How do we approach a new proposition?

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Og3
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:10 pm

For some reason atheists think that the Christian message is "don't think about, just believe it." But the smartest people and the clearest thinkers that I know are all Christians.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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SEG
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:34 pm

Og3 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:03 pm
I will have to trust that later readers will sort out the point re: blood on the kitchen floor. I am not going to get bogged down on it.
SEG wrote:Well how do you know that God is worthy of it and Christianity is true based on faith? What reservations do you have on God existing and Christianity being true?
Show me the bones of Jesus Christ and I'll become an atheist. That's all it takes.

And the Romans could have done that in 33 AD, and Christianity would never have gotten started. Or the Jewish leaders. Or in 34, 35, 36, etc. right up to the Jewish Wars of 62-70 AD that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem. But they didn't, and that's a very significant omission. Not itself conclusive, but significant and suggestive.

Have I had reservations about my faith? Yes. In fact, I have told you how, in 1985, I put my faith under critical scrutiny, and weighed it against science -- I was fresh out of that Naval Nuclear Power School, so I knew me some science! -- and I weighed it against logic -- I didn't read Wesley Salmon's _Logic_ just because I liked the title. I read apologetics, and I read atheists. And the sum total... Was that Christianity was perfectly reasonable. So I reasoned that if it were reasonable, God would confirm to me that it was true. So I prayed for Him, if He were real, to confirm His presence.

This is the equivalent, SEG, of going down on the banks under the bridge and looking at the beams. Chucking a few rocks at the supports to see if they quiver, or worse, take damage. stomping the ends of the planks to listen for that hollow sound.

I found that the Christian faith was solid and sturdy. I found that I was not the first person to come down under the bridge and check the beams. When I read Bertrand Russell, it was thin and whiny and fragile and didn't even come to a proper conclusion. But when I read C.S. Lewis, he made sense. He drew solid logical conclusions, didn't overstep, and connected all his dots. Two intelligent men, writing books on the same subject from opposite sides. One is all snark and no logic, and the other is humble logic that rings true. I had to weigh in with Lewis.

A year or so later -- by then I'd made up my mind -- I found Tolstoy's _Confession_. You might find it under the title _My Confession_. small book, not nearly as well known as War and Peace. But reading it I say him describe de-conversions, including his own. They were all weak excuses. none of them were reasoned out. He simply stopped believing when someone told him that there was no god. He talked about another man who stopped believing when his brother saw him pray, said, "Oh, you still do that?"

But then he talked about trying to reason out the meaning of life, and his equations kept coming back to 0=0 or X=X. That, by the way, is why I can always trip you up on morality: Your moral platitudes always come back to "I like my morals because I like my morals." So when you try to make your personal preferences mean something more than that, you're always cheating, and all I have to do is bring you back to where you started: 0=0.

Tolstoy reasoned that if life had any meaning, then something was missing from his equations. There was some factor he was missing. And he eventually came to the conclusion that the only way the equation would not come back to an identity (a meaningless 0 = 0) was if there were an infinite factor. I read that -- after I had already reached that conclusion by my own reasoning, mind you -- and I realized the truth of it. It confirmed my prior reasoning. You could say that God used Tolstoy (and before Him Lewis, and Isaiah, and David of Jerusalem, and Franz Kafka, etc.) to confirm to me that He was real. My reason, led by God, underlies my faith.

Now when I was a child, yes, my faith was simply this: I have been told of God, and I trust those who told me, therefore I believe. But now I have a solid faith built on my own reason, and confirmed in the reason of men like Lewis, and Tolstoy, and Solomon. Besides this, and neither superior nor inferior to it, is my experience. I have had experiences in my life that further convince me of God. I see those experiences, and acknowledging that there exist such things as confirmation biases and coincidences, I weigh them against reason, and against the experiences of other people. During the industrial revolution in England, there was a man from Bristol named George Mueller; if you were inclined towards studies in history, you would be intrigued by his experiences with respect to God. His experiences as recorded are consistent with and ring true with my own experiences.

And I have no ceased to study the question and to face the arguments against it. You see that I have not backed down from you, nor flinched when you scoff and ridicule. You have no argument that can frighten me: I've faced the best and most difficult arguments, and I've found the flaw in every one of them. Poor reason, poor argument: From Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins, it's all scoffing and no substance. Even you, SEG, when I point out your flaws of logic, you skip to another track and attack from a new angle. For the atheists, it's about winning the argument, not about finding the truth.

I challenge you, SEG, to do as I have done. Clear your mind of your biases, and make yourself as neutral as you can be. It's tough, but with some reading in Logic, I have faith that you'll get there. Then start weighing the sources. Put Russell alongside Lewis, and see which one wins. Let the facts decide it, and don't give in to your bias. Mere Christianity versus Why I Am Not A Christian. Which one is the proud scoffer, and which the humble logician? Tell me honestly. Then move on. Tolstoy and Kafka, let's say. Both men tormented to the point of suicide by the meaning of life; one surrendering to its hopelessness and the other finding the one bridge between the finite and the infinite. You tell me which is shrill and demanding; and which is reasoned and repentant. Tell me honestly. Then move on.

It will take a brave man to do it, and I can name at least a couple of names on this board not brave enough to do it. But you're no coward. You've faced peril bravely and unflinchingly. So this ought not to scare you either. Are you up for it?
Sure! I note that you still didn't answer my questions. I have read some Christian books and all of them have pretended to be atheists, but really have been fallen Christians and haven't read the best atheist arguments. If you are sincere about questioning your faith (and I am sure you are), try reading some of Richard Carrier's works, especially "On The Historicity of Jesus". It's a long read and an expensive book, but it is the most logical book that I have ever read written by the most articulate person I have ever heard. His conversion from Christian to Taoist and his spiritual experience at sea while a Coast Guard, reminded me of you. If you read his book, I'll read yours. Here is his story:
From Taoist to Infidel (2001)
Richard Carrier

My experiences with religion as a child were all good. My mother was a church secretary at a First Methodist Church only a block from our home, and I attended Sunday School fairly regularly, but my parents rarely insisted that I attend any sermons. The religion sold at this local business was a very liberal brand of Christianity. It was more like a preschool and social club, and that made it an excellent asset to the community, and a place of fond memories for me. Amidst arts and crafts, lunches, running and climbing about, and basic learning, the alphabet and numbers and whatnot, Sunday School had its story time. Bible stories were always on the menu, intermingled with other popular fables and parables, and it was never even suggested there was any difference. The Good Book was always treated as a collection of handy tales used as springboards for teaching moral lessons, not as a history book. Indeed, I was never once told that unbelievers go to hell or that I had to "believe on Christ" to be saved or anything like that. All good people went to heaven, so you'd better be good. That was it. Jesus in this version of Christianity was little more than a moral teacher. Being the Son of God made him an authority on the subject but had no other importance. Perhaps it was no accident that everyone who attended this church was very kind and jovial and all around just good folk.

During my first few grades, whenever I had free time in school (and wasn't running and climbing about) I read for myself only the New Testament (red letter edition, of course--I think any child loves books with different colors in them). But the moment I got home my nose was in much bigger and better books: all manner of encyclopedias, my favorite reading material. The Bible was boring and not very informative, and hardly intelligible to a child, but it was the only book anyone ever gave me that would fit in my pocket. Yet I never had the feeling that I was doing anything religious, or what I was reading was special in any way, apart from the fact that everyone seemed happy or impressed to see me reading it, which I never understood since these same people thought I was weird for reading encyclopedias, which I knew, even at that age, were more educational. As I grew older, my social life expanded, and my spare time at school was spent completing homework, leaving no time for idle reading, and my appetite for knowledge grew to deeper levels of sophistication.

The New Testament had given me no useful information about the meaning of life or the nature of the universe. Later I learned that people extracted from it such things, but they only did so by importing ideas and concepts that aren't in the book itself, and so just reading it alone I found it to be shallow and unsatisfying. Its message was obsessed with strange moral rules that no one around me ever followed. Instead of turning the other cheek, people called for more cops and longer prison terms. Far from giving thieves their cloaks, people kept baseball bats by their beds and hung signs that said Beware of Dog. While the very Son of God Himself defended a whore from moral condemnation, whores were routinely morally condemned, most ardently by the Devout.

Then there was all this talk about the worm that never dies and morbid metaphors about washing with blood, and so forth, that weren't very relevant to the world I saw and wanted to understand. Littered everywhere was exultation about the Good News, but God forbid should any passage ever clearly explain just which news that was supposed to be. At one moment it seemed to be the moral message, which I already observed was nonsensical, at another it was about a horrible End Times that hardly sounded good. No one around me thought a Nuclear War was good news, yet it sounded like the very same thing. At yet another moment it had something to do with Jesus dying for something called sin, even though it was never explained how he could die for it when I was always taught to seek forgiveness from the person I'd wronged. At yet another time it was the fact that there was an afterlife "so don't despair," which even as a child I found to be rather childish. And so on. It was confused, illogical, often unintelligible, but always irrelevant to the social and political reality in which I lived. Where was any explanation and defense of democratic values? Where was gender equality? What was wisdom? What was virtue? How come all my encyclopedias were full of the beautiful, wonderful things of the universe, yet not a single peep about them from the Son of God Himself? One would think he of all people would have had a kick ass science education, having the most powerful and knowledgeable father in the universe and all. I wanted to know what the fundamental nature of the universe was, what the fundamentals of a moral life really were, how to achieve happiness in this life. The Bible didn't help. Better moral wisdom came from mortal word of mouth around me, and far more knowledge from other books, and from school, where I majored in science and took and mastered every science course offered. So with the other childish things I put away as I approached my teen years, the Good Book was among them.

And so I became a seeker. Rather stereotypically, I entered teenage hungry for truth, for something that made sense of it all, for direction. The universe just didn't seem right. Hypocrisy was everywhere, problems abounded, along with contradictory opinions about how to solve them, and the most basic facts about the world were, or so I thought, unexplained by scientists, who were clearly those who were best able to get the answers. And yet the one book everyone said had all the answers was shallow, frequently confused or uninformative, unnecessarily verbose and obscure, and contradicted the society I found myself in. Worse, it read like a preachy fable: no logical arguments, no demonstrations of evidence, just assertions, and vague ones at that. It had nothing to say about democracy or science or technology, the three things that most defined my world. How useless. So I lived a life of the mind, and thought and studied, always anchored by a stable home life and friendships. Logic alone led me to what I would later discover was an ambiguous form of agnostic deism.

Then a miracle happened. At least, it was what believers would call a miracle. In a bookstore hunting for a dictionary for school, I had a feeling that told me to turn. I did, and the first thing I saw was a Jane English translation of the Tao Te Ching. I took it up, and, like Augustine, turned to a page at random and read. What it said was so simple, so true, so elegantly and concisely put, and so wise, I knew this was the answer. I bought the book and read it all through, and from that day I declared my faith in Taoism, my first real religion. In contrast, Christianity was never a religion for me--it was simply a fixture in my cultural atmosphere, and I never affirmed any faith in its principles. But I had faith in Taoism. I was a True Believer. And I am glad that, unlike most people, I made an informed choice, at an age when I had the capacity to choose sensibly. Religion was never imposed on me and no one in my family ever assumed I had to be Christian, and consequently I can say my one chosen religion was born neither of peer pressure nor indoctrination. I studied Taoism avidly, at one point I had eight different English translations of the Tao Te Ching and a few of the Chuang Tzu, and my Taoism became full and sophisticated: I was a Philosophical Taoist, a Chinese tradition that held to an adherence to the texts and the wisdom alone and scorned the surrounding superstitions and religious cult that grew around it as being against the very message of Taoism. In time I also discovered how Taoism was a response to Confucianism, and the relationship the two religious philosophies had, and in the course of things I acquired some acquaintance with Buddhism as well.

My life was transformed. I acquired a sense of discipline and focus I never had before, an attraction to quiet, simple living, and a strong yet humble moral sense of things. All finally made sense, and I was happier than I ever imagined possible. In my holy text I had a toolbox for dealing easily and sensibly with every problem, from sexual angst to metaphysical doubt, from political debate to material danger. There was a verse in the Tao Te Ching for everything, and it was written beautifully and simply, often appealing, for evidence of its truths, to the one truly universal Bible: the world itself, as well as the undeniable evidence within the reader's own soul. It had a train of thought, an implied logical argument. In time I created my own version of the Tao Te Ching, selecting my favorite translations of every line from among the many I knew, and carried this with me as the one devotional item we were allowed in boot camp. I read it nightly.

The proof that this was the one true religion was manifold, and seemingly irrefutable. Apart from the "clearly" supernatural miracle of my discovering the faith, and the "self-evident" perfection of its sacred text, following its tenets I was led to peace of mind and a balanced life, to friendships and goodness. With it, all harm was defeated or of no consequence, and every benefit came easily and naturally. I learned to have fewer expectations, to care more about others and to worry less about what I didn't yet know. Things were of little importance next to contentment itself, and the good life was a life of friends and the mind, not of luxury or power. Above all, it told me the simple truth: that my humanity was a good and natural thing. From sex to humor, all had an accepted place, without being forced into unnatural modes of thought or behavior. Sin was the artificial deviation from the harmony of nature, and if you would simply stop meddling with things you would be free of sin. It explained everything, even the existence and nature of the universe, in a way that made perfect and beautiful sense. And it cultivated a tolerant mind like I had never seen Christianity do. The Chinese had known this for over two thousand years. I still cherish the memory of seeing a picture of three holy men travelling a road together, all laughing with each other. One was a Buddhist, another a Taoist, and the third a Confucian. This image is in fact a regular motif in China. There, the three religions, despite being so doctrinally and intellectually at odds, get along peacefully, even happily, a friendship that is celebrated in such artwork everywhere. What better proof is there of the goodness and truth of a creed that it inspires such jovial tolerance? Instead of holy wars, condemnations and combative debates, these religions interact in dialogues, and each accepts the other as possibly different facets of the same coin. They live comfortably with doubt and uncertainty, even thriving on it. They condemn no one to an eternal hell, and require no belief.

I was a happy Taoist for many years. Burned out on schooling I chose to live a simple life, contented at gardening or ditch-digging for a living, doing everything from installing electrical fixtures to waiting tables. But eventually I signed up for a life in the Coast Guard, studying electronics and sonar and living at sea, until I yearned again for an education and thus embarked on a long career as a student of science and ancient history. During all this, in cultivating the mental life that Taoism taught, I had powerful mystical visions, which only confirmed further that I was on the right track. These ranged from the simple to the fantastic. The simplest and most common was that clarity of an almost drug-like wonder, perceiving everything striking the senses as one, unified whole. It is hard to describe this. Normally, your attention is focussed, on something you are looking at or listening to, or in a semi-dream-state of reverie, but with a meditative sense of attention this focus and dreaminess vanishes and you are immersed in a total, holistic sense of the real. It is both magnificent and calming. It humbles you, and brings you to the realization of how beautiful simply living is, and how trivial all your worries and difficulties are. Profound insights about the world would strike me whenever in such a state, leading far more readily and powerfully to an understaning of myself and the world than studying or reasoning ever did.

The most fantastic experience I had was like that times ten. It happened at sea, well past midnight on the flight deck of a cutter, in international waters two hundred miles from the nearest land. I had not slept for over 36 hours, thanks to a common misfortune of overlapping duty schedules and emergency rescue operations. For hours we had been practicing helicopter landing and refuelling drills and at long last the chopper was away and everything was calm. The ship was rocking slowly in a gentle, dark sea, and I was alone beneath the starriest of skies that most people have never seen. I fell so deeply into the clear, total immersion in the real that I left my body and my soul expanded to the size of the universe, so that I could at one thought perceive, almost 'feel', everything that existed in perfect and total clarity. It was like undergoing a Vulcan Mind Meld with God. Naturally, words cannot do justice to something like this. It cannot really be described, only experienced, or hinted at. What did I see? A beautiful, vast, harmonious and wonderful universe all at peace with the Tao. There was plenty of life scattered like tiny seeds everywhere, but no supernatural beings, no gods or demons or souls floating about, no heaven or hell. Just a perfect, complete universe, with no need for anything more. The experience was absolutely real to me. There was nothing about it that would suggest it was a dream or a mere flight of imagination. And it was magnificent.

But I had never stopped my private readings in the sciences, and it did not take long for me to realize that everything I had experienced through Taoism had a natural explanation. At the same time, the more I studied my religious text the more I came to disagree with certain parts of it. Since the One True Religion could not be faulty even in part, this brought me to realize that Taoism was not sacred or divine, but just an outpouring of very admirable and ingenious, but ultimately fallible human wisdom. That did not diminish its merit, but it did lead me to think outside the box. More and more I found I agreed with Confucians against the Taoists, but still sided with the Taoists against the Confucians on other issues, and in the dance of thesis and antithesis I came to my own synthesis, which can now be described as a science-based secular humanism rooted in a metaphysical naturalism. More and more I found brilliant wisdom in Western philosophers like Epicurus or Seneca, or Ayer or Hume, and so my worldview became more ecclectic and for that reason more perfect: by drawing the best from many points of view, I was purging myself of the faults of relying on only one.

Inevitably, I had to confront the Christian question. There was a point in sonar school when I was regularly pestered by a Christian bothered by my Taoism, even more than my agnosticism (it didn't matter to a Taoist whether a god existed--an answer to his question "Do you believe in God?" that frustrated the hell out of him). Eventually he argued that you have to read the whole Bible before you can make an informed decision about it. He recommended the NIV Student Bible, which I purchased, and still have. I set down to read it all through, every word, front to back, Old Testament and New (I have since read the entire New Testament in the original Greek). I figured now, with my greater understanding and maturity, I might receive more from it than I did as a child. Instead, I was able to see far worse things in it than I ever did before. I saw a terrible, sinful God by the standards of the simple, kind wisdom of Taoism--a jealous, violent, short-tempered, vengeful being whose behavior is nonsensical and overly meddlesome and unenlightening. Later I was to find that the vast majority of Christians never actually read the Bible, and have no idea what is really in there, and the hypocrisy of them telling me I had to read the whole thing before I could make an informed choice is still palpable.

In all I can say that the Old Testament disgusted me, while the New Testament disappointed me. In general, no divinely inspired text would be so long and rambling and hard to understand--wise men speak clearly, brilliantly, their ability at communication is measured by their success at making themselves readily understood. The Bible spans over a thousand pages of tiny, multi-columned text, and yet says nowhere near as much, certainly nothing as well, as the Tao Te Ching does in a mere eighty-one stanzas. The Bible is full of the superfluous--extensive geneologies of no relevance to the meaning of life or the nature of the universe, long excurses on barbaric rituals of bloodletting and taboo that have nothing to do with being a good person or advancing society toward greater happiness, lengthy diatribes against long-dead nations and constant harping on a coming doom and gloom. I asked myself: would any wise, compassionate being even allow this book to be attributed to him, much less be its author? Certainly not. How could Lao Tzu, a mere mortal, who never claimed any superior powers or status, write better, more thoroughly, more concisely, about so much more, than the Inspired Prophets of God?

It was not only this that struck me. What was most pungent was the immorality of the Bible. Though called a wise father, there is not a single example in the Old Testament of God sitting down and kindly teaching anyone, and when asked by Job, the best of men, to explain why He went out of His way to hurt a good man by every possible means, including killing his loved ones, this "wise father" spews arrogant rhetorical questions, ultimately implying nothing more than "might makes right" as his only excuse. I revulsed in horror at this demonic monster portrayed here. He was worthy of universal condemnation, not worship. He who thinks he can do whatever he wants because he can is as loathesome and untrustworthy as any psychopath. It was bad enough that this God's idea of the "best" in man is a willingness to murder one's own child on demand. It is inconceivable that any kind being would ever test Abraham's loyalty that way. To the contrary, from any compassionate being's point of view, Abraham failed this test: he was willing to kill for faith, setting morality aside for a god. A decent being would reward instead the man who responded to such a request with "Go to hell! Only a demon would ask such a thing, and no compassionate man would do it!" But the Bible's message is exactly the opposite. How frightening. It was no surprise, then, to find that this same cruel God orders people to be stoned to death for picking up sticks on Saturday (Numbers 15:32-36), and commands that those who follow other religions be genocidally slaughtered (Deuteronomy 13:6-16). Indeed, genocide (Deuteronomy 2:31-34, 7:1-2, 20:10-15, and Joshua, e.g. 10:33) and fascism (Deuteronomy 22:23-24, Leviticus 20:13, 24:13-16, Numbers 15:32-6) were the very law and standard practice of God, right next to the Ten Commandments. Instead of condemning slavery, God condones it (Leviticus 25:44, cf. Deuteronomy 5:13-14, 21:10-13). And so on. Nothing could be more repugnant.

I could go on at length about the many horrible passages that praise the immoral, the cruel, as the height of righteous goodness. It does no good to try in desperation to make excuses for it. A good and wise man's message would not need excuses. It follows that the Bible was written neither by the wise nor the good. And the New Testament was only marginally better, though it too had its inexcusable features, from commands to hate (Luke 14:26) to arrogantly sexist teachings about women (1 Timothy 2:12), from Jesus saying he "came not to bring peace, but the sword," setting even families against each other (Matthew 10:34-36), to making blasphemy the worst possible crime, even worse than murder or child molesting (Matthew 12:31-32). It, too, supported slavery rather than condemning it (Luke 12:47, 1 Timothy 6:1-2). Worse, its entire message is not "be good and go to heaven," itself a naive and childish concern (the good are good because they care, not because they want a reward), but "believe or be damned" (Mark 16:16, Matthew 10:33), a fundamentally wicked doctrine. The good judge others by their character, not their beliefs, and punish deeds, not thoughts, and punish only to teach, not to torture. But none of this moral truth is in the Bible, and the New Testament had none of the humanistic wisdom of the Tao Te Ching which spoke to all ages, but instead drones on about subjection to kings and acceptance of slavery, while having no knowledge of the needs of a democratic society, of the benefits of science, or the proper uses of technology. It even promotes superstition instead of science, with all its talk about demonic possession and faith healing and speaking in tongues, and assertions that believers will be immune to poison (Mark 16:17-18). It is plagued with a general obscurity and ambiguity, and illogicality, which I had already noted as a child, and though I did understand more and saw it as less confused than I once had, the improvement was minimal and not encouraging. It still taught a morality that is unlivable, and above all contained not a hint of humor or a mature acceptance of sexuality or anything distinctly and naturally human at all.

When I finished the last page, though alone in my room I declared aloud: "Yep, I'm an atheist." It was the question I had sought to answer by reading this book revered by 85% of the American public as the paragon of religious truth. I had never before been so acquainted with how hundreds of millions of people could be so embarrassingly wrong. This revelation led me on a quest to find out more about this matter. It seemed inconceivable that I was the only one who noticed what a total baloney cock-up the Bible was, the only one who could see that all the evidence, and the simple process of well-thought logic, led to the conclusion that there was no god, or certainly none around here. But my search in bookstores for anything about atheism came up with nothing. No one I knew had even given the matter any real thought. As far as I could tell, I was alone. That was annoying, but as the lone Taoist in a sea of nominal apathetic Christians it was nothing new. Eventually I stumbled across two old books in a used book store, Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Corliss Lamont's The Philosophy of Humanism, each of which gave me an excellent introduction to the thoughts of like-minded men. In time, a booth at a street-fair introduced me with much excitement to American Atheists, which later, through disappointment with their attitude, I traded for the more human and sensible Freedom From Religion Foundation. And though I had been "on the internet" since the mid-eighties, with the rise of national online communities through services like Prodigy and Compuserve I found several atheists to share notes with, and encountered for the first time ardent and avid Christian missionaries and arguers. This was largely new to me--apart, of course, for the perpetual seasonal barrage of Jehova's Witnesses and Mormons who had been knocking at our doors no doubt since my conception. But they were rarely willing to debate, excusing themselves faster than if I were a leper the moment I raised an intellectual question. They were especially confused when hearing I was a devout Taoist, and so already had a religion and didn't need another, thankyouverymuch.

In time two things happened. On the one hand, my studies led me to a more Western humanist philosophy. Though I never abandoned the best of my Eastern intellectual heritage, I fell in love with knowledge and science and logic and the quest and fight for truth. Yet, though I no longer call myself a Taoist, I have not lost any of the joy, wonder, and happiness of life. I retain the lessons that always brought peace and tranquility and simplicity, and my life remains just as spiritual as it had been. I live joyfully in a free society with a loving wife and good friends, with no real problems to speak of. And in this lucky position, having struggled my way from poverty to a doctoral fellowship at an Ivy League university, I took action. With compassion for the welfare and enlightenment of the human race, I devote much of my free time to defeating lies, correcting errors, and informing the unknowing. For which I am condemned regularly. Perhaps some day such behavior will instead be an object of emulation and praise, though I don't see Christianity doing anything to make that so.

On the other hand, I became ever more acquainted with the horrible history of Christianity and the sorts of things Christians have done and are still doing around even this country in less liberal places like my First Methodist neighborhood, from trying to pass blasphemy laws to murdering doctors, from throwing eggs at atheists to killing their cats, from trying to dumb-down science education to acting holier-than-thou in pushing their skewed moral agenda against government and private industry alike. For the first time, rather than being merely constantly pestered, I was being called names, and having hellfire wished upon me. It was a rude awakening. I knew of the eccentricities of Christian Fundamentalism from my high school days, but it was more humorous then than anything: from Jack Chick tracts informing the world, with melodramatically absurd story lines, that role playing games were a form of ritual Satanic worship, to my friend putting his I Love Jesus girlfriend in tears because she was certain he was going to hell for believing that there might be life on other planets. But I was generally spared the nasty effects of such nonsense, which was always a fringe minority in my town.

Not so elsewhere. When I heard the horror stories, saw the machinations on Capitol Hill, read the news, I found it was not so funny as I thought it was. So great is the threat of this superstition against individuals, against society, against knowledge, against general human happiness, that it would be immoral not to fight it. It did no good that most nominal Christians disavow all this behavior, for I discovered all too quickly that hardly any of them had the moral fiber to stand up to it, few make much effort to defend in public their apparently kinder, gentler message of tolerance and love against the Righteous Hoarde, and fewer still would call me ally. Why would they? Jesus himself tells everyone I am damned, and if the most informed, wise and compassionate being in the universe condemns me utterly, deeming me worthy of unquenchable fire and immortal worms, far be it for any mortal to have a kinder opinion of me. Worse, the liberal Christians have no text. In any Bible debate, the liberal interpreter always loses, for he must admit he is putting human interpretation, indeed bold-faced speculation, before the Divine Word of God. And without the Bible to stand on a Christian can be condemned as an unbeliever in disguise. Since being thought an atheist is worse than being thought a prostitute, not many believers are likely to raise their head against Fundamentalism. It was then that I realized, because of this threat and because of my own experience in not being able to find like-minded people to share thoughts with, I had to state my case and publish as much as I could to help others like me and to defeat the nonsense and lies that I saw being spread everywhere, and to answer the constant barrage of redundant questions I had faced ever since I allowed the Christian public to know I'm an atheist. And so began my online presence, eventually landing here as a member of the Internet Infidels.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

Og3
Posts: 965
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:41 am

Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:43 am

Okay, I read that. Here are some things to note:

1.) As a child he was never actually a Christian. He states this himself. So he never "de-converted" from Christianity. His deconversion story is exactly like those in Tolstoy's Confession, in which the believers simply stopped believing because they never truly had a belief.
2.) He says that "Logic Alone" led him to reject the New Testament. In fact, it was merely his own boredom on finding that it didn't talk about his favorite subjects. One might as well reject the Magna Carta for not talking about Ice Fishing.
3.) He states that he was of the Taoist school that rejected the mystical aspects -- the religion of Tao, preferring it as a philosophy instead -- but he then refers to the "clearly supernatural miracle of discovering the faith" and it's "self-evident perfection." These are mutually-contradictory ideas. That's okay in context -- many people have mutually contradictory ideas bouncing around in their heads -- but he pretends to have reached those ideas through logic and reason, which is simply not possible. Logic would have taught him to pick a side.
4.) "Science-based secular humanism rooted in a metaphysical naturalism?" When you decipher that combination of words, it's self-contradictory double-talk. It cannot be "Science-based" and "Secular" if it is rooted in "metaphysical" anything. For that matter, it technically cannot be humanist -- humans triumphing over nature -- if it is also naturalist, with nature triumphing uber alles. That's nonsense.
5.) His experience on the flight deck, frankly, sounds like a waking dream that arises from sleep deprivation. I've had experiences like that. Once I looked across a room and saw all of the furniture turned backwards in an instant, as if it had always been that way. I blinked and it was back to normal. It was not a realization of the yin and yang within my tao; it was sleep deprivation from having four hours sleep a night over several weeks. Another time, due to a coincidence (actually poor planning by others) I spent 30 hours on an engine room watch. By the end I could easily have seen the sort of thing Carrier saw, though my dreams tended to go in different directions from his. The odd dreams of interrupted or denied sleep were well known to us on the ship, and we used to laugh about them in our more lucid moments.
6.) Then he rejected Taoism in favor of naturalism... But that means that all of his Taoist "miracles" and Taoist experiences were no revelation at all. If he was, as he says, studying science, then he should have followed Duhem here, and decided that all of his assumptions, from the very beginning, were flawed. When we find that we are wrong, we need to go back until we find where we went wrong. He does not do this: He merely makes a lateral leap to agnosticism and then to atheism.
7.) He talks about reading the Bible because he was gulled into it by insistent shipmates. Yes, then of course he found it brutal. He never looked for what it was telling him, nor for the theme that runs through it; he merely took it as a series of inscrutable events, in an incomprehensible book. It's like a student reading Chaucer and saying it's horrible because all the words are spelled wrong. So, sure, he found it brutal and ugly. Well, the Bible is real. It talks about brutal and ugly things, because brutal and ugly things are real. The Tao Te Ching does not: It seemed elegant to him because it does not deal with ugly and brutal things. Which means that it is not in touch with reality.
8.) He talks about Bertrand Russell's _Why I Am Not A Christian_ and he actually praises that book. Honestly, it's babbling dreck. I've asked atheists to explain what Russell is on about -- for example, his entire digression about the curse of the fig tree -- and the best they've been able to say is, "Well, you know, it's a parody." Sure. Tell you what, SEG, you tell me what Russell was on about with his Fig Tree argument, and we'll determine if Carrier is right or wrong to praise that book, okay?
9.) Then he simply decided he was an atheist, and yet he is "as spiritual as ever." Meaning that he has illogical self-contradictory nonsense packing his skull from stem to stern. With all the times I've taken you to task for self-contradictory premises, you should be able immediately to see the problem in an atheist who is as spiritual as ever.

You really want me to read that? Okay, I'll read his book. It will take me a while, I have a few other priorities at the moment. But I'll agree to have it done by, say, June 1. Or 01 June for Oz. In return, I'll ask you to read... Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. Should be in your local library. He was a man who was raised CoE, de-converted in his youth, and returned to Christianity while a professor at Cambridge University. Shall we say by June 1 / 01 June, then?
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:52 pm

I've noticed that you have avoided some of my questions, OG. Would you mind re-visiting these and a couple of new ones as a matter of clarity?
SEG wrote:Well how do you know that God is worthy of it and Christianity is true based on faith? What reservations do you have on God existing and Christianity being true?
Ok, What reservations do you NOW have on God existing and Christianity being true?
Show me the bones of Jesus Christ and I'll become an atheist. That's all it takes.

And the Romans could have done that in 33 AD, and Christianity would never have gotten started. Or the Jewish leaders. Or in 34, 35, 36, etc. right up to the Jewish Wars of 62-70 AD that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem. But they didn't, and that's a very significant omission. Not itself conclusive, but significant and suggestive.
This is you assuming that Jesus was a living person and that you can identify the bones of a 2,000 years plus person. Have you ever thought that he may have been a myth? That if it were true would be very significant, yes?

Have I had reservations about my faith? Yes. In fact, I have told you how, in 1985, I put my faith under critical scrutiny, and weighed it against science -- I was fresh out of that Naval Nuclear Power School, so I knew me some science! -- and I weighed it against logic -- I didn't read Wesley Salmon's _Logic_ just because I liked the title. I read apologetics, and I read atheists. And the sum total... Was that Christianity was perfectly reasonable. So I reasoned that if it were reasonable, God would confirm to me that it was true. So I prayed for Him, if He were real, to confirm His presence.
You see that I have not backed down from you, nor flinched when you scoff and ridicule. You have no argument that can frighten me: I've faced the best and most difficult arguments, and I've found the flaw in every one of them. Poor reason, poor argument: From Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins, it's all scoffing and no substance. [/quote]

You didn't ask the deity for his name, you assumed it was your god and not some other god pretending to be him! Do you usually ask your god his name, rank and serial number?

SEG wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:23 am
Do you agree with my statement: "That's why faith is such a poor mechanism for working out if something is true."? IOW could you use faith to determine if any statement is true? For example, could you use faith to determine if white people are more intelligent than black people?
Og3 wrote: ↑Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:44 pm
Arrr.
Faith is not how you "know" something. Faith is what you place in something that you know.
But that knowledge may be false, correct? You could place your faith in something that you know is true (whites are more intelligent than blacks for example) and later after examining the evidence against it, find out that you were wrong.
Og3 wrote: ↑Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:44 pm
And this is where faith is the substance, the <Gk. sub(beneath)+stare(to lie) "thing which lies beneath" my hope. If I misplace my faith -- for example, if I believe in a chair that is too fragile or a bridge that is too weak, then I will not see my hope fulfilled -- my hope of resting my butt on the chair or of crossing the bridge.

Hope here being a "reasonable expectation of a positive future event."
So your faith in God is stipulated by those same reservations? Or do you rely upon faith alone? You can't have it both ways.
Og3 wrote: ↑Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:44 pm
Faith is only as good as the object of one's faith. If the object of one's faith is worthy of it, we call that object "faithful."
Well how do you know that God is worthy of it and Christianity is true based on faith? What reservations do you have on God existing and Christianity being true?
I know that the bridge will hold me up. I have faith in it. I act on my faith by crossing the bridge. I hear it creak when I step on it. But I know it is strong and has enough strength for me. So my faith is the substance, the underlayment, of my hope (crossing the bridge).
So what happens if you get 3/4 along the bridge and it collapses, sending you into the water? You swim to the edge and walk 10 miles and you find a very similar bridge that has crocodiles swimming under it. Would using faith alone be a good mechanism for crossing those types of bridges safely?
Og3 wrote: ↑Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:44 pm
My faith needs to be reasonably placed. I need a basis for my faith, which is my knowledge. I know that a beam of a certain size will support a bridge of a certain girth undergoing a load of a certain weight. That's all maths, and I can know from the answer if I can place my faith in that bridge.

I can't see the math that tells me the bridge is strong enough; I have faith in my knowledge that these materials with this load will stand up to the purpose. Faith underlies my action (crossing the bridge and taunting the crocs) just as the beams and the maths used by the engineer underlie the bridge itself. I don't "know by faith." I act in faith and through faith based on the knowledge that underlies that faith.
Which means that your faith doesn't stand alone and needs to be supported by the knowledge that underlies that faith. IOW your faith is conditional, correct?
Finally, is there any position that you couldn't hold, based on faith alone?
Og3 wrote: ↑Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:44 pm
I don't hold positions based on faith alone. My faith is supported by my reason and by my experience.
Ok, so now we know for sure that your faith in God comes with conditions that you attach to it, which includes reason. Bravo! So what are your reasons in believing God exists? Further, if you could hold a faith based position that God exists, you could also hold a faith based position that God does not exist? Providing of course, that you have conditions in place for both positions?
I know, I know. You've got a Mormon client/friend who tells you that he "knows by faith" that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I can tell you here and now, he's misusing the words "know" and "faith."
Some people say that faith is the excuse that people give for believing something when they don't have a good reason. I agree.
We Christians don't "know by faith" that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of God. We have faith in the reasonable inference that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of God. That reasonable inference is based on what we know (or reasonably infer that we know).
...and if it could be proven that Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus (and it can't btw, but it's very probable that it didn't), would that sway your faith, or would you start calling him Jesus of Somewhere Else?


Og3 wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:13 am
I'm not responsible for your opinions.
No, but you are responsible to earthly laws and ethics.
Og3 wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:13 am
Says who?
Our society, just like the societies of individual sentient species. How would you describe the morals of a dog for example?
SEG wrote:
] I don't know how humans could possibly be responsible for the laws of deities that aren't living with our problems.
Og3 wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:13 am
So... if a Deity were to incarnate himself, live among men for, say 33 years, and then get executed as a criminal, He might then understand some of our problems, and be well-suited to discuss them with us?
Not as a stilted mythical character that was never a teenager, never dated, never married and never had kids. He also never laughed or had a sense of humour. His resume sucked as a councillor and he had the personality of an undertaker.
I'm pretty sure you didn't mean to imply... :popcorn:
No, I meant real people can only understand the issues of other real people. How would your Jesus emphasise with a homosexual couple with kids? Or with a teenage girl getting bullied online?
You only assign responsibility to children once they understand the implications and intent of moral instructions. How could humans be responsible for the whims of gods that they don't fully understand?
Og3 wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:13 am
Wait; who doesn't understand what? A moment ago, it was God who didn't understand, and now it's us?
I meant the whims and opinions of your god who makes up his own morals that he presumably got from somewhere else if they are truly objective.
Og3 wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:13 am
And what do you mean that we don't understand? You're the one saying that we know what the simple definitions of Good and Evil are... you defined them above ... so how can you say that we don't understand?
I didn't say that we know what the simple definitions of Good and Evil are, I said, "Why not have simple definitions that most humans could all identify with..."
"He has shown you, Oh Man, what is good, and what YHWH requires of thee: But to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly before God." So what do you mean that we don't fully understand? What's there not to understand?
His whims and opinions, they aren't fully defined. In fact they are all over the place and contradictory. If you want examples I can throw you a huge slab of text, but you know what I mean.
And that ignores that they were baby-roasting pagans, and richly deserved twice as bad as what befell them...
Except that babies, toddlers and animals didn't deserve zip, but were slaughtered without good reasons. Yet you want to slaughter them twice!
Og3 wrote: ↑Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:13 am
We've discussed the alternatives. Do you now believe that one of the others would have been better? Starvation due to a teat shortage, perhaps?
No, do what civilised non-divine driven nations do, show compassion and empathy for prisoners of war (especially kids and babies) and innocent animals.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:53 pm

Og3 wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:43 am
Okay, I read that. Here are some things to note:

1.) As a child he was never actually a Christian. He states this himself. So he never "de-converted" from Christianity. His deconversion story is exactly like those in Tolstoy's Confession, in which the believers simply stopped believing because they never truly had a belief.
2.) He says that "Logic Alone" led him to reject the New Testament. In fact, it was merely his own boredom on finding that it didn't talk about his favorite subjects. One might as well reject the Magna Carta for not talking about Ice Fishing.
3.) He states that he was of the Taoist school that rejected the mystical aspects -- the religion of Tao, preferring it as a philosophy instead -- but he then refers to the "clearly supernatural miracle of discovering the faith" and it's "self-evident perfection." These are mutually-contradictory ideas. That's okay in context -- many people have mutually contradictory ideas bouncing around in their heads -- but he pretends to have reached those ideas through logic and reason, which is simply not possible. Logic would have taught him to pick a side.
4.) "Science-based secular humanism rooted in a metaphysical naturalism?" When you decipher that combination of words, it's self-contradictory double-talk. It cannot be "Science-based" and "Secular" if it is rooted in "metaphysical" anything. For that matter, it technically cannot be humanist -- humans triumphing over nature -- if it is also naturalist, with nature triumphing uber alles. That's nonsense.
5.) His experience on the flight deck, frankly, sounds like a waking dream that arises from sleep deprivation. I've had experiences like that. Once I looked across a room and saw all of the furniture turned backwards in an instant, as if it had always been that way. I blinked and it was back to normal. It was not a realization of the yin and yang within my tao; it was sleep deprivation from having four hours sleep a night over several weeks. Another time, due to a coincidence (actually poor planning by others) I spent 30 hours on an engine room watch. By the end I could easily have seen the sort of thing Carrier saw, though my dreams tended to go in different directions from his. The odd dreams of interrupted or denied sleep were well known to us on the ship, and we used to laugh about them in our more lucid moments.
6.) Then he rejected Taoism in favor of naturalism... But that means that all of his Taoist "miracles" and Taoist experiences were no revelation at all. If he was, as he says, studying science, then he should have followed Duhem here, and decided that all of his assumptions, from the very beginning, were flawed. When we find that we are wrong, we need to go back until we find where we went wrong. He does not do this: He merely makes a lateral leap to agnosticism and then to atheism.
7.) He talks about reading the Bible because he was gulled into it by insistent shipmates. Yes, then of course he found it brutal. He never looked for what it was telling him, nor for the theme that runs through it; he merely took it as a series of inscrutable events, in an incomprehensible book. It's like a student reading Chaucer and saying it's horrible because all the words are spelled wrong. So, sure, he found it brutal and ugly. Well, the Bible is real. It talks about brutal and ugly things, because brutal and ugly things are real. The Tao Te Ching does not: It seemed elegant to him because it does not deal with ugly and brutal things. Which means that it is not in touch with reality.
8.) He talks about Bertrand Russell's _Why I Am Not A Christian_ and he actually praises that book. Honestly, it's babbling dreck. I've asked atheists to explain what Russell is on about -- for example, his entire digression about the curse of the fig tree -- and the best they've been able to say is, "Well, you know, it's a parody." Sure. Tell you what, SEG, you tell me what Russell was on about with his Fig Tree argument, and we'll determine if Carrier is right or wrong to praise that book, okay?
9.) Then he simply decided he was an atheist, and yet he is "as spiritual as ever." Meaning that he has illogical self-contradictory nonsense packing his skull from stem to stern. With all the times I've taken you to task for self-contradictory premises, you should be able immediately to see the problem in an atheist who is as spiritual as ever.

You really want me to read that? Okay, I'll read his book. It will take me a while, I have a few other priorities at the moment. But I'll agree to have it done by, say, June 1. Or 01 June for Oz. In return, I'll ask you to read... Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. Should be in your local library. He was a man who was raised CoE, de-converted in his youth, and returned to Christianity while a professor at Cambridge University. Shall we say by June 1 / 01 June, then?
Sure, and I will get to your questions above later today.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am

To dispose of the charge that I'm not answering your barrage of questions:
Ok, What reservations do you NOW have on God existing and Christianity being true?
At the moment, none.
This is you assuming that Jesus was a living person and that you can identify the bones of a 2,000 years plus person. Have you ever thought that he may have been a myth? That if it were true would be very significant, yes?
It would be very significant for Jesus never to have existed, yes. It's also highly unlikely for him never to have existed. Let me re-phrase to avoid the double-negative: It's extremely likely that he existed.

I realize that Carrier doubts that Jesus was a real person. I doubt that Carrier is a real person.

I did consider the question of whether he was simply a myth, or perhaps a historical person whose fame was blown out of proportion. But I cannot draw that as a reasonable inference.I could simply deny all of history -- who the hell does Herodotus think he was, telling us stories about dead people! -- but I think we can agree that it is unreasonable. I mean, I could formulate a pretty strong argument that Sir Edmund Hillary was not a real person -- fill in the historical person of your choice. But that would not be REASONABLE.

So what is a reasonable conclusion about Jesus of Nazareth? In Durant's opinion, it was that he must have existed, at the very least. In most qualified opinions -- yes, there's an outlier here or there -- it is only reasonable that he existed. For example, there is more evidence, in terms of both eyewitnesses and recorded accounts, for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is that Napoleon was defeated at the abttle of Waterloo.

If I set a standard of confidence in history that keeps Napoleon losing at Waterloo, then I must keep the historical Jesus; if I discard the historical Jesus then I have to discard Waterloo. We have also spoken of Socrates. Ask any historian if socrates was a real person, and you will hear that yes, he was. And yet there is far less of a record of Socrates than there is of Jesus.

It is now commonly held that Troy was a real location, beseiged and destroyed by an Argive force in a manner not unlike Homer's Iliad. This was once not true, because aside from a few fairly modern archeological sites, Homer's Iliad is the only proof that Troy ever existed. If we keep Troy, we should also keep Jesus; if our standard is too strict for Jesus, then troy is out the window.

Don't get me wrong; you're welcome to disbelieve as much history as you choose.But my rules of evidence demand that I maintain a single standard for historical events, and that I don't pick and choose. So, yes, I believe that Jesus was a historical person, based on the evidence.
You didn't ask the deity for his name, you assumed it was your god and not some other god pretending to be him! Do you usually ask your god his name, rank and serial number?
I addressed myself to YHWH. And in my experience, the God whom I serve is consistent with YHWH and with no others.
So your faith in God is stipulated by those same reservations? Or do you rely upon faith alone? You can't have it both ways.
Faith is only as good as the object of my faith. So yes, if I were not intellectually satisfied that YHWH is God, then I could not serve Him. I'm fairly sure from this line of questioning that you're going to throw out Sola Fide at me; if you do I advise you to study the term and its context first.
Which means that your faith doesn't stand alone and needs to be supported by the knowledge that underlies that faith. IOW your faith is conditional, correct?
Your terms are loosely defined, but in layman's terms, sure, my faith would be conditional:
1.) Conditional upon my God being YHWH
2.) Conditional upon YHWH being a god
3.) Conditional upon Y'shua of Nazareth having risen from the dead.
...and if it could be proven that Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus (and it can't btw, but it's very probable that it didn't), would that sway your faith, or would you start calling him Jesus of Somewhere Else?
A fair question. If it were proven that there were no such thing as NAzareth, that would prove that the gospel writers got it wrong. Which in turn would lead me to ask how they would fail to notice that no such city existed:
1.) It was a real city that they called by the wrong name? or
2.) It was a completely made up place, like Funkytown?

If 2.) did they know this, or were they merely mistaken.

At the very least, in such a case, I would have to re-evaluate my confidence in the gospels before affirming that Jesus of ... somewhere ... was from ... somewhere. Would that by itself cause my entire faith to crumble? Not by itself. For a one-shot explosion of my faith, show me the bones of Jesus Christ. But you never will.
How would you describe the morals of a dog for example?
A dog does not have morals per se. A dog does those things that will bring him reward, and resists those things that will bring him punishment (even if the "punishment" is not getting the reward).

Dogs learn to live by the rules expected of them by their people. But no dog ever met with another dog and said, "Let us create a fair means of dividing the chickens we kill."
No, I meant real people can only understand the issues of other real people. How would your Jesus emphasise with a homosexual couple with kids? Or with a teenage girl getting bullied online?
Each of those people are people for whom JEsus died. And do you think that JEsus was never bullied? While Jesus was never homosexual, do you think that he never met homosexuals? Do you think that he was never tempted towards women in a carnal way? Why would you think that?

What you are doing here is something known as the Fallacy of the Heap. If I have a heap of hay, and remove one straw, is it still a heap? What about ten? what about twenty? If I split the hay in half, and have two heaps, is that twice as much hay? That's absurd, of course, and so is what you're doin here. You're dividing the human experience into an infinite number of subgroups, and then claiming that Jesus couldn't possible empathize with each of them.

Well, Jesus didn't have blond hair; could he empathize with blonds? He wasn't tall, didn't have a broken toe on his left foot... I'm sorry, that's a silly argument. All parents can understand the concerns of all parents; All adults can understand the concerns of parents even if they are not parents. Everyone feels protective of someone. Everyone has had someone try to bully him or her; everyone can understand bullying. For it to be online does not change the fundamental aspect of bullying.
How could humans be responsible for the whims of gods that they don't fully understand?
Dogs are responsible for the whims of humans that they don't fully understand... that is, the dogs neither understand the humans nor their whims; either reading of the sentence comes to the same point. Why should it be different, one level removed?

Are you now going to argue that humans are unjust because they are allowed on the furniture and can urinate indoors?
I meant the whims and opinions of your god who makes up his own morals that he presumably got from somewhere else if they are truly objective.
And back to your hobby horse. I know that you are not so obtuse that you cannot understand me. It is entirely possible for the God who decided that F=(GM1M2)/D^2 to also decide that the humans he created ought not to kill each other -- that he should be the sole arbiter of the end of life.
No, do what civilised non-divine driven nations do, show compassion and empathy for prisoners of war (especially kids and babies) and innocent animals.
Oh, you mean spare their lives and release them. They'll starve, of course, in the ruins of their cities, but hey, at least you're not responsible for that, right? We've talked about this...
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:38 pm

Og3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am
To dispose of the charge that I'm not answering your barrage of questions:
Thanks for making the effort.
Ok, What reservations do you NOW have on God existing and Christianity being true?
Og3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am
At the moment, none.
That doesn't leave much wriggle room for using reason to work out if your faith is justified, does it? So if you misplace your faith in the future about the existence of God and Christianity being true, you need to use reason to back that faith up. So your faith doesn't stand alone and needs to be supported by the knowledge that underlies that faith. If I have faith that God doesn't exist and Christianity isn't true, then I also don't need to leave much wriggle room for using reason to work out if my faith is justified either. Can you start to see how using faith isn't a great mechanism to work out if something is true?
Hope here being a "reasonable expectation of a positive future event."
Hope is pretty useless too.
This is you assuming that Jesus was a living person and that you can identify the bones of a 2,000 years plus person. Have you ever thought that he may have been a myth? That if it were true would be very significant, yes?
Og3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am
It would be very significant for Jesus never to have existed, yes. It's also highly unlikely for him never to have existed. Let me re-phrase to avoid the double-negative: It's extremely likely that he existed.
Not when you think that the Creator of the universe re-incarnated himself only once over 2,000 years ago to save the faulty world he created and created unbelievable miracles in front of thousands of people that was only scantily recorded. With a zero record of contemporaneous witnesses.
I realize that Carrier doubts that Jesus was a real person. I doubt that Carrier is a real person.

I did consider the question of whether he was simply a myth, or perhaps a historical person whose fame was blown out of proportion. But I cannot draw that as a reasonable inference.I could simply deny all of history -- who the hell does Herodotus think he was, telling us stories about dead people! -- but I think we can agree that it is unreasonable. I mean, I could formulate a pretty strong argument that Sir Edmund Hillary was not a real person -- fill in the historical person of your choice. But that would not be REASONABLE.

So what is a reasonable conclusion about Jesus of Nazareth? In Durant's opinion, it was that he must have existed, at the very least. In most qualified opinions -- yes, there's an outlier here or there -- it is only reasonable that he existed. For example, there is more evidence, in terms of both eyewitnesses and recorded accounts, for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is that Napoleon was defeated at the abttle of Waterloo.

If I set a standard of confidence in history that keeps Napoleon losing at Waterloo, then I must keep the historical Jesus; if I discard the historical Jesus then I have to discard Waterloo.
I would keep Napoleon and discard Jesus using this information:
Jesus and Battle of Waterloo Evidence.jpg
We have also spoken of Socrates. Ask any historian if socrates was a real person, and you will hear that yes, he was. And yet there is far less of a record of Socrates than there is of Jesus.
This is why you really need to read OHJ. Carrier says: “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Socrates.” Which I also annihilated in OHJ (Chapter 8.2, “The Socrates Analogy”). See https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7924
Okay, So What about the Historicity of Spartacus?
BY RICHARD CARRIER ON JULY 5, 201535 COMMENTS
Ad poster for Joseph Loduca's soundtrack for the Starz TV show Spartacus, displaying the actor playing Spartacus all covered in dirt and blood and holding a sword and looking menacing.It’s always something. First it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for the contemporary emperor Tiberius.” Matthew Ferguson annihilated that one. Then it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Alexander the Great.” Which I annihilated in On the Historicity of Jesus (pp. 21-24). Or it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Socrates.” Which I also annihilated in OHJ (Chapter 8.2, “The Socrates Analogy”). Or it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Pontius Pilate, the guy who allegedly killed him.” Which I’ve also annihilated. [And we can say the same now of Herod Agrippa and Hannibal and Caligula] And then it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar.” Which I just annihilated. Now the claim going around is, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Spartacus,” the enslaved gladiator of Thrace (now mostly Bulgaria) who led a nearly successful slave revolt against the Romans in Italy in 73-70 B.C.

Just like Julius Caesar (as I explained in my last post about this), and everyone else in these comparisons, when it comes to determining the probability of historicity, Spartacus differs from Jesus in two respects:

First:

Spartacus belongs to a different reference class. He is not a worshiped deity whose only narratives are extensively mytho-fantastical. Spartacus does not belong to any myth-heavy reference classes at all (significantly sized sets of claimed historical persons most of whose members are mythical). Jesus does. See Chapter 6 of OHJ. I use the one significantly sized set we have for Jesus (high-scoring Rank-Raglan heroes: Element 48, Chapter 5.3), but Jesus actually belongs to several myth-heavy sets (worshiped deities, mystery-cult saviors, dying-and-rising demigods, culture heroes, heavenly founders: e.g. Elements 31, 36, 46, 47, Chapter 6.1-2, etc.). Spartacus belongs to not even one.

Spartacus actually belongs to a reference class of mundane military foes fighting a literate record-keeping nation’s armies, a class in which most members by far are historical. So we don’t even need more evidence to confirm he existed. We can trust it’s just very likely he did, because in such cases (in such sets of persons), every time we can check, it turns out it usually is the case that these people existed.

This is the first problem with trying to compare Jesus with ordinary people (OHJ, Chapter 6.2 and 6.5). Ordinary people are not usually mythical. There is little reason to have made them up or to have Euhemerized them (OHJ, Element 45). Ordinary people are not worshiped celestial gods with astonishing supernatural powers and suspiciously convenient names (Jesus means “Savior”), rapidly surrounded by wildly egregious myths, to serve as reified authorities for promoting certain cultural and religious norms. One must heed that distinction.

Second:

We have way better evidence for Spartacus anyway. There is a handy collection of literary sources online. But leading scholarship on the subject is Aldo Schiavone’s Spartacus (2013) and Brent Shaw’s Spartacus and the Slave Wars: A Brief History with Documents (2001).
As you can see, Carrier loves to annihilate silly arguments like these.
Don't get me wrong; you're welcome to disbelieve as much history as you choose.But my rules of evidence demand that I maintain a single standard for historical events, and that I don't pick and choose. So, yes, I believe that Jesus was a historical person, based on the evidence.
Cool, then let me see your very best evidence for Jesus outside of the Bible and see how it stands up to scrutiny. A word of warning - I have been casually studying this subject for over 4 years.
You didn't ask the deity for his name, you assumed it was your god and not some other god pretending to be him! Do you usually ask your god his name, rank and serial number?
I addressed myself to YHWH. And in my experience, the God whom I serve is consistent with YHWH and with no others.

C'mon OG, you're not Jewish! Yahweh,Yahweh,Yahweh,Yahweh,Yahweh. See, it doesn't hurt! So how do you KNOW it was him if he doesn't verbally speak to you?
So your faith in God is stipulated by those same reservations? Or do you rely upon faith alone? You can't have it both ways.
Faith is only as good as the object of my faith. So yes, if I were not intellectually satisfied that YHWH is God, then I could not serve Him. I'm fairly sure from this line of questioning that you're going to throw out Sola Fide at me; if you do I advise you to study the term and its context first.
I've already pointed out how faith alone is a very faulty mechanism for working out statements of truth.
Which means that your faith doesn't stand alone and needs to be supported by the knowledge that underlies that faith. IOW your faith is conditional, correct?
Your terms are loosely defined, but in layman's terms, sure, my faith would be conditional:
1.) Conditional upon my God being YHWH
2.) Conditional upon YHWH being a god
3.) Conditional upon Y'shua of Nazareth having risen from the dead.
You could add conditional upon Jesus not being mythical and Nazareth existing as a city in the 1st century.
...and if it could be proven that Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus (and it can't btw, but it's very probable that it didn't), would that sway your faith, or would you start calling him Jesus of Somewhere Else?
A fair question. If it were proven that there were no such thing as NAzareth, that would prove that the gospel writers got it wrong. Which in turn would lead me to ask how they would fail to notice that no such city existed:
1.) It was a real city that they called by the wrong name? or
2.) It was a completely made up place, like Funkytown?

If 2.) did they know this, or were they merely mistaken.
I'm not saying that Nazareth didn't exist btw. It has and it does. I'm saying the evidence is poor that it existed at the time of Jesus.
At the very least, in such a case, I would have to re-evaluate my confidence in the gospels before affirming that Jesus of ... somewhere ... was from ... somewhere. Would that by itself cause my entire faith to crumble? Not by itself.
I'm sure it wouldn't. Even if it could be proven he was a myth, Christians would still worship the original celestial Jesus portrayed in Judaism.
For a one-shot explosion of my faith, show me the bones of Jesus Christ. But you never will.
That is an asinine statement. You can do better than that, it wasn't funny the first time I heard it.
How would you describe the morals of a dog for example?
A dog does not have morals per se. A dog does those things that will bring him reward, and resists those things that will bring him punishment (even if the "punishment" is not getting the reward).

Dogs learn to live by the rules expected of them by their people. But no dog ever met with another dog and said, "Let us create a fair means of dividing the chickens we kill."
No, but there are lots of videos showing dogs sharing their bowls with smaller dogs. Did you hear about Koko the gorilla asking for a kitten for Xmas and caring for it? She cried like a human when it was run over by a car after it escaped from her cage. Yeah, animals have feelings and morals, just like us.
No, I meant real people can only understand the issues of other real people. How would your Jesus emphasise with a homosexual couple with kids? Or with a teenage girl getting bullied online?
Each of those people are people for whom JEsus died. And do you think that JEsus was never bullied? While Jesus was never homosexual, do you think that he never met homosexuals? Do you think that he was never tempted towards women in a carnal way? Why would you think that?
How do you know that Jesus was never homosexual? Unmarried males of his age would be suspect. If he was true to the OT, he would want to kill them to uphold the law.
What you are doing here is something known as the Fallacy of the Heap. If I have a heap of hay, and remove one straw, is it still a heap? What about ten? what about twenty? If I split the hay in half, and have two heaps, is that twice as much hay? That's absurd, of course, and so is what you're doin here. You're dividing the human experience into an infinite number of subgroups, and then claiming that Jesus couldn't possible empathize with each of them.
No, I am saying that morals evolve and his morals would not fit our current society.
Well, Jesus didn't have blond hair; could he empathize with blonds? He wasn't tall, didn't have a broken toe on his left foot...
I'm sorry, that's a silly argument. No-one knows what he looked like, that's part of the reason he is thought of as a myth.
Last edited by SEG on Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

Og3
Posts: 965
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:05 pm

SEG wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:38 pm
Og3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am
To dispose of the charge that I'm not answering your barrage of questions:
Thanks for making the effort.
Ok, What reservations do you NOW have on God existing and Christianity being true?
Og3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am
At the moment, none.
That doesn't leave much wriggle room for using reason to work out if your faith is justified, does it? So if you misplace your faith in the future about the existence of God and Christianity being true, you need to use reason to back that faith up. So your faith doesn't stand alone and needs to be supported by the knowledge that underlies that faith. If I have faith that God doesn't exist and Christianity isn't true, then I also don't need to leave much wriggle room for using reason to work out if my faith is justified either.
But that faith also needs knowledge to underlie it: Otherwise, in your ignorance you might overlook the entire meaning for your life. You might literally overlook God Himself. Can you really afford to assume that God does not exist and that Christianity isn't true? The wise man and the logician would investigate closely, with an open mind.
Can you start to see how using faith isn't a great mechanism to work out if something is true?
I say again: I do not use faith as a mechanism to work out what's true. Nor should you.
Hope here being a "reasonable expectation of a positive future event."
Hope is pretty useless too.
If by hope you mean "A wish" then yes, hope would be pretty useless. But hope is a REASONABLE expectation of a positive future event. I hope to receive my paycheck in a couple weeks; that is a REASONABLE expectation. I do not hope to win the lottery, because that would be an UNREASONABLE expectation... in part because I do not play the lottery. Not to mention the maths of it...

The problem ehre is that you equate "hope" with "wish."
This is you assuming that Jesus was a living person and that you can identify the bones of a 2,000 years plus person. Have you ever thought that he may have been a myth? That if it were true would be very significant, yes?
Og3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:00 am
It would be very significant for Jesus never to have existed, yes. It's also highly unlikely for him never to have existed. Let me re-phrase to avoid the double-negative: It's extremely likely that he existed.
Not when you think that the Creator of the universe re-incarnated himself only once over 2,000 years ago to save the faulty world he created and created unbelievable miracles in front of thousands of people that was only scantily recorded. With a zero record of contemporaneous witnesses.
We speak here, in your context, of the Historical Jesus, the physical man. But you are arguing against that man being the Son of God, not against that man existing at all. Order and organization are important in logical thinking.
I realize that Carrier doubts that Jesus was a real person. I doubt that Carrier is a real person.

I did consider the question of whether he was simply a myth, or perhaps a historical person whose fame was blown out of proportion. But I cannot draw that as a reasonable inference.I could simply deny all of history -- who the hell does Herodotus think he was, telling us stories about dead people! -- but I think we can agree that it is unreasonable. I mean, I could formulate a pretty strong argument that Sir Edmund Hillary was not a real person -- fill in the historical person of your choice. But that would not be REASONABLE.

So what is a reasonable conclusion about Jesus of Nazareth? In Durant's opinion, it was that he must have existed, at the very least. In most qualified opinions -- yes, there's an outlier here or there -- it is only reasonable that he existed. For example, there is more evidence, in terms of both eyewitnesses and recorded accounts, for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is that Napoleon was defeated at the abttle of Waterloo.

If I set a standard of confidence in history that keeps Napoleon losing at Waterloo, then I must keep the historical Jesus; if I discard the historical Jesus then I have to discard Waterloo.
I would keep Napoleon and discard Jesus using this information:
Jesus and Battle of Waterloo Evidence.jpg
But that is because you entered the arena with a cognitive bias.
We have also spoken of Socrates. Ask any historian if socrates was a real person, and you will hear that yes, he was. And yet there is far less of a record of Socrates than there is of Jesus.
This is why you really need to read OHJ. Carrier says: “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Socrates.” Which I also annihilated in OHJ (Chapter 8.2, “The Socrates Analogy”). See https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7924
Socrates is discussed at length by Plato. To be an accurate record as written, Plato would have needed an eidetic memory. outside Plato, Socrates is mentioned as a character in a farcical play, where he is a philosopher with his head literally in the clouds. And in no other contemporary literature.

Jesus is mentioned, directly or indirectly, at least three times by Flavius Josephus. In addition, he is mentioned directly by four gospel writers in five books, and and in the twenty-two other books of the NT. Jesus trumps Socrates on the facts alone; Carriers opinion will not change the facts. Argument from dubious authority.
Okay, So What about the Historicity of Spartacus?
BY RICHARD CARRIER ON JULY 5, 201535 COMMENTS
Ad poster for Joseph Loduca's soundtrack for the Starz TV show Spartacus, displaying the actor playing Spartacus all covered in dirt and blood and holding a sword and looking menacing.It’s always something. First it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for the contemporary emperor Tiberius.” Matthew Ferguson annihilated that one. Then it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Alexander the Great.” Which I annihilated in On the Historicity of Jesus (pp. 21-24). Or it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Socrates.” Which I also annihilated in OHJ (Chapter 8.2, “The Socrates Analogy”). Or it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Pontius Pilate, the guy who allegedly killed him.” Which I’ve also annihilated. [And we can say the same now of Herod Agrippa and Hannibal and Caligula] And then it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar.” Which I just annihilated. Now the claim going around is, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Spartacus,” the enslaved gladiator of Thrace (now mostly Bulgaria) who led a nearly successful slave revolt against the Romans in Italy in 73-70 B.C.

Just like Julius Caesar (as I explained in my last post about this), and everyone else in these comparisons, when it comes to determining the probability of historicity, Spartacus differs from Jesus in two respects:

First:

Spartacus belongs to a different reference class. He is not a worshiped deity whose only narratives are extensively mytho-fantastical. Spartacus does not belong to any myth-heavy reference classes at all (significantly sized sets of claimed historical persons most of whose members are mythical). Jesus does. See Chapter 6 of OHJ. I use the one significantly sized set we have for Jesus (high-scoring Rank-Raglan heroes: Element 48, Chapter 5.3), but Jesus actually belongs to several myth-heavy sets (worshiped deities, mystery-cult saviors, dying-and-rising demigods, culture heroes, heavenly founders: e.g. Elements 31, 36, 46, 47, Chapter 6.1-2, etc.). Spartacus belongs to not even one.

Spartacus actually belongs to a reference class of mundane military foes fighting a literate record-keeping nation’s armies, a class in which most members by far are historical. So we don’t even need more evidence to confirm he existed. We can trust it’s just very likely he did, because in such cases (in such sets of persons), every time we can check, it turns out it usually is the case that these people existed.

This is the first problem with trying to compare Jesus with ordinary people (OHJ, Chapter 6.2 and 6.5). Ordinary people are not usually mythical. There is little reason to have made them up or to have Euhemerized them (OHJ, Element 45). Ordinary people are not worshiped celestial gods with astonishing supernatural powers and suspiciously convenient names (Jesus means “Savior”), rapidly surrounded by wildly egregious myths, to serve as reified authorities for promoting certain cultural and religious norms. One must heed that distinction.

Second:

We have way better evidence for Spartacus anyway. There is a handy collection of literary sources online. But leading scholarship on the subject is Aldo Schiavone’s Spartacus (2013) and Brent Shaw’s Spartacus and the Slave Wars: A Brief History with Documents (2001).
As you can see, Carrier loves to annihilate silly arguments like these.
Straw man. I never mentioned Spartacus.
Don't get me wrong; you're welcome to disbelieve as much history as you choose.But my rules of evidence demand that I maintain a single standard for historical events, and that I don't pick and choose. So, yes, I believe that Jesus was a historical person, based on the evidence.
Cool, then let me see your very best evidence for Jesus outside of the Bible and see how it stands up to scrutiny. A word of warning - I have been casually studying this subject for over 4 years.
I have been seriously studying this for over fifty years.
Direct mention, NT: 27 books, including 4 biographies.
Direct mention, Flavius Josephus: 2 passages; indirect mention, Ibid., one passage.
Origen
Eusebius
Celsus
Tacitus
Suetonius
Pliny the younger... Etc.,

Details as time permits.
You didn't ask the deity for his name, you assumed it was your god and not some other god pretending to be him! Do you usually ask your god his name, rank and serial number?
I addressed myself to YHWH. And in my experience, the God whom I serve is consistent with YHWH and with no others.

C'mon OG, you're not Jewish! Yahweh,Yahweh,Yahweh,Yahweh,Yahweh. See, it doesn't hurt! So how do you KNOW it was him if he doesn't verbally speak to you?
Who says He hasn't?
So your faith in God is stipulated by those same reservations? Or do you rely upon faith alone? You can't have it both ways.
Faith is only as good as the object of my faith. So yes, if I were not intellectually satisfied that YHWH is God, then I could not serve Him. I'm fairly sure from this line of questioning that you're going to throw out Sola Fide at me; if you do I advise you to study the term and its context first.
I've already pointed out how faith alone is a very faulty mechanism for working out statements of truth.
Yes, but that's not what reformation protestants meant by Sola Fide.
Which means that your faith doesn't stand alone and needs to be supported by the knowledge that underlies that faith. IOW your faith is conditional, correct?
Your terms are loosely defined, but in layman's terms, sure, my faith would be conditional:
1.) Conditional upon my God being YHWH
2.) Conditional upon YHWH being a god
3.) Conditional upon Y'shua of Nazareth having risen from the dead.
You could add conditional upon Jesus not being mythical and Nazareth existing as a city in the 1st century.
Sure, why not. Now spring whatever trap you're leading into.
...and if it could be proven that Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus (and it can't btw, but it's very probable that it didn't), would that sway your faith, or would you start calling him Jesus of Somewhere Else?
A fair question. If it were proven that there were no such thing as NAzareth, that would prove that the gospel writers got it wrong. Which in turn would lead me to ask how they would fail to notice that no such city existed:
1.) It was a real city that they called by the wrong name? or
2.) It was a completely made up place, like Funkytown?

If 2.) did they know this, or were they merely mistaken.
I'm not saying that Nazareth didn't exist btw. It has and it does. I'm saying the evidence is poor that it existed at the time of Jesus.
The evidence is poor that Rome existed at the time of Romulus... Or even of Lars Porcena. The evidence is poor that Caesar subjugated Gaul.

Y que?
At the very least, in such a case, I would have to re-evaluate my confidence in the gospels before affirming that Jesus of ... somewhere ... was from ... somewhere. Would that by itself cause my entire faith to crumble? Not by itself.
I'm sure it wouldn't. Even if it could be proven he was a myth, Christians would still worship the original celestial Jesus portrayed in Judaism.
For a one-shot explosion of my faith, show me the bones of Jesus Christ. But you never will.
That is an asinine statement. You can do better than that, it wasn't funny the first time I heard it.
It's not meant to be. One of these days I'll write an essay called "A Hole In The Ground."
How would you describe the morals of a dog for example?
A dog does not have morals per se. A dog does those things that will bring him reward, and resists those things that will bring him punishment (even if the "punishment" is not getting the reward).

Dogs learn to live by the rules expected of them by their people. But no dog ever met with another dog and said, "Let us create a fair means of dividing the chickens we kill."
No, but there are lots of videos showing dogs sharing their bowls with smaller dogs. Did you hear about Koko the gorilla asking for a kitten for Xmas and caring for it? She cried like a human when it was run over by a car after it escaped from her cage. Yeah, animals have feelings and morals, just like us.
Sure they do. And the more time they spend with us, the more they emulate us. But they don't form morals per se.
No, I meant real people can only understand the issues of other real people. How would your Jesus emphasise with a homosexual couple with kids? Or with a teenage girl getting bullied online?
Each of those people are people for whom JEsus died. And do you think that JEsus was never bullied? While Jesus was never homosexual, do you think that he never met homosexuals? Do you think that he was never tempted towards women in a carnal way? Why would you think that?
How do you know that Jesus was never homosexual? Unmarried males of his age would be suspect. If he was true to the OT, he would want to kill them to uphold the law.
What you are doing here is something known as the Fallacy of the Heap. If I have a heap of hay, and remove one straw, is it still a heap? What about ten? what about twenty? If I split the hay in half, and have two heaps, is that twice as much hay? That's absurd, of course, and so is what you're doin here. You're dividing the human experience into an infinite number of subgroups, and then claiming that Jesus couldn't possible empathize with each of them.
No, I am saying that morals evolve and his morals would not fit our current society.
Sure they would. Tell me that you cannot fit "Love your neighbor as yourself" into today's moral landscape.
Well, Jesus didn't have blond hair; could he empathize with blonds? He wasn't tall, didn't have a broken toe on his left foot... I'm sorry, that's a silly argument. All
No-one knows what he looked like, that's part of the reason he is thought of as a myth.
Oh, and the vivid description that we have of Arthur at Badon Hill makes him a real historical figure. I see. LOL.
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Og3
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:07 pm

I would keep Napoleon and discard Jesus using this information:
Jesus and Battle of Waterloo Evidence.jpg
FYI, this does not render as an image in my browser.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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SEG
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:37 pm

Double post
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Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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