God is real

Sent in by Anna

Dear Dave:

I could have written the anti-testimony you posted myself. The similarities are eerie. The questions I asked however resulted in a physical beating or two (once when I was pregnant, killing the baby), but very similar. It was made painfully clear to me that Christianity..no denomination.. had a place for me. Believe me, I gave it a good go> My husband and I were even pastors for a short while. I graduated from Christian school. Had a full time ministry, etc etc ...

Anyway, Christianity is a cult!! No thinking man can reconcile the inconsistencies and outright lies. But, that is not God's fault. In fact I am sure it makes Him mad too. I will not detail in angry lamenting all the reasons why I know that...you no doubt hear that ad nauseum. Instead I offer this...

It is only with the courage to UNlearn that I learned anything worthwhile.

Like you, I walked the path of complete disconnect for a while. Not in as high tech a fashion as you have found,however. I allowed my mind (and wounded soul) to rest from the intensity of the search. After awhile however there are still things you know are true in your soul. The questions do not go away just because you have not found the answers.

Atheism is just another word for quitting. It is the path of the disenchanted who refuse to heal.

When you have the strength, and when you tire of the company of the enraged, you will resume your journey.

One piece of Truth I can share with you is....God is not in a box. There are those who say..God is in THIS box...do not believe it. Those who say He is in a box (ie..a doctrine, a book, ...have an agenda)

I have renounced Christianity. The Trinity, the word "Jesus", the 'sinners prayer', the books of Paul, etc etc ..and I now call myself a Jew, tho no orthodox Jew would agree.

God will show you the promised land...He will even open the ocean if He has to. When you tire of the company of the enraged, and you will...

you will resume your quest.

You will not find your answers in any books about religion. If you could you surely would have found them already. Instead...write your own book, the answers will find you.

In love and understanding...

Anna

A parting story, one of hundreds that I could tell you...

I had been in an accident and I totalled my car. I had amnesia, broke up with my boyfriend, lost my job...and found out I was pregnant. (that about sets the stage)..I was a "committed bible believing Christian" and I needed some REAL answers and some real assistance. My parents (christians) threw me out for being a fornicator..same with my church. It was me and God and I needed REAL tangible help. I held my Bible up to Heaven and I screamed...if this book is true then it is true for me too, and if it is not- then you are a liar and who wants to serve you anyway?? Then I threw it down on the ground. It fell in such a way that it lay open on the floor. Through my tears I saw this verse...

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will and it will be done for you. John 15:7

I promised to keep my part and demanded God keep His part. Then I asked for a car so I could get to work.

That night at a restaurant I worked at that I could walk to, I told my friend, the barkeep, what I did. She was not a religious girl. She said..I am not trying to make fun of you, but how do you expect God to give you a car. Is he just going to come in here and give you the keys?? I said...that is not my problem...it is HIS.

The next day when I came into work, my friend, white as a ghost, told me there was someone there to see me. Turns out it was a guy who had seen me walking to work. He was buying a new car and wanted to give away his old one and wondered if I needed one. He gave me the keys, no charge, no strings. (a big white gorgeous Lincoln continental with working A/C..important in N.C.)

Coincidence?? I could consider that. But..I could tell you huindreds of stories just like this one and some of them defy physics.

God is real.

When you are done healing, get up and press on.

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125 comments:

Anonymous said...

fairy tale

mothpete said...

Life is full of coincidences when you look for them. And when you attribute god to them all, they make set him up as a neat guy, a neat guy who commits genocide and let's most of his loved ones suffer. Some get free cars, other suffer. It's like a big game show.

Anonymous said...

"Atheism is just another word for quitting. It is the path of the disenchanted who refuse to heal."

First, I'm glad you're away from Christianity, but now the other shoe needs to drop.

Quitting things can be good: quitting smoking, quitting drug abuse, quitting drinking, etc. Losing the god belief is just like that. THEN you will heal.

There's no more rational reason for believing in "God" than in "Jesus." Your anecdotal story of coming across a car does not prove in any way, shape or form, the existence of a deity. If there's a personal god out there who cares about us, giving you a car is not even really for the best, it just adds to global warming; maybe a just god would make us all walk or use mass transit to avoid destroying our world.

Even if you assume that having a car is for the best, what about all the bad things which god allows, like letting your unborn child get killed?

From Chucky Jesus

Anonymous said...

I believe that there is a god, too. But I think as long as we think of him as some sort of benevolent Santa figure then we are going to continue to live a life of delusion. "God" at best is an energy that we are all a part of. He is neither good, bad nor particularly interested in our lives.

As one of the other posters said - where was he when you were in the accident in the first place? Or when your child was being killed?

I don't think that a search for a relational god is inevitable as you say - and not searching for god is not a sign of bitterness.

Besides - if there is a god - why the hell did you get a car??? Where's my Lincoln???

Spoomonkey

Anonymous said...

Where was god while the baby inside you was being killed? I'm sure it was a "good, compassionate christian" that killed your baby too!

pathetic!

Anonymous said...

God didn't give you a car...a person did...if god used this person as an agent to answer your prayer then god violated this person free will to do so. This generous act belongs to the guy who gave you the car. To say that it was god is an insult to the guy who actually had to saciface his time and money.

Shannerwren

Anonymous said...

Like you, I realize that christianity is bunk, the same as other organized religions. Like you, I also pondered the existence of god. Unlike you, I still do.

Your essay utterly failed to persuade me. It seems that if you are thanking somebody, it should be the generous man who gave you a car, not some imaginary thing that you have fixiated on in your mind.

I couldn't believe in a good and loving god who would randomly cause someone to get a free car while allowing one-third of the world to live in poverty and thousands of innocent children to die from hunger every day regardless of how faithfully they believe and pray. If this is your idea of god, you can keep it.

MikeG said...

Anna, I'm with you on this one. I posted this response on another thread. But I'm going to re-post it on this thread because it's relevant to the topic.

================================

The bottom-line question to which it all boils down is this: Is there an intelligent, sentient, individual being who is responsible for creation and who is interested in its ongoing existence/development.

My answer to that question is: If there is, it is beyond the capacity of our human minds to comprehend in its fulness, but we can comprehend some small part that is within the limits of our capacity. To assume anything beyond that is purely faith.

Now, my personal experience has been that when I have reached out in 'faith', 'God' has responded in faithfulness. Now, I have had so many supernatural experiences in life that I used to tell people, "I don't just believe in miracles; I depend on them."

I'll share one example as an illustration. This occurred when I was young and was first beginning to seek to understand God. I had a dream which I understood to be telling me to play the number '132' (underground Mafia numbers) for 12 days. Now I had never in my life played the numbers previous to this. So, at the local bar where I had been accustomed to hang out (at this time I no longer drank any alcohol, but would still go to the bar and drink orange juice), I played the number '132' for 11 days for $1/day, during which time it never came up. On the 12th day I played it for $1.50, which was the limit, and I boxed it each way for $1 each (123, 231, etc., etc.). It came up 132, just like the dream had said 12 days previously. Now, what supernatural intelligence knew, and communicated to me, that the last digit on the advanced, declined, and unchanged on the stock exchange (which is what determined the winning number each day) would be 132, 12 days in advance? This is but one simple example. I have also had far greater and more compelling experiences than this one.

So, does this mean that God created the universe? Obviously, that's quite a leap. But to me this, as well as other experiences, is a clear evidence that there is a prescient, supernatural, intelligent power, greater than myself, in which I can trust, and learn from, and be guided by. And it is not a large leap from that to trust that there is sensient intelligence responsible for creation and which is interested in its ongoing development.

Anonymous said...

MikeG:
So, does this mean that God created the universe?

Lorena:
No, it might mean that "god" IS the universe, though. So "god" is as smart as the smartest of us, as evil as the worst of us, and as powerful as the most powerful of us.

So, because we are part of what "god" is, "god" can only do what we can do. If we want anything, then, we have to do it ourselves.

So, in fact, if god is the universe, it is MUCH, MUCH better to be an atheist than to believe in a deity, because in the end, it is all up to ME.

So Anna, I am sorry you found yourself in a situation where you needed a stranger to give you a car. I am glad you found one. I prefer to work really hard to make money to buy my car.

When we believe in ourselves, we make things happen and the need for external help disappears.

So, yeah, there may be some sort of "god" around, but I am sure she would rather be ignored than to be trusted to do things we can definitely do ourselves.

ComputerGuyCJ said...

I agree completely with a few posts here. Receiving a car after praying is no indication of a god. As you yourself said, the MAN who gave it to you saw you walking and felt compassion for you. If a car magically appeared in your driveway and the keys magically appeared in your hand, then you could say it was GOD.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
As it has been stated here......you have taken the first step...........it’s time for you to quit and walk away.

MikeG,
Am I to derive that this random auspisious coincidental convergence of two persons coming together preaching the same ridiculous hogwash can be attributed to some divine action from a force that I can’t possibly understand? Or did you set this up with a friend of yours?

Noell

MikeG said...

Noell,

No collusion! Auspicious indeed!

Nvrgoingbk said...

I have been given cars by strangers and have given them away myself, and I STILL don't believe in God. WTF does getting a car have to do with proving God exists? My husband walked the line in every way as a CHristian and would pray for "God" to heal him of a STD that he contracted after his father sodomized him. WHY did God feel it was more important for you to get to work via an automobile and not feel it important to heal a sincere man's affliction?

Why do the prayers of children and their parents go unanswered everyday as another one bites the dust from disease or malnutrition? I know, you're probably assuming it's because they have the wrong brand of God, and he isn't hearing their prayers. Is your God that nitpicky that he turns a deaf ear to innocent children with swollen bellies who haven't even had the opportunity to reject or deny him? You get knocked up from having premarital sex (you dirty-birdie. You know a chaste woman of God doesn't do such things), and then you want us to believe that the Jewish God is real because you got a free car? Give me a f*ing break!

And even if there IS a god, how does your "answered prayer" prove Yahweh is the ONE and ONLY? If he is, I find him most despicable considering he chose to answer your random prayer and ignore those of 6 million faithful Jews during the Holocaust.

So you're a deconvert from the Christian faith, but you want to sell us your version of the same God who not only sends people to Hell for not believing in Him, but also finds it completely acceptable to have multiple wives, keep slaves, oppress women, kill children and all the inhabitants of other cultures, kill animals ritualistically to appease his appetite for blood sacrifices and rape young girls from other tribes. You want to sell us a God will kills off the entire world with the exception of 8 people and a boat load of animals. You want to sell us a God who would play a game with Satan on some poor unsuspecting man, simply to prove this man's devotion to him, and then never even give the man the courtesy of telling him WHY he had all of his children killed, WHY he had to suffer through such terrible affliction, and WHY all of his friends left him. THe list of your God's crimes go on and on, but I digress.

If you choose to find peace in your Hebrew war God, be my guest, but don't expect us to coo over him. I've done my research, and your God failed to make the grade. THe early Hebrews were NOT monotheistic. THey believed in a pantheon of gods. Influenced by the surrounding cultures i.e. the Babylonians, Summerians, Egyptians, etc. they adopted many of their customs and religious beliefs. Do your research on Zoaraster and his religion which had a heavy influence on the Hebrews condenscing their beliefs into monotheism, believing in an afterlife, Heaven and Hell etc. There are writings older than your Hebrew ones strikingly similar to your creation story, your flood story, and the list goes on.

Congrats on getting a car, but you'll have to come up with more convincing evidence in favor of your god's existence to deter me from my stand. An actual appearance would be nice

SpaceMonk said...

"...how do you expect God to give you a car. Is he just going to come in here and give you the keys?? I said...that is not my problem...it is HIS."

Aha! The Secret is working whether you know it or not...
Oprah told me all about it.

Kyan said...

i never pray, i don't believe in god, in fact i curse his name every single day. i work to spread reason and science and crush religion. i have three cars and two houses. i have a wonderful life, a wonderful wife, and never lost a child. i contribute to many charities and raise money for worthy causes. i attribute my success to working hard, having a good attitude, and not believing in fairy tales. it's a lot easier to succeed in life when you accept reality on its own terms.

you clearly have a big disconnect with reality. god did not give you a car, and i feel sorry for the generous bastard who did. He gives you a car and you thank who? You thank *god*? You don't deserve the car. You didn't earn it by working for it, and you didn't earn it through your gratitude. Based on your inability to understand the way things work makes it likely you will endure a lot more pain in the future. I will not be surprised when you lose the car.

One day I may lose a car, lose a child, or lose everything I have. I will deal with it like a responsible adult by trying to figure out what really happened and then make appropriate decisions based on reality, not based on some fantasy character up in the sky who will or will not bail me out based on his whim. I won't give up by saying "it must be gods will".

In fact, lots of bad things have happened to me too, but I don't blame god. Either I created the problem through actions, inactions, or words, or some essentially random chain of events happened that intersected with my world and caused the problem. But I *dealt* with the problems, like I do every day... I don't expect god to do anything for me, because a) he never has done anything for anyone, ever, and more importantly b) he doesn't exist.

Christianity is giving up responsibility for dealing with life on its own terms. It's simply despicable.

boomSLANG said...

Here are my thoughts, take it or leave it; comment, or don't.

MikeG said: The bottom-line question to which it all boils down is this: Is there an intelligent, sentient, individual being who is responsible for creation and who is interested in its ongoing existence/development.

1) i.e....does there exist a self-existing, metaphysical, immaterial, disembodied, personal intelligence---one who created the entire universe(125 billion known gallaxies); one who put planet earth "as the center" of that universe; one who put human-kind "at the center" of that earth and all other animals/creatures; one who put the affairs of said humans "at the center" of it's attention, making them a full time "occupation".(?)

or, maybe this bottom line...

2) Does there exist a self-existing, metaphysical, non-sentient, non-personal, impartial, unbiased "force" that is responsible for the singularity(?)

or, maybe this....

3) Does there exist in human language a word that is conceptually representative of either "1" and/or "2"---as in the form of a generic 'noun' that humankind uses, by either, a) assigning meaning to said 'noun', or b) assigning said 'noun' to material things, concepts, ideas..e.g..."Hey, my dog's name is Thor."(named after a specific "God")..or, "Check out the sunset...that's surely God"(calling any part, or all of nature, "God")

Notice, "God exists" in any case:

1 = "God"
2 = "God"
3 = "god"

However, strictly in terms of "Theism" vs "Atheism"(the latter only necessary because of the former), we can rule out # "3", because both terms deal exclusively with a metaphysical being, not a personal name/pronoun for a person, animal, thing, or concept.

Now, this is not to say that people can't assign the 'noun', "God", to anything they damned well please, and thus say, "god exists!". However, it doesn't necessarily make them a "Theist" if they assign the word "God"/"god" to "things", "ideas", etc... or an "Atheist" if they don't.

Back to the original question...

Regarding a personal "God" as described by MikeG, and further elaborated on in # "1", I say "no", no such being exists. Additionally, I think that holding the notion of such a being/senario is arrogant---HOWEVER, that's not why I lack belief in such a being; I lack belief due to lack of credible evidence FOR such a being.

Here are some additional problems that contribute to my lack of belief in any personal deity, including, Jesus Christ/El/Yahweh:

1) Assuming said "creator" is even half as intelligent as Theists claim; assuming humankind is "the crowning jewel" of this "creator", why in hades are there so many lower organisms better adapted/suited for life on this planet? Waiting for a logical answer, please.

Quick examples in the mean time:

a) If a starfish looses a leg, it simply grows another, and goes on it's merry way. If a human looses a leg?.. well, they're f%cked, and must rely on man-made concepts/ideas to "get by".

b) The earth is 2/3rds water. Why don't we have gills and webbed feet/hands?

c) Why do we die by the thousands of skin cancer annually, yet, a lizard's skin was presumably "designed" for maximum sun exposure?

Back to "a"---can't "God" see that you're hobbling around on one frickin' leg? Presumably, he's "omniscient" and "omnipresent", right? So why would "God" make you ask for something so f%cking obvious? Anyone want to give it a shot and have it make "perfect" sense?... since "God" should have a "perfect" solution?

2) Contradictions. No personal "being" can exist who is "omniscient", AND who has "freewill". It is IMpossible, just like the concept of a "married bachelor" is IMpossible.

Here's why: If said personal "God" knows the future, then said "God" knows all conflicts that will arise, and thus, knows what choices he/she/it will make in the future to "solve" said conflicts..i.e.."God's plan". Yet, if the future is "fixed", but then "God" uses "freewill" to change his/her/it's "plan", then it wasn't a "plan" to begin with.

"Square circles" can't exist, and neither can a "personal God" who is both omniscient and omnipotent(freewill).

3) An "all-loving" personal being contradicts a being who allows "suffering". Period.

Those are the three main reasons for my disbelief in a personal being as described by MikeG.

Now, if a non-personal "God" exists as describe by me in example # "2". So what? That's my question..."so what"?

Comments welcomed.

Anonymous said...

MikeG:

I have also had far greater and more compelling experiences than this one.


Jim Earl:

I sure hope so. I played the game for over 25 years and never once did a "god" answer my prayers. Maybe it was me, but I doubt it. I followed the instructions provided in the "good book" about prayers and how to get them answered but nothing happened. I tested the waters and to no avail.

There is no god or gods and it's evident enough for a logical person. Only people of faith could ever believe such crap.

Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

Jim Earl said, "There is no god or gods and it's evident enough for a logical person. Only people of faith could ever believe such crap."

Mark Twain, my favorite atheist, said, "Faith is believing in things you know ain't true."

Anonymous said...

It is interesting reading the coincidences others post here and they come to the conclusion that god did it.

Like Anna, at one point I threw my bible down in disgust and it lay open at Ezra 5, verse 1 which said "So King Darius gave an order to search the records. They were kept in the treasury of Babylon." Tell me, what "message" was god sending? That he like random nonsensical verses? What a clever god!

Anna, why do you think god heard your prayer through some generous, (or stupid, depending on how you look at it) person who gave you a car, but ignored all the desperate parents' pleas to save their dying child. You and your problems were more important in god's eyes?

Atheism is another word for quitting? I guess people who give up smoking are just quitters too. If quitting means not believing in fairy tales, then we should be proud to be quitters.

Anonymous said...

I also threw the buyball up in the air and it magically opened on Mat. 27:5 - "Then Judas went out and hanged himself." Since I couldn't understand what that meant, I threw the buyball up in the air a second time and lo, it opened at Luk. 10:27 - "Go and do likewise."

Anonymous said...

Come on guys you are way too hard on Anna. She is just not there yet. She may never be where we are and it's OK. In the end what does it really matter outside of the fact she is at peace with herself and is not pushing the false dogma of Christianity. In reality she is probably a Deist and that is what many of the founding fathers of this country were.

Anonymous said...

"Atheism is just another word for quitting."

I stopped reading once I got to this part, and someone may have pointed this out already, I don't know. Anyway, I never "quit" anything. I never had a reason to believe in God, and I don't think I will ever have a reason.

Anonymous said...

Anna: "...and I now call myself a Jew"

Anna: "Anyway, Christianity is a cult!! No thinking man can reconcile the inconsistencies and outright lies."

Regarding your "positive" projection of your belief proposition, if a tenet of your belief is to value consistency and the veracity of claims, then that of course could be the exact same tenet of belief, that some use to derive meaning from your claim(s).

You suggest you characterize yourself as a Jew... I'm not a Rabbi per se, but let's take what you have stated and see what a non-orthodox Jew would propose for your noun “God”… now, mind you, the response reflects what a Jewish Rabbi has presented in reference to the use of your term “God”, and I am merely inquiring as to your response.

Please read…


“Ignosticism or igtheism is the view that the question of the existence of a transcendent God is meaningless because the terms are "clearly nonfalsifiable" and "basically unintelligible".[1] For an ignostic, the statement "God exists" is not a proposition, a statement which can be true or false, but is instead as nonsensical as "All mimsy were the borogoves".”

"The term ignosticism was coined by Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founder of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, and igtheism was coined by Paul Kurtz, who derived ig from the word ignorant, writing, "I am an igtheist, for I do not understand what the theist is talking about. I cannot say whether or not such a being exists since I do not comprehend what is being asserted."

"According to Kurtz, ignosticism is compatible with atheism and agnosticism.[4] Theodore Drange, however, sees atheism and agnosticism as cognitivist views.[5] In any case, ignosticism falls under the general category of nontheism.”

An atheist would say "I don't believe God exists", or,
in the case of strong atheism "I believe god does not exist".
An agnostic would say "I don't know if God exists or not",
and an ignostic would say "I don't know what you mean when you say 'God exists'."

In the entry under "God" in the Guide to Humanistic Judaism, published by the Society for Humanistic Judaism, ignosticism is defined as "finding the question of God's existence meaningless because it has no verifiable consequences."[6] This use of the term "verifiable" is consistent with logical positivism and indicates that the word "God" is cognitively meaningless, but not necessarily emotionally or aesthetically meaningless. It is sufficient to say that an ignostic thinks the idea of God as a being makes no sense.

When the word "God" is spoken, the ignostic may seek to determine if something like a child's definition of a god is meant or if a theologian's is intended.

A theistic child's concept generally has a simple and coherent meaning, based on an anthropomorphic conception of God: a big powerful man in the sky responsible for certain matters.[7] This anthropomorphic divine conception has been rejected by Spinoza, as well as by Feuerbach in The Essence of Christianity (1841).

A theologian's concept is more complex and abstract, often involving such concepts as first cause, sustainer, and unmoved mover and claiming such attributes for God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. To the ignostic these abstractions, taken singly or in combination, cannot be said to be false; rather, they are muddled, self-contradictory, linguistically empty, or perhaps poetic. Hence, one cannot meaningfully expound on the existence or nonexistence of God.

The consistent ignostic, therefore, awaits a coherent definition of God (or of any other metaphysical concept to be discussed) before engaging in arguments for or against.”

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


Anna, when people speak in terms of transcendence, immaterialism, omni benevolence, and the like, it is just plain nonsensical per the good Rabbi. Anyone jumping in and making positive claims towards the nonsensical word “God” is irrational, there is no focus or object to be questioned.

Here, a nice little demonstration may be in order to show that much of language is deceptive, empty, nonsensical, void of tangible meaning other than just plain aesthetic…

Example: “I always lie”.

Now, do you “believe” me, or do you “disbelieve” me? I could likely play with you for a while, and give you the logical reasoning that supports logical claims, and those that don’t, but in the end, it is you who has to understand the meaning of what you are actually talking about, it is my job to “know” my position, and how I should proceed when given such linguistic noise. There are rigorously consistent methods to filter language to understand the veracity of a claim(s).

To a naturalist, or something of the sort, language itself is nothing but the absorption of information and cognitive manipulation or synthesis, whether or not the words created reflect what “is”, or what “can be”, become items for speculation. If a person says the sun is “God”, it could later be interpreted as the “sun of God”, and later the “Son of God”, through linguistic evolution. In any case, there is a shift from what “is”, the “sun” which is a physical object, to what one may “want” or “desire” the sun to represent or become, and then what the “sun” can become becomes the very “ideal” that is worshipped symbolically as a God.

Much of language is artistic expression; Ayn Rand had a few words to say on such a topic;

“Art is the recreation of reality according to one’s values. By “recreation” I mean neither copying reality nor creation in a mystical sense. I don’t mean going contrary to reality or indulging in fantasies. I mean (paraphrasing Aristotle) creating what could be and ought to be. “What ought to be” implies that the re-creation is according to the artist’s values. “What could be” means that which is consistent with reality as opposed to fantasy. Fantasy is a legitimate form of art, but one must know how to use it within a rational framework. Proper fantasy must be consistent with reality. Therefore, when I say a writer re-creates reality, I don’t mean he creates a mystical fourth dimension or something else incompatible with actual facts.”

Thus, Anna, Ayn Rand would suggest if one is projecting their values onto a natural object, in order to present “what ought to be”, then there is the matter of elevating one’s values over all others’. If one is attempting to present the argument of “what could be”, then it “must” be done in a rational framework, where all is compatible with all known facts. If someone wants to adore an object because they appreciate the valued meaning they find in an object, then good for them; but please, don’t make a positive rejection of the tenets of my belief that are consistent and compatible with all known facts in the natural sciences.

If you want to speak of your God, and how much your God does for you, then;

“Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that the existence of a metaphysical realm is irrelevant because it cannot possibly have an influence on the physical realm.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism

In other words, if one isn’t receiving an influence from the external reality, then all that is left is internal to one’s own mental reality. However, one’s person truth is their own, as long as they abide by the Ayn Rand rule, and “present” their belief in harmony with reality and known facts, what one creates in their mind is a cognitive fact, not an extra-human phenomenon.

And, lastly, A.J. Ayer, a positivist, had something to suggest regarding the terms you have used in your posting, since one would have to assume you are in fact a theist, by your acceptance of the enigmatic term God.

“One such positivist, A. J. Ayer, argued that one could not speak of God's existence, or even the probability of God's existence, since the concept itself was unverifiable and thus nonsensical.[9] Ayer wrote that this ruled out atheism and agnosticism as well as theism because all three positions assume that the sentence "God exists" is meaningful.[10] He also argued that the meaninglessness of theistic claims meant that there was "no logical ground for antagonism between religion and natural science,"[11] as theism itself does not entail any propositions which the scientific method can falsify.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism

Anna: “Atheism is just another word for quitting. It is the path of the disenchanted who refuse to heal.”

How do I put this; Anna, your movement towards theism is based on words that are either nonsensical or aesthetically pleasing to you, or both; in either case, I have no reason to be an antagonist to you position, that would make me as irrational as you are.

However, if I were at one time a theist, based on particular tenets of belief, and I came to understand the fallacy of such tenets, I may in fact become antagonistic and outright reject those tenets, making me a self-proclaimed atheist, in short, I could reject or deny the theistic experience and foundations that I once held, thus, atheism in that context is one in which a person becomes antagonistic towards a previously held position. Ahteism in such a context can be internally consistent, and therefore logical, using the self as a closed system.

Atheism, in that context, is not a refusal to heal, it’s a rejection or denial of a previous manner of thinking, and it’s called mental progression based on cost of opportunity and benefit.

ComputerGuyCJ said...

I've prayed and opened the bible up to random passages too, several times. It never worked...except for the last time. The last time I did it, it opened up to the book of john. I started reading, read all the way through to the end of the book and realized it was all nonsense. So much for divine guidance.

Anonymous said...

Some people are just outright liars. This person is one of them. If any such story could really be substantiated it would be heralded as the premiere evidence God. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it has never been verified and continues on the internet as here-say as it once did in the home of the fundamentalist Christian, exposed for all to riducle. This is what drives the faith. How pathetic.

Andrewajenkins@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

The stories by Anna and MikeG are indeed surprising. As a former Christian, I never had anything like this happen. I know that Christians sometimes embellished stories, however. For example, my guess is that those stories are either: (1) made up, (2) stories that they "borrowed" from someone else and changed the main character to themselves to make it a little more compelling (rather than hearsay) - **I've actually seen Christians do this**, (3) embellished, or (4) that they aren't telling us about their "misses". For example, it could very well be the case that MikeG prayed for numbers every night, received different "revelations" at different times, and failed repeatedly, but he persisted and (through sheer persistence + probability) eventually won, but didn't tell us about all his misses. And whenever someone claims they randomly opened the Bible and a certain verse jumped out at them, I'm certain that they aren't telling us the number of times they looked at verses that had nothing to do with their situation, or the number of times they reopened the Bible to "try again", or fact that they read a whole block of text before finding "the verse". Like I said, I know that Christians often embellished their stories and leave out details to enhance the apparent miraculousness of their stories. They want to believe it, too, and they can often be found trying to convince themselves by lying to themselves.

Whether these stories are simply made up, or details changed/ignored in order to make them seem more miraculous, I don't know. But it reminds me of a Martin Luther quote, "What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church...a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them."

For people who "truly believe", they may see no harm in a lie that "leads people to God". But, first of all, there should be no reason to makeup stories to advocate the "true religion" - it should be capable of creating evidence. Second, we don't believe in your God. That makes false stories as reprehensible as you (Anna, MikeG) would regard made-up stories that "help" people find the God of Muhammad or believe in Krishna.

Also, while Anna denies Christianity, she believes God used the New Testament to show her the way. That strikes me as a bit odd.

MikeG said...

"For example, it could very well be the case that MikeG prayed for numbers every night, received different "revelations" at different times, and failed repeatedly, but he persisted and (through sheer persistence + probability) eventually won, but didn't tell us about all his misses."

TF, I can assure you that I never previous to the above stated experience played the numbers—not even one single time. Further, I did not "pray for a number", as you posit. I was not in any way seeking such information. It simply came to me in a dream, without my having sought it.

However, immediately after I had that experience, I DID try to dream another number. I came up with 232, which I played for one day, not like the 12 days in the first experience. I did not 'box' the 232, because the first number had hit exact. The actual number came up 322. If I had boxed it, it would have hit. That was the LAST time I EVER played the numbers. I never even tried again—not one single time. And I have probably spent less than $25 dollars on lottery tickets in my entire life.

It was simply a part of my growing experience at the time. I had seen what I needed to see, and there was no need to think that "playing the numbers" should be an end in itself. It merely showed me that there is a supernatural spiritual dimension to life that is real and awesome, and worthy of further pursuit in understanding.

Anonymous said...

MikeG,

I want to make sure I understand what you wrote. You think that because you dreamt of the number 132, played it for 12 days and eventually hit it, there is a "supernatural, spiritual dimension" worthy of pursuit, i.e. "god of some sort exists". How did you get from point A to point B? Winning at the numbers racket because you were persistant means you had supernatural or divine help?

Are you serious?

How do you know it wasn't say, the christian devil that did it? Or Thor, Or Vishnu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

What even makes you think it is anything "supernatural" at all?

Why do you think this "supernatural entity" gave you the magic number and yet sat idly by while thousands of kids around the world died during that 12 day span while you were gambling on 132?

I'm not saying "stop looking", but stop creating fantasies as an explanation and then believing them to be reality.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Awesome post Dave 8. I don't know how many other people read it, but I'd like to consider myself an Ignostic from now on.

Mike,
Whether or not "a supernatural spiritual dimension to life that is real and awesome, and worthy of further pursuit in understanding" actually exists is not what we here at Exchristian oppose. It is the lie of religion and especially the Judeo/CHristian one. Praying for a car and getting one the next day is NOT proof of God, and even if it were, miracles and "answered
prayer" are reported the world over by countless other religions and cultures who use these "miracles" as proof for THEIR god, so which one do we worship Mike?

How many prayers are NOT answered and why, if these "miracles" like you hitting the lottery are so inspiring to you, won't "God" use his powers a little more convincingly and save the Sudanese from machetes and Ethiopians from starvation? Why won't he heal ONE amputee? Just one, damn it! Why doesn't he/she/it/them clear up all of this religious animosity on Earth and save his/her/its/their creation from a nuclear war over proving which god is the "real" one? God certainly has alot of different options now in this age of technology. He doesn't have to reduce himself to talking asses, burning bushes or golden plates.

WHatever exists is arbitrary and capricious in contributing to the affairs of man. Whatever exists has chosen to ignore the really important questions and concerns of human existence and concentrate rather on minial prayer requests or random acts of kindness that just never can quite prove for sure if it was God or coincidence.

As far as I am concerned and as long as this elusive God exists, I will never pay him homage.

Bill B said...

Has anyone read the National Enquirer when they do the blue dot thing? To sum it up there is a page with a big blue dot. You are to concentrate on the blue dot. Then the blue dot is supposed to bring us wonderful good luck and fortune.

Weeks later they run a story on all the good things that happened to people who touched the blue dot from million dollar lottery winners to people who beat incredible medical odds.

The blue dot is exactly like prayer. Of the tens of millions who read the enquirer, a select few are going to have some tremendous good fortune after touching the blue dot. Those who do touch the dot and get lucky, write the National Enquirer and tell them how great the blue dot is. Like prayer the fucking blue dot never did a thing for me, but they don't write about people who are failed by the blue dot.

Congrats on the prayer answered for the car, I wonder if wishing on the blue dot would have yeilded the same results.


xrayman

Anonymous said...

Nvrgoingbk: "I don't know how many other people read it, but I'd like to consider myself an Ignostic from now on."

I liked your post, and the part on miracles, and how that is supposed to give credibility to words :-) I can hear it now, "yeah, I had a natural dream, and it led to, uh, a, uh, miraculous supernatural event, or, uh, something outside of this reality, that I live in, or, uh, something like that".

At one point in my life, I believed I knew exactly what those words meant, and I did using "other" words to explain them, but I have since realized that I was just ignorant surrounded by a huge support group of increasingly ignorant people.

When I say words like God, god, supernatural, etc., I understand the only reality they possess is in the form of words, just words, and words are meaningless until they are able to be applied to something tangible. So, playing with words like god for me is like playing with word puzzles, and no more than that, until someone can come up with a reasonable application for such meaningless gibberish... :-)

I would derive a lot of pleasure, the next time there is a national event such as Virginia Tech, where a person projects nonsensical words in abundance, for the recipient of such words to listen to the entire rant, and then, sit there with poise and confidence and just say: "Dude, what on earth are you talking about!" Have a great one.

eel_shepherd said...

Anna, you're gonna drive me to drinkin'/ If you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln...

It was a common practice at one time, and some people still do it, to randomly open the bible right after someone visits your home and read some random verse from wherever the book opens to. I think it even has its own name, this practice, but I don't know (or care) what it is. If I recall, it's discouraged by Xtian theologians as bad theology. If my thinking ever swoops that low, I would hope that the book opened to the title-page of John, to remind me that it's time to take a visit to the john and run my head under the tap to cool my fevered brow.

Anonymous said...

I just have to say that this endless talking about if there is or is not a god is amusing. to all the non-believers out there, what do you want christians to say? in your own words, what do you want a christian to say about your "evidence"?

Jim Arvo said...

anonymous asked "what do you want christians to say? in your own words, what do you want a christian to say about your 'evidence'?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "our evidence", but I'll try to answer your question anyway. Here are four things Christians can say about their religion that I have no immediate objection to:

1) Nothing.

2) I believe on faith. You can do as you like.

3) I have credible objective evidence for the existence of the god I worship, and here it is...

4) I have solid reasoning that supports the existence of the god I worship, and here it is...

Of course, I may take issue with the specific "evidence" or the "reasoning" that is proffered along with items #3 and #4, but I view all of the above as 100% acceptable positions to take at the outset.

Did I answer your question? If not, please clarify and I'll try again.

Anonymous said...

I know that a lot of you will die believing in your selves and nothing else. Sad or not, to some of you however there is that posibility wich you close your mind to.. but then again how great is your mind if in fact you are as messed up as the next person. The point is, questioning and doubting the posibility of Gods existence is the strategy that the Devil so happily uses with those that are so self righteous to think that the answer will come from a simple mind like yours or mine, just look around you, yes there is very bad stuff happening but if you pay close attention most of this bad stuff is happening thanks to man kind... just because we are not willing to admint that the been wich created all things may want us to take time to pray and comunicate with him "yes lift your hands up in the air. Comunicate with him" many don't even try or if they try it has to be in their terms, but who are you to give terms to the ONE that created the SUN.
Stop the pride and realize that you don't have the answers because you are so full of your selves that like the girl that doesn't want to be a christian but believes in God is noncese the only reason God will have anything to do with your salvation. Of course salvation don't forget you will die one day and since you spend more time being a bible critic more than a humble reader, don't be surpriced to find your self in a place were suffering is more than what any of us will experience in this earth, but drop all the doubting and selfrighteousness, recognize that Jesus did live and died, but as an act of God he resucitaded so that we may come to a place of peace and true compassion. God is real he is here we don't se him but very breath that you take, every day that you live is proof that he es real because in every breath and every day he is giving us the chance to come to him, so that when our time comes we will go to that place wich he has prepared for us, You don't have to believe what I wright but the one way that anynithing will make sence, is when in prayer just like when you talk to a very important person that you respect, you ask him to show himself to you.......
Give him a chance, and let him lead the way because you know that the way that you've been following is not necesarily the best.

webmdave said...

"questioning and doubting the posibility of Gods existence is the strategy that the Devil so happily uses"

Is that true? I also doubt the possibility of the Devil's existence too. By your logic, that must be the strategy that GOD so happily uses, right?

I doubt ALLAH exists as well. Whose strategy is that?

Jim Arvo said...

Hello No-name,

Are you the same no-name as above? Could you guys please pick names for yourselves? It's really very easy and avoids a lot of confusion.

If you're the same no-name as above, then you completely ignored my attempt to answer your question. Either way, your post is little more than a string of ad hominem attacks. You assert all manner of character flaws in us to explain why we do not share your belief in invisible super-beings. Of course, in so doing you completely avoid the central issue, which is that there doesn't seem to be a trace of your god. Flawed and limited as we are, there's still no reason to believe fantastic stories unless there is some evidence to support them. If we were to ignore this simple principle, we would be reduced to credulous simpletons who cannot separate reality from fantasy.

I know you'll completely ignore or misconstrue what I just said, so let me ask you a very simple question. Do you believe in Zeus, Mithra, or Krishna? Why or why not?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if someone thinks that I was attacking, however there is a point that was seriusly missed in my previous attempt, and that is the existence of Jesus wich in fact is a proven historical fact,but plese don't give me the how can you pove it bit, because just like the existence of Christopher Columbus and Julius Cesar they are in the books, and are not mith like zeus, mithra or wich ever other we can come up with, however none of this is a person that has resucitaded, you want proof...... give me proof that you are right.....

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous,

Please be honest. You did attack us by suggesting that many of us "believe in ourselves and nothing else", which is rather rude and presumptuous. You also implied that we are self righteous. So the appropriate response from you would have been to apologize for the unwarranted attacks.

You went on to say "...existence of Jesus wich in fact is a proven historical fact,..."

No, that's a bit of religious dogma in itself. If you actually study the subject and read what a diversity of scholars have to say, you'll discover that the historical evidence for Jesus is extremely weak.

As for Zeus, Mithra, and Krishna being myths, that PRECISELY the point. You and I both believe them all to be myths. (What are YOUR reasons, by the way?) I also believe the Jesus of the Gospels to be a myth.

You asked me to give you "proof" that I am right. First, that word has no place in this discussion. Neither of us can *prove* anything about the past; however, we can marshal *evidence* to support one conclusion over another. Do you see the difference?

Before taking this any further, I want to clarify exactly what it is we are discussing. Are we discussing the existence of Jesus as a historical figure (around which a fantastic legend later grew), or are we discussing the accuracy of the Gospels concerning this person (i.e. he was the "son of god" who worked miracles and was resurrected from the dead)? Just to be clear, I am somewhat on the fence concerning a historical Jesus (although I lean toward the mythicist camp), but I categorically reject the many fantastic stories of resurrected god-man saviors, including that of Jesus. Which discussion do you wish to have?

By the way, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use a name other than "Anonymous" if you want to have a discussion at all.

Anonymous said...

OK OK lets try this, Yes I want to discuss the existence of Jesus Chirst, as a man in history and also as the son of God.
But lets clear up a couple of things. Do you think the bible is a historical book, or just a bunch of made up stories writen by people with great imagination?
We need to get this topic resolved before we go any further...
If we are goint to come to the conclution that God is real or not we should begin at the begining don't you agree?

Jim Arvo said...

Hello HD,

Thanks for the reply, and for providing a distinct name for yourself. You asked

"Do you think the bible is a historical book, or just a bunch of made up stories writen by people with great imagination?"

I don't see it as being exclusively one or the other. Clearly there are portions that are more historically accurate than others. For example, I consider the early epistles (such as those correctly attributed to Paul) to have more historical value than, say, the Gospels. That is, I think Paul's epistles can be mined for information regarding the early church more effectively than the Gospels, since the latter have clearly been reworked and redacted countless times, and they incorporate material from many (unknown) sources, both oral and written. While the provenance of Paul's epistles is problematic as well, there is much less evidence of tampering in them (at least in those that Paul actually wrote).

Here's something more concrete: In my opinion there is little doubt that there was an evangelist by the name of Paul who believed in and delivered sermons about a (presumed) messiah by the name of Jesus during the first half of the first century. The early epistles can be used as "historical documents" to establish that much (and somewhat more). However, stories such as the virgin birth, Herod's slaughter of the innocents, the miracles performed by Jesus, the sermon on the mount, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus all appear to be fanciful stories created at a later time by weaving together various older traditions and pulling verses from the OT (a process known as midrash). There is no independent corroboration for any of these events, and they are very similar to motifs appearing in numerous older myths. Therefore, I do not regard them as historically reliable accounts.

You went on to say "If we are goint to come to the conclution that God is real or not we should begin at the begining don't you agree?"

Well, it's hard to say "no" to that, but I must point out that even agreeing on what the "beginning" is will be problematic. For example, you may think that agreeing on the status of the Bible is the beginning. However, there are even more basic "epistemological" matters, such as what counts as evidence, and more concretely how one determines the reliability of an ancient document. To avoid an infinite regress, one typically starts somewhere "in the middle" and then moves to more fundamental issues if/when they arise.

So, for now I'm quite content to start by discussing the historical reliability of the Bible, and then see where that takes us. Does that sound reasonable to you?

Here's a very open-ended question for you. How reliable to your deem the Bible to be, and why?

Anonymous said...

Hello jim arvo:
there are some facts that are writen as historical events such as the existence of a man named Paul wich you have mentioned, how ever you must know that his given name was not Paul but Saul, who happend to be a Pharasee wich in hebrew ment separated, in other words he was part of the religious group of those days that lived under the mosaic law wich was the rules "to give them a name" under wich they were to live as Jews or circumsiced people, with the conviction that any body that even mentioned the name of Jesus should be Killed. Now Saul did not become Paul until he had an extraordinary experience on his way to Damascus. To this point hitoricaly this were the narations of the man, you desided to bring him up as Paul but his name was not Paul unless we take into account the experience that he had with Jesus Christ on that journey, now besides Paul there is another man named Simon wich if it was not due to his interactions with Jesus would not be known as Peter, this are events that are writen primarily in the bible but if you want to investigate a little more about this there is other books wich will confirm the existence of such men.
Now you asked how reliable I deem the bible to be and why?
No.1 In you previous statement you mentioned someone who's writtings are being not only studied but analized until today, we are talking about books written over 1900 years ago, that to this day bring motive for discussion. So there is no doubt that the Bible has historical events that if we take the time to investigate will find to be true.
No2 As we continue with our discution I will show you the reliability true the examples and teachings that come from a book wich was written over a period of 4000 years and in essence has one mesage.
No3. As per the events narrated about Jesus's crucifiction, there is enough writen accounts to show that the Bible has veracity, do you agree?
This are simple basic reason why I belive the bible is reliable.
I must ask you one thing whose teachings do you find to be a reliable source for a life with out God?

Jim Arvo said...

To HD:

Yes, of course, "Paul" = "Saul of Tarsus". Yes, "Paul" took that name as a result of his religious conversion; let us even assume that said conversion took place on the road to Damascus, and that he experienced it as described in his epistle to the Galatians.

However, you seem to be reading far too much into religiously-motivated name changes. I think you will agree with me that Cassius Clay becoming Mohammed Ali is not compelling evidence of Allah. What it does provide is evidence of ardent *belief*. So, let us stipulate the Saul of Tarsus ardently believed in a messiah named Jesus, and consequently adopted the name Paul. (Same for Simon/Peter.) Can we henceforth refer to him as "Paul" (and "Peter") without fear of confusion?

I'll address your other points in the order you raised them. I'll abbreviate them somewhat, but hopefully keep the meaning intact:


#1: The Bible consists of "...writtings [that] are not only studied but analized until today, ...written over 1900 years ago, that to this day bring motive for discussion. So there is no doubt that the Bible has historical events that if we take the time to investigate will find to be true."

It is true that the Bible is an old document. Yes, it is discussed and referenced perhaps more than any other book ever written. Yes, it affects millions of lives the world over. All true. However, none of these facts, individually or collectively, vouch for its historical accuracy. The Koran is also a very old book (not quite as old as the NT), which has ALL of these characteristics, yet is contradicts the Bible. Both cannot be entirely true. The Hindu Vedas are more ancient, and have these very properties. These are ready counterexamples to your criteria.

#2: "...I will show you the reliability true the examples and teachings that come from a book wich was written over a period of 4000 years and in essence has one mesage."

Okay. Listening...

#3: "As per the events narrated about Jesus's crucifiction [sic], there is enough writen accounts to show that the Bible has veracity, do you agree?"

No, I do not agree. As I said, there is NO corroboration for any of the fantastic events described in the Gospels. The anonymous account attributed to "Mark" is the earliest document to mention any historical event concerning Jesus. Paul mentions a crucifixion (please note the spelling), but does not fix the event in a historical context, nor does he even indicate that it took place on Earth with a flesh-and-blood human being. There were many deities discussed and worshiped at that time, and many of them "died" and came back to life in a "spiritual" realm. As far as we know, that's what Paul had in mind as well.

There is almost universal agreement among scholars that both "Luke" and "Matthew" borrowed heavily from "Mark"'s account, and likely other documents as well (e.g. "Q"), so they are not independent accounts. All the Gospels are written in a hagiographic form--i.e. with the sole purpose to "deify" a human--to instill belief in him/her as divine. This is not to be confused with "history". Historians of the time are universally silent about such events, save for a few dubious and vague passages (which we can get into later if need be).

HD asked "I must ask you one thing whose teachings do you find to be a reliable source for a life with out God?"

I honestly cannot understand that question as stated, as it appears to assume too much. First, I put very little stock in the "teachings" of any one person, as I do not see anybody as having such great authority that I should simply believe what they say without testing it and corroborating it. Second, I don't think of myself, or anybody else, as "living without god" any more than I think of them as "living without unicorns". The very question seems to put the cart before the horse. If there is a god, then I'd surely like to know. As yet, I've seen no evidence for her. Consequently, I do not expect or wait for help from above--I concentrate on helping my fellow humans myself. If there is an all-powerful deity who would like to get my attention, I'm confident that she could figure out how to do so. And I'll be quite happy to hear what she has to say.

Anonymous said...

To jim arvo
You are missing the point when I enphasize on the names of the apostoles, is because they had a revelation wich came from having an encounter/relationship with Jesus; they didn't just decide one day that they would use other names but if infact that is what you are implying how can you show me proof that Simon's name was not changed to Peter by Jesus as Saul to Paul, other than the sugestion that they were fanatics or similar. To me this is important because when you meet Jesus he will not only change your character but also your purposse (what you are about) this men became bald theachers of the gospel of Christ that is why they spent all that time and effort even their lives for they recognized that they had been amongst the Lord.
There is a paragraph on your responce that reads,
There is almost universal agreement among scholars that both "Luke" and "Matthew" borrowed heavily from "Mark"'s account, and likely other documents as well (e.g. "Q"), so they are not independent accounts. All the Gospels are written in a hagiographic form--i.e. with the sole purpose to "deify" a human--to instill belief in him/her as divine. This is not to be confused with "history". Historians of the time are universally silent about such events, save for a few dubious and vague passages.
I find it very interesting that you proceed to talk about some scholars interpretations rather than basing your answers on your own interpretation wich you hinted to me on your last reponce when you said.
First, I put very little stock in the "teachings" of any one person, as I do not see anybody as having such great authority that I should simply believe what they say without testing it and corroborating it.
So wich is it do relly on teahings of others to come to your conclutions or you put most of your stock on your own interpretation. By the way it is pretty grand to suggest that there is universal agreemnt about the borrowing of the gospels come on UNIVERSAL you know you are using a very large term for someone who wants proof of everything.
Proof that the reason why you choose to help fellow humans does not have an underlined correlation with the posibility of (do onto others as I would like done onto me).
And if you have an explanation about that please also explain to me goodness or badness (not to call it evil)
I would appresiate an honest non litterary responce, fellow human been to fellow human been.

Anonymous said...

This exchange between Jim and HD is like witnessing Mozart being played to a treefrog.

fjell

J. C. Samuelson said...

How true, Fjell. How true.

Jim Arvo said...

HD said "You are missing the point when I enphasize on the names of the apostoles, is because they had a revelation wich came from having an encounter/relationship with Jesus..."

No, I did not miss your point at all. Clearly that's what you were suggesting. Perhaps you missed my point. They were BELIEVERS in Jesus. BELIEF is sufficient to explain the behavior of adopting a new name. In the case of Paul, his "encounter" with Jesus was purely spiritual, judging by his own words. If you assert that the name-change was an result of a direct encounter with Jesus, then you are arguing in a circle--that is, you are simply assuming what you wish to show. Assuming only what is in evidence (the name change), it does not follow that Jesus existed; only that some believed he did.

HD: "...how can you show me proof that Simon's name was not changed to Peter by Jesus as Saul to Paul,..."

I can offer no such proof, nor is it my burden to do so. People adopt new names through religious conviction all the time. Nothing supernatural is needed to explain that behavior. If you wish to introduce a supernatural element, then the burden of proof is on you.

HD: "...when you meet Jesus he will not only change your character but also your purposse"

Again, that is circular in that it assumes the very point in question; that there is/was such a person as Jesus.

HD: "I find it very interesting that you proceed to talk about some scholars interpretations rather than basing your answers on your own interpretation wich you hinted to me on your last reponce when you said."

I think you're confused. I, like you, must obtain a lot of my information from others. Of course I read what many scholars have to say, but that does not mean I automatically accept their conclusions. I vet what they say using my own research and/or that of other scholars. It's a long tedious process. Is there anything controversial in that, or counter what I've stated previously? (I think not.) Now, it's a fact that the majority of scholars, both conservative and liberal, will agree with the basic statement I made previously. We can get into WHY they agree if you wish, as that's the important bit anyway. So, please don't confuse my reference to a consensus among scholars with a simple-minded appeal to authority. I categorically do not employ the latter tactic. Is that clear now?

HD: "So wich is it do [you] relly on teahings of others to come to your conclutions or you put most of your stock on your own interpretation."

Clearly, neither of your alternatives is accurate. Let me clarify this for you. I DO NOT simply adopt what anyone says, which includes scholars of any description. However, I do avail myself of what they say and what evidence they proffer. I should hope you do the same. In many instances there is consensus, and for very good reason: namely, that the evidence is substantive and cohesive. This is so, for example, for the theory of the Synoptic Gospels, which includes the dating of Mark prior to Luke and Matthew and the borrowing of the latter from the former. Have I addressed that to your satisfaction?

HD: "By the way it is pretty grand to suggest that there is universal agreemnt about the borrowing of the gospels... you know you are using a very large term for someone who wants proof of everything."

My exact words were "almost universal consensus". Put another way, the vast majority of those who have studied and written about the Synoptic Gospels agree that this is so, albeit they may disagree on the extent of the borrowing and/or its significance. If you disagree, then I can only conclude that you've done very little investigation of this on your own.

HD: "Proof that the reason why you choose to help fellow humans does not have an underlined correlation with the posibility of (do onto others as I would like done onto me)."

I'm sorry but I can't even parse that. It appears to me that we are quickly straying from the topic of Jesus. I politely request that you refocus your efforts on presenting your case for Jesus rather then trying to dissect my words, or to speculate about my motives. The latter gets us nowhere.

HD: "And if you have an explanation about that please also explain to me goodness or badness..."

Sure, I could write a tome on that topic. (In fact, I've done so in other threads.) But that would take us far afield of the original topic that we agreed to discuss. Please explain why you believe the Bible to be a reliable historical document. We've not made any discernible headway in that direction yet.

Jim Arvo said...

Oh, I forgot to address this statement by HD:

"...you know you are using a very large term for someone who wants proof of everything."

I'm sure the regulars here could almost chant my response to that in unison. I'm not asking for PROOF; I'm asking for credible EVIDENCE. As a rule, I neither request nor expect "proof" of anything. However, if you make a claim (e.g. the Bible is a reliable historical document), then I expect you to be able to back it up with something. Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

Jim Arvo said:
"I'm sure the regulars here could almost chant my response to that in unison"
----
Jim,

How about this 'chant' from the original Star Trek series....

"He's DEAD Jim"

"Another one bites the dust", will also do.



AtheistToothFairy

Jim Arvo said...

Hi there ATF,

You may be on to something! I submit the following "Scotty" quotes as additional candidates:

1: "The shape the thing's in it's hard to keep it from blowin'." -- Scotty, The Doomsday Machine, stardate 4202.9, Episode 35

2: "I've giv'n her all she's got captain, an' I canna give her no more."

3: "She won't take much more of this."

4: "This jurry-rigging won't last for long..."

5: "Ma barins...ma poor barins."

(All Scotty quotes shamelessly lifted from this site and not corroborated.)

Anonymous said...

So I see there is a few of you out there.
OK then lets take this aproach since you fell so sure about your selves, on that rejecting the reliability of the bible as the word of God.
There have been hundreds of books written on the subject of the evidences of the divine inspiration of the Bible, and these evidences are many and varied. Most people today, unfortunately, have not read any of these books. In fact, few have even read the Bible itself! Thus, many people tend to go along with the popular delusion that the Bible is full of mistakes and is no longer relevant to our modern world.

Nevertheless the Bible writers claimed repeatedly that they were transmitting the very Word of God, infallible and authoritative in the highest degree. This is an amazing thing for any writer to say, and if the forty or so men who wrote the Scriptures were wrong in these claims, then they must have been lying, or insane, or both.

But, on the other hand, if the greatest and most influential book of the ages, containing the most beautiful literature and the most perfect moral code ever devised, was written by deceiving fanatics, then what hope is there for ever finding meaning and purpose in this world?

If one will seriously investigate these Biblical evidences, he will find that their claims of divine inspiration (stated over 3,000 times, in various ways) were amply justified.
The remarkable evidence of fulfilled prophecy is just one case in point. Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, specifically and meticulously, often long after the prophetic writer had passed away.

For example, Daniel the prophet predicted in about 538 BC (Daniel 9:24-27) that Christ would come as Israel's promised Savior and Prince 483 years after the Persian emperor would give the Jews authority to rebuild Jerusalem, which was then in ruins. This was clearly and definitely fulfilled, hundreds of years later.

There are extensive prophecies dealing with individual nations and cities and with the course of history in general, all of which have been literally fulfilled. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Christ Himself at His first coming. Other prophecies deal with the spread of Christianity, as well as various false religions, and many other subjects.

There is no other book, ancient or modern, like this. The vague, and usually erroneous, prophecies of people like Jeanne Dixon, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and others like them are not in the same category at all, and neither are other religious books such as the Koran, the Confucian Analects, and similar religious writings. Only the Bible manifests this remarkable prophetic evidence, and it does so on such a tremendous scale as to render completely absurd any explanation other than divine revelation.
The historical accuracy of the scriptures is likewise in a class by itself, far superior to the weitten records on egypt, assyria, and other early nations.
Asrcheological confirmations of the biblical record have been almost innumerable in the las century. Dr. Nelson Glueck, probably the greatest modern authority on Israeli archeology,said:
and I Quote No archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries."
We could expand and make reference to Scientific accuracy.
I understand that many of you would much rather stick to your so called knowledge however I am saddened by statements like.

Consequently, I do not expect or wait for help from above--I concentrate on helping my fellow humans myself. If there is an all-powerful deity who would like to get my attention, I'm confident that she could figure out how to do so. And I'll be quite happy to hear what she has to say.

Because if in fact we want to concentrate on helping our fellow humans, I must assume that we would seek a source that inspires rather than continually brings us to believe that our understanding is enough to comprehend the greatness of the creator, much less to try to understand a book that was divinely inspired, but we don't want to even consider that posibility>
Star treck ... pretty funny
God's existence not so... funny

Anonymous said...

PS
jim avro I said we just to get into a plane level with you, because the fact of the matter is that if you are not open to the possibility of a Divine Intelligent Higher Power other than a mortal, we will not able to have a more ample ground to go on.
With al respect... H D

Anonymous said...

Strangely, HD, somebody is copying your work, word for word. I'm not kidding. If I were you, I'd call them out on it.

I know it's crazy, but I found that some charlatan has copied entire paragraphs of your last post and tried passing it off as their own!!! I don't know if you have the leverage for a court case, but it might be worth looking into.

This hack has had the audacity to reprint several paragraphs of yours in their entirety HERE without so much as mentioning your authoship.

Go get 'em, champ.

fjell

Anonymous said...

HD said, "If you [talking to Jim Arvo] are not open to the possibility of a Divine Intelligent Higher Power other than a mortal, we will not able to have a more ample ground to go on."

Yet, a few posts earlier, Jim had written...

"If there is an all-powerful deity who would like to get my attention, I'm confident that she could figure out how to do so. And I'll be quite happy to hear what she has to say."

HD, are you paying attention to what Jim is writing at all?

Jim Arvo said...

HD: "There have been hundreds of books written on the subject of the evidences of the divine inspiration of the Bible, and these evidences are many and varied. Most people today, unfortunately, have not read any of these books..."

I'll wager that I've read significantly more Christian apologetics than you have. I've been reading the stuff for more than three decades, and I've filled book cases with it. Now, let me ask you this: How much have you read that runs COUNTER to your current beliefs? Can you list a few books you've read that are critical of Christianity? Please give me titles and/or authors. I'll do the same for you if you like.

I'm going to make an educated guess here, based exclusively on what you've written in this thread (as that is the only information I possess about you), and on literally thousands of similar discussions I've had with believers. My guess is that you have not availed yourself of a SINGLE book that examines the claims of Christianity critically. Am I right about that? If not, you can correct me by listing some of the things you've read.

Specifically, it appears that you've read nothing about the purported "prophecies" of Christianity aside from Christian apologetics itself. Again, you can easily correct me if I'm wrong about that. I say this because your rhetoric is filled with the outrageous exaggeration that comes from passing on these "amazing facts" time and again without ever pausing the check them.

HD: "Nevertheless the Bible writers claimed repeatedly that they were transmitting the very Word of God,..."

As do the writers of dozens of many other "holy" texts. Claiming that a book is "god breathed", or that its contents came via a religious epiphany is very common. Have you read the Vedas, or the Koran, or even the Book of Mormon? All claim to be the word of god. There are dozens more.

You claim that if the writers were not truly god-inspired, then "they must have been lying, or insane, or both." No, not at all. The most likely explanation is that they believed deeply that they were in communication with the divine, when in fact they were not. So you left off "mistaken". Surely you believe that most prophets of most religions were mistaken in their beliefs--not necessarily insane or lying. Why is it so hard to accept that this may also apply to the prophets of your own religion?

You say that the Bible But contains "...the most beautiful literature and the most perfect moral code ever devised..."

I will grant you that the Bible contains some superlative poetry and some profound wisdom, as do most religious texts. (Have you read any of the others?) But it also contains a good bit of filthy obscene dreck, not to mention good helpings of ghastly violence and downright absurdity. Anyone here can happily provide you numerous examples from each category if you have not read the Bible yourself.

HD: "If one will seriously investigate these Biblical evidences, he will find that their claims of divine inspiration (stated over 3,000 times, in various ways) were amply justified."

That's a curiously worded statement. Are you unaware of how many people have seriously investigated the Bible and reached precisely the opposite conclusion? Most of the regulars here have done just that. Some are former pastors, some are former divinity students, some were deeply devout believers, and most are very well-read. Let me ask you this: How seriously have YOU investigated the claims of the Bible? Please be honest now. When you read about this or that prophecy, do you 1) look it up for yourself and read the passage in its original context, 2) check that it is an actual prophecy, 3) check the claim that it has been fulfilled, and 3) check the claim that is was written before the fact?

Again, I'm going to make an educated guess here. My guess is that you do none of these things, or if you do, it's via apologetic literature only. You read about an amazing prophecy, or worse yet, STATISTICS ABOUT PROPHECIES (which is even further removed), and you simply accept that they were indeed amazing, just as reported by apologists or other believers. And then you pass this on as though it is verified fact. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Again, I say this because of your inflated rhetoric; one tends not to exaggerate so after checking these claims and applying a modicum of critical thinking. Not in my experience, anyway.

HD: "For example, Daniel the prophet predicted in about 538 BC (Daniel 9:24-27) that Christ would come as Israel's promised Savior and Prince 483 years after the Persian emperor would give the Jews authority to rebuild Jerusalem, which was then in ruins. This was clearly and definitely fulfilled, hundreds of years later."

Ah yes, the ever-popular "seventy sevens" prophecy. How closely have you studied this prophecy? Have you read only what believers have to say on this? If you've not investigated this, here are a few links to start with: here, here, and here. You'll notice that the first two are supportive of the prophecy, while the third is skeptical. The first two articulate some common beliefs about the prophecy, and the last points out some obvious shortcomings.

Regardless of where you stand on this prophecy, you must admit that it turns on supplying the appropriate interpretations to various words and phrases (more on this below). First and foremost, what do the "seventy sevens" refer to? Are they days, weeks, months, years? As you will find in most apologetics, the time period is decided by a process of elimination. (Please refer to the links I provided.) In other words, the period of one year was chosen because it happens to correspond (approximately) to a "significant event". This is a common trick in deciphering prophecies, and it totally undermines the validity of the prophecy. It only works when you plug in the "right numbers". There are dozens of examples of this. Of course, this is not the only phrase that requires some imaginative interpretation; they all do.

HD: "There are extensive prophecies dealing with individual nations and cities and with the course of history in general, all of which have been literally fulfilled. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Christ Himself at His first coming..."

Look them up. If you actually analyze them yourself, rather than uncritically accepting the word of apologists, you will find that most of the so-called "prophecies" fall into one or more of the following categories:

1) Not a prophecy in its original context. A favorite game of early apologists was to mine isolates sentences or phrases from the OT and claim that they "foreshadowed" later events, thus making them prophecies. Most of these phrases are not even part of actual prophecies in their original context. Given that kind of license, one could mine amazing prophecies from Moby Dick as well.

2) Not a messianic prophecy. Most of the actual prophecies that are used as proof texts for Jesus as messiah are not messianic prophecies at all. Isaiah 7:14 is a good example. Again, this is playing fast and loose with the facts. It's imposing unintended meanings on old text in order to label it a prophecy.

3) Dubious fulfillment. Given that much of the story of Jesus was crafted long after his (presumed) death, many of the so-called "prophecies" were "fulfilled" by inventing an appropriate history for him. (This falls under the heading of midrash.) The virgin birth, the slaughter of the innocents, etc., appear to all have been mined from the OT. If the OT "predicted it", then that's what must have happened, or so the thinking was back then.

4) Vague language with many possible interpretations. Many of the so-called "prophecies" depend on very creative interpretations of various words, such as a "day" actually meaning a "year", as well as selectively ignoring bits that don't actually fit. The Daniel prophecies are good examples of this.

If you are up to it, we can go through each and every prophecy that you claim is an amazing vindication of the Bible. The first step is to look them up in their original context and examine what they really say. I've already done this exercise numerous times. Have you? I claim that they all crumble when examined.

HD goes on to emphasize repeatedly how remarkable all these prophecies are, and that nothing else like it has ever been written. This is all baseless hyperbole. It's what happens when believers pass on what they "know" without tempering it through a little critical thinking. They are urban legends writ large.

HD said "I understand that many of you would much rather stick to your so called knowledge however I am saddened by statements like... and then went on to quote what I said about focusing my efforts on my fellow man, and being happy to listen to what any deity wishes to say to me.

Okay, HD, I will respond in kind. It saddens me greatly to see people who swallow religious dogma uncritically. The world is awash in blood spilled over religious beliefs that do not stand up to even modest scrutiny. In my opinion, it's irresponsible and unethical to propagate beliefs uncritically, as I believe you have done right here in this thread. If there is a god, then surely she wishes for us to use the wonderful minds we have been endowed with. Surely she would wish for us to cast of fanciful superstitions and relentlessly seek to discover what is really so.

Can you honestly say that you have tried your best to do so? I can.

Jim Arvo said...

HD,

Following up on fjell's earlier comment, it appears that we have one of the following situations:

1) You are the author of this article, or

2) That article was plagiarized from you, or

3) You plagiarized that article, or

4) We are witness to an amazing coincidence.

Please inform us which it is. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

fjell you seem very upset about my use of what has been deamed true by many scholars of the scriptures. Now, the go get them part is very unsetelling to me, because as I see it jim and my self are trying to come to a point of recognition of is there a God or not you seem pent up on the lets beat them ideology wich is the same ideology that wars have started with, no compation, no posible recognition of what could be an error on your part, come on so the internet is great tool, and we can go back and forth but the fact remains the bible is a book that has been divinely inspired wich to some people sounds imposible how ever the accounts and historic events written on the bible are not expected to be accepted by someone who can't explain how their brain was created but wants to understand the very been that created it. It's about FAITH.
With all respect.
And come on the part were jim said... "If there is an all-powerful deity who would like to get my attention, I'm confident that she could figure out how to do so. And I'll be quite happy to hear what she has to say."
Why would anyone person think that the highest expretion of Intelligence, Love, Rightgeouness, come running to someone who has shut him out unless God proofs him self.
NO ONE CAN PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT A HUMAN BEEN EVOLVED FROM A SINGLE CELL, EVOLUTION, THERE ARE STILL MONKEYS OUT THERE,
BIG BANG HOW AMAZING FROM A DISASTER COMES SOMETHING SO WELL ENGINEERED THAT EVEN HAS FEELINGS.
You people are so bent up on prooving wrong something that you have not even read. THE BIBLE.
What influenced you to become so antagonistc against what you haven't even fully studied I ask?
I'll be the first to say it, no I have not read every single book or every single investigative report about the scriptures.
That aside what would be the purpose of living if there is no hope of more, OK so you die and become dust, but why then worry about being heathy, making money, racing kids, helping others, all this so that we go back to being nothing. I am sorry it may take FAITH to search and trully reachout to God, but it takes more faith to believe that we are at the end of our lives nothing.

Jim Arvo said...

HD,

Let me make this as painfully clear as I can:

1) Is it possible that there is a god of some sort? ABSOLUTELY!

2) Is it possible that this god is Yahweh? ABSOLUTELY!

3) Is it possible that the Bible is the inspired word of this god? ABSOLUTELY!

However, I've no reason to suspect that any of the above are true. On the contrary, I think the evidence points to each of the above as being born of the human imagination (with exponentially increasing probability from 1 to 3). Now some questions for you:

1) Is it possible that the god you worship is mythical?

2) Is it possible that there is a god, but it's not Yahweh?

3) Is it possible that the Bible is an invention of man?

Honest answers, please.

boomSLANG said...

Whaaa? "HUMAN BEEN"? lol

Scotty says: "Ma barins...ma poor barins."

boom' says: "Good luck Jim."

Jim Arvo said...

HD: "fjell you seem very upset about my use of what has been deamed true by many scholars of the scriptures..."

For future reference, that "use" is called plagiarism unless you cite the source.

HD: "...the go get them part is very unsetelling to me,...."

Are you familiar with the phrase "toung-in-cheek"? If not, please click on the link.

HD: "Why would anyone person think that the highest expretion of Intelligence, Love, Rightgeouness, come running to someone who has shut him out unless God proofs him self."

Who said anything about "running"? If there is an all-powerful god who wishes for me to know of her presence, then clearly she has the means to inform me. You assert nothing more when you claim the Bible to be god-inspired. The difference is that I do not attribute a book containing obscene violence to such a deity, whereas you do.

HD: "NO ONE CAN PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT A HUMAN BEEN EVOLVED FROM A SINGLE CELL..."

Correct. There is always doubt. However, when one attempts to objectively weigh the available evidence, one can make many educated guesses. Some of these guesses produce testable hypotheses. We can get into how science works if you like.

HD: "You people are so bent up on prooving wrong something that you have not even read. THE BIBLE."

You have apparently not been paying attention. Most of us here HAVE read and studied the Bible. It would be somewhat imprudent to reject it without having read it, would it not?

HD: "I'll be the first to say it, no I have not read every single book or every single investigative report about the scriptures."

But that wasn't the question I put to you. Have you read ANY books that are critical of Christianity? "Any" would mean more than zero; not "all". If you ignore that simple question I'll assume the answer is that you have not (as I originally suspected). But then I have a further question: Why not?

HD: "That aside what would be the purpose of living if there is no hope of more,..."

Clearly you prefer to think that you will live forever. However, what one desires need to be what actually is. Do you understand? The fact that you think there should be "something more" is not evidence of anything at all, save for wishful thinking on your part. As for the purpose of a finite life, it's abundant for those who appreciate life for what it is. I certainly don't need a book of mythology to help me love my kids or appreciate the company of friends, or to revel in the rewards brought by hard work and good deeds.

Anonymous said...

I think you should examine why you expect us to unflinchingly "accept" the unsupported, wild assertions made by this Christian apologist website (which you plagerized without apology - pun intended), when it is almost certain that you would not grant any Muslim who might join this discussion the same "courtesy" and give this website the time of day.

fjell

Anonymous said...

Obviously, there is a group of people that go to great lenghts to disproof something, that they believe does not exist. Why boder!If it does not exist, from your perspective why waste your time arguing with people that believes he does exist.
Reasons why I believe he exists
No.1 The way that our body functions, from the usage of water to the complexities of the brain.
No.2 Think for a second, ok a minute about the properties of water. How salt water from the sea becomes pure.
No.3 The earth and the moon, they are distanced from each other and the sun in such perfect way that it allows for the atmosphere to sustain life on this planet unlike any of the other worlds/
No.4 The human brain, able to process so many pieces of information at the same time.
Now I realize that this is not evidence per say but look around you and tell me, wether or not you agree that a higher form of intelligence may have had something to do with it. There is no way that all this happened by accident, but if you do not want to accept that the reason why there is billions of people living and dying for this none existent God every day, must mean that there is a bunch of crazy people with no common sence, and that what they have experienced is a lie, but of course since there is no tangible evidence the existence of God is not possible. Oh but waith I'm writting to you and drinking coffee and also on the phone all at the same time, but how is that possible we are an accident or a fluke, I guess luck is my best explanation.
By the way I apologize about using
a copy from something barbatum, the reason why I did that is because in a way it expressed in a fluent way my point of view.

Jim Arvo said...

HD: "Obviously, there is a group of people that go to great lenghts to disproof something, that they believe does not exist. Why boder!If it does not exist, from your perspective why waste your time arguing with people that believes he does exist."

If people merely kept their religious view to themselves, there would be little reason for us to discuss it (in my view). However, beliefs have consequences. Religions fuel violence, intolerance, and sloppy thinking. Christianity, in particular, contributed to the fall of Rome and plunged Europe into the Dark Ages. Bad things happen when critical thinking is thwarted. But despite all of that, I'd still defend your right to believe what you want and to voice those beliefs, so long as I can voice my views too. That's what I'm doing here.

HD: "Reasons why I believe he exists...

All of these "reasons" are merely interesting facts about the world. I too look at the world and feel a sense of awe. However, I do not blindly attribute things that I cannot explain to some magical being. Instead, I try to figure them out.

HD: "...look around you and tell me, wether or not you agree that a higher form of intelligence may have had something to do with it."

There is no reason to suppose it is due to a "higher intelligence", no. Such a "higher intelligence" would be far more fantastic than the phenomena you attempt to explain by it; hence, it explains absolutely nothing. It merely puts a convenient label on that which you cannot explain. I prefer to simply say "I don't know" rather than project human attributes onto this collection of unknowns.

HD: "...there is billions of people living and dying for this none existent God every day, must mean that there is a bunch of crazy people with no common sence, and that what they have experienced is a lie,..."

Yes, and some of them fly planes into buildings for their god. That sounds pretty crazy to me. I think religious belief is highly correlated with a lack of critical thinking--I would not call it a lack of common sense, per se, but there is some of that too I suppose.

HD: "...but how is that possible we are an accident or a fluke, I guess luck is my best explanation."

Even if that were the scientific explanation (which is categorically is NOT), it could not possibly be more fantastic than a being who knows all and sees all and has existed forever. By its very definition, that is the most fantastic explanation imaginable. Tell me, is it by sheer luck that this entity exists?

Jim Arvo said...

That should be "However, what one desires need NOT be what actually is" in a post of mine above.

Anonymous said...

jim avro asked this previously
1) Is it possible that the god you worship is mythical?
No. He did have something to do with the fact that you and I are communicating, I was having some doubts about how real he could be and from the thousands of people in the web I came across this blog, now I'm positive that he is who inspired me to take on this conversation and wether you like it or not he keeps pocking you, other wise why are you wouldn't be so intersted in the subject.

2) Is it possible that there is a god, but it's not Yahweh?
Don't get suck in what he is called He/She is the I AM, enbodies everything.....

3) Is it possible that the Bible is an invention of man?
come on more than 40 people "invent" the one book that jim arvo and h d will discuss 2000 years latter, plus incountable number of people.unikely

Jim Arvo said...

HD, I hate to say this, but I think this discussion is going nowhere. I don't think you are prepared to discuss your beliefs critically. I appreciate your willingness to have a discussion, and the generally restrained tenor of your posts, but it's clear to me that we're not going to get past the cliché apologetic arguments we've all heard a million times here. If you still wish to discuss specific prophecies, I'm up for it. But I'm not going to discuss all the tedious vacuous arguments for god (e.g. "There must be something more!", and "Look around you!"). They did not make sense the first million times we heard them, and they don't appear to have improved with age--they're just as silly and vacuous as the first time.

Anonymous said...

OK then, one question and I will let you all be. To what or whom do you give credit for the unique quality and quemichal properties of human blood? or it just happen to get into our bodies for some unknown reason that You may have the explanation to.
As a question I believe it makes as much sense o why do you think God is real?

Anonymous said...

Silly and vacuous.
But you investigate every thing. There is an explanation for all things, is your stands.
Yes if you look around and are able to explain why the patern of the moon around planet earth has such an important efect on water tides and ocean thermal currents, I am sure that with in all of that organized caos, there was a design, but you don't want to accept the fact that yes the moon is in a specific location with a specific purpose but don't know how it got there, and that is enough for you, the who is silly and vacuous.

Jim Arvo said...

HD,

I'm losing patience with you. I've tried to stay focussed on a narrow topic, and discuss evidence with you. However, you keep drifiting away into emotional appeals and vailed personal attacks. You clearly have no substantive arguments to offer, or you would have offered them. As for blood and the Moon, I hardly think it a good use of my time to educate you on evolution or cosmology. Fortunately, I needn't go there to expose the fallacy in your reasoning. Just because something is amazing of mysterious to you, it is not evidence of some grand designer. As I've already pointed out, that tactic simply replaces one set of mysteries with one that is infinitely greater. INFINITELY greater. You thereby explain nothing.

You've made numerous snide remarks and repeatedly put ridiculous arguments in my mouth (which I've tried to ignore) rather than address what evidence there is to support your theology. How shallow of you. If you had anything of substance to offer, you would have offered it rather than parceling out ridicule. If you had any capacity to examine your own beliefs, and to think things through rationally, you could have amply demonstrated it by now.

Let's agree to stop here. Or, if you like, get in one final shot if it pleases you.

Anonymous said...

Jim Avro asked: Is it possible that the god you worship is mythical?

HD replied: No.

Strangely, HD had no trouble admonishing Jim earlier with: If you are not open to the possibility of a Divine Intelligent Higher Power other than a mortal (existing), we will not able to have a more ample ground to go on.

So, if Jim doesn't stay open to the possibility that he is wrong, there will be no room left to conduct a discussion. But, if HD doesn't stay open to the possibility that his is wrong, everything's cool.

HD, do you see a problem with this? If you don't, you probably ought to take your questions about the "unique quality and quemichal properties of human blood" elsewhere. That is truly the best and most civil suggestion I have for you. Make of it what you will.

fjell

Jim Arvo said...

Precisely so, fjell. That's why I asked the question in the first place, but then I forgot to follow up on it. Thanks for closing that loop.

Anonymous said...

Yes I have one last reply since you guys are so comfortable questioning something, just as other people, I am positive as well educated and rouded as you or maybe just maybe a bit more.....
but still to no avail, what sad state of affairs when you spend your time trying to confuse others when ultimately you, your selves have no true credible ground to dispell ones believes. When you can explain to your selves beyond the reasonable doubt that in fact HE is not real you shall stop your persuit to be right, must be pretty unseteling not to know?
I sugest that just like the person that wants to learn math, reads on it, studies it but also practices it. If you want to learn about God accept the fact that you want to learn about him, leave the predesposition that lurks on your minds, any body can doubt anything. It takes real love.. wich is a real felling to be willing to die for others, also courage, but if you can not explain were that comes from you will be chasing your tail in circles until you pass...
Mean while you are trying to convince your selves and others, that the God that so many of us serve does not exist, what a futile attept to rigeusness.
Bottom line somebody is wright and somebody is wrong, when you can explain compation, and why a been that came from a cosmic accident can develop such qualities, you will provably be close to your answer.
fair well in you search.....

Jim Arvo said...

Okay, HD. I think that's a wonderful summary of your thinking. We all understand your position. Are we done now?

Anonymous said...

yep, it was interesting.
This was the first time I tried anything like this>
God bless

Jim Arvo said...

Come on back if/when you would like to learn something about our position. We can try it again.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, Jim. Are you involved on other sites besides ex-C, doing what you do best? Be interested to know where. Do you bother hedging out there into the "fray" and presenting your point of view?

fjell

Jim Arvo said...

Hi fjell,

I occasionally post on other sites, but this is the only one I've been posting at regularly as of late. In the past I've posted at Christian sites, but I absolutely never behaved as the majority of the visiting Christians do here. In other words, I was never confrontational; I focused on narrow and specific factual errors that I discovered, and I tried my best to do it in a friendly way. For example, several times I posted at what were effectively creationist sites that touted demonstrably incorrect versions of various physical laws (i.e versions that served their purposes). I pointed out what I believed to be the factual errors, suggested alternative wording that I felt would fix it, and provided a few links to substantiate my statements. Sometimes the participants were polite, but mostly not. I've also confronted egregious bigotry a few times--e.g. Christians who launch shameless smear campaigns against atheists. Once I tried the following experiment. All I said was something like "I'm an atheist. From that fact alone, do you believe you can infer anything about me?" Perhaps the most polite response I got was "I wouldn't trust you as far as I can throw a piano." Nice, huh?

In general, I do not confront people about religion. This goes for folks on the internet as well as for my own family members. However, when the topic is broached by believers--particularly those who think they are privy to the unassailable truth--I feel something of an obligation to speak my mind candidly. Needless to say, that's exactly what happens here on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

Hello jim avro, back to ask a couple of questions, so that I get to know you better>
1 Why is it, that our calendar and basicaly the worlds calendar is based on the BC - AC base line.
2 Do you believe cold is real, cold as in freezing cold.
and one more
3 Do you believe that evil is real?

just humor me...
thanks

TheJaytheist said...

My turn with the star trek quotes:

Spock: If I were human, I believe my response would be: 'go to hell'. If I were human.

Anonymous said...

stronger now wrote: "Spock: If I were human, I believe my response would be: 'go to hell'. If I were human."
---
Stronger,

Kirk then replies to Spock:

"We think your guesses are better than most people's facts, Mister Spock."

ATF

Jim Arvo said...

HD asked "Why is it, that our calendar and basicaly the worlds calendar is based on the BC - AC base line."

As everybody knows, AD is an abbreviation for a Latin term meaning "The year of our Lord" and BC stands for "Before Christ", so these designations have their roots in Christianity (which is presumably why you asked). It's interesting that this convention was not introduced until the 6th century, and it's unknown how this particular point in history was arrived at. (Those historians who believe Jesus to have been an actual person place the date of his birth at various times, so there is no broad consensus.)

In short, it's an artifact of Christianity based on a guess (many centuries after the rise of Christianity) as to when Jesus might have been born. Given the dominance of Christianity in the West during the middle ages, it's not surprising that the calendar was based on its central dogma.

HD: "Do you believe cold is real, cold as in freezing cold."

"Cold" can mean a sensation, or it can mean a level of thermal energy that is low relative to something else. I don't know what it would mean for a sensation to be "real" (objectively, that is) other than that it can be observed to produce signals in specific neurons (which, I presume can be done), or through psychophysical experiments. In any case, yes, I do believe that our bodies undergo physiological responses that correspond to the sensation of "cold". As for relative levels of thermal energy, that can be measured too, and even observed fairly directly through Brownian motion. I have no idea what kind of answer you're looking for, so that may not satisfy you.

HD: "Do you believe that evil is real?"

That depends entirely on what you mean by "evil". If you intend something that has an independent existence outside of our brains, then no, I have no reason to believe such a thing exists. If you intend behavior that most normal people find extremely reprehensible, then yes, there are evil acts, such as torture, rape, mayhem, etc.

Here are some questions for you:

1) Is there anything terrible enough, or absurd enough, such that if it were to be found in the pages of the Bible, you would doubt that it was the "word of god"?

2) Do you believe that people who follow religions other than yours (e.g. Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism) are less certain of their beliefs than you are, or are less prepared to justify them than you are?

3) Do you believe it is possible for an honest, intelligent, and educated person to examine Christianity in detail, with an open mind, and conclude that it is false?

Jim Arvo said...

Oh, HD, there's actually one more question I'd like to ask you, and this is the one I am most interested in:

Do you honestly wish to understand some of the reasons we have concluded that Christianity is false?

Anonymous said...

Hello jim
In regards to your answers to my questions...
Why is it, that our calendar and basicaly the worlds calendar is based on the BC - AC base line."
you say
In short, you say. It's an artifact of Christianity based on a guess (many centuries after the rise of Christianity) as to when Jesus might have been born. Given the dominance of Christianity in the West during the middle ages, it's not surprising that the calendar was based on its central dogma.
We could also say that Darwin's theory is an artifact of scientific beliefs, do to the fact that there is no proof that man evolved from a monkey, they are all pure hypothesis not prov en... however no intellectual decided to promote a calendar based on BD _ AD,
before/after Darwin, which to me means, Jesus Christ has had a mayor effect in our lives to this day than some scientist' hypothesis, and intellectual propaganda, which in turn proof that he was here on earth, other wise if you are positive that he was not, do you have proof of that. I believe I have proved that he was.
You also responded
Cold" can mean a sensation, or it can mean a level of thermal energy ..........
the sensation of "cold". As for relative levels of thermal energy, that can be measured too, and even observed fairly directly through Brownian motion. I have no idea what kind of answer you're looking for, so that may not satisfy you.
see just like you asked me in a previous post. do you think is it possible that the Bible is an invention of man?
My answer was a to de point with no doubt. If with a simple question as do you believe cold is real? you have to start crisscrossing between science and felling, how do you expect me to agree with your other concepts, it is a matter of what you are sure of, not what your opinion might be. If I am understanding your position about God's existence which you hint to the fact that you can prove he DOES NOT EXIST, the reality is that you don't know.

How about COLD, per say does not exist..... it basically is the lack of heat (energy). Cold is the word man utilizes to describe lack of Heat.

and to my last question you answer is
....That depends entirely on what you mean by "evil". .....
...... an so on a so forth...
Again in a very evasive and none true conviction sort of way.....
Well to me evil is the lack of God, God is goodness men uses the excuse that bad things happen or have happened and God was at fault. You as a father want the best for your kids and for that matter you try to teach them what from your human limited perspective is acceptable, how ever that does not mean they will follow through as you would hope, does it mean you are at fault, NO, but that is OK you are just human, When you accept that God is your father, he will teach you beyond doubt about his goodness.. and you will understand how great his power is. but lets regress
So far what I get is that you have no solid stand for any of your answers, to this simple questions.... with exception of the calendar question.
See the hole point about living a life of faith is just that, you have to come to the realization that you will never be able to find all the answers, and come to the conviction that with out a Loving Father that has paved the way and even left a guide for us to get to know him.... and even get some of those tough questions answered, we are basically like hamsters in spinning wheel. But you make the choice.

Now about your questions
1)Is there anything terrible enough, or absurd enough, such that if it were to be found in the pages of the Bible, you would doubt that it was the "word of god"?
Of course there such stories, like on the book of JOB and maybe the time that the whale ate Jonah. But I'm a person just like you, there is a difference, though I realize that the world is not composed just by matter there is also the intangible which I don't really understand but it is there, God is spirit, to even aspire to make my mind about his reality I must understand that there is that spirit realm. Hence goodness, evil. (you are not imagining that good exists, it does) Are you open to that possibility?

2) Do you believe that people who follow religions other than yours (e.g. Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism) are less certain of their beliefs than you are, or are less prepared to justify them than you are
You shall not have other Gods than your God, people can believe on whatever they choose, however it does not mean that there is salvation for them, but to even consider there is salvation you must believe in Jesus,
Jesus said I am the way the truth and the light nobody can go to the Father if not through me.

) Do you believe it is possible for an honest, intelligent, and educated person to examine Christianity in detail, with an open mind, and conclude that it is false?

I believe it is possible to examine it, as long as they have an open mind. See I am not closed to your explanations how ever there is no man that to this day has the answer to the greatest questions. And to put your self in a position which denies historical facts, e.i. the great flood, but above all biblical truths such as .....
there are some mysteries that are only known to God and will be revealed only by his spirit. I think you are taking a great chanse with your soul. You can say that the soul does not exist that is OK but there is enough writtings about the salvation of our soul, but we need to be open to that posibility, or we'll just be a very intelligent hamster, because that is what darwin wrote.


Do you honestly wish to understand some of the reasons we have concluded that Christianity is false?
Honestly I have heard quiet a few but my eyes are open, I'm listening.

TheJaytheist said...

Spock: Are you sure it isn't time for a "colourful metaphor"?

Jim Arvo said...

HD said "We could also say that Darwin's theory is an artifact of scientific beliefs, do to the fact that there is no proof that man evolved from a monkey, they are all pure hypothesis not prov en..."

If you give me the title of one mainstream science book that you've read on evolution (and some indication that you actually read it), I will discuss evolution with you all you want. I've grown tired of discussing evolution with those who are completely ignorant of it, and nonetheless have strong opinions about it.

HD said "If with a simple question as do you believe cold is real? you have to start crisscrossing between science and felling,..."

Words can have multiple meanings. It was impossible to tell from your question what you intended, so I tried to cover several possible interpretations. My answer to you was as honest and complete as I could produce.

HD: "If I am understanding your position about God's existence which you hint to the fact that you can prove he DOES NOT EXIST..."

No, you are not understanding my position at all. Do you wish to understand what my position really is? I'd appreciate a "yes" or a "no" to that. If you've no interest, then it would be a waste of my time to explain it.

HD: "How about COLD, per say does not exist..... it basically is the lack of heat (energy)...."

It's a lack relative to something else--not a total lack. Small point. It's semantics as to whether you want to say that it exists or not. I gave you operational definitions which didn't exactly fit your agenda. Oh well.

About my other replies you said: "Again in a very evasive and none true conviction sort of way.."

I gave you very direct answers that covered possible word meanings. If you prefer, I'll have you spell out all word meanings before I attempt an answer.

HD: "So far what I get is that you have no solid stand for any of your answers, to this simple questions.... with exception of the calendar question."

I have no idea what you mean. I answered your questions fully and honestly, and as concisely as I could given the vagaries involved.

HD: "See the hole point about living a life of faith is just that, you have to come to the realization..."

I'll ask you kindly to not speak for me. Feel free to ask if you like, but if you attempt to put words in my mouth we will get nowhere. In every instance you have put words in my mouth it has been wildly incorrect.

In answer to my question #1, you said "Of course there such stories, like on the book of JOB..." Are you saying that the story of Job makes you doubt the Bible? If that's not what you mean, can you give me an example of something that would make you doubt the Bible if you were to find it in its pages? I'll even settle for a simple "yes" or a "no": Is there ANYTHING that would make you doubt it?

In answer to my question #2, you said "You shall not have other Gods..." Okay, got it. But do you believe that people who follow religions other than yours are less certain of their beliefs than you are of your? Then, do you think they are less prepared to justify those beliefs to others than you are to justify your own beliefs (meaning to offer explanations as to why they believe what they do)?

In answer to my question #3, you said "I believe it is possible to examine it, as long as they have an open mind...." But the important part of the question was the last part: Is it possible, in your view, for such a person to conclude that Christianity is false?

In answer to question #4, you said "Honestly I have heard quiet a few but my eyes are open, I'm listening."

The question was about your INTENT, or DESIRE. It is your DESIRE, for example, to understand my position? I'd appreciate a very direct reply to that question. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

McCoy: "I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer."

RE:Jim Arvo's thought to himself, while understanding how Star Trek's Dr. McCoy felt when faced with curing his own out-of-this world 'subject'.


ATF

Jim Arvo said...

To ATF: At the moment I envy bricklayers. Their efforts are generally rewarded by tangible progress.

TheJaytheist said...

"Quite simply captain, I examined the problem from all angles, and it was plainly hopeless." -- Spock

TheJaytheist said...

James T. Kirk: There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere...

Anonymous said...

jim avro said
If you give me the title of one mainstream science book that you've read on evolution (and some indication that you actually read it), I will discuss evolution with you all you want. I've grown tired of discussing evolution with those who are completely ignorant of it, and nonetheless have strong opinions about it.

Like wise, just because you have read a book does not mean you have understood the dept of its meaning, I am tired of ridiculous attempts from self proclaimed educated people about God's existence and have never opened their heart and mind to him, but have preconceived notions of what he should do, he created you, who do you think you are, by saying if he wants me to know him he can reveal himself to me. You pay your taxes but you have no clue who is distributing them do you think that if you tell them I demand to know who is spending my money they will come just because you said so (athority position). SPECIALLY IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THE IRS EXISTS.
jim avro said
Words can have multiple meanings. It was impossible to tell from your question what you intended, so I tried to cover several possible interpretations.

My point exactly, about people that continually keep trying to disproof something they all ready think does not exist, ridiculous. Words can have as many meanings as you decide, LOVE, COMPASSION, TRUTH , GOD. Have only one meaning but we can give several possible interpretations to anything.
jim avro said
I gave you very direct answers that covered possible word meanings.
Focus jim avro I did not ask for possible meanings for that we can always go to different sources, like books and so on, Beliefs what to do YOU BELIEVE? WAS MY QUESTION.

My answers to your questions
jim avro said
If that's not what you mean, can you give me an example of something that would make you doubt the Bible if you were to find it in its pages? I'll even settle for a simple "yes" or a "no": Is there ANYTHING that would make you doubt it? I said, Of course there is such stories, like the book of Job or the story of Jonah.
To be clearer yes there is stories that make me doubt, however on the other hand I just like you are human, and our nature is to Analise everything, But I have experienced God not only his LOVE but his CORRECTION, and for that reason I know that it is not me who decides whether God could do or allow something like that to happen to someone, hey He created the universe who do we think we are trying to figure him out. I am sure you have not even been able to figure your spouse/girlfriend out jet......... lol........and you live with her.. with all due respect, how do you espect to figure GOD out.
Here is an example of how God has taught me to get to know him.
This is just an example, not about you.
You marry a person whom because of their attributes and qualities you thought was good for you and decided, I should marry her/him. And Love may have been one of the expression used to show your affection..... are you with me......?
OK...! it took time and effort to get to know this person, conversations, walks on the beach, long..... long talks, all this so you could get to know each other, this is something must people would do... for or with the person they "love".
Now hypothetically, lets say before you two even met, someone told you about this person that was great and really nice even attractive, perfecto for you and expressed to you all this marvelous qualities about HIM/HER even some of the not so considered qualities from your perspective..... but you think about it, and think to your self that is not possible this is too much HE/SHE sound perfect in every way with the exception of a couple of slight flaws, and come to the conclusion that there is no one that could be like that, it is just too perfect or too good; for that reason it is impossible that such person exists. At this point what ever you are told is nonsense because it is not possible in you mind that such match could exist for you, so you depart from the conversation and disregard it, in turn you do not get to meet your "other half".

jim avro you don't have to believe what I am trying with all my being to express to you, We don't even know each other, but use your intellect and your imagination (they are both there for a reason) at a different level this time. Bible talks about becoming like children give it a chance I beg of you.
There is a real relationship that people can have with God, if we take the time, just like you did to get to know and be with your spouse/ children (whom in fact when they are not visible to your eyes any more, does not mean they didn't exist or continue to be in your heart). What brought you together was not an accident it was purposefully done, you worked on it. Just like God hopes we will do with him, we need to work on it. Granted many people mistreat their spouses and children, same way many people mistreat HIM, I personally guilty of that, but the realization that HIS love is real only comes for looking to have a relationship with this person, that so many are learning to love (weather they know how to express it or not) there is a reason why we believe.
We could, as you are provably are more aware than I am, have all types of discussions about creation, prophecies and provably not agree.. But you must agree with me on this, the sensations that you believe you feel for your loved ones can not be an accident, much less something that evolved from an animal with no clear purpose, if that was the case there would be many groups of other animals coming against humans to try to stop them from destroying the very earth that provides sustenance and life, other animals would have evolved to higher levels of intelligence also.
There is no possible way that any body will tell you about a CREATOR, much less have you believe if your perspective is. I'll question you until I bore you; rather than question man. I suggest you try and I use this example from before (just like math you picked up an algebra book and did as it said, it guided you, I doubt that to this day you question why (+ + = +)( - + = -) OR DO YOU.....?) To you throughout your practice and experience this became a fact, in a very simple but humble way of expressing how it has happened for me, as you can see I am sure that the answer you want will not come from a simple man, because your mind is pretty much made up, so go to the only one source that might be able to give you the answer you are looking for.
You don't spend time trying to disproof something that gives you purpose.... you spend time practicing it and even teaching it..........Math/science good intentions-
Faith/God true purpose....... how ironic.
Granted there has been many religious people that have paved the way to make even the most faithfull doubt.
Praying that this makes some sense to you.

Astreja said...

hd: "I am tired of ridiculous attempts from self proclaimed educated people about God's existence and have never opened their heart and mind to him..."

That, sir or madam, is slander. You have no idea what the people at this site have undergone. No fucking clue as to the agony they experienced as they tried to make sense of something that was once dear to them.

"You don't spend time trying to disproof (sic) something that gives you purpose... you spend time practicing it and even teaching it..."

And what if the thing that "gives you purpose" is not true? Do you think it's a good thing to disseminate information that you haven't determined to be true?

More important... What does that say for your "purpose" if it's predicated on a falsehood?

SEO said...

And what does open your heart mean? It sounds painful. Is there scalpels, rib-breakers, and forceps involved? How do you manage the blood?

Anonymous said...

SEO wrote:
"And what does open your heart mean? It sounds painful. Is there scalpels, rib-breakers, and forceps involved?"
---
Don't worry SEQ,
God will surely heal their hearts right up, no problem for such a god.
Just don't hold your breath while waiting is all.


ATF

Anonymous said...

Hi hd, er Royalty,

Jim, for Christ's Sake open that heart of yours and let god in by-god. Just lay down perpendicular on a table saw and turn on the switch, that should do it, ya a little messy but effective, but if you've hardened your heart you may need to try explosives, maybe a grenade might do the trick, or maybe you could get someone to open your heart with an axe, I dunno, maybe only god can open your heart, and invite jesus into your heart...lol

Jim Arvo said...

HD: "...just because you have read a book does not mean you have understood the dept of its meaning,..."

Absolutely so! It also does not mean that what is in the book is correct. However, if you have not availed yourself of any mainstream science book on the topic, then the odds are very high that you do not know the first thing about it. Do you disagree? Please tell me the point of debating a topic if you know little-to-nothing about it. Or, do you in fact claim to be knowledgeable in the area?

HD: "...I am tired of ridiculous attempts from self proclaimed educated people about God's existence and have never opened their heart and mind to him, but have preconceived notions of what he should do,..."

Why all the personal attacks, HD? You know next-to-nothing about me. You have no idea whether I've "opened my heart", and you have no inkling of what my actual position is with respect to god. I keep offering to state it, but it seems you are not interested. So, once again, I'll ask you kindly to refrain from making statements about what I think or proclaim or feel. You have no clue about any of it. Okay?

HD: "...he created you, who do you think you are, by saying if he wants me to know him he can reveal himself to me. You pay your taxes but you have no clue who is distributing them..."

That's a really bad analogy. I pay my taxes to the state and federal governments, which are run by living breathing human beings, some of whom I have met, and others I've spoken to on the phone. None of them claim to have super powers, or to have been born of virgins. (None that I know of.) None of them claim to be able to read my thoughts, or to suspend the laws of nature. Sure, I tacitly assume that my check will go to the right place when I drop it in the mail, but I assume nothing extraordinary--it's all in the realm of the observable. Moreover, if I had any doubts, wouldn't it be prudent for me to follow them up with some investigation? I should certainly think so. That's what I do with religious claims. Do you see that as a problem?

HD: "...people that continually keep trying to disproof something they all ready think does not exist, ridiculous."

But you have no idea what my position is or what I'm "trying to do".

HD: "...I did not ask for possible meanings for that we can always go to different sources,..."

No, you did not ask. However, your questions were ambiguous to me. I'll offer again to have you clarify each word before I answer any question. I think you'll find that tedious. If I simply pick definitions that I like, you will probably not like that either.

HD: "To be clearer yes there is stories that make me doubt,..."

Okay then! We have a "yes" to that question. Can we also agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with doubting?

HD: "...use your intellect and your imagination (they are both there for a reason) at a different level this time. ...give it [the Bible] a chance I beg of you."

Surely you can't presume to know how I have employed my intellect or imagination, or how much credence I have ever given the Bible! I advise you to present what evidence you have for your claims rather than speculate about my mental states.

HD: "There is a real relationship that people can have with God, if we take the time, just like you did to get to know and be with your spouse/ children..."

People make this very claim for many different deities. Have you tried to have a relationship with Krishna, for example? Or Allah? They are not synonymous with Yahweh. If you think they are, then please tell me if you are comfortable stating that you have a relationship with the Lord Krishna.

Your claim that a relationship with your god is "just like" a relationship with a person is patently false. Every person I have a relationship with responds to me directly and unequivocally. If I had to communicate with my wife by trying to discern otherwise unexplainable events that occur around me, it wouldn't be much of a relationship. I do not need to learn about her desires through a book, or through third parties. I can ask, and I can get a direct response in plain English. Do you claim to have that type of "relationship" with your god? If so, would you agree to ask some questions on my behalf? (If not, why not?)

HD: "...you must agree with me on this, the sensations that you believe you feel for your loved ones can not be an accident, much less something that evolved from an animal with no clear purpose,..."

No, I cannot agree with your statement, partly because it makes many invalid assumptions in its very phrasing. If you wish to discuss evolution, please learn something about it first.

HD: "...because your mind is pretty much made up,..."

You have no idea what I've concluded and what I am open to.

HD: "Praying that this makes some sense to you."

Frankly, about half of what you said made little sense to me. Sorry.

Lest you forget, here are several questions I did not get clear answers on yet: Do you believe that followers of other religions are less certain of their beliefs than you are of yours? Are they less able to defend those beliefs than you are? Do you believe it is possible for an honest, intelligent, and educated person to examine Christianity in detail, with an open mind, and conclude that it is false? Do you wish to understand any of the reasons that the regulars here have rejected Christianity?

Anonymous said...

HD: "Like wise, just because you have read a book does not mean you have understood the dept of its meaning, I am tired of ridiculous attempts from self proclaimed educated people..."

Do you consider yourself educated?

HD: "...about God's existence..."

Moreover, do you actually believe an "education" will help assign "meaning" to the word "God" for you?

HD: "...and have never opened their heart and mind to him, but have preconceived notions of what he should do, he created you..."

"He"? And, can you please "point" to the "He" in your example, or is that asking too much. If you have nothing to point to, you are "projecting" what you "desire" onto an emotional construct, so that you find purpose in your life.

And, I could really care less if you found purpose, by hugging a word that is fully arbitrary/meaningless... "but", it is "your" purpose, not the purpose of a "God", until you find some way to "define" the word you are attempting to use.

HD: "...who do you think you are, by saying if he wants me to know him he can reveal himself to me."

Somehow, you have obviously missed the finer point of the argument... it is the Christian tradition, that suggests their "God" (undefined term) wants to be in our lives... if that is the case, and the Christian God is omnipotent (per their belief), then I can in no fashion prevent such a thing from happening...

If the case, is that the Christian God is "not" going to reveal itself, then there are only a few options... one - obviously someone doesn't know their own God... two - the God thing doesn't exist.

There is "zero" impetus to continually "beg" something I have "zero" control over to come into my life, without having a "clue" as to "what" that "thing" is defined as... how would I "ever" know if such a "thing" actually entered into my life?

HD, the further point here, is that your word "God", is arbitrary and can mean anything... a word that can mean "anything", is a word without a "specific identity"...

You like mathematics? Great, then you'll understand the law of commutability in algebra...

Commutability: "That may be commuted; exchangeable or interchangeable."

In mathematics, an operation that is independent of the order of the numbers or symbols concerned. For example, addition is commutative: the result of adding 4 + 2 is the same as that of adding 2 + 4.

Let's play with a mental/linguistic example; obviously, the process of addition, taking the "idea" number, which is "consistent" with the idea of a second "number", can be commutatively processed for "meaning"... a solution to the addition operation would be the result/meaning of the equation.

Now, we can discuss what a "idea" of number is all day long, and when we finally arrive at what we accept as the meaning of a number, we can perform operations, by applying equations to "reality", and thus proofing them... with consistency, and without "conflict"...

On the other hand, you and "I" could discuss the "idea" of the word "God", and likely "never" come up with an acceptable "identity" for that "word"... Because, Christianity suggests that "God" can't be known, else, we become "Gods" ourselves, there is no way to commutatively process logic between you and "I"... "zero".

Further, because the word "God" has zero "identity" and is entirely arbitrary (to the whims of the one assigning meaning to the word) we can't process logic (through communication) effectively. Why even go to the next step of logical processing, which is moving towards order of operations and finally "meaning" and "purpose" via a sound solution, that can be replicated by proof of concept in reality...

The "meaning" of the word "God" is not "commutable" between people, therefore, the linguistic operations between people can not render a common solution, in short, "common understanding"...

Obviously, if you can't attain a "common understanding", then there really is no need for you to "communicate" with others about your undefined "word", or how much esteem you attribute to that particular "word".

Keep that word, love it, play with it, use it to get you through the day, but don't publicly confront people in an accusatory manner because "you" have "failed" to be able to "present" a discrete "meaning" for a word you "profess" openly as important... that makes you appear ignorant, and intolerant of others, who by the way, understand the "limitations" that go along with Christianity, by tradition, and by logic...

Because the word God is "not commutable", because it is usually mired with "idealistic" declaratives particular to the person and their "ideals", another strategy is used...

When one finds that meaning for the "idea" of God isn't commutable between multiple people, one attempts to create and sell a "solution", which is then used to define the unknown "variable"...

The obvious problem here HD, is that if you assign a desired (ideal) solution to the equation, let's say "compassion" or "love", to define what the "nature" of the "unknown variable" would be, there can only be "one" thing that the variable can represent, in order for the equation to be "reliable" and further, "valid"... now, when there are multiple ways to express/explain "compassion" and "love", then we have to define those terms, and isolate them so that they can only be attributable to "one source", the "unknown variable"...

Christianity does away with that quite cleanly, by suggesting that no one person can be compassionate or loving without their "God", yet, I as an atheist "express" love and compassion much more effectively than many Christians I have known...

Using logic is hopeless with a Christian, terms are undefined, yet, piled upon each other as if that is going to make it easier to "identify" the "unknown variable"... there is not "one" single "isolated" instance of an attribute, that I am "aware of", that can be "uniquely" attributed to the term "God"... and "why"? Because, again, God is both an "ideal", built by the individual cognitively, and yet, "sought" to give meaning and hope...

Ideals have conceptual meaning, they are the cognitive products of one's "desires" and "hopes", they are not part of the external "reality" we share (a common medium), the concept is "real" contextually as a cognitive idea, but quite unapproachable in reality, and yes, un-commutable for that very reason... I say this, because it is Christian tradition to suggest that "God" can't be "known"... why? Because, we are natural beings, and once someone suggests they "know" of an attribute of a "God", the God concept becomes "natural"...

Quite frankly, if you want to call Nature, God, and give the word God no other meaning, then I can actually agree with you on the premise... It is for that reason, that early theologians created the "unknowable" God... a Jewish concept brought over into Christianity, yet, given a human personification (Jesus) to give rise (bring about) to the "newer" religion, that was to be more "universal" and inclusive of all Roman citizenry...

It's almost amusing to see young Christians say they "know" exactly what "God" is, and what a "God" thinks, by typing out words and saying, "God will forgive you", "God will torture you forever in hell", etc...

Obviously, innocent and well-reasoned taxpayers, can only muse at the astounding ignorance portrayed so fervently by the ardent believers encountered in society...

HD: "You pay your taxes but you have no clue who is distributing them do you think that if you tell them I demand to know who is spending my money they will come just because you said so (athority position). SPECIALLY IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THE IRS EXISTS."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/budget/BudgetFY2008.pdf

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

Need physical evidence of bodies in tax action? Take a drive.

"The main headquarters building of the IRS is located at 1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C., near the Old Post Office."

Want to know if your tax dollars are actually going to where the fiscal spend plan suggests they go? Ask an active duty military member if they are getting paid, their entire paycheck and "retirement" is funded by "federal tax dollars".

HD, a person doesn't "have" to believe "anything" regarding the "IRS", there are millions of people who are "living proof" of the concept, I like to call... "The U.S. Economy"... I know, it's quirky, and really abstract, but, maybe you should look into it, since "you" are likely paying taxes...

HD: "My point exactly, about people that continually keep trying to disproof something they all ready think does not exist, ridiculous."

A "response" is hardly ridiculous, when one is "confronted". If the Christian were to "never" bring up their insular mental binky object to me, I would not have anything to say on the subject of invisible, undefined, and unknowable variables that are non-existent in reality, per the "context" presented by a person who says they are "Christian"... call it proselytizing for short.

HD: "Words can have as many meanings as you decide, LOVE, COMPASSION, TRUTH , GOD. Have only one meaning but we can give several possible interpretations to anything."

And thus, there is no reason to suggest that you can talk intelligently to another person commutatively... proselytizing is nothing short of persuasion... and on that note...

Did you know that in medieval education, the trivium was taught as an initial step in the education process, which consisted of; grammar, logic, and... rhetoric.

And, of course, the quadrivium followed for those going on to graduate school, learning how to assign numbers to; arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy... and finally, to a professional degree in philosophy or theology.

I bring this up, because as some have pointed out, you seemed to lack getting past the first hurdle; grammar, logic, and rhetoric... while current education systems lack the efficiencies of a medieval education process (although elitist in some part), you don't present yourself well; grammatically or logically, and... lacking those "two components", the leg of rhetoric is wholly unstable and unconvincing...

And to end, you keep poking at "a priori" reasoning, likely without a keen understanding of what that actually means... if you want to pursue "a priori", propositional knowledge as a subject, then throw it out there, but... just so you know, "a priori" reasoning follows "a posteriori" reasoning by necessity (if you know what that means in formal logic), and "a priori" reasoning, can be used as a guide to focus towards a particular area of interest... it can be done, using "knowns", or "assumptions"...

Just to give you a heads up, much of applied mathematics can be proofed and thus be used as "knowns" to further inquiry beyond empirical evidence... that is "far" different than your assertion (by my inference of your posts) that "assumptions" are just as effective as "knowns" to explore and direct inquiry... Don't make that assertion, its absolute nonsense...

There is a "definitive" difference between building knowledge hierarchically using "knowns" as a foundation, instead of pure "assumption(s)"... You tend to step over the two entirely different foundations/bases as if they were "equals"... nonsense. One of those foundations has the potential to elevate propositional knowledge to "knowns", while the other can "never" elicit "knowledge", because there is no "base" to validate any findings...

Just thought you might want to know what others are thinking about your posts in the world, honestly, even though you appear to lack education you do come off more civil than many other Christians who have graced us with their self-proclaimed godly presences...

Anonymous said...

I must say I do appologize in case any body might have been offended by my opinions, must clarify do not use me as an excuse to say, see he calls him self christian an see how he expresses him self, I will make mistakes trying to express what I know to be true...regardless, all I am is a servant of the LORD, imperfect but with hope.
I'll say jim avro and dave8 I would like to know about you position.
I guess there must be something that makes sense from your perspective that, I must say, I am interested in reading about.
What is true to you?
How did you come to that conclusion?
Could you be wrong?


Got to say to dave8

What do you consider to be the unknown variable?

by the way thanks for the lessons on math and grammar... very interesting.....

Jim Arvo said...

Hello HD (or is it HP?):

I'd like to respond to some of the things you said, although I'm going to take them in roughly reverse order. You said "by the way thanks for the lessons on math and grammar... very interesting.....". That's nice of you. Thank you for that (whether or not that comment was intended to include me).

HD: "Could you be wrong?"

That's the most important question you asked, and it has a very important answer: YES! Aside from the proposition "Something exists" (a la Descartes), I will happily dream up and list numerous reasons that each and every belief I hold could possibly be wrong. To me, this is only prudent. If you believe something to be so, you should also understand ways in which you may be wrong. In my opinion, the alternative is not very defensible; the alternative is that one protects a belief from all thoughts that may change it. The latter is precisely how people get stuck in dogmatic (and incorrect) beliefs, such as cults. If a proposition is held to be true, and for good reason, then examining it will not harm it.

HD: "I'll say jim avro and dave8 I would like to know about you position."

Thank you for asking. Here is a nutshell summary of my position, as it pertains to religion. Clearly, I cannot articulate all my beliefs, or all my reasons for holding them, but this should serve to give you some idea.

1) Humans have the capacity to generate elaborate explanations and rationalizations for just about anything. We can argue as to *why* this is, but it should not be such a controversial position that this is so. We can readily observe it all around us, in the media and in daily conversations.

2) While this capacity of humans is essential to how we think and communicate (and it is therefore of inestimable value) it is also the means by which humans can deceive each other and themselves.

3) It is therefore incumbent upon each of us to regularly examine what we are told and what we believe, so that we might lessen the degree to which we deceive ourselves and others. The short name for this habit is "critical thinking". One might also call it "intellectual honesty".

4) The ability to think critically does not come easily. As humans, we appear to have a number of built-in biases that amply serve limited social objectives, but can lead us astray when we attempt to reason in other contexts. It takes a systematic and prolonged effort to mitigate the common errors we all tend to make.

5) Several habits that I find crucial to clear thinking are: 1) honestly examine alternative explanations and arguments, 2) routinely question the basis for one's own currently-held beliefs, 3) accept the fact that you may be wrong about nearly anything.

6) In the realm of religion, I have applied these principles for most of my life. I have examined what a great many apologist (mainly Christian) have offered, I've read various "holy books" (including the Bible), I've considered what skeptics have to say, and I've studied how believers respond to the arguments of skeptics. This has entailed a huge amount of study spanning many decades, and it is ongoing.

7) My honest and informed assessment is that Christianity has no more claim to validity than any other religion. While I clealy cannot rule it out, much less *prove* it to be false, I find the arguments in its favor to be extremely weak. This includes "historical" arguments, and those based on fulfilled prophecies. I've examined these claims carefully, and I find that the level of misinformation and deception (whether, intentional or unintentional, self- or otherwise) is extremely high. In my informed opinion, there is almost nothing left after the layers of wishful thinking, fallacious reasoning, and embellishment are stripped away. I therefore have no more reason to believe the claims of Christianity than I do the claims of other religions I've been exposed to--which is to say, almost none.

8) I'm happy to discuss religion with people of all beliefs. I find it fascinating to read about and to try to understand why people believe what they believe. I will seriously consider any well-thought-out argument or reasonable piece of evidence that believers wish to offer. I frequently even entertain the not-so-well-thought-out arguments (as the regulars here will attest). If someone has a compelling argument, then I will try my best to give it all due consideration.

9) However... I do not respond to threats (e.g. "You'll be sorry when you're in Hell!"), I do no bow to authority (e.g. "Do you think you're smarter than C. S. Lewis?"), and I do not simply swallow dogma (e.g. "It's in the Bible, so it must be true."). One of my presupposition that I happily acknowledge is that if religion X is actually true, then there must be some reasonable way for me to distinguish it from "false" religion Y.

Might I be wrong? (My answer to this should be clear by now, but I'll state it again.) Yes, of course! It could be that Yahweh is the one true god, and Christianity is the one true religion. I'll happily admit that to anybody at any time. However, I have yet to see a single well-founded reason to suppose this is actually the case. Absolutely every aspect of the religion that I've examined in detail has appeared to be nothing more than a fabrication of humans--and a rather crude fabrication in nearly all cases.

I hope that gives you some idea of where I stand. I'm always happy to answer questions and to entertain other points of view, provided these are expressed with civility.

Anonymous said...

HP/HD: "What do you consider to be the unknown variable?"

:-) Is this a joke? If "I" proffered an identity/solution for the unknown variable, then... obviously, it would no longer be "unknown", at least by me...

You must admit, that not all people hold the same level of "knowledge"... what is "known" by some, may not be known by others...

The greater the pot of knowns one holds, the less unknowns/variables exist for that particular individual. I tend to work from knowns, and delimit unknowns from my mental workspace... I currently hold very "few" unknowns in my life...

Why? An "unknown", suggests a person has experienced a moment in life, yet has not resolved the experience to an objective expression... and the reason this works... is because, we are all limited to "experience" in life... and there are those experiences we can express objectively and those we can not... seek a study in epistemology, if you want more on that topic.

HP/HD: "I'll say jim avro and dave8 I would like to know about you position."

I will just provide a general view of my position, but first a primer on how I perceive theism and atheism...

My Understanding of Theism: The "volitional" valuation of
some-thing(s), greater than the Self..., and characterized by the
literary assignment of the word God to that particular some-thing(s)
"existence".

Volitional: "1. the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of
willing: She left of her own volition."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/volitional

A "volitional" position is one established without coercion and
"without" any "mental reservation"... one doesn't "doubt" whether they
are more or less valuable than some-thing, one is "certain" since the
individual is the one making the self-proclamation as a subjective
truth/fact.

Mental Reservation: "an unstated doubt that prevents you from accepting
something wholeheartedly."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mental%20reservation

Note; theism in my perspective is the "result" of a process, it is a
dictionary term used to characterize a person who has committed
themselves to a position by a willed act/declaration.

Theism: "2. belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to
atheism)."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Theism

This definition term covers, an ontological proposition, assigning existence to some-thing/god.

It does not cover "context", to what "extent" this some-thing exists, or how one comes to their "belief" in this existence of some-thing(god).

Beyond that, I want to focus on subjugation... per my understanding of theism... One "must" subjugate their being, in order to be a theist, and here is the line of reasoning...

-If that which propositionally exists has "less" value than one's Self, then, why call the propositional some-thing "God". Further, such a proposition, elevates humans above the terms of God, making all humanity Super-Gods...

-If that which propositionally exists is "equal" in value as one's Self, then, why call the some-thing God; when a set of things are of equal value, then there is no "significance" in the existence of that some-thing... Such a some-thing, is not noteworthy, moreover, it is insignificant in terms of all of the other humans on this planet.

-If that which propositionally exists is of "more" value than one's Self, then, deification/veneration of some-thing can be logically established...

So, looking back at my definition for Theism, it stands to "reason" that a theist is one who must volitionally devaluate/subjugate themselves (if one isn't capable of this, they can't venerate said object) in regard/respect to some-thing, which one believes has a specific "contextual existence".

Now, there are different perspectives on the matter; skeptic, objectivist, etc....

Personally, I am an ardent advocate of implicit objectivism as a practice, while exhibiting explicit skepticism towards those things/propositions I have no knowledge of...

With that in mind, I see the Universe as one unified value... as part of an Objective Reality... If one wants to dice it up, make nice gooey names for pieces parts down to the quantum level, then each little piece is still of no more value than the next piece of quantum dust - objectively speaking.

Then, there is "valuation", it is totally a subjective/personal endeavor. What I "need", is what "I" value... and it may well be different than what "you" need...

But, there must be an "anchor" or "standard" by which one gains "credibility" to "establish" values... and "what" is that "source"? To me, it's the Self.

As one "valuates" something greater than their "Self", they reflexively "reject" their own Self - proportionally... this is illogical can conflicted, as one venerates or valuates something greater than themselves, they diminish/reject their "source" (Self) credibility... the greatest veneration comes from one, who is totally without credibility; one who has totally "rejected" the "value" of the Self (to include the value attributed to making sound judgments)...

Hope you are with me for this statement, because without the primer it may "read" oddly...

I am not a member of the category, "theism", because I can not accept the logic of volitional Self devaluation, as a means to find greater "meaning", "purpose" and "harmony" in my life... the notion of self-devaluation is "self-destructive" to me... and if I didn't honor and respect myself, then what would my veneration or respect be worth; what "value" would it be if I attempted to "share" it?

In short, I refuse to walk the path of self-destruction; therefore, I can not belong to the category "theism".

Here is something to think about as well... for all those people who don't volitionally valuate an object above the Self, and tag that some-thing with the letters g-o-d... they categorically belong to the group - atheism.

Of course, there are many reasons for people to belong to the atheism category, and it is part of a fertile ground for discussion... if you want to find out the many ways people "don't" accept theism, then just ask, I am quite certain there are some who would tell you exactly why they don't accept theism, thereby making themselves non-theist...

You asked for my position, and I provided a logical response... note, that I do not find myself in a position of atheism "because" of a "theists'" propositional arguments... I hold a position of atheism, "regardless" of a theists' "propositions"...

My position is independent of irrational claims/propositions, and therefore maintains un-conflicted integrity...

As I close, I would say that I do in fact hold to axiomatic truths in my life, things that can not be refuted, and things which I hold Certain...

-Existence "Exists"; without this axiom, this axiom and you don't exist...

-Identity; Everything that exists has a specific nature. Since reality (and objects) has an identity, it is knowable. Since it exists in a particular way, it has no contradictions... without this axiomatic truth; we could never establish a basis for "knowledge", epistemologically speaking...

-Consciousness; Consciousness is the faculty that perceives that which exists. Descartes argued that consciousness is axiomatic because you cannot logically deny your minds existence at the same time as using your mind to do the denying. However, Descartes was wrong on many levels... but, directly regarding his formulation, he assumed one can be aware, without something to be aware of. I disagree, Existence precedes consciousness, and therefore, consciousness is wholly dependent on Existence.

Ayn Rand: "Directly or indirectly, every phenomenon of consciousness is derived from one's awareness of the external world. Some object, i.e., some content, is involved in every state of awareness. Extrospection is a process of cognition directed outward... a process of apprehending some existent(s) of the external world. Introspection is a process of cognition directed inward... a process of apprehending one's own psychological actions in regard to some existent(s) of the external world, such actions as thinking, feeling, reminiscing, etc. ...A content-less state of consciousness is a contradiction in terms. [Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology]

I am quite certain you are not going to reflect too earnestly on what has been written, but... perhaps that wasn't the intention, at times, I just feel like writing for my own enjoyment... if you understand a portion of my position, then, it's just a bonus... Peace all.

Anonymous said...

Dave8 said:

"I am quite certain you are not going to reflect too earnestly on what has been written, but... perhaps that wasn't the intention, at times, I just feel like writing for my own enjoyment... if you understand a portion of my position, then, it's just a bonus... Peace all."

I read what you posted, and at least I think I understand most of what you said. . .though I admit my brain gets a little knotted when analyzing the statement "Existence precedes consciousness, and therefore, consciousness is wholly dependent on Existence."

Anonymous said...

That "Ball" Guy: "I read what you posted, and at least I think I understand most of what you said. . .though I admit my brain gets a little knotted when analyzing the statement "Existence precedes consciousness, and therefore, consciousness is wholly dependent on Existence."

Will try and make it more clear :-)

Rene Descartes: "Cogito Ergo Sum,
I think, therefore I am."

This suggests consciousness precedes being.

Consciousness has a particular nature; it is understood as the "awareness" of "environmental factors", e.g., Existence.

Thus, consciousness developmentally "becomes" through cognitive maturation, it's not a genetic trait passed down by parents, and is not a mystical trait passed down by the Universe via some form of transcendent "reality".

We are a sum whole, with a progressively changing nature, one that yields the attribute of cogito (thinking) over time, for some.

Thus, I accept the following to be more accurate...

I am, I become, I think...

Existence/Nature precedes me as a being, both physically and cognitively (with the attribute of consciousness...) to be cognitively aware, requires memory recall, one has to "know" what they are "aware of", in order to be primed for the ability to present the faculty of "awareness"... and memories are built from the "experience" of a pre-existing "Existence"...

Well... I suppose it may be more elegant to say...

All, is dependent on Existence/Nature, to include an individual's biologically manifested and regulated consciousness... but that makes it sound so... duh :-) Have a great one.

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Dave8,

About Descartes' famous dictum, "Cogito Ergo Sum," you said "This suggests consciousness precedes being.".

Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you meant (or perhaps you misspoke), but to my understanding all Descartes intended by that comment was "The mere fact that I am thinking means that I exist." He wanted to start with a brute fact that could not be denied. Clearly, as soon as the question of precedence enters, we are no longer on such solid ground--there is room for dispute.

Anonymous said...

Are you not committing the fallacy of equivocation between thought and consciousness?

The point of Buddhist meditation (as I understand it) is to achieve a state of perfect awareness, without thoughts or even reference to the self. Does this state not count as consciousness, would you state that this mode of consciousness doesn't exist (i.e. is not conscious) or is there some other possibility I have not considered?

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim,

Jim Arvo: "About Descartes' famous dictum, "Cogito Ergo Sum," you said "This suggests consciousness precedes being."."

Moving from the general statement to a more particular one, Descartes only proffered one axiomatic truth that he considered indubitable/Certain, based on his method of analytics... by which he then proceeded to build his philosophy.

Thus, everything beyond the thinking mind/consciousness must therefore be couched with a level of uncertainty... to include our very existence (being) prior to thinking/consciousness. His axiomatic truth of consciousness forced all else to be "dependent" and "subservient" to that one fact; to include Existence/existence.

Jim Arvo: "Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you meant (or perhaps you misspoke), but to my understanding all Descartes intended by that comment was "The mere fact that I am thinking means that I exist." He wanted to start with a brute fact that could not be denied."

Totally agree that this appears to be his strategy to develop a solid philosophy. Still, his strategy yielded a philosophy skeptical about his very existence (being) prior to some determinable level of cognitive development/awareness.

Jim Arvo: "Clearly, as soon as the question of precedence enters, we are no longer on such solid ground--there is room for dispute."

In terms of ontology, or epistemology?

In philosophy, the establishment of an axiom suggests an irreducible primary. In short, it stands alone and doesn't rest upon anything in order to be valid, and it cannot be proven by any "more basic" premise(s).

Descartes' dictum suggests that his axiomatic truth of consciousness doesn't rest upon anything, in order to be validated.

I accept Reality/Existence to be "The" irreducible primary - not Descartes' axiom of human consciousness.

Two reasons come to mind (no pun :-); consciousness must come into Existence as a function, prior to operation; this function requires a biological vessel. In operation; consciousness is the faculty that identifies objects/existents, thus, there can be no consciousness without something existing externally and independent of the biological vessel to perceive/be aware of.

Descartes seemed to have toiled over the utility of Existence. Perhaps, he believed that Existence held little/no meaning/value, for the individual if in fact his axiomatic truth were not primary; what would Reality mean, if one were never cognizant of it? Further, does Reality even exist beyond the non-thinking/cognizant human? And, while this line of reasoning seems logical, it is a philosophy customized and led not by objectivity of a thinking philosopher, who relies on empirical evidence and personal experiential knowledge, but by the skepticism of a thinking philosopher, who is uncertain of Reality on behalf of the non-cognizant individual(s) of the world, or the possibility that the Universe really doesn't pragmatically exist, if all of humanity weren't consciously aware of it.

It seems to make sense that analytic philosophy is of little use for the non-cognitively developed, and for the cognitively developed, it seems of little use to offer a philosophy built on assumptions using the possibilities that may come along from a non-cognitive view of reality. We present, we test, we accept/reject... the inability for another person to validate our objective facts, doesn't diminish the veracity of the objective facts. Consciousness by necessity requires Existence to function, it's not a subjectively interpreted statement, it is true by empirical evidence, evolutionary/developmental psychology, etc.

Inquiry may lead one to seek the possibilities of consciousness without existence, etc., but it is an academic exercise. I do not discount the value of such inquiry, I don't however, tend to establish a living philosophy on such inquiry, until such time as I hold evidence as a result, to the contrary of my knowledge.

Axioms are the base truth by which all knowledge is built, and is why I have a special interest in honing in on postulates assumed/advocated as axioms. I have vectored my energy on what is known, such that, I can relate all further inquiry to some origin/standard, as without some objective truth established, the findings of any inquiry can not be grounded/related in order to hierarchically build a personal base of reliable and valid knowledge - education. It seems prudent and incumbent upon me to test what is provided by those who have gone before, in order to build that base of knowledge - whether a particular philosopher made a universal/individual proposition.

As I research, I find that all forms of mysticism up to this point seem to derive from the false premise of the primacy of consciousness, (heavenly pre-existence & souls, The Great Spirit of the void, etc.) as opposed to the primacy of Existence. Have you found this to be the case as well?

Rene made scholarly contributions, by consistent research/inquiry, and it is not my intent to focus on his character in particular, however, his analytics and its influence on western philosophy & education is pervasive - in more than one scholarly field of endeavor, and his inspiration and disposition is embedded within his axiomatic truth.

Jim. thanks for opening up the discussion; if I can learn something and it elevates my pyramid of knowledge, I'm all in. Have a great one.

Anonymous said...

That "Ball" Guy: "Are you not committing the fallacy of equivocation between thought and consciousness?"

Consciousness: "7. Philosophy. the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings, and volition."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/consciousness

Thought is an element of the superset [consciousness]. Thought is process oriented, feelings are products of such a process, and volition is the ability to control/will the range of mental freedom or focus of one's thoughts.

As a result of consciousness, one is conscious/aware of some-thing in the environment, based on the thought process, i.e., feelings, etc. In order for the process of thought to work however, there has to be existents/objects in the external reality one can focus upon, absorb, and identify such that one can be considered consciously aware of such a thing in the future during memory recall.

That "Ball" Guy: "The point of Buddhist meditation (as I understand it) is to achieve a state of perfect awareness, without thoughts or even reference to the self."

A perfect awareness requires thought, it is a contradiction to be aware of something without engaging the process of thought.

Meditation allows one to release themselves of mental stress, by focusing on a particularly peaceful mental scene or physical state... or to volitionally release oneself from mental focus altogether.

By definition, thinking/thought is a volitional act, we choose to engage in the act of thinking. Thinking is not an automatic biological impulse, it requires choice and effort.

By focusing on thinking, a person can reason, and integrate their existents/percepts into knowledge and/or extend knowledge into more abstract knowledge hierarchically. This does not happen automatically, else, we would be rid of ignorance, and the demand for a religious market would dry up, and social centers would replace them.

On meditation, just as we can focus towards our perceptions, we can as well, ignore our perceptions and even senses. We can choose to focus on something entirely different, and render a moment of peaceful solitude. We each have the ability to vary the degree of our focus, and mental effort; we can therefore direct/act such that we achieve a particular effect.

That "Ball" Guy: "Does this state not count as consciousness, would you state that this mode of consciousness doesn't exist (i.e. is not conscious) or is there some other possibility I have not considered?"

Subconscious naturally works in the background automatically, and consciousness is both focus and effort bound, by which one can process information to render awareness/identity of environmental objects/factors. As stated, one can volitionally focus their thoughts, or tune out aspects of the conscious/known reality.

This doesn't decree modes of consciousness... between the process of thought, the products of thought, and the volition one uses to engage thought... I perceive that we have the capacity to limit the mental range of motion, or our mental scope of reality. Have a great one.

Jim Arvo said...

Dave8, I honestly think you are reading far too much into Descartes' dictum. All he wanted was a toe-hold: a place to start that was certain. Hence, he said (in effect) "The very fact that I am sitting here contemplating this means that *something* is happening here, so *something* must exist." Yes, he was definitely skeptical about *what* he was perceiving and *what* he was thinking and arguing. However, he saw no warrant for doubting that *something* was happening, no matter how ill-conceived his thoughts were. That's the long and short of it.

Anonymous said...

Jim: "I honestly think you are reading far too much into Descartes' dictum."

:-) Perhaps so. Do you believe Existence is an axiomatic truth, validated, and a precursor to human consciousness? Not, validation of a billion year old, etc., Existence/Universe, but the Existence within your lifetime - as Descartes limited his dictum; within his present thinking being.

Jim: "All he wanted was a toe-hold: a place to start that was certain. Hence, he said (in effect) "The very fact that I am sitting here contemplating this means that *something* is happening here, so *something* must exist."

Totally understand the context of his formulation as you present it. And, it's possible I suppose that he wasn't aware/conscious of the greater implications of his life's scholarship.

Jim: "Yes, he was definitely skeptical about *what* he was perceiving and *what* he was thinking and arguing. However, he saw no warrant for doubting that *something* was happening, no matter how ill-conceived his thoughts were. That's the long and short of it."

Thanks for indulging.

Jim Arvo said...

Dave8 asked "Do you believe Existence is an axiomatic truth,..."

Well, I wouldn't put it that way, no. I don't see anything that is empirical as also being "axiomatic"; that feels like a mixed metaphor to me. While I do find it undeniable that something exists, that's not the same as declaring it axiomatic (at least not to my way of thinking).

Anonymous said...

Jim: "Well, I wouldn't put it that way, no. I don't see anything that is empirical as also being "axiomatic"; that feels like a mixed metaphor to me."

Line of reasoning follows.

Postulate:
"6. Mathematics, Logic. a proposition that requires no proof, being self-evident, or that is for a specific purpose assumed true, and that is used in the proof of other propositions; axiom."
"7. a fundamental principle."
"8. a necessary condition; prerequisite."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/postulate

Existence = a fundamental principle, necessary condition, prerequisite, that requires no proof because it is assumed true (self-evident) = axiom; such an axiom supports other propositions (consciousness/thinking).

Self-Evident:
"evident in itself without proof or demonstration; axiomatic."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/self-evident

Empirical:
"3. provable or verifiable by experience or experiment."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Empirical

Agreed. An axiom is self-evident and doesn't require empirical evidence. However, it seems quite impossible to shut out (not observe) Reality while contemplating logic statements. While one may initially enter into such inquiry skeptically, even of that which surrounds them, one must finally orient themselves using logic or other rational means (if there exists such a method), in order to create a foundation by which to obtain a certainty of knowledge. I exist, I am certain of that; therefore, it is something I know.

It’s through inquiry, that we establish the foundations of a rational epistemology, or we continue to live life in a perpetual state of skepticism, where all knowledge is considered uncertain.

Axioms are self-evident statements that simply cannot be denied without using it/them in a statement of denial. If one were to attempt such a syllogism, they would be using the principle in the argument to attempt to deny it. All attempts to refute an axiom can only end in contradiction.

I presented three axioms.

1-Existence exists
2-Law of Identity (Law of non-contradiction)
3-Consciousness

Do you agree that these are valid axioms?

If so, which of the three axioms do you find to be the most fundamental or primary axiom; the one by which all else must rest upon logically?

Jim: "While I do find it undeniable that something exists, that's not the same as declaring it axiomatic (at least not to my way of thinking).”

Can you please critique this post, and tell me where I might need to focus further research?

Thanks for the feedback so far, have a great one.

Jim Arvo said...

Dave8: "Can you please critique this post, and tell me where I might need to focus further research?"

Ok. Be concise. :-)

Honestly, Dave, I don't want to argue with you over a word. "Axiom" has a strong mathematical connotation, so I'd probably go with something like "presupposition" to keep a clear distinction from formal logic. It just doesn't seem very important (hence all my qualifiers).

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim, well, it appears it just comes down to the confidence we assign to our experiences and logic, based on experiential reliability and validity. Thanks again.

Jim Arvo said...

...or just not wanting to get too hung up on specific words.

Anonymous said...

HP/HD, don't know if you are following the thread any longer, but you seem to be quiet... positions are posted, care to respond?

Anna, the thread is "God is real", that's a factual statement, not a suggestion. If you suggest something is "real", then you imply you have "knowledge", assigned to the word God.

Our experiences, inform our mental faculties, where we cognitively reason them into clear, logical form such that we can apply our understanding to reality, reliably... the result of consistent/reliable application is - knowledge.

Now, if you know your God, then your God is real... if your God is real, then you have given me information. If you have given me information, then you have informed me of something.

If you have informed me of something, I need to ascertain the extent and context in which you've informed me, based on the reliability of your information.

If your information can not be verified, then you have given me unverifiable information that can not render knowledge.

If you can not render knowledge, and pass it to me, then... you have contradicted yourself.

You promote the contradiction, that your knowledge, as you factually state God is real, is synonymous with unverifiable information - and that is patently false.

Perhaps, you have more to give on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim, well, it appears we aren't going to get HP/HD, Anna, to respond any time soon, so, wanted to walk the road of presuppositional statements.

Do you consider Descartes dictum of "thinking" to be presuppositional?

Jim Arvo said...

Sure, "presuppositional" is not a bad word for it. But, before taking this any further, Dave, please realize that I'm not a big fan of placing labels on things. While I sometimes argue over the meaning of "atheist", "belief", or "proof", I am loath to participate in debates as to whether some one or some thing is "presuppositionalist" or "materialist" or "reductionist", etc. I find that one ends up quibbling over what those labels mean and where the boundaries are instead of addressing anything interesting. I see the vast majority of such categories as inherently fuzzy and often downright misleading and counterproductive. So, I tend not to spend much energy on that type of thing myself.

Anonymous said...

Jim, thanks much... have been delayed on response, life, seems we have to deal with it as it comes :-)

Regarding physical philosophy, I agree, discussions can go on; it seems endlessly on physical boundary separations, and the like. I don't lose a lot of sleep on the matter, I hold to process philosophy :-) I don't get too wrapped up, on how one wants to color things.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-philosophy/

On presuppositions, I agree the term may not necessarily be used as a negative, but one definition I pulled could mean; "the act of presupposing; a supposition made prior to having knowledge (as for the purpose of argument)".

Is it possible to pre-suppose Existence, and Self consciousness, without any prior knowledge?

Jim Arvo said...

Dave8 asked "Is it possible to pre-suppose Existence, and Self consciousness, without any prior knowledge?"

Not only is it possible, I suspect that that's precisely what most of us do (provided we are speaking of ontogenetic knowledge here--i.e. knowledge gained by an organism from birth, not through genetics). One of the roles of "philosophy" is to ask questions that we normally would not even think to ask. In my view, the things we "think" we know, because they seem the so "obvious", are precisely those things that are essentially wired into our brains, and are therefore subjective. This alone makes them suspect! (The way I stated that is a little misleading, but I don't want to launch into my ontogenetic/phylogenetic diatribe at the moment.)

Anonymous said...

Jim,
Thanks for your responses; this will be my last post on the matter of Descartes, unless it is warranted by further discussion. I too don’t want to come off as holding an epistemic diatribe, but the nature of this thread begs the question; what is real?

I agree with you that knowledge is influenced by ontogenetic factors, which I find to be inseparable between our nature and nurture, where our biological genetic structure has the greatest constraint.

Indeed, philosophy is a tool devised for the specific purpose of questioning that which we may take as obvious - even reality.

Areas that are of interest to me;

-Descartes formulation, in my assessment is erroneous as it implies mind precedes being as will be explained further.

-Descartes started with more than preliminary awareness as a child would, that something exists, he held higher order thinking/analytic skills, and ontogenetic influence to further his position; established in his Meditations.

-Analysis of Descartes Meditations reveals knowledge based philosophy, even if we are today going to speculate that he started with pure naivety and presupposition; he made what he believed to be ‘The case for God” a solid triumph.

-Skepticism is a good place to begin one's inquiry, but Descartes'
Cogito Dictum as stated is the result and final product of his skeptical inquiry.

-Inquiry into what one can know or suggest can be known with certainty, to me, under-girds how we accept reality, or... either what is real or what is not which determines how we interact with our environment.

-If in the process of skeptical inquiry, we find no means to establish certainty of knowledge; then we live a life of arbitrariness… and really, submit ourselves as incapable of critiquing those who proffer something as real or true. In some form, and through a rational process, we must find a means to establish a, standard of evaluation; else, nothing can hold personal meaning. I interpret Descartes’ Meditations, as proffering a standard of evaluation, yet, I disagree with his standard of evaluation, which of course was Mind with the assistance of God. He had much to say about how an Atheist could not hold knowledge, because of the lack of a God filter.

Meditation on Descartes’ Meditations:
Descartes' Epistemology
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#4

“Famously, Descartes defines knowledge in terms of doubt. While distinguishing rigorous knowledge (scientia) and lesser grades of conviction (persuasio),

Descartes writes:
I distinguish the two as follows: there is conviction when there remains some reason which might lead us to doubt, but knowledge is conviction based on a reason so strong that it can never be shaken by any stronger reason. (1640 letter, AT 3:64-65)

“Descartes' internalism requires that all justifying factors take the form of ideas. For he holds that ideas are, strictly speaking, the only objects of perception, or conscious awareness. Independent of this theory of ideas, Descartes' methodical doubts underwrite an assumption with similar force: for almost the entirety of the Meditations, his meditator-spokesperson—hereafter referred to as the ‘meditator’—adopts the assumption that his every thought is occurring in a dream.”

“This assumption is tantamount to requiring that justification come in the form of ideas.
An important consequence of the account is that rigorous philosophical inquiry must proceed via an inside-to-out strategy—a strategy Descartes assiduously follows, and which endures as a hallmark of early modern epistemologies. Ultimately, all judgments are grounded in an inspection of the mind's ideas. Philosophical inquiry is, properly understood, an investigation of ideas. The methodical strategy of the Meditations is designed to force the reader to adopt this mode of inquiry.”

“In characterizing knowledge as “incapable of being destroyed,” Descartes portrays knowledge as enduring. Our conviction must be, writes Descartes, “so strong that it can never be shaken”; “so firm that it is impossible for us ever to have any reason for doubting.” Descartes wants a brand of certainty/indubitability that is of the highest rank, both in terms of degree and durability. He wants knowledge that is utterly indefeasible.

Dave8: At this point, Descartes is suggesting that knowledge obviously exceeds the bounds of human kind, as… the highest rank of knowledge is “incapable” of being destroyed – humanity is temporal.

“In the context of inquiry at play in the Meditations, Descartes insists on indefeasibility. (Typically, he reserves the term ‘scientia’ for this brand of knowledge, though he uses ‘cognitio’ and its cognates for either context.) Descartes' aim is, once and for all, to lay a lasting foundation for knowledge. To achieve this, he contends that we “cannot possibly go too far in [our] distrustful attitude” (Med. 1, AT 7:22). Better to have a standard that excludes some truths, than one that justifies some falsehoods.
An interesting thesis emerges—call it the ‘No Atheistic Knowledge Thesis’. Descartes maintains that though atheists are quite capable of impressive knowledge they are incapable of the indefeasible brand of knowledge he seeks:”

Descartes: “The fact that an atheist can be “clearly aware [clare cognoscere] that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles” is something I do not dispute. But I maintain that this awareness [cognitionem] of his is not true knowledge [scientiam], since no act of awareness [cognitio] that can be rendered doubtful seems fit to be called knowledge [scientia]. Now since we are supposing that this individual is an atheist, he cannot be certain that he is not being deceived on matters which seem to him to be very evident (as I fully explained). (Replies 2, AT 7:141) “

“Hereafter, I refer to the indefeasible brand of knowledge Descartes seeks as ‘Knowledge’ (uppercase ‘K’).”

“Descartes' view is not that all our pre-reflective intuitions are mistaken. He concedes that “no sane person has ever seriously doubted” such particular claims as “that there really is a world, and that human beings have bodies” (Synopsis, AT 7:16). His view is that pre-reflective judgments are likely to be ill-grounded, even when true.”

Dave8: And, what then is the standard of evaluation for Mr. Descartes, if we need to truly ground what we perceive so that we can suggest we have knowledge or know something.

“The dialectic of the First Meditation features a confrontation between particularism and methodism, with methodism emerging the victor. For example, the meditator (while voicing empiricist sensibilities) puts forward, as candidates for the foundations of Knowledge, such prima facie obvious claims as “that I am here, sitting by the fire, wearing a winter dressing-gown, holding this piece of paper in my hands, and so on”—particular matters “about which doubt is quite impossible,” or so it would seem (AT 7:18). In response (and at each level of the dialectic), Descartes invokes his own methodical principles to show that the prima facie obviousness of such particular claims is insufficient to meet the burden of proof.”

Dave8: Reflection of my yesterday’s existence, or today’s writing of this post, is, prima facie and… insufficient to meet the burden of proof to establish that I hold certainty of truth or “knowledge” for such events…

“Further comparisons arise with Plato's doctrine of recollection. The Fifth Meditation meditator remarks—having applied Cartesian methodology, thereby discovering innate truths within: “on first discovering them it seems that I am not so much learning something new as remembering what I knew before” (Med. 5, AT 7:64). Elsewhere Descartes adds, of innate truths: “

Descartes: “[W]e come to know them by the power of our own native intelligence, without any sensory experience. All geometrical truths are of this sort—not just the most obvious ones, but all the others, however abstruse they may appear. Hence, according to Plato, Socrates asks a slave boy about the elements of geometry and thereby makes the boy able to dig out certain truths from his own mind which he had not previously recognized were there, thus attempting to establish the doctrine of reminiscence. Our knowledge of God is of this sort. (1643 letter, AT 8b:166-67) “

Dave8: So… we are ontogenetically influenced, but, Descartes suggests we are born with God on the mind, as part of our innate and genetic knowledge… no tabula rasa… makes one wonder what an atheist means to him; a stubborn child who refuses to abide by their neural-firmware perhaps…

“Descartes opens the First Meditation asserting the need “to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations” (AT 7:17).”

“According to at least one prominent critic, this employment of sceptical doubt is unnecessary and excessive. Writes Gassendi:”

“There is just one point I am not clear about, namely why you did not make a simple and brief statement to the effect that you were regarding your previous knowledge as uncertain so that you could later single out what you found to be true. Why instead did you consider everything as false, which seems more like adopting a new prejudice than relinquishing an old one? This strategy made it necessary for you to convince yourself by imagining a deceiving God or some evil demon who tricks us, whereas it would surely have been sufficient to cite the darkness of the human mind or the weakness of our nature. (Objs. 5, AT 7:257-58; my italics) “

Gassendi singles out two features of methodic doubt—its universal and hyperbolic character.”

Dave8: Amen, why indeed, imagine that one holds no knowledge, and assume amnesia in order to seek unshakable knowledge… even as such a person playing the roll, pull knowledge from their memory bank in order to inquire and make analysis.

“In reply, Descartes remarks: ‘You say that you approve of my project for freeing my mind from preconceived opinions; and indeed no one can pretend that such a project should not be approved of. But you would have preferred me to have carried it out by making a ‘simple and brief statement’—that is, only in a perfunctory fashion. Is it really so easy to free ourselves from all the errors which we have soaked up since our infancy? Can we really be too careful in carrying out a project which everyone agrees should be performed? (Replies 5, AT 7:348) ‘

Evidently, Descartes holds that the universal and hyperbolic character of methodic doubt is helpful to its success. Further appeal to the architectural analogy helps elucidate why. Incorporating these features enables the method to more effectively identify first principles. Making doubt universal and hyperbolic helps to distinguish genuine unshakability from the mere appearance of it.
Consider first the universal character of methodic doubt. In urging a universal doubt, Descartes does not mean simply that we're to apply doubt to all candidates for Knowledge. He is urging something much stronger. He means that in the initial demolition phase of the project we're to apply doubt collectively, undermining the candidates for the foundations of Knowledge all in one go: it is necessary “to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations” (Med. 1, AT 7:17).”

“In the final analysis, Descartes holds that such transparent truths—along with demonstrable truths, and many judgments of internal sense—are indeed Knowable. To become actually Known, however, they must be unshakably grounded in the face the most powerful doubts. The stage is thus set for the introduction of this most powerful doubt.”

“The most famous rendering of Descartes' most hyperbolic doubt takes the form of the Evil Genius Doubt. Suppose I am the creation of a powerful but malicious being. This “evil genius” (or deceiving “God, or whatever I may call him,” AT 7:24) has given me flawed cognitive faculties, such that I am in error even about epistemically impressive matters—even the simple matters that seem supremely evident.”

“The suggestion is unbelievable, but not unthinkable. It is intended as a justification-defeating doubt that undermines our judgments about even the most simple and evident matters.”

“Many readers of Descartes assume that the Evil Genius Doubt draws its sceptical force from the “utmost power” attributed to the deceiver. This is to misunderstand Descartes. He contends that an equally powerful doubt may be generated on the opposite supposition—namely, the supposition that I am not the creature of an all-powerful being:
Perhaps there may be some who would prefer to deny the existence of so powerful a God rather than believe that everything else is uncertain. … yet since deception and error seem to be imperfections, the less powerful they make my original cause, the more likely it is that I am so imperfect as to be deceived all the time. (Med. 1, AT 7:21). “

“Descartes makes essentially the same point in a parallel passage of the Principles:
[W]e have been told that there is an omnipotent God who created us. Now we do not know whether he may have wished to make us beings of the sort who are always deceived even in those matters which seem to us supremely evident … “

“We may of course suppose that our existence derives not from a supremely powerful God but either from ourselves or from some other source; but in that case, the less powerful we make the author of our coming into being, the more likely it will be that we are so imperfect as to be deceived all the time. (Prin. 1:5, AT 8a:6) “

“Descartes' official position is that the Evil Genius Doubt is merely one among multiple hypotheses that can motivate the more general hyperbolic doubt. Fundamentally, the doubt is about my cognitive nature—about the possibility that my mind is flawed. Descartes consistently emphasizes this theme throughout the Meditations:”
“Descartes holds that judgments about one's own mind are epistemically better off than judgments about bodies. In our natural, pre-reflective condition, however, we're apt to confuse the sensory images of bodies with the external things themselves, a confusion leading us to think our judgments about bodies are epistemically impressive. The confusion is clearly expressed (Descartes would say) in G. E. Moore's famous claim to knowledge—“Here is a hand”—along with his more general defense of common sense:”

G. E. Moore: “I begin, then, with my list of truisms, every one of which (in my own opinion) I know, with certainty, to be true. … There exists at present a living human body, which is my body. This body was born at a certain time in the past, and has existed continuously ever since … But the earth had existed also for many years before my body was born … (1962, 32-33) “

“In contrast, Descartes writes: [I]f I judge that the earth exists from the fact that I touch it or see it, this very fact undoubtedly gives even greater support for the judgment that my mind exists. For it may perhaps be the case that I judge that I am touching the earth even though the earth does not exist at all; but it cannot be that, when I make this judgment, my mind which is making the judgment does not exist. (Prin. 1:11, AT 8a:8-9) “

“Methodical doubt is intended to help us appreciate the folly of the commonsensical position—helping us to recognize that the perception of our own minds is “not simply prior to and more certain … but also more evident” than that of our own bodies (Prin. 1:11, AT 8a:8). “Disagreement on this point,” writes Descartes, comes from “those who have not done their philosophizing in an orderly way”; from those who, while properly acknowledging the “certainty of their own existence,” mistakenly “take ‘themselves’ to mean only their bodies”—failing to “realize that they should have taken ‘themselves’ in this context to mean their minds alone” (Prin. 1:12, AT 8a:9).”

Dave8: A la, Mind precedes being in unshakability per Descartes’ epistemology.

“To begin with, I recognize that it is impossible that God should ever deceive me. … I know by experience that there is in me a faculty of judgment which, like everything else which is in me, I certainly received from God. And since God does not wish to deceive me, he surely did not give me the kind of faculty which would ever enable me to go wrong while using it correctly. “

“There would be no further doubt on this issue were it not that what I have just said appears to imply that I am incapable of ever going wrong. For if everything that is in me comes from God, and he did not endow me with a faculty for making mistakes, it appears that I can never go wrong. (Med. 4, AT 7:53-54)”

“Not only is the theodicy used to explain the kinds of error God can allow, it is used to clarify the kinds of error God cannot allow. From the latter arises a proof of the C&D Rule. God can allow errors that are my fault, though not errors that would be God's fault. When my perception is clear and distinct, giving assent is not a voluntary option—thus not explainable by the freewill defense. In such cases, assent is a necessary consequence of my cognitive nature: “our mind is of such a nature that it cannot help assenting to what it clearly understands” (AT 3:64); “the nature of my mind is such that I cannot but assent to these things, at least so long as I clearly perceive them” (AT 7:65). Since, on occasions of clarity and distinctness, my assent arises from the cognitive nature that God gave me, God would be blamable if those judgments resulted in error. Therefore, they are not in error; indeed they could not be. That an evil genius might have given me my cognitive nature casts suspicion on these judgments. That an all-perfect God gave me my nature guarantees that these judgments are true. A clever strategy of argument thus unfolds—effectively inverting the usual reasoning in the problem of evil:”

“1. There is a non-deceiving God.
2. A non-deceiving God is incompatible with the hypothesis that I am in error about what I clearly and distinctly perceive.
3. Therefore, I am not in error about what I clearly and distinctly perceive.”

“The first premise was argued in the Third Meditation. The second premise arises out of the discussion of the Fourth Meditation. The result is a divine guarantee of the C&D Rule.”

“By the end of the Fourth Meditation, important pieces of Descartes' broader argument are in place. Whether further important pieces arise in the Fifth Meditation is a matter of interpretive dispute. (Elsewhere, I argue that significant contributions are made.) In any case, the Fifth Meditation comes to a close with Descartes asserting that indefeasible Knowledge has finally been achieved:”

“I have perceived that God exists, and at the same time I have understood that everything else depends on him, and that he is no deceiver; and I have drawn the conclusion that everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive is of necessity true. … what objections can now be raised? That the way I am made makes me prone to frequent error? But I now know that I am incapable of error in those cases where my understanding is transparently clear. … And now it is possible for me to achieve full and certain knowledge of countless matters, both concerning God himself and other things whose nature is intellectual, and also concerning the whole of that corporeal nature which is the subject-matter of pure mathematics. (Med. 5, AT 7:70-71) “

“Many philosophers have assumed that we lack the epistemic resources to solve this sceptical problem. For example, Hume writes:”

Hume: “By what argument can it be proved, that the perceptions of the mind must be caused by external objects … and could not arise either from the energy of the mind itself … or from some other cause still more unknown to us? It is acknowledged, that, in fact, many of these perceptions arise not from anything external, as in dreams, madness, and other diseases. … It is a question of fact, whether the perceptions of the senses be produced by external objects … But here experience is, and must be entirely silent. (Enquiry Sec. 12) “

“Interestingly, Descartes would agree that experiential resources cannot solve the problem.”

“By the Sixth Meditation, however, Descartes purports to have the innate resources he needs to solve it—namely, the innate ideas of mind and body. Among the metaphysical theses he develops is that mind and body have wholly distinct essences: the essence of thinking substance is pure thought; the essence of body is pure extension.”

Dave8: Okay, the mind is of one substance and the body of another per Descartes, thus, another attempt to promote a distinction between mind and matter, as if the two were entirely separable, no connection, in order to give “primacy” to “Mind”, so that it can rest on God’s divine guidance…

“In a remarkable maneuver, Descartes invokes this distinction to refute the sceptical worry that sensations are produced by a subconscious faculty of the mind: “nothing can be in me, that is to say, in my mind, of which I am not aware,” and this “follows from the fact that the soul is distinct from the body and that its essence is to think” (1640 letter, AT 3:273).”

“This result allows Descartes to supplement the involuntariness argument, thereby strengthening the inference from line 1 to line 2. For from the additional premise that nothing can be in my mind of which I am unaware, it follows that if sensation were being produced by activity in my mind, then I'd be aware of that activity on the occasion of its operation. Since I'm not thus aware, it follows that my sensations are produced by causes external to my mind. “

“The cause, remarks the meditator, cannot be in me, since clearly it presupposes no intellectual act [viz., no volition] on my part, and the ideas in question are produced without my cooperation and often even against my will. So the only alternative is that it is in another substance distinct from me … (Med. 6, AT 7:79) “

“If follows that there exists an external world that causes my sensation. It remains to be shown that the external causes are material objects.”

Dave8: And, the alternative would be… what… immaterial object causation… perhaps.

“On one kind of interpretation, Descartes relaxes his epistemic standards in the Sixth Meditation. He no longer insists on indefeasible Knowledge, now settling for probabilistic arguments. Though there are no decisive texts indicating that this is Descartes' intent, the interpretation does find some support. For instance, in the Synopsis Descartes writes of his Sixth Meditation arguments:”

Descartes: “The great benefit of these arguments is not, in my view, that they prove what they establish … The point is that in considering these arguments we come to realize that they are not as solid or as transparent as the arguments which lead us to knowledge of our own minds and of God … (AT 7:15-16) “
Dave8: Right, Mind has primacy, and God is the divine filter to elicit knowledge.

“A final observation. It is often unnoticed that the conclusion of Descartes' argument for the existence of an external material world leaves significant scepticism in place. Granting the success of the argument, there is an external material world causing my sensations. But for all the argument shows—for all the broader argument of the Meditations shows, up to this point—I might be a mind that is linked to a brain in a vat, rather than to a full human body. This isn't an oversight on Descartes' part. It's all he thinks the argument can prove. For even at this late stage of the Meditations, the meditator does not yet Know himself to be awake.”


http://charleswjohnson.name/essays/why-problematic-idealism-is-not-a-problem

“Kant's Refutation of Idealism provides a strong rebuttal not just to Hume's ultimate skepticism towards external objects, but towards the fundamental premises which underlie it and enable it. Nevertheless, we have left certain possibilities open, and a devout skeptic will not be satisfied. For example, I may be immediately aware only of my own physical existence as an object in the world, and yet be completely surrounded by hallucinations. Indeed, this seems to be the only way that we can make sense of the situation in which I am a brain in a vat, inhabiting the dream world of a mad scientist's devising. Such a situation may indeed satisfy the perverse epistemological schadenfreude of the skeptic.”

“But here the question has lost the bite that it once had. For whether I perceive the world rightly is certainly an important question, but it is purely an empirical question, to be addressed by the sciences. It is not a transcendental question for philosophy. It does not call into doubt, as Hume's thoroughgoing agnosticism does, that the mind confers to us a world; it only raises the empirical question of whether I rightly perceive the world that must exist.”

Dave8: Hume was an agnostic towards the external world, one who held that knowledge was truly unattainable, as one could be agnostic towards anything they project their unrelenting doubt towards; however, one is using knowledge to suggest they can not ever attain knowledge of something they are talking about or living around.


Being Logical, D.Q. McInery, pg 8.

“Our ideas are clear, and our understanding of them is clear, only to the extent that we keep constant tabs on the things to which they refer. The focus must always be on the originating sources of our ideas in the objective world. We do not really understand our own ideas if we suppose these to be self-generating, that is, not owing their existence to extramental realities.”

“The more we focus on our ideas in a way that systematically ignores their objective origins, the more unreliable those ideas become. The healthy bonds that bind together the subjective and objective orders are put under great strain, and if we push the process too far, the bonds may break. Then we have effectively divorced ourselves from the objective world, one that it not presented to our minds but which is the product of our minds.”

Dave8: If one accepts that all ideas are sourced from an objective reality, then this is the pool from which all knowledge can be pulled… Hume asserts himself agnostic on the matter of external reality, and has to disavow the external reality as the single referent or source for knowledge acquisition, but what would be the alternative… where else would one acquire objects, etc., to feed the mind. In short, Hume as an agnostic on the matter has to entertain the possibility that there are multiple sources beyond the experiential/external Universe/Reality that our minds can draw from in order to gain knowledge, but it is that exact source that gives us being, pre-cognition on a high enough order to establish philosophical statements of reason.

To close, I do not agree with Descartes that God is required to find certainty of knowledge, and that ideas are more certain than things, even one’s own body. I also, disagree that our mind and body are made up of two distinctly different substances, (throw in soul in there somewhere); as the mind and body are both part of an ongoing developmental process… also, I don’t believe knowledge to be “indestructible”, to “know” some-thing, is to recognize it as a human, within the temporal context of a human’s body. To create such a standard for ultimate and unshakable knowledge, places it in a Platonic (transcendental) realm that is “perfect” or “God-like”.

Again, Descartes’ Dictum to me doesn’t merely suggest something exists, he established his something as Mind, and gave it an innate perfect guide called a non-deceptive God… albeit, the atheist will forever be lost in a haze of uncertainty without the proper navigation tool – God, per Descartes. In that case, I suppose I am currently unaware and uncertain that I am actually typing prima facie. To me, the cliché mind over matter, doesn’t work, there exists metaphysical justice, called death to render a solution to those who don’t adhere to that understanding.

Thanks for the discussion... and yes, I realize brevity was lost on this post :-) Have a great one.

Jim Arvo said...

Dave,

As I'm sure you have gathered by now, I have zero interest in having a long discussion on this topic with you. I will say this: I find it remarkable that we differ so fundamentally on something that Descartes thought was beyond dispute!

Wait... what's the sound? I do believe it is Descartes spinning in his grave.

Anonymous said...

Jim: "I will say this: I find it remarkable that we differ so fundamentally on something that Descartes thought was beyond dispute!"

:-) Without a proffered episteme, I am not sure we disagree on something, nor am I sure we agree. It appears you have a better vantage of such. :-)

However, I, without a doubt, disagree with Descartes' methodology, and ultimately loath his intellectual personality, epistemic conclusions, and the Dictum that reflects such.

Descartes may well be spinning in his grave, but, likely no where close to the speed he was spinning words while alive ;-)

Again, thanks for the time - Peace.

Anonymous said...

You, know... for all you non-believers of God; I sure would like to know something. Where is your proof? Have you researched your so-called fool proof claims?

if you're interested in actually studying your claims and the facts about them and ours, maybe you'll have good reason to stick with your decision. Until then, maybe you should read this book; best one out there for any believer, non-believer, agnostic, ect.

"I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist."


"There are none who are as deaf as those who do not want to hear."
- Barry Leventhal

boomSLANG said...

Anony' chimes in...You, know... for all you non-believers of God; I sure would like to know something. Where is your proof?

Dear Anonymous,

For a few reasons, your premise/question is non-sensical.

Firstly, one doesn't need to "prove" one's "non-belief" in something, m'kay? "Belief" is belief; "Knowledge" is knowledge. 'Two different things, my friend. And really now, how would you go about "proving" to me that you are a "non-believer" in 'The Great Pumpkin'?? Honestly, what will you do to "PROVE" to me that you disbelieve in said "Gourd-god"?...jump up and down?...avoid pumpkin pie?....swear on a stack of bibles?...whAT? Do you see?...you can never "prove" such a thing.

And that brings us to number two: Whether you can "prove" such a thing, or not---belief/non-belief has no influence on whether something exists, or not. For instance, whether one believes in 'The Great Pumpkin', or whether one does not---this is not relevant to whether a giant orange 'Gourd-god' exists, or not. 'Follow? This is why - when it comes to what we know, and what we don't know - we rely on EVIDENCE. If there is no compelling/convincing evidence FOR the existence of something, then there's no logical reason to believe said 'thing' has a referent in reality.

And lastly, if you believe in the Christian biblegod(as I'm guessing you do), then it's fair to assume that you disbelieve in literally THOUSANDS of other known gods. In other words, per your above premise, I could just as well ask you, "where is your proof?" that all those gods don't exist. So?...what would you say that question? If you simply dismiss all of those 'other' gods, out-of-hand, and/or, due to lack of evidence... then perfect, as you should then realize why I dismiss your "God".

Anony' recommends a book titled..."I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist."

Anon...let me ask you---does it require any "Faith" on your part to dismiss The Almighty Allah, Quetzacoatl, and Amon Ra? If not, then said book is waste of time and money.

Anonymous said...

boomslang, how is it going.
quick coment I noticed you have a blog God is dead. Whats up with that, wich god are you talking about... then again If you don't believe God exists why say he is dead, that implies he must have lived, make up your mind.
And if you can prove to me where the first living organism came from I will give you the time to listen to your theories of god is dead..... nonsense

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

h.d...boomslang, how is it going.

FanTASTic!..thanks for asking.

h.d...quick coment I noticed you have a blog God is dead.

Quick response---no, I don't technically have a blog; I have a blog title....I just haven't gotten around to writing it yet.

h.d...Whats up with that, wich god are you talking about...

I'm talking about all the same gods that you disbelieve in, plus one extra.

h.d...If you don't believe God exists why say he is dead, that implies he must have lived, make up your mind.

My mind is made up, thanks. When I say "God is dead", I'm speaking figuratively....as in, religious belief, i.e. "God-belief", is slowly dying; it's fading away....especially with the advent of the World Wide Web. In other words, the religious can no longer suppress the advancement of knowledge, because after all, that's part of it's agenda, remember?..."wisdom is foolishness"?

And since we're on this subject - and since you obviously believe in "God" - the question would be better suited for me to ask you. So?... is "Jesus" dead?..or alive? Make up your mind.

h.d...And if you can prove to me where the first living organism came from I will give you the time to listen to your theories of god is dead..... nonsense

When you speak of the first living organism on earth, you are speaking of a branch of science known as abiogenesis. With minimal investigation, you will find the current scientific theories on the origins of life, from non-life.

Either way, until/unless you can explain how a flying disembodied 'mind' - the one that you call "God" - magically made the universe; until/unless you can explain how this "God" made our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents out of mud; until/unless you can explain the "SCIENCE" in "Creation", then I'm afraid abiogenesis will remain the leading theory. 'Sorry 'bout that.

'Hope this helped.

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