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Does Good come from God II – Harris vs Lane

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The debate: Does Good Come From God II by Sam Harris vs William Lane Harris 7 April 2011 at Notre Dame is now on YouTube.

Part 1 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 2 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 3 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 4 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 5 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 6 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 7 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 8 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 9 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God
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Apologetics 315 has posted the audio link the Full Debate MP3 Audio here (120 min)
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I found the debate a fascinating test of technical debating skills vs red herrings and emotional appeals. (PS please post links to transcripts when available.)

This debate provides an interesting framework within which to examine the ID related question:
Does Information come from an Intelligent Agent?

Harris claimed that the axioms of science are accepted and obvious to everyone and provide the basis for proving there is no god. However, atheists commonly presuppose naturalistic materialism.
How can one scientifically examine if an intelligent agent exists or is causative, if one a priori excludes intelligent agents from possible causes?

I posit that in testing for an intelligent cause, one must presuppose:

1) Intelligent agents exist. (e.g. humans)
2) Intelligent agents can influence nature. (e.g. this post)
3) Some intelligent intervention can be detected. (e.g., forensics)
4) An intelligent agent may be a cause for an observed phenomena.

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April 11 See JonnyB’s follow on post:

Sam Harris Delivers Riveting Oration Championing Deism

Comments
---Bruce: "When you call my ideas absurd or self contradictory, then you not only call me a fool, you also call Bishop Berkeley, Richard Thompson, Robert Lanza, and Bob Berman fools. And fools they were and are not. I’m not saying you must agree with me, but you betray your own intellectual impoverishment when you attempt to reduce these ideas to absurdity or inconsistency. In calling these obviously brilliant deep thinkers fools, you only end up looking foolish yourselves." You believe that were made in the image and likeness of God AND that we are also the God in whose image we are made. That belief is self contradictory. The painter cannot also be his painting. None of the men you mentioned ever subscribed to any such nonsense, so you should stop associating their names with it. You may be on board with their brand of self-centered Idealism, but they are not on board with your brand of irrational Pantheism.StephenB
April 17, 2011
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To all of you attempting to show that my philosophy is absurd, inconsistent, etc., etc. In my view, all any of you are doing is demonstrating your inability to see beyond your own paradigms. What you all see as absurd or logically contradictory looks so to you because you are so mired in your own world view that you simply cannot see any other possibility. When you call my ideas absurd or self contradictory, then you not only call me a fool, you also call Bishop Berkeley, Richard Thompson, Robert Lanza, and Bob Berman fools. And fools they were and are not. I'm not saying you must agree with me, but you betray your own intellectual impoverishment when you attempt to reduce these ideas to absurdity or inconsistency. In calling these obviously brilliant deep thinkers fools, you only end up looking foolish yourselves. You really are just like the materialist who sees a belief in God or spirit as absolutely without any foundation other than wishful thinking, and has no problem at all with the absurdity that qualia are simply electrochemical activity in the brain. I'm tired of pointing out the errors in your criticisms, only to have it go over your heads yet again. I'll let my ideas stand as I have presented them up to now. Let anyone reading this thread with an open mind judge for him or herself.Bruce David
April 17, 2011
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Bruce, "Problems with Dualism The Mind/Body Problem: The most glaring problem with a dualistic philosophy is the mind/body problem. In dualism there are two different substances—mind and matter. They are completely different. Yet they each exert causal influences on the other. Intentionality in the mind is somehow able, through the brain (a material object) to cause the body (also a material object) to move and speak. Likewise, a dualistic point of view requires that the material body, through the senses sending nerve impulses to the brain, be able to create the qualia (mental phenomena) we experience: sights, sounds, tastes, etc. There is no explanation in dualism how the two completely different types of substance can influence each other. There is of course no mind/body problem in idealism because matter does not exist." It is not a glaring problem, but reality. They compliment each other, rather than contradict. In order for you to have a logical problem with dualism, you really have to show that our dualistic nature is an absurd contradiction, which it is apparently not. When I think about doing something and do it in the real world, my thoughts complement my actions. While I can think of doing something that is impossible in the real world, I cannot actualize that thought in the real world. Also, that I can think of something and not do it demonstrates that I have the free-will to not do what I think. There's really no contradiction. What is an absurd contradiction is your own belief that matter does not exist. It doesn't work for you or anyone else in a universe where beliefs have very real consequences. It might work if living consistently with such beliefs is externally inconsequential, but I think we have shown that you can't live consistently with that belief externally in the "real" world, no matter how many philosophers you have gathered around to agree with you. Your philosophy only works for you in the abstract, but it cannot be applied in any meaningful way to reality. For example, you cannot think of doing something impossible to do, and actualize it in the "real" world. You cannot make a square circle, for example. If your philosophy was consistent, you could think of pretty much any reality, and actualize it in the "real" world, because all that exists are your thoughts. This is why I asked you to demonstrate the internal consistency of your philosophy. It has no internal consistency, and as such, it is self-defeating; and when I say self-defeating, I mean in the "real" world of our experiences. You can only hold that the "real" world does not exist by first assuming that it doesn't exist - Internally by your philosophy; which is circular. You appeal to the authority of others who think like you, but if you were to think consistently, they too do not exist. you could not appeal to anything outside yourself, and as such, you could not substantiate any of your claims apart from yourself. But the very fact that you do try to substantiate your beliefs outside yourself, demonstrates further that you are being inconsistent with what you claim to believe. Dualism is the only position, which allows us to deal with all reality - the physical and the abstract consistently. Materialists cannot be consistent, and strong idealists, such as yourself cannot be consistent. You might call it rigid and unimaginative, but somewhere down the line we need to be able to grasp reality without imagining that it is anything other than it is. To repeat what HSR stated: "To paraphrase Chesterton, the point of opening your mind is to close it again on something substantial." This is exactly right.CannuckianYankee
April 17, 2011
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Bruce, "This implies that when my wife and I (and the cat) close the bedroom door go to bed, leaving the living room empty of conscious entities, all of the particles comprising the living room revert to their Schrodinger equation state, and the living room ceases to exist as the living room we always experience when we are there." Unless of course, unbeknownst to you there is a thief in the living room shortly after you close your door, who manages to steal all your valuables. Of course, in your philosophy, neither the living room, the thief or your valuables actually exist, so a court of law could not logically hold the non-existent thief accountable for the theft if you are being consistent.CannuckianYankee
April 17, 2011
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---Bruce: "Aside from many mystics, such as the Sufis, who regard this world as “the world of appearances” ....."Bishop Berkeley: I have mentioned him before ..."John Stuart Mill wrote that he considered his work to be of “greatest philosophic genius” ...."Richard L. Thompson" ...."Robert Lanza and Bob Berman: Robert Lanza, M. D. has hundreds of publications and inventions,..." Did any of these men believe, as you do, that they were made in the image and likeness of God and that they were also the God in whose image they were made? Of course not. Did they, like you, think that they were both the Creator and the creature? Of course not. All the name dropping in the world will not help your case here.StephenB
April 17, 2011
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Clive: "If you hold that conflicting and contradictory beliefs can be held sincerely, and that therefore, since they are held sincerely, that they are both true, well, this obviously cannot be true, because it is a contradiction." When have I ever said that I hold that sincerity is a criterion of truth? My protestations of sincerity of belief were in response to being accused of dishonesty and hypocrisy, not as evidence of the validity of my philosophy.Bruce David
April 16, 2011
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Bruce David, the evidence you discuss here; 'There is no explanation in dualism how the two completely different types of substance can influence each other.' ,,,is false for we now do have evidence of how the transcendent mind influences the physical body,,, Quantum Coherence and Consciousness – Scientific Proof of ‘Mind’ – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6266865/ Particular quote of note from preceding video; “Wolf Singer Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt) has found evidence of simultaneous oscillations in separate areas of the cortex, accurately synchronized in phase as well as frequency. He suggests that the oscillations are synchronized from some common source, but the actual source has never been located.” James J. Hurtak, Ph.D. – Ph.D. on non-local consciousness I hold this evidence, from Wolf Singer, to be concrete proof for the ‘transcendent mind’ of man, since the ‘simultaneous actions’ in the brain are ‘instantaneous’ and are thus impossible to be explained by, or reduced to, any of the physical ‘space-time energy/matter’ chemical processes of the brain. ,, i.e. Bruce, if the brain were merely an illusion as you maintain, how in the world could we deduce a differentiation of action so as to deduce the presence of a mind in the experiment??? Your philosophy provides no framework for understanding this!!! ,,, As for all your other 'quantum weirdness' examples, focused mainly on violations of space-time constraints, this all actually fits very well within the Theistic framework (which is as such, transcendent framework, eternal framework, and temporal framework) and the quantum evidence certainly does not fit within the pantheistic framework since you hold there really is no distinct 'separateness' from god to be postulated, or measured in the first place! i.e. it actually should be very surprising to you that such 'distinctness of time-frames' exist since 'all is god' in your view.,,, That basically is the problem with your philosophy on all levels it is examined, put simply it is just a bunch of 'flexible mush' that makes no solid predictions for science, nor does it provide any solid foundation for one to live his life by. Myself, I choose the solid Theistic foundation of Christ, for that foundation provided the bedrock to launch the scientific revolution; as well as the bedrock for me to base my life on here and now, and as well certainly base it on in the life hereafter: The Christian Founders Of Science - Henry F. Schaefer III - video http://www.vimeo.com/16523153 Solid Rock - the 5th service band Featuring TRU-SERVA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4jD70Y-mQ0 ,, I also fascinated by the fact that Christ seems to have unified the 'materialistic' framework of general relativity with the theistic framework of quantum mechanics; The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355 Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age - Pictures, Articles and Videos https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram - Face And Body - Dr. Petrus Soons - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/5889891/ A Quantum Hologram of Christ's Resurrection? by Chuck Missler Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847 "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature." St. Augustinebornagain77
April 16, 2011
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Bruce David, So a belief is sincerely held, so what? Sincere-ity doesn't mean true. If you hold that conflicting and contradictory beliefs can be held sincerely, and that therefore, since they are held sincerely, that they are both true, well, this obviously cannot be true, because it is a contradiction.Clive Hayden
April 16, 2011
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StephenB: re #234. Nice little straw man argument. Not worthy of response, however.Bruce David
April 16, 2011
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Idealism Apologetic To everyone: On the subject of my philosophical position, which seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest, there are too many comments to answer each individually, so I am going to write a sort of Idealism Apologetic, if you will. I know that most of you will object to this on some ground or another. Let anyone reading this thread judge for him or herself whose ideas make the most sense. Introductory notes: To make it easier to refer to my philosophy, I will label it idealism for the purposes of this post. (But please don’t come back and attack my position by identifying it with some other brand of idealism that is different from mine. That would be a waste of everyone’s time.) In general, I see three possible metaphysical positions regarding the true nature of reality: materialism, idealism, and dualism. By dualism I mean the philosophy that there are two types of entities in the universe: mind (or soul) and matter, and that each of these is real and can exist independently of the other. I won’t deal much if at all with materialism, because I don’t recognize any materialists among you. So this apologetic will primarily consider idealism vs. dualism. Idealism, of course, is the philosophy that all there is is mind (or soul) and the contents of mind, which for my purposes include all of the following phenomena: thoughts, intentions, perceptions (sense impressions), emotions, memory, and imagination. I want to dispose of one thing at the outset. I am under no obligation whatsoever to prove that my philosophy is internally consistent, a deucedly difficult, if not impossible, thing to do in any case. I am describing my philosophy to you. I works for me. If you can show me that it is internally inconsistent (by demonstrating two contradictory propositions within it), I am definitely interested. But I have no desire to undertake the arduous task of attempting to prove its consistency. Let’s start with a question: What is it that we perceive when we perceive something? The answer is that what we perceive are perceptions, that is, phenomena of the mind. Our perceptions include sights, sounds, tastes, smells, heat, cold, sensations of touch. All of these are phenomena of the mind. When I look at something, say my desk, I see its shape and its color, etc. These sensations, these sights, are phenomena that exist in my mind. We can assume or believe that our perceptions give us information about objects that exist “out there” (that is, outside of our mind), but we can never know that this is true. Why? Because all knowledge of any world “out there” comes to us through our perceptions, and our perceptions are within the mind. Put another way, there is no reliable test that can tell us at any moment in time whether or not we are dreaming. There is no reliable test that can tell us that our perceptions are not entirely the product of mind. How about indirect evidence? Our perceptions during waking life seem to have two qualities that argue for their being a reflection of an externally existing reality: regularity and universality. Regularity in general means that they conform to the laws of physics. This can be exemplified by my experience that the coffee mug I left on my desk last night is still there in the morning. And if I leave on vacation for a week, it will still be there when I return (unless the cat has knocked it off). Universality means that my wife and son also experience the mug as being on the desk, and apparently even my cat. One explanation for these two qualities is that there really is a mug “out there”. But another is that all minds are connected in an invisible matrix that exists within the mind of God, and that God, for His purposes, maintains the regularity and universality that support the illusion of an external world. Either explanation fits our experience. What would God’s purpose be for maintaining such an illusion? I have explained my view of this in many other places, and to go through it again here would take way too much space, so I’ll leave that unexplained for now. To sum up, just based on our experience of the “external” world, both idealism and dualism are adequate explanations. Problems with Dualism The Mind/Body Problem: The most glaring problem with a dualistic philosophy is the mind/body problem. In dualism there are two different substances—mind and matter. They are completely different. Yet they each exert causal influences on the other. Intentionality in the mind is somehow able, through the brain (a material object) to cause the body (also a material object) to move and speak. Likewise, a dualistic point of view requires that the material body, through the senses sending nerve impulses to the brain, be able to create the qualia (mental phenomena) we experience: sights, sounds, tastes, etc. There is no explanation in dualism how the two completely different types of substance can influence each other. There is of course no mind/body problem in idealism because matter does not exist. Quantum Weirdness: In quantum mechanics, particles (of which all matter and energy are comprised) exist, if they can be said to exist at all, as Schrodinger “probability waves”, each of which is smeared throughout the entire universe. They only coalesce into a particular location when they are observed by a mind. This implies that when my wife and I (and the cat) close the bedroom door go to bed, leaving the living room empty of conscious entities, all of the particles comprising the living room revert to their Schrodinger equation state, and the living room ceases to exist as the living room we always experience when we are there. It takes an observing consciousness to get it back. Once again, in dualism the question begs to be answered: how is it possible that consciousness (mind) can have such a profound causal effect on matter, which supposedly exists independently of it? There are even quantum theoretical experiments in which the observer’s ability to collapse the Schrodinger equation travels BACKWARDS in time. In idealism, quantum mechanics simply represents the rules by which the illusion is created. It’s an interesting question why God would set it up so weirdly, but there are possible answers, one of which is that it is a very strong clue that what we perceive as reality is actually an illusion. Miracles: Jesus is not the only person of whom it was reported that he or she had the ability to perform miracles. There have been many, many such eyewitness reports of many, many people throughout history. I have even personally known people who have performed miracles. Miracles by definition are acts or events that violate the laws of the material universe. Such events really have no explanation in a dualistic system other than that all those reports are lies, or perhaps Divine intervention. But why would God intervene so many times in so many cultures with so many different people? In idealism (my version, remember), every person has the capacity to perform miracles, but most of us don’t really believe it, and unless you believe it, the ability is effectively unavailable to you, although it can be manifested even in ordinary people in times of crisis. There are many stories, for example, of a mother lifting a car off her child before she had time to realize that such an action was physically impossible for her, and a friend of mine as a young woman once actually teleported herself across her yard to escape an attacker (the attacker fled in terror). Others Who Share My Beliefs My purpose in listing others who agree with me is not to convince anyone that I am right by an appeal to authority argument. Rather, it is as evidence that my views are not as absurd and ridiculous as some of you have charged. Aside from many mystics, such as the Sufis, who regard this world as “the world of appearances” and not reality, there are a number of philosophers and others who share my idealistic philosophy. Among them are: Bishop Berkeley: I have mentioned him before, so I won’t say much about him, except that he is considered to be one of the great British empirical philosophers. John Stuart Mill wrote that he considered his work to be of “greatest philosophic genius”. Richard L. Thompson: Thompson is a mathematician who has done scientific research in quantum physics, mathematical biology, and remote sensing. He is the author of seven books, one of which is Maya, the World as Virtual Reality. In it, he reconciles modern physics in detail with the idea of our experience being virtual reality. Robert Lanza and Bob Berman: Robert Lanza, M. D. has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, "Principles of Tissue Engineering," which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Bob Berman is one of the best known astronomers in the world. Their book is Biocentrism. Before anyone attacks me, I know that that the authors do not come right out and say that they believe that all there is is mind, but if you read the book carefully, that is the only conclusion that makes sense from what they present, which is basically that the world does not exist until we perceive it. Our perception brings it into existence.Bruce David
April 16, 2011
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HouseStreetRoom: "You’ve now turned to ad hominem and emotional outburst in place of rational argument. This is a common trend with you. Stop telling people they lack imagination and are inflexible in their thinking." If you have been following this thread for some time then you know that my ideas have been attacked as ridiculous and absurd and that I personally have been attacked more than once (by StephenB among others) as dishonest and hypocritical. My "rigid little mind" remark was perhaps a little beyond the pale, but it was out of annoyance at being accused yet again of dishonesty. Don't you think it might be just a tad one sided of you to single me out for criticism of launching an ad hominem attack? As for their lacking imagination and being inflexible, that I will not retract. They do lack imagination and they are inflexible in their thinking. I calls 'em as I sees 'em.Bruce David
April 16, 2011
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Bruce: I was made in the image and likeness of God. Bruce: I am also the same God from whom I was created. Rational Person: How can you be both the creator and the thing created? Bruce: Because my inner knowing told me so. RP: But it is impossible to be both the creator and the thing created. Bruce: What a rigid little mind you have. RP: Well, what about MY inner knowing. Bruce: My inner knowing is better than your inner knowing. RP: Did you arrive at this conclusion as a result of your inner knowing, or was it a product of Neale Walsh's inner knowing. Bruce: His inner knowing became my inner knowing. RP: Well, whose inner knowing was it? Bruce: Ultimately, the idea of inner knowing came from him, but the real inner knowing is my own. RP: But you said you are also a disciple of the Idealist George Berkeley, and even he, whacked out as he was, believed in the Law of Non Contradiction. Did he have a rigid little mind as well. Was his inner knowing also deficient. Bruce: Actually, I am a disciple of many teachers, all of whom contradict themselves on critical issues. So, if my Pantheism is refuted, I claim to follow Berkeley's idealism, but if my idealism is refuted, I claim to be a classic Pantheist. If that doesn't work, I can escape to Walschian Pantheism, which isn't really Pantheism--but so what? RP: So, you have many positions and the fact that they do not cohere is no problem. Bruce: Correct. My inner knowing takes logical precedence over (Oops, I mean is better than) the law of non-contradiction anyway, so I can be perfectly reasonable even when I am contradicting myself. Also, I like to give lectures on the same rules of logic that I do not believe in, do not practice, and didn't know about it until last week.StephenB
April 16, 2011
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"If you had an ounce of flexibility in that rigid little mind of yours, you would see that my formulation is logically equivalent to yours. You have my answer. Deal with it." I've been following your discussions for sometime. You've now turned to ad hominem and emotional outburst in place of rational argument. This is a common trend with you. Stop telling people they lack imagination and are inflexible in their thinking. This is a typical modern fallacy which appeals to the vague notions of not being "progressive" enough. It's just silly and means nothing. For all your exasperation at people's immodesty and epistemological certainty...pot meet kettle. The ideas you are in opposition to have been the basis of western philosophy and thought for a few thousand years (Hellenistic philosophy, Aristotle etc., later refined by the Medievals, Aquinas etc.). To paraphrase Chesterton, the point of opening your mind is to close it again on something substantial.HouseStreetRoom
April 16, 2011
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So to deny the objective reality/identity of something is called 'flexible thinking'. Bruce, there is nothing 'equivalent' with your 'flexible logic' and with StephenB's rigid logic! You live in a philosophical/scientific madhouse, in which 'distinction of identity' dissolves into a Alice In Wonderland house of mirrors!bornagain77
April 16, 2011
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Bornagain: "You may sit here pontificating about how you imagine how good the world to really be, but when the rubber meets the road, you live your life fully consistently as if evil objectively exists." With all due respect, sir, you do not know how I live my life. Furthermore, your pontification about my life is grounded in a fundamental lack of imagination. You simply cannot imagine how a person can live a life that is radically different from yours. I live my life consciously knowing that evil doesn't exist in any OBJECTIVE sense. Just get it. I also know that a subjective EXPERIENCE of the illusion of evil is necessary in order to have an EXPERIENCE of myself and others as good. Since I value this experience, I label some things I observe in this world of illusion as evil, all the while knowing that I have made a SUBJECTIVE assessment for the purpose just stated. You are essentially saying that it is impossible for me to do this. Bornagain, my friend, you have no clue.Bruce David
April 16, 2011
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StephenB: "—Bruce: 'I have already answered your question. See the second paragraph in my original response (#189).' No, you didn’t. I asked you a very specific and a very reasonable question: “Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances?” It is manifestly dishonest of you to say you answered it, and it is obvious that you never will." If you had an ounce of flexibility in that rigid little mind of yours, you would see that my formulation is logically equivalent to yours. You have my answer. Deal with it.Bruce David
April 16, 2011
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The johnny-come-lately depictions by Hagee et. al. of the Everlasting Hell that is held as orthodox by most Christian denominations, don't hold a candle to the descriptions of it made over the course of the centuries by many and varied Roman Catholic divines...
The next day brought death and judgement, stirring his soul slowly from its listless despair. The faint glimmer of fear became a terror of spirit as the hoarse voice of the preacher blew death into his soul. He suffered its agony. He felt the death chill touch the extremities and creep onward towards the heart, the film of death veiling the eyes, the bright centres of the brain extinguished one by one like lamps, the last sweat oozing upon the skin, the powerlessness of the dying limbs, the speech thickening and wandering and failing, the heart throbbing faintly and more faintly, all but vanquished, the breath, the poor breath, the poor helpless human spirit, sobbing and sighing, gurgling and rattling in the throat. No help! No help! He - he himself - his body to which he had yielded was dying. Into the grave with it. Nail it down into a wooden box the corpse. Carry it out of the house on the shoulders of hirelings. Thrust it out of men's sight into a long hole in the ground, into the grave, to rot, to feed the mass of its creeping worms and to be devoured by scuttling plump-bellied rats. And while the friends were still standing in tears by the bedside the soul of the sinner was judged. At the last moment of consciousness the whole earthly life passed before the vision of the soul and, ere it had time to reflect, the body had died and the soul stood terrified before the judgement seat. God, who had long been merciful, would then be just. He had long been patient, pleading with the sinful soul, giving it time to repent, sparing it yet awhile. But that time had gone. Time was to sin and to enjoy, time was to scoff at God and at the warnings of His holy church, time was to defy His majesty, to disobey His commands, to hoodwink one's fellow men, to commit sin after sin and to hide one's corruption from the sight of men. But that time was over. Now it was God's turn: and He was not to be hoodwinked or deceived. Every sin would then come forth from its lurking place, the most rebellious against the divine will and the most degrading to our poor corrupt nature, the tiniest imperfection and the most heinous atrocity. What did it avail then to have been a great emperor, a great general, a marvellous inventor, the most learned of the learned? All were as one before the judgement seat of God. He would reward the good and punish the wicked. One single instant was enough for the trial of a man's soul. One single instant after the body's death, the soul had been weighed in the balance. The particular judgement was over and the soul had passed to the abode of bliss or to the prison of purgatory or had been hurled howling into hell. Nor was that all. God's justice had still to be vindicated before men: after the particular there still remained the general judgement. The last day had come. The doomsday was at hand. The stars of heaven were falling upon the earth like the figs cast by the fig-tree which the wind has shaken. The sun, the great luminary of the universe, had become as sackcloth of hair. The moon was blood-red. The firmament was as a scroll rolled away. The archangel Michael, the prince of the heavenly host, appeared glorious and terrible against the sky. With one foot on the sea and one foot on the land he blew from the arch-angelical trumpet the brazen death of time. The three blasts of the angel filled all the universe. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more. At the last blast the souls of universal humanity throng towards the valley of Jehoshaphat, rich and poor, gentle and simple, wise and foolish, good and wicked. The soul of every human being that has ever existed, the souls of all those who shall yet be born, all the sons and daughters of Adam, all are assembled on that supreme day. And lo, the supreme judge is coming! No longer the lowly Lamb of God, no longer the meek Jesus of Nazareth, no longer the Man of Sorrows, no longer the Good Shepherd, He is seen now coming upon the clouds, in great power and majesty, attended by nine choirs of angels, angels and archangels, principalities, powers and virtues, thrones and dominations, cherubim and seraphim, God Omnipotent, God Everlasting. He speaks: and His voice is heard even at the farthest limits of space, even In the bottomless abyss. Supreme Judge, from His sentence there will be and can be no appeal. He calls the just to His side, bidding them enter into the kingdom, the eternity of bliss prepared for them. The unjust He casts from Him, crying in His offended majesty: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. O, what agony then for the miserable sinners! Friend is torn apart from friend, children are torn from their parents, husbands from their wives. The poor sinner holds out his arms to those who were dear to him in this earthly world, to those whose simple piety perhaps he made a mock of, to those who counselled him and tried to lead him on the right path, to a kind brother, to a loving sister, to the mother and father who loved him so dearly. But it is too late: the just turn away from the wretched damned souls which now appear before the eyes of all in their hideous and evil character. O you hypocrites, O, you whited sepulchres, O you who present a smooth smiling face to the world while your soul within is a foul swamp of sin, how will it fare with you in that terrible day? And this day will come, shall come, must come: the day of death and the day of judgement. It is appointed unto man to die and after death the judgement. Death is certain. The time and manner are uncertain, whether from long disease or from some unexpected accident: the Son of God cometh at an hour when you little expect Him. Be therefore ready every moment, seeing that you may die at any moment. Death is the end of us all. Death and judgement, brought into the world by the sin of our first parents, are the dark portals that close our earthly existence, the portals that open into the unknown and the unseen, portals through which every soul must pass, alone, unaided save by its good works, without friend or brother or parent or master to help it, alone and trembling. Let that thought be ever before our minds and then we cannot sin. Death, a cause of terror to the sinner, is a blessed moment for him who has walked in the right path, fulfilling the duties of his station in life, attending to his morning and evening prayers, approaching the holy sacrament frequently and performing good and merciful works. For the pious and believing catholic, for the just man, death is no cause of terror. Was it not Addison, the great English writer, who, when on his deathbed, sent for the wicked young earl of Warwick to let him see how a christian can meet his end? He it is and he alone, the pious and believing christian, who can say in his heart: O grave, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? Every word of it was for him. Against his sin, foul and secret, the whole wrath of God was aimed. The preacher's knife had probed deeply into his disclosed conscience and he felt now that his soul was festering in sin. Yes, the preacher was right. God's turn had come. Like a beast in its lair his soul had lain down in its own filth but the blasts of the angel's trumpet had driven him forth from the darkness of sin into the light. The words of doom cried by the angel shattered in an instant his presumptuous peace. The wind of the last day blew through his mind, his sins, the jewel-eyed harlots of his imagination, fled before the hurricane, squeaking like mice in their terror and huddled under a mane of hair. ... The preacher's voice sank. He paused, joined his palms for an instant, parted them. Then he resumed: -- Now let us try for a moment to realize, as far as we can, the nature of that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God has called into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is a strait and dark and foul-smelling prison, an abode of demons and lost souls, filled with fire and smoke. The straitness of this prison house is expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound by His laws. In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some liberty of movement, were it only within the four walls of his cell or in the gloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of the great number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in their awful prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand miles thick: and the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as a blessed saint, saint Anselm, writes in his book on similitudes, they are not even able to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it. -- They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell gives forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonian furnace lost its heat but not its light, so, at the command of God, the fire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns eternally in darkness. It is a never ending storm of darkness, dark flames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are heaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the plagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plague alone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall we give to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone but for all eternity? -- The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awful stench. All the filth of the world, all the offal and scum of the world, we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when the terrible conflagration of the last day has purged the world. The brimstone, too, which burns there in such prodigious quantity fills all hell with its intolerable stench; and the bodies of the damned themselves exhale such a pestilential odour that, as saint Bonaventure says, one of them alone would suffice to infect the whole world. The very air of this world, that pure element, becomes foul and unbreathable when it has been long enclosed. Consider then what must be the foulness of the air of hell. Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured by the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes of nauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from the millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in the reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this, and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell. -- But this stench is not, horrible though it is, the greatest physical torment to which the damned are subjected. The torment of fire is the greatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subjected his fellow creatures. Place your finger for a moment in the flame of a candle and you will feel the pain of fire. But our earthly fire was created by God for the benefit of man, to maintain in him the spark of life and to help him in the useful arts, whereas the fire of hell is of another quality and was created by God to torture and punish the unrepentant sinner. Our earthly fire also consumes more or less rapidly according as the object which it attacks is more or less combustible, so that human ingenuity has even succeeded in inventing chemical preparations to check or frustrate its action. But the sulphurous brimstone which burns in hell is a substance which is specially designed to burn for ever and for ever with unspeakable fury. Moreover, our earthly fire destroys at the same time as it burns, so that the more intense it is the shorter is its duration; but the fire of hell has this property, that it preserves that which it burns, and, though it rages with incredible intensity, it rages for ever. -- Our earthly fire again, no matter how fierce or widespread it may be, is always of a limited extent; but the lake of fire in hell is boundless, shoreless and bottomless. It is on record that the devil himself, when asked the question by a certain soldier, was obliged to confess that if a whole mountain were thrown into the burning ocean of hell it would be burned up In an instant like a piece of wax. And this terrible fire will not afflict the bodies of the damned only from without, but each lost soul will be a hell unto itself, the boundless fire raging in its very vitals. O, how terrible is the lot of those wretched beings! The blood seethes and boils in the veins, the brains are boiling in the skull, the heart in the breast glowing and bursting, the bowels a red-hot mass of burning pulp, the tender eyes flaming like molten balls. -- And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality and boundlessness of this fire is as nothing when compared to its intensity, an intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen by divine design for the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a fire which proceeds directly from the ire of God, working not of its own activity but as an instrument of Divine vengeance. As the waters of baptism cleanse the soul with the body, so do the fires of punishment torture the spirit with the flesh. Every sense of the flesh is tortured and every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells and howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption, nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes, with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of the senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amid the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and ever-increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the God-head. -- Consider finally that the torment of this infernal prison is increased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company on earth is so noxious that the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw from the company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtful to them. In hell all laws are overturned - there is no thought of family or country, of ties, of relationships. The damned howl and scream at one another, their torture and rage intensified by the presence of beings tortured and raging like themselves. All sense of humanity is forgotten. The yells of the suffering sinners fill the remotest corners of the vast abyss. The mouths of the damned are full of blasphemies against God and of hatred for their fellow sufferers and of curses against those souls which were their accomplices in sin. In olden times it was the custom to punish the parricide, the man who had raised his murderous hand against his father, by casting him into the depths of the sea in a sack in which were placed a cock, a monkey, and a serpent. The intention of those law-givers who framed such a law, which seems cruel in our times, was to punish the criminal by the company of hurtful and hateful beasts. But what is the fury of those dumb beasts compared with the fury of execration which bursts from the parched lips and aching throats of the damned in hell when they behold in their companions in misery those who aided and abetted them in sin, those whose words sowed the first seeds of evil thinking and evil living in their minds, those whose immodest suggestions led them on to sin, those whose eyes tempted and allured them from the path of virtue. They turn upon those accomplices and upbraid them and curse them. But they are helpless and hopeless: it is too late now for repentance. -- Last of all consider the frightful torment to those damned souls, tempters and tempted alike, of the company of the devils. These devils will afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their reproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint Catherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, rather than look again for one single instant on such a frightful monster, she would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red coals. These devils, who were once beautiful angels, have become as hideous and ugly as they once were beautiful. They mock and jeer at the lost souls whom they dragged down to ruin. It is they, the foul demons, who are made in hell the voices of conscience. Why did you sin? Why did you lend an ear to the temptings of friends? Why did you turn aside from your pious practices and good works? Why did you not shun the occasions of sin? Why did you not leave that evil companion? Why did you not give up that lewd habit, that impure habit? Why did you not listen to the counsels of your confessor? Why did you not, even after you had fallen the first or the second or the third or the fourth or the hundredth time, repent of your evil ways and turn to God who only waited for your repentance to absolve you of your sins? Now the time for repentance has gone by. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more! Time was to sin in secrecy, to indulge in that sloth and pride, to covet the unlawful, to yield to the promptings of your lower nature, to live like the beasts of the field, nay worse than the beasts of the field, for they, at least, are but brutes and have no reason to guide them: time was, but time shall be no more. God spoke to you by so many voices, but you would not hear. You would not crush out that pride and anger in your heart, you would not restore those ill-gotten goods, you would not obey the precepts of your holy church nor attend to your religious duties, you would not abandon those wicked companions, you would not avoid those dangerous temptations. Such is the language of those fiendish tormentors, words of taunting and of reproach, of hatred and of disgust. Of disgust, yes! For even they, the very devils, when they sinned, sinned by such a sin as alone was compatible with such angelical natures, a rebellion of the intellect: and they, even they, the foul devils must turn away, revolted and disgusted, from the contemplation of those unspeakable sins by which degraded man outrages and defiles the temple of the Holy Ghost, defiles and pollutes himself. -- O, my dear little brothers in Christ, may it never be our lot to hear that language! May it never be our lot, I say! In the last day of terrible reckoning I pray fervently to God that not a single soul of those who are in this chapel today may be found among those miserable beings whom the Great Judge shall command to depart for ever from His sight, that not one of us may ever hear ringing in his ears the awful sentence of rejection: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels! ... The preacher began to speak in a quiet friendly tone. His face was kind and he joined gently the fingers of each hand, forming a frail cage by the union of their tips. -- This morning we endeavoured, in our reflection upon hell, to make what our holy founder calls in his book of spiritual exercises, the composition of place. We endeavoured, that is, to imagine with the senses of the mind, in our imagination, the material character of that awful place and of the physical torments which all who are in hell endure. This evening we shall consider for a few moments the nature of the spiritual torments of hell. -- Sin, remember, is a twofold enormity. It is a base consent to the promptings of our corrupt nature to the lower instincts, to that which is gross and beast-like; and it is also a turning away from the counsel of our higher nature, from all that is pure and holy, from the Holy God Himself. For this reason mortal sin is punished in hell by two different forms of punishment, physical and spiritual. Now of all these spiritual pains by far the greatest is the pain of loss, so great, in fact, that in itself it is a torment greater than all the others. Saint Thomas, the greatest doctor of the church, the angelic doctor, as he is called, says that the worst damnation consists in this, that the understanding of man is totally deprived of divine light and his affection obstinately turned away from the goodness of God. God, remember, is a being infinitely good, and therefore the loss of such a being must be a loss infinitely painful. In this life we have not a very clear idea of what such a loss must be, but the damned in hell, for their greater torment, have a full understanding of that which they have lost, and understand that they have lost it through their own sins and have lost it for ever. At the very instant of death the bonds of the flesh are broken asunder and the soul at once flies towards God as towards the centre of her existence. Remember, my dear little boys, our souls long to be with God. We come from God, we live by God, we belong to God: we are His, inalienably His. God loves with a divine love every human soul, and every human soul lives in that love. How could it be otherwise? Every breath that we draw, every thought of our brain, every instant of life proceeds from God's inexhaustible goodness. And if it be pain for a mother to be parted from her child, for a man to be exiled from hearth and home, for friend to be sundered from friend, O think what pain, what anguish it must be for the poor soul to be spurned from the presence of the supremely good and loving Creator Who has called that soul into existence from nothingness and sustained it in life and loved it with an immeasurable love. This, then, to be separated for ever from its greatest good, from God, and to feel the anguish of that separation, knowing full well that it is unchangeable: this is the greatest torment which the created soul is capable of bearing, poena damni, the pain of loss. The second pain which will afflict the souls of the damned in hell is the pain of conscience. Just as in dead bodies worms are engendered by putrefaction, so in the souls of the lost there arises a perpetual remorse from the putrefaction of sin, the sting of conscience, the worm, as Pope Innocent the Third calls it, of the triple sting. The first sting inflicted by this cruel worm will be the memory of past pleasures. O what a dreadful memory will that be! In the lake of all-devouring flame the proud king will remember the pomps of his court, the wise but wicked man his libraries and instruments of research, the lover of artistic pleasures his marbles and pictures and other art treasures, he who delighted in the pleasures of the table his gorgeous feasts, his dishes prepared with such delicacy, his choice wines; the miser will remember his hoard of gold, the robber his ill-gotten wealth, the angry and revengeful and merciless murderers their deeds of blood and violence in which they revelled, the impure and adulterous the unspeakable and filthy pleasures in which they delighted. They will remember all this and loathe themselves and their sins. For how miserable will all those pleasures seem to the soul condemned to suffer in hellfire for ages and ages. How they will rage and fume to think that they have lost the bliss of heaven for the dross of earth, for a few pieces of metal, for vain honours, for bodily comforts, for a tingling of the nerves. They will repent indeed: and this is the second sting of the worm of conscience, a late and fruitless sorrow for sins committed. Divine justice insists that the understanding of those miserable wretches be fixed continually on the sins of which they were guilty, and moreover, as saint Augustine points out, God will impart to them His own knowledge of sin, so that sin will appear to them in all its hideous malice as it appears to the eyes of God Himself. They will behold their sins in all their foulness and repent but it will be too late and then they will bewail the good occasions which they neglected. This is the last and deepest and most cruel sting of the worm of conscience. The conscience will say: You had time and opportunity to repent and would not. You were brought up religiously by your parents. You had the sacraments and grace and indulgences of the church to aid you. You had the minister of God to preach to you, to call you back when you had strayed, to forgive you your sins, no matter how many, how abominable, if only you had confessed and repented. No. You would not. You flouted the ministers of holy religion, you turned your back on the confessional, you wallowed deeper and deeper in the mire of sin. God appealed to you, threatened you, entreated you to return to Him. O, what shame, what misery! The Ruler of the universe entreated you, a creature of clay, to love Him Who made you and to keep His law. No. You would not. And now, though you were to flood all hell with your tears if you could still weep, all that sea of repentance would not gain for you what a single tear of true repentance shed during your mortal life would have gained for you. You implore now a moment of earthly life wherein to repent: In vain. That time is gone: gone for ever. -- Such is the threefold sting of conscience, the viper which gnaws the very heart's core of the wretches in hell, so that filled with hellish fury they curse themselves for their folly and curse the evil companions who have brought them to such ruin and curse the devils who tempted them in life and now mock them in eternity and even revile and curse the Supreme Being Whose goodness and patience they scorned and slighted but Whose justice and power they cannot evade. -- The next spiritual pain to which the damned are subjected is the pain of extension. Man, in this earthly life, though he be capable of many evils, is not capable of them all at once, inasmuch as one evil corrects and counteracts another just as one poison frequently corrects another. In hell, on the contrary, one torment, instead of counteracting another, lends it still greater force: and, moreover, as the internal faculties are more perfect than the external senses, so are they more capable of suffering. Just as every sense is afflicted with a fitting torment, so is every spiritual faculty; the fancy with horrible images, the sensitive faculty with alternate longing and rage, the mind and understanding with an interior darkness more terrible even than the exterior darkness which reigns in that dreadful prison. The malice, impotent though it be, which possesses these demon souls is an evil of boundless extension, of limitless duration, a frightful state of wickedness which we can scarcely realize unless we bear in mind the enormity of sin and the hatred God bears to it. -- Opposed to this pain of extension and yet coexistent with it we have the pain of intensity. Hell is the centre of evils and, as you know, things are more intense at their centres than at their remotest points. There are no contraries or admixtures of any kind to temper or soften in the least the pains of hell. Nay, things which are good in themselves become evil in hell. Company, elsewhere a source of comfort to the afflicted, will be there a continual torment: knowledge, so much longed for as the chief good of the intellect, will there be hated worse than ignorance: light, so much coveted by all creatures from the lord of creation down to the humblest plant in the forest, will be loathed intensely. In this life our sorrows are either not very long or not very great because nature either overcomes them by habits or puts an end to them by sinking under their weight. But in hell the torments cannot be overcome by habit, for while they are of terrible intensity they are at the same time of continual variety, each pain, so to speak, taking fire from another and re-endowing that which has enkindled it with a still fiercer flame. Nor can nature escape from these intense and various tortures by succumbing to them for the soul is sustained and maintained in evil so that its suffering may be the greater. Boundless extension of torment, incredible intensity of suffering, unceasing variety of torture - this is what the divine majesty, so outraged by sinners, demands; this is what the holiness of heaven, slighted and set aside for the lustful and low pleasures of the corrupt flesh, requires; this is what the blood of the innocent Lamb of God, shed for the redemption of sinners, trampled upon by the vilest of the vile, insists upon. -- Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place is the eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain. Even though the pains of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But while they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know, intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been all carried away, and if the bird came again and carried it all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun. -- A holy saint (one of our own fathers I believe it was) was once vouchsafed a vision of hell. It seemed to him that he stood in the midst of a great hall, dark and silent save for the ticking of a great clock. The ticking went on unceasingly; and it seemed to this saint that the sound of the ticking was the ceaseless repetition of the words - ever, never; ever, never. Ever to be in hell, never to be in heaven; ever to be shut off from the presence of God, never to enjoy the beatific vision; ever to be eaten with flames, gnawed by vermin, goaded with burning spikes, never to be free from those pains; ever to have the conscience upbraid one, the memory enrage, the mind filled with darkness and despair, never to escape; ever to curse and revile the foul demons who gloat fiendishly over the misery of their dupes, never to behold the shining raiment of the blessed spirits; ever to cry out of the abyss of fire to God for an instant, a single instant, of respite from such awful agony, never to receive, even for an instant, God's pardon; ever to suffer, never to enjoy; ever to be damned, never to be saved; ever, never; ever, never. O, what a dreadful punishment! An eternity of endless agony, of endless bodily and spiritual torment, without one ray of hope, without one moment of cessation, of agony limitless in intensity, of torment infinitely varied, of torture that sustains eternally that which it eternally devours, of anguish that everlastingly preys upon the spirit while it racks the flesh, an eternity, every instant of which is itself an eternity of woe. Such is the terrible punishment decreed for those who die in mortal sin by an almighty and a just God.
From Chapter 3 of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.jstanley01
April 16, 2011
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Bruce David, I'm curious, in your worldview exactly what do you tell people who are trapped by a life of sin??? ------------ Casting Crowns Set Me Free - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N2hB7ENRRE John 8:34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.bornagain77
April 16, 2011
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Bruce David, evil is a very interesting thing. In the debate Sam Harris, in trying to defend the absurd position that materialistic atheism can ground objective morality, did not address the topic of the debate but focused instead, for a large part of the debated, on ranting about the evil in the world, particularly that evil perpetrated in the name of various religions, in particular Christianity and Islam (of course all the while completely ignoring the unmitigated horrors visited upon mankind by 20th atheistic regimes). As well I've seen atheists continually turn to 'Bad Design' arguments, instead of focusing on the fact that they have no evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution. Yet Bad Design arguments are theological in nature since they also, much like Harris's argument (rant), are predicated on the fact that evil really does exists in this world. Thus even though it is not possible for atheism to ground an objective morality in the first place, and indeed evil cannot exists unless an 'ultimate good' does indeed exists 'objectively', the atheists none-the-less acts as if his worldview can ground objective morality. Whereas you Bruce, on the other hand, have denied the objective existence of evil altogether. Thus Bruce your philosophy also fails to provide an objective basis for morality and makes your philosophy, as Maxwell stated, 'unworkable'. As kf and others have pointed out, you cannot live consistently in your worldview. You may sit here pontificating about how you imagine how good the world to really be, but when the rubber meets the road, you live your life fully consistently as if evil objectively exists. Thus the only thing that is shown to be 'illusory' in your arguments, is not the evil you maintain is illusory, but is indeed your very own thinking as to rationalize evil away, and all the while you are living fully consistently as if evil really does exist. The disconnect between what you say and how you live is the very thing that testifies against you! This video may interest you; A brilliant serial killer videotapes his debates with college faculty victims. The topic: His moral right to kill them. Cruel Logic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qd1LPRJLnI ------------ G.O.S.P.E.L. Poetry Slam; To The Point http://vimeo.com/20960385bornagain77
April 16, 2011
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---Bruce: "I have already answered your question. See the second paragraph in my original response (#189)." No, you didn't. I asked you a very specific and a very reasonable question: "Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances?" It is manifestly dishonest of you to say you answered it, and it is obvious that you never will. ---"By the way, the law to which you are referring is the law of excluded middle (~[P^~p]), not the law of identity." You don't know what you are talking about. The law of the excluded middle is the complement of the law of identity; they are logically inseparable. It doesn't matter, though, because you do not accept either formulation. You believe that Bruce is made in the image and likeness of God and is also the same God from which he was made. No Western philosopher, even your unorthodox hero George Berkeley, was ever whacked out enough, or illogical enough, to believe that.StephenB
April 16, 2011
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StephenB: "Well, of course it can be true and false at the same time if we change the circumstances, but the law of identity says that Jupiter cannot exist [and not exist] at the same time UNDER THE S-A-M-E FORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. Please tell me that you finally understand the point so we can end this irrational dialogue." I don't find the dialog irrational at all. I just see you as way too rigid in your thinking processes. I have already answered your question. See the second paragraph in my original response (#189). By the way, the law to which you are referring is the law of excluded middle (~[P^~p]), not the law of identity, which simply states, for all A, A=A.Bruce David
April 15, 2011
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Bornagain: "I love you as a human being, but I hate your incoherency in defending your absurd philosophy, and I also hate your lack of integrity to even admit your philosophy is bunk." Thanks for the love. I love you, too. Really, though really, Bornagain, do you honestly believe that I secretly see my philosophy the way that you do? Really? I have come to my beliefs through years of deep study of philosophy and spiritual traditions, and considerable contemplation. If anything should be obvious from our discussions on these threads it is that I have thought my ideas through carefully. And I'm not stupid. The only way that you can legitimately accuse me of a lack of integrity is if you believe that I don't really believe what I write. I can state to you categorically, without any hesitation, that I have written nothing here that I do not hold as true. I think the difficulty here is that you simply cannot envision the possibility that a philosophy different from yours could be legitimately held be someone, and I believe that this is because you are so certain that yours is absolutely true and that anyone who is honest with themselves will recognize this. Obviously, I disagree, and I submit that the long history and immense variety of Western philosophy supports my position.Bruce David
April 15, 2011
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Continuing at 27: "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him." (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV) It's not that worldly philosophy does not have a certain rationality, but that it seeks wisdom apart from God, which scripture clearly states is frustrated - (read self-defeating). Why? So that no person can make claims to superior wisdom apart from the path that God has set before us; which is open to all, and not simply to the learned. Not all are capable of rising to the standards of the learned, but all are capable of lowering to the standards of the weak, lowly and despised. Thus God can reach every one of us. There is another philosophy mentioned in this thread, which is liken to Gnosticism; which is open to a select few initiates (I think we know which one that is). Gnosticism was defeated in the early Church for that very reason - but like all heresies, it raises its ugly head from time to time. There is truly nothing new under the sun.CannuckianYankee
April 15, 2011
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I'm continually reminded of the following whenever discussing philosophy: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c] 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1:18-25 NIV)CannuckianYankee
April 15, 2011
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BA77, Exactly. I should have added at the end of 219 that God's primary reason is that He be known to us. He's not hiding from us. All the defeat of the world's philosophies ultimately lead us to the Savior.CannuckianYankee
April 15, 2011
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James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition Excerpt: The minister who regularly visited him in his last weeks was astonished at his lucidity and the immense power and scope of his memory, but comments more particularly,[20] ... his illness drew out the whole heart and soul and spirit of the man: his firm and undoubting faith in the Incarnation and all its results; in the full sufficiency of the Atonement; in the work of the Holy Spirit. He had gauged and fathomed all the schemes and systems of philosophy, and had found them utterly empty and unsatisfying - "unworkable" was his own word about them - and he turned with simple faith to the Gospel of the Saviour. http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/Maxwell/maxwell.htmlbornagain77
April 15, 2011
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Eugene S, You make some excellent points in # 216, which really are the points, which led to the very rapid development of scientific methodology - namely: that the universe is reasonable (governed by laws), and one can apply reason to investigate the particular phenomena, which make the universe what it is precisely because God is not only the Creator of the universe (reality), but the author of reason. Your most important point I believe is your 3rd: "humans bearing an image of God are able to learn the laws of the material world to an extent that we can draw objective knowledge that it becomes useful." It is this premise with which WL Craig is able to make his reasoned arguments for the objectivity of morality (and anything else that stands to reason) - stemming from God's character. Morality is reasonable and objective because God himself is reasonable and objective. Unlike some of the pronouncements in this thread, you have summed up the very basis for our ability to reason - and it's objective, and not simply a matter of appealing to one's own natural proclivities. Harris clearly doesn't get this, as some in this thread do not. To make the claim that reality is illusory is thus to dishonor the author of our reality and our ability to make sense of that reality; and apparently God himself has designed it in such a way as to render a denial of reality as ultimately self defeating. It is not to the great and famous philosophers of our age then (the old and new atheists and the new agers), that we owe our allegiance, but to the author of the grand philosophy of objective reason.CannuckianYankee
April 15, 2011
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---Bruce David: "Thus, if we don’t hold the meaning of “exists” constant, the proposition “Jupiter exists” CAN be both true and false at the same time. It can be true in the sense that there is a mental construct called Jupiter that exists in our minds and that of God, and false in the sense that it does not exist “out there” in and independently existing material reality." The law of identity REQUIRES the meanings to be held constant, ie. A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and UNDER THE SAME FORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. [a] Your idealism, which defines Jupiter as subjective and mere sense impressions = One set of CIRCUMSTANCES [b] My realism, which defines Jupiter as a a real object perceived by the senses = a set of CIRCUMSTANCES Thus, Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. [Either under your Idealism or my Realism] You are trying to argue that Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time IF WE CHANGE THE CIRCUMSTANCES, that is, that is if you consider your idealism in the context of my realism. --"It can be true in the sense that there is a mental construct called Jupiter that exists in our minds and that of God, and false in the sense that it does not exist “out there” in and independently existing material reality." Well, of course it can be true and false at the same time if we change the circumstances, but the law of identity says that Jupiter cannot exist at the same time UNDER THE S-A-M-E FORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. Please tell me that you finally understand the point so we can end this irrational dialogue.StephenB
April 15, 2011
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Bruce David you state; 'The conclusion is always built into the premises, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to draw the conclusion from them. Duh!' But Bruce David, you refuse to let your premises the opportunity to be falsified by the empirical evidence of the 'real' world, which you hold to be merely illusory! Or by the laws of Logic which you also hold to be secondary to your 'inner knowing'! Thus since you refuse to let any checks and balances influence your philosophy, you have in fact made yourself sole arbiter of what is 'real' and what is 'logical' in whatever 'fluff axioms' you yourself decide to create at the outset of your supposed exercise in logic and deduction. It is all very self-deceiving, in that you have fooled yourself into thinking you are being reasonable. In your philosophy no absurdity built into the axioms would ever be pruned out!bornagain77
April 15, 2011
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Bruce, I must say I, for one, agree with CannuckianYankee. However, there can be no scientific test for assertions like solipsism, as you say. That is just because our power of reasoning has been dramatically darkened by Adam's sin. As a reflection of this, the scientific method is incomplete (see theorems of Tarsky and of Goedel). There are ALWAYS grounds for belief and, of all things, very much so in science. I personally have no doubts in the objectiveness of the existence of the world. As a child, I remember trying to peep through the door into the sitting room when there was no one there but the television was still working. I wanted to check if it was really working for no one. Every time I saw it working I remember doubting. I thought I must have looked at it too openly so it had time to switch itself on again for me :) I believe that (a) the material world is as real as spiritual reality; (b) since there are laws governing the latter, there must also be laws governing the former; (c) humans bearing an image of God are able to learn the laws of the material world to an extent that we can draw objective knowledge that it becomes useful. As far as I know, this kind of reasoning was put at the foundation of European science. Without the three points above, I don't think that any structured reasoning is possible, science included.Eugene S
April 15, 2011
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