How do we approach a new proposition?

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SEG
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:55 am

Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:00 pm
Now, who is God?
To examine this question, we must make some additional assumptions. I assume a personal god -- after all, a distant god hiding in a distant corner of the universe doesn't really give us a purpose.
Why do we need a purpose? If are a Deist, then all you have to believe in is a creator that was satisfied with what he created. Think of yourself as a person that landed on a planet of ants that considered you as a giant god. Would you be concerned with which ants are going to the right church, observing the right dietary laws and reading their tiny bibles. Would you say, "oh look that filthy ant is masturbating, I'll send him to ant Hell"!
I further assume that the true god, if any, has existed from eternity and will exist into eternity.

How do you arrive at that? You could have a series of gods, one taking over from the other that lasts a hundred years or so.
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:00 pm
From these assumptions, an fairly obvious corollary presents itself. If there is an eternal, personal god, then I will not have been the first human to find him. He will have sought out the human race and spoken to them.
Hold on! If you accept the scientific evidence that our species has been extant for 100,000 to 200,000 years, why had the Christian god only arrived to speak to man only 2,000 years ago to a small group of illiterate people in a tiny corner of the Earth? Why was he silent for at least 98,000 years while our species was worshipping millions of other pagan gods without interruption? Why did he stop seeking human interaction for that vast amount of time?
Thus I need only look to historical religions in order to find my god. It further follows that he will not have stopped seeking human interaction, thus I can eliminate any god(s) whose worship has fallen into abeyance.
Houston, you have a problem! Your assumption here is that "he will not have stopped seeking human interaction". Why would he go all silent for hundreds of thousands years when he could have stepped in and saved millions of souls? This is where your logic falls apart.
So are there religions that have begun in antiquity and which persist until today, without interruption, claiming both ancient and modern contact by a personal god? I find two close matches to this profile, and a third quasi-match. All of these are Abrahamic religions.
Nope, you assume that there MUST be a personal god and the majority of the world's population (think Asian and Indians) have gotten it all wrong, so their gods are false gods. Using Occam's razor, rather than thinking that all the millions of gods are wrong and yours is the only true god, it's much easier to think that all gods are manufactured from man's mind.

But fear not, your god will undoubtedly suffer the same fate eventually as all the other millions of gods that didn't have a scrap of evidence either, he will disappear completely in a puff of logic or morph into another more powerful god.
“There are no known non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any historian or other writer of the time during and shortly after Jesus's purported advent.” His so-called life was a farce.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:21 am

SEG wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:23 am
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:44 am
I submit as an inductive observation that all humans are inherently flawed with a selfishness that makes us harm other people.
No, if that were the case our species would not survive. We are genetically wired to be socially helpful towards each other to protect ourselves from extinction.
We manage to overcome our selfishness in order to act for the mutual good, when that mutual good benefits us. In other words, we can do good to get good back -- we can cooperate for selfish reasons -- but at the core we are selfish.

If we are not selfish -- taking that as an ad argumentum -- explain the Holocaust. Explain the countless pogroms. Explain Manifest Destiny. Explain every colonization ever. Explain why there are murders and violent acts and theft and ad nauseum.

You cannot tell me that we're hard-wired to be good when we so obviously do so much bad.
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:44 am
So there are two aspects of this life which raise issues for us: That we sin and that we die.
So you are assuming that there is such a thing as sin, and further assuming that there is a Christian god.
I am using sin here not as a theological term, but as a catch-all for man's inhumanity to man -- murder, theft, hatred, racism, violence, war. In other words, I am raising the problem of evil as evidence that humans are, by nature, bent towards evil.

Not always. We do good things. We do kind things. We can even, at times, rise to selflessness. But most of the time, we're selfish. If we're in the woods with a bear, and one of us is going to escape while the other feeds the bear, I vote for you as bear food, and chances are you vote for me. Not always. But often enough for us to draw a rule. We are, by nature, selfish.
Seg wrote:
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:44 am
Suppose first, for argument's sake, that life has no meaning. If that is the case then there is no good thing possible.
That's a non sequitur. Life can have no meaning and there could be lots of good things possible.
things we enjoy? Yes. But good in the context of purpose or meaning is good which fulfills the purpose or meaning. If my purpose is to wash the car, then it might be a good thing to mow the grass, but it doesn't get the car washed (or vice versa). Mowing the grass is no good towards that goal.

Goods, then, in a meaningless universe, are meaningless. Watch:

Assume the universe to be meaningless.
Suppose that you see a drowning child. You rescue him. Woohoo. Now, have you done a good thing? Or have you condemned that child to fifty, sixty, seventy years of meaningless existence? Will it matter in 100 years, after both you and that child are dead?
Of course, you say, because he will father children and to them it will be important. But if life is meaningless, how can their lives be meaningful? It is a contradiction in terms.

You see, if life is meaningless then everything about life is meaningless. We can have events, actions, objects that are meaningful to us, subjectively, but in the end, they will all prove to be foolishness -- striving after the wind, "havel," vanity (just ask Solomon).

Suppose that I build the biggest monument in the world. And after I am dead, it is bulldozed to make way for a freeway. What did that matter? Suppose that I leave a billion dollars to cancer research -- and the year after I die, inflation makes that the equivalent of $2.47 -- what have i gained? What has the world gained? What has humanity gained? Vanity of vanities! It is all striving after the wind!

So where is there anything good in a world that has no meaning?
SEG wrote:
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:44 am
We cannot be moral, because there is no basis for mores; we cannot be spiritual because there is no spirit. Knowing as we do that we will die, we are left with seventy or so years of doing as we please. Who can say that we're doing it right or wrong, if our actions are pointless and meaningless?
Atheists can be moral and spiritual as both of these things are subjective qualities.
They can call themselves moral according to their set of mores. But what does that mean if morality itself is meaningless?

Example: The tenth Rule of the Pythagorean Society was this "Assist a man when he is loading freight, but never when he is unloading freight." Now tell me why that would be a moral thing. It was a more of the Pythagoreans, who thought triangles were spiritual objects, and mathematics a divine mystery. But tell me why I should do that today.

See? They were moral, but it was meaningless. They were spiritual, but it was meaningless. So morality and spirituality are absurdities in a meaningless universe.
Seg wrote:
Og wrote:But my mind rebels against such an idea. Life seems to have meaning. It seems to have purpose. It seems as if, in the words of Solomon, we have eternity written in our hearts. We want to leave legacies, to be remembered, to have the purposes of our lives endure. If life is a pointless series of accidents, why does it seem meaningful? Why do we care whether or not it has meaning? So I will make an inductive assumption, from the fact that life, pointless or not, absolutely seems to have meaning: I assume that life has a meaning.
I think that is where you are going wrong. Why does life have to have a meaning? Why should our particular species of life have any meaning at all?
I am carefully stating my inductions and my assumptions, so it is a good place to challenge me. Excellent.

In answer, I observe that life seems to have meaning -- I shall take up this mantle again in a moment -- and from this I am assuming that it does. I could as easily assume that it doesn't, but as above, that leads me to a dead end.
SEG wrote: I consider myself a moral person that cares about my family, friends, other humans, animals and our environment. I think that the best way to navigate through life is to try and cause the least amount of damage to others and the environment.
Excellent. Now imagine that you had none of those qualities, but you kept the rules of the Pythagorean order, including assisting men loading freight but letting the unloaders struggle on their own. Would you still think of yourself as a moral person?

Because if morals are subjective, then any set of morals will do. If morals are subjective, then Stalin did nothing wrong.
I don't need any gods in my life, what's wrong with that?
Well, it's fine, except that you do use gods, without accepting them. You live by the moral rules you learned in a Christian society. If you had been raised in an Aboriginal tribe, you'd follow those mores. If you had been raised on Mars, or among Pythagoreans, you'd follow those mores.

So you're giving yourself credit for following rules that you yourself admit have no meaning. But here's the subtle point: You love your family, and so your family SEEMS to have meaning. Likewise friends, other humans, animals, environment. They SEEM to have meaning. If you say that the universe is meaningless, but your family is meaningful to you, you're contradicting yourself. And that is why I induce that life DOES have meaning.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:55 am

SEG wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:55 am
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:00 pm
Now, who is God?
To examine this question, we must make some additional assumptions. I assume a personal god -- after all, a distant god hiding in a distant corner of the universe doesn't really give us a purpose.
Why do we need a purpose? If are a Deist, then all you have to believe in is a creator that was satisfied with what he created. Think of yourself as a person that landed on a planet of ants that considered you as a giant god. Would you be concerned with which ants are going to the right church, observing the right dietary laws and reading their tiny bibles. Would you say, "oh look that filthy ant is masturbating, I'll send him to ant Hell"!
As to why I assume there to be meaning in life, see the prior post. If you want to be a Deist, and stop at the previous post, then so be it. As to the relationship between humans and ants, I'll leave that matter for later discussion, as it's out of our scope here and now.
SEG wrote:
I further assume that the true god, if any, has existed from eternity and will exist into eternity.
How do you arrive at that? You could have a series of gods, one taking over from the other that lasts a hundred years or so.
It is an assumption, that is, an axiom: I need not arrive at it. Arriving at it would make it a conclusion.

If one wishes to assume a chain god, one is welcome to do so. I am explaining here my own train of thought on the matter. The obvious quest wrt a chain god, as above, is how one would distinguish such a series of creatures from any other species. We humans succeed each other, generation by generation, so what would make such a non-eternal being a god?

We can argue definitions ad infinitum. But I choose not to.
SEG wrote:
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:00 pm
From these assumptions, an fairly obvious corollary presents itself. If there is an eternal, personal god, then I will not have been the first human to find him. He will have sought out the human race and spoken to them.
Hold on! If you accept the scientific evidence that our species has been extant for 100,000 to 200,000 years,
I actually hold that question in abeyance. I tend to subscribe to gap theory wrt the age of the earth and its artifacts.
SEG wrote:why had the Christian god only arrived to speak to man only 2,000 years ago to a small group of illiterate people in a tiny corner of the Earth?
If we are literal in our Bible reading, the first interactions between God and Mankind would have been 6023 years ago this April, and that is where humans would have begun. That would be consistent with at least two theories of dating, Omphalos and Gap Theory.
Why was he silent for at least 98,000 years while our species was worshipping millions of other pagan gods without interruption?
Who says that He did? Who says that they did?
Why did he stop seeking human interaction for that vast amount of time?
Who says that He did? I point out to you that although there appear to be records older still, our first continuous histories begin within the last 6000 years. In the West, Mycenaean civilization seems to have had a surge around 1100 BCE, before dropping back into obscurity and arising with the Ionian awakening of about 600 BCE. The first Greek historian per se was Herodotus, around 485 BCE. Hebrew civilization seems to have begun consistent ongoing written historical record around 1300 BCE. In Egypt, there is a consistent timeline starting around the same time, though events prior and before get very foggy (the entire Amarna period was stricken from monuments). So in some ways, it's as if mankind "Woke up" around 1500 BCE. But that's a topic for another place and time.

I realize that there is potential for a digression on the age of the earth, but I choose not to digress at this time.
SEG wrote:
Thus I need only look to historical religions in order to find my god. It further follows that he will not have stopped seeking human interaction, thus I can eliminate any god(s) whose worship has fallen into abeyance.
Houston, you have a problem! Your assumption here is that "he will not have stopped seeking human interaction". Why would he go all silent for hundreds of thousands years when he could have stepped in and saved millions of souls? This is where your logic falls apart.
I am at the disadvantage of being frank, and disclosing all of my assumptions explicitly. You are making the unstated implicit assumption here that the Hebrew God did not seek human interaction at points in time. Again, you are assuming your 100,000 years of humanity, even though I think you can agree that no Neanderthal had the capacity to interact with gods, which is why there are no known Neanderthal decorative or spiritual artifacts. Cro-Magnon, yes. Neanderthal, no.

So if we grant your assumption, it renders itself invalid. And we need not grant the assumption.
SEG wrote:
Og wrote:So are there religions that have begun in antiquity and which persist until today, without interruption, claiming both ancient and modern contact by a personal god? I find two close matches to this profile, and a third quasi-match. All of these are Abrahamic religions.
Nope, you assume that there MUST be a personal god and the majority of the world's population (think Asian and Indians) have gotten it all wrong, so their gods are false gods. Using Occam's razor, rather than thinking that all the millions of gods are wrong and yours is the only true god, it's much easier to think that all gods are manufactured from man's mind.
A worthy point, and I will take up this mantle again in a moment.
SEG wrote: But fear not, your god will undoubtedly suffer the same fate eventually as all the other millions of gods that didn't have a scrap of evidence either, he will disappear completely in a puff of logic or morph into another more powerful god.
I know that you love Douglas Adams' "puff of logic" passage, but if you read it carefully and think about that he's actually saying, you'll find that it supports the opposite point.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:38 am

I wrote: In answer, I observe that life seems to have meaning -- I shall take up this mantle again in a moment -- and from this I am assuming that it does.
I wrote: A worthy point, and I will take up this mantle again in a moment.
Now, it is fairly objected, above, that I have not completely analyzed the importance of sin -- that is, the fact that humans do bad things to each other -- and that I have perhaps been too hasty in skipping over the non-Abrahamic religions, and especially the pantheistic religions.

I think we can now agree that humans do bad things -- It wasn't space aliens, after all, that shot Martin Luther King Jr.; it was James Earl Ray. I will call this, for convenience' sake, "Sin."

We can also surely agree that we all die -- I haven't heard an objection to that assumption as yet.

So, in parallel to my reasoning above, in which I assumed that God is personal, let us also analyze a different line of reasoning. Here, in place of assuming that God is personal, I will assume that since we have the two important human issues of sin (doing bad things to each other) and of death (we all die), that therefore the True Religion, if any, will address both of these issues in a significant way, and will tell us what to do about them. Also, if only one religion is the True Religion, then the other religions will be significantly different from the true religion, while similar to each other.

Digression: Tolstoy took a shortcut here. He called sin, death, and other such things "Infinite things" and he called physical things "finite things." He pointed out that the bridge between infinite things and finite things is the church, that is, without religion we do not even have a vocabulary for talking about the meaning of life, or of sin, or of death. To try to analyze these thoughts while rejecting religion is like trying to solve an algebra equation that always simplifies to x=x, y=y, or 0 = 0. There must necessarily be a term missing in our equations, and that term is the church. But here we depart from our purpose, so we will leave Tolstoy alone for now.

So let us then compare the teachings on sin and death in the various religions:

Hinduism on sin:
We do bad deeds and good deeds. If the net balance is good, then we ascend in the next life; if it is evil, we descend.
Hinduism on death:
We die many times, again and again, until we finally rise to become one with the universe through the process of sankara or sansara.

Buddhism on sin:
See above, but faster. Nirvana can be achieved spontaneously.
Buddhism on death:
See above, but faster.

Zen Buddhism on sin:
See above, but faster. Includes instant karma, just add water.
Zen Buddhism on death:
See above, but faster.

Hmm. Not much in the way of distinction there. It's all a balance of good and evil, and we just keep returning to try again. Let's move on:

Taoism on sin:
You are born with a balance of goodness and evil (yin and yang) in your soul, your taproot, your tao. It cannot be changed.*
Taoism on death:
You're going to die. If you control the flow of yin and yang in your body, using Qi Gong and Tai Chi, you may live a long time. But you'll die.

Islam on sin:
Don't do it. Well, unless you really want to, and then do it in the name of Islam.**
Islam on death:
If you've done a lot of good, hope for the best. Or do one big good thing, like being martyred.

Zoroastrianism on sin:
try to do more good than bad.
Zoroastrianism on death:
On the third day after death, your good deeds will be weighed against your bad.

Egyptian Polytheism on sin:
try to do more good than bad.
Egyptian Polytheism on death:
After death, your heart will be weighed. Your good deeds will be weighed against your bad. If your heart is "as light as a feather," that's good.

(you may be seeing a pattern in the balances of good and evil deeds on scales of various kinds...)

Judaism on sin:
Sin can be covered through a sacrifice. Good works are good, but bad deeds need to be fixed. And can be.
Judaism on death:
You will die and will face a judgment. Sins will be held against you unless the appropriate sacrifice has been made (but faith can be counted as righteousness).

Christianity on sin:
There is none righteous, no not one. But Jesus' perfect sacrifice, once forever, can not only cover but remove your sins.
Christianity on death:
It is for man once to die, and after this, the judgment. Those whose sins are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus have nothing to fear.

So Judaism and Christianity stand out. They do not prescribe good deeds to balance bad deeds. How many little old ladies must you help across the street to balance killing someone? How many honest moments balance a hurtful and destructive lie? Instead they teach that atonement is made through a sacrifice. Christianity goes further, teaching that the sacrifice is already made. So in asking which religion, if any, adequately addresses the topics of sin and death, we are forced to say that only Judaism and Christianity fit the bill.

__________________________
* Lao Tze, in his famous conversation with Confucius, allegedly stated that "A crow does not need a daily inking to remain black, and a swan does not need a daily washing to remain white.
** As harsh as this analysis seems, there is very little in Islam that is denied to a Muslim man, so long as he does his deeds in the name of Islam, and according to Islamic rules.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:47 am

Og3 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:21 am
We manage to overcome our selfishness in order to act for the mutual good, when that mutual good benefits us. In other words, we can do good to get good back -- we can cooperate for selfish reasons -- but at the core we are selfish.
Yes we all have self preservation in mind, just like all animals. But I would say the majority of us are altruistic. See: http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/08/i ... istic/..or and girls find it sexy
If we are not selfish -- taking that as an ad argumentum -- explain the Holocaust. Explain the countless pogroms. Explain Manifest Destiny. Explain every colonization ever. Explain why there are murders and violent acts and theft and ad nauseum.

You cannot tell me that we're hard-wired to be good when we so obviously do so much bad.
Yep we are, see above link. Re the holocaust, thank God there weren't more Hitlers and other nasty individuals. Actually you can thank evolution!
Suppose that I build the biggest monument in the world. And after I am dead, it is bulldozed to make way for a freeway. What did that matter? Suppose that I leave a billion dollars to cancer research -- and the year after I die, inflation makes that the equivalent of $2.47 -- what have i gained? What has the world gained? What has humanity gained? Vanity of vanities! It is all striving after the wind!
Yes, just about everything you and I do in this world will be forgotten in a hundred years or less. That's why it's so important to enjoy what there is of life and help everyone around you to have a better life too. Nothing wrong with that.
So where is there anything good in a world that has no meaning?
I find good in the world every single day. The world doesn't need to have meaning for us to enjoy it.
Og3 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:44 am
We cannot be moral, because there is no basis for mores; we cannot be spiritual because there is no spirit. Knowing as we do that we will die, we are left with seventy or so years of doing as we please. Who can say that we're doing it right or wrong, if our actions are pointless and meaningless?
Atheists can be moral and spiritual as both of these things are subjective qualities.
They can call themselves moral according to their set of mores. But what does that mean if morality itself is meaningless?
I think everyone has their own set of morality and our legal system works pretty well to make sure the majority of the population is treated fairly.
Because if morals are subjective, then any set of morals will do. If morals are subjective, then Stalin did nothing wrong.
That's why we are protected by our legal system and our defence forces.
I don't need any gods in my life, what's wrong with that?
Well, it's fine, except that you do use gods, without accepting them. You live by the moral rules you learned in a Christian society. If you had been raised in an Aboriginal tribe, you'd follow those mores. If you had been raised on Mars, or among Pythagoreans, you'd follow those mores.
I don't live in a Christian society, I live in a democracy where the major religion is Christianity. There's a big difference.
So you're giving yourself credit for following rules that you yourself admit have no meaning. But here's the subtle point: You love your family, and so your family SEEMS to have meaning. Likewise friends, other humans, animals, environment. They SEEM to have meaning. If you say that the universe is meaningless, but your family is meaningful to you, you're contradicting yourself. And that is why I induce that life DOES have meaning.
Not really. My family is right beside me and it's meaningful to me as I react to them daily. The universe is abstract and doesn't appear to have any meaning. I'm fine with that.
“There are no known non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any historian or other writer of the time during and shortly after Jesus's purported advent.” His so-called life was a farce.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:02 am

Og3 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:55 am
I actually hold that question in abeyance. I tend to subscribe to gap theory wrt the age of the earth and its artifacts
What evidence do you have to support Gap Creationism? So you believe that the universe is billions of years old, but the Earth is only a few thousand years old despite the vast amount of scientific evidence supporting that it is 4.5 billion years? Or is this another exercise like your "Australia Doesn't Exist" position? Don't tell me you don't believe in evolution as well?
“There are no known non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any historian or other writer of the time during and shortly after Jesus's purported advent.” His so-called life was a farce.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:09 am

SEG wrote:why had the Christian god only arrived to speak to man only 2,000 years ago to a small group of illiterate people in a tiny corner of the Earth?
If we are literal in our Bible reading, the first interactions between God and Mankind would have been 6023 years ago this April, and that is where humans would have begun. That would be consistent with at least two theories of dating, Omphalos and Gap Theory.
But not consistent with the overwhelming evidence of several fields of science that reckon Homo sapiens descended out of Homo erectus about 315,000 years ago.
Why was he silent for at least 98,000 years while our species was worshipping millions of other pagan gods without interruption?
Who says that He did? Who says that they did?
Of course that is possible for your god to have spoken to those people, just like it is possible for invisible urchins from the rings of Saturn to have spoken to them too. I guess that I will have to rely on the ancient authors of your Bible telling the very dubious tale about God first speaking to Adam (being the first man) 6,000 years ago and were ignorant of today's dating methods. Which means that if he existed, he neglected to speak to humans that existed before Adam was was a boy. Oh that's right, God just popped him into existence by blowing into some random dust. How silly of me to think Adam grew up like the rest of us! Do you really believe this sort of thing Og? Or do you think that this is just a literary invention?

See: Wiki:
Nope, you assume that there MUST be a personal god and the majority of the world's population (think Asian and Indians) have gotten it all wrong, so their gods are false gods. Using Occam's razor, rather than thinking that all the millions of gods are wrong and yours is the only true god, it's much easier to think that all gods are manufactured from man's mind.
A worthy point, and I will take up this mantle again in a moment.
SEG wrote: But fear not, your god will undoubtedly suffer the same fate eventually as all the other millions of gods that didn't have a scrap of evidence either, he will disappear completely in a puff of logic or morph into another more powerful god.
I know that you love Douglas Adams' "puff of logic" passage, but if you read it carefully and think about that he's actually saying, you'll find that it supports the opposite point.
Yeah, but I still like saying it!
“There are no known non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any historian or other writer of the time during and shortly after Jesus's purported advent.” His so-called life was a farce.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:28 pm

SEG wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:02 am
Og3 wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:55 am
I actually hold that question in abeyance. I tend to subscribe to gap theory wrt the age of the earth and its artifacts
What evidence do you have to support Gap Creationism? So you believe that the universe is billions of years old, but the Earth is only a few thousand years old despite the vast amount of scientific evidence supporting that it is 4.5 billion years? Or is this another exercise like your "Australia Doesn't Exist" position? Don't tell me you don't believe in evolution as well?
Actually, my best estimate is a modified gap theory. The Earth would then be millions/billions, but mankind as such only a few thousand.

Another possible theory is Omphalos (Belly-button theory), though that is somewhat solipcistic and lends itself to ridicule, most notably the trickster defense and the last thursday defense.

But that is, again, a question I hold in abeyance pending further evidence one way or the other.

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:36 pm

The problem with, "There's no objective morality and therefore it's a good thing we have police and defense forces" is that the other guy can say, "There's no objective morality and therefore it's a good thing we don't have to obey the police and can evade those pesky defense forces."

Saying something like that is a bit like saying that you love bacon but you're utterly opposed to the slaughter of pigs.

Now, you go on to object that you "don't live in a Christian society, I live in a democracy where the major religion is Christianity. There's a big difference." Fine. Wonderful. Then take one of those moral principles you espoused earlier... Say, that you try to live in harmony with your neighbors. I defy you to build that moral rule from first principles. Or from anything concrete at all, without either falling back on religion or going off into utter absurdity. Go on, explain why it is "good" to live in harmony with one's neighbors.

It's good to live in harmony with our neighbors because...

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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:01 pm

Now, in my prior explanation of the differences between the hamartological and soteriological teachings of world religions, above, I have been very brief. So let's unpack the idea a bit. This parable was first expressed to me by a man named Knight, and I have corrected and expanded it since. It is not exhaustive regarding the problems of evil, nor of sin and salvation teachings, but it should give an idea of what they are saying in a real-world context (Feynman-style analysis) and give an idea why I reach the reasonable inference that Christianity is the best of religions, and therefore the One True Religion.

A certain man was walking in a field of tall grasses. He did not see the large pit in front of him and fell into it.

On awakening at the bottom, he found himself mostly unhurt, but in a deep well with smooth sides that could not be tunneled nor climbed. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw that there were a series of metal rungs or staples driven into the side, and that the lowest was just at head height. Thus, he might perhaps be able to climb out of the pit.

But just as he started to reach for the rung, he realized -- his eyes adjusting further to the darkness -- that the rung was wrapped by a deadly viper. If he were to touch the rung, he would surely die.

The man began to cry out. KRSHNA was passing by and heard him. KRSHNA looked down into the pit and saw the man. "Take joy," he said. "For the pit and the viper may be an illusion. Become one with them. When the serpent has killed you time and time again, you may eventually find yourself in a pit that is less deep."

The man continued to cry out. BUDDHA was passing by. "Ah," said BUDDHA. "I see that you are unhappy. You are in a pit and wish to be out of the pit. Therefore you are unhappy. The solution is simple: Cease to want out of the pit, and you may be happy."


In deference to an Indian atheist who used to post on this board and who objected to this parable, I add the next part:

The man in the pit did not seem to like this answer, so KRSHNA and BUDDHA conferred.

"Here is what we have reasoned," they said. "Over many lifetimes, you may eventually find that you overcome the snake, and that you are able to use its skin as a rope, wherewith to climb from the pit." Then they, together, moved along their way.


Continuing:
As the man kept crying out, soon LAO TZE came along the way. "It is your nature to be in the pit," he said. "Accept your nature, as the swan and the raven accept theirs." LAO TZE moved along.

MOHAMMAD came to the pit. "You should not have fallen into the pit," he said. "Allah will not smile upon those who fall into pits."

MOSES came to the pit. He saw the man and could empathize with him. MOSES knew that the man would grow weak if he remained in the pit, so MOSES lowered bread and wine to the man, then MOSES ran to find...

JESUS came running to the pit. He leaped down beside the man, lifted him onto His shoulders, and carried him up the rungs and out of the pit. He accepted the deadly snake bite and died in place of the man.

I am that man. The pit is my sin. The serpent is death, and especially the death of my soul.


So, to summarize, when you ask how I know that, there being a god, it is therefore the Christian God, my answer is this: Only the Christian God, instead of exhorting me to be good and to climb my way up to Him, jumped down alongside me and carried me up to Him, a height I could not achieve on my own.

That is the answer to, "Of all the possible gods, why the Christian God?"

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