Where the **** was Paul?

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Moonwood the Hare
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Moonwood the Hare » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Og3 wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:13 am
captain howdy wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:17 am
First you Christians tell us God wants to relate to us. When he doesn't show up, you guys tell us to just open our hearts....then read a book and go live by it in lieu of God actually you know---showing up. Thank you, no. I decline. This is like asserting oneself to be in "a relationship" with an extraterrestrial, but when asked to be introduced with said extraterrestrial the claimant responds with the Drake equation. No, no, no---I get to meet ET or no deal. Same thing here----you guys make some bold assertions re: God. So far, however, the Almighty has been remarkably mum on the subject, and this requires some explanation on your part. Otherwise, all your theological claims----all of them----go in the pending file, as in pending additional evidence (God actually dispensing with the hide an seek and showing up). Just like the Rastafarians.

Let's face it. Apologetics is a lost cause. I mean, God's either there or he isn't. If somebody hands you a phone and says "It's for you" and there isn't so much as a dial tone....
I'm not asking you to live by anything.

I'm just asking you not to pre-judge the question. If you can read the entire book of John "with an open heart," and on a "level playing field," and in the course of that reading God does not show up, then why would I ask you to live by it?

And if God does show up, then live by what He tells you through the book, not what I or anyone else am telling you.

Why is it so frightening to level the playing field? Why is it so scary to weigh Christianity in the same scale that you use to weigh whether to buy a new car or whether Adelaide United has a chance to sweep their league?

It's a remarkably short book, and if you want crib notes, here are two great youtube videos -- under 9 minutes each -- that break down the style and content into an easy outline:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2e9mMf7E8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUfh_wOsauk

Read it with an open heart and a level playing field, and see what, if anything, it says to you.
Pretty much that. For most people who believe in God, God does not show up in the sense of visibly manifesting himself but he does make his presence felt in a way people feel is real. He may do this through a reading of the Bible or through a religious service or through an experience of nature. No one can check out every religion or worldview so of course you can place some in the pending file. But if your question was how can I know if this one is true, this is the answer I would give.

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SEG
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by SEG » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:20 am

Og3 wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:30 pm
You begin by questioning your assumptions.

The first question to examine might be whether science is all-inclusive ("Catholic") and if not, then "detectable by science" becomes a moot point.
The second question is whether God is "undetectable by science" by definition, or if this is merely a prejudice you've created.
The third question might be whether God is detectable, irrespective of science.
The fourth question might be whether God is invisible.
You missed out the most important of assumptions:
The fifth question is why is there any need to think that supernatural events and things need to exist?
The six question is whether any god exists or if this is merely a prejudice you've created.
The seventh question is that if any god exists, how do you know that this is a good god and not an evil god that is tricking you into believing it is a good god?
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
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Og3 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:46 am

SEG wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:20 am
Og3 wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:30 pm
You begin by questioning your assumptions.

The first question to examine might be whether science is all-inclusive ("Catholic") and if not, then "detectable by science" becomes a moot point.
The second question is whether God is "undetectable by science" by definition, or if this is merely a prejudice you've created.
The third question might be whether God is detectable, irrespective of science.
The fourth question might be whether God is invisible.
You missed out the most important of assumptions:
The fifth question is why is there any need to think that supernatural events and things need to exist?
The six question is whether any god exists or if this is merely a prejudice you've created.
The seventh question is that if any god exists, how do you know that this is a good god and not an evil god that is tricking you into believing it is a good god?
5. : Considering that I once leaned heavily towards existentialism as the best explanation for the world as we find it, there is not, so long as one does not run up against Tolstoy's questions, and then Tolstoy's bridge (Or Lewis' Regress).
6. And that was the core question in my mind.
7. That is a question to be determined in conjunction with 6., that is, does any good God exist, or is it a prejudice that I have created; and if the former, then which? If the latter, then the question is moot; likewise if there only exists a malevolent god, then the point is moot.

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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Og3 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:48 am

The key here is that you must handle the information with a neutral mind, setting aside your biases in either direction.

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SEG
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by SEG » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:31 pm

Og3 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:48 am
The key here is that you must handle the information with a neutral mind, setting aside your biases in either direction.
Agreed.
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.

Humanguy
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Humanguy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:59 am

Og3 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:48 am
The key here is that you must handle the information with a neutral mind, setting aside your biases in either direction.
Can you do that? Set aside your biases in either direction? Can you have a neutral mind?

Og3
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Og3 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:46 am

Humanguy wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:59 am
Og3 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:48 am
The key here is that you must handle the information with a neutral mind, setting aside your biases in either direction.
Can you do that? Set aside your biases in either direction? Can you have a neutral mind?
I have.

I once radically changed my political views based on doing so. I had held a very dogmatic view, but friends asked me to consider evidence that did not fit my views. My first reaction was to close my mind and back into a corner -- that Kripkean dogmatism that I'm always ranting against, where we judge evidence based on conclusions instead of conclusions based on evidence. But my friends would not let me stick my head into the sand. Through their urging, I considered the matter from a neutral viewpoint, and based on the merits of the evidence, I had to concede that they had valid points.

This forced me to re-examine my entire political basis. It took several years -- I grudging voted for "the other side" in 1984, but by 1992 had changed views in all but in name. By 1996, I had formally re-registered on the other side. But the basis for that change was questioning my assumptions and trying to justify my positions from the lowest level I could reach.

I won't tell you that I can justify my political views "from first principles" because I don't believe anyone can. But I believe that my present positions, the politicians I support, and the party to which I subscribe all fit what I believe to be true to the highest degree possible. And when I see something discordant to that belief, I try to reconcile it.

In total, I can think of five times in my life when I have subjected my beliefs on a given matter to careful scrutiny. In three cases I wound up changing my heartfelt and deeply held beliefs. In two cases, I did not. That is not counting the relatively minor and trivial changes in belief, such as realizing that in spite of my prejudices, Dodge, Chevrolet, and Toyota have all made cars worthy of being driven (at one point in my life, Ford Ruled).

I try, to the best of my abilities, to keep my beliefs aligned with what appears to be true. Now, that doesn't mean that I get up every morning and reason out whether 2+2=4 from first principles. I allow a belief to persist until there is sufficient cause to re-examine it.

If someone came to me tomorrow with a strong proof that 2+2=296 in base 10 integers, my first reaction would be to examine his proofs and to see where he went wrong. If I found no error, I'd sleep on it and approach it again from another angle. If I could not quickly refute that 2+2=296, I'd be forced to re-examine my assumptions. I'd do more research. I'd work the problem from as near to first principles as I could confidently reason. I'd discuss the matter with any mathematicians handy. If the paradox persisted, then I would resolve to reconcile it, even if it meant giving up the belief that 2+2=4 in base 10 integers.

And finally, after struggling with that issue to the best of my ability, I would accept the reasonable inference that my careful scrutiny led me to find. I anticipate that it would be that 2+2=4, but if it turned out that the correct answer was 296, then that would be my answer on every maths test into perpetuity.

I know I've rambled a bit -- the simple answer is, yes, I believe that I can. Hopefully that also gives some insight into how I reason.

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Moonwood the Hare
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Moonwood the Hare » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:02 am

Humanguy wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:59 am
Og3 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:48 am
The key here is that you must handle the information with a neutral mind, setting aside your biases in either direction.
Can you do that? Set aside your biases in either direction? Can you have a neutral mind?
There are some issues where you can examine the evidence and reach a conclusion. I heard a well known scientist Michael Reiss give an example a few years ago. He asked whether people thought trees get most of the material for their growth from the air or from the ground. He was surprised to find that most of his non-scientist audience said from the air because people usually think it is from the ground, I thought that. His point was that if you thought it was from the ground, for most people you can go through the evidence and they will change their minds. He compared that with people abandoning a belief in creationism and explained that this is much more like a worldview and people tend to take longer to modify that kind of belief. And when you get to core beliefs like materialism or theism then I think it is less a matter of looking neutrally at the evidence and more a matter of making a personal judgement. That judgement will have to take account of the evidence so it is not purely subjective but neither it is this a purely objective matter; there is not some algorithm that will lead all honest people to either the conclusion that there is or is not a God.

captain howdy
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by captain howdy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:28 pm

Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:First you Christians tell us God wants to relate to us. When he doesn't show up, you guys tell us to just open our hearts....then read a book and go live by it in lieu of God actually you know---showing up. Thank you, no. I decline. This is like asserting oneself to be in "a relationship" with an extraterrestrial, but when asked to be introduced with said extraterrestrial the claimant responds with the Drake equation. No, no, no---I get to meet ET or no deal. Same thing here----you guys make some bold assertions re: God. So far, however, the Almighty has been remarkably mum on the subject, and this requires some explanation on your part. Otherwise, all your theological claims----all of them----go in the pending file, as in pending additional evidence (God actually dispensing with the hide an seek and showing up). Just like the Rastafarians.

Let's face it. Apologetics is a lost cause. I mean, God's either there or he isn't. If somebody hands you a phone and says "It's for you" and there isn't so much as a dial tone....
I'm not asking you to live by anything.

I'm just asking you not to pre-judge the question. If you can read the entire book of John "with an open heart," and on a "level playing field," and in the course of that reading God does not show up, then why would I ask you to live by it?

And if God does show up, then live by what He tells you through the book, not what I or anyone else am telling you.
What you're asking me to do is to lower my standards of evidence. People, believers and many non-believers alike, tend to speak about searching for evidence of God as if they were looking for evidence of phlogiston. But this is the wrong way to view the issue. God isn't some element on the periodic table we have to go hunt down, God is an intelligent agent quite capable of speaking for himself and needs no human spokesman.

Think about it like this: I don't have God's cell phone number but he does have mine. Why am I responsible for trying to call him?
Og3 wrote:Why is it so frightening to level the playing field? Why is it so scary to weigh Christianity in the same scale that you use to weigh whether to buy a new car or whether Adelaide United has a chance to sweep their league?
What does "level the playing field" mean exactly? Are you asking me to suspend disbelief? If you are I am disinclined for all the reasons already stated. You are offering Christian literature in lieu of Christ directly validating your claims in an unmistakable manner which he could easily do if he chose. And not only that, I have to read your Christian literature in just the right way. With an open heart. I have to level the playing field first.

No. My experience has been that the more skeptical I am the more likely I am to arrive at the truth of a great many kinds of claims. But here you are asking me to do the reverse---suspend disbelief. But Christianity has to stand or fall on its merits just like any other truth claim. God's either there or he isn't. I ask to speak to your God, you offer me literature. That's what puts you guys in the pending file.

Og3
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Re: Where the **** was Paul?

Post by Og3 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:13 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:28 pm
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:First you Christians tell us God wants to relate to us. When he doesn't show up, you guys tell us to just open our hearts....then read a book and go live by it in lieu of God actually you know---showing up. Thank you, no. I decline. This is like asserting oneself to be in "a relationship" with an extraterrestrial, but when asked to be introduced with said extraterrestrial the claimant responds with the Drake equation. No, no, no---I get to meet ET or no deal. Same thing here----you guys make some bold assertions re: God. So far, however, the Almighty has been remarkably mum on the subject, and this requires some explanation on your part. Otherwise, all your theological claims----all of them----go in the pending file, as in pending additional evidence (God actually dispensing with the hide an seek and showing up). Just like the Rastafarians.

Let's face it. Apologetics is a lost cause. I mean, God's either there or he isn't. If somebody hands you a phone and says "It's for you" and there isn't so much as a dial tone....
I'm not asking you to live by anything.

I'm just asking you not to pre-judge the question. If you can read the entire book of John "with an open heart," and on a "level playing field," and in the course of that reading God does not show up, then why would I ask you to live by it?

And if God does show up, then live by what He tells you through the book, not what I or anyone else am telling you.
What you're asking me to do is to lower my standards of evidence. People, believers and many non-believers alike, tend to speak about searching for evidence of God as if they were looking for evidence of phlogiston. But this is the wrong way to view the issue. God isn't some element on the periodic table we have to go hunt down, God is an intelligent agent quite capable of speaking for himself and needs no human spokesman.
If you think I'm asking you to lower your standards and search for Phlogiston, then I have to wonder if you've read a single word I've written.

I'm asking you to apply the SAME standards of evidence to God as to everything else. I gave the example above of someone coming to me with a proof that 2+2=296. That would take a pretty powerful proof, let me tell you. Most people would think that I would be justified in simply saying that the conclusion is absurd and throwing the man off my porch... And I won't say that i might not do that, some days. But the principle by which I try to live would require me to try to know what's wrong with his conclusion.

Why does he think that, and what's wrong with his thinking? Ah, here, he's divided by zero. Case closed.

That's what I'm asking for.
Think about it like this: I don't have God's cell phone number but he does have mine. Why am I responsible for trying to call him?
The problem with that reasoning, Cap'n, is that it asks for an experience. We humans have this scary tendency to say, "After this therefore because of this." Someone honked his horn at a pregnant woman, and nine months later, her baby was born with a huge honker of a nose. After this therefore because of this. So here's what would happen if God called your cell phone -- and I'm generalizing here: this is how most people would react, and presumably you as well.

Phone rings. "Hello, this is God." You hang up because you assume it's a telemarketer selling holy water. God calls back. He says, "hold it, Howdy, don't hang up. I'll prove it's me. The pay phone beside you is going to ring, and if you answer, it'll be me, too." The payphone rings. You hang up, thinking that the telemarketer knows your cell and the number of the payphone. Big deal. God calls back. You say, "I'm getting tired of this. I've got a mole on my little finger. Make it go away, and then call me back." God says, "Sure."

So the next morning, you look at your finger, and the mole is gone. So what do you say? Do you say, "God has done a miracle! He called my cell phone!" No. You say, "Coincidence. I've been putting Mole-Be-Gone on that finger every night for 17 years. Coincidence that tonight it finally worked." Post hoc (hoc being the Mole-Be-Gone) ergo propter hoc.

See, the problem with experiences is that we seldom know what they mean, and we seldom set rules for understanding them. To answer the phone and believe that it might be God requires the consent of your will. If God had agreed to your terms, and then you had gone to bed with the firm resolve that, "If this mole is gone tomorrow, then I will believe that it was God calling me, and if not then it wasn't" and when the mole was gone, you stuck to that, then you'd have a means of interpreting the experience.

A man convinced, against his will
Is of the same opinion, still.

So that's why I'm taking you to the intellectual route. I find it easier and better to make the will accept what the mind has reasoned than to make the mind reason what the will has accepted.
Capn Howdy wrote:
Og3 wrote:Why is it so frightening to level the playing field? Why is it so scary to weigh Christianity in the same scale that you use to weigh whether to buy a new car or whether Adelaide United has a chance to sweep their league?
What does "level the playing field" mean exactly? Are you asking me to suspend disbelief? If you are I am disinclined for all the reasons already stated. You are offering Christian literature in lieu of Christ directly validating your claims in an unmistakable manner which he could easily do if he chose.
Leveling the playing field means using the same standard to judge all evidence. It means not deciding the matter first, and then looking at the evidence. For example, I can show SEG evidence all day that supports the authenticity of the New Testament. But he has it in his head that the NT was written much later, and that it is all fraudulent. No evidence I show him will make him examine the provenance, because he has a pre-conceived position that he won't give up.

Suspending disbelief is not the right term, because disbelief implies that there is some cause to disbelieve. I am asking that you suspend making a decision until you know what's wrong with the proposition. If I asked you whether Adelaide United has a chance this year, you'd say something akin to "Probably not. Their star player has a bum knee, and they were oh-for-seven in the last seven games" (I'm making that up; don't know a thing about the team). See, you didn't just have an opinion, you justified it. But if I came back and said, "Oh, that guy had surgery on his ACL, and he's supposed to be back on the field in three weeks, plus they just recruited two hot new players from another team" then you might change your opinion based on the evidence. You're not so committed to "They haven't a chance" that you wouldn't hear an opposing view. That's a level playing field.
CapnHowdy wrote: And not only that, I have to read your Christian literature in just the right way. With an open heart. I have to level the playing field first.
Okay, I don't mean to be offensive, but I have to ask what that means. Someone gave you a one page tract, and you read the whole thing? You read the book of Leviticus as an assignment in Uni? You've read the book of John and thought about whether it had a practical application to you, personally? What does this mean, that you've "read [our] Christian literature?"
No. My experience has been that the more skeptical I am the more likely I am to arrive at the truth of a great many kinds of claims. But here you are asking me to do the reverse---suspend disbelief.
I tend to agree with you on skepticism. If someone tells me that 2+2=296, my reaction will be that it certainly doesn't. But there's that extra mile of asking, "Do they truly believe that? Why do they believe that? What's wrong with their reasoning?"
But Christianity has to stand or fall on its merits just like any other truth claim. God's either there or he isn't. I ask to speak to your God, you offer me literature. That's what puts you guys in the pending file.
So you want God to ring your cell phone, and that's all that will do it for you. Okay. So, when he calls, what will make you believe that it's him, and not a prank call? You want him to do the Morgan Freeman thing from Bruce Almighty and put seventeen fingers on one of your hands?

See, that's not a level playing field. That's not an open heart. That's a closed mind. That's a dogged determination that nothing will blast you out of your fortified position. And that's not rational.

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