FFT*: Charles unmasks the anti-ID trollish tactic of attacking God, Christian values and worldview themes

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In a current thread on SJW invasions in engineering education,  in which yet another anti-ID commenter crosses over into troll territory, Charles does a very important worldviews and cultural agendas dissection. One, that is well worth headlining as *food for thought (as opposed to a point by point across-the-board endorsement):

Charles, 51>>The point of the original post was that Engineering was being contaminated with Social Justice Warrior values & viewpoints. As any engineer knows, what makes engineering “Engineering” is the rigorous adherence to physical reality, analysis, and testing to design something that is reliably fit for purpose. As the author’s article at American Conservative elaborates, Prof. Riley’s SJW viewpoint is the antithesis of sound Engineering. kairosfocus summarized this point with his comment that:

“Bridges gotta stand up under load.”

[Troll X’s]  snide and dismissive comment that

”How’s that [bridges needing to stand up under load] working out for ID?”

juxtaposed civil engineering with ID, impugning that ID was not Engineering. That is a fallacious comparison on several levels, not least of which is Engineering’s maturity born of hundreds of years of applied science, advancing technology, and development of best practices, contrasted with ID in its relative infancy, as well as engineering being all about “how to design” versus ID which endeavors to reduce to practice the “recognition of design”.

Implicit in [Troll X’s] comment is the presumption that evolution (or materialism or atheism) has a laudable track record over ID similar to engineering. As if to say “evolution” is a successful, testable, reliable theory like “engineering”, whereas ID is an engineering failure.

But evolution has no such track record of theoretical success. Modern evolution doesn’t even have a theory that makes testable predictions, and moreover, all of Darwinian evolution’s predictions (such as transition forms will be found in the geologic record)) have all failed, which I likened to engineering failures in my response to [Troll X]:

As compared to Darwinian Evolution’s collapsed bridges, toppled buildings, crashed airplanes and lack of repeatable, testable theory?

john_a_designer then affirms that [Troll X] hadn’t thought through the implications of his atheism, namely that atheism is bankrupt and contributes nothing intellectually, summed up as

“Haven’t we been told that atheism is “just disbelief”?”

Indeed.

At which point, I elaborated that while atheists claim they “just disbelieve”, atheists are not content with just disbelieving. That in fact, atheists fear and worry they are wrong as evidenced by the effort they put out to convince “believers” that there is no evidence for their belief in God or Jesus Christ.

When someone “just disbelieves” there is little or no concern attached to the disbelief. I gave the example of disbelieving in a flat earth. When someone argues the earth is flat, the atheist might criticize that belief and show a space station picture of our spherical green, blue and white “marble”, but they don’t define themselves by their disbelief – they don’t call themselves “aflatearthers”, they don’t write volumes on the philosophy of aflatearthism, they don’t dedicate websites to flatearth skepticism, they don’t spend countless man-years holding flatearthers up to ridicule. No. They shrug, and move on.

As wrong headed as flatearthers are, why don’t disbelievers define themselves as “aflatearthers” and lobby for flatearth beliefs to be eliminated from society? Because they don’t care, because they have a confidence born of evidence and experience that the earth is round, and flatearth arguments just don’t matter.

But atheists define themselves as A-Theists – against, without, absent, sans, theism. They invariably in social or political gatherings are self-compelled to declare, to signal, their atheistic world view and how it is self-evident to be intellectually superior over Christians in specific and over religionists in general (cowards that they are, they rarely take specific exception with Muslims or Islam). And atheists write volumes about their self-labeled viewpoint, they fill libraries, they write textbooks, they lobby legislatures, they put signs on buses, all to advance their self-defined atheistic world view. They are very concerned and discontent about their disbelief.

Why?

Because they are intellectually threatened. Because “The Enlightenment” and atheism’s ascendancy is over. Back in the day, when we didn’t know about the Big Bang, when we didn’t know how the universe was fine-tuned for our life, when we didn’t know how exquisitely mechanized are cellular functions, when we didn’t know that DNA and RNA were actually huge complex information programs densely encoded in precisely folded chemical molecules that have no natural tendency to otherwise so organize themselves (let alone replicate and error correct), and then there is the little matter of human consciousness. Back then being an atheist was easy, almost automatic. It was easy to say “random chance did it” – but that was an ignorant and arrogant presumption.

Today, the materialist, the atheist, has no answer for any of that. They have a multitude of speculations, yes, but no engineering-like understanding or scientific theories that make testable predictions. Evolutionary “theory” in all its claims (setting aside its failures) has nothing like our level of understanding of relativity, quantum mechanics, chemistry, or information theory. In fact the scientists who are expert in those subjects [—> will often] acknowledge that “chance” could not have begun our fine-tuned universe or life.

The modern atheist is forced into special pleading for a multi-verse, that free-will is imaginary and then piggyback on Christian morality as they have no basis in their own materialism to justify good or evil other than personal preference in any particular situation. About all of which, they could be complacent if it weren’t for Christian theists.

While the atheist has no defense against the failure of science to prove a multiverse or that life arose from inert chemicals, the Christian has an affirmative argument for what the atheist can’t prove. The Bible records that God made the Heavens and Earth, ex nihilo (the Big Bang), created life with consciousness and morality, and gave us free will to love and obey God, or not. Only the Christian is so audacious as to confront atheism directly.

Hence the atheist or materialist drive to remove Christian prayer from schools, thought from universities, and gatherings from public places. And the atheist was not content to merely suppress Christian viewpoints, but now seeks to impose atheist behavior on Christians; Christians must bake cakes for homosexual weddings, Christian chaplains must teach Islam, Christian schools must hire atheists and allow them to teach “diversity”. What the atheist can not achieve by intellectual persuasion, they seek to impose by legislation and force of confiscation and imprisonment.

All the foregoing while atheists cloak themselves in a false morality that they hijacked from aspects of Christianity. Atheists talk of being opposed to murder, except when Muslims murder homosexuals and then it’s abject silence. Atheists talk of being for equal rights for women, except unborn women or Muslim women. Atheists talk of doing good for mankind, but atheists don’t start hospitals, didn’t start universities (like Harvard or Princeton), and you don’t see atheists organizing charities or feeding the homeless. [–> NB: There are exceptions to this, we don’t have to endorse every claim to think something is worth headlining.]

The atheist argues that religious views have no justification in society’s laws, yet declaring bankruptcy has its roots in Judeo “jubilee” forgiveness of debt and servitude, marriage is a Judeo Christian sacrament, and the legal prohibitions on murder, theft, and lying all are millennia’s old Judeo-Christian teachings.

To Christian arguments against the atheist, the atheist in variably responds with a) “science will some day prove _____” and b) “there is no evidence for God (and the Bible doesn’t count as evidence)”

The problem for the atheist is that a) science is further away than ever of proving “chance” underlay the big bang and our information-based life. In fact, information may also underlie the laws of physics and the hence the fine-tuned universe in which we live, and b) there is evidence for the existence of God, some of it logical, philosophical arguments, some of it forensic proofs.

And now we come to the atheists’ discomfort with their own disbelief. So, not only is materialistic evolution a theoretical failure and scientific near impossibility, the atheist has no alternative proven scientific explanation for what the Bible plainly declares were creative acts of God. The atheist is forced to borrow and impose biblical concepts just to maintain a civil society (while banning Christian beliefs the atheist dislikes). Lastly the atheist is further confronted with evidence for God’s existence and that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. That forensic evidence is fulfilled biblical prophecy in which God supernaturally declares to Daniel several hundred years in advance that the Messiah would appear, and forensic evidence further shows that prophecy to have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ.>>

Let’s “embed” a highly relevant video that we need to be reminded of:

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

Food for thought, let us ponder and let us discuss responsibly, noting that we are not here endorsing every point or claim but rather think it is well worth pondering together. END

513 Responses to FFT*: Charles unmasks the anti-ID trollish tactic of attacking God, Christian values and worldview themes

  1. Food for Thought Dept: why are atheists and especially those involved with evolutionary materialistic scientism or its fellow traveller ideologies and agendas so agitated? KF

  2. 2

    KF:

    Food for Thought Dept: why are atheists and especially those involved with evolutionary materialistic scientism or its fellow traveller ideologies and agendas so agitated? KF

    Agitated? I’m not the one posting thousand word comments and dedicated OPs bemoaning the evils of someone else’s opinions.

  3. 3

    “If there were no God there would be no atheists.”

    – G. K. Chesterton, in Where All Roads Lead, London 1922

  4. AJ, you have now unfortunately shown yourself to be trollish, if you are to participate in this thread of discussion, you will be expected to maintain a civil tone and a focus on the substantial issues. KF

  5. KF,

    To respond to one of the passages you highlighted:

    At which point, I elaborated that while atheists claim they “just disbelieve”, atheists are not content with just disbelieving. That in fact, atheists fear and worry they are wrong as evidenced by the effort they put out to convince “believers” that there is no evidence for their belief in God or Jesus Christ.

    Even for a nonbeliever, there are many interesting questions around theism/atheism that some of us find worth exploring. I’m therefore definitely not content with just disbelieving. I don’t experience a great deal of fear and worry over these issues, but rather I think that they are compelling to anyone with some amount of intellectual curiosity. I don’t have much interest in arguing against Christianity, however.

    I can only speak for myself, but I can say that Charles’ attempt to “read the atheist mind” is a bit off in my case.

  6. I was writing his as DaveS posted, and I agree with him

    My post

    For the record: Charles bolds the following from the other thread:

    while atheists claim they “just disbelieve”, atheists are not content with just disbelieving. That in fact, atheists fear and worry they are wrong as evidenced by the effort they put out to convince “believers” that there is no evidence for their belief in God or Jesus Christ.

    So I’ll repeat what I wrote at that time:

    I’m an atheist. If Christian theists didn’t feel like they needed to legislate their beliefs into society, claiming that they had some uniquely valid view of what is right, then I would be quite content to let them believe whatever they wanted to.

    I definitely don’t worry about being wrong.”

    I’ll also point out that I later posted the reminder that,

    Just a reminder: “atheist” and “materialist” are not synonyms.

    All materialists are atheists.

    All atheists are not materialists.

    With that said, I’ll elaborate.

    Charles mentions a whole bunch of reasons why he (and many other) think materialism and atheism are untenable. I think there are good and interesting arguments in opposition all those topics, and I have discussed some of them here.

    I am very satisfied that theism is not a useful or compelling answer to those many questions. More specifically, I think that Christian theism, with it’s myth that God has played a special role in the lives of humans, is definitely not true. I have absolutely no concern that I am not a believer in Jesus Christ.

    I have no interest in being part of a debate about these issues here at UD. What I do want to do is make it clear that claiming that I, as an atheist, “fear and worry” about being wrong about God is absolutely false. Claiming that someone you disagree with has secret, fearful motivations for his position, rather than accepting people’s views as they state them, is inappropriate.

    There is much anthropological evidence that people in general have questions about issues that cause them concern, such as death as well as many others, and universally make up stories to avoid the uncertainty of not knowing.

    As an atheist, and strong agnostic about materialism, I am comfortable living with uncertainty, and certainly do not worry that I don’t believe in Christianity, or any of the other of the world’s theistic religions.

  7. daveS @ 5

    Even for a nonbeliever, there are many interesting questions around theism/atheism that some of us find worth exploring.

    I would suggest then, because you seem genuinely interested in exploring (as the term conotes an open mind) some questions around theism/atheism, that you are not a hard atheist in the strict sense of the term. Perhaps you’re less in need of refuting claims for God & Jesus and more of an agnostic that is unpersuaded to date by whatever claims of which you’re presently aware.

  8. jdk @ 6 asserts:

    Just a reminder: “atheist” and “materialist” are not synonyms.
    All materialists are atheists.
    All atheists are not materialists.

    That means “materialists” are a subset of a larger set “atheists”, and hence some “atheists” (of which jdk seems to include himself) are “immaterialists”.

    Ok, let’s explore the implications of that viewpoint, that an atheist like jdk can believe in the immaterial.

    Since Daniel said in 538 B.C., that God revealed to him that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26, and the Messiah in fact did appear in A.D. 26, how did Daniel know 563 years in advance exactly when (A.D. 26) the Messiah would appear? What is the immaterialist atheist explanation that reconciles that account?

  9. Since Daniel said in 538 B.C., that God revealed to him that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26, and the Messiah in fact did appear in A.D. 26, how did Daniel know 563 years in advance exactly when (A.D. 26) the Messiah would appear?

    Ooh, ooh, I know the answer to this one!

    Daniel didn’t say in 538BC that that God revealed to him that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26. This is a later interpretation, where someone counted back, errm, 490 years from AD 26.

  10. Charles,

    I would suggest then, because you seem genuinely interested in exploring (as the term conotes an open mind) some questions around theism/atheism, that you are not a hard atheist in the strict sense of the term.

    Yes, I would identify as a negative/weak atheist, or agnostic if you prefer. I’m guessing a positive/strong atheist could still have posted my #5, particularly the part about fear or worry (and being intellectually threatened, later on in the post). Any positive/strong atheists here interested to comment?

  11. Although going back 490 years from 26 AD gets you to 461 BC, so that doesn’t work either. And where did 563 years come from?

  12. Bob O’H @ 9

    Daniel didn’t say in 538BC that that God revealed to him that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26.

    Daniel in fact did prophesy in 538 B.C. (Dan 9:1-2) that beginnning from a decree issued to rebuild and restore Jerusalem there would be 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the Messiah would appear (Dan 9:25). In 458 B.C. Artaxerxes I issued that decree in his 7th year (Ezr 7:8-14) plus 483 years ends in A.D. 26.

  13. I’m a strong atheist, and I did comment about not having “fear and worry” about my lack of belief. I also am very interested in some of the metaphysical issues, and don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence. But I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths: that is the sense in which I am a strong atheist. Human religions are human inventions: they are literature, but they are not factual.

  14. jdk @ 13

    I’ll simply repeat the specific question asked of you.

    Since Daniel said in 538 B.C., that God revealed to him that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26, and the Messiah in fact did appear in A.D. 26, how did Daniel know 563 years in advance exactly when (A.D. 26) the Messiah would appear?

    What is the immaterialist atheist explanation that reconciles that account?

    I also am very interested in some of the metaphysical issues, and don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence.

    Might a cosmic intelligence have told Daniel when the Messiah would appear?

  15. Thanks, jdk.

  16. These are just all after the fact special pleadings. They are not only not compelling, they are so obviously contrived to make a point that they are, in my opinion, negative evidence for Christianity. This is way off my main points, so I will have nothing further to say about this.

  17. Charles writes, “Might a cosmic intelligence have told Daniel when the Messiah would appear?”

    As I said immediately after the statement that I “don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence”,

    But I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths: that is the sense in which I am a strong atheist. Human religions are human inventions: they are literature, but they are not factual.

    So no, I don’t think that is a possibility.

  18. jdk:

    These are just all after the fact special pleadings. They are not only not compelling, they are so obviously contrived to make a point that they are, in my opinion, negative evidence for Christianity.

    In other words, you have no idea whatsoever, but you are certain that nothing transcendent was involved.

    This is way off my main points, so I will have nothing further to say about this.

    And not only do you have no idea, but you’d really rather not be challenged by ideas outside your bubble.

  19. F/N: the exchanges here remind me uncomfortably of the points WJM made in his OP here: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rn-debate/ Selective hyperskepticism is a fallacy. KF

  20. jdk @ 16, 17

    But I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths … they are literature, but they are not factual.

    Ok, the literature in Daniel chapter 9 states that in 538 B.C. (Dan 9:1-2) Daniel’s concept of a supernatural being revealed to him that from a decree issued to rebuild and restore Jerusalem there would be 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the Messiah would appear (Dan 9:25). In 458 B.C. Artaxerxes I issued that decree in his 7th year (Ezr 7:8-14) plus 483 years ends in A.D. 26. In A.D. 26 Jesus proclaimed himself that Messiah (Luke 4:18-20).

    The literature is factually correct on when Daniel wrote his prophecy in the 1st year of the new governor of Babylon following Cyrus the Great’s capture of it from Belshazzar, factually correct on when was Artaxerxes I 7th year, factually correct on Ezra receiving a decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, and factually correct on A.D. 26 being the year of Tiberius’ 15th year, and factually correct on Jesus being about 30 years of age having been born in 5 B.C. just prior to the death of Herod the Great in March of 4 B.C.

    The literature is factually correct on all those points. The math is correct on all those points. You admit as an immaterialist atheist to the possibility of a cosmic intelligence. Regardless of your characterization of the supernatural concepts as mythical, the literature is factually correct that Daniel wrote a correct prophecy 563 years in advance of that prophecy factually being fulfilled.

    Yet when confronted with the choice of answering, “might a cosmic intelligence (of which you admit the possibility) have told Daniel 563 years in advance that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26”, you argue:

    These are just all after the fact special pleadings. They are not only not compelling, they are so obviously contrived to make a point that they are, in my opinion, negative evidence for Christianity.

    If they were “after the fact”, the literature would have been written later than A.D. 26. But copies of Daniel were transcribed in the Septuagint as early as 3rd century B.C. and Ezekiel whose date is unquestioned at 592-570 BC also mentions Daniel. By any factual measure, Daniel wrote his literature well before the 69 weeks prophecy came true.

    The question was obviously contrived to explore your belief in immaterialist atheism, yes, I said so upfront.

    Your intellectually honest answers might have been:
    – I don’t know
    – Give me some details about ….
    – How did you determine ….
    – Yes, a cosmic intelligence, if it could somehow traverse time, could have told Daniel about a future event.

    But instead you opt for not answering, accusing the math, the literature, and the history behind it as “mythical”, and then proceed to castigate the question as “negative evidence for Christianity”.

    And there is my point about the atheist needing to buttress his unwillingness to honestly answer a question by instead expressing contempt for the questioner. Why do you try to disqualify the question? What were you worried your answer would reveal?

  21. Charles –

    Daniel in fact did prophesy in 538 B.C….

    Is this reliable? What external evidence is there that Daniel did indeed make a prophecy in 538 B.C.? My understanding is that scholars date the book’s writing to a couple of centuries later.

  22. Oh, and I’m still trying to work out what all this has to do with Fast Fourier Transforms. 🙂

  23. Bob O’H @ 21

    Is this [Daniel in fact did prophesy in 538 B.C.] reliable? What external evidence is there that Daniel did indeed make a prophecy in 538 B.C.?

    Yes, it is reliable. The external evidence is that Cyrus the Great captured Babylon from Belshazzar in 538 B.C., which would be the 1st year of any new governor. Daniel says that is when he received the revelation from God (Dan 9:1-2). The language of Daniel also conforms to terminology used at the Babylonian court in that era, and Ezekiel (whose date is unquestioned at 592-570 BC) mentions Daniel.

    My understanding is that scholars date the book’s writing to a couple of centuries later.

    Yes, some do. The reason they do is they can not, will not, accept the supernatural nature of prophecy being so accurate, and so they look for a later date. But such date can not be any later than the Septuagint which was copied beginning 3rd century B.C. and contains Daniel in its entirety.

    But let’s assume that later date for a moment. Assume Daniel chapter 9 was written in the 3rd century B.C. The prophecy is still the same, word for word. Jesus is still the Messiah and still began His ministry in A.D. 26. The prophecy is still exactly foretold before Jesus appeared and fulfilled exactly with Jesus in A.D. 26 – the only difference is the assumption Daniel wrote the prophecy after Artaxerxes I issued the decree. But it was still the same decree, still issued to Ezra at the same time. Nothing has changed.

    So some scholars, by delaying the date of Daniel Chapter 9 a couple hundred years, still have not escaped the fact of fulfilled supernatural prophecy they wish to avoid.

  24. kf says, “F/N: the exchanges here remind me uncomfortably of the points WJM made in his OP here …/ Selective hyperskepticism is a fallacy. KF”

    Are you saying that dismissing all this talk of this prophecy in the Bible is an example of selective hyperskepticism?

    Or are you saying that my general belief that the Christian God, as well as all other human beliefs about supernatural beings, doesn’t exist is an example selective hyperskepticism?

  25. jdk @ 13 I also am very interested in some of the metaphysical issues, and don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence.

    jdk @ 24 Or are you saying that my general belief that the Christian God, as well as all other human beliefs about supernatural beings, doesn’t exist is an example selective hyperskepticism?

    Maybe you just don’t pay attention to your own conflicted assertions.

  26. 26

    Armand Jacks @ 2,

    KF: why are atheists and especially those involved with evolutionary materialistic scientism or its fellow traveller ideologies and agendas so agitated? KF

    AJ: Agitated? I’m not the one posting thousand word comments and dedicated OPs bemoaning the evils of someone else’s opinions.

    >jdk @ 16,

    These are just all after the fact special pleadings. They are not only not compelling, they are so obviously contrived to make a point that they are, in my opinion, negative evidence for Christianity. This is way off my main points, so I will have nothing further to say about this.

    Opinions? Is that all atheists have?

    Our interlocutors need to answer the following questions: Are you just showing up here to just share your opinion? You do understand your ungrounded opinion is just your opinion and not the truth and not even an argument, don’t you? Why should we give your ungrounded opinion any credence at all? Are you smarter, more honest, better looking, more smug, a certified know-it-all? There has got to be a reason beyond “this is just my opinion,” doesn’t there? Or, do you just want us to accept your opinions uncritically.

    Armand Jacks questioned whether “someone else’s opinions” could be evil. They could be if you try to force your opinions on somebody else. From what I have seen that is exactly what our regular interlocutors are trying to do. Why else would they offer their opinions with no evidence and no arguments? They want to tear down our world view and offer nothing to replace it. That type of thinking if not dangerous is certainly unethical, isn’t it?

  27. Charles, let me be more specific. Although I am a strong agnostic about all metaphysics, I believe it is possible that some type of cosmic intelligence is in some causally related to the existence and nature of our universe. However, I don’t believe we can know anything about whether such intelligence exists, or what it’s nature might be.

    However I don’t believe at all that that intelligence is some type of conscious, willful being who interacts with human beings. As I have said, “I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths.”

    We can’t know what the ultimate ground of the universe is, so we have made up stories. All the gods of humanity are narrative fictions.

    These are not “conflicted assertions.”

  28. john_a_designer, do you have something to offer other than your opinions?

    Also, I’m not trying to “tear down” your world view, I’m just telling you that I don’t believe it. Why is that so threatening?

  29. jdk @ 27

    I believe it is possible that some type of cosmic intelligence is in some causally related to the existence and nature of our universe. However, I don’t believe we can know anything about whether such intelligence exists, or what it’s nature might be.

    Ok, then I will reiterate the facts provided to you up to this point:

    The literature in Daniel chapter 9 states that in 538 B.C. (Dan 9:1-2) Daniel’s concept of a supernatural being revealed to him that from a decree issued to rebuild and restore Jerusalem there would be 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the Messiah would appear (Dan 9:25). In 458 B.C. Artaxerxes I issued that decree in his 7th year (Ezr 7:8-14) plus 483 years ends in A.D. 26. In A.D. 26 Jesus proclaimed himself that Messiah (Luke 4:18-20).

    The literature is factually correct on when Daniel wrote his prophecy in the 1st year of the new governor of Babylon following Cyrus the Great’s capture of it from Belshazzar, factually correct on when was Artaxerxes I 7th year, factually correct on Ezra receiving a decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, and factually correct on A.D. 26 being the year of Tiberius’ 15th year, and factually correct on Jesus being about 30 years of age having been born in 5 B.C. just prior to the death of Herod the Great in March of 4 B.C.

    The literature is factually correct on all those points. The math is correct on all those points. You admit as an immaterialist atheist to the possibility of a cosmic intelligence. Regardless of your characterization of the supernatural concepts as mythical, the literature is factually correct that Daniel wrote a correct prophecy 563 years in advance of that prophecy factually being fulfilled.

    Yet when confronted with the choice of answering, “might a cosmic intelligence (of which you admit the possibility) have told Daniel 563 years in advance that the Messiah would appear in A.D. 26”, you argue the prophecy is “after the fact”.

    If this prophecy were “after the fact”, the literature would have been written later than A.D. 26. But copies of Daniel were transcribed in the Septuagint as early as 3rd century B.C. and Ezekiel whose date is unquestioned at 592-570 BC also mentions Daniel. By any factual measure, Daniel wrote his literature well before the 69 weeks prophecy came true.

    So, I ask you again:
    What is your immaterialist atheist explanation that reconciles those facts?

    Might a cosmic intelligence have told Daniel when the Messiah would appear?

  30. I’m away for a few hours.

  31. Charles, there is no need to continue.

    1. I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true. I’ve explained why.

    2. I explained that I don’t believe that there are any supernatural beings that interact with humans, much less care a bit about communicating with Daniel.

    I have no interest in your prophecy beliefs.

  32. 32

    jdk:

    These are just all after the fact special pleadings. They are not only not compelling, they are so obviously contrived to make a point that they are, in my opinion, negative evidence for Christianity.

    A written prediction comes through with sufficient detail to identify Jesus, in the role of the One whose influence on human history ranks with, well, whomever you please to name; and you consider it special pleading to make the connection?

    Just what is your standard for evaluating such a prediction, and how does this fail to meet it?

    Also, how can it serve as negative evidence if people offer interpretations you disagree with? I can make bad arguments for pilot wave theory, or cosmic inflation all day; surely you wouldn’t begin to suspect these things are false on that basis? It seems more an artifact of personal displeasure than any logical necessity.

  33. See what I mean about selective hyperskepticism?

  34. And BTW, have our interlocutors taken pause to watch the vid as embedded, which is actually far more central to the core Christian message and addresses a prophecy of Isaiah of c 700 BC fulfilled c 30 AD? Where, we have not only Septuagint translations of C3 BC but the DSS scrolls c 160 BC and more. With as well 500 eyewitnesses not one of whom could be broken even in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse. Not to mention millions of onward witnesses with lives transformed down to today. As to attempted blanket dismissals of metaphysics, one cannot not have a worldview with metaphysical commitments, one can only have an unexamined, subtly controlling one. KF

  35. 35

    JAD:

    Armand Jacks questioned whether “someone else’s opinions” could be evil. They could be if you try to force your opinions on somebody else.

    I agree. But when atheists are creating or influencing laws that impact you negatively, as Christians have done for centuries, let me know.

    From what I have seen that is exactly what our regular interlocutors are trying to do.

    Provide examples rather than unsubstantiated claims.

    Why else would they offer their opinions with no evidence and no arguments?

    Then you have a serious reading problem. I have provided rational, arguments and supporting evidence for my opinion on abortion. It is KF and others who have refused to provide rationale, arguments and evidence to support their opinion that abortion at any stage is murder (a holocaust) yet not think that women who have abortions should be tried for murder.

    They want to tear down our world view and offer nothing to replace it.

    A complete misrepresentation of what I am doing. I can’t speak for others. All I am doing is asking you to support your world view. The same thing that you and others demand of us.

    That type of thinking if not dangerous is certainly unethical, isn’t it?

    Since when is asking people to support their views dangerous and unethical. Certainly the greater danger is not asking people to support their views. If the German people had have demanded this of Hitler, there would not have been a holocaust.

  36. As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”

    For some, the sign of Jonah is not enough. But for these same, no sign ever could be.

  37. jdk:

    1. I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true. I’ve explained why.

    You really haven’t. Dismissing with vague assertions what is presented is a far cry from explaining anything.

  38. Hmmm. I find it interesting that this thread has become one of predominantly Christian apologetics. I find the general attempt to make the “case for Christ” in the ways be used here (alleged prophecies, number of witnesses, etc.) an indication of weakness, not strength. My understanding of the doctrine of Jesus is that one is to believe as an act of faith: trying to convince others via historical “evidence” is trying to use the very materialistic epistemological tools that you decry in those who don’t believe by faith.

    The ‘case for Christ” is meaningful only to those who already believe. To the rest of us it is a strained attempt to bolster the case with dubious facts and reasoning, and does nothing to add to any attraction that Christianity as a spiritual orientation might have.

  39. JDK,

    selective hyperskepticism games again. All you are convincing us of is that no reasonable degree of evidence will ever persuade you once you are in the frame of mind you have exhibited. Any evidence that points where you do not want to go will be tagged and dismissed. Quite a heads I win tails you lose game: summarise and that is no evidence, provide details and such would be dismissed. Conclusion is a given, we just need a talking point or two to dismiss anything to the contrary as weak. Good luck with those tactics in a court or board room. All I say to you is, I speak from the inside as one who should have died nigh on 47 years past, absent a miracle of guidance in answer to prayer. Not that I expect such to impress you.

    As for another objector:

    You and every sensible person knows the unborn child is alive, is human, is human life; half the time it is not the same sex as his mother, and even if a girl, half her genes come from her dad. And much more that is easily accessible to those willing to respond to a serious moral issue seriously; where in my observation such has been presented more than once, just –as seems habitual — dismissed without serious consideration . . . too many have arrogated to themselves the convenient benefit of the doubt, with death the consequence for posterity in the womb, millions of times over. Such life has a patent right to itself on pain of the sort of dehumanisation and destruction of moral sense which has enabled the holocaust of 800+ millions. The cavalier attitude to human life and rights on display should be a major wake-up call to our civilisation that it is headed for the cliff edge in a march of stubborn, blood-soaked folly.

    KF

  40. Armand Jacks: Agitated? I’m not the one posting thousand word comments and dedicated OPs bemoaning the evils of someone else’s opinions.

    Yeah, but who are you?

    They’re talking about the big mouth babblers on the open market of news media blatherings.

    That’s not you.

    So relax.

    P.S. gpuccio is the smartest guy to ever grace these pages. If I were you, I’d consider his arguments very carefully. Peace out.

  41. kf writes, “Good luck with those tactics in a court or board room.”

    That’s amusing: how far do you think the “evidence for Christ” would get in a court environment?

  42. 42

    jdk:

    So, it goes like this: conform to my notions of Christianity (which I dismiss as invalid) or I’ll dismiss your reasoning as invalid on the basis of my notion of Christianity?

    That really looks like an a priori argument with a branch on its head, otherwise completely lacking in camouflage.

    Weird that you would refer to epistemology as “materialistic”, as it’s readily applicable to frustrating (metaphysical) materialists. Are you suggesting that the application of historicity is naturalistic, or at least not Christian? You do realize that the Bible is composed largely of historical documents?

  43. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass, ‘as was foretold, written,prophesised, predicted etc.’

    Why did He have to fulfill the prophesy? So that the few literate people at the time could become slack jawed and go, ooooh.

    A prophesy is written down centuries earlier, everyone reads it and knows it, and Jesus does it; hmmmm. Sounds like a scam to me.

    He does everything prophesised; ‘Chronical of a Death Foretold’. Be suspicious, be very suspicious.

    As to the post; attacking ID is indeed attacking religion, specifically Christianity, but that is not by design. It is merely a consequence. Christianity specifically, and religion generally are so intertwined with ID it is simply impossible to disentangle them. An attack on ID is necessarily an attack on God, and vice versa.

    As to wanting to attack, or tear down the Christian worldview, or its values? No! I deny I attack Chrisitian values, as so many of them are my own; just God and the beautifully absurd KJV.

  44. JDK,

    actually, the Gospels, Acts and Epistles stand up pretty well as historical record within eyewitness lifetime and passed down through sound chain of custody; they would easily pass the ancient documents rule’s criteria.

    If classical history were to be handled as roughly as the NT routinely is, it would vanish, poof.

    The real issue is, that at the core of the gospel and the experience of millions across the ages and across the world today, lies the reality of God acting in love to rescue us from our sinful folly, acting in ways that go beyond the ordinary course of the world as sustained from moment to moment by that very same Creator and Lord through his powerful word. In short, many have taken the fact of a world of order reflecting a God of order and have mistakenly tried to make that order into an autonomous entity holding with some sort of mechanical necessity.

    Then, of course if the “necessary law” of nature is that the dead do not rise, no dead have risen. But no empirical generalisation is capable of grounding such an a priori, there is always room for a wider pattern in which there are black swans. So, many have forgotten Newton’s warnings on the limits of inductive generalisation in Opticks, Query 31, and have tried to turn inductive generalisation into presumed metaphysical necessity perceived as reality.

    That brings us back to the issue of critical reflection on worldviews, recognising that our real choice is not whether we have worldview commitments, but which ones and why. Surely, we are not going to get caught up in Darwin’s error of selectively doubting the deliverances of a jumped-up monkey’s brain when it brings the evolutionist scheme under question, but happily accepting same when it is imagined that said deliverances support that scheme.

    Furthermore, it is not as though there is no evidence that we have black swans at work here.

    At the core of the founding of the Christian faith is the unshakable dynamism of the 500 eyewitnesses who could not be intimidated into silence or backing off in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse. That is what propelled the story of a prophet from a despised region who was crushed by the provincial powers and nailed to a cross into the transforming movement that defied spiritual, temporal and intellectual authorities in the name of truth and utterly changed the world. To the Jews, a stumbling block; to the Greeks, foolishness. To the Romans, a threat and convenient targets for a charge of treasonous arson. In that light, answer to why we call our sons Peter and Paul, and our dogs, Nero.

    Here is Frank Morrison’s challenging summary, which still needs to be faced:

    [N]ow the peculiar thing . . . is that not only did [belief in Jesus’ resurrection as in part testified to by the empty tomb] spread to every member of the Party of Jesus of whom we have any trace, but they brought it to Jerusalem and carried it with inconceivable audacity into the most keenly intellectual centre of Judaea . . . and in the face of every impediment which a brilliant and highly organised camarilla could devise. And they won. Within twenty years the claim of these Galilean peasants had disrupted the Jewish Church and impressed itself upon every town on the Eastern littoral of the Mediterranean from Caesarea to Troas. In less than fifty years it had began to threaten the peace of the Roman Empire . . . . Why did it win? . . . . We have to account not only for the enthusiasm of its friends, but for the paralysis of its enemies and for the ever growing stream of new converts . . . When we remember what certain highly placed personages would almost certainly have given to have strangled this movement at its birth but could not – how one desperate expedient after another was adopted to silence the apostles, until that veritable bow of Ulysses, the Great Persecution, was tried and broke in pieces in their hands [the chief persecutor became the leading C1 Missionary/Apostle!] – we begin to realise that behind all these subterfuges and makeshifts there must have been a silent, unanswerable fact. [Who Moved the Stone, (Faber, 1971; nb. orig. pub. 1930), pp. 114 – 115.]

    Likewise, that of Locke in Sec 5 of his intro to his essay on human understanding:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 – 21, Eph 4:17 – 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 – 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 – 14 etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke’s allusions and citations.]

    KF

  45. RVB8, you seem ignorant and improperly dismissive of the general degree of literacy in C1 Judaea, a culture steeped in the centrality of a book and instituting an education system based on it. FYI, in my childhood perhaps 40% of my native land was functionally illiterate; that did not translate into want of intelligence or interest, it led to an oral culture shaped by the impact of Radio and the dominant newspaper. Indeed as a teen, one of my mom’s tasks in a remote hamlet was to read out news of the war to the men of the village at her parents’ shop, where they gathered on an evening. That was in the days before commercial broadcast radio. Teachers were deeply respected and a credible newspaper served as the main means of informing and educating the public. (A decade later, as a teacher, she taught many of the same men to read and write so they could go to work for a bauxite mining company, on the company payroll. Today, that same village’s school — now located in an annex to the chapel of ease just across the road from that shop [and well do I recall the funeral of my uncle in that same church hall where he once held forth as head teacher 80 years past, now . . . he rests as honoured son in law in my family’s burial plot] — has a computer centre and an 80 years sustained reputation for educational excellence.) The notion that a culture in which there was a solemn assembly of the people in every community once per week to have their foundational scriptures formally unrolled and read out then discussed would be generally ignorant of their contents and import simply fails to ring true. KF

    PS: The central prediction was of betrayal, death and resurrection, amounting to the sign of Jonah. That, was no scam, and to casually indict Jesus — the greatest moral teacher in history — as a con artist will not stand a moment’s sober reflection. (You even managed to conveniently leave out a key point or two about that colt, which had never been ridden.)

  46. Charles @ 29 –

    The literature in Daniel chapter 9 states that in 538 B.C. (Dan 9:1-2) Daniel’s concept of a supernatural being revealed to him that from a decree issued to rebuild and restore Jerusalem there would be 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the Messiah would appear (Dan 9:25). In 458 B.C. Artaxerxes I issued that decree in his 7th year (Ezr 7:8-14) plus 483 years ends in A.D. 26. In A.D. 26 Jesus proclaimed himself that Messiah (Luke 4:18-20).

    How do we know that the decree was from Artaxerxes I, rather than (say) 605 BC, 539 BC or 445BC? Also, if Christ is “the Anointed One, the ruler”, why didn’t early Christians “destroy the city and the sanctuary.”?

  47. F/N: Let me again put on the table what the relativists evidently will do and say anything but address:

    _________________

    >> normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident (thus, warranted and objective) moral truths; not just optional opinions.

    So also, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

    (b) there is hope that such moral errors can be corrected by appealing to manifestly sound core principles of the natural moral law.

    For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>
    _________________

    It is clear that there is no cogent relativist response to the objectivity or the grounding of moral governance. Indeed, it looks a lot like animosity motivates attempts to undermine what they do not like, while trying to manipulate then through lawfare to usurp the sword of justice and impose will to power.

    Long, grim history paid for in blood and tears serves as a warning, if we will heed it.

    KF

  48. 48

    KF @ 45:

    Excellent point and example. I’d like to add that even nowadays, in the US at least, people are generally mathematically and scientifically illiterate, and rely on the knowledge and training of their neighbors. If you ever need evidence of this, observe members of the general population engage a flat-earther; it’s messy.

    The intersection of “I love science” and “I hate math” is also uncomfortably large; but that’s tangential.

  49. 49

    KF:

    As for another objector:…

    Followed by the usual KF rhetoric and talking points, none of which have answered the question that I have repeatedly asked. Let me repeat:

    If the fetus from conception on has the same right to
    life as you and I, why should women who have abortions not be charged with first degree murder?

    Is it because of hipocrysy, misogyny, or some other justification that I am not aware of? As a rule of thumb, when you can’t answer a simple question, the intelligent thing to do is question your view point.

  50. The repetition of an already adequately answered objection is typical trollish behaviour. Onlookers wishing to ponder are directed to the example of Wilberforce, who did not go out and hire a privateer fleet but addressed the core natural law issues and moral concerns tied to such in parliament, leading to the case that the British underwent profound reform. As a result, the same Royal Navy that had objected to alleged undermining of the pool of recruits, patrolled off W Africa for a century to suppress the trade. In the aftermath of breaking the trade, the next stage, abolition, was set up. And this, despite the holocaust level death toll from kidnapping and shipping as live cargo. The objector is simply trying to project extremism to those who wish to see our civilisation purged of the evils that have led to the worst holocaust in history. KF

  51. As somebody who believes the right to life should be extended to conception, I accept AJ’s argument. If such a belief became enacted as law then abortion, as the knowing, deliberate and unlawful killing of a human individual would be murder by definition. As such, anyone involved in the commission of such an offense could be subject to whatever penalties the law prescribed.

    I am reluctant to criminalize women and medical staff who, as far as I can tell, are not acting with malicious intent but are only concerned with what they believe to be the mother’s best interests. But I also recognize the force of AJ’s challenge: if I truly believe that the right to life of the unborn, at whatever stage of development, is a moral imperative then why shouldn’t it be given the force of law?

  52. @ your 6 jdk

    I believe you that you do not fear that your disbelief is wholly misconceived. On some level, I believe you know full well that the truth is theistic (quantum mechanics clearly sketches it), but that you freely choose the badge of atheism, as a weapon against the hegemony of truth, held by the vast majority of mankind and historically imposed on you, and which you find very inconvenient.

    When we are young, old age and death seem impossibly remote. and atheists tend not to fear death and judgment – until old age gets to work on them.

    As St James pointed out in an Epistle : ‘The devils believe and tremble.’ It’s far less about credence, still less about credulity, than about the will to believe in the face of enormous and increasingly substantive evidence, that the truth is as beautiful as Christianity describes it.

    What atheist literature could compete with the 23rd Psalm, Andrea Bocelli’s rendition of Panis Angelicus :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHKQYFgkcB8

    …. the Sermon on the Mount and Beatitudes, and a host of other passages, notably passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah, Magdalene’s love of Christ, and for that matter from St Augustine of Hippo.

  53. Seversky, the issue on the table is reformation not imposition by force based on in effect might makes right; that would utterly undermine the whole point and would simply open the door to more mischief. Reformation — starting with our souls — comes first and foremost. KF

    PS: The major issues on the table being distracted from through a strawman tactic argument should also be duly noted.

  54. 54

    KF:

    The repetition of an already adequately answered objection is typical trollish behaviour.

    Is it trollish behaviour when I respond to an OP written by you that completely misrepresents what I have said? You must be using s different dictionary than mine.

    Onlookers wishing to ponder are directed to the example of Wilberforce, …

    I have repeatedly addressed this and you have repeatedly ignored my comments, choosing to attack my character instead. Here, let me repeat what I have said:

    Wilberforce was instrumental in abolishing slavery. But it also required the bloodiest few years in US history to actually end it. Wilberforce and his act did not end the slave trade. It continued for some time after the act, with captains preferring to toss slaves overboard rather than pay the fine. What ended the slave trade was ending the demand for slavery (US civil war). It is ending the demand for abortion that I have been arguing for, and for which I have provided real life relevant examples.

    All you have offered is Wilberforce. An irrelevant example in this case. But even Wilberforce was in favour of charging slavers after the act was passed. Something that you, for some strange reason, are unwilling to do to women after you have made abortions illegal. You present an irrelevant example but refuse to follow it through to its logical. conclusion. Frankly, I am baffled.

  55. The side tracks continue, apparently trollish objectors will try to find endless tangents, refusing to face the issue of reformation. (As in, why did the Royal Navy move from seeing Wilberforce as undermining its recruitment pool to enforcing the ban on the slave trade with warships off W Africa for a century? Why were the British people willing to back that century-long effort?)

    Let’s bring back up a pivotal point (one well-understood by Wilberforce and which underlies his reformational approach — contrast, say, John Brown’s failed rebellion), the objectivity of morality, as without foundation in the law of our morally governed nature, morality and law disintegrate into the nihilistic chaos of might and manipulation make right:

    normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident (thus, warranted and objective) moral truths; not just optional opinions.

    So also, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

    (b) there is hope that such moral errors can be corrected by appealing to manifestly sound core principles of the natural moral law.

    For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.

    KF

  56. to Axel:

    No, and I don’t think there is any validity to your thinking that you know what I really believe. I can assure you that I do not “know full well that the truth is theistic.”

    I also point out that I am almost 70 years old, and am quite aware, both for myself and loved ones around me, of our mortal nature and the inevitability of death.

    I could as easily say, and could make the case for the statement, that because of human beings’ inability to face the fact that when we’re dead, we’re dead, people make up stories about somehow living on after death in order in provide a comforting, but false, attitude towards their own death and the death of their loved ones.

    I don’t think that you would accept my saying “you, Axel, are really afraid of their being nothing after death, and you really know this is the case, so you believe a myth in order to avoid the truth.”

    So I don’t think playing the “I know what you really think” game is appropriate, useful, or justified.

  57. BTW, the just above concern on the tendency of evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers is not new. Here is Plato reflecting in the aftermath of the failure of Athens:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    In short, evolutionary materialism, its fellow travellers and the resulting ruthless manipulators are not novel phenomena. Plato plainly saw Alcibiades and co as reflecting the same influences 2400+ years ago.

    KF

  58. 58

    KF:

    The side tracks continue, apparently trollish objectors will try to find endless tangents, refusing to face the issue of reformation.

    Again, I have addressed your reformation issue repeatedly and demonstrated that Wilberforce didn’t end slavery. Ending the demand for it did.

    A few hundred words and you still have not answered a very simple question. Obviously, you would rather pretend that there is no inconsistency in your abortion argument, in spite of it being self evident, than to actually address it.

  59. In the OP Charles highlights the political consequences and stratagems that come out of atheistical activism and its fellow travellers. accordingly, his discussion of the mutinous ship of state is also relevant:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

    Yep, this stuff was tried and failed 2400 years ago, we need to learn from history lest we echo its worst chapters.

    KF

  60. Later, let’s take up the issue of the roots of reality. Bye for now.

  61. KF,

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck.

    This is why we find it ironic when you say we (atheists) are agitated.

  62. DS, a civilisation enabling the worst holocaust in history — 800+ millions in 40+ years, with a million more per week is not in healthy or safe condition. One that tolerates the sort of so-called major mainstream media for news, views and entertainment that we have is on a march of folly. One that undermines the root of sound moral governance, law and justice is heading for the brink. One that openly despises, stereotypes and scapegoats the tradition that would rescue it is plain out and out suicidal. Indeed, we see the clear trend to think our civilisation deserves to die. That’s death wish. And more — I am concerned, as I have lived through a society that marched off the cliff and wish the result on no-one. As for the agitation I spoke to, it has been manifest across several threads (up to and including resort to forty shilling words), so playing at the rhetoric of turnabout projection in order to distract attention just doesn’t cut it. Meanwhile there are several pivotal issues on the table . . . KF

  63. Hi AJ. I like your posts, and appreciate your outlook and perseverance. Posting here can be a lonely and thankless job sometimes, but for various reasons sometimes people do it.

    You won’t get an answer from kf to your question. I’m sure you know that. (I’ve had quite a bit of experience with his inability to answer a direct question.)

    Back at #50 he wrote, “The repetition of an already adequately answered objection is typical trollish behaviour”, but I’m virtually certain that he couldn’t point to a place where he provided a clear answer. (Also, FWIW, your question is not an objection: it’s just a question.)

    So, anyway, you’ve got my support.

  64. jdk @ 31

    I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true.

    Cyrus II (the Great) captured Babylon from Nabonidus from on October 29, 539 B.C. ending Nabonidus reign in his 17th year. 

    Cyrus’ 1st year (and hence the 1st year of his governor of Babylon was November 539 B.C. thru October of 538 B.C.  The rule of Nabonidus is dated by Parker and Duberstein as ending Oct 29, 539 BC when Cyrus captured Babylon:

    The Nabunaid Chronicle (last published by Smith, BHT, pp. 98-123 and Pls. XI-XIV) iii 14-18 states that Sippar fell to Persian forces VII/14/17 (Oct. 10, 539), that Babylon fell VI1/16/17 (Oct. 12), and that Cyrus entered Babylon VIII/3/17 (Oct. 29). This fixes the end of Nabunaid’s reign and the beginning of the reign of Cyrus.

    Richard A. Parker & Waldo H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology 626 BC – AD 75
    Brown University Press (1956), p. 13

    The relevant text of the Nabonidus Chronicles is:

    CHRONICLE 7 Nabonidus Chronicle

    The text of Chronicle 7 is inscribed on a large tablet, BM 35382 (Sp II 964). The tablet measures 140 mms. wide and 140 mms. long. Besides some surface breaks the bottom and most of the left-hand side of the tablet is missing.

    5 [The seventeenth year: … N]abu [came] from Borsippa for the procession of [Bel. Bel came out]
    12 when Cyrus (II) did battle at Opis on the [bank of]
    13 the Tigris against the army of Akkad, the people of Akkad
    14 retreated. He carried off the plunder (and) slaughtered the people. On the fourteenth day Sippar was captured without a battle.
    15 Nabonidus fled. On the sixteenth day Ugbaru, governor of the Guti, and the army of Cyrus (II) entered Babylon without a battle. 
    16 Afterwards, after Nabonidus retreated, he was captured in Babylon. Until the end of the month the shield-(bearing troops) of the Guti surrounded the gates of Esagil. (But)
    17 there was no interruption (of rites) in Esagil or the (other) temples
    18 and no date (for a performance) was missed. On the third day of the month Marchesvan Cyrus (II) entered Babylon.

    A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles,
    Eisenbrauns (2000)  pp. 104, 109-110

  65. jdk @ 31

    I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true.

    Death of Herod the Great in 4 B.C.

    Josephus reports Herod the Great died having reigned 34 years since killing Antigonus and 37 years since being made king by the Romans (Ant. 17.8.1 Wars 1.33.8), by a Julian calendar year reckoning.

    – Antony & Octavian made their Treaty of Brundisium in October of 40 B.C. Julian and then appointed Herod the Great king of Judea in the 184th Oly, cos. Calvinus & Pollio.  By Julian calendar year reckoning, Oct of 40 B.C. is Herod’s 1st Julian calendar year and then January 39 B.C. begins his 2nd Julian calendar year, and thus January 4 B.C. is his 37th Julian calendar year. 

    – Similarly Herod captured Jerusalem and killed Antigonus approximately June of 37 B.C. which began his 1st Julian calendar year, then January 36 B.C. begins his 2nd Julian calendar year, and January 4 B.C. is his 34th Julian calendar year.

    Augustus adjudicated Herod’s will and Herod’s heirs (Antipas Philip, and Archelaus) began their reigns in June of 4 B.C. with January of 3 B.C. beginning their 2nd Julian calendar years.  Coins issued by Antipas in his 43rd year (A.D. 39) and by Philip in his 37th year (A.D. 33) only reconcile with their reigns having commenced after Herod’s death in 4 B.C.

    Antipas loses tetrarchy of Galilee and Perea (Ant. 18.7.2) in 2nd year of Gaius (Ant. 18.6.11) after a reign of 43 years, verified by coins, in A.D. 39

    Meshorer No. 17, 18, 19

    17. Obv.:           Palm tree with seven branches and two clusters of dates; around, inscr. begins on top, r.: ?????? TETPAPXHE; in field, date: ETO/L ?? (Year 43-39 C.E.).
          Rev.:           Inscr. inside wreath: ????/???????/?????/???? 12.58/
    17a. Same as 16, but of crude style; rev. inscr.: ????/?????/????? 9.82
    18. Obv.:           Palm-branch; around, inscr. begins on top, r.: ?????? TETPAPXHE; in field, date: LMT (Year 43 = 39 C.E.).
          Rev.:           Inscr. inside wreath: ????/????/????/???? 6.36
    18a. Same as 17, but different inscr. on rev.: ????/??????/????/????/? 7.05
    There are other possibilities for the spelling of the rev. inscr.:
    1) ? ???/???? ?/???? ?/???? (Madden, op. cit., p. 121, 11).
    2) ? ???/???? ?/?????/??? (Madden, op. cit., p. 121, 10).
    3) ? ???/???? ??/?????/??? (Kindler, BOI, no. 48).

    19. Obv.:           Cluster of dates; around, inscr. begins on top, r.: ?????? TETPAPXHE; in field, date: LMT (Year 43 = 39 C.E.).
          Rev.:           Inscr. inside wreath: ???/????/??? 3.55

    Ancient Jewish Coinage II – Meshorer, 1982, p. 243

    Meshorer No. 73, 74, 75

    73. Obverse:      Palm branch; in field, date: LM? (year 43); around, inscr. HPQAHC TET[PAPXHC]
         Reverse:      Inscr. surrounded by wreath: ????/?????/????/???? Bronze, 18.5 mm., 6.36 grm. RR.
    74. Obverse:      Palm tree, with two bunches of dates; in field, date: LMr (year 43); around, inscr. ?????? TETPAPXHC
          Reverse:     Inscr. surrounded by wreath: ?AK2/KAICA/rEPMA/???? Bronze, 23 mm., 14.13 grm. Bank of Israel collection, Jerusalem. RR.
    75. Obverse:      Bunch of dates; in field, date: LMr (year 43); around, inscr. ?????? TET…
          Reverse:     Inscr. surrounded by wreath: ???/???/??? Bronze, 15 mm., 3.63 grm. RR.

    Jewish Coins of the Second Temple Period – Meshorer, 1967, pp. 134-135

    In A.D. 33, in the Consuls of L. Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba. L. Cornelius Sulla Felix, Philip issues L?? ("Year 37") coins (Meshorer 13, Meshorer 84) with Tiberius image.

    Philip under Tiberius:

    13. Obverse:      Head (bust?) of Philip to r., bareheaded; around, inscr.: ?????[???]
          Reverse:     Date in wreath: L?? (Year 37 = 33/34 C.E.). 1.75

    Ancient Jewish Coinage II – Meshorer, 1982, p. 246

    84. Obverse:      Head of Tiberius to r.; around, inscr. TIBEPIOC CEBA[CT]OC KAICAP
    Reverse:     Facade of tetrastyle temple; in centre, date: L?? (year 37); around, inscr. [?????]??? TETPAPXOY Bronze, 17 mm., 7.22 grm. Struck at Paneas in 33/34 C.E. RR.

    Jewish Coins of the Second Temple Period – Meshorer, 1967, p. 137

    [looks like WordPress doesn’t like greek letters]

  66. jdk @ 31

    I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true.

    Tiberius’ 15th Year is A.D. 26

    A.D. 26 being the 15th year of Tiberius is reckoned from his co-reign with Augusts in A.D. 12.
    The evidence for reckoning Tiberius’ reign from the death of Augustus in A.D. 14 is:

    – Two coins ‘Silanus Antioch RPC 4270’ and ‘Silanus Selucia RPC 4330’ which double date Tiberius 1st and 3rd years to Actian 45th and 47th years which equates to the latter halves of A.D. 14 and 16, respectively.

    – Ant. 18.4.6 wherein the death of Philip is attested as the year Vitellius was Consul (A.U.C. 787) which equates to A.D. 34 and when Tiberius was in his 20th year, which implies his reign began in A.D. 14.

    However, the evidence for reckoning Tiberius’ reign from his co-reign with Augustus in A.D. 12 is:

    – Coins dated "Tiberius 17th year" minted in Judea by Pontius Pilate in A.D. 29 and later lack the "Empress Julia" honorifc, Julia Augusta (Livia Drusilla) having died in A.D. 29, which implies Tiberius reign, as understood in Judea, began in A.D. 12. (see Coins of Gratus and Pilate under Tiberius)

    – Variant manuscripts of Josephus Antiquities 18.4.6 wherein the death of Philip is attested as the year Vitellius was Consul (A.U.C. 787) which equates to A.D. 34 and when Tiberius was in his 22nd year, which implies his reign began in A.D. 12. Ostensibly, these variants were created by earlier historians emending Josephus’ text seeking to “correct” what they thought was an error. These variants show there was no single viewpoint as to how Tiberius reign was reckoned.

    – C. Vellius Paterculus (2.121.2f) cites Tiberius celebrated his victory of the Illyrian War in Rome on Oct 23 of A.D. 12, following which Seutonius reports the consuls gave Tiberius co-reign with Augustus over the provinces:

    He [Vellius] returned to Rome in A.D. 12, presumably.106 He and his brother took an honourable part in the triumph which Tiberius belatedly held on 23 October A.D. 12 for the Illyrian War.107

    107 Velleius 2.121.2f, in urbem reversus iam pridem debitum sed continuatione bellorum dilatum ex Pannoniis Delmatisque egit triumphum; Fasti Praenest., I.I. 13.2.135, 524f, [X K. Nov.] Ti. Caesar curru triumphavit ex Ilurico.

    On 23 Sept. A.D. 11 Tiberius and Germanicus were still in the Rhineland. After celebrating Augustus’ birthday there, they returned to Italy (Dio 56.25.2f). It therefore becomes virtually impossible for Tiberius to have triumphed on 23 Oct. A.D. 11, in view of the time required for the journey and the preparations for the triumph. Moreover, it is clear from Velleius (2.121, cf. Suetonius Tib. 20f) that Tiberius did not return to Germany after his triumph. But Tacitus (Ann. 2.26) quotes Tiberius as saying se novies a divo Augusto in Germaniam missum: [cdd: was sent nine times by Augustus into Germany] the ninth occasion must fall in A.D. 12, the others being 9, 8, 7 B.C. and A.D. 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 (cf. PIR2 2.C941). Suetonius, Tib. 20.1 (a Germania in urbem post biennium regressus triumphum quem distulerat egit), is indecisive for the date, but compatible with A.D. 12. Augustus’ reference to ??? ???????? ??????? in Dio (Xiph.) 56.26.2 in A.D. 12 is a slight additional indication that Tiberius’ task in Germany was not completed until that year. We may conclude that per annos continuos VIIII (A.D. 4-12) is the right reading in Velleius 2.104.3.

    G. V. Sumner, "The Truth about Velleius Paterculus: Prolegomena"
    Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 74 (1970), pp. 273-274

    On Oct 23, A.U.C. 765 = A.D. 12, he celebrated a triumph for his military victories in Germany and Pannonia.  Referring to this event, Suetonius158 says that “the consuls caused a law to be passed soon after this that he should govern the provinces jointly with Augustus and hold the census with him.”  The date when Tiberius thus began to govern the provinces jointly with Augustus was probably A.D. 12,159 although arguments have been presented for putting it in A.D. 11 or 13.160  In this connection Tacitus describes Tiberius Nero as collega imperii, “colleague in the empire” (Annals 1.3), and some consider him joint emperor with Augustus from this time on.161

    158 Tiberius 21.
    159 Suetonius, ed. J. C. Rolfe (LCL), vol. 1, 323.
    160 Holzmeister, Chronologia vitae Christi, 66.
    161 EB 22:176.

    Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology
    Hendrickson Publishers (1998) Rev. ed. p. 330

    As with many reigns (e.g. Hebrew kings, Herod the Great) their beginning is often reckoned from different events and by different calendars, and Tiberius seems no exception.  His reign as Emperor of Rome can be reckoned from either his co-reign with Augustus in A.D. 12 or his appointment as Head of State subsequent to Augustus death in A.D. 14.  Both reckonings are correct and likely dependent on the viewpoint of the reckoner: Romans and Greeks ostensibly being more accustomed to reckoning the next reign from the death of the former emperor, while Jews and Judeans (e.g. Josephus and Luke) ostensibly having been subjected to Tiberius’ authority upon his co-reign with Augustus reckoning it two years earlier.

    [looks like WordPress doesn’t like greek letters]

  67. jdk @ 31

    I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true.

    Crucifixion in A.D. 30

    Jesus tells His disciples that to "prepare to eat the Passover" they are go into Jerusalem and inform a certain man that Jesus and His disciples will eat the Passover in that man’s "upper room" (Mat 26:17-18, Mar 14:12-15, Luk 22:8-12).

    Yet, John records that it was before the Feast of Passover while Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover supper in the upper room (Joh 13:1-4).  Luke records that while they were eating in the upper room, Jesus said He had "earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luk 22:15).

    Keep in mind that Jesus is the Passover "Lamb of God" who is to be sacrificed in the same way as did the Israelites sacrifice a lamb and paint their door posts with its blood to mark the homes that God’s destroyer is to "pass over" that night when all of Egypts first born were killed (Ex 12:6-14, Lev 23:3-5; Num 28:16).  Jesus is to be sacrificed on Passover.  So, that night, following the Passover supper in the upper room, Jesus is betrayed by Judas, interrogated and tried all night, and then the following morning He is scourged and then crucified by the Romans that afternoon. 

    The Pharisees come to Pilate and insist that Jesus body be taken down off the cross, because it was "preparation day" before the high Sabbath was to begin (Mat 27:58-62, Mar 15:42-43, Luk 23:50-54, Joh 19:31)

    So here’s the issue.  Jesus has His disciples arrange for the upper room on "preparation day" and then eats the Passover with his disciples, Jesus even acknowledges that it is a Passover meal He is eating with them (Luk 22:15).  But the following day Jesus is sacrificed as the Lamb of God, on Passover preparation day again (Mat 27:58-62, Mar 15:42-43, Luk 23:50-54) and then his body taken down from the cross before the High Sabbath was to begin (Joh 19:31).

    Question: How can Jesus eat the Passover with his disciples on preparation day in the upper room, and the following day be sacrificed on preparation day again before Passover as the Lamb of God?  How can two seemingly legitimate Passovers be observed 1 day apart?

    Answer: Two different groups were observing Passover according to two different calendars.  Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover according to the Essene calendar (a 364-day solar calendar synchronized to the vernal equinox) in the upper (known to have been in the Essene quarter of Jerusalem), while the following day the Jews (Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, most of the Jewish population) ate the "Passover of the Jews" (Joh 2:13, Joh 6:4, Joh 11:55) according to the Rabbinic calendar (an intercalated luni-solar calendar with embolismic months on a 19 year cycle).

    Only in A.D. 30, due to the variations in the calculated Rabbinic calendar, did the Passover Jews fall 1 day after the Passover of the Essenes.  In all other years the difference is several days. In A.D. 30 the Essene Passover (Nisan 14th on the Essene calendar) fell on April 4th Julian while the Passover of the Jews (Nisan 14th on the Rabbinic calculated calendar) fell on April 5th Julian.  Only in A.D. 30 can the crucifixion accounts of the Gospels be harmonized.

    The formula for the Rabbinic calculations (the modern Hillel II Calendar) were published around A.D. 359 by Hillel II.  There are two synchronisms that establish that the Hillel II formula was in use as early as 5 B.C.

    – Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 2, Chapter 17, paragraphs 8-9 recounts certain events which began the Jewish war against the Romans in A.D. 66, establishes that Elul 7th in A.D. 66 was a sabbath (Saturday)

    – Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews, Book 17", Chapter 6, paragraph 4 reports a lunar eclipse that occurred on the night ‘following the day on which the Jews observed an important fast’. Ta’anit Bechorim fast on on 3756 A.M. Nisan 14 converts to -5 B.C. March 22 and is 1 day before the eclipse on March 23, and Yom Kippur fast on 3757 A.M. Tishri 10 converts to -5 B.C. September 11 which is 4 days before the eclipse on September 15.

  68. For record, several commenters (not just me) gave significant and in my view more than adequate, cogent answers to issues raised by several objectors, across several recent UD threads — some of which are still on the list of most active threads over the past month. The onward rhetorical games in that context have removed at least one commenter from the list of those I view as responsible; not least because they make material misrepresentations of the case on substantial merits and would derail further discussions. That is a context in which I simply made a summary note above and refuse to be further side tracked. It is my intent to proceed to address the substantial issues at focus of this discussion, first because they are highly important, and second because the fact of irresponsible and persistent attempts to derail points to the need to actually redouble focus on such matters. KF

  69. Quoting the Bible as historical evidence is self defeating. Quoting Josephus continuously is also not helpful. One supposed eyewitness, and a self congratulatory book, do not historical fact make.

    We now know through detailed, and extensive Israeli excavations that David, and his great kingdom of unmatched wealth and power, was just another two-bit warrior king, who conquered tiny areas of territory and ruled over other two-bit goat herding non-event towns; the Bible writers had a tendency to exagerate; lie?

    We know that the Moses led escape from Pharoh was so important a God led event, that the Egyptians mention it not once in their extensive histories.

    We know that Jesus was such a thorn in the then, greatest empire in the western world, that the Romans wrote not one word about him.

    Never mind. This is not trollish, or even anti-God or anti-Christian. It is however, fact.

    If these events and people who demand so much of our attention today, really did do the supernatural acts attributed to them, then why, do other cultures living concurrent with them, (the Greeks, the Egyptions, the Romans, the Phillistines etc) not mention once these great, childish, supernatural, events?

    One more question; Why are the miracles of today, so much more, run of the mill, tedious explainable, non-miracles?

  70. rvb8 @ 69

    Quoting Josephus continuously is also not helpful. One supposed eyewitness, and a self congratulatory book, do not historical fact make.

    You deliberately ignore the factual archaeologic, numismatic, astronimical, calendric and philological evidence.

    We know that Jesus was such a thorn in the then, greatest empire in the western world, that the Romans wrote not one word about him

    Well, except for the words of Seutonius, Pliny, and Tacitus (and much of Tacitus has been lost).

    Why are the miracles of today, so much more, run of the mill, tedious explainable, non-miracles

    Because none of them cure leprosy or raise the dead?

    But then ignorance is so much easier than intelligence.

  71. Bob O’H @ 46

    How do we know that the decree was from Artaxerxes I, rather than (say) 605 BC, 539 BC or 445BC?

    I’m unaware of any decree in 605 B.C. related to prophecy. To what specifically did you refer?

    The decree in 538 B.C. is: Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah” (Ezr 1:2).

    The decree in 444 B.C. is: And I said to the king, “If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go ” And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. (Neh 2:7-8)

    The decree in Dan 9:25 is: To rebuild and restore Jerusalem (not the Temple), whereas the decree to Cyrus is to rebuild the Temple, and to Nehemiah to rebuild the wall, the gates and the temple.

    Note further that Nehemiah was given building materials, but Ezra was given broad authority to “inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem” plus a population of Jews, gold & silver, authorization to make demands upon the King’s treasurers, and protection from taxes and tributes.

    Also, if Christ is “the Anointed One, the ruler”, why didn’t early Christians “destroy the city and the sanctuary.”?

    Because “Messiah the Prince” and the “Prince who is to come” are not the same figures. While the word “Prince” is translated from the Hebrew “na?gid” (Strong’s H5057) in both phrases, in the former the context refers to the Messiah, while in the latter the context is eschatological because “even to the end there will be war” and Dan 9:27 refers to this same figure. Thus the “prince who is to come” is, perhaps, the little horn of Dan 7:8 or the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1), and in any event his people are not Christians.

  72. Charles,

    Tacitus, Seutonius, and Pliny, all mention Christ do they? Where?

    There is a tradition amongst the religious, indeed in Islam it is even considered a virtue, and that is, when you have absolutely no evidence, facts, or witnesses to back up your outrageous claims, lying is fine.

    Please stop lying for Christ. If He is real He wouldn’t appreciate it, the fact He isn’t real means your efforts are a waste of time.

    Again, don’t pull out the names of respected thinkers who lived arround the time of Christ, and suggest they were drinking buddies. It’s so plainly a lie as to be irritating.

  73. 73

    KF:

    For record, several commenters (not just me) gave significant and in my view more than adequate, cogent answers to issues raised by several objectors, across several recent UD threads — …

    Your “more than adequate” responses involved nothing more than saying that women who have abortions should be charged with something far less than first degree murder. A consideration that is not afforded to anyone else convicted of a premeditated murder. Others suggested creating a new classification of homicide. Again, something that has not been seen necessary for any other instances of premeditated murder. In fact, most modern societies have evolved very similar systems with respect to homicide.

    And then there was WJM’s draconian suggestion that they should be forcibly sterilized. I don’t think even you would support that option.

    So, as all readers can clearly see, neither you nor anyone else has adequately answered my question as to why you would not charge these women with first degree murder. Would you like to make another attempt?

  74. Incidentally, the same prophecy in Daniel that predicted the Messiah’s appearance, also predicted that he would be killed, and then that the Jewish Temple would be destroyed.

    However, no amount of prophecy, miracles, wisdom, eye-witness testimony, changed lives, changed society, historical confirmation, or anything else can ever convince someone who is emotionally committed to unbelief.

    That unwillingness can be demonstrated. Just ask someone what personal miracle it would take in their lives to convince them that God loves them and wants to rescue them from destruction. Ask them to be specific, to write it down, and to sign it. It’s been my experience that they won’t agree to do so. Or they will ask a question that they feel hasn’t ever been adequately answered. When I ask such a person whether they would be open to believing in God if I provide an answer, they again will always refuse.

    The reason is that they need some objection to allow themselves to live their lives independently from anything that might restrain their free will or pet sin.

    What does work is a willingness by them to allow God into their lives–usually after they suffer some sort of personal shipwreck in their lives.

    Just sayin’.

    -Q

  75. Q,

    the persnal miracle I would accept as irrefutable proof of a deity, would be seeing my brother’s severed index finger grow back.

    Have at it!

  76. RVB8, if you are unaware of the references to Jesus of Nazareth in the leading Roman cases commonly cited in discussions, that alone says that you have need to do some basic homework — as you and others have been repeatedly invited to do. And you need to ponder why it is the skeptical sources you have obviously looked to for intellectual leadership have failed to soundly address that basic fact. As for the undue suspicion of the gospels, acts and epistles, the blanket dismissal of such an eyewitness lifetime corpus of historical evidence that has been amply backed up by archaeological investigations speaks further volumes about the state of skeptical thought today. KF

  77. F/N: A distractive irresponsible commenter continues with mischaracterising the record. Sad, but revealing about the habitual quality of thought involved in too much of skepticism. Let us move on with serious discussion. KF

  78. F/N: As it has been buried in onward commentary on anything but that, let me again bring forward the previous on the objectivity of moral government and where that points:

    _________________

    >> normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident (thus, warranted and objective) moral truths; not just optional opinions.

    So also, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

    (b) there is hope that such moral errors can be corrected by appealing to manifestly sound core principles of the natural moral law.

    For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>
    _________________

    It is clear that there is no cogent relativist response to the objectivity or the grounding of moral governance. Indeed, it looks a lot like animosity motivates attempts to undermine what they do not like, while trying to manipulate then through lawfare to usurp the sword of justice and impose will to power.

    Long, grim history paid for in blood and tears serves as a warning, if we will heed it,

    KF

  79. FFT2: What about worldviews and critically aware worldview stances?

    world·view (wûrld?vyo?o?)
    n.
    1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
    2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
    [Translation of German Weltanschauung.]
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
    Welt•an•schau•ung (?v?lt??n??a? ??)

    n. German.
    a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.
    [literally, world-view]
    Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Obviously, everyone has a perspective, from which s/he interprets and acts into the world. The issue is, is that view sound or at least reasonably and responsibly tenable?

    That leads to the issues of first philosophy, here metaphysics, best understood as, roughly, the critical assessment of worldviews. Such involves, comparative difficulties — all major options will face difficulties, mysteries etc [Phil being the study of hard but profound questions, those with no easy answers!] — across factual adequacy, coherence and balanced explanatory power (elegantly simple without being either an ad hoc patchwork or simplistic).

    A good first point is, that any claim A can be challenged, leading to B held to ground it. But B is then open to challenge, thus C, D . . .

    Such poses the issue of the triple challenge of worldview rooting: infinite regress is absurd and unworkable, circularity by which some P depends on some Q and the reverse is grand question-begging, so the only viable option is some finitely remote start-point F . . . the faith-point . . .that embeds self-evident plumbline truths [criteria of testing other claims, e.g implications of distinct identity], and has fleshed out a coherent, factually adequate and explanatorily defensible framework for understanding the world. Such avoids question-begging by being open to comparative difficulties.

    A good worldview is then a reasonable, responsible faith resting on a position that meets the comparative difficulties tests.

    It will be argued onward that ethical theism meets this test,and that by highly relevant contrast, evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or fellow travellers does not, cannot — they are irretrievably incoherent and necessarily self-falsifying.

    Unfortunately, our civilisation has in significant quarters abandoned what is sound in favour of what is unsound and has embarked on a march of patently ruinous folly.

    More to follow.

    KF

    PS: Note the tip-sheet here.

  80. FFT3: The epistemological and logical failure of evolutionary materialistic scientism (and thus of its fellow traveller ideologies), through self-falsification.

    Here, Nancy Pearcey is an excellent source to simply clip, this being done as there is a tendency of the sort of selectively hyperskeptical objectors we typically face to dismiss a relatively unknown individual regardless of the substance of argument. And in this case objections in an earlier thread of discussion pivoted on oh we don’t know who this Grey is, where he is in fact a major voice in the UK.

    The issue, as always, is that appeals to emotions and prejudices fail to warrant in themselves, those to authority are no better than the facts, assumptions and reasoning, and the latter is therefore where we must go.

    For those who would then try the distractor, oh see how agitated YOU are, putting up thousands of words, kindly note, I am a contributor to UD, and here am functioning in the role of an educator, for those willing to learn and think seriously about their worldviews.

    Ms Pearcey:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    KF

  81. FFT4: Let us hear from the horse’s mouth, as someone unwisely tries to brazen out the above incoherence:

    Alex Rosenberg as he begins Ch 9 of his The Atheist’s Guide to Reality:

    >> FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind.

    Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> grand delusion is let loose in utter self referential incoherence] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates [–> bye bye to responsible, rational freedom on these presuppositions].

    The physical facts fix all the facts. [–> asserts materialism, leading to . . . ] The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We [–> at this point, what “we,” apart from “we delusions”?] can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives [–> thus rational thought and responsible freedom]. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live.>>

    And again:

    Ever since Newton physics has ruled out purposes in the physical realm. If the physical facts fix all the facts, however, then in doing so, it rules out purposes altogether, in biology, in human affairs, and in human thought-processes. [–> Note, this is by implication of evolutionary materialistic scientism] Showing how it could do so was a tall order. Until Darwin came along things looked pretty good for Kant’s pithy observation that there never would be a Newton for the blade of grass—that physics could not explain living things, human or otherwise, because it couldn’t invoke purpose. But the process that Darwin discovered–random, or rather blind variation, and natural selection, or rather passive environmental filtration–does all the work of explaining the means/ends economy of biological nature that shouts out ‘purpose’ or ‘design’ at us. What Darwin showed was that all of the beautiful suitability of living things to their environment, every case of fit between organism and niche, and all of the intricate meshing of parts into wholes, is just the result of blind causal processes. It’s all just the foresightless play of fermions and bosons producing, in us conspiracy-theorists, the illusion of purpose. Of course, that is no surprise to scientism; if physics fixes all the facts, it could not have turned out any other way. In fact, the mechanism Darwin discovered for building adaptations is the only game in town. [from: “The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide to Reality”
    by Alex Rosenberg here at Wayback Machine. For responses at length cf Feser here on ]

    Ruse and Wilson cap off, on morality as delusion:

    The time has come to take seriously the fact [–> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc.] that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.

    [ –> And everything instantly falls apart as this would set grand delusion loose in our mental lives. Even logical reasoning is guided by the conscience-driven urge to truth, right and justice, so once such a grand delusion is let loose it undermines the general credibility of conscious mindedness, setting up a cascade of shadow-show worlds. The skeptical spider has enmeshed himself in his own web. Thus, any such scheme should be set aside as self-refuting.]

    [Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991. (NB: Cf. a separate discussion on the grounding of worldviews and ethics here on, which includes a specific discussion of the grounding of ethics and goes on to Biblical theism; having first addressed the roots of the modern evolutionary materialist mindset and its pretensions to the mantle of science. Also cf. here on for Plato’s warning in The Laws, Bk X, on social consequences of the rise of such a view as the philosophy of the avant garde in a community.]

    This should give serious pause to a sober-minded adherent of evolutionary materialistic scientism or any other views that are set up to fit in with that dominant and too often domineering ideology.

    Unfortunately, sober-mindedness is often at a steep discount nowadays.

    KF

  82. 82

    KF:

    F/N: A distractive irresponsible commenter continues with mischaracterising the record. Sad, but revealing about the habitual quality of thought involved in too much of skepticism. Let us move on with serious discussion. KF

    Once again, attack my character rather than answer a very simple question. Is your stance on not charging women who have abortions with first degree murder due to hipocrysy, misogyny, or do you have a rationale for your opinion that I am unaware of? I am honestly trying to understand your thinking on this.

    All you have spouted is your oft repeated Wilberforce example, which has no relevance in a world where abortion is illegal. A Wilberforce approach may get you to an abortion ban but you have not dealt with what to do with people who break this law.

    Referencing Wilberforce in this respect has no value as he supported the charging of those breaking the slave trade laws. As there was never a penalty associated with the slave trade, it made sense that they had to develop charges and penalties from scratch. But we already have charges and penalties on the books for the premeditated killing of a human being. Not using existing laws to prosecute women who have abortions is either hipocrysy (consciously or subconsciously acknowledging that the fetus does not have the same right to life as you or I) or misogyny (believing that women are intellectually and/or emotionally incapable of making informed decisions). I would love to think that there is a third option, but I am skeptical.

  83. rvb8 @ 72

    Tacitus, Seutonius, and Pliny, all mention Christ do they? Where?

    Seutonius: (c. A.D. 110)

    25 … 3 He forbade men of foreign birth to use the Roman names so far as those of the clans were concerned. Those who usurped the privileges of Roman citizenship he executed in the Esquiline field. He restored to the senate the provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, which Tiberius had taken into his own charge. He deprived the Lycians of their independence because of deadly intestine feuds, and restored theirs to the Rhodians, since they had given up their former faults. He allowed the people of Ilium perpetual exemption from tribute, on the ground that they were the founders of the Roman race, reading an ancient letter of the senate and people of Rome written in Greek to king Seleucus, in which they promised him their friendship and alliance only on condition that he should keep their kinsfolk of Ilium free from every burden. 4 Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus,75 he expelled them from Rome. He allowed the envoys of the Germans to sit in the orchestra, led by their naïve self-confidence; for when they had been taken to the seats occupied by the common people and saw the Parthian and Armenian envoys sitting with the senate, they moved of their own accord to the same part of the theatre, protesting that their merits and rank were no whit inferior. 5 He utterly abolished the cruel and inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which under Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citizens; on the other hand he even attempted to transfer the Eleusinian rites from Attica to Rome, and had the temple of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which had fallen to ruin through age, restored at the expense of the treasury of the Roman people. He struck his treaties with foreign princes in the Forum, sacrificing a pig and reciting the ancient formula of the fetial priests. But these and other acts, and in fact almost the whole conduct of his reign, were dictated not so much by his own judgment as that of his wives and freedmen, since he nearly always acted in accordance with their interests and desires.

    C. Suetonius Tranquillus, “The Life of Claudius” 25.4,
    The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Loeb (1914)

    Pliny, the Younger: (A.D. 112)

    XCVII
    To THE EMPEROR TRAJAN
    IT is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of emoving my scruples, or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials concerning those who profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only with the nature of their crimes, or the measure of their punishment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them. Whether, therefore, any difference is usually made with respect to ages, or no distinction is to be observed between the young and the adult; whether repentance entitles them to a pardon; or if a man has been once a Christian, it avails nothing to desist from his error; whether the very profession of Christianity, unattended with any criminal act, or only the crimes themselves inherent in the profession are punishable; on all these points I am in great doubt.In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as Christians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; if they admitted it, I repeated the question twice, and threatened them with punishment; if they persisted, I ordered them to be at once punished: for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction. There were others also brought before me possessed with the same infatuation, but being Roman citizens, I directed them to be sent to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is usually the case) while it was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature occurred. An anonymous information was laid before me containing a charge against several persons, who upon examination denied they were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered religious rites with wine and incense before your statue (which for that purpose I had ordered to be brought, together with those of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians into any of these compliances: I thought it proper, therefore, to discharge them. Some among those who were accused by a witness in person at first confessed themselves Christians, but immediately after denied it; the rest owned indeed that they had been of that number formerly, but had now (some above three, others more, and a few above twenty years ago) renounced that error. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, uttering imprecations at the same time against the name of Christ. They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal. From this custom, however, they desisted after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your commands, I forbade the meeting of any assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it so much the more necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to officiate’ in their religious rites: but all I could discover was evidence of an absurd and extravagant superstition. I deemed it expedient, therefore, to adjourn all further proceedings, in order to consult you. For it appears to be a matter highly deserving your consideration, more especially as great numbers must be involved in the danger of these prosecutions, which have already extended, and are still likely to extend, to persons of all ranks and ages, and even of both sexes. In fact, this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infection among the neighbouring villages and country. Nevertheless, it still seems possible to restrain its progress. The temples, at least, which were once almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred rites, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a general demand for the victims, which till lately found very few purchasers. From all this it is easy to conjecture what numbers might be reclaimed if a general pardon were granted to those who shall repent of their error.

    XCVIII
    TRAJAN TO PLINY
    You have adopted the right course, my dearest Secundtis, in investigating the charges against the Christians who were brought before you. It is not possible to lay down any general rule for all such cases. Do not go out of your way to look for them. If indeed they should be brought before you, and the crime is proved, they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that where the party denies he is a Christian, and shall make it evident that he is not, by invoking our gods, let him (notwithstanding any former suspicion) be pardoned upon his repentance. Anonymous informations ought not to he received in any sort of prosecution. It is introducing a very dangerous precedent, and is quite foreign to the spirit of our age.

    Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, Letters of Pliny [the Younger],
    tr. William Melmoth (1777), ed. F. C. T. Bosanquet

    Tacitus: (c. A.D. 117)

    Such indeed were the precautions of human wisdom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

    Publius Cornelius Tacitus, The Annals 15.44,
    The complete works of Tacitus, tr. Alfred John Church, William Jackson Brodribb, The Modern Library (1942)

    rvb8, there is a tradition amongst the atheists, indeed at UD the atheists even consider it virtue, and that is, when you have absolutely no evidence, facts, or witnesses to back up your outrageous claims, bluffing is fine.

    Don’t pull out the names of respected thinkers who lived arround the time of Christ, and pretend they didn’t write a single word about Him. It’s so plainly a lie as to be irritating.

  84. KF,

    I know this has been discussed before, but I don’t recall seeing a clear explanation why this argument of Pearcey’s:

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true, … the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    is not fallacious.

    Here’s my reading of it:

    1. Assume Darwin’s theory is true.

    2. Then Darwin’s theory was selected because it satisfies some criteria other than “it is a true theory”.

    3. Therefore, Darwin’s theory is not true.

    Is it obvious to you that this is not a valid argument? What have I missed?

  85. I spend zero time going to atheist sites. They are absolutely meaningless to me. Heard (and refuted) all their arguments at least a hundred times.

    Atheists, on the other hand, can’t seem to stop themselves from frequenting theism sites and posting comments, even taking the time to engage in long discussion threads.

    That is fascinating to me.

    I have zero desire to visit atheist websites, let alone post comments and engage in long discussions.

  86. There are lots of theists who go to “atheist” sites also–you’re just not one of them–and lots of atheists who never, ever bother arguing against theism.

  87. jdk: There is much anthropological evidence that people in general have questions about issues that cause them concern, such as death as well as many others, and universally make up stories to avoid the uncertainty of not knowing.

    This is a typically meaningless spiel coming from someone who has a hard time with meaning, apparently.

    No dude, here is the anthropology: people throughout history FROM ALL CULTURES have died and come back to tell the stories of what they have experienced.

    And here is the psychology: Sincere people with Ph.D’s have studied this phenomenon using the best methods possible considering the subject matter is non-repeatable. And here is the clincher, actually a pre-requisite for the researcher: Without a priori PHILOSOPHICAL COMMITMENT.

    And here is more psychology: people with an a priori philosophical commitment are committed to ridicule such research and the researchers themselves. Thus ridicule from scientists becomes part of the scientific method they forgot to teach us in school I guess.

    And more psychology for you: normal, highly functioning people have a deeply rooted impulse to believe in the concept of life’s meaning and ultimate purpose, even if they don’t have clearly formed philosphical direction in regards to it. Add to this impulse the stories people tell who have died and returned to life, then you should be able to see why the materialist worldview is destined to always be a small minority view. Deal with it. Here is a research report:

    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799351/m1/1/

    Deal with it.

  88. kairosfocus @ 53

    Seversky, the issue on the table is reformation not imposition by force based on in effect might makes right; that would utterly undermine the whole point and would simply open the door to more mischief. Reformation — starting with our souls — comes first and foremost. KF

    I think we all agree that “reformation” is the better solution if it means that women with unwanted pregnancies can be persuaded that there are better ways to deal with them than abortion. Remove the demand for abortion and it will end.

    It’s also true, however, that the same argument could be applied to any of the behaviors that are categorized as crimes by society. Reformation would also be a better solution but that has not prevented the enactment of laws making those behaviors crimes.

  89. 89

    There is a strain of pop-atheism for which you can say pretty much whatever you like about it. However, generalizations of demographics are destined to have counter-examples.

    Appealing to someone’s motivations is ad hominem, a logical fallacy. However, as so many are driven by their motivations, and not logic (most people, “rationalists” included, I expect) emotional persuasion is often necessary for them to recognize or at least respect even a flawless logical construction. It’s maddening.

  90. rvb8 wrote:

    the persnal miracle I would accept as irrefutable proof of a deity, would be seeing my brother’s severed index finger grow back.

    Isn’t ironic then, that when Jesus was arrested, he restored the ear of the High Priest’s servant that Peter severed with his sword. This miracle was seen by all who were there, yet the Talmud only records that Jesus was a magician.

    Ok. The next step to make it personal for you, is to begin praying to God regarding your brother’s severed finger and your unbelief, which is what this is about. Do this with sincerity. Persist, if what I wrote below is true.

    “Heavenly Father, I don’t know whether you even exist. But if you do, I’m willing to trust you. The only thing I can think of that would change my mind is if you would restore my brother’s severed finger. Please help me with my unbelief because you said you care about people and don’t want anyone to be judged and destroyed. I’ve heard that you sent your Son, Jesus, the human representation of yourself, to make this possible. I would really appreciate your healing and restoring presence in my life, but I need your help with my unbelief. Amen.”

    Kind regards,

    -Q

  91. Hi Dave. I’ve also been puzzled by the claim Pearcey and others make. It seems empty and very un-nuanced to me. Here are a few thoughts:

    She says,

    The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    I don’t see these as incompatible.

    First, no, it is false that “the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value.” There are basic aspects of our minds, many of which we share with other animals, that were selected for their survival value: knowing that you shouldn’t walk into a wall because it will hurt has both survival and truth-value. Humans, and organisms in general, to various degrees, have to know the truth about some aspects of reality in order to survey.

    With the advent of verbal language, abstract thinking, and then symbolic languages, however, we have been able to discover things even though knowledge about them was not selected for. For instance, we have learned about atomic structure, not because that knowledge was selected for or had evolutionary survival value, but because skills that did evolve (language, et al) have allowed our us to discover those ideas. This is a truth that arose from skills which have proved very useful beyond the context in which they evolutionarily arose.

    We test our ideas against our experience of the world. The fact that our minds first arose in an evolutionary context in which survival played a major role does not negate the fact that since then we have discovered countless truths by investigating the world in deeper ways.

    Now, if Pearcey means that our minds did not evolve to know Truth with a capital T, then that is conflating a practical knowledge about accessible truth’s with some body of non-existent ideal “Truths”. This conflation is why I don’t think her argument is meaningful.

  92. Those who are interested in the discussion that adequately answered a distractive commenter are referred to the list of most active threads, again. There is no point in side-tracking this thread (other than distraction of course).

  93. Your no 56, jdk

    Well, your reponse must be rational in your own eyes, though why my words should have infuriated you is a puzzle. If the boot was on the other foot, I would laugh, and say : ‘Don’t talk such tosh, jdk, there’s a good chap.’

    However, for the life of me, I cannot see how an academically-educated person, even an Arts student, could fail to see the unavoidable, theistic implication of the ‘inter-subjectivity’ of our observations, revealed by quantum mechanics; surely, a self-explanatory indication that we each live in different worlds, integrated and coordinated by the great mind (Big Giant Head) of which Max Planck spoke as being the matrix of all matter. Both the following quotes of Max Planck point to it :

    ‘I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as a derivative of consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing postulates consciousness.’

    ‘As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.’

    Einstein remarked that the more he studied science, the more he believed in God. Does it not disturb you at all that virtually almost all the greatest scientific thinkers have been either Christians, theists or deists ? And, inevitably, believers in the intelligent design of our universe(s!)

  94. What appears to be lacking is an understanding of the fine line God uses to preserve our free will.

    Total free will requires total lack of coercion. God acts in accordance to this rule. He always gives us enough information to understand everything, but never enough to force us to acknowledge His presence.

    It is all about love. True love requires absolute free will, including the ability to reject to love of another. God is a true lover.

    If you are willing to believe, you are then blessed with understanding. If you are only willing to honestly ask God to reveal Himself to you then he will. But He will never force Himself on you.

    That includes how we look at the world around us. Believers see only the work of God. Non-believers can only see theories that avoid having to recognize God.

    I challenge the non-believers to ask God honestly to reveal Himself. They will be surprised how quickly something will happen in their lives that will require a choice for or against God.

    In 2001 I was baptized into the Catholic Church. The whole world around me “changed” and became understandable, not because the world changed but because I changed.

  95. @ your 35, Armand Jacks :

    ‘A complete misrepresentation of what I am doing. I can’t speak for others. All I am doing is asking you to support your world view. The same thing that you and others demand of us.’ – addressed to JAD by Armand.

    The atheist world-view seems to be reducible to ‘It’s all about freedom, freedom to ‘let it all hang out’, to ‘do my own thing’. Which happens to be the direct anthithesis of freedom.

    At least, under Stalin, for instance, however accidentally or cynically used as a front, certain laws would inevitably conduce to the common good. Not so moral anarchy, such as, for instance, would prevail in a organised-crime milieu (such as some Governments. No names, no pack-drill). All together better for vice to pay tribute to virtue than that no such tribute should be paid, as was the case with Pinochet. (Off-topic, but an interesting snippet, gleaned from the online site, Political Ponerology, is that Stalin’s psychopathy was due to a physical of deficiency of part of his brain.)

  96. to Axel: “infuriated”??? Hardly. I wrote a strong, clear response at 56, but you are reading a whole bunch of emotion into it that is not there. Perhaps you would have laughed off my your comment if you were me, but I didn’t. I am a serious person, but I don’t get mad at people with whom I disagree.

    Also, quantum mechanics is a marvelous mystery (and I do know some things about it) but the conclusions you draw about it are nowhere near being broadly accepted or provable.

    And to delve into metaphysics, as the Eastern religions point out, there may be a pervasive non-material consciousness that interacts with the material world, and in which we partake, but that doesn’t mean that that consciousness is integrated into a conscious willful being such as posited by Western monotheism.

    The mystery of quantum mechanics can just as easily fit into a philosphic Hindu, Buddhist, or Taoist perspective as it can into the Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheism of the Western world

  97. Charles,

    Do you want me to agree that Christianity is a religion, and that it did begin around the time that these Roman historians lived? I agree! Do you want me to agree that these historians witnessesd Christ and his ‘miracles’, I disagree!

    You have just wasted my time by putting up a large number of quotes, in great depth, that prove Christianity is an old religion, well done, already knew that.

    Please put up the quotes from these ‘eye witnesses’ concerning Christ the God. If not, stop lying!

    TWSYF,

    of course you spend zero time at science sites, they talk science and omit emotion, rendering their positions fact friendly.

    Having what you know to be true, TWSYF, is how you live, it is your survival mechanism, and is evolved. For best use, never be curious or questioning, but I suppose that’s a given.

  98. DS (and attn others):

    I see your:

    1. Assume Darwin’s theory is true. [–> but this is just what is open to challenge, cf Darwin on convictions/beliefs of his jumped-up monkey mind]

    2. Then Darwin’s theory was selected because it satisfies some criteria other than “it is a true theory”. [–> this is material to the undermining of reason itself, cf. below]

    3. Therefore, Darwin’s theory is not true. [–> an argument that there are no arguments defeats itself]

    Is it obvious to you that this is not a valid argument? What have I missed?

    Please, first note the force of say Haldane’s short summary:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Likewise, note Reppert, who expands slightly:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    All of this should long since be familiar (and by the oh help me here approach, does not have a direct counter-argument that gets to rational argument from cumulative blindly mechanical processes, esp. given that computers are NOT reasoning entities but brute, GIGO-limited blindly mechanical computational substrates); but I will go along for the moment.

    Where of course the already given clips from several leading materialistic thinkers shows how the evo mat account reduces rational thought (and morally guided rational thought especially) to delusion.

    Crick’s summary is especially illuminating:

    “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    No wonder Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    The self-referential incoherence and resulting self-falsification should be clear already.

    If you want my more step by step development, here it is:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. “It works” does not warrant the inference to “it is true.”] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence.

    j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity. Not to mention, being hosted in a delusion that imagines itself a rational coherent, conscious person and thinker.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity.

    m: Moreover, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us all in his infamous January 29, 1997 New York Review of Books article, “Billions and billions of demons,” it is now notorious that:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel [[materialistic scientists] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [And if you have been led to imagine that the immediately following words justify the above, kindly cf. the more complete clip and notes here.]

    n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious.

    o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists’ theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited relative to there premises.

    p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.”

    q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic.

    r: So, while materialists — just like the rest of us — in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.)

    In short, the evo mat scheme reduces to implying there is no YOU there, much less actual reasoning; that is it comes back to the absurdity of grand delusion. That is how its epistemology falls apart into utter incoherence and necessary falsity.

    Boiling down: FIRST, get to a WHO capable of logical argument on evo mat start-points and dynamics, then come back to us with an actual argument. (And if you object, but “I” — oops, a delusion — have to argue to do that, “you” — remember, a delusion — are close to seeing the point of hopeless self-referential incoherence and necessary falsity of evo mat and its fellow travellers. You are forced to borrow identity and rationality from the very worldviews you want to overthrow. The snake eats itself, tail-first.)

    KF

  99. to kf at 92: I assume you are still referring to Armand Jack, who last posted back at 82 – true?

  100. PS: Pearcey on Darwin’s selectively hyperskeptical blunder:

    People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”

    But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”?

    Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.

    From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance.

    In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

    That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

    In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory . . . .

    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”

    Just so. Science itself is at stake. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that according to atheism, “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.

    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively . . .

  101. PPS: It is worth further drawing out Pearcey’s cite from John Gray, a British academic and writer, in his Straw Dogs (2002), pp. 26 – 27, as further bringing out the self-referential absurdity of trying to root the human mind in materialistic evolutionism and linked scientism (the notion that Science — usually, as conceived in evolutionary materialistic terms — monopolises (or effectively monopolises) knowledge, truth and rationality):

    >> Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals. [–> say, Darwin’s monkeys as just mentioned]>>

    and:

    >>[O]nly someone miraculously ignorant of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. Truth has no systematic evolutionary advantage over error. >>

    But of course, this is still skirting and only slightly hinting at the core point. Let’s note again:

    Boiling down: FIRST, get to a WHO capable of logical argument on evo mat start-points and dynamics, then come back to us with an actual argument. (And if you object, but “I” — oops, a delusion — have to argue to do that, “you” — remember, a delusion — are close to seeing the point of hopeless self-referential incoherence and necessary falsity of evo mat and its fellow travellers. You are forced to borrow identity and rationality from the very worldviews you want to overthrow. The snake eats itself, tail-first.)

  102. Charles:

    I of course discuss many of the same themes here on. I think this summary will be helpful. Meanwhile, here is a note:

    On the basis of . . . non-Christian sources [i.e. Tacitus (Annals, on the fire in Rome, AD 64; written ~ AD 115), Rabbi Eliezer (~ 90’s AD; cited J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1929), p. 34), Pliny (Letters to Trajan from Bithynia, ~ AD 112), Josephus (Antiquities, ~ 90’s)] it is possible to draw the following conclusions:

    Jesus Christ was executed (by crucifixion?) in Judaea during the period where Tiberius was Emperor (AD 14 – 37) and Pontius Pilate was Governor (AD 26 – 36). [Tacitus]
    The movement spread from Judaea to Rome. [Tacitus]
    Jesus claimed to be God and that he would depart and return. [Eliezer]
    His followers worshipped him as (a) god. [Pliny]
    He was called “the Christ.” [Josephus]
    His followers were called “Christians.” [Tacitus, Pliny]
    They were numerous in Bithynia and Rome [Tacitus, Pliny]
    It was a world-wide movement. [Eliezer]
    His brother was James. [Josephus]

    [Is the New Testament History? (London, Hodder, 1987), pp. 30 – 31. Cf. McDowell & Wilson, He Walked Among Us (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993) for more details; free for download here.]

    Of course, Canadian scholar Craig Evans in his 2004 Benthal public lecture gave a telling summing up:

    The story told in the New Testament Gospels—in contrast to the greatly embellished versions found in the Gospel of Peter and other writings— smacks of verisimilitude. The women went to the tomb to mourn privately and to perform duties fully in step with Jewish burial customs. They expected to find the body of Jesus; ideas of resurrection were the last thing on their minds. The careful attention given the temporary tomb is exactly what we should expect. Pious fiction—like that seen in the Gospel of Peter— would emphasize other things. Archaeology can neither prove nor disprove the resurrection, but it can and has shed important light on the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, and missing corpse . . . .

    Research in the historical Jesus has taken several positive steps in recent years. Archaeology, remarkable literary discoveries, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and progress in reassessing the social, economic, and political setting of first-century Palestine have been major factors. Notwithstanding the eccentricities and skepticism of the Jesus Seminar, the persistent trend in recent years is to see the Gospels as essentially reliable, especially when properly understood, and to view the historical Jesus in terms much closer to Christianity’s traditional understanding, i.e., as proclaimer of God’s rule, as understanding himself as the Lord’s anointed, and, indeed, as God’s own son, destined to rule Israel. But this does not mean that the historical Jesus that has begun to emerge in recent years is simply a throwback to the traditional portrait. The picture of Jesus that has emerged is more finely nuanced, more obviously Jewish, and in some ways more unpredictable than ever. The last word on the subject has not been written and probably never will be. Ongoing discovery and further investigation will likely force us to make further revisions as we read and read again the old Gospel stories and try to come to grips with the life of this remarkable Galilean Jew.

    I strongly suggest a look at the minimal facts approach as is also discussed onward in the first linked. (And yes, there is even a video. It even interviews Evans.)

    KF

  103. I link, for those wanting to see some of the relevant threads that are still open:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....t-theatre/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rn-debate/

  104. GCS, that is also a significant point, that life — including the life of the mind — is in part a soul-making test pivoting on what we do with the truth and right we know or should know. KF

  105. 105

    KF:

    Those who are interested in the discussion that adequately answered a distractive commenter are referred to the list of most active threads, again. There is no point in side-tracking this thread (other than distraction of course).

    What sidetracking are we talking about? It is you who has repeatedly brought up abortion on this thread.

    Why are you so afraid to address the inconsistency between your opinion that the fetus from conception on has the same right to life as you and I, and your opinion that women who have an abortion shouldn’t suffer the same penalty as anyone else who commits a premeditated murder?

    All you have said is that you have adequately answered my question. I have pointed out the fatal flaws in your responses, flaws that you have never addressed. Unless you can provide a rationale other than those already presented, hipocrysy and/or misogyny are the only possible explanations for your views on this subject.

  106. rvb8 @97

    Please put up the quotes from these ‘eye witnesses’ concerning Christ the God. If not, stop lying!

    Your exact words were:

    rvb8 @ 69: We know that Jesus was such a thorn in the then, greatest empire in the western world, that the Romans wrote not one word about him.

    to which I replied: “Well, except for the words of Seutonius, Pliny, and Tacitus (and much of Tacitus has been lost).” to which you replied:

    rvb8 @ 72: Tacitus, Seutonius, and Pliny, all mention Christ do they? Where?

    To which I provided the quotes you asked for and claimed I was lying about.

    Please put up the quotes from these ‘eye witnesses’ concerning Christ the God. If not, stop lying!

    Ok, here is a Roman, and an eye witness to Christ the God, the Apostle Paul:

    1Co 15:3-8 NASB For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

  107. Charles,

    ‘Christ the God’? Hmmm.

    ‘Fisher of Men’, sure. ‘The Lamb of God’, fne. ‘Christ the Redeemer’ good. ‘The Prince of Peace’, sure. ‘The Son of Man’, yes. ‘The Saviour’, ok, etc.

    ‘Christ the God’? Give me a break, I hope your blushing at your creation, it’s quite embarassing, ‘Charles the Human.’

    Someone more reliable than Paul, please.

    You fling out the names of reputable historians of their time, Seutonius, Pliny, and Tacitus, and when pressed to give quotes from these observers mentioning Christ, like the true Christian you are, dive back into an unsubstatntiated, hearsay text.

    So! No Seutonius, Pliny or Tacitus then? Will you now do as Answers In Genesis minister Ken Ham does, and state the Bible is all the truth we need? I wouldn’t, at least not on a science site.

    Kairos,

    please answer Armand Jacks’s straight forward question. If you actually believe what you say you believe, why aren’t we locking up women murderers and their accomplice physicians?

  108. Krebs at #91

    With the advent of verbal language, abstract thinking, and then symbolic languages, however, we have been able to discover things even though knowledge about them was not selected for.

    And one of the things we discovered is that the unique physical conditions that enable written language (including rate-independent media, non-integrable constraints, discontinuous association, and semantic closure) were both evident and necessary at the very origin of the heterogeneous cell — four billion years ahead of us.

    🙂

  109. @ your no 96, jdk

    ‘…. but the conclusions you draw about it are nowhere near being broadly accepted or provable.’

    Absolutely true on the first count – so what’s new ? Progress proceeds one death at a time, as Planck remarked. And a whole lot more slowly, evidently, when metaphysics/religion are involved.

    But you are quite wrong on the second score, because you and I, and anyone with an academic type of intelligence, know that there is the clearest of implications of theism in inter-subjectivity – our personal takes on the same reality, the seamlesness of our world of everyday classical mechanistic physics, disappearing, as though we lived in separate personal worlds, beyond the normal differences in or fields of vision.

    Lkewise, for the absolute speed of light to hit all observers at its same absolute speed, irespective of their own (constant) speed of travel, must entail an adjustment by the agency propelling the photons… and the omniscience also required, not to speak of omnipotence.

    Quantum mechanics was only discoverable because mysteries are not dismissed by Christians, (given the implications for science of Christians’ belief in the Incarnation of Christ, as often discussed on UD) as being of no interest, but are accepted and used used as staging-posts and springboards to discover further non-paradoxical realities not repugnant to our reason.

    Atheists have piggy-backed on QM ever since Planck’s initial break-through, to earn a living, while seeking to dismiss its metaphysical meaningfulness as impossibly mysterious. Certainly, not something to looked into by outsiders. Crazy stuff !

    It won’t do, you know. Indeed, before long such proofs won’t even be necessary, because of an imminent, divine intervention, or, as some would have it, we’ll all be deeed, since the effects of an ongoing and intensifying, global extinction-level event is already well advanced ; one occurring not a million miles from China. It was laid on the line yesterday in a table of gamma radiation in the US (compiled by the most respected body) in veteranstoday.com.

    Buddhism is not even deistic, admittedly, but an honest appraisal of the Shroud of Turin elevates Christianity above other theistic religions, as the unquestionable truth. Not, of course, that all will accept it.

  110. RVB8, I will not allow side tracking this thread when the issues were more than adequately addressed by several commenters in previous ones (that were in significant part side-tracked, e.g. cf linked threads at 103 . . . yes, I specifically pointed to where many answers are in still active threads: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-628775 ). In other words, I do not believe at this point that I am dealing with a responsible interlocutor; which is why I only made a short summary and have gone on to refocus this thread. Meanwhile, recall that what such side-tracking is about is enabling of the ongoing worst holocaust in history and the linked distortion of our souls and civilisations to make it seem acceptable to the deluded — which in itself should suffice to bring out why Wilberforce’s example of reformation in the face of evils giving rise to holocaust-scale death tolls is highly relevant as is the Royal Navy’s change from seeing him as undermining recruitment pool to spending a century on anti-slaver patrol. Once the RW events that have again intervened are addressed, I will get back to the issues at hand here. KF

  111. What sidetracking are we talking about? It is you who has repeatedly brought up abortion on this thread

    AJ, still the same histrionics after all this time. You are the one who brought up abortion in #35:

    Then you have a serious reading problem. I have provided rational, arguments and supporting evidence for my opinion on abortion. It is KF and others who have refused to provide rationale, arguments and evidence to support their opinion that abortion at any stage is murder (a holocaust) yet not think that women who have abortions should be tried for murder

    Nobody was talking about abortion prior to that.

  112. Q,
    the persnal miracle I would accept as irrefutable proof of a deity, would be seeing my brother’s severed index finger grow back.
    Have at it!

    – Would said miracle make you submit and start worshipping God or merely (supposedly) convince you of His existence?

    – Why would that be evidence of God rather than an alien having fun with its pals by demonstrating your so-called “skepticism” and “rationality” is all bluff and bluster (not like that’s not already obvious)?

    – If someone came along and gave you a totally materialistic (yet absurdly simplistic) explanation for said miracle, would you still be “convinced” of God’s existence?

    Someone more reliable than Paul, please.
    You fling out the names of reputable historians of their time, Seutonius, Pliny, and Tacitus, and when pressed to give quotes from these observers mentioning Christ, like the true Christian you are, dive back into an unsubstatntiated, hearsay text.

    Where did you get the deluded idea that regurgitating “unsubstantiated”, “I don’t like that one. Give me another one…”, “meh, you only mention that because you’re a true Christian lemming. Nope, next, next, next…” constitutes a counter-argument?

  113. rvb8 @ 107

    ‘Christ the God’? Hmmm.
    ‘Christ the God’? Give me a break, I hope your blushing at your creation, it’s quite embarassing, ‘Charles the Human.’

    Then add “rvb8 the Illiterate” because “Christ the God” was your creation. You wrote:

    rvb8 @ 97: Please put up the quotes from these ‘eye witnesses’ concerning Christ the God. If not, stop lying!

    Those are your words rvb8. Not mine. So, no, I’m not blushing in the least. I’m just shaking my head at your embarassment.

    Someone more reliable than Paul, please.

    There is nothing unreliable about his witness. He is everything you’ve asked for. Roman, eye witness, who wrote down what he saw and mailed it to others, and his witness is corroborated by others who also wrote down what they saw.

    rvb8 @ 97: Do you want me to agree that Christianity is a religion, and that it did begin around the time that these Roman historians lived? I agree!

    So you’ve already admitted Christianity to be historical, and Paul’s documents are part of that history to which you admit.

    rvb8 @ 107: So! No Seutonius, Pliny or Tacitus then?

    You’ve lost track of what you asked for. Your original exact words were:

    rvb8 @ 69: We know that Jesus was such a thorn in the then, greatest empire in the western world, that the Romans wrote not one word about him.

    to which I replied: “Well, except for the words of Seutonius, Pliny, and Tacitus (and much of Tacitus has been lost).”
    to which you replied:

    rvb8 @ 72: Tacitus, Seutonius, and Pliny, all mention Christ do they? Where?

    To which I provided the quotes you asked for and claimed I was lying about. So I wasn’t lying. Only then did you demand “eye witnesses”:

    rvb8 @97: .Do you want me to agree that these historians witnessesd Christ and his ‘miracles’, I disagree!
    rvb8 @ 97: Please put up the quotes from these ‘eye witnesses’ concerning Christ the God. If not, stop lying!

    Again I wasn’t lying, and so I also gave you a Roman eye witness, Paul the apostle.
    And now you’re back to demanding eye witness testimony of “Christ the God” from people who were 2,730-3,177 miles away and lived 100 years later and whom you already disagree as “witnesses”. You’re going in circles.

    You’ve been given testimony of Christ from Roman historians and Roman eye witnesses, as you requested.

  114. Charles, that is a typical selective hyperskepticism slide. It has already been corrected above and in onward links. There is no good reason to disregard the NT docs as eyewitness lifespan testimony and record, with abundant archaeological confirmation. The side-light provided by relevant pagan and jewish sources within reasonable span for historical documentation is there as you have provided and as I have summarised. There is no reason to reject the historicity of Jesus and the C1 church, and to reject that the picture of its message we have is accurate to what they stood and died for. The fact remains that these unlikely people overturned the world, preaching a message that was folly to Greeks and an affront to Jews, as they said in so many words. The real problem for the objector is that we have 500+ eyewitnesses at the core, with about 2 dozen specifically identifiable, the family circle, the disciples, the women of the company, Paul the former hostile eyewitness and arch persecutor. The grave stone for this last reads: Paulo Apostolo Mart. And that is their testimony written in their peacefully shed blood in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse, one that has now spread out to millions transformed by living encounter with God through the gospel. KF

  115. KF (at #98): Do you have any response to my yes/no question about the Pearc—oh, nevermind.

    jdk: I agree with much of what you say in #91. I think this extreme version of evolutionary epistemology is a bit absurd (although I don’t believe Pearcey’s attempt at a simple reductio works either).

  116. rvb8 at 37 on the The Materialist “Extraordinary Claims” Double Standard thread makes a pertinent and telling admission:

    37 rvb8April 9, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Kairos @19,

    oh dear!

    I live in China. Sure I’m an NZer but I have lived here for the past eight years.

    I’m one of the few foreign teachers that is allowed to teach the history of Christianity and its pivotal importance to Western culture, because the local Communist Party secretaries know I am an atheist.

    I touch upon the origins of modern universities based upon monastic communities. The importance of Christianity in the development of western jurisprudence, medicine, scientific inquirey, poltical institutions, public libraries, hospitals, charity, and all that is good about our culture. And I also stipulate the impossibility of the divinity of Christ, as it goes against natural laws.

    I then go on to point out that following a blind man, once the lights are turned on, is really silly. I usually get a laugh here.

    So, in answer to your silly assertion that Christianity is sweeping through China? No, it isn’t. I have however been instrumental in getting several stupid evangelists evicted from my university.

    Religion is legal in China, proselytising isn’t. I think it’s a silly Chinese law (they have many), but I obey it as I am a guest. Any American, Brit, foreigner I catch breaking it, I immediately inform the authorities.

    It may be a silly law, but then so are many of the laws in the US and UK, disobeying them is arrogance I can not stomach; even for Jesus.

    “even for Jesus” – as if rvb8 actually cared what a person he doesn’t believe in thinks.

    rvb8 who “teaches” the history of Christianity didn’t even know the historical references to Christ made by Roman historians, and doesn’t even recognize his own thinking like “Christ the God”

    rvb8 admits, even boasts, that he curries favor with his Chinese hosts by snitching on others who “proselytize”.

    Atheism is rvb8’s livelihood. Plainly rvb8 has much to fear and worry about if his atheism were threatened. So much so that he gleefully has others who talk about their belief in Jesus evicted and their views supressed. No doubt he labels them “liars” as he has labeled me. Not surprisingly, because if they were allowed to speak, rvb8’s incoherent, illiterate, idiocy would be exposed, and he would be a big disapointment to his “hosts”.

    I, OTOH, am entirely willing to expose rvb8 for what he is – a small minded, deluded and threatened little man, grubbing for filthy lucre from his Chinese masters.

  117. to Dave at 115: The key idea is one of Gould’s about spandrels: once something evolves (in this case, language) it can produce new behaviours (in this case, vast amounts of knowledge) that were not part of the selective pressures in the first place.

    Especially because of the role of learning and culture in humans, vast amounts of who we are and what we know are not the direct result of evolutionary forces. Once we got new tools, we have been able to “evolve” culturally, if you will, as opposed to biologically. All the biology is still there, but culture is laid on top of it.

  118. kairosfocus @ 114

    Charles, that is a typical selective hyperskepticism slide. …

    Yes, I entirely agree.

    In addition to the corrections you note, citing the instances of selective hyperskepticism serves to illustrate the atheist fear and worry. They are never selectively hyperskeptical when dismissing flatearthers, or Muslims, Hindus, Shamans, etc. just Christians.

    Atheists are threatened by what they can not refute, and in rvb8’s case, might even cost him a job if he were to tolerate dissent from his “teaching”.

  119. Gould’s observation doesn’t impact or alter von Neuman’s or Pattee’s. There is a physically identifiable organization — a “threshold of complexity” — required for both language and evolution to exist. It’s the same system, (found nowhere else but in written language and genetics) and the physical conditions required of that system had to be satisfied at the origin of the heterogeneous cell, four billion years before we had language.

    …carry on. 🙂

  120. DS, the reductio is not a matter of one individual, Pearcey, she summarises what is in fact fairly commonly understood and as we can see not cogently answered by advocates and fellow travellers of evolutionary materialism. or have you forgotten what was also cited from the horse’s mouth up to a nobel prize winner above? KF

    PS: The summing up remains:

    Boiling down: FIRST, get to a WHO capable of logical argument on evo mat start-points and dynamics, then come back to us with an actual argument. (And if you object, but “I” — oops, a delusion — have to argue to do that, “you” — remember, a delusion — are close to seeing the point of hopeless self-referential incoherence and necessary falsity of evo mat and its fellow travellers. You are forced to borrow identity and rationality from the very worldviews you want to overthrow. The snake eats itself, tail-first.)

    Your answer is: _____________ ?

  121. Charles @ 116: I think you go a little far and too close to ad hominem. I suggest, you pull back. KF

  122. JDK @ 117, not even close to a cogent answer. KF

    PS: Again, the challenge you face in a nutshell is this:

    Boiling down: FIRST, get to a WHO capable of logical argument on evo mat start-points and dynamics, then come back to us with an actual argument. (And if you object, but “I” — oops, a delusion — have to argue to do that, “you” — remember, a delusion — are close to seeing the point of hopeless self-referential incoherence and necessary falsity of evo mat and its fellow travellers. You are forced to borrow identity and rationality from the very worldviews you want to overthrow. The snake eats itself, tail-first.)

    Your answer is: _____________ ?

  123. KF,

    DS, the reductio is not a matter of one individual, Pearcey, she summarises what is in fact fairly commonly understood and as we can see not cogently answered by advocates and fellow travellers of evolutionary materialism.

    But do you agree the reductio is fallacious? Yes/no answer requested (as if!)

  124. PPS: That’s actually a useful bridge to the issues we face. It is a contraint of our having logically and factually controlled discussions that we be sufficiently responsibly and rationally free, so instantly any worldview inconsistent with that is falsified. That is the critical problem with evolutionary materialist scientism and its fellow travellers, however disguised, however dismissed. A sounder worldview is going to start from the fact of rational, responsible, morally governed consciousness and then address, what must the world be like for such beings to obtain. The answer is going to be that there is only one serious worldview framework that has met that test across centuries of comparative difficulties discussion. Namely, ethical theism. This is not the Judaeo-Christian framework at this stage, it is more or less the God of the philosophers; the God we discern from our nature and our world — and yes, this bears more than a passing resemblance to Paul’s summary argument in Rom 1 – 2 and 13; he was quite aware of the implications of our finding ourselves as responsible, rational, morally governed creatures in a common world. And this also bears more than a passing resemblance to where Plato came out, as can be seen in The Laws, Bk X.

  125. DS, your attempted dismissal fails (as I already pointed out above), given that the issue is that evo mat scientism and fellow traveller ideologies end up undermining mindedness, which Pearcey summarised; note my short annotations on the attempted syllogism you made above, followed by a more extensive discussion. Please answer the challenge already on the table. KF

  126. to kf at 122: I wasn’t addressing you or any of your questions. I was responding to Dave.

  127. KF,

    Please answer the challenge already on the table. KF

    Your “challenge” is to defend a view which I don’t hold; I’m not interested in that at the moment.

  128. jdk,

    I also agree with your #117. I find the notion that modern scientific theories would be subject to natural selection to be very odd.

  129. F/N: As a bridge to where I am going, let me here clip Plato in The Laws, Bk X as he goes to the point of a cosmological design inference in the context of first setting aside evolutionary materialism as nihilistic and so absurd:

    Athenian Stranger: [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.– [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . . [[I]f impious discourses were not scattered, as I may say, throughout the world, there would have been no need for any vindication of the existence of the Gods-but seeing that they are spread far and wide, such arguments are needed; and who should come to the rescue of the greatest laws, when they are being undermined by bad men, but the legislator himself? . . . .

    Ath. Then, by Heaven, we have discovered the source of this vain opinion of all those physical investigators; and I would have you examine their arguments with the utmost care, for their impiety is a very serious matter; they not only make a bad and mistaken use of argument, but they lead away the minds of others: that is my opinion of them.

    Cle. You are right; but I should like to know how this happens.

    Ath. I fear that the argument may seem singular.

    Cle. Do not hesitate, Stranger; I see that you are afraid of such a discussion carrying you beyond the limits of legislation. But if there be no other way of showing our agreement in the belief that there are Gods, of whom the law is said now to approve, let us take this way, my good sir.

    Ath. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

    Cle. Still I do not understand you.

    Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

    Food for sobering thought.

    KF

  130. DS, Kindly explain, do you or do you not hold to evolutionary materialism and/or a view constructed to be specifically compatible with it, often in the form of the extended more or less Darwinist — that is evolutionary materialistic — picture of origins from hydrogen to humans? KF

  131. kairosfocus @ 121

    Charles @ 116: I think you go a little far and too close to ad hominem. I suggest, you pull back. KF

    Good point. rvb8 is intellectually honest, fair minded, courageously enlightening the Chinese populace, whereas I am lying.

  132. KF,

    DS, Kindly explain, do you or do you not hold to evolutionary materialism and/or a view constructed to be specifically compatible with it, often in the form of the extended more or less Darwinist — that is evolutionary materialistic — picture of origins from hydrogen to humans? KF

    No. I have no idea whether materialism is true. I do doubt that there is a higher being guiding the universe through its development, although I can’t rule it out.

  133. I pretty much agree with Dave. As I have written quite a few times, I think there may very well be something beyond/behind/before/embedded in the material world in which we live, but I don’t think we have any way of knowing what that might be and how it may interact with the material world.

  134. DS and JDK, it sounds like a fellow traveller ideology, then. In that context, the issue still obtains, to provide an adequate dynamic ground for responsibly and rationally free mindedness and discussion. The materialistic view boils down to trying to get to us on blind chance and mechanical necessity on the road from Hydrogen to humanity. That is the general view I am addressing and it is manifestly incoherent, leaving on the table that our evident conscious, responsible, rational freedom to be able to have a discussion that is not just exchanges of noise, is itself evidence that there is more to the world than what physicalism would allow for. KF

  135. 135

    In the OP Charles wrote:

    The modern atheist is forced into special pleading for a multi-verse, that free-will is imaginary and then piggyback on Christian morality as they have no basis in their own materialism to justify good or evil other than personal preference in any particular situation. About all of which, they could be complacent if it weren’t for Christian theists.

    Consider the following argument:

    Only if an eternally existing transcendent moral standard exists is there any basis for universal human rights.

    Metaphysically atheistic naturalism/ materialism does not accept the existence of an eternally existing transcendent moral standard.

    Therefore, atheistic naturalism/ materialism does not have a basis for universal human rights.

    Please notice what I am not arguing:

    (1.) That atheists do not believe in human rights. Many do and do so sincerely if not very strongly. But strongly held beliefs and opinions are not the same as moral obligations. (How am I or anyone obligated to your personal opinions?) Human rights are moral obligations. Atheistic N/M has no logical basis for human rights.

    (2.) That atheists do not have human rights. They do. Again the argument is that they have no basis for human rights or any kind of objective moral standard.

    (3.) That Christian theism is the only possible basis for universal human rights. Rather the argument is that the standard needs to be an eternally existing transcendent one. Platonic philosophy, for example, provides such a standard. (Are there others?) However, I do believe that Judeo-Christian moral teaching provides a better grounding than Platonic philosophy.

    Earlier @26 I wrote:

    “Armand Jacks questioned whether ‘someone else’s opinions’ could be evil. They could be if you try to force your opinions on somebody else.”

    AJ replied @ 35:

    “I agree. But when atheists are creating or influencing laws that impact you negatively, as Christians have done for centuries, let me know.”

    The secular-progressive left is basically atheistic. They are the ones who have illegitimately coopted the idea of human rights and are using it to pass legislation to persecute not only Christians but anyone desiring to live their lives according to traditional moral values.

    If you don’t know that you have not been paying attention to the news– not only in the U.S. and Canada but internationally.

    Am I right that atheistic N/M provides no logical or metaphysical basis for human rights? If I am not then one of our atheist interlocutors needs to present a counter argument, beginning with the premise:

    Only if an eternally existing transcendent moral standard exists is there any basis for universal human rights.

  136. Uh, kf, me and my “fellow traveller” (by which I assume you mean someone I agree with) are agnostic about whether the material world is all there is. Did you miss that part in our posts?

  137. jdk @ 136
    are agnostic about whether the material world is all there is. Did you miss that part in our posts?

    jdk @ 13 I also am very interested in some of the metaphysical issues, and don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence.

    jdk @ 27 I believe it is possible that some type of cosmic intelligence is in some causally related to the existence and nature of our universe. However, I don’t believe we can know anything about whether such intelligence exists, or what it’s nature might be

    What is missing from your posts is coherent thought.

    That something immaterial might be causally related to the existance and nature of our universe, but that you believe, you are certain, it is unprovable. And when offered evidence of just such an immaterial cause (29 and 64-67) in which you claim to believe, you ignored the evidence.

    “Agnostic” is not invincible ignorance. Agnostic means uncertainty and ostensibly a willingness to resolve that uncertainty.

    There is not much difference between denying immateriality and denying provable immateriality.

    As long as you’re going to persist in ignoring the evidence for immateriality, why not just admit you’re a materialist atheist and be done with it. What do think you gain by admitting to an unprovable immateriality about which you refuse to examine any evidence?

  138. KF,

    DS and JDK, it sounds like a fellow traveller ideology, then. In that context, the issue still obtains, to provide an adequate dynamic ground for responsibly and rationally free mindedness and discussion. The materialistic view boils down to trying to get to us on blind chance and mechanical necessity on the road from Hydrogen to humanity. That is the general view I am addressing and it is manifestly incoherent, leaving on the table that our evident conscious, responsible, rational freedom to be able to have a discussion that is not just exchanges of noise, is itself evidence that there is more to the world than what physicalism would allow for. KF

    Well, once more, no I’m not a materialist or physicalist. And I’m not claiming I can ground free will &c. That’s why I focus mainly on questions of mathematics, logic, and the like here, where even people from diverse backgrounds can agree on our starting assumptions.

  139. Charles writes, ““Agnostic” is not invincible ignorance. Agnostic means uncertainty and ostensibly a willingness to resolve that uncertainty.”

    I am a strong agnostic: from all I have seen and learned, my position is that we, human beings, can’t know whether the non-material exists, or what its nature might be. I can imagine extraordinary events that might convince me otherwise, but I see nothing, and certainly not the various things mentioned on this site, that are remotely of that nature.

    You write, “There is not much difference between denying immateriality and denying provable immateriality.”

    Perhaps not, because the material world obviously exists. However, by living comfortably with uncertainty about the non-material, I prevent myself from committing the error of believing things that are not true.

    You use the phrase, “refuse to examine any evidence.” No, I don’t refuse to examine the evidence. I disagree that the evidence presented to me warrants the conclusions drawn, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t examined it.

  140. jdk @ 139

    However, by living comfortably with uncertainty about the non-material, I prevent myself from committing the error of believing things that are not true.

    But that doesn’t prevent you from committing the error of disbelieving things that are true. There are a multitude of ways to be wrong, and only one way to be right.

    I disagree that the evidence presented to me warrants the conclusions drawn, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t examined it.

    Ok, upon examination, what errors did you identify in the evidence that does not warrant the conclusion? Which facts, specifically, were not as I represented them?

  141. JDK, functionally , it looks a lot like you effectively disbelieve what is actually well warranted to be so, while travelling in company of what is manifestly self-falsifying. KF

  142. KF:

    Will all due respect, I do not think Charles went too far.

    rvb8 ought to beware millstones and large bodies of water. Saying so is doing him a great kindness.

  143. rvb8:

    Why are the miracles of today, so much more, run of the mill, tedious explainable, non-miracles?

    Perhaps because God is not interested in giving signs to this generation beyond the sign of Jonah?

    As Jesus predicted, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

    Surely, if they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead, they will not be convinced by other miracles. They will not be convinced by anything at all.

    Bottom line: The problem isn’t a lack of miracles, it’s a lack of humility.

  144. I am a strong agnostic: from all I have seen and learned, my position is that we, human beings, can’t know whether the non-material exists, or what its nature might be.

    And yet you claim to know something about this “non-material”“human beings, can’t know whether the non-material exists, or what its nature might be”.

    I can imagine extraordinary events that might convince me otherwise

    As expected. It’s really no surprise that while many Atheists disparage their strawman of “God-of-the-Gaps” every now and then, they have no problem demanding a gap in order to believe God exists. And it really isn’t anything beyond supposedly believing He exists.

    At least the likes of Dawkins and Shermer are honest enough to admit that they have zero interest in believing in God, much less accepting and worshipping Him, no matter the evidence presented. They’re honest enough to admit their skepticism is utter nonsense. It’s funny you (really rvb8) thinks tripping over himself and continuously blurting out comments that are barely coherent or consistent constitute an argument in favor of his belief or against any person’s beliefs here.

  145. Vy @144

    It’s really no surprise that while many Atheists disparage their strawman of “God-of-the-Gaps” every now and then, they have no problem demanding a gap in order to believe God exists.

    Excellent point! And wouldn’t they be committing the supposed “God-of-the-gaps” fallacy if they then looked to God to fill that gap? Truly, the Atheists are masters at protecting their belief system.

  146. And wouldn’t they be committing the supposed “God-of-the-gaps” fallacy if they then looked to God to fill that gap?

    Exactly. That’s why in #112, I asked rvb8 those questions about his own “Gap-I-Need-To-Believe”. I’m definitely not holding my breath for a meaningful response.

    Truly, the Atheists are masters at protecting their belief system.

    True. For many, it’s all they have.

  147. They will not be convinced by anything at all.

    Indeed. I saw The Case for Christ over the weekend. It’s an OK movie. Not great. I have really low expectations of movies anymore. Anyway… I can write an in-depth review if anyone wants me to. lol

    It appears that the main character (Atheist turned Christian) suffered from this. I think it was the cooperation of his wife and the Holy Spirit that eventually opened his eyes and heart and mind. He was a fact-based man, but an avalanche of facts weren’t good enough for him. When your heart is closed, that’s the trump card.

    Andrew

  148. Phinehas at 143:, Vy, asauber, kairosfocus…et.al.

    The problem isn’t a lack of miracles, it’s a lack of humility.

    One of the imponderables I have long pondered is why did I pursue the evidence wherever it may lead when others of equal or greater intelligence claim to do so, yet shear away when the evidence confirms biblical points?

    Why did I, a materialistic engineer, seek to know the truth about what I read in the Bible when so many others seem to seek delusion?

    The Bible teaches we are all given the basic ability to believe, yet few of us capitalize on that while most discard it. I find it difficult to put the differences down to a Calvinistic “God chose”, but at present I can’t find any other explanation for the different outcomes in souls that start off with equal opportunity.

    There were (and are yet) times in my life when pride gets in my way, and I see much pride and stubborness in the most ardent disbeliever, yet how did so many accummulate more than their fair share of delusional pride?

  149. 149

    VY:

    AJ, still the same histrionics after all this time. You are the one who brought up abortion in #35:

    I must concede that I was in error. A statement, by the way, that I have never heard from KF.

    But now that you are here, are you willing to answer my question? Or are you going to take KF’s approach and twist yourself in knots to avoid answering it? Unless, of course, you support charging women who have abortions with murder. Or don’t believe that the early stage fetus has the same right to life as you or I.

  150. But now that you are here, are you willing to answer my question? Or are you going to take KF’s approach and twist yourself in knots to avoid answering it?

    I was enjoying the conversation Charles was trying to have and am glad the abortion sidetrack has been largely ignored by him and others. So no, I’m not interested.

  151. F/N: Next tangent, a snide personality. And BTW, I have acknowledged errors any number of times including most recently IIRC, a mis-attribution above. Some will also find it worth noting that when I am unsure — as just now — I will as a rule state it. Cf. the very title of this thread, and how I introduced the guest post. Some should pause enough to ponder that I have not stood up publicly for years to argue positions that will be very unpopular in certain quarters without having first thought them through very carefully indeed. For instance, I came to accept the ID argument by way of thermodynamics and linked info theory considerations, as the linked through my handle documents. As for the Christian faith, I am a case of a walking miracle in answer to prayer in the name of Jesus: I should have died, absent a miracle of guidance in answer to prayer. I have directly experienced the hand and voice of God in my life many times, including in my conversion. I have, for cause, no more doubt on the quality of warrant for the reality of God than I do about the love of my Mom, which still shines through her struggles with Alzheimer’s. And more. Anyway, it is time to move the issues forward to the next stage. KF

    PS: We may note the willful speaking in disregard to truth when it has been pointed out repeatedly that the material issues and questions on the ongoing abortion holocaust of 800+ millions in 40+ years and mounting up at a million per week, were substantially and in my view more than adequately answered in several recent threads, cf 103 above for links. I regard the holocaust-enabling behaviour on display in this thread — please, think again before playing trollish games — is meant to derail another perhaps even more vital line of discussion. So, let us proceed over the next little while.

  152. Charles,

    I apologize! You are quite correct, it was me that first used, ‘Christ the God’. It doesn’t detract from its bad english, but it eas indeed me that used this silly phrase first; sorry:(

    Vy,

    said miracle would do nothing, as said miracle will never happen, so said miracle is a pointless avenue of discussion, unless you are a writer, and said miracle was part of your story line; grow up!

    Charles,

    ” Why did I, a materiaistic engineer, seek to know the truth about what I read in the Bible when so many others seem to seek delusion.”

    and;

    “One of the imponderables I have long pondered..”

    To both quotes, yeah!

    The depth of your inquiry is breath taking. In the first quote you tell us that your holy book is better than the Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu holy books, bcause….?
    Well, because it’s yours I suppose. Of course the Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims equally view their holy books as being better than yours; whatever!

    The second qute stands alone, read it again and again and it declines in depth.

  153. FFT5: The implications of the familiar extraordinary.

    In this thread, there are arguments that . . . as an observable phenomenon . . . show that we are capable of significant choice and reasoning, i.e. we are responsibly, rationally, significantly free, conscious, en-conscienced, morally governed, communicating creatures. (Indeed, those trying to object are operating on the implicit premise that we are urged by conscience toward the truth and the right; and if we were not, this world would descend into a dark, chaotic ruin in short order. It is a good thing that something urges us on to the truth and the right.)

    Locke, in Sec 5 of his essay on human understanding (and yes, I add scriptural references i/l/o his cites and allusions), aptly comments:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 – 21, Eph 4:17 – 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 – 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 – 14 etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke’s allusions and citations.]

    All of that is in the context of rebuking a lazy, sneeringly supercilious selective hyperskepticism that will scorn more than adequate warrant for ethical theism, because it shuns the premise of moral government: accountability on plainly recognisable duty, before our Maker, Lord, Governor and utterly just Judge.

    But, that is a bit quick off the mark.

    Let’s start with computational substrates, whether mechanically or electrically analogue or digital or neural network. For instance a ball and disk integrator as was used in tide table machines or naval gunlaying computers is clearly a cause-effect, blindly mechanical system. If it has a fault or is badly programmed, it will err, and it cares not, it is just like Monadology’s Mill-Wheels grinding away blindly. Leibniz:

    [P]erception, and that which depends upon it, are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perception, we could conceive of it as increased in size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find anything to explain perception.

    There is no recognition of meaning, no perception, no purpose, just blind cause-effect chains externally arranged to yield the solution to certain differential equations. GIGO, and all that. Likewise, the old Pentium chip neither knew nor understood nor cared about the wired in errors that led to the early recall. And, a neural network is not in principle any different. (BTW this points to serious design inferences on the relevant hardware and software in bio-cybernetics systems, but that is a secondary point.)

    The primary point has been highlighted by Reppert:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    In short, a physicalist account of mindedness (much less, guidance by light of conscience) faces an ugly, impassable gulch.

    In effect, rocks — even refined and carefully organised rocks — have no dreams; computation is not intentional contemplation.

    At this point, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers — and nope you cannot properly, conveniently open up rhetorical daylight between some vague agnosticism and full-blown evo mat to deflect this — face an impassable gulch.

    One, that brings out what was already highlighted: mindedness, consciousness, reasoned inference and conscience’s compass-pointing alike are all reduced to grand delusion on evo mat premises.

    Grand delusion would collapse responsible, rational freedom and so falls into irretrievable incoherence and absurdity. Thence, the necessary falsity Pearcey and others have pointed to.

    But in reality, rational, responsible, conscience-compass bearing consciousness is our first undeniable empirical fact. The fact through which we perceive all others.

    This is the familiar extraordinary phenomenon, the pivot on which the project of building a sound worldview turns. In effect, unless a worldview is compatible with our being responsible, reasonable, conscience-guided and significantly free beings, it cannot even sit to the table for a discussion of comparative difficulties. It is silenced by being inconsistent with rationality. It is patently, irretrievably absurd and necessarily false. (Evo mat and fellow traveller ideologies, I am looking straight at you.)

    And so, DV, more anon.

    KF

  154. said miracle would do nothing, as said miracle will never happen, so said miracle is a pointless avenue of discussion, unless you are a writer, and said miracle was part of your story line;

    Just as expected, you trip over yourself yet again demonstrating you lack any sort of rigor in your thought.

    And lest you decide to respond and make a fool of yourself again, acquaint yourself with the concept of “thought experiments” and the theories of relativity.

    grow up!

    I can and I am. You’re what, 70 years old? Yet you continue to demonstrate comment after comment that your mental faculties never matured past the point of angry teen. Sadly, you can’t grow up.

  155. kj writes, “All of that is in the context of rebuking a lazy, sneeringly supercilious selective hyperskepticism”

    Getting dangerously close to ad hominems, there. I suggest you pull back. 🙂

  156. JDK, I describe something that is regrettably long familiar. Who de cap fit, let ‘im wear it, as ole Bob M — oddly, a neighbour from long ago — used to sing. Or, echoing Locke citing Jesus: a lazy and untoward servant. KF

  157. sneeringly supercilious selective hyperskepticism

    For some reason I read this in the voice of Daffy Duck.

    Edit: BTW, did you really know Bob Marley?

  158. rvb8 @ 152

    In the first quote you tell us that your holy book is better than the Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu holy books, bcause….?

    Because it records genuine fulfilled prophecies, one of which is forensically provable that God revealed when Messiah would appear. Daniel chapter 9 states that in 538 B.C. (Dan 9:1-2) God revealed to Daniel that from a decree issued to rebuild and restore Jerusalem there would be 69 weeks of years (483 years) until the Messiah would appear (Dan 9:25). In 458 B.C. Artaxerxes I issued that decree in his 7th year (Ezr 7:8-14) plus 483 years ends in A.D. 26. In A.D. 26 Jesus was baptized and proclaimed himself that Messiah (Luke 4:18-20).

    Dan 9:26 prophecies that the Messiah would then be cut off, and in A.D. 30 Jesus ate the Passover with his disciples (Nisan 14th on the Essene 364-day solar calendar) and one day later was crucified as the Passover Lamb of God on the Passover of the Jews (Nisan 14th on the calculated Rabbinic calendar), a 1 day separation occuring only in A.D. 30.

    Jesus prophecied that the Temple would be torn down leaving not one stone upon another. And in A.D. 70 Titus did just that.

    Other holy books… not so much.

  159. I said I wasn’t going to get involved in this prophecy business, but curiosity got the better of me and I googled Daniel. The first site that came up was https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+9&version=NKJV, the new King James version.

    As I expected, the passage in question is translated as 70 weeks, or 490 days, not 70 times 7 years. Someone back then would be thinking about the foreseeable future, one that would make sense to his listeners, not some unimaginably far off time 500 years in the future.

    The Seventy-Weeks Prophecy

    20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God,

    21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.

    22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.

    23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

    24 “Seventy weeks[a] are determined
    For your people and for your holy city,
    To finish the transgression,
    To make an end of[b] sins,
    To make reconciliation for iniquity,
    To bring in everlasting righteousness,
    To seal up vision and prophecy,
    And to anoint the Most Holy.

    25 “Know therefore and understand,
    That from the going forth of the command
    To restore and build Jerusalem
    Until Messiah the Prince,
    There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
    The street[c] shall be built again, and the wall,[d]
    Even in troublesome times.

    26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
    Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
    And the people of the prince who is to come
    Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
    The end of it shall be with a flood,
    And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

    27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
    But in the middle of the week
    He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
    And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
    Even until the consummation, which is determined,
    Is poured out on the desolate.”

  160. I find agnostics far more confusing than self professing atheists. There’s no reference point in agnosticism, just a position of uncertainty—which as far as I am concerned, really isn’t a position.

  161. 161

    KF:

    PS: We may note the willful speaking in disregard to truth when it has been pointed out repeatedly that the material issues and questions on the ongoing abortion holocaust of 800+ millions in 40+ years and mounting up at a million per week, were substantially and in my view more than adequately answered in several recent threads, cf 103 above for links.

    Since you have again brought up abortion in this thread, I assume that I can talk about it. Have you completely ignored my often stated desire to eliminate the demand for abortion? Rhetorical question. Of course you have.

    You keep talking about your Wilberforce style of reformation. Yet completely ignore the fact that it still required massive blood loss to be realized.

    I have repeatedly presented an approach that has been known to greatly reduce the demand for abortion. An approach that you have repeatedly ignored because it requires us to admit that humans are sexual animals and involves an honest teaching of sex education. The big question that you must ask yourself is, what is more important? Significantly reducing the number of abortions, which my approach has been demonstrated to do, or lying to our youth that sex for pleasure is a sin?

    I regard the holocaust-enabling behaviour on display in this thread — please, think again before playing trollish games — is meant to derail another perhaps even more vital line of discussion. So, let us proceed over the next little while.

    Since I have repeatedly stated that my goal is to reduce the demand for abortion, your mischaracterization (outright lying) about my motives becomes very wearisome. But if the only way you can defend your position is to lie about mine, knock your socks off. You only make yourself more foolish.

    If you ever want an honest discussion of the subject, feel free to start. But if you prefer to toss out the same incoherent ramblings, that is your right as well.

  162. 162

    Krock:

    There’s no reference point in agnosticism, just a position of uncertainty—which as far as I am concerned, really isn’t a position.

    Yet it has resulted in most of the major breakthroughs in science over the last few hundred years. Certainty in anything is a dead end to the advancement of knowledge.

  163. As I expected, the passage in question is translated as 70 weeks, or 490 days, not 70 times 7 years

    This was also relatively easy to find.

  164. Certainty in anything is a dead end to the advancement of knowledge.

    Certainly?

  165. He bought a derelict house on a big lot ‘cross the main road from my street, and drove a BMW — light greeny blue as I recall (roughly this , lighter tint). He played scrimmage on his front lawn. Never talked with him, occasionally waved. The house is now the museum.

  166. The dogs bark, the caravan moves on.

  167. jdk @ 159:

    As I expected, the passage in question is translated as 70 weeks, or 490 days, not 70 times 7 years.

    A misunderstanding, but otherwise an intellectually honest argument.

    The English word “weeks” is translated from the Hebrew “shabua” (Strongs H7620):

    Dan 9:25 NASB “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeksH7620 and sixty-two weeksH7620; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

    Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew dictionary gives the definition for H7620 “shabua” as:

    1) seven, period of seven (days or years), heptad, week
    1a) period of seven days, a week
    1a1) Feast of Weeks
    1b) heptad, seven (of years)

    Someone back then would be thinking about the foreseeable future, one that would make sense to his listeners, not some unimaginably far off time 500 years in the future.

    No, because the context is eschatological. Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and could not be restored in a mere 7 x 7-day weeks or 62 x 7-day weeks. Further, Dan 9:24 refers to “finish the transgression”, “make an end of sins”, “bringing in everlasting righteousness” and to “seal up vision and prophecy”.

    That context dictates the definition 1b heptad, seven (of years)

    Here also is The Complete Word Study Dictionary entry for H7620:

    sab?ua: A masculine noun meaning seven; a week, a group of seven days or years. It indicates a unit of seven: a week, seven days (Lev_12:5; Deu_16:9); of a marriage feast (Gen_29:27-28); a week of days (Dan_10:2-3). It is used in a technical sense to name a festival, the Feast of Weeks (Exo_34:22; Deu_16:10). It refers to seven years, a heptad of years (Dan_9:24-27).

  168. Charles,

    my Chinese hosts, including the members of the local Secretariat are wonderful people.

    I don’t go around finding missionaries and have them expelled; that’s far too much ideology even for me. No! These halfwits make a song and dance about Jesus, as if wanting to be expelled.

    Several of my students are Christian, two are Muslim, and I never disabuse them of their faith.

    My knowledge of Chrisitian history is sufficient to give these students a heads up, before they continue their studies in the US, UK, or Oz, Canada, where ever.

    I always explain that with their friendships, families, and just plain humanity, Christ is as unecessary as a Rolls Royce.

    You insult me. Fine, have at it. Small minded religious types are my bread and butter. I have also reconverted several students and released them from the prison of Chrisitianity. These reconverted are not the Catholics in my class, they are the Born Again types, who only went with the music and group love. ‘Here I stand I can do no other!’

    Have a nice day:)

  169. to Charles: If this is a misunderstanding, you ought to take it up with the new King James version of the Bible, not me.

    I looked at several Bibles online, and a couple of commentaries, and they all either used weeks, or just left it as sevens, with the commentaries calling those weeks.

    But the big point is that these are interpretative translations, and most people, including some major translations, understood it be to be weeks. Your attempts to correct these “misunderstandings” by considering these “years” is clearly contrived. Such arguments, although meant to convince the non-believer, in fact weaken the appeal of Christian apologists and push people away from taking them seriously.

  170. @Armand Jacks

    Yet you seem fairly certain your agnosticim is perfectly reasonable. Weird…!

  171. @ jdk #169

    Lol… Did you even read what Charles posted? Try reading the passage in its entire context next time…

  172. @ rvb8… re post #168

    Are you for real? So you don’t disabuse your students for their faith, you just suggest that the very founder of their faith is unecessary in their lives, then you proceed to let everyone on here know that you’ve even turned some of them away from their faith—even gloating about it—freeing them from the prison of Christianty. Nope, you don’t disabuse your students at all.

    Who ever you are, you’re an idiot..!

  173. jdk @ 169

    If this is a misunderstanding, you ought to take it up with the new King James version of the Bible, not me.

    The misunderstanding is entirely yours.

    The word is correctly transliterated as “weeks”, yes from heptad or sevens, a group of seven, but seven what? In English we don’t have an equivalent word other than “heptad”.

    The meaning of the Aramaic/Hebrew word “subua” is 7 days or 7 years. I showed you that in the Brown Driver Briggs definition. I also showed you in the context of Dan 9, the intended meaning is years, not days.

    You needn’t take my word for it. I already showed you “The Complete Word Study Dictionary” entry for H7620. Here also is the The “Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary” entry and the “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament” entry (3 out of 3):

    Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary

    In Daniel, sh?vûa? is used to indicate a period of “seventy weeks of years” (Dan. 9:24-27). Thus, his vision spanned 490 years (the final seven being the Tribulation). In v. 27, the seventh week is divided into two halves (or half of a “seven”). Ezekiel proposed a seven-day Passover feast in his reconstructed temple area (Ezek. 45:21).
    A period of seven days or multiples of seven days was the period of time needed for a number of things in Israel; for example, a woman was unclean for seven days after the birth of a son and two weeks after the birth of a daughter.
    BDB 988-89, KB 4:1383-84, NIDOTTE 4:20-24, STRONG , TWOT 2:897-99.

    Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “8094,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Sin-Taw, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “8094”.

    Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

    While in Deut. 16:9, discussed above, sh?b??a (a represents a period of seven days, in Daniel 9:24, 25, 26, 27 it denotes a period of seven years in each of its appearances in these four verses. This is proven by the context wherein Daniel recognizes that the seventy-year period of captivity is almost over. The land had been fallow for seventy years and thus repaid the Lord the seventy sabbatical years owed to him for the prior seventy periods of seven years (Daniel 9:2; Jeremiah 25:12; cf. 2 Chron. 36:21!). Just as Daniel is in prayer concerning this matter, the angel Gabriel appears and informs him that Israel’s restoration will not be complete until she goes through another seventy periods-of-seven, sh?bûa? (Daniel 9:24ff)! Note also the apparent reference in Daniel 12:11 to half of Daniel’s last seventy (Daniel 9:27); it is 1290 days, approximately three and a half years. Thus here it means years.

    R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “2318: ????????, ??????????,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 899.

    [Hmmm WordPress previews Greek & Hebrew letters correctly but then corrupts them upon posting]

  174. Okay, let’s assume, for the sake of argument that Charles ‘s interpretation of the prophecy in Daniel is correct. Does that make it true? Not necessarily. There are other possible explanations.

    Suppose there were a devout Jew by the name of Jesus in the right place at about the right time. Let’s suppose he was well aware of the prophecy in Daniel. Let’s suppose he had persuaded himself and others that he had the power of miraculous healing, for example. Let’s suppose that these experiences had convinced him that he was the Messiah foretold in the prophecies and this certainty had attracted followers who also became convinced that his claim was true. Would that be a fulfillment of the prophecy or would it be a genuine but misguided man who knew of the prophecy and took advantage of it?

    I am not saying that any of the above is necessarily true but the fact that it is at least possible tends to undermine the probative value of that prophecy as far as the claims of Christianity are concerned.

    The other obvious problem with the claims of fulfilled prophecies is confirmation bias. Do we have any idea of how many prophecies made in that period failed so that we could make a comparison with the number of successful ones and calculate if the number was greater than we might expect by chance?

  175. Seversky @ 174:

    Suppose there were a devout Jew by the name of Jesus in the right place at about the right time.

    That right time would be preconception and prenatal.

    Let’s suppose that he persuaded his mother to give birth to him in 5 B.C. and in Bethlehem and then when he just a few weeks old he persuaded both his mother and father to flee with him to Egypt.

    Really, really clever hoax.

  176. jdk: I also am very interested in some of the metaphysical issues, and don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence.

    There is only one type of intelligence: the personal type. Rationality presupposes a free responsible rational person who is in control of his thoughts and actions.
    Every other concept of intelligence is incoherent.

    jdk: But I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths: that is the sense in which I am a strong atheist.

    Why are you convinced of the absence of active interest?

  177. Folks, “weeks” in the text is well understood to refer to heptades, seven-year spans. That span crops up again and again in the biblical context and is doubtless connected to the concept from Gen 1 – 3 that it is the number of a completion. I am astonished that there was need to belabour dictionaries, this one is a no-brainer. But then, perhaps even I am underestimating the influence of selective, self-congratulatory hyperskepticism. (Which is ALWAYS connected to wishful thinking and hyper-credulity elsewhere. Notoriously, the evo mat origins myth of hydrogen to humans via dirt without any breathed-in fire.) KF

    PS: I think I should add a link and a clip from the CD version of the NIV Study Bible, specifically, from the included Dictionary:

    The widely held view that the book of Daniel is largely fictional rests mainly on the modern philosophical assumption that long-range predictive prophecy is impossible . . . But objective evidence excludes this hypothesis on several counts:

    1. To avoid fulfillment of long-range predictive prophecy in the book, the adherents of the late-date view usually maintain that the four empires of chs. 2 and 7 are Babylon, Media, Persia and Greece. But in the mind of the author, “the Medes and Persians” (5:28) together constituted the second in the series of four kingdoms (2:36-43). Thus it becomes clear that the four empires are the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman . . . .

    2. . . . Linguistic evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls (which furnish authentic samples of Hebrew and Aramaic writing from the second century B.C. . . . ) demonstrates that the Hebrew and Aramaic chapters of Daniel must have been composed centuries earlier. Furthermore, as recently demonstrated, the Persian and Greek words in Daniel do not require a late date [e.g., the prior Assyrian Empire was familiar with Greek musicians and their instruments]. Some of the technical terms appearing in ch. 3 were already so obsolete by the second century B.C. that translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) translated them incorrectly.

    3. Several of the fulfillments of prophecies in Daniel could not have taken place by the second century anyway, so the prophetic element cannot be dismissed. The symbolism connected with the fourth kingdom makes it unmistakably predictive of the Roman empire (see 2:33; 7:7, 19), which did not take control of Syro-Palestine until 63 B.C. Also, the prophecy concerning the coming of “the Anointed One, the ruler,” 483 years after “the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (9:25), works out to the time of Jesus’ ministry.

    Objective evidence, therefore, appears to exclude the late-date hypothesis and indicates that there is insufficient reason to deny Daniel’s authorship.

    This is FYI, I point it out as information, not because I have any high hopes that a discussion of Bible prophecies would be likely to move the selectively hyperskeptical.

  178. FFT6A: Last evening, in FFT5, we looked at the familiar extraordinary; it is almost amusing to see how this has been almost studiously pushed aside. One hopes that the latest focus for hyperskeptical dismissiveness, heptades, will now settle down.

    At this point, we have to deal with a key conclusion in 153:

    . . . a physicalist account of mindedness (much less, guidance by light of conscience) faces an ugly, impassable gulch.

    In effect, rocks — even refined and carefully organised rocks — have no dreams; computation is not intentional contemplation.

    At this point, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers — and nope you cannot properly, conveniently open up rhetorical daylight between some vague agnosticism and full-blown evo mat to deflect this — face an impassable gulch.

    One, that brings out what was already highlighted: mindedness, consciousness, reasoned inference and conscience’s compass-pointing alike are all reduced to grand delusion on evo mat premises.

    Grand delusion would collapse responsible, rational freedom and so falls into irretrievable incoherence and absurdity. Thence, the necessary falsity Pearcey and others have pointed to.

    But in reality, rational, responsible, conscience-compass bearing consciousness is our first undeniable empirical fact. The fact through which we perceive all others.

    This is the familiar extraordinary phenomenon, the pivot on which the project of building a sound worldview turns. In effect, unless a worldview is compatible with our being responsible, reasonable, conscience-guided and significantly free beings, it cannot even sit to the table for a discussion of comparative difficulties. It is silenced by being inconsistent with rationality. It is patently, irretrievably absurd and necessarily false. (Evo mat and fellow traveller ideologies, I am looking straight at you.)

    What sort of world do we have to live in for there to be creatures like us?

    That’s rather like a point R W Hamming made in addressing a thought exercise that counter-balances one of the mythical paradigm cases of empirical investigation, the dropping of a musket-ball and a cannon-ball from the famous leaning tower of Pisa. And yes, the very same News who so many hyperskeptics sneer at brought this to attention:

    Let us next consider Galileo. Not too long ago I was trying to put myself in Galileo’s shoes, as it were, so that I might feel how he came to discover the law of falling bodies. I try to do this kind of thing so that I can learn to think like the masters did-I deliberately try to think as they might have done.

    Well, Galileo was a well-educated man and a master of scholastic arguments. He well knew how to argue the number of angels on the head of a pin [–> which is actually about location vs extension], how to argue both sides of any question. He was trained in these arts far better than any of us these days. I picture him sitting one day with a light and a heavy ball, one in each hand, and tossing them gently. He says, hefting them, “It is obvious to anyone that heavy objects fall faster than light ones-and, anyway, Aristotle says so.” “But suppose,” he says to himself, having that kind of a mind, “that in falling the body broke into two pieces. Of course the two pieces would immediately slow down to their appropriate speeds. But suppose further that one piece happened to touch the other one. Would they now be one piece and both speed up? Suppose I tied the two pieces together. How tightly must I do it to make them one piece? A light string? A rope? Glue? When are two pieces one?”

    The more he thought about it-and the more you think about it-the more unreasonable becomes the question of when two bodies are one. There is simply no reasonable answer to the question of how a body knows how heavy it is-if it is one piece, or two, or many. Since falling bodies do something, the only possible thing is that they all fall at the same speed-unless interfered with by other forces. There’s nothing else they can do. He may have later made some experiments, but I strongly suspect that something like what I imagined actually happened. I later found a similar story in a book by Polya [7. G. Polya, Mathematical Methods in Science, MAA, 1963, pp. 83-85.]. Galileo found his law not by experimenting but by simple, plain thinking, by scholastic reasoning.

    I know that the textbooks often present the falling body law as an experimental observation; I am claiming that it is a logical law, a consequence of how we tend to think . . .

    Coherence, factual adequacy and elegantly balanced explanatory power are far more powerful tools than, often, we are wont to believe. Indeed, the thought experiment was a favourite analytical tool for Einstein, and it was pivotal to the rise of Relativity. As in, taking a ride on a beam of light.

    This ties back to the view that mathematics is substantially the logic of structure and quantity, which we may freely explore because we are responsibly and rationally significantly free.

    Okay, let’s pause for the moment so that I can go back to RW.

    Later this morning, DV.

    KF

  179. KF,

    He bought a derelict house on a big lot ‘cross the main road from my street, and drove a BMW — light greeny blue as I recall (roughly this , lighter tint). He played scrimmage on his front lawn. Never talked with him, occasionally waved. The house is now the museum.

    Well, that’s pretty cool.

  180. DS, I should add the beige colour is original, all the paintings and trees etc in front were added later (note how small they are), and of course the statue; there is another near the national stadium and there is another that was intended but was rejected by the public who did not want an abstract piece; think that went to some museum or other. The windows in the house seem to have been upgraded, likely to fit with air conditioning. Next door more or less was an open lot with a huge silk cotton tree [source of kapok fibres], that was turned into townhouses, as was another large lot on my side of the main road, now a 4-lane. Didn’t know US Pres Obama visited the museum. I see a landrover P4 pickup, that I don’t know about. Maybe that lived in St Ann was it. KF

  181. kairosfocus @ 177

    The widely held view that the book of Daniel is largely fictional rests mainly on the modern philosophical assumption that long-range predictive prophecy is impossible . . . But objective evidence excludes this hypothesis on several counts:

    Another long held fallacious belief was that Daniel was a fabrication because Daniel cited “Belshazzar the king” (Dan 5:1), who offered Daniel the “authority as third ruler in the kingdom” (Dan 5:16), not second, but third in authority.

    The problem is that from the time of Cyrus’ capture of Babylon in 539 B.C. until A.D. 1854, secular historians “knew” that Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon and there was zero historical or archaeological record of a “Belshazzar” having ever existed.

    But in A.D. 1854, Sir Henry Rawlinson discovered the Nabonidus Chronicle (cuneiform tablet) and also Nabonidus Stela, and Nabonidus Cylinder (at the British Museum) in which Nabonidus prayed for his son “Belshazzar” and essentially made Belshazzar co-regent of Babylon in Nabonidus’ absence. Since Nabonidus was first in the kingdom and his son Belshazzar was second, then Daniel would logically have had third authority in the kingdom following Belshazzar, exactly as was offered in Dan 5:16.

    So Daniel’s account was validated as accurate almost 2400 years after the fact.

    But here’s the thing. If Daniel was fabricated in the 3rd or 2nd century B.C. how would the “forger” have known that Belshazzar existed as Nabonidus’ son when history had already by then forgotten him? This in addition to the fact pointed out @ 23 that regardless of being forged in the 3rd or 2nd century B.C., Daniel’s prophecy of the 69 weeks, was still valid, and still given in advance of it being fulfilled, exactly as written.

    For nearly 2,400 years, the book of Daniel was historically correct and only in A.D. 1854 did the historians catch up.

  182. 182

    krock:
    Yet you seem fairly certain your agnosticim is perfectly reasonable. Weird…!
    Yes. “Fairly” certain. Not absolute certainty. Unlike some here, if the evidence existed that Jesus was the son of god, or if a god ever existed, I would change my viewpoint.

    So far, all I have heard is people using the bible as evidence of god’s existence. Or presenting a single account of 500 witnesses as if it was 500 witness accounts.

    Personally, I think that the accounts of Jesus are based on a real person, or an amalgam of a few people. But that is a far cry from elevating him/them to the level of deity. KF calls this hyperskepticism, as if using that word is an argument in his favour. I am also skeptical about aliens abducting people and probing their anuses, even though there are numerous first person accounts of this happening.

  183. 183

    krock:

    Are you for real? So you don’t disabuse your students for their faith, you just suggest that the very founder of their faith is unecessary in their lives, then you proceed to let everyone on here know that you’ve even turned some of them away from their faith—even gloating about it—freeing them from the prison of Christianty. Nope, you don’t disabuse your students at all.

    I don’t try to convert christians into atheists, but I have no problem with people who do. After all, one of the foundations of christianity is the active attempt to convert people to their religion. I don’t see one as being any more manipulative than the other. But I choose not to do it because I think that people should make up their own minds without undue influence from others.

  184. Armand Jacks @ 182

    Unlike some here, if the evidence existed that Jesus was the son of god, or if a god ever existed, I would change my viewpoint.

    lol – no you wouldn’t.

    The evidence that God supernaturally revealed to Daniel when the Messiah would appear has been laid out @ 12, 23, 29, 64-67, 71, 167, 173 and 181.

    You have studiously, carefully ignored 11 detailed and some lengthy posts. You know precisely what evidence you are ignoring. We know because, as is your style, you keep trying to move the goal posts to other subjects and remain abjectly silent on every fact you can not refute, all the while pretending no evidence has been presented.

    Next up, Armand Jacks says none of the evidence is believable.

    Disbelief is neither a refutation nor a fact, it is merely your a-priori state of mind.

    “Your Honor, I have never believed those signs really meant STOP”.

  185. I’ll be back in a few hours.

  186. KF,

    DS, I should add the beige colour is original, all the paintings and trees etc in front were added later (note how small they are), and of course the statue; there is another near the national stadium and there is another that was intended but was rejected by the public who did not want an abstract piece; think that went to some museum or other. The windows in the house seem to have been upgraded, likely to fit with air conditioning. Next door more or less was an open lot with a huge silk cotton tree [source of kapok fibres], that was turned into townhouses, as was another large lot on my side of the main road, now a 4-lane. Didn’t know US Pres Obama visited the museum. I see a landrover P4 pickup, that I don’t know about. Maybe that lived in St Ann was it. KF

    I’d never heard of the museum before. Quite an interesting place.

  187. Suppose there were a devout Jew by the name of Jesus in the right place at about the right time. Let’s suppose he was well aware of the prophecy in Daniel. Let’s suppose he had persuaded himself and others that he had the power of miraculous healing, for example. Let’s suppose that these experiences had convinced him that he was the Messiah foretold in the prophecies and this certainty had attracted followers who also became convinced that his claim was true. Would that be a fulfillment of the prophecy or would it be a genuine but misguided man who knew of the prophecy and took advantage of it?

    If things like a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” contributed to his being persuaded and convinced, and if he was raised from the dead three days after being crucified, on what basis would we make the claim that he was somehow “misguided?”

    I am not saying that any of the above is necessarily true but the fact that it is at least possible tends to undermine the probative value of that prophecy as far as the claims of Christianity are concerned.

    But the prophecy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Things like the resurrection, Jesus’ miraculous healings, and this and other prophecies taken together tend to corroborate each other.

    The other obvious problem with the claims of fulfilled prophecies is confirmation bias. Do we have any idea of how many prophecies made in that period failed so that we could make a comparison with the number of successful ones and calculate if the number was greater than we might expect by chance?

    We have other prophecies recorded in the Bible, many of which have already been fulfilled. I don’t know of any failed prophecy, but feel free to produce one if you are aware of any.

  188. 188

    Charles I want to thank you for your patience and methodical dismantling of the atheists on this thread.

    I am struck, as mostly a reader, in a couple of ways.

    One of the most frequent objections to Christianity is that it’s all “blind faith” or faith without any evidence.

    Yet what you, Charles, tirelessly posted and then repeated is exactly the depth of how far a Christian like yourself and built upon by the evidential quest of others demonstrates in how utterly ridiculous that perspective is. Faith without evidence? Utterly hysterical.

    They come at it from every angle and try to do whatever their desires move them to do. The common thing here is that RVB and others clearly don’t want it to be true. They loathe what -they incorrectly think- it entails, and spend endless hours at it. I find that fascinating.

    If God in the person of Christ is as they say, no different than the Flying Spaghetti Monster, why waste a moment’s time in their inexhaustible counter-evangelism?

    As Zacharias points out, they know He’s real, and they’re furious about it.

    It would be funny, were not the consequences so dire. For God will not send them to hell, but merely grant what they wish for every day that they proselytize their rejection. They will have the eternal separation they so desire, and crave by their very words.

    How infinitely sad.

    Thank you again for your evidence based positions. More the reason I love to hang out here with you and KF, GPuccio and WJM, et al.

  189. AnimatedDust @ 188

    thank you for your patience and methodical dismantling of the atheists on this thread.

    Thank you for your kind words. I’ve been called many things, “patient” hasn’t been one of them 🙂

    If God in the person of Christ is as they say, no different than the Flying Spaghetti Monster, why waste a moment’s time in their inexhaustible counter-evangelism?

    Yes!!! Precisely. Turns out, the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t do prophecy – who knew???

    Indeed, Christian faith need not be blind. Much of it can be tested and it is highly internally self-consistent. I find it logical. God said:

    Isa 1:18 NASB “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

    So, bring your brain.

  190. F/N: Rom 1:1 – 7, c. 57 AD, from Cenchrea near Corinth, on occasion of commending Phoebe, a deaconess, to Rome:

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant[a] of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[b] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

    7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    From Paulo Apostolo Mart, about 10 years before his execution under Nero in Rome as part of a persecution triggered by a false charge of treasonous arson. Of course 500 eyewitnesses, not one of whom could be turned in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse.

    KF

  191. Charles, remember the silent onlookers. KF

  192. @ Armand Jacks #182

    I’m not sure what your requirement for evidence would entail, but, as one who—like you—finds evidence important, may I suggest the Shroud of Turin as a starting point. I’ve come to believe human experience, although anecdotal, is not so easily dismissed, as some would like to suggest.

    As per your alien abduction reference; even those who started out as hard core skeptics, such as Dr John E. Mack, became convinced that the phenomenon was real. What exactly is responsible for phenomenon is an entirely different subject of discussion.

    Cheers mate!

  193. @ Armand Jacks #183

    The only problem being, with Christianity, your free to disbelieve, where with atheism, you may be free to disbelieve this particular worldview, but you’re often mocked and shamed for it if you do..!

    So, as far as I’m concerned, there’s a big difference between how a proponent from each of these competing worldviews proselytize…! Don’t believe me, just ask Richard Dawkins on how one should deal with those who are religious.

  194. F/N: Notice how the hyperskeptic dismisses a corpus of eyewitness lifetime record, which changed the shape of civilisation through an unprecedented teacher who impacted people with his message and example plus his works? He makes up out of whole cloth a story that has no anchorage in fact and treats it as if it had actual credibility then dismisses the record that changed the world . . . and BTW, that is also exactly what Dawkins did some years ago, this is not an isolated phenomenon. Recor BTW that shocked a certain follower of Tubingen’s speculations who found telling archaeological details. And, oh, yes, he then takes up a dismissal at our having a descriptive label. That is what we are dealing with; all of these show a problem with responsibility and rationality, warrant and ability to respond appropriately to evidence, multiplied by an obvious, serious, telling disregard for truth. KF

  195. PS: Greenleaf’s courtroom-tested rules for the road:

    1] THE ANCIENT DOCUMENTS RULE: Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise. [p.16.]

    2] Conversance: In matters of public and general interest, all persons must be presumed to be conversant, on the principle that individuals are presumed to be conversant with their own affairs. [p. 17.]

    3] On Inquiries and Reports: If [a report] were “the result of inquiries, made under competent public authority, concerning matters in which the public are concerned” it would . . . be legally admissible . . . To entitle such results, however, to our full confidence, it is not necessary that they be obtained under a legal commission; it is sufficient if the inquiry is gravely undertaken and pursued, by a person of competent intelligence, sagacity and integrity. The request of a person in authority, or a desire to serve the public, are, to all moral intents, as sufficient a motive as a legal commission. [p. 25.]

    4] Probability of Truthfulness: In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is a sufficient probability that it is true. [p. 28.]

    5] Criteria of Proof: A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence. By competent evidence is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. [pp. 28 – 9.]

    6] Credibility of Witnesses: In the absence of circumstances which generate suspicion, every witness is to be presumed credible, until the contrary is shown; the burden of impeaching his credibility lying on the objector. [p. 29]

    7] Credit due to testimony: The credit due to the testimony of witnesses depends upon, firstly, their honesty; secondly, their ability; thirdly, their number and the consistency of their testimony; fourthly, the conformity of their testimony with experience; and fifthly, the coincidence of their testimony with collateral circumstances. [p.31.]

    8] Ability of a Witness to speak truth: the ability of a witness to speak the truth depends on the opportunities which he has had for observing the facts, the accuracy of his powers of discerning, and the faithfulness of his memory in retaining the facts, once observed and known . . . It is always to be presumed that men are honest, and of sound mind, and of the average and ordinary degree of intelligence . . . Whenever an objection is raised in opposition to ordinary presumptions of law, or to the ordiary experience of mankind, the burden of proof is devolved on the objector. [pp. 33 – 4.]

    9] Internal coherence and external corroboration: Every event which actually transpires has its appropriate relation and place in the vast complication of circumstances, of which the affairs of men consist; it owes its origin to the events which have preceded it, it is intimately connected with all others which occur at the same time and place, and often with those of remote regions, and in its turn gives birth to numberless others which succeed. In all this almost inconceivable contexture, and seeming discord, there is perfect harmony; and while the fact, which really happened, tallies exactly with every other contemporaneous incident, related to it in the remotest degree, it is not possible for the wit of man to invent a story, which, if closely compared with the actual occurrences of the same time and place, may not be shown to be false. [p. 39.]

    10] Marks of false vs true testimony: a false witness will not willingly detail any circumstances in which his testimony will be open to contradiction, nor multiply them where there is a danger of his being detected by a comparison of them with other accounts, equally circumstantial . . . Therefore, it is, that variety and minuteness of detail are usually regarded as certain test[s] of sincerity, if the story, in the circumstances related, is of a nature capable of easy refutation, if it were false . . . . [False witnesses] are often copious and even profuse in their statements, as far as these may have been previously fabricated, and in relation to the principal matter; but beyond this, all will be reserved and meagre, from fear of detection . . . in the testimony of the true witness there is a visible and striking naturalness of manner, and an unaffected readiness and copiousness in the detail of circumstances, as well in one part of the narrative as another, and evidently without the least regard to the facility or difficulty of verification or detection . . . the increased number of witnesses to circumstances, and the increased number of circumstances themselves, all tend to increase the probability of detection if the witnesses are false . . . Thus the force of circumstantial evidence is found to depend on the number of particulars involved in the narrative; the difficulty of fabricating them all, if false, and the great facility of detection; the nature of the circumstances to be compared, and from which the dates and other facts to are be collected; the intricacy of the comparison; the number of intermediate steps in the process of deduction; and the circuity of the investigation. The more largely the narrative partake[s] of these characteristics, the further it will be found removed from all suspicion of contrivance or design, and the more profoundly the mind will rest in the conviction of its truth. [pp. 39 – 40.]

    11] Procedure: let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances.[p. 42.]

    Here, we supplement: J W Montgomery observes of the NT accounts — and following the McCloskey and Schoenberg framework for detecting perjury — that the modern approach to assessing quality of such testimony focusses on identifying internal and external defects in the testimony and the witness:

    (a) Internal defects in the witness himself refer to any personal characteristics or past history tending to show that the “witness is inherently untrustworthy, unreliable, or undependable.”

    (b) But perhaps the apostolic witnesses suffered from external defects, that is, “motives to falsify”?

    (c) Turning now to the testimony itself, we must ask if the New Testament writings are internally inconsistent or self-contradictory.

    (d) Finally, what about external defects in the testimony itself, i.e., inconsistencies between the New Testament accounts and what we know to be the case from archaeology or extra-biblical historical records?

    –> In each case, the answer is in favour of the quality of the NT, as can be observed here.

    12] The degree of coherence expected of true witnesses: substantial truth, under circumstantial variety. There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them, and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred. [p.34. All cites from The Testimony of the Evangelists (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics, 1995).]

  196. krock @172,

    “Are you for real?”

    Ummm, I suppose this means, ‘Do you actually do what you say you do in China?’ Is that accurate?

    If so the answer is, yes, exactly as I state.

    There are a few Catholics in my classes, they have come from old Catholic Chinese families, and I never mock Christianity, or attack their beliefs, the same holds true for my very few Muslim students.

    The Christians I focus on are the newly evangelised. I try to save them before they fall into the pit of unredeemable rediculousness. So I respect culture and tradition, simply not, ‘store bought’ culture and tradition.

    In addition you should meet these evangilisers, they are a poor advertisement for Chrisitianty. Slack jawed yokals, never travelled, contemptuous of everything Chinese, the very worst to try and save souls for Christ; I loathe these demi-humans. They are regularly expelled from China. Remarkably humanely by the Chinese authorities actually. They treat these people with more respect than they deserve.

    And yes, when the opportunity arrises, as it sometimes does, I dob them in to the authorities. One of these evangilsers was handing out KJVs in Chinese translation to students. I told Ross, he didn’t need to do that as the students have perfectly good copies in the university library, and failing that they can buy one in a book shop. This yokel thought he was Paul, crusading Greece bringing the word. God knows what his flock told him in Idaho, but Bibles are everywhere available, in China, as are Korans.

    The most frequent question I get from students when I talk about the KJV is; “Do they still really belive this?” And to my perpetual shame as a westerner, home of the enlightenment, modern science, and free enquirey, I answer shame facedly; Yes!

    P.S. Thanks for the insults. I always tell my students that in a debate, if your oppoent begins attacking you or your character, you have won; guess I’ve won:)

  197. rvb8

    I’m curious. Do your students know you post on Uncommon Descent, and would you encourage them to browse here, presumably to watch you and other materialists criticize the ID crowd? Wouldn’t your students find it educational to see materialist criticism in action?

  198. rvb8 is a teacher? Where?

  199. rvb8 @ 196…

    Right, you just come to UD to mock and attack people of faith… or any other discussion form you most certianly troll. It is also apparent that you and I hold different meanings regarding the word “disabuse.” Oh I see, you try and save them from their faith? Gee, what a culture warrior you are!

    The sad thing about individuals like yourself is you actually think you’re doing the world a service! But, unfortunately for you, at the end of day the game all goes back in the box!

    Yep, I tend to call out idiots when I come across them! So congratulations, you’ve won something, I guess.

  200. Charles @ 175

    Suppose there were a devout Jew by the name of Jesus in the right place at about the right time.

    That right time would be preconception and prenatal.

    Let’s suppose that he persuaded his mother to give birth to him in 5 B.C. and in Bethlehem and then when he just a few weeks old he persuaded both his mother and father to flee with him to Egypt.

    Really, really clever hoax.

    Only Matthew describes the flight to Egypt to escape the massacre of the Innocents. You would have thought such significant event in Jesus’s early life would have merited at least a mention in the other Gospels.

    Luke tells how “a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered” which led Joseph to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. But as the Wikipedia entry on the Census of Quirinius points out:

    There are major difficulties in accepting Luke’s account: the census in fact took place in AD 6, ten years after Herod’s death in 4 BCE; there was no single census of the entire empire under Augustus; no Roman census required people to travel from their own homes to those of distant ancestors; and the census of Judea would not have affected Joseph and his family, living in Galilee; most scholars have therefore concluded that the author of Luke’s gospel made an error.[5]

    None of this disproves the reported events in Jesus’s early life took place but the various discrepancies and omissions in the Gospels mean that they do not, on their own, stand as compelling evidence for the truth of the claims.

    As for prophecies such as those in Daniel, I ask again, how many are known to have failed compared to those judged to be successful and if there are proven examples of foreknowledge of the future, what does that say about the possibility of free will?

  201. Charles,

    they’re Chinese brought up on state education which teaches evolutionary biology, I’ve explained ID to them and they instantly make the connection to creationism. I’ll direct them here if you want, but they would not understand the passion, or emotions which get brought up here. For them, they don’t understand why abortion is even debated, why evolution is even controversial.

    TWSYF,

    in China, media studies, and western culture (hence Chrisitanity.) In NZ secondary History, and Social Studies.

    KRock,

    as I said I don’t go out of my way to get the evangelicals expelled, they largely do that without my aid, with their littoral reading of the message to proselytize.

    They are not heroes, and most certainly not brave martyrs. In my experience they are all slightly wacky, almost as if getting expelled from China would be a badge of honour in Idaho.

    Their effectiveness is next to zero, as they are seen by the students for what they are, religious fanatics, without the bombs.

    When you come to a foreign country you respect its culture, tradition, history,laws and people. These poor advertisements for faith should never have left their usually, small, midwestern towns.They do not respect the ancient culture they are in, and on too many occasions embarrasingly try to disparage it.

    The Chinese are remarkable people. If someone disses NZ, or the US, or Japan, Korea, Russia etc, these thin skinned peoples take immediate affront. Most of the Chinese I know, shrug it off. As if to say, ‘where will your country be in a hundred years?’

    KRock,

    I know!

  202. 202

    Krock:

    Don’t believe me, just ask Richard Dawkins on how one should deal with those who are religious.

    I don’t ask you to defend everything that Peter Popoff, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swagart, or the Westboro Babist church says. Why should I have defend everything Dawkins says?

  203. 203

    Krock:

    Right, you just come to UD to mock and attack people of faith…

    That’s ridiculous. Why would someone come to a site dedicated to science to ridicule and attack people of faith? It just doesn’t make any sense.

  204. F/N: Dawkins’ mentality: those who disagree with his favoured evo mat ideology and adhere to a creation-based ethical theistic view are ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked. This statement of bigotry he has never withdrawn or apologised for; where it can be readily shown — as above — that evo mat scientism is self-referentially absurd and irretrievably self-falsifying, reducing mindedness to grand delusion, so in part we are dealing with the psychology of projection. The underlying attitude should sound all too familiar above. And, this discussion is revealing as it shows contrasting approaches to matters of fact, evidence, logic and underlying worldview commitments. WJM’s complaint on the woeful state of debate in our time under the impact of evolutionary materialist scientism, its fellow travellers and the trends of agit prop, cultural marxism and media shadow shows, is proving all too apt. Let me add a clip:

    In debate after debate I’m sure we’ve all noticed that some people continually recycle the same statements over and over as if those statements represent something more than emotion-laden rhetoric that hasn’t already been factually and logically refuted or otherwise sufficiently responded to. While this is hardly surprising, what has piqued my interest are discussions involving the election of Donald J. Trump and abortion, I suppose because those subjects carry a great deal of emotional weight for many people. I think the reaction to these subjects reveals something extremely interesting and dangerous to society.

    I’m not just talking about atheists/materialists here, but people in general . . . .

    Similarly, when having a “debate” about abortion, the same emotion-laden polemic is used over and over. Recently, on this blog, some commenters offer supposed “righteous indignation” about how pro-life advocates act (or rather, in their eyes, refuse to act appropriately) in response to what they refer to as a “holocaust” – the mass-murder of the unborn. Others react with emotional, “shaming” and “virtue-signalling” talking points about “reproductive rights” and “patriarchical oppression”. Ignoring the scientific fact that human life is known to begin at conception, they talk about other points of the growth of a human from conception that they personally feel would be better marks for granting human right protections – like where they think the fetus might be self-aware, or feel pain, or upon birth. While birth, unlike the other points, is not a vague marker, it suffers from other, logical problems as far as being the best marker fo application of human rights, rendering it simply an arbitrary point after conception with respect to application of human rights.

    Now, what do these rhetorical responses and positions have in common? They are all based on subjective feelings and arbitrary points of factual reference that support those arbitrary feelings. In other words, it is the personal, subjective feeling that grounds many views, not relevant facts, grounded principles and logical examination . . . .

    If there are no fundamental principles or relevant facts from we all agree to submit to and from which we agree to draw rational conclusions, all one is left with is the whim of subjective feelings and arbitrarily organized references to support those feelings. What that ends up looking like is reliance upon rhetoric, invective, intimidation and, ultimately, violence. It also ends up looking like what we have on this site – a plethora of people utterly incapable of making a rational argument based upon logical inference derived from principle and relevant fact, ending up in self-conflicting absurdities and hypocrisies.

    I’m at a loss at how to begin debating those who have absolutely no understanding of critical reasoning; it’s not like you can educate them in such skill during the debate; they have no idea what you are objecting to. They don’t comprehend arguments based on principle. They think any fact that feels like it supports their view actually helps their argument or actually rebuts the other person’s. They think a comparison of feelings and hypothetical personal reactions is a valid argument. They think mockery and personal insult is a valid form of debate. They think shaming and virtue-signalling is the be-all and end-all of public discourse. They think some ideas should not be discussed and actually think free speech is “hate” speech. IOW, as soon as you argue for Trump, or against abortion, you are automatically beyond the realm of civil discourse and the only appropriate response is shaming and ridiculing.

    It’s bizarre . . .

    In short, we see what reduction to absurdity, backed up by institutional dominance, agit prop and media shadow shows — and don’t you even begin to think that at top level this isn’t all carefully worked out based on the Science of Social Psychology [yes, science is wider than Phys-Chem-Bio, folks] — looks like.

    A Civilisation-spanning march of folly to ruin is already in progress.

    KF

    PS: Regarding general reliability of the NT — which is now being in effect scoffed at without good grounds above — I have found Geldenhuy’s and Bruce’s summary in NBD useful, as I long ago now clipped in my 101 primer on issues and answers.

    Let me clip the relevant section:

    Traditionally, Christians hold that the Bible is “God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17.) Thus, we see the Bible as being the recorded Word of God that breathes out his redemptive, life-transforming, perfect truth, love, moral purity, wisdom, authority, and power.

    Consequently, we understand ourselves and our world in light of the biblical plot-line[11]:

    q God is the eternal, holy, perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, loving Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, who made humanity in his image, to be his stewards of the earth.

    q This stewardship implied the power of choice, thus necessarily the potential for virtue or vice. Unfortunately, our first ancestors chose to walk in their own way, and ever since, each of us has ratified that choice through our own wilfully sinful behaviour — which wreaks havoc on our own selves, other people and the whole earth.

    q So, naturally, all of us are subjects of God’s just anger at sin. However, in love, God made a way for us to be reconciled to himself and so seeks to rescue us from the enslaving and destructive power of sin.

    q To effect this plan, God chose a particular people (the Jews) and joined covenant with them, creating a culture within which he sent his prophets with his words that guided them through times of faithfulness and unfaithfulness, blessing, and judgement, preparing the way for his chosen Messiah — Spirit-empowered deliverer.

    q In due course, that Messiah/Christ was sent by God: Jesus of Nazareth, the unique Son of God. He loved, served, taught, healed and delivered from Satanic bondage. But he was rejected and declared worthy of death (as a blasphemer) by the leaders of his own people, and “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” who — for political expediency — unjustly condemned him to death, having declared Jesus innocent of sedition against Rome.

    q But, in dying on a cross, Jesus bore our sins and brought redemption for us. Then, triumphing over the Devil, he rose from the dead as Lord. In ascending to his Father, he sent out his church into the world under the power of his Spirit, with the Good News that freely brings forgiveness, reconciliation, salvation, healing, wholeness and liberation to all men who will but receive it.

    q So, even now, through the church, the Risen Lord works to fill all things with his grace and glory, creating a foretaste of what shall be in perfect fulness at his Coming.[12] Then, he shall establish his Eternal Kingdom in its fully manifested power and glory, triumphing over all human and demonic rebellion and chaos.

    Few things are as controversial today as these traditional, Bible-based Christian claims!

    Basically, they have been challenged from three directions:

    1.) Some feel that during the centuries of copying by hand from one text to another and due to “inevitable distortions” in the translation process, the original text “must” have been badly distorted or even totally lost. Thus, such people believe that we can have no way of knowing that the Bible’s story line is authentic.

    2.) It is claimed, often by learned Theologians (such as Dominic Crossan and the Jesus Seminar, or Bishop John Spong of New Jersey, and many others) that much of the Bible is simply a collection of pre-scientific myths and pious forgeries, which has to be “demythologized” and “reconstructed” before use. In particular, such thinkers are suspicious of the idea that History, under the Lordship of Christ, is moving along a path from Creation and fall, through redemption and witness to all nations, towards a culmination at the Second Coming.

    3.) Some argue that the Bible is factually inaccurate, that is, it does not square with what we know today about the world in the past — especially in Genesis, in its prophecies, and reports of miracles. That is, they hold that (based on our ability to reconstruct the past through historical, archaeological and scientific investigations) we can discredit and dismiss the Bible’s claims.

    The first challenge is easiest to deal with. Simply put, we have a mountain of ancient textual evidence to the Bible (in both the original languages and ancient translations), which enables us to be reasonably confident that we know what the original text was, in all essential details at all essential points. Moreover, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the original languages, are still understood and studied today, so we can easily check the accuracy of any particular translation. Of the many available good modern English versions, the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, the New King James Version and the New International Version are generally highly respected. (For more details, consult J. McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict, or F.F. Bruce’s The Books and the Parchments.)

    The second is somewhat more technical and not usually relevant to laymen — unless they have been influenced by the claims of the Jesus Seminar or the like. Suffice to say that, for example, the idea that Moses’ books were written in the tenth to sixth centuries BC originally depended upon the assumption that writing had not been invented in Moses’ day; a theory which has long since exploded. Similarly, there is little or no sound reason to conclude that the New Testament documents are pious forgeries dating to the second century. In general, such sceptical scholarly theories are based upon materialistic and evolutionary assumptions that are debatable, or even arbitrary, and which we are by no means compelled by the evidence to accept without question. For details, see J. McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and various articles in The New Bible Dictionary, IVP.

    The third objection is more fundamental. The Bible is full of reports about the supernatural works of a sovereign God, in creation, revelation, salvation, healing, and deliverance. It is often claimed that such reports cannot be true, either because they contradict the scientifically established laws of nature or else known facts about the past.

    Clearly, the issue is not one of proof beyond all doubt or dispute — no such “proofs” exist. Rather, the issue is whether it is intellectually honest or sensible to believe a book making claims such as the above.

    The best place to begin, as always, is with Jesus, his life, death, and claims. Luke, in beginning his Gospel, for instance, claims:

    [S]ince I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you . . . so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. [Luke 1:3, 4; emphasis added.]

    Luke, then, starts out by saying his writings are a carefully researched, accurate and orderly account of the life of Jesus and — taking in the Acts, also addressed to Theophilus — also of the early history of the church; based upon eyewitness testimony and (apparently) records of such testimony. His main aim was to provide warrant for Christian faith, and he argued that an accurate, orderly account of what happened to Jesus and his followers would be quite sufficient.

    This is a claim to be writing objective history, and within the lifetime of eyewitnesses. If these claims are false, “Luke” is out and out guilty of fraud, however pious.

    But Luke is open to checking, as he tosses out names, dates, and places with abandon, even (in the “we” passages in Acts) implying that he was himself present as a participant in some of the events he records. So, if he were, say, a second century forger, he would be likely indeed to get the facts wrong.

    At one stage this was commonly felt to be so, “but it is generally admitted by scholars today that the author’s historical accuracy has been vindicated.” [J. N. Geldenhuys, “Luke, Gospel of,” New Bible Dictionary, IVP, 1976, p. 757.] F.F. Bruce adds: “The historical trustworthiness of Luke’s account has been amply confirmed by archaeological discovery. While he has apologetic and theological interests [mostly, to commend the Christian faith to the Romans as not being a security threat and as being based on a true understanding of God’s intervention into human history in the person and work of Jesus], these do not detract from this detailed accuracy.” [“Acts, Book of the,” NBD, p. 11. Parenthetical summary added.] For instance, it has been pointed out that his account of Paul’s voyage and shipwreck in Acts 27 provides one of the best accounts of ancient seafaring. Indeed, the course of the voyage, the weather systems that led to the shipwreck and its likely location can be reconstructed from the account!

    This pattern of confirmed accuracy is vital when we turn to the main line of the account. For, accuracy, as has been often said, is a habit — as are carelessness and deceitfulness. And, Luke’s main plot-line (while tossing out abundant and well authenticated incidental references to life in First Century Palestine and the wider Mediterranean) weaves momentous claims into the basic fabric of the times: the birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus and the origin and progress of a church which testified to these things, did similar miracles, and could not be stopped, not even by force. Indeed, the claim that the Church’s opponents had to resort to force, even within walking-distance of Jesus’ now empty tomb, is itself significant.

    Luke contends that all of this is fact, carefully researched and orderly presented fact. If he was wrong, surely the church’s opponents would have been able to ram his false or inaccurate claims back down his throat, followed by copious helpings of crow!

    Instead, we read of Paul, challenged by Festus: “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane!” His reply: “I am not insane, most excellent Festus . . . What I am saying is true and reasonable. The King [Agrippa] is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:25, 26.)

    Here we see Paul, before his accusers, preaching to his judges, and appealing to their knowledge of the well-known facts. To my mind, this is plainly not consistent with the idea that the reports are mere tall tales, pious forgeries made up long after the eyewitnesses had died out. Moreover, five hundred people simply do not suffer the same hallucination at the same time, nor are hallucinations able to confer miraculous powers, or utterly change murderous persecutors into bold missionaries, as Luke records. Tellingly, Luke claims that the church’s opponents could not deny the life-transforming impact of the gospel, especially the powerful miracles wrought in the name of Jesus.[13] (Cf. Acts 4:14: “since they could see the [formerly crippled] man who had been healed standing . . . there was nothing they could say.”)

    We, then, must make up our minds as to whether we can accept Luke’s record. If we reject it, we must know why — and why we do so in the teeth of his demonstrated, detailed historical reliability. (We hardly need to detain ourselves with the circular argument that miracles are “impossible” because they violate “exceptionless laws of nature.” For, why should it be “impossible” for the All-Powerful, All-Wise Creator of the cosmos to sometimes act beyond the usual course of nature as we — all too fallibly — perceive it?)

    If, on the other hand, we accept the Lukan claim, it implies that the New Testament is the authentic record of Jesus, his life, teachings, claims death and resurrection, and of the church that bore witness to him. In turn, this validates the Old Testament record of how God acted into the flow of history to prepare the way for just such a Saviour as Jesus of Nazareth. [Cf. 2 Peter 1:1- 3:18, esp. 1:12 – 2:3, & 3:1 -18.]

    If it is credible at all, the Bible is the Word of God. The choice, with its implications and consequences, is ours.

    –> What is so highly revealing above, is the spurious, superficial and cavalier grounds on which hyperskeptics above dismiss what is well authenticated, the better to put up notions they seem to have distilled from the sort of talking points one sees on YouTube, or History Channel or the like.

    –> We are not seeing sober, responsible discussion, which would have to start with Ramsey’s now classic discussion of Paul as an authentic Roman Traveller and Citizen then would have to come forward through the past century that has further backed up his conclusions from 100 years ago now.

    –> That’s why Craig Evans spoke as he did in his Benthal Public Lecture, and it is why Stroebel put together the vid in the OP.

    –> Notice, not one of the hyperskeptical objectors has taken time to address that video substantially, or for that matter to seriously address the issues and substance presented above. Nonsense about dismissing how a term readily refers to heptades does not count.

  205. F/N2: This thread is not directly about natural science themes, it is about underlying comparative difficulties discussion and attitudes to fact, logic and controlling, often ideologically loaded assumptions. The likes of certain hyperskeptical objectors are not to be found when say the mathematics of infinite traverse are on the table, or implications of configuration spaces and linked statistical thermodynamics, or info theory, or the like are being seriously addressed. But they can be drawn out when their favourite whipping boy is brought out, as we see above. And we can then address how they deal with evidence, logic and worldviews issues. Those patterns are typically extremely habitual, it is hard to hide that one has become used to long chains of closely involved reasoning involving careful weighing of evidence and foundations of arguments. It is also hard to hide if one is used to assessing worldviews level issues on comparative difficulties. The contrasting supercilious mentality of dismissive talking points, empty emotive appeals, general carelessness over evidence, and disregard to weighty truth or dynamical consequences for a community if certain mentalities or habits of behaviour are let loose will also be hard to hide. The summing up is, this is the Scientifically manipulated and propagandised generation, from consumer habits to education (too often, a misnomer) to ideological and worldview stances. That is why something so blatantly self-refuting as evo mat scientism can exert the sort of dominance we see. It would be laughable, if the consequences were not so ruinous. KF

  206. F/N3: Here is a summary of Social Psychology:

    Social Psychology

    by By Saul McLeod published 2007

    Social psychology is about understanding individual behavior in a social context.

    Baron, Byrne & Suls (1989) define social psychology as ….

    ‘the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations’ (p. 6).

    It therefore looks at human behavior as influenced by other people and the social context in which this occurs.

    Social psychologists therefore deal with the factors that lead us to behave in a given way in the presence of others, and look at the conditions under which certain behavior/actions and feelings occur. Social psychology is to do with the way these feelings, thoughts, beliefs, intentions and goals are constructed and how such psychological factors, in turn, influence our interactions with others.

    Topics examined in social psychology include: the self concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes and stereotypes.

    Here is a significant further point:

    Cognitive Dissonance

    by By Saul McLeod published 2008, updated 2014

    Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc.
    For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition).

    Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).

    attitude change cognitive dissonance cartoon

    Attitudes may change because of factors within the person. An important factor here is the principle of cognitive consistency, the focus of Festinger’s (1957) theory of cognitive dissonance. This theory starts from the idea that we seek consistency in our beliefs and attitudes in any situation where two cognitions are inconsistent.

    Leon Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior.

    According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement).

    A lot of agit prop and media shadow show games pivot on manipulating this, especially through the power of turnabout projection: attributing a locus of blame to the negatively perceived other that then stabilises one’s “defence.” The trick here, is that this then warps ability to perceive the truth.

    For example, predictably, the Dawkins mentality will be used to project cognitive defects to adherents of ethical theism, rather than taking time to ponder the self-referential incoherence of the evo mat scientism being dressed up in the holy lab coat and genuflected to. (In current political discourse, notice the focus on belittling Mr Trump: he has orange skin and a comb-over, his wife was a high class whore, he is of dubious mental level and stability, etc. Those who adhere to a sanctity of life ethic and advocate protecting life as the first, gateway right, are haters of women and their “rights” to “their own bodies” [the unborn children half the time are not even the same sex], and of course, we here at UD are ID-iots and hypocritical Creationists pretending to a scientific cover for a Christofascist, right wing theocratic agenda, and more. It never dawns on such that design thought historically derives from that Right-wing, Bible thumping fundy nut, Plato; or, that Fascism is an ideology of the politically messianistic, statist LEFT, or that the design inference is rooted in inductive logic and particularly abductive inference to the best current explanation, or that scientific reasoning runs on that basis, and more. So, the so-called unscientific foci that pop up at UD are in fact responsive to the agit-prop talking points of the objectors as seen in the wild for years on end.)

    The challenge is to set such aside and wake up to the issues of fact, linked justifying evidence and reasoning [do you understand deductive, inductive and abductive forms?], as well as worldview level considerations and comparative difficulties.

    A sober assessment will then address whether one has sufficient depth and breadth to form and hold an independent view, or whether one is dependent on the herd one identifies with and its shepherds.

    Then, ask: are these genuine shepherds, or are they wolves in shepherd’s clothing?

    If you need help with de-programming, I would start here (as I did 30 years ago in exposing cults and agit-prop agendas alike:

    2 Cor 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,[a] we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice[b] cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[c] for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [ESV]

    KF

  207. @Armand Jacks

    “That’s ridiculous. Why would someone come to a site dedicated to science to ridicule and attack people of faith? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

    I’ll just assume this is purley sarcasm!

  208. @ rvb8 #201

    No, you said you don’t disabuse your students, then in the same breath, proceeded to tell everyone on here how proud you were for reconverting some of them. I called you out on it because you made yourself look like an idiot, and in this case, I’ll add liar.

    I’m also not interested in your sentimental feelings regarding Chinese culture and how they view Christianity.

  209. @Armand Jacks

    I never asksd you to defend what Richard Dawkins has said?

  210. Seversky @ 200

    Only Matthew describes the flight to Egypt to escape the massacre of the Innocents. You would have thought such significant event in Jesus’s early life would have merited at least a mention in the other Gospels.

    You have entirely missed the point. Matthew not only describes the flight to Egypt, Matthew cites the Old Testament prophecies of Micah, Hosea and Jeremiah which Jesus fulfilled at birth:

    Mat 2:1-6 NASB Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'”

    Luk 2:4-7 NASB Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

    Joh 7:42 NASB “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

    from:

    Mic 5:2 NASB “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”

    and:

    Mat 2:14-15 NASB So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.”

    from:

    Hos 11:1 NASB When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

    and:

    Mat 2:16-18 NASB Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.”

    from

    Jer 31:15 NASB Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

    and:

    Mat 2:19-20 NASB 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20 “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.”

    as previously noted @ 65, Herod the Great had in March of 4 B.C. just before Passover as confirmed by the dates of coins of his heirs Antipas and Philip. Consequently, Jesus was born earlier. Since Jesus was “about 30” when he was baptized in A.D. 26, his birth would be in 5 B.C.

    The point of the foregoing being, as you postulate @ 174 for a “devout Jew by the name of Jesus in the right place at about the right time.” to pose as Messiah after the fact of prophecy having been issued, necessitates that he somehow persuaded his parents to plan to give birth to him in Bethlehem, and then flee to Egypt prior to Herod’s death.

    Or will you now seriously argue his parents were in on the hoax.

    You would have thought such significant event in Jesus’s early life would have merited at least a mention in the other Gospels.

    You might think so, but then if they had, you’d accuse them of collaborating on their testimony.

    As for prophecies such as those in Daniel, I ask again, how many are known to have failed compared to those judged to be successful and if there are proven examples of foreknowledge of the future, what does that say about the possibility of free will?

    I know of no “failed prophecies”, only as yet unfulfilled prophecies, such as Daniel’s 70th week.

    God’s foreknowledge is not an imposition of His will, rather it is His knowing in advance what we have chosen with our own freewill. I have no explanation of how God can know in advance what we ourselves haven’t yet decided. I readily admit many people assume the only way God can know what we will do is if He forces us to do whatever He plans and somehow makes us think it was our own choice. That is a very “human” explanation that ignores God being the creator of everything, space, matter, energy and time, and that God is outside of time. But how His being “outside of time” allows Him to know what we haven’t decided yet, I don’t know. But the evidence is that He knows, and that we freely choose.

    I’ll come back to Luke’s account of the census in a future post.

  211. KF,
    From the British news media:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....cared-say/

  212. D, acknowledged for the moment. KF

  213. 213

    Krock:

    I’ll just assume this is purley sarcasm!

    A bit of sarcasm. A bit of ridicule. But I do find it amusing that a site deticated to the science of ID spends so much time talking about religion.

  214. From 205:

    >>This thread is not directly about natural science themes, it is about underlying comparative difficulties discussion and attitudes to fact, logic and controlling, often ideologically loaded assumptions. The likes of certain hyperskeptical objectors are not to be found when say the mathematics of infinite traverse are on the table, or implications of configuration spaces and linked statistical thermodynamics, or info theory, or the like are being seriously addressed. But they can be drawn out when their favourite whipping boy is brought out, as we see above. And we can then address how they deal with evidence, logic and worldviews issues. Those patterns are typically extremely habitual, it is hard to hide that one has become used to long chains of closely involved reasoning involving careful weighing of evidence and foundations of arguments. It is also hard to hide if one is used to assessing worldviews level issues on comparative difficulties. The contrasting supercilious mentality of dismissive talking points, empty emotive appeals, general carelessness over evidence, and disregard to weighty truth or dynamical consequences for a community if certain mentalities or habits of behaviour are let loose will also be hard to hide. The summing up is, this is the Scientifically manipulated and propagandised generation, from consumer habits to education (too often, a misnomer) to ideological and worldview stances. That is why something so blatantly self-refuting as evo mat scientism can exert the sort of dominance we see. It would be laughable, if the consequences were not so ruinous.>>

    –> When we see stubborn, hyperskeptical resistance to evidence of design, the sort of backdrop yhis thread provides should help us understand why.

    KF

  215. 215

    KF:

    When we see stubborn, hyperskeptical resistance to evidence of design, the sort of backdrop yhis thread provides should help us understand why.

    When you start presenting evidence of design in nature, please let me know. I would hate to miss it.

  216. KRock,

    a faith that has been in the family at least since 1800s, and has survived Mao’s purges deserves and gets my respect, if not overt support; this is the very small, Chinese Catholic community.

    A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists is something I disabuse these new converts of. I explain that their new faith denies much of modern science including evolution and many times, global warming, the probable commonality of life in the universe, and is often anti-vaccine.

    Upon hearing my disclosure these new converts are generally surprised as the evangelists realise this is a touchy topic in China (they have a remarkably good science approach). My students then go back and ask these dificult questions of the evangelists, finally get an honest answer, and leave disillusioned; it’s that simple.

    So, you’re not interested in my ‘sentimental’ view of the Chinese culture. It’s not sentimental, it’s based upon the awe of its longevity, it’s based on my amazement at how it can absorb invaders, (the Ming Dynasty), of its cultural, (and sorry to Kairos), scietific contributions to humanity. Its, art, architecture, the way it dominated its region for centuries with no comparable competitor, and many other reasons.

    This is not sentimentality, it is well placed respect. I assume you have a sentimental respect for the ignorant evangilisers plaguing China at the moment.Now that is truly sentimental, and very misplaced, they areunsavoury characters, to a man, and woman.

  217. F/N: Just for balance, the breakout and rapid growth of the Christian faith in China began during the era when overseas missionaries were locked out. It is the Chinese church which has set out on its own Back to Jerusalem missionary vision (which dates to the 1920’s . . . ), and which is apparently one of the fastest growing churches in the world. KF

  218. KF @212:
    RE: 211

    Yes, it was just FYI and for your active readers too.

    I see Charles and you are keeping a busy discussion thread here.

  219. FFT6B: At 178 above, we looked at a key question for comparative difficulties analysis:

    What sort of world do we have to live in for there to be creatures like us?

    This surfaces a key issue, that two truths x and y must be such that we never have y = NOT-x; that is in a coherent world all true statements — those that accurately describe facets of reality — will be mutually compatible. I note this, fully recognising that for many, this is actually quite a difficult point today; as, various ideologies have led to a conflation of truth with perception or opinion. Hence, a conversation I had today that turned on the concept, “my truth.” Language decay is an old problem, and Orwell pointed out what could be done through new-speak and double-talk. How many are two plus two, Mr Smith?

    My answer was and is, that we already have perfectly adequate words for opinions and perceptions; so, there is no need to corrupt the meaning of the precious or even vital word, truth. The truth — as Ari noted long ago in Metaphysics 1011b — says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not.

    This in turn brings us to the question of being and non-being, of possible and impossible being, of contingent and necessary being. Thus, of causal roots of the world, of reality. And it points to the issue of possible worlds: comprehensive enough descriptions of how things could be or are.

    Impossible beings such as a square circle cannot exist in any possible world. As, core characteristics stand in mutual contradiction and cannot hold of the same thing, X, under the same circumstances. Here, squarishness and circularity.

    By contrast, possible beings could exist in at least one possible world. Contingent ones would not do so in all possible worlds but would exist in at least one. I think, in 100 years there will be unicorns, as biotech will be there and people will be willing to pay to have one. Just as we seem to be seeing ever more miniature sized horses already.

    Necessary beings must exist in any possible world, as they are frameworking requisites of a world existing. For instance, two-ness or distinct identity (equivalent) must be there for a distinct world to be. This is non-trivial, as distinct identity has three immediate corollaries: Law of Identity, Law of Excluded Middle, Law of Non-Contradiction.

    That is, core logic is built into any possible world; including of course the logic of structure and quantity, i.e. mathematical realities. (NB: We already see here, a key reason for the awesome power of Mathematics in our world and especially in scientific work. [So much for the sneer that this thread has little or no relevance to Science.])

    Back to us, as being able to significantly freely discuss our concerns responsibly and rationally, and having an inner compass-sense that insistently points to the truth and the right — conscience.

    What sort of world must this be to allow such. and what must be in its frameworking structure?

    First, we already saw that the denial of responsible, rational, significant freedom lets grand delusion loose and instantly ends in absurdity. Self-evidently, this is a world in which responsibly rational and significantly free, morally governed creatures are possible and in fact actual.

    That’s already a huge result and it sweeps away all worldviews — their name is legion — that are incompatible with such creatures. This of course includes evolutionary materialistic scientism, its fellow travellers, radical subjectivism and radical relativism. (Cf. the chain of comments here on, above.)

    Next, we face the implication of the IS-OUGHT gap, on many levels. A world with moral government has to be such that OUGHT is well-rooted in the fabric and framework of reality. Post Hume et al and post Euthyphro et al, that can only be in the very root of reality, i.e. there must be a necessary being that so fuses IS-ness and OUGHT-ness, that they are inextricably entangled in the roots of reality.

    What sort of being is capable of such?

    The answer is utterly challenging, and I have long thought it is best posed in light of comparative difficulties and worldview level inference to the best candidate explanation.

    We need to look at serious candidates (as opposed to something like a flying spaghetti monster, which will not be a necessary being — made up from bits and pieces, i.e. composite.)

    There is just one serious candidate, after centuries of debate: the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature (thus, the law of our nature).

    This is not an arbitrary imposition, if you doubt, simply put up a viable alternative: ________ (this is after all comparative difficulties analysis).

    Prediction: hard to do.

    This also has a further highly relevant implication. For a serious candidate necessary being will either be impossible as a square circle is, or else it will be possible thus would exist in at least one world. And, as it would be a frameworking reality, it would be present in every possible world, including our own — an actual world. (And yes, I am not saying THE actual world.)

    The God of ethical theism as described, is a serious candidate [e.g. NB’s have no beginning or end, are eternal]. This means that God is either impossible as a square circle is impossible, or he is actual. And decades ago, the problem of evils used to be trotted out to make that argument, but that option is effectively dead post-Plantinga and in fact post Boethius.

    Then, too, if one claims to be an atheist or agnostic, s/he implies knowing good reason to doubt or dismiss the God of ethical theism as impossible even as a square circle is impossible. It would be interesting to hear what such a reason is: _______ (esp. post, problem of evils as a serious view as opposed to a handy piece of intimidatory rhetoric).

    So, now, we are at a very important threshold, the God of ethical theism is on the table as a serious candidate necessary being, root of reality that grounds a world in which responsibly and rationally free creatures such as ourselves are possible and indeed actual.

    That is a momentous turning-point, and it would be interesting to see if we will hear of the viable alternatives, including reasons why such a God is an impossible being.

    More later, DV.

    KF

  220. D, yup, and you will see the stage of argument in FFT6B just above. I wonder what our well-informed skeptical interlocutors will put up as alternatives? Especially, noting that THERE IS NO DESIGN INFERENCE in the argument to date, i.e. the design inference as such is demonstrably not an inherent, inextricable part of an argument to God as root of reality. Where, note, the case I am arguing here is not based in Scripture though it is compatible with it — truths will be compatible the one with the other. And of course, contrary to the talking points I heard today, the God of ethical theism is not automatically the devil, the author of evils and confusions. KF

  221. KF,

    It seems like many anonymous onlookers are visiting your discussion thread. The politely dissenting interlocutors just serve as instruments to keep the discussion going. In that sense they’re helpful too, though unwittingly.
    Yes, God is the root of the ultimate reality.

  222. F/N: Just to be provocative, if one has in hand so to speak, what is a credible communication from an inherently good creator God worthy of our loyalty, should not one be inclined to regard such as a trustworthy source of truth, absent clearly decisive evidence to the contrary? Would it then not be reasonable to have some evidence such as fulfilled prophecy — as in the God who can prophesy knows and is in control of the future — and a witnessed resurrection from death as fulfillment, as a plumbline test? (In which context, this and this vs this may be quite relevant.) Is this what is pivotal to the exchange above with Charles? KF

  223. F/N2: one of the interesting examples of selective hyperskepticism we often encounter is the “no evidence” rhetorical gambit so often resorted to by objectors; which gives them a false sense of superiority relative to those they seem to view as credulous. They need to instead take time to learn how the logic of induction works, especially inference to the best current empirically grounded explanation. Likewise, they need to recognise that a dismissive opinion or talking point on their part does not constitute want of evidence or cogent argument on ours — indeed . . . given a world full of evidence that has been adduced thousands of times just in this blog . . . it most likely indicates the fallacy of the closed, hostile, ideologically indoctrinated question-begging mind on their part. As in, a comment like this above is a real clanger:

    “When you start presenting evidence of design in nature, please let me know. I would hate to miss it.”

    Where, for instance what we are looking at includes coded text in copious quantities in the living cell, and a cosmos fine tuned in dozens of ways that facilitates just such C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life.

    KF

    PS: I clip a comment just made to an objector in another thread:

    We have a trillion-member observational base on the known cause of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information. Uniformly it is intelligently directed configuration.

    We have precisely zero cases of origin of FSCO/I beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold by any pattern of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. (For instance, random document generation tests are a factor of 10^100 or so short of the lower end of that range, insofar as config space scale is concerned. And this brings up the underlying analysis of blind search challenge in large spaces of possibilities, which at the threshold overwhelm sol system scale to observed cosmos scale resources, reducing possible scope of blind search based on atomic resources, to a fraction negligibly different from zero.)

    In this context, the deep past of origins is unobservable, we are forced to investigate by examining traces and inferring the best current empirically warranted explanation. For such, Newton aptly counselled that we should infer based on factors shown to cause the like effects in the here and now. For reasons of anchoring explanation to empirical reality rather than what could easily become ideologically loaded speculative hypothesising.

    What has happened is that the FSCO/I rich traces of origins would point one way, the demands of evolutionary materialist ideology push in another direction. And today’s dominant elites prefer that self-refuting, self-falsifying system to a responsible inference on prudent principles of induction.

  224. @ rvb8 #216

    Unfortunately you’ve lost all credibility with me and now you’re simply trying to save face. The very least you could do is own the fact you had no idea what the word “disabuse” actually meant until I called you out on it!

    Are you talking about the same culture that sought to wipe out the Christian faith entirely only to have it re-merge stronger than ever? Or is it the one that murdered thousands upon thousands of its own people? Yes, when man is the measure of all things, great things truly do happen don’t they.

    Oh, and playing word scrabble really doesn’t make you sound very intelligent; if anything, its making you sound like a wannabe! And that’s not my personal sentiment either, that’s based on—we’ll say—the longevity of you posting here at UD.

    Ooops, I just dropped the mic….!

    Cheers

  225. @ Armand Jacks #213

    Why can’t science and religion co-exist? There’s a lot more to this world than just science!

  226. 226

    Krock:

    Why can’t science and religion co-exist?

    I didn’t say they couldn’t. I am not the one who tries to distance ID from religion and then spends so much time on religion.

  227. 227

    Dionisio:

    It seems like many anonymous onlookers are visiting your discussion thread.

    As opposed to non-anonymous onlookers like Dionisio, KairosFocus, Krock, etc?

  228. KRock, re jdk… and a snitch and proud of it.

  229. KF, I bet rvb8 accidentally proselytizes his students, turning them towards investigating Christianity. On the basis that any religion rvb8 expresses so much animus towards must have something pretty special going for it. Here he is, making his living teaching the glorious achievements of Christian culture, and expressing contempt from it… ! And they say we’re inscrutable..

  230. axel writes, “KRock, re jdk… and a snitch and proud of it.”

    What in the world are you talking about? I think you have me confused with someone else.

  231. Axel,

    Whisper, whisper, whisper, behind the bikesheds;
    “Hey!’KF, I bet rvb8…’, lies to children,steals lunch money, eats dog doings, talks to himself etc'”:)

    Not really, I merely disabuse new Chinese Protestant Christians of their faith, and am quite good at it.

    As I said, the old Catholic Families I admire, as I do my old Muslim student’s families, and Buddhist student’s families. They have grown up in their faith and have clear cultural links with it, and their home town’s various histories.

    As I further said the evangelicals sent here, largely by the UK, and US, are not pleasnat people, down right ignorent of all they behold, belittle it, and are generally objectionable.

    KRock,

    China actually murdered millions of its own people, but hey, they’re only human. And your culture?

    I loath this government, and would never excuse any of its many barbarities, but my students? Now that is something different. If I can prevent them from becoming evangelical by simple converstions, I do, failing that I leave them alone.

    Oh, and one more thing, the two Japanes, two Russian, one English, two American, one Australian, and one Ukrainian teacher all do the same. And further, the Ukranian and Russians are good friends. They’re not bound by the shackles of religion you see. Although, they would, if they had any, share the same faith.

    You say I have pretensions at intellect. No! In my experience, it is uneducated Pastors leading drooling followers, that desperately seek respect in filling the void of a lack of academic rigour, through pretensions in poor writng.

  232. F/N: Rummel on democide in China, here (it is worth the while to read the whole utterly sobering thing).

    After speaking to warlordism and chaos, he highlights the mass murders of the Nationalists. Then, he turns to the current masters of China:

    Up to October 1, 1949, when Mao Tse-tung officially proclaimed the Peoples Republic of China, the communists killed from 1,838,000 to 11,692,000 people, most likely some 3,466,000. This is about one-third the democide of the Nationalists. The communists usually controlled a much smaller population. But also, they treated their soldiers much better, the process of conscription was not a death trap, and officials and officers were far less corrupt and undisciplined. Thus, the population was less subject to the arbitrary killing by the communists; what killing did take place was often part of a program or campaign mapped out in advance. Even in newly conquered areas, when peasants spontaneously would take matters into their own hands, round up some hated local bullies or former officials and beat them to death, it generally was within the communist scheme. Otherwise, the party’s Central Committee would have made reference to communist goals while instructing cadre to prevent such “anti-social action.”

    Once control over all of China was won and consolidated, and the proper party machinery and instruments of control were generally in place, the communists launched numerous movements to systematically destroy the traditional Chinese social and political system and replace it with a totally socialist, top to bottom “dictatorship of the proletariat.” . . . .

    Now, beginning in 1950, carefully and nationally organized movement after movement rapidly followed each other: Land Reform, Suppressing Anti-communist Guerrillas, New Marriage system, Religious Reform, Democratic Reform, Suppressing Counterrevolutionaries, Anti-Rightist Struggle, Suppressing the “Five Black Categories,” etc. Each of these was a step towards the final communization of China; each was bloody. Self-consciously bloody. Witness what Mao himself had to say in a speech to party cadre in 1958:

    What’s so unusual about Emperor Shih Huang of the Chin Dynasty? He had buried alive 460 scholars only, but we have buried alive 46,000 scholars. In the course of our repression of counter-revolutionary elements, haven’t we put to death a number of the counter-revolutionary scholars? I had an argument with the democratic personages. They say we are behaving worse than Emperor Shih Huang of the Chin Dynasty. That’s definitely not correct. We are 100 times ahead of Emperor Shih of the Chin Dynasty in repression of counter-revolutionary scholars.8

    Only when these movements and especially the final, total collectivization of the peasants and “Great Leap Forward” destroyed the agricultural system, causing the world’s greatest recorded famine–27,000,000 starved too death9–did the communist begin to draw back from or slacken their drives. Shortly after this famine, in the mid-1960s, an intra-party civil war erupted between Mao Tse-tung and his followers, who wanted to continue the mass-based revolution, and a more moderate, pragmatically oriented faction. This “cultural revolution” probably cost 1,613,000 lives. Mao won, but only temporarily. With his death soon after, the pragmatists and “capitalist roaders” regained power and launched China in a more open, economically experimental direction; even, until the Tianamen Square demonstrations and subsequent massacres of 1989, on a more liberal path . . . . Finally controlling a unified China, finally able to put into effect for the whole nation their principles and plans, finally able to discard any tactical considerations about public opinion, peasant support, or encouraging volunteers for the militia and army, the communists could create their utopia. In this they utterly failed, as did the communists in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. But the people paid the price for these greatest of social experiments. Since 1949 the Chinese communists killed from 5,999,000 to 102,671,000 people; a prudent estimate is 35,236,000. When added to the number they murdered in previous years, the communists likely killed 38,702,000 Chinese, Tibetans, and other minorities . . .

    That is his old, low estimate for the Communists.

    Subsequently, he has noted:

    Two books have had a big impact on my evaluation of Mao’s rise to absolute power and his rule over China. One is Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, and the other is Mao: the Unknown Story that she wrote with her husband, Jon Halliday. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin . . . . From the time I wrote my book on China’s Bloody Century (1991–here), I have held to these democide totals for Mao:

    Civil War-Sino-Japanese War 1923-1949 = 3,466,000 murdered
    Rule over China (PRC) 1949-1987 = 35,236,000 murdered

    However, some other scholars and researchers had put the PRC total in from 60,000,000 to a high 70,000,000. When I’ve been asked why my total is so low by comparison, I’ve responded that I did not include the China’s Great Famine 1958-1961 [As, he did not think it an intentional mass killing, more of an experiment gone horribly wrong and stopped it seemed as soon as possible once the impact was understood] . . . .

    Others, however, have so counted it, but I thought this was a sloppy application of the concepts of mass murder, genocide, or politicide (virtually no one used the concept of democide). They were right and I was wrong.

    From the biography of Mao, which I trust (for those who might question it, look at the hundreds of interviews Chang and Halliday conducted with communist cadre and former high officials, and the extensive bibliography) I can now say that yes, Mao’s policies caused the famine. He knew about it from the beginning. He didn’t care! Literally.

    Indeed, wanted to take even more food from the mouths of his starving people in order to increase his export of food. It was all he had to export and he was after power. He was dead set on becoming the head of the international communist movement, and in making China a superpower. He thought he could rule the world. In order to do so, he exported vast quantities of food to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Third World countries that he was trying to control. Ironically, some communist rulers knew about his famine and thus declined his food, since hey had more to feed their people than he did. With the Soviet Union, he was using food as a quid pro quo for weapons and weapon factories.

    Those in the top circle of the CCP tried to alleviate the famine. They were arrested, some tortured, some executed or allowed to die horribly. Even in 1961, he wanted to INCREASE the amount of food taken from the people. But, at great risk to himself, Liu Shao-ch’i (President of the PRC and second in power) ambushed Mao at a CCP conference of 7,000, which agreed with Liu to alleviate the famine. Mao could not forgive Liu and the others, and because he believed he was thus losing control of the CCP, he launched a purge in 1965 called the Cultural Revolution to overthrow the CCP and replace it with the military. About 100,000,000 people were persecuted, and around 3,000,000 were murdered.

    So, the famine was intentional. What was its human cost? I had estimated that 27,000,000 Chinese starved to death or died from associated diseases. Others estimated the toll to be as high as 40,000,000. Chang and Halliday put it at 38,000,000, and given their sources, I will accept that.

    Now, I have to change all the world democide totals that populate my websites, blogs, and publications. The total for the communist democide before and after Mao took over the mainland is thus 3,446,000 + 35,226,000 + 38,000,000 = 76,692,000, or to round off, 77,000,000 murdered.

    This exceeds the 61,911,000 murdered by the Soviet Union 1917-1987, with Hitler far behind at 20,946,000 wiped out 1933-1945.

    For perspective on Mao’s most bloody rule, all wars 1900-1987 cost in combat dead 34,021,000 — including WWI and II, Vietnam, Korea, and the Mexican and Russian Revolutions. Mao alone murdered over twice as many as were killed in combat in all these wars . . .

    This does not count those aborted and killed through the one child per family policy, of course. That, I have to assume, lies somewhere in the Guttmacher-UN figures behind my deliberately conservative estimate, 800+ millions in 40+ years.

    This background gives saddening, sobering perspective to the attitude of some objectors to our terming this global killing of posterity, a holocaust.

    Evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers undermine moral governance and damage our moral compass.

    Demonstrably.

    I trust this corrective will give enough counterweight to help restore a due balance to that ever so vital compass.

    And, in that context, I find it almost amusing, but then on second thought saddeningly highly significant to see the clearly studied silence so far in response to FFT 6B, at 219 above. (Drooling parsons and whatnot, I suppose.)

    Signal injection and response analysis, on steroids.

    KF

    PS: One of my neighbours was a Nationalist soldier who had fled to Jamaica, and had become a businessman, raising a good sized family. He kept his M1 Garand ready for action. Others were the parents of class-mates and I recall one clash between a student finally driven too far and a radical-chic teacher. He stood up (astonishingly red in the face) and spoke to how, if his family were utterly stripped of resources and driven out into exile again, they would be able to build themselves up again. He was one of those quiet students who seldom spoke. I suspect much the same did happen, as the socialist follies of the 1970’s drove out many; especially to Canada. I suppose maybe 500 – 1200 dead in a mini civil war [depends on what you count, why, e.g. the Eventide Home fire] does not even budge the global democide meter, but it was enough that my native land is now more or less permanently destabilised. Of course, much the same follies are now playing out in Venezuela, to the almost studied silence of the major media houses, who are utterly lacking in curiosity and investigative vigour as to why and how behind the very occasional news items that things are bad there. Both our regional news and the major mainstream news. All of this, of course, tells us much about their shadow-show games and cartoonish vilifying of those they now so obviously fear, loathe and in some cases seem to outright hate.

  233. Kairos,

    thank you or explaining to me what I already know. However the 18-23 y.o students I know are less clear on this history and I do not hold, ‘Enlightenment for Chinese Youth Classes 101.’ I wouldn’t last long if I did, and I fail to see what possible good this would accomplish, save offending so many indoctrinated.

    It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith. But with fists in ears, eyes wide shut, and odd sounds coming from the throat, little gets through.

    I can however attack silliness before it takes root, and that is what I do, not evangelically, but when the rare opportunities arise.

    Pleae don’t give me patronising histories on China, you embarass yourself with your cut and paste aproach.

    Just a guess, you and KRock aren’t travellers are you? I could be wrong but I doubt it.

  234. FFT6C: It is worth noting the unresponsiveness to 219 and 178 above, especially at the points where objectors were directly invited to put up alternatives.

    We can take it to the bank that UD is obsessively monitored by denizens of a penumbra of hostile sites. Denizens, more than willing to pounce when they see opportunity.

    In short, the above blanks left unanswered speak to yet another hovering ghost or three in the room.

    Here, first, the point that there is no necessary appeal to design inferences and debates to build a case for ethical theism adequate to ground commitment to such.

    Second, that the atheistical objectors and their fellow travellers have no cogent answer to the need for a necessary being root to reality, nor to the point that the God of ethical theism is a serious candidate to be such (by utter contrast with the cartoonish flying spaghetti monster etc), nor to the onward point that such a serious candidate will be either ontologically impossible [as a square circle is impossible] or else will be actual.

    Third, they have no cogent answer to the significance of the point that just to have a real discussion, we must implicitly accept that we are responsible, reasonable, significantly free and intelligent beings under moral government. Not least, conscience is the compass within pointing to the truth, the right and our duties of care towards such. Undermining this dimension of conscious mindedness by implying it is delusional lets grand delusion loose in our minds, ending in shipwreck.

    So, we can see that the evo mat scientism picture of the world falls apart, and that there is no need to go out of our way to accommodate it. It is self-referentially incoherent and so self-falsifying.

    Nor, should we yield to the trend to corrupt the concept, truth. (That, too, is part of the benumbing and warping of conscience, as say Orwell brought out so forcefully in his 1984.)

    The astute onlooker will also note that we have had a worldviews discussion, not one pivoting on parsing Bible texts. Though, I have noted that this analysis is compatible with at least one key summary argument in Scripture, one that points to this sort of analysis as valid on the whole if soundly done.

    Let me clip:

    Rom 1:18 For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them.

    20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.

    21 For even though [d]they knew God [as the Creator], they did not [e]honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened.

    22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for [f]an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen . . . .

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. [AMP]

    The passage goes on to highlight how the warping of mind and conscience ends up in a topsy-turvy world that approves evil and by implication disapproves the good. That alludes subtly to another text, from the prophet Isaiah:

    Isa 5:18 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who drag along wickedness with cords of falsehood,
    And sin as if with cart ropes [towing their own punishment];
    19 Who say, “Let Him move speedily, let Him expedite His work [His promised vengeance], so that we may see it;
    And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel approach
    And come to pass, so that we may know it!”

    20 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil;
    Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
    Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    21 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who are wise in their own eyes
    And clever and shrewd in their own sight! [AMP]

    This summary rings all too sadly true as we look out across the moral wasteland of our largely apostate civilisation that has so often deliberately turned its back on the truth and has refused to endure sound instruction. Instead, we have ever so often chosen to go out in the ways of cleverly constructed errors, leading many astray into ruin.

    Given an onward exchange, I think I should note from Eta Linnemann on the undermining of theology:

    Theology as it is taught in universities all over the world . . . is based on the historical-critical method . . . . [which] is not just the foundation for the exegetical disciplines. It also decides what the systematician can say . . . It determines procedure in Christian education, homiletics and ethics . . . . Research is conducted ut si Deus non daretur (“as if there were no God”). That means the reality of God is excluded from consideration from the start . . . Statements in Scripture regarding place, time, sequences of events and persons are accepted only insofar as they fit in with established assumptions and theories . . . .

    Since other religions have their scriptures, one cannot assume the Bible is somehow unique and superior to them . . . . It is taken for granted that the words of the Bible and God’s word are not identical . . . the New Testament is pitted against the Old Testament, assuming that the God of the New Testament is different from that of the Old, since Jesus is said to have introduced a new concept of God . . . . Since the inspiration of Scripture is not accepted, neither can it be assumed that the individual books of Scripture complement each other. Using this procedure one finds in the Bible only a handful of unrelated literary creations . . . . Since the content of biblical writings is seen as merely the creation of theological writers, any given verse is nothing more than a non-binding, human theological utterance.

    For historical-critical theology, critical reason decides what is reality in the Bible and what cannot be reality; and this decision is made on the basis of the everyday experience accessible to every person [i.e. the miraculous aspect of Scripture, and modern reports of miracles — regardless of claimed attestation — are dismissed as essentially impossible to verify and/or as merely “popular religious drivel”] . . . . . Due to the presuppositions that are adopted, critical reason loses sight of the fact that the Lord, our God, the Almighty, reigns. [Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1993), pp. 83 – 88 as excerpted.]

    There is nothing in historical-critical theology that has not already made its appearance in philosophy. Bacon (1561 – 1626), Hobbes (1588 – 1679), Descartes (1596 – 1650), and Hume (1711 – 1776) laid the foundations: inductive thought as the only source of knowledge; denial of revelation; monistic worldview; separation of faith and reason; doubt as the foundation of knowledge. Hobbes and Hume established a thoroughgoing criticism of miracles; Spinoza (1632 – 1677) also helped lay the basis for biblical criticism of both Old and New Testaments. Lessing (1729 – 1781) invented the synoptic problem. Kant’s (1724 – 1804) critique of reason became the basic norm for historical-critical theology. Hegel (1770 – 1831) furnished the means for the process of demythologizing that Rudolph Bultmann (1884 – 1976) would effectively implement a century later – after the way had been prepared by Martin Kähler (1835 – 1912).

    Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) . . . reduced faith to a leap that left rationality behind. He cemented the separation of faith and reason and laid the groundwork for theology’s departure from biblical moorings . . . . by writing such criticism off as benign . . . .

    Heidegger (1889 – 1976) laid the groundwork for reducing Christian faith to a possibility of self-understanding; he also had considerable influence on Bultmann’s theology. From Karl Marx . . . came theology of hope, theology of revolution, theology of liberation. [Biblical Criticism on Trial (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2001), pp. 178 – 9.]

    Another text has haunted me for months as I have pondered the path of our all too patently willfully perverse civilisation:

    1 John 2:15 Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever.

    18 Children, it is the last hour [the end of this age]; and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming [the one who will oppose Christ and attempt to replace Him], even now many antichrists (false teachers) have appeared, which confirms our belief that it is the last hour.

    19 They went out from us [seeming at first to be Christians], but they were not really of us [because they were not truly born again and spiritually transformed]; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out [teaching false doctrine], so that it would be clearly shown that none of them are of us.

    20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One [you have been set apart, specially gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit], and all of you know [the truth because He teaches us, illuminates our minds, and guards us from error]. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie [nothing false, no deception] is of the truth.

    22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)?

    This is the antichrist [the enemy and antagonist of Christ], the one who denies and consistently refuses to acknowledge the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies and repudiates the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses and acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

    24 As for you, let that remain in you [keeping in your hearts that message of salvation] which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you too will remain in the Son and in the Father [forever].

    25 This is the promise which He Himself promised us—eternal life.

    26 These things I have written to you with reference to those who are trying to deceive you [seducing you and leading you away from the truth and sound doctrine]. 27 As for you, the anointing [the special gift, the preparation] which you received from Him remains [permanently] in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But just as His anointing teaches you [giving you insight through the presence of the Holy Spirit] about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as His anointing has taught you, [c]you must remain in Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him]. [AMP]

    In the end, that is the diagnosis, and the answer to the spirit of our age.

    KF

  235. RVB8,

    You (sadly, again) reveal your want of responsiveness to evidence and selective hyperskepticism:

    It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith. But with fists in ears, eyes wide shut, and odd sounds coming from the throat, little gets through.

    I can however attack silliness before it takes root, and that is what I do, not evangelically, but when the rare opportunities arise.

    I again point you to the OP, including a certain video that gives a 101 level introduction, and I point you — and the silent reader — to look at the discussion here on, just for starters.

    KF

    PS: Your sneering at citation from a significant source speaks for itself. And not in your favour.

    PPS: Meanwhile, the ghosts hover.

  236. 236

    KF:

    This background gives saddening, sobering perspective to the attitude of some objectors to our terming this global killing of posterity, a holocaust.

    Evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers undermine moral governance and damage our moral compass.

    Yet it is in western countries that have moved away from your idea of the ideal society (Christian to the core) where we are seeing the greatest reduction in unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Largely because of an open and non-judgmental attitude towards sex, coupled with comprehensive and early sex education and unrestricted access to contraceptives. If you are really serious about eliminating the demand for abortion you would be advised to promote the adoption of strategies that have been shown to work rather than wanting to criminalize young women.

  237. My moral compass agrees with AJ.

  238. 238

    Jdk:

    My moral compass agrees with AJ.

    Haven’t you heard the news. WJM and KF have declared that as evolutionary materialists, we are not allowed to have a moral compass. 🙂

  239. Yes, I have heard that, and discussed it with them at length in the past. I’ve tried to explain why they are wrong, but (surprise) to no avail, and I don’t worry about it anymore. It’s their problem if they dismiss the moral judgments of everyone who doesn’t have the same worldview that they do.

    The issue is not “how can you have moral judgments”, but rather are the things you offer as moral judgments reasonable, and I wholeheartedly agree with all you say about ways to improve the state of human sexuality and reproduction in the world in order to reduce the number of abortions.

    Keep on keeping on! 🙂

  240. I see we are back to side-tracking, I first just point to the still live threads that thrashed out the side-issue, linked at 103 above. The point for the moment is how the case of Mao illustrates the damage done to conscience. While of course, there is a cluster of challenges inviting replies, not too far above.

  241. kf, you wrote,

    This background gives saddening, sobering perspective to the attitude of some objectors to our terming this global killing of posterity, a holocaust.

    Evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers undermine moral governance and damage our moral compass.

    If you don’t want people to be “sidetracked” by these issues, don’t keep bringing them up.

  242. 242

    KF:

    I see we are back to side-tracking,…

    I apologize for not being able to read your mind. You comment on abortion. I respond to that comment. And I am side-tracking. You make a comment about moral governance. I respond to it, and I am side-tracking.

    The trend I see is that when someone points out an inconvenient fact that is inconsistent with your world view, you declare it a side track (or an argument from authority, or a strawman, or a red herring, or an ad hominem) and justify to yourself why you don’t have to asnwer the question. That speaks volumes. And not in your favour.

    Again, how do you explain the easily confirmed fact that societies that have deviated from what you would consider to be morally superior (ie., secular, open attitude towards sex, early comprehensive sex education and unrestricted access to contraceptives, abortion on demand) have seen dramatic decreases in unwanted pregnancies and abortions? If abortion is the holocaust you keep insisting it is, this information should make you happy.

  243. 103

  244. F/N: The continued unresponsiveness to the focal issues laid out would be almost amusing, if it were not in the end tellingly sad. KF

  245. My point from 241: “If you don’t want people to be “sidetracked” by these issues, don’t keep bringing them up.”

    I assume, kf, you will not mention either of the points in 241 again in this thread, out of a commitment to not sidetracking the discussion.

  246. JDK, the prime focus of a thread is set in its OP; it is reasonable to expect that an intelligent, non-trollish participant will respect that framework, and will recognise that illustrations or secondary points ought not to be taken advantage of to side track or deadlock a discussion. When there are yet open threads that thoroughly addressed what is used as a distractor, that is redoubled. Quite frankly, the sidetracking has been used in several threads and in fact the linked threads are cases in point where there was a significant secondary focus that cogently dealt with the matter. At this point it is obvious that the intent is to side track and try to go into a pointless endless loop of stubborn drumbeat repetition of already adequately answered points in order to frustrate the force of the focus of the present thread. And even this is on a secondary point. I notice, how above, every sort of side track has come up. That speaks telling volumes, especially when there is studious unresponsiveness on matters of the greatest moment. I suggest, we are seeing in microcosm, some of what has gone so seriously wrong with our civilisation. I further suggest, it is time for some sober re-thinking, especially on this, Good Friday. KF

  247. F/N: Plato, on the warping of the moral compass and where it leads a community i/l/o the collapse of Athens:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    KF

  248. Then I assume you won’t sidetrack the discussion again, as you did in 232.

    And what exactly is the “force of the present thread”? That Christianity is demonstrably proven to be the one true religion? Or what?

  249. And so now you post about the warping of the moral compass!!!

    Is responding to that a “sidetrack” or “the focus of the thread”? How the is someone to know what your rules are when the thread is littered with multiple points that you have made.

    lol

  250. jdk, Armand Jacks,

    I actually sidetracked the discussion when I explained I happily disabuse Chinese Christian converts of their faith, if I can get in early enough to relieve the damage.

    Kairos, happily diverted the thread to answer me.

    Perhaps you are only derailing the thread when he is annoyed? You know, it’s entirely emotional, with out a shred of rational reasoning behind the complaint of thresd diversion.

    It all makes sense now, his religion, his attachement to ID, his selective focus, his dismissivness of good argument (if the fetus is human why is abortion not treated as murder?), and his hyper sensitivity to historical Jesus; a person we really don’t know anything about, including if he existed at all.

    However, you two punch away, the penny may drop, but I strongly doubt it.

  251. RVB8, it seems you have not actually taken time to read the OP (or even its title) or to view the video I added to Charles’ argument. Nor, have you reckoned with the step by step process I have been taking to bring out an underlying case. As a result you just set up and knocked over yet another loaded strawman. I suggest to you that it is poor form and not particularly civil to traipse into a discussion without bothering to follow enough to understand what it is about to try to jump on piggyback and divert it as you will. KF

  252. FFT7: But, isn’t the whole exercise of a pretended ID science an attempt to dress up dubious religion in scientific clothes, with intent to impose onward some sort of right-wing Christofascist theocratic tyranny that for instance robs women of their “rights” to their own bodies — and maybe would gaol them for even a miscarriage? Etc?

    I am of course outlining a summary of trends of strawman caricature argument commonly encountered over the years.

    A serious-minded glance above will rapidly demonstrate that the main discussion I have made so far under the FFT theme, has been PHILOSOPHICAL, not theological, first and foremost setting the worldviews comparative difficulties context for discussion. It is in that context that I then proceeded to show why evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers have been tried and found wanting as inherently incoherent, self-falsifying, necessarily false views. They cannot get us to a responsibly, rationally free, morally governed, warranting, knowing mind. So they fail the test of our being able to have a rationally guided discussion.

    It will be quite evident above, that active objectors and those lurking from the penumbra of attack sites, have no real answer to this. That’s not new, I have seen that for years at UD and for decades elsewhere. Before me, the point traces back to the likes of Plantinga, C S Lewis and even leading evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane.

    He aptly says:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    I invite the reasonable onlooker to scan above and see for himself, if there is a cogent answer forthcoming from the usual objectors or their backers across the Internet.

    The truth will be evident, there is no non-incoherent evolutionary materialistic account of mindedness.

    As for the associated amorality, radical relativism and reduction to nihilistic might and manipulation make ‘truth’ ‘right’ etc, that unanswered problem has been on record for 2350+ years, from Plato’s reflections i/l/o the collapse of Athens. If you want to see an example of the sort of misleadership that that toxic brew spews up, try Alcibiades as case study no. 1.

    Resemblance to recent history is no coincidence, try out his parable of the mutinous ship of state.

    Look above, to see if you can find a serious-minded grappling with such momentous issues and their implications. Try out the penumbra of attack sites. You will soon see why I have long been concerned about a civilisation-level march of ruinous folly that manipulates the public and democratic institutions only to lead us over the cliff. Luke’s real-world ship of state microcosm in Ac 27 should — should! — give us pause.

    As one simple example I note that the right to life is the first, foremost, gateway right and so a civilisation that systematically dehumanises its posterity in the womb and warps medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law, law enforcement, government, education, media and more to promote and protect the holocaust of 800+ millions in 40+ years (and mounting up at a million per week now), is corrupting its soul through blood guilt, is utterly warping conscience to do so, and is wrecking the ability to even simply think straight and live by the truth and the right. It is setting itself up to be a plague upon the earth that morally taints the land, which will vomit us out.

    If we do not repent of our bloody, soul-wrecking folly as a civilisation, we will ruin ourselves. And, whatever emerges from the bloody chaos and dark age to follow, will not see freedom as an important value, as liberty turned to libertinism and wicked, blood-guilty licence.

    Yes, I am out and out saying we have become the enemies of sustainable liberty under just law that duly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities.

    If you want a personal motive, there it is. I come from a nation that wrecked its prospects for generations through irresponsible, wicked misleadership, agit prop, media shadow shows and blood shed. That includes a murdered auntie.

    I know the hard way, that the lessons of sound history wee bought with blood and tears. Those who refuse to heed them doom themselves to pay the same coin over and over again in their futile folly.

    (I have said as much, many times, but no. Those hell-bent on folly have to project garish caricatures unto those who dare stand athwart the path heading over the cliff and cry out, no.)

    Anyway, the reader will simply not find a sober-minded response to such concerns.

    After this, I set about a sounder foundation, several days ago now, which was of course studiously ignored. This was elaborated through pondering what sort of world has to be here for there to be creatures like us, then followed up.

    All, studiously ignored in a rush to set up and knock over conveniently loaded straw men.

    Let me clip key points from the last, FFT6C:

    It is worth noting the unresponsiveness to 219 and 178 above, especially at the points where objectors were directly invited to put up alternatives.

    We can take it to the bank that UD is obsessively monitored by denizens of a penumbra of hostile sites. Denizens, more than willing to pounce when they see opportunity.

    In short, the above blanks left unanswered speak to yet another hovering ghost or three in the room.

    Here, first, the point that there is no necessary appeal to design inferences and debates to build a case for ethical theism adequate to ground commitment to such.

    Second, that the atheistical objectors and their fellow travellers have no cogent answer to the need for a necessary being root to reality, nor to the point that the God of ethical theism is a serious candidate to be such (by utter contrast with the cartoonish flying spaghetti monster etc), nor to the onward point that such a serious candidate will be either ontologically impossible [as a square circle is impossible] or else will be actual.

    Third, they have no cogent answer to the significance of the point that just to have a real discussion, we must implicitly accept that we are responsible, reasonable, significantly free and intelligent beings under moral government. Not least, conscience is the compass within pointing to the truth, the right and our duties of care towards such. Undermining this dimension of conscious mindedness by implying it is delusional lets grand delusion loose in our minds, ending in shipwreck.

    So, we can see that the evo mat scientism picture of the world falls apart, and that there is no need to go out of our way to accommodate it. It is self-referentially incoherent and so self-falsifying.

    Nor, should we yield to the trend to corrupt the concept, truth. (That, too, is part of the benumbing and warping of conscience, as say Orwell brought out so forcefully in his 1984.)

    The astute onlooker will also note that we have had a worldviews discussion, not one pivoting on parsing Bible texts . . .

    It will then be no surprise to see that the grounding of ethical theism as a responsible worldview (by utter contrast with the radically self-falsifying and amoral evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers) does not turn on design inferences on empirical signs such as FSCO/I.

    Evo mat scientism and fellow travellers are utterly incompatible with the responsible, rational freedom required to have a serious, fact and logic guided discussion seeking understanding of the truth. It rules itself out so soon as we must have a serious discussion.

    We then address on comparative difficulties, how can we have a world with beings such as we are.

    That takes us through the IS-OUGHT gap to issues of being and non-being and rootedness of a world with moral government. Which, repeat, is a condition of serious discussion.

    That points to the only serious candidate for such a root, after centuries of debate. Candidate X was duly laid out, and the open invitation was given to put forth a comparable candidate Y that does not instantly collapse.

    Silence.

    Silence, for good reason: something like the flying spaghetti monster is simply not serious, never mind its appallingly common rhetorical use by those who should know a lot better.

    Then, a second invitation to comparative difficulties discussion was given: part of X’s bill of requisites is necessary being. A serious candidate NB either is impossible (as a square circle is impossible) or it is actual.

    The challenge was given, break X’s candidacy.

    Silence, again.

    So — as X = the inherently good creator God of ethical theism, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature — it is clear that there is a very good warrant to adhere to ethical theism as a worldview.

    Without even engaging design theory debates.

    A point that needed to be put up on the table and warranted.

    Which, it has.

    That’s why at 220 and henceforth, I could freely write:

    you will see the stage of argument in FFT6B just above. I wonder what our well-informed skeptical interlocutors will put up as alternatives? Especially, noting that THERE IS NO DESIGN INFERENCE in the argument to date, i.e. the design inference as such is demonstrably not an inherent, inextricable part of an argument to God as root of reality. Where, note, the case I am arguing here is not based in Scripture though it is compatible with it — truths will be compatible the one with the other. And of course, contrary to the talking points I heard today, the God of ethical theism is not automatically the devil, the author of evils and confusions.

    Why then has there been such a hot debate over design, and why has it been laced with accusations about creationism in a cheap tuxedo and the like?

    Simple: evolutionary materialistic scientism, from the outset in modern times [this is demonstrable historic fact], has tried to come up with a designer substitute that would plausibly put the creator-God out of a job. The idea is that if the world of life and onward the physical cosmos can be explained on naturalistic grounds, the perception of design can be dismissed while wearing the holy lab coat, and belief in God can eventually be made to seem to be the resort of the ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    That rhetorical stratagem has worked and has become institutionalised.

    But at a terrible price.

    First, it is ill-founded and credibly false, erecting falsity as the yardstick for judging truth. Where, science first and foremost must seek to discover the empirically grounded truth about our world.

    Ill-founded, as there are credible, empirically warranted signs of design, which are copiously found in the world of life and in the structure of the cosmos.

    Design theory is the empirically and analytically grounded scientific investigation of such signs, which in fact are not too hard to find. Start with the algorithmically functional text in DNA and the execution machinery of the cell that puts it to work. (This points to OOL and OO body plans. Design is evident in the tree of life from the roots up.)

    Likewise, the corruption of science from definitions and outlines of its methods on up makes blatant falsity into the yardstick to judge truth by. Truth cannot pass the test of agreement with relevant falsity, and so the ideological imposition of evolutionary materialistic scientism inherently corrupts a pivotal institution of our civilisation.

    So, those who hope to build a sound future will be found on the side of needed reformation of tainted science.

    In that context, freed science can then return to its true path.

    Such is being ruthlessly resisted because it threatens entrenched worldviews and power interests in many institutions. But, the only way to defend institutionalised and fairly obvious falsity is by means that cannot stand the cold light of truth, facts and logic. That is why we find the distortions, strawman tactics, stalking, stereotyping and scapegoating.

    All of which are utterly corrosive to liberty, not just academic freedom.

    And so, the time has come to find where one stands, why, even as our civilisation descends into chaos, confusion, folly, bizarre agendas and outright blood guilt all around us.

    We stand at kairos.

    KF

  253. 253

    KF:

    It is in that context that I then proceeded to show why evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers have been tried and found wanting as inherently incoherent, self-falsifying, necessarily false views.

    Your unsubstantiated opinion is duly noted.

    They cannot get us to a responsibly, rationally free, morally governed, warranting, knowing mind. So they fail the test of our being able to have a rationally guided discussion.

    Your unsubstantiated opinion is duly noted.

    Repeating the same lame tropes over and over will not make them come true. All you have is the fact that there are things that we do not yet fully understand, and you squeeze god in the holes. The classic god of the gaps argument.

    But, since you have brought up moral governance, maybe you can answer the following moral governance questions:

    1) Why is it morally acceptable to charge a woman with first degree murder for the premeditated murder of another human being when that human being is outside the womb, but not when it is still inside the womb?

    2) Why is it morally acceptable to criminalize abortion and not actually reduce the abortion rate but morally unacceptable to significantly reduce the abortion rate through the teaching of comprehensive sex education at an early age, promoting a non-judgmental attitude towards sex, and providing unrestricted access to birth control? The only conclusion I can draw is that you are more interested in the sexual behaviour of consenting adults than you are about mass murder. If that is an example of your objective morality, I will stick with the subjective morality of myself and fellow travellers.

  254. 254

    KF:

    Why then has there been such a hot debate over design, and why has it been laced with accusations about creationism in a cheap tuxedo and the like?

    When an accusation is true, it becomes a statement of fact.

    Simple: evolutionary materialistic scientism, from the outset in modern times [this is demonstrable historic fact], has tried to come up with a designer substitute that would plausibly put the creator-God out of a job.

    Then you agree that ID is just a re-packaging of creationism. Thank you for your honesty.

  255. The attempt to dismiss substantiation without a cogent response is duly noted for what it is, for a first step we suggest onlookers scroll up to here at 80 above, and then onwards. As for the ID is creationism smear, that has long been answered, cf the UD weak argument correctives. Nothing above carries that implication, we see here a wrenching of what was said to suit a rhetorical agenda and of course the creation of yet another sidetrack. What was shown above is that the worldview of ethical theism, a philosophical view, is independent of the design inference issue. It was noted that evolutionary materialism by contrast, was constructed in significant part to in effect make it seem plausible that here was nothing for God to do, and there was no empirical evidence that could be held to point to him, so God could be dismissed as a serious consideration. The strawman caricature of Paley’s key watch arguments we often see (as in, there is studious gliding over the self-replicating time keeping watch discussed in Ch 2 of his work), and the appeals to god of gaps talking points suffice to show in a nutshell where that point comes from. Onward, I will take time to show that there is evidence that points to design of the world of life and of the observed cosmos. The former does not imply that God is designer. the latter points to an extracosmic designer capable of building a cosmos such as we inhabit. One that set up a cosmos in which c-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life is enabled. Of course, one of the chief advocates of same was lifelong agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle so it would seem passing strange to ascribe that to Bible-based Fundy creationism in any reasonable sense. The results are not necessary, but do fit in and do point beyond themselves in ways that invite serious worldview level discussion. As opposed to darwinist rhetorical games. Where of course, the core issues are again studiously avoided, telling us something. KF

    PS: The further attempt to side track the thread in enabling of holocaust is duly noted and the onlooker is again pointed onward to where a substantial discussion occurred, through the links at 103 above. The proper place for such a discussion would be there on, but in fact even there there was a substantial discussion from several directions that was never cogently addressed by one who refuses to understand the nature of reform.

  256. 256

    KF:

    The proper place for such a discussion would be there on, but in fact even there there was a substantial discussion from several directions that was never cogently addressed by one who refuses to understand the nature of reform.

    I agree that you produced a substantial number of words, but to call it a discussion would be a lie. At no point did you provide a rational answer to these two questions that is consistent with your world view. Your responses were nothing more than lame equivocations. Onlookers are encouraged to follow KF’s links and find out for themselves who is speaking the truth.

    If a fetus is a human being with the same right to life as any of us, its premeditated killing is first degree murder. Plain and simple. Yet he is opposed to those charges. This inconsistency can easily be explained by either hipocrysy or misogyny. He has steadfastly refused to provide another option. This speaks volumes. And not in KF’s favour.

    If abortions are murder and a holocaust as KF claims, then he should support proven means to significantly reduce them (sex Ed, unrestricted access to contraceptives) rather than means that have been proven not reduce abortion rates (criminalizing abortion).

    I really don’t think that KF will answer either of these questions honestly because it will reveal the fatal flaws in his worldview. And I don’t blame him. Admitting that there are serious flaws in your personal world view is something that is very difficult even for the best of us.

  257. Long since answered cf 103 onward links. Notice, enabling of global holocaust, and rhetoric of projection rather than addressing the substantial, focal issues. Sad.

  258. F/N: let me clip from another thread, on the design inference:

    The reality is, it is a common sense issue to recognise what FSCO/I is, and it is a fairly simple step to extend the game of twenty questions or the like to understand a description language capable of specifying functional configurations as a chain of structured y/n q’s, as in the end AutoCAD does. This allows us to understand how complex, functionally specific organisation is richly informational.

    It is trivial in this digital age to look at how a bus width of n bits leads to 2^n possible addresses and thereby to understand how we get a configuration space. I admit, that is the easy backdoor route that avoids dealing with the concept of phase space, but it is good enough. FSCO/I then takes on full force where we naturally see why there are islands of function due to the need for properly arranged and coupled components to achieve relevant function.

    We can then readily see the difference between:

    ORDER: asasasasas . . . as

    RANDOMNESS: fghwugiuehgirejjjhphugourkkd754kou78du[6;ki

    and, ORGANISATION: such as this s-t-r-i-n-g of glyphs spelling out a message

    Order in the natural world whereby there is a reliable pattern on given initial conditions is normally regarded as the result of mechanical necessity, leading to a search for the underlying ordering law and dynamics. Chance gives rise to high contingency with stochastic distributions not biased towards functionality based on FSCO/I. It often appears as scatter in experimental results, or patterns familiar from tossing dice or fair coins, or more exotically, sky noise etc. Functionally specific organisation beyond a reasonable threshold of complexity is beyond the search capacity of the observed cosmos or the sol system, and it is on trillions of cases, the reliable result of intelligently directed configuration.

    That is, FSCO/I, for cause, is an empirically reliable, analytically plausible sign of design as key cause.

    That would be readily tested, by trying to show the first two factors giving rise to FSCO/I. Years ago, objectors used to try that, dozens of times. Uniform failure. Random text generation is now up to about 2 dozen ASCII characters in coherent English, a factor of 10^100 short of the conservative sol sys threshold 500 bits. The 1,000 bit threshold is the square of that, it utterly dwarfs the search resources of the observed cosmos.

    Now, the above outline is based on common sense science and math, drawn out to introduce a few new points. That is good, because it means ordinary people are just as knowledgeable on this as experts and can see how experts committed to the evolutionary materialist scheme struggle to address a supertask that was not on the table when their favoured darwinist scheme became dominant.

    That is why OOL research is a mess, and given that we can readily see that OO body plans would require 10 – 100+ mn bases of genetic info, far beyond the threshold, where for every additional bit the config space DOUBLES.

    The sort of resorts in the face of that challenge are revealing about the elites of our civilisation and its key institutions.

    Now, of course, if I and others are wrong, there should be any number of ready to hand cogent refutations on the Internet. Nope, not fallacy laden dismissals and attacks.

    Actual demonstrations of FSCO/I by credible chance and/or necessity, for one. Let us see one: ______________

    Not dismissals on sniffing about “big numbers” but actual demonstrations of how we get to OOL then to OOBP without increments that run into the island of function challenge. (I call this the continent of function thesis.) I start by pointing to the distribution of protein fold domains in AA sequence space and wider organic chemistry.

    Go find us some molecular and genetic stepping stone missing links that amount to 100k – 1 mn bases for 1st cell based life and 10 to 100+ millions for origin of body plans: ____________

    While you are at it, address the search for golden search challenge, by which it is easy to see that searches in a config space are subsets, so that the space for searches of a space of n configs, comes from the power set, of scale 2^n possibilities. So, magic bullet search algorithms are positively loaded with functional information.

    (And indeed this is where Dembski and Marks et al have discussed active information as the injection that allows us to intelligently overcome search challenge — and this is of course already published in the literature, as is the world of Abel and Trevors et al that speaks to search challenge and universal etc plausibility bounds.)

    Let us hear your response, which at this stage might as well be a shot at the still open after several years darwinist essay challenge.

    Remember, potentially, one shot one kill for ID.

    ID is utterly falsifiable in principle.

    Just, rather unlikely at this stage to actually be falsified in fact.

    KF

  259. 259

    THAT’S Enough trollish behaviour, you need to back off from false accusations and address the focal matter of the thread. Where, you full well know what was addressed in the linked threads long since put up at 103 above. If you were interested in responsible discussion, you would have long since gone where it is germane and where there is an existing discussion that cogently speaks to legitimate points you may have had, instead of repeatedly trying to divert this thread through untrue descriptions of what transpired elsewhere; all enabling of an ongoing holocaust. It seems you have an obsession with projecting to us hostility to women with crisis pregnancies, and imagine it gives you unanswerable talking points. Only, the points were answered in principle over 200 years ago by the principled, reformational approach Wilberforce took in the face of another great evil with holocaust-level death toll. Enough is enough, either clean up your act or please leave this thread. Sgd, Thread Owner

  260. 260

    KF, is this your way of saying that you refuse to answer my questions? Duly noted.

  261. AJ, PLEASE LEAVE THE DISCUSSION, you have now insistently spoken in disregard to the truth, where you have been repeatedly corrected and pointed to still open threads where any substance in your talking points were long since answered and you have been presented above with an outline that points to a pivotal historical exemplar of reformation in the face of holocaust level loss of life. Had you taken time to at least attempt a reasonable response to the substantial issues on the table, it would have been different. Had you first raised a concern here that, too would be different — a response or correction and return to main focus would have been in order. Had you simply gone to the relevant threads and responded in the light of the substantial discussion there, that would have been different. Instead, in this thread, you made your trollish intent and attitude of insisting on manifestly false accusations all too plain. KF

  262. Charles,

    At this point, we can see that the themes you raised point to a set of deeper, worldview comparative difficulties questions. These bring us full circle to issues you have raised in the OP and early in the thread.

    Let us sum up and focus.

    We can see that it is actually irrational to adhere to the self-refuting and amoral ideology of evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or its fellow travellers. By contrast, simply recognising and pondering the responsible, rational freedom that allows us to have a serious discussion points to our being under moral government and raises the question as to what sort of world must we inhabit if we are to be able to be rational.

    Pondering that points to the need for a world-root IS that inherently grounds OUGHT, and after centuries of debates it is quite clear that there is but one serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of our loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    That of course implies that we are under a law of our nature that is often communicated to us by properly functioning consciences. However, conscience and culture alike can be warped, as is ever so evident in our civilisation that is on a march of folly to ruin. Emblemised by the ongoing holocaust of our posterity in the womb that triggers blood guilt, enabling behaviour and destructive, hellish warping of thought and institutions.

    This leads to the context where we inherently should be unsurprised to see evidence that the creator God is there and is not silent. No wonder, conscience speaks as the candle of The Lord, communicating neighbour love, duty to God and Man, duty to truth, reason, responsibility, the right and justice. Likewise to see that the world of life cries out with signs of design. Likewise, to see that there is a tradition of God’s spokesmen, oral and in writing. In Amos’ words:

    Amos 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city [warning of danger] will not the people tremble?
    If a disaster or misfortune occurs in a city has not the Lord caused it?

    7 Surely the Lord God does nothing
    [a]Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come]
    To His servants the prophets.

    8 The lion has roared! Who will not fear?
    The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy? [AMP]

    The principle here, is that God has a relationship with a nation that acknowledges him, especially with those who spend time with him who God can trust with his messages; the prophets.

    God does not act without speaking to his prophets, and just as a lion’s roar inspires fear, God’s speaking equips people to speak in his name, with his voice. A voice that will call out to conscience within, but which will also be resisted as it rebukes those who profit from wrong.

    And of course one means of authenticating that voice in the face of its critics and opponents is its predictive power in the context of an overall message of redemption, repentance, reformation and transformation under the blessing of God.

    From this, it is but a step to see that prophecy can be written down, resulting in scriptures that give us a deposit of the tested, time-proved authentic word of God.

    A word that is so powerful that if we heed it, we will taste and know that The Lord is good. In which context, the tested, proved, genuine scriptures will be a plumbline that tests other claims, teachings and voices. If they speak not according to this word, there is no light of day in them. For, we are warned of false prophets who will err or even if they make some correct predictions will do so only to call us away from patent duty under God.

    Hence, we see:

    2 Tim 3:12 Indeed, all who delight in pursuing righteousness and are determined to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be hunted and persecuted [because of their faith].

    13 But evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

    14 But as for you, continue in the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced [holding tightly to the truths], knowing from whom you learned them, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings (Hebrew Scriptures) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus [surrendering your entire self to Him and having absolute confidence in His wisdom, power and goodness].

    16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 17 so that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. [AMP]

    In this context, in our day, we are confronted with the core gospel message:

    Paulo Apostolo Mart:

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a [a]bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative), set apart for [preaching] the [b]gospel of God [the good news of salvation], 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures— 3 [the good news] regarding His Son, who, as to the flesh [His human nature], was born a descendant of David [to fulfill the covenant promises], 4 and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated to be the Son of God with power [in a triumphant and miraculous way] by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

    5 It is through Him that we have received grace and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the Gentiles, 6 and you also are among those who are called of Jesus Christ to belong to Him . . . [AMP]

    Also, Peter:

    2 Pet 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories or myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were [h]eyewitnesses of His majesty [His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty]. 17 For when He was invested with honor and [the radiance of the [i]Shekinah] glory from God the Father, such a voice as this came to Him from the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], [j]“This is My Son, My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased and delighted”— 18 and we [actually] heard this voice made from heaven when we were together with Him on the holy mountain.

    19 So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [k]morning star arises in your hearts.

    20 [l]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved [–> with typhonic force] by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [AMP]

    As well, Luke:

    Luke 1:1 Since [as is well known] many have undertaken to compile an orderly account of the things which have been fulfilled among us [by God], 2 exactly as they were handed down to us by those [with personal experience] who from the beginning [of Christ’s ministry] were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word [that is, of the teaching concerning salvation through faith in Christ], 3 it seemed fitting for [a]me as well, [and so I have decided] after having carefully searched out and investigated all the events accurately, from the very beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [b]taught [that is, the history and doctrine of the faith] . . . .

    Ac 1:1 The first [a]account I made, Theophilus, was [a continuous report] about all the things that Jesus began to do and to [b]teach 2 until the day when He ascended to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given instruction to the apostles (special messengers) whom He had chosen. 3 To these [men] He also showed Himself alive after His suffering [in Gethsemane and on the cross], by [a series of] many infallible proofs and unquestionable demonstrations, appearing to them over a period of forty days and talking to them about the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 While being together and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Of which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.”

    6 So when they had come together, they asked Him repeatedly, “Lord, are You at this time reestablishing the kingdom and restoring it to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. 8 But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” [AMP]

    Paulo Apostolo Mart, again:

    1 Cor 15:Now brothers and sisters, let me remind you [once again] of the good news [of salvation] which I preached to you, which you welcomed and accepted and on which you stand [by faith]. 2 By this faith you are saved [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose], if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain [just superficially and without complete commitment].

    3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that

    Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold],

    4 and that

    He was buried,

    and that

    He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold],

    5 and that

    He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the [a]Twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]

    .

    7 Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles, 8 and last of all, as to one [b]untimely (prematurely, traumatically) born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least [worthy] of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I [at one time] fiercely oppressed and violently persecuted the church of God.

    10 But by the [remarkable] grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. In fact, I worked harder than all of the apostles, though it was not I, but the grace of God [His unmerited favor and blessing which was] with me.

    11 So whether it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed and trusted in and relied on with confidence. [AMP]

    Where, of course, the capstone prophecy dates to c 700 BC, in Isaiah 53:

    Isa 53:1 Who has believed [confidently trusted in, relied on, and adhered to] our message [of salvation]?
    And to whom [if not us] has the arm and infinite power of the Lord been revealed?

    2 For He [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender shoot (plant),
    And like a root out of dry ground;
    He has no stately form or majestic splendor
    That we would look at Him,
    Nor [handsome] appearance that we would [a]be attracted to Him.

    3 He was despised and rejected by men,
    A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief;
    And like One from whom men hide their faces
    He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.

    4 But [in fact] He has borne our griefs,
    And He has carried our sorrows and pains;
    Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken,
    Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].
    5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing];
    The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him,
    And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.

    6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
    We have turned, each one, to his own way;
    But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
    To fall on Him [instead of us].

    7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
    Yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself];
    Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    And like a sheep that is silent before her shearers,
    So He did not open His mouth.
    8 [b]After oppression and judgment He was taken away;
    And [c]as for His generation [His contemporaries], who [among them] concerned himself with the fact
    That He was cut off from the land of the living [by His death]

    For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke [of death] was due?

    9 His grave was assigned with the wicked,
    But He was with a rich man in His death
    ,
    Because He had done no violence,
    Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

    10 Yet the Lord was [d]willing
    To crush Him, [e]causing Him to suffer;
    If [f]He would give Himself as a guilt offering [an atonement for sin],
    He shall see His [spiritual] offspring,
    He shall prolong His days,
    And the will (good pleasure) of the Lord shall succeed and prosper in His hand.

    11 As a result of the [g]anguish of His soul,
    He shall see it and be satisfied;
    By His knowledge [of what He has accomplished] the Righteous One,
    My Servant, shall justify the many [making them righteous—upright before God, in right standing with Him],
    For He shall bear [the responsibility for] their sins. [AMP]

    Cf discussion here on in context.)

    That is why our civilisation, which more than any civilisation before has had this word of light, is so utterly without excuse.

    We must now wake up, turn back from folly and build anew on the gospel and the scriptures that undergird it.

    Of course, far too many are mockers, and Peter aptly warned:

    2 Peter 3:3 First of all, know [without any doubt] that mockers will come in the last days with their mocking, following after their own human desires 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming [what has become of it]? For ever since the fathers fell asleep [in death], all things have continued [exactly] as they did from the beginning of creation.”

    5 For they willingly forget [the fact] that the heavens existed long ago by the word of God, and the earth was formed [a]out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people.

    8 Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish with a [mighty and thunderous] roar, and the [material] elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are on it will be [b]burned up.

    11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be [in the meantime] in holy behavior [that is, in a pattern of daily life that sets you apart as a believer] and in godliness [displaying profound reverence toward our awesome God], 12 [while you earnestly] look for and await the coming of the day of God. For on this day the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the [material] elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But in accordance with His promise we expectantly await new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

    14 So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him [at His return] spotless and blameless, in peace [that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him]. 15 And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved] . . . [AMP]

    We stand duly warned,

    KF

  263. FFT8: It strikes me that Cicero’s Marcus in De Legibus provides relevant food for thought on doing the right in accord with our evident nature in this classic remark:

    {M:} . . . law is highest reason, implanted in nature, which orders those things that ought to be done and prohibits the opposite. The same reason is law when it has been strengthened and fully developed in the human mind. [19] And so they think that law is prudence, the effect of which is to order persons to act correctly and to forbid them to transgress. They also think that this thing has been called [from] the Greek name for “granting to each his own,” whereas I think it comes from our word for “choosing.” As they put the effect of fairness into law, we put the effect of choice into it. Nevertheless, each one is appropriate to law. But if it is thus correctly said, as indeed it mostly and usually seems to me, the beginning of right should be drawn from law. For this is a force of nature; this is the mind and reason of the prudent man; this is the rule of right and wrong. But since our entire speech is for the people’s business, sometimes it will be necessary to speak popularly and to call that a law which, when written, consecrates what it wants by either ordering [or forbidding], as the crowd calls it. In fact let us take the beginning of establishing right from the highest law, which was born before any law was written for generations in common [corrupt text here] or before a city was established at all . . . .

    [21] M: Then, Pomponius, do you grant me this (for I know Quintus’s opinion), that all nature is ruled by the force, nature, reason, power, mind, majesty—or whatever other word there is by which I may signify more plainly what I want—of the immortal gods? Now if you do not approve this, I must begin my case from there before anything else.

    A: Of course I grant it, if you expect it. And because of the harmony of the birds and the rumbling of the rivers I do not fear that any of my fellow students [fellow Epicureans] will clearly hear.

    M: Yet beware: They often become quite angry, as good men do. They will not tolerate it if they hear that you have betrayed the excellent man’s first sentence, in which he wrote that god cares for nothing, either his own or another’s.

    [22] A: Continue, I beseech [you]. For I expect [to hear] how what I have admitted to you is relevant.

    M: I will not make you wait longer. It is relevant at this point: This animal—foreseeing, sagacious, versatile, sharp, mindful, filled with reason and judgment—that we call a human being has been begotten by the supreme god in a certain splendid condition. It alone, of all kinds and natures of animate beings, has a share in reason and reflection, in which all the others have no part. Moreover, what is more divine than reason—I will not say in a human being but in the entire heaven and earth? When it has grown up and been fully developed, it is rightly named wisdom. [23] Therefore, since nothing is better than reason, and since it [is] in both human being and god, the primary fellowship of human being with god involves reason; and among those who have reason in common, correct reason is also in common. Since that is law, we should also consider human beings to be united with gods by law. Furthermore, among those who have a sharing in law, there is a sharing in right. And for them these things are [missing text here] and they must be recognized as being of the same city—if they obey the same commanders and men in power, even much more so. Moreover, they obey this celestial system, the divine mind and very powerful god, so that now this whole universe should [be] thought to be one city in common between gods and human beings. And the fact that in cities positions are distinguished by blood relations of families—according to a method that will be spoken of in a suitable place—is all the more magnificent and splendid in the nature of things, so that human beings are held to be in the “blood relation” and “race” of the gods.

    [24] Now when all nature is inquired about, it is usual to argue the following (and without doubt it is so): In the perpetual celestial courses [and] revolutions there emerged a sort of ripeness for planting the human race. When it was scattered and planted over the earth, it was increased by the divine gift of souls. And although human beings have taken the other things of which they are composed from mortal stock, and those things are fragile and frail, the soul has been implanted by god. From this, in truth, there is what can be recognized as a blood relation, or a family or a lineage, between us and the heavenly beings. Thus out of so many species there is no animal besides the human being that has any notion of god. And among human beings themselves there is no nation either so tame or so wild that it does not know that it should have a god, although it may be ignorant of what sort it ought to have. [25] From this it follows that he recognizes god because he, so to speak, recollects whence he arose. Moreover, the same virtue is in human being and god, and it is not in any other species besides; and virtue is nothing other than [nature] fully developed and taken all the way to its highest point. Therefore, the similarity between human being and god is natural. Since this is so, what in the world can be a nearer, more certain kinship?

    And so nature has generously given such a richness of things for human convenience and use that things that are given birth seem to have been donated to us by design, not originated by chance—not only those things that are poured out as the produce of the earth [laden] with crops and fruits, but also animals, which it is clear have been procreated partly for human use, partly for enjoyment, partly for feeding on. [26] In fact countless arts have been discovered through the teaching of nature, which reason imitated in order to attain skillfully the things necessary for life.

    The same nature not only adorned the human being himself with swiftness of mind, but also allotted [to him] the senses as escorts and messengers, as well as the obscure, insufficiently elucidated conceptions of many things as, so to speak, a sort of foundation of knowledge. It also gave to the body a shape manageable and suitable to the human intellect. For although it made the other animate beings prostrate for grazing, it raised up the human being alone and aroused him to a view of the heaven as if it were a view of his kin and original domicile. Then it shaped the appearance of his face so as to portray in it the character hidden within. [27] For the expressive eyes say beyond measure how we have been affected in the mind; and what is called the countenance, which can exist in no animate being besides the human being, indicates character. The Greeks know the significance of this, but they do not have a name for it at all. I omit the fitness and abilities of the rest of the body, the control of the voice, the force of speech, which is the greatest matchmaker of human fellowship (not all things are for this debate and time, and, as it seems to me, Scipio expressed this point sufficiently in the book [On the Republic] you have read). Now since god [thus] begot and adorned the human being—that is, he wanted him to have precedence over other things—it is clear (so that not everything must be discussed) that nature itself proceeds further by itself: even with no one teaching it, it has taken its start from those things the characteristics of which it recognized from its first, rudimentary intelligence; it alone strengthens and fully develops reason.

    Things are so bad, we have discarded and forgotten so much, that we need to go back and hear the pagans.

    KF

  264. 264

    KF:

    Pondering that points to the need for a world-root IS that inherently grounds OUGHT, and after centuries of debates it is quite clear that there is but one serious candidate:

    I believe that we have been over this before. You are presupposing that there is a world-root IS that grounds OUGHT. Yet what we see through all of recorded history, and what we see around us every day, does not support this presupposition. What we see is a group of societies that agree on an assemblage of subjective values and don’t agree on others. Sometimes the assemblage of values is stable for long periods of time and sometimes it is short lived. It may be uncomfortable, but it reflects reality.

  265. @ rvb8 #231

    “Not really, I merely disabuse new Chinese Protestant Christians of their faith, and am quite good at it.”

    Wow! Like I said, you’re a real culture warrior… I mean really, It’s wonderful that you just pick and choose the types of Christians to disabuse!

    There’s nothing like a self proclaimed erudite who likes to bully people out of their beliefs. I wonder rvb8, how many muslim students have you disabused? My guess, probably zero…! Your problem isn’t with religion—as I believe you’ve mentioned already—its your utter hatred for one particular religion in general, Christianity; and its plainly visible in your posts.

    You can clench your fists in anger all you like, but you’ll never quell the distribution of the gospel message and the human thirst for it! For you, the game will go back in the box at the end of the day, quite literally, and your efforts will enter the ranks of futile, like so many before you—just part of a meaningless existence that, unfortunately for you, will never know it actually existed in the first place.

    Good luck with that crusade of yours…

  266. F/N: At long last an attempt to respond to a point, the IS-OUGHT gap. Let us hope this reflects enough of a changed heart that I can suspend for the moment the please leave this thread. Unfortunately, it also utterly misunderstands the challenge and turns the issue into a strawman target:

    You are presupposing [–> read that, begging the question (a misreading of the comparative difficulties worldview roots challenge already)] that there is a world-root IS that grounds OUGHT. Yet what we see through all of recorded history, and what we see around us every day, does not support this presupposition. What we see is a group of societies that agree on an assemblage of subjective values and don’t agree on others . . .

    As was shown above and elsewhere, we are inescapably under moral government. Even in argument those who challenge us are implying that they full well know that normal people find an urge within to the truth and the right as part of their conscious mindedness.

    Conscience, in one word.

    The issue then is, is this merely a subjective, perhaps psycho-socially conditioned perception, shaped in the end by nature and nurture through blind chance and necessity as part of what makes us jumped up apes from the E African savannahs? (Or, actually, Darwin spoke of monkeys — though he misplaced the challenge, selectively hyperskeptically using it to blunt doubts regarding evolutionism.)

    Let’s cite Darwin for a moment, from his July 31 1881 letter to William Graham in response to the latter’s book in which the latter argued inter alia from an orderly, law-governed cosmos to purpose in that cosmos:

    . . . you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? . . . .

    Lastly I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is. The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.

    Yes, a troubling context indeed. Including a chilling foresight of the impact of his thinking on the future history of Europe in C20.

    Notice, Darwin here starts from an inner conviction that he obviously struggles against, that points to purpose and governing order. Why does he struggle? Because he serves a system of thought that tends to regard that conviction as something delusional.

    It is in that context that he proceeds to speak to how the issue of the jumped up monkey mind smothers that conviction in favour of his system. In so doing, he falls into precisely the self-referential incoherence, letting grand delusion loose trap that I and others have repeatedly highlighted; and ends up making a chilling prediction that fully bears out Plato’s warning in The Laws Bk X that I have so often pointed to, including at 247 above. Here is Nancy Pearcey’s comment in Finding Truth:

    People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem [of self-referential incoherence tied to evolutionary epistemology]. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”

    But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”?

    Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.

    From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance.

    In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

    That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

    In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory . . . .

    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals … undermines confidence in the scientific method.”

    Just so. Science itself is at stake. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that according to atheism, “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.

    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively . . .

    Where of course conscience and its convictions are an integral part of our rationality, thus of warrant and of warranted credibly true beliefs, i.e. knowledge.

    We here see how there are no firewalls in mindedness and so once a system lets grand delusion loose in the mind, that snowballs then avalanches into self-falsifying self-referential incoherence in which the key functions of mindedness reduce to delusion. Indeed, conscious existence and accurate perception of the world within and without are caught up in the grand collapse. Bringing in the community and its institutions, they too become destabilised and are caught up in the devastating cascade.

    So, we see reductio ad absurdum, and know we need to back away and start afresh.

    The first point of that fresh start is that we must recognise that while we do err, we are not under grand delusion, i.e. the major functions of mindedness including conscience have to be regarded as able to give us accurate guides to reality in general, sufficiently so that we can establish plumbline truths that then allow us to build on a sounder footing. Among these obviously are the recognition that distinct identity has the first principles of right reason as immediate corollaries, the laws of identity, the excluded middle and non-contradiction (or coherence).

    Moral government and the voice of conscience are integral to that, and it raises the question I have pivoted on above: What sort of world do we have to live in for there to be creatures like us?

    Where:

    . . . a physicalist account of mindedness (much less, guidance by light of conscience) faces an ugly, impassable gulch.

    In effect, rocks — even refined and carefully organised rocks — have no dreams; computation is not intentional contemplation.

    At this point, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers — and nope you cannot properly, conveniently open up rhetorical daylight between some vague agnosticism and full-blown evo mat to deflect this — face an impassable gulch.

    One, that brings out what was already highlighted: mindedness, consciousness, reasoned inference and conscience’s compass-pointing alike are all reduced to grand delusion on evo mat premises.

    Grand delusion would collapse responsible, rational freedom and so falls into irretrievable incoherence and absurdity. Thence, the necessary falsity Pearcey and others have pointed to.

    But in reality, rational, responsible, conscience-compass bearing consciousness is our first undeniable empirical fact. The fact through which we perceive all others.

    This is the familiar extraordinary phenomenon, the pivot on which the project of building a sound worldview turns. In effect, unless a worldview is compatible with our being responsible, reasonable, conscience-guided and significantly free beings, it cannot even sit to the table for a discussion of comparative difficulties. It is silenced by being inconsistent with rationality. It is patently, irretrievably absurd and necessarily false. (Evo mat and fellow traveller ideologies, I am looking straight at you.)

    So, we live in a world in which is and ought are credibly real and are inextricably inter-twined and entangled. That naturally points to the need for a coherent account of reality from its roots that inseparably unifies these. For, at the same time there is the IS-OUGHT gap highlighted in recent centuries by Hume, who clearly succeeded in showing that the gap could not be resolved at any later level. IS and OUGHT must go down to the roots of reality and must be inextricably fused there.

    So, we face the triple-challenge worldviews comparative difficulties test: factual adequacy, coherence, explanatory power and balance. Where it is precisely this grand inference to the best explanation challenge that moves us beyond question-begging, where we know that an infinite stepwise regress of either reasons or causes is absurdly futile. Where, every core worldviews option is under test, and where we already see the huge factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power challenges failed by evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow traveller ideologies. That’s why in this thread I started with general worldviews issues and took time to address this institutionally dominant but self-falsifying and amoral system. It is in that context that we went on to a fresh start, so acting as though one is seeing mere question-begging presuppositions sets up and knocks over a strawman caricature. In which context it becomes spectacularly revealing to see that there was a failure to put forward a credible worldview level alternative to ethical theism.

    All that would be required to demolish the case above (esp at 153 with 178 and particularly 219 above followed by 234) is to articulate such a scheme. We cannot but notice how it continues to be missing, given the energy with which activists, adherents and actual thinkers supporting evo mat scientism and its fellow travellers patrol the internet.

    If they have a solid answer, it would long since have been put forward. The attempt to suggest that I have simply begged the question is eloquent proof in itself that the alternative stands missing.

    So, if I am wrong, simply produce it: ___________

    (Of course, the basic problem is that we are generally ill educated on worldviews. A major fault of formal and informal education in our time.)

    So, in the end, we are forced to address the IS-OUGHT gap at world-root level, and the best option on the table remains as already outlined in 219:

    Back to us, as being able to significantly freely discuss our concerns responsibly and rationally, and having an inner compass-sense that insistently points to the truth and the right — conscience.

    What sort of world must this be to allow such, and what must be in its frameworking structure?

    First, we already saw that the denial of responsible, rational, significant freedom lets grand delusion loose and instantly ends in absurdity. Self-evidently, this is a world in which responsibly rational and significantly free, morally governed creatures are possible and in fact actual.

    That’s already a huge result and it sweeps away all worldviews — their name is legion — that are incompatible with such creatures. This of course includes evolutionary materialistic scientism, its fellow travellers, radical subjectivism and radical relativism. (Cf. the chain of comments here on, above.)

    Next, we face the implication of the IS-OUGHT gap, on many levels. A world with moral government has to be such that OUGHT is well-rooted in the fabric and framework of reality. Post Hume et al and post Euthyphro et al, that can only be in the very root of reality, i.e. there must be a necessary being that so fuses IS-ness and OUGHT-ness, that they are inextricably entangled in the roots of reality.

    What sort of being is capable of such?

    The answer is utterly challenging, and I have long thought it is best posed in light of comparative difficulties and worldview level inference to the best candidate explanation.

    We need to look at serious candidates (as opposed to something like a flying spaghetti monster, which will not be a necessary being — made up from bits and pieces, i.e. composite.)

    There is just one serious candidate, after centuries of debate: the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature (thus, the law of our nature).

    This is not an arbitrary imposition, if you doubt, simply put up a viable alternative: ________ (this is after all comparative difficulties analysis).

    Prediction: hard to do. [–> now clearly fulfilled.]

    This also has a further highly relevant implication. For a serious candidate necessary being will either be impossible as a square circle is, or else it will be possible thus would exist in at least one world. And, as it would be a frameworking reality, it would be present in every possible world, including our own — an actual world. (And yes, I am not saying THE actual world.)

    The God of ethical theism as described, is a serious candidate [e.g. NB’s have no beginning or end, are eternal]. This means that God is either impossible as a square circle is impossible, or he is actual. And decades ago, the problem of evils used to be trotted out to make that argument, but that option is effectively dead post-Plantinga and in fact post Boethius.

    Then, too, if one claims to be an atheist or agnostic, s/he implies knowing good reason to doubt or dismiss the God of ethical theism as impossible even as a square circle is impossible. It would be interesting to hear what such a reason is: _______ (esp. post, problem of evils as a serious view as opposed to a handy piece of intimidatory rhetoric).

    So, now, we are at a very important threshold, the God of ethical theism is on the table as a serious candidate necessary being, root of reality that grounds a world in which responsibly and rationally free creatures such as ourselves are possible and indeed actual.

    That is a momentous turning-point, and it would be interesting to see if we will hear of the viable alternatives, including reasons why such a God is an impossible being.

    After days, we are right back to this point.

    Let us see what substantial response will be forthcoming.

    KF

  267. 267

    KF, trying to drown your opposition in thousands of words is a tried and true form of debate. But a dishonest one. You can do better. I have asked a very simple question that should be able to be answered with a very simple question.

    All I am asking you to do is to envision the type of world that would exist if a world-root IS does not exist that grounds OUGHT. I argue that it would look very much like the world we live in and the one that we have observed through recorded history. In short, societies doing the best they can given the limitations of a subjective system of rules and morals.

    Subjective is not analagous to your favourite flavour of ice cream, or colour, as the more dishonest here would claim. Not killing, not stealing and not lying are rules that most rational people can reason for themselves as a course that will benefit them in a gregarious society. And anything that is repeatedly taught to us by parents, teachers, societal leaders and peers, or anything that we do repeatedly, becomes ingrained in our personality. We feel compelled to follow those subjective rules. That does not make them objective.

    If you disagree with the power of this “indoctrination” through constant reinforcement and simple repetition, try getting up tomorrow and changing the order of your morning rituals. It is amazing how something that has no objective value appears to be important.

  268. Nice post.

    I would add that in addition to rationality and custom as sources of our norms, I think there is some common biologically-based psychological needs/perceptions that form a foundation upon which social norms are built. The need to be a part of a group, for instance, certainly has a rational basis but it also a basic part of our biological human nature.

  269. If you cannot take a few minutes to read and digest a substantial presentation on one of the pivotal issues of our time, you are not ready for this level of discussion. I suggest you take a moment to see The laws by Plato, start with Book X: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/laws.10.x.html KF

    PS: I clip just one little snippet:

    Ath. Well, then; what shall we say or do?-Shall we assume that some one is accusing us among unholy men, who are trying to escape from the effect of our legislation; and that they say of us-How dreadful that you should legislate on the supposition that there are Gods! Shall we make a defence of ourselves? or shall we leave them and return to our laws, lest the prelude should become longer than the law? For the discourse will certainly extend to great length, if we are to treat the impiously disposed as they desire, partly demonstrating to them at some length the things of which they demand an explanation, partly making them afraid or dissatisfied, and then proceed to the requisite enactments.

    Cle. Yes, Stranger; but then how often have we repeated already that on the present occasion there is no reason why brevity should be preferred to length; who is “at our heels”?-as the saying goes, and it would be paltry and ridiculous to prefer the shorter to the better. It is a matter of no small consequence, in some way or other to prove that there are Gods, and that they are good, and regard justice more than men do. The demonstration of this would be the best and noblest prelude of all our laws. And therefore, without impatience, and without hurry, let us unreservedly consider the whole matter, summoning up all the power of persuasion which we possess.

    Ath. Seeing you thus in earnest, I would fain offer up a prayer that I may succeed:-but I must proceed at once . . .

  270. @KF

    Keep up the good work here at UD KF; you’d be surprised as to just how many people think ID is is a viable explanation for the origin of life.. I hear it from people all the time.

  271. KR, thanks. Do you want to share a thought or two or some of those stories? KF

  272. @ KF

    Absolutely! Would you prefer an email, or via a post/thread? Some of the people I speak of are fellow co-workers of mine, and when the topic of ID has been brought up in conversation, a number of them—althought not overtly versed in the subject—see ID as far more plausible concerning the origin of life, and most don’t hold to any religious conviction(s).

  273. KR, if you want to try a guest post that would be great (I can be contacted through the web page linked through my handle). If you just want to comment, that would do, given that this thread is so wide-ranging. The response of ordinary people to ID is something we need to ponder in the midst of all that is going on. KF

  274. @KF

    Thanks KF.

    I would certainly consider writing a guest post. I’d only ask that you allow me to write it in May if that is okay, as I have a fairly large assignment due for school at the end of April—which is currently eating up a lot of my spare time.

    And yes, the post would certainly be written from the perspective of an ordinary/average individual—myself.

  275. KF @ 269: Excellent. Thank you!

  276. KR, that’s fine, there is no pressure. KF

  277. TWSYF, Plato has a lot to say, with much rich food for thought. He has long been seen as one of the greatest thinkers of our civilisation for cause. And yes, it is wise to read and take time to ponder him. KF

  278. Seversky @ 200

    Luke tells how “a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered” which led Joseph to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. But as the Wikipedia entry on the Census of Quirinius points out:

    There are major difficulties in accepting Luke’s account: the census in fact took place in AD 6, ten years after Herod’s death in 4 BCE; there was no single census of the entire empire under Augustus; no Roman census required people to travel from their own homes to those of distant ancestors; and the census of Judea would not have affected Joseph and his family, living in Galilee; most scholars have therefore concluded that the author of Luke’s gospel made an error.[5]

    That last is an entirely tendentious and uninformed opinion, but then Wikipedia is known to bias articles that have political impact. One footnote from one article. The legitimate research on Quirinius, Syrian governors, the Herods, Roman censuses, and Luke 2:2 fills entire sections in libraries. Literally hundreds of books and thousands of papers.

    Luke 2:1-3 records the birth of Jesus when a world-wide census was decreed by Augustus, the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria, and Josephus Ant 18.2.2 records Quirinius completed that census in the year Actium 37 = September AD 6 through August AD 7.

    Ant. 18.2.1. NOW Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to he a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance. Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus’s money; but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it, by the persuasion of Joazar, who was the son of Beethus, and high priest; so they, being over-pesuaded by Joazar’s words, gave an account of their estates, without any dispute about it.

    Ant 18.2.1. WHEN Cyrenius had now disposed of Archelaus’s money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of Caesar’s victory over Antony at Actium, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood, which dignity had been conferred on him by the multitude, and he appointed Ananus, the son of Seth, to be high priest; while Herod and Philip had each of them received their own tetrarchy, and settled the affairs thereof. Herod also built a wall about Sepphoris, (which is the security of all Galilee,) and made it the metropolis of the country.

    Luk 2:1-6 NASB  Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.  2  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  3  And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.  4  Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,  5  in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  6  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

    The problem is Jesus was born August-September of 5 BC, before Herod the Great died in 4 BC, at which time Quirinius was not governor of Syria.

    – It is possible that the Greek word translated "first" (protos Strong’s G4413) can in some contexts be correctly translated "before" as in John 1:15 and John 15:18, in which case Luke is citing a census before Quirinius was hegemoneuo of Syria, i.e. before A.D. 6 and there would be no conflict.  However, while grammatically correct, no bible translation uses "before" in Luke 2:2.  Efforts to date have been to associate Luke 2:2 with the census orderd by Augustus in 8 B.C.

    – Luke was written either A.D. 59-63 or A.D. 70-80. From that vantage point, Luke would have known Rome imposed a series of censuses on Israel, and the first of that series may be to which Luke referred.

    The Monumentum Ancyranum and Res Gestae Divi Augusti 8  records that Augustus had in the consulship of C. Censorinus and C. Asinius (= 8 BC) ordered a "lustrum", a census of the Roman empire.  From other evidence it is inferred that this included Roman provinces. The Eyptian Oxyrhynchus papyri record that Augustus setup a repeating census, conducted every 14 years, beginning at least with Nero’s 8th year. Nero became Roman Emperor Oct 13 of AD 54, so his 8th year began Oct AD 61. Computing backwards, the 1st 14-year census would have been ordered by Augustus 10-9 BC.  An actual census orderd 8 BC and the next in AD 6, 13 years later agrees with the 8 BC lustrum being the first of a 14-year repeating census.  Similarly Egyptian papyri P. Mil I 3 suggests Egypt was subjected to Roman censuses as early 3/2 B.C., which 7-year series would have begun in 10/9 B.C.  In Augustan Edicts from Cyrene, Edict I, Augustus cites knowing in the province of Cyrene (7-6 B.C.) how many Romans and Greeks were in residence and their relative wealth for poll-tax purposes, and the Lapis Venetus records a census at Apamea in Syria while Quirinius was legatus Caesaris Syriae (presumed to be A.D. 6 based on Josephus’ dating).

    – There seems no evidence that Augustus’ lustrum of 8 B.C. was concurrently conducted empire-wide, and that rather the enrollment of different provinces was done on different dates.  However, while Augustus set in motion a lustrum or enrollment of the entire empire and provinces, Quirinius likley issued orders for Judaea to be enrolled and cited Augustus general order as authority, and Luke merely recorded that a census was conducted under Augustus’ authority while Quirinus was legate in Syria. It is possible that Herod the Great sought a delay in the enrollment but was turned down, and the turnaround time to send an embassy to Rome and receive a response would be several months, though this alone would not account for a delay of 2-3 years.

    – In A.D. 6, Archelaus had been banished by Augustus and his Ethnarchy (which included Judea) came under direct Roman control, whereas Galilee in A.D. 6 remained in Antipas’ Tetrarchy.  Because Luke doesn’t mention Mary & Joseph having to cross these political boundaries, it suggests that Judea and Galilee were under a single authority, which could only be Herod the Great prior to his death in 4 B.C.

    – An empire-wide enrollment, eventually including provinces, served a Roman military purpose as well as form the basis for taxation based on property values.  Knowing how many able-bodied men were in any given region allowed Roman military planners to assess how large an army could be raised for Rome, or against Rome.

    – Compared to other Roman provinces, it would seem Herod altered where individuals were counted from their city of residence (as elsewhere) to their city of their ancestors, i.e. their Jewish tribe.  Again, given this is the circumstance as reported by Luke, consistent enforcement of such an instruction would have to come from a consistent authority over all of Israel, not just Judea controlled directly by Rome versus Galilee, Perea, Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, and Batanaea that were under the authority of Antipas and Philip in A.D. 6.  Herod’s motivation (and Rome’s consent) for such a change would be to make the enrollment align along Jewish tribal boundaries, and ostensibly more palatable to Jewish sensitivities.

    – As for the date of A.D. 6, the only historical source is Josephus.  All narratives involving Quirinius presume he conducted a census from Syria in A.D. 6, based solely on Josephus.

    But what if Josephus misdated when Quirinius conducted that census?  What if Quirinius was active in Judea in 6/5 B.C.?

    – At the time of the census, Quirinius holds the rank of "legate", but legates serve in two different capacities: a "legatus pro praetore" is a governor or commander whereas a "legatus juridicus" is a magistrate or judge.  In Ant 18.1, Josephus records the Quinius was sent into Syria as a "legatus juridicus", as a magistrate to compliment the governor, the "legati pro praetore".  Instead of Quirinius acting as legatus pro praetore, what if Quirinius was acting as legatus juridicus assisting Varus, legatus pro praetore of Syria in 6/5 B.C. to conduct the lustrum ordered by Augustus, and as slightly altered by Heord the Great.  In this lesser, complimentary capacity, the military histories reasonably might not mention Quirinius as there were no military battles being waged by Quirinius.

    – John H. Rhoads offers the plausible theory that Josephus was unaware that "Sabinus" a Roman of consular rank (like Quirinius) who was in Judea at the end of Herod the Great’s reign, might have actually been "Quirinius".  That among some of Josephus’ sources, Quirinius may have been known as "Quirinius, the Sabine" or simply “Sabinus”:

    Perhaps, in these sources “Sabinus” was not a family name but an ethnic indicator, that is, “the Sabine.”  As Judas was called the Galilean and Hezekiah, the Sephorean, so Quirinius may have been called Sabinus, the Sabine.  While this study has not postulated or argued for a particular source for the Quirinius narrative, it arguably stems from a source with a Roman audience.  It seems to have a Roman point of view.  Therefore it is unlikely to be either of the earlier sources tied to the court of Herod the Great.  Since Josephus made faithful use of his sources, he could be excused for not recognizing this identity between Quirinius and Sabinus.  Perhaps, among the Semites of Herod’s court, Quirinius was known as Sabinus.

    Indeed, further circumstantial evidence supports this conclusion.  It must be noted that Quirinius was the legate’s Roman cognomen.  Identifed by Tacitus as Publius Quirinius in Annals 3.22-23 and as Sulpicius Quirinius in Annals 3.48, inscriptions record his name as Publius Sulipicius Quirinius.35  Cognomens were often derived from ethnic or tribal indicators, and, indeed, Sabinus was also a Roman cognomen. The Quirinius cognomen likely stems etymologically from the Sabine god, Quirinus.  Moreover, Quirinius was born in Lavinium, a small town outside of Rome which would have had a population of ethnic Sabines.  Now, whether or not this suggestion is persuasive for how Sabinus may have become his nickname among the Semites, we should consider the previous accumulation of evidence in support of the identity: Sabinus is Quirinius.

    [p. 84]

    IV. Summary

    We can now summarize the Josephan evidence for locating the census of Quirinius during the reign of Herod the Great.  First of all, name, provenance, being identifable by reference to his father, and the context and content of both his teaching and his activity all combine to support the conclusion that the three accounts of an insurrectionist named Judas actually all refect the same figure active during the last days of Herod the Great.  Second, although the high priesthood data is still difficult, having Joazar active in bringing about cooperation in the taxation also fits the time of Herod the Great better than assuming a variety of unrecorded appointments in order to account for the multiple deposals.  Herod exalted Joazar to the high priesthood in opposition to the supporters of Judas, and his deposal by either Sabinus/Quirinius or Archelaus after the disturbances associated with Herod’s death makes sense while an AD 6 deposal by Quirinius does not.  Third, by identifying Quirinius and Sabinus, we not only have the man responsible for the census located in Judea during the last days of Herod the Great and an explanation for the earlier reference to Coponius at Antipater’s trial but also a very plausible rationale for the extraordinary behavior of Sabinus.  Certainly, these three sets of data taken individually may not be ultimately persuasive, but one must consider their combined weight for adding greater plausibility to the account of Luke.

    [p. 87]

    John H. Rhoads, "Josephus Misdated the Census of Quirinius",
    Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society,  vol. 54 no. 1 (March 2011) pp. 65-87
    http://www.etsjets.org/files/J.....Rhoads.pdf

    The foregoing is an explanation of how Quirinius could have been in Syria in 6-5 B.C. towards the end of Herod the Great’s reign, conducting the first Roman census in Judea (as legatus juridicus) citing Augustus’ authority, possibly delayed somewhat by Herod, and altered slightly by Herod to be conducted at Jewish tribal cities.  None of which precludes Quirinius from later being "legatus pro praetore" of Syria and disposing of Archelaus property in A.D. 6.

  279. Charles, a significant bit of food for thought, and more than enough to point to the need to be cautious before jumping to the conclusion that so well-confirmed a historian who clearly had a habit of careful accuracy was in “obvious” error. KF

  280. kairosfocus @ 279

    Indeed. The incessant atheist/materialist obfuscation that “records from the bible don’t count as historical evidence because they’re from the bible” is one of the stupidest tautologies I have ever read. Talk about checking your brain at the door to the chapel of the “flying spaghetti monster”….

    Their yammering for “extra biblical” historical evidence, ignores that every word of it was, in point of fact, extra-biblical historical evidence until A.D. 220 at the earliest and A.D. 405 at the latest. Prior to that point, there was no “New Testament”, no Christian “Bible”. Prior to that point, all those “letters” were the very “extra-biblical” historical documents, authored by contemporary witnesses, copied, circulated, and preserved, and further excerpted into later documents, that atheists and materialists demand as proof.

    All those historical documents only became “the Bible” when they were canonized according to consistent theological criteria (in addition to their historical accuracy) not earlier than A.D. 200 and not later than A.D. 405, – at which point the atheists and materialits presume that those exact same letters then lost their historical credibility.

    Formerly historical documents lose their credibility and historicity upon being collected together and renamed “New Testament”; there is the atheist, materialist irrationality at it’s finest, flayed open and exposed.

  281. Headlined, what the objectors are running away from or try to distract from: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....away-from/

  282. I’d note, the first three writing Fathers, c 95 – 115, cited or alluded to as authoritative 25 of 27 NT works, the two not cited being two of the shortest.

  283. Ok, so let’s recap.

    I made 3 points in my original post; Atheists and/or materialists:
    1) have failed to provide a materialist explanation for the origins of the universe and life without special pleading to an unprovable multi-verse

    2) are not content with mere disbelief as evidenced by the effort they expend to compel Christians to likewise disbelieve

    3) have failed to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior.

    jdk asserts an unprovable supernatural immaterialism, but refuses to address the supernatural nature of Daniel’s authentic, fulfilled prophecy:

    jdk @ 13:
    I also am very interested in some of the metaphysical issues, and don’t rule out the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence. But I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths: that is the sense in which I am a strong atheist. Human religions are human inventions: they are literature, but they are not factual.

    jdk @ 27 Charles, let me be more specific. Although I am a strong agnostic about all metaphysics, I believe it is possible that some type of cosmic intelligence is in some causally related to the existence and nature of our universe. However, I don’t believe we can know anything about whether such intelligence exists, or what it’s nature might be.

    However I don’t believe at all that that intelligence is some type of conscious, willful being who interacts with human beings. As I have said, “I definitely think that all the human conceptions of supernatural beings (for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths.”

    We can’t know what the ultimate ground of the universe is, so we have made up stories. All the gods of humanity are narrative fictions.

    These are not “conflicted assertions.

    jdk doesn’t rule out "the unprovable idea of some type of fundamental cosmic intelligence", that is "causally related to the existence and nature of our universe" but he doesn’t "believe we can know anything about whether such intelligence exists, or what it’s nature might be". But he does rule out the Christian supernatural being "(for instance, the Christian God) that take an active interest in the lives of mankind are myths." as a myth of literature.

    i.e., the causally related, cosmic intelligence jdk is willing to consider is unprovable (how is a causal relationship a-priori unprovable???) but the Christian supernatural being is a myth of literature. An unprovable immaterial, unconcsious intelligent cause (how is an intelligence unconscious???) is believable to jdk but the provable Christian supernatural being is a myth. jdk would have us believe these are "not conflicted assertions".

    At which point, @ 29 I reiterated for jdk the facts from the literature, which facts jdk merely disbelieved without presenting any affirmative refutations:

    jdk @ 31:
    1. I don’t accept your “facts” as being actually factually true. I’ve explained why.
    2. I explained that I don’t believe that there are any supernatural beings that interact with humans, much less care a bit about communicating with Daniel.

    For which I listed some of the factual evidence from archaeology, numismatics, philology, and calendrics @ 64, @ 65, @ 66, and @ 67, to which evidenciary facts jdk claims:

    jdk @ 139: I disagree that the evidence presented to me warrants the conclusions drawn, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t examined it.

    to which I asked @ 140: Ok, upon examination, what errors did you identify in the evidence that does not warrant the conclusion? Which facts, specifically, were not as I represented them? jdk attempts @ 159 to find a hole in Daniel’s prophecy, to show an evidenciary error:

    jdk @ 159: As I expected, the passage in question is translated as 70 weeks, or 490 days, not 70 times 7 years. Someone back then would be thinking about the foreseeable future, one that would make sense to his listeners, not some unimaginably far off time 500 years in the future.

    to which I cited @167 and @ 173, four different independent sources that explain the word shubua (a "heptad") is simply "seven" usually translated as "week", because in many other contexts it does mean 7 days, but in the context of Daniel’s prophecy a "heptad" means "7 years". The most telling evidence of which is @ 173: Note also the apparent reference in Daniel 12:11 to half of Daniel’s last seventy (Daniel 9:27); it is 1290 days, approximately three and a half years. Thus here it means years.

    At which point jdk abandoned his short-lived effort to refute the facts of literature, archaeology, numismatics, astronomy, calendrics, etc., that Daniel’s prophecy is authentic, supernatural, and proof of the existence of the Christian supernatural God.

    jdk never took the field to prove a materialist explanation for the origins of the universe or life (point 1), and failed to disprove the evidence for a Christian supernatural God (point 3).

    As for point 2) at Social justice warriors hit engineering jdk argues:

    jdk @19 "I don’t believe that laws in society should reflect any particular religious point of view"

    which is exactly my point number 2: atheists or materialists, not being content with their own disbelief would compel Christians to supress their beliefs. Legislation is the strongest form of persuasion (second only to force), isn’t it. Use the law to “persuade” believers that you’re right. Legislate the millenia old Judeo-Christian views out of society, in lieu of what atheists believe. That prayer should be banned from schools, that a human foetus has no right to life, liberty or pursuit of happiness, that the state defines “marriage” and not a 5,000 year old JudeoChristian tradition and social mores.

    Unsurprisingly, jdk seemed disinclined to relitigate his earlier argument.

  284. 284

    Charles:

    Ok, so let’s recap.

    I made 3 points in my original post; Atheists and/or materialists:
    1) have failed to provide a materialist explanation for the origins of the universe and life without special pleading to an unprovable multi-verse

    The multiverse theory is completely separate. But you are correct in that we have failed to present a materialist explanation for the origin of the universe and life. So, in this respect, materialists and theists both suffer from the lack of explanation.

    2) are not content with mere disbelief as evidenced by the effort they expend to compel Christians to likewise disbelieve

    Damn, I thought this was a science site. What do Christians have to do with it?

    3) have failed to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior.

    Why would anyone waste breath trying to disprove this. I can no more disprove god than I can disprove leprechauns and unicorns.

  285. Continuing with the recap:

    I made 3 points in my original post; Atheists and/or materialists:
    1) have failed to provide a materialist explanation for the origins of the universe and life without special pleading to an unprovable multi-verse

    2) are not content with mere disbelief as evidenced by the effort they expend to compel Christians to likewise disbelieve

    3) have failed to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior.

    Seversky enters the fray @ 174 with the ever-popular (among atheists & materialist) "Christian hoax theory" of Jesus’ messianic office:

    Seversky @ 174
    Okay, let’s assume, for the sake of argument that Charles’s interpretation of the prophecy in Daniel is correct. Does that make it true? Not necessarily. There are other possible explanations.

    Suppose there were a devout Jew by the name of Jesus in the right place at about the right time. Let’s suppose he was well aware of the prophecy in Daniel. Let’s suppose he had persuaded himself and others that he had the power of miraculous healing, for example. Let’s suppose that these experiences had convinced him that he was the Messiah foretold in the prophecies and this certainty had attracted followers who also became convinced that his claim was true. Would that be a fulfillment of the prophecy or would it be a genuine but misguided man who knew of the prophecy and took advantage of it?

    I am not saying that any of the above is necessarily true but the fact that it is at least possible tends to undermine the probative value of that prophecy as far as the claims of Christianity are concerned.

    The problem for Seversky was, it isn’t possible, because Seversky was unaware of the extent of the other prophecies about the Messiah. If the prophcies about the Messiah were only events in his adult years, then yes an adult could study those prophecies and mimic them to appear to be the Messiah (but would anyone else sacrifice themselves in the name of a mimic? Where else in history has a mimic succeeded to generate anything like 2000 year-old Christianity in the face of torturous persecution, from the Romans through to the Islamists?).

    But the Messianic prophecies included events that took place before the Messiah was born. A mere adult human can not go back in time and cause himself to be born at the right time (Aug/Sep of 5 B.C.), in the right place (Bethlehem), to the right parents (descendents of David), and then have them flee to Egypt before Herod the Great dies, and return to Nazareth afterwards, as I pointed out @ 175.

    Even though Seversky didn’t refute that Jesus was born before Herod the Great died, Seversky nonetheless persists that somehow the nativity narrative is a hoax:

    Seversky @ 200
    Only Matthew describes the flight to Egypt to escape the massacre of the Innocents. You would have thought such significant event in Jesus’s early life would have merited at least a mention in the other Gospels.

    Luke tells how “a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered” which led Joseph to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. But as the Wikipedia entry on the Census of Quirinius points out: " [Charles: snip]… most scholars have therefore concluded that the author of Luke’s gospel made an error.[5] "

    Seversky again misunderstands the nature of the messianic prophecies, assuming that Matthew stands alone, Seversky being unaware that the "Massacre of the innocents" was also foretold in the Old Testament at Micah 5:2, Hosea 11:1, and Jeremiah 31:15. Regardless, how would an adult ‘mimic’ convince the 30-years dead Herod the Great to "massacre the innocents" attempting to kill the same ‘mimic’ at birth? Such is the scintillating logic of atheist argument.

    As for the oft presumed error of Luke’s account of the census of Quirinius, Seversky’s wikipedia source is apparantly clueless as to the extent of the research that supports Luke’s account, and that even if Luke’s account remains unproven, it does not change the fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and fled to Egypt, all as prophesied, before Herod the Great died.

    But as pointed out @ 278, the archaeology, coins, and philology support Luke’s account, that Josephus misunderstood one of his sources (as Josephus has on other accounts) and that Quirinius was likely a legate juridicus in Judea during 6-5 B.C. (albeit named as "Sabinus") assisting Varus (legate pro praetore) to conduct the census ordered by Augustus in 8 B.C.

    Seversky remains silent on my points 1 & 2, but on point 3, has failed to refute the supernatural authenticty of Daniel’s prophecy as fulfilled by Jesus.

  286. Continuing with the recap:

    I made 3 points in my original post; Atheists and/or materialists:
    1) have failed to provide a materialist explanation for the origins of the universe and life without special pleading to an unprovable multi-verse

    2) are not content with mere disbelief as evidenced by the effort they expend to compel Christians to likewise disbelieve

    3) have failed to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior.
    First, let’s expose rvb8’s self-conflicted hypocrisy:

    rvb8 @ 168: Several of my students are Christian, two are Muslim, and I never disabuse them of their faith.

    rvb8 @ 216: A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists is something I disabuse these new converts of

    rvb8 @ 250: I actually sidetracked the discussion when I explained I happily disabuse Chinese Christian converts of their faith, if I can get in early enough to relieve the damage.

    rvb8 @ 196: There are a few Catholics in my classes, they have come from old Catholic Chinese families, and I never mock Christianity, or attack their beliefs,

    rvb8 @ 196: … Slack jawed yokals, … I loathe these demi-humans. … [Chinese authorties] treat these people with more respect than they deserve.

    rvb8 @ 216: A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists … I explain that their new faith denies much of modern science including evolution and many times, global warming, the probable commonality of life in the universe, and is often anti-vaccine.

    rvb8 @ 233: It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith. …. I can however attack silliness before it takes root,

    rvb8 @ 231: If I can prevent them from becoming evangelical by simple converstions, I do,

    And then there is rvb8’s self-proclaimed knowledge of Christian history:

    rvb8 @ 69: We know [Actually that would be rvb8 assuming he knows] that Jesus was such a thorn in the then, greatest empire in the western world, that the Romans wrote not one word about him.

    rvb8 @ 72: Tacitus, Seutonius, and Pliny, all mention Christ do they? Where?

    rvb8 @ 97: Please put up the quotes from these ‘eye witnesses’ concerning Christ the God. If not, stop lying!

    rvb8 @ 168: My knowledge of Chrisitian history is sufficient to give these students a heads up, before they continue their studies in the US, UK, or Oz, Canada, where ever.

    And yet you didn’t know Tacitus, Seutonius, Pliny (as well as others) mention Christ and his followers.
    Further Matthew, John, Peter, James, Jude and Paul all were historical authors as well, who independently wrote letters testifying to the existence of Jesus Christ. These letters were written contemporaneously, and they were circulated, copied and preserved.

    And lastly, rvb8, further presumes a lack of hard evidence for the Christian faith:

    rvb8 @ 233: It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith.

    The evidence that God supernaturally revealed to Daniel when the Messiah would appear has been laid out @ 12, 23, 29, 64-67, 71, 167, 173, 181, 210, and 278.

    Of course you’ve studiously avoided all of it because a) you have no actual knowledge of Christian history, let alone the "hard evidence" from archaelogy, numismatics, astronomy, calendrics, philology, and ancient near east history and b) you have no material explanation for how Daniel knew 563 years in advance exactly when (A.D. 26) the Messiah would appear.

    From which hard evidence you fled in full retreat:

    rvb8 @ 168 You insult me. Fine, have at it. Small minded religious types are my bread and butter. I have also reconverted several students and released them from the prison of Chrisitianity. These reconverted are not the Catholics in my class, they are the Born Again types, who only went with the music and group love. ‘Here I stand I can do no other!’
    Have a nice day:)

    rvb8 is here confronted by a small-minded, Born Again type, an untravelled, slack jawed yokel, a demi human, a half-baked misguided evangelist, a Christian who has put the hard evidence for his faith in rvb8’s face, and rvb8 whines that he has been insulted by facts.

    ‘smatter rvb8, aren’t I your bread and butter? Not so confident anymore, are you.

    rvb8 scores a trifecta:
    1) rvb8 boasts that Christian "faith denies much of modern science including evolution and many times, global warming, the probable commonality of life in the universe", yet rvb8 has failed to provide any materialist explanation for the origins of the universe and life without special pleading to an unprovable multi-verse

    2) as evidenced by rvb8’s own posts, he is not merely content with his own disbelief, he is compelled to make Christians likewise disbelieve. rvb8 claims it is his "bread and buttrer" to "attack Christian silliness", "happily disabuse Chinese Christian converts of their faith", and "prevent them from becoming evangelical". (well… except when he is confronted with an experienced adult Christian evangelist.)

    3) rvb8’s studious and pointed silence on providing a materialist explanation for the accuracy and authenticity of Daniel’s prophecy is a tacit admission he has failed to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior.

    It’s a good thing rvb8’s students and Chinese employers don’t lurk here. The loss of face watching their ill-prepared, uninformed, inexperienced "teacher" get humilated by a small-minded, demi-human, yokel, Christian evangelist might be too much for them to tolerate.

  287. Armand Jacks @ 274

    The multiverse theory is completely separate.

    Separate from reality and any evidence or even testable theory, yes. But that’s all you’ve got, isn’t it.

    But you are correct in that we have failed to present a materialist explanation for the origin of the universe and life. So, in this respect, materialists and theists both suffer from the lack of explanation.

    Au Contraire!!! The theists’ explanation is God’s claim to have caused both the universe (the Big Bang) and life (biological information), while science is discovering what was caused and struggling for a way “chance” could have caused it.

    Damn, I thought this was a science site. What do Christians have to do with it?

    Why aren’t you content with merely disbelieving? Why can’t you just let Christian’s be wrong, if that’s what you think? If God is no different than the Flying Spaghetti Monster, what’s it to you? Somewhere out there in that great unverifiable multiverse is a universe where you’re right. It just isn’t this one. Why can’t you be content in disbeliving that?

    I can no more disprove god than I can disprove leprechauns and unicorns.

    That’s illogical. God has said "I did X" All you need do is prove X didn’t happen, ergo you will have disproved God. Eazy Peezy.

  288. Charles @ 285

    I made 3 points in my original post; Atheists and/or materialists:
    1) have failed to provide a materialist explanation for the origins of the universe and life without special pleading to an unprovable multi-verse

    I have agreed. There is no materialist account of the origins of the Universe. So far. That does not mean there never will be one. But for the present, we have to be content with a mystery.

    2) are not content with mere disbelief as evidenced by the effort they expend to compel Christians to likewise disbelieve

    I would say, rather, that when Christians offer reasons for why they believe as they do, a/mats are going to examine and criticize what is presented as evidence for those beliefs. If we find it less than compelling we are going to say so.

    3) have failed to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior.

    I can’t but then I don’t have to. The burden of proof rests with the claimant. If you believe in the existence of your God and Jesus Christ and you want to persuade me and others that your beliefs are well-founded then it is for you to provide the arguments and evidence.

    The problem for Seversky was, it isn’t possible, because Seversky was unaware of the extent of the other prophecies about the Messiah. If the prophcies about the Messiah were only events in his adult years, then yes an adult could study those prophecies and mimic them to appear to be the Messiah (but would anyone else sacrifice themselves in the name of a mimic? Where else in history has a mimic succeeded to generate anything like 2000 year-old Christianity in the face of torturous persecution, from the Romans through to the Islamists?).

    I also doubt whether a “mimic” would have done what is described either but, if it happened at all, it could have been the work of someone who had come to actually believe that he was the Messiah as described in the prophecies, perhaps someone who suffered from some sort of mental disorder and heard “voices”. Someone like that might well have been prepared to suffer and die for that belief. We have no way of knowing but it is at least a plausible alternative.

    But, again, the only account we have of the flight to Egypt and the massacre of the innocents is in Luke and most likely written decades after the events described by someone who probably knew of the prophecies. It is not mentioned in the other Gospels and there is no other corroborating evidence. It is at least possible that it was an exaggeration or an invention by the author of the Gospel to support the claim that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in the prophecy.

    But the Messianic prophecies included events that took place before the Messiah was born. A mere adult human can not go back in time and cause himself to be born at the right time (Aug/Sep of 5 B.C.), in the right place (Bethlehem), to the right parents (descendents of David), and then have them flee to Egypt before Herod the Great dies, and return to Nazareth afterwards, as I pointed out @ 175.

    And, as I keep pointing out, you only have Luke as evidence that the flight to Egypt happened at all. Why would the other Gospels ignore such significant evidence that the prophecies had been fulfilled?

    I don’t expect anything I say to undermine your religious beliefs but you have to understand that, from my perspective, the evidence for the events described in the Gospels and even for the existence of Jesus Christ as Messiah are flimsy at best. That doesn’t mean it never happened or that there isn’t some sort of foundation for the stories but what you have is a lot of interpretation and inference and too many unknowns.

  289. Seversky @ 288

    a/mats are going to examine and criticize what is presented as evidence for those beliefs.

    The burden of proof rests with the claimant. If you believe in the existence of your God and Jesus Christ and you want to persuade me and others that your beliefs are well-founded then it is for you to provide the arguments and evidence.

    Ok, so where is your examination and criticism of the evidence presented @ 12, 23, 29, 64-67, 71, 167, 173, and 181, that God supernaturally revealed to Daniel when the Messiah would appear.

    It is on you to examine and criticize, not just criticize. And citing one footnote from one article from Wikipedia that dismisses Luke’s account of Quirinius’ census, isn’t an intellectually honest examination. Luke’s account of the census is irrelevant to Daniel’s prophecy because Daniel didn’t prophesy when or where Messiah would be born. The burden of disproof now rests with you.

    I also doubt whether a “mimic” would have done what is described either but, if it happened at all, it could have been the work of someone who had come to actually believe that he was the Messiah as described in the prophecies, perhaps someone who suffered from some sort of mental disorder and heard “voices”.

    Is this the quality of your examination? You doubt your own theory, but that’s what you’re going to go with? How did that someone’s mental disorder get him born at the right time, in the right place, to the right parents? Regardless of the flight to Egypt, Jesus birthplace is supported in three gospels. Or will you now insist that something as important as birthplace should have been recorded in four gospels? And maybe even a 5th gospel should have been written just to convince people who wouldn’t believe three or four? But you find it credible to doubt your own theory and still insist a “mental disorder” might cause someone to be born in the right place and at the right time? This is your “examination and critcism”?

    That doesn’t mean it never happened or that there isn’t some sort of foundation for the stories but what you have is a lot of interpretation and inference and too many unknowns.

    No, I laid out some of the relevant historical, archaeological, numismatic, calendrical and philological evidence. There was no interpretation or inference – that’s you not reading carefully.

    So where is your examination and criticism of the evidence presented @ 12, 23, 29, 64-67, 71, 167, 173, and 181, that God supernaturally revealed to Daniel when the Messiah would appear.

    List what you consider to be the unknowns from the evidence I cited and how those unknowns can’t be reconciled with Daniel’s prophecy. Daniel didn’t prophesy the flight to Egypt so your argument about Matthew (not Luke) having the only account of the flight to Egypt is irrelevant to Daniel’s prophecy. And Daniel didn’t prophesy about when and where Jesus was born, so your argument about Luke’s account of the census doesn’t apply either.

    And while I can understand a typo here or there, if you can’t get straight the differences between Matthew’s account and Luke’s (and the rest of them), your “examination” isn’t going to hold much credibility.

  290. Charles,

    I met two more students, newly won to Jesus. Im meeting them for coffee tomorrow, and a chat; no harassement, or arm pulling, no lies (unlike some), just coffee and a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

  291. RVB8, Yes, a list of loaded questions that are manipulative, on track record, and posed by someone in a role of authority with grading power over the students — the implications of which power imbalance don’t seem to jump out at you. (Cf. a primer on typical first level issues I developed, quite some time back, part of a cell group leadership training manual (note basic first level discipleship guide here); with here on being a response to worldview issues that struck me as framing for the reformation of civilisation some years back. And there are endless cases of responsible answers to issues and challenges out there, just such are inaccessible to people under a dictatorship and police state in China.) Notice, above you failed to engage adequately either the worldviews case or the history-evidence one, and in an onward discussion the former recurs. I suggest to you that your bigoted projections on Protestant presumably Evangelical Christians betray an underlying deep-rooted problem. I would suggest to you that before you set out to subvert souls, you pause and ponder the eternally freighted responsibility you are taking up. KF

    PS: Presumably, UD is accessible in China. Why don’t you simultaneously post your list of questions here, and see if we are unable to engage them cogently, letting your students have access to the results — or better yet the live, in-progress process?

  292. The current, hopelessly degenerate, atheist-science paradigm seems to fully accord, in its integrity deficit, with the higher reaches of world government and the pillars of its kleptocracy. No wonder Christ spoke so disparagingly of the World and its dark ‘luminaries’ :

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2.....afficking/

  293. rvb8 @ 290

    a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

    Ok, big talker, if I’m your bread & butter, let’s see that list of questions. And give this url to your students and employers. They’ll want to see how you handle your bread & butter.

  294. let’s see that list of questions

    I’d like to see the questions, too.

    I politely request a copy. 🙂

    Andrew

  295. 295

    KF:

    PS: Presumably, UD is accessible in China. Why don’t you simultaneously post your list of questions here, and see if we are unable to engage them cogently, letting your students have access to the results — or better yet the live, in-progress process?

    I think that this is a wonderful idea. But before you do that, we should make every effort to get BA77 back here. Ask him to return, lift his ban, whatever. Rb8 can encourage your students to read the comments and OPs from KF, WJM and BA77 and then discuss the issues with them. I am fairly confident of the outcome.

  296. Armand Jacks @ 295

    I think that this is a wonderful idea. But before you do that,

    It is a wonderful idea [post rvb8’s list of questions here, …. letting his students have access to the results ]. period – full stop.

    You’re in no position to add pre-requisite challenges, yourself having ignored every previous challenge I’ve put to you here.

  297. 297

    Charles:

    You’re in no position to add pre-requisite challenges, yourself having ignored every previous challenge I’ve put to you here.

    You are learning well from KF. Claiming that I have ignored “every previous challenge” that you have put to me, yet I could only find one post addressed to me by you, and it links to a comment addressed to Bob O’h, jdk and KF. So much for all of those challenges that you have put to me that I have ignored.

    If you are so confident of the powers and the strength of arguments made by KF and his ilk, why are you opposed to people discussion them. Or do you simply want this to be sermonizing? I don’t understand your hostility.

  298. Armand Jacks @ 297:

    I could only find one post addressed to me by you, and it links to a comment addressed to Bob O’h, jdk and KF. So much for all of those challenges that you have put to me that I have ignored.

    I gave you a hyperlink to it. All you had to do was click it. Here it is again:

    184 Charles April 11, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Armand Jacks @ 182

    Unlike some here, if the evidence existed that Jesus was the son of god, or if a god ever existed, I would change my viewpoint.

    lol – no you wouldn’t.

    The evidence that God supernaturally revealed to Daniel when the Messiah would appear has been laid out @ 12, 23, 29, 64-67, 71, 167, 173 and 181.

    You have studiously, carefully ignored 11 detailed and some lengthy posts. You know precisely what evidence you are ignoring. We know because, as is your style, you keep trying to move the goal posts to other subjects and remain abjectly silent on every fact you can not refute, all the while pretending no evidence has been presented.

    Next up, Armand Jacks says none of the evidence is believable.

    Disbelief is neither a refutation nor a fact, it is merely your a-priori state of mind.

    “Your Honor, I have never believed those signs really meant STOP”.

    In response to your false assertion @ 182 that no “evidence existed that Jesus was the son of god, or if a god ever existed”, I challenged you in my 184 to look at 11 detailed posts laying out that evidence.

    And the fact is you ignored it then, and you’re ignoring it now.

  299. 299

    Charles:

    And the fact is you ignored it then, and you’re ignoring it now.

    Let me see if I have this straight. Because I ignored a single comment where you linked to challenges made to other people, I am responsible for not responding to the challenges that were directed at others, and answered by others?

    Hopefully you are not a judge.

  300. Armand Jacks @ 299:

    The same challenge directed at others was also directed at you. Which part of “Armand Jacks @ 182” do you not get. Wherein I quoted your false assertion, followed by the numbers of the comments containing the evidence you claimed didn’t exist.

    You ignored a direct challenge to your own claim, thrice now.

    Do you seriously think you’re special enough to warrant duplication of comments just to stroke your feelings of adequacy?

  301. 301

    Charles:

    You ignored a direct challenge to your own claim, thrice now.

    No, I disagreed with the many challenges that you claim were addressed to me. It’s very simple.

    But because I am lazy, please repeat one of these claims. Btw, what are these claims about?

  302. Armand Jacks @ 301: No, [[I didn’t] ignore a direct challenge to your own claim, thrice now.],

    Armand Jacks @ 299: Because I ignored a single comment where you linked to challenges made to other people,….

    And now you’ve exposed yourself in a childish lie.

    You knew and admitted in 299 that you ignored the challenge directed to you, and in 301 you lie that you didn’t ignore that same challenge.

    Armand Jacks @ 301: I disagreed with the many challenges that you claim were addressed to me.

    No, I said the challenge directed to you @ 184 cited the evidence you claimed didn’t exist in the comments whose numbers I listed. I never claimed those comments were addressed to you. I even said I wasn’t willing to duplicate them for you. But apparently you are illiterate.

    But because I am lazy, please repeat one of these claims. Btw, what are these claims about?

    No, you’re not lazy, just a very childish liar. You had that chance in the previous comments made to you, and you apparently lack the intelligence to scroll up a few posts and find the link posted to you three times.

    You have demonstrated to all here why you don’t get to add pre-requisites to anyone elses challenges to others. You are dishonest, incompetent and illiterate.

  303. 303

    Charles, you really have a reading comprehension problem. Is English not your first language? I disagree that you made numerous challenges to me. You didn’t. Please point them out. You don’t have to copy and paste them all. Just provide the comment numbers of the many challenges directed at me. Btw, you are really learning how to lie from KF. You must be very proud.

    Again, I make the offer. Start with your first challenge question. I will answer it.

  304. Armand Jacks @ 303:

    Again, I make the offer. Start with your first challenge question. I will answer it.

    Asked and answered. Find it yourself. Everyone else here can.

  305. 305

    Charles:

    Asked and answered. Find it yourself. Everyone else here can.

    Well, if you are too lazy to find one of the challenges you claimed you asked me, that you didn’t, I don’t see why I should do your work for you. I made the offer. your choice.

  306. Armand Jacks @ 305

    I don’t see why I should do your work for you.

    You don’t need to. You just need to do your work for yourself and scroll up [or is that grow up?]

  307. 307

    Charles:

    You don’t need to. You just need to do your work for yourself and scroll up [or is that grow up?]

    Suit yourself. I offered.

  308. Armand Jacks @ 307

    I offered.

    But you didn’t scroll up. ‘course you, and everyone here, already knew that.

    Maybe you should just go over to “The Skeptical Zone” and see if they’ll put you in their witless protection program.

  309. Charles, AJ is on his favourite trollish gambit, distracting from an issue by pretending that one of his demands has not been answered. He is also tossing in a selectively hyperskeptical dismissal of evidence — a significant summary body of which is in or is linked from the thread above — regarding God and Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. All of this tells us about the crooked yardstick he is using to measure by. Of course, as well, buried in the lot is the little matter of a challenge to RVB8 to pick on someone his own size. Sad. KF

    PS: I continue concern about BA77, he seems incommunicado. I am hoping he is not ill.

  310. kairosfocus @ 309

    Charles, AJ is on his favourite trollish gambit, distracting from an issue by pretending that one of his demands has not been answered.

    Of course he is. That’s all he’s got. It’s all he’ll ever have.

    And it has been laid bare just how intellectually bankrupt and childish are the atheist/materialist excuses to ignore the facts. They won’t scroll up – that is the nadir of excuses.

  311. 311

    KF:

    Charles, AJ is on his favourite trollish gambit, distracting from an issue by pretending that one of his demands has not been answered.

    Oh BS KF. It is Charles who claimed that I have ignored numerous of his challenges even though he had only addressed a single comment to me, pointing towards comments he had addressed to others. I asked him to identify one of the challenges he would like me to respond to and he has refused. If he wants to be childish, I can’t stop him.

    PS: I continue concern about BA77, he seems incommunicado. I am hoping he is not ill.

    If you really cared you could take the ten seconds it would take to notice that he continues to be very active on his Facebook page. It is only UD that he is shunning. Either voluntarily or forced.

  312. Armand Jacks @ 311

    It is Charles who claimed that I have ignored numerous of his challenges

    You ignored them at 184, 296, 298, and 300.

    But you can’t scroll up to find out, can you.

  313. 313

    Charles:

    You ignored them at 184, 296, 298, and 300.

    But you can’t scroll up to find out, can you.

    You behave just like KF. And that’s not a compliment. I ask a simple question and you keep referring to a number of comments addressed to others. Pick the one piece of evidence you feel most compelling and I will respond to it. If I can’t address it adequately then you win. If I do then you can bring up your second most compelling piece.

    If you are not willing to do something as simple as that then I am afraid that I must say goodnight.

  314. Armand Jacks @ 313

    If you are not willing to do something as simple as that then I am afraid that I must say goodnight.

    Since you can’t do something as simple as scroll to comments listed and see they are addressed to you and quote you, verbatim, then say goodnight. The adults are going to talk after you kids go to bed.

  315. Charles,

    AJ is an obvious evo mat or fellow traveller activist trolling UD, for one or more of various reasons, mostly distractive and clearly not to actually responsibly interact with substance.

    The usual rule of thumb is, do not feed the trolls, they thrive on attention. if they become unduly disruptive, disciplinary measures will be needed, if necessary up to banning. So far, AJ has had to be warned by the blog president and by others, and on such warning has pulled back just this side of banning for cause.

    He needs to know that I have a very low tolerance for vulgarity for cause, and will not tolerate even the use of notorious abbreviations and also accusations without serious merit. if someone cannot keep a civil tongue in his or her head in a public space discussion, that is already a sign that this person is grossly irresponsible and essentially empty-headed, disrespectful and abusive.

    For our context where there is a widespread misunderstanding, so it is appropriate to answer substantial issues — without allowing permanent diversion of the discussion.

    But if someone shows lack of responsibility, refocus on the main theme of the thread from its OP on and if necessary address whatever is really relevant in passing.

    In this thread’s case, obviously, we have gone through several themes and have established the broad philosophical context for worldviews [now in a secondary thread, itself facing trollishness] and demonstrated the difference and independence between the design inference and a theistic case. That is very important, as there is a slander out there that tries to portray the design inference and associated scientific themes with some silly but widely swallowed conspiracy theory about creationist, fundamentalist, right-wing, Christofascist takeovers of our civilisation. Nonsense that fails to understand that fascism — as the blackshirts in Berkeley are demonstrating as we speak — is demonstrably a left wing socialist, statist, politically messianistic personality cult. Second, as the UD Weak Argument Correctives that such trolls refuse to read or take seriously discusses, Biblical Creationism and Design thought have very different frames of thought. Inferring design as credible cause on empirically tested reliable sign has very little inherently to do with scriptural traditions and raising the challenge of Job 38, were you there at the point of origins, then debating hermeneutics of text and correlation with evidence of traces from the past of origins. If you doubt, go over to Answers in Genesis etc and compare.

    But then truthfulness and responsibility are not hallmarks of trollishness.

    This thread has also done an important service by addressing the core warranting case for the Christian faith, which has long been under unjustifiably severe attack in our civilisation, to our sobering cost. As just one indicator, were the Christian Faith as dominant as these trolls paint, there is just no way that such would parade themselves in public to enable the ongoing slaughter of the unborn, 800+ millions since the 1970’s and mounting up at a million per WEEK. An utter indictment of the utterly demonic nature of what has been going on in our ever more radically secularised culture. The thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy.

    That enabling behaviour for ONGOING HOLOCAUST alone utterly demonstrates the benumbing of conscience at work, which — as we can see form the link between moral government and responsible rational freedom and thought — is vital to sound, rational, responsible thinking.

    Indeed, part of what is exposed above, is that such trolls do not even understand the significance of the first fact of our experience, conscious rationality sensitised by conscience. Instead, under the influence of self-refuting evo mat scientism and fellow traveller ideologies (notice, how they duck, dodge and side-step this), they imagine that a computational substrate is adequate to account for rational, insightful ground and consequence inference. They cannot bring themselves to acknowledge what anyone who has designed and built such a substrate can tell you.

    First, it is necessarily chock full of FSCO/I and its appearance is a strong sign of design as cause. Second, that it is blindly mechanical and/or stochastic in nature, GIGO limited in capability and utterly unintelligent. What we have is automated utterly blind calculation, or analogue dynamics, that will happily play out errors until the system crashes. The Pentium and 386 recalls should establish that beyond any reasonable, responsible doubt. The decades of effort to create ball and disk integrator based analogue computers that did good gunlaying, should also tell us a lot. Likewise, neural networks, even in wetware, are about signal processing, not concepts, inferences, intuitions, creative insight etc.

    Artificial intelligence is a misnomer.

    In short, the trolls cannot even account for the conscience-guided reasoning power they must use to comment.

    They should stand down and take time to ponder what sort of world must we inhabit, for creatures like us to be possible.

    And in that context the answer comes back, there is one serious candidate world root for a world with morally governed embodied responsible, rationally free agents like us: a world created by the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible, free service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature. Which points to objectivity of moral law and to the reason why it is those who reject that root who end up in having to impose the devillish nihilistic premise that might and manipulation make ‘truth’ ‘right’ etc.

    It would be amusing, if it were not so sad, to see how these objectors dodge the challenge of comparative difficulties: propose an alternative that is coherent and adequately accounts for our world: ________

    That consistently empty blank, so for years, speaks eloquent volumes.

    In this context where ethical theism is a serious and responsible worldview option, the history and traditions and scriptures and message of the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition can be reasonably examined.

    After all, if we are the creation of the inherently good God, whom we ought to joyously serve with reasonable, responsible service, then it should be no surprise that he is there and is not silent.

    Nor, that the principal locus of his revelatory activity should be in the central pivot of our world, the place from which it would be most able to spread, that joint between three continents in the Levant, next door to Egypt.

    And in that light, it should be no surprise that the civlisaiton informed by that tradition, should become a driving force for genuine progress, never mind set-backs and the ever existing reformation struggle with domineering evil and infectious corruption in the world.

    So, yes, your challenge to examine the evidence of messianistic prophecy is relevant, and the message of the resurrection also.

    It is almost amusing, but then sad, to see that inter alia, none of the objectors above seem to have seriously interacted with you or with Lee Stroebel’s Case for Christ video embedded above.

    Likewise, we see one who boasts of subverting little lambs of the faith, who seems afraid to let us see the list of challenges he poses to them.

    Maybe, he will let us see, soon.

    (I would have thought, if they were utterly unanswerable, he would be eager to expose our folly and ignorance here by boldly posting them.)

    And so, this thread has life yet.

    KF

  316. 316

    Charles, again, thank you for your comprehensive scholarship. On the day, AJ won’t be able to say, “But but–I did not have enough evidence!”

    So sad. His deep desire for this not to be true comes through like a spotlight.

  317. kairosfocus @ 315

    The usual rule of thumb is, do not feed the trolls, they thrive on attention. if they become unduly disruptive, disciplinary measures will be needed, if necessary up to banning. So far, AJ has had to be warned by the blog president and by others, and on such warning has pulled back just this side of banning for cause.

    Yes I feed them, rope, to the point where they have obviously hung themselves and become an embrassment to the atheist, materialist narrative.

    I also make it a point to memorialize their exposure, in a comment or two, so it can be linked from some other thread when they feign ignorance/innocence at having been caught out again for the same stupidity. The noose is reusable.

    Months from now, when someone happens across this thread, they’ll see the abject stupidity exhibited by atheists who not only claim to be “bright” but also claim a lack of evidence for God and Jesus. Their studied avoidance of addressing that evidence, driven by their fear of losing the argument, will serve as a monument to the intellectual bankruptcy of the atheist/materialist narrative.

  318. AnimatedDust @ 316:

    On the day, AJ won’t be able to say, “But but–I did not have enough evidence!”

    Yes, Armand Jacks intended it for trolling, but God intended it for a court record.

  319. rvb8 @ 290

    a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

    We’re still waiting on your list of questions for Christians.

    c’mon rvb8, disabuse me. I’m your Huckleberry.

  320. RVB8, On April 22 you said that that evening you would sit with students and share a “list” of questions for their Christian leaders. I asked that you do us the reasonable service of allowing us to see the list. Since then, no list. Kindly, explain why that is so. KF

  321. Charles, somewhere above, I believe, there are links here on. There is also a RH side-bar with considerably more, e.g. this link on 20 arguments pointing to God and the page that includes this on on grounding a theistic worldview and then a specifically Christian one, with an onward discussion of positive socio-cultural transformation. And that is on top of what you have said. I wonder what AJ has to say for himself on his no evidence provided claims. KF

  322. re: rvb8’s questions

    I wouldn’t put it past an Atheist Troll to present UD with complete fabrications.

    There are no questions.

    Andrew

  323. AS, even if he has fabricated a narrative about teaching students in China, surely he can find himself ten or a dozen knockdown questions unanswerable by those ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked right wing fundy Christofascists who cannot stand up to atheistical brites? It would be interesting to see such. Or, is it that he is scared that he cannot put up something that would stand informed scrutiny? At this point, it looks like this thread needs to go on to address the core warrant for the Christian faith. KF

  324. kairosfocus @ 321:

    I will take some time to examine those links, thank you.

    One of the strengths in my selection of Daniel’s prophecy of the 69 weeks is that its assertions are entirely demonstrable from forensic evidence of archaeology, astronomy, calendrics, philology, numsimatics, and history – i.e. “extra biblical” evidence of the sort often demanded to be credible.

    Demonstrating credibly, forensically, that the future revealed in Daniel’s prophecy could only be known by a supernatural being is proof that God exists and that Jesus is the foretold Messiah. From that fundamental truth, it follows that what God and Jesus have said elsewhere in the Bible, is likewise true.

    That the extrabiblical forensic evidence is both credible and irrefutable, is demonstrated by the silence of the atheists.

  325. FFT9: Let’s get the ball rolling, here I clip from my NCST U2, regarding Paul at Mars Hill:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    {{INTRODUCTION: We live in a skeptical age, where — as was noted in the preliminary remarks for this course:

    . . . we are now in the age of Google, YouTube, blogs and other freely accessible web soap-box and forum technologies, Dan Brown and his The Da Vinci Code, the vituperative New Atheists, Radical IslamISTS, and many others.

    As a result, we now face a flood of superficially persuasive and atmosphere-poisoning materials that target God, the Scriptures, Jesus, the Christian Faith and Christians today (including personal hate and slander sites) and much more. This backs up an unprecedented and rising tidal wave of direct and undermining attacks against the Christian faith in the Caribbean and elsewhere that we can find on our streets, on our verandahs, on our TV’s and computers, in our schools and offices, and even in our churches.

    A flood of attacks that finds us too often in a sad spiritual condition, and by and large utterly unprepared to soundly answer on the reason for the hope that we have:

    The two tidal wave threats to the Christian faith in the Caribbean

    In such a time as this, it is no longer enough to simply know the content of the gospel or the scriptures, and to rest content in our personal experience of life-changing encounter with God.

    For, all around us, the gospel, the God of the Bible, the Christian Faith, the churches and even individual Christians are under relentless, manipulative and too often hateful attack, attacks that are armed with superficially persuasive and too often viciously and maliciously toxic talking points that are free for a search and download; all across the Internet.

    And, in many cases, even when these toxic talking points fail to actually persuade, they so poison and polarise the atmosphere that it is very hard for people to listen to the Good News of Jesus and the reason for our hope in him. Which is part of the obvious intent. For, as Aristotle so tellingly warned 2,300 years ago in his The Rhetoric, Bk I Ch 2, arguments work by one or more of the appeals to (a) emotions, (b) credibility of an authority or presenter, or to (c) the actual meat of fact and reasoning, but — and, this is the key problem — hostile or poisoned emotions, once stirred, can utterly warp our judgement:

    Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible . . . Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile . . . Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question . . .

    As a direct result of such challenges and the willful creation of an increasingly toxic situation, we desperately need to equip a much broader base of people in the churches at a much higher level of understanding and living out of the gospel, the Scriptures, theology and issues; if we are to be credible, sound, competent and effective. Such a challenge also means and demands that as we set out to study systematic theology, we have to equip people to think through and lay a sound worldviews foundation, the main focal issue for this unit.

    It may be helpful here to look at a picture of how a worldview and cultural agenda can dominate a community, following a generic form of the “seven mountains of influence” framework popularised in recent years by Lance Wallnau of the USA, but apparently tracing to an analysis in 1975 by Bill Bright, Loren Cunningham and Francis Schaeffer:

    Video:

    What REALLY is the 7 Mountain Message? from Os Hillman on Vimeo.

    And, “foundations” (a characteristic New Testament word for laying a solid basis for thought, attitude, motivation and life, and building on it . . . ) shows just how radical — that word comes from the Latin radix, root — the Christian Faith really is.

    For, just as how the Athenians in Acts 17 wanted to hear “the latest ideas” but were by and large not open to a truly back- to- foundations and look- at- the fatal- cracks critique, avant garde thinkers in our day really want to hear the latest wrinkles and innovations within the comfortable World System of the day.

    They want to discuss some new Ptolemaic epicycle, not a Copernican, back to basics revolutionary idea that threatens their comfortable system. And don’t you dare come along threatening to “box bread out of our mouths” by upending the system and rendering their expertise obsolete. (No wonder knowledge revolutions so often proceed one funeral at a time as one generation locked into the old way dies off and a new one emerges that is open to the new way.)

    So, the message of the gospel — warranted by the credible history of Jesus and the power of the Spirit who breaks through in those who penitently heed it — will do again just what Paul did 1960 years ago: start from something, some altar, some artifact, some inscription, something that inadvertently reflects the pivotal underlying problem. Thus, it will go to the roots and expose their rottenness, it will dig up a bit of the foundations and expose fatal structural cracks. Then it will call for a sounder foundation, as Jesus did at the close of the Sermon on the Mount:

    Matt 7:24 “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!” [NET]

    So also, we must be prepared for the response of amazement or puzzlement:

    Matt 7:28 When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed by his teaching, 29 because he taught them like one who had authority, not like their experts in the law. [NET]

    In short, he cut clean across the traditions and the “Rabbi [Expert] X says, Rabbi [Expert] Y says, and so we have the right pedigree.” No wonder, the upended experts, frequently, were less than amused.

    So also with Paul, when he reached the cutting point in his presentation at Mars Hill. The resurrection of Jesus with 500+ eyewitnesses. Foolishness to many Greeks locked into a view that saw the body as the prison of the soul, and an offense to the Jews who saw a crucified man as necessarily accursed by God. Hence the interruption and reaction:

    Acts 17: 29 [Paul:] “. . . since we are God’s offspring, we should not think the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image made by human skill and imagination. 30 Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

    32 Now when they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul left the Areopagus. 34 But some people joined him and believed. Among them were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. [NET]

    But, as those few who responded found out, when the storm comes, God’s foolishness, apparent weakness and strangeness will prove to be plainly wiser, stronger, sounder than the ways of men.

    In particular, in our day, we can see that science — the major intellectual movement in our civilisation, is often dominated by an imposed materialism that was all too aptly summarised as follows by a major proponent, Professor Richard Lewontin, an evolutionary biologist of Harvard University:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. (NB: a priori means the claim is imposed before the facts are allowed to speak Cf. critical survey here.)]

    In short, by imposing so-called methodological naturalism, in the minds of those who think like professor Lewontin — e.g., the leadership of both the US National Academy of Science and National Science Teachers Association, along with many other individuals and groups (i.e. this is an ideologically and institutionally dominant, though patently question-begging, school of thought) — science is forced into an evolutionary materialistic mould; right from the outset. That is, painful though it is to have to hear, such are plainly going in mind-closing logical circles, as Philip Johnson (a founding Intelligent Design movement thinker) pointed out in the following rebuttal to Lewontin of November that same year:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in [now retired Oxford Evolutionary Biologist and atheism advocate Richard] Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphases added.] [“The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism,” First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    But, in an era where evolutionary materialistic science gives many the impression that God is out of a job, how can the gospel have enough credibility to be heard?

    That is the second focal issue for this unit.

    Thirdly, we must also focus on responding responsibly and effectively to a region — and a wider civilisation — that has badly lost its way.

    This is the third focal issue for this unit.

    Climbing Mars Hill

    In AD 50, the Apostle Paul, having been harried out from city after city in Macedonia, faced a very similar set of challenges to what we now face, in Athens.

    And, as a great lion pushed too far turns at bay and vexes those who unwisely kept on pushing, harrying and pursuing, the apostle took a bold stance before the Areopagus:

    Ac 17:16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols. 17 So he was addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and in the marketplace [the Agora] every day those who happened to be there. 18 Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him, and some were asking, “What does this foolish babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.)

    19 So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus [possibly, on Mars Hill itself — pictured below — or (more likely) in the neighbouring Agora],

    Mars hill, at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens (cf video tour here)

    . . . saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some surprising things to our ears, so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time in nothing else than telling or listening to something new.)

    22 So Paul stood before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you.

    24 The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone.

    26 From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

    29 So since we are God’s offspring, we should not think the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image made by human skill and imagination. 30 Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

    32 Now when they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul left the Areopagus.

    34 But some people joined him and believed. Among them were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. [NET]

    Paul’s approach gives us some key examples and ideas:

    1 –> As we have already outlined, he first found a culturally bridging point of contact, the now famous altar to the unknown god that points to the rhetorical kairos, the opportunity and occasion that focuses attention and opens the way for the speech to effect a breakthrough. So, while he is going to do a “look at the foundations and their cracks” radical critique, he is not introducing something utterly strange, but is explaining what the unknown God honoured in a municipal monument right there in their city has told him to say to the Athenians (and through them, to all peoples).

    2 –> Subtly, he is also reminding the Athenians — proud guardians of Greece’s intellectual heritage (which is the heart of our own intellectual culture) — that on the most important point of knowledge, the foundational ground of reality, the root of being, they have had to build a public monument to their ignorance. Craaack . . . the foundations of the pagan, cynical, skeptical worldview and culture — “the common people thought the stories of the gods were equally true, the philosophers that they were equally false, the politicians that they were equally useful” [cf. Gibbon et al.] — have a fatal structural flaw.

    3 –> He then proceeded to correct common misunderstandings: the Creator of the cosmos is not dependent on us, nor is he confined to temples like the idols are. Instead, we depend on him, and as their own poets have put it we are his sons and daughters; it is in him that we live, move and have our being.

    4 –> He is the creator of nationhood, and is Lord of the times, places and resources we have as nations; so supervising the course of history that from time to time, in the face of pivotal moments [ kairous], we are moved to grope for him, however blindly.

    5 –> In this time, he has decisively intervened in history, showing us that we will stand before the bar of eternal judgement by raising Jesus (the one who will be our Judge, having felt the full force of human frailty and temptation) from the dead.

    6 –> Accordingly, he calls us to face and acknowledge the credible truth, repent and put our trust in God in the face of Christ.

    Thus, Paul — as do today’s Christian thinkers — found an acceptable point of contact, pointed to the key error he would correct, outlined our status as creatures and nations accountable before our common Creator, Sustainer, Lord and Father, then introduced the gospel. The key point of warrant for the gospel (and thus for the reality of that hitherto unknown God) is the resurrection, as attested by over five hundred eyewitnesses and the fulfillment of scriptural prophecies given in the key case some seven hundred years beforehand. And, in light of that gospel, we are all called to repentance.

    Alas, as outlined, that was the sticking point.

    For, the idea of a bodily resurrection cut across deeply entrenched worldview assumptions. So, many in the audience in effect said: never mind our acknowledged ignorance and whatever evidence you may present, we don’t accept that God can be like that.

    The immediate results were therefore scanty, and Paul was literally laughed out of court.

    But, today, Dionysius the Areopagite (one of the few who heeded the gospel call that day) is remembered as the first bishop of Athens, and as its patron saint. Indeed, from a map of modern Athens, we can see that the road by Mars Hill is now called Apostle Paul Street. Its continuation by the Acropolis is Dionysius the Areopagite street. Behind the Agora is Holy Apostle church.

    To cap it all off, the above once- mocked Mars Hill speech is on a bronze plaque affixed at the foot of the hill itself:

    The verdict of history is in: the future belonged to the Apostle and even more to the gospel he proclaimed that decisive day. Not to the skeptical scholars or to cynical politicians of the ilk of a Pilate: “what is ‘truth’?”

    Just so, in our day, by God’s grace the well-warranted truth of the gospel will again prevail. For:

    7 –> as Paul put it in Acts 17, God created the nations, and so controls our places and times [kairous], that we are forced to grope (however blindly and ignorantly) for him in the midst of crises.

    8 –> Then, as Paul’s presence in Athens exemplifies, God sends his spokesmen into such places at such times with the call to repentance, renewal and reformation, opening the door —

    “so that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles [???? — ethne, from ????? — ethnos n. 1. a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe] through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit.”[Gal. 3:14, NIV ’84]

    9 –> Therefore, following Eph 4:9 – 16, “[Jesus] . . . gave” leaders to the church, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . . attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.” [NIV ’84]

    10 –> So, God is now sending the gospel of blessing to the nations of the Caribbean in our time of kairos, thus calling out, creating, building and equipping his body, the church “the fulness of him who fills everything in every way” as the means of blessing for our region and beyond, to the wider world.

    11 –> Thus, he is sending us out as his disciples, into — and beyond — the local community as “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

    12 –> Consequently, as we live, love, evangelise, disciple, serve, and provide high integrity leadership, Christ’s reforming and transforming redemptive fullness will naturally, often invisibly and imperceptibly, spread through “all things” across the Caribbean Basin and beyond.

    13 –> This promotes truly sustainable — God-blessed — development under the vision of Psalm 127:

    PS 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
    its builders labor in vain.
    Unless the LORD watches over the city,
    the watchmen stand guard in vain. [NIV ’84]

    We see here a picture of the God who is not only Creator and Lord, but enters into history, bringing us to repentance and reconciliation, graciously opening the doors for a mutual agreement — a covenant — with promises, conditions and blessings.

    But, before such covenantal blessings can be accessed by the individual, the family or the community, the issue of rebellious, willfully sinful rejection of God must be faced; as Paul outlines in Romans 1 – 2, and with an insight from ch. 13 on love as the keystone of core morality:

    Rom 1:18 . . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, 19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

    20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts1 were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! . . . . 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done . . . .

    Rom 2:5 . . . [B]ecause of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed!

    6 He will reward each one according to his works: 7 eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality, 8 but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness . . . .

    13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law will be declared righteous. 14 For whenever the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things required by the law, these who do not have the law are a law to themselves. 15 They show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them, 16 on the day when God will judge the secrets of human hearts, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.

    Rom 13: 8b . . . the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [Thayer: ?????? -1. of a bad nature 2. of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting a. base, wrong, wicked b. not such as it ought to be 3. troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful] to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [NET, emphases added]

    In the apostle’s argument, the dismissive rejection of God is always culpable; for there is adequate — nay, compelling — evidence in the world outside and the heart, mind and conscience of man inside, to strongly warrant the conclusion that our world is a Creation, and that of a good God.

    The God under whose moral government we therefore live, through the principle that he has made us equally in his image and thus creates a mutual obligation of respect, love and not doing harm but rather benefit to neighbour. This principle of moral government we can see amplified in John Locke’s citation from “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker, in his Ecclesiastical Polity, 1594 +, when Locke sought to ground the principles of liberty and justice in the community, in Ch 2 sect. 5 of his well-known Second Treatise on Civil Government:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    In short, the apostle holds that people who turn from God and the evidence that points to him, are in willful error; an error that then tends to eat away at the bonds between ourselves and others whom God has made just as much in his image as we ourselves.

    However, people thus have reasonable moral expectations that we must respect their dignity as created just like ourselves, equally in God’s image, and with their own individual calling under God to a path of good and achievement. So, we can have no just right to hinder our neighbour by violating life, liberty, property, reputation etc.

    But, too often, instead of living together in harmonious community under our common good, reasonable, just Creator, Father, God and Lord, we instead make up distracting stories and images that look like men, birds, beasts, reptiles etc.

    In the old days, such were in pagan temples. Given the sort of question-begging a priori materialism posed by Lewontin and so many others, too often, nowadays, such images and stories appear as “educational” or even “scientific” exhibits in museums, textbooks, TV documentaries and “science” web sites.

    So, we may draw a provocative comparison:

    Then:

    Now:

    Paul’s point is that when we set up such images and spin out such beguiling stories in the teeth of the evidence and implications we know or should easily enough know [cf. here on and here on below] about our world and our own selves, we fall victim to a willfully ignorant, rebellious en-darkened mind and a benumbed conscience; one that ironically often sees itself as wise and right. It is then no wonder that our passions spin out of control, and we become benumbed to our shameful, destructive and debasing addictions and willful abuse of the other. Hence Paul’s caution to Christians in Ephesians 4:

    Eph 4: 17 . . . I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

    18 They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

    20 But you did not learn about Christ like this, 21 if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. [NET]

    Wilfully rebellious, endarkened, calloused cultures such as Paul here describes, go into moral spin-out, crash and burn.

    That sounds rather sadly like early C21 Western Civilisation, but we will predictably hear the hot retort:

    Science shows that there is no evidence for God, and your out-dated religion is in a losing war against ever-advancing knowledge!

    Is that really so?

    Let us see . . . }}

    >>>>>>>>>>>

    We begin.

    KF

  326. Charles, that’s a point though I think also the hard truth is we deal with those who willfully refuse to look at inconvenient evidence and then go out to pose as brites even as they resort to selectively hyperskeptical, too often outright trollish and just plain rude objectionism. KF

  327. rvb8 @ 290

    a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

    We’re still waiting on your list of questions for Christians.

  328. RVB8, yes, we wait. KF

  329. RVB8, we are still waiting. If you are not confident enough to publicly pose questions you set out to vex young Christians with, that speaks saddening volumes. And, if the whole story is actually made up to promote your evident atheism, that you apparently cannot stand up on the merits in an open forum should give you pause. I suggest, you should carefully reconsider what you have been advocating. KF

  330. Charles, did you notice this is top thread of the month with coming on 4,000 hits? (And, I think that is reckoned in terms of unique visitors.) KF

  331. kairosfocus @ 330:

    Yes. An excellent opportunity for rvb8 to show us all what the truth is.

    rvb8 @ 290

    a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

    c’mon rvb8, my ilk and I are waiting. Surely it doesn’t take you 5 days to post your list of questions.

    Think of how amazed your students will be when your questions show us what small-minded, Born Again, untravelled, slack jawed yokels we all are. Maybe your Chinese administrators will give you a more elevated and prominent teaching position. You’ll be a hero.

  332. 332

    I was interested in what has been driving this discussion thread so I did a little math. Of the 331 comments, approximately 80% were either written by RVB*, Armand Jacks and JDK, or these people were mentioned by other commenters. Say what you like about them, they certainly have a talent for stimulating discussion.

  333. FFT10 A: Let’s proceed to the core warranting argument of the Christian framework, i/l/o Paul at Mars Hill.

    Many may be ignorant of this kairos-moment, AD50 at Athens so I just note how Paul faced riots, whipping and gaoling in Macedonia to the North, then was driven out. He was in Athens for several weeks and there he made a decisive turning like a great lion who has run as far as it will, turns to vex those who have unwisely persisted in chasing it:

    Acts 17:6 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was greatly angered when he saw that the city was full of idols.

    17 So he had discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place day after day with any who happened to be there. 18 And some of the [b]Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to engage in conversation with him. And some said, “What could this idle babbler [with his eclectic, scrap-heap learning] have in mind to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities”—because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

    19 They took him and brought him to the [c]Areopagus (Hill of Ares, the Greek god of war), saying, “May we know what this [strange] new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some startling and strange things to our ears; so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the foreigners visiting there used to spend their [leisure] time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

    22 So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus, said:

    “Men of Athens, I observe [with every turn I make throughout the city] that you are very religious and devout in all respects.

    23 Now as I was going along and carefully looking at your objects of worship, I came to an altar with this inscription:

    ‘TO AN [d]UNKNOWN GOD.’

    Therefore what you already worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

    24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He [e]served by human hands, as though He needed anything, because it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things.

    26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories.

    27 This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of [f]your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

    29 So then, being God’s children, we should not think that the Divine Nature (deity) is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination or skill of man.

    30 Therefore God overlooked and disregarded the former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old way of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], 31 because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed and destined for that task, and He has provided credible proof to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

    32 Now when they heard [the term] resurrection from the dead, [g]some mocked and sneered; but others said, “We will hear from you again about this matter.”

    33 So Paul left them. 34 But some men joined him and believed; among them were Dionysius, [a judge] of the Council of Areopagus [–> later, first Bishop of Athens, its Patron Saint and Patron Saint of Paris also, where tradition says he later went], and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. [AMP]

    Notice, his subtle foundational devastation of the worldviews of ordinary people and educated pagans alike in his opening remarks. The leading centre of learning had to maintain a public monument to its ignorance on the central subject of knowledge, the root of reality.

    Accordingly, Paul came to teach them based on the revelation that God has made, demonstrated through the resurrection from death of the Man ordained By God as eschatological judge, with 500 witnesses.

    This is of course, further, in fulfillment of prophecy on the matter from up to 700 years ahead of time as is laid out in a central prophecy, Isa 53.

    Notice, he is not arguing to God, but from the God they sense but only can grope blindly towards. He then brings them to understand that we are under God’s sovereign power, he does not depend on our religious service. Rightful spiritual service is in fact for our own good.

    He focusses his case on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Yes, even though such seems folly to Greeks and an offence to Jews. He is here insisting that God’s weakness and folly as we perceive in an endarkened state we imagine is enlightened, are stronger and wiser than men.

    So, he cuts across our pride from start to finish.

    No wonder the sneers. (Sounds familiar?)

    Some seem to want to postpone decision.

    Some few, at first, respond.

    From those few would come the future of our civilisation.

    A lesson for us again, today.

    Again, FFT.

    KF

  334. PS: Notice, again, utterly independent of whether there are signs in the world of life and the cosmos, that per empirically reliable signs, point to intelligently directed configuration as key cause.

  335. F/N: On seeing RVB8 conspicuously absent here but active elsewhere, I reminded him of the gauntlet he has laid down esp. at 290 but also earlier in this thread [thanks Charles, 286 was a useful pick-up), and called on him to address the matter.

    His reply was:

    6
    rvb8April 27, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Kairos,

    I don’t need to justify myself to you concerning anything! What a prig. I talk to students like Zeng Bo Wen, Hu Xiao Yun, Du Xiao Rui, and others and talk to them about their recent conversions.

    As I explain that it is now Christ that they must love above their parents, and in one case wife, that this evangelical sect actually takes Genesis at its word, and they must too, and that their lives are now judged, they balk.

    Basically Kairos, they never were Christian, I merely point it out.

    ‘Justiy?‘ myself to you? My god, what an oversized ego.

    My onward response, which I just posted there, is:

    RVB8,

    just for a note of record, you presented yourself as having a list of questions for young Christians to take to their leaders — their “new-found friends” — in a further context of essentially characterising Protestantism in particular and its leaders as fools and/or frauds propagating a scheme of thought and faith without sound foundations.

    You also made claims about utter lack of foundations for the Christian Faith, in particular denying the historical references in early extrabiblical writers], cf also Charles’ comment regarding your listed claims here at 286.

    In sum, you have made a series of exceedingly strong negative claims that broad-brush indict millions.

    Justifying yourself is therefore NOT an issue of mere priggishness on my part but instead your patent need to back up claims like:

    rvb8 @ 168: Several of my students are Christian, two are Muslim, and I never disabuse them of their faith.

    rvb8 @ 216: A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists is something I disabuse these new converts of

    rvb8 @ 250: I actually sidetracked the discussion when I explained I happily disabuse Chinese Christian converts of their faith, if I can get in early enough to relieve the damage.

    rvb8 @ 196: There are a few Catholics in my classes, they have come from old Catholic Chinese families, and I never mock Christianity, or attack their beliefs,

    rvb8 @ 196: … Slack jawed yokals, … I loathe these demi-humans. … [Chinese authorties] treat these people with more respect than they deserve.

    rvb8 @ 216: A faith that was picked up from half baked, misguided, US and UK evagelists … I explain that their new faith denies much of modern science including evolution and many times, global warming, the probable commonality of life in the universe, and is often anti-vaccine.

    rvb8 @ 233: It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith. …. I can however attack silliness before it takes root,

    rvb8 @ 231: If I can prevent them from becoming evangelical by simple converstions, I do,

    rvb8 @ 233: It is about as useful as pointing out to a Chrisitian the utter lack of hard evidence for their own faith.

    rvb8 @ 168 You insult me. Fine, have at it. Small minded religious types are my bread and butter. I have also reconverted several students and released them from the prison of Chrisitianity. These reconverted are not the Catholics in my class, they are the Born Again types, who only went with the music and group love. ‘Here I stand I can do no other!’
    Have a nice day:)

    and in particular like:

    290
    rvb8April 22, 2017 at 12:41 am (Edit)

    Charles,

    I met two more students, newly won to Jesus. Im meeting them for coffee tomorrow, and a chat; no harassement, or arm pulling, no lies (unlike some), just coffee and a list of questions for their new found friends.

    You and your ilk, are indeed my bread and butter.

    . . . or else stand as making assertions and accusations that you cannot warrant.

    You have plainly laid down a gauntlet.

    We took it up, inviting you to post the list of questions you boasted of in 290 for us. In the next comment, you will see (with onward links to relevant materials):

    291
    kairosfocusApril 22, 2017 at 2:50 am (Edit)

    RVB8, Yes, a list of loaded questions that are manipulative, on track record, and posed by someone in a role of authority with grading power over the students — the implications of which power imbalance don’t seem to jump out at you. (Cf. a primer on typical first level issues I developed, quite some time back, part of a cell group leadership training manual (note basic first level discipleship guide here); with here on being a response to worldview issues that struck me as framing for the reformation of civilisation some years back. And there are endless cases of responsible answers to issues and challenges out there, just such are inaccessible to people under a dictatorship and police state in China.) Notice, above you failed to engage adequately either the worldviews case or the history-evidence one, and in an onward discussion the former recurs. I suggest to you that your bigoted projections on Protestant presumably Evangelical Christians betray an underlying deep-rooted problem. I would suggest to you that before you set out to subvert souls, you pause and ponder the eternally freighted responsibility you are taking up. KF

    PS: Presumably, UD is accessible in China. Why don’t you simultaneously post your list of questions here, and see if we are unable to engage them cogently, letting your students have access to the results — or better yet the live, in-progress process?

    I therefore raised the matter here because you seem to be avoiding addressing the list of questions there.

    KF

    PS: I am copying this post in the other thread also.

    Let us see how this plays out onward.

    KF

  336. F/N2: In lieu of an actual list of questions, let us examine as a first simple look the summary remarks made by RVB8 in the other thread as just noted:

    As I explain that it is now Christ that they must love above their parents, and in one case wife, that this evangelical sect actually takes Genesis at its word, and they must too, and that their lives are now judged, they balk.

    Basically Kairos, they never were Christian, I merely point it out.

    Let’s see now, as a first quick set of notes that may help frame onward discussion:

    >>As I explain that it is now Christ that they must love above their parents, and in one case wife,>>

    1 –> I would take it that one’s relationship with God, the world-root who is one’s ultimate Father, comes first and foremost in life, death and eternal consequence. Where Jesus of Nazareth clearly warned, what is a man profited if he gain the whole world at the cost of his or her own soul.

    2 –> The Judaeo-Christian view of principles regarding familial — and neighbourly — relationships (a major concern in Chinese culture that needs to be carefully addressed in a balanced context) starts with this summary:

    Exodus 20:12 “Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.

    13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).

    14 “You shall not commit [c]adultery.

    15 “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].

    16 “You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).

    17 “You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” [AMP]

    3 –> In the Proverbs, youth especially are counselled, right after the general opening on the path of wisdom — thus implying that the family and home should be the primary school of wisdom:

    Prov 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father,
    And do not reject the teaching of your mother.

    9 For they are a garland of grace on your head,
    And chains and ornaments [of gold] around your neck.

    10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    Do not consent. [AMP]

    4 –> Thus, sound primary relationships with God, parents and family as well as proper relationships with neighbours (and strangers also), while avoiding bad company are foundational to a godly life. Indeed, we read on immediately:

    Prov 1:11 If they say, “Come with us;
    Let us lie in wait to shed blood,
    Let us ambush the innocent without cause;

    12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol (the place of the dead),
    Even whole, as those who go down to the pit [of death];

    13 We will find and take all kinds of precious possessions,
    We will fill our houses with spoil;

    14 Throw in your lot with us [they insist];
    We will all have one money bag [in common],”

    15 My son, do not walk on the road with them;
    Keep your foot [far] away from their path,

    16 For their feet run to evil,
    And they hurry to shed blood.

    17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
    In the sight of any bird;

    18 But [when these people set a trap for others] they lie in wait for their own blood;
    They set an ambush for their own lives [and rush to their destruction].

    19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
    Greed takes away the lives of its possessors.[AMP]

    5 –> This directly speaks to wayward youth lured into gangs of force and fraud but it extends from the family and neighbour to strangers, the world of commerce and the whole world.

    6 –> Including, it directly implies indictment of aggressive war, predatory business praxis, abuse of professional responsibility and status of influence or authority, conspiracy to attack or defraud, slander, destructive agit prop tactics, deceitful propaganda, etc. and far more.

    7 –> Right after this general counsel in the opening words of the Proverbs:

    Prov 1: 1 The proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

    2 To know [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction;
    To discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,

    3 To receive instruction in wise behavior and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness,
    Righteousness, justice, and integrity;

    4 That prudence (good judgment, astute common sense) may be given to the naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled],
    And knowledge and discretion (intelligent discernment) to the youth,

    5 The wise will hear and increase their learning,
    And the person of understanding will acquire wise counsel and the skill [to steer his course wisely and lead others to the truth],

    6 To understand a proverb and a figure [of speech] or an enigma with its interpretation,
    And the words of the wise and their riddles [that require reflection].

    7 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];
    But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline. [AMP]

    8 –> Yes, the above is directly set in the context of being the counsels of David to his son Solomon who was co-ruler with him and then heir leading a golden age that unfortunately was tainted by folly in his later years. Many lessons of that history beg to be drawn out, from the incident of David and Goliath forward, but there is neither time nor space here.

    9 –> I emphasise the force of this warning, noting that this blog and its penumbra of hate sites provide many cases in point of its force, also the wider situation of our obviously mortally wounded largely apostate civilisation which has so arrogantly despised this specific counsel — thank God there is such a thing as healing by the resurrection power of the prophesied Messiah, witnessed by 500 witnesses who simply could not be turned in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse:

    Prov 1:The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];
    But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline. [AMP]

    10 –> In turning to the NT, I note that Jesus clearly stated that he stood foursquare in the Hebraic scriptural and spiritual tradition, and his followers stood on that same ground.

    11 –> That is why in Rom we read on the gospel, core worldviews and ethics from St Paul, the all-time greatest Christian missionary:

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a [a]bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative), set apart for [preaching] the [b]gospel of God [the good news of salvation], 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures— 3 [the good news] regarding His Son, who, as to the flesh [His human nature], was born a descendant of David [to fulfill the covenant promises], 4 and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated to be the Son of God with power [in a triumphant and miraculous way] by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 It is through Him that we have received grace and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the Gentiles, 6 and you also are among those who are called of Jesus Christ to belong to Him . . . .

    16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.”
    Unbelief and Its Consequences

    18 For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. 21 For even though [d]they knew God [as the Creator], they did not [e]honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for [f]an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen . . . .

    2:6 He will pay back to each person according to his deeds [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7 to those who by persistence in doing good seek [unseen but certain heavenly] glory, honor, and immortality, [He will give the gift of] eternal life. 8 But for those who are selfishly ambitious and self-seeking and disobedient to the truth but responsive to wickedness, [there will be] wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and anguish [torturing confinement] for every human soul who does [or permits] evil, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and inner peace [will be given] to everyone who habitually does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality [no arbitrary favoritism; with Him one person is not more important than another] . . . .

    14 When Gentiles, who do not have the Law [since it was given only to Jews], do [c]instinctively the things the Law requires [guided only by their conscience], they are a law to themselves, though they do not have the Law. 15 They show that the [d]essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts; and their conscience [their sense of right and wrong, their moral choices] bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or perhaps defending them 16 on that day when, [e]as my gospel proclaims, God will judge the secrets [all the hidden thoughts and concealed sins] of men through Christ Jesus . . . .

    13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God.

    2 Therefore whoever [a]resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves. 3 For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. 4 For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject [to civil authorities], not only to escape the punishment [that comes with wrongdoing], but also as a matter of principle [knowing what is right before God]. 6 For this same reason you pay taxes, for civil authorities are God’s servants, devoting themselves to governance. 7 Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor.

    8 [b]Owe nothing to anyone except to [c]love and seek the best for one another; for he who [unselfishly] loves his neighbor has fulfilled the [essence of the] law [relating to one’s fellowman]. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment are summed up in this statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor [it never hurts anyone]. Therefore [unselfish] love is the fulfillment of the Law. [AMP]

    12 –> There is much there, e.g. the principle of judgement according to one’s light and the grace of God to save those who (being informationally “before Christ”) seek to walk persistently and penitently in the light they have and of course to those who respond appropriately to the light of the gospel and by extension also the scriptures.

    13 –> In this context there is a clear teaching that the core law is written into conscience which is the candle of the Lord — though of course we may warp it, even systematically by warping a culture. In this context we see that the logic of the commandments as cited is that they pivot on neighbour-love.

    14 –> We also see a principle of respect for civil authorities and their mandate to uphold justice in the face of enemies foreign and domestic. The enticing sinners warned against by Solomon, in narrow and broader senses.

    15 –> Obviously, civil authorities too can go wrong, and the scriptures provide many instructions and examples up to and including struggles of liberation such as those of the enslaved Israelites in Egypt under Pharaoh, a struggle led by Moses acting in the power of God. But the nation thus set free has a duty of service under God, service through a community of justice under God. Again, there is a lot more.

    16 –> Similarly, the Christian faith cannot justly be indicted of despising marriage and family, as we can see in this famous cluster of family-based metaphors from Paul:

    Eph 5:Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance . . . .

    6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments [that encourage you to sin], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience [those who habitually sin]. 7 So do not participate or even associate with them [in the rebelliousness of sin]. 8 For once you were darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light] 9 (for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him—your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation].

    11 Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character]; 12 for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that such people practice in secret . . . .

    22 Wives, be subject [d]to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].

    25 Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], 27 so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. 28 Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members (parts) of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become [e]one flesh. 32 This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church. 33 However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear]. [AMP]

    17 –> So, we are children of God and we live collectively as the bride of Christ, who went to a cross to win his bride. In that context, relationships of love, respect and due authority and right conduct are embedded. there is in this no justification for oppression, disrespect or abuse.

    18 –> Later, the apostle counsels fathers that they must not exasperate their children through abusive behaviour, presumably in word as well as deed.

    19 –> All of this sets a context in which we can properly understand Jesus’ counsel about the worth of just one human soul and how we must not let even primary familial relationships and even our love of this life come between us and God, if we are confronted with such forced devillish dilemma decisions under pressure that is not ever justified by any financial, familial, community or national bonds and oaths etc:

    Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

    25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].

    26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each one in accordance with what he has done. [AMP]

    And . . .

    Luke 14:25 Now large crowds were going along with Jesus; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not [c]hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]—he cannot be My disciple.

    27 Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple.

    28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a watchtower [for his guards], does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is unable to finish [the building], all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’

    31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else [if he feels he is not powerful enough], while the other [king] is still a far distance away, he sends an envoy and asks for terms of peace.

    33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not [carefully consider the cost and then for My sake] [d]give up all his own possessions.

    34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.” [AMP]

    20 –> We live in a world in which rampant evil exists and for which those committed to good, including Him who is ultimate good are too often confronted with terrible choices, up to and including judicial murder on false charges for the crime of not going along with wicked authorities in their path. (I literally bear the name of a family member who was a member of the legislature of my native land, who was hanged for such a crime, caring for the poor and protesting their oppression. he was hanged on one hour’s notice to himself, having been illegally transported from where he was to where martial law was oh so conveniently in force. His farewell letter is a testimony of grace under a pressure I can only imagine. In that letter, he explicitly understood that he was undergoing Christian martyrdom at the hands of corrupt authorities who were not doing their duty to justice.)

    21 –> unfortunately, it is not just state authorities but sometimes our own family who stand between us and duty to our heavenly Father. under such pressure, we need to make a reasonable and responsible appeal to decency and love but in the end, each of us is accountable for our own souls, and should be willing to suffer death rather than surrender that central relationship through a devillish demand.

    22 –> In this context, taking up one’s cross was not merely a metaphor. It was the way of the Romans that the condemned would be made to carry the cross-piece on his way to his execution, with the placard of his sentence going on ahead, and usually surrounded by a bloc of four soldiers boxing him in with their spears.

    23 –> In Jesus’ case his sufferings over the previous night and the whipping had so weakened him that an innocent party coming into town from North Africa unawares was compelled to carry his cross. And we know the placard, as it was affixed over his head as standing in the place of the ringleader of rebellion set free through rent a crowd agit prop tactics: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, in Latin, Greek and likely Aramaic.

    24 –> So it is fair comment that by his own report, RVB8 twisted scripture out of context to create a wholly distorted view of Christian ethics tied to family and social life in general.

    >> that this evangelical sect>>

    25 –> We know now that he has especial animus for Evangelicals. Well, sir, “I are one.”

    >> actually takes Genesis at its word,>>

    26 –> How else should we take it but in light of the due weight of its letters, duly recognised as to grammar, textual context, intent, history, audience, genre etc?

    27 –> Where there are different schools of thought, even among Evangelicals, regarding precisely what is the due balance. Something readily ascertained online in the free world, I am not so sure, in China.

    >> and they must too,>>

    28 –> Yes, just as they must take due respect to any serious writing.

    >> and that their lives are now judged, they balk.>>

    29 –> It is fair comment, just from the above, that you have misled the naive.

    >>Basically Kairos, they never were Christian, I merely point it out.>>

    30 –> Here is the warning of Scripture on what seems to have just been outlined:

    2 Peter 3: 3 First of all, know [without any doubt] that mockers will come in the last days with their mocking, following after their own human desires 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming [what has become of it]? For ever since the fathers fell asleep [in death], all things have continued [exactly] as they did from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they willingly forget [the fact] that the heavens existed long ago by the word of God . . . .

    15 And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]; just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him [by God], 16 speaking about these things as he does in all of his letters. In which there are some things that are difficult to understand, which the untaught and unstable [who have fallen into error] twist and misinterpret, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    17 Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of [c]unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], 18 but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. [AMP]

    31 –> Instead, St. Peter — on the eve of his own crucifixion (reportedly upside down) on a false charge of being a ringleader of treasonous arson put up by Nero — had already counselled:

    2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories or myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were [h]eyewitnesses of His majesty [His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty].

    17 For when He was invested with honor and [the radiance of the [i]Shekinah] glory from God the Father, such a voice as this came to Him from the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], [j]“This is My Son, My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased and delighted”— 18 and we [actually] heard this voice made from heaven when we were together with Him on the holy mountain.

    19 So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [k]morning star arises in your hearts.

    20 [l]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [AMP]

    It seems that there is need for serious reconsideration here.

    KF

  337. Kairos,

    I don’t have to back up my description of my job, friends, and doings to you, go jump in a lake, you nosey parker. And the last thing I’m going to do in this Christian felowship is disclose my University, or address.

    Several of my students are Christian (Catholic flavoured), a couple are Muslim and a couple Buddhist. And I do not ‘disabuse’ these students of their faith, as it is also part of their personal cultures, which I respect.

    The Protestant (haven’t found Catholic or Muslim ones) evangelists -and there are many sneaking about- are not too bright, that’s a fact. They’re laughably easy to find as they never eat the mix of North, South, and Muslim cuisine, but congregate in gaggles at Starbucks, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, and KFC. It would not be unfar to also charactrise most of them as, ‘rotund’, loud, and for some reason I can not understand arrogant. As I explained to one of these ningcompoops, ‘where yur parents had sex does not increase inherited virtue.’

    I don’t know what you are attempting with your silly attempts to, what, intimidate me?

    My friends in the Foreign Afairs department, are simply applying the law of the land. One which I find silly BTW, but it is the law, and should be respected.

    ‘Slack jawed yokals’, was a little harsh, and yet….

    The list of questions Kairos is so simple as to be childish:

    1.) Do you really believe this individual, died, and then rose from the dead.
    2.) Was there really a time when dinosaurs and humans lived to gether, and that everyone was vegetarian, even the lions?
    3.) That God literally made the world in six 24 hour day periods?
    4.) That it took a supposed great leader, following his god’s obviously shoddy directions, 40 whole years, to cross a stretch of land, at most 200km in length, to their ultimate goal?
    5.) That the miracles going against all known modern science actually happened?
    etc, etc, etc, loads on evolution too. And the denial by the Born Againers, of the size, and age of the universe.

    They are never told the depth of the Beliver’s beliefs, and when they know their new found friends actually believe this hokum, they very rationally back out.

    I’ve had three sucessful backsliders.

    I don’t go looking for this Kairos as I said. But the evangelists really are poor examples of clear thinking.

  338. rvb8 @ 337

    The list of questions Kairos is so simple as to be childish:
    ….
    They are never told the depth of the Beliver’s beliefs, and when they know their new found friends actually believe this hokum, they very rationally back out.

    Neither were they given a correct understanding of what the Bible actually says, and they surely won’t get it from you.

    So, are your newly backslidden students going to let us know they’re here watching you debate your “childishly simple” questions? Maybe they have a question of their own they’d like to see debated???

  339. The list of questions Kairos is so simple as to be childish:

    They are indeed childish questions.

    Do you ask them if they really believe they are really mindless bags of meat who are experiencing the illusion of another noisy bag of meat asking silly questions?

    Andrew

  340. This is an open invitation to students of rvb8, an atheist teacher in China who poses questions to his Christian students to persuade them their faith is foolish:

    You are invited to post your questions here. Whether your question supports atheism or seeks to understand the Bible better, post your question here and watch rvb8 debate it with us.

    The answers will surprise you.

  341. RVB8:

    In some ways, your two responses speak — quite sadly — for themselves, each in their own way. I note the obviously loaded reference to Christian fellowship, as though UD is a Christian enterprise as such. We both know (or should know) better, but also we know the track record you laid down above of a direct challenge to those of us who are Christians, requiring us to speak.

    I will point to my first response on points above as directly addressing the ethics of Christian faith in the context of family and social life, as is essentially directly taught in the Scriptures. Those, you horribly wrenched.

    Next, you have at length provided five questions:

    1.) Do you really believe this individual, died, and then rose from the dead.
    2.) Was there really a time when dinosaurs and humans lived to gether, and that everyone was vegetarian, even the lions?
    3.) That God literally made the world in six 24 hour day periods?
    4.) That it took a supposed great leader, following his god’s obviously shoddy directions, 40 whole years, to cross a stretch of land, at most 200km in length, to their ultimate goal?
    5.) That the miracles going against all known modern science actually happened?
    etc, etc, etc, loads on evolution too. And the denial by the Born Againers, of the size, and age of the universe

    I note as follows, on points. Doubtless, others may wish to comment also:

    >>1.) Do you really believe this individual, died, and then rose from the dead.>>

    1 –> You did not even state the name: Jesus of Nazareth, called the Christ; i.e. the prophesied Anointed one of God, who is on record in an early sermon in his hometown reading and commenting on Isaiah 61 on the specific nature of that anointing:

    Luke 4:14 Then [ –> after the temptation in the Wilderness] Jesus went back to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and the news about Him spread through the entire region. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised and glorified and honored by all.

    16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

    18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah),
    Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
    He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives,
    And recovery of sight to the blind,
    To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),
    19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].”

    20 Then He rolled up the scroll [having stopped in the middle of the verse], gave it back to the attendant and sat down [to teach]; and the eyes of all those in the synagogue were [attentively] fixed on Him. 21 He began speaking to them: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing and in your presence.”

    22 And [as He continued on] they all were speaking well of Him, and were in awe and were wondering about the words of grace which were coming from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

    23 So He said to them, “You will no doubt quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal Yourself! Whatever [miracles] that we heard were done [by You] in Capernaum, do here in Your hometown as well.’” [–> That is, he had a widespread reputation from his earliest ministry as a wonder-worker, of course the later record of his adversaries is that he was alleged to be a magician, or even to be doing works by the power of the prince of devils]

    24 Then He said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown . . . [Cf. Mark 6:1 – 6, also Peter’s opening sermon of the Christian faith in Ac 2:14 – 40 [perhaps 3 1/2 years later], in the context of the public descent of the Spirit on the early church like a rushing, mighty wind. A sermon that directly led to 3,000 adhering to the faith that the Apostles bore witness to.]

    2 –> Let me cite from Acts 2, on that sermon’s factual core, relating to the Messiahship — I simply use the word derived from Hebrew rather than Greek, for “Anointed”]:

    Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man accredited and pointed out and attested to you by God with [the power to perform] miracles and wonders and signs which God worked through Him in your [very] midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, when handed over [to the Roman authorities] according to the predetermined decision and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross and put to death by the hands of lawless and godless men. 24 But God raised Him up, releasing Him and bringing an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in death’s power . . . .

    32 God raised this Jesus [bodily from the dead], and of that [fact] we [–> the 120 present, of the 500 witnesses altogether; likely the bulk were in Galilee] are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted [d]to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this [blessing] which you both see and hear. [–> the descent of the Spirit in power is a testimony of Jesus’ ascension and status as risen, exalted Lord and Saviour][AMP]

    3 –> Thirty years later, Paul, on trial for his life before the Roman governors and in the presence of the leading men of his country who accused him, spoke thusly . . . as recorded by Luke whom we know to have been habitually accurate. (it is in my view likely that Lk-Ac first took life in a context where Ac especially was in effect a briefing for the appeal to Caesar’s throne then in prospect, c. AD 59):

    Ac 26:1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are [now] permitted to speak on your own behalf.” At that, Paul stretched out his hand [as an orator] and made his defense [as follows]:

    2 “I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, since it is before you that I am to make my defense today regarding all the charges brought against me by the Jews [–> i.e. the leaders, the elites centred in Jerusalem], 3 especially because you are an expert [fully knowledgeable, experienced and unusually conversant] in all the Jewish customs and controversial issues; therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

    4 “So then, all the Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation [the Jewish people], and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify to it, that according to the [a]strictest sect of our religion, I have lived as a Pharisee [–> he was the most outstanding student of Gamaliel, said to be grandson of Hillel]. 6 And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 Which hope [of the Messiah and the resurrection] our twelve tribes [confidently] expect to realize as they serve and worship God in earnest night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews!

    8 Why is it thought incredible by [any of] you that God raises the dead? . . . .

    19 “So, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision [–> he had just recounted his experience on the road to Damascus], 20 but I openly proclaimed first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent [change their inner self—their old way of thinking] and turn to God, doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance.

    21 Because of this some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had help from God to this day, and I stand [before people] testifying to small and great alike, stating nothing except what the Prophets and Moses said would come to pass— 23 that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to suffer, and that He by being the first to rise from the dead [with an incorruptible body] would proclaim light (salvation) both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

    24 While Paul was making this defense, Festus said loudly, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great education is turning you toward madness.”

    25 But Paul replied, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent and noble Festus, but [with a sound mind] I am uttering rational words of truth and reason.

    26 For [your majesty] the king understands these things, and [therefore] I am also speaking to him with confidence and boldness, since I am convinced that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner [hidden from view, in secret].

    27 King Agrippa, do you believe the [writings of the] Prophets [their messages and words]? I know that you do.”

    28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time [and with so little effort] you [almost] persuade me to become a Christian.”

    29 And Paul replied, “Whether in a short time or long, I wish to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” [AMP]

    4 –> Obviously, they found him not guilty of any charge worthy of death and that probably went into their Covering Letter regarding the Appeal to Nero (more likely handled by Burrus, or possibly Seneca, brother of Gallio before whom Paul was set free in Corinth, capital of the Roman Greek province . . . an incident that provides an anchoring date for the NT: AD 50 – 51).

    5 –> Thus, we see Paul on trial for his life and openly appealing to his Judges’ knowledge of the core facts, the relevant judge being an acknowledged expert on matters of controversy, who of course adroitly evaded the matter rather than affirm credible truth that could provoke revolt. Which, was coming in only a few more years. And the absence of which in the key accounts implies that a responsible date for the Lk-Ac backbone to NT era history is c. 62 Ad for completion of Ac.

    6 –> The very next chapter of course provides an almost by the way account of C1 navigation that has been a key reference, and which has been confirmed as to its overall picture.

    7 –> As for your dismissive talking points, such as “hokum” — AmHD: “1. Something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually untrue or insincere; nonsense. 2. A stock technique for eliciting a desired response from an audience.” — I simply point you again to an open trial in front of Agrippa in Caesarea Maritima, AD 57 59, in front of the accusing Jewish leaders: these things were not done in a corner, and why should it seem impossible for God to raise the dead — especially in direct fulfillment of prophecy (See Isa 53 etc, here on)?

    8 –> Also, you will go on to fallaciously appeal to the universality and authority of Science and its laws. However, no inductive finding is capable of ruling out black swan type cases, i.e. appeal to laws of science or common observations showing dead men do not rise from death are incapable of answering Paul’s point that the God who is world-root and Creator of life can be and is restorer of same.

    9 –> In short the lab coats simply cover up an attempted, question begging imposition of evolutionary materialistic scientism, which we already know is self-refuting and self falsifying.

    10 –> In 1 Cor 15, c AD 55, Paul, answering critics, speaks to the anchoring testimony of the 500 (saying most are still around, go ask them), of whom we can quite clearly identify over twenty — where not one could be turned, not in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse:

    1 Cor 15: Now brothers and sisters, let me remind you [once again] of the good news [of salvation] which I preached to you, which you welcomed and accepted and on which you stand [by faith]. 2 By this faith you are saved [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose ( –> so much for sneering reference to being born again)], if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain [just superficially and without complete commitment].

    3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received,

    that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold],

    4 and that He was buried,

    and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold],

    5 and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the [a]Twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. 7 Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles, 8 and last of all, as to one [b]untimely (prematurely, traumatically) born, He appeared to me also . . . .

    11 So whether it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed and trusted in and relied on with confidence.

    11 –> This in effect official summary of the core testimony and gospel of the Church can readily be seen as tracing to Aramaic [Kepha for Peter] and readily dates to 35 – 38 AD in Jerusalem. It is written AD 55, on a visit baseline of AD 50 – 52, where it was taught and was known to be the in-common summary. C1 evidence does not get better than this.

    12 –> The issue here, is not the core warranting case and its historical quality (cf the video in the OP for a further introductory treatment) but the imposed worldview that leads to hyperskeptical dismissiveness.

    13 –> To such we can show that the temporal-causal, successive order is not credibly an infinite succession as such cannot be traversed in stepwise stages, nor can it be a chicken-egg causal loop. So, we face a finitely remote world root capable of causing the cosmos fine tuned for C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, including creatures that are responsibly and rationally free (just to be able to have a reasoned exchange). Thus, morally governed.

    14 –> Where also, were there ever utter nothing, non-being, such has no causal powers so that such would forever obtain. We must explain the origin of a finite age causally successive cosmos, with responsible, rational, free, morally governed creatures in it.

    15 –> Indeed, your objections are full of implicit appeals to our being under moral government. Did you disclose to your students that evolutionary materialism has since 2350+ BC (Plato, The Laws, Bk X) been known to be utterly amoral and to open the door to nihilistic domineering factions and their agenda of might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘justice’ etc? the consequences of which, China is the unfortunate example no 1 of, in the past century?

    16 –> I again freely state that after centuries of debate, there is only one serious candidate necessary being capable of grounding such an order: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    17 –> if you doubt this, you are again simply invited to provide a coherent, cogent alternative: ___________ (To date, not properly taken up.)

    >>2.) Was there really a time when dinosaurs and humans lived to gether, and that everyone was vegetarian, even the lions?>>

    18 –> if your objection was that these are young earth creationists, a simple disclosure that many evangelicals and other serious Christians in differing streams of tradition hold different views would have been enough. In short, this is a strawman argument.

    >>3.) That God literally made the world in six 24 hour day periods?>>

    19 –> Strawman caricature again.

    >>4.) That it took a supposed great leader, following his god’s obviously shoddy directions, 40 whole years, to cross a stretch of land, at most 200km in length, to their ultimate goal?>>

    20 –> Gross misrepresentation of the Exodus narrative, which inter alia points out that the 40-year period was a matter of a period of nation-building and judgement, as the older generation after ten tests (directly parallel to ten plagues) proved they were not fit to take up the fight they would face in Canaan.

    21 –> on the reason why they did not take the direct coastal route, it was explicitly that hey were not ready for the war this would imply.

    >>5.) That the miracles going against all known modern science actually happened?>>

    22 –> Already responded to, Science is not capable of ruling out miracles, nor is any inductive frame of reasoning.

    >>etc, etc, etc,>>

    23 –> It looks like, more strawman arguments.

    >> loads on evolution too.>>

    24 –> I doubt that you have addressed the issue of origin of FSCO/I for origin of life and for origin of body plans up to our own. Suffice to say that evolutionary materialism’s appeal to blind chance and mechanical necessity as explanation for life based on cells that use digitally coded text as a core part of their machinery, is a manifest failure.

    >> And the denial by the Born Againers, of the size, and age of the universe>>

    25 –> Again, playing with a YEC strawman. I freely acknowledge an event of repentance and spiritual rebirth from age 12 or so, leading to transformation of my life, as do many others. You will not find me trying to deny the evident size or age of the cosmos, though I will point out the due humility we must exert in reconstructing and modelling a remote past of origins that we did not observe.

    26 –> And there are many many more like me around, as you know or should know, so all of this is a grand strawman appeal.

    It is fair comment to say that your arguments as summarised here are even more troubling than the initial indications pointed to.

    KF

  342. NOTICE: As thread owner — and I think I can freely speak for the management of UD also (as I know their thoughts on such) — I freely welcome any such students and others to pose their questions and concerns. I would advise use of proxy servers and due cautions. Just remember that the general tone needs to be civil, and if you struggle with that strange language English, we will understand. Indeed, at least one main contributor here started out by using UD as a place to practice his English. KF

  343. 343

    Charles: “Neither were they given a correct understanding of what the Bible actually says, and they surely won’t get it from you.”

    With respect, does anyone have the correct understanding of what the Bible says?

  344. hammaspeikko @ 343

    With respect, does anyone have the correct understanding of what the Bible says?

    On the caricatures raised herein by atheists? Absolutely.

  345. 345

    Charles: “On the caricatures raised herein by atheists? Absolutely.”

    They may appear to be caricatures to you and I, but there are Christian denominations that believe that the earth is young and the cosmos is smaller, that lions and tigers were vegetarian, etc. And they believe in their interpretation of the Bible as much as you or I believe in ours. And, I dare say, that even atheists believe in their interpretation of the Bible. Assuming that they have read the Bible.

  346. hammaspeikko @ 345:

    The caricatures are of atheist/materialist construction, not Christian.

    Knowing what the original text (Hebrew or Greek) actually says is not the same as believing an interpretation based on an English translation.

    Old Earth Creationists (like myself) and Young Earth Creationists still hold in common the fundamental fact that “God created” – we differ only in how long that creation took, and the Hebrew text supports an “old earth” creation. I will support that assertion in a future comment.

    I would like to see what questions rvb8’s students may have.

  347. F/N: I point out that from the actual C1 record, the central warranting argument for the Christian form of Judaeo-Christian ethical theism does not turn on debating timelines of Genesis. 2 Peter 1 is particularly explicit as already excerpted, together with 1 Cor 15, Ac 2, Ac 17 and Ac 26 — this last a report of a trial for life. In addition, the logic of being and that of our temporal-causal order point to a finitely remote emergence from a world root of necessary being character adequate to speak to the occurrence of responsibly, rationally free, self-moved and morally governed creatures, namely ourselves. Where, a subtext of all the argument above is the implicit appeal to binding force of such moral government and resulting duties to truth, right etc. KF

    PS: Note 2 Peter 1:

    2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories or myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were [h]eyewitnesses of His majesty [His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty].

    17 For when He was invested with honor and [the radiance of the [i]Shekinah] glory from God the Father, such a voice as this came to Him from the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], [j]“This is My Son, My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased and delighted”— 18 and we [actually] heard this voice made from heaven when we were together with Him on the holy mountain.

    19 So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [k]morning star arises in your hearts.

    20 [l]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [AMP]

  348. asauber (to rvb8):
    Do you ask them if they really believe they are really mindless bags of meat who are experiencing the illusion of another noisy bag of meat asking silly questions?

    If only rvb8 were to direct his skepticism towards his own unexamined belief in materialism ….

  349. O, once we hit worldview tinged issues, there tend to be few main alternatives. So, selective hyperskepticism is joined at the hip with undue credulity. If you exert all sorts of pressure to disbelieve what you should acknowledge, you are going to be believing what you shouldn’t. KF

  350. Charles,

    these students are bright, focused, and above all earnest. I respect them deeply, and if they have the faith of their culture (any flavour), I respect that too.

    What I do not respect is, half educated blowhards, from the Srates, Britain, and occasionally Australia, rolling up to town, spouting that they are representatives of, “the way, the truth, and the light”; you may recognise this twaddle.

    The English of my students is good, and improving. Most of them are engineering, and science graduates, hoping to further their education in the States, or Britain.

    However, their English is in no way able to bare the attacks, and mind numbing POVs, emminating from this site. I have given them, http://www.uncommondesent.com, and I say they are welcome to visit. Not one has. Do you know why? It is because they believe the have more important things to do; they do.

    That is also why I ‘disabuse’ them of their faith. They thought the evangelists was a nice new way to meet foreigners. They had no idea they were expected to believe the hocus pocus.

    When I point out that the, hocus pocus, is fundamental to their future acceptance in the religion, they back out.

    Sensible people, I am merely a, ‘facilitator’.

  351. RVB8,

    It is obvious from what you have already said that you have a dangerously cozy relationship with people with policing power in a police state, and have used your power as a teacher to manipulate or intimidate students.

    Above, I have already corrected several of your rhetorical stratagems. You have proceeded, full steam ahead, which speaks volumes as to what we are dealing with — agenda driven activism at minimum; for sure, you remind me all too much of communist activists I knew in my student days.

    You do not come across as driven by concern to be truthful or to take heed to correction. As, the just above shows.

    I suggest to you that ruthless power games can indeed get you to institutional or community “narrative”/spin dominance and a spiral of silencing of those who would question the imposed “narrative.” What they don’t get you to is the truth and the right or to moral credibility or to the high-level capacity required to create and carry out a coherent national strategy; sooner or later the system crashes, even as Venezuela is crashing right now.

    That’s the message of one of those parables from Plato, the mutinous Ship of State. I simply note that all you can do is stand against the tide, as in the mandate of heaven — IIRC that is pretty close to the Chinese traditional phrasing — is shifting. Shang Ti has showed up and he is surprisingly friendly to that gospel which you so patently despise. China is changing, decisively, and in fact there is a huge wave of Christian revivals there (amidst a wider turning to religions), one not brought in by those you seem to caricature above, but native, a decades long wave of revivals that took the Christian church and faith from a tiny minority to the sort of trend line that is similar to the Roman Empire across the 200’s.

    But this time it is quite fast, we are after all in a media age, and one can get a Bible and all one needs for a PC at something like The Word, and there are apps for this too.

    We are looking at a Seven Mountains dynamic-driven transformation — and I have seen discussions of one of the leaders of this movement going to China and hearing of seminars across town, then visiting, in China.

    South Korea is a look at China’s future, and as it is in public domain already from several sources I can say the historical cultural tipping point is about 25%.

    Indeed, it is public domain again, that the Chinese churches have already embarked on the largest missionary sending in history, under their Back to Jerusalem vision which I am sure Chinese Intelligence long since knows dates to the 1920’s.

    Prester John 2 is here.

    KF

    PS: It is noticeable that across the life of this thread you have never seriously interacted with, say, the Case for Christ vid that is “embedded” in the OP.

  352. 353

    Kairosfocus: “It is obvious from what you have already said that you have a dangerously cozy relationship with people with policing power in a police state, and have used your power as a teacher to manipulate or intimidate students.”

    To be fair, the evangelists rvb8 is talking about are doing the exact same thing. Manipulating and intimidating. I know very little about evangelism other than the ones I see on TV. These include people like Charles McVety, John Hagee, Peter Popoff, etc. If the ones rvb8 is talking about are anything like these self-righteous charlatans, I don’t know that I can blame him. I have often thought that our religion would be much improved by adopting the Jewish approach of not actively seeking converts. Those who are interested can easily find all of the information they need to know to make an informed decision.

  353. HP, if you do independently not know the specifics, it would be wise to refrain from drawing too sharp and too broad-brush a conclusion. I know some have been abusive to the point that televangelist is in some corners little more than used car salesman, but we are hardly in a position to know the full circumstances. In part, that is why I linked as just above. If you scroll up a bit more, you will see that RVB8 horribly distorted Christian teaching on family and social life (and has side-stepped the correction), which should serve as a calibration point. KF

  354. rvb8: a list of questions for their new found friends.

    What are the questions?

  355. M62, he at length provided some, as are answered at 341 above. Earlier he gave an outline of objections, answered at 336. particularly note how horribly he distorted the Christian teaching on family and social life in a culture where family comes first. Secondly, his attempt to distort the narrative of 40 years in the wilderness reflects utter unfamiliarity with the substance of said narrative. Just as two striking indicators of what is going on. He has not had much to say about the particular points since. KF

  356. hpeikko,
    thank you. Yours is the kind of Christianity I have no problem with; live and let live, as you will.

    It is the idiot Christianity of Kairos, and others here, and of the Evangelicals I meet on Hainan that I loath.

    It is the self righteous, know nothing bozos, pretending to be deep and with wonderful things to offer, that I find offensive.

    Kairos says I have a cozy relationship with a dictatorship, and am enabling the persecution of a religion.

    Actually Kairos, it’s far worse than that. I actually drink with the members of the Foreign Affairs department, eat with them, and play pool with them.

    They are nice people, with families and dreams, and love almost all things American. What they will not tolerate is the flagrant disobeying of their country’s laws.

    In this I wholly support them. Once again, I don’t go out looking for these religious loons, they make themselves known quite quickly.

    You mention South Korea, (actually, it is the, Republic of Korea). I have lived their for two years, and although it is quite Christian in many areas, there is a hell of a long way to go before it becomes, lost?! Also, Korea suffers from an ‘inferiority complex’, being sandwiched between two other much greater cultures, and having been dominated by one or both of these other cultures for most of its history.

    Also, these two other cultures were introduced to Christianity in the 17th century, and both said, ‘no thank you’.

    Indeed, when the Jesuit Priest Matteo Ricci, introduced the idea of Christ to the ‘Dragon Throne’, the Emperor basically said, ‘And why has it taken this god so long to deliver his message to the Chinese people?’

    There is no furtile soil for Chriatianity in China or Japan, and that is because they are quite confidet enough in their own culture and history. Korea? Sure! They have always been fearful and unsure, scared of the past and future. Exactly what Christianity thrives upon; fear!

  357. RVB8, we can reliably infer from your descent into personalities, that you have no cogent answer to the above. I suggest to you that it would be advisable to stop trying the targetting and polarising against a strawman-scapegoat, divide the audience rhetorical game — straight from Alinsky’s rules for agit prop radicalism — and actually address the pivotal issues on the merits. Those start with worldviews framing and comparative difficulties then move on to treating with the historic Christian faith, its roots/warrant, its family and social ethics, its principles of discipleship and its adherents responsibly. FYI, given how you have reacted to us, I very much doubt the cartoonish portraits you are painting about people and events in China. We have to calibrate what you bring to us from how you respond to us, and you have clearly failed that test. Perhaps, there can be a fresh start from worldviews frameworking on up. KF

    PS: As a measure of how far wrong your perspective is, China has for decades been the locus of one of the fastest growing revivals in history, leading to estimates of total adherence that may be well beyond 100 millions already. Such growth will always have problems, scandals, confusions, syncretistic sects and more but will have a solid core. This mirrors trends in the Roman Empire in the 200’s and 300’s. And FYI, at senior policy level, Chinese have taken counsel of Christian leaders at global level on how to work with this emerging reality.

  358. 359

    Rvb8: “hpeikko,
    thank you. Yours is the kind of Christianity I have no problem with; live and let live, as you will.”

    I am probably reflective of more Christians than some might think. I support the right of same sex couples to marry and adopt. I believe that it is wrong for people and businesses to deny publically available services to homosexuals and transgendered and support the laying of charges against them. I support the use of birth control, including IUDs and the morning after pill. I support the right of women to have abortions, although I wish far more effort and resources were put into providing support for women who decide to have children. I believe that everyone has the right to believe in whatever they like as long as it does not negatively impact others.

    I realize that there might be some here who would say that this makes me a bad Christian. But I see that as their problem. Not mine. I am a Christian for my sake. Not for theirs.

  359. I realize that there might be some here who would say that this makes me a bad Christian.

    Actually, hammaspeikko, it gives me the impression you aren’t really a Christian.

    Andrew

  360. 361

    Andrew: Actually, hammaspeikko, it gives me the impression you aren’t really a Christian.”

    Why would you say that?

  361. Why would you say that?

    Because you are presenting yourself in Politically Correct terms.

    A Christian proclaims Jesus Christ.

    Andrew

  362. 363

    Andrew, as I said above. My Christianity is for my sake. Not for anyone else’s. If my views contradict your version of Christianity, then don’t adopt them. As long as your actions don’t negatively impact the ability of others to live their lives as they see fit (as long as in doing so they are not negatively impacting the ability of others to do the same) you won’t get any argument from me.

  363. rvb8 @ 337

    1.) Do you really believe this individual, died, and then rose from the dead.

    Do you really believe the Shroud of Turin is a “cunningly painted” 14th century hoax?

    2.) Was there really a time when dinosaurs and humans lived to gether, and that everyone was vegetarian, even the lions?

    Where does the Bible say that?

    3.) That God literally made the world in six 24 hour day periods?

    The original Hebrew text doesn’t say “six 24 hour day periods”, rather is says six “yom” where the Hebrew meanings for “yom” (Strong’s H3117) can be

    Brown Driver Briggs Definition:
    1) day, time, year
    1a) day (as opposed to night)
    1b) day (24 hour period)
    1b1) as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1
    1b2) as a division of time
    1b2a) a working day, a day’s journey
    1c) days, lifetime (plural)
    1d) time, period (general)
    1e) year
    1f) temporal references
    1f1) today
    1f2) yesterday
    1f3) tomorrow

    It is only the English translations that change ‘yom’ into “day”, construed as 24-hour day, and they only did that because:

    1) When the first English translations were made in A.D. 1384, Galileo hadn’t yet used his telescope to look at sun, moon, and stars, and Copernicus hadn’t proposed the earth revolved around the Sun, and science hadn’t discovered the universes was some 13.6 billion years old. There was no reason to assume “evening and morning” meant anything other than a 24-hour day.

    2) But the Hebew words “ereb” (translated “evening”) and “boqer” (translated “morning”) don’t connote a 24-hour day. “ereb” (Strong’s 6153) comes from the root word `arab

    (Strong’s H6150) :
    ?ereb
    eh’-reb
    From H6150; dusk: – + day, even (-ing, tide), night.

    Strong’s 6150 `arab or aw-rab’
    a primitive root (identical with 6148 through the idea of covering with a texture); to grow dusky at sundown:–be darkened, (toward) evening.

    Strong’s 6148 `arab aw-rab’
    a primitive root; to braid, i.e. intermix; technically, to traffic (as if by barter); also or give to be security (as a kind of exchange):–engage, (inter-)meddle (with), mingle (self), mortgage, occupy, give pledges, be(-come, put in) surety, undertake. is a transition from light to dark

    Depending on context, the word connote meanings other than the transition from day to night, but always connotes a mixing, mingling, exchange, i.e. a transition to something covered with a texture. Hence the idea of duskiness of evening as viewing becomes dim and clarity looses sharpness.

    Note in the following Strong’s definitions that “morning” comes from bo?qer which comprises one primitive root which further conveys to “inspect” “inquire” and “seek out”, yielding a compound meaning of “morning” implying at dawn an inquiring, seeking out.

    Strong’s 1242 boqer bo’-ker
    from 1239; properly, dawn (as the break of day); generally, morning:–(+) day, early, morning, morrow.
    see SH1239

    Strong’s 1239 baqar baw-kar
    a primitive root; properly, to plough, or (generally) break forth, i.e. (figuratively) to inspect, admire, care for, consider:–(make) inquire (-ry), (make) search, seek out.

    The Hebrew sage, Ramban Nachmanides writing in the 13th century gives further explanation behind these root meanings underlying the Hebrew words ?ereb and bo?qer:

    There was evening and there was morning of one day. The beginning of the night is called erev [which also means “mingling”] because shapes of things appear confused in it, and the beginning of the day is called boker [which also means “examining”] because then a man can distinguish between various forms. This coincides with the explanation of Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra.

    Ramban Nachmanides, Commentary on the Torah – Genesis, translated by Dr. Charles B. Chavel, Shilo Publishing House, 1971, pp 32, 33.

    So a more literal translation would be there was “mingling” (confusion) and there was “examination” (distinction), “one yom”. PhD. Physicist Gerald Schroeder, acknowledging the universe began with a big bang and transitioned through phases over 13.6 billion years, suggests that “ereb” might be better translated “disorder” and “boqer” better translated “order”, i.e.” there was disorder and there was order” , meaning that disorder became order, from the cooling chaos of the big bang, nucleosynthesis of matter occurred and the expanding universe became transparent to photons (light and radiation could travel). Order emerged from disorder.

    Recognizing that “yom” can be an indeterminate age or epoch, the phrase might be translated from the original Hebrew (and recognizing the Hebrew tenses) into modern English as “there had been disorder and there had been order, one age”

    3) In addition to meaning 24-hour day (such as the “Day of Atonement” or a “sabbath day”), “yom” also frequently refers to “daytime”, such as “40 days and 40 nights”), or the passage of time (such as “day of the month” or “40 days upon the earth”), and commonly refers to indefinite durations of time (such as “in that day” or “end of the age” or “to this day”. “yom” doesn’t always, or even usually, mean “24-hours”

    A major interpretive problem with “yom” meaning 24-hours based on “evening” an “morning” is that evening and morning mean “sunset” and “sunrise”, respectively which require the sun shining on a rotating planet, but the “sun” wasn’t created until the 4th day, while “evening” and “morning” were on every of the prior 3 days. Another major interpretive problem is God resting on the seventh day, which if it is only a 24-hour rest implies God’s work resumed after the 7th day. But if God rested from his creative work on the 7th “age” then God’s creative work is still finished.

    4.) That it took a supposed great leader, following his god’s obviously shoddy directions, 40 whole years, to cross a stretch of land, at most 200km in length, to their ultimate goal?

    No, they weren’t lost for 40 years, they were being punished for having turned back from the conquest of the promised land. It took about 2 months for the entire nation to move from Egypt to Sinai where they spent 2 years. From there is was a few days to Canaan where the spies took 40 days to reconnoiter. But upon the spies report of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites and Canaanites being too strong, the Israelites turned back. For that they were punished to wander forty years so the generation that didn’t trust God to conquer the promised land would die off. Forty years later their children returned, entered and conquered the promised land.

    5.) That the miracles going against all known modern science actually happened?

    Like the miracle of the Big Bang? Do you really believe the universe started by chance, from absolute nothing, without a cause, miraculously? What does “all known modern science say actually happened”?

    And the denial by the Born Againers, of the size, and age of the universe.

    I’m a “born again” and I don’t deny the size or age of the universe. Do you deny the universe had a miraculous beginning? If not miraculous, what natural, materialistic process caused it all (space, time, energy, matter, and forces) to begin instantaneously from nothing? Why is there anything?

    They are never told the depth of the Beliver’s beliefs, and when they know their new found friends actually believe this hokum, they very rationally back out.

    Nor were they told the shallowness of irrational atheist beliefs:

    The California-based researcher indicated that born again Christians are not the only ones confused about what happens after death. Many of those who describe themselves as either atheistic or agnostic also harbor contradictions in their thinking. “Half of all atheists and agnostics say that every person has a soul, that Heaven and Hell exist, and that there is life after death. One out of every eight atheists and agnostics even believe that accepting Jesus Christ as savior probably makes life after death possible. These contradictions are further evidence that many Americans adopt simplistic views of life and the afterlife based upon ideas drawn from disparate sources, such as movies, music and novels, without carefully considering those beliefs. Consequently, the labels attached to people – whether it be ‘born again’ or ‘atheist’ may not give us as much insight into the person’s beliefs as we might assume.”

    https://rails.barna.org/component/content/article/5-barna-update/45-barna-update-sp-657/128-americans-describe-their-views-about-life-after-death

    rvb8, you have demonstrated, yet again, with your self-admitted childish questions that you don’t know the first thing about Christianity or the Bible, or even the basis of your own materialism.

  364. HP,

    I should point out that the Christian Faith is “the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” and was firmly established as to core content of the gospel and its implications under scripture and the fulfilled promise of Messiah by 30 – 65 AD. That is why, at the end of that period, Peter — facing judicial murder on a false charge of treasonous arson against Rome concocted by Nero — gave as a key part of his farewell remarks:

    2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories or myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were [h]eyewitnesses of His majesty [His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty].

    17 For when He was invested with honor and [the radiance of the [i]Shekinah] glory from God the Father, such a voice as this came to Him from the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], [j]“This is My Son, My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased and delighted”— 18 and we [actually] heard this voice made from heaven when we were together with Him on the holy mountain.

    19 So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [k]morning star arises in your hearts.

    20 [l]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved [–> with typhoon force] by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [AMP, I use this as it draws out underlying things in the Greek text]

    Paul, who would be also unjustly judicially murdered by AD 67 – 68, in AD 55 summed up the core gospel by citing in effect the official testimony of the earliest Christians, dating this to 35 – 38 AD:

    1 Cor 15:1 Now brothers and sisters, let me remind you [once again] of the good news [of salvation] which I preached to you, which you welcomed and accepted and on which you stand [by faith].

    2 By this faith you are saved [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose], if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain [just superficially and without complete commitment].

    3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received,

    [I:] that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], 4 and that

    [II:] He was buried, and that

    [III:] He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], 5 and that

    [IV:] He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the [a]Twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. 7 Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles, 8 and last of all, as to one [b]untimely (prematurely, traumatically) born, He appeared to me also . . . .

    11 So whether it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed and trusted in and relied on with confidence. [AMP]

    In the AD 57 Ep. to Romans, he went on to say:

    Rom 10: 6 But the righteousness based on faith [which produces a right relationship with Him] says the following: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into Heaven?’ that is, to bring Christ down; 7 or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ that is, to bring Christ up from the dead [as if we had to be saved by our own efforts, doing the impossible].”

    8 But what does it say?

    “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word [the message, the basis] of faith which we preach— 9 because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.

    11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; for the same Lord is Lord over all [of us], and [He is] abounding in riches (blessings) for all who call on Him [in faith and prayer].

    13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.” [AMP]

    If you have not met these conditions, you may be a part of a Christianised culture (now frankly largely apostate) and may have some affinity or affiliations, but you have unfortunately not come to the pivotal experience of repentance and trust in God through the risen Christ that brings us to spiritual rebirth. We do not get to redefine these things, they were established nearly 2,000 years ago, anchored in the life transforming experience and unflinching witness of the 500. Not even the demonically mad and murderous Nero could turn them away from their unflinching stance.

    As one consequence of all this, we note from John 3:

    John 3:1 Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (member of the Sanhedrin) among the Jews, 2 who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), we know [without any doubt] that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs [these wonders, these attesting miracles] that You do unless God is with him.”

    3 Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.”

    4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?”

    5 Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be surprised that I have told you, ‘You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [AMP]

    This is where you need to start from, informed by this, written by Paulo Apostolo Mart — thus reads his tombstone, at Rome — on the eve of his own judicial murder:

    2 Tim 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear].

    2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith].

    Avoid such people and keep far away from them . . . .

    10 Now you have diligently followed [my example, that is] my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, steadfastness, 11 persecutions, and sufferings—such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, but the Lord rescued me from them all!

    12 Indeed, all who delight in pursuing righteousness and are determined to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be hunted and persecuted [because of their faith].

    13 But evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

    14 But as for you, continue in the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced [holding tightly to the truths], knowing from whom you learned them, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings (Hebrew Scriptures) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus [surrendering your entire self to Him and having absolute confidence in His wisdom, power and goodness].

    16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 17 so that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. [AMP]

    That is the context in which we should understand dismissive, denigratory rhetoric. And, I draw attention to Paul in 1 Cor:

    1 Cor 1: 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God. 19 For it is written and forever remains written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise [the philosophy of the philosophers],
    And the cleverness of the clever [who do not know Me] I will nullify.”

    20 Where is the wise man (philosopher)?

    Where is the scribe (scholar)?

    Where is the debater (logician, orator) of this age?

    Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom?

    21 For since the world through all its [earthly] wisdom failed to recognize God, God in His wisdom was well-pleased through the [c]foolishness of the message preached [regarding salvation] to save those who believe [in Christ and welcome Him as Savior]. 22 For Jews demand signs (attesting miracles), and Greeks pursue [worldly] wisdom and philosophy, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, [a message which is] to Jews a stumbling block [that provokes their opposition], and to Gentiles foolishness [just utter nonsense], 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    25 [This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort]. [AMP]

    Food for thought.

    KF

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    Kairosfocus: “If you have not met these conditions, you may be a part of a Christianised culture (now frankly largely apostate) and may have some affinity or affiliations, but you have unfortunately not come to the pivotal experience of repentance and trust.”

    I must have missed the part where I asked you about advice on how to be a Christian. If I wanted advice, I certainly wouldn’t come to a blog to receive it from an anonymous source.

    Arguing about what it is to be a good Christian is not something I have any intention or desire to do. I know what it takes for me to be a good Christian and that is all that I care about.

  366. HP, with all due respect, I am duty-bound to point out the nature of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (as I summarised above as a yardstick) and to point out that no individual or group is in a position to alter such to suit their preferences. And in saying that, I know this point will be unpopular in a radically relativist or subjectivist ultra-modernist [more accurate than “post modern”] age. KF

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