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Archived => Craig, Williams vs Ahmed, Copson => Topic started by: Reasonable Faith on October 28, 2011, 06:39:24 pm

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: Reasonable Faith on October 28, 2011, 06:39:24 pm
This forum is open for discussion about the debate with William Lane Craig and Peter S.Williams proposing "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion" and Arif Ahmed and Andrew Copson opposing.

20th October 2011, The Cambridge Union, Cambridge
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: njdeputter on October 29, 2011, 12:40:27 pm
Waiting for the audio, really looking forward to this one.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on November 24, 2011, 12:30:41 am
Its been several weeks now and I'm wondering where the audio for this debate is.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: Aaron Massey on January 03, 2012, 05:01:11 am
I watched a You ttube video where craig said this was one of the most interesting debates he had due to the style of debate.

It sounds very interesting and want to see it...but i cant seem to find it amongst the user uploads of  DrCraigvideos on You tube?

Was it video taped?   is it awaiting release?
Any Info would be good.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: Sebastian Coetzee on January 21, 2012, 04:30:51 pm
I was shocked to watch this debate on YouTube. I have not yet seen any debate where the opposition has been so rude to doctor Craig. Dr Craig was speaking to the house in his usual extremely professional fashion, not doing any name-calling or slinging any personal attacks to the opposition and he was being laughed at so hard that he had to speak louder. I would never have expected this from a audience of adult human beings and I am shocked.

I have been a Christian since the day I could understand the concept, so I have no experience of being an atheist but the mockery which the opposition displayed there has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I actually pity them. In my experience mockery is the very worst practice when trying to look at any situation objectively and with an open mind. Dr Craig is the image of professionalism and I feel honoured to watch such a great thinker at work. Such a pity that people like Copson have to resort to mockery, it is not neccesary.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 24, 2012, 09:17:52 am
I think that the opposition speakers behaved badly. Craig had to deal with the most questions but I think he received the longest applause. What was more serious was the fact that the opposition speakers did not adhere to the etiquette of debating. The first opponent (Copson) only sought to refute the moral argument and said nothing about the cosmological and ontological arguments for the existence of God. This meant that Craig had no opportunity to refute the opponents' response to the last two arguments for the existence of God. The opponents indulged in personal attacks against Craig. Also, Craig had referred to Ahmed speaking next then shortly after he said "in a few minutes" you will be voting. At this point Copson pointed to Ahmed implying that Craig had forgotten that Ahmed was due to speak. But Craig had only moments before referred to what Ahmed would say. Finally, Craig's and Williams' delivery styles were excellent - easy to hear and parse what they said. Ahmed had a poor speaking style - long awkward pauses and when he did speak he gabbled his words.

There was quite a lot of debate about the definition of the word "delusion". A mistaken belief which may include the concept of a psychiatric disorder. Well one word in English can have many meanings. Neither team referred to Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" which is clearly the reason for the wording of the proposition. Dawkins includes a chapter on the question of God's existence but he also discusses the roots of religion where he talks about a misfiring of something useful (e.g. conformity helps individuals to survive) and I argue that this idea goes further than just a mistaken belief.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 24, 2012, 11:47:17 am
lapwing wrote: I think that the opposition speakers behaved badly. Craig had to deal with the most questions but I think he received the longest applause. What was more serious was the fact that the opposition speakers did not adhere to the etiquette of debating. The first opponent (Copson) only sought to refute the moral argument and said nothing about the cosmological and ontological arguments for the existence of God. This meant that Craig had no opportunity to refute the opponents' response to the last two arguments for the existence of God. The opponents indulged in personal attacks against Craig. Also, Craig had referred to Ahmed speaking next then shortly after he said "in a few minutes" you will be voting. At this point Copson pointed to Ahmed implying that Craig had forgotten that Ahmed was due to speak. But Craig had only moments before referred to what Ahmed would say. Finally, Craig's and Williams' delivery styles were excellent - easy to hear and parse what they said. Ahmed had a poor speaking style - long awkward pauses and when he did speak he gabbled his words.


How is running out of time when presenting one's own view and countering the opponent's view bad behaviour? Didn't Craig and Copson know that they would be going first?
I must disagree with your assessment of Arif Ahmed's speech. Given the short time he had and the fact that he refuted his opponents claims while answering a few questions from the floor, I think he did the best anyone could.
Craig as usual fumbled when he had to actually deal with questions from the floor so he had to try to win at all costs by making it a debate about being judgemental on one's colleagues. Had he run out of points to make?

lapwing wrote:
There was quite a lot of debate about the definition of the word "delusion". A mistaken belief which may include the concept of a psychiatric disorder. Well one word in English can have many meanings. Neither team referred to Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" which is clearly the reason for the wording of the proposition. Dawkins includes a chapter on the question of God's existence but he also discusses the roots of religion where he talks about a misfiring of something useful (e.g. conformity helps individuals to survive) and I argue that this idea goes further than just a mistaken belief.


Since the word "delusion" has multiple meanings, why did Craig paint the picture he did? Making it seem as though a vote on that motion in that hall is indicative of one's judgement of the total mental capacities of their colleagues and the general public? Calling someone deluded on a single issue doesn't mean they are mentally incompetent.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 24, 2012, 01:50:09 pm

Williams - 15 mins 45secs

Copson -  16 mins 30 secs

Craig - 14 mins 10 secs

Ahmed - 17 mins 35 secs

(start to finish time not speaking time, so including interruptions)

"Running out of time" - you plan your presentation ahead so that you do not run out of time. There were handouts from the proposers.

"Didn't Craig and Copson know that they would be going first?"

Of course they did. The first speaker for the motion presented three  philosophical arguments for God's existence and the first opposition speaker should have responded to all these points to give the second proposer the chance to respond. By leaving two of the three reasons to the last speaker meant that there was no chance to respond to his points. Each speaker should respond to the entirety of what the previous speaker said.

"Given the short time Arif had"

Arif Ahmed took the longest time for his speech.

"Delusion"

If you take delusion to mean simply a mistaken belief then you could reword the motion to be "this house believes that God exists" since the fact that belief in God exists is a given. As I said, Dawkins writes about more than just the question of God's existence. Remember the grammar of the proposition labels the belief rather than God as being a delusion. That belief must belong to human beings.

"total mental capacities"

The speakers confined themselves to talking about belief in God, not general mental abilities.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 25, 2012, 02:40:06 am
lapwing wrote:

Williams - 15 mins 45secs

Copson -  16 mins 30 secs

Craig - 14 mins 10 secs

Ahmed - 17 mins 35 secs

(start to finish time not speaking time, so including interruptions)

"Running out of time" - you plan your presentation ahead so that you do not run out of time. There were handouts from the proposers.



Sure. You may also consider that they made their own presentations. They simply didn't have time to then also address the statements of the proposers.


lapwing wrote:

"Didn't Craig and Copson know that they would be going first?"

Of course they did. The first speaker for the motion presented three  philosophical arguments for God's existence and the first opposition speaker should have responded to all these points to give the second proposer the chance to respond. By leaving two of the three reasons to the last speaker meant that there was no chance to respond to his points. Each speaker should respond to the entirety of what the previous speaker said.


You seem to think that the first opposition speaker doesn't have his own presentation to make. You should realize that the opposition speakers aren't simply there to counter whatever arguments are made but have their own points to make which should be addressed.


lapwing wrote:

"Given the short time Arif had"

Arif Ahmed took the longest time for his speech.


He also had quite a few interruptions.


lapwing wrote:

"Delusion"

If you take delusion to mean simply a mistaken belief then you could reword the motion to be "this house believes that God exists" since the fact that belief in God exists is a given. As I said, Dawkins writes about more than just the question of God's existence. Remember the grammar of the proposition labels the belief rather than God as being a delusion. That belief must belong to human beings.


Does this affect what I said?


lapwing wrote:

"total mental capacities"

The speakers confined themselves to talking about belief in God, not general mental abilities.



Maybe you should listen to what Craig said towards the end of his speech.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 25, 2012, 05:50:26 pm
"You seem to think that the first opposition speaker doesn't have his own presentation to make. You should realize that the opposition speakers aren't simply there to counter whatever arguments are made but have their own points to make which should be addressed."

You seem to be arguing that in any debate the opposing speakers should have longer to speak than the proposers. I think there is an obvious problem with your view.

"He also had quite a few interruptions."

He allowed one interruption and refused one near the end of his talk. So you have an interesting way of redefining one as  "quite a few". Craig took four interruptions and refused/postponed one other.

"Does this affect what I said?"

I have no wish to change your previous post. My statement gives a possible reason why Craig may not have regarded delusion as merely a mistaken belief. Craig only talked of delusion in terms of belief in God apart from an answer to a question from the floor about electrical activity in the brain. As for Craig's true motivation only he can answer that one.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 26, 2012, 06:23:52 am
lapwing wrote: "You seem to think that the first opposition speaker doesn't have his own presentation to make. You should realize that the opposition speakers aren't simply there to counter whatever arguments are made but have their own points to make which should be addressed."

You seem to be arguing that in any debate the opposing speakers should have longer to speak than the proposers. I think there is an obvious problem with your view.


No that isn't what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that  expecting the opposition to simply rebut whatever was said as though they didn't have their own points to make isn't a good approach.

lapwing wrote:
"He also had quite a few interruptions."

He allowed one interruption and refused one near the end of his talk. So you have an interesting way of redefining one as  "quite a few". Craig took four interruptions and refused/postponed one other.


That questioner had multiple questions.

lapwing wrote:
"Does this affect what I said?"

I have no wish to change your previous post. My statement gives a possible reason why Craig may not have regarded delusion as merely a mistaken belief. Craig only talked of delusion in terms of belief in God apart from an answer to a question from the floor about electrical activity in the brain. As for Craig's true motivation only he can answer that one.


What I'm saying is that Craig shifted from making an argument that a belief in God is not a delusion to making one that implies that if one votes that one thinks that a belief in God is a delusion, it shows their disposition towards the mental capacities of their colleagues when it comes to making judgements on other issues.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 26, 2012, 07:52:27 am

Guidelines for Cambridge Union debates can be found here:

http://www.cus.org/members/debating/what-debating

This event was a reduced form where the opening and closing "teams" were the individual speakers but they were cooperating on the same side e.g. Craig and Ahmed included summaries at the end of their talks.

"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."

So Copson ought to have rebutted Williams and presented his case in the time allotted.

"That questioner had multiple questions" So now you choose to redefine "interruption" to be "question". That questioner made two points in under one minute.

" ... it shows their disposition towards the mental capacities of their colleagues when it comes to making judgements on other issues."

Craig talked about "all of your believing friends and professors" and never connected the word "delusion" to anything other than belief in God re the motion. Your assertion is false.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: Don Quixote on January 26, 2012, 11:19:57 pm

Cambridge Union Society God Debate (Oct. 2011) - WL Craig, PS Williams vs. A Copson, A Ahmed


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXB0o53FdVM&feature=related
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 27, 2012, 05:16:12 am
lapwing wrote:

Guidelines for Cambridge Union debates can be found here:

http://www.cus.org/members/debating/what-debating

This event was a reduced form where the opening and closing "teams" were the individual speakers but they were cooperating on the same side e.g. Craig and Ahmed included summaries at the end of their talks.

"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."

So Copson ought to have rebutted Williams and presented his case in the time allotted.



Okay but there are significant differences one being the number of people that make up a team so maybe he ought to have done that but being the first opposition speaker and only hearing Williams argument, he too has to make his own point that is to be rebutted so I see no problem with him leaving them to be rebutted by the next opposition speaker.


lapwing wrote:

"That questioner had multiple questions" So now you choose to redefine "interruption" to be "question". That questioner made two points in under one minute.


The interruptions during the speeches were often questions.


lapwing wrote:

" ... it shows their disposition towards the mental capacities of their colleagues when it comes to making judgements on other issues."

Craig talked about "all of your believing friends and professors" and never connected the word "delusion" to anything other than belief in God re the motion. Your assertion is false.



Maybe you should listen to what Craig meant by a delusion there during his speech.
My assertion is not false because he said some that may not believe that God does not exist don't necessarily think that others are suffering from a delusion. He also pointed out that there were brilliant people who believed in God and said it would be presumptuous to conclude that they are deluded.
He then ended by saying that the door people walk through indicates their personal view on their colleagues.
So, actually it is your assertion on Craig's use of the word that is false and Arif pointed out, Craig was deliberately ambiguous in his use of the word in this single debate.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 28, 2012, 04:51:34 am

Copson not rebutting two of Williams' three arguments prevented Craig responding to the opposition's rebuttals of these two arguments.
"The opening government presents the case for the government."
"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."
Closing speakers "they present new analysis of the debate either from a different viewpoint or by extending the arguments already made."
Copson and Ahmed failed to adhere to these rules.

Interruption=pause, break or halt in an ongoing process
Question=request for information

They are not the same thing so to say "the interruptions during the speeches were often questions." is poor English. There was only one interruption (not "quite a few") during which two questions (more like points) were asked/made.

At least you are now admitting that Craig used the word delusion only in terms of belief in God. "their personal view on their colleagues" was said only in terms of belief in God. Craig used the synonym "irrational" and Williams gave a longer definition which required the opposition to provide incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. Of course, they could not and did not provide such proof.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 28, 2012, 03:21:33 pm
lapwing wrote:

Copson not rebutting two of Williams' three arguments prevented Craig responding to the opposition's rebuttals of these two arguments.
"The opening government presents the case for the government."
"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."
Closing speakers "they present new analysis of the debate either from a different viewpoint or by extending the arguments already made."
Copson and Ahmed failed to adhere to these rules.


No they didn't fail to adhere to the rules. Copson rebutted one argument and presented some of his own while Ahmed presented his analysis of the debate, and rebutted the other arguments.


lapwing wrote:
Interuption=pause, break or halt in an ongoing process
Question=request for information

They are not the same thing so to say "the interruptions during the speeches were often questions." is poor English. There was only one interruption (not "quite a few") during which two questions (more like points) were asked/made.

I'm not saying they are the same thing and I was referring to the speeches in general and not just Ahmed's speech. That is why "speeches" was in plural.


lapwing wrote:
At least you are now admitting that Craig used the word delusion only in terms of belief in God. "their personal view on their colleagues" was said only in terms of belief in God. Craig used the synonym "irrational" and Williams gave a longer definition which required the opposition to provide incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. Of course, they could not and did not provide such proof.



I never said that Craig used the word delusion only in terms of belief in God. In fact, my point is the opposite of what you're claiming it is. Ahmed pointed this out. And you may note the context in which "their personal view of the colleagues" is being used which is in referring to these colleagues as suffering from a delusion.
Did either Craig or Williams, the proposers of the motion present incontrovertible proof that God does exist? They obviously couldn't and never have.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 29, 2012, 04:37:30 am
"I was referring to the speeches in general and not just Ahmed's speech."

Yes but in your earlier post you wrote:

"He (that is Ahmed) also had quite a few interruptions."

Ahmed made one speech and during Ahmed's speech there was only one interruption: the interrupter made two points.

You are imposing your own interpretation on what Craig said. Craig only talked about delusion with respect to "belief in God". The extension to being generally deluded that you are imposing would not be relevant to the debate:

"This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"

One meaning of the word delusion is a false belief held despite strong contradictory evidence which maybe a symptom of a psychiatric disorder.
The opposers preferred "a false belief about something" but "this house believes that belief in God is a false belief" reduces to "this house believes that God does not exist" which was not the debate title.


In fact the debate title would have been better worded grammatically as
"This House Believes that belief in God is not a Delusion"
since in both definitions delusion has the meaning of the act of believing not the object of belief.

"Did either Craig or Williams, the proposers of the motion present incontrovertible proof that God does exist?"

They didn't have to for this debate since the title was not "This House believes that God does not exist" as Craig explained.



Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 29, 2012, 06:03:12 am
lapwing wrote:  "I was referring to the speeches in general and not just Ahmed's speech."

Yes but in your earlier post you wrote:

"He (that is Ahmed) also had quite a few interruptions."

Ahmed made one speech and during Ahmed's speech there was only one interruption: the interrupter made two points.


Okay.

lapwing wrote:
You are imposing your own interpretation on what Craig said. Craig only talked about delusion with respect to "belief in God". The extension to being generally deluded that you are imposing would not be relevant to the debate:

"This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"

One meaning of the word delusion is a false belief held despite strong contradictory evidence which maybe a symptom of a psychiatric disorder.
The opposers preferred "a false belief about something" but "this house believes that belief in God is a false belief" reduces to "this house believes that God does not exist" which was not the debate title.


No I'm not imposing my own interpretation of what Craig said. The proposition did present the medical definition of a delusion initially. Generally speaking, to say that someone is suffering from a delusion doesn't mean that the person simply has a false belief about something. Ahmed pointed out Craig's attempt at obfuscation.

lapwing wrote:
In fact the debate title would have been better worded grammatically as
"This House Believes that belief in God is not a Delusion"
since in both definitions delusion has the meaning of the act of believing not the object of belief.


Okay.

lapwing wrote:
"Did either Craig or Williams, the proposers of the motion present incontrovertible proof that God does exist?"

They didn't have to for this debate since the title was not "This House believes that God does not exist" as Craig explained.


Then why did you ask for Ahmed and Copson to provide incontrovertible proof that God doesn't exist?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on January 29, 2012, 12:01:49 pm

"to say that someone is suffering from a delusion doesn't mean that the person simply has a false belief about something"

In fact Ahmed, understandably, preferred delusion to mean simply "a false belief". This highlights another problem with the motion - uncertainty in the definition of the word delusion. Ahmed did not quote the Shorter OED correctly since its 2nd definition includes the idea of "symptoms of mental illness". Each team preferred the definition that best suited their purpose for the debate. I don't agree that "suffering from a delusion" is any different in meaning from "being deluded". Suffering does not necessarily carry the meaning of being ill.

"why did you ask for Ahmed and Copson to provide incontrovertible proof that God doesn't exist?"

What I did write was: "Williams gave a longer definition (of delusion) which required the opposition to provide incontrovertible proof that God does not exist." So I personally did not ask for Ahmed and Copson to provide incontrovertible proof that God doesn't exist.

The point that Williams and Craig both made was that under their preferred definition of delusion the motion was not neutral. Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held "despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary".

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on January 31, 2012, 12:11:58 pm
lapwing wrote:

"to say that someone is suffering from a delusion doesn't mean that the person simply has a false belief about something"

In fact Ahmed, understandably, preferred delusion to mean simply "a false belief". This highlights another problem with the motion - uncertainty in the definition of the word delusion. Ahmed did not quote the Shorter OED correctly since its 2nd definition includes the idea of "symptoms of mental illness". Each team preferred the definition that best suited their purpose for the debate. I don't agree that "suffering from a delusion" is any different in meaning from "being deluded". Suffering does not necessarily carry the meaning of being ill.



I hope you realize the implications of what you've said above. The implication here is that both teams were using different meanings of being deluded. Copson and Ahmed chose one while Williams and Craig chose another. Now, given the idea that Craig had in mind for what a delusion is, what would it then mean for him to say that someone is being judged as suffering from a delusion? Keeping in mind the fact that he chose to extend this to the views one has of their colleagues and others.


lapwing wrote:

"why did you ask for Ahmed and Copson to provide incontrovertible proof that God doesn't exist?"

What I did write was: "Williams gave a longer definition (of delusion) which required the opposition to provide incontrovertible proof that God does not exist." So I personally did not ask for Ahmed and Copson to provide incontrovertible proof that God doesn't exist.


You concluded that sentence by saying: "Of course, they could not and did not provide such proof."

This tells me that on some level, you wished to see such a proof. If you wish to shift such a desire to Williams, then I would think that if you wished to be fair, you would also request to see his incontrovertible proof that God exists.


lapwing wrote:

The point that Williams and Craig both made was that under their preferred definition of delusion the motion was not neutral. Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held "despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary".



How can it be neutral? You've just said that Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief. Doesn't that imply that the task before Williams and Craig was to show that the belief was a true one? How can they show that such a belief matches reality without them assuming at least some burden of proof in showing us this God?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 02, 2012, 08:16:37 am

"both teams were using different meanings of being deluded"

That is the case given what each team said and the slides showed during the

debate. The shorter OED uses a "false or mistaken belief" and "a false impression or opinion esp. as a symptom of mental illness".  

"he chose to extend this to the views one has of their colleagues"

Craig referred to believing colleagues in the context of their belief in God. There was no explicit expansion beyond belief in God.

"you wished to see such a proof"

Do you have an incontrovertible proof of the non existence of God? I was simply making the point that afaik no such proof exists but prove me wrong if you can.

"You've just said that Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief."

That's a truncation (with change of meaning) of what I wrote:

"Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary."

The highlighted text comes from Williams' opening definition of delusion.

So, as I've already written, the problem with this debate was the uncertainty in the definition of the word delusion. Both sides used different definitions drawn from dictionaries or other references. But if you assert the simple "false belief" definition then the debate reduces to "This House believes that God does not exist" or something similar. This was not the debate title.

"the burden of proof"

The standard atheist ruse to avoid the fact that atheists can't prove God's non existence. But this is not just a no score draw: there is a difference. Many theists say that they believe God exists by faith. Atheists do not admit to this but refuse to face the consequence of the fact that they do not have incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. Now that is irrational.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 04, 2012, 02:41:20 am
lapwing wrote:

"both teams were using different meanings of being deluded"

That is the case given what each team said and the slides showed during the

debate. The shorter OED uses a "false or mistaken belief" and "a false impression or opinion esp. as a symptom of mental illness".



Yes and what meaning of being deluded was being used by the Williams, Craig team?


lapwing wrote:

"he chose to extend this to the views one has of their colleagues"

Craig referred to believing colleagues in the context of their belief in God. There was no explicit expansion beyond belief in God.


I think there was such an expansion. It was one of the things Ahmed pointed out in his speech.


lapwing wrote:

"you wished to see such a proof"

Do you have an incontrovertible proof of the non existence of God? I was simply making the point that afaik no such proof exists but prove me wrong if you can.


Do you have an incontrovertible proof of the existence of God? I don't think such a proof exists but you can prove me wrong if you can. Just don't try to shift the burden of proof, which here lies more on you, to someone else.


lapwing wrote:

"You've just said that Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief."

That's a truncation (with change of meaning) of what I wrote:

"Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary."

The highlighted text comes from Williams' opening definition of delusion.


How did I change the meaning of what you wrote?


lapwing wrote:

So, as I've already written, the problem with this debate was the uncertainty in the definition of the word delusion. Both sides used different definitions drawn from dictionaries or other references. But if you assert the simple "false belief" definition then the debate reduces to "This House believes that God does not exist" or something similar. This was not the debate title.


You want to have your cake and eat it too. You're saying that both parties could define delusions in different ways but if one group uses a particular definition, then their debate points should be considered as being off topic. So what do you want the opposition to do? To simply accept Williams' definition? Which has connotations with mental health?


lapwing wrote:

"the burden of proof"

The standard atheist ruse to avoid the fact that atheists can't prove God's non existence. But this is not just a no score draw: there is a difference. Many theists say that they believe God exists by faith. Atheists do not admit to this but refuse to face the consequence of the fact that they do not have incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. Now that is irrational.



No it isn't an atheist ruse, it is a philosophical, scientific and legal idea. Though used in different degrees in these various fields.
Please tell me, how can something exist by faith? You do know that believing something strongly doesn't make it true so why should such a belief be taken as a good argument? How is it irrational not to believe what someone else believes based on faith? Many people have had faith in leprechauns, faeries and other creatures. Do you have incontrovertible proof that they do not exist? Is it irrational if you do not believe their claims?
Seriously, this is why people who claim to be Christian philosophers yet shirk their responsibilities when it comes to providing justification for their beliefs are often not taken seriously.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 05, 2012, 04:04:38 am
"What meaning of being deluded was being used by the Williams, Craig team?"
I would assume the meaning presented in the opening slide.

"One of the things Ahmed pointed out in his speech"
This assumes that everything Ahmed said was fair and accurate. That assumption may be false since Ahmed is human and was trying to win the debate.

"Do you have an incontrovertible proof of the existence of God?"
The meaning of my phrase no score draw was that I believe that neither atheists or theists have incontrovertible for the non-existence or existence of God. Is that your position or are you claiming incontrovertible proof for God's non existence.

"How did I change the meaning of what you wrote?"
Are you contending that there is no difference in meaning between:
1. "Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief." and
2. "Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief held despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary."
I believe these two statements have different meanings. The second indicates false belief held despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary.

"You're saying that both parties could define delusions in different ways but if one group uses a particular definition, then their debate points should be considered as being off topic."

I wrote that both parties used different definitions for delusion. Are you denying that "this house believes that belief in God is a false belief" reduces to "this house believes that God does not exist"?

"atheist ruse"
The ruse is using "the burden of proof" argument to avoid the fact that there is no incontrovertible argument for the non existence of God. I was not saying that "the burden of proof" is in itself a ruse. The irrationality is not owning up to the lack of a proof  in God's non-existence.

How can something exist by faith?
That was not my meaning. The "by faith" qualifies the believer's ground for believing. Theists who admit that there is no incontrovertible proof for the existence of God say that they believe by faith. "Faith is the conviction of things not seen." Heb 11:1 RSV. But how do atheists rationalise their belief in God's non-existence (atheists are not agnostics) in the absence of incontrovertible proof of God's non-existence.

"people who claim to be Christian philosophers"
Who do you mean? I have made no such claim about myself and it is unclear what you mean by this qualification.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 06, 2012, 08:47:29 am
lapwing wrote: "What meaning of being deluded was being used by the Williams, Craig team?"
I would assume the meaning presented in the opening slide.


And that meaning used the medical definition.

lapwing wrote:
"One of the things Ahmed pointed out in his speech"
This assumes that everything Ahmed said was fair and accurate. That assumption may be false since Ahmed is human and was trying to win the debate.


No it doesn't assume that. My point was that he indicated that Craig had the option of using the definition presented by the opposition as he had in a previous debate but chose not to do that in this debate. He actually quoted Craig.

lapwing wrote:
"Do you have an incontrovertible proof of the existence of God?"
The meaning of my phrase no score draw was that I believe that neither atheists or theists have incontrovertible for the non-existence or existence of God. Is that your position or are you claiming incontrovertible proof for God's non existence.


My position is that the burden of proof lies more on one side than the other.

lapwing wrote:
"How did I change the meaning of what you wrote?"
Are you contending that there is no difference in meaning between:
1. "Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief." and
2. "Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief held despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary."
I believe these two statements have different meanings. The second indicates false belief held despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary.


I still don't see how I changed the meaning of what you wrote given the context of my statement. My statement in context would then be that Williams and Craig had to show that belief in God was a true belief with some incontrovertible and obvious proof in support of this belief.

lapwing wrote:
"You're saying that both parties could define delusions in different ways but if one group uses a particular definition, then their debate points should be considered as being off topic."

I wrote that both parties used different definitions for delusion. Are you denying that "this house believes that belief in God is a false belief" reduces to "this house believes that God does not exist"?


It could be reduced to that depending on the definition of delusion used by the different teams. You already pointed this out in post #19.

lapwing wrote:
"atheist ruse"
The ruse is using "the burden of proof" argument to avoid the fact that there is no incontrovertible argument for the non existence of God. I was not saying that "the burden of proof" is in itself a ruse. The irrationality is not owning up to the lack of a proof  in God's non-existence.


The burden of proof isn't to avoid the presence or absence of incontrovertible arguments. After all, what one considers an incontrovertible argument, another may not agree that it is incontrovertible. The burden of proof as I'm familiar with the idea is simply to show which side in the debate actually needs to present an argument strong enough to defeat other arguments that may be raised to counter it.

lapwing wrote:
How can something exist by faith?
That was not my meaning. The "by faith" qualifies the believer's ground for believing. Theists who admit that there is no incontrovertible proof for the existence of God say that they believe by faith. "Faith is the conviction of things not seen." Heb 11:1 RSV. But how do atheists rationalise their belief in God's non-existence (atheists are not agnostics) in the absence of incontrovertible proof of God's non-existence.


There is another definition of faith which I think applies strongly to religious faith which goes:

Dictionary.com wrote:
Faith: 1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence
Source


Based on that definition of faith, I don't think theists actually have a ground for believing unless they're willing to accept that their grounds for believing is a very poor one.
Atheists on the other hand (who can also be agnostics) I think are justified in not believing because the evidence in support of the various ideas of God is poor just as the evidence in support of other mythical creatures are poor.

lapwing wrote:
"people who claim to be Christian philosophers"
Who do you mean? I have made no such claim about myself and it is unclear what you mean by this qualification.


I mean people who are Christians who have studied philosophy yet refuse to step up to the plate and present good arguments to justify their beliefs in the Christian God and show that this God is indeed worthy of worship. Someone who claims to be a Christian philosopher yet claims they're presenting strong arguments based on some religious faith I think are discarding their philosophical training when it comes to religious discussions.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 09, 2012, 02:25:23 pm
"the medical definition" rather the definition drawn from a medical manual. The shorter OED includes a "medical" element in its 2nd definition as I have already indicated.

"as he had in a previous debate but chose not to do that in this debate."
The definition used by Williams and Craig was consistent with the shorter OED and other dictionaries. Are you saying that Craig (or anyone else) can only use one definition for any word that has more than one definition. That would make life very constricted.

"My position is that the burden of proof lies more on one side than the other."
I would like you to answer the question do you believe there is incontrovertible proof that God does not exist first, and if you do to provide it.

"I still don't see how I changed the meaning of what you wrote" You changed my previous statement in 2 to the truncation in 1. I contend that 1 and 2 have different meanings. 1 omits the idea of incontrovertible proof. From the debate title Williams and Craig only have to show that God is not a delusion: it's Ahmed and Copson who have to show that God is a delusion so that includes the idea of "incontrovertible proof" not a delusion does not necessarily involve the idea of incontrovertible proof.

"You already pointed this out in post #19." I was waiting for your answer.

"faith"
I thought you were implying that I had meant that theist's belief influences the actuality of God's existence. I don't think that.

"people who are Christians who have studied philosophy yet refuse to step up to the plate and present good arguments to justify their beliefs in the Christian God"
That's just a definition. Ifyou're going to say that "people" fail to present "good arguments" you need to name names - it's unfair to attack a group of people without being specific. I could say that all atheists are liars but that would be unfair for the same kind of reason.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 10, 2012, 05:13:53 pm
lapwing wrote: "the medical definition" rather the definition drawn from a medical manual. The shorter OED includes a "medical" element in its 2nd definition as I have already indicated.


Was the Williams and Craig team using this definition drawn from a medical manual?

lapwing wrote:
"as he had in a previous debate but chose not to do that in this debate."
The definition used by Williams and Craig was consistent with the shorter OED and other dictionaries. Are you saying that Craig (or anyone else) can only use one definition for any word that has more than one definition. That would make life very constricted.


No, what I'm saying is that in a debate, for one to avoid the fallacy of ambiguity, they should use that same definition consistently in that debate.

lapwing wrote:
"My position is that the burden of proof lies more on one side than the other."
I would like you to answer the question do you believe there is incontrovertible proof that God does not exist first, and if you do to provide it.


That would depend on what standards you have for "incontrovertible proof" and what God you're talking about. Also, what I should tell you is that I simply do not believe that the claims so far presented justify a belief in the Christian God.

lapwing wrote:
"I still don't see how I changed the meaning of what you wrote" You changed my previous statement in 2 to the truncation in 1. I contend that 1 and 2 have different meanings. 1 omits the idea of incontrovertible proof. From the debate title Williams and Craig only have to show that God is not a delusion: it's Ahmed and Copson who have to show that God is a delusion so that includes the idea of "incontrovertible proof" not a delusion does not necessarily involve the idea of incontrovertible proof.


I already said that as I used it in context, it didn't alter the meanings. What you appear to be doing is shifting the burden of proof since for Williams and Craig to show that God is not a delusion, they would actually need to provide incontrovertible proof that God does exist unless of course you wish to use some unfamiliar method of deciding who bears the heavier burden of proof.

lapwing wrote:
"You already pointed this out in post #19." I was waiting for your answer.


I already said it could be reduced to that as you pointed out. But you and Craig both said that the topic of the debate wasn't whether or not God exists.

lapwing wrote:
"faith"
I thought you were implying that I had meant that theist's belief influences the actuality of God's existence. I don't think that.


No, my point is that faith isn't a good argument for justifying a belief that something actually exists.

lapwing wrote:
"people who are Christians who have studied philosophy yet refuse to step up to the plate and present good arguments to justify their beliefs in the Christian God"
That's just a definition. Ifyou're going to say that "people" fail to present "good arguments" you need to name names - it's unfair to attack a group of people without being specific. I could say that all atheists are liars but that would be unfair for the same kind of reason.


I thought I was being specific enough without naming names and being at the risk of a ban for defamation or something on this forum.
I was referring to Christians who had formally received training in philosophy who still choose to try to shift the burden of proof when the concept at least when it comes to issues of religion and non-belief is more weighted towards the religious believer.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 11, 2012, 04:06:44 am
"Was the Williams and Craig team using this definition drawn from a medical manual?"
"they should use that same definition consistently in that debate."
Williams presented the medical definition in his opening slide. The two sides used their own different, but legitimate, definitions of delusion. Ahmed implied that the shorter OED only gave his side's definition which is not true.The organisers could have specified the definition of delusion as part of the debate title, but they did not which led to the possibility of the two sides using different definitions.

"what God you're talking about."
I believe Craig defined this during the debate along the lines of an invisible creator God responsible for creation of the universe. I take it that you don't have incontrovertible proof for the non existence of such a God. NB: Craig specifically said that the debate was not about the "Christian God" per se. That term did not appear in the debate title.

"change of definition on truncation"
What I wrote was:

The point that Williams and Craig both made was that under their preferred definition of delusion the motion was not neutral. Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held "despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary".
To remove any ambiguity I should have added at the end according to the Willams/Craig preferred definition of delusion.

What you wrote was:
You've just said that Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief. Doesn't that imply that the task before Williams and Craig was to show that the belief was a true one?

I have included the context and I still contend that you changed the meaning of what I wrote by truncating it. Your mirror argument fails because the debate title and organisers did not specify a single definition to be used for the word delusion.

"since for Williams and Craig to show that God is not a delusion, they would actually need to provide incontrovertible proof that God does exist"
This is wrong. To show that, say, a trout is not a bird one would show that the characteristics of a trout are not those of birds. To show that a trout is a fish you would use a different method - to show that the trout has the characteristics of fish. All Williams and Craig had to show is what God is not: in this case not a delusion.

"the topic of the debate wasn't whether or not God exists."
Yes and this is what casts doubt Copson's and Ahmed's choice of definition for the word delusion; that and Dawkins' use of the word in his book.

"faith"
You don't seem to have grasped that I am talking about how theists and atheists personally come to terms with the lack of incontrovertible proof for the existence or non existence of God. Theists say that their belief in God is a faith belief rather than a belief based on incontrovertible proof, although there is evidence. Some atheists seem reluctant to own up to the lack of any incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. But rarely do atheists admit that their belief that God does not exist is similarly based on their own leap of faith. I noted that in the Oxford debate the atheist speaker did own up to the fact that there was no incontrovertible proof that God does not exist - something that you have signally failed to do. Why is that?

"people who are Christians who have studied philosophy yet refuse to step up to the plate and present good arguments to justify their beliefs in the Christian God"
Well without names this is a content free pointless slur and adds nothing to this discussion, or anything else.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 11, 2012, 06:50:55 am
lapwing wrote: "Was the Williams and Craig team using this definition drawn from a medical manual?"
"they should use that same definition consistently in that debate."
Williams presented the medical definition in his opening slide. The two sides used their own different, but legitimate, definitions of delusion. Ahmed implied that the shorter OED only gave his side's definition which is not true.The organisers could have specified the definition of delusion as part of the debate title, but they did not which led to the possibility of the two sides using different definitions.


I'm not arguing against the fact that they used different definitions. I'm simply pointing out that both sides need to use the definitions consistently and understand the implications of the definitions which in Craig's case, did imply a medical disorder in those who did not agree with him.

lapwing wrote:
"what God you're talking about."
I believe Craig defined this during the debate along the lines of an invisible creator God responsible for creation of the universe. I take it that you don't have incontrovertible proof for the non existence of such a God. NB: Craig specifically said that the debate was not about the "Christian God" per se. That term did not appear in the debate title.


I've told you what belief I do have and pointed out to you that one would need certain specifics to answer that question.
Craig may say that the debate wasn't about the Christian God but it was about whatever Gods Craig and Williams believed in if they do believe in a monotheistic God. This ambiguity is part of the reason why the question needs to be more specific.

lapwing wrote:
"change of definition on truncation"
What I wrote was:

The point that Williams and Craig both made was that under their preferred definition of delusion the motion was not neutral. Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held "despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary".
To remove any ambiguity I should have added at the end according to the Willams/Craig preferred definition of delusion.

What you wrote was:
You've just said that Copson and Ahmed had to show that the belief was a false belief. Doesn't that imply that the task before Williams and Craig was to show that the belief was a true one?

I have included the context and I still contend that you changed the meaning of what I wrote by truncating it.


In context, my statement would imply that if Copson and Ahmed had to show that belief in God was a "false belief" held "despite incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary", then Williams and Craig had to show that belief in God was a true  belief with some incontrovertible and obvious proof in support of this  belief. I didn't make that statement in isolation but in comparison with there being a true belief to which similar standards of determining that one is false would apply to the other being true.
If your problem with my post is that I didn't use your exact words, I could rewrite it and simply attach similar requirements to the demonstration of whether or not their belief is true.

lapwing wrote:
Your mirror argument fails because the debate title and organisers did not specify a single definition to be used for the word delusion.


How does it fail? I'm simply asking for consistency and an avoidance of unnecessarily shifting the burden of proof. The burden of proof can shift when Williams and Craig have met it.

lapwing wrote:
"since for Williams and Craig to show that God is not a delusion, they would actually need to provide incontrovertible proof that God does exist"
This is wrong. To show that, say, a trout is not a bird one would show that the characteristics of a trout are not those of birds. To show that a trout is a fish you would use a different method - to show that the trout has the characteristics of fish. All Williams and Craig had to show is what God is not: in this case not a delusion.


How can they show that God is not a delusion without presenting incontrovertible proof that God does exist? i.e that God has the characteristics that would lead one to conclude incontrovertibly that he does exist?

lapwing wrote:
"the topic of the debate wasn't whether or not God exists."
Yes and this is what casts doubt Copson's and Ahmed's choice of definition for the word delusion; that and Dawkins' use of the word in his book.


Once again, you're applying a certain double standard here. You agree that they can use different definitions, you agree that one of the definitions can be resolved to a debate on whether or not God exists yet you wish to deny the debaters this route. Why? And what does Dawkins' use of the word "delusion" in his book have to do with this debate? You've already said that the word can have multiple meanings.

lapwing wrote:
"faith"
You don't seem to have grasped that I am talking about how theists and atheists personally come to terms with the lack of incontrovertible proof for the existence or non existence of God. Theists say that their belief in God is a faith belief rather than a belief based on incontrovertible proof, although there is evidence. Some atheists seem reluctant to own up to the lack of any incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. But rarely do atheists admit that their belief that God does not exist is similarly based on their own leap of faith. I noted that in the Oxford debate the atheist speaker did own up to the fact that there was no incontrovertible proof that God does not exist - something that you have signally failed to do. Why is that?


Nah, I understand what you're saying and I've pointed out to you that how theists have come to terms with the lack of incontrovertible proof for the existence of God is a bad argument, a cop out when things get difficult for them to justify such a strongly held belief.
Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument.
Someone saying that there is no incontrovertible proof that God does not exist can also say the same thing about faeries, goblins and unicorns. This in no way helps the argument presented by the theist. I cannot say that yet about God since we've not yet settled on the particular God under discussion.

lapwing wrote:
"people who are Christians who have studied philosophy yet refuse to step up to the plate and present good arguments to justify their beliefs in the Christian God"
Well without names this is a content free pointless slur and adds nothing to this discussion, or anything else.


I don't see it that way. I see it as requiring that Christians who have been formally trained on rigorous thinking, try to convince others about their God using those rigorous methods rather than using poor tactics such as shifting the burden of proof and other bad arguments.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 12, 2012, 03:58:26 am
"understand the implications of the definitions which in Craig's case, did imply a medical disorder in those who did not agree with him."

No you've got that wrong. Craig and Williams spoke in support of the debate
"this house believes that (belief in) God is not a delusion". Williams' preferred definition (described by you as "medical") implies from the debate title that those who believe in God have to be deluded in their belief. So Craig and Williams' position is to oppose a proposition (their opponents' view) which says that theists (those who agree with them) necessarily have a "medical disorder" (your phrase).

"incontrovertible proof" (IP)
You have not responded to requests for IP for the non existence of God given your uncertainty in the standard expected though you have previously asked me (and Williams&Craig in #24,26) for IP for God's existence - double standards? You may find it easier to consider what is meant by controvertible. You seem to contend that the arguments for God's existence are controvertible - what makes them so and use that to work out what is meant by incontrovertible.
My question asking you for IP for God's non existence still stands

"the mirror argument fails"
You still don't seem to understand that it fails because the two teams used different definitions for "delusion" so that "God is not a delusion" was not the opposite/complement of "God is a delusion"  since delusion was defined differently for those two statements.

"How can they show that God is not a delusion without presenting incontrovertible proof that God does exist?"
Because, using their preferred definition for delusion, all they have to show is that one does not have to be deluded (have a medical disorder using your words) in order to believe in God. William&Craig only had to show that such belief is reasonable.

"you wish to deny the debaters this route"
Because if the intended definition was simply "false belief" then one would think that the debate title should have been "this house believes that God does not exist". Why was that title not used if the intended meaning for delusion was simply "false belief"?

"And what does Dawkins' use of the word "delusion" in his book have to do with this debate?"
I strongly suspect that the use of the word "delusion" in the debate title comes from its use in Dawkins' book.

"Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument."
This is not the dictionary definition of atheism "disbelief in the existence of God or deities". You seem to be shifting to an agnostic position "somebody who believes it is impossible to know whether or not God exists".
Is that the case?
Shorter OED atheist = "someone who denies or disbelieves in God or gods"
Shorter OED agnostic = "someone who holds the view that nothing can be known about the existence of God".

"Christian God"
This is an unfortunate phrase since according to orthodox Christian doctrine, God is eternal and so pre-exists the advent of Christianity. God's existence is not dependent on the existence of a religious system of humans. I think it is better for the purposes of this discussion to use Craig's definition of God.
[Rather than say Christian God it is better to say the God whom Christians worship or believe in]


Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 12, 2012, 09:31:45 am
lapwing wrote: "understand the implications of the definitions which in Craig's case, did imply a medical disorder in those who did not agree with him."

No you've got that wrong. Craig and Williams spoke in support of the debate
"this house believes that (belief in) God is not a delusion". Williams' preferred definition (described by you as "medical") implies from the debate title that those who believe in God have to be deluded in their belief. So Craig and Williams' position is to oppose a proposition (their opponents' view) which says that theists (those who agree with them) necessarily have a "medical disorder" (your phrase).


Yeah sorry. What I meant to say was that according to Craig, those who voted in support of the motion viewed their colleagues as having a mental disorder.

lapwing wrote:
"incontrovertible proof" (IP)
You have not responded to requests for IP for the non existence of God given your uncertainty in the standard expected though you have previously asked me (and Williams&Craig in #24,26) for IP for God's existence - double standards? You may find it easier to consider what is meant by controvertible. You seem to contend that the arguments for God's existence are controvertible - what makes them so and use that to work out what is meant by incontrovertible.
My question asking you for IP for God's non existence still stands


I'm not saying I don't understand what controvertible or incontrovertible means, I'm saying that the burden of proof lies more on one side and requesting such proof of others means that the side that has the heavier burden of proof needs to first meet it.

lapwing wrote:
"the mirror argument fails"
You still don't seem to understand that it fails because the two teams used different definitions for "delusion" so that "God is not a delusion" was not the opposite/complement of "God is a delusion"  since delusion was defined differently for those two statements.


My point is that that for the side with the heavier burden of proof to request for incontrovertible proof means that they think they've met such a burden of proof. I simply wish to see this before the burden of proof can shift.

lapwing wrote:
"How can they show that God is not a delusion without presenting incontrovertible proof that God does exist?"
Because, using their preferred definition for delusion, all they have to show is that one does not have to be deluded (have a medical disorder using your words) in order to believe in God. William&Craig only had to show that such belief is reasonable.


So if for the sake of argument, God actually doesn't exist. Would it be a delusion to believe in him?

lapwing wrote:
"you wish to deny the debaters this route"
Because if the intended definition was simply "false belief" then one would think that the debate title should have been "this house believes that God does not exist". Why was that title not used if the intended meaning for delusion was simply "false belief"?


I don't know why that title wasn't used. But if the implication of one of the meanings was that God doesn't exist, it means that such a route should be open to access.

lapwing wrote:
"And what does Dawkins' use of the word "delusion" in his book have to do with this debate?"
I strongly suspect that the use of the word "delusion" in the debate title comes from its use in Dawkins' book.


Well we don't know that now do we?

lapwing wrote:
"Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument."
This is not the dictionary definition of atheism "disbelief in the existence of God or deities". You seem to be shifting to an agnostic position "somebody who believes it is impossible to know whether or not God exists".
Is that the case?


No because an agnostic is answering a different question from what is posed.

lapwing wrote:
Shorter OED atheist = "someone who denies or disbelieves in God or gods"
Shorter OED agnostic = "someone who holds the view that nothing can be known about the existence of God".


My view is that something can be known about the existence of God depending on what God it is that we're talking about. You see,

lapwing wrote:
"Christian God"
This is an unfortunate phrase since according to orthodox Christian doctrine, God is eternal and so pre-exists the advent of Christianity. God's existence is not dependent on the existence of a religious system of humans. I think it is better for the purposes of this discussion to use Craig's definition of God.
[Rather than say Christian God it is better to say the God whom Christians worship or believe in]


Nah I think saying Christian God is better since there are other Gods out there who pre-existed their followers e.g Brahman, Ahura Mazda, Wu Chi etc.
Also, using Craig's definition of God opens one up to the fallacy of ambiguity and of course ignores the possibility that it may be meaningless in that it may not be pointing to anything that really exists out there.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 13, 2012, 03:01:49 pm
"those who voted in support of the motion viewed their colleagues as having a mental disorder."
I think this is another error. Supporters of the motion are saying that (belief in) God is not a delusion: those who voted against are saying that (belief in) God is a delusion. I think you should change "in support" to "against" to get the meaning right. If you are saying that belief in God is not a delusion then you are not saying that anyone is deluded or has a mental disorder. Only opponents of the motion said this (given the medical definition of delusion).

"I'm not saying I don't understand what controvertible or incontrovertible means"
Neither am I saying that, but you did ask me earlier for my "standards for incontrovertible proof" and I was trying to make the point that you've already shown you have knowledge of such standards viz. "I simply do not believe that the claims so far presented justify a belief in the Christian God." ie a sense of what is controvertible so you should be able to establish in your own mind what standards are demanded by incontrovertibility. So again I ask you do you have incontrovertible proof for the non existence of God, or failing that do you have any proof?

Are you atheist, agnostic or something else?
I have no problem if you prefer not to identify with either of the first two labels but I still contend that saying: "Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument." does not correspond to the dictionary definition of atheist. Do you deny the existence of God? Please can you describe your position more clearly.
My position: I believe an eternal, transcendent, creator God exists. I do not believe this can be proved or disproved incontrovertibly. So my belief in the existence of God is a faith belief.

No because an agnostic is answering a different question from what is posed
Explain this statement please.

the burden of proof
You're obviously keen to bring this into the discussion. I'm not sure we can sensibly bring that in until you have defined your position about how you view the proof of God's non existence. A good discussion can be found in section 3 of http://philosophynow.org/issues/78/Wheres_The_Evidence note the following statements: "However, without a judge or rules to determine who has the burden and how it is to be discharged, it becomes unclear how the concept is to be applied, or even whether it has clear application." and "On the contrary, as evidentialism says, evidence is required for the belief to be justified even if there is no burden to defend the belief. This means that even if the burden of proof never falls on the atheist in disputes with theists (something we have so far found no reason to believe), it does not follow from that fact that atheists can rationally believe without evidence that there is no God or other divine reality. Consequently, the concept of burden of proof is also of no use to the New Atheists in avoiding the demands of evidentialism." but do read the whole article.

This house believes that God exists
As I said before because a neutral title like this was not used implies that the neutral definition of delusion was not intended.

there are other Gods out there
This is an inaccurate way of putting it. I think you mean to say that there are diverse religions which have different concepts of God, or gods. An eternal, transcendent, creator God is not boxed up by man's conception of God. So rather you need to ask in what way has the transcendent God (or gods) been revealed. Otherwise you end up with nonsense questions such as "is the God of Islam the same as the God of Christianity and/or the God of Judaism". An eternal, transcendent God is not boxed up in that way. Rather you have to ask if the revelation of God in religions etc is true or not e.g. did God reveal Himself to Moses, through Jesus or to Muhammed etc?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 16, 2012, 10:36:19 am
lapwing wrote: "those who voted in support of the motion viewed their colleagues as having a mental disorder."
I think this is another error. Supporters of the motion are saying that (belief in) God is not a delusion: those who voted against are saying that (belief in) God is a delusion. I think you should change "in support" to "against" to get the meaning right. If you are saying that belief in God is not a delusion then you are not saying that anyone is deluded or has a mental disorder. Only opponents of the motion said this (given the medical definition of delusion).


Oh? I misstated what I wanted to get across. What I wanted to get across was the idea that I has presented in my #9 post here which is the picture that Craig wanted to paint on what a vote against the motion implied about their colleagues.

lapwing wrote:
"I'm not saying I don't understand what controvertible or incontrovertible means"
Neither am I saying that, but you did ask me earlier for my "standards for incontrovertible proof" and I was trying to make the point that you've already shown you have knowledge of such standards viz. "I simply do not believe that the claims so far presented justify a belief in the Christian God." ie a sense of what is controvertible so you should be able to establish in your own mind what standards are demanded by incontrovertibility. So again I ask you do you have incontrovertible proof for the non existence of God, or failing that do you have any proof?


For all I know, our standards may vary. e.g science doesn't deal with incontrovertible proofs. Since you chose to use the idea of incontrovertible proofs, I'm simply wondering what sort of thing you had in mind. And I thought that since you had such a strong positive belief in your God, that you would be in a better position to enlighten me.

lapwing wrote:
Are you atheist, agnostic or something else?
I have no problem if you prefer not to identify with either of the first two labels but I still contend that saying: "Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument." does not correspond to the dictionary definition of atheist. Do you deny the existence of God? Please can you describe your position more clearly.


Maybe you need to take a look at another dictionary e.g according to Dictionary.com,

Dictionary.com wrote:
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.


I'm an atheist according to the sense of the second definition above. I'm a firm believer in allowing people to describe themselves. Also, I don't think agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. There are people who describe themselves as agnostic atheists.
Also, the sort of atheist one identifies themselves as also depends on the God under discussion.

lapwing wrote:
My position: I believe an eternal, transcendent, creator God exists. I do not believe this can be proved or disproved incontrovertibly. So my belief in the existence of God is a faith belief.


Okay. Do you think presenting faith as a reason for believing the existence of a being is a satisfactory argument?

lapwing wrote:
No because an agnostic is answering a different question from what is posed
Explain this statement please.


Atheism is a question on whether or not one believes that there is a God.
Agnosticism is question on whether or not someone knows that there is a God.

lapwing wrote:
the burden of proof
You're obviously keen to bring this into the discussion. I'm not sure we can sensibly bring that in until you have defined your position about how you view the proof of God's non existence. A good discussion can be found in section 3 of http://philosophynow.org/issues/78/Wheres_The_Evidence note the following statements: "However, without a judge or rules to determine who has the burden and how it is to be discharged, it becomes unclear how the concept is to be applied, or even whether it has clear application." and "On the contrary, as evidentialism says, evidence is required for the belief to be justified even if there is no burden to defend the belief. This means that even if the burden of proof never falls on the atheist in disputes with theists (something we have so far found no reason to believe), it does not follow from that fact that atheists can rationally believe without evidence that there is no God or other divine reality. Consequently, the concept of burden of proof is also of no use to the New Atheists in avoiding the demands of evidentialism." but do read the whole article.


I only read the part on the burden of proof. I already said that on this issue of God, we first need to identify the God under discussion. Once we do that, I think that it is clear that the burden of proof is more on the believer in that God though as the article pointed out, one still wouldn't be justified in disbelieving that God even if there wasn't evidence. But the first step I think would be to identify the God.

lapwing wrote:
This house believes that God exists
As I said before because a neutral title like this was not used implies that the neutral definition of delusion was not intended.


What do you mean by "neutral title"? The way I see it, maybe those who organized the debate wanted what they got.

lapwing wrote:
there are other Gods out there
This is an inaccurate way of putting it. I think you mean to say that there are diverse religions which have different concepts of God, or gods. An eternal, transcendent, creator God is not boxed up by man's conception of God. So rather you need to ask
   in what way has the transcendent God (or gods) been revealed. Otherwise you end up with nonsense questions such as "is the God of Islam the same as the God of Christianity and/or the God of Judaism". An eternal, transcendent God is not boxed up in that way. Rather you have to ask if the revelation of God in religions etc is true or not e.g. did God reveal Himself to Moses, through Jesus or to Muhammed etc?


Sorry but I don't see how pointing out that there are different ideas of God is a nonsense question. For all we know, maybe the Christian God isn't really transcendental.
We don't know that there is an eternal, transcendental God out there. It may be a committee of Gods, or there may not be any Gods so how do you wish to back up a claim such as an eternal, transcendental God? By definition? If you go by that, you should note that you've still not yet demonstrated that that definition actually matches anything here in the world.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 17, 2012, 10:31:12 am
"since you had such a strong positive belief in (your) God"

But I've said that my belief in God (God doesn't belong to me so your is inappropriate) is a faith belief. I've not claimed I can prove God's existence incontrovertibly. In fact I've said that I don't think that such a proof exists, or is possible. Incontrovertible=certain, undeniable, not open to question. Now you say you don't believe in the existence of a supreme being or beings, but without being able to prove that then surely your belief is also a faith belief. If you're hung up on standards or the word incontrovertible then just present your reason(s) for being sure that your belief is true. I don't have a technical (e.g. rules of logic) definition of incontrovertible in mind. As I said before you can disregard the word incontrovertible - maybe substitute "convincing" and please don't say that you don't know what will convince me - that will just be dodging the question.

"Do you think presenting faith as a reason for believing the existence of a being is a satisfactory argument?"

Well that depends on what is meant by satisfactory? Given that there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence (we cannot detect God by our senses) then, in a sense, yes. The sense is to realise that faith belief does not prove God's existence or bring God into existence. God exists independently of what we believe. For we live by faith and not by sight.

"we first need to identify the God under discussion"
"Sorry but I don't see how pointing out that there are different ideas of God is a nonsense question. For all we know, maybe the Christian God isn't really transcendental. We don't know that there is an eternal, transcendental God out there. It may be a committee of Gods, or there may not be any Gods so how do you wish to back up a claim such as an eternal, transcendental God? By definition? If you go by that, you should note that you've still not yet demonstrated that that definition actually matches anything here in the world."

Firstly I didn't mean that the fact of different ideas of God is nonsense - the nonsense is then to extend that fact to saying that for that reason there are or may be different Gods. There may be different Gods (since we can't prove otherwise) but the fact of religions with different definitions of God will not affect the actuality of God's existence, if God(s) exist(s). One must be careful not to critique religions such as Christianity on the assumption that God does not exist, since that assumption immediately undercuts the religion and makes any further discussion of it unsound.

Transcendental=beyond the material world, not experienced but knowable (in the personal connaitre or intuitive sense, not the knowing of a scientific fact). Now I won't say that Dawkins' The God Delusion is completely without merit but there are some weak sections. One particular weak section is where he argues that God has to be too-complex-to-be-possible in order to maintain such a complex universe - the weakness of scientific reductionism. How can you be sure that what we can detect with our senses and with the help of tools such as the Hubble Telescope is all there is?

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 18, 2012, 03:31:32 am
lapwing wrote: "since you had such a strong positive belief in (your) God"

But I've said that my belief in God (God doesn't belong to me so your is inappropriate) is a faith belief. I've not claimed I can prove God's existence incontrovertibly. In fact I've said that I don't think that such a proof exists, or is possible. Incontrovertible=certain, undeniable, not open to question. Now you say you don't believe in the existence of a supreme being or beings, but without being able to prove that then surely your belief is also a faith belief. If you're hung up on standards or the word incontrovertible then just present your reason(s) for being sure that your belief is true. I don't have a technical (e.g. rules of logic) definition of incontrovertible in mind. As I said before you can disregard the word incontrovertible - maybe substitute "convincing" and please don't say that you don't know what will convince me - that will just be dodging the question.


Convincing would be a better word but still, I'll need to know something about the God you believe in. The "your" that I used there was not to imply that the God belonged to you but to indicate that I was referring to the specific one you and others who believe as you do, also believe in.

lapwing wrote:
"Do you think presenting faith as a reason for believing the existence of a being is a satisfactory argument?"

Well that depends on what is meant by satisfactory? Given that there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence (we cannot detect God by our senses) then, in a sense, yes. The sense is to realise that faith belief does not prove God's existence or bring God into existence. God exists independently of what we believe. For we live by faith and not by sight.


Would you accept faith as a satisfactory reason for believing in the existence of faeries?

lapwing wrote:
"we first need to identify the God under discussion"
"Sorry but I don't see how pointing out that there are different ideas of God is a nonsense question. For all we know, maybe the Christian God isn't really transcendental. We don't know that there is an eternal, transcendental God out there. It may be a committee of Gods, or there may not be any Gods so how do you wish to back up a claim such as an eternal, transcendental God? By definition? If you go by that, you should note that you've still not yet demonstrated that that definition actually matches anything here in the world."

Firstly I didn't mean that the fact of different ideas of God is nonsense - the nonsense is then to extend that fact to saying that for that reason there are or may be different Gods. There may be different Gods (since we can't prove otherwise) but the fact of religions with different definitions of God will not affect the actuality of God's existence, if God(s) exist(s). One must be careful not to critique religions such as Christianity on the assumption that God does not exist, since that assumption immediately undercuts the religion and makes any further discussion of it unsound.


So you're saying that people having different ideas of God doesn't imply that there are different Gods out there. Sorry but what you appear to be doing is simply asserting that there must only be one God which just happens to be yours. Otherwise, you would be an agnostic theist.
So how does one critique a religion such as Christianity? Or are you saying only people who according to you simply have another idea of God can critique Christianity?
Can people who don't believe in faeries critique the belief in faeries?

The focus on the Christian God is due to its popularity so I don't see the problem with being specific on this especially when not being specific could easily lead to fallacies.

lapwing wrote:
Transcendental=beyond the material world, not experienced but knowable (in the personal connaitre or intuitive sense, not the knowing of a scientific fact). Now I won't say that Dawkins' The God Delusion is completely without merit but there are some weak sections. One particular weak section is where he argues that God has to be too-complex-to-be-possible in order to maintain such a complex universe - the weakness of scientific reductionism. How can you be sure that what we can detect with our senses and with the help of tools such as the Hubble Telescope is all there is?


I don't claim that what we can detect with our senses is all there is.
So God is knowable by intuition? So what conclusions can those who do not have this intuition and those whose intuition leads them to conclude that there are multiple Gods out there draw? Keeping in mind how error prone intuition has been shown to be.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 20, 2012, 01:30:24 pm
"God and fairies"

I don't consider this a stupid or derisive question since if we allow that we cannot detect invisible beings like God or fairies then how can theists say that God exists and fairies don't. Well firstly they play different parts in human culture - when Dawkins stumbled over the full title of The Origin of Species on UK radio 4 he invoked "Oh God" rather than "Oh Tinkerbell" say. Now that's a common reaction not peculiar to Dawkins of course, but what people do in extremis is often revealing. So I would argue that God and fairies, though both described as spirits, play different parts in human culture.

Now why is that? Well taking the Christian religion (though this argument is not confined to Christianity) it is a revealed religion i.e. part of its doctrine is that God chose to reveal Himself either aurally, visually or both on a number of special occasions e.g. to Abraham, Moses and ultimately through His Son Jesus. Now these accounts are presented as historical though, of course, skeptics attack them as unreliable. There is some archaeological evidence supporting the historical accounts in the Bible - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artifacts_significant_to_the_Bible
but this doesn't prove the Bible true but does qualitiatively distinguish God from (say) fairies.  Fairies feature in Celtic folklore but I would argue that their origins are qualitatively different - overtly mythic rather than historical.
One must also note that according to Christianity, God is not the only spiritual being - there are angels and fallen angels as well.

"people having different ideas of God doesn't (necessarily) imply that there are different Gods out there."

Again you have to be careful not to dictate the nature of God just from what humans believe. I would include the word necessarily before imply in your statement.

intuition=knowing something without perceiving it (by your senses)

"So what conclusions can those who do not have this intuition ... draw"

Oh taste and see that the LORD is good Ps 34:8a AV

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20 NIV

Christianity is an experimental or experiential religion. One has to take a leap of faith (based on the evidence) to experience God personally. It requires one to make a change of direction in life and admit one's lack of perfection and self sufficiency to meet God's standards. One will discover that Jesus has paid the penalty for one's shortcomings and one will be granted a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. Incredible, but many people testify to this truth through their own experience.



Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 21, 2012, 02:36:04 am
lapwing wrote: "God and fairies"

I don't consider this a stupid or derisive question since if we allow that we cannot detect invisible beings like God or fairies then how can theists say that God exists and fairies don't. Well firstly they play different parts in human culture - when Dawkins stumbled over the full title of The Origin of Species on UK radio 4 he invoked "Oh God" rather than "Oh Tinkerbell" say. Now that's a common reaction not peculiar to Dawkins of course, but what people do in extremis is often revealing. So I would argue that God and fairies, though both described as spirits, play different parts in human culture.


Does the fact that they play different parts in human culture make one of them more likely to exist than the other?

lapwing wrote:
Now why is that? Well taking the Christian religion (though this argument is not confined to Christianity) it is a revealed religion i.e. part of its doctrine is that God chose to reveal Himself either aurally, visually or both on a number of special occasions e.g. to Abraham, Moses and ultimately through His Son Jesus. Now these accounts are presented as historical though, of course, skeptics attack them as unreliable.


And I would say that these skeptics have good reasons for attacking them as being unreliable given what we have come to learn about human psychology, sociology and what we've found out through anthropology. People's senses can be fallible and subject to hallucinations among other things.

lapwing wrote:
There is some archaeological evidence supporting the historical accounts in the Bible - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artifacts_significant_to_the_Bible
but this doesn't prove the Bible true but does qualitiatively distinguish God from (say) fairies.  Fairies feature in Celtic folklore but I would argue that their origins are qualitatively different - overtly mythic rather than historical.
One must also note that according to Christianity, God is not the only spiritual being - there are angels and fallen angels as well.


Huh? Are you saying the lack of artifacts for certain folklore somehow makes one account more valid than another? Then there is the issue of the presence of artifacts not making accounts valid. Just as the presence of real locations doesn't make a story more true.
I could say that they play similar parts in human culture though to different degrees. The way I see it, they are both a demonstration of our human tendency to introduce agency as a cause where there is none.

lapwing wrote:
"people having different ideas of God doesn't (necessarily) imply that there are different Gods out there."

Again you have to be careful not to dictate the nature of God just from what humans believe. I would include the word necessarily before imply in your statement.

intuition=knowing something without perceiving it (by your senses)


Okay, include the word necessary. I have to ask, aren't you dictating the nature of God from what at least you believe? Is there some reason why your idea of God is to be preferred over that of others?
On intuition, I simply say that it is too fallible for one to depend heavily on it when it comes to questions this important.

lapwing wrote:
"So what conclusions can those who do not have this intuition ... draw"

Oh taste and see that the LORD is good Ps 34:8a AV

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20 NIV

Christianity is an experimental or experiential religion. One has to take a leap of faith (based on the evidence) to experience God personally. It requires one to make a change of direction in life and admit one's lack of perfection and self sufficiency to meet God's standards. One will discover that Jesus has paid the penalty for one's shortcomings and one will be granted a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. Incredible, but many people testify to this truth through their own experience.


This doesn't really answer the question I asked on intuition. What I asked was what conclusion could someone else whose intuition leads them to believe that there are multiple Gods draw?
Are you asking them to just believe?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 21, 2012, 01:55:14 pm

"Does the fact that they play different parts in human culture"

The God who many theists worship is a God who intervenes in the human world.

"People's senses can be fallible and subject to hallucinations among other things."

But of course this doesn't prove that (say) witnesses of miracles were all hallucinating. This argument is motivated from the presupposition that miracles can't happen i.e. the presupposition that God does not exist.

Artifacts do provide evidence of  historical events and accounts. The use of real places in an account can indicate the historical intention of the record though there are other indicators. The use of imaginary places points more securely to the account being intended as mythic.

"Is there some reason why your idea of God is to be preferred over that of others?" Do you mean monotheism vs polytheism?

"On intuition, I simply say that it is too fallible"
As I've already said there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence but there is evidence e.g. the NT accounts for which we have so many preserved manuscripts.


"what conclusion could someone else whose intuition leads them to believe that there are multiple Gods draw?"
It might be better to consider polytheistic religions objectively and compare them to monotheistic religions. I certainly am not saying that you should believe what I believe because I say so. However, you could consider the problem that polytheism has with providing for the creation of the universe which implies at least one omnipotent being - but how can you have more than one omnipotent being?

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 22, 2012, 04:40:09 am
lapwing wrote:

"Does the fact that they play different parts in human culture"

The God who many theists worship is a God who intervenes in the human world.


Faeries too were believed to intervene in the world.


lapwing wrote:
"People's senses can be fallible and subject to hallucinations among other things."

But of course this doesn't prove that (say) witnesses of miracles were all hallucinating. This argument is motivated from the presupposition that miracles can't happen i.e. the presupposition that God does not exist.

There are other phenomena other than hallucinations that explain these things better than miracles. It isn't about whether miracles can happen but about what miracles are and agree that they occur. I don't think you believe all miracle claims that you come across even those of other religious beliefs.


lapwing wrote:
Artifacts do provide evidence of  historical events and accounts. The use of real places in an account can indicate the historical intention of the record though there are other indicators. The use of imaginary places points more securely to the account being intended as mythic.

I didn't say that artifacts do not provide evidence of historical events. But that the fact that an artifact is present doesn't mean that the account is true. e.g from the list of artifacts article you linked, the first was on the Epic of Gilgamesh. Does the presence of that artifact mean that the story told is true?

What I mean is that use of real places doesn't mean that the story wasn't imaginary.


lapwing wrote:
"Is there some reason why your idea of God is to be preferred over that of others?" Do you mean monotheism vs polytheism?

Monotheism vs polytheism and monotheism against other monotheistic beliefs.


lapwing wrote:
"On intuition, I simply say that it is too fallible"
As I've already said there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence but there is evidence e.g. the NT accounts for which we have so many preserved manuscripts.

Do you agree that due to the fallibility of intuition, it can be understood that someone wouldn't believe a God claim that is being justified with it?

Preserved manuscripts don't mean that the story told is accurate. Those preserved manuscripts can only show that certain copies agree with other copies.

Then there is the question of what actual historians think about the issue. A look at the historical method on Wikipedia leads me to conclude that the evidence isn't quite strong.

lapwing wrote:
"what conclusion could someone else whose intuition leads them to believe that there are multiple Gods draw?"
It might be better to consider polytheistic religions objectively and compare them to monotheistic religions. I certainly am not saying that you should believe what I believe because I say so. However, you could consider the problem that polytheism has with providing for the creation of the universe which implies at least one omnipotent being - but how can you have more than one omnipotent being?


I don't see why if one believes in polytheism, they should think that the universe had only one creator. Why couldn't there have been a group of creators? Who says omnipotence (whatever that means) is necessary for the creation of a universe? Couldn't it be by the deliberate planning of a group of interested Gods?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 22, 2012, 12:33:39 pm
On a point of order, you still haven't said anything that negates my assertion that your belief that God does not exist is no less a faith belief than my belief that God does exist. It's about time you either admitted this or gave good reasons otherwise.

"Faeries too were believed to intervene in the world."
But Dawkins' revealing "oh God" is one example of many that shows that fairies, if they exist, have had much less of an effect. This could be because they don't exist but God does.

"I mean is that use of real places doesn't mean that the story wasn't imaginary."
I don't deny that but the use of imaginary place names is a strong indicator that a story is imaginary. There are other means of determining the intended historicity of a given account so you use them all and weigh the evidence.

"what actual historians think"
So are there any contemporary (to NT or OT) historical events that you believe did happen, and if so why do you believe they happened.

"Who says omnipotence is necessary for the creation of a universe?"
It's a big universe now, so if not omnipotence required then what?




Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 22, 2012, 12:55:43 pm
lapwing wrote: On a point of order, you still haven't said anything that negates my assertion that your belief that God does not exist is no less a faith belief than my belief that God does exist. It's about time you either admitted this or gave good reasons otherwise.


Actually, I have addressed this by pointing out that you chose for me a different definition of atheism. One that I didn't agree with. I addressed it in post #34.

lapwing wrote:
"Faeries too were believed to intervene in the world."
But Dawkins' revealing "oh God" is one example of many that shows that fairies, if they exist, have had much less of an effect. This could be because they don't exist but God does.


Or it could be because of the times in which Dawkins grew up. I don't think someone saying "oh God", "God damn" or "when hell freezes over" means that they actually believe that those entities or places exist. People of different cultures say different things under similar conditions. What does that say about their Gods or whatever they're referring to?
Faeries having less of an effect doesn't mean they don't exist.

lapwing wrote:
"I mean is that use of real places doesn't mean that the story wasn't imaginary."
I don't deny that but the use of imaginary place names is a strong indicator that a story is imaginary. There are other means of determining the intended historicity of a given account so you use them all and weigh the evidence.


I wasn't talking about the use of imaginary place names.

lapwing wrote:
"what actual historians think"
So are there any contemporary (to NT or OT) historical events that you believe did happen, and if so why do you believe they happened.


Sure. Take something like the Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria. I believe it was built and was destroyed by earthquakes.

lapwing wrote:
"Who says omnipotence is necessary for the creation of a universe?"
It's a big universe now, so if not omnipotence required then what?


Like I said, a God committee, a single powerful entity though not omnipotent or it wasn't created at all.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 22, 2012, 03:47:22 pm
"disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings"
This was your position in #34. What is stopping you from justifying it?

"Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria"
So does that mean that the only historical events that you believe are those intrinsically related to surviving artifacts? Does that mean you do not trust any documentary records? A very impoverished view of history would result from this approach.

"it wasn't created at all"
How would you then explain the existence of the universe?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 22, 2012, 04:12:20 pm
lapwing wrote: "disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings"
This was your position in #34. What is stopping you from justifying it?


Which supreme being or beings do you wish me to justify my reasons for not believing in?

lapwing wrote:
"Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria"
So does that mean that the only historical events that you believe are those intrinsically related to surviving artifacts? Does that mean you do not trust any documentary records? A very impoverished view of history would result from this approach.


No it doesn't. You asked me for an example and I gave you one.

lapwing wrote:
"it wasn't created at all"
How would you then explain the existence of the universe?


What do you mean? We can both agree that the universe exists and that we somehow experience it.
Though that is simply one of the points counting against the idea of some omnipotent disembodied mind being behind it.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 23, 2012, 01:04:15 pm
"Which supreme being"
You could try the generic supreme being described by Craig in the debate or the "Christian God" (as I prefer the God whom Christians worship). Note that these two descriptions may refer to the same being. Am I right to think that you are not denying the existence of God out of hand but are yet to be convinced by any human description of God or gods?

So do you consider documents as a valid source of information on human history?

How and why did the universe come into being?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 23, 2012, 02:05:33 pm
lapwing wrote: "Which supreme being"
You could try the generic supreme being described by Craig in the debate or the "Christian God" (as I prefer the God whom Christians worship). Note that these two descriptions may refer to the same being. Am I right to think that you are not denying the existence of God out of hand but are yet to be convinced by any human description of God or gods?


If you think they refer to the same being, then I'll just go with the Christian God to avoid ambiguities.
With regards to the above entity, I don't believe in its existence because of the descriptions of him given in the Bible and of course, what Christians say about him.

lapwing wrote:
So do you consider documents as a valid source of information on human history?


That depends on the documents and what they contain.

lapwing wrote:
How and why did the universe come into being?


All we know about how the universe came into being is that it expanded from a very hot and dense state. Over about 13.7 billion years, it got to where it is now.

On the why question, I don't understand what sort of answer you're looking for. e.g why does Mars have 2 planets?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 24, 2012, 05:19:37 am
So does this mean that you prefer to believe the accuracy of the parts of the Bible which, according to your interpretation, count against the truth of God's existence. On the other hand you prefer to distrust the accuracy of those parts of the Bible which provide evidence of God's existence?

"and of course, what Christians say about him."
"That depends on the documents and what they contain."

What do these statements mean i.e what is it that Christians say persuades you that God does not exist, and how do you determine which historical documents are trustworthy.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 24, 2012, 06:29:37 am
lapwing wrote: So does this mean that you prefer to believe the accuracy of the parts of the Bible which, according to your interpretation, count against the truth of God's existence. On the other hand you prefer to distrust the accuracy of those parts of the Bible which provide evidence of God's existence?


No, I just don't see the reason why I should believe that the things written in the book are that accurate. And that even depends on what particular book of the Bible it is, who wrote it and when it was written.
I have no choice but not to believe many of the mythical stories told in the various books of the Bible.
There is a difference between saying that one king succeeded another and that a donkey spoke a human language even if both of them were to occur in the same book (not saying that they did).

lapwing wrote:
"and of course, what Christians say about him."
"That depends on the documents and what they contain."

What do these statements mean i.e what is it that Christians say persuades you that God does not exist, and how do you determine which historical documents are trustworthy.


They say things like he is part of a trinity of Gods, one of the members of this trinity was both human and divine, he is omnipotent, omniscient and beneficent towards humans, he wants our money, he accepts or does not accept gay people among many other things.
On the issue of the documents, since I'm not a historian, I defer to expert historians and the methodology they devised to sort out how to weigh the credibility of documents. I presented a nice starting point from Wikipedia in my response #40.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 25, 2012, 07:51:55 am

I'm not sure what you mean by "mythical stories" with respect to the Bible.
If you mean you're not prepared to believe in accounts of miracles then does this not show you have a presupposition that God does not exist. If the Christian God exists as described by Christian doctrine then miracles are obviously possible.

"trinity of Gods" this is not Christian doctrine that believes that there is one God who exists as three persons: it is not considered as a trinity of Gods.

"he wants our money" God (as described in Christian theology) does not need our money to exist or act.

"Documents"
May I suggest a better method to evaluate the evidence for the existence of the Christian God. First ignore Christian attitudes or opinions on current ethical questions. All this proves is that people labelled as Christians have different views on such matters.

Rather I would use a working assumption that the "Christian God" exists as described and make use of accepted Christian theology that has been developed by many scholars over many centuries. Do not be distracted by differences between denominations on non fundamental matters such as infant vs adult baptism. Now use your wikipedia article and related knowledge to answer the question "how can I test whether this God, as described, actually exists". Key to this will be the truth, or not, of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Consult relevant books from both sides of the argument e.g. Bart Ehrman from the skeptic side and Josh McDowell from the Christian side. (I'm not saying these are the best sources - you can choose your own of course but do read from both sides of the debate) Try to investigate this with an open mind and be aware of your preconceptions. The question of God's existence is not unimportant. If you believe you don't have any preconceptions then you won't give yourself the chance of having satisfied yourself that you've done all you can to find the answer.

Note that when comparing evidence of Jesus' life with, say, Julius Caesar, it's not like with like. At the time of Jesus' death you could crowd his followers into one room: Jesus was not a major political figure like Julius Caesar.

NB: if you can find any neutral and objective sources then use those as well

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 25, 2012, 01:02:50 pm
lapwing wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean by "mythical stories" with respect to the Bible.
If you mean you're not prepared to believe in accounts of miracles then does this not show you have a presupposition that God does not exist. If the Christian God exists as described by Christian doctrine then miracles are obviously possible.


No it doesn't. It simply shows that I'm being consistent. If I'm to believe animals talking in the Bible, why shouldn't I believe similar stories in other similar books?


lapwing wrote:
"trinity of Gods" this is not Christian doctrine that believes that there is one God who exists as three persons: it is not considered as a trinity of Gods.

There is one God who is actually three people? Sorry but this sounds incoherent.


lapwing wrote:
"he wants our money" God (as described in Christian theology) does not need our money to exist or act.

I didn't say he needs our money but, he seems to want it to act. At least according to popular Christians. Are you saying I should ignore such requests for money? How about offerings?


lapwing wrote:
"Documents"
May I suggest a better method to evaluate the evidence for the existence of the Christian God. First ignore Christian attitudes or opinions on current ethical questions. All this proves is that people labelled as Christians have different views on such matters.

If I ignore Christian attitudes or opinions, then why wouldn't I conclude that these differences are due to their different intuitions? This to me counts as another reason to discount intuition as providing insight into this God.


lapwing wrote:
Rather I would use a working assumption that the "Christian God" exists as described and make use of accepted Christian theology that has been developed by many scholars over many centuries. Do not be distracted by differences between denominations on non fundamental matters such as infant vs adult baptism. Now use your wikipedia article and related knowledge to answer the question "how can I test whether this God, as described, actually exists". Key to this will be the truth, or not, of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Consult relevant books from both sides of the argument e.g. Bart Ehrman from the skeptic side and Josh McDowell from the Christian side. (I'm not saying these are the best sources - you can choose your own of course but do read from both sides of the debate) Try to investigate this with an open mind and be aware of your preconceptions. The question of God's existence is not unimportant. If you believe you don't have any preconceptions then you won't give yourself the chance of having satisfied yourself that you've done all you can to find the answer.

Firstly, the previous tests that I've performed that would have at least provided points in favour of concluding that he exists have failed.

Would you consider differences on issues such as the trinity, predestination and hell as being fundamental issues?

I have investigated and concluded that I simply couldn't believe in the Christian God.


lapwing wrote:
Note that when comparing evidence of Jesus' life with, say, Julius Caesar, it's not like with like. At the time of Jesus' death you could crowd his followers into one room: Jesus was not a major political figure like Julius Caesar.

NB: if you can find any neutral and objective sources then use those as well



On the issue of Jesus, I see no reason to conclude that all that was written about him was factually accurate.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on February 27, 2012, 04:35:00 am
"other similar books"
Which books do you mean? I wouldn't describe Aesop's fables as similar to the book of Numbers. Also, I don't see how this helps - books of fiction and historical fact exist. The issue is whether a particular biblical account is historical, or not.

"the Trinity"
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Article I of the 39 articles of the Church of England.
See also http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/wcf.htm#chap2

This doctrine is famously difficult to explain or understand so describing it as incoherent is not unreasonable - see http://www.frtommylane.com/stories/God/Trinity/saint_augustine.htm

There is a big difference between asking for money to support Christian work (1 Tim 5:18) and saying God wants your money. The apostles refused to be treated as gods (Acts 14:12-18)

"Christian opinions"
Different Christians can believe in the same God, but vote differently. It would be wrong of a minister to urge his congregation to vote in a particular way.

"fundamental issues"
It may be best to consult the doctrinal positions of the larger well established denominations e.g.

1. http://anglicansonline.org/basics/thirty-nine_articles.html
2. http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/wcf.htm
3. The Nicene and Apostles' creeds

You say you have investigated and see no reason to see the NT account of Jesus as factually accurate. How have you arrived at this position - have you looked at all sides of the argument?

"I couldn't believe in the Christian God"
Why do you think this way? Maybe you mean "I don't want to believe" since there is no barrier that prevents anyone from coming to faith in Christ. Of course, you have the right to make that choice.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on February 28, 2012, 11:54:00 pm
lapwing wrote: "other similar books"
Which books do you mean? I wouldn't describe Aesop's fables as similar to the book of Numbers. Also, I don't see how this helps - books of fiction and historical fact exist. The issue is whether a particular biblical account is historical, or not.


No not Aesop's fables but books like the Qur'an or Hindu holy texts.

lapwing wrote:
"the Trinity"
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Article I of the 39 articles of the Church of England.
See also http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/wcf.htm#chap2

This doctrine is famously difficult to explain or understand so describing it as incoherent is not unreasonable - see http://www.frtommylane.com/stories/God/Trinity/saint_augustine.htm

Do you understand it? Could it not be that people just think it is difficult to explain while it is actually incoherent?

Looking at the two references you posted, the first one is made up of just assertions that I don't think are coherent. It talks about three persons of one substance, power and eternity. Yet there is only one God.

Then the other example that was illustrated by the child trying to pour the ocean into the hole, that too is incoherent and a bad analogy since that is being compared to understanding concept of the trinity.

lapwing wrote:

There is a big difference between asking for money to support Christian work (1 Tim 5:18) and saying God wants your money. The apostles refused to be treated as gods (Acts 14:12-18)

How about all that talk about people robbing God if they do not pay their tithes? (Malachi 3:8)


lapwing wrote:
"Christian opinions"
Different Christians can believe in the same God, but vote differently. It would be wrong of a minister to urge his congregation to vote in a particular way.

I'm not talking about voting but about the God given intuitions.


lapwing wrote:
"fundamental issues"
It may be best to consult the doctrinal positions of the larger well established denominations e.g.

1. http://anglicansonline.org/basics/thirty-nine_articles.html
2. http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/wcf.htm
3. The Nicene and Apostles' creeds

Just looking at the Anglican link, I can already see places where other Christians and other denominations could easily disagree e.g the trinity, original sin, books considered canonical etc.

Also, does the fact that certain denominations are old or large imply that they are more accurate?


lapwing wrote:
You say you have investigated and see no reason to see the NT account of Jesus as factually accurate. How have you arrived at this position - have you looked at all sides of the argument?

Yes I have considered the two sides of the argument.


lapwing wrote:
"I couldn't believe in the Christian God"
Why do you think this way? Maybe you mean "I don't want to believe" since there is no barrier that prevents anyone from coming to faith in Christ. Of course, you have the right to make that choice.



No, I mean that I couldn't come to the belief in the Christian God. I arrived at it following my investigations. Telling me that it is a choice whether or not to believe is like telling me that it is a choice whether or not to believe in ghosts or not to believe that the sun is hot.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on March 03, 2012, 09:42:03 am
"books like the Qur'an or Hindu holy texts."

I read the Qur'an a while ago and I don't recall any accounts of miraculous events apart from possibly in the accounts based on biblical stories. Hinduism is a complex religion whose followers are not necessarily theistic. There is no unversally accepted aunthoritative scripture. There are Hindu epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata inc Bhagavad Vita. However these may best be considered as epics rather than accounts of historical events. For instance, the historicity and dating of the Kurukshetra War is not at all clear. By contrast the Bible is firmly rooted in the history of the Jews and the Early Church.

"Do you understand it" (the Trinity).
The word understand depends on the subject - do you understand double entry book-keeping and do you understand the Trinity imply different meanings of "understand" although this is hard to accept by people who have a reductionist and materialist worldview. I see no reason why the nature of God should be easy to understand. The child trying to pour the ocean into a hole was just an illustration of the difficulty for men to comprehend God: it was not meant to describe God or the Trinity.

"robbing God" Mal 3:8
Again this is talking about the tithes that were commanded as part of the priestly sacrifice system of the Old Testament (e.g. Num 18:25-32). This system of sacrifices does not apply to Christians since Jesus made one sacrifice that was sufficient for all time (Heb 10:12). Jews do not perform such sacrifices since there is no Temple. It is better to use the NT for teaching on supporting Christian work.

To identify Christian fundamentals one ought to see where the doctrinal positions agree, not where they disagree. Larger, older denominations benefit from the longer time and effort by many scholars to develop doctrine.

"I couldn't come to the belief in the Christian God." Your usage of "couldn't" cannot mean impossible under all circumstances. It must mean you have decided not to believe in the Christian God i.e. the God whom Christians worship.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on March 06, 2012, 12:33:39 am
lapwing wrote: "books like the Qur'an or Hindu holy texts."

I read the Qur'an a while ago and I don't recall any accounts of miraculous events apart from possibly in the accounts based on biblical stories.


How about the account of the moon being split by Mohammed? Are we to accept those stories that are similar to those in Bible as also being true?

lapwing wrote:
Hinduism is a complex religion whose followers are not necessarily theistic. There is no unversally accepted aunthoritative scripture. There are Hindu epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata inc Bhagavad Vita. However these may best be considered as epics rather than accounts of historical events. For instance, the historicity and dating of the Kurukshetra War is not at all clear. By contrast the Bible is firmly rooted in the history of the Jews and the Early Church.


So what is the clear dating of Adam in the Bible? Or is that just an account of what is considered a historical event? Also are you saying that those Hindus who consider those books as sacred texts don't believe what they contain?

lapwing wrote:
"Do you understand it" (the Trinity).
The word understand depends on the subject - do you understand double entry book-keeping and do you understand the Trinity imply different meanings of "understand" although this is hard to accept by people who have a reductionist and materialist worldview.


In what sense are their meanings different?

lapwing wrote:
I see no reason why the nature of God should be easy to understand. The child trying to pour the ocean into a hole was just an illustration of the difficulty for men to comprehend God: it was not meant to describe God or the Trinity.


Is there a reason why an adult wouldn't make such an analogy? I can understand that a child, with little knowledge of the earth and how many things work, could say something like pouring the ocean into a hole he dug but for an adult to say that and consider it seriously would be problematic. That analogy doesn't demonstrate a difficulty in comprehension unless you actually think that it is actually possible to pour the ocean into a hole just that one doesn't know the proper trick.

lapwing wrote:
"robbing God" Mal 3:8
Again this is talking about the tithes that were commanded as part of the priestly sacrifice system of the Old Testament (e.g. Num 18:25-32). This system of sacrifices does not apply to Christians since Jesus made one sacrifice that was sufficient for all time (Heb 10:12). Jews do not perform such sacrifices since there is no Temple. It is better to use the NT for teaching on supporting Christian work.


Okay so God no longer wants our money but preferred a human sacrifice. That too is something that I simply cannot accept.

lapwing wrote:
To identify Christian fundamentals one ought to see where the doctrinal positions agree, not where they disagree. Larger, older denominations benefit from the longer time and effort by many scholars to develop doctrine.


So you're saying that the Christian fundamentals are to be based on where the various denominations agree? Does this then mean that the positions of non-agreement aren't fundamental issues in Christianity? I ask because many of them disagree on a very wide range of issues. Also, I don't think age or size somehow means that a certain sect of Christianity is the correct one.

lapwing wrote:
"I couldn't come to the belief in the Christian God." Your usage of "couldn't" cannot mean impossible under all circumstances. It must mean you have decided not to believe in the Christian God i.e. the God whom Christians worship.


No it doesn't mean that I have decided not to believe in the Christian God, it means that for me to believe in the Christian God, I may as well believe that there are ghosts or that the sun is hot. It is simply that based on the way I form my beliefs, for me to believe in the Christian God would lead me to chaos.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on March 06, 2012, 01:48:23 pm
"the moon being split by Mohammed"
I'd forgotten that one - Surah 54:1-2 but it's in the passive voice so some commentators hold that it is God rather than Muhammad who splits the moon - and other commentators hold that it refers to an event in a future judgment, but written in the past tense to aid the imagination of the reader - one for the Muslim scholars.

"the dating of Adam in the Bible"
Well I would contend that the history of the Jews starts with Abraham, not Adam who represents the beginning of the history of mankind.

"are you saying that those Hindus who consider those books as sacred texts don't believe what they contain?"
I can't say what individual Hindus believe but are you saying that regarding these accounts as epics rather than historical undermines Hinduism?

"understand"
I "understand that the sun provides us with energy" could be different in meaning for an astrophysicist and a peasant farmer, though some might argue the farmer's understanding is more important.

"the child ocean example"
I think you're putting meaning into this story that was not intended: it's only meant to illustrate the difficulty of describing the Trinity.

"Okay so God no longer wants our money but preferred a human sacrifice."
Well I'm not saying that. "God wants our money" should be rephrased as Christians should consider supporting Christian work e.g. 2 Cor 9:7 "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  Read it in context though(of supporting the poorer church in Jerusalem).

I think you should list out the doctrinal agreements first before examining the diagreements - to get a proper perspective.

"It is simply that based on the way I form my beliefs, for me to believe in the Christian God would lead me to chaos."
That still sounds like you've decided not to believe - I'm not saying you haven't thought about the issues.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on March 07, 2012, 08:05:34 am
lapwing wrote: "the moon being split by Mohammed"
I'd forgotten that one - Surah 54:1-2 but it's in the passive voice so some commentators hold that it is God rather than Muhammad who splits the moon - and other commentators hold that it refers to an event in a future judgment, but written in the past tense to aid the imagination of the reader - one for the Muslim scholars.


Or Muslim apologist. My point is that if I'm to believe such stories in the Bible, I may as well believe these stories in the Qur'an.

lapwing wrote:
"the dating of Adam in the Bible"
Well I would contend that the history of the Jews starts with Abraham, not Adam who represents the beginning of the history of mankind.


Does this then mean that the parts before Abraham appeared on the scene aren't to be considered as being historical? How then should they be considered?

lapwing wrote:
"are you saying that those Hindus who consider those books as sacred texts don't believe what they contain?"
I can't say what individual Hindus believe but are you saying that regarding these accounts as epics rather than historical undermines Hinduism?


No I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that a Hindu believer may consider them as being true accounts while a scholar may consider them as being epics. In a way similar to how Christians may consider the Bible to be true accounts while non-Christians may consider the stories there to be traditional myths, folktales or similar works.

lapwing wrote:
"understand"
I "understand that the sun provides us with energy" could be different in meaning for an astrophysicist and a peasant farmer, though some might argue the farmer's understanding is more important.


By different in meaning, do you mean a difference in knowledge based on one's specialty? I ask because I think the astrophysicist can understand what the peasant farmer thinks and vice versa with of course the required training.

lapwing wrote:
"the child ocean example"
I think you're putting meaning into this story that was not intended: it's only meant to illustrate the difficulty of describing the Trinity.


And I'm saying that the perceived difficulty may be because the idea is actually incoherent.

lapwing wrote:
"Okay so God no longer wants our money but preferred a human sacrifice."
Well I'm not saying that. "God wants our money" should be rephrased as Christians should consider supporting Christian work e.g. 2 Cor 9:7 "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  Read it in context though(of supporting the poorer church in Jerusalem).


Okay so giving money here is more of a recommendation rather than a command like in the Old Testament.

lapwing wrote:
I think you should list out the doctrinal agreements first before examining the diagreements - to get a proper perspective.


Most of those doctrinal agreements are disputed by one sect or another. I mean, the one thing I think that Christians can agree on is that there is a God and that there was a man called Jesus. Even the perception of Jesus is disputed or has been when one also considers the extinguished sects of Christianity.

lapwing wrote:
"It is simply that based on the way I form my beliefs, for me to believe in the Christian God would lead me to chaos."
That still sounds like you've decided not to believe - I'm not saying you haven't thought about the issues.


You're missing my point which is that I don't decide what to believe. My beliefs are formed based on some sort of evidence, reasoning and other internal processes.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on March 10, 2012, 07:26:16 am

"I may as well believe these stories in the Qur'an."
Except that under one interpretation this (the moon being split) refers to a future event despite the past tense.

"the parts before Abraham appeared on the scene aren't to be considered as being historical?"
I'm going to think about this further rather than just rehash other peoples' views on a subject of much discussion. At this stage I will say that Gen ch1-11 is an identifiable section within Genesis. But note that the key historical event for Christians is the resurrection of Jesus. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in the historicity of  other biblical events but it is the case that if Jesus' resurrection was disproved then that would invalidate Christianity as the Apostle Paul puts it:

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

whereas it is not so clear as that when referring to other biblical events - and of course you must always realise that the Bible is a library of books written in different styles e.g Revelation and the gospels/Acts are very different from each other.

"a difference in knowledge based on one's specialty"
Their different backgrounds means that if, say, they wrote down their understanding of the sun, one should be able to distinguish them.

"Most of those doctrinal agreements are disputed by one sect or another."
I'm not sure what you mean by sects - just see what is common in the references I gave you. I think you may be surprised by the degree of agreement.

"I don't decide what to believe. My beliefs are formed based on some sort of evidence, reasoning and other internal processes."
This still doesn't make sense - are you saying you take no active part in the process of the formation of your beliefs - a kind of osmosis rather than personal thought?  If that is so then why do people have different beliefs?

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on March 11, 2012, 01:08:51 pm
lapwing wrote:

"I may as well believe these stories in the Qur'an."
Except that under one interpretation this (the moon being split) refers to a future event despite the past tense.


Okay if someone interprets it as having occurred, am I to believe it?


lapwing wrote:
"the parts before Abraham appeared on the scene aren't to be considered as being historical?"
I'm going to think about this further rather than just rehash other peoples' views on a subject of much discussion. At this stage I will say that Gen ch1-11 is an identifiable section within Genesis. But note that the key historical event for Christians is the resurrection of Jesus. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in the historicity of  other biblical events but it is the case that if Jesus' resurrection was disproved then that would invalidate Christianity as the Apostle Paul puts it:

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

So for you, it is the resurrection. Why should that resurrection be more believable than a talking animal? Do you also believe the gospel account that talks about other dead people that were wandering the streets after Jesus' crucifixion?

lapwing wrote:

whereas it is not so clear as that when referring to other biblical events - and of course you must always realise that the Bible is a library of books written in different styles e.g Revelation and the gospels/Acts are very different from each other.


Yes I realize that which is why I'm willing to consider that some books may contain proper accounts while others may contain more myths.

lapwing wrote:
"a difference in knowledge based on one's specialty"
Their different backgrounds means that if, say, they wrote down their understanding of the sun, one should be able to distinguish them.


Yes but this doesn't counter what I've said.

lapwing wrote:
"Most of those doctrinal agreements are disputed by one sect or another."
I'm not sure what you mean by sects - just see what is common in the references I gave you. I think you may be surprised by the degree of agreement.


By sect, I mean other people who consider themselves Christians but have certain doctrines that differentiate them from others who consider themselves Christians. The problem with those references like I said is that one could easily find other Christian sects that do not agree some of those statements.
Also as I already said, the degree of agreement with the doctrine of a certain sect doesn't make it the right one.

lapwing wrote:
"I don't decide what to believe. My beliefs are formed based on some sort of evidence, reasoning and other internal processes."
This still doesn't make sense - are you saying you take no active part in the process of the formation of your beliefs - a kind of osmosis rather than personal thought?  If that is so then why do people have different beliefs?



People have different beliefs for various reasons e.g different exposures, different attitudes to learning, different ages etc.
The part I take in the formation of the belief is one of seeking out knowledge in multiple fields that include the physical sciences for information about the natural world and the social sciences for information on how we think and possible errors in the process. And where possible, verify what is being claimed.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on March 13, 2012, 04:55:07 pm
"Okay if someone interprets it as having occurred, am I to believe it?"
Given that the Koranic text does not specify the moon being reformed, then it would seem likely that the interpretation that this is describing a future event is the most likely. As I said before, if you really want the answer to this question it would be best to examine Muslim scholarship based on reading the Koran in Arabic. I am not qualified to answer this question.

"Why should that resurrection be more believable than a talking animal?"
I was making the point that the truth of Christianity rests on the truth of the Resurrection. The story of Balaam's ass is not such a game changer - if this were disproved but the resurrection were proved, Christianity would still be valid, but not vice versa.

"The problem with those references like I said is that one could easily find other Christian sects that do not agree some of those statements."
I still think it's better to look for agreement rather than disagreement as a general principle e.g. fewer armed conflicts. Both the Apostles' and Nicene creed are used by a wide range of mainstream churches and if you examine http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM and compare that with the views of reformed Christians in the Westminster Confession you will find that the degree of agreement far exceeds the disagreement. What does the beliefs of "other Christian sects" (whatever that means) prove except that people adopt different views.

"People have different beliefs for various reasons e.g different exposures, different attitudes to learning, different ages etc." This looks like the nature/nurture debate. So are you saying that two identical twins brought up in the same environment are bound to have the exact same set of beliefs? In the end you make a decision e.g. when you vote in an election after studying the manifestos.Why are you so reluctant to own up to this.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on March 17, 2012, 07:09:04 am
lapwing wrote: "Okay if someone interprets it as having occurred, am I to believe it?"
Given that the Koranic text does not specify the moon being reformed, then it would seem likely that the interpretation that this is describing a future event is the most likely. As I said before, if you really want the answer to this question it would be best to examine Muslim scholarship based on reading the Koran in Arabic. I am not qualified to answer this question.


I think that you are to some extent. My question isn't on what Muslim apologists have decided on, but on whether or not one is justified in believing it if their interpretation was that it had occurred.

lapwing wrote:
"Why should that resurrection be more believable than a talking animal?"
I was making the point that the truth of Christianity rests on the truth of the Resurrection. The story of Balaam's ass is not such a game changer - if this were disproved but the resurrection were proved, Christianity would still be valid, but not vice versa.


It may not rest on that particular story but the story is in the Bible along with many others. How does one decide on what to believe and what to discard? If one is simply discarding stories that they find incredible, they could eventually end up discarding the resurrection too.

lapwing wrote:
"The problem with those references like I said is that one could easily find other Christian sects that do not agree some of those statements."
I still think it's better to look for agreement rather than disagreement as a general principle e.g. fewer armed conflicts. Both the Apostles' and Nicene creed are used by a wide range of mainstream churches and if you examine http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM and compare that with the views of reformed Christians in the Westminster Confession you will find that the degree of agreement far exceeds the disagreement. What does the beliefs of "other Christian sects" (whatever that means) prove except that people adopt different views.


Why will that be better for me when my point rests on their disagreements?

lapwing wrote:
"People have different beliefs for various reasons e.g different exposures, different attitudes to learning, different ages etc." This looks like the nature/nurture debate. So are you saying that two identical twins brought up in the same environment are bound to have the exact same set of beliefs? In the end you make a decision e.g. when you vote in an election after studying the manifestos.Why are you so reluctant to own up to this.


No they're not. The way I see it, the decisions they have are on the methods they use to form a belief. e.g I form my beliefs based on science and evidence so telling me that I can simply choose to believe something contrary to evidence or in the absence of evidence will not work. A religious person forms their belief also on science and evidence only that they add on their supernatural beliefs which isn't really justified.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on March 22, 2012, 05:22:48 pm
I still maintain that what the Koranic text actually means is a prerequisite for discussing it. With a lack of consensus from the Muslim scholars I see no value in discussing it given your assumption which may be false.

"How does one decide on what to believe and what to discard?"
I don't think that discard is the right word. You may have meant "not regard as referring to a historical event".The simplest answer is refer to good commentaries e.g. the Tyndale series. Also use established techniques to evaluate the nature of a biblical text (exegesis) and there are plenty of textbooks that teach such techniques. So in the book of Revelation, it is made clear that what is described is a series of visions that John saw *in the Spirit". It is not intended to be factual. God is a spiritual being but we are material so from that we know it is not meant to be taken literally. The Resurrection is described as a historical event.

"Why will that be better for me when my point rests on their disagreements?"
Christianity is often attacked as a cause of war and strife but you prefer disagreement over agreement. Do you see that actually this is a symptom of the cause of human strife - the preference for strife over harmony. Looking at http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM there is much more that I agree with than with which I disagree even though I'm a protestant.

"they add on their supernatural beliefs which isn't really justified."
I dispute your "add on". The universe was created by God and we are all made in God's image. God is not a spiritual appendix to the material world. This view is only not justified if you assume there is no God which has never been proved.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on March 25, 2012, 05:32:09 am
lapwing wrote: I still maintain that what the Koranic text actually means is a prerequisite for discussing it. With a lack of consensus from the Muslim scholars I see no value in discussing it given your assumption which may be false.


Okay. In that case, why don't we take a look at the Book of Mormon. It too recounts fantastic stories such as horses and chariots in the Americas, the absence of light for three days all over the earth after the death of Jesus, etc.
And the Qur'an talks about humans coming from a fluid issuing from somewhere between the "loins and the ribs".
Is one justified in believing these?

lapwing wrote:
"How does one decide on what to believe and what to discard?"
I don't think that discard is the right word. You may have meant "not regard as referring to a historical event".The simplest answer is refer to good commentaries e.g. the Tyndale series. Also use established techniques to evaluate the nature of a biblical text (exegesis) and there are plenty of textbooks that teach such techniques. So in the book of Revelation, it is made clear that what is described is a series of visions that John saw *in the Spirit". It is not intended to be factual. God is a spiritual being but we are material so from that we know it is not meant to be taken literally. The Resurrection is described as a historical event.


What do the commentaries have to say about stories such as the talking donkey or the turning of someone into salt?
How about the resurrection of others that occurred with the crucifixion?

lapwing wrote:
"Why will that be better for me when my point rests on their disagreements?"
Christianity is often attacked as a cause of war and strife but you prefer disagreement over agreement. Do you see that actually this is a symptom of the cause of human strife - the preference for strife over harmony. Looking at http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM there is much more that I agree with than with which I disagree even though I'm a protestant.


My points lie in the disagreements. I'm accepting that they're called Christians due to some shared beliefs just as Muslims whether Sunni or Shi'a are called Muslims due to shared beliefs. The differences show that there isn't really a way to know which doctrine is right.

lapwing wrote:
"they add on their supernatural beliefs which isn't really justified."
I dispute your "add on". The universe was created by God and we are all made in God's image. God is not a spiritual appendix to the material world. This view is only not justified if you assume there is no God which has never been proved.


You don't agree that these supernatural beliefs are added on? Now do you believe in witches, leprechauns or faeries? Why would you believe in your God and not e.g Brahman?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on March 29, 2012, 05:44:55 am

Qu'ran Surah 86 "loins and the ribs"
This is another case where the Moslem scholars have different views -
see for instance http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Qur'an_and_Semen_Production_(Qur'an_86:7
It appears to be using poetic, not scientific language.
I don't think one should judge such texts using a modern scientific mindset.

Mormonism and the Book of Mormon
It is apparent that this religion cannot be considered as normatively Christian. Polygamy (now rejected by CofLDS), humans becoming gods, rejection of the orthodox understanding of the Trinity, baptism for the dead. Much of the Book of Mormon is denied by archaeology -
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

However, I'm not sure this is the way forward for our discussion.
One could always produce one more religion which has miraculous claims.
What would that prove or disprove? The existence of religions with false claims of miracles does not invalidate the truth of Christianity. Anyone can make up a false religion anytime. I could make up a false theory of relativity
but that wouldn't, of itself, invalidate Einstein's theory.

"Talking donkey" i.e. Balaam's donkey
There are other difficulties in this passage (Num 22:22-35) with an apparent change of mind by God from v20 to v22. Some commentators hold that this passage comes from a different tradition about Balaam, a person for whom there is archaeological evidence at Deir Allah. However, the meaning of the whole passage is clear: Israel's enemy Balak sent for Balaam (from the Euphrates area - Iraq?) to curse Israel but Balaam could not comply and so go against God's will.

I think one should be wary of having a modern hierarchy of believableness for miracles. So Jesus healing the sick might be considered more acceptable than Balaam's ass or Jonah's whale. An almighty creator God is clearly capable of doing any miracle. It is better to consider the context, meaning and nature of each passage.

Lot's wife - Josephus (Antiquities I:12) claimed to have seen this in his time, but clearly one could say it was a natural formation such as occur in the Dead Sea area. The above argument applies.

"The differences show that there isn't really a way to know which doctrine is right."
But maybe you're being too scientific. Theology is not like double entry book keeping and there are bound to be differences of opinion. If God were to prescribe the exactly-right-set-of-Christian-beliefs (and I'm not convinced that such a concept is necessarily valid) would that not vitiate man's free will and use of his own mind. God asked Adam to name the animals
i.e. to think for himself.

Witches, leprechauns and faeries
The Bible describes evil spirits so some of these manifestations may be those. One has to weigh the evidence in each case. Witches are human beings who claim magic abilities - there are instances of this in the Bible but they are rare. Medieval witch trials - there are cases where such charges were trumped up in order to settle more mundane disagreements.

I've just finished Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A refreshing read from a theologian who was not afraid to tackle the difficulties of Christianity and think outside the box, but who clearly found support through his faith. A good book for you to read I would think.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 02, 2012, 01:03:02 am
lapwing wrote:

Qu'ran Surah 86 "loins and the ribs"
This is another case where the Moslem scholars have different views -
see for instance http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Qur'an_and_Semen_Production_(Qur'an_86:7
It appears to be using poetic, not scientific language.
I don't think one should judge such texts using a modern scientific mindset.


This idea can be used to justify just about any idea out there. How can one tell the sense in which that passage was to be read say 1000 years ago? Or do we conclude that it is poetic language because we now know it to be false?

lapwing wrote:

Mormonism and the Book of Mormon
It is apparent that this religion cannot be considered as normatively Christian. Polygamy (now rejected by CofLDS), humans becoming gods, rejection of the orthodox understanding of the Trinity, baptism for the dead. Much of the Book of Mormon is denied by archaeology -
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

However, I'm not sure this is the way forward for our discussion.
One could always produce one more religion which has miraculous claims.
What would that prove or disprove? The existence of religions with false claims of miracles does not invalidate the truth of Christianity. Anyone can make up a false religion anytime. I could make up a false theory of relativity
but that wouldn't, of itself, invalidate Einstein's theory.

What I've done shows the problems with the sorts of stories found in religious texts. Sure the existence of religions with false claims doesn't invalidate Christianity but why should the fantastic stories in the Bible be believed while that of other religions discarded? Is there some other method of deciding which stories are believable?

lapwing wrote:

"Talking donkey" i.e. Balaam's donkey
There are other difficulties in this passage (Num 22:22-35) with an apparent change of mind by God from v20 to v22. Some commentators hold that this passage comes from a different tradition about Balaam, a person for whom there is archaeological evidence at Deir Allah. However, the meaning of the whole passage is clear: Israel's enemy Balak sent for Balaam (from the Euphrates area - Iraq?) to curse Israel but Balaam could not comply and so go against God's will.

I think one should be wary of having a modern hierarchy of believableness for miracles. So Jesus healing the sick might be considered more acceptable than Balaam's ass or Jonah's whale. An almighty creator God is clearly capable of doing any miracle. It is better to consider the context, meaning and nature of each passage.

One thing that is clear is that we understand the world better now than 2000 years ago so why should one be more accepting of those things that we would be skeptical of now? I see no reason why I should consider Jesus' miracles as being more believable than Jonah's whale or Balaam's ass.

Sure an almighty creator is capable of doing any miracle but is there a reason for one to be reasonably justified in saying that he performed a particular miracle?

lapwing wrote:

Lot's wife - Josephus (Antiquities I:12) claimed to have seen this in his time, but clearly one could say it was a natural formation such as occur in the Dead Sea area. The above argument applies.

Maybe he too was wrong? After all, he was partly Jewish and maybe he too believed in that myth. If it was a natural formation, then it wasn't Lot's wife and thus more cracks appear in those stories too. Unless of course you wish to now turn it into poetic language.

lapwing wrote:

"The differences show that there isn't really a way to know which doctrine is right."
But maybe you're being too scientific. Theology is not like double entry book keeping and there are bound to be differences of opinion. If God were to prescribe the exactly-right-set-of-Christian-beliefs (and I'm not convinced that such a concept is necessarily valid) would that not vitiate man's free will and use of his own mind. God asked Adam to name the animals
i.e. to think for himself.

I don't see anything wrong with being scientifically minded (in the general sense) especially when we consider how successful it has been. The problem with the differences of opinion in theology is that there is no way to solve them because even the subject of discussion is questionable.

If God were to make those prescriptions, I don't see how it affects free will. After all, he is said to have given moral, dietary and clothing prescriptions. These don't seem to have affected free will have they?

lapwing wrote:

Witches, leprechauns and faeries
The Bible describes evil spirits so some of these manifestations may be those. One has to weigh the evidence in each case. Witches are human beings who claim magic abilities - there are instances of this in the Bible but they are rare. Medieval witch trials - there are cases where such charges were trumped up in order to settle more mundane disagreements.

But do you believe in them? If there are witches, then according to the Bible, they have to die. Have you considered that maybe leprechauns and faeries are mythical creatures just like unicorns and fire-breathing dragons?

lapwing wrote:

I've just finished Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A refreshing read from a theologian who was not afraid to tackle the difficulties of Christianity and think outside the box, but who clearly found support through his faith. A good book for you to read I would think.



Hmm. I don't think I'll be able to read it though I'll be willing to discuss the ideas he presents in the book that you find convincing.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 04, 2012, 12:49:04 pm

"How can one tell the sense in which that passage was to be read say 1000 years ago?" Caesar's Gallic Wars are not to be read in a poetic sense. Arguing that that is because it doesn't contain miracles is suspect since one can find poetry in the Bible that does not have miraculous content e.g. Proverbs.

"Why should the fantastic stories in the Bible be believed while that of other religions discarded?" You are yet to produce a fantastic story from another religion that is comparable in style and context to the accounts of miracles in the Bible.

"we understand the world better now than 2000 years ago" In scientific terms yes but less so in other fields.

"I see no reason why I should consider Jesus' miracles as being more believable than Jonah's whale or Balaam's ass." I agree a priori. It all depends on the text: God can perform any miracle.

I don't consider Josephus work poetic. However, from your own words the "cracks" may or may not be there.

"The problem with the differences of opinion in theology is that there is no way to solve them" Ah the scientific mindset again. Something that cannot be solved scientifically is not worth investigating. Wrong! The point of theology and philosophy is that the questions are so important they ought to be asked unless you think that asking questions like "Why am I here" has no value.

Moral "prescriptions" such as "love your neighbour" still leave people with the choice of how to obey, but we are talking about disagreements such as infant vs adult baptism. These are not the same type of thing.

Witches, leprechauns, faeries

Do you mean do I believe in witchcraft? As I said before any valid observations may be due to the action of evil spirits. Of course, belief in leprechauns and fairies can be traced to myths. However, as C S Lewis discussed, there are such things as "true myths". That doesn't mean I necessarily hold that the myths of leprechauns and faeries are true.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 06, 2012, 05:22:57 pm
lapwing wrote:

"How can one tell the sense in which that passage was to be read say 1000 years ago?" Caesar's Gallic Wars are not to be read in a poetic sense. Arguing that that is because it doesn't contain miracles is suspect since one can find poetry in the Bible that does not have miraculous content e.g. Proverbs.



Do we conclude that the passage is in poetic language because it is false? I ask because I don't see how that passage was being poetic.


lapwing wrote:

"Why should the fantastic stories in the Bible be believed while that of other religions discarded?" You are yet to produce a fantastic story from another religion that is comparable in style and context to the accounts of miracles in the Bible.


I presented you with one from the Book of Mormon. Is that to be believed? Though the stories may vary in style due to the differences in their authorship, my question still remains on how one can justify believing in one but not the others without committing logical fallacies or being inconsistent.


lapwing wrote:

"we understand the world better now than 2000 years ago" In scientific terms yes but less so in other fields.


Less so in what fields? I thought that pretty much all acceptable fields of knowledge have made huge improvements even if the improvements may be more in some fields than others.


lapwing wrote:

"I see no reason why I should consider Jesus' miracles as being more believable than Jonah's whale or Balaam's ass." I agree a priori. It all depends on the text: God can perform any miracle.


Saying "God can perform any miracle" is no justification because that would also apply to those miracles you do not believe. He could have performed them too.


lapwing wrote:

I don't consider Josephus work poetic. However, from your own words the "cracks" may or may not be there.


No, from my words, the cracks are there.


lapwing wrote:

"The problem with the differences of opinion in theology is that there is no way to solve them" Ah the scientific mindset again. Something that cannot be solved scientifically is not worth investigating. Wrong! The point of theology and philosophy is that the questions are so important they ought to be asked unless you think that asking questions like "Why am I here" has no value.

Moral "prescriptions" such as "love your neighbour" still leave people with the choice of how to obey, but we are talking about disagreements such as infant vs adult baptism. These are not the same type of thing.


I'm not saying that something that cannot be solved scientifically isn't worth investigating, what I'm saying is that in the case of theology, the subject under discussion (God) is questionable.

A philosopher may ask "why am I here" a theologian tries to answer it by introducing his questionable God.

Well, philosophy and theology aren't the same type of thing so I don't see why you're lumping them together. Theology as I see it, tries to talk about what theologians claim they themselves do not or cannot ever fathom.


lapwing wrote:

Witches, leprechauns, faeries

Do you mean do I believe in witchcraft? As I said before any valid observations may be due to the action of evil spirits. Of course, belief in leprechauns and fairies can be traced to myths. However, as C S Lewis discussed, there are such things as "true myths". That doesn't mean I necessarily hold that the myths of leprechauns and faeries are true.



No, I mean do you believe that there are people that can be pointed at who turn out to actually be witches? Saying that about valid observations pretty much enables those so inclined to say that volcano eruptions, tsunamis, total eclipses etc are the works of these witches.
Why don't you hold the idea of leprechauns and faeries as true?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 08, 2012, 04:23:24 pm

"Do we conclude that the passage is in poetic language because it is false?"

If you are referring to Surah 86, then surely your statement that it is false, is only true if you read it in a scientific way (even though it was written in a pre

scientific age). Surely, it is better to first determine the nature of the text, taking the views of Koranic scholars into account.

The Bible, The Koran and the Book of Mormon.

Although each of these books are the books on which the corresponding religions are founded, the Bible is significantly different from the other two in that it is a set of books (lit a library) written by several human authors rather than a single book either written or discovered by a single person. So which book(s) of the Bible is like the Book of Mormon in your opinion? The inclusion of horses, elephants, cattle, goats, swine, barley and wheat in the BoM before they were introduced to the Americas is a type of weakness not shared with the Bible.

"Less so in what fields?"

Some people argue that the finest plays ever written were those of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles. Aristotle still figures greatly in the teaching of western philosophy. This also points to a difference between science and the arts. Science mostly builds on previous work whereas in the arts there may be a progression of genres but it is harder to argue that, say, the plays of Beckett are better than those of Shakespeare.

"from my words, the cracks are there."

No you can only say they may be there. You didn't see what Josephus saw and you don't know why he wrote that he saw the salt pillar believed to be Lot's wife.

"valid observations"

I was thinking more in terms of demon possession of people as recorded in the gospels and the biblical descriptions of witchcraft e.g. the Egyptian sorcerers in contest with Moses before Pharaoh. It is important to realise that the power of evil spirits and witches are fearful but not unlimited.

"Why don't you hold the idea of leprechauns and faeries as true?"

I don't say that they are necessarily true or false. A belief that depends on myth (e.g. King Arthur) may have some basis in fact. Some people hold that the Arthurian myth is based on a real person or persons.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 09, 2012, 04:02:51 pm
lapwing wrote:

"Do we conclude that the passage is in poetic language because it is false?"

If you are referring to Surah 86, then surely your statement that it is false, is only true if you read it in a scientific way (even though it was written in a pre

scientific age). Surely, it is better to first determine the nature of the text, taking the views of Koranic scholars into account.



What if the views of these scholars changed with the gain in scientific knowledge? If they used to believe it was literally true in the past but now believe due to science that it isn't literally true, what then are others to believe?


lapwing wrote:

The Bible, The Koran and the Book of Mormon.

Although each of these books are the books on which the corresponding religions are founded, the Bible is significantly different from the other two in that it is a set of books (lit a library) written by several human authors rather than a single book either written or discovered by a single person. So which book(s) of the Bible is like the Book of Mormon in your opinion? The inclusion of horses, elephants, cattle, goats, swine, barley and wheat in the BoM before they were introduced to the Americas is a type of weakness not shared with the Bible.


Take the book of Matthew for instance. It mentioned earthquakes and dead people roaming the streets following Jesus' death and the Book of Mormon talks about darkness over the entire earth following his death. Are we to believe them too? The issue of horses and elephants appearing in the Americas before their time is like in Genesis with plants appearing before the sun.


lapwing wrote:

"Less so in what fields?"

Some people argue that the finest plays ever written were those of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles. Aristotle still figures greatly in the teaching of western philosophy. This also points to a difference between science and the arts. Science mostly builds on previous work whereas in the arts there may be a progression of genres but it is harder to argue that, say, the plays of Beckett are better than those of Shakespeare.


I would think that we understand those plays better now than they did 2000 years ago. Nowadays, with the wealth of information from the expansion of genres, other routes of self expression, increased knowledge of human psychology, I would say that we do in fact understand them better now than previously.

On a side note, are you saying that we are to take the information in the Bible such as is in Genesis and Exodus as being art or poetry rather than actual history? If so, why? Those are the sorts of folk knowledge that was available in those times.


lapwing wrote:

"from my words, the cracks are there."

No you can only say they may be there. You didn't see what Josephus saw and you don't know why he wrote that he saw the salt pillar believed to be Lot's wife.


I can say that because whatever he saw wasn't Lot's wife. He may have believed it was but it actually wasn't. He was simply reporting folk knowledge. These are things that we simply wouldn't accept.


lapwing wrote:

"valid observations"

I was thinking more in terms of demon possession of people as recorded in the gospels and the biblical descriptions of witchcraft e.g. the Egyptian sorcerers in contest with Moses before Pharaoh. It is important to realise that the power of evil spirits and witches are fearful but not unlimited.


So are we to take the biblical descriptions of these Egyptian sorcerers as being historically accurate?

Do you have any idea of what witches and evil spirits can do?


lapwing wrote:

"Why don't you hold the idea of leprechauns and faeries as true?"

I don't say that they are necessarily true or false. A belief that depends on myth (e.g. King Arthur) may have some basis in fact. Some people hold that the Arthurian myth is based on a real person or persons.



Sure the Arthur story may have been based on a person but does that mean that someone should also believe the stories about Excalibur, the witch and other ancillary stories?
Are you saying that these leprechauns and faeries are based on evil spirits?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 10, 2012, 03:26:30 pm

"What if the views of these scholars changed with the gain in scientific knowledge? If they used to believe it was literally true in the past but now believe due to science that it isn't literally true, what then are others to believe?"

Too many ifs!

"The issue of horses and elephants appearing in the Americas before their time is like in Genesis with plants appearing before the sun."

I disagree - the book of Mormon passages are not about the creation of the earth. A closer parallel would be say, Abraham chewing tobacco at the door of his tent or the spies bringing potatoes back from Canaan. The Genesis account of the creation is an issue, of course but I don't think it has any parallel with what I said about the BoM.

"It mentioned earthquakes and dead people roaming the streets following Jesus' death and the Book of Mormon talks about darkness over the entire earth following his death."

This sounds more likely - do you have a reference for the BoM passage?

"I would think that we understand those plays better now than they did 2000 years ago"

I was thinking of the ability to write the plays, not understand them. I think "better" should be replaced by "differently".

"whatever Josephus saw wasn't Lot's wife; He was simply reporting folk knowledge."

Josephus said he saw the salt pillar that he believed was Lot's wife. You have a clear presumption against miracles and God's existence.

"Are you saying that these leprechauns and faeries are based on evil spirits?"

No I don't think one can be so dogmatic as per Arthur. I would want to know more about the root of our beliefs in fairies and leprechauns. I'm just putting forward the idea as a possible explanation.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 12, 2012, 04:13:26 am
lapwing wrote:

"What if the views of these scholars changed with the gain in scientific knowledge? If they used to believe it was literally true in the past but now believe due to science that it isn't literally true, what then are others to believe?"

Too many ifs!



That doesn't negate the fact that simply claiming poetic license doesn't get people out of what is considered factual information.


lapwing wrote:

"The issue of horses and elephants appearing in the Americas before their time is like in Genesis with plants appearing before the sun."

I disagree - the book of Mormon passages are not about the creation of the earth. A closer parallel would be say, Abraham chewing tobacco at the door of his tent or the spies bringing potatoes back from Canaan. The Genesis account of the creation is an issue, of course but I don't think it has any parallel with what I said about the BoM.


I think it does. The parallels are that the information both present are incongruent with the times they're referring to. While your parallel may be closer, you've already pointed out that they're written in different styles so I'm simply pointing out that some of what is mentioned as factual simply cannot be considered that way when one understands the time sequence involved.

lapwing wrote:

"It mentioned earthquakes and dead people roaming the streets following Jesus' death and the Book of Mormon talks about darkness over the entire earth following his death."

This sounds more likely - do you have a reference for the BoM passage?


3 Nephi 8 talks about the events following Jesus' death. The darkness occurs in verses 20 to 22.


lapwing wrote:

"I would think that we understand those plays better now than they did 2000 years ago"

I was thinking of the ability to write the plays, not understand them. I think "better" should be replaced by "differently".


I was talking about understanding in general.


lapwing wrote:

"whatever Josephus saw wasn't Lot's wife; He was simply reporting folk knowledge."

Josephus said he saw the salt pillar that he believed was Lot's wife. You have a clear presumption against miracles and God's existence.


Sure I do. That is how I view things for which the evidence is poor or lacking and contrary to what we have learned.


lapwing wrote:

"Are you saying that these leprechauns and faeries are based on evil spirits?"

No I don't think one can be so dogmatic as per Arthur. I would want to know more about the root of our beliefs in fairies and leprechauns. I'm just putting forward the idea as a possible explanation.



For evil spirits to be a possible explanation, we would need to know what spirits are and what leprechauns and faeries are. Leprechauns and faeries look like the usual legends that are available in pretty much all cultures. And for some reason, they tend to disappear with better information and skepticism. But what can one say about spirits before going on to talk about the evil ones?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 12, 2012, 01:27:01 pm

We'll have to agree to disagree over your idea that Gen ch 1 parallels the problems with the BoM I delineated. I've only looked at that one chapter 3 nephi 8: it seems derivative of the style of the Bible and uses place names of places that are unspecified.  I don't think it's comparable. I've been to Jerusalem but where is Zarahemla? Also the heading of the chapter contains details that are not obvious from the text.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 13, 2012, 01:40:51 am
lapwing wrote:

We'll have to agree to disagree over your idea that Gen ch 1 parallels the problems with the BoM I delineated.



You could disagree though you'd be wrong. As I said, the problem is that something existed somewhere before it was supposed to.


lapwing wrote:

I've only looked at that one chapter 3 nephi 8: it seems derivative of the style of the Bible and uses place names of places that are unspecified.  I don't think it's comparable. I've been to Jerusalem but where is Zarahemla? Also the heading of the chapter contains details that are not obvious from the text.



Why don't you think it is comparable? Is it because you don't know the places being referred to or what? I'm not comparing styles of writing, I'm comparing whether or not believing the claims is justifiable.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 13, 2012, 08:53:57 am

"You could disagree though you'd be wrong."!!

and there I thought theists were supposed to be dogmatic and atheists were reasonable free thinkers. I was wrong.

afaik the BoM does not have any accounts of the creation unless you know otherwise. There is an issue with what you said about Gen ch 1 but it does not have a parallel in the BoM.

Jerusalem and Zarahemla

So are you saying that the fact that no one knows where Zarahemla is irrelevant? Do you know where Zarahemla is - confirmed by archaeology?

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 14, 2012, 05:58:33 am
lapwing wrote:

"You could disagree though you'd be wrong."!!

and there I thought theists were supposed to be dogmatic and atheists were reasonable free thinkers. I was wrong.



Sure you were.


lapwing wrote:

afaik the BoM does not have any accounts of the creation unless you know otherwise. There is an issue with what you said about Gen ch 1 but it does not have a parallel in the BoM.


The Book of Mormon doesn't need those accounts, they get that part from the Bible.


lapwing wrote:

Jerusalem and Zarahemla

So are you saying that the fact that no one knows where Zarahemla is irrelevant? Do you know where Zarahemla is - confirmed by archaeology?



It isn't that relevant here. After all, do you know where Mt. Ararat is?
All I'm talking about is looking at the justifications for accepting what is written in such books.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 15, 2012, 03:30:20 am

Mt Ararat is on the border of Turkey, Armenia and Iran nr Yerevan and Ararat.

It's more like a mountain range than a mountain - the highest in the region.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 15, 2012, 06:11:08 am
lapwing wrote:

Mt Ararat is on the border of Turkey, Armenia and Iran nr Yerevan and Ararat.

It's more like a mountain range than a mountain - the highest in the region.



Okay, how about the Garden of Eden? Where is it? Are justified in believing that there was a Garden of Eden?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 18, 2012, 01:32:41 pm

Laying the Book of Mormon aside, we can focus on the more relevant question of the historicity of the OT and Genesis in particular. I think most Christians agree that the so called OT historical books (Genesis to Esther) are theological history. Any history book is not an exhaustive account of past events - the historian has to be selective. There is a theological purpose in the OT emphasising Israel's special covenant relationship with God.

Genesis has been the subject of debate for a long time, especially since the Wellhausen J,E,D,P theory was first expounded. This is not the right place to discuss such matters in depth. As I said before Gen ch:1-11 differs from the rest in subject matter. Abraham (not Noah or Adam) is the father of the Jews. The first section serves as an introduction to get to a place where Abram can first appear. One thing to note is that from Abraham onwards, the incidentals ring true e.g. the nomadic pastoralism, importance of wells, caravans going to Egypt. There are miracles but they fit into a believable narrative. The creation, Noah's flood and tower of Babel (Babylon?) do not contain the same level of mundaneity. I'm not convinced by the argument that Jesus spoke of Adam as a real person.

So the bottom line is that I don't know whether the Garden of Eden is intended to be interpreted as a real place or not, and I don't think that we have enough evidence from the Bible to decide this point. This does not apply to the gospel story of Jesus.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 20, 2012, 02:19:27 pm
lapwing wrote:

Laying the Book of Mormon aside, we can focus on the more relevant question of the historicity of the OT and Genesis in particular. I think most Christians agree that the so called OT historical books (Genesis to Esther) are theological history. Any history book is not an exhaustive account of past events - the historian has to be selective. There is a theological purpose in the OT emphasising Israel's special covenant relationship with God.



My point isn't just one of historicity but also of justification for believing the sorts of things in these books.

I mean, I don't think that you accept that what Josephus saw was actually Lot's wife as a pillar of salt.


lapwing wrote:

Genesis has been the subject of debate for a long time, especially since the Wellhausen J,E,D,P theory was first expounded. This is not the right place to discuss such matters in depth. As I said before Gen ch:1-11 differs from the rest in subject matter. Abraham (not Noah or Adam) is the father of the Jews. The first section serves as an introduction to get to a place where Abram can first appear. One thing to note is that from Abraham onwards, the incidentals ring true e.g. the nomadic pastoralism, importance of wells, caravans going to Egypt. There are miracles but they fit into a believable narrative. The creation, Noah's flood and tower of Babel (Babylon?) do not contain the same level of mundaneity. I'm not convinced by the argument that Jesus spoke of Adam as a real person.


How about the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt? You're effectively splitting the Bible into more and less believable portions. Sure it would be easier to accept those ones since they're not that out of the ordinary but what I'm interested in is the belief in the extraordinary.

Why doesn't Jesus speaking of Adam as a real person influence your thoughts on the early portions of Genesis? He would be in a good position to know what happened then.


lapwing wrote:

So the bottom line is that I don't know whether the Garden of Eden is intended to be interpreted as a real place or not, and I don't think that we have enough evidence from the Bible to decide this point. This does not apply to the gospel story of Jesus.



If you discard Jesus as not being a strong source of evidence, then what would help you decide? Modern scientific findings?
The gospel story of Jesus has those people raised from the dead and walking round the city, earthquakes, and a darkening of the sky. Are we to believe that too?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 21, 2012, 08:58:25 am

Hello blank,

There seem to be two questions here.

1. Are miracles possible? This is determined by whether you believe an almighty God (who can do and actually does miracles) exists or not.

2. Is a particular religious text, describing a miraculous event, to be understood as literal (i.e. the meaning is that the event happened as described) or not.

So for example Acts is literal and Revelation is not literal.

I'm not sure which question you are asking

I believe in an almighty God who raised His Son from the dead. That is a miracle and there is no hierarchy of difficulty for God. God is capable of any miracle apart from logical impossibilities. So I don't agree with the implication of your phrase "more and less believable" as if there is some limit to God's power.

"I don't think that you accept that what Josephus saw was actually Lot's wife as a pillar of salt."

You have made a wrong assumption about what I believe.


splitting the Bible

You seem to be (deliberately?) confusing two things here. The Bible is a library of books of different genres written over a long period by many different authors. So, in that sense it is split already. But it has a remarkable unity of message pointing to its divine inspiration.

Jesus speaking of Adam as a real person

I was wrong earlier: Jesus never referred to Adam in direct speech in the gospel record.

Modern scientific findings

For miraculous events, science is of no use since miracles, by definition, cannot be explained by science. One should use historical, literary etc. anaylsis of the texts.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 22, 2012, 08:50:39 am
lapwing wrote:

Hello blank,

There seem to be two questions here.

1. Are miracles possible? This is determined by whether you believe an almighty God (who can do and actually does miracles) exists or not.



What I'm asking is whether one is justified in believing these miracles when they are reported to us.


lapwing wrote:

2. Is a particular religious text, describing a miraculous event, to be understood as literal (i.e. the meaning is that the event happened as described) or not.

So for example Acts is literal and Revelation is not literal.


Yes.


lapwing wrote:

I'm not sure which question you are asking

I'm asking the rectified first question and the second question.


lapwing wrote:

I believe in an almighty God who raised His Son from the dead. That is a miracle and there is no hierarchy of difficulty for God. God is capable of any miracle apart from logical impossibilities. So I don't agree with the implication of your phrase "more and less believable" as if there is some limit to God's power.


Given that one of the criteria for being a God in the sense you mean is not being human. Would the miracle of Jesus being both human and God be a logical impossibility?


lapwing wrote:

"I don't think that you accept that what Josephus saw was actually Lot's wife as a pillar of salt."

You have made a wrong assumption about what I believe.


Oh? I'm sorry about that. So do you believe that what Josephus saw was actually Lot's wife as a pillar of salt?

lapwing wrote:

splitting the Bible

You seem to be (deliberately?) confusing two things here. The Bible is a library of books of different genres written over a long period by many different authors. So, in that sense it is split already. But it has a remarkable unity of message pointing to its divine inspiration.


I know the Bible is considered a library of books. You split Genesis yourself. Or are you considering Genesis to be a group of different books? And when you split Genesis that way, what happens to the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt?


lapwing wrote:

Jesus speaking of Adam as a real person

I was wrong earlier: Jesus never referred to Adam in direct speech in the gospel record.


Okay.


lapwing wrote:

Modern scientific findings

For miraculous events, science is of no use since miracles, by definition, cannot be explained by science. One should use historical, literary etc. anaylsis of the texts.



What sort of historical or literary evidence will justify one's believing that a miracle occurred?
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: Eric George on April 22, 2012, 04:19:52 pm
Wow,

This thread has gone way off topic and on to one heck of a rabbit-trail.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 23, 2012, 04:43:31 am

Hello blank,

I'll take "justified" to mean reasonable rather than "freed from the guilt of sin" through the blood of Jesus. So is it reasonable to believe that the NT accounts, if truthful, state that Jesus rose from the dead. I believe they do.

e.g. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." Lk 24:36 NIV and there are other verses in the NT that support this view.

So is the NT reliable? That question has been discussed by many people over many years. One cannot prove that the NT is sufficiently reliable to know with certainty that Jesus rose from the dead, neither can it be disproved; so how are we going to add anything to this long debate?

It's interesting to note in the post resurrection accounts that even though (according to the gospels) the followers of Jesus had heard him speak of His resurrection e.g. Lk 9:22 And He (i.e. Jesus) said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.", they were sceptical as well. The women took spices to preserve Jesus' body but found an empty tomb. The disciples did not initially believe what the women reported and Thomas who was not there when Jesus first appeared to the disciples in "the house" did not believe until Jesus appeared again. Now this pattern of skepticism about second hand reports until a first hand encounter with Jesus is still true today. If you go to adult baptisms where people confess their faith, you will rarely hear someone say that they studied the literary and historic credentials of the NT and that alone convinced them to become a Christian. Much more often people will talk about how God drew them to faith.

It would be an interesting exercise for you to contrast such testimonies with those from other religions.

Given that one of the criteria for being a God in the sense you mean is not being human. Would the miracle of Jesus being both human and God be a logical impossibility?

You are making an assumption about God that you cannot know is correct with certainty.

So do you believe that what Josephus saw was actually Lot's wife as a pillar of salt?

I believe that there are several salt formations and Josephus may have known that. Josephus does not go into detail so all one can say is that Josephus may have seen Lot's wife.

splitting Genesis

There are different opinions about this but the "split" in character at the end of Gen ch 11 is evident from the text. I described this previously.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 28, 2012, 08:16:51 am
Sorry had to be away for a while.

lapwing wrote:

Hello blank,

I'll take "justified" to mean reasonable rather than "freed from the guilt of sin" through the blood of Jesus. So is it reasonable to believe that the NT accounts, if truthful, state that Jesus rose from the dead. I believe they do.

e.g. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." Lk 24:36 NIV and there are other verses in the NT that support this view.

So is the NT reliable? That question has been discussed by many people over many years. One cannot prove that the NT is sufficiently reliable to know with certainty that Jesus rose from the dead, neither can it be disproved; so how are we going to add anything to this long debate?



Yeah I mean reasonable. This of course brings us back to my previous questions on whether the miraculous stories the New Testament should be more reasonable to believe than other stories and texts older and younger than it that also contain miracle stories. The only way to do that I think would lead one to selectively only accept miracles that agree to their previous religious beliefs.

lapwing wrote:

It's interesting to note in the post resurrection accounts that even though (according to the gospels) the followers of Jesus had heard him speak of His resurrection e.g. Lk 9:22 And He (i.e. Jesus) said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.", they were sceptical as well. The women took spices to preserve Jesus' body but found an empty tomb. The disciples did not initially believe what the women reported and Thomas who was not there when Jesus first appeared to the disciples in "the house" did not believe until Jesus appeared again. Now this pattern of skepticism about second hand reports until a first hand encounter with Jesus is still true today. If you go to adult baptisms where people confess their faith, you will rarely hear someone say that they studied the literary and historic credentials of the NT and that alone convinced them to become a Christian. Much more often people will talk about how God drew them to faith.

It would be an interesting exercise for you to contrast such testimonies with those from other religions.


The problem I see with parts of the story that say that is simply the fact that they were written after the fact by sympathetic people so the writer could have inserted stories and sayings to make it more believable.

People from other religions to have similar testimonies of being "touched" or "convinced" due to personal revelations. Some see this in certain number patterns, others in coincidences, still others in dreams. Still others for money and power.

lapwing wrote:

Given that one of the criteria for being a God in the sense you mean is not being human. Would the miracle of Jesus being both human and God be a logical impossibility?

You are making an assumption about God that you cannot know is correct with certainty.


Which assumption is that?


lapwing wrote:

So do you believe that what Josephus saw was actually Lot's wife as a pillar of salt?

I believe that there are several salt formations and Josephus may have known that. Josephus does not go into detail so all one can say is that Josephus may have seen Lot's wife.


Okay in other words, you believe that Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. Do you see why I think your stance is inconsistent? Or that you. at the very least, are using some hidden method in deciding what you believe and how you come to acquire these beliefs.


lapwing wrote:

splitting Genesis

There are different opinions about this but the "split" in character at the end of Gen ch 11 is evident from the text. I described this previously.



Yeah and I'm wondering if you also believe that the Israelites lived in Egypt as slaves and had to wander a desert for 40 years. I think this part should be pertinent in the story of the Israelites.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: maranatha33 on April 29, 2012, 03:03:52 am
If I may...
You may ask if one believes in the flood, Lot's wife (who interestingly enough turned to salt by the Dead Sea...the definition of salty...) The 40 year march, Noah, and other events of history that are in the Book of Genesis.  The three great monotheistic religions all have Genesis in the front.  These events require faith, no doubt.  But not near the amount of faith in not believing them.  It simply comes down to "In the Beginning, God created"... or "In the beginning, nothing exploded..."  Since the latter is simply impossible, then by default the former is true.  If the former is true, then the knowledge of the Creator can only be ascertained by the unanimous writings of the Creator, the Book of Genesis.  It is black or white, not gray... And I, for one, do not have enough "blind" faith to believe what is known to be impossible, nor the knowledge to compromise what the Truth tells us...
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on April 29, 2012, 03:57:26 am

Hello blank,

"more reasonable to believe than other stories and texts older and younger"

The problem with this is that it assumes one can assign a kind of probability of truthfulness or believability to accounts of miracles and come to some kind of comparison. Let's say 21% for the resurrection, 15% for Jesus walking on the water and 10% for the miraculous rescue of Delphi from the Persians (Herodotus book 8). I've just picked those numbers at random to illustrate the ridiculousness of this thinking. I challenged you to seriously consider the baptismal testimonies of believing Christians in my previous post. Did you actually do that? "Number patterns" etc seem to be things you've just made up for your posting. They are not particularly convincing that you have done this. Here's a few: http://www.pcfpoynton.org.uk/downloads/personal-testimonies/baptismal-testimonies-november-2010/index.htm

Which assumption is that?
Your false assumption that God cannot be incarnated as a human.

Do you see why I think your stance is inconsistent?

What is my stance in your opinion?

The Israelites lived in Egypt as slaves and had to wander a desert for 40 years

I assume you are hinting at the current archaeological knowledge of this. I can remember a very old school atlas where the Hittite region in Turkey had a huge question mark in it because there was no archaeological evidence for that civilisation at the time. The Hittites were mentioned in the Bible but that was treated skeptically by the "experts". Well we know differently now. So when atheists attack "the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence" they should remember the Hittites!

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 30, 2012, 01:33:47 pm
maranatha33 wrote: If I may...
You may ask if one believes in the flood, Lot's wife (who interestingly enough turned to salt by the Dead Sea...the definition of salty...) The 40 year march, Noah, and other events of history that are in the Book of Genesis.  The three great monotheistic religions all have Genesis in the front.


The fact that these three religions have Genesis in their beginnings doesn't make them more accurate. It simply shows the origins of these religions.

maranatha33 wrote:
These events require faith, no doubt.  But not near the amount of faith in not believing them.  It simply comes down to "In the Beginning, God created"... or "In the beginning, nothing exploded..."  Since the latter is simply impossible, then by default the former is true.  If the former is true, then the knowledge of the Creator can only be ascertained by the unanimous writings of the Creator, the Book of Genesis.  It is black or white, not gray... And I, for one, do not have enough "blind" faith to believe what is known to be impossible, nor the knowledge to compromise what the Truth tells us...


Not believing ancient myths doesn't take religious faith. I would say that believing them is what requires religious faith.
It doesn't necessarily come down to God (I take this to be your Christian God) creating or nothing exploding since all we know is that a singularity expanded into the universe. There are other hypothesis that physicists consider.
Then assuming that whatever God it was must be the Christian God is also a problematic conclusion since one sees no reason why that God is better than an indifferent God or one that died in creating the universe.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on April 30, 2012, 01:46:59 pm
lapwing wrote:

Hello blank,

"more reasonable to believe than other stories and texts older and younger"

The problem with this is that it assumes one can assign a kind of probability of truthfulness or believability to accounts of miracles and come to some kind of comparison. Let's say 21% for the resurrection, 15% for Jesus walking on the water and 10% for the miraculous rescue of Delphi from the Persians (Herodotus book 8). I've just picked those numbers at random to illustrate the ridiculousness of this thinking. I challenged you to seriously consider the baptismal testimonies of believing Christians in my previous post. Did you actually do that? "Number patterns" etc seem to be things you've just made up for your posting. They are not particularly convincing that you have done this. Here's a few: http://www.pcfpoynton.org.uk/downloads/personal-testimonies/baptismal-testimonies-november-2010/index.htm


I didn't do that due to how problematic such personal testimonies are. They're open to all sorts of cognitive biases and they're not unique to Christianity so I don't see any point in doing that besides, some who have experienced all that have still been able to reject that religion and switch to another one or none at all.

No they're not things I just made up. You could look up belomancy, numerology etc.


lapwing wrote:

Which assumption is that?
Your false assumption that God cannot be incarnated as a human.


If a God is incarnated as a human, is that human also God?


lapwing wrote:

Do you see why I think your stance is inconsistent?

What is my stance in your opinion?


In my opinion, your stance simply picks and chooses what to accept. You're willing to leave the creation events and the Garden of Eden hazy while believing that someone turned into salt.


lapwing wrote:

The Israelites lived in Egypt as slaves and had to wander a desert for 40 years

I assume you are hinting at the current archaeological knowledge of this. I can remember a very old school atlas where the Hittite region in Turkey had a huge question mark in it because there was no archaeological evidence for that civilisation at the time. The Hittites were mentioned in the Bible but that was treated skeptically by the "experts". Well we know differently now. So when atheists attack "the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence" they should remember the Hittites!



Yes I am. Why not be skeptical until the evidence is available? Also, there is a huge difference between the existence of a tribe in a place that could have supported them and the ideas expressed in the Exodus e.g the plagues, the huge population wandering the desert etc.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on May 01, 2012, 03:36:31 pm

"No they're not things I just made up. You could look up belomancy, numerology etc."

You misunderstood what I meant. I didn't mean that beliefs in "number systems" do not exist. Rather I meant that I didn't think you would have found references to "number systems" in the baptismal testimonies of Christian converts. In fact you never bothered to look at these. I was making the point that people rarely convert to Christianity based solely on some kind of probabilistic assessment of the historical truth of the resurrection. Before you make the obvious response this doesn't mean that Christians claim no rational/historical basis to their belief.

"they're not unique to Christianity"

I'm not sure what this means - each testimony is by definition unique to each person. Until you examine these testimonies seriously, without preconceptions, how can you make any comment about them.

"still been able to reject that religion"

Wrong thinking again. You seem to be implying that if someone rejects a religion, that means it can't be true. But what about people who do believe? Why does not then that prove the religion true? I'm not claiming that the number of believers proves Christianity true, but it cannot be discounted as to have no meaning.

is that human also God?

Why do you think this is impossible?

hazy

What a revealing word that is. The (so-called) scientific, reductionist view that must have definite single answers to all questions. "I can't see God in the Hubble telescope so God cannot exist." I exaggerate to make the point. Why can't you handle uncertainty in determining the correct interpretation of parts of the Bible? Have you at least grasped that the Bible consists of many different literary genres?

Why not be skeptical until the evidence is available?

You've missed the point entirely. Ancient documents are evidence. How do you think the site of Troy was discovered? Why did Calvert and Schliemann even bother looking for Troy?


Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on May 02, 2012, 04:04:53 pm
lapwing wrote:

"No they're not things I just made up. You could look up belomancy, numerology etc."

You misunderstood what I meant. I didn't mean that beliefs in "number systems" do not exist. Rather I meant that I didn't think you would have found references to "number systems" in the baptismal testimonies of Christian converts. In fact you never bothered to look at these. I was making the point that people rarely convert to Christianity based solely on some kind of probabilistic assessment of the historical truth of the resurrection. Before you make the obvious response this doesn't mean that Christians claim no rational/historical basis to their belief.



Okay, but I was talking about how people sometimes do come to believe certain things. Someone becoming a Christian because they survive serious accident after receiving medical treatment or they wish to join a group of people who they see with good manners doesn't really tell me their justification for accepting the doctrinal beliefs of Christianity.


lapwing wrote:

"they're not unique to Christianity"

I'm not sure what this means - each testimony is by definition unique to each person. Until you examine these testimonies seriously, without preconceptions, how can you make any comment about them.


What I mean is that selectively reviewing testimonies of Christians doesn't tell me how valid their subsequent beliefs are especially if such feelings and intuitions can easily be seen in other religions.


lapwing wrote:

"still been able to reject that religion"

Wrong thinking again. You seem to be implying that if someone rejects a religion, that means it can't be true. But what about people who do believe? Why does not then that prove the religion true? I'm not claiming that the number of believers proves Christianity true, but it cannot be discounted as to have no meaning.


No what I'm still saying is that such subjective accounts are very unreliable given what we know about human psychology. This is why I'm not willing to rate such accounts highly when considering evidence for a set of beliefs.


lapwing wrote:

is that human also God?

Why do you think this is impossible?


Because of the very concepts of what it means to be a God and what it means to be a man. e.g a man has cells while a God doesn't.


lapwing wrote:

hazy

What a revealing word that is. The (so-called) scientific, reductionist view that must have definite single answers to all questions. "I can't see God in the Hubble telescope so God cannot exist." I exaggerate to make the point. Why can't you handle uncertainty in determining the correct interpretation of parts of the Bible? Have you at least grasped that the Bible consists of many different literary genres?


Oh I can handle uncertainty but I think it is inconsistent for people to claim uncertainty with regards to certain things e.g Garden of Eden but not for Lot's wife or Balaam's donkey. Surely a God that could do one could do them all. What I see is that these uncertainties seem to depend on how much scientific information a person is willing to accept.

On the various genres, sure I know that there are different genres. This is glaring when one compares e.g Ecclesiastes to Chronicles but such a distinction isn't so clear in Genesis.


lapwing wrote:

Why not be skeptical until the evidence is available?

You've missed the point entirely. Ancient documents are evidence. How do you think the site of Troy was discovered? Why did Calvert and Schliemann even bother looking for Troy?




Okay maybe I should say until better evidence is available since the ancient Egyptians also kept records and the huge amount of information against such a large migration. Also an absence of evidence is important which is why I'm advocating at least a skepticism of the story portrayed in the Bible.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on May 03, 2012, 12:42:26 pm

"because they survive serious accident after receiving medical treatment or they wish to join a group of people who they see with good manners"

This still comes across as a distorted view of Christian testimonies born of lack of knowledge. Remember I brought this up to make the point that very few converts profess Christianity solely as a result of the  evidence in the NT.

"such feelings and intuitions can easily be seen in other religions."

You need to provide evidence for this statement and beware quote mining!

I'm not saying you're wrong but without proper evidence it is unsubstantiated assertion.

"such subjective accounts are very unreliable"

I'm not sure what this means either. I don't think you can be saying that such testimonies don't reasonably accurately reflect what the people giving them believe? I wasn't putting them forward as evidence for the NT but rather information of why people convert.

"what it means to be a God and what it means to be a man"

This is still just your own opinion.

uncertainty with regards to certain things

The uncertainty is about how to interpret the Bible. It is a given that people have different interpretations of parts of the Bible.

Surely a God that could do one could do them all

I agree with this, of course. You are not far from the kingdom of God.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on May 05, 2012, 05:59:35 am
lapwing wrote:

"because they survive serious accident after receiving medical treatment or they wish to join a group of people who they see with good manners"

This still comes across as a distorted view of Christian testimonies born of lack of knowledge. Remember I brought this up to make the point that very few converts profess Christianity solely as a result of the  evidence in the NT.


What I'm saying is that their conversion isn't solely as a result of the evidence in the New Testament. Professing Christianity because one was raised in such a household or because one survives an accident isn't based solely on the NT.


lapwing wrote:

"such feelings and intuitions can easily be seen in other religions."

You need to provide evidence for this statement and beware quote mining!

I'm not saying you're wrong but without proper evidence it is unsubstantiated assertion.

 


Just to be clear, are you saying that you don't think such feelings and intuitions aren't seen in other religions?


You could take a look at this.


lapwing wrote:

"such subjective accounts are very unreliable"

I'm not sure what this means either. I don't think you can be saying that such testimonies don't reasonably accurately reflect what the people giving them believe? I wasn't putting them forward as evidence for the NT but rather information of why people convert.

 



And I'm saying that they aren't justified due to their unreliability otherwise, UFO believers among others have equally valid reasons for their beliefs.


lapwing wrote:

"what it means to be a God and what it means to be a man"

This is still just your own opinion.

 


No it is not just my opinion. Or do you think God has cells?


lapwing wrote:

uncertainty with regards to certain things

The uncertainty is about how to interpret the Bible. It is a given that people have different interpretations of parts of the Bible.

 


Yet the uncertainty seems to depend on how much scientific evidence people accept which tends to lead to inconsistencies.


lapwing wrote:

Surely a God that could do one could do them all

I agree with this, of course. You are not far from the kingdom of God.


Been there done that.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on May 05, 2012, 01:24:08 pm

"What I'm saying is that their conversion isn't solely as a result of the evidence in the New Testament"

I agree: it's what I said earlier.

A baptismal testimony is a convert's answer to why they became a Christian. Mysticism may be described as religious practices aimed at achieving a greater sense of divinity. Christianity is a religion so is bound to share certain characteristics with other religions e.g. belief in God. I'm asking you to compare testimonies between different religions. What do the differences tell you?

"equally valid reasons for their beliefs."

Trouble is there are practical reasons why not to believe in UFOs: primarily the vast distances in space and the lack of more widespread detection. Aliens are going to be physical beings like us - to them, if they exist, we are the aliens.

do you think God has cells?

By denying the incarnation of Jesus you are putting a limitation on God that you cannot know is valid.

"Been there done that."

I don't know what this means.


Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on May 06, 2012, 09:28:08 am
lapwing wrote:

"What I'm saying is that their conversion isn't solely as a result of the evidence in the New Testament"

I agree: it's what I said earlier.



And it is what I said earlier too. My point is that whatever the reason may be behind their conversion doesn't somehow make the New Testament stories true. So I wonder why they aren't skeptical of the NT stories.


lapwing wrote:

A baptismal testimony is a convert's answer to why they became a Christian. Mysticism may be described as religious practices aimed at achieving a greater sense of divinity. Christianity is a religion so is bound to share certain characteristics with other religions e.g. belief in God. I'm asking you to compare testimonies between different religions. What do the differences tell you?


The differences simply tell me that the various religions have different roots though the largest similarity is that one's religious inclination seems to depend largely on the religions they're exposed to.


lapwing wrote:

"equally valid reasons for their beliefs."

Trouble is there are practical reasons why not to believe in UFOs: primarily the vast distances in space and the lack of more widespread detection. Aliens are going to be physical beings like us - to them, if they exist, we are the aliens.


What if these aliens have technology advanced enough that enables them perform these actions? And aren't there practical reasons for not believing that someone turned to salt or levitated into the sky?


lapwing wrote:

do you think God has cells?

By denying the incarnation of Jesus you are putting a limitation on God that you cannot know is valid.


No, I'm showing that one cannot both be a God and a human.

lapwing wrote:

"Been there done that."

I don't know what this means.




What I mean is this.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on May 07, 2012, 05:56:00 am

the reason behind their conversion doesn't somehow make the New Testament stories true

I agree.

I wonder why they aren't skeptical of the NT stories

I prefer to let people speak for themselves rather than putting my own opinions in their mouths. I've already shown that the gospels describe the followers of Jesus as sceptical about the resurrection until they met the risen Lord Jesus. Your point also seems to assume that everybody should necessarily come to the same conclusion about the historicity of the resurrection. History isn't like that - one cannot repeat the experiment in history, unlike much of science. There are other controversial events in history (e.g. the Princes in the Tower) over which objective historians hold different views.

Aliens like us will be subject to the laws of physics i.e. nothing travels faster than light. God can defy the laws of physics since He created the universe. This is not true of aliens.

I'm showing that one cannot both be a God and a human.

All your doing is asserting an opinion.

"Been there done that."

What I meant to ask is what is your experience of "being there" and "doing that" in relation to the kingdom of God.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on May 08, 2012, 02:00:23 pm
lapwing wrote:

the reason behind their conversion doesn't somehow make the New Testament stories true

I agree.



I know you agree. That is why I was asking for the justification of the Christian dogma after whatever experience it was that they had.


lapwing wrote:

I wonder why they aren't skeptical of the NT stories

I prefer to let people speak for themselves rather than putting my own opinions in their mouths. I've already shown that the gospels describe the followers of Jesus as sceptical about the resurrection until they met the risen Lord Jesus. Your point also seems to assume that everybody should necessarily come to the same conclusion about the historicity of the resurrection. History isn't like that - one cannot repeat the experiment in history, unlike much of science. There are other controversial events in history (e.g. the Princes in the Tower) over which objective historians hold different views.


And I think it is clear that the gospel accounts are very problematic when it comes to these issues of miracles and similar phenomena that are easily found in other religions with miraculous claims.

I don't think historians accept claims of miracles when it comes to other fields why make an exception for Christianity alone? How historically credible on miracles should one consider the gospel accounts to be when they contain deeply problematic verses like the dead walking the streets, earthquakes etc during Jesus' death?

While historians hold different views on the Princes in the Tower, they do not conclude that someone walked through a wall or ascended into the sky.


lapwing wrote:

Aliens like us will be subject to the laws of physics i.e. nothing travels faster than light. God can defy the laws of physics since He created the universe. This is not true of aliens.


In a 4 dimensional universe, maybe one wouldn't need to travel faster than light to get here. For some reason, God no longer defies these laws of physics in these modern times. He left the truly spectacular incidents to the bronze age and to mostly illiterate people.


lapwing wrote:

I'm showing that one cannot both be a God and a human.

All your doing is asserting an opinion.


Is it just my opinion that God isn't made of cells?


lapwing wrote:

"Been there done that."

What I meant to ask is what is your experience of "being there" and "doing that" in relation to the kingdom of God.



My experience is one of gullibility and religious faith which gave way when I learned how to think critically and evaluate information.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on May 09, 2012, 05:28:03 am

the justification of the Christian dogma after whatever experience it was that they had.

Christian dogma or belief does not depend on personal experience.

I think it is clear that the gospel accounts are very problematic

Other people disagree e.g. R Bauckham, N Wright

historians hold different views on the Princes in the Tower

That was my point. Historians disagree about the historicity of many events. You cannot establish with certainty using objective historical methods that many events (miraculous or not) actually happened or not. So you cannot say that historian X has proved that the Resurrection did not happen neither can you say that historian Y has proved that it did happen. Do you agree?

historians always prefer the most likely event

This seemed to be Ehrman's thesis in http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/craig-vs-ehrman-college-of-the-holy-cross

Now I don't think that either Ehrman or Craig are particularly good at statistics. Craig's probability terms would have been better using words rather than symbols to explain the terms. Ehrman was wrong to say that Craig was trying to mathematically prove God's existence. This "most likely" argument is flawed statistically. Many natural phenomena (e.g. adult heights) follow the familiar normal or Gaussian bell curve distribution.

So though it is true that any one sample is most likely to have the mean value it is not true that all the samples are most likely to have this one mean value. In fact this is most unlikely. Ehrman does not account for outliers and also seems to fall foul of Black Swan theory. Jesus' life is only one case in the many human lives that have been lived.



Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on May 09, 2012, 02:17:30 pm
lapwing wrote:

the justification of the Christian dogma after whatever experience it was that they had.

Christian dogma or belief does not depend on personal experience.


I'm not saying it does. I'm simply wondering what the justification for also accepting the Christian dogma may be after one has had some sort of experience.


lapwing wrote:

I think it is clear that the gospel accounts are very problematic

Other people disagree e.g. R Bauckham, N Wright

 


So these people think that the miraculous claims in the Bible actually occurred? What do they say about other religions and the events such as the dead roaming the city?


lapwing wrote:

historians hold different views on the Princes in the Tower

That was my point. Historians disagree about the historicity of many events. You cannot establish with certainty using objective historical methods that many events (miraculous or not) actually happened or not. So you cannot say that historian X has proved that the Resurrection did not happen neither can you say that historian Y has proved that it did happen. Do you agree?

 


I think proof is reserved for fields like mathematics and logic but in history, I think that given certain concepts about the universe, some explanations are more credible than others. e.g which explanation would you consider as being more credible for the building of the Easter Island statues, ancient aliens or labourers?

If one is going to grant an exception for Christianity, why not grant similar exceptions to other religions and ideas?


lapwing wrote:

historians always prefer the most likely event

This seemed to be Ehrman's thesis in http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/craig-vs-ehrman-college-of-the-holy-cross

Now I don't think that either Ehrman or Craig are particularly good at statistics. Craig's probability terms would have been better using words rather than symbols to explain the terms. Ehrman was wrong to say that Craig was trying to mathematically prove God's existence. This "most likely" argument is flawed statistically. Many natural phenomena (e.g. adult heights) follow the familiar normal or Gaussian bell curve distribution.

So though it is true that any one sample is most likely to have the mean value it is not true that all the samples are most likely to have this one mean value. In fact this is most unlikely. Ehrman does not account for outliers and also seems to fall foul of Black Swan theory. Jesus' life is only one case in the many human lives that have been lived.





I didn't say historians always prefer the most likely event but what I would say is that if one rigorously follows the appropriate historical methodology, one still wouldn't be justified in believing that someone rose from the dead, walked through walls, levitated into the sky or that certain events were associated with his death.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: lapwing on May 10, 2012, 05:12:00 am

Hello blank,

This is becoming too repetitive.

I'm making a closing statement. I imagine you will reply to give yourself the satisfaction of having the last word.

"if one rigorously follows the appropriate historical methodology, one still wouldn't be justified in believing that someone rose from the dead"

I've already given examples of where professional historians do this and reach different conclusions. Do you agree or do you think that for any historical event one can determine what actually happened without any room for reasonable disagreement?

"given certain concepts about the universe"

This seems to be code for believing that God does not exist. An assumption since it has not been proved.

"ancient aliens or labourers?"

An example of repetition. I've  already responded about aliens. Remember we're aliens in the sense of travelling to distant planets. Aliens would have to travel to earth.

an exception for Christianity

By denying this possibility you are trying to dictate to God how he should or should not act. Why shouldn't God choose to communicate to humankind through Jesus? Why should God act in a way that you think is more appropriate. Other human beings have views that differ from yours so why should you think that you can determine how God should act. The message is for all mankind.

"the dead roaming the city?"

"The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people." Mt 27:52,53 NIV

Now these verses are difficult, not because God is incapable of doing such a miracle, but because of a lack of information. However, one shouldn't think in terms of some kind of zombie movie. Rather one should think more like the raising of Lazarus in Jn ch 11. You have mentioned this example many many times but it is not the key event at the end of the gospels. Jesus' resurrection is the key event. That doesn't mean that I don't believe this could or did happen: but it's much more important to think about Jesus' resurrection. I've tried to make this point before and you have never taken this obvious point on board preferring to divert down side issues.

Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: blank on May 10, 2012, 04:13:52 pm
lapwing wrote:

Hello blank,

This is becoming too repetitive.

I'm making a closing statement. I imagine you will reply to give yourself the satisfaction of having the last word.


It may appear repetitive because you keep presenting the same points.

My response isn't for satisfaction of having the last word, but simply to show you your inconsistencies.


lapwing wrote:

"if one rigorously follows the appropriate historical methodology, one still wouldn't be justified in believing that someone rose from the dead"

I've already given examples of where professional historians do this and reach different conclusions. Do you agree or do you think that for any historical event one can determine what actually happened without any room for reasonable disagreement?

 


And I responded by pointing out that historians don't conclude by saying "here, a miracle happened."


lapwing wrote:

"given certain concepts about the universe"

This seems to be code for believing that God does not exist. An assumption since it has not been proved.


No, it is a code about certain basic assumptions that we all make. The difference being that believers add on some unjustified claims. Those claims are the things being disputed or expected to be demonstrated.

lapwing wrote:

"ancient aliens or labourers?"

An example of repetition. I've  already responded about aliens. Remember we're aliens in the sense of travelling to distant planets. Aliens would have to travel to earth.

 


Please note the context of this particular example. The point is that historians using their methodology, wouldn't conclude that the structures were built by aliens.


lapwing wrote:

an exception for Christianity

By denying this possibility you are trying to dictate to God how he should or should not act. Why shouldn't God choose to communicate to humankind through Jesus? Why should God act in a way that you think is more appropriate. Other human beings have views that differ from yours so why should you think that you can determine how God should act. The message is for all mankind.

 


If you wish to introduce your God as a possibility, then I think you would need to do some work showing us what is expected of him otherwise he will simply be an arbitrary entity introduced by religious faith.


lapwing wrote:

"the dead roaming the city?"

"The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people." Mt 27:52,53 NIV

Now these verses are difficult, not because God is incapable of doing such a miracle, but because of a lack of information. However, one shouldn't think in terms of some kind of zombie movie. Rather one should think more like the raising of Lazarus in Jn ch 11. You have mentioned this example many many times but it is not the key event at the end of the gospels. Jesus' resurrection is the key event. That doesn't mean that I don't believe this could or did happen: but it's much more important to think about Jesus' resurrection. I've tried to make this point before and you have never taken this obvious point on board preferring to divert down side issues.



In what sense are the verses difficult? Do you also find them difficult to believe? How can the signs surrounding Jesus' death not be significant? If such stories could be made up about his death, why not his resurrection?

Basically, all I've shown is that there are unjustified leaps from the mystical beliefs of people to accepting Christian dogma. Also, that how much one believes the Christian dogma for some reason depends on how they accept science.
Title: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: Anthony on August 02, 2012, 06:06:38 pm
The atheist side totally cheated. When they found out that Dr. Craig was going to speak second, they changed their order, so that Ahmed would go last and have the last word so that he would have the lasting impression on the audience. Andrew Copson gave an atrocious opening speech that was almost completely committing the Genetic Fallacy.  That was kind of stupid if you ask me. Craig and Williams had no chance to respond to Ahmed's poor response to the theist arguments. That was very disappointing, and not to mention, the audience was extremely bias toward the atheist debaters. Maybe Dr. Craig will come back to Cambridge and debate the subject again. Or he could come to the other Cambridge and debate Steven Pinker at Harvard.
Title: Re: Craig and Williams vs. Ahmed and Copson: "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion"
Post by: jayceeii on December 22, 2019, 02:43:47 pm
Guidelines for Cambridge Union debates can be found here (http://www.cus.org/members/debating/what-debating)

I'm not understanding why debates needed to be a death-match. In other words, the expectation is not for the correct argument, but for the correct argument on-the-spot, You're not just judged in respect of truth, but whether you can present the truth in the exact terms the opponent expects.

The purpose of debate ought to have been the pursuit of truth, also along slow routes. Perhaps a few weeks later the correct argument comes to you, but it is too late, the opponent was already undertaking the victory dance and has no further interest in anything you could say.

There's a fundamental antagonism here, not the forgiving sympathy that might really allow all parties to present their best arguments without pressure. In this regard a written debate is much better than a verbal one, wherein lie many traps and diversions.

Men used to play chess matches by mail, waiting a number of weeks to find the next move, and debates to be fruitful should have been similar. Truth is lost where swords clash. But men were ever interested only in victory, never in truth.