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Messages - ixthus116

1
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Why the Big Bang/BVG debate doesn't matter
« on: December 04, 2013, 11:24:01 am »
Apologies for the link, but: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Xsp4FRgas

2

“They have no reason to say that past evidence is a good predictor of future events . .  .”
No reason? The day-to-day successful functioning of all our society’s technology gives validation to science from moment to moment, not the absolute somewhat ivory tower validation desired by the religious person who wants God-given absolute truth, but the type of practical truth that people base their lives on.

This is what I was referring to. Personally I could also live with induction, but I was not arguing the conclusions of science are incompatible with how we live our lives, but that to jump from 'G=mm/r^2" to "this apple will fall when I drop it" requires a theistic worldview. I don't expect it to keep you up at night, but it's worth discussing in a forum like this I think.


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“The Christian tradition”? Is that the Catholic traditional teaching that “there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church”? Or the tradition (of some Baptist, I believe) that if you’re not baptized by immersion you’re going to hell? Or the Jehovah Witness tradition that only they (and only some of them) get into heaven?


This is just what I'm talking about,

One needs to work out whether one can ascertain truth from sources such as human authority, scripture, experience and natural theology/rationality. Different sects put different weights on different things and therefore come to different conclusions, but this is no different to different scientists investing in different theories at the 'cutting edge'

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Yes, scientists disagree especially about issues on the cutting-edge of science. But they have a method of finding what’s true and eventually weed out false beliefs. Religion on the other hand is forever bound by what their “revelations” say; therefore various religious sects are bound to disagree for as long as they exist.

I would argue that when the religious sect no longer exists is when the false belief is weeded-out. That's precisely the point. It just takes a much much longer time in religious circles because people have more than an academic investment in the ideas and often religions can survive culturally even when the belief has been discredited. But this largely misses the point, we as individuals do not face the issues of a group of religious people, my point is that just because there are contradictions does not mean none of them are true, but rather leads us to the idea that we should investigate claims and work out for ourselves which one is true. For example, I am fairly confident in asserting that the Mormon church does not have the ability to infallibly set the moral code, because it has infallibly set it and then infallibly contradicted itself (on the issue of polygamy). Similarly, I see contradictions between catholic scripture and practice (1 Timothy 4)- my point being that you can way up, as you did, what 'revelation' is true and what's not.

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I’ve earnestly sought to know the truth and come to the conclusion that God exists but that many people aren’t so much interested in the truth as fitting in, and are willing to accept comforting mythologies in place of truth.

I feel the 'fitting in' bit has already been dealt with, but I would like to point out that the Bible agrees with you on the mythology point:

2 Timothy 4: 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Overall, it's up to you to decide how you see absolute truth, but for your own sake don't claim science ascertains it perfectly on the shaky philosophical foundation of atheism and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to theology.

3
The statement 'science is built on faith' I think referes to three ideas that an atheist foundation to the philosophy of science struggles to understand:

1. The law of induction. What are the laws of physics? They are descriptions of how the natural world works. For example, if an apple falls, they describe its acceleration as being proportional to the resultant force on it. And indeed, that has worked every single time we've tried it, but to say 'because it has happened 100 times out of 100 it WILL happen the 101st time' requires that the philosophical truth is that the world is not going to suddenly change or that it behaves nicely. On a theistic worldview, this is a very comfortable assumption, God sustains the universe he created, but on an atheistic worldview, there is nothing to say that a universe created from chaos and tending towards chaos won't sometimes be chaotic. The law of gravity is only a pattern we observe, to use it to make definitive predictions is philosophically difficult.

2. That the discoveries of human beings are trustworthy. If science has discovered that we are just the result of initial amoeba, random mutations and changing environments- how can we be certain that anything we think has any bearing on truth? Would you trust the mind of a monkey with a truth claim? Probably not. A worldview based on evolution argues that we only have x property because it aids survival. So if that x property is a capacity to do science, should we not say that science is a sociological construct created to help us survive, and if so, how can we trust it to do more than that and help us ascertain truth?

3. The role of free will and determinism. A big problem with an atheist worldview is that there is little rational for concluding that free will is anything more than an illusion. Of the top of my head I can think of Sam Harris, Dawkins and Steven Hawkins who would all argue that free will does not exist and because we are chemicals governed by the laws of physics then we are little more than machines 'dancing to our DNA'. You could argue for quantum physics, but that only brings in chance- no room for conscious decisions. If this is the case, then everything we claim in science we have been preconditioned to claim and it is too much to rise above the stream of determinism and make a truth claim as science does. There is no room for the scientist who looks at the world and tries to work it out intelligently to be sure that his discernments are correct, because he has been determined to think them.

Therefore, atheist scientists tend to have their cake and eat it. They have no reason to say that past evidence is a good predictor of future events, why we should trust the minds of evolved animals or whether we can actually use independent thought to choose between competing ideas or whether we just decide because that is how the clock of the material universe was wound up and now ticks. The ignoring of these problems is 'belief beyond evidence' which is how many atheist scientists like to describe 'faith'.

As for religion, let me say one thing. Clearly you're already on reasonablefaith.org so it's no use me pointing you to a website which clearly presents evidence and arguments for a Christian worldview. However, I do want to address your criticism that religions contradict because they rely on deluded mythical story-tellers. Let me use an analogy from science; take the current quest for Grand Unified Theory (GUT). Some people think string theory holds the answer, some people think loop quantum gravity is the best hope and others would say causal dynamical triangulation theory is where GUT is going to come from. Now, because these theories contradict, are we justified in inferred that *none of them* are true? Of course not, we need to way them up and the evidence that supports each of them, in the way we way up newtonian and einsteinian physics if we were trying to ask whether space and time is relative or not. The same if true of religion. There are many claims, which contradict, but we cannot infer from that that none are true. Especially if we include atheism and agnosticism as worldviews which makes a competing contradictory claims. Rather, we have to look at each one individually, way up the evidence to support it and come to our own conclusion. The Christian tradition even makes the claim that if you earnestly seek Christ and turn to him you will receive the witness of the holy spirit- perhaps a verifiable claim you could test out for yourself?

4
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: What are the essentials of the Christian faith?
« on: November 17, 2013, 07:18:29 pm »
Well, if you deny the virgin birth you probably deny the deity of Christ, which is a bit of an issue if you want him to take the punishment for your sins. no?

5
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Christian Martyrs
« on: November 16, 2013, 01:18:57 pm »
Yes, I think it's worth trying to understand everything someone has willfully died for, but not at all on the assumption that it will be convincing *to you* just that it was convincing *to the martyr*.

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Choose Your Own Topic / Re: What are the essentials of the Christian faith?
« on: November 16, 2013, 09:38:11 am »
To return to the topic in hand, may I suggest that you are trying to reinvent the wheel that was invented in the Apostle's Creed?

7
Choose Your Own Topic / Is revelation a greatness-making property?
« on: November 16, 2013, 08:29:15 am »
If you don't think the ontological argument is valid then this isn't really the thread for you, but if you do, hi, I had a thought.

Is a God who reveals himself greater than a God who does not? Is revelation even a property? Perhaps we could say 'is being communicative a GMP'? Because, if it is a GMP and the OA passes, then this would have two implications:

1 The OA would conclude with theism rather than deism

2. When using Bayes' theorem to assess the probability of the resurrection, the probability of ressurection on the background evidence (P(R|B)) would be a lot higher. Current appeals to prime movers and blasphemers are good enough, but I feel this would make it a lot more reasonable.

Any thoughts?

8
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The Two Souls Of Jesus Christ
« on: November 15, 2013, 07:29:50 pm »
The Bible defines the soul as the mind, will, and emotions. The Bible also tells us that as a baby up to and through the time He was a man Jesus had to learn and grow. He didn't know everything as a man. He had a finite and limited mind. This was His human soul. This is the soul that would die as He was nailed to the cross. The Bible is pretty clear that Jesus died for sinners. As God, Jesus didn't have to learn and grow. He was infinite in wisdom and knowledge. This is His Divine soul. This is what entered His new body when He was resurrected. The finite human soul has perished. The Divine soul lives forever.

This confusion is easy to solve- you've confused soul and mind. The soul is quite hard to define, but the mind is not and the two are clearly different, e.g. Luke 10:27 "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind". Jesus took on a human mind, in which his knowledge increased in a human way (though the teaching he gave was not from himself but the Father John 7:16). He emptied himself of his omniscience and worked within the intellectual framework of the age. As such, Jesus did not have a 'human soul'. The second-person of the Trinity did not have a body, but was a soul and was united with a human body (Colossians 2:9) in the way human souls are with human bodies. Therefore, his human soul did not die- only his human body. His human body was changed into a resurrection (that is, physical, but made of a spiritual flesh) body when he rose again and when he ascended he filled himself back up with his divine priviledges like omniscience (Hebrews 1:3-4).

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Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Christian Martyrs
« on: November 15, 2013, 07:15:48 pm »
Quite probable that the numbers are a lot less than 100,00 a year, but the point still stands.

From a christian perspective: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/books/risk-is-right

From a philosophical perspective, the best we can take from it is that: -people have been very convinced by it - this means either 1) it is very convincing or 2) It was presented in a very convincing way or 3) people had strong motives in being persuaded by it

The are ultimately going to be cases of both 2 and 3 and 1 is difficult to establish as establishment would require an objective perspective.

These martyrs make no difference to the truth of Christianity, but they definitely make Christianity something worth investigating.

10
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Introducing myself
« on: October 02, 2013, 02:51:14 pm »
Thank you all for such friendly welcomes and encouragement! :)


Welcome! I'd love to know what you found so interesting about a more conservative Christian faith.

It was honestly the fact that I found an intellectual rigour in a more conservative approach- an attempt to really answer questions and base truth on a reasoned argument from evidence. Liberal Christianity to me felt like in trying to please everyone it pleased no one and trying to insult no one it insulted everyone. The passion also struck me immediately in conservative circles- teachers, handymen, musicians and such were waking up every day for Jesus and (apart from the minister) in Liberal circles it felt more like a unifying hobby that didn't really change anyone. (Please remember this is just speaking from my experience here).


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Choose Your Own Topic / Introducing myself
« on: September 29, 2013, 03:41:28 am »
Hi there,

This seems like a friendly place where the customary thing to do is to introduce oneself

I am an 18 year old male who starts a course in Economics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom in a week's time.

I was raised in a liberal christian home, but through summer camp and christian friends was opened up to a much more rigorous conservative faith which I have been grabbed by and now seek to defend.

I have been a huge fan of Dr Craig for about 18 months now and finally feel like I know enough and have seen enough of his debates to answer pretty much everything I'm likely to come up against at university.

Personally, my favourite (I'm english, I spell it with a 'u') arguments are the argument for the resurrection of Jesus and I love how many atheists in Craig's debates assert all premises of the moral argument.

The debates I have most enjoyed are his ones with Ahmed and Millican, no one else I feel has really made him think.

I hope I will be welcomed here and look forward to interesting debates with people of all worldviews.

I'm not sure what else to say- I like sports, rap music (Christians check out Reach Records), reading and (surprise surprise) debates.

Grace and Peace

12
Craig vs Kappel / Re: Dr. Craig vs. Klemens Kappel: "Does God Exist?"
« on: September 29, 2013, 03:28:52 am »
Hi Rossi

From memory (ie I might have this wrong), Kappel conjured up  three Magical Stars, something like the magical causal star, the magical design star and the magical ontological star. Each star was invisible and had never been directly detected by any astronomer. But the causal star was the first cause of all other stars, so explained the origin of the stars we can see: the design star had been the template for other stars, so that was why stars are so well designed to be stars: the ontological star was why the visible stars exist at all.

Kappel's point being that none of the above argument gives any direct evidence for such stars  - and of course the stars paralleled the arguments for God.

The ontological argument justifies the existence of one maximally great being AND forbids the existence of more than one maximally great being, because otherwise two omnipotent beings trying to do different things would be a logical contradiction (possible in no possible world). As a result, if the ontological argument succeeds there is 1 MGB. This, however, does not mean that say the Jehovah's Witness interpretation of "God created the Angel Jesus, Jesus created the world" (Don't ask me how they read Genesis 1:1- or the rest of the bible for that matter!) cannot be refuted by the KCA. However, even in this sense, if an angel created the world then we can ask "what caused the angel" and so on to get back to the MGB defined by the ontological argument with the property of necessary existence. The case for the biblical God is cumulative, and while the moral, KCA and ontological can prove there are not many MGBs to get to Yahweh you need to see the success of the argument for the resurrection of Jesus. If you post a 'bringing back Jesus' star, then you're just being silly and refusing to look at what the evidence points to.

13
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: DNA
« on: September 29, 2013, 03:19:32 am »
If medical science developed a pill that could safely turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, or vice-versa, would people take it?

If women could choose the sexuality of their unborn child would any of them choose for it to be homosexual?

Let me ask you this: If medical science developed a pill that made it easier to not be greedy or jealous or proud, would you take it? If your child was going to be born a jealous person- would you change it?

In one sense, it would be nice to have less of a struggle in not being jealous or greedy, but in another I think they are sins that we grow in faith by overcoming through our relationship with God and the work of the Spirit. In that respect, homosexual temptations are something some people have to overcome like others have other temptations and in order to make our good acts morally good we need to be able to do bad things so we can't medically engineer ourselves to be sinless otherwise what cross have we born?

14
Craig vs Atkins / Re: Dr. Craig vs. Peter Atkins: "Does God Exist?"
« on: September 28, 2013, 05:25:58 pm »
Mr Craig proved that infinite God does not exist as infinity as he suggested is impossible. Nothing comes from nothing that means nothing should have qualities as modern science and quantum mechanics suggest. God is a more complicated problem than the solution it applies and don't solve anything as the question remains how God came from nothing. Morality is very clear that is not objective and alter depending on the physiology of humans, culture, environment the illusion of objectiveness on morality comes from morality being the evolution of our the two basic instincts ho are essential for every species to exist.

1 The infinity that doesn't exist is different the the infinite that God is. You can't have an infinite sequence of events, but the statement 'God knows all knowable things' is not the same infinity.

2. Quite often more complicated problems result from simple conundrums- an apple falling is simple. Gravity? Whoa- very not simple!

3. God is a necessary being, that is to say his existence is uncaused. If he was caused the thing which caused him would be God- at least try and attack the God based on a shared definition. A created god is by definition a false god. Asking what created God is like asking what the number 7 smells like. God just is in the way that numbers just exist.

4. you're here committing the genetic fallacy- attempting to say that because objective moral views were developed by society they are therefore false.  Just because you can explain a belief's origin does nothing to falsify that belief. I'm sure you once thought something because your parents told you so- does that make the thing your parents told you false? Not at all!

5. Objective morals are needed for species to exist

No animals except humans have (or even 'have developed') morality! Fish eat each other, animals regularly kill each other, have incest, all kinds of things that are both morally wrong from our point of view and detrimental to their collective survival. Dawkins showed in the Selfish Gene how only individual DNA matters, the survival of the group is only incidental. (You know you're flawed when I'm even citing Dawkins against you!)  So if you think that harming other humans for pleasure is wrong whether the harm-er and harm-ee think so or not then you observe objective morals. Even if you say 'I think people should act in the way their culture says is right" you're still affirming a way of acting that is binding in all circumstances and on all contrary views- an objective moral law.

15
Craig vs Atkins / Re: Critique of Atkins v Craig debate
« on: September 28, 2013, 05:08:27 pm »
In case there is anyone still reading this thread and confused about mr.t's post:

1.) There were lots of empty tombs. The empty tomb story could have been the result of much oral embellishment...  it could have been because the body had decomposed...it could have been a number of things.

The point is threefold. 1 what would you do if you were a Jewish or Roman authority challenged by the uprising of a new Christian movement? You'd seek to undermine the credibility of the movement- and what better way than to produce the corpse of the person they claimed had been bodily resurrected? If the site of the burial was known at the time, which is likely given a) that Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to be a Christian invention b) Deuteronomy 21:22-23 meant that the Jewish authorities had to bury him c) the jewish polemic in Matthew 28 presupposes the existence of the empty tomb. Craig gives quite a few more arguments regularly for the authenticity of the empty tomb.

Scholars are pretty much unanimous in the fact that the mathew or mark or Luke or Johndidn't author the gospels...no one knows who did. 

This is just a false assertion. There is significant debate over who authorthered the letter to the Hebrews and the pastorals (and even Ephesians and Colossians) and which John out of two Johns wrote John, but the sources of any of the information claimed on this website are well known. To say 'we doubt these people wrote them' and instead assert 'we don't know who did' is a basic violation of how we do history- we assume people are reporting the truth until we have evidence to suggest that they aren't. Either way, their authourship is irrelevant to how reliable they are as sources- in fact, if they weren't written by the disciples (as Luke wasn't) that gives even more objectivity to them!

So, it's reasonable to conclude that the gospels were the result of grains of historical truth, mixed in with much oral embellishment as the story was passed on for years.

This is a standard argument that has been destroyed by any good study of oral societies. Oral societies trained to make sure that histories that were past around were accurate. In any case, the empty tomb lacks any embellishment beyond a plain angel- compare the gospel of peter where a talking cross comes out! If we can identify beliefs about the empty tomb which go back to very early sources, as we can with the per-Markan passion tradition (pre-AD 37) and the 1 Cor 15 chant (Paul's visit to Jer in AD38) then we have good evidence to suggest that had the tomb been full then people would have known about it and falsified those claims.

2.) The messiah was supposed to be a warrior king, agreed. Now, this is why it probably changed: The disciples were so convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead, that they believed he was the actual messiah. So, they started to look at the Hebrew Bible for passages to support this claim.

I completely agree! This is laughable if you're trying to disagree with the argument- it is precisely this that Craig argues. His actual resurrection was what caused them to change their view of the messiah and then they found support for it in the Hebrew bible- exactly. If you don't think Jesus was resurrected, why were the disciples so convinced he had?

3.) Islam has martyrs....does that make it true? Just because people die for a belief does not validate the belief.

Crucial difference- the disciples knew whether they actually had had appearance of the risen Jesus or not- they were in a unique position to know whether the resurrection was true or not. In constrast, Islamic martyrs were not in a position to know whether Gabriel really appeared to Muhammed or not- they just believed what they were told. If someone dies for a belief they have been told, it's nothing to be suprised about (eg why the Christian martyrs of the 60s and right up to today never feature in debates) but if the sources of the belief die for the belief then we can be very certain they didn't make it up.

4.) The movement started in Jerusalem because the disciples were Jews who occupied Jerusalem. Of course they would preach in Jerusalem!

Here you just missed the point, with respect. The point is if it happened miles away no one would be present to allow for the possibility of claims to be falsified. If it didn't happen and people started claiming in Jerusalem that it did then people would be there who were around at the time and able to say 'you're making it up' and the movement would have never got off the ground. Indeed, had they been making it up for some financial or political motive, they would have been far more likely to flee Jerusalem and preach were no one could disagree with them. The fact that they didn't shows they weren't afraid of witnesses with the opposing view (..because there were none!)

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