Intelligent Design

Materialists Know What They Say is False. They Say it Anyway

Spread the love

Otherwise, they would have to give up their materialism.

Recently I posted about a woman who was charged with attempted murder when she put a newborn baby in a garbage bag and tossed him in a dumpster to die. Here is an exchange I had with Seversky regarding that post:

Barry:

Is it objectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster or is it just your subjective preference not to do so?

Seversky:

the overwhelming majority regard dumping newborns in dumpsters as being evil

Barry:

Suppose the overwhelming majority regarded dumping newborns in dumpsters as good. Would it then be good?

Seversky:

Presumably, it would be good in the minds of the majority who approved of it. It would not be a good thing from my perspective.

There you have it. Sev’s position is this: They would prefer tossing babies in dumpsters and I would not. There is no basis on which to determine which preference is superior. Therefore, the preferences are objectively equal.

As I have said before, no sane person actually lives their life as if materialism is true. But Sev’s religious commitments compel him to pretend he believes it is true. Which leads him to say that he holds an outrageous position that we can be certain he does not truly hold. Sad that.

400 Replies to “Materialists Know What They Say is False. They Say it Anyway

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    Yes, and there is no indication Sev could ever improve his thinking on this.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    William J Murray says:

    On the flip side of this, many theists know what they say is false, but they say it anyway.

    They know it is evil to force someone into a situation that you know with certainty they will endure brutal victimization. Yet, they call the hypothetical God who does this very thing “good” and “loving.”

    They know eternal torture with no hope of escape can only be the creation of an evil being, yet they attempt to rationalize it as being “good.”

  3. 3
  4. 4
    JVL says:

    Since I have been once again blocked from commenting on a thread (https://uncommondescent.com/darwinism/is-darwinism-an-empty-theory/) have pursued the matter a bit further.

    On the page I get when I am blocked I clicked a link near the bottom which was called “Documentation”. Which took me to a page explaining the different kinds of blocks WordFence can throw up.

    Here’s the quote from the paragraph discussing the particular block I see:

    Your access to this site has been limited

    If you see this message it means that your IP address has been blocked by the Wordfence firewall via an option configured by the site owner. On the block page, you will see a “Reason” describing why you were blocked. If you are an administrator on the site you can use this reason to adjust your Wordfence settings. This may be due to the country blocking or rate limiting features. If you are not an administrator on the site then contact the site owner for assistance.

    However, the blocked message I get is also a “403 Forbidden” message and here’s what that means:

    403 Forbidden. A potentially unsafe operation has been detected in your request to this site.

    If you see this message it means Wordfence has blocked you for violating a firewall rule. If you are an administrator on the site, check the “Tools” > “Live Traffic” page feed and locate the request that was blocked. If you are sure that the request is safe and should not be blocked, you can add the blocked request to the allowlist. If you are not an administrator on the site then contact the site owner for assistance.

    403 Forbidden. WHAT? Why am I seeing this?

    If you see this message it means that your IP address is on the Wordfence “Real-Time IP Blocklist”. This blocklist contains the top number of IP addresses that are currently engaged in attacks on WordPress sites. The page provides you with a form you can use to make a report if you think you should not have been blocked. Even if you are not doing anything bad, other people using the same IP address may be. In the vast majority of cases, we will therefore not remove your IP address from the blocklist. We recommend that you reach out to your Internet Service Provider or VPN provider so that they can track down the source of the malicious traffic coming from the IP address that you are using.

    So, it seems clear someone is choosing to restrict access but only after I have already posted to a thread. I have replied multiple times to the above mentioned thread only to have my responses blocked just now.

    I’ll leave it up to you to decide how that could happen and why.

  5. 5
    zweston says:

    WJM, for sake of argument, let’s just grant you your characterization of God. Let’s test your claim that the God of the Bible is evil… by what standard is he evil? What measure of Good to you measure it off of? Is it objective or subjective? If it is subjective, then is it universally true? Says who?

    We get that you don’t like hell… in my limited knowledge and understanding, I’m not a fan of it either and want to avoid it at all costs, but at the same time, I do want justice to be served in my life and in our world. If someone murders my child, they deserve death… as they destroyed life and it cannot be restored. I cannot escape the scriptural reality that hell is real… Jesus spent a lot of time talking about it, and he was the best human of all time. Near death experiences have plenty of examples of negative hell-like descriptions, so we even have scientific evidence of its reality. You have been shown the way to eternal life, and you refuse to take it because you protest your creator having a will to do as he pleases? It’s like an ant complaining about the actions of a human being, except vastly beyond that in true disparity.

    Do you have all knowledge? Have you always existed? Did you create the universe from nothing? Did you create DNA? Do you exist outside of time? Are you able to judge the hearts of men? … if not, it might be time to humble yourself, accept the facts of the matter and spend your time trying to invite others to escape the coming reality instead of protesting it. I can’t wrap my head around a lot of things theologically, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and the Bible is true.

    Are you a good person? And by what standard would you judge that by?

    the Bible gave us 10 commandments to follow, lets see how you would do in God’s (hypothetical) courtroom:
    1. Have you ever told a lie? or rather, how many lies have you told? (since we both know you have lied) Being made in the image of God and lying, you are portraying God as a liar and defaming his name. Someone who tells lies is a liar. You (like me) are a liar.
    2. Have you ever stolen anything… downloaded music, something from a friend or sibling… or maybe something criminal level… chances are you have. You are showing discontentment, covetousness, idolatry, and a lack of trust in God’s provision… defaming his name.
    3. Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Would you do that with your parents’ names? No? Why not? Because you love them and want to honor them?… and if have taken their names and used them as profanity, you just dishonored your parents… that’s also one of the 10. If you have taken the Lord’s name in vain, you are literally dishonoring the greatest name there is. To do it to anyone else isn’t as offensive. You curse your own creator.
    4. Jesus said if you have looked with lust you have committed adultery in your heart… have you done that? I’m guessing like all of us you have. Adultery is wrong because it gives a false view of God because God doesn’t commit adultery. He stays true and loyal to his people and to his covenants.
    5. Have you ever hated someone… Jesus said if you hate someone you have committed murder in your heart…..

    So, just guessing if you are honest (but you are a liar by definition)… that you are lying, thieving, blasphemous murdering adulterer at heart…

    So, by God’s law, would you be innocent or guilty? …. Guilty. Not a good good person by God’s standards. So, being guilty, according to the Bible, would you deserve heaven or hell? The answer is hell, like every one of us.

    The good news (gospel) of Jesus is that… when Jesus died on the cross he paid the price for your sins. the Bible says that the wages of sin is death. You and I broke God’s law, and Jesus paid the fine… God was able to punish sin and also be merciful at the same time. Then Jesus rose again after prophesying he would, confirming the truth about his finished work on the cross.

    In order to receive the forgiveness offered by Jesus, you must repent (change your mind, turn around) from your way of living and trust Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and follow Jesus. You can’t just say “I’m sorry”… that doesn’t acquit you from your crimes… someone must pay. It’s either Jesus or you. When you surrender your life to Jesus, he will change your heart, give you peace, joy, purpose, and eternal life. This is great news. The best of news.

    And the way Jesus called us to live is the best possible way to live. Love each other sacrificially, give generously to each other, forgive each other, take care of the poor and helpless… the world would be a wonderful place if everyone followed Jesus.

  6. 6
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    They know it is evil to force someone into a situation that you know with certainty they will endure brutal victimization. Yet, they call the hypothetical God who does this very thing “good” and “loving.”

    You are on record as doubting that there is any such thing as “evil,” “wrong,” or “unjust,” and yet you also claim that the Christian God is evil, wrong, and unjust. Will the real WJM please stand up?

  7. 7
    Belfast says:

    @WJM
    A Tu Quoque argument is no better coming from you than it is from Seversky.

  8. 8
    Belfast says:

    @JVL
    “ I’ll leave it up to you to decide how that could happen and why.”
    Too busy to decide your ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    There you have it. Sev’s position is this: They would prefer tossing babies in dumpsters and I would not. There is no basis on which to determine which preference is superior. Therefore, the preferences are objectively equal.

    Not objectively equal as you are presuming that there is an overwhelming majority in favor of throwing babies in dumpsters. Without an objective and independent moral standard against which to measure it the only objective evidence is the majority in favor of throwing babies in dumpsters.

    The real question is whether that would ever happen. In my view, the overwhelming majority of parents would regard that as an horrific and criminal act and, in essence, that is the basis of all moralities – communities deciding what are individual rights and freedoms that should be protected for the benefit of all.

    Suppose the overwhelming majority regarded dumping newborns in dumpsters as good. Would it then be good?

    We can all play the suppose game. Suppose one of the tenets of a faith was that all the faithful were required to prove the strength of their commitment by demonstrating their willingness to sacrifice their child. Would that be a good thing?

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev.

    Without an objective and independent moral standard against which to measure it the only objective evidence is the majority in favor of throwing babies in dumpsters.

    Make up your mind. First you say there is no objective standard against which to measure the two preferences. Then you say that the fact that one preference has more adherents is an objective measure. I know you want to have it both ways Sev. Sorry, you can’t.

  11. 11
    hoosfoos says:

    Where does moral law come from? One option is that law comes from the king. Might makes right. Another option is that the law comes from the majority. This is an illusion. The powerful can psychologically manipulate majority opinion. This reduces to the first option. The third option is that the law comes from God. From the days of Moses this has been a standard for the western world.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, we both know it is notorious that communities differ on their rules across space and time. Your remark, in 9, that “in essence, that is the basis of all moralities – communities deciding what are individual rights and freedoms that should be protected for the benefit of all” is tantamount to the relativist thesis that is usually implicit hiding behind differences of view and things like the story of blind men and an elephant. Actually, diversity of opinion and power backing particular views in a community in an error prone but rational race, is manifestly irrelevant to objectivity, warrant and knowability of truth regarding duty to right conduct etc. Your rhetorical exchanges with BA only manage to show that the relativist thesis becomes indefensible in the face of actual yardstick cases. It is obvious you cannot acknowledge that a grave wrong was done, attempted infanticide. At the same time, you do not want to admit that alleged non objectivity of moral truth boils down to opening the door to might makes right. The absurdity of nihilism is patent, as has been on record since Plato. I suggest, instead, face the force of yardstick cases and acknowledge that the generally available voice of conscience on such a matter cannot be dismissed or evaded as likely delusion, without undermining the general credibility of mind. Our sight and hearing can go wrong or be defective too, that is not a barrier to the value and validity of objective truth. There is no good reason why we should treat conscience as suspect beyond the normal error proneness of our senses and rational faculties. KF

  13. 13
    BobRyan says:

    Without the belief in absolute morality, there can be no absolute right and wrong. If everything is subjective, then nothing is good or evil.

    Remove God from society and society always results in human tragedy. The French Revolution was a revolution against Got and the royals. Removal of God led to the the terror. Napoleon was an atheist who wanted to remove God from Europe, which led to the Napoleonic Wars. The Soviets were atheists who tried to sweep God out of wherever they went, which led to Stalin being the biggerst mass murderer in the history of the world. Hitler was an atheist who believed paganism was superior to Christianity. Mao was the second biggest murderer who terrorized China. The Cambodian push for a socialist, anti-God eutopia resulted in a third of Cambodians dead.

  14. 14
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    BobRyan
    Without the belief in absolute morality, there can be no absolute right and wrong. If everything is subjective, then nothing is good or evil.

    Therefore only theists that believe in objective moral law can talk about an evil god . But “evil god” is the same like “square circle” , a contradiction because an evil god would give us an “evil moral law” and people will judge according to this “evil moral law” therefore their conclusions about god will be wrong . :))

  15. 15
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    You have been shown the way to eternal life, and you refuse to take it because you protest your creator having a will to do as he pleases? It’s like an ant complaining about the actions of a human being, except vastly beyond that in true disparity.

    Christianity is one of many hypothetical existential ontologies that I have examined in my life. I don’t “protest my creator,” I’m criticizing an ontology.

    Mr. Arrington’s position is that we all know evil when we see it, at least in some examples, and there is no denying that evil, but people do so anyway when they attempt to rationalize it as a “not evil” thing – at least in some circumstances, to some people.

    And here you are, writing a whole flurry of words in an attempt to rationalize as good that which is as clearly evil as the example in the OP.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, Sev, there is far more objective — which as long as Math is objective cannot be equated to empirical observation of tangible entities and behaviours etc — evidence than you acknowledge. For instance, the relativist thesis reduces to absurdity, giving us the epistemic right to accept its denial as true:

    Let a proposition be represented by x
    M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> truth claim]
    O = x is objective and generally knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> notice, generally knowable per adequate warrant, as opposed to widely acknowledged]

    It is claimed, cultural relativism thesis: S= ~[O*M] = 1

    [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc — c 430 BC on, 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.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. Of course, subjectivism then reduces the scale of “community” to one individual. He continues, “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 . . . ” [–> door opened to nihilistic factionalism]]

    However, the subject of S is M,
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O, and is about M
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type-M
    so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio ad absurdum]

    ++++++++++
    ~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, M [moral truth claim]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

    That is, there UNDENIABLY are objective moral truths; and a first, self-evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

    The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important.

    And of course, I have laid out a case for restoration of recognised moral knowledge here in recent days, making particular reference to Dallas Willard.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    –> internet out.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I have long since, at length at your insistence shown (see also here) why what you proposed fails. On trying to put God in the dock in an attempt to discredit Christian theism, you only succeeded in showing gaps in your reasoning. I suggest, starting with the Incarnation and redemption, where betrayal, deep suffering provides redemption and healing for all. The message of the gospel, core of the Christian faith. A note for record, not an opening for a side track. KF

    PS: Isaiah 53:

    1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?1
    And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
    2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
    he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
    3 He was despised and rejected2 by men;
    a man of sorrows,3 and acquainted with4 grief;5
    and as one from whom men hide their faces6
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    4 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
    like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
    8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
    that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
    9 And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
    although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.
    10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;7
    when his soul makes8 an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
    the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
    11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see9 and be satisfied;
    by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.

  19. 19
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    On trying to put God in the dock in an attempt to discredit Christian theism,..

    I’m making no such attempt. You are engaged in mind reading.

    The OP is about saying something that is false while knowing it is false, wrt things that are clearly, unmistakably evil, because one is trying to salvage an untenable perspective. I’ve pointed my finger at something that is clearly, unmistakably evil. It is also clearly, unmistakably unjust.

    Just as Mr. Arrington points out, and you have repeatedly argued, it doesn’t matter what your ontological beliefs are, or what your reasoning is, there are some things which are unmistakably evil even to materialists or moral subjectivists. It is so regardless of anyone’s particular theistic perspective. I don’t have to reach into ontology or epistemology to know that what I have pointed out is evil. Nobody does.

    If that happens to indict some aspect of your ideology, that’s your problem, not mine. What I have pointed out as evil in my comment above does not even exist in my worldview. This is, in fact, originally why I left Christianity (at least the version taught to me in my childhood;) I knew everlasting, hopeless torment was and evil concept. Since then, I’ve met hundreds of people that abandoned that version of Christianity for that very same reason: they recognize that one concept as evil.

    That’s not an attempt to discredit Christianity. That’s me pointing at an obvious evil and calling it out.

  20. 20
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    You are on record as doubting that there is any such thing as “evil,” “wrong,” or “unjust,” and yet you also claim that the Christian God is evil, wrong, and unjust. Will the real WJM please stand up?

    Perhaps you missed them, but I recently made a couple of comments where I said I think I’ve been able to make the argument that “objective good” and “objective morality” necessarily exist for all possible sentient beings. This happened because I actually do think about these arguments; I tried to squeeze an argument I could understand from KF and you for a while, but I realized that I couldn’t understand what you two were saying the way you said them. So I worked on it by myself.

    The “real” WJM is a person that is willing to make the attempt to make sense out someone else’s argument, to try to see things from their perspective, even to make their argument for them to the best of my capacity because none of that threatens my own personal beliefs.

  21. 21
    zweston says:

    WJM… you still appeal to morality without a standard, and continually dismiss it. You have made world in your own image, because you think you get to be God, just like Adam and Eve, Hitler, and the rest of us… Jesus rose from the dead according to the scriptures and raised again 3 days later according to the scriptures.

  22. 22
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    WJM… you still appeal to morality without a standard, and continually dismiss it.

    The standard is exactly the same standard Mr. Arrington used in his OP and which KF has repeatedly used in his arguments: some things we know to be evil when we see or think of them regardless of our personal beliefs.

    The only question is whether or not you will admit it. I’m perfectly willing to admit that the example Mr. Arrington used is evil regardless of personal beliefs. I’m pointing out another such example. Who here is willing to admit it?

  23. 23
    zweston says:

    Lets do a thought experiment…which I haven’t ever used….

    There are some people holding to the Bible who say that God will eventually save everyone (universalism). That after death, people will realize their failures and ultimately be restored to God. If the Bible said that, would you be a Christian… meaning: You would repent of your current lifestyle, renounce sin, and follow Jesus wholeheartedly and dedicate your life to seeing others do the same?

  24. 24
    zweston says:

    (previous comment directed at WJM, but feel free to jump in any non-christians out there)

  25. 25
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston @23: Are you avoiding answering the question? Or, is this your way of refusing to admit that a clear, obvious evil is in fact evil?

  26. 26
    chuckdarwin says:

    Zweston @ 23
    I’m guessing that universalism (or annihilationism) would be anathema to most folks that follow this blog. Their instinct to mercilessly kick the dog is too over-powering, especially, as this thread demonstrates, when they can do their kicking from a position of perceived moral superiority…

  27. 27
    ET says:

    Dogs? Your position can’t even account for the existence of dogs!

  28. 28
    zweston says:

    Define evil, WJM. I’m not avoiding anything. You measure evil by what you think is evil, just like the pedophile does (no, I’m not conflating the two). I think sin is evil. I think God is holy. Sinning against my brother isn’t the same as sinning against the president. We have no idea the holiness of God. My answer is that God is not evil. I am evil. I am responsible for my actions, not God. He set up the rules because he made everything. I broke them because I wanted to do my own thing. So did you.

    Now, I answered the way I see it, which won’t appease you.
    —-

    Sev, you completely dodged the experiment. If universalism is true, would you repent of your sins, and follow Christ all out?

    WJM, how about you?

    Anyone else who isn’t a Christian, would you?

  29. 29
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    The OP is about saying something that is false while knowing it is false, wrt things that are clearly, unmistakably evil, because one is trying to salvage an untenable perspective. I’ve pointed my finger at something that is clearly, unmistakably evil. It is also clearly, unmistakably unjust.

    Apples and Oranges. Your assumption that It is “clearly and unmistakably unjust” for God to punish unrepentant sinners is flawed. The self-evident truths that Barry writes about refer to the Natural Moral Law, which pertain to humans and the morality of human nature. The fact is that there are certain moral acts that God can perform which would be immoral if initiated by a human agent.

    A good example would be the act of judging itself. Human’s may not judge the ultimate fate of other humans (or decide on which fate is deserved) because they simply don’t know all the facts and nuances of each human life. Many there are, for example, that have a hard time loving God as a Father because their fathers did not love them. God can take such things into account, humans cannot.

    It is also the case that eternal punishment can be justified on several grounds, including the problem of eternal guilt incurred by an eternal attachment to sin. It is by no means self evident that God is morally obliged to refrain from creating humans with free will because He knows that some of them will abuse the privilege.

    Self-evident moral truths apply only to human duties and obligations. One may not logically use the same standard to appraise God’s moral decisions. God may, for example, take a human life for some good reason, and He has the moral right to do so because He is the author of life. The broader point is that neither you or anyone else is qualified to judge God because you cannot possibly know all the reasons for his decisions.

  30. 30
    ram says:

    He washed my sins away

    –Ram

  31. 31
    Viola Lee says:

    Posts 29 is the kind of rationalization and story-telling that drove me away from religious belief. I’m with WJM on this discussion: there is no possible justification for believing that someone (me, for instance) is damned to eternal torment because I don’t belief in Christianity, and Jesus in particular. I can’t believe that a God of this huge universe would take such a monstrously petty position about human beings.

  32. 32
    es58 says:

    Monstrously petty? Is there no crime sufficiently monstrously evil to earn such an outcome?

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you have framed the issue in a loaded fashion, complete with loaded words that implicitly caricature and dismiss out of hand rather than on merits. What if the criterion of judgement of a soul is responsiveness/unresponsiveness to truth one knows or should acknowledge? What if, “this is the verdict, that men loved darkness instead of light, as their deeds were evil”? What if, “s/he who lives by the truth will come to the light”? As to degree of light one has or has access to, start with the built in voice of conscience as testifying to our moral government; manifested in even the implicit appeals you have made to several first duties of reason; showing their branch on which we sit first principle truths character. Then, ask yourself where that fundamental knowable law that governs our duty to right conduct etc so too our responsible, rational freedom can come from. See if, post Hume and post Euthyphro, is can come from anywhere but the necessary being root of reality as being able to source the is-ness of a world, with creatures exhibiting rational, responsible freedom that requires sound guidance. Then see if that does not require that such not only have capability to be a wellspring of worlds, but also to be inherently good and utterly wise, so able to found moral government. Of course, such then addresses the nature, path and final state of the soul, which as an inherently unitary entity is not a composite of parts so once it is, it cannot be broken up, it is immortal. Much more can be said, I will just append the testimony of an eyewitness, facing judicial murder at hands of Nero, on a patently false accusation of treasonous arson c 65 AD. Your dismissiveness to this testimony and its context, regrettably, speaks. I trust you and others will reconsider. KF

    PS: The testimony of the man who was there, Simon Peter, late fisherman of Galilee:

    2 Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. . . .

    19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. [See, Isa 52:13 – 53:12, c 700 BC]

    21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    Much, much more can be said, but this is a marker.

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I think I should add this, from an equally foundational text of the Christian gospel, regarding God’s attitude to our responsiveness to the degree of light we have or have reasonable access to:

    Rom 2: 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality . . . .

    13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

    14 For when Gentiles [members of the diverse peoples of the world, ethnoi], 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 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

    Notice, “to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” In short, even stumbling persistence in the path of the truth counts, ultimately counts.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, if you are tempted to substitute computation on a wetware, neuron based substrate for the rational, responsible freedom of a living, self-moved soul inherently distinct as to order of being from a dynamic-stochatic computational device composed of atoms and molecules, may I remind of the exchange between the late Sir Francis Crick and the late Philip Johnson:

    Some materialists actually suggest that mind is more or less a delusion, which is instantly self-referentially absurd. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “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.

    The late Philip Johnson has aptly 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.]

    In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin. For, there is a very good reason we are cautioned about how easily self-referential statements can become self-refuting, like a snake attacking and swallowing itself tail-first. Any human scheme of thought that undermines responsible [thus, morally governed] rational freedom undermines itself fatally. We thus see inadvertent, inherent self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. But, “inadvertent” counts: it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge the logically fatal nature of the result. Of course, that subjective challenge does not change the objective result: self-referential incoherence and irretrievable self-falsification. (An audio clip, here, by William Lane Craig that summarises Plantinga’s argument on this in a nutshell, is useful as a quick reference.)

  36. 36
    AndyClue says:

    @Viola Lee:

    Posts 29 is the kind of rationalization and story-telling that drove me away from religious belief.

    I’ve seen it in my loving grandmother. She always assumed I was a christian. After I had told her that I wasn’t, she entered a state of cognitive dissonance and denial (like Seversky). She couldn’t believe her grandson would suffer in hell for eternity and she would never see him again. So she invented a falsehood in her mind: namely that I was just joking about not being a christian. I let her believe the falsehood, because it made her happy.

  37. 37
    William J Murray says:

    Es58:

    Monstrously petty? Is there no crime sufficiently monstrously evil to earn such an outcome?

    Of course there is no crime that warrants eternal, hopeless torment. We all know this. It’s not even a difficult calculation. It’s preposterous on the face of it.

  38. 38
    William J Murray says:

    In the hypothetical ontology some are presenting here, God is running an eternal concentration camp that puts the Nazi camps to shame, and these people are trying to justify it through logic and reasoning. That’s every bit as bad as Sev trying to justify as “not evil” something that is clearly evil as long as the person doesn’t believe it to be an evil.

    I assume that, throughout history, there have been people who had what they thought were convincing logical arguments to justify the evils they committed. Or, they had deeply felt religious convictions that compelled them to do evil things and justify it on grounds of their faith.

    This exactly what we have going on here; people trying to justify, one way or another, an obvious evil. Stephen is so twisted he argues that we deliberately run into those camps knowing full well what we’re doing, and would choose to stay there even if given the opportunity to leave even after we have a taste of what eternal torment will be.

    Know what else is patently obvious? When you need an encyclopedia’s worth of content to develop the apologetic reasoning that is needed to justify something as “not evil,” it is clear you are dealing with so obvious an evil that it requires all of that in the attempt to justify it as “not evil.” You don’t need complicated arguments to convince people that obvious evils are evil; you only need complicated arguments if you’re attempting to convince normal, reasonable people that an obvious evil is not in fact evil.

    But, it’s even worse than that; these people are trying to portray the creator of that horrifying, eternal concentration camp as kind, loving, merciful and just.

    Eternal torment is so very much worse, and more evil, than “tossing a baby into the garbage” that it’s obscene to even compare the two. Eternal torment is not just evil; it is the worst possible evil that can be committed by anyone on anyone. It is the absolute antithesis of being kind, loving, merciful or just. It’s the most purely evil thing imaginable.

    But by all means, go ahead with your “arguments” that we just don’t understand how it is really a “good” thing that a kind, loving, merciful and just God created. Go ahead and tell us how we are “mischaracterizing” the situation. Go ahead and refer us to volumes of apologetics and reasoning that would attempt to justify it. It is, indeed, quite the sight to behold.

  39. 39
    William J Murray says:

    BTW, the argument that God has the exact limitations to His creative capacity that would make “eternal torment” a “good” thing, or a necessary aspect of the best possible outcome, is entirely the product of circular reasoning. It is achieved solely from the premise that the actual God, that is actually kind, loving, merciful and just, actually created hell. So, the existence of hell must be justified; they must imagine what qualities, what nature, what limitations God must have in order for hell to be logically justifiable from such a God. And, they need hundreds of years of convenient, circular reasoning and encyclopedic volumes of argument in the attempt to make this case. All of that, just to be able to intellectually deny that which their own heart knows is true.

  40. 40
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I can’t believe that a God of this huge universe would take such a monstrously petty position about human beings.

    What is so monstrous in God Himself dying for you NOT to go to hell but somehow this is not enough for you( such a perfect and moral person ) . Guess what? It’s not God ,it’s you.

  41. 41
    zweston says:

    WJM…. Will you engage with my thought experiment?

    If the God of the Bible were universalist…. would you repent of your sins and surrender your life to Jesus, following all of his teachings and sharing his good news?

  42. 42
    William J Murray says:

    LCD:

    What is so monstrous in God Himself dying for you NOT to go to hell but somehow this is not enough for you( such a perfect and moral person ) . Guess what? It’s not God ,it’s you.

    It’s monstrous because God forced Viola into the very dire situation that requires her to love Him for rescuing her. If you can’t see what’s monstrous about that, what is evil about that, nobody can help you.

  43. 43
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston asks:

    There are some people holding to the Bible who say that God will eventually save everyone (universalism). That after death, people will realize their failures and ultimately be restored to God. If the Bible said that, would you be a Christian… meaning: You would repent of your current lifestyle, renounce sin, and follow Jesus wholeheartedly and dedicate your life to seeing others do the same?

    That’s a very interesting question. There’s a lot that is not fully addressed in this question, but taken as-is in its both general and limited scope, I can’t think of any reason not to do so. But, to reiterate, there’s too much here left generalized and external of the scope of the question for me to actually make the decision to become a universalist. I’d have to learn more about the specifics of that perspective. However, I’m not exactly motivated to do so. Perhaps that is your point? That without the threat of some final painful outcome, who the heck would be motivated to be good? That’s also an interesting question.

    I mean, it’s not like I have IMO all that much to change about my lifestyle. I think I would definitely enjoy making arguments for and having discussions about that ontology. It’s not like I’m living a life chock-full of sin as organized in the ten commandments anyway, and in that scenario my position that eternal torment is evil would be true, right? My following those commandments would only require relatively minor adjustments in my daily life and weekly routine.

    Since this one point is the focal reason why I ditched Christianity in the first place, I don’t think I would have ever had any reason to leave it.

    As a relevant aside, my brother-in-law believes that after we die, we gain full, clear knowledge of how things are without any doubt, and that is when, being fully informed, we make our choice. I’m not an idiot or so insanely prideful and egotistical that I’d choose hell in that situation, for crying out loud.

  44. 44
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    It’s monstrous because God forced Viola into the very dire situation that requires her to love Him for rescuing her. If you can’t see what’s monstrous about that, what is evil about that, nobody can help you.

    I didn’t know that you have to be forced to love a person who saves your life. It seems that your arrogance(false imagination about your value) is more important than your own life.

  45. 45
    William J Murray says:

    I didn’t know that you have to be forced to love a person who saves your life. It seems that your arrogance(false imagination about your value) is more important than your own life.

    And it seems your love can be so cheaply acquired that you’re willing to hand it over to the very person that thrust you into danger in the first place. If I deliberately push a woman into the path of an oncoming train, then reach out my hand and say, “If you love me, I will pull you out of this danger,” is it not insane to expect that woman to then love you?

    Or, is it more reasonable to expect that woman to despise you and fear the hand you are offering?

  46. 46
    Viola Lee says:

    To Es58 at 32, who wrote, “Monstrously petty? Is there no crime sufficiently monstrously evil to earn such an outcome?”

    This is not a pertinent question. The “crime” under consideration is just not believing in God and Jesus as savior. This is not “monsrously evil”. This is in fact a reasonable conclusion that the whole Christian God/Savior story isn’t true at all. LCD says this person saved my life, but I don’t believe that at all. So if some type of universal God exists and is interested in human beings, it seems inconceivable that such a God would expect people to believe such an unbelievable story and then damn them to eternal torment when they didn’t believe it.

  47. 47
    Viola Lee says:

    To Es58 at 32, who wrote, “Monstrously petty? Is there no crime sufficiently monstrously evil to earn such an outcome?”

    This is not a pertinent question. The “crime” under consideration is just not believing in God and Jesus as savior. This is not “monsrously evil”. This is in fact a reasonable conclusion that the whole Christian God/Savior story isn’t true at all. LCD says this person saved my life, but I don’t believe that at all. If some type of universal God exists and is interested in human beings, it seems inconceivable that such a God would expect people to believe such an unbelievable story and then damn them to eternal torment when they didn’t believe it.

  48. 48
    Viola Lee says:

    And I strongly agree with WJM when he writes,

    Know what else is patently obvious? When you need an encyclopedia’s worth of content to develop the apologetic reasoning that is needed to justify something as “not evil,” it is clear you are dealing with so obvious an evil that it requires all of that in the attempt to justify it as “not evil.” You don’t need complicated arguments to convince people that obvious evils are evil; you only need complicated arguments if you’re attempting to convince normal, reasonable people that an obvious evil is not in fact evil.

  49. 49
    chuckdarwin says:

    WJM @ 38 & 39
    I have to say that WJM’s comments at 38 and 39 are the finest examples of clarity I’ve seen in a long time critiquing Christian soteriology. His point about the bizarre machinations necessary to defend a God who consigns the bulk of his creation to eternal damnation is especially well-taken. The simple fact that Christianity has not been able to coherently address this issue for over two millennia demonstrates that there ultimately is no reasonable justification for this insidious doctrine. The fact that attempts to mitigate the doctrine with notions such as universalism or annihilationism have not gained traction show how deeply rooted our instinct to inflict punishment on our fellow human beings runs.

    The only thing I would add to WJM’s comments stems from a line found in Augustine’s Confessions which has haunted me since I first read it 40+ years ago:

    And yet I sinned, O Lord my God, creator and arbiter of all natural things, but arbiter only, not creator, of sin. Book 1, Section 10 (my emphasis)

    Try as I might, I have never found any coherent argument justifying Augustine’s exoneration of God as the author of evil–it just stands as a stark, unqualified claim. It is not enough to consign God’s creatures to an eternity of torment; Christianity must make mankind solely responsible for this pitiable situation.

  50. 50
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    LCD says this person saved my life, but I don’t believe that at all.

    😆 So you chose to (cunningly) “believe” the part that allow you to judge God and in the same time you just “don’t believe” the part that prove God loves you . To judge corectly is to analyze full Christian description of God (not cherry picking only those information about hell that helps your hateful side to hate) . I guess everybody knows why you let aside the information than doesn’t help you to hate.

    Example:
    Info 1: A man cut another man with a knife.
    Question: Is that man bad or god?
    Viola Lee: Is very bad.

    Info2 : That man with a knife is a surgeon performing an operation.
    Viola Lee: I don’t believe that is a surgeon . I think it’s a criminal. I believe only Info 1 but not Info 2 even both info were part of full picture.

    It sounds familiar ?

  51. 51
    William J Murray says:

    CD said:

    Try as I might, I have never found any coherent argument justifying Augustine’s exoneration of God as the author of evil–it just stands as a stark, unqualified claim. It is not enough to consign God’s creatures to an eternity of torment, but Christianity must make mankind solely responsible for this pitiable situation.

    And, we are created into this world already on the road to hell (original sin.) It’s not even a matter of us sinning in our life that is the problem; it’s that we thrust into this world as sinners on the road to hell from the get-go. God literally throws us in the path of the oncoming train, and then tells us that unless we love Him, the train will not only hit us, but it will be eternally crushing us in unmeasurable pain under its wheels.

    Mr. Arrington’s example of tossing a baby in the garbage is nothing compared to this evil. In what other imaginable circumstance do we accept that love is meaningfully acquired or given when done so under the duress of threat of extreme harm?

  52. 52
    William J Murray says:

    It is, instead, LCD that is cherry-picking information to excuse the evil in question.

    That man with a knife is a surgeon performing an operation.

    That man with a knife is a surgeon performing an operation to remove a cancer he himself infected you with (by creating you in a state of already being infected with original sin,) and refuses to perform the surgery unless you actually love him (not just say you love him.)

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, the above exchanges (with fairly obvious gaps in understanding and all too much of loaded language) underscore the point as to why UD is not and should not be a forum on theological/biblical difficulties and debates. To responsibly engage such requires engaging a panel of competent theologians [who are fairly scarce and often have other priorities]. I have repeatedly suggested, that such questions properly belong in fora which have panels as described, several of which are online. Meanwhile, I can observe on my comments at 18 and 33 – 35, that material considerations are being sidelined. Those, are tantamount to, the doors of Hell are locked, bolted and barred from the INSIDE; start with, Rom 2: “7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” KF

    PS, I would think procreation in a context of redemptive provision is not quite original creation, on just one point of needed rebalancing that caught my eye. A raft of mis-statements requires one of two things, identifying the pattern and providing a start-point to fix it for the willing, or a for record point by point refutation of a likely multiplying raft of mis-statements. Enough has been said for the former and on too much track record, the latter is liable to meet a refusal, so that it becomes a for record. We can take it to the bank that insistence on pushing aggressive and loaded talk points in a forum not suited to such is a telling, sad sign.

  54. 54
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    WJM
    That man with a knife is a surgeon performing an operation to remove a cancer he himself infected you with

    Oh my ,I missed that part. Could you give us that quote from the Bible where is mentioned that God infected the humans with sin?
    As I said before you should stick with full description of Christian God not to cherry pick only some info like Viola Lee and not to add new “informations” that are not in the Bible like WJM .

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, that BA’s point in the OP, though distracted from, is highly cogent. KF

  56. 56
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    F/N: Notice, that BA’s point in the OP, though distracted from, is highly cogent. KF

    Yes, Mr. Arrington’s point is well-made and perfectly cogent: that regardless of any theological training, particular beliefs, moral subjectivist, relativist or objectivist, and without any additional argument or explanation necessary, at least in some cases we all recognize what is evil even if we then strive to justify or deny it.

    And, that is exactly the point I continued with my #2 with another example, and exactly the same thing is playing out, as happens with Sev, as various people attempt, in order to salvage their ideology, to justify as not evil that which clearly evil and more horrendously evil than the original example.

  57. 57
    chuckdarwin says:

    My $.02–
    This all started with Mr. Arrington’s post “A Case of Bad Timing.” I actually posted a comment to his original OP asking what relevance his post had to intelligent design and evolution. At that point he ignored my question and launched into a discussion about “objective morality” and tossing babies into dumpsters, which is fine by me since it was his OP to begin with. His posts are nothing if not provocative….

    Relevant or not, I disagree that in order to “responsibly engage” in theological or philosophical issues we need “a panel of competent theologians” or a separate forum. If folks want to pursue these topics, let them do it. Obviously, the interest is there. And it’s a lot more interesting than amateur discussions on recombinant DNA or the teleology of neutrino stars….

  58. 58
    William J Murray says:

    IF it takes an encyclopedia of apologetic reasoning to purchase intellectual cover for what conscience and heart scream out as evil, then our conscience and hearts are so fatally flawed that there’s no reason at all to consult them on any matter.

    If eternal torment is not wrong, nothing is.

  59. 59
    ET says:

    Reincarnation makes more sense than eternal damnation.

  60. 60
    chuckdarwin says:

    ET @59
    I think this is the first time you and I actually agree on something….

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, we have a catch-22. Answer selectively and briefly and you are dodging. Answer specifically, in point by point detail and you are belabouring and thus showing you don’t have a strong argument. I suggest, such talking points be set aside and the core substance of issues be faced. In the case of the OP, BA has pointed a substantial and highly relevant issue that you immediately tried to pull off on a tangent, which speaks. Further to which, you have been using rather loaded and strawmannish language to push assertions in the wrong forum; if you wanted a substantial answer there are other places with suitable panels of experts, above you will have a combination of people without depth and a few who may know more but have constraints that would not allow a long detailed exchange. I note, part of your objection pivots on why did God give us the freedom to love [the fountainhead of virtue] and to reason and understand [the wellspring of seeking and living by truth], and why should he be displeased with abuse of same gifts. Further to which, a long time ago now, it has been noted to you on the nature of a soul, what is not composite on independent, prior parts is not subject to being broken up so losing existence, our souls are immortal once formed. And, we need the self-moved soul not a computational substrate, to have the freedom required for the noted powers. Where, again, Rom 2: “7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” — we are accountable for right use of our gifts as our consciences tell us. Further to which, it is we who by abuse of powers of the soul lock, bolt and bar the doors of hell from inside. Where, too, fire is obviously metaophorical for the self-torment of warped passions and desires, a soul is not a material entity vulnerable to damage from mere combustion. Yet another point, we set the fires of ge hinnon and keep them going, and that process starts even now, as we can see all around. KF

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, you were answered in the said thread but chose to ignore or deflect and now to cross thread. Let me start with what we start with, rational, responsible freedom, the context for any cognitive endeavour. As responsible indicates, such is inevitabbly morally governed through duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, etc — the Ciceronian first duties of reason that so many so strongly objected to, but only to exemplify by what they appeal to, to gain persuasive leverage for their arguments. Thus, they show the branch on which we sit first principle nature of the duties. The point is, the first problem is not the technical merit of inductive inferences on reliable signs etc, but breakdown of reason, debasing of minds due to evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow traveller ideologies. The second, broader problem is, that breakdown spreads like wildfire and is eating out the fabric of our civilisation, opening the door to lawlessness and ruthless factionalism, which is a challenge to us all. Not least, to the integrity of science. KF

    PS: On life, start with the coded D/RNA in the cell with its algorithms. Code, is language. Algorithms are goal directed. There is just one credible source of both, intelligently directed configuration. That shouldn’t even be controversial, and yet we see an ideological push to lock out such, because of a priori commitments and agendas that undermine first duties. And of course, the notion that there are no objective truths about duty to right conduct etc . . . including right reason, necessarily . . . is demonstrably self-refuting. But of course that is hotly denied, leading to need for yardstick cases that expose the absurdities at work. Hence the case in the OP.

  63. 63
    ET says:

    chuckdarwin- Reincarnation makes sense with an Omniscient God.

  64. 64
    William J Murray says:

    KF @61:

    I note, part of your objection pivots on why did God give us the freedom to love [the fountainhead of virtue] and to reason and understand [the wellspring of seeking and living by truth], and why should he be displeased with abuse of same gifts.

    Nope. Nothing I have said has anything to do with any of that. This is what I said:

    Eternal torment is evil.

    That does not pivot on anything other than being a reasonable, normal human being. It’s not an objection to any proposed God. It does not require any reference to Cicero. It doesn’t take any in-depth conversation to unravel. Which is exactly the point Mr. Arrington made in the OP with his example.

  65. 65
    zweston says:

    WJM—

    I’m genuinely thankful for your response. I’m going to have to use this experiment more. I think it is also revealing of where many stand.

    My point in the experiment is this…. do you only reject Christianity because you don’t like the outcome for some people?

    Objectively, do you find the resurrection to be true and Jesus to be Lord of the universe, you just don’t want to submit?

    It is interesting, your responses and the truth that you concede that you don’t really feel motivated to change how you live your life any more than you would under another system. I think of being a parent…. I can coax my children and reason with them and try to make them understand, but if they keep disobeying, something terrible could happen. So, I have to introduce their “seat of knowledge” to the “hand of discipline” at times to get their attention.

    I’m thinking out loud, and this isn’t in a straight line….but….. it seems no matter what God does after earthly life, you would do what you want and your acceptance of it being true (but not obedience) wholly hinges on whether there is a hell or not. If there is a hell or not… that still doesn’t lead you to worship, exalt, and glorify God, which He created you to do.

    —–
    Maybe I’m incorrect, and I’d be happy to keep the chain of thought going….

    it seems you don’t think it’s a false claim regarding Jesus being the Son of God….therefore, it’s never been really about the objective truth of the matter, but just the outcomes.

    It seems, no matter what God does and whatever system you want to try to put into the Bible (annihilationism, universalism, or traditional) you won’t drop your nets and immediately follow Jesus (and worship Him)

    I would say that your problem isn’t a few pet sins here or there… it’s outright rebellion and disobedience without any reverence for who he is and his word. You have make your sins out to look small, but you are transgressing the Lord of all the universe. You think he is someone to contend with… a peer at best and maybe a subordinate at worst. The book of James addresses the pride involved to say “we will go to this and this a place tomorrow and do business here or there” without acknowledging God’s provision or will.

    No one’s view of God is sufficient…but I acknowledge that to the best of my ability and understand that Jesus is coming back and his word is true. So, I need to live like it. Adam and Eve’s problem wasn’t the actual fruit, but the heart from behind their action. They wanted to be like God, and the first chance they had to do so, they went for it.

    If you die and go to hell…. it won’t be for Adam and Eve’s sins… it will be for your sins that you willingly committed and even perhaps loved and never renounced. Tell me when someone else has made you lie, lust, steal, covet, blaspheme, dishonor your parents? Maybe there is an exception in there somewhere on a few cases, but ultimately… you have done what you wanted. And God has allowed you to live this long. The scary idea that makes me think of is in Romans chapter 1 talking about God giving people over to their evil desires to do all kinds of wicked things without recourse.

    I do believe God gives everyone what they want… they can either want him or want the things of the world and the fleeting pleasures of it.

    You may be familiar with missionary Jim Elliott, who prophetically said this before dying by spear trying to reach a native tribe in South America “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”
    —-
    I know, I rambled and jumped around all over, but your response was fascinating and I’m just processing it through my fingers on a keyboard. I’d been looking forward to hearing your thoughts and am thankful for your response.

  66. 66
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston asked:

    My point in the experiment is this…. do you only reject Christianity because you don’t like the outcome for some people?

    I rejected Christianity because of the eternal hell thing. I haven’t seriously reconsidered it since. That’s a deal-breaker for me.

    Objectively, do you find the resurrection to be true and Jesus to be Lord of the universe, you just don’t want to submit?

    I have no reason to doubt that the resurrection occurred. If I thought Jesus was lord of all creation I would most certainly submit. As I said, I’m not a self-destructive idiot.

    So, I have to introduce their “seat of knowledge” to the “hand of discipline” at times to get their attention.

    That’s perfectly reasonable because it’s a temporary pain as a teaching method.

    I’m thinking out loud, and this isn’t in a straight line….but….. it seems no matter what God does after earthly life, you would do what you want and your acceptance of it being true (but not obedience) wholly hinges on whether there is a hell or not.

    For Pete’s sake, Zweston, do you think I do whatever I feel like doing now wrt the Earthly laws, many of which I find unreasonable and corrupt? And these people aren’t even God.

    If there’s an actual Lord of all creation and I know it to be true I find out for certain what that person wants me to do, that’s a zero option situation. I will adjust my attitude and psychology accordingly. I might be heartbroken and resentful, but I’ll do what I have to do. One thing I cannot do is just decide to love some being. I’m sure I can fake it like a trooper, but that’s not going to cut it, is it? That’s part of what I was talking about stuff your challenge didn’t cover that could also be a deal-breaker.

    More response to come.

  67. 67
    zweston says:

    I’m looking forward to more of your thoughts…

    Jesus said… he who is forgiven much, loves much.

    Do you think you would be forgiven much? I think that is probably the main issue here as it seems you don’t see it that way. You appear to think you just have some rough edges that need a little smoothing. When my wife forgives me when I’m an idiot or whatever it may be… I cannot help but love her more…because I know I don’t deserve it/her! It melts my heart and motivates me to do and be better.

    That’s what God offers you. To dismiss something out of hand because you don’t like it or think it’s unreasonable means you think you know better than God.

    I think it’s interesting that you don’t reject the resurrection, which is pretty interesting. What else does Jesus have to do for him to verify his authority? He fulfilled tons of prophecies specifically and the world really does seem to align with his description of our current reality.

    In regards to corporal punishment… I’m sparing my kids from a final consequence (running out in the road) when I spank their bottoms. Could this current conversation (or the undoubtedly 100’s of them you’ve had) be the same thing?

    Remember when a tower fell and the people asked Jesus what they did to deserve it? Jesus just said “they didn’t do anything special, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” Jesus came to warn us. The scriptures are for us to be warned as well. If God is just and perfect and holy he must punish sin! And he has and will. Otherwise he would deny his nature.

    I know it seems like God is a megalomaniacal control freak (so some say anyways) but if he is truly the only God above any other creation of all time and he made us specifically to worship and glorify himself, we are literally rebelling against our calling and what is best for us. God is what is best for us. Nothing else can substitute.

  68. 68
    zweston says:

    Also, Seversky, Chucky D, JVL… would love to hear your response to the thought experiment.

  69. 69
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    it seems you don’t think it’s a false claim regarding Jesus being the Son of God….therefore, it’s never been really about the objective truth of the matter, but just the outcomes.

    I think the phrase “the Son of God” is problematic. I’m not sure what that means.

    You think he is someone to contend with… a peer at best and maybe a subordinate at worst.

    Try and remember that, from my perspective, all we are talking about is a hypothetical God with hypothetical attributes and commands in a hypothetical situation. My version of God is purely the ground of being. That’s certainly beyond my capacity to “contend” with, and that is certainly not my “peer” in any sense of the word.

    The rest of your commentary is from the perspective of the hypothetical (in my view; I’m sure to you it’s not hypothetical.) If “not loving God” is a sin, then I’m just flat-out doomed. Might as well enjoy this life while I can and just ignore the “sin” warnings. If your hypothetical is true, I’m going to end up in hell anyway.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, oh yes it does. Rational responsible freedom is what makes us morally governed and accountable, and it extends to both our intellect and our attitude, hence, truth in love. It leads to why our core characteristics are distinct from computational substrates [see Crick’s Astonishing Hypothesis or Haldane’s challenge] which are dynamic-stochastic, mechanical, inherently non rational programmed entities. Thus, we see there is something distinct that makes us self-moved, often termed the soul. Our souls as inherently unitary, are not capable of disintegration, are immortal and so will suffer fates related to our chosen path of life relative to the truth we knew or had access to, how we responded to it and how we respond to others, the love-virtue challenge. Such moral government expresses itself through the Ciceronian first duties, to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, sound conscience, neighbour so too fairness and justice etc. Light is come, do we seek it and seek to live by it or do we go scurrying for our favourite patch and corner of darkness. If the latter, it is because we have wrenched our gifts out of alignment with due ends, i.e. we have twisted away towards evil. KF

  71. 71
    chuckdarwin says:

    Zweston @68
    I don’t believe that anyone has ever risen from the dead. In the single most important verse of the Bible, Paul puts it succinctly:

    And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:14

  72. 72
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    Do you think you would be forgiven much? I think that is probably the main issue here as it seems you don’t see it that way. You appear to think you just have some rough edges that need a little smoothing.

    Well, from the Christian perspective, I probably have a lot more sin than I thought – I mean, I don’t consult God in anything, ever, other than in a kind of whimsical fashion, which is probably also a sin.

    Jesus said… he who is forgiven much, loves much.

    Maybe I don’t know what this means. My love is not measured by how much I am forgiven, nor does it determine how much I will forgive. There is no such correlation of those things in me.

    When my wife forgives me when I’m an idiot or whatever it may be… I cannot help but love her more…because I know I don’t deserve it/her! It melts my heart and motivates me to do and be better.

    What is your definition of forgiveness? I found this:

    Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. … Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses.

    My wife and I have apologized to each other for doing things that have hurt each other’s feelings, but we’ve never framed it as asking for, or giving, forgiveness. I just consider being resentful or angry or harboring a desire for vengeance unenjoyable and unproductive. I’ve arranged my psychology around the perspective that other people are not responsible for my feelings; only I am. If we hurt each other’s feelings, we just talk about how we can prevent that from happening in the future.

    That’s what God offers you. To dismiss something out of hand because you don’t like it or think it’s unreasonable means you think you know better than God.

    The way you word these things is just so bizarre to me. You word things as if I know the hypothetical God you talk about is true. I don’t think I “know better than God.” I don’t know any God exists at all other than “ground of being,” which I know because that is an inescapable logical necessity. How could I possibly think I “know better than God” when I have absolutely no idea any such God as you are describing even exists? I literally do not know. It’s possible. But a lot of things are possible.

    I think it’s interesting that you don’t reject the resurrection, which is pretty interesting. What else does Jesus have to do for him to verify his authority? He fulfilled tons of prophecies specifically and the world really does seem to align with his description of our current reality.

    I don’t see how any of that lends any weight to the claim that Jesus is God because I have zero knowledge of what would constitute evidence of Godhood beyond “ground of being,” and that is not something you can go out and collect evidence for other than “stuff exists.”

    In regards to corporal punishment… I’m sparing my kids from a final consequence (running out in the road) when I spank their bottoms. Could this current conversation (or the undoubtedly 100’s of them you’ve had) be the same thing?

    You don’t want to start comparing your hypothetical God with a human parent. That’s not going to end well for you. No good parent would allow a total stranger, much less their own child, to toss themselves into eternal torment.

    I know it seems like God is a megalomaniacal control freak (so some say anyways) but if he is truly the only God above any other creation of all time and he made us specifically to worship and glorify himself, we are literally rebelling against our calling and what is best for us.

    I don’t know how you rebel against that which you don’t even believe exists.

    … he made us specifically to worship and glorify himself,…

    There seems to be a pretty big flaw in the design, then.

  73. 73
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, oh yes it does.

    Only if you’re trying to justify as good that which is clearly evil. If you’re not trying to do that, it’s really simple. It’s evil. You’re doing the same thing others do when they try to justify what is clearly evil as not evil: mental gymnastics that serve to blind you from an obvious, self-evident truth.

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    LCD to Viola Lee

    So you chose to (cunningly) “believe” the part that allow you to judge God and in the same time you just “don’t believe” the part that prove God loves you . To judge correctly is to analyze full Christian description of God (not cherry picking only those information about hell that helps your hateful side to hate) . I guess everybody knows why you let aside the information than doesn’t help you to hate.

    Exactly right. The God haters are very selective about which facts should be allowed to form their opinions. For them, it is not a matter of following the evidence where it leads. It is all about searching for evidence that will harmonize with their uninformed prejudices.

  75. 75
    zweston says:

    WJM,

    You believe Jesus resurrected? No? How about the prophecies that predicted that very thing as well as a suffering servant, the “SON OF MAN” from Daniel 7, and all the other types and shadows of Jesus in the Old Testament.

    So, what would it take for you recognize the authority of Jesus. What else would he have to do in order to demonstrate He is God?

    And again, I’d point back to the root of your rejection of Christianity…simply hell. No observable facts, archaeology, cosmology, or historical proof holds you up from belief…. you just don’t like the idea of someone being in charge and making you subject to them…or so it seems.

    In one breath you will say the resurrection happened, and in the next breath you call the God of the Bible hypothetical. And, you have said that basically there would be nothing stopping you from acknowledging God if everyone went to heaven… but it still wouldn’t compel you to change your lifestyle.

    I really don’t know what else to say. But I do genuinely appreciate the responses.

  76. 76
    StephenB says:

    The unreasonableness of the God haters is on full display here, and they don’t hate just any god. they hate the real God, the one who reveals himself in Scripture. It’s the same God who preannounced his own arrival a thousand years before the event through the Old Testament prophets; the same God who took on human flesh, performed countless miracles, and rose from the dead to prove his Divine personhood; the same God who suffered and died for them in order to save them from Hell. When someone claims to be God and proves it, any rational person would take that fact into account. and take him seriously. This person has informed us that Hell exists and that we can avoid it

    But if someone hates God, he will likely dismiss the warning, which of course, is what is happening here. Such a mindless response to a clear and present danger is not rational. Once Hell has been put on the table by a credible and responsible person, the only rational response is to heed that warning and take the necessary precautions. It is much more reasonable to fear Hell than to deny its existence. It is also much more reasonable to respond to the real God rather than make up one that you can control.

    But *why* do these blasphemers hate the real God? Because He created them. That’s right. They hate God for daring to fashion them in his image by endowing them with the God-like qualities of intelligence and free will. Their argument goes like this: God knew that some of his creatures would misuse these gifts and earn Hell in the process. Thus, they stupidly blame the Creator for the malicious acts of His creatures. As lawless partisans, they also hate God because they labor under the misconception that they can be their own god and should be permitted to be their own judge. In school, they probably thought that they should be able to grade their own papers.

    This apparent lack of sincerity is remarkable. WJM, for example, carried on for months, if not years, about the doubtfulness of objective morality. Lately, though, he has reversed course and finally confessed that some objective morals really do exist and, in many cases, are self evident. Why the big change? Is he playing chess? Has he sacrificed his Queen (the most valuable chess piece), in order to improve his position on the chess board? Has he, to be more precise, sacrificed his subjective morality so that he can use objective morality as a tool with which he can attack the Christian God.

    Will he revert back to his moral skepticism when the attacks end? Who knows? For WJM, Monday’s personalized subjective morality can morph into Tuesdays Natural Moral Law. As Forrest Gump might say, WJM is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

  77. 77
    Viola Lee says:

    To Stephen: I don’t hate God. God (the Christian God to whom you refer) doesn’t exist, and I can’t imagine hating an imaginary being. Whatever feelings I have, which are also not hate, are directed at the people who believe in this God and believe in this self-righteous idea that they are going to be saved and everyone else, no matter how devoutly they believe in their God, are going to hell. I object, and it bothers me, to see that kind of arrogance, lack of humility, and lack of compassion for the broad diversity of humankind all looking to live with the mysteries of life.

  78. 78
    Querius says:

    Regarding the OP . . . on the other hand, some progressive thinkers, such as a former professor I once had, might make the point that tossing a baby in a dumpster is simply a misuse of potential transplants of its body parts for the benefit of valued members of society, and a “post-partum” abortion is the recognition that the baby is unwanted and would likely be abused.

    They would recognize that sacrificing this baby for the good of the earth and humanity reduces the environmental load of the earth’s biome. Also, a post-partum abortion might, in a progressive society, be mandatory if the baby, after genetic testing, was found to have any genetic defects. As a species, such actions would be absolutely necessary for the sake of genetic hygiene and the long-term evolutionary development of humanity. Right?

    Some comments . . .

    William J Murray @ 2,

    They know it is evil to force someone into a situation that you know with certainty they will endure brutal victimization. Yet, they call the hypothetical God who does this very thing “good” and “loving.”

    After numerous rebuttals to this repeated false assertion, one can see an example of a static mindset that’s become impervious to reason.

    Zweston @5,

    Do you have all knowledge? Have you always existed? Did you create the universe from nothing? Did you create DNA? Do you exist outside of time? Are you able to judge the hearts of men? … if not, it might be time to humble yourself, accept the facts of the matter and spend your time trying to invite others to escape the coming reality instead of protesting it. I can’t wrap my head around a lot of things theologically, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and the Bible is true.

    Beautifully stated! For anyone making judgments, they need to do so in humility, realizing they do not know all the facts and dynamics involved. This holds true for presumed “facts” in science as well as moral judgments, rationalizations, and stupid criticisms leveled against God.

    StephanB @6,

    You are on record as doubting that there is any such thing as “evil,” “wrong,” or “unjust,” and yet you also claim that the Christian God is evil, wrong, and unjust.

    Bingo!

    StephenB @29,

    A good example would be the act of judging itself. Human’s may not judge the ultimate fate of other humans (or decide on which fate is deserved) because they simply don’t know all the facts and nuances of each human life. Many there are, for example, that have a hard time loving God as a Father because their fathers did not love them. God can take such things into account, humans cannot.

    Very quotable!

    Seversky @9,

    In my view, the overwhelming majority of parents would regard that as an horrific and criminal act and, in essence, that is the basis of all moralities – communities deciding what are individual rights and freedoms that should be protected for the benefit of all.

    But communities have historically been misogynistic, racist, antisemitic, pedophilic, cannibalistic, etc. and remain so until a natural disaster, disease, revolution, or stronger community resorts to force to destroy or suppress those community-based morals. Thus, someone with this view living in a slave-holding society would consider slavery a “moral good” since “everyone is doing it” and is “economically beneficial.”

    Hoosfoos @11,

    The powerful can psychologically manipulate majority opinion.

    Exactly. This is what we’re seeing nowadays in social media, where certain viewpoints are actively promoted or censored for the purpose of creating a new moral consensus out of a minority ideology through force.

    BobRyan@13,

    If everything is subjective, then nothing is good or evil.

    Or as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

    Similarly, Kirillov (a character in Dostoevsy’s book, The Possessed) said: “If God exists, then everything is His will, and I cannot do anything with my own outside of His will. If there is no God, then everything is my will and I must express my will. ” Charming isn’t it?

    Lieutenant Commander Data @14,

    But “evil god” is the same like “square circle” , a contradiction because an evil god would give us an “evil moral law” and people will judge according to this “evil moral law” therefore their conclusions about god will be wrong .

    Heh. Good one!

    C.S. Lewis noted that good and evil were asymmetric in that evil leaders don’t want evil subordinates, but rather subordinates who are efficient, trustworthy, hardworking, honest, and dependable. He contended that evil was a perversion of good.

    Badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. Evil is a parasite, not an original thing. – C.S. Lewis

    Chuckdarwin @49,

    I have to say that WJM’s comments at 38 and 39 are the finest examples of clarity I’ve seen in a long time critiquing Christian soteriology.

    Yes, they are . . . and even so, they demonstrate an embarrassing lack of knowledge of the Bible. Their same objections about hell seem to emerge continually in many topics on this forum.

    In previous posts, I addressed the topic from a physics viewpoint of mathematics and space-time, and only Ram was brave enough to answer my series of questions. The others chickened out.

    In contrast, I don’t see them cursing Nature for its fangs and claws that result in ETERNAL DEATH for its victims. They don’t complain about the AMORAL behavior constantly displayed by animals in nature, whose lives are also typically “nasty, brutish, and short” to quote Hobbes. As a result, shouldn’t we conclude that even Nature alone is completely unfair and evil?

    -Q

  79. 79
    zweston says:

    Chuckyd,

    What happened to Jesus’ body?

  80. 80
    zweston says:

    ViolaLee @ 77…. Christianity doesn’t lead us to think we are some elite morally superior people… if anything it should humble us to the core. Ever been given a gift that was not asked for and more generous than you yourself would have given? It’s an extremely humbling thing. I’m just a beggar that found food trying to show others where the food is. Biblical Christianity isn’t about pride, it’s about humbling yourself and serving others… even to death… Philippians 2 demonstrates the character of Christ… even in the very form God didn’t consider himself superior and humbled himself, being obedient unto death, even death on a cross…….. Most know John 3:16, but they may not have John 3:17 memorized… Jesus came to rescue those who were already condemned. He came not to condemn but to save the world. It isn’t about a mental belief in following something…. I can believe a rock will help me break my fall out of a plane if I hold it…. Sin must be atoned for… either by us or by Jesus.

    That’s why the Apostle Paul and numerous others have died trying to take the gospel to the world; it’s life and death.

  81. 81
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi Zweston. I didn’t say I thought Christians thought they were “some elite morally superior people.” I know that central to Christian ideology is that Christians know themselves to be sinners. I think if you read 77 again you’ll see I was saying something quite different.

  82. 82
    zweston says:

    You implied that Christians are arrogant, self-righteous (or at least Jesus is since he came up with the “idea”), lack compassion, and lack humility. What am I missing?

    Can you not see that when people are telling you that you need Jesus they are trying to be compassionate and begging you to reconsider? If someone believes you are on the tracks and the train is coming through, would the loving thing to be to sugar coat it and reason with you until it made sense to you?

    Listen, some Christians (myself included at times) come off in ways that are not Christ-like….but that doesn’t negate who Christ is and what he taught and how he lived. Do not give yourself that “out” from engaging with the facts.

    Your beef isn’t with Christians really, it’s with Jesus. It’s what he said, it’s what the disciples wrote down and so therefore, it’s what we hold to. Jesus spent more time warning people about hell than talking about heaven. So, do you think we should be different?

    Was Jesus arrogant when he said he is the way to the father and no one can come to the father except by him? Do you think he was lacking humility when he surrendered his life to be killed by those who he created?

    It seems to me the dissenters on this board aren’t really interested in truth at all. All that matters is if it is true. WJM just rejects Christianity independently of truth (even though he would seem to concede the resurrection is true). You find historical and orthodox Christian beliefs arrogant and narrow minded…but all that matters is that if what Jesus said was true or not.

    You must be born again. You must be given new eyes to see. You need to humble yourself and re-evaluate the words of Christ and see if what he says is true. the Bible is unlike any other book in all of history. The words of Christ ring true and are founded by historical evidence, including a chain of possession that we can track historically.

    For the dissenters on the board, you have been given so much light, evidence, reasoning, and discussion. Yet, your hearts remain hardened. Please reconsider! Grace and Peace to you!

  83. 83
    Viola Lee says:

    zweston writes, “all that matters is that if what Jesus said was true or not.”

    And I don’t believe what he, or the Bible, says about salvation and heaven and hell, is true.

    But, again, I don’t think you are accurately describing what I am saying, although I appreciate that you are trying. What I said was that the people who believe in this self-righteous idea that they are going to be saved and everyone else, no matter how devoutly they believe in their God, are going to hell. I object, and it bothers me, to see that kind of arrogance, lack of humility, and lack of compassion for the broad diversity of humankind all looking to live with the mysteries of life. The “arrogance, lack of humility, and lack of compassion” refers to the Christians’ belief that they, and only they, have true religious beliefs, discounting the billions of people in the world who have different religious beliefs, seeing them as condemned to hell. That is an inhumane belief, and I don’t see how anyone can support such a religion in this respect.

    I want to make it clear that the subject in this thread is the “condemned to hell” issue. I know Jesus is an inspirational model for how to live with humility and compassion, but so is Gandhi, and Buddha, and countless people from all religions. But if Christianity is truly one of humility and compassion, it would give up this “you got to believe or you’re going to hell” business, and make room in its world for people of different religious beliefs who live the kind of life you think Jesus inspires you to live, even if their inspiration comes from a different ideology.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    Viola Lee:

    I don’t hate God. God (the Christian God to whom you refer) doesn’t exist, and I can’t imagine hating an imaginary being.

    Cuz you say so? Pathetic.

  85. 85
    zweston says:

    VL @ 83…

    Jesus claimed to be God. The Messiah. He can’t be “just a good teacher” as many will assert. If someone comes around and says to eat his flesh and drink his blood and that he is God, he is either a liar, lunatic, or Lord (C.S. Lewis tri-lemma)

    The belief that Jesus is the only way is what Jesus said himself. It isn’t something Christians made up. there is no evidence of that. Paul talked with disciples to verify the Gospel (in the book of Galatians if you want to look).

    Why would Paul suffer all those beatings, etc. to take the gospel everywhere? Maybe because it was life and death. Maybe it was humanity’s only hope?

    Again, your beef is with Jesus, not Christians.

    So, why do you factually reject Christianity? Where is Jesus’ body?

  86. 86
    Viola Lee says:

    zweston, I’m staying on the main issue. Are you OK with your belief that if someone doesn’t believe what Jesus said about his role in salvation, they are going to have an eternity of torment in hell, irrespective of how good a life they lead? In fact, since I don’t believe any of that, you think I will spend an eternity in hell.

    And you think that is reasonable, and you can believe in, and worship, a God who set it up that way?

    True?

  87. 87
    zweston says:

    Viola, it doesn’t matter what I think or feel about it… it’s either true or its not. And my questions were relevant. I believe Jesus has authority to tell me what is true and is trustworthy. Anyone who calls resurrecting and does it, I’m going to trust him. You aren’t interested it what is true.. only what feels right to you.

    People don’t go to hell for not believing in Jesus… they go to hell because they are sinners like you and I. God is more Holy (set apart or “other”) than any of us can know. He is more righteous than anyone of us can know. They go to hell because without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins… you can pay for your sins or Jesus can. It’s up to you. We leave the womb being rebellious and never stop to the grave. Many of us never acknowledge the one who created us, gave us life…

    I think it is completely reasonable to believe that if Jesus said something, then he is telling the truth. I think for a God to die for his creation is worthy of my worship… or when he created everything from nothing by just speaking it into existence.

    You worship too… just not Jesus. Maybe it’s your intellect, relationships, a hobby, career, health, who knows… we all have those proclivities.

    Ever looked at the sky and realized that we can’t even begin to describe the vastness of space? Or looked at molecular cell functions and complexity that happens every second in the billions of times in our bodies and been in awe?

    Yeah, Jesus did that. He is worthy of our worship. And his sacrificial love is beyond anything earth can produce.

    Now, I can admit that eternal conscious torment doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies, but I can also admit that I don’t have one iota of an idea it is to be God and be all knowing, sovereign over all creation, etc. And, as a result, I appeal to the person of Jesus to see God’s heart and character. As a result, I can trust that God will deal rightly with mankind.

    BTW… if you are a materialist (I’m not sure where you stand)… then who cares what anyone does. It doesn’t matter…and your moral critiques of God are just your personal preferences and thoughts and carry no authoritative weight.

    Adam and Eve wanted to be like God after being told they would surely die, but they exchanged the truth for a lie. Satan is still blinding people and getting us to believe lies.


    Now, please explain to me what happened to Jesus’ body.

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    Of course there is no crime that warrants eternal, hopeless torment. We all know this. It’s not even a difficult calculation. It’s preposterous on the face of it.

    You continue to miss the point. The suffering in Hell *must* be eternal because the decision to reject God is a desire to be separated from him for as long as He lives, which is forever. In your case, for example, you have made it clear that you will never want any part of the Christian God, no matter what.

    You scoff and sneer when I insist that many in Hell would be even more unhappy than they are now if they found themselves in heaven with the same God they had always despised. But you are misguided. Many atheists, such as Nietzsche, went on record before they died saying that conscious freedom in Hell is to be preferred over non-existence or annihilation, which would constitute a total lack of suffering. The implication is that many of them would prefer to go on suffering forever rather than lose the opportunity to blaspheme God in their timeless state.

    I have even known atheists who, while they were alive, laughed at the prospect of eternal suffering and told God, in effect, to “bring it on.” Whatever their motives were, I cannot say, but this much is clear: Anyone who doesn’t fear Hell is a damned fool.

  89. 89
    ram says:

    SB: You continue to miss the point. The suffering in Hell *must* be eternal because the decision to reject God is a desire to be separated from him for as long as He lives, which is forever.

    Seems like you continue to miss the point: God could simply annihilate “lost” persons instead of monstrously torturing them forever. Or at least toss them onto Mars to roam a dusty and boring planet. Or perhaps some other humane situation. Torture is not a requirement.

    BTW, Muslims believe in the same sort of monstrous eternal torture that your brand of Christianity does. Some other minor religions have such a concept.

    Moreover, your view assumes the human spirits are not rehabilitate-able. It also assumes the bad choices humans make are based on something other than their temporary human nature, and ignorance. There is zero empirical evidence for this.

    Jews generally don’t believe in such a monstrous eternal torture, and never have. It’s nowhere to be found in the Hebrew scriptures. Although some Rabbis believed that there is a permanent kind of destruction for the very worst of sinners such as a Hitler.

    Hindus, Buddhists and many “esoteric” religions reject eternal torture and believe in karma and reincarnation with eventual bliss for every person.

    –Ram

  90. 90
    zweston says:

    Ram, What did Jesus say? If he resurrected as everything points to, why should we not believe him?

    Could it be you (and I) have a gap in understanding and knowledge?

    Just because Islam decided to adopt Christian views of afterlife doesn’t debunk the original… this is a silly appeal.

    This isn’t about what I think or how I value things… it’s about what Jesus himself says. Take up your objections with Jesus himself. He spent more time warning others about hell than talking about heaven… why? It must have been important.

    Just because you prefer a different afterlife idea, it doesn’t mean they are true. Right?

    You appeal to this standard of Good, but what is your standard? Is it just the court of your opinion? This holds no authority if so.

  91. 91
    ram says:

    zweston,

    You assume the New Testament is reliable. I don’t.

    Just because you prefer a different afterlife idea, it doesn’t mean they are true. Right?

    Same to you.

    Now, answer this: if the eternal torture concept is true, why did the Hebrew scriptures fail to mention such an important idea? I’ll give you a hint: because it’s bogus, and pagan from a Hebrew viewpoint.

    The “lake of fire” concept has it’s origins in the Egyptian middle kingdom religion, per the Coffin Texts and Book of the Dead. Made its way into Greek and Persian afterlife concepts, and filtered down into works such as 1 Enoch, which was highly influential on the New Testament. The Hebrew scriptures has none of it.

    –Ram

  92. 92
    zweston says:

    Ram, I don’t assume the Bible is reliable. It verifies itself through fulfilled prophecies… a lot of them, archaeology, history, textual criticism, etc. And Jesus himself validated it (OT) through quoting it over and over again and raising from the dead on the third day (the sign of Jonah). the Bible is unlike any other book in history and we have more reason to trust it than any other ancient document.

    I’d like to hear your theory as to why his disciples would have died gruesome deaths for no earthly benefit while they would have KNOWN they were living a lie?

    Re: Jewish hell…. Daniel 12:2 would be an answer. If you want to claim “that can mean other things” then we still both know an argument from silence isn’t a strong argument to make. The Jews reject Jesus for the idea that God could come in the flesh…and it’s clear they were wrong. The Old Testament affirms eternal life and eternal judgment. Now, it isn’t fully developed, but neither is heaven in the OT. What doesn’t follow from this argument is the Bible isn’t reliable or that hell doesn’t exist.

    Not totally related, but there is even good evidence from Near-Death Experiences that hell exists…up to 20% of NDE’s are negative experiences…and those are likely largely underreported as it would be embarrassing to report that.

    Something of note (although in this particular case may not be valid, I honestly don’t know about timelines) why is it that when something has a similarity to Christianity, it is automatically assumed that Christianity stole it from them? Anti-Christian bias.

    Historical Fact that Jesus died under orders of Pontius Pilate. Logical conclusion with all the other evidence: Jesus rose from the dead. There is no counter explanation that can explain the events that occurred afterwards. Even critical scholars say the disciples must have seen something they thought was the risen Jesus.

  93. 93
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Ram
    Hindus, Buddhists and many “esoteric” religions reject eternal torture and believe in karma and reincarnation with eventual bliss for every person.

    Now we understand why you hate God and who is your god . 💡
    😆
    Mr. Adolf Hitler sent you friend request . Please confirm.
    Mr. Joseph Stalin sent you friend request. Please confirm.
    Mr. Mao Zedong sent you friend request. Please confirm.
    Mr. Pol Pot sent you friend request . Please confirm.
    Mr. Heinrich Himmler sent you friend request . Please confirm.
    Mr.Saddam Hussein sent you friend request . Please confirm.
    ……
    …..
    …..
    Mr. Al Capone sent you friend request . Please confirm.
    Mr. Ted Bundy sent you friend request . Please confirm.

    Ram- the most loving (and moral 😈 )person in the universe. The advocat , supporter and protector of all criminals from history. 😆

  94. 94
    StephenB says:

    Ram

    God could simply annihilate “lost” persons instead of monstrously torturing them forever.

    The question about why it must be forever has already been answered. As I wrote above, punishment must be eternal because the decision to reject God is a desire to be separated from him for as long as He lives, which is forever.

    The “torture” is primarily in the total separation of the soul from God, something that doesn’t happen in this life, even to the God haters. Getting stuck on Mars or some other “dusty planet” doesn’t remove the torture factor because the soul’s radical separation from God would still be there. So some form of torture is required because torture is inherent in the separation.

    Indeed, eternal boredom would be another kind of torture, albeit not physical. On the other hand, not all tortures in Hell are of equal intensity since not all crimes are equally offensive. Treason is worse than violence, which in turn, is worse that libertinism.

  95. 95
    StephenB says:

    Ram

    Moreover, your view assumes the human spirits are not rehabilitate-able.

    Human spirits can be rehabilitated in this life. That is what repentance is all about. Human spirits cannot be rehabilitated in the next life because the opportunity for repentance has passed. It is what we did in this life that will be judged.

    It also assumes the bad choices humans make are based on something other than their temporary human nature, and ignorance. There is zero empirical evidence for this.

    .

    No, it doesn’t assume that. Humans also make bad choices out of malice and radical selfishness, which is one important reason why they go to Hell.

    Hindus, Buddhists and many “esoteric” religions reject eternal torture and believe in karma and reincarnation with eventual bliss for every person.

    Well of course they do. Why do you think they were invented? Jesus Christ, on the other hand, earned the right to speak for God because He was God. What he said and did while He was here on this earth proved his point. No other religious leader ever did anything that even comes close to establishing himself as an equivalent moral authority.

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, 86:

    Are you OK with your belief that if someone doesn’t believe what Jesus said about his role in salvation, they are going to have an eternity of torment in hell, irrespective of how good a life they lead?

    There are different kinds and degrees of ignorance, some primary and innocent [lack of access to relevant experiences etc], some culpable due to refusal to acknowledge truth one should know, i.e. fleeing light for dark corners.

    The latter case points to the contradiction in your premises, which fatally undermines your argument.

    Let’s roll the tape from above, citing and extending a key foundational work of Christian teaching, Ep. Rom:

    Rom 2: 6 He [God] will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality . . . .

    14 For when Gentiles [= ethnoi, here, members of peoples in general], who do not have the [–> Mosaic, written] 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 [–> conscience and the branch on which we sit first duties/first law of our nature], while their conscience also bears witness [–> sound conscience is a aw], and their conflicting thoughts [–> challenge to clarify truth] accuse or even excuse [–> reason, esp. right reason towards moral truth, this stuff is truly pervasive] them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus . . . .

    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 to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Where, in ch 1 we see, tellingly, given your dismissiveness towards God, above:

    Rom 1: 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them [people], because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature [–> God is manifest in power to create an intricately contrived world, especially one with morally governed creatures in it, where IS-OUGHT can only be fused through an inherently good, utterly wise necessary being at root of reality] , have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made [–> world around, inner morally governed rational life within; abuse of the gift of reason to suppress compelling truth about the root of reality is therefore grossly warped and wrongful].

    So they are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him [–> suppression of what one knows or should acknowledge about ultimate, root reality], but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling [–> images, they have made to look like] mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. [–> then, in temples, nowadays, too often, in museums, magazines, textbooks, science documentaries etc]

    24 Therefore God gave them up [–> the key judgement: be it unto you as thou wilt . . . but a voyage of folly like this predictably shipwrecks, in this life and beyond] in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because [–> notice, the warping that leads to ruin] they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! . . . .

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God [–> discarding, marginalising and disregarding God], God gave them up [–> as thou wilt, again] to a debased mind [–> notice, disintegration of right reason guided by sound conscience, directed to truth and to right conduct] to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. [–> notice, the avalanche of spreading evils driven by breakdown of reasonable restraint] 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die [–> death as separation, here, separation from the source of all good, God, i.e. they are on the road to hell], they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. [–> moral inversion, where manifest evils are viewed as good and good as evil, enabling the devastating spread of evil in a community or civilisation]

    So, no, your premise falls apart, even the judgement of what is “good” becomes doubtful.

    And, ignorance due to lack of access to the evidence regarding Jesus of Nazareth may be innocent, but willful suppression of accessible evidence on him through selectively hyperskeptical dismissal — double standards on warrant — and/or refusal to attend to duty to accessible truth is another matter entirely.

    One, that — sadly . . . is not at all so innocent.

    (Kindly, see here on for a 101.)

    Please, reconsider.

    KF

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, on hell. As Ep Rom documents and experience confirms, hell begins here with turning our backs on and refusing to acknowledge God thus debasing our minds, hearts and lives, descending into chaos through reprobate lives and communities. This is why I keep pointing out that the doors of hell are locked, bolted and barred from the inside. And as a primary metaphor, the dump of ge hinnon shows, the chaos is self-inflicted, the torments are of our own manufacture: professing ourselves wise we resort to ruinous, go over the cliff folly. What combustion burning what fuel in what oxidiser could burn a spiritual entity? Not even a fluorine fire that can burn a brick. No, we are seeing a metaphor for burning passions, resentments, rages, frustrations, hates, perverse thinking etc going on and on and on into worse and worse states of degradation tied to persistently, willfully turning one’s back on the good. Do what thou wilt (in perverse self-will) is, ironically, the very fire of hell itself.

  98. 98
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    You believe Jesus resurrected?

    Sure.

    How about the prophecies that predicted that very thing as well as a suffering servant, the “SON OF MAN” from Daniel 7, and all the other types and shadows of Jesus in the Old Testament.

    You bet.

    So, what would it take for you recognize the authority of Jesus. What else would he have to do in order to demonstrate He is God?

    Perhaps you didn’t understand me earlier. Since I don’t know what “evidence of someone being God” would look like, I have no way to answer that question. I don’t know why you think the resurrection is evidence of Jesus being God. Perhaps you could explain that to me?

    And again, I’d point back to the root of your rejection of Christianity…simply hell. No observable facts, archaeology, cosmology, or historical proof holds you up from belief…. you just don’t like the idea of someone being in charge and making you subject to them…or so it seems.

    No. It’s not that I “just don’t like the idea of someone being in charge and making me subject to them.” I never said that. I said exactly and specifically the reason I left Christianity. I’ve stated exactly and specifically two deal-breakers so far.

    In one breath you will say the resurrection happened, and in the next breath you call the God of the Bible hypothetical.

    It’s interesting that you keep returning to this, as if you find this two positions irreconcilable. Why is the resurrection of Christ evidence that he is God?

    And, you have said that basically there would be nothing stopping you from acknowledging God if everyone went to heaven… but it still wouldn’t compel you to change your lifestyle.

    I don’t think I actually said anything like that. I basically said that if I knew that ontology was correct, I would make every effort to change my lifestyle, but unfortunately there are things about me that I cannot change that might prevent me from getting into that heaven for a very long time – like loving God.

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Instead, let us refocus, drawing on the first duties of reason that is key to the point BA raised in the OP:

    Barry:

    Is it objectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster or is it just your subjective preference not to do so?

    Seversky:

    the overwhelming majority regard dumping newborns in dumpsters as being evil

    Barry:

    Suppose the overwhelming majority regarded dumping newborns in dumpsters as good. Would it then be good?

    Seversky:

    Presumably, it would be good in the minds of the majority who approved of it. It would not be a good thing from my perspective.

    There you have it. Sev’s position is this: They would prefer tossing babies in dumpsters and I would not. There is no basis on which to determine which preference is superior. Therefore, the preferences are objectively equal.

    As I have said before, no sane person actually lives their life as if materialism is true.

    Here, we see studied evasion reflecting the core relativist thesis, being shown to be absurd on its face. Do we see, then, retraction? No, we see a distractor and sidetracking, enabling the absurdity.

    So, instead, let us refocus the pervasive, branch on which we must all sit Ciceronian first duties of reason, first, built in law partly constitutive of our rational, responsible freedom:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    Yes, a testimony to the wellsprings from which we have come, and the source of the very capacities some have used to object; in the end, to being made as we are: responsibly, rationally free. Notice, how the objections consistently, inevitably appeal to said duties, to gain plausibility? A big clue as to what is going on at root.

    So, now, will we be willing to acknowledge that this first law of our nature is real, is there, calls out for us to respond to its only credible source?

    Predictably, for many, not.

    In which case we need to consider why i/l/o the telling observations in Ep. Rom.

    KF

  100. 100
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    You scoff and sneer …

    … they don’t hate just any god. they hate the real God, …

    It’s dawning on me what is going on here with SB, Zweston, LCD, Querius, Jerry and KF. You’ll have to pardon me while I engage in some armchair psychology here.

    From what they say and the way they say it, It seems to me that what is going on here is a form of projection. They speak as if we know that what they are saying is true. Such as, “we hate God” as if the only available God is the Christian version, or as if it is our versions of God. They feel completely comfortable mind-reading us, telling us what our motivations are, how we feel about things, when we’re being deceitful or “purposefully” doing nefarious thing here and why we are doing the things we are doing.

    They seem to be projecting themselves onto us, and then basically computing what they would be feeling, what their motivations would be, why they would say the say the things we say. They would have to “hate God” to say the things we say. They would have to be rejecting God – the “real” God – to say the things we say. SB would be “scoffing and sneering” or insincere or lying or deceiving if he said the things I say. For Jerry to say the things I say, he’d have to be lying and just trying to get attention. Etc.

    Here’s the reason: their worldview demands that we are like them. Their worldview demands that we know what they know and think like they think and act for the same reasons they would be acting the way we do. They are so deeply enmeshed in their beliefs that they cannot see outside of that perspective. Other people must know they are “rejecting THE God” or else even they cannot justify their fate. SB must believe that people in hell prefer to be there, as ghastly as that perspective is.

    It seems they really cannot comprehend that there are entirely different things going on in the mind of other people. They cannot comprehend that we don’t “hate God.” I can’t say there’s anything I “hate.” From my perspective, all I’m doing is talking about a hypothesis or a theory, nothing more. I’m not saying that eternal torment is evil because “I hate God” or “I reject Christianity;” I’m just saying that I as clearly see that particular concept to be evil as I see the example in the OP to be evil.

    I have noticed that these people have a profound inability to see things from any other perspective. It occurs all the time in their responses. It’s especially noticeable when we correct them about something having to do with our own views, and then a short time later they say the incorrect thing again. They will even “correct” us about our own thoughts and motivations. They will not accept that they have made an incorrect inference from something we said.

    And here’ the essence of the problem and why it is near intractable: they must believe these thing about us or there may be eternal hell to pay. They must ignore even the most blatantly obvious issues facing them, and find some way to justify them, because they have a very powerful and fearful being looking over their shoulder at all times.

    But, as I said, that’s just my armchair psychological perspective.

  101. 101
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    I have even known atheists who, while they were alive, laughed at the prospect of eternal suffering and told God, in effect, to “bring it on.”

    People say a lot of things until the stuff hits the fan. 99 times out of 100, they start singing a different tune then. A lot of people are full of bravado, and then you stick their feet in the fire, and they’re screaming and crying and begging for relief, and they will do or say anything to get away from the pain.

  102. 102
    Origenes says:

    Is it objectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster or is it just your subjective preference not to do so?

    False dichotomy. What is meant by ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’? As I understand it ‘subjective’ is used as a reference to a whimsical impulse. What is meant by ‘objective’ is less clear. Does it mean “really”, as in “is it really evil to put a baby in a garbage bag”? Or does ‘objective’ mean that it comes from a realm independent from us mere subjects/sinners; that is, it is a command from God?
    I don’t share the view that the subject is fundamentally whimsical. So, to answer the question, I hold that that it is subjectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster.
    We subjectively ‘prefer’ not being killed & tortured, and this cannot be said to be a whimsical preference. And given a certain level of social awareness, we apply the golden rule.

  103. 103
    zweston says:

    WJM…. So, a man comes and can read minds, tells the future (destruction of the temple, Peter’s rejection of him) heals the sick, casts out demons, fulfills I believe over a hundred prophecies (many super specific) that speak of the role of this coming figure that they would atone for the sins of the world and set up an eternal kingdom, put an end to unrighteousness, redeem the world…. and they claim that they and the father are one. They claim to be able to forgive sins as everyone knew that God alone could do. They claim to be the only way to the father in heaven. Then, they die as they tell everyone they would…and they resurrect 3 days later like they said they would.

    And somehow you can’t make ends meet in your mind? Jesus=God?

    That means you ultimately believe Jesus to be a liar by your denial, which is not real tenable considering all of the above validations of who he is, but that’s up to you I guess.

    It isn’t that I can’t see & understand your perspective. You reject Christ because of Hell. You make up your own theory to make life “work” for you. You hold pain and regret from losing your wife (or was that JVL?).

    The only thing I’m projecting onto you is what the Bible says about those who don’t believe. I can’t read your mind, but God can. There is nothing new under the sun. You will be without excuse by denying that Jesus is God. It’s been made clear to you. It just doesn’t fit your contrived epistemological demands (that you cannot even qualify). This I will guess: you have set up a number of ways that you can write off God out of hand so you don’t live in constant guilt and conviction: Hell doesn’t make sense, there is no way of knowing who God would be if he showed up in the flesh, You don’t care if you are wrong because to be wrong would be to be separated from your spouse, etc.

    I also will revisit the reality that even if Christianity were true, you wouldn’t be a Christian in the Biblical sense…just someone who would ask for fire insurance begrudgingly.

    1 John 5: 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

  104. 104
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    Anyone who calls resurrecting and does it, I’m going to trust him.

    This is the key quote.

    Let’s separate the Bible into two categories; (1)written, witnessed accounts, and (2) claims by a being about who and what he is, what he did, and what happened long ago that there are no witness accounts of (like creating the universe) other than his own.

    Let’s assume all written witness testimonies describe real events.

    What we have is a being claiming (1) that he is God, and (2) making claims about what he has done and what happened in the distant past without any corroborating, witnessed accounts and, most salient to the point here, (3) telling us what evidence proves he is God.

    Does being able to perform what appear to be supernatural feats prove a being is “God?” How so? Who says being able to do such things is even remotely related to establishing one’s Godhood? The being claiming to be God? That’s entirely circular reasoning.

    So you have a being saying “God can do X, Y, and Z. I can do X, Y, and Z. Therefore, you can know I am, in fact, God.”

    Outside of anything this being says, or has “inspired” people to say about him and his qualities, what he can do, what his qualifications are, and what “proves” him as what he claims to be, how are we to recognize a being as “God?”

    The comment made by Zweston provides the key: “Anyone who calls resurrecting and does it, I’m going to trust him.”

    The question is: why? How does “calling his own resurrection and the doing it” make that person worthy of your trust, especially trusting his claim that he is God? Because they are powerful and can do seemingly supernatural things, like turning water into wine and predicting the future? How would I know those are even things that would be evidence of God? Because the being claiming to be God says so?

    KF or SB might argue that this is some form of hyperskepticism, but it is not. I’m just applying basic logic. Outside of what this being claims, how do you form a sound premise about what God is and what **only** the REAL God can do?

  105. 105
    William J Murray says:

    Note how what you said, Zweston, at 103, validates my perspective on what is going on here:

    That means you ultimately believe Jesus to be a liar by your denial, which is not real tenable considering all of the above validations of who he is, but that’s up to you I guess.

    Nope. I don’t “ultimately believe Jesus to be a liar” because I don’t know what he believed, or what he actually meant when he said what he said. If I could do the things Jesus did, I might believe I’m God. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that, but I might be in error. Also, Jesus might have meant many different things when he said what he said. I don’t assume I know exactly what he meant by the things he said.

    The only thing I’m projecting onto you is what the Bible says about those who don’t believe.

    Thank you for being breathtakingly honest in admitting this. I respect the heck out of you for doing so. Which leads us to:

    This I will guess: you have set up a number of ways that you can write off God out of hand so you don’t live in constant guilt and conviction:

    I don’t “write off God” because the version of God you espouse is just a hypothetical construct to me. I certainly haven’t “written off” God as ground-of-being. I’ve “written off” many other versions of God.

    The interesting aspect of this question is: did I write off all of those hypothetical versions of God in order to feel good about myself and my life? No. I wrote them off, originally, because none of them made sense to me. They all appeared to be totally arbitrary, do arbitrary things, set up arbitrary rules, etc. I accepted that I couldn’t make sense out of any of that and actually became agnostic for a while. I started examining my own subconscious and deconstructing what I have come to call my subconscious programming to see if I could come to some kind of clarity not organized by deep social programming. That’s when I realized that the only reason I was “seeking truth” about such things was because, for some reason, I deeply, subconsciously believed that “finding the truth” would somehow make my life more enjoyable. I believed it was the key to happiness, so to speak.

    That’s when I realized that “finding the truth” was just a middle-man goal; what I really wanted was to be happy, to enjoy my life. I ditched “finding the truth” in the prior sense, and sought only truthful statements, in my own experience, about “enjoying my life.” I then proceeded to build a philosophy and metaphysics of personal enjoyment.

    Honestly, I wish I could adequately share with you all that I have experienced since I made that decision. The only word to describe it is miraculous. I could never have imagined feeling this kind of joy, love, lightness, delight, the sense of being whole and complete, enthusiastic an hopeful. It has utterly transformed me and my life; it did the same for my wife. OMG the life we lived, and are still living now (though in a different way since she died,) was and is wonderful beyond my ability to adequately describe. I have experienced amazing things I had no idea were even things. It all very often brings tears of joy and happiness and a profound sensation of love that, at times, I think is going to kill me.

    I don’t know how you “must” envision me and my life, or what’s going on in my mind and heart because of what the Bible tells you. IMO, anyone who experiences 1/10th of what I experience could never be pried away from it no matter the threat, the evidence, or the logic. It’s far too wonderful, too fulfilling, too good, with too much love and joy to ever give up. It’s like I’m living in the most astounding heaven while still living on Earth.

    Do you really think anyone, for any reason, is going to be able to talk me out of this? This is why I’ve explicitly told people here that my personal beliefs are immune to being changed by logic or evidence, and why it is that I’m fully capable of admitting it when someone offers a better logical and/or evidential argument.

  106. 106
    zweston says:

    A critique of God is that you weren’t there to see him create you, a finite being? Good grief. You recognize God exists because of creation.

    Are you aware of anyone else who did the things Jesus did (or is doing now)…visions and dreams to multitudes of muslims of a man in a white robe? So prevalent that newspapers have ads out so muslims can reach out to learn about the dreams?

    So, you are telling me if you see a man raise someone from the dead, heal lepers and cripples, cast out demons by his voice, read your mind, reference prophecy from a thousand years ago where it describes the exact method of his death before it was even invented, then it happen to him without him being able to do all the details himself, calling his own resurrection three days later…and he does it…and you still can’t “take the leap” that Jesus is God.

    Does no one else see how ridiculous this is?

    You aren’t applying “basic logic.” You are putting up walls for yourself that are ridiculous. By your claims no one could be found guilty of any crime unless the entire jury was there to see it done, because otherwise they couldn’t be sure. Your “logic” defies any sort of reason or common sense. Which, I should have known. You won’t believe Christianity to be true because you don’t want it to be true. I get it. Then you come up with some ad-hoc reality theory and dismiss any parameters validating the existence of the God of the Bible so you can insulate yourself from the truth.

    You have full confidence in your ridiculous theory of reality that can’t even be proven by any method… you aren’t dealing in objectivity…you slant your epistemology to favor your own thinking.

    You are literally unreasonable. I have said it before and the fact remains.

    God wanted us to know who he is…so he sent his son to affirm it. You yourself don’t even know what else he would have to do to prove it. You are like those that followed Jesus around after doing a bunch of signs… “can you do for us a sign to show us who you are”…. after feeding 5000 men with a few fishes and loaves. “No sign will be given to this wicked generation but the sign of Jonah”-raising after three days.

    Not totally related, but…
    This will likely not be helpful to you, but maybe someone else reading this chain of insanity might find value in it.
    4 minutes: John MacArthur on what about those who haven’t heard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJC-mgcr1j8

  107. 107
    zweston says:

    I ditched “finding the truth” in the prior sense, and sought only truthful statements, in my own experience, about “enjoying my life.” I then proceeded to build a philosophy and metaphysics of personal enjoyment.

    You have made yourself to be God. Congrats. And no, I don’t think I’m going to convince you otherwise. You want to believe what you want to believe. When someone believes something they don’t necessarily want to be true or cannot harmonize, I’d say that’s good evidence they are being reasonable… you on the other hand won’t believe any metaphysical truths because you don’t want to.

    Your epistemology is based on whether you like something or not. This is a science blog (which gets turned into a theology blog often)… you can’t do science with your epistemology. Then you come on here to convert people to your thinking, or just de-convert others from a belief system you don’t like.

    All that matters is if it is true or not. You reject truth. Truth is what you experience… If I said I’m an elephant, would I be wrong? I guess maybe you aren’t a relativist because you do conclusively land on the God of the Bible being “wrong.”

  108. 108
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    You aren’t applying “basic logic.” You are putting up walls for yourself that are ridiculous.

    As I pointed out in #105, I have no need for any such walls. I’m perfectly capable of admitting when others here have the better argument, or have proved their case. What do I care? It makes no difference to me at all. That’s why I’m willing to agree with BA77 about his evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, and why I’m willing to accept the miracles described in the Bible. I have no dog in the fight.

    If you could make your case that the evidence is actually evidence that Jesus is God and Christianity is likely true, what do I care? I’m perfectly willing to admit it because it changes nothing for me wrt my personal beliefs.

  109. 109
    chuckdarwin says:

    Zweston @79

    What happened to Jesus’ body?

    Biblical scholar, Bart Ehrman, (and others) discusses this issue in his book How Jesus Became God. He suggests that Jesus’ body likely would have been anonymously dumped in a mass grave along with the other executed criminals. That was standard Roman practice.

  110. 110
    jerry says:

    That was standard Roman practice.

    Any thoughts on the Shroud of Turin?

  111. 111
    zweston says:

    Chucky D, do you have any evidence of that? Do you also know that Bart Erhman refuted himself regarding the “development” of Jesus becoming God later in the gospels… Jesus makes a claim to deity in Mark. Bart is misleading and dishonest. 3 minutes of bart refuting himself….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyIfQpOHy80

    Also, interestingly, when Jesus calls himself the son of man, Read what it says about the son of man in Daniel 7: 13-14…

    In 1 corinthians 15, Paul cites an ancient Christian creed dating back to months to maybe a year or two after the resurrection talking about Jesus resurrecting. It wasn’t developed.

    What is your explanation for the disciples dying for something they would have KNOWN was a lie? Even historical scholars like Ehrman know that the Disciples saw something they believed was the resurrected Jesus…. but Ehrman writes it off because miracles can’t happen in his mind, not because of lack of evidence. (also, not sure what kind of evidence someone would want from an ascended body 2000 years ago beyond what we have?)

    Also, few doubt that Jesus was entombed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb because of all of the detail involved…it could have been easily refuted at the time (and also fulfilled the prophecy of being buried by a rich man), which comes in contrast to the mass burial idea).

  112. 112
    zweston says:

    WJM, It is fascinating to me to see how you can concede the truth of scripture in one breath and then deny its authority the next for your own subjective desires.

    definition of unreasonable…not being able to be reasoned with:

    “If you could make your case that the evidence is actually evidence that Jesus is God and Christianity is likely true, what do I care? I’m perfectly willing to admit it because it changes nothing for me wrt my personal beliefs.”— but if it’s true…shouldn’t it change your beliefs?

    My paraphrase: “I believe what I believe because that’s what I like and enjoy. Truth really doesn’t matter, even when it smacks me in the face because I believe something else. “

  113. 113
    chuckdarwin says:

    StephenB @94
    The notion of annihilationism (also called conditional salvation) is actually gaining traction among Christian scholars that study soteriology. Annihilationism and universalism are alternative ways of dealing with eternal physical and spiritual torment which is a major impediment to selling Christianity in the marketplace of religion.
    You state:

    The question about why [punishment] must be forever has already been answered. As I wrote above, punishment must be eternal because the decision to reject God is a desire to be separated from him for as long as He lives, which is forever.

    Some biblical scholars argue that there is just as much, if not more, scriptural support for annihilationism and universalism as for eternal torment. Annihilationism addresses the “eternity” issue insofar as by ceasing to exist in any fashion, one is permanently denied association with God. Surveys have shown that the idea of complete non-existence to many people is more horrific than a continued existence of torment. Kind of like the notion that if I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.

  114. 114
    jerry says:

    No response to

    Any thoughts on the Shroud of Turin?

    I take that as a no.

    Let’s not have an onslaught from Christians about this. I’m interested in skeptics’ replies. BA77 has several posts on this. That should suffice.

    I’m sure they’re busy scouring the internet to find a reply or they’ll just ignore it.

    Hint: it’s an anatomically correct image of a crucified man. Who? When? Where? But more importantly how was the image created?

  115. 115
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    You have made yourself to be God.

    Not from my perspective.

    You want to believe what you want to believe.

    I believe what i believe because it has – apparently – delivered to me a wonderful, amazing life-experience. If I thought some other belief would be better at that, I’d certainly at least try it out. I have gone through several beliefs and testing them out to see what they seem to produce in my life.

    When someone believes something they don’t necessarily want to be true or cannot harmonize, I’d say that’s good evidence they are being reasonable… you on the other hand won’t believe any metaphysical truths because you don’t want to.

    That’s assuming that the metaphysics I do believe in – MRT – are not true. I don’t personally believe in many proposed metaphysical perspectives because I don’t see how they’re going to be better at delivering enjoyment in my life.

    That’s entirely separate from whether or not any proposed metaphysic, such as MRT or non-MRT, can be evidenced and successfully argued. I’m just lucky in that MRT can be evidenced and successfully argued – but, it wouldn’t make any difference to me if it couldn’t, other than that I wouldn’t be making arguments and providing evidence for it here or elsewhere.

    Your epistemology is based on whether you like something or not.

    I an’t quite make sense out of this. Self-evident and necessary truths are true whether I like them or not.

    This is a science blog (which gets turned into a theology blog often)… you can’t do science with your epistemology.

    I don’t think I’ve actually described my epistemology here. I think you’re confusing statements about what I believe for assertions of knowledge. I don’t know or claim that anything I personally believe is knowledge. Heck, I don’t even know if my beliefs actually caused what I experienced afterward. It could all be coincidental. I don’t claim what I believe is true or represents knowledge other than: I changed my beliefs to X, and kept changing them directionally towards X+, and my enjoyment of my life happened to increase as well. Everything I believe could be false. Who knows?

    Then you come on here to convert people to your thinking, or just de-convert others from a belief system you don’t like.

    This is obviously projection. I have absolutely no belief or “hope” that I’m going to change anyone’s mind about anything. I’ve already been over this in detail with SB.

    All that matters is if it is true or not.

    Well, to you.

    You reject truth.

    I don’t reject self-evident or necessary truths. I don’t reject any debatable truths; I just don’t care about them.

    Truth is what you experience…

    I didn’t say that. I said I strive to make truthful statements about my experience. Those are two distinctly different concepts.

    I guess maybe you aren’t a relativist because you do conclusively land on the God of the Bible being “wrong.”

    Nope. I said “eternal torment” is wrong in terms of good and evil. If that indicts the God of the Bible, that’s someone else’s issue. It apparently does not indict the universalist’s “God of the Bible,” from what you said.

  116. 116
    chuckdarwin says:

    Jerry @114
    It’s a hoax…

  117. 117
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston:

    WJM, It is fascinating to me to see how you can concede the truth of scripture in one breath and then deny its authority the next for your own subjective desires.

    I also concede facts discovered by scientists, and deny their authority to dictate to me what those facts mean. Just because scientists can do amazing things, and tell me things that I find are facts in my experience, does not mean I should trust them when they try to tell me what those facts mean.

    definition of unreasonable…not being able to be reasoned with:
    …..
    — but if it’s true…shouldn’t it change your beliefs?

    How am I being unreasonable? I’m perfectly willing to admit it when someone makes their case. That’s reasonable. I’ve flatly stated that no facts, evidence or logic will necessarily (for clarification) change my personal beliefs – which was, IMO, the ethical and right thing to do. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do so nobody gets the idea my agreement that they have made their case constitutes a change in my personal beliefs. Because of this, my personal beliefs don’t get in the way of my examining the evidence or logic other people present. How reasonable is that?

    You ask me, shouldn’t I change my personal beliefs accordingly? What I “should” do depends on my goal. My goal is to enjoy my life as much as possible. If adopting belief X is going to lessen my enjoyment of life, then in terms of my goal the answer is “no.”

  118. 118
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, again (for record), algebra:

    Let a proposition be represented by x
    M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> truth claim]
    O = x is objective and generally knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> notice, generally knowable per adequate warrant, as opposed to widely acknowledged]

    It is claimed, cultural relativism thesis: S= ~[O*M] = 1

    [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc — c 430 BC on, 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.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. Of course, subjectivism then reduces the scale of “community” to one individual. He continues, “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 . . . ” [–> door opened to nihilistic factionalism]]

    However, the subject of S is M,
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O, and is about M
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type-M
    so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio ad absurdum]

    ++++++++++
    ~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, M [moral truth claim]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

    That is, there UNDENIABLY are objective moral truths; and a first, self-evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

    The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important.

  119. 119
    jerry says:

    It’s a hoax…

    Why say that?

    You know that is nonsense. It is one of the most studied objects in the history of mankind.

    Essentially, you disqualified yourself as a commenter on anything by this remark.

    I take you comment as a No.

    You avoided this before. So you have had a couple months to think about it.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/in-time-for-american-thanksgiving-stephen-meyer-on-the-frailty-of-scientific-atheism/#comment-741231

  120. 120
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes:

    For record:

    Kindly, ponder the very carefully worded definitions from Collins English Dictionary [CED], where high quality dictionaries record and report correct usage:

    SUBJECTIVE: subjective
    adj
    1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered [–> in short, in the contemplating subject, not necessarily the contemplated observed or abstract object such as the null set {} –> 0]
    2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc
    : subjective views. [–> this highlights the error-pronenes of our subjectivity, thus need for filtering to achieve adequate reliability]

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;] {–> independent of particularly should be seen as inherent in the object, observable or abstract and that on grounds that confer reliability}
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias [–> highlighting error proneness]
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc.[ –> this sense especially relates to observable, concrete things like a tree, and again points to our error proneness, however for cause something like the null set and related Math is objective though abstract, there being no physical location for the null set]

    Dictionaries of course summarise from usage by known good speakers and writers, forming a body of recorded knowledge on language. So, we may freely conclude that:

    objectivity does not mean empirical, tangible external/physical object or the like, it can include items contemplated by the mind such as mathematical entities etc and which due to adequate warrant are reasonably INDEPENDENT of our individual or collective error-prone cognition, opinions, delusions, biases and distortions etc.

    Objectivity, is established as a key concept that addresses our error proneness by provision of adequate warrant that gives good reason to be confident that the item or state of affairs etc contemplated is real not a likely point of delusion. Yes, degree of warrant is a due consideration and in many cases common to science etc is defeasible but credible. In certain key cases, e.g. actual self evidence, it is utterly certain.

    KF

  121. 121
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston,

    I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but on this site, for about a year, I made really good arguments for objective morality. Then I switched sides, so to speak, and argued against it. This is standard debate class stuff. I made statements at the time to the effect that I wasn’t saying I believed it, I was just making an argument about it.

    KF and I went at it for months. I was actually trying to understand his argument, but because of his language and style and insistence on arguing the same way every time, pasting the same thing over and over, I realized it had gone as far as it could go. From my perspective, my argument about the conditions that are necessary for a duty to be said to exist was pretty conclusive. Most people, I think, would have just notched that as a “win” and moved on, not giving it another thought.

    But, on my own time, I wanted to see if I could make KF’s argument for him. Why would I do this? It’s because I enjoy examining the logic and evidence. I love making logical, evidential arguments. I’ll argue with myself, and I have done so often. I LOVE it if someone can demonstrate they have the better argument. Upright Biped has one of the most beautiful, amazing arguments I’ve ever seen about the evidence for ID in living organisms.

    The first time I ever heard a “ground of being” argument was long ago, here, by KF. His logic was flawless. Whether I liked it or not didn’t have anything to do with it; it’s inescapably true. Nobody’s beliefs can escape self-evident or necessary truths unless they are insane.

    I wondered if I could make a “necessary truth” argument for “objective morality” and, as SB put it, “Natural Law.” I wondered if I could figure out a way to bring KF’s “duties” into it. I worked for weeks and then figured it out. I recently asked KF if a short summary I provided him in a prior thread was at least directionally congruent with his argument, and he said I was on the right track. So, at least as a basic sketch, the details of which I’m sure both SB and KF would likely disagree with – but at least as a basic framing, SB was right about Natural Law and KF was right about “duties” (although I consider that word to be a terribly misleading term to use because of it’s ontological requirements in any normal application). I agree – in a basic framing – that “objective morality” exists (and the term “morality” is another term fraught with baggage that can hinder understanding.)

    Let me ask you this: do you spend weeks trying to prove to yourself, on your own time, that someone else is right, and that you’re wrong? Do you think SB or KF or Jerry or LCD does that? Do you think anyone here is spending one second of their offline time trying to figure out how MRT is correct?

    I don’t think so. Don’t talk to me about my “not being reasonable.” I’m the most reasonable and honest person on this board, because I’m willing to admit when someone else is right, when they have the better argument, and I’m willing to say true things about myself that open me up to ridicule and loss of credibility.

  122. 122
    chuckdarwin says:

    Jerry @119
    What part of hoax do you not get? Given the fact that the Vatican has never vouched for the authenticity of the shroud, I’m not going to waste time addressing you and BA77’s “shroud theories.” Next thing you’ll be asking me about slivers of the true cross, or the blood of Peter, or the Holy Grail, or some other such nonsense. You are like those little old ladies in Italy that make the sign of the cross every time the devil is mentioned…

  123. 123
    Querius says:

    Zweston @82,
    Great comments!

    If someone believes you are on the tracks and the train is coming through, would the loving thing to be to sugar coat it and reason with you until it made sense to you?

    It would be fun to write a book called something like, Conversation on the Railroad Tracks, that uses all the arguments repeatedly brought up by the dissenters here starting with

    “I don’t believe that the designers of public transportation would be so evil as to condemn someone who simply sits on the tracks to a painful and ETERNAL DEATH through no fault of their own! Thus, I refuse to believe that a ‘train’ exists.”

    It seems to me the dissenters on this board aren’t really interested in truth at all. All that matters is if it is true.

    That’s regrettably my conclusion as well. In my observation, despite repeated explanations, they repeatedly raise the identical, unsupported and incorrect assertions. That’s why I think it’s possible that at least one of them is a trollbot. Trollbots are common on social media and I’m strongly tempted to write one myself that’s satirizes them.

    The words of Christ ring true and are founded by historical evidence, including a chain of possession that we can track historically.

    This chain of possession also includes a parallel chain of hostile witnesses that mock believers from early on, unintentionally confirming the Biblical accounts of Yeshua Ha’Nazaret.

    For the dissenters on the board, you have been given so much light, evidence, reasoning, and discussion. Yet, your hearts remain hardened. Please reconsider! Grace and Peace to you!

    That’s kind of you, but they’re not interested. I try to answer their challenges with evidence from historical, scientific, and mathematical reasoning, but they reject or ignore those attempts and simply repeat the same, often refuted assertions. The conclusion is obvious.

    -Q

  124. 124
    jerry says:

    What part of hoax do you not get?

    I take that as a NO!

    You have no explanation for it and if you researched it for a month, you still wouldn’t.

    It is one of, if not the most studied object in the history of mankind. No one has an explanation for its origin.

    Instead you try to mock people when you have no answer. Interesting approach.

    Try telling us what the hoax is? What is the Shroud? Why is it a hoax? Who started the hoax? When?

  125. 125
    chuckdarwin says:

    Querius @123

    Trollbots are common on social media and I’m strongly tempted to write one myself that’s satirizes them.

    Knock yourself out, but please, for us “trollbot’s” sake, do it in English, not Hebrew….
    BTW, I’m pretty sure that the guy sitting on the tracks would merely suffer an instantaneous, not eternal, death. And for all we know it may not even be that painful. But you’d probably have to be there to know for sure….

  126. 126
    Origenes says:

    For record:

    Is it objectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster or is it just your subjective preference not to do so?

    What is meant by ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’?
    Definitions quoted by KF:

    SUBJECTIVE: subjective
    adj
    1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered [–> in short, in the contemplating subject, not necessarily the contemplated observed or abstract object such as the null set {} –> 0]
    2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc: subjective views. [–> this highlights the error-pronenes of our subjectivity, thus need for filtering to achieve adequate reliability]

    I, as a subject, hold that it is evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster. This judgment “belongs to, proceeds from and relates to my mind as a thinking subject.”
    And my judgement is certainly “related or emanating from my emotions” and perhaps also my “prejudices.”

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;] {–> independent of particularly should be seen as inherent in the object, observable or abstract and that on grounds that confer reliability}
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias [–> highlighting error proneness]
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc.[ –> this sense especially relates to observable, concrete things like a tree, and again points to our error proneness, however for cause something like the null set and related Math is objective though abstract, there being no physical location for the null set]

    I hold that it is evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster. My judgment does not “exist independently of my perception or my individual conceptions”. My judgment does not “exist independent of or external to my mind.”
    My judgment is fueled by emotion rather than “undistorted” by it. “Personal bias” is unlikely in my estimation. My judgment is based on my “thoughts and feelings.”
    I expect my judgment to converge with all those who seek social harmony, because no one has a (subjective) preference to be helpless, thrown in a garbage bag and thrown in a dumpster. And all those who have a certain level of social awareness apply the golden rule.

  127. 127
    Querius says:

    Ram @89,

    Seems like you continue to miss the point: God could simply annihilate “lost” persons instead of monstrously torturing them forever.

    Don’t you remember how I destroyed this “Newtonian” argument in a previous thread?

    Ram @91,

    You assume the New Testament is reliable. I don’t.

    Are you familiar at all with the basics of cybersecurity? Can you describe what’s called “the chain of trust”?

    Jews generally don’t believe in such a monstrous eternal torture, and never have. It’s nowhere to be found in the Hebrew scriptures. (emphasis yours)

    As Zweston previously mentioned . . .

    “Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence.” – Daniel 12:2 (Complete Jewish Bible)

    Can you please explain to us what this could possibly mean in the Tanakh?

    Chuckdarwin @95,

    BTW, I’m pretty sure that the guy sitting on the tracks would merely suffer an instantaneous, not eternal, death. And for all we know it may not even be that painful. But you’d probably have to be there to know for sure . . .

    Speaking from experience riding a commuter train that sadly hit a suicidal homeless person and also several deer on the tracks at different times (I could hear the bones sickeningly banging on the underside of the carriage), the death they experienced was ETERNAL death–unless you believe in some form of resurrection.

    The pain they suffered was likely short and intense before losing consciousness. During the French revolution, there was at least one macabre experiment regarding how long a person was conscious after being guillotined . . .

    Do you think that the deer that were hit deserved the intense but short pain followed by ETERNAL death?

    -Q

  128. 128
    StephenB says:

    Chuck Darwin @113

    Surveys have shown that the idea of complete non-existence to many people is more horrific than a continued existence of torment. Kind of like the notion that if I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.

    Precisely so. It is a point I have already brought up. The God haters keep harping about an “evil” God who refuses to annihilate sinners, allowing them to languish in the miseries of Hell. But for many, annihilation is not the ultimate act of mercy. As I tried to show earlier, once one gets locked into a spirit of militant defiance, that person can come to prefer Hell over annihilation so that they can continue to blaspheme God in their timeless existence. It wouldn’t be so for me or for WJM (strangely we both agree on that particular nuance), but there would be many who would resent the prospect of being annihilated just to satisfy those of us who want the suffering to end at any cost. Why should God give WJM or me a break at the expense of those who don’t want one?

  129. 129
    zweston says:

    “In the last days people will be….. lovers of themselves, lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God……always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”
    ……
    Acts 17….
    21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

    Paul Addresses the Areopagus
    22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
    —–

    As the three responses were… mockery, curiosity without committal, or joining and believing.
    —-
    These dialogues continue to underline the point that apologetics don’t make Christians. Arguments don’t do that. The gospel is the power of God. Some reject it and some surrender to it. Jesus is the fragrance of life to some and fragrance of death to others. Some sheep follow the good shepherd and others choose not to. Some are wheat and some are tares. Some are sheep and some are goats.

    1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.–

    1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes,

    at this point, I simply ask:

    1: Is it true or false that we are error prone?

    2: If you say it is false, the matter is over, for cause.

    3: If you admit yes, then is it or is it not important to enhance reliability by applying a filtering process towards adequate warrant?

    4: If you say no, then it’s over.

    5: If you admit yes, then you know the difference between subjectivity and objectivity and why the objective is credibly independent of our subjectivity, having been adequately warranted.

    6: So, on any case, the substantial matter is over and your months of argument collapse.

    KF

  131. 131
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @130,

    6: So, on any case, the substantial matter is over and your months of argument collapse.

    Well, yes it is for this thread. But the identical argument will then reappear unscathed in a subsequent thread.

    7. Rinse and repeat.

    -Q

  132. 132
    Origenes says:

    KF @

    1: Is it true or false that we are error prone?

    I need a clarification before I can answer. We are error-prone in what exactly? Everything? Am I fallible in “1+1=2” or “I exist” or “I don’t want to be thrown in a garbage bag and thrown in a dumpster”?

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, your remark just above shows that you know we are error-prone. Therefore, the matter is over as you know therefore why we need filters to provide reliable warrant and that therefore objectivity is that reliable state. The distractions, side tracking and needless arguing over months is shown to have been irresponsible behaviour on your part. KF

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, see the just above. KF

  135. 135
    Origenes says:

    KF: 1: Is it true or false that we are error prone?

    O: I need a clarification before I can answer. We are error-prone in what exactly? Everything? Am I fallible in “1+1=2” or “I exist” or “I don’t want to be thrown in a garbage bag and thrown in a dumpster”?

    KF: Origenes, your remark just above shows that you know we are error-prone.

    It does?

    Therefore, the matter is over as you know therefore why we need filters to provide reliable warrant and that therefore objectivity is that reliable state.

    Nope, as you know perfectly well, warrant does not change origin. You desperately want warrant to perform that magic, but it simple does not do that. If something has a subjective origin, such as “I exist” or “I don’t want to be thrown in a garbage bag and thrown in a dumpster”, then no warrant in the world can change the fact that it has a subjective origin. It makes no sense at all to label it ‘objective’.

    The distractions, side tracking and needless arguing over months is shown to have been irresponsible behaviour on your part. KF

    Keep telling yourself that. But deep down you know that you have got nothing.

  136. 136
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    If something has a subjective origin, such as “I exist” or “I don’t want to be thrown in a garbage bag and thrown in a dumpster”, then no warrant in the world can change the fact that it has a subjective origin.

    .
    I know that I am wasting my time on this one, but here we go anyway. You are the origin of the awareness of your existence, which is subjective, but you are not the origin of the fact of your existence. which is objective. The origin of your existence (or the fact of your existence) is the one who brought you into being, namely the Creator. Neither you nor your awareness played any role whatsoever in that event. Are you going to hijack yet another thread with this nonsense?

  137. 137
    Viola Lee says:

    The fact that I exist is undeniable to me, and is a subjective experience.

    The fact that some believe a creator is responsible for my existence is a faith belief that is very definitely not of the same undeniable nature as my awareness of my existence.

    And I know Stephen will keep referring to people as “god haters”, but as I wrote above, “I don’t hate God. God (the Christian God to whom you refer) doesn’t exist, and I can’t imagine hating an imaginary being. Whatever feelings I have, which are also not hate, are directed at the people who believe in this God and believe in this self-righteous idea that they are going to be saved and everyone else, no matter how devoutly they believe in their God, are going to hell. I object, and it bothers me, to see that kind of arrogance, lack of humility, and lack of compassion for the broad diversity of humankind all looking to live with the mysteries of life.”

  138. 138
    StephenB says:

    KF to Origines: Is it objectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster or is it just your subjective preference not to do so?

    Origenes:

    I, as a subject, hold that it is evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster. This judgment “belongs to, proceeds from and relates to my mind as a thinking subject.”

    Strawman. Strawman. Strawman. Everyone knows that the processes of judging or thinking, or feeling, or opining or speculating etc. are all subjective. It is the moral truth that you apprehend through your judgment that is objective. You arrive at objective truths through subjective means. That is how knowledge takes place. The object (objective knowledge) is distinct from but connected to the subject (the knower). If the subject and the object were not connected, or if they were not distinct, no one could ever know anything.

  139. 139
    Viola Lee says:

    But there is no evidence that these moral truths really do exist in any form outside of human beings. They arise from inside the person and then are manifested in our actions (which includes our expressions of them as beliefs.) They are knowledge of ourself. When we contemplate and experience our inner lives, the “object” of our knowledge is an inner state accessible only to ourselves. We are both subject and object in respective to our internal lives.

  140. 140
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @139,
    But there is evidence in that no other animal that’s evolved on the planet has the same basic moral truths commonly found in humanity. They might share similar emotions such as fear, rage, and jealousy, but what about “Thou shalt not kill,” for example?

    Any evidence that this basic moral truth evolved in chimpanzees, for example?
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29237276

    So, where did this moral truth come from? Or is it just a random hallucination generated uniquely in the human brain?

    -Q

  141. 141
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    (the Christian God to whom you refer) doesn’t exist, and I can’t imagine hating an imaginary being.

    The Christian God not only exists, He visited this earth in time/space/history. That is why historians divide history into two sections, BC (or BCE) and AD. If not hate, what is your real motive for making an unsubstantiated claim about the Christian God that can be so easily refuted?

    Whatever feelings I have, which are also not hate, are directed at the people who believe in this God and believe in this self-righteous idea that they are going to be saved and everyone else, no matter how devoutly they believe in their God, are going to hell.

    You must be confusing me with someone else. I don’t assume that I am saved, but I certainly hope it turns out that way. Or to put it another way, I don’t believe in the infallible insurance of salvation, but I do hope to attain it. The broader point, though, is that I am not qualified to judge my worthiness (or yours). I fear Hell because of the possibility that I might end up there. I would consider my life a great success if I could help even one person to avoid that place (or state of existence),.

    I object, and it bothers me, to see that kind of arrogance, lack of humility, and lack of compassion for the broad diversity of humankind all looking to live with the mysteries of life.”

    It’s interesting that you would put it that way. To me, it seems arrogant to claim (falsely and without good cause) that the Christian God doesn’t exist or that Christians lack humility and compassion.

  142. 142
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    But there is no evidence that these moral truths really do exist in any form outside of human beings.

    I am sorry, but you simply do not understand the debate. A self-evident moral truth is a much more reliable form of knowledge than anything that could be inferred from empirical evidence.

  143. 143
    ram says:

    Querius: Don’t you remember how I destroyed this “Newtonian” argument in a previous thread?

    No, you didn’t at all.

    –Ram

  144. 144
    Querius says:

    Ram @143,

    So, is the area under the positive half of an infinitely long normal curve a finite or an infinite number?

    So, how much time elapses from when someone (in the future) falls into a black hole–a very long time or just a second or two?

    -Q

  145. 145
    Viola Lee says:

    to Stephen: I am not saying at all that Christians lack humility and compassion: such qualities are hallmarks of Christian lives inspired by their religious beliefs. What I am saying is more specific: that the belief that Christianity is the uniquely true religion, and those who don’t believe are condemned to hell when they die, lacks humility and compassion. Billions of people have found other religious ways to understand the mysteries of life, and while none of them are “true” in the ontological sense (that is my belief) all of them are serious and sacred attempts to address core issues about human existence. It is that towards which we should have humility and compassion. Thinking that everyone else is going to hell fails in that regard.

  146. 146
    Viola Lee says:

    To Stephen: I do understand the debate. I am advocating for the other side of the issue being debated. I know what your position is, and don’t agree with it. That is different from “not understanding the debate.”

  147. 147
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    I do understand the debate.

    Do you agree with Origenes, who thinks that he is the source (or the origin) of his self awareness and his existence?

  148. 148
    Viola Lee says:

    Q writes, “is the area under the positive half of an infinitely long normal curve a finite or an infinite number?”

    I’m not Ram but the answer is finite.

    But I’m curious as to what this has to do with this thread?

  149. 149
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen, you ask two things: what do I think about the source of self-awareness and about the source of my existence.

    I’m not sure whether you mean ultimate or proximate cause. I believe consciousness (or more broadly, mind) is a part of human nature, and our self-awareness is one of the manifestations of consciousness. So our mind is the proximate cause of our self-awareness. The biological world is the proximate cause of my physical existence as a specific physical being. I do not know, and I don’t think anyone does, how the mind and the body exist as a complementary whole, and how they interact back-and-forth with each other.

    I do not know, and don’t believe anyone does, the ultimate cause of consciousness and mind, any more than we know how the physical world came to be. I know, of course, that Christians believe both were created by God, but other religions have other ideas, and I personally think this is unknowable.

    But I take my conscious, willful experience as a given, a core of who “I” am: as an experiential given. And I believe that moral truths (I believe you wanted to call them values to distinguish them from the kind of truths you believe in) are products of my conscious, willful mind: choices I make and experience internally and then manifest outwardly. I also believe that I (everyone) takes multiple things into consideration in forming their moral values, from deep core commonalities with all other human beings to idiosyncratic beliefs from our culture, all tempered by our reason and familiarity with various wisdom traditions to varying degrees.

  150. 150
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @148,
    My post was directed to Ram in response to his assertion @143.

    In a different thread, I first demonstrated a mathematical example where suffering for an infinite amount of time could still be finite and could indeed be much less than Christ’s time-limited suffering for all humanity. In the mathematical analogy, I demonstrated that suffering in hell could indeed be precisely equal to the evil any person there would suffer. I’m not advocating this position, but I destroyed the argument that God was necessarily demanding infinite suffering in over-payment for a finite amount of evil.

    Secondly, I hypothesized that should the Lake of Fire be a black hole, then space-time would be deformed to where an observer would see someone falling into it taking an extremely long amount of time before disappearing, whereas the person falling into the black hole would experience that time in a few seconds. Again, this demolishes the argument of necessarily infinite suffering by means of an example from physics.

    As you can see, Ram @143 denies that the arguments I presented demolished the objections already noted by simply making an assertion to the contrary without any support.

    Again, I’m not suggesting that my two examples are what will actually happen–according to the Bible, the Lake of Fire was originally prepared only for Satan and his angels. Jesus refers to it as “the second death.” What’s exactly meant by “eternal” has long been debated, but it’s certainly not temporary. After all, you have no trouble believing that physical death is eternal, right?

    But, according to the Bible, this terrible thing is something that no one has to experience unless they want to remain separated from God in this life and thus the next.

    -Q

  151. 151
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    Billions of people have found other religious ways to understand the mysteries of life, and while none of them are “true” in the ontological sense (that is my belief) all of them are serious and sacred attempts to address core issues about human existence. It is that towards which we should have humility and compassion. Thinking that everyone else is going to hell fails in that regard.

    Given your opinion that no religion reflects the truth about human destiny or the human condition, is it fair to say that, in your judgment, it doesn’t matter what world view, if any, a person embraces as long as it provides some kind of explanation for the “mysteries of life.” Would it follow that all explanations would be of equal value since, according to your account, there could be no explanation that reflects reality as it is. So, for example, if Hell really exists, would it be acceptable to ignore the point on the grounds that you have already cultivated a world view that you find satisfactory?

  152. 152
    Viola Lee says:

    No, no, and the third question presents an hypothetical that loads the question. If I really knew hell existed, then I would have to accommodate that to my views.

  153. 153
    Viola Lee says:

    The reason I said no to the first two questions is exactly the issue. I, like everyone, make moral and other types of judgments, so of course I don’t think all positions on anything are equal. But, as I’ve said, I think there’s lots about ultimate reality that we cant know, so I judge religions and other moral views based on how they affect how people act here and now, not on what their religious speculations about what we can’t know are.

  154. 154
    ram says:

    Querius: I first demonstrated…

    No, you simply brought in irrelevancies that side-stepped the issue of the unending experience of torture from the victims point of view, which is all that matters. Yawn.

    –Ram

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, loaded language of accusation, e.g are all gaol sentences “torture” or are at least some justice and protection of community. Second, you have evaded the nature of the soul and of death, thus inherent immortality and non material nature so that an actual physical combustion is plainly only a metaphorical comparison for largely self inflicted torments we already see in ourselves when we yield ourselves to evils. But, all of this is little more than toxic distraction on the wrong forum where one actually serious about coming to a well warranted view would be on a more appropriate forum and would be asking in a different tone. Too much of the above reeks instead of internet atheist and fellow traveller rhetoric designed to poison and polarise as a way to evade a very relevant but inconvenient topic. KF

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you were already answered in 96 above and were directed to a 101 discussion regarding Jesus of Nazareth and linked warrant. In addition, in reply to an accusation that I misreported on discussion regarding the hyperreals, I pointed to the earliest part of a three year exchange, where it was the case that the hyperreals and the use of 1/x as a catapult between transfinite and infinitesimal hyperreals was objected to, in the end the more or less settling point was Dr Carol Wood and her use of the very same items. Further to which, I pointed out that a transfinite span cannot be traversed in finite stage steps so that going beyond thermodynamic issues, there cannot have been an actual, infinite past of years for convenience, our world must have had a beginning thus an adequate cause. Onward, it could in principle continue endlessly but at any given time there would only have been finitely many years to date, i.e. the potential infinite. I used the hyperreals to frame the discussion to draw out the point on the infeasible supertask posed by a finite stage stepwise traversal of the transfinite; 1/x catapults across the span where the infinitesimals near 0 integrate with the reals mileposted by integers and allow us to unify the range to include the transfinites; we get Robinson’s nonstandard calculus along the way. Were you present for the earliest discussions and are you willing to acknowledge that my remarks were in that context? More broadly, there is need to tone down rhetorical voltage. KF

  157. 157
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @155,

    Yes, exactly. Notice that No New Information is provided in the vacuous response:

    No, you simply brought in irrelevancies that side-stepped the issue of the unending experience of torture from the victims point of view, which is all that matters. Yawn.

    For example, one can take the same sentence and plug in different words:

    No, you simply __A___ __B___ that __C__ the __D__ of the __E__ of __F__ from __G__ point of view, which is __H__. __I__.
    A. made another
    B. unsupported assertion
    C. obfuscated
    D. obvious conclusion
    E. the undeniable scientific possibility
    F. hell
    G. God’s
    H. perfect justice
    I. eye roll

    Naturally, other statements can easily be generated for the above sentence that can use football, quilting, medical, or just silly terminology without recourse to any neuronal activity.

    It’s like the MadLibs game children play in school or at parties.

    -Q

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, you have shown that you understand the reality of error proneness thus the need for warranting filters that establish reliability and credibility of results. Therefore, you have no sound basis for the prolonged objection to distinguishing subjective and objective, as well as for the use of terms such as independence of error prone subjectivity to mark the difference. The matter is clear. Further to which of course it is by contemplation as first person self aware, self moved creatures that we understand that there is or is not warrant. That subjective experience is the context in which we become aware that something is reliably, credibly true or actual separate from what could have happened due to error proneness as it is warranted. The fact of established warrant so objectivity and knowability then stands on its own feet, whatever we may wish, think, imagine, object to or disbelieve. For example through our fallible senses and knowledge on general reliability under reasonable circumstances even in the face of error proneness we are aware of say a cashew tree with leaves flapping in the wind as opposed to a coconut tree. By contemplation of abstracta, we are aware of the null set and how it can be extended to N.Z,Q,R,C,R* etc, with logical analysis giving higher certainty than empirical observation. In fact, as I showed on public record, we can show that a core of mathematics extends to ANY possible world, answering to Wigner’s wonderment. Similarly, properties of geometric figures in the plane are general, e.g. triangles, squares, circles. (I begin to wonder if the marginalising of old fashioned Geometry might be part of the problem as it seems to make us unfamiliar with objective knowledge of abstracta and the power of logic.) KF

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, your interventions are insightful as usual. I think, fundamentally, we are seeing a cultural breakdown in recognising the value, credibility and power of right reason, tied to resentment of duty to same. That does not speak well of where we are or are heading. KF

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: We come back to the focus. The OP put on the table based on unfortunate facts, the reality that our moral sense can communicate moral truth in cases to certainty beyond dismissive or distractive talking points. We see that would be objectors cannot deny the evil involved, but wish to reframe and change the subject. After a time, it becomes clear that moral realities are knowable but we live in a day where for many that is inconvenient. That marks this as a day of the voyage of folly on the good ship civilisation. Voyages of folly, if prolonged, do not end well. KF

  161. 161
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the access to salvation through faith implies repentance ie acknowledgement of radical guilt and reaching out for God’s help. Such also points to moral transformation through lifelong cooperation with God in growth to the good, involving painful struggle with weaknesses and sins. It is therefore reflective of humility not the arrogance you suggested. Further to which you have side stepped the specific correctives in 96 above which explicitly shows from foundational sources that responsiveness to the light one has or has access to is the key gateway, it is fleeing light for favourite dark corners that leads to ruin. That sidestepping and unresponsiveness are indicators, arguably showing undue contempt to those you are plainly at minimum irritated with (those who profess salvation through repentant response to God in the face of a once crucified, risen Saviour with 500 eyewitnesses and fulfillment of specific prophecies that were hundreds of years in advance); undermining your loaded talking points. I suggest and plead for reconsideration. KF

  162. 162
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    the unending experience of torture from the victims point of view

    😆 “Criminals are the victims.” and “God is evil.” 2 self-refuted concepts. At least Ram is consistent with his own self-refutation.
    Black is white , evil is good ,good is evil, retard is intelligent, etc.

  163. 163
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    Second, you have evaded the nature of the soul and of death, thus inherent immortality and non material nature so that an actual physical combustion is plainly only a metaphorical comparison for largely self inflicted torments we already see in ourselves when we yield ourselves to evils

    If the “self-inflicted torment” I’m experiencing here and now because of my “yielding to evil” is going to be ramped up in the afterlife in what Christians call “hell,” then I guess hell is the non-Christian heaven and I’m all in.

    In any event, like countless other people, I’ve visited the afterlife several times and communicate with the dead regularly. I know for a fact it’s not organized the way KF, SB, LCD and their ilk claim.

  164. 164
    William J Murray says:

    As far as my being unwilling to change my personal beliefs, IMO I’m just willing to admit what we all know is true: no amount of evidence or argument is going to sway anyone here from any personal beliefs they hold dear.

  165. 165
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you may be well advised to reconsider new age phenomena such as astral travel or consulting the dead or the like, etc. Not every spiritual entity or experience is truthful or manifests “the light of day.” I add this, from Jesus of Nazareth’s interview with Pilate:

    33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

    34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”

    35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”

    36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

    37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”

    Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

    38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

    Note, he would shortly back up what he said by rising from the dead with 500 eyewitnesses.

    KF

  166. 166
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, you may be well advised to reconsider new age phenomena such as astral travel or consulting the dead or the like, etc.

    Astral projection, astral travel, and communicating with the dead are not “new age phenomena,” KF. It’s been going on throughout most of recorded history. I’m quite familiar with the potential perils and how to avoid/resolve them.

    Note, he would shortly back up what he said by rising from the dead with 500 eyewitnesses.

    I have no reason to doubt it occurred. So?

  167. 167
    William J Murray says:

    I mean, let’s face it. When it comes to afterlife dispensation, there is an ENORMOUS amount of evidence that the Christian-binary system of “heaven vs hell” is not the case:

    ADC (After Death Communication) in the form of signs, mental-auditory, physical auditory, semi-physical and fully physical manifestation contact, scents and touch, both waking an in dreams. Research data and website about ADCs. Book that examines this evidence: Hello From Heaven.
    https://www.adcrf.org/houck_research.htm
    https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Heaven-Research-After-Death-Communication-Confirms/dp/0553576348/

    Mediums – tested, highly-observed, credible physical, evidential, and direct-voice communication, including decades of rigorous, scientific experimentation and study by the University of Virginia Dept. of Perceptual Studies and others.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGtiKd3o1PKzKNnBCPvJWcg
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17234565/

    ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication) using various technological means to communicate, including radio, TV, and various electronic devices, usually recorded, often under rigorous conditions, including the current successful development “soul phone” technology : “The SoulPhone™ refers to integrative technologies for communicating with postmaterial (so-called “deceased”) persons. Devices are being developed by Gary E. Schwartz PhD and his team at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness & Health.”
    https://www.thesoulphonefoundation.org/soulphone-overview/

    Astral Projection and OOBEs (Out Of Body Experience) Countless, credible, first-person accounts of visiting the dead while fully conscious, in a “different world” that is fully physical and real. Michael Raduga developed an entirely secular training course that has a high success rate. However, allow me to let the US government to validate all of this in its own words.
    https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5.pdf

    NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – including cases where the brain has been drained of blood and the brainwaves are entirely flat for extended periods of time. Here is a good paper that examines the evidence and explains why scientists refuse to even consider the afterlife theory to explain the evidence, and ignore evidence that contradicts their anti-afterlife predisposition.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399124/
    https://nderf.org/

    Reincarnation Research that indicates that children not only often remember past lives, but often have physical markers on their bodies from past lives. Sample of evidence: https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/360/2016/12/REI35.pdf

    Hypnotic Regression to life between lives.

    Quantum Physics – 100 years of quantum physics research and experimentation has provided the scientific foundation for how and why our conscious experiences continue after physical death: our experience of physical reality occurs entirely in what we call “mind” or “consciousness.” There is no independent world of matter and energy. Consciousness causes our experience of a physical world, which includes our physical bodies; thus our consciousness is not dependent on our physical body. It cannot be. There are currently at least two groups of scientists who are working on mental reality theories of our existence:

    Quantum Gravity Research – https://quantumgravityresearch.org/portfolio/what-is-reality-movie/

    The Essentia Foundation – https://www.essentiafoundation.org/

    Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) – Co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution: ” My position is that the phenomena of communicating with those who crossed over – in their entirety do not require further confirmation. They are proved quite as well as facts are proved in other sciences.”

    Sir William Barrett, (1844-1925) – Professor of physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin for 37 years, “I’m absolutely convinced of the fact that those who once lived on earth can and do communicate with us. It is hardly possible to convey to the inexperienced an adequate idea of the strength and cumulative force of the evidence (for the afterlife).”

    Sir William Crookes (1832-1919) – A physicist and chemist, the most decorated scientist in his time. He discovered the element thallium and was a pioneer in radioactivity. ” “It is quite true that a connection has been set up between this world and the next.”

    Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940) – Professor of physics at University College in Liverpool, England and later principal at the University of Birmingham, Lodge achieved world fame for his pioneering work in electricity, including the radio and spark plug. ” I tell you with all my strength of the conviction which I can muster that we do persist, that people still continue to take an interest in what is going on, that they know far more about things on this earth than we do, and are able from time to time to communicate with us…I do not say it is easy, but it is possible, and I have conversed with my friends just as I can converse with anyone in this audience now.”

  168. 168
    William J Murray says:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation?”

    First time I’ve ever seen that. Apparently, the comment I just now submitted is awaiting moderation. Is that an automated feature if I use a lot of cut-and-paste in a comment, or make several comments in a short period of time? Or because there was a lot of links?

  169. 169
    ycrad says:

    “I rejected Christianity because of the eternal hell thing.“

    WJM,

    As a SDA christian, I want people to accept Christ and biblical teachings (not to reject them).
    Your comment reminded me again of the strong words of Ellen White (Seventh Day Adventist writer) from her book “The Great Controversy “ (with all respect to those who think differently, seventh day adventists don’t believe eternal hell is a christian doctrine because the idea is not rooted in Scripture, on contrary, it’s incompatible with the Bible teachings. Btw, I’d like you to focus on her last sentence from this quote):

    How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our
    sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with
    fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief
    earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live. Yet this
    doctrine has been widely taught and is still embodied in many of the
    creeds of Christendom. (… She then gives some examples of bad preaching on the issue)

    Where, in the pages of God’s word, is such teaching to be found?
    Will the redeemed in heaven be lost to all emotions of pity and
    compassion, and even to feelings of common humanity? Are these to be
    exchanged for the indifference of the stoic or the cruelty of the savage?
    No, no; such is not the teaching of the Book of God. Those who present
    the views expressed in the quotations given above may be learned and
    even honest men, but they are deluded by the sophistry of Satan. He
    leads them to misconstrue strong expressions of Scripture, giving to
    the language the coloring of bitterness and malignity which pertains to
    himself, but not to our Creator. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have
    no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his
    way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?”
    Ezekiel 33:11

    What would be gained to God should we admit that He delights in
    witnessing unceasing tortures; that He is regaled with the groans and
    shrieks and imprecations of the suffering creatures whom He holds in
    the flames of hell? Can these horrid sounds be music in the ear of
    Infinite Love? It is urged that the infliction of endless misery upon the
    wicked would show God’s hatred of sin as an evil which is ruinous to
    the peace and order of the universe. Oh, dreadful blasphemy! As if
    God’s hatred of sin is the reason why it is perpetuated. For, according
    to the teachings of these theologians, continued torture without hope of
    mercy maddens its wretched victims, and as they pour out their rage in
    curses and blasphemy, they are forever augmenting their load of guilt.
    God’s glory is not enhanced by thus perpetuating continually increasing
    sin through ceaseless ages.
    It is beyond the power of the human mind to estimate the evil which
    has been wrought by the heresy of eternal torment. The religion of
    the Bible, full of love and goodness, and abounding in compassion, is
    darkened by superstition and clothed with terror. When we consider
    in what false colors Satan has painted the character of God, can we
    wonder that our merciful Creator is feared, dreaded, and even hated?
    The appalling views of God which have spread over the world from the
    teachings of the pulpit have made thousands, yes, millions, of skeptics
    and infidels.
    http://www.centrowhite.org.br/.....oversy.pdf (Chapter 33)
    ……………
    I highly recommend you to read all her work (so many books on christian’s faith from a biblical perspective).

  170. 170
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m glad to know about this.

  171. 171
    ram says:

    Religion makes weird people say weird things

    –Ram

  172. 172
    ram says:

    Now, for all the Christian religionists out there, I’ve got a question:

    Where in the Hebrew bible does it assert that the Davidic Messiah would be a sin bearer for humanity?

    I’ll give you a hint…

    It doesn’t exist.

    –Ram the Jew

    P.S. If this thread is going to turn into a Bible study, I’m all in when it comes to the Hebrew Bible. Any takers?

  173. 173
    ram says:

    Zweston: Jewish hell…. Daniel 12:2 would be an answer.

    Thank for the stupid reply that indicates you know nothing.

    You’re obviously not a Jew nor a Jewish scholar.

    Nothing in that text implies eternal torture, which is the topic of my involvement here.

    Keep up.

    –Ram the Jew

  174. 174
    Viola Lee says:

    The focus is on knowing something is evil, and on people sayings they know are false. Post #2:

    On the flip side of this, many theists know what they say is false, but they say it anyway.

    They know it is evil to force someone into a situation that you know with certainty they will endure brutal victimization. Yet, they call the hypothetical God who does this very thing “good” and “loving.”

    They know eternal torture with no hope of escape can only be the creation of an evil being, yet they attempt to rationalize it as being “good.”

    Not a full-fledged Bible study, but a focus on a “good” god doing an evil thing.

  175. 175
    ram says:

    The bottom line, most of the Christians around here believe in a monstrous god who monstrously tortures people forever when it’s not necessary for said god’s bliss or existence. In fact, creation itself is not necessary for said god’s bliss or existence.

    Of course, such a god does not exist. The personal take-away from all of this is that I would not want to live next door to such a person who believes in such a monstrous god. No thanks.

    –Ram the Jew

  176. 176
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    loaded language a case doth not make.

    A strawman, yes; especially when we see continued evasion of the substance raised in 96 above; not to mention, evasion of the substantial and vital point in the OP — the undeniability of certain key moral truths [thus exposure of the key error of relativism], evaded through sustained distractor.

    A distractor that actually shows the force of the undeniability. An inadvertent own goal exposure of underlying basic hostility, yes. So, a classic of toxic, off topic distraction in the face of a key breakdown of the relativist thesis, yes, that also shows how evasions demonstrate the underlying undeniable moral truth in the OP, yes. KF

    PS: The genuinely perplexed may wish to start here, and here, for starters, at fora where the issues being used to distract and polarise here are addressed in more relevant fora. I note, again, a key point in Rom 2 that has been sidestepped above: ” 6 He [God] will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

    The issue is, the orientation of your heart and life, i/l/o truth you know or should acknowledge.

    Do you show penitent persistence (however stumbling) toward such accessible truth, or are you found side stepping, evading, fleeing, distracting from or attacking/undermining it? The latter shows the erection of a lockout on the doors of one’s soul, with the consequences laid out in Ch 1, culpable failure of knowable duty, leading to ingratitude for grace and benefits extended [rain on the just AND the unjust], thence a rising breakdown of moral government, onward refusal to entertain God in what is termed knowledge, thence personal and social disintegration and ruin.

    Where, there evidently is a point of no return, where one has gone too far to be stirred to turn back from the road of folly and ruin, indeed the psychology of cognitive dissonance and projection would lead to blaming others for one’s self-inflicted plight, including God. Ultimate failure, then, through sustained wilful abuse of the gift of rational responsible freedom that enables us to apprehend, live by and walk towards the truth in love.

    RAM,

    that is precisely the problem with a wrong forum, and we both know that there are excellent reasons behind the Christian view of Is 52:13 – 53:12. Which, is also a precisely fulfilled prophecy culminating in the resurrection witnessed by 500; the pivot of warrant for the Christian faith. But such is an opening to a grand distraction from due focus when there are proper fora for such discussions. KF

  177. 177
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, there is I believe a seven link limit for comments. Moderation suggests you hit that barrier. KF

  178. 178
    Viola Lee says:

    Just one example: KF continually mentions “culminating in the resurrection witnessed by 500.”

    But that is not what we have: we have one story about 500 witness, written quite a few years later. What we do not have is 500 independent, contemporary personal witness accounts.

    These are different. The theme of the post is believing things one knows are not true, and WJM has pointed out the contortions Christian apologists go through to somehow justify the fact billions of people are condemned to hell because they don’t believe Christianity is not evil.

    The two things I wrote above about “500 witnesses” are not anywhere equivalent.

    Can you agree that is a true statement, KF?

    Dylan Verse, from “Trouble in Mind”:

    The truth is far from you, so you know you got to lie
    Then you’re all the time defending what you can never justify

  179. 179
    Querius says:

    Ram @171,

    Where in the Hebrew bible does it assert that the Davidic Messiah would be a sin bearer for humanity?

    I could tell you, but your head would explode. It has to do with why ancient Jewish scholars believed in two messiahs. Let’s leave it at that. And yes, I study the Tanakh: Masoretic, Septuagint, occasionally the Syriac Peshitta, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    If this thread is going to turn into a Bible study, I’m all in when it comes to the Hebrew Bible. Any takers?

    No, it’s not. This is the wrong forum.

    So why not go back to the OP or how about answering some of the questions raised?

    For example,

    In contrast, I don’t see them cursing Nature for its fangs and claws that result in ETERNAL DEATH for its victims. They don’t complain about the AMORAL behavior constantly displayed by animals in nature, whose lives are also typically “nasty, brutish, and short” to quote Hobbes. As a result, shouldn’t we conclude that even Nature alone is completely unfair and evil?

    -Q

  180. 180
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Ram
    Where in the Hebrew bible does it assert that the Davidic Messiah would be a sin bearer for humanity?
    I’ll give you a hint…
    It doesn’t exist.
    –Ram the Jew

    Oops! You get it wrong . Again.
    For the record ,not for Ram:

    The Forbidden Chapter: Isaiah 53 in the Hebrew Bible

    You’re obviously not a Jew nor a Jewish scholar.

    Well…to be Jewish scholar doesn’t guarantee the truth because some “Jewish scholars” killed Jesus (among them a high-priest , priests, judges, etc…)

    believe in a monstrous god who monstrously tortures people forever

    😳 Oops.. again you forgot to take your pills.

  181. 181
    StephenB says:

    Ram:

    The bottom line, most of the Christians around here believe in a monstrous god who monstrously tortures people forever when it’s not necessary for said god’s bliss or existence. In fact, creation itself is not necessary for said god’s bliss or existence.

    The eternity and the intensity of the suffering in Hell are the products of a soul being radically separated from God. It is a simple cause and effect relationship. God does not “inflict torture” on the damned soul; the damned soul simply experiences the pain of separation. In effect, you are demanding that God pry the suffering away from the separation. This is not only physically impossible; it is logically impossible.

    To be separated from what is good for you is to experience pain for as long as that separation is in effect. This is true even in the present life. If you are separated from air, food, or water, you will suffer because suffering is inherent in the separation of the body from what is good for it.

    The difference, though, is this: When you divorce yourself from God in this life, you don’t experience the full measure of suffering that separation causes because you continue to receive many of the same blessings as everyone else. You still enjoy the warmth of the sun and the refreshment of the falling rain. It is only when you are totally separated from God and His blessings that you suffer the pains of the damned.

    So the real question is about who is responsible for the suffering of the damned souls. I say it is not the God who strives to establish and maintain an intimate relationship with his creatures (The Christian God) but rather the creature who insists on being separated from Him. Under the circumstances, it is the creature that is making the evil choices, not God.

    Annihilation is not a reasonable alternative because it is not necessarily the most merciful option. There are many who would prefer the suffering of conscious freedom in order to use it as opportunity to blaspheme God in their timeless state of existence. There are also many who would prefer non existence because they want to end the suffering at any cost. Still, the question persists: Why should God grant the wishes of those who prefer non-existence at the expense of those who want conscious freedom?

  182. 182
    Origenes says:

    SB @136: I know that I am wasting my time on this one, but here we go anyway. You are the origin of the awareness of your existence, which is subjective, but you are not the origin of the fact of your existence. which is objective. The origin of your existence (or the fact of your existence) is the one who brought you into being, namely the Creator. Neither you nor your awareness played any role whatsoever in that event.

    If by ‘objective’ is meant ‘originating from the creator’, then what is not-objective? If “I exist” or “I am self-aware” are not ‘subjective’ claims because the creator is the origin of my existence and self-awareness, then what is ‘subjective’?

    Are you going to hijack yet another thread with this nonsense?

    Are you referring to the ‘nonsense’ that “I am self-aware” is a claim made by a subject about himself (a subject) about a fundamantally private subjective experience?

    SB @138: If the subject and the object were not connected, or if they were not distinct, no one could ever know anything.

    Really? “I exist” & “I am self-aware” are claims where subject and object are not distinct things. It stems from the “I” perceiving itself. Subjective for sure, and yet it constitutes fundamental knowledge. How many times do I have to point this out?

  183. 183
    Viola Lee says:

    Origenes, I said something similar at 139: They [our beliefs, including moral ones] are knowledge of ourself. When we contemplate and experience our inner lives, the “object” of our knowledge is an inner state accessible only to ourselves. We are both subject and object in respective to our internal lives.”

  184. 184
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen writes, “the creature who insists on being separated from Him. Under the circumstances, it is the creature that is making the evil choices, not God.”

    What about all the billions of people who were born into a culture of another religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and many minor non-western religions, and who have grown up as devout members of those religions. Have they made “evil choices” to not become Christians?

  185. 185
    Origenes says:

    VL @139, 182

    When we contemplate and experience our inner lives, the “object” of our knowledge is an inner state accessible only to ourselves. We are both subject and object in respective to our internal lives.

    I agree fully. Very well stated.
    I also agree with this:

    But there is no evidence that these moral truths really do exist in any form outside of human beings.

    The fact that we (almost) unanimously converge on the judgment that it is evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster can be readily explained by the fact that no one likes to be put in a garbage bag and be thrown in a dumpster, and that socially aware people apply the golden rule. So, indeed, it doesn’t necessarily point to an ‘objective’ moral command originating from a realm outside of humanity.

  186. 186
    StephenB says:

    SB If the subject and the object were not connected, or if they were not distinct, no one could ever know anything.

    Origenes:

    Really?

    Yes, really.

    “I exist” & “I am self-aware” are claims where subject and object are not distinct things. It stems from the “I” perceiving itself. Subjective for sure, and yet it constitutes fundamental knowledge.

    All facts are objective. All experiences are subjective. The claim that you exist and the means by which you discover that you exist (your judgement and mental processes) are all subjective; but the truth value in that claim (the incontestable *fact* you exist) is objective, All facts, *including facts about yourself*, transcend your conscious awareness. Put another way, your existence does not, as you seem to believe, depend on your self awareness. Even if you were not aware of your existence, you would still exist. Your awareness of your existence is distinct from, but connected to, the fact of your existence. Through your subjective processes, you come to know an objective fact. The epistemology of grasping a truth is very simple: Subject = the knower; Object = the thing known. Try to grasp the meaning if that DISTINCTION.

  187. 187
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen writes, “All facts, *including facts about yourself*, transcend your conscious awareness.”

    Where do they reside? If I am aware that I have a certain belief, or other piece of knowledge about myself, that I perceive internally and that no one else can experience, how does this “fact” exist outside of myself in some transcendent way?

  188. 188
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    What about all the billions of people who were born into a culture of another religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and many minor non-western religions, and who have grown up as devout members of those religions. Have they made “evil choices” to not become Christians?

    Of course not. All those who are, indeed, ignorant of Christ’s saving actions will not be held accountable for their lack of knowledge, unless their ignorance is willful. They are responsible only for following the moral truths that they know about. No one enters Hell except through voluntary fault. I am beginning to understand why you hate the Christian religion so much. You seem to know almost nothing about it.

  189. 189
    Viola Lee says:

    I do not hate Christian religion, but it looks like you won’t take my word for it.

    So what happens to the Buddhists when they die if they don’t go to heaven and they don’t go to hell?

  190. 190
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,
    Everyone is held responsible for the light that they have and God’s judgement is completely fair. If you demand justice, you will receive justice, and if you sincerely ask for mercy, you will receive mercy. One must do this during one’s life here on earth, otherwise your decision would be made under duress.

    No one can accurately predict how some other person will be judged. I would expect that there will be some surprises. Personally, I do think I’ll see Lao Tsu in God’s kingdom.

    But getting back to the subject of the OP, what do you think of this . . .

    In contrast, I don’t see them cursing Nature for its fangs and claws that result in ETERNAL DEATH for its victims. They don’t complain about the AMORAL behavior constantly displayed by animals in nature, whose lives are also typically “nasty, brutish, and short” to quote Hobbes. As a result, shouldn’t we conclude that even Nature alone is completely unfair and evil?

    -Q

  191. 191
    Viola Lee says:

    Fairness and goodness (or unfairness and evil) are properties of creatures that have the knowledge and will to order their actions, such as humans, and (theoretically, for those who believe in them) Gods. A tiger is not evil when it catches a deer. The universe is neither fair or not fair. Asking whether nature is unfair or not is like asking whether the ocean is proud: it’s a category error.

    I’ll note that you personify Nature by capitalizing the word. If nature were is not Nature: it’s not a conscious, willful entity capable of moral judgments the way humans are, and God is (to those who believe.). I don’t think this is particularly relevant to the discussion.

  192. 192
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @190,

    Excellent. So, “If nature were is not Nature: it’s not a conscious, willful entity capable of moral judgments the way humans are . . .” then where do conscious moral judgments originate?

    And aren’t you the least bit bothered that Nature (or nature) condemns its living things to a cruel and unjust ETERNAL DEATH or are you amoral?

    And yes, this is indeed relevant to the original OP regarding babies in dumpsters:

    As I have said before, no sane person actually lives their life as if materialism is true.

    True or false?

    -Q

  193. 193
    Viola Lee says:

    Quierius asks, “… then where do conscious moral judgments originate?”

    In human beings. That’s what I and Origenes and other are saying.

    And I’m not a materialist, so your true/false question doesn’t apply to what I am discussing.

    Also, when an animal dies, there is no ETERNAL DEATH, although I don’t know why the all caps. The animal is just dead, but there is nothing that continues on dead for eternity. Their life is just over. And you continue to personify nature: nature does not condemn anything. Condemnation is not something nature does: the word and quality just don’t apply to nature.

    So I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    Vl, selective hyperskepticism gambit. You know the value and validity of eyewitness lifetime testimony and record with good chain of custody. The text you disparage is clearly a record of the early official testimony dating to 35 – 38 AD (on events c 30 AD) and reflects Aramaic, e.g. Kepha. In context, it is cited AD 55 to answer a controversy and in effect the point is, the majority are yet alive, go talk to them; AD 65 and the Nero persecution being yet a decade in the future and Gallio’s c AD 51 decision having powerful restraining effect, that worthy being Seneca’s brother. You don’t do that sort of appeal in answer to a challenge without facts. And in fact 20+ witnesses are readily identifiable and we have writings from a good number of these. But of course it remains that you have a link in 96, and that is already once removed from the OP focus. KF

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, it is regrettably obvious that you have not reckoned with the substance in 96, especially the direct citation of a foundational source. SB and Q are quite correct on judgement by responsiveness to the light one has or has reasonable access to. I note for brevity, Rom 2:7, where its context is laid out in 96: ” 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Note the contrast in v 8, regarding ” those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” who face God’s just wrath for abuse of the gifts of responsible, rational freedom that open up a world of truth in love, a new order of good in the cosmos. Where, vv 14 – 15 point out how “the work of the law is written on [our] hearts, while [our] conscience also bears witness, and [our] conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse [us].” As, from 13:8 – 10, neighbour love embeds right conduct starting with something highly relevant to OP, respect for right to life. In short the objection you posed reflects a strawman caricature of the Christian teaching, as was there in your 86 as was answered for record in 96. That the caricature still appears ~ 100 comments later in 184 speaks, tellingly and sadly. KF

  196. 196
    kairosfocus says:

    VL and Querius, for record, the pivotal issue is to reckon with our error proneness. Our first person experience, perception, contemplation, expectation, decision, opinion etc are all reflective of our being finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill willed or even sometimes stubborn to the point of willful obtuseness. We therefore have a need and duty to apply responsible filtering via right reason to attain adequate reliability and warrant. This even applies to the degree of trust with awareness of limitations we should apply to senses such as sight, hearing, etc. likewise to our reasoning etc. That which is so adequately warranted is objective, reasonably independent of that error proneness. Seven year olds are aware of this, there has been no good reason for this to have been belaboured distractively for months and used to sidetrack discussion after discussion, including on absolutely pivotal questions for our civilisation. That it continues to come up with unresponsiveness to due explanation speaks sad volumes. KF

  197. 197
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    VL and Querius, for record, the pivotal issue is to reckon with our error proneness.

    Which is why it is important for our reasoning to account for things that are self-evidently true and necessarily true. As you and Mr. Arrington point out, there self-evidently true moral statements that need to be accounted for as true in our worldviews. You and others have constantly beat that drum.

    If anyone thinks there are conditions in which tossing a baby in the garbage is not evil, their reasoning/worldview is flawed. I agree. That is a problem for moral subjectivists and relativists.

    The problem for you and SB and others is: eternal torment is evil. It is not just, merciful or loving. That is self-evidently true. You’re doing the same thing you accuse so many others of here: you’re trying to justify an unjustifiable evil. No argument, no logical arrangement of metaphysics can change that fact.

    If we are so error-prone as to make such an enormous, fundamental mistake in recognizing what is evil as that, then there is no firm footing to be found anywhere to ground our reasoning about anything. The reason I can confidently say that you are in error, KF, is because you’re trying to convince me and others here that A=Not-A.

    In any other relationship, everyone would immediately agree that attempting to coerce someone to love you under threat of pain and suffering is sick and twisted. It is abhorrent to the core. It is self-evidently evil. We all know this.

  198. 198
    William J Murray says:

    I’m going to break a comment I attempted earlier down into parts so I can keep the links. This information will lay the groundwork for a evidential and eye-witness argument to follow.

    When it comes to afterlife dispensation, there is an ENORMOUS amount of evidence that the Christian-binary system of “heaven vs hell” is not the case:

    ADC (After Death Communication) in the form of signs, mental-auditory, physical auditory, semi-physical and fully physical manifestation contact, scents and touch, both waking an in dreams. Research data and website about ADCs. Book that examines this evidence: Hello From Heaven.
    https://www.adcrf.org/houck_research.htm
    https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Heaven-Research-After-Death-Communication-Confirms/dp/0553576348/

    Mediums – tested, highly-observed, credible physical, evidential, and direct-voice communication, including decades of rigorous, scientific experimentation and study by the University of Virginia Dept. of Perceptual Studies and others.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGtiKd3o1PKzKNnBCPvJWcg
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17234565/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYbJVimZZYE The Scole Experiment

    ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication) using various technological means to communicate, including radio, TV, and various electronic devices, usually recorded, often under rigorous conditions, including the current successful development “soul phone” technology : “The SoulPhone™ refers to integrative technologies for communicating with postmaterial (so-called “deceased”) persons. Devices are being developed by Gary E. Schwartz PhD and his team at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness & Health.”
    https://www.thesoulphonefoundation.org/soulphone-overview/

    (continued}

  199. 199
    William J Murray says:

    (Continued from 198 above)

    Astral Projection and OOBEs (Out Of Body Experience) Countless, credible, first-person accounts of visiting the dead while fully conscious, in a “different world” that is fully physical and real. Michael Raduga developed an entirely secular training course that has a high success rate. However, allow me to let the US government to validate all of this in its own words.
    https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5.pdf

    NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – including cases where the brain has been drained of blood and the brainwaves are entirely flat for extended periods of time. Here is a good paper that examines the evidence and explains why scientists refuse to even consider the afterlife theory to explain the evidence, and ignore evidence that contradicts their anti-afterlife predisposition.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399124/
    https://nderf.org/

    Reincarnation Research that indicates that children not only often remember past lives, but often have physical markers on their bodies from past lives. Sample of evidence: https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/360/2016/12/REI35.pdf

    Hypnotic Regression to life between lives.

    Quantum Physics – 100 years of quantum physics research and experimentation has provided the scientific foundation for how and why our conscious experiences continue after physical death: our experience of physical reality occurs entirely in what we call “mind” or “consciousness.” There is no independent world of matter and energy. Consciousness causes our experience of a physical world, which includes our physical bodies; thus our consciousness is not dependent on our physical body. It cannot be. There are currently at least two groups of scientists who are working on mental reality theories of our existence:

    Quantum Gravity Research – https://quantumgravityresearch.org/portfolio/what-is-reality-movie/

    The Essentia Foundation – https://www.essentiafoundation.org/

    Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) – Co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution: ” My position is that the phenomena of communicating with those who crossed over – in their entirety do not require further confirmation. They are proved quite as well as facts are proved in other sciences.”

    Sir William Barrett, (1844-1925) – Professor of physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin for 37 years, “I’m absolutely convinced of the fact that those who once lived on earth can and do communicate with us. It is hardly possible to convey to the inexperienced an adequate idea of the strength and cumulative force of the evidence (for the afterlife).”

    Sir William Crookes (1832-1919) – A physicist and chemist, the most decorated scientist in his time. He discovered the element thallium and was a pioneer in radioactivity. ” “It is quite true that a connection has been set up between this world and the next.”

    Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940) – Professor of physics at University College in Liverpool, England and later principal at the University of Birmingham, Lodge achieved world fame for his pioneering work in electricity, including the radio and spark plug. ” I tell you with all my strength of the conviction which I can muster that we do persist, that people still continue to take an interest in what is going on, that they know far more about things on this earth than we do, and are able from time to time to communicate with us…I do not say it is easy, but it is possible, and I have conversed with my friends just as I can converse with anyone in this audience now.”

  200. 200
    William J Murray says:

    #198 @ #199 above represent a very, very brief outline of an enormous wealth of information and resources currently available about the afterlife. I personally know several scientists and one atheist, formerly a materialist, still a professional skeptic that, once apprised of this evidence, were convinced by it. Many of them, using various techniques that are teachable, have visited the afterlife for themselves and also communicate with the dead.

    There are at least tens of thousands of such people who have offered their testimony and evidence about visiting the afterlife, communications and interactions with the dead. As I showed in #199, it was considered by some of the leading scientists at the time to have been scientifically proved in the early 1900’s. The evidence and testimony goes back throughout recorded history; over the past 100+ years there has been a lot of additional scientific research that has only served to verify this information.

    What the information and evidence unambiguously demonstrates is something that we can keep very simple for the purposes of this conversation: the afterlife is clearly not regulated to only Christian-specific locations, thought, beliefs or lifestyles.

    Some of the Christians here claim that their views are evidence and logic-based. They talk a lot about the value of eye-witness testimony and the miracles depicted in the Bible. Let’s see how that holds up.

    Let’s assume that all of the witnessed miracles in the Bible are accurately depicted. Under this premise, supernatural beings capable of causing supernatural events exist. This is also claimed by many different religions and spiritual beliefs. I and hundreds of other people have personally witnessed such events. Countless people throughout time, in many different cultures, have testified to experiencing both supernatural beings and supernatural events. In logically assessing the evidence we are accepting arguendo as good, and under the premise that powerful, supernatural beings exist, in the Bible we have a supernatural being claiming to be “the” God. To support this claim, this being performs many miraculous, supernatural feats.

    Here’s the problem: since we agree supernatural beings can perform supernatural feats, how do we know that this particular being is “the” God? Here’s where the bad logic comes in: this being (remember, this is a hypothetical) is the one telling us what the evidence is that it is God. IOW, “you will know that I am God because X will happen and I can and will do Y.”

    How is any of that “evidence” that the being is who and what it claims to be? There is literally no way to make any independent, objective assessment about what “the” God could and would do outside of what that same being is saying. It’s all purely circular reasoning because, supposedly, this being wrote the book in question himself (albeit through human instruments.)

    A lot of the argument here is in the form of gaining evidence that what this being says in that book is true. Such as historical facts or other kinds of evidence, like the Shroud of Turin. However, just because an entity can tell you facts doesn’t mean that what that being says those facts mean is true. Scientists can tell us all sorts of facts that we can evidence ourselves; that does not mean that what scientists claim those facts mean is true.

    The actual evidence and eye-witness testimony we have about the afterlife clearly demonstrate that this being’s claims about what awaits us in the afterlife is not true. Also, its claim that it is the epitome of love, mercy, and justice is self-evidently false by demanding our love or else, and by its claim that eternal torment awaits those who do not actually love it. We all know without further explanation that this is not loving; it is not merciful; it is not just.

    Now, will any of those who advocate that this particular being is “the God” and has the intrinsic values of being loving, merciful and just, and who has told them about the binary nature of the afterlife, accept the argument and evidence here and admit there is something wrong with their worldview beliefs?

    Of course not. This is because their position is not really decided by the logic or the evidence. They have absolutely no non-circular evidence that this being is who and what it claims to be, other than a powerful supernatural entity making many grandiose claims about itself, many of which cannot be verified in any way, such as “creating the universe.”

  201. 201
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    William J Murray
    Astral Projection and OOBEs (Out Of Body Experience)

    NDEs (Near Death Experiences)

    Reincarnation Research that indicates

    Hypnotic Regression to life between lives.

    Quantum Physics – 100 years of quantum physics research and experimentation has provided the scientific foundation forhow and why our conscious experiences continue after physical death: our experience of physical reality occurs entirely in what we call “mind” or “consciousness.”

    Nope. Reincarnation (it’s just like a temporary hell) cancel moral law and make it redundant but EVERYTHING in this world gravitate around the moral law therefore all ideas that try to disregard the morality are FALSE.
    You make a big deal talking about “mind” or “consciousness” while ignoring the morality that is the central part of consciousness ?

  202. 202
    William J Murray says:

    LCD said:

    Nope. Reincarnation (it’s just like a temporary hell) cancel moral law and make it redundant but EVERYTHING in this world gravitate around the moral law therefore all ideas that try to disregard the morality are FALSE.

    Most non-Christian, traditional views o reincarnation include the concept of karma, which can easily be understood as an inescapable moral law, or an exact form of “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

    You make a big deal talking about “mind” or “consciousness” while ignoring morality that is the central part of consciousness ?

    Not only did I specifically make a point about morality in my comments above, my entire participation on this thread has been about 90% morality. I’ve spent at least 3 years on this site arguing both sides of the morality question. I’ve recently agreed that there is a sound argument for the concept of objective morality (in terms of it being applicable to all sentient beings.)

    The evidence clearly demonstrates that you are wrong that I have “ignored morality.” I wonder if you’ll be able to admit it?

  203. 203
    ET says:

    Viola Lee:

    Fairness and goodness (or unfairness and evil) are properties of creatures that have the knowledge and will to order their actions, such as humans, and (theoretically, for those who believe in them) Gods.

    Complete gibberish.

    Also, when an animal dies, there is no ETERNAL DEATH, although I don’t know why the all caps. The animal is just dead, but there is nothing that continues on dead for eternity.

    So dead things come back to life at some point? Or are you just a clueless troll?

  204. 204
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    WJM
    Most non-Christian, traditional views o reincarnation include the concept of karma, which can easily be understood as an inescapable moral law, or an exact form of “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

    Wrong. Again. If there is an inescapable moral law then is no free will because Hitler will reach “the non-self”(doesn’t matter if Hitler wants or not is forced to end in the same place with saints so WHERE IS THE MORAL LAW?) . Reincarnation make no sense , one come from a non-self and end in the same place. Why started in the first place ? 😆

    my entire participation on this thread has been about 90% morality.

    Nope. You admitted that the morality is not your highest value , the pleasure is and if the morality stays between you and your pleasure you will ignore morality and choose pleasure. IS THAT BECAUSE YOU THINK THAT YOU HAVE MORE LIFES SO YOU WILL FIX IT LATER? 😆 Reincarnation is a decoy.

  205. 205
    Origenes says:

    SB @186

    O: “I exist” & “I am self-aware” are claims where subject and object are not distinct things. It stems from the “I” perceiving itself. Subjective for sure, and yet it constitutes fundamental knowledge.

    SB: All facts are objective. All experiences are subjective. The claim that you exist and the means by which you discover that you exist (your judgement and mental processes) are all subjective; but the truth value in that claim (the incontestable *fact* you exist) is objective, All facts, *including facts about yourself*, transcend your conscious awareness.

    If this is true, than no subjective claims exist. Even to claim that one prefers vanilla flavor ice-cream over chocolate flavor ice-cream is “objective”, because, according to your tortured reasoning, the claim is about the *fact* of this preference, which somehow transcends the preference hold by the subject. In #182 I pointed to a similar problem. By wrongly conflating the terms ‘truth’ and ‘objective’, you leave no room for the subject.

  206. 206
    Viola Lee says:

    Very good point, Origenes. I wonder if Stephen will respond to this point, as well as my post 187, where I asked,

    Where do they reside? If I am aware that I have a certain belief, or other piece of knowledge about myself, that I perceive internally and that no one else can experience, how does this “fact” exist outside of myself in some transcendent way?

    Your point is that Stephen’s reasoning puts every judgment we have, from a moral belief to liking vanilla rather than chocolate, into a transcendent realm outside of our self.

  207. 207
    William J Murray says:

    LCD said:

    Nope. You admitted that the morality is not your highest value…

    That’s not the same as the claim that I’ve been ignoring it. It’s obvious I’ve been giving morality a lot of thought. Also, if you and I have two different ideas on what moral law is and how it works, that’s not the same thing as me “ignoring” moral law.

    BTW, I don’t believe in karma, at least not in the traditional sense. I think moral law is handled inescapably and naturally, but it doesn’t involve any eternal, final disposition. There is always the opportunity for change and growth and moving on to greener pastures.

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, the experience of preference is subjective, first person and we take the statement or observe behaviour as normally enough warrant. There is no transcending of the first person, but yet again you fail to deal with the focal matter of error proneness. KF

  209. 209
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, loaded language again, and of course an appeal to duty to justice by one who has tried to object to and dismiss those first duties and their branch on which we sit character. That already tells us much on the quality of reasoning. I have already pointed to two links for those who are genuinely perplexed, as a start point for dealing with the matter in more appropriate fora. As for, in your opinion, giving a soul that has habitually chosen separation from God what it desires and persists in is an act of injustice, that context speaks. KF

  210. 210
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: We can see how this thread spins itself into precisely the pointless, polarising exchange not balanced by truly expert counsels warned against, and a topic not proper to this blog. The truly perplexed are advised to go where there are panels of experts able to address at a suitable level, and links were already given. KF

  211. 211
    Viola Lee says:

    At 208, KF writes, “There is no transcending of the first person.”

    KF disagrees with Stephen. For the record.

  212. 212
    Viola Lee says:

    To KF at 209. I can assure you that I am not “genuinely perplexed”, so your links aren’t relevant.

  213. 213
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, once something is the case, it is real. If it is a first person experience, it is self authenticating as an experience, which is an internally accessible fact in the sense of a state of affairs knowable to that person and possibly communicable to others. As a sidebar, it is also a manifestation of self awareness, which is so communicable. If it so happens that the piece of experience is say:

    {} –> 0
    {0} –> 1
    {0,1} –> 2
    . . .

    {0,1,2 . . .} –> w,

    thence, N,Z,Q,R,CR* etc, we have a communicable warranted experience that is the first step to the study of the logic of structure and quantity. This topic is inherently abstract, is contemplated and warranted rationally [note the Godel issues . . .] and is objective, generally knowable. Of course, there are mathematical errors, which are guarded against through elaborate processes.

    The attempt to undermine the importance of distinguishing subjectivity and objectivity fails.

    And from the beginning, Mathematics as manifestly objective but about abstracta has been focal to my thoughts.

    KF

  214. 214
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you make your decision, also note that from 86 on I have pointed out specific misrepresentations in your thought and associated objections. KF

  215. 215
    ram says:

    LCD @180,

    Isaiah 53 makes no mention of the Davidic Messiah. Care to point to a verse in Isaiah 53 that you think does?

    –Ram

  216. 216
    ram says:

    Querius: I could tell you, but your head would explode. It has to do with why ancient Jewish scholars believed in two messiahs. Let’s leave it at that. And yes, I study the Tanakh: Masoretic, Septuagint, occasionally the Syriac Peshitta, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    As a Jew, I am well aware of speculations in this regard. And you are full of malarky.

    Point to evidence where the Davidic Messiah is a sin-bearer.

    You can’t.

    –Ram the Jew

  217. 217
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes something I mostly agree with:

    once something is the case, it is real. If it is a first person experience, it is self authenticating as an experience, which is an internally accessible fact in the sense of a state of affairs knowable to that person and possibly communicable to others. As a sidebar, it is also a manifestation of self awareness, which is so communicable.

    However, the experience itself is not directly communicable: we can communicate about the experience, but we can’t directly give others access to our internal experience. But in general I agree with what you wrote.

    And then you bring up math. However, we are not talking about math. We are talking about the phenomena in general, and in general the judgments, opinions, beliefs, etc. that are part of our self-awareness (awareness of our self) are the object of our internal experience and do not transcend ourself. Their existence is internal only. As said before, we are both the subject doing the experiencing and the object of the experience. (By the way, coming to terms with the mystery of this process of “looking at ourself” is one of the issues addressed in meditative practices in many religions.)

  218. 218
    ram says:

    Querius: why not go back to the OP or how about answering some of the questions raised?

    I’m not an atheist nor a materialist.

    –Ram

  219. 219
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, I think you will find that Q has put on the table a video discussion that addresses a specific text that is pivotal. KF

  220. 220
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, communicable does not here mean the other will have the same experience, but this is an era of communication technologies that successfully transmit meaningful messages that are effective. KF

  221. 221
    Viola Lee says:

    I agree. I just wanted to make the distinction between the experience and the communication about the experience. That’s all. We are in agreement.

  222. 222
    Viola Lee says:

    P.S. The fact that we are in “an era of communication technologies” is just an extension of the basic use of language to talk to other people. It doesn’t really add anything to the distinction between our internal experience, which only we are privy to, and our communication about our experience through language.

  223. 223
    chuckdarwin says:

    Don’t forget the Vulcan Mind-Meld. Quick and 100% accurate, if not completely safe…….

  224. 224
    Origenes says:

    VL @217

    However, the experience itself is not directly communicable: we can communicate about the experience, but we can’t directly give others access to our internal experience.

    A very important point IMO. We are dealing with a claim about a non-abstract phenomenon which is witnessed by one single person and which is fundamentally inaccessible to others.
    No definition of “objective” allows for such conditions.

    VL @206: Your point is that Stephen’s reasoning puts every judgment we have, from a moral belief to liking vanilla rather than chocolate, into a transcendent realm outside of our self.

    I did. However, I’m still not sure what Stephen means when he writes:

    The claim that you exist and the means by which you discover that you exist (your judgement and mental processes) are all subjective; but the truth value in that claim (the incontestable *fact* you exist) is objective, All facts, *including facts about yourself*, transcend your conscious awareness.

    … it seems to me that he implies that when a subjective claim is true, when it happens to be a *fact*, that this truth value changes the nature of the claim from ‘subjective’ to ‘objective’. This idea seems related to KF’s idea that once a (subjective) claim is reliably warranted it shapeshifts into an objective claim.
    The commonality in their ideas seems to be that ‘objective’ means ‘true’; and ‘subjective’ means something like errorprone or worse.
    In my view the claim “I am self-aware” is made by a subject, originates from a subject, and is about an aspect of the subject, and this aspect is something only the subject has access to. It is not a claim about “the *fact* of the claim”, as SB seems to imply. It is instead an ontological claim about a fundamentally private subjective experience.

  225. 225
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @193,

    Quierius asks, “… then where do conscious moral judgments originate?”
    In human beings.

    How did they uniquely arise in human beings ex nihilo? For example, chimpanzees occasionally kill and eat their own kind. So do many other animals. Why should humans act any differently?

    Or is it H. sapiens sapiens über alles?

    Also, when an animal dies, there is no ETERNAL DEATH, although I don’t know why the all caps. The animal is just dead, but there is nothing that continues on dead for eternity. Their life is just over. And you continue to personify nature: nature does not condemn anything. Condemnation is not something nature does: the word and quality just don’t apply to nature.

    On the contrary, an animal’s death is indeed ETERNAL DEATH—unless of course you believe in reincarnation. Nature is neither fair or moral even by your standards, but you don’t complain about nature. You simply accept it as . . . natural. Unless it involves a family member or yourself, in which case the blame falls on God.

    So, the universal ETERNAL DEATH for humans physically regardless of their good or evil behavior is fine with you. But what’s not fine with you is the hypothetical possibility that your spirit might be judged by God based on your behavior. Do you see the irony?

    Now all of a sudden, everything becomes unfair for some reason. The hypothetical God cannot possibly exist, you argue, because the Creator of numerous impossibly complicated chemical cycles, organs, organelles, self-repair, and inter-dependencies in our bodies, somehow is too weak or too stupid to be infinitely just and fair. That the “second death” as Jesus called it, an eternal spiritual death, should be based on God’s judgment is for some reason impossibly unfair and therefore unbelievable.

    Please note, my intention is not to judge you, but to challenge the inconsistency in your beliefs: nature is not held accountable for its obvious unfairness, but your concept of fairness arose from within nature. Right?

    -Q

  226. 226
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @196,

    VL and Querius, for record, the pivotal issue is to reckon with our error proneness. Our first person experience, perception, contemplation, expectation, decision, opinion etc are all reflective of our being finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill willed or even sometimes stubborn to the point of willful obtuseness.

    Well said. Truth is external to us and reason, duty, moral law are guideposts and fence posts. But we should remain humble in all our endeavors, open to instruction, and observant in everything. Humility is also a requirement for authentic, non-doctrinaire science.

    That it continues to come up with unresponsiveness to due explanation speaks sad volumes.

    Indeed it does. And you’re simply trying to point out the intrinsic inconsistencies.

    -Q

  227. 227
    Querius says:

    Ram the Jew@216,

    Point to evidence where the Davidic Messiah is a sin-bearer.
    You can’t.
    –Ram the Jew

    Haha, very funny! So, point to evidence where Mashiach ben Yosef is a king?

    You can’t.

    But, but as the prophet Zekarya promised, you will look up and see Mashiach ben David with your own eyes . . .

    -Q

  228. 228
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @219,

    Ram, I think you will find that Q has put on the table a video discussion that addresses a specific text that is pivotal.

    I’m not an atheist nor a materialist. -Ram

    Surely Ram has an opinion on this subject. (smile)

    -Q

  229. 229
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, do you apply the same standards in judging error proneness to yourself as you do to others? How do you know that your judgments, opinions, etc. are not in error? I know you will invoke “warrant” and “credibility” and so on, but those are also subject to error. I don’t see how harping on the possibility of errors changes things: with due respective for our human fallibility, I believe that my moral judgments arise from me and reside in me. I experience them directly, and I experience no sense that they come from or reside anyplace else, nor that the refer to or to be evaluated against some universal, objective and/or transcendent stand. I might be wrong, but you might be wrong in thinking otherwise. So let’s assume that each of us is susceptible to error, and put forth our best arguments from there.

  230. 230
    Origenes says:

    KF @208

    …. yet again you fail to deal with the focal matter of error proneness. KF

    In #132 I asked you to clarify. I asked “We are error-prone in what exactly? Everything?” You refuse to answer this simple question.
    If we are error-prone in everything, then rationality is not possible KF. There would be no sense in discussing anything. So, you need to specify your broad claim.

  231. 231
    ram says:

    Querius: But, but as the prophet Zekarya promised, you will look up and see Mashiach ben David with your own eyes . . .

    You just proved yourself a troll.

    Quote chapter and verse where Zechariah equated the Davidic King with a sin-bearer.

    You’re a faker who’s been had.

    I would love to do a YouTube podcast with any Christian who wants do discuss these issues.

    Any takers?

    –Ram the Jew

  232. 232
    ram says:

    Here’s a foretaste

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnV6yE339Hk

    –Ram the Jew

  233. 233
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    If this is true, than no subjective claims exist. Even to claim that one prefers vanilla flavor ice-cream over chocolate flavor ice-cream is “objective”, because, according to your tortured reasoning, the claim is about the *fact* of this preference, which somehow transcends the preference hold by the subject. In #182 I pointed to a similar problem. By wrongly conflating the terms ‘truth’ and ‘objective’, you leave no room for the subject.

    A claim rises to the level of objective fact only if it is knowable by those other than the claimant. That is what makes it objective. There are many outside of your subjective experience who know that you exist. They do not simply take it on faith. So when you apprehend your existence through subjective processes, such as the act of reasoning, you transcend the subjective realm insofar as you have also apprehended an objective truth about your relationship with the extra-mental world that you interact with.

    On the other hand, if you make a claim about your preference for vanilla ice cream, its truth value is unknowable by others. Even if they take you at your word and believe you, they cannot know it for a fact. The broader point is that you can come to know an objective truth, even about yourself, not just by concluding it from your self awareness, but also by confirming it through all of your “I – thou” relationships.

    The problem with your position is that you seem to reduce everything to the subjective realm, even to the point of thinking that you are the “source” and the “origin” of your self awareness. You are not. Logically the source of your self awareness, your consciousness, and your existence must come from the outside. Someone or something external to you had to bring those qualities into being.

    So the subjective quality of your personal and private experiences remain in tact. What you experience, think, feel, and prefer are subjective, but when you come to know a fact about the real world in which you live, you have entered into the objective realm, which includes, truth and error, right and wrong, and justice and injustice.

  234. 234
    zweston says:

    Ram, who is the subject of Isaiah 52 & 53?

    Ram, how do you have your sins atoned for now?

    Do you hope to rebuild the temple?

    Who will the messiah be and what will they do?

    What about Daniels prediction about the weeks of years?

    Dr. Brown on his debate with Tovia Singer…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5-TJPz6Y94

  235. 235
    Origenes says:

    Ste[henB @233

    A claim rises to the level of objective fact only if it is knowable by those other than the claimant. That is what makes it objective.

    You are being perfectly clear here. One witness only does not make “objective fact.”

    There are many outside of your subjective experience who know that you exist. They do not simply take it on faith.

    Here is the first problem. When I say “I exist” I do not refer to my body. Perhaps you do, as you have said before, but I do not. When I say “I” I refer to my inner self, which is only accessible and knowable to me. So, in my understanding “I exist” does not meet your requirements of “objective fact”, because there is just one single witness, namely me.
    Perhaps WRT the claim “I am self-aware” the problem is also clear to you.

    So when you apprehend your existence through subjective processes, such as the act of reasoning, you transcend the subjective realm insofar as you have also apprehended an objective truth about your relationship with the extra-mental world that you interact with.

    I’m not sure if I understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that I apprehend the truth about “I exist” because of some relationship to the outside (an extra-mental world)? I can assure you that I believe that this is not the case. I apprehend the truth of “I exist” purely on my own. No involvement of anything but me.

    On the other hand, if you make a claim about your preference for vanilla ice cream, its truth value is unknowable by others. Even if they take you at your word and believe you, they cannot know it for a fact.

    Why is that they cannot know it for a fact Stephen? Because they do not have access to my taste? Similarly to how they do not have access to my self-awareness or to my viewpoint, my “being me”?
    What’s the difference?

    The broader point is that you can come to know an objective truth, even about yourself, not just by concluding it from your self awareness, but also by confirming it through all of your “I – thou” relationships.

    You have to explain this idea to me, because I do not follow.

    The problem with your position is that you seem to reduce everything to the subjective realm, even to the point of thinking that you are the “source” and the “origin” of your self awareness. You are not. Logically the source of your self awareness, your consciousness, and your existence must come from the outside. Someone or something external to you had to bring those qualities into being.

    As I have said before, if we except that idea in this context of objective vs subjective, then nothing is subjective.

    So the subjective quality of your personal and private experiences remain in tact. What you experience, think, feel, and prefer are subjective …

    No. You have to be consequent here. According to you, all those things you list (what I experience, think, feel, and prefer ..) are not subjective at all, instead, just like my self-awareness and existence they are brought into being by someone or something external to me.
    According to your reasoning nothing is subjective.

  236. 236
    zweston says:

    Ram, listening to this… Tovia says that Jews that receive Jesus as savior are headed for hell and will miss out on heaven…. so tell me, do Jews believe in heaven and hell?

    Go to 35 minutes… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYfZxkrqS_E

  237. 237
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, we both know about first principles of right reason, are educated in reasoning and linked warrant, including for Mathematics and logic. So, your rhetorical gambit fails. You know we are error prone but can reason correctly, though such is limited. In many cases starting with science and general day to day reality our reasoning is defeasible but can be highly reliable, compare standards of “proof” in courts of law, e.g. beyond reasonable doubt does not mean beyond arbitrary hyperskepticism. Even in Math, as noted to you, there is Godel. That said, there are specific and relatively rare results that are self evident and utterly certain on pain of absurdity. Objectivity is compatible with residual doubts and open endedness, especially as so much of our knowledge is weak sense: warranted, credibly true [thus, reliable] belief. Your dismissive language about “harping on” is rhetorically obfuscatory regarding the need for responsible warrant given our error proneness as finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill willed creatures. Frankly, you know better. KF

  238. 238
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, you have long since been adequately answered. Indeed, you were present when such matters were discussed in a series on logic and first principles years ago. Our error proneness is a general but not crippling characteristic, that’s why responsible, adequate warrant confers reliability. As you have known by the time you were seven years of age and had been taught to cross check working in doing sums. KF

  239. 239
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, I suggest that the testimony of a known habitually truthful person is adequate warrant for practical purposes so residual doubts or possibility of error responsibly becomes negligible. This reminds me of the moment in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where character was telling on Lucy’s encounter with Narnia by virtue of a wardrobe made from apple wood deriving from a tree of Narnian seed. KF

  240. 240
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, Isa 52:13 – 53:12. Notice the discussion in the already linked video, above. KF

  241. 241
    StephenB says:

    .
    Origenes:

    When I say “I exist” I do not refer to my body. Perhaps you do, as you have said before, but I do not.

    My position is that your “I” consists of your physical body and your nonphysical soul. In other words, you are a composite of body and soul, which would include your “inner self.”

    When I say “I” I refer to my inner self, which is only accessible and knowable to me. So, in my understanding “I exist” does not meet your requirements of “objective fact”, because there is just one single witness, namely me.

    But there are many witnesses to your existence. I, for example, have access to your soul because I interact with its faculties, such as your faculty of intelligence and [free] will. Unlike you, I don’t experience their operations, but I do experience their effects. That is how I know, as an objective fact, that you exist. You also know, as fact, that you exist albeit through different means (deduction), but we both can arrive at that same truth. That is precisely why it is objective; we both have access to that same truth.

    The fact of your existence is a truth not only about you, but also about the world that you inhabit, namely the world outside of your consciousness. It is an objective fact that you exist in the real world, not just in your own mind. In other words, you exist as an individual being and a social being.

    I apprehend the truth of “I exist” purely on my own. No involvement of anything but me.

    For the most part, I agree. You can deduce your own existence solely through subjective means and in the absence of any outside information to confirm it. However, once you arrive at that truth, the investigation doesn’t necessarily end there. We can go on to say that you don’t exist in a vacuum, as indicated above.

    Why is that they cannot know it for a fact Stephen? [that you prefer vanilla ice cream.] Because they do not have access to my taste?

    Precisely. I cannot experience the effects of your taste glands the same way that I can experience the effects of your intellectual faculty, from which I can infer your existence..

    SB: —The problem with your position is that you seem to reduce everything to the subjective realm, even to the point of thinking that you are the “source” and the “origin” of your self awareness. You are not. Logically the source of your self awareness, your consciousness, and your existence must come from the outside. Someone or something external to you had to bring those qualities into being.

    As I have said before, if we except that idea in this context of objective vs subjective, then nothing is subjective.

    That doesn’t follow at all. Everything that pertains to the subject is subjective. Indeed, it is through subjective means that we can apprehend objective truths.

    According to you, all those things you list (what I experience, think, feel, and prefer ..) are not subjective at all, instead, just like my self-awareness and existence they are brought into being by someone or something external to me.

    You misunderstand. I have stated many times that all those operations and faculties (experiencing, thinking, feeling, willing, preferring etc,) are all subjective. In that sense, you can be the cause of your own thoughts and feelings. However, – and this is the critical point – you cannot be the cause of – or the source of – or the origin of your *capacity* to think and feel because those powers were bequeathed to you from something or someone from the outside. They certainly did not come from you. If they had not already been set in place you could not think about anything.

  242. 242
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Let not forget that the Jews think that the devil is good. Go figure that. “The devil is praying for us not to fall when he is testing us. 😆
    Also some of them believe in reincarnation. Go figure that.

    Hey Ram why did you omit to tell us that devil is good? Not a word about your belief that devil is good ? From your comments I hear only that :”God is evil .” 🙄

  243. 243
    Origenes says:

    SB @

    But there are many witnesses to your existence. I, for example, have access to your soul because I interact with its faculties, such as your faculty of intelligence and [free] will. Unlike you, I don’t experience their operations, but I do experience their effects. That is how I know, as an objective fact, that you exist. You also know, as fact, that you exist albeit through different means (deduction), but we both can arrive at that same truth. That is precisely why it is objective; we both have access to that same truth.

    No you do not have access to the truth I arrive at. I arrive at a self-evident truth. For me it is impossible to coherently deny my own existence. You don’t have access to this self-evident truth. You (and others) experience phenomena that can arguably be best explained by the existence of an intelligent free agent named Origenes — an inference to the best explanation.

    SB: On the other hand, if you make a claim about your preference for vanilla ice cream, its truth value is unknowable by others. Even if they take you at your word and believe you, they cannot know it for a fact.

    O: Why is that they cannot know it for a fact Stephen? [that you prefer vanilla ice cream.] Because they do not have access to my taste?

    SB: Precisely. I cannot experience the effects of your taste glands the same way that I can experience the effects of your intellectual faculty, from which I can infer your existence..

    In principle you can observe me choosing and enjoying vanilla ice cream every time. Those are behavioral effects of my taste glands. What is the principle difference with the behavioral effects of my intellectual faculty? Why do you say that you can experience the latter but not the former?

    – – – –
    KF @

    Origenes, you have long since been adequately answered.

    Is there no limit to your error-proneness?

  244. 244
    William J Murray says:

    To sum up what I presented in comments #198 & #199, inasmuch as anything has ever been proved, the afterlife has been proved since the late 1800’s/Early 1900s. The evidence supporting this has grown exponentially ever since. I detail some of the resources and reason that we can confidently know that what we call “the afterlife” definitely exists.

    The question then becomes: what is the afterlife like?

    The answer to this question has been definitively answered by the evidence. What we call “the afterlife” is the continuation of our conscious identity in a manner that supports and provides contextual support for the nature of that identity. There are countless afterlife worlds providing all sorts of conditions and experiential realities for every individual consciousness/identity. We have gained decades of evidence to support this via quantum physics research, credible mediumistic information, other forms of after death contact, NDEs, and reports from credible astral projection explorers like Jurgen Ziewe and Emanuel Swedenborg.

    By and large, most people that transition to the afterlife from here find themselves continuing forward in a very familiar set of conditions, such as a fully physical and real world with fully physical, fully functioning bodies. This is not based on spiritual belief or ideology, but rather on empirical, credible information. I’ve personally visited the afterlife several times via AP, and can vouch for this information.

    The people in the afterlife are just people, doing regular people things, living regular lives for the most part, albeit with different (some would say better) experiential conditions, such as not aging, not needing to eat, and having heightened senses and mental capacities to one degree or another, such as being able to more directly “manifest” physical objects, teleport, and use telepathy to communicate. These skills vary from person to person, and from “world” to “world” in the afterlife.

    Nature (animals and plants, oceans, rivers, mountains, etc.) exists in the afterlife, as do buildings, homes, communities, cities, technologies, arts, education, different religious and spiritual beliefs and organizations, scientific investigation and institutions, restaurants, theaters, jobs (if you need or desire, in one form or another,) form of currency (usually, tokens of appreciation, like a transfer of energy), relationships, etc. Our physical bodies are much more malleable to thought, depending on your skill and identity-beliefs.

    There are places in the afterlife that are less physical and represent the spiritual beliefs of some people there and here.

    What we call the “afterlife” is really, along with this world, just a continuum of experiential conditions for individual consciousness to experience together as we direct our path forward via intention and attention, both consciously and subconsciously.

    I don’t expect anyone here to actually deal with this evidence and what it demonstrates wrt the nature of what we experience when we die, and what what we call “the afterlife” is like, I just thought I’d generally sum it up for any interested onlookers who may wish to research all of this on their own. It’s not generally known that there is so much evidence, or what the evidence indicates.

  245. 245
    Querius says:

    Regarding Ram @231,

    You just proved yourself a troll. Quote chapter and verse where Zechariah equated the Davidic King with a sin-bearer. You’re a faker who’s been had.

    Notice that this is simply an ad hominem attack and added no new information.

    Actually, I just love such attacks because it means that the person has no cogent response or any new information. They’re admitting that they’ve lost the argument.

    No, I’m not going to do any homework for Ram. Either he knows exactly what I’m referring to and wants to waste my time or he doesn’t and will simply deny that the prophets meant what they plainly wrote.

    Mashiach ben David and Mashiach be Josef asserted the Rabbis of old. Or maybe Ram thinks they were fools.

    Kairosfocus @219 suggested

    Ram, I think you will find that Q has put on the table a video discussion that addresses a specific text that is pivotal.

    But there was no response to that either. Hmmm.

    -Q

  246. 246
    Origenes says:

    KF @

    Our error proneness is a general but not crippling characteristic, that’s why responsible, adequate warrant confers reliability.

    “I, Origenes, exist” is a self-evident truth to me. To no one else is “I, Origenes, exist” a self-evident truth. My existence is coherently deniable by anyone but me. It is my experience exclusively that I cannot coherently deny my own existence.
    Again, it is exclusively my self-evident truth. No one else can assist me with this. I am on my own in my knowledge that I self-evidently exist. I have to trust myself on this one.

    Now you tell me I am error-prone, that I cannot trust myself, and that I need adequate warrant.

    I am reaching but there is no warrant for my existence outside of me, let alone “adequate warrant” that “confers reliability.”
    The self-evident truth “I, Origenes, exist” comes from a subject [me], is about a subject [me], is held by the subject [me], is only self-evident to the subject [me] and is only warranted by the subjective experience of undeniability by the subject [me].

  247. 247
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    “I, Origenes, exist” is a self-evident truth to me. To no one else is “I, Origenes, exist”

    Irrelevant. Why? Because you are not special or unique there are billions like you that can understand what is the meaning of “I [ insert here any name] exist.” Therefore: OBJECTIVE TRUTH. 😎

  248. 248
    zweston says:

    Ram, wanting a response to what Tovia Singer said about hell…I wonder where he got the concept?? It seems pretty consensus that Michael mopped him. Not that a debate determines truth.

  249. 249
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, you have put yourself in a place where the following applies, with due consequences, as I noted at 130:

    1: Is it true or false that we are error prone?

    2: If you say it is false, the matter is over, for cause.

    3: If you admit yes, then is it or is it not important to enhance reliability by applying a filtering process towards adequate warrant?

    4: If you say no, then it’s over.

    5: If you admit yes, then you know the difference between subjectivity and objectivity and why the objective is credibly independent of our subjectivity, having been adequately warranted.

    6: So, on any case, the substantial matter is over and your months of argument collapse.

    KF

    PS, you seem to also overlook that the testimony of a responsible witness is often adequate warrant and multiplication of such witnesses is powerfully reinforcing.

  250. 250
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    No you do not have access to the truth I arrive at.

    I have access to exactly the same truth that you do, namely that you exist. I know it as a fact. That I didn’t arrive at that truth by the same process is irrelevant to the point that it is the same truth.

    I arrive at a self-evident truth. For me it is impossible to coherently deny my own existence. You don’t have access to this self-evident truth.

    We both have access to the same truth. That is what makes it objective. If it was subjective, it would be known only by you. The difference is this: For you, the fact of your existence is self-evidently true. For me, the fact of your existence is true beyond any reasonable doubt. Not all objective truths are self evident truths. In fact, most are not.

    Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed the major problem with your hyper-subjective philosophy: You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel. These capacities or faculties, such as the faculties of intelligence and emotion, were bequeathed to you by something or someone outside of you. They certainly did not come from inside of you. Your subjectivist world view does not seem to recognize these external causal factors.

  251. 251
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen, is there anything then that is truly subjective only? Can you give an example?

  252. 252
    Origenes says:

    KF @

    … is it not important to enhance reliability by applying a filtering process towards adequate warrant?

    With certain things surely. However, obviously you cannot have warrant all the way down. Foundational to all knowledge is the subject.

    5: If you admit yes, then you know the difference between subjectivity and objectivity and why the objective is credibly independent of our subjectivity, having been adequately warranted.

    I have already addressed your proposal that ‘objective’ has only to do with warrant. Once more, perhaps you will grasp it this time:
    … suppose you make the claim “I prefer vanilla ice-cream over chocolate ice-cream” We all agree that this is an archetypal subjective claim, right? Now suppose further that there is adequate warrant for your claim independent from your subjectivity; witnesses, recorded behavioral patterns and so on. Does your claim shape-shift from subjective to objective due to the existence of this warrant?

    And then there is an even more profound problem with your idea of warrant independent from subjectivity. You accept that “I exist” & “I am self-aware” are self-evident truths. However the warrant [it’s self-evidency] is not independent of one’s subjectivity, which you demand it to be. The warrant lies within the subjective experience of not being able to coherently deny one’s own existence/self-awareness.

    But I repeat myself. This is my last post to you on this matter. You are free to proclaim once more that I have been adequately answered a long time ago.

  253. 253
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    Stephen, is there anything then that is truly subjective only? Can you give an example?

    I have been giving examples all along. Where has everyone been? The list is almost endless. Here are a few more examples of things that exist in the subjective realm: feelings, opinions, hopes, dreams, experiences, preferences, or moral values (as opposed to moral truths) It could be almost anything that doesn’t rise to the level of fact or truth.

  254. 254
    Origenes says:

    StephenB, Viola Lee@

    Talking about vanilla flavor ice cream subjective preferences, you didn’t answer my question SB. I repeat it here for your convenience:

    SB: On the other hand, if you make a claim about your preference for vanilla ice cream, its truth value is unknowable by others. Even if they take you at your word and believe you, they cannot know it for a fact.

    O: Why is that they cannot know it for a fact Stephen? Because they do not have access to my taste?

    SB: Precisely. I cannot experience the effects of your taste glands the same way that I can experience the effects of your intellectual faculty, from which I can infer your existence..

    O: In principle you can observe me choosing and enjoying vanilla ice cream every time. Those are behavioral effects of my taste glands. What is the principle difference with the behavioral effects of my intellectual faculty? Why do you say that you can experience the latter but not the former?

  255. 255
    Origenes says:

    SB@

    Here are a few more examples of things that exist in the subjective realm: feelings, opinions, hopes, dreams, experiences, preferences, or moral values (as opposed to moral truths) It could be almost anything that doesn’t rise to the level of fact or truth.

    Amazing. Subjective is anything as long as it is not factual or true.
    What a ridiculous definition.
    Why not say it? Objective is just another word for “true.”

  256. 256
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen, you write, “Here are a few more examples of things that exist in the subjective realm: feelings, opinions, hopes, dreams, experiences, preferences, or moral values (as opposed to moral truths)”

    Then, Stephen, what is the relevance of your point that

    You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel. These capacities or faculties, such as the faculties of intelligence and emotion, were bequeathed to you by something or someone outside of you. They certainly did not come from inside of you. Your subjectivist world view does not seem to recognize these external causal factors.

    Of course, my “subjectivist” world view (not a term I use) recognizes that I, as a human being in this universe, exist due to external causal factors. However, I don’t know what those factors are, at least in the ultimate sense, but I don’t see how that changes the existential nature of my experiences.

    And of course the key issue here is, to use your distinction, I have moral values, which arise and reside within me, but I don’t see any evidence that moral truths exist that are outside of me (other than in other persons who have similar values).

    Someplace above you wrote, “A claim rises to the level of objective fact only if it is knowable by those other than the claimant.”

    That a tree exists outside my window is an objective fact its existence is knowable by virtually all human beings. My existence is an objective fact, you say, because that is knowable to both you and I, even though you know it only from the outside, without access to my conscious experience, and I know it both from the inside and the outside.

    But I don’t see how the objective moral truths that you claim exist are knowable in the same sense: you believe some significant things are moral that I don’t (we’ll avoid examples for now), and I don’t see how you can claim your truths are knowable by me other than by claiming they are your moral values, and trying to convince me to adopt them. I know you make arguments about why your moral truths have some better claim to being right, but really they have exactly the same existential nature as mine: they are subjective in the sense that the arise and reside in you just as mine arise and reside in me.

  257. 257
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    In principle you can observe me choosing and enjoying vanilla ice cream every time. Those are behavioral effects of my taste glands. What is the principle difference with the behavioral effects of my intellectual faculty? Why do you say that you can experience the latter but not the former?

    Even if I was in your physical presence, which I am not, I could not observe you choosing or preferring vanilla ice cream *over* chocolate ice cream. I could only observe you choosing vanilla ice cream. My experience of observing the behavioral effects of your taste glands would not inform me about your preferences. Even if you swooned with delight at the experience, I would have no way of knowing that you prefer vanilla over chocolate. You could behave that way even if you didn’t know chocolate ice cream exists. Or, maybe you would prefer to eat chocolate ice cream and would swoon even more at that experience.

    With your intellectual faculty, it is different. From my experience of observing its effects, such as your written prose and your arguments, I can conclude, with a high level of confidence, that you do, in fact, exist. Indeed, I do not even need to be in your physical presence to make that calculation.

    Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed the major problem with your hyper-subjective philosophy: You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel. These capacities or faculties, such as the faculties of intelligence and emotion, were bequeathed to you by something or someone outside of you. They certainly did not come from inside of you. As far as I can tell, your subjectivist world view does not recognize these external causal factors.

  258. 258
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen, I responded to that last paragraph when I wrote,

    Of course, my “subjectivist” world view (not a term I use) recognizes that I, as a human being in this universe, exist due to external causal factors. However, I don’t know what those factors are, at least in the ultimate sense, but I don’t see how that changes the existential nature of my experiences.

    I also responded back earlier when I wrote,

    Stephen, you ask two things: what do I think about the source of self-awareness and about the source of my existence.

    I’m not sure whether you mean ultimate or proximate cause. I believe consciousness (or more broadly, mind) is a part of human nature, and our self-awareness is one of the manifestations of consciousness. So our mind is the proximate cause of our self-awareness. The biological world is the proximate cause of my physical existence as a specific physical being. I do not know, and I don’t think anyone does, how the mind and the body exist as a complementary whole, and how they interact back-and-forth with each other.

    I do not know, and don’t believe anyone does, the ultimate cause of consciousness and mind, any more than we know how the physical world came to be. I know, of course, that Christians believe both were created by God, but other religions have other ideas, and I personally think this is unknowable.

    But I take my conscious, willful experience as a given, a core of who “I” am: as an experiential given. And I believe that moral truths (I believe you wanted to call them values to distinguish them from the kind of truths you believe in) are products of my conscious, willful mind: choices I make and experience internally and then manifest outwardly. I also believe that I (everyone) takes multiple things into consideration in forming their moral values, from deep core commonalities with all other human beings to idiosyncratic beliefs from our culture, all tempered by our reason and familiarity with various wisdom traditions to varying degrees.

    So I don’t understand the significance of your complaint that I (or Origenes) don’t take the cause of my existence into account. I start with my own experience as a mindul, will-ful human being: of course many external factors have gone into making me who am I, but given all that, I am the source of my recognition and adherence to my own moral values.

    So can you explain more why you think the last paragraph of 250 and 257 is significant?

  259. 259
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    Stephen, you write, …………

    Then, Stephen, what is the relevance of your point that ,,,,,,,,,,,

    In the first example, I was responding to a specific question that you asked. In the second example, I was responding to a specific question that Origenes. Please read for context since the nuances are different.

  260. 260
    Viola Lee says:

    I think I have explained that I do recognize that there are causes connected with my existence, but given those, the significant thing to my is how I experience the being that I am.

    So I don’t understand the significance of your repeated point that I cannot, “as you seem to believe [but I don’t], be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel.” I think I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t know the source of the consciousness, or mind, that I experience, but given that I have those qualities, what is of interest to me is how they work in respect to my life as a human being.

    Maybe you can explain more? Or maybe you think something here is obvious? I’m puzzled, but I won’t pursue it further unless you have more you’d like to say.

  261. 261
    StephenB says:

    Origenes

    Amazing. Subjective is anything as long as it is not factual or true.
    What a ridiculous definition.

    Bad logic. It wasn’t a definition. It was a qualifier. To say that A could be similar to B in some respects, is not at all the same as saying A = B.

    Why not say it? Objective is just another word for “true.”

    Because objective is related to, but not synonymous with, true. Again, intellectual distinctions are important.

  262. 262
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    Stephen, I responded to that last paragraph

    Meaning no disrespect. but I didn’t ask you to respond to that last paragraph, I asked Origenes to respond – and I have made that request several times. The reason is that, as I recall, he said that he was the source and origin of his self-awareness. That would be an example of radical subjectivism. As far as I know, you have not said anything like that, but you appear to agree with everything he says without exception. So If you would like to take his place and write the clarification for him, perhaps he would appreciate it.

  263. 263
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, as a note, testimony of a responsible, credible witness often provides adequate warrant, and this may apply to internal, first person states. Multiple testimonies may suffice for other cases. Of course, such is generally not certain beyond correction but most knowledge is like that, but few things relatively speaking are self evident, analytical, tautological or the like. This brings us to validity of introspection or contemplation as reported, including self awareness, where we all experience same personally and have current and historical reports etc, establishing it as fact beyond reasonable doubt on the second or third person general case. For one’s own self awareness we each have self evident truth. But that then reinforces the report and leads to the inference such is a general human characteristic, which we even measure on say the Glasgow coma scale. As for the more restrictive, person X experiences love of vanilla ice cream, the first person experience is subjective and private save that God will be aware. The experience honestly reported by credible person suffices for simple day to day warrant to accept as true and as fact, of course defeasible but good enough for government work or family life or friendship etc. Associated behaviours reinforce the evidence of testimony. Knowing preference, we purchase and serve X ice cream. Error proneness is of course a key issue leading to right reason towards warrant, e.g. our eyes and other senses are prone to defects, but we are warranted to trust their results in general unless defeated by particular circumstances. Hyperskepticism here leads to notions such as the denial of an in common independent physical world that some have tried to argue for at UD, then we have seen some put up claims about experiences of the spirit world etc. expecting such to be taken as reliable report. My comment there is we have one highly credible witness, Jesus of Nazareth. KF

  264. 264
    Origenes says:

    SB, Viola Lee@

    SB: Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed the major problem with your hyper-subjective philosophy: You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel.

    As I have stated before, I don’t agree with this. If everything about me is created by X, then X is the one and only source, and it makes no sense to say that I am the source of anything. If all I am is a creation by X, then X is the source of everything that comes next.
    Just like Viola Lee I am wondering why you bring this issue up and what it’s relevancy is, if any, to subjective vs objective.

  265. 265
    Origenes says:

    SB @

    The problem with your position is that you seem to reduce everything to the subjective realm, even to the point of thinking that you are the “source” and the “origin” of your self awareness. You are not. Logically the source of your self awareness, your consciousness, and your existence must come from the outside. Someone or something external to you had to bring those qualities into being.

    Perhaps me saying a bit more is appropriate here. You are correct that in my philosophy one is the source/origin of one’s own self awareness.
    A short sketch: the self-aware person comes into being by the creative act of observing oneself. Enigmatically self-awareness is due to a (“already”) conscious person observing itself. So, there is no created unconscious thing observing itself before self awareness. There is no person before this act of self-observation. No aspect of observing oneself can be delegated to anyone else. No outsider of any kind can be involved. Absolute unity with oneself.
    A lot more can be said about all this if appropriate.

  266. 266
    StephenB says:

    SB: Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed the major problem with your hyper-subjective philosophy: You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel.

    Origenes:

    If everything about me is created by X, then X is the one and only source, and it makes no sense to say that I am the source of anything.

    If X creates your faculties of intelligence and free will so that you will have the capacity to think and make decisions for yourself, then X is the source of your capacity to think and make decisions and you are the source of your thoughts and decisions.

    If all I am is a creation by X, then X is the source of everything that comes next.

    Obviously, that is not the case, If X was the source of everything that comes next, then X would be doing all the thinking and making all the decisions. Your capacity to think and make decisions would be meaningless.

    Just like Viola Lee I am wondering why you bring this issue up and what it’s relevancy is, if any, to subjective vs objective.

    I am challenging your claim that you are the source of your intellectual capacities.

  267. 267
    Origenes says:

    SB@ //on the claims “I, Origenes, exist” & “I, Origenes, am self aware”//

    O: I arrive at a self-evident truth. For me it is impossible to coherently deny my own existence. You don’t have access to this self-evident truth.

    SB: We both have access to the same truth.

    In what sense is it the “same truth”? The truth I arrive at is a *self-evident truth*. You arrive at a *fact* by means of an inference to the best explanation. This is the first difference.
    Is it about the same thing? I make an ontological claim about my inner self, to which I have access and you do not. For you the inner self of Origenes is a concept, for me it is direct experienced reality. Your truth is about a concept, my truth is about direct experienced reality. We are pointing at different things.

    That is what makes it objective. If it was subjective, it would be known only by you.

    From my perspective, it remains subjective. My existence is self-evident to me also if no one else knows about my existence. Whether or not others are aware of my existence has nothing to do with the truth I arrive at.
    From your perspective, it is objective, because it is about something external to you.
    So, whose perspective dictates what kind of truth it *is*? Are we saying it is an “objective truth”, in accord with your perspective, or “subjective truth”, in accord with my perspective?
    To me this question illustrates (again) that we are dealing with two distinct truths.

  268. 268
    Viola Lee says:

    Stephen, I see that you were addressing Origenes, not me, so I apologize for pressing you on responding to me.

    I don’t agree with everything he says, but I do agree with the general viewpoint he has taken, and have supported him in his arguments. I’ve had my say about some main points from my point of view, and will bow out now.

  269. 269
    Origenes says:

    If X creates your faculties of intelligence and free will so that you will have the capacity to think and make decisions for yourself, then X is the source of your capacity to think and make decisions and you are the source of your thoughts and decisions.

    This scenario is IMO logically impossible. To be free, to be responsible, implies self-causation.
    If A is the sole cause of B, then B cannot cause itself.
    – – –
    But, again, I doubt that these issues should be part of the discussion about objective vs subjective.

  270. 270
    Viola Lee says:

    Bowing back in: your point is essential. As free-willed moral creatures, we are the cause of morality: all the consensual moral understanding in the world, or within cultures, comes from the individual people who are choosing and actualizing their morality. It all comes from the subject. The idea that moral truths have some independent existence apart from their existence in individual people is false.

    The difference is between confirmation and affirmation. We can confirm that a tree exists through common experience of it as an object. But we affirm that moral values are true: we choose a commitment to them, and they only become an object, so to speak, because of that affirmation.

    Of course we come to various degrees of consensus about moral values because of common input into our lives from nature and nurture, but ultimately, philosophically, the output of affirmed moral values comes from our free and responsible moral nature.

  271. 271
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @270
    I agree with your general viewpoint. One comment though.

    The difference is between confirmation and affirmation. We can confirm that a tree exists through common experience of it as an object. But we affirm that moral values are true: we choose a commitment to them, and they only become an object, so to speak, because of that affirmation.

    I hold that most ppl converge on e.g. “torture is wrong” because no one likes to be tortured and most of us apply the golden rule. The point I would like to make is that the preference to not be tortured can arguably not be said to be a “choice.” Perhaps in an ultimate sense it can, but the preference not to experience excruciating pain is largely forced upon us by our nature.

  272. 272
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, I mentioned how input from our nature and nurture are the context in which we make our choices, and some aspects of that input are so universal that virtually all of us make the same moral choice. But, as I wrote, “ultimately, philosophically, the output of affirmed moral values comes from our free and responsible moral nature.” I wouldn’t want to argue that some things are really not a choice, but even if one does make the argument, it would be because the context of the choice in the world we live in is so compelling, not because that particular choice had a different type of “objective” ontological status.

  273. 273
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, we find ourselves under law, we do not invent the governing principles of duty, right conduct etc and impose them on others, we find ourselves already under duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, sound conscience [direct testimony!], neighbour so too to fairness and justice etc. Do you find yourself as having rights beyond what your might and clever manipulation impose or seduce? Start, with the right to life, innocent reputation, honestly acquired property etc. KF

    PS: Your right implies my duty.

  274. 274
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    I hold that most ppl converge on e.g. “torture is wrong” because no one likes to be tortured

    😆 This is a non explanation.

    I wouldn’t want to argue that some things are really not a choice, but even if one does make the argument, it would be because the context of the choice in the world we live in is so compelling, not because that particular choice had a different type of “objective” ontological status.

    😆 This is a non-explanation.

    These are childish non-explanations because ” the pain” is not an ultimate self-governing reality .On the contrary depends of other variables but materialist theology (or incoherency ) have to do what have to do.

  275. 275
    Viola Lee says:

    We disagree, KF. I know you “find yourself under law”. I have a different philosophical perspective, which I am working at articulating here.

  276. 276
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    the self-aware person comes into being by the creative act of observing oneself.

    How can a person who has not yet “come into being” observe himself?

    Enigmatically self-awareness is due to a (“already”) conscious person observing itself. So, there is no created unconscious thing observing itself before self awareness. There is no person before this act of self-observation.

    In the first sentence, you say that an “already conscious person” observes itself and becomes self aware. In the third sentence, you say that the act of observing one’s self precedes the existence of that person. Which is it?

    No aspect of observing oneself can be delegated to anyone else. No outsider of any kind can be involved. Absolute unity with oneself.

    If no creator or designer from the outside is necessary, how do you explain the existence of the preexistent conscious person? Are you saying that all persons, including you, are the cause of their own existence?

    Equally important, how do you explain the capacity of any person, self-aware or not self aware, to perform a “creative act of observation?”

  277. 277
    StephenB says:

    KF @273 writes:

    PS: Your right implies my duty.

    Yes, indeed, Kf. That brief comment deserves more than a PS. It dramatizes a point that our subjectivist adversaries always miss. Natural rights depend on, and must be linked to, the Natural Moral Law. Put another way, rights and responsibilities always go together.

    The subjectivists, ever eager to rid themselves of God, the lawgiver, are equally prepared to rid themselves of God, the rights giver. If they were a danger only to themselves, I wouldn’t mind it so much, but their irrational world view puts all of us in jeopardy.

  278. 278
    Viola Lee says:

    This really is the central issue: Stephen and KF believe there is a God who is, among other things, the moral lawgiver to whom we have responsibilities and duties.

    But, speaking for myself, I am not “eager to rid [myself] of God”, because I don’t believe there is any such entity to rid myself of. My position is based on an acceptance that an essential aspect of our nature is that we have to choose how to live, using our mind, our will, our rationality, and our moral sense (all in the context of the physical world in which we live): there is no rule book given to us by any extra-human entity. We’re on our own.

    This is just something we have to live with. Making up mythical narratives about gods, of all forms, to structure our understanding and rationalize our choices has strong social and psychological value, and makes our lives easier, but those narratives are not true.

    Probably not necessary or reasonable for me to say any more than that here.

  279. 279
    vividbleau says:

    SB
    “How can a person who has not yet “come into being” observe himself?”

    Easy, as I pointed out on another thread before I was told to shut up by KF Origines existed before he existed. “To be or not to be” is now “To be or not to be at the same time and in the same relationship.” He is and he isn’t.
    I predict that the next thing to go will be the denial of the LNC and logic itself.

    Vivid

  280. 280
    Querius says:

    But no one yet has addressed the question of where in nature do we find the origin of morality–of right and wrong.

    The Golden Rule is not found in nature–a mountain lion doesn’t consider whether taking down and killing a deer hurts the deer, only that it’s hungry and needs to eat. Certainly, they can experience emotions such as territoriality, rage, fear, and so on. But not, for example, the Ten Commandments.

    Isn’t describing morality as “our essential nature” ducking the issue of where the concept of right and wrong originated? It’s like asserting that planets move in circular paths because “it’s their nature” to do so.

    Isn’t our “essential nature” as humans to deceive, steal, dominate and kill as much as any random acts of kindness? Just read the newspaper.

    Don’t people driving cars exhibit aggression as much as kindness when, for example, two lanes merge into one?

    -Q

  281. 281
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    how convenient it is to insert a religious subtext strawman argument and emotively — yes, the subtext is ever so plain — blind yourself to what is actually on the table.

    Did it ever dawn on you that there is a significant point in highlighting that CICERO in De Legibus and On the Republic, has been pivotal in my onward thinking? I suppose I have never said before that the phrase rights, freedoms and duties was first seen in a Uni document against abusive hazing; which tickled away in the background for years. Then, a remark by Bishop Tutu et al that the primary directive of the state is justice crystallised my understanding: the civil peace of justice is — defining essence — the due balance of rights, freedoms and duties.

    Where, a right is a binding, essentially moral claim that per one’s dignity as a human being, one’s life is sacrosanct, and a cluster of other things such as innocent reputation [a serious challenge in a world of slander and innuendo] and honestly acquired property etc are to be protected through recognised duties. Multiplied, by mutuality.

    FYI, ontology and wider metaphysics are very secondary, actually extensions of implications of issues and considerations on law, justice, rights, duties etc. The core has been EPISTEMOLOGY.

    As in:

    CED: epistemology (??p?st??m?l?d??)
    n
    (Philosophy) the theory of knowledge, esp the critical study of its validity, methods, and scope
    [C19: from Greek epist?m? knowledge]

    This ties right back to that algebra that you are so sneeringly dismissive of but cannot answer cogently — itself a clue: the denial of objective, warranted, generally know-ABLE truth about right conduct, duty etc (= morality as opposed to mores and folkways etc) is self-referentially incoherent so self-falsifying. Which is itself a second order moral truth of vast consequence, as in the classical square of opposition properly interpreted, applies as we are not dealing with empty sets. Further to which, the massive, deeply entrenched, institutionalised attempt to relativise moral knowledge into opinion, mores, folkways etc collapses. That shuts the door to moral nihilism and ruthless factionalism.

    I only pause to note yardstick cases such as the regrettably real kidnapping, sexual torture and murder of a young child for fun as paradigms where the attempt to deny or evade the direct force of violated justice simply shows degraded and blatantly fallacious breakdown of moral sense.

    You have no cogent answer on the merits but have resorted to red herrings led away to strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to clod, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere. All, in order to frustrate sound discussion towards restoring acknowledged moral knowledge. Including, how often you and others inescapably sit on the same branch and appeal to said first duties in your objections. First duties,

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    In short, despite your attempt to suggest that we invent rather than recognise the binding nature of pervasive first duties, you find yourself implicitly appealing to our knowledge of said first duties in order to object. For example, SB and I are indicted as being religiously biased [as if evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers hiding under the anti-virtue of selective hyperskepticism is not bias!] and so question-begging. As in, you imply failure of duties to warrant, right reason and truth, as a presumption.

    Own goal.

    Instead, simply recognise that Cicero, a profound thinker summing up the classical deposit on jurisprudence c 50 BC, “the highest reason,” put his finger on something recognised by his Greek and Roman antecedents. Something that, 2000+ years later, I am highlighting, has branch on which we sit, first principle character. As in, what is truly a first truth is pervasive in our world of thought, inescapable, so inescapably true on pain of reducing rational, responsible thought to chaotic absurdity.

    There are intelligible first duties pivoting on truth, reasonableness, conscience, due recognition of neighbour, so too fairness and justice. Yes, we reflect on them, we have first person contemplation and yes we are able to communicate in language so that warrant is shared in the community, is objective and communicable. Yes, these are well warranted, generally know-ABLE, attested to by sound conscience (which we cannot reduce to a delusional phenomenon without self referential absurdity) and foundational to recognising that there is a built in law of our nature as rational responsible creatures, contingent beings in a world that was there before we came along, a world that itself had a beginning so too a cause.

    Onward, yes, we see the logic of a necessary being world root and that of such an entity needing to be such as can ground moral law; bridging the notorious is-ought gap at the only place that can be done. That is a matter of taking the chain of reasoning to its onward import. It certainly does not somehow taint the epistemology of justice, save — frankly — in biased and hostile minds that obviously resent even the echo of a shadow of the God of ethical theism here glimpsed through world roots analysis.

    The prior, going concern world issue is that we find ourselves undeniably morally governed. And that such expresses itself in intelligible, built in first law of our rational, responsible, significantly free nature. First law expressed in intelligible first duties such as can be drawn out from Cicero. Principles that can be and were articulated into frameworks of sound government. Also, leading to reasonable frameworks of virtue and right conduct that fulfills duty. Where, it should be unsurprising that men of genius such as Moses, Jesus and Paul, would recognise much the same and so we find such embedded in the Scriptural tradition at the core of Christendom, a legacy that is still significantly present in our far less enlightened increasingly endarkened age.

    And yes, I know this invites the usual Internet rhetoric on you hypocritical Christians and on the sins of Christendom. But that is the point, we judge errors and wrongs by appealing to said branch on which we all sit first principle level first duties. Duties, that, properly appealed to, open the door to reformation.

    The resistance to such, manifestly, is ideological.

    KF

    PS: I note, again, the exchange at the heart of the OP, which draws out much the same point:

    Barry:

    Is it objectively evil to put a baby in a garbage bag and throw him in a dumpster or is it just your subjective preference not to do so?

    Seversky:

    the overwhelming majority regard dumping newborns in dumpsters as being evil

    Barry:

    Suppose the overwhelming majority regarded dumping newborns in dumpsters as good. Would it then be good?

    Seversky:

    Presumably, it would be good in the minds of the majority who approved of it. It would not be a good thing from my perspective.

    There you have it. Sev’s position is this: They would prefer tossing babies in dumpsters and I would not. There is no basis on which to determine which preference is superior. Therefore, the preferences are objectively equal.

    As I have said before, no sane person actually lives their life as if materialism is true. But Sev’s religious commitments compel him to pretend he believes it is true. Which leads him to say that he holds an outrageous position that we can be certain he does not truly hold. Sad that.

  282. 282
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, in a world of thought devastated through the anti-virtue and fallacy of selective hyperskepticism, we first have to restore acknowledged knowledge before we can do anything about understanding what we know. Radical relativism has been used to erode knowledge into opinion and a twisted view of six blind men trying to make sense of an elephant. That holds in general and it holds for knowledge of duty to right conduct etc. We even struggle with basic definitions. Some, with acknowledging that we are error prone but can use tools of right reason to build up reliable knowledge. Where knowledge in a broad weak sense, is warranted, credibly true — and so, reliable — belief. Belief being what we accept as true. Truth, accurate description of reality. Yes, we have to go to that sort of level, that is how blighted the intellectual landscape is. That is how dark our cave is and it is how dark the shadow shows put up for us are. KF

  283. 283
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    Making up mythical narratives about gods, of all forms,

    Well…very strange that all people understand the concept of God including the people who reject God. But you didn’t reject God you just replaced the Person of God with one of his qualities. Truthfulness is one of His qualities but you stole the concept of truth and you are very proud of you. You are just a thief . Where from you have the concept of truth? Are you the inventor of truth ? What is the origin of truth? Your own mind? 😆

  284. 284
    William J Murray says:

    Isn’t describing morality as “our essential nature” ducking the issue of where the concept of right and wrong originated?

    I think the problem here lies in the terms used. The word “morality” cannot escape it’s deeply religious baggage. The word “duty” cannot escape it’s “normal use” baggage. IMO these aren’t good words to use in the attempt to understand the idea that we have an innate, necessary psychological structure, as sentient beings, that gives us inescapable behavioral goals.

    What must be premised in the discussion is not only sentience, but also free will, and the goal here would be to understand “inescapable behavioral goals” in terms of “all possible sentient beings with free will.”

    As I’ve argued before, the fundamental, inescapable behavioral goal of free will sentience is enjoyment of experience. This is rooted in free will itself, which is inescapably an act or thought of preference, either serving a direct enjoyment or a more abstract one, including the avoidance of that which we find painful or unenjoyable. Free will is, ultimately, about the management of one’s direct and abstract enjoyments. This is true whether one is a saint or a sociopath. This is roughly equivalent to the “natural law” often framed as “pursuit of happiness.”

    Essential to managing one’s decisions wrt one’s direct and abstract enjoyments, we find another inescapable feature: our pursuit of true statements about our experiences. This is also true of both saint and sociopath. This can be seen roughly as an innate “duty to truth.”

    Another inescapable aspect of sentience is identifying with that which is like, or in some sense “the same” as us. We not only inescapably identify with that which is “the same” as us, we cannot help but project ourselves onto that which we see as “the same” as us. To some degree, we project what is inside us to everything outside of us, not just what is like us, because it is only from what is inside us that we can sort, organize and attempt to understand that which is outside of us as a collection of apparently true statements about that external world and about others.

    What we usually call “the golden rule” can be understood, as Origenes argues, as the natural, essential maxim any sentient being would arrive at as the result of these innate, inescapable aspects of sentient beings with free will, because we naturally project our inner world more fully onto those that we see as the same as us in terms of pursuing fundamentally the same basic enjoyments (for us, in human terms,) such as survival, shelter, food, protection from predators, companionship, survival of children, etc. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not something that has to be installed in sentient beings by some outside force; just existing as a sentient being innately attracts behavior, generally speaking, into orbit around that maxim.

    From this, we can see that “morality” (stripped of particular religious baggage) is a natural quality of all sentient beings (even sociopaths,) and we all have a inescapable pursuit of finding true statements about our experiences, including “how to behave,” “how to interact with others,” and “how to deal with the world effectively.” We boil these things down to basic concepts, like “rights” and “duties” in the attempt to quantify and “enforce” these true statements about ourselves, which we also project onto others who are like us and who agree that they are like us and want the same fundamental enjoyments.

    I don’t think “where morality comes form” is a mystery at all; it’s the inescapable product of what it means to be a sentient being with free will. Specific aspects of morality may be different from tribe to tribe, or form one era to another, but it is still the process of inescapably pursuing true statements about how to behave to secure both fundamental and extended enjoyments, direct or abstract, in a world of “others.”

  285. 285
    Origenes says:

    SB, Vividbleau @

    In consciousness observer and observant are necessarily one and the same. IOWs self-awareness cannot be accomplished by a distinct observer and observant. Also self-awareness cannot come about in a time sequence; there is no “first this and next that.”

    So, self-awareness does not fit a causal context with distinct parts & does not fit a time context. IOWs consciousness cannot be analyzed; it does not consist of parts and does not fit a time sequence.

  286. 286
    William J Murray says:

    What is morality, then? It can be understood as naturally occurring behavioral patterns developed as sentient beings pursuing effective true statements about their experiences to secure/manage/maximize enjoyment of their existence, both directly (like survival, food, shelter and companionship,) and in the abstract (for the future, such as protecting children, ensuring the long-term survival of the group, etc.)

    “Morality ” is not something that has to be “installed” as a distinct feature in any sentient being; it is the inescapable behavioral outcome of any group of sentient beings.

    In this perspective, fundamental “morality” as described is objective to all sentient beings, but exactly how it manifests in any particular group of sentient beings, in any particular environment, can vary quite a bit, and can take a while to articulate, refine and develop over time into specified sets of “duties”. rules and “rights.” Some forms of morality may seem quite harsh because of harsh conditions; but as conditions become less harsh, it is often the case that the moral rules and duties become less harsh and more open to wider personal latitude.

    That “wider personal latitude” may eventually lead to the downfall of the society. I think that speaks to KF’s civilizational concerns, which I agree with.

  287. 287
    awstar says:

    Viola Lee

    there is no rule book given to us by any extra-human entity. We’re on our own.

    Unless there actually IS a rule book given to us by a God-human entity which was written specifically to let us know that we are not left on our own.

    That book would be the Bible — as you seem to already know. It is accurate about the genesis of our world, it is accurate about the history of our world as viewed by one chosen tribe of humans, it is accurate about the first visit of God in human form and His paying the price to buy back His creation from the evil one who talked humans into handing it over to him –(Did God really say?…) and it is proving more and more accurate as the final pages are being turned.

    Spoiler alert: In the end every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD.

    You may want to rethink your situation before the page that closes your options is turned.

  288. 288
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @278

    My position is based on an acceptance that an essential aspect of our nature is that we have to choose how to live, using our mind, our will, our rationality, and our moral sense (all in the context of the physical world in which we live): there is no rule book given to us by any extra-human entity. We’re on our own.

    I agree with you on this. Like you I’m totally unconvinced by the arguments for an external moral lawgiver.

    But, speaking for myself, I am not “eager to rid [myself] of God”, because I don’t believe there is any such entity to rid myself of.

    Here we disagree. To me the design we find in nature is overwhelming proof for the existence of an out-of-this-world intelligent being (or beings). And surely there is more evidence that we are not on our own in many ways.

  289. 289
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    To me the design we find in nature is overwhelming proof for the existence of an out-of-this-world intelligent being (or beings).

    This statement can be looked at from many different perspectives.

    Perhaps the defining concept for evaluating this perspective, depending on how you meant it, would be the concept of whether or not the presence of design necessarily requires a deliberate act by an intelligent being, or if such design can be an innate, necessary quality of the experience of any intelligent being.

    The distinction and possibility (perhaps probability) for the latter can be found in the evidence provided by quantum physics experiments over the past 100+ years. An intelligent being requires an intelligible context, intelligible experiences. It would be one thing if experiments demonstrated that we exist in a world that intelligently pre-fabricated as such external of and prior to our experiences, but that is not what we have found. What we have found, instead, is that it is our own mind that appears to be manufacturing the order and patterns (design) we find out of pure potential, even though we do not appear to be deliberately doing it.

    Either way, the design is the product of intelligence, but the question is whether or not any “god” (or any deliberate activity) is necessary to produce the design we experience.

  290. 290
    ET says:

    Viola Lee:

    But, speaking for myself, I am not “eager to rid [myself] of God”, because I don’t believe there is any such entity to rid myself of.

    Then please tell us how you think we came to exist. There isn’t any evidence that nature produced life. There isn’t even a way to test that claim. So, it can be dismissed.

    And that means that Viola Lee can also be dismissed and all she is doing is what infants do- deny the obvious.

  291. 291
    Viola Lee says:

    At 281, KF writes, “Did it ever dawn on you that there is a significant point in highlighting that CICERO in De Legibus and On the Republic, has been pivotal in my onward thinking?”

    What an amazing thing to say, as KF has mentioned Cicero one bajillion times, often repeating the same copy-and-paste quotes multiple times in the same thread. Yes, KF, it has “dawned on me” that Cicero has been pivotal in your thinking.

    More relevant, at 288, Origenes quoted me and then replied:

    VL: “But, speaking for myself, I am not “eager to rid [myself] of God”, because I don’t believe there is any such entity to rid myself of.”

    Origenes: “Here we disagree. To me the design we find in nature is overwhelming proof for the existence of an out-of-this-world intelligent being (or beings). And surely there is more evidence that we are not on our own in many ways.”

    The God (of any religion) that I don’t believe in is a God, such as the Christian God, who is involved specifically with human beings in general and morality in particular. Human religions are invented stories.

    I accept that the existence of our universe with properties that make possible the features we see around us, including ourselves, points to an explanation outside our universe, but other than “It is” I don’t think we can know anything about that. But I don’t think that source or ground of the universe is necessarily a “being” in any way analogous to human beings, or that it is playing any role in how we as a species live.

    While I don’t particularly agree with some of the specifics that WJM believes, I do think that the mysteries of quantum mechanics point to a way in which both matter and mind are manifestations of something beyond either. As he says, “the question is whether or not any “god” (or any deliberate activity) is necessary to produce the design we experience.” Even at the most metaphysical level, beyond our ability to know, my speculations lean towards the latter: that the ground of reality is not a conscious, willful being who has deliberately fashioned the universe. That is the anthropomorphic idea at the heart of most religions, and I think it is likely false on those grounds.

  292. 292
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    What is morality, then? It can be understood as naturally occurring behavioral patterns developed as sentient beings pursuing effective true statements about their experiences to secure/manage/maximize enjoyment of their existence, both directly (like survival, food, shelter and companionship,) and in the abstract (for the future, such as protecting children, ensuring the long-term survival of the group, etc.)

    I think it is important to stress that morality is not an egocentric pursuit of enjoyment. Behavior based on the equal importance of the other, the subsequent application of the golden rule, is an essential aspect of morality. Note that there are also persons who behave as if others are of higher importance than themselves. Although this is often appreciated, in my book this constitutes unethical behavior towards oneself.

  293. 293
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    After you left the atheism /and any false(religious) belief you will go to desert first NOT to heaven. Heaven come only after you managed the dessert test .

    You meet God first in HELL.

  294. 294
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    I think it is important to stress that morality is not an egocentric pursuit of enjoyment.

    Depends on how you define the terms “ego” and “enjoyment.” Show me where the eventual product of moral behavior is not inextricably linked to some abstract, enjoyable ends, and then you’ll have a decent argument.

  295. 295
    William J Murray says:

    VL said:

    Even at the most metaphysical level, beyond our ability to know, my speculations lean towards the latter: that the ground of reality is not a conscious, willful being who has deliberately fashioned the universe. That is the anthropomorphic idea at the heart of most religions, and I think it is likely false on those grounds.

    So, the “ground of being” is that which provides for any particular being’s existence. If a God is proposed as a particular being, then the ground of existence provides for that being’s existence in the same way it provides for the existence of any being, including all of us here. You can’ single out any single, particular being and call that being “also the ground of existence” without that also applying to any particular being in the same manner.

  296. 296
    Viola Lee says:

    Here is a possibly relevant quote from a book on Buddhism:

    Each individual is at once the cause for the whole and is caused by the whole, and what is called existence is a vast body made up of an infinity of individuals all sustaining each other and defining each other. The cosmos is, in short, a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism.

    The metaphor of Indra’s web is often used to illustrate this concept.

  297. 297
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @

    While I don’t particularly agree with some of the specifics that WJM believes, I do think that the mysteries of quantum mechanics point to a way in which both matter and mind are manifestations of something beyond either. As he says, “the question is whether or not any “god” (or any deliberate activity) is necessary to produce the design we experience.” Even at the most metaphysical level, beyond our ability to know, my speculations lean towards the latter: that the ground of reality is not a conscious, willful being who has deliberately fashioned the universe.

    I agree with you that the ground of reality is not a person. However, multiverse speculations aside, I do not see how a non-intelligent unintentional unpersonal cause can produce the intricate design we see in nature.

    I accept that the existence of our universe with properties that make possible the features we see around us, including ourselves, points to an explanation outside our universe, but other than “It is”

    I think we can easily do more: it has superior intellect, it has intentions/plans/foresight …

  298. 298
    Viola Lee says:

    And I disagree with you on this, Origenes. As I’ve said, I think these ideas of intentions/plans/foresight are based on our experience of ourselves, and I think that is an unlikely and unreliable guide as to what the ground of reality might be.

    But we can’t really know, so all I can offer is my speculative leanings. Whether these words that describe our experience are also useful words for describing what might be the cause/ground of the type of being we are depends on what connotations and implications we think follow. In my view, such words lead to the idea that there is some god especially involved in our lives, so I think such words can be misleading.

  299. 299
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @

    … I think these ideas of intentions/plans/foresight are based on our experience of ourselves, and I think that is an unlikely and unreliable guide as to what the ground of reality might be.

    To be clear, I was not referring to the ground of reality, instead I was referring to the cause of the intricate design we find in nature.

  300. 300
    Viola Lee says:

    But doesn’t that design ultimately spring from the nature of the universe, which springs from the ground of reality? Or are you saying that you are speculating that there is some intermediary god/intelligence specifically involved in the details of our universe?

  301. 301
    ET says:

    Viola Lee:

    But doesn’t that design ultimately spring from the nature of the universe, which springs from the ground of reality?

    Gibberish.

    The universe exists. It had a beginning. It requires a cause.

    Or are you saying that you are speculating that there is some intermediary god/intelligence specifically involved in the details of our universe?

    That is what the evidence says.

  302. 302
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @300

    But doesn’t that design ultimately spring from the nature of the universe, which springs from the ground of reality?

    You are correct of course, this must ultimately be the case.

    Or are you saying that you are speculating that there is some intermediary god/intelligence specifically involved in the details of our universe?

    I am saying that “what is the ground of reality?” and “what is the cause of design in nature?” can be dealt with as separate questions.
    WRT the latter, my simple argument is that when I observe a watch (or the far more intricately products in nature) I cannot conceive of it coming into existence without foresight, a plan and intelligence. And the most parsimonious explanation for these ‘tools’ is a person. I mean, perhaps something unknown, something other than a person, has these skills, but even if this is the case, it will be very person-like.

  303. 303
    Viola Lee says:

    Origenes, I have bolded what I think is a key point in this sentence of yours: ” I cannot conceive of it coming into existence without foresight, a plan and intelligence.”

    Our ability to conceive of this cause is limited by our experience, so it is natural to assume that the cause must be something like how we experience ourselves. I don’t think this is a good assumption. I think it is more likely that this cause is something beyond our ability to conceive, and that assuming a deliberative intelligence like ours is an anthropomorphism.

    And, FWIW, the idea that the cause is from “foresight, a plan and intelligence” is primarily an idea in Western religion and philosophy. Other religious and philosophical traditions, primarily Eastern, think differently.

  304. 304
    ET says:

    Oh my. Science proceeds via our knowledge of cause-and-effect relationships. We don’t have any knowledge of nature producing coded information processing systems and living organisms are ruled by them. We do have a plethora of knowledge showing that intelligent agencies can produce coded information processing systems.

    Viola Lee obviously doesn’t care about science.

  305. 305
    Viola Lee says:

    Not even the topic under discussion, ET! 🙂

  306. 306
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    Our ability to conceive of this cause is limited by our experience, so it is natural to assume that the cause must be something like how we experience ourselves. I don’t think this is a good assumption. I think it is more likely that this cause is something beyond our ability to conceive, and that assuming a deliberative intelligence like ours is an anthropomorphism.

    😆 so it’s something beyond our ability to conceive but somehow is not beyond your ability to conceive because you know for sure that is not an intelligence. Impressive. 🙄

  307. 307
    Viola Lee says:

    I don’t think you comprehended my comments very well LCD but I won’t try to explain because I think things probably wouldn’t improve.

  308. 308
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @284,
    Okay, at least you responded to my challenge:

    I wrote: Isn’t describing morality as “our essential nature” ducking the issue of where the concept of right and wrong originated?

    And you responded with . . .

    WJM: From this, we can see that “morality” (stripped of particular religious baggage) is a natural quality of all sentient beings (even sociopaths,) and we all have a inescapable pursuit of finding true statements about our experiences, including “how to behave,” “how to interact with others,” and “how to deal with the world effectively.”

    Morality, ethics, duties, integrity, a sense of good and evil, or right and wrong cannot simply be arbitrary. They must be based on something and must come from something or somewhere. Sentient beings also include many animals, but they don’t exhibit any of those concepts. For example, Chimpanzees are sentient and they occasionally kill and eat their own kind without expelling or punishing the perpetrators.

    As I previously wrote:

    Or as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”
    Similarly, Kirillov (a character in Dostoevsy’s book, The Possessed) said: “If God exists, then everything is His will, and I cannot do anything with my own outside of His will. If there is no God, then everything is my will and I must express my will.”

    Consider the chilling testimony of a sociopath. How would you convince him that he’s not “humanity 2.0” as he put it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DakEcY7Z5GU

    I don’t think “where morality comes form” is a mystery at all; it’s the inescapable product of what it means to be a sentient being with free will.

    Again, many animals are sentient and exhibit no forms of morality, ethics, duty, etc. They fight, mate, kill, and eat. Theft is not a problem—if they can steal a kill from another predator, they will do so. If they encroach on another animal’s territory, food, or sexual partners, they will either fight or flee.

    Asserting that it’s not a mystery, but a property of nature is no different than being satisfied that all other observable phenomena are simply properties of their nature without asking why:

    Water evaporates because that’s its nature to do so. Orbits are circular because it’s the nature of celestial objects, while terrestrial objects travel differently because it’s their nature. Food spoils because it’s a property of food.

    Specific aspects of morality may be different from tribe to tribe, or form one era to another . . .

    Of course. But, unlike sentient animals, they somehow all know right and wrong, and they feel bad when they do wrong.

    Why?

    -Q

  309. 309
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, evasive. You insist on relabelling a philosophically driven consideration as if I were somehow simply parroting some imaginary religious myth on some equally imaginary god with all the invidious associations implied by such in the hands of too many today. That speaks, and it is clear that the relevant distinction between epistemology and ontology-metaphysics has not been cogently faced. Ironically, even Paul duly noted on the awareness of moral government implanted in conscience and intellect. In fact, there is excellent reason to acknowledge God as real, and as the root of moral government, on general considerations. Further, there is excellent reason to see that Christians have not followed empty myths, Christ being a key figure of history fulfilling hundreds of prophecis from centuries beforehand, including dying as an innocent man by crucifixion and rising from the dead with 500 witnesses. On that, one is well warranted to take what he has to say seriously, in attitude to scripture, in his teachings and in his claim to be messiah and Saviour. Also, as the greatest moral teacher of all. One who BTW did use at least one natural law argument. That is where I would make a specifically Christian case. That is a good case but it is different from what I have raised, using Cicero as summing up the key classical heritage and showing how in fact he identified several branch on which we sit first principles. I cannot help your hyperskepticism or choice of a strawman target but I can point out the failure to be cogent in your objections. KF

  310. 310
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    the self-aware person comes into being by the creative act of observing oneself.

    This is unclear. What “comes into being?” It is the person, the self awareness, or both? Also my earlier question persists: “How can a person who has not yet “come into being” observe himself?”

    Self awareness cannot come about in a time sequence; there is no “first this and next that.”

    But you have been using time sequences to describe this alleged phenomenon. You said that there is no person “before” this act of self observation.” You also said that the self aware person “comes into being,” which means that there was a time when it didn’t exist.

    So, self-awareness does not fit a causal context with distinct parts…..

    It has nothing to do with “distinct parts,” that’s a strawman, but you have been appealing to causation all along. You said that self-awareness is “due to a ‘(“already”) conscious person observing itself.” So clearly, creative observation is, for you, the cause, and self awareness is the effect.

    IOWs consciousness cannot be analyzed……

    A better way to put it would be that your world view cannot survive critical analysis. It’s much easier to make the common sense argument: An all powerful creator designed humans with the spiritual faculty of intelligence and the physical organ of a brain , giving them the capacity for introspection. This formulation is tidy, easy to understand, and correct.

  311. 311
    vividbleau says:

    SB
    “How can a person who has not yet “come into being” observe himself?”

    Correct furthermore how can one be aware of self if not first aware of something that is not self? Origenes explanations are absurd, basically self creation.

    Carry on this is fun to,watch.

    Vivid

  312. 312
    Origenes says:

    StephenB & Vividbleau

    Before I respond to your criticisms questions to you both.

    Do you agree with me that causation all the way down is an absurd “explanation”? IOWs do you, as I do, reject an infinite regress in causation?
    If so, do you agree with me, that it can be said that God is his own cause?

  313. 313
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    Our ability to conceive of this cause [An intelligent agent as the cause of nature’s design features] is limited by our experience,

    Everything in our experience tells us that design features are always the product of an intelligent agent. A design is understood as a purposeful arrangement of parts. It can be detected in the sequential arrangement of nucleotides in a living organism, or something as simple as the Letters S.O.S. written in the sand.

    so it is natural to assume that the cause must be something like how we experience ourselves.

    It isn’t natural at all to make such a self centered assumption. The whole point of conducting an investigation is to learn something about the object of the investigation, not to wallow in the experience of the investigator.

    I think it is more likely that this cause is something beyond our ability to conceive, and that assuming a deliberative intelligence like ours is an anthropomorphism.

    A purposeful arrangement of parts will always indicate the work of a designing agent. This is even true for animals. Do you think it is an exercise in anthropomorphism to recognize the purposeful arrangement of twigs, grass, and leaves found in a bird’s nest? If not, then why make that same attribution to the purposeful arrangement of nucleotides found in a living organism?

  314. 314
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @

    Our ability to conceive of this cause is limited by our experience, so it is natural to assume that the cause must be something like how we experience ourselves. I don’t think this is a good assumption. I think it is more likely that this cause is something beyond our ability to conceive, and that assuming a deliberative intelligence like ours is an anthropomorphism.

    My aim is not just to find the truth. My aim is to find & understand the truth. Because a truth which I cannot understand is of no value to me. So, I want foremost understand the truth and this has profound consequences in my search for truth.
    Allow me to illustrate this with an example. What is understanding? I am able to understand something fully if I can see it in front of me in its entirety. Put another way, if some of the causative elements, of what I am trying to understand, are out of my sight, hidden from me, I am not able to fully understand what I am looking at. On this ground I reject e.g. an infinite regress in causation. I cannot see an infinite regress “in front of me” in its entirety — it is too big. I cannot grasp, encompass infinity with my mind, there is no entirety of infinity, IOWs I cannot understand it. So, in line with what I said earlier, I reject an infinite regress in causation because it is not understandable by me, I seek alternative explanations, and I sincerely hope that an infinite regress is not part of the truth, because that would mean that the truth, which I seek, is not understandable by me; a profound dissapointment.

    And on the same ground I reject your idea, that there is a cause “beyond our ability to conceive.” I am not saying that you are wrong, but I do hope you are, because I desperately want to understand. So, before I arrive at your conclusion I will explore all other understandable options first. Because, again, my aim is to find & understand the truth.

  315. 315
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes
    “If so, do you agree with me, that it can be said that God is his own cause?”

    No.

    Vivid

  316. 316
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    Before I respond to your criticisms questions to you both.

    Go for it.

    Do you agree with me that causation all the way down is an absurd “explanation”? IOWs do you, as I do, reject an infinite regress in causation?

    Absolutely

    If so, do you agree with me, that it can be said that God is his own cause?

    Absolutely not

  317. 317
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    My aim is not just to find the truth. My aim is to find & understand the truth.

    This is an admirable goal. If you pursue it with all your heart, it will happen. — “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” — Matthew 7:7

  318. 318
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    Chimpanzees are sentient and they occasionally kill and eat their own kind without expelling or punishing the perpetrators.

    Yeah, it’s not like humans have been known to stand by and do nothing while someone commits an evil act.

    Again, many animals are sentient and exhibit no forms of morality, ethics, duty, etc. …

    …. except behaviors I described as fundamental forms of morality – enjoyment of life, beginning with survival, food, etc. Perhaps on the level of being an animal in the wild, enjoying life consists mostly of not being killed, not being in pain and not being hungry. As animals became domesticated and didn’t have predators, food and avoiding pain governing virtually everything going on in their mind, they developed more human-like qualities and found new ways to enjoy life.

    I mean, if we’re just going to attempt to read the minds of animals to make an argument.

    You’re arguing from your concept of morality, not mine. It seems you also suffer from the same inability on display from so many others here: you keep mistaking your perspective for mine. If I believed in your perspective of morality, your objections and “animal mind reading” would be on-target criticisms. However, I have explicitly outlined that my form of objective morality is inextricably rooted in enjoyment (and avoidance of pain, hunger, etc – anti-enjoyable experiences.)

    As I said before:

    Show me where the eventual product of moral behavior is not inextricably linked to some abstract, enjoyable ends, and then you’ll have a decent argument [that morality is not an extension of enjoyment].

    I guess you couldn’t come up with such an example.

  319. 319
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I don’t think you comprehended my comments very well LCD but I won’t try to explain because I think things probably wouldn’t improve.

    😆 There is nothing to understand you just use a trickery to bring in your yin yang philosophy.

  320. 320
    Origenes says:

    StephenB, Vividbleau @

    Follow-up question:
    Do you agree with me that freedom and responsibility implies self-causation?

  321. 321
    Viola Lee says:

    May I put the question this way: does not free will imply the ability to make and implement an uncaused effect?

  322. 322
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    May I put the question this way: does not free will imply the ability to make and implement an uncaused effect?

    Yes, but this is the wrong question. Where from came this ability/tool that allows to a person to be the creator of a completely new chain of causes that do not obey the physical laws of cause-effect mechanism?

  323. 323
    Viola Lee says:

    That’s a separate question, but that doesn’t make Origenes’ (or mine) a wrong question.

  324. 324
    kairosfocus says:

    SB [attn Origenes etc], it seems we are seeing the onward challenge of logic of being and of recognising that there is what is impossible of being in any possible world and that of possible beings there are contingent and necessary ones. Where cause only attaches to contingency of being. Further to such, there is a failure to recognise that an infinite chain of cause-effect stages cannot have been traversed due to the logic of transfiniteness. Further to such, the concept of reflexivity of a self aware self moved creature is being improperly extended to self-origin. Circular, retrocausation of origin fails, the not yet causing itself. The already going concern reflecting on and acting through itself or rather oneself is quite different and goes beyond the now familiar feedback loop. Of course, the Smith two tier controller cybernetic loop is quite relevant but needs to be pondered. KF

  325. 325
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, our being self-moved, so reflexive with ability to act into the world implies being a first cause that can set in motion chains of onward effects. That is a big part of what the Smith, two tier controller cybernetic loop is about. Such things are aware of the world, of themselves and stance in the world, and can decide and act with the implied freedom. If that freedom fails, credible mind collapses with it, i.e. the implicit or explicit denial of responsible rational freedom is self-referential and self-destructive of reason. Agency is an antecedent to reasoned thought and undermining it breaks down credibility of such thought. KF

  326. 326
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Self-moved does not imply self origination. Only an existing agent can reflect, decide and act.

  327. 327
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, so you agree that free will implies that our decisions are uncaused causes – true?

  328. 328
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    Follow-up question:
    Do you agree with me that freedom and responsibility implies self-causation?

    No.

  329. 329
    Origenes says:

    StephenB, Viola Lee @

    O: Do you agree with me that freedom and responsibility implies self-causation?

    SB: No.

    Does your answer imply that the cause of a person’s free act can be traced back to a realm independent from the person?

    – – – –
    Viola Lee:

    May I put the question this way: does not free will imply the ability to make and implement an uncaused effect?

    I agree, providing that by “uncaused” you mean “uncaused by something other than the free person.”

  330. 330
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, that is what I mean Origenes. The person is the cause, and nothing external to the person is causing the person’s decision or action.

  331. 331
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @
    We are in agreement once more. It seems to me that freedom and responsibility cannot be explained without invoking “self-causation”, a concept which is ridiculed by StephenB & Vividbleau. But let’s wait and see what they come up with.

  332. 332
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes

    “But let’s wait and see what they come up with.”

    How about you coming up with answers to our questions which you promised to do in 312 if we answered your question posed in 312. Asking more questions is not an answer.
    SB and I answered your question now it’s your turn.

    Vivid

  333. 333
    StephenB says:

    Origenes: @329

    Does your answer imply that the cause of a person’s free act can be traced back to a realm independent from the person?

    Way back @310, I made a few inquiries about your philosophy and you asked me to hold them (temporarily) while you asked me two questions on your end. I tried to be gracious by answering both of them. You then followed up with another question, which I also answered. Now you are following up yet again. No problem. I will, in time, address any issue that is on your mind. However, you have not yet given me a response to my earlier inquiries. I think this would be a good time to do that since I may have a few follow up questions of my own.

  334. 334
    Origenes says:

    If a free act originates in a free person, then it (obviously) cannot be traced back to a source external to the person.
    Assuming that a free act can be regarded as a series of cause & effect events, this implies that a series of cause and effects events has a First Cause within the domain of the person. This First Cause is a pure act of freedom, “uncaused”, no prior cause, or put differently “self-caused.”

  335. 335
    vividbleau says:

    Origines

    “We are in agreement once more. It seems to me that freedom and responsibility cannot be explained without invoking “self-causation”, a concept which is ridiculed by StephenB & Vividbleau”

    The goalposts are moving, here is what is on the table

    Sb “You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the SOURCE or ORIGIN of your *capacity* to think or feel.”

    SB “How can a person who HAS NOT YET COME INTO BEING observe himself?”

    VB “Correct furthermore how can one be aware of self if not first aware of something that is not self? Origenes explanations are absurd, basically self creation.”

    Vivid

  336. 336
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @333

    If we reject an infinite regress of causation as an explanation for all things, then it follows that there are at least two distinct ontological ways for things to be: caused and self-caused (or ‘uncaused’). .
    Caused things can be understood in a space/time context. A self-caused thing cannot be understood this way. A self-caused thing is one thing, it has aspects but does not consist of parts. In my philosophy a person is self-caused, a unity.
    I must note that I do propose a context for this self-causation to come about. However, this context is not causative, instead it creates the conditions for this spontaneous act to occur.

    I have illustrated the self-causative nature of the person, by talking about self-awareness, which, as I have argued, does not consist of parts and cannot be understood in a time-context. Also, I have pointed out that freedom and responsibility points to self-causation.

  337. 337
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    May I put the question this way: does not free will imply the ability to make and implement an uncaused effect?

    What, in the name of sense, are you trying to say? There is no such thing as an uncaused effect. In the present case, the intelligent agent is the cause and the free will decision is the effect. However, as LCD tried to explain, and as I have indicated several times,. it doesn’t end there. There is also a prior cause. Someone or something (I would argue, the Creator), had to provide the agent with the *capacity* to think, make decisions, and start a new causal chain. These capacities or powers consist of the spiritual faculties of intelligence and free will (and , of course, the physical organ of the brain).

    However, the Creator, the one who gives the creature these capacities, is not the one who makes the free-will decision. It is the creature who has been given the power to be his or her own causal agent that does that.. The Creator grants the powers of thinking and making decision to the creature. He does not think or make decisions for the creature (though He can and will help when invited to do so).

  338. 338
    vividbleau says:

    Origines
    “If we reject an infinite regress of causation as an explanation for all things, then it follows that there are at least two distinct ontological ways for things to be: caused and self-caused (or ‘uncaused’). .”

    These are not the only two options the third option being the existence of a necessary existence, an existence that cannot not exist, that has the power of being in itself, it is eternal and self existing.

    Vivid

  339. 339
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @

    VB: “Correct furthermore how can one be aware of self if not first aware of something that is not self? Origenes explanations are absurd, basically self creation.”

    Why do you think that it is required (or even possible) to be first aware of something that is not self in order to be aware of self?

    BTW you did not answer the following question:

    O: Do you agree with me that causation all the way down is an absurd “explanation”? IOWs do you, as I do, reject an infinite regress in causation?

    And let me add this: if you do agree, does this imply that there are ‘uncaused’ (or ‘self-caused’) things?
    – – – –

    VB: These are not the only two options the third option being the existence of a necessary existence, an existence that cannot not exist, that has the power of being in itself, it is eternal and self existing.

    And everything else is caused? How do you explain free responsible persons?

  340. 340
    vividbleau says:

    Origines
    “Do you agree with me that causation all the way down is an absurd “explanation”? IOWs do you, as I do, reject an infinite regress in causation?”

    I thought I answered this but I do agree.

    “And let me add this: if you do agree, does this imply that there are ‘uncaused’ (or ‘self-caused’) things?”

    I want to be precise as I can be. I don’t agree that there are uncaused finite, contingent effects or things.

    “Why do you think that it is required (or even possible) to be first aware of something that is not self in order to be aware of self?”

    I will once you answer my question ,how can one be aware of self if not first aware of something that is not self?

    Vivid

  341. 341
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @

    I want to be precise as I can be. I don’t agree that there are uncaused finite, contingent effects or things.

    Maybe the following question helps: can a free act by a person be traced back to a cause external to the person?

    O: “Why do you think that it is required (or even possible) to be first aware of something that is not self in order to be aware of self?”

    VB: I will once you answer my question ,how can one be aware of self if not first aware of something that is not self?

    By being aware of oneself …. I am sorry but I do not understand the question. Perhaps you have a point. Let’s assume that you are right and being self-aware presupposes being aware of non-self. However, I can also ask: how can one be aware of non-self if one is not aware of self? If there is no self-aware person how can there be awareness of not-self?
    So, if you are correct, the two states likely presuppose each other, which lends further support for my claim that being self-aware cannot be understood as coming about in separate steps, starting with an unconscious state.

  342. 342
    Seversky says:

    It seems that this always reduces to a choice between an infinite chain of causation and an uncaused first cause.

    Infinity is a difficult concept. It seems like philosophers and mathematicians are still grappling with it, not least because it’s something which finite beings such as ourselves simply can’t imagine.

    The alternative seems to be to declare by fiat an uncaused first cause as the backstop to the chain of causation.

    The problem with any uncaused first cause is that it is always possible to ask what caused the uncaused first cause. If the reply is that it is, as the term suggests, uncaused then the obvious response is that, if it was not caused it must always have existed, which brings us right back to an infinity again.

    Maybe there’s something we’re missing?

  343. 343
    StephenB says:

    Seversky

    The problem with any uncaused first cause is that it is always possible to ask what caused the uncaused first cause

    It is not rational to ask what caused something that is ucaused. That would be a logical contradiction.

    If the reply is that it is, as the term suggests, uncaused then the obvious response is that, if it was not caused it must always have existed…

    .

    Obviously.

    which brings us right back to an infinity again.

    Infinite existence, which is logical, has nothing to do with an infinite number of causes in a causal chain, which is illogical.

  344. 344
    Origenes says:

    SB @

    There is also a prior cause. Someone or something (I would argue, the Creator), had to provide the agent with the *capacity* to think, make decisions, and start a new causal chain.

    So, there is a prior *cause* (the Creator) ….. and further down the road there is a *new causal chain*.

    A -> B-> C-> ….. W-> X-> Y

    I spot a problem here and you seem to gloss over it.

  345. 345
    Viola Lee says:

    to Stephen at 337: When I asked, “May I put the question this way: does not free will imply the ability to make and implement an uncaused effect?”, Stephen replied

    What, in the name of sense, are you trying to say? There is no such thing as an uncaused effect. In the present case, the intelligent agent is the cause and the free will decision is the effect. However, as LCD tried to explain, and as I have indicated several times,. it doesn’t end there. There is also a prior cause. Someone or something (I would argue, the Creator), had to provide the agent with the *capacity* to think, make decisions, and start a new causal chain. These capacities or powers consist of the spiritual faculties of intelligence and free will (and , of course, the physical organ of the brain).

    However, the Creator, the one who gives the creature these capacities, is not the one who makes the free-will decision. It is the creature who has been given the power to be his or her own causal agent that does that.. The Creator grants the powers of thinking and making decision to the creature. He does not think or make decisions for the creature (though He can and will help when invited to do so).

    I understand all that, and will accept for the sake of argument the existence of the Creator responsible for my free will capabilities. However, given that, I am emphasizing this: “It is the creature who has been given the power to be his or her own causal agent that” makes the free will decision. So, there is a distinction between my ability to make free-will decisions and the actual free-will decisions I make: if I decide to vote for X and not Y, even though there may be lots of things I take into consideration, the decision to vote for X is not caused by anything other than my free-will. The decision itself is uncaused by anything other than my free will even though the ability to make such decisions is caused. That is an important distinction.

    Here is a somewhat analogous situation where we have two related but separable issues. My understanding of the standard design argument is that the inference to design is separate from the question of who the Designer might be: we can study the criteria for inferring design and the things that might be designed irrespective of and separate from an attempt to identify the Designer.

    Same here: I infer free will, and exercise free will, with the understanding that that means my decisions are not caused by anything outside myself. The question of how I came to have free will is a separate question that is not necessary to investigate in order to investigate how free will works in the world. Who the Designer is and who the Creator is separable from the more experiential investigation of design and free will, respectively.

  346. 346
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    .In my philosophy a person is self-caused, a unity.

    And your philosophy is pure, unadulterated, madness. No person can be self caused.
    You must already know this, otherwise, you would not run away from my questions. I cannot make you answer them, but the fact that you are afraid to try speaks for itself.

    I must note that I do propose a context for this self-causation to come about. However, this context is not causative, instead it creates the conditions for this spontaneous act to occur.

    More bad logic. Sorry, but you just don’t understand causation and, unfortunately, you are not willing to learn. To “create the conditions” to make something happen is to create the “causal conditions,” a technical and necessary term with which you are obviously unfamiliar.

  347. 347
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    I understand all that, and will accept for the sake of argument the existence of the Creator responsible for my free will capabilities. However, given that, I am emphasizing this: “It is the creature who has been given the power to be his or her own causal agent that” makes the free will decision. So, there is a distinction between my ability to make free-will decisions and the actual free-will decisions I make:

    Yes, that’s right. The only reason for alluding to the Creator’s act of providing the creature with the power to be a causal agent is to show that the creature cannot give that power to itself, as Origenes mistakenly believes. It must come from the outside.

  348. 348
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    So, there is a prior *cause* (the Creator) ….. and further down the road there is a *new causal chain*

    .

    No, there is no cause that goes further back than the Creator. who is the ultimate first cause of everything. The Creator, the First Cause, is not caused. Otherwise, He would not be the
    “first” cause.”. An infinite chain of causes is a logical impossibility.

  349. 349
    Viola Lee says:

    re 347: No, I agree with that. I’m not discussing the exact same thing that Origenes is.

    My point is this, illustrated with an example. I can vote for either X or Y. I can see positives and negatives about each candidate, but ultimately I choose to vote for X. This is a free-will decision on my part.

    Did the Creator who bequeathed me the capability to make free-will decisions have anything to do with my specific decision to vote for X instead of Y?

  350. 350
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @346

    Unbecoming. Our interaction ends here.

  351. 351
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    My point is this, illustrated with an example. I can vote for either X or Y. I can see positives and negatives about each candidate, but ultimately I choose to vote for X. This is a free-will decision on my part.

    OK

    Did the Creator who bequeathed me the capability to make free-will decisions have anything to do with my specific decision to vote for X instead of Y?

    No, it would be just you and your decision. In that sense, you would be totally independent (unless, of course, you prayed to the Creator for wisdom, which would indicate that you no longer wanted to be totally independent).

  352. 352
    Querius says:

    Once again, unlike sentient animals, humans somehow ALL* know right and wrong, and they feel bad when they do wrong.

    * Except sociopaths, of course. Consider the chilling testimony of a sociopath. How would you convince him that he’s not “humanity 2.0” as he put it?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DakEcY7Z5GU

    Why?

    And a scientific answer isn’t “because it’s in their nature” since this position effectively ends all scientific inquiry. And morals, ethics, and duties duties are not typically associated with unrestrained hedonism.

    -Q

  353. 353
    vividbleau says:

    Origines
    “However, I can also ask: how can one be aware of non-self if one is not aware of self?”

    Perhaps the term non self is causing confusion. By non self I mean that which exists and precedes yourself. For instance the outside world, independently exists independent of your existence. It was there before you existed and became self aware. It is this distinction between yourself and the outside world ( non self) that you are able to recognize and reason that, for example, the TV is not you. If there is no distinction made between you and something existing outside of you you would never be able to determine that your existence is different and distinct from a TV.

    You want to argue that your self awareness and its encounter with the outside world (non self) happen simultaneously in time. However does the outside world exist independently of your self awareness? If so it’s existence precedes your existence ( the necessary prerequisite of self awareness) If it precedes your existence (self awareness )it must also precede your self awareness . It is indeed the outside world that informs you that your existence is distinct from that outside world.

    Vivid

  354. 354
    Viola Lee says:

    Very good, and thanks, Stephen, for the clear, simple discussion.

    A further question: would the Creator have any judgment about who I voted for? That is, even though my decision to vote for X was a free-will choice, could my choice be wrong in respect to the Creator who gave me this capability to freely choose?

  355. 355
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    StephenB @346

    Unbecoming. Our interaction ends here.

    Sorry if I went over the line, but good faith dialogue is a two way street and, in my judgement, you have not been holding up your end. I was reacting to what I perceive as a lack of transparency on your part. Perhaps I should have been more patient. For my part, I am willing to extend you every courtesy and start over again as if nothing has happened. However, I do insist on fairness, and if I can’t get it, I may assert myself in that context.

  356. 356
    StephenB says:

    Viola Lee

    A further question: would the Creator have any judgment about who I voted for? That is, even though my decision to vote for X was a free-will choice, could my choice be wrong in respect to the Creator who gave me this capability to freely choose?

    The Creator, by virtue of His omniscience, would know which political candidate is most qualified to govern in a fair way. He would also know which one possesses the better character and therefore, would be less likely to be corrupted. So yes, He would know which candidate is best in any given situation.

    However, that doesn’t mean that you would always be wrong to vote for the objectively wrong candidate if you thought that he or she was the right candidate. You can make free will decisions, but, like all of us, your knowledge is limited. You can only weigh the relevant factors that you are aware of, including moral factors, and try to make the right choice on that basis. The Creator would not hold you accountable for what you don’t know (unless it is something that you are expected to know and willfully choose not to know).

  357. 357
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I have explicitly argued that we are self-moved, reflexive, intelligent, morally governed agents with responsible, rational freedom and so are going concern agents capable of reason and first, initiating cause including of designs. We may be influenced and constrained but we have significant freedom and responsibility to use freedom aright. We are also obviously contingent and so our individual and global origin is not causeless. I have pointed to the Smith Model. I note, determinisms — including anything implying that we are programmed, dynamic-stochastic computational entities . . . is self referential and undermining of rationality as Haldane et al noted. Similarly, compatibilism, because it embeds such determinism, likewise fails. Meanwhile, the above sidelining and evasion of the point in the OP has significant import. KF

  358. 358
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @

    If there is no distinction made between you and something existing outside of you you would never be able to determine that your existence is different and distinct from a TV.

    I agree. Perhaps the question could be asked if it is possible for someone to have an unsound self-awareness, so that he mistakenly identifies himself with everything he perceives; thoughts, feelings and the TV? Put another way, can someone have a solipsistic self-aware experience? I’m not sure, but at the moment I am inclined to think that this is possible.

    You want to argue that your self awareness and its encounter with the outside world (non self) happen simultaneously in time.

    Providing that you are correct, my argument would be that they precede each other [they presuppose each other], which is, of course, an even stronger claim. I have attempted to convey this difficult point when I spoke about observer & observant. It is not enough for them to happen simultaneously in time, they must also happen “before” each other in time.
    Like everyone else I understand that this is impossible for ‘finite contingent things’, as you called them. So, when I encounter such “impossible” requirements I come to the conclusion that with self-awareness, and consciousness and personhood in general, we are dealing with something that cannot be understood in the same way as finite contingent things. Instead, in my view, we need another context than space/time in order to understand what’s going on.
    So, when someone asks me, for instance, how it is possible for an observer & observant to precede each other in time, my answer is that what’s going on cannot be understood as two distinct things in a step wise causal process within time. Some ppl regard my answer to be ducking the question or not an answer at all and some even get angry and lose their temper.

    However does the outside world exist independently of your self awareness?

    Yes. I firmly reject solipsism.

  359. 359
    Origenes says:

    @ Seversky

    It seems that this always reduces to a choice between an infinite chain of causation and an uncaused first cause.

    And the plot thickens if one accepts freedom & responsibility.
    If determinism is true, and all our actions, our thoughts & beliefs included, causally trace back to events long before we were born, then we do not control our thoughts and beliefs. Is that acceptable to you? What is your position Seversky?

  360. 360
    Origenes says:

    Suppose a free act can be regarded as a new causal chain. Given that, the start of the chain can be named First Cause. How do we explain this particular First Cause? This First Cause does not “necessarily exist as a maximally great being” and it is also not the case that it always existed. So what explains it?
    Wait, do I hear someone whisper “self-causation”?

  361. 361
    Viola Lee says:

    I see that when Origenes here says sef-causation, he doesn’t mean that the self is causing its self, but rather that the self is causing things that have no external prior cause: that each act of free will is, so to speak, a mini first cause. Do I understand you correctly, Origenes?

  362. 362
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @

    I see that when Origenes here says self-causation, he doesn’t mean that the self is causing its self, but rather that the self is causing things that have no external prior cause: that each act of free will is, so to speak, a mini first cause. Do I understand you correctly, Origenes?

    You know you do. I am saying that the cause of the free act, the person, is causing itself with respect to this free act. IOWs with respect to the free act the person acts as a First Cause, self-mover, unmoved mover, uncaused cause.

  363. 363
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    Some ppl regard my answer to be ducking the question or not an answer at all

    Your answer has nothing to do with my questions, which you have, indeed, been ducking. It’s all @310. For your convenience, I will reproduce them here:

    Origenes:

    the self-aware person comes into being by the creative act of observing oneself.

    How can a person who has not yet “come into being” observe himself?

    Self awareness cannot come about in a time sequence; there is no “first this and next that.

    But you have been using time sequences to describe this alleged phenomenon. You said that there is no person “before” this act of self observation.” You also said that the self aware person “comes into being,” which means that there was a time when it didn’t exist.

    So, self-awareness does not fit a causal context with distinct parts…..

    It has nothing to do with “distinct parts,” that’s a strawman, but you have been appealing to causation all along. You said that self-awareness is “due to a ‘(“already”) conscious person observing itself.” So clearly, creative observation is, for you, the cause, and self awareness is the effect.

  364. 364
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    Suppose a free act can be regarded as a new causal chain.

    I think you mean to say that it can be the beginning of a new causal chain.

    Given that, the start of the chain can be named First Cause. How do we explain this particular First Cause?

    You explain it as a free will act by a causal agent that has started a new causal chain..

    This First Cause does not “necessarily exist as a maximally great being”

    It is a simple matter of making the distinction between *a* first cause of a new causal chain and *the ultimate* First Cause of everything.

    So what explains it? Wait, do I hear someone whisper “self-causation”?

    You are free to create your own definitions, but I think the term is too confusing since some will interpret it to mean that the self caused itself to be.

  365. 365
    Querius says:

    StephenB,

    You are free to create your own definitions, but I think the term is too confusing since some will interpret it to mean that the self caused itself to be.

    Yes, but “self causation” can easily be imagined simply as the reverse of a snake swallowing its tail and eventually disappearing. In this case, a snake regurgitates its tail, beginning a new causal chain that causes itself to come into being–a whole new snake out of nothing!

    As Origenes contends, “the self-aware person comes into being by the creative act of observing oneself.”

    So, just a few weeks ago, I observed a large, beautiful snake in my yard that I’d never seen there before. And now I understand how some people explain its coming into existence!

    It’s all so easy when you can use your creative free will to believe anything you want, creating innumerable new causal chains in each case.

    But was it my free will or the snake’s free will that caused it to come into existence? What happens if my free will opposes the snake-to-be’s free will?

    -Q

  366. 366
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, a snake swallowing its tail destroys itself of course. The problem is that self-motion or acting on oneself . . . where does the regurgitation come from . . . is not self origin. The later has the not yet causing itself. Absurd. Yes, feedback action implying memory effects and reflexivity are a commonplace of cybernetics and control systems, for that matter education and training. But the acting agent is antecedent. SB in 363 is quite correct to highlight the incoherence. KF

  367. 367
    StephenB says:

    Querious

    “self causation” can easily be imagined simply as the reverse of a snake swallowing its tail and eventually disappearing. In this case, a snake regurgitates its tail, beginning a new causal chain that causes itself to come into being–a whole new snake out of nothing!

    Yes, that’s right. But then again, the author of such a dubious scenario, can, after having been ridiculed, simply say, “Oh, I didn’t really mean THAT” and then change his story. When apprised of the difference between the two stories, he can say, “there is no difference, they are one and the same.” Once you abandon the law of non-contradiction, all things are possible.

    As Origenes contends, “the self-aware person comes into being by the creative act of observing oneself.”

    Right. First comes the observation, then comes the person who observes. You seem to grasp the point very well. Of course, you are being awfully judgmental here. Remember, according to his testimony, something that is obviously impossible in the real world, may not be impossible in his world. So chill out.

    So, just a few weeks ago, I observed a large, beautiful snake in my yard that I’d never seen there before. And now I understand how some people explain its coming into existence!

    Well, be careful now. So far no one has suggested that a snake can perform the creative act of observing itself. Or, perhaps the snake can observe itself without knowing what it is doing, in which case, maybe it will appear after all. Still, we are stuck with another version of the earlier problem: How can a snake that has not yet come into being observe itself?

  368. 368
    Origenes says:

    Acting freely is the coming to be of the person you want to be, who wasn’t before. Every free act by a person changes a person, constitutes self-realization. By acting freely the person is self-creating.

  369. 369
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes

    “Acting freely is the coming to be of the person you want to be, who wasn’t before. Every free act by a person changes a person, constitutes self-realization. By acting freely the person is self-creating.”

    Meanwhile it’s been over two days and after repeated requests it’s still “crickets” regarding StephenB’s questions.

    Vivid

  370. 370
    Querius says:

    Origenes@368,

    Acting freely is the coming to be of the person you want to be, who wasn’t before. Every free act by a person changes a person, constitutes self-realization. By acting freely the person is self-creating.

    The closest I can imagine to what you’re asserting is in quantum mechanics, where the free choice of what to observe or measure can be demonstrated to result in the collapse of the mathematical probability wave associated with a subatomic particle. This probability wave is called the wave function, which changes what’s observed from a probability in a volume of space into an actual electron, photon, or other subatomic particle.

    Notice that I used the word “changes,” not “creates” or “reveals.” The particle doesn’t physically exist until it’s observed or measured. It has only a mathematical existence.

    However, such probability waves cannot observe themselves or each other, but they may become a part of a Markov chain in a sort of domino effect originating from the original observation. So far, it seems that only human observation can collapse wave functions. No one is sure why (it certainly has something to do with information), nor has anyone devised an experiment to test this as far as I know.

    So, back to your assertion about self observation, where one can choose to observe oneself, one can observe oneself observing oneself, or observe oneself observing oneself observing oneself, or perhaps someone else, or perhaps obstinately and deliberately choose NOT to observe oneself, can you provide any supporting evidence that existence can emerge from such intense and perhaps recursive observation?

    -Q

  371. 371
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @366,

    Q, a snake swallowing its tail destroys itself of course. The problem is that self-motion or acting on oneself . . . where does the regurgitation come from . . . is not self origin. The later has the not yet causing itself.

    In physics, observing things forward in time is supposedly indistinguishable from observing things backward in time. Consider this article . . .
    https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a38390095/could-time-flow-in-reverse/

    -Q

  372. 372
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    Acting freely is the coming to be of the person you want to be, who wasn’t before. Every free act by a person changes a person, constitutes self-realization. By acting freely the person is self-creating.

    The changing person WAS there before, otherwise he could not have been changed. A person that doesn’t exist cannot undergo change. What wasn’t there before is the changed person’s current state of existence, which is new, not the person’s existence, which was already there.

  373. 373
    Barry Arrington says:

    StephenB at 372.

    It’s like they never heard of Aristotle, act and potency. Never mind the sophisticated concepts. No one seems to know the basics.

  374. 374
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, in simple mechanics or optics, yes. Once thermodynamics enters, time reversibility is not so simple; the second law is called time’s arrow for a reason, having to do with probabilities of clusters of microstates associated with observable macrostate due to relative statistical weight. KF

    PS, fluctuations happen with micro level systems, the PM article is making a mountain out of a molehill. But then, that is directly tied to the complexity-specificity threshold issue in the design inference and what is plausible on blind forces.

  375. 375
    kairosfocus says:

    BA & SB, we are in a day where pervasive hyperskepticism and radical relativism have caused deep confusion and needless disputes. Disregard for logic’s core first principles leads to dismissiveness towards logic of being thence the sort of futile disputing we can see too often in Socratic dialogues; recall, the net result was to try, sentence and execute Socrates at age 70 more or less as a corrupter of youth, thoughtcrime. The notion of circular retrocausation and implication of self-origin as opposed to a going concern agent acting reflexively on himself and initiating a subsequent chain of events in the external world is lost in the disputing and dismissiveness. We need to go back to, we are finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill willed. KF

  376. 376
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, How can a person who has not yet “come into being” observe himself? ANS: S/he cannot. What is not cannot act. KF

  377. 377
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @374,
    Yes, in mechanics, optics, and the sudden appearances of snakes. (smile)

    But while entropy of a system always increases, there can be local decreases in entropy without violating the second law.

    In the case of the principle of “regurative self generation” of snakes or of self observant people-to-become, I’m looking for is some kind–any kind–of evidence that Origenes can produce in support of his assertions.

    Evidence will allow us to move forward rather than simply pairing imaginative stories in mortal combat against each other.

    -Q

  378. 378
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, the fluctuations are only significant at the level of Brownian motion and below. Already at 500 to 1,000 bits of complexity, they are minimal. Think coins or elements in a paramagnetic array aligned with or opposite to a weak external magnetic field. Go to binomial theorem to see the result. A snake would be macroscopic, well beyond such. Media popularisations of academic papers looking at oddities do not change such. KF

  379. 379
    Origenes says:

    BA @

    It’s like they never heard of Aristotle, act and potency. Never mind the sophisticated concepts. No one seems to know the basics.

    You may have noticed that I argue that the free person is the exception to the maxim that nothing can move itself from potency to act unless it first be moved to act.
    You are welcome to discuss Aquinas’ take on this matter.

  380. 380
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @

    Meanwhile it’s been over two days and after repeated requests it’s still “crickets” regarding StephenB’s questions.

    Those questions boil down to: how can self-causation be understood in a causal space/time context?
    I have repeatedly stated and argued (e.g. #336, #358) that this cannot be done.

  381. 381
    Origenes says:

    Querius @

    The closest I can imagine to what you’re asserting is in quantum mechanics, where the free choice of what to observe or measure can be demonstrated to result in the collapse of the mathematical probability wave associated with a subatomic particle. (…) The particle doesn’t physically exist until it’s observed or measured. It has only a mathematical existence.

    Your example is about an observer causing the state of a distinct thing. I’m talking about an observer/person causing the state of himself. A state of himself that does not exist until after the free act.

    So, back to your assertion about self observation, where one can choose to observe oneself, one can observe oneself observing oneself, (…) can you provide any supporting evidence that existence can emerge from such intense and perhaps recursive observation?

    Can the existence of conscious self-awareness emerge from something other than the act of observing oneself?

  382. 382
    StephenB says:

    Vivid:

    Meanwhile it’s been over two days and after repeated requests it’s still “crickets” regarding StephenB’s questions.

    Origenes:

    Those questions boil down to: how can self-causation be understood in a causal space/time context?
    I have repeatedly stated and argued (e.g. #336, #358) that this cannot be done.

    /

    Sorry, but that will not work. It was you who originally described your philosophy in a time/causal context. @265, you referred to time when you said that “there is no person *before* this act of self observation.” First, comes the act of self observation, then comes the person. You also said that the self aware person “comes into being,” which means that there was a *time* when it didn’t exist.

  383. 383
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @378

    A snake would be macroscopic, well beyond such. Media popularisations of academic papers looking at oddities do not change such.

    Well, it looks like you’ve destroyed my nascent theory of the big bang origin by “Reverse Ragnarok,” or the Ouroboros: https://www.dictionary.com/e/pop-culture/ouroboros/

    The ouroboros is a form that dates back to ancient Egypt. The snake biting its own tail in an endless loop is seen in many cultures as a symbol of eternity, the cycle of life and death, and of both rebirth and destruction.

    I hope you’re happy. LOL

    -Q

  384. 384
    Querius says:

    Origenes @381,

    Your example is about an observer causing the state of a distinct thing. I’m talking about an observer/person causing the state of himself. A state of himself that does not exist until after the free act.

    Yes, exactly. And moving backward in the chain of states of being as a result of observation, we then conclude that our original state was simply an observation of our non-existence, right?

    Can the existence of conscious self-awareness emerge from something other than the act of observing oneself?

    Yes, certainly. The free act of God observing our non-existence with His Logos.

    The Greek word, logos, can be translated as a word as the expression of a thought or concept, or reasoning expressed by words.

    “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.” – John 1:1

    -Q

  385. 385
    StephenB says:

    Barry Arrington @379:

    It’s like they never heard of Aristotle, act and potency. Never mind the sophisticated concepts. No one seems to know the basics.

    Yes, and there is a penalty to pay for not grasping these basics. In their absence, it is impossible to reason in the abstract without going astray.

  386. 386
    Origenes says:

    Aquinas on free will and potency & act.

    Aquinas holds the idea that nothing can move itself from potency to act unless it is moved to act by something else. He argues that a free person causes himself to act, but is nevertheless, not the first cause of the free act.

    “To the forth it should be said that when it is said that something moves itself, that the same thing is mover and moved. But when it said that something is moved by another, the moved is taken to be one thing and the mover another. But it is clear that when something moves another, from this is not taken to follow that it is the first mover: wherefore it is not excluded that from another it is itself moved and from this other it has even this, that it moves.”

    “When anything moves itself, that does not exclude its being moved by another, from which it has even this that it moves itself. Thus, it is not repugnant to liberty that God is the cause of the free act of the will.”
    “Hence the action of the intellect, or of any created being whatsoever, depends upon God in two ways: first, inasmuch as it is from Him that it has the form whereby it acts; secondly, inasmuch as it is moved by Him to act.”

    God is the first mover in the sense that He moves the free person to act – the idea is that this takes care of the divide between potency and act. The details of the act are left to the free person. The first cause moves, and the free person is self-steering, so to speak.

    When anything moves itself, that does not exclude its being moved by another, from which it has even this that it moves itself

    When anything moves itself, the self has a relationship with self. This self-relationship is pure freedom, because no thing can be between self and self; no thing can be between one thing. From this, when anything moves itself, there is necessarily movement which can only be traced back to self. There is self-movement originating from the self and nothing else, because no thing can be between one thing.
    Something that moves itself can be propelled in some direction by another, but this other cannot account for the additional movements originating from the self. In order to do that the other must impose himself between self and self. No thing can impose itself between one thing. The relationship ‘between’ self and self is necessarily independent from the other.

    Concluding: there is self-movement independent from the alleged “first cause.” The first cause cannot come between self and self, because no thing can come between one thing. Therefor the self moves itself from potency to act, independent from the “first cause”; the exact thing that Aquinas attempted to prevent.

  387. 387
    jerry says:

    Today is Groundhog Day. I highly recommend the movie which shows one how to be both good and happy at the same time.

    One of the great moral movies of all time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GncQtURdcE4

  388. 388
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    there is self-movement independent from the alleged “first cause.”

    Yes, there is. I am pleased that you learned something from Aquinas. As I said at 264,

    You can, as the subject, be the source or origin of your thoughts and feelings, but you cannot, as you seem to believe, be the source or origin of your *capacity* to think or feel.

    So are you willing to retract your earlier statement where you said the very opposite of what you are saying now:

    If everything about me is created by X, then X is the one and only source, and it makes no sense to say that I am the source of anything. If all I am is a creation by X, then X is the source of everything that comes next.

  389. 389
    Origenes says:

    A note to #386 //:

    If nothing can move itself from potency to act unless it is moved to act by something else, then it is, obviously, impossible to create something that moves itself on is own. It is therefor incoherent to say: ‘God gave a free person the capacity to move itself on its own’. Like everything else, a free person is not supposed to be able to move on its own.
    That’s why Aquinas proposes a first cause in an attempt to explain the movement of the free person, while upholding the universality of the principle of potency and act. IOWs Aquinas attempts to explain a free person’s movement by something else, that is the ‘first cause’.
    In #386 I argue that Aquinas’ attempt failed.

  390. 390
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    It is therefor incoherent to say: ‘God gave a free person the capacity to move itself on its own’.

    Strawman. A free person does not move himself “on his own.” It requires an outside agent – God or First Cause – to provide that person with the *capacity* to move himself. It also requires a First cause to sustain that capacity through time. This takes place outside the individual and is consistent with the philosophy of Aquinas. Without the capacity to act, a person is not free to act. It is impossible is for the person to create that power for itself or within himself. Your claims to the contrary are irrational.

  391. 391
    vividbleau says:

    SB
    “Your claims to the contrary are irrational.”

    Indeed.

    Vivid

  392. 392
    Origenes says:

    Note 2 to #386

    The principle of act & potency informs us that the capacity ‘to move itself without being moved by another’ is non-existent. If true, no thing can be provided by anyone with this non-existent capacity. And this non-existent capacity cannot be sustained through time.

  393. 393
    StephenB says:

    Origenes

    The principle of act & potency informs us that the capacity ‘to move itself without being moved by another’ is non-existent. If true, no thing can be provided by anyone with this non-existent capacity.

    No. it doesn’t. It means, among other things, that the First Mover is a necessary factor in establishing the human capacity to think and make decisions. It does not mean that the First Mover is the one who is thinking those thoughts or making those decisions. God can easily provide His creatures with a mind/brain function and a free will faculty that allows them to be distinct causal agents capable of beginning new causal chains. The principle of act/potency does, however, rule out your irrational belief that the human self is the source of its own existence

    And this non-existent capacity cannot be sustained through time.

    All created things in the universe must be sustained. They didn’t bring themselves into existence and they cannot keep themselves in existence. According to the law of cause and effect, nothing comes to be, or continues to exist, on its own power. It’s interesting to note, though, that you characterize the mind/brain and free will faculties as “non-existent capacities.” You were thinking what? – that they serve no worthwhile purpose? – that they are just there for show?

  394. 394
    Querius says:

    ‘God gave a free person the capacity to move itself on its own’. Like everything else, a free person is not supposed to be able to move on its own.

    When you roll a dice, you give it the capacity to display a number at random, but not the number itself. So, I’d say the Primary Mover gave us the capacity for free will, but did not determine the outcome of our free will.

    Nevertheless, because God created space-time, God is not trapped in space-time and can freely move between past, present, and future. God’s knowledge of the future doesn’t remove our capacity to make free will choices.

    -Q

  395. 395
    Viola Lee says:

    But it doesn’t remove his ability or right to judge those free-will choices. Would you say that was your belief, Querius?

  396. 396
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @395,

    Yes. After doing everything possible to save what he lovingly created, but still preserve our free will, God will provide perfect justice to those who’ve demanded it and loving mercy to those who’ve accepted it.

    -Q

  397. 397
    StephenB says:

    Querius, in my second and third comment to you @367, I tried to use satirical humor to demonstrate my agreement with your points. After rereading it, I am not sure that I came across that way. So I just wanted to put it on the record. Thanks.

  398. 398
    Querius says:

    StephenB @397,

    Once you abandon the law of non-contradiction, all things are possible.

    Yeah, that nailed it for me as satire. And I also had a lot of satirical fun with “regurative self generation” of snakes . . .

    -Q

  399. 399
    StephenB says:

    Querius @398,

    Yes. Thanks. Mainly, I didn’t want you to take me seriously when I made the frivolous suggestion that you were being “judgmental” and that you ought to “chill out.” I meant it as a joke, but I wasn’t sure that it came across that way.

  400. 400
    Querius says:

    No worries, StephenB.

    We all like to poke a little fun.

    -Q

Leave a Reply