined sperm cell and egg cell are a "baby."

On condoms, the Pope was probably right about the impact widespread condom use might have.  It did make it easier and more convenient and less risky to engage in premarital and extramarital sex.  The absence of a fear that every instance of sex could result in a pregnancy probably did make it psychologically easier for men to treat women as sex objects.  But what you fail to recognize is the benefit society got from prophylactics.  You can't just look at the negative consequences.  You also have to look at the positive consequences.  Assuming extramarital sex is wrong--which for purposes of this argument only I'll give you--people are going to do it anyway.  But if you allow for condom use, they'll be less likely to spread disease.  It is less likely that unwanted children will be conceived.  In other words, the consequences of wrong extramarital sex are magnified.  And they are magnified not because people are having sex, but because your policy deprives them of the means to have safer sex.  I'm not saying safe sex, but safer sex.  It's like refusing to ban guns on the theory that an unarmed populace would be more likely to get into fistfights.  You are forcing the consequences of predictable sexual behavior to be more risky.  That's no way to discourage sin. That's just a way to make sin worse.

As far as the example of China is concerned, I would agree with you that the Chinese policy of interfering in peoples' private family and sexual decisions is wrong.  That policy didn't arise out of the availibilty of condoms.

As to where the Spirit lies, I don't know where the spirit lies.  But why should I believe you and why should you believe me?  I don't ask you to believe in my spiritual experience.  That's just my explanation.  If the divine wanted you to have such an experience, s/he would have given it to you.  Why do you believe your spiritual experience is for everyone?

Thandarr

 


Vastet
atheistBloggerSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 13210
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: No. You

StMichael wrote:

No. You are already excommunicated according to the Code of Canon Law, "Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3." One could not be further censured.  

I regret your decision to leave the Church and I pray that someday you will return.

Yours In Christ, Eternal wisdom,

StMichael

PS - I still recommend speaking to that priest. I encourage you to tell him whatever difficulties you have with the Catholic faith and I am sure that he would be happy to oblige.

Sweet. Good stuff to know.

Though you might want to reconsider your recommendation to speak to a priest. Last priest-type-guy I spoke to about religion ended up turning his back on it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Taken literally

Quote:

Taken literally [meaning that everything in scripture is a report of fact], the scriptures are indefensible.  That's why not only modern Catholics but apparently even pretty early Catholics didn't interpret the scriptures that way.

But taken "spiritually" the scriptures are incomprehensible.  They have to have more meaning than you can get from the printed word.  But what other meaning do I add to them?  Unless I decide to take dogma as a starting point and see if I can force what I read into scripture into that format, it is hard to figure out what the value is.  If I do that, I hardly need the scriptures to help me reach that point.

I don't get what you are getting at here. The dogma is not necessarily the lens through which we read Scripture, as if it were a Procrustean bed to which we bend Scripture. Rather, through faith we realize that God inspired the Scriptures with His truth and that this truth (from which we get dogma) is found in Scripture as its source. The proper explanation of the text requires faith in its author and principles.

I also point out that one does require some principles in the spiritual and literal (for we do interpret the Scriptures literally, especially in the New Testament) interpretation of Scripture. You will inevitably force your own preconcieved notion of what Scripture says on the text if you do not accept faith's. And then, as in modern Protestantism, the problem is that everyone becomes his own pope.

Quote:

I don't think the church can escape its responsibilty for those persecutions.  Temples were destroyed and churches were built on their sites.

First, the article is from Wikipedia, which indicates that it is not a necessarily trustworthy source. I wouldn't put my academic eggs in that basket. I agree that the emperors, especially Theodosius, dictated many laws that led to the final end of paganism, but the decline was inevitable regardless of this new change. People were happy for paganism to be gone and done with. The pagans were a dead breed before Theodosius. A lot of his action was unenforced and his actions were mostly to remove any privledged position that paganism continued to have in Roman government. One of these is that a pagan temple no longer benefits from public tax monies. Also, another is the establishment of Sunday as a holiday (which, by custom and some law, happens to be the same in the USA). One must finally realize that the emperor was the Pontifex Maximus of the pagan religion even though he was Christian; paganism and the state had become inextricably wound together. It was really in his right to dissolve paganism altogether, if the emperor so wished. However, I would point out that toleration tended to be the general policy in Rome toward pagans. Paganism imploded of its own internal momentum.

 

Quote:

I don't think the Church was notable for its objection to slavery, but we can go back further.  The scriptures aren't notable for their objection to slavery either.  In fact, many times when slavery comes up in the Bible it's treated like normal life.  Paul even tells slaves to obey their masters, doesn't he?  If the Bible is the word of God, the guiding source of morality, why didn't it mention that the practice of slavery was evil?

My post, I believed, addressed some of the concerns mentioned. Slavery was a necessary evil of the time, and hence was tolerated. But even in the laws of the Old Testament, slaves were to be treated well and without predjudice, recieving their due wages and leisure (Exodus 21, Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15:21, and Deuteronomy 24:15). Further, even in Paul's writings where slavery is mentioned, it is merely tolerated as a necessary evil, building on previous Jewish thought (as Paul was a Jew before a Christian). Further, Christianity laid the foundation that was used to finally overturn the institution in Saint Paul, where all are "neither slave nor free...all are one in Christ Jesus...." The pagans of the time of early Christianity often mocked the Christian religion for its treatment of slaves: Cicero, "De off.", I, xlii; Pro Flacco", xviii; "pro domo", xxxiii; Suetonius, "Claudius, xxii; Seneca, "De beneficiis", xviii; Valerius Maximus, V, ii, 10. Further, we can even see that in Christian cemeteries there was no difference between a free tomb and a slave tomb. Each were equal in God's eyes. This became the foundation for the eventual elimination of slavery.

Quote:

 Nobody suggests "killing babies" to obtain stem cells unless you take the Catholic version that a conjoined sperm cell and egg cell are a "baby."

But you are doing just that. Even if you maintained that you thought it improbable that a human life does not begin at conception, it would nevertheless be murder in intent if you chose to destroy this possible life. This is true if, for example, I fire a gun in a dark and possibly crowded room: I could, but not necessarily will, kill people and my allowance of such an evil makes me likewise guilty of their death. In matters of early life, we might argue that we cannot say for certain whether it is life at early stages, but that does not justify our destruction of it for the same reason: we could quite possibly be wrong, and, if we are, we murder an innocent life.

Quote:

On condoms, the Pope was probably right about the impact widespread condom use might have.  It did make it easier and more convenient and less risky to engage in premarital and extramarital sex.  The absence of a fear that every instance of sex could result in a pregnancy probably did make it psychologically easier for men to treat women as sex objects. 

And you like birth control...because?

 

Quote:

 But what you fail to recognize is the benefit society got from prophylactics.  You can't just look at the negative consequences.  You also have to look at the positive consequences. 

I want to stop you here for a second. It is not just the consequences, but the intrinsic character of the act that determines its morality. If the act is morally evil, no number of positive or external factors can make it right. To put it colloquially, "the ends do not justify the means."

Quote:
 

Assuming extramarital sex is wrong--which for purposes of this argument only I'll give you--people are going to do it anyway. 

People will kill people anyway. Eliminate laws about homicide and watch the fun.

Quote:
 

But if you allow for condom use, they'll be less likely to spread disease. 

Not proven at all. The more promiscuous you are, regardless of condom use, increases your chance of spreading disease. Further, evil means cannot justify a good end. Further, it plays Russian roulette with life ("I could, but not necessarily will spread AIDS to you and kill you if I wear a condom; let's get it on&quotEye-wink and makes one morally culpable in the long run

Quote:
.  

  It is less likely that unwanted children will be conceived. 

Abstinence does a better job and its cheaper. Further, natural family planning is just as effective. Further, no evil means to a good end. 

Quote:

  It's like refusing to ban guns on the theory that an unarmed populace would be more likely to get into fistfights. 

I find the notion that one ought to ban personal firearms rather preposterous, regardless of this debate, so this does not provide a good analogy with me. Further, there is no good link between your analogy and the reality of what we are talking about.

Quote:
 

  You are forcing the consequences of predictable sexual behavior to be more risky. 

Phooey! It is made more risky by condoms and birth control. How risky is sex today versus 100 years ago? Not that we ought to "go back," but I think it does not suffice to say that sex is "safe" or even "safer" now.

Further, abstinence and natural family planning can do just the trick. If everyone listened to the Church, humanity would be much better off...

Quote:
 

 That's no way to discourage sin. That's just a way to make sin worse.

Legalize homicide, again.

Quote:

As far as the example of China is concerned, I would agree with you that the Chinese policy of interfering in peoples' private family and sexual decisions is wrong.  That policy didn't arise out of the availibilty of condoms.

Did it now? I think it is the same mindset. Birth control and Planned Parenthood existed initially with eugenic theories in mind in order to eliminate blacks, homosexuals, and the mentally retarded. Do you see a parallel?

Quote:

As to where the Spirit lies, I don't know where the spirit lies.  But why should I believe you and why should you believe me?  I don't ask you to believe in my spiritual experience.  That's just my explanation.  If the divine wanted you to have such an experience, s/he would have given it to you.  Why do you believe your spiritual experience is for everyone? 

Because my faith is not based in a "spiritual experience." My faith is in what God has revealed and what He has given to me to know by my reason. The truth is the same for everyone, regardless of whatever experiences they have.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

PS - I encourage you to speak to a priest, as I said to some people here. They might be able to answer your questions more effectively and more personally than I can. Further, what harm can result? Smiling

 

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


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: The basic

StMichael wrote:

The basic problem is that you misunderstand the idea of 'motion' as I use it in the proof. Motion is the movement from potency to acutality in the absolute sense, not limited to material, "local" motion.

Motion is a physical phenomenon. It's observable every day, and it makes sense. The "motion" which you are referring to, which is not physical, sounds to me like nonsense. Though, looking back at Aristotle, it does seem to be consistent with what he said.

StMichael wrote:

The universe needs to come into being. Thus, it needs a first mover to "move" it from the state of possible existence to actual existence.

The problem is that this explanation fails to actually explain anything. How did the unmoved mover come to exist? He couldn't bring himself into existence, he would have to exist already to do that. Couldn't whatever magical property you give to him, hypotheically, be given to the universe itself? This isn't an explanation, it's just moving the problem.

StMichael wrote:

Aristotle discovered the Christian God.

That isn't quite how it happened. Christians came to revere the Greek philosophers, and so they tried to steal their ideas for their god. It's true, he did invent a form of monotheism, but Christianity's god has scriptures, and churches, and heaven, and hell, and Satan, and Jesus, and a whole bunch of things that Aristotle didn't mention. You could say with just as much truth that aristotle discovered the Muslim god.

Consider this. Aristotle claimed that the unmoved mover would be unmoving. You claim to define this as god. Christians claim that Jesus was God. Jesus was described in the Bible as moving on many occassions. Therefore, Jesus could not be both God, and a living, breathing, moving man.

StMichael wrote:
I object to the fact that you have to interject and call Him, "a figment of someone else's imagination." You can argue that is so, but it is purely unnecessary and begs the question if you do so here.

It would beg the question, if it were part of my main point. However, it was in parentheses because it was not part of my main point. It was a simple acknowledgement that I cannot guess in full detail what the god that you believe in is like.

StMichael wrote:

Except that vacuum fluctuations require a vacuum to exist in. And a vacuum is not truly a vacuum where it exists in space. Space has being, even if it is devoid of matter.

Well, that's just an example of a way that things can come into existence with physical motion.

StMichael wrote:

Except that science can never answer a metaphysical question about the origin and dependence of being itself. That is proper to metaphysics.

It's true that science can't address metaphysical questions. But that means there's no way to verify metaphysical theories, which means that believing in any metaphysical theory is a leap of faith. Reasonable sounding theories can be wrong, and unreasonable sounding ones can be right. In situations where we can't use science to confirm or reject theories, it's really just a bunch of guessing, no matter how intelligently done. If I did guess about metaphysical questions, which generally I don't, I would not elevate that guess to belief status, because it can't be proven.

StMichael wrote:

It is not a long way to move in this direction. There are many reasons, but I wish to merely point out that the Christian and Jewish religions identify their God with the first cause of the universe explicitly many places in Sacred Scripture, as well as by official teaching of the Catholic Church.

Well, if you want to define your god as the unmoved mover, that's fine. However, many Christians would object to that definition, because they base their faith on the Bible. Protestents do not accept the book of Sirach as canon, nor do Jews (although it is occassionally quoted in the Talmud). You aren't required to conform to the ideas of other Christians, but the fact that not all Christians and Jews agree with your definition deserves to be mentioned. Christianity would be unrecognizable if it did not include Jesus, and the Jesus myth is incompatible with the belief that god is the unmoved mover.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Motion is a

Quote:
Motion is a physical phenomenon. It's observable every day, and it makes sense. The "motion" which you are referring to, which is not physical, sounds to me like nonsense. Though, looking back at Aristotle, it does seem to be consistent with what he said.

Motion, as defined here, is what is meant in modern terms by "change."

Quote:

The problem is that this explanation fails to actually explain anything. How did the unmoved mover come to exist? He couldn't bring himself into existence, he would have to exist already to do that. Couldn't whatever magical property you give to him, hypotheically, be given to the universe itself? This isn't an explanation, it's just moving the problem.

No, God is uncaused. That is precisely the point. Nothing causes God, or can cause Him. He must be purely the cause of all other things. Nothing could exist if there was no such first cause. His existence would have to be part of His essence (it is identical with His essence, as we can see later). We have to maintain this existence of a first cause, otherwise nothing would be able to exist.

Quote:

 

That isn't quite how it happened. Christians came to revere the Greek philosophers, and so they tried to steal their ideas for their god. It's true, he did invent a form of monotheism, but Christianity's god has scriptures, and churches, and heaven, and hell, and Satan, and Jesus, and a whole bunch of things that Aristotle didn't mention. You could say with just as much truth that aristotle discovered the Muslim god.

The Christian faith has more things than Aristotle because it has Revelation, which is not humanly discoverable. Aristotle discovered the truth able to be known naturally.

Quote:

Consider this. Aristotle claimed that the unmoved mover would be unmoving. You claim to define this as god. Christians claim that Jesus was God. Jesus was described in the Bible as moving on many occassions. Therefore, Jesus could not be both God, and a living, breathing, moving man.

That is very superficial. There are many senses in which we apply these terms. Jesus is God, but not God in the sense that every human action of His is an action in His divine nature. Jesus is a "hypostatic union" between God and man; Jesus Christ is the same Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as well as the same person who lived in Palestine in ~1 AD. He possesses a divine nature and a human nature, a divine intellect and a human intellect, a divine will and a human will. Every time Christ acts, He does not necessarily act in His divine nature, though He is God. God, in His nature, is unmoving, unchanging, and eternal. Christ is both man and God, and so acts as both. If He has change in Him, it is in His human nature. This is basic Christian doctrine.

Quote:

 

It's true that science can't address metaphysical questions. But that means there's no way to verify metaphysical theories, which means that believing in any metaphysical theory is a leap of faith.

Logic proves and disproves metaphysical theories. It is not a leap of faith or pure speculation. It is clear that one can logically establish a propositon. I can say many things that are not empirically verified, but that is not to say that they are not true. They are not pure speculation.

Quote:

Well, if you want to define your god as the unmoved mover, that's fine. However, many Christians would object to that definition, because they base their faith on the Bible.

And that is how the Scriptures define God. Also, I am a Catholic and not a Protestant, which is sufficent enough to prove that the God in which our faith believes is understood to be defined as such in Scripture and is taught as such by the Church.

Quote:
 

Protestents do not accept the book of Sirach as canon, nor do Jews (although it is occassionally quoted in the Talmud).

Except that God is defined as prime cause ALL OVER Scripture, not just in the book of Sirach. One limited example outside of Sirach: "Wisdom 1:14. For he created all things that they might be." I also point to the opening verse of Genesis: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Lastly, the Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through Him and through Him was made nothing that has not been made."

Quote:

Christianity would be unrecognizable if it did not include Jesus, and the Jesus myth is incompatible with the belief that god is the unmoved mover.

I quote John again: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through Him and through Him was made nothing that has not been made... And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us."
No incompatibility exists. Justify your position.

 

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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: No, God

StMichael wrote:

No, God is uncaused. That is precisely the point. Nothing causes God, or can cause Him.

Yes, this is precisely the point. Why does god get a special exepmtion from the need for a cause? What is the difference between god and the Universe that makes it more satisfactory to say that god does not need a cause. Please explain. It's not good enough to just claim that he doesn't need a cause when the universe does. Perhaps the entire first cause model is broken.

StMichael wrote:
The Christian faith has more things than Aristotle because it has Revelation, which is not humanly discoverable.

"Revelation", otherwise known as making stuff up and telling people they're going to hell if they don't believe you without evidence.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:
Consider this. Aristotle claimed that the unmoved mover would be unmoving. You claim to define this as god. Christians claim that Jesus was God. Jesus was described in the Bible as moving on many occassions. Therefore, Jesus could not be both God, and a living, breathing, moving man.

That is very superficial. There are many senses in which we apply these terms. Jesus is God, but not God in the sense that every human action of His is an action in His divine nature. Jesus is a "hypostatic union" between God and man; Jesus Christ is the same Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as well as the same person who lived in Palestine in ~1 AD. He possesses a divine nature and a human nature, a divine intellect and a human intellect, a divine will and a human will. Every time Christ acts, He does not necessarily act in His divine nature, though He is God. God, in His nature, is unmoving, unchanging, and eternal. Christ is both man and God, and so acts as both. If He has change in Him, it is in His human nature. This is basic Christian doctrine.

The problem with that is that you have defined 'god' to contradict 'man'. As god, he can't move or change. So, how could he be born as man without changing? The fact that it's basic doctrine doesn't make it automatically make sense.

StMichael wrote:
Logic proves and disproves metaphysical theories. It is not a leap of faith or pure speculation. It is clear that one can logically establish a propositon.

The problem with just using logic is that you can't really know for sure that you're right. Your whole metaphysical model could be wrong. Perhaps existence is intrinsic in the nature of a universe.

 

StMichael wrote:
And that is how the Scriptures define God. Also, I am a Catholic and not a Protestant, which is sufficent enough to prove that the God in which our faith believes is understood to be defined as such in Scripture and is taught as such by the Church.

I know you're a catholic, and I don't expect you to defend all gods, but the way you stated your case as if all Christians and Jews think the same way.

StMichael wrote:
I quote John again: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through Him and through Him was made nothing that has not been made... And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us."
No incompatibility exists. Justify your position.

"The word" cannot be made something with changing. God cannot change if he is the unmoved mover.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Why does god get a

Quote:

Why does god get a special exepmtion from the need for a cause?

First, it would be good to point out that we are not identifying God with the First Cause as an already known thing. We do not know naturally what God is, and all our knowledge of Him comes from our knowledge of the First Cause. I just want to point this out, because people often get confused.

Second, because there merely needs to be one uncaused cause in order to move all other beings that are in motion. Nothing can be self-moved and everything that is in motion requires a mover; hence, an unmoved mover is logically necessary.

Quote:

"Revelation", otherwise known as making stuff up and telling people they're going to hell if they don't believe you without evidence.

I dislike assertions without justification. The Catholic Church neither "makes up" truths of faith, nor does it not require evidence (in a general sense - all Revelation cannot be proven/demonstrated naturally, but that is not to say it has no evidence), nor do we tell people that they are going to hell necessarily as a result of rejecting Revelation, nor do we use fear of the pains of hell to convince people of the truth of the faith (as this would make no sense, as the unbeliever does not accept the existence of hell in the first place).

Quote:

The problem with that is that you have defined 'god' to contradict 'man'. As god, he can't move or change. So, how could he be born as man without changing? The fact that it's basic doctrine doesn't make it automatically make sense.

Yes, God and man are rather different substances. But God does not change as a result of assuming human nature. He remains perfect without gaining or losing anything as a result of assuming human nature. The Word subsists in the human nature it assumed, but the Word was not changedas a result. All change occured in Christ's human nature (for example, moving the body, acting in time, reasoning by discursive reasoning).

Quote:

The problem with just using logic is that you can't really know for sure that you're right. Your whole metaphysical model could be wrong. Perhaps existence is intrinsic in the nature of a universe.

You are using logic to disprove my logic. You must obviously not be able to know for certain if you are correct.

However, this is not the case. Logic deals with necessary propositions, where certainty is exact. Thus, our deductions that follow the rules of logic in certainty are likewise certain.

Lastly, existence cannot be intrinsic to the universe. Again, no mover can move itself in the same respect. Also, the first mover must be purely in act, with no potentiality (for which the universe does not suffice).

Quote:

"The word" cannot be made something with changing. God cannot change if he is the unmoved mover.

The last phrase is quite true; God cannot change. However, as I point out, the first premise here is faulty. The Word does not change as a result of its union with human nature. The Word is not changed in its nature, but in its person. The Word subsists in the individual human nature, while the Word does not suffer addition or subtraction as a result.

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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: First, it

StMichael wrote:

First, it would be good to point out that we are not identifying God with the First Cause as an already known thing. We do not know naturally what God is, and all our knowledge of Him comes from our knowledge of the First Cause. I just want to point this out, because people often get confused.

So, you don't know anything about god? The Muslims could be right, or the Jews, or a theistic religion that hasn't been invented yet? God could be unintelligent, could have no concern for humans, could have created the universe accidentally.

StMichael wrote:

Second, because there merely needs to be one uncaused cause in order to move all other beings that are in motion. Nothing can be self-moved and everything that is in motion requires a mover; hence, an unmoved mover is logically necessary.

And, everything that gives motion to something else must be moving (or changing) in some way. How can god put something into motion without moving himself? The only way would be to grant him another special exemption from normal rules that everything else follows.

StMichael wrote:

I dislike assertions without justification. The Catholic Church neither "makes up" truths of faith, nor does it not require evidence (in a general sense - all Revelation cannot be proven/demonstrated naturally, but that is not to say it has no evidence), nor do we tell people that they are going to hell necessarily as a result of rejecting Revelation, nor do we use fear of the pains of hell to convince people of the truth of the faith (as this would make no sense, as the unbeliever does not accept the existence of hell in the first place).

Ok, then cite evidence for some part of Christian faith. Something that couldn't just as easily be a delusion. You can pick the topic, but I'd be especially interrested in how you know that the revelations come from the unmoved mover.

StMichael wrote:

Yes, God and man are rather different substances. But God does not change as a result of assuming human nature.He remains perfect without gaining or losing anything as a result of assuming human nature. The Word subsists in the human nature it assumed, but the Word was not changedas a result. All change occured in Christ's human nature (for example, moving the body, acting in time, reasoning by discursive reasoning).

I just don't see how one thing can be two different things at the same time. What connection could exist between a physical, flesh and blood human, and the transcendant unmoved mover?

StMichael wrote:

You are using logic to disprove my logic. You must obviously not be able to know for certain if you are correct.

I am attacking the logic of your claim with logic, in a situation where we started with no evidence in any direction, with the intention of undermining the foundation of your model, which is pure logic. In this case, I am not trying to prove anything by logic alone, I'm just trying to undermine and disprove your theory.

I also proposed an alternative to your metaphysical model, built upon logic alone. I did not ask you to believe my metaphysical model in which the universe is sufficient for its own existence, I only offered it as one possible alternative to your model in which there must be an umoved mover. There are other possible models, and since there is no evidence for any of them, I don't believe a single one. For instance, there could be an infinite regress of causes, with one universe causing another forever. However, the proof of god's existence by motion relies on the unmoved mover being the only possibility, which ties this line of thought back into my first approach.

Beyond those, if you would like evidence to support other positive claims that I have made, please ask.

StMichael wrote:
Also, the first mover must be purely in act, with no potentiality (for which the universe does not suffice).

Why? Doesn't creating a universe demonstrate some potential?

StMichael wrote:

The last phrase is quite true; God cannot change. However, as I point out, the first premise here is faulty. The Word does not change as a result of its union with human nature. The Word is not changed in its nature, but in its person.

But "the word" is changed in its person. That's still change.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: So, you don't know

Quote:

So, you don't know anything about god? The Muslims could be right, or the Jews, or a theistic religion that hasn't been invented yet? God could be unintelligent, could have no concern for humans, could have created the universe accidentally.

I did not say that we can not know anything about God. I said that we do not have an a priori knowledge of God (you didn't pop out of the womb with an natural knowledge that God is, say, Triune). We can't work forwards from some definition we already have, because God's essence (what He is) is unknown to us naturally. We begin with the world around us. We see things in motion and conclude that an unmoved mover is necessary. We call it God because this term is commonly used to designate a cause or ruler of the universe. It is a posteriori.

Further, God is intelligent and possesses a will. He futher intentionally and freely wills all things into existence. We know this from the natural proof that God exists; He must be the First Cause. As the First Cause, we know that God must purely be in act, with no potency (no lack of anything else), because otherwise He could not be the first cause. As pure act, He possesses an intellect and will because He is purely immaterial and contains all possible forms. He tends toward things and this is what "will" is. He furthermore creates the universe by thinking Himself and the things He wishes to create from His own mind. God could not, looking at philosophy's knowledge about Him, create merely accidentally.

Quote:

And, everything that gives motion to something else must be moving (or changing) in some way. How can god put something into motion without moving himself? The only way would be to grant him another special exemption from normal rules that everything else follows.

But I never said that anything that gives motion must itself be in motion. I said that things in motion need a mover. God is not in motion, but causes motion in everything else.

Quote:

Ok, then cite evidence for some part of Christian faith. Something that couldn't just as easily be a delusion. You can pick the topic, but I'd be especially interrested in how you know that the revelations come from the unmoved mover.

I quote the First Vatican Council (an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church and infallible for that reason):

(From the Fourth Chapter of the Canons and Decrees of the Council, edited by Fr. Norman Tanner. S.J) 

 

The perpetual agreement of the catholic church has maintained and maintains this too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source, but also as regards its object.

With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other level by divine faith. With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, are incapable of being known.

Wherefore, when the Apostle, who witnesses that God was known to the gentiles from created things [29] , comes to treat of the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ [30] , he declares: We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this. God has revealed it to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God [31] . And the Only-begotten himself, in his confession to the Father, acknowledges that the Father has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to the little ones [32] .

Now reason, does indeed when it seeks persistently, piously and soberly, achieve by God's gift some understanding, and that most profitable, of the mysteries, whether by analogy from what it knows naturally, or from the connexion of these mysteries with one another and with the final end of humanity; but reason is never rendered capable of penetrating these mysteries in the way in which it penetrates those truths which form its proper object. For the divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created understanding that, even when a revelation has been given and accepted by faith, they remain covered by the veil of that same faith and wrapped, as it were, in a certain obscurity, as long as in this mortal life we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, and not by sight [33].

Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith, and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason.

God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. The appearance of this kind of specious contradiction is chiefly due to the fact that either the dogmas of faith are not understood and explained in accordance with the mind of the church, or unsound views are mistaken for the conclusions of reason.

Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false [34] . Furthermore the church which, together with its apostolic office of teaching, has received the charge of preserving the deposit of faith, has by divine appointment the right and duty of condemning what wrongly passes for knowledge, lest anyone be led astray by philosophy and empty deceit [35] .

Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.

Hence, so far is the church from hindering the development of human arts and studies, that in fact she assists and promotes them in many ways. For she is neither ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life, rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace. Nor does the church forbid these studies to employ, each within its own area, its own proper principles and method: but while she admits this just freedom, she takes particular care that they do not become infected with errors by conflicting with divine teaching, or, by going beyond their proper limits, intrude upon what belongs to faith and engender confusion. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

 

Quote:

I just don't see how one thing can be two different things at the same time. What connection could exist between a physical, flesh and blood human, and the transcendant unmoved mover?

The link is in the Person of the Word of God, the Person who is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ possessed both the Godhead and was truly a man with a body and a soul.

This is what the Church early on defined as the "hypostatic union."

The union itself is a great mystery of God's love for us that He should take on our nature.

Quote:

I am attacking the logic of your claim with logic, in a situation where we started with no evidence in any direction, with the intention of undermining the foundation of your model, which is pure logic. In this case, I am not trying to prove anything by logic alone, I'm just trying to undermine and disprove your theory.

In which case, you must use logic to do so.

Quote:

I also proposed an alternative to your metaphysical model, built upon logic alone. I did not ask you to believe my metaphysical model in which the universe is sufficient for its own existence, I only offered it as one possible alternative to your model in which there must be an umoved mover. There are other possible models, and since there is no evidence for any of them, I don't believe a single one. For instance, there could be an infinite regress of causes, with one universe causing another forever. However, the proof of god's existence by motion relies on the unmoved mover being the only possibility, which ties this line of thought back into my first approach.

However, logic rejects this as impossible. This is proof. If your model or my model contradicts itself, it cannot exist. My proof merely draws on what we know to draw logically necessary conclusions. It is not as if I am purely speculating with no evidence at all. The logic itself is evidence which demands assent.

 

Quote:

Why? Doesn't creating a universe demonstrate some potential?

The terms "act" and "potency" denote a possession or lack of being in some respect. Act indicates being, while potency designates a lack of being in some thing. Not 'potential' in the sense of "power" or "promise."

The universe has potentiality in it and thus cannot be the Prime Mover. The Prime Mover, by definition as the Prime Mover, cannot be in potency (as this designates having been moved in respect to some other thing). The Prime Mover must, on the contrary, be purely Act without potency at all.

 

Quote:

But "the word" is changed in its person. That's still change.

The Person never changes at all. It unites itself with human nature, but it does not change. The Person of the Word is itself unaffected by its union with human nature. The human nature might undergoe change in time, but the Word is outside of time and cannot change at all.

 

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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: I did not

StMichael wrote:

I did not say that we can not know anything about God. I said that we do not have an a priori knowledge of God (you didn't pop out of the womb with an natural knowledge that God is, say, Triune). We can't work forwards from some definition we already have, because God's essence (what He is) is unknown to us naturally.

You can have 'revelations'. You can read and hear about the revelations that other people, some long dead, have had. But you can't objectively prove that the revelations you've had are right, with solid evidence, nor can you explain why different people at different times in different theistic religions have had conflicting revelations. I call that not knowing.

StMichael wrote:
He must be the First Cause. As the First Cause, we know that God must purely be in act, with no potency (no lack of anything else), because otherwise He could not be the first cause.

Or, there may be no first cause. It is entirely possible that there is an infinite regress of causes, such that you never reach a first one. It would certainly make more sense than claiming that god somehow does not need a cause when the Universe does.

StMichael wrote:

But I never said that anything that gives motion must itself be in motion. I said that things in motion need a mover. God is not in motion, but causes motion in everything else.

No, you never said that. I said that. How could the unmoved mover create a universe without moving to do so? If it requires some act on his part, then it requires a movement, or a change, even if it's just a thought.

StMichael wrote:

I quote the First Vatican Council (an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church and infallible for that reason):

Reason H. Logic! I ask for evidence, in response to your claim that you don't accept 'revelation' without evidence, and you respond with dogma. Nothing, and no one is infalllible. The sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be.

StMichael wrote:

(From the Fourth Chapter of the Canons and Decrees of the Council, edited by Fr. Norman Tanner. S.J) 

 

The perpetual agreement of the catholic church has maintained and maintains this too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source, but also as regards its object.

With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other level by divine faith. With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, are incapable of being known.

Earlier, you said "The Catholic Church neither 'makes up' truths of faith, nor does it not require evidence". The above seems to contradict that. It states that catholics know thing in two ways, by natural reason and by divine faith, neither of which are evidence. So, evidence is not required for catholics to believe in a revelation and since this is an infallible document, you are required to believe in the twofold order of knowledge.

StMichael wrote:

Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false [34].

Wow, this is really cheating. You cannot define an assertion as 'totally false', just as you can't define all assertions that contradict the redness of the sky as false.

StMichael wrote:
Nor does the church forbid these studies to employ, each within its own area, its own proper principles and method: but while she admits this just freedom, she takes particular care that they do not become infected with errors by conflicting with divine teaching, or, by going beyond their proper limits, intrude upon what belongs to faith and engender confusion. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

This kind of thinking is exactly what caused so much trouble for Galileo. It's a pitty the catholic church has gone to such great lengths to suppress science that doesn't fit it's narrow dogma.

StMichael wrote:

The union itself is a great mystery of God's love for us that He should take on our nature.

Not much of a mystery. A prostitute gets pregnant, panics, and she and her fiance claim that god made her pregnant, and gives birth to a new religion along with her bastard child. That's the most obvious explanation. It's amazing what people will do to avoid being stoned to death. Of course, some people wish to believe the prostitute's story, based on faith, and develop an entire theology around it.

StMichael wrote:

In which case, you must use logic to do so.

One of the ways that I am attacking your 'proof' is by attacking the internal logic of the metaphysical model you propose. I never said I was opposed to logic, only that logic alone cannot prove the existence of something. The only case in which logic alone can prove anything is if logic can eliminate all other possibilities. Usually, this is impossible, or at least very difficult, and I think this is one of those cases. Only observation, evidence, can choose one logical model and suggest that it is better then competing models that have only their logical consistency. I argue that your argument does not even have standing to compete on this basis because god needs to have potential to act in order to do anything, for instance to create the universe.

The second way that I am attacking your proof is by proposing possible alternatives to your model. One example of this is the model which allows the universe to be its own basis for existence. Another is the model in which there is not first cause, but rather an infinite regress of causes. As long as there are still other possibilities, your metaphysical model does not prove the existence of god, no matter how internally consistent it may be. The concept of a first cause is not a given.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: You can have

Quote:

You can have 'revelations'. You can read and hear about the revelations that other people, some long dead, have had. But you can't objectively prove that the revelations you've had are right, with solid evidence, nor can you explain why different people at different times in different theistic religions have had conflicting revelations. I call that not knowing.

What does this have to do with what I said? I said that a priori knowledge of God is impossible, naturally speaking. Our a posteriori knowledge of God does not come from Revelation, but from observation of the world and natural inquiry proceeding with logic (natural reason).

In the second place, I never claimed a personal revelation.

Third, I believe I can have certain knowledge that God has revealed something due to the testimony of other people. For example, I know one of the persons to whom happened one of the miracles that was used in the canonization of Saint Edith Stein (a philosophy professor in Germany who became a Carmelite nun and was martyred by the Nazis). This Eastern rite Catholic priests with 12 children was with his wife somewhere else and his youngest daughter ingested somewhere between 70-100 tablets of Tylenol. She, of course, was severly poisoned and her demise was imminent (10 pills will kill someone my age, and she was younger than 6). Her parents found her like this and they took her to the hosptial. She was going to die without a doubt from liver shutdown and so forth. Her parents immediately called most of their friends to pray to Edith Stein for a miracle. Within an half-hour or so of the prayers, the swelling disappeared and her charts became perfectly normal. The doctors, of which there were many who testified at the canonization process of various beliefs (atheists, Jewish, Hindu, Moslem, ect.), all testified that her cure was naturally impossible. This is a simple example of something that only God can do and hence a miracle. These are the sources from which I believe one can draw a reasonable certainty that God has revealed certain truths as true.

Quote:
     

Or, there may be no first cause. It is entirely possible that there is an infinite regress of causes, such that you never reach a first one. It would certainly make more sense than claiming that god somehow does not need a cause when the Universe does.

If no first efficent cause exists, no further effects can exist. If no first mover exists, nothing can be in motion. If no necessary being exists, no possible beings can exist.

 

Quote:

No, you never said that. I said that. How could the unmoved mover create a universe without moving to do so? If it requires some act on his part, then it requires a movement, or a change, even if it's just a thought.

It does not require a change. The Prime Mover is constantly in act without change at all. It is pure being. It is further logically necessary that this be so if the universe is said to exist.

Quote:

Reason H. Logic! I ask for evidence, in response to your claim that you don't accept 'revelation' without evidence, and you respond with dogma.

I was showing that I do not accept revelation without evidence. My dogma is evidence enough, because that is what it states. My religion accepts that as a truth: Revelation has reasonable evidence behind it and cannot be in conflict with truth of reason.

I may have misinterpreted you comment to mean: "Show me that the Catholic faith does not accept things without evidence." 

In which case, the existence of God is precisely what I am proving and is knowable to natural reason apart from being part of the body of things believed by Catholics.

Quote:

Nothing, and no one is infalllible. The sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be.

I can just as easily say: "The Catholic Church is infallible. The sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be." No justification offered for your position.

Quote:

Earlier, you said "The Catholic Church neither 'makes up' truths of faith, nor does it not require evidence". The above seems to contradict that. It states that catholics know thing in two ways, by natural reason and by divine faith, neither of which are evidence.

 Natural reason is not evidence? Sad

Well, too bad trying to disprove this, because your natural reason cannot be evidence that my position is untrue.

Quote:

So, evidence is not required for catholics to believe in a revelation and since this is an infallible document, you are required to believe in the twofold order of knowledge.

Evidence is required to believe in Revelation, but it does not make the truths of Revelation demonstrable with certainty. Only a reasonable certainty exists in accepting Revelation. Further, yes, I do accept this position on faith. But I can likewise accept this on reason because it is not strictly something that is a matter of faith.

 

Quote:

Wow, this is really cheating. You cannot define an assertion as 'totally false', just as you can't define all assertions that contradict the redness of the sky as false.

Except that we know with certainty that God cannot lie. The definition is for the benefit of those who accept the truth of the Catholic faith, not for people who do not. It does not apply to you (at least, not yet Smiling ).

Quote:

This kind of thinking is exactly what caused so much trouble for Galileo. It's a pitty the catholic church has gone to such great lengths to suppress science that doesn't fit it's narrow dogma.

Science cannot ever contradict faith because they both have the same source. If science ever claims that it does, it is either bad science or overreaching its bounds. It is a matter of natural reason, more than faith.

Further, Galilleo's trial has a lot of modern presumptions. Galilleo was tried not on the grounds that his science contradicted faith, but on the grounds that he had been obstinate in promoting a point of view in a way detrimental to the honor of the Church and other scientists (his book unintentionally made the other position look foolish) and that it did not present the position as hypothesis (which it was; further, we do not believe the sun to be stationary today either). Galilleo himself never intended to do dishonor to the Church and recanted any dishonor he did. His daughter was a nun, and his own point of view was precisely my own: science and faith can never contradict. Most of his attackers were scientists of his own day, who attacked his position of helicentrism based on their scientific evidence. The main reason he was punished was because he was acting outside of his proper field. I point out that Galilleo accepted his sentence.

Quote:

Not much of a mystery. A prostitute gets pregnant, panics, and she and her fiance claim that god made her pregnant, and gives birth to a new religion along with her bastard child. That's the most obvious explanation.

But unsupported by a shred of evidence.

Quote:

One of the ways that I am attacking your 'proof' is by attacking the internal logic of the metaphysical model you propose. I never said I was opposed to logic, only that logic alone cannot prove the existence of something.

That is nonsense. Logic proves a great deal. Mathematical truths prove a great deal. If you want to, you can proceed to show me how mathematics does not have importance.

 

Quote:
 

The only case in which logic alone can prove anything is if logic can eliminate all other possibilities.

This seems a totally arbitrary standard.

Quote:
 

I argue that your argument does not even have standing to compete on this basis because god needs to have potential to act in order to do anything, for instance to create the universe.

God cannot have potency. If X has potency, the potency indicates that X is in potency in regard to Y. Then, Y is in act on X. In which case Y is the first cause, and not X. Hence, Y is God, and not X.  

Quote:

The second way that I am attacking your proof is by proposing possible alternatives to your model. One example of this is the model which allows the universe to be its own basis for existence.

Which it cannot be because it is clear that the universe is in motion, and that it is only a possible existence, and that it cannot be logically prior to itself.

Quote:
 

Another is the model in which there is not first cause, but rather an infinite regress of causes.

Which is impossible in the order of efficent cause because then no further effects would exist, and no world would exist. The same is true in motion; no Prime Mover = no motion. In possible/necessary existence: no necessary being, no possible beings.

 

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.


Eggplant
Eggplant's picture
Posts: 18
Joined: 2007-01-13
User is offlineOffline
Let's start with the

Let's start with the obligatory flippant comment, shall we?

StMichael wrote:
God cannot have potency.


God, an omnipotent being, is impotent?

There, now to an actual question.

If the Prime Mover is "constantly in act" but also "without change", does this not contradict? You state several times that certain things "cannot be," for reasons that I assume are related to faith. However, for something to be acting -- causing change -- it must be with a state of change of some sort. Therefore, I don't understand why it is "logically necessary" for something that is contradictory and therefore illogical to be so for something to logically exist, in this case the universe.

How does one reach the conclusion -- using logic and reason, not religion or faith -- that the Prime Mover is paradoxical yet extant, preferably keeping this to a Prime Mover that is not necessarily (but could be) (a) God?

Forgive me if I've missed something. All these topics I've read lately are definitely starting to blend together. I just don't understand how something that is impossible, that of containing both aspects of an on-off state simultaneously (especially on a non-quantum level), can be reached by logic.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
  Quote: God, an

 

Quote:

God, an omnipotent being, is impotent?

Potency in the sense of an ability to change or become more actual in some way. Potency is a privation of being. God's omnipotence is a different sense of "potency" meaning ability to effect some change (power).

 

Quote:

If the Prime Mover is "constantly in act" but also "without change", does this not contradict? You state several times that certain things "cannot be," for reasons that I assume are related to faith.

It has nothing to do with faith. It has to do with logical necessity. It is logically impossible to admit, for example, that a thing is and is not in the same respect at the same time (or way).

The Prime Mover must be posited to be pure act (not constantly in act, properly speaking; He is act). Act has nothing to do with change. Act, in fact, designates that a thing has being in a certain way. The movement from potency to actuality or from actuality to potency is, by definition, change (this is Aristotelian "motion&quotEye-wink. God is not in potency, nor does He move from act to potency, as this would contradict what is necessary in the Prime Mover (which must only act; if it contained any possibility for change, that indicates it is in potency to another thing, X, in which case X would actually be the first cause/mover). 

 

Quote:

However, for something to be acting -- causing change -- it must be with a state of change of some sort.

It does not require the thing acting to be changing.

 

Quote:

How does one reach the conclusion -- using logic and reason, not religion or faith -- that the Prime Mover is paradoxical yet extant, preferably keeping this to a Prime Mover that is not necessarily (but could be) (a) God?

First, the Prime Mover is God, for reasons explained elsewhere. God is the cause of all things, which is the same as to say the Prime Mover.

Second, the Prime Mover is not paradoxical. 

 

Quote:
 I just don't understand how something that is impossible, that of containing both aspects of an on-off state simultaneously (especially on a non-quantum level), can be reached by logic.

Except that God does not possess these qualities simultaneously. He possess "on" status without "off" status. He is His own act; there is no division or potency within Him.

 

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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: What does

StMichael wrote:

What does this have to do with what I said?
...
Third, I believe I can have certain knowledge that God has revealed something due to the testimony of other people.

You claim to be able to learn things about god through revelation. So, I'm looking for proof that the revelations you receive are genuine and the ones that, for instance, Muslims receive are fake. How do you know the difference?

StMichael wrote:

For example, I know one of the persons to whom happened one of the miracles that was used in the canonization of Saint Edith Stein (a philosophy professor in Germany who became a Carmelite nun and was martyred by the Nazis). This Eastern rite Catholic priests with 12 children was with his wife somewhere else and his youngest daughter ingested somewhere between 70-100 tablets of Tylenol. She, of course, was severly poisoned and her demise was imminent (10 pills will kill someone my age, and she was younger than 6). Her parents found her like this and they took her to the hosptial. She was going to die without a doubt from liver shutdown and so forth. Her parents immediately called most of their friends to pray to Edith Stein for a miracle. Within an half-hour or so of the prayers, the swelling disappeared and her charts became perfectly normal. The doctors, of which there were many who testified at the canonization process of various beliefs (atheists, Jewish, Hindu, Moslem, ect.), all testified that her cure was naturally impossible. This is a simple example of something that only God can do and hence a miracle. These are the sources from which I believe one can draw a reasonable certainty that God has revealed certain truths as true.

Lets see, no names (other then Edith Stein), no locations, no citation of peer-reviewed scientific studies, no citation of specific medical professionals who were present, or who examined her. Sounds fishy to me. Furthermore, this is all in the context of a canonization proceeding, which calls into question the objectivity of the people participating.

That said, it may be possible that a six-year-old girl could have survived massive Tylenol overdose. It seems to me that the most logical explanation is that, assuming there are these experts who can't explain it, our understanding of the effects of Tylenol on body chemistry are not fully understood.

This ties in to the question of "Why does god never heal amputees?". It seems like the only medical miracles ever even claimed are the sort that could just as easily be faked, or the results of a fluke, or a lacking in our understanding of medicine. If god really wanted to show his power, he would regrow a severed arm, and allow doctors to document it.

StMichael wrote:

If no first efficent cause exists, no further effects can exist. If no first mover exists, nothing can be in motion. If no necessary being exists, no possible beings can exist.

This begs the question. If there is no first cause, there would also be no second cause, nor third, nor fourth. But the only causes we have evidence of are the ones we experience, and the ones preceeding the ones we experience follow logically. But there is no gaurentee that if we keep following causes back, we would eventually reach a termination point where there is a first cause. We might continue to find more causes forever without end.

Keep in mind that this is not a proof, just a possibility. Because it is an exercise in pure logic, it cannot be verified by evidence. The point is that it is another possible answer to the problem of the origin of cause.

StMichael wrote:

It does not require a change. The Prime Mover is constantly in act without change at all. It is pure being. It is further logically necessary that this be so if the universe is said to exist.

So, then, if the acts of the prime mover are things he does constantly, since he once created the universe, he must constantly be in a state of creating the universe.

StMichael wrote:

I was showing that I do not accept revelation without evidence. My dogma is evidence enough, because that is what it states.

You're dogma is sufficient evidence because it says that it is. So, if I claim to be all-knowing, it must be true because I'm omniscient and I claim to know it.

StMichael wrote:
My religion accepts that as a truth: Revelation has reasonable evidence behind it and cannot be in conflict with truth of reason.

This is that leap of faith I was talking about earlier. You believe, without evidence, that the Catholic church is infallible, so all your other beliefs flow from there. You'll believe science, but only to the extent to which it does not contradict your irrationally held belief.

StMichael wrote:

I can just as easily say: "The Catholic Church is infallible. The sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be." No justification offered for your position.

Just some friendly advice. It helped me, and it could help you too if you would entertain it for a moment. But I suspect you won't for fear of hellfire.

StMichael wrote:

 Natural reason is not evidence? Sad

Well, too bad trying to disprove this, because your natural reason cannot be evidence that my position is untrue.

No, it isn't, that is exactly what I am saying. Reason is not evidence. However, your argument is entirely reason-based, so reason is the proper tool to address its internal consistency. It's truth may be addressed by observation (evidence) if to turns out to be internally consistant by logical reasoning. But, since this is a metaphysical claim, it's truth cannot be evaluated using evidence, so we cannot conclude that it is true.

Let me give another example of how this works. Long ago, scientists theorizing on the origin of man created a hypothesis that man developed a large brain, and then needed the use of his foreward appendages for tool building and other dexterous activities devised by a large human-like brain, and so man evolved to walk bipedally. It was a reasonable hypothesis, it seemed to make perfect sense. But reason is only step one. In science, it isn't enough to have an elegent, plausible idea that seems to work, you need to back it up with evidence. And, as it turned out, as fossils of human ancestors started to turn up (evidence), scientists found that they had bipedal bone structure, but cranial capacity similar to chimps. So, the perfectly reasonable hypothesis of big-brain-first evolution was rejected, and an alternate hypothesis was supported, that of bipedalism first. And this sort of situation is the reason which reason alone cannot be evidence.

StMichael wrote:

Except that we know with certainty that God cannot lie. The definition is for the benefit of those who accept the truth of the Catholic faith, not for people who do not. It does not apply to you (at least, not yet Smiling ).

God cannot lie? But, I thought he was pure act, and not lacking any action. If that's true, since lieing is an act, he must be in an eternal state of lieing, which makes a certain amount of sense. After all, he tells one thing to Christians, another to Jews, and another to Muslims, and then tells them to all kill each other. (Crusades, Jihads, and the old testiment genocides commited by the Jews of the Bible). Have you considered the possiblity that god may hate humans and is trying to kill as many of us as possible?

StMichael wrote:
Science cannot ever contradict faith because they both have the same source.

They most certainly do not. Science is based on observation, faith is based upon itself.

StMichael wrote:
If science ever claims that it does, it is either bad science or overreaching its bounds. It is a matter of natural reason, more than faith.

The scientists I know would dispute that claim vehemently. In fact, I think you would find it hard to get any scholarly scientific source in modern times to agree with that.

StMichael wrote:

Further, Galilleo's trial has a lot of modern presumptions. Galilleo was tried not on the grounds that his science contradicted faith, but on the grounds that he had been obstinate in promoting a point of view in a way detrimental to the honor of the Church and other scientists (his book unintentionally made the other position look foolish) and that it did not present the position as hypothesis (which it was;

That is a trivial distinction, and I find it no more satisfying. By putting people on trial for doing science in a way that the church doesn't like, scientists are restricted within the narrow bounds of what the church finds acceptable to research. We would never developed Darwinian theory, or reasonable physics, or geology, or many of the other lines of scientific inquiry under such conditions.

StMichael wrote:
Galilleo himself never intended to do dishonor to the Church and recanted any dishonor he did. His daughter was a nun, and his own point of view was precisely my own: science and faith can never contradict.

Galileo was a catholic. He wouldn't really have had much of a choice in the matter, as he was an Italian living in the 17th century. He adhered strongly to experimental results, which seems to contradict your world view in which science is subject to approval by faith, and did not let church beliefs quiet him until he was put on trial and imprisoned. Any recantation at that point seems suspect as likely under duress.

As for the fact that his daughter was a nun, I would point out that both his daughters were sent to a convent because they were born outside of wedlock, another thing which the church sticks its big nose into far too deeply.

StMichael wrote:

But unsupported by a shred of evidence.

On the contrary. There is enormous scientific and reliable evidence that women do not get pregnant without the introduction of male sperm, and do not like to be stoned to death. In fact, no counterexample to the assertion that pregnancy requires sperm has ever been reliably documented. This explanation is very ordinary, but the explanation through virgin birth is quite extraordinary, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Incidentally, Jesus was not the only mythical being in the region who was said to be born of a virgin. Mithra predated Jesus substantially, and could have been part of the basis for the part of the myth surrounding Jesus.

StMichael wrote:

That is nonsense. Logic proves a great deal. Mathematical truths prove a great deal. If you want to, you can proceed to show me how mathematics does not have importance.

Mathematical truths are different from physical ones. Math is entirely built upon logic, and is thus entirely abstract. Pure math does not deal with physical realities. When a mathematician says "There exists a whole number between 3 and 5", he is not stating the physical existence of the number 4. In fact, the existence of 4 is independent of all physical reality because it is entirely abstract. Proving that a non-abstract thing exists requires evidence from observation, because 'existance' has an entirely different meaning.

The existence of non-abstract (physical) things can only really be proven by evidence. And, before you say anything, I know, god is posited to be a non-physical thing. But he is also posited to have phyical effects (which seems to me to be a contradiction, but we'll pretend for now), and he is certainly not posited by theists to be totally an abstraction.

Now, it may be true that the universe is an instantiation of a mathematical model, in which case it is theoretically possible to completely predict the universe, given a complete understanding of the model. This would be why math has many applications in the real world. This would make logic sufficient to prove things, however, it probably isn't possible while remaining strictly within this universe because the storage space required for the intermediary calculations would be larger than can be stored with all the matter in the universe. So, we are left with the uselessness of reason alone to predict the realities of the universe.

StMichael wrote:

This seems a totally arbitrary standard.

It's not at all arbitrary. Imagine for a moment two different proposed metaphysical models to answer the same metaphysical question. The first requires the existence of a celestial teapot. The second requires the existence of a flying spaghetti monster. Imagine that the models are distinct and mutually exclusive, and both internally consistent logically. Can you conclude that there must be a celestial teapot? Or a flying spaghetti monster? You can't, because you have no basis for saying that one is right and the other is wrong without evidence. You can't even say that it must be one or the other, because of the possibility that there is yet another theory not yet created.

I've proposed another theory as alternative to the unmoved mover model, that can do everything that the first cause theory can do, without creating a nasty special case for god. The very existence of an alternative model prevents the logical conclusion that because of the unmoved mover model, there must be a god.

Lastly, I think Eggplant had a good point. If god has not potency, he can't be omnipotent. You claimed that they are different types of potential, but you failed to actually draw the distinction. How are they different? I would love to see an answer to that.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote:   You claim to be

Quote:
 

You claim to be able to learn things about god through revelation. So, I'm looking for proof that the revelations you receive are genuine and the ones that, for instance, Muslims receive are fake. How do you know the difference?

First, we can rule out most Revelation from natural reason. We can learn what God is not from the proof offered from motion, or first cause, or necessary being, ect. We learn that God is one (which rules out polytheism), we learn that God is omnipotent (which rules out others), and so on. It becomes clear that the true religion in accord with natural knowledge of God would believe that God is one, omnipotent, omniscient, not material, eternal, unchanging, who rules all things by His Providence. This seems to bring it down to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. I would initially reject Islam, however, due to its rejection that God can be discovered by reason, or that logic applies to God at all; this seems to disprove that its claims are true, because it merely demands blind faith. At the level where we can choose between Christianity and Judaism, I think it can be proven both by the prophecies He fulfilled and His miracles that Christ is God and hence the fulfillment of the Old Law. Then we are basically left with Christianity. I could move further, but I don't think it is necessary at this point.

Quote:

 

Lets see, no names (other then Edith Stein), no locations, no citation of peer-reviewed scientific studies, no citation of specific medical professionals who were present, or who examined her. Sounds fishy to me. Furthermore, this is all in the context of a canonization proceeding, which calls into question the objectivity of the people participating.

I was just citing a familiar example. It is a priest I know who lives here in Maryland. The canonization files would be with the Holy See and with the diocese who carried out the investigation. I am not sure off the top of my head, but the Diocese in Massachusets from which this priest was from would have the files from the investigation into this particular miracle. Further, I am not familiar with the exact details of the case beyond what I have told you, as I know merely the priest and his daughter through a friend of mine. The files, however, are public knowledge and are at least able to be found at the Holy See in their archives. I would point out that canonization procedure is QUITE strict and only a few miracles of specifically strict standards are ever used (of the many presented for review). It requires objectivity. The investigation does not rely on Catholic doctors for fear of bias and always prefers testimony from a nonbeliever. The process is quite complex and typically takes years. It begins with thorough investigation into the life itself before it considers miracles. The person has to be of obviously holy life, with orthodox faith. Then, the person must be further investigated, having at least one strictly verifiable miracle for beatification, followed by another for canonization.

 Actually, here is the summary of the report from CWN: "Blessed Theresa Benedicta, as she was known to her Carmelite sisters, was beatified by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) on May 1, 1987. In May of 1997 the cause for her canonization cleared its last hurdle when the Holy Father-- on the recommendation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints-- formally recognized that a miracle had occurred as a result of her intercession. The miracle involved the healing of a young Massachusetts girl who had been named in her honor: Theresa Benedicta McCarthy-- the daughter of a married Eastern-rite Catholic priest."

 Also, a more specific report from another site:

"In March 1987, the McCarthys did something they had never done before: left the children and went on a retreat in Rome. They returned on Friday, March 20. “we got to the door of the house, and the children came running out and said Benedicta was in the hospital,” McCarthy recalled. The cause turned out to be a massive overdose of the pain-killer Tylenol.

“We know how to keep medicine out of the hands of children,” McCarthy said. But a doctor’s wife had given them samples ­ not in child-proof bottles. “She obviously found them and had a great time unwrapping the paper wrappings.” Benedicta was lethargic, delirious and vomiting. Her kidneys were beginning to fail, and she had serious liver damage.

“We listed her for a transplant in about the middle of her course, when she had gotten quite sick and it wasn’t clear whether she was going to get better or not,” said Dr. Ronald Kleinman, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “I was telling her mom that I thought that the prognosis was pretty guarded and I wasn’t sure she was going to recover unless she had a liver transplant.”

All weekend, despite the crisis, McCarthy and his wife debated whether he should keep a commitment to lead a nonviolence retreat in Minnesota, from Sunday to Tuesday. Early Sunday morning, they left their bleary-eyed hospital vigil and went home.

“When I walked in the bedroom, there was a book on the floor, lying open.” McCarthy recalled. The quote he saw was from Jesus to Teresa of Avila, to this effect: “You take care of my business, and I’ll take care of your business.” That got his attention. “I said to myself, ‘That’s God talking.’”

So he left for the retreat. While he was away, Mary got on the phone and asked people to pray to Edith Stein for Benedicta’s recovery. Meanwhile, McCarthy continued to lead his retreat, constantly aware of the unfolding tragedy at home.

“I called back, called back, called back, and everything’s getting worse,” McCarthy recalled. Then something happened. “At the hour the retreat ended, Benedicta was healed.”

The retreat ended at 1 o’clock, Minnesota time, on Tuesday afternoon, March 24. A year later, McCarthy found in hospital records that a doctor had written in her chart a 2 o’clock Boston time: “This child has made a remarkable recovery.”

That evening, doctors told Mary McCarthy that Benedicta would have to be on medication for at least a year. But when she walked out of the hospital, she was not taking any medication. Her liver and kidneys were working normally again. “Everything repaired perfectly,” McCarthy said.

...

[Ed. Keeler describes the panel that investigated the miracle. Rev. Kieran Kavanaugh, a Carmelite scholar, was vice postulator of her cause. Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law appointed the panel led by Msgr. Robert Deeley of the diocesan tribunal. The panel, meeting in seven sessions, from the middle of 1992 to 1993, included Dr. James F. McDonough, former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society and former chairman of the board of the New England Journal of Medicine.]

The key witness was Dr. Ronald Kleinman, who testified before Deeley’s group and later before a group of physicians in Rome. “What I said to them was that at the midpoint of this, I didn’t expect her to recover,” Kleinman recalled. “I was willing to say that it was miraculous that she turned around ...”

Her turnaround from desperately ill to completely well was amazingly fast. “What convinced me was the rapidity with which she got better,” said McDonough, who had brought a skeptical attitude to the case.

For Kleinman, who is Jewish, this was a unique exposure to the inner workings of the saint-making bureaucracy of the church. “The priests who were working to investigate this and also to support her cause for canonization were very, very careful, very deliberate,” he said. “I didn’t at any point feel that this was a foregone conclusion.”

Finally, earlier this year, four years after the Deeley panel had submitted its report, the Vatican announced in April that it had accepted the cure as miraculous. On May 22, John Paul announced that she will be canonized, on a date not yet known." (This appeared in The Hebrew Catholic #64, pp. 29-30. All Rights Reserved.)

Edith Stein is now of course Saint Therese Benedicta of the Cross, canonized later by Pope JPII. And this is just one of the many documented miracles the Church has.

Quote:

That said, it may be possible that a six-year-old girl could have survived massive Tylenol overdose. It seems to me that the most logical explanation is that, assuming there are these experts who can't explain it, our understanding of the effects of Tylenol on body chemistry are not fully understood.

I can't remember exactly how old she was at the time but, regardless, it was a miraculous healing. Further, she would not have survived without suffering massive kidney and liver damage. However, today she has no ill effects at all. Further, her cure was almost instantaneous. Lastly, we know enough about Tylenol to understand the natural event that she would have died; the doctors themselves testify to that.

 

Quote:

This ties in to the question of "Why does god never heal amputees?". It seems like the only medical miracles ever even claimed are the sort that could just as easily be faked, or the results of a fluke, or a lacking in our understanding of medicine. If god really wanted to show his power, he would regrow a severed arm, and allow doctors to document it.

That has happened before. I can't think off the top of my head of a particular case in a canonization... I know one, but it wouldn't be recorded in modern times where Saint Anthony of Padua restored the foot of a young man who had cut it off. I also know of Saint Dominic (of the Dominican order which I am an associate of) raising a dead boy named Napoleon back to life. He was the nephew of a cardinal in Rome and was run over by a carriage and dismembered. They pulled his corpse into the church and Saint Dominic first said Mass with the cardinals. Afterward, in the presence of the pope and the entire papal curia, Saint Dominic famously prayed, levitated off the ground, and the boy was made whole instantly. The boy lived and grew up fine. Again, this is not a modern miracle. I am sure there is a modern example, but I can't think of one.

Regardless, the miracles used in canonization cases today are not those easily faked or flukes. The only way the Church accepts them is if they are of an indisputable character. Those easily faked or flukes (whether they might be authentic or not) are thrown out without further inquiry at the beginning of the inquiry. Mostly medical healings are considered because they are the easiest to verify. The healing must have been, among other things, instantaneous and whole.

Quote:

This begs the question. If there is no first cause, there would also be no second cause, nor third, nor fourth. But the only causes we have evidence of are the ones we experience, and the ones preceeding the ones we experience follow logically. But there is no gaurentee that if we keep following causes back, we would eventually reach a termination point where there is a first cause. We might continue to find more causes forever without end.

We would still have to posit that one exists as first, otherwise no other effects would exist. It does not beg the question. Also, we are speaking of efficent causation (other forms of causation are different).

Quote:
 

Keep in mind that this is not a proof, just a possibility. Because it is an exercise in pure logic, it cannot be verified by evidence. The point is that it is another possible answer to the problem of the origin of cause.

Logic involves certainty. If logic demonstrates that there must be a first cause, it can be taken as certain. Otherwise, there is no reason to believe in the results logically derived from calculus, or any other logical truths.

Quote:

So, then, if the acts of the prime mover are things he does constantly, since he once created the universe, he must constantly be in a state of creating the universe.

Yes, He is. He sustains it in existence.

 

Quote:

You're dogma is sufficient evidence because it says that it is. So, if I claim to be all-knowing, it must be true because I'm omniscient and I claim to know it.

I do not mean it in that sense. I thought you wanted me to show that my faith taught X, and I produced a dogma in my faith that taught X.  

 

Quote:

This is that leap of faith I was talking about earlier. You believe, without evidence, that the Catholic church is infallible, so all your other beliefs flow from there. You'll believe science, but only to the extent to which it does not contradict your irrationally held belief.

I was not claiming that I believe purely because the Church says so. I believe what the Church says because its claims are substantiated because they do not contradict natural reason and because they have miracles that prove their validity.

I believe science unconditionally. It can never contradict faith by reason of its intrinsic character as truth. Truth = truth, whether of faith or natural reason. If it contradicts, either the science is wrongly derived from its premises (false) or the faith is not being explicated correctly.

Quote:

Just some friendly advice. It helped me, and it could help you too if you would entertain it for a moment. But I suspect you won't for fear of hellfire.

My fear of hell does not factor in at all. Looking at it from a position of pure logic and natural reason, the Catholic faith seems utterly rational to me if properly understood.

Quote:

No, it isn't, that is exactly what I am saying. Reason is not evidence. However, your argument is entirely reason-based, so reason is the proper tool to address its internal consistency. It's truth may be addressed by observation (evidence) if to turns out to be internally consistant by logical reasoning. But, since this is a metaphysical claim, it's truth cannot be evaluated using evidence, so we cannot conclude that it is true.

It can be ascertained by observation. The natural world exists now. Look around. If the natural world exists (experience), then it is logically necessary to conclude that a Prime Mover, First Cause, Necessary Being, ect. exists.

Quote:
 It was a reasonable hypothesis, it seemed to make perfect sense.

This is a scientific hypothesis that merely "sounded reasonable." This is a different sense of the word "reasonable." We are not talking about merely a probable hypothesis not contradicted by natural observation, but about a logically certain proposition. I know that 2+2=4 because 1+1+1+1=4, and I can know this with certainty. There is no question at all as to the truth of that statement, though it is theoretical, especially as mathematics proceeds toward calculus. Just read Euclid for a simple idea.

 

Quote:

God cannot lie? But, I thought he was pure act, and not lacking any action. If that's true, since lieing is an act, he must be in an eternal state of lieing, which makes a certain amount of sense.

Being in act does not mean He performs all actions, which would be contradictory. God is pure being and "actuality." God cannot deny Himself; He is existence itself. God cannot lie, as this would contradict His essence (and God can never perform an absolute contradiction).  

 

Quote:

After all, he tells one thing to Christians, another to Jews, and another to Muslims, and then tells them to all kill each other. (Crusades, Jihads, and the old testiment genocides commited by the Jews of the Bible). Have you considered the possiblity that god may hate humans and is trying to kill as many of us as possible?

Except that you are twisting facts on a number of levels. God, I would argue, never spoke to Mohammed (for many reasons, as listed before). Further, it is a stretch to say that God commanded anything further than those military victories of the Old Testament (God did not command the Crusades, to my knowledge). Anyway, if God wanted to kill us, He would have just never made us. Or, He would not need to use us to kill each other. There is no reason He would do so. God obviously loves each thing in existence because He wills the thing to exist and have at least that perfection (willing the good of another is loving that thing).

Quote:

They most certainly do not. Science is based on observation, faith is based upon itself.

Faith is based on God as its source as revealer. Science is based on observable reality, which likewise has God as its source as creator.

 

Quote:

The scientists I know would dispute that claim vehemently. In fact, I think you would find it hard to get any scholarly scientific source in modern times to agree with that.

Science cannot make metaphysical claims because it is not the proper domain of its study. It's like a mathematician predicting the weather from the fact that a triangles angles equal 180 degrees. It doesn't make sense and is unjustified. That's why, to use Rook Hawkins' phrase, there are no peer-reviewed journals advocating atheism from scientific evidence.

 

Quote:

That is a trivial distinction, and I find it no more satisfying. By putting people on trial for doing science in a way that the church doesn't like, scientists are restricted within the narrow bounds of what the church finds acceptable to research. We would never developed Darwinian theory, or reasonable physics, or geology, or many of the other lines of scientific inquiry under such conditions.

Oh contraire! The Jesuits still have top notch scientists, and the Church fostered many other scientists of the time. The Church merely does what I advocated earlier: it stops science when it overreaches its bounds into an area that it cannot go.

Quote:

Galileo was a catholic. He wouldn't really have had much of a choice in the matter, as he was an Italian living in the 17th century. He adhered strongly to experimental results, which seems to contradict your world view in which science is subject to approval by faith, and did not let church beliefs quiet him until he was put on trial and imprisoned. Any recantation at that point seems suspect as likely under duress.

The problem was not his result, but his forceful advocacy of them.

Further, Galilleo himself wrote a treatise on the compatibility between science and faith. It's not bad reading.

Quote:

As for the fact that his daughter was a nun, I would point out that both his daughters were sent to a convent because they were born outside of wedlock, another thing which the church sticks its big nose into far too deeply.

Galilleo never had any opinions contrary to the Church's teachings. I point out his deep relationship with both the Pope of that time and with the later Saint Robert Cardinal Bellarmine (a great Jesuit theologian and Doctor of the Church, I believe). His daughters might have been put in the convent for that reason, but at least his one daughter (from what I know) was as deeply religious as Galilleo was and likewise wrote some of the same science/faith compatibility material in her own letters.

 

Quote:

On the contrary. There is enormous scientific and reliable evidence that women do not get pregnant without the introduction of male sperm, and do not like to be stoned to death.

There is no evidence that Mary was a prostitute and that Christ was merely the product of an illegitimate union. Further, any claim she might have made that it was a product of God would have sealed her death, not lightened it.

 

Quote:

 In fact, no counterexample to the assertion that pregnancy requires sperm has ever been reliably documented. This explanation is very ordinary, but the explanation through virgin birth is quite extraordinary, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

And why, then, would early Christians posit that extraordinary explanation if the situation surrounding it was ordinary? It makes no sense at all. The Apostles and our Lady lived for a great long time after that event, and nobody questioned this. It was not an issue of contention and seemed a perfectly rational explanation in their midst. Why, if we could merely give an ordinary explanation?

Further, there is no reason why God could not cause a pregnancy in Mary without a man.

Quote:

Incidentally, Jesus was not the only mythical being in the region who was said to be born of a virgin. Mithra predated Jesus substantially, and could have been part of the basis for the part of the myth surrounding Jesus. [.quote]

Or not. Mithra was quite different and was popular in a different atmosphere. But that does not answer the fact that the early Christians, the Apostles, and our Lady herself held this opinion and I doubt that they had ever even heard of Mithras (as his cult was mostly found in Rome and maybe in Gaul somewheres, if we are generous).

 

Quote:

Mathematical truths are different from physical ones. Math is entirely built upon logic, and is thus entirely abstract. Pure math does not deal with physical realities. When a mathematician says "There exists a whole number between 3 and 5", he is not stating the physical existence of the number 4. In fact, the existence of 4 is independent of all physical reality because it is entirely abstract. Proving that a non-abstract thing exists requires evidence from observation, because 'existance' has an entirely different meaning.

Nevertheless, mathematical relations are true. Deducing from abstract material conditions, we can have true knowledge about the behavior, for example, of physical motion in bodies.

Quote:

The existence of non-abstract (physical) things can only really be proven by evidence. And, before you say anything, I know, god is posited to be a non-physical thing. But he is also posited to have phyical effects (which seems to me to be a contradiction, but we'll pretend for now), and he is certainly not posited by theists to be totally an abstraction.

God does have effects here and it is through this that we know Him. We abstract, in a logical process, from the fact that the world exists and in it are found things in motion, ect. and this leads us eventually to posit that a First Cause/Mover/Necessary Being exists.

Quote:

Now, it may be true that the universe is an instantiation of a mathematical model... This would make logic sufficient to prove things, however, it probably isn't possible while remaining strictly within this universe because the storage space required for the intermediary calculations would be larger than can be stored with all the matter in the universe. So, we are left with the uselessness of reason alone to predict the realities of the universe.

Why do the calculations have to be stored in matter? The mathematics itself is abstract - non-material. No storage "space" is necessary. However, it does not touch the fact that mathematics and logic can necessarily conclude certain things about the universe (for example, "I am thinking" is a statement that can be known with certainty).

 

Quote:

It's not at all arbitrary. Imagine for a moment two different proposed metaphysical models to answer the same metaphysical question. The first requires the existence of a celestial teapot. The second requires the existence of a flying spaghetti monster. Imagine that the models are distinct and mutually exclusive, and both internally consistent logically. Can you conclude that there must be a celestial teapot? Or a flying spaghetti monster? You can't, because you have no basis for saying that one is right and the other is wrong without evidence. You can't even say that it must be one or the other, because of the possibility that there is yet another theory not yet created.

But then one must obviously be wrong. One cannot say that 2+2=3 and 2+2=4, so both are wrong and it is unprovable. The only way for this contradiction to happen is to posit that both are true in the first place (both proofs are logically consistent). But this cannot be the case in reality. The first precept of logic: a thing cannot be and not be in the same time and in the same respect.

Quote:

Lastly, I think Eggplant had a good point. If god has not potency, he can't be omnipotent. You claimed that they are different types of potential, but you failed to actually draw the distinction. How are they different? I would love to see an answer to that.

Potency in our discussion refers to a lack of being in some respect. Potency in his discussion refers to the ability to do things. They are not equivalent terms, though they sound the same. Potency in my sense indicates "potential" for the thing to become other than what it is - to change. In X, there cannot be potency, otherwise X cannot be God. God is pure actuality, because He is the First 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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: It becomes

StMichael wrote:
It becomes clear that the true religion in accord with natural knowledge of God would believe that God is one, omnipotent, omniscient, not material, eternal, unchanging, who rules all things by His Providence. This seems to bring it down to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. I would initially reject Islam, however, due to its rejection that God can be discovered by reason, or that logic applies to God at all;

Although Islam, like Christianity, has spawned a number of dangerous fundamentalist strains based on faith alone, it is not unwilling to use reason to attempt to discover god. For instance, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, similar in some ways to your own. Furthermore, I don't see how the willingness of a cult to adopt a particular proof of the existence of god bears any relevence to the validity of its revelations.

StMichael wrote:
At the level where we can choose between Christianity and Judaism, I think it can be proven both by the prophecies He fulfilled and His miracles that Christ is God and hence the fulfillment of the Old Law.

Most of today's Jews would probably disagree with that, and these prophesies you're talking about are Jewish prophesies after all.

StMichael wrote:
The files, however, are public knowledge and are at least able to be found at the Holy See in their archives. I would point out that canonization procedure is QUITE strict and only a few miracles of specifically strict standards are ever used (of the many presented for review).

It is definitely in the church's best interest to only accept miracles that have a low chance of being disproven. If they were regularly disproven, even the most devout believer would be forced to doubt the church.

StMichael wrote:
It requires objectivity. The investigation does not rely on Catholic doctors for fear of bias and always prefers testimony from a nonbeliever. The process is quite complex and typically takes years.

But, ultimately, it takes place within the church. None of the extraordinary medical claims are studied or published by reliable researchers outside of the context of a church proceeding. I'll admit that the more detailed story is better because it contains some real information, but it's all still from a proceeding that occurred within the church.

StMichael wrote:

I can't remember exactly how old she was at the time but, regardless, it was a miraculous healing. Further, she would not have survived without suffering massive kidney and liver damage. However, today she has no ill effects at all.

Kids can be so resilient.

StMichael wrote:
That has happened before. I can't think off the top of my head of a particular case in a canonization... I know one, but it wouldn't be recorded in modern times where Saint Anthony of Padua restored the foot of a young man who had cut it off. I also know of Saint Dominic (of the Dominican order which I am an associate of) raising a dead boy named Napoleon back to life. He was the nephew of a cardinal in Rome and was run over by a carriage and dismembered. They pulled his corpse into the church and Saint Dominic first said Mass with the cardinals. Afterward, in the presence of the pope and the entire papal curia, Saint Dominic famously prayed, levitated off the ground, and the boy was made whole instantly. The boy lived and grew up fine. Again, this is not a modern miracle. I am sure there is a modern example, but I can't think of one.

This doesn't sound very reliable to me.

StMichael wrote:
Logic involves certainty. If logic demonstrates that there must be a first cause, it can be taken as certain.

Unless one of your underlying assumptions turns out not to be true. For instance, the assumption that there must be a finite number of causes preceeding the current ones.

StMichael wrote:
Otherwise, there is no reason to believe in the results logically derived from calculus, or any other logical truths.

Calculus, along with other parts of mathematics, have been proven to apply to the real world with evidence.

StMichael wrote:

I do not mean it in that sense. I thought you wanted me to show that my faith taught X, and I produced a dogma in my faith that taught X.  

The dogma that you produced talked about 'natural reason' and 'divine faith'. Neither of those are evidence, which is what I asked for in the first place.

StMichael wrote:

I believe science unconditionally. It can never contradict faith by reason of its intrinsic character as truth.

So, you accept that the universe is billions of years old, that life evolved on earth with no guidence from any designer, and that everything was not created in six days?

StMichael wrote:
Truth = truth, whether of faith or natural reason. If it contradicts, either the science is wrongly derived from its premises (false) or the faith is not being explicated correctly.

Or, perhaps faith alone is not a valid basis for truth at all.

StMichael wrote:

It can be ascertained by observation. The natural world exists now. Look around. If the natural world exists (experience), then it is logically necessary to conclude that a Prime Mover, First Cause, Necessary Being, ect. exists.

You still haven't proven (or even supported in any way) that there must be a finite regress of causes, so the first cause is not a given.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:
 It was a reasonable hypothesis, it seemed to make perfect sense.

This is a scientific hypothesis that merely "sounded reasonable." This is a different sense of the word "reasonable." We are not talking about merely a probable hypothesis not contradicted by natural observation, but about a logically certain proposition.

It can't be certain unless you address the problems with it that I have mentioned, such as the reliance upon special pleading for god's existence, and the possibility of other explanations which do not involve a first cause. So far, you haven't even aknowledged that you understand these problems, let alone addressing them.

StMichael wrote:
Except that you are twisting facts on a number of levels. God, I would argue, never spoke to Mohammed (for many reasons, as listed before).

But, you can't prove that. Your standing to claim that god has spoken to people in your religion is equal to that of Muslims.

StMichael wrote:
Further, it is a stretch to say that God commanded anything further than those military victories of the Old Testament (God did not command the Crusades, to my knowledge).

Well, battles still involve people killing each other.

Quote:
Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations . . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Quote:
20:10-17 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. . . . This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.

Sounds like god commanded a lot of killing to me.

StMichael wrote:
Anyway, if God wanted to kill us, He would have just never made us.

Then why would he have bothered with Noah's flood?

StMichael wrote:
Or, He would not need to use us to kill each other.

And then why did he not just destroy the people who were in the land he wanted to give to the Israelites?

StMichael wrote:

Science cannot make metaphysical claims because it is not the proper domain of its study.

I agree that science cannot make metaphysical claims because it cannot make the necessary observations, however this means that there is no way to assert the truth of any metaphysical model with certainty. As I have attempted to explain, all metaphysical models rely on some assumptions which are not given, and therefore they cannot be proven by logic alone.

StMichael wrote:

Oh contraire! The Jesuits still have top notch scientists, and the Church fostered many other scientists of the time.

I find it hard to believe that the Jesuits would have ever devised theories such as natural selection which contradict the church's understanding. This is important science, and I chose my examples because they are disciplines which have run afoul of religious dogma in the past. If dissent from that dogma had not been tollerated, they would never be the meaningful sciences they are today.

StMichael wrote:
The problem was not his result, but his forceful advocacy of them.

His insistence on experimental result is what contradicts your world view, not his specific results in this case.

StMichael wrote:
There is no evidence that Mary was a prostitute and that Christ was merely the product of an illegitimate union.

Just as there is little evidence to support the actual existence of Mary or Jesus. However, you can devise many scenarios more logical than the virgin birth.

StMichael wrote:
Further, any claim she might have made that it was a product of God would have sealed her death, not lightened it.

Perhaps, unless people believed her. It may be that it only had to work on her fiance at the time. If he did not expose her, but helped protect her, the legitimacy status of the child may never have been discovered.

I don't claim to know the truth of the situation, but there are ample explanations that do not require such extraordinary events as a virgin birth that are much more likely, so I don't see this as much of a mystery.

StMichael wrote:
And why, then, would early Christians posit that extraordinary explanation if the situation surrounding it was ordinary? It makes no sense at all.

They had excellent possible reasons to create such a myth, the same reasons that Joseph Smith had in writing the Book of Mormon. Being the father of a religion gives a person enormous power over their believers, and that power can be very tempting to some con artists. But even if they had no good reason, the fact that thirteen people from over 2000 years ago decided arbitrarilly to do something without a good reason is not enough to convince me to believe in such absurdities.

StMichael wrote:
The Apostles and our Lady lived for a great long time after that event, and nobody questioned this. It was not an issue of contention and seemed a perfectly rational explanation in their midst. Why, if we could merely give an ordinary explanation?

There's just no way to know this. Even if no record survives today, there is no reason to believe that no one doubted the virgin birth at the time, especially in a world that is mostly illiterate.

StMichael wrote:

Further, there is no reason why God could not cause a pregnancy in Mary without a man.

If god didn't exist, there's no way he could cause a pregnancy.

StMichael wrote:

Or not. Mithra was quite different and was popular in a different atmosphere. But that does not answer the fact that the early Christians, the Apostles, and our Lady herself held this opinion and I doubt that they had ever even heard of Mithras (as his cult was mostly found in Rome and maybe in Gaul somewheres, if we are generous).

Actually, Mithra was known in Persia (Iran) in the 300's BCE.

StMichael wrote:

Why do the calculations have to be stored in matter? The mathematics itself is abstract - non-material.

In order to use mathmatics to predict the existence of something in the universe, you need a complete mathematical understanding of the universe, and then you can do all the calculations to simulate the universe. However, because this involves doing all the computations that the universe requires over it's life span, you need to be able to store a lot of computations.

StMichael wrote:
No storage "space" is necessary.

Doing a computation requires enough storage to keep track of all the numbers involved. In order to add 1 and 2, you first need to keep track of the numbers 1 and 2, and then after doing the addition, you need to keep track of 3, the result. Mathematical truth is abstract, but doing calculations requires the ability to store numbers.

StMichael wrote:
'I am thinking' is a statement that can be known with certainty).

You can know that you are thinking with certainty, because you experience the effects of thinking, which is evidence. I can't know that you are thinking unless I see evidence of it. For instance, if you were to say something that reflected thought, I could conclude based on evidence that you were thinking.

StMichael wrote:
But then one must obviously be wrong. One cannot say that 2+2=3 and 2+2=4, so both are wrong and it is unprovable.

Yes, that's exactly my point. At least one (the flying spaghetti monster or the celetial teapot) must be wrong, and both may be. So you see that your metaphysical model (the unmoved mover) could be wrong if there is another possible model that answers the same question (the infinite regress of causes). And if it could be wrong, it can't be used to prove the existence of god.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote:   Although Islam,

Quote:

 

Although Islam, like Christianity, has spawned a number of dangerous fundamentalist strains based on faith alone, it is not unwilling to use reason to attempt to discover god. For instance, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, similar in some ways to your own.

Islam rejects this in the Koran and in its interpretation of the Koran by the decisions of its scholars and theologians.

Quote:
 

Furthermore, I don't see how the willingness of a cult to adopt a particular proof of the existence of god bears any relevence to the validity of its revelations.

It does in so far as the faith itself is not irrational. The whole argument here was whether God exists. I cannot demonstrate a truth of the faith, such as the Resurrection of the dead, for such is by nature beyond our ability to naturally discover. I could merely prove [1] that it is not logically impossible and [2] that it is probable based on the miracles used by Christ and His Church to substantiate their claims. No demonstration can exist for some truth beyond human reason's natural ability to discover.

Quote:

 

Most of today's Jews would probably disagree with that, and these prophesies you're talking about are Jewish prophesies after all.

And I would disagree with most Jews. But that is a different argument and irrelevant to whether God exists or not.

Quote:

It is definitely in the church's best interest to only accept miracles that have a low chance of being disproven. If they were regularly disproven, even the most devout believer would be forced to doubt the church.

Yes, it would. However, that has no bearing on whether the miracles themselves are credible or not. It is an ad hominem fallacy.

Quote:

But, ultimately, it takes place within the church. None of the extraordinary medical claims are studied or published by reliable researchers outside of the context of a church proceeding.

Yes, they are. A committee of medical advisors considers the case. Further, what would the use be to publish a miraculous cure in the Journal of the AMA? If it is miraculous, there is no natural cause. Hence, it would be useless to further the practice of medicine.

 

Quote:

I'll admit that the more detailed story is better because it contains some real information, but it's all still from a proceeding that occurred within the church.

And your arguments are from within an atheistic viewpoint. Does that make them false? No.

Again, ad hominem does not suffice.

Quote:

 Kids can be so resilient.

Your assertion. And they are not resilient from 100 tablets of Tylenol. Nobody is resilient like that. Find other kids who might have survived from such poisoning and show me how resilient they were. They all have terrific liver and kidney, if not brain, damage and probably did not survive very long.

Quote:

This doesn't sound very reliable to me.

Your assertion.

Quote:

Unless one of your underlying assumptions turns out not to be true. For instance, the assumption that there must be a finite number of causes preceeding the current ones.

There must be, otherwise no effects would exist. In the order of efficent causes, where one cause is directly and entirely the agent of another, no further effects can exist if there is no first cause. The statue cannot come into being without a chiseler to sculpt it.

Quote:

 Calculus, along with other parts of mathematics, have been proven to apply to the real world with evidence.

So has logical reasoning. Mathematics being a specific type.

Quote:

The dogma that you produced talked about 'natural reason' and 'divine faith'. Neither of those are evidence, which is what I asked for in the first place.

Natural reason is evidence, as is faith. They are of different orders. Natural reason is evidence drawn from naturally known principles. For example, we see that things in the world are efficently caused. Thus, we can conclude from reason that such a chain cannot regress infinitely, because no mediate causes would exist. Hence, a first cause is necessary.

Faith moves from the fact that God has revealed something as true to a knowledge of the fact as true.

Quote:

So, you accept that the universe is billions of years old, that life evolved on earth with no guidence from any designer, and that everything was not created in six days?

I accept the last (in so far as we mean literal 24-hour days; Saint Augustine had interpreted the division into angelic knowledge of stages of creation, which seems plausible) and first statements. I do not accept the second entirely. God can be the Provident guider of the course of evolution. I would also not rule out that He directly began life itself. But I do not deny that evolution can exist.

 

Quote:

Or, perhaps faith alone is not a valid basis for truth at all.

Depends what you mean by "faith alone."

Faith without evidence is not properly faith; it is "blind faith." Faith cannot be demonstrated, but it can be shown to be reliable and credible and not irrational.

 

Quote:

 You still haven't proven (or even supported in any way) that there must be a finite regress of causes, so the first cause is not a given.

Tell me why an infinite regress is possible. Even in the order of motion of physical bodies such an infinite regress is impossible. Something in motion (like the sun) cannot be in motion unless something sets it in motion. There cannot be motion/energy in the universe unless something gave it that. The Big Bang needed to come from somewhere, as did any causes prior to that (if they exist, which seems unlikely). Eventually, you must posit one Prime Mover or First Cause as the beginning of this. It is logically necessary. Otherwise, nothing would exist now, which is absurd.

Quote:

It can't be certain unless you address the problems with it that I have mentioned, such as the reliance upon special pleading for god's existence, and the possibility of other explanations which do not involve a first cause. So far, you haven't even aknowledged that you understand these problems, let alone addressing them.

You have not given any reason why this is special pleading. A First Cause must exist in order for there to be intermediate causes, in the same way a Prime Mover must. Motion cannot arise without a mover. There must be one agent who moves other things but is not itself moved or in motion. Other explanations do not suffice for the reason that they are not logically necessary (all other theories were merely fanciful speculation without any evidence).

Quote:

But, you can't prove that. Your standing to claim that god has spoken to people in your religion is equal to that of Muslims.

I can point to the lack of miracles used to substantiate any of their claims. I can point to how it contradicts human reason in its claims. These two points alone give me reason to reject it.

Quote:

Well, battles still involve people killing each other.

And? There can be just and unjust battles. Battles are not necessarily evil for the reason that they exist.

Quote:

 

Sounds like god commanded a lot of killing to me.

God commanding a battle is different from commanding killing in general, which He has not. The Law lays down legal penalties which involve capital punishment, but there is nothing wrong with the state imposing such penalties as there is nothing wrong intrinsically with God (who is far above the state in authority) imposing these penalties.

Quote:

Then why would he have bothered with Noah's flood?

Noah's flood was not to destroy humanity altogether. That is why He preserved Noah.

Quote:

And then why did he not just destroy the people who were in the land he wanted to give to the Israelites?

God did. The walls of Jericho, ect.

Quote:

I agree that science cannot make metaphysical claims because it cannot make the necessary observations, however this means that there is no way to assert the truth of any metaphysical model with certainty. As I have attempted to explain, all metaphysical models rely on some assumptions which are not given, and therefore they cannot be proven by logic alone.

What assumptions not given? The only thing I used to arrive at the knowledge of a Prime Mover was the fact that things are in motion in the world.

Quote:

I find it hard to believe that the Jesuits would have ever devised theories such as natural selection which contradict the church's understanding.

Not a few throughout history worked with evolutionary biology. It does not contradict the Church's teaching.

Quote:
If dissent from that dogma had not been tollerated, they would never be the meaningful sciences they are today.

So you assert. I would argue that the Church ensures that science does not overstep its bounds. For example, modern day embryonic stem cell research. Science can't do whatever it wants. It must abide by the laws of ethics. It would be the same as picking people off the street and killing them to steal their organs. It might help somebody (which I would even deny that embryonic stem cells can necessarily and uniquely do), but one cannot kill another to do so.

Quote:

His insistence on experimental result is what contradicts your world view, not his specific results in this case.

No it does not. He agreed with me, if you read his writings. Experiment applies to science. Faith is not irrational because we cannot place the Resurrection of the dead under a microscope.

Quote:

Just as there is little evidence to support the actual existence of Mary or Jesus. However, you can devise many scenarios more logical than the virgin birth.

And what do more logical situations have to do with it? It was a historical event. And there is evidence to support their existence (if there is not, show me).

Quote:

 Perhaps, unless people believed her. It may be that it only had to work on her fiance at the time. If he did not expose her, but helped protect her, the legitimacy status of the child may never have been discovered.

Joseph did not believe her. Hence the angel. Further, it is not logical to merely believe such a proposition without evidence. His reaction in the Gospels was logical.

Quote:

I don't claim to know the truth of the situation, but there are ample explanations that do not require such extraordinary events as a virgin birth that are much more likely, so I don't see this as much of a mystery.

There are not ample explanations for the historical situation that occurred.

Quote:

They had excellent possible reasons to create such a myth, the same reasons that Joseph Smith had in writing the Book of Mormon. Being the father of a religion gives a person enormous power over their believers, and that power can be very tempting to some con artists. But even if they had no good reason, the fact that thirteen people from over 2000 years ago decided arbitrarilly to do something without a good reason is not enough to convince me to believe in such absurdities.

It did not give them power at all. In fact, my point is that it precisely made them hated by everyone else. They were cast out of all their local social environments, they were killed by the Romans and ridiculed by the Greeks. There was no reward in power. Further, people didn't just jump on the bandwagon for precisely the reason that charlatans exist. The Apostles had no power or authority; they were persecuted and they all died in martyrdom for their beliefs. Why make something up and then die a horrid death for it?

Quote:

There's just no way to know this. Even if no record survives today, there is no reason to believe that no one doubted the virgin birth at the time, especially in a world that is mostly illiterate.

Okay, but there is no evidence against it either. In fact, it seems more probable to believe that it happened, because people are not idiots, even if illiterate, and know how babies are made regardless.

Quote:

If god didn't exist, there's no way he could cause a pregnancy.

Ok.....and?

Quote:

Actually, Mithra was known in Persia (Iran) in the 300's BCE.

And? Christians did not arise in Persia.

Quote:

In order to use mathmatics to predict the existence of something in the universe, you need a complete mathematical understanding of the universe, and then you can do all the calculations to simulate the universe. However, because this involves doing all the computations that the universe requires over it's life span, you need to be able to store a lot of computations.

But that does not rule out that material movement can be explained mathematically. Hence, physics.

 

Quote:

You can know that you are thinking with certainty, because you experience the effects of thinking, which is evidence. I can't know that you are thinking unless I see evidence of it. For instance, if you were to say something that reflected thought, I could conclude based on evidence that you were thinking.

Then logic has evidence. Period.

Quote:

Yes, that's exactly my point. At least one (the flying spaghetti monster or the celetial teapot) must be wrong, and both may be. So you see that your metaphysical model (the unmoved mover) could be wrong if there is another possible model that answers the same question (the infinite regress of causes). And if it could be wrong, it can't be used to prove the existence of god.

But that only necessitates that a choice of answers. It does not indicate that the proof cannot exist. Just because 2+2 does not equal 3 (an alternate choice of answer) does not mean that 2+2=4 cannot be demonstrated.

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.


Thandarr
Posts: 117
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Trying again

Okay, maybe that wasn't very clear. 

There are many different literary forms in the scriptures.  Some people insist that we should interpret all of them as if they were narrative factual accounts.  It is my position that if one interprets the scriptures that way, the scriptures are indefensible.

I recognize that there are some parts of scriptures that are supposed to be interpreted as narrative factual accounts.  The Gospels are an example.  While the Gospels contain some narrative that is, to put it mildly, extraordinary, I can see how a rational person could defend the Gospels.

I cannot see how a rational person can hold that Genesis could be a narrative factual account.  The creation story is clearly counterfactual.  The flood narrative obviously doesn't describe anything that actually happened.  The Tower of Babel account can't be even intended to describe historic fact.  The Psalms are obviously poetry.

In order to understand those parts of scripture that are not to be taken literally, you have to have some other way of looking at them.  If you don't have some framework to understand them, the stories are meaningless.  One way would be to take the teachings of Christianity--or perhaps even more narrowly Roman Catholicism--and interpret the scriptures in light of what you already believe.  I think that's what most Christians do.  But if you do that, aren't you assuming the result you want to reach?

I've struggled with the scriptures.  I've really tried.  It's hard to make heads or tails out of most of them.  I guess I could impose my own preconceived  notions on the scriptures if I had any.  Once I found that Church dogma really didn't work for me, I didn't have a good fallback position.

Is it your understanding that you need faith first in order to understand scripture?  If so, should a seeker just put the scripture to one side and seek faith elsewhere?

The problem is that I can't just simply elect to believe something.  If I could, frankly, I'd pick either what you believe, or what the Baptists believe.  I'm not sure which I would like better.  Both are attractive.  I like the Baptists' idea that once saved always saved.  I like things I can't screw up, because I can screw up just about anything.

I say that I would elect to believe what you believe even from the standpoint of my current belief that the Divine is not limited to the God of Christianity.  I wouldn't mind being wrong, though, if I could have the gift of faith and stop struggling with religion.

But I can't simply elect to believe.  My beliefs go wherever my admittedly limited logic and reason lead them, whether I like it or not.  They change a lot.  What it looks to me like right now is that there is a divinity.  I don't know much about that divinity, but neither does anyone else.  There are countless paths to the divine.  Whatever path leads a person to communion with the divine is right for that person.  The divine is not definable in any material terms.  Descriptions such as male or female, singular or plural, large or small, hairy or bald, etc. just don't apply.  Neither does it make much sense that the divine does material things.  For these reasons the exercise of rationally figuring out that there must be a God and if there's a God He must have the following characteristics (good, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal) doesn't lead us anywhere.  The divinity may or may not have created the universe, and it doesn't matter much if it did or didn't.

It seems inconsistent with the universality of spirituality and the general convergence of our consciences and moral codes that any one of the multiple faiths is the one true faith and all the rest are wrong.  Feelings of spirituality and communion with the  divine are near universal (a handful of these atheists excepted).  Human consciences are remarkably consistent with each other when you adjust for different circumstances.

In some ways, of course, the Catholic Church is true.  It is a legitimate and effective means for many people to commune with the divine.  But it's not the only means.  Do you deny that Muslims, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, and even Baptists feel the same connection to the divine that you do?

As to the Catholic Church's persecution of pagans and paganism, I rely on far more than a single Wikipedia entry.  I have read several books on the topic.  For example, Closing of the Western Mind by Charles Freeman.  I read that one several years ago.  I have some others lying around the house, too.

As to why the Bible doesn't condemn slavery.  I deny that slavery was ever a "necessary evil."  I think it has always been an unnecessary evil, regardless of how universal the practice was until a few centuries ago.  It's true that the pagans had no scruples against keeping slaves.  I just wonder why, if God was doing his job as the ultimate lawmaker and source of moral teaching, he didn't bother to let us know that slavery is just wrong, period, while he was putting his book together.  He could have left out one of the descriptions of how to build an ark of the covenant.

As to abortion, I have to concede that your argument is an intriguing one, far better than I usually hear from religious people.  The argument usually goes, "God said it, that settles it."  At least you recognize the possibility someone else might not accept your affirmation that "God said it."  If we all agree we don't know if something is a human being, we can all agree we shouldn't kill it.  I don't see how something without a nervous system can be a human being, but you've given me something to think about.

I like birth control because it keeps unwanted children from being conceived.  While there may be some acts that are intrinsically evil, I don't believe having sex is one of them.  If we were "designed" by a designer, it seems obvious to me that the designer wanted us to have sex.  The designer wanted us to enjoy sex.   If he didn't, he really screwed up when he designed and built us.  The designer made us different.  Most of us will be most fulfilled and satisfied in a monogamous heterosexual relationship.  Some of us are more satisfied in polyamorous situations, and some of us are homosexuals.  And some of us have no sex drive at all and are asexual.  I'm "normal" in that I was designed for monogamous heterosexuality, but I don't suspect for a moment that those whose sex drive is different are any less fulfilled or happy in their relationship.   Even monogamous heterosexuals want to have sex when they don't plan to have children.  And there's a name for people who rely on the rhythm method, "Mommy and Daddy."

Abstinence is a joke.  It just doesn't happen all that often.  When you start hearing confessions I bet you'll learn that.

I have no idea how risky sex is now as opposed to 100 years ago.  It seems to me that 100 years ago we hadn't cured gonorrhea and syphilis yet, so they were as deadly as AIDS is today.  I could be wrong on the dates.  I can say, however, that whether 100 years ago or today, sex with condoms is safer than sex without.

I certainly don't see a parallel between eugenics and voluntary birth control.  You'll have to explain that one.  I do see a parallel between eugenics and banning birth control.  In both instances, government tells people whether to have children.

It does not work to compare "legalizing homicide."  Homicide is evil because it results in killing people.  If there were some way to have homicide without hurting anyone, I'm not sure it would be evil.  Sex, on the other hand, can be had without hurting anyone.

Is your faith really not based on spiritual experiences?  You really place all your faith in your philosophical reasoning and what people have told you God has revealed?  And that revelation is a combination of scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church?  If that works for you, I envy you.  Even if you're completely wrong, you're a lot happier than I am.  I've got to keep looking.  Maybe it's because I did have this spiritual experience.  I find it hard to believe you can maintain faith without it.

As far as talking to a priest is concerned, no priest has time to listen to all my objections.  The priest at the closest Catholic church to me could not carry on this conversation with me because he barely speaks English.  Thanks to your church's insistence on celibacy, many of the priests serving American churches have to be imported.

Thandarr


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: Islam

StMichael wrote:

Islam rejects this in the Koran and in its interpretation of the Koran by the decisions of its scholars and theologians.

Earlier, you argued that protestant christians still believe in your proof because of scriptures that claim that god created everything. Muslims believe this even now today, and they go consider the text of the Torah (which includes Genesis) to have come from god.

StMichael wrote:
It does in so far as the faith itself is not irrational. The whole argument here was whether God exists. I cannot demonstrate a truth of the faith, such as the Resurrection of the dead, for such is by nature beyond our ability to naturally discover. I could merely prove [1] that it is not logically impossible and

It may not be 'logically' impossible, not completely, but it is impossible based on everything we know about death.

StMichael wrote:
[2] that it is probable based on the miracles used by Christ and His Church to substantiate their claims.

Many religions claim to have miracles. The question is are they reliable, and if any of them are, how do you determine which religion's miracles to trust?

StMichael wrote:

And I would disagree with most Jews. But that is a different argument and irrelevant to whether God exists or not.

We have been discussing how you decide which religion to believe, and which miracles to trust, and which revelations to consider true. It seems like you are forced to make a basically arbitrary decision.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

It is definitely in the church's best interest to only accept miracles that have a low chance of being disproven. If they were regularly disproven, even the most devout believer would be forced to doubt the church.

Yes, it would. However, that has no bearing on whether the miracles themselves are credible or not. It is an ad hominem fallacy.

There's nothing ad hominem about it. It is simply more likely that the church would be specifically looking for miracles that could not be easily refuted than that those miracles actually happened.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

But, ultimately, it takes place within the church. None of the extraordinary medical claims are studied or published by reliable researchers outside of the context of a church proceeding.

Yes, they are. A committee of medical advisors considers the case.

A case which is being considered within the church and never outside it.

StMichael wrote:
Further, what would the use be to publish a miraculous cure in the Journal of the AMA? If it is miraculous, there is no natural cause. Hence, it would be useless to further the practice of medicine.

You wouldn't publish the miracle directly, you would publish the medical research done around it. It is the business of medicine to investigate medical phenomina, whatever the source. Furthermore, this is just about the only way that good peer review could be done, so that a large body of scientists in the relevent fields can react to it, and offer alternative explanations.

StMichael wrote:
And your arguments are from within an atheistic viewpoint. Does that make them false? No.

The church isn't impartial in the issue. It has a direct interest in finding events that it can claim as miraculous safely. This is the same reason that judges recuse themselves from trials when they have a personal stake in them. The church also doesn't have the kind of process that science has for doing peer review.

Why doesn't the church hire some scientists to investigate and publish their findings? It can go through peer review, and then a conclusion can be drawn the scientists alone. That might have some credibility.

As for my own impartiality, it is within my best interests to know if there is a god or not, so I fall into fairly neutral territory. I am an atheist because I have seen neither a reason to believe in god which I deem valid nor an argument for his existence that makes sense. Besides, to use a judicial analogy, I'm not acting as judge, except for my own personal beliefs. If I were, I would likely recuse myself. The rest of the time, I'm acting as something more like a litigant, and litigants are not expected or required to be impartial.

Nothing about demanding proof of the credibility and intentions of those making extraordinary claims is ad hominem.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

 Kids can be so resilient.

Your assertion. And they are not resilient from 100 tablets of Tylenol. Nobody is resilient like that. Find other kids who might have survived from such poisoning and show me how resilient they were. They all have terrific liver and kidney, if not brain, damage and probably did not survive very long.

This seems relevent:

http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec24/ch297/ch297b.html

I'll let you read it, because it's a profile for acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning. It's interresting to note, however, that for 150 pound adults, it lists 20 tablets as the approximate minimum for poisoning, but claim that death is unlikely unless 40 or more are consumed. Now, that is only a factor of about 2 from the estimate of 70-100 you listed earlier. Note, also that the article lists no dosage at which death is certain. Now a six-year-old is not the same as a 150lbs adult, but that could work to her advantage from having a younger liver. And finally, note that the article states, "In stage 4 (after 5 days), the person either recovers quickly or experiences liver failure, which may prove fatal." The girl you spoke of, according to the material you posted, was hospitalized on the 20th and recovered on the 24th, five days later.

So, as you can see, it is perfectly reasonable to think that the little girl could have recovered on her own, based on existing, documented science, and the case doesn't even fall outside the normal profile.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

This doesn't sound very reliable to me.

Your assertion.

Yes, it is my assertion that ancient undocumented miracles seem pretty unreliable, and I'm comfortable to leave it at that.

StMichael wrote:

There must be, otherwise no effects would exist. In the order of efficent causes, where one cause is directly and entirely the agent of another, no further effects can exist if there is no first cause. The statue cannot come into being without a chiseler to sculpt it.

Let me see if I can restate this again so that you will understand it. The effects of now may not be the result of a first cause and subsequent causes in between, but rather an infinite series of causes extending in both directions in time forever. There is nothing to prove that there was ever a first cause, only that there are causes before the current ones.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

 Calculus, along with other parts of mathematics, have been proven to apply to the real world with evidence.

So has logical reasoning. Mathematics being a specific type.

True, but it that doesn't mean that every logical (or mathematical) proposition does.

StMichael wrote:
Natural reason is evidence, as is faith. They are of different orders.

And yet, they have never been as efficient in advancing knowledge as science, and science does not acknowledge either as evidence.

StMichael wrote:
For example, we see that things in the world are efficently caused. Thus, we can conclude from reason that such a chain cannot regress infinitely, because no mediate causes would exist.

Let me be clear about this: under this model, there is no beginning, no middle, and no end. All causes are merely points on a continuing line of cause extending forever through time in both directions.

StMichael wrote:
Tell me why an infinite regress is possible. Even in the order of motion of physical bodies such an infinite regress is impossible.

Actually, an infinite regress in the physical world is possible. It's just that once we trace back to the big bang, it gets harder to see.

I don't know if an infinite regress of metaphysical causes is possible or not, just as you do not know that a finite regress is necessary (it's one of the underlying assumptions of the cosmological theory).

StMichael wrote:
Something in motion (like the sun) cannot be in motion unless something sets it in motion. There cannot be motion/energy in the universe unless something gave it that.

Unless the energy had always been there.

StMichael wrote:
You have not given any reason why this is special pleading.

Claiming that the universe needs a cause but god does not need a cause it special pleading on god's behalf. And, nothing in the universe can cause change without itself changing, yet you allow god the power to somehow do so.

StMichael wrote:
Other explanations do not suffice for the reason that they are not logically necessary (all other theories were merely fanciful speculation without any evidence).

The first cause is only necessary if your assumptions hold.

StMichael wrote:
I can point to the lack of miracles used to substantiate any of their claims.

Islam claims to have miracles just as Christianity does.

StMichael wrote:
And? There can be just and unjust battles. Battles are not necessarily evil for the reason that they exist.

Are you really trying to claim that the invasion of Canaan was justified? Or that genocide is ever justified?

StMichael wrote:
God commanding a battle is different from commanding killing in general, which He has not.

So murder is bad, but invading countries and committing genocide is good if god says to do it?

StMichael wrote:
Quote:
Then why would he have bothered with Noah's flood?

Noah's flood was not to destroy humanity altogether. That is why He preserved Noah.

So god is unable to revoke existence from just certain humans? Admit it, when the god of the Bible wants people dead, he frequently uses other people and nature to do it rather than simply withdrawing their existence.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:
And then why did he not just destroy the people who were in the land he wanted to give to the Israelites?

God did. The walls of Jericho, ect.

But a very different thing from withholding existence.

StMichael wrote:
What assumptions not given? The only thing I used to arrive at the knowledge of a Prime Mover was the fact that things are in motion in the world.

The assumption that there must be a finite number of causes.

StMichael wrote:
So you assert. I would argue that the Church ensures that science does not overstep its bounds. For example, modern day embryonic stem cell research.

Fortunately, the church has not been able to completely block this valuable line of research.

StMichael wrote:
Science can't do whatever it wants. It must abide by the laws of ethics.

Science is held to real laws, made by governments. That seems to work well enough.

StMichael wrote:
It would be the same as picking people off the street and killing them to steal their organs.

Except that an embryo is not the same thing as a full grown person, or even a child.

StMichael wrote:
It might help somebody ..., but one cannot kill another to do so.

I'd like to take this rare opportunity to agree with you for once. However, it will be short-lived, I'm afraid, as I think an embryo does not rise to the level of being a person.

StMichael wrote:
(which I would even deny that embryonic stem cells can necessarily and uniquely do)

I'd rather let the scientists decide that.

StMichael wrote:
And what do more logical situations have to do with it? It was a historical event.

Whether it is a historicl event or not is questionable, and even if it is historical, the exact events are open for debate as well.

StMichael wrote:
And there is evidence to support their existence (if there is not, show me).

It doesn't work like that. I cannot show you non-evidence, nor can the non-existence of evidence be proven. If there is genuine evidence, the person claiming that it exists has to present it. That is the only reasonable way to proceed.

StMichael wrote:

Joseph did not believe her. Hence the angel. Further, it is not logical to merely believe such a proposition without evidence. His reaction in the Gospels was logical.

Joseph's initial reaction is pretty reasonable, and it would not be my first objection to the story. I do know that the whole story of Jesus's birth, life, death, and zombiehood are highly unlikely because they are such unbelievable events, which causes me to doubt that any part of it occurred.

StMichael wrote:
It did not give them power at all. In fact, my point is that it precisely made them hated by everyone else.

Well, obviously at least a few people followed them, because the religion is still around today. They couldn't have known how successful they would be until they tried it. Joseph Smith ultimately ended up being killed by an angry mob, but that didn't stop him from trying to set up his own religion.

StMichael wrote:
They were cast out of all their local social environments, they were killed by the Romans and ridiculed by the Greeks. There was no reward in power. Further, people didn't just jump on the bandwagon for precisely the reason that charlatans exist. The Apostles had no power or authority; they were persecuted and they all died in martyrdom for their beliefs. Why make something up and then die a horrid death for it?

Because you don't think it's going to happen that way.

StMichael wrote:
Okay, but there is no evidence against it either.

The medical implausibility is plenty of evidence.

StMichael wrote:
In fact, it seems more probable to believe that it happened, because people are not idiots, even if illiterate, and know how babies are made regardless.

As far as I know, the only account of the story comes from the Bible itself, which was obviously made for the purpose of instilling belief in people.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

Actually, Mithra was known in Persia (Iran) in the 300's BCE.

And? Christians did not arise in Persia.

But it was close, so the story could have been familiar to the writers of the gospels, so it could have served as the source of the idea.

StMichael wrote:
But that does not rule out that material movement can be explained mathematically. Hence, physics.

And physics had to justify the validity of all the math it uses with evidence from the real world.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

You can know that you are thinking with certainty, because you experience the effects of thinking, which is evidence. I can't know that you are thinking unless I see evidence of it. For instance, if you were to say something that reflected thought, I could conclude based on evidence that you were thinking.

Then logic has evidence. Period.

I don't even know what you mean by that. The fact that someone is thinking can be proven with evidence, that is what I said. That doesn't say anything at all about logic, and I don't even know what it means to say that logic has evidence. Are you trying to say that logic is evidence again? Please clarify.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

Yes, that's exactly my point. At least one (the flying spaghetti monster or the celetial teapot) must be wrong, and both may be. So you see that your metaphysical model (the unmoved mover) could be wrong if there is another possible model that answers the same question (the infinite regress of causes). And if it could be wrong, it can't be used to prove the existence of god.

But that only necessitates that a choice of answers (exists?).

(I added the word exists to your sentence at a guess, let me know if that's not what you ment)

Right, there are two completely different choices, which are both logically consistent and mutually exclusive.

StMichael wrote:
It does not indicate that the proof cannot exist. Just because 2+2 does not equal 3 (an alternate choice of answer) does not mean that 2+2=4 cannot be demonstrated.

I think the mathematical equations you're using are just confusing the matter because they are overly simplistic and not terribly analogous to the situation we are discussing. The situation we are discussing involves two (or more) competing theories to answer the same question, both of which are logically self-consistent. Neither of them is the 2+2=3 equation. The difference is in the assumptions they start with. You assume that there cannot be an infinite regress of cause, and I assume that there can be. I don't see where we can come up with any evidence to support either assumption, because it is a metaphysical question, which precludes evidence. Therefore, we can't assume that god exists, because we can't determine if your theory is right or wrong, and my theory doesn't require a first cause, so there is at least a good change that no first cause exists.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


StMichael
Theist
StMichael's picture
Posts: 609
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
Quote: If you do that,

Quote:
If you do that, aren't you assuming the result you want to reach?

Well, the only way to interpret the Scriptures is to read them with the original intent in mind. The Scriptures cannot interpret themselves. We must look, for one, at historical fact. What did the early Church believe as it was writing the Scriptures? What senses were various phrases given in? The same goes for Old Testament scholarship. But we also know from history and from the Scriptures that the Church exists in order to teach doctrine necessary for salvation, and it does so on God's mandate with His promise that they shall never fall into error (The gates of hell shall not overcome it). 

Quote:
 

I've struggled with the scriptures.  I've really tried.  It's hard to make heads or tails out of most of them. 

I quote the book of Acts of the Apostles: "How shall I understand unless I have somebody to teach me?" The eunuch to Saint Philip the deacon. The same goes for Scripture: it is difficult to understand and requires a great deal of study in order to understand properly. It likewise requires a living agent of authority to mediate the meaning of the Scriptures and ensure its correct interpretation. Hence, the Pope, bishops, and priests and the rest of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (putting the Church in order).

 

Quote:

Is it your understanding that you need faith first in order to understand scripture?  If so, should a seeker just put the scripture to one side and seek faith elsewhere?

The Scriptures ought to be studied, but all I said was that they are difficult to understand without placing oneself both in a position of faith and without placing oneself outside of the Church. The teaching of the Church, not just its dogma, helps to ensure a proper interpretation of Scripture.

Quote:

The problem is that I can't just simply elect to believe something.  If I could, frankly, I'd pick either what you believe, or what the Baptists believe.  I'm not sure which I would like better. 

I never said blind faith is the only option. It's just that the Scriptures are not the only thing in the Church. I would point, in order to bolster someones faith, to the many miracles and examples throughout history that attest to the divinely instituted character of the Church - the miracles performed by saints, the miracles performed by Christ, the prophecies of Scripture and of His saints, and the dissemination of the Gospel (which would be a great miracle if it never occured with a single miracle). I would also show how reasonable, intrinsically, it is to hold the articles of faith that I hold as compared to other religions, or just by themselves.

Quote:
 

 Both are attractive.  I like the Baptists' idea that once saved always saved.  I like things I can't screw up, because I can screw up just about anything.

Well, I find the Baptists' position contrary to Scripture and to common sense. If everyone was saved sine cum merita, then all men would be saved without any effort on their own part (you ought to already be saved, as would I). But this is absurd. At least, we would have to maintain an act of faith in Christ is necessary, which is in fact a form of meritorious action before God (because it proceeds from free will) Unless of course we're Calvinists, in which case we're all screwed according to the lots given us by God, damning some to hell or saving others (which is likewise incorrect because God does not predestine anyone to hell). In other words, there are grounds to our beliefs.

Quote:

I say that I would elect to believe what you believe even from the standpoint of my current belief that the Divine is not limited to the God of Christianity.  I wouldn't mind being wrong, though, if I could have the gift of faith and stop struggling with religion.

Faith is a gift, but it does build on what we already know by reason.

Quote:

But I can't simply elect to believe.  My beliefs go wherever my admittedly limited logic and reason lead them, whether I like it or not.  They change a lot.  What it looks to me like right now is that there is a divinity.  I don't know much about that divinity, but neither does anyone else. 

Well, I would argue a good amount of things can be learned about God from metaphysics (which is a natural knowledge of God from His effects in creation). This could rule out a great deal of error. I would recommend reading Saint Thomas' Summa Theologica (htpp://www.newadvent.org/summa) in order to get a full account of these naturally knowable properties of God.  

Quote:

 There are countless paths to the divine.  Whatever path leads a person to communion with the divine is right for that person.

Well, you are partially true. But we must have a correct idea about God before we can worship Him (orthodoxy "right belief" -> orthopraxis "right practice&quotEye-wink. Thus, I would argue that our reason alone can light the way at least to the point at which we can see that God could reveal Himself to us, and in fact must, in order to properly unite us to Himself (as this is our goal in life and nature does nothing in vain; further, we cannot attain Him by ourselves, only His grace can help us to know Him). But there will always be only one right answer. There is only one such way in which the fulness of truth subsists and one true way to become united to God, even though truth might exist in various degrees elsewhere.

Quote:

  The divine is not definable in any material terms.  Descriptions such as male or female, singular or plural, large or small, hairy or bald, etc. just don't apply. 

This would be correct in a manner of speaking. God transcends all these characteristics, but we can speak about Him in this way by analogy from the creatures to Him.

Quote:
 

Neither does it make much sense that the divine does material things.  For these reasons the exercise of rationally figuring out that there must be a God and if there's a God He must have the following characteristics (good, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal) doesn't lead us anywhere. 

Of course it does. These terms at least can tell us what God is not, and more than that can give us some analogical knowledge of Him. But also, Revelation gives us a knowledge of God in Himself, which surpasses this knowledge.

 

Quote:

 The divinity may or may not have created the universe, and it doesn't matter much if it did or didn't.

It does very much. We don't need to know what God is in Himself to discover that He created the universe. Further, this is important because it indicates His position to us (as ruler of the universe, what we owe Him out of justice by worship, whether we can be united to Him at all, whether we can know Him at all, ect.).

Quote:

It seems inconsistent with the universality of spirituality and the general convergence of our consciences and moral codes that any one of the multiple faiths is the one true faith and all the rest are wrong.  Feelings of spirituality and communion with the  divine are near universal (a handful of these atheists excepted).  Human consciences are remarkably consistent with each other when you adjust for different circumstances.

This contains a great deal of the truth the Catholic Church believes. God is naturally knowable, hence it is reasonable that most people know of a god in general, if not the God (In Him we move, and live, and have our being). Further, God's creation of our nature gave us an connatural knowledge of the general moral principles we are to live by (the Law was written on their hearts); this is "natural law." Human beings naturally tend toward God by virtue of being created by Him with Him as their goal. Thus, religion is common among all places and times. But that does not mean that multiple truths exist. Only one path is the complete truth about God. Only one contains the entire account of human goal in life. If one does not know where to end the race, or where to go, how can one run the race? Thus, God reveals Himself to us. God became man for precisely this reason.

Quote:

Do you deny that Muslims, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, and even Baptists feel the same connection to the divine that you do?

Well, there is a difference between "feeling" and "having" a connection to God, as feeling something is not an indication one has one. But, no, I would agree that most other religions share some elements of truth and goodness in terms of their moral teachings and so forth. They are good in so far as they unite the person to God. But they are not good because they are not the full and complete way. It is better that a man be a Baptist than an atheist, but it would find its fulfillment if he could be a Catholic. Even an atheist could find a path to heaven by his natural reason and moral code combined with God's sufficent grace, but this is only given through Christ. Nobody gets to heaven without the Catholic Church, but some people can be implicit members of Christ's Body by their acceptance of God's grace. It is also good the note that this never exists without Christ and His Church and that it yearns fundamentally to be united to a perfect communion with His Church. This is the goal.

Quote:

As to the Catholic Church's persecution of pagans and paganism, I rely on far more than a single Wikipedia entry.  I have read several books on the topic.  For example, Closing of the Western Mind by Charles Freeman.  I read that one several years ago.  I have some others lying around the house, too.

The Catholic Church more or less absorbed pagan thought rather than eliminate it. Look at Aristotle or Plato or Plotinus or the Stoics. I recommend How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Just reading the review of the book you spoke of on Amazon came up with this review by Publishers Weekly, which I believe contains a great deal of what I would have said: "Freeman repeats an oft-told tale of the rise of Christianity and the supposed demise of philosophy in a book that is fascinating, frustrating and flawed. He contends that as the Christian faith developed in the first four centuries it gradually triumphed over the reigning Hellenistic and Roman philosophies. Christianity's power culminated when Constantine declared it the official state religion in 312. Freeman points to Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, as the figure who showed Constantine that the bishopric could wield power over the state. From then until the Middle Ages, Freeman argues, the church ruled triumphant, successfully squelching any challenges to its religious and political authority. Yet Freeman (The Greek Achievement) fails to show that faith became totally dominant over reason. First, he asserts that Paul of Tarsus, whom many think of as the founder of Christianity, condemned the Hellenistic philosophy of his time. Freeman is wrong about this, for the rhetorical style and the social context of Paul's letters show just how dependent he was on the philosophy around him. Second, Freeman glosses over the tremendous influence of Clement of Alexandria's open embrace of philosophy as a way of understanding the Christian faith. Third, the creeds that the church developed in the fourth century depended deeply on philosophical language and categories in an effort to make the faith understandable to its followers. Finally, Augustine's notions of original sin and the two cities depended directly on Plato's philosophy; Augustine even admits in the Confessions that Cicero was his model. While Freeman tells a good story, his arguments fail to be convincing."

 

Quote:

As to why the Bible doesn't condemn slavery.  I deny that slavery was ever a "necessary evil."  I think it has always been an unnecessary evil, regardless of how universal the practice was until a few centuries ago.  It's true that the pagans had no scruples against keeping slaves.  I just wonder why, if God was doing his job as the ultimate lawmaker and source of moral teaching, he didn't bother to let us know that slavery is just wrong, period, while he was putting his book together.  He could have left out one of the descriptions of how to build an ark of the covenant.

 I point out that the Old Testament did not endorse slavery. I emphasized earlier that the Old Testament's slavery was not the form that existed elsewhere, and further that the Jews were to treat the slave equitably (with, if I remember correctly, somebody who killed a slave was liable for murder) as not a piece of property, but a human being. Likewise, in the Jewish Law, slaves recieved equitable wages.

Further, Christianity did probably the most to help ameliorate the condition of slavery in the world. Early Christians were mostly slaves. Further, a good deal of the Church' early teaching involved valuing the slave as a human being (neither slave nor free, but one in Christ Jesus). While it was unable to turn over the institution in general (partly due to historical reliance on them as necessary for society due to a lack of technology, as well as due to other pressures), the Church consistently and adamantly preached charity toward slaves and equitable treatment.

Quote:

 I don't see how something without a nervous system can be a human being, but you've given me something to think about.

I would argue that it does have a nervous system, but that is something else. At least we are in agreement here.

Quote:
I like birth control because it keeps unwanted children from being conceived.  While there may be some acts that are intrinsically evil, I don't believe having sex is one of them.  If we were "designed" by a designer, it seems obvious to me that the designer wanted us to have sex.  The designer wanted us to enjoy sex.   If he didn't, he really screwed up when he designed and built us. 

I would agree fundamentally with the statement that God made us with sexual organs and that sex is something good. However, it was for this reason that He instituted marriage. Contraception is just another form of lust. Lust does not fulfill why God made sex in the first place because sex is about creating life and sharing love with another person (aka, making love). Contraception contravenes this openness to life. By analogy, just because God created food and made eating good, there is no reason to believe that gorging oneself and having sexual relations with your entrees is a good thing as well. Our conduct in sex ought to follow the natural law governing what relations are good for. Contraception warps this proper relationship that God wants.

  

Quote:

 The designer made us different.  Most of us will be most fulfilled and satisfied in a monogamous heterosexual relationship.  Some of us are more satisfied in polyamorous situations, and some of us are homosexuals.  And some of us have no sex drive at all and are asexual. 

Well, I would argue that people are not designed in this way from the basic fact that our organs are clearly designed as a one-way street with a clear purpose in mind. While we were given bodily desires, we were likewise given those wonderful things called "minds" that enable us to act not just on natural desire, but in a rational manner. Lust warps God's design, so polymorphous relations are right out. I don't know what to think about homosexuals, because I don't think it clear whether nature made them such or whether it was their upbringing or both, so I don't care to make an argument on that either way. I think it is clear, however, that sex has a clearly defined purpose that ought to exist only in a monogamous union between a man and wife. I think all of these other conducts (adultery, polygamy, homosexuality, bestiality, masturbation, ect.)are contrary to the moral order intended by God.

Quote:

And there's a name for people who rely on the rhythm method, "Mommy and Daddy."

I am not sure what this means exactly. But the rhythm method is not just the only form of this method. Our current knowledge of biology enables a much more expansively accurate account of when reproduction is naturally impossible. God already provided natural cycles of infertility; why not use them when these other methods are clearly evil? And even if you do not buy my argument that these other methods are evil, if you question that they are fully morally justified, there is reason to agree that this method is not contested as morally acceptable.

Quote:

Abstinence is a joke.  It just doesn't happen all that often.  When you start hearing confessions I bet you'll learn that.

I beg to differ. Abstinence can happen and does more than you think. Further, temperance is a virtue in manners of sex as well as eating. We can control our appetites because we have minds to do so. There is no reason abstinence is impossible in practice between a man and wife for short periods of time.

Quote:

 I can say, however, that whether 100 years ago or today, sex with condoms is safer than sex without.

Again, I believe this violates the principles laid down for sexual relations. And I think it is clear that it had disastrous consequences.

Quote:

I certainly don't see a parallel between eugenics and voluntary birth control.  You'll have to explain that one.  I do see a parallel between eugenics and banning birth control.  In both instances, government tells people whether to have children.

Why would making abortion illegal lead to eugenics? It is directly the opposite case in all examples.

Quote:

It does not work to compare "legalizing homicide."  Homicide is evil because it results in killing people.  If there were some way to have homicide without hurting anyone, I'm not sure it would be evil.  Sex, on the other hand, can be had without hurting anyone.

Except, with abortion and birth control, the child. Many birth control methods (the pill, for instance) can cause abortions. Further, having sex when you have an STD is dangerous even with a condom; hurting people is a real and nearly definite possibility. I think also the societal consequences of using people as objects is good enough reason to condemn it.

Quote:
 

Is your faith really not based on spiritual experiences?  You really place all your faith in your philosophical reasoning and what people have told you God has revealed?  And that revelation is a combination of scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church?  If that works for you, I envy you.  Even if you're completely wrong, you're a lot happier than I am.  I've got to keep looking.  Maybe it's because I did have this spiritual experience.  I find it hard to believe you can maintain faith without it.

Spiritual experience, when truly from God as in the sense of a vision or revelation, is an extraordinary event not given to most. Even if we had one, it would be very dangerous to rely on that as the source of our faith. We can be easily mislead by the devil or our own imaginations and feelings. That is why God gave us a mind - to know and do His will.

Quote:

As far as talking to a priest is concerned, no priest has time to listen to all my objections. 

I am sure that they have more than enough time to listen to you.

Quote:
The priest at the closest Catholic church to me could not carry on this conversation with me because he barely speaks English. 

Well, that's sad. Find a different priest, would be my advice. I am sure he himself might have recommended this.

Quote:
 Thanks to your church's insistence on celibacy, many of the priests serving American churches have to be imported.

It is not caused by celibacy. Other places in the world are doing just fine in priestly and religious vocations. The US of A had a bit of the problem in the 60s and 70s through the 90s with bad priests and formation of priests. It is what led to the whole crisis now with sexual offenders and so forth. It has nothing to do with celibacy. It has a lot to do with bad priests who did not practice or believe what the Church did, and who thought they could do whatever they wanted. Thankfully, most of these folks are dying out. I urge you again to find a priest who will be able to answer your questions. I am sure, positive, that you can find one.

 

 

Quote:

Earlier, you argued that protestant christians still believe in your proof because of scriptures that claim that god created everything. Muslims believe this even now today, and they go consider the text of the Torah (which includes Genesis) to have come from god.

That is not entirely true. First, the Proddies believe a great deal among their various sects. Second, the Muslims do not believe this today (it is a minority view in all major sects of Islam), and they likewise reject the Torah and the entire Scriptures as a corruption of the true doctrine that might have previously existed. Lastly, the condemnations in the Koran itself and the teaching of their theologians outweighs these considerations.

Quote:
 

It may not be 'logically' impossible, not completely, but it is impossible based on everything we know about death.

There are different senses of impossibiliy. It is not impossible, just improbable (even to a higher degree), but this is not say it is irrational.

Quote:

Many religions claim to have miracles. The question is are they reliable, and if any of them are, how do you determine which religion's miracles to trust?

Good question. Look into it. But many religions also do not claim to have miracles or they contradict reason. Hence, these are right out. The Catholic Church points to many examples from Christ's life and the lives of their saints. Further, I am not sure how many religions outside of Christianity and Judaism have an equivalent concept of the miraculous. I don't think that any that I know of view miracles in this way, including Islam.

Quote:

We have been discussing how you decide which religion to believe, and which miracles to trust, and which revelations to consider true. It seems like you are forced to make a basically arbitrary decision.

Not arbitrary. Just based on good sense and investigation. Again, looking at natural reason rules out a good portion. Looking at miracles rules out another good portion. You are left, in my estimation, with a handful of alternatives.

Quote:

There's nothing ad hominem about it. It is simply more likely that the church would be specifically looking for miracles that could not be easily refuted than that those miracles actually happened.

You imply thus that they are untrustworthy. That is ad hominem.

Quote:

A case which is being considered within the church and never outside it.

"Considered within" what sense? There are many involved from "outside" the Church. The evidence is not "within the Church" but exists outside of it. The case itself must be decided upon for veracity by the Congregation, of course, because nobody else has the responsibility to/cares about declaring someone a saint.

Quote:

You wouldn't publish the miracle directly, you would publish the medical research done around it. It is the business of medicine to investigate medical phenomina, whatever the source. Furthermore, this is just about the only way that good peer review could be done, so that a large body of scientists in the relevent fields can react to it, and offer alternative explanations.

I believe this has been done before, actually. I recall cases of this nature being published in medical journals or on review. I would have to look around, though, to find an example. But it still doesn't nullify the case that the miracles are nevertheless reviewed by experts in the field.

Quote:

The church isn't impartial in the issue. It has a direct interest in finding events that it can claim as miraculous safely. This is the same reason that judges recuse themselves from trials when they have a personal stake in them. The church also doesn't have the kind of process that science has for doing peer review.

Why doesn't the church hire some scientists to investigate and publish their findings? It can go through peer review, and then a conclusion can be drawn the scientists alone. That might have some credibility.

Because the Church has the process to verify the sainthood of the person, not to publish miracles in medical journals. Actually, I thought of examples of this. There have been numerous studies on many miracles in the Catholic Church that were published. I recall one on the blood of Saint Januarius (which reliquifies on his feast day and some other times every year) that was published some years ago. I also recall some done on the incorruptibles (some saints whose bodies resisted decay and rigor mortis for centuries and exhaled pleasant odors - like Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Bernadaette). I also recall some done on Lanciano (of the miraculous Host that actually became flesh and the wine which became blood).

Quote:

I am an atheist because I have seen neither a reason to believe in god which I deem valid nor an argument for his existence that makes sense.

His existence is not a matter necessarily of faith, but can be proven of natural reason. I think I gave some reasons why God must exist earlier.

Quote:

 This seems relevent:

http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec24/ch297/ch297b.html

I'll let you read it, because it's a profile for acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning....

I admit my own lack of knowledge about such medical conditions, as I am not a doctor. I know, however, that the girl overdosed on more than a merely fatal dose of Tylenol, and that her recovery was medically impossible. Further, if it was the case that her recovery was naturally explainable in many cases of Tylenol poisoning, would it make sense for this doctor to remark that this case was extraordinary? I don't think my or your (which included all of a few minutes reading the Merck sheet on it) reasoning outweighs the testimony of the doctors who verified this case, who was a past president of some medical board according to that article (I think New England, which is rather prestigious).
 

Quote:
Yes, it is my assertion that ancient undocumented miracles seem pretty unreliable, and I'm comfortable to leave it at that.

I would agree but merely point out that is not impossible that such were the case. Even further, based on the evidence that miracles can occur (from such indications offered by saints recently), it would seem reasonable to conclude they were of the same character whether 90 or 1200 years ago.

Quote:

Let me see if I can restate this again so that you will understand it. The effects of now may not be the result of a first cause and subsequent causes in between, but rather an infinite series of causes extending in both directions in time forever. There is nothing to prove that there was ever a first cause, only that there are causes before the current ones.

And if there were no first cause and the string was infinite, no cause could exist now. Because motion exists only is so far as they thing is moved, motion is impossible without a mover. If there is no primary mover, no motion is possible.

Quote:

True, but it that doesn't mean that every logical (or mathematical) proposition does.

What logical or mathematically true proposition does not apply to reality? Logic and mathematics are merely forms of describing reality and deducing conclusions from the nature of reality.

 

Quote:

And yet, they have never been as efficient in advancing knowledge as science, and science does not acknowledge either as evidence.

Science is the first type. Science is a form of natural reason based on observation. It is natural because we can discover these truths without God's help or revelation.

Let me be clear about this: under this model, there is no beginning, no middle, and no end. All causes are merely points on a continuing line of cause extending forever through time in both directions.

It has nothing to do with time. It has to do with logical priority. If there is no first cause at all, and all causes or movers merely proceed infinitely, there is no source of movement or causation. Without such a source, absolutely speaking (not in time), there can be no motion or change at all. Motion only exists in so far as something else acts upon it. If there is no source for the motion, there can be no motion.

Quote:

Actually, an infinite regress in the physical world is possible. It's just that once we trace back to the big bang, it gets harder to see.

I don't know if an infinite regress of metaphysical causes is possible or not, just as you do not know that a finite regress is necessary (it's one of the underlying assumptions of the cosmological theory).

It is not an assumption. Whereas certain things might proceed indefinitely (infinitely) in time, a certain logical priority must be maintained. Even if the Big Bang was caused by something else, there must be a logically prior cause to all these ulterior causes. Otherwise, they cease to exist.

Quote:

Unless the energy had always been there.

But it does not. The motion does not exist without a mover. The energy would need some logical source, even though it may temporally have existed forever. Even so, in a manner of speaking, God is the source of this energy. The necessity of the unmoved mover still exists. A cause is not merely in time, but in logical priority.

 

Quote:

Claiming that the universe needs a cause but god does not need a cause it special pleading on god's behalf. And, nothing in the universe can cause change without itself changing, yet you allow god the power to somehow do so.

You yourself highlight part of the problem. The universe is not a magical whole. Even within the universe, a thing is changed by the contact it has with another thing and motion is transferred. But this change cannot exist without an unmover mover, otherwise no change would exist. Even speaking from the standpoint of entropy, the system needed initial energy in order to have order in the first place. There must be at least one source of this motion which is unmoved if any motion is to exist at all. The universe is in motion, and hence cannot move itself. It requires an unmoved agent of its motion.

Quote:

Islam claims to have miracles just as Christianity does.

No it don't. It never claims this and in fact positively disavows this.

Quote:

Are you really trying to claim that the invasion of Canaan was justified? Or that genocide is ever justified?

The invasion of Canaan could be justified. Who caused the invasion? If God caused it, it would be justified. It is not necessarily genocide at all.

Quote:

So murder is bad, but invading countries and committing genocide is good if god says to do it?

Warfare is not an evil in itself, and does not necessarily entail genocide. Warfare is not properly murder, as capital punishment is not; this is because these proceed from legitimate authority.

 

Quote:

So god is unable to revoke existence from just certain humans? Admit it, when the god of the Bible wants people dead, he frequently uses other people and nature to do it rather than simply withdrawing their existence.

God's use of men in warfare could be just the thing spoken of above: justified. But, nevertheless, God does act in a miraculous way even in these warfares. He even frequently inflicts the punishment Himself through nature. But God does not merely withdraw the existence of the thing, annihilating it for various reasons. First, this is contrary to how He created it. Second, God does not act in this manner, as it is contrary to how He created nature. Third, the deaths described sometimes were given to prove a point - X person has committed a mortal sin and will be punished by God for it. If God poofed them into non-existence, it would not prove His justice. By analogy, human justice provides a penalty that is supreme for supreme crimes in order to deter others in the commission of these crimes.

 

Quote:

Fortunately, the church has not been able to completely block this valuable line of research.

The millions of dead babies being justified by the progess of "SCIENCE!"

Quote:

Science is held to real laws, made by governments. That seems to work well enough.

And what do governments depend on for the source of morality, if not God? If everything a government said made it morally just, that would lead to complete relativism in what was right or wrong. The Nazis would be perfectly justified in killing Jewish babies, mothers, and other people in their "scientific" experiments because the Riech said it was so.

Quote:

Except that an embryo is not the same thing as a full grown person, or even a child.

Your opinion without evidence. A seed is not a tree, but killing the seed kills a potential tree. What determines the boundary of when we can decide what is or is not a life? Is a person over age 60 a person? Young children seem pretty irrational to me; does that mean that I can smother them with pillows if they get on my nerves anywhere below age 18? Heck, why not kill people with non-white skincolors, as we can all agree they are not "real" people? 

Quote:

I'd rather let the scientists decide that.

And they have. Embryonic stem cells are no more useful than either amniotic stem cells or adult stem cells in any proven way. Popular opinion was driven on myth and hype.

Quote:

It doesn't work like that. I cannot show you non-evidence, nor can the non-existence of evidence be proven. If there is genuine evidence, the person claiming that it exists has to present it. That is the only reasonable way to proceed.

And the evidence is there, ripe for the picking. A claim that alternate things could have happened is not a good reason to reject it. I could then easily reject the moon landing (It was faked. Right? RIGHT!?!?!?). It all depends on reliable evidence and the existence of alternate plausible explanations. I don't think there is a good alternate plausible explanation that takes into account all the facts of the situation.

Quote:

I do know that the whole story of Jesus's birth, life, death, and zombiehood are highly unlikely because they are such unbelievable events, which causes me to doubt that any part of it occurred.

Jesus was not a zombie, ever, to begin with. I think a misunderstanding of events or what is claimed could be the source of seeing them as unbelievable. Also, I think that if we can show from natural reason that God exists and can perform miracles, as well as His Providence in ruling nature, in addition to being able to reveal Himself to man, I find that the Gospel claims ought not to be dismissed. The case is possible and probable that God would reveal Himself in such a way; do we have reason to believe in the Gospel? If so, go for it.

Quote:

Well, obviously at least a few people followed them, because the religion is still around today. They couldn't have known how successful they would be until they tried it. Joseph Smith ultimately ended up being killed by an angry mob, but that didn't stop him from trying to set up his own religion.

But that does not answer my argument. Why would they persist in defending a belief which would cause hatred if they had merely manufactured the belief in the first place? Also, their death was dissimilar to Smith's in that they were tortured and their jailors were trying to have them renounce their beliefs, before they were finally killed as a result of their stubbornly clinging to their beliefs. Smith was merely shot by an angry mob.

Quote:

Because you don't think it's going to happen that way.

That does not answer the question of "why persist?" It might answer the initial question of "how did it start?" but not the big one of "why continue to believe a known fiction when under duress?"

Quote:

The medical implausibility is plenty of evidence.

No it is not. If God exists and performs miracles, why not? Further, they maintained this belief in contradiction to this naturally known fact of how babies are made.

Quote:

As far as I know, the only account of the story comes from the Bible itself, which was obviously made for the purpose of instilling belief in people.

First, FYI, the Scriptures were not written to convert others, but to recount something to the already believing. Second, the Apostles and our Lady maintained this belief, as it attested to by historical evidence from early Christians (such as Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch).

 

Quote:

 But it was close, so the story could have been familiar to the writers of the gospels, so it could have served as the source of the idea.

But there is no evidence that this is so. It was also not close -Iran might be close in location (and even then, not so), but not in mentality. The closest mentality to the writers of the Gospel would have been Hellenic ideas. Further, the writers of the Gospels, such as Mark or Luke, were not first hand witnesses and were reporting a situation from someone else. It would not make sense that they interpolated these ideas (they were Greek and Latin, after all). Further, there is no evidence that this was the case. No evidence of Mithranism has been found in Judea, as far as I know. It is purely speculative to say that this was drawn upon by Christians.

Quote:

And physics had to justify the validity of all the math it uses with evidence from the real world.

Sure. And? That does not disprove that mathematics gains certainly known conclusions, as does logic.

Quote:

I don't even know what you mean by that. The fact that someone is thinking can be proven with evidence, that is what I said. That doesn't say anything at all about logic, and I don't even know what it means to say that logic has evidence. Are you trying to say that logic is evidence again? Please clarify.

Logical deduction proceeds from naturally known principles. I suppose this would meet your criteria. It is thus certain in its deductions from naturally known things.

 

Quote:

Right, there are two completely different choices, which are both logically consistent and mutually exclusive.

But no such choice can exist. There cannot be two mutually exclusive and logically consistent (in the sense of correctly deduced) answers to a question that are both true. It might be said that these are both reasonable choices in that they appear reasonable prima facia, but they cannot be logically demonstrated. It would be, as I said, that 2+2=4 and 2+2=3 were on the same level of truth.

Quote:

The difference is in the assumptions they start with. You assume that there cannot be an infinite regress of cause, and I assume that there can be.

 

Except that this is not an assumption, but a logical necessity if there can be motion at all.

Quote:

 I don't see where we can come up with any evidence to support either assumption, because it is a metaphysical question, which precludes evidence.

Metaphysics does not preclude evidence at all. Metaphysics proceeds from not necessarily empirical evidence, but that does not mean that it exists without justification.

 I also ought to point out another reason why such infinite regress in motion is impossible, as the previous one just does not seem to be clear to you. I present the following: if we proceed to say that there is an infinite regress in motion, we say that all of those things moving are bodies. This is because only a body can be moved. But, by moving something else, the body itself is moved. Therefore, all the infinites are moved when one body is moved. But a single body that is finite is moved in finite time. So, it would follow that the infinite beings are moved in finite time. But this is impossible. Hence, no infinite regress in movers is possible.

Also, no self-moved mover exists. This is because no thing can be logically prior to itself, nor can a thing exist and not exist in the same way in the same respect.

Thus, an unmoved mover is the only possible solution. This is God. 

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.


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
StMichael wrote: That is

StMichael wrote:
That is not entirely true. First, the Proddies believe a great deal among their various sects.

And?

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

It may not be 'logically' impossible, not completely, but it is impossible based on everything we know about death.

There are different senses of impossibiliy. It is not impossible, just improbable (even to a higher degree), but this is not say it is irrational.

I'd say it's pretty irrational to believe in things that are as improbable as miracles.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

Many religions claim to have miracles. The question is are they reliable, and if any of them are, how do you determine which religion's miracles to trust?

Good question. Look into it. But many religions also do not claim to have miracles or they contradict reason. Hence, these are right out.

I agree, they are right out, as long as we include Christianity.

StMichael wrote:
The Catholic Church points to many examples from Christ's life and the lives of their saints.

None of which is reliably documented.

StMichael wrote:
Further, I am not sure how many religions outside of Christianity and Judaism have an equivalent concept of the miraculous. I don't think that any that I know of view miracles in this way, including Islam.

I'm not sure what you would consider an equivalent concept of miracles, but many religions do claim mystical reasons to believe in them as proof. Assuming that it should work the way it does in your religion begs the question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle http://www.mcn.org/1/Miracles/ http://www.backtoislam.com/?cat=68

I find the wikipedia article the most general.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

There's nothing ad hominem about it. It is simply more likely that the church would be specifically looking for miracles that could not be easily refuted than that those miracles actually happened.

You imply thus that they are untrustworthy. That is ad hominem.

I am beginning to think you don't know what ad hominem is. Ad hominem is attacking an argument on the basis of traits of the person making it rather than the substance of the argument. You introduced as evidence the decision of the church's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, essentially placing their credibility on the line in support of miracles. Their reasons for reaching their conclusions are relevent to the discussion, and evaluating their reasons is not ad hominem.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

A case which is being considered within the church and never outside it.

"Considered within" what sense? There are many involved from "outside" the Church. The evidence is not "within the Church" but exists outside of it. The case itself must be decided upon for veracity by the Congregation, of course, because nobody else has the responsibility to/cares about declaring someone a saint.

The only part that is done outside the church seems to be the first step, where a panel of professionals is asked if they can explain the miracle within their professions. From them on, it's all in the church's hands.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

You wouldn't publish the miracle directly, you would publish the medical research done around it. It is the business of medicine to investigate medical phenomina, whatever the source. Furthermore, this is just about the only way that good peer review could be done, so that a large body of scientists in the relevent fields can react to it, and offer alternative explanations.

I believe this has been done before, actually. I recall cases of this nature being published in medical journals or on review. I would have to look around, though, to find an example. But it still doesn't nullify the case that the miracles are nevertheless reviewed by experts in the field.

Being reviewed by a few experts is not very convincing. For one thing, any individual scientist may be wrong or underinformed about things even in their field, especially in highly complex fields like medicine. Science is about establishing concensus, which can't be done with a small group. For another, research scientists will almost universally acknowledge that our understanding is not totally complete, so many things may not be explained by current science, but that does not mean there is no explanation.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

The church isn't impartial in the issue. It has a direct interest in finding events that it can claim as miraculous safely. This is the same reason that judges recuse themselves from trials when they have a personal stake in them. The church also doesn't have the kind of process that science has for doing peer review.

Why doesn't the church hire some scientists to investigate and publish their findings? It can go through peer review, and then a conclusion can be drawn by the scientists alone. That might have some credibility.

Because the Church has the process to verify the sainthood of the person, not to publish miracles in medical journals.

You're exactly right, the purpose of the process is to appoint saints, not to be thorough, and that's my point.

StMichael wrote:
Actually, I thought of examples of this. There have been numerous studies on many miracles in the Catholic Church that were published. I recall one on the blood of Saint Januarius (which reliquifies on his feast day and some other times every year) that was published some years ago.

And, ultimately, further investigation of Januarius's "blood" has yielded at least one ordinary explanation that seems highly plausible. This is a great example of a situation that was hard for scientists to explain initially, but there was still an explanation waiting to be discovered.

StMichael wrote:
I also recall some done on the incorruptibles (some saints whose bodies resisted decay and rigor mortis for centuries and exhaled pleasant odors - like Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Bernadaette).

There are possible rational explanations for such a thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummy#Natural_mummies I have to wonder why, if this is a genuine product of the saintliness of the deceased, there would be saints who were not incorruptible.

Of course, if you're going to resort to supernatural explanations, you can't rule out the possiblity that they're actually vampires.

StMichael wrote:
I also recall some done on Lanciano (of the miraculous Host that actually became flesh and the wine which became blood).

The only science I've been able to find about this has been on pro-catholic web pages. I haven't been able to find any evidence that it has been investigated independently. That doesn't mean there is not evidence, but this seems quite week.

StMichael wrote:

I admit my own lack of knowledge about such medical conditions, as I am not a doctor. I know, however, that the girl overdosed on more than a merely fatal dose of Tylenol, and that her recovery was medically impossible.

Well, the linked site does not list any dose as necessarily fatal. I'm not a doctor either, but it's possible that there is not a dose that gaurentees death. It seems quite plausible that the body can only absorb a certain amount of Tylenol in a given period of time, and the rest would be purged, meaning that after a certain point, increasing the dose would not do anything, and it's just up to the liver to survive the large dose that can be absorbed.

I'd also point out this article, which explains that younger patients (under 5, in this case) have better chances than adults of surviving poisoning.

StMichael wrote:
Further, if it was the case that her recovery was naturally explainable in many cases of Tylenol poisoning, would it make sense for this doctor to remark that this case was extraordinary?

I can think of several possible ways for it to make sense.

1. The doctors chosen could have been generalists, or incorrectly specialized, to know about the medical explanations for such poisoning.
2. The relevent medical knowledge may have been less advanced in 1987 than today.
3. The doctor may not have had access to effective resources for finding such information. He certainly couldn't have just Googled it like I did.
4. He could have made a simple mistake. After all, to err is human.
5. He had non-scientific motives to conclude as he did.

What is important to note is how closely this girl's case actually fits the standard profile. One thing you aren't being clear about: How many doctors were involved? You are using plural in places, but talking about what sounds like one man.

StMichael wrote:
I don't think my or your (which included all of a few minutes reading the Merck sheet on it) reasoning outweighs the testimony of the doctors who verified this case, who was a past president of some medical board according to that article (I think New England, which is rather prestigious).

Well, since we're pointing out fallacies here, this is nothing but an appeal to authority fallacy. It's true, I would believe a doctor over my own medical conclusions if I felt they had all the information and had reached their conclusions under proper experimental conditions, but in this case it appears that for whatever reason, some relevent information was not considered. Also, being part of a medical board doesn't sound too closely related to this case, as prestigious as it may be.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

True, but it that doesn't mean that every logical (or mathematical) proposition does.

What logical or mathematically true proposition does not apply to reality?

Well, I'm talking about the physical world here, not reality in general, as there is a certain reality to mathematical truth.

The equation E=mC^2 (where E=energy, m=mass, and C=the speed of light in a vacuum) describes how energy is related to mass, but the equation E=m+7 does not, despite the fact that they are both perfectly reasonable mathematical statements. The correct equation had to be demonstrated by science using observation.

StMichael wrote:

It has nothing to do with time. It has to do with logical priority. If there is no first cause at all, and all causes or movers merely proceed infinitely, there is no source of movement or causation. Without such a source, absolutely speaking (not in time), there can be no motion or change at all. Motion only exists in so far as something else acts upon it. If there is no source for the motion, there can be no motion.

There is a source for the motion. Each motion derives from the motions preceeding it.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

Actually, an infinite regress in the physical world is possible. It's just that once we trace back to the big bang, it gets harder to see.

I don't know if an infinite regress of metaphysical causes is possible or not, just as you do not know that a finite regress is necessary (it's one of the underlying assumptions of the cosmological theory).

It is not an assumption. Whereas certain things might proceed indefinitely (infinitely) in time, a certain logical priority must be maintained.

I have no idea what you mean by 'logical priority' here, but it doesn't seem applicable or necessary.

StMichael wrote:
Even if the Big Bang was caused by something else, there must be a logically prior cause to all these ulterior causes. Otherwise, they cease to exist.

Why. If each effect has a cause, I don't see a problem.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

Unless the energy had always been there.

But it does not. The motion does not exist without a mover. The energy would need some logical source, even though it may temporally have existed forever.

I see no reason why this needs to be true.

StMichael wrote:
Even speaking from the standpoint of entropy, the system needed initial energy in order to have order in the first place.

But, since there is not beginning, there could always have been energy around.

StMichael wrote:
The universe is in motion, and hence cannot move itself.

The universe has energy, which is sufficient for motion. Period.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

Are you really trying to claim that the invasion of Canaan was justified? Or that genocide is ever justified?

The invasion of Canaan could be justified. Who caused the invasion? If God caused it, it would be justified. It is not necessarily genocide at all.

Killing off all the members of a race is genocide, regardless of whose order it was.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

So murder is bad, but invading countries and committing genocide is good if god says to do it?

Warfare is not an evil in itself, and does not necessarily entail genocide. Warfare is not properly murder, as capital punishment is not; this is because these proceed from legitimate authority.

The Bible verses I posted earlier are specific instructions to wipe out all the members of certain specific races, and to show them no mercy. That isn't warfare, it's genocide. If the god of the old testiment were real, he would be a war criminal.

StMichael wrote:

God's use of men in warfare could be just the thing spoken of above: justified. But, nevertheless, God does act in a miraculous way even in these warfares. He even frequently inflicts the punishment Himself through nature. But God does not merely withdraw the existence of the thing, annihilating it for various reasons. First, this is contrary to how He created it. Second, God does not act in this manner, as it is contrary to how He created nature.

Then he can't simply withhold existence from things he wants to get rid of as you claimed earlier.

StMichael wrote:
Third, the deaths described sometimes were given to prove a point - X person has committed a mortal sin and will be punished by God for it. If God poofed them into non-existence, it would not prove His justice.

I fail to see how this could apply to entire races of people. Surely there must be many innocents in even the most barbaric groups.

StMichael wrote:

The millions of dead babies being justified by the progess of "SCIENCE!"

This isn't an argument worth having. The arguments are so predictable on both sides, I imagine both of us know how they would run. I'd say, "I don't think it's a baby until is has a brain." You'd say, "But it has a soul." I'd say, "There's no such thing as a soul." And soon, unable to agree on this point, we would be at an impass. But, feel free to say more if you have a novel argument.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

Science is held to real laws, made by governments. That seems to work well enough.

And what do governments depend on for the source of morality, if not God?

Well, my morality doesn't come from god. It comes from my natural sense of fairness and compassion. Governments, ideally, draw upon the morals of their citizens and leaders to make laws.

StMichael wrote:
If everything a government said made it morally just, that would lead to complete relativism in what was right or wrong. The Nazis would be perfectly justified in killing Jewish babies, mothers, and other people in their "scientific" experiments because the Riech said it was so.

Well, relying on a state for standards of morality is no worse than relying on a church. Just as there are many states, there are many different Churches with different moral systems some of which are quite repugnant, and most of which don't have a better track record than states, and their teachings often even offer badly corrupted moralities.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

Except that an embryo is not the same thing as a full grown person, or even a child.

Your opinion without evidence. A seed is not a tree, but killing the seed kills a potential tree.

The differences between an embryo and a human are quite distinct, particularly the nervous system and brain are very limited. It certainly isn't possible to protect all potential babies, because every combination of healthy sperm and healthy egg represent a potential baby. Even allowing an egg to be fertilized prevents many potential babys.

StMichael wrote:
What determines the boundary of when we can decide what is or is not a life? Is a person over age 60 a person? Young children seem pretty irrational to me; does that mean that I can smother them with pillows if they get on my nerves anywhere below age 18?

I would focus on the point at which the brain can feel pain. To determine when that is, I would ask a doctor.

StMichael wrote:
Heck, why not kill people with non-white skincolors, as we can all agree they are not "real" people?

This is just stupid nonsense. I never suggested anything like this.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

I'd rather let the scientists decide that.

And they have. Embryonic stem cells are no more useful than either amniotic stem cells or adult stem cells in any proven way. Popular opinion was driven on myth and hype.

I have heard that, and if it's true, great. I don't know if it is, because I don't know enough about the issue to say (and I don't think you do either). However, I would not ban research on embryonic stem cells in case there is a need not yet discoverd. Popular opinion was driven by the statements of a significant number of scientists. At least some scientists are using them now.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:

It doesn't work like that. I cannot show you non-evidence, nor can the non-existence of evidence be proven. If there is genuine evidence, the person claiming that it exists has to present it. That is the only reasonable way to proceed.

And the evidence is there, ripe for the picking. A claim that alternate things could have happened is not a good reason to reject it.

Where is this evidence? When a claim of extraordinary and impossible events is offered with nothing but distorted biased testimony as evidence, the existence of other possible explanations provides better possibilities.

StMichael wrote:
I could then easily reject the moon landing (It was faked. Right? RIGHT!?!?!?).

Sure, you could reject that if a more plausible scenario was offered. However, the problem is that there is nothing greatly extraordinary about the Apollo Program, and there are a lot of very credible people, many still alive, who testify to it's occurance directly. The assessment of credibility is a bit subjective, but it is hard to imagine that all the Apollo astronaughts, all the NASA personel on the ground, and all the engineers that worked on the technology are involved in a massive conspiracy which no one has betrayed. The events surrounding Jesus's life as told in the Bible are highly extraordinary, were written by no more than four people substantially after the fact, and impartial independent accounts simply don't exist.

StMichael wrote:

Jesus was not a zombie, ever, to begin with. I think a misunderstanding of events or what is claimed could be the source of seeing them as unbelievable.

Well, once dead, people don't walk around and talk to people.

StMichael wrote:
But that does not answer my argument. Why would they persist in defending a belief which would cause hatred if they had merely manufactured the belief in the first place?

Loyalty to the group is a possibility. Or. perhaps they did really believed in some part of the story, that doesn't mean it actually happened. Maybe they were just stubborn. But it isn't very persuasive to rely on the poor decisions of a small group of people to justify things that we know to be impossible. Maybe the records have been altered to present a better story.

I've also never seen any good impartial documentation on the deaths of the apostles. I wonder where you are getting this claim that none of them ever denied any of their claims.

StMichael wrote:
Second, the Apostles and our Lady maintained this belief, as it attested to by historical evidence from early Christians (such as Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch).

Not exactly impartial evidence.

StMichael wrote:

Quote:

Right, there are two completely different choices, which are both logically consistent and mutually exclusive.

But no such choice can exist. There cannot be two mutually exclusive and logically consistent (in the sense of correctly deduced) answers to a question that are both true.

I am not saying that they could both be true. I am saying that we can't determine which one is correct without evidence.

StMichael wrote:
Quote:
The difference is in the assumptions they start with. You assume that there cannot be an infinite regress of cause, and I assume that there can be.

Except that this is not an assumption, but a logical necessity if there can be motion at all.

You haven't demonstrated a logical necessity of this sort at all.

StMichael wrote:
I also ought to point out another reason why such infinite regress in motion is impossible, as the previous one just does not seem to be clear to you. I present the following: if we proceed to say that there is an infinite regress in motion, we say that all of those things moving are bodies. This is because only a body can be moved. But, by moving something else, the body itself is moved.

I'm with you so far.

StMichael wrote:
Therefore, all the infinites are moved when one body is moved.

What infinites? I didn't suggest the existence of infinite things anywhere. I only suggested an infinite regress of causes.

StMichael wrote:
But a single body that is finite is moved in finite time. So, it would follow that the infinite beings are moved in finite time.

I don't know what you mean by this at all. What 'infinite beings'? I never mentioned anything like that.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


kaosgrl
Posts: 17
Joined: 2007-01-12
User is offlineOffline
StMichael - can you clear a few things up for me

StMichael

 You seem to be well versed on the subject of excomunication. Can you explain something to me possibly?

 

Why is it when my mom was 19 and a catholic she recieved a formal letter of excomunication after having her son out of wedlock? She married the father 1 year later.

When she needed the church in theory the most, they kicked her out. She at this time did not give up on religion and become a Mednight brother as they accepted her even with her Son. 

My Grandma a devote catholic spent 20 years appealing it.  it is my understanding this descision has been reversed after a large $ amount was donated - however my mother now has no desire to return. 

 

The second thing I need explained revolves around marriage and the catholic church. Prior to marrying my husband who was raised in a very  strict catholic home. His Grandmother and Father requested I speak with a priest in regards to having a catholic wedding cerimony. Out of respect I attended a service and after words spoke with the priest.

The priest explained to me that IF I ( a non catholic)  married John ( a catholic )  with out the premision of the arch bishop ( i think thats who ) WE WOULD both burn in the firepits of hell. YES he said FIREPITS OF HELL. I looked but I could not find any where in the bible where it states "IF you do not have a the premision of the arch bishop to marry a NON catholic you will both burn in hell for getting married "

 You may have guessed I have never returned to the catholic church. I had a non secular ( is that the right word ?)  wedding. 

 

So incase its not clear my questions are:

 

Why does a church ex communicate people when they need them the most? Why after 20 years of no confesion or repenting from my mother would they then allow her back in ?

On what grounds does the archbishop have the right to decide if I will go to hell for marrying my husband and him for marrying me ? 

 

Thank you in advance for your responce